Summary: Sure there's honor among thieves, but honor doesn't equal trust. One-shot.
Disclaimer: I do not own Leverage, its characters or profit from my fanfiction fun. Promise.
Author's notes: A quick team adventure with a little something I for some reason really wanted to happen to Eliot. Enjoy.
Eliot had to resist the urge to start pacing around the warehouse to check around hallways and dark corners. He didn't like this one bit. The rest of the team had sensed his unease with the situation earlier and suggested they all come along to make him feel better. It made him feel exactly four times worse though as it was that many more people he had to look out for and worry about. Nate had tried to convince him he was over-reacting, it was a simple transaction after all.
They needed to get inside their mark's house for their current job so they had decided to pose as art dealers after learning about the target's love of renaissance sculptures. The only problem was the guy was an art expert so nothing short of an original Michelangelo or Bellini was going to pass his inspection, and as they had flown to Boston for the job they didn't exactly have a lot of million dollar art work sitting in their back pocket. Luckily, Sophie knew a guy who could get them what they needed, fast and for a price. She couldn't exactly vouch for him, it was more of a reputation among thieves thing, but if they didn't move quickly they were going to lose their mark so they had had little choice. And now the five of them were standing in the middle of a warehouse like sitting ducks waiting for Sophie's contact to show up with a two million dollar original Bellini sculpture.
The warehouse was abandoned, wide open and spacious, so much so that they had driven the car right into the building to stay out of sight. Hardison and Parker were sitting on the car's trunk, Hardison fiddling with his laptop and Parker looking bored while Nate and Sophie talked a few feet away, magnifying glasses and scopes ready to inspect and verify the art before this Mr. Davis showed up. Eliot stood away from the others, just watching, waiting for something to go south.
"Eliot, relax. You've done this hundreds of times," Nate reminded him.
"Yeah, as the guy with the merchandise," Eliot grumbled, not liking having the tables turned on him.
"Oh, Eliot doesn't like to pay for things," Hardison sing-songed from the car.
"Neither do I," Parker pointed out in understanding. "It makes me feel icky."
"It ain't that. We don't know this guy, most hitters can't be trusted," Eliot explained.
Hardison raised an incredulous eyebrow, "Dude!?"
"I never said you could trust me, I'm a bad guy! And so is he so if y'all could just be a little less casual about this," Eliot requested, eyes darting to the many doorways once more.
"Really Eliot, we have no plans on double-crossing this man. He gives us the sculpture, we pay him, there's no reason for anything to go wrong," Sophie said reasonably. "Besides, with you here and Nate armed I doubt he would try anything."
"You would actually use that thing?" Hardison asked, knowing Nate had been armed but thinking it was just for show.
Nate's eyes swept slowly to Sophie, "I've been known to shoot on occasion … when someone really deserved it."
As Sophie glared playfully Eliot walked past the car to take a look out the door they had come through, "If you two are done … ah!"
Eliot's exclamation drew everyone's attention as his hand flew up to swat at his neck.
"Please tell me you just got bit by a huge mosquito," Hardison requested nervously as he set aside his laptop.
Eliot's hand pulled away to reveal a small tranquilizer dart in his fingers, "Motherf…."
The rest of the word was lost as Eliot's eyelids rapidly started to close and he swayed dangerously.
"Eliot!" Sophie shouted in concern.
"Hardison, catch him!" Nate yelled as he rushed across the room to try to do the same.
Hardison stood up quickly and grabbed Eliot's arm just as the hitter's legs gave out completely. The weight of the pure muscle of Eliot's body shocked the hacker though and instead of keeping Eliot upright he fell with him to the ground, landing on his backside with an unconscious Eliot on top of him.
"Little help?" Hardison requested, finding it difficult to breathe with the hitter's deadweight on top of him.
"He said 'catch him' not 'let him fall on you'," Parker chided as she joined Nate in rolling Eliot over.
"I cushioned his landing didn't I? Thanks for the concern by the way," Hardison mumbled.
"I am concerned," Parker muttered back, watching as Nate's fingers immediately flew to the hitter's neck and he sighed.
"He's alive, must have just been a sedative," Nate announced. "We gotta get out of here, Hardison, help me with him, Sophie, start the car."
"That won't be necessary, Mr. Ford, I assure you, you're quite safe!" a voice bellowed from across the room and all conscious eyes turned to the upper catwalk where a broad-shouldered blond man with a gun and a backpack was making his way down to the bottom level.
Nate and Hardison had just gotten Eliot's arms up over their shoulders when the man appeared. Now they slowly lowered the unconscious hitter back down to the ground to stand in front of him protectively with Parker backing them up and Sophie kneeling next to Eliot.
"Mr. Davis, your reputation precedes you as more of a professional than a hitman," Nate accused angrily. "You always start a business deal by attacking your clients?"
"I apologize for the theatrics," Davis shrugged apologetically then made a show of placing his tranquilizer gun on top of a crate and walking away with his hands up. "I am a professional, a consummate one, unfortunately I've got some … history with your unconscious friend there. A simple misunderstanding between colleagues a few years ago, I assure you, but I didn't want to risk him breaking my jaw before I got a chance to explain myself, you know how it is."
Nate's eyes squinted in consideration and he asked without turning around, "Sophie?"
"His heart rate and breathing are good, he's just unconscious," she assured them all from Eliot's side as she shifted his head to rest against her leg.
"What kind of history warrants havin' to shoot a man down before you can walk into a room together?" Hardison questioned furiously.
