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Written for the fanfic100 challenge
by Riley Cannon
Written for Maverick, who wanted to see Elliot & Eddie in handcuffs.
Folding up another pair of jeans, Eddie Drake stuffed them in his bag and was reaching for a stack of wifebeaters when someone knocked on the door. "What?" he called out, knowing it couldn't be room service. The only answer was another knock and he impatiently crossed the few feet to open it, drawling, "Well, fuck, what do you want?"
Elliot Stabler stood in the hallway, looking unsure and damp from the rain. "You going to let me in?"
The smart answer would have been a swift no, followed by slamming the door shut in his face. As proof he needed his head examined, however, Eddie simply shrugged and stood aside, waving him inside with a sweep of his arm. He hoped the gesture looked sarcastic; he meant it to. Since Elliot appeared in no rush to say anything, Eddie went back to his packing, wondering if the weather was going to cause any flight delays. There might not be much waiting for him back in California, but last he'd heard at least it was warm and dry.
Elliot had noticed the bag sitting open on the bed and demonstrated why he was such a hotshot detective by asking, "You're leaving?"
Eddie zipped it shut, met his eyes, defiance flaring in his own. "Is there a reason I should stay?" A couple of nights ago, up on the roof at the One-Six and feeling that hard body pressed against him, Eddie had really thought there might be. Two minutes later, left alone up there and feeling the cold way down deep in his bones, he'd known he was nothing but a chump.
Proof of that? He couldn't even make a clean getaway. No, he had to take off with one more picture of Elliot stored in his head. It was a really good one too. In faded jeans and black leather jacket, a purple shirt he hadn't tucked in, Elliot looked more appealing than ever. A cut lip and bruises only enhanced those charms and made Eddie want to step close and kiss them better.
And he wanted to smash a fist into the handsome face for making him feel things like that. For wanting to make Elliot feel better and find some comfort for himself in those arms.
"Eddie, I ... I just..." Looking frustrated, Elliot shook his head as if that could rattle loose whatever words he wanted. Not quite looking at him, voice almost too low to make out, he said, "I'm sorry about what happened."
"What part are you sorry about?"
This time Elliot looked at him, seemingly at a loss. "What?"
Eddie moved closer now. "The part where we're pressed up against the wall and your tongue's in my mouth? Or the part where you leave me standing there, feeling like an idiot? Because that first part, Elliot, it was really good," he finished. And fuck, wasn't like he had anything to lose now.
He watched Elliot's face, trying to pick up what he was thinking, feeling. Did that flush of guilt-stricken color signal remorse or remembered passion? As long as it wasn't shame over kissing him in the first place there was still a chance. Yeah, and there was more proof he needed a hard, swift kick in the ass.
And the moment he decided he wasn't going to get any kind of answer, Elliot told him, "The second part, Eddie. I didn't want to make you feel like that. I..." Faltering once more, he shook his head at whatever struggle was going on inside and crossed the room to the window, nudging the curtain aside to look out at the raindrops dashing themselves against the glass. "This just..." A deep sigh. "It's not easy for me."
Eddie let out his own sigh and went over to him, wanting to touch but letting his hand hover just an inch away. "Didn't seem too difficult the other night, Elliot," he said carefully, and completed the gesture. The leather was soft against his palm and he rubbed slow circles across his back. "Is it the `stache, El, 'cause I can shave the 'stache," he said, hoping that might ease the tension he could feel knotting up those muscles.
It got him a shaky laugh at least. "It's not the mustache, Eddie." Another deep sigh then, like he really was trying to get with the unwinding. Long fingers reached over to touch the glass, tap against it. "You'd really shave it off?"
Eddie smiled, pressing harder against the broad back, working lose the apprehension. "Been thinking about it anyway. Kind of makes me stand out a little too much."
Another brief bark of laughter, laced through with skepticism. "Oh yeah," Elliot turned to face him, "like you'd blend into a crowd otherwise."
"I'm telling you, I'm a chameleon." Met with a dubious expression, Eddie put on his best pout. "You don't believe me?"
"No," Elliot was looking at him so seriously, so intently it made him want to squirm and duck his head to escape that penetrating gaze, "I find it really hard to believe you could ever be a wallflower."
"Hmm," to distract himself, Eddie reached over to fiddle with Elliot's shirt collar so it wasn't smooshed down, "guess I'll have to prove it to you."
"You'd have to," Elliot hesitated a split second, pulling in a sharp breath as Eddie's knuckles brushed his collarbone, "to hang around to do that."
Eddie raised his eyes to meet those laser beam blues. "Guess I would, but I'm not sure that's reason enough. You got something more in the way of incentive?"
"Eddie..." Temptation and panic were warring in Elliot's eyes again, just like the other night. "I ... I don't..." Another furious shake of his head, some fierce battle going on that no one else could see, couldn't predict how it would come out. "I think ... this was a mistake, Eddie. I--"
Oh fuck, not again. "No," Eddie growled, getting a solid hold on him with one hand, "you don't get to fuck me around and then run away. I'm not playing that game."
