Boston reminded you a little bit of Chicago, the good parts that is.
It was nice to be back on familiar urban ground where you felt like you had a million and one possibilities for what to do next with yourself.
Eliot smiled when you went on and on about how much you loved the city after the first few days. He’d been a little busy since you both showed up after Nate’s phone call, but he still came home every night and spent as much of it with you as he could before heading back out to one of the various “jobs” that “the team” took on in the new city.
It was funny how quickly words and phrases took on new meanings. Thinking about your boyfriend’s “jobs” used to make you shudder and have your stomach rolling uncomfortably. Now, you couldn’t wait to hear what exactly had gone on each day and spitball some possible next steps with him as you got ready for bed.
The team had turned out somewhat like you expected, though you hadn’t quite been expecting a tall, beautiful woman from the way Eliot described Parker. Or for just how empathetic Hardison was. Sophie greeted you warmly from the beginning, all charm and foreign sophistication. Nate nodded politely and, well there wasn’t much else you could say about him yet.
They didn’t know you knew what they really did for a living. Eliot suggested keeping that fact back for now, and you couldn’t really blame him. When he’d first told you there wasn’t really much chance that you would ever meet these people face to face, and it was hardly fair to show up knowing the darkest parts of everyone’s history and expect them to give you a fair chance.
In turn, you’d agreed to keep the particulars of how you met Eliot private as well. As far as they knew, you’d run into each other in South Dakota and ended up staying together after that. Mercifully, no one asked any more questions when Eliot didn’t elaborate, and stood a half step in front of you, hiding your joined hands with his jacket. He gave your fingers a soft squeeze that you returned and then excused yourself to go sit at the bar of the Irish pub they’d all mat up in while the team talked business. Turned out Nate was renting a unit in the building and the rest of the team must have had places nearby as well since they all came separately.
The first few weeks in Boston were a blur as you adjusted to the new environment and settled into the apartment that you’d found in the same neighborhood as the bar. You picked up a job at a corner market that had similar demands at the pharmacy back in Canton. Eliot didn’t technically live with you, something about not wanting you to be traced to him on paper, even with both of you signing under assumed names. But he did find his own place nearby that he rarely slept at.
“So, it turned out it was the Irish mob working with the bank manager and the client was just unlucky he noticed.” Eliot shrugged as you curled into his side on the couch in your new apartment. It had come furnished in a basic modern style and while that was one less thing to worry about, you found yourself missing the eclectic mismatched set that that cabin had offered. It was hard to forget the couch that you fell in love with someone on.
“He was too good at his job,” you grinned. “An unusual problem to have.”
“Yeah, I was hoping that we’d get a few days in between jobs, but Nate has a meeting tomorrow with a guy who came in from Nebraska.”
“They don’t have phones in Nebraska?” you asked, teasing one hand slowly down his arm, fingernails just barely pressing enough to feel through his sleeve.
“Some things you want to talk about in person,” he sighed and leaned his head back on the cushion. “Sounds like we might be taking a business trip for a few days.”
Your teasing faltered as you contemplated what that meant. You rarely thought of your ex-boyfriend except to be glad he was in prison forever, but it was still hard to completely get past the reflex to panic when Eliot mentioned leaving you alone for a while.
It was fleeting, barely lasted a second and your fingers resumed their leisurely trailing along his arm, but he noticed. Eliot Spencer and his damn situational awareness.
“I won’t go if you don’t want me to, I can tell them I’ll sit this one out, there’s other hitters they can ask.” He offered, head popping back up with such a sincere look in his eyes it made your heart ache.
“No, you go, do the job, help your friends. I’ll be fine here for a few days.” You assured him and leaned in to plant a sweet kiss on his cheek. “I promise, just, call when you can ok?”
“Promise.” He agreed tucking you up close and unexpectedly rocking you back on the couch so that you were sprawled on the cushions with him braced above you. “Now then, let’s talk less hmm?”
The job in Nebraska took 6 days from start to finish. You got snippets of what was going on from the few brief phone calls you were able to schedule.
A boxing coach was betting against his own fighters in some pretty high stakes matches, drugging them to ensure matches went his way. Eliot sounded pretty mad about it.
“We got a plan. I might not be able to call tomorrow Sweetheart, don’t worry about me, yeah?”
That had been the evening of day 4, so you didn’t think much of it when day 5 came and went with no contact from him. You sent a text just before turning in for the night with just an emoji of a heart in case anyone else saw it too. No response.
