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Softails and Subtleties

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So. This was completely Eliot’s fault.

Why he’d even wanted the damn bike in the first place was beyond him. Of course, he’d told Hardison and Parker why but it had boiled down to the same reasons he was still fixing up the car Nate thought was his (but didn’t have the guts to actually, you know, try and convince Eliot of that. Good luck with that Nate).

Hardison hadn’t really followed beyond the general “Dammit Hardison, I don’t say anything when you geek over your little toys-” which was a bald-faced lie, but whatever. And Parker had lost interest when Eliot had insisted on paying for the title from their clients at the end of the job.

So, here they were, Eliot handling the beat up old softail Harley as naturally as he did anything else out of left-field. (Because of course he was.) Parker was behind them, handling Lucille a lot less delicately, and damn near giving him a heart attack every time he looked back.

Which. Yeah. Looking back.

He was perched on the bike behind Eliot. Why? Good question.

He’d made some comment about never riding a motorcycle just before they left. Parker had been horrified (“But it’s so much fun ! A sedan can hit 140, wanna know how fast a motorcycle can hit?” No. No he did not). And then Eliot had apparently been determined that his first ride not be with Parker, who had already been planning on stealing one to show him just how fast they could go.

So, yeah.

Eliot’s fault.

Completely.

And it’s not that the ride was bad or anything - see: Eliot handling it like a dream - and they were going at a perfectly reasonable speed on a near deserted road. And maybe he was clinging a little tightly, all things considered. Pressed a little too close. In his defense, the bike definitely looked a lot bigger than it was. So, yeah, not a lot of room for two full grown men.

And he was only human. Eliot had commandeered a leather jacket from the back of Lucille (which. When did Eliot start stashing clothes in Lucille) and it wasn’t soft , but it was worn out to fit just right to Eliot’s solid, familiar frame, and Hardison couldn’t be blamed really if he was taking advantage of being expected to hold on.

It was completely innocent, alright? And it wasn’t like he was trying to distract the man or anything (he didn’t favor a crash, thank you). But Eliot barely did hugs - the nice, full body ones that Hardison, frankly, craved. He was an affectionate person okay? He was lucky Parker was in on the cuddling thing while they waited for Eliot to get there. Hell, he’s pretty sure Parker only got to her level of “using Eliot like a jungle gym” through sheer stubbornness and puppy eyes. He hadn’t quite mastered that yet.

(And everything between the three of them was way too new to be testing any kind of boundaries, alright? He may be oblivious sometimes, but like hell he was gonna steamroll that emotional wall just yet. Give it time.)

So. Completely innocent excuse to cling to Eliot for the half hour drive back to the brewpub. Possibly also an excuse to curl his taller frame into Eliot’s more compact one as best he could with the helmets in the way, to just enjoy the feel of warm leather over hard muscle pressed to his chest.

If he pressed a little closer, tightened his grip a bit on turns and the like, well. He’s pretty sure that’s what the idea was when riding second on these things anyway. (And yes, he knew what it was called. No, he wasn’t going to dignify that.) And Eliot didn’t seem to notice - he stayed as relaxed as he ever did, moved with that same coiled grace that made watching him walk off a fight an absolute necessity - he’d asked Parker about that once. She’d completely agreed. Sophie had just laughed at them

And now that Hardison knew he moved the same way with a half a ton of metal between his legs?

(...okay. Maybe it wasn’t completely innocent. Whatever.)

Point was. Eliot didn’t seem to notice anything wrong, or out of the ordinary, so Hardison couldn’t find it in himself to feel too bad about it, all things considered.

And if the thumbs up and bright grins he was getting from Parker every time he looked back at Lucille were anything to go by, she didn’t think he should feel bad either. Though he really wished she wouldn’t let go of the steering wheel to do that. Not that he thought she’d ever crash his baby - he knew how good she was behind the wheel. But, that was the logical part of his brain, not the part facing down the possibility of being clipped by a giant van on a significantly smaller motorcycle.

(And if he made a mental note to be a little more cautious around bikes when he was driving now that he knew what that view looked like? Well, he doubted anyone could complain.)

