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Many a Gleaming Golden Hoard

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His second week in White Collar, Neal walks up to Peter's office and catches him with a green lollipop, holding it up to the light and examining it with the pleased grin of an appraiser who's just been handed a genuine red diamond. But it's not until he pushes the door open and steps in that Neal realizes why it seems familiar.

"Hold on," he says. "Is that–?"

Peter looks up sharply, but he seems to consider his rhetorical options, discards most of them, and grins. "I thought about eating it to celebrate when we caught you, but it didn't seem right, somehow."

Neal resists mentioning that there's a creepy degree of sentimentalism going on between Peter and the sucker. "You've seriously kept that in your desk, all these years?"

"I keep things in my desk from time to time," Peter says.

Sometimes when Peter grins, all his canines seem a little bit too sharp. Nothing too far out of the ordinary – they're not vampire teeth, or anything – but it does seem like Peter's picked the far end of the bell curve of sharpness in human canines and parked himself there. There's a lot about Peter that's a little bit strange.

But, hey, Neal's never been interested in your run-of-the-mill anything. If nothing else, he's hoping this partnership will be an interesting one.

Mozzie meets him in his suite with a chess set. Because Neal's life is sadly lacking in overt symbolism, perhaps.

That, or to keep his gameplay sharp. Hard to tell, with Mozzie.

"You know, I don't think it's healthy to get this involved with the feds," Mozzie says, as he sets up the game on the apartment's dining table. "Especially not with your past. –don't give me that look. You and I both know that you have a complex regarding law enforcement. You're entirely too sanguine about them."

"I feel like 'sanguine' is not the right word for the emotion that comes after 'my dad was a dirty cop.'"

"You spent too long drinking the kool-aid as a child," Mozzie says, and turns the board so Neal's on white. "The damage is done. You're going to get in over your head, and you're going to start seeing them as friends and noble servants of the peace, and you're going to compromise your anarchist ethics, and it's just all going to end up in a gigantic mess between your sordid paternal history and the office patriarch and you'll find yourself getting extorted by members of the criminal underworld in some kind of desperate attempt to protect the interests of your new FBI pals."

Mozzie claims to be descended from Cassandra. Neal is never sure whether or not to believe him, and Mozzie tries to pass that off as proof. Either way, it's really hard to take him seriously when he gets like this.

"That sounds the opposite of plausible," Neal says, and opens with a Queen's Gambit.

Mozzie sighs, and humors him by taking his pawn.

Neal is disappointed.

He's disappointed because he lifted Peter's watch right off his wrist while he was handing the man coffee, because Neal considers it one of the unwritten bits of his job description to keep his handler on his toes. But it's been a minute, and Peter doesn't seem to have noticed. For shame.

He follows Peter into his office because no one's explicitly told him not to, and flips his hat onto Peter's desk. Which Peter sees as soon as he's past his desk and turning around to sit down, and he gives Neal a flat glare for his trouble.

"You're not using that corner," Neal says.

"That doesn't make it a hat rack." Peter sets his coffee down, picks the hat up, and tosses it at Neal's chest. "What is your fascination with those things, anyway?"

Neal catches the hat, and gives Peter an innocent grin. "They look good."

Peter snorts. "Right."

Neal carefully hangs the hat on the doorknob. "Understandably," he says, slipping the watch out of his pocket, "you're not one for fashion. But, you know, I do at least expect more style from you than a–"

...and there he trails off, because he thought he was about to read off the name of some utterly generic watch brand, and instead, he's looking at a little red cross and caduceus on the watch face and a neat line of medical information custom-stamped onto the band.

Peter clears his throat, and Neal looks up to find him extending a hand over his desk, palm-up. He drops the watch into Peter's palm, wordlessly.

Right. Go in expecting to rib Peter about his taste in accessories; end up stealing a glance at his personal medical information. Now Neal feels like an ass.

But only for a second, because in the next second the details stamped on the band percolate up into his consciousness, and he says "Wait, did that say what I think it said?"

"It's just precautionary," Peter says. "In case I get in an accident or something and they need to know what kind of blood to give me. Let's not make a big deal of it."

"Yeah, they need to give you type A-xDRG/H+?" Neal asks. "Peter, are you part-dragon?"

"You're making a deal of it," Peter warned.

Neal grins. "I'm working with a demidragon. Can you fly? Can you shapeshift? Can you breathe fire? Do you have a stash of gold and gems I should know about?"

Peter shoots him a look that's full up on exasperation but apparently topped off with amusement. "Do you get all of your information on demihumans off the tabloids in the grocery stores?"

"Not all of it," Neal says.

"Go," Peter says. "Do that thing you're supposed to be doing. Get out of my office."

This is good. This isn't terminally awkward. This isn't Peter quietly stoicing his way through a chronic disease or anything. Neal stands with a grin and a shrug, and says "Call me if you need me," and turns to head out of the office.

"I can breathe fire, by the way," Peter remarks, just as he's letting the door swing shut behind him.

Mozzie is waiting in his apartment to drink his wine and fill him in on all the things he hasn't found out about Kate, and Neal manages to slip in a "Oh, also, my handler is part-dragon" remark when Mozzie disinterestedly asks how his day has been.

He's hoping to at least get a spit-take from Mozzie, but Mozzie finishes his glass and sets it aside. "See? Didn't I tell you that you'd soon make a startling discovery about your handler?"

Neal pauses with his tie half-undone, and shoots a look back at Mozzie. "I don't remember you telling me that."

Mozzie deflates, sighs, and sinks back into his seat. "That's because if you did, you'd be compelled to believe me."

Okay, so Peter being part-dragon is not the weirdest thing in Neal's life.

That is, these things happen. One of Mozzie's secure storage facilities was rented out from a kuchisake-onna who he paid in fresh fruit and an ever-expanding array of imported candy. Neal once had a job in the Valley of Mexico go dramatically sideways when a ahuizotl got involved. And Keller liked to claim that he was part basilisk, which was thankfully not remotely true, so far as Neal could tell.

"So how much dragon are you?" Neal asks at one point, over sandwiches in Federal Plaza, and Peter snorts. Neal half-expects a little puff of smoke, but of course there isn't one.

"One drop," Peter says. "What do you expect?"

Half-blooded, quarter-blooded, hell, even sixteenth-blooded people can sometimes manifest some pretty extraordinary abilities. But after that, the exact amounts don't really matter; it's all one-drop this or one-drop that.

Still a useful description, of course. Because even when your bloodline's been so mixed with humanity that you have to start dealing in fractions with exponents on the denominator, it never just goes away. There's always some little trace of the lineage left.

"Can't blame me for hoping for a long shot," Neal says.

It doesn't help that most of the big, shocking, awe-inspiring creatures of legend are officially considered extinct. Or rather, they're so rare that there's no reason to believe they aren't extinct, except that every once in a while a halfblood will show up and throw everyone into an uproar. But the last halfblood of one of the old epic races who hit the global scene was a half- Ninki Nanka who showed up in British Gambia in the 1890s, and she died in Burma in World War II.

Neal doesn't spend too much time thinking about how the hell human-creature halfbreeds happen in the first place. No one understands the biology, and as for the logistics, well, there's a large and lucrative porn industry for that. Neal's more than happy to leave it to them.

Neal sidles up to Jones after one of their morning meetings, because Jones seems to regard him with amused tolerance and is a veteran of the office gossip. "Did you know Peter is part-dragon?"

Jones gives him an odd look. "Yeah," he says, "you didn't?"

So, Fowler happens, and aside from the vague surprise that Peter would be willing to let Mozzie sweep his house for bugs, Neal is curious what he can learn from the experience. What can he say? He's an opportunist.

Mozzie shows up at his place for a debrief, and Neal has an array of takeout ready to bribe him with. Which isn't necessary, but is always nice.

"Did you know the Suit has a box full of evidence he collected while he was chasing you?" Mozzie remarks. "He keeps it in his spare bedroom."

"He keeps case evidence in his house?" Neal asks. That can't be allowable by FBI protocol.

"Well," Mozzie says. "Evidence only in the loosest sense of the term. Probably useless for actually investigating your activities. It's rather cute, in a way; you have an admirer."

Neal pauses with his glass halfway to his mouth. "Please tell me you're not saying–"

"Oh, no, Mrs. Suit explained it," Mozzie says. "It's a–" –he makes a rar sort of gesture with his hand, "–draconic thing. He has a box on her, too. He hoards evidence."

And here, Neal had really been holding out for gold jewelry or obscure abstract impressionists. He sets the glass down with a clink. "What."

