It was already dark when they arrived at the construction site. Jones had called ahead to Hughes on Peter's word to get permission to enter the site. Hughes had insisted on talking to Peter, asking any number of questions until he understood what was going on and knew his agent was definitely back.
"Find Caffrey, Burke. Bring him back if you have to pay Charon himself to ferry you across to ship his butt back!"
Peter smiled at the reference but hoped it wouldn't come to that to find Neal. Hopefully the con was in the last place they'd seen on the other side. It only made sense if that was where Knox had his power source that he'd have taken them there. Peter had somehow come back to where his body was at home but Neal was trapped in that building unable to escape for some reason. Atleast that was the hope.
The three agents carried Caffrey's body into the building while Mozzie quietly followed along with the occasional outburst of worry that they'd drop his friend and backseat delegation. Elizabeth insisted on coming along for support and Diana met them at the building site.
"Nobody will be bothering us boss. All the crews are gone and the construction head told us they won't be back until tomorrow. We've got the night if anything."
Peter nodded grimly at her uncertain what they needed to do as they carefully lay Neal's body on the floor. His wife had brought a blanket and sleeping bag along, the con's body laid upon the knapsack with the blanket covering him for warmth. There was still no obvious pulse or breath even as they all seemed to hope for some sign the young man would return to them. So far the consultant had shown no sign of waking, his face in a peaceful repose as if he were merely sleeping. His body continued to feel warm and alive despite the lack of life in it.
"Is there anything more we should be doing? Mozzie?"
Elizabeth looked at him as she spoke then at the older con man who seemed to be deep in thought. He perked up as she called his name, jumping a bit as if he had been far away, her voice bringing him back to the present.
"Just scanning the area. I don't..."
He paused, hands reaching up to pull his glasses off then on again after doing a quick wipe on his shirt hem. Mozzie seemed to be listening to something nobody else could hear but Peter figured the little guy knew something they didn't if Mozz had the book up in his head. He still hadn't seen this book only hearing about it in reference to what Knox had planned. The agent wiped at his face tiredly, pacing some around the large empty space. He was glancing at the pillars and their designs when something occurred to him.
"Mozz... did you notice anything odd about these pillars?"
The con turned to look at him a moment as if uncertain what he was saying. Peter glanced around until he found a staircase leading upwards to the next floor and quickly ran up it before anyone could say anything. He gazed down at the pillars from the next floor up and waved for Mozzie to join him. The con looked dubious as he finally made his way to where the agent was standing and looked down.
"I don't see what pillars have to do with... ah."
Mozzie's voice trailed off before he slapped the agent on the back to Peter's surprise and gave out a little whoop of excitement.
"For a Suit you really have an eye. I can't believe I missed that detail; Pentagram with the pillars as the five points..."
The con looked excited now as he seemed to map something out with a slight gesticulation over the air and then smiled.
"I think I see a bit of a design in the floor under the dust. Maybe if we clean it up we'll see some results. Thanks Peter."
The agent blinked but left it as a compliment that the con called him by his name as Mozzie went into delegation mode again and he nodded for his crew to follow what the little guy said.
It was a good hour or so before they had the floor nearly swept clean. Diana and Jones had gone out for supplies when they found no brooms or such on the site, Mozzie telling them how and what to do with very little eye rolling on both sides. Finally the area was clear and Mozz ran back upstairs to gaze down at their handiwork. He gave a thumbs up to everyone's relief as he ran back down and coughed dramatically for attention or maybe it was his dust allergies acting up.
"I think I know how to get Neal back but it's going to require some help from all of you Suits. We need to move him to the middle first..."
Peter nodded his head to the other agents as they gently pulled Neal on the sleeping bag over to the center of the pentagram he had discovered. Once they had the young man where he needed to be, Mozzie pointed at Diana and then at the front most pillar. She gazed at him with arms slightly crossed over her chest until he spoke.
"Lady Suit, would you please move to the front most pillar and stand there."
She gave him an annoyed look but Peter nodded to her to obey as she finally shrugged and moved over to the far most pillar. Once Mozzie was happy where she was standing, he assigned Jones next to the left most pillar, Kim to the right most and then Peter to one of the lower pillars with Mozzie looking around before he walked to each person and told them what to do as he complimented the situation.
"Perfect Quintet if I could say so."
Everyone looked at him confused until he moved to the last pillar and stood. Peter wondered what spell he was going to cast when Mozzie spoke again.
"Think about Neal and what you like best about him. Think of him as he was before all of this happened."