Storm clouds of righteous anger were gathering in Elliot's eyes now. "Let me go," he said, voice dangerously low as he tried to pull free.
"Not till we get this settled," Eddie popped back just as seriously, grabbing his handcuffs off the dresser and snapping one bracelet around Elliot's wrist, the other clamped on his own, and there they were. He would have sworn he could really see steam rising off the other man.
"What the fuck are you..." Elliot jerked on the cuffs, only succeeding in making Eddie stumble against him. "Unlock them, now."
Regaining his footing, Eddie threw his arms out, making Elliot unsteady on his feet. "You want the key, Boy Scout, find it yourself," he told him, and guessed things were about to get really interesting.
This was a mistake. Elliot had known that even before the other night, but perceiving the blunder and being able to avoid it didn't seem to be working out for him. The discipline he counted on to hold everything together, even when all other foundations had been knocked out from under him, had been increasingly hard to locate since Eddie Drake had come to town. He wasn't even sure why he kept scrambling so desperately to locate it, except that it was familiar and safe -- and Eddie, what Eddie made him want, wasn't safe at all.
Two weeks, that was all it was: two weeks since Eddie had sauntered into the squad room at the end of a long day, in jeans that were about ready for the trash, boots that hadn't been polished in ten years, and three day's worth of stubble. Demanding to see Stabler, he'd plunked his butt down in a chair, propped his feet up on Elliot's desk, and said, "So, you're the asshole fucking up my case," by way of greeting.
The funny thing was how it hadn't all been downhill from there.
That's what he had been thinking the other night, with the case wrapped up and everybody back at the house. He and Eddie had been in the break room, getting patched up, and as Elliot had felt the adrenaline rush dying out, it suddenly hit him what a breath of fresh air Eddie had brought into his life, and now he'd be losing that. Eddie would be on a plane back to California, taking all the life and color with him. Everything would fade back to gray, muted down, and that realization had felt like a brand new punch to the jaw.
Suddenly he'd had to get out of there, get away before Eddie looked at him and knew what he was thinking. And -- he looked at Eddie now, tracked the cuts and bruises that echoed his own, and made himself admit one more thing -- and he'd been jealous too, right at that moment, watching Olivia swab Eddie's cuts and put an icepack against his cheek, and Elliot had sizzled with envy. That should be him there, taking care of Eddie; both of them taking care of each other. That's when he'd bolted, up to the roof, not caring that it was freezing out. Glad of that, sucking in deep breaths of chilly air and looking out at the city lights shining in the dark.
He hadn't been alone up there for long. He'd heard footsteps approaching and hadn't needed to look around to confirm it was Eddie. He'd known, felt it was him, and that was scary too.
"This isn't because I said you screamed like a girl, is it?" Eddie had said, coming over to join him, standing shoulder to shoulder with him. "Because, my hand to God, I'll never tell."
It had been easy to reply in kind, "Oh yeah, I'm all despondent over that."
Easier still to stay in that moment and soak up every nuance. Eddie's shoulder brushing his, nudging him. Eddie rubbing his hands together to warm them, blowing on them. How natural it had felt to clasp them in his own, to run one hand up Eddie's arm and let it curve around his neck, finally indulging the temptation to run his fingers through that cluster of blond curls. And Eddie could have hauled off and socked him one; he'd half-expected him to. When those square, practical hands had come up to grip his shoulders, he'd thought it was coming then, had anticipated being shoved away, hard enough to land on his ass -- only those hands had pulled him closer, one of them cupping the nape of his neck and drawing his face nearer.
Which one of them had closed that final, infinitesimal distance? Elliot wasn't sure. He only knew the need to kiss Eddie's mouth had been irresistible, and that no trace of resistance was in evidence as they pressed up against a wall, kissing with a wild and reckless abandon he'd never known, there in the shadows, wrestling each other against that cold brick. One moment, Eddie had him immobile there, holding his outstretched arms against the wall and greedily consuming kisses. The next, he had Eddie pinned there, just as gluttonous for the other man's mouth, wanting, wanting ... he didn't know, he'd only known he needed to touch, be touched, that his body was starving for it.
He still felt the craving, worse now for having had that one taste. He -- God -- he just ... he just wanted to feel that alive again.
And he could. All he had to do was reach out and make a claim. Everything he wanted was standing right there in front of him, looking better than ever. A California boy, Eddie hadn't packed for November in New York and had wound up mooching some things from him. He was still wearing one of Elliot's sweatshirts, a navy blue hoodie, that made him look even more blond, eyes a more vivid blue. Eyes that teased him and dared him, and promised they could provide everything he wanted. Nothing he would have ever expected; all that he could think about.
"Where's the key?" he asked, tugging on the cuffs.
Eddie shrugged, waved his arms again, dragging Elliot with him. "You want it, you come and get it, pal."
Something told Elliot he didn't just mean the key to the handcuffs.
They were already so close he could feel the warmth radiating off Eddie, smell him -- soap and aftershave. One easy tug, and they were practically pressed together, Eddie putting up no opposition as Elliot's fingers dug into the change pocket of his jeans. Actually, he looked like he thought this might be a very promising turn of events, and murmured, "Nice frisking technique, Stabler," right against his ear as Elliot fished around and withdrew a couple of quarters.
