I Love The Feel Of You Under Me

Fandom: Leverage
Characters/Pairings: Eliot Spencer/Nathan Ford
Rating: PG-15
Word Count: 2,299
Summary: Alternate Universe – Canon Divergence. Prompt: skin silk and scars. They met before they met. I have to blame this on hubby’s choice of music.

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Skin, Silk & Scars

When it came time to furnish their new offices in the renovated Victorian, Nate learned several things. He learned that Sophie wasn’t quite okay with being friends as she led him to believe, and Eliot Spencer was a sensualist.

Sophie insisted she was the obvious choice for the job.

“Why’s that?” Eliot asked.

“I am the one used to dealing with the high end market.” She tried to stare down the mercenary.

“You mean that overblown Italian Renaissance crap you stick everywhere?” Eliot crossed his arms over his chest.

The remaining three members stood with their mouths agape, not believing ‘good ole boy’… I punch everything into submission, Eliot Spencer was arguing interior design with Sophie Devereaux.

Sophie sputtered indignantly. “Overblown crap!” She practically screeched.

Parker snickered, and when Hardison tried to shush her, she elbowed him in the ribs causing an undignified yelp.

“Well it is.” Parker agreed. “Like in Gone With The Wind when that woman wears the curtains.”

Nate gave a valiant effort not to laugh, but he heard that nasty little chuckle of Eliot’s and soon they were all laughing, even Sophie after she got done being insulted.

“I’ll tell you what,” Nate choked out between laughs, “Eliot go with Sophie. It’s your job to keep her in check.”

“Good luck with that.” Parker quipped.

“Parker!” Nate, Hardison and Sophie yelled.

“You can’t be serious, Nate. What’s a cowboy know about a project like this?” Sophie froze when she remembered Eliot was still in the room.

“This ‘cowboy’,” Eliot’s voice was low and rough, “realizes this is a grand lady, not some Vegas hooker and should be treated as such.” He snarled as he slammed out of the mansion.

Sophie started to go after the retrieval specialist only to be stopped by Nate.

“Let him go, Sophie. He won’t listen right now.”

“I really put my foot in it. I don’t know why I keep stepping wrong with him.” She twisted her fingers together. “I don’t understand how I keep reading him wrong.” There was a mournful note in her voice.

Parker and Alec slipped out behind Eliot hoping no unsuspecting civilians got in his way.

“Don’t beat yourself up, Sophie.” Nate soothed. “We only see what Eliot lets us. Well, except for Parker, and I don’t even want to be able to think like she does.”

He swirled the small splash of scotch in his glass. “Do what I suggested … Get Eliot’s input, maybe you’ll get some insight into our mystery man.” He gave her an encouraging grin. “It works for me.”

“Yes, well you’re being courted. So there’s incentive on your part. The better you read him, the quicker he can get in your knickers.” She giggled girlishly.

“There is that.” Nate agreed.

It all worked out in the end. The furnishings fit the house, but didn’t look like they’d break if you sat on them, and Eliot let Sophie indulge her dramatic flair with fabrics and bric-a-brac. She finally put Nathan Ford firmly in the ‘friends only’ category, and let go her grudge against the enigmatic young man she so readily dismissed.

Nathan watched Eliot run the backs of his fingers over the rich drapery material as he stared out into the rain. Nate jerked when the hitter started to talk. He hadn’t realized Eliot knew he was there.

“It keeps from snaggin’ the material.” He spoke low.

“What does?” Nate moved closer to the younger man.

“Usin’ the back of my hand. The calluses won’t catch. Always have to be careful with silk. I’m always too rough.” He turned and ran a long fingered hand down Nate’s chest before moving around him.

Acting impulsively, Nate grabbed a hand and placed a kiss on the roughened palm, looking into stormy eyes. “Never.”

He released Eliot before he felt trapped.

Several days later, the team was in Dallas, Texas. Sophie and Eliot would be attending a Bass family fund raiser to get to their mark.

