A Series of Firsts: First Meeting

Leverage: Eliot/OC/Team
Warnings: None




Nate and Sophie entered McRory's bar, wrapped up in each others arms and oblivious to the world. Parker followed, caught between listening to the sickening sweet nothings being whispered ahead and the argument behind her about their last job at that card company. She was the first one to take notice that something wasn't right, the only one to take notice actually. Hardison and Eliot came to a crashing halt as Parker abruptly stopped walking.

"Parker!" Eliot snapped, catching himself and Hardison before they fell. "Come on!"

"The stork came." Parker said, not moving.

Hardison looked at her like she'd lost her mind. "Woman, what the hell..."

"The stork came!" Parker looked over at him and pointed to a table in the middle of the room. Everyone followed Parker's finger, taking in the sight before them. On the table sat a long oval basket, with a handle on each side, and a yellow blanket inside that seemed to move on its own every so often.

"Guys," Nate said. "why is there a baby in the bar?"

The team crowded around the table and looked. A large pair of honey colored eyes stared back at them. Two tiny fists fought the air and legs kicked out as a toothless grin flashed briefly. All at once, the tiny face scrunched together and the toothless grin became a screeching cry.

"Okay, let's take this upstairs. Eliot, make sure someone isn't still here." Nate looked around before turning on his heel and heading upstairs. "And guys...don't forget the baby."

As Eliot headed off, the three remaning people looked at each other.

Hardison looked at Sophie. "You take it."

"No." Sophie shook her head. "You take it."

"Me? No way." Hardison responded.

Parker rolled her eyes as the two kept going back and forth. As the baby's cries grew louder, she stepped forward and picked the baby up. "I'll take the baby."

"Parker, I don't think..." Any caution Sophie might have said was thrown to the wind as Parker walked away with the baby held out in front of her. She followed closely behind, leaving Hardison to grab the basket and bag. "Be careful now, Parker. Don't drop it."

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Nate's Loft


"Why won't it stop?" Sophie asked as Parker stood there with the baby, still dangling out in front of her. Screeching cries echoed off the walls as tears coursed their way down the red puffy cheeks of the baby in Parker's arms. "Parker, make it stop!"

Parker looked over at Sophie, her eyes wide. "I'm trying!"

Nate looked up and shook his head. "Hold the baby closer, Parker."

Parker brought the baby in a bit closer. Nate motioned for her to go even closer, continuing to do so until the baby was nestled against her chest.

"Now sway side to side and gently rub its back." he said.

Parker followed Nate's directions and within moments the crying turned to sniffles to nothing. After a few moments of blessed silence, Parker looked down and smiled excitedly.

“Look!” she exclaimed as she stopped moving. “It's sleeping!”

“Parker, don't yell. You'll...” Nate's words were drowned out by a sudden ear piercing wail, “wake the baby.”

Parker immediately began moving back and forth again, rubbing the baby's back in an awkward yet gentle motion. Once again, the cries were reduced to nothing and the baby fell back asleep within minutes.

“Who would leave their baby in a bar, Nate?” Sophie asked.

“I don't know.” Nate said.

Eliot came in from outside, shutting the door quietly as a bunch of hushing sounds came his way. “I didn't find anything, Nate. Whoever dropped it off is long gone.”

“What now, Nate?” Sophie asked. “We have to call the police. This is a baby we're talking about.”

“It will go into the system.” Parker said quietly. “Can't we keep it?”

Eliot frowned at the thief. “That's a baby, Parker, not a pet.”

“Eliot's right, Parker.” Sophie said. “That's someone's child. They are going to want it back eventually.” She turned to look at Nate. “We need to call the police.”

“Call Banano.” Nate told Eliot. “Have him check for any missing persons reports for babies or women who have recently had babies. Let's see if we can't find the parents.”

“We don't need to.” Hardison interrupted as he looked up from the table.

“What do you mean we don't need to, Hardison?” Eliot snapped. “It's a baby.”

“According to this, it's your baby.” Hardison held up a birth certificate.

