Chapter 1: No place left to run part 1
/N This is inspired by After Erasure Quinis fanfiction. It goes along the same lines. This is a White Collar/Batman/Jason Bourne crossover. The Jason Bourne part will be based from the books not the movies. That is a key difference. Enjoy.
He woke up pressing his pillow into his face to muffle his screams. The memories were fresh in his mind. He couldn't afford to wake Peter who was asleep on his couch. The older man wouldn't understand the nightmares. He couldn't afford for the man to understand them.
Not even Mozzie knew of his past. He had done his best to hide it and make a new life for himself. Shaking himself from the dark thoughts he pushed himself up to look at the clock. He winced at the time. It was definitely too early to be up.
Still after that nightmare there was no way he was going back to sleep. As quietly as he could he slipped out onto the balcony. As it was Febraury it was freezing outside.
It was a wake up call for him. The cold air reminded him of winters in Gotham. A shudder ran through him.
He had not willingly gone to Gotham since he was eighteen. In fact he actively avoided the city. Mozzie thought it was because of the capes.
That was only half of the truth. Neal wasn't his real name. Richard Grayson was. Or at least it had been. When he left that life behind he erased all information on him. Only paper articles were left untouched. Not that his "family" would care. They never had.
From there he had been picked up by the army as a language specialist. A man by the name of Alex Conklin gave him a new identity. In exchange he did what extra work for the man on the side.
His identity of David Webb had been amazing while it lasted. He got married in Taiwan to a local. She knew he couldn't talk about his past and he didn't have a family. Still she had accepted him for who he was. It was only a few weeks after they got married that she had announced she was pregnant.
He had been ecstatic about the possibility of children. Being an orphan he wanted only the best for his children. So he called in a favor with Conklin. The man agreed to help them get to the states but he needed David's language skills for a few more weeks. So he agreed. That would prove to be fatal.
While he was off on a mission for Conklin a plane had attack the area near his home. His wife and unborn child had been killing while she was doing laundry. A blood lust had filled him when he found her body two days later.
Immediately he had gone to Conklin asking to be reassigned. Telling the man he wanted to fight to get back at them for what he had lost. After trying to talk him out of it and failing the man agreed.
The next day he was shipped off to a black ops group known simply as Medusa. After surviving three weeks of training he was given the callsign of Delta. There were no names in Medusa just callsigns.
His squad by the end of his term had more kills than any of the other squads. The were known as the most ruthless of all the groups. Delta's name was infamous amongst the ranks. Legends were told about him. Some were just that legends. There were a few that were true though.
Even after all they had done when he returned to the States he was dead inside. That was when he came across Mozzie. The small man intruiged the 25 year old.
When he showed promise as a thief it had been Mozzie who taught him the tricks to the trade. He had become a friend and a mentor. Eventually he took up the name Neal Caffery permanently. The biggest problem had been ditching Alex Conklin. Even almost ten years later he still wasn't 100 percent sure the man wasn't keeping an eye on him.
Still he had a safety deposit box that had all of his CIA stuff stashed. Luckily no one but Kate knew of it. Now that she was gone no one knew where it was. Not even he could get to it. It was outside his radius.
Still he was supposed to find out the results from the parole board yesterday. It had been a fiasco all day trying to get the Rafael to Sarah. He had been lucky that his plan worked. Instead of trying to arrest him though Kramer had been gone.
Supposedly he had found new evidence that might put him away again. Peter of course had out Diana on it. In case Kramer tried something his friend had stayed over.
A touch to his shoulder brought him out of his musings. It was only by sheer force of will that he didn't try to hurt the person. There was only a few people that could get into his room. Mozzie, Peter, and June.
Old instincts die hard though. He stiffened at the touch ready to lash out if needed.
It wasn't until he heard Peter's familiar voice that he relaxed minutely," Neal what are you doing up so early?"
Not turning to look at him he replied," Couldn't sleep."
He shrugged in reply. They were really nightmares but memories. Ones that were best left where they belonged. In the past.
Peter asked after a moment," Want to talk about it? It might make you feel better."
He shook his head and replied firmly," Peter there are some things that i can't talk about. Not to you. Not to Mozzie. There are somethings best left in the past."
He could see the worry in his friend's eyes. Peter knew that they didn't know everything about them. Hell they only knew Neal Caffery. They never met Dick Grayson or David Webb. Or had the misfortune of meeting Delta.
Though there had been a few close calls. Like when Keller kidnapped Elizabeth. If Peter had not been there he would have shot to kill without hesitation.
He had been asleep in a nightmare free sleep when he got a call. At first he had been angry about it. The nights were far and few between where he had not had a nightmare. It came from running so many Black ops.
When he saw who was calling he answered immediately despite his tiredness. He asked coarsely," What do you want?"
The voice of his analyst said calmly," Sorry to wake you sir, but I have something. You told me to alert you if anything Webb came up," there was a short pause to see if he would deny it. When he didn't the analyst continued," We had a hit. Half an hour ago from an FBI field office in New York."
The FBI what in the hell was David doing there? He shook his head and said," I want to be on the first flight out. Tell whoever is in charge over there to expect me."
There was a sigh before a short reply of," Yes sir," was heard. Then the line went dead.
Ten minutes later he got his flight details. The plane left out in an hour. He would have to just pack an overnight bag.
As he was packing his bags his thoughts trailed to the memory of the day David left. It had not been on the best of terms.
It was pouring rain out at grand central park. Alex stood by the statue indicated on the note, David sent him. Part of the man wondered why his friend had insisted on meeting him. Ever since the disbanding of Medusa the other had not been the same.
It had been like the life had been sucked out of David. His once shining blue eyes were dull and nearly grey. It hurt Alex to see him like that.
"There you are Alex. I almost thought you wouldn't come."
The voice had come from right behind him. If it had not been so familIar the person would have likely been shot. He turned to face David expecting to see the same dull eyed man.
Instead there was a slight shine to his friend's eyes. They were nearly as bright as they had been before the war but they were better. It was like the other had found a reason for living again.
Alex frowned when he saw what David was holding. It was his CIA id and his David Webb ids. There was a soft look on the man's face. That was probably what shocked him the most.
The last time he had seen such a look was when David said he was going to be a father. Of course when his wife and child was killed the man had gone insane. Not that Alex blamed him. It was part of the reason he never married. If anyone were to ever find out they could be used against him.
He asked calmly," David what's this? Why have you called me out here? We have our usual meeting next week."
The younger man shook his head as he replied in just a whisper barely louder than the rain," I won't be going back to Langely, Alex. In fact this will be the last time you see me."
So he's going to miss a meeting. Nothing new there. It wasn't until he had processed the second half of the man's words did he start to become worried. If it wasn't for that soft almost happy look on the other's face he would have called the psychiatrist. David wasn't known for his mental stability.
There wasn't a hint of Delta though. It was a relief to see David's eyes clear. When he was in his Delta persona his eyes were clouded. All one could see was the anger and need for bloodshed.
David continued on his voice staying soft," I have found something to keep me going. Something that doesn't involve killing. This is where i put David Webb behind me."
It wasn't like he wanted his friend to keep killing. In fact it was quite the opposite. If David never killed again he would be quite happy. To put an entire identity behind him was going a bit far.
Before he could say anything though David said," Alex i haven't had come to argue with you. In fact i have come to say goodbye and to make a promise. I will never touch a gun again except to kill in the defense of another. This is my solemn promise. Don't look for me you won't find me where I'm going."
Alex regaining his sensed grabbed the others shoulder as he turned away. He shouted harshly," You can't abandon everything David! You just got back from war!"
When David's eyes met his it was like looking at the man before he killed. It made him take a step back in fear. A look like that was rarely directed at him. This was no longer David but Delta.
Before he could try to talk the other down he was gone. This left a very confused Alexander Conklin.
End of flashback
It had been just an hour later that he issued flags on everything David Webb. He had been too late though. David had gone to ground likely using his new identity.
Right before takeoff he got a message from his analysts saying that an Agent Kramer would meet him when he landed. This was probably the person that set off the alert. Part of him was grateful. Another part was suspicious that it could hurt his friend.
Still this was the closest thing to a lead on the young man. That's how he found himself on a plane to New York an hour later. It was a short flight one he spent reviewing David's file.
It was what he expected. David's file had not been updated since that day almost a decade ago. Still he reviewed everything known about the man. It wouldn't hurt to be prepared. His presence would be a surprise to his friend.
When the plane landed he was met by agents of the FBI. The leader was fairly easy to pick out of the group. He was a short man with a receeding hair line. Maybe mid to late fifties.
The man asked stepping forward holding out his hand" Agent Conklin? I'm agent Kramer from the DC White colllar division. I was surprised when your man contacted me."
Alex shook the hand briefly before he replied," Yes I'm Alexander Conklin. We had an alert set up for anything pertaining to a David Webb. I hope you can shed some light on how you came across one of badges."
The man grimaced before he replied shortly," This would be best discussed somewhere else."
That was how he ended up at the FBI field office. He had taken a company provided car. Trusting the FBI was not going to happen under any circumstances.
The office had been empty when they arrived. It was still early and many of the agents wouldn't arrive for another hour. An hour that he planned on using to gather as much intelligence as he could.
The next morning found him in the elevator yawning. Peter had left early to scope out the office before he went in. Since he hadn't heard from the man he assumed it was safe.
When the elevator dinged the doors opened he was surprised to see Peter arguing with Kramer. As he approached Kramer shot him a smug look. Peter on the other hand looked worried.
When he drew closer he saw someone he had not seen since he first took up the name Neal Caffery. Alexander Conklin. He did what any sane thief would have done in that instance. He ran.
As usual Neal had left early with the suit. While he didn't completely approve of his friends domestic life he accepted it. He also knew that there was somrthing Neal was hiding from him. That he was hiding from everyone. As much as he wanted to he never confronted Neal about it. Part of him still remembered the cold blue eyes that looked at him when they first met. It had taken months for the coldness to leave his eyes. For the grey eyes to turn into their original blue.
The first time he saw Neal's blue eyes they had surprised him. They made Neal look much younger than his grey eyes did. It had been good to see them like that. They also made him a better conman. People trusted the baby blue eyed man more than a man with a killers eyes.
Mozzie was far from stupid. He knew that Neal had killed during his previous occupation. The younger man refused to talk about it and he never pushed. Something told him if he pushed Neal would disappear. After seeing how quickly the other went from identity it wouldn't surprise him. Part of him wondered who Neal was under his mask? Was he the conman that Mozzie had come to see as a little brother? Or was he the cold eyed man that he first met? The man who's eyes only showed life when he stole. That was the real question.
He had just entered Neal's apartment knowing that the other wasn't there when his phone rang. Frowning he checked the number. Unsurprisingly it was Neal calling. Why would his friend be calling now? He just started work.
A ruffled sounding Neal answered immediately," Birthday!" A second later the line went dead.
It felt like his heart was going to stop. Birthday was one of Neal's codes. It had been set up when they first met. It meanr that someone from Neal's past had caught up with him. His job was to make sure Neal got out clean.
Looking around the apartment mournfully he gathered the necessary items. It would be like Neal Caffery was never there. The only remnants of him would be the memories that they had shared.
Instead of taking the elevator he took the stairs. As he dialed Mozzie he took the stairs three at a time. He was never more thankful for his time in Medusa. It gave him faster reactions than one would expect from a thief.
He had already reached the next landing by the time Mozzie have a confused," Neal?"
"Birthday!" He shouted fear pulsing through his veins as the door opened above him.
No doubt it was Alex running after him. He was too high up to make the jump down without hurting himself. He would just have to take the stairs faster.
When he hit the next landing he heard a shout," Neal!"
Or it was Peter and he was in trouble. Yet he didn't stop. If Alex wasn't with Peter he was trying to cut him off. He couldn't let the man catch him. He wouldn't go back to the CIA.
The run down the stairs seemed to take forever. By the time he reached the ground floor he was winded. Yet he didn't let up. If he did he knew Peter would be on him in a moment.
As he reached the entrance door a hand clamped down on his shoulder. He reacted. Not as Neal Caffery would have done. Or as Dick Grayson his original life. But as Delta. The killer that he had become under Alex's guidance.
He grabbed the hand at the wrist yanking the arm forward. The elbow would have been broken if something hard hadn't knocked him down. Laying on top of him was a familiar brown haired agent.
The problem was not that he recognized the man. It was which part of him recognized him. Only Neal Caffery knew him. Delta for his part didn't know the man and saw him as a threat.
He shifted his weight using a technique from Medusa to throw the threat off of him. The next moment he was on his feet. Eyes searched the agents now surrounding him. They were wary of him for so easily throwing off a trained agent.
In his mind he heard,: Stop! You can't hurt anyone! They are our co-workers and friends.:
Delta snarled at the other,: They are our enemies! They want us to kill again! Leave me alone, Caffery! You will get us killed.:
A soft voice drew his attention from his internal battle," Neal. Neal look at me."
It was the gentle prodding from a familiar voice that drew the grey eyes to the brown haired man. His eyes were a gentle green. They rang familiar to Caffery but not Delta.
The angry soldier growled at the man," Don't come closer agent. You want the same thing that Conklin wants. I won't do it again. Not for you!"
Agent's eyes showed hurt but movement caught the killer's attention. Alex was trying to get close again. He growled viciously in the back of his throat at the man. The man froze knowing that Delta would not hesitate to kill him.
Agent said taking a step closer to Delta," Neal i know your in there. I also know that you would never hurt me. This isn't you Neal. Take a step back and breath."
Delta wanted to snarl at the man again. How dare this man give him an order?! He was Delta he took orders from no one!
Still to the soldier's surprise his body took a step back and a breath. Neal had a stronger hold and the battle for his mind ensued. In the background both Delta and Neal could hear Peter speaking as his eyes closed.
When they opened again they were clearer than before. Now they were more of a blueish grey color. Neal was slightly more in control. Though Delta was just below the surface. It wouldn't take much for him to come back out.
Neal took several deep breaths before he said to Peter," Thank you Peter. I..."
He was interrupted by Peter darting forward to grab him by his shoulder. The man didn't try to cuff him but he knew that was just to keep Delta out of control. There was no doubt that they were going back to the White collar floor.
Alone in his head he had to admit the situation terrified him. It was obvious that his return had caused the killer to be knocked loose. He was not sure how much real control David had over his other persona. Maybe it was time to call in an expert.
Morris Panov was a psychiatrist who had worked for the agency for many years. If there was anyone that could get David back it was him. Then again... His eyes turned to the FBI agent who brought David back to them.
Not many people could have talked down Delta. In fact Alex could count on one hand with plenty of fingers left over on who could. This agent was someone he would have to look into.
Chapter 3: Doctors part 1
A/N Thank you for your support and the reviews.
Blackthorn Ash: Thanks for the review man. I would like to mention that if Delta had more control over Neal it could have ended a lot differently. Especially should he have gotten ahold of a gun. Delta is more of a killer personality in Neal. He won't hesitate to kill someone if it allowed him to escape.
Guest: Thanks for the review my friend. I hope that the next time you review you will drop a name so i have something to call you by. I'm glad you liked the story. Hope you continue to review
Alex watched as they put David into the conference room. All he wanted was to speak to the younger man again. Part of him knew that it wouldn't end the way he wanted. The other part of him balked at the idea of leaving Delta here.
Delta had been one of the best soldiers in th CIA. His superiors congratulated him on finding such an asset. It hurt him at the time to think of the younger man as such.
David was a good man with moral values sky high. The death of his family had broken him in ways most people would never understand. It was something Alex understood. Better than most people. He lost his family at a young age himself and swore to never allow anyone in again.
A decade later a black haired boy no older than eighteen walked into his life. Quite literally. The boy had been referred to him by a mutual acquaintance. All that he was told was that the boy wanted to disappear. He wasn't given any other details. Hell he wasn't even given a name. The boy didn't seem forth coming with one either. There was something broken in his gaze. It made Alex want to help him.
So he did. He contacted the Webb family who were old friends of his. They agreed to allow this person to take their name and for Alex to make fake papers for him. On more than one occasion they had met.
While the boy who became David seemed happy with them he was also distant. He allowed Alex to make use of his natural language skills and to send him overseas. When David announced that he was getting married it has been a big occasion for everyone.
As the person to make it possible he had been invited and even attended the wedding. It was the happiest he had ever seen the boy. Then the death of his family had happened. David begged him for a way to fight. He sent the boy off to become part of Medusa. Either he would learn to kill or he would be sent back.
If Alex was honest with himself he had hoped that David would be sent back. Yes it would have caused him pain but then he would have known he wasn't meant to be a killer. He would have slowly healed and built a new life for himself.
Months passed without a word. David didn't get sent back from the training program like Alex expected. Due to his own work he had forgotten about the boy. That was until word came of a new power player rising through Medusa's ranks. Medusa never used names just callsigns.
This new player's callsign was Delta. No one knew anything about him except he never failed a mission. Not once. He also had the highest confirmed kill count out of the entire group. It struck fear into many hearts of his superiors. They considered putting him down. The whole operation was about to be sacked as it was.
Instead he was sent to evaluate the remaining operatives. Those who could return to civilian lives were allowed to. Others were taken back to the CIA and used as operatives. Others went to psychiatrists and mental hospitals.
The last on his list was callsign Delta. His team who had been allowed to return to civilian life or remained with the CIA spoke highly of him. While he was a hard ass he cared about his men. He killed a man solely for betraying them even though he was a comrade. Echo was the main source of good will towards his commander. It made Alex reevaluate what he knew of Delta.
When Alex finally met the infamous killer he was floored. A familiar black haired man sat before him. Once bright blue eyes now hardened and cloudy almost to a grey color. This was David Webb.
Recognition flared in the grey eyes as they met his. That was something at least. While he hadn't been expecting to find his lost friend here it was a plus. He had gone through the entire Medusa operation fearing his friend was dead. Only to find the top killer and operative as his missing friend. The one that he thought could never be a killer. How wrong he had been.
To this day he regretted not referring David to Morris Panov. If he had then his friend may not have run when he got back. He still didn't know what caused David to run. From what he read on Neal Caffery, David had jumped right into the life.
His friend had a natural talent for a lot of things. So art forgery didn't come to be that big of a surprise. The fact that he was a nonviolent criminal on the other hand had. It made him think maybe Delta had less control than he thought. Reading through the file on everything that had happened made him realize there had been a few close calls.
The instance with Keller had probably been the worst. Peter reported how the shot had been dangerously close to the femoral artery. If that had even been nicked David could have gone to jail for murder. He also reported seeing David shaking throughout the rest of the day. As if he was in shock.
Honestly it wouldn't have surprised him. David hated violence until his family had been killed. Everything came down to his dangerous alter ego Delta.
Thankfully he had already made the call to Panov. If anyone could sort through the mess that was David it was him. The only issue was he might forcefully take David from the CIA. It wouldn't surprise him if he did. That doctor had his own set of codes that set him apart from everyone else. That was why Alex trusted him above all others.
Unsurprisingly the place they took him was to the conference room. It would make it much harder for him to try and leave if he made a break for it again. He would have to go through the entire White collar division just to get to the elevator.
To make matters worse he could feel Delta trying to regain control. Delta had been him at his worst. Nothing more than a killer. A weapon to be pointed in the right direction and set loose. He had lost count of how many people he had killed a Medusa operative.
Thankfully he never officially existed in that capacity. Otherwise there wasn't a chance in hell he would have gotten this deal. More likely than not he would have ended up in a psyche hospital somewhere. After all a broken weapon could still be used if put back together again.
He refused to return to that life. It wasn't him anymore. He was Neal Caffery conman and thief. He was no killer. Not anymore.
He had been sitting in the room for an hour when Peter came in. His brown brown haired handler looked older than he had ever seen him. In his hands were two coffee cups from the coffee shop down the street.
After handing him his cup Peter say down across from him. They were silent for a few moments lost in their own thoughts as they sipped at the coffee. The coffee was good as usual but not as good as June's. Would he ever see her again? Or would he be thrown into prison before he even had a chance to explain himself? Peter would be in his right to throw Neal back in prison. The younger man hadn't been completely honest with the older one.
It was Peter who broke the silence by asking," Neal are you David Webb?"
It was such a loaded question. One that he really didn't want to answer but knew he couldn't lie to Peter. He could lie to a lot of people but his handler was not one of them. It would tear him apart.
"Yes," he croaked out. He took another sip of his coffee before continuing," Before I met you. Before i became a thief i went by the name David Webb. I left it behind years ago though."
:I took great care for the lives to never intersect as well. Hiding my old identity in a safety deposit box. I still want to know how Kramer found it.: he thought.
At least he destroyed everything on his original life. It would a scene out of a movie if Wayne found him now. Thankfully they remained oblivious to his whereabouts. If they wanted to find him they shouldn't have trained him so well. That computer program helped things along. Alex giving him a new identity had finished his work.
A small smile crossed his face at the thought of the Webb's. Jacob Webb his supposed older brother also worked for the CIA. It was more of a analyst position though.
Alison the only girl of the siblings was an accountant. She was one of the most sought after accountants on the market. Sadly after he left they hadn't spoken a word to each other. He cut off all ties to keep Alex from tracking him.
With Alex knowing where he was there was a possibility of him contacting them again. As long as he didn't fully use Birthday protocol. That would have him running again. A new name. A new identity. How many more times could he do this? The strain was already taking its toll.
If he was absolutely honest with himself Peter was what kept him from running. His handler believed in him when no one else did. He had showed him what it was like to live again. As much as he disliked baseball it was time with his handler where they weren't agent and ci. It was a nice break.
A knock on the door drew both of their attentions from their musings. An unfamiliar brown haired hazel eyed man walked in. Instantly he was on edge. If he knew Alex half as well as he thought he did then this was his doing.
The unfamiliar man said softly," You must be Neal Caffery. I am Morris Panov, Alex Conklin asked me to come speak with you."
Before he could reply Peter asked," Why would the CIA send someone to speak with Neal?"
Panov calmly replied," Because of who Mr. Caffery was in between David Webb and Neal Caffery."
The danger he poses was left unsaid but it was loud and clear to the ex operative. His fingers began to tap against the outside of his leg in nervous repetitive ways. He didn't trust this man. Just like he didn't trust Alex. This had to be a ploy to get him to return as an operative.
Hazel eyes met his blue grey ones. To his surprise the man didn't even flinch. There had been more than one occasion where people flinched upon meeting his gaze. Typically it was because of how dead his eyes looked. It had taken time to get used to for him not to flinch when looking in the mirror.
Things had become easier since he became Neal Caffery. His eyes were back to their normal bright blue. There had been a few instances when they went grey. Most of the time this had been when his life was threatened and Delta was needed. They had been few and far between since Peter caught him. Now he wondered if it would go back to the mindset he had in the months before he met Mozzie.
He hoped against hope that he wouldn't. Those were dark days. Where he didn't have any direction or purpose.
Panov took a seat next to Peter and said," If Mr. Caffery wants you to stay you can. I have been asked to assess his mindset."
Neal barred his teeth at the man. He didn't want or need a pyschtrist. Peter for his part looked between them.
Again it was the doctor who spoke," Mr. Caffery we will be speaking of sensitive issues. Especially about in the time before you became Neal Caffery. If you don't want Agent Burke to know he does not have to stay. Anything you say to me will go no further. Whether to Alex or the agency. All I will say is my recommendation."
Taking a deep breath he thought about it rationally. Having Peter know about what he did in Medusa was not in his best interest. He didn't want to be alone with the doctor.
Peter noticing his conflicted thoughts asked icily," And if he doesn't want to talk to you?"
The doctor shrugged as he answered," Then he doesn't have to. But I'm not leaving town until he speaks with me and I make my decision. I have just opened an office here and am trying to get it on its feet currently. So i will be around."
Alex must have known this. That was how the man had gotten the doctor here so fast. It made him sick to his stomach to think that this had been so far planned out. How much did they know about his life? Was running with Mozzie even safe? If it wasn't he was going to have to make a new exit strategy. On top of that he would have to make sure Mozzie got away cleanly. He would never abandon his friend. Even to save his own skin.
Neal didn't want to drag this out any longer than he had to. If that meant speaking to this man now. So be it.
With a deadly serious voice he said to Peter," I'll speak to him. Alone, please."
For a moment his friend looked hurt but nodded. He said as he gained his feet," If you need anything Neal let me know."
On a whim he asked," Call Mozzie for me?"
Surprise filled the green eyes. He could see the hesitation in them. Like he knew how badly this could end if the small man got involved. Still out of everyone Neal trusted Mozzie the most.
Mozzie would know that a call from Peter after a birthday code would mean he was caught. From there Mozzie would take over the planning. Hopefully his friend could get him out of this mess.
Chapter 4: Doctor part 2
His conversation with the suit had been enlightening if frustrating. By birthday protocol he should still leave the country even with Neal at the FBI headquarters. This was the reason they made these protocols. Neal wanted him protected after all.
His friend had refused to talk about his past. The only thing that he would say was that people were hunting him under another name. Mozzie decided not to press his friend and brother in all but blood. He knew that if cornered Neal would run. Disappear without a word to anyone. So he kept close in the hopes that Neal wouldn't run. That eventually he would tell him of his own accord.
