Title: My Death of A Thousand Cuts
Fandom: Supernatural, Leverage, Angel: The Series
Pairings: Eliot Spencer/Lindsey McDonald, Parker/Alec Hardison Nathan Ford/Sophie Devereaux
Word Count: 1880
Summary: The mastermind gets a wake-up call. Set after The Boost Job mentions of earlier episodes.
He stared after Nate incredulous. After being hit by a car, thrown in the harbor, and taking out the bad guys, all Nate could say was ‘Bring that back to office with you.’. Tossing the cardboard picture at him as he wiped blood off his face.
He picked up the cardboard Nathan because they needed to clear out anything that hadn’t been in the dealership before their con … Not because Nate asked him.
He’d just started to relax, and was working off his irritation over Parker’s shouted ‘Get over it!’, and the sting of the thief’s betrayal when Nate started in about the car.
He fell into character … The person they all expected to see. Guess that meant he was a better grifter than Sophie if the people closest to him couldn’t see the blood seeping from the hundreds of small cuts they’d been inflicting for the past two years.
Now as they drifted together as couples their disregard cut deeper. The blood flowed freely, draining his spirit, weakening his heart.
Standing outside McRory’s he watched … His hand absently rubbing his cracked and bruised ribs as they ate breakfast. He thought about joining them, but their body language practically screamed their togetherness so he turned and climbed the stairs as silently as he descended.
Parker’s head snapped around as her eye caught a brief flash of movement.
“Parker, are you even listening?” Alec’s tone was close to a whine.
“Yeah—sure. You do the what with the thing so can, you know.” She flapped her hand in the air as she continued to look out the window.
“What are you looking at?”
“Thought I saw someone outside.” Parker walked over to the window and looked up and down the street.
“Who?” Nate asked, his attention drawn by her movement.
“Thought I saw Eliot.”
“Why didn’t he come in?”
“Maybe you just thought you saw him.” Sophie suggested.
Parker rolled her eyes at the grifter. “Think we should check on him?” She asked absently as she went back to her breakfast.
“He didn’t say nothin’.” Alec chimed in.
“About what?” Nate asked.
“He got hit by a car when he was getting away from the guys with guns at the docks.” Parker hitched her shoulder.
“Then he took a header into the harbor.” Hardison finished.
Nate paled slightly as Sophie gave a little gasp. “Why didn’t we hear any of this?” Nate glowered at the youngest.
“EMP shut down his ear bud then the dunk in the harbor fried it.” Alec shrugged.
“Then he beat up Lefty.” Parker’s grin was satisfied if a tad sadistic.
“Then we treated him like an errand boy when we were doing the clean-up.” Sophie stated flatly.
She looked over at Nate.
“Why were on him about the car?”
“It’s just a guy thing.”
“Eliot didn’t seem to think so.”
“It wasn’t serious.” Nate sputtered.
“Did he take the car home?” She raised her eyebrows.
“He always rides his bike when the weather’s good.” Parker laid down her fork. Four sets of eyes tuned on her. “His bike’s still parked by the car.” She ducked her head.
They were still staring when she peeked from under her bangs.
“He seemed fine last night.” Hardison reassured them as his thumb raced over the keys on his phone.
“He was mad. He growled, beat up some guys and got over it.” Parker looked around the table. “Why’s everyone upset?” The changeable eyes zeroed in on Sophie.
Hardison frowned at whatever he was looking at on his phone.
“Hardison?” Nate didn’t like the look on his face.
“Parker, sweetie, Eliot always seems to get ‘over it’.” Sophie reminded. “He doesn’t really let us see when he’s hurt. Even when we were in Nebraska he barricaded himself away.”
“Why don’t you drag things out of him like you do me? You’re always telling me how I’m supposed to act and think.”
“I was watching the video from in here last night. Eliot was kinda holdin’ himself funny…Like he was bein’ careful how he moved.” He punched a couple buttons. “E, call when you get this.”
He looked up to see them all watching him.
“Seriously.” Nate asked. “He lets you call him E?”
“Since I played Sidney Poitier to his Tony Curtis.” Alec snapped.
Nate spit his coffee as the women just looked confused.
Hardison frowned at Sophie. “I expect Parker to not know, but you’re actress. You know The Defiant Ones … Black guy … White guy handcuffed together running through the woods.” He held up his wrist, which showed still healing bruises and the scar where Eliot cut his hand.
“Does Eliot’s wrist still look that bad?” Sophie frowned.
Hardison shrugged. “Don’t know. He stitched my hand, gave me some salve for my wrist and told me everything else was bumps and bruises.”
“You go to the doctor?” Nate asked.
“Eliot’s better than a doctor.” Parker chirped. “He doesn’t make you answer stupid questions. He just knows what’s wrong and fixes you.”
“Eliot?” Sophie sounded incredulous.
“He’s got a lot of boring books.”
“How do you know Eliot has boring books, Parker?” Alec asked feeling a twinge of jealousy.
