Fandom: Avengers/Leverage/The Bourne Legacy; X-Men
Word Count: 4,189/20,243
Pairings: Eliot Spencer/Clint Barton; Nate/Sophie; Tony/Pepper; Natasha Romanoff/Phil Coulson;
Warnings: language; a little sex, a little violence
Disclaimer: I don't own them. They belong only to themselves, and the people that created them. This is a figment of my imagination--fiction. No money made. Any mistakes are mine.
Summary: Sophie told Eliot he was no longer the same man that worked for Damien Moreau. The Leverage Team finds out he is still that man plus a little more, and that's okay because a Hawk and a Spider have his back.
A/N: Spoilers: Season 5 Leverage to The Gimme A K Street Job
"Barton's been compromised."
"Widow's on a retrieval. I hope we need you…after."
"Loki has control of the Tessaract."
"What the fuck were you and Fury thinking?"
"You can kick my ass later-if we live."
"Intel in route."
"I will collect on that ass kickin'."
"I'll do my best."
Looking at the information on his phone, he cut his morning run short and headed back to his apartment. The plane was waiting.
He was throwing his duffel in the back of the cab when Nate's little black Mercedes stopped next to him.
"Thought you were coming to help with the theater?"
Eliot groaned inwardly at Sophie's disappointed expression.
"I was-now I'm not."
"Hey! Where's Eliot going?"
"Can you yell a little louder, Parker? I don't think they heard you across the river."
Losing patience, he got in the cab.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"I don't know…maybe…I'll try to let you know…just…try to stay out of trouble."
"Your file said you're inactive?"
All eyes turned to Parker.
Not willing to placate them further, he motioned to the cabby-who dropped him at a vacant lot where a black Jeep took him to a private hangar.
Settled on the plane, a junior agent handed him a stack of files. The longer he read, the darker his expression turned. Eliot had known something was wrong before Agent Phil Coulson of SHIELD called. The bond he shared with Agent Clint Barton aka The Hawk or Hawkeye had gone silent causing him to spend what was left of the night trying to break through whatever had cut him off from his lover. The only thing his efforts garnered him was the fact that Clint was alive and a headache.
Up to date on all of SHIELD's intel, Eliot laid his seat back and closed his eyes. He had a feeling once the plane touched down in New York there would be very little sleeping.
Eliot Spencer met Clinton Francis Barton in Delta Force. Some idiot of a desk jockey thought it would be funny to team the least talkative person in training with the most talkative. After several post training discussions, which led to cuts, bruises and cracked ribs, their partnership settled, their love of anachronistic weapons sealing their friendship.
They were sent to separate units, but after a few months, Eliot had been called to his Colonel's office where the exasperated man had given Clint into his charge. The Hawk and The Wolf joined a group of elite whose identities were buried deeply in the military rosters. They'd been together two years when those elite team members began losing their lives as mission details became compromised.
It came to a head when Eliot and Clint were sent to San Lorenzo to assassinate a General Flores. The two men had become suspicious of their CIA handlers and the intel they'd been give so cultivated contacts outside their normal channels. When they hit the ground in San Lorenzo, instead of killing Flores they had taken the General and his family into hiding. The traitors had gathered their assets and had run them to ground where The Hawk with help from Flores took them out with arrows and bullets while the Wolf hunted them on the ground with guns and blades.
They were holding their own until an asset got in position to take a shot at Clint. The Hawk's cry of pain was the last thing the asset heard as Wolf's sword pierced his heart. Eliot ran, shot and slashed his way back to the abandoned house where they'd taken refuge. There was a pause in the shooting as everyone checked their clips and reloaded.
Eliot leaned against the wall a pistol in each hand. Smacking them against his thighs to seat the magazines, he cocked the pistols while scanning what he could see without exposing himself. Taking a breath to center himself he stepped out of the door and stopped when he saw the rogue agents on their knees in front of a tall black man with an eye patch, a white man straight out of Men In Black, and a willowy brunette with eyes like glaciers. He raised his guns.
"I got Cyclops."
"I guess that leaves me with Dorothy and Toto."
"What about the other twelve?" The man with the eye patch asked.
"Cut the head from the snake…" Eliot shrugged as he assessed who would die first.
