Pairing/Characters: OFC - Jenny West, Nate, Sophie, Parker, Hardison, de-aged!Eliot (circa 5yrs)
Rating: U/G, gen-ish, very tame ;)
Word Count: 1,646 - according to Word
Disclaimer: Not mine...damnit!
Author's Notes: Written for a prompt on comment_fic: Leverage, De-Aged!Eliot/Team, Sophie and Nate attend the first Parents Day at Eliot's Kindergarden
I sort of...put all the team there. That poor teacher. XD
Summary: It's not like family friends haven't accompanied parents before – or, even, instead of, sometimes, if the parents were at work or otherwise busy...or simply didn't care.
She shakes Mr and Mrs Ford's hands politely and goes to shut the door to give them all a little privacy from the mingling crowd of parents outside when a young, blonde woman pushes her way in and makes a beeline for the Art Wall and a black man follows, rolling his eyes at Jenny as if they're the only two sane ones there.
“You'd think something about manners would have sunk in after the last three years, wouldn't you?” he says, pointedly, and the blonde woman sticks her tongue out at him before turning back to the kids' pictures.
“They're with us,” Mrs Ford says sweetly. She's English and full of poise as she sits down on one of the two adult-sized chairs in front of Jenny's desk. Mr Ford just raises one eyebrow at her as he joins his wife and Jenny shrugs and shuts the classroom door. It's not like family friends haven't accompanied parents before – or, even, instead of, sometimes, if the parents were at work or otherwise busy...or simply didn't care.
“Mr Ford, Mrs Ford,” she starts as she sits down, but gets cut off before she can say what a pleasure it is to finally meet them by the English woman shaking her head vigorously and Mr Ford shaking his.
And the younger of the two men, who snorts with barely-controlled laughter. The blonde woman doesn't say anything, just keeps staring at the artwork on the walls.
“Oh, we're not,” Mrs - not-Mrs Ford says.
“Really not,” Mr Ford says at the same time.
“Right,” Jenny says, a little weakly before she rallies. It's not like it's the first time, after all. “Then I take it you and...” her gaze flickers between Mr Ford and the other man.
“Aw, hell no,” the younger man says, wrinkling his nose.
“Language,” Jenny reprimands automatically, too used to dealing with 5-to-6-year-olds, before blushing slightly. “Sorry, force of habit. Uhm, if I may...”
“We're Eliot's family,” Mr Ford says kindly, though there's a note of steel running through it that makes it clear that this really isn't up for discussion any more.
“And Eliot's ours,” a voice behind Jenny says and she jumps. “And you can't keep him.”
She hadn't even noticed the blonde woman move, and yet now she's right behind Jenny.
“Parker,” Mr Ford says, rolling his eyes a little. “We talked about this.”
Parker glares at Jenny as she makes her way around the desk to perch next to the younger of the two men on one of the kiddie-height tables. “Well, she can't,” she mutters, still glaring balefully.
“Ms West,” the not-wife says calmly, “I think we started off on the wrong foot. My name's Sophie and this is Nate, Parker and...Alec.”
Behind Sophie and Nate, the Parker girl pokes Alec.
“She called you the wrong name,” she hisses in what was probably supposed to be a whisper and, yes, it had sounded like Sophie was used to calling Alec by a different name.
“Now, you were saying?” Sophie asks, the very picture of dedicated listening even as the poking behind her (“God damnit, girl, that hurts”) degenerates into a slapfight.
“Right, yes,” Jenny says, fumbling her notes. “Okay, well, first of all, Eliot is a delightful young boy, a real pleasure to have in the classroom,” she continues, warming to her subject and getting her flow back. At least none of them have hit on her yet, unlike that creepy Mr Ross. “He's really a credit to you. Uhm. All of you.”
“Thank you,” Sophie says, demurely. “We do try.”
Beside Sophie, Nate smiles a little. “They say it takes a village to raise a child.”
“They do indeed,” Jenny says, smiling at them all. She's still a little nervous but Eliot's one of her kids and if there's one thing Jenny West knows better than anything on the face of the planet, it's her kids. “However, I do have a couple of things I wanted to mention – nothing bad!” she hurries to ass as Parker lets Alec out of a headlock – the better to glare at her, apparently.
“Go on,” Nate says, quietly, but Jenny's noticed the way he's tensed up.
