My Death of A Thousand Cuts ~ Chapter 2

Lindsey-Eliot

Title: Healing The Wounds
Fandom: Supernatural, Leverage, Angel: The Series
Genre: M/M; F/M; Threesome
Pairings: Eliot Spencer/Lindsey McDonald, Parker/Alec Hardison Nathan Ford/Sophie Devereaux
Word Count: 7,183
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Tired of living without Eliot; Lindsey moves to Boston. Boy is the crew in for a
Warning: Implied past dubious consent.

Knowledge is power and information her coin. That was the first lesson Lindsey McDonald had learned when he went to work for Wolfram and Hart.

The way he’d grown up—poor in the Oklahoma oilfields, siblings dying because of that poverty, Lindsey thought he had the inside track on the degradation one human could reap on another, but his time with Wolfram and Hart gave him a whole new appreciation.

The games Nathan Ford played with his crew were kindergarten compared the machinations Lindsey had set-up and been a part of while with Evil, Inc. The exception was Eliot, who had been places, done things, and had connections that twisted the lawyer’s insides.

The man that wore an older version of his face had friends and enemies in both the mundane and supernatural worlds. How he survived it all was a tribute to his intelligence, ability to adapt, and having friends the likes of The Brothers Winchester and Bobby Singer.

Lindsey had met Dean and Sam Winchester and Eliot Spencer while trying to find a way to break his contract with the Senior Partners. He’d heard rumors of Dean Winchester coming back from hell, and wanted to find out how the man did it. He’d traced him to Singer’s Salvage in South Dakota when a man with long hair, wearing a copy of his face slammed him against a brick wall while a really tall guy stood as back-up.

Guys,” A raspy voice came from behind the Yeti. “let up. Let’s ask him questions first this time?”

The tall one’s head whipped around. “You wanna talk first?”

Lindsey couldn’t see who was talking.

“I know ‘im.” His mirror image kept him pinned to the wall. “Lindsey McDonald.” He growled in Lindsey’s face.

“How do you know?”

“Remember when you found me?”

Lindsey heard a grunt of affirmation.

“The demon that had me thought I was this cat and almost talked me to death about how the Senior Partners would elevate him for catching Lindsey McDonald.”

Lindsey shuddered.

“Good thing we found you first.” The man speaking stepped from behind the tall man.

He laid a hand on the long haired man’s back. “He can’t talk if he can’t breathe, El.”

The pressure on his throat let up.

“This ain’t the place for this conversation anyway.”

Strong fingers wrapped around Lindsey’s nape and pulled him out of the alley and shoved him into the backseat of a classic Impala.

“My truck.” Were the first words Lindsey spoke.

“Give Sam your keys.” The green eyed man in the leather coat nodded toward the tall man.

Lindsey hesitated.

“Ya wanna talk to me…we do it on my terms on my turf. Otherwise climb in your truck and forget my name.”

They’d gone to Bobby Singer’s where Lindsey was subjected to tests that were painful, but not enough for the hunters to try and exorcise or kill him. He’d been surprised to see a library that rivaled Wolfram and Hart’s.

After two days of research, Dean had gone quiet as he left the room carrying a book Bobby didn’t remember owning.

The elder Winchester had been MIA for several hours when Eliot’s head snapped up from the book he was reading. He raced out the door to find Castiel holding an unconscious Dean, the book and a jar that look suspiciously like blood sitting at his feet.

“Cas?” Sam rushed toward his brother, but the angel curled over Dean protectively.

“You …” He looked pointedly at Sam and Lindsey, “Must not touch him right now.” Castiel’s anger added an inhuman glow to his eyes.

“What’d he do?” Eliot asked, picking up the jar and the old tome.

“Something he should not have been able to achieve on his own.”

Bobby’s chuckle surprised them all.

“I fail to see anything humorous.” The angel scolded as he carried Dean to the couch.

“That’s ‘cause you don’t know Dean. Boy’s been doin’ what he shouldn’t be able to since he was four.” Bobby headed for the kitchen. “’Bout time to think about grub, don’t ya think.”

Eliot’s eyes widened. “Bobby Singer, step away from the kitchen before I do something you’ll regret.”

“I ain’t cookin’, ya idjit. Just gittin’ a beer.” He smirked.

When Dean regained consciousness, he’d snatched the jar, the book and Lindsey and locked Bobby’s panic room door against everyone. All eyes turned to Castiel, who shrugged and told them he couldn’t follow where Dean was going.

When they stepped from the room 24 hours later … Exhausted beyond limits … Lindsey held his voided contract from the Senior Partners in his hand, which he’d promptly burnt using holy oil Castiel provided.

Lindsey shook himself free of the memory has he carefully wrapped the photo of the men he considered family and placed it into the box he was packing.

