A/N: Helloo. This isa whumpy story, if you don't like that, you shouldn't read it. It is also a friendship/family fic. NOT SLASH. Sorry if the characters seem kinda OOC, especially at the beginning but it had to be for the story. Also, I am aware that this is not accurate, like at all, with the building and locations and crap, but come on, it's a fanfic. It doesn't have to be perfect, right? ;) Also very angsty, cuz I'm a very morbid person. Have fun! Or, rather…. Yeah

* * * *

Neal Caffery never thought of himself as brave. Clever, maybe, even stealthy. He was confident in his skills enough to be able to pull his shenanigans off. But not brave. The other day, when that gun had been pointed at him… when she pulled the trigger…. Neal thought he was going to die. Seriously. The only thing that had saved him was that book….he now knew exactly what people meant when they said they saw their life flash before their eyes. And how exceedingly terrifying it was.

Never again, Neal thought as he walked into the office. I just can't keep doing this…. I'm sorry, Pete. I'm so sorry.

* * * *

Peter Burke was not in a good mood. His last report hadn't been accepted, Neal was late, and their latest baddie happened to be very elusive.

"Scotts! Get me that file!"

"Yessir, sorry sir."

Peter rolled his eyes. Weak. Just then, the far door swung open. Neal strode in. Peter started over, but stopped when he saw the expression on Caffery's face. That was way too serious for Neal. He spotted him, though, and began walking towards Peter.

"Neal. Where've you been?"

"We need to talk."

Crap. That did not sound like Neal. What was going on?

"Well… alright. Uh.. Follow me."

Neal did, silently, which worried Peter even more. The pair made their way through the building until they reached a small office, away from the chaos and bustle. Peter unlocked the door and let Neal in, then walked in after him and shut it. He turned to face the younger man.

"So what's up?"

Neal sighed, pressing his lips together. "I… I can't do this anymore."

Peter was taken aback for a moment. "Excuse me?"

Neal sat on the edge of the desk and rubbed his face.

"I can't… can't work with you. Can't be a consultant.

Peter stared. "Neal… listen, you've just got off a very difficult case. I understand that. You could've died, and that totally freaks you out. You just need a break, maybe with some time.."

"No. I'm sorry, Pete. I… at least jail was safe."

"Neal, listen to yourself! You don't really—."

"It would've hit my heart."

"… What?"

"If the book hadn't been there… the bullet would've hit my heart. I would've died, Pete."

Peter closed his eyes. That's what it was.

"But you didn't."


"No. Shut up. You didn't, and you won't. As long… as long as you're with me… you'll be safe."

There were a few moments of silence, the two men staring at each other. Finally, the slyest of grins grew on Neal's face.

"There's a hidden sentiment in there somewhere, I just know it."

Peter chuckled. "So we're good?"

Neal sighed. "Yeah."

Without another word, the two turned and left the office, quickly walking through the halls.

"Well, I'm glad you came around. This just might be our hardest case y-."

His words halted quite suddenly as the pair turned a last corner and were met with a horrific but frighteningly calm scene.

At least six gunmen, all dressed completely in black, were keeping the dozen agents on the floor in a tight circle in the middle of the room. One, who was obviously the leader, was pacing, spouting out orders. But the shouts stopped as he pivoted to face the two new entries.

There was an infinitely long moment of calm, the frozen peace before the storm. Then the leader turned furiously to an accomplice.

"I thought you said you had everybody." His voice was dangerously low.

"I-I-I'm sorry, sir. They must've been-I mean, I didn't, they came in a back way, I-."

He never got a chance to finish as the leader brought up his gun and pulled the trigger. The bullet hit precisely in the center of the man's forehead.

"Smith, go make sure Hates didn't miss anyone else."

The man he'd gestured to practically sprinted away.

The leader turned to Neal and Peter and gestured. "Evening, gents. Care to join us?

Peter glanced at Neal and nodded slightly. They slowly stepped over and sat down at the edge.

"Right. Now that we-hopefully-have everybody, let's get started. I used to know this guy. Worked with him a little quite a few years back. Excellent agent. But then… he turned against me. Betrayed me. I wanna talk to him."

Peter knew then. He remembered that case. Unbelievably, his old partner-Clemence- was back. A small knot of panic began to rise in his chest, but he kept up a cool façade. Until, that is, Clemence turned and cocked his gun, placing it on Neal's forehead.

"Where's Peter Burke?!"

* * * *

A/N: Oo. That was kinda short. Next one will be longer, I promise. Should be up tomorrow, too. So until then, leave lots of reviews! They are the chee to my toes! 3