Sacrifices We Make Chapter 2 Disclaimer: No, they aren't mine. Boo-friggin-hoo.

Okay, Okay, I guess you guys really want the 'C' part, so here it is. Sorry it's so late.

This is in response to Tiggrr527's challenge, and it fit well in the vein of the sacrifices Eliot would make: "Eliot and Parker and one other member of the team (I can't decide on one) are cornered and shot with tranquilizers. While out, they are taken to somewhere such as an deserted airstrip. Eliot is chained to a ceiling beam by manacles and the other 2 are tied nearby. The bad guy comes in, explaining that he is there for 2 reasons: revenge on Eliot and information on their current job. They have to watch Eliot being worked over and yet keep quiet or Eliot will suffer more. The bad guys are expecting them to offer info to stop them but Eliot makes them promise before the guys come back in, to not tell anything if asked, no matter how bad it gets."

Tiggrr527 and everyone else, hope you all enjoy.

Sacrifices We Make: The Devil Changes You

Eliot struggled to remain conscious throughout the ride, feeling the seat underneath him growing wetter and warmer as it became soaked with his blood. Many of the lacerations had reopened in the 'controlled fall' into the car when Hardison had thrown him in, then jumped in himself.

Hardison hovered over him now, his constant babbling something of a comfort, something for Eliot to hold onto while Parker screamed at other cars, yanking the wheel to go around drivers that she deemed too slow.

"Mama, mama, stop doin' that, Parker! Stop drivin' crazy! He's in enough pain the way it is without ya throwing him all over the place back here!" Hardison had seen his widening eyes, his clenched teeth, heard his groans whenever she jerked the wheel. Large hands were on the side of his face and covering his hand, which had the back of the seat in a white-knuckled death grip.

"Sorry! Oh God, Eliot, I'm sorry!" he heard from the front seat, her voice full of regret that made him want to convince her that he was alright, that he was fine, and that the day she drove normally really would be the day he died, but the words were caught behind the screams and he wouldn't let them out. Not here, not with these two. Because if he did, they would think him broken, and if they thought that, they wouldn't let him protect them anymore, wouldn't let him do for them what he was so very good at, and that would be the beginning of the end for him. So he bit his tongue on the pain and thought of other things.

"It's alright, Eliot, it's alright. You gonna be fine, you know it, we all know it. You gonna be fine, grouchin' and bellyachin' in no time, getting' all het up cause we drank your last beer or somethin'." Hardison's rambling ran over him like a blanket, the voice, worried though it was, an anchor against the agony Dettinger had laced across his back and shoved into his gut.

The car evened out, but Parker's impatient yelling at the cars in front of her did not. That, too, was a curious anchor, something he could distract himself with when the fire shot through him because of a pothole that she couldn't avoid or a stray muscle twitch that tried to remind him that, 'Hello, something's wrong here...'.

'Ya think?' he answered himself automatically, inwardly rolling his eyes at himself for having a conversation with his own body, but hey, it wasn't like it had never happened before, in places and situations that he really didn't want to think about, thank you very much now go away.

His thoughts were beginning to disconnect when the car slowed, easing to a stop in such a way as to let him know that Parker was very worried indeed. She escaped the driver's seat and the back door above his head opened, her head appearing upside down in front of him. Her hair fell onto his face and he stared at the glittering goldness of it, thinking it fitting that her hair was made from strands of the same stuff that fascinated her so.

His attention was riveted to the locks of her hair that moved gently with each breath he made, softly undulating as he exhaled, only to return teasingly to the same spot as before as if daring him to blow them away again.

Hands, more hands on him, on his legs, his arms, his stomach and he gasped, clenching his teeth as the gold pulled away from his sight, replaced by another face, another frown. Blue eyes this time instead of brown, brown hair instead of gold.


Voices babbled on the edge of his hearing but he couldn't decipher them as they ran into his brain and then out again without leaving any impressions of meaning.

The pain, which had been at a remove, chose this as a good time to come back and assault him, uncaring that Eliot did, in fact, not think that it was a good idea to come back, now or at any point in the future. A moan escaped his mouth as the hands moved him, sitting him up in the car. He grabbed onto whatever was in his hands and squeezed, ignoring the gasps as his fingers clenched down on flesh. Then they were moving him again, jostling to get him into position, arms pulling his over shoulders, more hands on his waist.

"Sophie, get the elevator," Nate gasped as they finally got the hitter out of the car. He wanted her away from them for the moment, away from the sight of the blood soaked backseat, the dark stains on the upholstery where Eliot had laid, his bloody handprints now forever imbedded into the fabric of a car that they would pay anything to destroy.

Hardison and Nate walked towards the elevator slowly, Parker behind them. Nate didn't know what she was thinking, but he had seen her looking at Eliot's shredded back, at his swollen and blood crusted skin. They entered the lift and then she was right in front of them, her hands snaking up to Eliot's head, resting on either side of his face. Bleary eyes looked up at her from under heavy lids and neither of them said a word, but there was an entire history of information passed between the two in the few moments it took for the elevator to rise and stop at their floor to disgorge its passengers.

Sophie poked her head out to make sure there were no observers and announced the hallway clear. She went before them and opened Nate's apartment door, holding it for them as they dragged Eliot through and then closing it just as fast.

Between them they got Eliot into the spare bedroom and sitting on the edge of the bed while Sophie ran for towels and first aid supplies. Parker bent down, untying Eliot's boots and removing them and his socks, standing just as Sophie made a reappearance. They put the soft terrycloth on the bed behind Eliot and Nate leaned the hitter back, Hardison supporting his head until he was flat on the bed. Unconcerned for modesty Parker unbuckled Eliot's belt and her nimble fingers had unfastened his jeans before Hardison nudged her away, finishing the job of ridding the hitter of the blood soaked denim.

Sky blue eyes opened and shut, only to repeat the action seconds later with no more success. Using the towels to reposition him, they moved him so he was stretched out on the mattress. During the move he showed no more response than his uncoordinated blinking.

Nate cut the bandages from his abdomen, peeling back layer after layer until he got to the last, and then had to soak that one away. Using sterile water he washed the wound, taking his time so that it didn't reopen. It was an ugly gash, the edges of the wound red and swollen, and he reached into the first aid bag for the suture kit.

When the last knot was tied off he handed the needle to Sophie, who took it to the bathroom to clean and re-sterilize it. He wiped a shaking hand across his forehead as Hardison applied the dressing, taping it securely. Sophie returned, and together they log-rolled Eliot onto his side.

Sophie caught sight for the first time of Eliot's back, and her gasp was loud in the otherwise silent room. Nate looked over at her, her hand against her mouth, eyes wide. At his glance she swallowed hard, and nodded, removing her fist.

"I'm alright. I can do this."

He nodded, and they continued.

By the time they had gotten Eliot stitched and clean of most of the blood, they had destroyed five towels and fourteen cloths, used 153 stitches, four bottles of sterile saline and two of alcohol to clean and close the wounds. But they weren't counting that.

Not as long as they still had one hitter, alive, and on his way to well.