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First on the List

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While he's waiting for the men with the guns to decide what to do with him, Alec thinks about what he'll do if he gets home.

When he gets home, when – he knows that Eliot and Parker will come for him, so it's a when. They came for him the time he was buried alive, and Parker helped him breathe and Eliot held him close and if they came for him then they'll come for him now.

Really it's just a matter of when.

The kidnappers beat him up pretty bad when they took him off the street, trying to subdue him in the back of a moving van while he kicked and bit at any piece of person he could get near. Eliot's tried to teach him some self-defense stuff, but he's never really kept up with the practice he knows he needs.

So the first thing on his list of things to do after Eliot and Parker rescue him is listen to Eliot and get better at self-defense. If only so that he can do these fuckers more damage when they kidnap him. He doesn't have a lot of illusions about ever being good enough to take down five big guys at once, the way Eliot could if he were here.

After a couple of days in the kidnappers' custody, Alec starts to reconsider. Getting better at fighting is a good thing to do, but it's a long-term goal, really. It's not the first thing he'll do when Eliot and Parker rescue him. The first thing he'll do is open up a two-liter of orange soda and down that sweet nectar, because the glop they're feeding him is making him sick and nothing settles his stomach like sugar and orange dye. He thinks about it a lot, that two-liter of orange soda, until he can almost taste it.

It's a good distraction for him to think about whenever the kidnappers come in, rough him up, ask him questions that he doesn't answer, glare at him, and go away again.

They haven't let him see their faces, though, so that's a good sign. They don't want to kill him. They need him for something. Alec figures, from the questions they're asking, that it's a job – they want him to hack a security system or something. He hopes that's it, anyway, because the moment they put a computer in his hands they will sign their own fates.

Until then, though, it's just him and the grey concrete walls.

So the first thing is orange soda, the . . . let's say the tenth thing is learning to fight better. Which leaves him with a lot of things in the middle to fill out. Two should probably be kissing Parker; by the fourth day he finds himself thinking of that a lot, the way her mouth feels against his. But really, if he's honest with himself, two is just looking at Parker, seeing her face, seeing the crinkling around her eyes when she smiles or laughs or cries. If he had Parker here right now he couldn't bear to kiss her and miss a second of looking at her.

Three and four tend to be food-related or nap-related, depending on whether they've just fed him or whether he's just tried to sleep on the dusty bare floor of his cell. He's being held in a basement, but he can't tell what kind, a house or a store or a factory or what. His cell is tiny, like maybe it was a storage cupboard or a root cellar in a previous life, and he doesn't get much of a view when they come in to feed him.

Getting his hands on his laptop is five, he decides. Getting his fingers on the keyboard and his eyeballs on the internet and losing himself in some dumbass hack for a few hours. He spends a lot of time on that fantasy, what he'd do if he were turned loose on the internet right now. The Bank of America board of directors could use some fucking with, he thinks, or maybe the Westboro Baptists. But then, they like the attention too much – maybe one of the big white supremacist hate groups instead. Stormfront. Alec will go and fuck up every last single thing that Stormfront has ever touched.

He's just considering what six should be – a trip somewhere fun, maybe, and he'd let Parker take him skydiving and he'd let Eliot take him to whatever gourmet restaurant's put a bug up his ass, just to see the both of them look happy – when there's the unmistakable sound of a taser outside of his cell door, followed shortly by the door itself slamming open under the force of a kick that's just been applied to it.

Standing silhouetted in the doorway is Eliot, fists clenched, chest heaving, a tiny angry force of nature that Alec has never been happier to see.

"Let's go," he says, and turns away immediately. Alec has the sudden realization that on his list somewhere – maybe up near the top, maybe even above his laptop – there should've been a spot for Eliot, for touching him, hugging him, because as Eliot turns away Alec feels a sense of loss, that Eliot didn't grab him up and hold him like he did when he got him out of the grave.

For a long second after Eliot turns away, Alec wonders if he's even really there. Maybe he's started hallucinating. He wishes he could touch Eliot and find out for sure.

Hallucination or not, Alec runs for the door as best he can, and out in the hallway Eliot's busy punching guys while Parker tasers them.

