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(White) Collar Optional (13/?)

Title: (White) Collar Optional
Fandom: Psych, White Collar
Characters: Shawn, Gus, Peter, Neal, Henry, Juliet, Lassiter & Vick with cameos from Mozzie, El, Diana & Jones
Word Count: 1037
Rating: PG-13
Overall Summary: In New York, Peter and Gus search for what happened to Neal and Shawn. In California, Shawn and Neal escape a little too easily, making them wonder if Ridley has other plans.
Notes: Okay, I'm finally posting the sequel to Psychic in the City. It's still unfinished so posting will stay with Wednesdays until further notice. I'd also like to thank my three betas snowflakie06, slytheringurrl and the_moogie

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Neal pulled the Echo up in front of the gates. They were rather imposing at first glance, but easily scaled. That made him wonder what could be waiting on the other side.

“I’m surprised there’s no guard,” said Shawn as he craned his head to look through the driver’s side window.

“Surprised or disappointed?” Neal pressed the intercom buzzer.

“A little of both,” Shawn admitted.

“This is private property. Please state your business,” came the voice over the intercom.

“Yes, we’re here in regards to a piece Mr. James is attempting to acquire.”

“Your name?”

“Neal Caffrey. I won’t be on the list but I think he’ll want to see me anyway.”

“One moment.”

“You really think your name is gonna get us inside? With the collection this guy probably has, the gate’s to keep people like you out.”

“This is the kind of collection he can’t show to just anyone. He’ll want to show it to someone who’ll appreciate it but not turn him in.”

“Even being with the FBI?”

“I’ll make a mental list of what’s there. If they come up in relation to a case, I might let something slip.”

Neal heard the gates’ engines just as the voice returned over the intercom. “Drive straight to the main entrance. You will be met at the door.”

Neal grinned as Shawn rolled his eyes and muttered something like “show off”.

He drove up to the front entrance and under the portico. Two men in suits were waiting on the steps. One of the men walked around as Neal and Shawn got out of the car and held out his hand for the keys. Neal obliged, knowing it would be best that the distinctive car be out of sight when Ridley arrived.

“Hey!” Shawn called out as the man drove the car away.

“Mayer is just parking your car around the back of the house. Mr. James is expecting a…business associate.”

“And it would be best for a car such as ours not to be seen,” finished Shawn.

“Thank you for understanding…”

Mr. Spencer is an associate of mine,” Neal supplied. “He knows to be discreet.”

“Very well. If you will follow me.”

The coolness inside was welcome after the desert heat. The foyer was tastefully decorated with legitimate pieces placed just so. He knew Shawn was absorbing everything even though it seemed his eyes never left their guide as they went down the hall.

The man in question knocked on a set of double wood-paneled doors. At the muffled response, he opened the doors and ushered them into a very masculine study; dark wood, book-filled floor-to-ceiling shelves, and a huge desk, probably mahogany. On the wall behind the desk was Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence.

“Sir, Mr. Caffrey and his associate, Mr. Spencer.”

Cameron James was somewhere in his 50s (his biographies were a bit vague on that point) with salt and pepper hair. He wore a grey suit of a simple cut over a trim body. He stood and walked around the front of the desk and welcomed them both with a warm smile. “Mr. Caffrey, an honor to meet you. And Mr. Spencer. Are you the same Spencer who solved the Yin-Yang murders?”

“It wasn’t just me, but, yeah, I’m that Shawn Spencer.”

“Very impressive work.” He motioned for them to sit on the soft leather sofa while he was on the edge of his desk. “Even though I would love to show you my collection, I am somewhat pressed for time. You said you wished to speak about a recent acquisition?”

“It’s more about what you’re trying to acquire right now: the Antioch Chalice.”

The man’s eyes widened briefly. He was trying to think up some story.

“We know about Ridley,” said Shawn. “We were there when he took the chalice from the Met.”

“I had heard you were strictly based out of New York,” said James. “What brings you to California?”

“Ridley.” Neal was not about to go into details. “He set us up for the theft and we would like to return it to the museum.”

“And why would I want to give this up? It’s priceless.”

“I could tell you that it should be in a museum where everyone could enjoy it, but that won’t work with you. I could say that you have a private collection of stolen art but, as I haven’t seen it, that’s just conjecture. What I can say is that Caravaggio behind you is the real deal, not a copy like you’ve told everyone. I’d love to hear the story of how it came into your hands.” Neal knew that sharing this information could be signing his and Shawn’s death warrants, but he hoped that James wouldn’t want any notice drawn to the collection.

“Plus the FBI is probably heading this way,” put in Shawn. “A little federal attention is probably the last thing you need with your social standing.” He began to warm to his subject. “Just imagine the gossip at the country club over cocktails. ‘Did you hear about Cameron James? Apparently, the FBI was at his house’,” he said in an affected posh voice. “‘I heard it was because there were known criminals in house’,” he responded in a different voice.

Neal was impressed by Shawn’s “lockjaw” dialect. You didn’t hear it that much in New York anymore, not as much as you did in the posh suburbs. James, however, was not amused. Shawn continued his virtual gossip, adding more characters and voices. Neal decided to put a stop to it before they were on a one-way trip into the desert. “Of course, if you help us, that can only add to your standing.”

James was considering, Neal could see it in his eyes. He and Shawn remained quiet, letting the man debate internally in peace.

“Sir, you can’t--” came a muffled voice from the hall, most likely their guide. “He’s with --“

The doors burst open to reveal Ridley and two large – and heavily armed – henchmen. “It seems I arrived just in time.”

“Oh, look!” said Shawn, a bright smile on his face. “It’s Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch!”

This was not good.


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