Giftee: Sho (whiskyinmind)
Characters/Pairing: Eliot/Clint; Parker/Hardison; Tony Stark; Quinn; Shelley; Natasha Romanoff; The Avengers, Nick Fury, Phil Coulson
Word Count: 8,333
Spoilers: The Future Job, The Last Dam Job - actual dialogue from the episodes quoted. The Bourne Legacy
Disclaimer: I do not own them. They belong only to themselves, and the people that created them. This is fiction. No money is made. I apologize for any typos I missed.
Summary: Giftee Prompt: Parker's brother isn't actually dead, and he's someone we've met on the show.
Added Pretties: They met in war, gave themselves to the 'Program' and were reunited by a billionaire, genius, not so much a playboy anymore. Written for the 2013 Leverage Secret Santa Exchange.
When Eliot Spencer turned sixteen, he took his savings from working in his father's hardware store and bought a new identity as Curtis Elliott, eighteen, a boy with no family.
The escalating arguments between the strong willed Spencer men had Eliot packing a duffle, and heading to the first town where they'd never heard of Spencer's Hardware or Eliot Spencer, quarterback. He walked into the first recruitment office, enlisted in the Army and never looked back.
A mission while stationed in Iraq, left Eliot to wake up in the hospital next to the only other member of his squad to survive a roadside bomb.
When Colonel Eric Byers, CIA liaison to their unit told him and Kenneth Kitsom the extent of their injuries, they felt like Colonel was a godsend as he told them about a cutting edge program, Operation Outcome. The choice between brain damage and wheelchairs, or being returned to full health seemed to be a no brainer. The fact that it was secret and experimental was of little concern as they signed the forms giving their lives to the 'Program.'
By the time Mark Turso and Eric Byers tried to hide their human experimentation by burning Operation Outcome to the ground, Ryan Hanks' tracker disappeared in the Alaskan wilderness, never to appear on the NSA's GPS again.
Eliot never knew if any of the others make it out of the 'Program', and he never wanted to draw attention by investigating. A few well paying jobs later and the skills of a very talented hacker…Ryan Hanks' fingerprints and DNA was scrubbed from any online system, and Eliot Spencer rose from the ashes.
Leaving Nate to Tara's tender mercies, Eliot bundled Parker and Hardison into his truck. The quicker he got Parker away from Dalton Rand, fake psychic, the greater chance the con man wouldn't die from Eliot beating him to death.
Parker sat rigidly between them on the bench seat drawn inside her memories. Hardison was looking a bit pie-eyed wondering how to comfort the skittish thief. His shyness with women…especially one he had a crush on, and Parker's cluelessness when it came to relationships had the hacker floundering.
Pulling around the back of McRory's, Alec scampered inside to begin scrubbing Parker and Nate out of the station's videos. Parker stared out the windshield.
Before he could finish, Parker was shivering against his side.
"Do you retrieve people?" Her voice was small against his chest.
Parker slipped a flash drive into his hand. Part of Eliot was curious at where she stashed these things, the other part was afraid she'd show him.
"I never found out where my brother was buried. They sent me back the same day he died." Her words vibrated against his throat.
"I'll do my best, Sweetheart." He kissed the top of her head. "Now go torment Hardison…and don't forget to eat…real food, Parker." He admonished as she bounced out of the truck.
She looked back with a sad little smile.
She disappeared before he could answer.
Knowing if Parker had wanted Hardison in on this retrieval she would have given him the flash drive, Eliot locked any electronics the hacker had given him in the truck's glove box, took a cab to the airport. There was only one place where he was sure Hardison could not find him if he got online.
A couple hours later a cab dropped the retrieval specialist in front of beautifully restored townhouse in the upper west side of Manhattan.
Eliot paused in the foyer…listening. For all the soundproofing in the house, his enhanced hearing still picked the sounds of Shelley, his Army buddy now personal security consultant, moving around his small apartment on the street side of the fourth floor.
The team would be flabbergasted to know that anti-social, paranoid Eliot Spencer allowed people to live in his favorite safe house. The other small apartment on fourth floor he rented to Quinn, the young hitter that had helped Sterling scatter them when they'd gone after Blackpoole the first time.
