|The Other Half Of Me
Author: Ultrawoman PM
When Parker thinks she sees a doppelganger of Eliot, she can't know how shocking the truth will be, or how what the hitter is about to tell her might eventually change her life... Will be a 5-part Crossover.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Lindsey M. & Eliot S. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 19,548 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 26 - Updated: 12-07-11 - Published: 10-22-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7485373
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Now is soooo not the best time for me to start writing/posting a new story, but the muse will have her way and I cannot argue! I originally had this idea several months ago with no real idea how I was going to execute it. Here's hoping I know where I'm going now, else this is gonna get messy! lol
Disclaimer: Characters from Leverage belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, and other important people that aren't me.
I. Brother, Where Art Thou?
It was strange to be reunited in Boston after six months apart, though Eliot had to admit he had kind of missed the team. He never said it, never would, because that wasn't his way, but inside he knew he was glad to see these four faces again.
Years of running solo, he always figured it was the best and safest way for him to be, and yet this particular crew had got under his skin, become his friends and confidantes when he wasn't really paying attention. Being back amongst them felt good, even if Nate was already swearing there would be no more cons under his lead.
They stayed at the bar for a while after he was gone, talking over things, drinking maybe a little too much. Eliot was happy enough just to hang out for the evening, except Parker was starting to bug him. He thought she was staring at him earlier, but didn't focus on it too much and figured she would stop after a while. Maybe it was just something she did when she saw people again after a long time, there was no way to tell with Parker, she was twenty pounds of crazy in a five pound bag, and no mistake.
As the evening went on, Eliot was sure she had to be staring for a purpose, and yet he was almost certain she would have come out and said it if she had a question or a reason. It was when Sophie had gone home and Hardison decided to call it a night too, leaving hitter and thief alone, that he finally decided to confront her.
"Okay, what's goin' on with you?" he asked, finishing off his drink and refusing another when the barman offered a refill.
"Going on with me, how?" asked Parker, in complete innocence.
Eliot might have been mad at anyone else for messing him around, but with this little blonde, he actually believed she was oblivious. Since they were sat a ridiculous distance apart for private conversation, he got up and moved around to take the bar-stool next to hers.
"You've been staring at me all night, Parker" he pointed out to her, just a hint of a smirk on his lips that he couldn't help.
It had vaguely crossed his mind that she was checking him out. Sure, she was kind of wacky and all, but she was still a woman, and without being vain, Eliot knew women dug both the bad boy thing and the muscle-bound hero type. Still, Parker rarely had the same thoughts or reactions to any other person he knew, so it was likely she had her own other reasons for her gazing at him in such a way.
"It's probably nothing" she shrugged, draining her glass, "I just... I thought I saw you, like a month ago" she explained, "but you looked kinda different, and now you look just like I remember, so it can't have been you"
Something in Eliot's eyes as she told him that made her stop and stare some more. Parker had been about to hop down from her stool and leave the bar, but the expression on the hitter's face right now didn't sit right with her at all. Reading people really wasn't her strong point, but this was one of those shifty looks that she knew meant a lie had been told or was coming soon. Eliot really didn't lie to her or the team, she was sure, and that was what had her so confused.
"Was it you?" she checked, thinking it to be impossible until this moment.
Eliot moved his head as if to shake it in the negative, but stopped just short of doing so as he peered sideways at her from around his hair.
"Where?" he asked in a low voice she almost didn't hear.
"Passing through the south somewhere" she told him, thoughtfully, "Um, Texas maybe? I don't know exactly, I went from bus to bus, then a train..." she rattled on, though Eliot ceased to hear her talk of travelling across the states.
His mind was preoccupied, coming up with the only real and likely explanation for her thinking she saw him that way. It kind of made sense, even though it shouldn't, but explaining it to Parker would be impossible. Eliot kept much of his life hidden from the team, bits and pieces spilled out here and there, but for the most part all they knew of him up to now was related to his work and skill set. He introduced them to a couple of girls he was dating, no harm to be done there since he always knew he'd never keep the same chick around for too long. His family never really came into conversation, his childhood, his life before the career criminal guise took over.
