Fearful "Con" cerns

By Ultracape

Disclaimer I don't own White Collar and do not get any money from this story but I do like to take Neal, Peter and the White Collar gang out to play with for a little while and I promise to put them all back just the way I found them.

Warnings: Russian Roulette, Neal forced to participate, intense. No Slash but definitely very close and deep friendship

Parings: Peter Burke/Neal Caffery

Spoilers: Everything

Summary: The amber music box passed through many hands but whatever the mystery it held, has not yet been discovered. Fowler manipulates Peter and Neal into a black op to find its secret.

Chapter I

Sweat soaked his clothing as beads of perspiration ran down his forehead joining the tears in his eyes as he struggled to control the tremors wracking his body.

It was dark, yet even though his sight was blurry obscuring features, he could see men crowded around him, smirking, lustful, self-assured, eager to watch his reactions, betting on the outcome.

He closed his eyes for just a moment before painfully swallowing, more of a reflex than a need since there was no moisture in his mouth. Still he attempted bravado when all he wanted to do was scream and scream. The muzzle of a pistol was brought into his line of sight, the tip touching his forehead and then slowly moved around to his temple. Neal trembled further as the men in the room went silent knowing it was about to happen, it could be the end, or it could go on and on again. He tried to count down in his head to when his tormentor would pull the trigger so as not to give him the satisfaction of startling, 10, 9, 8, 7…

CLICK! He jerked violently, panting for breath in reaction and quickly attempted to pull his game face, which fooled no one as the man with the scar on his chin touched Neal's with the hot muzzle of the pistol, burning his face as he moved it down from his forehead, his cheek and throat, like a macabre lover's hand.

Then, aiming at a target across the room, the man fired and the bullet hit its mark.

"Ah, just missed by one this time," he laughed and the audience groaned. "You must be lucky. Let's try again, shall we."

The man lifted the box of ammunition which was on a small table next to the chair to which Neal was confined.

"One bullet, Neal," the man whispered, close to his ear, "one bullet at a time, that's all I need." He saw the bullet removed from the box and brought close to his face, turned this way and that, as if it were some object of desire. Neal futilely struggled to get his numb blood covered fingers to work against the wire restraints holding him at ankles, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck in the high backed chair.

"Tell me where the music box is and you can have that bullet and it will all be over. You want that bullet now, don't you? You want all of this to end. See, I knew we could see eye to eye given enough time."

"N no. D deal b breaker," Neal stammered and shook his head against the dizziness that he could not shake while, futilely trying to work some moisture into his mouth to speak. "I, I won't tell you anything until, until you tell me why, why you want it."

Neal's field of vision slowly narrowed to a point, just one point, where the gun, just inches away was aimed at him.

The man put the bullet into one of the holders in the barrel and ran the muzzle down Neal's throat, over his chest and then back up to his throat and forehead, outlining every line every curve of his face.

"You love the gun now, don't you Neal. You love the gun and you want the bullet and all you have to do is tell me the location of the music box and all of this will be over."

"G, go t, to h, hell," Neal stuttered through his trembling.

"Ah, I didn't realize you love our little game so much. You like to tease the bullet. The bullet loves to be teased and of course, like any lover, you tease enough, long enough and it will come, Neal, it will come for you."

The gun was in his field of vision; the hand spun the barrel again and pointed the gun straight at Neal's forehead.

"Now we'll see, if your luck is still holding, Neal."

The trigger was pulled back slowly and Neal felt his eyes fill with tears as he pressed his lips shut, crying silently, shaking his head no, no as the trigger was slowly squeezed and then jerked. FLASH!

"NO," he screamed, pushing himself up over the low railing and falling out of bed with his need to run, his legs collapsing under him, falling hard on the floor.

Disoriented in the darkness, he curled up into a ball as tightly as he could, shaking, sweating, "No, no, no," he keened over and over, "No, no, no, no, no, no.," rocking back and forth as the vision slowly faded.

"Neal," Neal jerked away from the man's gentle touch on his shoulder, hiding his face against his knees. "Neal, it's alright," he felt a hand smooth his hair back, "Neal. You're safe. I've got you, I've got you, buddy."

It was Peter. He looked up, his eyes slowly adjusting to the minimal light in the room. Oh, G –d it was Peter. It was Peter who was bending over him and helping him back into the bed.

"Peter," he whispered, "Peter," he touched the man's face, relaxing into his friend's arms for a moment as his sought to control his jangling nerves.

"You'll be okay Neal, it's over now."

"Just a nightmare, it was just a nightmare," he said with more assurance, yet as it faded it was replaced with confusion.

"Hey, don't get me wrong, buddy," Neal nervously chuckled pulling away from Peter's arm, still around him, attempting to steady his shaking voice to something approaching normal, "but what are you doing in my apartment at this time of night? Why aren't you at home with Elizabeth?"

Peter helped Neal, who was weakly struggling to lift his legs, get them back onto the bed and then pulled the sheets and blanket back up around him. "Neal," he said gently but with nervous concern in his voice, "El went to get some coffee. She and I have been taking turns sitting with you. She'll be back soon. Don't you remember?" Peter said as he moved to sit on a chair next to the bed.

Neal turned his body so that he was facing Peter, his arms bent in front of him for support. "All I really remember is some weird nightmare. I don't think I've ever been so scared. It was so vivid; I thought it was really happening."

Peter reached over and twisted on the wall lamp, the light suddenly revealing the hospital room and Neal's arms from shoulder to fingers heavily bandaged.

Shock and terror filled Neal's eyes as he recalled the fear and pain of that week, "Neal, don't you remember? It did happen."