Disclaimer: Yeah, I own nothing but the idea. I wish I had a certain Hitter. But, alas, he's owned by someone else.

Author's Note: Hey, all. I didn't add to this. Like I said, it was only going to be a one-shot. I just did some editing that was driving me absolutely BSI.


Eliot was well accustomed to pain. He was the retrieval specialist- the one called in to blaze a trail in, get the item, and beat his way out. He was, after all, just that good. Occasionally, plans fell through and there would be capture and torture involved. He'd come out on top, though. The blood loss, bruising, and scars were just medals of honor.

But just because he and pain were old friends, didn't make dealing with it any easier.

Tank was a brutal man. He had pulled no punches, and, at first, neither did Eliot. The fight could have gone a lot worse, and had Rucker succeeded with drugging Eliot's water bottle, it could be safe to assume that there could be nothing left of the Hitter. Thankfully, Rucker was a rather stupid man, and the quick thinking of Nate saved Eliot from being a vegetable. However, the match had gone on long enough to let Tank do some massive damage.

The shower was agony, in and of itself. Thousands of tiny needles rained down from the shower head, and no temperature made that feeling any less excruciating. Yet it beat going to bed still sticky and sweaty from the match. The thing that was most disconcerting to him was his ability to see. He had the use of both eyes when he stepped into the shower. By the time he stepped out, all that remained of that capability out of his left eye was a very small slit.

Toweling off was hell. Getting dressed was murder. Eliot was panting through the pain and opted to go to bed with wet hair- frizz be damned. The Hitter wanted- needed- rest.

He exited the bathroom and spotted Nate in the doorway to the rest of the suite. "Eliot?" the Mastermind began. Eliot simply inclined his head and grunted as he shuffled to the side of one of the beds. "Is there anything we can get you?"

"Aspirin," Eliot groaned as he lowered himself down, "Ice pack. Water. New body if ya have one layin' aroun'."

Nate gave a small laugh. "I can get you the first three. The last one might be a bit of a problem."

"Then I'll be happy with the first three," Eliot lay back against the pillow and closed his good eye.

ZzZzZzZzZzZzZzZz

"Eliot," Nate carefully woke the Hitter. One eyelid shot open, the left still stubbornly refusing to budge. Nate held up a water bottle and pill bottle in one hand and an ice pack in the other so Eliot could see them.

The Hitter gave a nod and began the task of sitting up. Nate knew better than to offer help; Eliot wouldn't take it. Instead he opened the water bottle and set it on the nightstand. "How many?" Nate asked as he poured the little, white pills into his hand.

"Three," Eliot grimaced and finally sat up. Nate poured the unneeded tablets back into the bottle and handed the Hitter what he requested, followed by the bottle of water so he could wash them down.

Wearily, Eliot lowered himself back down to the pillow. "They'll be here if you need them," Nate said, handing him the ice pack.

"Thanks," Eliot closed his eye again and placed the pack on his face. Nate reached up and turned off the light and walked out of the room, softly closing the door behind him.

ZzZzZzZzZzZzZzZz

Despite the pain killers, Eliot could not get his body to settle into peaceful rest. He would lay in bed dosing, even falling entirely to sleep for a little while, only to be startled awake. A throb here. A spasm there. The left side of his face felt massively tight as if, at any time, it would explode. Periodically, he felt the phantom punches as though he were still in the match. It was going to be a long night. He was tempted to look over at a clock, but his body was stiff and refused to move. He sighed and closed his eye, willing himself to fall back to sleep, praying it would be a longer time before he woke up.

ZzZzZzZzZzZzZzZz

He woke once more and was disappointed that the room was still pitch black. He sighed and tried to move. Suddenly, he was on full alert. When he shifted his body, he felt there was a little weight next to him on the bed. Not much, but he knew someone was sitting there. A lightning streak gently lit up the room to reveal the blond woman sitting cross legged next to his knee, her head tilted and looking at him inquisitively. "Parker?" he said, "What are you doing?"

"You growl in your sleep," she whispered.

"Why are you watching me sleep?"

"Does everything still hurt?"

"Yes, Parker. Everything still hurts." He closed his eye again. It was only Parker, so he could relax. "What time is it?"

"2:32 in the morning."

"You should be sleeping."

"Does this hurt?" Parker poked a particularly tender spot in his ribs.

"Yes!" He flinched and his breath caught in his throat.

"What about this?" She poked his left shoulder.

"Damn it, Parker!" Eliot yowled. He breathed deeply through his mouth until the pain subsided.

"You really are in pain."

"Yes, Parker. Why does that always surprise you?" Eliot carefully propped himself up into a sitting position and reached over to the nightstand for the aspirin and the water. After slamming down three more tablets, he lay back down again and waited for the medicine to kick in. Glancing over to where Parker was still sitting, another flash of lightning lit up the room. She still watched him, her brow furrowed in confusion. "What?" he asked.

"I don't get it."

"Don't get what?" He closed his eye. Sleep would find him soon; he just needed to prepare for it.

"Why things keep hurting you."

Eliot gave a whisper of a laugh, though he immediately regretted it. "It's what I do, darlin'. I take the punishment so no one else has to." He felt her move up to the top of the bed next to him. When he opened his eye, she was curled up in a ball next to him, arms wrapped around her knees, and her face inches from his.

"But you're Superman," she said in a whisper.

"I'm not Superman, Sweetheart." He smiled, even though the left side of his face didn't want to co-operate.

"True," she sighed, and closed her eyes, "You're Eliot."

"Go to sleep, Parker." He felt the initial tugs of sleep finally pulling at him. Before he fully surrendered to unconsciousness, he made out the words of her yawn:

"You're better than Superman."


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