In the tag scene for the third season finale, Judgment Day, Neal looked about ready to cry. This is the result of that particular observation. Technically AU as I wrote most of it before 4x01 - Wanted.

The first one is a postcard. It arrives a week and a half after Neal's promising future was crushed beneath the too-long reach of Peter's one-time mentor, not unlike Libra crushing the Scorpion snapping at her heels across the night sky.

On the front is the rolling hills of Columbia; the postmark says Paris. The back is empty except for his name, address, and four words written in a touristy flourish – "Wish you were here."

The second time is a small painting, hidden among the folds of Burk Event's most recent credit summary.

On one side is a spectacular sunset, vibrant shades of orange, red, purple, and pink rippling through the sky behind the familiar silhouette of Big Ben and the London skyline; on the other, a subdued sunrise as seen from June's balcony.

For all the riot of color staining the sky behind Big Ben, it's New York's blocky skyline that boasts the meticulous care and attention to detail, the sunrise reflected perfectly in every window.

Tell me you're okay, he writes, leaving the note folded beneath a stone on the sandy platform that used to be Moz's zen garden.

Four nights later, when he and El visit one of their favorite restaurants for dinner, the hostess hands him a small card marked with a silver Flur de Elise, saying that it had been left for him the day before.

Inside, a poem by A. E. Housman, heart-wounded and yearning.

On the back, an achingly familiar scrawl.

I told you I never lied to you. I'm not going to start now.

He runs into Sally at a coffee shop one day, he can't let the opportunity pass.

"Please," he asks her, arms held out to his side in supplication, willing her not to run. "Please, I just want to know he's alright."

She still runs. He lets her.

Two days later, he gets an email from an unknown sender, subject listed only as "V." Inside are several forum links, each followed by a different username and password.

Thank you, he replies, and he isn't the least bit surprised when the message bounces back, Mailer-Daemon proclaiming that the account doesn't exist. He hopes she gets it anyway.

We'll fix this, he promises.

Some things can't be fixed, is his response.

When has that ever stopped us before?

I do miss the City. He doesn't say, I miss you.

New York isn't going anywhere, is the reply. It doesn't say, Neither are we.

They don't say any of those things. They don't have to.

AN - the poem Neal sends Peter is 'Into my heart on air that kills' by A. E. Housman. You can find it here:
www. bartleby. , sans the spaces.