Sam was gone … Another apocalypse averted. Dean had gone to ground … Bobby wasn’t saying where, but like a bad penny, Lindsey was sure one or both brothers would show up on his and Eliot’s doorstep some day.

Lindsey cursed the Senior Partners for the misery they spread as he closed the container with a snap and looked around the room for forgotten items. Successful as he was, his own time in hell kept his possessions few and whatever ‘things’ were precious to him remained light, portable and always ready to move.

As he turned the key in the ignition of his own American classic, a wave of sadness crossed his face as he remembered scavenging through Bobby’s junkyard as they all pitched in to restore the old truck to her former glory. Shaking away the memories, he smiled thinking Boston was never going to be the same.

Hearing a commotion in the hallway of his floor above McRory’s, Eliot froze. He dimmed all the lights except the one over the door. Getting into position he waited as the tumblers in the lock clicked over.

Quick as a viper, he had the intruder in a sleeper hold before he was through the door. He quickly let go when a scent as familiar his own invaded his nose where it was buried in soft, brown curls.

“Lindsey?” He let go and stepped back.

The lawyer stood rubbing his neck.

“Nothing says love like a sleeper hold.” He snarked.

“How the hell was I supposed to know? Hardison tells me they have this great invention called a phone. Why didn’t you call?”

“Wanted to surprise you?” Lindsey actually looked sheepish

“Never a good idea, Darlin’. Now come here.”

He grabbed the younger man and pulled him into a breath stealing kiss that left Lindsey weak kneed and panting. When they came up for air, Eliot eyed the suitcase sitting in the hall.

“Lindsey …?”

“I’m tired of sleeping alone … Being alone.”

“But …”

“No. Eliot. Just. No.” He raised his head, chin stubborn. “I refuse to waste Sam and Dean’s sacrifice hiding in another city because you’re afraid your past will rear its ugly head. We’ve both seen ugly and your enemies aren’t it.” Hands on hips he was nose to nose with the retrieval specialist. “In case you’ve forgotten I have a few skills of my own. I … AM … STAYING. Now where’s the bedroom. The rest of my stuff’s down in the truck.”

Eliot surrendered.

~}}}~~~>

Senses snapped from sleep to alert in a heartbeat. Someone was in his bedroom. He didn’t move … His breathing didn’t change … His eyes didn’t open, as the rest of his senses reconnoitered the room. He mentally rolled his eyes as he recognized the scent.

“Parker, what are you doing?” Pale eyes met dark as the thief knelt next to the bed.

“Couldn’t sleep.” She whispered then nodded her head toward the still sleeping Lindsey. “Why are you sleeping with yourself? Is this one of those computer things that Hardison is always trying to do? Can I get one of me to sleep with, too … And since I’m here can you …”

“Parker!” Eliot hissed. “He’s not me or a copy of me.”

“He smells like you.”

“Of course he smells like me. He’s mine.” Eliot growled.

“I’m yours …” she sniffed her arm, “I smell like me.” Her eyes were confused.

“Sex, Parker. He smells like me because we had sex.” Good gods, why was he having this conversation with a crazy woman at three in the morning?

“If we have sex will I smell like you?”

“We’re NOT having sex, Parker. You’d hurt Hardison’s feelings.” Eliot gritted his teeth trying not to wake Lindsey.

“Why? He knows I sleep with you.”

Eliot’s eyes widened at the snicker coming from the other side of the bed as Lindsey rolled toward the commotion.

“Not helping, Linds.”

Eliot lifted the covers and Parker dove between the two men and snuggled into the spot Eliot vacated when he realized someone was in the room.

“Parker … Lindsey McDonald … Lindsey … Parker.”

“He’s the one that makes you almost smile when you leave and come back?” Parker tucked her head under Eliot’s chin.

“Yeah, Parker.”

“That mean you’re gonna quit bein’ growly all the time?” She yawned widely.

“Not happenin’, Parker.”

“Good.”

Her body relaxed into sleep.

“I really need my phone.” Lindsey grinned across Parker

“No you really don’t.” Eliot glared.

“She do this often?”

“Usually she falls asleep on the couch with a book after making it around my security system. She only does this on really bad nights.”

Lindsey rolled against Parker’s back and reached across the blonde to twine his fingers with Eliot’s.

“She always so out there?”

“Let’s just say she survived her own version of Hell.” Warm lips caressed knuckles. “Sleep. She’ll be bouncin’ the bed in a couple hours wantin’ food.”

Lindsey closed his eyes mentally marking Parker off his list. The girl was ‘tetched’ as his Grams would say, but not someone who would deliberately hurt Eliot. After all, she seemed to think she belonged to Eliot … Though the lawyer wasn’t sure what that meant to someone whose mind worked like Parker’s.

The next time he opened his eyes, the bed was empty and the apartment filled with the smells of one of Eliot’s breakfasts. A quick shower and he left the bedroom to find a tall drink of water leaning against the counter reaching for something on Eliot’s cutting board that earned him a rap on the knuckles.

“Hardison.” Eliot growled.

Ah, the hacker. A tendency to be self-centered and lost in the world of electronics … Thinking because he ruled the bytes in the world of the machine, he knew how to apply those same techniques in the outside world.

Eliot watched Lindsey as he watched Parker and Hardison. He knew his boy had already dismissed Parker, but was looking at Hardison with an expression that boded ill for someone.

Feeling the glare, Hardison turned, his jaw dropping when he saw Lindsey. Bewildered eyes turn back to Eliot as Parker snickered.

“I slept with two Eliots last night.” She crowed.

Before Alec could respond, Eliot pointed his knife at him.

“Be literal, Hardison.”

“Oh … Then …” He looked back and forth between the two men.

Eliot sighed at Lindsey’s smirk. “Alec Hardison … Lindsey McDonald.”

Alec’s eyes got wide. “But … The stories … They said …” He turned wide eyes on Eliot. “YOU know ‘bout those kinda things?”

“I know a lot of things, Hardison” Eliot stated flatly, setting plates in front of the other three before leaving.

The hacker looked at the other two. “What? I didn’t say nothin’.” He whined.

“You made Eliot skip breakfast. I might have to think about how much I really like those pretzels.” Parker pouted as she took her plate and perched on the arm of the couch.

Lindsey wasn’t about to let one of Eliot’s omelets go to waste so he ate while studying the young black man. Anyone who knew Lindsey would have been backing away at the expression on his face, but Hardison continued to frown towards Parker.

Feeling like a butterfly on a pin, Alec finally looked back at the lawyer. His chin was resting on his hand, his expression deceptively bland.

“So tell me, Alec Hardison, do you always build yourself up by tearing others down.” He savored a bite of his omelet. “You’re not ever going be leader of the pack so you ought to just get used to the view.”

“You don’t know me, man. Why you gotta go and say all that?” Hardison bristled.

Lindsey smiled his shark’s smile. “I’ve known hundreds like you. In that world …” he nodded toward the computer, “You’re king.” Pale angry eyes turned back to the hacker. “Out here you’re just a geek with minimal skills that you learned because the lead wolf hauled you off your tight little ass.”

Parker placed her empty plate in the sink and moved to Lindsey while Alec sputtered his indignation.

“Eliot ain’t the lead wolf. He follows Nate just like the rest of us.”

Lindsey’s smile turned nasty as he watched the trap snap shut.

“Who do you look to when Nate goes off the farm and you’re up to your ass in alligators?”

Hardison’s gaze dropped to the floor. A saucy grin on her face, Parker smacked Alec on the ass.

“Don’t pout. I don’t mind following Eliot … He’s got a great ass.” She flipped her ponytail as she sashayed out the door.

Hardison stared slack-jawed after her.

“I suggest you don’t let that one get away. She’ll keep you humble.” Lindsey snickered as Hardison grabbed his computer to follow the blonde.

An hour later, a sweaty, more relaxed Eliot returned. Lindsey shooed him to the shower while he fixed him breakfast.

Two floors down, Hardison bent over the keyboard. When Parker realized he was researching Lindsey she’d made a tsking sound, and with an ominous, “Better not let Eliot find out you’re doing that …” skipped toward the door.

“Doesn’t matter … My little crawlers didn’t turn up anything. It’s like he disappeared after all that went down.” Alec muttered.

“Who disappeared?” Nate asked as he came down the steps.

“Nobody.” Hardison hedged.

“Eliot’s boyfriend.” Parker spun around.

“Eliot has a boyfriend who’s nobody?”

“According to my computer.”

“But I slept with them.”

“He’s supposed to be dead.”

“He felt really alive last night.”

“Parker!” Both men yelled.

“What!? It was like twins.” She smirked as she slid out the door. Wouldn’t do for Hardison to get too sure of himself.

She liked Lindsey. It was time to see if he anything good to steal. If he was going to be in the family, she needed to steal something for her collection.

When Hardison looked back at Nate, the expression on his face made sweat trickle down his back. The mastermind had that look on his face that didn’t bode well for whoever it was directed toward.

“So. Eliot has a boyfriend?”

Lindsey paused in his unpacking. A sly smile crossed his face. He went back to unpacking and ignored the other presence in the room.

Parker inched further into the room. When he paused she thought he’d caught her, but then he went back to what he was doing. She was almost directly behind him when he swung around and they were nose to nose.

“Something I can do for you, Parker?” The pale eyes twinkled with ‘gotcha’.

She startled. “How’d you know?” She hated getting caught.

