Sophie hovers outside the door of Eliot's room. They've wrapped up the job, but it's late, and with the beating Eliot took earlier, they all decided to stay here for the night and head back to Boston in the morning. Hardison is exploring the area with Parker, and Nate is brooding back in his room, so she's not worried about interruptions.
She knocks and walks inside before Eliot can answer. "Hey."
His back stiffens then relaxes, and she can't help watching the pull of the muscles under his shirt. "Couldn't wait for me to let you in?"
"I knew I would end up in here no matter what you said," she replies with a shrug.
He lifts his right hand and examines it, flexing his fingers and wincing when the skin pulls at the edges of the cuts along his knuckles. She steps forward and places her hand on his arm.
"Here, let me." She runs her fingers down his arm until they encircle his palm, and she tugs him toward a chair, pushing him gently down into it.
"Do you even know what to do?" he asks as he watches her reach for the gauze on the table.
"I thought you could tell me," she replies.
"Then you need to clean the cuts first." He points to a small bowl of water, a bar of soap, and a cloth. "I also have some antiseptic cream to use after that."
She dips the cloth into the water and lathers the soap against the cloth. She dabs it against the open wounds on his hand, a little surprised when she doesn't feel the slightest bit of tension in his body.
"Does it get easier to deal with the wounds when it happens a lot?"
He looks up at her and grins. "Doesn't hurt any less, but, yeah."
She nods her head and puts the cloth aside to grab the tube of cream; she squeezes out a small amount on her forefinger and spreads it gently across the torn skin, wincing for him as she imagines the pain. When she finishes spreading a thin layer over the cuts, she wraps gauze around his knuckles and tapes it down.
"Thanks." He watches her as she starts to move to his other hand. "Why are you helping me?"
She doesn't meet his gaze as she presses the cool cloth against his left hand. "It feels like the least I can do after what you went through. This job asked a lot of you."
"I volunteered for it, Soph."
"That doesn't make it any more right," she says quietly as she turns to grab the cream again.
He reaches up and glides his fingers over hers, stilling her motion. "Hey, I did what needed to be done, and I would do it all over again. It ain't your fault the con fell through."
"It felt real," she murmurs as she blinks rapidly. "When you were lying on your back in that ring with him beating you, I realized…"
When she trails off, he tugs a little on her arm and presses, "What?"
She looks down at him, trying to keep her face from crumpling. "That this job can kill you one day. That you might have never walked out there tonight. And, I would care."
"Oh." He sighs.
She shakes her head and gives him a quick smile as she opens the cream and spreads it along his knuckles, her fingers gentle; he keeps his focus on her face as she wraps his hand in gauze, taking in the dark intensity of her eyes, the flicker of emotions on her face as she finishes.
"I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon," he says slowly as she takes a step back from him. He smiles grimly at her. "My line of work is dangerous, but we all take risks."
"It's different," she protests.
He just takes her hand in his. "I'm going to keep doing my job, taking those risks, because if something happened to you, I would care."
Her eyes widen a little, and he smiles at her; she curls her fingers around his palm and leans in, pressing her lips in a light kiss to his forehead. Her mouth curves into a smile as she slips from his grasp.
"Goodnight, Eliot," she says, her voice soft.
"G'night, Sophie," he replies as he relaxes back into his chair.
She passes the back of her hand along his right cheek and leaves the room; when the door closes behind her, she pauses then continues on to the room she is sharing with Parker.