After that time they were stuck in the woods together - and the subsequent disappointment of the fishing game - Eliot decides to take Alec on a proper camping trip.
Alec is initially reluctant when Eliot informs him they’re taking a trip next weekend, especially when he hears they will be Outdoors (“Really, man? With the bugs? And the SMELLS?”), but then he gets into the idea.
The whole next week, packages of varying shapes and sizes arrive at McRory’s. This isn’t unusual, not since that time with the mechanical bull, so Eliot doesn’t think much of it.
Of course, the day they leave, Parker decides she wants cake. Now. With seven rainbow layers because the Glenn-Reeder 107 was the first safe she ever cracked, and therefore, seven is one of her favorite numbers. Oh, and also sprinkles. The more, the better. So Eliot spends the afternoon making her the rainbow sprinkle cake of her dreams, because of course he does. And despite the frustration of trying - and failing - to prevent her from getting right in the middle of everything and sticking her fingers into everything for a taste or three, it’s worth it to see her face when the cake is ready. This means Alec has to load the car, but he doesn’t seem to mind (or even complain much, which is honestly surprising). He does, however, make it clear he expects extra cake in compensation. And then stands around and grins at Parker while she eats more cake in one sitting than should be humanly possible.
Eliot mostly enjoys the car ride. Getting out of the city always helps him unwind a bit, even before he arrives at his destination. It’d be better if Hardison would quit fiddling with the music system and stop complaining about the diminishing cell phone and wifi signal, but it isn’t any worse than Eliot expected.
When they arrive at the remote and empty camp area, Eliot tells Alec to unload the car and goes to find some firewood. He’s enjoying the fresh air and physical exertion, so he lingers a bit. When he returns, arms full, he freezes in his tracks. He fully expected to find Hardison lying on the ground tangled up in the tent stakes or something equally ridiculous, given his track record with ropes, but THIS is a surprise.
Alec has somehow conjured up a monstrosity of a tent, flaps open wide to show hints of at least one full mattress inside - and who knows what other ridiculous unnecessaries.
As Eliot stands there staring, Alec emerges from behind the tent.
“Eliot! Isn’t she a beauty? I just got the satellite hooked up and–”
“What the HELL is that?”
Alec stares at him.
“It’s a tent.”
“Dammit, Hardison! Why couldn’t you get a normal tent? What IS all this?”
“Man, I’m a hacker. It’s what I do. You can’t expect me to go camping and not improve on the concept!”
A short argument (read: yelling match) ensues, which is brought to an end by Alec taking Eliot by the arm and leading him into the tent to show him the kitchen area. Eliot takes it all in. The fact that Alec brought a Keurig is just insulting, but it IS adequately equipped. Despite Eliot’s annoyance, it would be nice to have a better cooking set up, and at least the tent seems structurally sound. Being impaled by a tent pole while sleeping is not on his list of Acceptable Ways to Die. He is less happy when he sees the satellite tv and gaming laptop Hardison has brought and the argument revives.
Eventually, they get everything set up, each making compromises and neither happy with the final result. Eliot needs some space, so he heads outside to get a fire going. He’s still pissed. The whole point of this was to get away! Be in nature! And now there’s a giant-ass tent full of fucking memory foam mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets right over there. All he’d wanted was to spend some time out here where he can breathe deeply for once. And lord knows Alec could use some time away from the keyboard.
Deprived of his beloved technology, Alec follows him outside and parks himself by the fire, keeping up a constant stream of grumbling.
“Man, I don’t know what would’ve been so bad about having my tech. I could be watching the football game right now now, or playing World of Warcraft. I can’t BELIEVE you expect me to abandon my party for a whole weekend…”
This continues while Eliot starts the food prep. He tunes it out for a while, but once everything is set, Alec is still talking.
“…Instead I gotta sit here on a LOG of all things, getting bit by who knows WHAT, watching you cook with nothing else to DO!”
Eliot is fed up. He stands and turns towards Alec, intending something, though he’s not sure exactly what. To make him stop somehow. But there Alec is, right there, lit by the firelight. And if he’d just shut that mouth of his…
It’s not intentional. Eliot doesn’t make a conscious decision to do it. It’s like how his body moves during a fight, running on instinct and muscle memory. He reaches out and pulls Alec to his feet. And then he’s kissing Alec, roughly, annoyance coming through loud and clear. If kisses could talk, this one would be saying, “Will you just shut UP already?”
Alec is NOT prepared for this. He’s stunned into stillness for a moment, but then… Eliot’s really good at this kissing thing. And it’s not like he hasn’t thought about this over the past few years. Hell, who wouldn’t be attracted to Eliot? Alec seizes his opportunity, puts his hands in Eliot’s incredible hair, and starts kissing him back.
In the end, Alec admits the outdoors may have some merits.