My Death Of A Thousand Cuts ~ Chapter 4

Lindsey-Eliot

Title: When The Smoke Cleared
Fandom: Supernatural, Leverage & Angel: The Series
Pairings: Eliot Spencer/Lindsey McDonald
Rating: PG-15
Word Count: 7,734
Summary: The past is never gone—never forgotten. Set after and includes spoilers and dialogue for The Big Bang Job and The San Lorenzo Job.

Sitting with Parker at ‘their’ table in MacRory’s, Lindsey watched as the rest of the team started converging and Sophie blew through the room talking about Moreau holding an auction for something called Ram’s Horn. Eliot came in from the back giving Lindsey a look before telling everyone else Moreau was staying in a hotel in DC.

“Nate, me and Hardison will hit Moreau. We’ll get an invite to the auction.” Eliot glared at Nate for rushing them.

Lindsey already had an invite. He’d been contacted by the Koreans to stand as their representative at the auction. He had an appointment the next day with Moreau to present their offer. Eliot had nearly swallowed his tongue he’d been so angry when Lindsey told him. He’d been glad for the soundproofing in their condo as they’d stood toe to toe with Eliot trying to convince Lindsey, loudly, to stay home.

“I can’t protect you and the team.” Eliot insisted.

“I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.” Lindsey had practically hissed.

“Lindsey …” Eliot dropped his voice trying to rein in his temper.

“No, Eliot. We’re ending this one way or another. If we come at Damien from two fronts it’ll throw him off balance. It’ll make him mean, but he makes rash decisions when he’s angry.”

Eliot finally let go his anger. Now there was only his fear.

“What if he tries to keep you, Darlin’” He reached out and pulled Lindsey against his chest.

Lindsey sighed and let go his own anger as he rested his forehead against Eliot’s.

“I want him gone, Eliot.” Lindsey sagged against the hitter’s solid frame.

“We will Darlin’.” Eliot closed his eyes enjoying the feel of Lindsey in his arms.

Instead of letting go, Eliot began an assault using all the weapons at his disposal to show Lindsey all the things he could never say to the younger man leaving Lindsey lying exhausted, marks of Eliot’s possession and ownership covering his body.

When Lindsey’s mind started to work coherently again, Eliot had already cleaned them up and had pulled Lindsey against his chest.

“Eliot?”

“Hush Darlin’. Go to sleep.” Eliot coaxed.

Lindsey started to do as Eliot suggested before pulling back from the edge of sleep.

“What’s wrong, Eliot?”

“Everything’s fine and as soon as we take out Moreau it’ll be perfect.” Eliot soothed.

Too exhausted to press the issue, Lindsey burrowed into Eliot’s heat and was soon boneless against the retrieval specialist’s chest, ignoring the voice screaming in his head that Eliot was saying more than ‘I love you’.

Lindsey was already in Washington by the time the team’s plane landed. Moreau was lingering over his breakfast coffee when Chapman showed him into the suite.

“Lindsey McDonald.” Damien’s eyebrows rose in genuine surprise. “When Chapman told me the name of my first appointment I thought someone was having a little joke.”

The cultured voice raised the hairs on the back of Lindsey’s neck though outwardly he stood patiently, his expression pleasantly bland.

“I was told you died after you helped kill the Circle of Blackthorne.” He leered at Lindsey over the rim of his coffee cup. “I want to thank you for that by the way. Made me the man I am today.” The dark eyes narrowed. “So how is it you’re standing before me, beautiful boy?”

Lindsey’s expression never changed. “You know how it is, Damien … One minute you’re dead and the next the Senior Partners decide they need you around a little longer.”

Moreau blanched at the mention of the Senior Partners, but he rallied. “Yes … Well … I hear they’re having a few internal problems of their own these days.”

“As you say.” Lindsey replied fighting every instinct that screamed for him to conjure his sword and behead Moreau where he sat.

Moreau gave him a shark’s smile as Lindsey continued to stand quiet and passive.

“Alas you know me too well.” Damien ran his eyes over the body before him.

Nothing … Not a twitch, a blink, just that same bland expression and blank blue eyes … Moreau frowned into his coffee cup at not being able to rattle his former play thing by mentioning the past. A change of tactics would perhaps draw out the fire he knew lived inside the still beautiful boy.

“Since I have some time before my next ‘client’, come along while I take my morning swim. We’ll catch up on all the things I’ve missed.” Damien watched carefully for any sign that Lindsey would balk at his suggestion.

Seething inwardly, Lindsey bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement as he settled in to play Damien’s little game.

He was making small talk with Damien’s harem when silence filled the room and the small army of black clad enforcers drew their guns. Lindsey froze when he saw Eliot and Hardison. Using the distraction, he moved against the back wall as the women fled the room. Eliot stopped practically standing on Chapman’s toes.

“Chapman.”

“Eliot.”

“They gave you the job.”

“There was an opening.”

Lindsey shivered at the icy venom in Eliot’s voice. He knew Eliot, knew some of the things he’d done, but to see the written word come to life in front of him shed new light on how much the retrieval specialist had changed. Before he got lost further in his own thoughts, the door of the sauna opened drawing everyone’s attention to Damien.