Knowing how much trouble Eliot had with the tie for his tux, Nate slipped in the door of his room and froze. Eliot was bent over the jacket, muttering under his breath while digging through the pockets. What had stopped him in his tracks was the sight of Eliot shirtless.

The back was broad, defined, but not overly muscular. The ex-investigator knew the hitter favored speed over strength. It was a back that would make any sculptor drool, but what drew Nate’s discerning eyes was Eliot’s tan. A tan marred by the silvered lines of old scars, long ridges that showed they had been stitched with care, but some were just too deep to ever disappear.

Eliot spun at the sound of distress Nate could not stop from escaping at the sight of the three puckers low on the retrievalist’s back. One so very close to the spine, it was surprising he could walk.

“Nate?” The voice was low like he’d use on a spooked animal.

He grabbed hold of his emotions with both hands and reined them in. Eliot would not appreciate a fuss over something that obviously happened long ago. Shaking himself like a terrier, he cleared his throat.

“Just came to see if you needed help with your tie.” His voice was still choked at the thought that he might never have known this unusual man.

Nate must have still looked a little shell shocked because the next thing he knew he was in Eliot’s arms with the younger man reassuring him that it had been a long time ago, and he was fine.

He released Nate when he felt him straighten. He turned from the older man and grabbed his shirt.

“No need, bought a shirt don’t need a tie, but I can’t find my damn studs.” He growled going through the pockets. “If I find out Parker pilfered them …”

Nate saw it on the bed. He picked up the pouch and swung it into Eliot field of vision. As he reached for the pouch, Nate closed his hand.

“May I?” He watched Eliot’s expression closely.

Heat flared in the changeable eyes at the question, but he nodded his consent.

Smooth fingers ran over the scars not covered by the black silk as he pulled the edges of the shirt together and inserted the blue topaz studs that matched the blue fire in Eliot’s eyes.

Adrenaline pumped through Nate as strong hands grabbed his lapels and jerked him into a hard overwhelming kiss. He was released just as abruptly as he’d been grabbed.

“Don’t tease. We don’t have time for all the things I want to do to you.” Eliot’s voice was low and harsh.

Nate stepped back, but as he went he trailed his fingers down the silk over scars, his nerves jangling at the promise in the retrieval specialist’s growl.

“Don’t make me hunt you when Sophie and I get back from this dog and pony show.” The gravel voice warned.

Nate visibly shivered as anticipation heated his blood.

Eliot’s smile turned predatory when he saw the shiver.

They Met Before They Met

After they got back from Dallas, Nate spent more time in Eliot’s bed than his own. The three bullet scars on Eliot’s lower back had become his new obsession. There was something about the scars that tugged at Nate’s memory, but he could never quite pull it forward.

The retrieval specialist refused to tell their story. Not wanting to cause a riff in their fledgling relationship Nate stopped asking.

Eliot’s eyes snapped open to moonlight falling across the bed. He checked and saw Nate still deeply asleep. A sigh of relief escaped as he curled around Nate, using the familiar feel and scent to lull him back toward sleep. Nate wanting to know the story behind the scars had awakened the old nightmares.

The mercenary had been between jobs. He’d come to LA because a buddy was opening a restaurant, and he’d invited Eliot to the opening. Tired of hotels, he’d taken an apartment in an older neighborhood where the spectrum of tenants went from older to young couples.

Eliot Spencer, retrieval specialist, thought the gods must be laughing after he discovered one of the tenants in his building was an insurance cop for IYS. Nathan Ford, his beautiful blonde wife, Maggie and their six month old son, Sam lived in the apartment directly below Eliot’s.

They were nodding acquaintances, Maggie often asking his advice when they’d meet at the local grocer. She knew Eliot as Nick Taylor, chef, which wasn’t a lie. He did a turn or three at his friend’s restaurant until things got running smoothly and his own people in place.

Having heard some rumblings of gangs expanding into the neighborhood, Eliot had taken to wandering the streets in the evenings hoping to head off any trouble.

