It had been a long week for Neal Caffrey to say the least. He'd just finished up a case when he was thrown right into another. Apparently white collar crimes were more prevalent than even he knew.
Or perhaps Peter Burke was just a workaholic..which meant Neal must now be a workaholic as well.
Neal was certainly not a lazy man and the work helped him keep his mind off other things...like his missing girlfriend.
Despite this, Neal was feeling worn out as he sat at the FBI and finding it increasingly difficult to hide his exhaustion from the agents there. A huge yawn escaped him as he sat listening to Peter drone on and on about the latest fraud scheme.
"Am I boring you Neal?" Peter asked with an annoyed look on his face.
Neal startled a bit at being addressed but just shrugged. "Sorry."
As Peter continued talking Neal noticed that the headache he had taken aspirin for earlier in the day was starting to make an ugly reappearance. He also felt rather cold. He shrugged back into his suit jacket and peeked at everyone else...they all seemed warm enough.
Neal was starting to get a sneaking suspicion that he may be ill. Just what he needed, he thought bitterly. Peter had mounds of documents for Neal to look through the next couple days and he'd need to be sharp to pick up on possible counterfeits.
Neal was slightly surprised when everyone started getting up. Peter's meeting must be over he thought dully. He slowly rose from his chair noticing new aches all over his body that had not been there when he had woken up that morning.
Neal winced as his head gave a nasty throb from being vertical. Peter noticed. "Is everything alright Neal? You don't seem like yourself."
"Ya, I'm just a little tired I think," Neal responded.
"That happens when you put in some real work," Peter said, "Why don't you go get started on these documents?" he said while passing Neal a huge stack of folders.
Neal made it back to his desk and sank gratefully into his chair. The short walk had left him winded. He wished that he had his own office with a door at the moment. He would have loved to lay his head on his desk and sleep for a bit. Perhaps that would make him feel better.
Neal had never felt comfortable having other people in his business. Perhaps that was why he didn't really want anyone to know he was feeling poorly. The only people who had ever taken care of Neal when he was feeling sick were his mother and Kate.
Neal realized he had spent about five minutes feeling sorry for himself and decided to try and get some work done. After looking at the first document however he knew he would not be getting anywhere if he didn't get rid of his headache first. Bending down over the document was killing his head and his neck.
He reached into his desk for his trusty bottle of aspirin only to discover it was empty. "This is not happening," Neal muttered.
He knew there were packets of medicine in the break room but the thought of walking all the way there was not pleasant. His head throbbed mercilessly as he sat trying to pep talk himself into getting up. Not caring anymore who might be watching he massaged his aching head in an attempt to relieve some of the pain.
Neal squeezed his eyes shut and left his head in his hands until he heard someone come up to his desk. It was Peter of course.
"Neal? Are you going to tell me what's wrong now? You look terrible." Peter was talking in a quiet voice for which Neal was very grateful.
Neal wanted to shrug it off like he normally would but in all honesty he wanted nothing more than to be at home in bed. He was noticing that his throat was now sore as well.
"I think I'm getting sick," Neal said in a slightly hoarse voice. "I thought it was just a headache, but I'm feeling a lot worse."
"You think you can hold out another hour or so? I've got some paperwork I need to finish up before I can take you home," Peter said.
"Sure," Neal mumbled, "Not sure how much I'll get done...I can't really concentrate on it," he finished through squinted eyes.
Peter was looking at Neal with a bit of concern, he knew he must look pretty bad.
"Mind if I wait for you in the break room?" Neal asked.
"Nope, go right ahead,." Peter responded.
It took a great deal of energy for Neal to get to his feet again and once he was there he had to wait a few seconds for his head to stop spinning. He walked slowly, carefully averting his eyes from the many concerned faces of the women and the incredulous looks from the men.
He found the break room blessedly empty. After grabbing some pills and a glass of water he made his way to the couch in the back of the room. It was in semi darkness and looked like a great place for him to lay until Peter could take him home.
Neal stretched out carefully, finishing off his water before laying down. The water was cold and seemed to make his shivers increase. If he'd had a blanket he probably could have fallen asleep but as it was, he was cold, achy, and much to his dismay starting to feel a bit nauseous.
Neal lay as still as he possibly could trying to calm his stomach and not wanting to jostle his poor head in any way. He pressed the palm of his hand against his aching forehead. That provided little relief. The hour passed much too slowly and the aspirin he had taken had little effect on his many aches and pains.
When he heard Peter enter the room Neal sat up slowly trying to get his bearings. Unfortunately his stomach decided he'd sat still long enough. Neal barely made it to the men's room before losing everything he had eaten that day. After dry heaving for another few minutes he leaned back against the stall door. Not caring how filthy the floor must be or the fact that Peter had witnessed most of what had happened.
Neal was beyond caring what anyone thought and could not see past the haze of pain and sickness that was engulfing him at the moment.
"Here kid," Neal looked up to see Peter standing over him with some wet paper towels. Neal took them and wiped his face. "Thanks," he mumbled.
"You think you can get up?" Peter asked.
Neal shakily tried to get to his feet but had to hold onto Peter once he was there. His bout of vomiting had left him weak and his head ached even worse.
"Sorry," Neal gasped as Peter slowly helped him out of the building.
"You shouldn't have come to work today if you were this sick," Peter said reprovingly.
"I wasn't sick this morning...just had a headache," Neal said as he lay his head against the headrest.
Peter turned the heat up high, he must have noticed the shivers wracking Neal's body.
Neal must have dozed off because the next thing he noticed was Peter gently nudging him awake. It took a moment for Neal to realize where they were. "What are we doing here Peter?"
"Elizabeth would have my head if she knew I took you to your empty apartment while you're this sick," Peter answered.
Neal would normally have argued until he was blue in the face but he did not have the energy to do so. He just said, "Fine" before he tried dragging his poor body out of the car.
With the help of Peter they made it in the house where Elizabeth was waiting for them. Apparently Peter had called ahead to tell her he was bring a sick Neal home with him.
Neal was vaguely aware of Elizabeth telling Peter to take him straight to the guest room. He let himself be led to the bed, his eyes closing against his headache.
He found some pajamas laying on the bed that felt so soft and to his surprise, warm. He realized that Elizabeth must have warmed them in the dryer for him, he was very touched by that action. He got into them as quickly as possible before sinking into the bed and covering himself with all the blankets.
He was just wishing he had gotten something to drink for his sore throat when the door opened and Elizabeth came in with a tray. She gave Neal a sweet smile before saying, "Open up!" and shoving a thermometer under his tongue.
She spent the time talking about how awful he looked and scolding him for not taking better care of himself. When the thermometer beeped she looked at it with concern. "Hmm temp of 102." She handed him some pills, "Take these, it should help with the pain and the fever." Neal swallowed them at once.
"I've got some hot tea and some broth if you think you can manage it." She said while showing him the goodies on the tray. She picked up a cool cloth and laid it gently on his aching brow. "That always makes me feel a bit better when I'm sick," she said softly.
To Neal's intense embarrassment he felt his eyes tearing up. He could not remember Kate ever taking this good care of him. He was reminded forcefully of his mother, and how much he missed her.
Quickly averting his gaze he said, "Thank you Elizabeth," in barely more than a whisper.
The tea soothed his throat and he soon felt the pills taking effect. He let himself fall into peaceful oblivion, thankful that he had found two friends who seemed to truly care about him.