Family, aka The Ones Who Drive You Crazy by angelskuuipo
Authorís Note: When Eliot asked Nate, ďCanít I have a friend?Ē it got me wondering. Why was Nate so irritated with Eliotís flirting? I donít think it had anything to do with interest on Nateís part, but I still had some ideas. Thanks be to Elisabeth for the beta.
Written: February 25, 2010
Eliot sat in one of the darker corners of McRory’s, thinking. Others would call it brooding, but he wasn’t. Not really. Okay, maybe he was a little. He’d noticed something recently and he was having trouble figuring out if he should do anything about it or not. His team seemed to have made it their off duty mission to screw with his personal life. Hence the thinking.
Nate was possessive in a way that Eliot almost-but-didn’t-quite understand. He knew Nate had no interest in him sexually, but the man got so irritated when Eliot showed the slightest interest in someone not Nate or the team. It was kind of creepy, but Eliot let it slide. Nate needed the team and hated himself for it. Eliot understood that. He kind of felt the same way. He’d been on his own too long and having other people depend on him, who weren’t paying him to get a job done, well, he wasn’t sure he liked it. But they did and Eliot wasn’t going to let them down.
That didn’t mean he didn’t occasionally crave the company of someone he didn’t work with, though. He wasn’t sure how to explain that to Nate and was more than a little pissed that he felt he owed Nate an explanation in the first place. Nate wasn’t his father or his brother, and was only his boss because Eliot allowed him to be. That still didn’t explain Nate’s annoyance whenever he talked to a woman, or a man for that matter.
Sophie was too wary of him to ever try and seduce him. That was fine with him. Eliot trusted her about as far as he could throw her. Actually, not even that far. Oh, he trusted her on the job. Mostly. But he wasn’t about to trust her with personal matters. He’d seen the looks she cast his way once in a while, but they were calculated and almost cold. Those looks made him feel like a chess piece in the endless game she and Nate were playing. And he was no one’s pawn.
Then there was that freaky ‘Mom’ vibe she put out sometimes. Like she and Nate were proud parents and he and Parker and Hardison were their kids. It was insulting. Like she thought she was better than them. Now she was in the wind, but not. Her presence was still felt and even he could admit to needing her advice a couple of times. Didn’t mean he had to like it, though. Sophie was one mystery that was never gonna be solved. That was fine with him.
Hardison was too much like an annoying kid brother he never wanted, but was reluctantly glad to have now. The guy talked way too much. He didn’t appreciate silence. Eliot figured it had to do with the nature of what Hardison did. Hacking was pretty much a solo gig. Having people around made him giddy and he tried so hard to impress that he almost never shut up. It made talking to a pretty girl damn difficult when Hardison was around. But it wasn’t like the kid was trying to horn in and steal her. No, it was more that he wanted to keep Eliot’s attention on him. Like he was jealous or something.
Parker was…Parker. He’d almost killed her before he’d fully woken up the first time she broke into his house and crawled into bed with him. There was nothing sexual about it. She’d just needed to feel someone else next to her and she told him she felt safe with him. It freaked him out, but also made him feel a little humble. Every few days he’d be woken up by her cold toes digging into his calves and all he could do was sigh in resignation, turn over, and pull her a little closer. It was weird, but he was getting used to it. The contact was good, even if he knew it would never go beyond platonic. He didn’t want it to, and apparently, neither did Parker. Unfortunately, their unspoken arrangement made bringing anyone home an impossibility because Parker was unpredictable at best, and he didn’t want to chance her showing up when he was otherwise occupied. Not that that was a really a problem lately, since all his efforts were being sabotaged.
Tara was an unknown, but since she wasn’t around unless they were running a con, he didn’t worry about her too much. At least, he didn’t worry about her in this particular situation. She wasn’t a part of this.
And that’s why he was sitting by himself in the pub. Thinking, not brooding. He hadn’t gotten laid since Mikel Dayan and as fun as that little adventure had been, it’d been a few months. It wasn’t like he was looking for anything permanent, but a little stress relief wasn’t too much to ask for, was it? He didn’t think so. His team, on the other hand, apparently did.
Parker plopped down next to him and he scowled at her. She just looked at him for a moment then said, “You have to look somewhere else.” Eliot looked at her blankly and she huffed in annoyance. “It can’t be anybody here, because it would be awkward when it didn’t work out. We’re…we don’t get the normal happily ever after. It’s not fair to those we see every day to put them through that. So, you have to go look somewhere else.”
Eliot stared at her for a minute or so before the corner of his mouth quirked up. He still thought she was twenty pounds of crazy in a five pound bag, but the woman definitely had her moments. He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her forehead before he stood up. “Thanks, Parker,” he drawled as he slid his coat on and headed for the door.
He smiled as he walked into the night. Well, son of a bitch. Aimee’d been right after all. He’d finally managed to find a family. They were thieves and he didn’t necessarily trust them. And they were crazy and he didn’t always like them, but they were his. And he took care of what was his.