Title: Eliot Fights a Bear
Author's Notes: Written for the Geteven_Getfic kinkfic prompt "Eliot fights a bear". I slaved over whether this would be a comedic or dramatic bear attack. I eventually threw Hardison in the mix to make it a little bit of both. Hope you all enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Eliot, Hardison or Leverage. I kind of own the bear I guess but I don't really want to keep it.
Rating: PG-13 for violence, mild swearing.
Spoilers: Don't think so.
Summary: Eliot fights a bear, need I say more?

"Hardison, move your ass, we're burning daylight," Eliot yelled from his perch atop the incline.

Just barely visible further down the hill, grasping trees to help pull himself upwards, Hardison shook his head, "Nah, no way, I did not sign up for this."

"Yes you did, you said you'd set up the surveillance equipment and I said I'd come with ya, but I'm gonna leave your ass behind if you don't hurry up," Eliot warned, unsympathetic and completely unwinded unlike the hacker.

Throwing down his backpack and sitting down heavily on a log Hardison pointed out, "You said we were going to drive."

"We did drive, now we're walking," Eliot countered.

"We drove for like twenty minutes. We've been walking almost two hours!" Hardison complained.

"It's not my fault this guy's a wealthy, paranoid recluse who lives in the woods, all right. You're the one who said the only way to get surveillance would be to go to his house."

"Yes, but there's a road to his house which we for some reason didn't take. Instead you thought it'd be fun to march me through scary, dangerous woods for hours for no reason. My feet hurt, my back's sore, this is torture for me. I know this is your idea of payback or something, so whatever I did, I'm sorry. It's cause I made fun of your boots isn't it?" Hardison was rambling, not just because he was tired and grumpy, but because the longer he talked the longer he could rest.

"This isn't payback," Eliot grumbled as he backtracked to Hardison's position, even though it had been really stupid of the hacker to make fun of his boots. "And yeah, there's a road to this guy's house, one road that only leads here, which isn't exactly the most subtle way to get to a guy's house that you're trying to spy on, which is why we're going this way. Now come on, we're almost there."

Eliot put on a tough, unsympathetic front but Hardison smiled as the hitter wordlessly picked up Alec's backpack and carried it for him even though he was already lugging one of his own. He was still going to make the out of shape hacker walk, but it was nice of him to lighten his load.

He was still tired though and groaned as he pushed himself to standing, his feet protesting the very idea of it. Outfitted in a bright sweater and a pair of sneakers, Hardison knew he was just not made for the outdoors. Nothing about it seemed right to him and he constantly felt uncomfortable, surrounded by nature, trees and rocks instead of walls, concrete and electricity. Eliot on the other hand was a man in his element, or one of his many elements as he seemed comfortable in almost any situation, and was effortlessly leading the way to the house they were looking for, navigating the forest without a map or even a GPS. Hardison sighed as he followed because they were going uphill, again. Hardison shook his head, mumbling, "How is that even possible? Man doesn't live on a mountain but we been going uphill the entire damn way."

Just as he said it Eliot disappeared from view ahead of him, presumably because the ground leveled off, blocking Hardison's view. When he finally trudged to the top as well he found Eliot crouched down with a pair of binoculars looking into the distance. Following the hitter's line of sight Hardison saw that they had finally reached the house. He had been right about them going uphill as they were pretty high above it as it sat nestled in a crest in a valley. Eliot's perch was particularly close to a sudden drop off that made Hardison nervous, but the hitter seemed completely secure. The house was still fairly far away but it was huge and easy to spot.

"Thank you god!" Hardison exclaimed, dropping down next to Eliot in exhaustion.

"How close do we gotta be for this equipment of yours to work?" Eliot asked.

Hardison smirked, loving when he got to impress with his beautiful toys, "We just gotta be able to see it."

"Seriously?" Eliot found it hard to believe they could listen in from here, they were well over a mile away.

"That's the beauty of laser technology, all we need is a clear line of sight and a window," Hardison explained as he unpacked his bag. "Lasers will go on forever as long as they're not interrupted, so you point one at a window and it can hear inside the room by measuring the vibrations in the glass."

