"It was raining," Eliot snapped, after the second time Sophie lost her train of thought and had to hold up a hand to keep his hair out of her line of vision. "I can't control the weather."
"Neither can I," she shot back, "but I can keep my hair from looking like that." She dug through her purse and held out a hair band. "Please. I can't concentrate."
He swept his hair back and tied it, turning his glare from Sophie to Hardison, who didn't quite manage to wipe the smirk from his face in time. "You wanna say something?"
Hardison held up his hands. "Hey, man. Natural is beautiful." He cleared his throat delicately. "But what's up with this business?" He brushed one hand across his own forehead. "Because seriously."
Eliot crossed his arms and muttered something about equipment failure.
Nate heaved a long-suffering sigh. "Can we please get back to - "
"I like it," Parker announced from where she had appeared behind Eliot. She was bent at the waist and had her nose buried in Eliot's ponytail. Everyone jumped save Eliot, who went very still and took a long, deep breath before growling, "Don't do that, Parker. We talked about this."
"Like I'd be scared of someone as fluffy as a bunny," Parker scoffed in a muffled voice.
Sophie hid a smile behind her hand. Hardison and Nate very carefully didn't look at each other. Eliot ground his teeth together. "I. Am not. Fluffy like a bunny."
Parker lifted her head and spoke clearly. "Not a bunny. Fluffy like Bunny." The capital B was somehow obvious in her pronunciation. She dropped her face back into his hair with something that sounded suspiciously like a coo.
Hardison, at the ready with four or five different quips, opened his mouth then snapped it shut again. Nate ducked his head, smiling, and Sophie was wearing her proud mama face. Eliot issued a challenging glare around the table, the impact of which was somewhat lessened by the pleased, bashful smile he couldn't quite hide. He held up a warning finger at Hardison in particular, who only grinned and drew hearts in the air. Adorable, he mouthed, secure in his conviction Eliot wasn't going to come across the table at him at that particular moment.
Finally Nate cleared his throat and brought up the first screen. "Okay. Parker, just listen along. No, Eliot, you're not going to be able to kill Hardison with your brain, so pay attention. And Sophie - " he held up one hand as he realized she was eyeing his own hair with an increasingly dismayed expression - "please, not a word."