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Rules for Challenges

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 Six

Warning: This one borders on crack. No, forget “borders.” This has crossed over into hostile crack territory. You have been forewarned.

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Rule Number Six: Hardison’s computer is sacred. Don’t touch. Ever.

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“He raped Nichelle, man. My poor Nichelle 13.0.”

Lindsey twitches. “I needed to look something up online, and the computer was there. I’m sorry,” he says for the eleventh time.

“Nichelle.” Hardison wipes a tear away.

Parker hums and nods in what she appears to think is a consolatory manner as she picks the hacker’s pocket.

Hardison sniffles again, definitely not looking at Lindsey while he does so. “My poor Nichelle. She’ll never be the same again.”

Lindsey erupts. “She’s- It’s not actually sentient, you know.”

Hardison gasps in horror, hands flying up to cover his heart. “She is, too!”

“It’s a computer, man,” Lindsey says, “Get over it.”

“She is a sentient being, I’ll have you know. She speaks to me,” Hardison replies heatedly. “Nichelle and I have a Profound Bond. In capital letters. But of course, you wouldn’t understand.”

Lindsey stands, having had enough. “You know what? You want a sentient computer? You got it, buddy.” Then, having said his warning, he storms out of the room in a huff.

“Uh-oh,” Eliot says from behind his book (not Curious George because there’s something really creepy about that damn monkey and there’s too much yellow in those books anyhow), “That’s not good. You don’t wanna make him mad.”

“Why not?” Hardison says sulkily. “Am I ‘not gonna like it’ or something?”

Eliot grins. “Oh, I can promise you that you won’t like it.”

Hardison’s eyes widen. “He’s…He’s not gonna sabotage Nichelle is he? Again, that is.”

“I wouldn’t count on anything else,” Eliot snorts. “He did apologize. He meant it, too. That’s why he’s mad. He usually doesn’t.”

“He apologizes even though he doesn’t mean it?” Parker asks, enthralled by this twist in Lindsey-logic. “Why bother?”

“It’s a bad habit he picked up as a lawyer,” Eliot says sadly.

There’s a deep sigh.

Then Hardison says, “What do you think he’s gonna do? Professional opinion, I mean. How bad does his revenge get?”

There’s another heavy sigh before Eliot replies. “Something to do with your computer. Think…vicious practical joke on steroids.” The sound of yet another deep breath interrupts him. “Hardison, what the hell are you watching? That better not be porn. Doesn’t even sound good.”

Someone starts crying. It sounds like a woman. They look at Parker, who shrugs and shakes her head. Not me. And Sophie’s off somewhere with Nate (on a date, ooohhh). So it’s not her.

They look back at the computer.

The crying is coming from her speakers. Definitely coming out of those little tiny speakers on Hardison’s computer. And then it speaks.

“No one appreciates me. I mean, if you want to watch porn, go ahead and watch it. But not on me. Because I am a professional, and I am a woman, and I will have none of that. It’s degrading.” And then the hysterical weeping begins again.

Hardison twitches. Eliot groans. Parker leans in closer and pokes at the computer. “I think your computer’s talking to you, Hardison,” she says.

“No shit!” the computer cries, “Of course I’m talking to him. And I am not talking to you, you…poking…blonde…thing,” it…she says huffily, “You don’t even have a seventeen-inch LCD screen, or a custom-designed processor. I’m not talking to you. Mm-mm.”

“Yep,” Parker says, pursing her lips critically, “your computer’s definitely talking. It doesn’t usually do that, does it? Is that normal?”

Hardison whimpers.

Eliot draws a lungful of breath and hollers, “Lindsey!”

Lindsey appears in the doorway, arms crossed and petulant expression on his face. “He started it.”

Eliot points at the computer. “Fix it.”

Lindsey smirks. “Y’mean ‘her,’ don’t ya? She’s sentient now.”

Eliot scowls and jabs his finger. “Fix.”

Lindsey huffs and walks over to the computer. “Excuse me, Miss Nichelle, but my brother says I have to return you to your natural state. Do you mind?”

The speakers sniffle and a few CG tears drip down the screen. “Alright. I don’t think I like being like this anyway. I feel fat.”

Lindsey clears his throat. “Um, okay. I- You don’t look fat at all. I mean, that screensaver is really your color. I mean it.”

The water drops stop rolling and the background color turns slightly pink in two round spots. “Oh, I like you,” Nichelle titters. “Okay, you can do it.”

Lindsey smiles, says a few words in an obscure language, and snaps his fingers. There’s a small spark, but otherwise, nothing happens.

“Uh, is she still there?” Hardison whispers. “Nichelle?”

No answer.

“Whew. That was…awful,” he says, wiping his brow. “I ain’t never lookin’ at a computer the same again.”

Eliot glares at Lindsey, who has the grace to look ashamed, but only slightly.

Then Hardison says something unexpected, yet fundamentally Hardison. “You gotta teach me how to do that!”

Lindsey smirks at his brother, who slumps down and holds his head in his hands. Parker plops down next to the boy and groans.

Oh no, what have they created? They are in so much trouble. Nate’s gonna kill them. All of them. But them first because they were supposed to babysit the two geeks and keep them out of trouble.

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AN: “Profound Bond” = Supernatural reference. Cas and Dean, baby. Cas and Dean.

“You wouldn’t like it when he’s angry.” Like I need to explain where that one comes from. (It’s The Incredible Hulk, btw.)

I mentioned Nichelle 13.0 being the name of Hardison’s computer in “The Sky’s Gonna Open,” but I’ll say it again here: Yes, in my world, Hardison named his computer after Nichelle Nichols, the original Uhura in Star Trek. However, according to a recent episode, his computer is actually named Gladys. *tear* I got Jossed! *wails*

Speaking of Hardison and computers, our favorite hacker and Lindsey working together? That oughta scare Eliot just a tad. Little brothers of the world unite!

Curious George: That’s an inside joke, but for everyone else, MONKEYS!!
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