In his opinion, the ride was over way too quickly, with Eliot pulling around to park in the alley behind the brewpub - which meant he’d be taking it to one of their apartments around the city later. Parker disappeared to go attempt to find a parking spot for Lucille, honking the horn after them as she rounded the corner. He resigned himself to needing her to drive it back to their garage later - the woman had an amazing skill at parallel parking where no van that size should actually be able to fit, and therefore was the only one able to get the van back out.

Eliot pulled off his helmet, dragging his hand through his hair to attempt to get rid of whatever helmet-hair he probably thought he had (of course his hair was perfect, like normal. Hardison wasn’t sure he actually could have a bad hair day. Or maybe he was just biased. Who knew.) but when Hardison went to do the same, finally, reluctantly, pulling his arms away from Eliot, he found he couldn’t actually move - callused hands wrapped around his wrists keeping him in place.

“Uh… E?” he was still relaxed, so nothing was wrong at least. Eliot just shook his head, brushing a thumb over his wrist before letting go and slipping off the bike. Rather than stepping away though, he crowded up against Hardison’s side, reaching up to pull off the helmet himself.

“You know, you’re not nearly as subtle as you seem to think you are. Even without Parker forgetting about side-mirrors.” Like hell she forgot. That had probably been what she was smiling about, now that he was thinking about it.

Then again, why was he thinking about how his girlfriend definitely helped set him up (which he’d definitely have to thank her for later at least), when his boyfriend was smirking down at him, apparently just as happy with how the ride turned out as he was. So, he grinned, completely unrepentant (he could be embarrassed later. Maybe, anyway), twisting around enough to sit sideways in the seat, reaching up loop his arms around Eliot’s waist and pull him close. Eliot snorted, rolling his eyes and holding up the pretense of resisting for all of a second, his hands coming up to catch his shoulders. (He may not be to the cuddly point that Hardison and Parker were, but, he had his moments.)

“What makes you think I was trying to be subtle?”

“‘Cause you try too hard - and we could’ve fit Parker on the seat behind you with how close you were sitting.” Oh. Whoops.

“You don’t sound like you’re complaining.” Eliot just snorted, wrinkling his nose in that way that told Hardison he was embarrassed and wanted to look angry or something equally murderous instead. It hadn’t worked in years - but Hardison wasn’t going to be the one to tell him that. “In fact, if you knew, you sure you didn’t take the long way ba-” the chaste but firm kiss wasn’t exactly unexpected - Eliot had a very distinctive look when he was determined to get some quiet, and besides that one time when Hardison hadn’t been expecting it they’d all gotten pretty good at telegraphing movement. The joys of living with a bunch of paranoid yet touch-starved people, he supposed.

Since that had been what he’d been aiming for in the first place, he just let himself melt into the kiss with a soft laugh, pulling Eliot closer and just enjoying the familiar feeling of him, solid and warm against him, relaxed yet holding himself perfectly balanced to keep his weight off Hardison and the bike. He’d thought the leather jacket felt nice during the ride back, but now he could actually feel the heat of him through his thin t-shirt where the jacket was open at the front, and he decided he liked that much better. At some point one of Eliot’s hands had come up to curl around his jaw, holding him still and keeping him close, and all Hardison knew was he would be perfectly content to stay right here for the rest of the night, trading lazy, soft kisses, with no plans, no jobs, and nothing pressing until the next day. Maybe the day after.

Which, of course, is when both their phones buzzed in their pockets, blaring out the James Bond Theme (which Parker and Sophie found hysterical for some reason) within seconds of each other.

Breaking apart with a breathless laugh, Hardison was the one to actually pull out his phone since Eliot didn’t seem interested in letting go just yet. Sure enough, there was a text from Parker.

“She wants to know why we’d spend all night sucking face outside when we could do it inside where there’s a couch, a heater, and her.” Another ping and start to the theme song, “And popcorn.” Eliot snorted out a low, rough laugh, shaking his head.

“She makes a good point.” Eliot finally let go and stepped back, dragging his hands through his hair with a grin. “Well, let’s not keep her waiting.” He reached out, catching Hardison’s hand and pulling him up and off the bike. Not like Hardison was dragging his feet or anything - nice as staying right there sounded about two minutes ago, he had to admit, the idea of going inside and getting both his partners to enjoy a lazy night making out like teenagers sounded much better.