What About Peter 8
Neal crawled through any number of ventilation tunnels, Peter in tow but none of the vents led out to anything other than other cells. He didn't want to be trapped in another room not knowing how to get out or who was on the other side. Neal sighed, laying his friend down for a moment as he saw another grating ahead and movement. He crawled towards the lit grill and saw figures moving around inside. More of Wilkes men. He grimaced, running a hand through his hair and trying to figure out what to do. He didn't have long to decide as he heard a quiet groan of metal behind him. He turned to see the shaft start to collapse where he had left Peter. Neal crawled back as quickly as he could, grasping his friend as the panel cracked open and they fell through. The young man managed to put himself between Peter and the floor but his knee that Wilkes had jabbed earlier took the brunt of the fall. Neal winced and nearly passed out from the pain.
Neal found they had fallen into a small living area with a kitchenette. He gently nudged Peter's limp form off of him and made sure he was ok. The young man pushed himself over to a pile of sheets on a nearby cot and grabbed one, ripping it up into strips and made a wrap for his knee. It would have to work for now as he stood and took his friend up in a fireman's carry. Neal looked around the room for anything useful. He found some items that would help in lock picking and something else: a small automatic. It was loaded, Wilkes wouldn't have it any other way. Neal sighed and reluctantly pushed the gun into his belt, easing himself and Peter out into the hallway. No sign of anyone so he pushed to the right, a faint hint of light and a door in the distance.
"We were wondering where you went." Neal heard the cocking of a gun and turned slowly. Willis stood there, a small pistol in his hand pointed right at them. Neal thought about the gun on his belt but he was still holding Peter up so he had no way to grab it without dropping his friend. Willis smiled at him.
"I think my brother wanted to have the honor but I'll just have to tell him I did him a favor in his absence."
(Not on my watch...)
Peter thought he felt someone dragging him along. A familiar voice was talking to him off and on in quiet tones. He opened his eyes a crack but could see very little. It looked like he was in a tunnel of some sort but then he could be dreaming. Peter could hear someone behind him but he couldn't move so he just listened, hearing someone curse softly before another noise interrupted them. The surface he was on seemed to be sinking in and a soft groaning of metal or something else filled his ears. Peter grasped weakly at the surface but it was smooth like metal and cool and he couldn't get a hold. His head still swam too much for him to stay awake for long but just as he felt himself about to fall, strong hands grasped at him. They still fell but he felt arms around him protecting him as they bounced off the hard floor.
Neal? He could just make out his friend's face looking down at him, a look of pain on the young man's face. Neal scooted out of view as Peter felt himself falling back into a light unconsciousness. He was only vaguely aware of being picked up and dragged along again. Neal must be carrying him. Peter wanted to wake up and help, ask about El. What had happened to his wife?
"We were wondering where you went." Peter heard that voice and knew who it belonged to. Jake Willis, the man in the SWAT bus. He felt anger rise in him despite his current condition. The cocking of a gun drew his attention and his now barely open eyes to the figure before him. Willis was blurry but that didn't mean Peter couldn't recognize him. He felt Neal freeze, still holding the Fed up but obviously unarmed. Peter slumped in his friend's arms and that's when he saw something completely out of place.
"I think my brother wanted to have the honor but I'll just have to tell him I did him a favor in his absence." Willis pulled the trigger but Peter slumped to the left enough he yanked Neal off balance, the bullet just missing his partner. Peter grabbed the gun off Neal's belt and pulled the trigger as they fell to the floor. Willis just smiled before he wavered slightly, a red stain appearing on his chest. The crook collapsed to the ground and lay still. Peter dropped the gun, someone nudging him gently, sitting him up against the wall.
"Peter?" He nodded to his friend and smiled weakly.
"Hey, I see you got us out. Where's... El?" He coughed a bit, slumping over to one side as he watched Neal try to keep him awake. He felt a slap to his face but his little moment of adrenalin had run out.
Neal felt Peter slipping in his arms but he was frozen as he watched Willis with the gun. He saw the man pull the trigger but something pulled him off balance to the left and he just felt the passing of the bullet miss him by inches. Someone grasped at his belt and another report was heard. Willis smiled down at him, his face paler though. Neal watched as a small red stain began to grow on the man's chest. The crook looked surprised but he kept smiling ever so slightly as he collapsed to the ground and stopped moving. Neal gave a sigh of relief, turning at the sound of someone breathing hard beside him on the floor. It was Peter.
"Peter?" The Fed nodded at him sleepily, his eyes rolling around in their sockets. His friend didn't look well but he answered back.