“Let’s just say I have certain abilities.”

“You a ninja like Eliot?”

“In a manner of speaking.” The girl didn’t need to know about Nepal and Hell.

“Cool. So I didn’t mess up?”

“No, Parker you didn’t.” The sly smile was back. “You hungry? I was about to make lunch.”

Indigo eyes lit up. “Can you cook like Eliot?”

“Nobody cooks like Eliot, but I’m no slouch.” He held out his hand. “Let’s go see what we can find.”

Lindsey began to weave his magic around Parker.

By the time the happily stuffed Parker left the apartment, Lindsey had the information and ammunition he needed. Parker had even told him about the Italian.

By the time Eliot returned Lindsey had settled his things. The older man handed him a CD before he disappeared into the shower.

When Eliot saw Lindsey sitting where’d he been when he got in the shower, the retrieval specialist began to worry.

“Linds?”

Sky colored eyes looked up … The sheen of tears making them sparkle.

“When? … How?… It’s perfect.”

The older man blushed deeply. “Had some studio time for job we did in Memphis.”

“You sang … In public?” Lindsey paled.

Eliot turned away … Hiding from eyes that saw as much as his own.

“He was stealing their souls.” He said so low Lindsey had to strain to hear.

“A demon?”

“No. Just a man that sucked the life out of everything he touched.”

“You risked exposure …”

“Linds …” Scarred and calloused hands beseeched understanding.

They didn’t perform in public anymore. The Internet spread news like wildfire and they couldn’t afford the exposure … Too many enemies on both sides of the veil.

“If one thing got out.”

“It didn’t.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Hardison got it all. The boy might babble like an idiot, but he’s the best at what he does. Wouldn’t work with ‘im otherwise.”

Lindsey relaxed, which in turned let Eliot relax. Being here like this was not something he was ever going to take for granted. Not when either of their pasts could catch up with them any minute, but he was going to have a word with a certain pretty boy hacker … Just in case.

Nathan Ford stood at the bar opposite from where Eliot’s lover sat talking to Hardison. The quick mind was amazed at the level of stillness in the hacker. Nate had never seen Hardison when he wasn’t in motion either physically or verbally. He felt Sophie brush against his side.

“Eliot cut his hair?!” Her voice was incredulous.

“That’s not Eliot.” Nate took a sip.

“Oooh. No it’s not. Younger, prettier… But still that little hint of ‘bad boy. Interesting. Think I’ll go introduce myself.” The grifter purred.

“Careful. He belongs to Eliot.”

“Brothers?”

“Lovers.”

“Even more interesting.” The brunette slinked across the room smirking at the pole-axed expression on Nate’s face.

Lindsey stopped his questioning of Hardison when he saw the hacker’s eyes widen. The smirk that followed told Lindsey it was a friend. The cloud of expensive perfume told him which friend. He stood and turned with a friendly, open expression, and an extended hand.

On reflex Sophie reached out. Her eyes widened as the young man made a courtly bow over her hand, lips barely grazing her knuckles.

“Ah, Ms. … Devereaux.” During his pause he slanted his eyes toward Nate, letting her know he knew her real name. “Enchante.”

Sophie blushed then stammered before catching herself.

“I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage, sir.”

Hardison’s expression was stunned as he took the opportunity to scuttle over to the bar and Nate.

“Lindsey McDonald at your service, Ms. Devereaux.”

“Please call me Sophie.” Was out of her mouth before she could stop it.

A brief frown flickered across her face. He was very good. She smoothed her expression and settled her mind.

“So you and Eliot …”

“He talked about me?” Lindsey brightened.

“Well, no, but now that you’re here we can get to know one another.” Sophie leaned in like he was the most fascinating man in the world. “How did you meet our Eliot?”

“Ms. Devereaux … Sophie, he was my Eliot long before he was yours, so let’s cut the bullshit.”

Sophie backed up, but Lindsey still wore a pleasantly bland expression.

“Lindsey, I assure you,” Sophie paused as the young man arched an eyebrow at her.

She leaned forward again and felt a surge of satisfaction when he moved back until she saw him lean against a familiar abdomen.

“Linds, you’re scarin’ the thieves.” Eliot growled affectionately.

Sophie’s eyes were wide and guilty when she saw the retrievalist.

“Just getting acquainted with your friends.”

Eliot snorted and sat down.

“That why Sophie looks like Parker sporked her?”

“I was just getting ready to tell her how we met.” Lindsey gave him a wink.

“I’d be interested in hearing your version of THAT meeting, myself.” Blue/grey eyes twinkled.

Sophie stared at the men like she’d stepped into an alternative universe. She glanced at her watch.

“I’d love to stay, but I have an audition. I want to hear your story another time.” She practically bolted for the door.

