No One Knows What It's Like
To Feel These Feelings
Like I Do
And I Blame You
Roughly about Noon
"So Hardison, you got all that right?" Nate asked the hacker as he moved to sit down with the team after having spoken with the detective.
Nate had asked the team members to allow him to talk to Detective Bonanno alone, but he'd allowed Hardison to record the conversation while they all listened in via their earbuds. He knew they'd heard everything he'd said to the man, but he knew they wouldn't bring up everything he'd said; not right now.
"Yep. I got every word. What do we do now, Nate?" Hardison asked as he fumbled with his laptop. "I've already hacked into the detective's case notes in the police database as well as flagged all of Eliot's known aliases and his credit cards, but I don't have much of anything. Everything the detective told you is pretty much all he has in his notes and I doubt that I'm gonna get any hits on El's credit cards. I've tried to track his earbud, but it's offline so he probably wasn't even wearing it." Hardison paused as he ran his fingers deftly across his keyboard. "Eliot didn't leave man, he was taken and we don't even know if he had his wallet on him when he was. There's nothing in Bonanno's notes about anything missing from El's house. Besides if he was hurt when he was taken, he could already be-"
"Don't you say it Hardison!" Parker spoke quickly interrupting the hacker. "Do not say that Eliot's dead, 'cause he's NOT dead! Everything that I'm hearing is telling me he isn't. He wouldn't do that to me; to us. Eliot would never leave us!"
All eyes turned to look at the young woman as she sat between Hardison and Sophie. Nate knew that out of all the team members, Parker would take losing Eliot the hardest. Eliot was her idol; her big brother of sorts. He could do no wrong in her eyes, no matter what he said to the contrary.
Parker hadn't had much stability in her young life, and being a part of this team was all she really had. And to take away her brother, well Nate knew it would hurt the girl just as much as losing her first brother had.
Sophie reached out and pulled the thief closer to her in a motherly hug. "He wasn't going to say that. He just meant that since Eliot was hurt, he would be unable to use his credit cards." Sophie soothed the woman as she gently held her close. "That's what you meant, isn't it Hardison?" Sophie turned pleading eyes to the hacker.
"Yeah, Parker. That's what I meant." The young man stated softly reaching out and taking one of Parker's hands in his own.
He was worried about how Parker was dealing with this. He knew she'd have the hardest time losing anyone on the team, but Eliot was the one person she depended on the most. Eliot's absence here was a constant reminder of the unknown and Parker did not like 'the unknown'.
When Hardison had first realized just how much Parker idolized Eliot, he had to admit he had been jealous. Eliot always got the girl, why did he have to take the one Hardison was interested in? But he quickly realized that it had nothing to do with romance and had everything to do with trust. Something that Parker very rarely gave anyone. The girl just needed someone in her life that she could totally trust in; someone who didn't want to take advantage of her.
She needed someone who was willing to protect her, care for her without wanting anything in return. She'd been hurt by so many people in her past, but not by Eliot. He brought balance back to her life and she'd blossomed since joing their team. She was still a bit socially awkward, but Hardison could see subtle changes in her everyday and in part that was due to how Eliot had accepted all of them and how well he protected them; protected her. He would go to the ends of the earth for any one of them, and Hardison knew he'd walk through the worst things imaginable if it meant Eliot would be protecting Parker. He'd learned that the man was just doing his job; not because he had to, but because he wanted to. And he knew Eliot placed Parker in the special category because, hell who wouldn't? The girl worked her way under you skin and before you knew it, she had a firm grip on your heart.
Hardison wanted to protect her too, but he knew that Eliot could do that better than any of them and he knew now that he was okay with that. Eliot was not only important to Parker. He was important to Hardison too. Hardison hadn't had a real big brother and he felt like Eliot was his brother. His real brother; and Eliot was the best there was. While Eliot teased him unmercilessly, he knew Eliot would throw himself in front of the bus for him just as easily as he would for Parker.
"Hardison's right though Parker." Nate said as he watched the young thief. "If Eliot is hurt, he isn't going to be able to just get up and walk away. Whoever has him may be giving him medical treatment and they may not, but the one thing we can be sure of if Eliot is being held by someone from his past. And that's that there is no way he will expose himself even to us. That would be his way of protecting us." He finished, reaching for his glass he'd brought to the table with him.
"Yes. Eliot wouldn't want anyone coming after us, so he'll stay put or he'll disappear entirely. He will not lead anyone to us. So we need to find him and we need to find him soon." Sophie added, allowing Hardison to pull Parker into a hug.
"Yeah, but that's the problem. If we don't know where he is then we can't get hurt by the people that have him. But if we don't know where he is then we don't know how to help him either. And we need to help him, Nate." Hardison added, holding Parker close as he looked at the man across from him.
"Yeah, we need to find him. And then we need to protect him for a change." Nate sighed deeply as he realized his glass was empty. He raised it for the waitress to come get him a refill. "And I think I can find us some outside help in finding Eliot. Someone that might just know who has Eliot and why. Someone who can help us bring him home."
Sophie turned troubled eyes to Nate. "What do you mean?"
Nate smiled softly as he stated, "Eliot's sister isn't the only contact informaton he trusted me with." He watched them awkwardly. "I have another one that Eliot told me to only use if something… something bad ever happened to him."
"Well, Geez Nate, I think this qualifies." Hardison said looking at the mastermind. "Call them already for crying out loud!"
Somewhere in Eliot Spencer's past
Eliot Spencer sat, watching; just watching. His ass hurt from all this sitting, but he wasn't moving until he'd learned everything there was to learn during this re-con mission. He needed as much intelligence as he could get if he and his team were to succeed in rescuing the American soldiers and some locals being held in secret below him in the supposedly abandoned building here in Croatia.
Eliot remembered when he'd first enlisted in the US Army and he'd spent his basic training fighting everything the Army threw at him to try and make him a better soldier. He'd thought when he'd first enlisted that he was going to have an adventure, especially after leaving behind the life he'd once had in Oklahoma. He'd thought the Army would let him shed that closed up feeling he'd gotten living in a small town.
But in reality he'd found that he'd just traded one claustrophobic life for another. Only this life allowed him to move from country to country while he was held in owndership by Uncle Sam. That was until he'd been approached about a year into his service. That was when his old CO had brought him to a meeting with then Field Officer Major Vance who was now Lt. Colonel Vance, his commanding officer.
They'd been looking for 'a few good men' he thought with a chuckle as the Marine Corp slogan came foremost to his mind. They had been recruiting men to serve in the Special Operations Command. Black Ops. Delta. Whatever name they gave it for the benefit of explanation to the civilians of the world, but the meaning was still clear. They needed soldiers to do what the government couldn't publicly sanction. They needed soldiers to do the dirty stuff.
Whatever you called it, Eliot was now a secret soldier in a secret group doing secret things to save secret people from secret threats; and if that all boiled down to doing the 'dirty' stuff then he was okay with that. He was good at what he did, damn good; and he was not being conceited in any way. He was good because the government had trained him well and because all of this came kind of naturally for him. He'd spent most of his life trying to hide from the life he'd had growing up. It wasn't a bad life, it just felt like he was destined for something else and then when his mom had died, he'd really had a lot thrown at him and he'd just needed to survive. And he had survived even if it had cost him most of his family. Besides if he didn't do this job, someone else would have been sitting here letting their ass get numb in his place.
Yeah he thought, he was good at this. He was barely 19 years old and here he was second in command of this mission and on his way to leading his own unit soon. He would be commanding his own team on his next mission and as soon as he helped liberate these hostages and get Croatia on it's way to independence, he could start that next assignment.
When they'd recruited him, Eliot had just turned 18, having lied about his age when he'd enlisted just so he could get out of that town he was suffocating in. He'd been 17 and just graduating from high school so he'd lied to the recruiter and now here he was. Not old enough to legally drink in most states, but able to lead a covort op to save at least 30 people, maybe more.
Eliot had went through hell just to survive the selection process, which to him only meant they needed to recruit the men that were too strong or too stupid to die during the process. He'd endured enless sit-ups, push-ups, too long mile runs with no rest and no water and the worst shit he'd been faced with had been the mental screenings. Eliot had his secrets and he didn't need the Army working it's way inside his head over his private thoughts. He'd learned then just how to compartmentalize everything and stow it down deep inside himself. He'd learned a lot about how to push everything and everyone aside to protect himself. And he'd succeeded.
But Eliot couldn't help thinking of his sister Emma from time to time and of Aimee. He'd left both women without any news on where he was when he'd gone home to visit before he'd been successfully recruited. He'd left Aimee the night before he had to report for basic with a promise ring and well, just a promise. A promise to come back to her as soon as he could, but he'd failed to keep that promise and when he had gone back to visit, he'd found out from Emma that Aimee hadn't waited for him. She'd moved with her family to Kentucky and was getting married soon.
He'd been hurt at first, but he soon realized it was his own fault and he couldn't blame her if she found someone else. He knew in his heart he didn't belong in this small town anymore and he couldn 't be the husband she deserved. He couldn't give anything to her when he had nothing to give. So he'd left home telling Emma he'd keep in touch, but she knew too that she wouldn't be seeing him anytime soon. He hadn't even seen his father, who had actually refused to see him anyway. Everyone but Emma had turned their backs on him and he probably deserved it. The last thing he saw from his truck's rearview mirror as he drove away was his sister standing alone in the street just watching him drive away.
Eliot shook off the memories as he came back to his mission now. He was needed right now and he couldn't let anything stop him from what he had to do. He brought the night vision binoculars back up to his eyes and took note of the SUV that was driving up. Eliot could feel the dynamics of this mission changing as he watched. The big shot, the head honcho was on the scene and that didn't mean anything good for the hostages below. That meant the team had to act now, not later.
As Eliot reached for his ear com to relate the necessary information to his superiors, he took note of the fact that the rest of his men were already noting the new events taking place below too and they were moving themselves into position to react before they were given their next orders. That's what Eliot liked, a fine-tuned team that read each other without needing to ask questions. He liked being a part of a team; his team.
Then the sound of gunshots from below threw all thoughts to the wind as the team reacted…
AN: So sorry for how short this chapter was, but I've been sick and trying to get back to my writing. I promise the next chapter will explain a lot more and will mostly be Eliot-centric. I can't promise all will be explained, but I'm getting there! Hang in there with me! I promise to have the next chapter up something this weekend!