How Mozzie met Neal
=================

Neal turned the corner and looked across the street waiting for an opening to get to the park. He had his cell in his hand but he looked a bit disappointed. It was Saturday and he had tried to call Mozzie but his friend wasn't answering. Neal shrugged, finally running across the road when he saw a familiar figure head of him.

"Mozz!" He saw the figure pause and after a moment they turned and looked at Neal. It was his friend but Mozz looked less than happy to see him.

"Neal... uhm Hi. What are you doing here?" Mozz sounded more nervous than usual, his manner unusually tense even for him. Something had the little guy wound up today.

"Mozz? What's up? I've been trying to call you all morning." Neal was looking his friend up and down trying to figure out what he was hiding when Mozz started to walk away.

"I can't talk, Neal. I'm sorry but you can't be here. I have to go." Mozz started to walk away when Neal grasped him by the shoulder and turned him around. Mozz didn't look at him, his eyes glancing nervously around as if for someone. Neal started feeling concerned.

"Mozz, if there's something wrong, let me help." Neal saw his friend debating the issue then shaking his head and trying to pull away again.

"No... you don't want to get involved with this Neal. Please, just leave." His voice was a bit harsher than Neal remembered. Mozz rarely lost his temper but he was doing what he could to push Neal away.

"Mozz, don't do this. You've helped me, let me help you. Please..." Neal followed his friend as he started to walk away but Mozz yelled at him.

"Leave me alone! Just go away!" Mozz's tone was tinged with fear. Neal kept following, grabbing his friend again.

"Mozz, please! I just want to help. Some thing's wrong." Neal saw the little guy debating again, looking around nervously when his eyes spied something. Neal turned to see what it was, seeing a white van heading towards them at a fast clip. Mozz pushed Neal out of the way as the van came to a stop inches away from them.

"Neal, run! Just run!" Mozz's voice was wracked with what might be panic, sounding the most concerned he'd ever heard. Neal hesitated unsure of what to do when something hit him in the neck. He reached up and felt a small dart or something there, his vision starting to blur slightly. Mozz was already at his side helping him to stand up as several figures exited the vehicle and grabbed the both of them.

"He's not involved with this. Just let him go." Someone pushed a rag into his mouth, tossing him into the van along with Neal who was slowly fading from whatever he'd been hit with. Mozz spit the rag out and clung to the young man as they doors were shut and locked.

"I'm sorry, Neal. I never meant for you to get involved with this." Mozz' voice was filled with regret, Neal seeing his friend sitting beside him in the van as everything faded to black.

()()()

Neal woke up with a horrible headache. He felt like he had one glass of wine too many. He reached up to rub at his temples but found his arms secured to his side. He looked down and found himself strapped securely on both sides to some kind of gurney. He was going to speak but some kind of rubber gag had been stuffed in his mouth keeping him from making any noise. Neal glanced around to find he was in some kind of a hospital room but he couldn't remember anything about coming here. His memory was fuzzy as he tried to think. He had been in the park and then something... He turned his head as the sound of a door opening attracted his attention.

"This could have been a simple exchange in the park but you had to involve the FBI. I'm ashamed of you, Thomas. Ah, your friend appears to be awake."

Neal saw a tall, distinguished looking, salt and peppery haired man with brown eyes walking towards him in a white doctor's robe. Behind him stood Mozzie being held and pushed forward by two scary looking orderlies. Neal made a muffled sound trying to speak. He saw Mozz move towards him but the orderlies held him back.

"Neal, I'm sorry. I tried to warn y..." One of the orderlies smacked the little guy hard making him shut up as the doctor turned to scowl at Mozz before turning back to Neal.

"Mr. Caffrey, we removed your tracking anklet on the way over here. They won't know you're missing since we've used the same kind in the past. It's interesting that the FBI would hire a sociopath such as yourself. I'm going to have fun trying to cure you of your ailments on Thomas' behalf here. He's going to do something for me in exchange." The man's voice was menacing despite his kind tone. Neal felt a shiver wash over him as he looked into those brown eyes and saw pure evil staring back. The doctor smiled.

"But I'm being rude. My name is Dr. Leonard Green but everyone calls me Dr. Leonard. Thomas' used to be one of my employees in my last hospital. He knows a few things about me I'd rather not have leak out which is why I won't hurt you... much, if he cooperates." The doctor smiled that cold unfeeling smile yet again and Neal fought against his bonds but he was still too drugged up to do anything.