Everyone's breath stopped as they waited for what came next.
"And the body dies. Gentlemen..." Black gloved hands spread to show they held no weapons. "Why don't we let my colleagues take care of hauling away the trash while we go somewhere more comfortable and talk?"
"Who is it we'd be talking to and why should we trust you?" Eliot drawled.
He had had enough. All he wanted was to get Flores and his family safe and check how badly Clint had been hit. Then decide whether to punch him or kiss him for getting hit in the first place.
"Nick Fury, Director of Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division or SHIELD. Dorothy is Agent Maria Hill and Toto is Agent Phil Coulson, and we've been trying to catch these guys in the act for a while now."
Eliot sat up and went to the galley in search of a cup of tea. Nick Fury had snatched them from Delta Force with such brutal efficiency that all their CO could do was whimper in submission. After their move to SHIELD they'd stopped hiding their relationship, and when Clint had come home with a Russian assassin trailing him like a stray pup, he'd thought his life couldn't get much stranger.
He'd expected the call to come from Agent Natasha Romanoff, The Black Widow, but figured Coulson sent her after Clint. Coulson was Fury's right hand same as Hill was Fury's left so their decisions were Fury's. He put a thought to the universe to protect them both. If Clint hurt or killed the red-headed assassin, Eliot never would get all the pieces put back together.
Taking his mug of tea back to his seat, Eliot turned his mind inward to his bond with Clint. Still there. Still silent. No emotions. No thoughts. He pushed his mind along the bond-searching. He hoped that like their mission to take down Operation Outcome, if he pushed hard enough he'd find where the archer was hiding inside his own mind. Just when he thought he'd found him a wall of blue appeared that he couldn't penetrate no matter how hard he pushed.
When he returned to the outside world, it was a toss-up as to which hurt worse-his head or his heart. He closed his eyes to push down the pain, but he'd cracked the door and the memories kept pouring through.
He exchanged a look with Clint when they were called to Fury's office. They hated the Director's missions. The end result left them battered, bleeding and close to broken. Fury had gotten word on a series of experimental programs the CIA was using to make black ops operatives so he set up them up as Kenneth Kitsome and Nicolas Taylor, and dropped them into the unit in Iraq led by Air Force Colonel Eric Byer, CIA liaison.
Unknown to Fury at the time, they had taken an extra precaution before the drop. They'd gone to one of SHIELD's pet telepaths and had her set an empathic bond between them so they would be able to feel if the other were alive, and to track them if necessary.
Eliot had used the bond to locate Clint and Dr. Shearing. He'd used Clint's favorite bow with tranquilizer arrows to knock them out-the helicarrier only minutes behind him. Phil had de-briefed the couple, and the battle was on to get to Clint to throw off Aaron Cross. It was not the first time Eliot and Natasha had retrieved their lover, but they lived with the constant fear that Clint would never emerge from under Aaron Cross, and they would lose him to Dr. Marta Shearing.
They'd been dragging Clint to the range every day hoping that communing with his bow would awaken The Hawk, but what had finally brought the Hawk back was the day his bond with Eliot went silent.
They'd never stabilized Eliot's cognitive changes like Dr. Shearing had done for 'Aaron'. Eliot kept that fact to himself, and when Clint didn't immediately come out from under the Aaron Cross persona, he'd stopped taking the blue pills knowing his system would soon crash.
When he next opened his eyes he felt weak and incredibly thirsty pinned down by a hawk and a black widow. Thankfully he could reach the water bottle without disturbing his exhausted lovers. Enhanced hearing picked up two sets of footsteps stopping at the door to his room. Enhanced sense of smell detected Phil Coulson and Dr. Shearing. The expression on her face told him she finally saw Clint Barton and Eliot Spencer-not science study subjects numbers 5 and 7. Phil led her away without a word.
The ass chewing from Fury was one of his more memorable, but the appraising glare and nod of approval and dismissal at the end left Eliot know the blustery words were for the benefit of the long ears on the command deck. Fury was well aware of the WSC spies among them.
Their lives settled into their sniper, retrieval specialist, and infiltration roles, a three person team with Coulson as their handler, until Eliot went undercover with Damien Moreau. After Moreau, Fury decided Eliot's reputation was an excellent way to bait people like Moreau. The information he collected on his reetrievals was invaluable, and his life with Clint and sometimes Natasha 'settled' until he received a call from Victor Dubenich.
