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Title: Always Falling Deeper
Author: scout_lover
Giftee: tattooeddevil
Rating: Teen and up
Characters/Pairing: Eliot Spencer, Damien Moreau
Word Count: 4,652
Spoilers: None
Warnings: None really. A few f-bombs, a mention of sex
Disclaimer: I own nothing save my endless fascination with these characters
Summary: Eliot worked for Moreau back in the day. A lot.
Notes: This is for tattooeddevil, who asked for Eliot and Moreau’s backstory. Which was oh, so hard for me to write because it’s not like I’m obsessed with that or anything (*looks shifty*). Here’s your fic, hon. I hope you enjoy!

In later years, he would say it was a little like freezing to death: mental clouding and confusion, then amnesia, forgetting what he’d known and been before; a creeping numbness and loss of control, of sense, of direction; then utter, absolute coldness, the death of all warmth, all sensation, in him; and, finally, brain and body dying, mistaking deadly cold for warmth, simply lying down and going to sleep, slipping into the nothing.

Yeah. Being with Damien had been exactly like freezing to death.


I do know you. We could talk.

The first time they met, at an outdoor café in Belgrade, something immediately clicked between them.

Eliot had been out of the Army for about a year and half, and had spent that time making a name for himself as a man with a very specific set of skills and a very fluid set of morals. He had a reputation for efficiency, professionalism and discretion.

He’d also proven a few times that it was a supremely bad idea to cross him.

Damien Moreau was a rising force in the world, amassing power and wealth through equal parts intelligence, skill and brutal ruthlessness. He’d emerged from the chaos and violence of the post-Soviet Balkans, and the organization he’d first built there soon reached across Europe and was now spreading into Asia, the Middle East and even Africa. Little was known about the past he kept shrouded in mystery, and rumors – some wild, some incredibly close to the mark – swirled about him. What was known, though, was that he was smart, ambitious and utterly ruthless. He also had a discerning eye for true talent.

The day Eliot Spencer and Damien Moreau met a true partnership was born. And something deep in the world shuddered.

Eliot was fascinated by Moreau. The man radiated both power and charisma, had a vision for the world and his place in it and spoke of that vision with absolute conviction. He was also personable, and personal. He’d clearly done his homework and already knew Eliot’s history – including much about his time in the Army that should have been classified – yet still he asked questions and truly listened to the answers, focusing an attention on him that was damn near hypnotizing. He was being seduced, he knew that. And he was perfectly okay with it.

Damien was equally intrigued by Spencer. He had done his homework – he always did his homework; he abhorred surprises – and knew every detail about the man that was available (including some that a certain general had made available to him). Spencer’s credentials were impeccable, his reputation formidable, and his skills truly frightening.

He had known he could use such a man even before they’d met.

With the meeting, though, something changed. Oh, not his interest in Spencer; that only increased. He recognized the talents the man had honed to a sharp, bright edge and already had plans for them. But he also sensed more, a potential for more, just waiting to be tapped. And it offended him that no one had yet bothered to tap it. The man was sharp, quick-witted, observant. He might be considered a weapon, but Damien suspected that what made him truly dangerous – and truly valuable – was his brain.

He would not allow such a find to go to waste.

Their meeting lasted almost three hours. They talked, drank, got to know each other. And they struck a deal.

That evening, Eliot made his first kill for Moreau, a man who’d been with Moreau for years but had recently begun giving information to a rival. Information on his operation. The long years of devoted service no longer mattered. Moreau insisted on absolute, unflinching loyalty from his people. Betrayal was a sin he would neither tolerate nor forgive and that he punished ruthlessly.

Eliot could understand that. Loyalty was everything, even in this world. Hell, in any world. He’d seen betrayal in the Army, had suffered from it, knew what happened when a supposed friend or ally turned. A traitor was a poisoned blade just waiting to strike, and had to be eliminated.

