RATING: R, for language, spanking, and stupid Kate
SUMMARY: Neal didn’t take the news about Kate as well as he wanted Peter to think.
PROMPT: Post “Hard Sell”, like right after
WARNING: Here there be discipline of an adult of the non-sexual variety, and naughty words
CHARACTERS: Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, mentions of the infamous Kate – if that’s her real name.
DISCLAIMER: I wish I was smart enough to come up with something this awesome to own.
NOTES:  This is actually my first White Collar fic. It’s nerve wracking. I love it! Came from a fever induced dream, so who knows really how this is going to sound. The fever is only half gone. Yah!



Mozzie left a few moments later. Just enough time to enjoy a few of the appetizers that June’s chef had sent up for him, and a pretty decent glass of red wine.

After all, Mozzie on a mission was a focused Mozzie. Well, a pretty determined Mozzie, focus was a little hard for his old friend.

Once he did leave however, Neal dropped the façade and sighed.


He replayed the conversation that he had last had with Peter and he wasn’t happy. Certainly, Peter hadn’t heard her correctly. Not his Kate. She wouldn’t say something like that. Or rather not say. Surely she loved him. How could she not, when she was the one. The One. 

She had to be.


To say that he hadn’t suspected that something like this would happen would be the understatement of the year.

Peter Burke glanced at the car’s clock once more. Neal had recently been waiting for him out front of June’s when Peter came by to pick him up in the mornings. Today, he was nowhere in sight.

Peter sighed and placed the car in park. He would have to go and find Neal himself.


Neal didn’t remember getting drunk.

Well, he sort of remembered.

He remembered going down to the wine cellar, and man did June have a lot of wine. A lot.

He might have grabbed one, or five.

And had them all. One after another after another.

And maybe followed by a side of scotch and bourbon. And a few more gulps of the red stuff.

Neal Caffrey was not a good drunk.

He is, of course, regretting it all now. His mouth is all dry and his head is, somewhere else entirely for all the commotion that it’s causing.

Getting drunk sucked.


Usually, Neal would greet Peter at the door or was waiting with breakfast. Today, Neal wasn’t on the roof or in the living room, in on the dining room.

Peter asked the few morning staff at June’s if they had seen Neal, and none of them had.

Finally, Peter headed upstairs, towards the rooms that Neal was renting. He came up to the door and knocked. No response.

He sighed, knocking against the wood a little harder.

            “Neal! Come on, let’s go!” When no response came, he knocked again. “Neal! Open up, let’s go!”

Peter still got no response. He knocked again and tried the door handle. He was surprised to find it unlatched.

Frowning, Peter opened the door slowly. He glanced inside, wondering if he should pull out his gun. He didn’t want to startle Neal with a weapon, not when the younger man was so against them. But it wasn’t like Neal to leave the door unlocked either.

            “Neal!?” Peter called out, coming into the room and closing the door behind him. “Neal, are you here?”

He didn't know why he asked that, when he knew that the conman was in fact there. Peter had already checked the tracker location that morning, feeling especially concerned after the Kate-talk. Peter started to move, glancing quickly at his surroundings.


Peter stopped. He thought he heard something. A groan, maybe.

            “Neal?” he asked again, straining to hear this time.


He definitely heard that. Peter walked further into the room, and around the couch. There, in all his wonder and glory was a very plastered Neal Caffrey.

Peter groaned.

The former criminal turned consultant was surrounded by bottles, empty bottles, of wine, scotch, tequila, and beer. Said consultant is currently passed out and laying, face down, just a foot from the couch. He might have rolled off the couch, or simply never made it there.


            “Damnit, Neal.”

Peter, half angered, half concerned, pulls out his cell phone as he listens to Neal’s soft, alcohol induced snores.

            “Yeah, it’s Burke. We’re going to be a little late…Meeting at ten, got it.”

Tugging off his coat and, as a second thought, his holster and weapon, Peter placed the items on the abandoned couch.

            “Great, kid.” He began to mumble, crouching down until he was besides the drunk man. “ Just great, Neal. You just had to go and do something stupid like this, didn’t you?”

Pulling Neal into an upright position proved to be quite a task. First, Neal kept turning away from him, and then he started pushing away Peter’s hands. Then the name calling started.