Parker turns her head as he exits the cell, sharp eyes taking in the sight of him, and she nods. It's just as good to see her as he knew it would be, even when her mouth is a hard line and her eyes aren't crinkly at all. She and Eliot make short work of the guards, and then Eliot grips his shoulder – way too tight – and Parker touches the small of his back – her hand landing hard, like a punch – and hustle him out to the van. The sensation of their bodies against his quenches a thirst inside of him, and he feels his body relax under their touch. Better than orange soda, he thinks.

"I'll drive," Eliot growls. He doesn't look into the back of the van as they speed away. Parker has that look on her face that says she's not ready for full-body hugs and murmured nothings just yet, but she sits pressed up next to him and holds his hand tightly.

The first thing Alec actually does when he gets home is take a long, hot shower. Much as he missed Eliot and Parker, much as he needed to see them, it's almost too much to see them right now.

And anyway, he's filthy. It's weird, he thinks, that a shower wasn't on his list when he was trapped in his cell, but it feels good now.

When he gets out of the shower they're both waiting for him and pretending not to be: Eliot cooking in the kitchen, Parker reading her iPad on the ceiling.

"Is that bacon?" Alec asks, coming over to sit at the counter. Eliot slides a plate over to him: bacon, sausage, and a stack of pancakes.

"Eggs over easy, right?" Eliot asks. Alec nods, surprised. Usually he takes his eggs the way that Eliot feels like making them.

"I like 'em runny," Alec says, as he watches Eliot flip them. Eliot doesn't say anything, just sprinkles some of that magical spice of his on the eggs, the stuff that turns regular foods into ridiculously delightful crack. Alec eats a piece of bacon; it's perfect, of course.

There's a winding sound of rope as Parker comes down from the ceiling. She comes and sits by him.

"Can I steal your food?" she asks.

"Since when do you ask permission to steal my food?" Alec replies, smiling at her. She runs her hand up his back, over his shoulder, and squeezes there for a moment. Then she takes one of his sausages. Eliot walks over with the frying pan and replaces it with two eggs, over easy, a little bit runny.

"I thought you might be all territorial now," she says, as she chews. "Like one of those dogs who goes through bad life experiences and then growls if you come too near when she's eating."

Alec leans over and kisses her on the cheek, just above her jawline. "I'm fine."

There's a clink in front of him as Eliot sets down real maple syrup and butter.

"We've got their organization all mapped out," he says. "Parker's got it figured. Once you're ready we'll take down every single person involved."

"All the ones that Eliot didn't already beat to a pulp," Parker adds.

Alec swallows hard around a sharp piece of bacon. Eliot catches his gaze. "If you don't wanna be involved, you ain't gotta. Parker and me can take care of this."

"I want to be involved," Alec says slowly, discovering the truth of that in himself. "There's just something I gotta do first."


So, as it turns out, the sixth thing he does after he gets back – after looking at Parker's face and kissing her and taking a shower and eating Eliot's food and sleeping for three hours in the middle of the day – is begin work on a tracking implant.

"Hi. You've been doing this for about four hours," Parker says, plopping down next to him at his workbench. "Are you freaking out? Does Eliot need to make more pancakes?"

"No," he says absently, before he really gets his head out of the circuitry and processes what she's said. "But if Eliot wants to make more pancakes, that's fine with me."

Parker shifts in her seat. "He only cooks breakfast food not at breakfast time when people are upset," she says. Alec knows what she means by it, knows that she's trying to gauge his mental state.

"I'm upset, but I'm not Eliot needs to make me pancakes for dinner upset," he sighs, looking up at her. She has a hesitant look of concern on her face. "Really, I'll be okay. I just need to – do this. Right now."

Her hand, warm and strong, lands on the back of his neck. He leans into the touch, and for a few minutes she rubs his tired muscles.

"I'll go tell him he can make something else for dinner, then," she says. Alec realizes that it's already after six.

"I'll be done in half an hour," he says. She turns and gives him a smile as she walks away, but he can tell her heart's not in it.

He just needs to get this done.


It actually takes him forty-five minutes, but when he goes back into the main area dinner's not ready yet; Eliot is stirring the risotto carefully.

"She went out of her mind looking for you," Eliot says, not looking up at him. Eliot always knows when he's in the room, no matter how quiet he thinks he's being. Alec likes that about him, likes the idea that Eliot senses his presence and recognizes him instantly.

"What about you?" Alec asks, because Eliot's a master of talking about someone else's feelings instead of his own. Alec grew up somewhat short on real-life male role models, but sometimes Eliot reminds him of dads on TV, sitcom dads and drama dads alike, who take up all the space in the room with the emotions they don't want to talk about.

