TITLE: An Unnamed Accident
AUTHOR: Electric Light Shadowboxer
DISCLAIMER: I do not own, nor am I associated with Leverage. No copyright infringement intended. This little piece of insanity was written for fun, not profit. I make no money. Literally.
SUMMARY: The seventh in the Unnamed series. They just can't seem to catch a break and Eliot is tired of having to worry about Nathan all the time. And Nate? Well, Nate just refuses to see the truth. There are big changes looming ahead.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Takes place after The Juror #6 Job and contains slight spoilers. Note that this series follows the order of episodes on the season 1 DVD's instead of actual broadcast order.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: If you don't remember Donnie, he was Eliot's friend who came in to help con the mark by pretending to be the head of Mumbai International.
Eliot winced as he pushed himself up the next step. His right hip and leg were throbbing in time to his heartbeat. After they'd finished bringing down Earnshaw he hadn't had time to ice it down properly. They'd watched the game that Hardison had Tivo'd and then he'd gone out for a drink with a friend. And now, thanks to his inattention, his hip and leg were stiffening up.
Maybe Nathan would be too drunk to notice? He shook his head. Even drunk Nathan could be incredibly observant.
A warm hand fell to the small of his back to help steady him. "You say he asked you to get hit by this car?"
Eliot grimaced and grabbed hold of his hip before turning to Donnie. "No. He asked me to intercept them. I figured the best way to get them out of the car was to let them hit me."
Donnie shook his head and regarded his friend. "You're going to be old before your time, my friend. You keep doing this and your new beau will be pushing you around in a wheelchair by the time you're forty."
Eliot snorted and paused at the landing before turning to start up to the next floor. "Quit your bellyaching. It's just stiffened up on me. I need to ice it and rest for a while. I'll be good as new."
They started up the stairs again, Donnie hovering and Eliot trying to ignore him. "You should really think about getting an apartment with an elevator."
Eliot shook his head. "Nah. I like it this way. Anybody who wants to come to my apartment has got to work for it." He finally reached his floor and put a hand out against the wall, steadying himself.
Donnie shook his head and stood back. He knew enough about Eliot to know that right now, his help would not be appreciated. "So, Nathan, right? You've got it bad for him. I can tell."
Eliot glared at Donnie and started down the hall, hand cradling his hip. "Oh? And how would you know that?"
"You get this far off look when you talk about him, and your cheeks turn pink."
Eliot stopped; a scowl pulling his eyebrows down low over his eyes and creating a wrinkle in his forehead. He turned toward Donnie and growled. "They do not."
Donnie couldn't hold in the laugh. "I had you. Come on, Spencer. I had you."
Eliot stared at him a moment, trying to fight the grin struggling to break out on his face. He shook his head and started once more down the hall. "Seriously, how did you know?"
Donnie fell into step next to his friend, modifying his stride so he wouldn't outpace him. "When we were at your offices earlier, I could smell him. He's got to be something special if you're with someone who drinks. I have to say it surprised me. I know how you feel about drunks. Hell, you won't drink anything stronger than a beer."
Eliot sighed and stopped, leaning his back up against the wall. He shrugged. "He is very special."
Donnie put his hands in his pocket and studied his friend. "So does he take good care of you? Or, are you doing all the taking care?"
Eliot frowned and looked down the hall. "He's good to me. Look, Donnie, I went into this with my eyes wide open. I knew what I was getting into."
"Yeah? Because I remember talking to you after you broke up with that little high school sweetheart of yours. I remember how broken up you were about that. I'd hate to see you do that to yourself again."
Eliot shook his head. "Look, the thing with Aimee, it was complicated. There were a lot of things going on then. This isn't the same."
Donnie took a step forward and placed a hand on Eliot's shoulder. "If he's a drunk, Eliot, he's going to love that bottle more than you. No matter what you do. Does he want to quit?"
Eliot gave Donnie a hard stare and pulled out of his grasp. He turned to go down the hallway.
He put out a hand to stop Eliot from walking away. "No, now just listen, Eliot. Can he quit?"
Eliot pushed off the wall and started back down the hall. "It's complicated, Donnie."
Donnie fell into step with him, raking his friend with sad eyes. "It always is."
