The next morning, Neal awakened slightly confused. He didn't remember falling asleep, yet apparently, he had.

Perplexed, he immediately tried to remember the events of last night. It was slowly coming back to him when suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by an unusual noise coming from the kitchen. He glanced over to his right, only to spot Peter, leaning over the kitchen counter, hands moving busily.

Suddenly, Neal could smell a sweet scent radiating from the kitchen. Yes, that was June's Italian Roast for sure.

He rubbed his eyes, attempting to clear his head. He was tempted to call out to Peter, but thought it would be better if he got his bearings first.

He remembered talking to Peter last night. But what had he told him? Had he told him only vague details? Had he lied to him? Suddenly a thought struck him. Had he actually told him everything? That couldn't be true.

He had never discussed matters so personal with anyone in his life before. And if you had told him just a few years back that he would disclose such information to an FBI Agent, his handler nonetheless, he would have had no choice but to laugh out loud.

But Peter..was different. This he knew for sure. When he talked to him, he didn't feel like he was being interrogated or pressured. It was just like talking to a close friend. Kind of like Moz, he chuckled to himself, but sans the paranoia.

There were two sides to Special Agent Peter Burke. The no nonsense, by the book, faithful agent, assuaged by the considerate, thoughtful, and dependable friend.

He smiled at the agent who seemed to be fighting a loosing battle with a hot frying pan and some splattering batter. He laughed to himself. Peter never was the cook of the Burke residence.

Slowly, he shifted his position so that he was sitting up on his bed. He ran a hand through his hair, attempting to look a bit more put together before announcing his presence.

"You know," he began slowly. "You might have to arrest that batter on assault and battery charges." Neal stated matter-of-factly, a smile threatening to form. "Hmm, but you'll have to risk your handcuffs getting all sticky. The choice is really up to you."

Suddenly his partner turned around and grinned at his smirking friend.

"If it isn't sleeping beauty himself? Good morning to you too."

Neal chuckled slightly, grin still in tact. "Aw, Peter. I'm flattered."

Peter rolled his eyes theatrically before taking a seat beside Neal on the bed.

"So, you feeling any better?" He asked, worry lining his hopeful tone.

"Much. Thanks for asking."

Peter nodded slowly before clearing his throat. For some reason, he felt it was necessary for him to bring up last night. He didn't particularly want to, but he certainly didn't want Neal to feel uncomfortable about it. Peter was a very direct kind of guy. He felt no need to shy away from this.

"Good. That's good." "But, Neal.."


"I know you weren't really okay with talking to me last night. Some issues are just personal. I get that. I just wanted to help. But you can always talk to me. Honestly, whenever."

Neal waited for a moment before responding. "Thanks. That really means a lot."

"Yeah" Peter continued, lightening his serious tone. "And for what it's worth, I don't think this Adler creep is worth loosing any sleep over." Neal attempted a forced chuckle.

Peter paused for a moment to bring a comforting hand to Neal's shoulder.

"I know you miss her, bud. But you can't dwell on the past. Kate wouldn't have wanted that. She would have wanted you to be happy."

Neal looked up at Peter slowly. He was starting to feel emotional again. Gosh, why did this keep happening?

"Neal, you have a life here now. A good one. One that's your own. One you can be proud of."

Neal let his words sink in for a moment. He was right. Peter was truly right. Neal knew he couldn't keep living his life in constant fear of the past. That was behind him now.

Suddenly, he felt a few tears gather in the forefront of eyes. He quickly resisted the urge to blink, worried the stealthy drops might betray him.

"Yeah" he replied, his voice slightly shaking. "You're right. The past can't control me forever."

"Exactly, Neal." He patted the younger man on the back lightly. "Exactly."

Peter stood up and walked over to the kitchen.

If he saw Neal wipe the tears from his eyes as he turned away, he certainly didn't mention it.

"Now" He said, turning around to meet his partner's one of a kind grin, "how about some relatively edible pancakes?"