Genre: fluffy, silly, gen teamfic
Word count: 1,466
Disclaimer: I don't own, or claim to own, anything related to Leverage, except for a couple of tee shirts and a coffee mug. This barely-edited ficlet is brought to you by an overload of Eliot/Maggie comment fic angst, I love it but it drains me, and also by my hc bingo card. :P
Spoilers: Set in Season 3, probably sometime around the Gone Fishin’ Job, but no specific spoilers, really.
Summary: A little silliness is sometimes a good thing, but Alec still wants his clicker back.
A/N: The game the team is playing is ‘Button, Button, Who’s got the Button?’ - a children’s game which pretty much consists of someone having to guess who, out of a group of players, is holding a button, or some small object. There are several variations of the game, and the team has made up their own. Because why not.
“Alright, so let’s get started. Hardison?” Nate prompted, and nodded toward the blank bank of screens.
Alec wandered wearily out to the front of the room – he loved his job, but they’d been going without a break for weeks now, and they were all feeling the strain – and raised an eyebrow at Nate.
“What?” Nate asked, tilting his head to the side, all over-exaggerated innocence, and Alec didn’t know where they all got off saying he was the one who overplayed his roles.
Alec rolled his eyes and shook his head, holding out a hand. “Gimme my clicker, Nate,” he grumbled.
Nate blinked at him, eyes wide, and held up his empty hands, which had been clasped together in his lap. “I don’t have it,” he replied mildly.
Alec frowned, checked his pockets, then looked to the rest of the team. “Alright, then where…” He trailed off into silence at the sight of them, Sophie and Eliot and Parker, all lined up in a row behind the counter, smirking at him, hands clasped together in front of them. As he started to frown suspiciously, Nate joined them, jostling elbows and sharing grins with Eliot and Parker as he squeezed in between them, settling his clasped hands on the bench as well.
Hardison didn’t like it when they all smirked at him. He liked to be on the side of the smirkers. “Okay, which one of you has it?” he demanded. “My time is valuable, I don’t have all day.”
Their smirks just got smirkier, and none of them answered him. Sophie looked up towards the ceiling and murmured in a quiet sing-song, “Button, button, who’s got the button?”
“Oh, hell no,” Hardison snapped. “This ain’t preschool, and I am not playin’, people. Hand it over.”
And just… more smirking. Eliot looked like he hadn’t had this much fun in years.
“Okay, fine. Fine! Messin’ with my stuff, that ain’t right, but let’s just get this over with,” Alec gave up, throwing his hands in the air before settling them on his hips to survey his irritatingly bright-eyed teammates.
“Sophie, do you have my clicker?” he asked with strained politeness.
“No, sorry,” she said with a grin, opening her empty hands and spreading them wide in a graceful gesture before returning them to their previous position.
Okay, that only left two of them. Alec shook off his frustration. This dumb game would be over in a minute and they could get back to business.
“Eliot, do you have my clicker?” he asked, with a wide fake smile.
Eliot raised his eyebrows and grinned in that way Alec suspected he thought was adorable, and lifted his own hands in a brisk, efficient motion, revealing… nothing. “What would I want your little doohickey for?” he scoffed, yes, scoffed, the jerk, and Alec would be more annoyed by that if it didn’t look like maybe messing with Alec had made Eliot forget for a moment about the bruises on top of bruises he’d been collecting lately.
Alec shook his head and rolled his eyes. “Whatever, man. Okay, Parker, let me have it so we can get this show on the road.”
“Let you have what?” Parker asked brightly. Alec raised a brow pointedly at her, and she opened her hands with an impish grin, revealing… also nothing.
“…and I repeat, oh, hell no,” Alec said irritably. “I was willing to play along with y’all’s little moment of regression, but this is not how the game is played. Whoever has it has to give it up, and you can’t pass it around – ”
“Whoever has what?” Eliot interrupted, looking earnestly curious and doing an annoyingly convincing job of it.
“Mm, I think Hardison misplaced his keys?” Sophie suggested, smiling sympathetically at him.
“No, his wallet,” Parker declared cheerfully, which made Alec check his back pocket, which was of course empty. Parker winked at him. Girl was a menace.