"Apparently Mrs. Suit only lets him keep, like, his top five files in the house at any one time," Mozzie says. "He rents a storage space on Atlantic Avenue for the rest."

Neal conducts an experiment. He goes to see a jazz act in Central Park over the weekend. Never brings it up – doesn't invite Peter, doesn't make any references to saxophones or open-air acoustics or anything the next day, just says he did "nothing much" on his weekend when Peter asks, smalltalk style – and leaves two copies of the program notes clipped to his fridge with a magnet, tucked away behind a handful of take-out menus.

Later in the week Peter shows up unannounced at his apartment, grinning because he's made a breakthrough on their most recent case, sticks around for fifteen or eighteen minutes or so. One copy of the program notes is mysteriously missing when he leaves.

After the plane goes up, Neal's breath tastes like jet fuel until the prison doors close behind him, and then it starts tasting like blood.

The prison doctor who looks over him sounds like he'd read someone the riot act if he wasn't completely used to these things; tells Neal that sometimes smoke inhalation takes some time to manifest, and sticks an oxygen mask on him which doesn't stop his lungs from rearing into a full-blown infection by the next morning.

In truth, part of Neal is almost glad for the bronchitis. It gets him out of having to consciously deal with being in prison again, and when he does get out, it's at least possible to pretend that that's why he's not at the top of his game.

Peter keeps sending pained looks his way, though, and brings soup and cards with El's handwriting on them when he stops by June's place to bring Neal their case files. At least the soup is good, from what he can taste of it.

After one coughing spate, and Peter's attendant concern, Neal casts him a halfhearted glare and says "You were as close to the plane as I was. And you were okay?"

It's not the question he wants to ask. That one's more like, how are you okay? Which is the question Peter answers anyway when he gives Neal an almost remorseful look, points to himself, and says, "Dragon."

Mozzie tells him, with characteristic bluntness, that "the Suit wants to distract you with further federal brainwashing. I've been asked to keep you focused on your case." Which, uncharacteristically, Mozzie seems on board with.

Peter's apparently left instructions at the office for all new evidence for their active cases to be left at Neal's desk before getting tucked away. At first Neal thinks it's just Peter trying to drown him in work so he won't spiral off into the dark place, whatever that's supposed to mean; having Peter and Mozzie in collusion is more than a little disturbing.

Then he catches Peter glancing his way, almost furtively, right when a new box is delivered.

Peter's look is oddly earnest, oddly hopeful, and quickly hidden when he sees Neal looking his direction. Less like he's looking to see if Neal's cataloguing the evidence right and more like he's fishing for a smile.

This is like... if Peter were a cat, these would be small dead animals. All this evidence. Peter is sharing his hoard with Neal in hopes of cheering him up.

He really couldn't have just collected items of extravagance the way a dragon was supposed to behave, could he.

So, Larssen happens.

After that's all done, Diana corners Neal in the break alcove, and he hands her a mug and the coffeepot. It's fresh, at least, which puts it at the top end of the undrinkable-to-kinda-okay scale. But, you know, it's FBI coffee. Neal doesn't expect much from FBI coffee.

"Been a heck of a few days," Diana says.

Neal laughs. "Yeah, but Peter's in his office, and all is right with the world." Or this corner of it, at least.

Diana casts a fond look up at their benevolent overlord. "It's good to have him back."

Neal's inclined to agree. Not so much inclined to talk about his feelings on the matter. "You give him the mug?"

"I gave him the mug," Diana says. "Think he'd be happier with his old one back, though."

"I thought you tossed Larssen's place," Neal says.

"We did." Diana's voice has a hint of regret to it. "Wasn't there, though. Pity. Peter would've liked to confirm that the prints on the mug matched the latex fakes."

Which is a totally extraneous piece of detail to their investigation, but they both know Peter well enough to know that isn't the point. Neal tilts his head to acknowledge it.

"He did go through the whole office to make sure nothing else was out of place," Diana goes on.

"Can't blame him," Neal says. He's twitchy enough at the thought of Larssen walking into the FBI, and he's used to this sort of thing. Thing about living a life as extralegal as his? You stop expecting people not to break into your spaces, steal things, try to frame you.

He takes a drink.

Diana hooks her thumbs into her pockets, and tilts her head up at Peter's office. She's got her amused-by-the-boss face on.

