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Neal's POV

The urge was strong. Ever since he had been collared to Peter it had been there. In the back of his mind. The freedom he had enjoyed with Mozzie ever present in his memories.

For much of his adult life he had been akined to a cat. Especially after he left Bruce and joined Chronos. A shudder ran through him. That had been the worst mistake of his life. Joining Chronos. It made him into something that he hated. A stone cold killer.

Shaking his head he entered the FBI field office. He could not allow the thoughts of the past to gain ahold of him. If he did it wouldn't end well for anyone. Especially not when he was so close to his commutation. Then again... his eyes turned to the balcony. On it was Peter and Kramer.

Hurt filled him. Peter was the reason why Kramer was watching him so close. Neal had shot Keller through the knee for him and Elizabeth. Not something he would have done as a member of Chronos. If he was still a member of that group it would have been a single shot through the chest.

Without acknowledging either man he sat at his desk. Piled on it were mortgage fraud. He hated these cases. Anything was better than dealing with the two handlers.

Jones said moving to stand in front of his desk," Neal, Hughes is wanting everyone to do a defense test. Want to do yours with me?"

A cock of his head asked the question. More than any words could have.

Jones sighed as he answered," Normally Peter would have been the one to do it. Since you seem to be on the outs with him still I thought I could be the one to do it."

A defense test. That would be interesting. He would have to be careful not to reveal his full hand. If he did it would put his nonviolent classification at risk.

He stood as he said," Sounds interesting. Let's do it."

A grin crossed the other's face before it disappeared. They made their way down to the gym area. It was filled with the basics. A treadmill, some weight and a sparring mat. Nothing fancy but it would do. There was also a locker room for them to change.

When he began to shrug his jacket off he realized he had a problem. One was that he didn't have anything to change into. Two if he took off his shirt the roman numberals XIII would be shown to Jones. While he didn't think the other would understand their significance he didn't want to take the chance.

As if to answer his problem Jones threw him a sweat shirt. That would solve it as long as Jones didn't see his chest. So he turned away from the older man unbuttoning his white undershirt. It only took three buttons for his tattoo to be revealed.

The mark of a poor decision made in pain. The mark of a Chronos number. He still remembered the day that he had been offered a place within Chronos.


Hard to believe it had already been six months since leaving Bruce. Not that they would have noticed. They probably thought he was off on one of his adventures. While it wasn't far off the mark he was acting more like Jason Todd than Dick Grayson.

A gun was holstered at his hip. He had been acting somewhat of a criminal. Somewhat of a vigilante. Anything he could do to survive. He was no longer the hero Nightwing or the boy that had been Robin.

As he turned a corner to enter the abandoned building that was his hide out he noticed someone. A woman with blond hair. Her eyes were as cold as his own.

He inquired shifting his stance slightly," What do you want?"

She answered confidently her head rising slightly," I'm here for you, Mr. Grayson."

His teeth ground aggressively. How in the hell had they found him? The pains he had gone to to hide himself.

She said," I am not with your adopted father, Mr. Grayson. I am with an organization that would like to offer you employment. A way to get a new identity. One that is completely new and not stolen from a dead infant."

That had his attention. A way to get a new identity without stealing a child's. Now there was something worth listening to.

End of flashback

That decision was what set him on the path to become a killer. A killer that earned the nickname, the Black Cat. As such he was given the tattoo of XIII.

Quickly he finished unbuttoning the shirt. Then he pulled the sweatshirt over his head. The last thing he needed was that tattoo being out in the open longer than needed.

The mats were exactly as he expected. Well padded to protect anyone unfortunate enough to be thrown. No doubt Jones thought he would be doing the throwing.

Neal would have to be careful. He had to prove to them that he didn't need more training. Yet show that he wasn't a threat to any of them. A difficult balance was required for this.

Jones said," Show me what you can do Caffery."

Taking a breath to center himself he watched Jones stance. It wasn't an open stance. It was more formal and rigid. Like a boxers. Easy to get past. Something he had trained at from a young age.

His own stance was open ready to change in a seconds notice. Years of being with Chronos and his time in Gotham had taught him that. Part of him shuddered at the thought of his once home. Those memories had been locked away for a reason.

Peter's POV

A headache was beginning to form behind his eyes. This kid was worse than Neal. Unlike with Neal he couldn't tell him to go home. This was an actual case. If it hadn't happened to a Gothamite he would consider that Neal might have done it.

The victim was Bruce Wayne. His office in New York had been robbed of several paintings. Some were valuable. While others weren't.

Neal didn't steal unless it was valuable. Another thing was he avoided anything to do with Gotham like the plague. This case was definitely right up their alley. Maybe it would help mend the bridges he had burned without meaning to.

Hughes knocked on the door and asked," Where's Caffery? He should have been done with the defense test by now."

It was odd that Neal and Jones hadn't returned yet. Jones was one of the best boxers in the FBI. There had been a bet pool on how long Neal would last. Most agreed it wouldn't be longer than a minute. Peter had a feeling that they were underestimating the conman.

Hughes said," Let's go see what is taking Caffery so long."

They took the elevator down to the floor where the gym was. To his surprise Timothy Drake, Bruce Wayne's adopted son followed. There was a light of curiosity in his eyes. Like he wanted to meet the conman that would recover his painting. What they found when they walked into the gym wasn't what any of them were expecting.

Jones was had his arm locked behind him. His face was pointed to the ground. An obvious pained expression from the uncomfortable position marred his face.

Neal was the one holding him with cold grey blue eyes. His left hand held the wrist in a pain lock. His right controlled the agent's back.

When the younger man noticed them he released the agent. It took a moment for Jones to recover but there didn't seem to be any lasting damage. It seemed incredible that Neal had done that. What he had been expecting was to rescue Neal from Jones. Not the other way around.

Neal asked in a cold tone," Are we done?"

Jones said rolling his shoulder," Yeah we're done. Neal where did you learn to do that? Most agent here couldn't keep up with you if you fight like that all the time."

Instead of answering Neal pushed past them to the locker rooms. By his demeanor Neal was still mistrusting of them. Likely due to Peter bringing Kramer in. Now the agent from DC wouldn't leave.

Peter asked curious," How did he do? Besides getting you in a painful lock."

The last bit was said with a teasing smile. Jones at first didn't answer him. Instead his gaze was solely focused on the locker room doors.

When he did answer it was in a strange tone," I could barely keep up with him. Caffery is one hell of a fighter. I've seen soldiers with less experience and talent than him."

Now that was probably the strangest thing he had heard about Neal. That said a lot. Caffery was one of many secrets. Only a few of which had the FBI uncovered.

When he turned to speak to young Drake he found the young man pale. Pale and shaking. Like he was trying to conceal his emotions.

The young man asked," Who was that?"

"The one who stormed off?" He asked. A nod being his only answer.

"That would be Neal Caffery our consultant. That was his self defense test. The FBI decided to test all the agents and consultants prowess in it."

Jones snorted as he said," We can safely say Caffery can take care of himself."

Something about Drake's stiff posture made Peter wonder. Wonder if there was something more to this.

Neal's POV

When he changed back into his suit he actively avoided looking at his tattoo. Neal Caffery the nonviolent criminal should not have been able to do that. Should not have been able to take on a FBI agent single handedly. Explaining this was going to be difficult.

It wasn't as if he meant to hurt Jones. Hell he hadn't even been trying very hard. All he had wanted was for it to be over.

The one strike Jones had landed hit the tattoo. That was what caused him to lose control.

With a last look in the mirror he went back out of the locker room. When he took in who all was there he froze. It shouldn't have been possible.

Timothy Drake stood next to Peter. His gaze was cold. Something he wasn't familiar seeing in his brother.

Chapter Text

Drake's POV

Timothy Drake had been looking for his oldest brother since he disappeared. Like the rest of them he though Dick just needed some time off. No one even considered at the time that Dick wouldn't come back.

It had been ten years since he had seen his brother. There had been rumors. Rumors that different people had seen him. Or that he had taken a new identity. Part of him didn't believe any of it. Thought that his brother would just show up one day like nothing had happened.

Bruce had been angry when someone stole a painting from his New York office. It wasn't priceless or even known by anyone. Those could be replaced.

No the painting that had gone missing was one that Dick had made. Bruce encouraged the new hobby and had framed the painting. It bothered them all when it was stolen. So he had gone to the FBI for help at Bruce's encouragement.

He met with Peter Burke. The brown haired man had a gentleness about him. There was also a strange sadness and guilt about him.

Peter had taken all of the information from him. It didn't take long. They seemed to be waiting on someone.

The one called Hughes said," Let's go see what is taking Caffery so long."

Tim had heard of Neal Caffery. He was the criminal informant that worked with the FBI. He followed the agents to the basement. When they arrived at the gym he saw a surprising sight. By the looks on the other's faces were the same.

An agent had his arm locked behind him. His face was pointed to the ground. An obvious pained expression from the uncomfortable position marred his face.

Tim's surprise was not because of which agent had the upper hand. But who the person was. While his eyes were grey and clouded the face had not changed. Richard "Dick" Grayson stood in an FBI hoodie armlocking a fellow agent.

When he noticed them he immediately released the agent. He didn't even notice Tim. Instead his grey eyes searched the agents.

Dick asked in a cold tone," Are we done?"

The other agent replied rolling his shoulder," Yeah we're done. Neal where did you learn to do that? Most agent here couldn't keep up with you if you fight like that all the time."

Instead of answering Dick of Neal as he was called now pushed past them to the locker rooms. How had they missed him at the FBI? He could have sworn all government agencies was the first place Bruce looked.

Unless... Unless this wasn't the first place Dick ended up at. There was something going on here. Tim maybe the second youngest but he was far from stupid.

Peter asked curious," How did he do? Besides getting you in a painful lock."

The agent that had sparred with his brother replied his gaze was solely focused on the locker room doors," I could barely keep up with him. Caffery is one hell of a fighter. I've seen soldiers with less experience and talent than him."

Given that Dick had been trained by the bat himself it shouldn't have been surprising. He was the first Robin. There were more hardships being the first than with anyone else.

Deciding to get some answers he asked his hands shaking slightly with anger and confusion," " Who was that?"

"The one who stormed off?" He asked. A nod being his only answer.

"That would be Neal Caffery our consultant. That was his self defense test. The FBI decided to test all the agents and consultants prowess in it."

Another reply was given with a snort," We can safely say Caffery can take care of himself."

Neal Caffery. That name stuck with him. Not because it was Dick's identity. No it was because that person was a criminal. Tried and convicted.

When Dick came out his eyes were a cold blue. Part of Tim was surprised at the change. How could Dick change the colors like that? He heard of some people's eyes changing color depending on the light. Not like this though. The only thing that had changed about Dick was that he was wearing a white button down shirt and jacket. The jacket looked expensive however. He wondered how a criminal was able to afford such clothes.

His eyes widened in surprise at seeing him. It was brief barely there. If Tim hadn't been watching he would have missed it.

Nonetheless the eyes became confused as he asked," Peter who's this?"

Agent Burke answered," Neal this is Timothy Drake. He is here on behalf of Bruce Wayne. Someone stole a painting from their New York office."

There was a hidden accusation in the statements. Something was definitely going on between the agent and Dick. Given his brother's history with the agency Tim couldn't say he was surprised.

Dick growled," You can check my ankle. I have not been anywhere near Wayne's. It's a conman's code. No one same would go near Gotham. Too many vigilantes."

:That's not the only reason. Is it Dick? You were avoiding us too. So that we didn't catch up to you.: came Tim's hurt thoughts.

Neal's POV

He could feel the eyes of his brother on him. As much as he didn't want to admit it. He knew that Tim had recognized him. A small part of him was grateful the other didn't call him out on his identity. That would have been disastrous.

Still it had been awkward for Neal to sit at the table. Sit at it and pretend that the young man in front of him wasn't his brother. That they were complete strangers.

The last ten years had been good practice. It had taught him a poker face that rivaled Selina Kyle's. Something he was not looking forward to. The day the Black Cat and Cat Woman crossed paths. Interesting conversation that would be.

Peter asked snapping him out of his thoughts," Neal what do you think?"

Thankfully he had been half listening otherwise he would have been caught unawares. Narrowing his eyes at the screen he scrutinized the security. Given that this was New York not Gotham it wasn't nearly as strict as the other.

There was no doubt in his mind a low level Chronos Eraser could have broken in. His eyes mapped out the route. For the route it made sense but when he saw the painting his heart stopped. Why that painting? It had no value on the market. None at all. He would know. For he painted it.

Ignoring the pain in his chest he said grabbing a marker," This is the route I would have taken," He began to mark on the map," I do have a question. Who made the painting? It is not one I recognize."

It was Tim who answered," One of my brothers painted it years ago. Our father has cherished it ever since. It was stolen three nights ago. My father will do anything to get it back."

Neal flinched. It almost sounded like they cared. Made the killer in him want to snort in disbelief. No one cared about him but Mozzie. There were just people who used him.

Neal said grabbing his phone," I'll make some calls."

Then he was gone. For now he would do his job. After that he could deal with his family being in town.

Once in the elevator he dialed Mozzie," Mozzie I need you to check something."

Mozzie's voice came through clear," A new case? What is it this time Neal?"

Neal had to force himself not to snap as he said," Yes it's a new case. The New York office of Wayne company. Someone stole a painting from the company. Mr. Wayne wants it back."

Mozzie's incredulous question was next," We are helping the Wayne's? Why are we even touching him with a ten foot pole?"

As he stepped out of the elevator he answered quietly," Because his son is here."

Mozzie said in his knowing tone," You know this guy, Neal. What is going on?"

As he tried to step out of the building a hand grabbed him. Instinct kicked in. Neal grabbed the hand twisting it counter clockwise. The sound of bones grinding on each other filled the air. His other hand struck out hitting the person in the throat.

Then his vision cleared. Tim held his throat for a moment but soon recovered.

Neal sighed as he said," Moz I'll have to call you back."

Closing his phone he turned his full attention to Tim. His muscles tightened. Fist clinched into a tight ball.

Tim glared at him as he said," Dick. We have been searching for you."

This time Neal couldn't help it he snorted," Searching for me. Yeah right. I'll do this job, Tim but that's all."

Tim's blue eyes flashed in anger. Neal's became a hard grey as he shifted his stance. Ready to fight.

Glancing around them Neal noticed the attention they were getting. Agents were coming closer their eyes focused on Tim. They weren't suspecting Neal of wrong doing. They suspected Tim. It had been the shift of his stance that alerted them to something being wrong.

Neal said holding out a hand to stop them," I'm leaving, Tim. You want to go to jail you will come after me. Otherwise leave me alone. I am not the same person you once knew."

With that he turned and left the building.

Walken's POV

Being in New York was not his version of a vacation. Yet for some reason the council insisted he make this trip. To specifically visit an FBI field office.

If he had been an operative it would have made more sense. But he wasn't an operative. The closest he had come was housing a potential asset. The day that boy had come to his office was one he would never forget.


Sitting at his mahogany desk he was filling out paperwork. Most of his job as a member of the council was filling out paperwork. Though most people only saw him as Karl Walken mayor of the town.

Karl was in his late twenties when Train Heartnet first arrived. He was dragged in by four Chronos Erasers. This was surprising given that he barely looked eighteen. He had black hair and blue eyes. They were filled with such anger that it would have made a lesser man step back.

Karl said to the erasers," I can take it from here. You may leave."

He steepled his fingers together watching the boy. This was the boy, Sephiria had found. He was fairly short but not a midget. His blue eyes held an untold hurt. That was the boy's reason for joining Chronos.

He said breaking the silence," My name is Karl Walken. You must be Train Heartnet."

The boy said dully," That's the name they gave me when I joined Chronos."

So that wasn't his real name. Interesting. The boy would definitely be an interesting addition to Chronos. Yet somehow Karl knew the boy wasn't a killer at heart. He would not enjoy it as many of Chronos did.

This would not make a loyal assassin. Though he didn't really care. The boy was more like a lost child than a killer. It would be interesting to see how long he lasted. Either he would break and fully embrace the lifestyle. Or he would run.

