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
The flight from Portland to New York took nearly twelve hours. It included a three and a half hour layover in Los Angeles which had him running in circles trying to find his gate. LAX was crowded, always, and smog hung heavy in the air. The construction hadn’t helped matters either and familiar landmarks had been lost in a sea of bright orange netting and detour signs.
On top of that, his flight from LA to New York had been crammed full of people, with a small child crying the whole way. Hardison had stuck him in coach too.
When he’d finally landed at JFK airport, Eliot was ready to kill the next person who so much as breathed in his direction. As he collected his bags and made his way through the throngs of people, he composed a nice lovely speech that would convince Sophie and Nate that no he had no idea what had happened to Hardison, he’d just found him that way, honest.
Luck seemed to smile on him though, when he caught a cab almost as soon as he left the airport. He’d already booked his hotel, thank God, or Hardison might have stuck him in some flea infested trap. This was the last time he let Hardison book any of his trips while Parker was mad at him.
The next day found Eliot sitting, hands around his coffee cup. The bustling noise of New York filled his senses, car horns blared, people jogged by, music streaming into their ears. A group of young people walked passed, laughing and carrying several bags of shopping.
This area of Central Park was busy, but there was less chance of eavesdropping. Tourist and locals gathered here, all focused on their own lives. The trees gave off a cool shade and no one was likely to try and engage him in conversation. Here he was just another face in the crowd.
“Long time to no see.”
Neal Caffrey sat down next to him, looking as calm and collected as the last time Eliot had seen him. His suit was immaculate, his hat sitting at a jaunty angle on his head. He’d appeared out of the crowd like a ghost, weaving around people without them noticing.
“So what brings you to my domain?”
“You don’t actually own New York,” Eliot said, amusement clear in his voice.
“Don’t let Mozzie here you say that.”
Neal flashed him a bright grin, and Eliot rolled his eyes. That grin had gotten both of them into so much trouble Order Headquarters ended up stationing them on opposite ends of the country for a few years.
“Get that anklet off and find out for yourself,” Eliot said with a pointed look.
Neal settled back and placed his hat on his knee. “Can’t. New York is, New York.”
Eliot nodded. The bigger the city, the older the streets, the more weird it attracted.
“So, what do you need me to steal?” Neal asked, bright grin back in place. “Though I have to say I’m honored you called me. You work with Parker after all.”
Eliot scowled. “Would you let Burke in on your jobs?”
“Point.” He took a deep breath, fiddling with his hat. “I heard about Michael.”
“You can say I told you so another time.” Eliot let the words hang between them.
They carried the weight of heated arguments that had almost cost them their friendship. There was also an apology buried under the memories for words that had only been spoken to wound.
“So what’s the Oder want now?” Neal asked, giving Eliot a nod. The look in his eyes told him he’d been forgiven long ago and Eliot felt a weight lift from his heart.
“This ain’t Order business,” Eliot said. “So I need this kept quiet, off the books so to speak.”
“What have you gotten involved with?” Neal gave him a concerned look.
“Khepri paid me a visit.”
Neal paled and his blue eyes widened. He sat back against the bench and his shoulders slumped. “Shit.”
“I need this found,” Eliot said.
He passed a piece of paper to Neal. It was a picture of an ushabti, an Egyptian funerary figurine used by the deceased as servants in the afterlife. It was blue in color with faded inscriptions along the front and back.
“When do you need it?” Neal asked, plans already forming and being discarded. This was why Neal was the Order’s best acquisitions expert.
Eliot smiled. “How soon can you get it?”
Neal was quiet for a bit studying the picture at every angle.
“Hmm,” he said. “Alarms attached to all windows, doors, and outer shell of the museum. Motion detectors in each room, security cameras, guards, lasers…” Neal looked up. “Where is this located? It looks familiar.”
Eliot snorted. “Of course it does.” He pulled out another sheaf of paper and handed it to Neal. “It’s at the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archeology.” He tapped the papers. “These are Parker’s notes. She says you better not screw this up.”
Neal gave him an affronted look. “When have I ever screwed up an acquisition?”
Eliot raised an eyebrow. “Madrid 2003.”
Neal waved a hand. “That doesn’t count. They had me training a newbie.”
Neal’s glare was filled with distain. “If I remember correctly you were involved in that mess.”
Eliot laughed and stood. “But it still counts.” He held out his hand and Neal shook it. “Get it for me as soon as possible.”
“And keep this quiet,” he said. “No problem. I’ll call Moz. He’ll love to help out with this.”
