Peter was livid, more so than he'd been for any one incident Neal had been involved with. Maybe it was his time in prison, fear for his livelihood a factor in all he did now. He had been freed, told he was no longer on the hook for a murder he didn't commit and yet now Neal was saying it was a lie? The agent had believed justice would… no had prevailed, the con telling him otherwise but this was his life. He had grown up believing in right and wrong, two extremes that never met in the middle until he became friends with Neal Caffrey. Suddenly black and white merged into some odd puddle of gray sometimes darker or lighter than it should be but still a color that in nature should not exist.
Neal never did anything without a reason but now all the whispers from around him he had ignored all these years were haunting his feverish mind.
He's just using you, Burke.
If you think he's redeemed, you're just as big a chump as the rest of them.
Are you changing him or is he changing you?
Everyone had told him something about Caffrey being a bad influence and now that he knew about the gold, the fence and the corrupt DA Peter had to distance himself. Elizabeth didn't understand, taking Neal's side and telling him he was wrong but he WASN'T wrong. He was the law and the law in it's purest sense could never truly be wrong. People who did bad things could only continue to do bad things. Neal tried to say he was just as bad, tricking the con into telling him what had happened but it wasn't the same. He had conned Neal into telling the truth not committing a crime. He was right… Neal was…
He slammed a fist on the desk, the keyboard giving out a frightened beep or two as he pulled back his hand and rubbed it. The computer screen woke up with the motion, showing the few images he had of the mystery person who had stolen the gold in the fireman's outfit. Now he knew the truth. Neal was the mastermind and he had probably stolen the money Summers had taken, using it to oil some other corrupt individual. The DA had been compliant far as he could tell, going quietly and letting him know both the site of the coins he'd been paid with and the fence's name. They had been to the flower vendor and Neal had gotten there ahead of him, warning off Decker but now the fence was caught but not talking. They had more then enough of a case on him with the guns for now and that was enough until they got him to say more. Neal would never get away with this but he had to figure out how to get the truth out and not destroy himself. Much as he wanted to admit the truth, Elizabeth's confession at telling Neal to "do anything it took" made him think the con had gotten to her as well. It wasn't like his wife to make questionable decisions like this so it had to be Neal's fault alone everything had happened. He couldn't blame his wife.
He glanced up to see Jones was standing in his office doorway, a worried look on his face. He noticed a few furtive glances up his way from below in the bullpen, his mind going back to when he'd hit the desk.
"What is it Jones?"
He was probably a bit angrier on the words than he meant to be, chewing on his cheek as he thought about all the lies and conceit Neal had hidden from him. He had hoped to be wrong but now that he knew the truth, it hurt and a part of him almost wanted them to get caught.
Heck with everything!
Losing his career would be worth it if he could just get Neal back in prison where he belonged. Yes… that's what he wanted.
The agent broke out of his trance, anger assuaged a moment as he blinked up at his colleague and made a motion for him to close the door.
"Dead? How? What the hell happened?!"
He was standing now, pacing behind his desk as Jones gave him an uncomfortable look and handed him a folder he hadn't noticed under the agent's arm.
"Poison but it wasn't anything obvious until he started showing symptoms only consistent with having ingested a foreign substance."
Peter took the file a bit more harshly than he meant to, tossing it on the desk as he pulled it open and gave it a quick read.
"Who was in contact with him other than our people? Where's Neal?"
He didn't suspect his friend of any wrongdoing, well not on this level but wondered if there was more to this "fence" story and welsh gold than he had been told.
"Nobody. Everyone was bonded and checked out already. Caffrey's… he's around here somewhere."
