Fandom: White Collar
Characters/Pairings: Peter, Mozzie
Word Count: 1,018
Beta Credit: None
Summary: Sometimes you find diamonds in the most interesting places.
Author’s Notes – Written for elrhiarhodan for my Trick or Treat Meme back in October. She requested “Peter mooning over his hoard” in Dragon’verse and this is what happened. This is set prior to the main story "Here Be Dragons."
The voice came from the doorway of his room. Peter sighed, leaning back and moving the desk lamp away to the side. “Homework,” he said, hoping that his tone would send the visitor away. It didn’t.
Peter waited, but he didn’t hear any footsteps retreating. Sighing again, he glanced down at the cache of stones in front of him. His father wanted them identified and catalogued before dinner but with the unwanted interruption Peter didn’t see that happening. He swiveled his chair around and looked at the boy standing at the entrance. “What do you want, Teddy?”
His cousin shuffled his feet but didn’t say anything. Peter felt sorry for him – his parents had disappeared when he was little and he wound up living with a guardian in a group home. Jeffries was great, but he wasn’t a parent. Plus, Teddy was brilliant, but a Scultone – a basilisk – which meant he didn’t have many friends. Whenever he came to visit, Peter was usually tasked with entertaining him. Which was fine as long as he didn’t have work to do. Like now.
His cousin didn’t move from his position. “You can come in.” Peter wasn’t going to finish. He’d just have to explain to his father later.
Teddy slunk in, taking a seat on Peter’s bed. He took off his glasses and nervously wiped them with his shirttail before putting them back on. “What homework are you doing?”
“I have to sort and catalogue these stones for my dad before dinner.” Peter waved at the jumble of color in front of him. “So I can’t really hang out.”
“Oh.” Teddy was silent. “I could help.” Peter looked at him skeptically. “No really, I’m good with stones.” He got up, came over to the desk and picked up a multicolored gem. “This one’s simple – it’s a 51.5 caret Bi-Color Ametrine, very slight inclusion. Probably worth about $400 US.”
Peter stared at him in shock. “How did you know that?” He’d never seen a student be able to identify a stone so quickly. Unless… “You can access the Collective?”
Teddy smiled. “I found a back door a while back. I can teach you if you want.” He pulled up a chair next to Peter and looked at him expectantly. Peter chuckled in disbelief. The Collective was a historical database of gemstones that all dragons were able to mentally tap into once they reached the age of majority. Young dragons were forbidden to use it due to the overwhelming amount of knowledge it contained. He wasn’t surprised that Teddy had already found a way to access it.
“I don’t know…” Peter began. He trailed off when he saw Teddy’s face fall. Realizing that offering to share was Teddy’s way of connecting, he asked, “Isn’t it dangerous for us?” He’d heard horror stories about comas and dragons going mad if they accessed it too early.
“They just say that so we won’t use it to cheat on our term papers.” Teddy puffed up his chest. “I’ve been accessing it for three years with no trouble at all.”
Peter thought about it. “I’m not sure my dad would like that…”
“Oh…okay…” Teddy mumbled as he stood up. “I’ll just leave you alone then…” The boy headed towards the door.
“Teddy, wait.” Peter made a decision. Teddy was more important than getting in trouble with his father. “Show me.”
For the next hour, Peter was dazzled by Teddy’s brilliance. His cousin showed him how to access the data through a basic loophole – a verbal key in Draconian that unlocked the information. After that, it was easy to determine the weight, quality and value of the stones, simply by holding them in his hand.
Finishing up the last stone in his cache, Peter asked, “So how’d you figure this out?”
Teddy’s smile was sad. “When you’re an orphan without a lot of friends you find ways to entertain yourself. I found it in a book in the Special Collections section of the Library.” He paused. “You’re the only person I’ve shared it with.”
Peter’s chest was tight. He was touched that he’d been the one that Teddy was willing to share with. “Thank you, Theodore.”
“No problem….Scales.” Teddy grinned. “Gotta go. Dinner’s in ten minutes and Celeste is making lasagna without cheese for me.”
His cousin hopped out of the chair and headed to the dining room. Peter laughed, gathered up his stones and took them to his father before getting ready for dinner.
Later that evening, his father stopped by Peter’s room. “I’ve got a question, Peter.”
“Yeah, dad?” Peter looked up from the book he was reading.
“You managed to zip through the assignment I gave you today.”
“Yeah, well, I have to admit that Teddy helped.” Peter gave his father the most innocent expression he could muster, hoping he wouldn’t ask any more questions.
“He did, did he?” His father chuckled. “Did you boys happen to access the Collective by chance?”
“Uh…” Peter was stuck. He knew he shouldn’t lie but he didn’t want to get Teddy into trouble.
His father took pity on him. “It’s okay. We’ve known Theodore has had access since the day he found the back door. Frankly, we counted on that. Teddy is – talented – and we’re trying to guide those talents.” Peter’s father came over and ruffled his hair. “Just don’t use it for schoolwork again, okay?”
“Okay, dad I won’t.”
“Good.” His father turned to leave. “Oh and Peter? Teddy is rough around the edges right now, but he needs friends like you. So try to be a good one, okay?”
“Night.” His father left the room, closing the door behind him.
Peter thought about his father’s description of Teddy – rough around the edges. He remembered a quote he’d heard in class - Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior. That was Teddy. And if Peter had anything to say about it, he would make sure that the world saw those qualities. Smiling, he returned to his book, thinking about the ways he could help Teddy shine.