Chapter 1

Eliot stared at the man sitting at the far end of the room at a small table with a bottle of whiskey in front of him. The words of Sophie rang in his head. "If he breaks again…I don't even think we could put him back together" She had said it then. That was more than three years ago, but it was true then and it was true now. Sophie was not there to advise him of what to do. She was not there to tell him how to help the man who sat drowning himself in the corner of the room, because she was the cause of all of it, Sophie was gone. Not dead, although she might as well have been. No, she was gone, she had left, leaving Nate and the rest of her family for the second time in the six years they had been together. She had walked away. She had left Nate, who had managed to rebuild himself, managed to drag himself out of the hole had had buried himself in, so much so that he had asked the woman to be his wife, and she had accepted. Damn her Eliot thought to himself, his brows knotting at the thought of the woman. He did not know why she had left he did not know where she had gone. But she had given Nate the ring back and told him she had made a mistake and that she could not marry him. She could not be with him. Then she had turned to the others and told them that she was leaving, she was going and she would never return. She had broken him, Eliot had never seen the look on Nate's face before, but imagined it was similar to the one he must have had when he had realised his son was lost to him. She had broken him and she knew that if he broke again, putting him back together was not going to be easy, if even possible. Not only had she broken him, she had shattered their family.

Eliot did not know what to do. Parker had run after she had left and Hardison had gone after her. He had not seen them for three days, although Hardison had let him know that Parker was safe and that they were at her warehouse. He had told him that he would do whatever it took to find Sophie and that they would get her back…he had said this in with a pleading in his voice, hoping for reassurance from Eliot that they would indeed get her back. Eliot could not give him that assurance. He did not know what was going on, why Sophie had suddenly left, why Nate had not gone after her, why any of this was happening. Nate had not drawn a sober breath for the last three days, since she had left. Eliot had spent the days watching the man, making sure he was taken care of, trying to get him to have something to eat, trying to make sure that he at least slept in his own bed, tried to keep him safe, physically if not emotionally. He felt he should be out there looking for Sophie and finding out exactly what the woman was doing. He had a bad feeling, a feeling that Sophie needed him, needed Nate, needed all of them. But he could not leave Nate, not in this condition. Hardison was trying to track her but had lost her shortly after the hotel they had traced her to. Sophie had more aliases that they would ever know about and finding her was not going to be an easy thing.

As for himself, Eliot was not sure how he felt. He was angry as hell, but at the same time he was afraid, afraid not only for Nate and the others, but for Sophie too. The woman would not have left if something serious was not going on. She loved Nate of that he had no doubt. He had known that from the first time they had met her in that dark alley outside the little theatre she was acting in. She loved all of them. She felt like their mother in a way, especially with regards Parker; and Eliot knew she would never leave them without have a damn good reason for it. Yes the first time she had left it had a lot to do with her relationship with Nate and all of them knew that. She wanted more than he was willing to give. Besides she had never really left, they had spoken to her daily; she was there for them when they needed her but that was not the case this time. Nate had got down on one knee and offered himself to her. He had taken that step that she had been waiting for and she had accepted him. They were supposed to live happily ever after…this was not supposed to be happening. Or was Nate right? The words he had uttered to her before she had slapped him and then walked out of all of their lives. Was this just a con, the last almost six years? She had conned them before, had she just used them to fill those years. No not possible. Sophie loved them, she loved Nate and something was wrong. The only problem was he had no idea what and his hands were tied. Parker was still hiding out in her warehouse with Hardison and Nate…well Nate was drowning himself with whiskey.

He was also angry with Nate. He had not reacted in the way he had thought he would, in the way he should have. He had thought Nate would go after Sophie. Get Hardison and all of them to work to find out what the hell was going on, where she was going, why she was leaving. Surly the man knew Sophie would not leave if something was not terribly wrong. Instead he had disappeared into a bottle, not speaking to anybody, not bothering to even try and phone her, not that he could have it he had tried, Hardison had traced her phone to a hotel room and when they had got there they had found all of her personal stuff, her phone, her watch and jewellery she had been wearing, everything that Hardison could have possibly had a bug in to track her with. That alone should have rung Nate's bells, but nothing, he did not even want to try to find her, he seemed not in the least interested in getting her back, and the only thing he seemed intent on was getting drunk and staying that way. Sophie had obviously planned this, whatever it was meticulously, but why? That was the question he was asking himself and the question he had thought Nate would be trying to find the answer to, but instead the man had just let her leave. He came out of his reverie as he saw the man himself stand unsteadily from his seat moving forward to help him if necessary.

"I'm fine Eliot." Nate said as he saw the Hitter approach.

"You're drunk." Eliot replied the disgust mingled with sorrow clear in his voice.

"Really…?" Nate said looking up at the Hitter. Eliot looked into the washed out blue eyes that were normally so clear and piercing. "I never noticed."


"You are not my father Eliot …Just back off alright." Nate said moving toward the front door of the brewpub. "I need some air…"

Eliot frowned watching as the man walked unsteadily towards the exit. He knew he had to go after him…he was in no condition to be wondering around in the streets in his condition, besides it was almost three in the morning, where the hell did he think he was going? Eliot watched as Nate made his way outside and waited for a few minutes before sighing deeply and following the Mastermind out. He grabbed the handle of the door and pulled it open walking out into the cold Portland night. Eliot stared down the street casting his eyes left and right. He had expected to see Nate staggering down the street, or leaning against the doorway or even lying prone on the ground. The man was very drunk so he should not have gotten far, not in the few minutes he had been outside.

"Nate…" He called out. Goddammit… "Nate…" He called again his stomach knotting as he quickly scanned the street again but not seeing the man anywhere. "Dammit Nate answer me." He almost shouted.

Eliot moved quickly forward keeping his eyes on the ground to see if there was any sign of where the Mastermind could have gotten to. He stopped and the knot in his stomach tightened as he stared down. Nate's mobile, his wallet and his watch were lying in the gutter. What the hell was going on? He bent down and picked up the items and then walked into the road. He had not heard a car and the road was completely deserted. He scanned the area looking for any sign of what could have happened. He found no sign of a struggle, no blood, no indication of what had happened to Nate at all. He pulled out his phone and dialled Hardison's number as he moved swiftly back into the brewpub heading to their offices at the back. Nate could not have run away, he was too drunk for that, he must have been taken, but by who and how and most importantly why?

Ok well that is the start of my new story. I hope you all enjoy. Carebare818 sorry it took so long to get another one out, but here it is…