Hello my dear readers! I am back with the new and final chapter for this story.
First of all I want to thank everyone for their lovely reviews! You guys certainly made my day and made me smile with each review you posted. It means so much to me. Writing this story has been an amazing experience and it was so much fun to finally be back in the writing business. So I've decided to keep writing for White Collar. I have some more ideas stored and waiting to be worked on, so that will be the plan for the new year, as much as my studies give me time to write of course.

Now ENJOY the last chapter and don't forget to review! :)

A/N: this chapter contains a quote from 4.05 Honor Among Thieves. I still don't own WC characters but I do own Dr. Alexandra Durant. ;-)


Chapter 05: Fear, Hope and Trust

"Neal!" Peter called out, seeing his friend on the floor by the door.

A throbbing pain went through his body, making it impossible for him to breathe. He tried to take a deep breath, but he couldn't. It felt like a rope was being pulled tightly around his chest, cutting his breath off. Fear filled his ocean blue eyes and his mind. He barely managed to push himself up a little, so he was lying on his right side. He felt a warm, sticky liquid slowly seeping down his chest, the throbbing pain was now located on the left side of his chest. His right hand moved up to where the warm spot and he felt the liquid slowly soaking his white button-down shirt. Blood. Finally Neal was able to breathe in, but as soon as he did his lungs were on fire. The left side of his lungs, to be exact. He started to cough, as he heard Peter call out his name. He moved his head a little and fixed his eyes onto the agent crouching down in front of him, panic starting to show in his blue eyes. He was still short on breath and having trouble to breathe properly.
Peter saw that blood was seeping though Neal's fingers, painting his once white shirt in a dark shade of red. Worried filled his usually warm brown eyes, as he reached for the phone in his pocket. He didn't need to ask, he knew Neal was hit and hurt badly. The young man tried to say something but the moment he breathed in for air to do so, he started to cough again, this time with with a few small droplets of blood. His breathing started to increase, out of panic, but after bursting into another coughing fit, he forced himself to slow down. Peter, on the phone with the 911-responder, got out of his FBI jacket and started to scrunch it up into a tight ball. He told the young woman on the phone what had happened, how Neal was and that he needed an ambulance right away, then he hung up to do as much for Neal as he could, starting with slowly pulling Neal around, so the young man came to lie on his back and removing his hand from the gunshot wound, pressing his scrunched up FBI jacket onto the wound. Peter watched, as Neal's pain-filled blue eyes looked up at him. He coughed again, a few drops of blood hitting Peter. But the older man didn't care. All he could think about was trying to safe his friend's life.

"Sorry... 'bout that." Neal managed to in a mere whisper, not wanting to take any deep breaths. He was short on breath, but it was enough to say a few words.

"Don't worry about it, Neal." Peter replied as calmly as he could. "Just breathe slow and steady... and don't you dare closing your eyes, no matter what."

Neal gave a small nod in reply. He would try to do as he was told. He looked up into Peter's brown eyes and it was like he knew exactly what he was thinking in that moment. Peter was thinking that this should never have happened and that he should never have agreed on letting Neal go undercover like this. He should have known better and he should have been there to protect Neal. Neal wasn't supposed to get hurt, that was his job. But now that it happened, he would make sure that Maloney paid for his crimes and he would do anything to safe Neal's life. It was partly his fault that Neal was hurt anyway.

"Not your fault... Peter." he said, against the advice of shutting up to safe his energy.

"Yes it is... I should've known better." Peter replied seriously, but when Neal looked at him just as serious as he did and took a deep breath only to end up in a coughing fit, the look in Peter's eyes softened. "You weren't supposed to get hurt, Neal."

"Never... goes as... planned." he replied between small coughs.

"Stop talking. Just focus on me and stay awake."

