|Waiting and Hoping
Author: Cattie V PM
What if Sara had reacted differently when she found out about the treasure? What if she had given Neal the change to explain everything? AU. Neal/Sara, One shot.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Sara E. & Neal C. - Words: 2,845 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 2 - Published: 09-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8536360
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Alas! I do not own White Collar or Neal or Sara. If I did, they would still be together!
Author's Note: Hey! I hope you enjoy my new version of events. It was a lot of fun to write.
Sara stared at the treasure on the screen of Neal's laptop. Tears stared to well up in her eyes and her hands began to shake. She blinked several times, trying to clear her eyes. "Neal," she breathed to herself, "what have you done?"
She couldn't stand it anymore and shut the laptop. Neal had the treasure…he had had it all this time and he lied about it…to Peter to everyone…to her. It hurt. She couldn't fool herself. It hurt to know that Neal had looked her in the eyes and lied about having the treasure, but that wasn't the worst of it.
Sara knew what the treasure meant. Neal was going to run…it's what he did best after all. He was going to run…and Sara seriously doubted he'd ask her to go with him. He'd leave…probably without so much as a goodbye. That was the worst of it. Obviously she didn't mean as much to Neal as he did to her.
Sara sighed and just sat there, thinking. What was she to do now? She could dump Neal, but that might only give him more incentive to leave. But could she stay with him knowing that sooner or later he would break her heart?There was part of her that wanted to believe that he wouldn't…that he'd make the right decision in the end. It was unlikely, Sara knew, but she decided to give him that chance.
She wouldn't tell him anything about her knowing about the treasure. She would pretend to be ignorant of his plans. She would wait…and hope that he'd tell her…hope that being around her would make him see how much he had going for him in New York…and he'd stay.
Sara heard Neal coming up the stairs and she quickly dried her eyes and put on a fake smile. "Hey," Neal greeted her with a smile and a short kiss. He looked her closely and frowned. "You okay?"
She nodded. "Yes, I'm just relieved you caught the guy who robbed me."
"I think you mean we caught the guy who robbed you," he said putting his arms around her and leaning in for another kiss which Sara returned.
This was going to be harder than she had thought. It took all of her self-control not to burst into tears right then and run from the room, but she steeled herself. She could do this…and she would!
Sara hurried to Neal's. She hoped she'd find him at home so that she could warn him about the Interpol agent who had just been asking her about the treasure. She hadn't told him anything of course. She had been tempted to give up the IP address of the treasure, but in the end she had decided against it. If she did that, Neal would know that she knew about the treasure and her waiting and watching would be for not.
Sara knocked on the door and was disappointed when Mozzie answered and she saw that Neal was not there. Still, Mozzie was better than an empty room. He could warn Neal for her.
"We need to talk," she said, pushing past him into the room.
"Nice to see you too," he said.
"There was an Interpol agent asking me about the treasure," she said, getting straight to the point.
"What did you tell him?" Mozzie tried to appear calm, but Sara could tell that he was beginning to panic.
"I told him that I knew nothing about it." Mozzie seemed to relax. "But," she added, "he seems convinced that Neal has it."
"Well, he doesn't." Mozzie said, sounding kind of defensive, but Sara let it slide. She knew that Mozzie knew the truth, but that he was trying to protect Neal.
"I know," she lied, "but tell Neal to watch his back…please?"
Mozzie nodded and turned back to whatever he had been working on before she had arrived. As he did so, she caught sight of a photo of the very same Interpol agent.
"Wait, you guys already knew about Agent Stone?" she asked.
"What?" Mozzie looked surprised at her question. Sara pointed at the picture. Mozzie's eyes followed it and Sara could swear the color had just drained from his face.
"That's the man you spoke to?" he asked, his voice shaking slightly. Sara knew something was wrong, but had no clue what.
"Yes, Agent Stone."
"Sara, that's no Interpol agent." Mozzie was really panicking now. "That's Matthew Keller…the one person in the world who wants Neal dead."
Sara suddenly felt very glad that she hadn't told him anything. Who knows what he would have done to Neal if got his hands on the treasure?
Sara was meeting with Peter. He wanted to debrief her on her encounter with Matthew Keller. She was more than happy to recount what had happened…especially if it ending up helping putting the man behind bars and kept Neal safe.
It was strange. Sara knew Neal's secret, yet she found that she loved him more than ever and the thought of losing him hurt more than she could bear. Which is why she was still with him. She only hoped that she wouldn't one day regret her decision…that one day he'd be honest with her.