Eliot shook head and started off. “Tell him if he screws this up, I’ll be paying him a visit.”
“He wouldn’t,” Neal said, laughter filling his words as he tipped his hat onto his head. “He wouldn’t want to disappoint Parker.”
A week later found Eliot in the same location, newspaper in his lap. It was early evening, and there wasn’t much of a crowd. The sun was setting, casting an orange and golden glow over the city.
Neal showed up at six o’clock on the dot, wide smile in place, vintage suit immaculate. He quickly handed over a brown package about the size of a shoe box.
“All done,” he said with a laugh. “You should stop by more often. I haven’t had this much fun in a long while.”
“Maybe when that government accessory is gone we’ll get together and you can meet the rest of my team.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” Neal said, shaking Eliot’s hand. He stood and gave Eliot a parting nod. “Good luck with the job, and call me when it’s done.”
Eliot stood, carefully tucking the package under his arm. “Will do. Take care of yourself.”
Neal favored him with a serious look. “You too. We’ve lost enough people already.”
Eliot turned and made his way out of the park. He was just reaching the exit when Parker fell into step next to him, the hood of her grey hoodie pulled up.
“You didn’t have to follow me out here,” Eliot said, though he wasn’t surprised to see her.
“I could have stolen that,” Parker said. “I’m a much better thief than Caffrey.”
“I told you, there was more to stealing this than getting past security,” Eliot said. As suspected, he spotted Hardison leaning against a lamppost just around the corner.
“So, what next?” Hardison asked, a tiny bounce in his step. “We get to steal any ancient scrolls? Magical text?”
“A mummy?” Parker added. “I always wanted to steal a mummy.”
Eliot eyed his two grinning teammates, and for what felt like the millionth time, wondered why he put up with this crap.
“Come, on,” he said.
Taking the keys from Hardison, he climbed into their rental, and drove them further away from the crowds of Manhattan, heading north out of the city. Soon the bright lights disappeared, replaced by sprawling country.
The city they came upon was what Eliot knew people called quaint. Turn of the century brick buildings lined Main Street, and rolling hills overlooked the city. The sun was finally below the horizon, the day still in that twilight phase before true night set in.
He pulled up to a bakery, its window happily proclaiming it Bec’s Bakery, the streetlights reflecting their glow in the glass. He climbed out of the car box in hand, before turning to face Parker and Hardison.
“Stay here,” Eliot said. His tone and expression the one he used when armed bad guys were bearing down on the team. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
He entered before they could protest. Three women stood behind the counter. They each had red hair pulled up in a messy bun. One was taking care of the leftovers from the day, while another counted money in the till. The youngest looking one was humming to the radio while she swept. She looked up when he entered and smiled.
“How can I help you?” A soft Irish lilt flowed along her words.
Eliot smiled, stepped up to the counter and shook his wings out. Invisible though they were, he knew the second the women spotted them. The smile on the younger woman’s face fell and her eyes darkened. The other two stopped their work and moved to stand at the younger woman’s side.
“We don’t do business with Thanatos’ followers,” she said.
“Good thing that’s not why I’m here.” He slid a wad of cash towards her. She picked it up and put it in her pocket.
“Back room,” she said. “You have five minutes.”
Eliot nodded his thanks, and went through the door marked for employees only. The kitchen was empty, stainless steel counters and appliances filling up the space. It was spotless at the moment, though Eliot could see some cup cakes cooking in one of the large convection ovens.
An office to the right was dark, with only a slight flickering of light lighting up the window. He made his way over to the door and knocked.
It swung opened under his hand to reveal an older woman with gray hair watching a small television. It was some inane talk show with people yelling at each other and the crowd cheering the chaos on. Eliot remained in his spot, standing at attention. When a commercial came on, she finally looked his way. Her green eyes matched the three women out front.
“Beag.” Eliot bowed slightly.
“It’s not often I see one of you,” she replied, Ireland thick along her words.
“I come asking a favor,” Eliot said. He handed the wrapped box to her.
She held it up to her nose and sniffed, before opening the package. The box and wrapping paper went into the trash. She held up the ushabti, giving it a critical once over, letting her fingers trail along the hieroglyph etched on it. She nodded and placed it on the desk next to her before standing and motioning for Eliot to follow her. She led him to a walk-in refrigeration unit.
Beag entered, leaving him in the near silent kitchen. She came out and handed him a bottle of clear liquid.
