Neal was sitting out on the patio on one of the chaise lounge chairs, the wind gently whipping at his hair as he sat there, eyes shut. He was meditating in a way, blocking out the noises of the city but wishing he could move more on his own to go visit Peter in the hospital. June had promised to take him tomorrow during visiting hours when he asked her about the agent.
Mozzie's voice interrupted his thoughts as he opened up his eyes and turned slowly to look at his friend. The con man moved closer and sat beside him on a nearby wrought iron chair with a soft flowery cushion on it. Neal sat up as best he could, his body still a bit stiff from the drugs he had been given.
"Mozz... what's... up?"
His voice came slowly to him, vocal cords a bit off from the after effects of the drugs. He could talk and walk and move around but it took some effort. The doctor had said the drug was a powerful anesthetic and would take a few days to completely wear off. He still felt fairly groggy even though he wasn't on anything as he smiled at the other man.
"Worrying about Peter and El."
Neal blinked, surprised his friend had addressed them both by name. Mozzie seemed to notice the error, quickly correcting himself.
"The Suit and Mrs. Suit... I guess I'm getting a little soft."
He grinned at his friend, slowly rising to his feet and hobbling in his manner towards the main apartment. It was growing slowly darker as a storm blew in, thunder in the distance. Mozzie followed nearby as if ready to catch him but letting him do his own thing. Once they were inside, Mozz went straight to the kitchenette and smiled back at him as Neal closed the French doors. It had already started to rain.
"I was thinking of some wine. Want some?"
Neal rolled his eyes but nodded, feeling more the guest than host with Mozzie offering him his own wine.
He started to move towards the sofa when he heard his cell phone ring. Neal eased himself over to the nightstand and picked it up.
Elizabeth Burke's voice cracked slightly as she spoke.
"El? What's the matter?"
He could hear her breathing hard in the background before speaking again.
"Can I come over?"
This didn't sound good but of course he nodded.
"Ring the bell a couple of times so I know it's you. June's out at a committee meeting and..."
He didn't get to finish as she quickly interrupted.
"Good. She Mozz be keeping up with the Joneses again."
Neal blinked at her choice of words but something made him listen to how she said it and nod at the phone.
"She must be. See you in a bit."
The call hung up and he turned to Mozz.
"El... said something odd just now."
The little guy walked over with two goblets of red wine, handing one to Neal.
"Is something wrong with the Suit?"
Neal looked uncertain.
"I don't think so but she told me 'She Mozz be keeping up with the Joneses again' when I told her about June being out. Sounds like code to me."
Mozzie nodded as he blinked and sipped at his wine.
"Call Junior Suit and tell him what she said. It might be a good idea. I just wonder why she used my name for Must unless it has something to do with that Onslo guy but he's under lock and key."
Neal already dialed Jones, waiting for a reply when the agent answered.
Neal concentrated so his voice would be steady.
"Jones, it's Neal. Elizabeth just phone me with an odd message. I think you had better come over here."
He heard a bit of movement on the line.
"Caffrey... did you say Elizabeth called you? When was this?"
Neal wondered if something was wrong.
"Maybe ten minutes ago. She sounded a bit off... what's going on?"
He waited for Jones to answer when the power in the house went out and the cell connection suddenly squealed at him. Neal pulled the phone from his ear and hung up the phone. Mozzie looked at him curiously.
"Neal... what's going on?"
His friend sounded a bit freaked out as Neal went over to the fireplace hearth and popped it open on one corner. He pulled out a small pistol which he handed to Mozzie and some bullets. Then he grabbed a flashlight.
"What do you want me to do with this, Neal?"
Mozzie looked freaked out.
"Fill it up and hide nearby. Nobody knows you're here."
Mozzie was about to protest but Neal just pushed him into the bathroom and closed the door as he paced a moment. He wasn't sure what to do when he heard it. The bell rang two times. That had been what he told El to do. He hoped Jones was on his way as he composed himself, slipped on his shoes and went downstairs. He had the small flashlight in his hands to lead the way, hearing the doorbell ring two times yet again in succession as he reached the bottom of the stairs. He could see a single figure by the door as he approached. It was Elizabeth and she was alone from the looks of it. She didn't have a coat and looked to have been soaked by the downpour.