"Eliot?" the thief beside him poked him in the arm, almost managing to make him jump, "Who did I see that day?" she asked him, with a frown that wouldn't shift.
It didn't make sense for it to have been the hitter himself, Parker knew that, but he seemed to know he had a doppelganger. Something wasn't right here and she needed now to know what that something was.
"Nobody" he said, barely meeting her eyes and getting up too quickly from his seat then, "Just a ghost" he muttered, before walking away.
Parker sat staring at Eliot's back as he disappeared out of the bar, letting the door swing wildly in his wake. She wasn't the sharpest tool in the box when it came to human emotion, but even Parker knew she had somehow upset or angered him. It hadn't been intentional, of course not. She was oddly thrilled to be back amongst this team and though Nate was saying they were not a crew anymore, that no more jobs were going to be done, she didn't like the idea of any of her make-shift family being mad at her, least of all Eliot. Besides, she knew damn well the man she saw in Texas was not a ghost. He was as real and solid as anybody she ever saw, even if it was at a distance and not for very long. She wanted an explanation, more than just a couple of words. Her curiosity was practically legendary and she wasn't letting this go.
Hopping down from her stool, she headed out of the door that had only just now stilled its movement, and made to follow the hitter wherever he might go next. Obviously she was well practised at creeping around, not being caught, but even she had her doubts how long she could really get away with tracking Eliot Spencer before he realised what was going on. This was perhaps why Parker was so surprised when they got half way across town without him batting an eye.
The truth was, Eliot hadn't been so distracted in years. He thought he had a handle on it, thought whatever he heard would no longer surprise him. If anybody was going to knock the wind out of sales it had to be Parker. She had a way of disarming him that was odd and disturbing at times. He figured it was why he got so mad at her as easily as he did, and at the same time, why she fascinated him. He never met another person like her the whole course of his life.
Eliot was climbing the stairs to his Boston apartment when he realised something was wrong. That person he was thinking of, the cat burglar, the enigma that was Parker. She was nothing if not determined when she wanted something, and tonight she had wanted answers from him, something she really hadn't got before he left the bar. Stopping walking with one foot on one stair and the other on the landing outside his door, Eliot peered back over his shoulder. There was nobody there, not a movement of a shadow or the sound of a breath. Telling himself he was a paranoid and a vain idiot to think Parker would be so interested in him to be following him around, Eliot shook his head and let himself into his apartment. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he flipped on the light and found the little thief sat cross-legged in his armchair, though he hid the shock well and just growled in annoyance instead.
"What the hell are you doin', Parker?" he asked, slamming the door shut behind him.
"Sitting" she answered, annoyingly literal as ever, "Now, tell me who I saw in Texas" she asked again, apparently unphased by Eliot's evident anger or by the fact she had entered his apartment uninvited before he even managed to get there himself.
The questions were there on his tongue; Why was she here? Why did she need to know who she saw? How the hell had she gotten in here ahead of him? All died before ever making out of his mouth and Eliot knew why. Just as soon as Parker had answered anything he asked in the most succinct way possible, she would just want to go back to asking her own questions. He would feel obliged to answer because she had, or she would tell him he should, and this thing would never end. The better plan had to be just to throw her ass out and forget this whole night ever happened.
"You didn't see me, okay?" he told her in eventual answer to her question.
Immediately she was on her feet, her mouth opening, ready with another question that he wouldn't want to hear and wasn't prepared to answer.
"No" Eliot shook his head before she ever got a chance to form the words, "No more questions, we're not doing this" he told her, putting his hands to her shoulders, gently but firmly, "You're leaving now" he said as he moved her towards the door and opened it up.
A little shove put her in the hallway and Eliot turned his back, wishing her away. Like that was ever really going to happen.
"You can kick me out but you know I'll get back in" she told him, a hint of humour in her tone.
She thought he was very dumb for thinking that putting her out on the doorstep would make a difference. It wasn't the way she'd come in, and she could find at least six other entrances into his place long before he'd ever think of them or be able to block them up. They both knew it, just as they knew his answering her big question of the night was inevitable.
