WhiteCollar-Diana

unfinished post-canon White Collar thing

I still feel lousy, and while I couldn't sleep last night, I started writing a White Collar thing that is, apparently, an attempt to make myself feel better by giving these characters an infinitely worse day than the one I'm having.

It has all the makings of something that will never be finished, though, because I started with a vague idea and a desire to write ALL THE ANGST EVER, and then I kind of went off the rails, and now I don't know where the hell this is going to end up. So I figured I'd post what I have, and maybe it will develop into an actual story later, or maybe this is all you're going to get. Fair warning!




Diana found out about Peter's death a week after she'd started her new job in DC.

Jones was the one who called her. She'd just parked and was walking out of the parking garage, trying to juggle a cup of coffee and her phone. "Miss me already?" she asked flippantly.

"This isn't a pleasure call," he said, and the grinding seriousness in his tone brought her up short. "Where are you?"

"At the parking garage for the FBI building in DC. Clinton, what's going on?"

"You might want to sit down."

"There's nowhere to sit down but the pavement," she said, and now all her alarm bells were jingling. "Just say it, for God's sake."

And so he told her, and she listened silently. She did not sit down.

Four days later, she was in New York for the funeral. It was a gray day and she couldn't shake a pervasive sense of unreality, the feeling that if she could do the right thing, say the right thing, shake herself in just the right way, she'd wake up.

There were a lot of people there: FBI, and various members of Peter's apparently somewhat extensive family, and friends and neighbors of the Burkes. Peter had touched a lot of lives, she thought. Neal's funeral had been much smaller, just a handful of people from White Collar, Mozzie, and June.

... and she wasn't sure why she was thinking of Neal's death now. Maybe because it had been almost exactly a year.

Damn it, she thought, suddenly furious as she bent to place her flowers with the others at Peter's grave. Two years ago, they had all been at White Collar, and it had seemed like their entire lives had stretched in front of them, long and full of promise. Now two of her friends were dead, and there was no why to it. Jones had told her Peter had been gunned down in broad daylight leaving his house. There were no suspects yet: no open cases more promising than any others, no old enemies suddenly out of prison. Elizabeth has a protection detail just in case, but no threatening notes had surfaced. It had been a fast and professional hit, and no one had any idea why it had happened.

"Thank you for coming," Elizabeth said, giving Diana a small, sideways half-hug. She was haggard but put together, in a black dress with her hair tucked back in a neat silver clip. Baby Neal was in a carrier. Diana had been surprised Elizabeth had brought him, but he was well-behaved throughout the service, though squirmy and clearly too young to understand.

He wouldn't remember Peter, she thought with a new, sharp twinge. To this child, Peter's son, Peter would be only a character in stories told by his mother.

She kept thinking her heart had no new ways to break, and then it found one.

"Have you heard anything?" Elizabeth asked quietly. "Clinton said they don't know ... but I thought you might know, you know. Something that isn't official."

Diana shook her head. "I'm sorry. I'd tell you if I knew anything, but I simply don't. I don't think anyone does."

Elizabeth poked at the damp grass with the tip of her black shoe. "Come over to the house tonight," she said suddenly. "Bring Theo, if he's here. I ... have some things I want to show you."


***


Being at the Burkes' without Peter was a strange feeling, all the more so because Diana had to keep reminding herself that he'd never be there again. It must have been worlds harder for Elizabeth, of course, pressed all around with reminders of her husband. She had already started the process of packing up and putting away that must inevitably follow a death. Diana kept seeing blank spots, gaps made more obvious by the careful and tasteful nature of Elizabeth's decor, where pictures had been removed from walls, items taken down from shelves. Eventually the other items would be arranged to fill the spaces, but right now they were still stark and bare.

"Peter was working on something," Elizabeth said. The children were playing together, two-year-old Theo fascinated by the smaller baby, but very careful with him. Elizabeth had offered Diana her choice of tea or wine, and she accepted tea, suspecting that if she started drinking, it might be hard to stop.

"Do you know what?"

