Title: "Love in the Darkness"
Author: Pirate Turner
Summary: They deserve to be loved.
Warnings: Het, Unconvetional Pairing, References to a Conventional Het Pairing as well
Date Written: 8 April, 2012
Word Count: 1,077
Challenge: For a Leverage500 LJ comm's weekly challenge
Disclaimer: Eliot, Sophie, Nate, all other characters mentioned within, and Leverage are ﾩ & TM their rightful owners, none of whom are the author, and are used without permission. Everything else belongs to the author. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.
They come together in the darkness. In the shadows that grow longer to cover them and shield them from the outside world, they at last allow themselves to touch. He takes her in his arms. They whisper each other's names, and finally, sweetly, slowly, and passionately, they kiss.
These moments never last long enough, and they are far too few. They're both tired of hiding, but yet they know what will happen if the truth of their relationship is ever revealed. They'll never hear the end of it. It'll take hours to explain how they truly feel about each other, this passion that they share that is far so much more than friendship or any relationship either of them have ever been in before, to Parker, whose childlike naivety prevents her from being able to understand this kind of connection between a man and a woman, between two hearts, two souls.
It won't stop with Parker; they both know that. He'll have to explain it to Hardison, too, and moreover why he hasn't told the man who's supposedly his best friend about the greatest thing that's ever happened to him. They promised not too long ago, in fact, to never hide a relationship from their team. He was one of the ones who made them promise, and yet now, he's the one most determined to keep their secret.
That's because of what else he knows will happen. Their secret love will destroy the team if it's ever exposed. Alec and Parker will come around, but there's one who will never understand. He supposes, in a way, he should feel like he's betraying the first man, for years, who's put a lot of trust in him. Eliot doesn't want to hurt Nate or any of the others. He cares about them all a great deal, but it was Nate who first broke Sophie's heart. It's not his fault, but Nate's, that they're no longer together.
Sophie was a broken woman when she came to him. Nate had broken her trust and heart so many times that she was doubting who she was and her capabilities. When she came to him and this all began, she had been preparing to leave the team again because of Nate and the way he constantly drew her close and then pushed her aside again. Eliot's never been one who can watch something beautiful be broken and not do something to defend and mend its beauty.
Eliot had tried to help his friend and Sophie both for a long time, but Nate had proven to be more of an idiot than Eliot had thought possible. He had had every opportunity with Sophie, every chance to tell her of his feelings and prove to her how much she means to him, but he would never tell her what she needed to hear. Somewhere along the way of drying Sophie's tears, holding her while she cried, and teaching her how to defend herself, Eliot fell himself. He fell for Sophie, and he's been falling ever since.
She's the most beautiful, enchanting woman he's ever known. He knows all the crimes she's committed, all the hearts she's broken, but he doesn't hold any of that against her. She was a woman trying to find herself, trying to remember the strong beauty that was folding below the thorns Nate continued to thrust into her, and he's helped her to find herself, remember the woman she truly is, and bring her back to life.
Yet, as he's fallen for her, so, too, has she fallen for him. The first few times she told him how she truly feels, he didn't believe her. He tried his best to ignore what was growing between them, told himself she was mixed up and putting her feelings of needing to be needed and loved upon him as he's the first man in a long time to truly care about her, not for her looks or her skills but for the true woman beneath all the many folds of Sophie Deveraux.
He's the only one in their entire team who knows who she really is, and she's the only one with whom he shares his darkest secrets. She doesn't turn from him no matter how dark those secrets are, and he's told her some of the darkest in his attempts to make her leave him and go running back to Nate. It hasn't worked. It won't work for now they share the darkest, and loveliest, secret of all.
A part of him knows this is wrong the entire time, but Sophie needs him. She needs and deserves to be loved. He does love her, and she loves him, and Eliot likes to think that he, too, despite all his sins and the darkness within him, deserves to be loved.
They had both thought, at different times in their lives, that they were experiencing love, but they've never really known true love until he let her into his arms and heart. Since then, he has loved her steadily with all that he is, giving to her not just what she needs but what she yearns for and deserves as well. He loves her, and he hates that they have to keep their love in the shadows. Yet if the truth of their love is ever revealed, he knows it will be the end of them. Nate will never understand. He'll break up the team, and they'll lose the only family they've ever really known.
Eliot would like to think that having each other would still be enough, but he knows better. He knows Sophie's flower will wilt again. It takes every one of them to keep her going, to keep her smiling and happy, each in their own little ways. She still hangs on nearly every word Nate speaks. Hardison can make her laugh even when Eliot can not find the words to do so in the dark times they share, and Parker . . . Parker is like the little sister, or perhaps even daughter, that Sophie will never have.
Losing them, losing any of them, will again break the beauty he has mended so carefully with caring hands, understanding words, and loving heart. He won't let her be broken again, and so he loves her in the darkness, cares for her as a friend in the light, hopes their secret will never be revealed, and always, always protects the woman he loves.