So Eliot eliminated Moreau’s betrayer, executed him while Moreau looked on from behind his desk. In later years, when he thought about that moment, he would remember it almost from a distance, detached, as if he’d been watching someone else pull that trigger. He put a bullet, just one, in the man’s brain, expertly placed, and watched as he fell exactly how and where he’d planned for the least amount of mess.

What he did remember, and with crystal clarity, was Moreau’s pleasure at his cool efficiency and skill, and the warmth the man showed him over the finest brandy and Cuban cigars as the dead man’s body was cleared away.

They talked long into the night.


Spencer, my old friend. I see you haven’t lost your touch.

“He’s playing you, you know,” Eliot said, staring down at the chessboard between them and trying to decide which move to make.

He’d never played chess before Damien, but the man had insisted he learn. It was not only an excellent way to sharpen one’s own tactical and strategic skills, he said, but also provided insight into an opponent’s thinking. And such opportunities, such possible insights, were never to be wasted.

In the year Eliot had been with Damien, he’d become a very good player. He’d also gotten used to losing to his boss.

“Vasili, you mean?” Damien asked. He rose from his chair and crossed the study to the bar, pouring himself a drink as Eliot contemplated his move. “Of course he is. It is in his nature. The man is incapable of striking an honest deal. Scotch?”

“Sure,” Eliot said, never looking up from the board. Damien’s king was there, tempting him, taunting him, just two moves away. He only had to move his knight–

And that was the trap. He always used his knight. Damien knew that, had lectured him countless times on it. You are predictable, my friend. And predictability is a liability. Damien usually went out of his way to capture Eliot’s knights in order to force him to use other pieces. But the man had left him his black knight this time and so would be would be counting on his using it. Which meant–

He took another look at the board, forgot about the exposed king for a moment, and smiled. There you are. He waited for Damien to sit down, took his drink from him and set it aside … and took the man’s queen with his rook.

If Damien was surprised, he didn’t show it. Instead, he grinned and reached out to clap Eliot on the shoulder. “Excellent!” he praised. “Without his queen, the king is vulnerable.” He arched his brows. “Vasili has a new wife, no? About thirty years his junior?” He heaved a mournful sigh. “And I hear she is quite lovely. She must long for someone younger and more … exciting … than Vasili.”

Eliot stared at his boss a moment, then sat back in his chair and smiled as understanding dawned. “Gotta be hard bein’ married to a toad like him. And he does need to be taken down a notch or two.”

“At least,” Damien said grimly, then looked down to study the board. “Show her some of your Southern charm. Capture Vasili’s queen. Strike him where he is most vulnerable – his pride. Oh, by the way,” he reached out and moved his one remaining pawn, then looked up and smiled, “checkmate.”


Eliot found Vasili’s wife, Illiana, in the rooftop bar of the InterContinental Hotel in Kiev, where Vasili and his entourage were staying while he negotiated a deal to screw over Damien Moreau. She was beautiful, sweet, not terribly bright … and bored out of her mind from being ignored while Vasili conducted his “business.”

Eliot sat down beside her, bought her a drink and turned on the charm. Half an hour later, they were having dinner in a hotel restaurant. Two hours after that, they were having sex in Vasili’s bed. By the time Vasili returned, Illiana was in the shower and Eliot was sprawled on the bed, showered and fully dressed. Nearby was a cart covered with the remains of an expensive meal and an empty bottle of champagne – all charged to Vasili’s account.

“Mr. Moreau sends his regards,” he said lazily as Vasili stared and sputtered in mingled shock, horror and rage. Two of Vasili’s guards burst into the room, guns drawn … and carefully holstered the weapons when Eliot sat up.

Everyone knew Damien Moreau’s pet killer.

