Title: A World of Memories
Fandom: White Collar and Supernatural
Characters: John/dean, John/neal, Peter/neal
Word count: 1878 words
Summary: Neal is trying to steal a piece of jewelry and end up in a storage unit owned by John Winchester, finding some insightful journals and a new understanding of his own actions…
Dedicated to: itsmecoon for her Birthday. I hope it will be a lovely one Sweetie ♥ ♥ ♥
Neal was entranced by the entries in this journal. He'd been looking for this tiny little locket many believe held magic inside but he didn't care it was fetching a small fortune in the black market and there was no reason he wouldn't be the one making money off it. Among the pile of things lost in this storage unit he found there was a little box he grabbed to rummage in peace at the apartment once he heard the noise made by the night guard.
There wasn't anything really valuable in what was dropped in the cardboard box but some old journals he was perusing through now. He'd been ensconced in it for the better part of the night and barely noticed the sun coming up. The entries in this journal were written by a man, the words boldly imprinted, the intent clear. Supposedly these were research annotations for Supernatural objects and entities. Nothing he'd believe in but still the tales were so imaginative he found himself lost in the possibilities and not only read the notes, appreciated the drawing details but also left his mind drift and visualize the world described in the journal. He couldn't say who wrote it except the initials of J.W. there was not much to go through but he was looking forward to the next one sitting right now on the bedside table.
Well, it was the weekend anyway, he had no place to go, why not start it now... Neal chased the sleep from his gritty eyes with a purposeful movement of the hand and settled back against his fluffed pillows to read the second journal. This one seemed more personal, almost all the entries were about these two young boys, Dean and Sam and their dad. Probably the mysterious J. W. the same handwriting peppered the crinkled pages but their was love and purpose permeating the words. It was about mundane things like birthdays mostly, school achievements, worries about the future, a bit what Neal imagined a concerned and loving parent would put at the end of a day. Quick notes without anything extra or superfluous, a memory that needed to be kept, a sorry that wasn't said, a promise made that he hoped was fulfilled.
Neal loved it for the simple reason he never indulged in seeing things from a father point of view; having missed his dad most of his life he had been too angry, too alone, too determined to not suddenly feel like he may have an insight here he never stopped to think about. He turned the pages not in a rush to finish, cherishing the intimate moment as being part of this unknown family.
He was falling slowly asleep when he got to the next passage and found his interest picked again. JW was talking about his teenage son, by then he was maybe 14, 15 who knows maybe 16, Neal would have to go back and check on the dates but sure enough the boy had been caught shoplifting. Nothing of interest, a cassette tape, but to Neal it was like the world opened under his feet, he had stolen the exact same tape from a Target growing up. Of course he had never been caught and had enjoyed the spoil of his misbehaving, adding to the rap sheet he was creating then for himself and leading him to the life he was living presently. He felt like a kindred spirit with that poor Dean though, a little like sharing the experience, living it by proxy.
JW was talking about how disappointed he was that Dean would think this was acceptable but also about how he felt he had failed his son, not insuring important values like not stealing in a family store were understood and principles they lived by. As well, it appeared the man was also concerned about the possibility of social services paying more attention to their small family unit than necessary and losing the boys to an indiscriminate system. Neal understood that too, between Mozzie and his unique upbringing he felt like that was a valid fear and suddenly saw the conundrum from an adult perspective, and not from the day to day grind life had been for them growing up.
Somehow, he had been "a" Dean growing up, he had felt "that" impulse to steal and he had felt prey to it, except he never paid any price for it while JW seemed hell bent on making some kind of statement about it. Here he was writing about waiting for the boy to come back from High School and get his spanking before he needed to pick up the younger kid from his own school.
A Spanking? Did people actually spanked teenagers? Did teenagers let themselves be spanked?
Neal wasn't sure he wanted to read the next part but very quickly realized he would never be able to sleep without finding out how the confrontation ended, and in a way, how things should have been handled for him when he was culpable of the same crime. So he burrowed into the covers, made himself comfortable and started reading again.
