"We found another document in the shredder," Peter said, handing the kid a folder as he sat down by his desk. "It's addressed to an unnamed foreign intelligence agency to arrange a meeting in the next month and a half."

"The trips he's been taking," his pet convict got the picture at once. "Kent knew he wouldn't win the defense contract from our country in time."

"So, he decided to sell his device to another government."

"It's treason for profit."

"Hayes didn't want any part of that. That's why Kent killed him." It was a guess, but Peter was sure of it. It all fit.

"And corporate espionage is the perfect cover," Neal nodded in agreement. "He made it look like a competitor stole a working product," he added with distaste.

"Company saves face... if a foreign government turns up with it later— "

"Kent's in the clear, and Hayes stays silent," the kid finished the sentence. He leaned forward. "How do we prove it when Kent hasn't committed treason yet?"

"But he has committed murder," Peter reminded him. "The C.E.O.'s concerned about anyone finding out what he's really up to. Maybe Hayes talked to someone before he died."

He rose and looked at Jessica sitting by Jones' desk.

"You want to use Jessica as bait?" Neal said as he did not believe what he was hearing.

"I'm meeting Kent in the afternoon. Maybe I can hint to him that she knows something."

"He'll come after her."

"And when he does, we take him down." What did the kid think? That they would just leave her dangling to be eaten? Well, it was not up to Neal to decide. "Think she's up to it?"

"She's certainly driven." Neal rose from his chair too, looking at her through the glass wall.

"Yeah, that's what worries me," Peter admitted. "I'm not sure if she wants revenge or justice."

"Can't blame her either way," the kid mumbled.

Peter sighed.

"You have empathy for that woman." It was not a question. Neal had his story with Kate, Jessica hers with Hayes. Of course, they would connect.

"What if I do?" Neal turned and faced him. There was a defiance in his voice that Peter was not a fan of. It foreboded a slippery and muddy path from which he might not be able to save the young con-man.

"There's a right way to do things and a wrong way," he told the kid as if he was actually talking to a child. "Revenge is the wrong way. It's short-sighted, and it's dangerous."

"What's justice, then?"

"It's restoring order, not furthering chaos." This was not about Jessica. This was about the man he was the handler for. "You kept that recording data from me. I hope you don't have any more secrets."

"Likewise," Neal shot back without blinking. Peter frowned. "You talked to Diana lately?"

Peter kept a straight face.

"Not today." It was not a lie. It was a nealism.

"You trust her?"

What had the kid found out and why? Whatever it was it was too close for comfort.

"As much as you trust your friend. Is there a problem?"


"You have empathy for that woman," his handler noted.

Yeah, he had. And he valued his empathy high. If it had not been for his empathy he would have been a criminal like Keller.

"What if I do?" he asked in return.

"There's a right way to do things and a wrong way." Peter spoke to him and not about Jessica. "Revenge is the wrong way. It's short-sighted, and it's dangerous."

"What's justice, then?"

"It's restoring order," his handler said, "not furthering chaos. You kept that recording data from me. I hope you don't have any more secrets."

"Likewise." He kept eye contact. "You talked to Diana lately?"

"Not today." An avoiding answer. In other circumstances, it had been amusing.

"You trust her?"

"As much as you trust your friend. Is there a problem?"

They both hovered around the issue without neither one passing to either a confrontation or a lie.

"What happens if we do find Fowler?" Neal asked. "What comes next?"

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Peter answered, "together. Now let's prep the team for what we have today."

Peter walked past him and down to Jones and Jessica. Neal pushed the thoughts of Kate and Fowler aside followed down to the desk.

"No, I'll get back to the office first," Jessica said. "I need to get my things and leave as normal."

Peter nodded.

"Neal?"

"I'll follower her back and keeps her safe."

"I'm sure you will," Peter smiled. "But she'll be leaving to a safe house when she leaves the office. It'll make your job easier."

They left and returned to Kent's company. An hour or two dragged by and then Kent's assistant came to fetch Peter. Neal rose from his cubicle and went to Jessica's door.

"Hey, it's time. You know the drill?"

"We meet as planned. And then we go to the safe house."

"Right," Neal nodded. "There's no reason to be nervous."

"I'm not. See you outside."


Ms. Samuel took him to the top floor, where he had not been before. She opened the door to the office for him with her own voice password and let him inside.

"Advanced copy of my report," Peter smiled, and Kent on the other side of his desk and held a thick file. "Your company has nothing to worry about."

Kent opened it and scanned through the summary on the first page.

"Well, this is cause for celebration."

Kent rose and not very surprisingly walked to the bar in a corner of the room.

"There is one other thing about one of your staff members," Peter said, showing a second file. "Jessica Breslin was involved with one of your former employees in research and development... Joseph Hayes."