“That’s no way to treat an old friend.”

The circle of black clad men backed away.

“Damien.” Eliot kept his eyes on Moreau.

With a look everyone went back to their posts.

“Let’s catch up.”

Lindsey’s heart clenched. Moreau’s eyes darted between him and Eliot. He braced himself, Damien was about to show his cards.

“This really has been my lucky day”, he paused and extended a hand toward Lindsey … Beckoning him from the shadows. “To meet up with two old and dear friends in such a short span of time.”

Lindsey stepped into the light, as the enforcers backed away.

Hardison’s eyes widened at the silent power play, but for once he held his tongue realizing he and the others had become invisible to the three men. Only they were important. Alec nearly cried with relief when Moreau chuckled, but the next thing he knew he was handcuffed to a chair.

Everyone visibly wilted when Moreau walked over to the wet bar. The tension bled away, but the hacker could feel how tightly Eliot was controlling himself.

“You call this a plan?” Hardison whispered.

“I’m not handcuffed to anything.” Eliot growled as he marked everyone’s position in the room.

“You work alone.” Moreau growled shaken at being on the receiving end of Eliot’s emotionless stare.

“Things change.” Eliot didn’t twitch at Moreau’s implication.

Moreau threw a look at Chapman before settling at the poolside table.

“Don’t take it personal,” Damien grinned at Hardison, “it takes me a while to warm up to people.”

Alec played it cool trusting Eliot to keep him safe.

“This one of your retrieval jobs, Eliot? Tell me, whose Snoopy lunchbox do I have?” Moreau asked with a sarcastic humor.

“It’s not a retrieval. I’m escortin’ the middle man. I’m contracted to make sure he gets in,” he looked from Alec to Moreau, “and out with the offer …”

“Pardon, monsieur …” Alec started only to be interrupted by Moreau.

“Before you say anymore, and in the name of fairness, let me bid adieu to my old friend,” he nodded toward Lindsey, “he represents your competition.” Damien paused a beat, his attention focused on Lindsey. “You remember Lindsey … Eliot? He was our beautiful young attorney from Wolfram and Hart.”

The two men that look so alike, but appeared so different never turned a hair at Moreau’s question. Eliot ran his eyes over the lawyer as though sizing him up.

“Can’t say as I do.” His voice low and even.

“Ah that’s right. You had just joined the organization, and was still a member of my Cleaners when Lindsey was with the household.” His face took on a sly look, his voice insidious in its innuendo. “Shame the law firm transferred him back to Los Angeles. I’m sure you and he would have become great friends, and I would have been all the envy with two such striking creatures at my right and left hands.” He sighed dramatically when he got no reaction from Eliot or Lindsey.

He stood and held out a hand to Lindsey. “Tell your client I will be in touch with my decision shortly.”

Lindsey shook Moreau’s hand, and dipped his head slightly in acknowledgement. Moreau covered their hands with his left and tried to pull the smaller man toward him. When Lindsey wouldn’t move, Damien chuckled and bent down.

“Still as unbendable as ever, Beauty.” He whispered in Lindsey’s ear.

When the taller man straightened he dropped Lindsey’s hand as though burnt when the lawyer let him see the shades of Hellfire glittering behind his eyes.

“You have no idea, Damien.” He paused. “I will convey your message, but don’t take too long.” Lindsey purred.

Visibly shaken, Moreau took a deep breath to settle his nerves before turning back to Eliot and his client.

Leaving through the door Moreau’s harem used, Lindsey scanned the group of women until he found the one he wanted. A few whispered words and his little air elemental would keep him informed of the Italian’s whereabouts.

Now it was time for him to drop off the radar.

Eliot didn’t fret about not hearing from Lindsey after the confrontation with Moreau. His Counselor would never compromise the team’s plans by appearing where he shouldn’t, but the day’s revelations had left him unsettled, and wished just this one time Lindsey would make an exception.

He turned his attention back to their plans for the next day pointing out holes that needed plugged for the job to run smoothly.

Parker had plastered herself to his side after their meeting in the park, offering her own unique version of comfort. A combination of odd snacks appeared from only heaven knew where, badly timed comments that grated on the nerves, and a silence that seemed to wrap the two of them in a cocoon of Parker’s weaving.

It wasn’t the comfort he craved, but it would do until the job was finished.

He left the suite before the others were awake the next morning. If he was going to deal with Chapman and his crew he needed to put himself back in that place he lived when he was Moreau’s number one.

After Chapman dropped him off, Eliot’s time was his own until he got the call from Moreau. The battle inside his head was giving him a headache so when his phone rang he was confused. It was too early for Damien. Just in case…

“Talk.” He growled.

The voice that came through the phone calmed him and set his body on fire at the same time. The voice never allowed him time to answer or collect his thoughts as it wove a spell of seduction around the enforcer. When Eliot lay on the couch boneless, covered in sweat and cum, the next words the voice whispered chilled him to his core.

“Remember Eliot, no matter what happens … I will always love you.”

The line went dead.

