A/N: Another chapter. All the usual disclaimers stand.
So it suddenly occured to me how very long it's been since I've written something completely ridiculous. And this prompt just seemed so suited for ridiculous. So... here it is. As usual, the underlined word is the prompt quote (and it's not the first one this time!). Enjoy.
Confusion & Disillusion
Peter Burke ran through the dark alleyway, his gun drawn. Just a little bit further. He was sure he only had to go a little bit further.
Just around that next corner.
"Put your hands up!" he yelled, rounding the bend quickly.
Neal blinked at him, smiling charmingly. "Hey, Peter," he said casually.
"Neal!" Quickly Peter lowered his gun. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Oh, you know." Neal shrugged, gesturing around the filthy alley. "Taking in the ambiance. The question is what are you doing here?"
"I was chasing a suspect," Peter snapped. "I am an FBI agent, Neal. It's my job."
"Oh, I know that, Peter," Neal chuckled, waving a dismissive hand. "It's all you ever do."
"Listen, Neal, I don't have time for this," Peter said, getting impatient. "I was chasing someone, he was coming in this direction; you must have seen him!"
"He's long gone by now, Peter," Neal said, glancing at his watch and frowning. "If you wanted to catch him you shouldn't have come here. I don't harbor violent criminals. You should know that."
Idly Neal poured himself a glass of wine and strolled out onto his balcony.
Peter stared after him before glancing around Neal's apartment in confusion, absently holstering his gun.
"You coming?" Neal asked, poking his head back into the room.
"Yeah," Peter muttered. "Just let me get a beer."
"I am on a tight schedule today," Neal said reprovingly, disappearing back onto the balcony and Peter followed, a beer from Neal's fridge clutched in his hand.
"How can you be on a tight schedule?" the agent snorted. "I own your time, Caffrey."
"That may be so," Neal acknowledged. "But museums don't rob themselves, you know. Lots of thieving to do. Moz and Alex are waiting. They'll get bored soon. I'll get bored soon."
"What?" Peter spluttered, choking on his beer. "You can't steal things anymore, Neal! I'd have to put you back in prison."
Neal shrugged. "I'm a thief, Peter. It's what I do. That will never change. What would I be otherwise?" Neal paused, staring calmly out at his view and sipping his wine. "I will miss this though," he remarked quietly after a minute.
"You don't have to lose it, Neal. Things can continue the way they have been," Peter said, desperate, but Neal only smiled and shook his head.
"No, Peter. My time here is already up. Much as a part of me might not want it to be."
With that the con man put his foot up on the table, and with a key from his pocket, deftly unlocked his anklet and handed it to the agent. "You can have this back now, Peter. I won't be needing it anymore."
Neal flashed him a dazzling smile and dove off of the balcony.
Horrified, Peter leaned over the edge, expecting to see a Caffrey sized splatter on the pavement.
Neal was nowhere to be seen though.
Quickly Peter spun and ran through the apartment and down the stairs. He had to get to the street.
Outside of June's house Peter froze.
This couldn't be right. He remembered this place but… it couldn't be right…
Mozzie called this place Tuesday, he remembered, because he was normally here on Wednesdays.
"See, this is why I don't normally invite suits. They're like vampires, you invite them once and they think they have unlimited access."
Peter rolled his eyes, turning to face the bald man but Mozzie was nowhere in sight. A coyote was sitting near the sand though and it stared at Peter unblinkingly.
"Mozzie?" Peter whispered, trying not alarm the coyote. "Mozzie, are you here? Neal?"
"Neal doesn't come here," the coyote said then, speaking with Mozzie's voice. "It's outside of his radius."
"Neal cut his anklet," Peter said, slowly backing away from the talking coyote.
"Cut it?" the coyote asked, tilting its head, Mozzie's voice questioning and knowing at the same time.
"Well… he had a key," Peter admitted and the coyote nodded.
"It was his time then," he said sagely.
"He's not dead!" Peter snapped, rolling his eyes.
The coyote didn't respond.
Peter shifted, starting to feel anxious. "Do you know where Neal is? I have to find him as soon as possible."
The coyote stretched lazily. "You're not asking the right questions," he said around a huge yawn.
"Then what are the right questions?" Peter demanded, exasperated, turning away from the coyote in agitation.
"Neal trusts you, hon. Why is it so hard for you to believe that he'll come back to you?" Elizabeth asked, handing Satchmo a bowl of water and patting the dog on the head.
Peter sat heavily at his kitchen table, sighing. "It's what he does in the meantime that worries me, El. If his activities are illegal I can't turn a blind eye. He's sharp, El. He gets bored so easily. The cons and heists were always about the challenges they represented. The treasures he walked away with were just a bonus."
"That's smart. Not many people would have made that connection," El remarked, sitting across from him. "If anyone can find Neal and offer him enough reason to stay it's you, Peter. You should go now though. He won't wait forever. Not even for you."
"Right," Peter sighed, getting to his feet.
He was in the alleyway again...
He had to run just a little bit further…
Just around the corner…
"Back again, I see," Neal said smoothly. "You better hurry. He went that way."
"Who?" Peter demanded, breathless, glancing quickly in the direction Neal motioned to.
"Weren't you chasing a suspect?" Neal asked. "You really should have your gun out, Peter. This guy's dangerous. You can't let him get away."
Peter nodded. "You'll be here when I get back?"
Neal smiled. "Where else am I going to go, Peter?"
Peter opened his eyes and stared up at his ceiling.
Elizabeth slept soundly beside him.
He was pretty sure he had been having a really weird dream…
He had been running… and then Neal had been there… taking in the ambiance?
He'd given Peter his anklet… and hadn't Mozzie been a talking coyote?
Peter's brow furrowed as he drifted off to sleep once more.
Just where, exactly, had that come from?
When Peter's alarm went off at six in the morning he got ready for work as usual.
He had no memory of his dream.
A/N: So... what do you think? Drop a line, let me know. Better not ask what the point is though, because I truly don't know... maybe the point is that it has no real point. [shrugs]
Again... what do you think?