Chapter 1: Peggy Millbank
“Welcome to Leverage International.”
Alec Hardison gives me a big grin and an arm sweep that presents the apartment to me. It’s an amazing place. Everything about what Alice, sorry, Parker does is amazing. I really believed she was just an average girl like me when we met on jury duty six years ago, but now I know the truth - she’s a spy! I only learnt her real name recently, apparently, I have security clearance now, and it’s so exciting! She and her boyfriend Alec and their friend Eliot Spencer are a team, and whilst I don’t know exactly what they do on all their special missions and everything, I know they’re very talented and just the best people. They saved my life once, and introduced me to a man that broke my heart... but that’s not important right now.
“This place is wonderful!” I tell them as I’m led around the office.
Parker is eager to show me everything, but Eliot doesn’t seem happy to have visitors.
“It’s fine. He growls a lot but he’s a teddy bear,” Parker tells me, sticking out her tongue at the tough guy.
“A teddy bear?” I echo. “Hmm, I wouldn’t mind taking him to bed with me,” I admit, laughing too loud the very next second.
I don’t know why I said it. I’m really not the type to leap into bed with men, but Eliot is built like something from a naughty firemen calendar. Wow. I try to pay attention as Parker shows me the rest of the place, the big screens and computer equipment which Alec gushes over, and then her own area where she keeps lock picks and harnesses for jumping from buildings. I can’t imagine living her life. It’s so glamorous and exciting.
“I wish I was as brave as you are.”
She scoffs at my comment. “I’m not brave. I’m just not scared of anything,” she tells me, completely dead-pan.
Parker does make jokes, but sometimes I’m not sure she means to. She has kind of a wacky sense of humour, but she’s the nicest person in the world.
After the tour, she takes me to the kitchen and we hunt down snacks. Eliot makes the best food, apparently, and keeps the cupboards stocked with airtight boxes of healthier, home-made treats so that Parker and Alec won’t fill up on what he calls ‘empty calories’. I think that’s very sensible, but quite honestly, it’s all a little domestic for my taste. I have to admit, I was kind of hoping for an adventure when I showed up here today. Seems I’m not going to get one.
“Wow, these are incredible,” I declare, taking another big bite from the most amazing cookie.
“Yup,” Parker agrees, hopping up to sit on the counter while she stuffs practically a whole cookie into her mouth. “And you can eat a dozen and never get fat. Actually, I can eat a whole box and never gain weight. Eliot says it’s a miracle.”
“I said it’s disgusting,” he says as he wanders by, gently shoving Parker until she gets back down from the counter. “Don’t sit on my worktops,” he reminds her, in a voice that says he already told her that a hundred times.
The moment he’s out of sight, she hops back up there. With her encouragement, I join her.
“I know we’re the good guys now,” says Parker, spitting crumbs everywhere, “but sometimes it’s fun to be the bad guys in small ways.”
“Wait a second,” I check, shaking my head, “you were the bad guys?”
Before she has a chance to answer my question, we’re distracted by a new arrival.
“Oh, my goodness! You are just precious!” I tell the most beautiful kitten I have ever seen. “Oh, sweetheart, look at you!”
I have the kitten in my lap by now, stroking her as she rubs against me and purrs contentedly. It’s now I notice she only has one ear and is missing the very end of her tail too.
“She was a stray,” Parker explains when I look curiously at the kitten. “Bad things happened to her before.”
Something in her eyes tells me that she’s not just talking about a cat right now. Parker never talks about her childhood, nothing before she joined her spy team, as far as I recall. I can understand why she sympathises with...
“Miss Kitty Fantastico?” I read from the tag on her collar.
“Hardison named her,” replies a chorus of three voices.
I turn to see where that other male voice is coming from and swallow hard at the sight of the man walking over to us.
“Dumb name aside, I gotta love the little fuzzball,” says the gorgeous hunk of manliness as he strokes the kitten who is still curled up in my lap. “She did save my life once.”
I did mean to answer him, to say anything, but I’m dumbstruck by the sight of him. I thought Eliot was good-looking, and he is, obviously, but this guy? Oh, boy!
I’m not aware that I’m talking, but I must be, and pretty incoherently too, since the stranger asks Parker if something is wrong with me.
“There’s nothing wrong. She’s just Peggy,” I hear her say. “Peggy Millbank, this is Quinn” she tells me then. “He’s kind of on our team now.”
