because she fooled them all into thinking she was a man

(Headcanons: Hardison’s a trans man. Eliot’s genderqueer and uses they/them. Parker is agender and uses she/her, mostly because she always has and doesn’t care much).

It’s not a secret, but they don’t seem to know, so Alec doesn’t tell them.

Eliot Spencer, good ol’ country boy, and Parker, sometimes sweet, but always poking at things other people might know to leave alone. Sophie Devereaux who exploits any weakness because that’s her job, and Nate Ford, who might be a good guy but there’s a whole lot of ruthless under there, and, besides, good guy doesn’t mean tolerant.

No thank you. Alec’ll keep his business to himself.

His IDs are iron-clad anyways. No one ever has to know. No one but Nana, and if any fool thinks they can make Nana tell them shit, they’re in for a rude awakening. Nana’s proud of her trans kid, tells Alec she’s proud of his strength all the time. The old woman marches in Pride every year, marches for her trans son. But she wouldn’t give away shit about him to strangers.

He passes well, evidently. And he appreciates that, the kid inside him who got the shit beat out of him one too many times appreciates it. He won’t lie, not if they ask, but they’re not asking and Alec’s not telling.

It might change too many things.

*

Eliot didn’t have words for what they felt until they were already past thirty. The words they knew were all slurs, thrown around in their hometown, in the military, in the mercenary groups they used to work with.

Eliot would have tried to explain it in long tripping sentences, except they never would have tried to explain it, because there was no one to say that to. Gender is confusing. They’re not sure what masculinity is except they’re expected to perform it. Sometimes it feels okay. Sometimes it feels wrong. Sometimes, they like the girly things, the things they’re absolutely supposed to hate, because they feel like it fits better.

(It was also well after thirty before Eliot understood that they’re not the only person in the world to see nothing wrong with long, well-cared for hair, soft makeup, and bloody combat boots and knuckles).

Eliot doesn’t breathe a word to their new crew, even if they’re pretty sure they understand the words now. This is personal, and crews aren’t for personal things. No one is, really. But the crew expects them to perform, so Eliot ditches the makeup and puts on the role.

Besides, words or no words, it’s confusing and the explanation following those words is still long. They wouldn’t understand.

*

Parker doesn’t get why people care so much.

She used to watch families, whether she was living with them or not, and people really, really like rules. Parker likes rules too, but she likes rules that make sense, and rules that say you have to do this or that or be this or that based on how your body looks seem silly and unnecessary.

They show only two options, but Parker’s always liked option number three, always chosen it when at all possible, so she draws what feels right from both, makes some stuff up, and creates that option for herself.

So she’s Parker. Just Parker. People call her she or her, like she fits in one of those boxes, but Parker supposes they can’t call her by her name all the time and doesn’t know what else they would call her.

Parker wishes the team would get it, would stop expecting her to fit into one of those boxes, would understand, but then again, they’re regular people, and regular people never do.

*

“Eliot!” Hardison calls, chasing the hitter down, who’s storming determinedly away. “Eliot, I…thank you. For punching him. For sticking up for me.”

Eliot does stop and turn at that. There’s blood on their knuckles still, and it’s not their own. It’s the blood of the bigoted asshole of a mark. Eliot probably shouldn’t have punched him, but they did anyways.

“I didn’t do it for you,” Eliot growls. “What the hell does that mean, sticking up for you? Why would I do it for you?”

“So…you did it for me?” Parker asks. They both turn, like she surprised them again.

Eliot’s brow furrows. “I did it for me,” they say, like the words are dragged out of them. “I should be used to hearing his shit and putting up with that shit but I did it anyways. There.”

“For you?” Hardison asks.

“Yeah, Hardison, I did it for my queer ass, happy now?”

Hardison blinks, then laughs. This, of course, does not engender the best reaction in Eliot, and Hardison’s smart enough to know it’ll cause problems.

“I’m not laughing at you,” he hurries to assure. “I’m…laughing at myself. That I didn’t tell you for so long because I was worried you’d react badly.”

“Tell me what, Hardison?” Eliot growls, clearly still a little hurt.

“I’m trans,” Hardison blurts. “I…yeah. I’m a trans man.”

Eliot stares for a few seconds. “Oh,” they say. They hesitate a few seconds longer. “I, uh. Sometimes I feel like a woman. I’m both. Definitely not just a guy. The word. It’s, uh. Genderqueer.”

“Thanks for telling me,” Hardison says, sincere as always.

“I don’t like either,” Parker adds, and they both turn to her. “I’m just…neither. I don’t care. They don’t matter to me.”

“Well, fuck me,” Eliot mutters. “We’re fuckin’ idiots.”

“Looks like it,” Hardison agrees. “Now, we can have a long talk about pronouns and what idiots we are over dinner, if you want.”

“Are you askin’ me to cook?” Eliot asks.

“Naw, thought I’d hit up a KFC, see what they have–” Hardison begins.

Eliot storms towards the kitchen, throwing a “fuck you, Hardison,” over their shoulder.

Parker and Hardison grin at each other. “We can plan jobs together now,” Parker says. “To steal from jerks like today.”

Hardison wraps an arm around her shoulders. “Like the way you think.”