“Ah, no, I think what he’s looking for is his clicker,” Nate pointed out, sounding dryly amused. He grinned at Alec, and there was a spark of mischief in his eyes Alec hadn’t seen for a while.
“Clicker?” Eliot repeated, as if he’d never heard of such a thing. Seriously, the man did deadpan way too well. Probably because it had ‘dead’ in it.
“Clicker?” Parker echoed, not half as convincingly and frowning too hard.
“Who’s got the clicker?” Sophie asked distractedly, putting Eliot’s acting skills to shame. She bumped her shoulder companionably into Eliot’s, who flashed her the grin that Alec would never tell him actually was sort of adorable.
Alec set aside his aggravation for a moment and took in the sight of his team, rubbing shoulders and exchanging smiles and just generally looking relaxed and happy and like they were having a good time. He had to admit, he liked seeing that.
He’d just like it better if they weren’t making him play the straight man.
“This is not cool,” he informed Parker and Eliot petulantly. They were supposed to be his partners in crime. “Why you gotta mess with me? We should be messin’ with Nate, he asks for it.”
“Jesus, don’t pout,” Eliot muttered, rolling his eyes. “If you’re gonna dish it out, you gotta be able to take it, man.”
“I don’t dish it out,” Alec muttered. “I am a consummate professional, thank you very much.”
He chose to ignore Parker’s loud burst of laughter.
“It was Nate’s idea, we had to let him play,” Sophie informed him, leaning around Eliot to share a smile with Nate.
“Besides, if we let you be on this side, the game would be over too quickly,” Nate said.
“Wait, what? Why?” Alec demanded.
The other three looked at Eliot expectantly. Eliot leaned back in his seat, raising his still-clasped hands and settling them behind his head as he smiled like a cat with canary feathers hanging out of its mouth. “Because,” he said smugly, “you have a tell.”
Alec stared at him in shock for a moment, almost struck speechless by this blatant slur upon his character. “You – I – we never even played this game before, how could you know if I – Dammit, Eliot!” he yelled finally, when frustration stole all his no doubt brilliant arguments.
Eliot smiled wide and bright, like a little kid who came downstairs on Christmas and found a pony in the living room. He turned to Nate and informed him solemnly, “This is officially your best plan ever.” Nate grinned back at him.
“People! I do not have a tell in Who’s got the damn button!” Hardison insisted, barely restraining the urge to stomp his foot for emphasis. That was a little too teenage girl for him. And punching the monitors would be a little too Eliot. Plus, they were really nice monitors. And it would probably hurt a lot.
“You probably do, actually,” Sophie told him gently. “Your tell is somewhat… universal.”
“It’s kind of obvious,” Parker agreed, nodding sagely.
“You should really work on that,” Nate added.
Eliot just kept grinning.
Alec tipped his head back and scowled at the ceiling for a minute, and then… he let it go. The frustration and annoyance, the pressure and stress that had been building up lately. He lowered his head and watched his team, his family, grinning and giggling like a bunch of kids, and… yeah. It was worth being the butt of the joke, just this once. Because he knew they weren’t really laughing at him, they just needed to laugh.
He shook his head and smiled ruefully. “Okay, alright, you’re all very funny,” he conceded. “But we do have bad guys to take down, so if you wouldn’t mind, I do kinda need my clicker.”
“Clicker?” Nate asked with a puzzled frown.
“Clicker?” Eliot and Sophie repeated in unison, facing one another and apparently trying to see who could produce the best expression of blank innocence.
“Who’s got the clicker?” Parker yelled, scowling like a fierce kitten as she peered around the room, as if some nefarious clicker-burglar might be hiding in a corner.
“Alright, that’s it. When you all decide you’re ready to act like grown up criminals instead of juvenile delinquents, I’ll be in my happy place,” Alec declared, crossing his arms and closing his eyes tightly.”Which involves white sandy beaches and supermodels and fruity drinks with umbrellas,” he added loudly over the sound of laughter that erupted at this announcement.
And maybe he had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling, because he didn’t need to think about beaches and supermodels. Because his real happy place was right there, surrounded by his family, all of them safe and happy and whole.
He was going to make them all damn sorry for messing with his clicker, though.