Nate finally found Parker curled up underneath her bed in the third warehouse on his list.
It turned out Parker already had seven different warehouses scattered across Portland, all laid out in exactly the same way. The only sign number 3 was the correct one was that this one had Bunny, sat in the middle of the bed with his front paws laced loosely around his rear paws.
All he could see in the darkness underneath the bed was a mass of blonde hair, and the shake of a small body.
Nate crouched down on the floor and sat with his back against her bedside cabinet. He chose the side furthest away from the door and sat with his legs crossed. The team knew he was starting to get on in years. If Parker wanted to run away, there was no chance Nate would catch her.
He waited until she was ready to speak.
It took her about half an hour, but she eventually uncurled herself, and curled up onto the bed with an oddly elegant shoulder stand, twisting her body so she landed to sit cross-legged. She pulled Bunny into her body, and buried her face in the side of Bunny's neck.
"Parker," Nate said, slowly, giving her plenty of time to speak up, "do you want to tell me anything?"
She lifted her head a little. Nate could only see a glimpse of red, swollen blue eyes, looking at him warily. When she did speak, her voice was quiet. "I can't."
She twitched like she was surprised.
"Don't speak," Nate said. He looked at her, trying his best to show her he was serious. "We need to talk about what happened at the job."
Parker visibly swallowed, and her shoulders hunched. She was tensing, ready to flee. Nate didn't look away.
"The safe was tough. We knew it was tough going in."
"I thought I could handle it," Parker said, visibly flashbacking in her mind to the event , and the safe that had been too big, too complicated, and the spread of blue fire that had covered the door moments before it cracked open, seemingly on its own, "I-" Her eyes widened. She was shaking.
"You should have left it alone." Nate got to his feet then, slow and measured, pushing up from the floor. He looked away as he straightened his coat, and then he looked down at her, his face inscrutable. "If this happens again... Parker, I don't know how long I can keep the Bureau away from you."
The gasp in Parker's throat was barely audible, but her body language was unmistakeable. Her back straightened, and her body was immediately all angles, all alert. "You know," she breathed.
Nate looked away. His face was still inscrutable. But he lifted his hand, narrowed his eyes, and a blue flame sparkled in the centre of his palm for a second before turning purple and disappearing. When he looked down again, Parker had put Bunny to one side, and her frown hadn't gone, but she was looking... happier.
"Please keep your magic secret, Parker." Nate put his hands into his pocket and stared at the door, like he was expecting the Bureau to break through at any moment, waving their anti-magic weapons and shouting about all the laws the Government kept secret to try and stamp out magic and its users. "I mean it. Even if I'm dying."
Parker flinched. That had been her fear, and they all knew it. That had been why she even used her magic to open the safe with the information in. To keep Nate safe.
"I mean it, Parker," Nate said, in that hard voice. His tone relented. "I won't lose you."
There was so much honesty and vulnerability in his voice at that. It could almost break Parker's heart, and it was a hypothetical situation that hadn't happened yet. That would never happen, if she had her way. She would never sit back and let him die. But he was asking for something, and Parker could give him what she could. "I promise."
Her words seemed to satisfy Nate. "C'mon, Eliot's cooking. He'll be annoyed if we're late."
Parker uncrossed her fingers, hopped off her bed and followed him, like she always would. For as long as he let her, and after that. And when the time came when Parker had to use her magic to save his life, he'd be annoyed at her. But he'd be alive, and that's all Parker needed in life.