Problems and Their Solutions

I've burned down every bridge that I've found
Now I limit myself to a six gun quota
I've played down every feelin' I've felt
And I bottled them up 'til the well ran over.

Seether – 6 Gun Quota

The problem with Eliot is that he never gives you a straight answer.

When Aimee asked: “Where have you been?”, he said: “Working”, and meant: “I was in a Chinese prison for two years, and they pulled all my toenails out, and Buddhist monks saved my life.“

When Nate asked: “What happened to you?”, he said: “How was I supposed to know it was a lesbian bar?”, and what he meant was: “I killed three men tonight, and I don't want to talk about it.“

When Alec asks: “What the hell is going on in your head?”, he says nothing at all, just stares at him with this expression of exasperated confusion, as if he just can't understand why Alec would want to know that. It's annoying.

The problem with Alec is that he always says what he's thinking.

“It's so – annoying”, he says, in the kitchen of their new office in Portland, Oregon.

Eliot has been rummaging around in the fridge in search of a beer. Now he straightens, tilts his head and raises a brow in the way that annoys Alec even more. “What is?“

“You”, Alec bursts out angrily, “you are.”

Eliot sighs and puts his unopened bottle down on the kitchen counter. “What did I say?”

Alec gestures widely, arms flapping. “Nothing!” And who cares if he’s almost shouting. “You didn’t say anything. You never do, man. You never talk. And that’s – you can’t – you can’t just disappear for three months and then not say anything!”

“I thought that was the idea”, Eliot says, and his face is completely blank. “You know – to disappear. Scatter. Lay low.”

“But we are not scattered now!” Alec snaps. “And you know where I was. What I did. Because I told you. Days ago.”

“Hardison”, Eliot says, and he sounds as if he's still trying to understand what this is about. “Alec. Don’t tell me you don’t know where I was. Don’t tell me you didn’t look me up.”

Alec shakes his head. “It’s not -” enough, he wants to say. “It's not the same”, is what he says instead. Of course Alec looked him up, checked on his whereabouts at least once a week; but what he found didn’t reassure him as much as it scared him, and he needs Eliot to tell him something. Because he still has nightmares featuring Eliot that make Saw look like a Pixar movie. And because he and Eliot used to sleep together – even if Eliot doesn’t seem to remember.

“Believe me, you really don’t want to know more than you already do”, Eliot says, and if Alec was annoyed before, he is furious now. Eliot might suffer from memory loss or simply a severe cause of self denial, but that is not a reason to treat Alec like a child.

“Maybe I do”, he replies angrily, and Eliot sighs and runs a hand through his hair.

“Look”, he says, sounding pained, and resigned at the same time, “can we maybe not do this here?”

“Hell, no”, Alec starts heatedly, because if he lets Eliot get away now, they are never going to talk about this again; but Parker chooses this very moment to wander into the kitchen, looking completely innocent, as if she hasn't been lurking outside the door the whole time, which is the best evidence that she has.

“Are you guys done yet?” she asks, sounding bored, and starts going through the cupboards systematically. God knows what she's looking for.

“Yes”, Eliot grunts, “we are done”, and walks away, leaving his beer and Alec behind.

The problem with being part of a team of thieves is that you never know who is going to be in your apartment when you get home.

Sure, Alec has an alarm system installed that tells him if the door has been opened while he was away, but it doesn’t tell him who walked through, and Parker has other ways to get in anyway.

The first time he came home to a supposedly empty apartment and found Parker on his couch with a bowl of popcorn, watching an Oz rerun on TV, he freaked and gave her a stern and completely useless lecture about privacy.

But he got used to the surprise visits after a while – and now, the real problem is that for the last few months, he came home, night after night, and kept being disappointed when nobody was there.

Tonight, whoever it is came through the door, so it’s not as if he isn’t prepared; but he still is surprised to find Eliot zapping through the channels, nursing a cup of coffee, feet on the couch table like he belongs there. After Alec’s outburst at the office, he expected Eliot to avoid him for the next few days, not turn up in his living room watching TV.

Eliot takes his feet off the table when Alec walks into the room (though Alec is sure that he heard him as soon as he put his key into the lock), and sets his mug down on a copy of Wizard issue #211. Alec thinks of the water stains and swallows his protest.

“You are not here to kill me, aren't you?” he asks. It's meant to be a joke – a lame one, admittedly – but Eliot just shakes his head without even a hint of a smile.

