A/N: I am, of course, fascinated by super sexy character Eliot Spencer, played by the talented Mr. Christian Kane. So I decided to take him for a night out on the town. Eliot style. Lol. I'm a Eliot/Parker shipper myself, but Haridson's crush on Parker is so adorable, I decided to let him have this one. Also, I based Hardison's dialogue on listening to my brother talk. enjoy. -pj
Parker was forever bugging Eliot to come with her and Hardison when they went clubbing which didn't happen often, but often enough. He would always shake his head and say something along the lines of 'it's not my scene' if he said anything at all.
So one day, anticipating this reaction, Parker suggested they go someplace he would like to go.
Eliot looked at her for a long moment, pausing in the quick efficient moves of peeling a potatoe and got a sly grin on his face. Hardison was watching from the table and rolled his eyes while Parker grinned and bounced on her toes, knowing she was going to get her way.
They had been in the middle of a job and went out after they'd finished as a part of the 'We Pulled it Off Again' celebration they'd fallen into the habit of having, so Nate and Sophie decided to tag along.
When they got there Eliot lead the way inside, forcing his way through a crowd of denim and leather to get to the bar to order drinks while Hardison's eyes swept over the crowd suspiciously.
He'd noticed all the trucks in the parking lot and had been weary of the 30min drive into the farmland outside the city that it took them to get to this place.
"Eliot," he says, protest already evident in his tone, "there ain't a brotha' in sight. Where'd you take me, man? It's like Deliverance the Sequel up in here."
Eliot, with his hair pushed back under a tan cowboy hat, his brown boots and a button down plaid shirt looked right at home in the bar, "what do ya' mean there 'ain't no brothers'?" he pointed across the crowded room to two men dressed in matching black hats and blue shirts, "that's the Mallory Twins right there."
Hardison narrowed his eyes in a glare, "you know exactly what I mean, Eliot."
Eliot's lips quirked up and he shrugged, turning to the beer that had been placed in front of him, "I don't know what you're talking about Hardison."
Just then there was a tap on the Hitter's shoulder and as he turned to look someone swung a fist at his face, knocking his hat off.
Sophie and Hardison gasped and Nate peered over at the man from his spot beside the wall, already nursing a scotch. Eliot bounced right back up, swinging and pushed himself into the man so that they both tumbled over a table and onto the floor in a mess of testosterone and flailing limbs.
Parker, being the quick thinker that she was and unexpectedly protective, grabbed for Eliot's half empty beer bottle and ran over to the two men as Eliot was standing, brushing himself off. She didn't notice his smile.
Parker wound up and smashed the bottle across the man's head as he started to get up. He, a red head with a scraggly beard, fell back to the ground, his eyes closed.
"Dammit Parker, what are you doing?" Eliot demanded, looking between her and the unconscious red head in surprise.
"Helping." She supplied innocently, still gripping the neck of the now shattered and empty bottle.
Eliot made a sound somewhere between a growl and a sigh and leaned over, tapping the man's cheek.
"Hey, Tommy. Tommy wake up!" Seeing it was not working, he glanced up to see a glass of ice water on a nearby table, he swiped it and promptly dumped it on him.
Finally, the man opened his eyes, blinking groggily as he reached for his head, "what the hell?"
Eliot grinned, "my friend here decided she'd help." He said, reaching out to clasp the man's hand and help him up off the floor.
"Oh, well," he glanced at Parker, who was the picture of Honkytonk chic in her white tank, short denim skirt and braided blonde hair, he smiled, "ma'am, you can smash me over the head with whatever you'd like."
Eliot rolled his eyes, "guys, this is my friend Tom. Tommy, this is Alec, Nate, Sophie and Parker."
Hardison's eyebrows were at his hairline, "this is how you greet your friends? By trying to beat the mess out of each other?"
Eliot shook his head, "there wasn't no danger until Parker decided to break a bottle on his head."
Tom agreed and leaned over to the bar, knocking the top with his fist to request whatever he'd been drinking, "two more huh?" He looked back at the group, "besides, Eliot here deserved it for staying away for so long."
"Yeah, what's the big idea, boy?" A tall, hefty built man with the name 'Hank' printed on his black shirt walked over to their corner of the bar, sitting a new beer in front of the hitter and two glasses in front of the redhead.
