AN: Just a quick note. I realized I made a faux paux! I mentioned in the last chapter how Eliot sent flowers and a plant to Sophie and Parker and in the first Chapter I said they'd just done the Queen's Gambit job. The flowers didn't happen until the Lonely Hearts Job which is way after the Queen's Gambit. But oh well, it worked. So I'm leaving it! And just think two chapters in the time it takes me to try and get one posted! And thanks to everyone reading and reviewing. I love all of you!
When My Fist Clenches, Crack It Open
Before I Use It And Lose My Cool
When I Smile, Tell Me Some Bad News
Before I Laugh And Act Like A Fool
Roughly about 3:30 PM
"Isn't this sweet?" Came the somewhate mocking voice of Evan Chapman from the doorway to the room where Eliot lay hooked up to all the medical equipment.
Eliot jerked his head at the voice and then wished he hadn't. The move sent a wave of nausea rushing through him and he so didn't want to find himself in need of throwing up when he suspected there was nothing more than fluids in his system. That was the worst kind of nausea. He slowly closed his eyes to steal himself against the rolling room and to calm his stomach as he pushed his head back onto his pillow.
"Well, it was until you stopped by." He managed to say as he felt Katharine slip her hand in his right one close to her leg. He knew the gesture was meant to help ease his pain, but he suspected – rather he hoped – she was doing so for a deeper reason. He opened his eyes to see her smiling softly down at him.
I'm on your side. I'm here. She was silently telling him and he smiled back at her. Thank you. He said with his own smile.
Evan took in the look between the two and he couldn't help the laugh that bubbled up and out as he said, "Eliot always did have a way with the ladies, nurse." He moved into the room followed closely by another man in a white lab coat; Eliot could only assume this was the doctor.
"If I were you nurse," Evan began, letting his disdain for the two show in the way he said the word nurse. "I'd be careful around my brother. He tends to have an eye for anything in a skirt...or pants...or a uniform." He added as he stepped closer to the two.
To her credit, Katharine didn't even flinch at his words. The only clue she'd even heard Evan's mocking tone was the gentle squeeze she gave Eliot's hand that she still held. Evan seemed to notice the gesture and simply smiled at Eliot as he took this in too.
"Don't worry Evan. I'm not going anywhere. You've made sure of that haven't you?" Eliot replied as he gently moved his hand to show he was still restrained. He knew what Evan was thinking and he didn't want Katharine in Evan's sights. Nothing good would come from that. "But I think you should tell the nurse exactly why I'm being restrained considering the condition I'm in." Eliot's tone was even and neutral, but his eyes were anything but. He looked at Evan with the hatred he'd had for the man growing up.
"Well, the restraints were just a pre-caution. You know Eliot, sometimes you tend to forget where you are when you come out of anesthesia and the doctor didn't want you to hurt yourself." Evan pointed to the man next to him. "This is your doctor, Dr. Richards."
Eliot slowly moved his eyes from Evan to take in the doctor. He sized him up in a second. White collar never married most likely thought himself a lady's man and he was just doing this for the money. No questions asked. Just another lackey as far as Eliot could see; although there was something about the man's eyes that gave him a feeling of deja vu.
"Oh, good then since he's awake and in no danger of hurting himself it's okay to remove the restraints now, right?" Katharine asked. She was addressing the doctor but her eyes never left Evan Chapman's.
Good girl Eliot thought. Tough. She wasn't gonna let Evan get to her, but he'd have to warn her just what kind of man Evan really was. She didn't really know what was going on here or how dangerouse Evan really was. He squeezed her hand hard to try and get her to tone it down a bit, but she didn't respond.
"I mean, he's awake and talking and seems to know exactly what's going on." Again she kept her attention focused only at Evan. She knew what Eliot was doing, but she was suddenly angry. She didn't know for sure why, probably because of his mocking tone, but she couldn't help thinking of her own brother, Luke. He'd been taken from her by someone like this Evan Chapman.