Eliot puts down his spoon and looks up at him. "I went out of my mind, too," he says.

Alec is too surprised for a moment to say anything. Then, when he opens his mouth, he says, "Don't you have to keep stirring that?"

"That's a myth," Eliot sneers. "Look, I – we didn't know if you were alive or what. Tortured or what. Can you just – " he looks frustrated, like he doesn't think he should be asking for anything. Like he knows it was Alec who went through an ordeal, and not him, and he should shut up about it.

"What do you need?" Alec asks, quietly. "Eliot."

Eliot shifts from foot to foot and gestures meaninglessly with his hands. "If you could just – it would help if you'd stay where we could keep an eye on you."

Alec blinks, and then nods. "I'm sorry. I should've – but I had to. I had something I had to do."

"Okay," Eliot says, an invitation to explain, but Alec doesn't explain. It seems stupid now. It could've waited.

"Don't you have to keep stirring that?" Parker asks, as she comes into the kitchen. She gravitates to Alec, her arm snaking around his waist and holding on.

"That's a myth," Eliot says again, but he goes back to stirring the risotto.

Alec pulls the tracker that he built out of his pocket. "Um, Parker, would you – I made this."

"Uh huh," she says, looking at it. It's tiny, and it only occurs to Alec in that moment that neither of them knew what he was so desperate to build.

"It's – it's a tracker. It's for me. So you guys will always know where I am."

At this Eliot actually – holy shit - turns off the heat under the risotto and walks over to them.

"You already got GPS in your earbud," he says. "Kidnappers knew to take it off you."

"This one doesn't have enough metal in it to ping a metal detector," Alec says, avoiding his real question.

"But if they find it on you," Parker says slowly, her eyes narrowing.

"It's not – it's going to go in me," Alec says awkwardly. A hint of amusement passes over Eliot's face, eclipsing the worry for a moment. Alec blinks and adds, "I mean, we use – uh. A needle. It goes under the skin."

Neither Parker nor Eliot say anything for a moment. Then Parker says, "Is it permanent?"

Alec shrugs. "You could always cut it out." He frowns. "Or, you know. Eliot could. I don't think I'd be able to."

"You never know what you can do," Eliot says softly. They both turn to look at him. "I had a subcutaneous tracker in me once. Here." He pats his left shoulder. Alec's seen the jagged, halting scars there, whenever Eliot wears a tank top or goes shirtless; now he knows what they're from.

Alec smiles weakly. "So maybe I'd just ask you to cut mine out, if I needed it."

"What if I was the person you were trying to get away from?" Eliot asks.

For a long moment Alec can't even put together the words that Eliot is saying, can't pull meaning from them. He's a genius and a polymath and he's good at listening but this is, for a long moment, beyond him.

"You – you wouldn't be," he says, when he's able to grasp the concept. "Not ever. I'd show you and Parker how to use the tracking system. Just you. And you could find me if I ever got lost again."

The only clues he has of what Eliot's about to do are the single restless tap of his thumb against the countertop, the slight downward turn of his mouth; then he's moving, coming around the counter and pulling Alec into a rough hug. Eliot's body is hard, all muscle and bone and will, and it makes Alec feel soft up against him, like he could melt and fall and fail and Eliot would still hold him up.

Parker comes around the other side, hugs him around his back, then jumps into a kind of piggyback and puts her chin up on his shoulder. Her fingers are strong from climbing and when she holds onto him like this he knows it's for good, knows she isn't going to let him go. Alec sobs, pressed up between them.

"You ain't gonna get lost again," Eliot hisses, fiercely, into his ear. "Nobody is."

"Okay," Alec agrees.

"We'll find you," Parker says. She buries her forehead against his neck. "We'll find you and steal you back every time."

"Best thieves I know," Alec says.

They stay pressed together like that a long time, probably too long, and only pull apart when Alec is finally able to take a deep, calm breath. Eliot goes back to his cooking, not looking at them, and Parker stays by his side, petting his head gently.

The risotto isn't very good, not by Eliot's usual standards, anyway, but no one says anything about it.


The next day the needles he ordered arrive, express courier. They're bigger than he thought they'd be, but he did the calculations and read the literature and they're the right size for his purposes. Taking a deep breath, he grabs the emergency first-aid kit and goes down to the quiet of his workshop to get the job done. He's swabbing his arm carefully with alcohol when he suddenly feels something change in the room, the air shifting subtly around his body.