Eliot's thoughts jerked to the present at the thought of Dubenich. The past year had dredged up entirely too many nightmares that often drove him from the warmth of the two bodies not often enough in his bed. Scrubbing a hand over his face, he heard the whine of the landing gear and the smell of the ocean, alerting him they were about to land.
Senior Agent Phil Coulson met him on deck with an expression that spoke of exhaustion, anger, and worry. He hadn't seen Phil since debriefing him about the Kanack job a month ago so he took a minute to pull the man into the shadows and into a tight hug. He felt the older man relax, take a deep breath then nodded against his neck. Eliot released him.
"I had to send Tasha after Banner."
'Instead of Clint,' was understood. Eliot briefly rested his forehead against Phil's.
"All that comes through the bond is that he's alive."
Both men straightened and proceeded to the conference room overlooking the command deck where Phil introduced Agent Spencer to Ironman, Tony Stark, Captain America, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, The Hulk and Thor. He greeted each man, Thor in his native tongue, which caused dropped jaws around the room and a thump of approval across his shoulders from the Asgardian. Coulson's eyes danced when Eliot gave him a wink that also acknowledged Natasha skirting the shadows.
Eliot listened until Rogers left with Phil. Going to the armory he got his tactical suit and collected his weapons. Employing Clint's mode of travel through the helicarrier, he lifted himself into the maintenance ductwork and made his way to the detention level and Loki. Not even Natasha knew he was there as he watched her twist Loki's tail. He wanted to learn what he could about the entity that had taken over so many good people. The Black Widow turned away from the adopted Asgardian as he taunted her with death at Clint's hands. She touched her hand to her comm.
"He's after the Hulk."
She turned back.
"Thank you for your cooperation."
Eliot waited until she closed the hatch before dropping from the ceiling. He leaned against the railing arms crossed over his chest and watched Loki pace his cell. He paused in his pacing to verbally attack Eliot, but Eliot just gave him a pitying look and walked away, the trickster shouting curses behind him.
This was going to get ugly.
"Do you know anything about where he went?"
Alec Hardison smiled to himself at Nate's question-Eliot had been gone two days.
"Knew you'd ask, but no. The cab dropped him at an abandoned warehouse. There's no tickets of any kind under any of my aliases or any of his that I know about."
"What about the idea Parker had of him being re-activated?"
"We just got settled. You really want me pokin' around government databases?"
Alec was surprised when Nate actually stopped to think about the question.
"It's not like this is the first outside job Eliot's taken. What's got you so up in the air about this one?"
Nate shook himself loose from his thoughts.
"This one feels different-personal-Eliot was upset-worried."
Hardison's head jerked up.
"It's probably just my imagination."
"We'll give it a few more days. Maybe keep an extra eye on the news."
Nate rubbed tired eyes. The others had wandered off after dinner while he remained in the office. The guy covering for Eliot was a good chef, but the mastermind missed the passion that went into Eliot's creations. The retrieval specialist was going to be monumentally pissed when he returned to find Hardison had once again changed the menu. He wondered if the hacker was trying to drive Eliot away before Nate's plans came to fruition, or if the younger man was making a power play to cover his own insecurities. Hardison was always trying to best Eliot, forgetting the sharp intellect hidden behind the flannel and denim. He was considering taking Hardison to task when a flash of blonde caught his eye.
"Come sit for a minute."
His thoughts got sidetracked as he waited for her to settle.
"You said a minute. You've got well…twenty seconds left."
Shaking his head to clear the confusion, he got to the point.
"When we were in Boston, did you ever notice anyone with Eliot?"
"You mean like Nurse Gail?"
Nate smiled at the sneer in Parker's tone. Almost five years together and she was still territorial. Though she and Hardison were working hard at their relationship, she was jealous and suspicious of anyone Eliot dated.
"More like you and Hardison."
"There was this man and woman…I think they were like us-me and Eliot us-not the rest of you us. I only saw them once, but Eliot had some places I never found."
"Thank you, Parker."