Interesting, Evan thought. This woman was more than just another skirt to fall for Eliot's good looks and charm. This one had a bit of spunk in her. He smiled at the woman. "What's your name nurse?" Again the disdain at her title.
Katharine slowly stood up to all five foot three inches of her. She barely came to Evan's shoulders, but she stood and with as much dignity as she could muster up she spoke to the man as if he were a child who needed to understand the proper way to address someone. "My name, Mr. Chapman, is Katharine Wakefield and while you may think I'm overstepping my bounds here with your disdain, I can assure you I am not. As you like to point out I may only a nurse, but my job as a nurse means that I take care of my patient's needs above all else. And I take my job very seriously."
She stood there eye to chest with Evan Chapman and damn Eliot thought to himself she'd won this round as he took in the slight flicker of something Eliot hadn't seen in a very long time cross over Evan's face. The man was momentarily surprised at the woman's strength. She'd managed to let the man know in just an instant that she was not just another lackey he could buy and sell. She was someone worthy of being watched and Eliot was even more worried now, because the woman was now on Evan's radar.
"Nurse Wakefield!" Dr. Richards chastized her. "Mr. Chapman is our employer and you should show him that respect."
Katharine never broke eye contact with Evan though as she responded to the doctor. "I am showing him respect, Doctor. I'm just also making sure that my patient is given the same respect." She slowly turned her eyes to meet the doctor's. "I mean that's the oath we all take – to do no harm and to protect our patients' by any means possible. Correct?"
The doctor had the good grace to look sheepish as he realized that she was also telling him exactly what she thought he was doing. She knew he was more interested in the money than in Eliot's care and he knew she was right. He needed to be watching out for Eliot's care.
"Yes." He answered slowly. "You are right. Our patient is important." He turned to Evan as he next spoke. "Perhaps it would be all right to remove the restraints now seeing that Mr. Chapman is awake and in no danger of injuring himself." He spoke with a bit of anxiety in his voice. While he knew Katharine was right he also elicited a fear of Evan Chapman in his voice.
Eliot picked up on it right away and couldn't help the smirk he sent Evan's way. "Yes Evan, maybe you could remove the restraints just for now?" He mocked the man. You may have the doctor on your side, but I have the nurse. Who wins this round?
Evan knew as well as Eliot even with his hands restrained, hurt or not, Eliot was still a dangerous man. But Evan also sensed that Eliot wasn't going anywhere until he got answers and their shared silent communication said volumes. Eliot was not going to let Evan anywhere near Katharine if he could help it; so Evan knew as long as the nurse was here, so was Eliot. "Of course, by all means, Ms. Wakefield. Please remove the restraints." He used a neutral tone, but Eliot however did not miss the fact that Evan was now slightly weary of the nurse.
"Thank you Mr. Chapman." Katharine turned back to Eliot and carefully moved to release the restraint over him on his left side first before she moved to his right side closest to her.
Eliot smiled inwardly as he realized what the woman had just done and then he also realized that this woman was not just a meek and mild nurse. He carefully moved his left hand while she was working on his other one to hide the object she'd slid into it. Eliot felt somewhat better with the restraints off and he carefully gripped Katharine's left wrist with his right hand as he forced her to look him in the eye.
Who are you? He silently conveyed.
She smiled at him. A friend.
She slowly moved away and after the doctor looked Eliot over to be sure he was progressing well, Evan moved to stand next to Eliot's bed once again.
"Perhaps doctor, you and nurse Wakefield wouldn't mind leaving us for a moment while I talk in private with my brother?"
"Of course Mr. Chapman." Doctor Richards stated as he moved to the doorway.
Katharine quickly looked from Evan to Eliot in a slight panic. She didn't want to leave him just yet, but at the silent nod from Eliot she refrained from saying anything. She simply turned to follow the doctor from the room.
