A/N: For anyone who has my other stuff on alert, I haven't forgotten about you, and I never not complete a story. Unfortunately, I have an almost infinite number of them running around my head, and this is what got stuck on repeat in my mind lately. First story for Leverage, reviews are appreciated. And I only wished I owned them. Reviews are appreciated.
Parker was bored. Two weeks with no job left her completely open for any distraction, and incredibly restless. She was itching to do something. Parker hated being bored. Unfortunately, Hardison was off on a World of Warcraft marathon, and Sophie had dragged Nate off to do something, Parker hadn't really paid much attention when they'd made their plans. That left her with Eliot. Parker didn't like being bored.
"Hey Eliot, you wanna go steal something with me?"
Eliot looked up from the book he was reading at her question. Had she really just asked him to go out and steal something with her? Of course she had, this was Parker.
"No, Parker, I don't wanna help you steal something."
"But I'm bored!"
"So do somethin'! Read a book, go to a movie, do somethin'."
"I wanna go steal something. Come steal a painting with me! We can go to the museum; they have a new exhibit opening soon. I bet they have some good paintings I could lift."
"Parker, for the last time, I don't wanna steal a painting. I'm busy."
"But you're not doing anything!"
"Can you not see I'm readin'?"
He held the book up, waving it in Parker's face. The thief just looked at him, not comprehending.
"But you're not busy. You're reading."
Parker knew that look. It was the "leave -now-before-I-break-you" look. She wisely backed away from the growling hitter, but she didn't give up. She was BORED, and there was no one else around except her plant.
"C'mon, Eliot. Why would you want to read when you could be robbing a museum?"
"There's somethin' wrong with you."
Parker shrugged off the remark. He didn't sound TOO angry, after all. He just sounded his normal unhappy self. Her tone turned wheedling.
"C'mon, Eliot! C'mon c'mon c'mon! You know you want to!"
Eliot slammed the book shut and glared at the blonde.
"Damn it, Parker! You're worse than my nephew, and he's five!"
Still glaring, he put the book on the end table and stood up. If he didn't get out now, he'd end up saying something he'd regret. And if he made Parker cry, Sophie would murder him.
"Where are you going?" Parker called as he slipped on his jacket.
"I've got somewhere I gotta be," he growled at her as he shrugged into it.
"You should have just said you had a date!" he heard as the door shut behind him. Had he actually missed Parker during that six month break? It was hard to remember that now that they'd all been together again for three weeks.
He felt better as he put distance between himself and Parker, heading out of the city proper. He would probably catch hell from Nate for leaving her alone in his apartment, but Eliot didn't care. Babysitting Parker when they were off duty was not in his job description. If she got into trouble, he'd be there in a heartbeat; however, he was no one's nanny. She was a grown woman, surely she could take care of herself until one of the others returned.
Pushing Parker out of his mind, he pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed dial, grinning to himself(though he would never admit it) when it was answered.
"Hey, it's me. Yeah, I'm on my way over."
"Yeah. You on your way?"
"I should be heading that way in about—umm—twenty minutes or so. Just let yourself in."
"I'll see you in awhile then."
Within a few minutes, he was pulling into the driveway of a modest house, set back just off the road. Eliot liked the neighborhood. It was quiet, peaceful. Everything he couldn't find at the offices. Using the key he'd receive only three days ago, he let himself in. He still had about forty minutes to himself, so he made his way to the kitchen, smiling to see that it was well stocked. Good. His rant about the previous pathetic state of the kitchen must have stuck. He'd cook dinner while he waited.
Looking through the cabinets and refrigerator, he found everything he needed for fajitas. Perfect. They wouldn't take too long to make. Everything would be ready in plenty of time. He pulled out the cutting board, at home in this kitchen, and began chopping up onion. He could feel himself relaxing as he lost himself in cutting up vegetables.
He'd just set the table when he heard the door open and close. His hand tensed instinctively on the knife he'd just placed on the table, and he looked toward the sound.
"It's me, El. What made you decide to cook? It smells wonderful."
He relaxed when he heard the familiar voice, and put the knife back in its place before stepping out of the kitchen into the living room. The young woman with chestnut hair tumbling down her back in curls and waves was a welcome sight after dealing with Parker.
"Ah. 'Nough said. Well, I'm starving, so it's a good thing you cooked."
Eliot turned his attention to laying dinner out on the table, grabbing a pitcher of sweet tea out of the fridge as he sat down. He smiled at the younger woman who took a seat across from him.
"I trust that you left Parker in one piece?"
"It took restraint, but yes, I left her in one piece."
"Is she the one who gave you that shiner?"