End of flashback

In essence the boy had done both. Train Heartnet fully embraced the lifestyle of Chronos. He killed without hesitation. Without pity. For the first few months after becoming an eraser Heartnet would appear at his door. Never saying anything just looking for somewhere to hole up for the night.

Karl never turned him away. Even when the boy had stopped coming around he left standing orders. If Train Heartnet arrived he was to be let in. One day the boy just stopped coming and Karl never questioned it.

A few years later after Train Heartnet became the Black Cat something happened. It changed his thoughts on the boy entirely. Black Cat told them that he was no longer a killer. That he was a stray cat and would choose to live his life as he choose.

Karl was proud of the boy. Few would have the guts to do such a thing. Fewer still could keep ahead of both erasers and the numbers.

Sounds of arguing broke him from his thoughts of the past. When he glanced over he thought he was still lost in the past. There was no way that that could be him.

Blinking several times revealed it was. Train Heartnet, number XIII was standing in front of the FBI field office.

Chapter Text

A/N thanks for the reviews and support.

Neal's POV

Instead of going home he began walking into town. He had a two mile radius. For the moment he was going to use it to clear his head.

Carefully he made his way through the city. He examined each store window. Normally he would have least some interest in what he saw. Not then however. His thoughts were focused on the happenings of earlier.

Despite his preoccupied state he did not miss the car following him. It was a black van. One definitely used by the government. Or more likely in this case Chronos. How had they caught up with him?

It had been years since his last brush with the organization. That was long before he had been incarcerated. He wanted to run. To get out of there before they closed off all of his escape routes.

If he did that and it wasn't Chronos. That would make him look guilty despite having done nothing. So far he had done nothing that anyone could prove.

He moved into the shop to avoid being seen. While he couldn't be seen. He could see those coming and going. If he had to run this would be the best way to find out.

The can pulled up to the curb a moment later. Out of it came a familiar short brown haired man with piercing green eyes. It was Karl Walken. He had been a waypoint for Train Heartnet. Someone that the killer he had turned into could turn to for advice.

That made him pause. While he wanted to run before now he didn't. Karl had been one of the few people he could talk about. He trusted the man at least somewhat. More than he currently trusted Peter at least.

Erasers followed out of the van making him duck behind a stand. If Karl thought he would be taken by mere erasers he had another thing coming. He wasn't the Black Cat for nothing after all.

To his surprise Karl waved them off. It really shouldn't have been a surprise. When dealing with him the other preferred to do it himself. Rather than having the erasers do it.

The brown haired man entered the shop. Instead of looking for him Karl walked around. Checking out every item in the shop. Neal moved as he moved keeping the other insight at all times.

Karl's eyes never wavered from what he was looking at. The eraser's hateful eyes had been upon him when he moved. They made no moves to apprehend him. Not that they would have succeeded. He would have beaten them down or taken Karl hostage. Either one would have worked.

Karl said in a soft voice not common to Chronos," It's been a long time, Black Cat. I was surprised to see you come out of the FBI field office."

Neal stiffened at the words. If Karl saw him coming out of the FBI then he could have or would speak to Peter. That would be the end of his deal with the FBI. There would be no more second chances.

As if sensing his thoughts the man continued," I have no intention of turning you in, Train. Not to Chronos and certainly not to your FBI handler. I was surprised by the lack of information on one Neal Caffery. It reminded me of when you first came to Chronos. No one knew anything about you. Then when you left no one could find you again. Disappeared like smoke in the wind."

He asked cocking his head to the side," You don't want me to go back? Why?"

Karl turned slight and Neal's muscles tensed. He didn't trust the man. They had not seen each other in years. There was no telling how much the older man had changed.

The kind green eyes met his as he said," Because you are still the lost boy that came into my office. Despite it being your wishes I never wanted you to join Chronos. You were looking for a way to get rid of your pain. When you didn't find it you left. Now you're with the FBI trying to find the same thing."

Neal's shoulders slumped slightly. That was true. Ever since he had left Bruce's manor he had been searching for a place to belong. Where the pain wasn't so prominent. For awhile he had found it in Chronos. Then it came back a thousandfold. Guilt ate at him until he left.

Then he had met Mozzie. Mozzie had introduced him to the world of being a conman. Several times he had been lucky not to get shot. When he started forging Neal put Hades in a safety deposit box. It was under a name that could not be connected at all to Neal Caffery. In it was everything that connected him to Chronos. With the exception of his tattoo.

Karl was suddenly much closer than before. Neal took a step back giving him room if the other tried something. Karl didn't try anything. Just watched him with the same calm expression he used when he was a kid.

He said cocking his head to the side," I see the same sadness and pain in you from before. While you enjoy your time with the FBI you haven't found what you are looking for."

Neal shook his head and looked at the ceiling," No I haven't. Is killing or being a thief all I'm good for? That's what it seems like now. My work I was doing actually helped. Up until just recently the darkness had faded. Until it was barely noticeable."

Karl's eyes widened in realization as he said," Now it's back in full force. Have you tried talking to someone?"

Neal snorted and shook his head. Who could he talk to? Most psychtraists would put him away. Those who didn't would turn him into Chronos. That would only make it worse for he would return to killing. Or Chronos would kill him. They didn't want a broken weapon after all. That brought things back for him. He had a job to do and couldn't stay here.

Neal stepped back from Karl his eyes going cold. He said stoically his face now impassive," I have a job to do. See you later Karl. Stay away from the FBI office."

The brown haired man said stepping back as well," It seems someone had made the Black Cat very angry. I pity them. You don't still have Hades do you?"

Neal gave a feral smile as he responded," Sometimes one has to let the cat out to hunt. Otherwise it will become bored and tired of its home and look for new entertainment. As for Hades. Yes it's still out there but as you can see I'm a felon. I can't have a gun now."

Before Karl could reply he was gone. Out into the streets. It only took a minute to strike the back of each eraser's neck rendering them unconscious. If Neal was honest he would admit it felt good to stretch his claws once more. The Black Cat was on the hunt once more.

Sven's POV

Like any good sweeper Sven Vollfied was wary about jobs involving the FBI. The agency wasn't well known for wanting to share. Normally if a sweeper is called they are under investigation. Sven being the gentleman he was had not done anything to warrant their curiosity.

He was wearing his usual white suit with a blue shirt and purple tie. When he arrived at the reception room he was barely even looked at. Even as he carried a briefcase in his right hand.

The briefcase was a bullet proof case. In it was a net and smoke screens to be used in a moments notice. The nonhidden items were his sweeper documents and car information.

He took the elevator to the White Collar floor. The elevator ride was short. When he got off on the appropriate floor agents were every where. Not one of them paying any attention to him.

It was a bullpen style office. On either side side were desks. Then a set of stairs led up to offices and a conference room. He wondered if Agent Kramer was up there.

A man with fading brown hair appeared at the top of the stairs. Upon seeing Sven he waved the sweeper up. Not in the mood to yell over the noisy agents he complied. The IBS had been more controlled than this.

He made his way up the stairs. Once he arrived the man stuck out his hand and said," Special Agent Phillip Kramer. Thank you for coming on such short notice, Mr. Vollfied."

Sven shook it as he replied," I'm glad I could be of service. Though I'm not sure what a sweeper is doing at an FBI field office. We usually just catch the ones who run."

They were in fact glorified bounty hunters. Some of the sweepers have gone after the most dangerous criminals in the world. Not that he cared. If the job paid well he would go after it. However he did not go after people that were accused or a false crime. Or the evidence was faked.

Kramer said nodding," Let's take this into the conference room. It is about a case I'm working on."

As they turned Sven noticed the mistrust in gazes of many FBI agents below. That was odd. If this man was working on a case wouldn't they support him? There was more to this case than he was being told.

Once in the conference room he took a seat. The chairs were more comfortable than he expected. Most of the time he sat in hard chairs without cushions. No one wanted to give a sweeper comfort. They would rather have them leave as soon as possible.

Kramer sat across from him where a folder sat. That was likely the person with a bounty. Sven hoped it was a decent amount. He needed the cash. Car payment was due next week and he was once again down to his last cigarette.

Kramer opened the file and brought out a picture. With a frown the man pushed it across to him. Immediately he recongized the person. It was Neal Caffery ex conman currently working for the FBI. Many sweepers had joined in the hunt for this elusive thief. They all wanted a piece of the bounty that was on his head.

For a nonviolent criminal the bounty was larger. Much larger than Sven had seen before and since. What made this guy so interesting now was that he worked at this office. Yet he knew that Caffery was not there when he walked in. So that meant he wasn't there currently.

When he glanced at the other questioningly Kramer said," That is Neal Caffery. Beyond his crimes that is really all we know about the man. He is considered a nonviolent criminal currently. Trust between him and his handler is at an all time low. Personally I want him to go back to DC with me. He is going to get his handler hurt at this rate."

Okay... this guy was a tad crazy. Then again who knew what Caffery still did. Especially now that he was out of jail. A two mile leash allowed him a lot of breathing room.

He asked his amber eye looking at Kramer's," What do you want from me? Surely you can get this information you need without my help."

Kramer shook his head and said," That's where I'm having difficulties. They are flying me back to DC tomorrow. I want you to gather information on Caffery. Information that will get him transferred into my division permanently."

Sven frowned. While he could understand trying to protect a fellow agent. This was a little overboard. Caffery was a conman but that didn't make him dangerous. Still a job was a job. At the moment he couldn't afford to be picky.

Chapter Text

A/N thanks for the reviews and support.

Ayumu Narumi: Thanks for your review my friend. I am glad you stumbled upon it. Actually about a year or so ago I stumbled upon an author named Quinris. He writes a bunch of white collar Batman fics. If I had not found them I would likely have never come up with the idea. Black cat is such an excellent anime I could resist trying this crossover with it. The updates will likely become more frequent after Maybe you're becoming one of us finally ends. One more actual chapters for that. Then this will update more regularly. Hope you like the new chapter.

Neal's POV

Why people people thought he was oblivious? He would never understand. A man was following him. Had been for three days now. He was in a white suit with a blue shirt and purple tie.

At first he had ignored the man. If he wanted to follow Neal he had nothing go hide. However it was beginning to get annoying. Unless he was at the FBI office the man was somewhere close by. Even then he wasn't too far. Just far enough not to get noticed by the agents.

Still it wasn't hard to pick out a green haired man in a white suit. What was up with that? If you were going to follow someone at least make it difficult. Green hair white suit is memorable. Once wasn't noticeable. Twice was coincidence. Three times they are following you.

As much as he hated quoting Bruce the man was right. If you spot someone in three different places. They are likely following you. The question was how to confront the man. He didn't know who the man worked for. Or why he was following Neal. Though there was a sneaking suspicion that it had to do with Kramer.

In his apartment he had sent a message to Mozzie. It told him to stay away from the apartment. He didn't want his friend getting caught up in whatever Kramer had planned. Whatever it was it wasn't good.

Neal sat out on the roof of June's house. From the time he was a child til now he felt at home in high places. When others would have sat back from the edge, he sat as close to the edge as he could.

Below him he could see the white of the man's suit. There wasn't anyone else on the street. Then the brim of the hat turned up to him. If there wasn't so much distance between them Neal would have sworn the other was looking right at him.

Neal was startled when June came out. She said not liking where he was sitting, "Neal you shouldn't sit there it's not safe," he smiled indulgently and moved a little further from the edge, "That's better. Do you know what the green haired man outside wants? He helped me with the door and has been standing out there since I got back."

He shook his head as he replied, "I'm not sure what he wants June. The house will be quieter with him here though. I have a feeling that he has a deal with Kramer. I can't be caught doing anything with him around."

June nodded her acceptance. She knew better than most what he was trying to do. His commutation hearing was in just a few weeks. He couldn't afford to be caught doing something. It would end any hopes of getting free of his anklet early.

She took a seat in the chair at the small table. Frowning Neal turned his full attention back to her. It wasn't often that she just sat with him. Not unless she had something bothering her.

June said in a whisper, "Last night something woke me. At first I wasn't what it was. Usually I'm a pretty heavy sleeper. Then I heard you cry out. Do you want to talk about it, Neal?"

He remembered the night before's dream. It wasn't a nightmare. No nightmares were something you could tell yourself were a figment of your imagination. What he saw in his dreams was the past. Something he had done as a member of Chronos.

Shaking his head of the dark thoughts, "June you know there are some things I can't talk about. Unfortunately that is one such thing. My past was not the happiest. Nor was it the most normal. If I told people they wouldn't understand. Even you June would find it hard to reconcile the person I was with the person I became."

Train Heartnet would have sneered at Neal Caffery. The Black Cat brought only bad luck to those around him. It was amazing that it hadn't happened there yet. Or maybe it had.

Two people from his past had appeared. One had nearly blown his cover with the FBI. It had been sheer luck and the fact Peter didn't want to ruin what was left of their relationship. The luck wouldn't last however. Tim would likely call the others. Then they would storm the building. Questions that he couldn't answer would be asked.

Then there was Karl's appearance. His old caretaker didn't seem to want to do him harm. While he probably thought he could help Neal. His presence would only do him harm. Kramer and Peter would ask how he knew a member of Chronos. Those questions could change whether or not he stayed a free man.

Neal said looking down at the green haired man, "He is most likely looking for a reason to give Kramer to either put me in jail. Or to take me to Washington with him."

June only looked at him and they fell into silence. In the last few years they had grown close. Out of the goodness of her heart she had given him a place to stay. On top of that she looked past his faults. Byron her husband had been like him a conman with a heart.

In a way she treated him like her son. He in turn he treated her like an older sister. No one could replace his mother but he could always have more siblings. Siblings huh? Before meeting Mozzie and June he thought he would never get close to anyone again. His family had once decided they didn't need him anymore. It had broken him in ways no one could understand.


He sat in his Nightwing costume in front of the Batcomputer. His family was all out on patrol. He had tried to get his family together to see a movie or have dinner together. The best answer he got was maybe but most likely he would be with the Titans. That had been from Tim. The others were maybe or just grunts of acknowledgment.

When he came into the cave he intended to look at files. Trying to find information on the strange glove using man he came across a days ago. What he found was his family, his brothers who all said they couldn't make it to movies or a quick dinner. They were all sitting around having pizza without him.

It hurt more than he let on when they acted like he didn't exist. This wasn't what family was supposed to do. They were supposed to care. Did they even remember what happened this night so many years ago? Did they even care?

Despite his ever busy schedule he always made sure his brothers weren't alone on the anniversaries. It was his way of showing that he cared. Yet for him for the second year in a row he was alone.

His fingers flitted over the keyboard bringing up a program he had hidden. It was still there. Even after almost a year it was still hidden in the code of the computer.

For a moment he reconsidered what he was about to do. Then his blue gaze hardened into almost a grey color. If his family didn't need him then he didn't need them either. He initiated the program. With any luck he would have a new identity before anyone noticed.

With that done he stood from the computer. First he would change from his vigilante clothes. Then he would disappear.

End of flashback

That was the last time he had seen or heard from his family. He had gone into hiding till he could find a new identity. Then Chronos found him and the rest was history.

June said interrupting his thoughts, "I know you didn't have the same past that you tell everyone. It just doesn't seem like you, Neal. I don't say anything because if you wanted us to know you would have told us yourself. The pain that I see in your eyes isn't physical but mental."

She was right. Wounds of a physical nature healed more easily than ones of a mental. The scars left behind from seeing his parents die still throbbed. The scars from Chronos burned like the sun.

June stood as she said, "I believe that I will go let that man in. Like when I met you I have a good feeling about him. Maybe he can help you with the darkness in your heart."

He opened his mouth to stop her but she was gone. He closed it again. There was no way this was going to end well for him. He was either going to end up back in jail or back in Chronos. Neither were very appealing to him.

The door to the apartment opened and the green haired was pushed in. June without saying another word closed it. She was one of those people you just never wanted pissed off at you. So they would talk. Despite Neal wanting to do nothing more than throw this guy off the building.

