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31 May 2016 @ 03:47 pm
Episode Tag/Missing Scene Meme Fic #2 - Whiling Away the Days  
Title: Whiling Away the Days
Rating: G
Word Count: 1,900
Characters: Neal Caffrey, June Ellington, Clinton Jones, Diana Berrigan, Peter Burke
Spoilers: Just Pilot
Author’s Note: The second fic from my Episode Tag/Missing Scene meme for sherylyn who requested this “In the end of the Pilot, Peter and El are heading off on vacation. What do you think Neal actually did for that week they were away? I've seen all sorts of scenarios of horrible things that could have happened, but I never thought it was likely to be *that* bad. Any more "realistic" ideas?”


Twenty minutes after Peter left him on June’s balcony, Neal got an email from his handler. It contained a long list of instructions for how Neal was to conduct himself during the days that Peter would be gone in Belize.

1. Do not run. I will catch you if you do.
2. See number one.
3. Your radius has been reduced to the confines of June’s house outside of work hours until my return on Monday morning, the 16th.
4. You will report for work at 8 AM sharp Monday through Friday, you will clock out no sooner than five, or later if Jones needs you.
5. You will not leave the confines of the FBI building during work hours without an agent.
6. You will complete every task assigned to you without complaint.
7. Cowboy up. I could have put you in lockup for the week.
8. See number two.

Neal rolled his eyes probably ten times in the course of reading Peter’s email. The rules would make for a painful week, but still better than prison by any stretch of the imagination. So, he would do as Peter suggested and cowboy up.

In the short time he had been living at June’s he had had little time to clear out the space and make it his own, and now he had a whole weekend with nothing better to do. So, after he finished reading the paper, he grabbed a quick shower and set to work. June joined him, helping him to sort through the things she wanted to keep and move to the basement from the things she was ready to donate.

Neal had liked June immediately when they met at the thrift store, but by the end of day on Saturday, he loved her. She was warm and gracious and intelligent and there was a definite streak of the mischievous in her. As they sorted through the forty years’ worth of accumulated things that filled the rooms, June regaled him with stories of her life with Byron, of their adventures in this house, the city and a few far-flung destinations as well. It made the work easy, enjoyable even. By the time they were done for the evening the space had been cleared and so they spent Sunday tidying up and turning it into a real loft apartment for Neal. Adding dishes, utensils and pots and pans to the kitchenette, creating a real living room nook and a dining area with some furniture that had been in other rooms or stored in the basement and finally by adding some decorative pieces and some artwork to the walls.

By Sunday night Neal was exhausted, but he realized that he had barely noticed that he couldn’t leave the mansion all weekend and his rooms were incredible. It had been a long four years since he had had a space to himself bigger than an eight-by-eight-foot cell, and now he felt a sense of place and peace in this space. Too bad it would only be his until he found Kate.

***

He slept so well that night that didn’t wake to his alarm in the morning. Once he did wake up he got ready as fast as he could and took a cab to Federal Plaza. He was only fifteen minutes late, but that was enough to garner glares from both Jones and Diana. His smiled his best disarming smile at them but apparently Peter had cc’ed them on his email.

“You’re late, Caffrey,” Jones said, stating the obvious.

Neal nodded. “Won’t happen again.”

Diana snorted from her desk. “Uh, huh.”

“Peter made it clear that if you fail to follow his guidelines we can keep you under house arrest at your place, or throw you in lockup if that’s what it comes to. Don’t make it come to that,” Jones admonished.

Neal struck a serious pose, erasing the smile from his face. “I won’t. I’m here to work.”

“Good. Diana left a stack of case files on your desk for you. If you come up with anything let me know immediately.”

Neal nodded and retreated to his newly assigned desk near the doors of the White Collar offices. The stack of case files was more like a monolith. Neal huffed out a sigh and sat. One week, he could do one week. Then Peter would be back and hopefully they would have something as juicy as the Dutchman to sink their teeth into while he worked on finding Kate.