JW was determined to make the lesson stick, from the words jumping from the page, it wouldn’t exactly be the first time the topic was covered and he was upset. He mentioned they are not rich but they are not the only ones… He mentioned that he too wanted good things, good books, good music but there were priorities in their lives and his sons should know better. Neal got it, we all think that everyone else has everything they want that we are the only ones left behind holding the bag. He’d learned better in particular with the examples of his colleagues at the FBI, it could be the Burkes, Diana or even Clinton. Growing up was about more than means even though those definitively helped. He let his mind go and imagined for a moment Neal and Elizabeth dealing with a child of theirs stealing, and just couldn’t see it. They were bound to have perfect children, no?
He drifted back to read the account of the upcoming smack down… JW must have added it after the encounter because the story unfolded on the next page, the writing less firm and a bit rushed.
Dean opened the door to find a chair pulled in the middle of the living area and his father coolly waiting for him on it. He could have gone for cocky, because Neal knew for a fact that’s what he would have done, but maybe knowing his father or being tipped-off by one thing or another he had stayed relatively silent, not willing to incriminate himself. Smart Boy! Neal was definitively rooting for him!
JW asked him if he had anything to confess, and the teenager stayed mute. JW promised to go easy on him if he simply came clean and again, no confession was forthcoming. Neal was smiling, living the battle of will from his own bed, present in the room with them and figuratively giving the thumbs up to the hardcore boy.
JW admits in the journal how displeased he is with the attitude and yet how proud he is of his ‘almost grown up son’ for standing up to him. It’s a quick thought though because the next line doesn’t give room to much more than commiseration for the soon to be blistered ass that is precipitated on the unyielding fatherly lap. Dean probably didn’t see it coming but according to the recounting, he found himself the nose inches away from the floor, and receiving enough swats to heat his behind in short minutes. JW only stopped when his own hand was aching and only then did he explain to the teenager on his lap why he was getting a spanking. Neal felt Dean pain but in a way it seemed like it was fairly quick to settle and not as impressive as he had imagined a fatherly spanking to be. Maybe Dean thought so too and both would have been tricked because JW was suddenly shoving the jeans riding low on his son backside and pulling his arm back he went back to his task and spanked with a heavy hand his boy, stopping only when tremors showed him the message was received loud and clear. It must have taken awhile because JW mentioned his shoulder ached and his hand was sore, and Neal shuffled in his spot suddenly too warm.
He didn’t know how to feel. He didn’t like the fact Dean obviously caved and didn’t take his spanking stoically, he wanted to believe he would have done a better job, stealing the satisfaction of the unyielding JW that he may be stronger, he may be right, he may be the father and know what he is doing but he wouldn’t get away with spanking him, Neal Caffrey!
Or would he?
JW quickly wrote about a nice dinner they all went to that night with some extra pie it seems like and then the next entry came much later in the month. So Neal closed the journal, and his eyes, and finally exhausted from all these emotions fell asleep.
It wasn’t a nice and restful sleep, somehow he had treaded space with Dean and was the one getting his ass handed to him. Soon enough though, the fact he couldn’t imagine what JW looked like, the picture of the looming and foreboding picture of the upset father became the upset Peter, telling him what he was doing was wrong, that continuing to steal while working for the FBI was unacceptable and that he wouldn’t let Neal fall into his bad habits under his watch, spanking him relentlessly until he too folded and cried silently even begging for the ordeal to stop. It was overwhelming enough that he woke up in sweats, his butt safe and sound in his big, large bed.
He looked around and his eyes settled on the journals and the empty box with all the little knick knacks that came with it strewn upon the table. He didn’t have a right to mess up with the history of that family, to be stealing from their storage, to even be trying to steal Art when everyone around him worked so hard to support him on his decision to stay on the straight and narrow. He grabbed it all and put it back in the box. He threw some jeans and a t-shirt on, put his feet in his loafers and with a hand carted through his disheveled hair tried to look presentable enough to return to the storage unit and leave everything as if he has never ever touched it.
He was just opening the door when he found himself face to face with a sharp dressed Peter.
“Hi Neal! I have to wait for my car to be serviced; you want to have a coffee with me?”
Neal was speechless, his dreams and reality colliding in an expected way. Incapable of answering, Peter, all smile, pushed past him to wait for his friend to close the door and get dressed when he finally noticed the box in Neal’s arms.
“You need help with that?”