Based on an LJ prompt by Telaryn, I don't own the summery, idea, show or characters, just the story that came from them.

Feedback is life, it feeds my muse, please leave some.


He'd often wondered about that saying, the one about your life flashing before your eyes in the moments before you die. He'd wondered if it was true and if so, just what would he see? He'd had good times, been a good student, popular in school and college, played football, dated the cheerleader, respected by teachers and peers alike. He'd been the very model of a perfect kid.

That was until the army came calling. His dad had served, as had his dad before him and his dad before that, in fact, Eliot didn't know of one male relative that hadn't joined the army, so when he graduated, much to Aimee's dismay, he didn't even think of anything else. But the army changed him. He was too perfect and it seemed almost to be their mission to break him, in order to remould him into the soldier they needed him to be; a soldier who did things he never thought possible.

Lying now in the tiny, cold, cramped and damp cell he'd been allocated, he wondered just how he'd let himself get here?

The actual 'how' of it wasn't that big a mystery, he was so used to the backup from the team; to the insane plans going wrong then coming right at the last second; at having so much luck you'd think they had guardian angels, so when a job came along that needed his skills, no matter how dangerous, he'd taken it, with the utter belief he could pull it off. He'd been wrong and was now paying the price.

Eliot knew the actual 'how' he got into this mess, he was far more interested in the metaphorical 'how' did he let this become his life?

He lay curled on his side, getting into as small a ball as he could given the injuries, anything to try and keep warm. His eyes were swollen shut and every breath caused a thousand needles to penetrate his chest. His arms lay useless, every bone in his fingers, hands and arms were broken and his shoulders were dislocated. His legs lay at a funny angle, again every bone had been crushed, his kneecaps shattered and he wasn't quite sure one of his hip bones was still attached. But none of that really mattered; even if he'd been in one piece, there was no getting out of this cage.

So he lay on the dirty freezing stone floor and tried to hold on, trying to delay the onslaught of images he would have to face when the end came, but the more he tried to push them down, the more determined they were to pop up and say hello.

The first few years of military service went by without much incident, deployments to Iraq and Sierra Leone, mostly just peacekeeping or evacuation of US citizens. Cambodia was the first one that really stayed with him, and with his own end so near, he could once again see the eyes of the man that had haunted him for so long, the first man he'd ever killed.

It had been an order and one he'd never questioned. The man was a rebel leader killing innocent people, inciting fear and panic in the streets and showing himself as the sole saviour of his people, all that just to hide the drugs he was growing and importing to America. The order was simple, take him out, but make it look like one of his own men did it. Eliot worked with a team of three, they spent months getting inside the rebel group, planning and plotting the best way forward before Eliot managed to take the shot. The leader, although wary at first, had grown to trust Eliot during the short time he was there and the betrayal in his eyes almost made Eliot hesitate; but he was well trained and took the shot without blinking.

Fast forward a few years and the world is a different place. Global terrorism is no longer an idle thought for most people, but an active part of their everyday lives.

His strike force was sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, undertaking missions that no-one could know about, the type of missions where if they got caught, no-one was coming to rescue them. The faces of all the dead flowed through his mind, the military and political leaders, the scientists working on weapons the world would never know about and then the innocent people. This was the first time he'd really stopped to count the human cost of what he did for a living.

The families with no homes; the children who lost parents and friends and lived with the everyday expectation that they might not make it home from school the next day, this was when Eliot became disillusioned with the life he'd been living; the military he served and the country he loved.

As he lay in his tomb, shivering, his various pains numbing with the frostbite settling in, he tried to count the faces in his mind, who was innocent, who was guilty, he couldn't tell anymore.

Then came Moreau. He'd offered Eliot money and respect and to only hurt those who deserved it. Eliot jumped at the chance to leave moral grey behind and work for a man who was honest, an honest criminal, but at least he would stop hurting innocents; for a while.

The family came last, he could see them there, smiling and waving at him and tears squeezed out of his swollen eyes as the scene played in front of him. They'd been innocent, more so than anyone else he'd hurt, but he'd had no choice and had done his job for Moreau just one last time and vowed never to kill again.

At last he saw his team, smiling and silly parker, scared Hardison, concerned Sophie and frowning, worried Nate. He'd left family behind a long time ago, but he'd found it again in the form of his team and he was glad they were the last thing to enter his mind, glad the end was finally here.