Fandom: White Collar
Title: The Best Laid Plans
Author: Olivia Sutton
Categories: Hurt/Comfort, Angst
Spoilers: Not really, general first season stuff. BTW - I started writing both "Man Down" and "The Best Laid Plans" before the season finale, "Out of the Box". Both do NOT take into account anything in canon after "Vital Signs", call it AU if you must. (Not that the finale wasn't fantastic!)
Characters: Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, Elizabeth Burke (NON-Slash)
Feedback: Yes, please.
Archive: Fanfic Net, otherwise please ask.
Disclaimer: I don't own White Collar, and I'm not making any profit from this. This is for the enjoyment of other fans. Feedback and reviews are most welcome.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
WARNING: Female medical squickiness, may disturb some readers.
Date: February 25, 2010
A/N: This is a straight-up continuity fix. My story "Man Down" ends the way it does because I read that the actress playing Elizabeth Burke was pregnant. I later learned that the pregnancy would not be written into the show. (Which I think is a shame, actually. But I can see their point - White Collar is still developing as a show - it's a bit early to add a baby into the plot). Anyway, I liked my original ending for my previous story, and I researched doing a story like this for another fandom a couple of years ago, but didn't finish that particular story.
A/N2: With special acknowledgement to Dawnwind from the fanfic_med list. She's a fantastic beta-reader, medical expert, and really encouraged me on this story. All mistakes are still my own.
Summary: A sequel to my "Man Down". It's best if you read "Man Down" first. Peter was looking forward to being a father.
The Best Laid Plans
by Olivia Sutton
Peter sat at his desk at the White Collar Crimes Division of the FBI's New York City office, putting the finishing touches on the paperwork from the bust of Dr. Powell. This particular case felt really good to crack and put to bed.
Neal walked in and pulled a chair up to Peter's desk. He plopped himself down. "Hi, there."
"Hi, yourself," said Peter, grinning widely.
Neal propped his legs on the corner of Peter's desk, crossing his ankles. "What?"
Peter slapped Neal's feet off his desk, still grinning mysteriously. He said nothing.
"Oh, come on, you're dying to tell me something. What?" said Neal, straightening up in the chair and checking his tie with his long fingers.
Peter smiled wider, "Elizabeth had some news for me a couple of days ago. She told me the same day I picked you up from the hospital, in fact."
"Oh? What news?"
Peter couldn't stand stringing Neal along any longer. "It seems I'm going to be a father, Neal. El's pregnant."
Neal studied Peter's joyous face. "I take it, this is a good thing?"
"Of course it's a good thing. We put off having children while she went back to school and started her business, and I established myself at the Bureau, but now... it's the perfect time. We can start a family."
"Well, congratulations!" He stood, slapping Peter on the back and giving him a half-hug.
Peter hugged Neal back, "You can be 'Uncle Neal' as long as you don't teach my child too many bad habits."
Neal grinned. Uncle Neal, he liked the sound of that.
Three months later
Peter woke and stretched his arm out on the bed. But the space next to him was empty. Where is El? He flipped on the light, suddenly worried. The red glowing lights of the clock on the nightstand read 12:45 a.m. and the bedroom was empty. He picked up a robe and slipped it on, intent on checking the house for his wife, when he heard a scream of pain. Peter's heart thudded with fear and he ran towards the sound.
His gun was in the safe in the downstairs office, Peter knew he didn't have time to get it. That scream had ripped through him, he needed to find El - now! He ran in slipper-clad feet down the hall to the upstairs bathroom, and opened the door.
A thin layer of blood covered the white tile bathroom floor, and El was lying there, moaning.
Horrified, Peter fell to his knees at his wife's side, "El! Oh, god, honey? El, What happened? Speak to me, El!" He became more and more panicked, when El failed to respond. He checked her for wounds, trying to find out where the blood was coming from. The lower half of her nightie was stained red, and she was sitting in a pool of blood. He grabbed towels off the bathroom rack and stuck them between his wife's legs. "No, oh no, NO!" Peter yelled, as he checked her vital signs. Her pulse was weak, and she was breathing fast, almost panting.
"El? El, come on, wake up," he said, shaking her.
"Peter?" she mumbled, opening her eyes. Her blue eyes were glazed with pain.
He kissed her forehead. "El, I'm going to get a phone, and I'll be right back. I'll be right back, honey, ok? Try to stay awake."
Unwilling to leave his wife, but knowing he had to, Peter ran to the bedroom. He snatched up the cordless phone, then dropped his cell in his bathrobe pocket as well.
He dialed 911 on the cordless phone while running back to the bathroom. He snatched a bathrobe from the hook on the back of the bathroom door, and covered Elizabeth from the chest down, when the phone connected.
"911, what is your emergency?"
"Peter Burke. I need an ambulance at my home immediately." He gave the dispatcher his address. "Something's happened to my wife, she's bleeding all over the place."
"Are there any signs of violence?"
"No. I can't find any wounds. But she's six months pregnant."
"Ok, sir, are you with her now?"
Peter had just settled back down next to El and was holding her hand with his right hand, his left juggling phone, "Yeah. I found her a few seconds ago." He checked her pulse and breathing again. "She has a weak pulse and she's breathing hard and fast."
"I've dispatched an ambulance, sir. Is your wife conscious?"
