Yeah! I've finally started writing again. Life has been crazy. This is just a short one shot that takes place somewhere between "Deadline" and "The Dentist of Detroit." It has spoilers for "Where There's a Will" and "Deadline."

DISCLAIMER: White Collar belongs to Jeff Eastin and USA Network.


"Agent Melissa Matthews."

Peter looked up from his desk to see Neal standing in his door frame, his fedora perched slightly askew.

"Were you talking to me? I'm sorry, I was concentrating on something else."

Peter smirked knowing full well what was going on, but he was not about to admit it. Neal walked further into the office, sat down in his usual chair and tossed his fedora on top of Peter's paperwork.

"You heard me. Agent Melissa Matthews."

"That's a statement, Neal. Not a question. I'm a bit busy right now. Did you have an actual question?"

"Why was she in your office?"

"I don't remember introducing you."

"The walls have ears, Peter."

"So I've heard."

"Haha, funny. Really cute, Peter. Why was Agent Matthews in your office?"

"We had business to discuss."

"She's from the DC Art Crimes unit, Peter. I can do research too. What could she possibly help you with that I couldn't?"

"Do I detect some jealousy?"

"I thought I was your art consultant. Why am I not being consulted?"

"Believe it or not, Neal, we did solve some art crimes before you came on board."

"Yeah, and exactly what was your closure rate before that happened?"

"Oooh, defensive are we? So jealous that you took a below the belt shot, I see."

"I'm not jealous."

"Did I miss a memo somewhere that said that I have to run every aspect of every case by you? Because I don't remember seeing it and you weren't here yet."

Neal realized he wasn't getting anywhere with Peter, so he tried a different tactic.

"Do you remember when you said you were glad everything was back to normal?"


"Did you mean it? Because I'm wondering what kind of normal you are referring to, because normally you can't wait to get my take on the case. What could DC Art Crimes possibly want that you can't get from me?"

"You're a smart guy, Neal. You figure it out."

"You want me to figure it out, but you won't give me any clues. Well, for starters, apparently she wasn't as helpful as she thought she would be because I noticed she left a day early."

"You know how it is. Things come up; plans change. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to introduce the two of you."

Peter sounded more flippant than sincere, and Neal tried to stare Peter down and make him feel guilty, but Peter's defiant look wasn't going anywhere.

"I'm hurt that you didn't introduce me, Peter. I thought you said I was part of the family now. What more can I do to prove that you can trust me?"

"I told you just the other day that I trusted you, and what did you do? You destroyed an ancient book and used my dog as an accomplice!"

"To be technical, I wasn't the one who drilled the hole."

"Are you not familiar with the term accomplice?"

"You know I prefer to work alone and there were no guns."

"Neal, this is not funny, the Plantetarium was going to press charges against you."

"Everything worked out; just not exactly the way we planned. It just reinforces the need for a Plan B. We did figure it out Peter. We got Savannah back."

"Yeah, this time."

"Why won't you answer my question?"
"I did answer your question."

"What is this about Peter? Some high profile theft that I know nothing about? I took your lie detector test and you still don't believe me. Why are you shutting me out?"

"You're the one who isn't trusting me! If you know what is going on Neal, let me help you."

"I think you're confused Peter. You're the one who isn't telling me what is going on."

"You already know what's going on Neal. I'm trying to figure it out myself and prevent you from doing something stupid that will land yourself back in jail. I know you have the art. I'm just not sure what you're planning on doing with it."

"Peter, I told you I didn't steal the art, and I'm still waiting for you to prove it."

"So, Einstein, what do you think I'm trying to do?"

"That doesn't sound like a truceā€¦"

"No, it sounds to me like you're jealous of Agent Matthews and what I could have possibly told her. Whatever you are planning, Neal; it's self destructive. You're familiar with William Penn, right? The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. I have your best interests at heart, Neal, but I am sworn to uphold the law and I will figure out what's going on. You're the one with the choice to make."

Neal didn't say a word as he grabbed his hat and quickly left Peter's office. Peter was definitely onto him and he didn't like it one bit.