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27 August 2010 @ 11:59 pm
White Collar Fic: One Stone  
Written for whitecollar100 Challenge #008 – Interrogation


Title: One Stone
Pairing/Characters: Peter, Neal, Reese, Garrett, OCs
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 1200
Spoilers: Season 1, Withdrawal, Need to Know
Summary: The Mystery Man strikes and hits hard
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


SSA Roger Wilmington's voice cut through the murmurs amongst the special investigations panel, continuing the interrogation forcefully, as if he hadn't heard Peter's last outburst.

"On the night of August the seventeenth, Agent Burke, did you or did you not purposefully put Bureau consultant Neal Caffrey in the line of fire?"

"No!" Peter had proclaimed his innocence until he was hoarse, but to no avail. They only saw the evidence against him. They hadn't seen him screaming as Neal went down, they hadn't held a bleeding Neal in their arms as he did, they hadn't begged him to stay awake, stay alive...

"You knew former Chechen mafia would be at that warehouse and yet you sent a text message to direct an unarmed man to go there without backup."

Peter hadn't sent that text; it was only Diana spot checking Neal's tracking data that alerted him that Neal was heading into trouble. Only he wasn't going to get to find out who jacked his phone to make it look like he sent the text until five FBI bureaucrats decided if he should take Neal's place in prison or not.

"I didn't send that text," he said through gritted teeth. He let his eyes fall closed against the harsh reality before him only to face an even more nightmarish reality: a memory of a scarily pale and motionless Neal being loaded into an ambulance.

They wouldn't even let Elizabeth into the ICU. Peter desperately needed a visual to replace the last he had of Neal looking up at him from the floor where he lay in a pool of his own blood.

Neal hadn't said anything, couldn't really, but his eyes had been every bit as judgmental as the panel had, believing in the betrayal - his gaze asking the question 'why?'

o--o

The parking garage was only dimly lit, its cool gray walls almost completely darkened by shade: the perfect place for a meet.

An FBI agent shouldn't fidget, but dress shoes danced impatiently over old oil stains until one shadow separated itself from the darkness and made itself known.

"I did what you asked. Caffrey's out of commission and Burke's been framed. They're both out of play. Now will you tell me why I had to do this? What's coming next?"

"You have a lot of questions." Most of the man's stern face was hidden in the shadows, but his voice was enough to compel anyone to obey. "This is not an interrogation. You do as I ask. That's it."

An envelope changed hands and was opened by the agent who looked aghast.

"Hughes? You've got to be kidding me! Caffrey's a criminal, sure. And Burke's a pain in the ass, but he'll probably get cleared in the end. Now you want me to take out Burke's boss? What makes him a threat? And what makes you think we won't have the whole heat of the Bureau coming after us?"

"No questions! I'm not here for a debate. You either follow orders or your name winds up in one of those envelopes, understand me?"

Garrett Fowler watched as his clandestine contact turned and walked away then stared down at the photograph in his hand. Flipping it over there were instructions on just how Hughes was to be killed.

"Oh, god..." He shuddered, sickened at the thought, and shoved the photograph back into the envelope.

One thing he was certain of: this person did not make idle threats, he'd proven as much since he'd taken over Garrett's life.

So either Reese Hughes was going to suffer a horrific death or he was.

o--o

The last place Peter expected to be escorted to was Secret Service Headquarters, but he and Reese were brought there and ushered into an observation room with the blinds to the adjoining interrogation room closed.

SSA Roger Wilmington's expression looked grim as he addressed them.

"First, you should know we've cleared Agent Burke of all charges in the attempt on Caffrey's life."

Peter blinked in surprise and even though he was relieved his instincts fired at once, sensing something just as bad had to be following.

"Not that that's not good news," Peter said cautiously, "but on what grounds?

"We have a confession from someone who admits to the frame and is cooperating with the Secret Service as an informant in exchange for protection."

"Wait," Peter said, halting him with a gesture. "We're the FBI, they should be cooperating with us. The Secret Service has nothing to do with this."'

"Apparently that's why the informant chose them to surrender to," Roger explained. "They're not part of the DoJ. Besides, the confession included a planned assassination of a high ranking federal agent. The Secret Service would very much like to take credit for preventing that."

"Who?" Reese asked.

Roger huffed, humorless. "You." He reached over and opened the blinds to reveal Agent Garrett Fowler sitting at the interrogation table in handcuffs. "He's giving them someone high up in the DoJ, that is, if they can keep him alive long enough."

"Is he on suicide watch?" Reese asked.