Eliot didn’t have long to think about Lindsey words. He had just fastened the silver belt buckle when his phone rang again. Then there was no time to think at all.

The low growl reached sharp ears hidden in the rafters. The dark head tilted toward the floor then rose to meet The Italian’s beautiful dark eyes.

“Are you sure you can take actually take down Moreau?”

“Absolutely.” She eagerly assured Eliot.

He reached down and picked up the pistol.

“Eliot … Listen …”

“Get ‘er outta ‘ere.” The dead eyes moved over the room ignoring Nate.

Hidden eyes watched the death dealt at Eliot’s hands until the barrel of explosive material ignited the warehouse. As the dark clothed figure left the warehouse he smiled when he heard the last volley of shots.

Eliot threw down the guns and ran out of the warehouse trusting the other combustibles would consume the evidence of his handiwork. His face was grim as he found Chapman’s Mercedes with the keys dangling in the ignition. He raced for the airport.

He yanked open the hangar door running and ducking under the airplane wing. He saw Damien point his gun at Nate. Hoping to distract the man, Eliot shouted.

“YOU GOT ONE SHOT, MOREAU!” He continued his headlong rush.

Moreau’s eyes widened, his brain calculating his options. If he shot the man telling him how he’d tormented him these past six months, Spencer wouldn’t stop. He heard his own death in Eliot’s voice. His arm swung to the left. With a satisfied smirk he saw the woman drop to the floor clutching her shoulder.

He turned for the steps, but the sound of running didn’t stop. Apparently Spencer’s white hat did not make him stop to help a bleeding female. He stood frozen as Eliot Spencer charged toward the plane. He was so terrifyingly beautiful that Moreau could only watch as his own death came closer. His paralysis was broken when his tormentor grabbed Eliot.

“ELIOT, NO!” He shouted at the enraged hitter. “We’ll deal with him later.”

Damien stared fascinated when Eliot snapped and snarled but stopped his run for the plane, and turned to help the woman. As the door clicked shut and the plane began to taxi, the outlaw financier collapsed in a chair exhausted. Reaching for the decanter of scotch, he began calculating how many men he would need in San Lorenzo to protect him from Eliot Spencer.

At Nate’s shout, Eliot tore his eyes away from the jet, and ripped off his holsters and shirt. The Italian had been turning toward Eliot when Moreau fired, causing the bullet to lodge in her shoulder against the bone. He folded his shirt into a pressure bandage and kneeled behind her using the leverage to get maximum pressure on her wound.

Once she was situated, Eliot looked up at the disappearing jet. His eyes caught movement at the rear window, and the world stopped. Bright blue eyes and a snarky grin looked back at him. Lindsey was on Moreau’s jet.

Eliot unlocked the door to his condo, his exhausted body wanted nothing more than to sleep, but his brain wouldn’t shut down. So many possibilities and scenarios as to why Lindsey would leave with Moreau tumbled like shoes in a dryer through his brain. Both his pacing and brain stopped when he felt his phone vibrate.

‘See you when this is finished.’

He collapsed unto the sofa like a marionette with its strings cut. Lindsey had stowed away to try and do what the Leverage team had failed to … Take down Damien Moreau.

With a growl he threw the phone on the coffee table. Knowing they couldn’t do anything until morning, he toed off his boots and pulled the Navajo blanket off the back of the couch. There was no way he would ever sleep in their big bed without Lindsey so forcing himself to be still he eventually bullied his brain into going to sleep.

The next morning when everyone was rushing around trying to figure out the best con to run on Moreau, Eliot was on the phone with an old contact looking for word on his wayward lover. He frowned as he moved from the back of the room to throw his phone at Hardison.

When Eliot turned away from the blank screen, everyone moved back a step at the expression on his face. The last time Nate had seen that look, Eliot picked up a gun and a warehouse went up in flames. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and dialed.

“Ciao.”

The team listened as he browbeat the Italian into getting him what he needed.

Parker plopped down next to Eliot.

“You slept on the couch last night.”

Eliot grunted and continued looking over the plans Hardison had found for all the government buildings in San Lorenzo searching for where Moreau might be holding General Flores.

The others continued their projects but were listening carefully to Eliot’s answer.

“Where’s Lindsey?”

“Not here.” He growled.

“Eliot?”

“He went to San Lorenzo.” He said softly, never looking up.

Everyone stopped and looked at the retrieval specialist.

“How?” Sophie sounded bewildered.

“Lindsey probably knows more about Damien Moreau than anyone other than his wife.” Eliot hedged. “His ex-law firm was on retainer to Moreau’s boss before some kind of meltdown that Moreau managed to survive.”

“Were you with Moreau then?” Nate asked.

This might be their only chance to understand what made Eliot Eliot.

“I came in at the end of the reel.” Eliot stared into his mug of tea. “You might say Moreau and I rose together from the ashes of the meltdown.” He looked up from his mug. “Lindsey was on Moreau’s plane when it left D.C.”

He went to the kitchen to separate himself from their expectations.

