A/N: Ok everyone this is my first ever White Collar Fic! Please review! Its just a one-shot for now but if I can think up a story line to go along with it I might. Its about the reason why Neal hates guns so much. (And in case you are wondering, it begins when Neal is about seven. Then when it isn't written in Italics anymore, its back to present day.) And if you didn't see the Pilot episode, you may not understand the second part as much. You still will, but it wont really be the same. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: If I owned White Collar would I really be wasting my time writing about it??? I think not.

Warning: Rated T for mentions of violence and abuse, plus language.

Neal crouched down in the crawl space, shaking all over. It was so dark. So small.

He heard footsteps. Loud, stomping, angry footsteps. A sudden bright light swept over him. He squinted.

Suddenly a large hand grabbed him by the back of his shirt and dragged him out, then dropped him onto the hard ground. Neal looked up, still squinting as his eyes adjusted to the light. The man in front of him was tall, lean, and well groomed. He was wearing a $3,000 Armani suit with newly polished Gucci shoes. The man knelt down in front of Neal.

"Get me my coat." The man ordered him. Neal scampered up and ran to the closet, retrieving the man's expensive-over coat. He brought it back to him and the man snatched it away, causing Neal to stumble back into the wall.

"I'm leaving for a business meeting in five minutes, and I expect you to be in your room when I leave. Got that?" the man yelled at Neal, wagging a finger in his face.

"Yes, sir." Neal mumbled.

The man stalked upstairs, leaving Neal cowering against the wall. He only had to wait five more minutes, then he would be safe. Just five minutes. He bolted upstairs to his room. He had to make sure he followed the man's orders.

Several minutes later, the man slammed the door behind him and got into his Charger, zooming away. Neal watched from his bedroom window. When he was sure he was gone, Neal crept out of his room and down the hallway. One of the advantages of living in a mansion were the multiple bedrooms lining the halls. If the man happened to come back, Neal could just dart into one of the rooms, and the man would never know the difference between that and his own room.

Neal went down into the kitchen to see if there were any new boxes of cereal in the pantry. He loved getting the prizes out of the boxes. There was one box of Sugar-O's. On the front there was a large caption bubble that said "Free Prize Inside! Sherriff's Badge!" Neal tore open the top of the box and dug his hand deep down inside. After a few moments of digging, he felt a hard, plastic object in his hand. He pulled it out to reveal a gleaming plastic Sherriff's badge. He pinned it to the pocket of his pants and left the pantry. He couldn't find anything else to do, so he went back up to his room.

When he opened his bedroom door, he saw his dog Sammy sitting on top of his bed. Sammy was a Golden Retriever, pure breed and well groomed, just like the man. Neal clapped his hands together and yelled, "Come here, Sammy!"

Sammy jumped down from the bed and trotted over to him, greeting the boy with an all-over licking. Neal laughed and motioned for Sammy to follow him over to his bed. He took out a book and lay down, and then let Sammy jump up and lay next to him.

He was on the last chapter of the book when he fell asleep. The book lay fallen on his stomach, and Sammy was stretched out beside him, snoring. He lay asleep like that for several hours, until the sound of the front door slamming woke him. The man was home.

Heal jumped up out of bed, causing Sammy to jump off and run out of the room. Neal was thankful that the man loved Sammy almost as much as he did. He would never hurt Sammy. If only he could say the same for Neal.

Neal looked around frantically for a place to hide. He decided his best bet would be to fake-sleep until he knew his father was gone. So he dove into his bed, pulled the covers up to his chin, hit off the light switch, and lay motionless in the dark room. Minutes passes before he heard his door creak open. The man came over to the side of his bed and knelt down. Neal could already smell the alcohol on his breath. The man leaned forward and whispered a slurred sentence into Neal's ear.

"I know your awake, son."

Neal stayed still and quiet, hoping his father would fall for his act. Unfortunately, he was too smart for that, even in his drunken state.

At first, everything was quiet. Neal lay there patiently waiting to be pulled from his bed and thrown onto the floor. But instead, he felt a cold metal object being pressed to his head. He opened the eye facing his father, and saw a 9mm Sig placed calmly against his temple. His father sneered. Neal gulped and waited. He waited for the one shot that would put him out of his misery. The gun made a click as his father set the automatic lever. He saw his large finger move slowly towards the trigger.