Neal didn't hesitate as he unlocked the door and opened it. It was raining full force now, the wind howling.
He watched her start to open her mouth to speak when he felt something hard hit him at the base of the skull. Neal keeled over to the side, hitting the floor with a thud as he watched the blurry form of El pulled into the house and the door shut and locked.
"You did well, Elizabeth. You don't want your friend or husband dead do you?"
He could just hear her sniffling and trying not to cry as Neal lay helpless in the entrance of June's.
"Good. Now tie him up with this."
Neal felt someone kneeling beside him as his arms were pulled behind him by soft gentle hands. He gave a weak groan, El's voice speaking softly to him.
"I'm so sorry, Neal."
He could hear the terror in her voice as she spoke and finished tying his wrists behind him with tape. She moved away or was pulled away from him as someone else roughly yanked him to his feet and leaned him against the wall. It was Onslo.
"Hello again, Neal... We have to quit meeting like this."
The man forced them both down the hallway back towards the larger foyer and dining room. He pushed Neal onto a small couch there and quickly started to bind El's wrists behind her and ankles along with Neal's so they were both bound pretty tightly, a piece of tape pulled over the con's lips while El was still ungagged.
"I'm doing this for you, El. I always thought you were something special. These... men couldn't know that. I'm just glad I have my chance to show you finally what I feel for you."
She nodded dumbly as Neal watched her in the semi-darkness, his head throbbing dully as he slumped back against the seat and tried not to pass out. El was nudging him when Onslo finally left them with Neal's flashlight.
"Neal... wake up! Neal, please!"
She hissed urgently at him but his head hurt so much it was hard to concentrate although he was trying to obey her.
"Don't leave me with him, Neal. Please... stay awake!"
He could hear the urgency in her voice but he couldn't obey as his eyes rolled back and Neal passed out.
Diana was on her way to the hospital to check on Peter when she found out he was awake. Elizabeth had called Hughes, Jones and herself earlier that morning with the good news. She decided to go on her lunch break when her cell rang in the parking lot. She could just make out the voice as rain fell heavily and she pulled out her umbrella. Jones called her and told her to check on Peter as he got the call from Neal about Elizabeth. She was worried when her colleague told her that the call with the con had dropped mysteriously. Diana hurried inside, taking the stairs to the 2nd floor quickly. She hoped it wasn't an emergency but she knew something was wrong when she reached Peter's room and the door was locked.
It took a minute to find a staff person but they quickly complied with her wishes when she flashed her badge and unlocked the room. They were greeted with a horrifying sight as Diana told them to call a doctor and she went to check on her boss.
There was blood on the floor in front of the door and smeared on the wall. The wounded agent now lay on the opposite side of the bed on the floor, arms pulled back tightly in a small pool of his own blood. Diana checked for a pulse on the ashen looking figure and was happy to find one and Peter breathing although a bit shallowly. She grabbed a sheet from the bed and tore it into strips to help wrap the wound and to stop the bleeding.
"Peter... it's Diana. Wake up."
The agent didn't respond, his skin somewhat cool to the touch which worried her more than his silence. She looked up warily when footsteps approached but it was thankfully a doctor and several nurses. They took over for her as they gently lifted the agent to the bed and started to check him for any further injuries. Seemed he had a pretty good knot on the back of his head as they wheeled him out of the room to restitch his wound. Diana followed as far as the OR doors then stopped and pulled out her cell to call Jones.
"Jones... you were right. Someone got to Peter. They tore open his stitches and he was bleeding pretty heavily. How's Neal?"
The agent was parking his car as he spoke.
"Just found a spot in front of June's but it's pouring hard. Looks like the power is out. When you can, come over here. I might need the help."
Diana nodded at the phone making a sound of agreement.
"Let me see how Peter is going to be then I'll meet you there. I'll send backup."
She hung up and called Hughes to tell him what was going on when someone interrupted her.
"Ma'am, the doctor said your friend is going to be ok. They'll be putting him back in a new room soon."
Diana smiled at the nurse before finishing her call and asking her more questions. The agent flashed her badge.
"Do you know if a Mr. Onslo is still here in the hospital?"
The nurse looked at her curiously then motioned for the agent to follow her to the nearest station. The woman glanced at a computer screen, typing something in then turning the screen around.