Nate watched Sophie go out the door like Sterling was after her. He looked back at the men talking softly. He looked down into his glass. Making a decision, he stood to join the younger men, but when he looked at the table it was empty.

As much as he hated being grateful to Wolfram and Hart for anything, they made sure all their lawyers could practice anywhere. Grateful they’d been too distracted with Angel to get his law license revoked, Lindsey was grateful when clients began calling.

Neither needed to work, but these man were not of a personality to loll about in the sun all day so Lindsey took cases that only piqued his interest and got to know Eliot’s team … Especially Nathan Ford.

Lindsey flipped the page he was reading over to the research he was doing for a new client when he heard the key in the lock. Eliot came through the door like an Oklahoma dust devil followed by a sheepish looking Parker and a confused Alec.

When the bedroom door slammed, Parker flinched. When Hardison reached out to give comfort, she twisted away and headed for Lindsey.

“Don’t be mad.”

Lindsey looked at the bedroom door, then Alec who shrugged then back at Parker.

“’Bout what, hun?” The lawyer’s voice was soft and low like when he coaxed Eliot out of a nightmare.

“I hit Eliot with a crowbar … In the head.” She peeked at him through her bangs.

Fighting the urge to bolt for the bedroom and the fact that Eliot was walking and growling was the only thing that kept his attention on Parker.

“Why did you hit Eliot?”

Lindsey must have succeeded in keeping calm on the outside as Parker began to ramble about ninjas and Eliot and how she can’t sneak up on him unless it’s before he sings ‘cause he gets nervous and can’t use the Force and she didn’t know he couldn’t feel the crowbar like he can people ….

“PARKER!”

Parker and Hardison both jumped as Eliot’s voice cut through her chatter.

“Eliot?” Lindsey kept his voice low in deference to the headache the hitter had to be sporting.

“In a minute.” The still damp head turned back toward Parker.

Hardison was headed toward the door.

“Eliot’s home and fine and you don’t need me … I’ll just …” he motioned as he walked.

“Hardison?!” Parker looked confused.

“Come on, little mama. I’m sure Eliot has a really … Really bad headache and we’ll let him rest and Lindsey will …” He tugged the reticent thief along behind him.

But Parker being Parker dug in her heels and refused to budge.

“You go. I’m gonna stay and make sure everything okay.” She pulled her hand from Hardison’s.

This was one of her safe houses. She wasn’t leaving until she was sure they would let her come back. Parker knew that if Eliot really wanted to keep her out he’d put a security system in place that would probably take both her and Hardison to crack.

Some of the best advice she’d ever received about figuring people out came from Eliot one night when she curled against his back, her forehead pressed between his shoulder blades as she lamented ever fitting in with ‘normal’ people.

“You don’t need to fit in, Parker. You just need to steal ya some normal then wear it like a shirt. When you’re done with it ya take it off and be yourself.”

“How do you steal normal?” Parker’s voice was quiet. She was afraid if she moved Eliot would stop talking.

“How do you break into a bank? People are the just same. You figure out the security system that protects their body, heart and mind, then you figure out how to crack it.”

Parker was ecstatic. Eliot told her a secret. Unable to contain the joy bubbling up she didn’t catch herself.

“Is that how you get to have sex with everyone?”

“Go to sleep, Parker.” He growled wishing Lindsey was there to have these conversations with Parker instead of him.

Without a word Eliot retreated to the kitchen unable to deal with the chaos that clung to the youngest members of the team.

Reading Parker’s distress, Lindsey gave her a wink that had her relaxing her pull on Hardison so quick he nearly fell on his face.

“Come on I’ll let you buy me supper.” She chirped. “Something dead and half cooked.” Alec regained his footing.

“Hold on, Parker! I’m drivin’.” The hacker yelled down the hall as the apartment door closed and Lindsey threw the locks.

He found Eliot at the table, head buried in his arms, ice pack resting on the crown of his head.

“She didn’t mean it.” He said softly as he removed the ice pack and gently separated the damp strands.

“I know, but then she gives me sass with her apology and I don’t know if I should paddle her or shake her ‘til her teeth rattle.”

“She’s not five, El.”

“Maybe not physically.” He snorted.

“Concussion?”

“Yeah. Little bit. Not so anyone would notice.”

“You mean Nate?”

“Think I’m gonna lay down a while.” Eliot avoided the question and Lindsey didn’t have the heart to push.

The team was adjusting to having Lindsey in their space, and he made an effort to stay below Nate’s radar. He didn’t want to tip their hand that they were collecting information about Moreau and the Italian. Neither man was surprised to find the beautiful woman worked for a star chamber organization that was somewhere between Heaven and Hell, though they both employed the same means to the ends.