Eliot just shook his head, avoiding the curious and dumbstruck gazes of him team and reached for the beer, "Good to see you, Hank."
"See there," Hank smiled, his face impossibly round and wide, "shows how long you've been gone if you're missing this ugly mug."
Tom grinned gratefully at Hank as he poured Whiskey on the rocks in both glasses and then handed one to Parker, "now ma'am if that's too strong I'll-" stopping short, he watched as Parker knocked back the entire glass of sipping alcohol in one fell swoop.
"Mmm," she sighed, "good stuff."
She grinned and handed the glass back to him before turning to settle on the stool between Sophie and Hardison at the bar. Eliot smiled and clapped his friend on the back, no interest in explaining the eccentric girl to the fascinated man.
"Good to see you Tommy."
The team took the first half hour to acclimate themselves to the surroundings. It wasn't quite what Parker and Hardison were used to. Instead of bumpin' and grindin' on the dance floor people were scootin' their boots and tappin' their heels in one line dance after another. Sophie seemed to be having a good time, sipping one strange colored drink after another and Nate hovered beside her, his eyes alert but laughing.
Eliot on the other hand seemed right at home in the loud, smoky environment. He tried to stay near the team but would inevitably wander off to talk to someone he hadn't seen in a while or spread the Southern charm on the 'girl next door' types sitting at the bar.
The band was live and loud and Parker was intrigued by this 'line dancing' everyone was participating in and before long she was out on the floor with the rest of them. A quick learner, she mastered some of the easier dances in minutes. Hardison started to relax after his first beer and, after swiping a hat off of someone, he joined Parker on the dance floor, his fingers hooked into his belt loops trying clumsily to follow her movements.
Sophie and Nate were still at the bar, smiling and talking as they watched the crowd and every now and then there would be the sound of glasses crashing and then uproarious laughter and they knew it just mean Eliot had met an old friend. Or made a new one.
After a few dances and a few more drinks, Parker was attracted to the sound of commotion coming from the back of the room. She followed it down a few stairs and around a corner and was met with a ring of people crowded around…something.
"Wanna ride it?"
She jumped at the feeling of someone behind her and Eliot's low, rasping voice in her ear.
"What is it?" she asked, partially confused, partially intrigued.
"It's a mechanical bull," Sophie supplied, a blue martini in her hand and she'd lost track of her tall black boots somewhere, Eliot noted, "I rode one in Canada once."
They all looked at her.
Hardison studied the life-sized, life-like machine for a moment and then popped his collar, sniffing, "I could ride that."
Eliot snorted, "no you couldn't."
"Yeah I could, man."
"Then do it."
Hardison gave it another weary look and then, "alright." He forced himself to keep the frown off his face and strutted over to the man operating the machine to wait his turn. Nate peeked around the corner to see where his team had gone, but quickly shook his head and walked away with an 'I don't want to know' look on his face.
Only two minutes later, Hardison was climbing up onto the would be animal, and in spite of himself Eliot cheered for his friend, both Sophie and Parker screaming their heads off beside him to be heard over the crowd.
"You go Hardison!" "C'mon, you can do it!"
The Hacker spotted them and shot them a nervous smile just as the bull suddenly jumped to life, whipping and turning and bucking to get him off. Hardison screamed like a little girl and Eliot rolled his eyes, unable to keep the smile from his face.
He lasted 2.7 seconds. The crowd cheered as he was thrown o the mats, the soft cushion giving way under him.
"Alright, who's next?" the man who controlled the bull asked into his microphone, surveying the crowd from beneath his wide, ten gallon hat.
"I'd like to give it a whirl," Sophie shouted. Loose from a few drinks, she shoved the one in her hand at Eliot and slid over to the man operating the bull, sweet talking something in his ear to get him to allow her to ride for free.
Sophie only lasted 1.5 seconds, but she laughed until she cried as she was pulled up from the mat by and escorted back over to the edge of the circle.
"My turn!" Parker said and streaked across the mats to hop up onto the bull before anyone could stop her.
"Giddyup!" She yelled with a grin. The man with the microphone shrugged and hit the button. She lasted an impressive 5.7 seconds before getting thrown.