His thoughts were interrupted by his phone ringing. It was a number to a client that paid him for services. Typically with this guy it was finding someone or an item. He could have sworn that the guy said he would be out of country.
Intruiged he answered curtly," This is Mozzie. What can i do for you, Damien?"
They only went by first names. That's how it was in this business. If he didn't know he couldn't tell. It went both ways protecting himself and the clients he helped.
Damien growled out," I need you to find someone for me, little man. I'll send you his picture and prints. A rumor has it that he's in New York and I want to catch up to him before he bolts again."
Mozzie said," You can send me the information and I'll put feelers out. Things are rough here so I'll get back to you as soon as I can."
"Is the area hot?"
What he was really asking was whether or not it was safe. That's what he liked about Damien. He was profession even though he was young. It made Mozzie respect him all the more. He wasn't just so spoiled brat. Damien knew the risks of their profession and would avoid certain situations if possible.
He replied with a sigh," No but that could change at any point."
Damien said with a growl," Then I'll be there soon. The information will be there in a few minutes."
With that said the line clicked. Sure enough a moment later he got an email from the other. It held the basic information he needed.
Richard Grayson (Dick)
Black Hair Baby blue eyes
Just above this held a picture of the person in question. If Mozzie didn't know better he would have said it was a younger Neal Caffery. There were subtle differences that could be attributed to missing years. It made his heart stop at the prospect of finding out more about Neal.
He may have been Neal's oldest friend but even he didn't know everything. Most of what he knew was before the other's eighteenth birthday. He knew that Neal had been apart of the previous war. While he didn't know what he had done he knew it changed him. The cold grey eyes of the man he first met. To the bright blue ones that were so familiar now.
Blue eyes watched the hazel eyed man warily. He didn't know this man and he sure as hell didnt trust him. It had been ten minutes since Peter left. He hoped that his handler and friend had called Mozzie.
The man said in a gentle voice," Well it is nice to finally meet you David."
Neal growled angrily," I am not David Webb. Not anymore."
The doctor's lips twitched as he replied," You may not go by that name but it doesn't mean it's not apart of you. I also know that David Webb is not your real name. Yet no one can find anything on you before Webb. So who are you? David Webb? Neal Caffery? Delta?"
He wanted to run. This was a dangerous conversation. If they found out what his real name was it would get back to Bruce. Then the bat clan would be out looking for him. He would have to run again if that happened.
Something occurred to him as he asked," What if I wasn't any of them. After all you know they aren't my birth name. In fact no one knows my birth name. For good reason. Should it have been found out I would be in a lot of trouble."
The doctor leaned forward. Neal could tell he had peaked the others interest. It was enough to spark interest. Not enough to give anything real away. This man knew nothing about him besides what was in his file.
As if reading his thoughts the man said," I have only read the first part of your file. Just enough to find out that you have three identities. Ones that are conflicting with each other it seems."
The doctor smiled leaning onto the table. He said," Your eyes were the first indicator. I have also talked to many of the other Medusa members. You have many of the same symptoms. I just know what to look for."
He wondered who the man had spoken to. Maybe Echo? Or Fox? Both had been good men. Ones he deeply respected. Honestly Fox reminded him of Mozzie. Echo was more like Peter. He had been his grounding force. Delta had never gone on a mission without him. Just as Neal never went on a case without Peter.
The doctor leaned forward asking softly," What was going through you mind, Neal?"
Almost unwillingly he answered," Just how much my previous team is like my current. Mozzie is like Fox. Peter is like Echo."
Panov seemed to consider his words for a moment. It took a long moment before he replied," I have only briefly met Agent Burke. I do not have enough information yet to make a fair assessment on that conclusion. I also have never met this Mozzie. To put him in the same category as Fox is an interesting conclusion."
Neal was now curious. This doctor was not like any he had spoken to before. He asked questions and made observations but didn't sound judgemental. Only curious. It put the normally suspicious Caffery at ease.
With the sense of calm he was giving off it pushed Delta farther back. Now the killer part of him was no longer just beneath the surface. His eyes had returned to their clear blue state. There was only a small hint of the grey at the very edge of his iris' now.
Panov said as calm as ever," There now. You're calmer."
Only one thing came to mind in response," Why? Why do you care?"
With a sigh the doctor leaned back as he replied," I have seen many others like you. Many who were unable to deal with what they had done and took their own lives. I want to help save you from your darkness. Alex wants you back. Not as an asset but as his friend."
Neal's gaze softened ever so slightly. If he was honest he missed his old friend. He missed their talks. Some days it was about everything. Some days it was about nothing. They were friends and allies. Knowing that Alex wanted him back as a friend even after running for this long meant a lot.
Still he didn't want to return to that life. He liked the life he made with the FBI. Yes he was a criminal but that didn't change who was fundamentally. He was just a man who wanted to live and be free.
Signing he leaned against the table his shoulders slumping in defeat. He whispered barely audible," I like my life. If I went back to being David it would force me to face the darkness of what I had become. I don't want to be Delta again and I fear if I go with Alex I will."
Understanding crossed the other's face. It was an honest fear. The last time he had gone to Alex in a time of weakness he came out a monster. No better than those he had killed in the name of peace.
The doctor quirked a smile and said," Then you don't return to the fighting. From what I understand you have an impressive understanding of many languages. Becoming a language officer could be something. Or an analyst."
He flinched hard when the first suggestion came up. There was too many memories with that. The second one was more realistic. Still a part of him cringed at the thought of working for the agency again. It wasn't working of Alex but for the CIA itself. As talented as he was they would never just let him stay as an analyst. They would try to force him back into the field for one reason or another. His soul couldn't take the killing anymore. He was almost completely sure that if he killed in anything but self defense it would crush him.
So lost in his thoughts was he that he didn't notice Panov getting up. When a hand touched his shoulder he reacted. He twisted the offending appendage until the bones ground together painfully. A sharp gasp resounded.
Looking up he saw pained hazel eyes staring down at him. Immediately he released the man's wrist.
He shouted angry and fearful," Idiot! You dealt with others like me you should know not to sneak up on us. I could have hurt you..."
His voice trailed off and his breathing quickened as panic began to set in. This man could be the reason why his nonviolent status was challenged. He couldn't go back to prison. Not after all those he helped lock up. They would go after him and that could truly cause Delta to take control. With or without a gun Delta was deadly. Then he could go to jail for murder.
Panov said rubbing his wrist," I don't think it would be in anyone's best interest if you were to be put back in action right now. Though you hide it well you are still hurting over what you have done. I will recommend to Alex and Peter that you be taken off field work. Also that you see me once a week."
Neal's eyes narrowed in suspicion as he asked," And if I don't? I neither trust or like you enough to talk to you about such things."
Panov whispered in a deadly quiet voice," I don't make threats but I do make promises. If you do not see me I will have you moved to my clinic. As Neal Caffery you are not a danger to anyone. If Delta were to gain control how many people do you think he would kill? Look at what happened just two hours ago. From my understanding it was your handler that was able to talk you down. What if he wasn't there?"
He hung his head. There was no doubt in his mind what would have happened. Peter had been able to remind him who he was. An anchor to keep the darkness at bay. If Peter had not been there he would have fought to break out of the building. Not being successful with that Delta would have strived to take as many agents out as possible. Then the FBI would have had no choice but to put him down. Like a rabid dog.
Panov said cocking his head trying to catch Neal's downcast gaze," I am not trying to put you down. I am trying to help you. Like it or not you need help. Help to face the darkness that resides within you. You can't keep it bottled within you. If you try it will tear you apart."
That was oddly understandable. Over the last few months he had felt less stable than before. In fact it hadn't been this had since he first returned from Medusa. It had just been steadily growing worse since the Keller incident.
Taking a deep breath he said," I'll try. If I don't like it after a month we try something else."
A little unwillingly the doctor said," I can work with that. But you have to put real effort into this. Otherwise it won't do you any good."
A bargain was struck between them. While Neal still didn't trust the doctor he knew the man was right. As he was he was a danger to everyone in the office. Practically a ticking time bomb.
They let Peter and Alex in. Alex moved to sit next to him but moved towards the doctor when he flinched. Peter took a seat next to him. This offered the dark haired man a sense of comfort.
Alex asked after an uncomfortable moment of silence," What is your recommendation?"
Panov said," Mr. Caffery is to be removed from your list Alex. He is not in any position to be returning as an agent. My recommendation is that he stays with the FBI and meets with me at least once a week."
Peter asked carefully," What of his work with me? Will he be taken off of cases until his mindset is better?"
For a brief moment Neal's heart stopped. The last thing he needed was to be taken off cases. That would drive him stir crazy.
Thankfully Panov replied putting his fears to rest," No. As long as Mr. Caffery doesn't have anymore issues with Delta coming forward I believe he can still work on cases. I do ask that if his other personality makes an appearance someone alerts me immediately. There is a danger that it will feel cornered and attack to kill. It is up to Mr. Caffery on whether or not he tells you Agent Burke about that side of him."
Neal could feel Peter's gaze on him now. The ones thing about their relationship was that Neal had never lied to him. Omitted parts of the truth. Exaggerated the truth at time but never outright lied. He respected his handler too much to do that to him.
Alex stood his eyes on the two of them," Then it's settled them. David will go to visit Morris every week. I will pave things over with the FBI and for the moment things will return to the way they were."
Neal flinched at the use of his other name. He was still unused to it being used after all this time. He tried to hide it by glancing away.
Alex whispered," I don't want to hurt you David. You were the first person I let in after the death of my own family."
With that he was gone. This left Neal feeling conflicted. Part of him wanted to go after him. Another part knew it wouldn't be in his best interest to do so.
Peter said breaking him from his thoughts," Come on. Ill take you back tk June's. There's nothing else to be done here. Besides Agent Conklin needs time to put Kramer in his place."
Peter held up a hand to stop him as he said," Neal there are some things you aren't comfortable telling me. For now I understand. Just so long as you never lie we will be fine. When you're ready you can tell me."
Neal was touched that Peter was allowing him to keep his secret. Normally the man would have tried to get him to open up. He wondered if it had to do with his reactions. More than likely it was.
As they left the conference room Neal saw Alex informing Kramer of the developments. By the body language of both men it was not going well. He hoped Kramer got thrown out of the building. The old FBI agent had it out for him. A death glare was sent to him from said old man. Neal let it head on with a glower of his own. This wasn't over. Not by a long shot.
Chapter 5: Family issues part 1
A/N Thank you for the reviews and support.
forsakenfoxshadow: Just one of the bat clan but as we all know. Where there is one the others aren't far behind. I hope you enjoy the new chapter.
The ride to June's was made in silence. Both he and Peter were lost in their own thoughts. When they arrived June was waiting for them. Neal was set on edge by the worried look on her face.
She asked pulling him away from Peter," Neal do you have a brother?"
Come again? What was she talking about? He didn't have a brother. Well unless one counted any of Bruce's adopted kids but that wasn't likely. He erased himself electronically completely when he left. His mind wandered back to that night and the events leading up to his departure.
Entering the bat cave he noticed that Bruce was getting ready to leave. The eighteen year old put on a false smile as he greeted his adopted father," Bruce."
The man barely glanced at him as he said," The Joker and Harley Quinn broke out. I'm going to see if I can find them. Monitor the police band for me."
His heart sunk. It seemed his guardian had forgotten what the date was. It was October 6 the eve before his parents death. He and Bruce always went to visit their grave. It had been a long standing tradition between them. It seemed like everyone else Bruce didn't care.
He widened his fake smile as he said," Be careful."
The man just grunted before he left in the Batmobile.
Dick listened to the police band. As he had predicted, it was a quiet night for crime. He was once again shaking the image of red spills from his mind when the band came to life.
It reported a jumper. Already gone.
Dick trembled. He should turn it off. NOW. He couldn't deal with this right now.
An estimated time of death came through. Only a while ago.
He should really turn it off. He could feel the blood draining from his body.
The jumper had been near where his siblings had taken down a criminal gang.
Dick shut it off. He couldn't hear any more. He shoved his face into his hands and tugged at his hair. He could imagine the jumper, even without knowing what they looked like.
He had been there. So close. If he hadn't been so focused on his siblings, on his own problems, he would have been there to catch them.
And a family wouldn't be morning someone lost. He felt sick to his stomach that he hadn't been there to save them. If he hadn't been so focused on his inner grief he would have. This was his fault.
"I think... I need to leave," he said, realising it was true as he said it. His family, no, the Batman family didn't need him and he had failed to catch someone because he had been so focused on it.
It was early hours in the morning, meaning most of the family was asleep. Dick switched on the computer and loaded a program he had made as a kid.
It had been a fun thing then. Making a program which could erase Dick Grayson from existence. He thought it was rather spy-like and he had just finished reading a spy novel.
He never intended to use it. Even so, his program went where his files went.
The Justice League.
Any computer which used Wayne Tech.
Now, it would serve as a going-away present. No more Dick Grayson and no more Nightwing.
"This is for the best," he told himself as he pressed the button. A progress bar appeared, showing his files disappearing. Anything on Dick Grayson or Nightwing was going, going, gone.
They didn't need him any longer. Now they would have nothing to connect to him. With as many languages as he spoke he could go anywhere. He knew the CIA was in need of language officers. Maybe he would go there. Maybe he would get a new identity and travel. Whatever he choose he could go anywhere.
He grabbed his backpack with only the most essential of items. Things he couldn't leave behind. With a last look around the cave he left. In the world of vigilantes one did not say goodbye. It was thoughts to be bad luck for you thought you would never see each other again. In honor of this tradition he left Bruce a letter of goodbye on his bed. If his adopted father came looking for him he would find it. More importantly he would know the significance of it. He left a letter in a hidden file on Barbara's computer. Eventually they would find it. By then though he would be long gone.
End of flashback
He gave June his best fake smile as he asked," No why June?"
She said her eyes going up to where his apartment was," There's a teenage boy up there talking with Mozzie. Says he's looking for someone named Richard Grayson. He looks like he could be your brother... Neal are you okay?"
Neal felt the blood drain from his face when he heard who the other was looking for. The smile he had was gone in an instant. A teenager? That could either be Damien or Timothy. Either way he needed to leave before they came out. The last place he needed to be was here.
He turned to Peter to ask if he could stay with him but the front door opened. Mozzie was the first to walk out. He was followed shortly by a familiar black haired teenage boy. It was Damien. Of course it was.
He and the younger boy had always butted heads. The younger one thought he was entitled to everything. This was because he was the only one related to Bruce by blood. The rest of the kids were all adopted.
Every thing that Neal fought tooth and nail for they were given on a silver platter. He had been the first Robin. The first leader of the titans and eventually Nightwing. Bruce had been overprotective and unwilling to allow him certain freedoms. The others got it easier than he did.
It made him butt heads with them all but still he tried to get them together. The last time had been right before he left. Hurtful words that had been ignored before no longer able to ignore them. Now his past stood right in front of him. Glaring at him from the house he had been staying in.
"Grayson," came the growl from Damien.
That was nothing new. Damien never called him by his first name before. Why would he do so now? Even after over a decade of being gone.
He looked around pretending to be confused. He asked," Are you talking to me? Sorry my name is Neal Caffery. I believe you have the wrong person."
:Take the bait, Damien. Leave and don't tell anyone you saw me. I don't belong in that world anymore.: he internally pleaded with the younger man.
If he remembered correctly Damien was 19 now. The boy had only been eight when he left. Just beginning his time as Robin. Soon he would age out of the titans. He wondered who he would become after that.
Shaking his head to clear those thoughts. They were dangerous. He couldn't allow himself to dwell on his old life. It would only lead to more pain. He had to get rid of Damien before Peter caught on.
Damien folded his arms across his chest as he said," I don't think so Grayson. I have been hunting for you for awhile. Do you know how worried Father?"
Neal said moving to go up the steps," I don't know what you're talking about. I suggest you leave."
Mozzie tried to interrupt," Neal I..."
Neal was already half way up the steps when Damien moved. He moved out of the doorway. Neal's bright eyes darkened back to the grey color from earlier. He shifted his stance into a more defensive one. If Damien tried to grab him it wouldn't end well for the other.
As he expected from the younger Damien grabbed his shirt collar. His reaction was instant. Neal grabbed Damien's wrist. Turning he used the other's weight against him as he threw him. The younger boy went sailing through the air before crashing painfully into the ground.
Without another glance back at them he walked into the house. It wasn't until he was upstairs and locked the door did he allow himself to relax slightly. This wasn't over. Not by a long shot.
It was mid afternoon in Gotham and he was exhausted. The previous night had been spent dealing with the Joker and Two Face. It had been a long night and he didn't get into bed until 6. Leaving him with two hours of sleep. To top it off Damien had left for New York for some unknown reason.
Several of his children had caught wind of the plan and where going to follow him. Bruce for his part would give them space. If they needed him they would call. Worst case scenario he would drag Damien back.
Thinking of his children brought back the reminder that his oldest was still missing. Richard had disappeared the anniversary of his parents death 11 years ago. There had been no sign of him since. He still remembered when he realized the boy was gone.
Bruce and the other members of the League had returned from a major mission. Many of the other vigilantes had stepped in to aid them. There was one major person missing. Nightwing also known as Richard Grayson. His oldest son.
His eyes trailed to where Clark was dialing the boy's number. His face marred with a frown after a moment.
"Did Dick change his number?"
He growled," No. Why?"
Not waiting for an answer he tried Dick's phone himself. He got an automated voice saying," The number you are trying to reach is out of service. Please check the number and try and again."
When he canceled the call he got another one. This time from Oracle.
She asked eerily," Batman I can't find Nightwing's files. I can't find anything at all on him at all."
He was shocked so much he felt his jaw unhinge. What?! He went over to the League's computers. After ten minutes of fruitless searching he realized she was right. Someone had deleted Dick completely from their systems.
End of flashback
It took them a few days to realize that it wasn't magic that did it. Instead it was a computer virus. Anything hard copy still showed him. Just nothing computer wise.
By the time they tried to get on his trail it had long since gone cold. Wherever Dick was he had gone completely to ground. He wasn't using anything that he had used before. They weren't even sure if he was still alive.
His phone went off bringing him out of his musings. Checking the number he saw it was Damien. Knowing the boy had gone to New York it peaked his interest.
He answered it. Damien said talking to someone on the other end," He threw me off the damn porch. Of course I'm going up there to give him a piece of my mind."
An amused twitch of his lips happened. It seemed his youngest son had gotten in trouble. It was nothing new. The younger boy had the combined temper of both Batman and his mother. Still it would take someone fairly skilled to throw his youngest son off a porch. The boy had been trained by both him and the League of Assassins. He wasn't a pushover.
He said interrupting the argument on the other end," You called Damien."
The boy said growling at someone on the other line," Father I found him."
If it had been anyone else he would have asked for clarification. This was Damien though. There was only one person he had been looking for.
Bruce asked stiffening with the realization," Are you sure?"
"He threw me off the porch."
That did seem like something Dick would do. He said in a tone that booked no argument," Keep an eye eye on him. I'm on my way."
He leaned heavily against the wall of his apartment. His thoughts were racing. How did Damien find him? Did he tell anyone? Did he need to run again?
Realistically he knew he couldn't run again. He would have not only the bat clan on his tail but the entire FBI and CIA after him. Running from them wouldn't be overly difficult but adding the bat clan and no doubt the League to the mix. That would make it impossible for him to stay away for long. Eventually he would mistake and get caught.
A knock on the door came. He called out growling," Go away Mozzie. I really don't want to talk to you or your new friend."
A familiar voice said," It's not Mozzie, Neal. Can I come in?"
Neal stood knowing that Peter wouldn't leave until they talked. He called back," It's open."
The brown haired man walked in and his green gaze was full of worry. Neal wished he could fight the worry from his eyes. Peter had been more of a father in the last few years to him than Bruce was for the last few that he had been there. Both he and Elizabeth grounded Neal. Reminded him of who he was.
Peter asked slowly placing a hand on his shoulder giving him plenty of time to move," What happened back there, Neal? You are lucky that Mr. Wayne decided to not press charges."
Peter led them over to the balcony. It was the best place for them to talk. Neal always found himself relaxing when he stared out over the city. Now he had to wonder if it could last. If Bruce came the man would try to get him to return to Gotham. Not to mention his reaction to finding out that he was a criminal. Not a confrontation he was looking forward to.
Leaning over the side he said not looking Peter in the eye," Not even Alex knew. Agent or a certain thief we know. Mozzie suspected for years that I was hiding something big but never pushed. Kate I was going to tell her the day you caught me. I'm glad I didn't."
Mr. Wayne the name he had grown up around. His adopted father and mentor. He wondered what Bruce would say if he found out about Neal Caffery. Probably would have a fit and insist that he come home. Not that Gotham was home. Not anymore.
New York had been home ever since he got caught. Something kept drawing him back even when he ran. When he was free he doubted it would change. This city had so easily become his home. Something he no longer took for granted.
Making up his mind he said without looking at Peter," There is a reason why you can't find anything about my past before eighteen. It's a past that I have worked long and hard to put behind me."
Peter asked slowly," Why Neal? What is so terrible about your past? I know almost nothing about your past except that your father was a cop."
Neal had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. That was probably the closest he could have come to the truth about Bruce. Though trying to picture the man as a cop was laughable in itself.
The Bruce Wayne everyone saw was an airhead. Many people wondered how Wayne interprises kept in business. That wasn't the real Bruce though. The Bruce he knew was strong willed. Enough to keep even the League of Assassins at bay. He was to be respected if one knew what was good for them. Many times growing up Neal wondered if the actually cared.
Neal said his eyes gazing out over the city listening to the busy streets," He's not exactly a cop. At least not the adopted one."
If he told Peter the man's name there was no doubt in his mind what kind of reaction it would receive. Disbelief. To the public Bruce was a business man who helped out the police department. Far cry from a crime fighter.
A cold voice said from behind them," That's an understatement, Grayson."
Neal growled at the younger man," Do I need to throw you off the balcony next? I am not this Grayson. So get out of my apartment."
Peter looked between them. Neal's had gone back to the grey color. His stance widened ready to deal with any threat the Wayne posed.
Damien for his part crossed his arms over his chest as he answered," You can't hide from the truth forever, Grayson. Especially when father gets here."
All blood drained from his face. Father could only mean one person. Bruce Wayne aka the Batman. Also known as Dick Grayson's adopted father.
Peter stepped between them likely fearing Neal might follow through on his threat. He said pointing to Damien," You leave. If you continue to harass Neal I'll put you in jail. Neal sit. You look like you're about to fall over."
Damien sneered at Peter but nonetheless left. It would only be for a short time. He would be back when Bruce arrived.
Neal needed a place to lay low for awhile. He wouldn't be able to stay with Peter or June. It would be too obvious. To easy for Bruce to find. That meant one of Mozzie's safehouses.
"Is it safe to come in yet?" Speak of the devil.
Neal glared at his friend as he replied," If you mean will I not throw you off the balcony. Then yes it's safe to come in, Moz."
The short bald man came into view. There was hurt in the man's brown eyes but Neal couldn't bring himself to care. Mozzie had brought Damien to his house. Right after a birthday protocol. That was just no.
He had to take several breaths to calm the anger in him. Delta wanted him to kill the betrayer. The darker part of him had never taken kindly to betrayal. The last time it has happened when Delta was in control was back in Medusa. Jason Bourne. His teeth ground at the memory that quickly overtook him.
Delta shot one of the dark haired men in grey combat gear in the head. His squad was vastly outnumbered. More so than the intelligence had suggested. His eyes narrowed counting his men. There was one missing. He knew exactly who it was as well. Alpha.
For some time he had suspected that there was a traitor. To think that the soldier would put his jealously over his duty. It was sickening to Delta. He would find and execute the traitor personally.
Alpha had always wanted the team leader position. They had gone through training together. The brown haired man was skilled in combat but lacked the leadership skills needed. So when they were assigned into teams the leader position had been given to him. Alpha had never forgiven him.
As he passed the red haired man in a green uniform he said coldly," Echo. I'm going to find Alpha. I believe his betrayed us."
Brown eyes met his grey ones. Echo nodded and said," Put a bullet in him for me, Delta."
Delta didn't reply as he continued on. After shooting three more insurgents he made it to where he could hear broken Vietnamese. From what he understood Alpha was asking for extraction. That his team suspected him.
Delta snuck right up behind the man and placed his 9 mil to the back of the others head. Alpha had black hair and green eyes. His eyes were like poison just like his personality.
Alpha said trying to make excuses," Delta. This isn't what it looks like."
Delta said cold as ice," The only sentence for betrayal is death. You know this Alpha. Die with what little dignity you have left."
Before the black haired man could reply he pulled the trigger. Blood and brains splattered across both him and the ground. Without a second look towards the body he turned back towards the fighting. They had to finish the mission.
End of flashback
He reared back when something touched his shoulder. All of his senses were screaming danger at him. Where was his gun? Where was Echo or Fox?
A voice said softly that sounded like a shout to him," Neal come out of it. You are safe here. It's Peter, Neal. Come on. Come back to us."
