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The House Rules

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This story is No. 6 in the series "The McDonald Boys". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Sequel to "The Sky's Gonna Open" in the "McDonald Boys" verse. This may also be called by its longer alternate name: "How the Leverage Team Taught Lindsey to Be a Team Player, or Rather, Simply Annoyed Him into Cooperating." Family banter, humor.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > LeveragepoestheblackcatFR1375,615092,8616 May 126 May 12Yes

Rule Number Four

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Rule Number Four: Don’t tell Parker that there’s something wrong with her. Only Eliot’s allowed to do that, not Fake Eliot.

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“You shoulda ducked.”

Tiny hands clean the wound on Lindsey’s arm.

“Yeah, I know,” the new hitter says. “Ow!”

“Baby,” Eliot snorts, “I didn’t even do anything.”

“Not you. Her,” Lindsey replies, glaring at Parker. “She poked me.”

Eliot laughs. “Oh, that. Yeah,” he says airily, “that happens. And why didn’t you block that punch?”

“Maybe because I was a little busy hitting his partner, who happened to be whaling on me.” Lindsey scowls and slaps at the air where Parker’s hand had been right before she’d poked him again. “She did it again. What the hell are you doing?”

“Poking you,” Parker says with a mischievous look in her eye, while sneaking in an especially hard jab at yet another sore spot.

Lindsey growls. “There is something very wrong with you.”

Parker’s face goes blank, and in a flash, she’s out the window.

“Now what?” Lindsey says, exasperated.

“I think you hurt her feelings,” Eliot says. “You should prob’ly apologize when she gets back.”

Lindsey’s jaw drops open. “You saw her poking me. You all saw her poking me,” he says, looking around the room at the rest of the crew. Witnesses to multiple injuries, all of them.

Hardison shrugs. “Eliot usually puts up with it. Besides, he’s the only one who can get away with saying that to her.”

“What? Why?” Lindsey exclaims, bewildered.

“Because he’s Eliot,” Sophie replies with an amused smile, “And you’re not. I’m afraid Parker can be a bit…touchy about some things.”

“Yeah,” giggles Eliot, “like Fake Me tellin’ her there’s something wrong with her. ‘Cause that’s a Me thing.”

Lindsey frowns. But it’s a Them thing. They say it to each other all the time with no dire consequences, and no fear of hurting each other’s feelings. “Am I still allowed to say it to you?” he grumbles, yet again feeling like he’s tumbled down Alice’s rabbit hole. “Because I really, really want to.”

“You say it all the time anyway,” Eliot replies with a snort. “Not like I can stop you.”

Having been given permission to say it, Lindsey says, “You know what? There is something seriously wrong with you, man. You let her poke at you like you’re some kinda science experiment? Huh? Seriously. Why do you put up with it?”

This prompts another snort from his seven-year-old twin brother. “Same reason I put up with you and all your bitchin’.”

Lindsey pauses, tilts his head, and blinks. Then, with a huge, (sarcastic,) sappy smile spreading on his face, he says, “Awwww, that’s sweet.”

Eliot freezes. “Shut up.”

Lindsey chuckles, fully ahead in the game (called Teasing Big [Little] Brother) now. “No seriously,” he insists, “that is really sweet. You lo- Ow, you little shit!” he cries, as Eliot prods a sore rib with a vicious finger.

Eliot sticks his tongue out at him. “Yeah, and why do you put up with me? That’s right. Now shut up and apologize.”

Lindsey wrinkles his nose. “She’s not even here.”

Eliot grins and sticks a cotton pad onto his brother’s arm. “Behind you,” he says without looking up to watch the result. He already knows.

Lindsey narrows his eyes and turns around. Parker, who is now standing directly behind him, gives him an awkward grin. “Don’t do that!” he grouses.

“Uh, sorry?” she says.

Lindsey sighs. “Yeah, me too. There is absolutely nothing the matter with you. You are as normal as apple pie.”

Parker stares into his innocent eyes, assessing, and wrinkles her nose. “That was sarcasm, wasn’t it?” she asks triumphantly, having finally figured it out.

“Yes, it was,” Eliot says, and slaps Lindsey’s sore elbow. “Apologize properly, Linny.”

Lindsey snatches his arm away from his abusive brother and glares at him. Then, arranging his face into a more amiable expression, he says, “Sorry, Parker. Here. You can poke my arm if you want to.”

He holds the appendage out as a metaphorical olive branch.

Parker looks at the proffered arm carefully, as if examining it for tricks. Satisfied, she puts her finger out cautiously and pokes lightly at an unbruised area. “Does that hurt?” she asks.

The corners of Lindsey’s eyes crinkle. “Yes,” he says, “Little bit.”

Parker nods and sits back. “Okay.”

Lindsey’s eyebrows rise. “Okay? No more pokes?”

She thinks seriously for a moment then says, “One more,” and gives his arm one final poke. Hard. “Okay. Done.”

She and Lindsey give each other small, slightly crooked smiles.

Eliot beams. “Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?” he says, and gives one of Lindsey’s multiple bandages a medium-strength punch.

Lindsey’s lips press into a hard line as his nostrils flare. For a moment, he looks like Eliot (as he used to be) right before he hit something. Predictably enough, Lindsey growls, “I’m gonna hit you. I swear, one of these days, I’m gonna hit you so hard, I feel it.”

“Yeah, sure,” Eliot says with a snort, “Ya gotta catch me first.”

And then he’s off, out of the room, down the hallway, and into his room, Lindsey not far behind him, wheezing a little from the bruised ribs. The door slams shut, then immediately bangs open again. Lindsey can be heard hollering obscenities in several languages (including one which Sophie can’t place).

She smiles. “I think he’s starting to settle in quite nicely, don’t you think?” she says conversationally to Nate and takes a sip of her tea.

He grunts in reply.

Overhead, a muffled shout comes from the ceiling, as cerulean blue smoke starts to pour out of the air vent.

“Alright, alright, I give,” Eliot whines, coughing, “Now lemme down! Linny!” After another long bout of hacking coughs, he knocks against the inside of the air duct and gasps weakly, “Parker. Help?”

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