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Title: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree
Author: dennih23
Rating: G
Characters: Mozzie, Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, El Burke
Word Count: 2772
Summary:  Mozzie’s POV in Diamond Exchange after being poisoned
Disclaimer: As always nothing belongs to me

Beta: sherylyn, all mistakes belong to me

A/N:  Fills the Poison square on my H/C Bingo Card (and it completes a bingo!)

Moz was elated, he finally had some insight into the Mosconi Codex. He arrived at Neal’s apartment, only to find it empty. He poured himself a glass of wine in celebration. Taking a sip, he enjoyed the rich flavor of the Merlot. He called Neal, only to have the call go straight to voicemail, so he left a message.

He went to take another drink when someone startled him. “You should be more careful, anyone could just sneak up behind you.” Moz knew that voice, it was Rebecca. Before he could turn and face her, everything went black….

June was kneeling next to him, patting his face when he came to. He glanced around before asking her, “Is Rebecca still here?” June shook her head, but immediately pulled out her cell phone. She tried to call 911, but then called Neal instead. After she spoke with Neal, she got up, went over to the kitchen and found a dish towel. She dampened it and came back and stood over him, keeping the cool cloth on his forehead.

He was still sitting on the floor when Neal arrived. He wasn’t surprised to see the Suit with him, but the extra agents were cause for concern.

Neal leaned over and helped him to his feet. Moz looked at Peter and Neal, “What’s with all the extra wingtips?”

He watched as the Suit checked the area before addressing him. “You said Rebecca was here.”

Moz looked at Neal. “She must have come in through the balcony. I didn’t see her. I was leaving you a voice message, when I don’t know, she knocked me out.”

June looked over at him. “Why don’t I get you some tea?”

“Something a little stronger,” he suggested.

She nodded, and offered the wingtips coffee.

The Suit signaled them to go with June. “Give us a moment.”

Moz hadn’t realized that he was scratching his arm. It was Neal that noticed and was concerned. “What wrong with your arm?”

“It’s been sore since I woke up.” He adjusted the sleeve of his shirt and exposed a red mark. He panicked, what did Rebecca do to him? “It’s a needle mark.”

“She injected you with something?” Neal sounded worried.

“It could be sodium pentothal.” Moz immediately wondered what secrets he might have revealed to her.

Peter looked at him. “Truth serum?”

“I could be under its influence right now.”

“Did you break any laws recently?” the Suit questioned him.

“Absolutely none.”

“Definitely not truth serum.”

He was relieved, but still uneasy about what he may have said. “What if I told her about my breakthrough? She could have taken the next step, she might have the diamond!”

They all startled as an unknown phone rang. Neal walked over to his bookcase and scanned the area. He pulled out a book, and found the mysterious cellphone.

Moz watched as Neal held a conversation with Rebecca. He didn’t like the look on his friend’s face, something was wrong. Neal was agitated, he knew that look, whatever Rebecca was telling him, it wasn’t good.

He listened as Neal filled them in as to what Rebecca had said. Immediately he could feel the poison flowing through his veins. He checked his pulse as the Suit rambled on about taking him to the hospital.

Big Pharm was not an option. “No death centers.”

“It’s a hospital,” the Suit exclaimed.

“Oh, they’ll have a bar-coded tramp-stamp on me before the first IV drip.”

Neal sighed, “Moz, be reasonable.”

He knew his time was limited and they were squandering it. “Why are we wasting our time arguing? We are on the verge of discovering the twin of the Hope Diamond!” He continued to check his pulse and realized it was starting to climb.

Neal was still disagreeing with him. “Your life is on the line.”

Moz knew that he potentially only had hours left, and he didn’t want to waste them in a hospital bed. He needed to be working on finding the diamond; he trusted Neal, but could only depend on himself to solve the hints that Mosconi left behind.

“I feel,” he hesitated as he realized his vision was getting fuzzy, “absolutely okay.”

Neal must have seen through him because he was insistent. “We can find the antidote, I’m taking you to a hospital right now.”

“The diamond is the antidote, and you need my help to find it. Who knows more about Masonic lore than yours truly?”

Finally the Suit agreed with him. “All right. Fill me in. Neal said you had some kind of breakthrough.”

Quickly, he explained what he had found. He had been looking at the symbols incorrectly, they were numbers, not letters. He showed Peter and Neal what he had figured out so far; only the last two symbols were not making sense to him.

Peter listened and studied the characters. “They’re coordinates.”

Sometimes he forgot how smart the Suit really was. Moz watched as Neal and Peter quickly worked on deciphering the pictograms. It really was a shame that Peter’s talents were wasted on working for The Man.

His kept rubbing his arm, the pain increasing from dull to sharp with each passing minute. He looked on as Neal punched the numbers in the laptop bringing up various locations. He worked on staying focused; they needed to figure out the message that Mosconi had left behind.

When the third try showed an old fort in Queens, instinctively he knew they found what they were looking for. “Stone, probably made by Masons.”

Neal brought up the information on the computer screen. “Fort Totten was built in 1862 for the Civil War.”