Neal simply nodded, his coughing subsided slowly. He tried to focus on Peter. However the blood loss and the pain from the gunshot wound combined with the shortness of breath and his frequent coughing fits were taking their toll on the young CI. His blood pressure slowly started to drop, which made him weak and tired. His eyelids grew heavy, like lead weights were pulling them down. He began to blink, drifting away. He started feeling a little dizzy and his vision started to become blurry. He heard how Jones and Diana came back into the room, he heard their voices, but he was too tired to move his head. He tried to focus on what was being said, fighting the dizziness as long as he possibly could.

"He's gone. We lost him in the traffic about a minute ago. But an APB is out." Jones said to Peter, a worried look on his face as he looked at Neal. He didn't need to ask to know that he was injured. Neal could hear Peter curse under his breath. He blinked a few times, trying to stay awake. "How's Caffrey?" Neal heard Diana's voice.

"Not good." Peter said, looking down at the young man, concern filling his brown eyes. "C'mon Neal. Stay with me!"

Neal tried. He heard how Jones or Diana said something, but he couldn't understand what it was anymore. He was getting so tired. So weak and tired, his eyelids felt like lead weight. It was hard to keep them open. His breathing had slowed down, his blood pressure sunk and he was just feeling weak. Not to mention that the space around began to spin. He wanted to go to sleep so desperately, but the gentle slaps on his cheeks managed to pull him back a few times. He tried to focus his ocean blue eyes on Peter, who was talking to him, but Neal didn't listen anymore. He just wanted to close his eyes and rest, although he was afraid that if he closed his eyes now he wasn't going to wake up again. "C'mon buddy. You can do it! Just a few more minutes!" Peter called out to him, trying to keep Neal conscious. But a few seconds later his world went black.

"NEAL!" Peter called out, but it didn't work. "Dammit!"

xXxXxXxXx

Peter was restlessly pacing the waiting room in New York-Presbyterian University Hospital, where they had taken Neal to. He was rushed into surgery immediately after his blood pressure had dropped even more on the way from the house to the hospital. Neal had slipped in and out of consciousness, coughing drops of blood whenever he was awake and slipping back into oblivion when he had no energy left to cough. At some point the paramedics had put him onto an endotracheal tube ET, to help him breathe as well as on an IV tube.
After Jones and Diana had insisted that he should go with Neal to the hospital and they would finish up on the scene as well as keeping him in the loop, Peter had insisted that he rode in the ambulance with his CI. He was his partner and friend after all. Promising to stay out of the way, Peter had sat on the bench next to the stretcher, holding onto Neal's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze when he'd see those panic-filled blue eyes look at him. He had told Neal that he was going to be okay over and over again. And somehow it seemed like Neal had believed him. There was that look of trust in the younger man's eyes. Under different circumstances Peter would've been thrilled to see that look given to him. But this was different. The situation was different and yet he proved to Neal that he'd take care of him, he would never leave him behind. Ever. Still, for Peter it felt like he had failed Neal. He had failed to protect him from being hurt, although Neal told him it wasn't his fault. Peter didn't know yet, that Neal probably saved his life.

"Hon!" Peter heard Elizabeth's voice behind him. He turned around and saw his wife rushing up to him. He had called her when they reached the ER and Peter was told to wait here. He was glad to hear her voice and to see her. Elizabeth spotted drops of blood on Peter's shirt and neck and frowned.

"I'm okay, hon." Peter told her, before she wrapped her arms around her husband. He held her tight, glad she was here with him now.

"How is he?" El asked, pulling back a little to look into her husband's eyes. Her blue eyes were filled with concern.

"I dunno, El. They took him to surgery right away." Peter replied, concern and a hint of guilt evident in his voice. He turned his head to the right and looked away. "This should never have happened..."

He heard Elizabeth sigh and gently tough his face, forcing his brown eyes back onto hers. "Don't blame yourself, hon. I'm sure he's going to be just fine." she said in a reassuring tone. He admired that strength of her. She was always able to make him feel better, no matter how bad the situation was.

"I know... he'll bounce back. But..."

"Uh, uh. No buts, honey."

