Disclaimer: Don't sue. Just tell me to stop playing and I will. But please don't tell me to stop.
Author's Note: I win! And in turn, you win! I have heard the pleading for Eliot whump and I have obliged you. I originally had a different idea for EW, but after a discussion with two friends, I was persuaded that it would not be in character (no matter how hysterical it would be). I was also planning on having some sort of fluff thing during one of Eliot's cognizant periods, but that could always be a later "couch session". Without further adieu:
The door to condo 2A flew open with such vehemence that it almost slammed the wall behind it. Sophie's black stilettos hurriedly click-clacked across the hardwood floor to the couch. "Damn it, Eliot," the Grifter threw his favorite line back at the bruised and bloody man being half supported, half carried by Nate and Hardison. "We should have taken you to the hospital." Quickly, she tossed the loose papers and random miscellany onto the coffee table behind her.
"I don' need to go to the hospital, Soph," Eliot groaned as he lowered himself to the black cushions. "Fuuu…." He cut the cuss word off due to the glare he was receiving from her. "Sorry, Darlin'. I'll be fine." Momentarily, Eliot closed his eyes, then reopened them wide, trying to get them to focus. The burning in his ribs combined with the shooting pain in his pectoral muscle made breathing almost unbearable. He was bad. He knew he really should have gone to the hospital, but that would involve questions. Trying to explain to a doctor that the ribs were broken via a six foot fall to concrete, his shoulder at one point was dislocated by being pulled in a direction other than any that it normally could rotate, and the concussion was sustained by his head being repeatedly beat into a cement floor was just not going to happen anytime soon.
Sophie shook her head. "Typical, hard-headed male," she sighed. The insult was directed at the Hitter, but she glared at Nate while it was delivered. A few bangs and rattles from the kitchen drew her attention. Parker was scrambling around, assembling an ice pack, her eyebrows knitted in concern. Sophie uncrossed her arms and went to help the Thief.
Nate looked down at Eliot who was using a scrap of cloth to daub a few of the scraps that still oozed blood. "Ears still ringing?" he asked.
"A little," Eliot nodded, then immediately regretted it. The room spun and bile started to well up into his throat. Nate placed a hand on the younger man's better shoulder to steady him.
Hardison came back from the bathroom carrying a large white first aid kit and some towels. At the same time, Parker came around the other side of the couch and handed over the ice pack. "Thank you, Parker," Eliot sat back and laid his head back, "If I could get a couple more, that'd be great."
"Not just yet," Sophie came back with a glass of water, and placed it on the coffee table. She opened up the kit and started rifling through the contents to find the supplies that she needed.
"You go through a lot of ice, Sparky," Parker balanced herself on the back of the couch.
Eliot glared at her. "I wonder why…" He closed his eyes for a few seconds more before opening them once more at looking at Nate and Hardison. An understanding passed between the three men.
"Parker," Nate started, "I think I left my cell phone in the car. Could you run down and get it? Sophie, help her please."
"No you didn't," Parker corrected, "I saw you put it in your pocket before helping Eliot out."
"Maybe it was the file," the Mastermind shook his head.
"Why would you bring the file with you?" the blonde inquired.
"I felt it was the thing to do. Please, Parker. Soph." He gestured to the door.
Parker wasn't the only one who looked at Nate quizzically. Sophie had much the same puzzlement. Nate looked at her, then looked to Eliot and tilted his head to his own shoulder. The knowledge of what needed to be done dawned on the Grifter's face. "I believe Nate's right, Parker," Sophie came around and gently guided Parker to the door, "Let's go see what Nate forgot in the car."
"But he didn't forget anything," Parker's voice was heard just before the door closed.
Hardison took a big breath in and slowly let it out. "Are you up for this, Eliot?" Nate asked.
"No," he groaned as he sat forward, "but it's gotta be done before it starts healing this way."
"How ya wanna do this, man?" Hardison put a knee on the couch next to the Hitter.
"Uhh… Shit," Eliot breathed the pain through his teeth, "Um… Nate pulls my upper body one way; you pull my arm quickly the other." It certainly wasn't the right way of doing things, but in the time allotted, it was the best that would do. His shoulder was already twelve shades of screwed from other injuries, what was more damage? "Oh, an' before we git started, bring me a bucket."
The bucket was brought and placed between Eliot's feet. Nate wrapped an arm around Eliot's chest, while Hardison grabbed onto the Hitter's bicep. "On the count of three," Nate said, "One. Two… Three." The two men pulled, and Eliot screamed.
"Crap," Hardison stated. The jarring had failed to put the bungled joint back into place.
"Try again," Nate resumed his position, as did Hardison. "One… Two… Three."
More pulling, louder shrieking, and still the shoulder still did not budge. Pin pricks tormented Eliot's eyes as tears threatened to spill. He'd endured long torture sessions before. Water torture in Tianjin. Russian Roulette in Novgorod. The rats in Pakistan. And this fairly simple exercise was akin to all of them. He grabbed the bucket and held onto it while the world started to swim.
Unbeknownst to him, Nate and Hardison were having a silent conversation about what to do next. Through hand gestures, the Mastermind explained what they needed to do to get the difficult shoulder to cooperate. Hardison nodded and looked down to Eliot, who placed the bucket on the floor again. "Ya ready to try this again, man?" Hardison asked.
"Yeah," Eliot said, bracing himself. Once more Nate put an arm around Eliot's chest and Hardison grabbed his bicep.
"On the count of three," Nate looked at Hardison and nodded, "One…" Nate and Hardison pulled before Eliot realized what was going on, and the problematic shoulder went back into place with a sickening crack. Eliot cried out choice cuss words and instantly grabbed the bucket as lunch tried coming back up. The dry heaving was ungodly to his cracked ribs. Nate placed a hand on his back as the shutters receded. Eliot groaned, placing the bucket back on the floor, and leaned back into the couch cushions. Hardison handed him the ice pack and he smiled placing it to his aching shoulder.
Finally the pain was withdrawing.
"I told you he didn't forget anything," Parker's voice came through the opening door.
"It didn't hurt to double check, Parker," Sophie entered the room and made a bee line towards the men. She noted the relief on Eliot's face and took out the astringent, butterfly closures, cotton balls from the abandoned first aid kit. "Have you taken any ibuprofen yet, Eliot?"
"Not yet, Soph," Eliot answered, "Just want to take a moment before moving again."
"Understandable," she poured three of the brown tablets into her hand and picked up the glass of water. "Here." He downed the medication and took a swig of the water.
"If I fall asleep," Eliot sounded distant, "please wake me every two to three hours."
"Absolutely," Sophie poured a little of the astringent on a cotton puff.
Parker returned to her perch on the back of the couch and watched the nursing. "Now I know he's feeling better," she stated.
"How's that?" Sophie inquired, gently dabbing the gash in his forehead. Even Eliot opened his eyes to listen to the Thief's judgment of his healing.
"He's got his rumble back," she matter-of-factly put it, as if it should have been obvious. "He rumbles when he talks and growls when he's cranky." The Hitter and Grifter both smiled at her simplicity.
Nate busily made a fresh pot of coffee, and Hardison flipped through the collection of takeout menus before settling on one of the nearby Chinese venues. Eliot was vaguely aware of Hardison dialing a phone. Before the blackness of sleep overtook him, he heard the order started. "Hi. Yeah… I'd like to make an order for pick up…. Yeah, I need a large order of kung pao chicken…"
Parting Words: Thoughts, concerns, suggestions? I implore you to use the nifty little hot link at the bottom. And again, a huge thank you to all who already have rendered their thoughts.