Disclaimer: The following is a work of fan fiction based on Human Target which belongs to Fox.It is in no way intended to infringe on the copyrights of Fox.

Disclaimer: The following is a work of fan fiction based on White Collar which belongs to Jeff Eastin and USA. It is in no way intended to infringe on the copyrights of Jeff Eastin and USA.

With a special thanks to  mam711 for  your beta reading, and your editing and all your help and support with this story.

This is for Movieexpert1978 who so kindly gifted me a Transformer story, this is for you.

Thanks to Darcy Oordt of www.whitecollarlexicon.com for allowing me to use the graduation picture of Neal.

The full story leading up to the wedding can be read in “Every Mother’s Son”, which can be found in the Human Target Fandom.

Every Man’s Brother

White Collar / Human Target

January 24th, 2004

Church of the Sacred Heart

San Francisco

Amy Fielding and Harry Fuller had both led good lives; they were retired but unable to turn their backs totally on work. So Amy, a teacher all her adult life, still found time to fit in a few hours a week helping special-needs children with their reading and writing. Harry, a law professor, still kept his hand in helping a local protest group keep on the right side of legal as they protested local environmental issues. They had met at one of the group meetings.

So two lonely people had become first friends and then lovers, with Harry moving in to share Amy’s home, in what they laughingly called living in sin. Now, finally, after a year, they had decided to tie the knot.

Harry Fuller—for once dressed in a morning suit instead of his usual old tweed jacket—found himself standing in church as the wedding march started to play, and he turned to look down the aisle to see Amy, dressed in peach and white, coming towards him on the arms of her sons.

On Amy’s left was Neal, or rather—as he was christened—George Jr.; he had first met Neal the day before, and he had been impressed by the young man. Neal was 23 years old, good looking, with Amy’s slender build, dark hair, and ready smile; he had found Neal very charming, intelligent and devoted to his mother.

Amy told him that Neal was an artist and art restorer; if that was correct it certainly paid well—Harry could recognize a Savile Row suit when he saw one.

On her right was her other son, Kelly; he was older than Neal by just over ten years, smaller—around five foot six—with brown hair with a hint of ginger to it. There was something about Kelly that Harry couldn’t put his finger on; last night, when he had shared a drink with them on the eve of the wedding, he couldn’t help but notice that Kelly had issued him some barely veiled warnings concerning his mother.

Knowing how much the boys loved their mom, he could understand it; people always made light-hearted threats, like 'I’ll kill you if you break her heart'. But when Kelly had said it, there was a slight tilt of the head, and the eyes had gone ice cold and intense; it had sent him cold and he had had to suppress a shudder as he realized that Kelly actually meant it.

It was then that Neal had cut in smoothly, turning the subject away to safer ground, making everyone laugh, and the atmosphere at their table had lightened; the evening had taken off, and he had had a great time with them.

He had tried to get Kelly to tell him how he had put an end to the violent harassment that had threatened him and Amy, but Kelly had just gone quiet, and his eyes seemed to harden; Harry had dropped the subject. 

Last night was now forgotten as Amy reached him; she turned to Neal and he kissed her on the cheek—what he said to her Harry didn’t hear but she smiled and squeezed his hand, before releasing it. She turned to Kelly and kissed him on the cheek; it was Kelly who then presented her to him. He shook hands with both of her sons as they symbolically passed her care from them onto him.

0-0-0-0-0

Kelly took his place in the church; to his family he was Kelly but to the outside world he had only one name: Guerrero. As he watched his stepmother—no, his mother: she had been more a mother to him than his own—say her wedding vows, he remembered the early days when she had tried to make him understand that he was family. He hadn’t trusted her, waiting to see what her angle was. Until finally, he realized there wasn’t one; what he was seeing was who Amy was—a warm and caring woman who loved him for who he was.

So Guerrero was pleased that his mother had called him about the harassment. The men had been amateurs, but dangerous to her; catching them and getting the name of the man that had sent them had been easy. Now their boss and his thugs were no longer a problem, just corpses that would never be found.

