That's What I Do

A/N: I own no rights to Dean Devlin's world of Leverage. I'm just playing with the characters but trying to stay true to their vision. Story is set some time during season one during several episodes and ending before Juror #6.

Eliot Spencer hated Murphy and his stupid law right now. Whatever could have gone wrong with their latest job had. He followed Sophie Deveraux and Alec Hardison down the hallway of their floor in the hotel, still dripping as he went. He didn't admit to them how much he was hurting, but the fact that he didn't keep up with their pace clued them in.

It was supposed to have been a simple job. This investor had been skimming money from people's accounts and had caused their client to file for bankruptcy when he and his family lost everything. One day they had had over $750,000 in their fund and the next day barely enough to cover the gas bill for their car.

Hardison's electronic digging had shown the team that Peter Macias had taken the money and sent it…elsewhere. They had flown to St. Louis to track the man down and figure out how to get the money back, with interest. What they found wasn't what they had expected.

Sophie had set the mark up just as Nate Ford had planned. She went to meet Macias at his office in the evening; his business took up the entire two floors of the building. Macias didn't want any witnesses that he was meeting such an exalted person as the Countess de Viter who wanted him to help her with her finances. Eliot and Hardison snuck into an empty office on the second floor to do their part. The plan had been for Hardison to piggyback a signal when Macias made the transfer, so Hardison could pull out the money owed and make a clean getaway. That had been the plan.

On the floor above Sophie, Hardison watched and waited for the signal while Eliot kept a lookout for security. Hardison talked to himself as he watched lines of code flash down his screen. Finally, "Ha! Gotcha. Piece of cake, baby!" he exclaimed. Then he read what appeared next on his screen and sighed. "Uh-oh. Why are they always this hard?"

"What's wrong, Hardison?" Nate asked. He so did not need this. He wanted to get back to the hotel and find that nice bottle of scotch. Across town from the office, he was waiting in a parked car down the street while Parker broke into Macias' house. They were looking for anything else to help them in their sting. Something seemed off with the accounts. He should have had more money than he did. Surely their clients weren't his only victims. Where had it gone? Was he just the middleman? Who had the money? Nate needed more answers.

"The piggyback signal worked but the money isn't here. Nate? What do you want us to do?"

Eliot leaned his forehead against the door frame. Life had been easier in a weird way when all he had had to do was go get something. His targets had been tangible, not this computer crap. Hardison always mocked him for his reliance on his fists but truth to tell, he got results easier when he could grab it, or hit it, or retrieve it. When one of his jobs had gone sideways, it was because he had been spotted. Not because some zeros and ones didn't add up.

Nate did some quick thinking and then decided. "Parker? I need you to look for hardcopies too. Anything you think might have to do with Macias' finances or business dealings. Look for contacts, phone numbers, any other clients he might have. Eliot. Hardison. Get out of there and go wait for Sophie. We'll regroup and figure out what our next move is."

The two men had gone down via the stairwell and out the back door. What they hadn't expected were the two bruisers who were standing outside taking a smoke break. It had been a standoff for an eyeblink. Then Eliot pushed Hardison behind him and went to work.

The men were so beefy that Eliot's punches just sank into flesh and did little harm. They, on the other hand, used their bulk against him to their advantage. Eliot ended up in the small fountain on the back lawn. His muscles clenched from the chilly water. January in St. Louis was not temperate.

Hardison watched the fight; he wanted to help but if Eliot couldn't handle them, there wasn't much he could do. He gave a running commentary to the others on the action since Nate was demanding answers, and Eliot couldn't take the time to fill him in. It was the worst part of Nate's job; he could hear the fighting but could do nothing to help.

"Shit!" Everyone froze at Haridison's yell.

"What?" bellowed Nate since nothing else was forthcoming except some very odd sounds from Eliot.


"Hardison!" Nate put as much urgency into that one word as he could. Getting upset would not help his team.

Hardison shook himself. During the past minute, Eliot had finally managed to knock down one of his opponents and when he turned to face the other, was knocked over the side of the hill as the thug tackled him. Both men dropped out of Hardison's sight.

He ran to the edge of the incline skirting the fallen man. Looking down, Hardison felt his heart sink as the slope vanished into the darkness. Who knew what was down there? "Eliot?" he asked over his earwig as he swallowed convulsively. He pulled his flashlight out of his back pocket and swept the area below him. Finally, he caught some movement.