"Alright, who else wants to ride Angry Joe?" the announcer called out, pretending to survey the crowd for someone worthy as he stroked his Fu Manchu. Then, his eyes settling on the small group by the wall, "Hey, is that you Eliot?"
He shielded his eyes unnecessarily from the glowing overhead lights and smiled a gold toothed grin, "it is you, git on up here boy!"
Eliot smiled and shook his head.
"C'mon now. Son, don't make me come over there. The people wanna be entertained!" As if on cue, the crowd erupted in applause and Eliot was pushed soon being pushed and pulled to the center of the ring.
Hardison and Sophie held their breath, sure they were about to witness the carnage of an entire room full of people. Much to their surprise, though, Eliot was smiling as he pulled off his hat and handed it to the announcer, saying something that was impossible to hear from where they stood, but made the man almost tumble from his chair with laughter.
Eliot then walked back over to the bull and pulled himself up onto it as if he'd done it a thousand times. He got a firm grip on the horn and raised one hand in the air shot a look across the crowd at Hardison that was suspiciously similar to 'let me show you how it's done'.
Hardison rolled his eyes but through his fist in the air all the same as Parker clapped and Sophie screamed his name.
The bull started moving and Eliot rode, keeping his weight centered and his grip firm as the bull spun round and round. He lasted 12 seconds.
"Ho-lee-cow! I think that beats his personal best folks!" Announcer man shouted, whipping Eliot's hat around in the air and coming to stand help him up from the mats. He threw an arm around Eliot's shoulder as he raised his other arm in triumph, "too bad it can't go on the leader board."
The crowd erupted in laughter and the team was left feeling as if they'd missed a joke. Sophie, Hardison and Parker pushed their way to the front and Parker walked up, snatching the hat from man's hand and frowning, her hands on her hips.
"And why not?" she demanded.
"Well, because little lady, no one that's done it professionally can count their score." He pointed up at a black board hanging high on the wall with names written in pink chalk and times beside them. Number One was 6.2 seconds.
Parker's eyes widened and they slid over to Eliot, finding Sophie and Eliot were already staring.
Eliot swiped a beer from someone's hands and took a long swig and shrugged.
Parker shot a withering look at the leader board, "well that's just stupid."
They returned to the main room, Parker was thirsty and Harison's legs were wobbly from exertion so they made their way through the crowd back over to the bar, where Nate was sipping another drink of some kind.
"Hey," Nate said after they'd gotten their drinks and were resting on wooden stools beside them, "have fun?" He didn't really expect an answer. None of the team seemed to be able to keep smiles from their faces and Sophie and Hardison looked winded. Still, there was someone missing.
Sophie glanced around, "he does seem to have disappeared, doesn't he?"
"May I have everyone's attention please?"
All four turned toward the stage where the bartender was, holding the microphone and squinting out at the crowd.
"How's everybody doin' tonight?" he asked, and was met with rowdy shouts and whistles raised glasses, "Good good, how would ya'll feel about an unscheduled musical performance?" More shouts and whistles and a few men whipped their hats off to twirl them in the air, "Alright alright, well I've got a little something special for ya'. Now, it took me a bottle of my best Jack D to get him up here so lets make it worth my while. Please welcome to the stage, Eliot Spencer!"
The man in question appeared from the shadows beside the stage, grinning and clapping the bartender on his back as he walked up to the mike and smiled out at the crowd, "sorry about the intrusion everybody, but ya'll know how Hank is."
The crowd laughed and nodded, the bartender waving off their looks with a smile as he went back to slinging drinks behind the counter.
"So I thought I'd start us off with a nice slow song," he teased, and the every person in the crowd 'boo'ed good-naturedly and Eliot laughed, causing Nate and Sophie to exchange glances. Eliot had been known to smile on occasion, crack a dry joke at Parker's expense and even exchange quick witted banter with Hardison. But to actually laugh? It was a sight they'd rarely seen.
"Well what do ya' wanna hear then?" He asked, feigning confusion. He cupped a hand around his ear as shouted requests were lobbed at the stage. Seemingly having found a suitable opening song, he turned to the band behind him, saying something quickly before he returned to the mic.
The band started playing the first few notes, starting with a heavy guitar riff before going straight to the fiddle, only playing it in a way that Sophie's cultured ear winced and Hardison looked somewhere between confused and impressed. Nate's drink almost slipped from his fingers and Parker screamed with glee.
