Title: Brand New Eyes
Artist: charlies_dragon (She did an awesome job, how could I not pick her art??? So head on over to my lj to look at the art, a link is on my profile…)
Summary: The team's busy, really busy, and can't afford to take on anymore cases. When Eliot gets a call from his aunt, he can't turn down her plea for help, and things only go downhill from there.
Warnings: Violence, hurt/comfort, supernatural AU, schmoop.
Betas: Thanks to the lovely sendintheclowns and the awesome meg63005 for their help in making this fic better!!!
Disclaimer: I don't own Leverage or 3 Doors Down… Crap.
This fic is done, and parts will be posted daily.
I'm not supposed to be scared of anything
But I don't know where I am
I wish that I could move but I'm exhausted
And nobody understands
(How I feel)
I'm trying hard to breathe now
But there's no air in my lungs
There's no one here to talk to
And the pain inside is making me numb
Changes - 3 Doors Down
XXXX His lungs burned, and the claw marks marring his right side seared in agony, but he kept running. It had been a long time since he had been as scared as he was, and he wasn't about to slow down and let the cause of that fear catch up. This wasn't what he had pictured when he had come home. This wasn't how he wanted to die.
His lungs burned, and the claw marks marring his right side seared in agony, but he kept running. It had been a long time since he had been as scared as he was, and he wasn't about to slow down and let the cause of that fear catch up.
This wasn't what he had pictured when he had come home.
This wasn't how he wanted to die.
The team was busy. They had been swamped for weeks. Jobs had been coming in like the world was ending, and for every one the team took, there were four more just waiting to be taken on.
Then the call came in from Eliot's aunt. The older woman had been distraught talking to the hitter.
Apparently there had been a series of disappearances and gruesome animal attacks in the small Texas town he had grown up in. Eight people had gone missing and another ten had been mauled to death.
His aunt had been worried but content to just stay inside and let Eliot's cousin, Wade protect her with his shotgun. Content to just curl up with their husky and let the outside world continue as it had been.
Then a few days ago, Wade had gone missing. The only thing that had turned up in that time was torn and bloodstained clothes. There had been no trace of his cousin since then, and Eliot could hear the fear in his aunt's voice as she fretted over his disappearance.
The woman had been devastated, fearing the worst, just knowing in her heart that Wade was never coming back. She still held out a feeble hope, but as the days passed it was getting harder and harder to keep her fractured hope together.
She had just sounded so lost and hurt that Eliot hadn't been able to ignore the call, and besides that fact, she was his only family left, and he wasn't about to lose her too.
Within a few hours of the call, Eliot had been packed and on his way to the airport. He had put off any offers of the team coming along to help him, fervently ducking the offers, and telling the team to keep their heads focused on their cases.
The team had enough to worry about at home, too many cases with too little man power, and while Eliot couldn't ignore the call, the rest of the team couldn't ignore the pile of cases in front of them.
They couldn't leave helpless people on their own.
So with a promise to check in every day and to call if he needed any help, Eliot threw his duffle in the cab of his beat up, old, red Chevy pick-up and headed out.
Seeing the big 'Welcome to Texas' sign made something loosen in Eliot's stomach, a knot that had been firmly taught in him, unravel. It had been so long since he had been back to the state.
It had been too long since he had been home.
While he had kept in touch with his family, and a few acquaintances, Eliot hadn't actually been back to his home town since he had turned eighteen.
Breathing in a deep breath, Eliot smiled at the dry, hot air.
He was definitely home.
"Eliot!" The yell came just as he was raising his hand to knock on the door to his aunt's bungalow. The door was yanked open and he was pulled into a fierce hug. Dropping his bag, Eliot hugged the woman back, tugging her off her feet and hugging her fiercely.
"Hey Ellie," he said softly, pulling back to look the woman over. "It's good to see you," he said, words a deep dry rasp, as he noted all the little lines bracketing her mouth and eyes, lines he was sure hadn't been there before Wade had gone missing.
"Oh honey," she sniffed, "it's good to see you too." She smiled at him, before smacking his shoulder, "Where the hell you been, boy?" Eliot opened his mouth, a little taken back at the sudden change, shutting it when it was clear he didn't have an answer for the woman.
He had never told Ellie what he had done when he left, and it wasn't like he could just blurt out the truth. 'Yeah, I've been stealing important and valuable objects for years. Liberated a few nations too!' She would think he had gone off his rocker!
No, he decided. It's best to not tell her.
"Oh, never mind," she sighed, waving her hand at the hallway behind her, before turning and walking down it. She seemed to know that he wasn't going to tell her anything.
About ten feet away she turned back to him, "You comin' or what?" Eliot swallowed hard and grabbed up his bag, walking through the door and following behind her. Closing the door, he leaned his forehead against the smooth wood briefly before sighing deeply and turning to trail behind her.
