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White Collar Fic: Paris Nights

Title: Paris Nights
Author: dennih23
Word Count: 840
Character: Neal Caffrey
Disclaimer:  Not mine, White Collar belongs to Jeff Eastin

Summary: A little Neal Caffrey angst for elrhiarhodan’s birthday - hope you are having a better day than Neal

A/N: Also fills the in vino veritas square on my Trope Bingo Card
Unbeta’d – all mistakes belong to me

Artwork is from the ever inspiring kanarek13 - click here to let her know how awesome the artwork is!



                                                                         



Neal sprinted across the street, weaving between the noon day traffic. He ducked inside the Louvre to escape the rain. Once inside he removed his overcoat, shook off the rain droplets, and slung it over his shoulder. Lucie, one of the docents, greeted him and offered to hang his coat up in the employee area. Neal had spent so much time in the museum the staff knew him by name and considered him an unofficial member of their team.

They adored the stories of Jeffrey Simms, the wealthy American businessman who enjoyed the finer things in life. Many times he offered his assistance in showing guests around if they were short-handed. If they knew his true identity, Neal Caffrey, suspected art thief, they wouldn’t have let him anywhere near the place.

Accepting Lucie’s offer, Neal thanked her, a bright smile on his face. She disappeared with his coat and he turned and headed off to spend the dreary afternoon in the company of the masters. Roaming the hallways he planned one elaborate heist after another. Plans he knew he would never follow through on, if he did, two people would immediately know he was alive and would reach out to find him. That was something he could not allow to happen.

On days when he didn’t visit the museum he traveled to the outlying cities around Paris. On these trips he met other travelers who would often find their wallets missing. He knew it was an unnecessary risk but he couldn’t resist the allure. He enjoyed knowing that he could still pick a pocket without being noticed, and the billfolds always found their way back to their rightful owners. Neal had promised Peter that we would go straight and he planned on keeping that promise – in his own way.

Today the bleak weather matched Neal’s mood. He was unhappy and he missed Mozzie’s companionship. His loneliness like an open wound, it hurt to not have that kinship with anyone. Peter was the other causality in his decision to disappear. He didn’t regret what he did, but he had to admit there were many times he felt friendless. He missed his family and now he couldn’t afford to let anyone get close to him.

Outside the thunder rumbled and rattled the building as Neal wandered around hoping to snap out of his current state of discontent. Eventually he found himself in front of the Venus de Milo. He stood in front of the statue for ten minutes trying to appreciate its beauty but felt nothing.  Neal continued to stroll through the wing until he found a place to sit and watch other patrons go by.

A couple walked passed him; they were holding hands, the woman leaning against her partner. It should have been sweet but the couple only reminded him of Peter and Elizabeth. He watched the pair embrace, their joy only made him melancholy. He hung his head, missing his friends. Moments later a group of men walked by arguing which artist was superior. Their chatter reminded him of all his conversations with Moz.

The two incidents left him feeling empty and deepened his depression. He made his way back to the front desk, picked up his overcoat, and headed out into the rainstorm. Stepping outside the wind whipped around him. As he walked the streets of Paris the rain relentlessly pelting him making him cold and miserable.

His was drenched as he arrived at the small bistro a few blocks from his home. He ordered and quickly absorbed a bottle of Pinot Noir while casually flirting with the waitress. He decided on smoked salmon for dinner and a second bottle of wine. Neal ate the meal in silence and continued to drink the ‘nectar of the gods’ as Moz had a habit of saying.

As Les Deux Magots closed for the evening, Neal grabbed the partial bottle of inebriant and stumbled his way home. He walked up the stairs to his apartment and fumbled with the keys before letting himself in.

He stepped across the threshold and closed the door. Two angry looking men were sitting at his kitchen table. He gave them his best grin but they were not impressed. One of the strangers raised a gun, pointing it directly at his chest. Neal knew there was no place for him to run. The man spoke in a deep, husky voice, “Mr. Woodford has a message for you.”

A loud pop echoed throughout the room. Neal looked down, mesmerized as the red stain spread across his blue polo shirt. His knees buckled and he collapsed as his world went black.

Neal startled, waking up in a pool of sweat. Throwing off the blanket, he climbed out of bed and headed for the shower. Under the hot water he let go of the nightmare that haunted him. He dressed and drank a quick cup of coffee. He headed out the door to meander the streets of Paris knowing his demons would be waiting for him again that night.


Cross posted as AO3

 

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
nywcgirl
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:01 pm (UTC)
Nice...
dennih23
Apr. 11th, 2015 12:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you
pipilj
Apr. 10th, 2015 12:14 pm (UTC)
EEp poor Neal
dennih23
Apr. 11th, 2015 12:06 pm (UTC)
Neal is certainly missing his friends. Also if you haven't seen it kanarek13 did artwork for the story -- check it out.
pooh_collector
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
Oh poor Neal! Alone and craving those he missed behind and the dreams of his future are nothing but horrible nightmares!

This makes me dream of a reunited story!
dennih23
Apr. 11th, 2015 12:08 pm (UTC)
Our boys do need a happy reunion and Peter always does find Neal, when Neal wants to be found.

In case you haven't seen it, kanarek13 did artwork for this - it's beautiful and sad and perfect.
sherylyn
Apr. 11th, 2015 01:38 am (UTC)
This so perfectly sums up my imaginings of how Neal would be spending at least the first part of that year apart. Poor guy -- while everyone at home mourned his passing, to him, it was as though everyone he loved "died" at once. He had to have been just as miserable as he made everyone else, even if the manner was somewhat different for each of them.

Great job on this!
dennih23
Apr. 11th, 2015 12:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Neal did lose his entire 'family' all at once - he cut himself off from everyone he cared for. It would have made his early days in Paris difficult to enjoy.
sherylyn
Apr. 11th, 2015 07:56 pm (UTC)
I sooo agree!!! The whole thing was just horrible for *all* of them, just in different ways!!
aragarna
Apr. 11th, 2015 04:08 am (UTC)
poor Neal...
This is a really nice piece of angst. Great job! :)
dennih23
Apr. 11th, 2015 12:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Neal should feel a little miserable after what he did to Peter and Moz.
scarym1
Apr. 11th, 2015 01:42 pm (UTC)
That was so sad. Oh Neal, I bet you never thought it would be this hard to live without your family. (((NEAL))))
dennih23
Apr. 11th, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Neal probably thought his life in Paris would be careful, but it's not easy to forget all those he left behind.
kanarek13
Apr. 11th, 2015 01:57 pm (UTC)
Poor, poor Neal, awwww. All that angst. That was a very difficult year for all of them, Neal with his demons, Peter and his grief

*hugs our boys*

Beautiful job :D
dennih23
Apr. 11th, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
Both our boys need many hugs and a happy reunion. They need to find a way and be part of each other's lives again.
leesa_perrie
Apr. 11th, 2015 06:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor Neal *hugs him* Wonderful angst filled ficlet, right up my street!

Off to tell kanarek13 how great the artwork is too! *hugs Neal again*
dennih23
Apr. 11th, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC)
Neal needs lots of hugs - Paris is lonely without his friends.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )