(Chapter 1)

Neal felt the impact as he hit the concrete, the base of his skull thudding against the hard surface. He was stunned, eyes rolling back as he tried to keep conscious. There was a vague sense that someone was nearby, the sound of something that would normally make him freeze echoing off the walls of the empty warehouse.

"Stupid snitch! You should have thought twice before trying to con me..."

He was helpless, lying stunned on the cold, dusty floor. His eyes rolled back and focused on metal pointed down at him, hard steely green eyes burning their anger into him as a finger pulled back slowly on the trigger. Neal knew he was a dead man, pure and simple as he stared back into an emotionless face.


Neal turned his eyes to see Jones and Diana along with several other agents surrounding them. They were heavily armed but the gunman continued to smile, pulling the trigger back till...

There was a report but Neal didn't feel it, eyes shut tight but opening again when he felt someone nudge him. He jerked away but it was Jones crouched there when he opened his eyes again. The agent was placing his jacket under his head, trying to make him comfortable when Neal's glance moved to another figure not so far away.

"Pe... ter. Knox... shot him."

They had come in together but something had gone horribly wrong and Kenneth Knox had shot Peter then shoved Neal to the cement. The con hadn't had time to check on his friend as Jones nodded back and went to take a peek. Neal managed to push himself to his feet, stumbling towards where he had last seen his partner and friend. Peter lay still on the cold cement, his head slumped loosely to one side as Jones and another agent approached. Smoke wafted from the pistol next to Peter's right hand as they checked for a pulse.

"He's not breathing. No pulse. Someone call a bus!"

Jones put his gun away, quickly starting CPR on the agent while the others turned and checked for accomplices but Knox had been alone. He had gotten the jump on them both but he had done it single-handed. Neal's head ached as he stood there and watched Jones breathing for the agent, another agent performing chest compressions. Nothing seemed to be happening as Neal's eyes moved back towards Diana and the others remarking on Knox being dead. He felt a chill as if someone had opened a door directly to Winter. Neal shivered slightly just as he heard a gasp of breath and saw Jones looking relieve.

"Peter's back!"

Neal felt relief, crouching down beside the still unconscious agent as two medics came quickly over and began to check the vitals of the agent and gently rolled him onto a gurney. Neal asked to go along, a third medic checking the bump on the back of his head as they headed for the ambulance waiting outside. Jones followed along, telling Neal to call once they reached the hospital. He nodded tiredly as the ambulance doors were shut and the bus started on its journey. Neal held onto Peter's hand, hoping for a reaction when he felt that cold chill again, the agent's hand squeezing his.


He watched the agent start to rouse some, face contorting a bit as if he were in pain or struggling against something. It confused Neal until he felt the hand squeeze his tighter, he winced, brown eyes suddenly staring up at him.

"Ne... al..."

The voice was faint as he moved closer to hear.

"What is it Peter?"

He waited for his friend to speak when he heard something that made him pull away.

"You should have thought twice before trying to con me... Snitch."

Neal didn't know what to think as Knox's words left Peter's lips, a cold emotionless glance making the agent's brown eyes look almost hazel green in the half light of the ambulance. He wasn't sure what just happened as Peter passed out again. The medics didn't seem to notice anything unusual and slowly the chill dissipated as the agent relaxed, the ambulance continuing towards its destination.


It was several hours later that Neal found himself sleeping on the sofa in Peter's room. The knock to his head had been x-rayed and examined in the ER by a doctor who told him he was fine. They couldn't find any signs of damage but that he might have a slight concussion at worse. He didn't want to be admitted but was still worrying about Peter. Knox had shot the agent at close range but Peter had a vest on. The bullet had penetrated the vest enough it stuck through into his chest half way through the Kevlar. He'd lost some blood but the impact had been what caused the most damage. He had some fractured ribs and a concussion that caused the doctor some worry. If the agent had stopped breathing then something was wrong and they needed to watch him closely. Neal asked to stay in the same room if he could and the doctor agreed so they could observe his head wound as well.

Elizabeth stepped out of the room around 9 PM to get some air and coffee. She offered to get Neal something but he was too tired to do much as she let them both rest and left the room. He wanted to do more but his head was aching some from the impact despite the pills the hospital gave him. He hoped Peter was feeling better as he settled onto the sofa and soon fell asleep. It wasn't long before he had a nightmare about what had happened.

Neal had left the FBI offices to go on a coffee run. He entered the elevator and pushed for the lobby. About half way down the doors opened and another man in what appeared to be a maintenance suit slowly walked in with a rolling yellow bucket and mop. Neal moved aside to give the man room as the doors shut again and the car started moving downwards again. It wasn't long before something drew his attention to the custodian and Knox's face looked back at him. The man was supposed to be in lock up but here he was next to Caffrey and he wasn't sure how to react.

"Something the matter, sir?"

The consultant shook his head as he pulled himself back together. He could handle this but he was alone and nobody knew what was going on.

"Just realized I left my keys back up in my office."

Neal reached to push the 21st floor again so he could get off and call for help when he found himself pressed heavily up against the glossy metal walls of the elevator, a mop handle choking him as not so white teeth smiled back.

"Don't think I know a snitch when I see one, Caffrey? We're going down together and you're going to act normal so no one gets hurt, ok?"

Neal could barely nod, his face turning a purplish color in the reflection of the walls as the elevator started to get closer to the lobby. The mop pulled away and he was able to breath, collapsing to his knees as he tried to catch his breath. Someone pulled him up by the collar and he heard the cocking of a gun in the small space.

"Act normal, Snitch! Wouldn't want to kill any of these agents you've made nice with."

The man was insane, grabbing him by the arm and whispering urgently before the doors opened.

"Meet me by the doors in five minutes or I shoot everyone in this lobby. Don't think I won't"

The man grinned a yellowed smile at him as he straightened his tie and clothes and nodded. The doors opened up to show two guards and a receptionist at the front desk. They both turned as Caffrey walked out, smiling slightly at him, one of the two guards nodding in acknowledgment as the other one left for a back room. The receptionist smiled brightly as he did the same back and tried to be normal, eyes looking back only slightly at the now empty elevator. The doors shut and he tried to think back to how the man had gone without anyone seeing him. Knox must have skills he didn't know about but could make great use of if he had to disappear. He pulled out his phone enough to text Peter a quick SOS before exiting the building and looking around. People passed the building on the sidewalk, cars and taxis driving quickly by but no sign of Knox. Neal felt a sense of relief, heading back inside when he heard someone cock a gun behind him.

"Where are you going, Snitch?"

Neal froze, seeing the reflection of yellow teeth and Knox's greenish eyes in the glass doors. The receptionist inside was busy talking to someone on the phone, the guard turned away and looking at a roster clipboard. The con was trapped as he turned and looked at the man manipulating him. Pedestrians passed by without looking at them but he could see the glimmer in Knox's eyes.

"All I have to do is start shooting."

He was stuck as Neal went the way Knox pointed and they crossed the street and disappeared down the block. He wasn't sure where they were going till he saw the empty building ahead and knew. It was an older building recently taken over by a huge corporation and being renovated into apartments for the new age yuppie crowd. Neal felt his heart sink as Knox led him inside.

"Neal Caffrey... who would have thought that was your real name. I was told you were a genius but you'd have to be to catch me. Nobody's ever caught me and I was falling for your Halden alibi. You're very good but with me... you'll be better."

He wasn't sure what to take that line as. It was both curious and ominous all at once. Did the man think he was going to work with him? He had to be insane! Neal hoped Peter understood his distress call and had the cavalry coming. He was certain he had little time.

"Take the call, Caffrey. I know you sent an SOS."

Neal blinked, looking up at the man. He didn't even have the phone on vibrate but somehow the man knew his cell was on. Lucky guess he thought as he pulled out his cell and glanced to see a reply. Knox laughed.

"I have eyes in the back of my head... Stay put!"

Knock grinned oddly at him, disappearing a moment as Neal felt himself shivering from fear. The man had a way to unnerve him even when he'd help catch him there had been something that made him feel cold in the man's presence. He couldn't explain it but the vibe was strong and told him to stay away. He started to walk away quietly towards a far door when someone popped out behind a pillar and grabbed him.

"Neal. It's me!"

Peter stood there, gun in hand and smiling in relief. Neal wanted to collapsed but they had to get out before the man returned.

"He's dangerous, Peter. We have to get out of here!"

The agent was nodding at him when he heard the shot and felt himself pushed aside. There was a loud thunk as if someone had shot at a pillow, Peter flying backwards from the gun blast. Neal moved to help him when he was yanked back by the collar, a hand over his mouth.

"Not so quick, Snitch. We still have a partnership to iron out."

Those yellow teeth smiled coldly at him before green eyes seemed to blaze feverishly through the consultant.

"Knox never knew what hit him when we met. He thought I was just another partner. Didn't you find it odd that his MO changed so suddenly?"

