[B]Fandom:[/b] White Collar
[B]Characters:[/b] Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke
[B]Summary:[/b] He just wanted to follow
suspects. But who knew the world will
[B]Author Notes:[/b] In the wake of tragedy
that happened November 21. I woke up
yesterday morning in tears and just had to get
this off my chest.
There may come more from where this came...
because tragedy shook the whole nation...
RIP 54 people, and 13 still missing (current
info on media) may the God be with us all and
those involved the most....
It was all darkness. And lots of pain and
something he couldn't tell, yet.
All he knew was that something very wrong
happened. But what else he knew was that it
wasn't the shopping center he was in before.
No, this was something else.. Much more
horrid.. Something he never in his con-man's
life ever expected to ever be a part of his life.
Pretty much like jail, this was nowhere near his
But Neal did not have time, nor energy for
starting thinking over his life. Well, it could be
one of many things, but right now be had
something heavy pushing him against a hard,
cooling surface, a weak nagging at his gut told
it might be floor. Whatever it was it wasn't
comfortable. His back was already feeling like
crushed between something but most likely it
was only the heavy something on top of him
causing all this uncomfortablesness.
His head only started to feel what might later
be described as the migraine of the century.
But Neal Caffrey knew he was majorly screwed
and that there definitely was something more
important than his growing headache.
Something like people calling for help and kids
screaming for their parents.
And that was the needed click for Neal to
recall the latest minutes before the world
around collapsed onto everyone inside the
It had been his own idea. Nobody made him
do it. But Neal being Neal felt this as his job to
dig until dug out. That was most likely
ingrained in his brain to do whatever to help
Peter close his cases and not care for whatnot
glitches that might happen on the way.
Well, that or prison, was Neal's mantra half the
time he inwardly fought the voices of reason
trying in vain to get his brain drop the plan
and turn around before too late.
Not in this instance. He'd followed some of the
art thieves into the oversruffed store just to
see what they had in mind, because Peter
would crack the case much faster if Neal found
something to use. So, ignoring his inner Mozz,
telling and kicking and screaming to finally
start thinking with his own brain, Neal walked
inside after the trio disappeared into the
He noticed them going through shelves of stuff
Neal didn't even see, so focused on the task at
hand. Would Peter ever believe him if he
claimed to have the skill of being calm and
concentrated on something for more than a
second or two? Oh right, given his alleged
forgeries it might be possible. But definitely
not whenever at office in front of the cold
What the ex-con never suspected, while
roaming through the store and watching what
the baddies were doing, was that all of a
sudden terrible noise, almost explosion-like,
would be followed by everything being plunged
into darkness as the whatever rubble and other
whatnots rained down onto all the people
The FBI consultant never ever had imagined
himself being in this kind of situation because
it was such an absurd thought. And come on,
he was a con, he lived the high life, he was
always sleek and elusive. Why and how on
earth someone like him could end up in a
situation like this?
He had probably passed out because suddenly
it was this excrutiating pain stabbing through
his left ankle.... Anklet! Right. His so much
"beloved" anklet that he somehow had fallen to
rely on. The thing he hated but loved at the
same time. His only connection with the
outside world now.
He tried to see if there was any damage but, of
course, it was dark. And he was pinned down
to ground by something or other. Neal grit his
teeth and tried to wiggle. Only resulting in all
kinds of pain spiking throughout his rather
But he could feel his arms moving about. Not
like he could really feel his body being touched
That was downright confusing. And helluva
scary. But for the moment he couldn't feel
fear. It was more the feeling unfair or anger
than actual fear.
Shock obviously, Neal decided finally and
He needed to call Peter. And at that second,
before any other thought appeared, he wished
the store had the end of his radius somewhere
around the spot he was lying about. But he so
doubted his luck today.
Right at that he encountered another issue. His
cell phone. It was somewhere. But for the love
of life Neal could not think where it might be.
He was flailing with his arms, trying to ignore
the other people pleas and endless screams.
But his brain suddenly seemed stuck. No
thought made sense anymore and he felt like
He'd passed out again. Obviously.
At least the nap had made his brain connect
again. His hand already onto task, as if it had
its own mind, and, yes, the phone was just
right there, in his pants pocket. Not jacket, but
pants pocket. His subconscious obviously
shared Peter's gut feelings.
It took a while of fiddling around with the
thing, fingers clumsy and slipping about the
screen from the blood on them, before Neal
could actually bring it up to his eyes. And
there was another problem finally presenting
itself. He couldn't see... All was blurry and the
small, but bright, light of the phone's screen
sent stabbing pain to his brain, increasing the
building pain in his skull.
Miraculously enough the thing had enough
reception so calling wasn't-shouldn't- be a
problem. Only his own eyes.