The townhouse came to Eliot as a windfall during his time with Damien Moreau. Moreau took his entourage to California in hopes of wooing Obadiah Stane, Stark Industries CEO, into the fold. Using his habit of prowling the area when he couldn't sleep, Eliot had slipped away to Tony Stark's Malibu mansion. He had come to an understanding with JARVIS before either of them was too damaged-he'd given the AI his intel on Stane then returned to Moreau's penthouse before he was missed.
Stark had gifted the retrieval specialist with the 1885 townhouse, and a direct line to him through JARVIS. When Stark Industries got out of the weapons business, Tony used Eliot's services on more than one occasion to retrieve SI weapons. If pressed, the two men would grudgingly admit to being friends.
When Tony was kidnapped, Eliot had gone through the followers of the Ten Rings like a plague, and was a day away from finding him when the genius rescued himself. Watching from a distance as Colonel Rhodes, with help from SHIELD collected the billionaire, Eliot incapacitated a SHIELD grunt, and stole his uniform in order to watch over his friend until he was safely back in the States.
Once on the ground, he walked up to the agent in charge, Phil Coulson, handed him everything he'd collected during his hunt for Stark, and disappeared into the crowd before Coulson looked up from binder he'd been given.
Eliot rewarded Rhodes with a teeth rattling punch to the jaw for giving Coulson his name. He refused Fury's offer to join SHIELD, but the stubborn Director paid him outrageous sums of money as his 'consultant'.
Stepping into apartment, he felt the tension he'd been carrying since Sophie left to find herself…ease. Starting a pot of coffee, Eliot opened the panel under the stairs, swiped his thumb across the biometric lock on the safe and pulled out his StarkPad. Finally settled in an oversized chair with his glasses and coffee, he plugged in Parker's flash drive. Reading through all the information the thief had given him he took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"How may I be of assistance, Eliot?"
"Sir was recently diagnosed with Palladium poisoning…"
"All is well. Director Fury and Agent Romanoff were able to provide a stopgap until we developed an element to stop the arc reactor from poisoning him."
"Sir determined since there was nothing to be done, no one should know."
Frustration made Eliot want to throw the computer.
"I could not go against Sir's wishes."
"I know, Buddy." He ran his hand through his hair in frustration, and breathed deep to settle his anger at his idiot friend. "Listen, you seeing what I've got here?"
"I have been searching while we talked. There is no death certificate for Parker Dixon, but there is a social services file for the adoption of five year-old Parker Dixon to Julia and Richard Quinn of Clay, Alabama. I have found pictures, school transcripts, and military records for one Parker Quinn."
"I don't fucking believe this.' Eliot exclaimed, staring at a picture of the young retrievalist that lived upstairs.
A knock at the door snapped Eliot out of his shock.
"Hey, man. Saw the light and brought you back a pie from Ray's." Shelley handed him a pizza box.
"Thanks." Eliot handed him money for the pizza. "Seen Quinn around?"
"Yeah, saw him this morning. Think he's flying out in a couple days."
"Thanks, man. You see him tell him to stop by before he leaves."
"Hey! We have a poker game in the back room at McRory's on Tuesday nights. You're ever in Boston on Tuesday, come by."
"Will do, Brother." Shelley waved as he headed up the stairs.
"This is a fine mess." Eliot sighed as he grabbed a beer from the wet bar.
"Indeed." JARVIS agreed.
Entering the foyer after his morning run around Central Park, Eliot was surprised to see Quinn with coffee and a bakery bag ready to knock on his door.
"Shelley gave me your message."
"Yeah. Make yourself comfortable while I grab a quick shower."
Quinn wandered back to the breakfast nook while Eliot headed up the stairs.
Sitting across from the younger man, he pinched the bridge of his nose. At this rate he was going to have a permanent bruise.
"Eliot, why are you here instead of Boston?"
"I'm on a job."
He looked up into twinkling brown eyes.
"You're not going to beat me up again are you?"
Eliot rolled his eyes.
"No. We just finished a job taking down a phony psychic. Guy was good. Could do a cold read almost as good as Sophie."
"Who'd he hit?"
"Parker. Shook her bad."
"What's that got to do with me?"
