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


Brown-Bagged

By: Vanessa Sgroi

Neal Caffrey sighed and glanced at his watch for the fifth time. It was well after one o'clock, his stomach was growling, and he and Peter still had their noses buried in increasingly boring files. He was about to plead his case for a lunch break yet again when Peter abruptly stood and left the conference room without a word. Neal's gaze tracked his handler and de facto boss until the older man turned a corner. Grateful for the brief reprieve, Caffrey used the opportunity to stand and stretch, arms reaching for the ceiling. With the kinks in retreat, he slumped back into his chair, rubbing at his tired eyes and grumbling under his breath that paperwork sucked.

As silently as he left, Peter returned. At the sound of crinkling from a brown paper bag, Neal dropped his hands and opened his eyes. He studied the lunch bag suspiciously as Peter sat down and reached inside.

"Oh, no, please tell me that's not…" The suave CI wrinkled his nose in disgust.

"Yes. Yes, it is."

Neal groaned. "Peter, what is it with you and deviled ham?"

"I like it."

"I know…but why? It looks disgusting, and it stinks."

Peter unwrapped his sandwich and grinned. "That's just your overinflated sense of sophistication talking."

"No, it's just common sense talking."

"You might like it if you tried it, you know."

Neal bit his bottom lip and shook his head. "Nooo, I really don't think so."

"This coming from the man who probably thinks fois gras is the most amazing thing in the world."

"Well, yeah, but fois gras is…"

"Goose liver."

"Or duck. And when it's made into a nice mousse or parfait or even the lowest quality pate, it's rich, buttery—delicate. Goes with the most amazing wines. That—" Neal pointed at Peter's sandwich. "That's just wrong."

"Snob."

"Peter, I'm hurt. I am not a snob."

"Okay, let's just say you're an ex-con with snobbish tendencies."

Neal harrumphed and crossed his arms over his chest, dangerously close to a pout.

Peter dropped the second bag he'd been holding onto the table and nudged it in Caffrey's direction. "Here. El packed a lunch for you too."

Neal's expression brightened, and he straightened in his chair. "She did?" He reached for the bag, only to pause just before his fingers brushed the brown paper. He shot Peter a nervous look. "Wait—it's not…"

"Relax. Yours is egg salad."

The CI's grin grew to blinding levels. "Fantastic! I love Elizabeth's egg salad. She puts jalapeno-stuffed olives in it." Neal eagerly grabbed the bag and reached inside. "Hey! Chips and homemade macadamia nut cookies too!"

"Wait—what? You got chips and cookies?" Peter frowned. He peeked back into his lunch bag. "I got carrot sticks and an apple."

"Hey, the last time I was over, I did hear Elizabeth say something about a diet…"

Neal neatly ducked the carrot thrown his way; the ball of crumpled foil, however, hit him square between the eyes.

FIN