Kaira's POV (1st Person)
I had that same damn nightmare again. I was back at that warehouse, staring down the gauntlet of Moreau's goons. The gun in my hand felt good but so wrong at the same time. I started running, firing at Moreau's goons. Bam! A goon down. Bam! Another one down. I shoot the barrel, causing it to explode. I get up, the flames around me, empowering me, yet scaring me at the same time. "I thought you didn't like guns." I hear Chapman's voice behind me. Without even thinking about it, I turn, emptying my clip into the body. When I lower the gun, I realize that it wasn't Chapman behind me. It was Eliot. The love of my life. His face showed betrayal and pain. I feel the gun drop from my hand as I run up to him, putting pressure on his wounds. I'm about to cry as Eliot gives me a little smile before he goes limp. I realize he's dead and I scream.
My scream causes me to wake up, and I start hyperventilating. I sat up, seeing Eliot wasn't there. I try to calm down, but that damn nightmare was replaying in my head. I feel a hand on my shoulder, and I turn and see it's Eliot, shushing to calm me down. I bury myself into him and cry. Feeling his heartbeat against my skin calms me down, and I sit back up as Eliot kneels in front of me. I go to move my hair out of my face, and I feel how damp my skin was. I realize that where I slept was soaked in my sweat from how scared I was. I feel horrible, but Eliot grabbed my hands and told me it was okay. I look at him, and he helps me center myself and breathe normally, and get my heart rate down. Once I finally calmed down, I hugged Eliot.
Thank you." I whisper in his ear.
I bury my face in his chest and run my fingers through his hair. He kisses my forehead and I feel at peace. We stay like that for a moment. I calmed down enough and I sit up.
"You want to talk about it?" Eliot asked me.
I take a breath and realize I need to tell him.
"I've been having the same dream since we left that damn warehouse. I'm staring down the gauntlet and I'm shooting and killing all of Moreau's men and the barrel explodes. Then I hear Chapman and I turn and shoot without thinking. Then I see you. I drop the gun and start screaming." I start choking up again at the memory of the nightmare.
Eliot hugged me again and I calm down.
"And the worst part was that holding that gun in my hand felt good. God, I hated that feeling." I admitted, ashamed and guilty.
"Sweetheart, we did what we had to do so we could make it out alive." Eliot comforts me.
"I know, babe. I just - I was hoping that I would never have to do that again." I said.
Eliot just held me and he whispered, "I know."
We stayed like that for a bit. Eliot stood up and rubbed his face and I looked at him, realizing something.
"Did you have a nightmare, too?" I asked Eliot, grabbing his hand.
He looked at me.
"Yeah." Eliot admitted.
"Want to tell me about it?" I asked him.
"Mostly just replaying what happened at the warehouse in my head. Thinking about our kiss. And the thought that I could lose you." Eliot sat down next to me.
I looked at him, and I can tell Eliot was beating himself up over it.
"As long as we have each other, we'll be okay." I remind Eliot.
He smiled at me and he turned to face me. We looked at each other. I tuck my hands under his white tank top and lift it up some, enough to show his stomach as he stood up. I pepper his stomach with kisses. Eliot exhales and then he takes off his tank top. He then leans into me and kisses my lips, hard. We fall back on the bed and begin kissing as Eliot removed my top. Then our pants. When we were finished with our make-out session, Eliot and I decided we needed some time to get our minds straight. Neither of us had any idea what Nate had in mind for how we were going to take down Moreau. We spent the rest of the day cooking, then I went down to help bartend.
Later that night, Hardison had everyone gather around the bar and grabbed drinks. Hardison pulled out his phone as he found some news on Nate's frame job on Moreau.
"Damien Moreau is done." Sophie said, relieved.
"Look what we did to him. Damien Moreau: under investigation for antiquities smuggling. Moreau linked to blood diamonds. Moreau assets in Switzerland, Germany, and Bolivia seized. Last time anybody got this much press, they had a nasty video out." Hardison announced, scrolling through the news on his phone.
"What kind of video?" Parker asked.
Hardison and I both stumbled, trying to think of how to answer the question.
"I don't know. I did not watch it, that would be wrong." Hardison said.
I just shook my head no.
"Now, Moreau is sitting in San Lorenzo. A country with no extradition, his own private security, and he's gonna wait this out until it blows over. But he will be back, I guarantee you." Nate paced to get beside Sophie.
"Now, we've been in this situation before, I pushed you into it." Nate said.
"You were drunk." Parker pointed out.
Nate looked at Parker.
"Super drunk." Parker pointed out.