The green haired man sighed as he walked over holding out his hand, "Names Sven Vollfied."

Neal stared at it for a moment before shaking it with a curt, "Neal. Neal Caffery."

They fell back into uneasy silence. Vollfied took a seat in one of the chairs. Neal for his part was still sitting on the edge. Neal didn't like this man being in his space. He had other things to do.

Vollfied said startling him from his thoughts, "Kramer says you're dangerous. I think if you were you would have thrown me off the building when the lady left."

Neal grinned in return as he replied, "I thought about it. Then I remembered how scary June is when she's angry."

He smiled slightly. It was his first real smile since this mess with Peter started. It made him question who he could try. If he couldn't trust Peter could he trust anyone? It was through his friend that he met the other agents. They all reported to him. The only one who didn't report to someone was Mozzie.

Mozzie had always done his own thing. When Train Heartnet left Chronos it was Mozzie who picked up the pieces. Mozzie who made the stone cold killer into a conman with an easy smile. That smile was not as easy going as it seemed. It was forced to be real even though in his heart it was fake.

Breaking him from his thoughts Vollfied asked, "What's with the dark look? You have to be at least a year or two younger than me."

Neal blinked for a few seconds before snapping back, "None of your business, Vollfied."

That wasn't like Neal. That was more along the lines of the Black Cat speaking. The man whatever he was, was getting to close. To close to the darkness in him.


Neal blinked at him and asked dumbly, "What?"

Vollfied replied calmly, "Call me Sven. If we only call each other by our last names we will never get anywhere. So call me Sven."

For a moment he consider Sven. Then he nodded and said, "Then you can call me Neal. What are you? By the suit you aren't FBI. Or any other government agent that I know. Your tailing skills could use some work. Too much to be Chronos. So what are you?"

Sven looked at him and said, "Its surprising you know about Chronos. I would have thought you would keep away from them. To answer your question, I'm a sweeper."

A bounty hunter? What in the hell did a bounty hunter want with him? Mozzie kept an eye on anyone placing a bounty on their heads. He knew at the moment he didn't have one.

Chapter Text

Neal's POV

The next morning he woke to his phone ringing in his ear. With a groan he sat up. By the lack of light in his room he knew it was still dark out. If this was Peter calling him there would be hell to pay. Even by his standards it was too damn early.

Upon recognizing the number he sat up and answered it with a gruff, "Mozzie its three in the morning. This had better be important."

Mozzie said cheerfully, "Neal I may have found a lead on your missing painting."

That woke him up. The sooner they could find the painting. The sooner that Tim could leave. If Tim stayed much longer he could end up bringing the other's. Something he didn't want to happen. Tim was convinced for the most part to leave him be. The others wouldn't be so easy.

Standing he asked, "Meet at the usual place?"

Mozzie answered an affirmative and Neal ended the call. Getting Tim out of his hair was worth an early morning. Normally he wouldn't be up for another three hours. There was the occasional expection.

Their meeting place was a mile and a half away. It was in an inconspicuous part of town. Despite not needing to meet in such a way they did. Mostly to avoid Peter's watchful eye.

When he flipped on the light he heard a groan of protest from his couch. That couldn't be Mozzie. He just got off the phone with the bald man. It couldn't be Peter either. They weren't exactly on speaking terms outside of work.

A voice asked, "Whats going on?"

It took him a moment to place the voice. It was Sven the sweeper. Then the memories came back to him. By the time they had stopped talking it was late. Too late for Neal in good conscience to let the other go back to his hotel. That meant it was the sweeper on his couch.

He said going into his closet to change, "Go back to sleep, Sven. I have to meet a friend of mine."

The sweeper said sitting up, "I'll go with you."

Neal called out, "No. He's not exactly a people person and is more paranoid than I am. You are welcome to continue to stay here until morning. Try to be gone when Peter arrives at eight."

He choose a grey button down shirt with black slacks. Choosing to forgo the tie he grabbed a jacket off the hanger. As he was buttoning his shirt his eyes trailed to where the tattoo was. If Sven or Peter or anyone in the FBI saw this they would condemn him. Or hand him back over to Chronos. There was still a large bounty on the Black Cat's head.

Shaking his head he finished buttoning his shirt. Then the jacket was on before he left the closet. Sven was standing there in his suit. It was slightly wrinkled from sleeping in it. Amber eyes held a tired but alert look in them.

Neal said glaring at him, "You are not coming."

"I'd like to see you try and stop me. Its dark out and this is the perfect time for someone to go after you."

He asked, "Why do you care? I'm just a criminal and you catch criminals."

Sven flinched. Neal had been blunt with his words. Not something he normally did but he needed to meet with Mozzie. Despite the sweeper seeming to be a nice guy he didn't trust the other man. Matthew Keller seemed like a decent person the first time they met. Then he killed because a guy thought he dropped his passport. The very same passport that was in the man's back pocket.

Then Sven said something that gave him pause, "I heard from Kramer that you are a nonviolent criminal. Meaning you don't carry or use weapons. Normally this would be a good thing. You get out of jail on parole or get something like this. However in the case of going out at three in the morning it makes you a target. I am a sweeper. In my briefcase are all manner of ways to incapacitate without hurting someone. Normally you are right. I wouldn't care if you got hurt. Until I sat down and talked to you. You as a person changed my mind."

This man was certainly off. In a strange roundabout way Sven reminded him of Peter. Before Peter decided that their friendship wasn't worth anything.

Part of Neal wanted to tell the man to take a hike. Then thought better of it. The man would likely follow him no matter what he did. Mozzie would have to get over Neal bringing someone in. He would have to avoid saying anything incriminating. If Peter asked what he was doing out at three am he would have an alibi that wasn't Mozzie.

When they left the apartment Neal led them through the streets. Given that it was a mile and a half away they probably should have taken a cab. Then again that would make them look suspicious. Or an easy mark.

When they finally arrived Mozzie was waiting for him. His friend's eyes narrowed at the unknown man.

Neal said nodding to Sven, "Moz this is Sven Vollfied. He's a sweeper that I met."

Mozzie groaned, "What is it with you and picking up strays? First it was the suit. Now it's a bounty hunter. Neal you know he catches people like us for a living right?"

Sven said looking the small man up and down with a calcuated look, "I usually only go after the bigger fish. Unless I'm scrapped for cash. Thieves don't usually make the cut unless they kill someone."

Or steal a Raphael. That had his head on many bounty boards for a long time. No one could prove he stole it however. Nor could they find it. Neal had in fact stolen the painting. It was with the woman who gave Neal the idea of his name. Ellen Parker held a lot of his stolen items so that no one could get them.

Anything to do with his time in Chronos or Bruce was in a safety deposit box. If anyone found those items jail would be the least of his worries. Chronos would come after him. Bruce would come after him. He would have to run again. This time he would never be able to stop running.

Mozzie said breaking him from his thoughts, "Neal this is what I found on that case," he handed Neal some pictures, "The one who stole the painting is trying to draw out the artist. No one on the streets is sure why. Or even who made it."

The pictures were of the painting and its signature. The signature was RJG. Richard John Grayson better known as Dick Grayson. His original name that he had left behind. Someone was looking for him. Someone that was not Bruce.

Neal said carefully, "They are turning to find the oldest Wayne adopted child. Richard John Grayson."

Sven asked his head cocking to the side, "The missing one? Wasn't he declared dead not to long ago? Even the sweepers got a bounty on him. If anyone had any information that led to finding the kid there was a huge reward. Wayne doesn't mess around."

Mozzie said with a glare at the sweeper, "We don't touch cape cities. Especially not Gotham. Everyone knows the Wayne is the one who funds the Batman."

That was true but not for the reasons they thought. Neal wouldn't go near Gotham for the different reasons. He didn't want to be recognized as Richard Grayson. Just about anyone in Gotham could recognize him.

Neal said with a fake smile, "That amongst other things."

:I'm sorry, Moz. Despite how close we are I cannot tell you about my past. You would hate me for being a spoiled brat. Then when you found out about Chronos. You wouldn't understand why I did it. Then like everyone else you will abandon me.: He thought sadly.

Mozzie asked, "What do you want to do Neal? The Waynes won't leave until they get this back. Whoever stole it won't sell or return it without the missing Wayne."

There were a couple of options for him to go with. First would be to ignore the case entirely. That wasn't really one he could afford to go with. If he did the whole family would eventually arrive. Then his secret would be out.

A second option would be to go after the thief. The thief could be just about anyone. There were two options within that option itself. To go with support from Mozzie and the FBI. Or to go alone.

The best option out of two two would be to go alone. There would be little chance of someone finding out who he was. There was a chance that he would be hurt or killed. That risk was worth it though. If only to protect his friends from the truth and the dangers that came with it.

He said, "I will go after them alone. Moz, I need you to run interference with the FBI."

Sven asked his eyes widening, "What about you, Neal? If you go while this man is keeping FBI busy you won't have backup. Or a partner to watch your back."

Neal shrugged as he replied, "It's not first time. Besides any backup I have will only get in the way. Moz is the only one I trust to have my back in this and he needs to keep FBI off of me."

Sven said his eye hard with anger, "That is idiotic and reckless. You could be killed."

Neal grinned as he replied, "So are a lot of things but that won't stop me. It's just the way life is. Either we accept it or we get lost in the struggle."

Sven said shaking his head, "I can't let you do this alone. It's too dangerous. I'll go with you."

"No. This is better handled alone. Sven if you want to help keep the FBI off of me."

With that he chose to leave. The pictures had given him an idea of where to look. It could however wait until it was light out.

Sven's POV

He watched as the young black haired man left. There was more to this case than what the other was saying. His instincts told him that something was going on here. Instincts that the last time he ignored them it cost him his partner. Then he left the ISB and became a sweeper.

Sven couldn't allow Neal to go off alone. That would end in his meaningless death.

The short man called Moz threw him a phone and said, "Go. I'll keep the suits busy. Neal will likely need back up and you're the best we have at the moment."

Sven turned to follow the ebony haired man. Then stopped.

As an after thought he asked, "Who are you really?"

"Mozzie. You can call me, Mozzie."

That was an interesting name. One that he would remember for later. For now he had to hurry and catch up to the younger man.

Even though he was only a minute or two behind Neal he couldn't seem to find him. It was as if the man had disappeared off the face of the Earth. Sven knew he didn't get in a car. They had walked to the location. Yet there was not a single sign of the man. How the hell had he done it?

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.

white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend. Glad you enjoyed it.

Neal's POV

There was one shop in town that knew him as who he was. Both as a Chronos Number and as Richard Grayson. The owner was an old friend who continued to look after him. His name was Ethan. Like any good information dealer he didn't use last names.

Ethan was a man with greying black hair and grey eyes. Like Neal he once was a member of Chronos. They were two of a kind both hunted by those they once served. Unable to take the killing anymore. Ethan was one of his most trusted information brokers. They had an understanding that worked between him. Never mention Chronos unless it had to do with a specific job and come ready to pay.

The shop Ethan owned was open twenty four seven. It was manned by either Ethan or a teenager that was his nephew. Tonight it was the nephew. Upon seeing Neal the boy paled at seeing him. Without a word to him the boy left to wake his uncle.

The shop was a simple convience store. If the FBI checked his anklet then they would see him at a regular store. No one would think twice about it. Only a handful of people most of them thieves new what this store really was.

Neal's hand sought the tattoo on his collarbone. It always itched when something was going to happen. This time was no exception. It itched like he rubbed poison ivy on it.

Ethan's soft baritone voice brought him out of his musings, "Caffery... The last time you were in my shop you almost ended up back in prison."

He winced at that. It was true. The last time he had come into this shop he was looking to kill Fowler. If it had not been for Peter he would have killed the exFBI agent.

Neal said with a sigh, "That was a mistake. One I don't plan on repeating. I'm here for something else this time."

He pulled the pictures out of his jacket and asked, "What do you know of this?"

Pushing the pictures across to the other he waited. Ethan knew he wasn't one to come in for trivial matters. So when he saw the painting from an unknown artist his eyes widened.

The older man said his grey eyes searching Neal's blue ones, "What does this have to do with you, Carvery? RJG is an unknown artist that Wayne likes. No one even knew he existed until it was stolen."

Neal sighed, "You know who I was before Chronos. Now think."

Grey eyes widened in realization a moment. He asked, "You are the artist?"

"Once upon a time I had been. In another life."

Ethan pinched the bridge of his nose as he said, "It's no wonder that Wayne holds onto like he does. Or why he has put so much effort into it's return. Caffery this could be what reveals you to them."

Or worse to Chronos. If he was found here, Ethan would have to run. While Neal could fight his way out of Chronos' clutches Ethan was too old. They would capture and or kill him without much trouble.

Neal said seriously, "I know the danger of this getting out. I need to know how stole them, Ethan. Then I need to get it back so my brother will leave."

Once Tim was gone he would be in the save zone again. Then it would be a matter of surviving his final years with the FBI. From there he would look for a new place to hide. Likely leaving the country in the process.

Ethan said tiredly, "I don't know who exactly has it. I do know where they are supposed to meet if they found the artist."

He then pulled out a piece of paper and pen. Then scribbled down an address. Neal took it from the man.

He inquired carefully, "What do I owe you Ethan?"

The older man shook his head as he said, "Nothing this time, Caffery. This is just as much about protecting my neck as yours."

Neal couldn't accept that so easily. So he pulled out two twenty dollar bills from his wallet. When Ethan's back was turned he placed the bills on the counter. Then he slipped out of the store.

When he saw the address he froze. It was well out of his radius. Despite wanting to do this alone he wouldn't be able to. Or he would have to cut his anklet. For a brief moment he considered doing just that. If cut his anklet he could get away before Bruce came to New York. Or his other siblings came. If he did that it would mean saying goodbye to everyone. He wasn't sure he would be able to leave them all behind.

As he stepped out onto the street he brought his phone out. Going through his contacts he found Peter's number. It was late and he knew his handler wouldn't appreciate being woken at such an hour. He did need FBI permission or escort to go outside his radius. Mozzie still was unable to make a key for the anklet.

Closing the screen he shook his head. It could wait until a better hour of the morning. This was not worth angering his handler for.

A sharp sound from behind and to his right drew his attention. The sound was not completely silent but if he was anyone else he would have missed it. Not a Number then. His brother? Most likely.

Cocking his head to the side he listened. Tim had a tale tell gait when he walked. Some thing that Neal doubted had changed over recent years. When he heard it he smiled. There was the walk he heard so many times before.

Without turning around he greeted, "You know I'm not doing anything illegal."

Tim's irritated voice answered, "I can see that for myself, Dick. I saw on your anklet that you left an hour when we would have normally been getting in. What are you doing out here, Dick? What if someone tried to hurt you? You are a nonviolent criminal now."

Oh? So the little Robin was watching his anklet? Interesting. Neal logically knew that Tim's skill with a computer was excellent. Years with Bruce would have taught him that. Or Oracle. She was always the computer genius out of all of them. It was a miracle she didn't find the erasure program before he used it. Then again she wasn't looking for something like that it their own computers.

Neal replied tiredly, "If you must know if I am attacked I can still use my skills. Thanks to the self defense test they know I can fight. Thanks to my last fight with Keller they also know I can use a gun. I just don't like to. As for why I came out here I had to meet with an informant. One had information I needed to find the painting. The other had an address but not a name."

Tim said with a growl, "I should go talk to the information broker then. There could be more than what he's telling you."

That had Neal turning much faster than he had in a long time. If he did that a few years ago he would have beem reaching for Hades. Instead he grabbed Tim by the front of his costume. His mind barely registered the fact that Tim was in costume.

Instead he snarled, "You will not touch, Ethan! He doesn't know anymore than he's telling!"

Tim's eyes narrowed behind his mask as he asked, "How can you be sure, Dick? How can you trust this broker?"

Neal released Tim with a growl and pushed his brother away. This was not how he thought his night was going to go. It was supposed to be an easy night. Then Mozzie called and his evening went to hell. No it had gone to hell before that. When the sweeper arrived that was when his night started going to hell.

