Neal's behavior lately has been entirely unacceptable.
It's as if he doesn't appreciate at all what Peter's done for him - how he took him out of prison and gave him a future, a purpose, something so much more than the four years of suffering and fear and sheer boredom that would have been his torment during his remaining sentence.
Peter highly doubts that "bored" is a word Neal would use to describe what he's feeling right now.
Turns out "Peter Burke" is a name that's capable of calling in a few favors. Big favors. The kind of favors that are apparently capable of taking Neal from defiant and deceptive to subdued, pleading, desperate - in the course of the few days he's spent back in prison.
With a very carefully chosen pair of cellmates.
Neal's blue eyes well with tears, and he reaches across the table toward Peter with a trembling hand before withdrawing it, remembering that it's cuffed down - and besides, he wouldn't be allowed to touch anyway.
"I-I'm sorry, Peter," he whispers, eyes downcast with shame. "Please... please, isn't there - is there anything you can...?"
"I can try," Peter replies, his tone grave and dubious, though the papers authorizing Neal's release back into his custody are already signed and in his briefcase, ready to be filed. "I don't know, Neal. You need to start showing a little more respect. For me. For the Bureau. For the sweet deal you've had for the past three years. Things could be a hell of a lot worse for you than you've had them with me."
"I-I know," Neal concedes, his voice small and soft. He winces as he nods, and Peter wonders what bruises are concealed by the fluorescent orange of the jumpsuit he wears. "I'm sorry, Peter. I - I'll do better. Just - please, please - d-don't leave me here."
Peter rises with a grim half-smile, pretending to hesitate before he reaches out to run a gentle, reassuring hand through Neal's hair, suppressing a chuckle when Neal flinches away slightly before looking up at him with hopeful, pleading eyes, as if Peter's his only chance of salvation from the nightmare he's fallen into.
And that's not at all far from the truth.
"I'll see what I can do, kid," Peter concedes gently, with all the warmth and affection he can muster. "I'll see what I can do."