a/n: I should have been working on NaNo, bad me. Please, please, review. Just so you know this might be semi similar to Cold Season by Grim Lupine, but I swear I didn't even read that one until I was part way through writing this one. I just came up with it cause I've had the flu for the past several days.
Disclaimer: I don't own white collar or any of its amazing characters.
Everyone Needs Someone
Peter Burke paced in his living room, phone to his ear. He quietly cursed as the pone continued to ring before the voice mail picked up. "Hey this is Neal. I can't get to the phone right now, or else I would have picked it up. So leave a message and I'll get back to you."
"Neal, I know you're there so pick up. I'm serious about this you had better pick up this instant. Caffrey, I will send someone to pick you up at June's house if you don't answer right now-"
"Peter." Neal answered his voice faint.
"Where are you Neal? You were supposed to meet me half an hour ago." Neal groaned, and Peter heard the sound of bed springs creaking as he rolled over. "Are you still in bed? You get up right now; I'm expecting you down at the front porch when I come to pick you up."
"Peter, I can't."
"What do you mean you can't? You can't or you don't want to?"
"I mean I can't." Neal snapped. "I'm sick. I can't go anywhere right now."
"Sick? How did you get sick?"
"A germ decided to infect me. I don't know. I just know I am. Peter, I'm sorry. I got to go." With the Neal hung up, leaving a glowering Peter listening to the dial tone on his phone.
Elizabeth glanced up from her laptop. "What's wrong?"
"Neal's sick. Hung over more likely; probably had a grand evening with his bottle of wine and now is using that as an excuse to get out of work. "
"Or maybe he actually is sick. You know its flu season. After all he's done for you can't you trust him in this little thing? He didn't run away with that bible, and that was a much bigger reason to cause you to mistrust him, and he didn't do anything other then what he was supposed to. Why don't you go on to work, and let him have a day to recover?" She kissed his cheek and handed him his jacket. "I'll check in on him, and if he is faking it I will drive him down to the office. Now you are going to be late for your meeting." She opened the door and gently pushed him towards the door step.
"All right, El, but if he tries to pull anything call me."
"Of course." She kissed him one more time before closing the door behind him.
The rap on the door caused Neal to raise his head off the pillows and glance at the entrance. "Damn it, Peter, I'm not lying." He muttered. "It's open." He called before sinking back into the pillows. The sound of soft footsteps reached his ears as they approached his bedroom. He turned his head to look at his visitor and was surprised to see Peter's wife in the room. "What you doing here?"
"Peter told me you were sick so I decided to make sure you were ok." She sat down on the edge of his bed. She took in the way his hair was plastered to his forehead by sweat and the glassy sheen of his blue eye before she gently placed a cool hand on his forehead. "Sweetie, you're burning up." She reached down into a large bag she had brought with her and pulled out a thermometer. "Open up." Neal looked at her for a moment, her expression confused. In reply she crossed her arms over her chest and glared down at the young man, almost immediately he obediently opened his mouth.
Elizabeth took her bag to the counter and opened the refrigerator. "What do you live off of? The only things in here are a couple of beers, some bread, and cheese." She placed several plastic containers on the shelves and then went back into the bedroom. "103." She pulled the thermometer out of Neal's mouth when it began beeping. "It could be worse." A damp cloth was placed on Neal's forehead, before she rubbed the thermometer with a wet wipe. "I'll be right back, ok? I'm going to go get a Tylenol to help lower your fever."
She opened the cupboards above the counter, "Neal, where do you keep the Tylenol?" When there was no response to the question, she hurried back into the bedroom to see the door to the bathroom slightly open. She quietly knocked before opening it. Neal was kneeling next to the toilet, hands clasping the cold porcelain so tightly that the knuckles had turned white. She knelt next to him and began slowly rubbing small circles on his back as he violently retched into the toilet.
"I'm sorry." He took a trembling breath as he wiped his mouth of with the back of a hand.
"It's perfectly ok." She stood and offered a hand to help him up. The young man took it and stood, before swaying, grabbing the marble counter top for support. "Let's get you back to bed." She helped her husband's partner back into his bedroom, pulled the blankets to the foot of the bed, and then pulled them over the young man when he lay down.
He pulled them tighter around him as he shook as the chills that accompany a fever overtook him. "Shhh." Elizabeth pulled another blanket off the top of an armoire and placed it over the others. She pulled a can out of her bag and popped the lid. "Here some sprite is, take a sip or two but that's all." She took the can out of his hands as soon as he followed her instructions. "Just try to get some sleep for now."
Elizabeth was sitting on the couch in the small living area reading one of her favorite books when she heard a small noise in the adjacent room. She dropped the book on the coffee table and hurried to the door as another small sound reached her ears. The blankets Elizabeth had placed over the ex-con where tangled around him, some spilling on to the wooden floor boards. Neal thrashed on the bed, moaning softly, caught in a fever induced nightmare. "Shhhh. It'll be ok." She caught his hand and held it as he calmed down. Her wedding ring glinted in the late afternoon light when she reached up to brush a crystalline tear of the man's cheek, wondering what the dream was that could reduce this man to tears.
Neal opened his blue eyes and stared at the woman for a moment, trying to remember why Peter's wife was kneeling next to his bed. "Elizabeth."
"Why are you wasting your day taking care of me?"
"Because everyone needs someone at some time, and I thought you could use me today. Now how are you feeling?"
"Like I hit by a Subaru. Everywhere aches and my head feels like it's going to explode."
"Go back to sleep, I'll be right here."
"All right, there's Jell-O and chicken noodle soup in the fridge. Call me if you need anything at all." Elizabeth repacked her bag, as the man watched from his seat on the couch. "I'm serious about that, young man. Absolutely anything day or night, I'll be right over."
"Thanks." Neal smiled at her, taking a sip of hot tea. "You know if you weren't an event planner you would make a great nurse."
"I thought about it, but with a job like that I would never be able to see Peter." She embraced Neal before leaving the room. The dark haired man smiled in the darkness of his empty room. Who would have guessed the Elizabeth Burke would show so much concern over a sick felon?
A/n: Well there you have it. Please review.