When Everything Changes
Author's note: Yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party, but I only recently figured out how to summit works... Show full author's note »
New Member Of The TeamWhen they got back to the camp sight, orders started flying out of Jack’s mouth. “Violet, put him in the tent, make sure to secure him, rest of the team with me. Someone pull out the computers.”
Violet dragged Neal over to a large tan tent with a smaller tent attected to each side. As she unzipped the flap on the biggest part of the tent, Violet asked, “How exactly am I sapost to secure him? This thing opens from both ways.”
“Here,” Gwen said, tossing something shinny through the air. Violet caught a the object, that turned out to be a pair of hand cuffs. Neal felt a glimmer of hope. His captors apparently didn’t realize their prisoner was a wiz at picking a lock.
“I’m gonna need the keys,” Violet pointed out.
“Oh,” Gwen added, thumbing through her black leather hip purse and finally pulling out a set of keys. She tossed those to Violet as well, and once again the girl caught them. Then she unzipped the tent flap, and walked inside, dragging Neal behind him by the crook of his arm, they both had to duct down to get in.
The tent was completely empty, with a high ceiling, but both Neal and Violet squat once they got inside. “Over there,” Violet commanded, gesturing with her right hand, the one holding a gun, to the right corner of the tent. Neal walked over to the spot, putting his hands out in front of him. Violet raised her right eyebrow, which now Neal noticed was also died black as well as the left one. “Exactly how many times have you been arrested?”
“Enough to know the position.”
“Well, can you assume the position from the back? I wanna make sure you don’t bash your head in to try to break the cuffs or something.”
Neal suppressed a laugh. He thought it was cute that this girl thought that a set of metal handcuffs could be broken by someone banging their head against them like some sort of wooden board in a karate class. Still, he did as he was told, putting his hands behind his back. Violet knelt down even more, and slapped the cuffs on his wrist,Volet stepped away and looked at him oddly, her head cocked to one side. Then she said, “I’ll be back in one second,” then ran out of the tent.
“Like I’m gonna go anywhere,” Neal murmured under his breath once Violet was gone. Then he felt the seat of his pants only to remember he had no pockets. “Okay,” Neal thought to himself, “ Ever since that day at the airport I’ve made sure to keep a set of lock picks on me just in case, so I have to have some, so where…” His heart sank as he realized where they were. His jacket, which now Violet was wearing, tied around her waist like some sort of trophy. Just then Violet walked back into the tent with a long coil of rope. Without a word, she walked over to where Neal was, grabbed his feet, and started rapping the coil around his ankles. “Is this really necessary?” Neal protested.
“Just being careful,” Violet replied as she pulled out a long piece of oddly designed wood. It was yellowish white wood with bits of dark brown wood, probly the part of the tree the wood had come from, with complete dark brown surrounding the yellowish whit center, all polished so that it looked very smooth and a bit shinny. She put her thumb on the top and a long sliver blade came out. Neal jutted back in fright, and stammered “No, don’t-“Then Violet did something he didn’t expect for the second time that day. “Hey, hey,” She whispered, extending her hand that wasn’t holding the knife, and brushing Neal’s temple. Her leather glove felt cool against his skin. “It’s alright. Look, I’m just gonna cut the rope, okay?” Then she held up the coil and her switch bale knife and sawed the piece of the rope. After she finished cutting off the length of rope, which she did surprisingly quickly considering what she was working with, she dropped the knife and said, “See?” And as she tied the rope rather tightly around his ankles added, back to her regular tone, “You know, this would go a lot faster if you told or last name,” After a minute of thought she added, “And how you spell your first name actually.”
“And how would that help?” Neal asked, stalling for time, as he was sure Violet would press the last name issue, and was also thinking of way to get her to take off his jacket.
“Well, Neal can be spelled a couple of different ways.” Violet answered, “You got Neil spelled N-e-i-l, the Scottish version, and then you got N-e-a-l, the Irish version, and then you got this one guy I once knew who spelt it N-e-e-l. I have no idea where that came from.”