"It says he's in lock down. Why?"
Diana was about to answer when the phone rang and the nurse stopped to answer it.
"When did this happen? Someone was just... yes sir. Thank you sir. I understand. Can you hold a moment?"
The nurse looked at the screen then at Diana.
"You were asking about Mr. Onslo? He's escaped. They just found the person on duty watching him dead."
She said the last word quietly, her expression shocked as Diana's eyes widened.
"Are they locking down the hospital?"
The nurse nodded, handing her the phone as Diana talked to the man on the other side.
"Sir, I think your patient has already escaped. Can you let the people in charge of his care and security to come talk to me? My name is Agent Barrigan with the FBI. I think I know where he is."
She kept talking till finally hanging up with the details settled. She had asked them to find their surveillance footage and have it ready as she thanked the nurse for her help and called Hughes again.
"Sir, I think Onslo is at Neal's place. Jones is there and I had backup going over to help. He killed his guard here at the hospital and the staff only just discovered he was missing."
Neal was waken up rudely, cold water splashed on his face as he felt a hard slap to his cheek. He glanced up through blurry eyes to see Onslo standing over him threateningly. Elizabeth was gone, a cold chill washing over him as he worried about her.
"Don't worry, pretty boy. Elizabeth is sleeping. I had to give her something to calm down. Now... that gives us time to chat."
Neal watched the man as he saw him pull out a long syringe with something clear in it. The chamber was only half full with a few pockets of air in it. The con was starting to feel nervous as the man didn't tap the needle.
"It's a painful way to die but along with the slow acting poison, it will be soon enough."
The man smiled coldly, as he bared Neal's neck and held him firmly.
"Nothing personal... I just want her all for myself. It's a shame I had to leave her husband in the hospital... dead."
Neal felt a terrible pang of loss at those words but he was too weak to struggle as the man started to push the needle against his skin. He was ready for the inevitable when the silence was punctuated by a familiar voice.
He felt Onslo pause, just able to see the man through the corner of his eye looking across the room towards the dining room where Jones stood with two other agents. More figures were at the front door. They were surrounded and Neal couldn't have felt more relief at being in the presence of the FBI than now. Neal felt his captor pull the needle away, watching the man hold it up as if to drop it. Jones motioned for the agents to move in, one moving around to go let the others in through the front. Onslo smiled suddenly, Neal wondering why till the man spoke.
"You're too late..."
Onslo held the needle like a blade, ready to stab it into Neal's neck when there was a loud report and then another before the man finally collapsed to the side and off of the con. Neal was breathing hard as Jones approached, checked the dead man and worked on untying the consultant.
Neal coughed out before he slumped a bit. The agent tried to help him up, his head still hurting as he tried to stay conscious. He had to find El wherever the maniac had put her.
"El... he had her. Said... she was... sleep... ing."
Jones nodded, leaving the half-conscious con with another agent on the sofa while he went to look for Elizabeth. Neal wanted to get up and help but his body was refusing to act as he wondered what he was forgetting. He told Jones about El but there was something else.
"I'll check upstairs!"
One of the agents said as Neal suddenly remembered. He moved to stand up but fell to the floor, the agent watching him gently helping him back to the sofa.
"Mozz... he's... upstairs. Help me go up..."
The agent looked at him oddly but finally helped him to his feet as they stumbled up the stairs. They caught up with the other agent and Neal grasped the man's arm.
"He doesn't know you... let me talk to him."
The agents looked confused but nodded as Neal stumbled into his room and called out.
"Mozz! FBI is here."
Neal barely got that out when he collapsed to his knees, the agents moving forward to help him as the bathroom door started to open. One of them had their gun ready as Mozz came out with his hands up but the gun apparently not with him. That's what Neal had been worried about as he slumped to the floor, the little guy coming over to help as he pushed the agents aside.
"Neal... hey. Wake up! What did you guys do to him?"
Mozzie sounded upset if not worried as Neal passed out again.
Neal was the first to wake up, someone holding his hand as he started to come to. His head was the first thing he noticed because it hurt, a dull throbbing in his temples and the base of his skull. He shifted some, the person holding his hand moving in response.
"Neal? Hey... Neal can you hear me?"
He opened his eyes and saw a blurry figure which soon focused to a very worried Mozzie. He tried to sit up but gave a groan as his head throbbed even more.
