Disclaimer: I do not own Leverage nor am I associated with Dean Devlin, Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Aldis Hodge or Beth Riesgraf.
A/N: I've been kicking this idea around for quite some time. Originally, it was supposed to be Parker's family but then I remembered she had grown up in the foster system so it died for a while. And then this madness struck and… tada!
Hi Mom, Dad
Eliot wore a blank, stunned expression when he walked into the office that Monday morning. He abandoned his usual detour to the kitchen for a beer or a soda and walked straight into the conference room. The rest of the team was already assembled there, a game of hockey on the large, paneled screen. They all turned to look at him as he entered and instantly sensed something was up. Alec's eyebrows shot up, Nate set down his glass and Sophie reached out a hand for him.
"Eliot! What's wrong?" she asked, always the sensitive one.
"Yes! And the Blackhawks score again!" Parker cheered suddenly, ignoring Eliot and his problems. Sophie rolled her eyes.
"Oh my god, what am I goin' to do?" Eliot ran both hands through his hair, his eyes still a bit unfocused.
"Spit it out, drama queen," Alec quipped, getting impatient.
Eliot took a deep breath and replied, "My mom called."
Sophie dropped her hand in surprise and Nate let out a barking laugh. "Your mom called?"
"Yep. Haven't talked to my parents in almost eight years. And now, just out of the blue, they want to visit. How she got the number I don't have the faintest idea. I mean, when I say eight years, I really mean eight years. And-"
Parker's voice cut into his ramblings. "Eliot!" He fell silent, glaring at her, but quickly started up again.
"I just don't know what I am going to do. I'm a retrieval specialist; what do I say when they want to know what I do? I'm a 34-year-old man without a girlfriend or any prospects of saying 'I do' anytime soon; that's sure to disappoint my mama. The list just goes on and on!"
"You're also a con artist," Nate put in.
Sophie nodded, crossing her arms. "You're also a con artist," she repeated, "So run a con."
"I am not going to con my mama and my daddy." The look on Eliot's face was approaching stunned again.
"Not con, really. You're not after anything. Just show them a life that's not really yours. I mean, come on. We're masters at inventing people," Sophie explained.
"I'm in. I want to see where this crazy, punching machine came from," Alec said from the opposite end of the table.
"Whatever," Parker yawned, "We don't have a job right now and the Rembrandt show in New York doesn't start for a month."
Nate reached for a chip, saying, "When are they coming and how long are they going to be here?"
Shrugging, Eliot replied with, "They'll be here on Friday but she didn't say how long they were going to stay." His face went white. "Good lord, I hope it's not long."
"I'm guessing you and your parents don't get along," Alec said with raised eyebrows.
"It's not that, really, I just always had problems with them, you know? I mean, my dad taught me everything I know but we never connected. It's weird that Mom wants to do this." Eliot shook his head. "Oh, it's going to be a long week."
The team had four days to help out their muscle man. Sophie was assigned to image: she had to turn Eliot into the quiet, mild-mannered pencil pusher they all knew was in there somewhere. She was surprised to find several nice suits already in his closet and that his apartment, while somewhat abandoned most of the time, was relatively clean and homey. There was a fully equipped kitchen and, by the looks of the stove, it was the most-used room in the house. The living room needed a little sprucing up so the actress made a quick trip to Michael's for some pillows and a slipcover to hide the beer stains.
Alec was assigned to the workplace. Since they each had personal offices, all he really had to do was customize the room. When he was finished there was not only a plant in the corner, photographs and a CD player loaded with music Sophie had swiped from Eliot's apartment for him, but there was also a computer fully stocked with everything necessary and more to make Eliot look like the consultant he was posing as.
Nate was in charge of backstory. Eliot had to have had some sort of a life for the last eight years. The last time he had talked to his parents, he was still with Aimee and working as a horse trainer. He'd been a 'retrieval specialist' back then, but it was more like a filler job when he needed money, not a career. And so Nate wrote the story of Eliot Spencer: how he came to be in Chicago, how he came to be a financial consultant and, because Nate's neurotic, even silly details like Eliot's pet spider monkey, Mitzy, and her tragic death at the blades of a ceiling fan. He spent four hours going over Eliot's life with him.
Parker, however, had the least work to do: before Mr. and Mrs. Spencer arrived, anyway. Both she and Eliot had grumbled and argued over her assignment but Sophie had been very adamant. While Nate would be Eliot's boss, Sophie and Alec good friends and coworkers, Parker, it seemed, was to pose as Eliot's girlfriend. Eliot knew he had dug that hole himself when he mentioned how disappointed his mother would be that he was single, but even so, Parker? Really?
Friday morning they all rolled out of bed, the energizing juice of a con running through their veins. At 11 o'clock sharp, Eliot was pulling into the airport parking lot. His hair was pulled back, much like he wore it during jobs, and a snappy-looking suit hung from his shoulders as though it had been tailor-made for him. He flipped the car into a parking space right ahead of some guy, earning him several horn blares. Shoving his hands in his pockets, Eliot casually made his way into the cool, bustling lobby and over to the arrival screens. A random tune escaped his lips in the form of a meandering whistle to hide his agitated nerves. He watched the reflections of hurrying passersby in the screen in front of him, until a graying woman with a large purse and a tall, Southern rancher came into view. Eliot took a deep breath and turned around.
"Hi Mom, Dad."