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13 November 2009 @ 03:43 am
'An Allocation of Regret' (01/01)  
Lord, this is like Iron Man all over again, with me wrting fic I never planned to. This story is for strangevisitor7 who gently prodded me to write it. And I insisted I couldn't. Yeah, well.... Famous last words and all that.

Fandom: White Collar/Magnificent Seven ATF AU
Notes: A little M7 background - yes, it is a western, but there's a strong tradition of modern day AUs in the fandom. Usually the guys are ATF agents, or sometimes P.I.s or FBI. In this case, I've decided to go with Mog's ATF AU, or my take on it, at least. So yes, I finally did it, I wrote ATF fic!
This is a sequel to 'Straight and Narrow', same evening in fact.
Summary: Neal and Ezra deal with the past.



An Allocation of Regret

They were back at June’s after a companionable dinner at Sal’s, sitting in deep leather armchairs in front of the fireplace, sipping Napoleon brandy from cut crystal snifters. The two cousins had caught up on each others' lives, the conversation light, touching mostly on generalities; nothing too serious. Nothing that had the ability to scale the emotional walls both men kept around themselves as unconsciously as breathing. But it was what they hadn’t spoken of that was sitting squarely between them now.

Neal looked down into the amber depths of his brandy, absently swirling the liquid around the glass. Sighing, he looked over at Ezra, who seemed hypnotized by the flames in the hearth. “I’m sorry, Ezra.”

Ezra looked over at him sharply. “And pray tell, for what exactly are you apologizing?”

“You’re an ATF agent now.”

“Thank you for pointing out the obvious, Neal, but my current employment is not something for which I am sorry.”

“I know that.” He ran his hand through his hair in frustration. This wasn’t going the way he’d planned. He was supposed to be an expert; smooth talking for a living. “Damn it, Ezra, you loved your job with the FBI, you were the best. It was my fault, wasn’t it, what happened?”

Something flashed in Ezra’s green eyes, before being carefully and completely smoothed away. “I never said anything happened,” he countered blandly.

“It was what you didn’t say. Come on, Ezra, there’s a lot of people you can get away with lying to, but I’m not one of them. You taught me better than that.”

The other man smirked. “And dammed annoying it is too.” Sighing, he leaned over, elbows on his knees, brandy snifter clasped between his hands. “It wasn’t your fault, Neal. The die had been cast months before; our connection just gave the bastards the final nail for my proverbial coffin.”

Neal gripped the glass in his hand, not sure if he wanted to know the answer to his next question. “Did Peter have anything to do with trashing your career?”

“Agent Burke?” Neal nodded, and Ezra straightened, looking at him in surprise. “Now isn’t that something?” Chuckling at Neal’s expression of confusion, he added, “You trust him, and you’re halfway to thinking of him as a friend.”

Neal began to protest. Trust? Ezra was crazy! Neal Caffrey didn’t trust anyone, especially not the FBI agent who had put him away. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement; that was all. It was! He stared at his cousin, not liking the smug, know it all look in his eyes one bit. “That’s stupid,” was the only brilliant thing he could think to say.

“No, my dear young cousin, not stupid at all.” Shifting in his chair, he pinned Neal with his gaze. “You can let people into your life, rely on them, belong. It is a singular feeling, the bonds of friendship and acceptance. Do not deny yourself that now you’ve been given a second chance.”

Snorting in disbelief, Neal threw back the rest his brandy, placing the empty glass on the table between them. “You, Maude Standish’s son, are telling me to trust?”

“Yes, I am, Neal. And for the record, Agent Burke had nothing to do with what happened. We spoke during his pursuit of you, and he was completely satisfied that I had no knowledge of your criminal activities or whereabouts. But it was enough to give those that wished me ill the ammunition they required. Peter Burke is a good agent, a good man. And I warrant he’d be damn fine friend – if you’d only let him be.”

Neal nodded, having a hard time finding his voice. Finally he said, “I’m still sorry, Ezra. If I could change it all, I would. You didn’t deserve what happened to you, and I regret my part in it.”

“I know you do, Neal. But you know what? I’m not sorry. I wouldn’t trade the life I have now for anything. So in a way, you did me a favour.”

“They mean that much to you, the men you work with?”

“They do. You see, Neal, I allowed myself to trust, and the rest, well, it fell into place.”

“The rest?” Neal’s face brightened. “Who is she?” he demanded.

Ezra just smiled, raising a brow. “Let’s just say she’s someone with whom I’m exploring the possibilities, and leave at that for now, shall we?”

“Okay, as long as I get to meet her one day.” He flashed his cousin a saucy grin.

