Disclaimer: I do not own Leverage or White Collar.
Characters/Pairings: Gen with canon pairings
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Warnings/spoilers: Violence towards children, OC character death. Spoilers through all seasons of Leverage and vague spoilers for seasons 1-4 of White Collar.
Word Count: 17, 163
Summary: After the fiasco with Michael and his followers, life settled down a bit. Eliot still did jobs for the Order of Thanatos, and now that Nate and Sophie had left the game, he, Hardison, and Parker were all set to take their crusade against corporate greed international. Then one day an old acquaintance of Eliot's shows up, calling in a favor owed. He has a job for Eliot, one which could not only get him kill, but start a war if the wrong people found out about it.
Sequel to: Sinner's Prayer
Eliot dropped the icepack onto the table, and stifled a pain filled groan as long slender fingers found another bruise.
“Damn it, Parker,” he snapped and slapped her hand away. He carefully scooted out of reach, not wanting to endure more of her prodding. “That hurts.”
This job should have been simple. Their client had come to them with a story about a dirty judge who had the local LEO’s on his payroll. What they hadn’t found out in all of Hardison’s research was that the judge had a little mob help on the side. The thugs hadn’t been as well trained as Eliot, but there had been a lot of them, and they had been big. Plus, they’d liked guns. Eliot really hated guns.
“Why didn’t you just, you know,” Parker said and flapped her arms as if they were wings.
Eliot rolled his eyes. She’d been after him about his damn wings ever since she’d found out about them.
“It doesn’t work that way,” he said, voice sounding as rough as he felt. “I already told you that.”
Parker scrunched up her nose. “If you can’t fly then what use are they?”
Eliot could feel his headache getting worse. He didn’t have the patience for inane questions on good days. On days when he’d gotten his ass kicked, his patience was nowhere to be found.
Standing, he grabbed his jacket and pulled it on, careful to keep his movements slow and steady, mindful of the bandages on his side. Mystical calling or not, getting shot hurt.
“I’m going home.”
He started towards the door, already daydreaming about sinking into his sinfully large bed, in his very quiet house. There would be no Parker, or Hardison. No poking fingers, or the irritating tap of keys. It would be heaven.
“Nu, uh,” Hardison said as he came back into the room. His arms were full of orange soda and a bowl of popcorn. “Doctor said you needed someone to keep an eye on you.”
Eliot kept walking. “I’m fine. Give me a few days, and it’ll be like it never happened.”
“Dude, I know you’ve got a hard head, but you got smacked around with a led pipe.”
“And shot.” Parker added as she stole the bowl from Hardison.
“Goodbye, Hardison, Parker,” Eliot said.
He didn’t wait for a reply, he just kept walking, thankful the Brewpub was closed. The night air, when it hit him, felt wonderful. He paused just outside the door, listening to the sounds of the city move around him. A misty rain was falling, creating haloes around streetlights. Cars swished by, spraying droplets of water in their wake. He carefully extended his senses, trying to see if there was anything unnatural lurking in the city. He came up with nothing. Portland was safe for the moment.
Eliot’s shoulders relaxed, his wings losing their tense posture against his back. Insubstantial though they were, they were still a weight on his back, a reminder of the path he was forced to walk. Letting go of some of the weight felt good, if only for a short while.
Getting his keys out, Eliot headed towards his truck. He had to bite back a groan as he climbed inside, the movement pulling at his injuries.
It took him about thirty minutes to reach his house, driving while injured was never a good idea, and he’d been extra careful to follow the traffic laws. When he pulled up into his driveway, he stayed in his truck for a few seconds, glad to be away from all the noise. Climbing out, he locked his truck and trudged up the stairs to his front door.
He was so tired and sore that he almost didn’t notice something was wrong. He paused just before his hand landed on the door knob. Stretching his senses he could hear nothing out of the ordinary, but every instinct he had was screaming at him. Going back to his truck, he retrieved the sword he’d taken to keeping there in case of emergencies, before going back to the front door. He opened it, making sure to keep any noise to a minimum.
