So this idea popped in my head when my siblings got their bicycles and got working on the difficult task of learning to ride...
The Simple Pleasures.
Peter leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. It had been a long day, and he was tired. Besides there was Neal's problem. There always was a 'Neal's problem'. He sat up straight and peered through the glass walls at the ex con working diligently at the huge pile of mortgage cases that Peter had thrust at him early in the day so that he would keep out of trouble's way. His brow was furrowed with concentration and his sleeves were rolled up, as he wrote away furiously. Peter smiled to see his friend doing decent paper work for once, something he loathed. The sight of Neal working quietly at his desk was so abnormal in its normalcy that it reminded Peter of the conversation they had had last night, the thing that had him worried in the first place.
One Night Earlier.
"Peter!" Neal tried for the third time, taking his chance at risking the Fed's temper, only to be ignored. Again. "Fine! I won't tell you!" He tried a different approach, but slumped his shoulders in defeat when Peter didn't even raise a brow in answer.
They had been sitting in the surveillance van for five hours now, just the two of them, and after getting extremely annoyed of Neal's repeated exclamations of "I'm bored!", Peter had given up on telling the ex con to concentrate and had decided to ignore him for the rest of the night. Neal obviously caught on to the fact that his partner wasn't humoring him anymore and suddenly went very quiet. Peter sighed, relieved; his plan had worked! But the silence did not last for long. After a complete three minutes of staring mutely at the screen, (Three minutes! That was a new record for Caffrey!), Neal turned towards his mentor with a glint in his eyes.
"How about we place a bet?" he asked, playing on Peter's inability to back away from a challenge, no matter how petty.
"What kind of a bet?" Peter asked his friend, curiosity winning over his disapproval. Besides whenever Neal got That Look in his eyes, it always ended in trouble…
"You know, since I know for sure that we are wasting our time," Neal started, thanking the heaven Peter was finally talking to him. "And you seem so certain that Garoth is going to show up here of all places, let's bet on who is right. "
"Neal, you know that's stupid. All the evidence proves that Garoth is the mastermind behind the heist."
"I know that Peter, but I don't think he would be stupid enough to go to his girlfriend's house when the whole of New York is looking for him." Neal stated with an air of confidence, before he caught the mistake in his words. He cringed inwardly; that was exactly what he had done. He had gone straight to his girlfriend's house after escaping prison, if only to confirm what he had already known. That she had left.
Peter glanced sideways at his friend, surprised at his words, but refrained from any sort of reminder that that was exactly what another certain criminal he knew had done, on seeing the faraway look on his CI's face. He cursed silently, thinking of something to distract Neal with. Then he smiled.
"Ok, bet's on, buddy." Peter said seriously, "So what do you want, if your hunch turns out to be correct?"
"If I win, then you'll get me a bottle of wine," Neal piped up at once, eyes back to their usual sparkle. "Of my choice." He grinned evilly, his mind already plotting to ask Peter for a Chateau Mouton Rothschild, or maybe a Chateau Pavie, if he really wanted to hit the nail on the head.
Peter winced, his wallet already fearing the trauma it was going to endure if Neal won the bet. But he had agreed, after all; and Neal was acting like his usual self again. "Alright, I'll do that. But if I turn out to be correct, and Garoth does show up, then…" Peter trailed off, smiling at the young man, who gulped noticeably, suddenly scared. What if Peter sends him to prison, or worse; gives him loads of paper work?
Peter saw the young man trying his best not to get tense, and laughed. "Relax kiddo, I won't send you back to prison. But if I win, you'll have to tell me something that you can't do, that I don't know about, OK?"
Neal nodded. Fair enough, he can work his way out of this one by telling Peter something insignificant. Besides he was so winning this bet anyway, so what's the point in worrying?
It turned out that there was indeed cause to worry, when half an hour later, they spied a man trying to get the small window at the back of the house, open. It was Garoth, and Peter had him in cuffs in no time after that. Neal groaned; he was in so much trouble. What was he going to tell Peter? The man had forgotten everything about any bet at the moment, and seemed intent only on getting the big burly smuggler and suspected murderer behind bars; but Neal was pretty sure that he would remember soon. Better to come up with an answer now than be surprised by the fed at some other inappropriate time. He racked his brain to come up with something that would satisfy Peter. There were a lot of things he couldn't do, like fighting or causing violence in any form, but Peter knew about those already. Then there were things he couldn't do which he couldn't tell Peter; like leaving this life behind, or coming to terms with Kate's death. Neal racked his brain for any kind of an answer. Then it struck him; of course! Peter won't give it much thought and he would get out of the situation easily.
Thus when Peter Burke got into his Taurus to drive back home, and snapped at Neal for putting his seat-belt, he was shocked speechless to find out that Neal Caffrey cannot and never has ridden a bicycle in his life.
This was going to be a one shot, but I decided to break it up.
So tell me what you think? You know I love any sort of feedback on my writing. :)