“This will help you find what you seek,” Baeg said.
“Thank you,” Eliot replied. He carefully wrapped the bottle in a bandana before placing it in the wooden box she’d handed him.
Her voice stopped him before he could leave.
“Remember Follower of Thanatos,” she said. “There is a price for everything. Are you willing to pay it?”
“I thought I had,” Eliot said, a chill of unease crawling up his spine.
She gave him a humorless grin. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”
He gripped the box tighter, weighing the options of just running for it. He knew he wouldn’t make it far. Her daughters would stop him before he reached the front door.
“What do you want?”
“A truth for a truth,” she said coming closer.
Eliot studied her for a few seconds before laying down his own terms.
“One truth, for one truth, with nothing more owed,” Eliot said. “Then I walk out of here and you or your daughters don’t stop me.”
“Agreed.” Beag leaned against the counter. “What do you need my water for?”
Eliot stiffened and cursed. He should have known she’d ask. The Gods of Old were tricky, weaving their words in a way that trapped those foolish enough to deal with them.
“I owe a favor,” Eliot replied, keeping his words vague. By the way her eyes narrowed, he knew she wasn’t happy, but Eliot had told the truth and there was nothing she could do.
“My turn,” Eliot said. “What’d you mean about a price to be paid?”
She smiled then and Eliot knew he’d lost this battle. “Actions have consequences,” she said. “You were naïve to think this could be kept quiet.”
“You don’t know what this is,” Eliot said.
“But your Order doesn’t hold the cards in this exchange,” Beag said. “You’ve kept them in the dark for a reason.” She turned heading back towards her office. “You and your friends are free to leave.”
The ride back into Manhattan was filled with a tense silence. Eliot refused to tell them what this stop had been about, knowing that the less they knew, the better. Beag’s words spun around in his mind, refusing to be ignored. This whole job had felt bad from the get go. He couldn’t refuse Khepri, he’d given his word. But he wasn’t sure if he could afford to face the consequences if he got caught.
They reached the hotel around midnight, and with a few terse words, Eliot was able to shoo them off. He was tired and not in the mood to play twenty questions with curious teammates.
He entered the bedroom, placing the box in his bag. He got ready for bed and was climbing under the covers when his phone beeped. Picking it up, he opened the message.
Order Headquarters had a job for him, one he had to do tomorrow. Eliot cursed and tossed his phone onto the nightstand. No matter where he went, they always knew how to find him, and something about this felt wrong. Dropping back against the pillows, Eliot stared at the ceiling. He was trapped, like a bug pinned under glass, and there was nothing he could do to get free.
It was late afternoon the next day before Parker and Hardison barged in, coffee and doughnuts in hand. Eliot was sorely tempted to make them wait, he hadn’t slept much the night before, but he knew better than to leave a curious Parker alone.
“So, what next?” Parker asked, jumping up onto the couch next to Eliot.
Eliot swatted her hand away when she tried to poke the glass bottle. He’d been looking at it when they’d walked in and Parker had honed in on it like she would a stack of money.
“Leave it alone,” Eliot said.
He picked the bottle up and put it back into the plain wooden box, closing the lid. It sealed shut, leaving no way of telling how to open it.
“What is it?” Hardison asked, eyeing the box the same way he eyed new gadgets.
Eliot scowled at him and picked the box up, taking it to his room before coming back. He settled in the arm chair, which placed him between the bedroom and his teammates.
“That is none of your business,” Eliot said.
He ran a tired hand through his hair and sighed, letting his head drop back to rest on the chair. He’d been going nonstop since before he’d taken this job, and wanted nothing more than to crawl under the covers and sleep for a week.
Unfortunately, he had another job to do, and he had to find away to ditch Parker and Hardison. He trusted them completely on their regular jobs, and while those were dangerous, this was in a different league. Something had tried to eat a bike messenger in the Garment District.
“I thought we were in this together,” Parker said, giving Eliot a glare of her own.
“We are,” Eliot said. “That doesn’t mean you get to go poking around at things you shouldn’t.”
“Was it magic water?” Parker’s bright eyed expression had a knot of fear filling Eliot’s stomach.
“Parker, would you just stop,” Eliot asked, the exhaustion he was feeling bleeding into his voice. “There are certain things you just don’t need to know.”
“It’s not poison is it?” Hardison said, edging towards the exit. He had a horrified look on his face. “Please tell me I didn’t ride in the car with poison.”