            “Noooo, you damn brute. ‘eave me ‘lone.”

Peter got his hands under Neal’s arm and started to pull him upwards. Neal, of course, was of no help.
             "Damnit Caffrey," Peter groaned.
If anything, it seemed as if Neal was deliberately not helping.
            "Neal, so help me...." warned Peter as he tried to move the younger man towards the crisp and clearly unused bed.
            "Oh, Neeal." The words came low and forced, clearly coming from a rather unreliable brain work. This was not going to be Neal's finest moment.  "'elp ee, 'elp ee. Allllwaays wid ah 'elp ee. Wat 'bout Neeal? Huh? Wat bout 'elp Neeal? Huh? Wat bout thaat!? Huh?"
Peter deposited Neal rather roughly, he had to admit. He tossed the man onto the bed and let him lie as he landed. The kid was costing him more work and trouble now that he was out from behind the bars than, well his four year stint AND the years chase. There certainly weren't many criminals that Peter was going to willingly be held responsible for other than Caffrey, and that did say something about how much Peter actually thought for the kid, but then he had to go and do something like get so blasted that he wasn't likely to even recall a whole night.
Peter was seriously considering getting an alcohol indicator added onto the anklet. Because this couldn't happen again.
And considering all things Kate, and how Neal felt about the girl, this could very well happen again. And a lot.
He shook his head and started to pick up the many, empty bottles lying around the room.
            "Damnit Caffrey," he said, not for the first time that day, and certainly not for the last time either. Peter was rethinking having ever told Neal the truth. He was trying to show Neal that he could still be trusted. Peter knew that Neal was still looking for Kate, and honestly he was surprised - both pleased and alarmed - that Neal had come to him about his looking for Kate. Pleased, because it showed that Neal did care about the trust thing that was starting to grow between them, and alarmed because it showed that Neal was getting desperate in his thoughts about Kate and finding her.
Kid seriously thought that this girl was in danger. He thought that Kate needed him to become some hero and safe her from, what? What was it that Neal could possibly safe her from? When he couldn't even keep himself together for twelve hours.
            "This can't go on," Peter said to himself, dumping two more bottles into the trash and finally finishing up. He sighed. Now what?
            "Huh?" Neal, who seemed to have tried to go back to sleep (In the most uncomfortable position that Peter had ever seen, in fact), twisted to try and look at Peter.
            "I said, I've had enough of this, Caffrey. This is crap, and you know it!"
Neal frowned. Peter couldn't tell if it was because of the slight rise to his voice that had triggered the obvious headache that Neal must be feeling, or if he was about to be sick.
            " 'ew 'ou 'eter!"
Or the third option of brash grouch. Of course.
And then Neal did look sick.
Crap, he felt sick.
He didn't see Peter moving, but one second Peter looked ready to tell him what-for, and the next, he was beside Neal and getting him upright. With a bucket and all.
Lucky too, because Neal's body chose that very moment to remind him why he didn't drink. At least not like he had last night.
Last night. There was a day he really never wanted to relive again.
So now he was sick. And Peter was yelling at him. Still. And the whole room was noisy. And New York was so noisy. Had he left the door to the porch open? Was the TV on?
            "No, you idiot," Peter was saying. Neal tried to frown at him, but it was kind of a difficult task since Peter was behind him and Neal was still competing against having all his internal organs make an outward appearance. "You're hung over, is what."
            "Oh, stop talking, Caffrey." And then Peter was gone.
Good. Neal didn't need him. He didn't need anyone.
Neal had no one. His life sucked.
            "Ah hab oh one."
            "Stop talking!" A voice from beyond ordered.
Neal pulled his head out from the bucket that he was kneeling in front of. He looked around, frightfully, wondering why God chose now - NOW of all times? Seriously? - to answer him. And to tell him to stop talking too. How rude.
And then Peter was there again. He was exiting the bathroom, a clean towel in his hand and very frowny frown on his face.
             " 'eter," he tried to whisper. "Goz z'ere"
            "Goz 'ere!"
            "God's here?" Peter rolled his eyes and knelt down besides Neal again. "Did he tell you how stupid it was for you to get plastered last night? Huh? Did he mention how foolish it is to put in jeopardy all that you're working towards, all that you're trying to make of yourself? Did he say that, or do I have the pleasure of beating that into you personally!?"