Elizabeth shook her head. "All I know is that it wasn't an official case, and he was very excited about it. He said he'd tell me all the details when he knew for sure, but he didn't want to get my hopes up yet."

"Hopes up about what?" But even as she spoke, she knew. There was only one thing that could have made Peter react like that, after a year in which the sun had never seemed to rise on his life. "He was looking for Neal."

Elizabeth nodded wordlessly, turning her untouched teacup around in her hands. "He didn't even tell me that much, but some things I could figure out for myself."

"Did you tell the FBI?"

A quiet headshake. "It felt like a betrayal. If he'd wanted the FBI to be involved, he would have. Keeping this one final secret seemed like ..." Her voice cracked. "The last thing I could do for him."

"But you told me."

"I had to tell someone. And I believe that, if it was ... what he thought it was, he would have brought you in on it eventually." Elizabeth looked up, her eyes steady and serious. "And I need to know if it's why he was killed. I thought about hiring a detective, but I didn't know where to start. I thought I'd talk to you first."

Diana reached out and squeezed her hand. She'd never really been Elizabeth's friend; she had always been Peter's friend first. Now she regretted that. Maybe it would have made comfort easier to offer ... or perhaps not. She'd never been a person for comfort, only action. "Can you show me what he was working on?"

Elizabeth rose and went upstairs. She was gone longer than would have been necessary simply to retrieve an item, and the water ran in the bathroom before she came back down, carrying a box. "These are all the things he kept of Neal's after he stopped chasing him," she explained, setting it on the coffee table. "And some things that he kept after Neal's death, as well. I know he'd been looking through this box. I believe he found something in here. I simply don't know what."

Diana settled into exploring the box's contents with the pleasantly distracting feeling of having a task to do; it made it a little easier to push away her emotional connection to the box's former owner, and the relationship it represented. The Caffrey box, Peter used to call this. She didn't know he'd kept it, even long after none of it could possibly matter as evidence anymore.

Elizabeth was gone for a while and came back with a wine bottle and a wooden box. She set both on the table with the box's contents, which Diana had been carefully spreading out. "Someone left this for us, the last time I saw Mozzie," she said. "I always assumed it was actually from Mozzie, but he left before I could ask him, and I think something about this wine bottle started Peter off on his search. I don't know if it was anything specific, or just the bottle itself."

"You think he thought it was from Neal?" Diana asked, turning the bottle slowly.

"It was a wine bottle that started him off on all of this at the beginning," Elizabeth said softly. Diana looked up, confused. "Kate's bottle, the one Neal had."

"It's been so long I'd almost forgotten about that one," Diana admitted. "It's probably in an evidence locker somewhere."

"Maybe this one should be." Elizabeth touched it with her fingertip, and then rose, leaving Diana to her work.

"Elizabeth?" Diana called after her. Elizabeth stopped and turned. Diana tried to choose her words carefully. "I don't want to raise any bad memories here, but I was wondering if I could see -- if you have the things Peter had on him, when he --"

"Oh," Elizabeth said. She went to a drawer, rummaged briefly, and took out a plastic Ziploc bag. "This is everything. I got it back from the FBI when they were done, but I haven't even looked. I couldn't." She put it down in front of Diana, keeping her eyes averted.

"I understand," Diana said gently. "Thank you."

Elizabeth went into the kitchen. Diana opened the bag and poured it out onto the coffee table. Aside from Peter's gun and badge, which wouldn't have been returned with his effects, it was simply the usual sort of things she would expect to find in anyone's pocket: wallet, keys, phone, a pen, a couple of old receipts. Diana found herself using the pen to poke through the other things and made herself knock it off. This was Peter's stuff. There was no DNA evidence to collect.

She tried the phone, but it was locked. She reminded herself to ask Elizabeth if she knew how to unlock it, later. Not right now. She'd asked Elizabeth for too many favors already. Besides, the FBI had certainly examined it for clues.

