A/N thanks for the reviews and support.
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.
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.