A/N: Wow, thank you all for so many review, favorites and follows on this fic! And floralisette: Thank you so much for being my beta! I know I'm a neurotic writer. Floralisette, Grey Fool, harrypotterfanforever247, Phoenix Song Burning, Skyrunner70, and willowswelt thank you so much for reading, reviewing, favoriting, and following! It really means a lot to me that you spend that couple of minutes doing it! ardnaseel, thanks for catching my error!
Chapter 7: Old Chicago
Eliot strode into the team's common area above the brewpub shaking his head like a wet dog. It had been drizzling and grey for the last couple days, and being cooped up with Parker and Hardison was in many ways like being trapped with a pair of hyperactive children in an elevator! So he'd gone for a run, and gotten some groceries on the way home.
A couple of nice bunches of broccolini which he was planning on broiling with a little olive oil, some minced garlic, sea salt and lots of coarse ground pepper. Some thick cut pork chops that he was planning on stuffing with an apple-cranberry stuffing. The base for the stuffing was going to be the cornbread he'd made last night. And some whipped sweet potatoes; plus, a maple apple cider glaze which would go well with both the pork chops and the potatoes.
There were also the baby turnips he just couldn't resist. The guy down at the food co-op said that a farmer who had just started selling produce through the co-op had brought them in. They looked wonderful! And it was the time of year for food like this. Glancing at the calendar on the wall in the kitchen area the hitter noted that he'd need to start planning Thanksgiving soon. It had become kind of a tradition for the Leverage team: All the strays they knew and a table groaning with food followed by football, cocktails, lively discussion, and usually over sugared children running around. Well, the last couple years it had been Elambert's grandchildren running around. Elambert was his massage therapist in New Hampshire; and there was pretty much no way she'd be able to come out to Portland for Thanksgiving. And her grandchildren were really good kids, until Hardison and Parker got them all hyped up on gummy frogs, orange soda and then riled them up six-ways-to-Sunday. Then they were maniacs! Sweet maniacs; but, maniacs the same.
"Movie! Movie! Movie!" Parker was hanging from the ceiling, yelling at the top of her lungs.
"Parker!" Eliot yelled as he tried to be overheard above the cacophony of her yelling which was competing with the sound of Hardison's computer game crap which was blaring over the surround sound system. "Hardison! Turn that shit down."
"Movie night?" Parker asked in a normal voice with her head cocked as Hardison turned down the electronic music.
"Oooh…" Hardison eagerly echoed Parker's question. "Movie night sounds awesome!" He ducked behind his monitors and started searching through his library for a title which would amuse the entire team.
"Hmm…" Eliot made a non-committal sound deep in his throat. But, he quickly juggled the menu around to make it movie friendly. They could do stuffed pork chops tomorrow night. Popcorn, that was a must! And was something that the hitter always made sure was on hand. Parker could eat buckets of it, as long as it had extra butter and extra salt. Sophie was no slouch in that department either.
Nate liked nachos with lots of cheese and meat. Jalapenos on the side. Hardison really didn't care; if it was served on a pizza crust he'd eat it. Didn't matter if it was a good movie or not; pizza was king, in the hacker's mind.
Sophie loved popcorn; but if asked, she would always go for higher brow finger foods: Bruschetta, brie en croute, taramsalata on delicate crackers with a twist of fresh lemon zest– taramasalata being a Greek specialty composed of fish roe, and a few other things.
Hmmm… What could he produce quickly that everyone would like? And with the ingredients he had on hand. It was challenges like this that made Eliot love cooking: Disparate tastes, a limited pantry, and a short time frame to pull it off in! A challenge!
Crunchy, pizza, salty, … What fit all those categories? Popcorn with extra butter and salt and to round out the menu: "Mmmm… Pizza nachos."
"What?" Hardison gawked, his nose poking out above his monitors. "What are pizza nachos?"
"They're something I ate with a friend when I went through Montana."
"Montana?" Sophie asked the hitter as she came into the common area holding a copy of Pride and Prejudice. Nate noted the book title; it was probably Sophie's favorite book. This particular copy was a hardcover edition the mastermind had given the grifter when they'd started working together.
"Yeah, I stopped there on my way out here. Didn't eat this this trip; but, had em once before." Eliot grunted as he went looking in the pantry for unsalted tortilla chips. It was going to take too long to make the pasta chips that Old Chicago used.
"Broken record." Eliot growled at the young hacker. "Yes, pizza combined with nachos. Go pick a movie out."
"Movie." Hardison started flipping through titles. The Avengers, no. And not just no, but: HELL NO! He'd been playing that movie one day when Eliot and Parker had been in the mood to do not much of anything, and figured that they would like it: It had action, adventure, hot women, gorgeous men, and fight scenes. And Alec was sure that it would have been a hit with everyone; well, except maybe Sophie. She wasn't a big fan of action-adventure comic based movies. Yeh, it would have been a hit except Loki took over Hawk-Eye's body; and that made Eliot leave. Not leave as in to get more popcorn for Parker and Sophie; but, leave the building, leave. It pretty much killed the mood of movie night.
Alec remembered going 'Huh?' and pausing the movie which had made Parker grimace, she'd been enjoying watching the action. Nate had put his book down, some thick biography the hacker remembered, and thought about it for a few seconds, and then gave Hardison a look. A look which said 'You unobservant douf!' He'd started speaking "Remember the Experimental Job?"
"Remember how Eliot reacted then?"
"Yeah." Hardison mused; starting to put the pieces together.
"Well." Nate responded gently coaching Hardison; trying to give him the pieces to solve the puzzle; but, not give him the answer.
"Man has seen way too much." Alec had shaken his head as he remembered the words that Eliot had said to man interrogating him:
"What do you want to know? Names? Dates? Locations? What food was on their breath? Their eyes? You want to know what color their eyes were? Want to know the last words they spoke? Want to know which ones deserved it? Or better yet, the ones that didn't? Want to know which ones begged? Want to know why I know these things? Because I can't forget. So there's nothing you can do, no punishment you can hand out that I live with every day. So to answer your question, no, I never counted. I don't need to."
Yeah, the man had seen too much. He'd seen it first as a SEAL in the Navy; then as a retrieval specialist, and the work Eliot had hinted at during his time with Moreau. Well, that just made Alec's stomach churn. The hitter had seen good men turned bad, he'd seen minds warped and changed. No, watching a movie where mind-control was the central theme was probably not a good idea.
Hmmm…. Something light, fluffy, that they'd all like. "How about The Italian Job?"
"Original or remake?" Sophie asked; she really did like Michael Caine. Although, that kid from Boston who played the same role was really good too. He didn't quite have the charisma that Michael Caine did; but, then who did?
"Ooh… The cars movie!" Parker clapped her hands. "I like the gold bars, they're pretty. Although, I would have kept them."
"Good movie." Eliot grunted from the kitchen. "Both of them."
Alec cued up the movie, the new version, not the 1969 original, as he smelled melting cheese coming from the kitchen; and grinned to himself. Yeah, he'd made a good choice! In his mind he was doing his touchdown dance!
E/N: Yes, you've made it to the end of another fabulous fic I've written. So now go read more of them. Oh, and yes Old Chicago is a real restaurant in Billings. I'm pretty sure it's a chain; but, still, their pizza nachos are really quite tasty. I love the pepperoncini they put on them!
And yes, I know that a lot of people think that Eliot was in the Army. But, in the episode about San Lorenzo he is called Commander. Commander is a naval term, specifically the term for an officer in the United States Navy. So, given the skills and such which he has I think that he is a former Navy SEAL.