Day 6 dragged on. You wished that you had work so that at least there would be something to pass the time. He’d said not to worry, and you really tried. It was Eliot after all, there was literally nothing you could think of that would even be close to hurting him. You made a simple dinner, ate it, did the dishes, and decided that heading to bed early would really be the only thing that would get your mind to settle.
It didn’t work and you swore that the florescent red numbers on the clock on the side table were moving slower than they ought to when you glanced up again and saw that it wasn’t even midnight yet.
Then you blinked and the next time you opened your eyes, the hazy numbers read 2:36 and you had just enough time to realize you’d been asleep when a soft sound caught your attention. It must have been what woke you up originally. There was someone in the apartment and you froze, eyes darting instinctively to the other side of the mattress.
It wasn’t unusual for there to be the soft sounds of movement in the apartment at all hours of the night, Eliot slept irregularly at best, and you still had some nightmares from before, thankfully much less common now.
But you were alone in the apartment tonight, and Eliot hadn’t called for two days. You tried very hard to avoid falling down the path of ‘something went wrong on the job, they got caught and someone somehow found out I know things and they’re here to get me too.’ The bedroom door was closed, so at least you had that layer of protection from whoever was out in the main area.
Then the door opened, and you felt a scream rising in your chest before remembering several things at once.
You remembered that the apartment had an alarm code upon entry, so the only way this person was here was if they knew it. Only two people knew the code. You were one of them, Eliot was the other. The figure in the doorway stopped short when it realized you were awake in the din.
“E-Eliot?” you croaked out, biting back the hysterics that bubbled below the surface.
“Hey sweetheart,” his voice fit the last piece into the dull shadowy picture, and the shape in front of you resolved itself into the silhouette of your boyfriend.
You were out of the bed and clinging to him in less time than you processed, only truly relaxing when his arms closed around you in that sure embrace that was just on the right side of secure without confining.
“You didn’t call today, yesterday, whatever,” you muttered into his shoulder.
“Yeah, I’m sorry, things got a little, hairy.” He sounded odd, and his movements were a little more rigid than you were used to. “Caught a red eye back just before midnight, I just needed to, to see you.”
“You haven’t slept?” you replied, groping for the light switch near the door and then squeezing your eyes shut tight as it flicked on, momentarily blinding you as your eyes adjusted.
His face was turned away from you as you blinked through the bright, still focused on the light switch, but he’d pulled his hair back into an elastic clearly for function over style as it wasn’t particularly neat.
He didn’t answer your question and you tried again, “El?”
Then he looked down at you, expression carefully blank, and watched as your eyes whizzed all over him, noting the bruises and scrapes and the scab over his eye.
“What happened in Nebraska?” you asked and moved to take a step back so that you could see if he was seriously hurt anywhere, but he surprised you by tightening his grasp the moment you started the motion. There was no way he had the time to consciously react to it, which meant that something was very wrong.
You’d seen him shut down like this only one other time, and it was when you’d confronted him with an Interpol file of the worst thing’s he’d done in his varied career.
“It wasn’t real. I knew it wouldn’t be real and I agreed to the plan, but I didn’t realize, didn’t think about how real it would feel when I saw all their faces,” He was just talking now, the opposite of what the strange silence from a moment ago, but you didn’t have enough context to make sense of what he was saying. “They don’t know how easy it would be to just take the safety off. Sophie said that, to Rucker at some point. I heard it; she really is a good actress when she’s working.”
“El, I don’t, you’re not making sense, can we start from the beginning? Last I know was the bad guy was a coach drugging his fighters,” you rested your palms against his chest giving just enough pressure that he glanced down and noticed how tight he was holding you and releasing instantly. His hand snaked down and clasped with yours, unwilling it seemed to give up the contact entirely.
“I went in as a new fighter. Made sense, none of the others could have done it. Nate played my manager, lookin’ to poach Rucker’s guys for a televised deal he convinced Rucker he had goin’,” his accent was slipping, a sure sign of exhaustion and you tried again to guide him towards the bed, but his feet were solidly planted just inside the door. “We were trying to get him to invest in the deal, out-bid Nate. He was in, hooked I swear.” He paused there, and shook his head, hair elastic coming loose, and he reached up to wrench at it in agitation.
“Hey, hey don’t do that,” You scolded giving him a light tap on the arm, and you were utterly unprepared for his reaction.
“Kiss me?” he asked, abandoning the elastic in favor of grabbing you by the shoulders.
