sunspot: two hand drawn owls looking out (two staring owls)
[personal profile] sunspot
Title: A Few Close Calls and One That Wasn't Close Enough
Fandom: Leverage
Pairing: Hardison/Eliot
Rating: 13+
Word Count: 2680
Summary: With the impressive number of enemies Eliot has made in his lifetime, it wouldn't shock him if some (or most) of them wanted him dead. But even by evil Bond villain standards, this seemed like a long way to go to get a guy killed.
Author's Notes: For [livejournal.com profile] maskedfangirl. Happy Christmas, my wonderful girl. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cherie_morte for the awesome beta. Any resemblance to any awesome 1993 Hollywood blockbuster movie is completely coincidental and is obviously not something I noticed halfway through but opted not to change. You know, for the record.


"What we're about to tell you is so secret, so vitally confidential, that it can never go beyond these fourteen inch thick reinforced steel walls. If even a single syllable of what is about to be revealed to you is breathed to the outside world, the entire project, yourselves included, will have to be burned. Literally. It's so very, very, absolutely covert, that if you were to even think about -- "

"It's a secret, okay, buddy, we get it!"

"Parker!" Sophie said, touching her arm. "Please, Agent O'Malley, continue."

The agent continued his very secret talk with only one dirty look at Parker.

--

"So, twenty minutes of ooooooh, secret and he still didn't actually tell us what they need us to steal? Colour me unimpressed," Hardison complained. "At least we get to ride in a helicopter, right? Right, Eliot?"

Eliot wasn't listening. He was staring off into the middle distance while the sound of the helicopter approached from the horizon.

"Hey," Hardison said after thinking about it for a second. He touched Eliot's elbow and waited while Eliot tensed up and then relaxed again. He turned to Hardison.

"Hm?"

"Hey. It's all going to be okay, you know. Nate wouldn't have picked a job that we couldn't do." He tried to sound confident and reassuring.

"Hm." Eliot crossed his arms across his chest like he was warding off a chill. "I don't like it," he said.

"That we're going in blind?"

"Going in blind, no one knows where we are if we don’t come back, we're working for the sleaziest branch of the government... Take your pick."

Hardison patted Eliot's arm again as the helicopter set down in front of them and Parker fluttered her hands and hopped up and down in place.

"It's not going to be that crazy, right?" Hardison shouted over the wind.

--

"Not going to be that crazy," Eliot repeated, just barely keeping his voice in check.

Hardison couldn't even try and defend himself. "Well... Yeah, wow, okay, I was wrong."

Parker was glued to the window. "Guys. Guys. Whooooooa! Look! Right there! And right there! And look at that!" She pulled Sophie across the seat by the elbow to point excitedly through the window at the island they were headed for.

Nate turned away from his window and checked his watch. "Okay. It's time. Let's go steal a stranded veterinary crew and all their research."

Parker looked at Hardison. Hardison looked at Eliot. Eliot looked at Sophie. Sophie tried to avoid looking at Nate, but the combined pressure of the chain of staring finally cracked her and she fixed Nate with a very sceptical look. He sighed.

"Okay, let's go steal a stranded veterinary crew and all their research from an island of giant killer lizards."

--

"Dino Island. Fucking Dino Island. Is there no bottom to the depraved depths to which some people will sink?" Eliot muttered, stopping for a moment to reorient himself with his map.

"This is. So. Cool," Hardison agreed happily, attacking some of the denser undergrowth with the machete the agent had given him.

"Give me that," Eliot hissed, envisioning the blood, the loss of limbs and the many, many tears. He took the giant knife and pushed the map to the security out-building into Hardison's hands instead.

Nate, Parker, and their armed, three-person escort had headed straight through the jungle and up the mountainside towards the main compound. Parker was the only one who would be able to get up, over, or around the high fencing and through the air ducts in the science building to get to the lab to retrieve the vital specimen samples that the government so dearly needed. Nate and the agents would locate the stranded veterinary crew and their paperwork in the main research building.

Sophie had opted to stay with the chopper and its pilot, acting as HQ and manning the walkie-talkies. Hardison wasn't very impressed because he figured the government ought to be able to afford nicer equipment, but once they set foot onto the island, it became apparent the old, rugged children's toys were the most advanced equipment that was going to work. Sophie happily took charge of them, saying quite firmly, "I am not slinking through the forest full of monsters. You'll be fine without me. Just call if you need a lift."

It was Hardison's job to get to the security building, halfway around the island, to disengage all the locks remotely and then reboot the failed electrical grid that had been faulted as the reason all the dinosaurs got out of their enclosures and started dino-riots to begin with.

Eliot was going with him, and his job was to make sure neither of them got eaten on the way.

"Most of the dinosaurs are on the southern side of the island," Agent O'Malley said, as if 'most' was the same as 'all'. Eliot was pretty sure he hated him.

