|Life in New York City
Author: Jackilee PM
What if Neal hadn't run at the end of Judgment Day? Continued-per request.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Friendship - Neal C. & Peter B. - Chapters: 8 - Words: 9,042 - Reviews: 48 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 34 - Updated: 07-09-12 - Published: 06-26-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8259496
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: I created Mindy for two reasons, one to give Neal a friend in D.C. And two to help Neal get 'the goods' on Kramer.
Neal emerged from the Hoover Building and walked across the street to his new home. His smile had faded a little. It was, perhaps, not the best thing to confront Kramer like that on his first day. But Neal really didn't like the man. And it had not as much to do with his current situation as it probably should have. It bothered him that Kramer had used things from his own personal relationship with Peter against him. To Neal, that practically shouted a ruthless person, and in his experience, ruthless people were deadly. Neal wanted Kramer to know he had recognized it. Neal had used burnout as an excuse, for Kramer's behavior. And maybe it was true, the man had been working in the FBI for years, maybe he was truly burned out. It almost made Neal wonder if Kramer was putting a target on his back.
Neal used his key and unlocked his door. He was pretty impressed at first glance. He put his bag down on a chair in the small, tastefully decorated living room and headed in the bedroom and bathroom area. There was a supply of full-sized soaps and shampoos. He had even been given a toothbrush and toothpaste. He then checked out the kitchenette, also impressive. He had been given plates, silverware and even napkins. He had a full set of pots and pans. He even had the assorted, essential cooking utensil. He opened the fridge and was surprised to see it had been stocked. There was even a bottle of wine chilling in the door. He took it out, not his flavor. But it would do until he could go shopping for more. He opened the bottle and poured himself a glass. He sat down and toasted himself, 'to his new home.'
Neal then unpacked his meager possessions. He hung the few clothes he had on hangers and put the rest in drawers. He hung the pictures he had received in the bedroom area. Then he pulled out the pocket watch. He needed a very special, safe place for it. He would look for one later. Right now he had to get to the thrift store before it closed.
The girl at the counter, Mindy, looked as if she would have rather been anywhere but there. That was, until Neal walked in. Mindy closed the magazine she had been reading. She checked her make-up and hair in one of the second-hand, for sale, mirrors which hung by the register. She then went to greet her new customer.
"New in town?" Mindy asked approaching.
Neal flashed his smile. "How did you guess?"
"You're not one of our 'regulars.'" Mindy said using air quotes.
"Thrift shops have regulars?"
Mindy nodded. "Sad, isn't it?" She paused. "Even sadder that I would know that."
"You've worked here how long?" Neal asked as he began to peruse the dress shirt rack.
Mindy followed him over. "Almost a year…needed a job to help with tuition." She shrugged. "It pays pretty well, and I don't have to do a heck of a lot."
"Sounds pretty good to me." Neal stated.
"Yeah, if you like unbelievable long stretches of sheer, mind-numbing boredom."
Neal just grinned.
"People come in here and try to bargain with me." Mindy explained. She took a hold of the sleeve of a shirt, still on the hanger on the rack. "This guy tried to get me to take 25 cents for this shirt. It's only priced at a dollar. I mean, come on. I told the guy to go to the Goodwill."
Mindy looked at Neal, she blushed a little. "Sorry, I didn't mean to run off at the mouth like that. But I get so few people in here who actually want to just talk." She smiled at him. "It's kinda nice."
Neal flashed one of his million dollar smiles. He hurried and bought a few things. He would come in on another day when he had more time to shop. He just needed enough items to get him through the first few days.
Neal was in Agent Kramer's office at 9 a.m. sharp. His appearance was changed purposefully from his New York days. He now opted for slacks and nice dress button-down shirts that didn't require jackets. Neal stood by the chair in Kramer's office, waiting for permission to be seated.
Neal sat only when he was directed to do so.
"Listen Caffrey," Kramer started. "…I allowed you to say what you did yesterday because I know you are going to need a period of adjustment. I know after 3 years you were getting…comfortable. But the problem is, so was Peter. He was starting to let you…slide on things, Caffrey. Its things that Peter's boss would not have let him get away with, if he knew what was happening."
Neal opened his mouth to speak.
Kramer shook his head. "You don't get to respond here. You know exactly what I mean."
Neal did know, and several of the said incidences went through his mind. He remained silent.
"Yes, Caffrey, I'll admit, my solve rates would be higher if I had you as my CI." Kramer stated. "And I can be hard to get along with. I'm driven and I get results, if that makes me an ass, then I'm an ass."
Again, Neal remained silent.
"Peter made the same fatal mistake that I did. He got too close to his CI. We forget these people are criminals, Mr. Caffrey. We think we have them…rehabilitated and they just go back to their old ways the first chance they get. Which is why I wanted you here, you are on a shorter leash and you live where you can be easily monitored." Kramer paused. "I have you here to do a job. That is what you are to do. That is all you are to do. You won't con me. I won't allow it. I'm not your buddy. I'm not your friend. So the incident yesterday was and is a onetime thing. I…allowed you to express yourself. It allowed you to get out all that emotion." Kramer replied. "I need you ready and focused and that's what you'll be. You stay within your radius and out of trouble, and we'll get along just fine."
Neal soon learned Kramer's rules. First and foremost, Neal was not to speak until he was spoken too. He, in reality, did very little without Kramer's knowledge. Kramer seemed to notice a difference in his CI in a few weeks time.
"You never answered my question, Caffrey." Kramer said as he and Neal sat in Kramer's office.
Neal looked at Kramer for a moment. He had thought about it, not about the question its self, but about why Kramer was asking.
"When I figure out what you really want, I'll give you my answer." Neal replied. He got up to leave.
"It's a Thanksgiving dinner, Neal. And you have no family in D.C." Kramer explained. He was beginning to realize the results of the strangle hold he had on Neal. He was trying, in his own way, to ease it.
"I don't think what I do over the holiday is any of your concern, Agent Kramer." Neal replied. "I will be well within my radius, and I won't be breaking the law." Neal turned to leave again.
"Neal…I…." Kramer started. He heard the cold professionalism in Neal's voice. And he sighed, letting Neal leave.
Neal had been right. Kramer had told Neal that he was basically just a tool Kramer needed to do his job. Neal had performed his job, very well. Kramer was enjoying a very high solve rate. He was getting commendations from his superiors. But the man who really deserved the credit got nothing. Kramer had denied him that pleasure, that right. Kramer had taken all the glory for himself. And now, in the wake of realizing Kramer's many, many mistakes he was trying to make things right. Kramer had very unmercifully, and he was afraid, irrevocably, broken Neal's spirit.
"Have a nice holiday, Sir." Neal said before he left.
Kramer sighed as he packed up his things and left his office. He left the building in time enough to see Neal cross the street and enter the building. Kramer shook his head, his heart heavy despite the holiday season.
END NOTES: I know you are wondering where Mozzie is in all this. The next chapter will tell all. Thanks again to all my reviewers and alerters. Jackie