Disclaimer: I do not own Burn Notice, White Collar, or Royal Pains.
A/n: Been working on this for a few months 's point of view. This is one of three pieces that all interconnect involving the characters from all three shows. I'm playing with the idea of what would happen if Neal, Hank, and Michael knew each other. The other two are in my profile with different point of views and different scenes of this event they all are remembering.
The kid was going to get himself killed, was what Michael was thinking as he stared at the smirking face in the paper. But that had always been Neal's problem. He enjoyed being seen too much to hide in the shadows like Michael preferred. He had nearly ripped his hair out in frustration back in the days when Neal's brash runs to the spotlight had nearly gotten them killed. It was only until Henry had been able to talk them into a compromise that they were actually able to make any further progress. Be seen not remembered the calm doctor would always remind the younger. Neal would roll his eyes and with a wave of his hand go off to do his own thing.
"Be caref-" Michael's request was cut off as Neal slammed the door to their base. Henry chuckled at Michael's exasperated expression as he turned back to the camera, headphones going to his ears.
"You think it's funny now," Michael said crossing his arms. "You won't be laughing when our cover is blown and we have to drag his body through customs."
"What ever you say, Mike," Henry said, the corner of his lips twitching upward. "Maybe if you lightened up on him…"
"What?" Michael lifted his brows incredulously. "You mean like spread his wings?"
"No," Henry said. "But you know how he is."
"Arrogant, cocky, destructive, pigheaded…"
"And I know how you are." Henry interrupted him turning to him. Michael gave him a dangerous look but Henry only chuckled again before turning back to the screen.
The heat inside the van was stifling at best but the tension from the previous evening's argument still echoed along the metal walls of the frozen yogurt car. It made up for the heat outside while still fitting but it made for some pesky wanderers banging on the side for their attention. Michael and Henry had been fine in the van, fully ready to sit for the week that would probably take their mark to return to his safe house. But Neal hadn't taken to the closed compacted space as easily as the other two. The twenty one year old, while a trained spy, was still too wild and in need of fresh air. Needless to say the argument led to Henry having to separate the two before they killed one another.
Knock knock knock.
Michael and Henry ignored the tap from the lone construction worker trying to see if some magical person would appear. The worker waited a moment before walking away down the road to the site the builders were gathering. Michael took his own pint of the frozen yogurt, letting the cold dairy fill his mouth as Henry relaxed in his chair. This was what made an easy job. Two silent partners watching a monitor in a van with melting yogurt.
There was silence in the truck as both processed the familiar sound.
"Was that…" Henry began but Michael was already out of his seat, gun in his hand.
"Whose that?" The soft voice of Fiona didn't startle him but he still flipped the paper over from her sites, covering the picture from view. The protective pull made his brow lift as his body tensed in the way it always did. Shoulders heightened, calf muscles tight ready to pounce. He hadn't felt the familiar twist of his muscles in a long time
Fiona made a noise at the back of her throat, not believing him but knowing better than to push. "I'm going to the store."
"We need more yogurt," He said.
"I know." She replied already out the door. He waited until he heard the car engine start and then disappear before he turned the paper back over in his lap.
He had been smart. Michael still couldn't believe the kid's luck. Neal Caffrey had not been his name on all of his paper work, though Michael doubted from the beginning that was his real name. Even with a fresh face into the more shadier side of the world Neal had high connections with people who forged all his documents and paperwork. Michael had met with a baby-faced kid with deep blue eyes that went by the name of Neal Holloway, recruited before he even finished high school. It was his luck he picked the wrong pocket. Michael's brow furrowed, as he worried his teeth on his thumb, at the mug shot in the paper's headline.
"Fugitive in New York Escapes Judge's Chamber" it read in big bold letters. He had expected to see a long article about how he was wanted for some grisly crime their agency had decided to pin on the kid but instead found a rather improbable tale about a consultant for the FBI who had been cleared of all charges after finding the man who really committed the rather laid back crime. Forgeries had been Neal's trading card after he had disappeared without a trace.
New York. Michael lifted his head staring out his balcony from his chair. Neal was close to Henry. The familiar racing of his heart returned as he thought back to old memories of running. Henry had been a good guy. He knew how to calm Michael down long enough for him to go talk Neal brash actions. He deserved much more than he was given. Sam was a good friend but no one would come close to Henry. It had taken both his connection and efforts plus Neal's to make sure they had gotten him back home safely before some of their rather disgruntled clients had heard of his termination. He went by Hank now, Michael remembered, having checked up on him.
Michael noticed the construction workers had made themselves sparse. He walked in the direction Neal had gone.
If you are in a stake out chances are there are other people just like the ones your watching in the area and they are watching your target as well. The last thing you want to do in a situation with heavy gunfire is go running around with a gun in your hand. Chances are the moment you step from your vantage point they will see you and have a sniper take you out before you get the chance to explain to them that your not there for them.
He turned the corner, spotting the abandoned storage warehouses that were hidden behind the few habited buildings in the area. The sun bore down on Michael as he pulled his sunglasses down, the cool metal of his gun chilling his back as he spotted the abandoned stain on the ground. Blood. Instead of walking forward though, he turned quickly, behind the pile of torn rusted metal. He needed to be smart about this. Neal had been shot that much he was for sure.
