Disclaimer: I don't own White Collar
Summary: Not all conmen are good, but June knows how to pick them.
Byron was the kind of man her mother had warned her about, the kind who seemed too good to be true, too charming and debonair to be anything more than good looks contrived to conceal a darker side.
She did not realize that June wasn't exactly the kind of girl who was as innocent as she looked either.
Standing at the edges of the dance floor while her friends waltzed with their chosen paramours for the night, June declined offer after offer graciously, but firmly. Until a dashing young man with a wide smile took a bow and asked if he might accompany her for a dance. He didn't realize it, being so used to enticing people into giving him what he wanted, but it wasn't the smile on his lips that drew her in, but the one twinkling in bright, dark eyes.
At the end of the dance, he let her go, and she did not call him back. She would not be the one to do the chasing for him.
Every occasion that followed, every glitz and glamour bedecked event that they inevitably found themselves meeting at, strengthened a tenuous bond. And then he caught her. Conversely, she caught him too.
Byron felt obliged to let her in on the seedier side of his life and June, knowing a test when she saw one, kept her composure and endeared herself to his friends. Her quick learning of the rules of poker did not harm the budding respect she was gaining in his circle, and soon they deferred to her as to their male counterparts.
They married, and had their much loved children. They had the perfect life, underscored by hastily treated injuries, threats against their lives, exciting and dangerous heists and escapades. And she wouldn't have changed any of it.
The day that Byron died, was the day a part of June died with him. She had been independent, but nonetheless he had made her the woman she was today, and without him it was harder to hold on the magic and mystery that he had kept alive all throughout their years together. It was harder to see herself as anything more than an old woman, trying desperately to relive her glory days, but without anyone to do it with.
June got a dog, she spent time with her grandchildren, she made herself a patron of various charities and causes but it was never enough. Until she gathered her courage and walked into a thrift shop with purpose one day, and a handsome young man with a ready smile and an appreciative eye on the garments she held made her acquaintance.
It was déjà vu for June when he flipped one of Byron's much loved fedora's onto his head and grinned at her, exuding the confidence that she had missed. The eyes were blue, not brown, but the smile they held was familiar and warm. She was not blind, and soon after they had arrived at her home and his new living quarters clarified, she confronted him about the anklet she had seen some time ago. She raised an eyebrow in response to his surprise, both at her powers of perception and her utter lack of shock or revulsion at his status that cemented their fledgling friendship.
She told him about Byron, free to regale her appreciative audience with all the unedited tales of days gone by, of heists and exploits in a time when life was simpler. And he told her his own stories, under the guise of allegedly, their own little game.
June had thought it would hurt her to see Byron's clothes being worn by another person, part of the reason she had not given them to anyone she knew personally before now. But he wore them so well, treated them lovingly and with care for the history they had seen, that she could not bring herself to be anything but nostalgic.
He came to see Samantha play with her, introduced her to Mozzie and his unique worldview, made sure that she knew how appreciative he was of all she did for him, and tried to repay that kindness whenever he could.
When Samantha had been bumped from the transplant list, he had not offered empty platitudes, but had held her gaze, and asked earnestly what he could do. He followed through on his tacit promise, and June did not doubt that he was the reason her beloved grandchild would live to see adulthood.
He danced with her, and that was perhaps what she was most thankful for, that fleeting moment she had never thought she would have again.
Not all conmen were good at heart, as Ford had demonstrated in the end, but June had an eye for more than outer beauty.
She can't help but think Byron would have approved.