Kent's face did not reveal a thing as he listened and poured two glasses of Armagnac.

"How do you know this?"

"Cross-referenced expense reports between your workers to see if any of them were in a league to bilk funds. Apparently, the two of them shared a hotel room a few weeks in a row. When I confronted Ms. Breslin about it, she asked me not to say anything. I thought you might want to deal with her appropriately."

"Well, I will take care of Ms. Breslin. Now, more importantly, have you thought any more about my offer?"

Peter sighed.

"I hate to sound like a broken record, but I've already got a job."

It was Kent's time to sigh.

"Okay. Well, if you change your mind..."

"I appreciate that, Wesley."

"You on the job?" Kent pushed the second glass across the bar. Peter saw no reason why he should not.

"It is after six. I won't tell anyone." He smiled. Their glasses met and then they drank.

Peter let the Armagnac rest on his tongue before he swallowed. It would be a good ending to his time among the clouds. He would probably not drink anything with that price tag anytime soon. Maybe never.


Neal waited for Jessica down on the sidewalk. He did not like the talk he had had with Peter. It was too much beating around the bush. Friends did not do that.

He saw Jessica coming.

"Hey. Doing okay?" She nodded. "All right. An agent will be here any second. She's gonna need your phone and all forms of I.D. For the protection detail."

"Sure." She opened her bag to locate the items involved.

"Pretty calm for somebody who's about to go into hiding."

She gave him a short, dry laugh.

"Thought I was supposed to be relieved."

Relived? Why would you be relieved going into hiding? It was fleeing. Controlled, but still—

His phone rang. It was Mozzie.

"Hello?"

"Are you sitting down?"

"What is it, Moz?"

"Sitting or standing?" his friend insisted.

"Standing."

"Then you better hold on to something. I did some additional checking. Peter knows Diana has the box."

Until that moment he had hoped that Diana walked behind Peter's back. It was not likely, but it was better than the alternative now forced upon him.

"What?"

"I didn't want to say anything until I was sure. But the trail for the box just goes cold with him. Neal, there can't be any other explanation." Neal tried to think and turned and looked at Jessica's direction. "Neal?"

He saw something that got his thinking straight.

"I'll call you back."

He hung up and grabbed a familiar pen from Jessica's bag. He pressed the top and out came the now-familiar phrase:

"Faber est suae quisque— "

"Why do you have this?"

"Um, I-I found it on your desk— " A lie. He had not left on his desk and she had no reason to take it, unless—

"You were in Kent's office. What'd you do, Jessica?"

He had her cornered. She realized that too.

"I wanted him to know how it feels to die the way that Joseph died."

"Poisoned him?" Was she a killer? "How?"

"Daily vice. The Armagnac."

"Peter's in there with him!" He was already on his way back to the office running. If Peter had not taken a drink before with Kent he would do so now. And as he ran he knew Peter was right. Revenge just caused chaos.

"I need to get to the top floor!" he told the man at the reception.

"Nobody gets to the top floor."

"This is an emergency, sir."

"What's the emergency?"

"Please!"

"I got to check with Mr. Kent and then my supervisor."

"Yes, good. Yes, check with Kent."

While the man moved towards his phone, Neal ran the other way and jumped over the security gates. The man yelled after him to stop.

"Call 911!" he yelled back and dived into an elevator, pushing the button for closing the doors.

"Get back here!" The man banged on the closed elevator doors. "I will call the police."

"Good. Call the paramedics." Why did the man even risk that he was not lying? He examined the panel.

"You need to exit the elevator now, sir!"

He pulled his tie clip and used it as a screwdriver.

"Will you send me up to Kent's floor?"

"Hell no!"

"Then I can't."

He heard the man calling for backup over his radio. No 911 call from that one. He pulled the panel loose and examined the wires. He unscrewed the one most likely to do the trick and short-circuit it with another.

The passage control beeped and flashed green. Access granted. He pushed the button for the top floor.

The elevator was so slow!

At last, the doors opened and he rushed towards the office. At least the door was open. He heard movement and someone falling.

He was at the door and saw Peter on the floor.

He rushed to his aid. Breathing and with a pulse. There was hope. Kent was concussion on the sofa.

He grabbed Peter under his arms and dragged him towards the elevator. His friend moved!

"Peter! Come on, buddy." Neal hammered the button for the elevator cursing that he had not made sure it stayed there, as he let Peter down on the floor, fumbling for his phone.

"It's gonna be okay. Stay with me, all right? Hang in there."

"Get Kent," Peter mumbled as if he was sleep-talking.

"No, no. Peter, we don't have time."

"Come on. You can't leave him behind." Typically Peter, but this was not a joy-ride on some random happy-drug like when Peter saved him from that nuthouse.