Peter tried to say something again, but Elizabeth gave him a look that told him he better not be arguing with her right now, so he shut up and just sighed heavily. The only time he remembered Neal being hurt like this was on Cape Verde, when he was shot by Collins, although it didn't put him into a hospital bed, with his life at stake. And then there was the time he ended up drugged, but that had been in a hospital, trying to play Jimmy Burger and he wasn't actually in pain, besides the headache afterward. Back then he had been worried about Neal, too, not knowing what they would do to him, when he was caught in that clinic. He had received the same look of trust and even Neal saying he was the only one he trusted back then and it had meant a lot to him, it still did. Peter remembered that case where Neal was blackmailed to steal a piece of Art in exchange for data about Kate's death. Peter had been angry at Neal in the beginning, but after he told him what had happened, he understood. And the one thing he said when he was asked why he didn't take the flash drive was burned into Peter's brain.

"I said the price was too high and I meant it. Your trust is too important to me."

"Agent Burke?" another female voice came from behind where the reception desk and the hallway to the operating rooms were. Peter turned around and saw a relatively young surgeon standing nearby looking at them. The beautiful blond woman still wore her blue scrubs and the mask was still around her neck. She was about 5 feet 7 tall and had her blond hair bound back in a ponytail. Her warm brown eyes were scanning the waiting area, settling upon Peter as he looked up.

"That's me." Peter said, taking a few steps closer to the doctor.

"I'm Doctor Alexandra Durant. I was told you came with Mr. Caffrey." the young surgeon said, extending her hand. Peter shook her hand, looking into her beautiful hazel brown eyes, giving her a nod in reply.
"How's he?"

"Well, considering the blood loss and damage the bullet did to his left lung, he's doing okay. We were able to stabilize him and repair most of the damage to his lung. But he's not out of the woods, yet, first 24 hours are most critical."

"What about the bullet?"

"It was a .22 caliber hollow point." Dr. Durant replied, holding a small plastic jar up to Peter. "I saved this for you. Figured you might want to run some tests with it, although I doubt it'll be of any help."

"Probably not. But thank you anyway, Doctor."

"You're welcome. The bullet did some minor damage to his sixth rib while penetrating, but that will heal in no time. He'll be sore, though."

"Can we see him?" Elizabeth piped up, now standing next to her husband. She had been listening until now, but the question was burning inside her mind.

"Mr. Caffrey is set up in a room in the ICU as we speak." the blond surgeon replied, her warm brown eyes looking at the dark-haired woman before her. "I'll take you to him, just let me get out of my scrubs."

"That would be great. Thanks." Peter replied with a small thankful nod.
Through the eyes of an amateur it seemed like Neal was going to be fine in no time, but both Peter and Elizabeth knew that he wasn't out of the woods, yet. The first 24 hours were significant. Anything could happen. But they both hoped that there won't be any complications and that he would be okay soon. Peter knew Neal was strong, he was a fighter, he wouldn't just give up on everything he had here. He had just gotten him back from Cape Verde and he wasn't ready to loose Neal again. Pain in the ass or not, trust issues or not, Neal was his friend and although he would never admit it, when he disappeared the day his sentence was supposed to be reduced, Peter missed having his input on the team. He even missed that annoying hat thing. Peter took his wife's hand in his and let out a heavy sigh as he watched Doctor Durant disappear.

"He'll be fine, hon." she said softly and kissed his cheek. Her beautiful blue eyes were filled with concern, though. She was worried about Neal, but deep down she hoped he was going to be just fine.

"I know."