"Once upon a time, Parker had a little brother. He was younger by ten months. They entered the system after their folks died in a house fire. One day, Parker was teaching her brother to ride a bike. He lost control, rode into traffic and was hit by a car. They told her he died, and she's carried the guilt all these years that she'd killed her baby brother. Why she only goes by 'Parker'-in his memory." Eliot gave Quinn a hard look.
Quinn's brows pulled down in a frown.
"I don't get it."
"Their case worker wanted to split them. People wanted a cute little boy, but not his strange sister. So the case worker told Parker her brother died, yanked her out of the foster home and moved her to another. Little brother was only scratched and bruised, adopted out to a couple, who then move to Alabama."
Quinn's face went pale.
"My first name is Parker. Parker Quinn from Clay, Alabama."
"'Fraid so, ole son."
"So scary, crazy Parker is my sister?"
"It looks that way, Hoss. She wanted me to retrieve the location of her brother's grave, but I found you instead."
"It should have been harder to find me."
"I had top shelf help."
"Your kid hacker?"
"That kid is a genius, but no-Parker's feeling vulnerable right now with Sophie gone, and this ass pushing her buttons…"
"Oh my god, you adopted them." Quinn teased shakily.
"Yeah, well she's your sister. Want to come back to Boston with me?"
The expression on the handsome face fell.
"I can't. I'm leaving tonight for Russia." He looked Eliot in the eye. "I want to talk to my mom. Dad died two years ago, but maybe she'll tell me what happened. I honestly only remember them."
"You were five, and had been in an accident. Parker wasn't that much older." A frown marred the rugged face. "Can I at least tell her?" Eliot's question was soft.
"Not yet. I don't know how long I'm going to be gone. These SHIELD gigs you got me into pay really good but they're some long assed jobs."
"I get it, man. I'll think of something to tell her."
"Was it really bad? Is that why she's the way she is?"
Eliot shrugged. "It's her story to tell, but I think it was 'til Archie found her…gave her sort of a home…taught her everything he knows about being a thief. She's scary smart." Eliot's smile was soft.
"You're in love with her!"
"What!!?? No! You're crazy as she is…plus Hardison's losing his mind over her. Parker's a little clueless."
"So you're the protective older brother in this con?" Quinn teased.
"I protect them…that's my job…even from me."
Eliot growled as he stalked out of the room, leaving the younger man gawking.
Eliot was barely in the door of his condo over McRory's when he was nearly tackled by Parker.
"Did you find it?"
"Jeez, Parker. Let me get in the door unless you want the whole building knowing your business. You know Hardison has cameras everywhere."
"Not on this floor." She grinned.
"Come in and sit. I found some stuff out that might surprise you."
Perched on the arm of the chair, Parker twitched like a thoroughbred in the gate.
"Your brother might not be dead."
Dark blue eyes went round and grew damp. Eliot suddenly found himself with a lap full of shivering Parker. He held her until in a small voice she asked him what he found.
He told her what he could and when she wanted to meet her brother, he gently explained the man he thought was her brother was working undercover in Eastern Europe. He assured her he had someone monitoring the situation, and as soon as it was safe, he would set up a meeting.
Eliot would never admit it on the pain of death, but he had enjoyed working with Quinn. Every chance he got he encouraged the younger man to talk to Parker. Time was running out, Leverage and Associates was coming down the home stretch.
"The money's being wired to your account as we speak." He reached out to shake Quinn's hand. "Thank you."
"You know…about that favor…"
"Favor, huh? How 'bout next time we fight I don't beat you so bad." Eliot growled.
"I think you're a little confused over how that last fight went." Quinn scoffed.
"You weren't even awake for the last part of our last fight." Eliot pulled him into a side tunnel. "When are you going to tell her? I've covered for you for two and a half years."
"But she…and Archie…"
"Yeah Archie was the world's worst father figure unless you're Parker, but you're blood, man. We're scattering after this job. Parker finally let Hardison catch her, so it's hard to tell where she'll lead him by the…nose."
"What about you?" Quinn asked.
"New York. Stark's got some stuff he wants me to take a look at…and you're changing the subject."
"Look, mom died six months ago, and I just got everything settled. I need a little more time to get myself right. Tell you what I'll do…they show up on your doorstep-I'll tell her."
"This gig isn't going to last forever. I look for Nate to start his and Sophie's exit strategy any time. When that happens, I'll probably use the townhouse as a permanent base of operations.