“I, what? El I don’t think that-“
“Please?” he asked, looking about a half step away from crumbling entirely. “I swear, I’ll tell you everything, I just need to feel something that isn’t violent,”
Whatever had happened in Nebraska had shaken him to the core, and you wished with all your heart that you could take back your smack. Putting on a reassuring smile, you nodded and tipped up your chin to meet his lips. Even worried as you were, he was a good kisser, and for the few seconds you were able to just enjoy it, you allowed yourself the pleasure.
Pulling back with a little sigh, found his arm with your hand and gave it a little squeeze. “There, now you do something for me?” you asked, and he seemed back to himself enough to at least nod. “Come sit down, let me get this situated while you talk?” you asked and gestured to the elastic tangled in his hair.
“Yeah, yeah,” Eliot sighed, and this time let you lead him to the bed, sitting on the edge of his side while you climbed up behind him and settled on your knees, freeing the elastic while he went on to explain that one of Rucker’s guys did some checking into their imaginary covers and found out the whole thing was bogus. In order to keep Rucker from threatening Sophie, Eliot agreed to fight his best guy, Tank, in the upcoming match, and take a dive.
“We pivoted, figured out a back-up plan, that’s why I couldn’t talk today, the match was at 8 local time. We figured he’d try and drug me as an insurance policy and he did.” You made a disapproving noise, but he went on, “don’t worry, we found the water bottle, had to make it look good though, so I got in the ring, wailed on Tank pretty good for about thirty seconds and then let him wail me back. Dude’s pretty good, I can see why Rucker keeps him around.” That must have been when all the bruises on his face happened. From your vantage point a little above and behind him you could see a few spots that disappeared into his shirt collar that looked like they would be bruised too, come morning, and bet that there was plenty more hidden beneath the layers of flannel.
By this point you’d freed the offending elastic, but he wasn’t moving to stop you, so you kept playing with his hair as he finished the story, weaving a few tiny braids into the strands to keep your hands busy.
He explained that the back-up plan went off perfectly.
“They didn’t have trouble selling it to Rucker you know. Should have heard Sophie, she sounded real scared, and Parker’s face, I didn’t know that she really cared about stuff like that, I mean…” he trailed off. “He believed that I’d- that Tank was dead. Reacted just like we thought, save his wallet, and run from the liability. It’s always the ones who haven’t ever killed someone that worry about liability.” He scoffed and for a second you mentally saw the booking photo that had been in his Interpol file again. The photo had sent a shiver down your spine, activated some dormant part of your brain that recoiled instinctively from danger, and facilitated one of the most open conversations the two of you had had back at the cabin.
He’d admitted to being scared of himself then, and you were putting together the pieces of what exactly had him so freaked out now.
“Eliot, it was just a con. All a show to trick the bad guy. And it worked, you got him, right?” you asked, resting your hands gently on each of his shoulders.
“Yeah,” he breathed out hoarsely. “I know, I knew then that it wasn’t real but it just- it felt like before and I- I just needed to get back to you.
“As much as I love that, you don’t need me. You did it on your own for a year before we ever met.” You reminded him, fingers starting to move in slow lazy circles as the rigidity drained from his body.
“Yeah, I did. But that was running from something. Now I’m running towards something,” you couldn’t help but smile as he echoed your sentiments from months earlier.
“What is it you need El? What were you running towards, hmm?” you whispered, leaning down so your mouth was just next to his ear.
“I don’t want to only hurt people,” he ground out and turned in such a fluid motion that you almost didn’t catch it. Much more like the Eliot you knew and loved. His awareness of his own body was unmatched in your experience.
“You never hurt me,” you assured him. “C’mere,” you scooted back on the mattress making room.
He didn’t need to be asked twice, gentle but firm movements guided you into his preferred position and you went along willingly, finding your back pressed into the soft mattress parallel to the pillows so that he could kneel between your legs.
You’d gone to bed in an oversized t shirt and panties, forgoing anything else, which meant that when his hand landed on your thigh, you had no trouble feeling each of his callused fingertips trail along your skin, rucking up the hem of the shirt. You shivered and wiggled in anticipation.
“Can I?” he asked in a barely audible breath.
“Can you what?” you asked, because once you got to this point, you rarely begged off, but he always needed to hear the words.
“Make you feel good sweetheart.”
You badly held back a groan just imagining what that entailed.
“Go right ahead.”
He kissed you again. Slower this time, like he wanted to taste every inch of you. In no time you were grinding back against the ridge in his jeans on your way to a soft release while his hands slowly relieved you of the shirt you'd been sleeping in. You managed to slip both arms out of the sleeves without breaking the kiss and were content to leave it there around your neck for the time being.