As she entered the FBI, she caught sight of Neal sitting at his desk. He caught her eye and jumped up. "Mozzie told me about your meeting with Keller." Then to Sara's surprise (and delight), he put his arms around her close. "I'm so glad you're safe." His voice was filled with tenderness and Sara could easily believe him.
"Why wouldn't I be?" she asked, gently pulling away.
"Keller's a very dangerous man," Neal explained. "Last year while you were still in Argentina, he kidnapped Peter."
"He kidnapped an FBI agent? Wow, he's got guts."
Neal nodded in agreement. "My point is he isn't afraid of hurting people to get what he wants."
"So, you think he'd hurt me to get to you?" Sara asked.
"Yes." Neal gave her a soft kiss. "I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you." Sara stared at him for a moment, studying his face for any sign of deception, but found none. He was a conman and a liar, but Sara believed he was telling the truth…about caring about her that it. Yet, it appeared that he wasn't afraid to risk breaking her heart.
Sara waited a few second, inwardly hoping that he'd come forward and tell her about the treasure, but he didn't. "I'd better go. Peter wants me to debrief him." As she walked away, she quickly wiped away a tear that had started to fall.
Neal wasn't answering his phone…and Sara was afraid she knew what that meant. She hurried over to his place and found that he wasn't there. Sara spotted the laptpop.
She grabbed it and entered the password. She froze. It was as she feared. The treasure was gone. She sat back. Neal had really gone. Sara felt like a flood was about to come, so she burst out of the room and hurried home where she threw herself on her bed and cried herself to sleep.
It was the knocking that woke her up. Sara got up and looked at the time. She had only been asleep for half an hour. She sighed. The knocking still continued. She quickly looked at herself in a mirror. Once she was sure she looked okay, she hurried to the front door and opened it.
"Neal?" She could barely contain her surprise. He was still here…he hadn't left after all! She wanted to throw her arms around him and kiss him right then and there, but before she could do either. Neal made his way past her.
"We need to talk. There's…there's something I need to tell you."
"Okay…" Sara led him over to the couch where they sat facing each other. "What's up?"
Neal took a deep breath as if he were about to say something that he wasn't sure how to say. "I need you to just listen while I tell you everything. Please, just…listen. Okay?" Neal looked worried as if he were afraid that what he had to communicate were unpleasant.
"Okay," Sara said, trying to conceal the pounding of her heart. Was he finally going to tell her about the treasure?
"Mozzie took the treasure, but he told me where it was." Neal looked away at this point as if he couldn't bear to see her reaction. If he hadn't he might have noticed the hint of a small starting to creep up on her face.
"We had it for months. We were planning on leaving, but your plans kept getting delayed. Meanwhile, I was starting to have…doubts. I was torn. It didn't want to leave. I had grown to love New York. It's my home. I have so much here. I knew if I left, there would be no coming back…and the thought of leaving it all…leaving you would be unbearable." Sara was practically beaming at this point.
"So I made the decision to stay, but Mozzie didn't like it and he left." Neal paused for a moment, still not looking at Sara.
"Then, last night Keller kidnapped Elizabeth." Sara let a small gasp of shock. This was something that she hadn't for seen. She remembered what Neal had told her before, that Keller wasn't afraid to hurt people if it got him what he wanted. Sara wanted to know if Elizabeth was safe.
Before she could ask, however, Neal continued. "We got her back though and we caught Keller." Sara let out a sight of relief. "But," Neal continued, "we had to give up the treasure to do it. Even Mozzie agreed on that."
So that's why the treasure had been gone when she had looked at the laptop earlier. Suddenly, Sara felt so relieved about everything that she started crying. The sound caught Neal's attention. He looked pained, as if he thought he had caused this.
"Sara, I am so sorry. I lied to you about the treasure and I-"
"No, no." Sara quickly cut him off through her tears. "It's not that. I…I knew about the treasure."
Neal stared at her in surprise. "What? How…?"
"I guessed your password and I saw it on your laptop."
"When was this?"
"When you guys were busy catching Brauer."
"You mean you knew all this time?" Neal asked in surprise and Sara nodded. "But…why didn't you say anything?"
"I wanted to wait…and wait and see what you'd do. I….I was hoping that you'd do the right thing. That you wouldn't run off without saying goodbye…then this afternoon, I tried calling you several times but you weren't answering your phone. I was afraid that you had left so I went to your place and looked on the laptop again…and the treasure wasn't there, so I thought you had left." A few fresh tears fell, but Neal gently reached out and wiped them away.
"I'm sorry, Sara. I should have told you about the treasure from the beginning."
