Standard disclaimers apply.


Neal was standing the street corner, looking down Fifth Avenue, squinting slightly in the late afternoon sun. Peter watched him for a few minutes, taking in his undone collar and crooked tie clip. For once he wasn't tapping his foot or adjusting his hat. He was standing perfectly still, just staring into the gridlock of double-decker buses and yellow cabs.

"Neal."

Neal turned and suddenly the pensive look was replaced with a blinding smile.

"Peter. What are you doing here?"

Peter approached him slowly, hands in his pockets. Unthreatening. "Could ask you the same thing."

"Just going for a walk."

"Five feet from the edge of your radius."

"Still inside it. " Neal didn't miss a beat.

"You've been here for four hours."

"This whole monitoring of my tracking anklet is getting a little obsessive, Peter. I may have to take a restraining order out on you." He cocked his head to one side, like he was considering the idea. "Actually, that has a certain poetic justice to it, since you restrict my movements so much. And I know your favorite bagel place is three blocks from June's house, so…"

"You thinking of running?"

His grin didn't go away, but Peter had known him long enough now to see the difference anyway.

"No, Peter. If I was running I'd be in my workout clothes. You can't run in a Devore. Merino wool and sweat don't mix."

"Neal," he said simply.

Neal sighed, throwing his head to the side like an impatient horse. "It's just… It just gets a little claustrophobic sometimes."

"You have two miles. Not twenty two feet."

"That thing about Jimmy Dimaco was a myth." He sighed again. "The worlds a lot bigger than two miles, Peter. I haven't seen that much of it. I always thought I had more time."

Without discussing it, the two fell into an easy stroll, shoulders bumping slightly as they avoided packs of tourists and businessmen on their lunch hour.

"You do. You've only got three years left on your sentence."

"Haven't you ever heard of Einstein's theory of relativity, Peter?"

"Something about a hot stove and a pretty girl?"

"I knew you read."

"Don't tell anyone."

"Three years was a lot longer for Kate than it is for you." When Peter didn't say anything, he added, "Because you're old."

"I got it. But you're going to get old too, Neal."

Neal turned away from him to look at a store window, but the move wasn't really effective, because Peter could still see his reflection in the glass. He laid a hand gently on Neal's shoulder.

"I know you were mad at me when I held you back."

"Peter…"

"I know it," Peter insisted. "But I'm your partner. I'm not going to let anything happen to you. Whether you want it to or not. When you die, you're going to be old, and happy, and probably still wearing those stupid hats."

Neal laughed, only a little desperately.

"These four years working with me, they're nothing. The blink on a eye."

Neal was quiet for a long moment. Then, "They're not nothing, Peter."