"Whatever you say," Eliot mumbled, not really caring how it worked as long as Hardison understood it. He was only there to keep the hacker safe in case the crazy old recluse posted guards around the house, however that had been when he thought they would have to get a lot closer than this. The stuff Hardison could do with his equipment really was impressive.

Quickly setting up the tripod and the laser scope Hardison was able to get a clear view pretty easily.

"All right, I got a clear line of sight on the office. There's a meeting room at the back of the house though," Hardison said, knowing they would have to listen in to both rooms.

"Okay, you finish setting this one up. I'll find a spot for the next one," Eliot suggested, standing and pulling on his backpack again. "My comm's on if you need anything."

"Only one thing I need," Hardison mumbled when Eliot was out of sight. Grabbing his bag he dug through and pulled out an Orange Soda, immediately popping the top and taking a long, satisfying swig. Looking again he also saw the turkey sandwich he had forgotten he packed, and thank god he did, after two hours of hiking he was starving. Sandwich in one hand he set up his laptop with the other hand and did some impressive one-handed typing as he ate and calibrated the laser at the same time. About ten minutes later it was set up, recording and transmitting but he didn't really want to leave it until he knew for sure it was working. So far the office was quiet.

"Hey Hardison I think I got a clear shot on the other room. I'll unpack this thing but then you gotta set it up," Eliot informed him over the earpieces.

"I know, I know, technology is scary. I'll come rescue you from the big bad computer in a few minutes," Hardison joked, constantly amused by Eliot's computer illiteracy.

"Laugh it up hacker-boy, let's see if I kill the next spider that gets in your office for you," Eliot threatened.

"Hey man, that's not funny, that thing was huge, I could see its pincer things, it was probably venomous."

Eliot laughed remembering the girlish scream that had come from Hardison's office when the spider had run across the floor. Eliot had rushed in to find Hardison standing on his chair, pointing viciously at the thing. After Eliot stepped on it Hardison acted as though the hitter had saved his life.

"Sure it was, just get over here when you're done," Eliot instructed.

Hardison made a face mocking Eliot's bossiness then turned when he heard a snapping noise behind him. He tried to tell himself he was being paranoid, much like the man they were attempting to spy on, but here in the forest which was very foreign to him, he felt paranoia may be justified.

"Uh Eliot, are you on your way back over here by any chance?" he asked quietly.

"No, why?" Eliot responded, immediately alert.

"I thought I heard something, like someone was coming up behind me," Hardison explained.

"Like a spider?" Eliot enquired, but he wasn't joking, more like gauging how serious Hardison was being about possible danger.

Another snap. Louder, closer like whatever it was wasn't even trying to hide.

"Yeah, there's definitely someone coming," Hardison whispered, crouching as though that would camouflage the bright purple sweater he was wearing.

"Stay low, I'm on my way," Eliot assured him and he could hear the retrieval specialist running.

Hardison looked around him not spotting any decent hiding places in range. Behind him and to his left were both pretty steep drop-offs that he didn't want to go anywhere near, the snapping sounds were coming from directly behind him which left going right and meeting up with Eliot as his only escape route. He looked at his equipment strewn everywhere and knew he couldn't pack it all up quickly or quietly. Then his thoughts were interrupted by a terribly ominous growl that shook him to his core. Turning slowly he saw branches being bent and twisted in the brush behind him and then all too soon the stranger appeared, the sight of him almost stopping Hardison's heart.

It was a 600 pound Grizzly Bear.

"Oh my … b…bear," Hardison breathed out, eyes huge and riveted to the massive beast. It was about a dozen feet away and seemed to be considering its find as it didn't come any closer but watched Hardison intently, sniffing the air. Hardison knew it smelt his fear.

"What?" Eliot demanded, sure he had heard the hacker wrong.

"It's. A. Bear," Hardison reiterated slowly but just as softly.

"Do not run! Look down, be submissive and back away slowly," Eliot instructed but could be heard racing through the woods.