"It's okay," Sara wiped the rest of her tears away. "I forgive you." She reached over and kissed him. It was a gesture he happily returned but when they pulled away, he seemed sad. "What? What's wrong?"
"Keller has to go to jail," Neal said, "but in order for that to happen, I need to make a full confession."
Sara stared at him as the realization of what he meant begun to sink in. "Neal, that would mean going back to jail. Most likely for a very long time."
"I know, but I have to do this, Sara. Keller is too dangerous to be let loose on the streets of New York…on the streets of anywhere for that matter."
Sara smiled sadly. "When I first met you, you would have done anything short of killing someone to avoid jail time. Now you're willing going back just to keep Keller off the streets? You have changed, Caffrey."
Neal nodded. "Will you visit me?"
"As often as they'd left me," she promised. "Though I don't suppose there is anything I could say that would make you change your mind?"
"Afraid not," said Neal, taking her hand and giving it an affectionate squeeze.
Sara sighed. "I didn't think so."
She leaned into Neal and he gathered her into his arms and then kissed the top of her head. A single tear fell down her cheek. "I love you, Neal Caffrey."
A smile lit up Neal's face. "I love you too, Sara Ellis."
Sara looked up at the clock in her office. She sighed. No doubt Neal was being taken into custody by now. She felt herself starting to cry again, but she quickly pulled herself together. Neal wouldn't want her to cry.
She hated this. She understood why Neal was doing what he was doing, but that didn't make it any easier to bear. The thought of him behind bars for goodness knows how long was too painful. Yes, Neal had had the treasure illegally. Yet, he had been willing to give it all up to save Elizabeth and he had done so without so much as a second thought. He didn't regret giving it up.
At the same time, however, Sara was also proud of him. A year ago, he would not have done what he was doing. He had changed. He was becoming a better man.
Sara was brought out of thoughts by a knock on her office door. "Come in." The door opened and Sara was surprised to see the object of her thoughts enter her office. "Neal?" She stood up and approached him.
"What are you doing here? Did you change your mind about confessing?"
"No. I told Peter that I wanted to confess…but apparently Keller beat me to the punch."
Sara blinked. "I don't understand."
"Keller confessed to stealing the treasure."
"He did? Why?"
"He claimed that he took it with the intention of giving it back to the Russians, whom it had originally belonged to. Keller owes the Russian mob money and for the last few years they've been after him and they wanted to kill him, but now that they think he was planning on returning stolen treasure…"
"…they no longer want him dead." Sara finished.
"Exactly. In fact, they're helping him pay for his legal defense."
Sara rolled her eyes. "Genius."
"Yeah." Neal agreed.
"But at least you're not going to jail," said Sara, smiling as the happy thought occurred to her.
"There's more." Neal said. "I got a letter from the parole board this morning. They are sentencing a hearing."
"Why?" asked Sara, feeling suddenly anxious.
"They're impressed with my work with Peter…in particular, in recovering the treasure. They are willing to commute my sentence. If this hearing goes well…in three months, I could be a free man."
Sara couldn't believe it. Just this morning, they had both been sure that he would go to jail and now he might gain his freedom. Everything had done a 180. A smile lit up her face. "Neal! That's wonderful!"
She reached out and pulled him close and kissed him. Neal's eyes were shinnying. "I know…I just…never thought this would happen."
Sara nodded. "Neal, what will you do if they grant you your freedom?" She hoped she didn't come across as pushy or worried, when the truth was that she was afraid that he would leave.
Neal seemed to understand her anxiety. "I told you before that I love New York. If I'm let free, I'll do the same thing I do every day…get up and go to the FBI."
Sara nodded satisfied. "Good."
"And I brought you something." Neal reached around the corner into the hallway and grabbed something. It was a long, cylindrical package. He handed it to her. "I believe you've been looking for this."
Sara frowned, wondering what it could possibly be. She started to open it. "Be careful," Neal warned, "it's fragile." Sara nodded and fell to opening it more gently.
When she saw what it was, her eyes widened. "The Raphael!" She looked up and her eyes met Neal's. "Neal Caffrey!"
Neal just smiled. "You want it…or shall I take it back?"
"No, I want it." Sara assured him. "It's just…you always claimed you didn't have it."
"I know," Neal said softly, "but I lied. If it's any conciliation would you really close in finding it."
"I was?" Neal nodded.
"Well, thank you for returning it, Mr. Caffrey."
"You're most welcome, Ms. Ellis."
Sara smiled and gave Neal a soft kiss. Neal smiled and as he returned the kiss, Sara couldn't help thinking how perfect her life was at that moment.
Author's Note: So, what do you think? Please, review! Reviews are the best!