“It’s not poison,” Eliot said, ignoring the searching look Parker was giving him. “It’s something I need for the job.” Grabbing his jacket, he ushered the two out of his hotel room.
“Now get lost,” Eliot said, standing. He disappeared into his room briefly and pulled on his shoulder holster, making sure his knives were securely in place. “And stay out of my room. I’ll know if you’ve been snooping in there.”
He put his jacket on and shooed them from the room. Making sure he had his keycard, he turned towards the elevators, ignoring the looks his teammates were giving him.
“Hey,” Hardison called out. “Where are you going?”
“I’ve got some Order work I need to do,” Eliot shot back as the elevator doors opened. “Don’t follow and don’t wait up.”
Stepping onto the elevator the doors closed before either of his teammates could form a response. Leaning back against the wall, Eliot let the quiet help settle his mind so he could focus on the task at hand. The elevator stopped on the eighth floor, doors sliding open to reveal a man holding a large envelop. He didn’t say a word, just stepped on, leaning against the wall next to Eliot.
“Here is everything you’ll need, Agent Spencer.”
Eliot nodded and took the packet. The man got off on the sixth floor, leaving Eliot alone for the rest of the ride down.
The sun was just lowering behind the skyline when he stepped out onto the sidewalk. People rushed past, and cars blared their horns as they rushed to their destinations. Eliot stepped out into the crowd, letting it swallow him up. He went with the flow, keeping his head down. He tore open the package taking out the USB drive and key and putting them in his pocket. The comm went in his ear. The envelope he tossed in the nearest trashcan. No one paid him any mind; they were all too focused on their own concerns.
It took a little over ten minutes to reach his destination. The one way street was packed with cars, vans, cyclist and pedestrians. Eliot dodged delivery people, shoppers, and scaffolding as he trudged his way up 38th street. The tall buildings kept the sun out of his eyes, as Eliot looked for the shop he was supposed to check out. He found it crammed between a specialties food store and a store proudly selling spandex.
Unlocking the door, he entered the shop. It was quiet, the lights off, and the shadows from the bolts of fabric covering most of the ground. He found a staircase in the back, and when he reached the second floor, he found an office to his right and a storage room on his left.
“I’m in. Initiating search of the premise,” Eliot whispered.
The office was small enough to be considered a closet. A desk was shoved at the far wall with a folding chair leaning against one wall. A laptop sat amongst a clutter of paperwork and fabric swatches. A phone completed the looked, mounted to the wall in order to keep it out of the way.
Digging through the paperwork, Eliot didn’t find anything pertaining to his case. The computer yielded the same results, though Eliot made sure to copy the files to the USB drive.
“I’ve got the files,” Eliot said.
When he turned to leave, he spotted the trashcan in the corner. Peeking inside didn’t give him much, but when he removed the top few pieces of paper, he found what he was looking for and cursed. A piece of shed skin rested amongst the garbage.
“Fucking ghouls.” Eliot put the trash back and wiped his hand on his jeans. A soft thud had him tensing.
“Possible hostile on premise,” Eliot said. “I repeat, possible hostile on premise.”
Reaching under his jacket, he pulled out one of his daggers. It was a comfortable weight in his hand. Eliot edged his way out and down the stairs. It was fully dark now, but Eliot could clearly see a dark shadow moving amongst the bins.
He crept forward, letting his senses guide him. He made it to the front of the store, the streetlights creating a soft orange glow over the checkout counter. The ghoul was bent over the cash register, pulling the cash from the drawer.
Eliot wasn’t sure what happened next. He knew he hadn’t made any noise, but the ghoul’s head shot up, yellowed eyes locking onto Eliot.
Before he could react, the ghoul pulled out a gun, aimed and fired. Pain ripped through his shoulder, dropping him to the floor. His dagger slipped from his hand. He rolled behind a bin full of fabric as more shots were fired.
Another bullet crashed through the window above him, raining glass down on his back. Luckily he was wearing his biker jacket, thus keeping the glass from cutting him. Bits of fabric rained down around him as a bullet tore through the flimsy barrier he was hiding behind. Eliot cursed every deity he could think of that he’d had to take this job.
A massive weight slammed into him from overhead. The impact knocked the breath from his body and caused pain to erupt from his shoulder, paralyzing him for a few seconds. Clawed hands wrapped around his throat and bony knees dug into his back.
He could hear cackling coming from above him as the second ghoul tightened its grip. Eliot tried to keep his panic at bay. Backup should be heading his way, his comm was still active, and there was no way Headquarters hadn’t heard the gunshots.