Everyone nodded uncertainly, Peter seeing the faces of his crew and wife who stood on the outside of the pentagram. She was watching curiously but seemed to be thinking about something, maybe Neal or maybe something else but her eyes moved to the still form in the middle and back to him again. He knew she was worried for them both as Mozzie moved to his position and seemed to speak in a garbled low tone. It sounded like the voices on the other side he'd often heard when captured by Knox but Mozzie kept on chanting without yelling or getting too frenzied until a kind of buzz entered the room. It was slight at first but slowly energy could be felt and he knew something was happening. A very light streak of something seemed to weave its path first from Diana then to Kim, Peter, Mozzie, Jones and back to Diana. He could see the streak of energy and feel it as if they were under a large Tesla coil. The room absolutely hummed with energy while Mozzie continued to rant quietly, calmly as Peter watched the light show progress. He observed the flow of energy as it moved from person to person in the pentagram and each began to react to the flow. Mozzie seemed to sense that and called out.
"DON'T MOVE! Stay where you are and keep still!"
The agent watched as everyone complied, Mozzie keeping with his low chanting until something new occurred. A dark figure moved from the far right towards the group from the shadows. Peter had a terrible feeling suddenly but Mozzie seemed to understand, holding up a hand towards him as he continued his chanting.
His voice was fading into the darkness, a thought more than anything as he felt the blackness pull him deeper into its depths.
He was slipping further away when he felt... no sensed a familiar presence.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dreamed before.
He looked up or atleast what felt like up in this place of nothingness and saw a dimly glowing figure. They started to glow brighter after a bit as if from within and soon he felt an almost relieved smile pass over his lips, if he still had any form at all.
His voice was so tiny, his thoughts so far away like a whispered word on the wind and yet the figure heard him and nodded as they held out a glowing hand towards him.
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home.
He felt more of the smile curve his lips this time and reached for the hand, seeing himself begin to come back to solidness as the light passed into him and everything went white.
Peter watched the dark figure cautiously before he saw its eyes turn and stare towards him; They were blue. The agent blinked in surprise, opening his mouth to call out but as suddenly as the figure appeared they vanished making Peter want to run to where he last saw them. Mozzie kept up his chanting from only a few yards away, the other agents continuing to stand in their places and Elizabeth on the side watching and waiting. Peter felt antsy, the beam of energy more obvious now like a bright laser beam enveloping the group. His eyes moved to the still figure of his partner, friend and charge in the middle of the pentagram willing something to happen. Neal had to come back or he was going to yank his conman soul back from the darkness if he had to bribe Charon.
"Stop mucking up my chanting with your negativity, Suit."
Mozzie barely said those words as he continued back into his chanting seamlessly making the agent smirk slightly. Positive thoughts... he could try it. Uhm... The first time Neal was in his home. He was upset if not worried that the young man would con his wife into something but he knew Neal wasn't a violent man. El had taken to him immediately, as had Satchmo and still remained loyal to him when Neal did wrong. The con had his issues and problems with impulse control but he was a good person underneath it all. He tried to do good even when he did wrong.
Peter gave a slight chuckle, Mozzie continuing his chanting yet again as if he had never stopped to quip. The beam of energy was still bright but there seemed to be something keeping it from growing to full strength.
Peter called across the room, initiating a slight scowl from Mozzie.
She looked curiously at him, shifting her weight slightly as she stood by her pillar.
"Remember when Neal went to help with the Jennings' case?"
He waited for her to respond and then saw a big grin on her face as she nodded back.
"Yeah... Caffrey came to my rescue."
She uncrossed her arms and looked thoughtful about something Peter could only imagine. They'd never told him everything that had happened that evening but he'd been assured it was nothing more than talk. He watched the beam and saw it brighten up as Jones joined in.
"He definitely has a way of making you feel better about yourself."
The agent was grinning from ear to ear, some memory of Neal's friendship coming to mind as the beam grew even brighter. He wondered if anyone else saw it. He heard a low cough and turned to see Mozzie staring at him.
"Keep it going, Suit."
Peter smiled as he kept the talk up, everyone passing a story around about Neal and his effect on them in a positive way. He started to realize just how much Neal had not only changed his life but his co-workers' and wife's. El had more stories he had only inklings about but it made him happy to know the young man had been there for her just like family.
"I think... we're at full capacity, Suits. Let's hope it's enough."
The glowing form kept quoting at him and their touch seemed to grow more and more real as his hand held theirs. He was coming back to himself, the whiteness of the space blinding him as the darkness had. The light increased and finally...
He heard a low beating sound, a ticking of a clock winding up slowly at first then more quickly before evening out to a regular rhythm. It echoed quietly like a gentle metronome within the darkness he suddenly found himself in. He didn't feel fear, a calmness washing over him before he heard a slight gentle sound of air. Someone was breathing, quietly at first and finally the darkness increased and he felt his lips part and someone gasped.