He turned his attention to Harry; the retired lawyer had looked like he was a good man and would make her happy, but he never took anything at face value, so he had checked him out: no priors, no spouses unaccounted for, and last night as they had shared a drink he had told Harry that he would be watching him.

Harry had laughed, until he had added the warning that if he ever hurt his mother he would kill him; he had stated it levelly, and held Harry’s gaze until he saw his point had been made, saw the touch of fear in the older man’s eyes. He only ever gave one warning; Harry had just gotten his.

Guerrero looked sideways at Junior; his mother had insisted on inviting his partner to the wedding because of his help with the harassment. Junior was the only other person who knew about his family; usually that knowledge resulted in a quick bullet to the back of the head. But with Junior he didn’t feel the need to kill him; he trusted the blond—that was an alien feeling for him, but a good feeling all the same. One that he was still puzzling over.

Just then he was brought back to the present as he heard the minister say, “You may kiss the bride.”  He looked back at his mother, watched as she kissed Harry, and joined in the applause.

0-0-0-0-0

Reception

The reception was a great success; looking around, Neal saw Kelly stood grazing the buffet— some things, he mused, never changed. He went over and threw an arm around the smaller man; he didn’t comment when he felt the customary flinch, but his brother didn’t pull away from him, and finally leaned into his touch. Neal knew that he and his mom were two of only a handful of people that could actually touch Kelly and not risk getting maimed.

Neal remembered all too clearly seeing Kelly break a man’s fingers because he had touched him—the guy hadn’t meant any harm, he was just one of those touchy-feely type guys. He had learned the hard way that Kelly didn’t do touchy-feely.

When he felt his brother push away from him, he allowed him to slip out from under his arm. Kelly started to walk away, paused, and then nodded towards the bar, “Coming, dude?” Neal grinned and followed him; they joined Junior who was already seated at the bar sipping a beer.

 Once they had their drinks, Guerrero turned to his brother, “This Fed, how close is he to nailing your hide to the wall, bro?” he asked as he took a sip of his club soda.

Neal exhaled slowly; he was going to have to be careful when he answered his brother. Kelly was a very dangerous man; he didn’t kid himself on that score. He was a professional hit man who tended to look at threats to his kid brother in very stark black and white.

“His name’s Special Agent Peter Burke, White Collar New York. He’s a good man, smart, and you know how I like smart.” Neal smiled, and then his face became serious again. “But he’s not going to catch me without a chase, Kel; he’s not even close yet.”

“Right,” Guerrero said slowly. He tilted his head slightly and his stare became intense; lesser men had run from it, but Neal met it levelly, as Guerrero added, “If he becomes a problem, let me know.”

Neal shook his head in horror as he hissed, “He’s FBI, Kelly, you can’t kill him; he—”

“Accidents happen, Neal, even to Feds.” Guerrero’s voice was soft and reasonable, too reasonable, and Neal felt a shiver go up his spine.

“I wouldn’t want anything to happen to Peter,” Neal said calmly. “I would rather do time than see him hurt, Kelly.”

His brother focused on the name 'Peter'. Kelly cocked an eyebrow at him. “Interesting.”

“Somehow I can’t think of him as Special Agent Burke.” Neal paused, then added, “Like I said, he’s a good man, Kel.”

“Well, the offer is open anytime, bro,” Neal nodded, then Guerrero added, “I have special rates for friends and family.” He gave his younger brother one of his more genuine smiles.

“And that is?” Junior asked with a grin.

“20% off, dude,” Guerrero replied, took another sip from his drink, and turned to watch as his mother and Harry took to the floor for their first dance.

0-0-0-0-0

2005

Neal Caffrey had been arrested and sentenced to prison for counterfeiting bonds; it was the only criminal charge they could make stick, even though Peter Burke knew that Neal was an art forger and con man. So he took what he could get, and helped send Neal down for four years to maximum security.

The bite had been put onto Kate the first time she had visited Neal in prison. A guard had taken her to one side; he was quick and to the point: prison was a dangerous place, and a pretty boy like Neal Caffrey could have a hard time of it, unless he had protection. Next month the price would be 1,000 dollars; the guard had smiled at her as he added, “Call it an introductory offer.”