"Thomas, I think you know about the various means of 'treatment' they've used on patients in the past to get rid of their deviant behaviors. I think your friend here could use a bit of that treatment." The doctor made a motion and the two orderlies started to secure Neal's head where he couldn't move, one of them applying some kind of semi-opaque gel to his temples along with some small metal discs. Neal struggled helplessly, Mozz watching with horror as the doctor held him back.

"They don't use this form of therapy much anymore but it's useful for more obvious reasons." He made a motion and electrodes were attached and turned on. Neal thrashed, face contorting in pain as electricity flowed through his temples. His eye lids fluttered, blue eyes rolling back into his skull as the charge was stopped. The doctor smiled, making a motion for them to do it again when Mozzie spoke.

"Stop it, Leonard... I'll do whatever you want. Just... don't hurt him." Mozzie moved over and touched Neal's arm, nudging him slightly.

"Neal? Neal wake up." The young man's eyes were fluttering, partially opened and rolled back to white from what little could be seen. After a moment, Neal's eyes opened, blue again, and he turned and looked at Mozz, a muffled sound escaping his lips. Mozz removed the gag.

"Mozz... what... what's going on? Who..." Neal's voice sounded distant, his eyes glassy. One of the orderlies pulled Mozz aside as they wheeled Neal away, the little guy watching worriedly. Dr. Leonard clucked his tongue.

"He's going to be ok, so long as you do as I ask, Thomas. Don't fail your friend by failing me. His life is in your hands."

()()()

Peter and Elizabeth Burke stepped out of their car, El opening the back door to let Satchmo bound out, the huge yellow lab sitting patiently as she put the lead back on him. Peter walked around the vehicle when he saw a figure hiding just below and to the side of their stairs. He saw his wife give him a curious look as she turned to see what had caught his attention.

"Mozzie... what are you doing here?" Peter had walked over to the little man who was fiddling with his glasses nervously as he hid behind the railing around the stairs. El walked over with Satchmo who sniffed around Mozzie's feet then held out his paw to the man. Mozz looked a bit taken aback but shook the dog's paw briefly before looking up in Peter's general direction. El pulled on the lead and whispered to Peter:

"I'm going upstairs..." She smiled at Mozzie as she lead Satchmo up the stairs and into their little two-story home. Peter remained outside with Mozzie who looked a bit more mousy than usual.

"So... did Neal send you or are you here for an unofficial visit?" Peter tried to sound casual but apparently it wasn't enough for Mozz who looked like the agent had threatened him.

"Uhm, can we go inside and continue this interrogation there? I'm feeling a bit exposed." Mozz' voice was unusually coherent which made Peter blink but nod as they started up the stairs, the little guy going ahead of him in a hurry. Peter closed the door behind them noticing Mozz glancing at the knob so he locked it too.

"Better?" Peter's tone was condescending although he wasn't trying to be but the man was acting strange even for Mozz and he had the feeling something was going on. Mozz nodded looking slightly more relieved. He moved over to the sofa and sat down stiffly as Peter followed, mumbling sarcastically: "Would you like to sit down?"

Mozzie sat there, staring straight ahead looking like he was trying to blend in or hide in plain sight but Peter just sat beside him with a plop, making the little guy turn and look at him with a start.

"Ok... ok... I'll talk! Just... don't make me repeat myself." Mozz seemed to be seriously worked up about something that Peter wasn't sure how to react so he just patted the man on the shoulder but that seemed to make him more frantic.

"Neal's in trouble... and it's... it's my fault!" Mozz just spit it out as El walked in with a tray of drinks and paused looking rather surprised at the conversation. Peter blinked at Mozz who had stood up and started pacing as if he were going to flee at any second. Peter saw El looking at him, putting the tray on the coffee table as she turned her blue eyes on Mozz.

"Mozz, what do you mean 'Neal's in trouble?' What's happened? Peter?" Her face had paled slightly as she looked between the two men, Peter shrugging at her.

"What happened to Neal, Mozz? Tell us." Peter was standing up and blocking the man, one hand on the little guy's shoulder squeezing gently as he tried to calm him. Mozz looked up at him, his expression the clearest he'd ever seen.

"There are things you need to know but I don't have time to tell you everything... It's my fault Neal's in this and unless I do something he's going to get hurt again. I don't want him to remember." Mozz pulled away but Peter held on and turned the little guy back around.

"Remember... what is it Neal forgot? I don't understand." Peter was looking worried now, looking over at El who walked over and hugged Mozz.

"It's ok... just tell us what's going on and we'll help. You know Peter can help. Where is Neal?" El's voice was soft, apparently calming Mozz down enough he let her lead him back to the sofa.

"It's a long story and I don't know... but you're his friends and he trusts you so I'll tell. It's important." Mozz sounded pretty coherent without the usual paranoid personality. It was as if another person were speaking, both El and Peter looking at the other surprised as he continued.

