(Chapter 10)

Scott noticed the agent acting upset if not looking pale. Something had happened, Neal not too far off in the back of the audience watching with two other agents there in tow. The agent's wife had moved forward to help her husband and they had left the room quickly. Burke had been looking at something or someone that had upset him but as he scanned the faces he couldn't figure out who. It hadn't been Vega but maybe someone behind him?

"Scott... Agents Jones and Barrigan are up next. Sit here and I'll be right back."

Emily smiled down at him but there was worry in her eyes as she glanced back at the agent and his wife. He nodded in reply as they left the courtroom and he noticed someone sitting behind Vega watching the scene curiously. The man stood up with a slight wince it seemed, limping from his seat and exiting out the opposite end of the room. Something about the man made him cringe but he couldn't leave without an escort, Agent Jones leaving with Emily to see what was wrong with Burke. Neal was still sitting in the back of the room, their eyes meeting a moment. The con didn't look happy he thought as those blue eyes watched his partner leave but the agents with him didn't let him go along. Fortunately Vega didn't seem to notice but it didn't stop the two men from getting a chance to leave and see what was going on. Scott saw Neal and the two agents stand up and leave as he was assigned a bailiff to go to the commissary with him.


Scott turned to find Neal not too far away in the same place getting a bottled water. They acted normal, talking in hushed tones, their escorts nearby but giving them some space.

"Is Agent Burke ok?"

He saw the look on Neal's face which was worried but the con shrugged, eyes staring as if deep in thought before focusing again.

"That's what I want to find out."


Emily sat outside with Peter, Jones standing nearby with El by his side. After a moment he asked if El could get him something to drink. Her expression curious but she nodded, leaving them alone as Jones remained close but out of ear shot.

"I get the impression you wanted to talk to me alone, Agent Burke."

Ms. DuBois smiled at him softly, her manner gentle despite her reputation as an aggressive lawyer. They were lucky to have her on their side. Peter nodded, swallowing hard to get his nerve back. He wasn't sure why he was so upset but his emotions were taking over him as he thought back to his time with Vega's men.

"I saw him... the man who they left to kill me. He's in the courtroom."

Emily's eyes widened with obvious concern and understanding, glancing around to see if anyone was nearby. There were people in the hallway outside the courtroom but nobody suspicious looking. The floor had been cleared out except for necessary personnel considering the case at hand. Jones watched them with just enough alertness to be ready to step in if necessary. Peter was glad for the agent being close by. Emily squeezed his arm gently as her face took on a curious glance.

"Point him out to me when you see him next."

Peter nodded, finding his voice and speaking up again. He was feeling less like himself and more like the victims he had to question everyday. It wasn't a good place for him.

"I shot him... in the left leg."

The lawyer nodded, moving aside as Elizabeth returned with a small snack and water. Peter wasn't feeling very hungry but he ate some of the blueberry scone his wife offered him and drank the water as if it were going out of style. El wrapped an arm around him which helped as he leaned his head on her shoulder and tried not to think too hard. Maybe it was his recent experience that had caused this. He wanted to get back to being the strong person he was again. Emily glanced up at a nearby clock and his eyes looked up to see that their break was nearly finished.

"I think we should head back into the courtroom. Are you ready?"

Peter nodded as he stood up tiredly. He hadn't slept much at all since the incident, his dreams filled with nightmares about his experience. El gently hugged his right arm in her own, head on his shoulder as they started back. The hallway was practically empty until a lone figure showed.

"I think we have some unfinished business."


Neal and Scott walked up from the commissary talking in hushed tones when they came to the top and heard voices. Neal stopped the young man, the agents and bailiff with them looking at him curiously as he held up a hand for them to listen.

"I'm lucky he didn't find out about your unexpected resurrection until today or I wouldn't be alive to fix my mistake. I have to finish this. You understand..."

Someone was talking, the sound of a gun cocking echoing loudly in the hallway. The doors to the courtroom were shut so nobody could hear them making noise out here. Neal peeked around the corner to see the back of a man in a nice suit. Farther down he could just make out four other figures. He recognized two of them immediately as Peter and Elizabeth Burke. Apparently the Bailiff saw what was going on, reaching for his gun but Neal hissed just loud enough to stop him, the agents glancing to see what was going on and nodding as they motioned to come around the other side where the elevators were. Neal nodded back to them as he pulled Scott further down the steps out of harm's way. He was worrying about Peter and El and whomever else might be there.

"Put the gun down, sir. You don't want to do this."

Now it was worse. He could hear Agent Clinton Jones talking to the man as he peered back around and saw his colleague with his hands up trying to convince the man to put his weapon down. This wasn't going well at all. The bailiff looked antsy at best, gun at the ready as he moved up to get a good shot but Neal held him back, receiving a glare. He hissed at the man, making a motion of using a cell.

"Call it in!"

The man seemed to be angry at first with his advice but finally nodded as he understood Neal was trying to make things easier on them. They needed backup.

"Are you another agent? I don't mind taking you down with your friend there. I'll take the ladies hostage. Drop your weapon and kick it towards me or I shoot his wife now."

Reluctantly, Jones did as he was told the gun sliding noisily across the floor. The gun man picked it up without taking his gun off the group. Neal swallowed hard feeling anything but brave as he took the only chance he thought he could. He waited until the Bailiff was distracted with his call, taking the gun from his belt and moving quietly out onto the open hallway. He pushed the gun into the back of his pants under his suit jacket, footsteps ringing as he stepped out. The gun man turning slightly to gaze at him with a wide eyed glance then smiled at him in cold indifference.

"Another agent? They should really spray this place for vermin."

