1 - Pilot
Peter told him to read about warrant law.
So he did.
Distracting him from his 'friend' was just an added bonus, one that Mozzie was sure to thank him for later.
Lying on the couch in his New York 10-million-dollar-view guest house, he flicked through the pages one by one. He was good at learning things, always had been, and it'd only taken him one month in prison to learn how to re-stripe a utility card using the record head on an old mix tape, hot-wire a maintenance truck without any tools, and hack into the American Express credit card belonging to the lovely wife of the irritating Warden. He memorised everything he came across, and it didn't take long before he found something useful in the navy-coloured hardback that Peter technically hadn't given to him.
He shut the tome and drummed his fingers on the cover, looking down at his tracker contemplatively.
It was a stupid plan, dubiously necessary but certainly risky… and it might just work.
Jumping up, he grabbed the keys to the jag, and ran.
Two men loitered outside the warehouse, obviously on guard and obviously armed. Neal forced his worries to the back of his mind and got out, raising the camera immediately and obnoxiously beginning to click.
"Hi there" He waved, smiling at the man who came at him from the other side.
"Hey! Hey! What are you doing?"
He took a photo of him for good measure.
"Oh, I'm- I'm taking a photography class over at the Annex, and pictures of rusty sheet metal are a sure-fire A".
He let himself be grabbed, tapering down on the automatic fight-or-flight response.
"Take him in".
His hands were hauled behind his back by the two thugs as he was forcibly dragged towards the warehouse.
Peter should have gotten the call by now.
God he hoped Peter had gotten the call by now.
Shoving him through the metal door, he was relieved to find copies of 'Blancanieves y Los Siete Enanitos' being unpacked next to him. There were printing presses on his other side, and a bench for drying the ink too. They were all just another nail in Hagen's coffin.
"Jimmy! Go get Hagen!"
And speak of the devil…
Neal quickly raised his hands as he was shoved into the Plexiglas cube, the door pulled shut behind him.
"What exactly is going on here?!"
The second their attention turned, he leapt forward, and turned the key in the lock.
"Why'd you bring him inside?" Hagen snapped, as his so-called lawyer pulled a gun from his coat.
"He was taking pictures".
He quickly pulled the keys from the lock.
The lawyer banged on the glass with his weapon, "Open the door! You're a dead man".
Thankfully for him, it was a Glock 19.
He grinned, "That sounds like inch-thick Lexan".
In other words, more than capable of stopping 9mm bullets.
Hagen obviously realised it the same time he did, and made a gesture at a nearby thug, who quickly ran off.
"Keys are on the way?" Neal guessed, knocking on the solid wood table.
Hagen, however, smirked.
"Not the keys, no, but friends of mine".
"Perhaps you've heard of them" He continued, "They're called Smith and Wesson".
His grin froze on his face.
He hadn't been lying when he told Peter that he didn't like guns, but that didn't mean that he didn't know how to use them. And while a Glock 17 couldn't pierce through the semi-bullet-proof Lexan glass, an old-fashioned Smith and Wesson Model 686 most certainly could.
"Not so brave now, are you, friend?"
Shit shit shit shit shit, where the hell was Peter?!
"You shouldn't have signed the bonds" He replied instead, trying to buy time, "I'm no stranger to vanity myself, so I understand the impulse".
"I'm gonna kill you".
From the corner of his eye, he saw the man return, revolver in hand and .357 Magnum cartridges in place.
"I hope whatever they're giving you is worth it".
In the distance, he heard sirens, and couldn't help but let out a sigh of relief, despite the imminent threat.
The other men all turned, realising that they were caught, and Hagen grabbed the gun from his thug and levelled it at the glass, finger tightening on the trigger.
"You are a particular kind of bastard!"
Peter didn't know what to think when he got the phone call at half five that morning.
Well, no, actually, correction, he knew exactly what to think.
What the fuck are you doing, Neal?!
Next to him, Elizabeth stirred, and rolled over to face him.
"What's going on?"
He took a deep breath before yanking back the quilt.
When he heard where, exactly, Neal had run to, however… well, let's just say he wasn't quite as angry as he had been before.
Sliding out of the police car, he couldn't help but grin.