Voice 1: Neal?
Voice 2: I think he's waking up...
Voice 3: Neal... we're right here. Come on buddy.
He wasn't sure who was talking but the voices seemed familiar to him. His mind felt a bit off, memory fuzzy as to what had happened. He strained against the darkness and heavy feeling holding him back. Suddenly the room was bright, well bright for him so he closed his eyes again and felt the darkness return. Someone squeezed his shoulder while someone else held his hand in theirs and he knew who was there. He fought to stay awake, the darkness pushed aside as he squinted up into two familiar faces.
Peter felt the hum of the energy from everyone. Their thoughts, happy as they were, of Caffrey had made the light brighter.
"Pretty isn't it, Suit? Only you and I can see it. Oh and maybe your wife. The other agents haven't been where we were so they won't have the sight."
Peter nodded at the little guy vaguely as he turned to his wife who did seem to notice the light, her blue eyes staring at the beam as she moved closer. Slowly their eyes met and he saw another brighter light in hers that had nothing to do with what was going on. He felt a smile on his lips as she winked back at him and then everyone turned as a flash of something bright filled the center of the space where Caffrey was, blinding them all a moment. The agent was tossed back against his pillar, spilling onto his butt and hitting his head lightly on the cement post. He couldn't see for a moment but when everything finally cleared, he saw everyone else was down as well, his wife slowly rising up off the ground as did Diana, Jones and Kim.
"Mozzie? What the heck just happened?"
He turned to find the little guy slumped against the floor as he moved over to find out how he was. Mozz was breathing, face twitching a bit as he finally sat up and looked around. Peter jumped back surprised by the little guy's sudden movement.
"Did he come back, Suit?"
Mozzie was already getting up to his feet, everyone else following suit as they moved towards the middle of the room and the still form of Neal Caffrey. Elizabeth gently brushed hair from the young man's face, holding one of his hands and smiling up at everyone.
"I feel a pulse!"
There was a unified sigh of relief, Jones pulling out his cell to call Hughes and give him the good news as Peter moved closer and knelt beside his friend and partner. He thought he saw the young man's face twitch, a hint of movement indicating he was coming to life again. Mozzie leaned over and spoke softly.
The little guy glanced nervously down at his friend, one hand feeling at his neck and smiling as the young man gave a gasp for air, lips parting a moment before relaxing again. El reached down and kissed Neal's forehead.
"I think he's waking up..."
His wife looked excited, continuing to hold Neal's hand in hers as Peter gave a gentle squeeze to the young man's other shoulder. He saw Neal's face twitch some and kept his hand on his friend as he watched the young man's eyes start to slowly open up.
"Neal... we're right here. Come on buddy."
Diana crouched beside them as did Kim and Jones, everyone waiting for the young man to finally wake up. They were rewarded with a quick glance up of blue eyes rapidly shut with a slight hiss of pain before they opened up again and stayed open. A communal sigh of relief filled the quiet space and everyone smiled down at him as Peter patted Neal on the shoulder.
Neal smiled up at him finally, eyes moving around and finally seeming to focus on the group before a curious look took the place of the smile.
"Why am I on the floor and why is everyone looking at me? Peter... El... Mozz?"
He seemed generally confused by the situation as Peter helped him sit up and Neal gave a little cough to clear his throat. Diana moved over to a pack they'd left to the side and brought back a bottle of water and a granola bar. Neal took them thankfully as he continued to look befuddled by everyone's concern.
"I'm ok... really. I just don't see why everyone's looking at me like I just came home from afar. Did I miss something?"
Neal seemed to finally take in the fact they weren't at June's, the Burke home or the Bureau as reality began to sink in. Peter wondered how much he had forgotten about everything and why Neal's memories were so fuzzy when his own had been clear about the situation.
"You did come back but it's ok now, Neal. You're in safe hands now."
El squeezed his hand, a soft smile on her face and shininess to her eyes.
"We're happy you're back, Neal. Remember that."
He nodded still looking a bit uncertain where he'd been as Mozzie coughed and drew his attention to the bespectacled con.
"You're sure you're you, right?"
Neal blinked back but finally nodded back as if he understood.
"Yeah. Why wouldn't I be?"
Mozzie looked about to nod then stopped as if confused by something but shook his head with a smile. Peter was feeling nothing negative so it must be Neal. Knox had been taken away to some other place where he couldn't hurt them again. Atleast that was what he had sensed, the memories starting to fade of what had happened as he thought about the moment.
He looked at the younger man, a sudden feeling of worry coming over him. Things felt too perfect but he was content to think that things were right. Neal was looking at him with those sparkling blue eyes that seemed so innocent and hopefully still were.