"No," Roger answered. "But I believe Fowler when he says this guy can get to him anywhere." He turned to look through the one way glass. "If they can get Fowler safely to Canada, he'll give them the name."

Peter watched the once brazenly confident Garrett Fowler cower, clearly afraid for his life.

"If..."

o--o

It hurt to breathe, but it hurt to breathe every time Neal woke up so he was used to it by now: white walls, bad food, nurses totally immune to his much weakened charms...

The pain of betrayal hurt more than where the bullets had entered his chest. Clearly he wasn't meant to survive, yet he did, disbelief fully intact. Mozzie had only been able to find out that Peter had been taken into custody afterwards, a sign that didn't exactly lean towards his innocence.

"Neal..."

A voice cut through the drugged fog, one he both recognized and didn't expect, followed by a gentle hand on his shoulder.

He forced his heavy eyelids to open and found Peter standing over his bed.

"Peter... What? How? Why?" he sputtered, unable to even express all that he wanted to know at once.

"Relax," Peter urged. "There's no need for an interrogation. I'll tell you everything, starting with no, it wasn't me who sent that text. Fowler did it to get rid of you and frame me. He was under orders from someone high up in the DoJ."

Neal let out a breath, doubts erased, relief coursing through him.

"I believed it was you," he admitted hesitantly, guilt swamping him.

"I'm on your side, Neal," Peter said quietly. "I hope someday you'll see that."

"I'm sorry," Neal offered. "I... It's..."

"It's hard for a con to trust, I get it," Peter supplied for him, giving his shoulder an encouraging squeeze.

.After a moment of silence, Neal spoke again. "So we got Fowler and his handler then?"

Peter's expression darkened.

"Fowler refused to give up the name until he was safely in Canada." Anger was clear on his face. "Someone got to him last night on the train just outside of Albany. He's dead."

o--c
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on August 28th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Confession
The title comes from the phrase 'killing two birds with one stone', which seems to be the Mystery Man's intent: taking both Neal and Peter out of play in one fell swoop. In the end it's his little bird that is killed - for singing.

I confess seeing trains in both North by Northwest and Covert Affairs recently inspired me to have Fowler's demise on a train. The one in Covert Affairs was even routed through Albany so it was a quick and easy steal to use.

FWIW This fic didn't turn out anything like I anticipated. It was only supposed to be the first drabble, but it begged for more explanation so I expanded it to three then four, hoping to finish enough of a casefic so people wouldn't berate me for offering too little.

If I'd thought this was going to be a long series I'd have set aside more time to work on it and make it good, but considering it's the first week of the fall semester free time is at a premium and I'll be lucky to squish all my ficcy obligations in this weekend.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais

Edited at 2016-01-24 07:56 pm (UTC)
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Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 28th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Wasn't that a great CA episode: shirtless!sexy!Auggie TWICE! He'd definitely my favorite so far. I enjoyed the backstory on him.

I was worried this fic was a total mess so I'm glad you found it clear. I did so many rewrites I kind of lost track so it's good to know the final didn't lose anyone.
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Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 28th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
I almost jumped around in time in the fic, but I figured I'd for sure lose people that way.

I'm not sure what too much plot would look like, but good for you for pushing your limits!

I never saw the movie Coyote Ugly, but I still remembered PP as a Coyote Ugly girl anyway. How weird is that? LOL
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Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 28th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
It's a chick flick? With hot women dancing on bars I was sure it was for guys. ;-) It seemed like a popcorn movie, not exactly Oscar quality, but not porn either. Hehehe

Ah, the joys of jumping around... Linear thought can be so constraining...
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Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 28th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
Ahh... And yeah, I'm in no way against hot women dancing on bars unless it's so obviously exploitative it's sickening. "Well behaved women rarely make history." Hehehe
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Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 28th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
ROFL! That sounds like a riot!
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Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 29th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
/snort/ Oh, please. As if we don't all know where nipple clamps started out. ;-)
ladygray99: WC100ladygray99 on August 29th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
You so spoil our little com with stuff like this. I was edge of my seat the whole time. You really managed to paint a whole story arch with just a handful of words. I'm very impressed and can't wait to see what you give us next. :-)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 29th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
Yay! I was hoping you'd like this! It's so not canon and so not where canon is going, but abuse of canon is allowed too, Y/Y? If not, what's fic for? /grins/

I admit, it might be a challenge to keep up with the comm's prompts now that school's back in session, but I plan to try. ♥
ladygray99ladygray99 on August 29th, 2010 03:44 am (UTC)
:-) Just give us what you can and we'll be happy.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on August 29th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
That's all Mel and I could ever ask of you for N100. ♥