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Breanna heard the stories.

She’d heard about the time Eliot took out six guys while he had a broken rib. And the time he got knocked out by a freaking carnival ride and then got back up and kept fighting. And the time he was shot twice while helping Alec and Parker diffuse a bomb and then walked it off.

She’d heard them all. Multiple times.

Somehow, none of those stories adequately prepared her for just how much blood there would be. 

“That’s a lot of blood. I mean I know you were shot but that still feels like a lot of blood. Is that a lot of blood? What am I saying of course it’s a lot of blood, anyone can tell that’s a lot of blood-”

“Breanna.”

Breanna had been pacing the length of the room - one of the many safehouses the Leverage team had - but stopped short at Eliot’s voice. He was glaring at her - though glaring wasn’t quite the right word, because he was looking at her cautiously like she was the one to be worried about even though he’d been shot trying to keep her safe and-

“Breanna, breathe.”

Right. Breathing. Was a thing she should do.

She closed her eyes and forced herself to take a deep breath - in, hold, out, hold. Just like Nana taught her years ago for dealing with panic attacks. She repeated the process a few times before opening her eyes, and was disappointed to find it hadn’t all been a crazy intense nightmare, and she really was stuck in a safehouse in the middle of nowhere, out of contact with the rest of the crew, while Eliot was in the process of patching up his own gunshot wound.

It was her fault they were in this situation in the first place. She’d gotten so caught up in listening to Parker and Sophie con the mark that she hadn’t been paying enough attention to the security cameras. When the guards deviated from their normal routine, they caught her red handed in a place she clearly was not meant to be, and Eliot had to jump in to rescue her. And because they’d found Breanna hacking into their security system, the rest of the con was compromised. Breanna and Eliot had to retreat to a safehouse while Parker, Sophie, and Harry regrouped and came up with a new plan. Which also meant that the others were now trying to fix an already dicey con without a hitter for backup, and it was all Breanna’s fault.

Eliot let out a small hiss of pain as he peeled off his shirt, revealing the very large and very bloody gunshot wound in his side.

“Oh god…” she hadn’t meant to say that out loud, but there was a lot of blood and she was not equipped to deal with it. Eliot looked up at her briefly - probably to make sure she wasn’t about to pass out.

“It’s not that bad,” Eliot said calmly as he fumbled for the first aid kit spread out on the table in front of him - which was exceedingly well stocked. Did all of the safehouses have such extensive first aid kids? If Alec was in charge of setting them up then she wasn’t surprised, he was always an over planner - not that she was much better. But judging by what she saw in the kit in front of her, they had the materials to do pretty much anything but surgery if they wanted to. Keeping all of that stocked had to be expensive.

“Not that bad?” Breanna gaped at him. “Man, you’ve got a hole the size of a quarter in your side right now and you’re trying to tell me it’s not that bad?” Her voice was rising in pitch the longer she spoke, and she knew she was freaking out but she felt like at least one of them should be.

“I’ve had worse,” he said, taking out a bunch of disinfectant wipes.

“It’s not like you develop an immunity to gunshot wounds, dude!”

“Breanna,” he growled again.

“Yeah, I know, you’re fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine!” She sucked in another breath. “It’s just that, you know, you were shot and are bleeding a lot and- are you seriously stitching your own gunshot wound?” She asked incredulously. Eliot had pulled out a suture needle and thread and laid them on the table.

“You got a better idea?”

“I dunno, maybe a hospital?!”

“No hospitals,” Eliot growled, deep and guttural. “They ask too many questions.”

Breanna’s eyes widened. “Okay. Got it. No hospitals.” She chewed on her lip for a moment as she watched him struggle to thread the needle. “Do you- um, do you need me to stitch it?” She really, really didn’t want to, but if Eliot needed her to then she would. It was the least she could do.

“No,” Eliot said shortly.

“Ok, good. Cause imma be honest I don’t know how well that’d go for either of us,” she admitted with a nervous laugh. He grunted, which was Eliot-speak for ‘I agree’ and kept working.

Breanna wasn’t squeamish - not as bad as Alec, though that was a low bar - but something about seeing Eliot shot and covered in blood and knowing that it was her fault made everything a thousand times worse.

“Is there anything I can do?” She asked quietly. “I just- I wanna help. If I can.”

Eliot was silent for a moment as he considered her. “Can you hand me the things I ask for?”

“Ok. Yeah, I can do that.”

Eliot worked in silence, and Breanna did her best to give him what he asked for without freaking out too much. She watched in morbid fascination as he cleaned and then began stitching shut the wound. She winced in sympathy every time the needle pierced his skin, but he didn’t seem to care.

Breanna never quite realized how many scars Eliot had. It wasn’t like he walked around shirtless, and she’d never had the desire to look. But now he was sitting still in front of her and she couldn’t help but notice that he had a lot. Scars from knife wounds, gunshot wounds, burns, and a million other types that she didn’t even know how to classify.

Seeing them made her feel simultaneously better and worse. Better because he obviously wasn’t lying about having been through a lot, and she could see the clear evidence that he always survived. Worse because now she knew she was adding onto an already huge pile, and she knew that one day he wouldn’t be able to walk it off.

“It’s not your fault,’’ Eliot’s voice broke her out of her trance.

“What?”

He glanced up at her. “I know what you’re thinking. And it’s not your fault.” Breanna looked away and chewed on her lip, unable to explain that no, actually, this was literally her fault. “Kid, look at me.” He gave her a soft smile when she met his eyes. “This is my job, alright? It’s what I do.”

“Don’t you get tired of it?” It wasn’t the question she’d meant to ask, but it came out before she could stop herself.

“No,” he replied simply. “Because every injury I get, every hit I take, is one that you don’t have to.”

“You can’t do that forever,” her voice was barely above a whisper, not wanting to speak that fear into existence. One day he was going to get hurt, really hurt, and he wouldn’t be able to bounce back. She’d joked about Eliot being an old man before, but it hadn’t actually sunk in until now.

Eliot let out a heavy sigh. “No, I won’t. But I haven’t stopped yet, and it’ll be a long time before I do.”

Breanna bit back her retort about how he didn’t know that, and tried to take the comfort he was offering at face value. It was a weird feeling, having people care about her that much - knowing that Eliot and the rest of the team would raise hell if she was ever hurt in any way. And knowing that in turn, she would do everything she could to keep them safe.

They had each other’s backs. That’s what being part of a team meant.