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The Stubbornness of Root Vegetables

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Parker rounded the corner and smiled when she saw Eliot coming from the other direction right on time.

Eliot, for all his insistence otherwise, really was a creature of habit when they were off the job. He liked a strong cup of coffee first thing in the morning and then prefered to run near the park where the most trees were. After that, once he’s made his rounds of the building and checked on the kitchen in the pub, he liked to go to that one organic grocery to get something to make them all a nice meal that had nothing to do with with fast and everything to do with making her and Hardison smell delicious things for hours and wait to taste it.

Parker hated waiting and not knowing what he was cooking for dinner. She also kind of hated it when agents from secret government agencies were tailing him, especially when it was someone he had a history with.

So, using his habitual nature, she’s found him exactly two blocks from the grocery.

Eliot smiled, ever so briefly and then covered it with a scowl and stomped over.

“I didn’t really expect to see you here,” he growled, head slightly tilted like he was tracking someone just out of sight. Parker could have easily told him that one of these pesky agents had ducked into the alley a half block behind her.

“Why not?” Parker squinted at the street behind him. A van had just pulled up to the corner at the end of the block. If they were actually a cleaning service, she would gladly eat whatever root vegetables Eliot was going to fix with dinner. Well, she was going to eat them anyway because they would be delicious but she’d totally not complain about it.
“Because I thought you and Hardison was gonna be busy with you and Hardison stuff.” Eliot shifted uncomfortably.

“Mind some company?” Parker didn’t give him a chance to say yes, just looped her arm with his and tugged him across the street. “Hardison is busy getting all the info on these people following you right now. And we don’t need time alone from you. We like you silly wolf,” she gave him a peck on the cheek.

“Don’t call me that,” Eliot grumbled.

“Right, you are a very fierce and majestic wolf. Not silly at all,” she winked at him.

“Can you quit talking about werewolves on a public street,” Eliot hissed.

“We’re not going to have turnips, are we?” Parker wrinkled her nose. “I don’t really like them. Even the ones you make. I think it’s the idea of them not anything to do with flavor.”

“Why the hell are you talking about turnips? Parker some dangerous folks are following me and you should be back with Hardison--.”

“What? Where it’s safe? I’m not afraid. You don’t need to keep protecting us from you,” she said, matter-of-fact.

“Parker.” He said it part grumble, part whine.

She bumped shoulders with him and they continued walking down the street, turning the corner and stopped. An Asian lady was standing there with her hands in the pockets of a dark leather jacket. Melinda May looked exactly as no nonsense as her photo indicated.

“Spencer,” May said, smiling a little, almost fond. Parker concluded this was probably not an ex-girlfriend on top of a highly trained badass.

Eliot frowned at her. “Look, I don’t know what you think you’re doing here.”

“And you must be Parker,” May said, turning her attention and ignoring Eliot. Parker could feel the low growl Eliot was making in his chest. Parker pressed her shoulder more firmly against his to ground him.

“And you’re The Cavalry.” Parker could feel Eliot’s tension. If any of the reports from the S.H.I.E.L.D. info dump were to be believed, they both might have a little bit of trouble not causing a helluva brawl on a public street if it came down to a fight.

“Parker this is Melinda May,” Eliot introduced. “Melinda this is Parker, my” Eliot paused, “one of my partners.”

Parker smiled. She liked thinking of what they, the three of them have, as a partnership. He was such a good boy.

“I heard you were in the private sector,” Melinda mentioned casually.

“We heard the same thing about you,” Parker said. “Didn’t we Eliot.”

“Something like that,” he grumbled.

“I’m sorry to enter your territory without calling first,” Melinda said. “We are just trying to get good people. I have a proposal for you and your partners if you’re interested. That’s all.”

“I ain’t interested in that kind of public sector anymore, Melinda. We’re bad guys.”

“Maybe we need some bad guys,” Melinda nodded at the person walking up behind them. “I’m sure your hacker can get up with us if you change your mind.”

She walked slowly around them and they turned to watch her stand beside a man that Parker remembered to be Agent Triplett.

“Hold your breath,” Eliot suggested.

Melinda nodded looking amused like she expected him to say that. “It was good to see you, Eliot.”

“Yeah,” Eliot said and Parker felt some of the tension leave some of his upper body, his shoulder nearly relaxed once they had turned the corner.

“So you totally lied to her,” Parker said once they made their way into the market.

“What?” Eliot scowled. “I did not.”

“You did. You totally want to do some bad guy fighting with her. You have a very distinctive wistful set to your shoulders when you talk to someone from your past that you respect and would take work from if you weren’t doing what we’re doing.” Parker shrugged.

“Parker, I,” Eliot let out a sigh and spun around in front of her to look her in the eye. “I’m happy. I’m happy with you and Hardison and what we do. I’m not looking to die for some other cause that ain’t that.”

“I know,” Parker smiled softly and took his hand. “And if you want to fight international bad guys, we’re coming to. We’re pack, Eliot. We’re yours and you’re ours.”

“Yeah,” he said, packing a lot into that word.

“Yeah,” Parker affirmed. “Now come on. I’ll even let you buy turnips.”