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22 November 2010 @ 12:10 am
White Collar Fiction: "By The Book" (Peter, Neal, PG)  
Title: By The Book
Fandom: White Collar
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Peter and Neal (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: A guide to the care and feeding of Neal Caffrey.
Author's Notes: For usanetwork_las ("writing a how-to manual").
Also for writers_choice, this is "Books."

x-x-x-x-x

Catching Neal Caffrey was one of Peter's lifetime accomplishments. He spent years studying Neal and his methods, arranged enough stakeouts and sting operations that the rest of the Bureau probably laughed whenever the subject came up. But in the end, Peter caught him.

He could have written a book on Neal Caffrey, an all-purpose guide for law enforcement. It would even serve a dual purpose, because the method for catching Neal was very similar to the technique for keeping him.

The first step was to have an interesting prize—something beautiful, rare, or valuable. Something Neal couldn't ignore. The second was to make sure that getting it would be a challenge. Neal tended not to fall prey to temptations that seemed too easy. Maybe he suspected they were a trap, or maybe there was no thrill in it. Either way, Peter had learned that lesson very quickly.

It helped to have a setting where people were involved. Neal loved working the con, even though everything Peter had seen showed that Neal genuinely liked people. It was a mystery, always had been.

Neal liked the fancy parties and the art galleries much more than blue collar settings. He liked the nice clothes and the trappings of the high life, and god knew he'd spent his career trying to steal his way there. It was semi-ironic that the loft at June's was probably the farthest Neal had ever gotten.

As a side-note, Peter had discovered that it was a very bad idea to put Neal in the surveillance van, except as a form of punishment. Even then, the punishment tended to go both ways, because Neal whined like a three-year-old in that van. Peter had nephews that sounded like that, and it was a good thing they lived in Boston.

With all of those details, though, there was one thing Peter almost wished he'd never learned. He'd even written it down in a report, just before he made the offer that allowed Neal to work under his supervision instead of going back to prison.

Once Neal cared about you, he'd risk nearly everything (including good judgment) if he thought you really needed him.

In the wrong hands, that kind of information could be used to manipulate Neal into making dangerous choices.

Peter hoped no one ever remembered reading that.

For now, Neal was safe. He was in Peter's hands, and the unwritten book on Peter was that betrayal was not in his vocabulary.


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

 
 
 
kriadydragon: Dolphinkriadydragon on November 22nd, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
Very nice. An excellent sum up of Neal, especially the latter part. Neal really is a very loyal guy, and I love the idea of it being a possible danger for him and that if could be used against him.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 23rd, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
Neal really is a very loyal guy, and I love the idea of it being a possible danger for him and that if could be used against him.

I honestly think that Kate probably already DID that, and Peter appears to think the same. And as Neal's friend, you can sure understand why Peter might now regret having shared that weakness with the rest of the Bureau.
TeeJay: wc peace long lifetj_teejay on November 22nd, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
Excellent piece, love it very much. I've also read your other WC stories and loved those too, especially "Mayhem Is Absolutely A Plan".
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 23rd, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it-- and found the other stories too (especially the Mozzie and Neal Madness). :)
dragonfly.dreamwidth.org on November 23rd, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
I love this! So wonderfully true.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 23rd, 2010 05:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
Ursula4xursula4x on November 23rd, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
That was very nicely done. A good portrait of Peter and Neal.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 23rd, 2010 06:54 am (UTC)
Thank you! The prompt seemed like a nice way to explore their relationship, from Peter's side of things for a change.
daria234daria234 on November 23rd, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
This was terrific!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 23rd, 2010 07:06 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it. :)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 23rd, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
I envyed Kate who receive such love once and wondered what she had done for Neal.

How sad that she seems to have eventually decided that what she could get from him mattered more than loving him. I think it would be impossible to walk away from him, unless she never really loved him.

And whichever episode it was that featured Neal in the van, making everyone else crazy, really made an impression. I'm surprised they didn't kill him!
(no subject) - realpestilence on April 13th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on April 13th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
jrosemaryjrosemary on November 24th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
Lovely! I like the way Peter has summed up Neal!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 24th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! And I can imagine this never occurring to Neal, who probably thinks he's incredibly mysterious (as most of us do). ;)
.afiawri on November 24th, 2010 08:23 am (UTC)
I love the rolling poetic flow to this piece, how calming it was while still having good, sold stakes. And the ending was clever.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 24th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed it!

It think it's interesting, too, that while Peter started out just wanting to capture Neal and put him in jail, by now he's genuinely fond of Neal for all the reasons that make Neal different from a typical con. He couldn't possibly have seen THAT coming, even with Neal waging his birthday and Christmas card campaign from prison. ;)
shelley6441shelley6441 on November 24th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)

Once Neal cared about you, he'd risk nearly everything (including good judgment) if he thought you really needed him.

You have captured the essence of what I love about Neal. Yes, we know he's an ex-con but he's one of the good guys now. And his respect and high regard for Peter is what makes their relationship so great. And I love it when he whines while on surveillance in the van!

Thank you.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 24th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
You have captured the essence of what I love about Neal.

I think that's what finally did Peter in, too, just like all of the viewers. There's a sweetness and loyalty to Neal that you just don't expect, and which might (under the wrong circumstances) come back to burn him. Now that Peter realizes that, I think he'd be very protective of that knowledge.

And that episode with Neal in the surveillance van... criminy! It's not sitting around in there is a barrel of laughs for anyone else! But some people deal with boredom less well than others, which is most likely another of Neal's weaknesses. ;)
(no subject) - realpestilence on April 13th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on April 13th, 2011 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Brilliance of the Moon: neil caffreylongbca on November 25th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
Lovely
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 25th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
The Gauche in the Machine: WC Neal Is this a trap (1.08 Eagle)china_shop on November 27th, 2010 11:17 am (UTC)
Oh excellent. Yes!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 27th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
crism79: WC Neal FBI logocrism79 on November 29th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Awesome :)) It's just Neal and Peter understands him better than he tinhks. Neal really loves the high lifestyle and is in the end a people's person. And loyal, so much so that is risky for him. Great piece, I loved it :))
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!

I am sure that Neal knows Peter equally well, and that both of them imagine they have more "secrets" about their nature from each other than they really do. The world at large does not know either of them to that level of detail, but they've both had their reasons for knowing what makes the other tick. :)
(no subject) - crism79 on November 30th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
realpestilencerealpestilence on April 13th, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
That affection and loyalty is a very dangerous thing to have, either for a con man ~or an agent.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on April 13th, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
It is! At this point, it endangers both of them. Peter has to wonder how far he'd bend the law for Neal, and Neal has to wonder whether he might get backed into a corner where he has to put Peter (and his own future) to the test.