"Are you doing surgery on yourself?" Parker asks him.

Alec's been dating her for a couple of years now, and he's mostly used to her dropping in on him, or appearing suddenly in the corners of rooms, but even so he jumps almost out of his skin.

"Sorry," Parker says, as she drops to the floor. She sits on a stool next to him. "Sorry, Alec. I didn't mean to scare you."

"That's okay." He wonders how much longer they'll go on treating him like he's fragile. He figures the shiner on his left eye probably isn't helping.

"So, are you doing surgery on yourself? Because there was that time we had to make Eliot not do surgery on himself, and you said then that it was an inherently bad idea."

"It is." Alec frowns. He and Parker had done it instead, gotten the bullet out of Eliot's arm and stopped the bleeding, cleaned the wound, sewed him up. They were covered in Eliot's blood by the end of it. It'd been a shock, in a way, to realize how easily Eliot bled, to realize that his blood was red and easily lost just like anybody else's. "This isn't surgery. It's a simple procedure."

"Eliot," Parker yells, loud enough to make Alec wince. Eliot is in the room in less than ten seconds. He's sweaty, barefoot and shirtless, which means he was doing his exercises.

"What," he says, and it's not a question. He does not look pleased.

"Alec was about to do surgery on himself," Parker says, because apparently deep down in her heart she's a narc.

Eliot stands still, breathing. His chest heaves. It's distracting. "The tracker thing again?"

"Look, you two don't have to do it. I want to do it. If only so I sleep better at night."

Parker's face softens from a glare to her sad half-smile. She sighs. "Okay."

"Don't do it yourself," Eliot warns. "Parker, you – you do it."

Alec blinks and hands the needle over to Parker. "Just in the upper arm is fine," he says. "Won't hit anything important that way."

"You hope," Eliot says. Alec knows that there are nerves and arteries and whatall in there too, but he did his research and marked the place where he's pretty sure it will be fine.

Parker twirls the needle around her fingers once, idly, so dexterous that it doesn't even occur to her that she could drop it or hurt herself. "How do I do it?" she asks, biting her lip.

"Just – you know. Stick it in. About an inch."

Eliot snorts and walks up to them. "Here," he says, and holds Alec's arm steady. "Right here, Parker," he says, gesturing at the little X Alec made in sharpie. Eliot's hands are strong, his body giving off heat as he stands next to Alec, gripping him tight. He turns his head away, though, not looking at the injection site. Parker brings up the needle and waggles her eyebrows.

"Brace yourself, baby," she says. Alec can't help but chuckle. Parker's hand lands between Eliot's, holding the little patch of skin. "You cleaned this, right?"

"Just do it, Parker," Alec says. This is different than what he imagined – he had intended on doing this himself, getting the tracker inside of him and getting it over with, but this, with Eliot at his side and Parker in front of him, both of them standing and holding him still while he sits, this is much stranger and more intimate. He takes a deep breath and tries not to move while Parker, unhesitating, slides the sharp needle inside of him.

He gasps, the pain of the penetration and the closeness of their bodies coming together to make him feel restless, agonized. He watches Parker push the needle a little further in.

"That's good," Alec says, encouragingly. "That's fine. Now depress the plunger."

Parker nods at him slowly and does, pushing it down until it's all the way at the bottom of the syringe. Alec doesn't think he should be able to feel the tracker going in, but he thinks he does, the sudden intrusion of foreign matter into his body. He wants to feel it. He wants to be able to know it's there.

"Okay?" Parker says. Alec nods. He has to open his mouth for a second to get a breath, and he makes a wet gasping sound in the still air.

"Take it out already," Eliot says. Eliot's still not looking at Alec's arm, his head bowed and his gaze locked on Alec's chest instead.

Parker withdraws from inside of him, and leaves behind a thick welling dot of blood. Eliot grabs a swab out of the med kit and wipes it away carefully, then holds the cotton to Alec's arm. "You're fine," he says, though Alec hasn't said anything to the contrary.

"Spiderman or Batman?" Parker asks. Alec smiles.

"Spiderman," he says firmly, and Parker kisses him quickly, softly, on the mouth, before applying the bandaid to his arm, using it to hold the cotton swab in place. Eliot and Parker both withdraw their hands, then.

"You feel any different?" Parker asks.

