Cover by dapatty
Eliot sat on the edge of the brook beside Hardison, after shaking his fur out, and let the idea of working with May, working with S.H.I.E.L.D. of all things, circle through his brain. He didn’t mean to think about it. Wolf time usually best spent for clearing his mind and maybe chase a squirrel or two. But he couldn’t just shake the thought that they should. Perhaps it was a mistake, working with a mostly secret not completely above board no longer connected to the government agency, but he couldn't see a better choice.
Not when it felt like the right thing to do. Not when he knew his pack could handle it.
Hardison pulled a book out of his bag, running his fingers over the cover. Sophie had sent it with a note saying that Hardison should read more books, in this case a book of poetry by T.S. Eliot. The book had been well-loved by her, Eliot could smell her perfume on it and tea where she’d spilled a few drops on the pages. It fell open to a much-read passage, and Hardison tried to immerse himself in the familiar words.
Eliot sighed as Parker sat down on his other side and proceeded to scratch behind his ears.
“You’re thinking about it,” she said.
“Of course he’s thinking about it,” Hardison said, eyes still on the book. “I can hear the wheels turning from here.”
What-ifs kept running through Eliot’s mind. What if Parker was right, and taking up with S.H.I.E.L.D was the right thing to do? He’d always respected Melinda. If she was still willing to stay there and work on putting things right, maybe it wouldn’t be so terrible if they did to.
It’s not like they had a job lined up right now. They’ve made a lot of progress with that list. Working against international baddies might be a nice change of pace. But it could be deadly. That world, those dangers. So much more could go wrong. So many more variables and scenarios where he could loose them, where they could lose him. What if staying here in Portland instead of taking up with S.H.I.E.L.D. was the best option, the safest option? But there could still be dire consequences like Hardison accidentally blowing the microbrew pub up because of some new beer he was making.
Okay, that was far fetched. Hardison was much better these days and a far more predictable beer maker. Eliot even trusted Hardison alone in his kitchen. But really, it came down to what if they just let themselves be comfortable? What if they just stayed and left the big world saving stuff for other people? He liked how safe he felt in their den, how protected they were.
Maybe that was selfish. They had a very specific set of skills. They were unstoppable. Together they could do anything, least of all take on Hydra.
Eliot made a noise that was part whine, part growl.
Hardison closed the volume and turned his eyes on Eliot. He lifted an eyebrow, waiting.
No, Eliot decided, contacting Melinda was the best thing to do and they were going to do it. Helping people was what they did and just ignoring the problems that S.H.I.E.L.D. was dealing with didn’t mean that those problems wouldn’t end up theirs regardless. Hiding and running the same jobs they’d run wouldn’t help anything. That’s not who they were.
“I take I’ll be getting in contact with a certain badass lady about a job offer,” Hardison said. He phrased it like a question, though it really wasn’t. Seemed like Hardison and Parker was just waiting for Eliot to get his act together on this.
Eliot nodded. Hardison tucked the book back in his bag and stood up reaching a hand out to pull Parker up. It was time. He stretched and stood, giving his fur a shake, falling into step between them.
“You should make something simple for dinner,” Parker said. “Like filet mignon. Y’know? Celebrate doing something new and dangerous.”
“Girl, you know filet mignon is totally too easy for him. He’ll just grumble about it the whole time, especially if we asked for baked potato on the side,” Hardison smirked.
Eliot growled. He was totally going to rant about how there was nothing wrong with an elegantly prepared, perfectly cooked filet and that Hardison would eat it and like it and nothing was beneath him. Eliot satisfied himself by nipping at Hardison’s calf.
“Hey there, easy with the woah-pointy teeth!” Hardison grumbled.
Parker patted Eliot on the head, grinning.
Yeah, saving the world would be a piece of cake. Hell, he might even bake a cake later to go with the steak.