"You're a lot safer than we are anyways," O'Malley continued. "We're going straight through their territory. You guys will go up to the north, following the river until it opens up into the lake. Then go past the big rock slide and you'll see the security building built right into the base of the cliff. Just move quickly, try to stay quiet, and always, always shoot first." As he finished off his instructions, he presented Eliot with a map and a rifle. Eliot paused only for a second before he took it.

Hardison, too, looked uncomfortable with being given a gun, but he took it, and the machete, and they headed out. Eliot had taken the map and the emergency flare gun, Hardison held onto their walkie-talkie.

"Dinosaurs," Eliot muttered again as they started walking along the overgrown path again.

"Speaking of... El, do you have a contingency plan for what we're going to do if we run into... someone?"

Eliot huffed. "I'm not Nate. I thought our plan would be 'how about not running into anyone?'." He pushed his way past a big branch, holding it to the side for Hardison.

But Hardison was staring into the bush. Eliot took him by the shoulder and they backed up the path. "No," Eliot said firmly. "We are not doing this."

The bushes rustled again, as if to say 'think again, No Scales', but nothing popped out to masticate them.

"Still think this is cool?"

Hardison shrugged off-handedly. "It's not not cool."

Eliot rolled his eyes but didn't bother turning around. He figured Hardison knew him well enough to just assume the eye roll.

Ten minutes later, Hardison had to stop to retie his sneakers. Eliot used the inconvenience as a chance to take a closer look around.

The river they were following was crystal clear and not very deep, here and there he could see little schools of silvery fish darting among the rocks. A dark shadow slid across the river, but in the time it took to look up, whatever it was long gone.

Eliot had to admit it was lovely, minus the ever-present threat of ancient monsters with sharp claws and even sharper teeth, resurrected at the hands of an evil government and bent on devouring all of humankind.

A sudden gust of warm wind toyed with his hair and brought him out of his slightly overdramatic inner monologue.

A few seconds later, another breeze got Hardison's attention. He looked up from looping the bunny around the tree and into the warren and his eyes went wide.

"Eliot, don't freak out."

"..."

"Eliot?"

"I'm not freaking out, but you need to give me something else here, man, or I'm going to." By then, Eliot had recognized the intermittent gusts of wind for the slow, rhythmic pattern of breathing, and judging from the angle at which the exhaled breaths were hitting the back of his neck, whatever the creature was, it was big.

"Diplodocus," Hardison breathed, almost reverentially.

"What?"

"It's a diplodocus. Turn around real slow. She only eats plants, so she won't hurt you, but turn around slowly so you don't scare her."

Eliot turned on the spot until he was facing the giant creature, then he took three steps back and looked way up. It was not what Eliot had been expecting. To be honest, he wasn't sure what to expect, but it definitely wasn't the thing he was looking at.

The great reptile lowered its enormous neck until its head was almost on the ground. It blinked once, very slowly, and sucked in a deep breath through its nose with nostrils flaring. Eliot understood that the creature was sniffing them, and the thought made his skin crawl.

Despite Hardison's insistence that the dinosaur staring them down was harmless and a precious little gem, Eliot was ready to run. He gripped Hardison's wrist and was about to pull him away, but the dinosaur turned at that moment and trundled into the trees again.

"You okay, man?" Hardison whispered as they watched her go.

"Yeah."

"'Cause you're still holding my hand."

Eliot glared and all but threw Hardison's arm at him. "Dammit, Hardison, let's go."

The trees thinned out a couple hundred yards further up the path and the river opened up into a murky, placid lake.

"How do you know so much about dinosaurs anyways?" Eliot was continually ... amazed was too strong a word, but maybe amused. He was continually amused by the things Hardison knew, but dinosaurs seemed a little out of left field.

"Palaeontology camp, man. I won a contest in fourth grade. It was pretty awesome."

Halfway around the lake, it became apparent something was in there. It was not a fun realization. They edged a little further from the shore of the lake and closer to the tree line. Hardison noticed a few moments that Eliot had somehow shifted to put himself between Hardison and the lake, which was sweet, if misguided. Either whatever was watching them from the water was aquatic and therefore couldn't come up onto land to eat them, or it was giant and teeth-y and going to eat them both, regardless of who was standing where.

Two flaring nostrils appeared in the middle of the lake, followed a few seconds later by a pair of eyes about five feet behind them.

"That's... Big," Eliot said, slowing down for a split second to get a better look.

"No," Hardison said, with just the smallest hint of panic in his voice. He tugged Eliot by the sleeve just as the creature in the water began to swim towards them.

Eliot followed right behind him without any prompting at all. "It looks like a crocodile."

"Deinosuchus," Hardison said. "So much worse."

"And way bigger, I'm guessing."

Hardison nodded and then, about forty yards away, the deinosuchus broke the surface of the lake. They both started to run towards the cliff, but the deinosuchus didn't seem to care. He moved to cut them off before they could reach the relative safety of the tree line

Just as Eliot's life began to flash before his eyes in vivid, scarring, technicolour, something large and angry looking charged out of the woods towards the giant crocodile-looking thing. There was a brief, noisy encounter and the crocodile pulled the other dinosaur into the lake and under the surface. Eliot only had an instant to reflect on just how brief that fight really had been before they reached the cliff face, located the door and hurled themselves through it.

