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07 August 2010 @ 12:31 am
White Collar Gen Fiction: "Of His Own Making" (Neal, PG)  
Title: Of His Own Making
Fandom: White Collar
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Neal (Gen, Angst, Ficlet)
Rating: PG
Summary: Kate is gone, and there are no second chances left.
Author's Notes: Another entry for rosie_spleen's Bleeding Cuticles Roadkill Challenge.
Also for writers_choice, this is "inside".

x-x-x-x-x

Weeks have passed, maybe more, since the explosion. Neal should know how long (to the minute) but he just can't bring himself to care.

Kate is gone, and there are no second chances left. Maybe they never existed in the first place.

Caught up in the excitement of Peter's cases (still flexing the finesse he'd mastered, still sipping the thrill of chasing the perfect heist), Neal let the urgency fade. He could still pretend Kate had been taken, that she hadn't chosen money over the future they'd hoped to share. In the white marble disregard of the lifestyle June afforded him, he wore his retro suits and flashed the charm that opened doors and possibilities, never dwelling too long on Kate's choices and what they probably meant.

If she hadn't kept pulling him back in, he might've been able to finally let her go. That was what he told himself near the end, until Fowler came to him with the ultimate deal—the music box for Kate. Then the excuses faded, faster than funeral flowers worn bleak in the light of the sun.

Soon Neal was chasing the hope of Kate all over again, right until that fiery runway blast killed his dreams and answers with her.

All that was left then was Peter—safe and solid—and more questions than before. Neal noticed only the heartache, and he didn't even try to keep it at bay. It consumed him, crowding out the committees and interrogations, stealing the sound from the world as he went from holding cell to transport bus to prison all over again.

He hardly notices his surroundings any more, immune to the arguments, the odors, the gray reality of the days between Peter's visits.

Weeks have passed, even months, but it doesn't matter. Time is the enemy for a man who has nothing left but the ability to remember all the things he has lost.


-------- fin --------

 
 
 
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - Nealembroiderama on August 7th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC)
The numbness here is so bleak...oh, Neal.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 7th, 2010 08:02 am (UTC)
We just watched the S2 opener tonight, and Neal wanting to think about Peter's offer just spoke volumes. Ouch. :(
Lady Strange: Rosesynnerxx on August 7th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
Love the character insight here. He's so numb and cold and just hurting. So much intensity for so little words. Amazing.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 9th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
That Season Two opener really hit me. S1 ended with the explosion, and with S2 you realize that of course Neal got sent back to prison for awhile, which was the last thing he needed after what happened. He really wasn't himself after that, which is wonderfully true to his character-- and the sweet and sensitive streak he tries to keep hidden. He has his own sense of ethics in who he cons and what the consequences are, and death isn't something he'll ever be prepared to deal with.
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 9th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That season-opener brought this out unexpectedly, but it was impossible not to explore this part of the story (which should have been a little sadder in the episode, I think).
Ursula4xursula4x on August 7th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
This seems to catch both the loss and the increasing importance of Peter in Neal's life.
jrosemaryjrosemary on August 8th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
(Points to Ursula's post.) Well said--exactly. Lovely job!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 9th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's a relief to get such lovely feedback when trying out a new fandom, I must say. It's always a nervous experience...
jrosemaryjrosemary on August 9th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
I hope you'll write more WC!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 9th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
Peter will help Neal pull himself together after losing Kate, and in a way he's already done that for Neal's life as a whole. He's refocused all of the things that tempt Neal and managed to use them in a way that keeps Neal on the right side of the law. Mostly. And as far as Peter mostly knows.
cindy: fangirltsuki_no_bara on August 7th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
i got to the end before i realized this is set between seasons, when neal is still in jail after the plane goes boom. (i thought you were caught up on s2! apparently not.)

poor neal. :( i like that peter's visits are the only worthwhile things in neal's life now, and the mention that back when kate was alive, he wouldn't let himself think about how she'd essentially chosen money over him. i always thought he was a hardcore romantic, and it would hurt too much to know that the woman he loved would take the next big score instead of waiting to have a life with him.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 9th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
(i thought you were caught up on s2! apparently not.)
I saw your post about watching S2, and I thought, "What? Already?" So we looked it up on Hulu Friday night, and watched the S2 opener. That's where this story came from.

i like that peter's visits are the only worthwhile things in neal's life now, and the mention that back when kate was alive, he wouldn't let himself think about how she'd essentially chosen money over him.
And she did-- far earlier in the picture than I hope he'll ever know.

i always thought he was a hardcore romantic, and it would hurt too much to know that the woman he loved would take the next big score instead of waiting to have a life with him.
I agree-- despite his cons and flirtations, he has certain beliefs about love, loyalty and honor. He would never cross anyone that matters to him unless they crossed him first, and he would never believe that the woman he was hanging on for in prison would willingly run out the door months before his release just to chase something fleeting and shiny.

It makes you ache all the more for him, knowing that the few people he lets "in" matter so much and that their betrayal is doubly devastating.
i'm chris, not dustin (bella): bright: neal: sherrif of sexytownaccrues on August 8th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
God, I've read your fanfiction for five years (on and off, you know), and I don't think I've ever not loved anything you've written to its fullest. If that makes sense. In other words... *fangirls*

This is just... oh, Neal!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 9th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
This is the sweetest thing ever!

I loved S1 of this show, but never expected to write any fanfic for it until the S2 opening episode and Rosie's writing challenge backed me into a corner on Friday night.

That episode's mood was too wonderful not to work with, especially turning the 'evidence' of Neal's devastation into something more visceral and detailed.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
Lokiloki_dip on August 10th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
Eek! Poor Neal.

This is beautiful, thank you for sharing!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 11th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's so nice to know that it strikes a chord with other people as well. I think Neal's pain deserved a little more attention in that episode than we got. His reaction to losing Kate tells us a lot about who he is, and that's always important in honoring your characters.
secretsolitaire: sadsecretsolitaire on August 21st, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
Oh, Neal. :-(
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collarhalfshellvenus on August 21st, 2010 07:45 am (UTC)
It's a long road back from betrayal and despair, but he has all the right friends to help him.