Neal Caffrey's Type of Miracle
Disclaimer: I do not own White Collar.
Summary: "What if she takes a shot at Neal?" AU for Book of Hours. What if things had gone differently at the buy? MAJOR SPOILERS!!! You've been warned
Warning: Some swearing. Nothing too major.
Any errors are my own.
Neal watched as Maria pulled out the gun from her purse. He smiled and reached for the clip in his pocket.
"I took this out of your pocket when I was searching you," said Neal, smiling at his own genius.
Maria laughed. "You forgot the clip in the gun."
Neal's face fell. Oh crap. Neal knew that Peter was at least five minutes behind him; she could easily kill him, take the book and be done before Peter ever got here.
Time to stall…
"So is this what happened with Paul?" asked Neal, taking a step back.
"He thought he could keep the money and the book!" said Maria, tightening her grip on the gun, pointing it directly at his heart.
"That's what happens when you get greedy," said Neal. He brought the book up and held it in front of his chest as a shield, hoping against hope that she wouldn't shot the book.
"Give me the book, Neal," said Maria.
"What's worse?" asked Neal. "The financial loss or the historical loss?"
"You know which," Maria said softly.
"You shot me, you shot the book," said Neal. "Sure you want to risk that?"
Maria laughed. "There's a way to fix that." She lowered her aim and fired the gun. It went off with a loud bang.
Neal's left leg collapsed underneath him. He fell to the ground, gasping in pain. His leg felt as if it was on fire. He looked down at his leg. He almost passed out from the sight.
He had been hit in the upper thigh. His leg was covered in blood. It had been only a few seconds since Maria had shot him but yet he had already lost too much blood. Damn bullet must have hit a stupid artery.
Neal watched as Maria started walking towards him. He knew from the look in her eyes he only had one option: give her the book. He suddenly realized that he still had the book in a death grip in his hands. He knew logically he should let go of the book and apply pressure to his leg and slow the bleeding. But yet, for some reason, he could not bring himself to toss the book aside. He knew Peter trusted him with getting that book back. Peter had trusted him when no one else would. He couldn't let Peter down.
He rather die than betray Peter's trust.
Maria was standing over him now, the gun pointed at his head. "Give me the book, Neal."
Neal didn't trust himself to speak, so he just shook his head no. He rolled onto his side, shielding the book from Maria's view. The move caused the pain in his leg to flare through him. Neal fought to hang onto consciousness.
Maria bent down, pressing the barrel of the gun against his temple. "GIVE ME THE DAMN BOOK!" she screamed at him.
Neal shook his head again. "Go to hell," he whispered softly, his voice laced with pain.
Maria's face was filled with fury. She cocked the gun. "You just made the biggest mistake of your life, Neal."
So this is how it ends thought Neal, his vision blacking. Funny, I always figured Peter would be the one to shoot me….
Maria was just about to pull the trigger, when the pier was suddenly filled with NYPD police cars and the FBI undercover truck. NYPD and FBI Agents surrounded her, all having their guns pointed at her.
"DROP THE GUN!" FBI Agent Peter Burke shouted, his gun firmly trained on her. He held his gun steady but he felt his heart skip a beat when he saw the scene in front of him. Maria was standing over Neal, having the gun tightly held against his temple. Neal was lying on the ground, clutching the book tightly to his chest. There was a large pool of blood underneath him, so Peter knew that the bitch had already shot him once. And from the look of it, it was bad.
"DROP THE GUN!" shouted Peter again. "Drop the gun and step away from Neal!"
"Why?" asked Maria. "So you can kill me?" She smiled at Peter. "I could kill him right now, you know. She pushed the gun harder against Neal's temple. Neal groaned softly.
"You'll be dead before you can even take a shot," growled Peter. Maria paused and looked fearful. She sighed, knowing she was out numbered. She dropped the gun on the gun and raised her hands up in the air.
"Jones, get her out of here!" said Peter running. "And someone call a bus! We've got a man down!"
Peter dropped by Neal's side. He saw that Maria had shot Neal in the leg. There was a massive amount of blood on the ground, meaning that she had hit an artery. Crap.
Peter rolled Neal over so he was lying on his back. Peter pulled off his jacket and pressed it against the wound. Neal cried out, his eyes popping open. He tried to sit up and push Peter off.
"Stop it Neal!" said Peter as he pushed Neal back down. "I have to stop the bleeding."
"Peter?" asked Neal, looking at him.
"That's right, Neal," said Peter. "It's me. You're going to be fine."
Neal reached over to the side and picked up the book. He held it out for Peter. "I didn't let her take the book," he said softly.
