Peter kissed El as she hugged him and smiled up with her blue eyes.
"See you, Hon."
He smiled back and kissed her again.
"You too, Hon."
He hugged her one last time before he went out to the car and waved, El watching from the doorway. She was working from home today and he was on his way to pick up Neal for work. They weren't working a major case but it was still a case even if it involved the mundane subject of Mortgage Fraud. He laughed to himself as he started the car and pulled out into traffic. Neal had been good about working the case despite his dislike of the subject manner. He'd actually been very good lately so Peter had thought they might do something different for lunch. He was smiling as he thought about everything and how good things were when he heard it.
"Don't move, Mr. Burke. I have a gun pointed through this seat at your heart."
Peter froze, the voice not one he recognized. He tried to think who they could be as he saw the hint of face in a ski mask peeking over the back of the seat now. The man had brown eyes like him but that was all he could tell.
"Now pull the car into that alley and hand me your phone and don't make any sudden moves."
The man hissed at him, the sound of the gun cocking again as he complied. Was he getting car jacked but the man knew who he was. Maybe they didn't know he carried a gun? That must be it but who wouldn't if they were gunning for him? Peter had all the possibilities brewing in his mind as he casually pulled into the alleyway, parked the car and slowly handed the phone back. The man seemed satisfied.
"I've been waiting for this moment a long time. She could have been mine if I'd moved faster but you came along. Now it's my turn."
Peter didn't understand the reference at first till he felt the pain in his upper right chest and slumped forward. The bullet had been muted some and slowed a bit by the seat but it hadn't gone clean through. He felt blood dripping down his back as he tried hard to breath and not pass out. Someone grabbed him from behind and the seat belt was released, his body falling limp against the steering wheel. His chest burned from the pain of the bullet as he tried to clear his mind and react.
"I saw her every day and I made it a point to know her habits but she never noticed me. She noticed you though. I was out that day but the news passed quickly through the small gallery."
The man sounded bitter, angry as he roughly pulled Peter to the back seat and he heard the tearing sound of tape. He felt his arms pulled back, the man securing him at his elbows and then around his knees and ankles.
"I thought I'd have a chance to ask her to be mine... you took that chance from me Burke."
Elizabeth... he was talking about...
He couldn't breath well as the man shoved him onto the floor of the backseat and made his way to the front.
"I intend to make up for all the lost time."
The man took off the ski mask and Peter could only just see the man's reflection in the rear-view mirror. The man had light brown hair, a dark blond really, with darker highlights, a roundish face with some pock marks on it. He wasn't handsome with some scars on his temple and cheek that made him look rougher than he might actually be. It was hard to tell as he saw a manic gleam in the man's eyes. If anything, this man wasn't holding a full deck, not that it mattered since Peter didn't really have control of the situation.
"Wh... Whyy... now?"
Peter managed to get the words out but it hurt. He thought maybe the guy had nicked a lung but at least he hadn't shot him through the heart. He was keeping him alive for a reason.
"Why? Oh, I saw her picture in the paper. I'm not supposed to read the papers but I found one when the orderly left it on the chair. I snuck it inside and read the local section and saw her there. She's beautiful as ever and all the fancy events she runs. I want that kind of life..."
Peter couldn't breath well as he lay pushed down on the floor. The man was driving the car now. He could just see some of the scenery outside the window but wasn't sure what direction they were headed.
"I want to get to know you better, Peter. Can I call you that? I want to know everything before I go and visit. I want to be her friend when she finds you're missing. I want to be the shoulder she cries on. Eventually... I will be you."
Neal waited on the outside wall of June's for Peter, glancing briefly at his watch. Peter was late which was not like the agent. He pulled out his cell to call but was forwarded to voice mail.
"Peter, I'm here. I'll take a cab in the next 20 minutes if you aren't."
He hung up the phone and sat, waiting, playing with his hat and a thermos of coffee and waited. Finally 45 minutes went by and he decided he'd better get a cab to work. Neal jumped up off the small wall and walked briskly down the corner till he saw a yellow taxi and waved it down. He was wondering where his friend was as the cabbie drove towards the FBI building downtown.