There was nothing unusual in the contents of Peter's wallet, just an assortment of credit cards and membership cards to various places, along with a photo of Elizabeth with baby Neal. The ring of keys was similarly unenlightening: car key, house key, a half-dozen or so other keys that Elizabeth could probably tell her the uses of. She unfolded the receipts: parking near the FBI building, lunch a few days ago at one of Peter's usual hangouts, a few items of groceries from the same date.

The day before Peter was killed, she realized, doing the math, and tried not to shiver.

She continued to poke through the box and examine the bottle until Elizabeth came back to gather up Neal for his bedtime. Theo was drooping as well. They bedded both children down in Neal's room, with Theo in a spare crib that Elizabeth brought down from the attic. "One from Peter's folks, and one from mine," she explained with a thin smile. "We didn't have the heart to give away either one, and thought it might come in handy if ... well, if lightning struck a second time. Which obviously it's never going to, now."

Elizabeth stayed up a bit later, mostly in the kitchen with a cup of tea, watching a movie on her laptop. She showed Diana how to unlock the phone, but Diana found absolutely nothing enlightening anywhere in Peter's call history. Whatever he'd been doing, either he hadn't used his phone for it, or he'd been uncharacteristically paranoid about it.

After Elizabeth made up the guest room and went upstairs to bed, Diana stayed up. She was tired, but not sleepy, haunted by the feeling that the clue she was missing was in the random items from the box somewhere. She'd looked at everything a dozen times. Idly she poked through the keys, remembering that she'd forgotten to ask Elizabeth about them. Still, it was probably as much of a dead end as everything else ...

She paused to poke at one key with 701 engraved on it. Why did that seem so familiar? She couldn't quite place it, but she was sure there was something else in the box with that number on it. She just couldn't remember where.

It took her awhile, but eventually, examining every item, she located the number on the wine bottle cork. 701.

"I think something about this wine bottle started Peter off on his search," Elizabeth had said.

Diana placed the cork next to the key. 701. What kind of key would have a number on it? A post office box key, she thought. A safe deposit box. A storage unit, maybe.

As she gazed at the key, she felt a shiver run down her spine. Whatever she'd just discovered, she knew at heart, had put her feet on the same path that had led Peter to his death.


***


She started in the morning with post office boxes, because a mail drop from Neal seemed the most likely use of the mysterious key. Also, she assumed that between official U.S. post office and private mailbox companies, there couldn't be that many in New York (wrong, as it turned out), and the keys had to be fairly standardized and so would be easy to rule out (mostly correct).

She also made a call she was dreading, to her boss in DC asking for time off a week after starting her new job. "He was my mentor, Dave. I worked under him since my first few weeks as a probie. You know how deep that bond runs. And his death is currently an open investigation. I can't just leave them like that."

"I can give you some time to help with the investigation up there," Dave said. "I know the situation you're in. But this is temporary, understand? I need you down here."

She hung up feeling guilty. She hadn't actually told him that she wasn't officially working the case. And the local White Collar office thought she was on leave. If anyone compared notes and her web of lies caught up with her, she'd probably lose her job. And deserve to, she scolded herself.

Peter wouldn't have wanted her to do this. But it was the kind of thing Peter himself would have done.

After failing to turn up a post office box, she shifted gears to storage units. Here, after spending the day making calls from Elizabeth's home office while Theo played at her feet, she struck gold. A place on the docks had a unit #701 and had keys of exactly the sort she described. (Diana was passing herself off as a widow going through her husband's effects and trying to locate the source of the key. It was uncomfortably close to the truth, in some ways at least.) The owner wouldn't tell her who the unit was registered to, but for the moment, it didn't matter. She could get Jones over there with a warrant if she had to.

Elizabeth was home now, so Diana left Theo with her and drove over to the storage unit. It was getting dark, but keying in the unit number gained her admittance. The units turned out to be shipping containers. She parked a few down from the one she was interested in, and as she got out of the car, looked around carefully and touched her shoulder holster.

Peter did this on his own, and got killed. You're being a fool for not bringing anyone else in on it.

She would just see what was in the shipping container, she rationalized, stopping to pick up a flashlight from her trunk. She couldn't even begin to imagine what it was. A unit full of stolen goods? Maybe she was wrong about Peter thinking Neal was alive; maybe Neal, instead, had left all his stolen treasures to Peter in a sort of con-artist last bequest. Had Peter been killed over something as banal as money?