Delta shot away from the voice. He didn't recognize it as a member of his team. His eyes searching the room for a weapon to use. When his eyes landed on the hazel ones of the short bald man he stopped. That was a face he was familiar with. Whether he was Delta or Neal, Mozzie was like a guiding light. Someone who more than once brought him out of the darkness.
Slowly Mozzie pushed the brown haired man out of the way. He said calmly his hands outstretched in front of him palms up," Neal, its us. There's no danger here. You trust me right? Trust that there's no danger here."
It was like a light had been switched on. His words caused the black haired man to blink rapidly. With each confused blink his eyes became slightly clearer. Eventually Neal was back in control and exhaustion filled him.
This time he did collapse. Peter caught him inches above the hitting the ground. With his help Neal was able to make it over to the couch. Once he was laying on the couch though he passed out.
His worried green eyes watched Neal's still form. Ever since the business with Kramer the day before the younger man seemed to be off. First the CIA agent showed up and nearly had Neal on the run again. Then Damien Wayne heir to the Wayne Empire showed up.
While safely in his own thoughts he thought Neal throwing the 19 year old off the porch was a spectacle. He couldn't believe the non violent man he had known for years could do that. Neal hated violence.
He knew that Neal had near perfect aim with a gun but hated to use them. As well as the younger could defend himself if needed. All in all it made him wonder if Neal was as nonviolent as he made himself out to be.
Mozzie said not looking at him," I haven't seen him this bad in a long time, Suit."
Peter glanced at the bald man and asked," Oh?"
Now that he thought about it he didn't know how long the two conmen had known each other. The first time Neal Caffery had come up was just under five years ago. That had all been supposed forgeries. Including the first time he met the bond forger.
Mozzie said leaning back slightly into the wall near him," They were much more common when we first met. The grey eyes were a characteristic that I associated with him for almost a month. They began to lighten once we found his talent with forging. Still it took a year for them to become the blue that we now know so well. A year for him to stop waking up every night screaming. Even longer for him to allow me to touch him casually. It would come in waves. I could never understand what set him off. Suit, whatever happened to him was terrible."
That was something they both agreed on. Whatever happened to their friend had been terrible. Part of Peter wished he could scrub the memory of the frightened rabbit look Neal had out of his mind. Frightened but ready to fight his way out of there if necessary.
The worst part was that Neal hadn't recognized his voice this time. What if Mozzie wasn't there next time? Would Peter be able to talk Neal down? Or would it escalate to something worse? Questions that couldn't be answered for the moment. Only time would tell.
When he woke up he knew that he wasn't alone and that he was still on the couch. Someone was sitting on the chair to his right. He could hear movement in the kitchen. The sounds of bottles clanging together.
Quickly he put two and two together. Peter was in the chair and Mozzie was in the kitchen. Probably raiding his wine again. Rubbing his eyes as he opened them he sat up.
First glance told him that he was correct. Peter was in the chair watching a baseball game. Mozzie was in the kitchen.
He asked his voice hoarse," How long was I out?"
Both men froze. Peter glanced at him worry filling his hazel eyes. Neal gave him a real smile. One to show that it was him not Delta in control.
After a moment Peter said," A few hours. It's almost time for dinner. El is bringing us something to eat if you feel up to it."
As if to answer the implied question his stomach gave a hungry rumble. His handler gave a small smile. Before they could say anything else a knock came at his door. No doubt it was Elizabeth.
Neal glanced at the clock frowning. It was already eight in the evening. The events of the day must have really worn him out. No doubt from Delta coming forth as much as he had. That always wore him out mentally.
He stood swaying slightly as he did so. While Peter got the table ready he opened the door and shut it almost immediately. That was definitely not Elizabeth.
Read and comment guys. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Chapter 7: Nowhere left to run part 1
A/N Thanks for the reviews and support. This has quickly become one of my favorites to write. I have enjoyed it immensely.
Guest1&2:Thanks for the review my friends. I love the support that you have given throughout the fanfiction. Hope to see you again soon.
Forsakenfoxshadow: Thanks for the review my friend. Drama between them will be happening for awhile. I think you all are excited to see who's next to appear.
He could feel panic setting in. Damien had mentioned that He was coming. Neal didn't expect that He would be here so soon. Not unexpectedly there was a more insistent knock at the door.
Peter came around and asked," Neal what are you doing?"
Neal shook his head and said," Peter, you can't open the door."
Confusion became evident on his handler's face. He asked," What's happening Neal? I haven't seen you this panicked since you shot Keller."
Neal shook his head. Not wanting to answer and make this nightmare a reality.
With a sigh Peter pushed him lightly from in front of the door. The man opened the door to reveal a familiar black haired man in a black suit. Peter looked between them confusion now radiating off of him. Bruce Wayne stood in front of his door his hand raised to knock again.
Neal wanted to run but Peter and Bruce had the door blocked. He could get past one of them but not both.
Peter asked," Mr. Wayne why are you here? I do believe I told your son that I would have him arrested for hsrrassement if this continued."
Blue eyes flicked to Peter's green ones. Bruce said in his high pitched playboy voice," I'm here for my missing son. By his reaction to seeing me at the door I would say his disappearance was not memory loss."
If only... Then again he would not have been able to stay ahead of them for over a decade if it had. Part of that had been when he was with Medusa. A shudder went through him at that thought. Bruce would disown him if he knew.
Peter asked his eyes catching Neal's," Neal?"
"I am not Richard Grayson. Haven't been for a long time," came his exhausted reply.
They had backed him into a corner. There was no longer anywhere left he could run.
Bruce asked," Can I come in? I don't believe this is a discussion for the hallway."
Peter stepped back to allow the man in. Neal knew he should strike as the man entered the doorway. Push him into Peter and run for it. That would be the best way to escape. But then what? If he did that he would just be running again. It wasn't the life he wanted to live. To run forever. To never stop looking over his shoulder.
Hopelessness filled his chest. Being trapped was one of his biggest fears. A hand found its way to his shoulder. Looking over his eyes found Peter's. Slowly he relaxed. Peter wouldn't hurt him. He could be trusted.
Peter led him by the shoulder over to the kitchen table. They sat together while Bruce sat across from them. This felt surreal to the conman. The last thing he expected was for his past to catch up to him. At least this part of his past.
In all honesty he never expected them to care enough to go searching for him. That was why it had been so surprising when Damien arrived. Then again throwing the teenager off the porch was probably not his best plan. If he wanted to convince them they had the wrong person he should have just let the other grab him. Instincts however would not allow it. They had saved him many times when he was in Medusa.
"Neal are you with us?"
The question brought him out of his thoughts. His head shot up. Both men were watching him closely. Peter was no doubt remembering everything that had happened today already. Neal couldn't shake the feeling that they were forgetting something.
"Neal, Suit. I have the wine. Is Mrs. Suit here yet?"
Oh right, Mozzie. How stupid of him to forget the bald short man. This was going to be an interesting conversation.
A mischevuous grin crossed his lips. Peter saw it and shook his head mouthing," Don't you dare."
Ignoring the order he called out," We are in the kitchen, Moz. Elizabeth isn't here yet."
Just like he expected Mozzie came in his arms weighed down by bottles of wine. It took all of three seconds for him to notice the new person in the room. The shocked look on his face was well worth the retribution he would no doubt receive later.
Mozzie asked glaring at Bruce," What is Wayne doing here? Neal has a rule against going to the three big cities. We won't do it even for you Suit."
That was true. He did have a rule against going to Gotham, Metropolis, or Star City. The three cities most likely to have a someone in the cape community recognize him. Central would have been added to that list but Wally was working more with Oliver now.
While he refused to go to the cities he kept a close eye on their coming and going. It was better to know what they were doing in case they caught onto him. Not that it saved him from Damien's visit.
Bruce asked raising an eyebrow," The three cities?"
"Star, Metropolis, and Gotham. Damn capes everywhere. Criminals don't go there if they value their hides."
Wait for it.
"Criminal? Richard you're a criminal?" Bruce's eyes turned to him.
Neal said folding his arms across his chest growling," Name's Neal Caffery. Convicted bond forger."
"Art thief, bond forger, and many other crimes that we couldn't prove. Not to mention what Kramer found," came Peter's reply.
Neal responded playfully," Alleged. The only thing you got on me was the bonds."
Bruce rubbed his eyes tiredly as he said," I'm not sure I want to know."
Mozzie elbowed him in the ribs as he passed. A quick whisper of," Playboys."
He actually had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. Leave it to Mozzie to lighten his darkening mood. With Bruce here it wouldn't take Peter long to put together his past. At least the parts of it that wasn't classified to the ears.
His eyes darkened at the thought of Medusa. Officially the group never existed. Unofficially it was a group of criminals that had nowhere to go. Only a handful of the operatives were not apart of system. Himself and Echo were the only ones that came to mind. Echo...
If he was honest with himself a part of him missed his time in Medusa. It was a simpler life. You killed or you died. Complete the mission get out alive. Make sure you team got out.
Another part of him wondered if he would just put a bullet in his head. The darkness in him almost claimed his sanity more than once. When he returned he knew Alex wanted to put him in a hospital. The only thing that stopped him was the fact that they knew each other. If the CIA for ahold of him again they wouldn't let him go. Not for a second time.
Peter asked his green eyes suddenly in front of his face," Neal?"
He blinked slowly remembering where he was as he responded," Yes, Peter?"
Green eyes searched his for a moment longer before saying," Good it's you. I thought we lost you for a moment."
His eyes must have darkened. Ever since the treasure incident his control was slipping. Maybe talking to this doctor would help. As much as he hated to admit it. He could no longer fight this battle alone.
Neal said looking anywhere but the two men in front of him," I was reminiscing about the times past."
"Time when you worked with Agent Conklin?"
It was a direct question. One he could not easily avoid. He swore never to lie to Peter. So it was either change the subject and arouse suspicion or answer if truthfully and try and delay the inevitable.
"Yes. Times when I worked for Alex."
Bruce asked confused," Alex Conklin? I don't recognize recognize the name?"
Neal sneered," Do you think I would be so stupid to use a name I was previously associated with? While we are on the subject. Why are you here Bruce?"
The game was on. The longer he could keep Bruce from finding out about Medusa the better. He was sure that the League could hack into the files and find every thing they wanted to know. Luckily for him they didn't know his callsign.
There was only one Delta. One killer better than the rest. The identity he had taken after his wife and unborn child's death. He had barely been twenty when it happened. Two years of working as a language officer for Alex went down the drain. All he wanted was revenge. He got exactly what he wanted the moment he was accepted into the program.
Immediately thrown into guerrilla training he was taught to shoot. How to use the terrain to his advantage. How to poison s blade so that it killed in moments. They found his talent with hand to hand combat and that he had a natural appitude to close range weaponry.
Every thing he learned as a child had been built upon and expanded. To make him the perfect killing machine. Once out of training he was exactly what they made him. The only difference between him and his men was that he never left a man behind. He still had a code of honor. Even as broken as it was.
He ran a hand through his hair. There was so much darkness in between when he left and when he met Peter. Honestly he was grateful to Mozzie if he had not found a life as a conman there might not have been a Dick Grayson to find.
Mozzie first then Peter were his shining lights. A way to always find his way back from the darkness.
The silence was interrupted by Elizabeth knocking on the door. Peter said seriously," Don't move."
Neal gave him a conman grin and the brown haired man groaned. He was used to the grins. The fake smiles to mask the pain.
Peter opened the door allowing his wife entrance to the apartment. Her arms were laddened with food. Being the good asset he was he stayed at the table.
Bruce said his eyes never leaving Neal," You seem close..."
Mozzie gave a snort as he said," As close as one can get to a suit. For a suit he's not bad at least."
That was probably the closest Mozzie had ever come to complimenting Peter. In his own way Mozzie respected Peter. It was hard earned for the FBI agent but he earned it.
Neal asked coldly," Why are you here, Bruce? It's been a decade."
He noticed the tension in Peter's shoulders. The older man was putting things together. If Bruce was the greatest detective. Peter was a close second.
Bruce gave him a hurt look as he responded," Dick why wouldn't I come? We have been searching for you since you erased yourself."
"Which I did for a reason. None of you wanted me there. I wasn't worth any of your time," his temper was beginning to flare.
He had to be careful. If he revealed too much it could come to bite him in the ass.
Bruce asked confused," What are you talking about? Of course we wanted you there. Dick talk to me."
Baring his teeth like a cornered animal he said," I can't even remember the last time any of us had an honest conversation. Can you? Do you even remember your last words to me? Wayne manor hadn't been home for a long time, Bruce. I just decided to finally do something about it."
By the time he finished he was standing. Feeling trapped he moved towards to the balcony. His eyes caught Peter's. For a moment they just stared before the older man nodded. Without a word he walked out to the balcony. He needed to calm down before he said or did something that he would regret.
He watched Neal's retreating back for a moment before going to the table. It had been a surprise to find Bruce Wayne at the door. The last person Peter thought would cause a panic for Neal would be this billionaire playboy. From what he could infer and the hints dropped by both men Peter figured a few things out.
Neal Caffery was truly Richard Grayson. Wayne's missing son that had not been seen in over a decade. There was six missing years between Grayson and Caffery. Peter knew that for at least part of that Neal was with the CIA. That whatever he had done with them had deeply scarred him mentally. So much so that he had a second personality. One that made Keller look like a boy scout.
Sitting at the table he nodded to the small bald man. There was no sign that he recongized what Peter was asking him to do. Though he did make his way outside. El sat down next to him at the table. Dinner long forgotten in trying to put together Neal's past.
Bruce asked his eyes going towards the balcony," Who is the little man?"
Peter had to bite back a smile. No matter who it was that saw him. It seemed that Mozzie would always get stuck with the Little man nickname.
El replied," He is Neal's friend and someone who has become like family. Mr. Wayne I must ask you. Are you sure Neal is your missing son? In truth Peter and I know very little about his past. Most of what we know about him happened over the last six years or so. Even we don't know every thing that went on."
Mainly that was because Neal refused to talk about it. Especially anything to do with before he was eighteen.
Wayne said his shoulders slumping," Not long after his eighteenth birthday Dick disappeared. At first I and his brothers didn't think anything of it. He disappeared from time to time. We all did. After a week of no contact though his brothers went to check his apartment. Only to find out that it had been sold. No one ever saw Richard leave. Only the movers that came and took the stuff. He was just gone."
There was more to the story than what Wayne was saying. This was where Neal had at least in part learned the art of deception.
Peter said in his no nonsense tone that got Neal to obey," There is more than what you are saying. If Neal was Richard Grayson as a missing person his fingerprints would have come up in the system."
All signs pointed to that Neal wasn't Grayson. Evidence at least. Reactions were another story. Neal's reactions told him there was truth in the story.
Bruce said with a growl," I cannot give you the full story. Especially when I don't know it myself."
Peter said his eyes narrowing," If you try to corner Neal he will run. Its a known fact. A cornered Caffery runs."
Bruce's eyes hardened as he replied," He wouldn't get far."
It appeared the two men were in a standoff. El said ever the voice of reason," I think Mr. Wayne should give Neal time. From what Peter has said. Today has been a trying day. Two people from his past suddenly appear. How would either of you feel in his position?"
Shame filled him. As usual she was right. He knew better than anyone how secretive the younger man could be. It was usually for a good reason. Usually...
Chapter 8: Nowhere left to run part 2
Neal walked back into his apartment with a heavy heart. Things were not going at all the way he planned them to. If it had not been for Kramer he would have been freed. Allowed to do as he pleased. Now he was still chained to New York. Unable to leave even to escape his adoptive family.
Peter and Bruce were both sitting at the table with guilty expressions. El for her part looked stern. What in the hell had he missed?
Peter looked up when he cleared his throat. The brown haired man gave him a reassuring smile. Apparently he wasn't in trouble.
Bruce for his part looked troubled. It was a look that Neal had only seen when a new criminal arrived in Gotham.
Bruce said suddenly," Mrs. Burke is correct. We have pushed you hard, Dick. I still want answers though. I'm sure, Agent Burke would like them as well."
There was no way he was getting out of this. Finally he nodded. He put too much into his life as Neal to back away now.
He said looking at Mozzie," The day we first met I was searching for a purpose. Searching for a light in th e darkness."
Mozzie said with a strange look," I remember that day. Your eyes were greyer. Greyer than I have seen them since. You were able to pick up on my little trick right away. I was impressed which led me to follow you."
Almost got shot for your trouble too. Neal winced at the memory. He almost shot Mozzie because he thought the small man was a threat.
Someone was following him. His first thought was to get back to his apartment. There he had his service weapon. No one who had good intentions ever followed him.
He didn't even bother to close the door behind him. Immediately pulling his weapon from its hidden spot. The door freaked open and he lifted it in preparation to fire. He hesitated when he saw the bald head.
Wasn't that the man from earlier? Why the hell was he there?
Upon seeing the gun pointed at him the little man froze. David asked with a growl," Who are you and why did you follow me?"
"My name is Mozzie. I saw that you have potential. I was going to see if you wanted to help me with a job," the man said raising his hands.
Not lowering his weapon he asked," What kind of job?"
"A conman kind of job. I need someone to get into a company and gain trust. I am too old to to do it."
It sounded interesting. He lowered his weapon as he said," Sit but keep your hands where i can see them."
End of flashback
Neal also remembered that day. It was the first time he remembered a day without pain. Whether internal or external. Mozzie had given him a reason to live. Now he had to explain why he needed such a thing.
Peter asked drawing Neal from his thoughts," Neal what happened before you met Mozzie?"
What did happen? The reason why Kate's death hit him so hard was because she wasn't his first love. Wasn't his first to die because of him.
Instead of answering the question he asked one of his own," Peter do you remember how I was without Kate? Even when I was in prison I was obessed about her."
Slowly Peter nodded as he replied," I remember. That's also how we caught you the first time. No matter what you were doing what job you were on you checked on her. Almost like... Almost like you were afraid of losing her."
Peter green eyes widened in realization. He said lowly," That's because you were. You were afraid of something happening to her while you were gone."
He nodded his head and said solemnly," You asked what happened in the six years between when I left the Wayne's and when the FBI first heard of Neal Caffery. Alex happened Peter."
Peter's eyes narrowed at those words. He had only met Alex once so far and that was the same day. It was obvious that the man didn't like or trust the CIA handler.
Bruce asked confused," Who is Alex?"
"Alexander Conklin of the CIA. He gave me a new life and identity after i left your manor."
Bruce's eyes hardened at that. Neal reacted instantly," You should understand the full story before passing judgement. I remember you made some controversial choices in your own youth. Specifically the seven years you were gone."
Bruce flinched slight. The man had no right to judge him. Like him joining the League of Shadows. It had been mere luck that Bruce had kept his no kill rule. He had not been so lucky. He had killed more people than he could count.
"What happened? You say Alex happened but that doesn't explain anything, Neal."
There was no use hiding it any more. There was only so much running in circles that he could do.
With a sigh he said," Not long after I left Bruce probably two or three weeks I went to Leon. An old contact of mine on the streets of Bludhaven. I told him that I was leaving the "business" and that I needed a new identity. One that was untraceable."
At the time they were nearly impossible to get. Only the big agencies had them. Which was how he ended up with the CIA.
He could see Bruce nodding. It made sense. If one wanted to run they went to the criminals that knew the business the best. Same with gathering information.
When he continued his voice was lower more gravelly," A few days later a man by the name of Alexander Conklin appeared at the hostel I was staying at. He introduced himself and gave me the basics of what I would be doing. Given my skills and that it was the start of the war he wanted me as a language officer. In return he would give me a new identity. It was a good deal. Better than any others I would have received at the time. So I agreed. Later that month I became David Webb."
The welcome he had received when he had been introduced was like none other. The Webb's had readily accepted him as one of their own. Jacob immediately took on the big brother role.
Briefly a hesitant smile appeared on his face. While not shown around Alex he and Jacob had become close. Far closer than he was to his Wayne siblings. Life with the Webb's had been somewhat akin to bliss until he received his first assignment. That's when everything went to hell.
Bruce said thoughtfully," I've heard of the Webb's. They are some of the best CIA intelligence operatives."
Heard of? If Peter believes that then he's an idiot. Glancing at his handler he could see the suspicion in his eyes. Good. Let him be suspicious of Bruce for awhile.
Neal continued with his tale," So I joined the Webb family. When I was giveny first assignment it was in Taiwan. Honestly there was nothing major about it. Until I met her."
His features softened at the thought. Irene. She made Kate seem like a passing fling. She had been his reason for staying in Taiwan. Even after his assignment was complete. He had asked for permanent assignment in Taiwan not long afterward.
Peter sat forward his eyes watching Neal's every reaction. The older man asked," What happened Neal?"
Bruce by the way he was watching the interaction was interested as well. Likely the only thing he knew thus far was about Neal Caffery.
Sadness filled him as he replied," Her name was Irene. We met while I was on assignment. She was a local and at first she just gave good information. Then we met away from the job. We ended up falling in love. I married her after a year and asked for permanent assignment in Taiwan. Alex understanding the situation gave me my wish. We were happy. Until one day while i was gone s rogue fighter plane killed her. Killed my wife and unborn child."
He had to stop. His breathing was becoming ragged. To make things worse he could feel the memory resurfacing.
Hefting his pack higher onto his shoulder he made his way towards his house. Hoping to surprise Irene with his early arrival he quickened his pace. He wasn't supposed to be back for another few days but he was able to finish early.
When he reached the small house that was on the shore of a lake his senses went into overdrive. It was quiet. Much to quiet for the time of day. Irene was always running around making preparations for their soon to be born child. So noise around their small home was always a constant during the day.
Yet now it was absolutely silent. Nothing but insects could be heard and it out fear into his heart. After running through the house he found it empty. Irene was nowhere to be found inside the house.
When he checked the lake his heart stopped. From the back porch he could see the discoloration in the water. Without checking the perimeter he ran straight towards the like. In the back of his mind he knew it could be a trap. He just didn't care. It was like a nightmare become reality.
When his eyes lay on the body in the water he fell to his knees. Even without getting a closer look he knew it was Irene. By the bloating she had been there for at least a day. Someone had killed his wife. Thoughts of revenge were already going through his mind.
End of flashback
Peter's worried face came into view as he came out of his flashback. The pain from the flashback was clear in his blue grey eyes. The second thing he noticed was that both El and Bruce had moved closer.
El had been stopped by a warning look from Peter. His friend knew from earlier that touching him during and after a flashback would not end well. Bruce for his part ignored the warning. Yet he did not touch him. For that Neal was grateful.
Peter asked carefully," What happened after that Neal?"
Neal said his voice becoming cold far colder than any tone he had used before," I sought revenge. Irene was the tipping point that plunged me into the darkness. I begged Alex to put me into the CIA's newest program. It took a lot of convincing but eventually he agreed. I think that he thought I would wash out of the program after a few day. A month at most. Instead of washing out I thrived."
"What was the program, Dick?"
Silence met his words. The ball was in their park now. It was up to them on how things went from here.
Chapter 9: Nowhere left to run part 3
A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.
Guest: Thanks for your review my friend. It has been my pleasure.
forsakenfoxshadow:Thanks for your review my friend. I'm glad to see you still reviewing. Well if you expecting a happy ending... well I'm not known for happy ending. Cough cough shadows of Damocles past. You will just have to wait and see.
Internally he froze. The Justice League had, had a hand in dismantling the program. There was only a handful of their operatives had gone back to their civilian identities. In fact he could count them on one hand with plenty of fingers left over.
Putting the pieces together was easy. Given the height, build, and training Bruce narrowed it down to one operative. The most dangerous operative. Delta.
He asked," Your Delta? The top Medusa operative?"
The way his son paled confirmed it. His son was a killer. How was he going to explain this to the others?
Richard said breaking him from his thoughts," I was. Trying to gain my revenge I killed for the sake of my country. I should have gone to a psyche hospital. If it hadn't been for Alex I would have. He didn't even know it was me until my debrief. Instead I was given a place in New York. If you know about my life as Neal Caffery then you know the rest."
From there Richard met the little man and became a thief. He can't figure out how he felt about this. Bruce hated that Richard became a killer. It wasn't like he ever wanted any of his children to kill. Damien not withstanding.
Bruce asked calmly," Have you spoken to anyone about what happened over there?"
Richard looked away. The guilt was written all over his face. Evidently he had gone through a proper pyshe eval. The CIA really needed to keep a better eye on their operatives.
Burke was the one who answered," He's meeting with a doctor tomorrow. Recommendation came from Agent Conklin."
So he will be at least speaking to a doctor. Bruce was at least grateful for that. From what little he had seen his son had heavy PTSD. On top of that his training was expanded into killing.
"Bruce?" The question came out in a small voice. Reminding him of when he first met Richard after his parents died.
He turned his head to look at the younger man. There was a sense of vulnerability in those blue eyes. Fear that he would hate him because of what he revealed.
Honestly Bruce didn't hate him. More like he understood the position he had been in. At one time he had been in the same position. Almost made the same mistake.
He gave the other a small smile as he said," It's getting late. You have work tomorrow. We will talk more after that."
He hoped his tone conveade his thoughts. Emotions were never his strong suit. Neither was talking. It just wasn't his style.