"This was maybe 15 years ago when I was in my mid 20s. I was working as an orderly at a small psychiatric clinic just north of the city. It was a corrupt place where the patients were often children if not parents of those who wanted their relations put away to keep them quiet, out of sight and have them disappear eventually. The doctor in charge of the clinic was a Leonard Greene, a man who would sell his soul and those around him to the Devil himself to make sure things turned out his way. Most of the employees were as corrupt as he was, stealing from the patients, mistreating them till they were nothing but shells of themselves. I did my best to ignore what was going on but I didn't know the worse of it till this one day.

(15 years ago...)

"Mr. Halden, my name is Dr. Leonard Greene. What seems to be the problem?" Dr. Leonard was leaning on his elbows, hands steepled before him as he sat at his desk. The man standing across from him was maybe 6 foot, dark brown hair with deep blue green eyes and a stern expression. He didn't seem the nicest man from first glance but he was incredibly handsome and well dressed in an expensive dark blue suit. He sat down at the doctor's motion and smiled darkly at the physician.

"My son... well my foster son; He's a bit of a handful. I need him to be taken care of. He likes to act out and I want to be sure he will be properly taken care of, if you know what I mean. I'm willing to pay." Darrian Halden's tone was straight to the point and with little emotion. The doctor smiled with an understanding gaze.

"I understand perfectly. We have a number of ways to make sure your son behaves. Don't worry. Shall we talk about price?"

Thomas had been mopping the floor when he heard the sound inside the office. It had been late at night when he saw the car pull up a few minutes earlier and he heard the muffled cries. He was filling a bucket with water from the outside faucet and wiping at his glasses when Thomas saw the men pull a boy of maybe 16 to 18 years of age out of a long black limousine. The boy was struggling weakly, a rag pulled around his mouth and his hands handcuffed behind him. Thomas watched as the men dragged the boy inside the clinic and another man in an expensive dark blue suit followed.

It was later, while Thomas had mopped outside Dr. Leonard's office that he had heard the man in the expensive suit speaking. He strained to hear when he turned at the sound of muffled groans in a near by room. The hospital was usually quiet this time of night but someone was in pain. Thomas put the mop back into the bucket and rolled it quietly away towards the sound. He stopped outside the room, pulling out a spray bottle and rag so he looked like he had an excuse to be inside. He pulled out his keys and opened up the door when he had found it locked.

"uuuuuuhn..." The moan was muffled and it sounded like someone waking up in pain. Thomas peered inside and saw the boy who had been cuffed and gagged earlier. Someone had strapped him down securely to a gurney, the gag still in place. The boy was fairly good looking with dark brown hair, pale olive tone skin and wearing a disheveled but nice tan linen shirt pulled out of brown chinos and expensive leather shoes. Obviously this was the boy the man in the office had been talking about, the clothes very similar in taste. As if he sensed a presence the boy opened his eyes, bright blue inquisitive eyes now glassy from the influence of some drug, looking at Thomas. The boy blinked as if trying to focus on the figure before him as he gave another muffled groan.

"mmmph..." The boy was trying to talk but his mouth was still gagged. Thomas moved over slowly, placing his rag and bottle on the floor and stood next to the boy, pulling the rag from his lips and pulling another out of his mouth.

"Where... am I?" The boy sounded sleepy, his voice soft and slightly slurred as he spoke. He had been more active when they dragged him in but it seemed someone had already administered something to calm him down. Thomas looked around before he spoke.

"Keep your voice down. I'm not suppose to be here. What's your name?" Thomas moved to the door and locked it again but from the inside before turning around and walking back to the young man. The boy looked at him curiously as if trying to remember.

"My name? Nick... Halden. Why am I here? I can't move." Nick shook his head slightly as if trying to wake himself up from whatever they'd given him. Thomas made to untie the young man when he heard footsteps and then voices coming nearer. Dammit! He pushed the rag back up around the young man's lips.

"I'm sorry but they can't know I was here." Thomas mussed the boy's hair apologetically, grabbing up his bottle and rag as he made his way out an adjoining door. As he closed it he could hear the boy making muffled noises again as the other door opened up and the voices of Dr. Leonard and Darrian Halden.

"This is your son? What's his name?" Dr. Leonard sounded like he was talking about an object rather than a person.

"Nicholaus. He refuses to take part in the family business and I need to have him out of the way so he doesn't interfere. I can leave him in your care?" Halden's voice was just as lacking as the doctor's as if they were discussing a suit being hemmed rather than a human being. Thomas stiffened feeling badly for leaving the boy there.