The ghoul dug its nails into Eliot’s skin, just enough to hurt. Dark spots were starting to dance before his eyes, and Eliot knew if he didn’t act, headquarters would be retrieving a body. With one hand he tried to pry the ghoul’s hand from his throat. The other he attempted to reach under his jacket. The ghoul pressed down harder, blocking his access to his weapons.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the dagger he’d dropped. Stretching out, he felt his fingers grace the handle before it was knocked out of reach.
“Nu uh,” the ghoul said. “Can’t have a tasty morsel like you getting away.”
His eyes started to droop, the world going dark around him, when the weight on his back lifted. He could just make out two dark figures battling each other as he rolled against the wall. He took several breaths, each bringing tears to his eyes. His throat hurt, and his lungs still burned, the oxygen burning as he breathed it in.
A hand settled on his shoulder and he spun, another dagger in hand. A strong grip stopped his movement and after a few blinks he sagged back in relief. The ghoul who’d tackled him lay a few feet away, throat slit and black blood pooling around it.
Neal was crouched at his side, wearing lightweight black clothes and an FBI bullet proof vest. The ghoul’s blood was sprayed across his face, giving him a macabre look. He handed Eliot another vest and helped him put it on, his injuries making movement difficult.
“Drop, something?” Neal asked and handed over the dagger he’d lost. The blade was covered with the dead ghoul’s blood.
Eliot laughed, then coughed, his throat not ready for much action.
More shots were fired and they both ducked down lower to the ground. He hated these assignments. These were supposed to be the easy ones, the jobs that were quick in and outs. But Eliot’s luck didn’t hold, and more often than not, he ended up in the most bizarre situation possible, usually with Neal right by his side. Like now.
The remaining ghoul’s cackling preceded more shots, and Eliot and Neal had to scuttle along the back wall, keeping the work stations between them and the ghoul.
“Oh, what a treat,” the ghoul said, voice sing song in tone. There was a distinctive click, clack of the ghoul’s clawed feet as it walked across the floor. “Two of Thanatos’ followers. I’m sure you’ll both taste sweet.”
Eliot flinched, pulling Neal back against him as something crashed off to his right. The damn ghoul was throwing things at them now. Slowly they crept their way to the stairs Eliot had found earlier. They kept their footsteps silent as they ascended. Reaching the roof was tricky, but with Neal’s talents, they managed.
Once there, Neal grabbed a black bag from behind a roof vent and tossed it to Eliot. He then began to don his own harness, tying the rope off at the edge of the building.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Eliot asked.
Despite his apprehension he still donned the harness and tied off the rope. Neal, bright blue eyes gleaming in the dim light of the city, offered him a cheeky grin and a wave of a glove covered hand.
“I’m your exit strategy,” he said as he tied off the end of the rope. He glanced back over his shoulder as the door to the roof shuddered in its frame once more. “Come on, we’ve got to get moving.”
Eliot knew a lost fight when he saw one. His shoulder ached, the bullet wound still bleeding, but the thought of leaving the remaining ghoul to terrorize the neighborhood didn’t sit well with him. There were times he really hated having a conscience.
“Don’t worry,” Neal said. “The others will be here soon to take care of it.”
“Who?” Eliot asked as he prepared to jump. He just knew the landing was going to hurt.
Another bright smile greeted his words. It was a frightening sight with the blood smeared over his face.
“I believe they said they were the cavalry.”
Eliot laughed and soon followed Neal over the side of the building. It didn’t take them long to land, though Eliot took a minute to breathe through the pain in his shoulder.
“Come on,” Neal said, checking the area they’d landed. Luckily it was deserted. “The police will be here any minute and the Order would be really pissed if we got caught.”
Ropes and harnesses dealt with, he followed the Neal through a series of back allies and side streets. New York was teaming with narrow roads and old buildings. They stayed away from the more populated areas and ended up at a delivery van just off Broadway. There was another person waiting for them, this one a welcomed sight.
“Shelley,” Eliot said, relief filling his tired body.
Neal climbed into the back of the van and helped Eliot inside.
Eliot settled down on floor as the motor started and the van pulled away from the sidewalk.
“You ever gonna tell me how you ended up in there?” Eliot asked as Neal pulled over a first aid kit. He received an exasperated look.
“Your team called,” he said as he began to pull out supplies. “They were worried when you ran out on them earlier.”
Eliot groaned and let his head rest against the side of the van. “I told them not to get involved.”
