“You and Eliot should move in together.” Alec barely managed not to shriek as he was rudely introduced to the fact that he wasn't alone. The statement came out of nowhere, literally nowhere. He knew it was Parker, but he couldn't see where she was in his apartment.
Peering into the dark space around his computer Alec tried to spot where she was, “Parker? What are you doing here?” He was relatively sure she hadn't said she was coming over.
“Things would be easier if you and Eliot lived together,” Parker said as she dropped down next to him from the ceiling; causing what he hoped was a manly yelp and not a girly scream to find its way out of his throat.
“What?” Not for the first time Alec wished there was a way to get notes for Parker's side of a conversation before they had one. Anything else he was going to say was cut off as the sounds of his character being brutally slaughtered in game came over the speakers. Gesturing towards the kitchen, he told her, “You wait right there and let me deal with this.”
Ten minutes later, he finds her pouring all of his cereal into a mixing bowl he didn't know he had. “Why do you want me and Eliot to live together?”
She looks up briefly before tossing the last box to the side, “Why doesn't cereal come with prizes anymore?” Alec makes sure he doesn't smile, even if he's often wondered the same thing, and she sighs before grabbing a handful of her cereal mix and answering between mouthfuls. “It'd be easier. Instead of needing to call and see if people are free or debating who's place to go to we'd all just be there. Easier.”
Somehow, it only strikes him then that this is a relationship conversation. This is Parker wanting to take the casual something-or-another that they have between the three of them and make it much less casual. His only excuse for what he says next is that he had been playing World of Warcraft for four hours straight and hadn't eaten anything containing vitamins in close to eight, “It would never work, Eliot's a morning person and doesn't respect my equipment.”
The smile drops off of Parker's face and she's gone before he can apologize for being a stupid, stupid person. Instead, he finds enough tupperware containers to store all the cereal and tries to go back to WoW.
Walking into his apartment, Eliot finds Parker sitting on the kitchen counter eating his grapes, “I think you and Hardison should move in together.”
There's something false about the smile she gives him so instead of saying anything he quietly puts away his groceries and makes her a sandwich to go with the grapes. He waits until she's done eating before asking, “What do you mean?”
“I mean you two should live together,” she says it like it's the most obvious thing in the world. “It would make things easier and you could make dinner for us. You like to cook.”
He doesn't say anything at first; instead just taking in the idea that Parker doesn't want Hardison and him to live together, she wants Hardison, him, and her to live together. Only she can't ask for that and he's honestly not sure he can offer it. It's been a long time since he's lived with anyone, let alone someone he cared about. Or two someones for that matter. He's not sure he could. It's been hard enough letting them inside as much as he has, living together would pry open his carefully barred doors. “I-, Parker, the thing is it just wouldn't work. Hardison would fill my fridge with crap and cover everything with stuff I'm not allowed to touch.”
It's the wrong thing to say. He knows it the minute it leaves his mouth, but he can't take it back. Instead of saying anything to him, she jumps off the counter and hugs him before leaving.
The thing is they don't talk about it after that. From a stilted interaction he witnesses between Parker and Hardison, he can only assume she had a similar conversation with him and now everything is weird. Nate is giving them room, but he's sure that will only last until the next job.
Sophie eventually corners her in the backroom of the bar, “What's going on?”
“What?” Parker does her best to look startled and confused and not at all like she was hiding from anybody, let alone Eliot and Hardison. She's not sure she's pulling it off. “There's nothing wrong. I'm just stealing some pencils.” Which she does, taking them off the desk to prove her point. Until Sophie looks at her and she puts them back because stealing, even just pencils, from the bar is wrong.
“Come now Parker, talk to me.” Sophie closes the door to the bar and sits down in one of the chairs, “What's going on between you three?”
She wants to be upset that Sophie knows about them, but she can't be because it's Sophie. But she doesn't want to tell her how she screwed everything up. Except at the same time she does and in a burst she finds herself explaining everything while pacing back and forth across the room, “I thought we could be more, instead of just sometimes, it could be always, but I messed it up and now everything is weird. I wanted everyone to live together and now no one is talking and what do I do?”
The last bit comes out close to a wail and Sophie is hugging her before she even finishes talking. “Tell me exactly what happened and then we'll figure out how to fix this. Men are quite often very stupid when it comes to commitment. Two men all the more so.”
Talking to Sophie always makes things better and once she starts, Parker isn't sure why she resisted it for so long. They sit down and Parker tells her everything that happened, and if it looks like Sophie wants to laugh once or twice, she doesn't. At the end Sophie takes a moment to think, “The only real objection either of them came up with was that they wouldn't live well together.”
“Yeah,” Parker doesn't know how they can fix that though.
Only Sophie smiles and Parker just knows she's figured out how to fix it. “It's simple really.”
It's not as simple as Sophie made it sound, but within a week she's found the perfect place. It's not an apartment so much a floor of a building. There's more than enough space for everyone (even Parker because Sophie had said that was essential) to have their own 'apartment' and still have a number of common areas. It's big enough for three people unused to sharing to share.
The best part was when she showed it to Hardison and Eliot.
“I'm gonna need to do some massive updating on the electrical systems here.”
“I'll need to build a new greenhouse on the roof.”
Which is the same thing as saying that they loved it and Parker doesn't even bother trying to stop herself from charging over to them for a group hug.