Characters: Eliot Spencer; Alec Hardison; Parker; Nathan Ford; Sophie Devereaux
Word Count: 623
Summary: Comment fic prompt: Shades of grey
As a child, his world was full of bright vivid colors. All his worries centered on taking care of his baby sister.
The colors of his world muted the day the men came to the door to tell mama that daddy had been killed in the explosion at the refinery. His mama became a pale shadow of herself so she took the oil company’s money, packed up her children and moved them to her family’s home in Kentucky.
Living with his grandparents brushed the grief off the colors in his world. His grandfather was a congenial man who taught his grandson magic tricks with handcuffs, locks, and knots. Soon there wasn’t a knot the boy couldn’t slip or a lock he couldn’t pick.
His grandmother was the picture of a southern belle with her genteel manners and charisma that could charm man or beast. He learned a lot could be hidden behind a smile and a polite drawl. Many a piece of penny candy made its way into his pockets with a polite small talk with Mrs. Madsen, who ran the general store.
The year he starts middle school, the colors shift again. His mother remarries. Using the lessons learned at his grandparents’ knees he watches his step-father. He isn’t a bad man, he treats his mama and toddler sister with respect and affection, but he is indifferent to her son. When the new baby is born, he spends much of his time with his grandparents.
It seems the older he gets the more color bleeds from his world. When his grandparents die within a year of each other his world starts to resemble the old pictures in his grandmother’s photo albums.
He takes the names his grandparents gave him, and leaves Kentucky.
By the time he escapes his captors in Myanmar his world is shades of black. Color starts to leak into his world the closer he gets to the Martin’s training stables. He stops at the barn and starts to get out of his rental when he sees Aimee kissing a man. The sun flashes off a ring. The color of the world returns to black.
An email with an offer brings him back to the states.
He knows Parker and Hardison by their reputations. He’s been chased by but never caught by the man sitting across the table.
Nathan Ford was every thief’s nightmare. He could crawl in your brain and figure out your moves before you made them.
When the job was done, he walked away with enough money to do whatever and become whoever he wanted. Instead he let his curiosity lure him back into the company of three of the most annoying busybodies he’d ever met.
Slowly the black becomes variegated. Though Nate stays in various stages of inebriation, they cautiously develop a friendship.
Nate loved puzzles. The puzzle of Eliot Spencer kept drawing him into the hitter’s presence as he continued to swear he was not a thief.
What he thought was a simple toddler’s puzzle had become a 1,000 piece 3-D puzzle with no picture. The more pieces he put together, the deeper he was drawn.
Despite Eliot’s best efforts, color began to peek through the darkness as his anger recedes. He does something he hasn’t done since he lived with his grandparents. He relaxes his guard. Parker’s insane quirkiness tickles his sense of the absurd to where it allows her to pick the lock on the vault where the retrieval specialist keeps his heart.
Just as his world was beginning to look like everyone else’s, Sophie slapped them in the face with the fact they weren’t normal.
As they turned and walked away, Eliot’s world of color bled to shades of grey.
~ Fini ~