What Else Would You Have Me Be?



What the hell was he thinking?

It was nearly six, and Nate had said they'd be done an hour ago, but finally, they were winding up.

Santiago had been released and reinstated, with a large bonus for her troubles. The cash looked like some bargain they'd struck up to deflect her lawyers, but that hadn't been the important part.

She had also, partially due to recommendations from Agents Taggart and McSweeten, been installed as the point person in charge of cleaning up the county jail. Her first day back on the job had been today, and her first order of business had been to put the call out for lawyers and law enforcement personnel to start reviewing the cases of every single inmate. McTeague, one of the guards working the block, had been named Interim Warden to help her out. Half of Tent City would be emptied by Monday, and it would probably be shut down entirely within a few weeks.

For the moment at least, Arlington, Miller and Branson were all occupying isolated cells inside the jail, but Larson, whose name had sent up all sorts of international red flags that would take months to sort out, was being transferred to Virginia.

Arlington's murder trial was set for next month, and Miller and Branson were up on enough charges- conspiracy, tampering with evidence, abetting in a kidnapping, possession of firearms and attacking law enforcement officers, to name a few- that they'd be bouncing between jail cells and courtrooms for years.

And that was all well and good, but the clock was ticking, Eliot was getting tired of the glances Sophie and Nate kept shooting him and Hardison, and they had reservations for six thirty.

"So, are we done here?" Hardison's leg had been bouncing underneath the table for the past half hour, and he'd been growing increasingly short with everyone. Even Parker was starting to pick up on it, though it was probably because he'd inadvertently kicked her three or four times now.

"Yes, yes," Nate finally relented, waving them off. "You're all free to go."

Parker was already out the door, muttering something about a bowling alley under her breath, leaving Sophie gaping after her, trying to retroactively plot her trajectory. By the time Eliot was grabbing his jacket off the back of the couch, though, Nate had recovered enough to sidle up to him, his voice conspiratorial and far too amused.

"I don't know whether to tell you that I don't want to see you all for three weeks, or to have him home by midnight," he smirked.

"Shut up," Eliot growled, glancing at Sophie, who, going by the mortified expression on Hardison's face, was giving him the same speech.

And maybe they were both just so relieved to be out of there, that it didn't get awkward until they'd arrived at the restaurant. As they walked up, Alec examined at the sign warily.

"This is the place?"

"Yeah," Eliot said, ignoring the misgivings that had slowly started creeping up on him, and opening the door.

It had just opened up last month. Lots of polished steel reflecting lots of colored lights, art on the wall on loan from some local gallery. Half of the wait staff had tattoos, making their otherwise stuffy uniforms look far trendier than they probably were. The wine rack took up the entire back wall of the place, and Hardison was staring at it warily.

"It looks…" he caught himself, once they were seated, and put his hands up before Eliot could call him on it. "Hey, man, no worries. I trust you."

It didn't mean anything more than what it was. He was just talking about the restaurant, and he might've been half-kidding. Eliot shrugged it off. He'd wanted to check this place out for weeks, now. He didn't like it, there'd be popcorn at the theater. And that stupid feeling in his chest that kept coming back at the weirdest times could just fuck off.


Deciding that the wine list looked way over his head, Alec looked at the menu instead. And he laughed.

This place had everything. Weird-ass French stuff that Eliot probably liked, hot dogs, steaks, tacos, and a grilled cheese sandwich that looked amazing, even if he only knew what two of the ingredients were. There was also a beer list.

"This place serves 40's?"

Eliot nodded at the table next to them, where a group of six twenty-somethings was hanging out. Two champagne buckets filled with ice were on the table between them. One of them had wine of some sort, but the other had a screw top.

"Don't get your hopes up," Eliot smirked, his eyes returning to the wine list.

"Why, we're gonna be civilized? Is that it?"

"Check out the ribs on page four."

"That…does not look at all civilized," Alec admitted, sparing an apologetic thought for the shirt he'd never admit to buying just for tonight, already knowing that he wouldn't even want the stains to come out. "That's just porn."

Eliot was beaming, winking at him as he ordered some ridiculous sounding wine.

