Author: J. Rosemary Moss
Fandom: White Collar
Warning: Brief, consensual, non-sexual spanking of an adult.
Author's Website: J. Rosemary's LJ
Author's Notes: Missing Scene for Burke's Seven; Peter and Neal have a talk about Neal holding a gun to Fowler--but that doesn't satisfy Neal. Part of the 'My Old Man' verse. Disclaimer: Alas, I don't own White Collar.
ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY
Neal sipped his coffee as he stared across the dining room table at Peter. Elizabeth had already gone to bed, probably sensing that the two men had more to talk about than Larsson's offer. Satchmo had trailed up after her.
But despite their new understanding and the warm, relaxed surroundings of Chez Burke's, they weren't doing much talking. Peter had finished his coffee a while ago; now he was staring at a random spot on the wall.
"Dad?" Neal asked.
Peter turned back to him. "Yeah?"
Neal grinned, not bothering to hide his relief. "Good--I wasn't sure you would still answer to that."
"Thought I'd given up on the whole adoption idea?"
"Well, after everything that happened . . ."
Peter snorted. "Let's just focus on Larsson, ok?"
Neal felt his cup shake a little and steadied his grip. "So you don't want to talk about the whole Fowler thing?"
Peter sighed and turned away to stare at the wall again. "Maybe I'm not sure what to say."
"Just tell me what you're thinking--because it's driving me crazy not knowing."
He shrugged--and Neal would almost swear that he was blushing too, as if he were embarrassed. "What do you want to hear, Neal? You know you're not going back to prison. Fowler won't press charges and--well, I handled the rest. And you'd better thank Jones and Diana for their help on that."
"I will. But I still don't know--I don't know what you think of me."
Peter turned back to him, looking surprised. "What I think of you? I'm proud of you for letting me talk you down--and for handing me the gun."
Neal felt his mouth drop open.
"And if I'd been a better father to you--or a better handler--none of this would have happened."
Neal stared at him. "Peter, how have decided, all evidence to the contrary, that me holding a gun to Fowler was your fault?"
He ran his fingers through his hair. "I'm responsible for you. I knew you were close to going off the rails. I should have put you in lock-down or handcuffed you to my wrist." He paused, narrowing his eyes. "And next time, believe me, I will."
"There won't be a next time," Neal said, his stomach turning a little as he thought of Mozzie in the hospital. "I'm not putting the people I love at risk like that again. We're doing things your way from now on, remember?"
"Uh-huh. Just remember you said that."
"I will. I promise."
"All right. You're crashing here, right?"
Neal raised his eyebrows. "You're just going to let it go at that?"
"Yeah--why? What are you angling for, Neal?"
He pasted on his most charming grin--the one he knew Peter couldn't say no to. "I still think you should take me in hand."
Peter had no trouble interpreting that. "Spank you, you mean?"
"You know how often you've wanted to."
"Daddy issues again?"
"Yeah. You could say that."
Peter shook his head. "I'm not going to feed into that, Neal. I don't know what your Dad--your biological Dad--did to you, but . . ." he shrugged again, letting his voice trail off.
Neal took a deep breath. He would only have one chance to get this right--if Peter didn't bite, he'd have to wait months before bringing it up again.
"I think you have the wrong idea," Neal said at last. "He didn't--there was no physical abuse. I didn't even know him long enough to"
He paused and took a deep breath. "Look. In a way, I grew up starving for boundaries. And contact. And I always wished I had someone who, ah, you know."
"No. I don't know."
Neal looked Peter in the eye and strategically swallowed. "Someone who cared enough to punish me. The way some of my friends were punished."
Peter stared down at his empty cup. "All the experts say not to spank your kids."
"But I'm not a kid. I'm an adult who can make his own decisions."
Peter snorted. "Yeah? Could've fooled me, Peter Pan."
Neal refused to rise to the bait. He stayed quiet instead, letting Peter work this out. And as the silence stretched out, he chose what he hoped was just the right moment to speak up again. "This will help me, Dad."
Peter rolled his eyes. "Fine. Stand up and bend over the table."
Neal would rather have been across his lap, but now was not the time to get picky. It would take time to train Peter to be that intimate.
So he obeyed by standing up, moving to a clear spot and pulling down his trousers, leaving his boxers in place. (Peter hadn't ordered that part, but Neal thought it was a nice touch.) Then he folded himself gracefully over the table, crossing his arms under his head and making sure his ass made an inviting target.
He heard Peter disappear into the kitchen. He kept his eyes closed as the man returned and moved to stand behind him. Then he almost melted as Peter rested one hand on his back. That hand was warm, solid and reassuring.
"We're not going to make a habit of this, Neal," he said. "And I'm not doing this because I'm angry. I understand why you wanted revenge and I'm still proud of you for handing me the gun. Understood?"
Neal nodded, even though he fully intended to convince Peter to repeat this punishment in the future. "Yes, Peter."
"But I meant what I said--if I think you're pulling a con on me again, or about to go off the rails, you're going to find your ass in lockdown. I'm not going to make the same mistake twice."
Neal nodded again, although he was pretty sure he could get Peter to carry out the other threat--handcuffing him to his wrist--instead. That would be awkward, but preferable to lockdown. "Yes, Peter."
Neal kept his eyes shut and tried to relax, preparing himself for the first blow. But he almost yelped when it came--it wasn't the dull thud of a wooden cutting board. It was the sharp sting of something thin and evil.
His eyes flew open. "Ow! Peter, what the hell--"
"It's a wooden spoon," he said. "Not good?"
"You could have warned me!"
But Neal barely got those words out before the spoon licked him again and then again. Thank G-d for his boxers, even if they provided only a shred of protection.
But Peter only wielded the spoon against his ass two more times before setting it down on the table. "Stand up," the agent ordered.
"I--I can take more."
"I know, but this isn't an endurance test. Come on, Neal."
Neal nodded and pushed himself up. He took a moment to pull his trousers back up and button them, imagining the searing red stripes that must be hidden by his boxers.
"You ok?" Peter asked.
Neal gave him a sheepish smile. "I'm fine."
Peter gave him a critical look in return. "I think you are--all evidence to the contrary."
They both smiled at that. But then they just stood there, awkward and uncertain, until Neal launched himself into Peter's arms. "Thanks, Dad."
He heard the agent let out a relieved chuckle as he drew him in for a tight hug. "You're welcome. Come on," he added, giving him a swat on the ass as they broke apart. "Let's clean up the dishes--then it's time for bed."
"You setting a curfew for me now?"
"Uh-huh. But if you behave, it's just for tonight."
"Ok," Neal agreed as he picked up the coffee cups and headed into the kitchen. He wondered, fleetingly, if now would be a good time to suggest that the Bureau sponsor him for combat lessons--after that encounter with Larsson, he knew he needed them.
But he decided to hold off as he and Peter started the dishes; he'd put the man through enough tonight. He would launch his campaign tomorrow.
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