The Way to a Man's Heart

Or, Five Times Eliot Spencer Cooked for Alec Hardison


“Do you know how much I paid for these fucking steaks?” Alec complains, carefully pressing the raw meat against Eliot's bashed up cheekbone. The bitching is supposed to distract him from the fact that his hands are shaking badly, but it doesn't help much. Today has been far too close, and he still feels nauseous when he remembers the sound of the gun butt smacking into Eliot's face.

“I'll buy you new ones”, Eliot slurs, reaching up with an unsteady hand, softly patting Alec's fingers and the steak. The pain killers are obviously working. A bit too well, actually, if the haiku Eliot starts to quote not much later is any indication – in Japanese, no less.

Clearly Alec is not supposed to take anything Eliot says tonight too seriously.

Which is why he is so surprised when he walks into his apartment four nights later to find Eliot in his kitchen, sliding two big steaks onto a platter full of croquettes and peas.

“Dude, what the hell?” Alec says. His mouth is already watering.

Eliot puts a full sauce jug on the table and looks up. The left side of his face is still swollen, bruises having turned yellow-green, but at least he can talk properly again.

“Promised I'd buy you steaks, didn't I?” he grins.

“I thought you were just hallucinating”, Alec admits, and then adds: “You didn't have to actually cook them.”

“Knowing you, you would have put them in the microwave”, Eliot says. “Would've been a shame to let you ruin two perfect steaks.” He turns around and takes two plates out of the cupboard. “You hungry?“

Alec smiles, accepting the unspoken thank you with a nod, and then he sits down and digs in.


“And how exactly are we supposed to get into the house?” Sophie asks skeptically, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Well …” Alec says, eyes firmly on the computer screen. “Mister I'm cheating on my wife with under-aged models apparently has ordered a … three-tier heart shaped chocolate and vanilla cream cake to be delivered on Valentine’s day.”

“Which is today”, Nate grins, rubbing his hands. “So we could just cancel the order and deliver the cake ourselves.“

“Yeah, about that …” Alec says hesitantly, scanning the on-line order form displayed on his laptop. “Problem is – they are expecting it this afternoon. In exactly .... three hours and fifty-five minutes.”

“And how are we supposed to come up with a three-tier heart shaped cream cake in four hours?” Eliot huffs. “You can’t just buy those at the supermarket.”

Four pairs of eyes turn to look at him expectantly, and he blinks, then throws his hands up in protest.

“Oh no. Hell, no”, he says, shaking his head firmly.

Alec looks at him in surprise. “Why not?” he asks. “I thought you liked to cook.”

Eliot glares. “Cook”, he growls. “I like to cook. Making a cake is baking. There’s a difference.” He turns away demonstratively. “I’m not a girl.”

Sophie puts her hands on her hips, no doubt about to start a speech about prejudice and gender stereotypes, but Nate is faster.

“Are you trying to tell me that you are too macho to make a cake? Seriously? A cake that could save this whole operation? A cake that could save a lot of innocent little girls?”

Eliot continues to glare.

“You can do it, right?” Parker asks suspiciously.

“Of course I can do it“, Eliot snaps. “I just don't like it.” He hits the table with a fist, making the coffee mugs jump dangerously high. “Damnit“, he groans. “Alright. I need someone to go shopping for me.“

So Alec goes out to buy eggs and butter and marzipan roses, and Eliot turns the office's kitchen into a confectionary, grumbling and growling like a particularly grouchy Christmas Elf.

And everything would be fine, but of course, like usual, things don’t go exactly as planned.

“Are you telling me that you made me bake a cake that you don’t even need anymore?” Alec doesn’t think he has ever seen Eliot so furious.

Nate, at least, has the grace to look ashamed. “Uhm, yeah …” he says. “But believe me when I say that we really appreciate your ... dedication.“

Eliot looks like he’s ready to throw the cake, and Nate ducks out of the room, no doubt afraid that Eliot might choose to throw a knife instead.

Eliot, to his credit, doesn't throw anything. Instead, he just stares at the offensive cake, wringing a dish towel in his hands. If it was a neck, it would have been broken several times by now.

Alec eyes Eliot warily, and only when he's somewhat assured that he's not going to explode any minute, he turns his eyes to the cake. He is not a fan of Valentine's Day and a heart shaped cake would usually send him running, but he knows a work of art when he sees it, and this cake looks incredible. Alec is pretty sure that it's going to taste just as good.

“Hey” he says, while he's already reaching for a fork. “You mind if I try it?“

Eliot's jaw twitches. “Be my guest“, he says icily, slapping the dish towel onto the counter.

Alec sticks the fork into the cake. “Hell, this is awesome”, he moans around the first bite. “Seriously, this is like the best cake I ever had.”

Eliot glares at him with contempt. “I hope you two are going to be very happy”, he snarls, and then he turns and walks out.

Alec stares after him, fork poised in the air.

“I'm sure he didn't mean it”, Parker says comfortingly, peaking around the door.

“Of course not”, Alec says, and goes to get a plate.


Alec stares in disbelief. “Seriously? Are you telling me that you don't have Skype installed on your laptop?”

“Skype”, Eliot says slowly, raising a brow. He manages to look unnerved and amused at the same time. “What do you need that for?”

Alec keeps staring. “Dude, you do know what instant messaging is?”

“Uhm.” Eliot lifts a hand to scratch his neck, showing off an awesome triceps in the process. “It's like e-mailing, right?“

Alec sighs. “Hell, how do you even keep in touch with people?“

Eliot shrugs. “I don't.“

“Riiight.” Alec nods. “For a second, I actually forgot that you are the poster-boy for anti-social behavior. But imagine – hypothetically speaking – that you want to meet up with someone for dinner. You go on-line and check if the other person is on-line too, and if they are, then you can make plans.“

“Or I could just give them a call.”

