Chapter 29

Nate stood in the shadows and watched as the plane lifted off then sighed heavily before turning and making his way into the hanger and approaching the office to get them to call a cab for him. He doubted James would get involved in this himself, no he would remain here and orchestrate it all, and this is where he had to be in order to put an end to him before he went after his family.

On the plane Parker emerged from the hold and moved to take a seat with them then pulled out the note she had found inside the coffin holding it out to Sophie.

Sophie looked at her and then took the note and opened it reading it out loud for the others to hear.

"I know you are angry but get over it. Follow the plan, he will be coming, and he will most likely come at you at the funeral, I will be around." She read and Eliot could hear in her voice that she was growing angrier by the minute. "This is about me, Hardison is right, it is only because you are my family that this is on you, so I need to fix it, I have to get you all out of it." She read on her cheeks becoming read from the level of frustration and anger she was feeling as she read. "Eliot you know what to do, guys take care of yourselves and be careful, this is not a little boy we are playing with, this is a psychopath who will not stop and has resources to use."

Sophie looked up at Eliot and then threw the paper on the table between them all. She could not do this anymore, what the hell gave him the right to just decide that he was better off on his own, going off, conning them…then she sighed and slouched back into her seat.

"What doesn't he understand about not conning us like this?" Hardison said his eyes hard and his voice soft.

Nobody answered him, this was not the first time Nate had done something like this and it most likely would not be the last if he survived this one. One thing they all knew is that he would not be far away, and he would have a plan for getting them all out of this mess. The fact that that plan might just involve him getting himself killed is what pissed them off because they all knew he would do that too if it meant he secured their safety.

"Why does he do this?" Parker asked her pout evident and her eyes wide as she looked at Sophie. She knew why but she hated it, and did he not know how it affected them all.

Sophie looked at her and then cast her mind back over the last few years, Nate had always made the plans and he had always let them, let his team work them, but he also always made sure that if there were any serious danger in the job he took the lead. When he had put himself in danger with that pharmaceutical company and she had called him out about it he had simply said he wanted to show them that he was also willing to take the same risks as they did. Then with Moreau, he knew the man would know he was after him he had made it clear he was after him in that hanger, even before they went to San Lorenzo to focus his wrath on him and not them as they worked the plan, in so many of their jobs he had been in danger of being hurt or killed and he had taken more than a few bullets through the years. She sighed and shook her head at the young woman, Nate was Nate and he would do what he felt he had to and not her, them or anybody else was going to change that.

"Because that is what he does Parker." She said and Eliot nodded. Form the very beginning even before they had become a team he had done it, there in that warehouse where he had figured out there was a bomb and then held the door open for them so that they could get out before getting out himself, it was who Nate was and it was never going to change as much as they hated it.

"I have organised for a mortuary to fetch the…coffin…when we land." Hardison informed them. "We can get the rest of the stuff set up when we get home."

"Ok, we go to the brewpub, it is the most secure and we have crash pads there for this very purpose." Eliot said. He doubted that James would think they would go back to the pub, and they would keep it going as normal too. He was sure the man would think they would head for one of Parker's warehouses or one of their houses, or a safehouse, like Nate said, the best place to hide was in plain sight.

They landed and the coffin was unloaded and then driven away by the mortuary Hardison had organised. Sophie watched the hearse drive away then felt Eliot's hand on her shoulder and turned to climb into the van which had been left there and headed towards the pub.

In Las Vegas Nate caught a cab and then booked himself into one of the many hotels under a false name paying cash so no questions were asked. He needed a plan and he needed one fast if he was going to end this before it got out of hand. He lifted the phone in the room and dialled a number.

"Sterling."

"Jim I need your help."

"Nate, what the hell is going on?" Sterling asked, he had been holed up in a place Hardison had organised for them with no information coming in.

"Do you remember a case involving a Barbara Walker?" He asked not waiting for Sterling to say anything else. He had been working for IYS then as had Sterling and he might be able to shed a little more light on the subject for him.

"Barbara Walker…no doesn't ring a bell." Sterling said. "What is this about, has this got something to do with the job?"

"What about James Addelton?" Asked ignoring the question.

"Son of Geoffrey?" Sterling said quietly. "Now I remember."

"Sterling?"

"Barbara Walker, she was the girlfriend of James, he was only a boy, around fifteen or so and she had him tied up tight, she was hired as a servant in the house, conned her way in and then made the youngster think he loved her…she was about eighteen, nineteen, good looking too."

"What happened, I know it was my case and I know I put Barbara away, but the details are a bit hazy."

"Not surprising the amount of alcohol you had in your system at any given time." Sterling said sarcastically. This was just after Nate had buried his son and he was working on autopilot, messing up most of the time and drunk all of the time, he was surprised he remembered anything about that time at all.

"Yeah…"

"Ok well Barbara used the boy to get to the paintings and you tracked them through the fence back to her, got her arrested. There was quite a scene with James when they arrested her, he claimed he loved her, and she loved him and that he had given her permission to take the paintings and that you were wrong, his father of course put an end to that. Also it turns out she was pregnant at the time."

"With James' child?"

"Not unless she had a secret tryst with him about a month or so before all of this started, from what I can remember she used the fact that she was quite pregnant to try and get out of a heavy sentence."

"But she made him believe it was his?" Nate said his eyebrows furrowing, so the baby that James blamed hm for losing was not even his. This woman had conned him to get to his fathers' paintings and played him for the fool he was, he was only a boy then but that incident, including his father's reaction from what James had told him, had shaped his whole life, his only goal was to get to a point where he could get his revenge on Nate for what he perceived he had done, and this was the end game.

"Don't know about that. She was convicted and that was the last I know of it."

"Thanks Sterling, oh and you can relax, you and Casey, this isn't about you or her, or even the team, it's about me. I will be in touch, you should get a team ready to take Milligan down, and maybe Addleton. Just do it quietly and use people you can trust." Nate said then hung up. So James been taken by a Grifter and thief and he blamed Nate everything that had happened to her, he loved her that was clear, or she had made him love her and that had made him what he was. His brother on the other hand was a pure sociopath, he had to deal with both of them to ensure that Sophie and the others got out of this unscathed.