Within five minutes Alexandra Durant was back and on her way to take the Burkes to the ICU. She now wore a pair of navy blue jeans, a purple short-sleeved top and her white coat on top. Her hair, of course, was still in a ponytail. Her dark brown eyes quickly scanned the room, spotting Peter and Elizabeth right where they have been waiting before and walked over to them. They saw Alexandra coming and got up from their seats again, meeting the young surgeon halfway and then were led out of the waiting area and into the corridor that led to the ICU of the hospital. Once there, Dr. Durant walked the Burkes almost all the way down the hall and then stopped in front of a room near the end of the corridor. It was room 10. A window was right next to the door on the wall, facing the corridor. Through the partly closed blinds, Elizabeth and Peter could see Neal in his bed. He was tugged under a light blanket, attached to an IV for fluids and pain medication and a ventilator to help him breathe. Another tube was coming from his chest which was attached to a suction device, used to evacuate air, residual blood or body fluids from the chest cavity. His skin was pale, his eyes were closed, but his chest was slowly sinking and raising. He looked peaceful, lying there and yet miserable. Strands of his dark hair had fallen onto his forehead. Without all the tubes and the sounds from the heart rate monitor and the ventilator, he would've looked like he was sleeping, which wasn't that wrong.

"For now he's fine. His vitals look very good. If nothing else happens he'll be up soon." Alexandra Durant said after they entered the room and she took a look at all the machines and the chart. It was only about twenty minutes that he had been taken from the OR to his room in the ICU.

xXxXxXxXx

Peter had been sitting at Neal bedside for about two hours after he was taken to the room in the ICU. Nothing had changed so far and Peter was starting to get a little impatient. Dr. Durant had said that Neal would be awake soon, but he still hadn't made the slightest movement. It was bugging Peter, because he had so many questions as to what happened inside the house that had Neal almost killed. And he wanted to know that his charming, blue-eyed CI was okay. Elizabeth had to leave for work again, having a big event that night and so Peter was by his side. Mozzie had called earlier and said he'd drop by later that day.
"Come on, Neal." Peter said quietly, looking at his younger friend, his hand coming to rest on his shoulder. "Wake up."

He gave Neal's shoulder a gentle squeeze, not really knowing why. Maybe he was hoping that Neal would notice and finally wake up again. But the young man didn't move. It frustrating and raising his concern at the same time. What if he slipped into a coma? What if he never woke up again? Peter quickly shook his head, not wanting to dwell on any 'what-ifs' right now. Neal would make it and he would be awake any time now. That was the thought he wanted to dwell on. Peter considered going back to the office and see what the team found, but then again, he didn't want Neal to wake up and find himself all alone in a cold, white hospital room. He wanted to be there when he opened his eyes.
And there is was. A flutter of his eyelids, or was it not? Peter kept his eyes focused on Neal's. And there it was again, another flutter. He could see his eyes darting around under the lids, although they were still closed. That went on for a couple of minutes that seemed like a small eternity to Peter, before Neal finally opened his eyes. The light inside this room was blinding him, so he blinked a few times, but when Neal finally looked around and then settled his eyes on the older agent now standing by his bedside, Peter was never happier to see those beautiful blue eyes of his consultant rest upon him than in that very moment. It was like those blue eyes of Neal's were trying to say that everything was going to be okay now, although he was still not really there. Neal was still in the process of waking up and realizing what happened. But the first thing Peter noticed was Neal's hand reaching for the ventilator tube, but before he could do anything, Peter's hand rested upon Neal's, stopping the younger man's actions.

"Hold on, Neal. I'm gonna get someone helping you outta this." Peter said and then reached out to the call button, that would alert a nurse. But before he could even reach it, there was a soft knock on the door and Dr. Durant entered the room.

"Our patient woke up, I see." the beautiful blonde surgeon said, walking up to Neal's bed. If he could have, she would've been greeted by one of Neal's charming smiles. Or he would've tried. But Neal was, first of all, attached to that ventilator that made smiling impossible and, secondly, still too tired and worn out to even think about smiling.

"Just a moment ago." Peter replied with a nod. "Was about to call a nurse. Seems like he wants off that ventilator."

"Yeah, I bet he wants that, but we can't just remove the tube. I'll have to see how his own breathing is doing before I can remove it." Dr. Durant explained. "Mr. Caffrey?"

