“Can you drive any faster, Moz?”
“I’m trying!” exclaimed Mozzie, taking another reckless turn through a red light, nearly hitting a car. Horns blared behind him and tires screeched into the night air, but Mozzie barely noticed. He looked in the rearview mirror, taking in Kate’s terrified face. Tears streaked down her cheeks.
Neal was lying on the backseat of his car, his head resting in Kate’s lap. Sweat beaded on Neal’s forehead, mixing with the blood dripping down his face. Kate cupped his face with one hand, her fingers slick with his blood. She kept a hand on his shoulder, adding uneven pressure from her shaking fingers. Blood was still spreading quickly through his shirt and seeping through her fingers. Neal’s face was even whiter now, nearly all the color gone. Mozzie’s heart thudded. He’d never seen Neal so still.
“Is he—” began Mozzie, taking a breath, asking the question he didn’t know if he wanted the answer to, “Is he—breathing?”
“I—I—” Kate hesitated, then moved her shaking hand from Neal’s face to his chest. She rested it there for a moment, more tears trailing down her face. “I—I don’t know, Moz, I—I can’t tell!”
Mozzie blew through another intersection, missing another car by mere inches. More horns blared.
Neal wanted to go to a hospital outside of the city, but that wasn’t happening. Neal didn’t have time. Mozzie made a rash decision, sharply turning around the car, and heading down a different street. Thrown by the sudden lurch of the car without a seatbelt, Kate fell off the backseat, hitting the back of Mozzie’s seat, muffling a curse word. The movement roughly jostled Neal, and both she and Mozzie jumped when Neal started coughing.
"Neal!” exclaimed Kate, pushing herself back to the backseat, grabbing him by the shoulders and resting his head back on her lap. He coughed weakly, his face contorted in pain. He moved, seeming to be trying to get up. “Neal—don’t move—you’re going to be okay—”
“Why—” he said, his voice tight. “Why are you crying?”
His words only sent another tear rolling down her cheek, hitting Neal’s shirt.
“What’s—” he began, but he jerked violently, his arm shooting up to his shoulder, where Kate was applying pressure to stem the bleeding. He groaned in pain, his hand weakly landing over hers. “What’s happening—?” Neal’s face screwed up in pain again, and he looked at her with nothing but pain and confusion.
“Moz, how much longer?” Kate asked Mozzie desperately.
“Thirty seconds,” he said anxiously avoiding another collision. “Just give me thirty seconds!”
Kate looked back down at Neal, and dread crawled into her veins. His eyes had fallen shut again and he became a great deal heavier. “Neal!” she cried, shaking him, the desperation in her voice sending a shiver down Mozzie’s spine. “Neal, can you hear me?” She held in a sob, looking back up at Mozzie in the mirror. “Mozzie, he’s—he’s not breathing!”
"What?” he exclaimed. Mozzie weaved through the cars on the road, tearing the car out of traffic and into the parking lot of the hospital. He slammed on the brakes at the front doors. “Go! Get help! I’ll stay with Neal!”
Without hesitation, Kate jumped out of the car and dashed through the front doors. Mozzie kicked open his door and ran to the back, kneeling beside Neal. His heart nearly froze in his chest; Neal was nearly covered in blood. It spread quickly through his shirt, now that Kate wasn’t applying any pressure. With a nervous hand, Mozzie took her place, pressing his hand down on the wound, staring at his friend’s pale face. “Neal… Neal, please be okay,” he whispered.
Mozzie heard footsteps pounding behind him, and he squeezed Neal’s arm one last time, then backed away from his friend as a group of doctors came running to the car. They carefully lifted Neal out of the car, and placed him gently on a gurney, wheeling it quickly back into the hospital. Kate didn’t leave his side.
Mozzie didn’t accompany them. He grabbed the arm of one of the doctors, pulling him back as the rest disappeared into the hospital. The doctor looked at Mozzie. “He’s in good hands,” he said assuringly.
Mozzie didn’t smile. “I’m going to be straight with you,” he said, taking a breath. “That man is a criminal.”