"Then one morning he just didn't come back." Ellie told him, fingering the cup of tea in front of her as if she didn't know what else to do. Her eyes were reddened at the edges and bloodshot, nose still raw from crying. Another tear tumbled down her cheek and she reached up to brush it away, snuffling slightly and looking back up at him.
Eliot nodded, having already expecting most of the story she had told him. Wade had gone out hunting one morning, and hadn't come back. With all the other disappearances and deaths in the area, his aunt had feared the worst. Then his bloody clothes had turned up, and her fears had notched up and been cemented.
Eliot's family was already small enough, he couldn't risk losing anymore members. For years since his parents had died, it had just been his aunt, him, Wade and a few other straggling cousins. Straggling cousins who he didn't care half as much about as Wade and Ellie.
Losing Wade, if he was indeed gone, would be a hard pill to swallow.
"It'll be okay Ellie, whatever happens, we'll be okay." He said softly, taking one of her hands from its place around the cup and capturing it in between his own. He would do all he could to find Wade and keep his small family together. "We'll stick together and we'll be okay."
Early the next morning, Eliot loaded up his truck, checking and rechecking his rifle, and his hunting knife, making sure he was doing all he could to be safe. Simple things like hunting scared him more than working a job, there were too many unknowns, too many things he couldn't research.
Refusing to let his aunt see just how much this whole thing was bothering him, Eliot carefully set his expression, voiding any emotion that would alert the older woman to his turmoil.
Walking back to the door, he drew in a deep breath through his nose and quirked his lips in a little grin for the woman standing in the doorway. She gave him a tight smile back and reached out to hug him, squeezing tightly before letting go.
"Here," she said softly, thrusting out her hand. A paper bag hung gripped in the appendage, "in case you get hungry."
Eliot's teeth glinted in a brief flash of a smile, pulling Ellie back in for another quick hug. "What would I do without you to mother me?" He asked, his eyes crinkling in mirth.
She smacked him lightly, smiling back. "Oh honey, you'd crash and burn." She smiled for a moment more before her lips pulled down, a frown furrowing her brow.
Eliot reached out, "It'll be okay Ellie, whatever happens, don't worry." He squeezed her shoulder, and she nodded, reaching up to palm her brow.
"You're right, hun, it'll be okay." She sounded as if she doubted the words, but there was nothing Eliot could do to alleviate that doubt until he came back, with or without Wade.
"I'll be back tomorrow night, the next morning at the latest." Squeezing her shoulder once more, Eliot dropped his arm and backed up, waiting until she nodded before turning and heading for the truck.
"You better be." He heard her murmur just as he reached the old beat up Chevy. He turned and waved once more before putting the truck into gear and pulling away from the curb.
Eliot idly wondered just what the team would think if they saw just how he was acting with his aunt, and snorted when he heard Parker's voice in his mind, "An alien come to take all of our painstakingly stolen riches."
Wondering briefly if it was a bad thing that he knew exactly what the eccentric thief would think, Eliot shook his head and pushed the thought from his mind. Grabbing his phone from the dash, he dialed Nate, wanting to let the man know that he was heading out.
"Eliot?" "That him, what's going on down there?" He heard both Nate and Hardison ask at the same time. A small rueful smile pulled at his lips and Eliot snorted.
"Yeah Nate, it's me." He answered the first, ignoring the second question, checking his mirrors and flicking the turn signal on.
"What's happening?" The older man asked, and Eliot could almost hear all the emotions flitting through the words. Concern, curiosity, relief.
"Not much, just heading out now to check out the woods where my cousin went missing. M'expecting to be out there all night, maybe tomorrow too." He pulled the truck onto the well worn dirt path that led to the local hunting grounds he and his cousin used to visit regularly.
"Okay?" It was more of a question than a statement and Eliot reached up to rub his eyes briefly before sighing.
"Nothing man, just wanted to give you a heads up before actually going out there, just in case you couldn't get a hold of me tonight or tomorrow." He pulled into a clearing and steered the truck over to the side before putting it in park and shutting off the engine.
"Sounds good, Eliot." Nate didn't sound completely convinced and Eliot felt the rest welling up before he could stop it.
"There's something here Nate, I can feel it." He again checked his knife and rifle, feeling his stomach twist again. "If I don't check in by the day after tomorrow…" He let the sentence drop, knowing Nate would get his meaning.
"Okay," the older man sighed, "okay, Eliot, I gotcha." The hitter heard the other man moving around the room on the other end of the line, pacing most likely, before he sighed again. "Be careful Eliot, if you feel yourself in trouble, get out of there. I know this is family, but you don't need to be hurt following up on this." The 'I mean it.' was implied in the tone, and Eliot unconsciously nodded.
"Year, I hear you, man. Thanks." he said gratefully.
"Talk to you soon." It was said firmly, no room for argument.
"Yeah." Eliot nodded, and heard the line click, before pressing the END button. He climbed out of the cab and reached to throw his bag over his shoulder and grip his rifle, slamming the truck door.
It was gonna be a long night.