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Title: Into the Sunset – Prologue
Author’s Name: sheenianni
Fandom: White Collar
Characters/Pairings:
Neal/Sara, Peter, Mozzie
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Romance, adventure, drama, humor
Spoilers: Seasons 1-5
Content Notice: None
Word Count: ~ 14,200
Cheerleading and Beta Credit: miri_thompson, love_82
Written for: wc_reverse_bb based upon the amazing artwork of kanarek13

Summary: Two years after Sara left for London, she and Neal are reunited once again. As they try to figure out their relationship, they have to overcome obstacles both external and internal. Set post-Season 5.




___________________________________


PROLOGUE

The end of February, a small town in the middle of nowhere, enveloped in darkness and silence. It was snowing.

Staring at the phone booth in the middle of a nearby square, Neal hid his hands in the pockets of an ugly sweat shirt; a futile attempt to keep them somewhat warm. The street alley behind him was empty, the light of the lamps giving it a soothing, comforting feeling. The soft lights, the snowdrops, the quiet street with lovely houses, even a cat sitting on a fence pole – so idyllic, so innocent that the artist in Neal could easily imagine painting this as a Christmas card for a friend. But appearances could be deceiving and right now, even thinking of art made Neal more nauseous than a three days old devilled ham sandwich.

Moving from the treacherous light into the shadow, Neal pressed his back against the wall of a random house, trying to stay inconspicuous and buy himself a few moments in case someone came here looking for him. He silently cursed himself for not keeping a better track of time. He should have known that it would be night when he had broken out. Against common misconceptions, daylight would have actually provided him with better cover than the night – the streets would have been full, and when there were people, there was a lower risk of being snatched away and brought right back to his private hell. However, staying underground for so long must have messed with his inner clock. Either way, it didn’t matter at this point – he’d have to work with the hand that he had been dealt. Yet despite the urgency of the situation, Neal couldn’t help but take a moment, staring at his surroundings with a weird mixture of anxiety and awe.

Three months. Three long, strange, incredibly bizarre months since he had been abducted – and now he was free again. The part of Neal that wasn’t freaking out right now was shaking his head in disapproval, dismayed that it took him that long to escape. Moz would say that he was losing his edge.

The phone booth stood there in the middle of the square, silently taunting him. Biting his lip, Neal knew he had to make a choice. Mozzie, Peter, Mozzie or Peter. Only two numbers, yet so many possible endings.

He could snatch after his freedom and become a fugitive. Or, he could place his faith in Peter for one more time and try to get his life back. There had been times when that choice would have been easy. Now…

Making a decision and taking a deep breath, Neal leaned away from the phone booth and started walking to the middle of the square.





* * *


PART I

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