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"A Matter of Control" - Nate, Eliot; PG

Author: pintsizeninja  
Pairing: Gen 
Rating: PG
Characters: Nate, Eliot
Word Count: 1,190
Spoilers: Definitely contains spoilers for 3.11 - "The Rashomon Job"
Disclaimer: Don't own them.  If I did, Nate would have been shirtless at least once by now.
Summary: Post-episode fic for "The Rashomon Job."   Nate-centric, anything else would be too spoilery. :)
Author's Note:  Super huge thanks and internet cookies to nightcamedown for the speedy and amazing beta job.  This episode was just too epic for me not to write a post-ep, so here it is.  Also, since I've written two Angsty!Nate fics in a row, this one features a more happy Nate.  Hope you enjoy!

Nate paced the wooden floor of McRory’s, glass of whiskey in hand. He took a small sip and relished the peaceful quiet of the empty bar. He wasn’t drunk; hell, he wasn’t even tipsy. He was still riding the high from that impromptu Dagger of Aqu’abi job. Well, okay. Technically it was the second Dagger of Aqu’abi job and nothing was ever truly impromptu with Nate Ford. He’d started planning as soon as he heard the press release about that ass from Baron Oil, knowing his team would want to go after Nigel at once. That is, once they’d settled the matter of who actually stole the dagger.

He wasn’t exactly sure how that slimy – Nate stifled a laugh at his own bad pun – bastard had gotten his hands on the dagger, since his concern had always been retrieving items and investigating claims for IYS, not what happened to items or cases afterwards. But that didn’t matter, much. The job tonight had served a dual purpose: he’d always been curious about exactly what happened that night five years ago, and now the dagger was hidden away from the public eye once again, ruining Nigel Hayton’s oh-so-gracious display “for the little people.”

He leaned against the bar and smiled. Nate remembered that evening well; it’d been a big success for him. There’d been much celebrating and champagne when he came home to Maggie and Sam. Not only did IYS get paid back all the money they’d had to dole out - which wouldn’t have happened if Nate had been in charge of those three investigations to begin with, instead of Sterling - but he also managed to bust Gutman for racketeering. Double win. Now, of course, the very thought of IYS getting any kind of money back left a bitter taste in his mouth, but still. It had been a good night.

Blackpoole had called in Nate after Sterling failed to nail Gladstone after the three highly public thefts occurred. Sterling could tell something was amiss, of course, but he lacked the evidence to deny the claims and defraud Gladstone. The investigation had stalled and Blackpoole insisted on a fresh pair of eyes; much to Sterling’s dismay, Nate imagined. The rivalry between him and Sterling had been in full swing.

Nate immediately knew something was going down - most likely during the final evening of the exhibit - as soon as he reviewed the personnel files and recognized Sophie Devereaux. The Dr. Karen Ipcress identity was a new one, but even with her Clark Kent glasses she couldn’t fool him. It was a nice touch, he had to admit. That’s when he realized it would be the dagger, something just flashy enough to entice Sophie. Nate knew Gutman was most likely involved, as well; he ran one of the biggest forgery/black market operations in the area.

Gutman. Nate hated men like him, but thankfully, those kinds of men were some of the easiest to take down. Hiding behind their thugs and their wealth and their power, they thought they were untouchable. Which meant they made mistakes. It helped that Gladstone had been completely willing to hand over Gutman, but Nate would’ve found another way to take him down. He’d been gunning for Gutman for a while, but the final straw had been hearing of the bounty Gutman placed on Eliot Spencer’s head after the Sapphire Monkey job.

That just didn’t sit right with him.

Eliot had been on Nate’s radar for several years before the unsuccessful attempt to steal the dagger. He didn’t know Eliot back then - not like he knew him now, anyway - mostly because the man was a ghost. Working alone, he was in and out with incredible speed, the only evidence of his presence a trail of unconscious (and, okay, sometimes dead) guards and enforcers left in his wake. Nate could tell right away that Eliot was different than the other hitters he’d run into over the years. His ability to use violence with intelligence and restraint put him firmly in the “retrieval specialist” category, with added emphasis on the specialist part.

Nate paused, contemplating the glass in his hand. He inhaled slowly, taking in the musty smell of old alcohol and wood he’d come to associate with the long celebrations with his team that came after successful jobs. He smiled again as his thoughts returned to Eliot.

He couldn’t pinpoint it exactly, but there was always something about Eliot that he admired. Eliot used just enough violence to wound and incapacitate, but not kill. Not if he could help it. Back then (and still, Nate reminded himself, and still) Nate was impressed by the man’s level of control.

Back then, Nate thought, you were always in control. It’d be remiss of him not to recognize such a quality in another man, even if said man was a criminal. And that’d placed him high on Nate’s mental list of “criminals with morals.” It was a short list.

As a result, Nate never had a too much of a problem when IYS started hiring Eliot to retrieve stolen artifacts for them. If only they knew the very same Eliot Spencer had “retrieved” other IYS insured art - but not for them, Nate thought, and smirked. He rarely had any personal interaction with Eliot in those days; it was all strictly business. Go over the plan, retrieve the stolen merchandise, and get out. Eliot preferred to work alone, so there were no communication devices. No advice from Nate on how to do the job. Eliot always delivered, no matter what kind of rough shape he was in when he showed up to collect his money.

So when Gutman set his sights on Eliot, it’d pissed Nate off a little. Okay, it’d pissed him off a lot. Nate knew Eliot could take the thugs Gutman was sending after him, but what if one of them did get lucky? Nate had the chance to protect Eliot and screw Gutman. So he took it.

He could claim that the best part of the brilliant plan he’d executed that night had been the dagger literally falling into his hands, because, well, that was quite impressive. A tad unbelievable, but he was the great Nathan Ford, after all.

Or he could claim it was getting those millions back for IYS and taking a corrupt art collector down in one fell swoop.

But those would be lies, Nate thought as he finished his drink and placed the empty glass on the bar. He headed for the door, looking behind him as he turned off the rest of the lights. Opening the door, Nate stepped out into the cool autumn air.

It had taken five years, but the best part of the whole Dagger of Aqu’abi plan was the look of pleasant surprise on Eliot’s face as he realized Nate had taken out Gutman for him. Then, just a few moments after that, the nod of silent recognition and thanks, and the smile as Eliot turned away from Nate and walked out the door.

And for that, Nate thought, I’d do it all again.


Aug. 26th, 2010 11:18 am (UTC)
I'm really new to the show (watched all the episodes while stuck in bed with a back injury 3 weeks ago), so I haven't explored everything there is to explore in the fandom quite yet. I look forward to checking out that blog.
Aug. 26th, 2010 11:20 am (UTC)
I'm really new to the show as well, and I didn't even know about it until my beta mentioned it. :) This is his blog and this is the quote in particular I drew from:

1.) [Eliot] eventually drifted into retrieval He was trained to do ... other things. As to meeting Nate, sometimes they crossed paths when Eliot was hired to grab something IYS insured, sometimes they actually worked together
Aug. 26th, 2010 11:35 am (UTC)
Thanks! Bookmarking it now.

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