Fandom: White Collar
Word Count: 1,155
Characters/Pairings: Neal, Peter, Elizabeth, Peter/Elizabeth
Spoilers: Point Blank
Disclaimer: I don't own White Collar and never will. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: Neal has walked around in a daze ever since he got the news.
Neal has walked around in a daze ever since Mozzie was found dead in the park. The losses of Kate and Mozzie in less than a year have damaged the ex-con beyond belief. He still works cases, but it’s like he’s not there.
Elizabeth immediately demanded that Neal should move in with her and Peter so they could keep an eye on him and make sure he was okay. Neal had agreed and was staying in their guest bedroom, even six months later.
He has yet to cry over Mozzie. Peter thinks he’s still in shock and unsure what to do next. The old Neal seems to have disappeared. Peter, Elizabeth, June, and Diana miss old Neal, but they don’t think they’re ever getting him back.
The only good news about the entire situation is that Mozzie didn’t suffer long. He died a few minutes after getting shot. But Neal doesn’t consider that good news. He just misses his best friend. Neal’s also still reeling from Kate’s death.
Neal’s knees buckled and he collapsed to the floor in hysterics when Peter and Diana got the call about Mozzie’s death. Peter had been right there with him, trying to calm the younger man down. It hadn’t worked. Neal had ended up crying himself to sleep. Elizabeth claims she’s still hearing him cry himself to sleep through the bedroom walls.
The nightmares started shortly two days after the funeral. Neal wakes up screaming most nights, but he refuses to talk about what he sees. Peter got it out of him one night and learned that Neal was seeing both Mozzie and Kate die. Neal confessed he couldn’t stop seeing and thinking about it, and this was driving him crazy.
Elizabeth makes sure he always eats dinner. Peter and Diana make him eat breakfast. Neal doesn’t have much of an appetite these days, something that no one blames him for. He’s experienced way too much grief in his young life. Neal’s mother died when he was ten years old, so he’s no stranger to death. He just wishes it didn’t hurt so much.
“I’m really worried about him,” Elizabeth told her husband when she noticed Neal asleep on the couch. It was only 3:00 in the afternoon. Neal didn’t take naps.
“So am I, El. But I don’t know what to do for him. He refuses to see a therapist. I’d take him off cases, but I don’t think that’d go over well. Neal’s still helping us solve the cases, anyway.” Peter wished Neal would open up to somebody, but that wasn’t happening.
“What should we do?” Elizabeth was quickly running out of ideas. She took Neal to work with her sometimes, but gone was the flirty ex-con who could get whatever he wanted out of a woman. She’d be happy if he just flirted with one woman!
Peter shrugged. “We should just keep being there for him, like we have been. I think that’s all we can do.” He hated that that was all they could do.
She sighed. “I’m going to try and have a talk with him. Maybe he’ll open up to me.” She really, really hoped that Neal opened up to her.
“Don’t push him too hard. I’m going to mow the lawn. Try and wait for me before you talk to him?” Peter didn’t think she would, though.
“I’ll try, but I want to talk to him now.” Elizabeth kissed her husband and watched him walk out the door to mow their lawn. She walked over to the couch and shook Neal awake.
He blinked at her. “What’s up?” the ex-con questioned. All he wanted to do was go back to sleep, but Elizabeth wasn’t letting him. Sleep was good. Neal wanted to sleep.
“I need to talk to you.” Elizabeth didn’t think Neal wanted to talk, but she wasn’t about to let him get out of this conversation. He needed to tell someone how he was feeling.
“I don’t want to talk, El. Leave me alone.” Neal turned over on his side to avoid Elizabeth and go back to sleep. He hated talking about Mozzie or Kate.
“Sorry, Neal. That’s not going to happen. Get up!” she ordered. Elizabeth wasn’t taking anymore crap from Neal.
Neal sighed and reluctantly got up. He sat on the couch. “I told you that I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to think about what you’re going to talk to me about. Sorry.”
“You have to. Baby, this isn’t good for you. You’re sleeping all the time. And you apparently don’t think that we can’t hear you crying yourself to sleep every night. I’m really worried about you. I know you miss Mozzie and Kate. I know you’re sad that they’re never coming back, but they’d want you to live. Mozzie wouldn’t want you like this.” Elizabeth gave an encouraging smile to her best friend.
“You don’t know what Mozzie and Kate would want!” Neal snapped. Why was Elizabeth insisting on pushing him? He didn’t want to talk!
“Yes, I do. Mozzie and Kate loved you. They only wanted what was best for you. And you need to talk to someone. Grieve openly. You don’t have to do this alone. Neal, you’re never alone. You have so many friends – Diana, Peter, June, and me. We’re all really worried about you. We want you to feel better,” Elizabeth explained. She hoped she was getting through to him.
Neal tried to hold back the tears. Elizabeth wasn’t going to make him fall apart. He was determined to remain strong. He choked back the sobs again. “I’m fine, Elizabeth. There’s nothing wrong with me, except for the fact that my ex-girlfriend and my best friend died. Now let me go back to sleep!”
“No can do, Neal Raymond Caffrey! And yes, I full named you, but you’re making me angry! Sweetie, you’re never going to get over their deaths. I know you won’t. But you can stop mourning all the time and stop letting it affect your life. Mozzie would want you to find his murderer. You know that. Don’t let him die in vain. Live for Mozzie and Kate. That’s important right now.” Elizabeth moved over and gave her friend a hug.
Peter came in to get a drink. And that’s when Neal finally broke. He burst into sobs that he had been holding back for a long time. He finally started to grieve for Mozzie and Kate, for the fact that he’d never see either one of them again. Neal would miss them for the rest of his life.
Peter and Elizabeth held Neal up as he continued to cry. Elizabeth rubbed his back to try and calm him down.
Neal would never get over Kate and Mozzie dying, but at least he had some great friends by his side. He wasn’t going to be alone in this. Peter and Elizabeth would make sure of that.