“I’ve read some of them when I sleep at his house.” She felt their eyes, again. *Sheesh* “When I break in, he lets me stay.” She glared back at Hardison.
“What!?” She snapped. “He lets me practice on his security systems. Sometimes being the good guys is boring.” She wrinkled her nose at Nate.
Nate looked thoughtful as Parker gave up pieces of information like she giving away money.
Eliot sighed when he heard the phone ring. He really wasn’t fit company for anyone. He needed to pull himself out of this pit of maudlin self-pity. His logical mind knew he was exhausted, and that exhaustion was mental as well as physical. What started as minor bumps and bruises were compounding with no time to heal.
Nate had kept them pretty much on the con since that Italian bitch started blackmailing them. He was just about to the point of finding Moreau and taking him out himself, which would have Nate’s eyebrows crawling to his hairline, Sophie looking down her patrician nose at him, Parker yelling, ‘Way to go, Sparky’, while Alec tried not to lose his lunch.
The phone continued to vibrate against the wooden table top. Only four people had that number, and he didn’t feel the need to talk to any of them at the moment.
He looked out over the city, absently running his hand over his sore ribs. He glanced in his bedroom, catching sight of the duffel that always sat packed by the door. Making a decision, he moved gingerly to pick up the bag. Never looking at the phone, the door clicked quietly behind him.
The heavy wood door swung open before he could knock. The beautiful face surrounded by soft brown curls that appeared reminded Eliot of a Raphael portrait.
The man in the doorway smiled widely then frowned when he felt the darkness trying to cover Eliot’s normally bright self. Strong arms pulled the retrieval specialist out of the noon day sun and into the cool shadows of the house.
Eliot relaxed for the first time in a month as he drew in the scent that was home and love in one handsome package.
“Get undressed.” The tone was firm, the accent cultured with just a touch of the south peeking through.
“Hello to you, too, Darlin’.” Eliot smirked.
“We’ll get to that after I check your ribs and whatever else you’re hiding under your redneck armor.”
“Lin…” Fingers covered his lips.
“Hush. In the bedroom, clothes off … Now.” His tone brooked no argument.
Stripped to his wife beater and briefs, Eliot stretched out on the big bed to wait. In the span of a few breaths he was asleep.
He smiled at the sight that greeted him. It’d been a month since Eliot’s last visit and he’d missed the Hitter terribly. The smile soon turned to a frown as he began cataloging bruises, cuts, and scrapes. A growl that was usually heard emanating from the sleeping man slipped from between full lips when he saw the bandage wrapped around Eliot’s wrist.
A trip to Boston was in his future. After all he and Eliot survived, Nathan Ford was not going to be the reason he lost Eliot. A predator’s smile graced his face as he wrapped around his retrieval specialist. He was bored with New York … Now was a good time to plan a move to Boston.
“Hardison?!” Nate’s voice was filled with frustration.
“Workin’ here.” The hacker glowered over top his monitor. “Eliot is the best at what he does—including disappearing into thin air. He knows I’ll be lookin’ … He knows how I work and he’ll be careful not to slip up. He’ll probably be back before I have time to sift through facial recognition programs from the transport hubs, not even considering he might have driven out of town.”
Nate managed to look sheepish. “You’re right. When I think of disappearing, I usually think of Parker—not Eliot.”
Alec stopped typing and closed the lid on his laptop. Since the hypnotism stunt Nate had pulled on him, the hacker had lost a lot of respect for the older man. His feelings for Parker and his deepening friendship with Eliot gave him the push to prove he wasn’t the rambley unfocused kid he’d been when they first came together.
“You been pushin’ us hard, Nate. I know you got this Moreau thing hangin’ over our heads like the Sword of Damocles, but you gotta let up. Eliot and Parker, man, they’re gettin’ all the heavy liftin’ and you ain’t givin’ them or any of us time to recharge.”
Nate narrowed his eyes thoughtfully as Hardison pressed his point. Besides, there wasn’t much they could do until Eliot decided to return. He turned to refill his glass to find Parker staring at him her face expressionless, dark circles making her look like one of those big eyed kitten paintings.
Eliot woke warm and with something tickling his nose. He started to draw a deep breath until his ribs let their unhappiness at his movement be known. The smell filling his senses caused everything that had tensed at his awakening to relax. He could feel the thousand bleeding, seeping wounds begin to heal. He buried his nose deeper into the soft curls and closed his eyes.
The next time he woke, a large suitcase was sharing his bed. Owner of said suitcase came out of the walk-in closet with an armload of clothes, which were then neatly placed in the suitcase. Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he gingerly rose from the bed. He glowered at the younger man as he moved slowly to the bathroom. Holding an armful of ties, the lawyer returned the glower with a smile that made Eliot’s blood race.
A hot shower and he was beginning to feel more human than he had in a month. Wrapped in a towel, he headed to his duffel.
“Where are you going?” Eliot tried to appear nonchalant.
Blue eyes twinkled. “Boston.” He walked back in the closet.
Storm cloud eyes narrowed. *Fuck*
~ Fini ~