"Get that out of my face!" Eliot growled. Blinded by the glare, he had to stop moving. He didn't want to admit it to himself, but it was a good thing to stand still. His head was still swimming a bit from the tumbling around. Luckily, the idiot who had tried to take him down had hit the boulder at the bottom first. Eliot had been shaken but wasn't seriously hurt. Of course, the trip down the hill had introduced his body to various smaller rocks, stumps, and other obstacles. He was wet and bruised and…blinded again. "Turn that off," he yelled. Damn the man. Didn't he understand anything? Pounding a fist against his leg in frustration, Eliot resumed climbing.

Hardison was lucky that by the time Eliot made it to the top that he was so tired. Otherwise, he might have had a new bruise himself. As it was, Eliot settled for glaring at him through the strands of wet hair that had found their way out of his ponytail. During the entire climb he'd had to listen to Hardison giving the others a rundown on his progress up the hill.

"Sophie? You done yet?" Eliot growled via his comm.

"Just reaching the lobby," she said. She'd been forced to make polite smalltalk while listening to the sounds of flesh hitting flesh and grunts of pain for too long a time. It was a good thing she was such a good actress, she thought, since she had to keep a cheery countenance the entire time. Pushing open the doors, Sophie headed towards her car. She drove around to the back and picked the two men up.

Eliot elected to sit in the back seat. He wanted to sprawl a bit. He listened to the others converse about what they'd not found about Macias' business dealings. Startled from a doze, Eliot was surprised to find they'd made it to the hotel already. Shivering, Eliot stood in the cold wind while Hardison grabbed their duffle bag and then all three went inside. One glare from Eliot was all it took to make the doorman find something else interesting to look at.

Sophie watched Eliot out of the corner of her eye while they rode up in the elevator. He was shaking with cold; the sooner he got changed and warm, the better for him. He had a bruise on his jaw that was beginning to darken and his knuckles were scrapped raw, and a cut over his eye was still sluggishly bleeding.

As Sophie unlocked their suite's door, Eliot made a beeline for the west bedroom. His bag was there, and he wanted to get out of his wet clothes.

"Well, I hope he's okay. He'd tell us if he needed anything?" Sophie asked everyone. "Right?" She faintly heard the sound of the shower starting, and the curtain being yanked back and forth.

Hardison just looked at her and snorted. "Yeah, 'cause he's so sharing with the info."

"Hardison? Can you use what you pulled?" Nate brought them back to business. Parker was still inside the house retrieving what she could find.

"Let me get my computer set up, Nate. Give me a few." Hardison sat down at the table, opened his laptop, and began to peruse the data he'd pulled.

Sophie wandered around the room at a loss of what to do. She listened as the shower turned off, heard the bathroom door open, and then nothing else. She waited for several minutes and then couldn't stand it any longer. She pushed open the bedroom door slowly and let the main room's light illuminate the dark interior.

Eliot was sprawled on the left bed. It looked like he'd sat on the edge and then fallen backwards to lie down. As the light touched his face, his eyes started open. "What?" He twisted to his right and rose quicker than she had expected he would be able to. Eliot winced as the aches made themselves known. Again. His left shoulder had what felt like a bone deep bruise in it. He hadn't lost major mobility; it just hurt like hell to move it.

Sitting upright and blinking in the bar of light, Eliot scrubbed his face with his hand. "They back yet?" He hadn't meant to fall asleep. "How long was I out?"

"Not long, just a few minutes actually," Sophie assured him. Touching her comm she asked, "Nate? What's your ETA?"

"That's up to Parker." A lift in his voice at the end of the sentence turned it into a question for her.

"Okay, Nate, I've got the info off of Macias' hard drive and a few hardcopies that look like what you wanted. I'm on my way down."

"We'll be back in about 45 minutes depending on how fast Parker gets to the car," he told the others.

Turning towards Eliot, Sophie put as many soothing tones into her voice as she thought he'd take. "Why don't you lie down for a few more minutes? We can't do anything else until Nate gets here. I'll wake you when he does." She mentally crossed her fingers hoping she could keep the others quiet enough so that Eliot could sleep a bit longer than that. They had all been going on short sleep these past few days but that fight seemed to have taken a lot out of him. They could do without his help for a bit. She hoped he'd understand.

Eliot knew he was drained and a bit of sleep would bring some of his edge back. Easing back down onto the bed, he was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the mattress. He never heard Sophie pulling the door to.

A scream that was cut off woke Eliot instantly. For a second, he was confused and didn't know where he was. The stiffness in his body was the first clue and memory caught up with him. He rolled off the bed and went to the bedroom door.

TBC. Please let me know what you think of this story so far.