Lindsey braced himself against the wall as the jet thrust toward 37,000 feet. He hoped Moreau busied himself with the two favorites of his women. Glad he could spend the trip hidden instead of using his invisibility charm, Lindsey relaxed. From of the giggles and moans coming from the other room, Damien was drowning his sorrows in scotch and sex.

Knowing Moreau was very old world when it came to keeping his wife and mistresses separate, he knew Damien would never bring his mistresses into his ‘marital bed’, even on his jet, making it the safest place for him to stowaway.

Looking at the portrait of Anastasia Sebassis Moreau, Lindsey wondered if the agreement they made back in the day when they’d formed a bond based on their misery was still valid.

Stasia was one of the Archduke’s demon/human hybrid children he used to bind his underlings through marriages of convenience. She also happened to be the named successor to Archduke Sebassis’ position as the Senior Partners tried to rebuild the Circle of Blackthorne.

Those thoughts chased his memories as the plane continued winging its way toward San Lorenzo.

Jostled out of his light doze when the wheels hit the tarmac, Lindsey began to mentally prepare for what was to come.

In the stillness of the warm Mediterranean night screams of pain diminished to whimpers of anguish. Sweat cooled on his fevered body as Lindsey finally hauled himself to his feet and stepped off the jet into the darkened hangar.

Needing to refuel his drained reserves, he let himself into the main terminal thankful to Parker for updating his skills. He found the customs desk and cleared himself with a slap of a red inked stamp.

He strolled lazily several blocks from the airport before hailing a cab to the hotel closest to the Presidential Palace. A sad tale of lost luggage, soulful blue eyes, and the flash of platinum got ‘William Ryan’ access to the hotel’s men’s shop. Soon he was standing in the shower letting the hot water sooth away the pain of the arcane brands covering his body.

Until the sigils that rose from his skin healed, he would remain invisible to any type of surveillance.

There was much to arrange before the Leverage crew arrived, but for now the cool sheets soothed the ache of his burns as Lindsey drifted to sleep.

In a villa in Monaco a phone beeped. A frown crossed the face of the classically beautiful woman as she glared at her jewelry case. She pushes aside the baubles her husband has given her over the years as penance as she searched for the annoying beep.

*The consort falls. Queen faces checkmate.*

A vile curse erupted from artfully painted lips. She grabbed another phone and dialed.

“Luc,” she waited until she was sure she had her majordomo’s attention, “take the red envelope out of my safe and follow the instructions to the letter. No deviations.” Her voice was firm.

When she hears, “Understood, your Grace.” She smiles.

She pulled the battery and sim card from the phone and on the way to her luncheon on some royal’s yacht the pieces disappear, the sim card drifting to the bottom of the harbor as she sipped her champagne. The Archduke always said Damien would rue the day he locked horns with Lindsey McDonald. He would have been such an asset to the Circle if not for Angel’s interference.

Smiling insipidly, she listened to the idiotic ramblings of the man seated to her left. Soon the need for her charade would end. Damien would be out of the way…any scandal tied to the name Moreau would soon die down in deference to the poor deluded wife who had no idea her husband was such a monster.

She wondered if the lawyer was still pretty. Perhaps she could woo him to her side. With a sigh she dismissed the idea. They had too much history for them to do well together, but a token of her appreciation could very well gain her an ally … An ace in the hole … Yes… She knew just the thing.

UN Elections Inspector, William Ryan meandered the halls of Parliament and the Presidential Palace. He listened, he talked, he poked in corners. He made note of who avoided him, and who sought him out. All the information he gathered went into a file. The day Sophie insinuated herself into the campaign as Vittori’s fiancée, he sent the file.

“I should get right on hacking those cameras.” Hardison swallowed hard as he watched Moreau walk away.

“Yeah, ya should.” Nate agreed.

He’d just settled at his laptop when his email signaled ‘New Mail’. He smiled as he flipped through the file.

“Who knew you were such a geek?” He murmured. “You’re so out of the closet now, Baby.”

“Who’re you calling ‘Baby’?” Parker frowned.

Landing with a thump on the floor, the hacker looked up at a grinning Eliot and scowling Parker. Hand over his heart, adrenaline pumping, Alec blurted out the first thing that flashed through his brain.

“Lindsey! Why y’all gotta sneak up on a person and scare ‘em like that?” He whined as he pulled himself back up in his chair.

He looked up to see Parker grinning and Eliot scowling. This was not good. He could feel the words getting ready to tumble from his mouth. He clapped both hands over his mouth to stop them.

“Hardison …” Eliot growled through gritted teeth.

“I didn’t mean ‘baby’ like you would call him ‘baby’, but strictly in a ‘I found out something really awesome, cool, he da man type of ‘baby’…” Alec looked up to see an even darker expression on the enforcer’s face. The words came faster, “and he totally jacked into the system and sent me the protocols and saved me a lot of spoofing and piggy backing…”

Eliot took a step forward.

Dark eyes went wide.

“Your boyfriend’s a geek and he just saved me hours of grunt work.” Hardison was panting like he’d run a race.

“So you don’t want to have sex with Lindsey?” Parker asked in the silence.