The house was quiet, and nothing had been disturbed, but Eliot kept a tight grip on the hilt of his sword, edging his way into the living room. He was just reaching to turn the lights on when a lamp clicked on, bringing a soft light to the dark room. A man sat in his recliner, dark hair groomed perfectly. A white shirt and dark slacks set off olive skin, while dark lashes framed near black eyes. A slight smile graced the man’s lips and he tilted his head in greeting.
“Agent Spencer, please, sit,” he said, his voice soft. “Let us talk.”
Eliot sank down onto the couch, but he refused to release his sword.
“Khepri,” Eliot said. “Didn’t think I’d see you for awhile.”
Khepri smiled. “I am glad to see you’re doing well,” he said. “Despite recent troubles, this team seems to be good for you.”
Fear raced through his heart. Images of fire and the phantom impact of a shockwave raced through his mind, causing Eliot’s blood to turn to ice. He gritted his teeth and focused on keeping his breathing even. It was all he could do to keep from striking out.
“Leave my team out of this.”
“I’m afraid I can’t,” Khepri said. He leaned forward, hands gripped between his knees. The scarab amulet he wore glinted in the lamp light. “It is your team’s help that I need.”
“No,” Eliot said, shaking his head. “I ain’t involving them in Order business.”
“You have no choice,” Khepri said. “You owe me.” He gave Eliot a stern look, his dark eyes hinting at the power he still held. “And you will keep this from your Order. My business is no business of Thanatos’ followers.”
Eliot bit back a curse and ran a hand through his hair. Words had power. Owing a favor in his world could be deadly, and he owed this being his life.
“What do you want?”
Khepri smiled and leaned back in the chair, relaxed and friendly once more. He nodded towards a file that Eliot knew hadn’t been there earlier.
“Everything you need to know is right there,” he said. “I hope you will keep this discreet. It would be bad for all involved if word of this got out.”
“I know,” Eliot said and pinched the bridge of his nose.
Not only was the job dangerous, but the fallout if he was caught would be catastrophic, if the Order didn’t just execute him to save the Gods of Old the trouble. He looked up, finding the chair empty. He let loose a heavy sigh and stood. Placing the sword in its resting place by the door, Eliot headed towards his bedroom. He was hurting and tired. The file could wait.
The next morning he went through his regular routine, knowing if he opened that file things would grind to a halt. He made breakfast and did some tai chi, careful of his injuries. He hadn’t been lying to Hardison. He healed faster than regular people and the wounds were already looking like they’d happened weeks ago, but that didn’t mean he could just jump back into fighting bad guys. Even he needed to take some time to heal.
Exercises finished, he went back inside and took a shower, letting the hot water sooth sore muscles. It was nearing nine o’clock when he finally sat down, eyes focused on the innocent looking file.
He didn’t want to open it. He wanted to keep his team, his family, as far away from this world as possible. The last time this life had crashed in with his new one, he’d lost several old friends, and he and Parker had been caught in an explosion. It was only due to his enhancements that they were even still here.
Michael and his followers were still scattered to the far corners of the earth, and the Order had heard nothing from them since the botched ritual. Eliot should have known his life wouldn’t remain peaceful for long.
Grumbling to himself, Eliot dragged the file towards him and opened it. He instantly wished he hadn’t.
“What do you mean, you’ve got a job?” Hardison said. He was standing before the projection screen, arms crossed, Parker a scowling statue on his right.
“I’ve got something I need to take care of,” Eliot said. He was not bringing them in on this. He’d made a vow to Sophie to keep them safe and that was what he was doing.
“We have a job right here,” Hardison said. He gestured towards the screen. It showed a picture of a vibrant sunny day, an idyllic manor house and garden prominent.
He’d been surprised to find them here when the Brewpub was closed. He’d been hoping to use the backroom to plan his job, knowing the precautions he’d put up kept the Order from spying on him in this space. Instead Eliot had been greeted with Parker on the counter, eating a bowl of cereal, and Hardison tapping away at his laptop, brochures spread out around him.
There was stuff on florist, caterers, venues, and entertainment. There was even a book of bridesmaid dresses peeking out from under a flyer.
