Neal watched the clouds float by as he sat at Peter's desk making origami objects. Peter was in a meeting with the Bureau's higher ups, briefing them about a case they had just completed. Neal hadn't been invited, even though he had protested. Peter said that it was going to be just a recap of everything that had happened and the meeting was just going to be long and pointless for him to attend. The FBI agent had won the argument in the end, promising Neal that they would go get something to eat somewhere decent afterward. Finally relenting, Neal had agreed to those terms and had proceeded to stay in Peter's office (with his feet up on the desk), making origami characters.
After finishing one of a starfish, Neal wrote a note on the back and dropped it into the bottom drawer of Peter's desk . His friend had "misplaced" the key to that drawer, complaining about how each drawer of his desk had a different key and how monotonous that was to keep up with all of them. Neal had found the key in the Burke's couch and made a copy before sticking the original back into the piece of furniture. He had been making various origami things and stowing them in that bottom drawer, each with a different note on the back, just waiting for Peter to find his key and unlock the treasure trove of paper.
Suddenly, his phone began to vibrate on the table and Neal picked it up. PRIVATE scrolled across the screen. Neal held the phone to his ear and asked, "Hello?"
"Who is this?"
"This is John Suttle."
Neal's heart went cold and he swallowed before speaking again, "Why are you calling me?"
"It's been a while since we've talked and I wanted to see my clever boy again. I'm coming into town this week and we need to have lunch."
"You know, we really don't have to, I'm sure you're busy and I'm busy too. . ." Neal trailed off. He couldn't think of anything good enough to get Suttle off of his back. There wasn't going to be a way around seeing him and Neal knew it.
Even a con man as good as Neal Caffrey was couldn't outsmart the king of con men.
"Neal, stop bullshitting me. Meet me at Grand Central Station at one o'clock tomorrow alone. Got that?"
"Yeah," Neal answered after a moment of hesitation, "I've got that."
"Good. I'll see you tomorrow."
Neal hung up and pocketed his phone in a daze. His mind reeled with the news. Of all the people in the world, why would his father contact him at a time like this? It couldn't be a coincidence. With Kate in New York City speaking to him over the phone and his recent probation from prison, John probably wanted something of him or just to make him even more confused about everything. Probably both.
Neal's frow grew deeper as he left Peter's office. He headed downstairs to the records room and dug through the case files and profiles. He found his file and set it down on the table. Peter had put the file together while working his case and Neal wanted to know just how much Peter knew about his family. Sitting down and opening the thick Neal Caffrey file, Neal saw pictures stapled to the black file that he hadn't laid eyes on in years. There were original photographs of his parents and a hand-drawn family tree in Peter's handwriting taped to the inside front cover of the file. After that was the several years old mug shot from the prison and his imprisonment details along with his former physical details listed in case he ever escaped. On the next page was a more current picture of him and the details of his probation. Past those pages was a small, skinny photoalbum which Neal set aside on the table.
Neal read through the surprising personal details that Peter had scrawled on the pages inside the folder and winced at the accuracy of his childhood story. On the pages was every award, accomplishment, transcript and document that belonged to Neal Caffrey. Medical records were there, so was his first driver's license. Neal had to admit that Peter had done a good job being thorough. Neal skipped ahead to the section about his family and read through that. He found "John Suttle" highlighted and squinted at Peter's messy handwriting. Once finished with those paragraphs, he flipped through his father's extensive file. With outrage displaying across his face to what he was reading, Neal slammed it shut a few minutes later. John had been sent to prison for two years over an unproven murder. There hadn't been enough evidence for a longer sentence, so John had walked in half of the time that his son was in prison for a more minor felony. Neal knew that his father most likely killed whoever it was that he was sent to jail for. Neal knew his father and what John did. John had shot people in Neal's childhood home with him just in the next room. That was why Neal didn't like guns that much. Guns reminded him of his father and what he had done years ago.
His phone vibrated in his pocket and Neal was relieved to see that it was a more friendly name on the ID this time.
"I thought we were going to get something to eat," was the first thing he heard.
"Yeah, hold on, I'll be up there in a minute," Neal answered before hanging up.
After replacing everything neatly into the boxes where they had came from, Neal stared momentairily at the photoalbum on the table. With one more glance, he stowed it into his coat pocket. He'd look at it later after dinner.
"Neal?" Peter asked, "Neal? Hello?" he waved his hand in front of his partner's face to grab his attention and the younger man jolted a little when he realized that Peter was trying to talk to him.
"Sorry," he apologized.
"What's on your mind, kid?" Peter asked with a hint of concern in his curious voice, "Your head has been somewhere else ever since I got back from that meeting."
"I. . ." for once Neal didn't have anything clever or snarky to comment back with, "Sorry," he repeated.
"Is it Kate?"
"Something to do with Mozzie?"
"Then you might as well tell me. I'll find out sooner or later," Peter shrugged, stirring his soup. Neal sighed and continued tearing the crust off his sandwich as he had been for the past ten minutes. Could he tell Peter? Would Peter understand?
"Do you trust me?" Neal asked, trying to keep his voice even. Peter raised his eyebrows at that, "You're not thinking about running away again, are you?"
"No, I'm not," at Peter's skeptical look, Neal raised his hands in mock surrender, "I swear I'm not trying to run away, okay? Just please answer the question."
"Yeah, I trust you," Peter responded after a moment of silence, "In a bit different way than with everybody else, but I do trust you now."
"Good," Neal sighed and realized how tired he was at that moment, "My father called while you were in the meeting."
"Yeah," Neal looked away from Peter for a moment, "We're meeting at Grand Central Station tomorrow for lunch."
"Neal, that's not a smart idea. I know what kind of person your father is and he'll hurt you-"
"Don't you think that I already know that?" Neal snapped back at his partner.
Peter set down his spoon and stared at his young companion, "Yeah, I know you know, kid. He's the type of man that you can't say no to and if you dare try to he will kill you or hurt you badly for it. He'll hunt you down or he'll hunt your family and friends down. You're worse off than anyone else because you're his son."
"He abused me as a kid, Peter," Neal looked up at Peter with wide blue eyes, "What he did to me. . .I don't want to face him again."
"Did he tell you to go alone?"
"Well, I'll be watching then," Peter responded firmly, "I won't let anything bad happen to you, Neal, I promise."
"You can't make that kind of promise."
"It's a promise you can't keep."
"I can keep this one, Neal. For you."
"I couldn't keep the same promise for my own mother so how can you do the same for me, Peter?"
Peter sighed, Neal wasn't going to believe him no matter what he said. They sat in silence, finishing their meals. After paying and getting in Peter's car, the pair still hadn't said anything further. Finally, Peter broke the silence right before they pulled up at June's apartment, "I'll watch you tomorrow, I'm going to have your back."
Neal glanced at him once more with his large blue eyes before wordlessly getting out of the car and going inside the apartment.