“Well, it’s not spelled like that,” Neal said, actually chuckling a little at the odd name, “It’s the Irish version.”
“You got an Irish surname to go with it?”
“What is your obsession with my name?”
“It would make things go a lot easier if we knew it, a lot whole lot easier than looking through half the Neal’s in the world. Just because you have an American accent doesn’t mean you’re an American native. I mean Jack sounds like he’s from the states, but he’s about as not from the states at you can get.” Her eyes moved across the tent. “I shouldn’t have told you that. Look, the point is, the sooner we get this striated out, the sooner we can cut you lose, because I’m liking that wrong time, wrong place theory more by the minute.”
“After everything I’ve seen you really think I’m going to believe that you’re just going to let me go?”
“We have ways to deal with that.”
“Caffrey,” Neal finally gave in, “My last name is Caffrey.”
Violet gave him a skeptical look and asked, “Are you serious?”
“Yes,” Neal answered flatly, “Why?”
“Because that’s only the most ridiculous last name in the history of last names. It sounds like someone just threw a bunch of syllables together and played around until they made something that was pronounceable. I mean what origin is that from?”
“I don’t know. Like you said, maybe it’s Irish.”
“Likely story.” Violet started to remove Neal’s tie. He opened his mouth to ask what she was doing, but before he say anything she put part of the tie in his mouth, and tied it behind the back of his head sufficiently gagging him. Then as she turned back to leave the tent, the lose knot she had put into the jacket came undone and it fell from her waist to the tent floor, unnoticed by her as she left the tent, zipping the tent up behind her. Neal started to try to soot over to the jacket, at this point his only hope of escape.
Meanwhile Violet walked over to the van where the rest of the team had gathered around the computers attached to the inside. “Where you able to get anything else from him?” Jack asked.
“His name’s Neal Caffrey, I couldn’t get anything else. Actually I didn’t think to, the way things went in there.” Violet answered as she got into the van.
“What do you mean the way things went in there?” Gwen asked, turning her head from the computer screen she was looking at.
“I pulled at my switchblade to cut the rope I had tied around his ankles and he-in this case understandably so-thought I meant to hurt him and he panicked, trying to back away and starting to beg.” Violet answered, “I’m liking the innocent bystander theory, but- there is something…” She trailed off, somewhat afraid to say what she was thinking.
“Like the fact that he was spying on us?” Rex suggested.
“Well there’s that too,” Violet emitted, “But there was something else,” Violet turned to face Jack as she continued, “In his eyes. There was pain and guilt there. I don’t know over what, but it was there.”
“And what do eyes like that look like?” Rex asked.
Gwen and Martha didn’t say anything because they knew, they’d seen it before. And Jack and Violet didn’t answer, because they both knew as well.
Jack and Violet’s eyes. His eyes looked like theirs.
Meanwhile back in the tent, Neal finally scooted over to the jacket, but now was face with the problem of searching the inside pockets because with his hands cuffed behind his back, he couldn’t exactly pick it up. He turned his back to the garment and felt for the side. He tried to flip it over, but while doing so lost his balance and fell flat on his back. He heard the clan of glass and he realized the tent was not empty as he had previously thought. His eyes moved to find what he had knocked over and was surprised to see what appeared to be a hand-sewed black flannel purse. “Violet’s no doubt,” He thought to himself. The purse was opened and the contents had spilled out: A rectangle glass bottle with a long neck that was filled with some kind of oil, a blue glass bottle of the same design that also appeared to have oil in it, and a purplish bottle of the same kind that, as you probly have already guessed, appeared to have oil in it. That was odd enough as it was, but the weirdest thing of all was a large round mason jar that had a bizarre concoction in it. It appeared to be a mixture of Ivory liquid foundation, a powder bronzer of some sort, the white stuff woman use to smear on their skin to make themselves look pale during medieval times, the powder stuff woman sometimes use to finish out makeup that’s either clear, translucent, of white, some sort of gold powder, Hearty Peach powder blush, Moon Roses cream blush and carmine, all mixed until it was so well blended together it looked like human skin in a jar. Right by the jar was a well-used foundation brush, its bristles thin and falling out. Neal did wonder what the strange mixture was for, but didn’t dwell on it because he noticed that a few feet away from him was a leather case small enough to fit in the palm of one hand. Neal’s lips started to form a smile but was stopped by the gag in his mouth. The set of lock picks he had been searching for had fallen out of the jacket pocket during the crash! The only problem now was they were just above his head, which he threw back in frustration. Using lock picks to get out of locked rooms was much easier than using lock picks to undo bonds, especially when one was the one bound.
