The Solo Job(s)
A/N: Leverage is owned by TNT; I'm just writing in their world with their characters. These are my theories about what Eliot Spencer did for those three months after The First David Job. This is my first foray into the world of Leverage as a writer.
He only had himself to blame. You would think he knew himself better by now. He always did something monumentally dangerous after being betrayed. It was as if he wanted to prove to himself that he was worth something.
The first lesson in betrayal had sent him to juvenile and started him down his career path as a retrieval specialist. The second lesson had been when he found out about Aimee's marriage. That had sent him to Croatia. This third lesson hadn't cut quite so deep, but he had taken a job he wasn't ready for.
Leaning against the wall and peering around the corner, Eliot Spencer realized he'd made a rookie mistake. He had accepted a job that had been offered to him several months ago that he'd refused on the grounds that he already had a job. And he had had one. Then. Leverage Consulting and Associates. But then Sophie had let her avarice get the best of her and conned them all. Nate told them to scatter for six months to let things cool down and get the heat off their backs. So he left and had been at a loss of what to do for about a week when he decided to accept this job. His choice. His decision. His mistake.
Eliot tried to take a deep breath and couldn't. Those ribs that Mr. Quinn had broken had barely begun to heal and now it seemed that they were broken again. Looking behind him, he tried to see if he was leaving a bloodtrail. It didn't seem so. If it wouldn't be so painful, he wanted to pound his head against the wall. But with his current fortune, he'd probably aggravate the concussion Quinn had given him as well. Thinking back, he tried to figure where he'd gone wrong.
The job had seemed simple. Get into the house, break into the private collection, retrieve the jeweled pendant, and get out. Now, since this was a private collection, the guards were not your donut-chewing, coffee-slurping watchdogs. No. These were goons with guns. Big guns and bigger knives. And they knew how to use them.
It had gone well at first. Eliot had made it all the way in and snagged the necklace. It was during his exit that things had turned sideways. He had eased around the corner right into a group of three guards. It had been a split second standoff before the fight began. All four men were involved…then three…then two. While Eliot was whaling on the second guard, he was rocked back by a blow to his left bicep. Since he'd just shifted his stance to better pound the man, what should have been a heart shot had only left three inches of blade in his arm instead. Eliot returned the favor with interest. That was one guard who would never hunt him down. Ever.
Stopping only to shove the bodies to one side, Eliot had continued towards the perimeter wall. He felt the blood dripping down inside his sleeve. It was irritating but the flow was not fast enough or heavy enough to indicate that the artery had been severed or slow him down much.
And that brought him to now.
A last bit of scouting before trying to go over the perimeter wall. He'd already marked his spot; he was just checking to see if the downed guards had been discovered. Eliot wasn't concerned about the other two waking up and telling about him yet. Those he knocked out tended to stay knocked out. It was safest for him that way. Looking at his watch, Eliot waited for the second hand to make two more sweeps. If his observations were correct, he now had 37 seconds to make it from his current position to up and over the wall.
He made it with two seconds to spare. Grabbing his duffle from behind the bush, Eliot jogged under the cover of the trees down the road to where he'd left the bike.
Eliot judged he was safe when he'd made it out of the hills and into downtown where he had a motel room. His plane didn't leave until late that afternoon, and he needed to clean things up. He parked and got off the bike with a wince. With the adrenaline leaving his system, it was going to be hard to stay focused and alert. He was sure the necklace's owner had more goons, but he knew they hadn't been following him.
Turning on the bathroom light, Eliot eased off his jacket to see the damage. Not too torn up but it definitely needed stitches. And he didn't have a suture kit with him. Another stupid mistake he would never had made a year ago. Sighing, he dug through his bag until he found what he wanted. This was going to hurt. Ripping off a strip of duct tape and attaching it to a wall, Eliot maneuvered his arm under the faucet in the sink trying to rinse off all the blood and clean out the wound. He didn't realize he was growling with frustration and pain. Drying off his arm, Eliot grabbed the duct tape and used it to seal the wound shut. It would hold long enough for him to get home and take care of it properly. At least this way there would be no chance of blood leaking as it might if he'd just stitched it up. Cleaning up the gory sink, Eliot went back into the bedroom to make a call.