The more they found out about Moreau the darker Eliot’s mood. His mood was often reflected in their sex life. When the information made the retrieval specialist angry, Lindsey often sported bruises, overstretched muscles and twinges that caused Parker to attempt to mother hen the lawyer. She would dig out her stash of fortune cookies and Lucky Charms for him to share.

When something he read scared him, Eliot would be so tender, Lindsey felt like the most loved person in the world. It would take several days before he let Lindsey out of sight.

Every job that even remotely smelled of Moreau, Eliot was putting together additional exit strategies to get the team out at any time.

Meanwhile Lindsey was putting his own plans together. He’d even talked to Bobby, picking the hunter’s brain and resources. When he’d asked about Dean, the older man got quiet and said normal wasn’t really working out, but since he’d promised Sam, he was still trying.

“He’ll be back huntin’ before the year’s out, mark my words. You idjits takin’ care yerselves?” Bobby changed the subject and Lindsey let him.

“Yeah, old man, but you know Eliot?”

“You boys need a bolt hole, you come visit.”

“You got it. Let us know if you or Dean need anything.”

“Same here, boy.” Bobby cut the call before they got to wallowing.

Lindsey had started to relax thinking maybe Nate had gotten himself under control. The team had been six weeks without a job, and Eliot nagging injuries had finally healed.

When Eliot announced they were going to southern West Virginia on a job, Lindsey had been disappointed he couldn’t go because of a court date. He almost slipped Eliot’s grasp to hunt down Nate when Eliot told him part of the plan involved him being down in the mine.

“Linds, It’ll be fine. No chains, guards or torturer demons involved.” He cradled the younger man to his chest.

Though faint, Lindsey still bore the scars of his torture while in one of the Senior Partners holding dimensions, but it was his inner scars that made him fear for Eliot going into the mine.

In a reversal of roles, Lindsey became the aggressor attempting to bury himself so deep inside of the Eliot the hitter would feel his presence until he returned.

Lindsey had been working on a summation for a case when Eliot kissed him on the temple and said he was going downstairs for a beer. Deep inside his own head, Lindsey had given him a vague answer before immersing himself in his closing statement.

When he’d emerged hours later, satisfied, Eliot still hadn’t returned. He’d slipped downstairs only to find the bar closed and the room dark. Disappointed he’d returned to their apartment and went to bed. Like most tom cats, Eliot would be home when he was ready, and not just because Lindsey hated sleeping alone.

A shadow stood watching as the man in the bed slept on unaware. His eyes darted back and forth in REM sleep as his body moved restlessly … Seeking someone that wasn’t there.

The tiniest hint of a smirk tugged at the watcher lips as he began to undress, the adrenaline rush of his earlier activities beginning to wane. The dagger of Agu’abi was still in the Boston Museum … It just wasn’t exactly where it had started out. They’d had fun playing with the security guards and system with Parker only bitching a little when they hadn’t taken any ‘souvenirs’.

Silently, Eliot undressed sliding into his customary spot. The restless movements stopped as the sleeping man recognized his presence. Eliot began his silent, sensual assault on the sleeping Lindsey until bright blue eyes snapped open.

Lindsey opened his mouth to speak, but a calloused hand covered the full lips to repress any sound. With a shake of his head Eliot indicated he was to be quiet. Lindsey nodded his understanding. In the deep black of the night the only sounds were the rasp of beard and calluses on flesh, the creak of abused bed springs, strangled sounds of pleasure until there was only harsh breathing, the rustle of bed clothes then silence.

Eliot and Hardison were in McRory’s having a beer … Hardison even managing to win a game or two of darts when Eliot would get distracted.

“What is it with you tonight, E? You’re like Parker after a box of Lucky Charms.” Alec teased.

“Can’t ya feel it? Something ain’t right.” Blue/grey eyes swept the bar again.

Alec was about to order another round when Parker burst from the back room.

“You gotta come!” She tugged on Eliot’s hand.

“Parker?! What!?” But Eliot had already started to move with her.

“Lindsey.” She started.

“What about Lindsey?”

“He was reading some files, and we were talkin’ and he just stopped.”

“Stopped what, Parker?” Hardison asked.

“Everything. Talking, moving … Oh and his face got real white.”

The trio burst into the apartment.

“Linds?” Eliot approached Lindsey desk slowly, not wanting to spook him.

The hitter took in the wide eyes, shallow breathing and pallid skin. *What the hell?*

“LINDSEY!” He added the snap of command to his voice, causing even Parker and Hardison to jump.

He reached out to touch his arm only to find the skin clammy. When Lindsey spoke his voice was hollow.

“If Damien Moreau catches you, you better be dead or close to it.” He continued to stare at the picture in his hand.

“You know Moreau?” Alec came forward, curiosity egging him on. “There wasn’t anything in the files about you.”

