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Fic: Learning to be Brave [Eli Stone]

Title: Learning to be Brave
Fandom: Eli Stone
Characters: Eli/Maggie
Spoilers: Up to and including episode 1.11 (Patience)
Summary: Life is about choices. And second chances.
Note: Eep, first time Eli Stoning for me. But I couldn't let the future vision pass without trying my hand at a little fic.

Eli looked out at the cheering crowd, an overwhelming sea of blurred faces. He focused on those he could make out – his friends, family and co-workers who all stood in front. Nate and Beth were there with his nephews, next to Keith, Chen, Taylor and Jordan - the latter who, even though retired, still wore a three piece Armani suit under his coat. Eli could discern Patti's cheers even at this distance, and for once she wholeheartedly approved of what he was doing. He squinted into the light and saw that even The Dowd had showed up, though he would probably say later he was just passing and stopped to see what all the noise was about.

Anxiousness was getting the better of him, but then Eli's eyes came to rest on Maggie. At her assured look his nerves grew calm. He focused on her smile, grateful she was there... realizing that she almost hadn't been because, unlike the slogan that surrounded him now, he had been anything but brave.

* * *

It was her wedding day. She wasn't supposed to be at the office. But here she was, standing in the law library that was no longer his office, but where he usually found himself holed up when he had a problem. Or was hiding. Truthfully, it was the latter today.

Her hair was in curlers under a flowery scarf, her perfect if overdone makeup incongruous with her casual jeans and t-shirt.

"What do you want me to say?" he asked helplessly, trying not to look at her pleading gaze.

"You can ask me to call it off, Eli!" she snapped back.

He sighed heavily, defeated. "I can't do that, Maggie."

"Yes, you can. You're the only one who can." Her voice fell as realization dawned suddenly and painfully. She swallowed hard. "But you won't, will you?"

His eyes flickered up to meet hers, then he looked down again.

Maggie didn't move or speak for several seconds, then she straightened her shoulders.

"Goodbye, Eli," she said quietly.

* * *

After Maggie left the firm it was like he was the only one who felt her absence. For the rest of the junior associates, jostling for court time in the hopes of being noticed, it meant one less lawyer to compete with. Most of the partners hadn't even bothered to learn her name.

It didn't seem right that everything should go on as normal. But it did. Even Eli, after a time, found he had stopped thinking about her throughout the day. He stopped missing the lilt of her voice when she pondered something out loud, or the way her smile lit up her eyes. He certainly didn't miss her more annoying habits, even after they became so familiar that they stopped being annoying and just became her.

It was better that she was gone, he decided. Better that she didn't have to go through the ridiculous stage of celebrity he endured long after the earthquake vision that brought him national, if not global, attention. It was years before they stopped calling – people who begged for his help to find a missing loved one, or to predict further catastrophic events, or to give them any tidbit of information that would be advantageous to them. Eli retired from the future-telling business and stuck to what he knew – the law. And even though it sometimes pained him to do so, Jordan Wethersby gave him the freedom he needed to continue his work.

He was humming "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" to himself, inexplicably, when Patti came into his office and told him his 11 o'clock had arrived. She placed a file in front of him but he didn't have a chance to open it before Maggie pushed open the glass door and was standing before him. He would have blamed the aneurysm but he had not had a single vision of her since she left.

"Maggie Dekker," said Patti unnecessarily, when neither of them spoke.

"I see that," Eli murmured, throwing her an annoyed glance. "You couldn't have mentioned she was coming?"

"Now where's the fun in that?" Patti swept out, giving Maggie a wink as she passed.

"Hi, Eli," she said with a warm smile.

He swallowed, rising to his feet and coming out from behind his desk. They hesitated slightly before hugging. Eli held on a moment too long and had to force himself to let go.

"How are you?" he stammered. "You look good."

"I am good. Fine. Well. Healthy, happy... busy," she replied, grasping for innocuous descriptors. "You?"

"Still here," he said with a shrug, then smiled. He motioned her to a chair. "What have you been up to? I mean, in Ohio."

"I've been working in a small firm in Columbus. Family law mostly. Some litigation," she said. "What about you? Still saving the world one case at a time?"

"I do what I can," he said dismissively. "Although, I'm a bit more of a behind the scenes kinda guy now."

Maggie frowned and he didn't miss the flash of disappointment in her eyes. "I guess things change, don't they?"

