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Cycle through the feeds running into the security system, find only enough to barely cover the park for liability, and that's if they're stretching it.

The clanging of elbows and feet striking flesh and metal are as familiar as Sophie's purring into a congressman's ear, Nate's orders, Parker's silence. Keep an ear out for anything strange, see if you can pull up anything in the past half hour, any hint at all.

There's a grinding noise speeding up, a thump and a rough exhalation, then nothing but the whir of machinery. Odds are, the feed'll be cut off in a second or two, underneath a boot heel. Eliot's gone through three this year already.

"Eliot?" Try and remember the last time you restocked the van's instant icepack collection. His last concussion, far as you know, was six months ago, but he really doesn't need to go around collecting them. No response. As usual.

Nate's handling the kidnappers, Sophie's keeping the father out of the way, and Parker's climbing a goddamned Ferris wheel. And Eliot's not making a sound. There's no scuffling on rough pavement, no background noise of a fight already in progress. Either he's close, or he's down.

But it's been over a minute now. He's never been this far down before.

Don't be goin' there. You panic too quick, you'll never hear the end of it.

Keep looking. Hear the girl asking "Eliot.... okay?"

Totally lose your shit. Very quietly. For just a few breaths. Feel like an ass and mute her earpiece before asking Parker what she sees.

"I see where he should be," she confirms, her voice going suddenly small, "but I don't see him."

The girl's asking again. Sophie's got it, for now, distracting her, keeping her talking.

Alec can barely hear a thing over the silence on the line, that part of the soundscape where Eliot's supposed to be, growling in irritation, telling everyone to chill.


Nothing. Maybe he's in stealth mode. Turn off the other feeds, isolate his mic, amplify by twenty. Take a breathe when you hear his. Slow and steady. It only sounds shallow because of the frequency you're on.

He's breathing. Tell the others. Don't stop talking.

"Hey, Eliot. Wake up. Seriously, man. Shake it off."

The groaning growl you're wanting to expect doesn't come. Maybe he's just being churlish, again, like he doesn't want you noticing. Play it cool, ease back. Make like you ain't noticed anything in the first place.

"Eliot. Eliot. You at the storage shed?"

The next breath comes quickly.

"Eliot, did you find Molly?

There's no response, but Parker's chirping on the line. "I see him. He's moving. Slow."

Sit back in the chair. Keep an eye on the scene. Try not to feel sick.

You could've run out at any time. It might've been better.

The next fight's not as bad, there's no sudden silence, nothing unexplained. The hits are just resonating too loudly because you've been messing with the volume.

Don't notice that he needs to be helped out of the building by a thirteen year old girl. Don't point out the blood on his face, don't say shit. Don't take it personal when he doesn't look you in the eye, not yet.

Try and talk him into stopping at the hospital, let Nate try his hand at ultimatums. Ignore the fact he's ignoring them. Sling the first aid kit over your shoulder and follow him into the rest stop bathroom. He won't let you near his face; doesn't look at you until most of the blood's gone. Try a grin you're not feeling and wonder if you've blown it by forgetting to look away as he dry-swallows the hydrocodone.

As him what happened, just to make sure he's not passing out. Feel like an asshole.


Wish that he'd get angry. Give him a minute. Start babbling about what you'd heard coming in over the comms before the first thirty seconds are up. Stop and rewind to parse his words when you realize he's said something-

"I heard you," he's nodding; good, that's good. "That much I do remember."

"Which part?" Crack open an instant icepack and hand it over. "There was a bunch of-"

"You." He's shrugging his jacket on again, eyes darting away before you can catch them. He's moving too slowly towards the door. "I just heard you."

Listen to the door latch echo as when he leaves, there's no other sound here, nothing at all.

Wipe the bloodied spatters of water off the counter, bury the paper towels in the trash. Stare at yourself in the mirror and try to think of a way to fix him. This. Throw the leftover bandages back in the bag, head back to the van. Don't think of anything at all until it crosses into Boston proper.