The kid had been forced to learn how to shoot but for the most part he would conveniently leave his gun behind.
Debating on the blood had been it hadn't been a head wound meaning there was still a chance he… Michael moved on. He saw foot prints, possibly a day old maybe two. Six different pairs that meant give or take he'd have about five heavily armed assailants with enough leverage to push Michael to far. But it wasn't just him, Henry was somewhere and if Neal was wounded then he'd need to make this as quick and painless as possible.
And... Sometimes you have to fire a couple of shots at old buildings to get said guys to come out in the open.
He fired two shots in the air, stopping to stand in front of his unknown opponent.
"Excuse me?" Michael shouted in an irritated tone. A tall man rushed out of the building, gun in his hand as he pointed it at Michael.
"What do you want?" The man demanded. Michael felt the loathing disgust fill his stomach. Quinn Demetri, a big time gun runner and drug trafficker that was known in the area. He had no relation to who Michael had been watching at the time but he liked to know the neighbors and possible allies in the area. Demetri was not one of them.
It's important to remember that the big fish in the pond needs to eat sooner or later. He's going to have to make deals with the little fish at some point as well.
"I seem to have lost one of my associates around here. You wouldn't happen to know where he could be do you," Michael said with a mocking smile. His eyes narrowed on the man under his glasses as another man stepped beside Demetri.
"I don't know what the hell your talking about."
"See I think you do," Michael replied. He turned the gun and fired at the unknown man in the shadows before turning his aim on Demetri quicker than the blond man could react. "And I need you to know that I don't have time to be kidding around."
"Who the hell are you?" Demetri demanded with a snarl, spit flying from his mouth.
"My name's Halden. Your name is Quinn Demetri. I've got a shipment full of Iranian fire arms that I need to get to moving before tonight and I'm on a very busy schedule so if you could hurry this along, that would be great."
"This is my-" Demetri began but Michael cut him off. He fought to reign in some of the usual patience he had in situations like these but every moment that passed with him not seeing Neal was one close the kid could be dead.
"Yeah, yeah, times change. You're old news Demetri. Cartwell is taking over. I'm sure I'll have orders to get rid of you in the next week or so. So I suggest you give me back my man and head out of here while you still can."
A cry brought Michael's attention from Demetri to the warehouse door.
Another reason why spies general work alone is because you can't control your responses when a team member gets hurt during an op. No matter how much you keep your face straight and stay in character, the other guy is going to notice some change in your demeanor.
Spies tend to work alone. Working with a team was too complicated. Human nature is to cling onto something familiar. It's even harder when you have to go from some random uncharted patch of rain forest that was inhabitable to the middle of a market square is Bosnia that just so happens to be the trading center for human traffickers. You have to cut yourself off from anything you get attached to because you won't be able to carry it in your suitcase when you flee the country.
Yet he had worked with a team once and was doing it again. The similarities were almost painfully apparent. Dark thoughts lingered in Michael's head. He had been fine on his own. But now he was making the same mistakes.
Michael's shoulders tensed for the briefest moment as they flung Neal to the ground, but Demetri caught it. His snarl turned into a sickening grin as he moved over to the heap that was Neal. A long arm wrapped around Neal's neck and hefted the injured man up causing him to choke. Demetri stretched Neal up, the younger man standing on his toes as he struggled with the grip around his throat. A large blood covered hole was gaping at Michael tauntingly; the bullet wound still bleeding profusely. Neal couldn't help but cry out again as the pain from stretching even made Michael almost wince.
"You want to talk now, eh?" Demetri shouted gun pressed to his temple. Michael remained cool behind his sunglasses, hands out in a passive gesture.
"You're not going to get a whole lot accomplished if he bleeds to death. He's one of my assets, he works for me, he dies I expect some compensation." Michael said mildly irritated.
He had taken Henry for granted. It wasn't long after that Neal had left and Michael was on his own. He had gotten accustomed to not having to argue his point across. Then he had met someone else and he had gotten close to her. A mission had gone south and he could only picture blood on his hands, flashbacks, he was losing his focus. So he had left. He left her. The sting of it had equaled that to when he had first been alone.
"We can't move him." Henry had said at some point but Michael was already hefting Neal over his shoulder, his chest tightening as he heard the pained cry. It was pain he had caused. Henry ducked just in time as the gun shot echoed throughout the air.
"We don't have a choice."
He looked at the black and white picture of the annoying arrogant cocky smirk. He was going to get himself killed. And there was nothing he would be able to do about it. He was trapped in this cage.
Spies stuck in scenarios to long have the habit of starting to adapt to their surroundings. Some call it Stockholm or going native sometimes even rogue.
He was stuck in this cage he had fought so hard to get out. Sure it wasn't bad as before but he was still trapped.
"You didn't mean it, right?" Neal asked looking at anywhere than Michael. Michael raised a brow but didn't turn to him, understanding Neal's insecurities.
"He's one of my assets, he works for me, he dies I expect some compensation." Neal didn't want to be bought. He wasn't someone's puppy to take to a party when they wanted to show off to their friends. He wasn't anyone's. Michael understood. He was the same. He wasn't his father's and Neal was his own man.
"No, Neal, I didn't mean it."
A/n: Reviews make me warm and fuzzy on the inside. READ THE OTHERS!