As this was going on , Gwen had made a discovery about the mysterious man in the tent.“Uh, guys,” Gwen said as she stood over the computer, “I think I know what that pain and guilt was about. Come see what I found.”
The team gathered around the lap top and read the information that Gwen said out loud. “Neal caffrey, thirty four, convicted of bond forging in 2005, sentenced to four years in prison, then sentenced to four more years in prison after breaking out of a maximum security prison in 2009, five days before his first sentence was up.”
“Are we quite certain that tent can hold him?” Rex asked.
“I cuffed him, tied his feet as tightly as humanly possible, and gagged him,” Violet said. They all stared at her a minute, wondering what Violet possibly could have used to gag him. “I used his tie,” She explained.
“I think we’re overlooking an important question here,” Martha added, “Why would he break out when he just had five days left on his sentence?”
“That’s good question Martha but it doesn’t say,” Gwen said, “If anyone knows, it doesn’t say, but then again these documents rarely say anything about motives. And there’s something else, because then things get really weird.”
Meanwhile, back in the tent, Neal was once again trying to make an escape. Seeing no other option, he started flopping like a fish out of water, until he had gotten high enough up that his hands could reach the set of lock picks. He flipped the leather flap open and felt around with his finger to get out a lock pick, right now anyone would do. He pulled on out, holding it between two of his fingers and inserted it in the lock of the cuff. He moved the lock pick back and forth for a least a minute until heard the click of the cuff unlocking. He shook the handcuffs off, and tried to right himself and sit up, but felt the ropes cutting into his ankles. He managed to right himself, and sit up, then started to work at the tight ropes around his feet. He quickly discovered that Violet was exceptionally good at tying knots. No matter what part of it he pulled, he only succeed in making the knot on the side of the ropes tighter, as well as the entire bonds that held him, as well as giving his fingers a bad case of rope burn, eventually to the point of bleeding. Then it dawn on him that he had never saw Violet put her knife back on her person, and it might still be in the tent. He looked around and sure enough, the knife was there, just were Violet had dropped it. Using his hands as to help him move this time, he scooted over to the knife, picked it up, and started to work on cutting the ropes. Soon, they were fully cut and fell to the floor. He unwrapped the gag and pulled it out of his mouth, throwing it to the floor. He tucked the knife in his belt, in case he had to fight his way out, and started to craw towards the tent flap. Being very careful to make as little noise as possible, he unzipped the flap just enough so he could see out and peaked out. Seeing that the whole team were facing away from them, absorbed in something inside their van that Neal couldn’t see, probably that computer Jack had mentioned, he unzipped the rest of the flap and stepped out without making a sound, then started to walk as fast as he dared, for fear of making a sound and drawing the team’s attention, back towards the road and to safety. He could hear the team’s discussion, which he hadn’t been paying attention to before.
“Well, that must’ve been awkward.” Violet said.
“ I wouldn’t doubt it, but somehow it worked. “ Gwen said, “Or at least it did until three weeks ago.”
Neal stopped momentarily as he realized they were talking about his time as a criminal consultant. “Well, now they who I am.” He thought to himself.
“What happened then?” Jack , Violet, and Rex all asked at the same time. They all looked at each other for a minute and then turned away, embarrassed.
“Well, turns it’s possible for things to get even weirder,” Gwen said.
Neal started to sneak away again. He didn’t want to hear what she had to say. He was there, he didn’t want to relieve it.