The doctor turned to where Neal and the other medical staff disappeared into the building. “He is?”
“Yes,” said Mozzie, hoping he wasn’t making a mistake. “And I’m willing to offer you five thousand dollars to keep his presence here silent.”
Mozzie waited, watching something change in the doctor’s face. He looked up at Mozzie, and said, “Make it seven.”
Mozzie’s eyes widened. “Seven?”
“Yes, seven.” the doctor said, his voice harsh. “If you want me to keep his secret, then make it seven.”
Mozzie’s eyes narrowed. “Fine. Seven.”
“I want the money before he leaves,” said the doctor. “Or I let him die on that table.”
Mozzie opened his mouth to say something, but the doctor stopped him.
“Don’t think this is the first time that your kind have tried to pull one over on us.”
“Fine.” said Mozzie shortly.
“An FBI agent is going to call you tonight,” said Mozzie. The doctor looked up. “His name is Peter Burke. He’s going to ask if you treated any gunshot victims, and you’re going to tell him you did not.”
The doctor nodded. “Understood.”
Mozzie and the doctor made their way into the hospital, pausing at the front desk. The doctor looked at the receptionist. “Where did they put him?”
“They’re headed to the surgical ward,” she said, “but his room will be on the third floor, room fourteen.”
The doctor nodded. “Good. But we are not treating any gunshot victims, and that room has been empty all night and will remain empty.” He winked at her.
The receptionist nodded. “I understand, doctor.”
“By the end of the night,” the doctor told Mozzie. Mozzie nodded, watching the doctor leave, and then collapsed in one of the waiting room chairs. He sighed, leaning his head against the wall. He didn’t know how long he sat there, but when he opened his eyes, he saw Kate sitting next to him.
Her eyes were red, and tears were still freely falling down her cheeks. She stared at her hands, stained deep red with Neal’s blood.
“Hey,” said Mozzie gently. She didn’t look up. Mozzie suddenly realized that he’d never spent much time alone with her. It was always Neal who brought them together, and Neal was usually with them when Kate was around. “He’s going to be okay,” said Mozzie softly.
“That’s—” she began, wiping another tear. “That’s not what they said.”
“What did they say?” asked Mozzie, fear spiking into his veins.
“They said they would do what they could,” she said.
So… hospital talk for we don’t think we can save him.
“Hey, hey,” said Mozzie, straightening in his chair. He wasn’t good at this—he didn’t know how to comfort her. Neal was good at that stuff—the people stuff.
What would Neal do? wondered Mozzie, watching another tear fall down Kate’s cheek.
Mozzie put a gentle hand on Kate’s shoulder. “He’s going to be okay.”
“Moz, we don’t know—”
“Look,” said Mozzie. Through the touch, he realized that Kate was shivering. He took off his jacket and put it around her shoulders. “Neal is going to be okay. I’ve never met anyone like him. And if there’s one thing I know about him, it’s that every time he tries to do the impossible, he does." He smiled. “Neal needs us to believe he’s going to be okay.”
Kate looked at him. “But—”
“If you don’t believe it, con yourself into thinking it. Neal needs us.”
After a moment, Kate forced a small smile. “Neal’s… okay.” Kate suddenly moved closer to Mozzie, resting her head on his shoulder and shut her eyes.
“He always is,” said Mozzie quietly.
Mozzie leaned his head back against the wall, and shut his own eyes. He’s going to be okay.
“He’s going to be okay,” Mozzie whispered to himself.
After twenty minutes of reckless driving, Mozzie finally realized where Maverick was driving. Mozzie pulled over before Maverick stopped, and watched as Maverick’s car disappeared into the parking lot next to Midtown Mutual.
Midtown had more than one bank in the area, and this one was on the opposite side of town, far from the bank Neal had been taken from. Mozzie knew what they were doing here; they were taking the money. The fastest, smartest way to get their money from the drive would be at an ATM.
Mozzie turned off the car, watching Maverick stop his car. He got out and opened the back door, dragging an unconscious Peter Burke outside.
