Author: Sarah T. (harriet_spy)
Summary: If Parker couldn't be devious on her own behalf, Sophie was entirely prepared to do it for her.
Notes: Thanks to spike21 and miss_pryss for betas.
Title, Author and URL of original story: Parker's Surprise by zvi_likes_tv
"Is this right?" Parker asked, tugging up the corset top while looking back over her shoulder at Sophie, who was reclining on a mound of fluffed-up pillows.
"Turn around and let's have a look," Sophie said. She found it easiest to talk to Parker like this, entangled in the sheets and nothing else. It wasn't that she didn't know how much of a woman's glamour was artificial, but Parker made it all--every artful application of bright red lipstick, every carefully-slipped-up-the-leg smoky stocking, every agonized-over stiletto--seem false. It was when she was naked and Parker was dressed that she felt least self-conscious. Self-conscious, of course, meaning old and wicked. And old.
Parker revolved with her arms out like a mechanical ballerina, reflected in the tall mirror above the low dresser, and Sophie surveyed her. Parker had no idea, she really didn't; and that was half the charm. "Yes, that's a good start, but let me tighten it up for you."
Sophie rose with some reluctance from the large and luxurious bed and came over to Parker. Parker had left the laces loose enough that she could wriggle out of the top easily in case of emergency, and that just didn't present the decolletage at its best. Sophie undid the lacing and began pulling it tight.
Parker took a sharp breath and frowned into the mirror. "Do you think Hardison will like it? Since he has to fake-make-out with me and all."
That was the other thing about Parker: for all her professional deviousness, in her personal life she could hardly be more straightforward. She knew what she wanted and she went for it with a singlemindedness that was remarkable. It had toppled Sophie herself into bed, much to her own surprise.
But lately that had changed. Sophie had noticed the faint wistfulness that crept into Parker's eyes and voice when she mentioned Hardison. She doubted Parker herself was aware of it. She doubted that Parker knew what wistfulness was.
"I'm sure he'll like it," she assured her, and tugged the laces again.
"But even if he didn't, he'd still fake-make-out with me, because he's a professional," Parker reflected.
Sophie studied her again. Parker's enthusiasm and generosity in bed had been a welcome relief from the dreariness of the Nate situation. It had almost made her feel young again, as if she had a heart free to make over to whoever she chose. She was grateful for that, and it was difficult to find ways to express gratitude to someone so completely self-sufficient.
"I'm sure he would," she said. "He's very professional. But have you ever thought...never mind."
Parker's brow furrowed. "Never mind what?"
"Nothing. It's not important." When Parker apparently took her word for it and began turning back to the mirror, Sophie added hastily, "It's just--"
"Well, Hardison is a man, after all, and sometimes when you do certain things with them, even on the job, they tend to think it means more than it does."
"Like you and Nate."
Sophie couldn't keep a sharpness from her voice. "Like me and Nate? We never...fake-make-out."
Parker didn't notice. "Exactly. Because if you did, it would be too confusing."
They were in a pretty bad way if Parker was noticing such things. An enemy might notice next. Like Sterling. She frowned and tabled the thought.
"All right then. Like me and Nate. And I'm sure you don't want to hurt Hardison's feelings."
"Of course not. He's funny and he doesn't push me."
"Then you wouldn't want to give him any mixed messages."
Parker looked at her, alarmed. "You mean he might think that I want to have sex with him."
Sophie nodded, and finished knotting up the laces, pretending not to notice. "That's better." The top had almost given Parker's coltish lines an hourglass shape. Not quite at Sophie's level, of course. But you couldn't have everything.
"But I don't have sex with men," Parker said, her voice rising with anxiety. "Except for Eliot, because of the pegging."
Sophie had heard all about the pegging. In fact, she had been invited to join in, but she simply couldn't bring herself to go to bed with a man who ironed his hair. "I don't know if he understands that. Most men spend most of their time deluding themselves that, down deep, you really want to sleep with them."
"Yeah." Parker frowned down into her cleavage. "That's why I have to wear stupid things like this."
"And I"m sure you don't want your friendship with Hardison to suffer from a simple misunderstanding," Sophie prompted.
Parker braced herself on the dresser. It looked for one alarming moment like she was going to go into a handstand, and Sophie reflexively reached to catch up some of the jewelry scattered on its surface, but then Parker thought better of it. "Do you think I should talk to him about it?"
"That might be a good idea."
She didn't actually have to pretend the uncertainty in her voice on that point. Talking hadn't exactly done her much good in the past few months.
"I don't know. What if he laughs at me?"
Sophie tilted her head thoughtfully. "I'm sure he wouldn't laugh. Not if you explained about the penetration. In detail, if necessary."
"Maybe you're right. You're so good with this people stuff."
"Well, I do have a bit more experience," Sophie said, and she wasn't sure at that moment whether it felt like a blessing or a curse. "Will you go talk to him now?"
Parker glanced at her top again. "Like this?"
"Oh, yes, like that. It means what you say will make an impression."
It was making an impression on Sophie, the gentle thrust of Parker's tiny pert breasts, but she put that thought away for later. She was fairly sure there would still be a later.
"Okay." Parker started for the door, then abruptly turned back and kissed Sophie on the mouth. As usual, she tasted of bubblegum. "You're very nice," she said. "Very strange, but very nice."
"I might say the same thing about you," Sophie murmured as Parker bounded through the door.
She only wished she could hear the conversation that was about to happen--but, in the end, she really didn't need to. If Parker couldn't be devious on her own behalf, Sophie was entirely prepared to do it for her. And when it came to young men, at least, she knew exactly what she was doing.