Cocking his head to the side was Richard's answer. It was a message. He understood. They would speak soon. Without another word he left the apartment.
Once outside his phone rang. The ring tone was one he would normally ignore. Knowing the other person like he did it would only bring the other to New York.
He answered coldly," What do you want Clark?"
Clark said on the other line," How cold Bruce. I thought you would be busy. Tim told me that you were going to New York. That you may have found Dick?"
His children really needed to learn to keep their mouths shut. Especially when talking to members of the League.
He replied a headache was going in the back of his mind," Yes I'm in New York."
Clark asked impatiently," Well was he there?"
Looking at the house behind him he said," Yes I found him. It is more complicated than what I expected."
Clark's breathing hitched on the other side of the line. Bruce bet he didn't expect them to find Richard. After a decade of nothing it wasn't unexpected. Sometimes they questioned if he was still even alive.
It made a lot of sense of why they couldn't find him. CIA was not one of the places they had looked. In all honesty they hadn't expected it. Richard shared his hatred of guns. Or at least he had.
Now Richard had several new abilities. Including the use of a gun. Delta...
Bruce shuddered at the memory. He knew exactly what that name meant.
Clark asked worried," Bruce what is wrong? Is Dick okay?"
Rubbing a hand across his face as he got into his car replying," It's complicated. How fast can you get to New York?"
"Give me a few hours."
With that he cut the call. For now he would await Clark. In the morning he would go talk to Richard again.
He watched as Bruce left. Their next conversation wasn't going to be pleasant.
He said turning to the others," I'm going to bed. You can stay if you like just don't try to wake me. If you doubt the danger ask Mozzie about his first time trying to wake me."
Mozzie said softly the doorway," It's never a good idea. He almost shot me the first time. Almost broke my neck the second. I haven't tried since."
Neal had already entered the bathroom to shower. He could hear mutterings of the others as he stripped out of his clothes. Under the sink he had some sweats that he kept in case unexpected visitors appeared.
His shower was hot and it relaxed his tense muscles. They had been tense ever since Kramer had his hearing stalled. When he left in his black sweatshirt and sweat pants all that was left was Peter.
His handler had a beer in one hand and had shed his jacket and tie. He looked up as Neal entered.
He asked," Are you feeling better Neal?"
He smiled slightly as he replied," A little. This whole business has me tense."
Peter said calmingly," It's okay Neal. We will work all of this out. You aren't in this alone."
He wished that he could believe that. Somehow he knew things would get worse before they got better. Kramer still had enough on him to take away his nonviolent status. If that happened he would be back in jail.
He said shaking himseld from his thoughts," I'm going to sleep Peter. Talk to you in the morning."
Peter nodded and Neal laid on his bed. Sleep quickly overtook him. The dreams were not pleasant however.
About three hours before dawn he shot out of his bed. He hit the light by his bed illuminated the room. Peter was still on the couch but was now sitting up on his elbows. The light must have woken him.
Peter asked concerned," Bad dreams?"
Neal rubbed a hand over his face as he replied," Bad memories."
That had Peter fully sitting up and watching him. His friend asked carefully neutral," Want to talk about it?"
For a moment he thought about turning it down. Then he thought better of it. He moved off his bed and over to the other couch.
After a brief moment of hesitation he said the memory fluttering across his eyes," I... It was my third mission leading team century 12. We were given the assignment to kill a group of insurgents."
The memory resurfaced in his eyes as he thought about it. Remembering everything that happened during the mission.
Continuing softly," the insurgents were in the northern forest. Just five clicks of our camp. I had Bravo on point while Echo and i provided cover fire with snipers. Bravo entered at 2358 that evening. Five insurgents came out. Echo and i were able to take them out. What we didn't know was that a sixth had come out the side as Bravo cleared the building. The one that got out found my nest."
His hands were shaking. Blood rained that night. It wasn't right.
He said trying to calm the shaking," He came for me. I was surprised by the attack..."
Rain poured. His thermal scope showed his squad clearing the building but nothing more. Something didn't feel right. There should have been more of them. A crack of a twig breaking behind him drew his attention. That wasn't Echo. Through his scope he could see where his partner was positioned.
He moved only to miss a kick aimed at his head. Rolling out of the way of another kick he launched to his feet. His opponent was six foot three 235 pounds. In his right hand was a serrated blade knife.
Delta pulled his out of its sheath. They eyed each other warily. Then like a snake he struck.
Delta parried the knife strike then struck. His fist hit the man in the throat. Everyone had has the sane reaction when being struck in the throat. To grab it where get had bsen struck. An instinctive reaction that could cost someone their lives. In this case it did.
Delta struck out with his knife. Burying it deep into the other's throat. Just below where the hands where.
The man burgled on his blood as he tried to breathe.
The man collapsed a second later. Delta gave the body a cold look before he turned back to his gun.
After checking the scope he said," Squad check in."
Finally he growled," Delta check. All hostiles down. Return to camp."
End of flashback
Neal refused to look at Peter after he finished. Killing had been easy for him when he was Delta.
Peter said reaching out for him," You did what you had to do Neal. Even a blind man can see that it was self defense."
He flinched at the movement. It took several moments to calm his racing heart. Finally he nodded his acceptance. Though deep in his heart he would always blame himself. No matter what anyone else said.
Half a world away a blond haired grey eyed man sat alone in a house. In front of him was a file. It shouldn't have been in his hands but thanks to one of his men it was.
One of the few people out there that was a threat to them. As of that moment they were actively against him. Being in the kind of business that he was that could change. Which was why he wanted a file on this killer. The killer that had more kills than anyone else in the entire operation combined.
Part of the man wished he had joined Medusa. Maybe then he could have taken the threat out before now. But he didn't. Now he needed to find out once and for all.
Was Delta an ally? Or was he a threat to he eliminated with all allies?
Chapter 10: Nowhere left to run part 4
A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.
forsakenfoxshadow:Thanks for the review my friend. Yes they have a lot of issues. Especially Dick. They will have to work through their problems. Clark will be an interesting experience.
His head was laying on his desk. Hughes had put him on morgage fraud cases. He didn't want him in the field. Apparently he was a liability with his flashbacks.
This afternoon he was supposed to meet with Panov. It was not something he was looking forward to. He didn't want someone inside his head. In all honesty he just wanted things to go back to how they were before the treasure.
Things between him and Peter had been great. They worked cases they hung out. The older man had become one of the closest friends he had. Excluding his wacky friendship with Mozzie he had not had a real friend since the before leaving for Thailand.
Vaguely he heard the elevator ding. Expecting it to be the doctor he didn't look up.
What he didn't expect was a familiar voice ask," Dick?"
His head shot up. That voice was familiar. One that no matter what issues he was having he didn't ignore. Clark's green eyes met his blue ones.
He said breathlessly," Clark..."
All movement in the office had stopped and were now watching. They had all seen what happened the day before and were prepared for a repeat. To bad for them. He and Clark were old friends. The man had been like an uncle to him.
Clark said moving slowly towards him," When Bruce said he found you I didn't believe him at first. After a decade of being missing we had almost given up hope."
Wincing he said," I didn't want to be found, Clark. If it wasn't for Damien you would have never found me."
For good reason. It seemed everyone he cared about either got hurt or died. He didn't want to watch someone else he cared about die.
Clark said looking hurt," We searched for you. Searched for weeks running down any hint of you that we could find."
When someone like him didn't want to be found. They wouldn't be. It had been taught to him and all of his siblings from a young age by Bruce.
Folding his arms across his chest he replied coldly," I didn't want to be found," glancing around he said," We need to take this elsewhere. Come on let's use the conference room."
With a nod to Jones he took Clark up to the conference room. Peter noticed them as soon as they made it to the top of the stairs. There was a question in the older man's eyes. Neal shook his head. This one he could handle without backup.
Once they were in the conference room he asked," How much do you know?"
Clark sat back as he replied," Not much. Bruce wouldn't say much. Though I did look you up. A criminal? Why did you choose that path Dick?"
"Why not? Would you really have expected that of me? Neal Caffery was the perfect cover to hide from those who sought me."
Clark's eyes narrowed as he said," We weren't the only ones who wsee looking. Dick I'm not an idiot. Neal Caffery only accounts for your whereabouts till six years ago. Whatever you told Bruce about it it bothers him. More so than I have ever seen. What happened in the those six years?"
A dark look crossed his face. His reply was short and cold," I have already gone over this with Bruce. I'm not going over it again."
Clark's eyes widened then narrowed. The two of them stared at each other for a long moment.
He said finally," So it's true then. You were apart of Medusa."
Neal grit his teeth together angrily. Of course Bruce would have told him. The older man couldn't keep a secret from the league.
A knock on the door drew their attention. Standing he went to open the door. Morris Panov stood at the door. His eyes took in the wary body language and the new person.
Carefully he asked," Is everything okay Mr. Caffery?"
Giving Clark a cold look he replied," My adoptive father decided to call my once honorary uncle to visit. Dr. Panov meet Clark Kent. Clark this is Dr. Panov."
Clark raised his chin in greeting and said," Nice to meet you doctor. Doctor of what if I might ask?"
Knowing it was better to come from him Neal said," Pyschology. If you don't mind Clark I have an appointment to keep."
Clark looked very much like he wanted to argue. As he had done in times past he closed off his stance. He wasn't going to back down on this issue. The trust between himself and Clark was long since broken. Just like everyone else Clark had abandoned him when he needed someone. Anyone to tell him it was going to be okay. No one had been there for him and they wondered why he was so broken.
Finally he said," We will talk Dick."
It occurred to him that he might need to hide out at Peter's. If his adoptive father and uncle were going to hound him. It might be in his best interest to find a place to hole up for awhile.
Once Clark was gone Panov asked," Do you not get along with Mr. Kent?"
Shaking his head he replied," We haven't spoken in over a decade. I've known him since I was a young child. Just like with everyone else we just slowly stopped talking. When I needed them the most they weren't there. So I left."
Cautiously the other questioned," How many identities do you have?"
Without hesitation he shot back," One. I have gone my many names but i only have one true identity. You're looking at him."
"Was a mistake."
A mistake that had so far been managed since he met Peter. The older man had been his grounder. A way to keep the darkness at bay. Just like Mozzie.
Panov moving slowly so that he track every movement placed his hand on his shoulder. Then he was led to the table. Once they were both sitting they didn't say anything. Just stared for a long moment.
With a sigh Panov said," You call him a mistake but he is very much a part of you. Just as you are Neal Caffery, and David Webb. You are Delta leader of the top Medusa team."
Neal couldn't help but flinch. He hated what he had done for the sake of revenge. There were days he wished he never met Alex Conklin. That the war had just been a terrible dream.
Life didn't work like that though. The decisions he had made effected him. Even years later. Nightmares plagued his dreams. With the anniversary of his wife's death coming up it was a wonder they weren't worse. Compared to when he first returned they were mild.
As if reading his thoughts the doctor said," You're having nightmares again," it was not a question still he nodded," Alex told me how violent they used to be. It's dangerous for someone to wake you. Is it not?"
Neal mumbled not meeting the other's eyes," They are warned against waking me. For their own safety."
Panov cocked his head to the side considering him. This doctor was so strange. He expected it to be hard to speak to him. For the other to demand answers to questions that he didn't want asked. Instead it was mostly confirming what he already knew.
Neal couldn't help his own confusion as he asked," Why are you asking these questions? You are different from any other doctor that I have talked to."
Mostly shoved down his throat by Alex. That man was insistent that he at least try to talk to someone. Not that they lasted longer than a session. Two at most.
A gentle look crossed the others face as he answered," If I tried to force the answers out of you you would never trust me. I want you to trust me. To come to me if you are having an issue that you can't handle on your own. So I will start small. We will get to the more difficult issues but not until you are ready."
Neal didn't have much of a choice but to accept the man's words. This doctor confused him to no end. Was this why Alex wanted him to be his doctor? Because he wouldn't force him to speak about something until he was ready?
It was hard for him to wrap his head around. He certainly wasn't used to having so many people give a damn about his mental health. Usually it was buck up and keep fighting. It was the same when he lived with Bruce. Just maybe he could give this guy a chance. It would be a matter of watching and seeing how the man reacted.
The rest of the session continued like that. Easy but loaded questions. Ones that he only gave half answers to. Not quite ready to trust the other with any secrets. Upon leaving the conference room he noticed that Clark was still there. He was talking excitedly with Jones.
Neal growled at the sight. The last thing he needed was someone else finding out about him being Dick Grayson. Peter finding out was bad enough. If he had any say in the matter he would not be returning to that life. Being a vigilante was not in his plans.
Panov touched his shoulder causing him to flinch violently away. Wild eyes met calm hazel ones. Both hands were now in his line of sight. It took several seconds for his racing heart to calm.
He muttered," Sorry."
Panov replied softly," It's okay Neal. I should not have startled you. You truly are like Echo when he first started his sessions."
Upon processing his words Neal's heart sped up again. Echo... The man had been his right hand during their time in Medusa. He had been the first in their team to return to the states.
It was a surprise to hear that he had sought help. Like Neal he was extremely independent. Not wanting to rely on anyone but themselves. To rely on another could bring death to them. So they learned to rely on themselves and themselves alone.
Hesitantly he asked," How is Echo? I haven't spoken to him since we returned to the States."
Panov smiled as he said," Echo is doing well all things considered. He still has a session once a month. I know he was worried about you when you disappeared. Maybe you should let him know you are okay."
Without a second thought he pulled out a notepad and wrote his number. Being able to talk to his friend again would be good for his mental health. There were some things you could not tell anyone else. Not because they didn't want to help you. It was that they wouldn't understand.
Panov said gently," I'll make sure he gets it. Do you need anything before I leave?"
He shook his head no. For a moment the doctor hesitated. It was like he wanted to say something. Whatever it was they would never know. The doors below opened and Kramer walked in.
Neal's shoulders tensed and his eyes hardened. If it wasn't for that bastard he wouldn't be in this position. The man saw him as nothing more than a lowly asset. A tool to be used but not heard. Neal would rather go to jail than be his ci.
When Kramer saw him standing there with the doctor he smirked. It took all of his self control not to flip the man off. Would there be another incident in the office? That would make two days in a row.
Peter walked up next to him. Neal could feel the older man's anger. It made him glad that it wasn't directed at him. Peter had a legendary temper that no one wanted to have directed at them. Neal still remembered the punch that he received.
Peter said nodding to the bullpen," Go, Neal. I'll handle Kramer."
He opened his mouth to argue but a sharp look from the older man made him shut it. Trust he reminded himself. Trust was the key to his partnership with Peter.
Chapter 11: The Jackel part 1
He watched as Peter and Kramer began arguing up in the conference room. Neal was sitting at his desk. Part of him didn't want to know what they were arguing about. Another part of him knew it was about him.
His hand tapped on the desk impatiently. Panov sat across from him. Watching him with a curious look. Watching all of his tics to identify them when they spoke.
Neal's eyes turned to see Clark. The older man was watching his handler and enemy. No doubt he was listening to what they were saying.
A shout drew his head back up. Peter was angry. Now even Hughes was in there. This couldn't be good.
Panov asked startling him," Are you okay?"
His eyes turned to the doctor. For an instant he thought the man was a threat. Then his heart rate slowed.
He answered after a moment," No. I don't like this doctor. They are talking about me. About what I don't know."
A gentle hand touched his shoulder. It startled him quite a bit. Almost sending him crashing to the floor.
The doctor raised his hands showing that he was not a threat. The man had a kind look in his eyes. Now Clark's eyes were on him.
Neal's hands were opening and closing. His breathing coming in sharp fast gaps. Noticing his panic the doctor was on his feet. Moving closer. Getting in his space. He had to warn the man. Had to stop him from touching him. Not to bring the darkness to the surface.
The man bent down so that he was eye level with Neal. His mouth was moving but Neal couldn't hear what was being said. The pounding in his ears prevented him from hearing.
Panov must have noticed his method wasn't working. He reached out for the younger man. Trying to calm him.
He flinched but allowed the touch. His heart beat began to slow. Calm entered him his panic. Slowly the panic faded leaving him tired but alert.
Panov asked carefully," Are you calmer now, Mr. Caffery?"
Neal bowed his head as he answered," Yes. How did you know that would work?"
A gentle look entered Panov's eyes as he said," Echo. I took a chance on the fact that you would react as he had done."
That made sense. He missed his second in command. The elder man had fought and almost died alongside him.
A voice said breaking the calm," See. He is a danger. Just as I have told you."
Kramer. He had known when the man had arrived that he was a threat. The peace that reigned shortly before was broken.
Hughes said stepping between him and Kramer," Agent Kramer. As I have told you, Mr. Caffery is being evaluated by Doctor Panov."
The doctor stood his eyes turned cold looking at Kramer. He said," Mr. Caffery is not a danger to himself or to anyone here. He will be meeting with me at least once a week. More if he feels that he needs to."
Neal looked away. If Kramer hadn't found his CIA badge then he wouldn't be in this situation. Then again his brother would have found him anyways. Without a guiding hand.
Looking through his fringe at the doctor. In the few days that he knew the man. He never saw anger or such coldness before now.
Kramer didn't seem to be deterred by the angered doctor. To his surprise a new voice said," I don't think you would want to go after Caffery. If you do you will regret it."
Looking up he saw Clark. Anger was in those eyes. It wasn't often so many came to his defense.
Kramer's eyes narrowed. Trying to figure out who the man was. Then he recognized him.
He asked," What is a reporter from Centeral City doing here New York? What is your interest in Caffery?"
Clark answered," I know him by another name. I was asked here by a family friend. To look after a boy that is like a nephew to me."
Clark... He knew the older man cared about him. Just never thought that he still thought of him as his nephew. Of course he still cared about the man. The bond he once had though was broken. Broken when he left Gotham determined never to return.
That's when a thought hit him. Bruce and the other's didn't expect him to stay away. They expected him to come back and stay. Instead he expected to stay in New York. No part of him wanted to return to Gotham.
Kramer growled," You continue to protect him. Even knowing that he isnt safe."
Neal said taking a deep breath," I won't hurt anyone."
Not in this office at least. He was not a danger to his friends. The doctor wasn't trusted or considered a friend. Yet, Alex is former handler and friend trusted him. Supposedly so did Echo who he had yet to speak to.
For now he placed his faith in the man. Not trusted. Just enough faith that he would speak.
Hughes said," Enough. Phillip you are to leave. Your help is no longer wanted or needed. Caffery," Neal looked up," my office now."
Neal stood immediately. He was used to obeying the man. Peter was next to him. Panov followed at a polite distance.
Entering the office Neal stood by a chair respectfully. Hughes waived him into it. The last few years of working with the man revealed a lot to him. Hughes was kinder if you respected him. Though if you tried to kiss ass he would throw you out.
Peter and Panov both took their seats. Peter's presence served as both his handler and to keep him calm. Panov to give whatever he learned.
A knock at the door startled all of them before Hughes could say anything. Alex walked in. If Neal didn't know the man as well as he did. He would have thought that Alex was completely relaxed.
Neal knew better. There was a subtle tension in the man's shoulders. Something was bothering his ex handler.
Alex asked looking at Neal specifically," Excuse me may I borrow Neal for a moment? Dr. Panov."
Hughes said," Caffery. What I wanted to say was that I want you to keep your head down. Do not give Kramer any ammunition on you. I can only protect you and Peter for so long."
Neal said nodding," I will keep my head down. Though I may have some issues with my family."
Hughes cocked his head to the side as he asked," Family? The reporter?"
Shaking his head but said with a far off look," He's more like an uncle. Peter met my adopted father. Some one I ran from over a decade ago."
"The missing past."
He nodded. His missing young years. Something they had never been able to get him to speak of.
Peter said," I will keep Neal and his father out of trouble. About as well I can."
Neal had to bite back a snort. That was an impossible task.
Hughes said," Good. Get out."
Neal and Panov followed Alex into a conference room. Alex pulled out a newspaper. Handing it to Neal. The paper confused him. The title made the blood drain from his face.
Reported Seen in London. There was only a few killers that came to mind when he saw such a headline. Only one would be brought to him. Carlos the Jackel. Someone they knew so little about.
Ilich Ramírez Sánchez was thought to be the man's real name. Not that they had confirmed that. Or were able to follow it.
Panov asked," Why are you showing us this?"
Alex turned his head to Neal. Ignoring the two man in front of him. His entire focus was on the paper in front of him.
When in Medusa many men had spoken of Carlos. Several of them thought about defecting to the man. To be a soldier of Carlos. Anyone that did he personally shot.
Carlos was an assassin. One that he helped track encoded transitions and break codes. His eyes were trailing over the paper taking all the information in.
He asked," How old is this information?"
Two days. It was too late for him to give useful information. He could at least give a brief overview. Before he could ask Alex placed a file in front of him. A notebook under it.
He opened the notebook and file. His eyes became fixed on them.
Pacing in front of the conference room. Neal was sitting in front of a file and notebook. His eyes focused on the file and paper. How the agent wanted to help his CI.
Something was off about Neal. His shoulders were set in intense focus. While he couldn't see the younger's eyes he knew they would be grey. Grey not blue. The killer that Peter still didn't understand.
Peter just couldn't understand what went on in the younger's head. Neal he could understand. Richard Grayson could be understood. Delta was a mystery to him.
The grey eyes that made other's blood run cold. There was no kindness in those eyes. Nothing that would have been familiar to him.
Doctor Panov came out his hazel eyes briefly to Neal. Then they turned to his own green ones.
Peter asked," What is he doing?"
Panov said biting the inside of his cheek," Apparently its something they been working on for a long time. I couldn't even talk him out of it."
That sounded like Neal. He wasn't one to be talked out of what he wanted to do. Something that it seemed bled into Delta.
Time passed slowly for them. Never once did Neal's eyes leave his papers. Once or twice Neal's shoulders tensed even further. Whatever he was reading it agitated him.
Peter asked carefully," Do you think you could speak with him before he goes home? Somehow I don't think this will be good for him."
Nodding Panov answered," Yes. I was going to take him to a quiet place I found. I was hoping you could extend his radius for an hour or so."
Peter sighed knowing that that the man was right. The doctor was going to take Neal somewhere. Somewhere that he could relax. If he wanted to help his friend he would have to go with it.
So he nodded. A promise made. He would extend Neal's radius for a short while.
It was dark before he finished. What he learned disturbed him Carlos had gotten more and more arrogant and powerful. In the last five years Carlos' skills had almost doubled. His information network had fingers everywhere.
To make matters worse they were getting more publicized. Each more so than the last. A shot through the throat for most of his targets.
Closing the notebook he held it out to Alex. His old friend smiled knowingly. It took several minutes for Neal to realize why.
It seemed he would never be able to get away from his old life. Why did he do that? Why did he care that Carlos was still out there? It didn't matter to him. He worked for the FBI.
Instead of asking what he was thinking he asked," Why did you bring me this?"
Alex answered with his nose in the notes," I was going to look through them later. I just wanted you to know that he is out and killing once more."
It was a warning. Not to Neal. Not to David. But to Delta leader of a group in Medusa. Carlos could consider Delta as an enemy. Could try to come after him. If that happened anyone who got in his way would be in danger. Peter. Elizabeth. June. So many others who had helped him.
"Is he after me, Alex?"
His friend looked at him sharply. The seriousness of the question hit them both. It was like a blow.
Slowly the other shook his head as he said," Not that we know of."
That meant nothing. And they both knew it. Carlos could come after him without word ever getting to them. This man needed to be stopped but how?
Shaking his head he stood cracking his back. Alex said his eyes watching him," Morris Panov wants to go out for drinks with him. David you will be safe with him. He has the highest clearance."
That meant he could speak of Medusa. The worst part of his life not including his wife's and unborn child's death. Not that he would. Not before trust was made between them.
Alex said," Go. Thank you for your notes. David if you didn't want to... I would have accepted it. I just wanted to warn my old friend."
A small smile crossed his friend as he said," Thank you Alex. Even though we have our disagreements you still look after me."
The dirty blond haired man lifted his head in acknowledgement. A brief smile crossed his face. It was like when they used to share a beer at the Webb's house. Jacob sometimes would join them. Then he turned and left.
Panov and Peter stood outside. Both of them had been watching him. Carefully looking at him. Searching for any signs of the killer inside him.
A smile to Peter and turning towards the doctor. He assessed the man once more. His military training kicking in.
Panov had a kind look on his face. He watching for any subtle signs of distress. Panov was not an actor or a fighter. Instead he was someone who read body language. Someone who could calm even the most dangerous of the killers. Only two people were able to do such a thing. Peter and Mozzie.
Taking a deep breath he stated calmly," Alex said you wanted to go for drinks. I could use one."
Surprise filled both men's eyes. It was true though. He needed something to drink. The Jackel had brought up painful memories. All he wanted was to drink them away.
Chapter 12: The Jackel part 2
The bar was on the opposite side of town. A little hope in the wall place that if Panov hadn't taken him to he wouldn't have known.
The doctor raised his hand when the bartender nodded to him. They took seats at the back. He allowed Neal to pick a seat. After a moment of hesitation he choose the seat that had his back to a wall. Panov then took the seat in front of him.