Eliot motioned Vasili to a chair and waited until the still furious man finally sat down. Then he smiled. Vasili paled and swallowed visibly. “Mr. Moreau knows about your meeting with Petrov,” he said. “He knows you’re tryin’ to fuck him over. And in about, oh,” he glanced at his watch, “fifteen minutes, Petrov is gonna know that part, too.” He frowned slightly. “I’m thinkin’ he’s not gonna be real happy about it. Pissin’ off Mr. Moreau could be detrimental to his business. And his health. So here’s the deal.”

He stood up and slipped his hands into his pockets, fixing a deadly serious gaze on Vasili, who was starting to sweat. “Petrov is gonna break off the deal and go home. And you’re gonna be a good boy from now on and quit tryin’ to steal from Mr. Moreau. Because we both know,” he added as Vasili started to protest, “that’s exactly what’s happenin’ here. Petrov is a client of Mr. Moreau’s. Those guns you’re tryin’ to peddle were bought with Mr. Moreau’s money. You tryin’ to cut him out of the profits is stealin’, and it won’t be tolerated. Are we clear?”

Vasili surged to his feet. “You can’t–”

“I think we both know I can,” Eliot countered. “More importantly, I think we both know I will. I got no problem makin’ an example of you. But,” he shrugged, “Mr. Moreau’s willin’ to give you the benefit of the doubt. This time. Be grateful. And be smart.”

He walked over to Vasili and stopped just before him. The man had a good three inches and fifty pounds on him, but they both knew that meant nothing. Vasili swallowed again.

“I can get to you any time I want,” Eliot said softly. “I’ve spent this evenin’ provin’ that. I can take everything you prize from you. I’ve spent this evenin’ provin’ that, too. The next time you see me,” he reached out and idly adjusted Vasili’s tie, “I’ll be the last thing you ever see. You understand?”

Vasili swallowed once more, loudly. “I do,” he whispered thickly.

Eliot smiled and nodded, then turned and started toward the door. Halfway there, though, he stopped and turned. “One more thing,” he said, fixing a hard stare on Vasili. “Illiana’s a sweet girl. What I did tonight was business. But I like her. If you lay a hand on her because of this, I’ll know. And you will see me again. Do you understand? Anything happens to her, and I’m comin’ for you. So you might wanta take good care of her.”

He didn’t wait for Vasili to answer, he didn’t have to. The fear in the man’s eyes spoke for him. He turned and walked out of the room.


“Petrov called me this morning,” Damien said as he studied the board. He reached out and moved his bishop, capturing one of Eliot’s knights. “He apologized again for the ‘misunderstanding’ in Kiev.” He sat back with a sharp sigh. “No one grovels quite like him.”

Eliot leaned forward and stared down at the board. He had one knight left, but ignored it. He had another strategy in mind. He moved his rook to threaten Damien’s queen.

“And Vasili has been a very good boy,” Damien said. “No more shipments have gone missing, and he’s stopped skimming from the profits.” He quickly dispatched Eliot’s rook with his queen, then glanced up at his lieutenant and smiled slyly. “And I understand he and his wife are getting along quite well these days.”

Eliot snorted. “I still say she deserves better than that slug.” He winced. “Deserves better than what I did to her, too.”

Damien sighed and shook his head. “You can’t let that bother you,” he said. “It was business. You needed to get Vasili’s attention, and she was the best way to do it. Besides,” he shrugged, “you gave her a pleasant evening, and have now made certain that Vasili takes good care of her. That has to count for something, yes?” He smiled warmly. “You did well, Eliot,” he said, pride in his voice and eyes. “No one will do business with Vasili now until they check with us first, Petrov has been reminded how vulnerable he is, and no one had to die, which spares me the trouble of having to find and train replacements. This is why I trust you with such matters. I know you will not fail me.”

Eliot relaxed at that and let go of his misgivings, reassured by Damien’s words. The man didn’t bestow his trust lightly, and it was no small honor to be considered worthy of it. Eliot could easily push aside a few pangs of conscience for such a gift.

And he had the perfect way to show Damien that faith wasn’t misplaced.