"Thanks, Parker. I remember that. So, I've - I've pushed you, I've tricked you, I've lied to you. So now I'm - I'm just gonna ask you. If any of you - any of you say no, then it's done. We don't do it." Nate said, looking at all of us.
I already knew the question. And my answer, as always, was gonna be Hell Yes.
"Please... help me get rid of this Moreau guy for good." Nate said.
We all looked at each other, knowing our answer was yes.
"I was always in, Nathan." I smiled at Nate.
The rest of the team agreed and we went back up to the office. Hardison got a presentation ready, and Sophie, Parker, and Nate were all at the table, looking through and passports as Eliot, who was on the phone, and I were sitting in the back.
"Damien Moreau is holed up in San Lorenzo. Now, this was a British colony up until 1969, so the official language is still English. Less than 300,000 people living in 120 square miles. The population of the capital city couldn't even fill the cheap seats at Fenway. I mean, you could've fit the entire government in this room." Hardison started his briefing.
"What's Moreau using for resources?" Sophie asked.
"He's got millions in jewelry and gold bars stacked up at his villa there. I mean, we took out his international business, but he's still could afford to sell and buy this country five times over." Hardison explained.
"I'm thinking the Spanish Turnabout." Sophie suggested the con.
"Hmm. No, he's not gonna leave the country. Turnabout pays off at an airport." Parker pointed out.
"The Peking Watch con." Sophie suggested.
"Nice." Parker complimented.
I stood up.
"Guys, we got lucky the last time we conned Moreau. We blindsided him. He can't know we're there, or that we're running on a con on him. Plus, he's gonna know all the cons. We're gonna have to do a new con." I pointed out, walking to the table.
"There are no new cons, Kaira." Sophie said.
Eliot walked over and tossed his phone to Hardison.
"Put this up on the big screen. Remember I told you Kaira and I had a friend in San Lorenzo? Make sure it's encrypted too because he's taking a big chance by talking to us." Eliot said as I joined him.
Hardison got to setting up the signal.
"Oh, so I can do my job." Hardison quipped.
"Do your job!" Eliot told Hardison, looking at him.
"I've been doing my job. For years." Hardison looked at Eliot.
I groan and get in between.
"Boys, enough. Hardison, just do it." I get them in line.
Hardison pulled up the image of me and Eliot's old friend Flores.
"General Flores. Can you please tell my team what you were saying earlier about Moreau?" Eliot said to Flores.
"I've not been General for a long time, Commanders." Flores said to me and Eliot, causing us to snicker.
"You understand with the open elections in San Lorenzo since our independence in 1969, democracy is, hard. But we were making progress. Until President Ribera. Ribera was a minor officer in our security forces. Then Damien Moreau came to our country. He bankrolled Ribera for his political career. Within a year, Ribera had bribed and murdered his way into the Presidency. Anyone who opposes him is declared an enemy of the state. They are imprisoned. And by law, their assets are seized. Their families... bankrupted." Flores explained the situation.
I feel bad.
"This is why the General is in hiding. He's your candidate running against Ribera." Eliot explained.
"General. I understand you - you're taking quite a risk for yourself and your family by talking to us." Nate stood up and walked up to the screen.
"We - we certainly owe you a debt." Nate said.
"No. I am the one with the debt. Spencer and his wife saved my life... twice." Flores said.
Eliot and I chuckle, and I realize Eliot and I had our wedding rings on, so that's why he knew.
"Once. And a half." Eliot said.
"How do you half save someones life?" Parker asked.
"Because Eliot and I were the ones who were sent to kill him. So, that's a half." I explained, smiling at myself at the memory.
"That actually makes sense." Hardison said.
Just then, on Flores's end, a door was heard being broken.
"General, I-" Nate was about to say when he heard the noise. Immediately, all our expressions dropped.
"What is it?" Eliot asked.
"I don't know." Flores said.
"General, is that a secure line?" Eliot asked.
Flores wasn't able to answer, as armed men in black security gear grabbed him and started taking Flores off the screen. I could feel the heat coming off of Eliot, and I didn't blame him.
"Dammit Hardison!" I yelled, angry.
"I thought you said this thing was safe, man!" Eliot yelled at Hardison. "It was, man! They just hacked it from the other side, it's serious software like, uh-" Hardison tried to explain when a familiar voice was heard.
"Manticore?" Moreau said over the video chat.
We all looked at the screen, and my blood boils.
"Thank you for destroying Duberman last year. Bankrupted his company, put his old servers on the open market. Amazing what ten million dollars and some clever tech support can do." Moreau said.
"Moreau." Nate said.