"Weird thing was," she says, "the thing he was most happy to see was this green sucker in his top drawer. Any idea what's up with that?"

Neal chokes on his coffee.

"Do you ever get the urge to just gather up all the evidence you've collected, make a little nest, and sleep in it?" Neal asks at one point, because it's late, and they're stuck in the van, and he likes poking at Peter with sticks when they're stuck in the van, because the van is one big stick for Peter to poke at him with. And besides, Peter makes the best expressions when his semi-draconity comes up.

"Sleeping on evidence compromises it, and you'd be surprised how few hoards are actually made up of something that's comfortable to sleep on," Peter says, eyes not leaving the screens. "Dragons got away with gold because their body heat was high enough to make it malleable and their scales didn't exactly have nerve endings."

"Okay," Neal says, and leans back, bouncing a pen off the wall. "See, the interesting thing – to me? – about that, is that you phrased it all in a way that suggests you've actually tried."

So, Adler happens.

And then he dumps them all in the bottom of a drydock and opens all the sluice gates to turn it into a wet dock, and part of Neal is impressed by the dramatics. The rest of him is trying to figure out a way not to die from this, because this would be a really stupid way to die.

"Really?" Peter asks. "Really? He's doing the Bond villain thing?"

"He always had a flair for the theatrical." Neal turns, squinting up at the edges of the dock. It won't take too long for the water rushing in to drown all of them. "We've got to find a way out of these–"

There's a pop, and he turns back to see Peter getting to his suddenly un-bound feet.

"–zip ties," he finishes, and quirks his head. "Okay, I'm impressed. How–?"

"Natural talent," Peter says, steps over him, and crouches down. "Gimme your hands."

Neal contorts enough to stick his hands out behind him, and a moment later there are sharp little claws scrabbling across his wrist. "Jeez, try not to open a vein, will you?"

"Stop squirming," Peter says, and a moment later one of his fingers hooks under the zip tie and the claw slices through it. Peter makes a noise of satisfaction. "The tie around my own wrists should be the only one I can't reach."

"Well, good thing you had that trick up your sleeve," Neal says, shaking out his hands as Peter moves over to crouch by his feet. "Would have been screwed without it."

"Not... really," Alex offers. "I have a knife, you guys."

"Well," Alex says, as soon as they're all cut loose and convened on the stairs, a few yards up from the water that's now most of a foot deep, "I don't think my pocket knife is enough firepower to get us out of here."

"No," Neal says. "Not if Adler's guys are still up there." Then something occurs to him, and he turns to Peter. "Could you hit them from the top of the stairs?"

Peter gives him a confused look. "With what?"

"With... fire," Neal says. Then, at Peter's continuing confused look, "You said you could breathe fire."

Peter gives Neal a pointed look. Then he takes a deep breath, and a couple inches of flame lick out past his lips.

Neal stares at him. "That's it?"

"What do you expect?" Peter asks, somewhat crossly. "I'm probably something like one-eight-millionth dragon. Party tricks, tiny claws, and hoards are about what I do."

Running from Peter is probably not a good idea – he might not be a wild animal, but he enjoys a good chase and that's probably just as bad – but it wasn't Neal's idea in the first place, so he can't take the blame for that. He just has to make sure it doesn't all go horribly wrong somehow.

Getting his tie sliced straight off his chest would probably be a bad omen, if he were inclined to believe in omens.

Back at the office, he's barely dropped the tie into the empty-except-for-post-it-notes trashcan by his desk before Peter's hand has darted in and grabbed it. Peter pulls it up like it's a prize fish or something, grinning ear to ear.

"Seriously?" Neal asks. "What's that evidence for, the fact that David Lawrence doesn't use regulation sabres?"

"That too," Peter says cheerfully, and stashes the mangled tie in an evidence bag.

Neal's stopped being surprised that Peter always has those things on hand.

So, Kramer happens.

Later, on Cape Verde, Neal's spent all day crafting a replica of the New York City skyline in sand, all evening probing at a kind of self-enforced honesty, and now he'll probably be up all night listening to a thunderstorm pouring rain on the walls of the villa. But Maya, who's curled up against his side, turns her face to the sky and says, "It's a good night for a swim."

Neal follows her gaze. All the stars are buried behind the clouds. "Are you serious?" he asks. "It's about to storm."