Neal shrugged. “I’m glad they did. It would have taken us longer to get here if they hadn’t. Order Headquarters only sent out the call for backup five minutes ago.”
He quickly used some moist wipes to clean himself up before pulling on some latex gloves and helping Eliot out of the vest. His jacket and dagger holster went next. Eliot could help the hiss that escaped when his shirt was removed. Neal gave him a sympathetic look and got back to work cleaning out the wound.
“You’re lucky you’re different,” he said as he carefully bandaged the wound. “A normal human would have to go to the hospital.”
“Yeah,” Eliot said. “Lucky me.”
He could feel his wings twitching along his back, the pain sending spasms through the muscles. Neal helped him don a loose fitting flannel shirt, before packing away the first aid kit.
The ride back to the hotel was quiet. Shelley gave them a casual wave before pulling out into traffic. They entered his suite a few minutes later. Eliot shot Neal a dark look before shuffling over to the arm chair and sinking down.
He rolled his eyes at Neal’s guilty look as he took the offered bottle of water and pills. His body ached, and there was a ringing in his left ear from the gun fire.
“Neal,” Eliot said, his voice telling the world of his exasperation. “What the hell is he doing here?”
Eliot had known he would regret the day when Neal and his team met, but this was beyond any worst case scenarios he’d thought up. He cast a suspicious look towards the FBI agent sitting on the couch in his hotel room. It didn’t help his mood that Nate and Sophie were also there, looking at him with various levels of concern and anger. Though, he was less surprised to see them. He should have known Parker and Hardison wouldn’t be able to keep their mouths shut.
Neal shrugged and poured a glass of wine. “I told Peter.”
Eliot felt his jaw swing loose. He was pretty sure if he’d been a cartoon, it would have come off and rolled across the floor.
“I just had to pull you out of a firefight. The police tend to ask a lot of questions about those. Besides, I don’t lie to Peter.” Neal’s expression said it all.
“He’s your Nate,” Parker said, and oddly enough, it made perfect sense to Eliot.
“Excuse me?” Peter asked. “What is she talking about?”
“You’re an honest man,” Eliot said. “And Neal trusts you.”
“Nate used to be an honest man,” Parker said. She then smiled. “We broke him.”
Hardison snickered from behind his laptop and Eliot didn’t bother hiding his laughter even though it hurt. Nate’s affronted looked was worth the pain.
“What Parker means,” Sophie said as she placed a hand on Nate’s shoulder. “Is that when we first started working together, we trusted Nate because he was our honest man. Now he’s just ours.”
Neal handed Peter a glass full of something very alcoholic. “Just go with it. It’s easier that way.”
“I should be arresting everyone in this room,” Peter said taking a drink. He gave Neal a stern look. “Why am I not arresting anyone again?”
“Because you can’t explain how Neal managed to get outside his radius to steal a magical artifact for a fellow agent of a secret government society that goes around killing things that the normal world claims don’t exist, and also broke into a closed fabric store to help said fellow agent get away from said monsters that don’t exist.” Nate lifted his glass and gave the other man a look of sympathy. “Welcome to my world. I found out about the Order of Thanatos when I still worked for IYS.”
Peter ran a tired hand over his face. “Please tell me you don’t have wings too.”
Eliot laughed so hard he was sure his bruised ribs were cracking in two. Normally the question wouldn’t have been so funny, but he was just a little bit tired and he had just gotten his ass kicked by two gun toting ghouls, so if he was feeling a bit loopy, then who could blame him.
“Don’t worry,” Eliot said as he fought to catch his breath. “Neal hasn’t done anything to warrant being sentenced. He just stole the wrong thing and ended up becoming our acquisitions expert.”
“And on that note, I think it’s time we let Eliot get some rest,” Sophie said.
She stood, and started towards the door, giving everyone in the room a look that said she expected them to follow her.
Neal shook his head. “You guys go. I’ll stay, keep an eye on him.” He matched their glare with one of his own. “I’ve helped him in times like this before. I know what protocols to follow, you guys don’t.”
“We will be discussing this tomorrow,” Peter said. Neal nodded.
Eliot didn’t miss the looks the others shared as Neal ushered them out the door. He was going to pay for not letting Parker and Hardison stay, but he felt better with Neal there. Neal would let him sleep, and not poke his bruises. He wouldn’t ask any questions either. He knew this job, and he knew when Eliot just wanted to be left alone.
As he climbed into bed, Eliot made a mental note to make it up to his team tomorrow.