The Double, Double Cross Job
"What are you doing here?" Dan asked as he slowly backed up toward another door before one of Stockwell's guards grabbed onto him. "How did you…?"
Sophie spoke up as she asked, "You don't honestly think that we would let you get away with what you've done to our friend, do you? How dare you hurt him after everything he said and did to defend you to us! None of us trusted you, but we helped you because of him. And you shot him for money. You're lower than the worst of the criminals we've taken down."
Stockwell stood from the chair and asked the intruders, "Excuse me, what do you mean about this kid not double crossing me? How do you know?"
"Because we're the ones who did the double crossing," Nate answered. "Actually, his brother was the one who thought of everything. You see, it was his job to try to find all the clubs' owners and to find out exactly how much money was stolen from them. When he did the research on the statue Parker had found in the safe, he discovered that it was owned by the last club owner and that it was worthless, at least price wise, but that inside it was a computer chip with some kind of data that, in the right or wrong hands, was worth a lot."
"The club owner bought the statue in a pawn shop because of sentimental reasons, not knowing anything about the computer chip," Sophie continued. "When Hardison learned all this, he thought that Dan's team had done all they had done in order to find the statue, but they had the statue the whole time and never attempted to sell it. They only kept in in their safe because they just didn't think to toss it. They just wanted the money they had stolen. It was after constantly hearing about Dan's odd behavior and our suspicions of him that Hardison couldn't shake the bad feelings he had and finally did a background check on your errand boy. He discovered something about you, Dan."
Eliot spoke up saying, "Hardison downloaded the information on your phone onto his own and learned enough information about you to prove that what we suspected all along was right. He found messages to and from Mr. Stockwell and found out that you were being paid by him a rather large amount for the statue. So, he sculpted his own, along with a heavily encrypted computer chip that contains the recipe of his Nana's famous chili, and switched them on you when you went to get it the night you shot him."
Sophie added, "He's very creative you see. You should see some of the amazing gadgets and props he's made to help us do what we do."
"I can see from your muscle here, that you all want to make Dan pay for the trouble he's caused you," Stockwell said as the guard shoved Dan toward Eliot. "By all means, take him. My men and I are leaving."
"I don't think so," Eliot replied as he threw Dan down hard on the ground and then charged the bodyguards.
As Eliot was busy fighting them, Nate went after Stockwell as he tried to run, while Sophie pulled a gun out from her purse and kept it trained on Dan. She ordered him to take a zip tie she had also pulled from her purse and tie himself to the bed post. He did as he was told.
The bodyguards were both much bigger than Eliot, but he used his rage that he felt toward Dan and was able to knock them out within a few minutes. He pulled two zip ties from his jacket pocket and tied the men to another bedpost on the opposite side of the bed. Nate walked back into the room, dragging Stockwell along with him. His hands were zip tied behind his back. Nate pushed him into the chair he was sitting in earlier near the computer.
"You and your men are going to prison for sanctioning the crime that led Dan here to shoot our friend, Stockwell," Nate said. "And Dan, you will be going away for the rest of your life, we'll make sure of it. Just in case you care at all, Alec is alive. He's been in a coma since you shot him, but he's still alive. Eliot, go ahead."
"Go ahead with what?" Dan asked, suddenly scared as he watched Eliot walking over to him.
Instead of getting a response, Eliot quickly cut the zip tie and suddenly punched Dan hard in the face, causing him to topple over and fall down to the floor. As he glared up at the man above him the teammates could see that his nose was bleeding heavily. Eliot reached down and pulled him back up as he stood behind him and wrapped his arms around him, strengthening his grip around his throat as if he were trying to strangle him. Dan struggled to get out of his grip, but grew weaker as he was slowly losing the ability to breathe.
Eliot shouted into Dan's ear, "This is something like what Hardison felt after you shot him in the chest, you son of a…! The bullet hit the upper part of his right lung. We were lucky that we got to him right away. He struggled to breathe and lost a heck of a lot of blood. I can imagine, as you can now that you know what dying feels like, that he was terrified. Believe me, if he doesn't pull through, I will finish this. I don't care if I end up in a prison cell beside you."
Eliot loosened his grip and threw Dan once again down to the ground. He breathed hard again as he put his own hands to his throat and rubbed it. Eliot, Nate, and Sophie just glared at the man, while Stockwell and his men looked on out of curiosity, wondering if they were going to attack them as well.
Once Dan finally was able to speak again, he shouted, "You could have killed me!"
Sophie nodded and replied, "Yes, he could have and believe me, he would like nothing more. We all do. However, Alec needs us to be there for him. We can't do that if we're behind bars. However, you will probably suffer enough when you are in prison. There are lots of monsters inside there, just like you."
"Lieutenant Bonanno of the police department in Boston will have each of you extradited from here, back to the states," Nate said. "That way, each of you will be close so that we can keep an eye on you quite easily. The French police will be here soon to escort you to their prison until ours can arrive. Goodbye, gentlemen."
Seven weeks later…
Hardison was resting comfortably in his own bed back in Boston. He had woken up from the coma five and a half weeks after the night he was shot. Tonight was the first night out of the hospital and he could still hardly move. Parker, Sophie, Nate, and even Eliot were there to help him no matter what he needed.
Hardison was grateful and when they were around he tried hard to act like himself, but they could see that he was struggling to deal with everything that had happened between him and the man he thought of a brother. He refused to speak to them about what happened and when he thought he was alone, they saw that he would do a lot of staring at nothing, as he was deep in thought.
"When will he go back to being the Hardison we know him as?" Parker asked no one in particular as the rest of the team sat at the bar below their apartments. "I mean, I get it, but I miss him."
"He needs time to work through everything, Parker," Sophie answered. "He will be all right in no time. Don't worry."
Eliot stood as the bartender walked over to them and handed him a small package and after he thanked the guy he said, "I'm going to go talk with him. See you guys later."
As he began to climb the stairs, Nate shouted, "Wait! What's in the package?"
"It's just a little something to cheer him up," Eliot responded.
Eliot knocked on the door to Hardison's apartment before he entered and as he did, he found Hardison was out of bed and going through several files on his computer. Eliot walked over to him and saw that he was searching the work he had created in order to track down each of the previous club owners.
When Eliot saw how much pain he felt as he sat up in the chair, he spoke up saying, "You don't have to worry about any of that, Man. We took care of everything while you were in the hospital. The right owners got their clubs back, as well as all of the money that was taken from them. The victims and their families are at peace now thanks to all this. You did a good job."
Hardison looked over at Eliot and replied, "Thanks. And thank you for bringing down Dan without killing him. I know he deserved it, but…"
"He was your brother," Eliot finished for him. "I get it, believe me."
"I can't believe that after everything we went through together, he still shot me," Hardison continued. "If only he stayed with me and Nana a little longer. Maybe then he would have been different. I may have grown to be a thief, but it was thanks to her that I care about the right things."
Eliot responded, "Things will get easier over time. You've got us to help you get through this. In the meantime, you've also got this. I had our bartender pick it up for me because he knew where to find it."
As Hardison opened the package, he found the gift was a first edition of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Hardison nodded in a silent thank you and smiled, when he suddenly began to laugh. Eliot began to laugh as well once he realized what had set him off.
"If you tell anyone about this little brotherly moment we just had, I will kill you," Eliot said jokingly.
"It's too late," Parker replied as she burst into the room and wrapped her arms around Hardison before helping in back over to the bed. "I was eavesdropping. I overheard everything."
Eliot scoffed as he responded, "That doesn't mean I can't kill you too."
Parker just ignored him and gently kissed Hardison on his cheek as she said, "I am glad your back, Alec. I missed you."
As Eliot saw Hardison and Parker looking at each other, he slowly back away toward the door and ran into both Nate and Sophie. Parker leaned in and began to kiss Hardison as Nate and Eliot walked out of the room. They continued to kiss for several minutes, as if they were the only ones in the room.
Sophie smiled as she softly said to herself, "It's about time! Things are finally as they should be."