(Chapter 9)

Jones and Diana checked and cross-checked all the properties owned by Falco till they found one that was hidden away under a shell company.

"Jones look at this..." Diana pushed the laptop closer as Jones stood and walked over. He was staring at the list of information on the screen, walking back to where he was and bringing a folder over.

"That explains this... I had this open and couldn't figure out how it was related but that makes sense. Let's tell Hughes so we can get a warrant." He was smiling fiercely as was Diana who stood and brought the laptop with her and Jones the folder as they walked over to Hughes' office. It was late but they needed to get this done and the first rays of day were going to come up soon.

"Sir... we found something." Diana placed the laptop on Hughes' desk as he turned from his own research on the PC and Jones pushed his folder next to the laptop.

"A shell corporation... figures! Good place to try and hide evidence. I'll send for a warrant right away. I have a few favors to turn in. Good work you two! Take a break because at sunrise we're heading out when the warrant shows." Hughes was smiling and it was a good smile for once. He picked up his phone and started making phone calls as the two agents walked out of the office. Diana yawned ever so slightly as she went down the stairs and dropped the laptop off at her desk. Jones walked over to his own space and placed the file on top while he walked over to the coffee machine and filled a cup. Diana was right behind him.

"Hey... there's a 24 hour cafe around the corner if you want to catch a quick bite. Went with Peter and Neal the other day..." Jones' voice trailed off a bit but Diana just smiled slightly.

"Yeah. I heard it was good. Neal was bragging about the croissants like they were some kind of rare commodity." She watched Jones smiled and nod.

"They are... come on and we can bring it back here."


It was after 9 am when they finally got the warrant and had their teams set up to head for the Stockton Salvage Yard on the opposite side of town. Diana and Jones were geared up and heading out with the SWAT and other agents. They arrived to find the junkyard already up and running considering it was Saturday. The guard at the front was jumpy but surly towards them till they showed the warrant and he backed up, opening up the gates and shutting his mouth quickly. Everyone piled through the now open doors and split up to look for their missing team members.

Jones could hear a crane operating before he saw it, the crunching sound of metal causing him to draw closer with his team. They found the hopper already crushing the vehicle, the crane operator and a second man below on the hopper pointing off to the left to another similar machine set. They said someone had come in and set up a vehicle in it but nobody had turned it on yet. They didn't know who it was and didn't care since the group was associated with their bosses. Jones had someone stay and interrogate the men to ask if they knew anything else about the 'visitors' while he and the rest of the team headed off to the other hopper and crane.

Diana found herself feeling like she was in some weird futuristic war zone as they passed through the piles of vehicles and metal scraps. She had seen parts of the Terminator once and this reminded her of it as they came up to a large crane and hopper ensemble. The crane was off but the hopper had been turned on recently. She talked to the man in charge and he made a run for it immediately but not before he had pushed something. Diana stayed behind with a few men while the rest gave chase. Jones showed up not too soon after.

"It's already warming up and I don't know how to shut it off! Can you check if any one's inside? The operator ran off as if he were guilty of something." She kept trying to turn the thing off while Jones ran out with a few men and they climbed up a rickety ladder to the top of the crusher / hopper. A small and slightly bent up car sat inside. He could see the driver's side but couldn't tell if anyone was inside. The noise from the machine warming up was loud, Jones covering his ears some. They couldn't walk the perimeter and further investigation showed only a ladder on this side.

"Let's get some ladders out here to check around... What was that?" Jones thought he heard something. He kept listening but it was a faint sound and he soon realized it was someone tapping on metal in a rhythmic pattern.

"Anyone know Morse code? I need a translator STAT!" He heard someone scramble up beside him, a young guy and nod.

"Uhm... O-S-S-O-S... Some one's calling for help down there! It's faint but i could just make it out, Sir." The agent and Jones jumped down into the hopper to the car roof and looked across at the passenger side and called up.

"Get us some rope now! We have wounded!" Jones was calling up to the others, several men scrambling down the outside to do as they were told. Jones was nervous as he checked the vitals on Peter and Neal who lay on the floor of the hopper unconscious. Peter seemed to be drugged, a low groan escaping his lips but Neal was pale, his hand instinctively tapping with a loose piece of scrap metal he'd found on the car body. Jones had to pry the metal from the young man's hand, checking for breath when he saw the slightly blue tinge starting to form around his lips.

