What, was "Rudy" on cable last night?

. . . Yes.

over the shoulder-face
Eliot Spencer vdistinctive
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Office hours, Wednesday
Eliot straightened up from where he'd been installing screens behind the vent grates. He hadn't held office hours since the unfortunate gremlin incident three weeks ago, and he wasn't taking any chances with ending up convinced he was something considerably worse than a giant six year old bird.

Val looked at the vent and then up at Eliot and whimpered. He sighed and scratched behind her ears. "Yeah, I know. But I ain't crazy this time. And besides, these vents are too small for Parker, anyway."

Yeah, the similarities to his lovely psychotic break wasn't helping his peace of mind much, either. But at least he hadn't busted out any bear traps.

[Open office is open! Just not to gremlins.]

Don't worry, Eliot! Surely a visit from Hardison would have you cheering up immediately, right?

"An' so he returns," Hardison drawled from where he was leaning against Eliot's doorframe. "Finally. I got a present for you that's been waitin' around for weeks."

Definitely. Not that anyone who didn't know him as well as Hardison did would be able to tell.

"We practically live together, Hardison. Any waitin' you did was all on you."

Val scurried over jump up on Hardison's legs and demand petting.

"Naw, man, this was special," Hardison protested, kneeling down to scritch behind Val's ears as was only right and proper. "Could only be given to here here an' now."

He tossed a small bag at Eliot and batted his eyes. "Smooches!"

It took Eliot longer than he'd care to admit to figure out why Hardison had just made a big deal about giving him a bag of mulitcolored paper clips.

Someone was repressing their gremlin bite very, very hard.

"Oh good," he said finally, tossing the bag from hand to hand. "Now I'll have plenty of ammunition for when I finally decide to kill you."

"Plenty, huh?" Hardison said, scooping Val up to give her more love and certainly not as an adorable puppy-shield. "Like, how many? You wanna take a sec an' count 'em first?"

Your boyfriend was a troll, Eliot. FYI.

Oh yes. He'd noticed. Mind you, it probably didn't help that Eliot was such a good target for it.

He growled and put the bag down on his desk. "You come in here just to irritate me?"

"Of course not!" Hardison said, looking insulted.

"...I also wanted puppy cuddles."

You had to have known that was coming, Eliot. Had to.

Val tipped her head back to lick Hardison's nose.

"I couldn't've gotten a mean dog," Eliot lamented. "Oh no, I had to get a sucker for cuddling."

That was what happened when your dog was happy and well-adjusted, Eliot.

And thus we saw how hard Hardison had fallen, not just for Eliot but for Val as well. Because not only did he not protest the nose-lick, he actually gave the puppy a dopey grin and another scritch. Not a complaint about germs or diseased to be heard.

"It's all your fault, y'know," he told Eliot. "She learned it from watchin' you, Mr. Touch-My-Hair-An'-I-Bliss-Out."

"I don't --" Eliot started, then gave up because, yeah, when Hardison or Parker did it, that was entirely true. Or admittedly when anyone else he was involved with sexually. There was a reason he grew it out long, after all. It wasn't like long hair was an advantage in a fight. "Shut up."

Hardison grinned at him. "All I do is win win win no matter what," he sang, coming into the office and claiming one of the chairs for himself. "Got money on my mind an' can't never get enough."

Admittedly, that was more Parker's line than his.

Careful, Hardison, or Eliot will make you practice playing darts again.

"The hell're you singing?"

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"And people call me paranoid." Because you are, Wash. Because you are.

"Accurately, even," Eliot said. "And it ain't paranoia to try to keep gremlins out, dammit."

"Uh huh."

Just wait until you got bit by one, Wash. Just wait.

"You wantin' somethin' in particular? Or are you just here to bother me, too?"

He would whine like a bitch if and when it happened. And then attempt to destroy all evidence of it.

"Mostly just to bother you," he replied without any shame.

Eliot sighed. Why did everyone always want to bother him? (Because he was just such a good target.)

"How's the class going? I hear you're not makin' this one dress up in armor all day."

"It was never all day." Which was the important part to correct.

"Oh, well, that makes it all better."

"You know, you really don't have to be jealous of the armor."

"That's good, considerin' I ain't."

"So, you brought it up for... no reason?" Wash replied.

"Yes, 'cause that's clearly the only alternative to me bein' jealous." Eliot rolled his eyes. "I'm your damn 'teachin' buddy' or whatever. Forgive me for tryin' to make sure you're not par-boilin' the kids in armored suits all summer."

"First of all, there's a cooling system. And second, they only had moderate armor." Because hell no he wasn't just giving idiot kids some MJOLNIR powered assault armor.

Did he look insane? Don't answer that.

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