“What?! No?!” Hardison squeaked. “I mean if I swung that way, sure. Good lookin’, smart …” A growl stopped his words, “that is of course if we was both lookin’.” He amended quickly. “I have to ah … Do … You know … My work thing so Moreau doesn’t try to kill us in our sleep …”

“It’s not Moreau you need to worry about.” Eliot spun on his heel and headed across the room, campaign workers scurrying out of the way like a herd of Impala away from a leopard. Everyone ducked their heads, careful not to make eye contact with the stormy glare.

“Wow!” Parker’s voice was full of awe.

“That’s nothin’. You should have seen him at Moreau’s hotel in D.C.” Alec gave a quick glance around the room to make sure Eliot was really gone. “Moreau’s goons drew their guns just because he walked in the room.”

“Good.” Parker bounced off after the retrieval specialist.

She was glad people like Moreau were afraid of Eliot even if he didn’t like guns, but she was also sad and mad that Moreau had Eliot do something that made her brother/protector hate himself. The glint that came into her eyes made people take a step back. She needed to find Lindsey.

Lindsey was exhausted. He hadn’t slept properly since he’d found out Damien Moreau and Damien Sebassis were one and the same. The magic he’d been using since landing in San Lorenzo also extracted its toll. A cool shower, cream on his burns, room service dinner, and he retired to the balcony with four fingers of whiskey. The blue eyes stared unseeing at the magnificent view of the bay. His thoughts turned to the time after he left South Dakota. His first stop of any import had been a small town outside Denver.

Idaho Springs was a quaint town somewhere between the mining town it started as and a New Age commune. Even with his contract voided he was wary of strangers so when he was approached by a familiar face it threw him into a state somewhere between curiosity and panic.

The middle aged woman smiled warmly as she sat a cup of coffee in front of him before sitting down across from him.

“Ye no longer carry the stench of Wolfram and Hart so why are ye here, boyo?” She asked bluntly.

Lindsey ducked his head blushing. “Just passin’ through, Miss Brigit.”

Psychics made him nervous. That Brigit was an Irish farseer demon made him doubly nervous.

“Aye, so ye are. Goin’ on ta meet yer destiny.” She nodded more to herself than to Lindsey. “Ye’ll be needin’ ta look for a fella named Eric Proctor in Tulsa. While yer there ye need to be seein’ yer kinsmen about a fella that looks like ye.”

Lindsey made notes on his placemat, the heaviness of her brogue telling him this was from The Powers. He’d told himself he didn’t care about Eliot’s past, but there were just some things you can’t ignore. Apparently having his contract voided hadn’t stopped The Powers from meddling in his life.

He turned his truck south and headed toward Oklahoma where he learned Eliot Spotted Horse had lived on Cherokee tribal lands until his parents were killed by a drunk driver, after which he was shipped to his grandparents in Kentucky where he became Eliot Spencer.

Eliot Spencer joined the Army after high school, ended up in Delta Force where he’d served under General Atherton until the CIA had recruited him into deep cover work. By the time he’d gone to work for Moreau he’d left both organizations and was well on his way to becoming the world’s top retrieval specialist.

Eliot in the warehouse was beautiful in his deadly dance. Lindsey’s heart hurt for the soul deep pain his partner was enduring, but that’s what Moreau did to people, and they both carried a taint that would never wash away.

Night had fallen by the time Lindsey pulled himself back to the present. With a sigh he secured his room and hoped for dreamless sleep.

Parker really wanted to taser someone. Between Nate keeping her and Eliot constantly on the run, and Lindsey’s ninja skills, she still hadn’t found him.

Eliot’s growling was down to the occasional rumble as they got a plan in place to rescue his General friend, but she could tell he was worried about Lindsey, too.

Suddenly she was climbing down a steam vent to open the cell doors, Eliot and the General shot Sophie, and Ribera signed the arrest order on Moreau.

After looting Moreau’s villa, she once again ghosted through hotels in the city. Still no Lindsey. When she saw Eliot the next morning he seemed in a better mood. Pushing her trunk she gave him a questioning glance. He shook his head behind Hardison’s back

“I’ll get Nate.” He jogged around the corner to the mastermind’s room.

They flew back to Boston in the jet they ‘borrowed’ from Moreau, Eliot sitting in the back ignoring everyone as he hid behind a book.

After a few hours in the air, exhaustion won out, and as everyone slept, Eliot slipped into the bedroom Moreau kept for his wife. Locking himself in the well appointed bathroom, knowing fingertips found remembered switches. Black velvet pouches disappeared in various hiding places on his body. Remembering he worked with thieves, he flushed the toilet and washed his hands before returning to the main cabin.

He saw Parker’s bright eyes watching over the back of her seat as he returned to his. Satisfied she snuggled back down with Hardison. Eliot settled into a light doze as the day grew younger.

Lindsey kept his head down as the black armor clad squad jogged by the guards’ desk. He recognized Eliot and Hardison bringing up the rear. He made sure to be gone before they came back from the cells. He didn’t want to risk Eliot’s sensitive nose catching his scent. He’d had a hard enough time dodging Parker the past few days. Besides, he was only there to keep the General safe until Eliot could get him out. He didn’t want anyone else around to witness his endgame.