Alec shrugs. He does, but he's not sure it's because of the little machine beneath his skin.

She bends down and kisses the skin of his arm, just above his Spiderman bandaid. "Now we can find you whenever we want," she says.

"Yeah," Alec agrees.

Eliot moves then, and to Alec's surprise, he reaches in and runs his thumb over the place where Parker's just kissed, just above the injection site, staring at it as if unable to look away from it. "You'll show me how to use it, too?" he asks. "Not just Parker?"

"Both of you," Alec says. He frowns as Eliot runs his thumb over his skin again, pressing down above the little wound. "Stop that, you're gonna give me an infection."

"Am not," Eliot says.

Alec just rolls his eyes and pulls away, grabbing a laptop off of his bench and opening it to show them the tracking program he's designed.

"It's not that hard. You just open it here, and voila, me."

Eliot nods. "So what's to keep someone else from using this to track you? An enemy, or the cops?"

Alec shrugs. "The same encryptions and security systems that I use to keep our earbuds from being tracked," he says. "It's just a little more permanent."

Parker takes a deep breath, then lets it out her nose. "Okay. I want one."

Alec just stares at her.

"I'm serious," she says, glaring at both of them defensively. "I want one too. I want you guys to be able to find me."

In all the time he's known her, Parker has always been the one with an exit: the one who jumps off balconies and out of windows, the one who climbs sheer walls and slithers through air ducts, silent and unseen. Parker's the one who stays light – fast and light, that's how I survive, she had told him once – and Alec would never have thought that she would ask for something like this.

A tether.

"Are you sure, Parker? I could put one in your shoes or something instead."

She nods. "I'm sure."

Behind him, Eliot coughs, and Alec turns to look at him over his shoulder. "Me too," he says. "Make one for me too."

Alec licks his lips slowly. "Really."

"Yeah." Eliot's tone doesn't brook any argument, but Alec can't help but wonder what would drive him to want something like this. He's not like Parker, with her need for weightlessness and freedom, but he does have a rooftop garden and a brewpub kitchen he's whipping into shape. Eliot is the kind of guy to put down roots, even if he doesn't realize he's doing it. But Eliot's never been good at sharing with the rest of them, telling him about his life or his feelings, and now suddenly he's willing to hand over a big chunk of his privacy.

"I won't ever look at the information unless we need it," Alec promises, to both of them. Eliot squeezes his shoulder in reply, and Parker holds his hand for a moment.

"All right, I'm going back to my workout. Next time you want to play doctor, schedule an appointment, okay?" Eliot growls, stomping out of the room. Parker smiles at Alec and then follows Eliot, leaving him to rustle up the components for two more tiny, EMP-shielded, non-metallic trackers.


It's two days before he has the trackers ready.

Then it's another day, for some reason he can't quite articulate, even to himself, before he tells them that he has the trackers ready.

In the end, he just loads the needles and sets them on the countertop in their briefing area, placing the med kit next to them carefully, and waits.

Eliot comes in after dinner from wherever he's been, and if he notices the needles on the way through to his apartment, he doesn't say anything. Parker gets in late, after eleven, and she notices right away. Alec pauses his episode of Orange Is the New Black - and it's only for his girl that he would do such a thing – and waits to see what she says.

"You don't have to do it, Parker," he says softly, as she runs her fingers over one of the syringes. "It's fine if you don't want to. I won't take it personally."

"I want to," she says. Then she frowns. "Do you think Eliot should be here for this?"

Alec doesn't know what to say to that, because he does think Eliot should be here for this, but isn't sure if it's what Eliot would want. He remembers the way Eliot had rubbed his thumb over Alec's skin, the way he hadn't been able to tear his eyes from the place where Alec was marked and tagged.

"I – do you think he still – " Alec begins, then cuts himself off when Parker frowns at him. "Yes," he says. "I think we should all be together for this."

Parker opens her mouth, and this time Alec has the presence of mind to cover his ears before she yells. "Eliot!"

"What!" Eliot yells back, from wherever he is. He sounds grumpy, but Alec hears his footsteps hurrying on the wood floors anyway.

"Come get minor surgery from us," Parker yells.

Eliot appears in the main room, and God bless at least this time he's not half-naked and distracting; he's wearing the same clothes he was when he came in a few hours before, a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans.

"It's not surgery, Parker," Alec protests. Glancing up at Eliot, he adds, "And you don't have to do it if you don't want to."

