A/N: Non-slash, love between friends. Spoilers for "Out of the Box."

This is totally speculation but what I think would be the logical continuation of the story.

Keeping it under con trol.

By Ultracape

Damn the kid, he had no idea, no notion of what the explosion meant.

Peter could feel the heat from the plane even this far away as he held Neal tighter as he struggled to get away from him, struggled to run to his death. "I was supposed to be on that plane, I'm supposed to be with Kate, I'm supposed to save her, I'm supposed to be dead."

The harder Neal struggled the tighter Peter held him. He just didn't get it and if he couldn't get Neal to understand very quickly then it would probably be better for everyone if Peter let him run into the flames. It could be safer for him and El, safer for Diane, even safer for June, Moz and Alex. It would be easier on all of them, especially Neal. Neal was going to have to face some hard truths if he was going to stay alive.

But damn it, he'd been trying to save this kid from himself for years, trying to set him on the path to the rich and fulfilling life, the useful life that Peter knew was in Neal's grasp if he'd only take it, only stop trying to live a fairytale.

Peter could hear the sirens of approaching emergency response vehicles. In minutes there would be firemen, EMT's, police, FAA and FBI agents, and G-d only knew who else, dozens of people swarming all over the place. There could be someone spying on them now, just to make sure the job was done right, though Peter didn't think so. No one except Diane and Fowler knew he'd be here. Fowler wouldn't have told Peter where Neal would be if he'd plan on his death.

Besides, no one knew that Peter was the only one, the only thing that could have kept Neal off of that plane. Only Neal knew that. Except for their friendship and trust, it was a sure thing that Neal would have been on that plane, would be dead and literally no one would have been the wiser, except for his murderers. He had to get Neal away, and fast.

Neal's struggles had grown a bit weaker but Peter could feel Neal trembling and hear him gasping for breath, possibly from shock, possibly from sobs, and then he realized his hands were streaked with blood where he held Neal. Neal's back had been toward the plane when it exploded, some of the shrapnel must have hit him.

Peter loosened his grip long enough to see that Neal was still fighting him. "I'm sorry," he said just before he punched him in the jaw with just enough force to knock Neal out.

Bending down he hefted Neal into a fireman's carry, "How can such a skinny guy weight so much?" He grabbed Neal's bag from where it had dropped and got him back to where he had parked his car.

Laying him down on his stomach in the back seat, Peter pushed Neal's shredded and blood stained clothes aside to take a look at where he was hurt. While there didn't seem to be any projectiles sticking out of his back, he was covered in cuts and scratches, some of which were slowly oozing blood. Possibly, probably some metal, plastic and glass could be imbedded in his skin. It certainly wasn't immediately dangerous but it could cause severe problems if they weren't all properly removed later.

Peter cut the clothes away from Neal's back just in case there was anything there that would cause further damage. He got his first aide kit from the trunk and cleaned his friend up as best he could and then covered him with a lap blanket he kept in the car. He then gave him a shot against possible infection as well as pain. He would be in a lot of pain.

Neal needed some medical attention, he needed a place to hide, at least until he came to his senses, but it had to be where Peter could reach him.

Sitting back for a moment, Peter went through his options. He was on suspension but even if he wasn't, it would be child's play to trace Neal through Peter and Peter just didn't have the contacts, the resources to keep Neal safe. Peter had deep cover training himself, every F.B.I. agent had, but in 20 years with the agency, while he'd gone undercover from time to time, he'd never had to disappear.


If there was one person who both Neal and Peter had been able to count on it was the little anarchist who was totally off the radar. He'd managed to raise non-existence from all authority and government, to an art. Plus, he loved Neal as much as Peter did, probably more.

It didn't take long for Moz to answer the phone. "Haversham, it's the suit, Neal's hurt, he's in danger and need's a place to hide out for a while."

"But I thought…Is anyone looking for him?"


"Makes a difference what I can do and where we can go."

"I don't think so, at least not yet."

"Does he need a doctor?"

"To be on the safe side, yes."

