Title: Decisions that I Make

Rating: T

Summary: Eliot is the silent enigma, always suspicious and secretive. But when he is injured by a mysterious attacker the group of thieves learns more about the enigmatic man.

Author Note: For all those who have been kind enough to read and review I have to give you all a very large thank you. I seriously don't think I could have finished this story without the goading of you kind people. Reviews are like the bread that keeps authors going and makes them want to continue going.

So, this is the end of this story but another has already begun. Thank you for reading and I appreciate it.

Chapter 15: Loose Ends

"Stop picking at them." I order, catching the thief picking at the scabs on his knuckles. Eliot jumps and glares at me, stilling his hands by flexing them on tops of the table, fingers splayed. I sit down in one of the other chairs, eying the other curiously. It's only been two weeks since the fight between Kim and Eliot and already the injured fighter is showing signs of restlessness. Still forced to use crutches to get around Eliot is becoming increasingly moody with the attention the others provide him with, growing angrier and angrier when someone tries to help.

He's feeling smothered.

I can understand that, I felt the same way after Sam died. Family and friends gathered around me and Maggie, treating us kindly. At every turn there was someone there, offering their assistance or their shoulder. It got maddening sometimes, which is partly why I turned to drinking; I realized that when I am drinking no one wants to bother me, so I used it as a shield to keep those do-gooders away.

Of course the other side effect is that I wasn't there for Maggie.

But that's another story.

Eliot shifts in the chair and leans back, his knee propped up on the chair beside him. I watch the man casually, worried about him. Three days after the fight Eliot was up and about, moving around the apartment on his own and basically threw the rest of us out, claiming that our jobs were done and we needed to go home. The others quickly left, scurrying away when the growling began but I lingered to watch the fighter hobble around his house, the clicking of the metal crutches louder without the chatter of the others to drown it out. He knew I was still there and proceeded to glare at me until I left for good, I had barely sat down on my couch when my cell phone rang, it was Eliot. The man had fallen trying to do something and although I could tell he was in a lot of pain and was fighting real hard not to ask I drove back over and helped him.

"So, looks like I'm staying huh?" I asked while hauling the shivering man up off the floor after tumbling down the stairs from the loft bedroom. Eliot only grunted but thanked me after I got him back to the couch.

"Any games on tonight?" I ask and Eliot frowns for a moment before tapping his fingers on the table top

"Bruins against Canada for the NHL, AHL is what use to be the Ice Cats against the Portland Pirates." He says and I nod, knowing the man doesn't care about football or any of the other sports, which why should he? Eliot's a 'close contact' kind of guy and the sport of hockey suits him I guess.

He seems to smile more during the on ice fights.

"Hey, got something I think you'd be interested in seeing." Hardison calls, coming around the corner with his opened lap top. Placing the electronic gently on the table he turns up the volume and spins it so both Eliot and I can see. A small video from CNN runs

"Today Voctor Fayande was brought in on charges of human trafficking and drug smuggling. The arrest was made after the confession of Kim Pryor, a hit man who did jobs for Fayande. Pryor is hospitalized with major spinal cord injuries after a fight in a local bar, but he will also be in court to face sentencing for the multiple murders he committed at the request of Fayande." The video shows the short, portly man as he is hauled from his hotel in handcuffs and then a short clip of the massive man who Eliot nearly killed. I glance over at Eliot and find his face frozen in an expressionless mask. Slowly a hand comes up to brush away the long hair that's fallen foreword from behind his ear before slowly pushing himself away from the table. Grabbing his crutches the man hauls himself to his feet and hobbles away, muttering a soft 'thanks' to Hardison. He disappears out of sight and a moment later the sound of the door closing discloses where he went.

"I thought he'd be jumping for joy at knowing that this whack-job is going to jail." Hardison says, moving his finger across the mouse pad and shutting down the window. I nod and lean back

"I think he is Hardison, it just takes time for these things to sink in sometimes. Give him some time." That explanation seems good enough for the hacker and he heads out, saying something about continuing his battle. Left along in the conference room I smile and snort before standing and heading to my own office, passing by Eliot's closed door I slow down.

"Hey Sam, it's me." I hear and smile, knowing that Eliot is taking care of some long overdue business. Allowing the man his privacy I head for my own office and the online chess game I had paused.

_-_- Later on that night -_-_

The hockey game raged on, Eliot smiling viciously as one of the Pirates takes a swing at the Ice Cat who threw his stick at the other. Very riveting how these men manage to slug each other and not end up on their asses or slicing someone open with their skate. Eliot's knee is propped up on pillows on the coffee table and a mug of hot tea resting on his other thigh. I sit beside him on the couch, a bottle of beer in one hand and a slice of homemade pizza in the other. The buzzer for downstairs suddenly sounds and Eliot jumps, moving his knee from the pillows and hauling himself to his feet, a wince of pain crossing his features. I also stand and watch as the injured fighter, body alive with tension all a sudden as he gimps over to the comm.

"what?" he asks, southern drawl becoming more pronounced.

"It's us." Sophie's accented voice filters over the unit and the sounds of Parker and Hardison squabbling in the background. Eliot gives a sign and hits his head against the wall, his face pinched.

"Alright." He hits the door lock and then the switch on the lift. Within moments the lift roars to life and begins its staggering climb up. The arguing gets louder as the lift comes to a stop in front of the safety gate. Sophie rolls her eyes and pushes the safety back, stepping into the apartment. Eliot watches the others climb off from his leaning stance on his crutches, face impassive but a small frown tugging at his lips.

"So, here we are! We brought junk food!" Parker chimes happily producing a large tray of store bought cookies all lined up in neat rows. I can almost hear Eliot shudder at the sugary treats, the man rarely puts anything saturated with sugar in his house, never mind his mouth.