"I don't really have to do anything I don't want to," Eliot points out. "I don't even pay taxes."

"You pay taxes under twenty-three different aliases," Alec corrects him. "I know because I do them for you."

"Oh. Uh, thanks," Eliot says, blinking. "So the trackers are ready? Let's do it." He starts rolling up his sleeve, but then discovers that his shirt is too tight for it, and just pulls the whole thing off instead.

Following his example, Parker yanks her shirt off as well.

"Whoa, Parker," Eliot says, looking away.

"What?" Parker asks. "I'm wearing a sports bra. People jog in these. And you like my breasts, anyway."

"I, uh, no – " Eliot begins, still not looking at her, his cheeks coloring. Alec chuckles and cuts him off.

"My weird naked thief partners," he says fondly. "C'mere, both of you. Eliot, stop acting like you haven't seen Parker take off her shirt before, or like it's not awesome when she does."

Leaning up, Parker gives Alec a little kiss on the lips. "I like you," she says, breathlessly.

"I like you back," Alec murmurs.

Then, turning, Parker steps back to include Eliot in their little huddle. "Eliot first," she says, firmly.

Eliot takes the step in toward them, completing their circle, but he looks nervous, scratching at the back of his head. "Here's the thing," he says, in his lowest, scariest tone, the one he usually reserves for telling them horrible things about his past. Alec braces himself, though he can't imagine what for.

"Here's the thing," Eliot says again. "I have a kind of a thing about needles."

Alec raises his eyebrows. Even Parker blinks in surprise.

"I did not know that," Alec says eventually.

"Yeah, well, these are big fucking needles, Hardison," Eliot growls, as if in response to some challenge.

Parker reaches up and puts a hand on Eliot's shoulder. "You want me to go first?" she asks. Eliot purses his lips, shakes his head.

"Nah. I can do it. I just – do it fast, okay? And no jokes."

"No," Parker says, shaking her head. "No. Alec, do me first."

Alec glances up at Eliot, who's breathing just a little fast. He's damn good to look at when he's half-naked, but right now all Alec can feel, watching his bare chest and his strong arms moving with the force of his breath, is concern.

"Eliot, take a breath," Parker advises. "A slow one, in and out through your nose."

Eliot laughs. "It ain't – I been through lots worse," he says. "I don't have to – "

"It doesn't matter," Parker says, cutting him off. "Breathe." Then she looks up to meet Alec's eyes, and says, "C'mon, then. I'm ready."

"We need to clean the injection site first," he says.

Breathing slowly through his nose, Eliot picks up a cotton swab and some alcohol and rubs it gently over Parker's upper arm. "There you go," he says. She smiles at him, and their faces are close together.

"Thanks, Eliot," she says.

Eliot steps back a little and ducks his head, but Alec can see an answering smile on his face as he does it.

"Ready, babe?" Alec asks. Parker nods her head. He holds her arm firmly. It's so small it fits into his hand, but so strong that he can feel the tight, hard muscles shifting under the skin. Then, trying to do it quickly enough to keep anyone – including himself – from freaking out, he inserts the needle, depresses the plunger, and draws it back out again. Parker doesn't make a noise, just stares down at the needle while he does it.

Eliot's there with the cotton swab as soon as Alec pulls the needle out. "Spiderman or Batman, Parker?" he asks gruffly. He's smiling, though.

"I think there's an Iron Man one down in there somewhere," she says, and Alec grins. Sure enough, Eliot finds an Iron Man one at the bottom. He sticks it on.

Bending down, Alec kisses Parker's arm, the same way she did for him a couple of days before. Her skin is hot beneath his lips.

"Now we just need Eliot," Parker breathes, when Alec stands up again.

"If Eliot still wants to," Alec says. He turns to look at him. Eliot's standing still, holding the second needle in his hands, looking down at it.

"I still want to," he says simply. His breathing is normal, now, and he looks calmer. "Do it already."

Parker swabs his arm.

"Don't watch," Alec says. Eliot, obediently, turns his head away, and the sight of Eliot doing what he's told and sparing himself pain makes Alec feel tender toward him, for this tough guy who goes soft when he's around them. He reaches out and holds on to Eliot's arm. It's bigger and stronger than Parker's, but no less restive under his touch.

Parker takes Eliot's other hand; he holds on tight, tight enough to make his knuckles go a little white, but Parker doesn't say anything.