"Then I'll see you when you get home."
Hearing the others coming, Quinn beat a hasty retreat.
"Chicken." Eliot called softly.
Eliot landed in New York after a whirlwind tour of the Middle East on a job with Colonel Vance. Before heading to the townhouse, he met Agent Coulson at the 34th Street Heliport and passed over a diplomatic pouch with some odds and ends he retrieved on Vance's dime-it was going to be a NICE pay day.
He stepped out of the shower to the buzzing of his StarkPhone.
"Stark, least you could do is let me get the sand out of the places no man should have sand."
"I need you here. I need your war dog brain."
"I'll be there soon as I'm dressed, but there better be food."
Over Chinese takeout, Tony filled him in on the Avengers Initiative, Thor, Loki, the Tessaract, and…
"This is one of SHIELD's Level 7 master assassins, Hawkeye aka Clint Barton. He's right up there with the Black Widow when it comes to skill set. Great tactical mind, sniper that never misses…Loki has him under some kind thrall."
Tony threw up 3D images of Hawkeye. Eliot's chopsticks clattered on his plate.
"What? What's wrong?"
"You say this guy is a SHIELD agent?"
"Yeah, has been for years."
"Twelve years ago, I met a man looks exactly like him-name, Kenneth Kitsom, Patient 5, Aaron Cross, DOD Program Operation Outcome."
Tony's voice was low to not interrupt Eliot. This was the most the man had ever given away.
"How do you know this?"
"Name, Curtis Elliott, Patient 7, Ryan Hanks. We escaped the program about the same time. Pamela Landry and Jason Bourne were burning down the CIA and NSA. A retired Air Force Colonel and Admiral were trying to cover their asses. Aaron escaped with the one surviving scientist, Marta Shearing."
Eliot scraped his plate in the disposal…his appetite gone.
"I remember SHIELD snatched up Shearing when they picked Barton up in Singapore. Whatever was done to him was put under Fury's personal lock codes. JARVIS and I haven't made it that deep-yet. I'd just started consulting on the plans for the Helicarrier."
"They altered chromosomes-cognitive ability, healing, senses, stamina…probably the next best thing to the Super Soldier serum."
"Well damn. Who else knows you survived?"
"You…JARVIS." Eliot stared hard at the billionaire.
"No worries. What I need you to do is get my security people outfitted for what's looking to be a whole lot of property damage. I don't want them on the streets, but I need to protect the Tower. Let's go down to the workshop, that's where I keep all the cool toys."
After the Battle of Manhattan, Eliot made sure the Tower was secure before he disappeared. Thankfully the battle hadn't gotten as far as his neighborhood. He thought Stark forgot him in all the chaos, but he wasn't that lucky when it came to the genius.
Three days later, his phone rang.
"Open the door, Chef!" Tony shouted into his phone.
Eliot leaned his head against the kitchen cabinet. With a sigh he pressed the lock release. He opened the door to his apartment and stepped back.
"Tony." Eliot he kept his eyes on Stark.
"I need a favor, my friend." Tony grinned.
"I'm still nursing the bruises from the last favor I did for you." Eliot crossed his arms over his chest.
"My friends need a place to lay low for a bit…I believe you recognize Natasha Romanoff, and are acquainted with Clint Barton."
Clint's changeable eyes widened when he saw Eliot. Natasha tensed watching Clint for clues.
"Seriously?" He looked at Tony.
"I have to go to California or I'd be begging beds for me, Pepper and Bruce, too."
Eliot gave a resigned sigh.
"Fine." He stuck out his hand to Natasha.
It was her turn for her eyes to go wide as she took his hand. He turned to Clint.
"You were in the 'Program'." Clint's tone was flat
"Yeah. I left the cabin a couple days before it went boom. My tracker just happened to go a different route. If they followed it, they'd have found a really pissed off grizz…come on, I'll show you where you can sleep. There're a couple guys on the fourth floor. Shelley works personal security, Quinn does some work for SHIELD among other things."
He stopped at the top of the stairs.
"There're four bedrooms. You're welcome to any of them except the master. Towels in the bathroom, dojo in the basement, library and whatnot on the garden level. Place is soundproof so don't worry about the noise"
He left the assassins to sort themselves out while he went back to his dinner preparations, cursing Tony Stark down every step.