Eliot stopped in front of his door and dug out his key. He let Donnie and himself into the apartment. "Nate?"
They stepped into the large, loft-like, living area and looked around. The lights were on but Nathan wasn't in sight. There was a half full bottle of Jameson on the bar and an empty glass. He wasn't surprised. He wasn't even disappointed. Having hope at this point was just foolish. But he was tired of putting up with Nate's drunken behavior and mood swings.
Eliot sighed and stepped further into the living space. He stopped in the middle of the living room and started to turn toward Donnie, to invite him further in, when he stopped. The glass that made up the top of the kitchen table was shattered, littering the floor, and the metal frame was turned over on its side.
Eliot held out a hand to Donnie, to stop him. He looked around for other signs of trouble. The bedroom door was closed, but nothing else seemed out of place. He crept forward and examined the floor around the table. Among the gleam of broken glass were a few blood splatters surrounding a larger, blood soaked, area. Eliot felt his heart drop and he swallowed. He couldn't stop the fear that Nate had been hurt from racing through his body, setting his blood on fire and turning his heart to ice.
He motioned for Donnie to watch his back as he approached the bedroom door. If someone had broken in and hurt Nathan . . . it would be the next to the last thing they ever did. The last thing they would do would be to beg for his mercy. Very loudly.
Just as he was reaching for the doorknob, the door opened. Eliot stepped back, automatically falling into a fighting stance. It took a moment, but he started to relax as his mind finally kicked into gear and he realized it was Nathan standing there. Then he noticed the blood.
Nathan stood in the doorway clutching a towel to his left side. He still had his shirt on but it was shredded. The towel clutched to his side was slowly turning red. His arms also appeared to have cuts, some bleeding freely, but none were bleeding as freely as Nathan's stomach.
Eliot stepped forward and caught Nathan under the elbows. "Jesus, Nate, what the hell happened?"
Nathan blinked at Eliot and winced as he jarred him. He could feel the tug of torn flesh and he was feeling a little woozy. "It's not as bad as it looks."
Eliot looked up at Nathan's face, pulling his attention away from the blood soaking through the towel. Nathan's face was pale, sweat coating his upper lip and brow. Eliot put his shoulder under Nathan's arm and started leading him to the couch. He glanced at Donnie and nodded toward the hall. "There's a first responder kit in the bottom of the coat closet. Grab it for me, will ya?"
Donnie hurried over to the coat closet and dug around in the bottom until he found the familiar red bag. He pulled it out and made his way over to the couch where Eliot had Nathan sitting.
Eliot pulled the towel away and grimaced at the gash in the left side of Nathan's stomach. "What the hell happened, Nate?"
Nathan glanced down at the gash and swallowed. He looked away and took a deep breath. He would not get sick. "I fell. I think I can get by with a couple stitches."
Eliot shook his head and turned to the coffee table where Donnie had laid out the instruments he would need. "I think it'll take more than a couple."
He pulled the latex gloves on his hands and picked up the tweezers and sponge. "Donnie, grab his shoulders and make sure he doesn't move while I search the wound." He turned towards Nate and waited until he had his attention. "Nate, I've got to search the wound and make sure there's no glass still embedded."
Nathan nodded and gripped the arm of the couch. "Shit, yeah, go ahead."
Nathan leaned in and searched through the blood and torn flesh. It was a deep cut, down to the fascia. He could feel Nate trembling beneath him. He waited until Nate's gasping and trembling subsided before starting again. He pulled the last piece of glass out and made sure that none was left behind. "Okay, Nate, okay. I'm done with that part. Take a deep breath for me and try to relax."
Nathan opened his eyes and looked down at Eliot's earnest gaze. Why the fuck did he end up getting himself into these messes? "I need a drink."
Eliot pressed his lips together, glancing at Donnie. He sighed and nodded his head. He waited until Donnie let go of Nathan and started toward the bar. "Okay, Nate. I've got to clean the wound. It's going to hurt but I've got to be thorough."
Nathan nodded, watching as Donnie made his way back to the couch with the glass and bottle. He grabbed the bottle and turned it up, ignoring the glass.
Donnie arched an eyebrow at Eliot and set the glass down on the coffee table. He shook his head and made his way around the couch to place his hands on Nathan's shoulders again.