“He escaped again, and is still on the lamb. The really weird thing is, he was given a shot of a commutation. Could’ve been release. In fact he ran on the day his handler spoke at the hearing and the guy said Caffrey should be released, literally five seconds before he got the news the Caffrey had gone and cut his anklet.”
Neal had to stop again in surprise. That last thing was news to him. He had distinctively heard Peter tell Karmer that he was going to say the complete opposite of what Gwen just said he said. What had changed his mind?
“How do you know all that?” Violet asked.
“I have the transcripts right here,” Gwen explained.
That got Neal moving again, this time faster. He knew those transcripts were public record, but they probly were hard to get to in a foreign country, and due to his escape was probably in evidence storage right now.
“Why’d he run just when he could be getting out?” Violet asked.
“I don’t know,” Gwen said, “But I’m guessing these new slew of charges filed against him probably have something to do with it. Public endangerment, resisting arrest, we even got a jaywalking charge here.”
“But all of this still doesn’t explain why he was spying on us,” Rex pointed out.
“Why don’t we ask him,” Jack said, turning to face where Neal was, “He’s been here for the past few minutes, after all.”
Neal froze in his tracks. “It’s okay,” Jack said, “Turn around. We’re not gonna do anything. Yet.”
Neal turned around, defeated, and fairly certain he was about to meet his maker. Or worst, the French authorities. “So, Neal,” Jack began, “Why were you spying on us?”
“Look, I just walking down the road trying to clear my head. Me and ah-the guy I escaped had gotten into a huge fight, and-“
“Wait,” Gwen said, “I didn’t find anything about another guy.”
“Because they probably don’t know about him,” Neal said, “Anyway, while I was walking down the road I noticed you guys by the side of it. You were, ah, kind of hard to miss, especially Violet.”
“I told you , you shouldn’t have wore that.” Gwen whispered.
“Let the man talk,” Violet snapped back, also in a whispered.
“So I saw you do that whole weird thing with the reflector on the stick, and decided to back away and get out of there, but then when you guys drove off and the dust cloud your van kicked up made me stop for a minute and in said dust cloud I saw-“ Neal’s voice trailed off, “Look this is going to sound completely insane, and maybe I am insane, but I swear I saw this-apparition of this young girl, she was, being murdered. It looked like see was being chocked by some kind of invisible forced.”
The whole team looked very concerned, and somewhat knowing. “Jack…” Gwen whispered.
“Let him finish.” Jack said flatly.
“That freaked me out so I ran and wound up running down the road towards you instead of away, in when I saw you driving down that bend which I didn’t even know was there until you went down it my curiosity got the better of me, that’s all. There was no big conspiracy around it, just a me getting a little too curious. Look, it’s not like I’m in a position to tell the cops about you guys so…” His voice trailed off but then he found it again, this time sounding desperate. “Just let me go. Please. I won’t tell anyone. “
“You know what,” Jack said, looking thoughtful, “I think I have a better idea. You see, I think having a thief on the team could come in handy.”
Neal was somewhat confused, “Are you making me a job offer?”
“Yeah, I am,” Jack gestured for Neal to come over to the van, “Get over here, we’ll talk about the finer details later. Right now, we need to get you up to speed.”
Neal walked over to the van and started to sit next to Jack. “No,” Violet protested, waving her hand in the air and pointing, “Jack’s bi and your handsome, you’ll never hear the end of it. Come sit by me.”
“And I won’t have the same problem with you?” Neal asked as he sat down by the young girl. His raw fingers stung as they rubbed against the seat, but he decided to hide the pain for now.
“I’m nineteen, you’re thirty four. I do not do May-December relationships.”
“Okay, now that we’ve got that established,” Neal looked around, somewhat neverous about what he might have gotten himself into, but trying to appear nonchalant, “Could you clue in on what I’ve gotten myself into? What exactly does this team do?”
“Well, basically,” Gwen said, rather apprehensive herself, “We catch aliens.”