"Of course. He will be happily taken care of. As I said... we have several treatments to calm his rebelliousness."

()()()

A couple of days passed and Thomas kept feeling a twinge of guilt at having left the boy to the proverbial wolves but it was dangerous if anyone knew he had been there. He wouldn't just lose his job, he would disappear. He had known other orderlies who had mysteriously gone on vacation never to be seen again. Thomas didn't want to get involved but this boy... something about his situation made the young man want to help.

Thomas heard a scream, dropping his spray bottle as he turned to find out which direction it came from. There was the hurried sound of footsteps as other orderlies, the ones who worked directly with Dr. Leonard ran past towards the sound. He barely moved out of the way as they hurried by, one of them carrying a taser. Thomas shivered. He could hear shouts and cries of people.

"Find him! He can't have gone very far!" It was Dr. Leonard's voice, Thomas moving his cart along to get out of the fray and make himself scarce while he could. He found a quiet corridor he often snuck breaks on and left the cart there as he moved down the secluded hall and found a back examination room that had been abandoned. It was filled with old equipment, broken beds and other items the hospital would normally toss but had pushed back here at one point or another over time for storage. Thomas pulled out an old waiting room chair from the pile and sat down in it to rest. He was beginning to think he should leave this place. The pay was good but it wasn't worth his sanity (no pun intended) working in a place that hurt people when they were supposed to be helped. Considering most of the patients didn't have any actual mental issues bothered the young man more than anything. They were here because of the greed of their children who wanted to be rid of their parents and run a company or steal the family wealth. In other cases it was like the boy he had seen the other night: Children of the rich who didn't fit into the scheme of things and were dropped off here to be beaten and abused into submission till they were no more than shells of themselves waiting for death.

Thomas gave a sigh, reaching into his pocket for a stick of gum when he heard it. It was a small sound at first but then the door opened as the hinges squeaked ever so softly; The padding of bare feet on tile followed. He saw a thin, lanky form with short dark brown hair wearing a hospital robe ease into the room. They closed the door quietly and locked it. Thomas didn't move, or breath as the figure backed away from the door and turned towards him, a look of surprise on their face.

"Stay away from me!" It was the boy from the other night. He looked different, his soft features now paler with dark circles under his eyes. There were slight burn marks on his temples where he must have been given shock treatments, Thomas thought sadly. The boy held a taser in his hand and his blue eyes were slightly dilated as he glared at him. Thomas held up his hands in surrender, unsure of what to do when they both turned at the sound of footsteps hurrying towards the door. The boy gazed in terror at the door, his body trembling.

"I can hide you." Thomas didn't know why he said that but he saw the boy turn and look at him. Those deep blue eyes were so trusting but now there seemed a kind of uncertainty. Thomas stood up slowly, pointing at a pocket of space beneath some old equipment.

"Hide in there and they won't find you. Trust me." He looked at the boy with what he hoped was a sincere smile and he saw the boy nod finally and move over to the space and duck underneath. Thomas quietly unlocked the door, went back to the seat he was in and feigned sleep. The door flew open and several of Dr. Leonard's personal orderlies piled into the room. One of them saw Thomas and coughed.

"What are you doing back here? You're supposed to be on duty, Thomas!" An orderly of medium height but with a body builder's weight walked over and smacked the young man awake, knocking off his glasses. Thomas sat up and held a hand to his cheek where it stung.

"I'm sorry, Terry. I needed a break and this was the only place I could find that was quiet." He made his voice sound whiny and weak, a persona he had held in the hospital to keep the others from bothering him. They figured he wasn't very smart or capable which kept him from getting picked on most of the time and ignored when it mattered. Terry scowled at him and motioned for the rest of the orderlies to leave, staying around long enough to threaten him again.

"Don't let me catch you back here again... do you hear me?!" Terry sounded like he enjoyed scaring Thomas, his smile cold and menacing. Thomas nodded as he stood up and the man left. He rubbed at his cheek, picked up his glasses and walked over to a broken bit of mirror in the corner, checking out his face. He was definitely going to have a bruise. He sighed hearing a slight intake of breath behind him as the boy crept out of his hiding spot.

"Did he hurt you?" The boy looked scared but there was something else in those blue eyes... anger. He looked as if he wanted to chase after Terry and beat him up but Thomas held up a hand and shook his head.

"I'm fine. He doesn't realize he's going to be getting an extra helping of ex-lax in his coffee tomorrow morning." Thomas grinned broadly, seeing the boy smile back at him for the first time.

"Ah, so you can smile. I was beginning to think you had no emotions like that 'father' of yours." Thomas patted the boy on the head although the boy was taller than him but the boy frowned back.

