Eliot blames Nate for this. The first part, not the second. The second part is all Eliot and Nate's not getting the details. But the first part is entirely Nate's fault and the way he's managed to corrupt them all so completely that now they do the exact opposite of the smart thing every damn time.
It's a private showing, emphasis on private, except Eliot's working it as wait-staff (again) and apparently someone else snuck in too. Blue-eyed-boy currently has a gun stuck in his face and has gone statue still.
The gun-guy shoots a bullet up into the roof and the kid flinches.
That might've been enough anyway, except that the kid then lifts one of the paintings and holds it in front of him like a shield and says, "Look, you wouldn't want to damage this, would you? I'm sure your employer-."
Another gun shot. The kid dives out of the way and when he's standing again he rubs at the little spot on the edge of the painting's frame. He looks confused and angry all at once, like he can't quite believe anyone would treat art like that. Eliot recognises the expression and sighs.
The kid's stance is a little off, and Eliot notes the detail: tracker on his left ankle. One of them, maybe, or used to be.
So anyway Eliot blows his cover and throws the handiest corkscrew into the arm holding the gun. That's enough to get him close and then it's over in four punches. He waits, breathing out, for one of the other guards to decide to have a go, but apparently they didn't sign up for this. Mr Reacher is a scary man, but not quite scary enough. It's a note to take back to Nate (since this was supposed to be background detail) though Eliot thinks they'll have to start the plan from scratch.
Someone finally remembers to call the cops and Eliot tries to slip out quietly.
He makes it all the way to the back corridor before the kid catches up with him. "Hey."
Eliot turns around slowly.
The kid has his hands held up. "Sorry. Sorry. I just wanted to say-."
"Don't worry about it," Eliot mumbles, and turns away again. The kid catches his arm. Eliot spins back and up close the blue eyes are really fucking blue, and teasing mixed with sudden fear. Eliot smiles. "You okay?"
"What? Yes, I'm fine, I just-."
"Not used to having guns pointed at you?"
"Becoming surprisingly used to it, actually, but it doesn't really get-."
"You should've had someone looking out for you, then."
"I do. Did. I may have neglected to tell him I was going in solo."
Eliot sighs again. "Yeah. Don't do that."
The kid shrugs, shifting the shirt over his narrow shoulders. Oughta be illegal (not that either of them seem to care much about things like that.) He says, "Well, I had you, so I suppose it worked out okay." He takes another step closer.
Eliot reads the expression, the now-open stance, and what has replaced fear in the kid's eyes. He takes his earbud out, carefully, and deposits it in his pocket. Eliot says, "You wired?"
"No. Tracked, but you already know that. No audio."
"Good," Eliot says, and kisses him. He shouldn't just assume, he guesses, but he hasn't misread signals like that yet. He breaks off to ask, "Name?"
"Neal- God. Neal." His hands twist in Eliot's shirt.
Eliot laughs. "Okay." He moves both of them against the wall and waits while Neal's hands resettle, sliding up and down Eliot's back and to his ass, pulling them closer. He has good hands. Eliot asks, "M'I gonna have to check for my wallet later?"
Neal flushes. "Not this time."
"But before, yeah? Okay." He bites the pale curve of Neal's neck and waits for him to stop moaning before he moves down to the hollow underneath his expensive tie.
Somewhere in between those, Neal has moved one hand to get at Eliot's fly and work his fingers in. He wraps his hand around Eliot's dick and it's better than good now.
Eliot does great with two things at a time when it's hands and mouth. He always knows exactly what his body is doing. He holds onto Neal's hip with one hand and opens his pants with the other. Neal is tensed up tight and when Eliot runs one finger behind his balls, Neal gasps and Eliot swallows the sound in another kiss. He leaves teeth-marks on Neal's lips, his jaw, his earlobe.
Eliot leans back to look at him. Neal is wrecked, and his pupils are blown wide and it's too easy to hold on a little too hard and pull a groan from him. Neal blinks and focuses his eyes on Eliot and says, "Your name?"
"Now, there was me thinking I'd kissed the sense right out of you."
Neal grins. "You're lucky I find arrogance a turn-on."
"Nothing wrong with knowing your own strengths."
Neal says, "I know." He wraps one leg over Eliot's hip (the leg with the tracker) and grinds them closer together. His tongue dips into Eliot's mouth and curls up. His hand finds its way into Eliot's hair and tugs at the ponytail. His fingers slide around the curve of Eliot's ear and he's whispering God knows what. Eliot's not listening any more.
Somewhere outside, there's the sound of sirens approaching. Neal just hangs on tighter and that's what takes them both over the edge. The chase heating up, and them stuck in the moment before. Eliot bites, "Neal" into his shoulder and feels Neal's ankle lock around his leg. Neal tilts his head back against the wall and lets it hold both of them up while they shudder the rest of the way through and the cops get closer.
Eliot's breathing is still heavy when he puts the ear bud back in. Hardison is complaining, loudly, about team-mates who are about to get their asses arrested.
Eliot ignores it and asks Neal, "You have an exit plan?"
"Yeah. You might want to tidy up a bit first."
And that's how they get out. Neal walks Eliot right out the front door and says, "Peter, this is the man who stopped me getting shot."
'Peter' looks Eliot up and down and then holds out his hand. "Agent Burke. Thanks for looking out for Neal. He gets himself into trouble. A lot." Eliot mutely shakes the guy's hand while Neal smiles happily.
Hardison is still freaking out over the comms but Eliot is focussed on Agent Burke. The man has walked away to talk on his cell phone and is saying, "Yeah, we've got Caffrey. No, sir, everything's fine. And we've got enough on Reacher to bring him in. Yes, sir."
Neal just raises his eyebrows like nothing's wrong. "What?"
"I think I oughta go. Seeing as how your buddy may try to arrest me in a minute or two."
"Oh, only if he thinks to look you up. Although… it is Peter. You know, maybe you should go."
Eliot shakes his head. "You think?"
Neal says. "I got you out, didn't I? And I know you have backup somewhere around." He pauses. "Again, thank you for the rescue."
Eliot nods. "Sure. Try and keep out of trouble."
Neal smiles and leans over the bumper of the police car to hug Eliot around the shoulders. In the dark, he catches the corner of Eliot's mouth in a kiss. "Like I said, it worked out fine, didn't it?"
God, and Eliot thinks working with his own team gets him into trouble. He considers what it would be like with Neal added into that mix, and shivers. Eliot nods once at Neal and runs to the van before any of those busy officers start to wonder about the waiter with corkscrew-throwing skills.
Hardison looks at him. "What the hell happened to you?"
"Would you believe, Neal fucking Caffrey?"
Hardison's eyes widen and he takes in the mess of Eliot's hair and the bruise on his neck. Caffrey's not in either of their areas of expertise but it's Neal fucking Caffrey. Hardison looks, honest to God, a little bit jealous. He looks at Eliot again and says, "Seriously? Seriously? You were only in there two hours."
"There was a hold-up."
"Oh, of course there was a hold-up. Anywhere you go there's a damn hold-up." Hardison continues muttering to himself.
Eliot reaches for his wallet to find that it's not in the pocket he left it. It's moved from one side to the other, and there's a card wedged into it. Handwritten on the back of a card giving Peter Burke's contact details: Neal Caffrey, FBI consultant. Hi Eliot :)
Eliot shakes his head. He doesn't know when he started attracting these people. He blames Nate. (But he probably won't tell him the whole story.)