This is a work of fanfiction, for entertainment purposes only. The characters and concepts of White Collar do not belong to me, but to their creators, and I appreciate the loan.
Author's Notes: Sure, there's an apparently inviolable ankle bracelet to contend with, but it still seems like a pretty big leap of faith for Peter to jet off for the Caribbean so soon after beginning such an unlikely partnership. What does Neal think about it?
Where Else Am I Gonna Go?
It had taken a while, but he'd finally set aside the photograph. There were no answers to be found there, anyway. Questions? Sure. And unspeakable temptation? Absolutely. But no answers. Better to simply read the paper and enjoy the view, which is exactly what he was doing when June joined him on the balcony.
"Good morning, Neal."
Caffrey glanced around the page with a smile. "Morning." He poured coffee into a second cup and pushed it toward her.
"I heard Peter come in earlier; I didn't know whether to expect you for breakfast or not."
His smile widened as he folded the paper and placed it on the tabletop. "I wasn't too sure about that myself." He passed over his newly acquired federal identification. "But we got it worked out."
June examined the wallet appreciatively. "And they used a nice photo, too. Just like a real agent."
"Peter called me a consultant," Neal clarified, "but it's better than having a mug shot hanging on the post office wall. At least for now," he added as he lifted his own cup to his lips.
Caffrey raised his eyebrows quizzically.
"I talked with Mozzie a while," June explained. "Contrary to what you may think, I don't leave just anybody unattended in my home. I asked him to explain himself."
"Oh, of course." Neal blushed just slightly. "Well, thanks for deciding he was okay." He met her eyes. "And if I haven't said it yet, thanks for helping me out."
"You have said it, and you're welcome again. But don't change the subject. Are you thinking of going off to look for Kate?"
Leaning back slightly, Caffrey shook his head. "I don't think so," he answered slowly, "not right now, anyway. I don't have enough information yet. And, anyway . . ."
"Anyway, what?" June prompted, when the silence stretched for a few seconds.
"I don't know," Neal said with a shrug. "I guess the timing just isn't right."
There was another moment of silence as June chose a slice of toast from the waiting basket, then spread jam onto the bread. Finally, she picked up the conversation. "Was it as hard as you thought it might be? Working with him, I mean?"
Neal considered that for a few seconds, then gave his head a single shake. "Not too bad. Kind of strange, isn't it? Not that there weren't some challenges," he added hastily, "but I did think it might've been worse." He smiled again. "There are times I don't mind being wrong."
"Byron used to always say there were bad people on both sides of the law, but that there were good ones on both sides, too." June smiled knowingly. "You think he'll help you find Kate, don't you?"
"I don't know," Caffrey said honestly. "He shot me down the last time I mentioned it."
"But you'll try again?"
Neal laughed. "Of course. But in meantime . . . the guy deserves a vacation."