Author's Notes: I gave ghostdolly the ability to decide what the next plot line should be and she decided that she wanted a scenario where Neal's claustrophobia gets the better of him

Edit: This story has been edited as of Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 in order to correct errors and take out lyrics seeing as lyrics are no longer my writing style. There might be minor changes to the wording but everything else will be left intact just as it was originally uploaded.

Neal tucked his hands into the pockets of the long trench coat and shivered slightly. The slick metal against his chest made him want to be sick but the weapon was for his own safety.

Or so he'd been told.

This time Peter wouldn't be there to watch his back. Peter's replacement was a small and nervous looking older man that highly distrusted the young con artist. Which in turn led to Neal being used in the insulting role as bait.

Neal didn't like being used as bait but it was either that or go back to prison. A snitch would never be welcomed with open arms.

Shaking his head wearily, Neal leaned up against the wall. He had a pounding headache and nothing he did would make the migraine go away. The rain continued to pummate the earth around him and Neal glanced up at the sky in annoyance.

His dark brown hair was soaked, hell, his entire body was soaked and he sneezed miserably. Great, just great the last thing he needed was to get sick right now.

"Mr. Bargfried?" The deep baritone voice rumbled Neal's alias as an average looking man walked over to him.

"Ah, Stan. You're finally here." Neal answered doing his best to hold back a sneeze.

"Do you have what I want?"


"Please, you go first." To anyone else it would like the older man was simply being polite. Stan gestured towards the open elevator doors.

Neal complied reluctantly, unable to keep the tremor from running through his body. The elevator was small, just enough for three average sized people to fit in. So far so good, just remember you're a calm, elegant con artist. He didn't bother to correct the statement.

When two more men crowded into the elevator Neal got nervous, very nervous. Stan was supposed to have come here alone.

Neal shifted uncomfortably and edged away from the men and the corner. He was beginning to sweat as the tight bands of fear started to pound through his system.

It was crowded…

Way too crowded…

What was he doing here? Why was he here? At first Neal couldn't remember

His memory caught up with him pretty fast and he knew that he had to do something.

They were in his personal space and his control on his claustrophobia was slipping quickly.

"Let's figure something out that we both agree on." Neal commented amiably as he gave the code words.

When nothing happened five minutes later Neal felt his breathing being restricted. The tight bands of fear were beginning to take complete control and his heart rate sped up even more. Come on, I know you don't like me but please get me out of here, Neal begged his temporary team silently.

Stan was asking him something, but Neal couldn't comprehend the question. He was like a rabbit caught up in the wolf's stare. He was powerless to do anything.

The criminal moved even closer and Neal shrank back. His control was completely gone now. "Get away from me!" The command exploded out of Neal's mouth before he could filter it.

Stan looked at Neal in confusion before a small glint lit up his hazel eyes. "I knew it! I knew this whole thing was a set-up!" Anger took its place in the man's eyes and Neal shrank back even more.

He was in no mood to put up with this. Nausea gripped his stomach and Neal groaned, turning to the side. His head was spinning and the only thing the ex-con man wanted was for the spinning to stop.

"Who are you working for?" Stan's loud voice cut through Neal's thoughts and the younger man groaned miserably.

All he wanted was to be left alone. Was that really so much to ask?

"If you don't get away from me I'll puke on you." Neal threatened quietly. The statement reminded him of a sign in a zoo in the monkey exhibit that read: Caution:: Stand away from the monkey cage or the animals will fling their dung at you. Proceed at your own risk.

He couldn't remember which zoo the sign was from, but he remembered laughing hysterically over it. Then again he had been drugged on pain meds at the time.

Stan backed off immediately and Neal sighed in relief. That relief didn't last long though since a very pissy voice was screaming at him over the com link.

"What the hell do you think you're doing Caffrey?" Agent Blackney demanded over the com, the fury easily heard.

Neal ignored the voice and winced when Blackney started screaming again. God I wish I was with my regular team on this one, the young con artist mused as he watched the men surrounding him warily.

Peter, I know you're sick but I really need you to just come in here and kick ass like you always do, the thought was wistful and Neal knew that it wouldn't come true.

He was on his own and he also knew that if he wanted to he could easily make a run for it. But he wouldn't, simply because he didn't want to have to run in order to be free. No his freedom would not come this way.

Something caught him in the jaw and the last thought he had before blacking out was what his life would be like if he hadn't become a con man.

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