So sorry this took so long to update. I was having major writer's block but I'm good now. I think b/c I watched like 7 episodes of White Collar back-to-back. Hope you like this, I worked super hard.
Chapter Two: Serendipity
If there was one person on the planet who could possibly rival Neal in a contest of codex's and intellect it was Jesse. He had graduated from Colombia University with a bachelors in forensic anthropology and knew almost everything there was to know about the human anatomy and how to break it. He had an eye for art but wasn't as accomplished with painting as his boyfriend. At times Neal compared them to two sides of the same coin. When Neal was still into thievery sometimes Jesse wasn't far behind. There were two things in the world that made Neal happy, stealing things and Jesse. Together they were like the perfect drug.
When they'd first met, Jesse was still in college wrist deep in indentifying the bones of World War I soldiers. Neal was trying to get to the William Orpen oil painting from the archives of the University. It was serendipity that the two met. Jesse and Neal would never stop thanking this serendipity.
5 years ago Colombia University, New York
"Do you mind doing the skeletal reconstruction, Jesse?" Dr. Jackson asked, tipping her large glasses in her assistant's direction.
Jesse's face lit up with delight. It would be his first solo reconstruction and he was so excited he could barely contain himself.
"Uh no! Yeah, I'd love to." Jesse said with mirth.
Dr. Jackson smiled at her finest student, "Remember to catalog all of your findings. These boys deserve all the respect a person can get." She motioned to the plastic bins of bones.
Jesse nodded, "Of course Dr. Jackson."
An hour into laying out the bones Jesse got the feeling he was being watched. He glanced over his shoulder, holding the radial bone in his hand closer than needed. Jesse wasn't an adventurous or overtly brave person but he did know how to defend himself. He took a deep breath.
"It's just the wind." He said, placing the bone on the examination table.
It was weird. The building the lab was in was supposed to be a secure location. It was on the lower levels of the University and only authorized personnel, meaning students and professors, could enter without drawing suspicion. There wasn't anything Jesse cared about more than his education, that and his safety. And the safety of the bones he was working with. Jesse wasn't as much of a shut in as most people thought. His parents lived in Seattle and owned a coffee shop so he didn't get to see them much but they were proud of their only son. Jesse always wanted to help people. That was his calling. Identifying remains somehow brought him closer to people. He also fancied being a novelist but that was only a dream. A dream that wouldn't make any money. He'd either be a forensic anthropologist or a cop. Either way he'd get to help out.
A shadow in the corner of his eye brought Jesse into the present. There was a figure creeping upstairs in the antiquities department. He could see them on the balcony.
"We're being robbed!" Jesse said, accidentally dropping the bone, "Protect the bones…protect the bones!"
Jesse scooped the bones back into the bins and prayed whoever it was would just go away. He was alone in a gigantic building with a possibly unsavory character who might want to murder him. He was going to die holding an ulna without a degree. This was just perfect. Jesse was practically hyperventilating but he wasn't going to let this thief get the best of him or the University.
"Okay…" Jesse took a deep breath and shed his lab-coat, revealing the navy-blue V-neck underneath. He wasn't going to let this happen. Jesse ran his hand under the table and fingered the 'panic button'. He waited for a few minutes, gauging what was happening, and tapped the button. It was only for emergencies like chemical spills.
"It's the wind…it's a shadow…" Jesse said.
Shaking away his nerves Jesse categorized the bones as quickly as he could. He locked them away in the storage facility and practically ran out of the lab. He barely had a chance to pull on his coat when he slipped on a patch of ice and slammed right into someone. They both fell onto the cold ground, Jesse's papers scattered in the process.
"Oh God I'm sorry." Jesse gasped, dropping to his knees to get the papers. When he looked up he was met by a pair of sparkling blue eyes. Unconsciously, Jesse drew in a sharp breath.
"No my fault." The stranger said, handing Jesse some of his work.
Jesse chuckled, "Really, it's all me. Black ice doesn't help the gravitationally challenged like myself."
He smiled, showing off his perfect white teeth, "What's your name?"
"Um Jesse." The young man stammered, blushing.
The stranger extended his hand, "I'm Neal."