“Kind of?” he echoes, both eyebrows raised. “Way to make a person feel like part of the family, Parker.”
I don’t hear her answer but I’d lay money she rolled her eyes. Not that I saw anything, I can’t look at anything but him, this Greek god of a man, this Quinn.
“You’re beautiful,” I tell him without thinking, hand clamping over my mouth the second I realise what I did. “I mean, you’re new,” I told him then, laughing nervously. “To the team, you’re a new spy.”
“Sure, I’m a new... spy,” he agrees, tipping me a wink.
I feel like a teenager when he smiles at me. This is insane. I came here to see Parker and maybe to see if I can help out on their next mission, if the team would let me. Now I’ve forgotten my own name, until he tells me what it is.
“You don’t meet a lot of Peggys these days, but then, I guess we’re all a little oddly named around here.”
“How did you..? Um, when...?” I stumble over two attempts at a question, before finally clearing my throat and spitting out the right words. “How’d you come to be here?”
“I started working with the team a few months ago, fighting the good fight,” he says, shrugging his shoulders. “One night, I stayed over, and kind of forgot to leave.”
He’s not looking at me anymore, which is a shame, and when I turn to see who his eyes are trained on now, I notice Eliot staring back before quickly glancing away like he’s been caught doing something he shouldn’t. Oh, so it’s like that.
Chapter 2: Martin Riggs
“Welcome to Leverage International.”
It’s a long time since I’ve seen my brother, and I sure didn’t expect to find him in a place like this when I did see him again. It’s a fancy, swanky type of an office on top of a brew pub up in Portland, Oregon. Not the kind of place you expect to find a man that used to be a criminal, but I’m happy to say, Jonah’s back to batting for the good guys again now, though he’s still using that other name.
“So, you’re Quinn’s brother?” asks the pretty blonde that comes bounding over to us the second we clear the door.
“Yes, ma’am,” I tell her, wondering just how close she’s going to get as she stares first at me then at him, then repeats the process. I’m about to ask her when she makes an unimpressed sound and shrugs her shoulders.
“I thought you said you were identical,” she says to Jonah. “Not even close.”
The next second she’s gone and I barely see the going of her.
“You have to excuse Parker,” Jonah tells me. “She’s... an acquired taste.”
“She’s... She’s Parker?” I check. “Like best thief in the world? That Parker?”
“That’s my girl,” says a voice from behind a computer. “Hey, man,” says its owner, throwing up a wave.
“Hey,” I reply in kind, looking to Jonah for some kind of explanation.
“Alec Hardison. Hacker,” he explains.
I nod along, but the name means nothing to me. Hackers have their uses when they’re on the right side of the law, but I’m not into all that technical stuff. Hand me a gun and point me at the bad guy, that’s more my style. Works for a soldier or for a cop. Of course, this place is probably the last place you’d expect to find a man of the law on any normal day.
“So, this is the famous Martin Riggs.”
The guy that walks out stating my name isn’t so much a stranger, though he doesn’t seem aware of the fact we met before. Eliot Spencer is known by his name and his reputation, by people on both sides of the line. Not many have fought him and come out alive unless he needed for them to live. I’ll admit, when I was on the receiving end of his particular brand of skills, he was pulling for the good guys, but I did walk away... eventually.
“You never told him?” I checked with Jonah.
He shifts awkwardly in place, wearing that look I recall from the old days, when our momma was trying to figure which of our hides to tan for stealing cookies before dinner or something.
“Told me what?” asks Eliot, standing in front of us now, all puffed-up and manly with his arms folded over his chest.
It’s impossible not to grin when I let slip the truth.
“Er, you and me, we met before,” I tell him. “Funny story actually, we got into a hell of a fight, man.”
Eliot looks from me to Jonah and he doesn’t look too happy. I’m not exactly quaking in my boots. I’ve been here before with this guy, and this time, we’re technically on the same team, or close to it.
“When Sterling wanted to hire me for that job a few years back,” says Jonah, rubbing the back of his neck, “I wasn’t exactly able-bodied at the time.”
“So, he tagged in a sub,” I finish for him, one hand raised like a volunteer. “Yes, sir. You fought me in that hangar. I’m the one who owed you for the dental work,” I explain.
His brain’s working out how he missed that, I can see it all over his face. Slowly, he puts it together, how the truth I’m telling him makes sense of some things he couldn’t quite figure out before. I’m not sure whether I expect a punch in the gut or a compliment for the con we pulled. It’s almost more of a surprise when he offers me his hand to shake.