"Mmm," you made a pleasant little sigh against his lips and wrapped your arms around his chest, urging more pressure for you to buck up into. "God," you mumbled, half muffled against his lips, and he pulled back enough to let out a dark little chuckle.
"Feels good?" He groaned, clearly getting some benefit from the situation as well.
"So good, God, I'm, shit I'm gonna-" you were surprised how quickly the orgasm came upon you and attributed it to the past weeks of uncertainty and stress and not having nearly enough opportunities to christen the new apartment yet.
"Beautiful" Eliot sighed above you as you came down, leaning in for a few chaste kisses to your cheek and forehead.
You took a minute to catch your breath and laughed when you felt curious fingers playing lightly around the edge of your panties, now entirely damp and almost pointless as any kind of covering.
“Again?” you asked, hands sliding up to tangle in the hair on the back of his head. “Please?”
“Always,” he breathed, and rearranged you so that you were resting back against this chest with your legs braced against his. You reached one hand up behind you to regain your grip in his hair and rested your forehead against his cheek while he set his hands to work down the front of you. First teasing at your newly bared breasts until the nipples stood out in little pink peaks and you were fidgeting, searching for more stimulation between your legs. It wasn’t a long wait and once Eliot slipped a hand down your sternum to the crotch of your panties, within a minute you were ramping back up, hips jerking against the steady pressure of his fingers in just the right spot. “Just like that,” he cooed, lips soft against your temple.
He didn’t move fast, instead feather light touches kept you just on the right side of interested while his lips trailed hot and wet down the side of your neck. It was on purpose, the teasing. It had to be because you knew he was capable of reducing you to the single thought of “more, more, more.” But it wasn’t about you tonight, his needs trumped yours, and besides, there was plenty of time for all that.
When he finally tucked his fingers down into the waistband of your panties, you wasted no time in moving to help shimmy them off and flung your legs open again with a little whine. Grinding feverishly against nothing.
“So perfect, god, you’re just so perfect.” He sighed, voice barely more than a low groan in your ear. You could feel his erection against your ass, but he didn’t seem to care enough to do anything about it just then.
“Please, El, god it’s so good, you make it so good, please,” you mumbled, one of your hands taking his wrist and pushing it towards your slit, you were an absolute mess down there, you knew it.
With a little growl that sounded almost hungry, he obliged and after a few firm passes along the outside, plunged two fingers deep inside you with an expertly choreographed quirk of his wrist that sent you absolutely keening, head thrown back into his shoulder.
The tension in your joints ratcheted up several notches and you clamped down on the fingers hard with a harsh exhale of breath.
“Jesus, fuck,” you ground out, exhausting your vocabulary on the curse. From then on you were reduced to meaningless sighs and groans and noises that he clearly took pleasure in ripping from your body.
You took a lot of pleasure in them too.
The coil in your stomach grew tighter and tighter and you clawed feverishly at his sleeve, urging him on, you were so close, God so close, you could feel it there just a bit more.
The third finger sent you over, in half a dozen thrusts you were taught as a bowstring against his strong frame and absolutely quivering in pleasure, gasping, and slurring out some approximation of his name mixed with nonsense.
When you slumped down again, he retreated to safer areas, but never stopped the gentle petting, except to bring his fingers up to his mouth and let out a satisfied hum next to your ear.
“Again?” you asked dreamily, and he cocked his head to the side curious.
“You sure sweetheart? Don’t want you getting sore,”
“Again,” you insisted, “take it slow, I’ll tell you if it’s too much.”
With a chuckle that shook you both, he agreed and started the whole cycle over again.
You lost count of how many by the time the sun rose and felt positively liquid and pleasantly floaty as you curled into the comforter and scooted back until you were nestled into Eliot’s front, his arm slung over you heavy and soft.
“That was amazing,” you murmured and nuzzled against his hand, popping a chaste kiss on the back of it.
“Yeah,” he agreed, “it was exactly what I needed after...” he didn’t elaborate, but you understood.
“I know it can be really hard to talk to people about stuff that gets stuck inside your head,” you began, choosing words carefully as you sifted through the pleasant fog. “I’m really happy that you talk to me about it.”
His arm tightened in a brief affectionate squeeze.
“Me too sweetheart. Now I think we both need some sleep after that. I’ll make something when we get up.”
“Pancakes? You asked hopefully, suppressing a yawn.
He vibrated with silent laughter behind you, but only replied with, “sure, pancakes.”
As you were drifting off to sleep, you heard a softly whispered, “I love you.”