He could not tell how much time passed from
the moment he ditched the calling to the
moment his phone vibrated happily. At first he
felt too sluggish to even understand what it
was, but then slowly he connected again.
"Hello?" His voice was barely a weak whisper,
so fragile and creaking.
"Neal?" Came Peter's voice, flooding Neal with
joy and relief.
"Peter, I didn't run, I swear." He said, his
mind suddenly thinking Peter had called
because of his anklet beeping because there
had been the invisible line of his radius.
"Neal? Are you alright? What's going on?" The
agent asked, worry clear in his voice. And Neal
felt his eyebrows scrunching together in
"Um... I dunno, Ptr..." his tongue stumbled
over, already loosing stability. It was too dark
to tell whether or not Neal's vision was clear,
or if he was dizzy or not. He just felt like his
brain had been replaced with cotton balls. Or
that sugar puff children loved to eat so much.
"Neal?" Peter's voice called the young man
back to reality. "Are you alright, buddy?" He
was asking again. Neal wanted to throw a
pillow at him, but unfortunately he lacked one
and Peter seemed too far away.
"I'm sorry..." was the universal response of
Neal's. "I-I didn't mean, but then they went
inside and I thought of following them
inside..." the strangely sounding younger man
on the other side of the line suddenly broke
into violent coughing fit. It) instantly made
Peter worried. He launched the anklet's
monitoring program on his computer.
There the older man got confused. It showed
weirdly trembling signal of his CI's anklet, but
it still said he was well within his radius.
Actually.... he was inside some middle class
shopping mall. He'd seen the place himself
when passing by on occasion. Rather simple
building- single floor, one exit, concrete, metal
and glass. Probably cheap building. Absolutely
nothing that would make Neal want to use it.
"Neal? You there?" He spoke into his phone,
upon hearing the end of the coughing.
"P'tr..." was all he could hear, a weak whisper
full of asking for help, before only background
noise came through.
The background noise....
Now he could hear people screaming and
calling for help, some other sounds and
something like creaking and other
In one fluid motion the agent grabbed remote
and turned on tv. It was already on a news
channel and in instant he was greeted by
horrible sight. That shopping place was barely
recognizable. All kinds of debris and whatnot
scattered around the ground at the entrance.
Loads or rescue workers climbing up and down
the piles of rubble, police securing the scene
and holding back the people who tried to
reach closer. Many medics already working on
injured and waiting for more being taken out
to them. He could see all kinds of equipment
being used for getting all the stuff away from
entrance, walls that weren't yet crumbled.
For the moment the world of Peter Burke
stopped spinning. According to the data Neal
was right in the middle of all that. And he
wasn't responding anymore..
What happened next Peter might not
remember. That was when his life blurred out
Only at the site, with his phone stuck to ear he
could see the world again.
And this was so much more than it seemed on
tv. This was far more crushing sight. Far more
For a moment he was just standing there and
watched at the horrendous sight. Many people
were taken out of collapsed store building and
medics were rushing to take them further.
Some kid cried out at one of the victim,
possibly a mother. And this alone made his
heart stop beating for a second.
Just when he could suddenly hear a sharp
intake of air and a cough from the phone still
pushed to his ear.
"Neal..." he choked out. And he got no other
response from his CI, from his friend. And it
was enough to set a very bad feeling in his gut.
It was untellable amount of time later when
Neal was connected to the world again. And as
much as it brought relief it just as much called
in an unintelligible amount of pain coursing
through his body. In midst of it he thought
there were hands. Maybe not.
But something was happening. And it was
slowly seeping through the layers of his
But before anything snapped in place there was
one really bright light piercing through his
eyes straight into brain, sending stabbing pain
deep into his being.
And suddenly some wavering noises reached
through and Neal heard voices. Thought he
heard at least. Through the haze of the agony
he had trouble to decide what could be real
and what not.
However, there was one touch.
The only touch in the whole world he
recognized and from that moment on felt safe
until the very end...
Neal had been lucky. As lucky he could be. And
Peter had trouble to stomp down his relief of
the sight: his CI being carried out by the hands
of rescue workers.
He was worried about the younger man's state,
but also very happy to see the guy alive,
breathing and weakly batting his hand at
Peter rushed over to the medics Neal was
being taken to and with only just a little flash
of his badge was allowed to get attached to
Neal's hand for the rest of the way to hospital.
He kept whispering all the assuring words he
knew, and heard from El, to try to make Neal
feel better. Safer.
It all returned some really unknown time later.
He couldn't tell of course.
But waking up with Peter attached to the other
end of his right hand was actually a sight he
felt happy about. And also pretty surprised.
Before a thought settled in.
He didn't move. Just watched the older man.
His friend. His family.
And the thought alone made him feel happy
and safe. And only after a while he realized
there were tears streaming down his face, and
he was grinning from ear to ear.
He was okay. He was safe.
Peter was there...