kathierif_fic: (fandom:leverage)
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Title: Forever
by: [livejournal.com profile] kathierif_fic
Fandom: Leverage
Pairing: Hardison/Eliot/Parker
Rating: FRT-13
Spoilers: Series finale
Disclaimer: This is a transformative fanwork. No money is being made.
Summary: It was the end of an era, except that it wasn't. Not really.
A/Ns: For the prompt "forever" on the cottoncandy_bingo, completing my straight line there. Yay!



It was the end of an era.

Eliot had felt it when they had tumbled back into their headquarters, happy and excited about the job they'd just pulled, the one that would turn out to be the last one with the whole crew, but already with an undercurrent of danger, of change, like the air on a hot summer day, filled with static and the certain promise of a thunderstorm.

It made the small hairs on this arms stand up and left him feeling tense and alert, unsure about the cause behind it.

And then, Nate had proposed to Sophie, and the happy couple had left, and here Eliot was, stuck with Hardison and Parker until his dying day.

Except, he wasn't really stuck. He could leave anytime he wanted, nobody would try to hold him back if he really wanted out. They would plead with him, but they would let him go if it really was what he wanted, he was sure of that, and there was more than enough money in all of his bank accounts...

...he wasn't stuck.

He wanted to stay with Hardison and Parker. He had grown to like them to a point where he considered them more than just good friends, and the thought alone, to leave them behind, not listen to their bickering every day, not eat with them, watch TV with them, scheme with them, cook for them and take care of them and do jobs with them was something he didn't even want to contemplate.

He liked them, despite his best efforts to stay away from them and not get involved. Whether he liked it or not, the past five years had changed something in him and his attitude toward these two.

It had changed him permanently.

No matter what the future would bring, he would always have this, and the change would stick with him forever.

He would forever remember Nate's plans, the rush of adrenaline that would leave him almost giddy if one of them worked out the way Nate had outlined and anticipated before and how it would make it knees tremble when he did just as much as think about all the ways those plans could have gone wrong.

He would always remember the ease with which Sophie could lull her targets into a false sense of security and wrap them into a tight net of lies, how she was capable of slipping into new characters with deceptive ease. He knew he wasn't the only one who had learned a few tricks from Sophie, a few strategies from Nate.

And now, that part of his life was over, but unlike many other parts, he would always and forever look back on the memories of those five years with fondness.

Besides, he thought while sitting with his elbows leaning on his knees and his head hanging low, an abandoned cup of tea on the table next to him, just because it was over didn't mean it was over.

Not really.

There were still things to be done before he could even think of retiring, wrongs to be righted and leverage to be handed out.

And there still were Parker and Hardison, the two most important people in Eliot's life right now: His partners, his friends, his family. He had given Sophie the promise to watch out for the two of them, to balance them out when needed, and it was a promise he would keep, forever if necessary. Until his dying day, he'd said, and he'd meant it. He would do it, and promising it to Sophie didn't change a single thing.

Forever.

It was a long time, Eliot knew that, but he had nothing better to do and they meant enough to him to make sure the time wouldn't grow too long.

Thin, strong arms wound themselves around his neck and pulled him out of his thoughts. Long, blonde hair tickled his cheek when Parker leaned against his back and pressed her face against his.

He hadn't heard her come closer until the last second, which was the only reason why she was still on her feet and with all of her bones unbroken. Eliot didn't like people sneaking up to him at the best of times, and sitting here in the middle of the night definitely did not count as the best of times.

"Eliot," Parker simply said, and there was so much in her tone of voice, so many emotions that often made her feel overwhelmed and helpless.

He knew there were abouta dozen things she wanted and needed to ask him, but she needed to work through her thoughts first and bring them into some resemblence of order, the way Nate and Sophie had taught her, and Eliot was more than willing to wait for her to do just that.

If necessary, he would wait forever. He had the patience.

"Eliot," Parker repeated, her voice soft. "Eliot, come back to bed with us."

She was warm and trusting and comfortable, draped across his back like this, and Eliot gave her a smile full of things he couldn't put into words just yet and maybe never would.

It was okay. Parker understood him, and to an extent, so did Hardison. They had easily accepted him into their relationship as if they'd always kept a spot open just for him, and Eliot had slit into that place like a puzzle piece fitting in.

"Yeah," he said and straightened.

He didn't need to figure it out today, he thought as he let her drag him into the bed where Hardison was already waiting for them. Maybe he would never have to. He didn't know, but he knew that he had the rest of his life to do so.

Forever, really.

He was strangely happy and content with that.
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