"Hey, don't blame yourselves for this. Ribera makes sure I stay safe, so I make sure he stays President. Actually, to be fair, I wouldn't have found Flores if you hadn't contacted him, so, uh, go ahead and do blame yourself." Moreau said, cocky as ever, laughing.
"You can't just kill a war hero like Flores." Eliot said.
"No, of course not. We've got UN Election Inspectors here. World media. No, he's just imprisoned until after the election. Then he'll have a car accident. You know how these things are done. Or, um, you used to. Until Kaira got her claws into you." Moreau said, mostly talking to Eliot and me.
"Puoi bruciare all'Inferno Moreau (You can burn in Hell Moreau)!" I threaten in Italian.
"Sleep tight." Moreau said, then he shut off the feed.
"Dammit!" I yell, stepping away from the team, letting all my anger out.
I see Eliot walk ahead of Hardison, Parker, and Sophie, and Nate walked back behind them.
"Eliot." Nate said.
Eliot looked at him. I follow Eliot as he walked to the side, pissed. I hold his arm as I see Nate get on the phone.
"Ciao." Nate said, causing us all to look at him.
Immediately, we pick up on who he's calling. The Italian. Nate turns away, but I can still hear him.
"Ho bisogno di un favore. (I need to call in a favor (roughly))." Nate said.
Once he's done with his phone call, and Eliot and I had time to cool off (which may have involved some rough making out), we all left to gather our stuff. We got clothes, gear, and Hardison got his equipment ready. We flew to San Lorenzo, where Nate met up with the Italian, who gave us our I.D's and work visas.
We got situated and the next day we then drove to the Parliament building. Nate, Sophie, Hardison, and I walked in. The building had a huge lobby with granite and sandy-colored checkered tiles and was beautiful. Shame the President running the country was dirty. We got checked in and walked into the office for our potential candidate. Nate walked up to the windows, which were covered by blinds, saying no a bunch of times.
"People, no, you need the windows to be open! You need light to see the goal! You need to see the goal to win the race." Nate said as he and Hardison opened up the curtains.
"And the tv needs to be off!" I said as I turn off the TVs.
"What's on tv is usually crap anyway." I quipped as our candidate Michael Vittori came over.
"Excuse me, who are you?" Vittori asked us.
"James Drafer. Election consultant. Uh, General Flores hired me to run the last week of his campaign. The final push and all." Nate said.
"Uh, Flores is in jail." Vittori said.
"Ah, well, give me the next in line." Nate said.
"The next guy, uh..." Vittori said.
"Y-yeah your next guy in the party who can run for President." Nate said.
"He's in jail too. So is the next, uh, guy." Vittori revealed.
We played it off as we didn't already know that.
"Who are you?" Nate asked, pointing at Vittori.
"Michael Vittori." Vittori introduced himself.
"And why aren't you in jail?" I ask him, already knowing the answer.
"Because I am 30 points behind in the polls." Vittori said, putting his papers on the table.
"Why bother to arrest a loser, huh?" Vittori said.
"I'm sorry you wasted your trip." Vittori said, about to leave when Nate stopped him.
"Wasted my trip? No, no. You're perfect." Nate said.
Which was not what he said yesterday when Sophie, Hardison, and I were looking at the candidates.
"No, no, no, no. This guy's awful." Nate said.
"I have to agree with Nate. You know how much I hate doing that." Sophie said.
I can't help but snicker.
"Well, look, Ribera arrested anybody else who stood a chance at taking him down. Seriously, these are the other candidates, right here." Hardison pulled up the other candidates on the screen.
"Drug dealer, drug dealer, drug addict, embezzler. Embezzler, drug dealer, and drug addict. And my personal favorite." Hardison said, pulling up a video of a not-so-appropriate video.
Sophie covered her face and I groan and put my head down.
"What is that?" Sophie asked and I groan again.
"There's no secrets on the internet. When will people learn this?" Hardison said.
Back to Present
Vittori looked at us, surprised by our offer.
"You want to help me run this race?" Vittori questioned us.
"No, I don't run races. I win them." Nate said.
"Bolivia, 2002." Hardison said.
"Estonia, 2003." Sophie said.
"Republic of Malta, 2005." Hardison said.
"Do you know him now?" I ask Vittori.
"Why me?" Vittori asked.
"Why you?" Nate said.
He had Vittori sit.
"Because you are a man of the people and a leader of men. The people of San Lorenzo need you because you can bring this country into the shining future that it deserves. The People of San Lorenzo, they need you!" Nate buttered Vittori up, and it seemed to work.
"And I'm under contract." Nate pointed out.