She unlocked the door and shoved it open. At first, as her flashlight beam danced over the furniture and paintings inside, she felt a sharp stab in the gut: her instinct had been exactly right. This was Neal's stolen hoard. Neal wasn't alive; Peter hadn't died for anything meaningful. He'd just run afoul of one of Neal's old enemies who wanted Neal's golden treasures.

Then, as the light took in more of the container's contents, she began to frown. These weren't treasures, exactly. Forged paintings, but mostly ones the FBI already knew about. Some items of furniture. Books.

... a dummy wearing one of Neal's expensive suits?

As she examined the evidence in front of her, as she read the story it told, she was gripped with dawning astonishment and a kind of startled wonder. It was bold, it was brilliant, it was impossible --

-- it was selfish, she told herself angrily, remembering those terrible days just after the shooting, when Peter had hardly eaten or slept, and Mozzie had been little more than a shattered, hollow-eyed ghost. He'd broken their hearts.

But it was Mozzie, more than any other part of it, that made her stop, now, and think there must be more to it than what she saw. She could, although she didn't like to, imagine Neal being so desperate, having so little faith in the system that bound him, that he'd fake his death to escape the FBI, even if it meant leaving Peter devastated. But she couldn't imagine him not relying on Mozzie to help him do it. And yet, Mozzie's grief had not been faked. He wasn't that credible of a liar.

Something had forced Neal's hand, she thought. And then he'd finally dropped a hint for Peter, rescuing him from the oblivion he'd been left with, leaving him all of this.

And then Peter had turned up dead ...

A cold, hard shiver ran through her.

Had Peter been followed? Was the unit being watched?

She'd pulled the door shut before she began her investigation, not wanting to advertise her presence in the storage area after dark. Now she was glad of her paranoia. She switched off the flashlight and sat down in the dark behind the door, wanting to think.

She was clearly on the same track that Peter had been on. Now, she needed to figure out what Peter had done next --

-- and then not do it, because whatever Peter had done had opened a door he shouldn't have opened.

Besides, knowing Peter and looking at the overall situation, she could guess how things had gone from here, in generalities at least. He hadn't simply jumped on the next plane to Paris or whatever this subtle mix of clues, no doubt full of in-jokes and references to his years of chasing Neal, had led him to think Neal was.

No, he'd been very cautious. He hadn't told anyone, it seemed, not even Elizabeth. After all, he'd spent a year grieving, and they'd encountered tricky enemies who liked to play with them before. Keller was supposedly dead, gunned down on a street corner -- but, then, Neal was also supposedly dead, and this seemed like exactly the kind of thing Keller would do.

So it could be a trick; it could be a trap. Peter might, too, have had the same sense Diana did, that this was just far enough outside the behavior they'd normally expect of Neal that something sinister was going on -- Neal had left New York because he was scared, because he was running. And so, not wanting to draw his loved ones deeper into it until he knew what was going on, he'd quietly and subtly investigated by himself. And he'd found something.

I wish you'd talked to me, you idiot, she thought, drawing her knees up against her chest. The metal floor of the shipping container was hard and cold under her hips. Maybe we could have figured it out together. You didn't have to do it all on your own.

She hadn't really grieved, not with any kind of abandon. There simply hadn't been opportunity or time. She'd been in the middle of a hundred things in DC, and she couldn't go losing it around Theo because, unlike baby Neal, he was old enough to understand enough to get upset about it, and then she'd wanted to keep it together for Elizabeth.

But here, on the floor of the shipping container, she laid her head on her knees and softly cried a little; and here, she could admit it was wholly selfish. It wasn't for baby Neal, growing up without a father; it wasn't for Elizabeth, grieving for her husband. It was just for herself, because she missed her friend and she wished she'd been able to do something in time.

As she sat in the dark, weeping softly, she became aware of a sound -- more felt than heard, almost. Soft crunching, transmitted through the shipping container to her.