"You did a good job, Neal," said Peter. He pressed down harder on the wound.
Neal gritted his teeth. "It hurts, Peter."
"I know," said Peter. "I know." He had been shot at once before. Fortunately for him, the bullet proof vest had stopped the bullet. He couldn't image the pain Neal was in now.
Neal rested his head back on the ground. "I'm tired, Peter," said Neal.
"NO!" said Peter. "You can't fall asleep, Neal. You have to stay awake!"
"I can't…" whispered Neal, his voice fading out.
Peter looked up from the wound. Neal's face was pale. His face was set in a grimaced against the pain. Peter could see that Neal was fading. Fast.
"Where the hell is that damn bus?!" shouted Peter, looking up at his team.
"It's on its way," said Lauren. "ETA is about 2 minutes."
"It needs to get here now!" snapped Peter. He looked back down at Neal. "Neal, just hang on for two more minutes, okay? You just need to hold on a little bit longer."
"I can't," Neal whispered.
"You have to, Neal, "said Peter, his voice pleading. "You have to. Who else is going to find Kate?"
Neal gritted his teeth and shook his head. He struggled to sit up. Peter pushed him back down.
"Will you stay lying down?" snapped Peter. He immediately felt guiltily when he saw the hurt in Neal's eyes.
"I'm sorry, Neal," said Peter softly. "But you need to lie still or else you are going to bleed out."
"Peter, I'm sorry," said Neal.
Peter shook his head. "There's nothing to be sorry for Neal."
Neal grabbed Peter's hand. "Promise me something, Peter," he gasped, each word taking more energy to come out.
"No," said Peter. "No, you're not doing that, Neal! Do you hear me?! You are NOT dying! YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE! You just have to hold on a little bit longer."
Neal shook his head. "Liar," he whispered. "Take-gasp- good care-gasp- of-Elizabeth."
Peter was about to respond when he felt Neal's hand go limp. Panicked, he looked up at Neal's face and saw his eyes roll back in his head.
"NEAL!" Peter shouted. Peter reached out a shaky hand and felt for a pulse. He felt a weak thump against his fingers. He let out the breath he didn't know he was holding.
"Burke, the paramedics are here!" shouted Jones. Peter looked up and saw to EMTS running towards them.
"Sir, what do we have?" asked the one EMT.
"Gunshot wound to the leg," said Peter, his voice shaking. "He's lost a lot of blood and a moment ago he lost consciousness."
The paramedic nodded. "Sir, you need to move."
Peter reluctantly stood up, moving out of the way of the paramedic. He wasted no time, jumping in and holding the pressure on Neal's leg. Meanwhile his partner had placed an oxygen mask over Neal's face and inserted an IV into his arm. The backboard laid out beside him.
"Ready?" she asked. Her partner nodded. "On my count! One, two, three!" On the count of three, they lifted Neal onto the backboard. They picked up the backboard and loaded Neal into the back of the ambulance.
"Can I ride with him?" asked Peter.
The male paramedic nodded. "Get in!"
Peter hopped up into the back of the ambulance and sat next to Neal. Lauren ran up to close the door.
"Lauren!" shouted Peter, looking up at her. She looked up, surprised. "Contain the scene!"
Lauren nodded. "Of course."
"And Lauren?" Peter asked quietly. She was the tears forming in his eyes. "Call my wife and tell her to meet us at the hospital."
Lauren nodded and closed the door. She hit her hand on the back of the bus. "GO!" she shouted as the ambulance took off down the street.
Lauren watched the ambulance drive away until it was out of sight. She pulled out her cell phone and scrolled down her call list until she found Elizabeth's number. She hit the call button.
"Hello?" came Elizabeth's voice over the phone.
Lauren took a deep breath. "Mrs. Burke? This is FBI Agent Lauren Cruz. I'm afraid I have bad news."
The ambulance ride was uneventful. Peter sat next to Neal, looking down at his still form.
"How's he doing?" asked Peter, looking at the male paramedic.
"He's in bad shape," he replied. "He's lost a lot of blood and BP is falling fast."
Peter nodded, barely understanding the words said to him. He couldn't believe this had happened. It was supposed to be a simple mission. Neal goes undercover, pretending to be back in the business and convince Maria to sell him the book. After the deal was done and Neal had the book, Peter and the team were supposed to go in and arrest her. It was supposed to be simple. Easy in, easy out. No one was supposed to get hurt, especially Neal.
What was he thinking? He had sent Neal in, undercover, with a dangerous murder with no back up. No vest. Nothing. He knew he could put any bugs on Neal because she would scan for that. But still, he should have given Neal something. Hell, he never should have put Neal undercover in the first place. Neal was a consultant- not an agent. Neal had been shot-hell, Neal was dying-and it was all his fault.