Alec groans. “Tell me again why I agreed to teach you this stuff?“

Eliot smiles and reaches out to pat his shoulder. “Because you enjoy actually being better than me at something?“

Alec ends up installing the program on Eliot's ancient laptop anyway – if only because it's going to make the computer awfully slow, and Eliot totally deserves that for being so negative. But he never expects Eliot to actually use it - until two days later, while he's busy downloading Torchwood episodes, a new message pops up on his screen.

es1974: u want to meet up 2n8? pizza and game?

Alec almost chokes on his pretzel, then a wide grin spreads across his face, and he allows himself to pump his fist in the air before he replies.

He knows where Eliot lives, even if he hasn't been at his place before. He doesn't know what he expected, but he's sure it wasn't this cozy, rustic country style apartment, with actual pictures on the wall instead of krisses and katanas. And it certainly wasn't the smell of oregano and fresh garlic wafting from the kitchen.

“When you said pizza, I thought you meant ordering take-out”, Alec says, leaning against the door frame, watching Eliot kneel down to take the baking sheet out of the oven.

“You complaining?” Eliot asks, shooting him a quick glance. Alec isn't completely sure if he's teasing him or if he's actually offended.

“Hell no!” he says hurriedly. He doesn’t want Eliot to deny him the pizza because he involuntarily insulted him. “But you know that I won’t put out unless there’s dessert?”

Eliot smirks. “You like tiramisu?”

“If I like … holy shit”, Alec breathes. “Marry me.”

The smirk turns into a grin. “Maybe after the game.”


This is what he gets for not sticking to Nate’s plan, Alec thinks. This is what he gets for just barging in, not listening to Eliot’s increasingly frantic orders to stay put. This is what he gets for flirting with Parker these last days, with Eliot scowling on the sidelines, because he thought he could just ignore this weird thing going on between them. It’s what he gets for not eating his vegetables when he was a kid and not going to church on Sundays and …

“Alec”, Eliot’s voice filters through, coming from the left, where Eliot is handcuffed to the other side of the radiator. “Hey, Alec. Hardison, come on, I need you to focus.”

There’s a trace of panic in Eliot’s voice, and that more than anything else gets Alec’s attention. He knows that Eliot isn’t scared for himself – he’s been in much worse situations before, and Alec has a feeling that Eliot isn’t very afraid of dying. No, Eliot is afraid for Alec, which means that the situation is just as serious as he thinks it is.

“They’re going to kill us”, he breathes, trying to keep his teeth from shattering long enough to get the words out.

“They are not going to kill us”, Eliot growls.

“They broke your toes”, Alec reminds him, slightly hysterically.

“Yeah, and it hurts like a bitch”, Eliot says sharply, “which is exactly why I need you to snap out of this. We are not going to die, we are going to get out of this, but you need to pay attention.”

He’s tugging on the metal cuffs that chain him to the wall. If they weren’t about to die, Alec would make a joke about kinky sex.

“I’m hungry”, is what he says instead, in a voice that seems to belong to someone else, it’s so small.

Eliot blinks. He stares at Alec with disbelief, and then his face softens and he sighs. “I know”, he says, and his voice takes on a soothing tone. “Okay? I know. You just need to help me, so that we can get out of here. And then I’m going to cook you whatever you want, okay? Your favorite – what’s your favorite?”

“Uhm ….” Alec actually has to concentrate to answer the question. “Mexican …” he says hesitantly. “Fajitas – with chicken, and guacamole and salsa sauce. And, oh, and waffles, but with ice cream, not with syrup ….”

“Alright”, Eliot nods seriously. “Alright, you’re gonna get fajitas, and guacamole, and waffles, and chocolate ice cream, okay?” He takes a breath. “And then, when you are finished, I’m going to drag you off your chair and push you up against the fridge, and I'm going to suck you off.”

Alec’s head whips around. He wonders if he’s already hearing things, but Eliot stares at him with dark, intense eyes, so maybe his ears are fine, after all.

“Yes”, Eliot continues, voice husky and low. “I’m going to put your cock in my mouth, and suck it until you're screaming, and then I'll put my fingers up your ass, and you're going to come all over my face. Because I think I’ve waited long enough, you know.” He smiles. “But first – first we have to get out of here.“

Alec swallows. “What do you need me to do?”


Alec wakes to the smell of fresh orange juice and pancake batter. When he shuffles into the kitchen, bleary-eyed and yawning, Eliot is at the stove, flipping pancakes and frying bacon.

Alec didn't even know he had bacon, much less oranges, but the wondrous multiplication of the food in his fridge can't hold his attention for long, because Eliot is humming; he's humming and cooking breakfast, his long hair tied back in a loose ponytail, in a white tank top that reveals his incredible arms and boxer briefs that don't do anything to hide a persistent morning erection, and Alec can't do anything but stare.

Alec is sure that Eliot knows he’s being watched, but he takes his time to turn around. When he does, there’s a smile on his face.

“You want coffee?”

Alec smiles back. “There’s something I want, alright”, he says, “and it’s not coffee.”

Eliot pulls a face. “Dude. You really have to work on your pick-up lines.”

“They did work on you, didn’t they?”

“In case you didn’t notice, I seduced you, not the other way round.”

Alec edges closer, and lets his eyes wander up and down Eliot’s body. “Really? So maybe it’s time I did the seducing for once, what do you think?”

He reaches out and trails a finger over the bulge in Eliot’s pants. “Can’t be comfortable cooking like this. Do you want me to take care of it, baby?”

Later, Eliot blames Alec for the burnt pancakes. Alec doesn’t feel very guilty – it’s not his fault that Eliot is so easily distracted. Besides, for once, there are more important things than food.


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



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