In Plain Sight

Author: Cheryl W.

Disclaimer: I do not own Neal, or Peter or any rights to White Collar, nor am I making any profit from this story.

Summary: When Sam proves wholly unworthy of his trust, Neal realizes that who he has in his life is more important than who he doesn't. Set sometime after "Gloves Off." No slash.


Though Neal braced himself for the next blow, it still snapped his head to the left and spiked his pain up another notch. It, however, didn't deter him from smart-mouthing his torturer. "I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in you, Sam. You're not the good man Ellen believed you were."

Sam shook his hand, had hurt it a little bit with that last punch. "Ellen's never been the best judge of character when it comes to the men in her life. After all, she thought you were worth protecting."

Neal flinched at the truth of Sam's statement, at the flash of renewed guilt at his part in Ellen's death. "So what, you killed her before you got the information you needed. So you think she gave it to me. Sorry, but she didn't give me any information."

But Sam leaned down to meet Neal's pained blue eyes. "She led me to you. That's all I needed her to do."

"And now you have me. Met me weeks ago. So what do you want?" Neal spat, was done playing nice, was too bruised and bloody and stiff from sitting tied to the chair in the warehouse for the last few hours.

"Nothing you can give me, Neal," Sam bluntly announced before he reached into his back pocket and expertly flicked open the blade of his knife.

Neal let out a groaned shout as the blade burrowed through the pant leg of his Devore suit and into his thigh. Before he could hurl a curse at Sam, the man slashed the knife across his chest, leaving a diagonal trail of blood in its wake. "What do you want!?" Neal roared, couldn't manage to talk himself out of the situation if he didn't know the prize Sam was after.

Sam dropped a falsely companionable hand on Neal's shoulder. "Easy: Your father, Neal."

"My father?" Neal sputtered in surprise and mockery. "I don't know where he is, you know that."

"Oh, I know," Sam acknowledged with a patient smile before he lifted his hand from Neal's shoulder, struck out with the knife again, this time sinking it into Neal's right side, expertly between his ribs.

Letting out a cry of pain, Neal fought to concentrate, to do something to buy him the things he knew he was fast running out of: time and blood. Hanging his head, he wheezed, "Then why am I here?"

"Oh, Neal, here I thought you were so smart," Sam taunted. Coming to a crouch by his victim, he reached out and slid his hand under Neal's chin, raised the younger man's head until their eyes met. "It's quite obvious. You're bait, Neal." Interpreting his prey's confusion, he chuckled, "You underestimate your old man if you don't think he's been keeping an eye on you all these years. That he didn't know the deal you cut to get out of the big house, that Ellen got killed because you broke her cover, that you've been palling around with me, the guy who promised to gut him if I ever got the chance."

Neal fought down a chill. His father knew where he was? Always knew? Let him go to jail, become Peter's indentured servant, stood by and watched Ellen be murdered and now was letting him be used as a bartering chip with the psycho in front of him? He didn't believe it, couldn't. Sam lied, about a lot of things, maybe about everything. He had to be lying about this.

As if reading the younger man's denials, Sam ruffled Neal's sweat matted hair. "Sorry kiddo. All true. You really think the cons left you alone in prison 'cause you're a fast talking, charmer. Really?!"

Neal's wide eyes shot up to Sam's. He couldn't mask his reaction, not to this revelation.

"And Ellen staying in Roosevelt Island all those years, right where you could find her if you needed her. You think that was WITSEC's doing? Nah, your old man wanted you to have access to her, one final tie to your old …old life…if you wanted it." Sam scoffed, "Quite the softie, your old man, especially when it comes to you."

"You're making all this up," Neal challenged, didn't want to buy into Sam's lies all over again.

Sam shrugged unconcerned. "Doesn't matter if you believe me or not." He followed that statement with another slice of his knife, this time down the length of Neal's tied right arm.

Hissing in pain, Neal glared at Sam, had only hated one man more: Adler. But his hatred was good for one thing, it refueled his fading adrenalin, made his agony take a backseat to his indignation. "So what if he has been watching. You apparently still don't know where he's at. And if you think he's the type to rush in to my rescue…. you're wholly overestimating his fatherly devotion," Neal bitterly spat, remembered a thousand times he needed his father and he wasn't there, had never been there. He didn't believe that, today, all that was going to change.

"Well, if he doesn't show himself, you'll have died for nothing, Neal," Sam ominously predicted and Neal recoiled back, frantically fought to be released from the ropes tying his hands to the chair even as he saw Sam draw back his hand, ready to inflict a mortal wound.

He never got the chance.

The FBI, Peter Burke in the lead, burst through the warehouse doors at that moment.

Gun mercilessly sighted on Sam's head, Peter snarled, "Drop the knife! Now!"

Reading the deadly intent in Burke's eyes, Sam let the knife clank to the warehouse floor, was immediately yanked away from Caffery and handcuffed by the young black male agent. But as he was being manhandled out of the warehouse, he managed to grab a look over his shoulder, saw that Burke was already at Caffery's side, was tenderly reaching out to the bleeding young man.

And it was then that Sam realized why he had bet the house and lost. The father he expected to show up and save Neal, wasn't the father that came.




Well, I just had to get this part out there before it went AU with the next episode.

I think this could be a one shot but if someone's interested in more, though it will most likely be AU, please let me know! I would love to get the chance to continue with this storyline!

Thanks for being kind enough to spend your time reading this tale.

Have a great day!

Cheryl W.