“So, we’re buddies now, right?”
Eliot doesn’t answer me, just shakes my hand as a slow smile spreads across his lips, and then he walks away.
“Friendly,” I mutter, wiping my hand on my jeans just in case.
“He’s not really the sociable type,” says Jonah with a smirk, “but then, neither were you last I heard.”
We haven’t talked much in the last ten years or more. Since he turned to the dark side, for lack of a better phrase, I didn’t want to deal with him. It’s tough with brothers though. You can say that you’re done each and every time, that this is the last favour, the last conversation. Doesn’t work. Brothers are never done.
“So, for the first time in living memory, you called me,” Jonah reminds me, gesturing for me to join him on the couch. “What’s up?”
“Well, there’s a situation I could use some help with, and apparently, that’s what you guys do now,” I tell him. “Me and Murtaugh, our hands are tied by the law, but you...”
“We don’t have that problem,” says Parker, appearing as if from nowhere on my arm of the couch, smiling like it’s going out of style. “How can we help?”
Chapter 3: Mikel Dayan
“Welcome to Leverage International.”
I never saw the place before. In Boston, I saw the bar but never the apartment. This one is bigger, so they tell me, but I’m not easily impressed. Computer screens are only of use to hackers, and rich furnishings are only impressive for a short while. There are more important things in life.
We always met elsewhere before. It seemed safer. Even then, it was usually just Eliot, sometimes Parker. Hardison avoids me. Eliot says it is because I make him nervous. I don’t mind. Making men nervous is fun, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s your sexuality or the violence inside that makes them quake. Eliot is one of the few men I’ve met who is not at all intimidated by me. It’s refreshing and is why I like him so much. Perhaps, sometimes too much, but it is not something I am willing to say.
“Must be a pretty big deal for you to come here,” he says, taking me through to another room.
It is set up like a gym, probably the place he spends most time in, and alone. I understand his need to get away from his team much more than I understand the need to have such friends. That is not to say that I don’t know what it is to love family.
“Unlikely as it sounds, I need help. That is what you do, right?”
I give him a look that has driven many a man crazy. To Eliot, it doesn’t mean much. He watches me walk around his room with his arms folded and an appraising look in his eyes. He wonders if I’m playing him and I cannot blame him. We’ve played for the same team before, and also on opposite sides. He never quite knows where he stands with me, nor I with him. It keeps life interesting.
“Of all the people in the world, I never thought I’d hear you ask for help.”
I laugh at that, I cannot help it. It is mostly because I agree with him.
“כל אחד זקוק לעזרה לפעמים. You know this”
He nods his head. Of course, he understands. Even the great Eliot Spencer needed help once. It was how he came to be here with these people. It is why he stays.
“It is my brother, Itai,” I tell him, eyes averted because it is easier. “He is missing. I have a lead on the where and how, but to find him, it will mean danger. Even I am not sure how I will come out of this. I might need some assistance to brush up certain skills,” I tell him, hand on his shoulder, foot sliding between his legs as I go for the takedown.
He anticipates. I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t. We fight, a perfect dance of movement. We have no wish to cause real harm, though any pain inflicted will not bother either of us much. I believe the phrase they use is ‘comfortably numb’. It suits people like us. It has to. If I can keep up with Eliot Spencer in a fight, then I know I will survive my next mission. Getting into an underground street fighting ring can’t be so hard, and I will do anything to save my brother.
I have Eliot pinned to the mat for a moment, sure I will be under him in much the same way any second. I do not object to this, actually, but then the door opens unexpectedly. I look up as another man peers in at us.
“Oh, sorry. My bad,” he says, backing up a step.
“לַחֲכוֹת!” I call and he comes back, though I’m not sure he understood the word. “Who is this?” I ask Eliot.
“Mikel Dayan, this is Quinn. Quinn, Mikel Dayan.”
“A pleasure,” he says, coming over to shake my hand.
“זה יכול להיות,” I reply - he looks confused.
“She said ‘it could be’,” Eliot explains with a look I remember well.
“Pleasure can be for three,” I say in English, not just because I take pity on the new man, but also to make sure my meaning is very clear for Eliot.
I see he understands, and yet he looks regretful.
“You know how it is with me now,” he says, eyes going to the door.
