Neal stretched his legs out on the low Stone wall in front of June's house, crossing his arms across his chest in an attempt to preserve warmth. It was his first day back and Peter was late. Neal hoped he hadn't forgotten he was coming back. If he did, at least Neal would have gotten a day off to rest, and it wasn't like he was in a hurry to get back, but he probably would have been blamed for Peter not picking him up and sent to jail for another week.
Only a minute after these thoughts, Peter pulled up, narrowly avoiding the wall Neal was sitting on but driving over a foot of curb. "Get in," he demanded through the open window.
Neal obeyed, pulling his seatbelt on and grabbing the side of the door as Peter practically fell back off the curb and directed them back toward the road. He had forgotten what an awful driver his partner was.
"Have a nice week?" Peter asked. Neal wasn't sure if he was being mocked or if Peter really cared.
"It was like going home again," he replied sarcastically. "I always thought putrid orange was an underrated color in fashion."
"Brings out your eyes?"
Neal gave him a confused look. "My eyes are blue."
"Well, yes, but usually when discussing fashion you say something like it's the new black, or it brings out the color in your eyes. You know…fashion."
"Fashion. That's your explanation?"
Apparently, Peter didn't deem this to be worth answering and remained silent. Neal didn't mind the reprieve. His throat didn't appreciate the wear and tear talking required, and his ability to fight the urge to sneeze required a greater deal of concentration than he had while holding a conversation.
They drove in silence, and Neal didn't even realize more than a few seconds had passed when they arrived at the FBI building. "We're here. What the hell are you doing?"
Neal was wiggling his nose around his face, trying to dislodge an annoying tickle because he wasn't sneezing in front of Peter if it was the last thing he did. "Nothing."
"You're making faces."
"No, I'm not." Neal gave his partner his patented charming grin. "Let's get to work, unless you were planning on sitting around in your car all day." His voice cracked on the last word, and Peter narrowed his eyes.
"Want to race?" Neal let himself out of the car and began walking quickly toward the building.
"Neal!" Peter grabbed his briefcase from the backseat, locked the door, and attempted to catch up to the conman. When he did, panting slightly, he clamped a hand on the younger man's shoulder and led him to the elevator. "Now I've caught you three times."
It was a joke. Neal didn't laugh. "Yeah, yeah. We know you can catch me. Who's next?"
"The él Ladrón." Peter led Neal into the office and handed him a file, which Neal began flipping idly through, though he was more focused on not coughing or sneezing than learning about the thief. "He has stolen a few paintings over the years, one sculpture, always leaves a card. He's been an open case for a few years now, but nothing serious to put that much time and man power on. Until now."
"Because he stole an original Francisco Flores," Neal supplied, having finished the file.
"That's right. The 'Stars Reflected in Water," was taken from the Met last night. It's worth almost $600 grand, and it's on loan from the Le Louvre. If we don't get it back, we're going to have some pissed off French people on our hands."
Peter, having finished his speech, stood looking out the window with his hands in his pockets, deep in thought over who could have stolen this painting. Neal took the opportunity to rub at his nose with a tissue he grabbed from the box on the counter. His nose had been running since he's gotten out of the car and into the wind, but he didn't want to risk sniffling too deeply for fear of Peter hearing.
When Peter turned back around, Neal quickly crushed the tissue in his pocket. It wasn't until Peter asked "what are you doing?" that Neal realized the glass was slightly reflective.