"El? El?" Peter shook her again, but her eyes were closed and she didn't wake up. "No, oh god, no. She's not responding when I talk to her or shake her."
"How much blood has she lost?"
"I... I don't know. There's a lot. It's all over the floor!"
"Sir, try to stay calm. Try to keep your wife calm as well. I know this is difficult, but does it look like her water has broken?"
"What? Oh, um," Peter looked closely at the floor, then nearly threw up into the nearby toilet. "I... I can't tell, I suppose some of this could be her... oh, god."
"Is the blood thick or watery?"
"Watery," answered Peter. Suddenly it dawned on him what might be going on with Elizabeth, and he didn't want to believe it. "Oh, no."
"Sir, the ambulance should be there soon. Try to stay calm. Try to wake up your wife, if you can, and keep her conscious."
Peter nodded, and realized what he was doing, then answered, "Yes, ma'am."
Peter kept the emergency dispatcher on the line, afraid to lose contact. He stroked Elizabeth's hair with his right hand. "Honey, when did this start? Why didn't you wake me up when you knew you were bleeding?"
Elizabeth didn't answer his questions.
Peter tried to get his wife to regain consciousness, shaking her shoulder and talking to her.
El's eyes slid open, but she looked shocky and disoriented. Peter patted her cheek, "El, honey? Don't try to talk, just try to stay awake, please."
El nodded, groaning in pain.
"Sir," asked the emergency dispatcher, "Is she having contractions?"
Peter repeated the question to El.
El shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know!" she whimpered, tears in her eyes.
"She said she doesn't know. This is our first child. We haven't even started Lamaze classes yet!"
"Are the pains coming regularly, every few minutes?" asked the dispatcher.
Peter repeated the question to Elizabeth who nodded. He reported the information to the dispatcher.
From outside he could hear the squeal of an approaching siren.
"I can hear the ambulance! I need to go let the paramedics in the house. I'll give you to my wife." Peter handed the phone to El.
"Elizabeth Burke," she said, in response to a question that Peter didn't hear. Reluctant to leave El on the floor, but knowing he had to let the emergency crew into the house, Peter hurried down the stairs as quickly as possible.
Someone was pounding on the door. Peter swung it open impatiently. A man and a women dressed in paramedic uniforms stood there, carrying shoulder bags of equipment. The woman also carried a collapsible gurney. "Thank god! My wife, she's upstairs. She's bleeding, and I don't know..." Peter blurted out.
"Are you Peter Burke? I'm Sean Collins, NYC Fire Department. Where's your wife, sir?"
"Yeah, I'm Peter. She's on the floor of the bathroom. Follow me."
Peter led them upstairs.
"Bernie, take vitals," Sean said, kneeling next to Elizabeth. He took the phone from her lax hand, spoke quickly to the 911 operator and hung up.
Bernie, an African-American woman, listened to Elizabeth's chest and took her blood pressure, rattling off the numbers to her partner. With a quick flick of the wrist, she inserted an IV line in Elizabeth's left arm. Sean inserted a nasal canella in her nose, and turned on a an attached oxygen tank. Elizabeth took a slow, deeper breath, her color improving.
"My baby..." she said weakly.
"Shush, honey, take it easy," said Peter.
"Does she have any allergies? Medications? Foods? Anything?" asked Sean.
"Ma'am," said Bernie, "How far along is your pregnancy?"
"Six months," murmured Elizabeth.
Bernie glanced at Peter, who nodded.
"Have you ever been pregnant before?"
"No," answered Elizabeth.
"We need to get her to the E/R immediately." Sean motioned to his partner, and they rolled Elizabeth carefully onto the gurney, and covered her up to her armpits with a red emergency blanket. After strapping her in, Bernie locked the collapsible wheels of the gurney in place.
Peter came close to Elizabeth's side. "Can I help? Can I help you carry her down the stairs at least?"
Bernie nodded, holding up a small IV bag. "Yeah, help on my side, please."
All three carried El down the stairs, to the waiting ambulance.
"Let me ride with her. Please," said Peter, his voice quavering with fear.
"Peter?" Elizabeth called holding out her hand to him.
He took her hand. "Right here, honey."
"Sure, of course," said Sean Collins.
El was loaded into the ambulance, and it screamed off into the night.
Neal Caffrey was sound asleep when his cell phone rang. He flipped on the light. "Hello?" Glancing at the antique clock on his nightstand, he was annoyed to see it was 1:30 in the morning.
"Neal," said Peter, his voice tight with repressed pain.
Neal sat up on the edge of the bed, "Peter? What's wrong? What's happened?"
"I'm at St. Vincent's hospital. It's El. Something's happened... I'm not sure what, the doctors are with her now. I think..." Neal could hear Peter desperately trying to hold himself together. "I think she's having a miscarriage, Neal."
"I'll be right there." He thought a minute. "Wait, St. Vincent's? That's past my range."
"I'll call the marshals, deactivate the warning alarm. But you'll still be on GPS. I need you, Neal, please hurry."
"I'll get a cab, right now. Hold on, Peter, just hold on."
Neal got out of bed, and pulled a pair of jeans from his dresser and a polo shirt from his closet. It wasn't his normal snappy clothes, but for a middle of the night run to the hospital, it was fast to slip on and still looked acceptable if not classy.
Continued in Chapter 2