"He's not my father... not my real one anyhow. Thanks for hiding me." The boy made his way towards the door when he suddenly collapsed to his knees and then to the floor. Thomas quickly walked over and rolled the boy over. The boy was seizing, eyes rolling back into his skull and body twitching slightly. He looked at those circular marks burned on the boy's temples and realized it was an after effect of the electro-shock they were giving him. Thomas cursed under his breath wondering what to do.

()()()

Peter just peered at Mozzie as did El, both of them unable to believe what they were hearing. Mozz just fiddled with his glasses nervously as he paused in the story.

"You see why I have to get him back? He doesn't remember being there as a boy and I don't want him to. What his foster father did to him was bad enough but I don't want him hurt. I have to do what I need to do to keep him safe!" Mozzie sounded desperate. Peter nodded although he seemed a bit concerned.

"What is it that Dr. Leonard needs you to do? I'm sure it's nothing legal if he's threatening to hurt Neal. I need to call Hughes in on this..." Peter started to pull out his cell but Mozzie stood and looked panicked again.

"No Feds, Peter... that will make it worse! They won't just hurt Neal, he'll disappear! I saw too many people vanish at that place and I did nothing about it. Neal... he's my friend. I can't..." Mozz' face was panic stricken as he wiped at his eyes. El stood and put her arms around him, looking at Peter.

"Ok... no Feds but how are we supposed to get him out if there's nobody but us who knows about him being there? And you need to tell me what you're supposed to do. I can't help if you won't tell me what's going on." Peter was adamant. Mozz seemed to calm down some but he had paled more and his breath sounded labored.

"He wants me to deliver something... a drug." Mozz' voice was low as he spoke, obviously hoping to hide what was said but Peter picked up on the deceit.

"A drug... illegal drugs? Mozz... you know I can't let you do that." He was about to say more when the man held up a hand to him.

"Not that kind of drugs... a mickey... but... it will kill the person." Mozz' voice choked as he said the last line and he turned and buried his face in El's shoulder, crying. She looked shocked and surprised not only by his show of emotions but by the words he had used. Peter's face went dark as he realized what was at stake.

"Who are you supposed to give this 'mickey' to?" Peter had moved over and gently started to turn Mozz away from his wife and back to look at him. Mozz sniffled and looked up with an unhappy expression.

"Your boss... Hughes. Leonard wants revenge for getting closed down at his other hospital. Hughes was on the case when it happened. So you see why I had to come to you." Mozz looked despondent, moving to the sofa and plopping down, head in his hands. Peter was looking at the ceiling, his lips moving as he seemed to be trying to remember something.

"You mean Leonard is the same one that was acquitted for the Greenville Clinic murders? Dammit... why didn't I think of that sooner when you said his name. That was one of the cases I studied when I came to work with Hughes. I'd forgotten about it till now."

()()()

Neal lay secured to the gurney in a dimly lit room. He could barely see as it was being drugged up but slowly he was remembering something about this place that reminded him of past nightmares. He could almost remember dreaming of a place like this where he had been dumped. But it had only been nightmares. Figments of his imagination that Mozzie helped him to forget as their friendship grew and they became partners in crime. Neal had met his friend while on the streets after he'd run away from home. Mozzie had taken him in and fed him; Given him a home of sorts better than the place he had run away from. Mozzie was one of the people he trusted most. He tried to concentrate on that thought as he felt the drugs in his system slowly ease him into a semblance of calm. They had made sure not to give him any chance to pick the locks of his bindings, using locks that reminded him of the one on the anklet.

"Did he hurt you?" Neal heard himself, a younger version of himself asking this to a person that looked familiar to him.

"I'm fine. He doesn't realize he's going to be getting an extra helping of ex-lax in his coffee tomorrow morning." The man grinned broadly making Neal smile back ever so slightly. His head was hurting but he needed to leave this place... wherever he was and escape. The man looked at him and smiled softly.

"Ah, so you can smile. I was beginning to think you had no emotions like that 'father' of yours." The man was friendly, more so than his so-called father, ruffling his hair with a gentle hand. Neal frowned slightly at the thought of his foster father, Darrian and felt his hands turn to fists.

"He's not my father... not my real one anyhow. Thanks for hiding me." Neal smiled at the man again, turning towards the door. He was going to leave this hospital and find somewhere safe to hide. His head was hurting more now as he approached the door, his vision blurring in and out of focus as he felt his legs turning to jelly and the floor getting closer. He hit the ground with a thud, blacking out as he felt his body fail him and he started to pass out. Someone touched his shoulder and turned him over, shaking him gently as he lost consciousness.