A/N: Just a little one-shot that I've had brewing in my mind for a while. The title is from the soundtrack Halo 3, which I thought was very appropriate, and the lyrics Neal sings is from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban soundtrack A Window to the Past by John Williams, which he also composed the lyrics with Emma Watson (or so I've read). Please review to let me know what you think. There will be five more stories that have to do with these characters, so just know this will not be the end of the mystery surrounding my character. :)
Disclaimer: I own nothing that your recognize
Neal Caffrey had a huge smile on his lips. Apparently his clever friends, Mozzie and Alex, had stashed the Nazi treasure for him–and for Mozzie, of course–a couple of days ago. Now all he needed was time to plan an escape. His smile slightly faded. Then again he loved this life. Sure it was a pain being on house arrest and whatnot, but Peter, Elizabeth, June, Sara, Jones, and Diana have all become a family and Neal knew he wasn't ready to let that go just yet. He knew Mozzie would have a fit and would probably leave with the treasure, but it was the chance of having a family again he would risk.
Entering his room he heard laughter on the large balcony and wondered who had come to visit June. Although he didn't want to pry, Neal couldn't help but feel a familiar pull at the laughter mingling with June's. Walking outside he was taken aback to see a familiar face. Too long has he seen her–not since the war she had told him about eight years ago. Because of that war she had to grow up a lot quicker than he did as a child. Many can tell she is young but once you gaze into her light gray eyes you can tell she is much older.
As her soft voice flowed over him Neal realized what she was saying making him recover from the shock and flushed furiously. He quickly spoke, interrupting the story. Seriously, she had to go and tell June that story?
"That's enough, Black. Stop bothering June with your nonsense."
The twenty-four year old girl sitting across the woman–who not only inspired him with her knowledge of being con artists herself but her deceased husband as well–chuckled at how flustered Neal was. Her light gray eyes twinkled with mischief as she stared at him.
"Aw, come on Neal it's a great story! The big con artist as a teen running stark naked as the day he was born down the street with the cops behind him is a good story!"
Neal felt his face flushed even darker, glaring at the younger woman. June laughs again, able to imagine an even younger Neal doing just that. Actually she can picture him doing just that now but with more dignity of course. June smiled when the younger woman squealed as Neal picked her up from her chair and turned in a circle. She watched as he dropped her legs down to hold her waist and just twirled them, hugging the woman as close to him as he possibly could.
From what June had gathered Neal and the woman were related–distant cousins of sorts. But as they spoke for the two hours she had come looking for Neal there was something…odd about her and June couldn't place it. Usually she was good at figuring people out but this time the woman was a complete mystery. She had the same observation stare that Neal had, but it seemed deeper and digging into your soul.
Neal stopped spinning and dropped the woman to the ground, holding her at arm's length, grinning like a mad man. He looked over her outfit, his grin widening into a smile. She was wearing a white long sleeve that was a camouflage crinkle fabric with lace trim around the empire waist and the neckline to the shoulders. The open vest she had over it was a v-neck scoop and with three buttons that was to secure it and a racer-back style with a ribbon tied in the back. Her tight skinny jeans were tucked into peep toe booties that were made of lace material. To complement the look she wore on her right arm many mixed bangles as on her left hand she wore a large silver flower with a blue stone in the middle on her ring finger and a burnished black knuckle shield accented with multi-stone black shimmering rhinestones. And when she shook back her hair it was finished off with blue feather tear drop earrings that dropped down to brush against her collar bones.
"Well, aren't you as stylish as ever? What are you doing here? I thought you would never come back to the states since you're all still cleaning up?" Neal asked as he took them back over to the table.
The woman grinned and plopped his black fedora hat off his head and placed it on hers, slanting it to cover her left eye. "And since when have you been stylish?"
She laughed as Neal rolled his eyes, clearing his throat as he smoothed out invisible wrinkles from his jacket. Neal grinned and slanted her a look only to see her own smile was more somber than joy. Seeing and feeling the shift of moods between the mystery girl and the FBI con artist June knew that it was her time to leave the two to talk.
"Well, I do say that it was nice meeting you, Ria Persephone Black." June smiled and leaned over to hug the younger woman. "I truly do love your name."
Ria smiled, "Thank you June. I promise I will bid you goodbye before I have to leave again."
June chuckled, walking away. "I will hold you against that. But you should stay a while…maybe have a few dinners with us."
Ria chuckled, stretching out her legs as she turned to look at the handsome grinning man sitting across from her. "Lovely woman, I can see why you like to stay here; aside from the view, of course."
Neal chuckled, stretching out his own legs before placing his ankle on his knee. "So, what brought you back dear cousin?"
The young woman sat up and looked towards the open doors before looking back at Neal. Excitement and sadness mingled as one, but the con artists can tell that there was some big news that had not only impact her life, but was going to impact his as well. Despite all that they went through during the summers that she would return from school–except the summer and school term of her sixth and seventh year where she had decided to help out some friends–they were as close as the blood line coursing through their veins.
"I have found a distant cousin of ours, Neal. He lives in Portland, Oregon with a fiancé and he's a cop."
Neal chuckled, "I guess working on the good side runs in the family."
Ria shakes her head at the inside joke. "Yes, well, he only received the gift after his aunt had died. Apparently he is the last of the blood line of that family–killed in a accident but I think that was a cover up for the real thing."
"Now, how would you know such a thing?" Neal smirked, Ria grinning back.
"I want to go to Portland and speak with him, let him know that he's not alone in having the gift."
Neal sighed softly, staring at his cousin. He knew that Ria meant well, but to enter into another world where even she knows so little of would be not only dangerous for her but for their distant cousin as well. Then again it would be good to keep in touch with a distant cousin, even if it's to only ask questions if no one else can't or will understand. Especially when Ria barely leaves the world she mostly grew up in since she first received that damn letter.
The con artist scolded himself. Just because that world had took his only close relative–his little sister–doesn't mean that she still isn't family. She loves that world and why would he deny that of her? It's what and who she is, more or so then the other blood that runs course through them and now this new distant cousin. The blood of the other world runs thicker and over powers any other blood–and he and his aunt had found that out when Ria was able to do more than just see the true faces of those that walk among them.
"He might need help one day, Neal." Ria told him softly, having some idea what her cousin was thinking.
Neal shifted uncomfortably, hating how she always knew what he was thinking. "I know Ria, and I understand. But are you ready to enter another world where you've barely been able to understand yourself?"
Smiling Ria reached over to her cousin and take his hands. She knew what he meant, and what his concerns were, but to have another family member–even a distant one–with the same blood line is one to keep close and always help when they needed and vice versa. Then there was the idea that was conjured up on the day her best friend had come to her with a book concerning their blood line. Ria needed to get away from the world she had grew up and come to love. Away from the pain and the sadness that still lingered from the war–even after eight years since it ended.
However she noticed that several family members of their blood lines was stopped in the mid or late eighteenth hundreds. Ria needed to do lots of research to find the others–because Ria knew there are others–and keep in touch with long lost cousins. Perhaps when that happens she can show them what this newly discovered cousin has done with his gift and his career. He's actually doing good rather than just killing like that of their blood had done for so many centuries before.
"I've been learning on and off, Neal. Only now I will be learning more since I won't be returning to Britain any time soon." she squeezed his hand in reassurance, knowing he always worried over her. "Besides, what I don't know we can learn together. I will be leaving tonight, but I will send emails of what's going on and what I have in mind. I just might need your expertise at the FBI building."
Neal stared at his cousin in wonder before laughing. He should be used to this by now. His cousin was great at finding out information, no matter how deep it's hidden, but it seemed that she wanted to involve him now more than ever now that she has returned to the states. However he knows something had happened back in Britain and it was time for his cousin to answer those questions.
"What's happened in the last eight years, Ria?"
Ria's smile faltered, her light gray eyes falling to the top of the beautiful glass table. "I couldn't do it anymore, Neal. Even after eight years that pain and sadness still lingered on everyone–on me–especially when the anniversary came around."
Neal leans forward and takes hold of her hand once again, gripping tightly to give her the comfort she desperately needed. He couldn't begin to imagine what she could have gone through during her teenage years or a war that could have been stopped if her email was anything to go by. But at least he was now there, in person, to help her heal and to move on.
"Ria you did the best you could have to help and save your friends, your family. It was a war,"
Neal frowned sadly, his hand tightening. Ria shook her head and quickly stood, pacing away from her cousin and the table. She stood by the stone wall to look towards the Chrysler building as the sun started to sink down the west side, holding back tears that threatened to let loose. She felt Neal slowly turn her around and hugged her to him, the first sob breaking through the noise of the street below.
"You were bound to lose loved ones, Ria." he told her softly over her sobs, holding her tighter. "That is the price of war."
Ria held on to her cousin as she finally let out all that she was holding in since the war. Sure she had cried after the war and during the anniversary but she continued to hold on to those emotions, to the memories of death, rather than the memories before the war. Slowly the burdens start to lift off–not all of them, but some of them–and Ria admits the one thing she has kept secret for so long. Especially from her three best friends.
"I fell in love," Ria sobbed, taking Neal by surprise. "I fell in love with a man on the wrong side. He died during the battle, taking my heart with him. He was changing–was going to change sides once he caught up with me on the school grounds. But because he had to lead the other evil witches and wizards he couldn't escape and he fell to his death." she sobbed louder, "I had felt him and raced towards his location. I tried to save him, I did, but as I jumped to capture his arm he was gone. He was gone!"
"Oh Ria," Neal muttered, kissing the top of her head and holding her closer. "You'll find someone else, I promise you. There is always another so long as you let them in."
Taking shuddering breaths, Ria pulled back, wiping her face. She hated the fact that she had cried in front of her cousin, but she should have expected it. Neal was very good at bringing her emotions out, which also made him such a good con artist. But Ria hated crying in front of him, it always made her feel weak.
"Thank you, Neal, for everything. I will keep in touch, I promise."
Smiling, Neal tugs a strand of her hair. "You better. I'll let June know that you said goodbye and apologize on your behalf."
"Thank you." Ria kisses his cheek and pulls away from him, "Until next time, cousin."
Ria takes the fedora and throws it at Neal before quickly turning and disappearing with a loud crack. Neal catches the hat and chuckles at his cousin. He never got tired of her doing magic and wished, not for the last time, that he had powers like her. Twirling his hat in one hand and shoving the other in his pant pocket, Neal turned to go back inside, whistling a tune that Ria taught him from her world.
He stops by the open doors and looks up at the stars, singing softly, "And any star I choose, Watches over me, So I know I'm not alone, When I'm here on my own…"