Peter gave a little curse at those words, certain none of their people had done this as his thoughts went back to Neal. He hadn't told Jones of the connection yet other than cursory items but nothing concrete. He had to keep himself safe for the moment until he knew what to do. Stubbornness told him he shouldn't care about Neal or his career if it meant putting a criminal behind bars, even someone he had thought of as a friend and family. Elizabeth was angry with him, livid at times after their discussion the other night. He suspected she was upset not only because he had outed Mozzie with her not so secret burner phone, ruining any chances to be in contact with the little guy again but also ties with Neal, someone who had despite his actions helped and saved them numerous times. Peter didn't see it that way. He saw something else, a conniver who used him and made him into a pawn he refused to become. Neal always had a plan and didn't do things without knowing full well what would happen, right now that's what he was telling himself.
"Do another check on everyone that was near him. Anything he ate… whatever it takes!"
He was angry still, taking it out on the agent who seemed to be happy to leave without comment. Peter would find out what Neal's endgame was. Bribing someone with stolen coins to get another person free; It had to be a trick. He glanced down at the empty desk below by the door. Neal was away, the agent moving to leave and see where when the con walked back, a coffee in hand from the pot and files under his arms. He paused at the railing, other agents looking up at him curiously before turning the way of his glance, eyes burning into the man he'd freed from prison barely 4 years ago. Neal seemed oblivious, sipping his coffee and plopping back into his seat easily, files opened before him. The con had hunkered down after their blow up the other day and was playing nice but it was just an act. It had to be.
He was looking for his wife, Satchmo sitting in the corner on his pillow chewing on one of his favorite toys. His wife was no where to be seen when he entered the house, checking the kitchen before the basement door opened up and he saw her come up with a laundry basket. Her hair was up and slightly messy but otherwise she looked beautiful to him. Peter smiled at her but she just glanced at him, something missing in her expression as he made to hug and kiss her and she just complied back.
"Hey Peter. Let me put this laundry up."
She left it at that, mad at him still apparently as she left out their usual "hun" and went upstairs without him. Was she taking Neal's side over his? Something in him wanted to punch the con's face but he wasn't a violent man, following his wife upstairs. She turned and looked at him but it was with emotional distance. Neal was interfering with his life and everything he worked for…
"Let me help you fold that, hun."
He tried again, holding back what he was thinking but wondering if it leaked through as she gave him a curious look then shook her head.
"It's ok. Why don't you go downstairs, have a beer and watch the game."
She said it without any emotion which meant she was trying to get rid of him. There was no love in her voice and that hurt him almost as much as Neal's admission. He nodded, knowing he wasn't wanted but when his wife turned to put something away Peter walked over and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her cheek. For a moment she didn't fight him but then suddenly she pulled away, that distance still between them. In her eyes he saw that question she'd posed about giving it all up for justice. Could he really lose it all just to be right? He heard her posing that back to him in his mind but Peter wasn't ready to hear it, anger still strong. So that's how it was going to be…
He sighed, going back downstairs and going to the kitchen for a beer. He didn't change clothes, sitting on the sofa with his suit still. It was 6 PM now, his eyes watching the TV which was currently off as he drank more and then got another beer and did the same thing. He had gone through four beers and was feeling particularly happy if only on the surface when El walked down the stairs and looked at him but didn't stop on her way to the kitchen. Satchmo was watching them both, an almost childish look on the dog's face like a kid observing a parental argument. He couldn't take it anymore, standing up with a slight stagger. Without a word he left, closing the door behind him as he started walking. He needed to be alone with his thoughts. The agent was slightly buzzed maybe a bit more than that but he kept walking, not remembering how he ended up at Riverside Drive looking up at the edifice that was his consultant's current residence. He glanced up at the huge stone building something akin to hatred brewing in him as he stared up at the top floor so high above where his friend lived.