He looked down at the board one more time, smiled and reached out, moving his pawn into place and trapping Damien’s king between it and the knight he’d managed to lull Damien into ignoring.



The worst thing I ever did in my entire life, I did for Damien Moreau. And I’ll never be clean of that.

It was slipping away from him.

The pride, the pleasure, he’d once felt in carrying out Damien’s will, the certainty that what he was doing was necessary, was fading, leaving him cold and empty inside. He was starting to question himself.

Worse, he was starting to question Damien.

And he wasn’t sure why.

As far as he knew – and if anyone knew, it would be him – nothing about the man or the way he ran his operation, his empire, had changed. Damien maintained the same strict control, the same absolute power, as always. Nothing happened – no deal was made, no contract enforced or “renegotiated” – without his knowledge or consent.

No one lived or died except by his word.

Eliot knew, because he was the one getting and carrying out those orders. And those orders weren’t coming any more or less frequently than they had before, weren’t getting any more or less brutal. Damien had always generously rewarded success and ruthlessly punished failure, had always shown little patience or tolerance for incompetence and had never hesitated to make his displeasure known. Nothing had changed.

Except … maybe Eliot himself.

He’d long ago stopped consciously counting the number of times – people – he’d killed for Damien, had long ago stopped consciously remembering names and faces. Yet still, somehow, his brain insisted on recording them, and was now starting to play them back – names, faces, terrified pleas, even more terrified silences – in lurid dreams in the middle of the night.

He couldn’t remember when he’d last slept – really slept – through an entire night.

And his hand was beginning to shake when it held a gun.

He’d first noticed it a couple of weeks ago, when he’d killed Nicolas Feuilly in Marseille for double-crossing Damien and very nearly losing an entire shipment of guns to Interpol. One of the agents on their payroll had warned them just in time to avert disaster, but Feuilly still had to pay. Damien had sent him, as he always did in such matters, and he’d pulled the trigger.

But only after hesitating a heartbeat longer than usual, and only after willing his hand to steady.

He’d put it down to fatigue at first and thought no more about it. Until it happened again. And again.

Now it happened every time. And his hesitations were growing longer.

He groaned and dropped his head into his hands, thrusting his fingers into his hair. His gun – one of his guns – lay on the coffee table before him, between a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of sleeping pills, a deadly combination he’d managed so far to avoid. He was sitting on the edge of his sofa, his shirt hanging open and his jacket on the floor at his feet. He could almost smell the blood on his clothes, though he knew it didn’t really exist.

He was far too good at what he did. He’d long ago learned how to kill a man without tracking home any blood.

Now if he could just figure out how to wash it off his hands. Off his soul. And out of his dreams.

If he could just figure out how to sleep


The voice, though quiet, startled him badly and he shot to his feet, reaching blindly for his gun. But he hit the whiskey bottle instead and knocked it over, and in another wild reach knocked both bottle and gun to the floor.

And wasn’t this a shitty way to die?


Except that apparently it wasn’t his time. The voice, much sterner this time, commanded his attention – an instinctive response by now – and he got control enough of himself to look up and see Damien standing inside the room, not ten feet away.

How the hell had the man gotten in here, and so close, without his hearing him?

“Damien?” he asked, not at all certain his brain wasn’t just fucking around with him. It seemed to have picked up that habit.

“Chapman called,” Damien said. He wore a black wool coat over his dark gray suit, immaculate as always. And he looked oddly worried. “He said you’d taken care of Iakovos. But when I didn’t hear from you, I got concerned.” He frowned slightly, sweeping his gaze slowly over Eliot’s disheveled figure and clearly not liking what he saw. “You’ve been acting … strangely … lately. I tried calling you, but–” He glanced around the room, then saw Eliot’s phone on the floor nearby. “I guess you turned it off.”