_________

Neal was slouched against a pillar in the middle of Kate's apartment. In his hand he held an empty wine bottle. It was light and empty. He lightly tossed the bottle between both hands, reading the brand over and over again.

He heard footsteps. Loud, approaching footsteps. A familiar voice greeted him from behind.

"I see Kate moved out."

Neal blinked away the few tears threatening to appear and swallowed, remaining silent. He heard Peter approaching.

"She leave you a message in that?" Peter asked.

"The bottle is the message." Neal finally answered solemnly.

"It's been awhile." He countered.

"Yeah." Neal answered. "A few years, give or take."

"You carrying?" Peter asked, already knowing the answer.

"You know I don't like guns." Neal said. Memories of that moment flashed through his mind. The footsteps. The cold metal barrel of the gun, pressed against his temple. It all came back.

"Ya know they asked me, what makes a guy like you pull a boneheaded escape with four months ago?"

"I guess you figured it out." Neal said to Peter, still lingering on the memories of the gun.

"Kate sais Adios to you at prison, then gets busy with her disappearing act. The trail ends here." Peter said. "But you already know that."

"I missed her by two days." Neal said, his eyes fixating on nothing.

"Still, it only took you a month and a half to escape the super max. I'm damn impressed."

Peter took out his walkie talkie said, "All clear. Suspect identified and unarmed."

Neal heard a muffled, "Roger that." From the other end.

"Are we surrounded?" Neal asked.

Peter nodded.

"How many?"

"Including my agents, and the Marshalls… all of them, I'd say." Peter answered nodding.

Neal nodded and placed down the bottle.

"What's the message?" Peter asked.

Neal put the bottle on the floor beside him and said, "Goodbye."

"Women." Peter said sarcastically and smiled.

Neal let out a small laugh, but kept his eyes away from Peter, staring at the floor beside the bottle.

"They're gonna give you another four years for this ya know."

"I don't care." But the way Neal said it, Peter could tell her really cared. What he couldn't tell was that at that moment, Neal was having images passing through his head. Images of men walking side by side with the prisoners, carrying large fully-loaded guns. Deadly guns. Guns that could kill you in half a second.

Neal moved his head to face Peter, and after a second let out a small laugh. When Peter didn't ask why, Neal said, "That's the same suit you were wearin' the last time you arrested me."

Peter shrugged and looked down at his suit. "Classics never go out of style."

Neal looked curiously at Peter's shoulder. He raised an eyebrow and looked at Peter. He went to reach his hand out, but stopped himself halfway when he remember that a criminal reaching for an FBI agent could be taken the wrong way. Peter didn't seem to mind, he almost looked amused, so Neal reached forward again and plucked a small red fiber off of his jacket.

"You know what this is?" Neal asked as he held the fiber between his fingers.

"No idea. I got it from a case I was supposed to be working on before they yanked me off to find you."

"You think you'll catch him?" Neal asked.

"Don't know. He's good. Maybe as good as you."

Neal laughed softly, then looked Peter in the eye and held up the fiber.

"What's it worth if I tell you what this is? Is it worth a meeting?" Neal asked, his voice coming out quicker as he heard the agents approaching.

"What're you talkin about?"

"If I tell you what this is, right now, will you agree to meet me back in prison in one week? Just a meeting?"

Peter hesitated for a moment, and then answered.

"Ok."

"It's a security fiber from the new Canadian hundred dollar bill."

At that moment dozens of FBI agents and Marshalls rushed in. Caffrey put his hands up in surrender and allowed them to cuff him. As they dragged him away he reminded Peter, "One week."

Peter stood watching as the con was dragged away, wondering if he could possibly be right. Well, there was only one way to find out. Peter left the apartment and headed back to the FBI building.

A/N: Hope you liked it! I felt bad for poor little Neal! Review please! Reviews make me smile! Please don't be cruel, its my first White Collar fic. Its just a one shot for now, but if anyone out there has ideas, let me know because I would love to continue it! :D

-AgentDiNozzo13