Out there, I vaguely hear Parker and Hardison’s yelling and laughter. Some think they are his new family. I suspect something else, but it is not my place to say. Still, I do not believe in breaking commitments of any kind if it can be helped. They say a man’s word is his bond, and that is certainly true of Eliot. In my case, it is true for a woman as well.
Shaking my head, I return to reality. I came here for a purpose, and though I am glad to be distracted from it a while, it is too important to push aside for long.
“You will help me with my mission, yes?” I check.
Eliot nods his head, and I see Quinn smile.
“Ma’am,” he says, “that’s what we do.”
Chapter 4: Jacob Stone
“Welcome to Leverage International.”
I wasn’t exactly expecting to be overwhelmed. When you’ve seen the things I’ve seen these past three years, a bar is just a bar and an office is just an office. There is no magic here, that’s kind of the point. Well, there wasn’t until I walked in, I guess. That thought sends a shiver through me, and of course Eliot notices. This guy notices everything.
“I made the team stay in the bar for reason, Jake,” he tells me, leading me to the kitchen area. “I’m guessing you’re here ‘cause of that tat on your arm. That’s nothing you got on a drunk night out downtown,” he says with a knowing look.
“You’re not wrong.”
I sigh when I say it, head in my hands as I sit down by the counter. When I came here, I had good reasons, and meeting the rest of my cousin’s team wasn’t one of them. Not that Parker and Hardison, and even Quinn, didn’t seem like decent enough people, for thieves-turned-good guys, but it was Eliot I needed to see. He was probably the only one who could help me get my head straight right now.
“So,” said Eliot, pushing a shot glass across the ‘bar’ and watching me catch it like second nature. “How long you been mixed up in magic?”
I gulp down the whiskey without looking up. This is tough to explain. I knew it would be, but knowing doesn’t help at all.
“Too long,” I tell him, pushing the glass back for a refill. “You remember when we talked last? When I... I told you I started working in a library?”
Eliot’s eyes narrow just a little bit and I know that he knows. The thing about my cousin is he gets under-estimated. The guy is built like Michelangelo’s David, and has a punch like a freight train. People assume he’s dumb as anything, the meat-head type. They couldn’t be more wrong. Eliot Spencer is one of the smartest men you’ll ever meet, not with the IQ I have, but still, much smarter than he seems. It suits him to let the world believe otherwise.
“You work for The Library,” he says, pushing my glass back to me, “but you’re not The Librarian.”
“I’m a Librarian,” I explain. “I know, there are rules, but we’re breaking them. Each and every one, or it seems like it sometimes. Officially, Flynn Carsen still has the title, but there are three more of us now, plus a Guardian. We’re a team.”
The slightest smile curves Eliot’s lips at the word ‘team’. We were both the lone wolf type in a lot of ways, so it must be as strange for him to imagine me in a group as it is for me to see him here with folks depending on him like family, or maybe not exactly family. I’m not clear on that part. I’m also not asking.
“So, you’re a Librarian,” he says, nodding once, drinking from his own glass at last. “You already have a Guardian. What do you need me for?”
“Confirmation,” I tell him. “Reassurance?” I try instead. “I just... I can’t help thinking about what happened... to Lindsey.”
We’re not supposed to talk about him. It’s been an unwritten rule for a lot of years now, long before the death of Eliot’s twin brother and the fall of Wolfram & Hart’s LA office, however briefly. I’m not exactly thrilled to be the one to bring him up, but I have no choice.
“He thought he could handle it,” I press on, knowing I just need to get all of this out, I can’t stop, even as I watch Eliot pour himself another shot and gulp it down fast. “He thought he could live in that world, sail close to the line but never cross it,” I remind him, drawing that line on the counter top with my hand.
“He was wrong,” Eliot says simply, “but he’s not you, Jake.”
When he meets my eyes, it should help. Seeing that faith in me that he’s always had. I was always the good guy. Sure, there were bar fights and a string of women and a few drunken nights I don’t remember, but Eliot and Lindsey pulled for the bad guys in their time, I never did. The idea of it scared me half to death.
“Suddenly Baird’s teaching me to fight and... and I got this thing on me,” I say, giving him a closer look at my tattoo. “I wanna be okay with it. I wanna think I can handle it.”
“Hey,” says Eliot, his hand closing around my wrist as he leans toward me and gets as serious as I’ve ever seen him in my life. “You are not Lindsey, and you sure as hell ain’t me. Jacob, you’re the one good person in this whole mess of a family that we come from. If anyone can handle this, I know you can.”