“That’s because I don’t know him as Damien Moreau. When I knew him he was Damien Sebassis, human liaison for Archduke Sebassis.”

“Out.” Eliot turned on his team mates.

Alec started to move forward. “If he has information on Moreau then we need …”

Eliot blocked his path. “You need to do what I say, Bubba, or this is gonna get real ugly.” The hitter growled.

Hardison recognized the growl. It meant Eliot was serious. He was about to open his mouth when Parker intervene.

“We have to go, Hardison. Eliot will tell us what we need to know later.” Her voice was calm and serious as she continued to watch Lindsey.

She shoved the hacker toward the door.

“But …” He looked up and was standing in the hall, the sounds of the locks being thrown on Eliot’s door.

“You don’t wanna know what they’re gonna talk about.” The thief started down the hall without her usual bounce.

“Parker?”

Wide, indigo eyes that knew too much turned on him.

“We all know you don’t handle ugly well, Hardison. What they’re gonna talk about …” Parker shivered as she headed toward the office.

“Parker?”

“Just look up the name he said.” She grabbed her harness from the closet. “Oh and have a barf bag close by.” She disappeared out the window.

Eliot set a tumbler of whiskey next to Lindsey’s trembling hand.

“Even Holland Manners steered clear of Damien, and he was high enough on the food chain to have a certain amount of protection.”

A scarred hand took hold of the one holding the shaking glass.

“Do we need to call Dean?”

Lindsey shivered. The hunter was holding on since Sam went into Lucifer’s cage, but he still walked a very fine edge.

“He’d turn it into a suicide mission.”

“Would make for a good diversion … Throw Moreau off balance.”

Lindsey wanted to protest, but the memory of Damien and what happened while he was assigned to Sebassis’ cases still plagued his dreams.

A hard nip to his earlobe brought the lawyer back to the present.

*When had Eliot wrapped him in his arms and how did he get to the couch?*

“How long?” Eliot kept his voice soft though he wanted to watch someone bleed for what Lindsey had been through at the hands of Wolfram and Hart…a certain vampire’s name ran a tight second.

“Almost a year. I got recalled to Los Angeles when the firm took on several vampire clients that kept draining their lawyers.” Lindsey gave a choked laugh. “I seem to have an affinity with vampires … Something about the way I smell or my blood … Something.” A blush spread over the high cheekbones.

Eliot inhaled deeply. “Hmmm, yeah. Ginger.” He shook himself. “Why didn’t you leave?”

Lindsey hid his face in Eliot’s chest. The retrieval specialist hated seeing his smart-mouthed no holds barred lover so stripped down and vulnerable.

Then the sun broke through the fog of anger in Eliot’s mind. This was the Lindsey only he got to see. The trust the younger man bestowed on the battle hardened retrievalist nearly threw Eliot onto his knees.

That’s when his second epiphany hit. Eliot gave that same trust to Lindsey. Every time he was too hurt, too exhausted, too anything, he turned to the man snuggled in his arms and his boy never turned him away. Eliot’s welfare was always the most important thing in Lindsey’s life, as Lindsey’s was to him.

*Hell’s bells and Christmas carols!* He knew he loved the younger man, but never realized that it ran so deep into his soul.

He nudged the shivering man.

“Holland always seemed to know when I was at the end of my rope … Damien always stayed this side of permanently damaging Wolfram and Hart assets and Holland greased the wheels with raises and bonus for my excellent ‘client relations’. It’s the reason I moved into Special Projects so fast.”

“What was ‘Special Projects’?” Eliot steered the conversation away from any particulars of Lindsey’s time with Damien Sebassis … Moreau … Whatever. What he imagined was bad enough.

Lindsey raised his right hand. “The kind of projects that gets your hand cut off then reattached because they’re grooming you for the Senior Partners.” Lindsey burrowed back into Eliot.

Eliot urged Lindsey off the couch and up to the bedroom where he bundled him in sweats and wrapped them in their feather comforter. The distraught man finally drifted to sleep. Eliot dozed prepared for the nightmares he knew would come.

Parker perched on the stairs keeping a silent watch as Hardison read through the information his ‘crawlers’ had found on Damien Sebassis. She watched a grey pallor leech the life out of his normally animated features as he read through documents that hadn’t been purged when Wolfram and Hart fell.

She wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do, but Sophie said when you cared about someone and they were upset, you were supposed to be there for them. So here she was … Watching over Alec. Her lips curled in a tiny smile. Tonight she was Eliot since Eliot had to be Eliot for Lindsey she would be Eliot for Hardison. Her mind drifted as she waited for the hacker to finish.

Twelve years in the past.

A slim figure slipped into the master suite of the mansion in the Los Angeles hills. She knew the really good stuff had to be in this room. All the other safes in the house contained papers, videos and tapes … Nothing that would make her any fast cash.