Neal didn't quite understand what was going on till he was dragged some feet away at gun point and Knox shoved him to the cement. His head hit the concrete hard, stunning the consultant.

"Stupid snitch! You should have thought twice before trying to con me..."

Neal gazed up into glittering cold green eyes... The man's face fuzzed out slightly overhead as he was only just aware that the trigger was being pulled back. There was a report and suddenly he felt a pressure in his chest, face flushing with the effort as he tried to breath. He was struggling for air when the scene faded...

Neal found himself gazing up at a fuzzy figure, his vision fading some as he felt a hand over his nose and mouth, nostrils pinched shut and someone holding him down. His arms were pinned to his sides as someone straddled him with their knees, the figure slowly coming into focus. It was Peter Burke.


Earlier that same day...

Peter gave a yawn as he pulled the car into the FBI lot, his attention on the drive when he heard his phone ring. He glanced at the dash of his car and saw it was Neal. He was about to answer when he noted it was a text, calling out for the car to read it.

Peter... Check my anklet.

The agent blinked as he had the car read the text back to him. Was Neal actually asking him to check his anklet? Something was up, the agent calling Jones as he sat parked in the garage.


Peter sighed, wiping at his face tiredly. He had just gotten back from a negotiation he'd helped Ruiz with. He just wanted to sit and rest a bit but Neal was in trouble.

"Burke here. I need to location of Neal if you have it."

He heard the squeak of an office chair and typing before Jones came back.

"He's down the street at that construction site according to the GPS. Something wrong, Peter?"

He wasn't sure what was going on but he nodded.

"Maybe... grab a few agents and meet me there."

Peter hung up with Jones as he pulled back out of the garage and headed for the empty construction site across the way. It was just down the block but he might have to make a quick get away. He just hoped whatever was going on wasn't as bad as his gut told him. He found a parking spot across the street and headed for the building. The place was still being renovated so the company hadn't even started making it into apartments yet. It was basically a shell at the moment as they reinforced the old brown stone and tried to make it a bit more modern and hip. Peter had his gun at the ready as he slipped inside underneath a "caution" taped opening and entered a wide dusty space. He heard voices not too far away, slipping quietly between columns and fallen debris until he had gotten close enough to identify Neal but not his cohort. The voice sounded familiar but he couldn't place who else had spoken as he reached out a hand and grasped his partner.

"Neal. It's me!"

Peter stood there, gun in hand and smiling in relief. Neal looked like he was ready to collapsed but they had to get out before the man returned.

"He's dangerous, Peter. We have to get out of here!"

The agent was nodding at him as he glanced around the apparently empty space. The air seemed to be chillier than it should be, something making the hair on the back of his neck prick up. His gut was telling him they should get the heck out, his hand on Neal's arm leading the young man back towards the exit. They had barely moved when he caught a hint of movement across the way. Peter had little time to react as he first saw then heard the blast, pushing Neal out of the way as something hit him hard in the chest. There was a loud thunk as if someone had shot at a pillow, Peter flying backwards from the gun blast as he felt horrible pain and a terrible concussion as his head hit the cement floor. He was stunned, the breath literally knocked out of him as he stared blankly upwards. He was only just aware of someone moving near him before his vision began to fade. He was starting to pass out but something kept him from doing so. Someone spoke, a cold dark voice filling the room.

"Not so quick, Snitch. We still have a partnership to iron out."

Peter heard those words, the beating of his heart filling his head so that he could only just hear them. They seemed to echo eerily in the space but there was more to it. He sensed that coldness growing stronger as he lifted his head and looked across the room. Two figures stood some feet away, his mind still coming back to itself as he took in what was going on.

"Knox never knew what hit him when we met. He thought I was just another partner. Didn't you find it odd that his MO changed so suddenly?"

Peter could see Neal fall to the ground, the other figure standing over him with something in hand. He heard the cocking of a weapon, the sound reverberating throughout. His chest was hurting more, body succumbing to the injury but he had to do something, his right hand lifting up...

"Stupid snitch! You should have thought twice before trying to con me..."

There was a single report, Peter uncertain where it had come from as he fell back to the ground and felt his body growing colder. He gasped for breath but there was none as he felt a dark shadow fall over him. Green eyes glowed eerily above him as the room began to fade to gray and finally black.

You'll do for now...

The voice was cold and filled him with dread as his body felt like he was being dunked into an icy bath. He couldn't breath for a moment, heart stopping as the voice continued to talk to him, mocking him as it took over his mind and he felt himself pushed further into the darkness.