Footsteps on gravel.

Diana raised her head, straining her ears. She expected anyone with legitimate business in the storage area -- a night watchman, another customer -- would be walking briskly, not with this slow, cautious pace.

As quietly as possible, she stood up and freed her gun from its holster. Outside, the area was lit with floodlights; their blue-white light came in through the gap between the shipping container's slightly cracked-open doors, painting a stripe down the middle of the container.

The awful thought occurred to Diana that they might plan to lock her in.

Yeah, and you still have your cell. Just call Jones and he'll have a dozen agents down here to bust heads as quick as you can snap your fingers.

She touched the phone lightly with her fingertips, but didn't take it out. She'd call if she had to, but that would mean blowing the cover off the secrecy surrounding this container and everything it implied. All she could do for Peter now was find his killers and keep the secrets he'd kept. She didn't want to have to sacrifice one to do the other.

The stealthy footsteps reached the edge of the container. Paused. She couldn't tell if it was just one person or two. They'd come right to her container, though, despite her parking several spots away. No question they knew what she was here for.

She tried to breathe as quietly as possible, and hoped this wouldn't be the time Elizabeth picked to call with a vital question about Theo.

The faintest whisper of feet on gravel. Someone touched the door lightly, and it began to swing inward.

Diana lunged to the side, kicked the door all the way open, and dived out, swinging. Her would-be assailant had pushed open the door and then stepped aside, but she anticipated that and moved to intercept him. She meant to have him down on the ground, but he seemed to expect her first grapple move and slid aside. He was big, he knew her moves -- oh shit no --

She froze with her gun in his face. His hands were up. "Diana," he began.

"Peter," she replied flatly, and punched him in the face.


***


Shortly, they were both inside the shipping container, with the door pulled shut, sitting on opposite sides with their backs against the walls. Diana's flashlight lay between them, illuminating the room with an eerie Halloween glow. Peter was holding his jaw.

"You didn't have to hit me quite that hard," he said.

"You're lucky I didn't break every bone in your face," she shot back. "I cannot believe you took a page from Caffrey's book. Especially this particular page. Are you out of your -- What about Elizabeth? How could you do that to her? Or does she know?"

"She knows," Peter admitted. "And Clinton. There was no way around it; I couldn't do it alone."

For some reason, knowing that Jones knew, and she hadn't, made her feel even more betrayed. "Why not me?" she asked. It came out petulant, but damn it, she felt petulant.

"Because of Theo," Peter said quickly. "You couldn't know. You were out of it, Diana. You were safe in DC. I would've kept everyone out, but I didn't have a choice, and I couldn't put Elizabeth through ... what I would have had to."

"As opposed to putting me through it." She was nowhere near ready to forgive him yet. Her hand ached; she shook out her fingers, using the pain to fuel her anger.

"I know Elizabeth got you on the track of this. I think it's her way of telling me I'm being stupid trying to do this alone."

"That's because you are being stupid." She banged her head against the side of the shipping container with a hollow bong. "So what the hell is going on? Who's after you?"

"The Panthers," Peter said grimly.

"They're in prison."

"So? Keller was in prison, too, when he had me kidnapped. They're the reason Neal ... left, and --" Peter drummed his fingers on the metal floor. "Now I think he's stirred up that hornet's nest, completely by accident, just by letting us know he's alive."

"So he is alive."

"I assume so," Peter said. "I haven't made contact for ... well, reasons I'll get to, but Mozzie's vanished, and I figure his disappearance right on the heels of Neal sending me a note means Moz got one of his own, and went to where Neal is."

"Or else the Panthers got to him."

Peter winced. "I'm trying to look on the bright side."

"Peter, you're legally dead. I went to your funeral yesterday. How much of a bright side can there possibly be?"

Peter smiled grimly. "I'm not actually dead, though, right?"

She couldn't argue with him there.


