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clint, no, coffee
Title: Poison
Rating: G
Genre and/or Pairing: A little angsty.  Maybe pre-Peter/Neal if you squint hard
Spoilers: Spoilers for season 3
Warnings: none
Word Count: 698
Summary:  Peter ponders Neal over a cup of espresso at Junes.

Peter sips his espresso enjoying the taste that was imported from France or Italy or wherever June ordered it from. The view is magnificent as the sun rises over the skyscrapers of New York. He is always surprised at the way Neal lands on his feet. Fresh out of jail and he meets June who is rich, likes conmen, and happens to live in a mansion just inside his two mile radius. Peter supposes it's a combination of luck and Caffrey charm. Neal just seems to live one of those blessed lives despite his persistence in trying to squander his luck with bad choices. Neal is arrogant, doesn't listen, lies as smooth as the devil and–

And for some reason, Peter still genuinely likes the man.

Perhaps that is why Peter finds himself picking Neal up to go to the office yet again. It wasn't the coffee, though even he had to (reluctantly) admit it was amazing. It has to be the way Neal grins as he opens the door to let Peter into his apartment. That grin, which lights up his face and is reflected in his eyes. That grin, which sets Peters teeth on edge, because that grin is a lie. Or maybe it's the way Neal flings the door open. Challenging Peter to find something wrong; to find the proof that Neal knows Peter doesn't have. Peter has no reason to believe that Neal has the Nazi art but Peter can't stop looking and–

And somehow Peter knows that Neal has that treasure somewhere and is just waiting for the right time to flee.

So Peter visits to June's and sits on the balcony enjoying espresso and joking with Neal and disguises the pit in his stomach that's there because he doesn't know if he can fix this. All he has to do is think of a way to end this without Neal going back to jail. Despite what Neal might believe, Peter knows that Neal is a good person who is enjoying the work that they are doing. Peter wants this partnership to last because they make an excellent team and he doesn't want to lose Neal. If Peter could just get Neal to see the edge of the canyon that he is sprinting for, then maybe Peter could convince him to come back to safety. However, Peter can't see anything but a mask when he meets Neal's eyes, making him wonder if he's made any progress in changing Neal's mind and–

And then Neal almost get himself killed but it will save someone and Peter will see Neal without a mask: sweating, disheveled, and truly happy.

But right now, Peter can tell that Neal is on the edge of bolting and all he can do is keep vigilant and always have an eye on Neal – though that's never worked that well before. Peter knows that the tracking device's two mile limit chafes at Neal and adding Jones following him and Peter's constant suspicion only makes things worse. But Peter doesn't know what else to do to keep Neal here. If he could just find that anchor to tether Neal to, so that the wanderlust he glimpses when Neal glances out a window or adjusts his hat or picks someones pocket – when that mask drops for just a moment – and Peter knows he's losing Neal and–

And Peter knows this is only going end with Neal in jail again, and damn it he doesn't want that.

Maybe tomorrow, Neal will find that he has more family here then just Mozzie. Maybe tomorrow, Neal's smile will reach more then just his eyes and he'll understand what Peter has been trying to show him. Maybe tomorrow, Neal won't need to defend himself when they get a new case about a forged Monet. Maybe tomorrow, Neal will find that hitting rock bottom isn't the only way to change. Maybe tomorrow, Neal won't look Peter in the eyes and lie with a smile. Maybe tomorrow, Neal will say that he's not going anywhere and actually mean it and–

And until tomorrow comes, Peter sips his espresso and pretends with Neal that everything is alright.

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