When Alec pushes the needle inside of him, it's almost a surprise to see it penetrate easily; no matter how many times he's seen Eliot injured and bleeding, he still thinks of him as unbreakable, like Luke Cage or something. But Eliot yields underneath him and his body opens to the sharp point of the needle. Alec pushes down on the plunger and then the tracker's inside of Eliot, just like that. As if getting under the guy's skin were something easy and simple that anyone could do.

It's an odd thought, that something he built is going to be carried around in Eliot's body, carried around in Parker's, like a piece of him that will travel with them wherever they go.

Parker applies a cotton swab and a bandaid. She doesn't ask Eliot what kind he wants, just sticking it on directly instead. When Alec looks at it, he sees that it's one of the Batman ones. When she finishes, she kisses Eliot's arm, just the way she kissed his and the way Alec kissed hers.

She pulls away again, taking in the slow smile Eliot's pointing in her direction, and Alec is moved by a sudden desire to touch Eliot, to touch the place where Eliot has allowed himself to be marked. Trying not to think about it too much, he bends his head and kisses Eliot's arm, just the same way Parker had, above the bandaid, right on top of a big freckle.

He does it gently, and softly, because he doesn't want it to be taken for a joke or a parody. It's important to him, suddenly, that Eliot understand what he means by it, all the kinds of love and worry that are behind his touch.

It only lasts a second, though, and then he's drawing himself back up to his full height and looking Eliot square in the eye. Eliot looks surprised, but not angry.

"Hey Alec," Parker says. "I think you missed."

Alec chuckles, glancing over at her. She nods at him. They've talked about this, once or twice, in bed when the lights are off and it's long past the hour when people have to be held accountable for wanting something like this. Seeing the possibility of it now, in the well-lit briefing room with Eliot right in front of them, makes Alec's throat go dry with fluttery anticipation.

"Well, why don't you show me how it's done," Alec says, which makes Parker laugh.

"What – " Eliot begins, but then Parker takes his head in her hands, and strokes his cheekbones once with her thumbs. He stops talking, caught in her gaze, and then she leans in and kisses him on the mouth. It looks soft and wet, not like the deep, biting, hungry kisses that Parker sometimes likes with him. Parker's version of tentative, exploring the territory, asking for permission.

Alec hopes that Eliot knows how rare it is for Parker to ask anyone for permission to do anything.

"Like that," she breathes, when she pulls back. Eliot is blinking, but not protesting. "That's how it's done."

"Yup," Eliot says, still a little spacey. Then he turns his head to look at Alec, and panic wars with guilt and anger on his face.

"Relax," Alec says. "I ain't mad." He takes Eliot's face in his hands, just the way Parker had, and this time Eliot surges up to meet the kiss halfway, his mouth moving eagerly beneath Alec's. It's a relief, a great relief, but not a surprise, to feel how much Eliot wants this, with them.

When they break apart Eliot's eyes are dark, and Alec's breathing hard. Parker's on Alec's arm, leaning up to whisper in his ear.

"Let's go to bed," she says, "let's go to bed, all three of us."

Alec always thought that getting Eliot into their bed would be some long drawn-out process, with explanations and reassurances and negotiations, and maybe that's still in their future, but right now Parker just turns from Alec to Eliot and says, "Eliot. Come to bed with us," and Eliot looks her in the eyes and says, "Yes," and that's when she takes Eliot by the hand and leads him toward their apartment, their bedroom.

Alec follows them, and partway there Eliot glances back over his shoulder, and smiles, and holds his other hand out towards Alec. He takes it, and then they're all three of them linked together, like kids holding hands on a field trip. Eliot's rough, strong fingers feel good against his.

They don't do anything too fancy, that first night. He gets his clothes off, and then unbuttons Eliot's pants while Parker wrestles with her sports bra.

"Didn't know if this was where we were heading or not," Eliot says, as Alec pushes his jeans and underwear down off his body. Alec watches him carefully, but Eliot doesn't squirm away, or turn his head, or do anything else that might indicate he's going to have any issues with the gay stuff.

Parker, shoving off the rest of her clothes, bounces up on the bed. "I wanted this to be where we were heading," she says.

Eliot turns towards her at the sound of her voice, and Alec smiles, because he can see the moment when Eliot almost averts his eyes and then realizes that he doesn't have to.

