(Chapter 1)

Neal stood on the roof and stared across the night scape of the countryside. There were faint lights from a neighboring town and a slight reflection of the stars and sliver of moon overhead on the river below. He woke from his contemplation when he heard someone sneaking up. He had a knife on him for anything but defence but it would have to do. Neal hid behind a cement pillar about to jump the person if he had to till he heard a voice hiss into the darkness.

"Neal?"

He relaxed, putting the knife away and quietly coming out around the post as he saw Alex standing there. She looked surprised but relieved as she moved to hug him and they looked around the darkened, dimly lit rooftop.

"Where is Chris? He was supposed to be here by now. I did my part."

He saw she was dressed in pretty evening gown now complimented by long dark leggings and boots. A bag on her back obviously held the heels and other accessories, her hair pulled back and pushed under a black stocking cap. He frowned when he thought about their cohort. He was late. Neal had already found the item and contacted him on their phones but Chris had yet to reply back. Something felt off. Alex was changing from the dress into a dark knit but comfortable top as he turned his head to give her some momentary privacy.

"I texted both of you once I retrieved the item but only you replied. Could he have been caught?"

Chris tended to get distracted or think he could do more than was necessary; risks they couldn't afford under the circumstances. This was supposed to be a simple snatch and grab, Alex having been the distraction. She had made herself friendly with the owner of the estate and been invited in, bringing them in through an open window in the back without the man knowing. She would keep the owner occupied while Neal and Chris got the item. Chris was supposed to be look out but he had vanished and Neal had done the job alone without luckily any problems. Now their friend was missing and they were under a deadline. If they didn't get out soon, the owner would notice his missing item and Alex conveniently gone. He tried to be cheerful despite their worry.

"So, what did the Count have to say?"

Alex blinked as if she had been deep in thought and he had waken her from it. She was fixing her shirt and pulling her bag back onto her shoulders as she shrugged.

"He has some odd ideas of fun. Let's just say he's tied up and waiting for his 'mistress' to return."

She shivered obviously not that kind of girl but a smirk crossed Neal's lips as he thought about it and held back a chuckle. Alex looked at him and blushed a bit more poking his arm.

"Stop it, Neal. It's not funny. Chris knows where to meet doesn't he? We can go..."

She didn't sound very convinced of that but they had to be gone before the Count and his men came looking. He finally nodded.

"Yeah... the rope's already there. I was thinking we were leaving sooner and set it up when I showed. There's three. I have the carbines and hooks. Here..."

He pulled out a belt and tied it around her waist and added a small steel clip as they moved around the pillar and over to the edge of the roof. Below was darkness with only a hint of water and trees under the mostly starlit night. They were going to swim across to the other side and get back to the mainland and their temporary accommodations. It was something they had committed to memory but not losing a friend. Chris had to show up soon...

"Go ahead, Alex. I'll give him a few more minutes. Start down."

She nodded reluctantly, Neal helping her hook to the line as she slipped over and hung on a bit longer waiting. One hand grasped his and pulled him closer. She kissed him.

"Don't be long, Neal."

He nodded as he reciprocated and then let her go, Alex's lithe form beginning the slow descent downwards. He watched her as she made it to the first ledge and started going further when the sound of hurried footsteps met his ears. Neal turned to see what was up when he saw a familiar form running their way.

"HURRY! They're after me!"

Neal didn't understand till he heard the gunshot not far from them and quickly pulled on his own belt and started over the edge. He sat there, feet hanging over as he clipped the carbine to his belt and rope and waited for Chris to join him. The man waved at him frantically.

"JUST GO!"

He wasn't sure what to do but he leaped over when a bullet nicked the ledge near him. Neal hit the wall hard before catching himself and starting to repel downwards after Alex. She was looking at him curiously, her face just visible in the faint glow of a window. He shrugged and made motions for her to hurry. They both started to move down quickly, Neal making his way down to the first ledge as Alex made it to the second. He looked up to see if Chris was coming down but there was no sign of the young man although he heard sounds of people shouting and gun shots. He paused at the first ledge in anticipation when he saw Chris finally come flying over the side and hit the wall hard.

"CHRIS?"

The thief looked like he had stunned himself against the molding, Neal moving upwards to see if his friend was ok when he saw the glint of a gun overhead and ducked to the side as a bullet narrowly missed hitting him. He was swinging, his rope twisted and making his descent harder as he tried to get loose.

"CHRIS!"