Nate threw his whiskey back letting the alcohol burn in his throat sear the shock from his system. Eliot had safe houses Parker couldn't find, and friends...he thought about Parker's description. People like her and Eliot. That was another shock, and explained her jealous protection of Eliot. The memory of the look they exchanged in the park when she'd asked Eliot what he did for Moreau-Parker had found a life preserver in Eliot's brokenness to keep her from drowning in the ocean of her awakened emotions.
If they lost Eliot, they might lose Parker.
Eliot tapped his comm as he came back through the conference room on his way to the landing deck.
"There's going to be an attack!"
Hill and Coulson moved to scramble troops.
'WHAT! WAIT! How's he know that?"
Stark and Banner ran agile fingers over touch screen displays.
"Who's in that Quinjet!"
Hill barked from her post.
"They have the proper clearances."
Before they could move explosions rocked the helicarrier.
"We've lost an engine."
Thor ran for Loki's containment cell. Black Widow took Bruce deeper into the helicarrier where she hoped he'd remain calm while Steve and Tony ran for the disabled engine.
Eliot let himself go. There was no need to hold back like he did with the Leverage crew. His mind planned while his body executed. Battling the enemies of SHIELD Clint had collected for Loki, Eliot caught sight of the archer high on the superstructure lining up a shot. Enhanced eyesight saw the cloud of bright blue obscuring grey-green eyes red and sunken from lack of food and sleep. A growl rose in Eliot's throat a he fought to reach him both mentally and physically.
He saw Hawk's head snap around as he felt a tear in the blue wall blocking their bond. Clint hesitated-the blue cloud started to recede from his eyes. He shook his head.
Then it was gone. The cloud once again covered his eyes and blocked their link as an arrow sailed past his head. Eliot ran after Clint, but got side tracked to Loki's cell by Thor's distressed yell. He caught Phil as the recoil from the gun nearly toppled him. The trickster ran as Eliot pulled out field dressings to staunch the blood flowing from the agent's wounds. He felt the fire of his anger bank into an icy rage.
"Dammit, Phil. You want Widow to have my guts for garters?"
"Sorry. Tell Tasha…"
"Tell her yourself, and work on your timing 'cause if really sucks."
Eliot shielded the fallen agent with his body as he felt someone enter the room. The scent of leather, gun oil, and lies wafted around Nick Fury. He came to his feet like a striking rattler.
Nick Fury backed up a step. He saw his death in the wintery eyes watching him from beneath lowered brows.
"Eliot, you can't kill the Boss."
"It can be the last thing we both do, Phil."
"Think of Clint and Natasha."
Phil's lung sounds were diminishing-medical better get here quick.
Nick shuddered despite the protective body armor and his own healing abilities from the super soldier serum. He'd watched the Wolf and Hawk spar after their enhancement at the hands of Operation Outcome, and had no desire to feel the Wolf's teeth at his throat.
"Agent Romanoff has gone after Agent Barton-you should lend her a hand."
He was surprised when his voice came out steady and carrying the snap of command. The medical team waited nervously at the door. Torn, Eliot growled his frustration at whether to go after his lovers or stay with the man who'd become his brother.
Eyes locked and though his expression told Phil Coulson he was unhappy at leaving the wounded man, he gave a nod-a glare at Fury-before leaving for the Black Widow's last known location.
"Coulson is down…The medics have called it."
If there was time, Eliot would have howled his pain to the sky, but with the helicarrier listing badly all he could do was run toward Clint and Natasha. There'd be time for mourning later…maybe. He finally heard the sounds of fighting and a skull meeting metal. He rounded the corner in time to see Clint pull himself to his knees, and feel his presence burst through their bond.
Eliot's heart clenched at the confusion in Clint's voice as a hard right laid him out. The couple was silent as Eliot hoisted the unconscious archer over his shoulder.
Restraints fastened, Eliot turned and opened his arms then closed them around the trembling body of his spider.
When Eliot felt Clint's mind begin struggling toward consciousness, he stepped outside. He wanted to stay, but Natasha insisted. They had to finish his unmaking before they could rebuild him. Years of repressing his deep cover personas had left Clint more vulnerable than they'd realized. Eliot closed his eyes against the pain in his lover's voice.
"Do you know what it's like for someone to take out your brain and play…stuff something else back in? Do you know what it's like to be unmade?
"You know that I do."
