Fandom: White Collar
Characters: Peter, Mozzie, Neal (Gen, Humor)
Summary (S1): Enemies, co-conspirators, friends of friends… sometimes, the lines got blurred.
Author's Notes: An Australian Flood Auction Fic for wraithkeeper.
Also for writers_choice ("Plan").
Peter had a mouthful of nails, a hammer in one hand and a carpenter's level in the other. That and Murphy’s Law had to be what prompted the phone to ring just then.
Elizabeth was out, and he would have let the machine pick up except that the caller ID said, Neal. Peter traded the hammer for the phone, instead. "Hello?"
A voice colored with suspicion answered him. "Neal said you wanted to talk to me."
Havisham. "That's right," Peter said. "Is Neal there with you now?"
"That's not going to work. Do you have a number where I could call you in about an hour?"
"Maybe." Mozzie's voice dropped to a whisper. "Or I could just go downstairs..."
"Sure, I'll wait."
Peter listened to a muttered exchange between Mozzie and Neal, then the sound of footsteps and a door, followed by a maddeningly sedate rhythm as Mozzie ostensibly walked down the stairs.
"All right," Mozzie finally said.
"Okay, here's the deal," Peter began. "Neal's file says his birthday's on the 12th. And Elizabeth and I were thinking about throwing a surprise party for him. I don't know if that's actually his real birthday…"
Mozzie remained predictably silent.
"…but do you think he'd be happy celebrating it that day? Would that be reasonable?"
"Okay, good." Mozzie's answer lacked enthusiasm, but that was Mozzie. "We were planning to start at five o'clock, here at our place. We'd like you to come, of course."
"Who else will be there?" Mozzie asked. "Besides you and Mrs. Suit."
"Elizabeth," Peter corrected. "I'm inviting the rest of my team, and I'd hoped June might be able to come, too."
"Is that it?"
Peter sighed. "Yes. No other FBI personnel or law enforcement entities will be present."
"So, you'll come?"
"I shall make every effort."
Whatever that means. "Excellent," was all Peter said.
There was something else Elizabeth had wanted to know, now what was it? Oh, yeah— "So, you've known Neal for a few years...What kind of birthday cake would he like?"
"Neal likes chocolate ganache, with raspberry sauce and sweet cream."
"It's French. Mrs. Suit will know."
"Elizabeth," Peter countered."All right, just spell it for me and I'll write it down…" Mozzie finished up the details of the cake, and even went way off-book and volunteered a few menu suggestions. Shocking.
"How were you planning to get Neal over to your house on Saturday?" Mozzie asked.
"Still working on it," Peter admitted. "I'll think of something. Thanks for all your help."
"Don't mention it," Mozzie said.
Peter was pretty sure he'd meant that literally.
A week later, everyone was hanging around Peter's kitchen and living room, having a good time. Surprising Neal had gone off without a hitch, though Peter hadn't expected it to have such a strong impact. Neal was actually speechless for a moment, and then quite obviously moved. And if he thought the combination of nachos, croquettes, beer, and cocktails was a little strange, he was polite enough not to mention it.
Peter brought him a gin and tonic and a plate of caviar, crackers, and miniature quiche. "So, I guess you're old enough to drive now."
"This is amazing," Neal said. "What made you think of it?"
Peter shrugged. "You haven’t really had a chance to celebrate your birthday in four years. And you always remembered my birthday when you were in the pen—even if it was just to yank my chain."
Neal laughed. "At first, maybe. But you also seemed like a pretty nice guy, under that officious exterior."
Officious? Peter didn't like the sound of that, but it didn't stop an incredibly unprofessional grin from working its way out of him. "I am nice," he said. "Ask anyone."
"So, how'd you work out the details? Like the cake?"
"I got Mozzie to help me."
"Mozzie?" Neal asked.
"I know. He forgot I was the enemy for five whole minutes, and he did it all for you. So don't forget to thank him."
"So, are you really thirty-two now?" Peter asked.
"What do you think?"
"I think your real name is Steve, and you were on the swim team in high school."
"No you don't!"
"You're right, I don't," Peter said. "Most days, anyway… Are you ready for some cake?"
"I was ready as soon as I walked through the door." Neal followed Peter to the kitchen. "I could actually be twenty-nine, though, you know."
"And I’m the President," Peter snorted. "In your dreams…"