Another little oneshot. Not much longer now until the new season! Let me know what you think :)
"You're only here to look around," Peter said as he led Neal into the private museum. "They think something might have been replaced overnight, but they aren't sure. You're only here to find the fake." Neal reached out to grab the next set of doors and Peter grabbed his hand back. "Don't touch anything."
"You're getting paranoid in your old age Peter," Neal said with a lopsided grin.
"Its not the paranoia talking, its my common sense. Don't make me follow you around here. I want to talk to the curator."
"Did you tell them I'm coming?"
"And did they know who I was?"
"Then they've already got someone following me around, I can tell you that now." Peter glared at Neal and he held up his hands. "I'm not stupid Peter. If anything goes missing now, it'll be obvious that I took it," he offered as the curator moved towards them. An older man. not worth sticking around to flirt then. He moved closer to Peter, lowering his voice. "No, now I'll just memorize the layout so I can come back later." He moved off with a smirk.
"Caffrey!" Peter hissed, trying to get him to come back but the curator was calling his attention. Neal gave him a wave and then disappeared around the corner. Peter sighed and turned his attention to the curator, who was looking at the corner with a frown.
"Is it such a good idea to leave him by himself?" he asked.
"He's not stupid," Peter said, unintentionally copying Neal's words. "He won't touch anything don't worry."
Neal wandered the large open rooms. There were at least five rooms, all connected through wide doorways artfully decorated. So far he had seen some masterful pieces, and some expensive ones, but nothing that caught his fancy. Assuming, of course, that he would even think aboutdoing something like that while under FBI watch. Hypothetically.
He entered the last room, not thoroughly impressed. Private museums were usually better targets. They weren't nearly as bothered about buying objects off the black market, and they had the monetary support behind them to buy whatever they wanted.
He drew to a stop by a piece, his breath completely taken away. He had only heard about this piece in rumors and, for a brief time, he and Mozzie had searched for it with no luck. His hand automatically hovered over it, ready to pick it up and admire it, but Peter's voice immediately came back to him. Don't touch anything.
His hand hovered over it, hesitating. He could easily make off with the piece. There were no alarms around the pieces. It would be easy to slip past the security at the doors. From the inside, the security was weak. It wasn't designed to keep people in. It was designed to keep people out. And since everyone would know it was him, he wouldn't have to worry about avoiding the security cameras. He could buy himself a couple of minutes by waiting until he was a block away to cut the tracker. Mozzie probably still had everything in order so that Neal could disappear, going so deep that not even Peter could find him.
But, Peter had trusted him. Had trusted him enough to let him go off by himself in a place filled with things he allegedly stole. It was a new thing, to have more than two people who trusted you, and Neal kinda liked it. Did he really want to throw that away?
Plus, it was nice to have Peter on his side for some things. He knew anybody in that office would probably turn him in, in a second, if they thought he had pulled something, but Peter would wait for the evidence. He would trust him. And Neal needed the FBI's help if he was going to find Kate. He needed their resources (even if they didn't really know they were giving said resources to Neal).
His hand hovered over the piece.
A half hour later, Peter had everything he needed from the curator. There hadn't been any sign of Neal and that pit in his stomach was starting to give off a bad feeling. He thanked the curator and moved off, following Neal's path. He knew he was in trouble when he walked into that last room. All he could see was Neal standing there. Neal never stood still, unless he was in deep thought. He moved farther into the room to see his hand hovering over a statue. It looked to be carved of polished wood and sparkling jewels adorned it.
"I don't suppose that's our forged piece?" Peter asked hopefully. Neal didn't look up at him—he knew Peter was here then.
"Do you know what this is?" Neal asked quietly. He didn't wait for Peter to answer. "Its an ancient African piece. Priceless."
"African? I didn't know you knew anything outside of Europe," Peter said lightly. He knew that tone of voice. Neal was looking at something he wanted, and wanted badly.
"Everyone knows it. there's some story behind it, involving a great clan chief carving it himself and giving it to his love, who was a peasant he met in village he stayed in one night."
"What happened to the girl?"
Neal shrugged. "Oh, she was mobbed and beat to death after the chief left. The winner got the figurine and a lot of money."
"Isn't it always?" Neal asked, finally looking over at Peter. Peter saw the longing in his eyes, but he also say the hesitation. Good. He was starting to learn.
"Come on Neal, show me the piece that's a fake. I know you found it," Peter said quietly, but there was a warning in his voice; don't push me. Don't make me arrest you. Neal looked back at the piece, then forced his hand back down to his side. He stared at it a second later, then sighed and turned away from the piece.
"What kind of consultant would I be if I hadn't already found it? it was right by the entrance," Neal joked as Peter led them from the room.
"I was worried about you for a second," Peter said. "I'm proud of you."
Neal shrugged, but he looked back at the piece one last time. "Didn't you ever have a moment of weakness?"