Story summary: Three Times Eliot Showed up at Lindsey's Place Uninvited and Three Times Lindsey Showed up at Eliot's. Split into three each instead of 5 + 1 because twins should always share. In the order that the title says, and in chronological order for each twin.
Summary: Lindsey has always enjoyed their impromptu guitar jam sessions over home-cooked dinner and beers, but tonight is going to be tough. The first time Eliot sees Lindsey’s missing hand. Set a little after “To Shanshu in LA.”
Disclaimer: I hereby disclaim all credit for all recognizable characters/situations/ideas/etc mentioned in my fanfictional stories. Fandoms: Leverage
He's about to dig his key out when he hears it: the gentle strumming of a guitar, his guitar, coming through the door. He groans inwardly and wonders for a minute if he could go find a bar, or maybe rent out a room at a motel somewhere for the night. Anything but face his brother. His brother, who probably already knows he's at the door.
"Ya comin' in or what?"
Yeah, his "distinctive" footsteps probably gave him away.
So he clumsily unlocks the door and enters, calling out, "I told ya not to invite people in without seein' who it is first!"
It smells like hot food, like it always does when Eliot visits. Lindsey can talk someone into locking themselves into a jail cell with a big grin on their face and even thank him for his help, but he's never quite gotten the hang of cooking. Too bad he'll never get the chance to now. Ever tried chopping carrots one-handed? It's damn near impossible.
He makes sure the bandaged stump of his hand is hidden out of sight behind his back. Naturally, Eliot picks up on it right away. The shrewd eyes see the way he's standing, and zone in on his right arm.
"What're you hidin'?"
"Bullshit." Eliot puts the guitar down and walks over. Lindsey fights the urge to back up against the wall, making Eliot pause a little. He's scared plenty of people in his life, but never his brother. Not really. Lindsey's nervous, freaked,
and Eliot just doesn't get it.
He goes to grab his brother's arm. "Lemme see. Is it somethin' embarrassing?" he teases, then freezes, staring at the empty space where his brother's right hand should be.
"I told you, it's nothing," Lindsey says quietly, gaze burning into the side of Eliot's head. "Nothing there." He's the first person in a very long time to witness Eliot Spencer looking pale and sick without the aid of a concussion.
"What happened?" Eliot croaks.
Lindsey pushes him aside, throws his suit jacket over the back of the couch (after a brief struggle with getting it over the bandage), and stalks towards his bathroom. "Lemme shower first."
"No," Eliot says, characteristically covering up his shock with anger. "No, you tell me now. Tell me what happened to your hand, Lindsey. Lindsey."
Lindsey stops at the bathroom doorway, lets his shoulders slump down and his defenses down, lets his brother see the weariness in his soul. "I just got home from work, Eliot. I need a shower," he repeats tiredly. He's not above using pathos on his brother to avoid talking about this.
Eliot knows it, too, but he also knows what it feels like to really
need a shower, even though you might still smell of that morning's shampoo. He slaps the wall with the flat of his hand. "Fine. I'll fry the st- " he stops, meaning to say, "steaks," but realizing that there is no way Lindsey would be able to manage both a knife and a fork with his one hand. "Meat," he finishes lamely, looking at the bathroom tiles instead of his brother's face.
Lindsey twitches a half-smile at him in thanks (both for the food and for the thought) and gently closes the bathroom door in his face. He heaves a sigh as soon as Eliot moves away on the other side. He'd been expecting Eliot to find out sometime, but he hadn't thought it would be so soon, or so unexpectedly.
Aw, who is he kidding? The only way Eliot ever turns up is unexpectedly and uninvited.
Not that Lindsey usually minds. He has always enjoyed their impromptu guitar jam sessions over home-cooked dinner and beers, no matter how tired he'd been when he'd left the office, but tonight is going to be tough.
He sighs. Might as well get it over with, he thinks, as he pours the shampoo directly onto his head.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
When he gets out, Eliot's nursing a beer at the table, which is set for two. A second look at the heavily-loaded, steaming plates reveals that both steaks have been chopped up and mixed in with the green beans, and the baked potatoes have been pounded into mashed potatoes. Easy fare for a one-handed person.
Eliot's watching him guardedly, as if waiting for Lindsey to blow up at him for babying him.
Lindsey sits and grabs the open beer bottle next to his plate. "Thanks," he says quietly. "Looks great."
Eliot relaxes and puts his own bottle down. "Yeah, considering what you had in your fridge. How many times I gotta tell ya, microwavable burritos are not food, and they're definitely not breakfast."
They're back on familiar ground now.
"It's not like I have a lot of time to cook," Lindsey fires back through a mouthful of potatoes. "I work a lot."
Eliot snorts. "And I don't?"
They eat in companionable silence interspersed with the usual brotherly teases ("How's your love life, Linny? Still nonexistent?" "At least I don't run the risk of contracting an STD every night, El." "Live and love dangerously, that's my motto." "Live and love foolishly, ya mean.") until dessert. Eliot pulls the apple pie out of the oven and plops a scoop of vanilla ice cream onto each slice. Like with anything Eliot's ever cooked since Mama'd let him flip his first pancake on the old gas stove back in their one-room hovel, it tastes heavenly.