"Hey, I see you got us out. Where's El?" Peter coughed, Neal trying to make him comfortable but his friend slumped over to the floor, eyes rolling back. Neal nudged his friend and slapped him lightly on the face but Peter had passed out again. He looked around unsure of what to do. Neal heard a buzzing sound and looked down at the dead Willis. He limped over to the crook and found a cell phone. He waited for the phone to stop buzzing then made a quick call out.
"Jones, FBI..." Neal sighed in relief and answered.
"It's Neal." He heard a loud intake of breath on the other end.
"NEAL?! Where are you?" Neal shook his head looking around.
"I don't know. We're near a door but Peter's in bad shape and we don't know where Elizabeth is." He was trying not to be panicked but he was running out of strength.
"Jones, Willis is dead. I'm going to get us outside this door and hope it's an exit. Can you track this phone?" Neal waited to hear what Jones was going to say when someone tackled him. The phone went flying and bounced off the floor and wall with a crack.
"You're like a cockroach. I squash you and you just come back." Wilkes voice whispered in Neal's ear as he was held down. He suddenly felt his bad knee kicked hard. Neal cried out in agony, Wilkes taking the opportunity to pull his arms back behind him and secure them with a plastic tie. Wilkes dragged the young man over to the wall and tied him to a nearby pipe.
"I know you didn't shoot my brother so it must have been your "partner" here. Wilkes kicked him in the knee again, Neal slumping where he hung against the wall as the pain overcame him.
"I guess I won't kill you after all, Caffrey. Someone has to tell the poor grieving widow why they allowed her husband to die unnecessarily." He grinned at the young man, turning as he picked up the gun from Willis' hand and pointed it at the unconscious Peter.
"It's a shame really, I would have let him live if I could have killed you, but this is so much more satisfying." Neal felt tears rolling down his cheeks. He tried to say something but he was in too much pain, his breath coming in panting gasps. He heard the report of the pistol and closed his eyes, warm tears continuing to fall down his cheeks. What was he going to tell Elizabeth? How could he face her after this? Was she ok?
"Put the gun down!" Neal opened his eyes and turned at the sound of someone shouting from his right. It was Jones and he had a gun pointed at Wilkes. It wasn't fair. Peter was already dead. He knew that.
"I said, PUT... THE GUN... DOWN!" Neal notice Wilkes wasn't moving but the smile was still there. The man turned slightly and looked at Neal, a red stain growing on his chest just before he fell to the ground near his brother, the gun still in his hand. Suddenly the room was filled with sound and people.
"Suspects contained. Agents down!" Jones was barking out orders as other men in SWAT uniforms and armor with weapons swarmed over and started to check Neal and Peter. Jones was at Peter's side first checking his boss as Neal watched.
"We need a gurney stat!" Neal blinked, his hands freed as he collapsed to the ground and sat there staring and feeling like he could hurl. Jones approached him and touched him gently on the shoulder.
"Caffrey, you ok?" Neal was staring at Peter, his mind still wondering how he was. Jones noticed and smiled.
"He wasn't hit." Neal turned his eyes to Jones and felt a smile form on his lips. The agent patted him on the shoulder again.
"Now, can you walk?" Neal shook his head, looking down at his wrapped knee. Jones nodded and whistled as he called for another gurney.
"Don't worry. We have paramedics coming." Neal nodded, feeling himself start to fade just a bit as the pain and excitement of the past few days started to wash over him. He thought he heard Jones talking to him but he couldn't be sure as he fell into an exhausted sleep.
(*I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long)
Elizabeth Burke sat in the back of Jones' car waiting to hear any news about her husband and Neal Caffrey. People swarmed around the vehicle only a couple stayed near the car to be sure she was safe. She pulled Jones' jacket around her as she curled up on the backseat, hands over her ears. She could hear gunshots, shuddering at the sound of each one and hoping nobody was hurt, especially her husband or Neal. Her eyes were warm and wet but she just let the tears fall as she tried to think of other things. At some point she realized it was quiet, the activity around her not so hurried or busy. El sat up and peered cautiously over the edge of the back seat.
She just stared. Someone was being rolled out of the building on a gurney, an ambulance nearby. Elizabeth moved to the driver's side to get a better look and realize it was her husband. She pulled the lock and opened up the door, running past one of the agents posted to watch her. They started after as she ran towards the ambulance crying and calling out.
"PETER! PETER!" She felt a hand grab her arm and stop her when she had run only a few yards away. She pulled at the hand that held her, trying to get to her husband. Jones was at Peter's side and turned seeing her there. He made a motion and the hand let her go. El didn't even glare at the agent who had stopped her continuing her run towards the ambulance and Peter. He was pale and lay still on the stretcher. She took his hand in hers and it was warm. Someone touched her shoulder gently and she saw Jones there.
