I sat in the FBI New York offices just like any other day. It had been six months since Kate's death and there were still no leads on the bastard that had set us up. I wasn't typically a violent thief but if I found the bastard he would be getting some bad luck. Fowler had set us up under the guise of a new life sponsored by the FBI instead the plane had blowup still on the runaway. If it had been just moments later or if Peter hadn't shown up when he did I would have died as well. My nights were now filled with nightmares from that day and I barely slept or ate anything. I was almost positive I looked like hell had frozen over.
With a sigh I threw a tennis ball up in the air bored. It had been a slow couple of months since my return to White Collar. Things were going on as normal like the whole incident with Kate had never happened. I wondered if I would ever be the same. Kate was the one who had dragged me from the darkness that I lived in. She gave me a reason to be more than just bad luck then we had been separated. After a time the FBI used her as bait to catch me. Kate...
The elevator dinged signalling someone was arriving on the floor and it was too early for lunch and too late for a straggler. I sat up in the chair looking out the doors almost instantly recognizing the suits. Oh son of a bitch! Karl Walken had just walked in and I was suddenly having some serious doubts about my change in appearance. He may only be a manager but he was still apart of "that" organization. Our eyes met briefly before he turned his gaze upwards to where Peter's office was. I wanted to bang my head into my desk but barely kept my cool as Peter gave me the double finger point.
:I hate my life,: I thought as I made my way up to his office. I could feel Peter's worried gaze on me when I barely acknowledged the man in the chair. He knew even in my depression that this was out of character for me. I nodded to Karl not meeting hoping against hope he wouldn't recognize me. I had worked hard to change my appearance in case something like this happened. But honestly couldn't have been someone, anyone else?! The fates must be getting back at me.
Peter said watching me with concern," Neal this is Mr. Walken. He is a town governor not to far from here and his house was broken into two nights ago. He says nothing that he could find was stolen but would like you to authenticate his collection to be sure." I paled considerably though I was trying to keep my reactions to a minimum. I had seem Karl's collection when I was younger that would take days if not weeks to do. Karl sent me a smile and said," I have downsized a lot since the last time I let anyone into my house, Mr. Caffery. By the pale look on your face I am guessing you've heard about my extensive collection."
:Someone kill me now and put me out of my misery.: I thought miserably. It seems it was time for me to up and disappear again. I would have to leave everything behind this time. No Peter, no Moz, and no revenge. My heart hurt at the thought of leaving my friends. The problem itself wasn't disappearing I was good at that. It was never contacting those you left behind again.
In the background I could hear Peter talking with Karl but I couldn't bring myself to pay attention. When Karl finally did leave Peter asked worriedly," Neal what is wrong with you? And if you say your fine I'm putting you under house arrest at my house until you talk." Damn there went that idea. I couldn't tell Peter the truth I would find myself back in jail before I could say thief. I couldn't lie to him either. I may stretch the truth or omit certain detail but I would never lie to Peter. I said not looking at the older man," Peter... I can't talk about this. I won't lie to you but I... I just can't. "
Peter's eyes widened in surprise even to myself I sounded broken from my encounter. Peter sat the silent for a moment before he said," Neal go home. I don't mind that you don't want to tell me. We all have skeletons in our closest but when your ready to talk about it tell me. I will listen." I sighed in relief that Peter for once wasn't going to push me to tell him. I had to wonder though whether Karl recognized me. Without looking at the other members of White Collar I stoically made my way out of the building and to June's house.
I wasn't surprised not to find Mozzie there. He was likely out tracking leads down on Fowler. I pulled my bed away from the wall revealing my hiding spot that no one not even Mozzie had seen. I pushed the false wall slight towards the bottom where the wall met the floorboards. It opened revealing an all black passport that I pulled free. I flipped it open to reveal my previous self from seven years prior. I had just received this a week before I had left. The coldness of my golden eyes made me shiver in remembrance. Shaking my thoughts free of those troubled times I replaced it and moved the bed back.
I had just finished moving it back when Mozzie walked in. The bald man raised a single eyebrow at how he found me. I said trying to muster my usual confidence," This isn't what it looks like, Moz." Mozzie said with a knowing smile," Of course it isn't Neal. Why are you here though? Don't you have to work with the suit today?"
Leave it to Mozzie to make the situation more embarrassing than it was originally. I said getting to my feet," I met someone at the office today. Someone I never thought I would see again. Moz we may have to run." Mozzie's eyes widened as he realized whoever had popped in was not a friend. Mozzie asked gritting his teeth," Who is it Neal? I thought you only major enemies were all in jail."
I said my eyes glazing over in memory," He's not an enemy not exactly."
17 years prior
I was roughly pushed by two burly men into a mansion. It had been less since week since my master had been killed and these bastards had pulled me right off the street. I smiled grimly thinking about the other two that were likely in the hospital. I had been trained by one of the top assassins in the world you should not underestimate me.
They pushed me hard into a room and shut the door before I could try and run back out. Damn it! Now where was I? Looking carefully around the room I noticed it looked like a study. My golden eyes narrowed at the man who sat behind a desk doing paperwork. He said not looking at me," Come closer young man. I won't hurt you. In fact you here so I can make you an offer." I shifted into a defensive stance and asked," What kind of offer?"
Finally the man looked at me and for the first time since my parents had died an adult gave me a kind look. He said motioning me to sit in the chair in front of his desk," I am offering you a place to stay until you decide you want to leave. Or if you wish there is a group that could make you an even better shooter than now." My eyes lit up with excitement. To be an even better marksmen would be great. But what was the catch? I asked trying not to give anything away," What's the catch old man?"
