alyndra: (circular reasoning)
alyndra ([personal profile] alyndra) wrote2011-04-18 01:17 am
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White Collar ficlet No. 2

Ruiz looks across at Neal and El, who currently have their heads together deep in excited conversation complete with touching each other's arms and laughing, and Peter can just see the nasty thoughts going through Ruiz's mind.

"Problem, Agent Ruiz?" he asks briskly, because some things shouldn't be left to fester.

"Not for me, Agent Burke," Ruiz replied easily. "I was just thinking, though, if that were my wife over there, she sure wouldn't be that cozy with anybody, least of all a felon like Caffrey."

Peter blinks. "I don't mind it, so neither should you. I trust my wife." He says it like that should be all there is to it, but Ruiz, who probably would have baited bears, doesn't let it drop.

"Oh, really? So if I were to go over there right now, and start flirting with that damn fine woman I see . . ." Ruiz drawls, and instant rage wells up in Peter. He comes half an inch from punching Ruiz or throttling him or shoving him until he goes right through the wall, and Ruiz, damn him, knows. "Oh, I get it now. Caffrey can do as he likes, only the rest of us mere mortals have to follow the rules."

And there are a dozen responses to that Peter could (should) make, anything from "Caffrey backs off when I lift an eyebrow at him" to "Caffrey's not an ass" but what comes out is "Neal's mine," half a snarl caught in his throat and Ruiz is taking a step back, shocked, as he wasn't shocked a moment ago when Peter reacted just like this (oh God) about Elizabeth.

They haven't been loud, but their tension must be rolling off them in waves because Neal and El are turning to look, and then breaking off their conversation to come over and draw Peter away from Ruiz, just as Jones (who never misses anything) starts peaceably conveying to Ruiz just how long he's overstayed his welcome in the White Collar division. Diana looms behind him, not at all peaceable. Peter turns away, relieved not to have to deal with him any more. For now.

"I'm fine," he tells El, reassuring. "Just ... out of practice dealing with asshole coworkers. There haven't been as many lately," he adds, with a warm glance at Neal. Neal lights up a little like he does whenever Peter compliments him, as though anyone would ever describe him as an asshole. El smiles fondly at him as she slips an arm around Peter's waist; Peter's arm automatically pulls her close. His other arm wants to sling around Neal's shoulder; he consciously stops himself. "I think I might need a little Remedial Discretion 101," he mutters, and ignores Neal's puzzled look and El's quick glance of pieces fitting into place.

They'll get it out of him eventually.

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