Eliot waited until Nathan was still, and then took the sponge and cleansing solution and scrubbed the wound and surrounding area. He tried to ignore Nathan's hiss and concentrate on his task. "Almost done, Nate. I'm sorry, I know it hurts."
Once he had the area fully sterilized, he placed the bloody sponge with the rest of the dirty implements and grabbed the syringe with lidocaine in it. "Okay, you're going to feel a stick as I give you some medication to numb the area." He carefully injected the area at various points, wiping at the blood that continued to ooze from the gaping wound. "When did this happen, Nate? How long were you bleeding like this?"
Nathan swallowed and took a deep breath. The alcohol was helping him distance from the situation but he could still feel the burn of the injection. "I'm not . . . not really sure." He swallowed again.
Eliot looked up at him, eyebrow arched. "You about to be sick?"
Nathan shook his head. "No. I'm okay. Maybe fifteen minutes. It wasn't long."
Eliot grabbed the forceps and the threaded needle. "Okay, I'm going to start stitching. You shouldn't feel anymore than a tug, no pain." He started to work, glad to hear that Nathan's breathing had settled down. He glanced up from his work to look at Nathan's face. "Were you drunk? Is that why you fell?"
Nathan swallowed. "I just lost my balance. You're table was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Eliot couldn't help the snort that escaped. He continued to work until he had the wound stitched up. He used a swab and applied some antibiotic ointment. Then he taped the wound up with gauze. He then turned his attention to the more minor cuts along Nathan's arms. None of them were deep, though they'd probably leave some scarring. He put antibiotic ointment and bandages on the worst of them. Eliot sat back and sighed, stripping the gloves off his hands. "All done."
Donnie let go of Nathan and stepped back, watched as his friend searched his lover's face. It was already a done deal. Eliot had fallen for this man, warts and all. He sighed. "I need to be going."
Eliot looked up at him, distracted. "What? Yeah, Okay. I'll see you out." He turned to Nathan, rubbing his hand over his thigh. "Nate, I'm going to see Donnie out and then I'll be back. Just rest for a minute okay."
He made sure Nathan understood, and then grabbed the bottle off the floor, handing it to Nathan to keep him from straining forward for it. "I'll be right back." He stood and walked with Donnie to the door.
Donnie stopped at the door and looked over his friend's shoulder, where Nathan sat on the couch. He frowned as he watched Nathan take another hit off the bottle. "Remember what I said, Eliot. I'm afraid this won't end well."
Eliot sighed and nodded, wanting nothing more than to sit down. "Yeah, I'll remember. Sorry this evening didn't turn out better."
Donnie shrugged. "Things happen. Take care of yourself, okay?" He pulled Eliot into a hug before walking out the door.
Eliot closed the door after his friend and took a deep breath before heading back to Nate. Now that the emergency was over he could feel his legs weakening. The horror he'd felt but pushed back was finally starting to register. He needed to get himself under control before he walloped Nathan good for scaring him so. He stooped down and started cleaning up the mess. He tried to concentrate on the task in front of him. He wasn't sure what he was supposed to be feeling. The anger and horror were draining away, leaving him feeling numb.
This wasn't the first time that Nathan had been hurt by his drinking. Far from it. It was just the most recent in a line of missteps. He was tired of being worried all the time. He just wanted Nate happy and healthy. Seeing that blood, it had turned his stomach, brought to life some of his deepest fears. He was so afraid that he'd come home one evening and find Nathan dead. It didn't matter if it was from alcohol poisoning or a gunshot to the head. If things didn't change, it was going to happen.
He took the bloody accoutrements and tossed them in the garbage, pausing to look at the glass and blood on the dining room floor. Fuck it. He could deal with that later. Right now his hip was hurting and he was fucking tired.
He grabbed an icepack from the fridge and made his way back to Nathan. He settled on the couch next to his lover and pushed the icepack against his hip.
Nathan glanced over at Eliot and frowned. "What happened?"
Eliot grunted, shifting the ice to cover more of the throbbing. "I ran into a car."
Nathan sat forward with a grunt and tried to look Eliot in the eye. "When?"
Eliot glanced over at him. "Sit back, Nate. You need to rest a while. You lost a fair amount of blood."