Davis smiled as if the memory was amusing, "Let's just say Mr. Spencer and I have exchanged scars. Now I am interested in exchanging something else. I brought the sculpture and believe it or not I have just ensured that this transaction goes as smoothly as possible, so, shall we?"
"Fine," Nate said reluctantly, unable to argue with the man's logic. If he and Eliot really had crossed paths before then there probably would have been violence when Davis walked into the room, still though, it didn't make it right and it probably meant Davis couldn't be trusted. "Parker, stay with Eliot. Hardison, get the transfer ready while Sophie and I look at the art."
The hacker shared a quick glance with Parker who nodded to him as she traded places with Sophie by Eliot's side.
Watching Davis as closely as he could Hardison opened up his laptop to get the money transfer ready while Nate and Sophie inspected the sculpture. Nate's hand never moved too far from the gun strapped to his side, but Davis was as much a professional as he claimed and kept his distance and didn't move while they looked it over. A few minutes later Nate nodded and Sophie agreed, "It's real."
"Hardison, transfer the money to Mr. Davis's account, minus $100,000 of the agreed upon price," Nate instructed.
Hardison did so reluctantly while Davis frowned almost jokingly, "The merchandise not to your liking?"
Nate moved past the man to put the sculpture in the car, "Your methods are not to my liking Mr. Davis. The deduction is for attacking one of my people and for putting our lives at risk, after all, we have to deal with him when he wakes up, you don't."
"If you're lucky," Parker mumbled behind them.
"It's done," Hardison announced unhappily. Davis reached into a pocket to pull out his blackberry and smiled a minute later when he saw the transaction had gone through successfully.
"Well, it's been a pleasure, all of you. When Mr. Spencer wakes up, please, tell him no hard feelings about Budapest."
Eliot woke up with a groan and a headache, from the inside. The pounding in his skull told him he hadn't taken a physical hit but had been drugged in some way, probably midazolam judging from the headache. He groaned again, there was something not right about being able to identify a drug by its after effects.
Blinking away the grogginess his senses calmed slightly when he realized he was in a plush bed in a well-furnished hotel room, which probably meant that whatever had started going wrong when he got knocked out hadn't escalated too badly. Still, turning his head he saw Nate slumped asleep in a recliner next to his bed.
"Nate?" he hated that his voice cracked from dryness but it was enough to wake the man up.
"Hey, you're up," Nate greeted him with relief. "And after only … nine hours. That must have been some sedative."
"Everyone okay?" Eliot asked since Nate was the only one in the room.
"Yeah, we're all fine," Nate assured him as he grabbed a glass of water and an aspirin bottle which he passed off to the hitter who was pushing himself to a sitting position.
"Thanks," Eliot said as he gulped the water back with the pills. "What the hell happened?"
Nate half shrugged before reluctantly responding, "Apparently 'Mr. Davis' has more aliases than we know about and one of them has a history with you. He recognized you when he came for the exchange and decided tranquilizing you was easier than trying to talk you out of not bashing his face in."
Drawn by the voices the bedroom door suddenly cracked open and the rest of the team peaked their heads inside to check on the hitter. Eliot waved them in but turned to Nate, needing his list of enemies narrowed down, "Who the hell was he then?"
"Broad-shouldered, blond hair, about your age, not bad on the eyes," Sophie answered for him.
A brief awkward glance was sent Sophie's way by everyone in the room before Hardison added, "And he said no hard feelings about Budapest."
Eliot's eyes narrowed as he huffed in anger, "Mickey."
"Mickey?" Parker repeated, sure she couldn't have heard that right. "The guy who kicked your butt's name is Mickey?"
"First of all, tranquilizers are not ass whoopings. Hell, Hardison could tranquilize someone."
"Hey! Why you gotta be hatin'?" Hardison questioned, but Eliot ignored him and continued.
"Second, it wasn't his real name, I don't even know what it is," Eliot added.
"He knew your real name," Nate pointed out.
Eliot smiled, amused, "You think Eliot Spencer's my real name?"
At Nate's dumbfounded look he continued to explain, his anger rising as he did so, "Anyway, Mickey was introduced to me in Budapest as a fence, told me he could take some stuff off my hands, even checked out with a few of my contacts. I show up for the trade with over a million dollars in merchandise and Mickey's not there but the place is surrounded by cops in about ten seconds. Took me three damn weeks to break out of that prison. I'm gonna kill him when I find him."
"He's probably still back at the warehouse," Sophie suggested.
Eliot shook his head, confused, "Why would he still be there?"
"Because Parker shot him with his own tranquilizer gun when his back was turned," Nate announced proudly. Eliot shot the blond thief an incredulous yet impressed look.
Parker shrugged like it was no big deal, "Fair's fair."
"And he probably hit his head pretty hard since he didn't have anyone to catch him when he fell, like you did," Hardison added.
"You mean have someone squishy to land on like you?" Parker asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I fell on you?" Eliot questioned.
"Well, Hardison was trying to catch you. Succeeding is a totally different story," Sophie pointed out.
As the group laughed Hardison stood up, indignant, "Hell with all y'all, I didn't see any of you keeping Eliot's skull from cracking the pavement. Gonna go where I'm appreciated."
"Comic book store," Parker guessed and they nodded in agreement and all stood up to leave so Eliot could sleep off the rest of the sedative as his eyes still looked droopy.
"Glad you're okay," Nate called out. Eliot shook his head, he was more than okay.
Hope you enjoyed. I just really felt like tranquilizing Eliot. *shrug* Don't know why.