“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.
“Have you been able to contact Adam?” Lindsey asked the others. Since he’d gone on vacation, they’d been determined not to try to contact him. Partly because it had been a difficult few years and he needed the time off, they all needed some, but mostly because they were sure Kronos’ idea of revenge would undoubtedly be both creative and painful.
They shook their heads, expressions shifting to concern when Lindsey frowned.
“Someone should ask Kronos,” Dean said and they both turned to look at Tony who sighed and wiped a hand down his face.
“I’m not his favourite person.”
“Well, no,” Dean said. “The only person he actually likes is Adam.”
“There you go.”
“But he answers your questions,” Lindsey told him.
That made Tony pause and consider, before he realised it was actually true. Kronos seemed to tolerate Lindsey and Dean, but it was an indulgent tolerance because of Adam. Tony always felt like Kronos had him under a microscope, like Tony was a particularly intriguing and virulent pathogen Kronos just couldn’t figure out.
“As your boss, I’m delegating,” Tony told them. Both men rolled their eyes at him.
Lindsey made a point of taking out his phone and calling Kronos, but he didn’t get any further than announcing who he was before Kronos hung up on him. He gave Tony a pointed look and Tony sighed again.
“Having the attention of a megalomaniacal criminal mastermind possessed by an even greater megalomaniacal criminal mastermind is not what I wanted for my life,” Tony said.
“Suck it up, princess,” Dean told him. “At least your brother wasn’t the Prince of Darkness.”
“And your megalomaniacal criminal mastermind isn’t inter-dimensional,” Lindsey added, referring to Wolfram and Hart.
“Fine, you both win the tragic backstory award,” Tony said, pulling out his own phone. “Congratulations.”
Tony glared at them both even as he made the call.
“What?” Kronos barked at him when he answered.
“If you hang up on me I’m going to make sure Adam works overtime every time you’re in town,” Tony told him.
“What do you want, mortal?”
It was harsher than Kronos usually addressed him, in deference to Adam. Something was clearly wrong.
“Where’s Adam?” Tony asked, not bothering with pleasantries. Neither had the patience for them when dealing with each other.
“I don’t know,” Kronos growled. “But I’m going to find out.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s gone,” Kronos told him. “Someone broke in and some of Methos’ clothes are missing.”
Tony almost felt sorry for whoever was behind this. Still, it wouldn’t do for Kronos to cut a swath through Europe looking for his missing lover. That would only bring attention to Kronos and undoubtedly make things difficult for the team as well.
“If there’s no sign of a struggle and they took clothes, then they don’t want to hurt him.”
“He can look after himself,” Kronos said, but it sounded forced. For all that Kronos kept insisting that, Adam always seemed to put himself in situations that required the denial.
“Yeah well, just in case, we’ll be heading your way,” Tony told him. Lindsey nodded, having followed Tony’s side of the conversation, and got on the phone to make the bookings.
“Damien Moreau isn’t who you think he is,” the man who’d introduced himself as Hardison told him again once they were safely ensconced in a hotel room. Methos sat on the end of the bed, next to Hardison, and looked up at the television screen, which was hooked up to Hardison’s computer and displayed the information they had gathered.
There was a surprising amount of it. Enough that Methos was concerned about his identity holding up and knowledge of his location being made public. The more his image was out there, the more it was likely one of his old enemies would be able to track him down. The three read his concern as being about Moreau and Methos let them.
“He’s very good at showing people what he wants them to see,” Spencer told him. There were ways in which he reminded Methos of Lindsey – his quick assessment of his surroundings, his impatience, his haunted eyes – and many ways in which they were nothing alike.
Parker stood near the window, watching him with an unreadable expression. He couldn’t pin her down easily, wasn’t sure if she was wary of him or felt sorry for him. Until he could figure it out one way or another, he wasn’t sure how to get her on his side.
“You said you were going to explain everything,” Methos said, folding his arms.
“This is what Moreau does to people,” he said, indicating the screen. There was picture after picture of people dead and regions devastated by war. “Weapons dealing, drugs, people. Nothing is beyond him.”