The ambulance came to a screeching halt as it arrived at the hospital. Peter was caught off guard and slammed into the back of the ambulance.
The doors opened as a team of doctors and nurses rushed forward. The EMTs grabbed the backboard and pulled Neal out of the ambulance and rushed him into the emergency doors. Peter jumped out and followed behind them.
"Gunshot wound to the upper thigh!"
"Serve blood lost!"
"We're losing him!"
"GET THE PADDLES!"
"NO!" shouted Peter.
"Sir, you can't be back here," said one of the nurses trying to push him out of the room.
Peter didn't hear her. All he heard was the flat-line of the heart monitor.
"Charging 200!" said one of the doctors, holding the paddles. "CLEAR!"
Peter watched as Neal jumped as the electricity coursed through him, trying to stop his still heart.
"V-fib!" shouted one of the nurses.
"Charging to 300!" said the doctor. "CLEAR!"
This time, it worked. The heart monitor returned to normal. The nurse checked Neal's neck for a pulse.
"We've got a pulse," she said, smiling. "He's back."
"Thank God," whispered Peter.
"Good," said the doctor. "Let's get him to surgery, STAT!"
"Sir," said the doctor. "We have to take him to surgery now. Laura is going to take you to the waiting room."
"Can I have a moment with him?" asked Peter.
"Just a minute," said the doctor. "We need to get him to surgery as soon as possible."
Peter nodded and walked towards the bed. He leaned forward and said softly. "You can't die on me, Neal. Remember, I own for you for the next four years. You can't die unless I say so. So you'd better come through."
"Sir?" said the nurse, Laura. "They have to take him now."
Peter nodded and watched as the doctors and nurses wheeled Neal out of the room.
"Sir?" asked Laura. "Let me show you where the waiting room is." She led Peter out of the trauma room and down the hall into a small waiting room.
"You can wait here until the surgery is over," she said. "What's your name?"
"FBI Agent Peter Burke," said Peter.
"And what's your relation to the patient?" she asked.
Peter paused for a moment before answering. "He's my partner."
Laura nodded and walked off. Peter collapsed in one of the chairs.
It had only been five minutes when he heard someone calling his name. He stood up quickly, thinking it was the nurse with news on Neal. He was surprised when he saw that it was Elizabeth running towards him.
"Oh Peter!" cried Elizabeth as she embraced him a bone-crushing hug. "Oh thank God, you're alright! Lauren called and said that I needed to get to the hospital right away!"
Peter hugged her back. "I'm okay, sweetie."
Elizabeth pulled back. "What happened, Peter?" She looked down at the sleeves of Peter's shirt. "Oh my God, is that blood?"
Peter looked down and saw the bloodstains on his arms and hands. He suddenly felt nauseous. He felt his legs weaken. Elizabeth led him over to a chair and they both sat down.
"It's not mine," said Peter. "It's Neal's."
"Neal?" repeated Elizabeth in disbelief as if she never heard that name before.
Peter nodded. "When we arrived at the pier, Neal was lying on the ground with a gun pointed at his head. She shot him in the leg."Elizabeth gasped. Peter continued. "She must have hit an artery because there was blood everywhere. He was clutching that stupid book to his chest. I tried to stop the bleeding the best I could. I used that new jacket you gave me. I'm sorry."
"That's not important," said Elizabeth quickly. "The jacket can be replaced."
Peter nodded and continued. "He lost consciousness just as the ambulance arrived. And when we got to the hospital, his heart stopped. They managed to bring him back and he's in surgery right now."
"Oh Peter," said Elizabeth.
"Neal could die and it's all my fault," said Peter softly, tears running down his face. "I sent him undercover with a known murderer without any backup. All for a stupid bible. Neal could die because of some stupid bible."
Elizabeth hugged her husband as he broke down crying.
"How's Caffrey?" asked Agent Reese Hughes, Peter's boss. He was joined by Lauren and Jones.
"Still in surgery," said Peter not looking up from his lap. Elizabeth had gone and brought him a cup of coffee. He had taken a few steps but other than that, he just starred at it.
"Family of Neal Caffrey?" asked a doctor in green scrubs.
"That's us," said Elizabeth. She stood up with Peter as they all walked towards the doctor.
"How is he?" asked Peter.
"He should be fine," said the doctor. "The bullet nicked an artery and that caused the majority of the blood loss. The blood loss caused his BP to drop so low that his heart stopped in the ER."
Peter nodded. He remembered that all too well.