Neal's blue eyes now rested on the doctor, he looked up in question after she spoke to him. He wasn't able to speak, but he could still use his eyes to communicate. At least for some communication.

"I'll start the process of weaning, which means you'll stay on the ventilator but will be given the chance to breathe on your own. I'll monitor your progress. If everything goes well, you'll be off the ventilator soon."

Neal gave a small nod in reply, his eyes now darting back and forth between Peter and the doctor. He had no choice, he understood how this was working and he knew it was going to take some time to get that annoying tube out of his mouth. Neal watched as Dr. Durant went over to the breathing machine and changed the settings. He was still tired and Peter, who was watching him, could see that. No wonder, with the cocktail of medication he was given, that would knock everyone out. Pain killers, antibiotics to avoid pneumonia and a mild sedative to keep Neal sleepy, so he wouldn't breathe against the ventilator too much. Neal felt Peter's hand on his shoulder and moved his head a little, his blue eyes locking with Peter's brown ones, seeing the concern in them, but also taking comfort in them.

"You'll be fine, Neal." Peter said to him and he believed him. Why not? He woke up, what else could happen now, right?"

Dr. Durant watched them, before she checked his monitors and nodded a little. "I can agree to that. Everything looks just fine." she said. "If you need anything, push the call button. I'll come back in two hours to see how he's doing before I head home."

"Thank you, doctor." Peter said with a small nod to her.

Neal watched the two of them, but he wasn't as focused on everything as he was before. In fact, he once again found himself fighting the urge to close his eyes. He was tired, but he had so many questions. He watched Alexandra Durant leave the room and then looked back at Peter, who now sat on the chair next to his bed again. He wanted to stay awake, but his eyelids grew heavier with each passing minute and eventually Neal gave in. He closed his eyes again, drifting off to the dark realm of dreamless sleep.

By the time Neal woke up again, he found the ventilator tube had been removed and he was now steadily breathing on his own, only a nasal oxygen cannula was left to make sure he was getting enough of the important gas. A pulse oximeter was clipped onto his left index finger, measuring the blood oxygen level. It had been there ever since he was taken into the room, but he didn't really notice before.
The young man's eyes darted around the room, finally settling onto Peter, who was still there with him. Neal was surprised to see him still here. Not that he wasn't happy to see him, though, considering that when he was in that old house and shot he had been fearing he might never see him or anyone else again. But still, since he had been awake once before he had figured Peter would've left for home. But he hadn't.
Secretly that meant a lot to Neal. It proved that Neal wasn't only Peter's responsibility, his CI, but that he was also a friend. He had always known that Peter liked him, cared about him, but right now, Neal realized just how much Peter actually cared, although the older agent probably wouldn't admit it. Although Peter once did admit that he liked Neal and maybe not only because of the challenge. Maybe Peter had had enough faith in Neal to be sure he could turn the young man around for a life of honesty, without going around stealing things. And maybe in the long run, he really did have a chance.
"Peter..." Neal merely managed to croak. His voice was quite hoarse and his mouth was almost bone-dry, making it hurt as he tried to speak. He actually wanted to say something, but the pain it caused in his sore throat made him reconsider.

Peter on the other hand, got up immediately and stood next to Neal's bed, looking down at him. His warm brown eyes offering comfort to the injured con-man. "Hey. How're you feelin'?"

Even now that he was still tired and in a pain, he arched his brows at that question. The one question everyone asked when someone was in a hospital. "Been better." Neal gave a short reply, instantly regretting that he spoke when he started coughing. It set his lungs and throat on fire, but luckily it lasted just a few seconds. But it still caused a worried look back onto Peter's face. But watching Neal, Peter turned around to grab the cup of water from the bedside table and the straw. He unwrapped it and put it into the filled cup. He didn't even need to ask if Neal wanted some, the look on the young man's face was enough of an answer. So Peter held the cup in front of Neal and helped him to his first sips of water since he got to the hospital.

