(Chapter 1 - Present time...)

Neal glanced around the alley outside the old tenement house and noticed immediately the broken window on the third floor. He was glad he decided against a suit for once and wore some black denim jeans with a dark blue flannel button up over a black tee. He had a leather jacket that matched, looking quite the sophisticate or maybe the cat burglar type if Peter were here.


He sighed looking up at the window and knowing he had to get in there. It was a bit of a climb with the fire escape missing but there were storm pipes that look more than sturdy enough. One stopped short of the window but he should be able to get far enough. He glanced around on the gloomy winter's day and saw nobody passing by as he shuffled casually into the alley underneath his point of entry. Neal pulled on some leather gloves he had for the cool weather as he took a hold of the metal staples that held the pipe in place and used it and parts of the aging, pitted brick as hand and footholds. Everything held for the meanwhile as he agilely made his way upwards, closer to the broken window.

Neal managed to stretch up and reach the ledge, getting a good grip with one hand and pulling himself up till he was inside, broken glass on the ground where he had pushed in the remaining shards. He was thankful he had brought gloves, seeing a few small cuts on them where they would have been on his hands. He quietly crossed the dusty, empty room, an open door 10 feet to his right. Neal stepped through into a dustier hallway, empty and as forlorn as the other room. It seemed abandoned if anything but this was the place. He quietly crept further down the hall when he heard a scraping sound ahead. Neal paused, listening as he honed in on where the sound was coming from. Finally he saw a door at the end of the hallway, the only door that didn't look decomposed with age. He headed quietly towards the door, the scraping sound getting louder as he approached.

He pushed his ear to the door and listened but only the scraping sound could be heard. It might be an animal but it sounded too rhythmic. Neal pulled a small case from his pocket and opened it up. Inside were what looked like metal picks, his thin artistic fingers drawing two out and quietly working on the door's lock. It only took him a few minutes and the lock popped open, Neal turning the knob slowly and deliberately.

The room was dusty like the other rooms, a dirty mattress in the corner on the floor. A radiator sat nearby which was the source of the scraping, a figure laying still on the mattress, eyes closed, tape over their mouth and hands bound over their had with metal cuffs to the pipe.

"Peter?" Neal hissed as he glanced around the dimly lit room. The windows had been boarded shut with scrap metal, very little light entering the room. The figure didn't respond, the scraping sound from their cuffs moving against the radiator pipe. The figure lay on the dirty mattress, a low groan erupting from the figure's throat. Neal moved a bit closer, taking out a small pen light and shining it at the figure which made him gasp.

"Peter..." His voice trailed off as he saw it was his friend. Peter lay shirtless, his chest covered in bruises and scratches. Dried blood covered most of the agent's chest and clotted blood stuck thickly to his forehead where it had dripped down his temple from a wound. Neal tried not to panic as he saw his friend laying there hurt. He was just glad the man was alive and his sources had been correct.

"Peter... wake up." He whispered quietly, glancing back occasionally. He wondered why the men asking for ransom would leave their victim alone. The whole setup made Neal nervous for some reason. He pulled the picks out again and undid the cuffs as he freed his friend, removing the tape and rags from Peter's mouth.

"Peter... it's Neal... wake up!" He was begging now, his voice quiet as he held his friend close and tried to nudge him to consciousness. The agent slumped loosely against him.

"Peter..." Neal sighed in frustration but he had to get his friend out. He was sure he couldn't drag him out the window with him but would have to find a way down to the street level and outside. He pulled out his cell hoping Jones would pick up. He was surprised when he heard the beep and looked to find there was no signal. Why wouldn't he have a signal in the city? It didn't make any...

He never got to finish the thought as someone cuffed him against the back of the head. Neal slumped over beside his friend. His gloved hands struggled to push against the dirty floor and mattress but he was stunned and unable to do much. Someone lifted him up and pressed him against the wall, one arm twisted hard behind him. Neal winced but something was stuffed into his mouth, tape pulled over his lips. He was vaguely aware of two dark figures with masks standing there, one of them holding him firmly.

"Ah... so the partner comes to the rescue. It's a shame you won't be leaving. Hold him still!" Neal felt the grip on his arm twisted more till he was forced to stiffen his body, a hand around his neck and chest holding him erect. He could just make out that the man was pulling something out of his pocket. Neal's eyes widened as the saw the Kbar held before him, the blade brought down to his free arm and cut up the side. He twitched in fear but only heard a ripping sound as his jacket sleeve and shirt were opened up. The blade didn't catch his skin luckily as the man tossed it aside and took his arm firmly in his hand. The masked man pulled out a rubber tube and tied it around Neal's upper arm till he could feel it start to go a bit numb. He struggled ever so slightly but was held tight.

"We waited for you to try this out knowing your past. Figured it would be a good way to get rid of an asset that would otherwise put our boss away for good." The man was smiling, finishing up with the tourniquet as he started pulling out a bottle and syringe. He inserted the latter and drew in a large amount of the yellowish liquid. It looked vile as the man tapped the needle and then pulled Neal's arm taut and stuck it into a vein. Neal winced seeing the jaundiced liquid pushed into his veins. It burned upon contact, his body twitching as it entered his system. Whatever they were giving him it felt like liquid fire burning inside of him, the feeling coursing slowly up his arm as the tourniquet was removed and it moved further up into his body. He felt his other arm freed as he was dropped to the ground.