And the crowd…the crowd went wild.
"He's got a split finger wrap and his rope's pulled way too tight," Eliot sang loud over the band, holding the microphone in both hands, making love to the melody and his hat shoved down over his eyes, "He's got a lunatic smile 'cause he's really drawn deep tonight."
Nate's eyes were wide, Sophie's mouth open, Hardison's eyebrows were up to his hairline and Parker, well Parker was already up by the stage jumping and dancing with her hands outstretched toward the hitter with a few other girls. The rest of them stood back in shock.
"What he loves might kill him, But he's got no choice," Eliot's eyes were closed, he pulled the mike from the stand that restricted his movement and was jumping around the stage, first standing over by the lead guitarist then walking back over to the bass player, "He's a different breed with a voice down deep inside, that's screamin' he was born to ride."
When it got to the chorus the crowd was singing along.
"He's got a fever, fe-ver, fe-v-er, FEVER!"
By now Sophie had abandoned all pretense of being shocked and joined Parker by the stage, Nate wasn't sure he'd ever seen her grin so wide.
He exchanged a look with Hardison, but he too had gotten over his shock and was smiling, screaming encouragement to the man on stage.
"You go Eliot! Shoot, man got skills."
Nate shook his head and eyes glued to the man he knew would probably never stop surprising him. He'd seen Eliot first hand take on half a dozen thugs in the street, take on hired hit men in airplane bathrooms, take on world renowned killers with nothing but a rock or small switchblade for defense. All without breaking much of a sweat.
But this, he realized, this was where Eliot was in his element.
"Like runnin' from your shadow out of self-defense, he won't run and baby he can't hide, he thinks the odds are even leavin' one hand tied," Eliot grinned down at Parker and Sophie and then jumped back, to replace the mic in the stand, his hands tapping hard against his thighs, unconsciously playing air guitar, "He gets so tired of hangin' on so tight,I know you think he's crazy well I think you're right!
We're all here 'cause he's not all there. That's right."
The band stopped playing suddenly and Eliot was still laughing, his chest heaving from the exertion of the high energy song, but Sophie caught his eye and she laughed too. Eliot's eyes, always blue and hard-edged, tense and suspicious, for the first time since she'd known him they were clear and relaxed. She realized this was where he came to rejuvenate himself.
Nate found a bar, Parker found a tall building, Sophie went to Paris and Hardison locked himself in his apartment with World of Warcraft and a three day supply of Orange Soda. But Eliot came here.
He played a few more songs, sometimes slowing it down, sometimes calling for a line dance to form, but always he kept the crowd happy. Finally he announced his set would be ending, earning several unhappy moans and groans from the crowd.
"But before I do," he said, one hand held up, wordlessly calming them, "I'm gonna play a song that, well, it's pretty close to my heart and," his eyes snapped over to the corner of the bar where his teammates sat, "Nate, Hardison, don't you dare let those ladies keep sitting there for this."
He gave a crooked grin and reached back behind himself to pick up an acoustic guitar and then settled on a stool that had been placed beside the microphone and strummed a few chords to get himself started. Wordlessly, the crowd started to pair off, the sounds of boots scuffing and scooting across the floor becoming subdued .
"Livin' with me, it ain't easy, but I do it every day," he sang, soft and low, his voice sounding more pure without the rest of the band flowing behind it, "Sometimes even now I wanna run away."
Nate grit his teeth, unable to ignore the stare Sophie was sending to his temple any longer. He knocked back the rest of his drink and wordlessly grabbed her hand, leading her out onto the dance floor. She smiled, wrapping her hands up around his neck and he pulled her close, swaying gently to the song.
"But there you are, you're tryin' to please me. Yeah you stand your ground, it's more than I deserve."
Hardison felt sweat beading on his brow and could also tell Parker was giving him one of her patented, half blank, half expectant stares.
"Well?" she said finally, tapping her fingers on the bar.
"Well," he cleared his throat, "well, what?"
Parker huffed impatiently, "are you going to ask me?"
Hardison glanced around quickly as if looking for a reason to flea, his hands were shaking under the implication. He knew if he didn't, Eliot would undoubtedly make him pay. But if he did he wasn't sure he could keep from blurting out everything he'd been trying to keep inside for the past two years.