Hardison would have backed away but he knew the only thing behind him was a drop-off and moving left or right would bring him closer to the massive beast, but it didn't matter, he was stuck in place.

"I … I can't move," Hardison admitted, his voice shaking as the bear continued to look him up and down. Seemingly unpleased by something the animal snorted loudly then stomped one of its massive claws on the ground. Hardison crouched down lower, unsure if he should respond or keep doing what he was doing.

Apparently it was the wrong choice as the bear growled fiercely and reared up on its hind legs, seemingly shaking the trees with the power of its roar. Suddenly Hardison knew why Stephen Colbert had these things as #1 on the Threatdown almost every week – they were terrifying, deadly and as he sat there unmoving and unarmed, he knew that he was a dead man. As the bear took a lumbering step towards him he thought the drop-off behind him was looking like a pretty good option, but he was saved from having to make that choice when another loud commotion drew both his and the bear's attention to the right. And there was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen, Eliot standing in a clearing, a massive knife in his left hand and a thick tree branch in the other, which he beat loudly against a tree trunk to draw attention to himself.

"Hey, get out of here! Go! Move it Yogi! Come on! Get!" Eliot demanded, knowing the loud noises would either scare the bear away or at the very least get it away from Hardison and come at him. He quickly found out it was the latter when the huge beast dropped back down to all fours and charged at the hitter.

"Eliot!" Hardison yelled instinctively in warning when he saw the bear change direction.

"Shit," Eliot muttered, the same fear gripping him that had taken Hardison. Men he could handle, guns he could handle, but a bear … Jesus Christ it was huge. He knew he couldn't outrun it so he ducked behind the nearest tree so it would have to stop and turn to get at him with far less momentum than it currently had. The tactic worked and the bear stopped as it reached the tree at which point Eliot did the only thing he could think of and swung and tree branch hard at the animal's snout, knowing it was the most sensitive part of its body. The bear actually stumbled sideways slightly from the blow, seemingly dazed.

There was enough of a lull for Eliot to yell, "Hardison, run!" before a huge, powerful paw came up to bat at the hitter in return. The bear hit him in the right shoulder but Eliot felt the blow reverberate through his whole body and he was briefly flying before feeling the same shattering impact as he collided with a tree trunk. Falling limply to the ground on his back his vision blacked out for a moment from the shock of the hit and he had to force himself to stay conscious as his body shook from the power of it. He felt like he'd been hit by a truck.

In the periphery of his senses he thought he heard someone yell his name and he could feel broken bones shifting in his left arm and possibly his leg and he also knew there was blood flowing freely down his right side. This was as far as his senses were allowed to travel before an impossibly heavy paw landed on his chest, claws digging into his skin and ribs cracking from the pressure while the bear growled above him. Eliot was pinned in place, unable to breathe or move and he knew the animal would be delivering a killing blow any moment. Somehow though Eliot had managed to hold onto his knife and realizing this he twisted with all his might, driving the blade deep into the bear's leg.

The bear roared again, this time in pain and pulled back as it desperately tried to pry the knife out. Eliot managed to roll away, adrenaline fueling him to keep moving but in just a few feet he hit another tree and stopped. The bear continued to growl, angry and scared, up on its hind legs now to keep pressure off its injured paw, Eliot saw it was coming for him again.

Persistent bastard.

Unfortunately for the bear Eliot always kept a knife in each boot and his right arm was still just functional enough to reach down and pull the second one free. He knew he would only have one shot and half a second to do it, so as the bear towered over him Eliot didn't hesitate. The knife flew through the air and landed exactly where he had aimed, deep in the bear's eye, one of the thick-skinned creature's few vulnerable spots. The massive animal silenced and tottered backwards for a second, then gave a low, moaning growl before it pitched over sideways, shaking the ground as it landed, dead.

The following silence was quickly filled with a shaky sigh of relief from Eliot when he was sure the thing was dead and then Hardison's clumsy, panicked footsteps as he ran over.

"Eliot! Eliot!" the hacker yelled with concern, having seen the hitter get knocked around. Eliot really wanted to stand up and show his teammate that he was okay but his body was still shaking from a wide variety of factors and he knew the ground was the best place for him at the moment.