"I'm getting fitted for the prosthetic next week," Lindsey offers up in exchange.
Eliot chews slowly and washes the bite down with a long swallow of beer. "That's good," he says carefully, not knowing what his brother expects him to say.
Lindsey scrapes his plate clumsily with his left hand. Oh, to have been born left-handed. "Yeah, it is. Really give people somethin' to stare at," he snorts.
"How'd it happen?" Eliot tries again, this time with less rage and more concern in his voice.
After a long pause, Lindsey tells him.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
"I'm gonna kill him," Eliot growls, prowling the perimeter of Lindsey's living room like a rabid wolf. "I'm gonna pour a gallon o' holy water down his throat an' burn him with crosses all over, an', an' stake him, an', an'- Does garlic work? I'm gonna stuff him with garlic like a damn turkey, an' roast him on a spit 'til he's well-done, an'…"
Lindsey lets him fume. He's sitting on the couch, watching Eliot pacing, with a beer in his one hand and the neck of the old guitar on his lap.
"I'm gonna kill him!" Eliot finally finishes, standing in front of Lindsey, chest heaving and hands clenched in fists.
"No," Lindsey says simply. "No, you can't."
"No, what? You gotta be kiddin' me!" Eliot shouts, "You tellin' me you don't want this guy dead for takin' your hand?"
Lindsey puts his beer down on the coffee table and stands, chest-to-chest with his twin. "I do. Don't get me wrong, I do, Eliot, but you can't go after him."
Eliot's face twists in confusion. "Why the hell not? Is it your bosses?"
Lindsey shakes his head. "No."
"Then tell me why you don't want this bastard dusted!" Eliot huffs, crossing his arms. "Lindsey!"
Lindsey looks away to prepare his reply. Finally, he looks at his brother and holds both his hands up, the left one, still intact, and the missing right. "This," he says, "These, I can spare. But I can't risk losing you to him, too. Don't go after him, Eliot."
Eliot stares at him. "What're you talkin' about?"
"He's a vampire, El. He's dangerous." As he says it, Lindsey can feel the phantom sensation of his right fist curling to match his left.
"Linds, I kill
people for a living."
"Don't go after him. He'll smell the blood on you and won't think twice about killing you."
Eliot looks at him, trying to get him, to understand what he means, but he has to look away when Lindsey returns it. He does
get it. Like he wouldn't want Lindsey going after Moreau for him, his brother doesn't want Eliot going after Angel for his sake. It's too dangerous. "Lindsey," he tries again, but is cut off.
"El." Their father's old guitar, passed down to the more stationary twin, is pressed into his hands. "Just play the damn guitar."
Eliot shakes his head. "I can't…" His eyes are suddenly not as dry as they should be, and he can't quite meet Lindsey's eyes. "I can't."
Lindsey smiles sadly. "You can. You can. Please. Just play the damn guitar. I wanna hear you play it."
He sits when Eliot takes the instrument gingerly with a sigh, scooting over enough for him to sit next to him.
After trying a few tentative bars, Eliot starts playing.They were sitting on his tailgate
And she was lovin' on his roughneck
And she was talking about running away
And he was puffin' on a cigarette
Just thinkin' (huh)
How am I gonna say goodbye?
And for the first time since his accident, Lindsey relaxes completely, leans back, and closes his eyes, lost in his brother's voice, so similar to his own, but different. They've led separate lives that have left their marks on both of them, changing them. Yet they'll always be twins; nothing could ever change that. Nothing but death, and maybe not even then.
No, he decides, he doesn't want Eliot messing with Angel. Angel's his to kill anyway."Just let me go,"
croons his brother, and the song ends.
They sit there, Eliot strumming random chords, not really needing to talk.
"Got any new songs you wanna play?"
It's Eliot who asks it, surprising both of them. He looks as startled as Lindsey does, at any rate. Uneasy apprehension crawls into his expression at the prolonged silence.
Then Lindsey smiles, really smiles. "Yeah," he says, "actually, I do."
So he tells him, the chords, the beat, the melody. The song pours out of the guitar, just the way it had sounded in his head. He let his brother be his hands and sings like he hasn't in months.Pretty girl on every corner
Sunshine turns the sky to gold
Warm warm, it's always warm here
I can't take the cold
When they're both too tired to sing anymore, Lindsey tells Eliot to take the guitar with him.
Eliot refuses. "I move too much. Can't have things that I value." He runs a calloused, yet gentle hand lovingly over it and continues, "I'll be back to play it, though, so you better not pawn it."
"What if I need the money?" Lindsey jokes, feigning petulance.
"Then spare a quarter to call me before ya do," Eliot grins back. "Can't have this beauty goin' to waste in some pawn shop. Some bastard who don't appreciate music might buy her."
"So you'd rescue the guitar but you wouldn't bail me out of bankruptcy, is that it?"
Eliot shakes his head, hair falling over his shoulder. "No way, man. Definitely the guitar over you."
"Yeah, same here," Lindsey agrees affably, and raises his bottle for Eliot to clink his against.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
AN: The songs were both Christian Kane's: "Let Me Go" and "Pretty as a Picture/L.A Song."