Peter didn't remember much of anything, his mind fairly blank till he woke up to incredible pain. Everything started to flood back as he felt the burning sensation in his chest, the bullet wound aching as he found himself bound vertically against a chain link fence. His hands had been forced through the linking to the other side and tightly bound in an uncomfortable manner over his head. The position kept him from having his feet firmly on the floor which made it more uncomfortable than he already was, his wound being pulled by the weight on his arms. A knotted rope was strung around his neck tightening slightly if he pulled. He winced as he tried to get an idea where he was.
The room was gray, but weren't most cells that color? It was dimly lit in the room with just a few stray hints of light from a window that had been boarded up. He coughed not just from the burning sensation in his chest but the dust in the air. The place looked like it had been abandoned for some time, the room full of dust and debris. He heard footsteps crunching in the dust and rubble as someone came around the corner.
"I see you're up. Good. I stopped by your wife's business today. She's making quite a name for herself. Her assistant was very nice and let me have her number to call and ask about an 'event' I might be throwing. I wonder if she'll be surprised to see me. She may not even remember me but I'll make sure your wife gets to know who I am."
The man smiled coldly at him, moving over to a small yet clean table in the corner. It was one of those card tables that folds out. Next to it were two large wooden chairs. Peter was still pretty out of it with pain and exhaustion from his wound but watched the man as he laid out what looked like a fishing tackle box. The man opened it up and revealed some nasty looking tools along with several bottles of clear to semi-clear liquids that looked like prescriptions and some syringes. The man pulled one syringe out of the plastic covering and inserted it into one of the small bottles. A clear slightly amber looking liquid filled the syringe fully before the man removed it and tapped the needle.
"I need you... Peter... to tell me everything about your wife. Everything!"
The man lay the syringe on a clean cloth on the table before walking over and untying Peter from the fence and moving him over to one of the two wooden chairs. The man quickly and tightly bound him to the chair, making sure his arms were pulled back securely and his legs were tied to the chair as well. Peter pulled weakly at the cord that held him but it only dug further into his skin so he stopped. The man smiled mirthlessly at him as he bared the agent's neck and stuck the needle in. Peter struggled but the blood loss had drained him of much of his strength as the liquid was injected. The man moved away when he was finished, sitting in the other chair and leaning forwards.
"This was a nice little cocktail the nurses used to give me to calm down. It's also quite nice when you want someone to get chatty. I wasn't good in the therapy sessions so they used this to get me to talk about my feelings. That's what I want you to do, Peter. Tell me about Elizabeth. I want to know how I can be there for her."
The man was crazy, it was plain to see but Peter had no way to escape and the drug was quickly making his mind turn to mush.
Tell him about Elizabeth? What did he want to know?
His mind was already trying to figure out what to say and how to word it and how much he loved her. He thought about how she crinkled her nose when she was about to sneeze...
"Eliz... a... beth... She... likes flowers. Daffodils and orchids."
He started talking despite himself but it felt right. He was expressing his love for his wife even if he wasn't sure why as the drug make him talkative. He watched the man taking notes.
"Good good... now... tell me about her work schedule. I want to be there when she finds out about your absence."
Neal paid the cabbie, took the elevator up to the 21st floor and was surprised when he saw Peter's office was still dark. He noticed Jones and Diana busy at their desks with their own tasks as he glanced up at the clock to see it was just 10 minutes before they needed to be in. Hughes was talking on the phone in his office animatedly as Neal draped his jacket over the seat and dropped his hat and the thermos on the desktop. He sat down at his station but was curious why Peter hadn't showed up yet. The con pulled out his phone and saw no new messages.
He glanced up as Jones leaned on his desk and smiled down at him.
"Peter parking the car?"
Neal shook his head and shrugged.
"He didn't show up today and he's not answering his phone."
Jones looked surprised as he turned and they both glanced at Diana who was busy typing something up when her eyes slowly met theirs with a "what?" kind of expression. Both men walked casually towards her as she kept at her typing, manner wary.
"Hey Diana. Great morning."
Neal was trying to be nice thinking she might know something but she just glanced up at him with a cautious look that made him think twice about pissing her off.
"No, Neal. Whatever it is you've convinced Jones of... No."
She kept typing but Jones leaned over and tried his best sweet talking bit.
"Actually, we were both wondering if you knew where Peter was. He didn't show to pick up Neal."
