Fandom: White Collar
Characters/Pairings: Neal, Sara, Peter, Elizabeth, Diana, Neal/Sara, Peter/Elizabeth
Word Count: 1,360
Spoilers: Up to Power Play.
Disclaimer: I don't own White Collar and never will. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: Neal vowed to never fall in love again after Kate died. But Sara changed all that.
Neal Caffrey vowed to never fall in love with another woman again after Kate – the love of his life – died. He wanted nothing to do with it. And then Sara Ellis changed all that. She wormed her way into his heart.
Neal and Sara’s relationship was all about sex at first. They still don’t mention the time Peter caught them in the bathroom in the FBI offices. That was an awkward conversation nobody wanted to have again.
Something changed about six months into their friends with benefits arrangement. Sara ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a broken arm after a bad car accident. Neal had been in the office, looking for a new case with Peter, when he got the call from Sara. Even though he logically knew she was fine, he couldn’t help but panic. Peter and Elizabeth had managed to calm him down in the emergency room before Neal was allowed in to see Sara.
After that, their friends with benefits arrangement turned into a relationship. Neal accidentally introduced Sara as his girlfriend to an old friend from high school he ran into. Sara called him her boyfriend when her parents came for a visit. He actually met Sara’s parents! It was one of the most surreal nights of his life. Peter made fun of him for his nervousness, but he was proud of Neal for being with someone who was good for him.
And then, about fourteen months into the relationship, Neal realized he was in love with Sara. They were eating dinner at Elizabeth and Peter’s – a normal occurrence for the four – when the thought hit him. Peter noticed something was up, so he pulled his best friend aside while Elizabeth and Sara did the dishes.
“What’s with that look on your face? You’re freaking out here, Neal.”
“I don’t have a look on my face! I’m not freaking out. What makes you say that?” Neal’s voice was a little shrill, though, so Peter wasn’t buying it.
“Neal, tell me.”
Neal deflated. “I’m in love with Sara. Figured it out while we were eating dinner.”
“Oh, that’s all? Neal, I could have told you that months ago.” Peter had been wondering when Neal would admit to his feelings for Sara, but it turned out that he didn’t even know about them.
“And you couldn’t have told me?” Yup, Neal was still sounding shrill. He needed to calm down a little, but it was hard. He was in love with Sara!
“I thought you knew!”
“Boys, dessert is ready!” Elizabeth called from the kitchen. And that was the end of that conversation, until Peter, Jones, and Diana cornered Neal at work the next day.
“So, have you told her yet?” Diana hoped he had. A Neal in love was adorable. And so were Sara and Neal, come to think about it.
“Why would I tell her? It’s no big deal,” Neal lied. Truthfully, he was terrified of being in love again. And telling Sara was even more terrifying.
All three FBI agents rolled their eyes at him. “It is a big deal. Sara needs to know how you feel about her, Neal. And you’ll feel so much better for telling her.” Peter just hoped that Neal didn’t run from his relationship with Sara.
“Will you leave it alone? I’ll tell her when I’m ready,” Neal promised. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever be ready, however. How was he supposed to tell Sara this? It would change their relationship even more than it already had.
“So, you want to go see a movie tomorrow night?” Sara asked her boyfriend later that night, as they lay in bed.
“Sure. Sounds like a really good plan.” Neal wanted to say that words “I love you” to her, but every time he tried, the words got stuck in his throat.
“What’s up with you? You’re acting weird.” Sara couldn’t help but observe Neal’s odd behavior. He had been acting like this since their dinner at the Burkes’ the previous night.
“I’m fine, Sara. Nothing’s wrong with me.” Neal turned over on his side and faced his girlfriend. He smiled at her.
Sara smiled back. She wasn’t ready to end this conversation yet, but let it go for the time being. She’d get Neal to talk sooner or later. Sara would be ready for whatever was bothering Neal.
That’s when Neal flipped Sara over and kissed her. She burst into laughter and kissed him back. And that was all that they did that night. Okay, not really. They had sex multiple times before falling asleep.
Elizabeth took Neal out for lunch three days later. Neal wasn’t expecting the attack. “So, Peter tells me you finally realized you’re in love with Sara.” She couldn’t help but beam at her friend. She was so happy for Neal and Sara. Like Diana, she thought they were an adorable couple.
Neal sighed. “What is with you people? I said that I’ll tell her when I’m ready.” What didn’t his friends understand about that? At least Mozzie didn’t know. Neal was suddenly really glad he hadn’t told his friends about these Sara feelings.
Elizabeth stared at him for a few seconds and then sighed. “Is this a Kate thing? Are you worried something’s going to happen to Sara like it happened to Kate? Because you don’t have to worry about that anymore. I promise, Neal. Peter won’t let anything like that happen.”
“No, it’s not a Kate thing!”
“Are you, sure? You got pretty defensive there.” Elizabeth could understand why Neal was panicked about something happening to Sara. He didn’t have a good track record when it came to relationships. Kate’s death had messed him up badly, even though Neal had moved on.
Neal stared at his food for a few minutes before he began talking. “I don’t want this to screw up our relationship. Sara and I are really happy. I don’t want to do anything to ruin it. And I know I will.”
“Oh, sweetie. You’re not going to ruin it. I know you won’t. You can be happy. It’s okay to not worry about something for a change. Sara loves you, and you love her. That’s pretty much all that matters right now.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure. Now, promise me you’ll tell her tonight?” Elizabeth stared at him imploringly.
Neal rolled his eyes. “Yes, I’ll tell her,” he agreed.
Elizabeth let out a squeal and then looked around embarrassed. “Yay! I’m so happy for you, Neal. You and Sara are good for each other.”
Neal tried telling Sara that night, but he panicked again. It wasn’t until the morning – when they were both off from work – that he decided to give it a shot. He was ready to tell Sara he was in love with her.
Sara eyed her boyfriend. Neal’s bizarre behavior for the past few days was starting to scare her now. She hoped he would tell her what was wrong soon. Luckily for her, she didn’t have to wait too long.
“I have to tell you something. And it’s pretty scary, but I know I have to tell you and I don’t want you to leave me,” Neal rambled. When had he turned into this person?
Sara put her hand on Neal’s arm. “Calm down and tell me what’s wrong. I promise I won’t leave you.” She hoped he hadn’t stolen something. She doubted he had, but still.
“I’m in love with you. Have been for a while.”
“Is that all? Neal, you couldn’t have told me earlier? I’m in love with you too, you big dork.” She laughed out of relief.
“You are?” Elizabeth, Peter, Diana, and Jones had tried telling him that, but Neal hadn’t really believed them until just now.
“Of course I am.”
“Oh, thank God.” Neal laughed too and then pulled Sara into him. The couple made out for a few minutes and then headed towards Neal’s bed.
Neal would always be insecure and worried that something would happen to Sara, but she would be fine. He didn’t deserve her, but he had her.
Neal Caffrey had finally found happiness.