He spent the morning reviewing mortgage fraud after mortgage fraud and by lunchtime he could barely keep his eyes open through the boredom. He needed a break and some serious caffeine if he was going to make it through the rest of the day. Diana and Jones resolutely refused to take him out. So did everyone else he asked until he got to the office’s second probie Blake, who agreed only to take him as far as the Starbuck’s around the corner and only if Neal agreed to pay for his coffee. Which Neal did, a trenta, triple shot, mocha latte with a splash of raspberry syrup, extra foam and whipped cream. Neal was beginning to wonder just who the con man was.

“How do you like working in White Collar?” He asked as they made their way down the street back to the office.

“Are you kidding?” Blake looked at Neal, an incredulous look on his face.

Neal shook his head.

“The chance to learn from Agent Burke, work under him. There’s nothing better.”

“Huh, Peter’s that good?”

“He caught you didn’t he, twice?”

Neal grimaced. He really didn’t need to be reminded of that on a daily basis. “Touché.”

Fortified with quality caffeine the afternoon went better, still terminally boring, but better.

Tuesday and Wednesday were exact replicas of Monday, except that Neal brought a large thermos filled with June’s Italian roast with him to the office and a sandwich. He avoided Jones and Diana as much as possible. Whenever they had the slightest inkling that he might have time on his hands they dumped another enormous stack of files on his desk.

By mid-morning Thursday, Neal was literally counting the minutes until Peter’s return on Monday morning. Forty-eight hundred. He had reviewed so many mortgage fraud files he was dreaming about them, about the names and the columns of figures and the endless, boring details that led in circles. To his credit he had been able to hand six of them off to Diana and Jones with notes that could well lead to captures and convictions. But the cost to his brain cells had been heavy.

He was just opening his millionth file, with a heavy sigh, when Jones appeared in front of his desk. “Want to get out of here for a little while?”

Neal looked up and blinked, somewhat stunned by the question. “Is the Pope Catholic?” He finally sputtered.

Jones smirked and waved him up. “Come on, we’re off to serve a warrant.”

Jones could have said, we’re off to the laundromat to watch the dryers spin and Neal still would have leapt enthusiastically from his seat.

It was nice to be outside in the middle of the day, even if outside was inside a black government SUV.

“Where are we headed?” Neal asked from the backseat.

“Wall Street. We’ve been waiting for this warrant to come through for weeks. Too bad Peter isn’t here. He would have loved to see the look on their faces when we come through the door waving the paperwork.”

“Paperwork? That’s good. Way better than waving guns.”

“Better maybe, but far less fun.” Diana replied with a smile that made Neal feel oddly nervous.

Neal could think of no other word to describe the raid than placid. The only person who came even close to yelling was Diana and from the smile that still lit up her face that appeared to be from the excitement of the whole event. Everyone in the trading offices of Wolfram and Banyon seemed too surprised by the appearance of the FBI to put up any kind of fuss. Other than watching the proceedings, which Neal had to admit was an education, there was nothing for Neal to do as the agents swarmed the place seizing every single scrap of paper and every electronic device, right down to the wifi routers and photocopiers. It was efficient and thorough and Neal felt strange standing in the midst of it with no one slapping handcuffs on him. Like he was having an out of body experience.

Friday turned out to be a replay of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. At least it was FRIDAY and he was almost through with the work part of this interminable week.

That evening Mozzie called to tell him that he’d had no luck in locating Kate, but he would keep at it. Neal slid between the sheets of his tiger oak bed that night feeling no different than if he had spent the week stamping license plates. Things would be better when Peter was back. He was certain of that. He would likely go insane if they didn't get better.

***

Neal was just finishing his morning coffee and wondering how he was going to keep himself occupied inside the mansion for the next two days when a gentle knock came at the door.

“Come.”

June stepped into the apartment followed by her chauffeur and the maid, carrying armloads of shopping bags.

“Good morning June. What’s all this?” He asked reaching to take the bags that June held from her.

“I thought you could use a diversion, dear.”

Neal peeked inside the one of the bags to find a sketchbook, a package of charcoals and a set colored pencils. In the other there was a watercolor pad and a set paints.

“There are a couple of canvases here too and oil paints, brushes, everything you should need to entertain yourself for the weekend.”

“June, this is too much. Thank you.”