She turns to him, and the light of the candles paints itself across the angles of her face. "I'm one-sixteenth encantado," she says. "No storm can possibly drown me. You want to come?"

Neal's not one-sixteenth anything. Somehow, it just makes him fiercely miss home.

When they take off from Cape Verde, Neal is mostly just happy to be out of cuffs and off his feet, and Peter keeps casting poorly-disguised glances at the red folder sticking out of Collins' bag.

After the twelfth or thirteenth time he catches Peter doing it, Neal finally sighs to himself, leans over, and says "You sure you're okay with this?"

Peter jumps, then turns to look at him like it's not painfully obvious he's uncomfortable. "With what?"

Neal inclines his head toward Collins. "Letting him get all the credit–" he starts.

"I don't care who gets the credit," Peter interrupts.

Neal gives him a sharp look. "–and handing over all the evidence to him."

At that, Peter makes a quiet, frustrated noise. Then visibly pulls himself together. "Yeah. It's fine. I'm fine. Hey," he says, "at least it worked, right? Kramer is back in DC, and you get to come home where you belong."

Neal doesn't even point out that Peter is bad at changing the subject. He definitely doesn't point out that this odd little sacrifice of Peter's isn't something he quite knows how to react to. He can't really imagine a world where he would.

So he goes back to staring out the window and wondering what the next 48 hours will have in store for him, and Peter goes back to thinking about whatever it is that Peter's thinking about.

Three minutes later, Neal catches him sneaking a wistful look at the folder again.

Neal sighs, laughs inwardly, and shakes his head. Then he leans over and says, "Do you want me to get a copy of the file for your records?"

The way Peter's face lights up is answer enough.

So, Neal's position is fine – Kramer thoroughly routed, Hughes grudgingly going to bat for the deal Peter cut – but Peter gets bounced down out of fieldwork entirely. That wasn't supposed to happen.

It takes some sweet-talking, but Neal manages to get Peter's favorite steakhouse to package up a New York Strip, new potatoes, and string beans in a lunch box, which Neal has to provide. He takes it down to the evidence warehouse because despite all of Peter's reassurances, he does feel responsible for Peter's demotion, and he can at least make sure the man is eating well.

Agent Patterson – apparently the archduke of evidence – gives him a hard look when he sees him at the gate, but apparently thinks Peter will be enough to keep him out of trouble. Just makes him sign in, gives him a stern lecture on not getting any ideas, and directs him back to where Peter is taking his break.

Which is somewhere back in the stacks. Okay.

Neal finally tracks him down in front of a shelf stacked high with boxes, which looks exactly the same as every other shelf stacked high with boxes. Peter is gazing up at them, and turns a somewhat frightening grin on Neal when he shows up. The too-sharp canines are fully evident.

"Neal," he says, and appropriates Neal's elbow, dragging him over to appreciate the boxes with him. "Look at this. This is every counterfeit watch that's ended up in the FBI's hands in the last 20 years."

There must be five shelves of them. And Peter is regarding them with an entirely unwarranted amount of glee. "We have got to get you back to White Collar," Neal says.

"I know, I know," Peter agrees. "I can only imagine how many of my cases are piling up back there. And there's this one coming up – but, it's not that bad here."

Not that bad is an understatement. Peter looks like a cat who's been dropped into a bag of catnip. "Please tell me you're not having any sort of thoughts about staying here."

"What?" Peter casts him an unexpectedly sharp look. "No, no. I'd be bored out of my mind once I finished cataloguing all these things. Finding evidence–" this, punctuated by a jab to Neal's chest, "–that's where it's at, Neal. I'd rather be out there."

"Plus, this isn't yours, so it isn't technically part of your hoard," Neal hazards.

Peter shrugs one shoulder. "That, too."

When he's not being lectured at by Hughes, Peter spends the entirety of Reinstatement To White Collar Day grinning at everyone and everything. Neal actually thinks it's because he's just that happy to have his desk back until he manages to corner Peter in his office during a quiet moment. "Told you you'd be back here."

Peter gives him a dopey smile, and says "You did, you did."

"Enjoying your return to power?" Neal asks, and Peter sighs.

"It is good to be back," Peter says. "But I can't stop thinking about the cold storage back at the Cave."

Neal's smile freezes on his face. "Cold... storage?"