Clint knew, too, but once he'd come out from under Aaron Cross, and was de-briefed, he refused to talk about Byers, Outcome or the pretty dark haired doctor. Eliot pinched the bridge of his nose to ward off a headache. They should have pushed harder. He was out of the room's line of sight leaning against the cool metal wall as Natasha worked to soothe the archer's battered psyche.
Eliot had straightened with the intention of entering the room when Captain America came rushing down the hall. He turned away as they all three came out of the room and headed for the armory.
Parker rushed out of her apartment into the office.
"Hardison! Quick turn on the news!"
Drawn by the yelling, Nate and Sophie appeared on the steps. Parker's face was pale as she urged Hardison to hurry.
"You're gonna make me miss it."
The screens flared to life. They stared at the carnage on the screen.
"You raised all that fuss over a movie?"
The older couple turned back toward their apartment.
"Nate, it's not a movie. That's New York City."
Parker moved closer to the screens.
"Oh my god! That's Eliot!"
All they saw was a man with long dark hair herding people to safety as strange creatures flew through the air. The man spun firing a staff like weapon at the alien that was coming toward him and his charges.
"Eliot fightin' aliens! Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!"
Hardison twirled around the room.
"Hey, isn't that the tower you're always drooling over? Sark…Snark…Stark?"
Parker pointed to the screen.
"Turn up the volume."
Nate pulled Sophie against his side.
"These scenes are coming to you live from New York City where we've been told an alien invader known as Loki of Asgard has opened some sort of portal allowing beings called the Chitauri to invade Earth. What you're seeing now are troops from SHIELD, the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division, trying to evacuate survivors away from the fighting. We're also told the Director of SHIELD, Nick Fury has activated something called The Avengers initiative consisting of billionaire, Tony Stark, who the world knows as Ironman, Captain America, another Asgardian, Thor, The Hulk, and several others whose identities are unknown at this time…"
The news anchor continued his rambling narrative as buildings fell, people were crushed and explosions ripped through Manhattan. The camera showed The Avengers regrouping on street.
All eyes turned to Parker.
"When you asked me about Eliot. The man with the bow and the red-head."
"You saw them with Eliot?"
Ironman grabbed the archer and took off along with The Hulk while Captain America, Thor and the red-head scattered on the ground.
"This is so cool."
Hardison was practically orgasmic.
"Aliens killing people and destroying New York is cool?"
Sophie's voice was full of disbelief. Hardison stopped and his expression turned sheepish.
"Not the killin' and destroyin', but aliens?…even you have to admit that's cool."
The station was beginning to show pictures from all around Manhattan. They finally stopped on Stark Tower where a beam of blue light split open the sky. At ground level it showed the bottom ten floors of the tower. The broken windows were covered by what looked like hurricane shutters that appeared impervious to the alien blasts. Black suited soldiers were directing survivors into the tower. There was one without a helmet with a red bandana holding his hair back from his face.
"That really is Eliot." Sophie exclaimed.
"Hardison can you tell what the emblem is on Eliot's suit?"
"Give me just a minute…It's an eagle…It's the logo for SHIELD."
"They did reactivate him."
Parker's voice was breathy.
"I'm not sure he was ever not active." Nate countered.
"Why would he work with us?"
"SHIELD's not your typical government agency. I'm not even sure they are a government agency…at least not for our government."
"I wonder if Eliot can get me an autograph."
They all asked on concert.
"You're kidding. Tony Stark is a geek's god. If Eliot knows him then I'm sittin' pretty."
"You should probably wait and see if he comes back from outer space before you ask Eliot to get his autograph."
Sophie said as they pulled their chairs in front of the LED screens to continue watching.
"Oh! I wanna do that!"
Parker pointed at the screen where they saw the archer leap off the building and shoot an arrow at the same time. It stuck in the side of the building and the attached rope allowed him to swing through one of the building's plate glass windows.
The blue beam was cut off and all the aliens stopped and collapsed where they stood or fell out of the sky. The camera panned back to the front of Stark Tower where they listened as Eliot called for medical personnel and teams to start searching for survivors. There were dark places on his uniform, but they couldn't tell if it was his blood or someone else's.
Now that they attack was over, Hardison muted the sound.
"So what do we do about Eliot?"