He bristled slightly. "Six years is a long time."

She looked down at that.

"How's Scott?" he asked, trying to make peace but there was still a trace of accusation in his voice.

"He's fine. Still in Columbus."

"But you're here. Why?"

"I've been here for a month. I took a job at Smithson Grant."

Eli blinked. "Wow. Good firm. I didn't know... I hadn't heard you were back."

"I'm not surprised," she said with a small smile. "I've been drowning in depositions for their class action suit against a little pharmaceutical conglomerate you may have heard of. I'm one of 25 associates they've got on the prelims."

He wasn't about to be sidetracked. "You're here, but Scott is still in Ohio?"

Maggie raised her eyes to his and held his gaze. "We got divorced last year."

"I'm sorry," he said automatically. It didn't occur to him not to lie.

She smiled again. "Sometimes things don't turn out the way you expect them to, Eli. Did you ever..." She glanced down at his left hand which was unadorned.

"Me? Get married? No." He felt a warm sensation spread throughout his body when her smile widened momentarily at his words. "I haven't met anyone who could put up with me and... you know..."

He flippantly gestured to his head but her hand followed and she laid her palm gently on his temple. Her face flooded with understanding and concern, and Eli's eyes suddenly pricked with tears. His breathing slowed as he turned his face into her hand further, his lips parting as he felt the warmth of her touch. Maggie rose to her feet, and he followed.

His arms slipped around her shoulders and they hugged. He held on tighter this time.

"I'm alright, Maggie," he whispered. He felt the nod of her head, but he wasn't ready to let go yet.

Eventually, reluctantly, she pulled away. Wiping quickly at her eyes, she beamed at him.

"I won't take up any more of your time. I just wanted to stop by to see how you were and to say... hello."

"I'm glad you did," he said, still holding onto her hand.

"I'll see you 'round, Eli," she said.

She tugged her handbag strap onto her shoulder and made for the door.

"W-Wait," he said.

She turned and looked at him expectantly, even though he had no idea what he was going to say.

"Maybe... Maybe if you're not busy sometime I could run a case by you. Or if you need a hand with a depo..."

Maggie smiled. "Patti's got my number."

"I'll call," he replied quickly.

"It's about time, Eli," she said, then she was gone.

When he sat back down at his desk and opened the file Patti had brought him, all he found inside was Maggie's business card. He turned it over and saw she had handwritten her home number. The smiley face drawn next to it made him grin.

* * *

The cheering from the crowd was deafening. It didn't seem right that it was for him, when he'd only been a part of what they'd all achieved. David announced his name, prompting him to go up on stage, but before he did, Eli turned to his wife.

"I love you," he murmured before kissing her cheek.

They both looked down at Annie, and Eli kissed his daughter too. Then he mounted the stage to undertake what they'd been all working so hard for... what he had been put on the earth for, Eli suspected. After acknowledging the crowd he took his place behind the lectern. Maggie grinned as she waved Annie's small fist to him.

Then Eli Stone held up his hands for quiet and opened his mouth to speak.

* * *

X-posted to eli_maggie


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Petition to Save ELi Stone
Good writing :)
I liked it
Just a petition to show how much we enjoyed the first season of Eli Stone and would like to see more episodes. If you area fan of Eli Stone, please sign it today.

Every signature counts.

Thank you :)

Jun. 7th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
This is lovely.
Mar. 22nd, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
I should make a livejournal account but I'm feeling lazy...

I totally forgot about the whole future Live Brave scene, and it kind of seems like the writers this season have too. Too bad we won't really get to see what that turns out to be like and how it all gets to that point. But even if there was a real version, I like this version.

-Poisoned Princess-
Mar. 22nd, 2009 06:54 am (UTC)
Thanks, PP. It always irked me that the baby vision was never acknowledged on the show - Eli has never once referenced it so far as I can remember. You'd think something as memorable as SEEING YOUR CHILD would make an impression, but apparently not...

Mar. 23rd, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, like for the first half of season two he was pretty much constantly whining about being alone, but there was that vision and it wasn't set that far into the future. It was like he totally forgot about it. Or maybe he was trying to forget about it on purpose... that's the dumb thing about it. He went around looking for a relationship because he was lonely, when obviously there's something between him and Maggie. Hopefully, that whole business gets cleared up before the show ends.

But even if it doesn't, there is always fanfiction.

-Poisoned Princess
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )