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Bring Them Back

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“You did it. You brought him back to her.” Eliot whispers to Parker, before leaving the tent as Hardison enters. Hardison awkwardly reaches for a hug before deciding against it and gently nudging her arm.
“Uh- hey.”
Parker doesn’t think, she just throws her arms around him. He freezes for a second before wrapping his arms around her. She buries her face in his snow dusted coat and he rocks them side to side gently, holding her tightly.

She’s still holding onto Hardison tighter than she’s ever held anyone when a throat clears behind her. She ignores it until Hardison nudges her. Standing behind her is Karen Scott, the crying widow. Parker’s heart aches so bad she almost thinks it’s fallen out of her chest and to the floor.
“Th- Thank you.” Karen stutters, sniffling. “I wanted to thank you.”
Parker shakes her head, rubbing her eyes. “No- I didn’t- I couldn’t-”
Karen shakes her head and huffs a wet laugh. “No, it’s okay. Alan always knew the risks. Most people that die on the mountain stay there. I knew that even before I buried an empty coffin.”

Parker shifts her weight, squares her shoulders, and puts on her game face. Hardison looks at her surprised. The tears on Parker’s face haven’t even dried and he can tell she’s already preparing to go back to work. “Mrs. Scott, I'm gonna bring your husband back. He deserves that.”
“No- You don’t have to-“
Looking over her head Parker yells over the chattering crowd. “HEY!” the tent goes quiet. “Tomorrow morning I’m going back up there to get Alan Scott’s- to get Mr. Scott. Anyone willing to join me is welcome to. Now I’m gonna go take a nap.”

“Parker,” Hardison says, grabbing her on her way out of the tent. “You don’t have to do this.”
“Yeah, Hardison, I do.” She says quietly, shaking him off and walking toward the tent.
“Are you crazy? You almost died the first time.” He says as they pass Eliot sitting beside the camping stove sipping something out of a mug.
“I climb buildings like every other Tuesday. I almost die all the time, Hardison.”
“This isn’t a building, Parker!”
Eliot looks between them before speaking. “You’re going back for him, aren’t you?” Parker nods. “You at least gonna get some rest first?” She nods again. “Good. I’ll see you at dawn.”

Hardison sputters. “You- You can’t encourage this, man. She’s crazy! This is a suicide mission!” Eliot roughly drags Hardison out of the tent while Parker stumbles onto the nearest cot.
“Look, man.” Eliot says, shaking Hardison a little. “You weren’t down in that cave with her. It damn near broke her to leave his body behind.”
“Dammit, Hardison, she wants to do what you’d do.” Hardison snaps his mouth shut. “She wants to do the right thing.”

“She- she said that?”
Eliot looks at his shoes. “Yeah. She knew that you and Nate and Sophie would’ve stayed there trying to get him out till you froze to death just like he did. She half did to before I dragged her out of there. This is important to her. She needs to do the right thing.”
“But she does that all the time. We help people, we all do. We do right by people.”
Eliot looked away. “Doesn’t make up for the old stuff though.” Hardison puts a hand on his shoulder and leans in close.
“That’s behind us now, Eliot. Parker is doing the right thing now. You’re doing the right thing now. This here,” Hardison waves towards the tent Sophie and Nate are in, “this is the right thing.”
Eliot meets his eyes. “Well sometimes people like us feel like we’ve just gotta do some more. So that’s what we’re gonna do.” Eliot squeezes his shoulder before heading off to the main tent.
“Eliot!” Hardison calls after him. “You watch out for our girl, okay? You keep her safe.”
Eliot cracks a small smile. “Always do, man.”