He took a breath to calm himself as he said, "Ethan is like me. I trust him with his information and my life. Unlike the rest of you he has never lied to me."

A hurt look crossed his brother's face but he ignored it. They lied and ignored him more than he could take. If they expected him to return then they were sorely mistaken. One does not simply return from such a thing.

Tim asked in a soft voice, "Why did you leave?"

Neal's eyes met Tim's masked blue ones as he answered, "You all abandoned me. I wasn't going to stay somewhere I wasn't wanted."

Tim whispered softly but Neal still heard him, "That's not true. You were wanted."

"Oh really? Do you remember what I tried to organize right before I disappeared? Do you even know what that night was for me, Tim? None of you wanted me there. All I was, was a problem fixer and the one you laid the blame on. I couldn't take it anymore and I won't go back to that. At least here I know where I stand with everyone."

Then he turned on his heel and left. There was nothing else to be said between them. As much as he didn't want to talk to Tim, he didnt want there to be bad blood between them. As Robin the other could make his life miserable.

Tim asked surprised, "Where are you going, Dick? We aren't done!"

Neal turned his head slightly and snarled over his shoulder, "Yes we are."

Then he slowly made his way to June's. It had been a long night. Dealing with those he once called family was exhausting. They didn't understand him. It wasn't like they ever did. Maybe... no he wouldn't think on maybes. That was something he learned in Chronos. Maybes were for the weak.

Tim's POV

Before going on patrol that evening he set an alarm to alert him if Dick left June's. He was half way across town well into the early morning hours when it went off. By the time he caught up with his brother Dick was an information broker's shop.

This particular broker was known for his shady dealings. People only went to him if they were looking for trouble. Finding his brother who was engaged in a two mile radius there was not reassuring.

Given that Tim was still in his Robin costume he didn't go in. If Dick was gathering information then the last person that needed to be seen was Robin. So he waited outside for Dick.

When his brother came out the older man was lost in his thoughts. For a long moment it seemed like he was going to call someone. If it had been a few months ago Tim would have bet that it was Burke. However the rumors around the FBI field office was that Burke and Dick had a falling out.

When Tim began to move Dick went still. He must have made a sound for Dick to notice. It seemed his brother was as alert as ever.

After he started moving closer Dick said, " "You know I'm not doing anything illegal."

Tim replied back annoyed, " I can see that for myself, Dick. I saw on your anklet that you left an hour when we would have normally been getting in. What are you doing out here, Dick? What if someone tried to hurt you? You are a nonviolent criminal now."

Hoping to bait his brother in an effort to get information worked, " If you must know if I am attacked I can still use my skills. Thanks to the self defense test they know I can fight. Thanks to my last fight with Keller they also know I can use a gun. I just don't like to. As for why I came out here I had to meet with an informant. One had information I needed to find the painting. The other had an address but not a name."

That wasn't what he was expecting. Information brokers like that one would get all the information possible on someone. So only get an address was unheard of. The broker must be lying.

Tim said with a growl, "I should go talk to the information broker then. There could be more than what he's telling you."

That had Neal turning much faster than what Tim expected. Years of not fighting should have dulled his speed. Fighting was something that had to be done constantly to keep up speed and reflexes.

Dick snarled in a way that Tim never heard before, "You will not touch, Ethan! He doesn't know anymore than he's telling!"

Ethan? He was on a first name basis with his information broker? That in itself was unusual. Brokers tended to keep to themselves. Never allowing anyone close to them.

Tim's eyes narrowed behind his mask as he asked, "How can you be sure, Dick? How can you trust this broker?"

Dick released Tim with a growl and pushed his brother away. How his brother could trust the broker more than him he didn't understand. What happened to the brotherly bond between them? They used to be close before he disappeared. In truth he missed his older brother.

"Ethan is like me. I trust him with his information and my life. Unlike the rest of you he has never lied to me."

Like you? How? What is it you're hiding, Dick? His brother was hiding something. That much was obvious. What it was however was less obvious.

Dick was not an information broker and Ethan as he was called was not a thief. So how were they alike? Dick's hand moved up to the left side of his collarbone. By the look on his face it wasn't a conscious decision. It took some thought but he realized that besides in jail no one had seen Dick without a shirt on. Almost like he was hiding something. He filed away the information for later.

Tim asked in a soft voice, "Why did you leave?"

Neal's eyes met Tim's masked blue ones as he answered, "You all abandoned me. I wasn't going to stay somewhere I wasn't wanted."

Tim whispered softly but he knew his brother still heard him, "That's not true. You were wanted."

"Oh really? Do you remember what I tried to organize right before I disappeared? Do you even know what that night was for me, Tim? None of you wanted me there. All I was, was a problem fixer and the one you laid the blame on. I couldn't take it anymore and I won't go back to that. At least here I know where I stand with everyone."

With that Dick turned and left leaving him stunned. What happened right before Dick left? The last thing he remembered was that he had gone out with the others. For some reason his older brother wasn't with them.

Then the second hint hit his mind. What was that night to Dick? Tim was ashamed at how long it took him to remember. It was the night that Dick's parents were murdered. They had abandoned their brother on the anniversary of his parents deaths. He needed to talk to Bruce and soon.

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.

white collar black wolf:Thanks for your review my friend.

Neal's POV

That night he slept as well as he expected considering everything. Nightmares plagued his sleep making it nearly impossible to rest. Every time he came out of a nightmare there was a cry on lips. This was only muffled by his pillow. By five thirty he had given up completely on getting any sleep.

By seven he was dressed and sipping on his third cup of coffee. In a few minutes he would leave to walk to the FBI office. Since his falling out with Peter he had not been accepting rides from the man. Walking wasn't so bad as long as the weather was nice. If it wasn't he could always call Mozzie.

A knock on his door interrupted his thoughts. He called out, "Its open."

It was probably June checking in on him. She was doing that more often since his falling out. Footsteps that were heavier than June's made him look up a frown crossing his face. The frown only deepened when he saw that it was just Peter. The older man was standing there in his usual Fed suit.

He asked coldly, "What are you doing here? I was going to walk to the office in a few minutes."

Peter winced but replied, "I came to see if you needed a ride. Also to see if you had any luck finding a lead."

Neal got to his feet and stretched slightly. This would save him the time of walking to the office. It would also give them more of a chance to go after the thief without alerting the person to the hunt. Still he wasn't exactly happy about having to accept a ride from Peter. He would have to play nice at least for now.

He said holding up the piece of paper with the address on it, "I was able to get an address last night. It's from a source I trust."

Peter asked taking the paper, "Mozzie?"

Neal shook his head and replied, "No, this one is someone I won't name. It's at his request. He has enough trouble without adding the FBI to the mix."

Peter opened his mouth then closed it again. The older man could have tried to press him for more but they both knew it would end with Neal shutting him out. Peter knew he had to choose his battles otherwise he would lose Neal forever.

Once in the car Peter said, "This address is on the otherside of town. I guess I should be thankful you didn't try to go after it yourself."

Neal only shrugged. It wasn't like the Dutchman case. He wasn't in danger of being thrown back in prison. In fact there was a good chance he would get out early. He had a commutation hearing in a few weeks. If it went well then he would be a free man.

He didn't know what he would do as a free man however. Going back to being a criminal wasn't an option. As much as Mozzie wanted him to. He would just end up back in prison. This time there would be no second chance.

With Chronos still after him there weren't a lot of jobs he could do. Most of them Chronos had spies in looking for their strays that left. He knew he wouldn't be able to avoid them forever. One day he would slip up and the showdown would begin. It was not a fight he believed he would walk away from.

Unconsciously his thoughts trailed to the sweeper. This wasn't the first time he had come across one. It wasn't even the second time. This was however one of the few times that the encounter stuck with him.

His first real experience with sweepers was Saya. She moved into the apartment across the street from him. More often than not she would spend the night on the rooftops with him.

He had done his best to push her away. The last thing he wanted was for her to get hurt because of him. In the end that was exactly what happened.


Train ran through the city streets. He had to reach Saya before Creed did. That moron thought that she made him weak. That she somehow enchanted him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Saya was the one who had shown him another path.

The people at the festival shouted at him as he pushed past. He had to find Saya. He had to save her from Creed.

As he turned the corner to where he was supposed to meet Says his heart stopped. She was laying on the cold concrete in a kimono. Across the front of her chest were several slash marks. Saya was alive but only barely. His eyes scanned the rest of the area but Creed was gone.

Train rushed to his friend's side and helped her sit up. Saya whispered pain clear in her voice, "This isn't your fault, Train. Don't go back down the path you have diverged from."

His grey eyes looked down at his friend sadness in them. She wouldn't make it to the hospital. He was lucky she was still alive when he arrived. There was little doubt in his mind that she held on to say goodbye. To remind him not to fall back down his dark path. Just yesterday he swore to her that he would leave Chronos.

He said trying to comfort her the best he could, "Don't speak. Please save your strength."

She said her hand cupping his cheek, "Don't forget your promise. Train... I..."

Whatever she was going to say was lost in the gasping. Blood was filling her lungs and she was drowning. If he had Hades he could have made her passing easier. Instead he held her close not allowing her to die alone.

Tears stained his face for the first time in years. He had not cried since the day he left Wayne Manor. If he ever came across Creed again the man was a dead man.

End of flashback

Peter's worried green eyes was only a few inches from his own. He must have been in the flashback longer than normal. Then again it could have just showed how much emotional pain he was in.

Peter like the rest of the FBI only saw the masks he wore. Saya was the first and last person to see behind his masks. Since her death he stopped letting people in again. Instead he focused on hiding from Chronos making a new identity for himself.

His handler asked, "Neal are you back with me? Where did you go?"

Neal said growling, "Move back. I'm fine."

Peter moved back his eyes showing the hurt he felt. Neal didn't particularly care at the moment. He felt like a caged tiger and had to move. Shoving Peter aside he stood out of the car breathed fresh air. Despite the stench it calmed him. Then he took in his surroundings.

They were in the warehouse districts not far from where he helped catch the Dutchman. His instincts immediately went to high alert as he caught movement inside one of the buildings. Either someone was careless or they wanted him to know they were. His money was on the latter.

He said not taking his eyes off the building, "Be on your guard, Peter. We are being watched."

Peter tried to draw his side arm but Neal was already moving. If this was who he thought a gun wouldn't be much use. Unless the weapon used was made of the same ore they were in trouble. To make matters worse his Hades was in a safety deposit box. So they were going in practically weaponless.

Slowly they made their way to the building. Inside it was exactly what he expected. An old warehouse that smelled musty. There were sounds of nearly silent footsteps. If he wasn't an ex-Chronos Number he would have missed it. Too bad for them he was.

There were four sets of footsteps moving around. If Neal had to guess there were actually five people. One standing still. Likely a number.

A voice said from above them, "Well well. I never thought an information broker would betray me. Neal Caffery exconman now criminal informant."

Neal's eyes shot up to see a purple haired woman with blue eyes. He swore softly under his breath. It was no surprise to him that she was able to break into Wayne Enterprises. She was one of the best thieves on the market. Like Alex, Rinslet Walker was a big competitor for Neal Caffery. Seeing her did not distract him from the fact that there was others. His eyes trailed over to the shadows.

Peter asked his gun out now, "Who are you? How do you know Neal?"

A timbre voice that immediately had Neal stiffening said from the shadows, "I don't know Neal Caffery at all. I was looking for the one who made the painting."

A brown haired man with light brown eyes stepped out. On his right hand was a glove. While it looked normal to the uninitiated Neal knew it was far from normal. This was Jenos Hazard Chronos Number VII. He was a member of the elite squad within Chronos known as Cerberus. It had three members all of whom were known for their destructive but powerful abilities.

The wires could be extended into the surrounding. They could be then controlled by the one bearing the glove. Trying to cut the wires was a useless fight.

The wires like his gun was made of Orichalcum. Orichalcum was an ore that was only spoken of in legends. Only a few knew that it in fact existed and was being used. Mostly this was known to Chronos higher ups and Chronos Numbers. His gun Hades was made of Orichalcum making it unbreakable. Just like the wires.

Peter asked snapping him from his thoughts, "Who are you?"

Neal had to bite his tongue to keep from answering the question. Neal Caffery didn't know Chronos members. Train Heartnet did. Just like how he wasn't supposed to know the Wayne's. He was able to keep his emotions and instincts in check before. He could do so again.

The brown eyes widened however upon seeing him. Given how long they had known each other it wasn't surprising that Jenos recognized him. They had been sparring partners and eventually friends. Or as close to friends as Train got. Seeing the older man again brought up painful memories he tried to bury.

Rinslet said before Jenos could say anything else, "Maybe you could help us, Caffery. It's been a long time since we worked together. The pay is excellent."

Neal twitched at the reminder of their last job together. It ended with him leaving Spain with half of the police on his tail. She wasn't any better either. They didn't even get to complete the job.

Jenos said his timbre voice betraying his anger and pain, "Rinslet our contract is complete. You did you job here. I will pay you the same way as before. Expect it in your account tomorrow."

Blue eyes stared at the Number. Neal knew what she was thinking. That there was no way her contract was complete. That she had not found the painter. She was wrong and both he and Jenos knew it. Like the painting she stole to lure him out. There was an almost identical one he had given to Jenos.

There was no way he could be mistaken for anyone else. Even Karl who had not seen him since he first joined Chronos recognized him. It would have been unthinkable for Jenos not to. He was in trouble with no way out. Not without risking Peter's life. That was one thing that he wouldn't risk.

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.

white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend.

Brandy Nelson: Thanks for your review my friend. Glad you are enjoying it. Hope you like this new chapter.

21JumpStreetMcQuaids: Thanks for your reviews and support. Hope you enjoy the new chapter.

Suzululu4moe: Thanks for your review my friend. There are a few he cares deeply about.

Neal's POV

He pushed Peter slightly to the door as he said, "Peter I'll hold his attention you get out of here. Tell Mozzie that we have a code birthday. He'll know what you mean."

Peter replied softly, "Neal I'm not leaving you with him. That is a Chronos Number. They aren't your normal run of the mill killer. They are the best of the best."

Neal wanted to snarl at the man and make him leave. Peter didn't understand. Jenos wasn't the only Number there. He was the Black Cat and if anyone could take Number VII it was him.

Hazard said never taking his eyes off of Neal, "I think you should listen to him, Agent. The higher ups would not normally be happy with me if I killed an FBI agent. However if I brought in a certain stray cat I think they would forgive me."

Neal pushed Peter a little further behind him. It was useless considering the weapon the man used. The strings were next to invisible to the naked eyes in the best of circumstances. Given that they were in a warehouse there wasn't a chance he would be able to see the lines.

Peter asked confused, "Stray cat? What do you mean, Number?"

Neal was the one who answered, "I'm sure you have heard of the Chronos Numbers and how there is only ever thirteen at one time. There was in fact thirteen Numbers for several years. Up until one day Number XIII the Black Cat just left. There was no reasons behind. Nothing was said to the elder's or fellow numbers. Just one day he was there and the next he was gone. The official story says that he was killed a year into the run but his gun Hades was never found."

It was general basic information that anyone could find if they knew where to look. As a professional conman it made sense that he knew the information. It was part of his job to know who might come after him. No one had to know he was in fact said cat.

Peter he could tell was even more confused than before. The FBI didn't deal with Chronos for a reason. Most agencies would allow them do what needed to be done and leave. No interference necessary.

The only thing he had in common with his Chronos past was the avoidance of Gotham. The big three cities where all the vigilantes were. Even Chronos didn't want to bother with them.

There was a flicker in the very corner of his eyes. Immediately he pushed Peter back and moved with the momentum. It was just enough for him not to be caught in the Orichalcum lines.

Jenos being who he was didn't give Neal a moments peace. The younger of the two had to keep moving otherwise the lines would catch him. Then it would be all over. His six years of running from Chronos would be for nothing. That was not something he could allow. Old friends or not this would not end in his capture.

As he dodged another attack he shouted, "Peter get out of here! Warn Mozzie."

Code Birthday. It was their, we have to disappear without a trace code. One that could be used several ways. Where they disappeared together. Or they separated and met up at a rendezvous point. The final option was one to act as a decoy to allow the other to get away. That's what he would do here.

If Peter called this in to the FBI they would tell him to let the Number take him. There was nothing they could do for a exconman. He knew the day that Chronos caught up with him he would be on his own. As such he prepared for the eventuality. It seemed so had Jenos.

Neal was struggling to keep out of the attacks. Every time his fought touched the ground he jumping and dodging again. He was ever so careful about it. If his mind lapsed away from the battle even for a moment it would be over.

Despite the fact that he knew Jenos didn't come alone he was still surprised when he was attacked by a man in black. He wasn't a number but an eraser. They were the lower level members of Chronos. In reaction to the surprise he took too far of a step back. This put him too close to a corner.

A flash of silver pushed him straight into the corner. His only choice was to fight or get tangled in the strands of Orichalcum. Crouching low he used his superior strength to ram his right shoulder into the erasers abdomen. It sent the man crashing. He didn't have time to look to see if he was out cold. Instead he was back to dodging the strands of Orichalcum that threatened his freedom.

To anyone that would have been watching it would seem almost like a dance. Jenos would change his control over the strands and Neal would have to dodge them. Flashes of silver and black moved throughout the warehouse.

To Neal though it reminded him of old times. The days before he met Saya. He trained like this with Jenos whenever they had a free moment. It taught him how to use his surroundings to his advantage. How to duck and dodge away from strikes meant to capture not kill.

A creaking above his head drew his attention. While his attention was focused to the surroundings closest to him he forgot above. The Orichalcum cut through at large metal pipe. It fell directly were he was standing.

He stumbled to dodge away from it. As he fell forward the wires caught him and tightened to the point where he couldn't move. Even knowing it was useless he struggled against the bonds. This couldn't be the end he had to get free.

It was a lost cause however. He knew from the moment he told Peter to run what the outcome would be. Without Hades he didn't stand a chance against the Orichalcum strands.

Jenos dropped from his vantage point onto the bottom part of the building. Neal noticed the Rinslet was no longer on it either. It seemed she had taken Jenos' advice and left. It was too bad. She was likely wondering how he knew a Number.

Jenos face was like a storm cloud as he stalked towards Neal. Neal set his jaw his eyes going a hard grey color. If he was going to die here he would not beg for his life. He would die with honor just like Saya had.

Sven's POV

One would think that tracking a conman who was on an ankle would be easy. It wasn't. The fact that he was now with his agent complicated matters further.

When he found them they were an abandoned warehouse. Agent Burke was outside. He was speaking animatedly to someone on the phone.

Sven heard as he moved closer, "Mozzie! I don't know why! All he said was to tell you Birthday. Goodbye?! What the hell?! Mozzie!"

It was obvious whatever the code birthday meant it wasn't good. What Burke said next chilled him to the bone, "I can't go back in there. It's Chronos. If Hughes found out I would be sent to evidence lock up faster than I could say oops."

Chronos... Every sweepers worst nightmare. They would kill anyone who got in their way. It seemed not ecen the FBI would try their luck against the agency.

Sven couldn't just leave the man however. Despite being ditched he felt a connection with the man. He couldn't just leave him to face Chronos alone.

Quietly he snuck around the parking lot. Then entered the building without a sound. What he saw was extraordinary.

Immediately he recognized Neal Caffery who seemed at first to be dancing. His movements were fluid and sure. Almost like he had done this before.

Another man Sven didn't recognize wore a glove. It seemed with every movement of the glove Neal ducked and dodged. That glove seemed to be a weapon of some kind.

Chronos was known for their unusual weapons. Typically made from an unbreakable alloy known as Orichalcum. There must be something more than just a glove.

He watched for a moment longer noting the flashes of silver. Not silver then. Orichalcum. That made the man attacking Neal a number.

He watched his eyes widening in surprise as Neal was suddenly cornered. Sven had not noticed the man in black that came up. That was what cornered the conman. The fight was over. Whatever made Caffery a target for these people they had him. Then as the lines closed in on the younger man he moved again.

Caffery crouched low and rammed his shoulder into the man in black's abdomen. That was enough to end the man's fight for awhile. Then it was back to dancing like nothing had happened.

Sven knew if he wanted to be any help to his new friend he would need his secret weapon. Pulling off the eyepatch from over his right eye he opened it. It wasn't much but it did allow him to see slightly in into the future. His vision was what made him miss his friend being captured.


An unconscious Neal Caffery was slung over the strange man's shoulder. What he saw on that man's hand worried him more than anything else. The glove had the Roman numeral VII on it.

End of vision

He came out of the vision to find Neal struggling in the lines. The Chronos Number was before him. A cold look was in his brown eyes. An emotion crossed his face that was so brief he almost missed it. Betrayal.

What would a Number have to feel betrayed about with Caffery? Neal was a simple conman. To make things more confusing was the fact the man was a nonviolent criminal.

The man said calmly his face smoothing over, "Whether you want to or not you will be coming back with me. Why not make it easier on yourself, Train? Say that you decided to come back on your own. I would even back you up."

Neal's eyes were no longer the blue that Sven remembered. Instead they were a cold grey color.

Neal answered in an equally cold tone, "I'll never return to Chronos willingly. To do so would be to dishonor her memory. I am just a stray cat roaming. The more you try to control me the I'll rebel."

The man said with a sigh, "So be it."

The man went to strike Neal and that was when he made his move. Sven pulled his gun from his jacket. He knew regular bullets wouldn't break Orichalcum. It would however loosen the bonds so that Neal could get free. Looking closely at the air around them he saw where the strands were interwoven. Aiming carefully he took the shot.

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.

Brandy Nelson: Thanks for your review my friend. Yes poor Neal. Hope you enjoy the new chapter.

white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend.

Neal's POV

Being caught in Orichalcum was not his idea of a good time. He should have been more careful in the fight. Should have run when he had the chance.

Jenos' words stuck with him though. His friend wanted him to return to Chronos. To make things right again.

Neal couldn't do it however. Returning to Chronos would be the death of him. Whether figuratively. Or whether he would die by his own hand remained to be seen.

He flinched when the Orichalcum strands tightened. It made it hard for him to breathe. Jenos was going to choke him out. An unconscious Number was a dead Number. He struggled against the strands. Then to his surprise several gunshots rang out. The strands loosened and once more he was free.

Neal hit the ground then used the momentum to ram his shoulder into Jenos abdomen. Jenos stepped back stunned by the sudden attack. Following through Neal came in with an upper cut to the other's chin. Jenos went down stunned by still conscious.

A hand grabbed his upper arm and began to pull him out of the building. Turning he saw a familiar green haired man. It only took a moment him to regain his footing and run beside Sven.

Outside Peter's car was still there and the man was staring at the building. It made Neal wonder how long his friend would have stayed if they didn't come out. Knowing Peter he would have stayed as long as it took.

The slowed slightly as they approached. Peter immediately took notice of them. Worry faded into relief as he saw them.

Once they were at the car Neal opened the passenger's side. Peter and Svenn took the hint. Both men piled after him. It wasn't until they were three blocks away that Neal sighed in relief. For whatever reason Jenos wasn't following them. He knew a soft strike like the one he gave wouldn't have slowed the man down. Jenos was a Number and they didn't go down that easily.

Peter asked drawing his attention, "How did you get free of him, Neal? That was a member of Chronos."

Sven answered for him, "I shot at the wires holding him. It was pure luck that it worked."

Neal shook his head as he answered, "It wasn't luck. Those weren't wires in the natural sense. The glove Jenos wears extends strands out of the fingertips. He can control them however he wishes. Unlike wires they are made of a special ore that cannot be broken. It's called Orichalcum. All of the Chronos Numbers have a weapon made from the ore. It's what sets the Numbers apart from the erasers."

That had both men staring at him with wide eyes. Neal ignored the looks as he stared out the window. He remembered his own induction date well. It was a happy moment in a dark time of his life.


Needle like rain poured over him as he waited out in the courtyard. All of Chronos had been assembled for this occasion. It was only three months since Train Heartnet had joined Chronos. Three months since he became an Eraser. A killer. The very thing that his previous family hated. It took him a long time to accept that he was his own person now. That he couldn't live up to their expectations.

He wasn't sure why the leader of the Chronos Numbers called him there. Or for that matter why all of Chronos had been called. Whatever it was, it had to be important. All he knew was that it had to do with him.

Jenos Hazard a dark haired Number was the only one to try and befriend him since he joined. Train was wary of anyone trying to be friends. His last set of friends hurt him deeply. Any new ones would abandon him just as easily.

He was pulled from his thoughts when a familiar blond walked up. Sephiria Arks was a blond haired woman with light blue eyes. On her forehead was the Roman numeral one. She was the leader of the Chronos Numbers. If anyone was idiotic enough to mess with her they were dead in a few seconds. As expected she wore her sword off her left hip. Like all of the Numbers' weapons it was made of a special ore called Orichalcum. He personally had seen it cut through guns with a single swipe. He hated to think of what it would do to a human body.

In her hands was an interictly craved wooden box. On it was each of the Roman numerals for Chronos. Despite himself he was instantly curious about what was in the box. As far as he knew the only Number not in service was XIII. No one was even sure what that weapon was.

She said breaking through his thoughts, "Train Heartnet when I found you, you were lost. You had no name and no purpose in life. In the time since you joined Chronos you have surpassed all expectationsmoo. With the approval of the council and my fellow Numbers I offer you this."

She opened the box and he looked inside unable to help himself. There lay a black silver and gold gun. On its side was the Roman Numeral XIII.

Train looked at her confusion in his grey eyes. He didn't understand. Why was she offering him this? Surely there were better Erasers than himself. The Numbers were the best of the best after all.

Looking to Jenos he saw the other nod encouraging. Taking a deep breath to calm himself he picked up the gun. It was heavier than the others he used before. At the same time it felt right in his hands. Right in a way he never felt before.

Sephiria said pride entering her tone, "Train Heartnet today we induct you into the Chronos Numbers. That gun is Hades and it will be your constant companion until you die. Later you will be marked with a Roman Numberal XIII as your new position. Bear it with pride. You are Number XIII the Black Cat."

End of flashback

He blinked away the memory. That day was the start of his true position in Chronos. Killing who he was told to kill. Destroying what he was told to destroy. Never once thinking twice about the lives he took. At least until he met Saya.

His eyes trailed to the amber one eyed man. Sven saved him rather than leaving. Neal wasn't even sure how the other had found him. Fate it seemed was leading him back to the the Sweepers. Though he wasn't sure how comfortable he was with them. Sweepers were fragile. They refused to kill and if Creed came back. He could very well kill Sven just like he did to Saya. Neal couldn't live through that a second time.

Peter asked suddenly as the car stopped, "Neal are you okay?"

Neal shook his head as he replied honestly, "No, no I'm not."

Recognizing they were back at June's he got out of the car. Things could not get any worse for him. The only good thing that had come out of the day was that he knew who had the painting. He also knew that she would return it to the Wayne building before the week was up. Her contract was up and she didn't want the heat from the FBI.

Peter asked, "Is there anything I can do, Neal? You know that you don't have to take everything on by yourself. We are a team and you can trust me."

Oh, Peter... If only his friend knew the truth. Then he wouldn't be saying such things. He would never forgive Neal for not telling him sooner.

Neal said his eyes showing his pain, "Oh, Peter... you wouldn't understand. There is so much that you don't or can't understand."

Shaking his head he went inside and closed the door behind him. Leaning against it Neal took in a shuddering breath. Peter and Sven could never understand his pain. If they knew the truth they wouldn't care so much about him. Neal would be lucky not to end up back in jail.

With a sigh he pushed himself off the door and made his way to his apartment. With how quiet the house was June was likely out. That was to his advantage. He didn't want any one to see him like this. The day couldn't get any worse. Thankfully it was over for him. He could stay in his apartment for the rest of the day.

After unlocking the door to his apartment he opened it. Looking up he automatically reached for the weapon that wasn't there. Not for the first time that day he wished he still carried Hades. It only took him a moment to realize the person standing in his apartment wasn't Chronos. Though it was just as bad. Before him stood Bruce Wayne.

Bruce's POV

Leaving Gotham to deal with problems in New York was not his idea of a good time. Tim didn't tell him what was going on just that he needed to come. That there was something that couldn't wait. So he scheduled a flight to New York.

It took several days for things to calm down enough in Gotham for him to leave. The villains were more active than normal. Even with Flash and Superman covering for him while he was gone things were busy.

When he finally did make it to New York, Tim practically dragged him to an apartment. Once again he wasn't told what was going on. Just that he had to go inside. The owner welcomed him with a bright smile. June as the woman was called let him in and offered him tea. She apologized that her tenant was out but he was welcome to wait for the man. It was implied that he was a friend of said tenant. He didn't correct her for he still didn't know why he was there.

From what he saw however June was used to strange people coming over. People that were "friends" of whoever this mysterious tenant was. With June letting him in he was allowed in the apartment. He looked it behind him so he could hear when the tenant returned.

The first thing he noticed was how clean it was. The person that lived there was as much of a neat freak as Alfred. Then his eyes narrowed as he took a closer look. When most people lived somewhere they put up pictures or posters. The walls were bare of personal pictures. There were a handful of paintings found in stores.

Using skills perfected by being Batman he moved around the room. A bed was in a corner. By the slight scraping on the wooden floor he knew it had been moved.

Bending to a knee he looked behind it and noticed a slight indentation in the wall. There was a false wall behind it. Meaning something was hidden in it. Maybe a clue to why he was there and what had Tim shaken up.

Pressing his hand against it, the false wall gave way. He felt around until he felt paper against his hand. Bingo. Everyone had pictures even if they were hidden. The more he felt the more he found. Then he felt the tell tell touch of a passport. Why would someone hide a passport? Unless it wasn't their true identity on the passport. Tim wouldn't bring him for such a low level criminal activity. So to find answers he brought out what he found.

As he thought there was a United States passport a long with pictures. Opening the passport he was stunned by the person staring back at him. It was an older version of his oldest son. Richard John Grayson's face was staring back at him.

Footsteps drew his attention however to the door. When it opened he was less surprised than he would have been a few minutes earlier. Dick Grayson shakily walked in and immediately froze.

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support. Hope everyone had a good Christmas yesterday.

Fangtasia: Thanks for your review my friend. Poor Neal.

white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend.

Brandy Nelson: Thanks for your review my friend. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes Neal it seems can't catch a break.

Neal's POV

Just when he thought his day couldn't get any worse. Out of all the people Tim could have brought to New York, the last one he expected was Bruce. His adoptive father should be in Gothma dealing with the villains there. Not in New York going through his stash of items.

He asked his mouth dry and his voice hoarse, "How? Why... Why are you here?"

Bruce could only stare at him for a moment. They were both frozen with shock at seeing the other. Neal had only reacted first because he knew a confrontation was coming. The only question had been with who. If he was honest with himself he expected Damian or Jason. Not Bruce. Never Bruce.

Bruce took a step towards him and Neal tried to retreat, only to hit the door. With a growl he moved to his right. If he was to face off against Bruce he could not allow himself to be cornered.

Noticing the way he moved and acted Bruce stopped his advance. Neal was beginning to feel like a cornered animal. It wasn't that far off the mark either. He was XIII the Black Cat and the bringer of bad luck. It seemed that for once his bad luck turned on him rather than another.

Bruce said softly, "Tim told me, I had to come to New York. He wouldn't explain why or what he found. Now I understand why. Dick we have been searching for you since you disappeared."

Neal snapped, "My name is Neal Caffery. There is no Dick here."

Why? Why couldn't they let him live his life? That's all he wanted. Live his life as he chose. Just as Saya wanted him to.

Bruce's eyes narrowed as he said lowly, "You are Richard Grayson. My adopted son. Did you think I wouldn't recognize you? It hasn't been that long, Dick. Even if your eyes are a different color."