"Eliot! Jesus Christ, the bear … and you … and the bear … and are you all right?" Hardison's questions and babbling came out too quickly for Eliot to interject. "Course you're not all right, you just got mauled by a bear! Course it's just another day in the office for you, 'gonna go fight a bear now', and yeah, you won, which is amazing, but look at you, bleeding, covered in bear claw marks. Really Eliot, who fights a bear? With his bare hands? What is wrong with you? God damn lions and tigers are gonna show up next and who's gonna fight them? What if there's another bear? Like this one's bear-wife or bear-brother, we're screwed!"

"Hardison! Calm down and shut up, I'm fine!" Eliot finally exploded, bleeding arm clutching his broken one to keep it immobilized as he breathed past the pain. "And stop saying the word 'bear'."

"I can't possibly, I'm far too traumatized," Hardison told him quite seriously and apologetic. "And you should be too, we gotta get you to a hospital, come on."

Moving on auto-pilot Hardison stood up and tried to haul Eliot to a standing position by grabbing him under the shoulders and pulling.

"Ah, put me down!" Eliot demanded as he was roughly manhandled and all his injuries screamed that he should not move. He was able to feel the tremors coursing through Hardison's body as he tried to move the hitter and after Hardison complied Eliot continued, "Jesus, I'll live and you're in shock. Sit down and breathe, calm yourself down."

"I'm in shock? You just fought a bear and I'm in shock?" Hardison repeated as if it was the most ridiculous thing in the world, but then he went silent for a moment and abruptly dropped down to sit next to Eliot on the ground and said again, with acceptance, "Yeah, I'm in shock."

Several moments passed in silence as both men stared at the massive carcass, unable to believe what had just happened. As if on cue they both turned to each other with Hardison speaking first in disbelief.

"You just killed a bear."

It was an unnecessary, obvious statement but one neither of them could seem to get over.

"Yeah, I've never done that before."

"I have, dozens of 'em, but you know, that was in Warcraft. This was a little more intense," Hardison admitted softly, to which Eliot rolled his eyes and chose not to comment.

"Let's get out of here before bear-wife comes looking for her hubby," Eliot suggested, feeling confident that they were both reaching a calm enough point that they could get moving.

"All right, just one second," Hardison requested as he stood shakily and brought his bag over. Pulling out a water bottle he explained, "I wanna clean out those cuts. Bear's claws would have been filthy."

"Yeah, go ahead," Eliot allowed, more than willing to stay lying on the ground for another few minutes. Every slight movement jarred at least one broken bone somewhere in his body and dammit but moving was going to be a bitch!

Hardison also pulled out a spare shirt that he had for some reason and planned to use as a bandage then moved to Eliot's side. The hitter's right arm had three deep slashes in it so Hardison tore off the sleeve to get at them better then poured the water liberally over the cuts to clean them out. Alcohol would have worked better but they didn't have any.

As Hardison worked slowly and carefully on Eliot's arm the hitter didn't really want to watch so turned in the other direction and spotted something in Hardison's bag that made his eyes widen in angered disbelief.

"What the hell is that?" he asked, indicating as best he could with his broken arm.

Hardison looked up, startled and replied, "It's half a turkey sandwich. You hungry? I saved it for you."

"A turkey sandwich? That you saved for me? You were eating a turkey sandwich in the forest in springtime when the bears are waking up from hibernation and they're starving? And you didn't expect a bear to come around?"

Hardison could only stare into the distance as he thought about that for a second, then turned his attention back to Eliot's arm, "Yeah, that's my bad."

"You're … ah!" Eliot's anger was cut off as he cried out in pain caused by Hardison tightening the bandage he was wrapping around the hitter's arm.

"Sorry man," Hardison said quickly. "About your arm and the … uh … the bear. Especially cause, you know, I really appreciate you killing a bear for me cause I did not want to get eaten today in any way, shape or form."

"Don't worry about it," Eliot told him, pain stealing away his anger.

"Don't worry? Am I the only one that sees the massive bear you just killed to save my life?"

