Author's Note: This is my first WC ficlet posted on this account. Normally, I'm posting on ATIGERCAMELINC, an account shared between myself and Agnixx. The stories there are either cowritten or set within a certain universe, neither of which this story is - so I'm posting on my own account. I don't quite know where this oneshot came from, only that it did. This is Peter/Elizabeth, from Neal's Third Person POV. January cannot come fast enough, if anybody out there is wondering.

Disclaimer: Does it look to you like I own White Collar? Obviously, I do not. Otherwise I would not be working until 11 tonight at a deskjob, absolutely starving.


He'll never have what Peter does.

Oh, he knows it's the life he's chosen. He made his bed, now he's lying in it. God, he hates that line. He always has. But that doesn't make it any less true, any less applicable to him.

Neal chose the life he's leading. He's loved every second of it. Still does. Always will. The scams, cons, thievery and forgery – they were meant for him. He can forge anything. All he needs are the tools the paints, canvases, time – and Neal will be your Da Vinci, your Michelangelo, your Picasso. He's done them all before. Signatures. Bonds. Checks. Documents so official your head will spin.

Only, it's not really true.

Because there's one thing Neal can't forge, and the stoat's family.

He's never had one. Not a real one. Not baseball games and story-telling, not the childhood other kids had.

He doesn't need one.

Yeah, he'll tell himself that. He knew it was true, once. Doesn't quite remember where the certainty started to fade. Families weren't happy groups, not for him. That was what he knew; that was what he'd been taught.

And then he saw them.

Peter and Elizabeth.

Because they're happy in a way that nobody can forge. They are simply there, moving along, existing because of and with one another.

And he will never have that.

He might have had it, once. With Kate. But she's gone now because he tried for happy, because he took that step. And now he's fated for solitude.

Not solitude. Not really. He's got Mozzie, and June. He's got Alex, once in awhile, though he's never sure where the line lies with her.

And yes, he has Peter, and El.

But not in the way that they have each other.

He was alright with that, once. He was alright with not having family.

Only, he's not so sure where the certainty started to fade.


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