They get Eliot out of the rest of his clothes, and then Parker tells him to kiss her, and then he does, and then Parker tells him to kiss Alec, and then he does, and then they're all three of them lying close together, exchanging long, slow touches and easy kisses, exploring one another's bodies.

At one point Parker looks back over her shoulder at him. He's kissing the back of her neck, his leg slug across her hip so that he can rub his foot and calf against Eliot's thigh, his free hand ranging from her breast to Eliot's chest and back again.

"Wanna be in the middle?" she asks, blinking back at him. Alec discovers, in that moment, that all he wants – all he really wants in the entire world – is to feel their two bodies pressed up against his, close and safe. So he nods at her, and swallows, and says, "Yes."

Parker does some kind of graceful rolling maneuver that switches up their positions, so that Alec can feel Eliot all along his right side and Parker all along his left. He turns his head to look at Eliot.

"How's it going, man," he grins. Eliot grins back.

"Just fine," he says, and reaches down to stroke Alec's dick, slow and sure. Alec groans. Parker slides her leg between his from behind.

"Open up, baby," she says, and Alec spreads her legs to let her in.

He gets lost in it, then, Eliot's mouth against his neck, Parker's fingers rubbing behind his balls, the taste and the smell and the feel of them all over his body. When he comes, a long time later, he's not even sure whose hand is stroking him, whose mouth is kissing him, whose hands are scratching at his nipple.

He and Parker take turns with Eliot, sucking him, kissing him, stroking his cock, until he closes his eyes, until he lets his head drop back on the bed, until he writhes and comes, groaning, lost to sensation and held, trusting, in their arms.

Eliot kisses Alec after, wet and sloppy on the mouth, greedy, reckless, not at all the way that Alec would've thought he would kiss. He falls into it, unable to get enough of it, until Eliot breaks away and moves to Parker, giving her the same treatment.

"Eliot," Parker says, when he's moved from her mouth down to her throat, kissing arduously. "Eliot, c'mon, eat me out already."

Eliot laughs, and Alec smiles, too happy to even have words for it. They rearrange themselves around her, Alec holding her from behind and Eliot squirming down the bed until his head's between her legs. It doesn't take her long, after all this buildup, not with Alec kissing her throat and twisting her nipples, not with Eliot's mouth and hands working her pussy.

"Look at him," Alec whispers in her ear, as she starts to get close. "Look at his mouth on you. His tongue's inside you, girl. I know just what that's like, just how you taste." Parker gasps and pushes back against him, her feet bracing against the bed as she reacts to another wave of pleasure. "You think Eliot loves it as much as I do?"

Parker comes for a long time, arcing and trembling between them, and when it's finally over she reaches back clumsily and pats Alec on the cheek. "Good boys," she says, absently. "Good, good boys."

Eliot's grinning, wetness all over his face.

"Eliot, come back up here," Alec says. He does, and Alec kisses the taste of Parker off of his mouth. Slowly, he leans backwards, taking Parker with him, and Eliot follows along so that they all end up more or less cuddled together on the bed. Parker turns her head to kiss Eliot.

"We're going to have to do that a lot more times," she says. "Lots and lots and lots more times."

"But not right now, right?" Alec asks. He's more than ready for his nap now.

"No. Later. Or tomorrow, I guess. It's late."

"It's okay if I stay?" Eliot asks softly, but there's no anxiety behind the question. Alec twists so that he can kiss the top of his head. Eliot sort of growls at that, which is no more or less than Alec predicted. If you're gonna be short in Alec's bed, you're gonna get kissed on the top of the head, though, no way around it.

"We want you here," Parker says simply. "We've wanted you here for a while."

"Yeah," Alec agrees, so Eliot knows that it's not just her.

"Okay," Eliot says, like there's nothing more to it than that, nothing else that needs discussing.

Alec burrows down into the blankets, managing to squish the other two around so that he's in the middle again. He already knew that Parker was a cuddler – in the way that a lamprey could be called a cuddler, in that she clings on and doesn't let go – but it's a surprise to feel Eliot up against his other side, throwing an arm and a leg across Alec's body, pressing his nose against Alec's neck. He smiles to himself, thinking that, tracker in his arm or no, there's no way he'll be able to go anywhere without the two of them knowing about it.

He likes the thought.

He falls asleep like that, held between the two of them, a fixed point in space. He knows, for certain, that if he ever gets kidnapped again, for however long it takes Parker and Eliot to come for him, this will be the first item on his list.