Pairing: Parker/Eliot Spencer
While the canon pairings of Leverage tend to be more popular than most fandoms, I fell deeply in love with Parker/Eliot stories (or Parker & Eliot stories, but this is a shipper manifesto, so anyway). I like the dynamic between them. Both of them have a darkness, an edge to them, the others do not share. It speaks of old pains, buried hurts, and troubled souls. This shared well of shadows gives them an understanding of one another unmatched by the others. These two have the most to lose if the team falls apart – except possibly Nate. In my mind, these two have shown the greatest growth of the Leverage team – these broken souls have learned to trust and even depend on others. Betrayal will cut more deeply for them were it to happen.
No relationship would be possible for either unless they find a partner who can understand the depths and spirals of shadows they hold within.
Plus they have the benefit of also fitting the “opposites attract” trope.
Parker has taken her darkness and learned to throw herself to the sky in order to get around it. She is quite free-spirited and likely to vanish and reappear at will. She needs someone who can trust her while she roams and who will open the door (or window) when she decides to reappear.
Eliot, on the other hand, looked as his darkness and learned to barrel through it. He has a more solid personality, and prefers the direct approach to any problem. He needs someone who can remind him to enjoy a whimsical moment or two before settling back down.
Together they can complete one another. He gives her strength to lean upon and an anchor to reality when she needs to cast herself into the winds. She gives him spontaneity and a flight of fancy to remind him there is more to life than just getting through the day.
Eliot: Hey. It's a good thing it was us.
Parker: Because we'd leave him.
Eliot: Because they would've kept trying and they would've froze to death right next to him. Especially Hardison. So it was a good thing it was us. The two of us—we do things they can't…won't.
Parker: Does that make us bad?
Eliot: It makes us…us. Now, you can take that as a gift…or you can take it as a curse. And that's up to you.
Eliot: We're at the safe. Parker wants to take it out for dinner and drinks first.
Parker: [caressing the old safe] This is a Glenn-Reeder Prestige from the '20s... so many memories.
Parker: Hey, it's Peggy from the trial. She wants to have coffee next week. Mm, Alice made a friend.
Eliot Spencer: I'm gonna tell you one more time, *you* made a friend. Not Alice.
Parker: Oh, cool. Well, think she'll wanna steal a painting with me?
Parker: Cut off his arms. And his head. Yeah.
I want to kill him. Can we make that happen?
Eliot: Yeah. I can— I mean, I could…
Parker: Hey! I missed you guys! (she glomps Eliot)
Eliot: Oh! (chuckling) When do the happy pills wear off?
Parker: I missed you!
Fic Title: Unscathed
Why This Must Be Read: A one-shot H/C fic - When people know you're hurt, they have the advantage. Parker learns that not everyone is out to take it. I enjoyed this little story because it showcases Eliot's compulsive need to take care of his people, and his refusal to be put off.
"I have a killer headache, busted ribs and you gave me morphine, you bet your shiny tomato it feels like forever," Parker snapped back.
Fic Title: A Walk in the Park
Why This Must Be Read: A multi-chapter adventure fic - It started with a simple walk in the woods and admiring some of nature's beauty...like most things with any of the Leverage crew, it didn't stay that way. Now Parker and Eliot are running for their lives and coming to terms with each other. I enjoyed this story because it is one of the few multi-chapter COMPLETE stories showcasing Parker/Eliot. It also shows both of them, strengths and weaknesses alike. Oh, and Parker throws them both off a cliff.
"Everything in me is tellin' me that I should go, for your own good. To keep you safe," he took a deep breath and she could see how much it was costing him to say all of this out loud, "and I'm terrified I'm gonna screw this up and drive you away…but I'm doing my damnedest not to and so don't tell me to go."
Fic Title: Complex Saviour
Why This Must Be Read: Eliot's missing and not by his own choice. Parker gets to save him this time. I enjoyed seeing Parker as the rescuer, especially since Eliot usually does the saving/retrieving thing. Plus, Parker shows the depth of her affection when she parts with her most prized possession (other than Bunny) - money.
“Some things are more important than my money,” she told him softly. “Actually, it turns out only you are,” she amended, looking anywhere but at him.
