I know what you're all saying. Rin, you haven't even finished your Merlin fic yet and you're delving into another fandom? And yes, I must admit that I have been occupied with yet another bromance-based and highly adorable pair of evil-fighters, namely Agent Peter Burke and Conman Neal Caffrey. In my own defense, it was only supposed to be a stand-in to get me through the gap between Saturdays when Merlin came on, but now I've watched every episode within a few weeks and I have to find something to get me through to the scattered episode premieres of this show as well, not to mention the eternal wait for season 5 of Merlin. I'm going to start watching the first season of Suits next and hope that lasts longer than I'm expecting it to. *sighs at own inability to ignore fondness for characters*
Anyway, this is a brief one-shot in Neal's perspective, set during the tenth episode of the third season. I might write more, considering what sort of reviews I get and how strong I am at fending off plotbunnies. (Which isn't very...)

To Break a Heart

Choose a side.

Of all the obscure quotes and uncanny phrases he had heard Mozzie reel off over the years, that was the one that struck him the hardest. Three words, three syllables, eleven letters. Simple. Mediocre. Cliché.


Contrary to popular belief, his charm wasn't all based upon a what-can-my-smile-get-from-you mentality. Somewhere along the twisted and blurred line that was his life, it had reached that point, but deep within his heart, he knew there was a capacity to love that was bigger than all his less-admirable inclinations combined. There was the hurt little boy hiding within him—the guilt-ridden son of a bad cop—and that little boy, buried and frightened, wanted nothing more than to find people to love...people who wouldn't hurt him. The grown-up, artist, thief, con, forger, burglar, genius Neal Caffrey wanted money; he wanted glory; he wanted a martini served to him by a pretty native on a private island. But try as he might, he could never make himself cold enough or selfish enough to stop loving.

Neal loved Mozzie. From the first day they'd met, Mozzie was the one person who believed in him. He was the first person to like him. He was the first to sit down with him and have a talk over drinks—not drinks first and a talk on the side, but a talk and then the drinks. It had been a talk about nothing. (As much as Mozzie's talks could ever be about nothing.) It had been warm and friendly. It had been life-changing...and he wasn't one to exaggerate.

Mozzie had opened up a whole world to him, and it wasn't the criminal one. Of course, he'd known all about that world before he was ten years old, thanks to his father (or should he even call him that now...?). The existence Mozzie showed him was a world within a world, because in between all the thefts and the cons and the totally occult selection of eloquent quotations, he had discovered faith and friendship and trust, and until then, he'd never believed any of that truly existed anywhere. Weird little man that he was, Mozzie was also one whom Neal had learnt he could always depend upon, who would come running to his side simply because he asked, no matter what odds were stacked up against them. Mozzie was still there, after everything, still his friend, still wanting his company, despite his lies and his uncertainties and even despite the dangers which seemed to haunt him constantly.

He owed Mozzie a lot more than even he understood, and that affectionate little boy who had been starved for attention for most of his life was happy to open up an ample part of his heart to the first, true friend he was fortunate enough to have.

Neal loved Mozzie, weirdness and all. There was no doubt about that.

The trouble was, he loved Peter too.