He ordered a scotch. It wasn't often that he drank something other than wine. In this he needed something stronger. After all that happened he needed something stronger.
He asked in a low tone," What made you help those of us from Medusa?"
Panov seemed surprised at his question. For a moment he considered it.
When he replied it wasn't what he was expecting," When I was first told of Alex's plan I thought it was insane. How could we allow the monsters that had done such terrible things back in society?"
He flinched heavily at the word monster. He knew what he was. He had accepted it a long time ago. Delta was the monster under the bed.
Panov said hazel eyes catching his blue ones," Then I met a young man of century team 6. Call sign almanac."
The breath caught in his throat. Almanac... Gordon... Panov had met Gordon Webb.
"He told me what you did for him. How you took your entire team to a trap. Knowing it was a trap to save him."
He was shaking. He knew he was. Yet he couldn't stop the shaking. The bartender returned with their drinks. His dark eyes took in the shaking.
He asked," Everything okay here, Doc?"
Panov nodded as he said," I think so, Ion."
"If your sure."
Once he was out of hearing range Panov said," It's okay."
Shaking his head he tried to calm down. It was difficult to keep his mind from running away from him. Running back to Tam Quan. Flashes went behind his eyes.
"Almanac to Delta. Come in Delta!"
Delta was standing in front of the fire of his camp. Almanac didn't contact him unless it was absolutely important.
He called out," Go for Delta, Almanac."
There was static then what sounded like gunshots. All his men were on their feet. Eyes searching the threat.
Ignoring them he yelled," Almanac come in! What's your status? Almanac!"
End of flashback
He shot to his feet. Panic filling him his eyes searching for the threat. For Jason Bourne.
A brown haired man held out his hands nomthreateningly. Mistrust filled his grey gaze. Who was this? Where was Echo?
The brown haired man said," Mr. Caffery, calm. This is not Tam Quan. Almanac is safe."
Neal... that's right. He was Neal and this was Doctor Panov. His doctor. His shoulders slumped. Eyes were on him.
He stumbled back and fell back into his chair. Panov waved the bartender off. Instead of moving back into his chair Panov brought the chair next to him. His blue grey eyes looked over at him.
Panov said," Mr. Caffery, It's okay. Flashbacks are normal for what happened to you. Echo had the same thing. You will get through it."
Neal looked at him. Fear coursing through his mind.
He asked pained," What if I can't? Doc I didnt have any issues until Alex showed up. In the last few days I have had more issues than the entire time I had been gone."
There were a few small flashbacks. Nothing major. Nothing on this scale until Alex arrived. They had only gotten worse. More frequent as time went on.
Panov said his hand slowly reaching out," It will get better. You have to give it time."
When he didn't flinch away Panov's hand clapsed him on the shoulder. It was comforting. It grounded him somewhat. Reminding him who he was.
He said calming down," Doctor call me, Neal."
For a moment their was stunned silence. The man had been going back and forth between Neal and Mr. Caffery for awhile now. This was going a step further. A proof of budding trust.
Panov said nodding," Neal then. You may call me Morris or Mo if you prefer."
Morris, it felt different giving the man a true name. Not just a last name.
He whispered quietly," Mo."
The doctor smiled and for the first time they took a sip of their drinks. The drink furthered to calm his rampaging emotions. Mo was watching him. Caution in the hazel eyes.
Things went much the same the rest of the night. They drank several things of whiskey. It wasn't enough for him to get drunk. Enough for a buzz but he was still alert.
Morris walked him back to June's. The man had promised Peter that he wouldn't leave his side until he was back in his apartment. Including getting inside. He didn't know why but maybe it was because of the risk of him running. Or there was some risk to himself.
Still he didn't argue with the doctor as they made their way to June's. When they got there he saw that none of the lights were on. Given the time of night it wasn't concerning. Just let him know that Mozzie wasn't there.
They went inside and Neal stopped. The house creaked. In a way that it didn't unless someone was on the second floor. Someone that was waiting on him to return.
Neal grabbed the doctor. He put a finger to his lips. For his part the doctor only nodded. Listening he could hear slight movements above them. It wasn't that of someone who broke in to steal. It was that of someone in waiting. Assassin or kidnapper was his best guesses.
He pushed the doctor out of the way as he went for the bookcase. When Alex had found him he gave him a field box. If Peter ever found it he was a dead man.
Opening the field box he found what he was looking for. It was a glock. A little heavier than the one he was used to. Then again it wasn't his modified weapon from Tam Quan.
When he went to grab the magazine he stopped. Under it was something he was familiar with. His medusa knife. It had his callsign etched into the hilt.
Damn it Alex. One of these days he was going to kill the man. Still the knife would likely come in handy in this situation.
Standing he pushed Panov into a corner. He brought his hand down. Telling him to stay down. Once he was sure the doctor was safe he carefully made his way up the stairs.
He sat watching as Agent Burke read through the Medusa files. While it was a classified never to be declassified op he was allowing Burke to read. Mainly it was a show of trust. He needed the man to keep David safe.
A ringing drew his attention. It was his phone. He looked at it recognizing the number as Mo.
He answered," Conklin."
Morris whispered," There's someone at Neal's apartment."
Alex swore colorfully. He should have insisted on the man getting guards.
He turned to Burke and asked," How fast can we get to Caffery's?"
Burke looked at him and said," Five minutes tops. What's going on?"
Conklin was glad they he kept weapons on him. Otherwise they would be of no help to David when they got there.
Instead of directly answering he said," Grab your side arm. Caffery's in trouble."
There wasn't any hesitation when the man gained his feet. They would have to hurry to save Neal.
He listened to the creaks outside the door to his apartment. Counting to three in his head he entered the apartment. Clearing the room with his eyes.
Right side was clear no places to hide. Middle was clear any places to try and hide were able to check easily. Left side he found what he was looking for.
A blond haired man with tanned skin sat in a chair. The man was from somewhere on the equator judging by his color. Without an accent he wouldn't be able to tell where exactly.
He asked his gun pointed at the other's chest," Who are you? What are you doing in my apartment?"
The blond cocked his head to the side as he answered his accent definitely South American," So you are the great Delta. I have heard a lot about you."
Neal looked at the man. It took him a moment to realize that he had grey eyes. Grey like his own eyes when Delta was in control.
He asked gritting his teeth," Who are you? What do you want?"
The blond said standing but not moving any closer," I have many names, Delta. You will likely know me as Carlos the Jackel."
Neal's finger twitched ready to fire a round into the man's chest. The man's face split into a grin. It was dark much like those who had fought in Medusa.
Carlos said baring his teeth like a jackel," Shoot me Delta. Otherwise hear me out."
Neal was very tempted to. The world would be a better place without him in it. Then again the man was just like him. Without all the extra morals.
Slowly he lowered his weapon but didn't put it fully away. Carlos watched him curiously.
Eventually he said," I have been looking into you. You spent six years as in the CIA. Then after you got pulled from the program you became a thief. Why? Why not become an assassin for hire?"
It took a long moment for Neal to realize why he was there. He wasn't really asking why Neal didn't keep killing. Carlos was feeling around to see if he was willing to kill.
Neal said growling," I've put that life behind me, Carlos. I don't kill anymore."
Carlos cocked his head to the side as he asked," No? Yet you came in here ready to kill me."
The serial killer had a point. He had come in assuming that there was a threat. Ready to neutralize the threat by any means possible.
Carlos walked around him with an animalistic smile on his face. It was like a predator watching his prey.
He said," You are not meant to be a good guy, Delta. You are a killer to your core."
Neal growled," I won't return to that life, Carlos. I'll give you a choice. Leave on your own power. Or ill shoot you."
That's when the jackal decided to fight. Before he could react Carlos grabbed the gun. A quick twist and pressure to his wrist sent the gun flying. Then the fight was on.
Delta slipped into fight or die mode. Pushing Neal to the corner of his mind. Neal was not strong enough to kill. It just wasn't in his nature.
Delta struck out with his hand to the man's throat. The other blocked it and returned with a strike of his own. Each strike was precise and meant to kill.
With each passing moment they were fighting harder. Faster. Neither landing a direct hit against the other. Until the man struck out landing a strike to his right side.
It took all of his self control not to go down. The strike had been directly to his kidneys. No matter how much training one had a strike to the kidneys was a strike to the kidneys.
He struck out in return once again. It didn't hit its intended target. A return strike hit his chest. A follow through was a strike to his knee. This time he did go down.
Standing over him Carlos said," If you won't join me, Delta. I'll kill everyone you care about. Then I will kill."
Delta growled," I won't let you, Jackel. Nor will I join you."
The squealing of tires drew their attention. It seemed that the Jackel was out of time.
Jackel said with a sneer," This isn't the last you will see of me, Delta. I will be back for you."
With that the man was gone. Delta pushed himself up to his hands and knees. Pain coursed through him but he pushed through it. When he stood the door opened. A flashlight was shone in his face and instinct kicked in.
Delta lashed out with a kick. The gun that was with the flashlight was knocked to the side. The man holding it was barely able to keep ahold of his gun.
A voice cried out," Delta stop!"
Immediately he obeyed recognizing the voice. Peter... his head was fuzzy now. His vision was fading in and out. Then the went dark. He didn't even feel hitting the floor.
When he came too there was a bright light shinning in his face. First instinct was to sit up and attack whoever was behind the light. Instead he found that his arms were restrained by a pair of strong hands.
He found blue eyes staring down at him. Ones he recognized from years with the man. Bruce... Damn he must have tried to attack them in his sleep.
He croaked out," Bruce..."
All eyes turned to him. That's when he noticed the others in the room. Morris was watching them with a carefully neutral look. Peter was in a corner with a disapproving look. When their eyes met it disappeared. A faint smile replaced it. Alex was the closest to him probing his wounds.
He growled when the man touched a particularly painful spot. Alex looked at him with amusement.
He said," Same old David. Growl at anyone who tries to help."
"Screw you Alex."
Bruce slowly released him. The movement reminded him that the man was there. The one who still didn't know the full story. Wait how was Bruce even there? When did he arrive?
Neal asked turning to face the man," When did you get here Bruce? Alex if you press that spot again I swear to god I'll shoot you."
A chuckle was his only answer from his handler. One of these days he was going to put a bullet in the man. A well deserved bullet.
Bruce said startling both of them," I was on my way to check on you. I found your apartment in shambles and you passed out on the floor."
So it was Bruce who found him first not Alex. That would explain why holding him down was necessary. Delta didn't know Bruce. Would see him as a threat.
He leaned back against the couch he was on. With as much calmness as he could he asked," You saw my other side didn't you?"
Bruce looked at him as he replied," The darkness in you. It's like when we first met. Though I do wonder how you got ahold of this," he held up the weapons from his field box.
Well shit. Bruce and his damn hatred of guns. This was not going to end well.
Neal said running a hand over his eyes," It's a field box. Every member of the CIA is given one. I just received mine again a day or so."
Alex had insisted on it. A worst case scenario backup. Now he was grateful that the man insisted. The Jackel could have killed him. If Bruce hadn't shown up he would have.
Turning to Alex he said," Alex the Jackel was here. I fought him."
Fierce blue eyes turned to him. It was usual thing. They worked well together in the past. That's why they made a good hanndler asset team.
Alex said," We will debrief you on what you know. Anything you have could be helpful."
Tiredness filled him. Shit the day's events had been too much.
Morris said moving towards them," It can wait until morning. Neal needs his rest."
Looking at the doctor they seemed surprised. Then one by one they nodded and began to leave. When Bruce made to leave Neal grabbed his arm.
He whispered," Bruce wait."
His adopted father stopped. A quick glance to Morris and the man left. With that he was gone leaving Neal and Bruce alone.
Chapter 13: The Jackel part 3
A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.
spnfandom8: Thanks for your review my friend. Glad you enjoy it.
When the others were gone Bruce took a seat across from him. His blue eyes watching Neal for any sign of distress.
He said rubbing his temples," Bruce, I need you to look after Peter and Elizabeth. Carlos has threatened every one I care about. You and the kids can take care of yourselves. But they couldn't against the Jackel."
Bruce asked watching him carefully," What about you? You are not a killer. You cannot take a killer by yourself."
Grey eyes looked at the elder man's blue eyes. He replied coldly," I will do what I must. One does not go after my family and get away with it."
Bruce gripped his arm just as Neal jumped from the chair," Sit, Dick. You can't kill someone."
Ice cold answer greeted the man," You don't know me any more, Bruce. I am not the boy you took in. I have killed more people than I can count. I can kill one more."
Bruce's eyes widened then hardened. He understood. Understood that Neal was now prepared to kill once more. Kill to protect those he called his family.
Bruce said in a deadly quiet voice," You cannot kill, Dick. If you do you are no better than the one you hunt."
"Sometimes you have to become a monster to kill the monster."
A familiar phrase. The same phrase had been given when the last time he was asked to help the agency. David Abbott had called him. Asking for his help in capturing the Jackel. Now he regretted his decision not to help.
Bruce glared as he replied," You are not a monster."
Dick said sighing," Bruce even if you don't see me as one. I am. That's all I needed. You can take the couch if you want. Tomorrow though we will have to prepare."
Bruce watched him carefully as he stood. He pulled his jacket off and made to go to his room. He half expected the man to leave. Instead he heard shuffling. It seemed he would need to get the other a blanket and pillow.
After a short moment he went back into the living room. This time in shorts and t-shirt. In his arms were blankets and a pillow.
Bruce was wearing the same thing but instead of shorts he was wearing pants. Almost exactly as himself. Blue eyes turned to see him. A quick twitch of the man's lips. It let him know that Bruce was amused.
In what seemed like a blink of an eye a week passed in a similar fashion. Morris had taken to meeting him near daily. Mainly checking up on him to be sure of his mental health. Worry had filled the other's eyes once they had seen Neal's. Grey eyes with just a hint of blue. Not once going back to their regular color since the attack.
With things slow at the office Peter had allowed him to help Alex. They spent much of their time tracking the movements of the Jackel. An office near the conference room had been turned into their planning room. A map had been set up with pins.
Red pins were confirmed attacks by Carlos. While green pins were suspected but unconfirmed. Blue pins were sightings without a kill proceeding or following. A week without incident.
Bruce came and went fairly easily. He still had to run his company back in Gotham but was able to take some time off. The message had gone out to the others in their community that he had been found. His phone had rung off the hook for two days. While it annoyed him it did make him smile slightly. Though they didn't understand his circumstances. Hopefully never would.
It wasn't until the tenth day that anything interesting happened. He had been working on a possible new case for Peter when the elevator dinged. It was too late for any lunch stragglers so it made him curious. When he saw who it was he almost had a heart attack.
A familiar salt and pepper haired man stood in the door way. His hazel eyes landing on Neal immediately. He was an older man in his fifties and had served the CIA longer than Neal had been alive. David Abbot better known as the Monk. The one who had trained all of the Medusa operatives or at least overseen their training.
Next to him was a man Neal had not seen since his discharge from Medusa. Like Neal he had her black hair. His eyes were grey yet they were cold like Neal's or the Jackel's. Instead they were a warm grey that showed how much the man cared for others. It was Jacob Webb the middle of the three brothers. The brother that welcomed David Webb whole heartedly into his family. Despite knowing almost nothing about the younger man.
Jacob's gaze turned to him after searching first part of the room. Grey eyes widened with surprise. Neal slowly gained his feet. Ignoring the others in the office.
Jacob moved to into the office a smile forming on his lips. He greeted," David."
A return greeting passed his lips," Jacob. It's good to see you. You look well."
They shook hands. As it had always been before the man's hand was warm. Something caught his eye. Something that hadn't been there before. A gold band on his right hand. It seemed his brother had gotten married. Guilt ate him. He should have been there. At least for that.
Jacob smiled gently as he said noticing his attention," I got married just over a year ago, David. I tried to contact you but you were long gone. Gordon wasn't able to make it either. He was on a mission. That's where he is now."
He blinked. Gordon would probably kill him for disappearing. Then again he missed his oldest brother. The one that he had risked everything for.
Monk wouldn't meet his eyes. There was something he wasn't saying. Maybe he should pull him aside and find out what the old man knew.
Peter came up next to him and asked," Gentlemen what can I do for you?"
Jacob was going to say something but Abbot beat him to it," I need to speak with David here. I'm sure Jacob would like to speak to his brother for the first time in a long time."
Both Neal and Jacob were puzzled. The last time Abbot "needed" to talk to him was right before he left for Taiwan. It had been his idea in the first place. What could he need now?
Still Neal knew better than to ask here. Too many suits with not enough clearance. Too many chances of them being overheard or tapped. In a way that made him feel like Mozzie.
In the game of lies and spooks though this was their lifestyle. Trust was rarely given. When it was it was never fully. Unless one had a death wish of course.
Peter's eyes went from him to Jacob. Taking in both of their appearances. While they weren't actually related by blood they could have been. It was almost like looking at twins.
He asked," How much family do you have that we don't know about?"
Monk was the one who answered cutting him off before he could," David has a past few know about. Even fewer understand it. Isn't that right, David?"
Diane said moving closer to them with Jones right behind her," Caffery sure does have a lot of names. I doubt we will ever know them all."
Neal said with a smile," No just the main ones."
They gave him a pointed look that said they weren't amused. Though the one his brother gave was.
Monk went to talk with Peter while he and Jacob caught up at his desk. Unlike Gordon and him Jacob abhorred violence. Choosing to become a mechanic rather than join the army or CIA. Though that didn't stop him from making friends with those who came to the house. Such as Neal when he had been eighteen.
Jacob he could tell didn't believe him about certain aspects of his story. Such as only being a suspected art thief. The man knew full well that he had both the talent and the skills to pull off such a thing.
Still his brother had never approved of his choice in life styles. Especially when Irene had died. Taking his unborn child with her.
The loss had devestated him. Even more so than Kate's death had. It was drove him to Medusa. Jacob tried to help but there was no fighting the madness that had settled into his mind. Gordon had joined as an analyst long before he had.
His thoughts then turned to the eldest of the Webb brothers. Gordon Webb unlike Jacob had not accepted him right away. If the coldness in his eyes was anything to go by. The other hated him for just being alive.
This didn't change for several years. Gordon was the first to get married but refused to send an invitation to David. At the time it had stung but he pushed through it. Acceptance came with time and patience.
David had sent an invitation to the elder when he got married. By that time however Gordon had already joined Medusa. So he was unable to go but sent a gift and his wife in his stead. To this day he still wore the necklace that bore the symbol of the fox. The necklace that was his wedding gift.
Jacob asked breaking him from his thoughts," What are you thinking about David?"
Neal sighed. Some people couldn't ever hope to read him. Jacob was different. Like Peter or even Morris he was able to read Neal like a book.
He replied smiling fakely," The past."
Jacob's grey eyes searched his before he said with a sigh," Medusa. I wish you and Gordon had never joined that operations. Neither of you were the same after that. Gordon wasn't the same after that mission you went on to save him."
While the older man called it a mission it wasn't. Not really. He had been told to stay away. Not to go after Gordon who had been captured.
He shuddered. The memory coming back to him.
Delta sat in front of the fire watching his men. Echo was on watch and Charlie was trying to get ahold of command. Alpha he ignored knowing the man would do as he pleased.
A familiar voice came over the radio," Almanac to Delta come in Delta."
Almanac. That was Gordon Webb's callsign. His elder brother that he hadn't spoken to since joining Medusa. He waved Charlie off as he sat down next to the radio.
He said into the microphone," Delta to Almanac. I read you."
A wince crossed his face when there was a burst of static and gunfire. His men all turned to look at the radio. Cold in their gazes.
Almanac came over again," Don't come after me, Delta. This is an order. Follow your orders."
Delta growled. He had never been one to follow orders.
Snarling out," I will not, Almanac. We will find you."
There wasn't a reply. Only gunfire. His jaw clenched. He and his men had a helicopter. It would be a treacherous night. There was supposed to be a major storm starting soon. The air was electrified.
He shouted," Century team 12 prepare to move out. One hour."
Ten pairs of eyes watched him. Sharp nods were given. No questions were given. Even if they had them. They would get his brother back.
End of flashback
A gentle hand touched his shoulder. One that was very familiar to him. Jacob's hand. Cold grey eyes looked up to warm grey ones. It gentled the darkness in his heart.
Neal said once he was calmer," I'm okay now. I'm back."
Jacob didn't believe him at first. His gaze searched Neal's own. After a moment he was released.
Monk moved into his field of vision. The older man said for the first time in the years Neal had known him uncertain," David, if you have a moment. There is a matter I need to speak with you about. Is Alex going to be here today?"
Neal shook his head and replied calmly," No, Abbot. He won't be back until Friday. Something about having to oversee an operation."
While Neal knew more there were ears that couldn't hear the information. Or they would risk a leak. While Neal trusted everyone in the building he knew better. Better than to risk the lives of every operative on that mission.
Neal after a moment said indicating for the other to follow him," I'll take you to a room Alex and I have put together. Jacob entertain Peter if you would."
His older brother grinned indicating he would do just that. Then he and Abbot moved onto the upper part of the offices. Neal flicked on the light for his little office and everything was shown.
The map on the bulletin board was nearest to the window. Piles of papers were on the desks. Written in both his and Alex's handwriting. With an amused smile he noticed one of Morris' notebooks was also on the desk. Likely one of the empty ones he liked to carry around. A just in case measure.
He moved to sit in the rolling chair. Abbot remained standing and it made Neal nervous. Something had happened.
Abbot looked nervous as he asked," When was the last time you spoke with Gordon?"
Swallowing he replied," Not since I disappeared."
A disappointed look entered his former mentor's eyes. Yet it wasn't directed at him. More like at the situation.
Neal asked," What happened? Is Gordon okay?"
Abbot replied rubbing his eyes tiredly," We don't know. He was in Venezuela and a week ago he disappeared."
Venezuela... no. Carlos the Jackel was from Venezuela. That meant the Jackel had come through on his promise.
Chapter 14: Jackel part 4
A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.
spnfandom8: Thanks for your review my friend. Glad you enjoyed it.
He pushed his way into the FBI's office. His anger radiated off of him and agents gave him a wide berth. Looking up he saw the man he was looking for. Alexander Conklin was talking with Peter Burke frantically. Both men startled at his arrival.
"Where are my patients Alex?"
If it was Neal or Echo he wouldn't be worried. Yet it wasn't just one or two of his patients. It was seven. Seven of his most dangerous patients.
Alex asked looking confused," What are you talking about, Mo?"
Morris had to take a deep breath to calm himself. He replied calmer than before," Neal, Echo, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Foxtrot, Gamma. Not all in the same team but they all have not made any of their meetings with me. I was supposed to meet Neal a week ago. He missed it and he missed yesterday's as well. Where are they Alex?"
Alex took a step back his face going pale. It seemed the names meant something to him.
Alex said his voice breathless," Seven men. Mo are you sure they all have disappeared this week?"
Morris nodded. Another man walked up. One he barely recognized. David Abbot better known as the Monk. Wherever his patients were this man had something to do with it.
David said with a smile," Mo its been awhile. I assume you are looking for young Webb or Caffery as he is known now?"
Carefully the psychiatrist nodded. Abbot said," They are likely in Venezuela by now."
Alex's eyes turned to see David and asked frightened for his man," Why is he there? That's the Jackel's territory."
"A similar reason during that time in Tam Quan. I came to alert him of Gordon's disappearance."
Gordon? By the paling parlor of Alex he knew. It was frustrating that he didn't know.
As if sensing this Abbot said," Gordon Webb is David's oldest brother. Jacob came to visit the same day I did. Neal left very quickly after I told him."
Alex snarled," You did that on purpose Monk. You know David would do anything to protect his brother. Remember that mission? He went in during a fucking typhoon!"
Brother? Now he was confused more than ever. Richard Grayson a man of many identities didn't have a biological brother. Many many many adopted ones but not a biological one. He didn't realize that the Webb family had formally adopted the man. Or that he was close to the older Webb's.
Now that he thought about it. Gordon Webb was due to make Captain in the army here soon. Which explained the Medusan connection.
A phone rang. It was Alex's and he answer with a sharp," Conklin."
Then he froze for a moment listening. After a half of a moment listening the man put it on speaker.
A familiar but colder voice said," This is Neal. We have secured an area for usage. I assume you're there Monk."
It was not a question but the man answered anyways," I'm here, Delta. What's the status? Have you found him?"
Alex began moving them up the stairs and into the conference room. They were beginning to draw attention to themselves. Abbot was already rattling off coordinates. Neal confirmed it by repeating it back to them.
Morris said calmly but firmly," Neal talk to me. What's going on?"
Alex winced and gave him a look. One that said to back off. Why would he back off? This was his patient.
There was a long silence before a reply came," I'm fine. I'll contact you again when I have Almanac."
With that the line clicked and Neal. No not Neal. Delta was gone. Gone to do the terrible deed that was suddenly his burden.
He put the firing pin back in the glock that he favored. Delta had disassembled and reassembled the gun twice. It was in good condition and would do for the job.
Looking up his eyes swept over the men he had assembled. Seven members of Medusa. Each he had served with at one point or another.
Echo had his rifle cleaned and ready for use. His brown eyes were cold as Delta's own grey ones. It had taken a bit of pulling of strings that got him this man.
Next to him looking at the explosives was Alpha. He had greying black hair with green grey eyes. He wasn't part of the original team but he was as good as any.
Bravo was another commando that specialized in communications. Charlie and Foxtrot were his commandos without specialization. Gamma had the best hand to hand combat since the League of Shadows. This made up his team. Preferably he would have double the amount but it wasn't possible. Not if he wanted to find his brother alive.
The compound they were watching was heavily guarded. If it was the Jackel then this was expected. They would have to get in and get out quickly. They would storm the compound after nightfall.
Echo asked looking at him," What's the plan Delta?"
Delta answered coldly," Echo you will cover us as a sniper. Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. You take the the North. Foxtrot, Gamma and I will take the South."
Fox looked up acceptance. Gamma didn't even look at him. Just like old times. They would follow his orders knowing he was the only one who could get them out of here. His thoughts turned to how they got there.
He growled. Delta coming forward pushing Neal Caffery back. There could be no room for error here. Error meant the death of every one he cared about.
Delta asked," What's the situation? Have there been any demands? Is this Carlos or someone else?"
More questions would have come but David Abbot held up a hand. Then he replied," Calm, Delta."
Instinctively he calmed his eyes though stayed on the older man. Abbot knew how to calm him easier than anyone else. They had come to an understanding when Alex took him in. Then an even better one during his Medusa training.
The Monk had been his mentor. The Medusan he made sure he was up to par. That he could kill and follow orders. While David Webb who became Delta struggled with following orders he could do everything else. Kill with precision. Lead a group of killers like no one else because he scared them.
This was Delta and for once he would listen to the man in front of him. His brother's life might depend on it.
Abbot noting his stiff posture began," Almanac has continued his duties after Medusa. As an analyst he didn't see much action and what he did see you saved him from. We sent him into Venezuela to gather information with a squad of twelve men. Don't give me that look Delta. They were the best we had."
Delta gave him a cold look. That wasn't true. The best they had was century teams 9-12. The alpha dogs. When others failed they didn't.
Ignoring the look Abbott continued," When your brother disappeared they were found dead. Each body bullet ridden but identifiable. The only body not found was your brothers. I believe he was taken alive. Though I can't convince the director to set up a rescue operation."
That's where he came in. If anyone could get in and get out it was him. He needed a team. A full squad of Medusan's that he trusted. Already a list of names he needed to contract was forming in his mind. See who was up for a repeat of Tam Quan.
He said with a determined look," I need weapons, passports, and the contact information of my last members of century team 12."
It was all Abbot could do to nod at that point. Any issues he had with Neal Caffery fading. This was no longer Neal Caffery but it was someone. Someone violent and who could kill. It was Delta.
End of flashback
Night had fallen quickly after that. The team took their positions using signals known to them and them alone. The first part of the plan worked. They killed the armed patrolling the perimeter.
The next part didn't go as smoothly. Bravo had been found out just before they reached the door. All hell broke loose at that point. Men came out the back and Delta and Foxtrot killed two. While Gamma killed the third that came out.
The battle began. Delta rammed his shoulder into on of the men before firing into the man's head. It took his head off.
Where these men really the Jackal's men? He honestly thought they would have been better trained.
Those thoughts were interrupted by a searing pain in his shoulder. Instinctively he dropped looking for where the shot had come from. A man stood in the doorway a rifle in his hands. Cold blue eyes watching him. A challenge went through both of them.
If Delta wanted to get brother he would have to go through this man. The man with the cold blue eyes. So be it.
He barked out," Take the house!"
Without hesitation his men went to do as they were told. Being that there were only seven of them they knew they couldn't afford to lose even one. Losing one man could send their plan into a spiral. A spiral that could very well be the death of the entire team.
Delta had to roll to the side as the man fired at him again. This time it blew apart the ground where he had been standing just moments before.
Delta knew realistically he didn't stand a chance at this range. Not with the other having a rifle. His own weapons consisted of a knife, his glock, and a spool of wire.
It was too dark for him to accurately throw his knife. If he wanted the kill shot he would have to get close. Same with the spool of wire. That was a close range weapon.
His first order of business was to find cover. There was a tree nearby that would provide some cover but would take away some of the distance he had covered. Other wise it was to do the very stupid very Neal Caffery thing to do. Rush the bastard and catch him off guard.
Two instincts warred within himself. Finally the Delta in him winning out and he took cover behind a tree. A bullet grazing his leg as he did so. Delta didn't even wince as blood trickled down his right leg.
Pain could be pushed away. Focus in the moment and worry about injuries later. A flash behind him from Echo's position caught his attention. The sniper had seen his plight and decided to help.
The bullet hit his opponent in the shoulder. While the man was well trained it still caused him to drop the rifle in pain. That gave Delta the moment he needed. He fired two shots. One to the chest and one to the head. Both hit their marks and the man was dead before he hit the ground.
Without missing a beat Delta crossed the grounds to the doorway. It was open from where the man had come out. Stepping over the dead body he entered. Sounds of gunfire could be heard on the upper floors. No doubt his men finishing the last of the men inside. That left the basement for him to check.
The basement door had a lock on it. One bullet to the lock was enough for him to pass. A single light bulb illuminated the basement. A figure stood at the bottom of a set of dank steps. Knowing that the person was too tall to be his brother he fired. This time the shot was aimed for the knee. To incapacitate but not to kill. Maybe Alex could get information out of him later.
Quickly Delta reached the bottom of the steps. A quick kick to the side of the man's head sent him into unconsciousness. Better to be safe than sorry later on.
The basement itself was a single room. On the farthest wall from him was a single figure. His hands were chained above him. Sweat listened across his face. Even having not seen the older man in years Delta recognized him as Almanac.
Chapter 15: The Jackel part 5
A/N thanks for the reviews and support.
spnfandom8: Thanks for your review my friend. Things are always happening. Just behind the scenes. Hope you like the next one.
Almanac's head was against his chest his eyes closed. He was chained to a the behind him. There was a faint rise and fall of his chest. If it had not been for that fact Delta would have thought the other was dead. The older Webb didn't have a shirt and his pants were torn and stained with blood. All across his chest were different burns and cuts.
Delta tapped his hand against the other's face. The man jerked back startled awake. His blue eyes snapped up to meet Delta's grey ones. They widened in surprise then in disbelief.
Almanac growled," What more drugs? I don't care what you give me! I will never betray my country. You might as well kill me!"
Delta began to unlock the chains that held the other to the wall. Once unlocked the other fell forward. Delta caught him in his arms.
Asking as he checked the other over for any broken bones," Can you stand? I have a team outside. So you better not die on me Almanac."
Hard blue eyes softened slightly at his words. Those words were only known between them. Then he squared his shoulders wincing in pain as he did so. To Delta's surprise he pulled himself to his feet. With a nod Delta rose to his feet as well.
Almanac took a step forward and almost fell. If it wasn't for his hand on the other's shoulder he would have.
A short," Thanks," was what he received in return.
As they began their ascent up the stairs Delta called out," Almanac and Delta coming out. Report in!"
Through their communication lines he heard," Alpha and Bravo top floor is clear. Five dead bodies, Delta."
"Echo outside is clear for the moment. But hurry we don't know when reinforcements will arrive. Hurry Delta."
"Charlie, Foxtrot, and Gamma we have secured the bottom floor. Seven dead up here, Delta."
There was a pause then he said coldly," Confirmed. Everyone pull out. Charlie come down and get the unconscious man at the bottom of the stairs. We will be taking him with us."
Charlie returned," Yes, Delta."
Then they all went silent. With the adrenaline fading away he was able to take stock on his injuries. His left shoulder ached from the graze he received earlier. It was not major nor did it require immediate attention. He could deal with it when they were out of the area.
The was a second more dangerous gunshot wound. It was in his right side. Feeling around the other side of it he didn't find an exit wound. That would complicate things. It's placement was bad enough without a bullet to infect the wound. With a bullet there he risked infection and serious complications should it shift while they ran.
However there was no time to dig out the bullet and patch him up. Somehow he doubted this was the work of the Jackel. It was too easily infiltrated and taken apart. If it had been he would have faced off with the killer himself. No this was someone else's show. Whoever it was Delta would find and kill them later. His priority was getting his men and Almanac out alive.
Luckily his black shirt would hide the bleeding. Given the time of night they wouldn't be able to see the bullet hole either. So he would not worry them. When they made it home he would see a doctor.
Upon making it outside he noticed his men were waiting. Each of them had taken defensive position. Ready to kill anyone that was a threat. Once Charlie had joined them they slowly made their way out.
Alpha and Bravo took the front. Echo and Gamma took the sides. While he took up the rear. In the middle was Almanac and Charlie. It was slow going. Especially with two injured. One of which had a bullet in his knee.
His own wounds were acting up but he didn't pay attention to them. They needed him on his game if they were to get out alive.
It wasn't until morning that they finally came out of the forest. Echo said when the sun was fully up," We need to rest, Delta. If we keep going we won't be able to do anything if Carlos catches up."
Rest is a weapon. The words had been spoken a few years ago. It had been true then. It was true now.
He nodded and said," Form a circle. Two on watch at all times."
His men dropped to the ground and formed a circle. Almanac and the prisoner were in the middle. Delta sat so that he was watching the way they had come from. Echo took a seat next to him.
Without looking at him the older man said," Sleep, Delta. I'll wake you when I need my own."
He bit back a retort. Exhaustion filled him. No doubt part of it came from the two bullet wounds. He closed his eyes and soon fell into an uneasy sleep.
A faint smile crossed his lips as Delta's breathing evened out. It was just like their time in Medusa. Rest was just as much of a weapon as a gun or knife. Most of the time he had to force Delta to sleep. As much he acted like a hard ass. He was afraid to sleep. To dream.
Part of the old Medusan was worried. Delta had never gone to sleep that easy. Almost too easy.
Shaking his head Echo put it as the doctor's calming effect. Morris Panov had been assigned to the entire team. All of whom had a hard time trusting anyone.
The doctor had given them someone to confide in. At one point Echo himself had tried to commit suicide. The terrible things he had done finally caught up with him and he had enough. It had been the doctor's carefully chosen words. In his soothing tones that had calmed him.
Many doctors would not have had the guts to go into a room with a trained killer. A killer who had been armed and ready to shoot himself and anyone who walked through the door. Something had stopped him that day however.
In the safe house set up by Monk he sat in the far back bedroom. It had one exit and no windows. In his hands were a glock. The same weapon he used during Medusa. The same weapon that had taken so many lives. It would take one more by the days end.
His hands were shaking. Not from drink or lack of it. Instead from the fear that he would hurt someone. In all honest he was tired. So very tired of hurting people.
A knock on the door made him stiffen. He called out snarling," If you walk through that door I'll shoot you."
A voice he recognized said softly," That would be a waste. Wouldn't it, d'Anjou?"
The Frenchman flinched at the use of his name. He was no longer d'Anjou. Had not been for many years. Not since before Medusa.
It was the doctor. The one that the Monk assigned to him. Not that he trusted the man. All doctors were just paid to fix them. Not really help them. When he couldn't be fixed they would toss him away. Just like everyone else.
He called back to the man," You can't help me doctor. I'm not someone who wants to be saved."
There was a slight thump on the door. As if the man on the other side had hit it with frustration. For a moment D'Anjou thought he hit the door and left. It would serve him right. A killer like him didn't deserve to have someone care about him.
Then a soft voice said," You are not beyond saving. If you were you would be locked in the clinic not given free reign."
D'Anjou flinched. It took him several long moments to find a reply.
When he did he sounded as broken as he felt," I am broken, doctor. There is nothing that can fix me. I should end it now and save everyone from suffering."
To his surprise there a snarled response," You will not commit suicide! Damn it. All of you have a right to live. If you want to make up for the horrors of your past then live. Live and make up for what you have done. Other wise you are taking the cowards way out."
For a moment he considered just ending it anyways. Then he lowered the weapon. He couldn't do it. The doctor was right. Killing himself would be the cowards way out. Delta for his part would bring him back just to kill him again. That was just how the other was.
End of flashback
He was glad to have met Panov. The man had saved him from himself that day. Since then the doctor had worked on his self esteem. He now had a job at a local fashion store. There he made enough to live comfortably off of.
When he received Delta's call however that put him back as Echo. No longer was he the soft spoken help at the fashion store. Now he was the hard eyed killer that was created in Medusa.
A soft voice said startling him," Bravo to snake lady. Come in Snake Lady."
He had forgotten about the orders to make contact. So he turned head to listen. If he had to he would wake Delta. A hand on his arm though told him the younger man was awake.
A voice came over the communications," This is Snake Lady. Damn it Bravo where is Delta?"
They could all hear the worry and anger in the voice. It was the voice of one Alex Conklin. One that they obeyed without question.
Delta sat up then moved towards Bravo. Echo's eyes narrowed in suspicion. They way he held himself it was if he was in pain.
Delta said," I'm here snake lady."
A sigh of relief came over the communications. Part of Echo wondered if the worry was for the squad. Or if was for Delta. The older CIA agent had always had a soft spot for Delta.
The reply wasn't surprising," Get to a safe evac point. Preferably at an airfield. We will get you out from there."
Alpha brought over a current map of the area. There was an airfield twenty miles due north west of their positions. At best it would take them three days to reach it. This barred no more confrontations. Something smelled about how easy it was to take the house. He knew it as did the rest of the team. Their priority was not information however. Instead it was the retrieval of Almanac.
Delta rattled off the coordinates. Before they could cut off communications a voice said," Neal it's doctor Panov."
The tensing of Delta's shoulders said more than his words could have. Echo felt the same way. None of them wanted the doctor to see them like this. It was their element but he had seen light in them. Light that no one else had seen or looked for.
Delta's normally cold and hard voice was now softer when he said," Doctor Panov..."
The good doctor interrupted him with a gentle admonition," I thought we agreed to call each other by our first names."
While it wasn't visible to the others Echo saw a flicker of uncertainty cross his leader's face. That wasn't something they needed. An uncertain Delta was a useless Delta.
Then the certainty came back. Like a switch being slipped his deadly persona was back.
He said," We will be back sometime in the next few days. We can talk then. Delta out."
With a nod to Bravo the line went dead. It had only been a little while. Not long enough for any real rest but they began to pack up. They could rest later. For now they had to keep moving.
Chapter 16: Keller part 1
A/N thanks for your reviews and support.
spnfandom8: Thanks for your reviews my friend. Yes Delta is being an idiot. But that's how he's always been. Remember that Delta and Neal are two different personalities. While Neal is slightly more trusting. Delta is always watching his back expecting someone to stab him in the back. The only one he trusts are Mozzie and Echo. Even then it's only to a point. Echo is definitely someone we will continue to see. Morris Panov is one of my favorite characters from the Jason Bourne books. He is one that will continue to appear throughout the fic and the series.
The trek through the forest was long and difficult. The wound in his side made it painful. Keeping his face masked was becoming more difficult as they went on. By the way Echo was watching him he knew the other suspected something.
He cleaned and rebandaged his wound at every rest point. The bullet in his side was not removable under the circumstances. The longer he left it the higher the risk for an infection went. Even with basic medical knowledge they all had he knew it wasn't enough.
If they had gone with a full team he would have a medic. Given the time frame he had been unable to pull a full team together. Seven was minimum for Medusa. Fourteen was max. In the short time he had to prepare he had barely been able to gather the seven.
When they made it to the airfield it was unsurprising that they weren't the only ones there. Delta could see Alex's team waiting on them. Alex had sent people that Delta had known as David Webb. Probably to keep him from shooting them.
A small plane was waiting on the tarmac. It was big enough to house his team and those that were providing support. Not much more than that though.
Cautiously they made their way to the field. Alpha and Bravo took point while the rest of them fanned out. Delta's eyes searched everything they could for signs of an enemy.
To his surprise and relief they made it to the plane. Once got a closer look at the plane his heart stopped. Images rushed before his eyes. His chest constricted painfully. It was almost the exact same kind of plane he was to get on with Kate.
His hands shook. Pain overrode his senses as Neal tried to come forward. He could not get on this plane. It would end just like how it ended with Kate. This time it would be his brother who died.
A hand was placed on his shoulder. One that he recognized as being a friends. This set Delta back to rights. He was not in New York. Instead he was in the forests of Venezuela. The plane was sent to him from Alex. It could be trusted.
Echo asked his voice calm," You okay, Delta?"
Delta's voice came out hard in reply," I'm fine, Echo. Get the others onto the..."
His words were cut off by gun fire. Both he and Echo turned their weapons up and ready to fire. Men were coming out of the forest. They had automatic weapons ready to fire. All pointed in the direction of the plane.
He shouted," Get on the plane! Tell the pilot to take off!"
He, Echo, and Alpha took defensive positions around the plane. A blond haired man led the offensive charge. Somehow Delta knew him but at the same time didn't. A memory of Neal's was tugging in his mind.
Delta ignored the memory. Instead he began to fire towards the men as they came in range. His first shot took down the man coming the fastest. He went down blood pooling under his body.
Echo's target was to fall next. There were four shots from Alpha. A fifth came with a cry. Alpha was already running out of bullets. He spun on his heel taking shots in that direction.
Three more men went down. Alpha gave him a grateful look before turning back to the fighting. When Delta returned to his side he saw more people coming. The blond was even closer now. A limp was noticeable but not exaggerated. His eyes were dark with anger and hatred. The sole focus was on Delta.
That's when the memory clicked for him. This was Matthew Keller. Sworn enemy of Neal Caffery. The limp had come from Delta shooting him just a few weeks prior. Carlos the Jackel had hired the bastard to kill him for revenge. Revenge for not taking his oh so generous offer.
The plane started up behind them. Delta could hear the engines warning.
Alpha shouted over the roar," I'm out!"
"Get on the plane!"
Alpha did as he was told without question. Echo brought down three more men before his too was out. With a nod to him Echo went into the plane.
They had taken out more than half of the offensive force. Still Keller remained standing. Checking his magazine as he took cover behind the wheel. It only had four bullets left and one magazine left in his belt.
Keller was already on the tarmac when he left cover. Like Delta he was carrying a semiautomatic pistol. A shot pinged off the metal. He returned fire. One shot struck Keller in the shoulder.
It only took a moment for him to realize the other was wearing body armor. While it must have hurt he didn't even flinch. Another shot came from Keller's gun. This time it hit him.
His left side erupted in fire. Gritting his teeth he made another shot at Keller. It missed and left him one bullet to the magazine.
Echo yelled to him from inside," Delta we are ready. Let's go!"
Another shot grazed his leg this time. It was only by sheer force of will he remained standing. He was losing a lot of blood. None of the wounds were light colored blood so he had to count himself lucky. There had not been a hit to an artery.
Shots rang out from the plane. The soldiers gave him cover fire. With a last glance at Keller he limped into the plane. Once in the plane the door was closed. His breathing was coming in short ragged gasps.
Echo moved to aid him but he waived the other off. Instead heading for the cockpit. The pilots allowed him in with only worried looks. He opened communication lines to Alex.
He called out in a raspy voice," Delta to Snake Lady. Come in Snake Lady."
With his free hand he touched the wound in his side. Going behind the wound. It had an exit wound. Good that meant he wouldn't have to dig a bullet out.
"Snake Lady to Delta. It is damn good to hear your voice. What's your status?"
Echo came up next to him as he replied," All men accounted for. Will need medical attention upon landing. Almanac is in stable condition..."
He hissed in pain when Echo pushed aside his jacket. It revealed the bullet wound on his left side. The other growled angrily. There went his plan on treating it himself.
Echo took the phone from him and said," Snake Lady this is Echo. Have an emergency medical team waiting when we land. I count at least three bullet wounds to Delta. One serious. Two grazes."
Shaking his head he said shakily," Two serious. Right side no exit wound."
He received a sharp cuff upside the head in response. Then he was pushed back into the main area of the plane. A soldier sent by Conklin caught him. Then he was helped to the medic. If the look was anything to go by he wasn't a friend to them.
The medic pulled something into a needle. It took a moment for him to realize it was a sedative.
Bravo said tiredly," Let him Delta. All those who are injured are getting one. So that we don't hurt anyone when they sew us up."
Bravo like Echo was a voice reason for him. A calming effect came over him. This allowed the medic to give him the sedative. The world soon fell into darkness.
They sat outside a surgery room. The light on it was lit. While the other members of the team had made it out with minor wounds two required surgery.
Almanac known as Gordon Webb required surgery on his left arm and right leg. Someone had decided it was a good idea to continue to walk on it for three days. Surgery would give him the full use of his leg again. Though it would pain the man occasionally.
Delta known as Neal Caffery was in for four bullet wounds. Two were mere grazes. The last two were what required surgery. He had gone in over four hours prior. With each passing moment his worry only grew.
When it was revealed that Neal had been injured, Morris insisted that he be taken to one of his clinics. While he was taken to a CIA hospital he would be moved once he was stable. Before he would wake to a one of Morris' clinics.
Mo didn't believe he was a danger to anyone. Unless he was startled when he awoke. Putting Delta in an unknown hospital would do just that. It would make him dangerous enough to kill. At least at Morris' clinics they could hold him. Just as they had held Echo once.
Holding him was the first step however. The next step would be to evaluate the damage done. Not physically but psychologically. This could put Neal back even further than when he arrived.
A doctor came in from one of the other floors startling him from his thoughts. He was in a rush barely glancing at them. Instead he rushed into the surgery room.
There they waited for another two hours. Then the light went off and a doctor came out. Both he, Alex, Abbot, and Jacob stood. The doctor was wiping his hands off. While he looked exhausted there was a triumphant air about him.
The doctor said moving up to them," I have some good news and bad news. I assume that you want bad news first. Delta's right side was lacerated. The wound given the conditions he was in got infected. He is currently on intravenous antibiotics. The good news he should be fine. A few weeks rest and he will be ready for whatever you need him for."
Morris sighed with relief. When they said bad news he feared the worst. Now it seemed there would be no lasting damage. For that he was grateful.
The doctor turned to him and said," Doctor he will be released into your care within the hour. It would be best to keep him sedated until you reach your destination."
Morris shook the man's now clean hand. He would be ready to move Neal when the time came. They certainly didn't need an awake and angry Delta.
Chapter 17: Keller part 2
When he came back to conscious the first thing he noticed was an almost silent hum of an air conditioning. It meant that he was not on the helicopter. Given that he didn't know where he was he kept his eyes closed.
Delta could tell he was laying on a soft surface. On top of him felt like a soft sheet. A soft pillow was under his head. Hospital room?
He couldn't hear any beeping. So that meant not a regular hospital room. Regardless of his condition they would have him hooked up. He had been shot multiple times after all.
The clothes he was wearing by their texture were not his normal ones. Nor were they the uncomfortable ones of a hospital. So where was he?
Opening his eyes he saw that he was in a white room. The lights were soft so not to wake or startle him. He was lying on a bed. While it had straps near it there weren't on him. All in all it had the feel of a psych ward.
Gingerly he sat up. His wounds pulled but did not open. That was something he was grateful for. Looking down he saw he was wearing a white button down shirt and white pants. The button down shirt was open revealing. bandages were the wounds had been. Lifting them showed sutures expertly done to close the wound. That meant he would heal. They would scar but he would heal.
Looking around the room as he stood he noticed a desk. On it was a white envelope and a book. Neal's heart leapt at the sight of the book. It was the last book to the Alex Rider series. One that he was trying to finish.
Delta's own instincts took over however. He needed to know what the letter said. Who it was from? Lastly why he was here? Opening it he read:
When we received you from the airport you were in critical condition. Had you been any later the doctors would not have been able to save you. Due to the seriousness of your wounds you were placed in my care until I release you. I should be by some time later. Until then I heard from your bald headed friend that you haven't read this one. Enjoy.
A small amount of guilt went through him. He had put the good doctor in a bad spot. While he knew that Echo had also been a patient with the man he hadn't known that the others were too.
Delta didn't even consider the door. Given this clinic was founded by the agency he knew it would have the best security. Something he didn't feel like testing.
So he sat down with the book. Reading it was just like reading the others. Sometimes he could relate to young Alex. Other times he couldn't. Unlike the character he had chosen this life. Chosen it the very day he asked to join Medusa.
There was a knock on the door about an hour into the book. He sat the book down wincing as he stretched. Just as he stood the door opened and Panov came in. He was wearing a blue shirt and black pants. In his hands were a roll of bandages and some ointment.
There were mixed feelings about the doctor. Neal's reaction was happiness. Neal generally liked the man. Eventually would come to trust him.
Delta's was a sense of weariness. He barely knew the doctor. Trust did not come easily to the Medusan. Echo also was apart of his roster. Was he too locked up for going to save a friend?
The warring personalities fought. Eventually Delta won. The killer would not allow himself to be injured or killed for stupid mistakes.
Panov was moving slowly. Carefully towards him. Delta watched his every movement.
Panov said stopping just over arms length away," Echo and the others made it out fine. A few had minor injuries that were taken care of. You and Gordon had the worst of it."
Worry filled his chest. He couldn't stop himself from asking," Is Gordon okay? Did he make it?"