“It’s my gift to you for all the help you gave me last weekend, clearing out these rooms. I hadn’t had the heart to go through all of Byron’s things. But, you let an old woman reminisce and let go. And it’s my pleasure, dear boy, truly.”

Neal smiled and kissed her softly on the cheek. “It was my pleasure, truly.”

He spent the remainder of the weekend indulging in the act of creating, sketching Kate, doing a watercolor for June from an old photo he found of Byron and painting a portrait of Satchmo from memory for Elizabeth to thank her for her hospitality and to rile Peter just a little bit.

***

Monday morning Peter arrived at the office bright and early at 7:30. He was more than relieved to find that there were no urgent alerts from the Marshal’s office or his team. He was also relieved when he saw Neal walk through the doors to the office. His young CI doffed his hat and nodded in Peter’s direction before going to his desk.

A minute later a new email popped up in Peter's inbox, from Neal. The subject line read: Neal’s Rules. Peter arched an eyebrow and opened the email.

1. No more mortgage fraud.
2. See number one.
3. Neal gets to go to lunch outside of the office, at least twice a week.
4. No guns, especially when Diana is present.
5. See number four.
6. See number two.

 
 
 
kanarek13kanarek13 on May 31st, 2016 10:02 pm (UTC)
Squeeeeee \o/ Oh, how perfect is this?!!! Bonding with June over Byron's old things, getting a hint of Diana's badassness, LOL... developing instant hate for mortgage fraud... omg, this is all soooooooo in character and awesome... and those emails, LOLOL, yup, our boys *smishes them* :P

LOVE THIS SOOO MUCH :D
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 15th, 2016 02:31 am (UTC)
Hehe! Thanks K!

This one was a lot of fun to write. And, cleaning out the apartment has been part of my head canon for years so it was fun to write.
Sherylynsherylyn on May 31st, 2016 10:06 pm (UTC)
LOLOLOL OH, that is priceless, all of it!! Thank you soooo much for doing this, it's just absolutely perfect!! <3 <3 <3 Or, as Neal might sign it, XOXO ;-)

Edited at 2016-05-31 10:06 pm (UTC)
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 15th, 2016 02:33 am (UTC)
You're so welcome! It was a great prompt and it gave me the chance to write some of my head canon from this ep.

*HUGS*
Sherylynsherylyn on June 15th, 2016 03:17 am (UTC)
I love it completely!! Thanks for doing all these; they're all wonderful!!

*HUGS*
aragarnaaragarna on May 31st, 2016 10:17 pm (UTC)
LOOL Love this! :D

Heh Neal's scared of Diana!!
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 15th, 2016 02:35 am (UTC)
Hehe! Diana can be pretty scary and she's always had Neal's number so poor social engineer Neal has to be a little afraid of her, right?
angelita26: Neal Happyangelita26 on June 1st, 2016 01:22 am (UTC)
LOL!

This was hilarious and awesome! I especially loved the emails from both Peter and Neal - great bookends for this great fic!

I'm proud of Neal for keeping busy while Peter was gone, and I especially love that June helped keep his weekends full. It was very nice of her to get him art supplies. So great!

Thanks for sharing, pooh bear!
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 15th, 2016 02:37 am (UTC)
Thanks ang! I have to admit I had fun with the emails. And, I love Pilot, so it was fun to write fic for it.
dennih23: Neal and Peter 5 x 13dennih23 on June 1st, 2016 02:07 am (UTC)
LOL. Love the emails, especially Neal's email to Peter -- Rule #1 - no more mortgage fraud, I'm sure Neal was bored after a week of nothing but mortgage fraud - it probably took a lot for Neal not to run :D
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 15th, 2016 02:37 am (UTC)
I bet you're right!

Thanks denni!
joy2190: pic#118544160joy2190 on June 1st, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC)
LOL. I love that there were Neal's rules but Peter's 'suggestions'!
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 15th, 2016 02:38 am (UTC)
Well of course, rules are only meant to be broken if you're Neal!

Thanks joy!
caseyf123 on June 6th, 2016 02:06 am (UTC)
Funny and sweet!
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 15th, 2016 02:39 am (UTC)
Thanks casey!