That might've been porn, too.


After a few glasses of wine, Hardison started flirting. What was surprising was that Eliot didn't mind, that he kept catching himself egging him on, showing off. Teasing him back.

It wasn't until they were halfway through eating, and Hardison was telling him about the hack that had gotten him kicked out of college three semesters in, that Eliot realized how surreal this actually was.

Because it was Hardison. The same guy he'd always been, but.

He talked more freely about his life than anyone Eliot had spoken to in a decade, and already knew about the shitty things Eliot had done and was still sitting there, across the table, leaning in and listening, not because he was gathering intel but because he actually wanted to hear it.

And he could make him laugh his ass off, too.

And he kept shooting him these looks.

They were enough that he kind of wanted to skip the movie and move right on to after. Because as well as this was going, he wasn't sure, yet, where it was going, and the impatience, the need to find out was gnawing at him. Right now, he didn't think he could concentrate on anything besides the way his shoulders filled out his shirt, and how they had to look underneath it.

But he'd chosen the restaurant, and Hardison had picked out the movie. That had been the deal.

"What time does the movie start?" he asked, once the waitress came back to try conning them into dessert.

"About twenty minutes," Hardison said, looking regretfully at the menu she'd handed him before glancing up. "But you know, with traffic and all…"

Eliot could see where this was going. He felt warm. "And it being a Friday night…"

"On opening weekend. We'd miss the previews anyway."

"Which is half the point," Eliot agreed, though Hardison's fascination with watching ads was something he didn't really get.

"Exactly. And I don't know what this is," Hardison addressed the smirking waitress and pointed out something on the menu, "but I'm fairly sure I need it." His finger moved again, stabbing the page. "And he needs this."


"So, rain check on the movie?" Alec asked, once Eliot had pulled the car into traffic.

"Definitely," Eliot merged into the next lane, already heading in the direction of Alec's apartment. Alec's very clean apartment, the one he'd spent the week dusting and vacuuming. On the off chance. In case Eliot wanted to-

"When do you want to go?" Eliot's eyes were on the road, giving nothing away. It looked deliberate, though, and there was this smirk hovering in the corner of his mouth that Alec couldn't stop staring at.

They were already less than a mile away.

"There's got to be a matinee tomorrow sometime," Alec took a breath, reconsidered, and continued on anyway. "We could catch an early show after breakfast or something."

There. It was out there, as plain as he could make it.


Hardison had been playing it cool, all week, same as him, like they'd agreed to this- all of this- four days ago in a Phoenix emergency room, and the rest was just details: the awkward pauses that hadn't happened over dinner, the minor spikes of nerves that had, the few last minute chances to back out.

They weren't anything Eliot couldn't handle, as long as Hardison could, but the waiting was going to kill him.

"You want the ten cent tour?" Hardison offered, once they were standing inside his apartment. He didn't look particularly interested in his surroundings at the moment, though, not with the way his eyes kept wandering south.

"Long as it ends up in the bedroom."

"Thank god," he said, and one increasingly handsy living room, kitchen, bathroom, and office-that-looked-more-like-a-toy-store later, Eliot had hips pressed into his own, hands in his hair, and Hardison's mouth crushing into his.

He still tasted like chocolate and raspberries and wine, and Eliot wondered if he'd planned it that way. His teeth were smooth and slick, and he hummed when Eliot moved on along his jaw, down to his neck.

Fuck, he smelled good, and his hands were already stroking up under his shirt, light enough to tease, scratching at his sides, and when Eliot crowded him back against the wall, there was no hiding how hard either of them were.

One last time, just to be sure. He leaned back from the waist up, just enough to see his face. "We on the same page here?"

"Seriously?" Hardison laughed, breathing rough as his hands slid down to Eliot's ass, dragging him in again. "Get back here."


He'd been thinking about it for days, now, how this would go.

He'd thought they'd at least get their clothes off, the first time. Probably. But his jeans were too tight to come off easily, Eliot's weren't much better, and neither of them were really in the frame of mind to concentrate on them longer than they absolutely had to.

