Leverage fanfic, not mine, no money made. Altho, if a certain Retrieval Expert wanted to 'retrieve' me, I'd make nooooo fuss. Don't worry; I'll put 'em back on the shelf when I'm done. ….mebbe.
This is purely Eliot-whumpage, PWP (Pain Without Plot), because there's not enough of it!!!
My medical knowledge is nothing more than my imagination and what little net-research I do, so please overlook all the blaring blunders.
A HUGE thank you to all of my wonderful reviewers!! I love your encouragement, and knowing how much you guys like this makes me strive to update as fast as I can. (Note the lack of social life this indicates.) Really tho, I wish I could reply to everyone, but not all signed in with email addresses, so, for all of you, Thank You!!! P.S., yes, I do love torturing you with the cliffies….how else can I guarantee you'll be back but to leave him in distress???? *evil mwahahahaha*
Oh yeah, and if anyone would like to leave ideas for future whumpage (See A/N in last chapter), please make sure to sign in so I can contact you if necessary and get details. Thanks!
It had been nearly a week since Eliot had left the clinic, and things were slowly getting back to normal. He attended the meetings and gave his input, and was content for his role in the previously postponed job to be relegated to the background, knowing that his partners were looking out for him. That he did so without a fuss though, set off a tiny alarm bell in the back of Nathan's mind.
On the evening after the last job Nathan walked down the hall to the far office. He had some paperwork Eliot needed to finish, and was concerned at the pallor he had seen on the young thief's face when he arrived that morning. Eliot had also been favoring his right shoulder, and Nate had seen him wince more than once when he moved it unexpectedly.
Receiving no answer to his knock, Nate opened the door. Eliot was sitting in his chair with his head resting on his desk, his left arm lying loosely above it. Hoping the younger man was just napping, he nevertheless heeded the alarm bell screeching in his head and went around the desk, laying his right hand on the back of Eliot's sweaty neck.
"Good Lord, you're burning up!" he exclaimed.
Easing his other arm under Eliot's chest and supporting his neck with his right hand, he lifted him back to sit against the tall backrest of the chair as Eliot moaned.
"…'s hot," Eliot mumbled.
"Your fever's up, we've gotta get you cooled off," Nathan said as he started to unbutton the long sleeved shirt that Eliot was wearing. He was mildly curious to find that half of the buttons were already undone, but as he eased it off Eliot's shoulders, he gasped at the angry swelling just under his right collarbone. A small gash in the center that had scabbed over was bleeding heavily, and dark red lines radiated outward from it. He accidentally jarred Eliot's right arm as he was pushing the sleeve down, and Eliot choked on a scream, his back arching and his left fist sweeping up to push against Nate's chest.
Nate slammed his hand on the intercom button.
"Hardison, Parker, Sophie! Eliot's office! NOW!"
He was carefully sliding Eliot to the floor when Alec came rushing in. Hardly missing a beat, he put his hands under Eliot's head and shoulders as Nathan set the wounded man's legs and hips onto the rug and gently laid him flat.
Eliot's head tossed back and forth, his legs shifted restlessly and his left hand moved toward the wound on his shoulder.
"….out, get it out….gotta…" he mumbled.
Then Nathan realized what Eliot had in his fist. A Swiss army knife.
"Eliot, what are you doing?" he asked, his hands on either side of the young man's face.
Bleary eyes blinked back at him, the pain evident.
"….s….somethin's still in there, Nate…..gotta get, get it out," he groaned between clenched teeth.
Nathan looked at the wound, and at the incision that Eliot had started, and realized that he was right. Pus was mixing with the blood that flowed from the cut, and there was a bulge under the scab.
"We'll get an ambulance, Eliot. Alec, call…." he started to say but was interrupted by Eliot's cry.
"No! Get it out now! Now! Get it out, get it out, get it out!" he screamed.
Just then Sophie and Parker came running around the corner and gasped as they saw Eliot writhing on the floor, Alec and Nathan hunched over him.
"Sophie! Get me some tweezers or something. Parker, get towels, cloths for bandages! Alec," Nathan said as the two women rushed to retrieve what he had ordered, "get me a bottle of whiskey or brandy, strong as you can find."
The tall man headed for the door to find the alcohol and Nathan tried to soothe the young man, stroking his wet, tangled hair back from his face as Eliot tried to control his panting.
Ever since he had been released from the clinic, Eliot had the nagging feeling that something was not right. The low grade fever that had been plaguing him refused to abate, and he couldn't hold down much except water. Whenever he tried to eat anything, he just ended up hunched over the toilet, heaving until he thought his head would explode, so he eventually gave up and just sipped water as much as he could. As a result, he became tired more easily, and he knew by the concerned looks on his teammates faces that the bags under his eyes were growing worse.
On top of that, the ache in his shoulder had increased into torture, and every time he moved it a lightning bolt of pain arced through his body. He favored it as much as he could, but when he had reflexively caught the door to keep it from banging in his face this morning, his knees nearly buckled and he had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from yelling out. Shaking, sweating, and profoundly thankful that he was at home and not at the office, he leaned against the doorframe until he could breathe, swept his unruly hair back from his face, and continued out the door.
When the job was completed that afternoon, he nearly groaned with relief, except that to do so would have attracted unwanted attention. His partners were already hovering like mother hens, and Eliot just wanted to rest.
He made it to his dim, quiet office without much interruption, and sank into his leather chair. Intending to detail a file he had forgotten, he was caught unaware by a rush of nausea. Instantly his entire body was burning hot, and he could feel that his face was flushed and sweating. He leaned forward, intending to put his head down when the pain in his shoulder became unbearable. Finally he realized what was wrong. Dr. Daniels had taken x-rays of his chest, but had been concerned mainly with the knife wound under his ribs. He had missed the seriousness of the wound in his shoulder, dismissing it as a superficial cut. Thinking back, he remembered the first rifle shot at the river, when it had exploded into the boulder next to him. He remembered a flash of fire in his shoulder, but it had soon been forgotten. He knew then, that there was a shard still embedded in his flesh.
