After Nate and Sophie leave for parts unknown (actually they only leave long enough for the heat to die down and for Sterling to look the other way but it's over a year and half before they come back to Portland permanently), and before they actually release the Black Book on to the Darknet, they start to look for a place to live. Together.
Not a base of operations. They already have that at the pub and it makes more sense to keep it there. This would be an actual home.
"I don't know, y'all."
Alec folded his arms and looked around the house: ‘4 bed, 2.5 baths, with mud room and modern kitchen in a nice neighborhood near good schools’ as advertised on the real estate agent's website. "It's nice but I don't think I'll be able to run that much cable through here to get the kind of connections I'm going to need."
"I thought you agreed that we couldn't bring our work home," Eliot said as he ran his hand over the brand new granite countertop. He had stopped himself from drooling over the brand new Wolf range that the current owners had installed but just barely. "How much of a connection do you need?"
The look that Alec had given him at the time fell somewhere between, "Have you met me?" and "Are you high?" Parker's voice drifted down from the upper floor.
"There's really no place to put rigging or anything."
Eliot turned to the real estate agent whose smile had become more brittle with each passing minute and shook his head. "I don't think is the right place for us. Do you have anything else in your listings?"
"This is better," Parker said. She'd swarmed up on the exposed beams the minute host of the open house had moved into another part of the loft with Eliot. Alec waved a hand at her and grinned at some of the other potential buyers who goggled at the slim blonde.
"She used to perform with Cirque du Soleil," he offered pleasantly. Alec looked up to see Parker hanging from her knees hooked around a beam. "Honey, you should come down before you scare all the nice people."
She flipped over and landed neatly. "What? It's not like I was going to fall or anything." She kissed him on the cheek and skipped past the now silent group to catch up with Eliot.
Eliot and Alec took one look at the complete empty warehouse in the most desolate part of town and then at Parker and said in unison, "No."
"Oh come on, we can put up pictures or something," she replied with a pout.
Eliot tossed the newspaper down on the bar in frustration and ran his hand over his face. They'd been at it for weeks and finally had to take a break. Alec and Parker were out: Alec to the comic store and Parker to god only knew where. He walked through the double doors and back into the kitchen, nodding to the night cook before putting on an apron. Hard thinking was done best on a full stomach.
He melted butter in a sauté pan then added shallots and sugar. Once they were brown, he added vinegar, salt and pepper before putting the pan into the oven. Eliot checked his watch; they’d be done in twenty. Plenty of time to finish a hearty dinner for his team.
That made him pause. They hadn’t been ‘team’ since Washington. After he was shot up and they were supporting him on either side. After they’d flown home and ended up curled together in Alec’s bed.
Eliot hadn’t been lying when he told Nate that he’d given him what he needed. Trying to find a place was just the next logical step in a journey they’d been on since the day they all met.
When Parker and Alec breezed in, dinner was ready. “Caramelized shallots?” Parker questioned with a small wrinkle of her nose. Eliot handed her a crustini and motioned towards the still steaming dish.
“Remember what I told you about trying new things?”
She took a spoon and took up a piece of shallot to spread on the bread before popping it into her mouth. Alec smiled at Eliot who contented himself with running a hand down Alec’s back while they both watched Parker enjoy this new treat with sensuous delight.
“That is good,” she said huskily. She grabbed another piece of bread and her spoon, dipping into the shallots with gusto.
“There’s other dinner somewhere, right? Because I don’t think we’re gonna get her out of that pot anytime soon,” Alec observed. Eliot nodded.
“Got it warming in the back.” He got up from his seat and pulled a folded newspaper from his back pocket and placed it on the table. “Check out the one I circled. I think it might work.”
Alec turned in a slow circle, looking around the room with Parker by his side grinning. It looked very much like his old place in Chicago, all wood paneling and open space. Eliot smiled slowly.
He’d gotten what he wanted in the form of a gourmet kitchen that the owner had put in before he died unexpectedly.
“You like it?” he asked gruffly. Parker skipped over to him and kissed him lustily.
“Skylights, you got me skylights!” She squealed happily and clapped her hands. Alec walked over and kissed him as well.
“You did good, man. Real good.”
“What does real good get me?” Eliot asked, his voice deep and compelling, letting his eyes rove up Alec’s body until he came back to his face. He brought a hand up behind Alec’s neck to grip and pull him in just shy of his own body.
“Anything you want. Fuck, Eliot,” Alec whispered. Eliot smirked.
“Promises, promises.” He squeezed the back of Alec’s neck lightly before letting him go. “C’mon, let’s go to the roof.”
A sharp wind cut across the rooftop but that didn’t deter the trio from looking out over the buildings around them. “Right across the street from the pub,” Alec nodded with approval. “Close but not too close.”
“Plus we can map out some of the utility access tunnels that run between here and there,” Eliot added. Parker stepped on his other side, eyes calculating.
“Zip line in case of emergencies. I can do that.” When both men looked at her, she shrugged. “You never know.”
Eliot slid his arms around both their waists and look out over the distance. “No, you never do.”