Why save him? He's nothing but a thorn in your side, Peter. Nothing but a snitch to his own kind.

He heard the voice talking to him, saying things about Neal that weren't true. Maybe Neal had bothered him a few times, made him angry but he would never give up on him. They were partners... they were...

Friends? How can a con and a Fed be friends? Don't fool yourself Peter. I'm just your conscious speaking the truth. You'd be a lot better off without his prissy ass getting into trouble. He's more work than he's worth. He'll never change...

Peter fought to ignore the voice but it was enveloping his very thoughts and soon he found himself almost nodding at the words. Neal had been trouble. He'd almost lost his badge more times than he could count since the con had become his partner. Elizabeth and himself had been in danger more times than he could count from things associated with Neal's past. Flashes of their time on the music box and Kate's death flew through his mind and he felt anger fill him until he thought he would explode.

That's it. Anger is good for the soul... well my soul.

The voice laughed. Knox's voice was in his head but he no longer identified it as such. It had become his voice now as he found himself imagining getting rid of his consultant for good. Neal was nothing but trouble.

Squeeze a little harder, Peter. Just keep him still, I'll do the rest.

Peter didn't understand what the voice meant but he felt himself holding something down. He was kneeling over something that moved and rocked until finally he found himself awake and kneeling on a sofa. It wasn't his sofa and he didn't recognize the room. Where was he? What had he just been thinking about? The sofa continued to squirm underneath his weight, his hands gripping something in them until he glanced downwards.


The con lay there beneath his weight, Peter's knees pinning the young man's arms to his sides as his hands held the con's nose and mouth shut. Neal's face was reddish, almost violet as the young man began to succumb to Peter's hold. The agent let go as he realized what was going on and slid off of the young man in horror. Peter scooted away, seeing Neal slump over on the sofa before a wheezy cough erupted from his lips and he fell into a coughing fit.

What was he doing?

Peter just stared at his partner and friend uncertain why he had been trying to suffocate him. He'd been at an abandoned building with Neal and then... his mind went blank. He felt someone looking at him, blue eyes staring back at him curiously as Neal coughed out: Peter... Why?

He didn't know what to say, his mind a blur of fuzzy thoughts and images he didn't understand. Someone had been there talking to him, telling him things and now he couldn't think straight as the pain of his injuries began to hit him full force. Neal kept looking at him as the young man continued to try and catch his breath, face flushed and frightened if not stricken. Betrayed is all he could come up with as a word to describe what he saw from his friend. Peter was supposed to uphold the law and protect as well as show Neal the right way of things and instead he had waken up trying to kill him.

Peter couldn't answer the why as his injuries and pain roared back into life and he collapsed to the floor. His body felt cold again, someone grasping at his throat as they knelt beside him. They were a ghost but they seemed like so much more as those green eyes glittered down at him.

Next time, Peter. He won't be so lucky...


Neal was breathing hard, choking for air when he coughed and wheezed. The weight was off of him and his nose and mouth were open and gasping for much needed oxygen. His eyes were closed, mind trying to think back to what he'd seen. He had been dreaming about what happened, Knox with the gun over him and the shot that killed the crook. Knox was dead but he'd felt him nearby. That vibe he'd had, the chill in the air had continued on and now...

Peter had been over him, holding his nose and mouth closed, knees pinning the consultant in place. It was hard to believe but he'd seen it, head turning to find the agent who should have been in a hospital bed scooting away from him with a combination of fear and confusion. Neal just stared at the man who had come to his rescue any number of times and trusted him despite everything. He felt betrayed but more than that he felt insecure if his mentor was trying to kill him.

Peter, why?

He kept wheezing and coughing, mouthing the words at the agent, his friend and partner until Peter seemed to collapsed back onto the floor and pass out. Neal rolled off the sofa and onto the floor, crawling forward as he coughed and hacked, still trying to catch his breath. He checked his friend for a pulse and found a rapid yet steady one, shallow breath indicating Peter was alive. Beads of sweat covered Peter's forehead but he wasn't feverish. Neal waited till he could breath a bit better before he stood and moved to the nurse call button. Elizabeth still hadn't returned but she said she might run some errands before coming back. She had needed to bring some clothing for both herself and Peter and a bag for Neal. He'd told her not to worry about him but she did and it had warmed his heart. Elizabeth should not have had to worry about him. Peter should be her only concern but she had come to care for him and he for her. They were friends and sometimes he confided in her what he couldn't with Peter. She was his go between when things were tough and she was his little warning voice when he'd gone too far. Elizabeth was the peacekeeper and Neal was thankful for her presence. How could he tell her about this? He stood and walked over to the sofa, pulling off a cushion and placing it beneath Peter's head, laying his jacket over the agent. The door opened soon after and a nurse walked inside glancing between him and the patient on the floor.