"Yeah... could you talk softer?"
Mozzie blinked at him with a slightly exasperated look.
"I'm already whispering so I don't wake up the Suit and his wife."
Neal was suddenly wide awake. Did Mozzie just say he didn't want to wake up Peter? Hadn't Onslo said he was...
He sat up despite the dizziness and nausea and glanced quickly around the room. He was on a small gurney near the sofa in the back of the hospital room while two other beds occupied the room next to each other on his left. One had Elizabeth who appeared to be sleeping and the other... Peter.
"Help me up... Please."
Mozzie looked upset but he helped Neal moved closer to the other two figures as Neal stopped in the seat next to El's bed and sat a moment to catch his breath. She looked peaceful despite what had happened. There was a light bruising on her arm and wrists where Onslo had obviously grabbed her tightly. He grew angry at the memory but calmed down knowing she was ok and the man was dead. He stood up and leaned over to kiss her on the forehead but she didn't move, a worried look crossing his face.
"She's still under the influence of whatever Mr. Onslo gave her. Doctor said it was a pretty heavy sedative but it should wear off."
Neal nodded as he had the con help him over to where Peter lay. The agent looked pale, ashy but he was alive, his chest moving up and down rhythmically. He could just hear a soft rattle of breath that made him secure his friend was indeed living. He sat down in the chair beside the hospital bed and took his friend's hand in his. He had been worried about having to tell Elizabeth Peter was dead after what Onslo had told him. Had she been here with the agent when she was taken? He wasn't certain what had happened other than Onslo had claimed to have killed the agent.
"Neal... you should rest."
He turned and looked at his friend with a slight nod of his head, pulling the chair closer to the bed and leaning his head on the edge as he continued to hold Peter's hand.
"Later, Mozz. Lat..."
Neal felt himself go to sleep or maybe he passed out but he felt more relaxed than he had. He thought he felt someone gently brushing his hair but it had to be a dream. Neal felt himself waking after a time and the feeling continued as he moved ever so slightly, sitting up to find two brown eyes looking at him.
The agent nodded silently, a small smile playing across his lips. They held hands a moment till Neal felt the agent's grip tighten a bit and he turned to see what Peter was looking at. Elizabeth still lay sleeping quietly on the next hospital bed. He could see the worried look on his friend's face.
"She's sleeping. Onslo gave her something but it hasn't worn off yet."
Peter nodded, looking at his sleeping wife then at Neal as he opened his mouth to speak.
The agent didn't finish his sentence but Neal knew what he wanted as he stood unsteadily and gingerly moved Peter's bed closer to Elizabeth. He pushed down the bed rails inbetween as the two bed's were pushed together and Peter shifted his weight a bit. Neal tried to steady the agent from behind as Peter moved a bit closer to the sleeping figure of his wife and leaned over, his lips kissing his wife's.
Fairy tales might just be stories but suddenly as if one had come to life, Elizabeth's eyes fluttered slightly her lips moving to meet her husband's as Neal watched. Her hands reached up to hug him as they stared into each other's eyes and smiled.
Peter's voice was raspy but clear, El smiling up at him.
Neal moved towards the door quietly as he left them alone. Mozzie was just walking back from down the hallway with a cup of coffee and some tea. He hurried as Neal almost fell down, helping him to a seat.
"You're not supposed to be up and about, Neal!"
The con hissed at him but Neal was smiling, his eyes looking at the door to Peter's room. Mozzie noticed his friend's expression and handed him the coffee.
"Elizabeth and Peter woke up, Mozz. Thought I'd give them a few minutes alone."
Mozzie nodded, sitting beside him as he sipped at his tea.
"How is the suit? He was looking pretty ashy there."
Neal smiled more broadly.
"Good I think. Happily ever after good."
Mozzie gave him an odd look.
"Happily ever after good? Did Sleeping Beauty find her prince?"
Neal continued to smile without a word.
Author's Note: This was just a short little thing that came to me. After the excitement of Payback, I wondered if someone would go after Elizabeth. She's very pretty and what if she had a stalker. I know I did a story like this in the past but this wasn't exactly the same plot. I hope you enjoyed it. Not certain what my next story will be but I do have a pile to pick from. :D