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stargate, DanielJackson

Fic; I am Neal, Chapter Nine

Posted on 2013.02.13 at 16:56
Tags: ,
This fic is back, sorry for the elephantine wait and sorry if there are parts of this chapter that are a little iffy as I get back into the swing of the story, I hope you still enjoy.

Title; I am Neal
Author; swirlsofblue
Fandom; White Collar
Rating; NC-17
Character/Pairings; Peter/Elizabeth, Neal.  
Warnings; Flashbacks involving abuse, slavery.
Word count; ~1700 (this chapter)
Summary; ased on a collarkink prompt; Neal was kidnapped and it takes Peter a minimum of 5 years to find him. By the time he does, Neal's had 5 years to be broken down and turned into the perfect house/sex slave with regular punishments. This is the tale of Neal's recovery.
Author's note; Follow the links for previous chapters: chapters 1 - 6, chapter 7, chapter 8

“Neal, do you want to…”

Another choice, Neal loses focus on the words; the prospect of failure buzzing through his head has become dizzying; yet another situation for him to fail at. It has been a long week, harrowing, every choice adding to his burden. He spends more time than ever longing to just slip into the closet, averts his eyes from the forbidden luxury.

He points; not really putting thought into his answer, he doesn’t have the energy to bother anymore. He eats his chosen food and once Peter and Elizabeth are safely upstairs for the night, collapses into the closet. Sleep pulls him in aggressively, clouding his vision to black.


The rules seemed to be disastrous, Neal seeming to get even more worked up than before. Disrobing and repeated apologies and even the fake smiles were worse for wear. El said they needed to give Neal some time to adjust to them, and then see how things go. But the both of them couldn’t help the feelings of being overwrought and helpless that encroached and to be honest were desperately seeking anything they could grasp onto to make it all a little better.

One day at dinner, Peter thinks he sees a fleeting look of longing pass over Neal’s face, but when he turns to the direction Neal was looking in, there’s nothing there. Only the closet.


As Elizabeth comes downstairs the next morning, she finds both the sofa and the kitchen to be void of Neal. Alarm immediately rings through her and she rushes to check the bathroom and other rooms of the house. Neal is nowhere.

“Neal!” she calls with worry.

“What’s wrong?” Peter asks, coming down the stairs.

“Neal’s missing,” she replies, perturbed but calm.  

“You’ve checked all the rooms?” Peter asks.

“Yes! He’s not here!”

“Ok, let’s think for a minute, where could he be?”

After a few seconds of silence something clicks in Peter’s mind and he moves to check the closet.

Inside they find Neal, curled up and asleep.

“Oh Neal,” El sighs, she closes the closet door again and gestures for Peter to follow her back up.

“I’m guessing we’re going to pretend we didn’t find him but still deal with it later?” Peter asks in a whisper once they’re upstairs again.

“I think you’re beginning to catch on,” Elizabeth replies, “how did you know he was in the closet?”

“I saw him staring at it yesterday and now that I think about it, that wasn’t the first time; I think he feels safe in there.”

“We have to be careful if we bring it up that we don’t take away that feeling,” El tells him, voice weary but strong.  

“We can’t not bring it up at all, if it’s a place he feels safe why not let him stay there when he wants to?”

“Peter we gave him choice with these rules and what happened?” El asks in her marvellously knowing yet still not condescending tone.

“They were disastrous and if we say he can go in there whenever he wants that will be disastrous too,” Peter says, placing his hands on his hips, defeated.  

“Exactly,” she exclaims quietly.  

“I have an idea, why don’t we frame it as a reward, that way we can tell him to go stay there as a prize.”

“It’s doing more harm than good encouraging this mind-set that we’re in charge of him but I think you’re right, we need to live in his world until he’s ready to accept coming back into ours.” 


“What are you?” Skull hisses, snapping the belt in the air as though that would somehow be effective when Neal’s already lash riddled back wasn’t incentive enough to do what was wanted of him.

Neal continues to stubbornly grit his teeth against any words that might will themselves out. He can’t afford to break; he could kid himself into believing otherwise but he knows as soon as he starts saying he’s nothing and nobody he’ll be on the road to believing it.

“Ugh,” Neal grunts as the brunt of the belt lands like a stab against his back, he lets spittle fly through his teeth as he halts a yell.

“What are you?” Skull hisses in exactly the same tone, no angrier, slightly more amused if anything.

Fingers dig into his wounds. Metal fills his mouth and he realises he accidentally bit his tongue. Probing creatures under his skin feel massive and bloodthirsty, much more than the human digits he knows them to be. He has to respond with something. 

“My name…is Neal.”

The words are ground out hard but feel weaker somehow; lacking the punch they’re meant to. Nails fray viciously at his battered skin.  

He wakes from the nightmare flashback suddenly and with far too much light flooding through the door; the closets contents lack their usual monochrome colouration. The terror has him almost paralytic as he realises he overslept. Slowly leaving the closet, he’s tentatively relieved to find he was lucky; Peter and Elizabeth are yet to come downstairs. 


There was really no good way to tell Neal they knew about his hiding place and Elizabeth thought of backing out of the plan several times as she prepared lunch. She was unsure this wasn’t just their combined exhaustion with the situation leading them down a path of a fairy-tale. But knew they had to give this a shot.

“We know you’ve been sleeping in the closet,” Peter says softly, ready for Neal to bolt, Neal just goes rigid, eyes tearing slightly. The awkwardness hangs tangibly in the air between them.

Peter ineffectually pats Neal’s arm and keeps talking, trying not to let the idea of Neal only feeling safe in the cramped space stick in his craw enough to become visible, “it’s okay, you weren’t ordered to not sleep there and it’s as good a place for you to sleep as any. You can carry on sleeping there.”

