Surely this must be what coma patients feel like. Unable to talk to anyone but still feeling every excruciating moment. Completely powerless to change their circumstances or express their emotions. Following Peter's call last night, Sara had been completely in a daze. She went to work only because she was afraid what sitting alone in her cold London flat might do to her fragile emotional state. Neal couldn't be dead.
After work she walked herself to the small store just down the block from her building. She wasn't really hungry but knew from experience that if she skipped the first meal, it would be hard to stop. She told herself that she would dine in Neal Caffrey fashion, with quality red wine and authentic Italian cuisine. If she had more wine than she'd normally indulge in, who would be around to stop her? It felt like the best way to tribute his life, at least in the moment.
Walking up the stairs felt like a marathon. Sara was bone-tired. The kind of tired where simply existing and keeping yourself alive takes all of the energy you can muster. She was intimately familiar with this kind of tired and knew that it only came with a deep loss. She fumbled around for her keys and let herself into her flat, picking up the carryout bag she'd perched on the railing. She toed her heels off at the door, set her keys on their hook, and carried the food to the kitchen. As she walked through her flat, she swore she smelled Neal's distinctive cologne. Great, I'm so far down this rabbit hole that I'm imagining things. Damn you, Caffrey.
She found her corkscrew and pulled a wine glass from its cabinet, not really caring if she ate at this point or not. Pouring herself a large glass, Sara froze as she heard what sounded like a faint moan of pain coming from somewhere inside her flat. She grabbed a knife from the block and her baton from her purse, following the sounds that seemed to be emanating from her bedroom. Sara held her weapons close to her body and entered her room slowly, trying her best to emulate how she'd seen Peter enter suspicious rooms before. When she laid eyes on the trespasser, her weapons fell to the floor.
She had to be full-on hallucinating now. There was no other rational explanation as to how Neal Caffrey, presumed dead con man, was tangled up in her new silk sheets. He looked to be asleep, though not sleeping well. His face was contorted in a look of pain. Continuing to look him over, she saw an angry bruise blooming over a large portion of his chest and stomach. It was a nasty reddish purple, with what looked to be the center of it resting just to the side of his lowest rib. He showed no other obvious injuries, looking way too healthy for a man who was supposedly dead. Sara wasn't sure what to do. There was no protocol detailing how to handle the appearance of your ex-boyfriend who was dead to the US government in your London flat.
She left her room and leaned against the hallway wall, weighing her options. She could call Peter and tell him that Neal was alive and with her in London, but if Peter thought Neal was dead, there was probably a good reason. She could call Mozzie, but if Neal hadn't brought him along, then maybe there was more to the story. She could call an ambulance, because she was pretty sure that a bruise like that meant a high probability of internal bleeding, but then she'd have to explain why he was in her apartment and who he was. She could wake him up and demand answers, but she knew that if he was in any kind of trouble, he probably hadn't slept at all since the incident that ended in the signature of his death certificate. Reluctantly, Sara decided to let him sleep. He'd sought her out for a reason, so the least she could do was let him get some obviously well-needed rest.
It was nearly dawn before Neal showed any signs of waking. Sara had brought in a chair and blanket from the living room, curling up with a book she'd purchased but never had time to read. It was a Mozzie recommendation, surprisingly good, and made for a comfortable companion in the early hours of the morning. Around midnight, Sara left her post to heat up some of the Italian she'd bought in his honor. Since then, she'd made a lot of progress on the book and the forgotten wine. As he began to wake, Neal moaned in pain. Sara sat the book aside and watched him closely. As his eyes opened, a wave of emotions swept over Sara. Tears crowded her eyes, but she stayed in her chair and refused to let them fall.
She could see the moment he realized where he was, and she met his eyes when he looked her way. When he didn't speak, she decided to break the ice. "I got the call last night...well, two nights ago now. It was Peter. I heard it in his voice before he said the words." When she realized he wasn't going to respond, she looked to the window and continued on.
"He told me it was Keller. That bastard is dead now. Peter shot him."
"Your funeral is this weekend. I was planning on taking Friday off for travel, but I guess I don't have to worry about buying a plane ticket now."
He didn't speak.
"I'm sure it will be a beautiful service. Elizabeth will make sure it's fitting for you. It will probably be more somber than you would like, but most people take the death of a close friend pretty hard."
Still no words.
"Damn it, Neal! Talk to me! I've been in mourning for the last 48 hours and then you show up in my home and give me the silent treatment? What the hell? Don't I deserve at least an explanation? Doesn't Peter? Elizabeth? Mozzie?" At this, she turned to face him again. She's taken aback by the tears streaming down his face. Even with everything she'd witnessed Neal go through, she'd never seen tears. Not even after nightmares where he would scream out their names. She softened a little and moved to sit on the edge of the bed.
"Neal, I am so grateful that you're alive and that you've chosen to be here with me, but I need some answers before I can accept all of this. I know that Peter thinks you're dead, and I'm pretty certain Mozzie does too, considering he's not here poking through my wine cabinet. I know that for them to believe that, they must have been in danger and you thought this was a way to protect them. What I don't know is if you're still in danger, or if I am. Do you understand?"
He finally meets her eyes again and this time, she can't keep the tears at bay. A few rebellious tears sneak down her cheeks, but his hands come up to wipe them away before they can drip from her chin.
"I'm so sorry, Sara." She cuts him off before he can fall too far down the apology hole. "I'm not looking for apologies, Neal. I'm looking for answers," she replies softly. He nods.
"I got in too deep with the wrong people. The only way out was to fake my own death. Otherwise, they would have gone after them. Peter, Elizabeth, Mozzie, June, Diana, Theo, Peter's baby. Maybe even you. So I wore a vest and let myself get shot in the least vulnerable part. I sewed a blood pack into the shirt. I paid off a few people to lie to Peter and fake a few reports. I took a drug that lowered my heart rate, temperature, and respiration to make it look like I was dead. Peter and Mozzie came in and identified my body just to make sure there weren't any conspiracies in either of their heads. I was put on a plane in the body bag and flew straight here. You were the only person that I felt safe with. They didn't know about you, and even if they did, they're all in federal custody now, but I need to stay dead to the FBI for this to work. But here, with you, I can have a fresh start. If you'll let me?"
Sara looked at him, tears now freely falling down her face. "Another time, another place, right? This is another time, and London is definitely another place." His smile turned into a full grin as he asked, "So can I get an 'I'm glad you're not dead' kiss?"