"You were watching me. Before the jewelry heist."
"I'm not in New York looking at you, Neal."
"That's a lie! You recorded my phone calls."
"I didn't bug your phone, Neal."
That brought Neal up short. That wasn't what he was expecting. At all. So, wait, if they weren't watching him... Neal looked at Fowler with realization. If OPR wasn't after him, they must be after Peter. After all, it was Peter's phone that that they bugged. But why? Why would the Office of Professional Responsibility be after Peter? He was a good FBI agent...
Neal's attention was sharply brought back to his immediate surroundings when Fowler grabbed him and shoved him up against a wall, cuffing his arms behind his back.
"Come on," Fowler growled, as he took Neal's arm and hauled him up the stairs, pushing him into an empty bedroom and shutting the door behind them.
Neal turned on Fowler. There was one thing he had to know first. "You really don't know anything about Kate? You don't have her? Or know where she is? Or who has her?"
Fowler huffed in exasperation. "Neal, Neal. You really are obsessed, aren't you? No, I really don't have her. No, I really don't know or care anything about Kate Moreau!"
Neal stared at Fowler for a moment, and finally decided that he was telling the truth. Fowler's reaction downstairs when he had first mentioned Kate convinced him.
So now onto the second issue. "You set me up for the jewelry heist, didn't you, Fowler?" Neal accused.
Fowler gave a self-satisfied smirk. "Sure did. But you're never going to be able to prove that. And if you try to tell anyone, I'll just deny it. And guess who they'll believe?"
"Yeah, okay, but at least I didn't let you get away with it. Your attempt to frame me failed. You failed." Neal had his own moment of self-satisfaction at that.
Fowler didn't look too upset. "Maybe. But it wasn't a total loss. We got to see how Agent Burke handled it."
Neal looked at the OPR agent sideways. "Was that all this was? A test for Peter? You were just playing around with my freedom, my life?"
"No, Neal. Not at all." Fowler shrugged. "Not this time anyway. We really did want you back in prison – where you belong, by the way."
Neal shook his head in confusion. "Why? What did I ever do to you?"
"You are... an unnecessary complication."
"What does that mean?"
But Neal never got an answer to his question because the door opened and one of Fowler's cohorts beckoned him outside. After the door was shut and he was alone in the room, Neal desperately looked around for anything he could use to help him escape. He spotted a couple of things that generated a few ideas in his head, but before they could gel into an actual plan, Fowler came back in. Neal quickly tried to look like he wasn't up to anything, and distracted Fowler with questions while he continued to scheme.
"Why are you investigating Peter? Because of his association with me? You think I've corrupted him or something?" Neal challenged.
Fowler just laughed. "You know, Neal, you really have to do something about that narcissistic streak of yours. Your ego is out of control. Not everything is about you."
Neal looked away, remembering how he'd said to Peter earlier, he's using you to get to me. Stupid, stupid. How could he be so self-centered? They were after Peter. Period. Full stop. In fact, it was the reverse. By framing him for the heist, Fowler had used him to get to Peter.
Neal looked back at Fowler, who had apparently just been watching Neal's reaction. Neal took a deep breath. "Okay, fine, so it isn't because of me. So what is it because of? Why the hell are you investigating Peter? He's a good agent. The best."
Fowler shook his head. "Sorry, Neal, that's need-to-know. And you don't need to know. In fact, you know too much already."
Okay, that sounded ominous. Neal was almost afraid to ask. "So what are you going to do with me now, Fowler?"
"Make sure you don't tell anyone what you know. Especially Agent Burke." Fowler answered, making it sound like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"But Peter already knows that you're investigating him..."
They were interrupted again, but this time the other agent came in and had a brief whispered conversation with Fowler, showing him something on a piece of paper. Fowler looked pleased. He stepped away and gestured at Neal, telling his subordinate, "Good, good. Go ahead and take it off."
Neal found himself being shoved into a chair by the other agent. He pushed up Neal's pant leg to reveal his ankle monitor, which he proceeded to cut right off. Neal held his breath, expecting the alarm to sound, but it didn't.
Fowler chuckled at Neal's surprised reaction. "Don't worry, I've already had it disabled. My friend at the U.S. Marshals office will fudge the tracking data for the next day or so, after which he'll make it look like you cut it off yourself. Everyone – especially Peter – will think that you've run, and will chase after you. But they'll never find you."
Neal's head snapped up at that statement. "So you're going to kill me, then?"
Fowler looked almost insulted. "We don't murder people, Neal. We're the good guys, remember?"
Neal jumped up from the chair. "No. Right. You just frame people for crimes they didn't commit, and send innocent people to prison!"
"We send criminals to prison. Which is what you are. A criminal." Fowler came over and took Neal by the arm. "And that's where you are going, to prison."
A hotel room door was opened, revealing a silhouette of a woman. A light was switched on. There was a hand at the base of the light, with a pinky ring, the same ring as in the San Diego ATM photo.
"Hello, Kate," the man said.
"Hello, Peter," the woman replied.
Kate Moreau turned the room light on, revealing FBI Special Agent Peter Burke seated in a chair.
"We have to talk about Neal." Peter told Kate, who looked back at him, scared.
Neal woke up with a start, drenched in sweat. For a moment, his eyes darted back and forth, scared. He was almost expecting to see an evil Peter seated on a chair across from him. But when all Neal saw around him was the jail cell he'd been held incommunicado in for the past ten days, he took deep, albeit shaky breath and tried to relax. He was really letting the stress get to him. As if Peter could ever be the one who was holding Kate. The idea was ludicrous.