He called out again till he saw his friend finally respond and look at him dazedly. At least he was alive. Neal made to move up as he rope untwisted and he shook the thief. He could see something dark running down his friend's face where he'd hit his head against the wall.

"Chris... come on. Chris..."

He was going to say more when he felt something hot skim his shoulder, his right hand slipping from the rope as he started to slide down faster than he meant. Someone caught him last minute, their hand holding his left. It was Chris.

"Neal..."

He nodded, getting a hold of the rope again, stopping himself and getting back to where he could slide down slower and sit on the ledge as Chris joined him. The men above had disappeared for a moment.

"What happened?"

He heard a ripping sound and saw Chris had tearing part of his sleeve off to wrap Neal's shoulder. The thief shook his head but his friend insisted.

"I'll explain later. Your shoulder needs to be wrapped. Go with Alex. I'll be ok."

Neal nodded as he started down slowly, repelling to the next ledge as he saw Alex nearing the bottom of the huge manor. He looked back up to see Chris moving to follow when a window opened up along that same ledge and someone grabbed him. Neal couldn't cry out fast enough, watching as a knife slit his friend's throat, Chris slumping forward with a gasping gurgling sound.

"Chris!"

Neal was panicking, calling out to his friend but it was obvious he wouldn't make it. Chris was starting to slip but the belt and carbiner held him in place as he watched helplessly.

"Don't let go!"

Alex hadn't seen but one of the men had come out of a window near her rope and was cutting at it as Neal tried to call out to her. He grabbed for the end of her line, quickly tying it to his own as the guard cut the rope, it snapped and she slipped down a few yards with a shriek. Neal felt his shoulder pull as he caught her weight, wincing from the pain but quickly recovering as he made to slide down faster than he should. The guards were now coming out near his rope and one had a knife ready to cut it. Chris twitched and struggled slightly above him as he continued to quickly slide down the rope and yelled for Alex to make a dive for the water below. He hated to leave their friend but what could he do?

She swung out once or twice before kicking hard off the building and releasing the carbine hook, flying towards the river just yards away and hitting with a hard splash. Neal looked up to see Chris staring down at him with glassy eyes, struggling for breath. He wanted to help him but what could he do as he watched the guard smile and start to cut the rope. He had to make a leap for it or die here. Neal swung out quickly, gaining momentum just as the rope frayed and broke. He felt himself flying out wildly towards the river but he hadn't gained enough power to do more than hit a neighboring tree, falling through the branches painfully before bouncing off one and hitting the water hard. The wind was knocked from him as he sunk below the surface, his eyes remembering the look in Chris' eye as he hung suspended there dying.

()()()

Neal woke up with a start, his breath coming hard as he panted and tried to slow his heart beat. He had been having a nightmare, one he hadn't had in some time. He slowly woke from the terror his mind had recreated starting when a sound jarred his senses. He reached to grab up his cell phone and pick it up.

"Did I wake you?"

Neal looked at the clock to see it was just after 3 am. He shook his head as he sat up and moved his feet to the floor, standing up. He walked across to the kitchenette in the darkness, turning on the light over the table as he opened up a bottle of wine and poured himself a glass.

"No... how are you doing?"

He waited for her to speak, a softness to her voice he wasn't familiar with except on rare occasions. Alex was upset about something and he could probably guess what.

"Can't sleep. Had a nightmare about... well you know."

He nodded again although she wasn't beside him. If they were together they'd have gone to bed, slept in each other's arms, made love and that would have helped to relax either one of them but they weren't together.

"Where are you?"

He took a sip of the red wine from the glass before hearing an answer he hadn't expected.

"I'm actually in town. I meant to call but I didn't think I was going to be here long enough to visit. Mind if I come over?"

There was a longing there but he was seeing Sara now and they shouldn't be doing this...

"I have work in the morning. I can't call in today. Meet me for lunch?"

There was a silence he didn't expect and then finally a hint of breath and sigh of disappointment.

"Sure... usual place?"

He nodded as he replied back.

"Of course. See you then."

She didn't reply as the line disconnected and beeped back at him. He walked back with the glass of wine to the couch and sat down in the dimly lit room. He wasn't going to be able to sleep but it was too early to do anything. He switched on the TV before he dialed a number and waited for them to reply.

"At the sound of the beep, you had better have a good reason for calling me. BEEEEP!"

Neal blinked with a slightly smirk on his face as he coughed and replied.

"I had that dream again..."