"What is it Neal?"
He mussed the young man's hair and watched his partner make a face.
"I want to go home."
Peter smiled and nodded as he put a gentle hand on Neal's shoulder.
Neal didn't want to inconvenience the Burkes any more than the events of the past month or so had already done but Peter insisted on watching him much to his chagrin. He was fine. Knox was gone and he was here again but his memory still felt spotty in places mostly why Peter wanted to watch him. El agreed to help making the con feel more guilty which was far he knew from their friendly intentions. June thought it was great fun to have them staying with her, opening up an extra room just for Peter and El much to Neal's displeasure. He wanted to have them here but at the same time he didn't. Maybe it was just the way he was and his like of privacy or maybe it was something else bothering him.
He hadn't heard the knocking on the door, June's voice piping through the wooden structure as he stood up and moved to open it. She was looking up at him with a motherly smile, gently grasping his arm with her hand.
"I'm so glad you're better. Did you need anything before I go to bed? I was going to make some tea if you're interested."
Her voice trailed off but he shook his head with his own friendly smile. She hadn't seen the worse of what was going on but he felt guilty nonetheless.
"Thank you June but I'm good. I'll see you in the morning?"
She nodded, giving him a peck on the cheek before leaving him alone. Neal closed the door and leaned against it, slipping down to the floor to sit and slump against the wooden panel tiredly.
He closed his eyes and sat there on the cool wooden floor boards, his thin pajamas not enough to keep the coldness away as he relaxed. He felt a hand on his shoulder suddenly and woke up with a start, staring around the room and then at his shoulder. Nobody was there but he had felt the ghostly touch of a hand. It had to be a dream, his mind still getting over the last month or so of everything that had happened because of Knox. He was about to get up when someone knocked quietly on the door.
It was Peter's voice, Neal pulling himself up to this feet and opening the door again. The agent stood there staring back at him with one hand behind his head scratching nervously at the back of his head. Without a word he stepped aside and the agent slipped in as he closed the door again. Peter glanced around the room a moment and then back at him.
"Just uhm... wondered if you had a beer on you."
He looked at the younger man with a chagrined expression, cheeks flushed slightly as Neal nodded and moved to the fridge in his small kitchette.
"I think there's still an imported one from the last time you visited."
Peter nodded back with a slightly uncomfortable look like a man trying to say something he wasn't comfortable saying. Neal grabbed a glass from the cabinet and popped a bottle of wine which he poured into it before they both went to sit on the sofa.
"Something on your mind, Peter?"
He watched the agent take a long pull of the beer, close his eyes and then finally open them again and nod.
"Knox... considering everything that's happened... I want to believe he's gone."
Neal blinked back but nodded, taking a large sip of wine before replacing the glass on the coffee table and leaning back. He thought about the odd feeling from just moments earlier but wondered if he should say anything.
"I'm back, Peter. I don't... think he's coming back. She... It told me so. I saw him taken away."
He suddenly felt the need to move. Neal rose and walked over to the terrace doors which were currently shut and stared through the thin drapes to the darkness outside. It was after 10 PM, closer to 11 as he tried not to think about what he had seen on the other side. All the things he had seen were far from pleasant and it wasn't until he felt a hand on his shoulder, a firm yet gentle grip he realized maybe things were back to normal for once. Peter was standing beside him nodding his head.
"I don't remember much but I think I know what you mean. (pausing he glanced back at the main door.) El's sleeping in the guest room as peaceful as she did before all of this. Maybe it really is over."
The two men were quiet a moment, eyes looking out at the night beyond the door before Peter gave a little cough and gently patted Neal on the shoulder.
"I should probably go back and make sure El is ok. Goodnight Neal, and thank you."
He blinked uncertain what to think of the comment as the agent started for the door and he followed.
The agent paused with an enigmatic smile on his face before opening the door and Neal watched him disappear down the darkened hallway of June's home. He nodded back as he closed the door and locked it. Spotty as his memory was he knew why the agent was thanking him although the feeling good as it was made him want to blush like a little boy, a laugh escaping his lips. He walked over to his bed, turning off lights along the way until the room was bathed in nothing but a soft glow from the windows and skylight above. Neal glanced up through the frosted glass at what moonlight he could see and sighed, eyes closing as he relaxed. Someone gently brushed at his hair as he fell asleep with a smile on his face.
You really are a pretty one.
Author's Note: OMG it's done! I keep thinking I could add more but for the story as it is, it's done. Anyone interested in a sequel or such? Let me know. I have some other stories I'm tempted to start and hopefully they won't take so long to update. Thanks for reading!