I'm back! After months of not updating, I have finally traveled out of the Naruto fandom long enough to update this. :D Anyways, give thanks to Shara Raizel for giving me the inspiration (and reminder) to do this! :D
'Really, What the Message Said'
The Walkway, Miami
"Peter, they are going to freak if I'm handcuffed." Neal said with no little concern.
"Neal is actually right on this one." Mozzie piped up. Neal heard Peter sigh and knew that he was breaking.
"Listen, Hughes won't know. If you want, I'll tell him you had me restrained the entire time. But I don't want Fiona getting ticked. She hates me enough as it is." He pleaded. Peter sighed again, then waved his hand.
"Fine. But promise you'll be good." He said sternly. Neal grinned and held up his freed hands.
"I can't promise anything." He replied. Peter shook his head.
"This is going to be so much fun." He said sarcastically, then scanned the seating area as they exited the tunnel.
"I don't see him." He said. Neal brushed by.
"He's over there, by the McDonalds." He said, continuing to walk towards the tall, dark, somewhat annoyed looking spy.
"How was your trip?" Michael asked, his eyes scanning the crowd. Neal grinned.
"Better than last time." He said. Michael let a small smile crack at that, but then he saw Fiona coming with two drinks in her hands.
"Oh boy." He said. Neal turned to look and winced. Sure she was beautiful, but she was also crazy.
"What is your problem?" Peter questioned. He had never seen Neal wince at a beautiful woman before. Mozzie chuckled.
"Just wait." He commented. A few moments later, the woman came over and handed Michael a drink with a small smile.
"Michael, who are the rest of these people?" She questioned through thin lips. Michael smiled.
"This is Peter Burke and you already know Mozzie." He replied. Neal grinned.
"Hey Fi, good to see you again." He said, extending his hand. She raised an eyebrow and he lowered his hand.
"I see you still have your animosity towards conmen." He muttered.
"Well, let's end this happy reunion and get the baggage, shall we?" Michael broke in. Everyone agreed to that and set off towards the baggage claim.
"This is where you live?" Peter asked in a surprised tone. Neal smirked.
"You see, that's exactly what I said." He replied.
"Glad we're staying at the safe house." Mozzie muttered. Fiona glared at all three of them.
"So, are we going to get on with this?" She asked. Michael shrugged.
"I'm just waiting on Sam." He said just as the metal door to the apartment opened. Sam walked in, then did a double take.
"What, no guns? You guys are getting soft." He commented. Fiona rolled her eyes and Michael didn't miss the incredulous look that Peter shot at Neal, or the barely perceptible shrug that Neal gave back.
"So Caffrey, you going to tell us what's going on?" Fiona questioned harshly, still glaring at Peter with distrust. Neal took a deep breath and motioned at Mozzie, who immediately drew the painting out of his bag and spread it over the bar. Everyone crowded around it.
"This is an excellent forgery." Neal started, "If you look closely, even the brushstrokes correlate to the original. However, the colors are just a little too vivid, and the paint is thinner." He paused for a moment.
"As interesting as this little art lesson is, what does it have to do with anything?" Sam asked. Neal frowned.
"I'm getting to that. You see, there are only a few people in the world that could do this. I'm one, of course, and several of the others are either in jail or retired. That leaves three that could do something like this. And when you put it under polarized light, there's only one." He finished.
"How do you know?" Jessie asked. Neal took a deep breath.
"There's a message." He said.
"What does it say?" This time it was Michael. Neal exchanged a glance with Peter before replying.
"Give Caffrey my regards."