"What happened?"

He watched her pull out her cell and page someone else as she moved forward to check Peter. Neal shrugged.

"I woke up and he was there on the floor. I don't know what happened. I tried to lift him but I was afraid to pull his stitches."

The nurse nodded, both turning as three others showed up, male orderlies who moved closer to help lift up Peter and place him back up on the bed.

"Dr. Alcott said you were staying for observation. I can send him in if you like since he will have to take a look at your partner."

Neal nodded hoping to find a reason for what happened. Peter wouldn't hurt him, he knew that so why had he been trying to suffocate him?

"I'll wait outside if you want."

He didn't want to leave but he needed air, exiting as the nurse nodded back at him. They were reinserting the IVs and monitors when he heard a cough and saw Elizabeth there.

"Neal, you ok?"

The con saw the overnight bags in her hands and something else that looked and smelled like food. Elizabeth smiled curiously at him but he wasn't sure how to act after what happened. He didn't want to tell her anything was wrong as he reached to help her out. Neal took both bags from her as he moved to a nearby seat and placed them on the floor. He took one of the two bags, a nice leather satchel he had left with the Burkes just the other night when he was staying over to help Peter with the case against Knox. He felt her hand on his arm, turning to find El staring at him curiously.

"Don't lie to me Neal..."

Their eyes met and he knew he had to tell her something, anything but to tell her the truth?

"The doctor and nurses are inside with Peter. I woke up and found him on the floor. I called the nurses when he wasn't responding."

He had told her as much as he thought she could handle, leaving out the worse of it. Neal would figure out what was going on soon enough. Peter had looked horrified at what he'd done, if he'd known what it was he was doing but Neal didn't think he had. Elizabeth nodded back, face paling at what he said.

"Did he fall out of bed? I don't understand..."

A nurse walked out at that moment, the one who had come when Neal had tried to make the agent comfortable. She saw both of them as Elizabeth walked over and talked to her about Peter. Neal wiped tiredly at his face, looking around for a water fountain. He was feeling a bit thirsty, throat hurting from what happened. He walked a few feet away to a small metal fountain and took a sip. Something caught his eye as he leaned over the metal water fountain and sipped at the cool liquid. He stood up and stared, the figure smiling back at him as if they were real. Knox? But he was dead!

Neal blinked, wiping at his eyes but seeing the figure plain as day at the end of the hallway smiling that cold evil grin at him, green eyes glittering in challenge. Knox was still alive? Neal moved forward slowly at first then faster as the figure turned around the corner at the end of the corridor. Neal started to run after him until he found himself facing an open elevator, Knox smiling that yellowish smile back at him.

"Room for one more... snitch."

Neal started to move forward when he felt someone grab his arm and pull him back. He turned to find Elizabeth Burke standing there staring at him.

"Neal... what are you doing?"

He blinked back at her uncertain what she meant until he turned back around towards the elevator and felt the color drain from his face. There was nothing there, open doors revealing an empty shaft. There had been yellow caution tape over the opening but it had been cut and hung loosely around the doors. Neal took a few shaky steps backwards. He'd almost walked right into an open shaft but he could have sworn that Knox was there goading him inside, tempting him to enter.


He turned and realized Elizabeth was still holding him, her hand grasping his arm firmly but gently as she gazed into his eyes. She looked as scared as he felt.

"I'm ok. I... I think I'm going home. Will you be ok?"

She looked at him curiously but nodded, her hand slowly letting go of his arm as she relaxed.

"They said Peter's stabilized. They think he may have been sleepwalking. You sure you're ok, Neal?"

He gave a quick sidelong glance at the elevator shaft before he nodded.

"Just need to clean up and rest. I'll be back. Promise."

Elizabeth smiled softly at him as they walked back and Neal grabbed up his bag. She hugged him softly as he tried to hide the fear he felt at what had almost happened.

"Take care of yourself, Neal."


Author's Note: A little story that's been mulling in my brain and had placed in my Menagerie story as a work in progress. I might be slow with updates until I get some other projects done and my computer acts nicer. Enjoy!