Jones let the words hang in the air a moment as she kept typing then suddenly stopped.
"No. I wasn't told of anything going on and that includes things you may not be privy to."
She winked at them before getting back to her typing. The two men nodded and wandered back after a quick chat to their individual desks. Neal sighed, looking at the files in the inbox on his desk related to the current Mortgage Fraud case. It made him want to run screaming but he was trying to turn a new leaf and be a good partner and do his share. He sighed again and pulled out the top file to look it over.
Everyone in the bull pen jumped but Neal most of all as he looked up to see Hughes glancing down at him from his office. The man gave him the two finger call and Neal nodded, pulling on his jacket again and making his way towards the senior agent's office. Was he in trouble and that's why Peter wasn't here? He couldn't think of anything he'd done that would have gotten himself or Peter into trouble. He'd been very good for him and even turned down a proposal (to Mozzie's great disappointment) for a very lucrative job that would never have pointed back to him. He went through all the possibilities as he went up the stairs and entered Hughes' office.
"Close the door."
Neal did as he was told, half in shock but keeping up his appearances as he tried to be cool and casual. He knew he had done nothing wrong so what was he nervous about. Hughes smiled at him although most of the time smiling for the older agent wasn't a good thing. He felt a bead of sweat start to form on his temple.
"Neal... you're not in trouble so quit acting so damn casual and relax already."
The consultant nodded as he leaned against the door then sat when Hughes motioned for him to.
"I noticed Peter didn't bring you in today."
Neal blinked realizing Reese didn't know anything about Peter either. He had hoped...
"No sir. I tried calling but I keep getting his voice mail."
The agent nodded as he steepled his fingers in front of him and gave the younger man a curious look.
"I guess nobody thought to call Elizabeth?"
Neal felt himself mentally kick himself in the butt for not thinking of El when she would definitely know where Peter was.
"Thank you sir. I'll do that right now."
Hughes nodded with a genuine smile as he shooed the young man out and Neal made his way towards the break area to make his call.
"Burke Premier Events..."
Neal smiled as he replied.
He heard Elizabeth's tone turn to a more casual but surprised tone.
"Neal... to what do I owe this call? How's Peter?"
His smile cracked as he turned looking at the darkened office and tried to figure out what to say. She obviously thought Peter was with him. Should he say anything and worry her without knowing the circumstances.
"I was just curious if Mozzie had stopped by. He said he was going to ask you about... those brownies you made for him when he was in the hospital. He wanted the recipe."
He was pulling things out of the air not certain he should worry her till he knew what was going on. Maybe Peter was surprising her or something happened on the road, but why wouldn't he let him know?
"Oh... well I can pass it along to you when you come over for dinner. Tell Peter I said hi."
She sounded cheery enough as he kept his voice level. She didn't seem to notice his slight anxiety as they said their good-byes and he hung up. Another dead end. Where was Peter?
He turned to see Hughes on the phone again busy, but Jones was looking at him from his pile of work as Neal casually slipped over and leaned near the agent.
"Hughes and Elizabeth don't know where Peter is. This is starting to turn into a mystery."
He tried to look casual as Jones did the same. He must be thinking the same thing about starting a panic before they had all the facts. Maybe Peter had a flat and went to get it fixed or car troubles. Still, the fact he hadn't called anyone to say he was running late, most of all Hughes or Neal was odd in itself.
"Give it till lunch and then we start panicking."
Neal blinked back at the agent's comment but nodded as he went back to his desk. The folder he had pulled out earlier was still there waiting for him to look at it as he glanced down at his phone and tried Peter's phone one more time.
"You have reached the voice mail of Peter Burke, Leave a message after the beep or stay on the line for more options."
Peter didn't remember much of anything when he came to again. His head was groggy but it could have been the blood loss or maybe the drugs. It was hard to tell but he was in agony, his chest still tight and burning from the gun shot wound and his inability to breath well. He was lying on a cot now but his arms were yanked tight over his head and bound to the legs of the cot as were his legs. He tried to shift and move to get loose or comfortable and the cot barely rattled. It was bolted to the ground he thought as he gave up and just lay there. He stared up at the now darkened ceiling. It must be evening because there was very little light if anything coming from the boarded up windows. Maybe there was a street lamp outside but he couldn't get up to see. He was thirsty and hungry, his stomach protesting to him as he lay slumped against the ratty cot in the dimly lit room.