"That's what they call it!" Peter says, jabbing a finger at Neal like this is the cleverest thing he's heard in his life. "All the evidence for every cold case the Bureau has, dating back to the turn of the 20th century."

"Oh, god," Neal sub-vocalizes.

"They've got this collection of bank records from this tiny little branch bank that was firebombed in 1963–"

"Oh, god."

"You know," Peter says, jabbing his finger at their latest case file, "this reminds me of this old industrial cheese press back in the Cave. You guys know about Capone's cheese racket, right?"

Neal and Diana exchange helpless looks over the conference room table. Jones deadpans, "All right, the file I got was on insurance fraud. What are you people looking at?"

"So, the story was, one of Capone's people had this cheese press insured for twenty thousand dollars..."

"–but instead of just stealing a government vehicle," Peter is saying, "this guy decided he was going to steal pieces of it from the motor pool's maintenance shop, so he – he had a carburetor from '04, and a drive shaft from '02, and a gas tank from '03–"

Neal puts his coffee aside. "You know, the worst part is, this actually sounds like a good story, but if I ask you about it you'll just take it as encouragement to keep talking about the evidence warehouse all day."

"–which means that they actually had to seize the snakes as evidence, and it took a week and a half to X-ray all of them, and when Agent Patterson had one of the storerooms in the Cave converted into a vivarium it turned out that the guy who won the contract bid showed up with a bunch of equipment that had actually been reported stolen–"

"I swear, Peter, I am this close to committing grand theft just so you'll arrest me and change the subject."

His phone rings while he's stretched out on the couch, halfway through the latest issue of the Smithsonian Magazine, and he glances over and sees with some surprise that it's Elizabeth calling. Interesting. It's been a week since Peter's review was completed and his life settled back to normal, and Neal's been giving chez Burke a wide berth just in case his presence is disruptive. He picks it up. "Hey, El."

"Hey, Neal," she says, and it sounds like she's got some ulterior motive in calling. "How would you like to come over for dinner tonight?"

Curiouser and curiouser. "I'd love to," he says, because it's Elizabeth, and because he has a feeling that if she's trying to get him to agree without telling him why she wants him there, it's because she needs him to be gallant, and he does enjoy being gallant. "Why do you ask?"

"I need someone to run interference for me," she says, with equal degrees fondness and exasperation. "I was hoping you could get Peter talking about something other than that – that damn Cave."

"Elizabeth," Neal says, after he's stopped laughing and he can breathe again. "I hate to admit this, but I think you've drastically overestimated my Peter-wrangling skills."

Neal is walking in the next day when he catches Peter and Mozzie just outside the entrance to the Federal Building, in an animated conversation about something. He gets near enough to hear a few words like conspiracy and clones and slips by them with a concerted effort not to make eye contact with either one.

Ten minutes later Peter walks into the office, gives Neal a good-morning nod, and heads up to his desk. Against his better judgement, Neal follows.

Peter's logging in on his computer when Neal pokes his head in. "You're uncharacteristically subdued."

Peter leans back in his chair, a look of annoyance crossing his features. "Mozzie claims to have evidence that Amelia Earhart was captured by Japanese soldiers and forced to read broadcasts as a Tokyo Rose," he says.

Neal blinks. "That's what that was about? Amelia Earhart?"

"George Putnam went through recordings of those broadcasts!" Peter protests. "He didn't recognize her voice in any of them."

"I'll leave you to that, then," Neal says, and Peter grumbles something and sends Neal on his way.

Neal gets back to his desk, pulls out his phone, and texts THANK YOU to one of Mozzie's numbers.

Two minutes later his phone vibrates, and the message that pops up is NO NEED TO THANK ME I CONSIDER EDUCATING OUR CIVIL SERVANTS MY PUBLIC DUTY. Then, a couple seconds later, AND BESIDES MRS SUIT WILL ALSO BE LAVISHING HER GRATITUDE ON ME.

Neal smothers a laugh, and puts his phone aside.

Two hours later, his phone buzzes again. This one is from a different number, but there's no real question who it's from.


By the time they go to lunch, Peter is still grumbling about mid-century conspiracies.

"You ever notice how sometimes Peter just takes that sucker out of his desk and admires it?" Jones asks, over a cup of office coffee.

"I will give you money if you never mention that sucker to me again," Neal says.