“Your phone off?” Kronos asked and Methos hummed an affirmative, long limbs stretched out on a towel and a book raised to block the sun from his eyes. Kronos was silent for a long moment, though Methos could feel his gaze on him.
“We should have done this a long time ago,” Kronos said, stretching out in the sun.
Methos hummed his agreement again, not lifting his eyes from his book. Kronos toed Methos’ ankle, looking at him over the top of his sunglasses.
“Your feet are sandy,” Methos said, shifting so he was lying with his knees bent and his feet out of Kronos’ reach. He was enjoying the bright sun and the quiet of a private beach. Apparently, dating the leader of an international crime syndicate had its benefits. He should have tried it centuries ago.
“You used to be more fun than this,” Kronos told him, the faintest whine in his voice.
Methos sighed and lowered his book to look at Kronos who gave him his best charming smile. It worked better on Moreau’s face than it ever had on Kronos’ scarred one.
“You’re going to persist with this, aren’t you?” he asked.
Kronos rolled onto his side, to the edge of his towel, and pressed a kiss to Methos’ shoulder. Methos stared at him for a long moment before he laughed.
“You’re honestly trying to seduce me.”
Kronos just grinned at him and pressed a kiss to the junction of his neck and shoulder. He didn’t bother to hide his smugness when Methos shivered.
“I think we’re a little past seduction,” Methos said, putting the book down onto the towel beside him and turning toward Kronos.
“Only if it doesn’t work,” Kronos told him, kissing just behind his ear. Methos’ skin flushed, having nothing to do with the sun beating down on them.
“I think hell made you more aggravating.”
Kronos grinned against Methos’ skin and dug his fingers into his hair, drawing him closer.
“You’re getting crotchety in your old age,” he told Methos. Methos tilted his chin, giving Kronos better access.
“You’re getting soft in yours.”
Kronos growled, rolling on top of Methos and pinning him to the sand. Methos looked unimpressed.
Methos raised an eyebrow and looked at Kronos in challenge.
Eliot ended his call and looked up to see Parker and Hardison staring at him in concern.
“That was General Flores,” Eliot told him, frown creasing his brow and tension clenching his jaw.
“Is Ribera up to his old tricks?” Hardison asked, already turning to his pad to look up what information he could on the situation.
Parked gasped, hand going to her mouth, and she looked at Hardison who stared at his pad, hands shaking with tension. Eliot was sure he was remembering the pool. Hardison looked up at him.
“Just over two years ago.”
“What?” Hardison demanded. “How did we not know about this? I had all sorts of safeguards and alerts in place. As soon as there was word of Moreau being active I should have known. There must be something wrong in my program.”
He turned back to his pad and began to poke at it feverishly.
“There isn’t,” Eliot told him. Parker placed her hands over Hardison’s and held them gently until Hardison stopped. “Vittori kept it quiet, didn’t want everyone terrified again or his presidency challenged, I think. And Moreau’s clearly been keeping a low profile.”
“Any idea where he is now?” Parker asked, looking at Eliot for answers and assurances he couldn’t give her.
“Flores says he’s apparently been spotted in Europe and on the East Coast several times but nothing too current.”
Parker curled against Hardison’s side as he checked whatever information he could access. Eliot left them to it, to Hardison’s quiet panic and Parker’s soft, distracting questions as she looked over his shoulder. He went to the kitchen and lost himself in the methodical chopping and dicing of ingredients, determinedly not thinking about how much damage Moreau had almost done to the team. He’d just drained the pasta when Parker appeared in the doorway.
“Hardison’s found some information on Moreau,” she told him.
“I’ll be there in a minute,” he told her over his shoulder as he mixed the sauce in with the pasta.
“What about Nate and Sophie?”
“What about them?” Eliot asked, wiping his hands and turning his full attention to her.
“It wouldn’t have happened without them last time.”
“We’re not going to go up against him directly, Parker,” Eliot told her. Not even with Nate and Sophie would he chance going up against Moreau again, not when Moreau had to know they were coming this time, and surprise was the only reason they’d even had a chance last time.
“We can’t do nothing,” she insisted.
“Let’s see what Hardison has to say and then decide,” he offered. She looked like she wanted to argue, but finally she nodded and they returned to the living room which doubled as Hardison’s operations centre.
Parker settled in at Hardison’s side again and Eliot thought they were probably providing comfort for each other as much as they were receiving it. He sat on the other end of the couch and looked up at the screens. Moreau was displayed there, larger than life, sitting down to a dinner and opposite him was a much plainer young man. The man was attractive, but unconventionally so, and not the kind of company Moreau usually kept.
“That his new protégé?” Eliot asked and Hardison cleared his throat.
Hardison clicked the remote and the picture changed to Moreau pressing the man against the wall, hand slid down the front of the man’s unbuttoned jeans. Eliot choked and then coughed at the unexpected image. Moreau had always surrounded himself with young, attractive women.
“Interpol briefly investigated Moreau, but kept it quiet and stopped not long after they started,”
Hardison said, eyes glinting faintly with humour as he looked at Eliot and Eliot was sure he’d kept the image back for exactly that reason. He couldn’t exactly blame Hardison for trying to lighten the situation. That didn’t stop Eliot from glaring at him and growling his name. Hardison smiled faintly as he turned back to the screen.
“You think he got to someone to shut down the investigation?”
“Almost certainly. That’s not the only thing, though,” Hardison told them, pointing at Moreau’s companion. “That man is FBI Agent Adam Baines.”
Eliot couldn’t hide his surprise.
“Not that I could find.”
Which basically meant ‘not at all’ as far as Eliot was concerned. If Hardison couldn’t find it, it wasn’t there to be found.
“So what does Moreau want with him?”
“I don’t know,” Hardison admitted.
“If he’s a good guy, we can’t just leave him with Moreau,” Parker said.
“We won’t,” Eliot assured her.
Several days into his vacation, Methos stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around himself, glad to have sand out of places that really shouldn’t have sand. Kronos was in town, ostensibly to resupply their dwindling food stock, but Methos assumed to meet some kind of business contact.
He checked his phone, but he hadn’t had any panicked calls from the team and he dropped it on the bed, determined not to tempt fate. Ruffling his damp hair, he wondered if there was even any point in getting dressed again. Probably not, if Kronos was going to be back soon, but then why give Kronos the satisfaction.
Just as he’d gone to pull on his boxers he became aware, with the slightest of shifts in atmosphere and the faintest creak of floorboards, that there was someone else in the house. He went for his gun as a man burst into his room, but barely had a chance to raise it before the man was on him, twisting it out of his grip. Methos kicked out, catching the man’s shin, but it didn’t do much to deter him. The man was clearly a professional. Methos slipped out of his grasp and took several steps back. The man slowly put the gun on the bed next to Methos’ phone.
“Whoa,” the man said. “We’re not here to hurt you.”
“You might want to try knocking next time,” Methos told him, getting his first good look at the man. He looked just like Lindsey; a little rougher and more worn, but practically a mirror image. “Breaking in generally gives the wrong impression.”
“We have a very short amount of time in which to get you to safety,” the Lindsey double said. Methos had suspected a twin since the shared dream, but Lindsey hadn’t volunteered the information and, considering they’d all had their subconscious fears exposed, no one had wanted to push too hard. He wondered what Lindsey’s twin wanted with him.
A blond woman and dark-skinned man entered behind the Lindsey double and immediately began to rifle through his closet. Methos watched, bemused. He’d never been assaulted or kidnapped quite like this before. The girl tossed him some clothes while the man packed a bag.
“Any particular threat you’re trying to save me from?” Methos asked, dropping the towel to pull on his boxers and jeans. The man looked away immediately while the woman continued to stare. Methos winked at her. The double sighed and looked like he was trying not to roll his eyes.
“Damien Moreau,” the double said.
It was an act of pure will not to laugh at that.
“I don’t need protection from him,” Methos said, pulling a T-shirt over his head.
“He’s a very dangerous man,” the double told him.
“Damien Moreau won’t hurt me,” Methos insisted. Mostly because he was completely subsumed in Kronos. Methos wondered if there was even all that much of the man’s soul or consciousness left.
“Moreau is not who you think he is,” the double said. He glanced at the other two who were fidgeting nervously as they looked through the windows and out the bedroom door, down the hallway. “We can explain everything once we’re out of here.”
Methos slid his feet into his shoes and clipped his holster to his belt. He kept a close eye on the double when he reached for his gun, but the double didn’t try to stop him.
“We need to go,” the dark-skinned man said. “Now.”
Methos followed along mostly out of curiosity.