The first few days, Eliot would fix breakfast then join the work crews at Stark Tower. Before he left for Los Angeles, Tony tasked Eliot and JARVIS with supervising the work crews. Eliot rarely saw his house guests, but made sure the pantry and fridge were well stocked. Clint looked thin and worn. Apparently Loki didn't take very good care of his toys.
After a week, the two assassins joined him for meals. Natasha had been going to the Helicarrier, docked in the harbor to help as she could. Clint met him at the door one morning, and asked if he could tag along.
"Your house is great, man, but I'm about to climb the walls."
"Sure, if you don't mind riding the back of my bike. It's the easiest way to get around besides walk."
"I don't mind at all." Clint gave him a suggestive wink.
While the debris was being cleared, Eliot remembered what Tony said about Clint's tactical talents, so sat with the archer and JARVIS and went over the plans for the Tower renovations. They tweaked and fiddled until the building was as secure as they could make it. Housing research labs, Iron Man and the Hulk in one Tower was a set of worries Manhattan didn't need. JARVIS linked them with Tony who approved the AI to send the new plans to his general contractor.
With JARVIS monitoring all the floors, Eliot and Clint could be where they were most needed. Along with the progress on the Tower, a friendship began to build between the archer and retrieval specialist.
Many nights Eliot would hear Clint moving to Natasha's room when nightmares woke the archer. When his own nightmares drove him from his bed, he'd have JARVIS check on his team mates and house mates if Shelley and Quinn were on a job then spend the rest of the night cooking, reading or doing maintenance on his weapons closet.
When Clint realized someone else was awake, he'd join Eliot. They talked about their changes from the Outcome experiments, played chess-Clint told stories about missions with Coulson and Natasha, and talked about Phil's death and Loki. Eliot talked about the Leverage team, how he'd met Stark, and being a contractor for Fury.
Six weeks after the Battle of Manhattan, the structural repairs were finished, and the deadly assassin, Black Widow, stood with a soft smile on her face as she watched Clint and Eliot asleep on Eliot's sinfully comfortable couch.
"Tell me you started the coffee before you got lost in your 'awww' moment." Eliot kept his voice low.
"It's probably too late to warn you he cuddles." Green eyes twinkled.
Eliot extricated himself from Clint's grasp, stopping by the powder room on the way to the kitchen. Before he could grab a mug from the cabinet, Natasha grabbed his cheeks and planted a kiss on each one.
"Welcome to the family, moy volk. Remember, you hurt moy yastreb, I will introduce you to my Widow's Bite."
"Yeah…yeah…you assassins always think you're such bad asses." Eliot growled into his coffee.
"Because we are." Natasha smirked.
Eliot pulled breakfast fixings out of the refrigerator before he answered.
"Never tell a Chechen his sister has a pretty smile." His tone was smug.
"Prizrachnyy volk!" Natasha gasped.
Clint woke from the best night's sleep he'd had since Loki to Russian and the smell of breakfast. He rolled to his feet and looked back at the couch with a frown. The last thing he remembered was The Maltese Falcon on TV-his feet tucked under Eliot's thigh.
Coming down the stairs, he passed Eliot on his way up.
"Better get to the kitchen before Nat eats it all."
His expression was puzzled as he poured his coffee.
"Why so confused, Yastreb?"
"Since when does Eliot call you Nat?"
"Since I found out he is prizrachnyy volk."
"Ghost wolf." His plate clattered on the counter. "THE Ghost Wolf?"
"Da. He helped me out of a bit of trouble in Chechnya. Now tell me how long you two have been an item."
"You were twined around him like a creeping vine."
She laughed at his blush.
When Eliot came into the kitchen, Natasha was still making fun of her partner. Pale eyes met Eliot's.
"Are we dating?"
"If you need a label…friends sliding toward lovers." Eliot shrugged as he set his favorite tea to steep.
"How do I not know these things?" He mumbled into his eggs.
"We're guys…you know…we're stunted when it comes to talking about our softer feelings. Plus you keep saying you see better from a distance. Maybe you need glasses close up."
Taking advantage of Clint's parted lips Eliot bent down and collected a soft kiss before going to the stove to fix a plate.
Clint held up a finger to Natasha.
"Not one word." He growled.
The Rest Of The Story...