Neal kept frowning at Peter. He was babbling and Neal was starting to think that the agent was making fun of him. How rude. No manners on that one.
            "Ah dob like 'ou."
            "AH DOH-
            "Neal," Peter sighed again and rested the surprisingly refreshing small towel against the back of Neal's neck. Instantly, Neal closed his eyes and shut his mouth. "Shut up."
Peter was pleased with himself for getting Caffrey to shut up. Sometimes, it really wasn't an easy feat.
The stupid kid was talking crazy, and honestly, it wasn't helping Peter feel any less like throttling the stupid out of him.
Though, since he was being honest, when wasn't the kid talking up some crazy scheme or another? Crazy was what Neal did, after all.
            "Come on, Neal." He tried again to get Neal back onto the bed, but Neal was practically dead weight now. "Neal! Fine!" He released his grip on Neal's arm, cringed as the younger man's dead weight crashed against the floor and sighed. "Stay there, then."
Neal didn't seem to care one way or another, and that wasn't making Peter feel any more compassion towards him. None at all. In fact, it was working against Neal's favor. How could the kid do this? He knew that it was the work that he was doing in the bureau that was keeping him out of prison. Why would he want to crew that up?
Why had Peter told him what he had?
Peter rubbed his hand over his face and then through his hair and then scratched at the back of his neck and then his hand rested on his hip.
Why had he told Neal about his talk with Kate? Sure, he wanted to make sure that Neal knew that he wasn't keeping secrets from him. The thought of Caffrey somehow finding out about his and Kate's meeting, about someone other than Peter himself explaining things to Neal, scared the agent. No, he needed to show Neal that he could be trusted. He needed to show Neal that he really was trying to help him out.
But that last bit he had said, about how Kate hadn't looked concerned for Neal at all. He shouldn't have said that. Every fiber of his being had scream at him then that Kate was playing Neal, that she could care less about Neal's welfare, but Neal didn't need to know that. What had he thought he would benefit from telling Neal that his 'one' hadn't felt so special towards him.
The truth was, Peter knew that would devastate the kid. He knew it, and yet he had still said it.
This was all Peter's fault.
This was all Neal's fault.
How could he be so foolish? He knew better than to mix his liquors like that. After all, he wasn't a heavy drinker for a reason.
Mainly, it was a stinky affair.
But also because Neal wasn't the kind of person that needed that kind of thing. Not until last night.
Kate didn't love him. And why should she? He had abandoned her, had been in prison for four years. Who would want to stick around for a convict? For a criminal.
Of course, Kate Moreau was no saint. Was no nun? Was no virgin? Was no - Well, she wasn't going to be the first tossing stones.
Except at his heart.
And now even Peter was leaving him.
Neal Caffrey decided his life sucked.
While Peter went and cleaned up the trash bin besides Neal's bed he decided that  this day sucked. Caffrey, while he usually considered the criminal an asset, was gnawing away at his patience.  Peter hated dealing with a drunk. Each person was always different, and it didn't look like Neal was a happy drunk. At least he wasn't a violent one either.
Peter reclined back on the couch, watching Neal as he lied on the floor. Neal was groaning every now and then, but he still hadn't made any more movements. Peter knew that he couldn't leave Neal like that. He had to get to work, but he couldn't get himself to just leave. In fact, he knew that he had to take Caffrey with him. There were enough people in the bureau that didn't have any faith in Neal, and if he started giving them reasons to distrust him, like say not coming in at all, then it would be hard to keep pulling for the kid.
And Neal certainly didn't want on the wrong side of more agents. They had enough crap coming from Fowler.
Resolving to take care of Caffrey, once and for all whether the younger man appreciated it or not, Peter got up and went into the little kitchenette. There, he grabbed two water bottles, found the bottle of acetaminophen and headed back over to Caffrey, placing the items at the bedside table.
            "Come on, Neal, let's get you up and moving."
Neal didn't help this time much either. He kept sighing and tried twisting away from Peter's grip, but being larger and stronger proved helpful, as often was the case, and Peter got Neal up on his own two feet.
            "Neal, you're making it impossible to want to be nice to you, you know that?"
            "Agggh, go awa' Peter." At least his speech was coming in clearer.