"So Evan, mind explaining why you sent someone to kill me and then save me?" Eliot asked once he was sure the doctor and Katharine were out of the room. He remembered the object she'd slipped in his hand and he'd quickly hidden it under the blankets under his hip as the doctor had been messing with checking his bandages on that side.
Evan missed the manuever as he was intent on watching Katharine. He now realized that the nurse wasn't going to be as easy to manipulate as the good doctor and that was something he'd have to make arrangements for. Just in case.
Roughly about 3:45 PM
Alec Hardison had had a somewhat hard life in the beginning, but after being taken in as a kid by his Nana, he'd learned a lot about human nature. And the fact that Eliot Spencer had written each of his team members a letter in case he died back during the San Lorenzo job just made him question everything he knew to date about the man.
The Eliot Spencer he knew would never say anything about his feelings let alone write them down, so death must have been a very real possibility for him. More than he'd led them to believe. That or he'd feared something worse than death to lead him to write these.
Hardison sighed as he sat in the living area of his private loft next to Nate's. The man had asked them all to leave to read the letters in private if they chose to. Alec smiled to himself as he recalled how Parker had thrust her letter back at Nate and said she wasn't reading anything because Eliot was alive and he'd have a huge fit if they read these before that.
Nate had understood but said the letter would be right there on the coffee table if she changed her mind. Alec knew for now she wouldn't, but he figured sooner or later she would. Simply because she would think about the fact that Eliot had written her a letter and that would mean he cared, even if he was a grouchy bear she loved to poke.
He looked at the letter in his hands as he turned it over and over. It was fairly thick, there had to be at least 3 or 4 pages in there. He'd noticed his and Nate's seemed to be the thickest in comparison to Parker's and Sophie's, but no where near as thick as the one for Eliot's sister. Or Aimee's. He thought those letters had to be the hardest. He didn't know why, but the one he saw for Eliot's father seemed to be the thinnest and he wondered how Eliot couldn't come up with more to say to the man that had raised him.
Must be some other family issues there he thought. But those were Eliot's issues, not Hardison's. He slowly ripped the envelope open as he made his choice and pulled the pages from inside. Five pages, he thought. Wow.
Well, if you're reading this, I didn't make it back with the team from San Lorenzo. I can only hope if you are reading this, then you did. And that's good. Really good.
So, first off I know you're probably thinking something's wrong if Eliot wrote you a letter, right? Yeah that's what I thought too when I first put pen to paper, but then I decided I'd already written one for Nate, so I needed to let you know a few things as well.
Where do I start? Well, let's begin by just getting things straight here, bro. Yes, bro, because no matter how much you drive me crazy, you are my bro.
You are the first and foremost cornerstone of this team. Without you, we might as well walk away 'cause we ain't gonna be able to accomplish anything without you having our backs.
Just remember that as I tell you that even if I am gone, I'm still very much there with you right now. I may not have told you how I felt, but I tried. In my own way. And don't rub it in okay?
I tried my best to protect all of you and I know I should have told all of you about my past with Damien Moreau, but I just didn't know how. Not because I wanted to protect him, but because I wanted to protect you guys. I knew what Damien was capable of and I didn't want him to get to any of you.
And I know I haven't apologized for letting you almost drown in the pool during our meeting with him, but you gotta understand my reasoning. I asked you to go with me for a reason. I couldn't take Nate, because of the obvious. Damien knew about Nate through the Italian. I couldn't take either Parker or Sophie because…well let's just say Damien and Chapman have a thing about women. You saw the group of women with him didn't you?
Well for Damien women are good for only one thing. That's it for him. And Chapman, well let me just say that he is the last person I'd want near them. He has a reputation for taking what he wants from women. I hope you understand what I mean.
So to protect them I took you, because I knew I needed an in somehow and I also knew I could handle Damien with the right cover. But you gotta believe this Hardison. I would never have let you drown. Never. I would have blown the whole con if he'd been one second longer throwing that key.
