"Where are we going?" Sophie asked as Hardison drove like a madman out of the docks district.
"Home." He responded bluntly. "No wrap up, no gloat, just back to Boston where we belong; where I ain't being shot at."
"Hardison, there's a dead body of an International business mongrel that's going to drum up an investigation. Especially since you had me pull Interpol into this."
"That was the point." Hardison explained.
"What's the damned emergency?" Eliot answered his voice more gravelly the normal.
"I told them it was a bad idea; please, don't kill me!" Hardison replied defensively.
"Damnit Hardison!" The hitter grated out. It didn't take much mental prowess to figure out that Sophie and Nate had gotten themselves into trouble. "Where are they?"
"Italy…. Rome. They went after Moretti at his corporate headquarters. The con had gone off without a hitch right up to the point where they broke into his secret vault and Nate got nabbed in the retreat."
"That's quite the hitch." Eliot commented. "Where's Sophie now?"
"She's at the hotel room freaking out." Hardison answered and explained the whole situation and preliminary plan to make a trade for the file.
"You do realize Moretti isn't going to let either of them walk away from this." Eliot reiterated Sophie's point.
"Which means we have approximately 36 hours to get there and rescue both of them." Hardison replied.
"How do you suggest we do that?" Eliot snapped back, still livid that this was going on behind his back.
"I don't know." Hardison went on the defensive. "I was hopeful you might have an idea. E, please? I'm sorry! I practically begged them not to do this, but the Italian put the gauntlet down on the time limit and Nate…"
"…didn't want to further risk my health." Eliot finished the sentence. There was an uncomfortable silence as the hacker waited for him to continue. "This is precisely why I keep my well-being to myself. Dammit!"
"Alright, if Moretti would be willing to make a trade then Sophie has to have something of value. Do we know what she has?"
Hardison smiled at the small victory. "They were able to snag the accounting records for the conglomerate; the complete records." He explained hoping Eliot would catch his drift.
"Once you had those in your possession, how long would it take you to trace the accounts back to Moreau?" Eliot questioned as a plan started to develop.
"It depends how cryptic Moretti keeps his notes, but an hour at most." The hacker responded confidently. Nate had him doing enough research on Moreau to know exactly what he was looking for.
"You said she made a clone of his personal cell?"
"Yeah." Hardison confirmed.
"Have Sophie make a call to Interpol assuming the identity of Moretti's personal assistant. Tell them that Moretti had a falling out with his financer and if he can be guaranteed immunity to criminal investigation he would be willing to supply Interpol with the documents necessary to implicate Moreau. Then schedule a meeting with Moretti at the shipping yard on Thursday."
"What shipping yard…?"
"That's for you to figure out." Eliot replied back, but in his experience there was always a shipping yard. "After you book three tickets into Rome. Until then I'm goin' back to sleep. Oh, and for the record, you get to tell Parker about this."
"E, what does end game look like, here? And will I be alive to see it?"
"If everything goes right Moreau will be convicted of murder in the Italian's back yard," the hitter answered the end game question. "…and only if I have to resort to plan M."
"And exactly which plan are we starting with?"
"Plan D." Sophie followed the explanation. "So in a few hours when Agent Petrelli shows up to obtain the records he will instead find Moretti's corpse?"
Hardison nodded and continued. "With the records in his jacket pocket. Interpol will launch an immediate investigation of all of Moreau's accounts and discover a sizeable payment to an agency specializing in contract killings."
Sophie chuckled, "and exactly when did that transfer take place?"
"Oh… about an hour ago." Hardison smiled. After the scan was complete he had used the time in the library to locate Moreau's account before making the wire transfer.
"So this went all according to plan?" She sounded impressed. Moretti was quite literally out of the picture, his business destroyed, and Moreau would soon be under investigation for murder.
"Besides the part where my computer went for a swim in the Mediterranean? Yeah. By the way, you and Nate are buying me a new one. That thing was not cheap!" He insisted; comforted only by the fact that he had an external hard drive with all his backed up data.
"I think we can handle that." Sophie assured him. "Thank you!"
"Don't mention it." The hacker shrugged.
Eliot attempted to keep pace with the other two but his lungs weren't quite up to the task of power walking back to the car. After noticing the hitter dragging behind Nate slowed down his own.
"Any word yet?" Nate posed.
Eliot shook his head. "Do you honestly think I would let them fend for themselves?"
Nate pondered the thought. "Who did you call for back-up?"
"Raquel. She was already in Croatia when I called and had the place scoped before I confirmed the location. She'll take care of the clean-up, and as much as I know you disapprove of homicide, there's no one to gloat to." Eliot explained.
"As soon as Hardison tells me where he plans on dropping the limo, we go pick them up and head to the airport, and then maybe I can make it to the appointment that I had to reschedule." He sounded accusatory.
"Eliot, I never intended for you to get roped into this." Nate attempted to placate him.
"I know you didn't, but my God, what were you thinking? What exactly was your plan to get out of there?"
Nate shrugged. "As far as hostage situations go, this wasn't bad. I mean, not exactly the VIP treatment, but he didn't resort to torture for information either."
"Only because Sophie was willing to organize a trade. He would have had you beaten to bloody pulp for information if he thought it would help him get those records back." Eliot warned.
"So..? What? Was that the plan? Let yourself become the sacrificial lamb in hopes that Sophie would take the records and run?"
"Wouldn't you do the same?" Nate turned it back on him. "I would have been perfectly fine if she had, but I knew she wouldn't."
Eliot got the meaning. Nate had never intended to get Eliot involved, but he was well aware of the fact that the team would get called as soon as he was caught. "He knew we were here."
"He did." Nate confirmed what the younger man knew to be true. Moretti had allowed the team to arrive in hopes of taking them all out during the rescue. Eliot stopped suddenly causing a glance of concern. "You okay?"
Eliot felt the vibration is his pocket, and paused momentarily to dig it out while nodding to Nate's inquiry. "Hey… yea', right here." He handed the phone over allowing Nate to talk to Sophie. Eliot could see Parker approaching the car in the distance and ached for the opportunity to take a nap in the back seat.
It wasn't that much longer before his wish was granted. Nate claimed the position of driver while Parker happily sat shot-gun with the knowledge that the team was safe and only an hour away from reunifying. Nate turned the radio on for the drive and she kept a watchful eye on the hitter as he wadded up his sweatshirt as a pillow and slept.
The flight back to Boston went by uneventfully. Eliot returned home sore, but not any worse for wear than when he left. He was hopeful that he could make it through his appointment without another round of multiple stabbings. He had just dropped some parsley into the rabbit's cage and was about to start the oven when his phone rang. He was tempted to let it go but picked up before the call went to voicemail.
"Eliot, it's Nate. There's an emergency briefing at the loft in fifteen."
"Seriously?" Eliot questioned. "No, it's done! You said it yourself, we are officially on vacation!"
"Unfortunately, I was a little premature with that. Moreau caught wind of the charges and slipped away before an arrest could be made."
"Escaped where?" Eliot inquired.
'Shit!' Eliot thought to himself, aware of the 'no extradition' policy.
The End…. ish
We all know what happened in the 'San Lorenzo Job' so I am not going to write that. I will however write an epilogue that tie up some loose ends following their return back home, and allowing for the team to take a longer break between San Lorenzo and The Long Way Home Job.
I know this has taken a long time to write, and appreciate those that have stuck along during the process and looked over all my spelling/grammatical mistakes as I've been eager to push the chapters out as soon as they are written.
Happy holidays to everyone! Heart you all!