With everything that happened he wasn't surprised that his eyes were grey. It always seemed to come out when he was prepared to fight. Prepared to die in whatever fight he had chosen to engage in. There were times he missed the simplicity of his life before Chronos. It was ironic how simple his life had been before. Even as a vigilante.

Neal said in a soft whisper, "You know nothing about me. You know nothing about my struggles or suffering. I didn't have any intention of returning to Gotham before this week. I still don't now. Leave."

Bruce replied his eyes narrowing, "I think not, Dick. This has gone on for too long. It is time to clear what is between us. About why you left the family and disappeared."

"I owe you, nothing. Whether you understand or don't understand doesn't matter to me. I made my choice the night I left."

Bruce's eyes narrowed even more. The man was analyzing every word he said. Every twitch of his muscles as Neal fought with himself not to run. This was his home and he would fight to keep it.

Bruce inquired softly noticing something that all others didn't, "What happened to you, Dick? You are not the same young man that left."

Neal's shoulders slumped. His eyes not meeting those blue eyes that knew him so well. He felt so small, a child who had Batman as his guardian.

Neal said, "You don't want to know what happened to me, Bruce, "Bruce's eyes widened at the use of his name. The proof that Richard Grayson was still inside him.

He forced himself not to continue. Not to open up about his time in Chronos. Or the time before he became part of the the FBI. Bruce wouldn't approve of him being a criminal.

He never forgot his life as Richard Grayson. Instead he chose to put it behind him. To not let the pain of being forgotten by those he called family continue to be his reason for doing things. He became his own person and made a name for himself. First as a Chronos Number then as a art thief. They were his accomplishments. Given to him not because of who adopted him. Instead because of what he had done earn them. If he continued with the name Richard Grayson, no one would see him. Instead they would see the boy adopted by a billionaire.

A knock on the door startled both men from their thoughts. Neal was clueless on how to proceed. He knew he had to get Bruce out of the room. His gun might not be hidden here but pictures that held many secrets were. Considering that his passport was already found, it wouldn't take the other long for the rest. Most he wasn't worried about. There was one that would reveal his secret.

The picture was taken when just after he turned twenty one. It was an entire three weeks after he first met Saya. They were at a small festival and for once Neal had worn something other than black. At Saya's instance. He wore a navy blue button down shirt with the top two buttons undone and black slacks. Hades of course was strapped to his leg in case someone tried something.

Nothing had that night and Saya insisted they had a picture made. It was the only picture he had of them together. Considering both of their lines of work it was difficult for them to both be around at the same time. So most of the time their meetings were at night on his roof.

The knock came again this time more insistent. Neal growled. Bruce was bad enough, to add whoever was at the door would be worse. He was not dealing with endless questions tonight.

He called out, "If it's you, Peter, I'm fine. I'll see you back at the office tomorrow."

There wasn't an answer this time and it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. If it was Peter or Mozzie they would have answered. At least acknowledged he said something. Even Sven would have acknowledged him.

The knock came again weaker and lower on the door this time. Old habits died hard as he threw open the door. A body fell into him. On instinct he caught the person instantly recognizing them. Ethan stared up at him pain in his grey eyes. The next thing he saw made his blood run cold. Blood was pouring down the man's face from and open head wound just below his scalp.

It wasn't his only wound. As he pulled Ethan inside he saw a large tear in the other's shirt. Blood was coming out of the wound endlessly. There was little doubt in his mind that it was made from a blade. Someone had tried to kill his information broker.

He snapped to Bruce, "Get my first aid kit. In the bathroom under the sink. Bring towels while your in there."

Bruce moved immediately to obey. Neal for his part began to pull off the tattered remains of Ethan's shirt. The smell of copper hit the air. The blood was fresh and was continuing to come out. They had to stop the bleeding.

It was then that he got his first good look at the chest wound. The slice was at least an inch and a half deep and went from right shoulder to left hip. A right handed swordsman made the wound. One who was experienced and knew the area well enough to take down such a careful broker.

Bruce quickly returned with his first aid kit. Without looking at his adoptive father Neal opened it. Compared to most kits his was stocked closer to that of a military kit. He preferred to be prepared for just an event. In this case it might just save his friend's life.

Grabbing a handful of bandages pressed them firmly into Ethan's chest. Looking at Bruce he said firmly, "Keep pressure on this, as much as you can."

Despite the obvious questions he had, Bruce did as he was asked. Neal then turned his attention to the kit. Butterfly stitches would work for the head wound. The chest wound was too deep for butterfly stitches. He had some basic needle and thread for stitching but no local anesthetic.

He turned to look his friend in the eye. Despite his pain, Ethan gave a quick nod. He could hold on while Neal stitched him up. He too, was once part of Chronos. Pain barely phased him.

Neal pulled the thread and needle and began to thread it. With the alcohol pad he sterilized the needle. With a short squeeze to his friend's shoulder he began to stitch up the wound.

It was a credit to the older man that he didn't cry out. As quickly as he could he stitched up the man's wound. It had to be done carefully so not to cause more damage than what was already.

When it was done he then turned to the head wound. He was stopped by a hand on his wrist.

Ethan said his eyes alight with pain but held determination in them, "Not yet. I have to tell you something, Heartnet."

Neal said shaking his head trying to pry his hand away, "Ethan it can wait. Let me finish stitching you up and then you can tell me."

Ethan shook his head hiding a pained wince as he did so. Even Bruce's eyes held a hint of concern. His adopted father had never met the man but he could see how much Ethan meant to Neal. Ethan was a vestige of his past one he didn't push away in fear or anger.

Ethan said his voice laced with pain but insistent, "Heartnet! This is important. Please."

Ethan had never begged anyone for anything. Whatever the problem was it had to be important.

Seeing his acceptance Ethan continued his voice becoming a rasp, "I know who you have searched for since your leaving. The one who took the only person you ever cared about. He is in New York... Heartnet... Creed is in the city... he will... stop at nothing..."

Before Ethan could finish what Creed wanted his eyes rolled into his head. The pain was too much for the older man. It was however enough for the younger man.

Creed Diskenth was in New York and if the information was to be believed, he wanted the Black Cat. An identity that Neal had long since put behind him. If it had not been for the man he may have never ended up in New York to begin with.

Neal might still be Train Heartnet without him. He still would have left Chronos but would have become a sweeper instead of a criminal. Without Creed he would still have Saya.

His heart twinged at the thought of her. No matter how much time passed it still hurt. Hurt more than words could describe.

Then the rage he had not felt since Kate's death filled him. He would avenge Saya's death. That meant however he had to get out from under the watchful eye of the FBI and Batman.

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.

Brandy Nelson: Thanks for your review my friend. It is sad but he's alive. Unconscious but alive. We will have tp wait and see what Bruce wants to do. The confrontation that everyone has been waiting has come.

white collar black wolf:Thanks for your review my friend.

Neal's POV

Neal after checking Ethan's pulse and finding it strong finished stitching the wound. It was better that the other was unconscious for this. He had to force himself to remain calm. Not to allow his anger to hurt his friend.

When he was finished he pulled his phone back out. Dialing a number he memorized he waited.

After four rings Mozzie's voice came through, "Neal?"

Neal breathed, "Mozzie. Listen I need you to return to New York. I need you to go to the island and get my safety deposit box. The one that I said only go for if it's an emergency."

Mozzie replied his betraying nothing, "I will. Neal what's happening? Suit didn't give me much information. Just our code to flee."

Neal replied, "Chronos is in town. An old enemy of mine is as well. One whom I hate more than Fowler."

"Neal... you can't go after them. What would the suit say? You almost killed Fowler when you thought he killed Kate."

His eyes were cold as he turned towards the balcony. He said, "I'm at June's, Mozzie. I'll be here when you get it."

Then he disconnected the call. This was not a conversation Bruce could hear. Bruce saw the world in black and white. Life wasn't that simple. It took him a long time to realize that it never had been.

Turning he saw Bruce standing there. His blue eyes were watching Neal with a considering look. The look made him want to step away.

Neal wasn't the child he was when he left Gotham. This was his choice and he would standby it. Even if his once adoptive father disagreed.

Bruce asked nodding to Ethan, "Who is that, Richard? Why did he call you, Heartnet? More importantly who is Creed?"

Neal growled sounding more like the Black Cat than the soft spoken conman, "This doesn't concern you. I am going to do some thing that I should have done years ago."

He was going to kill Creed. It was time to finish this. Creed killed Saya and for that he could never forgive the man.

Neal made to move pass Bruce but the man grabbed his arm. Instinct kicked in and he struck out. His elbow went for the other's throat. It was blocked by an open palm. The palm pushed his elbow away. This turned Neal's body but he didn't stumble and kept his feet.

Bruce took a defensive stance in front of him. Neither man made a move. Neal didn't want to hurt Bruce but he would not leave. He could not disappear until he ended Creed.

Then his eyes went to Ethan. This was neither the time or the place for this fight. While he was strong he could not move Ethan alone. The older man outweighed him by at least 70 pounds. He couldn't stay on the floor.

Neal moved to Ethan's side as he said, "Help me move him. There is little either of us can do right now. I'm not going anywhere until I get my box."

Before he could react a hand grabbed his shirt collar. Bruce nearly lifted him off the ground by his collar. Part of him had forgotten the strength the man had. It came from working as Batman for so long. Neal was so out of practice that it was unlikely he could lift half of what he used to. His fighting skills were kept up as much as he could. With the FBI watching his every move it wasn't easy however.

Bruce growled his face just inches from Neal's own, "I need to know what is going on, Richard. You are not the only one of my children in this city. You cannot keep this to yourself. Especially if whomever Creed is, is willing to kill."

Neal snarled, "You know nothing! I didn't invite you to come after me. It's not like any of you cared before."

Confusion entered the blue eyes. Bruce asked hurt, "You think I don't care what happens to you? Richard..."

Neal knocked the other's hands away from his collar. He snapped back at Bruce, "Of course you don't! Nobody cares! How long did it take you to notice I was gone? Weeks? Months? Or was it you that figured it out at all?"


The look of guilt and pain said it all. Bruce wasn't the one that notified. If he had to guess, it was either Oracle or Clark. Both checked on him regularly even when Bruce didn't.

Bruce started, "Richard..."

"You should go. I have a job to do and you will only get in the way."

He would do whatever was necessary to take out Creed. Bruce could not do what was necessary. His mind was reminded of the man who once said that to him. Ra's Al Ghul. One of two villains that he was not allowed near.

Ra's to Bruce was a villain without a heart. He would kill any who got in his way and more than once he had. As a child though Neal never had an issue with the man. Unless he was actively working against Ra's the man tended to leave him be.

Two things the other said to him forever stuck with Neal. A man cannot live by two names. Batman does not have the strength to do what is necessary. It wasn't until years later that Neal understood what he meant.

Neal could not live both as Neal Caffery and as Dick Grayson. Likewise he could not be both Dick Grayson and Train Heartnet. If he tried then he would rip apart his sanity. At least what was left of it.

Bruce took a step back but he didn't leave. Instead he said, "You think I would only get in the way. Really, Richard?"

Neal's cold grey eyes met Bruce's bright blue ones. He answered, "Unless you know the one you are facing, you would get in the way. You know nothing about, Creed Diskenth. If you think the Joker is insane then you don't know where insane. It was he..."

Neal couldn't finish the statement as his throat closed. His eyes prickled with tears. It hurt to even think about what happened.

Neal turned away and this time Bruce let him. There was a time to push and a time to back off. Bruce was smart enough to tell which was which. For now he would back off.

He wasn't exaggerating when he said Creed was just as insane as the Joker. Creed took to killing like a fish took to water. When others struggled with killing, Creed enjoyed it. Neal remembered how sick it made him at the time. For reasons unknown he took to Neal. He wanted to see how dangerous Neal could be. How cold the man could become.

Until he met Saya, he had become as cold as one could be. He killed without remorse. While he didn't take pleasure in it, he didn't feel anything either. Saya changed him back to the person he used to be. Kinder, easier to talk to.

Bruce asked despite knowing the answer, "What will you do to this man, when you find him?"

Neal didn't answer. His hands shook as he clenched them into fists. Part of him knew that Saya wouldn't want him to kill for revenge. That she would want him to live his life to the fullest.

Neal stated suddenly, "I am not the same boy who left Gotham, Bruce. If you are expecting me to be, then you should leave. You will only be disappointed by what I have become."

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.

Guest:Thanks for your review my friend. Glad you have enjoyed it so far. Nightwing vs Robin. Maybe later.

My-Little-Poison-Secret: Thanks for your review my friend. No not this time. Though Bruce is far from the airhead he portrays himself as. Hades is going to make an appearance. Finally.

white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend.

Neal's POV

Bruce absolutely refused to leave. Nothing Neal said or did would budge his adoptive father. Neal had to spend his time on the balcony just to get some peace. It would not take Mozzie long to get what he wanted.

When night fell he heard June return and knock on his door. Ignoring Bruce he answered it with a tight smile, "Hi, June."

In her hands was two bags of food from the burger place down the street. She said her dark eyes held worry in them, "Neal I brought you and Mr. Wayne some food. Is everything okay? Your eyes are grey."

Neal glanced back at Bruce before he sighed, "I'm fine, June. It's just been a long day. Keep an eye out for Mozzie. He should be coming by with a box of mine. It's important."

She nodded seriously. There was only a handful of times that he used such a time. When he did it never meant anything good. She would keep an eye out for Mozzie. With any luck he would bring Hades soon. The night was his domain. Even years after leaving Chronos that one fact had not changed.

He shut the door after taking the bags of food. The hamburgers smelled good. They made his stomach rumble reminding him that he had not eaten since early that morning.

Moving to the kitchen table he said not looking at Bruce, "June brought us food. I'm guessing she is hoping to fix our issues by making us talk."

Bruce smiled softly as he replied, "She sounds like Alfred. He misses you, you know. We all do."

Neal pulled the food from the bag ignoring Bruce's comment. He smiled softly as he realized it was his favorite. Bacon cheese burger plain with mustard. She was trying to make him feel better. That was June for you. She looked out for everyone.

After he took a bite of his food he asked, "How is Alfred?"

Bruce's eyes softened at the question. He answered, "He's well physically. He misses you though. Things haven't been the same since you left. I think he is getting tired of stitching me up. We had a run in with Chronos a few months back. A man with a sword. It cut straight through my suit."

Neal twitched. He knew exactly who that was. It was the same man who almost killed Ethan. To hear that the man who was like a grandfather to him missed him wasn't surprising; it still hurt though. He missed Alfred as well. The first time he had been hurt in Chronos he realized how much he took the older man for granted. Tending to ones own wounds was a lot more difficult.

He missed the warm meals that the man always made them. Even when they didn't have time to sit down and eat. Alfred and Bruce had been his first family after his parents died. It was why it hurt so much when he left.

Neal said so quietly Bruce almost missed it, "That was likely Creed and his Kotetsu. It's not made out of Orichalcum so it can be broken. While he is not a Chronos Number he is high up in the Eraser ranks. Even for you, you are lucky to survive such an encounter."

If it had been any of the others they would have died. Creed was not known for holding back. He would not have hesitated to kill a child to further his aims.

Bruce's eyes narrowed as he said, "You seem to know a lot about Chronos. More than the Justice League and all of their resources. We couldn't find out anything about him."

Neal hesitated in taking another bite of food. Bruce was already putting things together. Things that he would rather leave hidden. He should have kept his mouth shut. Old habits it seemed died hard.

He shrugged and went back to eating. Not saying anything meant he wouldn't incriminate himself even further. It however would make his adoptive father more suspicious. It was a risk he would have to take.

He had just finished his hamburger when a knock sounded at the door for a second time. It was heavier than June's knock but lighter than Peter's. It had to be Mozzie.

He stood and moved towards the door. When he opened it he found Mozzie there. In the bald man's hands was his safety deposit box. The look on his face however said it all. Something happened.

Neal moved aside to allow him entry and Mozzie didn't hesitate. Even as his eyes took in Bruce at the table he didn't let it faze him.

Mozzie said doing away with pleasantries, "Neal you are lucky you sent me to get this today. Kramer and his cronies arrived just after I left wanting it. I was lucky that I had already made it out of the bank. Otherwise they would have tried to put me in handcuffs."