Eliot half-shrugged, "It was no more dangerous than diffusing that car bomb you sat on."

"Little scarier though," Hardison pointed out.

Eliot nodded, "Yeah, little scarier."

With the bandage finished Hardison focused on any other way to help the hitter, "So do you need a crutch or a splint or anything? What's broken? What do I do?"

"Left arm's broken for sure but I don't need a splint a sling will do," Eliot shuddered at the very idea of letting Hardison try to fashion a splint out for him or realign his broken bones. "Couple other places feel close to breaking but not quite there yet so we'll see how it goes."

Hardison tried to take this all in stride and not make it obvious that he had no idea what he was doing and that he was terrified to have Eliot so injured while they were stuck here in the middle of nowhere.

"Okay, I only had the one shirt but we can use my sweater for a sling," Hardison offered. Eliot stopped him before he had it completely unzipped.

"Nah, keep that, it'll get cold soon. Cut a strap off one of the backpacks, we can use that."

Hardison nodded his agreement of the plan and grabbed his backpack but soon realized he had no way of removing the straps as he was fairly certain he couldn't tear the industrial-strength fabric.

"How am I gonna get this off?" he muttered more to himself than anything but Eliot had an answer.

"There's a knife over there."

With a slow turn Hardison laid his eyes on the massive carcass once more, still warm, bleeding and terrifying with a knife in its eye leading into its brain.

"Oh, come on, that's nasty," Hardison complained, having no immediate intention to get anywhere near the bear corpse.

Eliot sighed in irritation, "I killed the thing, it won't hurt you to pull a knife out of it."

"Yeah but it'll gross me out," Hardison countered but even as he said it he was rising to his feet, knowing he owed the hitter big time so he had to do this.

"There's a second one in its leg, think you can manage that?" Eliot replied.

Hardison breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing this, "Yes, a leg sounds much better than an eye."

Approaching the body slowly it only took Hardison a moment to spot the knife handle in the front paw of the huge body. Once he saw it he shuffled forward in a crouch, mostly looking away from the animal as he reached a hand out to blindly grab the handle and pull. There was a disgusting squishing sound as the blade came free and the hacker rushed back over to Eliot as though to escape the nastiness.

"Never again," he muttered as he returned to the hitter who had slowly pushed himself into a semi-sitting position. "I am never leaving civilization again, this whole nature thing is so not for Alec J. Hardison."

"I'm loathe to admit that there's anybody that shouldn't get outdoors every once in awhile, but I gotta admit, you're pretty damn bad at it," Eliot agreed, not feeling the need to convince Hardison of nature's good points at the moment.

"I hear you man," Hardison said as he quickly cut the strap off his backpack and tied it into a make-shift sling. "This good?"

"Yeah," Eliot told him, hissing as he slowly bent his broken arm so he could put the sling on.

"Jesus, take it easy," Hardison commented even though there was very little Eliot could do to be careful at the moment.

"Loop it over my neck," Eliot instructed. Once in place Eliot adjusted it with his slightly less injured hand until his arm hung as comfortably as possible. "That's good, thanks."

"All right, where are you least hurt so I can help you up?" Hardison asked, not knowing where to touch him to cause the least amount of pain.

"Nowhere. But go finish setting up the surveillance equipment, then we'll go," Eliot suggested.

Hardison snorted at the idea, "Do you have any idea how much I don't care about the equipment right now? You've been mauled by a bear, that was coming after me and my sandwich. Screw the equipment, you're hurt and you're bleeding."

"Barely," Eliot replied casually.

"So God help me, if that was a pun I will kick your ass," Hardison warned, fists clenching.

Eliot flinched when he realized what he'd said, "Look, I'm not going to have gone through this for nothing, now finish what you were doing so we can do this job."

"Fine, just, don't die."

Grumbling Hardison reluctantly turned back to his laptop and laser scope which were still set up and undamaged. As he again typed one-handed he pulled out his cell phone with the other and speed-dialed Nate.

"Hardison, how's it going?" Nate asked in greeting.