I nod because I believe him, because I can’t imagine ever doubting the guy. He never lied to me, always came through for me in a pinch. Eliot had been a bad guy a long time, but in a lot of ways, to me, he’s the best guy. I never had a brother, but my cousin is better than any I could’ve wished for, I’m sure on that.
“So, your Guardian’s been teaching you to fight?” he asks then, a smirk on his lips that I know too well.
“Her and the Monkey King,” I admit with a shrug.
“The tattoo,” he says, nodding his head. “The staff of Shangri La.”
It still amazes me how much he knows but will never explain. I don’t ask. With Eliot, you just don’t.
“How good are you?” he asks, pouring us each one more shot.
“Good enough” I tell him, returning that smirk that he does so well, even though I know it doesn’t sit quite as good on me, no matter how similar we look.
“We’ll see.” Eliot nods, holding up his glass.
“To absent friends,” I say on purpose, wondering if it was the wrong thing the second the words are out of my mouth.
Eliot only nods his head as our glasses clink together, and then we drink, one more time. I’m gonna leave here with bruises on more than my ego, I just know it, but I can’t be sorry I came. It was the right decision to make this visit.
Chapter 5: Sophie Devereaux (and Nathan Ford)
“Welcome to Leverage International.”
“Hardison, really,” I say, rolling my eyes. “We used to work here too. You do remember? It wasn’t all that long ago.”
“Hey, this place changed, woman,” he tells me, proud as punch, cocky as ever. “We International now.”
“It may have changed, but you haven’t.”
“C’mon, Sophie,” says Nate, smiling too much given the situation. “Would you want him to change? Really? You spent the whole trip here reminiscing about how things used to be,” he reminds me.
“Maybe so,” I reply with a slow smile, deliberately saying no more about it.
Hardison gives us the full tour, all the new facilities and technological advancements in the place. They’ve really made it a home as well as an amazing base if operations. I’m impressed and I can see Nate is too, though he fails to say so, leading me to feel I ought to make a point of it. We may not be the parents that Hardison, and even sometimes Parker, would make us, and I still deny being old enough on both counts, but it is difficult not to think of them as children that need praise, and guidance, and so forth, sometimes.
Of course, the moment I open my mouth to tell Hardison how well he has done, I’m distracted. A door opens and out walks a fine specimen of a man in nothing more than a towel. Believe me, I’ve seen Eliot in a similar lack of attire, and he is a sight to behold, but never mine to drool over. This particular man catches my eye more than is seemly with my husband standing by, but what’s a girl to do?
“You really have made changes,” I say, watching the oblivious beefcake disappear into another room.
“Sophie, really,” says Nate, giving me a look.
“Yes, because you never look at any attractive women we come across in our work,” I remind him. “It’s taken our own marriage for him to stop referring to Maggie as his wife, you know.”
“Hey, I ain’t gettin’ into the middle of this!” Hardison declares, hands held up in mock surrender.
Parker chooses this moment to appear.
“Hey, you’re here!” she cried happily, running over and crashing into the both of us, hugging us tightly.
“Wow. Hi, Parker. We’re very happy to see you too,” I tell her honestly.
“Your face is hot, and Nate looks mad,” she says as she pulls away. “You just saw Quinn naked, didn’t you?”
“Wearing a towel,” Hardison throws in, “but you almost right.”
“Figures.” Parker nods her head. “He works with us, stays here sometimes,” she explains. “He and Eliot are pretty close, and we all get along.”
“He comes in handy on the jobs. Extra muscle and all,” Hardison agrees. “Given this ain’t a social visit, was it muscle you was after, or tech?” he asks then, clearly recalling the conversation we had been having in the car on the way over.
“Possibly a little of both,” says Nate with a smirk. “Eliot should hear this too. Is he around?”
Parker opens her mouth to answer but doesn’t need to say word. The door through which the mostly naked Quinn had disappeared before opened up again and a fully clothed Eliot steps out, fixing his hair. His hand stops half way back over his head when he notices everyone staring.
“Hey,” he greets us then. “Didn’t know you were getting in this early.”
He smiles that devilish grin of his, playing the Southern gentleman to a T in the next as he kisses my cheek and shakes hands with Nate. Clearly, nobody is supposed to mention what may or may not have just occurred, so we don’t.