Eliot pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. This wasn't going away, Parker wasn't going away, and the only way she might just leave before he went completely insane was if he answered her honestly. When he turned back around he wasn't surprised to find her inside the apartment again, the door closed behind her and her arms folded across her chest. She could be as determined as he was when she wanted to be, maybe more so, since Parker never relied on any real kind of logic to back her up.
"Fine" he sighed, going to the mantle shelf and taking down a frame.
The picture showing was not the point, Parker realised, as she craned her neck to see it and failed miserably. She gave up when she noticed Eliot had turned it over and was pulling another photograph from behind. There was a moments pause as he stopped and stared at the picture in his hand for a moment, the oddest smile coming to his lips, albeit briefly, before the item was unceremoniously shoved toward Parker.
She really hadn't a clue what she was going to see when he handed her this apparently secret picture, not an idea at all had formed in her head. If it were anyone else they might at least have had an inkling of what the explanation for Eliot's doppelganger might be, but as previously noted, Parker really wasn't like everybody else.
From the photo to Eliot and back, her eyes flicked up and down two or three times before she voiced her realisation.
"You have a twin brother" she said with no hint of shock nor any other identifiable emotion.
"I did" confirmed Eliot as he moved and sank down onto the couch with his face in his hands.
"You did?" she checked as she moved to join him, propping herself on the arm at the other end of the couch, "What does that mean?" she wanted to know, receiving no answer as Eliot kept his gaze away from her, running his hands back through his hair.
It was hard to say if she was more surprised by what he wouldn't fully explain or he was by the realisation he had come to make about his twin tonight.
"Eliot!" she prompted when he was silent too long, waving the photo at him for good measure when he finally looked her way, "This guy is real and alive. I saw him" she insisted, "Why would you say he was a ghost?"
"Because he's supposed to be dead" he snapped perhaps a little too sharply and coldly.
It wasn't her fault, poor little Parker. She wasn't built to understand what he couldn't tell her, not even the emotions attached to the basic story. To elaborate on it would be too much for either of them right now, of that he was certain.
"Parker" her name was no more than a sigh as it escaped his lips then, "I can't talk to you about this right now" he told her with a shake of his head as he picked the photo back out of her grasp and stared at it.
There were a hundred questions still filling the thief's head and she really wanted to ask all of them, but her tongue was frozen in her mouth and her vocal chords refused to budge. She knew the pain of losing a brother, not that Eliot realised it. She knew what it was to have a person so beloved and close to you suddenly be gone. Sure, she never had a twin, not even a real blood-sibling, but she could imagine the pain of thinking one was gone. It had been bad enough for her, even though her own brother was only a fellow foster kid.
If there was a chance that Eliot had been wrong about his twin, if he wasn't actually dead, surely that should make him happy. Parker saw no signs of joy, only pain written on Eliot's face right now. If she didn't know better she'd actually think he was going to cry. She had an urge to run away, something she got all too often from situations, though she had never before wanted to bolt from Eliot. He always made her feel safe, even when he was snarling and spitting like an angry dog, she never flinched because he was okay, he was Eliot.
Right now, she still had no fear of his fury, only panic of how she would cope if he actually showed an emotion other than anger. If he cried, she didn't know what she was supposed to do with that, which was why the very next time he looked up from his picture, Eliot realised Parker was gone.
His mind barely registered on the fact she must have crept out in complete silence, or that he was so caught up in scrambled thoughts and memories and emotions that he just hadn't been paying any attention at all. There was a good chance it was a mixture of those two things.
Running a hand over his face, Eliot stood up and set the photograph in his hand carefully back on the mantle, leaning it against the knick-knacks already present. Two identical teenage boys stared back at him, proud as punch to have graduated High School, their arms locked around each others shoulders as they smiled widely for the camera. Somehow it all seemed like another life to Eliot, and was sure his brother, his not dead but very much alive somewhere brother, must feel the same.
Speaking in hushed tones that nobody else ever heard him use, he asked the other boy in the picture the ultimate question he craved an answer to right now;
"What the hell are you doin', Lindsey?"
End of Part I