Methos grimaced when he saw Agent Darby’s dead body. Normally, the body wouldn’t die when a demon left it unless it had suffered some kind of damage, but Kronos was something new entirely. He was the corrupted soul of an Immortal and Immortal souls never tolerated sharing a vessel, one always took dominance over another and consumed them. Usually it was the native soul that prevailed, but that wasn't always the case. MacLeod's Dark Quickening was evidence of that. Methos had also met at least one Immortal who hadn't been able to wrestle a Quickening into submission and who'd taken to calling himself by the name of the man he'd killed. Whether that was the memories overwhelming him or the soul, Methos hadn't been able to tell.
“He’s using you,” Spencer told him.
“Why?” Methos asked, curious as to what motivation they’d come up with. It couldn’t be anything close to the truth.
“We believe it’s your access to the FBI. Moreau’s organization was taken down a few years ago, he’s going to need assistance building it back up,” Hardison told him.
“I haven’t helped Moreau with any criminal activities,” Methos said truthfully. Kronos tended to leave Methos out of all his criminal activity, mostly because he had fun playing the leader of an international criminal syndicate and knew Methos had very little interest in that side of things.
“No, but he might be leading up to that or he might have gained access to your passwords,” Spencer said. Hardison nodded.
“Keyloggers, Trojans, there are any number of ways he could get to that information.”
“I’m familiar,” Methos said blandly.
“Moreau doesn’t do anything without benefiting himself,” Spencer told him.
“True,” Methos agreed easily. It was true enough of Kronos, too.
“So why are you with him?” Parker asked, staring at him intently. Methos shrugged.
“I’ve tried not to be,” Methos admitted truthfully.
Those few years after Kronos’ death had been some of his emptiest. It was one thing to be separate from Kronos, to be running from him; it was another for him not to exist in the world. MacLeod was charismatic and occasionally intriguing, but he had none of the history Methos had with Kronos. Kronos had been everything to him, MacLeod was simply a fascination and sometimes friend.
Spencer looked at him with understanding and Methos wondered at his history, a history he had with Moreau if Methos was reading it right. Methos was sympathetic. If Spencer was anything like Lindsey, he might have been tempted by the dark side, but he wasn’t made to follow it. Lindsey’s conscience hadn’t been able to countenance it and Methos had the feeling Spencer was similar.
“We’ll do what we can,” Spencer told him. Methos nodded, playing along, but not really sure what they thought they could do if he really did want to leave Kronos.
Kronos had been cultivating contacts and resources since he’d possessed Moreau. It hadn’t been all that difficult since Moreau’s reputation was still intimidating. And Kronos had taken perverse pleasure in developing a relationship with what was left of Spencer’s team. Not that they knew it was him. As far as they were concerned, he was a mysterious benefactor, pointing them towards cases and occasionally providing help from a distance.
He hesitated before sending Hardison an encrypted message, giving an overview of Methos’ public profile as Adam Baines. He didn’t really want them too interested in Methos, either because they might connect Baines to Moreau, or they might investigate a little too thoroughly and find out what Methos was. One of the benefits of his new state of being, Kronos found, was that he came with an intact, unassailable public history. After their first death, Immortals never had that.
Still, it was a risk he was willing to take to find out where Methos was and who had him. There wouldn’t be anything left of them when he was done. Kronos was sick of people thinking Methos or Azrael or whoever he was at the time was fair game. Methos could take care of himself, Kronos was more than well aware of that. The time he’d spent in a hole in the ground and in hell spoke to that. But Methos was also the only thing that really mattered and as an Immortal he was vulnerable.
The Leverage team had proven themselves reliable and unlikely to use what they might learn to harm Methos. Even when taking down Moreau they hadn’t resorted to less savoury methods. Kronos thought Methos might even appreciate the fine line they walked between what was legal and what they thought was right.
Hardison excused himself when he received a message with an encrypted file attachment. He didn’t want Baines anywhere near his communications. Hardison didn’t really have much competition when it came to what he did, but Adam was no slouch either and Hardison wasn’t going to take the chance.