Luck was on their side at least in part for this. Mozzie put the box on the table after Bruce moved what was left of the food away. The smaller man gave him a disapproving stare but promptly ignored the Wayne. If there was one person who had correct conspiracy theories it was Mozzie. Well mostly correct theories.

Neal said about to open it, "It's a good thing they didn't get ahold of it. There would be many uncomfortable questions that I would need to answer. Some of which I would rather leave where they are. In the past."

The past could not stay hidden forever. If things continued as they were his past would come out. No one would expect who he was before. They knew that he was hiding something but this. This was beyond what any of them would understand.

Neal said not looking at any of them, "I'll be back in a few minutes. Mozzie if you don't want to be caught in the crossfire, I suggest getting out of town for awhile. Chronos isn't the worst thing. What is, is also in town."

Mozzie asked his voice unsure as he glanced at the safety deposit box, "It has to do with the box? I remember the day that you got that. I was with you that day, remember? Your eyes were like slates of stone. When you came back however they were blue again. It was as if you left all your problems in that box."

No. Not all of them. Just the ones that would get him into trouble. Train Heartnet became Neal Caffery in every way possible that day. He never thought a day like this would come. It made him glad he has the foresight to allow Mozzie to pick up the box if needed. Otherwise Kramer would have everything he needed to put Neal away for good.

Mozzie stood firm as he said breaking him from his thoughts, "We have been friends for years, Neal. I don't know everything about your past. Or why one of the richest men in the world is here. I do know that without me here you will do something that you regret. We are brothers Neal. That means we stick together, no matter what."

Neal smiled at his friend. There was nothing like Mozzie's loyalty. Once you had it, it was almost impossible to get rid of.

Then the smile faded as he looked back at the box. It was time. He had to do this before he lost his nerve. Neal moved into the bathroom. There wasn't a door where his bed was. So it was either the bathroom or closet. Bathroom had a lock on the door.

Once he was in the bathroom he peeled off his shirt. His eyes trailed to the mirror. On his chest where it had been for years was the XIII roman numeral tattoo. What was once a sense of pride for him, now was only pain.

Questions filled his mind. They were ones he had been avoiding for a long time. Would Saya approve of the man he had become? Would she still want to he his friend? He shrugged knowing she wouldn't care. Saya would probably have beaten him within half an inch of his life for becoming a criminal. That would not have stopped her from being his friend.

Opening the box which was one of the biggest they bank could give he found his black jacket. It smelled from being in storage for so long. As did the shirt that was with it. There were dress slacks under that along with his tigh holster.

For a moment he hesitated. Neal Caffery wouldn't dare where clothes like this. They screamed up to no good. Then he pulled his pants off. If he was going to do this he wouldn't do it half way.

First he pulled on the black slacks. They fit perfectly just like before. He had not gained or lost weight significant enough for him to need new clothes.

The shirt was next. It was a v-neck shirt that fit just like the pants did. Looking in the mirror he realized that he had a problem. If anyone saw that mark that was now uncovered he would be in trouble. Mozzie would know exactly what it meant.

A man barely more than a boy with cold grey eyes. A roman numeral tattooed on the left side of his chest. The sign that the Black Cat was with them. Every criminal knew how to spot a Number. Whether they were former or current, it did not matter.

For the moment he left his coat in favor of his thigh holster. If he put this on there was no going back. He would be Train Heartnet once more. There was no room for hesitation.

He strapped the holster onto his right leg. There wasn't much of a weight to it. If he had not put it there he wouldn't even notice it. This would change the moment he put Hades in its holster.

He moved pick up the final piece from in safety deposit box. It was heavier than anything else that had been in the box. It was a black and gold ornate gun with the roman numerals XIII across it. It weighed roughly five pounds but to the ex-assassin it was a comforting weight. In a fluid movement he put it in the holster at his leg.

Silently he moved around the bathroom testing his range of movement with the gun. There was a slight difference in his walk but nothing major. He could work through it.

The final piece was to put on the coat and he didn't hesitate. Neal was gone and the Black Cat had returned.

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.

white collar black wolf: thanks for the review my friend.

Bruce's POV

When Richard had gone into the bathroom he took a better look at the bald man. He was on the short side with hazel eyes that took in every thing. Like several of Bruce's own villains this man seemed intelligent. It made him wonder what drew his son to him.

Richard had called him Mozzie. By the interactions between them they knew each other well. If he was going to get answers, then maybe they would come from this new source.

Before he could ask a single question movement could be heard in the bathroom. His son it seemed was changing if the sounds were correct. Who kept clothes in a safety deposit box? That was unusual even for them.

Bruce listened to the other's footsteps with a frown. He knew Richard's footsteps just like he knew all of his children's. Neal Caffery's were slightly lighter than Richard's. Almost as if a weight was taken off of him. The footsteps he heard now were neither identity's. These were heavier. As if a great weight was weighing down the identity.

When his son came out the first thing Bruce noticed was the severe style change. Richard as a boy loved wearing colors that were bright and obvious. Robin was a testament to that. When he became Nightwing things changed. His colors were darker and less obvious. Neal wasn't colorful in anyway shape or form he did still had some color. This was completely different.

Richard was wearing a black v-neck t-shirt and slacks. Over the shirt was a black coat that hugged his form. On his right thigh was a black and gold ornate gun. A cold look was in his son's now grey eyes. This was not Richard or any identity Bruce knew of. Was this the missing link between Neal and Richard identity?

Bruce wasn't oblivious. Even in Gotham he heard of the art thief and conman. He appeared six years prior out of nowhere. Given that he didn't injure or kill anyone the Justice League decided not to get involved. He also tended to avoid vigilante cities. All in all he didn't seem to be someone they needed to track down.

There was still a missing picee from time frame from when Richard disappeared to when Neal appeared. It was a time of over four years. Four years of nothing. No one knew where he was or what he was doing.

When he glanced at Mozzie the man was extremely pale. A ghost had more color than this man. Bruce followed his gaze to Richard's left shoulder. On his shoulder was the roman numeral tattoo of XIII. That was something he was very familiar with. Every member of the Justice League knew about Chronos and their Numbers.

Chronos was broken into several parts. There was the Heads of Chronos also known as the Chronos Elders. They ruled with an iron fist s third of the world. Most people didn't see it that way and there wasn't much even the Justice League could do. They went about it in such a way that if someone went after them, they would be branded criminals.

The next part the Eraser. These could be killers, intelligence operatives, healers, and just about anything. They were the lowest on ladder of Chronos members.

It was said that the leader of the Apostles of the Stars was once an Eraser. That he searched the world for the one who got away from him. Like Chronos the Justice League was trying to bring down this terrorist organization. It was one of the few times in history the two groups worked together.

The final part of Chronos was the Chronos Numbers. A group of thirteen men and women who served the Chronos Elders. The Numbers reported directly to the Elders.

Not much was known about how they selected the Numbers. It was thought that they needed so many years as an Eraser. Other theories were that it was based on skillet and having an open position in the Numbers.

Bruce had heard through contacts that a Number left Chronos. They called him Train Heartnet, XIII, the Black Cat. The words from the unconscious man made sense now.

Heartnet in itself was not an uncommon last name. There were many of them all over the world. It was why his mind didn't put the clues together before now. If he wasn't seeing the proof for himself he wouldn't have believed it.


Mozzie's voice asked shakily, "Neal? What are you doing?"

Richard's grey eyes looked between them before he replied coldly, "I'm going to find Creed. He will not be leaving New York alive."

The bald man moved aside. There was a brief flash of fear in his hazel eyes. In the short time that Bruce knew the man he knew that the small man wasn't easy to scare. If something did scare him, he wasn't one to show it.

Richard made to move past them when Bruce grabbed his arm. He growled sounding more like Batman thsn the playboy, "Richard you cannot kill someone. That goes against everything you have ever stood for."

His son snarled, "I am not the same person you once knew. You heard what Ethan called me. Heartnet. Train Heartnet also known as the Black Cat of Chronos."

Bruce could do nothing to stop him from shouldering past. He could have stopped his son. Doing so would have brought suspicion down onto him. Mozzie he could tell was not someone who would let the suspicion go easily. If he tried something in front of the bald man it would bring him trouble. So he would follow Richard. Not before he made a phone call however. If they were going to fight the Apostle's of the Stars he would need more of the League here.

Clark's POV

Working for the Daily Planet was the only normal activity he had been doing recently. With Bruce in New York at the request of his son Timothy Drake. Both he and Oliver had been looking after Gotham. Every time he had to look after the rampant city he was given a new respect for Bruce. How someone could work all night and still run his company during the day was beyond him.

Clark was currently at his cubicle in the main building of the Daily Planet. Lois was working on her own stories and he had a pile of them on his desk. When his phone went off he wanted to groan. What could be going on now?

He barely glanced at the number before he answered surprise coloring his tone, "Bruce? Aren't you still in New York?"

Other reporter's glanced at him but he waved them off. They knew that he was close to Bruce Wayne. Whenever they had a story to do about him Clark was sent.

Bruce stated coldly, "I need you to get Queen and meet me in New York immediately. I have a lead on the Apostle's of the Stars."

Clark stiffened and moved out of the main room. As he headed towards the elevators everyone gave him a wide berth. There was no doubt in his mind that there was a dark look on his face. It wasn't often that they saw such a look on his face. The last time they saw it was when his honorary nephew disappeared.

He was alone in the elevator when he asked, "Who? How did you get this information, Bruce?"

Bruce sighed sounding as tired as Clark, "Creed the leader. How I got the information is a little more complicated. This is not a conversation we should have over the phone."

Clark snapped his irritation getting the better of him, "Bruce stop speaking in riddles. Who was it?"

"Clark... it's Dick..."

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your reviews and support.

white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend.


Tracking Creed down wasn't as difficult as he thought it would be. The silver haired man was doing nothing to hide. New York would be one of his first big attacks.

Creed was in downtown and not far from the FBI's office. Given what he knew of Creed the man was likely planning some kind of attack. Despite not being a hero any longer he would not allow it to happen. He would not allow anyone else to die for his inaction. With Hades by his side there was no one who wouldn't fall to his bullet if he wished it.

The door to Creed's hideout held a simple lock. It only took him a few seconds to pick it. Inside he could hear a woman. She was talking to someone who was silent.

He slowly and quietly made his way through the building. A woman with green hair had her back to him. Across from her was a familiar blond with piercing blue eyes. XIII's blood boiled in his veins. Blood lust filled him and it took all of his self control not to attack right then.

Creed said smiling, " Echidna, with this attack we will finally make the world recognize us. We will make them realize the futility of humanity."

Echidna replied, "With this the fall of Chronos is one step closer."

He heard enough. It was obvious that these two were insane. If he cut off the head the rest of this plan would fall apart.

In a split second he pulled Hades from its holster. He entered the room with a burst of speed. Ending this quickly rather than having a long drawn out battle was for the best. As much as he would love to make Creed suffer, XIII would not risk his city.

A flash of silver colored steel made his bring Hades into a guard. The force of the strike made him stop but did not injure him. Two sets of eyes wide with disbelief and surprise lay upon him.

Creed inquired his voice showing his disbelief and joy, "Train? I never thought I would find you here. I always thought it would be me who would have to track you down again. You have certainly done a good job at hiding for all of these years."

XIII snarled, "I have not gone by that name in many years, Creed. You took someone precious from me. I'll kill you in retribution."

The woman glared and moved but a held up hand from Creed stopped her. He said shaking his head sadly, "You have it all wrong, Train. I was saving you from her spell. It seems even years later you don't understand that."

XIII snarled even louder. This time there wasn't words with it. Just intense hatred and killing intent.

He leapt at the insane man. There was no way that he would allow Saya's death to go unavenged.

Sparks flew as Hades and Kotetsu clashed. Creed's blue eyes were wide with delight. He was enjoying the fight.

XIII's were narrowed and his teeth were bared. As he blocked an overhead strike he put Hades to the other's chest and fired. Blood showered XIII as it exploded from the other's chest.

Immediately XIII disengaged from Creed. There was no surprise on the other's face. There wasn't even an ounce of pain.

Instead Creed grinned and said, "If this had been four years ago, Train, that would have worked. Three years ago I came across something. It gave me incredible powers. One power is that such a bullet will not kill me. You will have to do much better than that if you wish to kill me."

Train grit his teeth as he watched the bullet wound knit itself back together. That shouldn't be possible. What kind of power could be have that would allow him to heal like that? It didn't matter. No one could heal from a bullet wound to the head.

He lunged and the battle started anew.

Jenos' POV

His pride stung with losing Train Heartnet. It wasn't even the other's skill that let him get away. Instead it was a nosy sweeper that should have known better. He would have Train now if it wasn't for that sweeper.

Annoyance filled him even further when his phone rang. It had better be important. Otherwise someone was going to die.

He growled, "Hazard."

A slightly amused Bells said, "You sound like sound like you're having fun there Number VII. Sadly for you fun time is over. I am sending you an address. You need to get there immediately."

In that moment his phone pinged with a message. Then he asked noting the address, "What is it, Bells? I'm on the trail of the Black Cat."

Bells answers coldly, "Then you may want to get there faster, Jenos. Heartnet is fighting Creed and doesn't know what he's up against. Even with Hades he doesn't have the power to kill Creed."

Creed was given the power of Tao. As far as anyone knew in Chronos there wasn't a way to kill him. Trying was suicide at this point.

Bells was right. A traitor or not, Train was in danger. Just as his friend never left him behind he would never leave Train behind.

Bruce's POV

In the several hours it took for his fellow Justice League members to arrive. The unease he felt only seemed to increase.

Superman and Flash were first. Then followed Oliver and Wonder Woman. Each had special ties to Richard despite him wanting to put the past behind him.

Barry asked yawning, "Bruce I know you like being up at all hours but this is ridiculous. Not all of us can be up at this hour you know."

Bruce replied rubbing a hand over his face, "Richard is here in this city. Along with the the Apostle's of the Stars."

Clark asked his worry shining in his eyes, "What do they want with Richard?"

Bruce shook his head as he said, "It's not what they want with him. It what Richard wants with Creed. I believe he intends on killing him."

Oliver said with a thoughtful look, "So the rumor I heard a few years ago is true. I didn't want to say anything until I knew for sure. He's the Chronos Number XIII, aka the Black Cat isn't he?"

"How," Bruce never got to finish. An explosion rocked the ground. It was coming from the middle of city. Had it begun?

Chapter Text

A/N Thanks for your your reviews and support.

white collar black wolf: Thanks for your review my friend. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Brandy Nelson:Thanks for your your review my friend. Hahaha I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Train's POV

Fiery heat coursed above him. It made the Number in him seethe. Their battle was becoming too public. Creed could take the heat but if Train didn't have his jacket he would have serious burns.

Kotetsu had hit a near by gas line causing an explosion. He didn't know if anyone around them was injured and was unable to check. Even as the flames raged on he staggered to his feet.

Creed was still out there. His men would be trying to take the city. Train couldn't allow that to happen. He had to find a way to kill them bastard.

He started when to his right a figure came out of the fire. Raising Hades he prepared to fire until a familiar voice called out, "It's me. Don't fire."

Jenos... That wasn't what he was expecting. Then again, the other would still be looking for him.

With a slight sigh he lowered Hades. He asked his eyes searching the cloud of smoke, "What are you doing here Jenos? I would have thought you would be chasing down members of the Apostle's of the Stars."

Jenos have him a hard look before answering, "Other members are taking the Apostle's. I'm here to help you, Train," Train flinched at the use of his name, "Despite everything I don't want to see you hurt."

Train's eyes widened with surprise then they softened. A bond forged between two Numbers was not so easily broken. They missed the closeness that they had for years.

Train responded softly, "I have to kill him, Jenos. He took someone important from me. For that I will never forgive him."

Jenos said his dark eyes meeting Train's grey ones, "He has the power of Tao. With it he is practically immortal. Even Chronos is having a hard time finding a way to kill him."