Eliot snorted, at the same time self consciously ducking his head. He hadn't thought about the black eye once the entire day. He'd actually forgotten about it, or he might have cancelled tonight altogether.
"No, she didn't give it to me. I just got into a bar fight, Newt, that's all."
"Any injuries I need to check out?"
"No, it was just the eye. Some idiot got in a lucky punch."
Newt took his word for it and dropped the subject, filling up her plate. She was grateful that Eliot was settling in Boston for now. She'd missed his cooking. Eliot poured two glasses of tea while he waited for her to serve herself, and was surprised when she grabbed his plate and began loading food onto it as well.
"Newt, you don't have to do that."
"El, you cooked. I can at least play the gracious hostess and serve. Now, other than wanting to break Parker, how've you been?"
Eliot found himself relaxing even more as they ate, and talked. He'd needed this, needed to get away from the rest of the team, and the job. It was the great thing about Newt, she never pressed him for details. Not in all the years they'd known each other. He could show up on her doorstep broken and bloody (and he had, on a number of occasions, done just that) and she just patched him up, no questions asked.
"Not bad. Just—well, not even busy really. Not since I got back to the States. We just did the one job so far."
"But you want to go back to work."
It was a statement, not a question, and Eliot nodded in confirmation. He hated not having something to do. It was why he'd spent their six month hiatus in Pakistan. Working with the lunatics he now called family had given him a taste for doing good. Nailing that banker who'd crashed a car with a man and his daughter inside had been great.
"And Nate? You said before that he was having some trouble—"
"So far, he's good. I think he was even ready to get back in the game. But what about you? Anything new going on?"
"The usual. My patient politely disregards everything I tell him, and his assistant insists on trying to get into my pants. I almost broke his nose this afternoon."
Eliot growled, making Newt smile. She didn't think he was even aware that he was doing it. The overprotective streak was buried too deep by now to be conscious.
"Do I need to have a talk with this guy?"
"Thanks, but no. I can take care of it."
With a little more prodding on Eliot's part, Newt launched into a detailed description of her day. Victoria Newton was a natural storyteller, with the ability to inject humor into nearly everything, and by the time she was finished, Eliot's earlier sour mood was completely gone. By the time dinner was over, he was more relaxed than Newt had seen him in a long time.
"How long are you staying?"
"We don't have anything going on this weekend, unless I get called in. What about you?"
"Julian went to Spain for the weekend, so I'm off of the property until he comes back."
"He kicked you out?"
"Of course not. The loft is still mine, I just prefer not to stay when Julian isn't there and Sanford is. It's safer for his health that way."
"Seriously, if he becomes a problem, I'll take care of it."
"I know you will. Now, since we both have the weekend, I have a collection of old movies, Mel Brooks, Monty Python, or M*A*S*H. I also recorded the MMA fight last night."
"Newt, you're an angel, you know that."
She herded him out of the kitchen and into the large den before turning her attention to cleaning. Eliot had long ago given up on cleaning up the mess after he cooked for her. She heard the unmistakable sounds of The History of the World, Part I as she scraped food into the garbage disposal and loaded the dishwasher. In just a few minutes, Newt was joining Eliot on the couch, handing him a beer.
"Just FYI, the second bedroom is furnished," she informed him, and he blinked at the seemingly random comment, but went back to watching the movie and nursing his beer.
It was only after she curled up beside him and fell asleep halfway into Monty Python and the Holy Grail that he understood. After he carried the sleeping woman into her room he stopped at the bedroom that had been empty the last time he was over.
Where Newt's room was decidedly feminine, this one was definitely masculine. The furniture was all a dark mahogany, and the walls were a dark blue. If Eliot wasn't mistaken, the comfort on the bed, in shades of blue and brown, was similar, very similar, to the one he'd had in L.A. The one he'd been sorry to be rid of.
A thought occurred to Eliot, and he checked the sheets. Egyptian cotton, as he'd suspected. Next was the closet, where he found several of his things. He recognized clothes he'd left at her place, and an old guitar of his, which he'd asked her to hold for him a couple of years ago. The space practically screamed "Eliot". Newt had given him his own room in her house.
As he stared at the bed he realized that he actually WAS tired. He grabbed a t-shirt and pair of sweats, changing quickly. With Newt sleeping next door, he wasn't comfortable just stripping down to his boxers, as he would be in his own home. It would be like stripping down with the rest of the team next door. He wasn't Parker, who had no qualms about changing clothes in front of anyone and everyone. Yawning, he turned the small desk lamp on, and the overhead light off, then climbed into the bed. He was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. If he was lucky, tonight the nightmares would be limited.
