Set during the episode: Free Fall


One minute...

Neal Caffrey isn't dumb. He understands a lot of things. Consequences aren't one of them. He had never done something dangerous, irrational or illogical and have someone fuss over him and his well being. He was never grounded by a concerned parent or guardian. Never once smothered in hugs and words of comfort after having a near death experience. He's never had to think about what his actions would do to other people.

Neal isn't dumb. He knows Peter cares about him. He tries hard to read between the lines, between the infamous "Cowboy up." He tries to detect the "I'm proud of you." he longs to hear from the man he respects more than anyone who has been a part of his life. But he isn't an emotional person, just like Peter isn't, although he has a better bedside manner than the agent, he is sure. He doesn't need a hug or to sit down and share his feelings. He sure as hell does not want the agent ruffling his perfectly styled hair. But he wouldn't mind knowing how the agent really feels.

Neal understands what it would be like to have a caring mother, a good mother. Elizabeth has no problem showing her maternal feelings for him. It always makes his chest feel lighter when she asks how he is or when she wraps him in a warm, welcoming embrace. It always lessens the insecurity he tries so hard to hide when he passes their guest bedroom Elizabeth always reminds him he is welcome to stay in. Neal doesn't have to read between the lines with Peter's wife. Elizabeth loves him, as her son, the son Neal wants to be. Neal isn't dumb.

Neal jumped from the fourth story of the Judge's Chambers, something dangerous and irrational, but not entirely illogical...depending on who you ask.

...You explain what you were thinking when you did a free fall from the Judge's Chambers while I decide if I drag you back in chains.

Neal has to read between the lines, something he is skilled at, something he is so very use to. But he catches it, behind the anger and the threat, the concerned tone a father would carry for his son. Neal isn't dumb.

Peter Burke understands a lot of things. Consequences is one of them. He knows his actions effect more than just him. Elizabeth has made him fully aware of it. But he never knew what it was like to care for a child, to want to protect them from every single thing, that is until a certain conman wormed his way into his life, before he saw Neal Caffrey, a child inside a grown man's body, as a son. The son he knows Neal Caffrey is becoming with each dangerous, irrational and illogical thing he does.

Neal isn't dumb, and neither is Peter.