White Collar belongs to Jeff Eastin and USA Network. I'm just playing with the characters in an attempt to deal with PTSD from White Collar withdrawal, which will only get worse as the daylight gets shorter!

Open Season

Chapter 2 – Bull's Eye

Peter was just about to take another step forward directly in the path of the cab when someone grabbed his arm and jerked him back as the cab sped past inches from his chest.

"Are you ok, Sir?"

Peter was momentarily speechless still trying to process what was happening. Eventually he managed to shake his head in the affirmative.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Thanks."

It was at that moment that Peter finally lifted his head to see the person that had rescued him from the path of the cab. It was a younger man, mid twenties with a stocky build, and wearing a sweatshirt with a big moose on it.


Neal had broken out of his momentary stupor that had him frozen in horror. He reached Peter's side, but refrained from touching him; not sure if the traumatic experience would have changed the ground rules.

"I'm so glad you're ok. I didn't see the cab until it was too late!"
"I'm fine. I'm ok. We need to get going."

Neal looked at Peter with a curious gaze, a little alarmed at Peter's casual statement.

"So you're not mad that I'm talking? I would have given you a hug, but I wasn't sure what rules were still in play."

"Fine. Whatever. Just try to limit your annoying behavior and we'll go from there."

"We can't leave until you at least introduce me to the guy that saved your life."

The young man that Neal guessed to be in his mid to late twenties turned around as Neal reached for his hand to thank him, seeing as Peter made no move to introduce him.

"Thanks for saving his life. I really appreciate it!"

"No problem man. My name's David. It always seems to be kill the pedestrian season, doesn't it?" David laughed. "At least hunting season is for a specific time period. It's always open season on pedestrians! It's almost like we all have bull's eyes on our backs. Even animals don't have it that bad!"

Neal started to laugh. As he lowered his gaze it caught on the familiar "Watch out for moose droppings" screen print. Neal's jaw dropped and he stared for a second before he caught himself and looked over at Peter.

"Did you see this guy's shirt? Isn't it great?"

Peter didn't even crack a smile, still overcome by his near death experience coupled with his worry over Elle and what Keller was doing to her.

"I guess if you like moose. I've never seen a moose or its droppings so how would I know what to look out for? This is New York City. Why would I even care?"

Peter really didn't sound all that interested and was irritated if anything. Peter's sour mood didn't seem to hinder David's bright and cheerful tourist attitude though.

"I'm from Alaska, you should really visit sometime. You could see a moose up close. Sometimes they just walk right in the middle of the street not caring at all about traffic."

"Well." Neal said, only smirking slightly. "That sounds just like my favorite F.B.I. friend here, just wandering into traffic."

Peter looked over at Neal shooting daggers at him.

"I did not just wander into traffic, the light had changed!"

Peter responded in a very defensive tone of voice while David still ignored the increasingly charged atmosphere and had the biggest grin on his face.

"Wait a minute, you're F.B.I. agents? This is so cool! Are you in the middle if an exciting case? Do you think I could shadow you? Wow, I should take pictures! Nobody will ever believe me. This is epic! It's even better than seeing a polar bear!"

His face was seriously beaming and Peter looked over at Neal and caught his eye and raised his eyebrows as if to say 'is this guy for real'? Neal just shrugged his shoulders. He had no experience with Alaskans, how would he know? Peter rolled his eyes and grudgingly stuck out his hand to his rescuer.

"I suppose I should properly introduce us. I'm the F.B.I. agent. Special Agent Peter Burke and this is my criminal consultant, Neal Caffrey. Yes, we are on a case and we really don't have time to chat."

Neal looked over at Peter, his blue eyes seemingly innocent.

"But Peter, he saved your life! You owe him something. At least let him tag along for a little bit."


"Peter, you're going to hurt his feelings and he did just save your life. You could at least be slightly grateful."

"I'll be grateful enough when we find Elle, until then we're wasting time. If you want him to come he's your responsibility. I don't want him in my way."

Neal gave a mock salute and a crisp "Yes, Sir. Will do, Sir!"

Peter resisted the urge to smack Neal upside the head and turned to cross the street - this time successfully.

Once the three men reached the building where Mozzie was supposed to be waiting Peter leaned up against one door listening to anything inside. Neal stopped and turned around motioning David to come closer.

"I need you to do something very important for me, ok?" Neal asked in a conspiratorial whisper.

"Sure, anything!"

"Peter and I are going in there to conduct some very important business. I need you to stay out here and make sure no one follows us in okay?"

"I can do that!" David looked positively giddy at the prospect of helping out FBI agents on a very important mission. "Do you need me to warn you if something happens? I can do a moose call! I won the moose calling contest two years in a row!"

The last comment was loud enough for Peter to turn around and grimace, but before Peter could say anything sarcastic, Neal put his hand on David's shoulder and gave him a big smile.

"That's really commendable, David, but I don't think we'll be requiring the use of that specific skill set right now. All we need you to do is to make sure nobody else gets in, no warning necessary, understood?"

"Yes. Absolutely, no one gets in."

"Ok. I'm counting on you. This is very important!"

"I've got it covered! You can go do your F.B.I. agent thing, and I'll be waiting right here."

"I'm sure you will be."

Neal turned toward Peter and gave him a thumbs-up sign and a big wink. Peter just rolled his eyes and he opened the door and went inside, holding the door open just long enough for Neal to reach it.

"Do you really think he's going to be waiting there when we get back down there?"

"Yes, Peter, I really think he will be. He has way too much enthusiasm and thinks he is a part of an important mission; there's no way he's leaving."

"You really think so?"

"Oh come on, Peter, he's like a younger you! All excited and ready to go. I bet that's exactly what you were like when you were a young FBI Agent still wet behind the ears! When did you lose all your enthusiasm?"

"When did I lose my enthusiasm?" Peter gave a half-hearted laugh and looked Neal up and down as if there should have been an obvious answer that Neal was quite obviously missing.

"If I must explain it to you, it was when I met people like you who do nothing but take advantage of the system and don't have any respect for the law! They take what they want and don't have any idea about the chaos they leave behind for me to clean up."

Neal looked down for a moment realizing that there probably was a lot of truth to Peter's words.

"I'm sorry I let you down Peter, I really am, but I think David seems to be a good guy, maybe just a little too eager."

"Good, then there might be some hope yet for him, already he listens better than you!"

"Ouch, Peter. You wound me." Neal put his hand over his chest pretending Peter stabbed him.

Peter stopped at a gray door that had a big red "NO ADMITTANCE" sign and then looked back down at Neal.

"This is the place, right?"

"Yes, Peter, this is the place."

Peter put his hand on the door handle, but turned to look at Neal before he opened it.

"If anything happens to Elle, Neal, the damage will be far more serious than just a flesh wound."