"Where's Kate?"

"She's dead."

The phone went silent for a moment, too long. "Moz?"

He could hear him breathing, maybe sobbing, not for Kate, surely, but definitely for his friend's pain. "Moz, Moz, we don't have much time. Whoever killed her thinks Neal is dead too. I want to keep it that way."

Finally Moz came back on the line. "Lay low. Get a throw away phone and use it when you call me in two hours, mark now," and the phone went dead.

Peter felt some relief until he heard Neal struggling to get up.

"You hit me!" he said, his face still against the back of the car seat.

"Maybe you should stay down; you're back looks like chopped meat."

"I don't feel it," Neal said as he sat up.

"You will when the pain killer wears off."

"Why did you hit me?" But even as he asked the question, memory came flooding back, distorting his features and Peter had to grab him from getting out of the car.

"Let me go. I should have saved her. I was supposed to die with her."

"Neal, no, they wanted you to die with her but if you were supposed to die with her, you'd be dead. I was supposed to save you, and I did. You're supposed to be alive. You're supposed to help me find the people responsible for this and make sure they pay. You're supposed to live."

"Fowler, it was Fowler!" His injuries and the drugs had made Neal clumsy or else Peter wouldn't have felt Neal go for where Peter would have been carrying a gun if he had not had to surrender it with his badge. For the first time since that happened he was grateful until Neal pushed himself over the back seat, his arm outstretched to under the dash."

"No, no Neal. Don't." He pulled him back. "How'd you know about my back up? Never mind, it doesn't matter." He got Neal to face him again, shaking him. "Will you please listen to me?"

All Neal's energy seemed to drain from him as he focused on Peter.

"Fowler didn't do this. Besides, he probably doesn't even know it yet but he's a dead man."

Neal stared at him in bewilderment.

"He was part of it but all he was in it for was to get the music box. He wouldn't have gone through all that trouble to set you free and make you and Kate deep cover OPR agents if he was going to kill you. He certainly wouldn't have had the resources to blow up a plane and keep his activities quiet if he didn't have help."

"How do you know?"

"Diana found out he's been working for someone. Someone who I think is or was holding his wife hostage. Before you ask, I don't know who?"

"But, he kept Kate, he used her."

"Neal, listen to me please. Whoever killed Kate wanted both of you dead. They didn't want anyone to know about that damn music box or that they have it which means that they'll have to kill Fowler if they haven't already."

Maybe it was the drugs that Peter shot into him that started to take effect, maybe it was Peter's words, but Neal finally seemed to be gaining come control, some light coming back to his eyes.

"Alex may be in danger, even Moz if whoever's responsible finds that they helped you."

"It's my fault, I don't want this, I didn't. Oh G-d, they could come after June and you and El too."

"Possibly, but only if they think we could connect them to it. Diana is working on decrypting some files she found on Fowler's computer. Ironically, the more people who know about this the less likely any of us will be targeted, and I plan on making a lot of people know."

"And until then?"

"Until then you'll grieve. Until then you'll heal. Until then you'll keep it under control and let Moz keep you safe."

The drugs, and probably the pain and shock were starting to get the better of Neal as tension, or whatever had been holding him up, however briefly was draining away.

"You could have let me go, you could have let me die. You'd all be safe," he mumbled as he slipped into unconsciousness against Peter.

Peter eased him down onto his stomach. "No, I couldn't. I don't do that to my friends."

The end.

A/N: Thank you all for your reviews for my previous stories. They light up my life. Also thank you for your requests that I continue or add more parts to the stories I've posted, and before anyone asks, no, I'm not continuing this. I'd have to come up with an entire second season all by myself and I just don't have the time or inclination to do that.

This was just meant to set the stage, the way I think it might be set, for the second season, from the bits of clues we've been given. I threw in a little hurt/comfort because I don't see how Neal could have been thrown like that from the explosion and not gotten hurt and because I kinda like a little Neal whumpage.

So now I'll be looking forward to some of your writings. Turn about is fair play.