I hope you can understand my position in that and know that I am sorry. But I'm more sorry that my past has come back to hurt you more than anything else. I really wished I hadn't had you find out like you did, but more I wish I hadn't had a past with the man. You have to know that I wish I could change that over everything I've done in my life.
So believe me when I tell you I know I'm not a good man. I'm just tryin' my damnedest to be the best one I'm capable of being. I know it isn't much, but it's all I have.
Look, I kept you and the others safe for as long as I could. And I even shared some of myself with you guys. I cooked for all of you and that's a treat for me. I even let you take me 'fishin' once. Even if it was on a video game and let me just say this, that was the worst fishin' trip I ever had. And it was the best at the same time. I spent time with you so that made up for the lack of actually bein' able to reel in a big one.
Now don't get me wrong, I still hate the video 'cause dude it's so not the same thing, but I will admit it was kind of okay spending time away from jobs and enjoyin' a brotherly kind of thing.
That said, you gotta get out more. Step away from the screens and go outside. Yeah, I know you hate outside, you told me that on our first fishin' trip, but take Parker somewhere. She'll make up for the outside you hate so much. Go on a picnic or somethin', but don't just sit inside and don't go thinkin' about me. I'm okay. This is the way it should be. This is the way it was always supposed to be. I made my life, bro; so now I'm gonna go out because of it.
I know Parker's crazy and a picnic for her may mean you have to drink champagne off the side of the Chrysler building or something, but at least you're outside and you're with Parker. And that's the way it should be.
Remember enjoy your life and keep Nate in hand. Call him on his drinkin' and go see Sophie's plays and keep teaching Parker about pretzels. Yeah I know all about pretzels, dude. I'm a hitter, I'm not stupid.
I've seen you two and I remember pretzels too. So just remember to take care of her and the team. You are the one I'm putting my trust in to keep them together when I'm not there. I need to know you will try to watch over them the same way you always have. And while I admit you're good, I'm not gonna confess my undying feelings here 'cause just in case I ain't dead, I don't want to hear you rub it in. And trust me if there's anyway I can get back I will be back. Believe that.
The one thing I've learned about being a part of this team is that you are all family. My family. And while I've not had the most pleasant past, being a part of this team has been my one saving grace. My only regret is that if I'm not there, I won't be a part of the family anymore.
However just remember this, I am watching. And if you fuck up in any way Hardison I will be there to kick your ask! Or haunt your ass! Yeah if it's in anyway possible, I will be the one to come back and haunt you. I already have plans.
If you happen to have some compluter glitches, think of me. I already wrote a program of my own that is set to work it's way into your software. Yeah, I hacked you dude! I've learned a few things. Just remember that. Not just a pretty face here!
Of course if you're too worried right now, you can just go check some of your older 'Doctor Who' files. Besides they weren't that great anyway. Who calls a doctor 'Who' anyway? Don't make no sense. Can't understand that at all.
So long Bro,
Hardison felt the tear hit the last page as he'd tried hard to keep it from falling, but failed. He couldn't help thinking the guy really knew just where to hit. He laughed as he pictured having a picnic with Parker on top of the Chrysler building. Maybe someday when he lost all his brain cells. Yeah sure.
Then suddenly something else hit him. He wouldn't. Oh, man. Hardison jumped up and ran to his computer screen and rapidly hit a bunch of the keys in his hurry to pull up a file he was looking for. He hadn't seen these older shows of his beloved series in a while.
When he hit play and heard the familiar electronic tune of the Doctor Who theme come through he breathed a deep sigh of relief. Then suddenly the entire apartment seemed to reverberate with the resounding strains of Eliot's voice as he repeated the same phrase over and over. And over again. And Hardison hung his head. If Eliot isn't already dead he soon would be.
Damn it Hardison! Damn it Hardison! Damn it Hardison! Damn it Hardison!