SUMMARY: No one makes Parker cry and lives to tell about it.
RATING: PG-13 (for language)
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Written for comment_fic. The theme was tears and hawk_dancing prompted Leverage, Team or Eliot, no one makes Parker cry and lives to tell about it. Special thanks to steffync81 for the banner!
Eliot spotted his intended target lurking at the back of McRory’s, advanced on him, and slammed him up against the wall.
“Whoa, Eliot, what the fuck?” Hardison’s voice sounded small and choked, on account of the way Eliot’s forearm was pressed against his windpipe, choking him.
“Why’s Parker crying?” Eliot demanded. He was so angry he could feel the veins bulging in his forehead.
Hardison glared at him in a show of patently false bravado. “You wanna maybe take your hand off my throat there, friend.”
Eliot growled low in his throat. “I ain’t playing with you. What’d you do to her?”
“What makes you think I did anything?”
Eliot’s face loomed closer, his lips pulled back in a menacing snarl. “’Cause a minute ago you were all cozied up to her at the bar and now she’s locked in the women’s bathroom bawling her eyes out.”
The kid actually had the nerve to look affronted rather than ashamed. “I gotta say, man, I’m really not seeing how it’s any of your business.”
Eliot leaned on Hardison’s windpipe a little more to drive home the precariousness of his situation. “It’s my business because Parker’s in there crying and I wanna know why.”
“I didn’t do nothing,” Hardison squeaked.
“Wrong answer.” Eliot applied a little more pressure, just to let him know what it felt like, then eased up enough to let him talk again.
Hardison’s eyes widened in fear. “Seriously, man, it’s nothing like what you think.”
“I’m only gonna ask you one more time, Hardison. What did you do?”
“Christ Almighty, Eliot! I told her I loved her, okay?”
Eliot blinked. “You did what?”
“That’s it, I swear! I said ‘I love you’ and then she freaked out and ran for the bathroom.”
Eliot let go abruptly. Hardison collapsed to the floor, clutching at his bruised throat and looking up at him warily.
“That’s it?” Eliot stared at him in abject disbelief. “Do you even understand that’s probably the first time anyone’s ever said those words to Parker and meant it?”
“That’s why I thought she’d like it!”
“Like it? This is Parker we’re talking about, you don’t just ... she’s not ... she doesn’t ...” Eliot realized he was stammering and shifted from reasoning back to yelling. “What the hell’s wrong with you?!”
Hardison’s expression tightened momentarily before lapsing into a look of unadulterated misery. “I’m in love, that’s what wrong with me! And the woman of my dreams is apparently crying in the bathroom because I told her how I feel and you’re up in here acting like you’re gonna rip my head off and toss it in a salad and none of this is how I pictured this going.” His shoulders slumped and he pressed his hands against his forehead in a way that even Eliot had to admit looked pretty pitiful.
He sighed. “Get up.”
Hardison narrowed his eyes. “Why?”
“’Cause you’re gonna go in there and fix this is why.” Eliot offered a hand and Hardison grudgingly let him pull him up off the floor.
“How am I supposed to fix crazy?” Hardison asked, gesturing manically in the direction of the restroom where Parker was holed up.
“I dunno, but you better figure it out. You can’t just leave a woman crying in a bathroom.”
Hardison took a few steps towards the bathroom and then stopped. “But it really freaks me out when women start doing that crying thing. I never know what to do.”
“Nobody does, man.” Eliot prodded him to get him walking again.
“Will you come with me?”
Hardison stopped again. “Please?”
Eliot gave him an ungentle shove. “No.”
This time Hardison made it all the way to the door of the restroom before he stopped, staring at the knob like it was radioactive. “Nana told me never ever to go in the ladies room.”
“Are you gonna get in there or do I have to call your nana and tell her you made a girl cry?”
“Naw, man, you wouldn’t do that, would you? That’s uncalled for.”
Eliot jerked his head towards the door. “Then be a man and get in there.”
Hardison reached for the knob and cast a tremulous look at Eliot. “Pray for me.” He tugged open the door and stepped inside. For a moment the sound of Parker’s hitching sobs carried out into the bar, and then the door closed on the two of them.
Eliot shook his head in disgust. “Dumbass.”
(P.S. Now there's a sequel: "I and Love and You")