"However, we were able to repair the damage to the artery and the muscle," said the doctor. "He'll be on crutches for a while and he'll need physical therapy but other than that, he should make a full recovery."
"Thank God," said Peter. "Can we see him?"
The doctor nodded. "He's in recovery at the moment. He should be in the ICU in about an hour. If you have any questions, just have the nurse page me."
"Thank you doctor," said Elizabeth as the doctor walked away.
There was a soft beeping. And a dull pain in his leg. Neal groaned.
"Rise and shine sleeping beauty."
Neal opened his eyes and saw Peter sitting in a chair beside the bed.
"Peter?" asked Neal.
"Yep," said Peter. "How are you feeling?"
"Like hell," said Neal. "It feels I've been run over. What happened?"
"You don't remember?" asked Peter, taking a sip of coffee. "You were shot in the leg."
"Oh yeah," said Neal. "I remember. Maria wanted the book back. She was going to keep the money and the book. Somehow she knew I was still working for the FBI."
"She had video cameras in the house," said Peter. "When you were picking out the music, she was watching them. She was Jones and Cruz planting the bugs. It was a trap. Neal, I am so sorry."
Neal raised an eyebrow. "Why? It's not your fault. You didn't shot me."
"No," agreed Peter. "But I sent you undercover with a known killer."
"We didn't know for sure she was the one who killed Paul," said Neal.
"But we suspected she did," said Peter. "I shouldn't have put you in that situation. You're not an agent!"
"I wanted to help," said Neal. "I wanted to catch her. Trust me, Peter. I knew what I was getting into. I knew the risks. So don't feel guilty for what happened."
Peter nodded. "Just don't make this a habit of yours."
Neal groaned. "I didn't think she actually shot me. I held the bible in front me, hoping that she wouldn't risk injuring the book. Instead she took aim at my leg and shot me in the leg." Neal shot up in horror. "Oh my God, she didn't get the book, did she?"
"Neal, relax," said Peter. "Or the nurses will kick me out."
"But the book?" started Neal. "Don't tell me she got it! I tried to prevent her from getting it after she shot me…"
"NEAL!" said Peter. "She didn't get the book, okay?"
Neal relaxed and fell back on the sheet. "Oh thank God."
Peter leaned back. "What do you mean? You tried to protect the book after you were shot?"
Neal nodded. "After she shot me, she came over and demanded the book. I just held onto it tighter. I tried to roll over on my side away from her so she couldn't get it."
"That's why there wasn't any blood on your hands," said Peter, slowly as the realization set in. "You never tried to stop the bleeding, did you?"
"I had to protect the book, Peter," Neal started.
"YOU IDIOT!" shouted Peter standing up suddenly and knocking the chair over. "What the hell were you thinking?!"
"I had to save the book," said Neal. "I know that you were nervous about the mission and that you were afraid I take the book and escape. I know that you were putting your trust in me. I also heard that a lot of people at the FBI didn't want you to trust me, especially with the book. I couldn't let you down, Peter. Not after all you've done for me."
Peter took a deep breath. "Listen here, Neal and listen good," said Peter in a low and dangerous voice. "Nothing-and I mean nothing-is worth dying over. If someone wants you give them something and they are threatening to kill you if you don't hand it over, you give it to them! I don't care if it's a bible or a painting or anything! Nothing is worth your life, Neal. NOTHING."
Neal nodded. "I'm sorry, Peter."
Peter picked up the chair and sat back down. "I know. We can always catch the bad guy later. We can't always bring you back to life. Next time, you might not be so lucky."
"What are you talking about?" asked Neal.
"The bullet hit an artery," said Peter. "You lost a lot of blood. Your BP was so low that your heart stopped."
"Wow," said Neal, taking a deep breath.
"You okay?" asked Peter.
"Yeah," breathed Neal. "So what happens now?"
"The doctor will keep you in the hospital for a few more days," said Peter. "Then you'll be on crutches for awhile. But with physical therapy, you'll be good as new. And don't even think of escaping." Peter pointed to Neal's ankle. Neal looked down and saw a new GPS tracker. "Had the boys put it on while you were out."
"Where did you really think I was going to go, Peter?" asked Neal, yawning. "I just got shot in the leg, remember? How far do you think I'll get?"
Peter laughed. "Get some sleep, Neal. You'll need it."
"Whatever," said Neal, rolling his eyes as he yawned.
"And Neal?" added Peter. "Good job today."
"Thanks," said Neal, yawning. "Hey Peter?"
"So was that miracle good enough for you?" Neal asked as his eyes closed and he fell asleep.
Peter watched as Neal fell asleep. "It sure was," said Peter softly. "Partner."
Aw…wasn't that cute?