Heart drumming, Mozzie wondered what to do. He couldn’t go in after Maverick; he was no match. Mozzie wasn’t a fighter; he worked behind the scenes. He didn’t usually find himself in a position like this.
He needed help. But from who?
“No.” said Mozzie aloud, as his mind supplied him with an answer. But…
It really was the only way.
Mozzie sighed loudly, pulling out his phone. His fingers hesitated above the keys. He looked up at Midtown again, trying to calculate just how far he would get trying to rescue Neal and Peter on his own.
“Oh, who am I kidding,” he muttered, though still hesitant. He dialed the number and hit send. The moment it rang, his thumb reflexively hit the end button suddenly nervous.
Mozzie sighed. He tried again, dialing, and waited as it rang. After the second ring, he heard an answer.
He hung up again. His heart drummed in his chest. Now his phone number was in the FBI database. He’d have to trash it now.
Did he really need the FBI?
“Oh, screw it.”
Mozzie dialed the number again and waited.
Diana Berrigan was never a patient person. Everyone knew that irritating her was playing with fire. She’d even managed to teach Neal that.
So when her phone rang for the second time with no answer, Diana slammed it back down on her desk, seething.
Diana wasn’t sitting; she hasn’t taken a seat in hours, not since Peter went missing. She’d been trying to reach him—the entire bureau has—but he wasn’t answering his phone. Now both Peter and Neal were MIA.
The FBI wasn’t completely clueless, though. They knew Peter and Neal went to meet Roger Allen, the manager of Midtown Mutual. They knew Maverick was the thief, and they knew, from listening to Neal’s radio, rewinding the audio, that Allen and Maverick were working together, and they wanted this drive.
But they didn’t know why.
"What?” thundered Hughes when Diana called him after Peter left. “What do you mean Caffrey and Burke are missing?”
“Sir, Caffrey’s been abducted by the thief. We still can’t figure out how they got him out of the building—”
“How did this happen?!” demanded Hughes.
“We’re not exactly sure—”
“I… don’t know,” admitted Diana.
“What? Wasn’t he there?” asked Hughes. “Wasn’t this his stakeout?”
“Yes, but when Caffrey was taken he left. He took a taxi somewhere.”
Hughes sighed, exasperated. “Damn it, did you call him?”
“He’s not picking up.”
Hughes swore again. “Where is Jones?”
“He’s here.” said Diana, watching Jones instruct a group of agents in the lobby of the bank.
“I need you two to get back here, read up every file of Maverick and Roger Allen, find everything that gives a hint as to where they are.”
Diana hung up and relayed Hughes’ orders to Jones, and they both immediately left for the office.
That was over two hours ago, and they still had close to nothing. Agents were sent to every known safe house of Allen and Maverick’s—there weren’t many—but they all came up empty. There were no ties between Maverick’s past and Allen’s either. The FBI had almost nothing to go on.
Though, thirty minutes ago, some agents discovered a manhole underneath a dumpster outside the bank. They followed it to a warehouse outside of Queens, and stormed the building. No one had been inside, but they did find bloodstains on the ground. Diana only hoped that it wasn’t Neal’s.
It just didn’t make sense; why was Neal kidnapped? What did he have, or what did Maverick and Allen want?
Diana looked up. Jones was watching her, concerned.
“Yeah, fine. Phone just rang twice with no reply.” Diana sighed exasperated. “Damn prank calls.”
“Diana, do you want to get some rest? Just take a break?”
“No, no, I’m fine.” Diana moved a stack of files, full of useless information, from one side of her desk to the other. “Did you find anything?”
“Nothing. No one has any idea why Caffrey was taken.”
“In his office. He’s been on the phone for the past two hours.” Jones gestured, and Diana followed his gaze. Hughes was on the phone all night, angrily conversing with someone. Diana was just glad it wasn’t her this time.
Diana shook her head. “What the hell was Peter thinking?”
“You know Peter,” said Jones, shrugging. “He’s probably got a plan.”