"I've taken more than I've been given. I've taken for granted this life I'm livin'."
Parker finally just rolled her eyes, grabbed his hand and dragged him out onto the dance floor anyway. Hardison squeaked at the unexpected movement, but quickly recovered, resting his hands on Parker's hips and after a minute, relaxed enough to rest his forehead against hers.
"There, that's not so bad, is it?" Parker asked and he looked down, seeing her grinning wickedly up at him.
"It's just your style to wear a smile, Oh baby you wear it well," Eliot sang up on the stage, almost forgetting the crowd before him, lost in the easy, calming motion of strumming a guitar, "If I had my way, I'd dress you in nothin' else. So come on here and lay down, a little while, 'cause you right now, you're more than I deserve."
When the song ended. Eliot took a moment to gather himself before standing and replacing the guitar to the sound of uproarious applause and whistles.
"One more, one more, one more," the crowd started chanting as he repositioned his hat on his head and the team found themselves joining in. Finally, turning around, Eliot smiled. Apparently everyone knew what that meant because the place was filled with cheers as he went back to the mic.
"Well, my momma always said it was bad manners to leave a crowd on a slow note," he said, his southern drawl having gotten much thicker through the course of the night, "one more song," he paused and then, "This one's called The House Rules."
The crowd, having gotten what they wanted, was immediately all movement and spilled beer and screams of laughter and applause. The team made their way back over to their seats, trying to talk over Sophie's shouts of encouragement and to convince Parker to stay off the bar.
When the song ended Eliot tipped his hat, thanked the crowd and left the stage. A few minutes later he appeared beside Parker who, upon seeing him, jumped up to wrap herself around him.
"Eliot that was amazing I didn't know you could do that!"
Eliot grunted at the unexpected embrace and steadied himself on the bar, "thanks darlin'." He said and turned to Hardison, "how many has she had?"
Hardison just shook his head, "too many."
Nate had garnered a booth on the other side of the room and the team walked their drinks over to it, sliding into the Semi-circle with Sophie and Parker taking up either side of him, Eliot and Hardison on the ends.
They joked and laughed, teased and bantered like any other night. Parker started a mini food fight and Eliot was able to drag Nate out onto the dance floor to show him a few steps of one of the simpler line dances. Parker, Hardison and Eliot happily danced to some of the more complex steps while Sophie steadfastly refused to join in, saying she could only dance the waltz and only if a mark really, really wanted to.
Nate was the one to finally break the spell of the evening, reminding the team that they had a meeting with a client early the next morning. The announcement was met with groans and disappointed sighs, but they obediently got up and started filing toward the door, with Eliot heading toward the bar to pay the tab.
"Headin' out already?" The bartender asked once he'd gotten close enough.
Eliot shrugged one shoulder, "gotta get the kiddies in bed."
Hank nodded with understanding, "well it was good to see you, and don't let it be so long next time before you come back."
Eliot nodded, promising it wouldn't be and started to pull out his wallet.
"Oh c'mon Eliot, your money's no good here," he jerked his chin toward the door where the others were waiting for him, "go'on, git."
Eliot pulled a bill from his wallet anyway and Hank's brow furrowed, "don't ruin such a good night, boy."
Eliot paid no attention to the threat as he shoved the c-note in the tip jar, "not for you, Hank. For the girls," his eyes skipped over to where Hanks daughters were waiting tables.
Hank nodded, his eyes softening. "Alright, now get outta here, 'fore I change my mind."
Eliot smiled once more, touched the brim of his hat and headed toward the door where his team was waiting.
On the way back Sophie, Hardison and Parker sat in the back seat, all slumped against each other in sleep while Nate and Eliot rode up front.
"So," Nate said after almost fifteen minutes of silence. "you sing. You dance. You fight. You ride bulls and, on the side, you're a theif."
Eliot's lips almost quirked, "yup."
Nate nodded, leaning his head back against the seat and closed his eyes, "learn something new everyday."
This time Eliot smiled fully, "yup."
END - The first song was The Fever by Garth Brooks and the second and third were More Than I Deserve and The House Rules both by Kane (Christian Kane's band, in case you didn't know and I highly recommend you look them up). I had WAY too much fun writing this and I really hope you liked reading it, so please review and let me know!