Disclaimer: I don't own White Collar, Neal, or any of the other characters (sadly).
This takes place right at the end of Point Blank, switching up the last five minutes of it. Came up with the idea before the premier, though most of it was written after.
"Damnit, we've gotta get to the little guy." Agent Peter Burke said. He was staring at Mozzie's picture, which had been stopped on the surveillance TV in the little pawn shop. The shop owner was already dead, and the message was clear.
"Mozzie's the next target." Dianna finished his thoughts. Peter picked up the book that apparently held whatever the guy had been working on before he died. He flipped to a page where a post-it note was sticking out of the top.
It looked like a reminder to meet someone at a park a few miles from there, stuck onto a page that couldn't have been anything other than the music box code. "That's gotta be where they were going to meet." Dianna, who had been looking over his shoulder at the note, said.
"Yeah, unless this guy gets there first." Both of them swept out the door, leaving the confused NYPD behind. He contemplated calling Neal and asking him where the little guy was, but that would only open a bucket of worms. If Neal thought Mozzie was in danger, there wouldn't be a force on earth that could keep him in his apartment, and Neal didn't need that kind of stress just then. The guy had been ten seconds away from breaking down last time he saw him. That and Peter couldn't help but still be upset at Neal for pulling a stunt like he had in the first place.
It felt like it took them forever to reach the park, though in reality it was more like five minutes, and they both went opposite ways around the length of the seating area in search for the little guy. "Got him." Dianna suddenly shouted. Peter crossed to her, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw him sitting perfectly content on a bench, sipping tea. He didn't look as happy to see them as they were him.
"What's going on, Suit? I told you my sources are discreet. I refuse to help you with the Man looking over my shoulder." He said indignantly.
"Your source is dead." Peter said bluntly, eyeing every passing tourist like they were about to pull a gun on him.
"NYPD just found him dead in his shop." Dianna explained. Just then Peter got a call on his phone. He glanced at the caller ID to see it was Jones, and took a few steps away from Mozzie and Dianna to answer it.
"Burke." He said shortly.
"Peter, Caffrey cut his anklet." He said bluntly. Peter was frozen for a second, caught between rage and a deeper worry in his gut.
He swore loudly and closed the phone, running a hand through his hair. Dianna turned to him, though he didn't answer right away. Suddenly he froze, the pieces clicking in his head. It wasn't just a coincidence that Dianna and he were being led a wild goose chase at the same time that Neal cut his anklet. Whoever had killed the shop owner had set it up. "This is a misdirect! We've got to get to Neal." In a moment Dianna understood what he was saying, and her eyes widened. Peter ran back to the car, Dianna right behind him and Mozzie standing utterly bewildered at the park bench still.
The ride to Neal's apartment, which was where the anklet had went off line, seemed longer than it ever had been, Peter cursing himself for not seeing Larson's trick at first and praying it wasn't too late. He didn't bother knocking on the door. June was out of town, so Neal would be the only one there anyway. He felt a pang of worry when he found the door was unlocked. Quietly, he and Dianna made their way up the grand staircase. The door to Neal's apartment was slightly a jar. Signaling to Dianna to draw her gun, they both sneaked up to the door and kicked it all the way open. The scene inside was even worse than he had imagined.
Neal was sitting at home, alone. In his present state, that might not have been the best idea, but he would've rejected any company anyway. He'd almost killed a man, who while not by any means innocent, was certainly not to blame for the things Neal had been accusing him of. He hated guns, and yet he'd made an exception for this man, who, like himself, was only a pawn in a game. He thought he'd gotten to Kate's killer once and for all, the man who'd been making his life hell ever since he'd gotten out of prison. But he was wrong, and now he was back to square one, with no clue as to who had killed Kate or what they wanted from him.
He was so engrossed in his own thoughts that he didn't even hear the quiet footsteps coming down the corridor. Until the door burst open. He jumped from his chair, looking quite disgruntled in his desperation, nothing of the usual Caffrey charm or facade was left. The man who came through was dressed in a black leather jacket and dark jeans, but Neal didn't notice anything on the man but the gun, which was pointing straight at his chest. A much larger man came through behind him, also holding a gun but looking very much like he didn't need it to cause damage to a person.
Both men were completely unfamiliar to him, and he knew in an instant that this wasn't someone he had double crossed back before he'd went to jail: this was about the music box. Neal put his hands up and took a few steps back. If he could only get to his phone on the table he'd be able to call Peter for help. He'd had a gun on his plenty of times before, both during his time as a con man and while helping the FBI, and all those times he'd been able to talk his way out of the situation, or at least stall till he could get help. But that bit of Neal was gone, broken and shattered by all the pain he'd been reliving and the overwhelming emotions that had risen to the surface. He was helpless.
"Neal Caffrey. Pleasure to finally meet you. I've heard a lot." He said, walking casually toward the man who stood paralyzed in front of him. "No witty comment? Pity. I was hoping for once to have a worthy adversary." He jeered as he pulled a syringe out of his inside pocket.
"I'm not here to kill you, unfortunately. I would've done so already, and by myself. It seems you have something some very powerful people want, and they want to meet with you, personally to 'discuss' some things with you." He said, holding the syringe up to the light and tapping the air bubbles out of it. Neal didn't think he wanted to know what the menacing clear liquid in it was. "Hold him-" he began when he heard the sound of heals clicking down the hall. Silently he jerked his head at the man closer to Neal, who pointed the gun at Neal till he'd backed out of the direct line of sight from the door.
"Keep quiet." The Muscle growled in his ear. The man in black did the same, gun at the ready for the person who was about to walk through the door.
Alex, seeing the door slightly ajar, didn't bother knocking, but instead strutted right into Neal's apartment. "That target had better be off my back, Caf-" She stopped when she turned and saw the man holding the gun on her. She could just barely see Neal behind him, with a defeated but panicked look on his face. She didn't let her shock hold her for long though. "Wow. You know, I come here to let you apologize, and this is what I get? Guns pointed at me. You're a real gentleman, Caffrey." She said angrily, counting on him to catch on quickly. It wouldn't be the first time they'd had to talk their way out of tricky circumstances. There was a moment's silence, then he realized what she was doing.
"Oh, you were going to let me apologize. I think you're the one who owes me an apology. If you hadn't messed up there wouldn't be any guns pointed at us right now." He shouted back.
"So it's my fault now?" She said, approaching him and seemingly ignoring the two men with guns pointed at them. Neal could see where she was going, toward a knife on the counter. It seemed pretty pathetic against two men with guns, but it was their only chance.
"Yeah, pretty much."
"You are so full of yourself. You think because you flash a cute smile that you-" Her words were cut off by a muffled gun shot. Neal flinched, half expecting pain; then he saw the blood blossoming on Alex's shirt.
Before he could stop himself he'd cried "Alex!" and lunged toward her, completely cancelling out the argument they'd just been having. Alex collapsed, trying to staunch the bleeding wound in her abdomen as she struggled for breath. The larger man cocked the gun again, ready to finish her when Neal slammed into his arm, trying to knock the gun out of his hand. It didn't work that way though. There was a split second's struggle, and the gun went off. Neal fell to the ground with a cry, hands groping at his bleeding shoulder. The man in black didn't look pleased at all, in fact, he looked down right irate.
"We didn't come here to kill anyone. What part of snatch-and-grab don't you understand?"
He only shrugged. "Change of plans. Let's move this along." He said bluntly. Clearly neither man was very happy working with the other.
"That's not how things work. The only reason your here is because your employers need assurance the job is done correctly. You don't take things into your own hands. I give the orders and you follow. Do I make myself clear?" He said, glaring at the man. He didn't respond, only glared daggers back at him. He snatched the syringe from the table and knelt down next to Neal.
Neal knew he should do something to stop what was about to happen, but his shoulder hurt so horribly that he couldn't even put up a struggle. He didn't even have the will to fight. There was a sharp pain in his neck, and it felt like fire as the poison was injected into his bloodstream. He moaned, but the pain didn't last long. Within moments he was unconscious.
AN: So this is my first fic . I'd appreciate some feedback on it, criticism as long as it's constructive. I've got a couple more chapters written of this that I'd love to post if there's any interest. Thanks for reading, and please review. :)