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Regrette de Tous (3/?)

Title: Regrette de Tous
Fandom: Psych, White Collar
Characters: Shawn, Gus, Peter, Juliet, Mozzie, El, Diana & Jones
Spoilers: This is set post-series for both but deals mostly with the finale of "White Collar"
Word Count: 1809
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Shawn, now living in San Francisco and engaged to Juliet, receives a phone call with news he doesn't want to believe.
Notes: This follows in the same 'verse as Psychic in the City and (White) Collar Optional. You don't really need to read them. Just know that Shawn and Neal were good friends and met up again when Neal was with the FBI. I started this pretty much right after White Collar ended but lost the drive when my dad passed away. I only have four chapters ready to post and I can't promise a regular posting schedule.

One Two



Elizabeth Burke sat alone at her dining room table nursing a cup of coffee. She had cancelled all her appointments for the day knowing she wouldn’t be able to concentrate. She looked at the framed photo of Peter and Neal dressed in tuxedos. It was one of her favorites and she couldn’t bear to hide it away even if t made her cry. She had already placed a number of reminders out of sight. She wasn’t going to wipe him from her memory completely. Besides, there probably wasn’t one single place in all of New York City that wouldn’t remind Peter of their friend.

El then thought of Mozzie. He had known Neal since he had first come to the city and had taken the youth under his wing. Peter had told her that the man had been spouting theories on how Neal faked his death despite being confronted with the body.

The doorbell rang, pulling her out of her funk. She wiped her face and brushed back her hair as she walked to the door. She allowed herself a small smile. Maybe Peter had forgotten his keys again. What greeted her as she opened the door was not her husband but three friends who were supposed to be in San Francisco.

“Hey, El.”

Shawn’s tone may have been light but his eyes, they told the true story.

“Shawn, Juliet, Gus. Please, come in.” El stepped aside and let them enter. “Just set your bags down in the hall. Did you just get in?”

“We took an early flight,” Gus answered. “Shawn wanted to stop before we went to the hotel.”

“Let me get you some water. I know flying always makes me parched.” El moved to the kitchen and took down some glasses.

“How are you doing?” Juliet entered the room.

“As well as I can be, I guess.” She took the water pitcher from the refrigerator and poured. “With his past and then working with Peter, there was always a chance, but…” El took a breath. “Peter was certain that Neal was going to get his freedom at the end of this case.”

As her voice broke, Juliet enveloped her in a hug. El let herself relax and cry. She chuckled as she remembered how Peter always got flustered when a woman cried.

She pulled away, wiping her tears. “I practically cry at the drop of a hat these days. This just…”

“You don’t need to explain to me, to any of us.” Juliet handed her a tissue. “Your hormones on top of your emotions is the only thing we need to know.”

They heard Gus and Shawn coming down the stairs and headed back to the living room. El didn’t bother trying to rid herself of the signs of crying because she knew Shawn would see them anyway.

“Thank you, El,” said Gus as he took the water from her. He sat in one of the chairs leaving the couch for Juliet and Shawn.

El took the one opposite him. “I was just planning to warm up some leftovers for lunch, but I can always order something.” She knew she was babbling but she couldn’t help it.

“Leftovers will be fine,” Gus answered.

“Right now let’s just sit and visit,” Juliet added. “How are you feeling? Is everything progressing okay?”

Good. Talk about the baby. “Everything is going as expected. And the morning sickness isn’t that bad. But what of San Francisco? It’s such a beautiful city.”

“You’ve been?” asked Juliet.

“A few times for work.”

The door opened and Peter entered. “Hey, hon.” He noticed she wasn’t alone. “And friends.”

El stood and walked over to him. “Hey, hon,” she said with a kiss. “They flew out this morning.”

“Thanks for coming out, guys. It means a lot.” Peter looked at Shawn. “You need to know what happened, don’t you?”

“Yeah. A few years back I had another friend die and I refused to believe it. Even when the DNA said it was him. Neal was better than Despereaux, he could have set this whole thing up.”

“Despereaux? Wasn’t he killed in an explosion?”

“Shawn and I witnessed it,” said Gus.

“You saw your friend die?” El couldn’t believe what she heard.

Shawn didn’t answer and became very interested in his plate.

Juliet placed her hand on Shawn’s. “Shawn delivered the eulogy.”

El sensed that there was something else going on but she wasn’t going to get it until they were ready to share.
“Have you checked into your hotel yet?” asked Peter, thankfully changing the subject.

“No,” said Gus. “Shawn wanted to stop here first.”

“Well, you might want to rest up. There’s a gathering tonight at June’s.”

“We’ll head there next. I know I could use a rest,” Juliet responded. “I didn’t sleep a wink on the plane.”

“Me, either,” added Gus.

