Title: The Survival Job – Missing Scene
Author's Notes: So in my haste to finish the Survival Job I completely forgot a subplot that I wanted to include in the final chapter (yeah, I suck, whatever) but I have now written it and am posting it as an extra add-on. Just imagine that the Survival Job was a DVD and this is a deleted scene in the special features. Takes place during the final chapter when the team is waiting to get the all clear that they can return to the office.
Summary: After Eliot is hurt he and Nate have a discussion regarding Eliot's past.
Eliot was sitting on the couch flipping through the sports channels to find a decent hockey game when he heard the downstairs elevator start up. Nate had called ahead to say he was coming by so Eliot only tensed slightly, hand hovering over the knife hidden beneath the table until he was sure it was actually Nate.
The grate of the lift opened to reveal Eliot's boss and the hitter relaxed back on the couch, not feeling the least bit embarrassed for being cautious – it had only been three days since Mosconi found them after all.
"Whatever you brought you can just put on the table," Eliot called out, grinning when he finally found a channel with some high-sticking going on.
Nate entered and dropped the eight pack of beer on the table, "How did you know I brought something?"
"Seems to be a growing trend," Eliot replied, pointing out the things he had already collected when their other teammates had stopped by to check on him. "The books and soup are from Sophie, the stuffed bunny was in bed with me when I woke up, which is creepy so I can only assume it's from Parker, and Hardison brought the DVDs and hooked up the cable so I'd have something to watch. You, brought me beer, which is great, but you also came to talk so sit down and let's get it over with."
Nate's eyes widened as he lowered himself into the armchair, angling away from the TV to face Eliot, "How do you know I came here to talk and not just check up on you?"
Eliot shook his head. He was still pretty beat up from the working over Mosconi and his guys had given him, but that had been days ago and with rest, quiet, food and with his teammates coming over to check and change his bandages he was healing nicely.
"Nah, it ain't your style. You wouldn't come over here just to check up on me because you know the others are already doing that so you're here to talk about something. So what is it, you want me to try to track Mosconi?" Eliot asked, never one to beat around the bush when it came to conversations or actions.
"No, it's not about that," Nate said simply, looking away for a second, clearly having planned to ease into the conversation more than this.
Getting the feeling that this was going to be a serious talk Eliot muted the TV, "So what is this about?"
Leaning forward with his elbows on his knees Nate met Eliot's eyes almost apologetically, "Morphine."
Eliot's jaw twitched slightly which he covered up by taking a swig of his beer, "I don't use the stuff. End of story. Good talk."
"I know you don't, I need to know why," Nate pushed despite knowing this conversation couldn't lead anywhere good.
"It messes with my head. I don't like not being in control of myself, that's how people get killed in my line of work," Eliot explained.
"I understand that much, I also know that's probably why you never drink more than three beer a night, but when Hardison asked if you were taking morphine your reaction was angry. It was defensive and personal, I need to know why," Nate reiterated slowly.
"I really don't think you do and I don't see how it matters," Eliot countered, no longer making eye contact and keeping his sole focus on the muted hockey game.
"It matters because something like this might happen again and you could end up in the hospital without any of us around. If they put you on a morphine drip without permission I need to know why that's a big deal and what the repercussions will be. It's my job to know these things and plan for them, Eliot," Nate replied simply, making it clear he wasn't here out of sick curiosity but for the safety of the team and Eliot himself.
Eliot took another drink of his beer, understanding Nate's intentions and also hearing the unspoken message that said 'if you want to be on this team I have to know everything, right now, or the deal's off'. Putting his beer down Eliot turned to face Nate, deciding that if his boss wanted to know then he was going to know all of it.
"I was in Croatia, about six years ago. I was helping free some prisoners from the government camps, most of us split up once we got through the wall, had a point to meet up later. I was leading a group of maybe a dozen people, couple kids, all in pretty rough shape. Government soldiers were right behind us so I told them the meeting point and hung back to buy them some time. Think I took out about eight guys before I took two rounds to the chest," Eliot didn't miss Nate's flinch and Eliot had trouble covering up his own as he thought back to the prisoners he had helped escape, their starved features and hopeless eyes. He also remembered the incredible burning pain of the bullets piercing his chest, knocking him down and stealing the air from his body only to replace it with agony.
Nate only nodded not wanting to interrupt the narrative.
"They needed information from me so they hauled me back to their camp and patched me up. They wanted to know where the rebels met, their plans, the usual. Thankfully they were smart enough to know I wasn't gonna survive any rounds with a cattle prod so instead they started me on a morphine drip, increased it a little every couple of hours for … I don't know how long, it got pretty hazy for quite awhile there."
"They got you addicted," Nate surmised, filling the still air when Eliot paused.
The hitter nodded and continued with the same even, emotionless tone, "Then they shut it off cold. I had healed a bit in the couple of days I had been on it, just strong enough to survive the withdrawal that was gonna hit in a couple of hours at which point I knew they were going to offer me more drugs in exchange for information on the rebels."
"And?" Nate probed, oddly desperate and yet reluctant to hear the rest.
"It never happened. By some godly stroke of luck the rebels attacked the base just as I was coming down off my high. It wasn't a rescue mission or anything, it was liberation with some damn good timing. I used the distraction to get free, found a familiar face in the rebels and got some help after the fight was over. Of course, help consisted of going back to the room I had been kept in and getting tied up," Eliot reported with a sardonic grin.
"I thought you were allied with the rebels?" Nate asked, wondering if Eliot had lost him or he had lost Eliot to the strikingly morbid memory.
"I was. I asked them to do it. I knew the withdrawal was going to snap something in me, at least for awhile, I'd seen it happen before and I didn't want to hurt anyone, which I would have. They brought me water and took care of me. Two days later after some trippy dreams I had kicked it," Eliot finished. He took another sip of beer, trying to appear casual as his entire being was focused on not getting overpowered by the memory of the withdrawal, the way his skin had literally crawled and itched like fire ants were on him, the terrible hallucinations, the dank room, the tight ropes restraining him and the unforgiving yearning and need that had consumed his mind for days, driving him mad with its intensity.
"And that's it?" Nate probed quietly.
"Mostly. It was out of my system after a couple of days but I could taste it for weeks after that, craved it for months but I stayed clean. It cost me jobs, focus, couple broken bones, then it finally went away, slowly and I put it behind me and never went near it again."
Nate could only nod. It was a terrible story and he knew Eliot was leaving out the worst of the details for his sake and yet it still chilled him to the bone.
"Okay. I'll have Hardison put a morphine allergy into all your fake medical records, just in case."
"Thanks," Eliot replied, still staring at the television.
Feeling like a coward, Nate stood up to leave. There was nothing to say in response to Eliot's story. He had told Nate plainly what he had wanted to know; there was no need to ask any questions and he knew Eliot would not appreciate or allow any pity or condolences for what he had been through, so with a somber nod Nate headed back for the door. When Eliot called to him he didn't turn around, just stopped and listened.
"If anything like that ever happens you've gotta do the same thing. I don't want to hurt you guys."
Nate understood that that was probably Eliot's biggest fear, hurting the team he had silently promised to protect, so he nodded again, "I know, I will. Take care of yourself Eliot."
"Thanks for the beer," Eliot called out, then Nate was gone.
Both men sighed deeply once the other was gone, disturbing images and memories running rampant through their minds.
Tonight there would be nightmares, of that neither one had any doubts.
Okay, now it's really over. Just wanted to throw in a little Eliot backstory for fun. Thanks for reading, sorry again that I forgot to put it in the actual fic. My bad. Robin.