"Slowly, Neal." he told Neal. Under different circumstances Neal would've been annoyed, but right now he was too concentrated taking sips of water to actually care about it. Not to mention that Peter meant it well. And Peter couldn't know that Neal could have killed for a single drop of that cool, soothing liquid. The cool water slowly eased some of the pain in his throat making Neal feel a little better. Peter put the cup back onto the table after Neal had enough.

"Thanks, Peter." the blue-eyed man said, clearly being thankful. "Feelin' a lot better now."

"Good." Peter replied, offering Neal a small, but comforting smile. "What the hell happened in that basement, Neal?"

Neal looked up at Peter, his blue eyes now looking serious. "I wasn't careful enough when I searched his office... and didn't know about a camera he had installed... pulled a gun on me as soon as we were inside the house."

"And he brought you downstairs to question you. We heard that part. But why did he shoot you?"

"He didn't. Not on purpose."

Peter frowned, not really getting what Neal was saying, but after thinking about what happened when they reached the basement, Neal's word suddenly made perfect sense. He must have jumped in front of the bullet to close the door he was about to open. And then Peter realized that Neal may have saved his life when he got shot. "He had his gun aimed at the door. He heard us coming?"

"Exactly. He would've shot whoever entered the room. Which..."

"Which would've been me." Peter finished Neal's sentence.

Neal gave a small nod to Peter. His actions had been a spur of the moment kind of thing, but thinking about it, they may have been caused by a hint of selfishness. Because if something happened to Peter, that would mean that Neal may go back to prison, something he didn't want. But that wasn't the thought running through his mind when Neal did what he did. Neal couldn't actually remember what he had been thinking when he jumped in front of the bullet. Maybe it was just the fact that he did what he thought was the right thing to do. He wanted Barry Maloney locked away and Peter was the one who could make that happen. And after what happened earlier, after being shot by him, Neal was certain that he wanted Barry behind bars. Or Allan Little as he now called himself. And maybe he did care about Peter. He wouldn't want anything happen to the man who gave him a second chance. Or a third one, if he considered the second chance was when Peter agreed to his deal. And yes, Neal knew that he had been close to blowing it more than once. Or course he cared, after all, he trusted Peter. Although he had been hurt in the process and there was always that trust issue between them, because Peter wasn't someone who placed his trust easily, you had to earn it, but in the end, the older Agent was always there to protect Neal from screwing up his life. He always tried to keep the younger con-man from doing something stupid. And truth be told, Peter knew how to handle Neal. And maybe one day, he'd also know how trust him.

"You saved my life..." Peter said, after a few minutes of silence had passed. "Why?"

Neal shrugged a little, looking up at Peter. He knew he had to reply to his question, so Neal said the first thing that popped into his sleepy mind. "For so many reasons... one of them being that I know... of all people out there... you're the one who'll catch him."

Neal's reply brought a small smirk to Peter's face. Of course he'd say that. After all, he caught Neal – twice. And found him a third time. "Well... haven't caught him, yet. He managed to slip through traffic."

"Dammit." Neal cursed under his breath, he wanted to say something but he was stopped by a yawn. "Either he's gone again, or he may come back to finish the job if he knows I survived."

"We'll get him." Peter told him with a reassuring nod and a firm squeeze to Neal's shoulder.

Neal nodded slowly in reply, his blue eyes locking with Peter's warm brown ones. There was something in Neal's eyes that Peter had only seen once: trust. "I trust you, Peter. And you're the only one... I know you'll catch him." he said honestly, before he yawned once again, now finding himself struggle to stay awake. Dang those meds. He felt like he could sleep all day and it was only afternoon.

"Get some rest, Neal. I want you back on your feet asap. Got it?" he added with a teasing smirk.

"Yeah, got it. So you can torture me again."

"I don't torture you."

"Yes you do." Neal replied with a serious nod.

"No, I don't."

"Yes."

"Shut up and rest."