“Buddy, your snores drowned out the engines,” Shawn commented as he re-entered the conversation. “I doubt anyone else got any sleep.” He looked at Peter. “I’d like to go to the office with you.”

El saw Juliet’s grip tighten. Gus looked at him as if he were crazy. “Are you sure, Shawn? It might be too much too soon.”

“I have to, El. I can’t just wait now that I’m here.”

El recognized the look on Shawn’s face. She had seen it many times over the years when Peter latched onto a lead and wouldn’t let go. There was no way Shawn was going to leave this alone.

***********************


Shawn stood, waiting for a response from Peter. He blocked out Jules and Gus’ complaints that he should go back to the hotel and rest before investigating.

“If I said no, you’d go anyway and we know how well that worked out before.”

Shawn grinned and meant it.

“I’ll bring him to your hotel before the gathering tonight,” Peter told Juliet and Gus.

“But he’ll lose you in the streets,” argued Gus. “He’s good at that.”

“We won’t even leave the office.”

Once on the road, Shawn looked out the window as Peter navigated across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was still weird to think he wasn’t going to meet Neal at the office. It must really hurt Peter to have to face such memories wherever he looked.

“How was he? At the end?” he asked at a red light.

“W-what do you mean?” There was a slight catch in his voice.

“Was he at peace? Did he fight it at all?”

Shawn could see Peter’s jaw tighten as the question hit very close to home. He knew it would be tough for Peter to answer, but he just had to know everything that happened.

“The EMTs had him on the gurney and, um, just before they put him in the ambulance, he…he gripped my hand and…” His hands tightened on the steering wheel as he took a deep breath. “He told me I was his best friend. Those were his last words to me.”

“Oh, man, I didn’t mean to bring that up. I’m so sorry, Peter.” Shawn quickly wiped his eyes. He thought back to his last exchange with Neal. It had been when they said goodbye at Neal’s apartment after his last visit. Peter wouldn’t let him near the airport for obvious reasons.

Five Months Ago…

“This was a great visit,” Neal said as he gave Shawn a quick manly hug. “Too bad it was so short.”
“We did cram a lot in after Peter let you go.”
“It did help that you solved the case in a few hours.”
“I have added ‘Consultant for the FBI’ to the company letterhead.” Shawn couldn’t help but grin. “Next time we’ll have to hit some places off the beaten path, places only native New Yorkers would know.”
“I’ll start planning the itinerary now.”
There was an insistent honk from outside.
“Guess that’s my ride. Sorry you can’t come.”
“Yeah, Peter’s got this thing about me and airports.”
“We could smuggle you out as cargo.”
“Coffin!” they said in unison.


Shawn sat up a little straighter. Could Neal have really done that? But Peter and Mozzie saw his still, unmoving body. There had to be drugs that could put someone in a near-death coma, right? He’d have to check with Gus later, preferably away from Juliet. It was still only a theory and he didn’t need her bringing up Despereaux, especially when she didn’t know the truth.

He took a deep breath as Peter parked the car in his space.

“Are you going to be all right?” he asked.

Shawn wasn’t sure. It was another place where Neal had spent most of his time and it would be hard not to imagine him sitting at his desk. At least it wasn’t his apartment. “I think so.”

He followed Peter into the elevator and positioned himself at the back, leaning against the wall. He could tell by how Peter stood that he was bracing himself for walking into the office and not seeing Neal. Does he do that every time or is it just because of what I said? The agents who entered the elevator seemed to look at him with pity though they never said anything. It was that look you gave when you heard someone you didn’t know all that well lost someone else you didn’t know.

They arrived at the White Collar office and Shawn took a deep breath before stepping out. Heads turned at Peter’s arrival. Some nodded, recognizing Shawn from his previous visits, but it was Jones and Diana who smiled and came over to greet him.

“When did you get in?” Jones asked.

“Flew out this morning. Juliet and Gus are at the hotel.”

“Shawn is going to look at the files pertaining to Neal’s case,” Peter informed them.

“They should be in your office,” Diana answered. “I’ll check around for others.”

Peter put a hand on Shawn’s back and directed him to the conference room. “Take a seat. I’ll bring the files.”

Shawn sat in the leather and chrome chair and stared out the windows onto the Manhattan skyline. He barely noticed the view most people would pay thousands for – if not millions – as he was lost in his own memories. This aspect of his trip was harder than he thought it would be. He didn’t know if it was the doubt surrounding Neal’s death or the fear of the possible crash should all the evidence point that way. He remembered when his dad gave him the autopsy report at Despereaux’s service. He had felt like a crash test dummy after a hard day’s work. He was not looking forward to feeling that way again.

Shawn was brought out of his reverie by the files hitting the table. He shook his head to push those melancholic thoughts to the back of his brain and reached for the top folder.

Chapter Four

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