Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to White Collar. I'm just taking the characters out for a little spin and some fun.


But, I Don't Get Sick

By: Vanessa Sgroi

Neal sneezed. A rather sedate sneeze truth be told, and being a gentleman, calmly took out a handkerchief—not a pedestrian tissue—and wiped his nose.

"Okay, Caffrey," Peter Burke muttered from across his desk, pulling the edge of his suit jacket across the bottom half of his face reminiscent of Dracula with his cloak, "you can just stay away from me."

Neal looked up and blinked innocently. "What? Why?"

"'Cause you're coming down with something, that's why."

"I am not 'coming down with something'. I never get sick. That was just a sneeze."

"Uh huh."

"It was. Probably from all these dusty old files we're staring at."

"Sure. Keep telling yourself that. Just don't give whatever plague you've got to me."

"You want me to leave? I can take these files with me and go out there and sit." Neal tipped his chin toward the area outside Peter's office.

"No. You'll just infect the rest of the team."

"I'm not sick."

"Right. I've got a sixth sense about these things, you know."

As the day wore on, Neal's handkerchief spent more time in his hand than in his pocket as his sneezing fits began to reach epic levels. Soon he was forced to abandon the handkerchief and become acquainted with the big box of tissues Peter plunked down in front of him.

Neal coughed. An unsubstantial clearing of his throat. At first. The coughing turned rather quickly to an uncomfortable hacking. Neal glanced surreptitiously at Peter before rubbing at his throat.

Two seconds later, Peter suddenly stood and announced, "All right. Let's go."

"Go? Go where?" Neal's voice was no more than a croak.

"Yes, go. I'm taking you home."

Neal glanced at this watch. "But…"

"But nothing. The work will still be here tomorrow."

Peter led the way out of the office and down to the car. Neal followed at a much slower pace, feeling lethargic and weighted down. He sank into the passenger seat with a grateful sigh, only to have it turn into a cough. He sniffled, laid his head against the headrest, and closed his eyes against the relentless throbbing in his head. "You were right," he rasped.

"What?"

"I guess I am coming down with something."

Peter glanced at Neal as he pulled out onto the street. The younger man looked miserable and forlorn. "See. Never doubt the Peter Burke sixth sense." Pulling up to a red light, Peter dialed his wife's number. "Hi, El. Do we still have some of your incredible chicken soup in the freezer?"

"Yeah, there are several containers, I think. Why?" queried Elizabeth.

"Neal's sick."

"Aww. Tell him I hope he feels better. Go ahead and take what's there. I can always make more."

Peter said his goodbyes and hung up. "We're stopping at my place first then I'll take you home. Elizabeth's chicken soup should fix you right up."

Neal agreed in a gravelly mumble from the depths of his woebegone slouch.

At the next light, Peter sneezed.

FIN