Fandom: White Collar
Characters/Pairings: Neal’s mother
Word Count: 600
Spoilers: The entire series
Beta Credit: elrhiarhodan
Warnings: Mental health issues, suicide
Summary: Every day she struggles to fix the cracks
A/N: This is in response to sinfulslasher’s prompt of “Breaking You Gently” for runthecon. I tag vexed_wench with the prompt “Fragments of my memory”.
She couldn't tell you when it began - the slow fading of self.
She was there as a child - she knows that. Dark curls bouncing, Mary Janes polished, skipping rope on the cracked pavement in front of their 5th floor walk up.
Her First Communion. Fifty of them in white dresses and dark suits, a spiritual parody of marriage. She remembers the first taste of wine, sour on her tongue.
Summers where the heat made the sidewalks shimmer, feeling the blessed relief of open hydrants drenching her with their coolness.
Sitting outside her sister's room, listening to her whisper to her friends about the cute boy on their English class. Sneaking in to try on the scandalous scarlet lipstick that her sister had bought with her babysitting money.
Maybe the cracks began at puberty - she wasn't sure. She just knew that things started to become different. She felt the slow slipping away with the budding of breasts, the flowing of blood. The confusion of sexuality. Who to love and who was forbidden. The Jewish boy down the street was fine. The red haired girl with the slanted eyes was not.
She tried to fix it, reclaim herself. The Church promised confirmation. The naming of names and the promises of the Holy Spirit. But there was no true deliverance within its incense-laden walls.
She ran from the shy smiles of the red haired girl to the kisses of the Jewish boy and it seemed like enough.
For a while there was normalcy. School and dances and the attentions of the cute Irish boy with the blue eyes and dark brown hair who wanted to be a cop.
Fumbled caresses in the dark, lost innocence in the back of a '69 Dodge Charger. Nausea and exhaustion side by side.
Her mother cried, her father shouted, but in the end there was a wedding and a cold water flat in Baltimore. And a husband who was never home.
Her balustrades cracked, the whispered voices spilling into her brain. Hormones and hell and loneliness dancing in a warped trio.
She was saved by her beautiful boy. The scent of baby powder, the sound of laughter, his milky smiles that filled the crevasses and silenced the voices that threatened to overwhelm her.
She tried to be fixed for him. Just as the people in suits tried to fix her life in this strange new city. Her beautiful boy with his new name. Every day she tried – tried to remember how to be right for him. Clothes and lunches and ‘how was your day?’. Coloring inside the lines, on paper and in her mind.
All for him.
She fought the darkness, mended her fractures with his happiness. Told him stories of heroes in blue who saved the world, over and over until they became the reality and not the fantasy.
She should have known that nothing good lasts forever.
The truth, lying broken and bloody amongst the ashes of make-believe. Her beautiful boy, his face angry and tear-stained.
The sound of the front door closing in its finality.
There were no more cracks – all that was left was the maw of blackness, the derisive laughter of the voices that surrounded her. Her beautiful boy was gone.
The pills are white, small in her hand. She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes.
“Goodbye,” she says to her beautiful boy, knowing he will never hear her.
She’s peaceful now, as time slows down to long moments between breaths. The darkness welcomes her with silence as the glass slips from her hand.