Disclaimer: I own nothing, because unlike Neal, I'm terrible at conning people into giving me things.

A/N: This takes place sometime around Season Two, because I hadn't seen anything since then. So no spoilers, please.

"What are you doing?" Peter asked suspiciously, shrugging off his overcoat as he entered the office.

"I'm just checking my email." Neal looked wounded. "Peter, I can't believe you think I'd use your computer for criminal activities."

"You're right, Neal. I'm sor…"

"I know about the keystroke logger. I'd use Diana's computer."

Peter sighed tolerantly and let it go. "How was your weekend?"

"Very nice. I went to a wine tasting."


"I'm surprised at you, Peter. You did a good job fooling Keller's broker."

"I was bluffing. I've never understood people who do that swishy thing with wine. They look pretentious, and the wines all still taste the same."

Neal looked pained. "That's because you've never tasted wine."

"Of course I have."

"No, you've drunk wine."

"What's the difference?"

"When you drink wine, you order the house red, which might be a disproportionate blend of cab sauv and merlot, and you chug it while you gnaw on a steak or a side of spaghetti bolognese."

"You make me sound like a caveman."

"Neal continued as if he hadn't spoken. To taste wine you have to "do that swishy thing" to allow it to breathe, and see what kind of legs it has."


"The dribbly bits."

"Why don't they just call them the dribbly bits?"

"You don't have an artistic bone in your body, do you Peter? Then you smell it to pick up the subtle flavors. You taste it, holding it at the tip of your tongue to test for sweetness before letting it flow back into your mouth to taste the acidity. That's how you develop your palate."

Peter snorted inelegantly. "No wonder El always wants you to taste her food."

"Peter," Neal blinked at him. "Are you… jealous of my palate?"

"Well, she never asks me to try her foie gras."

"You're her husband, friend and confidant. I'm just her taste tester."

"You're her friend too." Peter looked surprised.

Neal didn't answer.

"You don't think you're her friend?" Peter looked even more surprised.

"CIs aren't normally friends with their handler's wives."

"You aren't a normal CI."

"I'm the reason that you always have to work late, that you get in trouble with your bosses, that her house was bugged," Neal looked down, suddenly contrite, hesitant. "Elizabeth probably wishes she'd never heard of me."

"She doesn't wish that."

When Neal just went back to checking his email, Peter continued, "When we first started working together, El was the one who was always pushing me to trust you, to give you the benefit of the doubt, to not strangle you."

Neal laughed a little, though his eyes didn't leave the computer screen. "I guess I owe her a lot."

"So do I," said Peter.