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In Van-o Veritas?

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          In a weird turn of events the core four in the White Collar crew got dosed with a mild truth serum the day of a pretty important undercover operation. Now the dose was mild enough that it didn’t force you to talk but if you did speak you couldn’t lie. They had been trying to figure out if Neal could go under cover or if they would have to use someone else tonight.

          “Ok, run through the cover and let’s see if this works.” Peter instructed.

          “Peter, I’m not Neal Caffery.” Neal began talking, he opened and closed his mouth a few times randomly, then continued on. “Richard Graham is a small-time bookie who wants to play in the big leagues and is meeting up tonight to try and get into the bigger stakes of the high rollers.”

          Everyone cringed because that was the most awkward display, they had ever seen from the con-man, the stilted delivery and use of the third person meant there was no way he could be on point tonight.

          “Alright Caffrey I guess you are in the van with us tonight and Newman is going to have to be Richard Graham.”

           It was still shaping up to be a pretty normal stakeout; the core crew was all stuck in the van listing to the bugs Diana had planted earlier searching for evidence. With all four of them there it was a lot easier for them to annoy each other and the cramped spaces drove Neal crazy. It wasn’t long before the CI started fidgeting and the tapping and jiggling his legs, trying to stave off his boredom and actually burn up some energy.

          A few minutes after Neal started his fidget campaign, Peter’s eye started twitching, which in turn made Diana jittery. This was a recipe for disaster in the making. Jones couldn’t take it anymore.

          “Read anything good this week Neal?” He asked. Three pairs of eyes turned to him in disbelief.

          “Not really, not much of a book person that was always Ja… anyways I’m not into books that much.” Neal answered, his leg slowing as he paid attention to Jones.

          “Oh, now who is this ‘J’ person?” Diana asked surprised he had almost given them someone’s name.

          “Umm, they umm are hard to explain.” Neal hedged.

          “You know, I think the fact you don’t like books is the first new thing I learned about you in months Caffrey.” Peter said. “I’d ask you some more questions if I thought you would answer, but I also don’t want to force you what with the truth serum thing going on.” He joked.

          “Well, I’ll answer if you three will. Just a miniature version of truth or dare without any dares, and no asking me about any of my alleged crimes.” Neal shot back; his hands had quit tapping now that there was more to focus on then Newman in the penthouse trying to interrogate the suspects, badly he might add.

          “Sounds good to me.” Diana had noticed that Peter’s twitching eyebrow was slowing down and figured keeping the conversation rolling would probably be a good idea.

          “Sure, why not” the other two agreed.

          “Ok most recent movie you’ve seen?” Diana asked.

          “The new action one with those race-cars.” Peter said

          “Peter you can’t even name the movie and were supposed to believe you watched it.” Neal scoffed.

          “Umm, El put it on last week and I fell asleep” Peter muttered.

          “Ok mine was ‘Van Damn strikes again’ I went out with some of marine friends a while ago.” Jones offered up.

         “Pride and Prejudice, the 6-hour BBC mini-series. Don’t ask I didn’t pick it.” Neal sighed there was no way he was telling them about the hours he spent watching the movies with his little brother trying to avoid flashback last week.

         “She must have been a hot date then if you watched a 6-hour movie you didn’t want to see.” Jones smirked.

         Neal gave a small smile and shook his head “he was having nightmares and needed something familiar and comforting,” okay, maybe he was explaining it.

        “That is really nice of you,” Diana said. “My last movie was a rom-com Chrissy dragged me to ‘Show Me the Moon’ or something like that I didn’t pay it much attention.

        The group continued posing questions to each other including:

        “What is your worst haunted house story?” Diana wanted to know.

        “I once went in a haunted house and one of the people got so scared, they puked on the person scaring them.” Jones admitted.  

         “Well, mine wasn’t a haunted house per say but we were in an abandoned house in Gotham and then we all got hit by fear toxin so it quickly became haunted.  Or you know the screams and hallucinations made it feel like one.” Neal was still stuttering a little as he tried to tell the story, a clear sign of parts being left out.