"I've got it," his harsh voice informed his client. "I'll meet your man at DAI tomorrow. Terminal A in the food court. I get my money then." Eliot listened as the client blustered but finally acquiesced. After all, he wanted that necklace. Flipping his cell phone closed, Eliot was grateful for idiotic husbands who lavished gifts on other women and then got found out. Of course, he didn't think the woman's husband knew where she'd gotten the necklace but that wasn't his problem.
Slowly collapsing back onto the bed, Eliot went over the job in his mind to figure out where he'd gone wrong. It didn't take too much introspection to realize what had been going on in his head. He had expected to be warned about those guards. To hear Hardison or Parker or Nate telling him they were on the move. He'd learned to depend on them. Eliot Spencer. The man who had learned early on in life and repeatedly since then that you could trust no one but yourself. And then he'd betrayed himself by falling into dangerous habits. To trust the rest of the crew. Aimee had called them his family. He hadn't wanted to agree at the time even to himself but after Kentucky, he had caught himself thinking about it. And then Sophie had….
Eliot started to roll onto his side with frustration but the pain in his ribs made him stop. At least he was getting paid. He would have to manage this carefully. His client had a reputation for cheating, and Eliot wasn't going to be fooled again. Thinking for a few minutes, he figured out a plan. It wasn't flashy like what Nate would have developed but it would work. Reaching out with his right arm, Eliot set the alarm and dropped into a deep sleep.
Picking up a chicken strip, Eliot kept a lookout for his contact. He had the man's photo sent by the client on his cell phone. Eliot kept looking out the window at the Lufthansa plane that was getting ready for the trip to Frankfurt. His interest was not so much in the plane but in the cargo pods now being loaded. He was glad he would not have to fly all the way to Germany to deliver the merchandise. A smile twisted his lips and he was unaware of the effect it had on the man sitting across the aisle. That man decided to find another table away from the crazy man with the bruised cheekbone and the sadistic smile.
Eliot looked around and spotted his man. His attention caught, the man sauntered over to Eliot's table. "You?" A nod and raised eyebrow was his only answer.
Speaking softly but with an undertone of menace, Eliot said, "Where's my money?"
The man brought out his phone, hit some keys, and declared, "Check."
With the confirmation of the money transfer, Eliot said, "You see that container there, the one labeled AKE 50567 LH Jettainer?"
The man peered out the window, found what Eliot had indicated, and turned back with a confused "Yeah?"
Eliot slid a paper across the table and smiled. It was not a nice smile. But he really didn't want to go to Germany right now.
"That's a claim ticket for a bag in that container. The bag has the necklace. You get the necklace when you get to Germany. And then I get the rest of my money." The glare from the ice blue eyes left nothing to the imagination about what Eliot Spencer would do if he was cheated. He would go to Germany.
The man gulped. He was just a go-between. He was not comfortable with his boss's business dealings and this one just felt….he searched for the right word…dangerous. This was a man who would not be crossed. This situation went against his orders though. The plan had been for him to get this…this thief on the plane and then Bruno, their employer's main enforcer, would take him out once they got to Germany. This thief had outsmarted them. A grudging respect rose in him as he nodded to the man and left to go to his gate.
Eliot was proud of himself. He would never have thought of that plan before he'd met Nate. He knew he'd stiffen up too much on an overseas flight to be able to put up much of a fight at the end of the journey. Oh, he was sure that an ambush had been planned. He would have been disappointed if it hadn't. This client had cheated others before. He must have thought he could cheat Eliot. His mistake.
Finishing dinner, Eliot reached down to grab his duffle and his vision went black around the edges. He bit his lip and waited. Sight returned but he knew he was pushing himself to his limit. His breathing was shallow and he felt a cold sweat break out all over. He leaned back in his chair to let the feeling pass. Using the table as a lever, Eliot eased to his feet, left the food court, and headed towards his own gate. He saw his contact at the Frankfurt gate on his left and ignored him. The first of several sliding walkways took him further from the man and towards the ground gate where his own flight was departing from. The waiting room was at the very end of the terminal; his plane, a Bombardier Q400, would take him to LA in few hours. Settling in a chair against the back wall in the corner, Eliot kept an unobtrusive eye out for anyone who might be looking for him. No one came.
Finally. Time to go. They tried to take his bag at the door to gate check it, but he just stared them down. Stammering, the steward said if he could find a place for it, then he could take it onboard. Smirking, Eliot boarded and found his seat in the back. The flight was not full and Eliot was able to get a row to himself after final headcount. Leaning against the bulkhead, Eliot watched the ground recede behind him. It looked to be a bad flight; dark clouds filled the air above, and this plane could not go above them. If there had been someone who followed him onboard, they would be stuck in their seats the entire flight.
