Eliot's breath sawed in and out of his sore lungs. That, and dripping water from some mysterious source were the only sounds in the room.

Unsure how long his captors had been gone, he awaited the next round of torment.

Sweat and what he assumed was blood soaked into the blindfold covering his eyes. It won't be long. Everyone has a breaking point. Even me.

If the team had run like he told them, they would be safe when these people finally broke him.

The door hinges creaked, drowning out his ragged breathing. Not again. Too soon. Footsteps approached and stopped. Hovered over him.

A hand raised his chin from his chest. The unexpected touch caused him to jerk away from more pain. The movement sent a lightning bolt of pain through his neck and into his skull.

"Eliot?" Sophie? It couldn't be. I told them to leave me.

This can't be real. Tremors ran through his body. It was the pain and cold. Not fear that his family could be in this place.


"Eliot. It's us. We're here." Parker murmured.

Sophie continued to whisper to him as her hands gently pushed his hair back from his face. He didn't understand the words, but her tone was soothing.

Don't mother me, Sophie. The screaming he could reconcile. It provided an outlet for the pain. The sob of relief that almost escaped him, not so much. They came back for him.

Gentle hands worked at the knot of the blindfold. The cloth fell away and his eyes teared up from the sudden light. Nate stood in front of him blocking some of the painful assault.

"N...Nate," he croaked. His sandpaper throat made talking hurt.

Sophie smoothed a hand over his cheek. "Shhh...it's alright now, darling. It's okay."

He shook his head. New pain blooming behind his eyes. "Nate. Din'...I din' say..."

The mastermind shoved his hands in his pockets. "I didn't have any doubt."

He squinted up at Nate through his one good eye. Blinking tears, he winced as a cough shifted the knives in his throat.

Hardison held a water bottle up to his split, bleeding lips. "Here, man."

Eliot coughed as the cool water ran down his punished throat. Hardison held him back with a hand on his shoulder. "Just take it slow, Eliot."

Eliot hissed and jerked away from the hacker.

"What's wrong? Did I hurt you?" Hardison looked physically ill at the possibility.

"His shoulder is out again," Nate said. He looked over Eliot's head at Parker. "How are those restraints coming?"

"Almost...almost...got it." The cuffs hit the floor with a clatter.

He muffled a cry as they helped to ease his arms from their awkward position behind his back. A constant litany of "It's okay. Easy...easy..." accompanied their movements.

Once on his feet, Sophie draped a blanket over his shoulders. He locked eyes with her. "They...they wanted...know where you were. Din't tell 'em. Any..." His knees buckled and if not for Hardison, he would have collapsed.

The hacker wrapped an arm around his waist and took on most of his weight. "Let's go home, man."