"Caffrey? Hey... It's Jones!" The sound of the hopper made it hard for him to think much less hear himself speak till he heard it die down suddenly and smiled. Diana had gotten the thing turned off. He tried speaking again.

"Neal... come on buddy. Breath for me." Jones kept slapping the young man's face, feeling a faint pulse and surprised he had been able to tap out the message in his condition. He started rescue breathing, the young man's lips cool to the touch. He saw the other agent beside him gently lifting Peter up in a fireman's carry as other agents showed up with rope and jumped inside to help. Jones kept breathing for Neal till he felt some resistance and a quiet gasp.

"Hey Neal... come on and breath for me." Jones watched Neal squirm a bit but he was having problems breathing still, a gasping sound from his still bluish looking lips. Someone yelled that there was a paramedic waiting for them at the entrance. Jones picked up Neal the best he could with the other agents help and they hoisted him up and then back down the other end.

"Tell them to come out here. We need help for Caffrey immediately!"


Peter was groggy. He kept dreaming he was at home but El didn't see him. She was crying and he couldn't talk to her though he was standing right there beside her. He was invisible. Even Satchmo didn't seem to see him. He heard her speaking to someone suddenly noticing the cell by her ear in hear hand.

"Thank you for calling Reese. At least he wasn't alone. I'll call June." She sounded so empty. Peter tried to reach out for her and found himself sprawled across someone but it wasn't his wife. He kept thinking someone had been trying to wake him but he felt too tired to respond. The agent groaned.

"Ne...al?" Peter's voice was just barely audible. Peter moved and rolled aside wanting to do more but slumped beside his partner. He was only vaguely aware of the sounds around him, machinery whining and groaning and something else. He could hear the quiet wheeze of someone gasping for air hidden just below the ruckus of the machine but he was helpless to respond as he passed out, the drug they'd given him and the blow to his head earlier keeping him down for the count.

It was later on he woke up to find Jones and another agent he vaguely knew was a transfer crouched over him and someone else. He turned his eyes vaguely to see Neal laying there, face pale and still. Peter still felt his body unresponsive and sluggish passing into a light unconscious. Someone lifted him up and carried him out and he hoped in the back of his mind that Neal was ok as he felt himself placed on a cot or something. Someone was gently slapping his face and asking him questions but he wasn't awake enough to respond.

"Sir... can you hear me?" The blurry figure in white was talking to him but he just rolled his eyes up to see them, squinting against the little bit of sunlight around them. Peter nodded his head but turned it when he heard others coming from his left.

"We need help here now!" Jones was talking, he knew that much as he tried to sit up but he blurry person in white held him back.

"Relax, Agent. You've been heavily drugged and that goose egg isn't looking very good. Just lay back." The man's voice was gentle and Peter nodded in response, his body still too tired to do much but he had wanted to talk to Jones. He wanted to ask about Neal who had looked so pale and still.

"We need a respirator!"

Someone was shouting nearby, Peter wondering who else was hurt as his head started to throb and he felt tired again. Someone slapped his face gently and he saw the blurry medic still sitting beside him.

"Stay with us. I need you to stay awake." The medic's voice sounded concerned so Peter nodded tiredly, his eyes still roaming around at all the blurry figures moving around. He could just make out another figure on a gurney like himself a few feet away.

"He's not breathing!"

Someone was shouting, his body tensing up at the sound of the voice. Who wasn't breathing? Neal? Peter tried to sit up again and succeeded, the medic distracted just long enough for him to manage it.

"Agent... you need to rest." The man had placed a gentle hand on his shoulder but Peter was squinting now, trying to focus on the figure they were working on not too far away. His vision stopped swimming long enough for him to see Neal's pale form in between several figure in white working hard to bring him back.

"Nee... al?" Peter started to stand up shakily but the medic pushed on his shoulder to keep him in place. Peter turned and glared at the man as he pulled away and stumbled towards the figure. Someone grasped his arm before he made it half way. Diana stood beside him.

"Boss... you need to rest." She was looking at the medic behind him who was standing there unsure what to do. She just shook her head for the medic to stay away a moment as they stood and watched the others working on Neal.

"Wha...t happened to him?" Peter was still out of it but his eyes were watery looking as he watched the young man fighting for his life. Diana shook her head.

