Consultant is a Noun, not a Verb

Disclaimer: White Collar belongs to Jeff Eastin and USA network.

A/N: So, as usual, this was a random idea that crept unsolicited into my brain and I thought it was interesting. This happens after "Point Blank" but also refers to Peter and Neal's discussion in "Company Man" about justice and revenge. It got me thinking, and somehow my brain came up with this, not the usual Peter & Neal banter. I'm interested in seeing how Peter handles Neal's betrayal and I'm NOT happy I have to wait until January…even Christmas is closer! Anyway, I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Chapter 1

Neal sat in the waiting room at the hospital that Mozzie had been brought to; grateful that some bystanders had actually bothered to call 911. His friend was still alive, but it was touch and go. The events of the last several days were replaying in his head, and he was wondering how he could have done things differently; how he could have prevented Mozzie from getting shot.

"Neal, let's go!"

Neal looked up to see Peter standing there with a really annoyed look on his face.

"I want to stay. I need to stay…it's…it's Mozzie."

"There's nothing you can do right now Neal, I've posted a guard at his room door. I'm hoping he's safe for now. You and I need to talk; the rules have changed."

Neal had been afraid this would happen. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that Peter was furious with him, but he was afraid it might even be worse than he thought. Neither Peter or Neal spoke on the way to the FBI offices; Peter was far too angry to say anything remotely professional, and Neal was far too involved in thinking what Peter might have in store for him. He wasn't coming up with anything positive, and feared that Peter might actually have him sent back to jail and tell them to throw away the key; even worse Neal realized he actually deserved it.


Neal sat uncomfortably in his normal chair in Peter's office. Peter was typing something on his computer and had told Neal to sit down and shut up until he was ready to speak. He finally turned his attention to Neal, who could see a look of anger mixed with betrayal in Peter's eyes.

"Let's get a few things clear here, shall we?"

Neal didn't bother to respond. He was sure Peter meant it as a rhetorical question and wasn't expecting an answer.

"Our agreement states that you are released into my custody to be a consultant for the FBI."

"I thought we were partners, Peter."

"That would be an incorrect assumption."

"You are a consultant, also known as a CI or criminal informant. I've even looked up the definition of consultant for you."

Peter turned his computer screen so that Neal could look as well.

"Consultant. Noun. A person who gives professional or expert advice. Consultant is a noun - NOT a verb. A consultant's job is to give advice…no lying, no evading, no action sequences. Do I make myself clear?"

"I'm not sure if that was a rhetorical question or not."

"Let me start somewhere simple so that you can understand…how much high school did you actually have?"

Peter knew that was a low blow, and wasn't surprised that Neal didn't respond. His face was actually showing regret, but Peter didn't really care.

"You are a consultant…a CI; a criminal informant. Informant is a noun and criminal is an adjective that describes the noun. You are the noun. A noun can also be a subject of a sentence. The criminal informant betrayed the FBI Agent. In this sentence informant is the subject/noun, and criminal is the adjective describing the noun; betrayed is the verb within the predicate which implies the action taken by the noun or you."

Peter clicked with his mouse to bring up another webpage.

"The definition of betray is 'to deceive, misguide, corrupt…to disappoint…"

Peter gave Neal a decidedly angry look, and Neal simply pulled his fedora lower hoping like a little child that if they couldn't see someone it meant the other person couldn't see you either. Unfortunately for Neal that wasn't the case and Peter angrily continued.

"The FBI Agent is also a noun that describes who or what the verb is referring to…also known as the object of the sentence. The FBI Agent in this sentence would be me."

Peter paused to look at Neal to see if he was even bothering to listen, but it was difficult to tell, the fedora was still pulled low.

"The only verb you ever need to be concerned with is 'advise' or any of its other conjugations. No other verbs regarding negative actions are to be used in conjunction with the nouns consultant or informant. Let me use it in a sentence for you. The criminal informant advises the FBI Agent on cases of record. The subject is informant and the verb is advises in the present tense. The question becomes 'Who does the criminal informant advise?' The answer would be the FBI Agent. Next question… 'What does the criminal informant advise on?'…Answer: the prepositional phrases 'on cases' and 'of record.' Nothing more, nothing less. This is the only function of the criminal informant unless specified by the FBI Agent. Understand?

Peter looked up to make sure Neal understood. Neal nodded grudgingly.

"Do you remember our discussion on justice and revenge?"


"There is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. I trusted you to save Kent because it was the right thing to do; letting him die would have been revenge…not justice because you had a chance to save him. I want you to remember this: justice is a noun, and revenge is a verb."

"Yeah, and it's a bad verb and not a good verb."

Peter knew Neal was being sarcastic, but at least he had gotten the point.

"Do I make myself clear?"


"Now, because of your shenanigans, I am going to enforce some new rules. I will not be asking for your opinion or advice on them. I'm sorry it has come to this, but you give me no choice."

"If you're sorry, am I allowed to be sorry?"

"Do you even know what you are sorry for?"

"Would it give me any brownie points?"

"Neal, I don't think you even begin to understand the gravity of the situation here. I have made a list of some of the things that you've done just this past week. These cannot be ignored or swept under the rug as 'past crimes.' Neal, you have proved that this is who you are, and you are not interested in changing."

