I'm beginning to think that maybe, possibly, I'm too predictable…QueenOfAshes pretty much guessed what I'm doing in this chapter! Good job to her, though…:p Just to forewarn you guys: I do follow some of the storylines and scripts that are in the actual TV show in my fics…I can't help it! Hope that doesn't annoy any of you guys TOO much…;p Anyway, thanks for all the reviews! Keep 'em coming, and I hope you love this chapter! :)
Neal angrily pushed his fingers through his hair as he walked. Someone grabbed his shoulder, and he angrily pushed it away, thinking that it was another homeless guy who wanted his money or his shoes, maybe even his backpack.
But the grip remained sure, and Neal turned around to meet a handsome man with wavy brown hair and bright blue eyes that seemed to pierce into him. Something about those eyes was so familiar…
"Hello, Neal," the man greeted smoothly. "I've been looking for you."
Neal blinked, a cold feeling suddenly washing over him as he recognized the man. He was older and had more wrinkles around his eyes and across his forehead, but those eyes…he would know those eyes anywhere.
"It's been a while, hasn't it?"
Neal stared at his father, too shocked and terrified to form an adequate response. His mouth hung slack as he stared at him, too stunned to even move.
"What's the matter? Nothing to say to your dear ol' dad?" His voice was teasing, a far cry from the cold, heartless man Neal had expected. He remembered little of his father, his knowledge of him based mostly off of what his mother had told him. But he did know that he hadn't always been cruel. Still, after his memory and then figuring out the set-up at the museum, he had expected that James had changed in the eleven and a half years since he'd seen him.
Finally, though, he pulled himself out of his dazed state and said in a voice that belied the swarming bees in his stomach, "Hey…Dad. I didn't think I'd be seeing you any time soon."
James grinned and slung his arm around Neal's shoulders. Instead of seeming friendly, though, it felt more like it was to keep him in place so that he wouldn't run. It felt threatening, and Neal could feel his heartbeat speeding its pace.
"Now, Neal," he said in mock scolding. "I know that's a lie – you're smarter than you let on, and you figured out the con with your friends pretty quickly, I'd say. You knew I would come after you."
Neal shook his head as though trying to shake James' words from his head like one would water from their ears after going swimming. "What's your point?" he said, embarrassed that his voice cracked a little at the end as his nervousness showed through.
"I need you to come with me," James said as a car pulled up beside them like magic.
Neal shook his head as he tried to pull away from the man's grip. "No," he said. He would've said more, but a sudden punch to the gut knocked the wind from him.
"I'm your father, so you must obey me," he said in an almost pleasant voice.
Neal let out a laugh, bitter and mocking as he tried to get his breath back. "Yeah, I can believe that after the eight years in the system. I've got new parents now."
James let out a laugh. "That's just as temporary as the seventy-two other families you've been with. No one gets you without my say-so."
The words hit Neal a lot harder than the punch had. It was true – he knew it, he'd just been fooling himself into thinking that the Burkes were different, that they wouldn't toss him out like every other family over the years. But they would, eventually, when his shit got just too complicated to handle.
"Now, I know about your deal with the Feds," James said casually, pulling a pair of clippers from his back pocket and handing them to Neal. "I want you to cut that anklet, right now."
Neal paused a moment as he stared at the clippers, and then took them and bent down.
"Hey, James," the driver called. "If we're going back to your place, we need to get moving – there's an accident on the way that will slow us down."
James turned to give the driver directions, and as he did, Neal clipped the anklet. The light turned red, and Neal glanced up to make sure that James was still occupied as he pressed the two ends of the clipped anklet together.
Short-short-short-short-long, short-short-short-short long-long-long short-short-long short-short-short short…
Neal stood up and showed James the tracking anklet as he turned back around. "Tick-tock."
James motioned with his head to the car as he opened the back door. "Let's go."
Peter had just barely sat down at his desk in the office when his computer started beeping. He looked up and saw a map of Neal's radius, a box in the middle of it that said SIGNAL LOST.
"Dammit," Peter cursed as Diana walked in.
"Caffrey just went offline," she said.
"I can see that," he snapped, leaning forward in the chair to press a few things on his keyboard.
Of course he would run. Of course he would. He thought angrily, though also a little hurt. He just needed to figure out where he was now so that he could drag him back in chains. And possibly beat his ass.
Five minutes later, however, anger was replaced with worry as he counted out the blips and pauses in the data that had been recorded when the anklet was cut. He was eternally grateful he had memorized Morse code in college…
"4 house"? What the hell was that supposed to mean?
"Okay, I need brainstorming going on here!" Peter called as he stepped out above the bullpen. The agents below turned to pay attention to the senior agent. "Neal Caffrey's anklet was cut and he left a Morse code message that says '4 house'. Any ideas what that means?"
"To house four people…"
"Four in a house…"
"House of four…"
Several agents tossed around ideas in the next several minutes, but none made sense to Peter, and he kept shaking his head.
"Four-year house, four-year lease on house," Jones said.
"House at four years," Diana added.
"Stop," Peter ordered. "That's it. Jones, I need you to look up the house Caffrey was registered as living in when he was four years old. I think that's where his father is taking him."
Hm…very cryptic, I know, and maybe it wouldn't have taken so fast and easy a time to figure out the clue as it did in here, but hey! That's why it's just fiction :) Hope you guys are enjoying the suspense…please review!