Eliot sighed and dropped back down onto the sofa, letting his head fall back and closing his eyes. “Iakovos is dead,” he said flatly. “We got in and out without any problems. Well, except for his two bodyguards. But they’re dead, too. All in all, a productive night.”

Damien was silent for long moments, then moved to the sofa and sat down beside him. “What’s wrong?” he asked softly.

Eliot laughed, a little more wildly than he would have liked. “Didn’t you hear me?” He lifted his head and opened his eyes, fixing hem on Damien’s face. “I killed three men today. Last night. Whenever. And two of ’em, I don’t even know their names.”

Damien frowned in confusion. “Is that a problem?”

Eliot laughed again. “You don’t think killin’ a man without knowin’ his name is a problem? Besides,” he bowed his head and scrubbed his hands over his face, “lately my brain seems to insist on knowin’, just so it can torment me by recitin’ it. Them. All of them.”

“You’re still not sleeping,” Damien said quietly. It wasn’t a question.

“That obvious, is it?” Eliot asked between his fingers.

“Just a bit,” Damien said wryly. He glanced around, taking in the gun, pills and whiskey. “Please tell me you’re not combining those.”

Eliot dropped his hands from his face and followed Damien’s gaze. “Don’t worry,” he sighed, “it’s still an either-or thing right now. And the gun hasn’t entered the equation yet.”

“Good,” Damien breathed with obvious relief.

Eliot glanced at him. “You’re worried about me?”

Damien snorted. “Wouldn’t you be? Look at yourself! You haven’t slept in God knows when, Chapman said he didn’t see you eat more than a few bites over two days, and I come here to find you looking and sounding like this. And, by the way, your door wasn’t locked. So, yes, I might be just a bit worried.” He reached out and set a hand on Eliot’s shoulder, gripping tightly. “Talk to me, old friend,” he urged softly. “Tell me what’s going on.”

He exhaled tiredly and closed his eyes, relaxing beneath Damien’s touch, praying its warmth would seep through to the coldness inside him. It didn’t. “They’re comin’ outta their graves,” he breathed. “All the bodies, all the ghosts– I can’t get their blood off my hands.”

“You’re tired–”

“Damn it, Damien, listen to me!” he cried, wrenching out of Damien’s grip and shooting to his feet, staring down at the man through burning eyes. “I can’t do this any more!” He turned sharply and stalked away, then began to pace, crossing his arms tightly against his chest. “I can’t do this any more,” he repeated, the words coming from someplace deep within him. “It’s– I can’t pull the trigger without hesitating, my hands shake– All the faces come back to me at night,” he whispered, then turned back to Damien. “I see them, all of them, I hear them– That’s why I don’t sleep. Why I don’t eat. I just–” He swallowed hard and shook his head, staring pleadingly at the man before him. “I can’t do this any more. Not even for you.”

Damien stared back at him in shock, white-faced and still, his hazel eyes wide. “You don’t mean that,” he breathed in disbelief. “You can’t mean that! Eliot–”

“What’s gonna happen,” he asked softly, the fear that had begun eating at him lately forcing its way to the surface, “when you send me somewhere and I can’t pull the trigger? Forget what it’s gonna do to me – we both know I won’t survive; I’ve made too many enemies – but what’s it gonna do to you? What kind of price are you gonna pay when that day comes?” He shook his head slowly. “I can’t do this to mysef any more,” he sighed. “And I damn sure can’t do it to you. Not after everything we’ve been through.”

Damien continued to stare at him, confusion and disbelief – maybe a refusal to believe – on his face. “What are you saying?” he asked slowly. “You’re – what? Quitting? Retiring? Men like you don’t retire!”

“No,” he breathed, “men like me don’t retire. We kill until somebody kills us.” He smiled weakly, humorlessly. “I’m at the top of my food chain, Damien. Ain’t no place for me to go but down.”

“No,” Damien said firmly, a man accustomed to giving orders and having them followed now giving one more. His eyes hardened and his jaw clenched. “I won’t allow that. I will not have lesser men rising to false prominence over you! Over your body! That is not how this ends.”