There was silence then he heard movement and a grunt of reply.

"Fine... want me to come over and talk you through it or is over the phone ok?"

Neal leaned back and nodded his head as the TV flickered across his features.

"Over the phone is fine. Alex called. I think she had the same dream. I didn't even realize... what today was till I had it. It's been 10 years, Mozz. I should be over this."

He heard movement on the line then a cough before his friend answered back.

"Guilt pure and simple. I told you that before. You still feel guilty for having survived the con and your friend didn't. He saved you but he died doing it. What else can I tell you?"

Neal sat up, wiping at his face as he felt something wet and warm dripping down his cheeks. Was he crying? He sniffed and nodded.

"I know you told me that the last two times I asked but it felt different this time. I don't know... It felt like a warning."

He heard a sigh on the other end.

"Neal, it's just old guilt getting at you. You forget but your subconscious doesn't. Shall I bring that book on Freud back for you to read again?"

He shook his head and yawned as he leaned over on the sofa arm and started to feel like he might doze off.

"No, it's ok. I just... sorry I woke you. G'night, Mozz. Thanks."

He heard shuffling over the line then an answering yawn.

"No problem. Neal. Get some sleep. Night."

The call ended, Neal dropping the phone to the floor as he passed out on the sofa. The TV continued to flicker brightly in muted tones over his now relaxed features as he fell back to sleep.

()()()

Peter was surprised when he didn't see Neal outside bright and early as he had told him to be. The agent went up to the door for June's and knocked. June answered with an apologetic smile as she ushered the agent inside.

"Neal's running late, Peter. I guess he didn't call you. He had a late start and it was just dumb luck I happened to peek in and wake him when his alarm didn't."

The agent blinked but nodded motioning upwards with his eyes. June nodded in reply.

"I'm sure he's nearly ready. Go ahead. There's some coffee up on the terrace too."

He thanked her as he made his way up the stairs two at a time and found himself staring at a familiar door, his hand raised to knock when it opened up and two blue eyes gazed back.

"Peter... sorry. I missed my alarm. Let me grab my jacket..."

Neal turned to grab it, Peter noting the young man's appearance. He was his usual slick self but there was something missing as the young man seemed a bit off his game. His tie was slightly askew and his hair missing some element of perfection while still looking nice. It was little things but maybe it was just him noticing as the con shuffled around the apartment with unfocused energy. Peter stepped inside and saw the ewer of coffee on the counter of the kitchenette as he grabbed it up and poured himself a quick cup. He saw Neal's jacket behind the door as the young man looked for it without realizing where it was.

"Neal..."

He pointed at the door and the hook there as Neal turned and saw, a "d'oh" kind of moment hitting him. Something was bothering the young man enough to make him miss something as obvious as his jacket on the hook. A flush came to Neal's cheeks as he walked over, grabbed it up and sighed.

"I'm ready. Sorry for making you wait."

He started back for the door when he stopped Neal from leaving.

"Tell me what's wrong."

Neal turned and blinked at him, stifling a yawn. He had began to shutter those emotions he hid so well but the lack of sleep made it all the more obvious to the agent something was up.

"Nothing. I just had a rough night. We don't want to be late do we, Peter? Those mortgage fraud cases aren't going to solve themselves..."

The agent blinked this time as he nodded and they left the room, Neal locking up behind him before trotting down the stairs a bit more like he usually did. Something was up if Neal was speaking of mortgage fraud as if he liked it. They said their good-byes to June as they rushed out the door and into the car. Peter pulled out into traffic and noted that Neal was quietly sitting in the car without messing with the radio, fidgeting or doing his usual distracting antics. In fact the young man had dozed off staring out the window, eyes only partially open as Peter let him be for now. Something was bothering his friend and he was determined to find out what.

()()()

Peter parked the car, noting that Neal hadn't moved from his spot staring out the window. He was about to nudge the young man when he heard him speak.

"Don't... don't let go..."

There was an urgency there as if Neal were remembering something that had scared him. Peter nudged him gently.

"Neal, wake up."

The con was slow to react, still responding to whatever dream or memory he was experiencing while asleep. He saw a twitch from the con and it made him think of the time he'd been hit by a bullet. It was the same response, Neal grabbing his shoulder gingerly as Peter made another attempt to wake him up.

"NEAL... Wake up!"

