I recently watched the last two seasons again, and while the end was satisfying, it wasn’t complete. It left too many unanswered questions. For instance, would Neal ever leave Mozzie behind? Be alone in Paris?
If you haven’t seen the last season yet, don’t read this; there are spoilers ahead.
Neal Caffrey waited at a table outside a café near his apartment in the Marais. He’d chosen that arrondissement because it offered busy streets, an active nightlife, and it was close to the Louvre, as well as other museums and galleries. A pair of attractive, fashionably dressed women sauntered by, chatting in French, and he caught the redhead’s eye and smiled. She laughed and swished her skirt flirtatiously, whispering something to her friend, who giggled.
Right behind them was Mozzie, and he lost all interest in the pretty girls. Neal’s heart leaped in excitement. Mozzie had been gone a couple weeks, and Neal was anxious to speak with him.
Mozzie took a seat. “Wine first. I’m parched.” Glancing around, he spied a waiter near the entrance and signaled. Neal struggled to remain patient while an order was placed.
When they were alone again, Neal leaned forward. “Well?”
Mozzie grinned crookedly and pulled out his phone. He quickly located something, then handed it to Neal; he was looking at a picture of a baby. The kid had a headful of brown hair and was incredibly cute. “So that’s my namesake.”
“Their precious little bundle of joy.” He said it with only a slight curl of the lip, which meant he really liked the child. “They clearly dote on him.”
“As instructed. Suit found it when he arrived a few minutes after I did.”
“How’d Peter look?”
The waiter returned with Mozzie’s wine, and he sipped before responding. “Tired. He told me he catches glimpses of you out of the corner of his eye, and it’s almost as if you’re still there.”
Neal let out a small breath. The worst part of his plan had been leaving his “family,” Peter and Elizabeth, Diana and Jones. He missed them. He missed New York City. He missed his apartment and June, his friend and landlord. “Did we do the right thing?”
“They would have never let you go. We both know this. Faking your death was the only way. Why you directed him to the storage container after all this time, I’ll never know.” Mozzie fixed him with a sharp look. “We have all the money we need. We can go anywhere, do anything. And you’re free at last. No more anklet. Why stir the hornet’s nest?”
Neal stared at the sun-drenched street. “It’s not like it used to be. A certain level of excitement, of danger, is missing. I never felt more alive than when Peter and I locked horns on a case.” He smiled, remembering. “He’d walk the straight and narrow as dictated by the FBI, and I’d run circles around him. The challenge, Moz. I miss the challenge.”
Mozzie drank more wine. “He went to the container a couple days ago. Found the mannequin, the newspaper. Saw the Queen.” Neal knew Mozzie had safely watched this on a laptop, from a distance.
“He understood the significance of the card?”
Mozzie nodded. “I ran a game on the street where I knew he’d run into me. We talked.”
Neal felt a frisson of excitement. “Think he’ll take the bait?”
Mozzie gave him a level look. “I think he misses you as much as you miss him.”
“Are you okay with this?”
“If I’m not, I’ll leave.”
They both knew he’d never go. The synergy between them was too rare to dismiss. For better or worse, they were tied to one another until death.
Neal suspected it was the same between him and Peter, too. During the last year, he’d never stopped wondering how Peter was or what he was doing. He glanced at his watch. “We hit the Louvre as planned, then.”
“The safe house in Rome is ready?”
“Yes.” The Paris apartment had been rented in the name of Nick Halden, an alias Peter was familiar with. When news broke a Raphael had been stolen from the museum, Peter would find a reason to come to France.
Mozzie raised his glass to Neal. “The game is afoot?”
Neal grinned and clinked glasses. He hated the thought of abandoning Paris, but a year was long enough. Time to move on. The only city he’d put down roots was New York. It would be nice to see it again. Not soon, but one day.
* * *
Two days later, the media was full of news about the daring heist resulting in the loss of one of the world’s most famous and valuable paintings. Seated at his desk at work, Peter read about it online.
Jones stuck his head in. “You heard?”
“The Raphael? It seems someone bypassed a security system that was reputed to have been invincible.”
“Remind you of anyone we know?” he asked hesitantly. Neal’s death was sometimes a touchy subject.
Peter grinned. “Neal’s fingerprints are all over this.”
He nodded. “Except… he’s dead.”
Peter lit up inside. “What if he’s not?”
Peter shrugged. “Neal had his doubts the attorney general would sign the contract, giving him his freedom. Isn’t it feasible Neal went for the long con? That he’d planned to fake his death weeks, maybe months before he “died?”
“But you saw the body, attended the funeral.”
“There are drugs that can fake death, and switching coffins would be easy for someone with Caffrey’s skills.” Peter sat back, lacing his fingers over his chest. “And there’s something else.” He told him about finding the storage container.
Jones propped one hip on a corner of Peter’s desk. “Do you really think he’s alive?”
“Maybe.” Peter smiled. “Probably.” He lightly smacked the desk. “The ultimate con! And I’m betting he got away with a huge sum of money from that last job. Keller had a bag full of it when he went down, and there were hundred dollar bills scattered around the place where Neal was shot.” It hadn’t been difficult to figure out the sequence of events; Mozzie must have siphoned off a small fortune during the Panther’s robbery and escaped with it somehow, providing him and Neal with plenty of startup cash for their escape.
“FBI doesn’t have jurisdiction in this matter.”
“No, but I have some vacation coming. El and I haven’t been to Paris in years.” He closed the laptop and stood. “I think it’s time we saw the Eiffel Tower again.”