"We won't bother cuffing you knowing your track record for escaping but you won't want to move for a bit. Here's the bottle for when you want more." The man laughed, dropping the bottle and a clean syringe in plastic beside him on the floor. Neal's eyes unfocused as they rolled back into his head and he felt the drug course throughout his body, vision slowly fading to black.


Peter was cold but he was too tired and drugged up to shiver much less move much. His body was one big ache, his back the worse of his pains as he lay against something rough. He wanted to shift his body to a more comfortable position but again, he was too tired and too weak to move, the slow scraping of his cuffed wrists all the sound he heard as he lay there partially conscious. His legs were free but his mouth was full of rags, duct tape over his lips. He gave a weak groan.

At some point he thought he heard something. They had finally left him alone and he was glad for it but if the sound was them returning, he wished suddenly for a hole to hide in. His body ached too much from the beatings they'd given him while he was held. He didn't understand why they had waited so long to ask for a ransom if that's what they truly wanted. The man in charge of his kidnapping was a notorious mobster he'd been tracking along with Jones and Diana. The man's name was Randall Friscinetti and he was known for getting rid of those that got in his way, especially cops and Feds.

Peter shifted slightly but it wasn't enough to alleviate the pain he felt. The sound came closer, soft quiet footsteps followed by a low scraping noise that wasn't his cuffs.


A familiar voice spoke to him but he couldn't answer even if he hadn't been gagged, they had denied him all but the minimum in water and food over the length of his capture. Peter felt the floor boards shifting under the mattress as the figure walked closer. His eyes remained shut so he could only go by his other senses. He felt pressure on the left side of the mattress as someone eased onto it beside him and touched his arms pulled over his head. He heard a quiet tinkling of metal as his wrists were freed from the cuffs and he was lifted gently into someone's arms. He could feel their warm breath and hear them speaking quietly, worry and concern in their tone. He slumped against their shoulder, the material cool beneath his cheek with a unique scent. Peter realized it was leather mixed with some cologne he could only just remember smelling before.

Then as quickly as he felt the familiar presence, they were pulled from him as he slumped against the moldy mattress again. There was a loud cracking sound and a thud as someone or something fell to the floor near him. He wanted to wake up and say something but he was still too weak to respond, mouth dry, his eyes still closed tight. His captors were there, he heard their voices as they hissed at the other figure.

Don't hurt him... Please!

He thought but was unable to reply, his fingers moving ever so slightly as he lay there but it was useless to think he could act. He wanted to but his body was far too exhausted, his little bit of conscious fading to nothingness as he heard the men laughing.


He wasn't sure how much time passed before he was conscious again. He felt his eye lids flutter softly open, the faint light making it hard to see with his sight already unfocused as it was. Peter found himself curled up on his side, his back hurting as he shifted slightly. He could feel the cuts there stinging from where he had been tied down and lashed till he passed out. The agent made a low gasp but little else escaped his lips as he glanced tiredly around him. He saw a figure laying not more than a few feet away dressed in dark clothes. Peter dragged himself closer to see who it was, his eyes widening at the discovery.


Peter nudged the young man gently but Neal didn't respond. He poked at him again, feeling for a pulse. Neal's skin was cool to the touch and sweaty, a faint but steady pulse evident.


He wanted to speak but still his throat was dry and no sound escaped his chapped, split lips. He held his hand underneath Neal's nose and mouth, frowning when he felt no breath. He rolled the young man onto his back gently as he cleared Neal's throat and started to breath for him.

Breath Neal... Please...

Peter pushed what little air he could spare in his own weakened condition into Neal's mouth, feeling and seeing the air move the young man's chest up slightly with each breath. Finally after what seemed forever, Neal began to breath on his own, Peter sensing a give as he moved away, curling up on the floor near his friend. He only looked up from Neal's unconscious form when he saw something on the floor some feet away. It was a cell phone. Peter dragged himself towards it but found it wouldn't get a signal so it was useless. He sighed quietly to himself in frustration, wondering why Neal was here alone.

Peter turned back to his friend and saw that the light was still green on the anklet. This must be within his two mile radius. If he were to remove the anklet... but he didn't have the key. It was back at the Bureau locked up in his office. Peter cursed silently before he saw the other item on the floor. He dragged himself towards it, half crawling and picking it up. He made his way back towards his friend and lifted Neal's left leg, using the Kbar to cut through the plastic. It was like a hot knife through butter as he used the blade to remove the anklet. The light promptly turned red and beeped at him as he felt his energy waning once again. He curled up near his partner and tried once again to wake him. Neal didn't budge, ragged breathing evident now.

Neal... wake up! Please...

Peter pleaded in silence, eyes closing as he felt exhaustion from his little bit of movement. His wounds stung but he wasn't thinking of himself as he tried to remain conscious, his breath loud in his own ears. He could hear his pulse pounding in his head as he lay there, what sounded like sirens coming closer. He thought he heard voices and the squeal of tires coming to a stop outside. Feet pounded on loose wooden floor boards as he felt them approach the room and someone touched him gently on the shoulder.

"Peter? Oh my God... we found him! Caffrey's here too. How did he... SOMEONE CALL A MEDIC! We have men down here!" The voice was familiar and he felt a relieved sense of calm fall over him as he passed out.


Author Note: This was a ficlet from my Menagerie drabbles. I think this will work as a longer story. Let me know what you think. Thanks to Marauding Snitch for the kind comments.