"So let's get this started, shall we?" I said, buttering up Vittori more.
"You've heard the woman." Vittori got excited as he stood up.
"Let's get started!" Vittori ordered, excited for the idea that we gave him.
Every started chattering excitedly as Vittori left. We all gathered next to Nate.
"You sure about this?" Sophie asked. Nate exhaled.
"Let's go steal a country." Nate said the rallying cry, causing me to smile.
"I love it when he does that!" I whisper excitedly, causing the others to smile.
We make a plan for Vittori to hold a press conference. Nate, Sophie, and Hardison get the conference set up as I join Eliot and Parker to find Flores.
"Okay, hopefully, Vittori is the stall. Eliot, Kaira, did you find your friend yet?" Nate came on comms.
"Yeah." Eliot said as we walked down this basement.
"Good." Nate said.
"No. Flores isn't in a regular prison, he's in the tombs. Cells underneath the Parliament building leftover from the old colonial days." Eliot said.
"They ripped out the stairs and put in an elevator. Not even Parker can get in cause of the closed shafts. It's the only way in. And it's a kill box." I continue explaining.
"Flores, getting him out is gonna be loud and it's gonna be messy." Eliot added.
"Hey, what about this? Steam vent. Welded shut." Parker said, upset.
Eliot and I looked at her, knowing what her plan would've been.
"It's a steam vent, Parker, alright, people don't-" Eliot scolded her when Parker looked back at him.
"Normal people don't go - you c - they feel like - it's - will burn y-" Eliot just gave up as we walked to a green pipe.
"We're here." I said.
Parker looked at the map.
"The center section is 60 feet below the street." Parker said.
"You sure that's 60 feet down?" Eliot asked Parker.
She let out a high note, listening to the echo.
"Yeah, that's it. 60 feet. That pipe." Parker said, pointing to the yellow pipe next to the green pipe.
Eliot grabbed the wrench and got the pipe out and I put a phone in a zip lock bag to send down the pipe to Flores's toilet. Eliot called it.
"Hello?" Flores said over the phone and I can hear the conversation from Eliot's comm as I help Parker get ready.
"General." Eliot said, letting him know it was us.
"Always full of surprises." Flores said.
"We're working on a way to get you out of there, sir." Eliot said.
"And my people? Spencer, the rest of my cabinet. Men I have fought with, my ministers. They're down here with me. I can't leave without them." Flores said.
"Sir, we can barely find a way to get you out of there alone." Eliot said.
"These people you are with now, and your wife, would you leave any of them behind, ever?" Flores questioned Eliot.
I look at Eliot, and I see the look in his eyes. A look that tells me he wouldn't.
"I thought so. I can not take the chance they will kill these men in reprisal if you rescue me. Leave me here. No matter what." Flores said.
He hung up the phone and Parker and I walk up to Eliot.
"You okay?" Parker asked Eliot.
I wrap my arm around his arm and rub his arm, comforting my husband.
"Nate, I hope you're having a better day than we are." Eliot growled as he left.
I let go and follow him.
"Not exactly." Nate said.
Over the comms, I hear Sophie go rogue and make herself known on stage. I groan, knowing Moreau was watching and now knew we were there. This con just got more complicated.
We met back with the rest of the team once Hardison hacked into the Parliament building and was in the office, looking at the data on the polls and news sites. I was sitting next to Eliot and across from Parker.
"Hey, up ten points." Hardison said.
"Not enough." Nate pointed out.
"Nate, it's a start. People are loving Sophie." I reason.
"It's not enough." Nate said.
We start clapping as Sophie and Vittori came in. Sophie looked at Nate, not pleased, and wanted to talk.
"Eliot, Parker, Kaira, start looking at those other plans." Nate ordered us as he stood up and walked around the table.
"Those are pretty nasty." Eliot pointed out.
I looked at Eliot and lean into him.
"Babe, it's politics. Everything's nasty." I point out.
The three of us left and over the course of the rest of the week, we not only made blackmail with some false allegations with dogfighting, and we may have played with the puppy used for the newsreel, and made posters and helped Vittori with his confidence.
During the night of the debate, Sophie and I went to talk with Vittori before he went on stage.
"So, listen to the question, then pause before you answer. It shows you're thoughtful." Sophie told Vittori.
"Yes, dear, I am not made for this. This should be General Flores. He's a leader." Vittori said.
"Michael, listen to me. We've been doing this a long time. Her longer than me." I said.
I can feel Sophie's glare at me, not liking what I said.