Eliot still had him pressed against the wall, but when Alec shoved his hand down and in between them, curving over his cock for the first time, the pinning became suddenly less about keeping Alec in place and more about keeping Eliot standing.

His own arm was in the way when Eliot snaked his hand in to wrap around him, squeezing experimentally, and yeah, Alec's kissing might've gotten a bit sloppy at that point, but Eliot was breathing hard into his mouth, his belly pressed against his own where their shirts had gotten rucked up, and they were stumbling into some kind of rhythm, here, so he went with it. Or tried to.

Eliot had found a better angle, could move more freely, and it was all Alec could do to keep up, awkward as it was. He wanted to know if Eliot was as big as he felt under his hand. Wider, to be sure, and hot to the touch as Alec spread the slickness down from the tip.

Damn, but he wanted to taste it. He rocked to the side, leaning Eliot up against the wall before pinning him there with his free hand, letting him get his legs underneath him again.

"You stay here," he said against Eliot's temple, before dropping- a little too hardly- to his knees.

Eliot's chest was heaving, but he seemed frozen to the spot, his hands clutched at his sides, fists against the wall, fingers just starting to twitch. His jeans were halfway down his thighs, and Alec shoved them down a bit more in a halfhearted attempt to get them out of the way. Eliot's cock was dark pink, almost red, thick as he'd imagined and curved- just slightly- to the left.

He stroked the full length of it for the first time, grasping it in one hand as he repositioned himself. It twitched against his lips when he dragged his tongue up the length, licking experimentally.

"Fuck," Eliot's hands were suddenly on his shoulders, thumb stroking against the side of his neck as he opened wide, took it in, pulling back when he went too far too fast, nearly gagging. Breathing through his nose, he dragged his tongue all over it, tasted salt. Pulling back, he tightened before nodding forward again, stroking the length that he couldn't get in his mouth, spreading the wetness.

And back and again and again, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes rougher, sometimes just ghosting, which was honestly easiest. Eliot's stomach was tight, his mouth open as he stared back down, silent and possibly unseeing. Alec sped up again, just a bit, wanting to see how it registered, if Eliot's eyes could go even wider than they were, and he laved the crown with his tongue as it slid past again. It was Alec's hands dragging up Eliot's thigh, though, his fingers brushing against his balls, that caused his eyes to slam shut.

Eliot tensed, jerking forward just a bit before pulling back sharply.

Alec repressed the urge to cough, tightening his grip just a bit and thrusting his fist over Eliot's cock, fast now, fast enough that Eliot wasn't even breathing any more, and then Eliot was coming, shooting over his collarbone and chest, legs locked straight and immobile, still completely silent.


Eliot gasped, still trying to catch his breath as he balanced against Hardison's shoulder, easing down until they were both lying on the floor. Hardison tried avoiding his mouth at first, but Eliot was insistent, he wanted that mouth, even wanted the taste.

He didn't stop kissing Hardison as his hand trailed down, setting up a slick easy pace for the moment, just until he could catch his breath enough to actually go down on him. But Alec was close, already, his hips jerking up off the floor as he moaned into Eliot's mouth. His hands scrambling against his chest, grabbing at his shoulders, arms, anything within reach.

"Harder, I'm gonna-"

Eliot obliged, tightening his grip and increasing the pace. He kind of wanted to turn, to watch Hardison's dick spill all over his hand, but he wasn't able to tear his gaze look away. Hardison's eyes were squeezed shut, and his groans were hitching at all these gorgeous places-

And fuck, Eliot's name, all broken and breathy like that? Caught him in the chest, sharper than any knife.


"Last chance," Alec said, throwing the covers back for the third time and kneeling on the bed. They'd already made one distracted trip to the bathroom to clean up before he'd had realized that he'd left the front door unlocked, and then they'd both needed water. "Speak now, or forever hold your peace."

Eliot shoved him down and climbed in after him, his leg sliding in between Alec's, and it was obvious that they were far from done for the night, but there was no need to rush, now.

"I'm not speaking," Eliot smirked, kissing his jaw, settling against him more comfortably.

And yeah, put that way, well. Forever seemed like something worth aiming for.


The End.


Chapter 16 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Leverage ~~~~~~~~                 



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