Damien Moreau settled onto the bunk in his cell fighting to control his emotions. With his emotions running so high he was helpless to even begin forming a plan to escape The Tombs.

He began watching. The guards would be his best bet. He would woo the weakest of the group to his side. It was too soon to make a move. He would have to wait until the dust settled from the election. Soon … Soon very soon he would make them all pay.

Lindsey sat cross-legged on the tile floor of the penthouse suite. Pungent smoke rose from the brazier as he spoke ancient words from inside his protective sigil. He continued his chant, but the room remained empty.

Glaring at the empty space, he started to smirk. Reaching for a glass vial he shook the contents into his hand and carefully blew it onto the glowing coals. With what sounded like a curse, a form began to solidify.

Lindsey rose to his feet as what looked like a lesser demon appeared, but he knew better. The creature looked at the human, head cocked as if trying to decide what to do next. It walked over to the edge of the protective sigil.

“Why have you summoned Morpheus, little human?”

“I wish to ask a boon of the Oneiroi.” Lindsey answered.

Morpheus inhaled deeply. “You carry marks of daemons and Eudaemons upon you.” He paused, confused. “What manner of human are you?”

“One who has been to the edge and jumped over.” Lindsey answered simply.

“What is this boon?” The leader of the Oneiroi asked.

As Lindsey explained, the dark eyes of Morpheus began to glitter with anticipation.

“Your request intrigues me.” He looked down at the human who was strangely calm for one making a deal with a god. “I will grant your boon … With one condition.”

Eliot’s gonna be soooo pissed. Was the first thing that crossed Lindsey’s mind, but he’d come too far to abandon his plan. Hopefully whatever Morpheus wanted wouldn’t leave him too broken to get back to Eliot.

They’d been back in Boston two days. Eliot’s growl had become a constant sound in Hardison’s ear as he searched camera feeds from San Lorenzo looking for the any sign of their lost lawyer.

He’d found the hotel where Lindsey checked in under William Ryan, but there was sign of him on any of the cameras, though there were unusual blank spots in some of the crowds. Putting together the talents of mages in his World of Warcraft game and what he’d learned about Wolfram and Hart, he walked over to where Eliot was preparing lunch.

“E?” He asked quietly.

Eliot’s head snapped up, eyes narrowed. A timid Hardison was not something he wanted right now. He’d rather the hacker be bouncing around the room making declarations about ‘the age of the Geek!’

Alec almost took a step back at the ice he saw in Eliot’s eyes.

“Uh … I need to ask … Well … Lindsey …”

“Spit it out, Hardison.” He ground out.

“Can Lindsey do magick?” Hardison cringed. The question sounded sort of childish.

Eliot played dumb. “What? Like that pull a rabbit out a hat crap? No.”

Hardison waved his hands. “Not that kind of magic.” He gave Eliot an exasperated look. “You know very well what I mean. Wolfram and Hart kind of magick.”

“Yeah.” Eliot acknowledged quietly.

“That what’s got you so riled? Thinkin’ ‘bout what he might do?”

“Yeah.” Eliot laid his knife gently on the cutting board and walked out of the condo.

Terms of their agreement settled, Lindsey stepped outside the sigil. Morpheus grabbed his arm, and when he opened his eyes they were standing in front of Damien’s cell. The former financier was sleeping peacefully.

“So much the better.” Morpheus grinned as he called his brothers.

Phobeton and Phantasos were practically drooling as they advanced on Lindsey. Drawing on everything he’d ever learned at Wolfram and Hart, he remained still until a leathery wing pulled him back against the god’s chest.

“This human is mine. Yours is in the cage.”

Morpheus felt the slight quiver of the man’s muscles as he held himself still.

“You’re not going to back out of our agreement, are you?” He purred into Lindsey’s ear.

“No.” The baritone was soft as though afraid of waking the sleeper.

The Oneiroi joined their thoughts … Phobeton and Phantasos pulled in Moreau while Morpheus’ attention turned to join his thoughts with Lindsey’s.

Only to find shields. Very strong shields. Lindsey had devoted so much time to guarding his thoughts from telepaths, seers, vampires, demons and the Senior Partners his natural abilities had built nearly impenetrable walls in his mind.

Let me in, little human. A mental voice demanded.

“What?!” Blue eyes snapped open to meet angry black orbs.

“You must give me permission to enter your mind. If I force my way through your mental barriers it will damage us both.”

“Oh.” Surprise colored Lindsey’s voice.

Warily he opened a door in the barricade around his thoughts and allowed the God of Dreams to enter, and was thrown into his personal version of hell.

“Lindsey McDonald, Damien Sebassis, liaison between the Archduke Sebassis and the mundane.” Holland turned to Damien. “Lindsey is one of our brightest young stars at the Firm. I think you’ll find he can be quite useful during his tenure with the Archduke’s household.”

“Yes. I’m sure he will be.” Damien practically drooled as he shook Lindsey’s hand.

Lindsey forced himself to be still and not snatch his hand away from the man that made his skin crawl and the hair on the back of neck stand on end. He would not cower. He would bend, but never break.