Maybe it was the tone of his voice that did it but Peter wasn't certain. Neal woke up in a panic, his face white as a sheet and sweat forming on his brow as he pushed back against the car door as if he were in danger. Peter held up his hands in a surrendering manner, Neal finally looking at him and registering where he was.

"Peter? I... I guess I fell asleep. Sorry."

The terror was still there but before he could ask, Neal had already pushed up his barriers and shuttered his expression against any further queries. Maybe it was better he didn't ask but something was bothering his friend if he was losing sleep and having nightmares.

"We're here. Ready?"

Peter was doing his best to not ask but it was in his nature to know and figure things out and this was a puzzle if anything. Neal nodded with a thankful expression as he blushed ever so slightly and they exited the vehicle. He noticed the con seemingly going through a mental transformation from when they left the car to the elevator. It was as if the incident had never happened and the usual confident Neal Caffrey stood there. There was no sign of the nightmare, fear or anything having happened as they exited to their floor and separated, Neal to his desk and Peter up to his office. As he dropped off his jacket and coat, hanging them on his chair, he looked out to see that Neal was doing the same, grabbing up a notebook, pen and talking to some passing colleagues. Whatever was bugging him, Neal was doing his best to be as normal as possible. Too normal Peter thought but it would have to wait as he saw the pile of cases on his desk. He saw Neal look his way as he made a motion and the consultant headed over.

Neal knocked which was unusual and Peter coughed to let him know to come inside. The con was being cautious as he quietly walked inside the office, closed the door and sat down without putting his feet up on the desk. There was something wrong but he would ignore it as the case file before him awaited his attention and he pushed a copy over to Neal's side. He watched his partner open up the file and start reading as he read his own copy. He heard a slight gasp, looking up to see Neal looking apologetic.

"Sorry. Just an interesting case."

Peter waited he read the case file and saw nothing more than a simple cat burglary case. Something here interested his friend but Neal had turned his attention back to reading, blue eyes wide as he read silently. All this quiet was driving Peter nuts since Neal was never this quiet. Something was definitely up.

"So... any ideas how to catch them? They've stolen quite a bit from several local homes and museums. Any patterns you see?"

Neal glanced up with a nonplussed expression before he shook his head and pushed his nose back into the file. There had been a mild hesitation indicating the young man had seen something familiar but what had it been? Peter decided not to confront him yet.

"I can't say anything for certain yet, Peter. Give me some time."

He nodded seeing the hurt look on his friend's face. Did he think he blamed him for this?

"I know you didn't do this. Don't think that's what I'm asking. I just know it's within your expertise. Someone dropped this on our desk but Hughes wasn't sure where it came from. Is there a viable case here in your opinion?"

Neal was looking at him with a more relieved look but that expression from earlier of fear was planting it's seed again. His eyes looked haunted as he shrugged and shuttered his eyes to look normal again.

"I'll look into it. I promise."

Peter nodded as he moved to answer his now ringing phone and motioned for the con to leave. Neal took the file with him as he exited quietly for once and closed the door behind him.

()()()

Neal didn't know what to think when he saw the file. It was definitely a style he'd seen before and known but was Peter trying to accuse him of this crime? He was relieved when his friend told him that wasn't the case. It was a mystery file that had been dropped on their desks and Hughes wasn't sure they would pursue it unless it had something valuable there.

He took the file home at the end of the day, Peter trying to talk to him but his mind was elsewhere.

"Neal... if you have anything on your mind you want to talk about..."

He looked at his friend wanting to tell him how he was feeling but it was from his past and one that his partner and mentor would far from agree with. He shook his head and smiled his most winning smile but Peter was far from convinced.

"I'm fine. Just a bad night and this case has me intrigued. I... I'll see you in the morning."

He watched the agent sizing him up till he finally smiled back with a "We'll discuss this later" look before they parted. Neal watched the blue Taurus disappear into the evening traffic as he opened June's door with his passkey. He locked the door and made his way through the large foyer and up the stairs to his room. He had barely opened the door when June walked up.

"Neal, you received a package. I wasn't sure what to do with it so I kept it downstairs. Here."

She handed him a very neatly wrapped box about the size of a paperback book. He thanked her as she excused herself back downstairs and he went inside his rooms, closing the door and locking it. He held the package in his hands without really thinking about it as he dropped it on the small dining table along with the case file. He heard his phone ring as he pulled it out of his pocket and answered it.

"You stood me up today."

