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21 August 2011 @ 07:57 pm
White Collar Fic: Stars and Stripes Folded  
Written for whitecollar100 Challenge #059 – Stars

Title: Stars and Stripes Folded
Pairing/Characters: Neal, OCs
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 300
Spoilers: What Happens in Burma
Summary: Little Neal wants to remember but his mother doesn't
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Neal doesn't remember a funeral. But he does remember the flag.

His mother kept it folded in its triangular case, tucked away at the top of her closet next to an old pair of winter boots and a stack of little used cookbooks. Little Neal could only see it if he went on his tiptoes. He'd ask her to take it down, let him see it, but she'd always say no.

When he hit seven he felt brazen enough to try to reach it while standing on a chair. He got scolded heartily as his mother bandaged his sprained wrist. She docked his allowance for the broken chair leg. It took almost a year to pay it off, but neither of them spoke about it the whole time.

After that the flag was moved. He searched the house, but couldn't find where she'd hidden it. He found a lot of things, a stash of men's magazines his father apparently hid well enough no one had found them before as well as his Christmas presents two months early. Just not the flag.

Neal didn't see it again until he was eleven. They had a neighborhood yard sale: over a dozen families putting out their worn wares for sale to the masses. Too young to run the cashbox, Neal just puttered about, trying to talk people into sales. During a lull he looked over to the money table and saw the old couple from down the street walk away with the flag.

She'd sold it for five dollars.

Neal stole it back.

By then he was pretty sure that as a cop his dad wasn't worthy of the flag they'd lain over his casket, but that didn't mean a little boy didn't want a piece of his father to remember him by.

ladygray99: WC100ladygray99 on August 24th, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
Sorry I'm a little late getting back. Just wanted to say I really loved this. I can't help wondering if that was the first thing Neal stole. (though I do wonder about what kind of people would buy a memorial flag) And thank you for the great prompt use and supporting the com.
vexed_wench on July 4th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
Oh I just loved this. You broke my heart in a 100 words.