Beautiful Lie

Peter Burke was sitting in his office staring at a fax with blood shot eyes. He had been called in at a very early hour, long before dawn had ever broken over the horizon. His eyes had not been focused on the paper for at least an hour now. Everything he saw was nothing more than an incomprehensible blur.

Thoughts whirled around in his brain as he gently laid the paper down. Everything was pointing towards the fact that this day was going to be a bad one. The man's toe still stung from where he had jarred it against his bed while getting dressed. That had ruined his attempt to get out of his house without waking Elizabeth up. Waking up went a whole lot smoother once he was dressed and his beautiful wife had given him a warm cup of coffee. However, while getting into his car, he had slammed his head against the door. So far his brain had still not shaken the headache.

Of course, there was still Neal to deal with. As soon as he found out…Peter tried to push the thought of the man's reaction out of his head. He was just starting to get over Kate's death and now here was another stick in the mud to his 'recovery'.

Peter knew what he was going to have to do. He had to hide it from Caffrey. He needed to set up a side team to deal with everything and the man wouldn't be the wiser. It was the only way, but the agent knew that his consultant would eventually figure it out. Neal seemed to know when Peter was sneaking around behind his back. No matter how hard he tried to keep anything a secret, anything the former con artist wanted to know, he found out.

A door opened down below and Peter was snapped out of his thoughts. Speaking of the devil, he thought. As if on a perfect cue, the door to his office opened wide. But, the face that appeared was not the one he expected. Breathing a sigh of relief, the agent rushed forward to meet Diana.

"You're early," the woman commented.

"Yeah," his eyes flicked to the papers out in the open on his desk, "I had some work to take care of,"

Diana looked at her mentor suspiciously. Peter wasn't always the class clown of the bureau but neither was he the 'rain on your parade' type either. "It must be some kind of work to have you this riled up," she replied.

The man stared her down for a few seconds before relenting. Checking the door that led into the office, he went back to his desk. Peering over the papers once more, Diana joined him looking through the pictures spread out across the table. Peter passed her the fax and he watched her eyes move back and forth across the paper as she read it. When finished she too had a look of worry on her face. Her eyes met with her mentor's and the agent knew that she agreed with him.

"This could be bad," she said, looking back down at the pictures, "How do you think Neal will take it?"

"How do you think I'll take what?"

Both of the agents' heads shot up at the sound of the familiar and also unwanted voice. For a moment, the both of them were both silent. Neal Caffrey stared at them with suspicious eyes. His trademark hat was held gently in his hands almost as bold as the man himself. Peter felt his brain reeling as he tried to cover his error. How had he not heard the man come in? Inside he knew that Neal would always have the same sneaky and silent walk. No one would hear him come in, especially if he didn't want them to.

Coughing, Peter looked up at his partner with a forced smile. "After all this time and you still can't knock?"

The consultant chucked weakly, smiling. "You know me Peter, I'm that little kid who thinks everybody's business is his," Neal said suggestively. He looked at the agents as he moved closer. He didn't like how this was going.

Peter snorted at this comment and rolled his eyes. "Well since you just have to know," he started moving the papers on his desk around. With a sneakiness that even Neal would have appreciated, he slipped each one he didn't want Caffrey to see back into its folder. Just as cunningly, Diana caught on and passed him the warrant she had received on their current case.

"Here it is," he cried out, holding out the warrant for Neal to see.

"We didn't know how you would take to finally being able to catch this guy," Diana told him as he started to look over the paper.

There was a long pause and tension started to fill the air. Finally Neal chuckled and looked up at Peter.

"Well then, let's go catch a failing art thief," Neal said, flipping his hat and following it with his dazzling smile.

The agents both smiled back, but as they left, Neal flashed an interested look at the folder still lying on the desk. Whatever Peter and Diana had really been looking at was in there. He was sure that the agents were lying to him and he felt his heart wrench painfully in his chest. Peter had promised no more secrets and no more lies.

Turning away he followed the two, hoping they hadn't already noticed he was lagging. He didn't want to let on that he didn't believe them. If Peter realized that he had noticed his sneaky hand movements in the office, then he would be even more vigilant of his watch over the folder. Neal didn't like the thought of sneaking into his partner's office again, but he had broken his promise. Anyway, his curiosity had been sparked. He had to know what was in the folder or it would kill him.