This was my first attempt at writing a fic in this fandom, (now my third lol) so I hope I've done it justice :)
It was originally meant to be a one-shot, but as with most of my writing, I sort of got a bit carried away, so it turned into a multi-chap.

Hope you enjoy...

Title: Let's Play Pretend
Disclaimer: I own nothing, sadly.
A/N: Ok, so according to 2x03, the FBI were after Neal for 6 years, and then he was in prison for nearly 4 years before S1, so I figure Neal's been in the game for at least ten years. Possibly longer, which is where my fic comes in ;)
Summary: The first time she met him, he made such an impression she found it near impossible to tear herself away. She'd been drawn to him from that moment, and he's been capitalizing on it ever since. Neal/Alex, past to present to future.

"But isn't that the whole fun of life? Surprises that can change everything in an instant?"
Helena Christensen


Chapter One

"Yeah, he's a looker, but I really think it's guts that matter most."
The Spill Canvas, 'All Over You'


She'd barely taken two steps inside the pawnshop when the dark-haired, blue-eyed teenager sidled up to her and tried to tempt her into purchasing a piece of art.

And tempted she was. That sort of work could fetch her a tidy fortune. Of course it was a forgery, an exceptional one at that, but a forgery all the same.

Surveying the canvas, the amused expression on her face never wavered, as she appraised it, "Nice try, but I'm in the market for something a little more authentic."

On her way out, with the small package she'd originally come for neatly wrapped and tucked into one of the hidden compartments in her bag, she passed by the teenager once more.

He wished her good day and she nodded in acknowledgment; enjoying the way his eyes lingered on her frame that moment longer than he could put down to ingrained politeness.

She was halfway out the door when her conscience – or what she later referred to as her Achilles heel – seemed to get the better of her.

"You have an extraordinary talent, so I'm gonna give you some advice," she offered, and watched his face light up with a hundred-watt smile. "In future don't make your signature so obvious. That's the sort of arrogance that'll get you caught."

He released a vibrant laugh at that, drawing the attention of the elder male behind the counter who raised an eyebrow in their direction.

"Everything alright over there?" the pawnbroker asked, though it took but a cursory glance over the man's well-defined form to realize he was something much more than just that.

"Yeah, dad." The boy waved him off jovially. "The lady was just telling me I've got the best God-given talent she's ever seen – and with these good looks and this charm, I'm sure to go far."

The man shook his head at his son's words, returning to his previous task, but there was no mistaking the smile on his face or the pride that emanated from it.

She rolled her eyes at the boy, holding up a hand in farewell as she walked out the door, calling back, "Goodbye blue-eyes."

With the youngster's laughter following her down the street, she found herself smiling all the way back to her convertible.

The first time Alex met Neal he'd made quite the impression, so it was no wonder she found it difficult to tear herself away when they next crossed paths.


This chap was basically the introduction, the others are longer, but nowhere near my normal 8-12 pages in Word. More like 2-5 lol, but change is good for you, so we'll see how it goes ;)

Hope you liked it, and please let me know what you thought.