Reaching into his back jeans pocket with his left hand, he brought out his ever-present Swiss army knife and opened it. Fumbling with the buttons of his shirt, he managed to get about half of them open, and gave up on the rest.
Taking a deep breath, he looked at the angry swelling under his clavicle. Red lines of poison ran outward from it, snaking their way towards his heart. His thoughts cloudy, he never considered calling for help; he knew what had to be done, and he would do it himself, like he always had.
He laid the tip of the knife into the center of the swelling and pressed hard, breaking the skin and slicing into the wound. The agony burned down his arm as he fought not to scream. The edges of his vision darkened and before he could stop himself, his head crashed down onto the desk, sending him into oblivion.
The next thing Eliot was aware of was that he was lying on his back in the middle of his office. Someone was gently smoothing his hair and talking. He could barely hear the voice through the rushing in his ears, but then he realized that it was Nathan. Surprised that the older man would show such compassion towards him, he gave up trying to understand and instead directed his energy to controlling the stabbing agony in his shoulder and tried to breathe.
Alec returned with the whisky first but before he could give it to Nathan, Eliot's hand shot out and grabbed it. He gulped down a few swallows, the liquor burning the back of his throat as he fought to keep it from coming back up.
Nathan took the knife and the tweezers that Sophie handed to him and doused them with the alcohol. Parker returned next, sliding to a halt beside Eliot's prone form, and handed the towels to Nathan with a question in her eyes. He said nothing, just began to tuck a few around Eliot's shoulder, and placed others on his chest. Unbuckling his belt, he slid it out of the loops and doubled it up. Bending down, he gently pried Eliot's mouth open and placed the leather between his teeth. As Eliot took the bit he looked into Nathan's eyes and nodded.
Shifting his position, Nathan knelt over Eliot, straddling his waist and kneeling gently on Eliot's right forearm to keep it still. Alec joined in, holding the younger man's left arm and shoulder down, and placing his right hand on Eliot's forehead to keep him from tossing. Parker held the remaining towels, ready to press them into the wound when needed. Eliot's teeth were clenched tightly into the leather belt, his nostrils flaring as he gasped for air.
Wordlessly, Nathan took the knife and placed the tip just as Eliot had done before Sophie realized what was happening.
"What are you doing?!? You're not a surgeon Nathan! You could hurt him!" she yelled.
"It needs to come out before...."
"What does??" she interrupted.
"Whatever is in there that's causing him so much agony! Now if you're not going to help, then stay the hell back!" he growled at her.
Surprised at his sudden anger, she backed off and he continued.
As he slid the knife into the swelling, blood and pus burst out, covering Eliot's shoulder. Parker swiftly wiped it away as Nate continued to probe. Eliot twisted, trying to get away from the excruciating pain. Alec held his head from thrashing back and forth as tears leaked from his eyes and slid down into his long hair.
"I can see it! Parker, tweezers!" He held his hand out and she slapped the tweezers into his palm like a seasoned nurse. Angling the instrument into the gap, Nathan slid it past the end of the shard and pinched it closed, locking the teeth onto the offending object. Steadily he eased it out as Eliot's body arched against him, shocked to see the huge 3 inch long sliver of granite. Eliot opened his mouth and screamed in agony as the shard was finally pulled out of his chest.
Hating to do it, but knowing he had to, Nathan pushed on the swelling around the wound, forcing the infection out. Eliot moaned as the pressure increased, then eased as the pus was pushed out. Parker once again wiped the ugly liquid and blood off his chest, and before anyone could stop him, Eliot had grabbed the bottle of whiskey and liberally doused the wound with it.
His body convulsed, his hand clenched so hard around the bottle that it broke. His head slammed backwards onto the floor as they all held him down, Sophie finally joining them and holding onto his legs as they jerked and twitched.
Eliot was unconscious long before his body stopped shivering. Alec grabbed a blanket from the couch in his office to cover Eliot's shaking legs as Nathan and Parker bandaged his shoulder and flushed the lacerated hand while Sophie called Dr. Daniels.
Eliot lay on the soft leather chaise lounge, Parker sitting beside him with his hand on a large towel in her lap. She was wearing a magnifying glass over her eyes and diligently working to remove all of the glass chips in his palm. Thankfully he had not grabbed the neck of the bottle, so when it shattered, much of the glass had fallen to the ground and had not been driven more deeply into his skin. The lacerations were not deep, although they continued to bleed profusely. Sophie sat next to Parker with a bowl of water and cloths, flushing the wounds when Parker directed.
Nathan was at the desk deep in conversation with Dr. Daniels, taking copious notes. Finally satisfied, he hung up and turned to address the rest.
"Well, it looks like we actually did the right thing. Eliot had the right idea that the shard needed to come out. His method, though less than surgical, was effective. The dark red lines were indicative of blood poisoning, and Alec is on the way to the clinic right now to pick up more antibiotics. We'll keep him here rather than move him to the clinic again, and Dr. Daniels has offered to make a house call should we need him to. Until then, we'll just monitor his condition and keep him comfortable."
The two women sighed in relief. As long as Eliot didn't manage to damage himself further, it seemed like he would finally be on the mend for good.
Eliot heard his prognosis and decided that he would let his friends (Friends? When had he let that happen?) nurse him back to health.
He closed his eyes.
Finis! Thanks again to everyone who took the time to read, and thanks more to those who reviewed. Let's get together again soon!!