Fandom: White Collar
Word Count: 369
Beta Credit: elrhiarhodan
Summary: What’s in a name?
A/N: For Caffrey-Burke Day. This was inspired by a prompt from the lovely elrhiarhodan: “Names I Have Been Called.” The title comes from the song “Like A Prayer” by Madonna.
When Peter was three, his grandfather sat him on his knee and called him “Tiger.” They watched the Yankees play the Red Sox and Peter got to drink a whole bottle of root beer by himself.
When Neal was three, his dad gave him a police hat and called him, “my little man.” Then he turned four and his father went away. They moved and his mother and Ellen started calling him “Danny.”
When Peter was nine, he hit the home run that won the game for the Cooperstown Eagles, and for a whole month, everyone at school called him “Slugger.”
When Neal was nine, he hustled Fat Jimmy out of three hundred bucks down at the local pool hall. The names Jimmy called him as he ran down the street were not repeatable in proper company.
When Peter was eighteen, his senior class called him “Valedictorian” and he gave the commencement speech during his graduation.
When Neal was eighteen, he was called Danny, then Neal, as he ran towards New York City, trying to escape the lies his mother told him and the truths that tore apart his heart.
When Peter was twenty-five, he was called “Probie” then “The Archeologist,” and “Big Bad Peter Burke.” He discovered a love of justice and honor and knew that he could make a difference.
When Neal was twenty-five, he was called “talented” by the strange little man that “needed an upgrade.” “Nick Halden” made an appearance, as did “Steve Tabernacle,” “Gary Rydell,” and “George Devore.” Then came an unexpected meeting and a green sucker and the chase was on.
When Peter was thirty-three, an art theft at the Diarmett Galleries and a pretty brunette assistant manager who called him “Agent Burke” and held up a sign that read ‘I ♥ Italian” changed his life.
When Neal was thirty-three, an anklet, a thrift store, a rooftop, a man who called him “my consultant” and held up an ID badge changed his life.
Over the years, they called each other many names, but it wasn’t the words that were said, but the meanings underneath that counted.
Partner - I trust you…
Friend - I like you…
Lover - I adore you…