"We're not sure. He's having problems breathing. Jones had to perform rescue breathing on him before he pulled him from the hopper. Maybe swelling from his neck injury or an infection from the shoulder wound. I don't know..." Her voice trailed off as Peter nodded vaguely. He started to feel tired again, leaning some on Diana who motioned for the medic to return and they walked him back to the gurney.

"Boss, you need to rest. We've already let Elizabeth know you're ok. She's going to meet us at the hospital once we know which one you're going to." Diana was crouched beside him holding his hand. Peter nodded tiredly, the medic shaking him slightly.

"Don't fall asleep... don't let him." The medic was talking to the both of them, Diana nodding as she continued to talk to Peter.

"We found this place through a shell corporation. Falco has a lot of hidden assets. I think we have him now. He's going away, Peter." She was smiling grimly but confidently. Peter finally turned his eyes to face her, smiling.

"Thanks Diana... and Jones. I heard him earlier." He started to close his eyes and felt someone sock him in the shoulder. Peter opened his eyes and oofed. Diana was still smiling only now it seemed more a smirk.

"Ok, I'm awake! Not sure if I should discipline you for that as your boss or reward you because you're trying to keep me alive." He was smiling at her despite being sleepy but it was hard to stay awake. She nodded with her own grin.

"At this point in my career, I don't want another boss so stay awake. Don't make me hurt you Peter." She was only half-joking he thought and he hoped it was about what he was thinking.


Peter ended up sharing the ambulance with Neal, the young man placed on a portable respirator while they monitored his vitals constantly. His heart was beating well enough but his lungs were weakened by some sort of infection caused by his neck injury and the shoulder wound. He was still too tired to hear much of anything or take it in so he only had bits and pieces of information concerning what was wrong with his partner. The agent reached over and grasped his partner's hand in his own. Neal's skin was cool, his thin fingers limp and seemingly boneless.

"Neal... stay with us." He whispered as he fought to stay conscious. He was still feeling a wee bit too tired for his own good, eyes starting to feel heavy again as the medics were distracted by his partner. His eyes started to close when he felt it. Peter opened his eyes, gazing at his partner. Neal had squeezed his hand and now his fingers clung tightly to his own.

"I'm right here, Neal. Keep squeezing my hand." Peter was still tired but the squeeze was keeping him anchored and he thought his own touch was hopefully keeping Neal with them. It seemed to be a long trip before the ambulance finally stopped and they were pulled out into the sunlight at the hospital ER. Peter held his friend's hand till they were separated and Neal's gurney disappeared down the hallway. Peter craned his head to see where but someone pushed it back down.

"You need to relax, Agent." It was the same medic from before, the man whispering his information to the nurses and doctors as his part of the job was ending. The man didn't seem like he wanted to leave but he was just the delivery person.

"They're going to take care of you now. Don't go to sleep yet or I'll send that pretty agent of yours to come kick your butt. She told me to let you know that." The paramedic was grinning slightly, Peter smiling back.

"Diana... yeah... she'll do it to. Thanks for everything..." Peter didn't even know the person's name, trying to read the name tag but the man beat him to it.

"Eric. I'll come back and see how you're doing."


Neal felt a tightness in his chest, fighting to breath and push whatever it was keeping him from getting air off his chest. Nothing was there as he gasped, eyes open but a slit. Peter lay beside him, eyes closed but he was alive when he touched his neck feeling a strong pulse. Neal heard voices over the sound of the machine around them. He saw a head peek over the far side of the vehicle they'd been in. SWAT! Someone had come to rescue them but it looked like they were leaving. He felt around till something cold and metal touched his fingers. He picked up the item hoping it would help as he started to tap in Morse code against the vehicle but his energy was draining away as he lay there, the sounds of the hopper beating on his already weakened body. He gasped for air but kept tapping, eyes closing as his hand continued to tap out the message automatically.

He passed out but he was vaguely aware of his hand continuing to tap his desperate message out. Neal felt a coldness come over his body as if he had been frozen solid, the ice keeping his chest tight and painful as he fought for breath. Someone stopped his hand from sending it's message and touched his shoulder. He felt warmth against his lips. At first he wasn't sure what was going on till he felt warm breath entering his lungs, his body taking it in greedily but he was still too weak to respond. Someone was trying to get him to breath, their voice talking to him but his body remained cold and still. They lifted him up at some point and he continued to gasp for air as more hands gently coaxed him to breath. Something cool was placed over his nose and mouth and his chest started to work again, lungs taking in air but it still hurt. His whole body ached.