"Ask Elizabeth, Peter. She can tell you I have changed."

"You are to leave my wife out of this. Now, would you care to guess what I have listed on my computer screen of the incidents that have occurred this week?"

"Does it really matter? Would I be in any less trouble?"

"If you truly want to change, the first step is admitting you are wrong and coming to terms with what you did. I'm not sure you're ready to do that. Your credibility with me has been destroyed…I thought I could trust you and I was wrong. I'm not sure if or when it can be rebuilt. Rome wasn't built in a day."

Peter paused, a slow smile coming onto his face.

"Here's an idea. I think we are going to play a game. You say you are sorry, and want to change…maybe this will help. To show that I'm not completely heartless for every answer you get right you will get one brownie point. If you get to 5 brownie points I will invite you over for dinner with myself and Elizabeth."

Neal looked up and adjusted his fedora so that he could directly look at Peter.

"That's not much of a prize."

"You were the one interested in brownie points. Now…You are to tell me the things you have done wrong in the last couple of days, and identify the subject, verb and object. Are you ready to begin?"

"Could you give me a hint?"

"Don't play dumb Neal. You told me you want to change. Here's your chance."

"What about confessed? That's a verb. Doesn't that mean I'm not allowed to confess?"

"We are talking about verbs that describe what you have done wrong. 'Confess' would be a verb that would describe you doing something right and is always encouraged."


Neal dropped his head and mumbled.

"I'm sorry Neal, I couldn't hear you. Would you please repeat that?"

"I said I might have borrowed a gun."

"I think stole would be a more operative term. You had it in your hand, we know where it came from and you didn't buy it. I know this is difficult for you but please continue. What's the subject, verb and object?"

"'I' is the subject or noun, 'borrowed' is the verb, and the object is 'gun.'"

"What is the only verb a criminal informant needs to be concerned with while on the job?"

"Advised, Advises, will be Advising."

"Past, Present and Future; very impressive. So, no more borrowing or stealing. One brownie point for you. List the next infraction."

"I unlocked my anklet."

"Good. Describe."

"'I' is the subject…'unlocked' is the verb…'anklet' is the object."

"Is 'unlocked' the approved positive verb for a criminal consultant?"


"Excellent…no more unlocking. Two brownie points. Continue."

"I disobeyed a direct order from you… 'I' is the subject…'disobeyed' is the verb… 'direct order' is the object. No, disobeyed is not the same as advised."

"See, you're a quick learner. You are up to three brownie points…anything else?"

"I fired the gun at Fowler because I wanted to kill him?"

"A longer sentence, but ok. Break it down."

" 'I' is the subject, 'fired' is the verb, object is 'gun'…What's Fowler again? Is there an English term for scumbag?"

"The phrase 'at Fowler,' would be a preposition phrase describing who you fired the gun at. 'because I wanted to kill him' is also a preposition phrase describing why the gun was fired, although it could be broken down farther…but you get the point. Keep going…you only need one more."

Neal was trying to determine if he should say anymore. He wanted to have dinner with Peter and Elizabeth, but was afraid that the new rules might include going back to prison, so he didn't really want to pass up the opportunity. On the other hand, he knew that the things he had just confessed to Peter he already knew, and he wasn't so sure about this one, although he thought Peter suspected.

"I may have misappropriated FBI resources."

"Yeah, I was pretty sure that was you. Did you fake the silver cat burglar file?"

" 'I' is the subject, 'misappropriated' is the verb, and 'FBI resources' is the object."

"Impressive. Five brownie points. We will have you over for dinner, time permitting."

"I win, so now what."

"Now you are well on your way to becoming a useful contributing member of society…but still a criminal informant with five brownie points."

"You're still mad?"

"I told you, the rules have changed. Just because you admit something doesn't make it go away, there are still consequences."

"After all this you're still sending me back to jail?"

"I didn't say that. From now on and for an undetermined period of time - set by me - these are the following conditions which are non-negotiable.

1) You are under house arrest. You will stay in your apartment and work on cases delivered by me. The work you have completed with be picked up by me in the evening. You will not come into the FBI offices unless you are specifically requested, and I will pick you up to prevent any detours. Any groceries or dried goods will need to be delivered or requested through June or myself.

2) You will refer to me as "Agent Burke" or "Sir" and you will respond to "Caffrey." We are no longer on a first name basis.

3) Your cell phone will be tapped and all calls will be monitored. You are not to call my wife under any circumstances for any type of favor unless specifically approved by me. I will set the time for dinner, and I will pick you up. You do not get to choose the menu.

4) You will be allowed to visit Mozzie once per week as my schedule permits. You are not allowed to visit him unsupervised.

"You can't be serious, Peter."

"Any violation of these rules will require one week in jail, for the purposes of showing you I am serious about this situation. You disobeyed a direct order, interfered in an FBI investigation and nearly killed a man. I'm very serious Caffrey. This will continue for an undetermined period of time until I think you actually have learned your lesson. Undercover operations will be discussed and possibilities may arise that will warrant your assistance beyond just advice."

Peter stood up and motioned to the door.

"Any questions?"