He was trying to think who when it hit him. He was supposed to have lunch with Alex but had forgotten with the case file and dodging Peter's curiosity on why he was acting the way he was. He gave an involuntarily wince as he pulled out a bottle of wine and poured himself a glass.

"Long day. I'm sorry Alex. We could do dinner..."

He heard her heels clicking in the background and the sound of a doorbell that was oddly echoed in the house. He didn't think much of it till he heard June downstairs and her voice echoed through the cell.

"Sounds good to...me."

He was opening the door as the sound of her heels and voice came through the phone and outside. She was smiling up at him despite her obvious irritation at him forgetting their lunch date. June smiled between them.

"You have a guest, Neal. I'll leave you two alone."

She gave him a motherly look of warning to behave as he nodded back with an equally innocent expression. Alex seemed to watch in amusement as she entered the room and closed the door, leaning back on it.

"So what was so important about a case file at work you had to leave me alone today?"

She was fishing but he knew she was upset with him. He pointed at the table with his head then back at her, arms pinning her in against the wall as he leaned forward and they kissed. She ducked under his arms when he tried for a second kiss moving over to the table flirtatiously.

"You can't get out of standing me up that easily, Caffrey."

She was obviously teasing but he could sense the hurt in her voice as she picked up the file and gave it a glance. He moved closer and offered her a glass of wine as he grabbed up his own.

"This doesn't sound like too interesting a case. Simple snatch and grab."

He handed her the glass of red as he sipped at his own and sat down. She joined him as he turned the pages in the file and pointed. He watched Alex read the text her face paling as she obviously came to the same conclusion as he had. It hadn't just been him.

"It's not possible. You said..."

He nodded trying not to think about that day but she hadn't seen what he had. She had been too far below in the darkness to see Chris dying. He had been the one who had to tell her what had happened.

"I don't know how but someone is copying him. He couldn't have survived. They cut his... throat."

He choked on the words, taking a long pull of wine before pouring himself more. Neal watched Alex do the same.

"It's been 10 years, Neal. Someone's sending us a message. Those dreams... this time it felt different. And I... I got this in the mail."

She took her large black tote and dug around till she pulled out a small paperback sized box. Neal turned to the one he had on the tabletop which Alex had failed to notice. She saw it now.

"What's inside?"

He saw her hand him the box as he opened it up and found a very ornate pin inside. There was no card but the box had tissue paper with a printed design marked Happy Anniversary! inside. The pin itself was pretty and nothing to be afraid of but Alex obviously was. He didn't touch it as he closed it up and handed it back.

"The Count offered me that the night we were... robbing him. I had left it behind when I left him tied up. Could he be coming after us? Why send me this pin as a present?"

Neal didn't know what to think as she picked up his box and handed it to him. She was meanwhile fiddling with her own box, opening it back up and looking down at the pretty pin.

"Open it, Neal."

Neal obeyed but was afraid what he might find inside. Reluctantly he unwrapped the brown paper to find a very nice jewelry box inside. It was also marked Happy Anniversary! all over the shiny red box top. He unwrapped the blood red satin ribbon around the box and carefully opened it up. He blinked in surprise to find a very expensive set of silver cuff links within. Alex stared at the presents they both had before meeting his eyes.

"Why would the Count send us expensive gifts for robbing him 10 years ago? It doesn't make sense."

She was pulling the pin out now, the filigree ivy design of the piece dotted with what looked like tiny rubies and sapphires. She winced and sucked at her finger as a sharp bit caught her on thumb.

"Dangerous jewelry. Doesn't make sense unless he wanted me to cut my finger."

She laughed nervously as she clasped it to her sweater. It looked beautiful on her of course but why it had been sent still made no sense.

"Maybe he's playing with us."

He closed the box with the cuff-links (handsome as they were) without touching them. They were shaped like small ivy vines and dotted with emeralds. He didn't want to wear them but he couldn't deny he liked them.

"Well I got a free bauble out of this and I think I feel less afraid than I did. Maybe it's an apology for... well it doesn't matter. You promised me dinner."

She redirected straight to the point as they forgot the morbid topic and started to get up. He changed into something more comfortable, grabbed up his jacket and they were off. They could think about the reason the day bothered them after they had eaten and gotten a bit tipsy.

()()()

"You sure you're ok to go home? You can stay over."

Neal was being a gentleman but she knew he had a new woman in his life and much as she'd like to interfere she wouldn't. He didn't like her like that. He was just being his usual polite self and she didn't need that right now. Casual as they were, she was looking for something a bit more serious.