“So, you guys here for business or pleasure?” asks Eliot, curiously.
“Honestly, it’s both,” Nate tells him. “Possibly most especially for you.”
“Me?” Eliot checks, one eyebrow raised.
“Nate and I have a plan,” I begin to explain. “We may have a need to infiltrate Interpol... again. All in pursuit of rattling a certain Agent Sterling’s cage.”
I know before I ever finish speaking that we are guaranteed help from our old team, and Eliot is particularly enthused now he knows that Sterling is involved. Though he may have helped cover for us when we all got away on our last big job together, Sterling is still the enemy in so many ways. He needs a minimum of a good winding up at least once a year, and myself and Nate do so enjoy the fun of it all.
“You’re going after Sterling, you know I’m in,” says Eliot.
“Hell, yeah,” Hardison agrees. “Leverage International all over that.”
“If anything is worth getting the old team back together, it’s him.” Parker nods her head.
Even if it is just temporary, it does feel very good to be home.
Chapter 6: OT3
“Leverage International is closed.”
Hardison bolts the doors both physically and electronically, smiling as he does so. It isn’t permanent, of course. None of them want to be out of the business, because they all love what they do, but sometimes, everybody needs a break. A little time with just the people they care about most in the world.
“Damn it, Hardison!” Eliot yells from beyond the wall. “What’d you do to this damn TV?”
“Don’t get your panties in a bunch!” he calls back, sharing a look with Parker as they head for the back room. “All these years he still don’t know tech.”
“Probably doesn’t help that you upgrade every time he learns something new,” she says, shrugging her shoulders. “Hardison’s sorry,” she tells Eliot as they arrive in the rec room, hand squeezing his bicep as she drops down onto the couch.
“Hardison’s gonna be sorry,” he tells her, turning an angry look on the hacker. “You ain’t funny.”
“Oh, I’m plenty funny,” he counters, picking the remote from Eliot’s hand.
He aims it over his shoulder, not even looking as he pushes the buttons. In a heartbeat, the TV brings up the movie in exactly the right place, the lights go down in the same moment, and everything is perfect.
“Yay,” says Parker, reaching for the snacks Eliot has laid out on the table. “It’s nice when people come to visit, but it’s really nice when they go home,” she declares without pause.
“Amen to that,” Hardison agrees.
“No arguments here,” Eliot agrees, as the two guys take their places on either side of Parker and settle in for the night.
“I kind of thought maybe you wished Quinn stayed in with us,” she says, eyes never leaving the screen.
Hardison hits pause a fraction of a second after play, needing to hear the answer to that one also. He watches Eliot hesitate for barely a second before reacting honestly. It’s taken years for him to learn he can truly do that here.
“He likes your friend Peggy, and she likes him,” he says, shrugging his shoulders. “And that’s not... Me and Quinn ain’t... You know I’m okay with that, right?” he tells them, trying to make it clear, knowing somehow that he’s failing, but even after all this time it doesn’t come so easy. “You know I’m more than okay with how this is, right?” he tries again.
“We got it, man,” Hardison assures him with a grin, pushing the button to start up the movie again.
Parker says nothing, just meets Eliot’s eyes, wearing the widest smile he’s ever seen on her face. She nods once, turns back to the screen.
It’s barely five minutes later, when they’re all seemingly engrossed in the movie, that Parker lets out the most almighty yawn, flinging an arm around the shoulders of each of her guys.
Eliot and Hardison share a look, both rolling their eyes like she’s just so tiresome. Still, they don’t try to get away, just settle into the only place they could ever truly fit in and watch the movie.
A couple of hours later, Parker’s not faking the yawning anymore, and Hardison’s going down with her. Eliot won’t admit he feels much the same, not because he has to be so tough in front of them, only because he has other plans for after the movie comes to a close.
“You guys are really tired, huh?” he asks, barely looking at them.
“Gotta say, I wouldn’t mind heading off to bed,” says Hardison, glancing at Parker.
“Bed sounds good,” she agrees with a sigh.
When Hardison gets up, so does she, her left hand in his, her right gripping onto Eliot’s arm. He looks curiously at her, apparently still unsure.
“You’re coming, right?” she says, almost worried he’s going to say something other than yes.
“Sure.” Eliot nods, smiling slightly and letting her help pull him to his feet.
The three of them head off to the bedroom just like that, all smiles and nervous anticipation, as they lock the door behind them, and shut out the rest of the world for a while.