"In other news, a man hunt is on for a missing person in the Brooklyn area..."
The sound was coming closer as he listened and realized the radio was talking about him. The man was back, holding a small transistor radio and smiling again as he turned on a light.
"You're awake so soon. You must be fairly strong to resist that drug and I gave you a high dose too."
The man turned the radio off and came closer, grasping Peter's chin in his hand as he held him firmly.
"I'm going to go visit your lovely wife tomorrow and tell her I hope you're found soon. I'm sure she'll feel glad that someone cares. It won't be long before I'll find other ways to make sure she knows I will be there for her. I'll be her go to friend."
The man smiled menacingly as he let go of Peter's chin and walked over to that table from before. The tackle box was still there as Peter turned his head to watch. He felt like he was going to die soon, his wound hurting him, breath shallow and gasping. The agent knew he couldn't have long even if this mad man didn't kill him.
"I'm going to mail out an anonymous letter to your work saying you were kidnapped by a certain mobster. What better way to confuse the authorities? I'll even include something of yours to prove they have you."
He watched the man take out something metallic and dangerous looking along with a small plastic sandwich bag. He hadn't noticed till the man came back he had pulled on gloves.
"They don't need any DNA evidence but yours. So... shall we get started?"
Peter watched the man crouch just behind his head and felt cool plastic gloves touch his right hand. His index finger was pulled taut and he felt something grasping at his nail before he gave out a muffled scream through his gag. The pain ended to some degree although he could feel a bit of warm wetness from where his nail had been pulled off. The man grasped his chin again in his gloved hands and held something in front of his bleary brown eyes.
"A finger nail will grow back if you live that long and it will prove someone kidnapped you when they find your body."
The man spoke very matter a fact as if he were talking about wallpaper samples. The pain was unbearable from the new wound that Peter passed out again.
Around lunch time Neal went up with Jones to talk with Hughes as he was getting ready to go eat.
"Sir, Peter's missing. We waited, called around to be certain but even Elizabeth seemed to think he had come to work. He's not answering his phone."
The older agent looked at the both of them, Jones closing the door as they stood in an unofficial powwow. Reese ran a hand over his chin looking upset.
"So it's official then... there's nothing to say he had a doctor's appointment or took the car to the shop... Neal."
The consultant stood up straight as he was addressed and shook his head.
"What did Elizabeth tell you?"
Neal told him how he had called and had been asked how Peter was. He didn't want to worry her without cause so he had acted like he called for another reason then ended the call. Hughes nodded and turned his attention to Jones.
"You and Barrigan do a sweep around the Burke residence and check all the traffic cams before we do a man hunt. I want to be certain of Peter's absence before we cause a stir. Neal, you keep calling his phone. Don't tell Elizabeth yet. Keep this under wraps till I tell you otherwise."
They were both surprised that he was being so quiet but under the circumstances there was no reason to think Peter had been taken or hurt.
Neal called Peter's cell again, the voice mail picking up before he called Mozzie.
"This better be a secure line..."
The con smirked as he walked to the elevator and pushed the button to go down.
"I need you to do me a favor and track Peter's phone. Tell me if it's online and if the GPS is still working."
He heard silence before a slight intake of breath and Mozzie answered again.
"Something happen to the Suit? Does El know?"
Neal felt badly but he didn't want to worry her if he could help it. It was still early in the day.
"Maybe... we're just checking out some leads. He didn't pick me up this morning and he didn't show or call in to work. Something's wrong."
There was a moment of silence then some background noise.
"Ok. I'll call you back when I have a fix."
Neal hung up his cell, going into the elevator and slumping some against the wall as it started down. Peter didn't just 'disappear.' There was something strange about the agent just not showing up when he was prompt if not good about calling in if something happened. He was going to grab a quick bite and coffee at the deli across the street as he waited for Mozzie's call. Hopefully his friend would find out where the agent had gone. He had barely made it out of the lobby when his cell rang again.
"What did you find?"
"It's Jones. Where did you go?"
Neal paused on the corner as he waited to cross the street.
