Author's Note: This came to me while I was writing the end of the third part of my other WC fanfic called "Why?" Just a short drabble of what Neal is thinking when he walks out of prison to meet Peter; it's a little short. I might or might not expand on when he stays for the hotel for two hours, when he meets June, his first day, etc.
Disclaimer: I do not own White Collar, nor am I making any profit off of this.
It was truly a good day when Neal Caffrey succeeded in getting what he wanted. This made just about every day he had while being a charming and extremely intelligent con a good day, and some were even great ones. But when the prison guard chief irritably handed him his old belongings and told him he would be released to FBI Special Agent Peter Burke's custody as part of a work release program, it was a truly a great day. Not only had Neal successfully persuaded Burke to get him out of prison, but now he could spend his time not helping the agent solve cases looking for Kate.
That had really been his plan all along – to find Kate and bring her back. She had dumped him, yes, almost heartlessly through a plexi-glass barrier, but that didn't mean things were over. They didn't need to be over. They couldn't be over. Neal needed her- more than he needed to lie or cheat or steal in order to stay alive and, up until he was caught, free.
So as the federal agents flooded into their empty apartment with weapons drawn and attention focused on the conman in the middle of the room, Neal desperately sought for a way to get back out of prison before Kate was too far gone. Spying the red piece of thread on the agent's cheap black suit jacket, he explained what it was and got the agent to admit that he had been having a little trouble in catching the criminal.
Upon convincing the agent to release him into his custody, packing up his few belongings and stepping out of the steel doors for the second time in a week and a half, looking like he belonged on a runway instead of a federal agency or prison, Neal felt a medley of emotions – smugness, surprise, confident and also a little depressed, which he hid quite well from the agent. The wind whipped around the two men as the agent, a suspicious gleam in his eye that didn't look like it would ever go away, ordered the conman to show him the tracker that had been put onto his leg before he stepped out the door.
This was the one flaw in Neal's plan – that damned tracker. He couldn't get it off without alerting the FBI, and their reaction time was five minutes. Neal could be able to get a head start on them in that amount of time, but he didn't like to take chances when he wasn't sure the odds were in his favor.
The tracker was there – black, itchy, annoying, blinking and unbreakable. He couldn't get it off without the FBI's permission, which limited his chances to whenever he was undercover, an unlikely chance of escaping.
In a way, Neal was trapped – more so than while he was in prison. The entire FBI White Collar crime unit would watch his every movement while he worked, and when he didn't the tracker would do their job for them. And Kate was so close....
But he couldn't let some godforsaken tracker or the FBI stop him from getting his happily ever after. He refused to let that happen; he wouldn't let that happen. He would get Kate back and they'd run away from New York for good, away from all of it.
Neal climbed into Burke's car, and as the tires drove them farther and farther from one prison, he felt as if he was on his way to another.