            "Can't, have to get you back to functional and head over to the office. Remember that? The building where you now work so that we can keep you out of the orange jumpsuit and cell you once called home??"
The comment wasn't the nicest that Peter could have made, and he understood why Neal shoved against him. Or at least tried to. Neal wasn't in a position to defend himself against the prison threats, but he had to make Neal realize that it wasn't just some threats, it was a reality. Neal really was on the brink of getting tossed back into prison. He always was on that gray shaded line. And there were always people tugging on each side of that line. Peter just hoped to tug harder than others.
Peter fell backwards onto the bed, sitting down on it and tugging Neal slightly along with him. Neal tried to right himself, but his perception was off still and his hands didn't quite so much save him from landing in Peter's lap.
It was pretty awkward.
            "Peter, lemme up."
Neal twisted around some, and Peter started to move Neal towards the more open space of the bed besides them, but all that did was land Neal face down over his thigh with a soft "Umphft" from Caffrey.
Peter didn't even notice his hands righting Neal more into his lap as Caffrey started to wiggle.
This was more than pretty awkward.
            "Aww, Peeeter," whined Neal. "It's'not funny. Lemme up."
And Peter meant to. He really had. But, well to say that he didn't think of Neal as some bratty kid was a lie. A big fat one. Neal was a kid, a spoiled brat of a kid. And Peter had often wished that Caffrey had grown up with a stable father that would have handed out the kind of discipline that would have stopped his brattiness before it got to the point of prison or getting himself into love affairs with the likes of Kate, criminal activities, and apparently alcohol. But no such father, or father-figure, had ever found the kid in the foster system.
And while Peter had meant to settle Neal against the bed, and get some pills and a lot of water into the kid before demanding he get dressed and meet him in the car in twenty minutes, he found that the whole discipline idea took a kind of appeal. Neal lacked it, in loads, but Peter was often pleased to note that Neal did in fact listen to him. For the most part. Sure, Neal was a master at finding loopholes even in Peter's instructions, but Peter recognized that at least on some level, Neal Caffrey did respect him.
So, he had to do this.
            "Yes, it's a word that means negative and goes against whatever has just been asked." Peter tightened his hold on Neal resolved to do this thing, even if he wasn't quite sure he had it in him.
Neal turned slightly, still lightly struggling against Peter's hold.
            "You've taken your stunts a stint too far this time, Neal."
            "Stint?" Neal frowned, and Peter had to shake his head. Even in Neal's current position, the kid still had to try and irritate Peter. Because that was all that he was trying to do.
Peter brought his hand up and back down before he even knew he was doing it. It landed on its intended target, the back of Neal's now wrinkled dark dress pants.
            "Yes, stint. Your current course of actions."
            "Peter, what're you doin'?"
Peter tried not to smile at the confused look on Neal's face. For once, he was pretty certain that the look wasn't a con of itself. Neal wasn't trying to get him to think that he was confused in order to get him distracted, he was seriously confused at to Peter's current course of action.
            "I realize this might be the first time it's happened to you, what with your otter disregard for all things authoritative, but actions sometimes warrant consequences. For your current actions, a spanking is as appropriate as any other thing I could take you up on."
            "A wha?"
Peter ignored him and Neal once again tried his strength against Peter's hold. Peter wasn't budging.
            "A spanking." To emphasize, Peter raised his hand again and landed it hard against Neal's bottom.
And then, he just kept going.
What the hell was going on?
Peter was hitting him? Scratch that and bleed, Peter was spanking him. Spanking him.
This day, SUCKED.
Peter ignored Neal's whimpers and half protests. Mostly, he ignored it because he didn't really want to think about what he was doing.
It was pretty - silly, strange, odd, weird, criminal even - but, damnit sometimes Neal knew just which buttons to press to get him riled up.
Who was he kidding, Neal always knew and pressed those buttons with the consistency of a toddler. An undisciplined, spoiled toddler brat.
He kept spanking Neal, realizing that it was both counterproductive and adamantly necessary. Sure, a drunk Neal would likely not recall everything at the moment - which is why Peter didn't even bother lecturing - but Neal needed something to set him straight.
