A Con man conned

Kate's death leaves Neal Caffrey heartbroken and he buries himself in his work for the FBI. When Peter presents him with a new case of a stolen masterpiece from a New York penthouse, Neal thinks he's found the perfect distraction. Central Park, a beautiful woman, art and and an old enemy..it all sounds too good to be true. But as he should know, not everything is always as it seems and this time the con man may have met his match.


4. Let the games begin

A knock on the door interrupted Neal's thoughts and he quickly got up to let Moz in. "Alright, what was so important that I had to drop everything? I was in the midst of finding some treasures at a foreclosure sale. One man's loss is another man's chance to go on an adventure." Without asking Mozzie poured himself a glass of red Merlot and let it role on his tongue. "Nice..now spill, what's going on?"
"Help yourself," Neal said dryly and refilled his own glass. "I need you to see if you can find Adler. I believe he is back in town." Moz raised his brows and stared at Neal, letting the implication of the words sink in. He knew Neal was still on shaky grounds after Kate's death and that he held Adler responsible and he wasn't entirely convinced that a manhunt would be in Neal's best interest at this point. "What brought this on? I thought you'd giving up on that for now and were concentrating on work."

"I was..I am! This isn't about Kate, Moz. This has to do with this case we're working on. A Haustenberg was stolen and I think Adler is involved. What's wrong with trying to kill two birds with one stone?" Neal was getting annoyed. No one seemed to understand that this was personal but that he wasn't some lunatic on a mission of revenge. This was about making Adler pay for his crimes and if it took taking Adler down on art theft, it was fine by Neal. After all, Capone went for tax fraud. "Stop looking at me like I'm some basket case that is about to go cray cray on a whim. Adler tried to buy the painting from the owner a couple of times but she refused. Then suddenly it disappears. Coincidence? I think not." He reached in his pocket and took out the business card he got from Rebecca. "I've tried the number but it's disconnected. Probably a burner phone. But if he is in the city, someone must know." Moz took the card. There wasn't much to go on but if someone used the number he could trace it back to a cell tower and narrow down the search area. "I'll see what I can do. Let me ask you something. Have you told the suit?" He gave Neal a quizzical look. "Yes, Peter is working on it from the bureau but I know your contacts work faster. I want to find him before the feds do. There is a score to settle." His face hardened when the image of Kate flashed before him. "I'll see what I can do" Moz said with a sigh and gulped down the last of the wine. "Now, about the painting? Which one was it? There are so few Haustenbergs around and I have never seen an original. Well, at least none painted by Haustenberg." Neal smiled. "It's the girl with the locket. Pretty little thing."

"Are you still talking about the painting or the owner?" Moz smirked. "The painting, Moz. The painting." Neal rolled his eyes and stifled a smile. Somehow his first day back on the job didn't turn out as bad as he thought it would be. 

As soon as Moz left Neal reached for his phone and dialed Alex' number. There was always the possibility that someone else was behind the theft and if it resurfaced Alex would know about it. As expected, the call went straight to voicemail. "Hey, Alex. It's me. Can you give me a call when you hear this? Thanks." He hung up and knew that she probably wouldn't return his call. She rarely did. Usually she would pop up at a place you'd least expected and only when she was in some kind of trouble but things were different now. She had given him the box that he used to buy his freedom. To buy Kate's freedom. And how she'd warned him that Kate might not be the girl he remembered. He let her leave that night, knowing that she truly cared for him. What was that saying again? 'If you love someone, let them go' And that's what she did. She let him go. He sort of expected her to contact him after the plane blew up. Some kind of sign, an Origami flower, a postcard..something to let him know that she sympathized but nothing ever came. If it was anyone else he would offended but this was Alex and this was who she was. Still, he hoped she would contact him soon. He really needed her help on this one. 

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