Capuccino in the clouds…
This is the start of those something for nothing schemes that got you put away in the first place…
You know that's not jewelry he's wearing…
Unflappable June, a woman whose past was just as colorful as Neal's but she had no arrest record. He only knew what her husband had allegedly done among the few things Byron Ellington had actually been imprisoned for, mainly small time larceny and bookkeeping. Smallfry items that reminded him more of his friend… no his ball and chain. Caffrey was just holding him back from the promotion Bruce had told him about. He was being groomed for higher things and if he was to perform at the top of his ability, distractions like a smooth con man couldn't be in his present. The past was unchangeable but he could drop the deal…
He jumped, a sound like a car backfiring more than obvious as it rang out across the semi-quiet of the street. There were no cars around at least the only one that drove by had not been the one that made the noise. It was electric and the sound echoed into silence from above. He glanced up a bit more sober now as he tried to find the source of the shot, if that's what it was.
Peter was at June's door now, banging hard but nobody was answering. There had been one more shot, ringing out like a clear note in a quiet auditorium. This was no mistaking it now as he quickly picked the lock and pushed his way inside the palacious home. The agent was up the stairs without hesitation as he took them three at a time and finally made it to a familiar door.
He was yelling, his anger forgotten as he heard nothing behind the door but quiet. He tried the knob but it was locked. Everything was so deathly silent as he hit the door hard with his foot then his shoulder, effectively breaking it open. His gun was out in his hand, Peter looking every which way for some sign of the con and who might have fired a weapon. He didn't see anything, not even out of place to show that something happened but then he walked in to check the main room where the bookshelves were and saw that the door by the bed was open, a hole in one pane of the glass and another parallel to it on the headboard of Neal's bed. His stomach knotted up or maybe it was the beer talking as he tried to remain sober, gun drawn and ahead of him. He went out to the terrace and glanced around, a hint of something dark splattered thickly around the doorway and trailing over to the far side of the outer area. He saw a hand sticking out from behind a large object de art type statue, the agent still on alert as he moved it aside and crouched beside a bleeding figure.
The con man didn't move, dressed in a sleeveless white tee and loose khaki pants without shoes. Neal's eyes were closed, a tight look on his face as if he were pain as Peter assessed where his friend was hurt, a low groan coming from the con as he rolled him over carefully and saw he'd been grazed along the side of his right temple. He would have called for a bus but someone cocked a gun behind him, the agent freezing as a hand grabbed his gun from his now raised hands.
"The steadfast agent. I thought for certain you were going to send him back to prison just for having someone on the side but apparently you're not so easy to get rid of."
He knew that voice, something in his semi-drunk brain along with the fear of hearing shots and seeing Neal hurt distracted him enough not to know until he turned his head slightly. A willowy figure with dark reddish hair smiled down at him, bookish glasses staring back. It was Ms. Lowe, the woman Neal had met on the Gershone case. There was something hard and unfriendly about her now as he slowly rose at her motion and turned to face her.
"He trusted you…"
Peter spit it out angrily, a smile curling her lips in a sardonic response.
"I could say the same for you. Throwing someone to the wolves for saving your career path and life choice. He could have let you rot in prison but he didn't. Caffrey sold himself to make sure you had a chance and you threw it all away. Your wife told me she hoped you would change your mind…"
He blinked back at her, those cold eyes now glittering with glee at his realization. Decker's poisoning… Dammit!
"She catered that day, remember? You had her give you extra food for Mr. Decker. Mozzie led me to her and I waited to speak with her as if I were asking advice on Neal. I told her he seemed distracted. She went for more tea and I put in some special ingredients before your agent came to get the food. I'll have to thank her myself…"
El was in danger but why was this woman going after them? What was her game? Suddenly he saw her reading him, maybe he should have thought before drinking as much as he had. Nobody knew he was here… He saw her take a text, gun still on him.
"My eyes and ears say your wife just phoned the Bureau looking for you. She's worried. How sweet…"
He felt his blood pressure rise, anger making him want to punch her out and he wasn't for violence against women but Rebecca if that was really her name.
"Who are you… really?"
He was curious now, her background check coming up negative for any known criminal associates, associations or that she was a danger to anyone really. Now he realized they had been manipulated, her eyes flashing brightly at him.
