Summary: Peter's promised Neal a million and a half times (or at least once per episode) that if he slips up he'll end up right back in prison. In this little AU, he did. And now that he's out, how can he ever trust Peter, or anyone else on their FBI squad, again? sick!Neal fic
Disclaimer: I don't own White Collar. If I did, the season finale wouldn't have been so depressing.
Spoilers: This is definitely set before the finale, so nothing major. I may or may not mention the music box, but it won't be important
"Welcome back Neal," Mozzie greeted his friend solemnly as he unlocked the door to his suite. "How was jail?
"How did you get in my house?" Neal asked irritably in lieu of answering.
Mozzie feigned insult. "How did I get into your house? It hurts, Neal, that would question my ability to execute something as simple as sneaking into a place in which I have been on so many occasions that I know all the entrances and exits as well as the contractor that built this impressive establishment."
Neal dropped his jacket on the back of a chair and wondered over to the fridge. "June let you in?"
"She's a lovely person," Mozzie confirmed.
Neal came back to the table with two beers, handed one to Mozzie, and sat down at the table beside him.
"You don't like beer," Mozzie reminded him.
"I don't like a lot of things a hell of a lot worse than I don't like beer," was the cryptic reply as Neal popped open the can and took a long sip. Mozzie followed suit, and they drank in silence for a few minutes.
"So how was jail?" Mozzie repeated.
Neal still wouldn't answer. "They had a guard check in on me every hour to make sure I wouldn't escape again. They didn't seem to grasp the concept of lowered voices and not shining flashlights in people's faces at three in the morning. I think I got three hours of sleep the whole week. "
"Too dumb to be cops, too smart to be FBI."
Neal chuckled. "I'll drink to that," he replied, drowning the rest of his beer. When he finished, he stared blankly at the empty can for a minute, blinking and breathing in starts, before looking back up at his companion. "I'm sorry" he said to Mozzie before folding his hands over his face and turning away from the table to sneeze loudly. He lowered his hands and shook his head to clear it.
Mozzie winced. "And now I have what you have."
Neal shrugged. "I didn't tell you to come."
This fact Mozzie, of course, ignored. "What do you have?"
"Must've caught a cold," Neal answered. "Happens to even the best of us."
"You got sick in jail? Can you sue the suit for medical damages?"
"No. Peter doesn't even need to know." Neal crunched up his can, leaned back in his chair, and executed a perfect three-pointer into the recycling. "Besides, it's barely even a cold. I'm not really sick."
Mozzie raised his eyebrows when Neal sneezed a second time and groaned in frustration. "What happened to 'happens to the best of us'?
"Some things you really just want to keep between you and your friends. The whole world doesn't need to know every detail about everybody. I didn't do anything wrong, so I'm entitled to a couple secrets."
"But you don't have any secrets from me, right?" Mozzie demanded.
"Of course not." Neal swallowed a cough and got up to get a glass of water. "You're about as good a friend as they come," he added.
Mozzie gave a satisfied smile.