"Gentlemen, we have a fugitive hiding in this building. Knock down those doors!"
From inside, they heard panicked yelling.
"Grab the bonds. Come on, let's go! Everybody, come on!"
"Quick, let's go, move them. Come on!"
The FBI assault team lined up at the doors, ready to go in, ready to arrest Hagen, ready to get Neal-
Peter froze, heart pounding in his chest from the unexpected gunshot.
That hadn't been one of theirs.
They hadn't even gone in yet.
Which could only mean...
"Let's go!" He yelled, "Get in there!"
"Get down! Get down!"
"Do not move!"
"Get up! Get them up in the air!"
"There you go!"
The second they were cleared, Peter ran in.
Neal where's Neal I have to find Neal-
"You're too late, friend".
He quickly turned, only to find Hagen smirking at him, both hands in the air and an old revolver lying at his feet.
"The art thief got what was coming to him".
Heart pounding, he looked around, frantically, past the kneeling criminals and armed FBI agents, past all the evidence they needed to send them away, past the man they'd come here to arrest himself. His gaze landed on the glass container of an office standing by itself in the middle of the room, a sharp contrast to the old books and dust around it.
The door was shut, and likely locked, but in the centre of the glass, where spider like tendrils cracked out from around it… was a bullet hole.
He was running forwards before he even knew what he was doing, using his own weapon to shoot the lock off the door and kick it open.
There was a shoe poking out from behind the desk.
Racing around it, he paused for a second too long, before training took over and he yelled back at Diana to "call for a damn ambulance!"
He quickly knelt behind the desk, glass crunching beneath his knees and palms and it was the very same glass that a bullet had punched through and sent hurdling directly towards-
"Neal" He breathed, hands hovering unsurely over an unmoving body.
The man was motionless, wrongfully so, but his chest rose far too quickly up and down with each breath, which at least meant that he was still alive.
Shoving the leather chair to one side, Peter carefully turned the younger man's head to face him.
Unfocused blue eyes latched onto him immediately.
Blood stained the rest of his face.
"Can you hear me?" He quickly asked, shrugging out of his coat, "Neal? Can you hear me?"
He slowly blinked and Peter tapped the side of his face gently, before pressing his sleeve against the worst bleeding wound on his forehead.
"Caffrey, I need you to focus. Can you hear me?!"
And then, almost hesitantly, there was a nod.
He breathed out a sigh of relief.
"Okay. That's good, that's- that's good, Neal. Do you know where you are?"
"That's right. He's been arrested, you're still in the warehouse" He replied, eyes scanning the rest of the man's body for any injury, "He shot at you, Neal. Were you hit?"
He slowly shook his head, "Don't 'ink so… Glass broke".
Small sparkling pieces of lexan glittered red in the early morning sunlight, forming a macabre halo around his head.
But he wasn't hit.
He wasn't shot.
He was going to be okay.
"Alright, up you get" Peter said, carefully sliding an arm beneath his back to hoist him up.
Neal groaned but did as told, grabbing onto his shoulder with one hand and the desk with the other. Together, they got him sitting upright, and after a minute or two of blinking and shaking off the dizziness, he was able to collapse down in the office chair.
There were still a few small pieces of glass embedded in his skin, but Peter was glad to see that those injuries only extended to his face and hands, his thick belstaff coat having protected him from the worst of the glass.
Folding his own coat in half, and mourning the loss of it, he pressed it against Neal's head again and told him to keep it in place.
"You want to tell me what happened?"
Neal grimaced and wiped blood and dust from his eyes.
"Told them I was a photography student, they didn't like that, so they brought me in... Hagen recognised me, obviously".
"Obviously. Then what?"
He shrugged, then winced, "I locked the door, the lawyer pulled a gun, but the glass was too thick for him to do any damage".
"So Hagen found a bigger gun?"
He nodded, "Fired just after you pulled up. I dived behind the desk as quick as I could, missed the bullet".
"But not the glass".
"Or the table" He reluctantly admitted, "Hit my head on the way down. Hence the blood".
Peter studied him carefully, "You going to be alright?"
