AN: This is a one-shot tag to Judgment Day. My first 'White Collar' fanfic, so please, be kind. J
He had to go back.
True, he had removed the anklet, a clear violation. He had boarded a plane, headed for 'parts unknown,' another clear violation. But…there were more important things now. Things…that… even surprised him, he cared about.
Peter had shown great faith and trust in him over the years. And, despite himself, he had grown to like the guy. He had felt very…privileged to be welcomed into the agent's home and to have met his wife, Elizabeth.
Neal shook his head. Damnet. He thought. She's gone and testified for me too.
His mind made up, he booked and boarded a flight back to New York as soon as he landed. And, as he suspected, he was arrested as soon as he walked into the federal building.
Agent Kramer was in his face moments later. "Nice to have you back, Caffrey." Kramer shook his head. "I tell you, once a criminal, always a criminal."
Neal looked at Peter's face, but he was unable to read the emotion. He had to tune back in, Kramer was still speaking.
"…back to D.C., and then I'll…."
"Back to D.C.?" Neal looked at Peter. "What's he talking about?"
"Kramer's taking you to Washington." Peter said, simply.
"WHAT?" Neal just looked for one man to the other. Then he shook his head. "You can't…"
"Oh, but yes, I can, Mr. Caffrey." The agent said, smugly. "You're in serious violation here, and, obviously, your handler CAN'T handle you." He looked at Peter on that one, a direct hit.
"YOU can do better?" Neal challenged him. He knew he was in dangerous territory, but he was pissed, and, at this point, he really didn't care.
Kramer just grinned.
Neal smiled back. "Oh, but Agent Kramer, you forget one, every important, thing."
"And what is that?" Kramer, oozed smugness through his words.
"I have the right to say 'No.'" Neal replied.
"What!" Kramer stammered. "Why would you?"
"Neal…!" Peter chimed in, warning him.
Kramer's mouth opened and shut a couple of times. He was unable to comprehend what he had just heard.
Kramer finally regained his voice. "You would rather…go to jail, and serve your FULL sentence?" He stared at Neal. "Is that what you're saying?"
"I am very, very…allergic to death, Agent Kramer." Neal replied.
"Caffrey!" Kramer said, getting angry.
"Neal…watch it! Watch what you say here!" Peter warned again.
Neal nodded, but continued. "Say…I do come to D.C. I work for you, and a month later I'm dead. It gets out I'm working for the feds, somehow. And I'm dead."
"I've been a handler before, Caffrey." Kramer stated. "I know what I'm doing."
In all honesty, Kramer needed Caffrey. He needed to find a way to make up for his own mistakes in Washington. If he had Caffrey helping him, it would better his own image. Of course, no one here needed to know that.
"Oh, come on Agent Kramer, you'd just say, 'Oh, that Caffrey, always unpredictable. He botched the mission.'" Neal stated. "You'll get a slap on the wrist. Probably won't even record the 'incident' in your record. You're free of me, and nobody's the wiser."
"You heard me, Kramer." Neal said, forcefully. "The answer is no."
THE END (continued per request, Thanks Flame Shadow1.)