"We also brought two movies. I got Sweeny Todd and Wild Hogs." Hardison says, toeing off his shoes and heading for Eliot's kitchen. Parker quickly follows while Eliot moves slowly behind them, the crutches tapping away on the hard wood floor. Sophie turns to me and smiles gently, dark eyes filled with amusement.

"How's he doing?" she asks softly and I glance back, finding the fighter staring heatedly at the offensive cookie that was placed lovingly in front of him by Parker.

"I think he's getting better. It's just something that'll take time that's all. I'm sure if it was either of us we'd still be on edge and moody." I explain and Sophie snorts

"Eliot will always be edgy and moody." I agree with a nod and she gestures with her chin

"They suggested we come over, so here we are." She gives by way of explanation and I nod.

"It'll be good for him." She laughs softly and I turn, following her gaze to where Parker and Eliot are bickering about something. All I can understand is 'you promised' and 'no I didn't.' Finally Parker seems to give in and turns quickly, stalking off towards the far wall while Eliot watches her, realizing he's much to slow to catch her. Parker lifts the guitar off the wall and brings it back, presenting it to the specialist before looking at him expectantly. Eliot holds the instrument for a moment before finally nodding and handing it back to Parker.

"Alright, if I do this you'll stop bugging me right?" he asks, hobbling back to the couch from the counter. Parker follows close behind, her eyes alight with glee at finally getting the stubborn man to play. Eliot sits down on the couch and places the crutches on the floor before holding his hand out for the guitar. Parker hands it over before quickly sitting down on the arm of the couch. Hardison moves closer and slumps into the chair as Sophie and I stand in closer. Eliot strums for a few minutes before setting into a certain song

I wear a greasy ball cap
I like my shirt untucked
I spend Saturdays working on my truck
I don't like to fight
But I ain't scared to bleed
Most don't mess with a guy like me

Parker closes her eyes as Eliot's suddenly smooth voice raises a bit over the clear strumming of the guitar. Hardison flips open his laptop and moves the webcam attached to the top to take in Eliot.

'Cause guys like me drink too many beers on Friday after work
Our best blue jeans have skoal rings
We wear our boots to church
So rough around the edges
It's hard to believe
That girls like you
Love guys like me

I can see the truth behind the song, seeing as Eliot isn't the poster child for the latest fashion and seems to always be in a pair of blue jeans. Sophie leans against the chair, her chin resting on her hands as she watches the strumming specialist

Your daddy worked at the bank
Mine worked on cars
You went to college
I pulled graveyard
You must have had your pick
Of all the trust fund types
But you came back to me and only God knows why

I wonder who he has sung this too? The words seem to fit the enigmatic man like a glove and from knowing that most of his relationships ended when he was gone for longer then a few days.

Now there's a lot of guys like me out there
In a lot of little towns
And tellin' all our buddies, we won't ever settle down
We say thats just the way we are and the way we'll always be
So God sends girls like you for guys like me
Thank God there's girls like you, for guys like me

For being a small town man himself, Eliot is a jumble of skills and surprises. I know his early life probably wasn't the best and then the years he spent in the service was obviously what taught him what he knows. A jumble of information and ideas Eliot is a smart man, he just found a way to use his brawn as well as his brain to pull jobs.

A man of many talents and many surprises indeed.

Eliot finishes strumming and lifts the guitar from his knee, setting it down beside the couch. Parker smiles happily and claps like a young child at a gym presentation while Hardison saves the file on his hard drive.

"Wow Eliot, I'm impressed. Why didn't you become a singer?" Sophie asks, staring quizzically at the man and Eliot laughs

"I had better things to do, places to go and people to steal from." He answers and I can see the true answer behind the blue eyes.

"It's the freedom this type of work presents isn't it, the freedom of being able to make your own choices, not having to answer to anyone but yourself right?" I ask, watching the man closely. Eliot smiles, his head bowing and hair falling to cover his face

" A little yes, mostly it's the thrill of getting away with something very few people can. Just like the rest of you, you find it worthwhile to be on the wrong side. You all like the thrill of the con, the hard work put into making it work. We're all alike in that way… we just present it differently." He says, running a hand through his hair. We're all silent for a moment, each thinking about his words.

"So, what's this about you making pizza?" Hardison suddenly asks, noticing my forgotten slice on the table. Parker laughs and Sophie covers her mouth while Eliot only shakes his head

"Yeah, yeah. You come here and eat me out of house and home, ungrateful." He says, throwing a pillow at the hacker. I step back and watch the group I brought together toss pillows and mock insults back and forth, their shouts echoing in the apartment.

Eliot is right; we are all alike in some way, the thrill of being a thief bringing us together. I'm not going to deny it, helping people by stealing or revealing the crookedness of companies is a thrill for me.

Like a piece of a puzzle it all falls into place.

We need each other; we were all lonely in some way, but now as we all grow closer I can see how it doesn't hurt to be alone anymore.

Like a very dysfunctional family, a very dysfunctional family who gets their kicks from stealing and conning other people.

Gotta get your kicks somehow right?

I glare at Parker as the pillow thrown by her smacks me in the face, picking up the offending projectile and throwing it back. I laugh as Eliot deflects a thrown pillow by Hardison and watch as the life sparks behind the icy blue eyes.

He'll be fine.

He's among friends now.

End.

Author Note: so, there ya go. Crappy ending I know but it is an ending none the less. Thank you again to all those who read and reviewed this, you guys are amazing. I appreciate it and would like to share good news with everyone: Leverage was signed another season, with 15 new episodes! So, be watching for that!

Thanks again!