Parker watched from her perch outside as Eliot changed his clothes, then climbed into bed. It had been fairly easy to tail him, and she'd still been bored. Plus she wanted to make sure he wasn't too mad at her. He'd managed to surprise her when he pulled into the driveway of a house. They'd only been in Boston for a few weeks, and he already had a house?
She meant to leave him alone once she found him, she really did. Then she smelled food cooking, and decided to hang around. Plus, she kind of wanted to see who Eliot was dating. They knew so little about their hitter. The young woman who pulled up to the house wasn't what she expected. For one thing, she didn't look like she was a stripper.
Parker was confused by everything she saw. The night had all the makings of what normal people considered a date. She knew all about normal people dates; Sophie had told her all about them. Dinner, a movie, going home with your date and having sex—
There had been dinner, and two movies, but Eliot had carried his date into one bedroom then gone into another. Now, he was sleeping alone. There hadn't been any sex. She hadn't even seen any kissing. What kind of a date was that? And when did Eliot actually start living with a woman? Eliot was the kind of guy who had Dates, not Girlfriends. And why was he going to be so early? It was barely eleven o'clock. They were usually up much later when they were running a job. Was he sick? She didn't get it. Maybe Sophie could help her figure it out. Yeah. She would talk to Sophie.
A decision made, Parker started to climb down from the roof. She nearly screamed when she reached the ground and found herself face to face with an armed Eliot's Girlfriend.
"Oh, shiny tomato!"
"Shh." Eliot's Girlfriend told her, nodding towards the window. "You don't want to wake him up. He would not be happy with you."
"You're not gonna—um—stab me with that or anything, are you?"
"If you'd actually come into the house, I would absolutely stab you. You must be Parker."
The blonde looked shocked. Eliot told her about them? So, she knew what he did? More importantly—
"Wait a minute. How did you know I was here?"
"I saw you on top of my roof when I drove up. Or course, I expected you to be long gone by now."
"You couldn't have seen me. No one sees me."
Newt had to bite back a laugh. Parker, and she was now certain the blonde was Parker from Eliot's stories, looked so insulted at the idea that she'd been spotted. It was cute.
"I saw you Parker. You're just lucky Eliot didn't. Now, I'll put my knife away if you tell me why you're casing my house."
Parker relaxed as the other woman did in fact lower the shiny knife. It looked like the sort of knife Eliot would carry, and Parker had to wonder if Eliot's Girlfriend was as prone to violence as he was. She didn't look that dangerous.
"I was following Eliot. He sounded kind of mad when he left so I followed him. And then he was cooking, and then you came in and I really wanted to see what his new girlfriend looked like and I have to say you really don't look like his type. I mean, you don't look like a stripper or anything, unless you're like a really high class call girl, not that there's anything wrong with that or anything—"
Newt hastily cut the girl off, amazed both that she managed to get all of that out in one breath, and that Parker seemed to think she was Eliot's girlfriend.
"Where did you get the idea—you know what? Never mind, I don't want to know. I'm going back to bed now, and unless you want Eliot to find you here when he wakes up, I suggest you leave quickly."
"You're not gonna tell him I was here?"
"Nah. But I wouldn't make a habit of following him over here, next time you might not be so lucky. Someday you'll have to tell me what's so fascinating about this place that you stayed on my roof for hours," Newt tossed over her shoulder as she turned for the door.
"It's a real house."
Newt stopped in her tracks at that statement, and turned back around to face the blonde thief.
"It's a real house. None of us have one of those, and Eliot does."
"You don't have a house?"
"Nate has an apartment, and Hardison has a loft or something somewhere. No one has a real house."
"What about you?"
"I have a place, but it's not a house."
Parker didn't mention that she was living in an abandoned warehouse. She liked Eliot's Girlfriend, and didn't want her to think she was strange, like Eliot always said she was. Parker knew that normal people would think living in an abandoned warehouse was strange.
"Well, Parker, it's almost eleven thirty at night, so it's a bit late for a grand tour. That'll have to wait for another day."
Parker nodded and collected her hat, which had fallen on the ground when Eliot's Girlfriend surprised her. She stood, arranging it on her head, then froze.
"Wait a minute. You mean I can come back?"
Eliot's Girlfriend had said a tour would have to wait for another day. That meant Parker would have ot come back to take a tour.
"As long as you don't try to break in, sure. And you should make sure Eliot's not here, I think he'd get pissed you followed him."
Parker nodded, and disappeared, leaving Newt to shake her head. Eliot was right: there was something wrong with that girl. But other than that, Parker was okay.