Title: I found ten kinds of wild flowers growing

Fandom: RED/White Collar/Inception

Disclaimer: not my characters; title from Sara Teasdale

Warnings: AU

Pairings: Arthur/Eames, Peter/Neal/Elizabeth

Rating: PG

Wordcount: 650

Point of view: third

Prompt: White Collar/Inception/Red, Arthur/Eames + Neal/Peter/Elizabeth, Neal and Arthur have always been female, Frank's children have always surprised him


When his daughters were in second grade, their mother bailed and Frank scaled back his hours. He couldn't quit entirely, but he was at least home more often than not. Mom had to pitch in some, and she used the time to 'girly up' his daughters.

Nessa took to that. Artie didn't.

0o0

In fourth grade, Artie Moses broke Seth Reynolds' nose because he made her sister cry.

In eighth grade, Nessa Moses forged a note from Dad that got her and sister excused from school an entire week and they practically lived in the art galleries in the closest major city.

In sophomore year, Artie told Dad that she'd enlist right after graduation because she wanted to protect people.

In junior year, Nessa painted as perfect a replica as she could of the Mona Lisa, based solely on photos.

A month after graduation, Artie was gone. Three weeks after that, so was Nessa.

0o0

One of Frank's daughters became a criminal. The other ended up in some research program that sounded shadier every time he looked it up.

Nessa went to jail for four years, after she took the fall for her partner, Kate Moreau. Artie became a criminal, following a friend named Cobb.

0o0

Frank visited Nessa once, after the trial when she met his eyes and shook her head 'no.' No, Dad, don't do anything foolish. Don't let Artie, either.

"You sure, kiddo?" Frank asked her through the glass.

"I have to do this," Nessa said. "Don't worry. Nobody here can possibly be as scary as Artie."

She didn't mention it when tears leaked out of Frank's eyes.

0o0

Two years into Nessa's sentence, Frank's phone rang and he picked it up to a deep British voice and the words, "She'll kill for me this, but Artie could use a call from her papa."

"Who are you, and what's wrong with my daughter?" Frank demanded, instantly at full-alert.

"'m'Eames," he said. "And we faced a bloody nightmare today. 's'not my place to say more."

The line went dead. Frank called Artie, and though she'd never say it, he could tell how relieved she was to hear his voice.

0o0

Nessa broke out of prison, was caught and sent back, and made a deal with the agent who caught her twice.

Artie did something impossible, making more money than she could ever spend, and took a vacation from being a criminal to lie on a beach in the Bahamas with her Brit, Eames. Frank wasn't sure he liked Eames all that much, but he made Artie laugh like she hadn't since she convinced Frank to let Nessa give him a make-over.

The CIA tried to kill Frank. He mostly killed it instead.

0o0

Frank's daughters have been surprising him from the moment they were born. Their mother had sworn they'd be boys – she'd even picked out names: Arthur Jonathan and Neal Francis. When they were girls, though, she let Frank name them. He picked Artie Josephine, for his father. And Nessa Frances for Rosa's side of the family.

Artie was the mean one, vicious and quick when riled. Nessa was the 'pretty' one, the one all the boys chased. Frank taught them both to fight and to use guns. Could never be too careful.

And now, watching his girls – Artie with her sketchy Brit, Nessa with that damned agent and his smiling wife – he couldn't be prouder. They're criminals, but they're the best at what they do. And, hell, he's a criminal, too.

Nessa whispers something into Artie's ear and her laugh fills the room, Eames looking over. She shakes her head, muttering something back, and Nessa's grin is so bright.

His girls. He thought he'd mess them up for life, when Rosa left. But they've done pretty well, all things considered.

"So, Dad," Nessa says, sauntering up to him. "When can we meet Sarah?"

Artie's grinning behind her, and Frank smiles.