"Let's just say I'm a fan. I've read of the exploits of the Caffrey… and Burke. A part of me wanted to see if you two were really as loyal to the other as it seemed. A law man working side by side with a mastermind con man without going bad. It seemed a dream come true. A match made to fall into the flames and be cremated. I believe my point has been proven…"
She cocked her gun, the agent flinching only a little. He was still pretty drunk and scared as he was, the adrenalin from earlier was wearing down and he was feeling sleepy. His eyes went down to where his gun sat on a small end table behind her.
"Looks like you walked in on a deal gone bad with your partner. Nobody will ever know the truth and when he wakes up, he'll be back behind bars where my friends are waiting to take care of him."
He didn't understand what she meant, his mind getting a bit hazy as the alcohol set in and muddled his mind. Something about the way she looked at him made Peter uncomfortable.
"You manipulated him…"
Peter couldn't think what else to say, guilt washing over him as everything started to become clear even being drunk. Neal had just been doing what he could to help in a hopeless situation. It wasn't what he'd have done but it had gotten him free with a clean slate. She smiled coldly at him.
"Your friend? Can you really still call him that after the argument you had. He told me what happened. After all the times you said he was more than a common criminal you're the one that turned him back into one. Goodbye Agent Burke."
Rebecca's finger pulled on the trigger, a shot ringing out but Peter wasn't hit, the alcohol making him too slow to figure out why as he looked at himself for a hole and found he was ok. Had she missed? Was this a game she was playing? He wasn't sure how or why when the woman collapsed to the ground with a groan, a figure stepping out from the open door by Neal's bed, the same one he had come through. It was Mozzie and he had a gun.
"Something about her never sat right with me…"
The little guy sounded hoarse, his face pale as he continued to hold the gun on her, Rebecca wounded but not dead as Peter found strength to move and stood, grabbing up his own gun as he kicked hers aside.
"Thanks Mozzie… Mozz?"
The con was looking rather pale, something he hadn't noticed right away as he cuffed Ms. Lowe and then moved to catch the bespectacled con man who looked like death warmed over. Something was very wrong, a clamminess to the little guy's skin.
The little guy passed out, his breathing shallow as Peter tried to make him more comfy. He pulled out his phone and called 9-1-1 to get an ambulance and then Jones. He wasn't sure how coherent he was as he finished up and did his best to make sure Mozzie was alright then Neal. The con still hadn't woken up as he grabbed up some towels to clean the wound. He's been wrong about his friend, something clicking in his inebriated mind that hadn't been open to seeing the truth. Neal had done what had to be done for a friend regardless of the circumstances. Could Peter have done that? He thought of that week when he had caught Neal again, when El asked if he would have run for her. At the time it had seem a ludicrous act to think of. He was a law abiding Federal agent. He didn't break the law but he had bent it a few times and that was where he faltered as he went to check on Mozzie again, glad when he heard footsteps coming up and Jones appeared.
"Peter… Mind telling me what happened here?"
He filled in the agent on the essentials minus what could get him fired until he had Rebecca's cooperation which could go either way. She seemed happy to mess with their partnership but until she healed from Mozzie's shot (which he said was his because it had been done with his gun) that was all anyone needed to know. Jones seemed to accept it grudgingly but didn't make any comments if he was suspicious. Neal was still unconscious, the agent going with the bus to make sure he was ok. Mozzie… he wasn't sure how that was going to end up, guilty feelings making him feel worse now. Perhaps it was still the alcohol talking as he watched them work on Neal. Finally they reached the ER, Jones showing up not too long afterwards with his wife. The shock of what had occurred was still in the background filtered through mild inebriation until El hugged him, worried and upset not just with what happened but their fight. She was apologizing but he should be the one doing that. El was right and he was…
"Family of Neal Caffrey?"
They were sitting in the waiting area, Peter finally sobering up as he worked on his 4th coffee. He stood with El, waving at the doctor in white lab coat and blue scrubs. The woman walked over to them, her manner friendly and warm.
