Disclaimer: I don't own leverage. No copyright infringement intended. Just showing my appreciation for the show :-)

ooo

"Eliot."

The voice seemed to come from far away and barely penetrated the thick darkness that engulfed him. He had the feeling that someone had been talking to him for quite awhile now, calling his name and attempting to get a response, while he had been drifting in a place somewhere between waking and unconsciousness. Sluggishly, he tried to open his eyes and found that he couldn't. Damn it. The blackness around him shifted and started to pull him under again.

"Eliot, come on. You need to wake up."

The voice was louder this time and Eliot thought that it sounded a little impatient. Then there was also a hand gently slapping his cheek. Whoever was talking to him didn't give up easily. He felt his eyes flutter as he fought the heavy pull of sleep and with rising awareness, the pain came back. His ribs hurt fiercely and there was a throbbing pain in his shoulder, but that was nothing compared to the sledge hammer thundering against the inside of his skull. Groaning, he tried to move and make the pain go away.

"That's it. Now look at me."

Parker. It was definitely Parker talking to him, and she had an urgency in her voice that he didn't like. Damn it, what had happened? Slowly, he opened his eyes, blinking against the light. Disoriented for a moment, he carefully turned his head, finding that even that small movement sent sharp jolts of pain through his head. Better to lie still for the moment.

"Eliot?"

Above him, Parker's face swam into focus. He needed a moment to take in her features, blond hair tied up in a bun, a frown on her face. He let his gaze wander past her, noting the naked gray walls, the metal door that was only a few steps away and the light bulb at the ceiling. No windows. This was not good, not good at all.

"What happened?" His voice sounded hoarse and was heavy with exhaustion.

Parker's frown deepened. "You don't remember?"

Eliot simply stared at her, trying to push through the fog that clouded his mind. Parker returned his gaze with crossed arms.

"Talk to me, Eliot."

"I don't know, I..."

Eliot struggled to sit up, giving his best to ignore the driving pain in his head and finally succeeded. He leaned against the concrete wall, waiting for the dizziness to pass. There wasn't a clear memory of the past events, only a blurred set of images, loosely connected to each other. His hand trailed to his forehead and came away bloody. That surely explained his headache.

"How long have I been out?" He rasped.

"Not long, a couple of minutes maybe. Can you remember what happened?"

Shifting uncomfortably under her scrutinizing eyes, Eliot tried to think. He had been in a fight, that much he remembered. Guns, they'd had guns. He distinctly recalled four slumped forms on the ground, the last watchman running towards him – and boy, he'd been good. His booted foot had got him in the ribs, before Eliot had been able to send him to the ground with a solid blow to the neck. Then Parker had joined him in the corridor, the CD they'd been after in her hand. He had turned around, nodding at her.

But what had happened after that? He looked at Parker, the unspoken question in his eyes.

"He got you with the fire extinguisher," she explained.

"Who did?"

"One of Carpenter's men. The one I tried to warn you about."

Before his mind's eye, he saw Parker in the corridor, the CD in her hand, her eyes suddenly fixed on something behind him. He had spun around, trying to dodge the fast movement. Obviously, he hadn't been fast enough. His brows furrowed as he remembered Parker's scream, which was odd, because Parker never screamed. Except for that insane scream she made when she was jumping off buildings.

"Are you okay?" He asked her.

Parker cocked her head and grinned. "I'm fine. Hey, they didn't hit me in the head, you know. Question is, are you fine."

Eliot ran his fingers through his blood-matted hair. "Hell, yeah, I'm fine."

She nodded, relieved. "Good."

"What happened to the CD?"

"What do you think?"

He sighed. "We screwed up, didn't we?"

"You could say that. But mostly it was you who screwed up."

"Gee, thank you Parker. I'm feeling better already."

His head was starting to clear, although the angry throbbing behind his forehead didn't seem to fade one bit. Well enough. He was used to pain, he'd had worse before. Though this time, part of him thought he deserved it. Bad enough that he'd managed to get himself in this heap of trouble, he also had dragged Parker into it.

"So, what's the situation?"

Parker, who had been crouching beside him until now, stood up and walked across the small room, taking position beside the door. "Well, we're stuck in here for the time being."

