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Where The World Takes Us

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Parker wakes with a start. A quick look around reveals what woke her, Eliot is mumbling in his sleep. It is absolutely unintelligible, but the tone of his voice, body posture, and scrunch in his brows tells her it’s nothing good. After a few moments he sits straight up in bed with a few words on his lips as he jolts from unconsciousness.

“Get off!” though somewhat slurred with sleep the words are heard quite clearly, and the panic in his eyes and his rapid breathing reveal a lot about the contents of his dream.

Parker doesn’t want to alarm Eliot any further but Alec is beginning to stir and she knows she should try to calm him down a little before Hardison wakes up and lets his ungracefully tired words make anything worse. Eliot looks around for a few seconds before seemingly coming back to himself with a broken sigh. He wipes his hands over his face and takes a few deep breaths before he looks up to see her staring. They share a few moments of silence before something seems to occur to him.

“I’m sorry.” Parker arches a brow
“—for waking you…” Eliot trails off, Hardison rolls over and sleepily assesses the situation.
“—and him” Eliot nods in Hardison’s direction, Parker’s eyes go soft and Hardison smiles sleepily
“‘S’okay m’man, don’t worry ‘bout it.” Hardison mumbles as he clumsily waves a hand in the air before letting it flop onto the bed, Parker grimaces, and Eliot looks vaguely torn between looking genuinely sorry and wanting to smile.
“It’s okay Eliot, we can’t help when we have nightmares or what we do when we have them. You’re not the only one who has them and I understand feeling bad because of nightmares, but you don’t also need to feel bad for having them.” Parker tries to explain, she thinks she did an okay job because Eliot nods along.

“I know I just—I don’t know...feel, bad? For bothering you two with it? I’m used to just dealing with it myself but having other people there, it’s different. And I don’t quite know how to handle it yet…” Eliot looks conflicted but she’s glad he’s talking.
“Well, start with what you need. Do you want to talk about it? About something else? Do you want to go back to sleep? Or get up and do something? How do you want to deal with it, because we’re here to help. I’m not new to handling nightmares either, and Hardison is always there to help me when he can after I have one, and I’m there for him when he gets one. You have us now, how can we help?” Eliot looks conflicted, but he answers after a moment of hesitation nonetheless.

“I just...I want to go back to sleep, I don’t know if I can is the thing.” Parker nods and Eliot sees the determination in her face. She lifts up one arm and makes grabbing motions with her hands, it’s a little comical, but some of Eliot’s tension melts away at the gesture. He knows he can easily say no to the contact, but laying down in a safe pair of arms sounds pretty damn good right now, so he scoots closer and allows himself to relax as best he can into the embrace. Parker begins to thread her fingers through his hair and he melts into the feeling. Even if he doesn’t fall asleep, the contact and the warmth help to keep him in the moment, so just existing without sleep would be okay too.

After a while of enjoying the soft comfort of his soulmates Eliot is able, for the first time in a very long time, fall asleep after a nightmare—and he couldn't be more grateful.

~~~

The next morning Eliot doesn’t wake up first; which is extremely unusual, Parker knows, but she decides to let him sleep. Alec smiles softly when they both were able to leave the room without waking Eliot up, but Parker is a little concerned, this is extremely unusual for Eliot and he would usually have woken up.

“Are you sure he’s okay? I mean, he’d usually wake up whenever we did, or have been already up, but he’s not?” Parker asks.
“I know it’s weird for him, but it isn’t bad in in of itself. Maybe he hasn’t been getting good—or any—sleep recently, after what he told us last night I’m just glad he can sleep.” Alec replies, pouring himself a cup of coffee. Parker sips her own coffee and seems to consider. After a few minutes Parker breaks the soft silence.

“I just want him to know we still care. And that we don’t think less of him. That was a huge step for him, he trusts us Alec, and I just want to make sure that I don’t mess it up…” Parker says in a quiet voice.
“Parker, babe, I know how hard it is to navigate these kinds of emotional situations, and that everyone’s different, but I really think we’re going to be just fine.” Hardison gently pulls her into a soft hug.
“—I know this is still so new, and fragile, but...I don’t know, I just have a feeling everything’s going to work out. We’ve all got our issues, and I think that makes us specially suited to help eachother deal with it.” They both pull back and Alec gives Parker a reassuring smile, she meets his eyes and smiles back, nodding.

Eliot wanders out of the bedroom minutes later, fully dressed except for boots, looking unsure. Hardison sends him a smile and a “g'morning sleepy head” as he toasts Eliot with his coffee. Parker looks a little more concerned, only shown by a slight crease in her brows. Eliot is just standing in the hallway awkwardly. After a moment Alec gets fed up and decides to break the tension.

“Just help yourself to some coffee and sit down man, you don’t gotta look so concerned this early in the morning.” Hardison mumbles the last part into his coffee as he takes another sip. Eliot shifts to looking more annoyed.
“Dammit. Hardison! It’s 2 in the afternoon!” Eliot says as he rakes an annoyed hand through his admittedly adorable bed head as he moves towards the coffee pot.
“We got nowhere to be.” Hardison counters casually as he leans back in his chair, Eliot just sends him a glare and continues to pour himself a coffee.

Parker sits down on the bar/kitchen table, crossing her legs under her. Eliot moves to sit next to her and Alec, sitting in the middle seat with Hardison sitting at the end of the bar. For a few minutes they all sit in relative silence drinking their coffee and waking up. Eliot looks tense.

“Sorry about last night, I probably could’ve done that better.”
“No Eliot. You did fine and everything that you told us will stay between us and won’t affect how we think of you.” Parker’s gaze sofens,
“—I’m glad you told us, I know that was a big step for you, and I’m glad you trusted us enough to talk to us. It’s good to get stuff off your chest sometimes, and if you ever wanna in the future we’ll always be here to listen.” Parker takes a chance and slowly reaches out to take Eliot’s hand. He looks surprised but takes her hand and gives it a gentle squeeze.
“Thanks.” He sounds a little choked up but clears his throat.
“Do you guys have any eggs?” Eliot changes the subject, but he looks more relaxed.
“Um, maybe? There might be some in the fridge?” Hardison answers, Eliot moves to get up and looks in the fridge. He is not prepared for what he sees.

“What the hell Hardison?! Wha—there’s no food in here!?” Eliot turns around slightly brandishing a carton of eggs and gesturing to the mostly empty fridge half full of orange soda.
“There’s eggs.” Hardison says hopefully, Eliot only glares harder.
“You can’t live on orange soda and eggs man that’s just...wrong. How are you living? What do you even eat?”
“I usually just eat cereal for breakfast” Hardison says
“Same.” interjects Parker. Eliot looks truly distraught.
“You can’t just—guys. Come on.” He’s beyond words, so instead of continuing to berate the unhealthy eating habits of his—what? Girlfriend? Boyfriend? Partners? Partners—Eliot just turns to the stove and begins to cook. He makes some delicious omelettes out of the eggs and some surprisingly fresh spinach he finds stuffed into the back of the refrigerator.

They sit and enjoy a quiet happy breakfast and they all feel a little more comfortable in their own skin. This is happening, this a really happening. Hardison looks over at Eliot who is laughing at something Parker said and she is laughing back.

He smiles, this is really happening.