Author's Notes: I hope you guys enjoy this! The lyrics are Breakdown by Daughtry. Please review!


Open up the book you beat me with again.
Read it off one sentence at a time.
I'm tired of all the lines,
Convictions and your lies.
What right do you have to point at me?


Dirty looks, disguised jibes that were meant to hurt, sneering comments and being utterly ignored were the only things Neal Caffrey had to look forward to everyday. It hurt more than he let on, more than even Peter Burke knew.

Of course, Neal wanted to keep it that way. He preferred having some of the things in his life private. Even if those things were only his thoughts.

This was why he hadn't mentioned to Peter that he was feeling sick or told him that what people thought about him really mattered.

Neal wanted to earn the other agents' respect and trust but at the moment neither things seemed to be happening.

With a small sigh, Caffrey set his hat down on his desk and started leafing through the files and groaned at the thought of having to read the files for the entire day. He smirked slightly when he saw Peter search for his special pen.

A pen that Neal was using...

A con artist needed to have some fun right?


Well, it's not the time to breakdown.
It's not the time to breakdown.
It's not the time to break up this love,
Keep it together now.
It's not the time to break.


"Neal!" Peter barked the ex-con artist's name for what felt like the hundredth time. He saw the younger man jump in surprise before getting up.

"Hughes wants to talk to you." Peter told his partner softly.

Neal seemed to droop a little and a suspicious look flashed through the blue eyes that were usually dancing.

"Caffrey, you're not in trouble."

That seemed to perk the younger man up a little, but he still seemed off. Peter decided not to mention it and headed back to his own office.

Hughes sighed in frustration as he looked at the young man that was sitting nervously in front of him. "The higher ups want to send you through a series of tests Neal. I told them that you're perfectly trustworthy but they want that proven to themselves."

The older man stopped talking and felt a flash of sympathy as he saw the hurt look spread across Caffrey's usually beaming face. "You're being sent back to jail."

A look of livid fury shot across Neal's face and the younger man bounded out of his seat and slammed his hand down on the desk. "You guys said that if I did my end of the bargain I wouldn't have to go back to jail! Well I've more than done my part Hughes!"

The young ex-con artist began to stalk back and forth. "Being threatened or having to deal with guns, knives-or whatever other weapons there are- while giving you guys your precious little advice wasn't a part of the deal. Having to watch…" Neal choked the words off and turned away from Hughes miserably. Having to watch Kate die in front of me while one of you stopped me from saving her wasn't a part of the fucking contract either, he finished the sentence in his thoughts.


Read it all, no need for separating here.
You see what you want and try to justify.
All your little lines,
Convictions and your lies.
What right do you have to point at me?


"Neal, it's not a punishment. Inste-" Hughes didn't have a chance to finish the sentence before Neal interrupted him.

"What the hell do you mean 'it's not a punishment'?" Neal knew that he was acting out of line but right now he didn't care.

"If you would let me finish the sentence you would know." Hughes snapped his patience clearly gone. "It's an assignment Neal. Why don't you go home and think about it?"

Why don't you go home and brood about the horrible things the other felons in prison do to FBI snitches? Neal translated the meaning of the question as he slammed the door shut to the office behind him.


His eyes were watery, but the young con-artist didn't care what the other agent's were thinking about him. Not anymore.

After grabbing a cup of the mud they called coffee, Neal sat in the break-room's corner sofa. He needed some time to think.

Once a felon always a felon…

You're trusting his opinion?

But, he's a criminal for crying out loud!

I never asked for your opinion.

The phrases rolled through Neal's head and he burrowed his face into the soft pillow at the end of the couch. He knew that he was acting childish but hell who wouldn't throw a tantrum in a situation like this?


Well, I'm sitting alone thinking about it all over coffee.
And still crowdin' my space are the things you still hold against me.
You cannot save me.


Once he stepped foot into that prison he would be dead meat. Not that anyone in this place would care about that. A painful cough racked his body and he squeezed his eyes shut in misery, convinced that the world was out to get him.

He needed to re-gather his cold façade and to remain strong. At least on the outside because after all the outside appearance and behavior were the only things that really mattered in this place. Not a convict's feelings or the want to be accepted into a community.

Neal knew that he was being unfair to Peter but then again, was Peter only pretending to be friends with him in order to use him?

No, Peter wouldn't do that.

Would he?

Neal shook his head to clear it. He had to get his act together before someone else saw him like this.


Well, it's not the time to breakdown.
It's not the time to breakdown.
It's not the time to break up this love,
Keep it together now.
It's not the time to break.


A few hours later Peter finally found his missing partner. He had asked Hughes were Neal was but the older man hadn't known. Hughes had however, told Peter about Neal's upcoming assignment and the younger man's outburst.

Peter could understand where Neal was coming from. Having to try to prove yourself over and over again had to be tiring and annoying. To know that people still didn't respect you even after all the work and effort you put in was a devastating blow.

Not to mention the fact that he was furious as well. How many times had Neal risked his life just so that they could solve a case? Peter had even gone as far as to promise Neal that he would keep the younger man from returning to the prison. Now his promise was about to turn into a waste of air.

Peter rubbed his eyes tiredly and leaned against the doorway.

The man in question was sleeping on the couch in the corner The Bible was cradled in his arms almost lovingly. Peter smiled slowly before going over to sit down by his partner.

"Neal?"

No response.

"Neal?" Peter gently shook his friend's shoulder and a frown of concern etched itself onto his face when he felt how hot the younger man was.

"Mmm?" Neal mumbled incoherently as he started to wake up.

"Hey buddy. You feel ok?" Peter asked the younger man gently.

"No." The reply was so blatantly honest and quick that Peter almost thought he was imagining things. Neal always insisted he was fine, even if he was bleeding to death.

"Care to talk about it?"

"Later."

"Alright, let's get you home ok?" Peter moved to help his friend off of the couch.

Neal nodded and stumbled to his feet, leaning on Peter for support. He coughed a few more times drawing concerned glances from his partner his way and Neal muttered an apology. Peter only watched him even more worried than he had been before.


Open up the book you beat me with again.
Read it off one sentence at a time.


Neal nestled into the soft blankets as El tucked him into bed and smiled sleepily at her.

"Thanks El."

"You're welcome sweetie."

Neal rolled over and turned out the light on the bedstand table. His fedora was placed next to the lamp, standing guard over a certain Bible.


Well, it's not the time to breakdown.
Well, it's not the time to breakdown.
Well, it's not the time to breakdown.
Well, it's not the time to breakdown.
Well, it's not the time to break up this love,
Keep it together now.
Well, it's not the time to break,
Breakdown.


Author's Notes: Like it, hate it? Should I continue with the story or should be a one-shot?