Panov held out a hand to stop the stream of questions. Once he was quiet the older man said," Gordon is fine. I just got a call from Alex an hour ago saying that he was awake and coherant. He was asking about you."
Delta held back a sigh of relief. It was good that Gordon was alive and well. Even better that Alex Conklin was with him.
He asked coldly," When will I be able to leave, doctor?"
Panov said sighing," I want to be sure that you won't hurt anyone. As it stands now you are not Neal Caffery but Delta. While it was understandable for you to be him to save Gordon there is no need for him now."
Delta's cold eyes glared at the man. Two personalities were always within him. Each seeking control. Just because Neal had the more normal life didn't mean he was useless. Delta could protect those he cared about. It was Delta who already had a plan in dealing with Keller once and for all.
Neal's plan was to repeat past mistakes. It was obvious putting the killer in jail did nothing. So they would put him in the ground. He would need Alex's help to do this.
Another plan was already forming in his head. The Jackel would not stop just because one person fell. He would not stop until Delta was dead.
Neal rebelled inside him at the idea. If he tried this plan it would mean everyone he cared about would think he was dead. If he ever came back they would never forgive him.
Still Delta reasoned it would be worth their lives. The cost was too high. Carlos would kill anyone close or even connected to him. To protect those he loved he needed to disappear.
Something of his thoughts must have shown on his face. Panov had moved closer. Now he was just inside his space. It made Delta flinch away. His muscles became tense and ready to fight off an attack.
Instead of attacking him the man slowly reached out with his hand. While he didn't see a weapon Delta knew bare hands were a weapon. Despite popular belief you could kill a man with your bare hands. A sharp twist of the neck was all it would take.
Instead of going for his neck the man touched his shoulder lightly. There was a sense of calm. It radiated off the doctor and into him. Slowly the tension left his shoulders. While he wasn't completely relaxed he was no longer coiled like a snake ready to strike.
Panov said now going to get a chair to sit in," Maybe we should talk about why Delta came to be. I know the basics but Alex would not go into the details. Said that he would not betray your trust or confidence by telling me."
Delta asked coldly as the man sat," What did he tell you? I can't start if I don't know what he said."
Panov's calm voice replied," All he would say was that David Webb suffered a massive loss. One that it was understandable that you wanted revenge. That was all he would say."
The angry fire in his stomach doused as if a bucket of water had been poured on it. Alex had given a half answer. One that gave just enough information to the doctor. Alex could be trusted. Something he had always known.
He could feel the darkness receding. It was becoming more of a background noise than the concert it had been. For a long moment he was silent and his eyes shut. Fighting to regain control over himself.
When they opened again they were more blue than grey. They were calmer. No longer the fierce angry eyes of Delta. He wasn't sure who he was anymore. Too calm to be Delta. Too broken to be Neal.
Panov asked carefully," Who am I speaking to now?"
He answered truthfully," I don't know."
Panov nodded understandingly as he said," Given the circumstances that is understandable."
The room went silent again. Neal, Delta whoever he was focused on his breathing. Trying to keep it slow and steady.
Without the prompting from the doctor he said," It's been about eleven years now. When I was eighteen I felt I could no longer live with my adoptive family. I erased all computerized copies of my existence. Not long after that I met a man named Alexander Conklin. A friend directed me to him saying he could set me up with a new identity. Once he was ascertain of my abilities he gave me the name David Webb."
Panov was giving him his full attention. There was no judgment in his eyes. Just calm acceptance of what was being said.
He continued," The Webb family for the most part accepted me. Jacob became the brother I always wanted. Gordon however was not as accepting. We were always at odds with each other. Parents just let us be for we were grown adults and could work it out ourselves. It wasn't long before I was assigned to Taiwan. As an expert of languages I was very useful to the CIA. Just a month after I moved there I was at a bar. A long day of translating different reports and so I went to get a drink. There I met someone. She had the brightest red hair I have ever seen. Her eyes were green like the emeralds."
There he stopped a sense of sadness rolling through him. Irene his love had died. Maybe if he had come home earlier then there would have been no Delta. If they had never met there would have been no Delta.
Panov asked quietly," What happened, David? Who did you meet at the bar?"
David looked up his eyes full of pain as he replied," Her name was Irene. She was a local who worked in one of the nearby towns. We hit it off almost immediately. Within six months we had married. It was happiest two years of my life. Just a few months before our anniversary Irene came home excited. More excited than I had ever seen her. She announced that she was pregnant."
Morris eyes widened with surprise. Then a hint of sadness entered them. A child had never come up before and he knew why. The child had never made it to being born. This story would not end happily.
Shaking over took David as he continued," I had a mission to go on. One were I was gone for several days. Irene wasn't expecting me back for another day. I had been lucky and completed it early. When I reached our house a plane with unknown markings had been flying away. I raced to where my house was. Upon finding it empty I went to the water dread filling me. There I found Irene. Her body rittled with bullets. Something in me broke that day, Doctor. It was then that I requested a new assignment. From there Delta was born."
Now the doctor had it. David's entire story. Well the story between Dick Grayson and Neal Caffery. There was so much pain in his story. He didn't want to relive it by telling it all.
He was lost in his own misery that he didn't hear the doctor get up. It was until the bed dipped that he realized the other had moved. Looking at the doctor he was surprised by what he found.
There was no pity in his hazel eyes. No condemnation for the things he had done. Just silent acceptance. A hand gently touched the back of his neck. It took all he had to swat it away. Panov wouldn't hurt him. The man cared more than most. He wouldn't hurt him.
Panov said after a moment," No words can express the sorrow you feel. Nothing I can say will make it better. Time doesn't always heal all wounds. The hurt will fade somewhat in time but you will carry it for the rest of your life."
A solemn nod came from the man whose identity he was struggling to find. Two were warring for control. One wanted to listen to the doctor. The other wanted to find Alex and set his plan in place.
Panov said quietly," Maybe you should sleep. Tomorrow I'll release you into Agent Burke's care. Do you need a sleeping aid?"
Delta rebelled at the thought but David welcomed it. He nodded and for a moment the man left. When he came back he brought a white pill and water. Without hesitation he took them.
The doctor unexpectedly stayed with him until darkness overtook him. Despite his apprehensions of the man it seemed he truly did care. That was his last thought before the world went black.
His night passed with dreams that he couldn't remember. There weren't any nightmares. Or memories of the past. Given what had happened he was surprised he was without nightmares when morning came.
He still felt exhausted when he woke however. The drain was more mental than physical. He had killed again. Something that he swore he would never do when he became Neal. He was supposed to be a nonviolent criminal. Would the FBI even take him back? Going off anklet was no doubt going to get him in trouble again. Not to mention how much trouble it would get Peter in.
A voice startled him out of his thoughts," What is on your mind, Neal? What are you thinking about?"
Looking up startled he saw Morris Panov standing there. He had to do a double take. Morris was wearing a blue button down shirt with black dress pants. Over the shirt he wore a white lab coat. All in all he looked like a real doctor.
In all his time with the doctor he had never seen him dress like this. It made him remember that he was in the other's clinic. Not at the FBI office or elsewhere.
He bowed his head and said a little sheepishly," I was wondering if the FBI will let me back. I cut my anklet to go save Gordon. It's not the first time I have either. They might send me back to prison."
Morris had a strange smile on his face. It wasn't one of pity. Instead it was one of understanding. Not the understanding that said you were screwed. The understanding that said you didn't know the full story.
Morris said holding out his hand," Agent Burke should be the one to explain. Come."
He stood carefully with his wounds. They were still raw and could easily be reopened. While he was wary about giving his back to the doctor he allowed it. Trust had to be given in increments. So far the doctor had trusted him. Now it was time to return the favor.
Turning so that his back was to the doctor he opened the door. It had been unlocked when Morris came in. He didn't relock it so the door opened right away. With a gentle hand on his back Morris led Neal down the hallway. They took the elevator down to the lobby.
Peter was standing in it waiting. A faint smile crossed his face. Peter was still wearing that suit. It was the same suit that he had worn when he caught Neal. Every single time.
When Peter saw him a mixture of relief and happiness crossed his face. That put the younger man somewhat more at ease. His friend wouldn't be happy with putting hom back in jail.
Panov said steering him to the agent," I'll be by later. I have a few things to take care of before I can come. Other than that he will need to take it easy for a few weeks. That means no office for at least three days. Nothing more than paperwork until he is cleared."
Peter said noting his bandages under the white shirt," I will make sure he takes it easy."
Then his green eyes turned to Neal. Blue met green. There wasn't any anger or hurt. Nothing that Neal expected was in his friend's eyes. It made him nervous that he didn't know what he was walking into. The very least he did know it wasn't a trap to send him back to prison. Morris wouldn't allow it. There was too much of a risk that Delta would get kill everyone to get out.
Morris said gently touching his shoulder," I'll see you later, Neal. Go with agent Burke."
Forcing his feet to move forward he went to Peter. With a nod to Morris they left. They went to Peter's personal car. It was a small four door that he had for almost three years now. It had served his friend well.
The first few moments of the ride they were silent. Neal looked out the window taking in the city. It felt good to be back in the city. The forest had been too much of a reminder of Tam Quan.
Peter asked drawing him out of his musings," How are your wounds?"
For a moment he blinked. Then he responded honestly," They itch but they don't hurt. I think Morris gave me some pain medications while I was asleep. Alex probably told him to."
"No I did."
Neal pouted as he said," Aw, Peter, no."
Peter laughed," Neal you won't even take cough medicine. If you didn't have pain medication I doubt you would be able to stand at the office."
The office? What did Peter mean? He wasn't allowed in the office for three days.
When he glanced at the other Peter only shook his head. Whatever was happening was a secret. It had him immensely curious.
The drive to the office took well over half an hour. When they arrived his heart beat just a little faster. The FBI had been home for a long time. It had been the closest thing he had for a long time.
They parked in Peter's usual spot. When he tried to stand on his bad leg it gave out. It was only thanks to Peter's hand that he didn't crumble to the ground. Once he had his feet under him he nodded.
Though his friend was suspicious of it he allowed Neal to walk in on his own. Instead of going straight to the elevator Peter handed him a bag. In it were his clothes.
Neal went into the bathroom. Thankfully the shirt he was wearing was a button down. It would not aggrevate his wounds to take it off. Gingerly he removed the shirt and pants. None of his bandages were stained so he left them be.
The pants in the bag were simple black slacks. With his bad leg it took him a moment longer to put them on. Under that was a white button down shirt. Due to all the gunshot wounds he sustained he had to take extra care. If he had been given pain medication he wouldn't feel any pain if he over did it. So cautiously he put on the shirt. There wasn't a jacket in the bag. Not that he would have been able to put it on if there had.
Instead there were black dress shoes and socks. Cautiously he bent over to put them on. With a last look in the mirror he left the bathroom.
Peter was waiting for him just outside of it. Green eyes took in his appearance with a nod. Then they made their way to the elevator. Neal had a slight limp from where he had been shot in the leg. While it had been a simple graze it still effected his walking. The elevator ride was shorter than normal for him. Possibly because of his nervousness.
When the doors opened Peter was the first out. He didn't even wait for Neal before going into the office. The office bullpen was dark he couldn't see inside. This set all of Delta's warnings off. Despite the fact he trusted his team this made him instantly wary.
When he stepped in the lights flicked on. Everyone yelled jumping from different hiding spots," Surprise!"
Neal could only blink at them. Surprise? They all had grins on their faces. There was a banner across the top of the bullpen. When he read it his heart stopped. Happy commutation.
His eyes sought out Peter. His friend moved over and said," In light of what you did. The board has granted you your commutation."
His jaw dropped. They granted his commutation. Given everything that happened he thought his chances were zero.
A familiar voice broke through his thoughts," I may have had a hand in your commutation. How could I not when you risked everything to save me."
Turning he saw Gordon behind him. The older Webb still looked like he had taken a beating. His leg was in a cast and was leaning heavily on his crutches.
Neal said with a grin," Gordon. You look like shit big brother."
Gordon shook his head and said," I would have looked a lot without that extraction. Thank you."
His face went bright red with embarrassment. The others were watching the interaction. No one was saying anything. Just watching the two brothers interact.
Jacob said coming in behind Gordon," I'm his driver until the army sends someone. Though in my opinion both of you should be in a hospital until you are healed."
Both men in question snorted. There was no hospital that could hold them forever. With the exception of Panov's clinics. Mainly that was so they didn't anger the doctor.
The crowd had begun to disperse at that point. Every one there he recognized. They were co-workers from White Collar. Some he interacted with. Others he didn't.
Reese Hughes was a surprise addition. The older man had been against his addition from the beginning. He had always seen the worst in Neal. If something happened he was quick to suspect Neal. The suspicion faded somewhat with time but never completely. Now the man was making his way over. A large file was in his hands.
Hughes said drawing everyone's attention," It is no secret amongst the office that I don't like you Caffery. I never have. However you have done good work for the agency and this division in particular. In light of your commutation I would like to present you with this," he held out the folder for Neal to take. Then continued," Should you wish to continue your work. Fill these out and bring them with you. You will be a fully paid CI and will continue your work with Peter."
Neal opened the file with shaking hands. It held all the information on being a paid CI. There was even a firearms approval sheet. It had been signed by Alex and Abbot. They were allowing him legally to carry his weapons. One side arm and knife of his choice. Anymore would be a violation.
It took him a long moment to realize that they were waiting for his answer. He held out his right hand meeting Hughes gaze.
When Hughes took it he said," I would be honored to return as a permanent CI."
Hughes shook it and gruffly replied," See you back when the doctor clears you, Caffery."
While it was gruff it was much warmer than before. Hughes was finally warming up to him. If only a little.
With that out of the way the party began. Elizabeth was the first to come up and give him a hug.
She said tears in her eyes," I'm so proud of you Neal. You have worked hard for this. Peter and I were so worried when you disappeared."
Neal flushed as he said guiltily," I'm sorry. I couldn't take anyone here with me. There was no time to warn anyone either. He's my brother."
"One of many. Eh, Grayson?"
That voice... It couldn't be. He turned and saw a man in a red shirt and blue jeans. He had brown hair and green eyes. Jason Todd. One of his brothers in the Wayne family. A supposedly dead brother.
Behind him stood the other. Damien looked like the bored teenager he was. Tim Drake was on his other side. Blue met sky blue. Out of the brothers they looked most alike.
Cassandra was standing by Tim her hand on his arm. She was as pale as a ghost. Obviously the others had not warned her about him being found.
She said a smiling," Dick it has been a long time. Where in the hell did you run off to?"
The unfamiliar name had the agents turning. They knew about Richard "Dick" Grayson's disappearance. It had been all over the news. At some point even the FBI had been called to search. There was just no sign of the boy.
Neal guessed he should count himself lucky. No one tried to tackle or attack him. That would most certainly have reopened his stitches. Something he didn't want to deal with during the party.
He said rubbing at his leg as he felt it twitch," This isn't a conversation to be held here."
"Too right you are, Dick," came Bruce's voice from behind his brothers and sister.
With all of them being there he really should have expected it. Bruce came around them and in a few short strides was in front of Neal. Neal really wished they would stop calling him Dick. Dick Grayson died when he left Gotham. There wasn't anything to bring him back.
Bruce said loud enough for everyone to hear," Wayne enterprises is opening its doors to exconvicts. This will attempt to bring them back into society and keep them out of trouble. I would like to extend the offer to Neal Caffery," in a lower tone Bruce continued catching his eye," Come home Dick."
Home... that word had eluded him for a long time. Looking around at the agents he realized something. While it was a strange dysfunctional one. This was home. The agents cared about him and he them. They argued sometimes. Even disagreed a lot. However they never forgot each other. No Gotham was not home any longer.
He shook his head and said," I'm sorry, Mr. Wayne but I have already accepted a place here. In three days I can return for paperwork. Then when I'm cleared I'll be back into the field."
There was both hurt and acceptance in Bruce's eyes. As much as he wanted to visit Gotham at least to see Alfred and his parents graves. He couldn't. The Jackel was hot on his heels. The killer for hires would not allow what happened to go unchallenged. There would be retaliation.
Looking around the room he searched for Alex or Abbot. As expected both men were in a corner. Alex hated things sweet so he was avoiding the cake. Abbot had a piece in his hand but had yet to touch it.
Shooting Bruce a look he made his way over to them. Abbot being the one who trained him noticed his approach first. Then Alex noticed a moment later.
He said making sure his back was to the party," We need to speak later. It's about the Jackel."
Both men stiffened but didn't give any other indication they had heard. Instead of saying more he walked off. They would talk later.
We are down to the last few chapters. A vote amongst my friends have caused for a surprise appearance by someone who wasn't supposed to appear in this fic. However i think you will enjoy him appearance in the next chapter. Hope you enjoyed this one.
Chapter 19: Keller part 4
A/N thanks for all the suport everyone! Hard to believe how far this has come. When I first started this fic I honestly didn't expect anyone to read it. Now we are two chapters from the end and archive of our own this is top 5 in my most popular. So thank you to everyone.
Convincing Special Agent Peter Burke to give him a conference room was easier than he expected. The agent was a lot smarter than he originally would have given credit to him. In a way he reminded Bruce of Jim Gordon. Convincing Dick to have the talk he was dreading. That was another story.
His son flocked towards the agents he was close to. Something Bruce had not missed was the interaction between the two CIA men and his son. It seemed that Dick's interaction with them was not over yet.
Then the man mingled with the other agents. Bruce remembered a time where it had been difficult to get Dick to socialize. The boy hated it as much as he did. Now the man the boy had become freely welcomed it. Baby blue eyes searching each person.
Jason was the first to leave his side. As the rebel of the group he didn't exactly want to be here. The Red Hood was still on the FBI's most wanted list after all.
Tim was right behind him. As the second youngest he was curious about the agency. Hopefully he didn't take a page out of Dick's playbook.
Damien had disappeared as well. It took him a long moment to find Damien. When Bruce did spot him he frowned. The youngest boy was talking with the CIA agents. The brown haired agent that was close with Dick had a paitent look. That couldn't be good.
Before he could move to intervene Dick had crossed the room. The next moment he had his hand on Damien's shoulder. Despite the years apart Bruce could see his protectiveness. That was the boy had raised after his parents were killed.
As he moved to listen in he heard," The child was just asking about your past, David. He reminds me a lot of you when you first came to us."
Dick's voice became hard as he said," He doesn't need to learn what I did, Alex. No one should go through that."
The CIA man's eyes softened at that. It made Bruce question everything he thought he knew. The years between Bruce and the FBI. Lines blurred at that time. He knew of Medusa and that his son was one of them. What he didn't know was what he did? There were several kinds of teams. All he knew was the boy's callsign. Delta.
The Delta's were some of the best in the entire program. They were the leadership of the team. Or the second in command. The files however were not computerized. Short of the Justice League going to the CIA facility themselves they wouldn't see the file.
Bruce had avoided pushing knowing it wouldn't end well. The last thing he wanted was for his oldest son to disappear again. Given that he was a free man again he very well could.
The second man said breaking the tense atmosphere," Easy, David. No one is suggesting that."
That was his cue to enter before this could farther. He greeted in his airhead voice," Hey guys. Mr. Caffery I was hoping to have a word."
Dick's shoulders tensed at his voice coming from behind him. Then when he recognized it he relaxed slightly. Turning his son's baby blue eyes met his stormy blue eyes.
With a forced smile Dick said," Let's have that now. Young Wayne stay away from these two. You will get into nothing but trouble."
Damien snorted. However Neal allowed Bruce to steer him into the open conference room. Now that they were closer Bruce could see the bandages under his shoulder. It was wrapped around the shoulder and his abdomen. By his son's limp there was something wrong with his leg.
Once in the conference room he steered Dick into the closest chair. While he wasn't nearly as good at patching people up as Alfred he was adequate at it. All the times he had to patch himself or one of the boys up.
Bruce asked," How were you wounded?"
For a moment Dick just blinked at him. In a way it reminded of him when he came to Jump when Dick as Robin had been severely injured. Back then it seemed like nothing would mend the bond between them. Then with the help of Alfred and the titans they were able to come to an agreement.
For two years things seemed right. Then without warning Dick had disappeared. It had taken weeks for him to realize much to his shame. It had only been Clark's call that alerted him to the problem. By then Dick had disappeared.
Now the boy sat before him injured. He was far from the airhead that the world saw him as. As such he heard the implied words that had been spoken earlier. Everything he had done. Then the words spoken by a Gordon Webb. I may have had a hand in your commutation. How could I not when you risked everything to save me.
To Bruce it had seemed the two of them had a history. No one. Not even Agent Burke knew what it was.
Given the state both of them had returned in. Another thing to take into account was Dick's abrupt departure. If it hadn't been for the CIA covering for him they would have started a hunt for him.
Bruce had been beyond angry when he found out Dick had returned. It wasn't that the boy had disappeared without a word again. No it was that he wasn't allowed to see his son when he returned. It wasn't Richard Grayson who had returned but Neal Caffery. As far as anyone knew Neal didn't have any relatives. The only people allowed to see him were his doctor, the two CIA agents, Peter Burke, and the short bald man. As such he wasn't allowed into the waiting room or even see him when he woke.
It had been luck that he heard about the party. Apparently Morris Panov had cleared Dick mentally to leave the clinic. That was all he had been cleared for. Part of him wondered what the doctor saw when Dick returned. Part of him was frightened to know.
He was drawn from his thoughts by a soft question," Bruce?"
Dick had not taken his shirt completely off. It was however unbuttoned to reveal clean bandages. They had been done by an expert hand.
Gently he prodded around the bandages. He found the graze to the shoulder. Two abdomen shots and one graze to the knee. None appeared to be infected.
He inquired in a carefully neutral tone as he sat in a chair close to Dick," What happened, Dick?"
Unsurprisingly the boy shook his head. Instead of an answer he was wanting he got," it was necessary. Gordon is family."
"What about us?"
Dick seemed to consider the question for a moment he reply surprised Bruce," If it had been any of you in that situation. Regardless of if you knew about my past I would have done the same. Despite our differences we are still family."
That lightened Bruce's heart. Despite everything they were still family. However Bruce could tell something weighed heavily on the other's mind. Whatever it was Bruce would try to find out.
Morris had dropped him off at June's after they had drinks. All things given the day had not gone as Neal expected. The party to celebrate his commutation had been a welcomed surprise. Now he had free range with his life.
Not long into party Bruce had pulled him into a conference room. They had spoken. Neal had finally had a sit down with his adoptive father. It went a lot better than he expected.
Bruce had accepted that he wasn't the same eighteen year old that had left. Instead he was his own person. One who had seen and done terrible things. Bruce had been more accepting than he thought. There was still so much though that he didn't know.
Half way through the party Morris had come in. He had been finalising the plan with Alex and Abbot. If things went well he would be taking care of the Jackel.
The doctor had put a stop to that immediately. It was almost as if the man had a six sense on them causing trouble. Not that he was surprised. He spent too much time with Alex.
Morris kept an eye on him through the rest of the party. Neal kept close to the FBI agents. Specifically he kept close to Peter.
When the party ended Peter had offered to take him home. Before he could agree Morris said they were going for drinks. Immediately he accepted. They had a lot to talk about.
They sat in the same bar as before. Neal his back to the far wall where he could see all who entered. He had a scotch on the rocks. A favorite of his when he didn't have to keep up the Caffery persona. Morris sat across from him nursing a local beer.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence Morris said," I have spoken to Echo. He gave me some interesting information."
Neal knew where this was going. He sighed," I was injured when we first raided the house. I made the choice not to tell the other's."
He knew that Echo had figured out when he got his injuries. His second in command was brilliant. The only one who could tell if something was wrong with Delta.
Morris said gently," You didn't tell them. Knowing that you could have died."
He said rubbing his eyes tiredly," If I had died it would have been protecting someone I care about. If it had been anyone I call family i would have done the same."
Morris nodded. They fell back into a comfortable silence. They both sipped on their drinks. The normal burn of the scotch didn't affect him as much as normal.
End of flashback
Walking into the house as a freeman felt different. June was still on her vacation. So he silently made his way to his apartment. He half expected Mozzie to be there. Diana had likely told the man about his commutation.
He unlocked his apartment. Stepping in he took in his surroundings. It was his first time seeing it without the anklet. A feeling of freedom overcame.
When his eyes saw the open balcony door. Given that he was gone for over a week that it shouldn't have been possible. On instinct he ducked.
A sword silently passed where his head had just been. Instinct kicked in. Delta moved this time he bear tackled the welder of the sword. A hand rained down on the top of his head.
The blow made his see stars as he went down. In the next moment he was back on his feet. A man stood before him. He was six foot two. The next part took him a moment to process what the man was wearing. An orange and black suit with swords across his back. There was also a firearm at his hip.
His time with the Justice League made the connection. This was Deathstroke the Terminator. One of the biggest killers for hire in the world. It seemed that the Jackel was not stopping with Keller. He had hired a new killer to try and bring down Delta. Not that he was that easy to kill.
Delta struck out with a hard right jab to the masked man's throat. It was blocked and returned with a kick to his chest. Delta dodged to the right.
As he came back into a standing position a gloved hand caught him under the chin. Stars exploded out of his vision. Only due to Abbot's training did he remain standing.
