Leverage fanfic, not mine, no money made. Think if I ask really nicely they'll give me Eliot for my birthday? No? Well, I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with Season Two on TV and Season One in my DVD Collection. Don't worry; I'll put 'em back on the shelf when I'm done. ….mebbe.

Many thanks to pheral for being there to bounce ideas around with, and for the wonderful encouragement (i.e.….get off your ass! Lol ;) Huge thanks as well to another fan who suggested this theme (OMG! I don't remember your name :s ) and let me run with it. Email or PM me and I'll get props to you ASAP!

Crimson Regret

'Anytime, Nate,' Eliot thought as he stood swaying, blood dripping down his chin, '…anytime you wanna get me out of this mess, you can, but come on, man, make it soon.'

Eliot saw the meaty fist swinging towards his head but could not avoid it in time. The blackness that was hazing the edges of his vision filled with stars, and he felt his body slamming into the sand. He desperately tried to hang on to consciousness, because he knew that if he didn't stay awake, they would kill him.

Tuesday had started as usual. Eliot woke before dawn and donned an old pair of jeans and a t-shirt and started his morning run. He had about three hours to kill before he was expected at the offices. Circling around the warehouse district, he then ran along the docks. He loved the crispness of the early morning air and the scents of the river; even though there were many scents that were not so pleasing, like rotting fish and garbage, he fancied that he was able to smell the ocean from here. Over the past few months, he had developed a routine of sorts, so the early morning dock workers were unfazed by his presence, and a few even waved. The hitter waved back, and continued on his run. Although he was familiar in this area, he made it a point to vary his routine enough that it wasn't predictable, by running at different times of the day, and on different routes. As careful as he was, however, he knew that one of these days he would have to find another area of the city to go to, since he had been running here for almost two months.

Eliot was mulling over those thoughts as he raced over a footbridge, enjoying the pull of his leg muscles while barges with their tugboats and a container ship passed below him. He crossed the bridge and headed down the ramp towards the fish market, then circled around and started back. He wasn't about to try dodging the salmon and mackerel that sailed through the air as the fish sellers tossed their wares from the trucks to the vending stalls. He had made that mistake once, and spent an extra fifteen minutes in the shower trying to get the tuna stench from his hair.

During the last blocks of his run, Eliot slowed to a jog, then a fast walk, stretching his arms above his head to expand his lungs and allow him to take deep breaths. Shaking his arms and rolling his head from side to side to loosen up, he didn't notice the shadow in the doorway across the street. Too late he heard a soft hiss and then felt a stinging bite on the back of his neck. Instantly he swatted at it, bring his hand away with a small dart.

"Sonovabi…." He started to swear, then slumped to the ground, half hidden in the entryway of his apartment.

He felt hands grabbing his arms, then they loaded him into a panel van. Because he was aware, but could not move, he knew that they must have used pancuronium, a highly effective muscle relaxant that paralyzed, but did not render the victim unconscious. He heard the van engine start, then felt it drive away, and could only wonder at their destination.

After more than five hours of driving, Eliot had fallen asleep. Since the pancuronium lasted only about two hours, he had been injected twice more to keep him incapacitated. He had no idea why they had chosen muscle relaxants rather than a straight sedative, but tried to use it to his advantage for as long as he could.

His eyes were closed, but he could hear the voices of at least three men. The ease with which two of them lifted him into the van spoke of strength, and the accuracy of the other who had darted him worried the specialist. These three were professionals.

By the angle of the sun on his face he figured that they were heading slightly south/southeast, which would lead them into Nevada.

'What was in Nevada,' he mused, 'other than desert, snakes, and sand?' He racked his brain for anything that would make sense, but after hours of being unable to move, he was powerless to keep sleep at bay, and drifted into semi-consciousness.

Eliot hadn't been asleep for more than an hour when the van slowed to a stop. He felt hands grabbing him again, and dragging him. As his feet dropped out of the van, they dragged through sand, as he expected. The sun was hot on his skin, and sweat began to form on the back of his neck. The air felt dry.

He heard more voices, but with the cumulative effects of the drug and his own confusion he was unable to make much sense of the little they said.

They dragged him a little further and he heard a heavy door opening and then clanging closed, and then he was dropped unceremoniously to the floor. His wrists were encased in heavy iron manacles that he assumed were attached to the wall. The ground underneath him felt sandy and uneven, and there were a few rocks that pushed into his back and hip.

His captors walked away, and he heard the rasp of a key in a heavy lock before the footsteps retreated.

Breathing then announced that he wasn't alone in his prison. Before long, voices started to filter into his awareness.

"Got another one, huh?" a deep voice sounded.

"Poor sonuvabitch." This one was a bit higher, but raspy, like the owner was a lifelong smoker.

"Looks kinda small, think he'll last?" a third voice queried.

"Small yeah, but he looks strong," Smoker said.

"I'll give 'em two days," Deep Voice said.

A loud clanging sounded along the door and an angry voice yelled, "Shaddup!" and the other voices were silent once again.

Eliot drifted.

The hitter came awake in an instant as a pan full of water was tossed in his face. He coiled his legs underneath him and he sprang to his feet to charge at his attacker, but he had forgotten that his hands were chained to the wall behind him. His charge was painfully stopped as his arms were yanked back, immobile. He ignored the pain, leaning away from the wall as far as he could, growling, his arms pulled back at an almost 90 degree angle.

The man in front of him laughed at the rage on Eliot's face, and simply tossed a paper bag at him which bounced off his chest and dropped to the floor.

"You wanna eat, be my guest, you wanna just stand there and be pissy, you can do that too." Eliot recognized the voice as one of the three who had captured him. The man was in his mid thirties, solidly built, with dark hair and a beard.

"What do you want?" he snarled. "Who are you?"

"No questions, dirtbag. Eat or don't. Your choice." With that the man left the cell, locking it on the way out.

Eliot stepped back, trying to calm himself. He took a good look around at his prison. The walls were rough hewn rock, and the floors were the same, covered with sand and a few small rocks and pebbles. The room he was in was about eighteen feet square, and housed three other men, all looking measuringly at him. They were also chained to the wall, the chain looped through a metal ring set into the wall about three feet from the floor. None of the men could move more than two feet from the wall, and neither could they reach each other. All had strange metal collars around their necks, and when he concentrated, Eliot could feel one around his neck as well.

He looked at the bag that had fallen to the floor, and bent down to pick it up.

"Better take the bastard's advice and eat up," said Smoker.

Eliot cocked a brow at the man as he unwrapped the paper. Smoker was a tall man, over six and a half feet, with short brown hair that was graying on the sides. He looked like an average bruiser, with thick arms and a broad chest. The hitter looked at the other two and saw that they were of a similar build, strong and muscular.

"So, what are we in for?" He asked as he took a bite of the flavorless sandwich.

"You? You're in for a hell of a beating and then a quick death, I think," said Deep Voice as the third man chuckled. "I give you two days, then you're outta here."

"Hey man, give him a break. Three days, max." Smoker said.

The third man took pity on his evident confusion as the other two laughed roughly. "It's a fight club man, and we're the main events."

TBC..of course!