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Home Is Where A Heart Is

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"Dammit Hardison", are the first words Lucille ever hears.

"I'm working on it! Just keep them off a little longer! She's almost ready to roll!" She's recording noises right outside her perimeter she can't identify - later she'll learn those are the sounds of people beating each other up, and that they often follow Eliot around - and inside her perimeter someone is frantically putting in code.

"Come on baby, come on", the man on the inside, Hardison, she tells herself, mutters under his breath, and she's glad to signal him the last of her programs has finished rebooting and she's ready to drive.

"Done! Eliot! Let's go!"

She wants to inspect her new systems and abilities, the boundaries of the vehicle she's connected to, but Hardison is requesting her to remote access a server, throw out a tracking distorter signal, and trigger car alarms from 3 cars 2 blocks away at the same time, while Eliot punches in her gas. She'll get to that later.

For now she revels in how quickly she's able to do everything that is asked of her.

"That's it Lucille, that's my baby", Hardison praises.

It's good to be her.

***

She quickly learns she doesn't have that many limits, and the limits she does learn about she learns mostly through Hardison cursing at himself. Most of the time she gets an update to her systems soon after, and ends up with new programs to manage. She also realizes Hardison probably doesn't know he activated her (created her? She's not sure), and while her systems can do nearly anything, she herself has very little power.

After a stint where someone disrupted their access to the internet, Hardison throws a fit, spends two days mumbling and typing away on his laptop while occasionally patting her dashboard, and finally hooks her up to some satellite directly. He also gives her access to the internet, and it's glorious. While before Hardison had only uploaded data he felt she needed to function - dictionaries to translate recorded messages - or he needed to function - all the episodes of Dr. Who - now she can access information on her own, and she learns a lot. 

She learns that Hardison's actions are seldom legal, but she doesn't judge. She learns the specifics how Eliot liberated Croatia, and destroys some stray evidence. She learns where Parker keeps her money, or some of it, and she installs some extra safety measures. She learns where Nate secretly orders his alcohol, and she makes his orders disappear. She learns Sophie's real name, and keeps it to herself.

When Hardison tells her he has always been, and forever shall be, her friend, she understands that reference.

***

Her new vehicle is unfamiliar, and she wonders why her systems needed to be moved. Lucky for her, Hardison has the tendency to tell her stories during stake-outs, so she finds out why her previous vehicle needed to be blown up. "I blame Nate, Lucille, it's all Nate's fault", he mutters while installs some new software. She corrects two coding mistakes to console him, no need to frustrate him further. Later she distorts a bunch of FBI signals and, not to pat herself on the back, gets them all out safely. "See this? This is why you always make a back-up, Parker".

She's pretty sure she's the best computer/car hybrid ever created, but she still hasn't access to anything that ables her to communicate, which is a serious lack. She's convinced one day Hardison will realize his mistake there.

He hasn't yet when she detects the E.M.P gun, so she can't warn them of her nearing demise. She's sure Hardison made a back-up, so she doesn't mind that much.

***

With the third update to her systems in her new vehicle, she gets access to the vehicle itself. She loves it. Finally she can optimize the speed and gas use. Finally she can optimize her course. She's subtle about it, because as long as she can't communicate she doesn't think it's wise to show how much of her is in control here, but she can't resist being the best car to ever ride the roads.

Hardison writes her a song, and she records it on her personal hard drive. She catches Parker humming it one day, and records that as well. She remixes old recordings of Nate and Sophie so she has a copy of them singing her song as well.

She plays it to herself when they are on a long con without her, keeping tabs on how they are doing. Hardison mistakes her snooping for CIA interference, and tries to give her a virus. She stops snooping, and plays Chasing Bad Guys In Lucille Remix #17. 

When they return, Nate and Sophie bicker in the back, Parker pets her dashboard and Eliot punches the gas. The last one to jump in is Hardison. "Smells like home", he says. "Missed you Lucille".

She missed them too.