“Yes Peter,” Neal answers cautiously, looking not as scared as Peter thought he would. He considers Neal’s stance a moment before realisation hits that Neal was measuring his words, carefully hopeful about being allowed to continue staying in his little cubby hole. They weren’t completely naïve to think this might work then. 

“We’ve made a decision; when you’re good you’ll spend some time in there during the day, as a reward. We will tell you when you’ve earned it and you will be allowed to spend some time in the closet,” Peter tells Neal, already doubting his wording but El gives him an encouraging nod. 

Neal looks more confused and suspicious than afraid, so Peter stops himself before he rambles them back into danger territory.


Neal takes Peter’s words in as a man lost at sea would saltwater; he knows better but he’s too exhausted to do anything but grasp the chance to quench his metaphorical thirst. The weeks with the Burkes have been riddled with confusion and apprehension for what is to come, and before, well, that’s its own horror story. And Neal had an attachment to that closet; nothing bad could happen there; everything would be okay. Nothing linked to that closet could be bad. No idea about that closet could lead to any harm coming to him. Neal believed it with his entire being because he had to.  

He spends the day walking around in a half-dreaming state, repeatedly finding himself thinking about the closet, looking at the closet, not paying enough attention, so it shouldn’t be surprising when the glass slides out of his hands, but he can’t stop the frenzied trembling produced at the sound of shattering.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Neal says, voice full of pleas, stance full of supplication. How could he be so stupid, so reckless, such a little shit. He was definitely going to be severely beaten this time. Worse still, he’ll never be let into the closet now. It will probably be taken away for night time too. This is a disaster.     

“Would you like to stay in the closet for a while?” Peter asked.

Elizabeth almost balked at the bad timing of it; the last thing they needed was Neal associating the closet with punishment. But it seemed Peter could still predict Neal well, even in this knew form.

“Yes Peter,” Neal replied. And there it was, small but clearly there; a real smile.


Neal sits in the closet, for once feeling a modicum of safety. He lets himself relax, albeit gingerly. Runs his fingers along cracks in the wood, drawing imagined pictures in the dust, wondering at how his hands are still somehow intact.

After some time, what’s coming next hangs over his head like a sky drenched with dark clouds. He has been here for hours. He knows he has been here too long. Peter and Elizabeth will be angry. There will be punishment again. As soon as he leaves, he’s in trouble, he knows the longer wait is just making it worse. He’s still too terrified to step out. He stays.

He stretches, moving position again. The closet is big enough that staying isn’t painful. His stomach is beginning to nudge at him, but that’s nothing; he’s been left for days without food before. Maybe they plan on waiting until thirst finally drives him out, Neal doesn’t like that thought but he’s probably not getting any food anyway so it makes no difference. At that moment there’s an ominously soft knock on the closet door.

“Yes, sir?” Neal answers quietly.

“It’s me, Elizabeth, sweetie I was wondering whether you would like to have something to eat in there or come outside and have some?”

Neal would of course prefer to have some food right here, but knows that’s just a trap. He reluctantly stands and walks out. He’s surprised to find a smiling Elizabeth, he hates all this smiling; it almost makes him believe that everything’s ok- that he won’t be hurt. Neal sighs; he couldn’t help the resurfacing feeling that this was all part of a massive trap. They hadn’t hurt him so far; they were working up to something big.

When he returns to the closet later, he finds it has been cleared out and some new items have been placed in there, leaving a lot more space for him to move around.

“These are for you,” Elizabeth tells him.

There are boxes of different snacks, bottles of water and some soda, as well as some miscellaneous items.

Neal’s smile, the second in a day, is nervous but genuine.


livejournal at 2013-02-14 01:53 (UTC) (Link)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

User coolceruleanblu referenced to your post from Wednesday, February 13, 2013 saying: [...] El's side of the story. Prepared for the fan_flashworks 'The Other Side' challenge. Het - I Am Neal [...]
ladyrose42 at 2013-02-14 03:33 (UTC) (Link)
So glad to see you back with another wonderful installment. Good to see Neal making very small baby steps.
swirlsofblue at 2013-02-14 07:50 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it wonderful :). Yeah, he's on the very long road to recovery now ;).
droodlebug at 2013-02-14 04:04 (UTC) (Link)
What a great surprise to find a new chapter to this story and it flowed seamlessly from where you left off. It is a very difficult situation the characters are in and it will be interesting to see where you take it. Thanks so much!
swirlsofblue at 2013-02-14 07:53 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, I'm so happy you thought it flowed seasmlessly from the previous chapter, it was something I spent a long time wrestling with :). Yeah, it's going to be a long haul for all of them.
teleens_journal at 2013-02-14 04:15 (UTC) (Link)
So awesome to see this fic being continued. I'll be looking forward to the next part.

Thanks for writing!
swirlsofblue at 2013-02-14 07:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, pleased you're finding it awesome :).
dreamsofspike at 2013-02-14 09:54 (UTC) (Link)
Just discovered this whole story via your post today, and it's awesome :) I'm loving it, and it's so heartbreaking to think of Neal reduced to this, but I'm glad he has a safe space, no matter how small and sad it is :( Glad Peter and El are starting to catch on to what to do, too... very excellent update and can't wait for more :)
swirlsofblue at 2013-02-14 11:13 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it awesome :).
caseyf123 at 2013-11-09 07:22 (UTC) (Link)

I Am Neal

Just came across this story. It is fantastic! So looking forward to future chapters. Nice job!
swirlsofblue at 2013-11-09 13:02 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I Am Neal

Thanks, so glad you like it :)
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