---

[And there I stopped. I was originally intending to have Peter actually BE dead, I swear, and the whole thing was Diana backtrailing him and eventually finding Neal and Mozzie in Paris. Like I said, it went off the rails. I DON'T need to write 20K of post-canon WC epic right now. >_>]


This entry is also posted at http://sholio.dreamwidth.org/1036273.html with comment count unavailable comments.
You cannot make me read stories where Peter is dead. You cannot! You-- ARGH.
SORRY. >_>

(If I did actually continue this, I think odds are roughly even that I'd revert to the original "he's really dead" plan, versus going with the less-angsty but also somewhat more OOC "he's faking it" version. However, since I DID go ahead and write the not-dead reveal, I figured I'd post the whole thing as written so far.)
He's not dead! \o/ (ETA: in case it wasn't clear, I originally wrote that comment before I started to read when I just read the first sentence..but I have now read the whole thing. )

You know it's hard for me to say that this fic probably would work really well with Peter dead as well. I mean, a part of me would feel a vindictive sort of pleasure at seeing someone write Neal regret what he did when he's the one mourning Peter. But at the same time, I just can't stand the thought of such a sad way for things to go. So I guess bottom line is, I loved what you wrote so far, regardless of which direction you'll end up going.

I DON'T need to write 20K of post-canon WC epic right now. >_>

*laughs and laughs and laughs*

Edited at 2015-10-14 02:40 am (UTC)
hahaha ... OH. For some reason I read the original comment as sarcasm, as opposed to an actual bewailing of his dead state!

I mean, a part of me would feel a vindictive sort of pleasure at seeing someone write Neal regret what he did when he's the one mourning Peter. But at the same time, I just can't stand the thought of such a sad way for things to go.

Yeah ... ditto, I think. I originally started writing it because I wanted ANGST and PAIN and I kind of wanted Neal to find out what it felt like, I cannot lie. But then, when it came down to actually writing it, I just didn't have the heart to keep him dead .... although I still think the plot works better the other way.

(If Neal gets his hands on a newspaper with Peter's obituary, then there will be plenty of angsty pain until he finds out the truth, I guess ...!)
(If Neal gets his hands on a newspaper with Peter's obituary, then there will be plenty of angsty pain until he finds out the truth, I guess ...!)

Yes please!!

(Best of both worlds!)
YUP! Neal can feel what it's like on the other side, and they can all angst together like no one's business about blaming each other for faking their deaths, etc., etc... and then they can team up, and get Mozzie and his Detroit contacts to help and they can END the Panthers, once and for all, and everyone can come out of hiding and live and work together happily ever after ;-)

I'm all for good angst fests and hurt/comfort and so forth and so on, but then, I want it all FIXED eventually ;-)

It's my own version of wimpdom and I'm quite happy in my little corner ;-)

And also, this is brilliant, just FYI.

And you don't have to write all 20,000 words at *once*, ya know ;-)
Just wanted to say YES PLEASE to everything above - Neal *needs* to feel the pain of Peter's "death"!!

Please :D
haha, yes, I am a sucker for happy endings as well. If that makes us wimps, BRING IT ON. :D

(Not that I haven't written unhappy endings from time to time. But I usually feel terrible about it afterward.)

And thanks! I still don't know if I'll continue, but I'm glad people are enjoying it. :)
I can only take so much unmitigated angst before I *have* to have some relief. I've just come to accept that about what I read/watch in relation to what it does to my brain, so yeah... I'll take being a "wimp" if that's what that is ;-)

I hope you do continue, but I totally understand if you don't -- sometimes, you have to go with where the Muses take you :-)

It was like a punch in a gut when I read that Peter was dead. Thank god he was alive and had informed El and Jones about the plan. Hope u do complete the story after such an epic start. Would love some H/C along the way. I agree with sherylyn it does not have to be 20,000 words all at once. Hope u get well soon. TC
Ohhhhh, I think it's safe to say that if I actually did write it, there would almost certainly be h/c!
...Ahahah I started reading because ANGST UND TRAUMA is easier for me to take when it's not a fandom I'm in (death fics morbidly amuse me in the right mood, which apparently is tonight's mood)...and then by about the second section I was sure Peter wasn't actually dead, or at least he shouldn't be (even knowing you didn't intend it so when you started out...I was mostly projecting there, I think; I pretty much can't write more than short death fics, because the longer I keep writing the higher the chance becomes that it turns into a presumed dead fic, until finally it reaches 100%...)