Bonus points if it just so happened to be sobering Caffrey up.
            "Peeettteeer! Come oooon! I'm telling Huuuuugheeess!"
            "Go ahead," Peter made sure that his indifference and humor could be heard in his voice. "He's likely to congratulate me."
Neal began to wiggle more, but the drunkenness made his head spin. He no longer felt sick to his stomach, thanks to having already emptied out said stomach, but he wasn't anywhere close to feeling a hundred percent either.
Peter Burke was going to be the death of him.
            "You're just never going to learn, are you Caffrey?" Peter sighed, but miracles of all miracles, he stopped his horrendous actions. "For someone with a brilliant a mind as yours, you think you would realize how foolish and DANGEROUS something is before you actually did it. But no, you have to take matters into your own hands, don't you, no matter what the circumstances."
They were quiet for a moment. Neal supposed that maybe Peter wanted him to talk now, but he had nothing to say. Peter was making him feel like crap. Again.
He missed Kate, damnit. Why couldn't he just drink a little to mourn her? To mourn their love?
            "I miss Kate," Neal mumbled. His voice was hoarse and he tried to tell himself that it wasn't because he was still crying, but rather because the drinking really didn't have favorable actions towards him.
Peter sighed. Neal felt one of the agent's hands on his back and tensed but, but Peter was softly massaging his shoulders and then up to his neck.
Damn Peter for caring for him. Neal felt like more crap now. He felt lower than, well than the unappreciated white base coat beneath a masterpiece.
            "I know, Neal."
Neal sniffed back some tears. He needed a tissue. And to get up from Peter's lap. This position was unbecoming.
He wiggled around some.
            "Can I get up?"
Peter sighed again, and actually seemed to think about it. Neal felt himself tense up again. Jesus, could he actually be thinking about giving him more.
Instead, Peter just patted his back again (and thankfully not lower!) and helped him back onto his shaky feet.
Neal couldn't meet Peter's eyes. He'd just been, you know, like a small child. And certainly he knew that he often enough acted immaturely, but to be treated like a child? Because there was no other way that he could possibly interpret such actions.
             "Your life is more than just Kate Moreau."
The way Peter said her name, Neal knew the man didn't approve of her. Part of him wanted to stand up for her, wanted to tell Peter that Kate Moreau was a BIG part of his life, that she was important and that she needed him and that he had to save her because no one else could do it. Part of him, however, was also extremely torn up after his previous conversation with Peter about Kate. And part of him was just starting to sober up and just wanted Peter to shut up and let him sleep.
Peter stood up, sighing again, and took his arms in hand. He couldn't quite meet Peter's eyes yet, in fact they were still a little teary and he just wanted to be in bed and pretend the whole morning had been one horrid, dreadful, mammoth of a nightmare.
Peter shook him slightly and Neal looked up then, blinking away the latest of his tears.
            "You get what I'm saying here, Neal? You're more important than that. Much more important than whatever Kate thinks of you. You have to start thinking about you."
Neal looked down again, rerunning Peter's words through his mind.
            "Yeah?" he croaked out.
Peter sighed again. Neal was obviously exasperating him. He looked exasperated. Well, for the few seconds that Neal had looked at him.
            "Listen, I've got a meeting at ten today, and I'm already running late. Why don't you pull yourself together, take a shower and get some real food into you, and then I'll come pick you up after lunch, okay?"
Neal frowned. He looked up at Peter, surprised at the generosity behind the seemingly simple statement. But really, since he had been released from prison into Burke's custody, Neal hadn't been given any reprieve from his work. Well, certainly the week that Peter was on vacation. And the days that they actually managed to not be working during the weekend. or late nights.
            "Really? You can do that?"
Peter smiled at him. His arms were released and then Peter reached over and patted his head. It was oddly enough, pretty comforting.
            "And drink lots of fluids."
He was turned around again, but instead of having his ass assaulted again, he was lowered onto the bed besides them. Neal sighed contently. He started closing his eyes and felt Peter tug a blanket over him. He might have imagined the fingers passing through his hair or the hand that lingered on his shoulder.
He might not have, though.
Peter turned around then and started to head out, but Neal was already asleep.