"Nate?"

"No idea. They took our earpieces. We should get out of here though, before Carpenter decides to get rid of us."

"Where's this place?"

"Sublevel three. Two guards in front of the door, armed. Another two guards at the elevator. Next exit's down the corridor on the ground floor, about fifty yards from the elevator. Leads out into the parking lot. Then the electrical fence, of course." She looked at him, pondering. "Feeling up to take on the guards?"

"Guess so." He managed a smile. "I've got to make it up to you, don't I."

She grinned. "Good, then let's go."

Eliot grimaced as he dragged himself to his feet, using the wall for support. He noticed Parker's skeptical glance and bit back an angry comment. She was only worrying, he reminded himself, no reason to snap at her. The pain was making him edgy though.

"Need a hand?"

"I can manage, Parker."

That came out harsher then intended. Damn it, Eliot, pull yourself together. He could call himself lucky to be trapped in here with Parker. Of all people, she was most likely to leave him alone when the last thing he wanted was sympathy. He noticed that she was focussing on the door now, listening for any sound from outside. She gestured him to get going, and he made his way over to her.

Eliot would have cursed at the sudden wave of sickness if he could have spared the breath. He knew from experience how unpredictable head wounds could be, and this one seemed to have taken a sudden turn for the worse. His knees buckled as he fought for breath, and the next thing he knew was the cold sensation of concrete against his knees and palms, as he emptied the content of his stomach onto the floor.

He didn't know how long he was kneeling there, retching violently until bile was the only thing coming up, the agony of his cramping stomach and bruised ribs only outranked by the pain exploding inside his head. For endless moments that was all there was, and when the heaving finally subsided, his body was left shaking with helpless tremors. Vaguely he noticed that Parker was standing behind him, holding his long hair out of his face, her other hand resting on his good shoulder, making sure that he didn't topple over. Panting and totally spent, he closed his eyes.

"Finished?" She asked quietly.

Eliot merely groaned, giving a slight nod that almost caused his stomach to churn again.

"Okay. Lie back now, I've got you."

For Parker, that was surprisingly compassionate. He felt himself being eased towards the floor, a steady hand supporting his head.

"That's a hell of a concussion you've got there."

That was something he could agree with. Trouble was, no matter how much he wanted to, he wouldn't be much help with an injury like that. Which meant they were screwed. At least he was. It didn't mean that Parker had to stay here, waiting for Carpenter's goons to come back. She could get out of here before things got nasty, being a thief and all. A locked door wouldn't keep her.

He clung to that thought. Dazed, he looked up at her face that was swimming above him out of focus. "Get out of here. I'll manage without you."

That caused a raised eyebrow.

"I've thought about that," she countered, and he was sure that she actually had. "I think Nate would kill me though. You need a doctor."

"Don't need no doctor," he slurred, darkness clouding at the edges of his vision. "Damn it, Parker, get out of here while you still can. Get Nate and the team, come back for me later..."

His eyes started to close again as unconsciousness started to pull him under.

"Eliot, stay with me."

He tried to, he really did. But his strength was gone. Distantly, he could still hear her talking to him, until the frayed string that connected him to reality finally came undone and the world faded around him.

Parker looked down into Eliot's face, watching the pained expression in his lines dissipate as exhaustion got the better of him. So much for the invincible hitter. She just wished he would have chosen a less pressing situation to demonstrate that he was as human as the rest of them.

She didn't really like the idea of leaving him behind, but Parker realized the truth of what he had said. If she waited for him to get better, they'd be done for. It didn't take a doctor to tell that he wouldn't be able to walk anytime soon and she could impossibly carry him. Gently, she moved him to lie on his side in case he had to throw up again and placed her jacket under his head, then pushed herself to her feet.

Having done all she could, she walked over to the door and resumed to what she was best at. No more playing nurse for now. Swiftly, she pulled a pin out of her hair and knelt in front of the lock. With the ease of long practice, she slid the needle in, turning it just so, listening for the tell-tale click that meant that the door was open. There it was. Turning around, she cast a last glance on his still form, and for once, her brows furrowed in sympathy.

"Don't worry, Eliot. I'll be back."