The glass was cool against his forehead; he needed to stay awake a bit longer. He ordered coffee, black. Eliot slowly clenched and unclenched his left fist. The pain helped him focus. He noticed that he was breathing in shorter gasps and tried to take deeper breaths. It hurt. Man, he was a mess. And this from a simple B & E job. No military involved at all. He snorted. He'd been slacking off. He would need to fix that when he got back. He had gotten sloppy. Sloppy got you killed. Eliot was not ready to die. He leaned back into his seat and went into a state of rest. He wasn't asleep; his eyes weren't even closed. But he was not thinking or feeling or hurting right then.
Looking past the propeller, Eliot could see the city skyline. He was home. He'd told at least one person he could have L.A. and had meant it, then, but he just couldn't seem to stay away. He was always drawn back. It was dark when the plane touched down. The wind caused the plane to shift to the side causing some passengers to shriek. "Idiots," he muttered. Deplaning, he kept an eye out all around him for a tail but could spot no one. Retrieving his truck from long term parking, Eliot headed to his new apartment.
He'd had to give up his old apartment to get away from Sterling and wasn't really unpacked yet. Boxed were scattered everywhere. Dropping his duffle by the door, Eliot headed towards the bedroom's bath. The first thing he always unpacked was medical supplies, the second was the kitchen. Rummaging in the cabinet, Eliot found the suture kit and opened it up. Selecting a pre-threaded needle, Eliot braced himself for what he had to do. He had to rip off the tape without enlarging the gash in his arm. The wall had a hole in it when he was done. The sting of the needle was nothing to him, and the wound was sewn up fairly quickly.
Turning the water on as hot as he could stand, Eliot took a shower to try and clean the rest of the adrenaline out of his system. He needed to sleep and the water helped him relax. Towel drying his hair, he sat on the edge of his bed and tried to calm his mind. He'd been on the job, by himself, for over 50 hours and he needed that internal voice to shut up. He finally convinced it to let him alone for a while and fell back onto the bed and finally fell deeply asleep.
Hot. He was too hot. He knew he wasn't in the desert but his throat felt parched and his skin was tight. Opening his eyes to darkness was not what he'd expected. Eliot had expected to be blinded by the sun. Where….what? Rolling over, he got his answer. His arm flared with so much pain that he quickly rolled back onto his back, his breath coming in ragged gasps. The job…the fight…getting wounded. Something was wrong.
His eyes burning from the bright bathroom light, Eliot had to wait for them to adjust. Once his eyes cleared and he wiped the tears away, he looked down at his arm. The wound had swollen around the stitches and the edges were red. Clenching his fist, pain radiated up and down his left arm. He laughed without humor. His arm had gotten infected.
There would probably be another hole in the drywall soon but it couldn't wait. The stitches had to come out and the infection drained immediately. Holding a handtowel with his mouth, Eliot began cutting the stitches. As he expected, the release of pressure released the infection which the towel caught. After all the stitches had been removed, Eliot could clench his fist with a little less pain. He squatted to pull out the bigger med kit from under the sink. Opening it on the toilet seat, he pulled out an irrigation syringe and a bottle of saline water. Eliot straddled the edge of the tub, sat down, and began flushing out the wound. Finally, he was satisfied that he had cleaned it out. He re-sutured it closed. One final thing. Pulling out another syringe, Eliot gave himself a powerful antibiotic injection.
Parched, he staggered into the kitchen to get some juice. Holding the glass against his face, he tried to remember that this job had been his choice. That he had made the decision to break into the man's house. That he had been an idiot once again to trust people and, after losing that trust, take a job he normally would not have taken just to prove something to himself. He braced his arms on the kitchen bar and rested his head on his right hand. Six months. At this rate, he wasn't going to last two months. The question was, would he go back at the end of the six months? Was he willing to give the team a second chance? Or should he just stay away? Could he afford re-learning habits he might have to break to stay alive if they broke up again?
Finishing his juice, Eliot went back to the bedroom to try to sleep. He put his thoughts off until he was feeling better.
Please let me know what you thought of this story by reviewing. I love this show and hope I captured some of the flavor of it.