Inspired by yesterday's amazing and heart-breaking season finale. I knew Kramer was going to try something evil like that, but it did not take away at all from the shocking events.
This follows the theory that one of my friends posed to me; What if Kramer had turned and caught the exchange between Peter and Neal?
This piece will probably be a collection of three to four chapters. I don't really know yet!
As always, reviews are highly appreciated and loved! REVIEW!
It all comes down to those seconds, those tiny moments when he locks eyes with Peter and Peter shakes his head, minute movements that imply something Neal believed Peter would never had asked him to do.
Because Peter is telling him to run, to go.
And Neal is tired of running, tired of leaving it all behind and he hesitates. Freedom is within his reach, maybe no longer within the bounds of the law and he hesitates because he has a life here, a family, the one thing all the treasure in the world could not replace he's tried that before, and it had gotten him nowhere.
Peter cannot protect him now, can no longer tell him to hang in there because the branch has been broken, blasted by the rage and envious ambition of Kramer.
So now Peter tells him to run.
And Neal hesitates. He's good at reading people. Good at predicting their intentions and their secrets and he knows that Kramer is out for blood and if he goes…
The decision is made, time is up.
Kramer has caught Peter's gaze.
Peter is shaking with righteous anger.
But all Neal can see is Kramer's satisfied smile.
"Don't you have a testimony to give, Peter?" Kramer's voice is slick with undeserved triumph.
Peter looks at Neal.
Neal nods go, I'll be fine. It'll be okay and Peter turns there's nothing he can do and forces himself to keep his composure even as his stomach roils with indignation this isn't fair.
And when he says that Neal deserves to be free, he means it with all his heart.
When he stands and leaves the barren, white room, there are bloody half-moons on his palms, where he'd dug his nails in powerless fury.
"It doesn't have to be difficult, Neal."
Neal wishes that Kramer would stop standing over him, would maybe have the decency to take a seat opposite the bench where he'd instructed Neal to sit.
Neal says nothing.
"I can't let all the charges go, but I promise you that I'll do my best to convince them not to extend your sentence too heavily."
Neal chuckles, a hollow, bitter sound.
"So what now? I pack my bags and follow you to D.C. like a good little CI?"
Kramer nods. "Now that you're cooperating, it all becomes very civilized. Your actions today are enough to prove that you need more boundaries. That you need someone who will act like your handler and not your friend."
Neal grits his teeth. He's been backed into a corner. And he won't run, he can't. He can't just leave it all behind because there's a threat that underlies Kramer's voice.
Despite Kramer's best efforts to prove otherwise, Neal has changed, and he will not run away any longer. The time for simple reaction is over, the time for appropriate action all that matters now.
"And Peter? Diana?"
Kramer smiles, something predatory and dark. "As I said, now that you're cooperating, it's a smooth road. Peter did not help you. Agent Berrigan did not help you. Ms. Ellis did not help you. And your little friend most certainly did not steal an ambulance to help you."
Something tightens inside his chest. His heart, maybe?
Neal closes his eyes.
"When do we leave?"
"Whatever you did to him, I swear to God you won't get away with it!"
Peter is aware that he's raised his voice, that he's practically snarling at the man he once considered his mentor, his friend.
But he doesn't care anymore. Because Neal…God, Neal! Why?
"I did nothing to him Peter," Kramer states calmly, tapping a finger on the folder that lies between them.
The damning papers with Neal's neat and baroque handwriting, signing himself over into Kramer's hands
Like a slave, a prisoner, chained by something more encompassing and intrusive and cruel than a tracking anklet could ever be.
"And if I were you," Kramer's voice is a low, dangerous whisper, "I would stop trying my patience. Don't forget that your position can be jeopardized very easily."
Right then, Peter understands, in a recognition so strong he cannot deny it.
Oh, Neal…you shouldn't…it wasn't supposed to be like this…you should have never had to make that choice, that trade.
Peter thinks he finally sees what Neal had tried to tell him so many times. That the law is inflexible, perhaps to the point error, because sometimes blurring the line is done for the right reasons, with the right intentions, with the right results.
And sometimes the law is twisted by those who claim to honor it.
"You never wanted to protect me. You just wanted him, and you didn't care what you had to do to take him."
"Now, Peter– "
"You we're jealous. Of me, of him. You're not after justice. You want revenge."
Something twitches in Kramer's jaw, his pretense fracturing for a millisecond.
Peter stands, plants his palms on the table, eyes blazing.
"Neal is my friend, and I will not forget about him, I won't leave him behind. He's my partner. Justice comes eventually Kramer, to all. And you will get what you deserve."
Kramer is on his feet now. "Are you threatening me, Burke?"
Peter makes sure to look him in the eyes as he makes his way to the door.
"You keep your head down, okay? And do everything Kramer asks, but if you're in danger…" Peter trails away, looking to the horizon. That's not a call he'll be able to make anymore. Neal is no longer his responsibility.
Neal will be on his own.
He places his hands on Neal's shoulders, squeezes and before he knows it Neal has moved forward, wrapped him in a fierce hug.
"Keep an eye on Mozzie and Sara for me, please?"
The emotions are close to the surface, threatening to break the dam and spill over and Peter doesn't miss the way Neal's long fingers grip tightly onto his jacket or the way the ex-con's face is turned away from his own and damn it if Peter's heart doesn't clench painfully in his chest, stealing his breath.
This isn't fair.
"Yeah," he says finally, voice rough, knowing that Neal needs the reassurance, it's the least he can do for him. "I'll keep an eye on them."
Neal is the one to pull away first and he gives him a dazzling smile and Peter wants to throttle him and tell him that he doesn't have to pretend, not for this.
But he doesn't, that would be unkind too, to call Neal out on his supposedly infallible self-control, and instead shares a small smile of his own. He'd always hated good-byes.
"You'll keep in touch?"
Neal nods and they both know it's a lie but today, it's all they have.
The title was inspired by Coldplay's "Fix You". The song immediately sprung into my head after the episode, so the story got stuck with some of the lyrics as its title.
Again, I encourage you, the reader, to leave me a review :)