Eliot pinched the bridge of his nose. “Any wedding stuff you dig up has to be run by Sophie first.”
“You really think Sophie is going to let you plan her wedding?” Eliot asked.
“Well, no but it’s important that she know all of her options,” Hardison said. “Besides, you were supposed to help out.”
He sighed and felt his shoulders slump. “I can’t. This is important.”
“What do we need to do?” Parker asked.
Eliot shook his head. “Nothing. I’ve got this.”
“Yeah,” Hardison said. “Like that’s gonna fly.”
“It’s Order business,” Eliot said.
Silence greeted his words. Parker and Hardison traded glances, and Eliot knew they were both remembering the disaster their introduction to his world had been.
“Okay, so what do we need to do?” Hardison said, refusing to back down.
“We’re a team,” Parker said. “We do this together, or not at all.”
“You learn nothing from DC?”
Eliot swore before raising his hand and pointing to each of his teammates.
“We do this, we do this my way.”
“Of course,” Parker said as Hardison nodded his agreement.
Eliot crossed his arms. “I mean it. You follow my orders, or you’re out.”
“We got it,” Hardison said. He then leaned against the counter. “So, want to tell us what this is really about?”
“I told you—”
“If it was Order business you wouldn’t have come here to plan the job,” Hardison said.
Eliot sighed. He really hated it when Hardison was right. “An acquaintance paid me a visit. He had a job for me, one he couldn’t do for various reasons. It’s something that needs to be kept quiet. Neither his colleagues, or the Order, can find out. If they did, it could cause a war.”
“Who was it?” Parker asked.
Eliot debated for a few seconds before sighing and taking a seat at the counter. “His name is Khepri.”
“The Egyptian God?” Parker asked. Eliot and Hardison shot her identical looks of shock.
“Momma?” Hardison said. “You got something you want to share with the class?”
“Parker, how’d you know that?” Eliot asked, worry filling him.
Parker shrugged. “I stole a statue of him once.” She then grinned. “It is really him, or someone named after him?”
“It’s him,” Eliot said.
Parker’s grin widened and Hardison paled. He fell back into his seat, hands gripping the edge of the counter.
“A God?” Hardison said. “They’re real?” He turned to Eliot. “What else is out there?”
“A lot of things,” Eliot replied. “Which is why you two are on the background of this job.”
“What if you need to steal something?” Parker asked, crossing her arms over her chest and narrowing her eyes.
“I know someone,” Eliot said, keeping his words vague. “He’s part of the Order, an acquisitions expert, and he’s not above bending the rules.”
Parker’s expression darkened. “I’m the thief.”
Eliot felt his headache intensify. This job was already becoming more of a pain in the ass than it was worth. And once Parker learned the identity of the person he had in mind, he’d never hear the end of her complaints.
“Not on this you’re not,” Eliot said. He raised a hand to cut off any further protest. “I mean it, Parker. This isn’t like any other job we’ve done.”
“Then tell me what I need to do.”
“I can’t,” Eliot said. “You don’t have the skills to get past everything.”
“That’s not what I meant,” Eliot said, trying to stall Parker’s outrage. Even Hardison was giving him the stink eye. Though Eliot still noticed he’d backed away from Parker, the coward. “There’s more to this job than getting by security systems and cracking safes. If that was all, I’d have you do this part, no problem.”
“Is it really that dangerous?” Hardison asked concern evident in his eyes.
Eliot nodded. “Magic’s involved, and that takes years of study.”
“Can’t you do it?”
Eliot shrugged. “Some of it, maybe, but the type needed for this particular job isn’t my specialty.”
“Then who’s doing the job?” Parker asked, looking less like she was going to murder him, and more like someone had just placed a diamond in front of her. He knew he’d regret mentioning magic in front of her.
“I said he was a friend.” Eliot stood, and braced himself for the outrage he knew was heading his way. Parker was not going to like this. “Hardison, I need you to book me a flight out to New York for tomorrow. I’m meeting with him Sunday.”
The widening of Parker’s eyes was the only warning he got. He just missed having the remote hit him in the head.