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A Trace of Color

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Sophie reaches for her moisturizer and finds it is not in the place it should be. A quarter inch to the left: just enough space to let her know she has been intruded upon, not quite enough to disturb.

She will say nothing, of course. If she lets Parker know that she's noticed, it will only encourage Parker's stalkerish tendencies the next time Parker wants to know something and doesn't know how to ask. She just moves the moisturizer back to its appointed place, and applies a thin, sweet layer to her face, the concealer on top of that, the foundation on top of that. Eyes and lips and cheeks above, and then a subtle dust all over.

She next sees Parker behind the bar of a night club. Sophie's role tonight is liquor board inspector. They need access to security footage, and cops can't just swoop in and demand it without someone admitting that a crime has been committed. The Liquor Board is another issue; even criminals can't convince the general public to visit a club where no one can drink.

She sees Parker watching her — not the corner of the eye, reflection in a bit of glass, where are the hands, where are the pockets notetaking of a thief. Parker is just looking, a considering look on her face until someone interrupts for a bit of liquid courage, liquid camouflage.

Sophie can't notice, of course. Inspector Linda Sterling would never notice a woman staring at her, not even a bartender. But Sophie does manage to whisper into the comms, to ask Parker what she's looking at, warn her away from breaking cover.

The rest of the evening comes off smoothly: Parker is able to plug Hardison's clone program into their target's computer, and Sophie gets a copy of the footage that proves their client's alibi, and the club owner is none the wiser.

This doesn't stop Eliot from growling at Parker about breaking cover, or Nate from starting a stern lecture. He breaks it off when Sophie raises an eyebrow at him.

She draws Parker out to the hallway and asks, gently, "What were you looking at, Parker?"

Parker reaches out and touches Sophie's face, fingertips only just making contact with Sophie's skin. "It protects you. I don't understand how." Parker swipes firmly down Sophie's cheek, and looks at her finger, and walks away.