"Shut up," Elliot grumbled back, tossing the quarters on the bed and working his hand into the larger pocket, trying to stay focused on this impromptu scavenger hunt.
Undeterred, Eddie blew a puff of air against Elliot's ear. "Oh yeah," he groaned as Elliot felt around for the key, "that's good. Little to the right."
"I said shut up." Elliot carefully withdrew his fingers, coming up with nothing this time, and couldn't seem to find anywhere else to rest his hand except on Eddie's hip.
"Make me," Eddie rumbled, pushing into him, tongue darting out to give him one quick swipe under his jaw. "Got more pockets."
Breath coming harder, Adam's apple bobbing, Elliot moved his hand, no option available except to work it between their bellies, biting his lip as he worked his fingers into the pocket, this one so much tighter. "Stop moving around."
"Who's moving?" Eddie said, thrusting his hips forward, their crotches rubbing together. "Just keeping my circulation going."
Yeah -- Elliot swallowed again, wondered why the thermostat was turned so high in the room -- he could feel his own circulation going strong. He couldn't feel anything like a key, however, and worked his hand out of the pocket. Withdrawal proved even trickier, though, the hooded sweatshirt getting hiked up in the process so that for a moment his hand was splayed against Eddie's bare stomach. "You lied," he breathed, lips not quite touching Eddie's cheek.
Moving his head so Elliot's lips had nowhere else to land, Eddie said, "About what?"
Not kissing his face, not really, Elliot moved so his cheek was laid against Eddie's, hairs from the mustache tickling the corner of his mouth. "There's no key in your pocket."
"Those aren't my only pockets, Ell."
Oh yeah, like he hadn't seen that coming.
He rested his hand at the small of Eddie's back, realizing his blunder as that caused their bodies to press even closer together. Eddie's breath was hot on his neck, and he felt the itch of the mustache even more acutely. With painstaking precision, Elliot ran his hand over one hip, the thin denim forming a pocket so thin he could tell by that light touch alone nothing was concealed there. Eddie burrowed into some more, and it was only because Elliot needed to steady his hand that he let it linger there, gripping Eddie's ass. Pulling in another shaky breath as the blond head nestled against his neck, he slid his hand over to the other pocket, feeling the outline of a wallet there. "Getting warmer?"
"I don't know, you tell me."
Just a little, yeah. Fingers worked into the tight space, Elliot drew out the wallet, tossed it over on the bed, and delved back inside, probing in a corner and closing his fingers around the tiny bit of metal. Funny thing, he didn't experience a single twinge of satisfaction as he took it out and showed the key to Eddie. As a matter of fact, the defeated look of resignation in those light blue eyes felt like a solid punch to the gut.
Dejected, he shook his head, a sad and lopsided smile on his face. "Go ahead, I won't try and stop you from leaving."
Frowning, Elliot undid the cuffs, let them thunk down on the carpet. "You always give up this easy?"
Eyes sharper, suspicious, Eddie said, "I know when to stop banging my head against a wall."
"Yeah." Elliot rested a hand on Eddie's shoulder, squeezing. "Don't they say it feels really good when you stop?" No way to miss the doubt in those eyes. No blaming him for it, either, and Elliot guessed this was crossroads time. He could play it safe, sure, give into all those old fears -- and lose this chance. This possibility that could turn out to be the best to come his way in ages, and that he could wind up regretting that he's missed it the rest of his life. His life was already riddled with disappointments, dreams he'd had to let die, opportunities he could never reach out to claim. There was even a certain comfort in that familiarity. Risk nothing, and stay in that muted gray zone forever, safe and sound -- and dying deep down inside.
If he did this, if for once he reached out for what he truly wanted, there would be no guarantees. No safety net to catch him. Only ... he looked at Eddie, watching him, waiting for him ... maybe he wouldn't need that net so long as he wasn't all alone out there.
"Eddie," his hand curved around Eddie's neck, "I don't want to go." Because the worst regret of all was not doing what he felt was right.
"No," he confirmed, and pulled Eddie in so he could back it up with a kiss, and another kiss, and some more after that until Eddie's arms were wound around him tight. "What about you?" he murmured, dragging his mouth away for a moment, nuzzling his ear.
One hand cradling the back of his head, ruffling his hair, Eddie said, "What?"
"Is this reason enough to stay?"
For an answer, Eddie kissed his mouth, long and hard and deep. "Yeah, Elliot, it really is."
Mouth stretched with a huge smile, Elliot stroked his cheek, the edge of that mustache. "You'd really get rid of this thing?"
"Say the word."
"Consider it said." He caught Eddie's hand and pressed the key into it, folding his fingers over it.
"Well," Elliot kissed him again, "I don't need it anymore. I mean," he stole another kiss, tongue flicking the roof of his mouth for an instant, "if you really want to cuff me, I'm game, but I'd kind of like to use my hands."
"You know I'll hold you to that."
Still smiling, Elliot winked and said, "You know what? I'm counting on it."
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