Author's Note: THESE LAST TWO EPISODESSSSS :OOOO I was shook man so totally shook.
Okay, so I know that a lot of people have taken the post-big-bang-job angle with Hardison and Eliot needing to patch things up but like... they need to patch things up. So I'm doing it too XD
There wasn't much time to regroup; after all, the Leverage Team had a Damien Moreau to catch. But Hardison was still soaked to the bone and nobody knew quite what to do with Eliot, so the group hijacked some random person's hotel room and took a second to clean up.
Hardison stared blankly at himself in the bathroom mirror, fists tight around the edge of the sink. He was still wearing his drenched dress shirt and slacks- Parker was bringing him something to change into but she hadn't gotten back from that mission yet, and he wasn't about to stand around in the bathroom naked.
That turned out to be a sound decision as someone knocked on the door a few minutes later.
"What?" Hardison asked quietly. He knew it wasn't Parker- she would have blown right in. Nate would have just rapped once, and he would have heard Sophie's heels long before her fist. So that left one person: Eliot Spencer.
The door opened and Eliot stepped awkwardly into the doorframe. "Hey man," he muttered, looking at the bathroom counter instead of at Hardison. "I just, um… I wanted to see how you were… holdin' up."
Hardison turned on him. "Oh, nice to know that you care about that now," he snapped. "How do you think I'm holding up, man? I just nearly drowned, all because you couldn't spare enough time to let me know about your secret little plan! Or to, I dunno, just jump in the dang pool and get me outta there!"
Eliot jaw spasmed for a few very tense seconds before he cracked. "You think I didn't want to?" he cried, volume rising. "Dang it, Hardison, every second you were in there felt like an hour. It's my job to keep y'all safe and the fact that I couldn't do it- the fact that I- It killed me, man." He hit his fist against the side of the doorframe, hand shaking. "It killed me."
Hardison sucked on his teeth, trying to find it in himself to stay bitter but not quite able to. "Why didn't you just tell me?" he asked quietly. "Before we went in. I know you were tryna keep it from us originally, but… you knew what we were going into, Eliot. Why didn't you say anything?"
"I didn't know how," Eliot growled, squeezing his eyes shut. "I wanted to, I- the whole time you were layin' out your stupid waiter plan I wanted to tell you but I just couldn't. You would have asked questions and I just… I guess I was just worried that you wouldn't- that you wouldn't trust me enough to go through with it, after I'd told you the truth."
Startled, Hardison eyed him warily. "You think I wouldn't trust you?" he asked incredulously. "After all the crap we've been through? After all the times you've saved my tail?"
"I wouldn't," Eliot said quietly. "I wouldn't trust me. Moreau… he's the worst of the worst. He doesn't just fund criminals and hire contract killers, he ruins people's lives. And the worst of it is that he manipulates other people into ruining people's lives. He… he manipulated me."
Hardison choked back the question he was dying to ask, the same one Parker had on the bench in the park. He wanted to know so badly what Eliot had done, but at the same time… what if he really didn't? What if it changed the way he looked at Eliot forever? What if it was one of those things about a person's past that just couldn't be forgotten, no matter how far removed they were from it?
"Look, man," he said instead, leaning against the edge of the counter and letting his head fall back. "I don't care about your past, okay? I know you've done enough stuff to haunt your dreams for the rest of your life, but the Eliot that I know isn't like that. The Eliot that I know would have- would have jumped in the pool, if he knew I was really about to die. No matter what face you put on… you would have jumped in." He looked towards Eliot, begging him to confirm that that was the truth. "You would have jumped in."
Jaw tight, Eliot gave a short nod.
The shower curtain rustled, and both men jumped. "Jeezum, Parker," Eliot groaned as the blond thief poked her head out from the cubicle. "How long have you been standin' there?"
As usual, Parker didn't answer the question. "Are you guys friends again?" she asked nervously, eyes wide as she shoved Hardison's change of clothes into his chest. "Can we all be normal again?"
Hardison snorted, reaching out to nudge her gently in the shoulder. "Parker," he sighed, "we were never normal."
But his gaze met Eliot's, and he knew that, even if they weren't normal, they would at least be okay.