"You are dying!" Peter could not die!

"Neal! Neal!" he grabbed his arm and Neal saw that his friend's eyes were sane. "We don't leave anybody behind."

Neal did not want to risk Peter for saving a killer. But it was what Peter wanted. And he would blame him if he survived. Neal got to his feet and ran back to the office.

He grabbed Kent and dragged him back to the elevator as he tried to make an emergency call at the same time. At least Kent was lighter than Peter.

When he got back he saw Peter sitting in the elevator door, keeping it open. Always on the top of his mind, even when dying.

When the elevator returned to the bottom floor he was met by the man in the reception and police as well as medics. They got the situation clear pretty quickly.

Neal gave them as much information as he could and stayed away to let them do their job.

When Peter was on a stretcher he heard someone say

"Heart's stopped. I need the epinephrine. No, nothing on the pulse." He watched his friend as they gave him a syringe right into the heart. Would this be the last time he saw him?

"Got pulse!"

Diana rushed in. They did not say anything, just watched as the medics pushed what was probably antidotes into the two men's veins.

Peter blinked and moved.

"He's stable."

As was Kent too, it seemed.

Peter them and nodded to Diana in Kent's direction. She brought out her cuffs and they followed them out to the ambulances where Diana locked Kent to the stretcher.

"What... what... what are you doing?"

"You confessed to a federal agent," Peter said, showing his badge. "You're under arrest for the murder of Joseph Hayes."

"You can't be serious."

"You give me the facts, I'll give you the law." They took Kent away. "Thanks, Di."

"I'm not the only one who makes dumb decisions," Neal said stepping forward.

"Saving Kent?"

"You're taking this 'innocent till proven guilty' thing a little too far."

"If he lives or dies, it's not my call."

"Whose is it?"

"You do what's right. Let the pieces fall where they fall."

The medics lifted him inside the ambulance.

"'Do what's right,'" he repeated to himself. Whatever reason Peter had for hiding the box from him he thought it was the right thing to do. Probably because he was an impulsive con-man, a prison inmate. And Peter wanted to keep him from returning to that prison.

"She said she didn't mean to hurt Peter," Diana said beside him. "She had no idea he'd be having a drink with Kent."

Jessica was brought to a car in cuffs by an FBI agent.

"What happens to her now?"

"Got to charge her with attempted murder," Diana said as if Neal had an objection. "She can't just walk away from this."

No, she could not. But Kent and Peter lived. And she had told him what she had done, not stopping him from saving them.


Peter held the photo of El on his desk. He longed to hug her. She was away to San Fransisco again and he was returned to life before she knew he was about to die.

He placed the photo back where it belonged on his desk.

"Looking good." The kid turned up in the doorway.

"Feeling even better. I got a clean bill of health this morning."

He had filled his mug of coffee on his way through the office.

"You know, there's a coffee shop a couple blocks away. I hear they make a pretty nice espresso."

"This tastes just fine to me." He drank and placed it back on the desk and sat down.

"Oh, come on. You can't tell me you don't miss it," Neal said, grinning all over his face. "The imported beans, the giant office, and swanky suite."

Peter leaned back in his chair.

"All right, I'm gonna humor you for a second. What if I went corporate right after college? Best-case scenario, I became a millionaire."

"Sounds like a pretty good scenario."

"One with a flip side." There were plenty of things money did not buy. "What if I never joined the FBI?"

"Would have made my life a lot easier," the kid said with a smile.

"Mine too. But what if twelve years ago I was never assigned to an art gallery scam downtown? What if, I never met this assistant manager?" He pointed at the photo of El in front of him on the desk. Neal, for once, was quiet. "No, there are more important things in life than a nice view. Like having people in your life you care about." He looked at the picture of the most fantastic person who walked the earth. He would rather be a hobo than losing her. "I don't want to imagine what kind of man I'd be without those people. I like the man I am."

"'Do what's right.'" Neal said, repeating his own words from yesterday. Peter, still under the spell, looked up at the kid as he sat down in the visitor's chair.

"Yeah."

"You lied to me about the music box," Neal said, straight to the point. "I know you still have it."

Peter sighed.

"How did you find out—"

"Mozzie found the sheet music," the kid interrupted, not interested in lingering on it. "It wasn't hard from there. You want to talk about it?"

The con-man had confronted him with honest truth and caught him lying. Or at least misled him deliberately. It was just semantic. Peter had no excuses.

"If you're ready to listen."

"I want to see it."

It was a clear demand. And Neal was an adult. The kid has saved his life, and Kent's on top of that. Peter nodded.

"I'll come by your place this evening with it. And I'll leave with it, too. Alright?"

"Alright," the kid nodded.

"And just you and me."

"Just you and me."