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The birth certificate had revealed a lot of information about the baby. The baby was a little girl, born prematurely at Boston General in the wee hours of the morning on May 6th, making the baby just over three months old. Her name was Mackenzie Leanne Spencer. Her father was listed as Eliot Spencer and the mother as Gail Masoni.

“Gail?” Hardison asked. “As in Nurse Gail?”

“Isn't that the one who patched you up after the carnival?” Parker asked as she set the baby back in its basket. She sighed in relief as the baby stirred, but stayed asleep.

“Yeah.” Eliot shut his eyes and sank into a chair at the table.

“What are you gonna do?” Hardison asked.

“What do you mean, what's he gonna do?” Parker asked. “He's going to keep her, of course. It's his daughter.”

“Parker, he can't keep her. For one, we don't even know that she's actually his and two, he's a hitter. He doesn't exactly lead a safe life.” Sophie said.

As Parker and Sophie started argue, Nate cleared his throat. “He doesn't have to decide that just yet. Right now, we have more pressing things to do. Parker,Hardison, track the mother down and find out where she's at. The rest of us are going shopping.”

As everyone started to get up, Nate stopped Eliot. “Not you. Your kid, you stay.”

Eliot looked horrified. “ But... I don't know how to take care of her!”

Nate looked at the baby, then back at Eliot. “If she wakes up, hold her.”

Before Eliot could reply, the others left and he was alone with the baby. Eliot sat on the couch, watching the baby intently. He didn't realize he was holding his breath until a knock sounded on the door 20 minutes later and Sophie poked her head around. The knock woke the baby up and immediately Sophie dropped the bag of supplies off. She told him to test the formula on his arm before giving it to the kid and then left before Eliot could convince her to stay and help out. It wasn't that she hated kids. She didn't. She liked them very much. She just didn't know anything about them and she didn't want to do anything wrong, especially with Eliot's kid.

Eliot ran out the door after Sophie, shouting at her to come back, but she didn't. He went back inside, slamming the door behind him, causing the normal cry of a baby turn into a screeching sob with a shaky pitch. He slowly approached the basket, peering over the top of it as if Mackenzie would reach out and bite him if he got too close. Her tiny fists were knotted up and her entire body was tense and shaking.

“What do I do? What do I do?” He said as he began to pace. “Hold her. Nate said hold her.”

Eliot went back to the basket and picked the baby up, holding the baby close to his chest as he'd seen Parker do earlier. Almost immediately, his nose crinkled. What was that awful smell? Was that.... it couldn't be! Eliot lifted the baby higher. Yep, it was.

Eliot looked around for the bag of supplies that Sophie dropped off. In it, he found formula, bottles, pacifiers, wipes, and diapers. Grabbing the wipes and diaper, he laid a kitchen towel on the couch and knelt in front of it. He placed the baby on the towel and undid the sleeper. He studied the diaper, memorizing how it was fastened, before unfastening it.

“Ugh... that's just nasty.” Eliot said as he cleaned the baby.

Despite having studied the diaper fastening, it took Eliot five tries to get the diaper on without breaking the fastening tabs. When he was done, he was surrounded by shreds of diaper. After finally putting the diaper on, he buttoned the sleeper and went to pick the baby up. He stopped midway as a small smile lit the baby's face. He couldn't help but be taken in by the chubby cheeks and gurgling noises. “You really are cute, aren't you?”

Picking Mackenzie up, he set her back in the basket and threw the used diaper away.

“Seriously, how can something so cute make something so nasty?” he muttered.

He sat back down in front of the basket, watching the baby inside for a good 10 minutes. He watched the bubbles around her mouth as she spoke to him and the way her hands and feet waived as if telling a story. He couldn't help but smile. Damn, but he made cute babies.

At the 10 minute mark, Mackenzie decided that watch time was over. Her nose crinkled and her lips formed a pout as tears began to leak from her eyes. Another wave of cries filled the air. Immediately, Eliot lifted the baby and sniffed. He looked at her confused. She didn't need to be changed.

“Maybe you just want to be held.” he said, speaking softly to her. He picked her up, cradling her in his arms and walked around, but she continued to cry. He tried several different positions, but it didn't matter how he held her, she just continued to cry. He went over to the bag that Sophie had dropped off and looked inside.