Fic Title: Target Practice
Why This Must Be Read: Three words: Parker, Eliot, Zombies...the end of the world by Zombie Apocalypse started 88 days ago. Eliot is teaching Parker to shoot a rifle. This was written for me as a gift after I participated in an exchange. I loved it - both of them still being themselves despite the fact the team is having to stay ahead of an entirely different sort of enemy.
“This is good,” said Eliot after he could wait no longer. “We wait long enough, when you finally learn to shoot, it’ll be with live... well, to be fair, undead targets. Yeah, live undead targets. It’ll be awesome.”
Fic Title: Breathe
Why This Must Be Read: A one-shot H/C fic - Eliot doesn't cry...ever. The others don't understand how to help him, but Parker does. Sometimes he just needs to breathe. I love this little fic. It illuminates a small portion of the complexity that is Eliot Spencer while highlighting the connection between he and Parker. She's the one who gets him.
He just doesn’t remember how.
Fic Title: Yes Sir, No Sir
Why This Must Be Read: A one-shot angst(?) fic - Archie Leach returns to get help from Parker again, and Eliot's sick of the old man using her. I liked this fic despite the anger/angst in it. It basically has Eliot doing an intervention to show Parker she doesn't have to feel beholden to Archie any more. She has the team, and him in particular, to be her family.
As it was, she ran at the first sign of trouble, and was far too easily swayed by a man who should have been the father she needed and deserved, instead of a thoughtless Fagin to her Artful Dodger.
Fic Title: Two Steps Behind
Author: Ultra (seriously, just go read all her stuff)
Why This Must Be Read: A short sorrowful fic - Parker really doesn’t mind being followed when it's him. If I say too much, it will spoil the story, but it is a touching little scene about Eliot and his protective stance.
“Darlin’, you know I’m here ‘cause I’m always here,” he reminded her with a look she knew so well.
Fic Title: Once Upon a Time
Why This Must Be Read: A multi-chapter AU fic - In the author's description of the AU, "Think of this as Disneyfied Middle Ages." How the Leverage crew might look if they had come together when knights and ladies lived in a courtly manner. I really, really enjoyed this story...and I love how the ending tapers off, allowing the reader to imagine the next "chapter" of the crew's life. Parker and Eliot are the focus couple in this tale, and it is their tale which drives it.
And somewhere a little thief in a tattered rainbow dress waited for him to watch her dance.
Fic Title: Mr. & Mrs. Spencer
Author: Selene Antilles
Why This Must Be Read: A multi-chapter humor fic - It's the basic tale of how the parents come to town to visit their son and one of his coworkers pretends to be his girlfriend. The pretense gets lost and becomes reality as the story wraps up, but it has some really funny moments along the way.
Eliot sighed, dipping his chin to his chest so his hair hung over his face. Parker brushed some of it behind his ear, her fingers lingering at his temple. "I know. I'm sorry," he whispered, "I'm just-"
"Jittery? Like a Mexican jumping bean? Yeah, I'm aware."
Fic Title: Just to Show How Much He Cares
Why This Must Be Read: A short ficlet of fluff - No, really, it is very short (so short I’m not even quoting a line) and very fluffy. It kinds of makes you go "awww!" and is great for a bad day.
Fic Title: Bad Pennies
Genre: Angst to hopeful(?)
Why This Must Be Read: A one-shot pre-relationship fic - Eliot steals one of Parker's secrets accidentally. Parker doesn't react well and things go south. I enjoyed this fic because it shows how sometimes the path of life changes unexpectedly.
“But you’re different. We’re on the same crew. I know how you think. I knew that you just needed some time.”
Fic Title: Roll Away Your Stone
Why This Must Be Read: A one-shot friendship/pre-relationship fic - Parker can see things about Eliot even when he hides them from the others. More importantly, Parker keeps his secrets. I see this as pre-relationship, but I'm an P/E shipper. I love the "Parker-voice" in this story - she is pretty straightforward in her own head, but when she speaks aloud, it feels a little more sideways (much like the show).
His mouth isn’t smiling but his eyes are soft and crinkly, the way they get when he’s happy but doesn’t want to admit it.
Finally, a lovely little GIF that has been making the rounds. I'm not sure who originally made it, but I disclaim any ownership. I just really, really liked it! (I did create all the other graphics used though.)