“There's coffee”, he says, so Alec nods and heads for his kitchen; the new one that is far too big for someone who usually lives off take-out and Pop Tarts, and really only makes sense with a person in it who can cook. When he returns, the TV is turned off, but Eliot is still on the couch, arms crossed over his chest.

“What do you want to know?” Eliot asks, and Alec is so thrown by the non sequitur that he almost drops his coffee.

“Uhm, what??”

“What do you want to know?” Eliot repeats, quietly. “Come on, just ask me. I promise I'll give you an honest answer. Whatever it is.”

For a second, Alec just stares. Eliot looks calm and relaxed, but there's something subdued, almost sad about him too, and for the first time, Alec notices that his hair is a bit longer, his face a bit thinner. There's a new scar, barely visible under the strands of hair, running over the left side of his forehead, and Alec has to swallow against the surge of want in his chest.

“Did you miss me at all?” he asks, and Eliot blinks and chokes out a sort of laughter.

“I tell you that you can ask me anything you want and this is what you want to know?”

“Well, did you?” Alec asks, raising his chin.

Eliot sighs tiredly and lifts a hand. “Com'ere” he says, and Alec wants to refuse, but he still finds himself setting down his mug, and moving around the table, coming to stand in front of the couch, and Eliot reaches up and pulls him down, into his lap and into a kiss.

Whenever Alec imagined their reunion – during those long months when it was just him, his hand and gay porn – he always thought it would be frantic, fast; a quick, passionate fuck against the fridge, or on the pool table, leaving them both with bite marks and ruffled clothes.

This, though, is anything but frantic. Eliot takes his time; kisses him thoroughly, deeply; licks the throat that Alec bares for him, removes his t-shirt with slow, strong hands; and Alec surrenders willingly.

He ends up undressed, stretched out on the king in his bedroom, a naked Eliot kneeling between his legs; their cocks both hard and erect, straining towards each other, light and dark, touching just so when Eliot bends down to suck one of Alec's nipples into his mouth.

“Missed this”, Eliot murmurs, between two licks, and he works Alec's nipples with his teeth, hands moving over his ribs, down to his hips and back again, until Alec's moaning and squirming and pulling Eliot's hair. And Eliot lets go and moves, sitting back on his heels, and then suddenly grips Alec's hipbones and flips him over easily, like Alec is one of the pancakes he makes for breakfast.

Alec thinks about complaining, but Eliot is already running his hands over his ass, spreading his cheeks apart, and when his tongue licks a wet stripe along his crack, and then inside, deep, eager, spearing him open, Alec thinks he might just let it go.

The problem with fucking someone who has serious trust issues – and having more than a few issues of your own – is that no matter how much you secretly wish it was more, it usually keeps being just about sex. Or at least, you both keep pretending successfully.

It's why their encounters – back then, before – always tended to end in a similar way: A shower (separately), a soda (together), a last kiss in the hallway, and then the sound of the door: to Alec's apartment, to Eliot's place, to one of their offices at the HQ.

So, after they've both come – Alec so hard he saw stars, Eliot tensing and shuddering above him, groaning his name against his left shoulder blade, Alec sort of expects him to get up and head for the bathroom.

Eliot, however, stays where he is, just shifts so that not his complete weight is on Alec – but he still has trapped Alec effectively in place; his chest pressing into Alec's back, one leg slung over his thighs, one arm coming around his shoulders. And as much as Alec enjoys the closeness, the almost-not quite-cuddling, he soon realizes that he can't even turn his head enough to see Eliot's face; and he figures that maybe this is exactly what Eliot planned.

“You know”, Eliot says eventually, and his voice is low and hoarse, “working with the wrong people is so much more dangerous than working alone.”

He moves a hand to the back of Alec’s head, combing his fingers through the short tight curls in an absent-minded caress, fingers curling like he’s scratching a cat, and Alec turns into the touch.

“I forgot”, Eliot says. “I had gotten so used to working with a team that I didn’t think straight when this guy I knew came up to me in Cairo, told me that he needed a partner. I checked him out, and he seemed fine, so I agreed.” He laughs quietly, humorlessly, his breath tickling Alec’s neck. “Turns out my research skills aren't worth shit these days. The job went smoothly enough, but ... maybe he was pissed because I wouldn't fuck him, maybe he'd planned it from the beginning .... anyway, he ratted me out, and next thing I know, the CIA had gotten their hands on me.”