“I promise.”

A comfortable silence fell, both men deep in their own thoughts. Finally Neal spoke, breaking the spell, “I’ll think about what you said.”

“I know you will, Neal, you’re a clever young man,” Ezra replied. “And I have every confidence that you will take this second chance you’ve been offered and turn it into a winning hand.”

Neal picked up the bottle of brandy from the side table, refilling his glass and raising it. “To the good life, Ezra.”

“The good life,” Ezra returned his cousin’s toast, “and endless possibility.”


“Yes, Neal?”

“Second chances come with champagne, Mediterranean villas, and Italian sports cars, right?”


Black Rook: Ezragrachonok on November 13th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
Don't have a clue about White Collar characters, but love Ezra here:).
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra ATFithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
Happy to hear it!
mystdogsmystdogs on November 13th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Ah love it! These two are just so good together! I hope you continue this crossover series;)
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra ATFithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
Well I never thought I'd write a second one, so anything is possible :) Glad you enjoyed it!
sarahwinks7985 on November 13th, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)
LOVE this!

Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra Modern Dayithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
I will call her George: Mag 7 - Ezra (4)strangevisitor7 on November 13th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
I love you!!! that was perfect. Ezra makes a very good "big Brother" The use of Neal criminal background tied into Ezra's disgrace at the FBI just makes so much sense - Loved it!!!

and now I have to go to work thanks for this *hugs*
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra Modern Dayithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
Hee! Glad it was all you hoped for :)
tygermama: Mag7 - Chris and Ezratygermama on November 13th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
This was wonderful!
Ith: AS Misc - Steve Smile MIOBIithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Carrie: Sparrow Glassessparrowsverse on November 13th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)

“Yes, Neal?”

“Second chances come with champagne, Mediterranean villas, and Italian sports cars, right?”
- *giggles* Love this bit!

I love this whole fic! Just finished watched ep. 02 of White Collar and I'm definately seeing the similarities of Ezra and Neal = cousins here.

I hope you continue this! :D
Ith: AS Misc -  B&W MIOBIithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
I hadn't planned on a second one, but now.... I'm thinking I can fold this into my non immortal ATF AU when the time comes [g]

Glad you enjoyed it!
donutsweeperdonutsweeper on November 13th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
I love that Neal immediately asked about Peter. And that he refuted friending him!
Ith: Media - White Collarithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
Neal doesn't realize he's already screwed when it comes to having a friend [g]
Malpreachersgal on November 13th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
'An Allocation of Regret'
That was awesome!!! I love how you have woven Ezra and Neal's lives together. Great ending line!!! More please???? Hee, hee!
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra ATFithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
Re: 'An Allocation of Regret'
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it!
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on November 14th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
Loved that last line of Neal's.
Ith: Media - White Collarithildyn on November 14th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
Thought ending it on a lighter note worked :)
caitymomcaitymom on November 14th, 2009 01:31 am (UTC)
This fic and "Straight & Narrow" are awesome! :o)
From the first episode of "White Collar" I wished someone
would write a crossover with ATF Ezra. Neal and Ezra just
had to meet amd you make it a thousand times better by
making them cousins! Thanks so much for writing this and making my wish come true.
*hugs you*
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra Modern Dayithildyn on November 14th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Does this make me your fic fairy godmother?

Glad you liked it :)
(no subject) - caitymom on November 14th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
Indigo Catindigocat on November 14th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
I love this crossover. Though I must admit that when I first saw Neal, I thought of him being more of a cousin of NCIS' Tony.
Ith: Media - White Collarithildyn on November 14th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
I'm pleased you enjoyed it :)
tpena19tpena19 on November 15th, 2009 07:04 am (UTC)
This was fun and yet full of good plot. You are creating a very tight little AU here, me likes. And that last line? cracked me up.
Ithithildyn on November 16th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it!
romanse1: Stungromanse1 on November 24th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
YEAH!!! That was a wonderful continuation and I'm sooo glad that you were talked into writing it! I can't believe how much I enjoy this crossover and I've still only seen one episode of the other show! I REALLY hope you write more!
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra ATFithildyn on November 24th, 2009 08:21 am (UTC)
Very glad you liked it! I really enjoyed writing it :)
lucre_noin: 05lucre_noin on June 26th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, Ezra <3!
I really hope Neal'll meet the other six : D
Ith: Mag 7 - Ezra Gamblerithildyn on June 26th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
It's a good possibility :)
Ferryboat GeorgeFerryboat George on November 16th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Delightful story
I'm still loving this crossover, and hope you write lots more :) The tie in with Ezra's FBI background and Neal was perfect.