Nathan ignored him and maneuvered so he could reach the hem of Eliot's pants. "Here let me see."
Eliot shrugged Nathan off. "It's fine, Nate. It's a lot less worse than your sliced up abdomen."
Nathan wouldn't leave it alone though. The throbbing from his wounds was distant, held at bay from the alcohol. He finally got Nathan's pants unbuttoned, and started tugging them down off of his hips.
Eliot sighed, but gave up trying to fend Nathan off. Hell, they were both walking wounded right now. Donnie was right; he needed to be taken care of once in a while.
Nathan finally got Eliot's jeans down and stared at the livid purple and deep blue bruise that covered Eliot's right hip. It was spreading down his thigh, swelling, and turning his tanned skin red around the edges. He gently laid his hand against the abused flesh and felt the heat radiating off of it. "Jesus, Eliot. How did this happen?"
Eliot glanced down at the bruise and sighed. It really wasn't that bad, not compared to some of the other injuries he'd had. "I stopped Earnshaw's guys from following our mark. It's no big deal."
Nathan stared into his lover's face, horrified. He stood up and swayed. "By letting them hit you? Jesus, Eliot. You could've been really hurt."
Eliot grabbed at Nathan's hand and pulled him down to the couch, catching him as he fell into him. "Really? So could you. What do you think I thought when I came home to find all that blood on the floor? Fuck, Nate. You scared the shit out of me."
Nathan pushed himself up off of Eliot and turned to look him in the face. "It wasn't that bad."
Eliot snorted and shook his head. He stared Nathan in the eye, looking for the man he'd fallen in love with. He knew he was in there somewhere. It was just a matter of finding him again. "Look, we've been tap dancing around this subject for a long time and I'm tired of it." He shifted so he could meet Nathan face to face. "You've got a problem, Nate. You can't control the drinking and it's going to kill you." He watched as Nathan gathered his defenses. "It will kill you, Nate." He grasped his lover's hand. "I don't want to see that happen."
Nathan shook his head and tried to stand up, but he couldn't quite leverage himself off of the couch. "Eliot . . ."
Eliot shook his head and grabbed hold of Nathan's wrist. "Don't Eliot me. You're an alcoholic and you need help. I haven't pushed you on this 'cause I know how you'll react, but the time has come to face facts. You are an addict." He paused and looked away, blinking away the burn behind his eyes. "You say you can't stand for me to leave you again." He turned and looked back at Nathan. "Did you ever stop to think that I can't stand to lose you either?"
Nathan finally managed to push himself up off the couch and gain his balance. He shook his head. "I can stop whenever I want to, Eliot. I just . . . I like to drink okay. It's not hurting anybody. You need to let it go."
Eliot felt heat burn through his cheeks as the anger pooled in his stomach. "I don't even know how you can say that." He pushed the hair out of his face.
Nathan stepped forward. "Eliot, I was clumsy tonight. I'm sorry. Don't make a big deal out of this. I'll buy you a new table."
"You'll buy me a new table." Eliot blinked up at Nathan, incredulous, before pushing himself off the couch. "I can't . . ." He paused, shaking his head. He gave a gruff growl and limped into the bedroom. He came back out with a pillow and a blanket, tossing them down on the couch.
Nathan stared down at the bedding on the couch, angry, incredulous, hurt. "You're kicking me to the couch?"
Eliot stared at him a moment, mouth working, trying to spill everything that clogged his throat, trying to choke him. He finally sighed and rubbed at his forehead. He was too tired for this shit. "You take the bed. I'll be on the couch if you need me."
Nathan stared at him a moment. "Eliot, please don't make this into more than it is." When Eliot didn't answer he shook his head grimaced. "I swear to God, you're getting to be worse than Sophie."
Eliot just stared at him, refusing to rise to the bait. He didn't want to fight. Right now he just wanted to sleep. His hip and leg were killing him and he just didn't have the energy to deal with Nathan right now.
Nathan stared at him a moment longer. "You know what? Fine." He grabbed the bottle and headed into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
Eliot watched as his bedroom door banged shut before pouring himself into the soft cushions of the couch. Yeah, Nate could be very observant, but it was disturbing how he could be so incredibly blind at the same time. He shut his eyes and tried to block out the pain throbbing into his hipbone. He just needed to rest a while.