"Okay." Neal replied quietly, but smirked a little bit; for the first time since he woke up.

"I'll be back in the morning. Behave."

"Always do."

Peter opened his mouth to say something, but then decided to shake his head instead. He got his suit jacket and coat and left Neal's room, telling him to take it easy and rest and that he was going to be okay in no time. Neal watched Peter leave with a small smirk tugged to his face. A few minutes after Peter left, Neal closed his tired eyes again, drifting back to a restful sleep.

A week went by and Neal was making good progress on recovering. He still had some trouble breathing, meaning he was quickly short on breath, when he was allowed to take a few steps to shower himself or go to toilet and his rib was still sore, too, but it was steady progress. He was doing better each day. And he had a lot of support. Mozzie, Elizabeth and Peter seemed to take turns to visit him in the hospital, Peter letting him know what was going on in the office, what progress they made on finding Maloney. Mozzie and Elizabeth provided the mental support, telling him he'd be up on his feet and the same as always in no time. There was a lot of friendly concern there, but Neal didn't mind at all. It showed he belonged somewhere and he had people caring about him.
That went on until the day he was released from the hospital with strict orders to rest at home for the next couple of weeks, check in with the doctors frequently to see how he was doing and then go back part-time at first. Peter had insisted on picking Neal up the morning he was released. While Neal himself insisted on carrying his own small over-night bag, that held his hospital paperwork, painkillers and some clothes that he had used on his stay, they slowly walked out of the hospital to the parking space, where Peter had his car parked and waiting for them.

"You look like you wanna tell me something ever since you got here. What's up, Peter?" Neal finally asked, after they exited the hospital. Breathing in the fresh, but cold air outside felt good and feeling it on his skin made Neal feel much better.

"You can tell?" Peter asked back, raising his brows but the look he got from Neal made him shrug. "Alright... we have no paper trail left to catch Maloney."

Neal looked at Peter with a frown. "What's that mean?"

"It means that two days ago he's quit all his accounts. He cleared out his bank account and got rid of everything that Allan Little possessed, so we can't track him."

"He's gone off the grid."

"Which means he got away."

Both men stopped on the way to the car and looked at each other. Neal frowned even more. This time it was a more worried frown. All his work at the office with Maloney seemed to lead nowhere now. Maloney got away with the boiler room scam, mortgage fraud and attempted murder and Neal didn't like that at all. But he knew some day they would get him. If Maloney was as ruthless as everyone said he was, he'd come back some day to finish his business with Nick Halden. After all, he didn't get any answers out of him the first time around. Although Neal figured Maloney may know he had been working for the Feds and that was reason enough for a guy like Maloney to come back for revenge. And Neal began to wonder if he should be worried about that.
He slowly nodded at Peter and sighed. "Well... you didn't get him this time, but... you will catch him."

"We will catch him." Peter corrected him.

"Right. It's just a matter of time. But he figures Nick Halden may be involved with the feds, he'll be back for revenge. He just needs time to get you off his tracks and his back." Neal said, a hint of worry now evident in the young man's voice. And Peter instantly picked up on it. He put his hand on Neal's shoulder and gave hit a gentle squeeze.

"We'll get him, Neal."

"I know, Peter... I know."

Both men looked into each others eyes, no words needed to be exchanged to know what they were thinking. They knew. And as they continued their way to Peter's car the first flakes of snow silently began to fall from the sky, dancing around both men as they walked away from the hospital.

To be continued...


Thanks everyone for reading this chapter. PLEASE let me know what you think, okay? It only takes a minute to leave a review and you don't even need to be registered to leave one... so please? :)
As you can see, the story isn't quite finished yet, so yes there will be a sequel. If you guys want to read one that is :) but it's planned already and has been planned since I started this story, so stay tuned for more and THANKS so much for reading and supporting my work! It means so much to me, I can't even tell you how much.

And before I forget... HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you, although it's two days early, but I wish you all the best for the new year and I hope to see you next year :)

blackrose538