I'm sorry this is so late. I got a bit stuck. I hope you all enjoy it
Eliot always had a plan. For every con that Nate ran, Eliot had a backup plan in case things went south. He had a plan on the off chance that one of his enemies came after him, a different plan per person. He had a plan in case the team gets arrested, again depending on who gets caught. This situation, wasn't any different.
Eliot didn't plan on the team going after Moreau, had fought against it when the topic was introduced. When it became apparent that there was no going back, he started planning. Unfortunately, all of Eliot's plans centered around the team. Now that he was alone again, he had to start from scratch.
First, was to find Moreau. That wasn't hard, Eliot knew exactly where the man would run to, an advantage to knowing the criminal as well as the Hitter did. Next was to decide exactly how to take care of the situation. This was far more difficult because Eliot needed to take care of it as smoothly and quickly as possible. Ultimately, the main goal was to finish this last job, close this link to his past, without effecting the team, and then go his own way. Eliot had no problems with that. He had spent a very long while thinking of exactly the best way to ruin Moreau. The problem was, avoiding Nate while he did it.
There was no way that Nate was going to simply accept that Eliot was done with the team. Before the team became a family, in the beginning when it was just one more job, then no one would have thought twice. Now, there had been too many chances to split apart, the bonds were too strong now for any of them to just walk away without a very good reason.
Eliot didn't really mind the thought that Nate would chase him again. The last time, Eliot had the advantage. Nate had no idea what Eliot had been doing in the small town in the middle of Iraq, or that the retrieval specialist hadn't actually been running. Sure, he was avoiding getting caught, but truthfully, he had been working several jobs at once. This time, Eliot wasn't sure who would have the advantage. Nate was smarter, there was no doubt about that, but there was no one that was more prepared than Eliot. The problem was that during all the cons and the time spent as a team, they had learned about each other. Nate knew Eliot better, and he had help. Eliot knew the team, knew how they operated.
That was why, he was sitting in a motel room, not three blocks from the team's office. He had his plan for Moreau, but first he had to wait. It was necessary, because Nate would never expect him to do it. Eliot was a man of action, and Nate would expect him to fly out immediately, take care of Moreau and then disappear. That was where they would be, at the airport, checking for anything that might lead them to him. Which was why, Eliot was leaving tomorrow, not flying but driving. He would finalize his plans, make several calls and then leave, while the team was looking the other way.
He had a plan so why was it so hard for him to start it. All he had to do was make one call and then Nate would have a lovely false trail to follow while Eliot did what he had to. He shook his head, glaring at the phone in his hand and made the call.
It would surprise Nate to no end if he knew that no part of Eliot's plan involved killing Damien Moreau. No, in the Hitter's mind, death would be far too kind for someone like him. What he wanted and would do, was to turn Moreau from predator to prey. For him to know exactly what it was like always looking over your shoulder, wondering exactly what would be waiting for him that day. It was something that Eliot was very good at, and one of the things that had drawn the notice of men like Moreau. But, they knew the old Eliot, not the new one. The new one was tempered with bits of his team, his family. He was quieter now, thanks to Parker, and better with technology thanks to Hardison's insistence. He knew better the buttons to push on people because Sophie was an excellent teacher and he had learned a lot about manipulating the situation to his advantage because there was no one better at it than Nate.
The Hitter stared at his phone briefly before sending a short message to Andrew and then snapping the device in half. He knew once the man received his message that Hardison would be on his computer, hacking away to trace the message, even while Nate dragged everyone to the airport to look for him. Truthfully, Eliot was rather proud of himself. He sent a message to Andrew telling him that his plane was leaving in an hour for New York and from there to Africa. Andrew wouldn't tell the team, but he would bet an arm that Nate would have Parker watching their guard like a hawk and it would be reported back. Then with all their attention focused East, Eliot would go west, straight for Moreau's hiding hole in San Lorenzo.
There wasn't a person in the world that would accuse Nathan Ford of being stupid. Even his enemies, would admit that Nate was a crafty man. So when he learned from Hardison that there was a man due at the airport that matched on of Eliot's older aliases, he was suspicious. Then he learned about the message from Andrew's phone. Nate was certain that it had to be a ruse, Eliot was far too careful to leave that many bread crumbs. But, then he remembered that Eliot didn't expect any of them to go looking for him. The Hitter believed that they wanted nothing more to do with him so, Nate reasoned, he must only be covering himself from his enemies, not the team. And Africa made sense, Moreau did have a large amount of money and power there, so it was reasonable to think that was where he was. But, there was a nagging feeling that something was off. This feeling rarely showed it'sself, even the the pan was falling out, Nate had a way to turn it around. This feeling was always the one that happened right before Eliot announced something big, something that Nate had missed but the Hitter hadn't.
So Nathan planned accordingly, sending Parker and Sophie to stake out the airport, while Hardison acquired use of all the security cameras, letting Nate see the whole picture. Still, something felt wrong, even Parker said so, in her blunt way.
"Nate, I'm at the gate."
"This is wrong." There was a slight banging sound. "I'm at the loading gate of the plane."
"Stay there, Parker, if Eliot gets on, you'll be the only one that can take the flight with him.
"I still don't understand why Hardison didn't get us all tickets."
The Hacker glanced at the older man, but was ignored. "Because, Sophie, Parker's right. Something's wrong, and I'm not sure what it is yet."
"Do you think Sparky pulled a fast one on us?"
"The man jus' said he doesn't know what's wrong, girl." Hardison grumbled, eyes fixed on the screen. "No sign of him, Nate."
The Mastermind wasn't really listening to anything anymore, his mind was whirling, trying to wrap around the complicated way that Eliot worked. The Hitter was careful, so careful that sometimes, Nate couldn't understand why. Then, he could be very reckless. The difference was, Eliot was never careful with himself. It clicked then, exactly what was wrong.
"Alright, Parker, Sophie, come back now."
"Why, we've only just arrived?"Sophie argued. "We should give him more time to show up."
"He's not going to. It's a decoy. He's trying to keep us away from Moreau. We'll have to find him if we want to get Eliot back."