Title: The Nightmare Job
Trapper Creek Kaniac
Fandom: Leverage
Category: Family
Pairing: Eliot, team
Rating: T
Warning(s): Character death, some language and references of non explicit torture.

Summary: Eliot loses the team and comes to realize just how much they mean to him.

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and places belong to the show's awesome creators John Rogers and Chris Downey, I am only having some fun with them. I do not own Leverage and am not affiliated with the show other than being an obsessed, ahem, devoted fan. That concludes our regularly scheduled disclaimer, so make yourself comfortable and join the fun!

Author's Note: Originally intended for the Leverageland Heist "character death" prompt before I realized that the maximum word count was five hundred words, which I had already exceeded several times over. There is a happy ending, I promise...

When they'd drug him, kicking and fighting every step of the way, in here, Eliot had been alert enough to take in his surroundings. He was currently in a concrete room approximately twenty by twenty-five feet, with no windows and walls so thick that all sound from the outside world was drowned out. The only sound that could be heard now was the sound of his own labored breathing.

His arms and shoulders ached from the inability to move from the stress position he was currently in. His ribs were severely bruised, if not cracked and broken in some places. His back hurt, his legs were cramping, and his knees were sore from kneeling on concrete for hours on end. To make matters worse, a blindfold deprived him of his sight and he was dying of thirst.

Eliot had been trussed up before, but this was different. A rough hewn five-foot long, six inch pole sat across his shoulders serving as a primitive and very crude yoke, to which his wrists were tightly bound around the top of the pole. Two rings were attached to the middle of the pole, one on top and one on the underside. Attached to each ring was a chain. The chain hooked to the floor was just long enough that Eliot could almost stand up straight. The chain that hung from the ceiling prevented him from lying down, so he was forced to kneel, squat, or stand bent over. It was excruciating.

The tiniest of whimpers escaped the long-haired hitter as he painfully shifted his weight to his left knee. Thankfully they'd left him with his clothes - though his shirt was ripped in several places - because it was fucking cold in the cell. On the second day, his captors had brought him a bowl of weak gruel and a cup of water. By his count, that had been almost four days ago.

The skin on his left cheek prickled with an itch that was begging to be scratched. Eliot tried to will the feeling away by focusing on something else and flexing his fingers to stimulate some circulation back into his half-numb hands. Finally, the itch subsided.

Eliot wasn't sure how much more time had passed when his ears picked up the sound the concrete cell's door scraping open. There were no other sounds but his nose picked up the familiar warm scent of vanilla and honey. Sophie. He drew in a painful deep breath to bring the scent closer, but it had somehow vanished.

Wait a minute, Sophie? What was she doing here? Eliot's brain worked sluggishly to make sense of it. Perhaps Sophie and the rest of the team had arranged a rescue and come to get him out of this hellhole.

There was the smell again. He drew it in and clung to it like a lifeline.

Something wasn't right; why wasn't there more noise? His other senses should have been working in overdrive to make up for his loss of sight, every little disturbance magnified, despite the fact that dehydration was taking its toll.

Then it hit him. Eliot realized he must be hallucinating from the lack of water.

Suddenly the cell was bombarded with the sound of, angry, upset voices and footsteps; he flinched slightly. There were at least nine sets of feet, by his count. Five guards, Parker's feather-light steps, Hardison dragging his feet, Sophie's heels, and Nate walking heavily. He heard Parker and Sophie gasp, no doubt horrified by what they saw. He hated that they had to see him like this, filthy and chained like a rabid mutt, his hair matted. He wanted to crawl into a dark corner and hide. For the first time since his captors had put his own bandana over his eyes, Eliot was glad for the blindfold. It saved him from having to try and look the rest of the team in the eye.

The leader among the guards spoke in a mixture of Russian and another language that Eliot did not recognize, but somehow understood.

"Line them up against the wall. Make them kneel!"

There was shuffling then a string of curses when, Eliot guessed it was Parker, bit the guard restraining her. The guard slapped her then roughly shoved her into a kneeling position. The rest of the team was wisely silent but Hardison was muttering and carrying on, and Eliot desperately wanted to tell him to shut up before he did something stupid.

The leader gestured at Eliot who was on one knee, with his shoulders slumped and head down. "Take off the blindfold."

A set of footsteps approached before a hand roughly yanked the bandana off, taking a few hairs with it. Blinded by the bright light from several bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, Eliot blinked several times. His normally bright blue eyes were dull from pain and fatigue. As carefully as possible he looked at the team. Thankfully none of them were injured, though they were visibly shaken.

Another nod from the leader and Eliot found a sharp blade pressed against his throat while the guard grabbed his hair and forced his headpainfully soback.

Smirking, the leader addressed Eliot. "Did you think we would never find you? That you could outrun your past forever?"

Nate, seizing the possible opportunity to get them out of this whole mess, raised his hands and slowly stood up. He could talk them out of this.

"Let this be a lesson to you." The leader whispered harshly in Eliot's ear. "Shoot him!"

The deafening report of the shot echoed around the walls, and a patch of red bloomed on Nate's shirt over his heart.

"NO! Nate!" Sophie screamed and tried to throw herself over him as he slipped to the floor, but was promptly restrained. Hardison looked like he was about to pass out and Parker buried her face in her hands.

"You bastard!" Tears streamed down Sophie's face, and for a split second Eliot didn't know whether she was referring to their captors or him for getting them into this mess.

He swallowed. Or tried to. He couldn't show emotion, emotions could be extremely dangerous in these situation, something Eliot had learned the hard way.

The leader turned back to Eliot. "You see, Spencer, this is what happens with you беспорядокwith us. Now we will attack you where it hurts the most." With that, he tipped his head slightly to four guards, and Eliot watched in horror as they raised their guns in one quick motion and fired.

The knife at his throat dropped to the floor.

The Russians disappeared and left him there, untouched.

Alone. With his team.

These people were his family, and nobody, nobody laid a hand on his family and lived to tell about it. It was his job to protect them and he would gladly take a bullet for any of them. He had failed and the ones he loved paid the price. It felt like someone had plunged an ice-cold knife into his heart and was twisting it, until his heart finally shattered into a million little pieces that could never be picked up and put back together.

Eliot sat bolt upright in bed, covered in a cold sweat. His heart ached and he thought he could feel a single tear slipping down his cheek.

He threw back the covers that had become a tangled mess in his tossing and turning, and stumbled into the bathroom. He turned on the tap and splashed cold water on his face several times before finally shutting the water off. Eliot raised his eyes and stared hard at his reflection in the mirror over the sink for several long seconds before shaking his head and making his way back to the bedroom.

Eliot glanced at the clock on the stand next to his bed. 5:33. Just in time for his morning run.

It was just a dream, Eliot tried to reassure himself as he pulled on a pair of sweat pants, a hooded sweat shirt, and running shoes. He occasionally had nightmares about things he'd done in the past, but never dreams like this, so vivid, and about the team. To be brutally honest, it scared the fucking hell out him.

The disturbing dream was still on Eliot's mind when he returned from his four and half mile run. He'd smiled flirtatiously at a hot blond he'd passed, but his heart hadn't been in it. Once back at his apartment, Eliot stripped off his clothes and jumped into the shower, letting the warm water from the shower head massage and relax his muscles.

Almost an hour later Eliot was dressed and standing barefoot in his kitchen, hovering over the eggs frying in the frying pan. He stared down at eggs, not really seeing them as they popped and cracked in the grease, the team still on his mind.

Hardison. He could be a real pain in the ass sometimes but he always came through in a jam. Eliot considered him a brother.

Sophie. Like he'd said at the funeral when she had faked her death to con Starke, she was like a sister and a best friend all rolled into one.

Parker. That woman was seriously twenty pounds of crazy in a five pound bag. She often reminded him of an annoying little sister but he would never, ever, let any harm come to her.


Eliot was startled out of his reverie by his phone buzzing.

Speak of the devil, he thought as he saw from the display that it was Nate. They had another job.

In the coming days Eliot made an effort to be a little nicer to Hardison and not razz him every time the chance arose. He didn't snap at Parker as often. And when the his role in the con called for him to hug Sophie, he hugged her a little harder and longer than necessary. With Nate all he need to give was quiet understanding.

Eliot generally kept people at arm's length, afraid that if he let them in they would see the monster he truly was, or that if he let himself become attached, they would end up hurt because of his occupation. Or, worse yet, he would end up with a broken heart. Again. Eliot told himself that if he never let anyone he loved get close to him they would never get hurt by him.

But the more he pushed these people away, the more they got under his skin and wormed their way into his heart until he was forced to, however reluctantly, love them and let himself be loved. Every single one of them was a broken individual but together they made a family, his family.

And he would gladly give his life to protect them.

Eliot smiled as he took a swig of his beer and called the rest of the team into Nate's kitchen to plate up the hearty evening meal he had just cooked for them.

They were his.

Author's Note: Hope you enjoyed! Feed my review addiction?