Spoilers: Through the end of season 3, but nothing major.
Characters: Sophie Devereaux, Nathan Ford, Alec Hardison, Eliot Spencer, Parker, and Tara Cole.
Pairings: Nate/Sophie, mentions of Parker/Hardison, Eliot/Tara, and past Sophie/Tara
Summary: When a con goes south, Sophie is kidnapped by the mark. The team scrambles to save her, and even when rescued, they discover that some scars run too deep to ever be forgotten.
Chapter Three: Repair
Eliot grabbed the first-aid kit from Nate's supply closet while Nate and Parker helped Sophie up to Nate's room. He had put the kit together after the team had re-formed; fishing through it, he pulled out a bottle of painkillers and shook a couple out into his hand. He didn't like pain medicine and avoided it whenever possible, but he kept it on hand in case anyone else on the team got hurt. He couldn't expect them to all have the same pain threshold as him.
He looked over his shoulder to see that Hardison had settled onto the couch with his laptop; Nate came down the stairs a few seconds later without Parker. Eliot assumed that meant Parker would be helping him bandage Sophie up; he was glad Nate wasn't insisting on helping. From the looks of the man, Nate was barely keeping it together, and Eliot hoped he wouldn't run down to the bar to find solace. He pulled out his phone and fired off a text message before heading up the stairs, bag in hand.
Parker looked up from where she had been smoothing Sophie's hair out of her face. "Did you bring the first-aid kit?"
He held up the bag. "Yeah. Are you helping?"
She nodded her head. He handed the pills off to her along with a bottle of water. Parker opened the bottle and pressed the pills into Sophie's mouth; she then tilted the bottle underneath Sophie's lips and waited as she drank enough to wash the medicine down.
"Thanks," Sophie whispered, grimacing as the words rubbed against her raw throat.
"I need to bandage her ribs up," Eliot said over his shoulder to Parker as he bent over the black bag.
Parker moved into action, pulling Sophie up against her body as gently as she could and removing her shirt; when the piece of clothing was gone, Parker let out a hiss of breath and refused to lay Sophie back down.
"Eliot," Parker said, the crack in her voice making him look up.
His eyes widened when he saw the welts on Sophie's back; in some places, the skin had broken and blood had scabbed over the wounds. Sophie whimpered as the cool air washed over her skin.
"Okay, keep her supported against you like that," he instructed.
Parker turned her attention to Sophie and began to regale her with tales of some of Parker's first crimes as Eliot moved in to tend to Sophie's back. He felt her tense under his hands, and she let out a strangled cry before burying her head into Parker's neck. He didn't let it bother him, focusing on his work. Parker kept talking; he could hear the tears in her voice, but he didn't say anything. It took him several minutes before he could return his attention to her ribs, and by that time, the medicine was coursing through her system, pulling some of the worst pain away. Jerking his head, Eliot motioned for Parker to lay Sophie back onto the pillows; Parker obeyed immediately.
When Eliot reached down to take off Sophie's pants, she let out a strangled, "No."
He paused, closing his eyes because that was confirmation of what he had feared. "Sophie, I need to see if there's anything wrong. I'm not going to hurt you."
Parker's eyes darted from Sophie to Eliot; she crawled up the bed in order to play with Sophie's hair, something she knew calmed her down. "Don't worry. He's just trying to help."
Sophie blinked, trying to think past the haze of the drugs; she nodded her head. "Okay."
He moved slowly, not wanting to spook her. He pulled back the trousers and let them fall to the side as he examined her legs. There were cigarette burns on her thighs, a few cuts, and welts that looked similar to the ones on her back. He didn't stop to let himself think because then he would fly into a rage and go back and kill all those men. He simply bandaged her up, his fingers soft and gentle against her abused skin. Parker stayed close to Sophie's ear, whispering more stories in an effort to be a distraction.
As he was finishing up, his phone vibrated in his pocket; he pulled it out and read the message. "Hey, Sophie, I have a doctor friend. He's helped me out a few times when I've taken a bad beating, and he's very discreet. I would like for him to check on you, make sure you're okay."
The drugs were too much for her to think around. "Why? I thought you were taking care of me?"
