Saving Eliot

Chapter 11

CHAPTER ELEVEN

No One Knows What It's Like

To Be The Bad Man

To Be The Sad Man

Behind Blue Eyes

Ending

Roughly about 4:45 PM

"You left me with a friggin' lemon wedge? How would that have saved my life if I would have needed a weapon? Was I supposed to throw it at him?" Eliot winced as he realized just how whinny he sounded just then, but the woman had gone and left him with nothing but a piece of fruit for cryin' out loud. How in the world was he supposed to use that against Evan if he'd needed to fight?

Katharine tried hard to hide the smile she felt coming on at his sudden outburst directed towards her as soon as she walked into his room after she'd waited for Evan Chapman to leave. She had barely had time to reach for Eliot's chart to start writing down his current readings, when he'd started in on her.

"It was all I had on me at the time. I love the smell of lemons and I took it from my tea at lunch." She smiled at him trying very hard to contain her laughter at the look on his face. "Besides, do you know how dangerous lemon juice can be? If you had gotten him in the eye, it would have burned like a bitch." She said as she lost the battle to control her laughter. He was looking at her and he looked like a little boy; a mad little boy and she was willing to stake her life on the fact he'd never looked that way at anyone before. Ever. "Although you would be doing good just to move your arms seeing as how the chest muscles are connected to the arm muscles and you have four holes in your chest right now, 2 bullet wounds and 2 chest tube lines. So I'd be surprised if you good even wave bye-bye right now."

Eliot looked at the woman standing over him trying so hard to control herself, and he could not see how she found this funny. Women, he growled. But he did remember he had taken down the Butcher of Kiev with a little lemon juice. That had been a good takedown, too, he thought. "That's not funny, woman. I can show you a wave I can accomplish with very little effort."

She laughed outright then at the childish anger he was gaving off. "You're so cute when you're angry." She managed to get out between bouts of laughter. After that he just seemed to get red in the face.

Eliot looked at her as if she'd just grown another head. What in the world was he thinking asking her for help? This woman was crazy. Then he smiled inwardly as he realized that he probably sounded like a spoiled child. Okay so maybe he was upset, but what did she expect? He'd been shot for God's sake. What was he getting himself into here?

"I am not cute. That… would be… ridiculous." He managed to get out before he became short of breath.

Katharine immediately dropped his chart on the bedside table and reached for the oxygen mask resting above his head and attached it over his nose and mouth. She should have realized he'd over do things. He should be getting oxygen all the time. His lung was still not working properly to get air in and out. She reached up to brush his hair from his face as she made sure the mask was settled properly.

Eliot could do nothing but watch her as she placed the mask on his face. He quickly tried to breath deeply of the sweet pure air, but his lungs didn't work at full capacity yet. He managed to weakly lift his right arm and press it over his chest to help his breathing, but all he managed to do was cause himself more pain as he came into contact with the chest wounds.

Katharine reached over on the bed frame and pushed a button that slowly raised his bed so that he was almost sitting and that helped his breathing even out more. Then she pulled a syringe from her pocket of her uniform top and she reached for the catheter in the IV of his left arm. Eliot watched her with a darkening look crossing over his eyes. She noticed the look and hesitated for a just a moment.

"It's morphine; for the pain." She explained at the look. Did he think she would hurt him? After telling him she'd help him? She would never hurt him, surely he understood that. But then again, she was forced to remember she really didn't know him or what he'd just been through.

"How much?" He rasped behind the mask. His eyes never leaving the syringe in her hand as she hovered over the IV.

"What?"

Eliot swallowed at the dryness in his throat. "How. Much." He repeated slowly as if she were having trouble understanding english.

Katharine just looked at him. "If you mean the dosage, it's a double dose. Usually in the hospital, you'd be on a PCA, patient-controlled Analgesia, but we don't have that here. So you're on pain meds every half hour by injection. It's to help you to rest so you can heal. You do know you have to heal."

"I can't…" He paused to try and lick at his dry lips under the mask. "I can't be drugged up and sleeping. I need to be alert… so I can handle this situation." Eliot slowly moved his eyes from the syringe to her. He looked at her with such deep intensity. He needed her to understand that he had to stay alert to all possible dangers.

"This situation?" She asked him as she slowly moved closer to his arm in hopes of catching him off guard so she could slip the medication in his IV. "What situation is that exactly?"

"I can't be vulnerable right now. I have…I have to be… in control." Eliot remembered Evan's words from earlier. He couldn't let his guard down with that man coming after him. Evan had told him of some of his plans just to let Eliot know what was coming. What they had planned for him. And Eliot knew that now more than ever he had to know when it was coming and he also had to protect Katharine somehow without her knowing what could happen to her. She was in danger now that Evan had seen how close she'd been to Eliot when he'd walked in and that was not good.