The man thought he was another agent, turning the gun on Neal who held up his hands and opened up his jacket showing he was unarmed. Peter gave him a look he recognized all too well when he went half-cocked but it was a necessary risk at this point.

"Move over with the others. No funny business."

The con's heart was racing, pulse pounding loudly in his head. He hated guns but he didn't like people threatening his friends. Slowly, hands still up he moved over to the others as he stood slightly in front of Peter who was still giving him that fatherly look of disappointment. The agent hissed at him.

"This isn't helping, Neal..."

Neal understood his friend's distress, Jones giving him a curious look as well until he bumped his back into Peter slightly as he whispered back, arms raising up more as his jacket rose too.

"I come bearing gifts."

Peter looked at him oddly before his eyes moved down and saw what was revealed as the con's jacket lifted. They were silent, no words needed as Peter moved from his wife's side, took initiative and shoved Neal hard against the wall with a growl.

"THIS is YOUR fault!"

Everyone got quiet, including the gun man who at first seemed shocked then smiled coldly as he seemed amused by what was going on.

"That... FRIEND of yours... HE is the reason we're in this situation now! I should have sent you back where you belonged..."

Neal felt a pang of hurt at first but saw the quick wink from Peter and the look of recognition from Jones as he knew what was happening and held El back along with Ms. DuBois. Newman and Redford were back. He turned enough to look like he was trying to get away, Peter reaching around for the weapon and taking it without being seen, a soft click of the safety going off as he held it out of sight.

"I didn't... think..."

Neal stuttered slightly, the effect all too realistic as Peter slammed a palm flat and hard next to his head against the marble wall making a loud echoing effect. The gun man wasn't doing anything but watching them now, sneering some as he seemed distracted by their show. This is what they needed. Peter pulled Neal away from the wall and held him by the collar as if he might punch him, the gun no longer in his other hand. He could see Jones and the ladies already back behind a bench for safety, the gun man still not seeing what was really going on as Peter gave him another wink.

"NO... you NEVER think of the consequences! THAT'S your problem!"

Peter's fist was about to meet with his face when he felt himself pushed aside, spinning over to the wall and he watched Peter duck down to a kneeling position, gun out and a loud report was heard. Everything seemed to go still for a moment before two more voices cried out.


The gun man turned and saw the agents there but it was obvious he had been hit, weapon falling to the ground with a resonating clank or metal as he cried out. Blood dripped from his hand that had held the gun as he gave up and held his hands up. Neal watched his friend keep the gun steady from where he knelt then finally relax as the man started crying.

"He's going to kill me! You... Vega is going to kill me! I was supposed to kill you!"

He was ranting now, cuffed despite his wound as the two agent took him away and the bailiff walked out towards them with Scott in tow. Everyone looked shocked if anything, Emily, El and Clinton moving closer as Peter stood shakily and placed the gun in his agent's hands. He looked pale if anything, El holding him close as she moved him over to the bench they'd been at before, Neal following.

"Honey... it's ok. Everything's going to be ok."

Neal sat on the agent's other side about to speak when the courtroom doors opened and Hughes stepped out. He looked upset if anything but curious too, other bailiffs following, two of which held Vega between them as they took the smiling man away. He looked smug at best but the director moved closer.

"Just found out what happened. Everyone ok?"

Peter still looked shocked about his shooting but nodded up at his boss as did Jones. El gave a little look up as Emily stood and coughed slightly.

"I think I can add something more to my book about the exciting lives of lawyers, should I ever write it. Thank you Mr. Caffrey."

She shook his hand and the others before going back inside the courtroom. Hughes glanced back at her a moment before returning his gaze to the group before him.

"They took Vega back to holding. They knew something was going on out here but not what until a few minutes ago. I informed the Judge of the situation once I got the text from our men. I showed it to him and he called the session into recess but I get the feeling this trial is over. Vega isn't coming back."

He patted Peter on the shoulder like a father, turning where Scott and the bailiff stood. He waved the young man over and dismissed the bailiff.

"Mr. Rivers, we owe you an apology for thinking you killed Agent Marks... but..."

Neal noticed the frightened look on the younger con's face, getting up to stand by him as Hughes continued.

"But... you did commit a robbery with Vega's men. That can't be ignored but I think you can continue your rehabilitation with someone new."

Hughes was smiling and for once it didn't look scary. Neal grinned slightly, patting Scott on the shoulder and whispering to him not so quietly.

"He's not as bad as he seems."

The director arched a brow at him, that grimace back a moment before he smiled again and gave a slight chuckle.

"I know of an agent who was looking for a C.I. He's looking forward to meeting with you, Mr. Rivers. Once the paperwork for this is finished, we'll get the two of you together."

He held out his hand much to Neal's surprise and Scott took it without hesitation, smiling.

"Thank you sir. I appreciate your trust in me."

Hughes shook his head, looking around at the group of people there.

"Thank them. They seem to believe you as I remember one of my agent's believing in another CONsultant. Don't make me regret this."

Scott shook his head as Hughes nodded and excused himself a moment to take a call. El stood as did Peter, everyone patting the young man on the arm.


Peter spoke quietly but he meant every word, eyes meeting with Neal's as El moved to talk to the younger man a moment and the two partners spoke to the side.

"You ok?"

Neal gave his friend a sidelong look as the agent glanced at him with obvious debate. Finally he nodded and wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

"Yeah... I think I am. Thanks."

The agent was smiling at him but he felt a slight grip on his shoulder drawing his attention back to his friend's face.

"Next time you decide to play hero... let me know."

(The End)

Author's Note: Yep, that's the end. You can fill in your own blanks. It's obvious Vega gets put away, everyone's ok and all that fun stuff! Hope you enjoyed the trip, that you were thrilled a little and chilled a little (stole that from an old radio show.)