Summary: A bullet to the brain can rock your world, and not in a good way either, so when Neal wakes up with nothing but his own name, a paperclip and three caps, he knows he's screwed. Complete and utter AU set in a post-apocalyptic world.
Rating: T, likely to change to M in the future
Based on the PC game Fallout: New Vegas. And no, I don't own White Collar, just the computer this was written on and a version of the game.
This is unbeta'd, so all mistakes are completely mine.
"This doesn't concern you Suit." Mr. Haversham says, turning to glare disdainfully at Peter. Peter doesn't bat an eye. He merely stares back at the short hairless man with thinly concealed amusement and irritation.
"Neal, where have you been?" The man continues on, as if the look or words from Peter's mouth were just a figment of his imagination. When Neal doesn't reply, the little man takes a step closer which causes Neal to take a step back. Neal isn't able to decipher the look on the man's face, but he faintly imagines a flash of hurt and amazement.
"He doesn't know you Mr. Haversham." Peter says, stepping half in front of Neal to shield him from this man Neal is supposed to know.
"Like hell he does!" The man belts out, his fists balled by his sides.
"No, he does not. Just give me your list and we'll be on our merry way. Alright?" Peter adds the last word almost as an afterthought. Neal doesn't say anything. His head is hurting again. The man huffs in irritation, but doesn't step back to retrieve the list Peter mentioned.
"He was shot. In the head. He doesn't remember anyone. Don't take it personally, but you need to back off right now Mr. Haversham." Peter says, moving to stand fully in front of Neal. Neal's vision is filled with the wide, grey-white shirt covering the expanse of Peter's back. A little leather running from his shoulders to under his armpits. He's armed, Neal's mind balefully supplies.
"What?" Mr. Haversham demands.
"Don't make me repeat myself. Just get the list and we'll leave." Peter's shoulders bunch under his shirt. Neal cannot see the little man, but from the sound of his voice, the man is annoyed.
Neal suddenly has an idea and blurts it out even before his mind can catch up to his body. He has a hand on Peter's arm, neither pulling nor pushing. A reassurance. He's okay and he wants Peter to know that.
"How do you know me?" Neal asks, only moving half of his body from behind Peter.
"How do I know you? That's a stupid question, even for you Neal." The little man huffs and turns, heading back the way he came just minutes earlier. Peter and Neal are quiet. Waiting for Mr. Haversham to return with or without the list Peter requested, somehow Neal knows that this man has a flair for the dramatics and even though he huffed and puffed like the wolf in the age old children's story, the man will answer Neal. Eventually.
"Oh please, I've known you since you we're a bright eyed, pimply-faced courier." The man calls from the back of the store. Peter turns somewhat back to Neal, brandishing a raised eyebrow and a quick to the lips.
"What?" Neal asks, feeling suddenly vulnerable and nervous.
"Nothing." Peter smoothly replies. "Just imagining you with floppy hair and acne."
"Please." Neal scoffs. "I don't even know if that's true. Maybe I didn't even have pimples." Neal says defensively. Peter grins.
"I'm thinking boulders, all over the face." Peter teases. There's a rustle from the open door at the back of the store. Instead of replying, Neal just shoots Peter a dirty look. Peter is still grinning so Neal ignores him. Moments later the little bald man returns with a book tucked under his arm and a writing pad in his other hand.
"Your list, Suit." The man puts both items down on the counter, ripping the top page from the writing pad and flopping it impatiently at Peter. Neal imagines the man telling Peter that he doesn't have all day. It makes him smile slightly. The forced ease these two men have with one another. Neal is sure if they needed the other's help, it will be given readily. With complaint, but it will be given.
"Thank the heavens." Peter says sarcastically, yanking the paper from between Mr. Haversham's fingers.
"So how do you know me?" Neal repeats. Peter straightens, be it consciously or subconsciously, Neal isn't sure. Mr. Haversham doesn't react, but Neal can see he has also tensed.
"We worked together a few years ago and became friends." Mr. Haversham replies.
"When I was still a courier?" Neal asks. To his credit, the man doesn't even blink.
"Yes." He replies nonchalantly.
"So I'm not a courier anymore?"
"A glorified one, I'd call it. Adler always knew how to pick his pawns." Haversham replies flippantly. His attention shifts to the book, all signs indicating that he's finished answering questions.
"And the girl?" Neal asks. He can feel himself growing agitated with the flippancy this man is using on him.
"Dark hair, bright blue eyes."
"I thought you said he doesn't remember anything?" Haversham shoots at Peter.
"I don't. I had a dream or a flashback. Whatever you want to call it." Neal answers. Peter had no intention of answering the question, of this Neal is sure.
"Kate." Haversham replies after a moment. "You two dated. She's one of Adler's cats."
"Adler's cats?" Neal asks confusedly. This time, Peter answers for Mr. Haversham.
"Prostitute. Sounds like this fellow is a pimp and you fell for one of his girls. How very Moulin Rouge of you Neal." Haversham stares at Peter for a few seconds, astonishment painting his features.
"What?" Peter shoots, feathers clearly ruffled. "Just because I look like a grunt, doesn't mean I have no clue about what passed for culture in the twenty-first century cinema."
"Close, but you don't deserve your cigar yet Suit." Haversham says. "Kate was indeed one of Adler's many prostitutes, except he saw a bit more promise in her than her back could give her. She became the madam, oversaw his New Vegas brothel and stepped out with Neal here, the young courier. Maybe she wanted one pure part of her life, but we'll never know." Haversham turns, placing the book on one of the many piles of books stacked in the store.
"What do you mean?" Peter asks.
"Well Suit, an old friend of mine sent me a little bird to tell me that the lovely Kate was found murdered in her own pleasure palace."
"What?" Neal feels like the rug keeps being pulled from under him. Finally, a name to fit the beautiful face, only to learn that she's dead.
"She had a lot of enemies, you know that." Haversham says without fully realizing his words, but it is too late. She's dead and Neal is no nearer to knowing anything than he was this morning.
"No, I don't." Neal says bitterly. "Thank you for your time Mr. Haversham." Neal says before storming out of the store. It takes Peter a few minutes to follow him, but he does eventually find Neal sitting next to Diana, chewing on an apple.
"Jones went to finish up the rest of the requests." Diana says. Peter looks like he wants to thank her, but doesn't. Neal doesn't ask.
A/N: Sorry for the very late, very short chapter. University has been pretty rough, but we're on a break now. I hope you guys like it. Please leave me some feedback.
This one is dedicated to everyone who has reviewed, favourited and alerted so far. Reviews are always welcome.