"Your friend is doing well. We did several scans after the stitches. He's doing better. No serious damage that we can see but he will be sleeping for a while. They're moving him to a room as we speak so you can visit him soon. I'll send a nurse to take you to him."
They shook hands, comforted by the news. Once the doctor had left and they were alone again, El spoke to him quietly.
"Do you still think he did this for himself?"
He really looked at her, blue eyes no longer angry at him but pleading for him to understand. Elizabeth had admitted to telling the con to do whatever it took to help him and that's what Neal had ended up doing. The con had let himself be compromised for his happiness and freedom although illegally. Peter didn't like owing someone such a huge piece of himself but Neal had not asked him for anything and it suddenly occurred to him how wrong he had been.
I did it to help my friend…
No you did it because you're a criminal.
Those angry biting words returned enforce and now he realized the lie. Justice was the lie. Nobody had come to help him and no one probably would have put themselves on the line as Neal had. Realization was hitting him harder than he expected, something wet and warm dripping down his cheek. Was he crying? El was smiling at him again, the question forgotten but apparently he had answered it to her satisfaction.
"Let's go see Neal… hun."
It was three days before Neal was back home. Rebecca had healed up and for some reason didn't reveal more than the fact she used Neal to get access to FBI resources. Nothing more. For now that would have to do as Peter took time to heal in his own manner, working from home when possible but having left the con to his own devices. Mozzie had vanished once they'd gotten him well from the digitalis in his system. Ends up Rebecca had brought the wine over for Neal, leaving it in plain view and knowing Mozzie would never resist taking a sip or two. It had been her plan.
"Hun… I made lunch if you're ready to eat."
Elizabeth had turned back into her loving self again, both discussing the details of what happened with Neal and Rebecca. They were both sad to see another woman take advantage of the young man's trust but mainly he kept thinking about what she'd told him.
"Thanks, hun. I don't know if I have much time. I have to go into the office in a few minutes. Last minute meeting."
Peter was enjoying working from home, peace with himself and his wife again. Elizabeth nodded, packing up his food into a small sack.
"Take it to go, hun."
He kissed and hugged her goodbye, driving to work feeling happier but still something bugged him as he attended the meeting, went back to his office and got more work done while he ate his forgotten lunch. Jones came up after a bit and visited.
"They dragged you in with a meeting… how's Caffrey?"
Jones was sincere in his comment, Peter blinking as he realized he hadn't seen the con since release. He'd buried himself in work or at least the excuse of it. He was busy as ASAC but it was his perogative if he wanted to be. Jones seemed to sense his answer with a slight knowing nod.
"Fine. Been too busy catching up to do much visiting. Mozzie tells my wife enough for me to know he's doing better. How's that loan mortgage case going?"
He redirected, looking over at his screen at the information there but more to avoid answering directly. Jones coughed, making him look up.
"I know you miss Diana, we all do but… I know there are things you won't… can't tell me. I understand."
Jones had closed the door before speaking, that look from before when he had made comments about being tired of being regulated to the van. It wasn't that he didn't trust Jones but unlike the ex-naval officer, Diana had been very open and discreet. She had dealt with that kind of experience with her diplomatic ties.
"Plausible deniability… nothing more. I'm not sure I would have… could have told her anything. For now… what's in the record is what there is."
He watched Jones nod at his words, understanding but no regret or anger at the situation. He had good people working for him who understood the need for discretion. It happened sometimes that things had to be manipulated and now Peter realized how close to home this conversation had come. Jones dismissed himself, the office quiet a moment as he turned and stared out the window.
It wasn't much later that Peter found himself parked outside of a familiar house on Riverside Drive. He was talking to Elizabeth.
"Yes… I'll make sure he knows. See you soon hun."