Opening the file, he saw it was from their mysterious benefactor. Despite his skill, he hadn't been able to discover who their benefactor was. The man, whoever he was, had directed them to several cases and given them crucial information on others, but jealously guarded the secret of his identity. They didn't trust him, not at all with what had happened in the past, with the way Dubenich and Latimer had been able to manipulate them.
Still, Hardison always verified whatever information they received and it had never been wrong before. He'd also tried to keep an eye on who might have been benefiting from their success, but hadn't been able to uncover any concrete. So, it was with that in mind that Hardison was still surprised to see a file on Baines and the message that he was missing. Hardison shivered, wondering why everyone seemed interested in a fairly unremarkable FBI agent.
Perhaps it was time to do a more thorough background check beyond just the man himself.
I got a full-time job a few months ago, which put a bit of a crimp in writing, but I shall persevere!
Eliot looked up when Hardison re-entered the room. He looked wan but determined as he walked straight to Baines.
“Care to explain this?” he asked, swiping at his pad so that a picture of a group of people showed on the screen. Baines was evident, but what caught Eliot’s attention was that Lindsey stood at his side.
“That’s not Eliot,” Parker said, looking from the picture to Eliot and Eliot grimaced. When they were young, people hadn’t been able to tell them apart but, by the time they were separated and put in different foster homes, the differences had become more obvious. Lindsey had always been more lithe, more intent on his studies and less focused on fighting than Eliot.
“It’s Lindsey,” Baines said, looking at Eliot as though he knew all the sorts of things that Eliot didn’t talk about, even if they lay close to the surface like a barely healed wound. If Baines knew Lindsey then he probably did know. “Eliot’s twin.”
Eliot carefully chose to keep his eyes on Baines, to not look at Hardison or Parker. Somehow, whenever Moreau was involved, Eliot was left exposed.
“I haven’t spoken to him in years, not since we were both too young to know better,” Eliot said.
He remembered tracking down his brother using his military resources when they’d both been so young and naive even if they hadn’t felt like they were. He remembered finding out Lindsey was planning to join Wolfram and Hart and he’d still been idealistic enough to think that good won out in the end. Lindsey hadn’t wanted to listen to his warnings about the law firm and later, when Eliot was in deep with Moreau, it had felt too late to mend the breach between them.
Even when he’d tracked down Reilly, he’d kept his distance as much as possible to keep her and her infant son safe. He hadn’t told her about Lindsey either, not when he was still with Wolfram and Hart and could drag Reilly into even more dangerous situations than Eliot could. Then he’d heard Lindsey had died and he hadn’t had the heart to tell her that either. Clearly, his information was wrong, because from what he could tell, the photo was recent. Baines certainly looked no younger.
“You have a twin?” Parker said, head cocked as she turned her gaze from Baines to Eliot.
“Yeah, he doesn’t talk about you either,” Baines said.
Eliot shrugged. He wasn’t inclined to divulge his family past to Hardison and Parker, certainly not in front of Baines.
“He’s with the FBI,” Hardison said. “On the same team as him.” He gestured to Baines who smiled blandly. “And two guys who have both been separately accused of murder, one of whom was on America’s most wanted list.”
“Law enforcement can sometimes be a little short-sighted,” Baines said. He didn’t seem nearly as innocent and in a situation beyond his understanding as he had before. Not that Eliot was inclined to disagree with him, but that hardly proved Baines was on the side of angels.
“The last I knew, Lindsey was in deep with the bad guys.”
“Your family got a predisposition for the dark side?” Hardison asked in an attempt at humour. Eliot ignored him.
“Last I knew, he was dead,” Eliot continued and Hardison’s mouth shut with a click. Parker stepped forward, but hesitated, still uncomfortable with the idea of comforting people.
“The team’s hardier than they appear,” Baines told him and Eliot was reminded that they’d let him keep his gun. He calculated how quickly he could reach him and disarm him before Baines could do too much damage to Parker and Hardison, but Baines didn’t make any threatening movements, didn’t even seem to appear to be aware that there’d been a shift in how they perceived him. Eliot was sure now that that was a deception. He wondered just how deep Baines was in Moreau’s organisation.