“The CIA”, Alec says, shaking his head a bit. It's awkward, with his head bent at this weird angle. “I didn't know they were looking for you.”

And damn, how did that happen? Because Alec knows that the Chinese want Eliot's head (literally), and that the people in Croatia think he's a hero – there's even a song about him, and it's too bad that Eliot has never seen Firefly, and just doesn't get why Alec thinks it's hilarious – but anyway, the point is, he really should know that the CIA is after him, too.

“They weren't”, Eliot says. “Crossed paths with them a few times in Eastern Europe, in the early nineties. But I looked different back then, and apparently they thought I was dead. Until Tucker told them I wasn't.”

He sighs. “The CIA – their guys are good. Well, not always good at doing, you know, their actual job, but they are really skilled when it comes to making people talk. And letting them disappear afterwards. So I figured that there wasn’t a big chance I’d make it out. Sure, they’d keep me alive for a few days, try to find out what I knew – but they’d certainly not let me walk away.”

Alec can't help it, he tenses and bucks. He understands that Eliot doesn't want him to see his face, but hell, knowing where Eliot has been while Alec was busy hacking into Sarah Palin's bank account and donating a few hundred thousand for the rescue of baby seals and teenaged mothers in her name – he really needs to look at him.

And Eliot allows himself to be pushed off without protest, as if he expected the move, doesn't object when Alec turns and twists; but his eyes are everywhere except on Alec when he starts to talk again.

“So they, you know – they tortured me, and when I didn’t talk, they took a break to give me time to consider my options. They put me in a cell, and I could barely stand, but they cuffed me and had a guard stay with me anyway.” He chuckles quietly. “I guess I should feel flattered that they still considered me a threat.”

He falls silent, staring at the wall behind Alec’s head. Alec raises a hand, pushes strands of hair out of Eliot’s face to trace the scar on his forehead with his fingertips, and Eliot swallows and closes his eyes.

“Well, the guard wasn't quite that careful”, he continues, eyes still shut. “He didn’t bother me much, which was alright, I guess, but if I'd been his boss, I'd have fired him. He kept bringing his laptop, playing computer games. On the second day, I was lucid enough to realize that it was World of Warcraft, and I started watching him play.”

He finally opens his eyes, looking at Alec for the first time since he started to talk.

“And I sat there for hours, watching him interact with all those weird characters, and -” he stops, clenches his jaw. “And damn, but all I could think about was that maybe one of them was you; that maybe you were this purple girl with the huge tits and the long ears or that clumsy bearded dwarf; and that maybe this was the last time I got to see you, even if it was just your character in a stupid computer game; and I wouldn't even know, because I had never bothered asking for your user name.”

Eliot looks away, and Alec stares at his profile for a long time.

“How did you get out?” he whispers finally, and Eliot shrugs.

“Killed the guard. Broke his neck with the chain on my cuffs.” He raises a hand, his fingers grazing Alec's cheekbone, moving gently down over his jaw, along his throat. “Killed three other guys on my way out.” His hand closes around Alec's neck for a second, without pressure, before dropping to his collarbone. “Sometimes I wonder why you don't hate me.”

Alec slaps his hand away. “You stupid fuck”, he growls angrily. “I don't hate you. Do you have any idea how scared I was when I realized that I had lost your trace?”

Eliot sighs. “I'm sorry.”

“You better be”, Alec hisses. “I didn't know where you were, if you were hurt, if you were still alive, and there was nothing I could do, nothing. I went and bought a freaking cake when you showed up on Cyprus again. Don't disappear like that again, you hear me?” He leans forward to press a hard kiss on Eliot's lips, and then he rolls over and out of bed.

“What are you doing?” Eliot asks, sounding puzzled and slightly suspicious, and Alec stops looking for his boxer shorts long enough to throw up his hands.

“What do you think?” he snaps. “I'm going to hack into the CIA's database and wipe your file.”

Eliot raises a brow. “You can do that?”

“Watch me” Alec says challengingly, and Eliot smiles.

“I always do”, he says softly, and all of a sudden, Alec feels like crying.

“It's going to take me a while”, he says, busying himself with his underwear. “So if you feel like throwing something together in the kitchen, I won't complain.”

When he finally trusts himself enough to look up again, Eliot is looking at him with dark, intense eyes. “Maybe some stew”, he says, and Alec laughs.


~~~~~~~~ Back to Leverage ~~~~~~~~



This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola