Warnings and Content None
Spoilers Events from the Pilot and Countdown
48 hours. Mozzie gave him 48 hours to choose. 2 days. 2,880 minutes. 172,800 seconds. It sounded like plenty of time but Neal knew better. 48 hours was the difference between having Kate and losing her forever. 48 hours was the eternity between the surfacing of the Degas and his swan dive off the 43rd floor. 48 hours was the time he had to decide the course of the rest of his life.
He felt trapped between what had been and what could be. Like an insect encased in amber – frozen in that split second of time. Wondering which part of his life was real and which part was a house of cards that could fall at the slightest breeze. And that damn hourglass perched on the corner of the table didn’t help matters. Neal swore he could hear each grain of sand as it hit the bottom.
When he was younger he would have jumped at the chance to run, to pull the ultimate job. To feel the visceral rush of freedom, answering to no one but himself. Knowing that the plans he created and put in place were successful. Always searching for that final, last, perfect con. The one that would fill the void inside that only now he realized was empty. The one that would complete him.
Now was different. Now was Elizabeth…Sara…stepping off the elevator Monday mornings on the 21st floor. Now was June…the view…long hours in the van. Now was knowing that what he was doing was helping people instead of hurting them.
But most important of all…now was Peter. Someone who he'd never thought would be the most important person in his life. Someone who, no matter how badly he screwed up, always seemed to be right there to catch him when he fell. Someone who, if he was completely honest with himself, he trusted more than anyone else.
And in the deepest part of the night, when secrets shined brighter than stars, someone who he loved.
Exhausted, his head pillowed on his arm, Neal's fingers touched the hourglass as he watched the last grains of sand slip through the funnel and drop one....by one....by one towards the inevitable final decision.