“Eliot,” Hardison began before trailing off and shaking his head. “I’m going to do research.”
Hardison disappeared out the far door and Parker looked between where Hardison had gone, Eliot and Baines, torn.
“I’ll stay,” Eliot told her and she nodded, walking silently after Hardison.
“So, Lindsey have any embarrassing childhood stories?” Baines asked, leaning back and folding his arms. Eliot stared at him silently.
Lindsey hesitated when his phone display showed a blocked number. There were very few people that had access to the number that he hadn’t given it to directly. Mostly it was just the team and their assorted friends and family. Finally, he answered.
Even the dream hadn’t prepared him for hearing from his twin.
They were both silent, the years of distance lying between them.
“It’s been a while,” Lindsey said dryly. It was difficult not to think about the accusations Eliot had flung at him the last time they had spoken, but that was years ago and Eliot hadn’t exactly been wrong, even if he was a hypocrite. Eliot grunted. It might be agreement or disagreement or something else entirely. It had been decades since he’d been able to read Eliot easily.
“What’s your connection with Damien Moreau?” Eliot asked finally.
“Moreau?” Lindsey replied, genuinely confused.
“One of your team seems intimately familiar with him.”
Lindsey sighed. As helpful as he occasionally was, if only when Adam was in trouble, Kronos was his own kind of trouble.
“Hitting a little too close to home?”
Eliot was silent and Lindsey wasn’t sure what to read into that.
“You’re one to talk,” Eliot said, but he didn’t sound angry, not exactly. Lindsey thought he almost sounded resigned. The Eliot he had known had never been resigned himself to anything, he’d rebelled and fought and never given up until he achieved what he wanted. Then again, the years had changed them both.
“Hey, I’m one of the good guys now,” Lindsey said, smirking a little and almost sure that Eliot could hear it in his voice. Though he wondered if Eliot’s ability to read him had faded as his to read Eliot had.
“What about Baines and Moreau?”
Lindsey wished he could explain, but he doubted Eliot would believe him. Besides, some part of Adam was at least as old as the first living thing and Kronos was the only Immortal demon, he doubted they could always explain themselves, never mind each other.
“There’s more to the situation than you know,” Lindsey eventually settled on saying.
“Moreau isn’t a good man.”
“Moreau isn’t a factor.”
“If you think that then you’re an idiot.”
Considering Kronos was worse than Moreau and the only thing keeping him at bay was Adam, that probably wasn’t entirely inaccurate.
“Maybe,” he conceded. “But I’m not the only one.”
“I got away from him.”
“Did you?” Lindsey wondered. Because as much as he’d separated himself from Wolfram and Hart, and Angel, he still carried them with him; baggage that no matter what peace he’d found he doubted he’d ever entirely shed.
Eliot’s response was to hang up. Lindsey sighed.
Tony raised his head from some of the creative paper work he was getting far too good at writing when Aaron reappeared in the doorway. He’d heard the doorbell a moment ago, but he hadn’t wanted to interrupt his momentum and if his people had emergencies, they were usually a little more spectacular about keying him in than ringing the doorbell.
“MacDonald says it’s important,” Aaron told him with a faint frown. Tony gave him a reassuring smile, even if he didn’t particularly feel it himself. Adam was missing again and there were only so many ways he could spin that to his bosses, or at least his boss‘s bosses.
“You mind us taking over your office for a bit?” Tony asked, then glanced over his paperwork spread across the desk and realised he already had.
“Sure,” Aaron said with a faint smile. He squeezed Tony’s hand briefly then gestured Lindsey in. Lindsey closed the door behind him and looked at Tony gravely.
“My brother’s got Adam.”
“Eliot. My twin.”
“I thought you weren’t in contact?” Tony asked. That was what he’d gathered from Lindsey’s silence on the issue. Much like Dean’s silence on the topic of Sam before Adam had brought him back.
“He called to find out about Moreau.”
“Right,” Tony said, trying to consider all the angles when he barely knew the shape of things. “Does he know about Kronos?”
“No, but he knew Damien Moreau.”