“Well, um, Eliot does have a propensity for forming the other children into some sort of...collective protective unit in the playground,” Jenny starts. Alec mutters something about 'Croatia' to Parker, who lets loose a bark of slightly unnerving laughter. “And there was that incident where he beat up Billy Drayton...”
Only Nate had attended that time – summoned into the school by the principal and sweeping back out again less than five minutes later after a good deal of talking at people with Eliot swept up into his arms like the gold cup at the end of a tournament. Only more valuable, Jenny remembers thinking, because the first thing Nate Ford had done was to check Eliot over for injuries and he hadn't scolded, not once, not beyond a look that passed between father and son like he was asking for and receiving a sit rep.
She thinks he didn't even see her, at the time – they certainly hadn't exchanged any words, Jenny just as flummoxed by whirlwind Nate Ford in protective papa bear mode as the principal.
“Which,” Nate says firmly but quietly, looking her straight in the eye, “was resolved. And Billy did apologise, in the end, for stealing Amy Jackson's cookies, I believe. And the kid's arm wasn't even broken.”
“Much,” Alec mutters, from where he's perched, and Parker giggles.
“Quite,” Jenny says, faintly. She can't help but sneak a look at the clock on the wall. Eliot's family are the last ones that she has to see, and then she can – finally – go home. “And I believe Eliot's started up a fund for abandoned cats? Amongst the children during recess, although I must admit it's proving to be quite popular with the teachers.” Probably, she thinks ruefully, the result of those big, blue eyes of Eliot's and his mass of hair.
“He has a kitten at home,” Sophie murmurs.
“Which one's Eliot's?” Parker asks. She's pointing straight at the Art Wall and the paintings that she was examining earlier.
“Uh, third from the left, middle row, I believe,” Jenny says, once more thrown by Eliot's...eclectic family. The girl springs up and wanders back over to the wall, seemingly not caring about the four people staring after her. Truthfully, it's not really a bad piece of work, especially given that Eliot's only five and Maryanne had used up all of the blue crayons the day before – or eaten them; you never could tell with Maryanne.
The children were asked to draw their families – in retrospect, Jenny thinks she probably should have expected this invasion of her classroom. There's a black-clad figure (or possibly a spider, Jenny hadn't been too sure at the time) holding what Eliot had very seriously told her was the Hope Diamond and hanging from the top corner of the page by carefully drawn lines that could possibly, now Jenny thinks about it, be rope or wires.
There's a bank of what might be computer or TV screens, and a man with eight arms – presumably, although she hadn't asked Eliot, to show how fast he's typing – and a man with wild grey and brown hair and a woman in a princess-style ball-gown with long, brown hair. The man's holding the hands of two little boys – one with short, blond hair and one with longer, messy brown hair like Eliot's. She hadn't thought Eliot had a brother and when she'd asked, he'd just shrugged, ducked his head and said 'that's Sam'...
Parker tilts her head first one way, then the other, then wanders back over to the rest of them. She shrugs.
“I'd steal it,” she says.
“Girl!” Alec exclaims.
“What?” she looks genuinely confused, like the poor woman can't figure out where she went wrong.
“You can't, you just...”
Jenny is very carefully not paying attention to that conversation.
Nate is staring at her. It's a very unnerving stare. Sophie – the not-Mrs Ford – has taken a compact out of her purse and is touching up her make-up in between bouts of telling Alec and Parker off for squabbling. Alec and Parker, meanwhile are ignoring Sophie in favour of arguing about what does and what does not constitute a proper conversational topic in the presence of a 'civilian'.
Jenny really doesn't want to know – Eliot's healthy and seems happy and content both at school and with his home-life, so she's not overly worried beyond the forming of an anti-bullying, cat-loving, communistic militia amongst her kids – and she's somewhat lost for something to say (other parents are doctors or office workers, not...some unholy blend of 'Ocean's 11' and 'The Thomas Crown Affair') so it's a relief when the door bangs open and Eliot charges in, running over to catapult himself onto his dad's lap, already babbling ten to the dozen about his day while Nate ineffectively tries to brush the cookie crumbs off of the front of Eliot's dungarees.
And the thought of a catapult... Jenny muses as she draws the parents' meeting to a close and starts trying to corral the lot of them out of the door, she was going to bring up the trebuchet and little Amber's pant-elastic, but that can really wait for another time.
Or never, she decides, shutting the door firmly behind Eliot's unusual family. 'Never' sounds good. Besides, it was probably teaching the kids about Physics. Or something.
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