Fandom: White Collar
Characters: Peter and Neal (Gen)
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."
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.
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