Title: By Paths Coincident 2/?
Characters: Jenkins, Eve Baird, Jacob Stone, Cassandra Cillian, Ezekiel Jones, Parker, Alec Hardison, Eliot Spencer, Others TBA as needed.
Disclaimer: Dean Devlin, John Rogers, TNT own these characters.
Description: The Librarians discover Leverage International. Jacob Stone and Eliot Spencer have a family past, but they aren't the only members of the two teams who've met before. Expect whiplash between light and dark.
The air duct above the kitchen counter rattled ominously, as though some large creature was scrabbling against the metal.
"Parker!" Eliot yelled without looking up from the peppers he was chopping. "Get out of there! Our customers already think we have rats."
With a screech and a clatter, the grate covering the vent landed on the countertop. A rumpled blond head with wide, slightly manic eyes appeared in the opening—the Head of Leverage International, at times the Nemesis for all corporate evil-doers, at other times, like the present, a force of complete domestic catastrophe.
Eliot glared at her with all the ferocity that could turn to water the knees of hardened criminals, but Parker had always been immune to his threats.
Slithering head-first out of the vent, she hit the countertop with her hands and arched over into a backflip that set her on her feet within half an inch of Eliot.
Eliot refused to acknowledge her abrupt presence within his personal space, although anyone else but Parker would have found themselves flying through the kitchen door head first with no consideration as to whether that door was open. He returned assiduously to the peppers.
Parker, however, was on a mission and would brook no cold shoulders. "Eliot," she hissed. "Are you really Eliot?"
Eliot swivelled to look at her, which brought them nose to nose. "Of course I'm . . . who else would I be? Parker, if you don't . . ."
"Then why is there someone in the Brew Pub wearing your face?" Parker jabbed a finger at his nose causing him to take a step back to avoid losing an eye.
Eliot opened his mouth, decided there was no possible comment he could make to such a ridiculous statement, and closed it again. Scowling, he folded his arms
Parker circled him, peering closely into his face, and then leaned forward to sniff his neck.
"Stop it, Parker!" Eliot growled. "I don't have time for crazy."
He attempted to return to his interrupted food prep, but Parker was not to be dissuaded. She poked his arm, and he swatted her with a spatula.
"Go away. I'm busy."
"You feel real." Parker frowned at him suspiciously; then she reached out and tugged at a lock of his hair.
"Ow!" Eliot jumped away from her rubbing his abused scalp. "What is wrong with you?"
"I'm pretty sure it's you," Parker decided, looming up behind him and sniffing again. "But maybe I should check out the other you."
"What are you talking about?"
"The person with your face," Parker frowned at him as though he was disappointing her with his density. "He's here with a super hot redheaded girl, so maybe he really is you. And a thief. And a woman who acts like you."
"Parker," Eliot shook his head in exasperation and pinched the bridge of his nose, hard, as if that would drive away his incipient brain sprain, "I'm right here! In the kitchen! Talking to you. When I have other things I need to be doing."
"I got their phones." Parker hopped up on a high stool and spread her loot on the counter top that she'd already made unsanitary with her acrobatics.
"You can't . . ." Eliot balled his fists, clenched his teeth, closed his eyes, and prayed for patience even though he hadn't prayed in decades. "You can't rob our customers!"
Parker snorted. "Not all our customers, silly!" She eyed her acquisitions with enthusiasm. "Just the ones that come in with fake you."
"Hey, babe!" Hardison breezed into the room with his arms full of packages and landed a kiss on the nearest part of Parker he could reach which happened to be her ear. He nodded to the other occupant of the room. "Eliot."
Eliot did not commonly turn to Hardison for rescue, but this situation was an exception. He pointed an accusatory finger at the blonde thief. "Tell Parker she's not allowed to burgle our customers."
"Of course, she's not going to burgle our . . . Parker what have you been doing?"
"Somebody made a copy of Eliot," said Parker. "I'm spying. I want to know why."
"A copy of . . .? Damn, girl. You ain't makin' no sense whatsoever." Hardison shook his head as though to clear his ears.
"You see?" Eliot glared at her.
Parker scooped up the phones, slid off the stool, and held them out to Hardison.
"Mama, I can't, I got my hands full." Hardison scanned the room and unerringly bee-lined for the last remaining clean counter.
Eliot's outrage amped up. "What are you bringing in here? Is that some more of your useless kitchen gadgets? Don't you . . . Dammit, Hardison!"
He was going to have to scrub the entire kitchen. Honestly, with those two around, he might as well stop pretending on cons that he was a janitor and just admit it was the truth.
"Luddite," Hardison said, unruffled, taking the phones from Parker. "You just don't understand the future."
His agile fingers flicked on the devices and bared their little electronic souls. "Cassandra Cillian, hmmm. Looks just your type, Eliot. Eve Baird, has pictures of Minoan art on her phone. Seriously? Fergus McPhail—Okay, that's an alias. Jacob Stone. Whoa!" He held up the last phone so that he could compare the photo to Eliot's face. "Now that is just creepy. You got some kinda twin you not telling us about, huh?"