Archie had retired to his real family and Parker’s first rush of freedom after being under the master thief’s thumb for so many years had been heady, but her funds were depleted further than she liked.

She had put this job together in a hurry thinking it was a typical California businessman with more money than sense, but for just having a bunch of papers lying around, security was top notch and the guards smelled funny.

Parker looked up from where she was going through the night stand to see bright blue eyes watching.

“There’s nothing here you want to steal, little thief.” The man said tiredly.

Curiosity distracted Parker from her search.

“Are you sick?”

Then she saw the blood, the bruises and the ligature marks. Blue eyes continued to watch.

“Damien got carried away.” The man’s tone was resigned. “He’ll send for the healer before I’m too far gone.”

“You let him hurt you?” Eyes widened as she was perched to run.

“It’s a game. He has the power to hurt me because my boss says I have to be here. I have the control because I won’t give him my power … So he hurts me.”

“Sounds messed up.”

“That sums it up nicely.” He gave her a wink.

His eyes drifted closed, but he forced them open. “You have to hide until the healer leaves. Then the maid comes to clean. You slip out in her cart, and go out through the servants’ quarters. The guards will be with Damien listening to his latest exploits.”

“But I haven’t stolen anything!” She pouted.

“You must be a very desperate to try to steal from this house, little thief.”

“Sorta.”

“I want you to listen carefully, and heed my words like they came from God’s lips.” He paused as his shifting ribs caused a spasm through his chest. “There is nothing in this house but blood, pain, and death.” He pointed to the stand. “Hand me the wooden box.”

Shaking hands opened the box. He pulled out a gold money clip with neatly folded hundred dollar bills, the initials LM intricately entwined.

“This should hold you over until …” a fit of coughing started a trickle of blood from his mouth. “Hide, little thief. The healer is coming.” The man warned. “When you leave this place forget it ever existed.”

From her hiding place, Parker heard a woman gently scolding the man on the bed. After a while the scolding woman left. The shower came on, and just as the man said, the maid appeared, and Parker made her escape. When she got back to the warehouse she was calling home, she pulled out the money clip.

The gold was warm and heavy, the letters intricate. She could almost make out designs in the letters. When she counted out the money there had been a thousand dollars.

Parker pocketed the money, but had sewn the money clip into one of Bunny’s legs for safe keeping … She jerked herself out of the memory.

That meant Lindsey knew Moreau was really Sebassis. He knew how nasty and mean Moreau could be. Dark eyes scanned the room. Lindsey ‘knew’. He was the man on the bed. He gave her his money and money clip.

When Alec went into the bathroom, Parker left a fresh orange soda and Gummi frogs by his computer before heading out the door.

Pale eyes slit open as battle sharpened senses detected a presence.

He relaxed when he felt the mattress shift with the weight of a reed thin thief. The man in his arms started to waken, but was easily soothed when muscular arms tightened and warm breath blew reassurances across his nape.

Morning sun warmed her face causing Parker’s eyes to blink open. *Damn.* She hadn’t meant to fall asleep. She looked across the pillow to see bright blue eyes watching.

“Good morning, little thief.” Lindsey reached out to brush back her bangs.

Parker shifted her eyes long enough to see Eliot watching them both.

She took the gentle hand and placed the money clip against the palm then curled his fingers around it.

“You kept it?”

“It was too valuable to sell.”

Parker darted from the bed.

“You knew her before?” Eliot rolled Lindsey until he was sprawled across his chest.

“She didn’t seem to remember and it wasn’t my finest hour.” He placed his ear on the broad chest, letting the strong heart sooth him.

A pinch on the butt woke him as he started to doze.

“OW!”

“Parker?”

“Broke into Sebass … Moreau’s mansion. She was checking the bedroom for safes while I was trying not to die before the healer arrived. I gave her the clip and the money to leave and forget THAT house existed.”

Lindsey touched the charm at his neck as he watched the men searching Vector’s office. A slim brunette stared out the windows as the men went over every nook and cranny. When their search was unsuccessful, the woman sent them away with an imperious wave. He was about to deactivate the invisibility charm and confront the Italian when a rush of air had him stepping back to avoid being hit with the door.

Nathan Ford at his arrogant best thought he was out maneuvering the woman who held his leash because he had Vector’s information about Moreau and Moreau’s accounts. Lindsey shook his head as the Italian clicked off her call.

Checking his phone, he saw the captured information from her call. He doubted it would bear fruit, but knowledge is power and information its coin. He slipped out of the building and headed home.

He needed to find Eliot. If they made it out of this alive, Moreau’s downfall might heal some of the wounds still bleeding deep where even Eliot’s love couldn’t reach.

It was time to think about bringing Hardison on board.

~ Fini ~

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