Kate had gone straight to Mozzie, and he had easily collected the money; Kate had passed it over on her next visit. Three months later the guard upped the price to $5000 a month; when she protested he leered at her: if she didn’t have the money she should sell her ass, because if she didn’t get it, Caffrey would be selling his.

That's when the trouble started: $5000 a month drained Mozzie’s contingency fund, and now he was having to fence goods they had stolen and put aside to wait for them to cool off before he sold them.  Mozzie was doing his best, trying to fence the goods as quickly as possible to keep Neal safe, but it was getting harder by the month to raise the money without moving some of the high-profile large pieces.

Mozzie was packing a candlestick away; as part of a pair it was good for $7,000—only a fraction of its value of $20,000 but he needed the money fast. He turned quickly as Kate came in, her pretty face flushed, her eyes red from crying.

“Neal—he’s in the prison hospital; he was attacked today.”

Mozzie caught her and pressed her down into a chair; he forced his fear back and took her hand, clumsily patting it. “What happened, Kate? We paid the money; Neal should have been all right.”

She sniffed and looked up at him, and brushed her long hair from her eyes. “I was late delivering the money.  I got a phone call today; Neal was attacked in the shower this morning—he wasn’t raped, but he was beaten, They want … they want $10,000 now. What are we going to do...?” Kate pleaded, “Mozzie, they want the money by the end of the week.”

0-0-0-0-0

Somehow he managed to get the extra money, and Kate delivered it, but the price was now $10,000 a month and Mozzie knew he was in serious trouble. Sitting alone in one of his warehouse homes that only Neal knew about, he looked around at the art pieces that surrounded him and in his head went through where he could fence them and for how much. The money was such now that he had to start tapping the higher-profile pieces but for each one of those he sold, the odds would swing to favor Agent Burke and the FBI. One thing was certain: getting caught wouldn’t help Neal, so somehow he was going to have a find a way to end this blackmail once and for all.

Kate was pushing him for the location of the stashes that Neal had around the country—it seemed he loved her but had withheld that information from her—Mozzie refused to tell her; this was Neal’s lifeline and he wasn’t going to endanger it by telling Kate, because, if truth be told, he didn’t trust her.

0-0-0-0-0

He couldn’t believe what he was going to do. Mozzie picked up his burner cell phone and stared down at the keypad; a year ago, when Neal had returned from a private visit he'd refused to tell him or Kate where he had been.

Three days later, he appeared in the evening at his warehouse home, and Neal had spent the first hour talking but not talking; it was as if he was trying to make up his mind about something. Finally Neal had leaned back in the overstuffed armchair, thrown an arm over his eyes, and finally said, “There is something you should know … need to know.

“If I ever get into trouble—and I am not talking about Burke catching up with me, I mean real trouble—there is someone you have to call.” He moved his arm and sat up straight in the chair. “You need to call this number ...” He handed over a scrap of paper. "... and tell him what’s happened.  Give him what information he needs, and then just step back and keep walking, Mozzie.”

“Neal—”

“Mozzie, you don’t want to be around him, because he will take you down as well.”

The fear began to churn in the pit of Mozzie’s stomach. “Who is this guy?”

“A friend.” There was the ghost of a smile on Neal’s face that was laced with sadness.

Now, a year later, he was finally going to do the unthinkable. Taking a deep breath, he punched the number into his phone, and then waited; it was picked up after only a couple of rings.

“Speak.” A one-word reply.

“Neal Caffrey is in trouble and it’s connected with—” He didn’t get any further.

The voice on the other end cut him off in mid-sentence with one word. “Location.”

Mozzie quickly gave an address for a meet in New York.

“Thursday, 10th. 10:30 pm,” the voice told him, and the phone clicked off. Looking at the cell phone, Mozzie had a feeling of dread run through him, and he suppressed a shudder.

0-0-0-0-0

Thursday 10th

10:30 pm

Mozzie stood in the shadow of the building; the voice was right against his ear. “I am here, dude, so you best start talking.”

