Spoilers: series premise
Characters/Pairing(s): Nathan, Sophie, Parker, Eliot, Hardison
Warning: Descriptions of surgical procedure, blood.
Word Count: 1,148
Notes: This was written for the comment_fic for the prompt: Any, Any, Steampunk heart transplant.
Disclaimer: I don't own Leverage
Author’s Notes: This is a Steampunk AU set in London in a vaguely Victoria era.
Summary: After Eliot is hurt, there’s only one way for the team to save him.
Sophia clutched Nathan's hand hard, her warmth penetrating both their gloves. Her other hand held a fluttering fan to hide her gasp, but she did not shield her eyes from the scene on the operating theater floor. Nathan was tempted to pull the brim of his hat low to stop himself from watching, but a gentleman, such as he was, could not in all good conscience leave a friend to suffer alone.
Doctor Witherspoon was a good man, his reputation recently untarnished by Nathan's firm and its unusual services, and thus was someone they could trust to carry out this operation. He nodded at the woman who only called herself Parker, and she carefully applied the ether to the mask above Eliot's face. Her hands were as steady with the bottle as they were when plucking a stolen necklace from a greedy man's pocket, or opening the safe of a woman bent on unjust blackmail.
Eliot stiffened at the touch of the drugged vapors, fighting against unconsciousness as fiercely as he had against the sharp little weasel of a man who'd managed to slip a poisoned blade between his ribs. His skin was pale as his dying heart valiantly attempted to pump blood to fuel his struggles, painfully evident as he was stripped to the waist, laid indecently exposed so the doctor could save him. All too soon he was forced to surrender, and finally fell limp. At a nod from the doctor, Parker swung the bulky apparatus of brass and wood over Eliot's face, the thing that would keep him breathing when his heart was replaced.
Sophia gasped quietly behind her fan as the machine churned and chugged, the noise still not enough to distract her or Nathan from the flashing blade in the doctor’s hands. Parker stepped forward to spray Eliot’s chest with the dilute carbolic acid atomizer, to cleanse it, and then the blade came down. The machine crowding the room behind Eliot wheezed almost in sympathy as skin, muscle, and bone parted company. Glass tubes and India rubber seals kept the blood sucked away, pouring into an elegant jar on the table next to Hardison’s creation. He was waiting nervously, circulating the spilled blood through the precious device he’d prepared for Eliot.
The doctor worked swiftly, cutting down and down again. Parker had to adjust the machine, her deft fingers turning it up slowly to help maintain Eliot’s life as the very seat of his powerful body was finally carved out and taken away. The last few feeble flutters of his poisoned heart were valiant, almost defiant, as Parker put it next to the replacement Hardison had crafted. Taking a deep breath, Hardison unhooked the running blood from the miraculous pump he’d made. Created from the finest gears and tubes in the highest-grade metal he could find, tiny, hair-thin wires trailed from it to be attached to Eliot’s own nerves. That, along with the magnetic battery Hardison had invented, would keep Eliot going strong for the rest of his life. Smooth leather, dyed red and treated with powerful preservatives, would protect Eliot’s body from the steady working of the clockwork heart.
The doctor took the heart from Hardison with a proper sense of reverence, and swiftly put it into place. He connected arteries and veins with their encased mesh collars, twisted the delicate wires into harmony with their associated nerves, and finally nodded at Hardison. Nathan and Sophia held their breath as Hardison set the magnetic battery into motion with a bare flick of a tiny tool. There was a pause, and then the heart began to thump in place. A glance at Parker, and she turned the breathing machine down, the heart keeping up easily. The doctor’s eyes crinkled at the corners in a smile that was hidden behind his enormous moustache. With deft stitches, he sewed up Eliot’s muscles and skin again, making him whole.
With a word to Parker, she turned the breathing machine off entirely and pulled it away from Eliot. His breath came easily, his skin turning a healthy pink again, even around the new scar on his chest. The doctor visible relaxed even as he had Parker spritz Eliot all over with the disinfecting carbolic. Nathan and Sophia ran down to the floor of the theater with blithe disregard for the mess of tubes, wires, and machinery, needing to see that Eliot was all right. Parker and Hardison crowded around the operating table, looking as much shocked as pleased at Eliot’s much-improved appearance.
“Thank you, doctor,” Nathan said at length, remembering to extend his hand in thanks.
“It was the very least I could do for you. You saved my practice, and made it possible for me to save more lives. It was what I was born to do.” Doctor Witherspoon shook Nathan’s hand, and Sophia’s, before he put his cleaned tools back into his bag. “As clearly this is what you were all born to do.” With a solemn little bow to the others, he left them to their privacy.
“We’ll need to get out of the city for a little while…” Sophia said delicately, one hand on Eliot’s arm to simply reassure herself that he was there.
“There’s a zeppelin coming in an hour to the Trafalgar Skydock,” Hardison said, holding up a schedule. “We’ll be in Paris by nightfall.”
“Make sure Parker doesn’t steal Paris,” a weak voice said from below them. “We can’t keep it in the flat.”
“Eliot!” His name was said in ragged chorus as Eliot opened his eyes, oddly clear for a man who’d had his chest opened up and a major organ replaced less than an hour before.
“How do you feel?” Hardison asked anxiously. He was always supremely confidence in his inventions, but now, above all times, he could not have anything fail.
Eliot breathed deep and tried to sit up. Nathan and Hardison tried to hold him down, but he ignored them as if their arms were made of paper. He swung his legs over the side of the table and sat up straight. And smiled.
“Like I could outrun a steam train,” he said.
Hardison breathed a huge sigh of relief as Parker handed Eliot his shirt and jacket. He shrugged them on, and then held out his hand again without looking. Pouting a little, Parker added Eliot’s watch and chain.
“The knifeman who hurt you had a most unfortunate accident. It seems as if all his debtors were alerted to his address at the same time. The police were quite happy to add him to debtor’s prison,” Sophia said, her elegant gestures at odds with the satisfied smile she did not bother to cover with her fan.
Eliot twitched his cuffs straight and stood up, looking every inch the dangerous man he’d always been. “Good.”
And at that simple word, Nathan’s team was back together again, heart-whole.