Summary: Lindsey is sure that there is something wrong with his brother. He has a team, a fully-stocked refrigerator, a television set, and a garden on the roof. He’s become…domesticated. Takes place after “The Carnival Job.” This story may also be referred to as “The Time Parker Almost Met Fake Eliot.”
Lindsey lets himself into Eliot’s apartment with the key his brother had given him the last time they’d seen each other, and looks around. Huh. The place actually looks lived in, as it should, since Eliot has seemingly made Boston his home base. Eliot, for whom the word “home” has always meant Kentucky, where they grew up, or alternately, wherever Lindsey happens to be at the time.
Not counting the first eighteen years of his life, Eliot had never stayed in one place for more than six months until he’d met his team. Now, he’s been working out of Boston for the better part of the last three years. “Whatever happened to ‘I get restless’?”
Lindsey thinks, as he raids Eliot’s fridge.
Nothing already made. Tough luck. He checks the freezer. Ah-hah! Jackpot. “POT ROAST 7-13-11,” the neat label on the aluminum foil-wrapped package says in Eliot’s precise handwriting. There’s enough for two.
He takes it out, removes the foil, and dumps the frozen meat into a microwavable-looking plate. Then he presses the right buttons on the machine and sets it to defrosting dinner.
And now for veggies. Mama had raised them to mind that they ate a good amount of vegetables alongside the meat, and while Lindsey tries
to stick to the rule by ordering stir-fry with the orange chicken, Eliot is more fastidious in maintaining a healthy menu.
Salad. Lindsey can manage salad. When Eliot had been training Lindsey a few years back, he’d had had him slicing and chopping things with all kinds of knives and blades (like, for example, forget shooting an apple off of a guy’s head; according to Eliot, you don’t have complete mastery of aiming until you can peel the apple while it’s still on the poor bastard’s head), so he’s good at the prepping stage of cooking. It’s the actual mixing the ingredients and cooking them that’s the problem.
Somehow, the kitchen always erupts in strange-smelling smoke whenever Lindsey attempts anything more complicated than nuking frozen or canned food.
Cooking just isn’t simple and straightforward like magic is.
So he pulls out the vegetables that he recognizes (which means he bypasses the knobby light green thing that looks like a species of lower-level demon), washes them, and gets slicing.
Yeah, he can totally put a salad together. Just cut and toss, right?
Still, he’s oddly proud of himself when the microwave dings and he has a clumsy-looking salad to serve along with the pot roast.
He’s got everything ready by the time Eliot lets himself into the apartment.
“Nurse Gail still have magic fingers?” Lindsey asks.
“Hell yeah,” Eliot says, rotating his shoulders and rolling his neck. “She is one damn good Healer.”
“Of course she is,” Lindsey responds, handing him an open beer, “I recommended her.”
“Yeah, thanks for mentioning that every time
I tell you I’ve been to see her,” Eliot snarks as he sits down to eat. “What are you doing here anyway?”
Lindsey shrugs. “I got an alert from the network that said that Eliot Spencer has been incapacitated and won’t be able to fight back as well for a while, so if anyone’s interested in ordering a hit on him, now’s the time to do it.”
“Roper,” Eliot growls. “I’m gon’ kill him next time I see ‘im.”
“What?” Lindsey snorts, “That tiny Californian? He
got you bad enough that you had to go see Gail?”
Eliot scowls at the jibe. “No, that was the carnival ride. Roper just happened to be there.”
Lindsey throws his head back and laughs. “Carnival ride?” he says incredulously. “Now that’s a story I have
“‘S not funny,” Eliot grumbles, hiding the twitch of amusement his lips are trying to make by taking a bite. “It friggin’ hurt.”
Lindsey notices the tiny rattle over their heads a second after Eliot does. He slides his knife out of its sheath noiselessly and watches the air vent near which the sound had come, waiting for the right moment to strike.
He’s startled when Eliot clamps a hand over his wrist and growls out, “Parker, get outta my house!”“‘Parker, get outta my house,’”
a woman’s voice mocks from the ceiling. “It’s not a house anyway. It’s an apartment.”
Eliot rolls his eyes. “Yeah. And it’s mine, Parker. Out,” he says firmly.“Fine,”
the mysterious voice mutters, “It’s not like you were having sex with the hot nurse or anything. You were just talking to yourself.”
Lindsey mouths, “What?”
to Eliot, who shakes his head and makes the universal sign for “crazy.”
“Parker. If you’re not out of here in one minute, I’m gonna call Hardison and tell him you sleep in his air vents every night. You know as well as I do, he ain’t gonna like that.”
There’s an outraged gasp, and then there’s nothing.
Eliot watches the ceiling with a smirk for almost a minute longer, seemingly tracking the thief’s progress out of his apartment with his eyes. Lindsey can’t tell exactly where she is, but he senses it when she makes it out.
“You got women droppin’ in to visit at night, and you tell ‘em to go away?” Lindsey teases. “That’s not like you.”
Eliot snorts. “Parker’s more like an annoying little sister I can’t get rid of.”
Lindsey looks at him. “Sister?”
Eliot pauses, immediately thinking of the two younger sisters they’d lost all those years ago, and knows that Lindsey is remembering the exact same thing. “Not like that,” he says thickly. “Not like them, really, but well, she’s like a kid, and she’s a friend, and I like her and she’s hot, but I don’t wanna sleep with her. Couldn’t pay me to do it. Too damn crazy. So what else do you call that?”