Suddenly he snapped out his left hand and grabbed her left wrist as she was just about to inject the medication. The movement was so quick it took Katharine by surprise and she couldn't stop the gasp that escaped her. She looked from his long fingers wrapped around her wrist to his eyes. He hadn't moved anything except his hand and he'd been quick. Too quick for someone in his condition.

"No." He said simply o her.

At first Katharine felt panicked at this quick reaction, but as she took in the glazed look of pain in his eyes, she knew he wasn't meaning to hurt her. Whatever had happened here, he was just trying to keep some control over his body. She relaxed under his touch and smiled at him.

"All right. No pain med, for now. But you need something. You can't possibly survive the pain. There is a limit to everyone's pain threshold. And believe me when I say, I think you need something."

Eliot just continued to stare at the woman. He hoped the stare that he reserved for Hardison when he pissed him off would work on Katharine, but other than the surprise of his quick movement, she didn't seem to be flustered one bit. He narrowed his eyes at her hoping to convey a more sinister side to him. He needed her to fear him, at least a little so that he could get her out of this. After his talk with Evan, Eliot knew he needed to protect her from him.

"That won't work. I have…had two brothers. Growing up with them was a lesson in how to read a man's bullshit meter. And you Eliot Spencer cannot bullshit me. You are in pain and while I know you can be a formidable force when healthy, you are not going to scare me while you are laying in that bed." She pulled the syringe from her left hand and used her right to prepare to inject it as Eliot watched her.

Eliot couldn't let her drug him. He knew what was at stake here, and she didn't. "Look," he tried again, this time he softened his eyes as he spoke through the mask. "I need to be alert. I can't explain right now. I just…I just can't let you drug me. It's important for me to stay awake. Please…" He finished with a weak smile. The best he could come up with considering the stupid mask that covered his face was in his way. He even let the smile reach his eyes.

Katharine blinked. Then she blinked again. "Wow," She breathed softly. "I bet that took every ounce of strength you had. To beg and bat those baby blues at me. And while I am absolutely positive that you have had great success with that smile and eye combo, that won't work either. But I must compliment you on the fact you went from fierce pitbull to puppy dog face in the blink of an eye." She pulled at her still captive wrist and felt his grip tighten in reaction before he reluctantly let her go. "I'm not going to give you the full double dose, but I am giving you enough to take the edge off."

It was Eliot's turn to blink, because even though she'd said it wouldn't work, it had. She was lessening the dose. A sort of compromise. He looked at her as he felt the drug start working almost instantly. She was right, it was enough to take the edge off, but it was also enough for his vision to get fuzzy again and he felt slightly nauseous. He laid his head back against the pillows as she moved to recap the syringe and replace in her pocket.

He slowly reached up with an arm made of lead and removed the mask. He had to warn her to be careful. He needed to tell her to watch herself, but keeping his eyes open was becoming a contest of wills and he was losing. Damn it, the drug wasn't just taking the edge off. He realized too late that she had given him the full double dose after all.

"Kath…I need…I need you to be careful of…Evan." He tried to warn her. "I need… you to …"

Katharine turned from making a note in his chart to look at him. "What do you mean?"

Eliot blinked up at her. What was he saying again? Oh, yeah Evan. "Evan knows something or…he's…guessed something. He…he's watching you so… please don't do anything…"

Evan Chapman was watching her? Damn it, did he already know she'd called Quinn? She took a deep breath, what was she supposed to do now? "I'll be careful Eliot. Don't worry about me. Just rest now and we'll talk in a few hours." She patted his hand as he finally closed his eyes.

If Evan Chapman was watching her, then she didn't know how much time she'd have. She couldn't call Quinn again, he'd said he'd call her when he was heading her way. She couldn't call anyone else either. Not until she knew when and how she was getting Eliot out of here. So she'd just have to be sure she was ready at a moment's notice. She was raised by a father in the Army so she'd been raised to break camp in a second. She walked over to a dresser in the corner and picked up the medical bag Dr. Richards had brought in that morning with the extra medications and supplies for Eliot.

She carefully took stock of what was in the bag then added more bandages and other accessories from the drawers. Soon she had the bag packed and hidden in the closet behind some other equipment. She laid the other medications she'd need later on top of the dress as if in preparation for Eliot's next dosage and bandage checks so the Dr. wouldn't need to search for the bag. She checked the pluerovac attached to the chest tubes in Eliot and saw his numbers were still too high for it to be removed this soon. The best she could hope for would be in the morning. He'd be on it for a full 24 hours around the time she'd be ready to get off duty, so maybe the doctor would be able to remove at least the air vac tube.