         “Why on earth were you in an abandoned house in Gotham?” Peter squeaked in horror.  Neal averted his eyes and kept his mouth firmly shut there was no way he was telling them he was there to find the Scarecrow and take him into custody.

         “What is the shadiest thing you’ve been involved in? No Neal, you don’t have to include your alleged crimes but something else shady, okay.” Jones asked.

         Peter started blushing a hot pink before he even opened his mouth. “I used FBI resources to stalk El.”

        “Ok, first off you have to know that I had no clue about this at the time.  I was a runner for the mafia in D.C.  I was basically an errand girl for some shop, just you know, delivering mail and stuff, and that shop was actually a front for like the mafia and well I noticed like a lot of weird things but I didn´t actually know it was the mafia.” Diana stated defensively.

        “Why were you, Ms. Diplomates daughter an errand girl at all much less one for the mafia?” Neal asked.

        “Teenaged rebellion.”

        “Fair enough,” Neal nodded remember the stupid shit he did to get B’s attention in his own teenage years.  “Not quite shady business but I may have gotten involved in a smuggling operation.” Neal stuttered pretty hard here “A friend smuggled a baby kangaroo into their school in his backpack a few months back. I mean he took it because it needed feeding during the day and everyone else was at work, but I helped him with that.” Well, he helped Damian get out of trouble with the principal, if he had known about the issue before hand, he would have just baby-sat the kangaroo himself.  He wasn’t a bit surprised when the kangaroo became protective toward Damian since he is basically the one who raised it, Dick was constantly in awe of the heart his son (no Bruce we can share but he is mine too) had for animals.

        “Who is the most interesting person you’ve met while traveling?” Peter asked, curious who a ‘VIP’ like Diana and a con like Neal would consider interesting.

        “Oh, that is easy it’s got to be Deathstroke, that man is a walking, talking, shooting dichotomy, he makes it seem like he’s only out for money and murder but he has some pretty deep reasons too.” Neal blurted out, mostly trauma related but deep trauma.

         The other three occupants in the van just stared at him.

         Literally the only thing going through their heads was “WHAT THE F*CK NEAL!”

         “Scariest text message you’ve ever gotten?” Got thrown out by Jones who was just desperate to change the subject. He then answered his own question with the classic “we need to talk.” Which had Diana seconding that in a hurry.  

         “Pick up a pregnancy test on your way home.” Peter shuddered a little remembering the fear of knowing he wasn’t prepared to be a dad. He had been glad when it had come back negative, he wasn’t ready to be a parent not now and especially not then. Heck if the pain and suffering invoked from Neal’s antics proved anything maybe he should never be a parent.

         “Your brother is dead.” Neal said pain in his voice a haunted look on his face.

          Peter quickly tried to distract him by shouting out “what is the weirdest thing you have ever overheard?”

          Diana immediately launched into a longwinded discussion of the time two of her boarding school mates were talking on the bus.  Ashley and Katie where two of the ‘popular cute girl squad’ and they were always talking about fashion, boys, and sex.

         “I love sexy underwear, but not lacy, and obviously not for sexy reasons.”

         “Oh yeah, I get that, I wear it for me.”

         “Who doesn’t love the feel of silky-smooth underwear!”

         Neal snorted a little at the air-headed bimbo impression Diana used to make her point. She smirked a little, maybe she could get a full smile out of him she definitely wanted to erase the blank dead look his face had fallen into after their last discussion.

        "Yeah, my cousin does have a couple of really weird things she’s into, and I mean I´m not going to judge, but that other guy she was having sex with, was a right asshole.”

        “I know Sarah does like to be tied up, gagged and that makes it really hard for her to find someone compatible sometimes.” Diana was putting such flare in the impressions wanting for Neal to crack a smile again, it felt unnatural for him to be so sad.