Lindsey contemplates that while chewing a mouthful of beef. “Hot, crazy, younger friend that you like enough to admit, with whom you would rather wade through a sea of leeches than sleep with?” he suggests, making them both smile. “I guess ‘annoying little sister’ fits the bill.”
He’s trying not to sound jealous, but he’s not quite sure he managed it because Eliot gets this look
and tells him, “I say, ‘like a sister’ and ‘like a brother’ about Hardison, but you and me, I’ll never have anything like what we have with anyone
else. So stop with the subtle planning their deaths thing because one, they’re not taking your place, and two, it ain’t that subtle.”
Lindsey, who hadn’t been planning their deaths, per se,
more just thinking of ways to break them up, scowled. “I ain’t jealous. You can make your own family. It’s your life. I mean, it’s time you settled down anyway. With an actual apartment and ready-made meals in your freezer and a TV
- you don’t even watch TV! - and be all domesticated and shit.”
“I have a garden on the roof of the building, too,” Eliot says, looking bemused. “Actually grew all the vegetables we’re eating right now. And Hardison’s the one who installed that TV. I get all the sports channels, which is pretty great, even though I usually go to Nate’s to watch games with the rest of the crew.”
Lindsey gapes at him.
“So yeah, maybe I am domesticated, as you put it,” Eliot continues, “but I dunno, I kinda like it. I mean, I’ve been moving around my whole life, never put down roots, so it feels good to be able to come home to something, and have people who actually care about me.”
“I care,” Lindsey says reflexively. “So why’d they let you go home injured if they care
that much about you?”
“They wanted to take me to the hospital, but I told them I’d be fine. And they trust me to let them know when I’m not
fine. That’s why they let me go. Trust goes both ways,” Eliot says. Then he changes the subject, not wanting to get into yet another argument with his brother about the wisdom of being on a team. “So what have you been up to these days?”
Lindsey shrugs. “Same old. Stayin’ low, keepin’ an eye out for weird things. Monsters have been acting strange since someone set off the Apocalypse again.”
Eliot grunts. Damn people always wanting to start apocalypses. Good thing there are usually people heroic (and stupid) enough to stop them each time. But apocalypses tend to have strange consequences. Last time around there was an exponential increase in demon possession (of the smoky kind, not the corporeal type). “Yeah? Like how?” he asks, wanting to know for future reference, so he can keep an eye out for them and steer the team away from those kinds of cases.
“Werewolves shifting on a new moon, ghouls eating people alive instead of the dead,” says Lindsey, “I heard about an arachnae last month. They’re supposed to be extinct.”
“That is weird,” Eliot agrees, spearing a piece of carrot. “Anyone come after you lately?”
Lindsey shrugs. “No one I couldn’t take care of,” he says. “Retrieved a holy gecko the other week.”
“Hate those things. So you’ve been busy?” asks Eliot, and takes a sip from his beer.
Lindsey chews. “Yeah. You?”
“Yep.” Eliot swallows.
“Pass the ketchup.”
“My pot roast don’t need ketchup.”
“Pass the ketchup.”
“Fine. Here’s your damn ketchup!”
They continue eating in awkward silence until they risk a glance at each other at the exact same time and burst out laughing.
“I’m sorry, man,” Lindsey chuckles, “I didn’t mean ta start a fight. I’m just worried about ya. I mean, I get it. This life gets lonely, and it’s human nature to want to stick with people like yourself. I’m happy for you, El. I really am. They seem like...” Here, he breaks off, not wanting to say “good people,” because they’re not really saints. “They seem decent. In a criminally honorable way,” he says, carefully choosing his words out of habit.
Eliot snorts. “Criminally honorable. That’s us alright,” he says. “Ya know, you’re welcome to actually meet them. Instead of stalkin’ us like you’re doin’ now.”
“I’m not stalkin’ you, I’m watching your back,” Lindsey scowls, “There’s a difference.”
“Yeah, in one, you got binoculars, and in the other, you got binoculars and
Lindsey makes a face. “Dude. I didn’t hafta come tonight, ya know?”
“Couldn’t stay away, could ya?” Eliot teases and reaches out to ruffle his brother’s hair. “Worrywart.”
His brother ducks and rolls his eyes but doesn’t disagree. It’s not like Eliot could stay away either if he thought Lindsey might need him. He has been known to drop everything (even once in the middle of a war zone and another time in the middle of a date with a very beautiful and well-endowed woman) at a moment’s notice to rush to get him out of trouble.
Lindsey gets up and takes both of their plates to the sink. “In the mood for music?” he asks. “Or you wanna get some sleep?”
Eliot grins. “What do you think?” He grabs his guitar and sits down. “Got any new songs?”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AN: Yeah, I sneaked some Supernatural
in there at the end. Just a little bit. Tiny little bit.
I refer to Roper as “that tiny Californian” because Urijah Faber (the actor) is known as “The California Kid.” I thought of Gail being a Healer because seriously, Eliot, don’t seek out sex when you’re hurt. Not a good idea, dude.
Lindsey acts all bitchy in this one to set things up for the next story in this verse (which also explains the slight Sophie-bashing a couple of chapters back). It’s coming very soon…as soon as I finish it. I’m about a chapter away from that.