"Just waiting for one of my contacts to call. Tracking Peter's phone. Thought I'd get some coffee. Want something?"
There was a moment of silence than a cough.
"Mochaccino sounds good. Just hurry it up and tell me what you find about the phone. Hughes wants you back up here."
Neal nodded as he hung up, his phone promptly ringing again.
He heard a familiar cough.
"Who else? I have a fix on the phone. It's still on but it's out of your radius. Want me to check it out for you?"
Neal was relieved as he nodded to the cell.
"Yes and get back to me. I'm on a coffee run."
"Will do Capitan."
Back upstairs, Neal and Jones were looking over the traffic cams. Neal told Jones to stop at some point when he saw something suspicious.
"Look at that! Is that someone getting into the Taurus?"
They saw what looked like the back door opening just out of range of the camera then closing. Jones blew up the shot then they looked again and nodded.
"I think you're right Caffrey. I'll make a copy of this for the forensics team to check out."
Jones patted him on the shoulder before leaving Neal to sit and wait. It was only 1 pm now but they'd have to tell Elizabeth soon that Peter was missing. She was expecting them both for dinner tonight. What was he supposed to say? He sighed when someone else touched him on the shoulder.
"Neal... Any luck contacting Peter on his phone?"
Diana was standing there, pulling a chair up to sit beside him. She looked worried as he looked at her.
"No but someone's checking out a lead. I'm just waiting for confirmation."
He sounded more uncertain than he ever had as she gently squeezed his arm.
"I'm sure he's ok. We'll find him."
She didn't sound any more certain but he saw the determined look in her eyes and nodded.
"I hope so for Elizabeth's sake. Let me call my contact again."
Neal excused himself and walked over to the break area again, dialing a number and waiting.
"What is the wing velocity of an unladen swallow?"
Neal blinked before he sighed and answered.
"Mozzie... it's me. Got anything?"
He was secretly hoping his friend would say yes but was not expecting what he did hear.
"Neal... Not to be an alarmist but get your Suit friends out here pronto! It's more serious than you thought. Much more serious!"
The consultant's eyes widened uncertain what to think of Mozzie's tone but he knew if his friend was upset something was up.
"Stay put. I'll be right there with the cavalry Mozz."
"Neal... his cell was in the car abandoned."
Neal froze trying not to think about it as he got the address then hung up the phone and looked quickly around. He saw Jones heading back in from visiting Reggie in Forensics. He walked quickly over and followed the junior agent back to his desk.
"I just got word from my contact that he found Peter's phone."
Jones blinked and nodded.
"What is the location?"
Jones sat down at his desk to grab a notepad and write the address down Neal gave him.
"Jones... the phone was in Peter's car. Peter wasn't there but my contact sounded very upset."
He saw the look Jones made and they went up to see Hughes. Diana had come back by then and joined them. Hughes told them to check it out and then let him know the outcome.
It was 3:30 when they called Hughes back. They had gone to the spot where Mozzie had indicated the car and phone were and found it exactly as specified. At first they weren't sure why Mozzie had been upset, the little guy not present when they arrived but once they had glanced inside the front seat they could see. The driver's seat had been tore up and it was obvious from the front it had been by a bullet, a small hole in the back and burn marks from a gun. The gun was on the floor of the backseat.
"Well we have the gun that did this but where is Peter?"
Diana sounded grim as she used two fingers to lift the gun and place it in a baggie. Jones was digging around as he noticed the blood stains. Neal felt sick when he saw it and turned away. Someone had hijacked Peter in his car and shot him and left everything here except the body. They popped the trunk but found nothing in there. So whoever did this was smart. They had more than likely wiped prints away and had left the gun with little evidence to see who it belonged to, the serial number filed off.
"They knew what they were doing when they took him. He must still be alive but we have no clues as to why or who."
Diana was upset if and Jones looked pissed off. Neal didn't know what to think as he tried to hold back being ill. What was he going to tell Elizabeth at dinner? She was expecting them. Someone patted him hard on the back and he turned to see Jones there.
"I'll make the call to Hughes. Tell your friend thanks, Caffrey. He'll make sure to put a guard on Elizabeth and let her know what's going on."
Neal kept looking at the stain in the car then back at the agents.
