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When Eliot walks out of the next killbox, a shitstorm of bullets and stupid thugs and bodybags, Parker and Hardison are right behind him. He expects he'll keep on walking.

Instead, they slip into the shower with him, washing off gunshot residue like it's the marinara sauce that he wears when Hardison conducts invisible symphonies on spaghetti night or the flour in his hair when Parker turns on the beaters before lowering them into the cookie dough.

*

Hardison takes Eliot and Parker home for Christmas. After her surgery, Nana shouldn't be on her feet cooking for hours, and there's no way she can get up on a ladder to string the lights.

Neither of them blink when Nana calls him by a different name.

*

When Parker is ten, she makes herself a promise, swearing on a stack of monopoly money and practicing until she can pocket Julie's ring without the other girl crying to her parents.

When Parker is thirty-three, she leaves Eliot a post-it with vault coordinates on his kitchen knives and Hardison a post-it with a combination on his laptop screen. A week later they find her in Rome; Eliot's wallet is full, and Hardison is wearing a blue plastic ring just past the first knuckle of his pinky finger.