A/N: My first White Collar fanfiction! Actually it's my first fanfiction that's not Ninja Turtles, but whatever. Just like it, okay? That's real important.
O/A/N (Other Author's Note): This is two chapters. I'll explain why at da bottom. It's a surprise. (Yay!) . . . . Yer all just gonna scroll to the bottom now, aren't you?
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Sad face.
Why anyone had allowed Neal to go undercover on this case, Peter would never know.
It sure hadn't been Peter's idea.
But here he was, sitting on his couch with his phone to his ear, trying to call a conman who was probably on the run. Peter Burke, an FBI agent, was trying to track down an escaped criminal by calling up his-
Neal answered on the second ring.
"Hey, Buddy! I was just about to call you."
"Neal!" Peter didn't know what to do now. He hadn't really expected to get this far. So he decided to yell. Yelling always worked. "What are you doing out of range?"
"Am I? Sorry, Peter. I didn't notice."
Peter sighed. "Yeah, well, the red light was supposed to be a clue."
He heard a crash in the background. "I haven't really had time to check."
"What are you doing?" Peter demanded.
"You're doing something illegal, aren't you?"
"Would you want to know if I was?"
That was a good point.
"Neal, you have about five minutes until the FBI brings up your tracker. Which means you have two to tell me where you are."
"The FBI is coming? Finally!"
Something about Neal's breathing was suddenly off. "Are you running?"
"No, Peter, I didn't mean to get out of range, honest."
"No, I mean right now, are you physically running?"
Neal didn't answer.
"Who are you running from, Neal?"
"You'll just yell at me."
"Better than putting you in jail."
"Okay." There was a pause, during which Peter heard screeching tires and a horn blaring. Before Peter could ask what that was, Neal was back. "Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?"
What Peter wanted, at that particular moment, was to never have known Neal Caffrey. "Surprise me."
"The good news is that I know who forged the painting."
That was good news, but they would have to discuss that later. Peter braced himself. "And the bad news?"
"He sent a mob of art thieves after me."
Peter could have kicked himself. When Neal's tracker had indicated that he had run, everyone at the bureau had been quick to assume that Neal had gotten too deep in this art theft case, found an old accomplice and run. Now Peter realized that he should have never put Neal undercover on this case, not because he would run, but because someone was bound to recognize him. And Peter couldn't have known who would be a threat, because Neal had never been convicted of art theft.
And Neal wasn't about to hand out any names that connected him with another crime.
Peter was ripped out of his train of thought when he heard a gunshot from the phone.
"Get out of there, Neal!" he yelled, forgetting to be stern and rational.
"Congratulations, Peter, you win the 'Most Useless Advice of the Year' award. What do you think I'm trying to do?"
"Just try not to get shot, all right?"
"Well at least you're consistent."
Elizabeth rushed into the room then, probably overhearing Peter's rising voice. "What's wrong?" she asked.
Peter covered the phone with his hand. "I've got to go, Honey, Neal is getting shot at again," he explained. Elizabeth nodded with a worried look on her face and went back upstairs. Peter removed his hand from the phone and was about to continue his odd conversation when Neal shouted something unintelligible.
"What happened?" Peter said.
"Close call," Neal replied.
"Listen, I'm going to call Jones to explain everything and call for back up. He'll tell me where you are, and I'll be there as soon as I can. In a few minutes I'm going to call you back, and you will answer your phone. Do not get shot in the meantime. Understood?"
"Sure thing." Another shot.
"I mean it, Neal." Peter used his most threatening voice. "Don't do anything stupid until I get there."
"Just hurry." With that, the line went dead.
Peter hung up the phone and proceeded to call Jones. While he was talking, he grabbed his keys and hurried out of the house.
By the time he had slid behind the wheel, he was dialing Neal's number again. It rang four times. Six times. Again. Finally, Neal's voice came over the line.
"Leave a message."
Peter peeled out into the street and dialed again. And again, he got the short voicemail message.
"Neal, I swear, if you don't answer your phone..." Peter dialed the number a third time.
"Yeah," Neal answered after the fourth ring.
"Why didn't you answer your phone?" Peter practically shouted.
"I was busy."
Peter counted to ten, a habit he had only picked up after meeting Neal Caffrey. "Backup is on the way, and so am I. How are you doing?"
"I think I lost them." Funny, Peter thought, because Neal was still breathing like he was running a marathon. Lazy ex-con was out of shape.
Peter decided to suppress that remark. "Are you all right?" he said instead.
A pause. "No."
Peter ran a stop sign.
"I told you not to get shot!"
"Well I'm sorry! I didn't sign up for this."
"You volunteered to go undercover, Neal."
"I didn't know there would be guns."
That was the truth. This case wasn't supposed to play out like this. Neal's cover wasn't supposed to get blown. But it had, and Neal was paying for it. "How bad is it?" Peter asked.
"Um... I really don't know. I got hit in the arm, and it hurts, and it's bleeding all over my favorite jacket."
Peter chose to ignore Neal's distorted priorities. "Just sit tight and make sure you don't lose too much blood."
"... How much is too much?"
Peter made a frustrated noise in the back of his throat.
"I don't know, Peter, it's everywhere." Neal paused to catch his breath again. Peter didn't like how tired his voice was getting, either. "How soon will backup be here?"
"Not soon enough. You need to stop the bleeding."
"That requires moving."
"You've still got both legs and an arm."
"I'm tired, Peter."
That was not good. Energy was not something that Neal lacked. "Use your tie to make a tourniquet," Peter suggested, ignoring Neal's protests.
After a few seconds of silence, Peter heard the phone switch hands. Some shuffling came right after, and finally the slick sound of the tie against fabric.
Neal's grunt came from far away, barely louder than a long ripping sound. "Neal?" Peter said.
More shuffling. "Sorry, Peter. Had to put you down for a second."
"I'm almost there, Neal. Backup should be there any second."
"I think I hear sirens."
"I've never been so happy to hear sirens."
"I would imagine. You'll be okay, now."
"Don't hang up 'til you get here, okay?"
He knew it was the blood loss talking, but Peter still smirked a little. "No problem. And Neal?"
O/O/A/N (Other Other Author's Note): So that's the whole story. The next chapter is the same thing, just in Neal's POV. And somehow it ended up being twice as long. Anywho, thanks for reading this far, and I hope you stick around for the next installment.