Written as a misplaced commentfic on collarkink
, the White Collar Kinkmeme, which has a surprising amount of gen on it.
Summary: episode tag for episode 2.13, "Countermeasures", Neal talks to June.The Final Score
The music wound down, and Neal could feel her shaking. She lowered herself down onto the sofa and leaned back against the cushions, eyes closing as he pulled the needle up off the record and slid it back into its sheath. She grabbed his hand as he passed and pulled it to her chest, and gracefully, spinning on his heel as if they were still dancing, he let her pull him down beside her. Together, they sat in the quiet gloom. Her head slid down to rest on his shoulder, and his fingers ran their way through her stiff, hairsprayed hair.
“I’m not some brainless old lady, you know.” The tight misery still weighed in her voice, thick and heavy.
His hand in her hair froze. “Yeah, I know.”
“In all that time we ran jobs together, Byron, Ford and I, I’m the only one who never went down for anything. Ford went down, Byron went down, but I-” Her voice broke, and she shivered a little, and he didn’t look down terrified that there might be tears on her face, washing away her polish. “I knew he was running something. I just kept waiting for him to bring me in, and I- I guess I made it easy for him.”
“I know,” he whispered, wishing he could take away the humiliation and cold rush of shame away from her.
“Were you worried for me?” She tried to summon forth a smile. “Is that why you brought in Peter?”
“No.” Neal let his hand run through her hair again and thought about the way she had looked at Ford, like all of the best times of her life were coming back, and how she might not need him around anymore to remind her what it was like being in the game. He thought about how even if she let him stay, she could always be the one to go to prison this time, for the last big score, about how even if he told no one, there was always Peter, and Diana, and Jones, and thousands of clever people behind them. He thought about what Diana had accused him of when he gave her the print, and about the motel Peter had dropped him off in when he first got out of prison, and for a few seconds, he was able not to care that it was cruel and selfish, because he had been just a little afraid. “It wasn’t about that.”
She tipped her head up and looked into his face. Her mouth twisted into a weird, painful smirk, confidant and unhappy all at once. She laughed a little, tiredly. “Oh good.”
Neal squeezed her shoulders. Peter thought he should be afraid of becoming Ford, alone, trapped, selfish and cruel, and he tried to decide if he was more afraid of that, or of becoming June, glittering, brilliant, and alone, her old comrades seeing her as just another mark. He squeezed her shoulders again and listened to her breathe.