A/N: It's my first White Collar fanfic. I wrote it for polish Fikaton on livejournal - it's for day 5.
But since I began watching WC, I always wanted write a story. I hope you enjoy!
Love, Chandni :*
Disclaimer: I don't own White Collar or the characters, just having some fun with them.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The phone woke him up from blissful sleep. He looked at the clock and moaned quietly, but then he answered intrusively ringing phone. At five forty am!
"Burke" he answered with voice still full of sleep, and now also irritated. However, he didn't expect such words so early in the morning.
"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all." He heard masculine, but clearly modified with special device, voice.
"If this is a joke..."
"The clock is ticking, agent Burke, and your loyal friend has no more than ninety minutes of life left. I suggest you hurry up." With those words the man hung up.

Peter jumped out of his bed and, while making many phone calls, tried to get clothed, nervously
pulling on various elements of attire, not letting off of his phone for even a moment.
But where he was to start his search? He knew they won't be able to trace his last phone call, because the man seemed to smart to be caught like that.
Neal wasn't answering his phone. Mozzie confirmed that their mutual friend didn't come home last night, what was strange, because they were supposed to meet about that damned music box.
Good thing that Elizabeth has to leave town and was far from all this commotion, although her presence would certainly helped him. She was always able to find good solution, what sometimes made him wonder, who really should be federal agent.
Peter quickly dialled Jones' number, to make him check Neal location.
"GPS tracker says he's in Brooklyn-Queens metro station" passed on the agent.
"I'll pick you up from the office" ordered Burke and disconnected.

Neal regained consciousness in big, but empty room. He was sitting in a chair. His whole body was wrapped in foil and his mouth were gagged. Such situations began to be unhealthy routine to him.
He didn't manage to fully get his bearings, when suddenly somebody punched him in face, and then he felt next, less surprising, but no less painful, blows. Short break didn't allow him to fully recover from shock. He never liked physical violence, and particularly in relation to bound and temporarily totally defenseless people. Before he could think of any defense, before his eyes flashed a baseball bat in the hands of a bulky man.

With a screech of tires he stopped the car before entering the subway and jumped, not even slamming the door behind him. Jones ran behind him. They ran down moving stairway and immediately recognized the place they were looking for, and from where came the GPS signal - a bookshop. But what the hell Neal did there and why didn't he answer his stupid phone?
With the "FBI" on their lips they burst into a shop, but they didn't find Caffrey there. On the shelf they found Neal's tracing bracelet, which somebody had to open with its special key and left here. Next to bracelet was book "The Picture of Dorian Gray".
Peter nervously grabbed it and began to browse. Someone apparently left them a hint.
Something was wrong - Peter had a hunch, but they didn't have the time.
"A book?" Jones said surprised, watching carefully his Boss.
"You remember the Dutch case?" Peter carefully checked the book and smiled slightly - he was right. Extra card was added to the book's cover. He asked the shop assistant for paper knife and ripped the pages. Inside they saw a card with typewritten address.
He glanced at his watch - they should make it.
So, they got back to the car and drove to the outskirts of the city.

Neal sat with his head limply bowed. He would seem to be asleep. His matted black hair obscured his bloodied face, and because of a gag and foil he could hardly breathe. His whole body was one big bruise, and he had the impression that if someone cut up the foil now, he would scatter in pieces.
Something, somewhere, was quietly moaning and after a while Caffrey realized that he was making these sounds.
What these people really want? - Because even though he saw only the brawn, he is guessed that someone has to be the brain. For forty minutes there was nothing but whacking. Not a single question from his tormentors.
The masked man approached again limp, bound Caffrey, this time with something strange in his hand. He crouched down before Neal and slapped him in cheek with hand wearing latex glove, as if trying to wake him up. Neal opened non swollen eye and looked confusedly at guard, who was now doing something with a device on the nearby table.
Caffrey tried to see what was happening, although it was hard to concentrate because of pain that pierced his body.
Something flashed and beeped.
Neal knew that he recognized this sound. He looked again and focused his eyes on the red little letters... no... no letters... numbers?
Numbers, clock, device, clock going backwards?
Neal was terrified. Image blurred in his eyes, but before he lost consciousness he was able to read - thirty minutes.

They stopped the car a short distance from the old building and got out. Moments later they saw an explosion.
"Neal!" Peter yelled, running toward the burning building.
Peter rubbed his face with his hand and looked sadly at Jones. They were too late.

The Fire Service has just finished extinguishing fire in the ruins, while Burke was wandering nervously, watching the terrain. He could not get rid of that irritating feeling that they forgotten about something, missed something. He felt like a puppet in a bad puppet show. And above all why they couldn't find Caffrey's body? After all, it should be here somewhere, and firefighters found nothing, although they carefully searched the entire area of ruins.
"Jones, remind me what is "Portrait of Dorian Gray" about?" he asked, stopping in front of his agent. Right now Neal strangely reminded him of Dorian - he was a young, handsome man, creating works of art.
"If I remember correctly, it was story about a young man, who never grows old, because of the portrait. I think it was hidden in an attic, or I'm mixing it up" Jones replied uncertainly.
"Attic, you say" pondered Burke. "Attic... Attic... ATTIC!"
"We're going to Caffrey's house!" he commanded, running to the car.

They were already on the stairs leading to the apartment Caffrey rented, when Peter's cell rang.
"Burke" he growled into the phone.
"I'll go straight to the point, Boss" they heard Diana's voice in the phone. "Someone took the music box, and I have just got information from local PD, they found the body of dead Fowler. They played with us, to divert our attention from what they really intended to do. Neal was just their bait. They used us as puppets in their performance, we played like they wanted to" she said bitterly.
"Goddamn it!" Peter growled, disconnecting, and entered Neal's apartment.
"Neal" he whispered, seeing a young, tortured man, lying on the floor in blood. With his heart pounding and his throat constricted, he and Jones uneasy came closer.
Peter crouched and shook his head sadly, seeing slightly open blue eyes.
"It's probably the end" Jones said, putting one hand on Peter's shoulder and with other holding the phone.
"I need an ambulance..."