He’d stopped to talk to Nate and Maggie when he caught sight of an unfamiliar low rider coming around the corner. Without thinking he pushed Maggie and Sam into a niche in the building, putting Nate against her and himself between them and the street.

The retrievalist heard the crack of the Mac 10’s as he urged Maggie and Nate down to make smaller targets. He felt the three impacts just above his kidneys, felt the burn, then the pain. He was thankful to see that the two bullets that passed through his sides missed those he was shielding.

As he slid to the pavement, he remembered baby Sam’s wails of terror, and Dwight Yoakum singing as patrons rushed from the nearby bar.

I sang Dixie as he died
The people just walked on by as I cried
The bottle had robbed him of all his rebel pride
So I sang Dixie as he died

He said way down yonder in the land of cotton
Old times there ain’t near as rotten as they are
On this damned old L.A. street
Then he drew a dying breath
And laid his head against my chest
Please Lord take his soul back home to Dixie

*The gods were laughing again.* Eliot thought as he lay face down on an LA street, the man who’d tried to track him on several occasions was now trying to keep him from bleeding to death until EMS arrived.

Four days later, Nick Taylor disappeared from the hospital. Three days later, he disappeared from LA.

Hoping that letting the memory run its course would allow him to sleep the rest of the night, Eliot buried his nose in Nate’s hair and closed his eyes.

Wonderful smells had been wafting through the mansion all morning. His stomach demanding to be fed, Nate left his office for the kitchen. Passing through converted living room, he could hear the radio playing and Eliot’s clear baritone as he sang along with some country song.

He said listen to me son while you still can
Run back home to that Southern land
Don’t you see what life here has done to me?
Then he closed those old blue eyes
And fell limp against my side
No more pain, now he’s safe back home in Dixie

When he heard the lyric, And fell limp against my side…, the niggling in his memory became full blown. A beautiful young man, softly curling russet hair on his collar, a chef he’d told Maggie. Sam had loved the soft spoken man, his pudgy face lighting up when he’d hear the smoky voice. Nick Taylor had passed out in Nate’s lap after taking three bullets in the back protecting Nate and his family.

Nate fell back against the wall and slid to the floor. The three bullet scars on Eliot’s back—the man he knew as Nick Taylor taking three bullets in the exact same spots. That’s why Eliot didn’t want to talk about the scars.

Eliot stepped from the kitchen searching for the cause of the noise he’d heard. Worried but calm, he rushed to Nate.

“Nate, what is it? Do I need to call EMS?” He started checking for injuries.

Nate stopped Eliot’s search by cupping his face in his hands, and turning his face toward his.

“You’re him.” Nate voice was full of wonder.

Eliot covered Nate’s hands with his own. “Nate, you’re gettin’ creepy on me here. Him who?”

He urged Nate up and into the kitchen, settled him at the table and got him a cup of hot sweet tea. Nate made a face at the sweet taste, but knowing he was freaking out Eliot, he didn’t complain.

Feeling more himself, he reached for his enforcer’s hand and kissed the rough palm.

“You left before we could thank you.” He was practically whispering as the memory closed his throat with too many emotions.

“I left when … Thank me for what?” Eliot was afraid he knew where this was going. He knew once again the gods were laughing at his expense. Some day he was gonna punch those pain in the ass gods.

“Thank you for the life of my wife and son. You gave me seven years I might never have had with Sam and Maggie.”

His next thought made his blood run cold. “I almost lost you before I met you … Almost lost this.” He tangled his fingers in Eliot’s soft curls and pulled until their foreheads met.

The song cut across his awareness again. He didn’t know whether he loved it or hated it. That song was the backdrop to the day he almost lost everything including the young man holding him like he was never letting go.

“I love you.” He whispered.

I sang Dixie as he died
The people just walked on by as I cried
The bottle had robbed him of all his rebel pride
So I sang Dixie as he died
I sang Dixie as he died

~ Fini ~

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