Turning quickly, Mozzie tried to put some distance between him and the speaker; he felt the color drain from his face as he saw his worst nightmare standing there: it was Guerrero.

If he lived to be a hundred he would never forget the man’s face; its owner was a professional killer, and the last time they had met he had been the target.

If it hadn’t been for Neal he would have ended up—Mozzie knew—tortured for the location of the money he had stolen from the Detroit mob, and then killed. How Neal had talked the man out of killing him he didn’t know and Neal hadn’t said, but was forever grateful to his friend for that.

Now he had called that very same man to New York, God help him.

He saw the slight tilt of the head as Guerrero evaluated him. “What happened?”

“Neal was arrested by Agent Burke of the FBI, and he got four years for counterfeiting bonds.”

“And,” Guerrero said levelly, cutting cross him, “you wouldn’t be contacting me for that; he went down six months ago.”

“The prison guards have been blackmailing us for money; if we don’t pay, they will ...” Mozzie paused. “Neal will be raped and sold off to one of the gangs. I’ve been paying $10,000 a month; it’s getting harder to get the money. The FBI is onto me, and it’s only a matter of time before I'm caught and when that happens Neal won’t be protected.”

“Do you know who’s involved in it?”

Mozzie nodded and took out an envelope. Guerrero took it and slid it into an inside pocket of his coat.

 “Neal is my friend; I need.…” Mozzie’s voice trailed off, and he shuffled his feet.

“I’ll take care of it,” Guerrero said levelly. “Do you have enough money for the next payment?”

“Yes,” Mozzie nodded.

“Pay it; buy Neal some time, and leave me to take care of this.” Guerrero began to turn away then looked back at him thoughtfully, and Mozzie felt the breath catch in his throat. “Dentist, you did well by him; I won’t forget that.” Then he was gone; only then did Mozzie begin to breathe again.

0-0-0-0-0

Two weeks later

Prison

Neal saw the men grouping around him, and tightened his grip on the chair, ready to use it as a weapon if he needed to, but he was under no illusion: he might fight but he would go down. But he would make them work for it. Big Bill Cooper, a giant of a man, just looked him up and down slowly. 

“G sends his regards, Caffrey." He jerked a thumb at the men around him. “Your tribe now. The word's out.”  Then just as silently as the men had come, they melted back away from him.

It took all of Neal’s skill as a con man to stop any emotions from showing on his face; only once they had gone did he sink onto the chair and clench his hands to stop them from shaking. The threat to him had been neutralized, and he had his brother to thank for it.

0-0-0-0-0

Mozzie sat in the park and unfolded the newspaper; on page two was the article that interested him. He recognized the name of one of the dead prison guards as the one that had been blackmailing them. He had been found dead in his own kitchen; he had been tortured, then killed. There was a name in blood on the kitchen floor: Kerr, the Assistant Warden.

When the police went to Kerr’s house they found him dead; he had fired several shots at his attacker, but had died from multiple gunshot wounds, and scattered across the table and on the floor they found a dusting of cocaine, from ruptured plastic bags.  The drugs pointed to the Assistant Warden being behind the supplying of drugs to the prison, which was reaching epidemic levels.  When they went out to the garage they found one of the other guards in the front seat of the car, his blood and brains decorating its interior; when the trunk was opened, another guard was found dead, bound with duct tape, and killed with a single bullet to the  base of his skull. The inside of the trunk was coated with heavy traces of drugs. The police were convinced they had been murdered by a rival drug gang.

Mozzie closed the newspaper slowly; he knew now what Guerrero had done. For the next three months, every day he waited to hear that chilling voice in his ear, and feel the cold barrel of a gun against his head, but it never came; it seemed Guerrero had decided to allow him to live.  So instead he concentrated on slowly liquidating the art treasures to make sure that when Neal came out he would have money at his disposal without letting Kate know about it.