“Then tell me,” Eliot asked tiredly, running a hand through his hair, “how does this end? ’Cause I sure as hell don’t know.”

Damien smiled slightly, sadly, and patted the sofa. “Then come sit down with me and let’s talk. We’ll figure it out together. Please,” he added softly when Eliot didn’t move. “You look like you’re about to drop.”

Eliot hesitated a few moments longer, then made his way back to the sofa with heavy steps and sank down onto it at Damien’s side. He was so tired he ached. He closed his eyes and started to lean back, only to feel Damien’s arm slipping about him and pulling him close. He relaxed and let his head rest against Damien’s shoulder.

“This is the part where you put a bullet in my brain,” he sighed.

Damien chuckled and tipped his head to let it rest against Eliot’s. “No, this is the part where I call you to put a bullet in your brain. But I think we both know that isn’t going to happen.”

“So what does happen?”

Damien was silent a moment, then shrugged. “Tonight? You rest. I’ll have some food brought up, then you will take a couple of sleeping pills, and I will stay to make sure you sleep. Tomorrow, you will come home with me and we will talk.”


Damien sighed. “This is why you don’t sleep,” he said. “You need to learn to stop thinking.”


“No,” he said firmly. “Look, we’ll work all this out. I’m taking Juliana and the children on holiday to the villa I bought in San Lorenzo. You will come with us. You won’t have any duties except to watch over the boys, keep Juliana from spending me into bankruptcy and play chess with me. We can talk then.”

Eliot opened his eyes and frowned up at his boss. That name rang a bell, and he knew he should remember why it was so important, but just now his brain was too tired to function. “What the hell’s in San Lorenzo?”

Damien smiled and winked. “A few things of interest. But we can talk about that later.” His smile faded as he searched Eliot’s face with his gaze. “We’ll work it out,” he said again, sounding as if he were trying to convince himself as much as Eliot. “Somehow, we’ll work it out. You’ll see.”

Eliot smiled faintly but said nothing. In their years together, he’d never once lied to Damien. He wouldn’t start now. The truth, when it came, would be painful enough.

He couldn’t help wondering if either of them would survive it.


It reminds me of Belgrade.

He’d known this would be hard. He just hadn’t realized how hard. As he stood beside that pool surrounded by armed men – many whose names and faces he knew – he could feel the cracks running through his composure.

This wasn’t how he’d imagined this happening at all. And he damned sure hadn’t pictured Hardison standing there, watching it all unravel.

Still, he braced himself, told himself it would be over soon, one way or another, and that he only had to get through this meeting, the next few minutes. Then he could find somewhere away from everyone and break into pieces in private.

It would be hard, harder even than he’d anticipated, but he could do it–

And then Damien stepped out of that sauna and saw him.

Oddly enough, he wasn’t prepared for that, for the recognition that leapt into the hazel eyes, for the surprise and delight that cascaded across the face he knew so well. A thousand memories swept through him all at once with the force of an avalanche, and it was only with the most desperate effort that he managed to hold himself upright and not break apart here and now.

For the sake of the team – the family – he loved more than he ever had Damien Moreau.

His two worlds, past and present, were colliding with a terrible force, and he had no idea what kind of wreckage would result. Or where he’d be after the fallout.

He only knew that he had to remember to keep breathing, remember how to breathe, had to avoid looking at Hardison until he could breathe, could think, or they’d both be lost. He had, God help him, to stand here and watch Damien walk toward him, had to force himself to look up and meet the gaze that had once been able to see everything in him, had to pretend to go back to that place, that time, while fighting against everything in him trying to rise in instinctive response to this man–


And for an instant, one perilous moment, he felt his whole world trembling on the brink of ruin when Damien Moreau looked at him and suddenly smiled with a pleasure so real it hurt him to see it.

“Let’s catch up …”

The End