The Oneiroi purred as they experienced and exchanged the memories and emotions of the two men. Their pleasure and pain shot through the daemons’ system like the purest drug.

A bruising shove from Lindsey’s mind pulled Morpheus back from the rush of emotions. Wanting to stop the nightmare he had relived too many times, the human’s mind was trying to eliminate what it perceived as the cause. The god sank his claws deeper into the fabric of Lindsey’s mind.

Momentarily rooted, he took in the human’s acute distress both mentally and physically. Mindful of their agreement, he wrapped leathery wings around the beautiful body and cradled him to his chest. As he soothed the man’s distress, he gave his brothers a mental shove to get on with their work.

Once past his own memories of Damien Moreau, Lindsey found himself sitting in Morpheus’ lap, pulled against his chest, wrapped in leathery wings both in his mind and in the real world. They spent the night trolling through Moreau’s memories, Phobeton and Phantasos twisting the memories to cause Damien the greatest pain.

His mental and physical resources dropped rapidly into exhaustion, Lindsey rallied when they came upon Moreau’s memories of Eliot. They were what he had anticipated his lover’s time with Damien to have been until the last days.

Dark hair cropped close, blue/grey eyes void of emotion, Eliot Spencer was Damien Moreau’s perfect enforcer. The man never flinched or balked at anything the financier asked of him. Eliot asked no quarter and he gave none. He was the pack alpha though Chapman nipped at his ankles like a recalcitrant pup only to be slapped back into his place.

That all ended in Belgrade. When the smoke cleared Eliot had been forced to shed innocent blood in order to save innocent lives.

Lindsey had dealt with enough of Eliot’s nightmares to know how he felt about what he’d done. Connected mentally to the Oneiroi he saw the deed from Moreau’s point of view. Elation and satisfaction at finding a chink in Eliot’s armor—predatory feelings at how he could exploit the only weakness his number one had ever shown then absolute terror when faced with a dead eyed Eliot Spencer.

The combination of emotions, thoughts and dreams were finally too much for Lindsey. The last act his exhausted brain performed was to kick Morpheus out of his mind and slam his formidable shields back in place before everything shut down.

Shocked at being rudely ejected from the human’s mind, Morpheus started to reprimand the man until he realized he’d lost consciousness. His concern was eased when he discerned the human was merely exhausted. He knew the human’s Eliot. He’d provided the Oneiroi many hours of entertainment. Leaving his brothers with the other human male, he tightened his grasp around the limp form and disappeared.

Eliot leaned against the window frame not seeing the view of Boston outside the window. Trapped in the memories of his past with Moreau, the events in the warehouse and worry for Lindsey slowed his response to the displacement of air behind him.

Grabbing the silver knife off the bookshelf, he whirled and prepared to throw when he caught sight of Lindsey cradled against the chest of what looked like a demon. Seeing the creature in their devil’s trap, Eliot began the litany that would send it back to hell.

When all the demon did was cock its head like a curious hound, Eliot stopped his recitation.

“What are you and what the fuck are doin’ with Lindsey?!” He demanded as he moved forward.

“Where does this one take his rest?” Morpheus asked looking around the condo.

Eliot pointed up the stairs … With a leap the daemon was in the loft leaving Eliot running up the stairs. When he got to their room, leathery wings were gently laying Lindsey on the bed. As soon as the creature stepped back from the bed, Eliot was shoving him against the wall.

Taken by surprise Morpheus offered no resistance until the silver knife lay along his throat. A claw tipped hand encased Eliot’s head before the retrieval specialist could blink. Memories bombarded his mind … His own memories … Nightmares. Yanking free, he stepped out of arm’s reach panting heavily.

“Who the fuck are you?” He stood between the creature and the bed.

A moan came from the bed as Lindsey fought toward consciousness. Man and daemon turned toward the sound.

“Linds?” Gentle hands moved over the body looking for hurts.

Eliot frowned when he saw the arcane signs burned into his love’s skin. Flinty eyes turned on the creature.

“The human marked himself in such a fashion.”

“Morpheus?” Lindsey murmured. “Is it finished?” He struggled to sit up.

Eliot rocked back on his heels. Morpheus? What the hell had Lindsey been up to in San Lorenzo?

“Yes. It is finished. You completed the terms of our agreement. Now the Oneiroi will uphold theirs.” The daemon bowed low.

Lindsey noticed Eliot for the first time. He dropped his eyes recognizing the comforter on their bed.

“You brought me home?”

“It seemed prudent.”

“Thank you.” He said softly … Still refusing to look at Eliot.

“Anytime, little human.” Morpheus’ tone held a teasing note. “My brothers and I enjoy a challenging psyche.”

Before either man could answer, the God of Dreams had vanished.

Lost in thought, Lindsey continued to stare at the spot where the daemon had stood.

“Lindsey?”

He flinched as he saw the hand approach in his peripheral vision. Eliot slowed the motion, and when his hand cupped the angular jaw, Lindsey leaned tiredly into his touch.

“Please? Eliot, tomorrow? I’m so tired I don’t know my own name.” Lindsey pleaded.