The fight continued. Both men exchanged blows. Delta at one point had removed one of the swords from the killer's possession. Swords were not his speciality. Bowstaffs and guns but not swords. However with all of his experience he had enough to get by.
Deathstroke removed his remaining sword. Delta was the first to strike. He feigned an overhead strike. At the last moment he pivoted his hip and went for a side cut. The swords clashed sending sparks everywhere.
A high strike meant to cleave his head from his shoulders was dodged. The flurry of his attacks now gave Delta no room to go back on the offensive. As he went to block an attack his guard went to high. This left his right side open. A chance the killer took.
A powerful kick landed on his ribs. This sent him flying across the room and for Delta to crumble onto the ground. His wound was burning now. Torn stitches his mind supplied.
Deathstroke had the advantage. The killer not only was unwounded but he didn't have alcohol in his system slowing his reaction times. Going,8 drinking with the doctor would be what killed him.
Deathstroke grabbed his collar roughly pulling Delta to his feet. This scene seemed familiar. Almost like a memory from the past.
It took a second but he realized that he had seen those colors before. Where? It was not in recent years.
The man said the sword coming to slit his throat," It's nothing personal kid. It's just business."
Kid... that voice. It couldn't be. They hadn't seen each other since Richard Grayson left the titans.
He asked," Slade?"
Looking into the mask he realized it had to be. The mask only had one eye hole. The eye in it was that same ice blue that he remembered. It had been almost a decade and a half since they last met. Not since they fought side by side against Triagon.
Slade's eye searched his and said surprised," Kid. It's been a long time Robin. Or is it Neal Caffery now?"
The man released him. For a moment Delta swayed on his feet. The wound was effecting him more than he thought. Slade as usual didn't miss it.
He said his arms folding over his chest," Your injured. What happened Robin? Not enough training."
When the hell would he have time for training? He was a CI for the FBI. On top of that he had a mercenary breathing down his neck for telling him no. Oh the irony. It was his teenage years all over again.
Delta replied rubbing his jaw," I haven't gone by that name since I left the titans Slade. It is Caffery or Delta now. Depending on who you ask."
Though Morris would prefer it to only be Caffery. Man Slade really didn't pull any punches. That strike to his jaw hurt.
Slade asked curiously," What did you do to anger the Jackel? He usually doesn't ask for my services."
"I stole back my brother from him."
Slade rolled his eye," The new Robin? I didn't hear about him or any of the other Wayne's getting kidnapped."
Delta said shaking his head," No, not that brother. I'm sure you heard about my disappearance."
The man snorted as he responded," Kid, everyone heard about it."
Delta said leaning back," Despite our differences, I have to admit you were right. Not just about that I would have made a good criminal. I did but even more than that."
The fact that he could kill. Could fire a side arm with the intent to kill. Some thing in his teenage years he vehemently denied.
Slade raised an eyebrow. It was as if to ask. Oh and what would that be?
Delta went to where he knew his field box had been moved to. In the kitchen under the cabinet. Expertly he removed his glock without taking down the box.
He said quietly," I'm surprised you didn't find the field box. It's not that well hidden."
Slade said," I arrived just before you did. I did some research on you Robin. Richard Grayson nonviolent criminal with a deal with the FBI. Nothing before you were eighteen can be found. However the only real evidence of a Neal Caffery came until he was twenty four. When the FBI caught onto him. Richard Grasyon disappeared at eighteen. There is a six year time frame that no one knows about."
He and Slade had always been truthful with each other. Despite the fact they hated each other. They didn't lie to each other.
Delta asked," What do you know of Medusa?"
Chapter 20: Keller part 5
A/N thanks for the reviews and support.
white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend. Glad you enjoyed it.
Before I get started on the fic please remember. Nothing is ever as it seems here. Just when you think you have it figured out I will make think twice. Assume nothing.
Slade hadn't taken him up on his offer of a drink. Likely to prevent Neal from seeing him face. Not that he cared any more. Neal Caffery was no superhero. Dick Grayson had died in Tam Quan. There was no need for him to try and capture the villain. It just wasn't his job any longer.
Neal had given more of an explanation about his past to Slade than to any before him. Others would not understand. They would not understand why losing his wife had caused him to become a killer. Slade did. Once upon a time Deathstroke had gone through the same. Except that he had lost his oldest boy. The youngest rendered mute for the rest of his life.
Deathstroke said after a few moments of silence, "Well kid I always told you that had it in you. Never expected you to go the way you did. I will leave you. This makes us even though."
Neal nodded as he replied, "There's always the chance we never run into each other again, Slade. Who knows the Jackel could kill me?"
A snort was his answer then the other was gone. He and Slade had their issues. The assassin for hire had once tried to make him his apprentice. More than once had tried to kill him as Robin. After the issue with Trigon they had made their peace. At least somewhat.
If he survived this would not be the last time that he saw Slade. If he continued to work for the Jackel then they would meet again. How it would end there was no telling. Without wasting anymore thought on another attempt on his life he went to bed.
Two weeks passed. He and Peter worked just as well as they had before. Neal started carrying around his service weapon a week before Peter got the call. Matthew Keller had been spotted entering the States. Keller had messed up on his last attempt to kill Neal. This time there would be no second chances. One or both of them would die this time.
He was sitting at his desk when Peter called out, "Caffery! Jones! Both of you head to the bank on fifth. The Panthers are hitting it and Keller is with them."
Both of them jumped up without hesitation. If Peter gave an order they were to follow it. Neal knew that Peter was sending Jones with him so he didn't do anything stupid. However he was too late to stop the plan. Ever since he heard that the Pink Panthers had gotten involved he knew how this was going down. The FBI would go after the Panthers while Neal went after Keller.
Neal had sent a quick message to Alex informing him the plan was on. It was up to him to do his job from here. So many things could go wrong but Delta would make sure they didn't. Or if they did as few problems as possible.
The drive was made in silence. Jones knew something was up. He had been with Neal too long not to read the other's moods. Neal was up to something. Whatever it was it would go down at the bank.
When they arrived the patrol cops let them in. There they got ready to enter with SWAT. Each of them was fitted with an ear piece. Neal knew that he wouldn't be using his beyond to say his goodbyes.
Once they were ready they entered the bank. It was a dynamic entry. That meant not stopping until they found the targets. For Neal it meant finding Keller.
Unsurprisingly there were people all over the ground. Some alive. Most dead. This wasn't like a normal Panther attack. Someone here had really pissed them off. Personal not business related.
Professionally Neal and the others cleared each room one by one. It wasn't until they reached the bank vault they found out why it had been so empty. An enormous hole was in the floor. To make such a whole they would have to use large amounts of C-4. Neal's mind was already putting together what had happened.
Down the street in the subway they would find the access point. That was how they got under the street. There were several old subway tunnels that were abandoned under them. It would be a matter of finding which one. Going in this way only had one real problem. Dead ends. There was no telling which way led to a dead end. Or where they might end up.
Neal took off his jacket and tie as he turned to the others, "Only one way to catch up to them."
Jones said incredulously, "You can't be serious Caffery. We are likely to get lost down there. There's no way..."
Neal didn't wait to her the rest. Choosing instead to jump in the hole. Better to ask forgiveness than permission. Unlike the others he could not afford to let them get away. In particular he could not let Keller get away. If he did it would only put those he cared about in more danger.
The whole wasn't as deep he expected. Landing on his feet with little difficulty he allowed his eyes to adjust. It only took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Lifting his head he listened. Not to the voices above him but to the tunnel. They were faint but he could hear footsteps down the South side of the tunnel. That's who he would follow.
Not hesitating to run after them Neal used every trick he learned in Medusa. Including how to run without making a sound. Despite the fact that the Panthers had a head start on him he caught up easily. Years of running through the jungles of Tam Quan helped. Keeping up his running on a treadmill even more so.
Instead of immediately attacking them he listened. Before he could hear the words being spoken he had counted four different voices. At best it would be four on one. Worst there could be as many as half a dozen in there.
He heard Keller say, "It won't take the FBI long to come in after us. If they send Caffery in then he will hunt us like a dog. I swear that bastard is like a bloodhound."
No. They were just extremely loud when moving about. It was easier to track idiots like these than the people he tracked through the jungle. Untrained simpletons.
A voice he assumed was the leader ordered, "Keller you take out Caffery as soon as he walks through. We will meet you at the safe area."
He sent a message to Jones saying how far and what direction. It would be up to the older man to take them out.
Five sets of footsteps left. It seemed that he had been right. Six men all waiting to ambush if anyone interrupted their meeting. Not even Delta could take those odds by himself. Not in such an enclosed space.
After waiting for two minutes he started to cut the corner. From his corner he could see the wall. Nowhere to hide on that side. Just where his back was to. He cut it until he could see Keller's jacket shoulder. It looked worn not something he would have ever thought he would see the other in. Then again Keller had pissed off a lot of people.
He snapped coming around so that he could fully see the other," Hands in the air, Keller. Don't make me shoo you again."
Morris' day had been going quite nicely for a change. He had three appointments but no one else the rest of the day. That wouldn't stop him from checking on one case in particular. The enigma that was Neal Caffery.
In the past two weeks he had changed. There was a sense of the other was holding back. He had been reluctant to allow him into the field just two days prior. His wounds were healed and his mental state was what it normally was. What was even stranger was that Neal no longer accepted dinner invitations with his handler. What was once at least twice a week now no longer happened. Panov was a bundle of nerves because of it.
Shaking his head he went to the nurses station. The television was on as normal. What he saw however was not normal. It was split showing to separate sites.
The first site was of a bank. The caption read that it had been robbed. That the FBI was on the scene and had gone in after the robbers. Morris knew that, that meant Neal was there. Not being one to sit on the sidelines he would have gone in as well.
The second one was where they had captured five men coming out. Morris' heart stopped when he recognised the agents. Burke, Jones and the rest of Neal's team. No Neal.
He said to the nurse, "Turn it up. I have a patient that works with the FBI."
She didn't question him instead turning it up. The words followed over him meaningless. The Pink Panthers had been apprehended without issue. Then there was the sound of two shots being fired. He saw two of the agents rush down the hole weapons drawn.
Without so much as a goodbye he rushed out the door. Hailing a cab only took a minute. While waiting he called one of the agent Diana if he remembered correctly.
Third ring she picked up and said, "It was Caffery and Keller. I assume you were watching doctor?"
He snapped, "I was. Is he?"
For a moment she didn't answer then she whispered, "They brought Keller out dead. Neal came out second the paramedics took him. It doesn't look good doctor. I... I would call the Waynes and the Webb's."
Then the like clicked dead. A moment later he got message of the hosptial address. Upon giving it to the driver he made his phone calls. By the time they arrived he gotten ahold of everyone he needed.
Rushing into the ER he found agents already there. Peter was off to one side watching the door. Diana and Jones looked up when he entered. Jones looked like a guilty child as he came over.
He said his head bowed with shame, "I let Caffery go in alone. Our orders were to stay topside. I should have gone in with him. Maybe I could have done something."
That flipped a switch in his brain and Morris got said, "Look at me agent," when he didn't comply Morris ordered firmly, "Agent I said look at me."
That got the man to look at him. When their eyes locked Morris continued," This was not your fault. Neal chose to disobey orders and go after them himself. That does not surprise me in the least. It was his actions and the actions of a dead man that got him shot. This was not your fault."
Jones looked away. It was obvious that he didn't believe Morris. It would take time for the man to heal from this. With any luck Neal would come through. Just like he had before.
Two hours of waiting found the waiting room full. Mozzie had been called by Peter along with half of the FBI. One of their own had been shot.
Waynes had shown up an hour after Panov. Each looked worried and scared. Bruce was pacing in front of the doors.
It wasn't until four hours after Morris had arrived that the doors opened. In a single moment anyone not standing was on their feet. The doctor was wearing blood stained scrubs. He looked physically exhausted.
He asked looking at them, "Family of Neal Caffery?"
Peter and Bruce said, "That would be me."
Looks were exchanged but no heated words. The doctor said his turning to look at Peter, "I'm sorry to inform you Mr. Caffery succumbed to his injuries. He died on the operating table. I'm sorry for your loss."
Morris couldn't believe this. After all he had survived Neal was killed by a fellow thief. That wasn't fair. The doctor in him wouldn't allow him to grieve. Not yet. There were people who needed his help.
3 years later
Life went on. Though finding Mozzie on a street corner selling ice cream brought back memories. Ever since Neal had died no one had seen the short man.
Peter asked curious, "What are you doing here, Mozzie? I haven't seen you since Neal's funeral."
The bald man said, "I've been hunting down the clues Neal left behind. I found something. Given how close you two were I thought you would want to see it with me."
Peter could only nod. Mozzie wasn't one to just invite anyone to such a thing. He could take away time from today to do that. Nothing important was go in on.
Mozzie closed up his little stand before leading Peter away. The little man said, "I was surprised when all the clues led me back here to New York. I guess Neal had this planned if anything ever happened to him."
It was ten minutes of going around almost in circles. Then going down into an old subway tunnel. Similar to the very one Neal had been shot in. There were marks on the wall that they followed. They were the Greek sign of Delta. Until they were at a door. It was a metal door and it screeched when they pulled it open.
Looking in they found a desk with a laptop on it. Nothing else was in the room. That wasn't what Peter had been expecting. By the look on Mozzie's face the bald man felt the same. It broke the last shred of hope they had that Neal was alive somewhere. That he had faked his death for whatever reason. It hurt but they had to accept it.
A/N thanks for the reviews and support. This has been one hell of a ride. I hope you all enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing everyone back for the sequel. It's name is Under the azure sky.
white tiger freak: Thanks for your review my friend. Things will be revealed in this chapter. Peter and Mozzie were the first to find out.
white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend. Glad you enjoyed it.
Once they got out of the tunnel he called Elizabeth. When she picked up she had a cheerful tone, "Peter are you coming home early?"
He looked to Mozzie who mouthed June. All he could do was nod. If this truly was something Neal left behind then everyone needed to see it.
He replied as calmly as he could, "El I need you to meet me at June's. It's important."
She said sounding resigned, "I will have to bring Neal with me. The babysitter won't be here until tomorrow."
So the babysitter had already gone home. He wondered if his own son would turn out like him or his namesake. Neal Burke was born last year. After years of trying he and El finally had their own child. They named him Neal in honor of their fallen friend.
He said, "Okay. Please just come. I'm calling Jones and Diana too."
Elizabeth asked suddenly worried, "Is everything okay? What's going on Peter?"
"I'll explain when everyone gets there. Just meet us at June's."
The next two phone calls went easier. Jones and Diana rarely questioned him on such things. When they did it was with a good reason. They didn't have one this time.
An hour later everyone sat in June's apartment. June had joined them at the mention that it was something from Neal. To his surprise Panov had joined them. Jones had called the doctor. In the end Peter agreed. Panov had just as much of a reason to be here as the rest of them.
The laptop according to Mozzie was a standard. One that anyone could buy. Without starting it up Mozzie couldn't tell them much. So once everyone was settled he started up the computer.
It started up regularly but instead of taking them to the start screen. It was a password screen. Why? Neal wasn't one to make his passwords easy. Jones had tried to get into his work computer once. It took all day for IT to put it back to normal.
The background picture caught his eye. It was that of fire. There was only one person Peter knew that had died by fire in Neal's life. Kate Monreu. So he gave it a shot.
To everyone's surprise and relief the password was accepted. Again however instead of a start screen they were taken else. This time to a video.
Everyone held their breath as Peter clicked on it. A familiar black haired man appeared on the screen. Neal Caffery it seemed had left the a message. Peter's trained eyes noticed things though. Neal's chest was covered in bandages. His eyes were blue grey. A sign that Delta was just beneath the surface. Then his eyes found the time stamp and his heart stopped.
The date was two weeks after his death. What the hell? Neal was capable of a lot of things but this? There was no way.
Neal began to speak, "Congratualtions Mozzie and Peter. I knew if anyone was going to try my puzzle it would be the two of you. Or just Mozzie depending. This computer is self updating from my safe house computer. Everyone else should be getting their alerts or packages if it has been three years. If it hasn't yet been three years since my death then this will continue to update. First thing you should know is that I'm alive. I'm sorry I'm not there to tell you myself. It was too dangerous to alert you in normal ways."
For a moment Neal's attention was drawn to something off screen. A frown marred the man's features. Whatever it was he didn't like it.
He continued finally, "Seems I'm being called away. Peter no matter what you hear I'm still the same man you took from jail. The same lost person that was looking for a purpose. The only reason why I left was because there was a threat to your lives. To protect those I care about I will what is necessary. Even if it means becoming something I'm not. See you next week ."
Neal was alive. Not only that but he ensured that Peter would find out one way or another. Why? Why would Neal leave them? Threats to his life happened daily. He was an FBI agent for God's sake.
He asked looking at the doctor, "What do you think, Panov?"
The hazel eyed doctor took a moment to reply, "It is definitely, Neal in that video. Not Delta. There is only one person I can think of that Neal would go to. Especially if he thought everyone's lives were on the line. Alex Conklin."
That made sense. From what Peter had seen Alexander Conklin was a trusted friend of Neal's. If anyone could pull this off it would be the older man.
Any further thoughts were interrupted by the video playing again. The time stamp was a week later. Neal's torso was no longer hidden by bandages. They could see the stitches and the wounds for they were worth. It wasn't a pretty sight.
Neal's wounds were large. The one from Keller was obviously still painful. There were only scars left from his rescue mission. They were jagged and obvious.
Neal began in a low voice, "I'm not supposed to tell you guys this. Alex would kill me if he knew. I can count on one hand the people outside of this house that know what I'm about to tell you. As you have probably already guessed I'm going after Carlos the Jackel. He threatened each of your lives. I knew that I couldn't protect you from such a threat. Even with the help of the CIA. So I devised a plan to go after him. The first step was making Delta disappear. Which of course meant Neal and Richard Grayson. Last week we were working on a new identity. By now word should be getting out of a new assassin in China. Someone who has never been seen. All that's left at his crimes is a black bandana. My new identity is Jason Bourne."
Everyone in the room paled. Panov began to pace. They had all heard of the assassin for hire. Three years ago he appeared in China. It was said he would kill anyone for the right price. It didn't take long for the killer to move onto Europe. There he repeatedly challenged the Jackel. One thing had remained constant. No one could get an accurate description on the man.
Peter had been asked to join the task force to hunt for him. At the time he had declined because he had a baby on the way. Now he realized how grateful he was not to be hunting Neal again.
Neal continued, "Despite what you may think I have not actually killed anyone. When my wounds are healed I will going out myself. For right now they are just planting the seeds. I am simply taking credit. This is all for one goal. To lure out the Jackel. As you go through this diary I will tell you things. I ask that you keep an open mind. There is only going to be one death by my hand. That will be the Jackel. Peter I miss you and El a lot. The faster this is done. The faster I can come home. Caffery out."
Peter paused it. They all needed time to process this.
After getting to the Bat cave he took his cowl off. Tonight had been fairly quiet. All the major villains were in Arkham. The rest were hiding out. Part of him was grateful. The other part wished there was some kind of distraction going on.
It was three years to the day when Dick had died. Alfred was waiting for him when he got out of the Bat mobile. There was a sense of sadness that each of them carried now. It had not faded at all in the three years. Before when Dick had disappeared they at least knew he was still alive. That was no longer the case. It effected all of them.
Alfred handed him a cup of coffee and said, "Drink this Master Bruce. It has been a long night."
He took it with a soft, "Thank you Alfred. I don't think anyone will be sleeping tonight."
Then he moved to the computer. When he signed on it didn't bring up the file he had been looking at. Instead it brought up a video. Great maybe there was a villain in town.
This was the last thing he needed. The Justice League were trying to track a fairly new criminal. He was based in Europe but they had been asked to help by Interpol. If Carlos the Jackel wasn't enough now they had a new contender to deal with. Jason Bourne the chameleon. No one could agree on what he looked like. All the reports were different. It was said that if you paid enough he would kill whoever you wanted.
Despite his and the other heroes best efforts they had nothing. Not a single bit of information on the man. No one could tell them anything consistent about the killer. It was more frustrating than dealing with the Joker.
A face appeared on the screen that made Bruce's heart stop. It was Dick. By the looks of things this video was made just before he was killed. Then he saw the time stamp. That wasn't possible! By the time stamp it was two weeks after Dick had died. His eyes were blue with just a hint of grey. A sign that the killer was just below the surface.
Dick said rubbing at one of his wounds, "Out of all the messages this is the hardest to record. The others were easier. I knew they wouldn't hunt me down. Part of me knew that when I agreed to do this that eventually the Justice League would be called. There was just no helping it. When the police whether local or international get in over their heads they call you guys. I guess I should start with this. Bruce I'm alive."
Bruce could only state dumbfounded at the screen. His oldest son was alive. By the sounds of it he had returned to being a criminal. The part about the Justice League screamed it. What was Dick doing that would require their interference? That was the question.
Bruce could see the guilt on his son's face as he continued, "I should give you some backgrounf first. As you know Carlos had come after me in New York. He wanted to recruit me. When I told him no he threatened the lives of everyone I care about. When Gordon was kidnapped I knew I could no longer ignore the threat. That if I wanted to protect my family I would have to go after Carlos myself. I could not do that while worrying about my family and, as long as I lived Carlos would never stop hunting you. I knew that Keller would try again. We have a history. It was just a matter of when."
His son paused. Bruce could see the sadness intertwining with the guilt.
When he continued Bruce understood why, "I have taken up a new name since my death. The vidoes to come will explain more. You should know now what you are dealing with. Who you have been chasing for nearly three years. The name that was chosen to hunt down the Jackel was Jason Bourne."
No one's POV
The trawler plunged into the angry swells of the dark, furious sea like an awkward animal trying desperately to break out of an impenetrable swamp. The waves rose to goliathan heights, crashing into the hull with the power of raw tonnage; the white sprays caught in the night sky cascaded downward over the deck under the force of the night wind. Everywhere there were the sounds of inanimate pain, wood straining against wood, ropes twisting, stretched to the breaking point. The animal was dying.
Two abrupt explosions pierced the sounds of the sea and the wind and the vessel's pain. They came from the dimly lit cabin that rose and fell with its host body. A man lunged out of the door grasping the railing with one hand, holding his stomach with the other. A second man followed, the pursuit cautious, his intent violent.
He stood bracing himself in the cabin door; he raised a gun and fired again. And again. The man at the railing whipped both his hands up to his head, arching backward under the impact of the fourth bullet. The trawler's bow dipped suddenly into the valley of two giant waves, lifting the wounded man off his feet; he twisted to his left, unable to take his hands away from his head. The boat surged upward, bow and midships more out of the water than in it, sweeping the figure in the doorway back into the cabin; a fifth gunshot fired wildly.
The wounded man screamed, his hands now lashing out at anything he could grasp, his eyes blinded by blood and the unceasing spray of the sea. There was nothing he could grab, so he grabbed at nothing; his legs buckled as his body lurched forward. The boat rolled violently leeward and the man whose skull was ripped open plunged over the side into the madness of the darkness below. He felt rushing cold water envelop him, swallowing him, sucking him under, and twisting him in circles, then propelling him up to the surface—only to gasp a single breath of air.
A gasp and he was under again. And there was heat, a strange moist heat at his temple that seared through the freezing water that kept swallowing him, a fire where no fire should burn. There was ice, too; an icelike throbbing in his stomach and his legs and his chest, oddly warmed by the cold sea around him.
He felt these things, acknowledging his own panic as he felt them. He could see his own body turning and twisting, arms and feet working frantically against the pressures of the whirlpool. He could feel, think, see, perceive panic and struggle—yet strangely there was peace. It was the calm of the observer, the uninvolved observer, separated from the events, knowing of them but not essentially involved. Then another form of panic spread through him, surging through the heat and the ice and the uninvolved recognition.
He could not submit to peace! Not yet! It would happen any second now; he was not sure what it was, but it would happen. He had to be there! He kicked furiously, clawing at the heavy walls of water above, his chest burning. He broke surface, thrashing to stay on top of the black swells. Climb up! Climb up! A monstrous rolling wave accommodated; he was on the crest, surrounded by pockets of foam and darkness. Nothing. Turn! Turn! It happened. The explosion was massive; he could hear it through the clashing waters and the wind, the sight and the sound somehow his doorway to peace.
The sky lit up like a fiery diadem and within that crown of fire, objects of all shapes and sizes were blown through the light into the outer shadows. He had won. Whatever it was, he had won. Suddenly he was plummeting downward again, into an abyss again. He could feel the rushing waters crash over his shoulders, cooling the white-hot heat at his temple, warming the ice-cold incisions in his stomach and his legs and.… His chest. His chest was in agony! He had been struck—the blow crushing, the impact sudden and intolerable.
It happened again! Let me alone. Give me peace. And again! And he clawed again, and kicked again … until he felt it. A thick, oily object that moved only with the movements of the sea. He could not tell what it was, but it was there and he could feel it, hold it. Hold it! It will ride you to peace. To the silence of darkness … and peace.
Hope you all enjoyed it. Thanks for everyone's support. Look forward to seeing you back for the sequel.