Disclaimer: I own nothing remotely related to Leverage except a few DVDs and a Christian Kane CD. Any characters you recognize aren't mine, I'm just playing with them.
Even though it was two in the morning, Eliot Spencer was still awake when he heard the knock on his door. Switchblade in hand, he crept toward the door, trying not to give away his position in case the visitor wanted more than to borrow a cup of sugar. Which, of course, was most likely the case considering that it was two in the morning… He rolled his eyes at that train of thought. Who needs sugar at this hour?
A glance out the window revealed no vehicle, and he stepped to the side of the door. A quick flick of his wrist flung the door open as his finger hit the button on the switchblade. The knife dropped to his side as he saw who was standing on his doorstep. He was expecting trouble, he was expecting one of his team (except Parker, because she would never knock), but he wasn't expecting the slight girl with short brown hair and bruises on her face. "Alyssa? What…?"
Light blue eyes, more haunted than he wanted to think about, looked up to meet his. I need your help, El. They found me."
"Again, has any of you heard from Eliot? A call, a text message? An email?"
Hardison snorted. "Nate, Eliot couldn't email if his life depended on it!"
"That's not true, Hardison," Sophie put in. "He's learned how to use a computer quite well in the last two years."
Nate rolled his eyes. "Eliot's computer skills are not in question here. His whereabouts are!"
Parker looked up from the rope and gigantic knot she was playing with. "What's the big deal? He's just not answering his phone. Or coming in when you demand his presence. Maybe he's on s job of his own. We all do it…" Her part said, she went back to untangling the knot. Earlier that week, she had been so bored that she was literally bouncing off the walls. Eliot had asked her for an expendable piece of rope. Twenty-five minutes later he had returned with a huge and very complicated knot. He handed it to her and said she couldn't get it untied in less than a week, then went back to his chess game with Nate, knowing full well she would take it as a personal challenge and untie it or die trying. She only had three days left…
Nate shook his head in frustration. "Of course you all do. But Eliot…" He paused, looking away briefly. How were they not getting it. "Eliot takes on side jobs sometimes, sure, but never without telling me. He says it's so I'll know where he is in case the team needs him, but it's also partly so if he ever doesn't come back, we know where to start looking. He has never gone off the grid like this for three days without contacting one of us!"
Something in that statement clicked in their minds. Suddenly all three of them were staring at him, as if they finally comprehended what he was saying. Hardison was the first to speak. "You mean Eliot's… Missing? Like, Missing, missing? As in picture on a milk carton, missing?"
Parker's eyes were wide and frightened. "Or captured and tortured by the Russian mob, missing? Or the baker of Kiev, or whoever?"
Hardison rolled his eyes. "First off, it was the butcher of Kiev. And second, Eliot killed him, remember?"
She looked at him like he was slow. "So he can't have a brother who's a baker? And really pissed at Eliot for killing the butcher?"
Hardison shook his head as if her insane logic actually caused him pain. "And their third brother, the candlestick maker, he's the getaway driver?"
Parker looked at him strangely, but before she could reply, Sophie said "If he's in trouble, we have to find him!"
"Yeah!" Agreed Hardison. "Some of Eliot's enemies, they're not the nicest people in the world, so we might not have much time to get to him."
Nate didn't want to point out the semi-reassuring fact that when Eliot pissed people off, he tended to seriously piss them off. Generally more than a bullet to the head would make up for. If one of his enemies had Eliot, the good news was they probably had some time before they killed him. The bad news is that he would be in seriously rough hands until they did… "Okay, so let's find him. Parker, you go to his place. See if his truck is still there, if there's any sign of a struggle. Hardison, you do your thing, track his cell phone, credit cards for any of his aliases you know, anyone in his background that is suddenly in town, anything else you can figure out. Sophie-"
"I'll go down to that coffee shop Eliot likes to people-watch at. If anyone there has seen him in the last three days, they might know something."
Nate nodded, keeping his fear and the feeling in his stomach that something was just… wrong… under control only because his team was on it and his team was the best. Except this was a retrieval job. And he had the best retrieval specialist in the country, but this time he was the job, not part of the team. So while they were the best when whole… He didn't want to think about hole Eliot being missing left, or how they were going to get him back without a hitter.
Hardison had just parked himself in front of the computer to get his searches started when the front door opened again. Parker stuck her head back in the door. "Nate, there's a girl passed out in the hallway. Did you put her there?"