The man laughed lightly in amusement before he turned serious as he said," This organization will want you to kill once your finished with you training. You will not get to pick and chose who you kill either. If you choose to join them then you will give up ever having a normal life because you will not ever be allowed to leave alive." I thought about it for a moment weighing the pros and come before I said," I'll join them. What is the group's name?"
He gave me a pitying look that I didn't understand as he said," Its name is Chronos."
End of flashback
I blinked as Mozzie was snapping his fingers in front of my face with a worried look. I shook my head to clear my thoughts and Mozzie asked concerned," Hey Neal, where did you go?" I said forcing myself to stay calm," Just down a set of memories I would rather forget. Did you find anything on Fowler?"
Mozzie's face went from concerned to aggravated in under a second telling me all I needed to know. He had nothing. It was times like this I wished at least I had the resources that Chronos possessed. FBI resources were good but Chronos had the best of the best. I ground my at the fact I was even considering contacting one of the numbers for help. Not to mention if Creed got wind of it anyone I ever cared about would die. No I had to do this on my own.
It wasn't until late that evening that Peter came over and to my surprise he brought Elizabeth. So when I opened the door to see them both standing there and with Elizabeth holding some kind of casserole I was shocked. Hiding my shock quickly behind my mask I smiled and said," Peter, Elizabeth hi. What brings you here?"
Please tell me its not the way I reacted at the office this morning. I stepped back to let them in and Elizabeth said cheerfully," Peter said you were acting strange this morning so we thought we would come keep you company. Hello Mozzie." I watched with a faint smile as Mozzie came out of his hiding spot. He smiled at Elizabeth and barely glanced at Peter as he said," Hello Suit and Lady Suit."
Yep good old Moz somethings never change and of course Peter would have told her. I handed Peter a beer before I tilted my chin towards the balcony in invitation. Peter raised an eyebrow but went out onto the balcony with me right behind him. I leaned over the railing of the balcony looking out over New York. If I told Peter this it could ruin everything and I would have to disappear. Taking a deep breath I said," Peter I know Walken. I don't know if he recognized me or not I haven't seen him in over seven years."
I could feel Peter's stare on me but I avoided looking at him. How could you tell someone that you were once an assassin and had turned thief? Peter knew of my hatred of guns but he didn't know why. After I had left Chronos I put my gun and my id in a safety deposit box and swore never to kill again. I had died my hair black and got blue contact lenses. My appearance changes came with a new name. From there I became Neal Caffery an art thief and bond forger. Then I became Neal Caffery FBI consultant.
Peter asked carefully," How do you know him Neal? He didn't ask for you personally Hughes assigned us to his case." I said rubbing the back of my neck," I don't even know where to begin with this explanation." Peter said carefully," How about at the beginning Neal."
I let out a short laugh. But which beginning Peter? There is so much you don't know about me. So much that I wish I could take back. I said softly so that neither Elizabeth or Mozzie could hear me," Peter this can't go any further than the two of us." Peter nodded then pulled out his badge and said," Full immunity until you no longer have anything else you wish to say."
I blinked in surprise. Well this was Peter he would do anything to look out for me. Would he feel the same way after though? I took a deep breath and said continuing in my soft voice," I met Karl when I was just a boy probably no more than ten. Even at that young of an age I was still causing trouble. That changed one day when this group of four guys tries to take me off the streets. At that time I was more violent and had no qualms over hurting people. I put two of the guys in the hospital for a month."
A faint smile appeared at the memory before I became serious again. I said avoiding his questioning gaze once more," They took me to Karl who offered me a place to stay and a way to do good. It turned out that life wasn't as good as I thought. After ten years with that organization I made the decision to leave. It was Kate who made me see a better way of life. So I left even though I had been told in the beginning that once I joined I could never leave again. That was seven years ago."
Peter's eyes lit up with recognition as he realized that was around the same time Neal Caffery had appeared. Not wanting to go any further I leaned my head against the cool metal of the railing. Peter's question made me jump halfway out of my skin," What is your real name Neal?" I said grimacing slightly," Train. My name is Train Heartnet."
I begged all the gods I knew for Peter not to recognize that name. I had tried so hard to put the past behind me and live happy and free as Kate had taught me. Now with the arrival of one person it could tear up everything I have worked towards. A cough brought our attention to Mozzir and Elizabeth who were now standing in the doorway. She asked sarcastically," Are we going to stand here all night or are we going to eat?" I said trying to put on a cheerful face," Let's eat."
I cast a tentative look over at Peter who was looking very contemplative. At least it wasn't a look of disgust. If he knew the fear that name brought before he would likely have me in cuffs faster than I could blink. In the corner of my eye I could see Mozzie giving me odd looks that made me wonder if he had heard me. Mozzie was always going on about conspiracy theories but there was one he was right about. The theory on Chronos.
This theory of his was that the organization known as Chronos wanted to own the world. He wasn't far off. At last I checked they controlled an eighth of the world's governments and that was several years ago while I was in jail. There was no doubt that they controlled more now. Absentmindedly I rubbed my left collarbone where under makeup the roman numeral tattoo thirteen lay.
During dinner Mozzie kept shooting me strange looks that normally were reserved for new people. When I couldn't take it anymore during desert I asked," Mozzie what? What is with the looks?" Mozzie's gaze was serious as he asked," Are you Train Heartnet also known as Chronos Number XIII?"