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vdistinctive


What, was "Rudy" on cable last night?

. . . Yes.


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Eliot Spencer vdistinctive
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75 Godiva, Tuesday
Eliot had always been a fast healer -- a definite advantage in his line of work, no one was going to respect a hitter who was covered in bruises all the time -- so while he still had a black eye and a fairly impressive mass of scab on his temple, the swelling had gone and the side of his face was more yellow than purple. It'd taken a few hours to convince Hardison that he really wasn't letting the man out of his sight for longer than it took to use the bathroom, but once they'd managed to move from escape attempts to resigned depression, Eliot had even managed to get some actual rest in, so his headache was down from sometimes-literally-blinding to dull-throb-with-painkillers-if-I-don't-move-too-quickly. With his hood pulled up to both cut down on excess sunlight and hide the mess that was his temple, he felt almost normal.

Physically, anyway. Hardison wasn't the only one dealing with masses of guilt over what happened over the weekend. Eliot was just more used to carrying stuff like that around.

Parker wasn't going to let Eliot stand up in the kitchen long enough to even make some decent omelettes, so he called and had the busboy at the diner bring them enough food to cover all three of them for a day. This of course led to an argument with the busboy about whether him not coming in at all meant the kitchen staff had a day off, which set off exciting new throbs in Eliot's head, which in turn made Parker go all growly mama bear at the busboy, who eventually ended up running away shrieking. Then Eliot had to hurry back to the living room to make sure that Hardison hadn't tried to escape through the back door.

"You know," Eliot said as he grabbed yet another ice pack from his freezer. "We're not s'posed to have to tie you to a chair after you're done being evil."

[ooc: for the crew. Wheee aftermath!]

Parker stomped back in with the food and started setting it out for breakfast, grumbling under her breath. "They need more training if he thought today was the right day to want a vacation." She looked over at Hardison, then back at Eliot. "What exactly happened while I was off incubating a spawn?"

This whole incident had convinced her she really, really didn't want to ever be pregnant, thanks.

Eliot looked over at Hardison, wondering how much the man would want said out loud. And -- honestly, Eliot didn't remember much past the first smack to the temple. He was pretty sure he'd worked it out, just based on past experience and what parts of him were hurting how much, but he didn't know for sure.

On the other hand, Hardison might bolt or throw up again if he had to try to explain it.

"The brood busted into the diner," he said, keeping an eye on Hardison while he spoke. "On Saturday, right around when you texted us. I took 'em out, but not before one of them got Hardison in the stomach. I stitched him up and tried to find you, but. . . ."

But when Parker went to ground, she went to ground.

Hardison was fiddling with a bit of tech, several wires, a circuit board, and a few switches. Best of luck figuring out what it did, if it did anything at all, but the way he was concentrating on it, they'd be excused for thinking it would unlock the secrets of waterproofed earbuds.

He wasn't sulking that Eliot had ruined his most recent escape attempt but he was very much Not Participating In This Conversation.

Parker nudged over a breakfast burrito in Hardison's direction, giving her version of a stern look. Then an apologetic guilty look to Eliot. "Sorry. I wasn't thinking straight. I got stung on the roof of one of my places, and it took a lot out of me to get away, so... I holed up and thought I could just nap it off. But when I woke up, there was an embryo with different priorities."

She grimaced, unwrapping a breakfast quesadilla for herself. "Should have told you where I was." She bumped Hardison's shoulder. "Eat. And see, not your fault."

"Hell, ain't like I'm great at that part, either," Eliot admitted. How many cryptic voicemails had he left Hardison over the past year? "Anyway. By the time we heard about the whole embryo thing, Hardison was already . . . yeah, uh. 'Different priorities.' It tried to bait me into an argument, first. When I worked out that it was the alien talking, not Hardison, it pulled a gun on me." And that one detail was the only thing Eliot was blaming Hardison for. Why did he have a gun?! "It got the upper hand when I underestimated the body it was using. Don't remember a whole lot after that, but apparently it knocked me out and took off. The rest -- that stuff you know."

