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House Rules

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Eliot: Not in the kitchen.

Eventually, Alec stops waiting for him to invite them over, and sends Parker to Eliot's place: "If he's there, just stay and don't explain, and text me. Don't tell him I sent you." Parker can get away with almost any kind of odd behaviour. Parker texts him, and he follows fifteen minutes later. Eliot looks pleased and guilty to see him, because, Alec's pretty sure, he's still got this idea that Parker is Alec's girl. Alec's really not sure why Parker has let him think she's anyone's girl.

Whatever, it's her business. He grins at Eliot. "Hey, man, bad time?"

"No, just, Parker's, uh--" he gestures over his shoulder and gives the helpless shrug that means Parker.

"Cool." Alec walks in. "Parker wanted to watch me blow you on your kitchen table, but the chance just didn't present itself."

It's a rush like hacking the federal reserve when Eliot rocks back on his feet. Alec grins, and Parker comes up behind Eliot.

"But we make our own opportunities, right?" says Parker.

"The kitchen?" says Eliot, which is really not the part Alec had been hoping he'd be fixating on at this point.

"Unless the idea of Parker getting off watching us bothers you," says Alec, dropping all pretense at playing fair.

"Mmmm" says Parker, like she's thinking of large denominations.

"--but," says Eliot, clearly a man at war with himself, "the kitchen."

Alec gives up on his script. "Yeah. Seriously, is that a problem?"

Eliot looks over his shoulder at Parker. "Would the coffee table work for you?"

Parker claps her hands together happily, and then hops up to lean over Eliot's shoulder and kiss him, nearly pulling him over before she pushes back and drops her weight off of him. "This is the first time anyone's ever done porn for me, you guys!"

"Darlin'," Eliot says, looking at Alec in a way that makes his spine shiver, "You are welcome."

Alec: Sleep somewhere else.

Alec mostly considers himself the luckiest nerd in the world, because he is sleeping with two crazy-ass kinetic geniuses, who always know where their bodies should go to best effect. Katrina Jolk from the cheerleading squad had been like that, but no one else in Alec's experience, and now he is sleeping with two of them, who are able to make him dissolve into mush on a regular basis without even thinking about it.

Unfortunately, it turns out they're terrible at the sleeping part.

Parker sleeps face up, knees pressed together and hands on her hips, or on her side, in a tight ball with her elbows jutting out. She gathers sheets around her until they're tucked under her body on both sides. She sleeps like someone who is used to protecting her space, always, and especially when she's vulnerable, and it makes his heart hurt to watch, but it also makes other parts of him hurt when he tries to spoon her in his sleep and collects an elbow in the face or a knee in the groin.

Eliot is what Nana would have called a restless sleeper, and what Alec calls - in his head, because he isn't a moron - one paranoid motherfucker. He's actually okay as a sleeper; it's the waking up that's trouble. With two other people in the bed, not to mention the occasional kitten attack, he wakes up all the goddamn time.

Parker has Jedi Master reflexes, but Alec doesn't, and while Eliot generally manages to wake up before he puts a fist through anyone's throat, the whole routine of suddenly waking to impending violence makes it hard for Alec to get his beauty sleep.

Alec figures the solution to this is pretty easy, so the next time they're all at his place, eating pizza (Parker and him), playing poker (Eliot and him) and talking about Torchwood's third "season" (just him), he says "Oh, yeah," and fishes two keys out of his pockets. "Eliot, your room is the second door on the right, and Parker, yours is across the hall from his."

"Oh, cool," Parker says, and goes to explore, taking the last slice of pepperoni with her.

Eliot looks at his keys like maybe Alec doctored it with a contact poison. "You... I have a room, now?"

Alec had kind of expected this, but it still hurts a little. "Specifically, man, you have a bed. A bed all to your own where you don't have to punch me in the gut."

"It was one time," Eliot protests, still looking at the keys. There is a thumping noise from down the hall, which is probably Parker exploring the exit from her room via the airshaft. "Uh, Hardison..."

It's never good when they Hardison him, so Alec gets there first.

"You're not moving in," he says, and rolls his eyes. "You've just got a room. I got five bedrooms, man. That's one for me, and one for my books, and one for the cats when Parker brings them over, and two for you guys. You're getting keys because Parker can get in here anyway, so I'm levelling the playing field. I'm a leveller. Affirmative action."

"Huh," Eliot says, and slips the keys into his pockets. "Well, thanks."

"You kidding? I'm being selfish here."

Which is entirely true, no matter that Eliot laughs at him. Alec likes sex, and he likes cuddling, but truth be told, he shared a bed from when he was four to when he was twelve, and that was enough. When the social workers showed up, they gave him a bed of his own, and then Nana did, and he likes it way too much to change.

In the last two months, he's given it the best chance he could, and he figures that's all anyone could ask.


- Put gloves on before you use her remote control. That is what the gloves are for.

- No sitting on the couch. It is not for sitting, it is for reaching the ceiling panel. You can sit on the floor.

- Don't make a fuss about her taking your wallet. She'll give it back when she notices she has it.

- Don't mention corn when she's drinking. (Alec has no idea why corn is so funny, but she choked water all over him, so he's only broken this one once).

- Every time you say "incarcerate", "prison", "fart", "lawyer", "police", or "Matlock", you have to put five dollars in the swear jar.

- Don't give the cats treats before breakfast.

- Under no circumstances is anyone to touch the radio settings.

When she first invited him to her place, Parker gave him a copy of these rules, written out in her awkward capitals, and made him burn them after memorising.

The morning after he and Eliot and Parker got together for the first time, Parker kicked Alec in the knee, and he slid out of bed, resigning himself to the good kind of exhaustion. Eliot was in Parker's kitchen, frowning at the list in his hand and moving his lips as he committed them to memory.

Alec crept away as quiet as he could, heel-to-toe, smiling.