He hung up after one last word with his wife, exiting the vehicle with a tension built from the guilt and shame of the past few months. He had every right to feel the way he did but taking it out on Neal had been wrong. The con had only done what he thought was right and Peter knew he had done the very same thing when he'd brought his friend back from Cape Verde. His glass house was shattered and he would have to rebuild if Neal would let him. He knocked on the door, the housekeeper letting him in. Peter hesitated as he made it up to the top floor, about to knock on the door when it opened up and a familiar voice rang out.
"Mozzie, I hear you breathin…"
Blue eyes met brown, a surprised look on Neal's face before it changed to a less certain expression he knew from their first week as partners.
"Peter… I didn't know you were coming."
The con's voice was less than excited, hurt obvious but still hidden within the overly polite voice. Peter understood he deserved it, not forcing his way in. Neal was still blocking the entrance but not in an obvious manner.
"I was curious how you were doing. Elizabeth… asked how you were."
Awkward conversation, redirection like an amateur as he inwardly sighed at his less than adequate response. Neal blinked back at him but didn't move, shutters going down over blue eyes.
"I'm fine. I guess work has you swamped?"
He heard the bitterness there. Peter hadn't visited the con since his release more due to his own guilty conscience than any grudge. Just like him he couldn't admit to that, nodding dumbly back.
"An ASAC's job is… never done. Lots of cold cases awaiting your return."
And so the conversation became more out of sorts, Neal staring at him without emotion as they stood in the doorway, both men uncertain of their place with the other anymore. Peter didn't feel comfortable, so he lied.
"Meeting to go to in a few but I had to see that you were ok. Tell Mozzie I'm glad he's better. See you at work next week."
He didn't ask about coming to dinner as his wife had requested but then he had probably done enough damage trying to talk to the con. Neal nodded silently back, closing the door soon as he stepped away from it. Things shouldn't have been this bad but they were, Peter finally taking the stairs down and exiting with a nod to the housekeeper. Thankfully June had not been around, off to visit her family upstate. He was tired, angry still although he shouldn't be as he started across the street pausing halfway to look back and up. He could just make out someone staring down at him then move away. Neal…
Peter dressed early, a new case having found itself by way of Jones. All he knew was a suspect was holed up in a small cafe, one he knew well. Back up was on the way but Jones wanted him there. Elizabeth made sure he had coffee and something to eat before he hurried off with a kiss and hug. He showed up to find no signs of any crime in progress and Jones no where to be seen. Peter had parked up the street, looking inside the windows to see a single person sitting drinking what looked to be espresso and a croissant. Was that their suspect? The windows were tinted enough he couldn't see them well, only a shadowy outline. He moved over to the entrance, poking his head in to see the staff were behind the counter as if nothing were going on. Had he gotten the wrong address?
"Welcome to the Cafe DuJour. What can I get you?"
The girl was too cheery even if what Jones had told him was true. Maybe he was in the wrong place, eyes looking around for some suspect when he spotted the man from before, the one with the coffee and croissant. They looked up without interest then blinked, blue eyes wide with surprise.
"I'll come back in a minute…"
He walked over to the figure who was now looking at him with a strange curious expression. He took a seat across from them, both uncertain what to say as he coughed and finally spoke.
"What are you doing here Neal?"
Peter wondered if this was some kind of scam but considering how empty the place was and the lack of fear from the staff, something told him this was definitely wrong. Where was the suspect? Why was Neal here?
"I could ask you the same thing. Mozzie was supposed to meet me."
He was casual, nonchalant without a hint of interest other than in his coffee and croissant. Peter was still in a kind of shock uncertain why he'd been called here when he spied a figure across the street then one more beside them. He coughed, moving his eyes to indicate where as Neal turned his head only slightly and sighed.
"Jones told me there was a suspect hold up here. Thought this was the wrong place until I saw you. Wait… I didn't mean it that way… Dammit."
So much for diplomacy, blue eyes staring at him curiously before a soft chuckle erupted from Neal. Peter didn't react right away but then suddenly that sense of relief returned and he relaxed too. Soon they were both glancing out the window at their supposed friends realizing they'd been set up.