"Because you were raped, Sophie, and I'm not equipped to handle that," he said in a soft voice.
Based on the fact that Parker didn't react to that piece of news, Eliot assumed she had already figured it out; for her part, Sophie had closed her eyes because she was too tired to think about it and she didn't want to think about it. Apathy could be a beautiful thing sometimes. But, Eliot wasn't going away without her agreement.
"Fine," she murmured.
Eliot nodded his head and left to fetch the doctor from where he was waiting outside Nate's door. Nate opened his mouth to ask a question about the stranger, but Eliot shot a glare in his direction; he was not going to answer to anyone, and he wasn't going to share any of this with the others until he was sure Sophie was going to be okay.
"Okay, Ryan, thanks for coming on such short notice," he said as they climbed the stairs.
Ryan chuckled. "Well, the promise of a bonus was a nice incentive. Any words of preparation?"
"She's really beaten up."
"And the man responsible?"
"Taken care of."
Ryan nodded his head. "That's all I need to know. Do you want to come in?"
"Parker's in there with her. I'll wait here." Eliot sighed and nodded towards the door. "I've already given her some medicine for the pain, so she's not completely coherent."
"I'm not here to ask questions," Ryan responded. "I'm just here to help."
With that, he disappeared into the bedroom, leaving Eliot standing outside. Eliot rubbed at his eyes, suddenly exhausted, and he leaned against the wall, sliding down it until he hit the floor.
Hardison looked up when Nate sat down beside him on the couch. "Do you need something?"
Nate rubbed his chin, leaning forward and then attempting to relax back into the cushions. "Can you get the security camera footage from the warehouse?"
"Yeah." Hardison clicked around and pulled it up. "I was going to look through it, but…"
"Yeah," Nate agreed. "Play it back."
"What?" Hardison sputtered. "You want to watch those bastards actually beat her up like she's a piñata?"
"I want to make sure that we took down all of them," Nate replied firmly. "I don't want any of them walking away from this unpunished."
Hardison shook his head. "Okay. Here goes."
He pulled it up in a small window and started the playback from around the time the guards had taken her to the warehouse. It wasn't hard at first; it was obvious that they were asking her questions and she was refusing to answer. There wasn't any sound, so Hardison couldn't tell what questions they were asking. Her lack of cooperation earned her a few slaps and some punches in the stomach. He fast-forwarded a little until he saw there more figures in the picture. At that point, she had been there for four hours. The interrogation intensified, and Hardison flinched when they pulled out a cane and started to beat her back. She curled into herself and covered her head, but they didn't stop. He chanced a glance at Nate; he was staring at the screen with wide eyes, horrified and angry and unable to look away.
It continued on like that for several minutes and then they stopped. As one of the men moved forward, his hands at his belt, Hardison jerked away from the screen. He fumbled at the keyboard, but he couldn't remember how to shut it off as he watched them strip her clothes off. He finally slammed the laptop closed.
He turned to Nate. "Maybe we shouldn't finish watching this…"
His voice trailed off as he followed Nate's gaze to the wall of televisions where the security footage was still playing, laying out every second in its torturous glory. Hardison found the remote and managed to switch the screens off. He glanced back at Nate, his heart sinking a little at the look on the man's face. Nate looked so…broken, but there was a fury swirling right underneath that.
Nate stood on shaking legs and marched straight for his liquor cabinet, opening it and pulling out a bottle without even looking at it. He didn't bother with a glass. He had only managed a few swallows, though, before Hardison pulled the bottle away from him.
"Give it back," Nate demanded, but the command lost its effect because he was staring down at the counter, already defeated.
"Drinking isn't going to solve any of this," Hardison replied. "She needs you right now, and that means you need to be sober. Okay?"Nate didn't answer, but he also didn't charge straight back to the cabinet, so Hardison marked that down as a small victory. He put the bottle away and headed back to his laptop. He needed to encrypt that file to keep anyone else from watching it. He would go through it later to make sure that every single son of bitch had been in that warehouse when they had gotten Sophie back. If not, well, he was sure Eliot would be more than happy to pay them a visit.