But the tube that was draining his blood was another story. He wasn't getting off that one anytime soon. She'd have to see if Quinn could find a portable pleurovac before he came for them; something for just until they could get him to a hospital. She knew she was kidding herself if she thought she was going to be able to get him out of here on his two feet, but she knew they couldn't stay here. Not now. Not if Evan was becoming suspicious of her.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Roughly about 5:00 PM

Sophie Deveraux had spent the majority of her life not depending on anyone. Then she came across Nathan Ford. They were adversaries at one time, but she'd always felt a strong connection to the man. He'd been married then, but she knew someday she'd see him again.

Then he'd recruited her for that first job and everything that she had once known about the man changed. Suddenly she was a part of something she'd never expected to be a part of; a family. She had a family here with this team. And she'd never expected to ever feel something like the love she felt for them. She cared for all of them, especially Nate. But she depended on Eliot. That man was like a younger brother for her and she'd come to realize they all depended on him to protect them. They'd even begun to take it for granted that he'd always be there when they needed him.

Now it was Eliot who needed them. And she didn't know if they'd be able to come through for him. But she knew that Nate would never give up trying to help him, because that's what he did. He was their leader, their mastermind and she knew deep in her heart that if Nate had to pull in outside help to find Eliot he'd do it. And he had.

She sat quietly on the sofa in Nate's loft as he paced back and forth alternating in conversations with his contact on the phone who would soon be there and with Hardison who was monitoring his computers. He hadn't filled them in on who this mysterious contact was, but they'd soon find out.

She held the letter from Eliot and she couldn't help feeling it, turning it over and over in her hands as she debated reading it. A part of her wanted nothing more than to see what the man could have possibly written just for her and a part of her felt like she needed to wait and let the man himself tell her. She knew Hardison had gone off quietly to read his, but Parker had returned hers to Nate and it still lay on the coffee table in plain sight with her name written across the front.

She wasn't surprised at the nice neat handwriting Eliot had. Out of all of them, Eliot had the best handwriting. She always thought that for such a fierce man, a man who lived moment to moment, that it was oddly comforting that he took the time to make his writing as legible as he did. It was a strong script, yet it showed that he had a deeper core than anyone could guess. She'd studied handwriting as a part of grifting because a person's handwriting told so much about that person, and Eliot's writing told her there was a very deep core hidden inside him. He had a lot of emotions and not just the angry ones. His writing told her he was a well-rounded man who had a handle on many things. Eliot was multi-faceted and she couldn't help thinking of him as a diamond. A diamond in the rough.

She sighed as she decided her curiousity was going to get the best of her so she gently ripped the envelope and pulled out the two pages inside.

Dear Soph-

What can I say to the one person who probably knows the most about me? Don't try and deny it, darlin'. I can always see it in your eyes when you're watching someone and then you suddenly get them figured out. You, my dear have a tell. Grifter or not, when you have figured out exactly how to work a mark, you have a tell. It's in your eyes. You can never completely hide what's in them from someoneone who knows what to look for.

Don't worry, your marks haven't even guessed. They only see what you let them. But I know how to see past what the mark sees. I know you can see through me just as easily. I've tried to keep my past hidden, but there are things that just can't be erased from the eyes, isn't there?

I think you and I have probably had the most similarities in our lives. I may have had a family once, but I've known what it's like to be alone and only being able to depend on myself. Just as you have had to yourself. We both know the difference between just working people and then having to work people.

That's why I'm gonna ask you to do something for me that I know only you can. I need you to watch over Nate. I know he can be difficult at times, but he really needs you. And in a way, I think you need him too. He is a good man, even if he is damn annoying with the way his plans go.

His heart is in the right place though; even if he doesn't know it. He loves this team, but sometimes the job or con takes him over and he gets carried away. I've tried to keep him reined in when I can, just as I know you have. That's why I think he's gonna need you more than ever after this is all over. If I don't come back, take care of him and keep the team going the best you can. Don't let him drink too much and remind him that whatever he thinks he's chasin' in that bottle isn't gonna ever be as good as what's standing right in front of him.

I'm gonna close now, cause this is more words than I intended to write. Just know that even though I may have been a bear, I really did care for this team. I lost most of my own family because of the choices I made and I was prepared to remain alone for whatever remainder of my life God granted me, so I count myself lucky that He saw fit to give me this team for the short time He did.

So take care of them, they need you. Especially Parker. Keep telling her that Eliot would say there's something wrong with her, but that it's okay. And take care of yourself Sophie. Buy those boots I owe you and remember I'm watchin' from wherever I'll be.

Eliot

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