"Anyway, I didn't always use to be this confident with people. It took me a long time to understand people. My husband, Eliot, helped. And so did she. You got this. If you need something to ground you, imagine the world you want for the people of San Lorenzo. That is why you are doing this." I remind Vittori.
I give him a smile as I leave. I watch Ribera struggle, as Eliot put nicotine under his watch which made him act like he'd been drinking. Vittori took Sophie's advice and Hardison showed me how close the polls were.
The next day was the election. We were working overtime. I not only helped send out people to vote for Vittori but helped get ready to do the next thing. That thing was helping Flores escape from jail.
"Here we go." Nate gave the signal.
"Copy that." Parker said from the basement, where she was tasked with torching the stream vent.
"Copy that." I and Eliot said, looking at the security guards, waiting for the signal.
"Age of the geek, baby." Hardison said as he got started on his laptop.
We signaled Flores to make a phone call to the news station, making people think Vittori had already won.
"Okay, guys, we're hot. Get out." Nate said.
He went silent. Eliot and I got in position to do our part of the plan.
"Eliot, Kaira, they've got Vittori." Sophie reported.
"We're out of position." I whisper into my comm.
"Fine. I'll do it myself." Sophie said.
Eliot, Flores, and I got up on the balcony, wearing the security outfits, with Flores yelling "Viva Ribera", then pretending to shoot Sophie. We tuck and left, leaving Vittori to do his part, using Sophie's death as a motivator to gather the people. See, our plan from the gecko was running an American election. See, it didn't matter if Vittori actually won, it mattered what the people were saying. And they were saying that Vittori won. Hardison sent out an email that Vittori won, and we used Sophie's death to bring the people together. And Flores also buttered up the press.
See, Parker went through the vent, and then Eliot, Hardison, and I took out the guards so we could release Flores and his men. Vittori used all we taught him and gathered the people. Nate got Ribera to step down and arrest Moreau, using Moreau's estate and assets to bribe Ribera. Needless to say, the plan worked. We built a country.
Later that night, Eliot and I went to sleep in our hotel room. I was cuddled into him, glad to be next to him. I was smiling, realizing what we had done.
"Why are you smiling?" Eliot asked me, chuckling.
"I'm proud of us. I mean, look at what we built, Eliot. We took down Moreau, and we took down a corrupt President. We stole a freaking country." I said, still amazed we pulled it off.
"Add saved a war hero to the list." Eliot said, smiling at me.
"Yes." I said.
I suddenly remembered the conversation Eliot had with Flores.
"When we first went to break Flores out, I heard the conversation you had." I said.
Eliot looked at me.
"You did?" He asked me.
"Yeah. For the record, I would never leave you or this team behind." I told home.
"I know." Eliot said.
"Well, we are married, so you're stuck with me." I quipped, feeling playful for some reason.
I hover over Eliot, getting close to his face.
"Princess, there's no one I'd rather be stuck with." He smiled at me.
He sat up and I move to allow him to get up, then we lock lips, just wanting to be together. I chuckle and run my fingers through his hair, holding him against the backboard of the bed. His hands are on my back, and there's no place I'd rather be celebrating than in bed with the man I love.
The next morning, we packed up our things and got ready to get on the plane back home. We get down the elevator and meet with Hardison, who has a big black duffle in his hand.
"What's all that?" Eliot asked Hardison.
"Knick-knacks. We just stole a country, I want souvenirs. Where's your luggage?" Hardison said.
"I don't travel with luggage. I'm gonna go get Nate." Eliot said, leaving as he saw Parker with a heavy box.
I follow Eliot as he knocked on the door.
"Jeez, what you got up in here, Parker? Moreau's gold bars?" Hardison asked Parker.
I snicker, knowing damn well that's what it was. Eliot then rammed into the door and opened it.
"Babe!" I scold him.
He looked at me.
"Public place. Don't be breaking shit." I scold him.
He scoffed as he stood in the doorway. Nate looked rough as he laid in bed, covered up.
"Woah, woah, what is it, hey!" Nate said, groggy.
"Nate! Let's go. Take off. Let's go." Eliot said as Nate groaned.
"Yeah, I just, I had a couple last, you know, drink to celebrate." Nate said, still haven't wakened up yet.
"I don't care man. Moreau's gone. You're a free man." Eliot said.
"Yeah." Nate said.
"Things are back to normal." Eliot said, tapping the doorframe then leaving.
"Just get your ass up, Nate, and get changed. And tell Sophie to get her ass up. We're leaving soon." I threaten Nate, leaving.
Though, when I shut the door, I swear I heard Sophie's voice. I ignore it for my own sanity and we leave San Lorenzo.