Saving Eliot

Chapter 24

Chapter Twenty-Four

When You Feel My Heat

Look Into My Eyes

It's Where My Demons Hide

It's Where My Demons Hide

Roughly 1:30 AM Boston time

Quinn watched from the cockpit as the now refueled plane took off from the field just outside Vienna. Vance had come through when he'd called to let him know they were approaching Austria. He'd sent them to the small airfield where his contact had the fuel truck waiting and he had been able to get in and out of the country without any problems. The airfield was used by the military of several different countries and they were indifferent to why Quinn was there, they just did their jobs and got them back in the air.

At this rate Quinn would make Braintree by 9AM and would be in Boston not long after that. He hadn't heard anymore from Kat, but he'd been given the details from Vance on Hardison's findings about the earbud belonging to Eliot. He was having a hard time believing that anyone associated with Evan Chapman would be willing to help them, so he was looking at the whole thing as a possible trap. Which Vance seemed to agree with at the moment.

Neither man wanted to believe that they had an ally behind the scenes simply because if they did, they should have used some other means to communicate their intentions instead of all this cloak and danger shit. Quinn trusted Kat with his life and that resolve came through in his voice when talking to Vance so he knew Vance believed in her too. At least for the time being.

Quinn would have to work hard to keep Kat's secrets, but he would. He owed her so much and she'd lost so much of herself in those dark years after losing both of her brothers. The two of them were damaged, but in different ways. Quinn knew what the war and military could take from you just as Kat did, but she didn't know how it left you feeling like there was nothing else out there you could do to find yourself again. She didn't understand how the military had taken from him the ability to anything else but fight.

Once you've worked dark, you never truly got out of it. You never got free of all the secrets and lies. He knew what she'd been through too, but she could never fully understand the hold Uncle Sam had on you once you've done their dirty work. And he could never understand the loss of a child the way she did. She had lost just as much as the women she saved. But she'd turned her life into helping instead of going the other way. Sure her methods were questionable and not legal, but he knew in his heart that what she did was right. His methods were not at all legal and he had done bad things for bad people for a very long time now. At times he'd fought so hard just to try and remember who he'd once been.

Right up until that meeting with Eliot in that airport hanger nearly four years ago, he'd been working for who ever could pay him the most money. He'd thought he could take Eliot Spencer down if he needed to, but he hadn't. He'd lost and he'd spent the last four years more or less floating around, becoming more of a retrieval specialist instead of the hired enforcer he'd been. He'd taken the time to try and keep to a better code. It wasn't easy, he knew that and he didn't kow how Eliot did it, but he wasn't giving up. He had put that dark time aside, pushed it away just so he could get through each day.

He'd only been a part of Eliot's last team for a short time when he'd lost Luke, so he didn't get to know Eliot as well as the others. He'd learned since that day though just what the man was capable of doing and it was what he was working hard to try and do too. Although he was working alone. He didnt understand how anyone could be a part of a team like Eliot's. He'd go crazy if he had to deal with that everyday.

He sighed as he watched Austria slowly disappearing as they moved closer to fly just under the clouds. He could see the city disappearing as the lights slowly faded from view. Soon it would be getting lighter outside the closer they got to their final destination. He reached for his cell and typed in the message he hoped would find it's way to Kat.

He hoped he was right in her destination and he intended to be 100 % conviced she was there before he relayed that info to Vance and the others. He needed to be sure the two were safe before they went in. He needed to be sure Kat knew what she was doing. And he needed to be sure no one got to them before he did.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Roughly about 2:00 AM

Eliot winced in pain as he tried to take a deep breath. It felt like he had a friggin' elephant sitting on his chest and his eyelids were too damned heavy to open. He struggled to open them, but he just couldn't. He tried to focus his mind on only that task, but he just couldn't force them open.

He smelled green apples again, damnit. He didn't know why he was smelling that, but oddly enough it gave him a sense of comfort. Whatever it was, the smell made him feel safe. Safe from what, he couldn't remember exactly.

He tried to concentrate on that feeling, but something was nagging at the back of his mind. Something he needed to do. Something was wrong here and he just needed to remember what it was.

Then just as he was about to drift off again, he felt a soft touch on his forehead. It was fleeting, but it had been there. He wished he could reach out and track that touch, but his brain wasnt working with his body. Damn it, if he could just open his eyes he was sure everything would come back to him.

"Eliot?" Came the soft voice.

He remembered that voice. It was nice before; but now it was nagging him. He tried to respond, but he didn't know if he had. There was this buzzing in his head now, and he wasn't sure exactly what was causing it. He just wished it would stop.

"Eliot, can you hear me?" The voice again. "Damn it Spencer! Wake your sorry ass up!" And then he felt the sharp pain in the center of his chest again.