Shooting the other had no effect. Would tearing him apart with Orichalcum threads work? Jenos might have a better chance in this battle than him. As much as he wanted Creed dead by his own hands.

There wasn't a chance for more words to be spoken. Train felt rather than saw the sword coming in for the next set of attacks. His body moved of its own accord. He hit Jenos just above the waist knocking both of them to the ground.

Bricks rained down upon them from above. Both Numbers moved on opposite directions to avoid the heavy bricks. As he regained his footing he blocked a strike with Hades.

Creed wasn't aiming to kill like Train was. He was aiming to injure and incapacitate.

The man's crazed grey eyes fell upon Jenos. Immediately he tried to strike out at the Number. Train blocked it with Hades and pushed the crazed man back.

Train said without taking his eyes off the swordsman, "I have a plan. Do you think you can rip apart someone rather than something," Jenos nodded silently, "Good. Wait for an opening and then take it."

Without waiting for an answer he lunged at Creed. Sparks flew lighting up his grey eyes. The flames raged around him but neither the ex number or the ex eraser noticed. Their entire focus was on each other.

Normally he would have kept his distance rather than getting in the other's face. However he had to cover Jenos while the other waited for an opening. That meant getting right up in his face.

Train slipped under an attack and brought Hades right up to the other's chest. Right as he fired something hit the weapon knocking Hades down several inches. The wound meant for the heart was now in the abdomen and already healing.

Train jumped back putting space between them. His eyes searched for the one who interfered. A familiar green arrow was embedded into the ground.

Great... It was the Justice League. That was the last thing he needed right now.

Already his grey eyes scanned the roof tops. Looking for the archer he knew was watching him. Across from him there was a shadow. It was darker than the others. That was where the Green Arrow was hiding.

Train snarled, "You might as well come down, Green Arrow. Well if you want to continue this fight. To save this man's life."

The last part was added with a glare in Creed's direction. There was an insane glint in the man's eyes.

He snarled as Oliver came down sounding as insane as the glint in his eye, "Don't you dare interfere!"

Oliver Queen was dressed in his Green Arrow costume. His blue eyes stared evenly at the man who snarled at him. Then the blue eyes turned to meet Train's grey ones.

He had his problems with Bruce and the other members of the Bat Family. Such problems never boiled over into his extended family. At least not until he left.

Like Clark, Oliver treated Richard like his own. The man taught him the basics of using a bow. From there he taught him different styles of hand to hand combat that Bruce didn't favor. He was a demanding teacher but not an unkind one.

He said with a gentle look, "It's good to see you again, Dick. I assume you know who you are playing with."

Train bared his teeth but nothing could be said. Creed attacked wildly slashing at Oliver. To his surprise Jenos baretackled the vigilante.

Jenos grumbled, "Damn vigilantes you are always interfering. Stay down and don't get in the way. I don't care if you know, Train from the past. This is the work of Chronos."

The two Numbers eyes met and they exchanged a nod. Together they would fight. Just as they had in the past.

Train jumped back into the fight his eyes a cold grey. The reaction from Creed would have made him laugh in any other situation. This night he was out for blood.

Peter's POV

Chasing down the Apostle's of the Stars was not a job meant for the FBI. It didn't take him long to realize that he and his team were severely out matched.

To make matters worse, he couldn't get in touch with Neal. The younger man was known for going right in the middle of such danger. If he lost Neal, Peter would never forgive himself.

His eyes stared at the fires that were tearing his city apart. Somewhere in that mess he knew Neal was. He could only hope the younger was okay.

Chapter Text

A/N thanks for your reviews and support.

Guest: thanks for your review my friend. If you do write your own you must send me a link. I would most certainly read it. I was in fact inspired by Quinris and his series Erasure. If you like mine you will love his.

Lazydraco 13: thanks for your review my friend. Nope just those who are here. It was a close thing. It would not have been Neal who would have attacked though. It certainly would have been Train Heartnet. They were waiting for everyone to get there.

Pastwatcher: thanks for your review my friend.

I have made a tumblr account. My id is willof-hounds. Please look me up.

Train's POV

He went toe to toe with Creed again. This time he had both Jenos and Oliver covering him. Oliver didn't want to kill the man but there was likely not going to be much of a choice.

Creed would kill anyone who got in his way. At this point the one thing the man wanted was Train. Train would never join him. Not after what he did to Saya.

An arrow went passed next to his ear nicking it slightly. He didn't even flinch at it. There was only a slight alteration to his attack plan to accommodate the new person.

His past affiliations with the man allowed him to adjust easily to the addition. His fighting style had not changed in the years since he left. His accuracy only increased. As did the man's tricks.

Sounds of fighting that was not their own could be heard nearby. It seemed that the Apostles of the Star had come to aid their leader. Or they were being overrun by Chronos and the Justice League. One was difficult enough but together they would be nearly impossible to beat.

Jenos's strands wrapped around him suddenly. He was yanked back just before an explosion blasted the area he had been in. It most certainly would have severely injured if not killed him.

"Thanks," came his soft words.

Jenos replied his eyes trying to see through the dust and debris, "Of course. No matter how we left things you are still my friend. You are still my partner."


Train knew that even if he ever returned to Chronos, things would never be the same. Nothing could ever undo what he had done. How he left Chronos without a word.

All because he had met a sweeper who despite his best efforts wouldn't leave him be. She showed him a path that he never considered before.

Then she died and he felt so lost. Now was the time. Now he could end his ever growing need for vengeance.

The three of them leapt in separate directions as Kotetsu lengthened. It seemed that this fight was not over just yet. Obviously Creed had survived the explosion.

The sword had not been aimed at him this time. Instead it was aimed towards Jenos.

Train moved to block the strike but his friend shouted, "Stay back, Train. Focus on Creed! I can handle myself."


That cry caused Train's head to shoot up to look at the rooftops. Sephiria stood her blond hair illuminated by the the fires that raged around them. Her blue eyes met his grey ones.

She threw a small object at him. It's silver body glinted by fire light. To his surprise it was no bigger than a bullet that he would use for Hades.

Expertly he snatched it out of the air testing its weight. It was in fact a bullet but heavier than normal. Orichalcum... so that was her plan.

An orichalcum bullet could destroy even the power of Tao. His aim would have to be true with this one. Shoot to kill. For Saya.

Sephiria ordered, "Kill him, Heartner. It's the only weapon we have against the Tao."

He gave a curt nod in reply. Kill Creed and the rest of the Apostles of the Stars would follow. They weren't nearly as powerful as their leader.

Train placed the bullet in the chamber taking out one of his regular bullets. Creed laughed seeing the look in his eyes, "You truly think you can kill me, Train. I have become more powerful than any of you can image. Even with Chronos's best scientist cannot kill me. Join me, Train. Be free of the ties that bind you."

When he was still in Chronos under the pain in his heart he might have agreed. That all the ties he made were weighing him down. That he needed to get rid of all his ties.

Jenos proved himself worthy when he was in Chronos. It wasn't until he left that he understood that he cared for the man.

Jenos, Saya, Kate, Peter, Elizabeth, Mozzir, the rest of White collar unit. Even his family that he left behind tied him to the world. Kept him from ending his pain himself.

These ties were what made life worth living. Not having such ties would make him little more than a monster. He would be just like Creed.

Around him the battle had begun once more. His focus was solely on Creed however. Oliver had been joined by Bruce in fighting against Creed. Jenos was trying to give Train an opening to kill the man.

As he raised Hades he felt hands wrap around his own. The lifted Hades with him and were gentle. Far gentler than anyone that was currently fighting.

A familiar soft voice said at his ear, "You don't need to kill him, Train," he started in surprise. That wasn't possible he held her as she died, "Killing him will only bring more violence and bloodshed. You just have to cut his connection to the Tao."

The hands guided Hades to Creed's abdomen instead of his heart. Train wouldn't to kill the bastard but he also knew that would desecrate Saya's memory. She wouldn't want him to kill the man. To prove to everyone that he was as dangerous as they said.

Vaguely as if he was underwater he heard, "Don't do it, Neal! You are not that person anymore!"

Peter... another shout this time louder, "She wouldn't want you to kill for her, Neal. This isn't you. You're not alone anymore."

Sven. The sweeper that had shown him there was still a light. Even when he felt betrayed by the one he was closest to.

Saya whispered gently in his ear, "You don't have to be strong anymore. Let your friends help carry your burden."

Train sighed. She was right. He wasn't alone anymore. Killing Creed would do nothing but bring more pain and suffering.

His eyes focused on the spot where if he shot; it would destroy the other's ability to use Tao. Or he could shoot in the other's heart and bring hell down upon his city.

There wasn't a choice in this matter. A shot rang out and blood splattered the wall behind Creed. Several pairs of eyes turned to him wide with surprise. None more so than Creed himself.

Chapter Text

A/N thanks for your reviews and support. This is the final chapter to this fic. I do not have plans for a sequel.

Crandelll: thanks for your review my friend. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Train's POV

Sephiria growled as she moved towards them, "Heartnet! Why didn't you kill him?! Why?"

Train looked back at Creed with a look of disdain as he replied, "There is uno need to kill him. That's not who I am anymore. I left Chronos for a reason. Just as I have left Creed alive. He is no longer a threat to us."

Train shouted knowing that they were watching but not interfering, "Apostles, your leader has fallen. Take him away before someone decides to kill him."

A portal opened and Creed was pulled through. There was time for thanks or any words for him. It wasn't as if he expected them to say anything. They were his enemies after all.

He barely kept his feet when a fist suddenly hit him across the jaw. It wasn't all that surprising but he expected a sword slash. One that would have taken his head from his shoulders.

He rubbed his jaw and glared at Sephiria as he snarled, "I did what I thought was right. Chronos doesn't own me."

Her blue eyes widened with surprise as she asked, "You truly have no intention of returning to us? Even after all of this?"

Train stepped back rubbing his hand over the bruise forming, "Chronos was never going to last for me. As my friend once said I am like a stray cat. Nothing can own me and hold me for long."

Even as he said this he knew how true it was. His time in New York had given him pain and happiness. New friends that showed him a path that wasn't filled with death and killings. A time that was now running short as he felt confined ame the need to leave was growing ever stronger.

Her eyes held just a small amount of hurt as she said, "I guess I should have been expecting this. I won't chase you, Heartnet. Despite not agreeing with your sentiment you have done the world a great service even if you did not kill Creed. Today you have earned your freedom. Both from Chronos and those that bind you here. By the end of the week you will be free to choose your own path. As much as I would rather you come back with us. I know forcing your hand would only lead to more pain and loss. Chronos has already lost two of its number fighting the Apostles. We cannot lose anymore if we are to keep the peace."

Train said sincerely, "Thank you, Sephiria. You dont know how much this means to me."

Her eyes hardened as she replied, "While I do, Heartnet do not let our paths cross again. By the rules of Chronos you are a traitor. As such we are duty bound to kill or bring you in. Just dont let our paths cross. Goodbye, Heartnet."

With that she was gone and he sighed in relief. That was one pain that he hoped to never cross again. At least not officially. Some part of him knew this would not be the last of he saw of her. They had too much of a history for that.

When he turned he realized just how much trouble he was in. Half of the League stood before him. Peter, Hughes, Jones, Diana, and Mozzie weren't far behind them. As expected Jenos was only a few feet to the side of Train. His eyes never leaving the younger.

The two Chronos Numbers exchange a look. As if one person they said, "I need a drink."

That had them both laughing. It felt good to laugh again. It wasn't something he had done a lot of since the business with Peter started. There were few that could make him laugh like Jenos.

They both began to walk off ignoring the sets of people. Dealing with the "good guys" could wait. They needed something to drink.

Bruce snarled, "Where do you think you are going, Richard?"

The two men shared a look before Train replied, "A drink. You all are welcome to join us or wait until we are done. I am not helping with the clean up of this fight. Not my problem. I took care of Creed I'm not cleaning up his mess as well."

With that he was gone with Jenos at his side. They left behind a flabbergasted group. No one moved to stop them.

They went to a mostly undamaged part of city. It was at the very edge of the city and a small bar was where they chose. They both sat at the bar and ordered whiskey. Neal preferred wine but Train preferred whiskey if he was drinking alchohol.

Jenos asked after the second round of drinks, "Are you sure about not returning to Chronos? You could do a lot of good with us."

Train rubbed a hand tiredly over his face, "I can't. The killing is slowly eating away at what is left of my soul. I can't do it anymore, Jenos."

For a moment he thought he was going to be ridiculed for his weakness. Instead he saw understanding in the man's eyes. He knew exactly how Train felt about the killings.

"I know how you feel," came Jenos's reply, "Sometimes I can't bring myself to take missions. At least one that would end in bloodshed. I know how much it hurts to think about. Killing hurts more than we can talk about with others. Numbers aren't allowed to have feelings of our own. If Chronos knew of my feelings they would have me put on probation. If I could not bring my emotions into check. Then if I was lucky I would be demoted. If unlucky then I would be killed."

Feelings were a weakness in Chronos. They could not understand that emotions weren't weakness. They were crippling at times but they could also be one's strength. Saya taught him that emotions were not weaknesses. He would never forget her teachings.

Train said downing another shot of whiskey, "Sometimes we learn what we assumed before isn't true. Without our emotions we are little more than monsters."

"Well said, Richard," came a gravely voice from behind them.

Turning he saw Bruce standing there in his civilian clothes. Next to him was Oliver who was already pushing his way inside. The older vigilante had a pained look in his eyes.

Oliver sat on the other side of Train and ordered, "I'll have a whiskey top shelf."

Bruce hesitated a moment before taking the seat next to Jenos. Bruce asked his hand enclosing a round a glass that was in front of him, "You aren't coming back to Gotham, are you?"

Train shook his head as he replied, "No I'm not. Bruce I can't return to that life. I'm not the same person I was before. I have killed to survive. You saw and can still see who I have been with."

Jenos gave a quiet cough into his whiskey. They both knew there was no going back for him. All he could do was keep moving forward. Even if it was hell that he was heading towards.

Bruce sighed, "At least come visit. From that look in your eye you will be doing a lot of traveling. We have all missed you."

"I can't promise anything but I'll try," he replied. That was the absolute truth. He would try to make a visit but already plans were forming in his mind. A way to make money and to not kill. At the same time he would be helping people just as he had before.

Time skip
A week later

Sephiria had kept her promise. He was finally free. Officially it was due to all his solved cases and the help he provided during the attack. The only ones who knew the truth were the ones who had been there.

Peter didn't treat him any differently than before. Though he was slightly disappointed that Neal was joining the Sweepers. Already he recieved his license and would be leaving after the party. There was no places in their world for goodbyes.

Hughes accepted that he was both Neal and Train. That he never wanted to kill again. It was with his blessing that Neal was allowed to become a sweeper.

Jones was wary and mistrustful around him now. The man had seen what he could do if he was so inclined. The sort of friendship they had built was gone.

Diana she was wary but she could see that he was still the same man as before. The same person that would protect his friends to the very end. She still would never let him around her child that was on the way. As much as he wanted to be around the child he knew he had too much blood on his hands. A child was too pure to be around someone like him.

The final surprise for him had been Sven. The man not only helped him with getting a sweeper license he offered to be Neal's partner. Most sweepers went at it alone but after being alone for so long he wanted to have a companion.

A voice asked bringing him from his thoughts, "Are you sure about this, Neal? We can get you a position here."

He turned to face Peter as he replied, "I can't. Maybe one day I can return but that won't be soon."

Peter sighed patting him on the shoulder, "Then I wish you the best of luck, Neal. Keep in touch?"

"Of course," was his reply.

No matter where he was or who he was chasing, he would keep in touch. They had become like a family to him.

A feeling that he was recognized ran down his surprise. He was being watched. It only took a moment for him to find where the eyes were.

Jenos was leaning against the side of the doorframe. His dark eyes met Neal's bright ones. They shared a quiet smile and Jenos turned away. He raised a hand as he left in goodbye. It wouldn't be the last he saw of his friend but they wouldn't chase each other. Not anymore.