"I guess they want us to kiss and make up?"
He saw emotion from his friend, something indicating he wasn't ignoring him anymore. Peter still felt guilty, having only gone to yell at his friend that day but ending up saving him and possibly his own future. Rebecca was behind bars for good.
"I was angry at you that day… I don't know what made me show up. Elizabeth was mad at me for being angry with you. I was… drunk."
Peter was telling the truth, letting his feelings out and Neal just stared down at his coffee and listened. Finally he finished.
"I told Rebecca she hurt you and she laughed. I wanted to punch the smirk off her face for you. You deserve better than what's been given to you, Neal. I'm sorry."
He felt better but he still felt guilty, Peter moving to leave. This wasn't going to work. Why would Neal forgive him? Why should he forgive himself if he could. He was still angry about things… He felt a hand on his arm and paused, looking back.
"I never got to thank you, Peter. If you hadn't come that day…"
Neal paused, guilt in his expression as it was in Peter's. Both men were feeling badly about everything and it was obvious Neal had only done what had needed to be done, he knew that now. It wouldn't be easy to accept but he could understand for both of their sakes.
"Guess I could call in that I'll be taking the morning off. El's been wanting to visit with you if you're up to it."
He waited to see what his friend would do, Neal nodding with a slight smile. Peter pulled out his cell, calling up Jones.
"Burke… situation contained."
He said a few more things, Jones letting him know enough that he guessed his wife had called in. He could see the agent across the street give a nod of the head then leave, Mozzie disappearing on his own. They were alone now, just two friends or so he hoped as they left the cafe and slipped into his BMW. Neal was quiet, the ride home silent but for the outside sounds of traffic and the radio low on a sports channel. Finally they made it to Brooklyn, El waiting as they went inside.
"You're back early…"
She acted innocent, Jones having told him who had asked him to give the call. His wife could be just as devious and conniving as Neal and Mozzie. He realized now she was not being any different than when he'd met her, his concerns for her becoming another con nothing to worry about. He nodded, looking at Neal who was still silent but for a quiet "hello" to his wife.
"False alarm. I did find another person of interest there though…"
He smiled, Neal smirking slightly as he realized it was him.
"I was just minding my own business with a croissant and coffee when a Fed comes in."
They were more at ease now but the tension was still evident as El nodded with a wink at both.
"I'm just glad to have you both home. I was about to pull some muffins out of the oven. Who's interested?"
The two looked at the other and then back at her, nodding with smiles more like they used to be. Peter grabbed a cup of coffee then another and brought them back to the dining table, motioning for Neal to sit while the agent hugged and kissed his wife. He whispered softly: I know what you did. Thanks hun.
She smirked back, kissing him again before smiling a bit more broadly. He let her go, moving to sit at the table with the con as El removed the freshly baked muffins. The house was filled with the aroma of blueberries and fresh pastries, even Neal looking happy as he took in the scent.
"Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe."
He said it quietly to Neal who blinked and looked a bit surprised, a blush reddening his cheeks. Perhaps they had both lost faith in the other, things and events pulling them apart.
"Voltaire… now you sound just like Mozzie."
The blush was gone but something else had replaced it as Peter gave a sarcastic look of dislike.
"Me sound like Mozzie? I resemble that remark."
He saw Neal smirk back, sitting a bit more relaxed in the chair as he sipped at the coffee and smiled.
"You're the one quoting…"
Neal was grinning now, Peter giving an overly dramatic sigh in response."
"But it's only one quote. I'm neither paranoid nor believe in half the stuff he does. There's no comparison."
His reply just made Neal shrug, a playful glitter in those blue eyes.
"Keep telling yourself that, Columbo."
Author's Note:Just a little something I had to do after the last ep. Not a perfect story but I don't do many from Peter's point of view and I really needed to get into his head. I hope you like.