But My Dreams
They Aren't As Empty
As My Conscience Seems To Be
Katherine Malone looked down at the man and realized there was something wrong here. She'd been feeling it ever since she'd taken this assignment… Quickly scanning the room she turned back to Eliot. "What do you want me to do?"
Eliot looked up at the woman still sitting next to him on the bed. How could he ask her to help him escape? He didn't want to drag her into this, but he could see no other way. At least not in his current condition and not knowing exactly where or even when he was. He hated relying on someone to help him, but he saw no other way at the moment. "Just help me to get out of here," he sighed as he quietly added, "Please?"
"I'm not sure how I can do that exactly." Katharine thought about it. How could she get him out of here? He was in a well guarded room in a well guarded home and while she was staying on the premises to monitor his care, she had no idea exactly how detailed the layout of this large home was. She'd only been in the front door and straight up the stairs to this west wing of the home to monitor this man's care and was told to only use the back stairs to go to the kitchen for her meals. The doctor wasn't even on the premises right now. He was due back soon though. "Look, tell me what's going on here first. I need to…I need to know that what I'm about to do is the right thing to do." Even if she felt this whole thing was off, she didn't want to be trading one bad decision for another. "I just need to know that I'm not making a mistake by helping you."
Eliot looked deep into her green eyes. He held contact as he reached out his right forefinger as far as he could to touch her on her thigh. "You know what's happening here isn't right, I can see it in your eyes. You know this is all wrong." He watched her as he spoke. "Just…just look at me and I mean really look at me and then tell me if I'm the ba…the problem or the victim." He didn't want to say 'bad guy', cause Eliot knew that for most of his life he'd always been the bad guy. And he knew in his heart he would always be the bad guy. "Just tell me that seeing me lying here shot, restrained for whatever reason they gave you, and being pretty close to being dependent on another human being is what I deserve. Just…just look at me and tell me if I deserve to be treated like this." He finished softly never breaking his eye contact with her as he gently moved his hands as far as he could in the restraints to make his point. He hated feeling this vulnerable, but he could see no way around it...for now.
Eliot knew he was putting all of his trust on the line with this woman, but he didn't have anyone else he could depend on right now. And if she could help him out, he'd make sure she was safe. He'd do his damnedest to make sure she didn't get hurt from any of this. He just needed her to help him get free and then he could get in contact with his team and Nate would make sure she was set up under a false identity and moved somewhere safe. He just needed to get out of here as soon as possible. He knew he'd already been here too long. His team had no idea where he was or how to find him, because they had no idea who was behind this; but Eliot knew. He was piecing it together and didn't like the answer he was getting.
Katharine looked into his eyes. His incredibly blue eyes and she knew that whatever was going on here, it was wrong. He was right, he didn't deserve to be shackled to a bed especially after having major surgery for two bullet wounds. He'd been shot, and just that alone was suspicious. He should be in a hospital, not in Evan Chapman's home. Whoever Evan Chapman was, she knew he wasn't being honest with his explanations of why this man was being restrained.
"What's your name. I mean the chart says it's Eliot Chapman, but I just want to be sure…" She didn't want to sound like she was invading his privacy, but she needed to know what to call him. And she really wanted to know if he would be honest with her. She knew if he'd lie just by watching those deep eyes of his.
"Spencer. My name is Eliot Spencer." He answered her.
Okay she thought, she'd made her decision. She didn't have any real family, save an elderly aunt in Kansas, so she had nothing holding her to this job, even if she did like the hospital here. She knew somehow that if she helped this man, she'd be leaving this place. She'd left other places to come here, so leaving wasn't that big of a deal. She'd been doing it for a long time now and she knew she could start over somewhere else. She didn't mind leaving everything behind. She'd move on and start a new chapter. Besides she was pretty sure if her daughter were here, she'd agree. Take a chance mom, it's the right thing to do here. I promise. Katharine could actually feel her daughter's words as she heard them softly whispered in her ear. She smiled to herself.
"Okay Eliot Spencer," She agreed. "I'll help you, but you'd better not make me regret it." She shook her left finger at him like a mother to a naughty child and was actually pleased when he smiled at her.
"Wouldn't dream of it darlin'." He replied as he touched his right forefinger again to her thigh. Damn he thought, she was really beautiful. "I wouldn't dream of it." He gave her his most sincere smile and he actually allowed it to reach his eyes as he did.
And that did it for her. Those blue eyes and that smile. He had her from that moment on and she knew she was in trouble. And not from the consequences of helping him, but from him. The man. He'd reached out and grabbed her heart and now she knew that whatever happened here, she was not going to ever regret this decision. Come what may, she was going to save this man. She was going to save Eliot.
Roughly about 2:00 PM
Nate sat at the desk in the office space of his loft. He'd just placed a call to Eliot's sister Emma to ask her how she was and to descreetly see if he could find out exactly what Detective Bonanno had asked her about Eliot. He knew that Emma knew exactly what Eliot did now in his work with Nate and the team, he'd told Nate as much when he'd given him her cell number just in case. But he also said that he didn't ever go into any details with her. She knew what his life was like, and she'd accepted that a long time ago.
Nate had never talked to the woman before, but considering he'd been the one to give her number to the detective, he wanted to at least make sure she was doing okay and not worrying about Eliot.
Emma had been kind and told him everything the detective had told her and everything he'd asked of her. Nate smiled as he realized just from their conversation , that the woman was exactly like Eliot Spencer. She was direct and to the point and didn't mince words where Eliot was concerned. She knew something was up, but she'd learned a long time ago not to ask questions, however Nate could sense she was dying to ask.
He assured her that Eliot was fine and that he'd just up and disappeared on the team and since that was basically how Eliot had lived the last few years of his life, she seemed to understand. She assured Nate he'd be back, maybe a bruise or two, one stitch or twenty, and he'd be ready to get back to work. He always was. She'd learned to never ask anything that demanded he lie to her and Eliot had learned to never tell her any lies if he could help it. No matter what he did, she said he always found his way back to a phone and called her sooner or later. So they both agreed if they heard from him they'd contact the other.
Now Nate sat there contemplating his next call as he reached for the glass he'd brought with him from the liquor cabinet. It was almost empty, but as he noted the time on the desk clock he knew he needed to make this call. It was a little after four and if he wanted to catch the man he needed to make the call. He needed to call Emma's husband and he was in DC while she was back home in Oklahoma visiting friends.
Nate picked up his cell and punched in the numbers he'd memorized over the last hour. The phone rang exactly one time before it was picked up.
"I don't recognize this number so this better be good or so help me I will hunt your ass down and you do not want that, believe me." Was the greeting Nate got.
Nate was momentarily taken aback by the greeting and he stumbled over the words in his mouth as they seemed frozen there. "Umm…"
"Spit it out man! I don't have all damn day." The voice was gavelly like he'd swallowed nothing but road gravel and a lot of it. He was hard and quick and on edge. He was all business.
Nate's brain froze and all he could come back with was, "My name is Nate Ford."
That got him a minute of silence from the other end as the man stopped breathing it seemed. Then there was a rustling sound as if the man was switching his phone from one ear to the other.
"Mr. Ford if you are calling me then that means only one thing. Eliot must be in trouble." The man seemed to have calmed down a little, but not much as he added, "what has that dumbass gotten himself into now?"
"Well…Major it seems he's gone and gotten himself shot up and kidnapped and I have no idea whether he's dead or alive or even where he is at the moment." Nate wasn't sure if he was doing the right thing here or not, but he knew he couldn't do this alone. He needed help. Hardison hadn't found anything yet and time was running out. "Eliot's been missing roughly over twelve hours now and I…we need your help to find him. I'm hoping you have some idea who might have him."
"Mr. Ford…if someone had Eliot he is most likely either already dead or he's being tortured and in that case he will soon be dead."
Nate winced at the words. The man was worse than his wife. He was blunt and it bothered Nate and he was beginning to wonder if he was doing the right thing by calling him. Nate heaved a deep sigh and the other man seemed to soften at the sound.
"Tell me what you know." He said in a more subdued tone of voice.
And so Nate told the man everything he knew about what happened to Eliot. He read him all of the detective's notes that Hardison had hacked from the police database and he didn't leave anything out. He told him about the remains not being Eliot's, but they were somehow related to him. He told him everything about anyone from any of their past cases that could possibly be behind this, but he knew that wasn't the case. He had a rock hard feeling that this was personal for Eliot, deeply and the remains being a relative only solidified that feeling.
"I think I can help you Mr. Ford. Give me your address and I'll be there in exactly 3 hours."
Nate gave him the information and thanked him for the help. "Thank you Major. I'm at a loss here on what to do."
The man softened a little more as the conversation continued. "Call me Matt. Tell me Mr. Ford, has the detective contacted my wife at all? I haven't talked to her yet today what with meetings and things and this number you called is… well let's just call it a back up phone that's not to be used unless…"
Nate smiled. Yeah, back up. More like Black ops, he thought. "I understand Major. Yes, I felt obligated to give the detective your wife's cell number and I just talked to her. But he didn't tell her anything about what I've told you, only that Eliot was missing and there was a crime scene at his house. She seemed to understand it was probably something with Eliot's lifestyle and not a normal crime. I figure she will be calling you soon enough."
"You're right. She will. The woman is not anything if not readable. She's the exact opposite of Eliot in that regard. You do know they are twins, don't you?"
Nate was surprised by that. He didn't know that and he'd just assumed Emma was older because…well because that's the way Eliot described her to him. He considered her his closest thing to a rock in his family. Eliot didn't say much about any of his family other than his sister, so Nate had no idea what other family he had. "No, I didn't know that. You know, Eliot barely told me much about Emma other than she's his sister and her contact number if anything happened to him. I know nothing about any of his other family."
The other man sighed at that. "It's probably best you don't know. His life wasn't easy. Neither was Emma's. I met her when Eliot joined the Army. Couldn't take my eyes off the woman…girl really, hell but what a girl. Eliot was only 17 when he joined the Army. Lied to get in. To get…" Matthew Whitmore let the sentence trail off. "Best not to go there Mr. Ford. Eliot would have my dumbass if I went telling things he doesn't want anyone to know. But suffice it to say that Emma is really all Eliot has. Maybe after we get his ass back you can get him to answer some questions. Sounds like he's got a family there…with you and your team." The man said gruffly.
Nate smiled again as he realized the man was giving him a backhanded compliment. "Thank you…again Major."
"Anyway those are Eliot's secrets and he plays everything close to the vest. Always has always will probably. I'll take care of Emma and don't do anything until I get there. And believe this Mr. Ford, I'll be there. Make no mistake, if the person who has Eliot is who I believe it might be, then it's not just about Eliot's past in the service. It stems from his time with Damien Moreau and from a long family history. I'll explain what I can when I get there."
"Again…thank you Major Whitmore. And call me Nate."
"Sure just as soon as you remember to call me Matt." The man chuckled. "I'll see you in exactly 3 hours. Oh, and I'll be bringing an old friend to help out. He'd kill me if I left him out of this."
Nate hung up the phone and sat back to think about what had just happened. Eliot would probably be pissed at him for calling his brother-in-law into this, but the man was not here and Nate would gladly let him be pissed if Major Matthew Whitmore could bring Eliot home. Yes, he thought. He'd gladly take Eliot's anger over no Eliot at all.
He drained his glass and got up to head for the liquor cabinet. Looks like I'm going to be drinking after all today, Sammy. Sorry son, but you know how it is. I've got to find Eliot. Nate looked heavenward as he stood there after pouring his drink.
If it's not too much to ask Sam, how about you keep an eye on El for me? For all of us. Keep him alive until we can get to him and I promise you I will try and do better. I truly promise, son. And as Nate prayed to one son to protect another, he brought his third drink of the day to his lips.
Roughly about 2:30 PM
Matthew Whitmore looked out the window of his office after hanging up the phone. Damn he thought. He'd hoped this day would never come, but here it was and now he was in deep shit. After he got Eliot back, if he got Eliot back, he was going to have to explain to the man how the brother he'd thought he'd killed five years ago was back from the dead.
After Matt had managed to find Eliot and get him help out of Damien Moreau's operation, thanks to a call from General Flores in San Lorenzo, he'd let Eliot think he'd really killed Evan Chapman, his brother. Eliot hadn't known Evan was his brother at the time he'd killed him; he learned the truth afterwards. Evan Chapman was the name the Air Force had given him when they'd created him a new identity after getting him away from Moreau in exchange for all the information he had on Moreau. That identity was supposed to protect him, but somehow Moreau had found him and he'd sent Eliot to kill him.
Evan Taylor had been working for the Defense department on a case to take down Moreau, but he'd gone AWOL from the military and had gone deep into Moreau's team. He'd switched sides. When things had gone sideways on a job he was doing for the man, Moreau blamed Evan for it and when you fell out of favor with Moreau you ended up dead; that's when Evan had made contact with the military to make a deal try to save himself.
Evan had contacted him and Colonel Vance and promised to give up all the information he had on Moreau in exchange for immunity and a new identity. But that had been before Moreau had found out what Evan was doing and how he was related to Eliot. It was Moreau who told Eliot the truth about the man he'd killed.
Only Eliot hadn't really killed Evan. He…well he'd killed someone else planted in Evan's place and a damn good lookalike Matt had to admit it, cause he'd fooled Eliot. But when Eliot had found out who Evan really was, he'd lost it. He'd gone on a no holds barred mission doing whatever Moreau asked him to do. And when Matt had gotten word that Eliot was headed to San Lorenzo to kill the General, he'd headed there himself. He'd taken a couple of guys from Eliot's old ops team and they'd found Eliot rescuing the General instead of killing him. He'd finally broken down in the middle of the mission and he just couldn't kill the General.
That had been almost five years ago and Matt hadn't heard from Eliot in all that time. Eliot had wandered from place to place for over a year before joining up with Nate Ford's crew and slowly Eliot had started keeping in sporadic touch with Emma, but he'd never called him. He'd never contacted either Matt or Vance in anyway. So that's why Matt had been surprised that El had given Nate Ford his number in case he needed him.
Matt sighed as he thought about his wife. He smiled woefully as he remembered the young woman at Eliot's graduation of boot camp before he went home for a few days to visit. This was his only time for a visit before he was to be sent overseas on his first tour of duty. That had been when Matt knew he was lost. Something happened to Eliot when he'd gone home and Matt hadn't really understood until Emma explained it later that it was because of Aimee. She hadn't waited for Eliot. The boy had been angry when he'd come back and he had tried Matt's authority at every turn. They'd had their ups and downs, but Emma had been Matt's saving grace.
Because of her, he'd done everything to make sure he and then Major Vance managed to keep the redneck pain in the ass boy out of trouble. But the trouble with Eliot Spencer was that trouble was his middle name. And he liked his middle name. He loved being a soldier and he'd taken quickly to anything that was thrown at him. And he'd been leading his own team by the time he was 19. An unheard of thing in the regular military, but not Black Ops. Didn't matter how old he was as long as he was a leader. And Eliot Spencer was a leader.
He was good at it, and he had the respect of every man who'd ever worked under him no matter how old he was. Eliot had worked hard and he'd earned his right to be called Commander. Then that mission in the south of Iraq had taken them all down. The man had gotten taken from his team and they'd lost him. They'd finally found him, but not before Eliot had taken every known torture tactic known to man. And Matt cringed when he remembered that. Literally every known tactic. Everything had been done to that boy; everything. But he'd come back. He'd come back, but then again he hadn't.
Eliot Spencer had left a part of himself in that sandpit and Matt had been sure he'd never be able to get it back. That's when Eliot left the military and went out on his own. He'd worked alone for a long time before being recruited by Damien Moreau. When word spread that Eliot was working for the other side, a lot of men were surprised. The man had been a soldier, a good one. But after what happened to him, he'd gotten himself in a bad place and ended up with the enemy.
Matt had heard of what Eliot had been doing for Nathan Ford. Whatever had happened to Eliot during his time between leaving Damien and joining Nathan, Matt didn't know much about. But he had kept tabs on him since he'd been with Nate. And he was happy the man was finally doing something that could now be considered good. Something that was similar to what he'd done in the beginning of his career.
Matt understood better than anyone the way Eliot felt about himself and he knew most soldiers felt the same way. But he also knew that Eliot had to feel he had some good in him somewhere because he was trying to do the right thing now. God only knew just how much the man was trying to do good. Eliot had was trying because Matt knew he needed to feel that he could still be good. That he could still somehow be that green soldier that once dreamed of making a difference in this world. He'd been a soldier and a damn good one, but then he'd been a killer. A damn good one. And now he just wanted to be. Didn't matter what he did as long as he could just be.
He sighed again as he realized he needed to contact Vance. He'd need his help on this because Matt knew for a fact that if anyone had Eliot it would be Evan Chapman. And that wasn't good. Evan Chapman had been a bad guy when he'd first came into the Air Force and he'd left an even badder guy. And he'd left vowing to kill those that had taken his life from him. Vowing to get back at everyone who'd outed him to Damien Moreau and back at the military that had turned on him. Yeah, Matt thought. They had turned on him because Evan Chapman was the real bad guy here. Not Eliot Spencer.
Matt sighed as he picked up the phone and made his call. He had a lot of work to do and he only had three hours to get ready. He needed a miracle here, or at the very least he needed a little good luck and he knew that Eliot didn't have much time left.