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One Big Happy Mess

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"You know why you took so long to join us?" Hardison gestured at Nate with his soda.

"You joined me," Nate reminded him. "You all asked me."

Eliot nodded. "That aside."

"Here's my theory," Hardison went on as if he hadn't been interrupted. "You couldn't be a thief until you had a messy past."

"No, no." Sophie held up a finger. "Growing up with Jimmy Ford was messy."

"I'm just saying. Until you started drinking, man, and totally screwed up your life"—Nate groaned at that—"with the divorce and the living in your car and going broke, you weren't a thief, you know? Am I right, Parker?" Hardison turned to his girlfriend.

Parker was staring in fierce concentration at his latest robolock, about halfway through cracking it. She looked up, clearly caught out, and nodded. "Uh, yeah. Wait... What?"

"Is that my lock you're breaking? Tell me that's not my lock you're breaking."

Eliot put his head in his hand. "Oh, please."

"It's not your lock." Parker shook her head vigorously.

Nate hid his grin behind his hand while Hardison complained loudly in a long stream of admonition while he tried to wrangle it back from her. Parker held the lock out of his reach.

Sophie interjected with, "I'm fairly certain I've seen him working on it. That is definitely Hardison's lock."

"He said to tell him it wasn't!" Parker took off for the stairs, Hardison in pursuit.

Nate chuckled and lifted his glass. "So much for that theory."