Yeeeah, see even if Hardison had been perking up a little with the forcible reminders that he and the alien were different creatures altogether, the gun reference had him hunching right back over, shoving half a burrito into his face to keep from having to talk.

Except now he had to eat the burrito and he was still pretty emphatically not-hungry. Dammit, why was nothing easy about this?!

"Gun," Parker repeated, frowning a bit. More confused than anything else. "Why-- when did you get a gun?" she asked Hardison. "And why didn't you tell us about it?" She wasn't as emphatically anti-gun as Eliot, but then, it was hard to be that. To Eliot she said, "Hardison's body is really nicely muscled. He just doesn't coordinate it all the time." Or maybe that had been the Brood egg too?

"Yeah. The brood apparently knew what to do with them. Didn't help that I wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of hitting back." Which he was guessing the brood had worked out, too. And taken full advantage of. He had some blurry images of growling back and forth about that, but he wasn't totally sure if that had actually happened or not.

He wasn't going to press the gun thing just now. Not until he was sure that Hardison had what was done with the gun not being on him clear in his head. He shook his head, then winced when the movement made his headache double.

"Shoulda disarmed it when I had the chance. Definitely shouldn'ta underestimated it like that. Was sloppy."

"Wasn't--" His voice was hoarse and raw. He hated it. "Wasn't nothin' 'bout this your fault. That thing took everythin' I knew about you an' exploited it. Threw Kathy up in your face, last year's whole mess, your protectiveness of me--everythin'. It knew you'd win in a fight in a minute, so it used anythin' else it could to take you down, then cold-cocked you for good measure."

Wow. This electronic thingy sure was important! It required aaaaaallllll of his attention and focus, see?

Parker put down her own breakfast, having a lot less appetite now. "Kathy?" Her voice was tiny. "I forgot--" She swallowed hard, then said, "Eliot, it wasn't your fault. Not what happened in the fight with Hardison. Not what happened to her and Raven." She looked at Hardison, leaning into him. "It sucked, though. All of it." She brushed at her eyes, fast, voice low. "Still does."

"It's been a hell of a couple days," Eliot said. Not agreeing with her trying to excuse him from the blame, but not arguing, either. He already carried plenty of blame and guilt around. He'd learned to keep it inside and keep going. "Hardison. It was a fucking alien invading your head. What exactly d'ya think you coulda done different?"

"Parker managed to keep herself," he said softly. "Buncha people did. Hell, most of 'em were students an' they managed it. Me? I was an annoyance. 'M supposed to be this genius, but I immediately get taken down by a bug, infected, an' it just waltzes in an' takes over, usin' what I know to hurt the man I love. I was a damn speedbump to an alien invasion. Barely managed to slow 'em down."

Parker made a small sound, and put her head down on Hardison's shoulder. She didn't know how it worked, but it wasn't that simple! She'd been wiped out after fighting it, it wasn't like it was easy. "It was hard to fight it. Maybe we just got a bigger dose. Or egg. Or maybe we got infected earlier. You can't--" Frustrated, she pressed her head against his, then looked at Eliot. "Tell him again." Maybe he'd listen to Eliot more; Eliot was the one the Brood-Hardison had hurt.

Edited at 2016-04-26 09:21 pm (UTC)

"There were plenty folks who didn't go whole hog crazy last year with Gaunt," Eliot said. "Everyone reacts differently. That ain't on you any more than havin' worse dose of flu might be."

Hardison looked up with hot eyes. "Who gets the worse dose of the flu?" he demanded. "Me! Who can't run a con without it fallin' apart? Me! Who can get taken out by any random schmo enemy? Me!" He carefully moved out from under Parker then began stalking angrily around the room, movements abrupt and violent. "Who can't protect anyone they l-love? Me."

He scrubbed his face and stood in the middle of the room, defeated. "I just--That's why I got the gun. After Chicago. They were gonna kill her an' I couldn't have stopped 'em. I can't stop nobody. Not in meat-space, anyway."

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