Title: The Conman, The Arms Dealer, and The FBI Agent
Author: Shlee Verde
Summary: Peter figured he'd be aiming a gun in Neal's direction at some point. He just never thought it'd be under these circumstances. Oneshot friendship fic. No slash. First White Collar fic.
Rating: T (because there's guns and stuff)
A/N: We watched clips from "Once Upon a Time in the West" and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" in my production class today and this fic just popped into my head – got to love standoffs. Just for the record, I am not calling Tim DeKay ugly with my title. I just didn't want to do it to Matt Bromer. Cause…have you seen Matt Bromer?
A/N 2: Have no fear, Royal Pains fans. I am still working on the sequel to You Can't Go Home Again. But this idea would just not go away.
The Conman, The Arms Dealer, and The FBI Agent
Peter Burke sped through traffic with his siren off, praying that he didn't cause an accident. He didn't have time to deal with that right now. Neal didn't have the time.
They'd been tracking Carlo Guzman's shipments for the past few days because they knew – the whole city knew really – that Guzman was smuggling guns into the country. Neal, of course, had the simply brilliant idea of posing as a down on-his-luck ex-con wanting to make some quick cash, so he could get inside the operation. Peter hadn't liked it, had hated it in fact, but he had been forced to defer his superiors on this one. As Neal had known he would be when he oh-so-casually pitched the idea in the middle of a tactical meeting. Cheeky little bastard.
The sting had actually been going well. Until Guzman had called him using Neal's phone, demanding a meeting with the agent-in-charge within twenty minutes, or he would never see his snitch (Guzman's word, not his, never his) again.
So now Peter was rushing through downtown traffic towards the warehouse where the GPS in Neal's tracker said he was being held.
Back up was at least ten minutes out, but Peter wasted no time, rushing into the warehouse once he arrived, his gun drawn. He was brought up short by the scene in front of him.
Neal was kneeling on the floor, his hands obviously secured behind him. His face had a couple of darkening bruises on it and his mouth was bloody; Peter's heart tightened when he imagined the damage that he couldn't see. Behind him, Guzman stood holding a gun to the back of his head.
"That's far enough, pig" the muscular man growled.
Do all henchmen share a script or something? Peter managed to stop himself from showing his incredulity, but then he noticed Neal rolling his eyes. Peter shot him a warning look, begging the conman to stay silent.
For once, Neal seemed to realize how precarious his situation was and kept his mouth shut as requested. Thank God for small miracles.
"Put the gun down, Guzman" Peter let every bit of anger he felt at his friend's mistreatment drip into his voice. "You have nowhere to go."
Guzman laughed, "I think I have my ticket out right here." He tightened his grip on Neal's hair. Neal winced.
Peter's blood boiled. "Put the gun down. NOW."
"You put it down, or pretty boy here gets it."
Neal couldn't help himself, "Okay, I have to object to…" He was cut off abruptly when Guzman hit him over the head with the gun. Before Burke could move, the arms dealer had his hand fisted in Neal's wavy hair and the gun to his head again.
"Neal, you okay?" Peter couldn't stop the concern from slipping out. So much for divine intervention.
"Awesome." Neal gasped. He groaned involuntarily when Guzman pressed the gun even tighter to his skull.
"Touching boys, really," Guzman drawled. "Drop it or he dies."
Neal met Peter's gaze and, trying to look brave, gave an imperceptible shake of his head. Peter had risked so much for him already; he couldn't let him risk his life.
All Peter saw was the fear in the wide blue eyes.
He raised his hands up, holding his gun loosely in his right hand. "All right…all right, let's just talk about this…"
Guzman grinned maniacally, before rapidly moving the gun from the back of Neal's head to aim at Peter. He fired two shots.
"No!" Neal shouted and, too late, tried to use Guzman's grip on him to throw the criminal's balance off. Guzman didn't budge, but pushed Neal away to land prone on the ground in front of him. He raised the gun towards his face. Neal squeezed his eyes shut.
He heard the shots ring out, but felt no pain.
Neal looked up to see Peter Burke, standing tall like a gunslinger straight out of a spaghetti western, turned sideways with his gun arm straight in front of him. Neal glanced back to where Carlo Guzman lay slumped against the warehouse wall, a bloody mess where his chest you used to be.
Neal tried to raise himself to his feet, but moaned and started to fall back down when his bruised ribs made themselves known.
"Easy, easy." Gentle hands caught his shoulders and guided him into a sitting position. Concerned gray eyes met his, worrying over his bruises, as the warm calloused hands came up to cup his face. "You okay?"
Neal nodded. He'd never admit it to anyone, least of all Peter, but he'd never felt safer with anyone than he did with the agent. Peter gave him a small, reassuring smile, tapping his cheek affectionately with one hand before moving behind him and cutting the ropes around his wrists with his pocket knife.
Neal winced as circulation came back into his hands. Peter sat on the floor next to him and let their shoulders touch. Sirens could be heard in the distance, getting closer.
Neal raised his eyebrows. Peter shrugged, "Back up."
Neal glanced at him more closely, "Aren't you supposed to wait?"
"Sure, we're supposed to. If the whole FBI did things like they were supposed to, nothing would ever get done."
"You could have been killed," Neal stated solemnly.
"I couldn't let anything happen to you." Anything more happen. Peter made a mental note to make sure Neal didn't try to charm the paramedics into not checking him out. The younger man was trying to hide it, but it was clear to Peter that he was hurting.
"Too big of an asset to the department, huh?" Neal joked self-deprecatingly.
Any other time, he may have let the remark slide. But Peter knew that the image of Neal with a gun to his head would haunt his nightmares for weeks. "Too good a partner."
Blue eyes widened as Neal turned to him in touched surprise. Peter smiled, "The IV leaguers are all right and all, but they need some breaking in still."
Neal smiled back. "True. You still have to teach them that Man-With-No-Name gunslinger trick." In his best Clint Eastwood voice, he continued, "There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend. Those who cut and those who dig."
"That's enough out of you." Peter groused, but Neal could see the smile in his eyes. Upon seeing the rest of his team enter the warehouse along with the medics, Peter waved them over.
Neal started to whistle the theme to 'The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly'.
Peter glanced at him sideways, "You realize that if I'm the Man-With-No-Name that makes you Tuco, right?"
Neal stopped whistling immediately.
A/N 3: Wow, I got fluffy towards the end there. It's kind of funny considering I was inspired by two Sergio Leone films. Oh well, I just went with it. Sorry about all The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly references for those who haven't seen the film. It's worth seeing by the way.