He opened his eyes with a sharp intake of breath at the pain. He blinked rapidly as he tried to focus in on the person behind the voice.

"It's about damn time. I was afraid you weren't gonna wake up at all."

Eliot focused in on the face of Katharine. Damn he remembered now. The woman was working on the bandages near the chest tube that he remembered was to help him breath, and she wasn't trying to be gentle with her fingers.

The woman was supposed to save him, but he was pretty sure the last time he'd heard her voice, she'd killed him. Or at least he thought she'd killed him, but that couldn't be possible since he was awake, wasn't he? Hell he had a headache now just trying to put things together.

He tried to speak, but all that came out was a raspy cough. He tried to move an arm to his face to push that damn oxygen mask aside, but for some reason his arm weighed a ton and he couldn't get it to follow his commands. He tried to speak again, but was rewarded with another bout of coughing that made the pain in his chest almost unbearable.

Katharine watched Eliot fighting for control of his body as she tried her best to hold him upright to help ease his pain while she removed the mask so he could work through the coughing. Thank God he'd finally woken up though. She'd been getting worried that something was wrong.

She'd gotten him in the ambulance and had driven about two blocks away from the hospital before she'd stopped to check on him when she'd heard him mumbling in his sleep again.

Taking the ambulance had been a piece of cake. The sole man that Dr. Richards had waiting for him had been easy to take down and Benji had knocked him out with a little help from a syringe he'd brought along with him and the guy was now sleeping it off in the morgue next to a car crash victim. He'd wake up disoriented and probably pee his pants upon seeing the dead messed up body he was sharing a table with, but he'd be alive; and the bst thing was he hadn't seen Benji so he wouldn't know exactly what had happened to him.

Even if he worried about getting taken down somehow, the good doctor wasn't there to worry about anymore. Benji had met Tracey and Kat on the loading dock and transfered all of Kat's supplies from Aaron's bus to this ambulance and Kat had been in luck to see all the necessary equipment was already there. Dr. Richards had thought of everything, so she had everything she needed to keep Eliot breathing. Katharine had just finished hooking him up to the new pleurovac and she'd assured the others that she would be okay to handle him and the machine when they got to their destination.

She'd have Bella and Sam help her with the equipment and getting Eliot settled. She'd texted them to let them know in code that she wouldn't need the car in Lowell, but she'd need their help and they were meetng her at the cabin. Now all she needed was to be sure the trip wouldn't be hard on Eliot.

She needed to be sure he was okay before she gave him any pain medication, so she'd tried hard to get him to wake up. It had taken a few tries, but finally the man had come around. She'd hoped that pain stimuli would do the trick, but he'd taken his time coming around and that only increased her worry.

"What the hell happened?" He rasped out as his coughing finally eased. He cursed his dry throat as he tried to speak again.

Kat opened a bottle of water and gently held it to his lips to help him take a drink. He was confused at first, but then quickly understood as he took the water in slowly. When he'd had enough she gently laid him back down on the gurney. He was watching her with eyes that, although showed he was in pain, were now bright and clear, and incredibly blue, she thought. Damn he really did have the most gorgeous blue eyes she'd ever seen.

"What happened is you died, and we saved you." She said matter-of-factly, hoping to hide how happy she was that he was finally awake and talking.

"Right. So...so you want to fill me in some more here, 'cause I'm pretty sure you're the one who killed me." He said huskily as she moved over him, checking his IV's and reading the monitors above his head.

He could see he was in an ambulance, but he didn't know how he'd gotten here. "Where are we? How I get in here?" He really hated not knowing what the hell was going on. It made him feel defenseless and that was something Eliot hated above all else.

"We're on our way to a safe place. I just needed to be sure you were still my patient before we got started." Kat reached for a pre-packaged injection syringe and ripped the paper off in preparation to inject the morpine into his tubing, when Eliot quickly reached out and grabbed the wrist holding the syringe, taking her completely by surprise. Then with a strength that surprised even him, he quickly reached out and grabbed her other wrist.

He wasn't taking any chances this time, he was not going to be drugged up again. "No more drugs. I mean it Kat. No more." He said as he watched her taken by surprise. He smiled a little at the look on her face. "I cn't let you keep drugging me."

Kat looked at him and realized for the first time since she'd laid eyes on the man, he was more aware than he'd ever been. "Okay, fine. No drugs." She conceded as she tried to pull her hands free, but he held strong. Damn she thought, he's too damn strong for his own good; or mine. "I promise Eliot, no more drugs. But I have to be sure you can handle the trip. We have about a two hour drive to reach safety and I don't want the trip to be hard on you."

"Where are we and where are we going?" He asked again as he held tight to her wrists despite her attempts to pull free. "You haven't exactly let me in on what the hell is going on and it's me that's in trouble here. And I'm still pissed at you for all the drugs you keep sneaking into me."

Katharine smiled at him. She put out her best melt your heart smile and was a little miffed when he just laughed at her. Although the sound of his laughter was deep and rich and seemed to hit her directly in the middle of her chest.

"Don't even try it. While I'm sure that you've had great success with those long lashed mossy green eyes of yours, it ain't gonna work on me. You can't bullshit a bullshitter, remember?" That felt so good to say, he thought with a smirk. The look on her face was priceless. "Look, I just need to know what is going on and I need to have all my brain cells functioning, you got it?" He added as he realized he didn't like seeing the slightly hurt look on her face at him turning the tables.

She realized he had her on this one, and she slowly grinned at him and nodded her head. "Fine, we play your way." She said as she allowed him to release her empty hand and reach out to take the syringe from her still captive hand. When he had the syringe safely out of her reach, he let go of her other hand. She continued smiling at him as he slowly relaxed back down onto the gurney. "For now." She added, smiling wickedly at him.

Eliot couldn't help grinning up at her. He couldn't win with this woman. "Yeah, for now. So let's get things in order here. Where are we? Why am I in this ambulance? Where's Evan and the doctor? And where the hell are we headed?" He pause as she reached out to gently move a strand of his hair from his face. He found himself longing for her touch and it took him a second to get his mind back on point.

"We're headed to Manchester, Vermont. I have access to a cabn there and friends who will help me to hide you while you recuperate."

Eliot took that in. "Friends? You trust them?"

"Yes." She answered emphatically. "They're like family and they'll help me. They always do."

"Always do? You need help a lot?" He spoke softly as he remembered how she'd almost told him about once being a mother. "Something tells me that once we're safe and settled, we need to talk. There's things about you that are intriguing, and I can't help but ask why?"

"Why what?" She asked confused.

"Why are you helping me? You don't really know much about me and if you did know things about me, you might regret putting yourself out there." As he watched her thinking about that, another thought came to him. "You didn't get me out of Evan's house by yourself. You had to have had help there too and now you and all your friends are all in trouble. I don't want anyone hurt on my account, Kat." He turned to look away from her as he felt his strength slowly waning. "I've done a lot of things in my life...a lot of things that weren't good..." He rasped out as his throat became dry again.

Katharine got up and moved behind his head to lift the gurney until it clicked so he was in a more upright reclining position. That helped his breathing a lot as he felt the pressure ease on his lungs. He waited as she checked that the bed was locked in position and then moved back to sit once again beside him. She had the bottle of water with her and she handed it to him.

"Since you seem to be able to lift your hands easily enough, I think you can handle this yourself." She replied evenly.

While she watched him take the bottle and drink she thought about how to answer his questions. The wherse and whats were easy enoough, but the whys were another thing entirely She didn't want him to know about what she did or about how she'd killed the good doctor, all to get them safely away. She couldn't tell him about the things she did in her secret life.

She knew he'd probably understand based on his own life, but there were only three people in this world who knew exactly what and why she did what she did. One was on his way in from another country to help her and the other two were meeting her at the cabin. She'd never let anyone else know exactly what happened to the men she took down, not even the women she rescued from them.

She decided to ignore his confessions and telling him anything about the doctor for now. She took a deep breath before she spoke. "Evan is back at the hospital. After I killed you, me and Mark saved you and got you out of the house under the pretense that the next time you coded we wouldn't be able to save you without a hospital and more stable equipment. He really had no choice, the doctor was quite persuasive." She paused as she looked down at the pluerovac and mentally noted the reading was holding steady. "He thinks you are headed for the intensive care unit right now and I'm sure he'll be pissed when he discovers you're not there. And yes, I had help, but Evan will never know abut them. I got you out of Evan's house with the doctor's help and then I had some help from friends once we got to the hospital."

Eliot looked at her. "The doctor helped you get me out of Evan's?"

"Yes; as I said he was quite persuasive. I think he wasn't to keen on sharing his revenge with Evan, so he was willing to help me get you out of tht house. Besides if anything happens with Evan, he'll be looking for the good doctor." She noted that Eliot was watching her intently. It was a bit unnerving seeing him watchng her like that, because she knew he knew she was holding back information.

Eliot did realize she was hiding something, but he knew her well enough now to know she'd tell him when she was ready. "Okay. I'm kind of tired now, so where ever we're going, maybe you should get started." He watched the relief flood over her face and he smiled inwardly. He liked seeing her relax. He liked seeing her period, he realized. It suddenly dawned on him that he really liked waking up just now and seeing her face. "Once we get safe, I'm gonna need to find a way to contact my team."

"Your team?" She asked. She hadn't heard him talk about having a team out there. "You have a team? Why the hell didn't you mention them before; I could have called them to come rescue you."