“So it existed when Mosconi was in New York City.” His instincts were correct.

Neal seemed to think so, too. “If I have a priceless diamond that needs safe-keeping, what better place than a U.S. Military installation.”

Even the Suit agreed. “I’ll let the FBI know we’re checking it out ourselves. Let’s go.”

Moz climbed into the backseat of the BMW. Peter threw his flashing light on the dashboard and hit the siren to clear traffic as they wove their way through the crowded New York City streets. He closed his eyes wondering if Peter’s erratic driving would kill him before the poison had a chance to do its job.

The Suit also contacted his minions and updated the Junior Suit on the situation. Peter wanted his team working on finding Rebecca or figuring out where she got the poison. Moz hated to admit it, but it was nice that Peter was looking out for him, and the Harvard Crew were really good. He shook his head; where did that come from, maybe the poison was reacting quicker than they expected.

Peter practically flew the car to the fort, but by the time they arrived, Moz was already feeling anxious – the clock was ticking. He followed Peter and Neal into the fort, listening to the park subservient drone on about the history of the building. The man really didn’t know half of what kind of secrets the walls held. As they talked, he kept looking for any symbols that Mosconi had planted. It was important to stay alert, but he was having trouble, his felt his chest constrict and breathing was becoming difficult.

Finally Burke managed to get rid of the ranger, so they could get down to business. Neal took the lead, Peter following, and he brought up the rear. He was getting nauseous and didn’t want Neal noticing.

Neal stood in the middle of an open area and looked around. “There are a million different hiding spots in this place, we need some direction.”

Peter chimed in. “I don’t see any distinctive markings or clues.”

The toxins had now been in his system for hours. He was aggravated at not being able to decode the message that Mosconi had left; it was imperative they find something quickly. Moz’s frustration took over. “Keep looking, we’ve come too far. Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.”

Neal looked at him. “Napoleon?”

“An unwavering man. He would stop at nothing to find the Hope Diamond’s twin rock, and neither will we.”

Neal approached, concern written all over his young face. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, perfectly fine, just a little hot out here.” He checked his pulse. “My pulse is up a little, it’s probably just the heat, though.” He went back to searching for clues; he was too close to give up now.

He could hear Neal and the Suit behind him. Neal sounded angry. He didn’t have time for their bickering. He headed deeper into the fort while the two argued. While they were outside fighting, he found something. He ran back to tell them.

Moz ran around the corner and spotted the two. “Thirty-three,” he shouted.

Peter questioned him. “What’s thirty-three?”

“Thirty-three steps, the winding staircase, Peter.”

Neal looked apprehensive. “Did you just call him Peter?”

“Who, the Suit?”

Neal approached him. “Your symptoms are manifesting.”

“What’s manifesting are the answers.” He explained the significance of the winding staircase, the ascension. “We need to climb.” He raced off up the stairs, tripping along the way. Knowing his time was limited, he needed to figure this out soon in order to save himself.

He counted the steps and climbed upward, anxious to discover the truth. When the stairs led nowhere he was disappointed and angry. “I don’t see anything. I’m certain that Mosconi wanted us to notice.”

Neal was right behind him. “Notice what?”

Fear got the better of him and he lashed out at his best friend. “I don’t know.”

“Okay, okay, stay calm.” Neal tried to settle his distress.

“Stay calm! I’m hours away from palming Saint Peter a twenty to get past the gate. Calm is not an option.” He scampered back inside the fort, looking desperately for any clue. He refused to give up without a fight. Rebecca would not get the best of him.

He was back inside, Neal and Peter following him. “Free masons may control the world, but not my fate. They have their hand everywhere – the all-seeing eye of the one dollar bill, the Washington Monument, MJ’s Dangerous album cover. We’re here, the thirty-third degree, the magic number, the highest level of understanding. So why can’t I see it?”

Weakness overtook him and he swayed. Neal caught him and helped lower him to the ground. That’s when he saw it. “Oh, now I see.” He passed out.

Moz had no idea how long he’d been unconscious; he woke as EMT’s were loading him onto a stretcher. He wanted to argue, but he was too tired. Now is was up to Neal to solve the riddle, get the diamond, and save him. He had faith in his friend, but needed to give him a message. As he was being led to the ambulance, he signaled Neal. “Go to the hexagon. Find my antidote.” It was all he was able to say; he hoped Neal understood.

As they continued to wheel him away, Peter leaned over and let him know the Elizabeth had been called and she was on her way to the hospital. She would stay there with him. Sometimes the Suit was okay; Elizabeth was a good friend and he appreciated that he would not be alone. She would watch out for him.

The trip to the Presbyterian Hospital was a blur. The medics kept poking and prodding him. Writing down all sorts of information. They would have a file on him now, he was doomed one way or another.

Elizabeth was waiting when he arrived at the emergency room. She stood to the side, allowing the doctors to work, but as soon as they had drawn blood, set up IV’s, and had him plugged into all sorts of equipment, she pulled a chair alongside the bed and held his hand. She squeezed his fingers. “It’s going to be all right. They’ll figure this out.”

