Yay! My first White Collar fanfic. I've been wanting to write one for a while now. Hope this one is enjoyed.

I know I haven't written anything new in a long time. I apologize. I'm working on some stuff now.

On to the reading.


Chapter 1:

The peaceful, calm quiet of the night was blasted away by two musical notes.


Peter Burke groaned as his consciousness slammed into him. He rolled over in his bed, pulling the sheets over his head. His eyes stayed shut as he clung to the lingering remnants of a dream.

Slowly his consciousness started to ebb away as the comforting darkness of sleep crept steadily closer.

Ding-dong. Ding-dong.

Peter threw the blankets aside. He was wide awake now. He glared hatefully at the darkened ceiling above him as the door bell rang three times more.

He was tired. It was late. It was dark. It was cold outside of his bed and he could hear the distinctive tapping of rain on the roof. Who the hell was at his door at such a late hour in the rain and what the hell could they want?

His first thought was to ignore the late night intruder but – seeing as he was still awake instead of back in slumberland – that plan was no longer the best course of action.

The other option was to grab his gun from the bedside drawer, open the front door, and wave his gun in the intruder's face while yelling words along the lines of: "who the hell are you" and "what the hell are you doing on my property?".

Option two seemed like a much better way to handle the situation at the moment.

So, unwillingly, Peter stumbled out of bed. Groggy from the sudden awakening and blinded by the darkness, Peter bumped into the desk beside his bed. He let loose a low stream of curses as he pulled open the drawer and retrieved his gun. Already cold, he also went to the closet and pulled the first robe that he touched and threw it on, slipping the gun into the pocket.

Then he headed out of the room and towards the front door.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Finding no effect in ringing the doorbell, the intruder had reverted to pounding incessantly on the door.

The sound was only giving Peter a headache and worsening his already irritated mood.

He quickly turned on the living room lamp to offer some light to the black house, blinking rapidly as the brightness assaulted his tired eyes.

Then he stormed right up to the front door and threw it open.

"What?!" he yelled.

"Morning to you too, Peter," replied a calm, and familiar voice.

Peter felt his rage increase at the recognition.

"Neal!" he roared, glaring at the silhouette of Neal Caffery that stood on his doorstep.

The ex-con smiled weakly, his white teeth flashing softly from the light that trickled out of the house. His crystalline blue eyes seemed to glow; two sapphires gleaming out of a black statue.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" Peter demanded.

Neal seemed to falter as his outline fidgeted.

"I was actually hoping to see Elizabeth," he answered meekly.

"El's not here," Peter grunted. The cold was beginning to take it toll and the heat of Peter's anger started to melt away as he shivered. "She's visiting her mom for the weekend."

Neal's face – or the little of it that Peter could see in the dim light – fell.

"Oh," he said simply, clearly unhappy with the complication.

Peter sighed heavily. The only reason he didn't slam the door in Neal's face was that the ex-con came to him only when there was some sort of situation at hand. He would wait to hear what news Neal had… and then slam the door in his face. And go back to bed.

"You look very nice though," Neal said, his mood brightening suspiciously quick.

Peter looked down at his clothing, wondering what Neal was talking about. He knew Neal's words were a snide remark the moment he saw what he was actually wearing.

"The flowers are a nice touch," Neal snickered.

Due to his grogginess and the darkness of his room, Peter had accidentally grabbed Elizabeth's robe instead of his own. He was now wrapped in a light blue, fuzzy robe with a floral print of pink flowers.

Great. Just what he needed. An ex-con standing at his front door; poking fun at his wardrobe. And it was still cold. Freezing now that a soft breeze had picked up, making the rain slant and splash dangerously close to where Peter and Neal stood.

Peter didn't want to stand there any longer. He decided to get to the point.

"Neal, what do you want?" he asked with a submissive sigh.

"Well," Neal started hesitantly as his gaze shifted away from Peter's. "I was – you know – in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by and –"

"And what?" Peter interrupted. "Have a nice chat? Stay for a drink?" Peter could feel his anger returning as warmth seared up to redden his cheeks. "Damn it Neal. Do you even know what time it is?"

Neal shrugged helplessly. "I don't know. But listen –"

"Let me tell you," Peter cut in with a sarcastic edge sharpening his words. He lifted his wrist to look at his watch.

"Oh wait," he said with mock-surprise. "I can't see the time. I can barely see my watch. You want to know why?"


"It's because it's too damn dark outside! You want to know why it's so dark?"

"Peter, please…"

"It's because it's so late that the moon has already come and gone!"

Peter glared at Neal vehemently and Neal's outline fidgeted again. The rain was the only sound that broke the uncomfortable silence between the police agent and the ex-con that worked under him.

"That's what the porch light is for," Neal offered softly.

"What?" Peter was caught off-guard by the sudden statement.

"The porch light," Neal explained tiredly – wait… why was he the tired one? Peter was the one that had been so rudely awakened. "It's a light you can turn on to see what's happening outside on the porch. Much better than a moon."

Peter grumbled an incoherent complaint but indignantly flipped the switch by the door that turned on the porch light.

The darkness of night was instantly blasted away as the light turned on, creating a bright halo around Peter and Neal that protected them from the darkness just outside its barrier.

But Peter had already forgotten about the time. In fact, he had forgotten about his watch altogether as his arm fell limply to his side. His eyes widened as his mouth opened slightly at the sight before him.

"Neal," he murmured softly, all anger completely washed away.

Neal was standing pitifully on his porch, his shoulders hitched up to ward off the cold. He was soaked from head to foot, his blue suit nearly black from the water that covered it in a cold, wet layer. His brown hair stuck to his forehead and neck as droplets of water trickled down his hair to drip down his cheeks.

What Peter had originally thought to be Neal fidgeting with discomfort was actually Neal shivering from the cold.

Neal was a sad sight: shivering on the porch, wet and cold. His blue eyes gazed pleadingly at Peter as he shoved his pale hands into his coat pockets.

Without a moment's hesitation, Peter tugged the robe off and stepped out into the cold. He threw the robe over Neal's shoulders and tucked it around the younger man to protect him from the cold.

Gently placing his hand on Neal's back, Peter guided the shivering man into his house, closing the door behind them.

"Jesus Neal," Peter said. "What the hell are you doing out?"

Neal pulled the robe tighter around him. "Oh, the usual," he replied snidely with a sniff.

"Don't say that," Peter chuckled. "I'll have to put you back in jail if that were true."

Neal tried to laugh but it turned into a cough, followed by a sneeze. Peter shook his head in amazement.

"You sure are an idiot."

Peter led Neal to the living room and eased the ex-con onto the couch. Neal sat with a heavy sigh, sinking into the cushions as he leaned back. Peter watched him worriedly.

"How you feeling?" he asked gently.

Neal tilted his head to meet Peter's gaze. His blue eyes were oddly dull and had lost the usual mischievous spark.

"Like I was standing in the rain all night," Neal answered with a sly smile. The light didn't reach his eyes.

Peter nodded as he straightened.

"Wait here," he ordered in a firm voice but doubted Neal would actually move anywhere anyway in his current condition.

Peter quickly trotted back to his room and grabbed a worn pair of long slacks and a faded shirt that he no longer wore from his closet. He grabbed a few towels from the bathroom and bounded back to the living room.

Neal was in the exact same spot, the robe still tight around him. Peter could see that the man was still shivering under the robe. Neal's head was tilted back to lean against the top of the couch, exposing his neck; the skin glistening in the soft light. His eyes were closed and his breathing was irregular and coming out in ragged gasps from between his lips.

He was so pale.

He looked so fragile huddled on the couch. All his usual spunk and defiance was gone. Peter was determined to know what had happened to the ex-con but knew he had to wait. Neal's personal health came first and right now he was freezing.

"Neal," Peter called gently.

Neal's eyes fluttered open as he lifted his head to face Peter. He offered the agent a sleepy smile.

Peter extended his load of clothes and towels to the younger man.

"Here," he said, indicating the pile. "Dry yourself and change into these clothes. They may not be your style but they're dry and better than what you're wearing now."

Neal seemed to be having trouble following what Peter was saying. His head bobbed as he tried to keep it up. His eyes were glossy and distant. He seemed ready to pass out.

"You can change in the bathroom," Peter continued. "I'll make you some coffee and then you are going to tell me what happened."

Peter fixed Neal with a hard stare; one that commanded that Neal follow his orders if he wanted to stay in the warm house.

Neal got the point.

The younger man struggled to rise to his feet. When he finally stood, he swayed for a moment. Peter reached out a hand to steady the ex-con and Neal offered him grateful smile.

Peter placed the pile of dry material into Neal's arms and pushed him off in the direction of the bathroom. Neal stumbled away, clutching the pile of clothes and towels.

When Peter heard the bathroom door close, he left for the kitchen.


Poor Neal. It's just so easy to write about him as the lost little puppy.

Hope you like it so far. The explanation is coming up next.

Keep with me will ya? I'm a little rusty.

Until next time,