Tony nodded, not quite sure how that might influence things.
“Does Kronos know where Adam is?”
Lindsey shook his head and Tony took that at face value. If Kronos had found Adam, he expected there would have been a lot more mayhem to signal it.
“We can’t tell him,” Lindsey said, glancing away from Tony and folding his arms, as though he couldn’t meet his gaze, as though he was making Tony choose between Adam and Lindsey’s brother.
“We’ll talk to Eliot first,” Tony assured him. Because when it came down to it, Adam could look after himself and he had Kronos on his trail. Lindsey’s brother had no idea what he was getting into. Of course, if anything permanent did happen to Adam, Tony might hesitate before restraining Kronos. “Let’s see if we can’t sort this whole thing out before we resort to extreme measures.”
“I appreciate it,” Lindsey told him.
Lindsey knocked on the hotel door and waited. Tony was a solid presence at his left shoulder, Dean at his right. At least they managed to cut out the half-day travel time by catching a lift with Castiel. It gave them something of a head start on Kronos, though he doubted it would be much of one.
"Eliot," he called when he heard no response. The door opened almost immediately.
"What are you doing here?"
"Saving your ass," Lindsey said, elbowing his way into the room. He assumed the only reason he actually got past Eliot without a fight was a lingering brotherly loyalty. Tony and Dean let him take the lead, which he appreciated. Eliot had never responded well to people, especially law enforcement, throwing around their authority.
At least he had a good team this time around from the way the dark-skinned man and pretty blond woman came to stand at his shoulders. Adam gave a casual wave from where he was sprawled on the couch, looking entirely unconcerned with his kidnapping. Lindsey couldn't say he was surprised.
"Kronos is on the warpath," Lindsey told him, looking past Eliot and his team.
"He can be such a drama queen," Adam said with a sigh. Even as long suffering as he sounded, Lindsey figured he mostly brought it on himself.
"Who is Kronos?" Eliot asked.
"That's a long story," Lindsey told him, "but it really would be in everyone's best interests to just let Adam walk out of here."
"Not with Moreau walking free," Eliot told him. Lindsey could understand his reticence. Moreau would have had a grudge against Eliot and his team for destroying his empire. Fortunately, Kronos wouldn't have the same issues with him. Despite their past problems, Lindsey was glad Eliot had one less enemy in the world. Only, Eliot seemed to have made an enemy of Kronos as well. And Kronos was a far worse enemy to have than Moreau could ever hoped to have been.
"Moreau's not who you think he is," Lindsey told him.
"I know he's involved with Moreau," Eliot said, gesturing at Adam. "But I didn't think you'd be on his side. I thought you'd changed."
“I’m not on Moreau’s side,” Lindsey said calmly. “I occasionally work with the demon possessing him.”
“Demon?” the blond asked faintly, looking pale.
“Not the typical kind,” Adam said. That didn’t seem to reassure her.
“Demons aren’t real,” the dark-skinned man said very firmly, his fingers clenched bleached-knuckled around his tablet.
“Sorry, kid,” Tony said, sympathising with his reaction. The dark-skinned man looked to Eliot, faltering when Eliot didn't dispute it,
"Gossiping about me?" Kronos said, standing in the doorway. "I'm flattered."
In a surprisingly quick movement, Eliot pulled Lindsey's gun from his holster and shot Kronos. Eliot's teammates flinched at the loud noise and Tony and Dean drew their own guns, aiming at Eliot. The demon didn't even flinch and no blood leaked from the wound. Lindsey subtly edged in front of Eliot, blocking his team's aim and retrieved his weapon, Eliot letting it go without any hassle having accomplished what he needed to. Tony and Dean holstered their guns when Lindsey's was secure.
"Just checking," Eliot said, unrepentant, but Lindsey knew how much it had to have cost him to almost become a killer again. Adam rose from the couch and went to stand with Kronos who pulled him to his side with a possessive hand on Adam's hip. Only then did Kronos subtly relax and the rest of Tony's team with him.
