"We're supposed to be working, Neal." Peter was attempting to sound indignant and authoritative, but he suspected that he just sounded resigned.
"That's true." Neal agreed, taking a thoughtful sip of his undoubtedly expensive wine. "I wonder if we can expense our meal."
He'd do it, too, if Peter would let him. And then when Hughes found out and demanded an explanation, he'd charm his way out of trouble, and probably convince everyone that one of the most expensive restaurants in Manhattan had played a crucial role in Fighting Crime.
"No." Peter told him firmly, and Neal pouted at him from across the table, but was distracted from further protest by the arrival of the waiter. "Yes, we'd like to start off with the foie gras en terrine..."
"Neal, I'm not paying for foie gras..." Peter started, thinking of Elizabeth's reaction to a $100 bill for things she got free samples of.
"Relax, this one's on me." His partner assured him, flashing white teeth. "It's been a stressful case, we've got some time to kill, we may as well enjoy dinner in style, right?"
"Uh huh." Peter agreed flatly, trusting that Neal was already well aware of how uncomfortable the lavish environment was making him. The restaurant was an elaborate canvas of red and gold that Neal, dressed in a high quality suit and an air of royalty, seemed to melt into. He was entirely in his element. It seemed a mere step away from irony, sometimes, that Neal could do this so well while Peter hid in the corner at his wife's functions and wished desperately for pizza.
"So!" Neal leaned forward, resting his chin on his hands. The candlelight flickering from the middle of the table made the pose seem oddly intimate. "Tell me something I don't know about you."
"What?" Peter blinked, taken aback by the change in subject.
"We're eating a meal together. There should be conversation. Possibly some bonding." Neal explained patiently, and Peter considered the possibility of stabbing him with the second fork, since he really only needed one. Blood wasn't quite the right shade of red, though, it would clash horribly with the decor.
"Something you don't know about me.... I dunno. If you don't already know it, you probably don't need to." he responded with a shrug, and Neal used his gorgeous blue eyes to good effect, rolling them upward in a heaven-help-us expression.
"I'm not asking you for FBI secrets Peter, for god's sake. Tell me..." a sudden spark of mischief in his expression, "tell me a story from your childhood."
"Alright..." Peter agreed slowly, because it sounded harmless, but it was never wise to let your guard down when you were dealing with the world's most expert con man. "What did you have in mind?"
"Hmm..." Neal considered. "I don't know... something charming and whimsical. Humorous, maybe."
Neal Caffrey was shockingly easy to talk to. Or possibly it was the exact opposite of shocking, but still, when the check came, Peter was surprised to realize that he was relaxed and enjoying himself, swapping stories about wild adventures in college. He supposed that if he retraced the conversation in his mind later, he'd see the ways in which Neal had very carefully directed it in the direction he wanted it to go, but maybe the only difference between Neal and everyone else was that he was better at it.
"This was fun, Peter, thanks for doing it with me." The other man was practically radiating sincerity at him, and his eyes really were an incredible shade of blue. Something in Peter's stomach heated up. French food had never really agreed with him.
"Yeah, I had fun too." He admitted, giving a self-deprecating shrug. He hadn't expected to, but he probably should've remembered who he was with. Neal beamed at him, delighted by the admission.
"Next time we'll hit up a pizza place." he promised, emphasizing it with a companionable shoulder nudge. They fell into step through long habit as they left the restaurant, heading left toward the subway station. They still had well over an hour before their target was scheduled to meet up with his client.
"It's a date." Peter agreed amiably, and then felt his heart skip a beat as he realized what he'd just said. Neal grinned at him, all humor.
"Why Peter, I was wondering when you'd notice." He responded lightheartedly. "If the candlelit dinner didn't make it clear, I was going to sprawl across your desk in the nude."
Neal joked flirtatiously with everyone. Peter knew better than to take him seriously.