One shot dedicated to the funniest running theme on the show. Also, a Neal in need of compassion kind of makes me melt.
"Don't let El hearing you sniffling like that," Peter said, looking sideways at Neal. The latter had his face buried deep into his plum-colored Hermes scarf.
"Leave me alone, Peter," Neal growled without emerging.
"I'm just saying. If she gets wind of your cold, you'll be mother-henned like you've never been before. Seriously, chicken soup, back rubs, and an array of cold medicine that would make your head spin."
"I don't have a cold," he snarled. At the next red light Peter studied his consultant who, rebelliously refused to make eye contact as he both buried his chin and pulled his hat far down on his brow. Suddenly, Neal surfaced, frantically digging at his pocket with a look of desperation on his face.
With ease, Peter pulled a McDonald's napkin from the driver's side door. The sneeze seemed to wane as Neal turned his lip at the offering, instead procuring a large silk handkerchief from the inside of his jacket. When the sneeze resurfaced, this sanctuary was the one he chose to bury his face into.
He wiped his nose, seemingly full of self-disgust and folded the handkerchief. He held it poised as another sneeze played at his delicate features.
Peter dropped the napkin into the cup holder and pressed a few buttons on the console as he grumbled under his breath.
"Only Caffrey would insist on blowing snot into a $50 tissue."
"One hundred and fifty," Neal said congestedly, pronouncing the letter "n" like a "d." His eyes watered but the second sneeze refused to come.
"Are you kidding me?" the Taurus bucked as Peter jolted in shock.
A smile crept at Neal's lips as he smoothed out the cloth. "It's only $115 off the shelf. I got it monogrammed."
"Why would you need to blow your nose in something that costs more than my suit?"
"I think that speaks more poorly of your tastes than mine. Besides, the high thread count is gentler on the skin."
Peter seemed to relent and raised his voice when he replied, "I guess when you're sick, anything to prevent that chafing nose thing…"
The scowl returned to Neal's face. "I told you, I'm not…heh hekcheww!"
"Is that Neal?" Elizabeth's voice suddenly broke out into the car. "He sounds terrible."
The conman looked about, puzzled before noticing the blinking red light on the speaker of the Taurus' console.
With a dirty look at the detective he addressed the disembodied voice. "It's nothing Elizabeth, really. I've just got the sniffles."
His pronouncement lost credibility as he broke into a small, coughing fit.
"That sounds like more than the "sniffles" to me," she cooed. "Why don't you come by here and I'll fix up with some hot soup. What sorts of tea do you like?"
"That's really not necessary," Neal protested.
"I insist," she said forcibly. "Peter, you drive him over here right now. I'll start cooking the soup."
The line went silent and Peter wordlessly turned off the speaker phone.
"You called your wife?" Neal stared, incredulous and betrayed.
"You've gotta love the SYNC, hands-free calling feature on this car."
Peter smiled as Neal crossed his arms and leaned sullenly back into his seat.
'Stupid Taurus,' thought Neal.