Eliot practically vibrated with the need to know what Lindsey had been doing, but he could feel exhausted muscles shaking, and tired blue eyes sliding closed.

“Let’s git ya undressed first, Darlin’.” He coaxed.

Though he was impatient to go through Lindsey’s clothes for clues as to what had happened, he took time to soothe the younger man into a deep sleep.

Slipping through the door into the office, he shoved a handful of papers and a passport under Hardison’s nose. In a move a cat would have envied, Alec jump straight up and backwards over the couch. He glared at Eliot as Parker snickered.

“Tell me what he did.” Eliot demanded of the hacker.

“What?! You come in here, scare me out of half my life, and want me to tell you where your boyfriend’s at?” His voice rose several octaves.

“I know where’s he’s at. I wanna know what he did.” Eliot snarled.

“Lindsey’s home?” Parker poked her head up from behind a counter.

“Yeah. I got ‘im special delivery.”

“You can do that?” Parker asked in awe.

Eliot paled as something occurred to him.

“Hardison, can you check on Moreau? … See if he’s still in his cage?”

The quip on the hacker’s tongue died when he saw the expression on Eliot’s face.

“Sure, man.” Long fingers flew over the keys.

Anastasia Sebassis Moreau turned on the television as she sipped her morning coffee. With Damien in prison in San Lorenzo her life had become a bit frazzled. That she’d never used her husband’s name and Lindsey’s warning had allowed her to salvage a large chunk of Damien’s assets, but there was still a great deal of negative publicity to handle.

In breaking news from San Lorenzo …

Stasia’s head snapped toward the TV.

Damien Moreau was discovered in a catatonic state during morning rounds. Officials had the former financier transferred to the country’s secure mental facility for evaluation. As reported during the presidential elections, Moreau was arrested …

The Archduchess was really going to have to substantially add to the reward she sent Lindsey.

“As far as any of the video surveillance is concerned, Lindsey … Ah … William Ryan never went anywhere in San Lorenzo. He’s not any of the cameras. The only place his name shows up is Customs and the hotel.” Hardison turned to look at Eliot. “Did he use magick to spoof the cameras?”

Eliot thought about the burns on the tan skin.

“He had help.”

“He’s seeing another hacker? I’m crushed.” Hardison really did sound hurt.

“Not that kinda help.” He glanced around looking for Parker. “What about Moreau?”

“He’s been transferred to the local mental hospital. They found him catatonic in his cell this morning. Doctors say they can’t find any reason for catatonia, only that he’s not faking.”

*Dammit Lindsey!* “The Oneiroi.” Eliot murmured to himself.

“What?”

Hardison asked just as Parker reappeared, reproach in her eyes as she looked at Eliot.

“He’s burned … All over … Why is he branded?” Parker’s eyes were damp, but no tears fell. “Who would do that?” she whispered.

“Parker.” Eliot softly touched her shoulder. “Parker, Lindsey did it to himself. It’s why the cameras didn’t see him. It’s an ancient magick that’s very painful and takes a long time to heal.”

“He did that for you … For us … So Moreau couldn’t hurt anyone anymore.” She asked in a little girl voice.

Eliot nodded. Parker burrowed against his chest.

“What about the catatonic state?” Hardison’s fingers flew trying to find the word he thought he heard Eliot mutter.

“Lindsey has friends in high and low places.” He let go of Parker and headed for the door. He needed to get back upstairs in case Lindsey woke.

Before he could get out the door he heard Hardison gasp.

“He used the Oneiroi to get to Moreau?! He talked to the Greek God of Dreams?” Hardison sounded incredulous.

“Yeah. Morpheus brought him home. I don’t know what kinda deal they made, but apparently Morpheus and his brothers got their monies’ worth.”

“But … The real Morpheus … I mean … Naw man … Yer punkin’ us.” Hardison tried to explain away what his logical brain said wasn’t possible.

Eliot grabbed the nape of the hacker’s neck and pulled him down to eye level.

“Yer the one that looked up all that stuff on Wolfram and Hart. Yer the one that asked if Lindsey could do magick, and yer gonna stand there and call me a liar.” Eliot’s voice dropped low and dangerous.

Hardison swallow hard.

“Naw, man, but ya gotta admit it sounds out there.”

“What’s out there?” Nate asked as he and Sophie swept into the condo.

“Lindsey’s home.” Parker bounced lightly on her toes.

“Yeah.” He looked at Eliot. “He okay?”

“Just exhausted.”

“He took out Moreau with a god.” Parker beamed.

The couple looked at Eliot for an explanation. Eliot growled and pushed by and out the door. Lindsey was upstairs in their bed, and he had no more patience for his team’s antics.

“You explain it.” He made sure the door slammed to emphasize his point.

He secured the condo for the night, stripped, slid under the covers and curled around Lindsey. Though he’d only meant to take comfort in the fact Lindsey was home safe, the days of worry since they’d been back in Boston took their toll, and Eliot soon joined Lindsey in sleep.

In the black of the night a shadow loomed over the two men. Clawed fingers reached out and ran gently over both dark heads.

“Blessed dreams, Beloveds.”

~ Fini ~

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