"I'm fine, Neal. Go home. I'll take a cab to my hotel. It was nice seeing you again."

He nodded, both of them leaning in close to kiss. She put everything into that kiss but she felt him hold back some. This was like Kate all over again but she almost liked the new girl. The woman had class and most of all she wasn't afraid to get dirty the more she looked into her. Neal needed a woman who could keep him in one place. He was too impulsive and Sara seemed the one to keep him tamed although Alex liked him a bit wild.

"Call me. We can do lunch or something."

She shrugged at him as she entered the cab and rolled down the window.

"Will Peter like that? See you, Neal."

She was being mean but she had to keep up her facade and not let him know how much she was hurting. Alex really loved him but he... she watched him standing there watching her go as she left his 2 mile radius and he finally turned and walked away. She leaned back in the seat and tried not to think too hard about them. He was a dream out of reach...

That bauble looks very nice on you, Rebecca. It was my late wife's. She was always one for fashion.

Alex opened her eyes and glanced around. She was still in the cab but that voice. It was His. Why was she remembering him now? She shrugged tiredly, looking down at the pretty pin as she leaned back again and felt a kind of fever hit her. She wiped at her brow tiredly and felt a light sheen of sweat there. The cab felt too warm as she rolled down the window.

I hope you don't think me too forward. Rebecca. I really do find you quite beautiful. I've always liked collecting beautiful things and you would make me a happy man if you would stay with me for the night.

She was nodding at the voice now, smiling in a kind of half-conscious delirium. Her thumb throbbed ever so slightly but it was lost in the feverish trance she found herself in.

"Miss... your stop."

Alex nodded, paying the cabbie as she slipped out of the cab in almost a drunken stupor of sorts. They hadn't had enough drinks for her to be this dizzy but something was making her feel tired and hot. She moved to the hotel lobby as the valet opened the door for her and she stumbled inside with a smile. Alex made her way in a haze towards the elevator where a man held the door open for her.

"Four please..."

She heard her voice slur as the man pushed the button for her and she smiled back sweetly. Alex waited as the elevator crawled upwards towards her floor when the man pushed another button and the car stopped. There was something oddly familiar about him but she couldn't place the face which was blurring in and out of focus.

"I apologize for this surprise meeting, but I believe we have some unfinished business."

She was looking at him curiously when she noticed the salt and pepper of his hair, those emerald green eyes and she backed away from the figure. He smiled coldly back at her realization.

"You remember me then. I see you received my gift. The drug I dipped it in works slower than this but with alcohol it enters the system faster. Did you have some drinks with your thief friend?"

Alex was feeling panicky now but the drug or whatever was in her system made her slip down to the floor as he legs gave up on her. He crouched down and smiled, gloved hands gently grasping her chin so they were eye to eye.

"So pretty... you would have made a nice trophy girlfriend if you hadn't been there to rob me. Where is your friend?"

She spat at him but it was weak at best. He laughed.

"So much fire. That's why I liked you, Rebecca or do you prefer, Alex?

She continued to glare at him but her eyes were drooping as her body could no longer fight off the effects of the drug. He slapped her face lightly, drawing her attention back to him.

"Alex... your friend. Where is he? Did he get his gift?"

She felt confused a moment then nodded, a smile touching the man's lips. She was starting to feel tired, her mind forgetting why she was scared as she started to slip away from consciousness.

"Good... Now, I believe you were heading to your room."

He lifted her up to her feet, her body slack against him as he pushed the button and the elevator kicked back on. He pocketed the key that had turned it off as the door dinged and opened up on the fourth floor. She was barely conscious of the fact he was carrying her along, her feet dragging uselessly on the carpet down the quiet empty hallway. A part of her had hoped for someone to be there as he reached inside her purse, grabbed up her key and opened up the room.

"I hope you don't mind but someone's here to see you, Alex. I think you remember your partner in crime."

Alex was too tired to fight him as he lay her on the bed and she saw another figure equally as blurry move towards her. There was something familiar about them as they sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over her. She pulled her head up enough to see them as she squinted her eyes to focus. They suddenly widened with surprise.

"Chrisss... tofffpher?"

Her lips slurred the name just before her head fell back against the bed and she passed into unconsciousness.

oOoOoOo

Author's Note: This is based off a small scene I added to my Menagerie shorts. I was finally able to expand on it. I'm uploading 2 chapters this time around since I wanted to be sure could keep up this story before submitting. Enjoy!