I don’t own Leverage. That’s Dean Devlin, John Rogers, and Chris Downey.Author’s Note:
This was a prompt from Bite Sized Bits of Fic, an lj community. It became rather long, so it gets its own post. (Prompt: Leverage, Parker/any, Parker has a protective streak.)
Eliot was fine. That was his rule. No matter what, he was fine. That gave Parker free reign to poke and prod at every little bruise and make him growl and snarl like a wolf.
Except he was late. Parker never liked it when Eliot was late because that always meant bad things. If Eliot was late, then the bad guys caught them. Or, in this case, if Eliot was late, maybe the bad guys had caught him. Because they were just having a meeting before the job, but Eliot was always on time for those, too, because he was a professional and he took what they did seriously.
Parker did not like that Eliot was late.
“Eliot’s late,” she said, frowning and interrupting Nate’s flow. Everyone else had waited a few minutes, then shrugged and started the meeting anyway. “I don’t like it.”
“Sometimes people are late, Parker,” Nate said in what he probably thought was his patient voice. Really, it was his, ‘I’m the Dad’ voice, just a little softer when it was aimed at one of his team than if it was aimed at a client or a stranger.
“Not Eliot,” Parker argued, ignoring the happy tingles she got at Nate’s not-really-patient, absolutely-I’m-the-Dad tone. “Eliot’s never, ever been late for a meeting and he’s only late to the rescue if something bad’s happening.”
“She’s not wrong,” Hardison said, pointing at her like Nate wouldn’t know who he was talking about.
“Eliot called earlier. He’ll be there for the job and I’ll brief him on the flight,” Nate explained, now doubly ‘patient’. “Can we get back to this?”
Parker stood instead of paying attention to him. “Brief me on the plane, too,” she said and darted out the door before he could protest.
Hardison was in her ear before she’d made it across the street. “Nate says he’s at his place. He’s just a little under the weather.”
“Alright,” she said, nodding even though he couldn’t see her. “I’ll talk to you later.”
She took out the earbud she’d forgotten she had in before he could argue with her. He wanted her to come back, to let Nate tell her about the job, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t focus because Eliot was late.
Eliot’s place was actually a boathouse down on the riverfront. She’d been a couple of times, like after Rand the psychic-thief had read her and after the MMA job. He never argued with her when she followed him home and she didn’t think he’d argue with her now.
But she hadn’t been expecting to show up to hear some woman screaming bad words from inside the cabin. Eliot’s voice was just a low rumble but she could still hear how tight it was, like he was trying to keep from yelling. Parker hurried inside in time to see the woman take a swipe Eliot and him dodge back. And that was just not allowed. Eliot didn’t hit women, not civilian women, anyway.
Parker grabbed the woman by the back of shirt, spun her, and forced her out the door and to the railing of the boat before the woman collected herself enough to start struggling. Parker might have been whip thin but Eliot had trained her and her body was strong, so the woman didn’t stand a chance.
“I don’t know who you are, but I don’t like you,” Parker announced calmly. She shoved her a little farther over the railing, causing the woman to yelp as Eliot eased into the corner of her vision, hands up in placation. “You tried to hit my friend and I do not like that. What’s to keep me from dropping you into the water?”
“Parker,” Eliot said carefully, edging a little closer.
“I can’t swim!” the woman shrieked, flailing, before Eliot could say anything else.
“Good,” Parker said, shoving her a little farther over the edge and making her scream for real before yanking her up and shoving her away. Eliot stepped up and wrapped an arm around Parker’s waist to keep her from following as the woman scuttled away, too terrified to rise off of her bottom. Parker hadn’t intended to follow, but Eliot’s arm was solid and warm and just as comforting as always, so Parker didn’t argue. “Go away now. Don’t come back.”
The woman left, eyes darting to Eliot before she was running to her car and gone. Eliot sighed as Parker twisted in his grasp and turned his face so that she could look at the gash along one cheek. Apparently, he hadn’t ducked quick enough. His skin was hot to the touch, so he probably was a little sick and he maybe hadn’t been lying to Nate because he shouldn’t have been slow enough to get scratched by some random woman.
“You should drink tea,” she said before he could chastise her. “With honey. And eat chicken noodle soup.”
“I’m fine,” he said, hoarse instead of gruff now that she was listening for it. “It’s just a little touch of the flu. I’ll be fine by the time we fly out.”
Parker nodded, then shoved him towards the door. “You shouldn’t be out here. It’s damp. Dampness isn’t good for colds and stuff. Have you eaten? You really should eat. And-”
He caught her arm before she could push him again and pulled her into him. “Stop hitting my chest.”
She frowned, petting his chest a little. “Are you going to whine? Sophie says all men are whiners when they’re sick. Is this that bug Nate and Hardison had last week? Because they did whine a lot.”
“Stop hitting my chest because it’s making it harder to breathe,” he expounded, rolling his eyes before turning away and winding his way back to his bedroom, collapsing onto the bed with a soft whumpf and a cough. She hadn’t realized he was barefoot until just now, but she didn’t chastise him about walking around outside with no shoes on since he was already inside. “I won’t whine if you don’t hit me.”
Parker stood in the doorway with her arms crossed for a second before giving a jerky shrug that he couldn’t see and pulled off her shoes before crawling into the bed, settling beside him with an arm over his shoulders and twisting just enough to press her face into his shoulder.
“You’ll get sick,” he mumbled into his pillow. If she hadn’t been so close, she probably wouldn’t have understood.
“Sophie made me get a flu shot months ago,” she whispered, shifting just enough to pull an ugly, but thick and warm blanket around them when Eliot shivered a little. “I’ll be fine. Go to sleep.”
It took him awhile because neither of them were that used to falling asleep with someone else there, but the tension finally flowed out of him and she drowsed against his shoulder, not jerking when, after a long while, she felt Sophie’s warm hand brush her hair out of her face and heard Nate murmuring and Hardison’s soft reply.
Parker got overprotective sometimes. They all did, though. It was normal, as normal as any of them got.