Neal... stay with us.


Neal heard his friend's voice and answered but it was only in his head. He must be dreaming. Warm fingers entwined with his and he felt a strong grasp, finding the strength to squeeze that hand. The hand started to go limp in his own cold grasp so he squeezed yet again. He heard Peter speak again as he started to pass out again.

I'm right here, Neal. Keep squeezing my hand.

Neal nodded if only in his mind's eye and felt his hand warmed by Peter's as he fought for breath. When Peter's hand would go limp, he would squeeze tighter out of fear and in return Peter's grasp would grow stronger till finally he felt those fingers pulled away.


The darkness seemed to swallow him up, the subtle sound of his breathing and the beating of his heart all he could hear in the gloom surrounding him. He remembered everything now. His mind was still a bit fuzzy on the Nick Holloway stuff but slowly his current life and that life were coalescing together into one huge time line. Now he sounded like Mozzie, he thought with a grin.

Mozzie... he had forgotten about the little guy and now he remembered being asked about his friend and not knowing. A feeling of sadness came over him that he had forgotten so much but at least now he was starting to recall both lives. Something warm filled his eyes as he recalled the murder of his mother and the realization that Falco was his father's number two man. Maybe his father was dead but someone would pay for what happened to his mother. He'd make sure of it.

Neal... Can he hear us?

Neal? Is he going to be ok?

Someone was talking to him and to someone else. He heard only the main voice, the rest of them were buzzing sounds, too soft to recognize or maybe it was because he knew the main voice and not the others. His mind honed in on the one voice and tried to reach for it.

He felt pain, his body aching from the beating Falco's men had given him. His shoulder burned as he became more conscious, his throat tight, chest hurting. Neal felt his lips part as he fought to breath, a wheezing sound as his eyes fluttered open and promptly closed tightly, bright light making him wince.

"Neal? He's waking up."

The familiar voice was speaking again, Neal opening his eyes a slit and looking up at blurry faces around him. His vision cleared and he saw Peter standing there, something white like a bandage around his forehead.

"Pe...ter?" Neal gasped breathlessly, still feeling that tightness in his throat. He felt a hand on his shoulder gently squeezing till he started to calm down, a voice speaking quietly.

"Neal... breath... It's ok." Peter was talking to him, his brown eyes tired and exhausted looking. Neal nodded as much as he could, someone else there placing something on his face to help him breath and suddenly it was better and his chest felt less constricted. He turned to see a doctor or someone in scrubs with a white jacket to his right. Neal blinked up at them before movement from the left made him turn back to Peter.

"Watch me, Neal. You're going to be ok. They've got you on some antibiotics. It will get easier to breathe soon." Peter was smiling softly, patting him on his good shoulder and sitting down beside him. The doctor removed the respirator and he tried to talk again.

"Pe... ter... How... lo... ong?" Neal was looking at his friend curiously, swallowing to clear his throat but it felt full.

"Two days. I just woke up yesterday. They didn't let me sleep before cause they thought I had a concussion. Ends up I was allergic to whatever they gave me and it made me sleepy. No concussion although my head still aches and I look like the drummer boy from those old civil war illustrations." Peter was smiling, one hand rubbing at the bandages around his head. Neal smiled ever so slightly.

"Yeah... Parumpa pum pum... or something like that..." He was grinning now, Peter smirking back.

"Laugh it up, Neal." He paused a moment, his face pensive.

"Seriously though, just rest. I need you in one piece for the trial. We're both up as witnesses in about a month. Hughes got us a postponement considering the circumstances and new evidence." He pointed outside and whispered.

"They have us guarded outside. I'm in the next room." Peter pointed at the open adjoining door.

"Just holler if you you need something."


A month passed and Falco sat with his lawyer in the courtroom smirking. He didn't know anything about Neal or Peter being witnesses. His expression turned pale when Peter walked into court but he continued to smile. Falco's expression turned white as a sheet and just as stark when Neal walked in, his voice clear as a bell when they called him as a witness. The man new he had finally met his match.

The trial went well, Falco being sent away for a long time and his men joining him. Neal's only disappointment was not getting the man on his mother's murder. It wasn't something they could pull into the same case so at worse he would have to bring it up later but would it be worth it? The man had been an accessory, his late stepfather the real murderer. At least Falco was in prison for a while. That would have to be punishment enough for now.

Walking out of the court room, Neal looked relieved in more ways than one. Peter nudged him, his eyes settling on the young man's neck only briefly. Neal blinked at the attention as he was abruptly swept back to the present from his thoughts.

"What?" He looked down at his suit for something on it but there was nothing. Peter just smiled.

"No scar... well nothing too obvious. Those girls have no reason to not look at that pretty face of yours." Peter made a motion with his eyes towards some young women fawning from afar over Neal as they passed. The younger man blushed slightly which was totally unlike him or maybe it was. Nick Holloway had been a more reserved personality and he was now a part of Neal Caffrey's life. Peter nudged him again.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you. You usually throw the charm on like a bright flame when I push you like that. You ok?" Peter looked sincerely concerned but Neal just nodded.

"Yeah, just weird now that I remember things I had forgotten. Mozzie was telling me he had hoped I would forget again. He remembered my nightmares from those first few months of our friendship. Said it was all he could do to keep me from running off again. Some of it's still a bit fuzzy to me." He gave a little shrug as they continued to walk out of the courthouse and made their way to the parking lot and Peter's Taurus.

"Well, it's good to have you back regardless. You're the reason why we're here. Jones heard your S-O-S and one of the rookies translated. Said you were doing it in your sleep practically. Something like picking locks when drugged at the clinic." Peter unlocked the doors and they slipped inside the car and pulled on their seat-belts. Neal was grinning.

"Well I can do most of my skills in my sleep, with my eyes shut and all that jazz. Wouldn't be worth my salt as a th... consultant if I couldn't." He had changed the word he was going to say, Peter's brow furrowing at the word before he'd shifted it.

"CONsultant is right. MY consultant. So... El wanted to have a celebratory dinner with everyone. How does Chinese sound?" Peter was smiling as they pulled out of the parking lot, Neal nodding back.

"Sounds really good. All that bland stuff the doctors had me eat while in the hospital was killing my palette. I need something good to bring it back to life. And I like those dumplings they make." Neal was grinning now, Peter nodding back.

"Dumplings... You're distracting me. And we don't eat for another hour. June was trying to contact Mozzie but I told her you would invite him." Peter had turned his glance only slightly away to look at his partner and Neal nodded, cell already in hand.

"Hey it's me. Yes... Yes... uhm... (yes already) Ok... How would you feel about going out to Chinese with June, Peter, El and myself? Why? Uhm... cause we won our case. Yeah... uh... He wants to know who's paying." Neal had turned to Peter with a helpless shrug, the agent nodded with an eye roll.

"Possibly dutch... oh come on, Mozz... yeah, ok. Bye." Neal hung up the cell and pushed it into his jacket pocket. Peter was giving him a side long glance when Neal didn't say anything he poked him.

"So... he coming or what? El needs to make reservations once we get back and by the way, it's not dutch." He just left it at that as Neal stared at him with an incredulous smile. Peter didn't say anything else as they drove back towards the Burkes' house. When they parked, Peter locked the doors before Neal could pull the handle, the young man looking at the agent curiously.

"I need to talk to you about something... It can't wait and this is the best time I could think of." Peter's tone was serious and Neal's face paled slightly. The agent shook his head and smiled.

"Not that kind of talk. You didn't do anything wrong. I just... I'm sorry." Peter paused, his brown eyes glancing guiltily at the younger man as he made to continue but was interrupted.

"Peter... It wasn't your fault. You couldn't have known. I don't blame you. In fact... I was kind of glad they got me instead of you. What would El have done?" Neal turned his glance away when he saw the surprised look on Peter's face. They sat there in silence a moment before the agent spoke again.

"I still feel responsible. You're my partner and this shouldn't have happened. I knew Falco had it in for me but I never thought he would play on it. I've had so many threats to my life but it happens when you have a record for capturing crooks like I do. People want to get back at you for breaking up their scams. I tend to let it roll over me but this was just too close to home." Peter sounded upset if not remorseful, Neal uncertain how to react.

"Don't feel guilty, Peter. You couldn't have known what would happen." He put a hand on Peter's shoulder and smiled.

"And just know I never wanted to get back at you for catching me. Well... let me rephrase that. I'm glad that it was YOU who caught me. Anyone else would have either shot me or put me away to rot. Anyone else I might have played some nasty tricks on once I got out. But seriously, thanks for giving me a second chance." Neal saw the smile starting to return to his friend's face.

"You honestly think you can thank me for capturing you? Talk about a con conning a cop if ever a heard one but I accept your thanks however insincere it may be." He was smirking now.

"Ok fine... so I'm not entirely happy you caught me but it could have been worse. Could have been Deckard that caught me. That guy is just all smiles." Neal made a face, Peter chuckling back as he leaned against the seat and sighed.

"Deckard... that guy was a real piece of work. I think I'd have helped you escape if he had been on the case back then. I couldn't let him have you if only out of spite. So... shall we go inside and make those reservations?" Peter unlocked the doors, pulling the key out of the ignition as he opened up his door and Neal did the same. They walked up the few stairs to the door and went inside Peter's home.

"El, I'm home!" He was looking around for his wife but nobody answered. Satchmo was absent.

"Must be walking the dog. Sit down, I need to run upstairs a moment." Peter motioned to the couch as he ran up the stairs and disappeared. Not too long after the door opened and El showed up. She turned and smiled when she saw Neal sitting there. He stood up and smiled back.

"Hey Neal. How did the case go? Where's Peter?" She was looking around confused, taking the lead off Satchmo as the dog padded over to Neal and sniffed at his open palm.

"Upstairs freshening up I think. Falco's going away for a VERY long time." Neal was grinning, El walking over to give him a quick hug.

"I'm glad to hear that... and I'm glad to see you looking so well. Missed your voice. Everyone did." She was smiling brightly, kissing him lightly on the cheek before walking over to the phone. Peter came down the stairs a few minutes after.

"Honey, there you are!" She put the phone down to walk over and hug her husband as Neal watched, his hand gently petting Satchmo on the head.

"I hear you won the case." She was smiling as Peter turned to look at Neal who just shrugged.

"Yes, we did. Falco didn't see it coming. So... add Mozzie to the list. Sounds like he's joining us." He looked at Neal again who shrugged slight but nodded.

"So that's what... Five? I'm sure we'll get a table." She kissed him one more time before walking over to the phone. Peter joined Neal on the couch, his clothes changed to a casual pair of khaki dockers, a wine colored polo and some brown top-siders. Neal looked him up and down.

"What? I wanted to be comfortable. Aren't you going to change?" Peter was staring back at his partner who just shrugged.

"Nope. I'm comfortable with what I'm wearing." Neal adjusted his lapel, Peter rolling his eyes.

"Is that your way of saying your comfortable in your own skin? I could say the same, Deano." Peter adjusted his own collar, Neal rolling his eyes this time.

"Jealous? I could hook you up you know." Neal's voice turned smooth as if he were some kind of used sales man. Peter arched a brow.

"Hook me up and make me look like a cartoon? No thanks. El likes me the way I am and besides, I'm not much for frills." Peter turned to see El making a motion to Neal to hook him up, Peter scowling in a mock sort of way.

"Oh I see how it is... don't encourage him El. And don't start corrupting my wife with your Rat Pack stylings, Neal." He was trying not to laugh but Neal just crossed his arms a bit, nodding.

"Whatever you say, Columbo. The beige trench coat and your favorite suit went out with that series. You know that, right?" Neal was smirking slightly, obviously teasing the agent. Peter arched the other brow.

"But at least he always got his man and so did I... twice I might say." Peter smirked back, Neal scowling now.

"Always rubbing it in. You know the second time I let you get me. That shouldn't count. Tell him it doesn't count El." Neal sounded petulant like a little boy but she just shook her head and kept talking on the phone.

"Don't try to get her to turn to your side, Caffrey. She's my wife and agrees with me, right honey? El?" Peter watched her turn her head away and cover up the other ear to speak into the phone.

"Looks like we're both up the creek on her opinion. She's not taking sides." Neal stuck out his tongue, Peter blinking before he caught it with one hand and held it.

"I think this is three and O now... don't you think?"

(The End)