Set after "Out of the Box" Finale episode

(updated 03/23/2010 to make a bit more sense with the additional content to come)

(Tuesday: 11:45 am)

Neal waltzed through the glass doors of the FBI offices he usually worked with his friend and partner, Peter Burke. He had been off duty the past month while he dealt with his feelings about Kate's death. He had tried to come visit Peter a few times but it had been too much for him to deal with. Today though, he had made his way to the offices in hopes of talking to the agent about some things that had been bothering him. He crossed the lower floor, waving to a few people in as cheerful a manner as he could feign while wishing he had chosen another time to show up. It was technically "lunch" time but many agents were still at their desks doing paper work or else eating in instead of out. He passed a familiar face and paused to say hi.

"Neal! Good to see you." Jones did a little fist bump with the young man but noticed Neal didn't seem his usual cheerful self. He was aware as everyone else Neal thought about what had happened. The con sighed.

"Hey, Jones... was looking for Peter. Is he upstairs?" He looked a bit antsy but Jones did his best impression of casual chitchat.

"You just missed him. Peter was headed to the Deli around the block for some sandwiches. You might still be able to catch him." Neal nodded with a distracted "wave" and took off back towards the glass doors and the elevators. He started to push the button to go down but instead walked about a large potted palm in the hallway and made his way through a door marked "stairs" as he yanked out his cell and dialed a number. The phone rang a few times before he heard a fumbling sound and then a familiar voice answer.

"Burke." Neal smiled relieved as he rapidly descended the stairs two at a time. He tried to sound cheerful as he spoke.

"Hey, it's me." He heard more movement on the other end and the sound of someone barking out "Number 45... now serving Number 45!"

"Neal? Hey, where are you at? I'm at... yes with mustard... Thanks... Sorry. I'm at the Deli." More movement and voices in the background and Neal grinned.

"Yes, Jones told me. I'm heading out into the lobby now and in your direction." Neal heard a loud intake of breath from his friend.

"You're there at the office? I'm going to be there in a few minutes if you want to..." He was interrupted as Neal shook his head at the cell and walked out the sliding doors of the FBI building.

"No, wait for me. I'm already halfway there. Ok?" Neal heard Peter about to protest then another loud breath and he could imagine Peter nodding at him.

"Ok... I'll see you in a few." Neal nodded his head, hanging up the cell and turning the corner at the end of the building as he made his way down the block towards the deli.

Neal was barely halfway to the deli when he saw a familiar figure turn into a nearby parking garage and disappear inside. He blinked trying to wave to the person but their back had been to him. A confused look passed across his face as he followed the figure curiously and made his way after them.

The parking garage was mostly full this time of the day, the smell of car exhaust evident. Neal breathed through his nose as much as possible, tracking the figure a few yards ahead as they headed into a more secluded section of the structure. He began to wonder why Peter would be heading into this parking garage when he put his car into a whole other structure down the street. Neal didn't think about it too much till he heard voices murmuring softly up ahead. He paused and stayed out of sight trying to listen but hearing nothing he could recognize.

Neal finally peeked furtively around the wall and found himself looking at the back of Peter's head yet again. He hadn't seen the man's face but he knew it was Peter. That jacket... that suit... the hair style. It was unmistakable! He continued to try and hear the conversation without result but something else made him blink. Another figure just out of sight and behind a pillar reached out to shake Peter's hand and he saw the ring. It was the man from the picture... it had to be! He tried to peer around and see the man's face but it was hidden.

The young man went back behind the wall and flattened himself against it trying to figure out why Peter would be talking to that person when his cellphone buzzed in his pocket. He fumbled to turn it off and keep from being discovered when he noticed the number on the screen. It was Peter! He started to walk away, feeling angry suddenly when the phone stopped buzzing and he saw a new text message appear. It was also from Peter. He reluctantly picked up and read it.

Still at Deli. Where are U?

Neal blinked at the message and paused half way out of the area he had seen Peter walk into. If Peter was at the Deli, then who... He didn't have time to think about it because he felt a sudden jolt of electricity hit him in the back and he crumpled to the asphalt, body shuddering. He heard his cell phone hit the cement with a loud crunch and he could just make out the battery and case breaking apart as it hit the ground. He tried to push himself up but someone hit him with another blast of electricity that burned through him like so many pins and needles. His legs refused to work and his arms were useless. He panted trying to catch his breath feeling as if he'd been hit in the back with a 2x4. He'd hit his chin and side of his head against the cement when he fell, a throbbing in his head making him feel a little nauseated. He was only slightly aware of someone standing over him.

"Hello, Neal. Thought you'd follow me although I told you specifically to meet me at the deli?" He felt his arms pulled back behind him tight and handcuffed. He was too weak to move and just lay there limply.

"Pe...ter?" He managed to cough out but he felt rather than saw something blunt smack him across the temple as he heard a familiar voice chide him.

"You were always a little too curious for your own good." The voice trailed off to nothing as the young man felt himself pass out.