"Let me tell Elizabeth. I'm supposed to go for dinner with them tonight. I can stay and stand guard. I don't mind."
Jones and Diana looked between the other and nodded.
"One of us will stay with you just in case but I think Hughes will be ok with that."
Neal nodded at them as he moved from the car and listened to Jones make the call to Hughes. Peter was shot, hurt and possibly captured by someone. The thought of his friend in danger made his nausea rise as he found a bush at the edge of the lot they were in and threw up. Diana came over to help him as he stood up dizzily.
"Come along Neal."
She had placed an arm around him to support him as they walked back to the cruiser to wait for the other agents to arrive.
Peter didn't wake up it seemed for days but when he did he felt a horrible thirst, his tongue feeling too thick for his mouth despite the rags stuffed in there and the tape pulled over his lips. His chest still ached dully with the pain of his gun shot wound and his hand pulled back over his head pounded dully from having the nail removed off his index finger. The agent was in bad shape, vision swimming as he stared up at the ceiling and around the small debris filled room. Light came in through the cracks of the boarded windows so it must be daylight. How long had he been a prisoner he wondered as he tried to stay awake and get his thoughts together.
The man holding him wasn't there anymore and the tackle-box still sat open on the table in the corner. He kept wishing he had spent more time at home this past weekend rather than working on cases. He missed his wife and this man was obviously insane and obsessed with Elizabeth. Peter pulled on his bonds but they just seemed to cut more into his wrists so he finally stopped when he felt wet warmth dripping down his hand.
He groaned through his gag, wondering how he was going to survive this when he felt tired again and his eyes rolled back. He couldn't stay awake any longer as his body succumb to the pain and blood loss and he passed out.
It was still only the first day but 5 PM was just around the corner. Hughes had allowed for Neal to leave after they returned from the site of Peter's missing car and phone to go visit with Elizabeth. Jones went with him while Diana stayed on the search. Neal wasn't sure what he was going to say but he knew he had to be the one to tell her. They had barely rang the bell when Elizabeth opened the door surprised to see both of them and looking around as if for Peter.
"Neal... Jones... uhm... what a surprise. Where's Peter?"
She looked a bit more than curious as Neal swallowed hard and tried to keep up appearances. He hugged her lightly as they stepped inside, Jones staying off to the side looking uncomfortable. Elizabeth hugged him back before placing Neal at arm's length and looking directly at him.
"Something's wrong. I know it. Is Peter running late again?"
Neal shook his head as he suggested they sit down. Jones remained standing as El watched them both with a wide eyed expression.
"Elizabeth... I didn't want to tell you till we were certain but... Peter is missing."
He saw her eyes widened a moment, blink then she grasped his arm tightly as it hit her what he had said.
"Missing? How? Why? Wasn't he with you when you called earlier today?"
She was looking at him hopefully but he finally shook his head her face falling.
"I was calling to see why he hadn't picked me up but when you asked me how he was I didn't... well I wasn't going to scare you if he merely went to take the car in or had a flat. I wanted to be sure before I said anything."
He watched her nod at him vaguely but continue to hold his arm in her hands tightly.
"So that stuff about Mozzie..."
Neal shook his head.
"He would want the recipe but that's not why I had called. I just didn't know what else to say. I'm so sorry."
She nodded at him without anger but he knew she was worried.
"So he's missing? Hughes sent you then? Why didn't he come himself?"
Elizabeth sounded so lost but Neal just took her hand in his and held it.
"I wanted to be the one to tell you since I was going to be coming for dinner."
She nodded again, her manner still very much in shock as Jones interrupted.
Jones was giving him that look when he realized he hadn't said the worse part. El looked between the both of them realizing there was more.
"There's more isn't there..."
Her tone sounded so final but Neal kept his hand holding hers as he bit down the nausea from earlier and spoke up.
"Mozzie tracked Peter's phone to an abandoned lot. The cell was in the Taurus but Peter wasn't there. It looks like someone took him."
Neal didn't want to say the rest of it but he knew she had to know. Jones seemed to understand and coughed, drawing El's attention to him.
"Mrs. Burke, we found signs that Peter might have been shot. There was blood in the front seat of the car and a bullet hole. We have every available agent looking into this and we're here to guard you until we find out what's going on."