“Or he was taken as well,” said Diana.
“We’ll find them. We just have to keep looking.”
Optimism. That was something Diana didn’t quite understand.
She was about to move to a new stack of files when her phone rang again. She snatched the phone up angrily and demanded, “Who the hell is this?”
“Someone who’s... temporarily changed allegiances,” said a voice.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” muttered Diana. She went to hang up, but the voice spoke again.
“Wait, wait, I have information for you!”
Diana paused. “What kind of information?”
“It’s about Agent Burke.”
“Who is this?”
Diana’s eyebrows shot up in confusion. “His what?” Who—
It clicked in her head. “Mozzie?”
"Dante Haversham,” said Mozzie with emphasis. “These are FBI lines, Suit!”
Diana ignored him. “Have you seen Peter tonight?”
“Yes,” said Mozzie. “Long story short... I know what Maverick wants.”
“What is it?” Diana snapped her fingers, getting Jones’ attention. He rushed to her desk. “What does Maverick want?”
“Unfortunately he already has it,” said Mozzie. “It’s a flash drive with the ability to drain Midtown Mutual clients’ accounts.”
“Oh my God,” said Diana hollowly. “Where’s Peter now?”
“That’s the problem,” said Mozzie. “He contacted Maverick and set up an exchange: the drive for Neal. But Maverick double-crossed him and he was taken. I followed them to the Midtown Mutual on Forest Avenue, across town. I’m watching them now.”
Diana turned to Jones. “Get a team to the Midtown Mutual on Forest, now.”
Jones nodded. “On it.” He rushed to Hughes’ office.
“Mozzie,” she said firmly. “Stay where you are, or go home. Actually, go home. You’ve done great, but do not go into that bank.”
“You know, I don’t appreciate Feds giving me orders.”
“Take it as a suggestion, then, and get the hell out of there. Maverick is a murderer, Mozzie.”
The line went dead; Mozzie hung up. Diana dropped her phone back to her desk and called out, “I need a team to Midtown on Forest, now!”
“What’s going on? Did you find him? Did you find Peter?”
Diana turned around, and was surprised to see Elizabeth entering the white collar unit.
Elizabeth looked shaken. “Peter told me he was going on a stakeout tonight, but he said he’d be home by one. It’s three-thirty. He wasn’t answering his phone so I called Hughes, but Hughes said… He said—”
“We know where Peter is,” said Diana, reaching out a comforting hand to Elizabeth’s shoulder, and she felt the woman relax a little. “We know where he is, we… we just have to get him out of there.”
“Is he going to be okay?” she asked.
“We’re going to find him right now,” said Diana, grabbing her coat and following the group of agents heading out of the offices.
Diana stopped as Hughes called down to her. He rushed down the stairs. “You’ve got Peter and Caffrey’s location?”
“Neal?” asked Elizabeth. “Is Neal okay?”
“Elizabeth?” asked Hughes, surprised. “Didn’t I send an agent to your house for protective detail?”
“I left before he arrived,” admitted Elizabeth.
“We can’t—” he began, but Elizabeth cut him off.
“Please, is my husband going to be okay?”
Hughes hesitated. “We don’t know, yet.” He looked at Diana. “Go to Midtown with Jones.”
“I’ll be coming right after you,” he said. “I’ll call S.W.A.T.”
Hughes turned to Elizabeth. “We will tell you once we know anything.” He squeezed her arm in a comforting way and gave her a small smile. He then turned and went back to his office. Diana started to leave again, but Elizabeth stopped her.
“Can I come with you?”
Diana hesitated. “Elizabeth, I really can’t take a civilian on a case like this, I’m sorry.”
Elizabeth paused. “I understand.”
With a last apologetic glance, Diana turned and followed the rest of the agents out of the white collar unit.
Elizabeth stared after her, making a decision in her head. She quickly turned and left the unit, taking the vacant elevator, heading back downstairs. She might understand that she should stay out of an FBI case, but…
It didn’t mean she was going to.