Eliot thought about that. He hadn't really been thinking clearly until now. "Probably because every damn time I started getting some kind of brain function going, you knocked me out." He responded with a smirk.

"Funny. You're a funny guy, Eliot Spencer." She replied drily. "Where we're going phone reception is hit or miss, but we can stop before we get to the cabin and call them. I called a friend of mine to help me get you out earlier, but he was out of the country. He's headed back to the states and should be here sometime by noon, I think. He says he knows you." She watched him as she spoke.

"Who is he?" Eliot asked feeling suddenly anxious about this friend.

"His name is Travis and he was Luke's best friend. Maybe you met him since you said you knew Luke."

Eliot blinked at the woman in front of him. Travis? Travis Quinn? "You know Quinn? And you called him?" Great. Quinn was probably the last person that he trusted to help him without monetary motivation. Then again, he thought. He remembered how close Luke and Quinn had been on that one and only mission Eliot had worked with him. "Great. You're friends with one of the last people I trust to help me without a catch." He took in a deep breath as he felt it hitch in his chest. He let it out slowly and reached for the oxygen mask laying next to his head.

Kat helped him put the mask over his face again. "Yes Travis is the only family I really have left and he will help you."

"And just why would he be willing to help me?" His voice sounded distorted and far away even to himself with the mask in place. He slowly moved it to rest down around his neck. Close just in case, but not in the way while they talked.

"Quinn will help you simply because I asked him too." She pulled the sheet up a bit higher to cover Eliot's torso as she took in the fact that the color he'd had in his face upon waking was now fading. He was getting tired. "I know you two know each other, and for whatever reason, you've been functioning enemies, but Quinn will help you. I have no doubt about that."

Eliot remembered how Quinn had stared at the picture of this woman that Luke had shown them. Yeah he'd help, he had no doubt at all. He'd help not because she was Luke's sister, but because he loved this woman. Or at least he had all those years ago. Eliot didn't know what had happened in Quinn's life, but the look Quinn had on his face back then was the look of a man who would walk through fire for this woman.

"He loves you, you know." He spoke softly not meeting her eyes.

"I know."

He jerked his head to look at her then and when he saw her grinning, he was confused. "You love him?" He asked not sure if he wanted to know the answer.

"Yes, I do." At taking in the way Eliot was avoiding looking at her, she quickly added, "but not in that way. Quinn has always loved me like...that, but we both learned after losing Luke that kind of love would never work out. I never loved him the same way, and I was...married at the time. Quinn would die for me, and I for him, but we will never be in love with each other." Kat smiled down at Eliot and she did something she hadn't planned on. She bent down and gently placed her lips to his.

Eliot was surprised at first, but he quickly felt the urge to return her kiss. He sensed her holding back a little until she knew how he would respond, so he slowly deepened the kiss by moving his hand to the back of her neck and pulling her in closer to him. He felt her response deep in his chest and while he was still in pain, he soon forgot all of that as she moved a hand to his arm holding onto her.

He felt her tongue slowly move to stroke over his bottom lip and he felt the urge to go further, but knew he didn't have the lung capacity to do so. He allowed her to end the kiss by pulling back from him, but just barely. He still held her close and he felt a slight tingle of pleasure as he saw the raw emotion in her eyes which he knew was a mirror to his own. God, she really did have the most amazing green eyes.

"Okay." She replied with a grin. "That was so much more than I thought it would be. But...I think we need to get moving." She felt sad as he reluctantly released his hold on her, but felt a shiver as he ran his finger down her cheek.

"Yeah..." He replied. "Get a move on, woman. You're supposed to be saving me, remember?" He smiled as he spoke.

"Gotcha." She got up and moved to step out of the ambulance.

Just before she closed the doors, he replied, "Oh, and by the way Kat, I know where you stashed that other syringe, so don't even think about sneaking up behind me later and knocking me out again." He winked as her mouth fell open at his statement.

He laughed as he took a long pull from the bottle of water and recapped it letting it fall to lay on the gurney beside him. He was in too much pain to pull another stunt like he'd already done to stop her, but she didn't know that. Now she'd be more cautious because she didn't know if he had the strength to stop her or not. That was enough to insure him he had a while anyway to try and get his pain threshold leveled out and he wouldn't have to worry about her sneaking up on him; and to ponder these feelings after kissing her.

He also realized that if he fell asleep though he knew all bets were off. He sighed as he knew he'd now need to try and stay awake for as long as he could and that wouldn't be easy. He winced as he felt her jump in the cab of the bus and start the engine. He didn't know for sure how he'd gotten away from Evan, but for the first time in twenty-four hours he was beginning to feel like he just might survive this if he could just keep Kat from knocking him out every damn minute; or from taking his breath away.

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