"Oh. My God," Hardison panted, with his hand still curled in Eliot's. Eliot wasn't sure when it had happened, but after the near-skirmish that they had just avoided, it was just comforting to know they were both alive. It was apparently too thrilling for Hardison though, because he was suddenly trembling.

"You alright? You can't freak out, man, you have work to do." Eliot let go of his hand and patted him gently on the arm. "We're both still in one piece, so I did my job. Your turn."

Hardison nodded and pulled out his net book. His hands were still fluttering a little and he shook his head to clear it. "I just saw a deinosuchus kill and eat an allosaurus. What the hell, how is this my life?" He breathed deep and willed the adrenaline to wear off a little.

Once he got the electric grid back up, it only took him a matter of seconds before he got the security system down and the locks around the island disengaged so everyone else could get where they needed to be. He shut the laptop and leaned back in his chair.

Eliot peered out the thick, barred window, but quickly turned away.

"Not safe, hmm?" Hardison stood and crossed the little room.

"I can almost smell the blood from here..."

Hardison didn't bother looking out the window. If it was freaking Eliot out, he didn't want anything to do with it. They stood side by side, not facing the window for a long moment before Hardison brushed the back of his hand against the back of Eliot's hand. It was just a small gesture, soft and tentative and so grade school, but it only took a small spark.

Then Hardison's back was flat against the door and his feet weren't touching the floor. Eliot smelled like the forest, hair product, and a little like sweat, and Hardison made a mental note to find out what that tasted like the first chance he got. Hardison made a little embarrassing squeak noise when Eliot set him back down on the floor and he was about to protest before he realized the radio clipped to his belt was blaring at them.

"Hardison, Eliot, are you there? Come in."

"We're here, Sophie," he said, still a little dazed. Eliot was watching him closely, and Hardison resisted the urge to turn away.

"Are you both alright?"

"Yeah, I got everything done too, just like that, but there's a deinosuchus outside and I am not going out there."

There was a few seconds with the static from the radio filling the room. Hardison was very aware of his own breathing and the lingering smell of Eliot on his skin.

"We're coming to get you, don't go outside. We'll be there in twenty."

Eliot rolled his eyes. "She really thought she needed to tell us that?"

Hardison chuckled. "Apparently." He spent a few seconds looking around, scoping out the room and trying to figure out if any of the expensive computer parts needed to be rehomed.

"So, we have twenty minutes," Eliot said, peeking out the window again. "And we're basically stranded here..."

Hardison's pants hit the dusty floor in less the time than it took for Eliot to turn around.

--

"Stop bickering!" Parker hissed, when they pushed their way through the door. They both stopped dead and stared. Parker was sitting on the floor with a spiky little dinosaur perched on her knee squeaking and begging for bits of salad.

"Doctor Mark says it's a kentrosaurus," she grinned, dropping a grape into the baby's open mouth. "And he's really goofy. I think I love him."

Hardison glanced at Nate, who shrugged and waved it off. He didn't really want to talk about the weird circumstances that had ended with Parker being buddies with a baby kentrosaurus.

"What took you guys so long, anyways?"

Eliot opened his mouth to answer, then sighed and shrugged. Hardison gave him a mild look that could have meant anything or nothing to anyone else, but Eliot picked up on the nuances of the glance, promising a continuation of what they'd started earlier with further nudity and possible shouting.

"Ready to go?"

Everyone nodded fervently, except for Parker, who looked sadly at the dinosaur in her lap. She patted it on the head, avoiding the spikes. "It's okay, Little Hardison. Doctor Mark will take good care of you."

Hardison thought about saying something, but everyone else was grinning, so he let it go. It was only three-quarters disturbing, anyway.

"Good work, everyone," Nate said, as they headed outside to the helicopter. "Now let's never do that again."



Date: 2010-12-19 03:59 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
OMG OMG OMG OMG *flailing*

ELIOT FREAKING OUT ABOUT THE DIPLODOCUS! AND THE HAND-HOLDING! AND PARKER'S KENTROSAURUS! AND HARDISON'S PANTS! ON THE GROUND!

THIS ONLY REINFORCES MY LOVE FOR YOU. AND MY NEED TO CAPSLOCK ABOUT IT. EEEEEE.
-maskedfangirl

Date: 2011-01-03 03:51 am (UTC)
lerah99: Sexy bookworm (Default)
From: [personal profile] lerah99
This is a fabulous cross-over! I love Hardison knowing dinosaurs and Eliot being all twitchy and protective. Parker with the baby dino is adorable. I love Eliot's and Hardison's looks promising a continuation of naked time later.

Lexi

Date: 2011-08-05 08:22 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
*squee*

I can't fully express my love for this and for you!

You're awesome and junk to the mucho max!

Date: 2012-01-22 03:41 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Wow, awesome little fic!
These were my favorite lines....

"You okay, man?" Hardison whispered as they watched her go.

"Yeah."

"'Cause you're still holding my hand."

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