Authors note: for those that are still following this story, this is for you. It was the hardest part for me to write. This is my like it or hate it chapter. Either way it goes, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
"What do you mean He's not in Buffalo anymore?" Eliot asked Chaos, clearly agitated. They were all packed and ready to go. Chaos had gone back to his hotel to retrieve a few things; then he comes back saying this to everyone in the room.
"I mean think about it." Chaos replied. "He's had more than enough time to go there, get what he wants, then take off!" He looked down at the floor, then back at everyone. "When I started tracking his patterns, I noticed he never stays in one spot for too long. He could be anywhere." The explanation left the team more frustrated than when they had started this search in the first place. They were back to square one.
"Can you track him down?" Nate asked as seriously as he could without showing concern.
"I'll give it a shot." Chaos said to him. He went to their main computer and began working whatever digital magic he could at their computer. Sophie was standing with parker in the kitchen. Her heart went out to her; not knowing where Hardison could be was putting an emotional strain on them all. Sophie could tell that Parker was in no mood to talk. So she stood with her as Parker stared off into space, piecing together her jumbled thoughts. It was a comfort for Parker to know that Sophie was by her side. Eliot walked towards the fridge and grabbed himself a beer. He opened it, took a swill, and then looked at the two ladies standing in the kitchen.
"We're gonna find him." he said to them both. "Then I'm kicking his ass." He took another drink and walked off. He was not being mean, he was being Eliot. They all knew how he felt about Hardison. The fact that they were making no progress was tearing him up inside. He walked over to the Chaos's side and observed him. He does not like him at all. It's true they are all thieves, and trust is something you don't necessarily give, but chaos only had dedication to himself; he'd screw over anyone to get ahead. That alone makes him worthy of Eliot's hate list. He was working with them for now, so Eliot just had to deal with it. Chaos suddenly jumped up from his seat after looking at his phone.
"What's wrong Chaos?" Nate said to him, eyebrow raised.
"I just got video email." He walked over to the hard drive and inserted a chord. "It's a video from Hardison." They all came into the main room now; each one had a different question.
"He sent you an e-mail? I thought he hated you." Sophie asked, a mixture of concern and sarcasm that she still couldn't get pass.
"Maybe he needs a true hacker to aid him." Chaos smirked as he said this to her.
"What's on it?" Parker asked him.
"We're about to find out." He said as he clicked on the icon on the large screen. After a few seconds the video started. There Hardison was all right. Sure his face was blank an expressionless; but the team shared a collective sigh of relief. He stared at the camera; it was as if he was peering into the room.
"Chaos." Another voice said from the background of the movie. It sent a chill coursing through his veins. It was a voice that everyone but him knew. And if that voice is speaking, then there is trouble.
"Vapor." Parker said, her voice low and menacing. Everyone else felt the same way; anger and fear. The camera panned back to show the dark room. Hardison sat in a chair, his hands and legs were completely bound to it. He did not struggle, or have a look of worry on his face; the team was a different case altogether.
"What the hell is going on?" Eliot shouted as he looked at the screen.
"Without you I could not have found my dear son." Vapor said as she appeared in front of the camera." So I must thank you. I would've given up." Sophie's eyes widened at the news.
"Is this true? "She asked him. Chaos looked genuinely confused.
"No!" Was the only thing he could say. He had no idea what was going on.
"She's talking again" Nate said, urging them to be quiet.
"I'm not going to waste a lot of time." She looked at the camera, staring everyone in their faces, tears welling up in her eyes. "The hit was put out on all of you, and he saw to it that all of it was put on him." Parker started breathing heavily, Eliot gripped the table his eyes going into a bloodlust. Nathan stared at the screen; a familiar feeling was washing over him. Sophie did not know what to do.
"I'm not letting those vultures get their hands on him. At least I love him." She said her voice shaking. She walked over to Hardison and placed a kiss on his forehead. They could only see her back as she stood in front of him. She walked away from him and looked at the camera; her coldness returning in a wave. She sighed as she showed her gun to the camera. She pointed it at Hardison, and fired three loud shots into his chest. He breathed heavily for a seconds, then slumped over. Blood was starting to collect on his torso.
"Argh!" Eliot screamed as he looked at the screen, Sophie became erratic, breathing heavily and shaking her head; Nate looked on in utter disbelief, completely taken aback by what he just witnessed. Parker stood there staring at the screen, no recognizable emotion emanating from her.
"I guess you finally got to best him didn't you?" Vapor said into the camera, tears streaming down her cheeks. The camera went blank. The screen turned off. Chaos stared at it, his mouth hanging open. Eliot lifted him with both arms, and threw him to the ground.
"Did you have anything to do with this!?" Eliot shouted, holing him by his neck.
"No!" Chaos replied. "She must've tracked me while I searched him."
"Somehow I don't believe you." He snarled
"Or she knew that we'd go to him." Nate said, stopping Eliot from punching Chaos. "Who else would know how he works on a computer?" Nate didn't take a drink, or pace around the room this time. He continued on.
"She killed Hardison. Her only son." He said, a touch of malice in his voice. "Chaos, keep an eye out for any major bank activity."
"Nate." Eliot started after releasing Chaos; who was gasping very heavily. "If we find anything, I'm not going for any kind of a con." He looked at the room, they could see the hate he held in his eyes at that moment. There was not going to be anything good coming out of this.
"I'm not planning any cons Eliot." Nate said to him; his eyes looking completely remorseless. "A member of our family has died today. That does not sit well with me, I've lost too many. I may have joked about plans where he dies, but for it to actually happen?"
"I'm going with you." Sophie spoke.
"You were never that close to him." Parker said in her usual blunt way." You're free to walk away from this one Sophie." Sophie looked as if she were just slapped by Parker.
"I can't believe you would say that to me." She replied. "I cared for him as much I do all of you. Besides you're going to need a lure."
"Chaos all I need you to do is to track the bank accounts. Any activityhappens, you let me know. After that you can go about your business." Nate told him. Chaos looked over at everyone. There was something creepy about all of them. They weren't on the job, but they all had their game faces on. They were not in the same mind as when they were outsmarting him. This was something entirely different.
"Nate." Eliot said lowly. "I'm not coming back without making sure that they all pay. Meaning, I don't plan on coming back alive. I can't protect you on this one."
"Never said that you needed to protect anyone." Nate looked at everyone there. "Anyone want out of this, now's the time to leave." No one took a single step. Everyone was ready for this job. Ready to suffer any consequences. Chaos spoke again.
"Only I get to kill Hardison. She took that away from me." He took a deep breath then exhaled. "I want to help you in any way I can." Everyone had different thoughts on their minds, but it all led back to one thing… pure revenge
If you want me to continue, let me know. This was a hard chapter to write. I wanted to make it acceptable. Tell me what you thought.