Mr. Neal Caffrey, Ex-Employee
Part 9 of the FBI, SULFUR Division
Spoilers: As AU as this thing is, SPN 'In My Time of Dying' and Season One for White Collar
Summary: There's a sub-division of the FBI called the SULFUR Unit. They hire some familiar faces and hunt down the supernatural within the greyer boundaries of the law all over the United States. This allows them to interact with some of my other favorite TV procedural dramas.
Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me. I'm playing in both universes.
The fact that the grizzled old man had not been given a name meant something. He didn't say a word. All of the FBI agents pretended like he wasn't there. Peter had that line on his forehead that said that he was worried. He was worried about Neal. If Peter was worried, Neal was going to face this head on.
As soon as the briefing had finished, he stood in the stranger's personal space and held out his hand with an engaging smile. "Hi. We haven't been introduced. I'm Neal Caffrey."
The man brushed by him. "I know who you are," he grumbled.
Neal tried to get in his way again when he walked out the door but suddenly Peter was there, stopping him.
"Neal," he said, "leave the agent alone."
"What's the big secret?"
"It doesn't matter. The case has been closed."
Neal leaned against the conference table and tried to wheedle the information out of his favorite FBI agent. "You were briefed."
"Yes. No. Not really."
"I know you can lie better than that, Peter. So you really want to tell me?"
"Any conversation pertaining to this topic is smothered in 'allegedly' and 'hypothetical.'"
Neal bounced on his toes. He was finally getting somewhere. "I'm all about those things, Peter."
"I know," Peter muttered. He turned and strode out of the room and toward his office.
Neal trailed behind. "You can't stop there. What's going on?"
"You are way too nosy."
"I survive by knowing everything about everything. Mozzie taught me that." Neal closed the door to Peter's office. "You can spill now."
"Hypothetically, once upon a time, there was this thief. An art thief."
Neal suddenly didn't like where this was going. "Anyone I know?"
Peter raised an eyebrow.
"Anything's possible. Hypothetically."
"So what happened to this art thief in your little story?"
"Allegedly, he would periodically receive two photos in an envelope, delivered under his front door."
"Two," Neal echoed.
Neal knew how to play this came, and he might know more than Peter at this point, but he needed to know whatever the mystery agent had told Peter. "Allegedly, what was featured in those two pictures?"
"Allegedly, one picture was of the art thief's stash of stolen goods and the other was of some art piece that the art thief had a week to replicate. The implication was that our mysterious villain would expose the stash if he didn't comply."
Sometimes that week had been too short, Neal remembered. He had barely managed to complete a couple of the sculptures. "Allegedly, no pictures have been received since the art thief had been imprisoned," Neal offered what little information he had pertaining to the story.
Peter relaxed. "This fairy tale has a happy ending, because the mysterious person who was sending the photos got caught trying to kill two FBI agents and is in prison himself."
Neal perked up. "Really? That Iis/I a happy ending." The blackmailer wasn't someone that Neal had actively worried about since he had made a deal with Peter, but it was nice to put the matter temporarily aside.
Peter smiled a bit. "I thought you'd like that."
"I do." Neal adjusted his hat at a jaunty angle. "Does our villain have a name?"
Peter shook his head. He obviously didn't want to give Neal that name.
"Hypothetically?" Neal pressed. "The art thief will want to be warned when the villain gets out of jail. He won't be there too long."
Peter thought about it. "As long as the art thief obeys the rules of his parole, his handler should be notified the instant Gordon is out of prison."
Neal smiled. He now had enough of a name to find the man. He would be prepared next time. "So why all the storytelling?" he asked.
Peter snorted. "Because the SULFUR unit doesn't live in the real world. It's all hypotheticals and myths and legends that are too crazy to be true."
"Oh?" Neal leaned forward. "Do you know more stories?"
"I might," Peter answered warily.
"Any chance of me hearing some, sometime?"
"Not even if I've been good and have been hurt on the job and need a distraction?"
"Not even. SULFUR stories need to be told at night, in the middle of the wilderness, while eating s'mores."
Neal brightened. "I can arrange that."
Peter laughed. "You? You would never sleep in a tent where bears are nearby." He stood and stretched. "And if that would ever happen, I might be persuaded to tell a SULFUR story or two."
Peter shook his head with mock regret. "Too bad that you aren't allowed out of Manhattan. Guess those stories won't ever be told."
"Peter!" Neal wailed.
"No Neal," Peter turned serious again. "Once you know too much about the SULFUR unit, you are co-opted into service and that Agent that you just didn't meet would be your handler. Not me. The only way to leave SULFUR is on a gurney or in a box."
"You obviously got close and then got away."
"I know when to stop. I did. You don't. I didn't have a talent they can use, you do."
Okay, it was hard to argue with that. Neal wasn't bucking for a transfer or a change in handlers. He had a feeling that the SULFUR unit wouldn't be nearly as much fun as White Collar.