“Are you hungry?” He asked her. He took the formula and the bottle, reading the directions. He bounced the baby gently as he filled the bottle with water and tried to add a scoop of formula while still holding Mackenzie. When he got close, Mackenzie's arm and leg shot out. The bottle dropped and the powder flew. By the time that Eliot was able to get the formula into the bottle, there was a large puddle of water on the floor and he was covered in formula.

He shook the bottle and put it in a pan of water to warm. After a couple minutes, he tested it out on his arm and found it cold. He did this four more times before it was warm enough to serve. Flicking off the stove, he dropped a kitchen towel on the puddle of water and then sat down on the couch. He tucked the baby into the crook of his arm and placed the bottle to her lips. When Mackenzie was done eating, he picked her up and laid her on his chest slightly over his shoulder to burp her. He'd seen a video on TV where a mother did this after feeding to get the baby to burp. He figured if a mom does it, he should to. He was rewarded with a couple large burps and a bit of spit up down the back of his shirt.

When Mackenzie was done, Eliot laid her back in the basket for a brief second while he shed his soiled shirt. Before he had a chance to change into one of Nate's, she started to cry. He picked her up and held her close to his chest. He put one arm under her butt and patted her back with the other. He walked around the room as she continued to cry. Almost by accident, he started to hum. As he hummed, the baby's cries grew softer and softer. When he stopped, they started again, so he went right back to humming and eventually singing. After a little while, he laid down on the couch, propping himself up against the pillows. Mackenzie sighed and nestled further into his neck. Eventually, her eyes closed and she fell asleep. Shortly thereafter, Eliot's own eyes closed and this is how the team found them two hours later.

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Nate walked in the door following by Sophie, Hardison, and Parker.

“Aw, how cute.” Sophie said taking in the site of father and daughter.

“Kodak moment.” Hardison said, snapping a picture.

“Hardison.. I will hurt you.” Eliot grumbled, as he slowly opened his eyes. He slowly straightened and stood, keeping a firm but gentle grip on Mackenzie. He placed her back in the basket to sleep and joined the team at the table.

No one spoke for a couple of minutes. Finally, Eliot looked at them. “I want her.”

“Eliot...” Sophie didn't know what to say, but she wasn't sure this was the smartest thing to do.

“I know, Sophie.” Eliot said. “It's a dangerous life, but I can protect her. It's what I do.”

“Does this mean you're leaving?” Parker asked. “I don't want you to leave. I don't want either of you to leave.”

Eliot took a deep breath and shrugged. “That's up to you guys. I want to stay. I want you all to be a part of her life, but I understand if you don't want to...” He paused and looked over at Nate. “or you can't.”

Eliot rose and took a few steps over to the kitchen counter. “If you think it's too dangerous and you'd rather I leave, I can give you some recommendations for hitters to replace me.” He turned back to them and looked at each of them. “ Either way, she's my kid, and I am not giving her up.”

They sat in silence for a few seconds while everyone thought about what he'd said. Parker was the first to speak.

“Well, I want you both to stay.” she said. “I already said that. We can make it work and I bet Maggie would maybe watch her if we have a job.”

Eliot nodded, whispering. “Thanks, Parker.”

“We're the best, man. We can make it work.” Hardison said.

Eliot nodded at him and leaned forward as the two did their “bromance” handshake. He then looked over at Sophie. Sophie was quiet for a couple of minutes and then she sighed.

“Listen, Eliot, I don't know anything about kids or how to take care of them.” she said softly. “I just know that we're supposed to keep them safe and love them. So, that's what I'll do. I'll help you keep her safe and I will love her, but I swear Eliot, if you change your mind after I've become attached to her, I will kill you myself. And there's no way in hell, I'm changing any diapers.”

Eliot smiled, chuckling. “Deal, but I won't change my mind.”

With only one final vote to cast, everyone turned to Nate. Nate stared at Eliot in silence for over two minutes. Finally, he nodded and stood.

“Alright then. Let's go steal a crib.”

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steffync81

January 2013

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