He floated in and out of reality. There were times he was in the hospital, the lovely Mrs. Burke at his side, talking to him about going to the MOMA or visiting a new wine bar when he was healthy. They also talked about how Peter and Neal would catch Rebecca and get the antidote in time. He smiled as he lost consciousness again.

Suddenly he was in the battlefield with Napoleon at Waterloo. They were referring to him as Marquis de Grouchy. Had he been wounded? He didn’t remember how it had happened. There was a beautiful nurse with long brunette hair and beautiful blue eyes hovering over him. She seemed sad and he wanted to tell her everything would be okay, but he knew he was dying.

The woman began talking to someone he couldn’t see; then she turned and started debating with the doctor. She wanted the physician to help him, she knew how to save him. The medic was unwilling to listen, but she continued to plead her case, finally lashing out and yelling what needed to be done. He was surprised when they agreed to try her solution. He turned to her. “Merci.” She smiled at him.  He knew everything would be okay.
It did not take long before the drug they injected into his veins started to reverse the contagion. Breathing was easier, his pulse returned to normal, and he was no longer in the company of Napoleon. The two Junior Suits must have figured out what Rebecca had given him.

He was told to rest and El left, telling him she needed to run a quick errand.

She returned, bearing a gift – a nice bottle of Cabernet Franc. She teased him about asking for wine and cheese when he thought he was at Waterloo. She thought he would enjoy the wine, but remembering he was lactose intolerant she decided to forego the cheese.

Moz took the gift. “Thank you, this is lovely.” He continued to dig in the bag. “I don’t supposed there are glasses and a corkscrew in here?”

El’s eyes twinkled and she laughed as she pulled out another bag. He grinned and took the bag from her. He opened the bottle and poured them each some wine. He was enjoying the mouth-watering nectar when Neal and Peter arrived.

Neal collapsed in the chair next to the bed and gave him a look, questioning his choice of beverage. “Moz, you’re really drinking wine?”

He raised his glass in a toast. “Well, the leaf of one plant strikes me down; the fruit of another restores me. The circle of life.”

“Do you really think you should be drinking this soon after Waterloo, Grouchy?” Neal rolled his eyes.

“Ah, doctor’s orders. I was instructed to drink a lot of liquids.” Moz thought it was perfect logic, water would do nothing for him, but a good glass of wine would help cure him in record time.

He’d been told by El that Neal and Peter had found the diamond. He looked over at the Suit. “So where is this gem I almost cashed in all my chips to get?”

The Suit pulled the stone out of his pants pocket. It was magnificent. “Can I hold it?”

Reluctantly Peter gave the stunning rock to him. He was amazed at its size and beauty. He couldn’t believe he was holding the twin to the Hope Diamond!

He looked over at Neal. “So is this diamond our path to easy street?”

El glanced at her husband. “Yeah, who actually owns that?”

In typical bureaucratic fashion, Peter looked at all of them. “It’s my duty as a Federal Officer to turn it over to the State Department.” The man was no fun at all. Moz was disappointed, there should at least be some reward for recovering such a piece of history.

The Suit got up to leave, patting his leg. “Glad you’re feeling better Moz.” He took the jewel and started to head out.

Moz called out to El. “Thanks for going all Terms of Endearment on the doctor for me.” She smiled back at him. She really was special, too bad she’d married a Fed.

He made one last attempt to convince Neal they should steal the diamond, but Neal was not willing to. Neal felt his freedom, the freedom he still didn’t have, wasn’t worth the risk. Besides Neal was right, if the stone went missing, Peter would suspect them right away. He didn’t worry about it too much, there were plenty of things the Suit didn’t know about. It was time to plan the next heist.

Cross Posted at AO3


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 11th, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
*love love love* Great job, sweet friend!! *HUGS*
Aug. 12th, 2016 11:44 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, I admit I was afraid to tackle a Mozzie POV story.
Aug. 12th, 2016 09:06 pm (UTC)
He's challenging, for sure, but I think you did a lovely job with it!! <3
Aug. 12th, 2016 09:59 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it. I know I was happy with how it came out. Also an FYI, I'll probably be sending you another story this weekend to look at - I seem to be on a little bit of a roll -- the muse is cooperating for a change LOL
Aug. 12th, 2016 10:16 pm (UTC)
I thought it turned out really well!

And yay!! I love new fic to read! And double-YAY for the Muse cooperating!! <3
Aug. 11th, 2016 09:28 pm (UTC)
You know I love this ♥ Such great opportunity to see the events through Mozzie's eyes ♥ Mozzie's inner voice in the last paragraphs is priceless when he's commenting on the Suit, lol... but I kinda imagine Peter's running commentary on Moz would be equally entertaining :D

Wonderful all around :D
Aug. 12th, 2016 11:47 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm sure Peter's POV would be fun too, especially when Moz is holding the diamond - he was probably worried that between Neal and Moz they would steal the diamond right in front of him :D

I love when the three worked together to solve puzzles, they each brought something different and I miss them.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )