Hello, again! I am taking a break from my other story, to write this story. The idea popped into my head when I was listening to the radio on my way home from sports practice.

Here are the lyrics; the song is This is Country Music by Brad Paisley. No, this is not a song fic.

Are you haunted by the echo of your mother on the phone
Crying as she tells you that your brother is not coming home?
And if there's anyone that still has pride and the memory of those that died defending the old red, white, and blue,
This is country music and we do.


For those who have chosen to continue, enjoy the story!


"Go home Neal." Peter said, his voice weary, and quiet.

Neal looked up at him with those deep blue eyes of his, and it told Peter that he was not budging.

"I want to nail that son of a bitch, Keller. I am tired of his damn games!" Neal did not swear often, so he must have been really pissed off. His blue eyes flashed with anger, like a stormy ocean.

"I want him behind bars as much as the next guy, but it's late. Go home, and sleep. Okay? Neal, go home. Come on, I am right behind you." He herded the young man out of his office with his right hand.

He mumbled something inaudible when the agent's back was turned.

Neal walked out of Peter's office, with anger boiling around in his stomach. His aching head told him that there was nothing that he wanted more than to lie down and sleep, possibly until the end of the century. But Neal could not let the thought of Keller go. He had gone away too easily. That was so unlike him. Keller was the type of man who had would have had everything planned out. Dropping off the face of the earth, was not his style.

Nonetheless, Neal placed his black fedora atop his chocolate curls, and walked out of the front doors of the FBI.

Peter met him at the door, coat in hand, and the pair boarded the elevator.


The car ride home was filled with silence. Peter could see that Neal did not want to talk about Keller anymore, so he left the topic alone. He allowed Neal to fiddle with all of the buttons, just to avoid another awkward conversation. Truth be told, Peter had wanted to stay in the office and find Keller, but the men needed their sleep, and Elizabeth needed her loving husband.

A short distance later, they arrived at Neal's "house". As soon as the car came to a stop, Neal jumped out of the car, no doubt to go and speak to Mozzie about how to find Keller. But Neal stopped, and turned to face Peter.

"Bye, Peter. Thanks for the ride."

"Night, Neal. I will call you if I find anything."

"Don't go looking, that's what he wants you to do." Neal warned.

He gave Peter one last glance before he turned and walked into the house.


Neal was lying on the couch, with a wine glass in hand, reading a novel on famous paintings. He wore no shirt, and his lower half was covered by red linen pants. He had wanted to speak to Mozzie, about the possible whereabouts of Keller, but the little man had not shown.

Sitting in the dimly lit room, Neal allowed his thoughts to wander to the days events. The ring. Why had he given it up? Kate meant the world to him, and part of him wondered if he would ever let her go.

Neal was jolted out of his thoughts by the ringing of the phone on the side table. Neal grabbed it, hoping for news.

"Hello, Peter? What did you find?" Neal asked, and anxiously waited for a reply.

"No, Caffery, it's Diana." Diana asked. Her voice sounded weary, and scared.

"Diana? What's wrong?" Neal asked, getting up from the couch, the worry evident in his voice. He rarely heard anything besides confidence and sarcasm in Diana's tone.

"What are you doing?" Her voice cracked.

"Diana, cut the crap. What is wrong?" Neal asked, the panic rising in his tone.

"Look, Neal something's happened. It's Peter." Diana spit out finally.

"He went looking for Keller didn't he?" Neal's voice rose with every word. "God Damn it, I told him not to. Put him on the line."

"Neal I am so sorry. Peter's gone"

Haunted by the echo of the words Diana spoke, Neal collapsed onto the couch. He ran his fingers through his chocolate coloured hair. He wanted to run, and scream, and throw something as hard as he could. But all he could do was stare off into the distance.

Neal felt numb. He felt his ears ringing. He barely heard Diana asking if he was okay, because the phone had slipped from his hand. He did not know what to think. Tears threatened to leak from his eyes.

Not knowing what else to do, Neal sank to his knees, giving way to the tears that he had so desperately been holding back to preserve his pride.

Not again.


Questions? Comments? Concerns? Thoughts? Ideas? Revelations? Riveting Epiphanies? Cries of outrage? Tissue boxes? Numbers for good therapists? GIVE ME ANYTHING!

What can I do for you?

XOXO Roxanne