         Neal started laughing and then launched into his own story about that time when Bruce had been hit with a ray gun and went out to patrol before anyone realized how high it made him…. “and then Batman just whips a chocolate donut out of his utility belt. ‘Would you like a donut?’ He asks the goon he’s trying to punch. ‘What is that?! Is it poisoned?’ the goon shrieks back at The Batman waving a donut at him.  And then Batman responds in the most offended growly voice ever ‘No It’s chocolate, mmm.’ Man, the things you can overhear in Gotham.” It had been a weird night; it had taken them 2 more hours to herd Batman back to his cave. They had been a little afraid that it would ruin his reputation and make the criminals bolder but if anything, they were a lot more terrified of him pulling donuts out of his bat-belt than bat-a-rangs.

         The quartet kept the questions flowing thru the long hours watching and listening to the most boring crime headquarters ever. In the early hours of pre daylight delirium Diana started the round of questions that almost killed Neal.

        “Ok, Guys who is the hottest super hero?”

        “Umm, Wonder Woman.” Peter answers hesitantly.

        “Is that literally the only female hero you know, Peter?” Neal asks with a grin.

        “Yeah, she is pretty nice to look at but I would never say anything because I don’t want to get punched, by either her or El.  What about you Neal?”

         “Oh, that is easy, Flash the current one not the one before that.” Neal had a self-satisfied grin on his face. “What about you Diana who do you think is the hottest super hero?”

         “I’m stuck it’s either Black Canary or you know Starfire.” She said, “Umm that uniform,” both Neal and Jones nodded to that sentiment.  “Jonesy?”

         “Oh My God, Nightwing is hands down the hottest super hero” Jones gushed his face slightly flushed and his words coming out in a rush. “But man, that is a cute butt, 10/10, would stare longingly at again, I didn't even know I was an ass guy until that ass right there, he makes me want to go eat out that ass all night long. Oh guys, his uniform is like that spandex makes his butt look great, no his ass makes that spandex look great! F*ck I really shouldn’t say this but man hot damn do I want to squeeze it."

         Dick almost fell off his chair at that influx of ass praise, he was not a stranger to people ogling him or complimenting his derriere but that was certainly one of the most concentrated butt appreciation speeches he had heard in a long time and only his familiarity with speedsters talking enabled him to hear it all.

         Jones had put his hands over his mouth and was still mumbling underneath his hands, every once and awhile you’d hear a phrase like “tucked and tight” or “perfect globes” and “that ass really is out of this world” come out from behind his hands.

         Dick squinted at Jones, “Jones, are you able to stop talking or are you stuck?” he asked.

         “I can’t stop, Oh My God, like I know I have totally fixated on Nightwing he’s totally a kick-ass kind a guy with a perfect ass and all but I can’t stop talking. It’s like everything I ever Imagined saying to him is pouring out of my mouth and I can’t stop maybe if I put his ….” Jones’ eye got big as he realized what he was about to say to his coworkers and promptly covered his face and hid again.

         Dick chocked on his own spit a little when he realized exactly where Jones was going with that statement.  His own face heating up a little as he tried to get that image out of his head. He opened his mouth a couple time to say something but was able to stop himself before he said anything to make this situation worse.  None of the friends knew what to do to help, so far, they hadn’t been forced to talk.  It didn’t make sense why Jones couldn’t stop himself from talking when you could tell he was super embarrassed. Dick wondered if it was because a part of Jones had wanted to tell Nightwing these things. With spells and serums who knew what counted, if the fact he was sitting right next to the hero counted as wanting to speak even if he didn’t know about it. It took another five minutes before Jones stopped talking entirely. He took a couple of deep breathes and lifted his head almost afraid to look at his friends after that TMI overload.

           Dick just nudged his shoulder and said, “Did I tell you guys about the time my dad walked in on me and my best friend, oh man he wasn’t even my boyfriend at the time, trying to do the spider man kiss?” When they shook their heads, he launched into a complicated rendition of the Kiss Incident.