Of course, as soon as he heard the name, Eliot knew. "My cousin," he said shortly. "Our mommas were twins and our daddies were cousins." He shrugged at their stares of incredulity. "Tiny town in Oklahoma. People didn't move around much. We were born about 7 months apart. Gave our teachers hell."
"Why didn't you know this?" Parker asked Hardison, as though assuming that he spied on all of them.
Which apparently he did.
"Because I don' go lookin' for y'all's faces unless we're not together," Hardison said. "I just figure anyone looks like Eliot is Eliot, and all that stuff about Pakistan—well a man has a right to his secrets."
From anyone but Hardison, it seemed. Eliot rolled his eyes.
"So, I guess Pakistan was real?" Hardison asked.
"Yeah," Eliot sighed. "It was real."
"I also stole this," Parker pulled a semi-automatic pistol out of the pocket of her hoodie and waved it around illustratively.
"Whoa! Gun!" Hardison levitated away from her. "Uh uh! No way! Get that thing out of here! Parker, give it to Eliot! Eliot! Get the gun!"
Giving Hardison an incredulous look, Eliot held out his hand. "Let me see that."
Parker wrinkled her nose at Hardison, but she handed over the weapon willingly enough.
Hardison, edged back into range. "Woman, do not do that to me. Give me a heart attack."
Parker and Eliot exchanged smirks.
"Y'all are just insensitive," Hardison complained under his breath.
As he rotated the pistol in his hands, ejecting the magazine and unchambering the round, Eliot's good humor evaporated. "You stole this weapon from an officer, Parker?"
Parker looked intrigued. "I did? How can you tell?"
"It's probably a very distinctive something," Hardison offered from a distance.
"Well, it's a Glock 17 G4, and a lot of people carry 'em." Eliot glared at Hardison. "Not distinctive. But look at this one." He held out the gun towards Parker and she bent over in curiosity. "The grip is nearly worn smooth. Means she's had this for a long time and used it a lot. Not a weekender at the firing range. And here, she's put an aftermarket trigger on this. Reduces the 17's slightly mushy trigger pull."
"I didn't tell you I stole it from the woman who acts like you," Parker said.
Eliot frowned. "Again, look at the wear. The person who uses this has a slim, smaller hand—likely a woman." He turned the pistol over. "See this mark in the polymer? That's made by a blade with a really superior edge. This weapon's seen combat. A lot of agencies equip their personnel with these. . . . Wait a minute, what do you mean 'acts like me'?"
"You know, walks in a door and moves everyone to the side of the frame all protecty-like, eyes everyone in the room like she thinks they might be assassins, then picks the only seat in the room where you can see everything but there's nothing behind you." Parker pantomimed exaggerated paranoia.
"Well that's just peachy," Hardison groused. "As if law enforcement isn't already on our asses too much of the time."
He'd spent the gun detective lesson pulling up the Brew Pub's surveillance. "Uh oh." He pointed to the kitchen monitor. "You're about to get blown."
In the grainy picture, Eliot could see one of the wait staff approaching the table where the Leverage team usually met clients. Four people sat around it. Two women and two men. Of course, the staff were probably labouring under the delusion that Jacob was him. The resemblance was still uncanny.
Much as he didn't want to go out there, he knew he had better. Family was—complicated. However, the confusion was only going to increase exponentially if Jacob didn't know Eliot was here. And if the Brew Pub staff didn't realize that Jacob wasn't their chef with a haircut.
And something about Jacob's companions was bothering him.
"Hardison, get me intel on the gun owner."
"Will this help?" Parker pulled out a passport from God only knew where.
Hardison took the document, flipped open the page with the identity information, and yelped, "Parker, you stole the phone, gun, and passport of Colonel Eve Baird, NATO Counter-terrorism! Are you crazy?!"
"You know the answer to that question!" Eliot snapped. "Give me that! What's a counter-terrorism agent doing in a restaurant in Portland . . ."
He failed to finish his sentence when he saw the picture.
Eliot Spencer did not have a perfect memory for faces, but there were certain people whose faces he had tried and failed to forget. The woman looking up at him from the small photograph wore one of those faces.
Vaguely he was aware that Hardison was still rapidly researching, complaining about the illogic of a colonel being reassigned on detached duty to something called the Metropolitan Library.
Eliot threw the passport back at Parker, not surprised that she caught it out of the air, and growled. "Give those people back their stuff."
He ignored her pout that always accompanied a command to return her spoils.
He had to go out there and meet his cousin. He had to go out there and meet Colonel Eve Baird.
This was not going to go well.
"Are you okay, man?" Hardison, as always, was the one to notice.
Eliot strode out of the room without answering. Behind his back he heard Hardison tell Parker, "We need to follow him. That's the same way he looked when Moreau captured that General friend of his in San Lorenzo—like he knew he just got somebody killed."