Disclaimer: Leverage doesn't belong to me. No infringement is intended.

Rating: PG - slash

Continuity: some unspecified time a little further down the line, but inspired by 1.03 - "The Two-Horse Job".

Characters/Pairing: Nathan/Eliot

Summary: "Bleeding heart Nathan Ford, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Every job is personal with you."

Note: Totally a ficlet, there's no context. Just dipping my toes into a new pool. :)

Personally Involved

Two handfuls of lapel and a shove, and Nate's got Eliot slammed up against the wall.

"Which part of 'walk away' did you not understand?"

"Oh, I understood just fine."

Nate is glaring, and Eliot fixes a stare right back, unflinching, not the least bit intimidated, certainly not by the pathetic two inches of height that Nate is trying to press some advantage out of.

"Hardison, Parker, Sophie. They're not like you. Prison would not be kind on them."

"And you think I like jail?"

Nate's eyes narrow a fraction. "We don't get personally involved."

The corner of Eliot's mouth twitches up into a mean smile. "That's rich coming from you, Nate."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Bleeding heart Nathan Ford, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Every job is personal with you."

"You can walk away any time, Eliot."

"Can you?"

Nate's too good to be visibly taken aback, but there's a shift in his eyes that can't be hidden. Eliot of all people knows that the best defense is a good offense.

"You can't stop, not now. It's revenge and penance and that do-gooder instinct all rolled into one. And don't forget the thrill."

Disgust flashes across Nate's face. "You think this is about the thrill?"

"I know it's about distraction. So you don't have to remember-"

Maybe Eliot crossed the line, because those blue eyes of Nate's have turned colder than ice.

"I never forget. Don't you dare presume-"

"I wouldn't. We're not friends." The word comes out as a snarl, more vicious than a wolf's. Maybe it's the wrong choice of animal though, because every pack has its leader. Eliot and the rest of them have chosen theirs, for better and for worse.

"No, but you all chose me to lead this team, and you will listen to me. I have the bigger picture here. Like I said, if you can't handle that..."

Eliot growls. "Walk away from this, you son of a bitch."

Eliot grabs a handful of disheveled curls at the back of Nate's head and yanks him down, crushing his mouth to Nate's. A headbutt is more gentle than this. Nate is startled into stillness, not that Eliot would have allowed him to pull away. The kiss is all lips and teeth and unrelenting pressure, and when Eliot finally pulls back, Nate has the look of a man who just walked away from a six-car collision on the freeway, dazed and unblinking.

The sight makes Eliot smirk, an expression that lasts a grand total of two seconds before it gets wiped off his face. By Nate. With his mouth.

This... this is a kiss. Guess masterminding heists isn't the only thing Nate is good at. He's let go of Eliot's lapels, hands now on Eliot's face, a cradle that's restraining and caressing at the same time. Eliot closes his eyes, parts his lips, opens to the deepening kiss, reflexively taking a step back when Nate presses forward though there's nowhere for him to go. But Nate doesn't crush him, a full-body smother instead, no tripped alarm in Eliot's head for being trapped. No, he likes it here, Nate's mouth hot on his, and every breath he takes is spice and scotch. Eliot's grip on Nate's hair tightens. He's holding on just as much as he's hanging on.

Eventually, Nate pulls back but not away. Eliot breathes hard, licks his lips, and they tingle and burn. He stares up at Nate, trying to get a read on those eyes.

"We don't get personally involved," Nate murmurs, but there's no bite behind the words. He's teasing, Eliot thinks. Is Nate teasing?

Somebody clears their throat in the doorway. It's Sophie, looking at them with one elegantly arched brow. Both Eliot and Nate are far too composed for them to spring apart like teenagers done wrong, but it doesn't matter. Sophie's lips hold a neutral line, but the smirk is clear in her eyes. Eliot smiles at her. Shrugs.

"Are we going to finish this or not?" Sophie asks with a pointed look.

Eliot looks at Nate, who nods after a long moment of consideration.

"Yeah. Yeah, we finish this."

Sophie gives them both an assessing look from head to toe, then she smiles and walks away. Nate finally takes a step back. The cool air is like a slap to the face after the warm press of Nate's body,, but Eliot straightens without a word.

"As for you," Nate starts. Doesn't finish. He considers yet again before he speaks. "We'll talk later."

Eliot keeps the smile from his face until Nate is out of the room.

Yeah. They will.