"Just a concussion, most likely. Head wounds bleed a lot, but it's only a small cut. Pulling out the glass will be the real fun bit" He scowled, "Not to mind washing out blood from this suit".
"You could always just throw it out".
He looked like he'd been slapped.
"Peter!" He exclaimed, "It's a Devore!"
He smirked, shoulders relaxing as he finally accepted that Caffrey was going to be just fine.
"I take it you read that warrant law book, huh?"
Neal smirked, "Well, you know me. Gotta learn the rules before I can break them".
"Uh huh. Exigent circumstances, I believe?"
"Exigent circumstance allows the FBI to pursue a suspect onto private property without obtaining a warrant" He quoted, "And to seize any and all evidence that has been discovered in plain view, regardless of the connection to the original crime".
Peter couldn't help but smile.
"You know, you're really bad at this escape thing".
"What can I say? You should arrest me".
"Well, you are a fleeing suspect" He teased.
Neal gestured at the open safe next to them, and Peter turned, eyes widening when he realised.
"Is that the original Victory Bond?"
"Why yes, yes it is".
He shook his head, exasperated at the conman who was worth more than five of his Harvard grads put together, injured and all.
Standing up, he leant back against the desk, "You know, this makes me 3 and 0".
"Maybe I'm not trying hard enough".
Before he could reply to that somewhat dangerously ambiguous remark, there was a knock on the door.
"Paramedics are outside" Diana said, eyes roaming Neal's face with just a touch of worry, "Will I send them in?"
"I can walk" He protested, rising unsteadily to his feet, "But the hospital's out of my jurisdiction, you know".
"Caffrey, you're out of your jurisdiction now" She shot back, "I think the Marshall's will be alright with you not looking like a glass pin cushion".
"Hurtful, Diana, very very hurtful" He pouted, "What if my beautiful face gets scarred for life?"
"Then I'll thank god that you weren't wearing your hat" She shot back, "Losing that would be the real travesty".
"Careful!" Peter warned, leading Elizabeth out onto the patio, "Alright?"
"Almost there" He interrupted, "Just a little farther".
"Think I'm getting seasick".
"Aright, this is good" He said, stopping them, "I want you to keep your eyes closed… Okay. Open them".
El slowly looked up.
"Honey, you know how every year I'm always promising you we're gonna go-"
"-to the Caribbean" She finished, nodding.
"This is sort of what you wanted".
Peter watched as she looked around them, at the fairy lights and the Hawaii music and surf boards and umbrellas.
"Well, I- I think if I keep my eyes closed, I can actually imagine us being there. Oh, and it's getting warmer".
"It is, sit down" He grinned, pulling her onto the beach chair.
"Oh, screw top" She teased, taking the beer.
"It's a little cheesy, but it's… but it's sweet".
He pulled out the hidden plane tickets.
"Maybe this will help".
She grabbed them like a child clutching onto a puppy.
"Belize" Peter said simply, "I found the time".
"We have a week, and two plane tickets, and a seized villa in Sarteneja".
"Oh, in this really incredible beachfront villa that the bureau seized from this narco traffiker, it's amazing-"
"Okay it's- enough with- just tell me it's nice".
"I love you".
"I love you".
She leant in for a kiss and he happily acquiesced.
"... Do you think we can pull that heater in a litter closer?"
"Yea, it's cold".
El laughed, and leant back against him, "... Did Neal set this up?"
"Am I not capable of doing something romantic for my wife by myself?"
He maintained a poker face for all of thirty seconds before grinning, "Yea, alright, he may have- he may have helped. A little. Sort of".
She smiled, "That's what I thought… How's he doing?"
"Oh, full recovery, of course" He reassured, "Has three stitches in his head and a concussion, but the rest just needs butterfly plasters and time".
"And less of you nagging him".
He gave her an affronted look, "I do not-"
"And you're inviting him for dinner as soon as we get back".
"What? No! Why?"
She raised an eyebrow at him and eventually, he sighed.
"... Oh alright. Dinner. Fine. I do own him for four years, after all".
"He's not a dog, Peter".
"Well, you see, in many ways, he actually is. He's incredibly social, for one, and could talk a nun into swearing. He's loyal, and somewhat territorial, usually has no idea what I'm angry at him for…"