Elizabeth's face paled as she gripped tightly onto Neal's hand giving him a heartbreaking expression. He pulled her close to him when she started to cry and wrapped an arm around her as he continued to hold her hand. He was looking at Jones who shrugged helplessly, his own expression pitiful as they all thought about what might have happened to Peter.
Once El had gotten the worse of her crying out of her system, she seemed to be trying to be the good hostess despite their protests. She insisted, fixing up the guestroom on the second floor for whichever one of them wanted it and the couch for the other one. Jones opted for the couch since he had the gun and could defend them better from the first floor. Neal took the guestroom to keep and eye on Elizabeth or at least an ear out. He wasn't going to sleep any time soon. None of them were. Once that was all established, El kept busy in the kitchen fixing the dinner she had meant to make for just the three of them before everything went wrong. Neal went to help her while Jones kept a look out in the den and called the office to see what news there was.
"I wish... you had told me sooner, Neal but I understand why you didn't. It was very early when you called. I meant to call Peter to ask him what he wanted for dinner but got busy with a client call and forgot. I hope you and Jones both like pot roast. It's Peter's favorite..."
Her voice broke off to a kind of squeak as she started to sob again, Neal holding her till she calmed down.
"He'll be ok. If Mozzie found his phone and car, we'll find him. Trust me."
A day past and there was still no news about Peter. They were wondering who had it in for him, checking on all the case files he'd worked on recently with the same MO as had been found at the lot with his car and phone. Only a few cases matched and Diana brought files for Neal and Jones to peruse so they could help out while guarding Elizabeth. She only stayed a few minutes, talking to El about the case and what they were doing before leaving to go on searching. At some point Mozzie showed up, knocking on the front door when Jones answered and blinked down at him.
"Your friend's here, Neal."
Neal was knee deep in files, searching for something to help find who had taken Peter as he looked up and nodded. He walked over to the door as Jones opened it and Mozzie took a few cautious steps inside.
"Hi, Junior Suit... Neal... where's Elizabeth?"
He looked worried as he glanced around and Neal made a look skyward.
"Oh... how is she taking it?"
The con man came over to sit with Neal as Jones went into the kitchen and they heard the sound of him messing with the coffee machine.
"As well as someone in this situation can. There's something wrong with this case. We have a few suspects from previous and current cases but none truly..."
The door bell rang again, both men looking up from the sofa as Jone came around the corner. He had his gun at the ready as Mozzie moved to answer the door. He peered through the curtain and shrugged. They were just about to open the door when Elizabeth came down the stairs.
"I'm expecting a client. Sorry... I almost forgot when I woke up a few minutes ago. Shouldn't take too long."
Neal and Jones nodded, both clearing the files away out of sight as Mozzie let Elizabeth answer the door.
"Mr. Onslo. I'm so glad you could make it. I meant to reschedule but I haven't had a chance to call you back."
The man was about Peter's height, light brown or dark blond hair with dark highlights and brown eyes. His face wasn't perfect with pockmarks and some scarring which made him seem fairly rough on the outside. He smiled at Elizabeth, taking her hand and seeming to apologize as the others watched.
"I heard on the news. I'm so sorry. I can go if you need time."
He sounded sincere, frowning at the situation as El tried not to talk about it. Mozzie and Neal stayed nearby as she shook her head.
"If you don't mind."
The man shook his head.
"Not at all. Just call me if you need anything."
He handed her his card and gave her a quick hug as she reciprocated and he left. She leaned on the door a moment, Mozzie walking over and gently taking her arm as he took her back over to the sofa to sit. Neal joined them as he watched Jones remain standing.
"Are you ok, El?"
Mozzie was the first to speak as she looked up at them all and blushed, nodding.
"Sorry... that was Mr. Onslo. I had nearly forgotten he was one of our frequent visitors back when I was working at the art gallery. That's where I met Peter. Seeing him again just reminded me of that."
Mozzie put an arm around her as she leaned against his shoulder and try to smile.
"We'll find him, El. Don't worry."
Mozzie looked up at Jones and Neal who nodded in response.
Author's Note: With the last episode I had to do something where Peter was in danger but nobody knew why. I wanted to emphasize El and Peter's relationship a bit more. There will be whump for others just not yet but this will be a Petercentric story.