"Not too great actually Nate, we ran into a few slight inconveniences, like there was no road, we had to hike through the woods, Eliot got mauled by a bear, you know, the usual," Hardison replied sarcastically, unable to be pleasant after what just happened.

"Excuse me … what? Did you say a bear?" Nate repeated slowly.

"Yes, a bear," Hardison said louder. "A full-fledged I'm gonna eat you and your young Grizzly Bear. It came out of nowhere, tried to eat me and you're not gonna believe this, but then Eliot fought the bear and killed it … with a knife. Not a knife and a gun and an army, just a knife."

"Okay, Hardison, calm down. Is he all right?"

"I think so, but no, not entirely. He's conscious but he's banged up. Some broken bones, couple of cuts, nothing life threatening I don't think, not that he'd tell me if there was. Look, it took us two hours to get here on foot in good shape so if one or more of you could head down here and help me get him back to the car it would be very much appreciated, by me and him," Hardison said, finally getting to the point of his call.

"Definitely," Nate replied. "Sophie isn't here but Parker and I will drive out and meet up with you as soon as possible."

"Thanks. You know how to track my cell's GPS to find us?"

"Yeah, I've got it," Nate assured him. "Do you need anything?"

"Uh, bring some bandages, water and painkillers, he'd probably love some painkillers and a sweater maybe or a coat, it's gonna be dark and cold by the time we get outta here."

"Okay, got it. Take care of Eliot, call us if anything changes," Nate instructed.

"Yeah, I will, just make it quick all right. I'm not good at this stuff," Hardison admitted softly, scared Eliot would hear him.

"You're doing fine Hardison, we'll be there soon," Nate told him assuringly and then he was gone. Hardison sighed, it was just him and Eliot and the bear corpse now. Packing up his laptop he headed back towards Eliot who had taken the time to push himself to a standing position and was now leaning heavily against a tree, wiping away the sweat beads that had quickly formed on his forehead from the exertion.

"We're all set, it's recording. Now let's get out of here, Nate and Parker are gonna meet up with us as soon as they can," Hardison explained as he quickly switched all their possessions into their one remaining bag, which he then hefted onto his shoulders.

"All right," Eliot mumbled then took a deep breath, clearly not looking forward to trying to walk with cracked ribs, a broken arm and a close to breaking leg. Pushing off the tree trunk slowly he took a short step and stopped, gritting his teeth as the impact of pain up his leg surprised him. Hardison was on him in a second, grabbing his less injured arm to steady him.

"Okay, walking on your own clearly isn't going to work. I can get you like a crutch or something," the hacker offered but Eliot shook his head.

"It's downhill practically the whole way, it would get in the way more than it would help."

"Guess we're doing it the old-fashioned way then," Hardison replied, slinging Eliot's arm over his shoulder and taking some of the hitter's weight off his broken leg. Eliot's immediate response was to growl, not enjoying the position or accepting help, which Hardison recognized but refused to let him follow through on. "Yeah, you don't like it, I know, you're a big tough guy. But you're a tough guy who just fought a bear for me so let me do this for you, all right?"

Eliot gritted his teeth again, this time in annoyance rather than pain, but finally answered, "Fine, but I swear to god if you drop me."

"I will not drop you," Hardison replied defensively, then they stumbled slightly when they took their first step. Quickly righting them Hardison corrected himself over Eliot's growl of pain, "I will do my best not to drop you."

"Oh, this was such a bad idea," Eliot mumbled unhappily but continued to walk forward slowly with Hardison's help.

"What, getting mauled by a bear? Yeah, not your best plan ever," Hardison agreed.

Eliot huffed, "Thought it might be the only way to get you to stop complaining on the way back to the car."

Already noticing that his feet were sore again, Hardison replied, "Well then you really don't know me that well man because I don't care how hurt you are, nature sucks and I'm gonna let you know it this whole walk back."

Looking back at the bear corpse one last time as he limped away, Eliot had to admit that just this one time Hardison might be right. Sometimes nature sucks.

The end.

And thus the bear was fought. Hope you all enjoyed, it was very fun to write! Goody.