Without trying to imply that you should continue this unless you actually want to...knowing what I know about the finale, I can't help but think this is exactly what Neal deserves...
I pretty much can't write more than short death fics, because the longer I keep writing the higher the chance becomes that it turns into a presumed dead fic, until finally it reaches 100%...

HAHAHAHA, I think this is probably true of me also! I'm pretty sure it's happened to every single deathfic that I tried to keep going with.

I have been thinking that maybe one reason why I hate the finale's ending so much (other than because it gave me the exact opposite of everything I wanted) is because they took one of my absolute favorite h/c tropes, a trope I would have loved to see on this show, and did it COMPLETELY WRONG. You don't do "presumed dead" and then keep everyone separated and cut away before the emotional reunion! That just ... defeats the whole point!
they took one of my absolute favorite h/c tropes, a trope I would have loved to see on this show, and did it COMPLETELY WRONG. You don't do "presumed dead" and then keep everyone separated and cut away before the emotional reunion! That just ... defeats the whole point!
Yes!
I pretty much can't write more than short death fics, because the longer I keep writing the higher the chance becomes that it turns into a presumed dead fic, until finally it reaches 100%..

My "death fics" ideas reach 100% before I start writing them... >.>


:D
That last line <3

And Dianaaaa! I'm torn between *flailsquee* and OH, MY HEART. SO many emotions. And emoticons. Her thoughts while she thought that Peter was dead were little slayers, all of them.

It's somehow even more cruel to kill Peter than it is to kill Neal. Peter's so deeply essential to this fictional universe, so necessary. It's just- ugh. I realize the angst potential, and that Neal probably deserves it, but I'm glad he's alive. Even in a story, yes.

I love the story you've given us here, though!

Edited at 2015-10-14 09:04 am (UTC)
Thank you! :) I don't know if it's going anywhere. Or where it's going if it does. But I figured I'd share what there was of it. XD

I kinda noticed that about Peter too. It's interesting, because (despite my deep fondness for Peter) I don't actually think of him as more of a lynchpin of the 'verse than Neal. But pulling Peter out just completely destabilizes the whole thing. Whereas, Neal dying was really tragic (and broke Peter and Mozzie's hearts, I think it's safe to say) but it didn't blow everything up, whereas killing off Peter kind of does.
Exactly what you said. Neal seems more important (probably because the story focuses on him), but Peter actually is, in the grand scheme of things. So many people count on him.

And omg, I will never be over that morgue scene. Moz and Peter :'(
AARGH, THE MORGUE SCENE. :( :( :( I haven't actually been able to watch it again, even though there was so much good character stuff in it. I just can't. :(

... btw, there's some interesting fic-plot discussion over in the DW comments just now, especially concerning Peter's motivations for possibly faking his death, which is the thing I've struggled with the most. :D
Oh, I know. I haven't rewatched the finale since I first saw it. It's just too painful, even now.

Thanks for pointing me in that direction! And yeah, very interesting! I especially love the one where Peter's under orders from the FBI. It's the best option, all things given.
Oh wow, this was great! Peter is very lucky not to have his jaw broken by Diana!

I hope one day you do continue it, but fully understand that you might not.
Thank you! :) I enjoyed writing this -- we'll see what develops in the future.
I'm so glad you didn't leave Peter dead! Even in a fragment, I couldn't stand to have him really die, so young, so soon. You can write Peter dead when he and Elizabeth are in their 80s—or older. You have my permission then. :-)

He pretty much deserved the punch.
He did deserve the punch. XD But, yeah, Peter being dead is just too tragic.
Aww... I read through hoping Peter was not really dead. I'm happy you went with that version. Somehow I can't ackknowledge a White Collar universe without our stalwart hero.
It's too tragic! Someone elsewhere in the comments said that, without Peter, the White Collar universe falls apart. And it kind of does. He's the glue holding it all together.