"So that's not Moreau?" the blond asked, stepping in close and scrutinising Kronos. Eliot tensed, looking ready to pull her away, and Lindsey did too because Kronos could be unpredictable about these things, but Kronos didn't make any move. "He looks like Moreau."
"I don't see how there's much difference between Moreau and a demon," the dark-skinned man said, taking the blond's arm and gently pulling her away. Kronos smirked.
"Like I said, he's not a typical demon," Adam told them.
"And what if Moreau gets unpossessed?" the dark-skinned man asked, still glaring at Kronos.
"Then he dies," Adam said, indicating the bullet wound. For the first time, Eliot's team relaxed, if only slightly.
"Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy," the man said. Kronos' s smirk widened and he looked entirely too amused with himself. Lindsey wondered what had happened between Moreau and the other man.
“Kronos, the demon,” Tony added when Eliot’s team looked at him blankly. “He helped save the world at least once.”
Lindsey was glad Tony didn’t elaborate on the fact that he’d only done that to protect Adam, who hadn’t really needed the protection in the end.
“So he’s a demon working on the side of angels?” Eliot scoffed. Lindsey couldn’t hide his amusement at that and doubted the rest of the team could either.
“Not likely,” Kronos told him. “I’m not good, in fact I’m far worse than Moreau could have hoped to be, but I have no inclination to act against you.”
“Moreau’s business?” Eliot asked.
“Is far more civilised,” Kronos told him.
Lindsey knew Eliot couldn’t deny that. Kronos had been out in the world parading as Moreau for years and he hadn’t left the trail of shattered people and bloody bodies that Moreau had. He was being clever and subtle and would be far more difficult to take down than Moreau had been.
“Alright,” Eliot conceded finally and Lindsey was amazed that he actually made it sound like there’d been any choice at all. Kronos nodded his acceptance.
“Great,” Tony said. “Adam, show them how to contact us securely so we can share information.”
Lindsey appreciated the thought. It would give him an excuse to keep in contact with his brother and it would give Eliot an opportunity to contact them if they ran into anything they couldn’t handle on a case. Kronos pulled Adam into a kiss, to which Tony’s team rolled their eyes and Eliot’s looked a little weirded out.
“Given that I don’t need rescuing, you can go run your empire,” Adam told him and Kronos lingered long enough to pretend that it was his decision to leave just then.
Before they went their separate ways, Lindsey found a moment alone with Parker. She stared at him a little suspiciously, but probably not as much as he actually warranted.
“You have dreams, nightmares really, about scary and impossible things, don't you?”
She squinted her eyes at him, shifting to glaring, but still not actually answering him. That was alright. Lindsey figured his had his answers anyway. He held out a card, which she refused to take. Instead, he placed it on the counter next to her.
"If you call that number, Faith can answer all your questions," he told her. She continued to stare at him. Finally he sighed, figuring he'd tried. Anything else would be up to her. When he turned to go, he noticed that the card was gone and he couldn't help but smile.
Eliot joined him at the balcony door.
"What was that about?" Eliot asked, sounding more curious than accusing, though there was a note of warning in his tone.
"Just a suggestion," Lindsey said, not elaborating. It would be up to Parker what she wanted to share. They were silent for a long moment.
"I know it probably doesn't mean anything," Lindsey told Eliot. "But you saved my life."
He can't even begin to explain the dreamscape and how much Eliot helped him there. Or some version of Eliot he held in his head. He hadn't truly realised how much he held on to hope that there was a chance he might reconnect with his family until that dream.
"I don’t understand," Eliot said. Lindsey smiled a little sadly and shrugged.
"That's okay," he said.
"You've changed," Eliot told him, staring at Lindsey as though he really was seeing him anew. Lindsey's gaze was drawn inexorably to his team, to Tony and Dean who despite everything that had been thrown at them had remained good men. To Adam who gave him hope that it was possible to accept the past and move on, to redeem yourself. All of them had given him unconditional support.
"I guess I have," Lindsey said, feeling something in him shift as he realised how far he'd come from the kid who'd been tempted by Wolfam and Hart's offer. "So have you."
