Eliot shot a stern look in direction of the car. Well, actually at the man standing there. He felt a tiny spark of panic starting up and fought it back quickly. The other man gave him an open smile and ducked behind the car just before Parker and Hardison stepped through the door. Just before they would have seen him.
“I'm off home” Eliot muttered and headed towards his car. He got in and looked at the rear mirror. “Stay down!” With this order, he started his car and drove off.
“Is it safe now? Can I sit up properly or will I have to stay down here forever?” Duke demanded with a slightly whining voice.
Eliot rolled his eyes and shook his head slightly.
“You gotta stop showing up like that, man. It's too often. One day they gonna start wondering and then they're gonna ask questions. And if they start asking me about you, I'm gonna tell 'em and that will lead them directly to Haven and to ... me. I don't want them to know!”
There was this tiny spark of panic again. Sometimes he felt bad about it all. Sometimes he thought that maybe they would understand, that they should know. But then he remembered those other times when the truth had gotten out, the light of truth had shone right at him and those surrounding him. No. It was better they stayed in the dark about him. They probably would hate what that light would show them.
“So you've been working with those guys for more than three years now ... and they still don't know?” Duke raised his eyebrows and tried to catch his gaze in the mirror.
Eliot avoided looking into his eyes.
“No, they don't. And I'd like to keep it that way.”
“Wait. So they've never been wondering about ...”
“Duke” Eliot interrupted his visitor mid-sentence. “Shut it. I don't wanna talk about it. They don't know, I want it to stay that way. So you can't just turn up, out of the blue, and throw me off my game.”
“Okay. I got it. Me turning up: Bad. Fine. I won't turn up anymore. Not ever again!”
“Not what I said!” Eliot sighed heavily. Sometimes Duke seemed to love turning his words around and making him sound like the worst person ever. “I like having you around. I just don't want them to find out about me.”
Eliot stopped the car and got out. Duke followed suit. They didn't talk while they walked along a path and then right into the woods, in between trees and bushes. It wasn't until they reached his home that Duke muttered something about his paranoia and a proper home with concrete pathways to lead up to it. Eliot smiled mildly. If he had set up home on a boat, Duke probably would be just fine.
“So. How was your day? Caught the bad guy?”
“Let him get caught by the police.” Eliot winked at Duke and closed the door behind them.
“Hit any bad guys today?”
“Nah.” Eliot shrugged. “Unfortunately the guy decided not to put up a fight.”
“Right.” Duke nodded understandingly. “Leave you to it, then.”
Eliot chuckled a little. Those were Dukes famous last words before he vanished into the bed room while Eliot himself went into his ... Special room.
He didn't do it for fun. The hitting people, the working out. This room probably was the only thing that kept him sane most of the time. He needed the workout and the hitting to get rid of the pressure that built up inside him. Troubled they called it, back in Haven. His condition had given him more than enough problems to last for two lifetimes. Every minute was an effort, every day a small victory. He fought every second of his life and no one knew about it. Except Duke.
The chief had explained it all to him and when Eliot had left Haven, Duke showed up as often as he could. Just to check up on him. Eliot knew that the chief had sent the young man and he was grateful.
Two hours later Eliot finally hit the shower and afterwards ... the bedroom.
Duke looked up and smiled softly.
“Now let's get to the good part,” his visitor whispered when he pulled Eliot closer. “And don't hold back. I love the rush that takes over my body when you let go.”
So Eliot did and he felt his emotions and feelings leave his body and fill up the whole room.