0-0-0-0-0

Airfield

2009

Peter Burke arrived at the airfield; jumping out of the car he looked around. He caught hold of the arm of one of the mechanics; flashing his badge, he was soon pointed in the direction that Neal had gone. He knew that he had to prevent Neal from taking off: if that happened, it would only be a matter of time before he was drawn back to a life of crime and that would end badly. He couldn’t allow that to happen to a man he now considered his friend. Racing through the hanger, he was in time to see Neal starting towards a private jet.

Looking past Neal, he saw Kate in the doorway of the jet; she was no good for him, but Neal would never see that—he was totally besotted by the woman.  When he had spoken to her about Neal, he had never seen love for him in her eyes; she had seen Neal as a cash cow, leaving him dangling on the end of a string, playing on his love for her, using him for her own ends.  Peter had never believed her to be the innocent victim of the fiasco with the music box; the fact she had been free to move around New York and had been armed showed that so clearly. But he knew that Neal would never believe that, so if it meant manhandling Neal to the ground and cuffing him, he would do that; he wouldn’t let Kate destroy Neal’s life for her own ends.

Peter called out to him, halting him on the way to the plane, but even as he spoke to Neal, telling him that he had a life here, he knew his worst fears were realized: Neal would go with Kate; he couldn’t stop him. Neal turned away from him and then to his surprise turned back, his face showing a deep-rooted sadness. “Peter,” Neal started to say, but that was as far as he got.

 

It was then that the world exploded into fire and smoke, throwing Neal to the ground. He scrambled up with a heartbreaking cry and started towards the aircraft; it took all of Peter’s strength to stop him from throwing himself into the fireball that has once been a plane. Then Neal’s body went limp in his arms and the younger man began to sob his heart out, as he saw his world crash and burn.

0-0-0-0-0

Guerrero watched his brother struggling with the FBI agent. He knew that Peter Burke would look after him; the agent was close to Neal from what he had learned, and that made him either a threat or an asset. He was inclined to think Burke was an asset. Threats to his family were never allowed to stand: he had killed for his younger brother before and would do so again to keep him safe, and if Burke became a threat, he wouldn’t live long enough to regret it.

 The shaped charge he had set worked perfectly, concentrating the power of the charge on the underbelly of the plane; it had vaporized Kate and a large part of the aircraft, leaving only burning wreckage and aviation fuel.

Guerrero knew his information on Kate was correct; no one ever lied to him, not twice anyway. Kate had become a threat to Neal: she had planned to take his brother out of the country, and then Neal would have vanished into a shallow grave somewhere in South America. A paper trail for the explosives he'd used would lead to Fowler, the crooked FBI agent who had tried to blackmail his brother using Kate as bait; he would let the FBI take care of their own.

Now he would step back and see how the pieces fell. If Neal needed him again, he would be there.

By the time the police and the FBI arrived in force, Guerrero was well clear of the airfield.

0-0-0-0-0

2014

San Francisco

Neal was finally free; when Kramer had forced him to run, he'd thought that his world was over. But Hughes and Peter had exposed Kramer’s illegal activities, and had brokered a deal for him with the Justice Department: he had escaped prison time and the risk of life imprisonment for a third strike, but he had to be punished for running all the same, and an additional year had been added to his sentence. Six months into that year his anklet had been removed, and now finally he was a free man.

To his surprise and pleasure, he had been offered a position as a paid FBI consultant in the White Collar Unit; he had readily agreed to it as long as he could work with Peter. Hughes had pushed the paperwork through, and when he returned from his vacation he would take up his place at the unit officially.

Neal waited while Peter parked the car, then he got out and opened the door for El. As Mozzie climbed out of the back, Neal stood and looked at the home of his mother. On the front lawn was a small bicycle belonging to his nephew. Kelly’s son had been living with his grandparents since he was born, and Neal knew that his brother visited when he could.

The fact that a black El Dorado was parked in the drive showed that Kelly was there now.  This was going to be interesting. Well, he hadn’t come all this way to back out now; it was time his brother met his family without the cover of lies.

He took a deep breath, and walked to the door. Peter, Elizabeth and Mozzie were his family in New York; the three of them had earned the right to know this part of his life. Time and time again they had proved their love and loyalty to him. It was time they knew that truth about him.

The end.