At the time Jesse had no idea he was getting involved with an international thief who was the one who'd just broken into the antiquities department. By the time Neal told him the truth Jesse was too in love with him to care about what he'd done or what he planned to do. He was a romantic. Being with Neal was an adventure. Once he finished school he moved in with Neal; moving in being a loose term since Neal traveled a lot. Jesse didn't mind. He got t try out his language skill and sometimes his eye for history came in handy.
Jesse was paying more attention to Draco, the new kitten he'd persuaded Neal to let him have, than to the sound of knocking at the door. He'd named the cat Draco because of its glowing green eyes. They reminded him of a dragon's emerald scales. Of course Neal then proceeded to tell him that dragons weren't real but that he'd get the cat anyway. Little Draco was a ball of black fluff with a crooked tail from being clipped by a taxi downtown. Jesse loved him all the same. He was his constant companion when Neal was out.
The knocking persisted and Jesse finally looked up. He placed Draco on the shelf above the bed. The kitten yawned and settled himself next to a bookend in a tiny ball. Jesse smiled, running his fingers through his hair. He walked over to the door and looked through the peep hole. Neal was standing there smiling at him. Jesse rolled his eyes but opened the door.
"Forget your key…again?" he asked, leaning against the doorframe.
Neal laughed a little, "Maybe. But I'm bearing gifts, does that make it better?"
"Depends," Jesse said pursing his lips, "will it be something to get you into my good graces?"
Neal pulled his hands from behind his back to reveal the bottle of wine in one hand and a rose in the other. Jesse saw there was something tied to the stem of the rose. Upon further inspection he saw it was a cartridge of ink for the printer. He'd been using it all up recently. Jesse accepted the rose and the ink with a grin.
"And what prompted this?" Jesse asked, walking over to the sofa.
Neal shut the door, "I like giving you things." He went into the kitchen to fetch two wine glasses and then joined Jesse on the couch. Jesse leaned his head in the crook of Neal's neck; automatically, Neal's arm wound around his boyfriend's shoulders.
"So did you bust any bad guys today?" Jesse asked.
Neal sighed, "A few. I got into a fight today though and I won. Thank you very much."
"You liar." Jesse said with a smile, "You're too sweet to throw any punches."
"Yes, yes I am." Neal said, "It wasn't really a street fight or anything…it was more of a physical altercation."
"Physical altercation?" Jesse said, cocking his eyebrow, "With who?"
Neal rolled up the sleeve of his light lavender dress shirt to reveal a small bruise. Jesse's eyes widened and he hugged Neal a little closer.
"I don't like people hurting you."
"It was a door." Neal chuckled.
Jesse looked perplexed, "Is that a criminal's name? Door?"
"No Jess, I walked into a revolving door."
Jesse glared at him, "You made me feel sorry for you!" he poked Neal in the side, "So the door attacked you and gave you that bruise?"
"You should see the door." Neal joked.
Jesse kissed Neal's cheek, "Want a massage? Y'know since you had such a hard day."
Neal perked up at the sound of that. Jesse's massages were the stuff of legend. Since he knew of every pressure point in the human body he was incredible at giving massages. There was a certain spot that he hit on Neal's lower back that made him make the strangest sound; it was a cross between a whimper and a moan.
"I have an idea." Jesse said as he kneaded Neal's tense shoulders.
"Hmmm." Neal groaned, enjoying all the attention.
Jesse stuck his tongue out in a frustrated expression, "My novel isn't coming along like I thought and I'm having some serious writer's block…so I was wondering if I could go on a ride along with you and Peter tomorrow."
Neal hissed when Jesse hit an extra sensitive spot, "It's dangerous Jess and ohmyGod right there…"
Jesse smiled and obliged, "I can defend myself Neal and I think it would be fun. Don't be grumpy."
"I'm not!" Neal said, "I just…don't think Peter will agree."
Jesse grinned impishly, "I'm sure we can convince him otherwise."
That's it for now. Next chapter will be more interesting. I really hope you guys think Jesse is a good character, it took me forever to make him! Please review, I love it more than Neal loves Jesse... and pretty paintings.