Elizabeth and Peter Burke had been devastated. One of their best friends in the world had left them just 3 days ago. Peter and El sat in the living room in silence. Just being with each other was comforting, but they were still aware of the lack of the friendly presence in their house. The normally noisy, happy home was quiet. On Friday Neal had noticed something was wrong, even though Peter tried to hide it. He hadn't told his consultant what was going on and didn't plan on it. Sure, Neal had been attached, but if Peter told him he was upset about something like this...Neal would probably think he was being stupid...or childish.

The silence pounded in Peter's ears. El's eyes were still puffy and she continued to sniff from time to time and wipe at her eyes. She had been crying the entire weekend. Nothing Peter said or did could make her feel better...probably because Peter felt the same way. The distraught FBI agent had called in sick today, but Jones had known better. He had no choice, but to tell Jones about what happened and thankfully, his pal understood. Jones would cover for him. Peter didn't feel like going to work. He didn't feel like doing anything...What was the point right now? He'd just lost a good friend.

Both of them jumped a mile when the doorbell rang. Was it mid-afternoon already? Peter didn't need company right now. He just wanted to be left alone with his wife...After all, it was going so well at the moment wasn't it? He sighed.

The doorbell rang again and was followed with nothing, but silence. Peter was just hoping they would go away like a good rejected salesman when the bell 'dinged' three more times in succession. I'm gonna put a cap in this guy's ass. Peter thought. He rose from the couch and patted his wife on the arm gently. Trying to reassure her that it was okay before crossing to the front door.

eter unlocked the useless thing, threw the door open and froze in surprise. He awas ready to tell the salesman what he could do with the doorbell, but it was Neal who blinked at him. His hand was hovering over the doorbell button. The ex-conman's eyebrow quirked, expecting something like a 'touch the button and die' from his partner, but when nothing came he shifted his shoulders.

Peter noticed he was wearing a backpack. Shit. He'd known June's electricity was out for the week, but Neal could simply not move in right now. Normally he'd just put on a 'no' face and send him away until he came back again, but Peter couldn't handle it today.

He didn't know what he'd do if Neal asked to stay for an hour, let alone a couple of days.

Peter must have looked a mess. His shirt was tucked in one one side, but not the other and his tie was mostly undone, his hair was ruffled and unkempt. One sleeve was rolled up to his elbow and the other was unbuttoned and hung down. He looked tired and he knew it.

Neal seemed not to notice as he asked to come in.

Peter was in no mood for visitors...but he was in no mood to argue-especially with Neal fucking Caffrey- either. He just stepped away from the door and Neal let himself in.

Peter followed the ex-con into the living room and slouched back onto the sofa next to his wife. El didn't even say hello to Neal. She had to be falling apart. Peter noticed the small look of concern that crossed Neal's face and then he lowered the backpack to the floor.

Kneeling next to it, elbows on his knees, Neal said in a sad voice, "I heard about Satch." Peter avoided his eyes and El started to cry a little again. Neal broke away from gazing at the two of them to unzip the back pack.

"Thought maybe you could use a friend right now." He said.

Peter was about to tell his partner that he didn't need anyone right now, but the words died in his throat. He stared uncomprehendingly as Neal pulled a fuzzy shape from the bag on the floor. Elizabeth gasped.

"So I brought you a present." Neal finished. He smiled up at his partner and his partner's wife. He was now sitting cross legged on the floor with the sleeping retriever puppy in his lap. The puppy was just a fluffy lump and a red bow in Neal's arms as he petted it carefully.

Peter stared, shocked. The room was completely silent as Neal smiled gently at them. Neal would...He cared enough to do this for them? In a blur El was off the couch and suddenly in Neal Caffrey's arms, sobbing and maybe thanking him at the same time. It was hard to tell. Neal looked more than just a little surprised.

He glanced back at Peter for the okay. Peter smiled warmly and nodded. He realized his eyes were a little wet too. Neal embraced his partner's wife as she cried in return for her emotional tackle. The sleeping puppy was hugged between them. Elizabeth cradled the fuzzy, sleeping puppy in one arm.

Neal smiled a little.
"You're welcome."