"Guess so," Eliot said and they shared a look of understanding. Eliot hesitated a moment before taking a deep breath. "I found Reilly."
"Is she doing well?"
"She's got a kid. A boy. He's almost ten now," Eliot told him before hesitating again. "I found her just after she had him."
Lindsey swallows hard. He hadn't known she was still alive, hadn't wanted to find out in case she wasn't or, if she was, that she didn't want anything to do with him.
"She'll want to see you," Eliot said, reaching out and grasping Lindsey's shoulder. Lindsey didn't reply, not nearly so certain. Eliot didn't push him, just squeezed his shoulder.
"I've been seeing someone," Lindsey told, shifting to a less painful topic. "Nick. I think you'd like him."
Eliot raised his eyebrows. Lindsey wasn’t ashamed of Nick, even though he knew it was probably a surprise to Eliot. Of course, Eliot didn’t know about the extremely unhealthy thing he’d had for Angel. After hell, or at least hell’s waiting room, he’d come to realise that every adult relationship he’d had had been about them using each other. The team and Nick were Lindsey realising there was more out there. He wasn’t going to hide from that.
"He treat you right?" he asked, no judgement in his tone. Lindsey laughed. The idea of Nick not being a good guy and doing the right thing was absurd.
"You going to take him on if he doesn't?"
Eliot shrugged, smiling faintly.
"He's a Grimm," Lindsey told him. Eliot shrugged again.
"So I'll just have to take him by surprise."
"Second time lucky?" Methos said, leaning back onto the sun-warmed towel.
"I wouldn't mind getting lucky," Kronos told him. Methos rolled his eyes.
"That was terrible."
"I thought you liked me when I'm terrible," Kronos said grinning.
“I don’t like you all,” Methos told him, shading his eyes from the sun. Kronos laughed loudly.
“You used to tell better lies.”
“You used to believe them.”
“I was young,” Kronos said seriously and Methos turned to look at him at the tone. “I might have been thousands of years old, but I was young.”
It always surprised Methos how much hell seemed to have changed Kronos in so many subtle ways.
“We both made mistakes,” Methos conceded.
“You?” Kronos said, smirking to lighten the mood. “Never.”
“Well,” Methos said, turning to face the sun again. “I am an angel.”
“Fallen,” Kronos corrected. “Cast out, technically.”
"So, gentlemen," Jane said, shivering a little at the cold in the warehouse, but mostly just glad she hadn't been kidnapped this time. Although, being ‘invited’ into a car with tinted windows had only been slightly better. "How was the vacation?"
The two men looked comfortable and at ease with each other in a way they hadn't the last time. Or perhaps she was just feeling more comfortable and was projecting.
"Good," Adam told her and he did seem to have a light tan, though his slouch seemed more habitual than an actual indication of his level of comfort.
"Except for being shot at," Damian said and Adam rolled his eyes.
"Like you were ever actually in danger," Adam scoffed. "And I was kidnapped."
"Only because you wanted to be."
"Wait," Jane said, trying to piece things together and wondering what other couple could possibly go on vacation that ended in a kidnapping and shooting. "Did Damian kidnap you and you shot at him?"
"Oh, no," Adam corrected. "One of Damian’s employees."
"And your co-worker's twin brother."
Jane didn't think she'd ever met anyone else with lives this complicated.
"Was he arrested?"
"He's far too useful for that," Damian said. Instead of looking upset at his experience being dismissed, Adam looked amused.
"And you didn't want to go up against his friends."
"Like they could actually touch us," Damian said. He was silent for a moment before his expression cracked ever so slightly and he sighed. "And it would have made things difficult with your team."
Jane felt just as surprised at the confession as Adam looked. From the impression Jane had, Damian had only ever been grudgingly accepting of Adam's relationship with his team. It seemed, if nothing else, the experience had brought Damian closer to admitting his appreciation of the role Adam's team played in their lives.
"So, all in all, it was a good vacation?" Jane asked, wondering how many years of therapy a normal person would need after an experience like that.
"We should definitely try it again," Damian said.
"Only next time, we should probably avoid Europe."
"Too much history and too many enemies," Damian agreed.