"Is he... ok?" He smiled at her and nodded.
"He had a nasty bump to the head but they think he'll be ok. He's just resting at the moment." She looked relieved, continuing to hold his hand. One of the EMTs walked up to them and asked if she wanted to ride along. She nodded enthusiastically and jumped into the vehicle with her husband. She turned as Jones waved to her.
"Neal? Is Neal ok?" The agent nodded to her and she looked like a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
"Neal should arrive in the next ambulance. I'll be there soon." El nodded back at Jones as the doors closed and the ambulance took off.
(Hello, Sleepy Head...)
Peter remembered pulling the gun from Neal's belt and shooting Wilkes then everything got hazy. He thought he might have been conscious long enough to chat with his friend but now he felt movement. He was in a vehicle strapped to something reasonably soft and someone was holding his hand. Peter could just make out the sounds of people talking around him and touching him at times. He felt something stuck into his arm that felt sharp and he winced slightly. The pain drew him back into the waking world and he found himself looking up at the ceiling of a van. An IV bottle hung to his left and someone was holding that hand. It was El. He blinked looking up at her and seeing her blinked back down at him.
"Peter? Oh thank goodness you're awake!" She bent down and hugged him gently, never letting go of his hand. He pulled his right arm up weakly and hugged her as much as he could. She kissed him gently on the lips and his smile widened.
"What was that for?" She gave a little chuckle, sniffling and wiping at her eyes with her free hand.
"Just cause." Peter pulled her close and kissed her again. He noticed the EMT trying not to watch but smiling regardless as they continued to monitor his vitals. El blushed slightly.
"Peter..." She looked at the EMT and back at her husband who was grinning.
"After everything that happened, I think I have the right to kiss my wife wherever I want." The EMT stifled a giggle as El playfully slapped Peter on the shoulder and kissed him on the forehead.
"Yes, and I have the right to tell you to behave yourself in public." He nodded solemnly, hugging her again. Peter looked around after a moment, his face searching, brow furrowed with a slightly worried look. El gently turned his face towards her.
"Neal's ok. Jones said he's coming in the next ambulance. We'll see him at the hospital." Peter nodded at her his expression relaxing. She brushed at his hair and he felt himself easing into a semblance of sleep.
"Peter?" He nodded or tried to but he wasn't sure if he did.
"Don't ever leave me." She whispered near his ear. He felt himself try to wake enough to answer.
"Not... till we're both too old... to go toge...ther..." Peter felt her kiss him again on the cheek as he fell asleep.
Neal woke up to the sound of quiet steady beeping. Actually it seemed to be in stereo as he opened his eyes and found out what was making the sound. He sighed looking around at the sterile room he was now in. He tried to move ever so slightly and felt a slight twinge of pain from various parts of his body, his knee though was the worse. He closed his eyes and leaned back against the bed and tried to think of other things, biting this lip through the pain till he was able to think straight. He finally opened his eyes again and saw the source of the second set of beeps. Another figure was in a bed across from his on the opposite side of the room. It was Peter Burke.
Peter looked peaceful, his face relaxed and calm. Neal smiled just glad to see his friend and partner was alive. Jones had told him he hadn't been hit by Wilkes but he was the kind of person who had to see for himself. He still wondered about Elizabeth. He hadn't heard anything about her whereabouts. He turned to his left as the sound of a door opening caught his attention. Someone walked in, their shoulder holding the door open as they entered back first. It was Elizabeth. She had her hands full of something and Jones was right behind her.
"Neal..." She turned and smiled seeing him looking at her surprised. Her hands held a few bags that looked like takeout. Jones had a tray with some cups of coffee on it. She held up a finger to her lips and closed the door as Jones followed her in.
"Contraband. Peter woke up early and wanted something other than hospital food." Neal grinned nodding slightly as she walked over and quickly gave him a kiss on the forehead. She walked around the bed and over to a small sitting area, placing the food there and helping Jones with the coffee. El walked back towards him and hugged him gently.
"Thank you for taking care of Peter and me. I never had a chance to tell you." She kissed him again on the cheek. Her eyes looked shiny but she was happy. He was just happy she was here.
"How..." He paused trying to think what to say. She took his hand in hers and squeezed it gently.
"Wilkes heard the Feds arrived and threw me in another room. One of the SWAT people found me and Jones put me in his vehicle till they were able to rescue the both of you. I heard Peter shot Willis?" Neal nodded. She seemed almost satisfied.
"I shouldn't be happy about it but after everything... I don't even want to think about it." She hugged him again and smiled looking over at Peter. He was still sleeping.
"June's been asking about you. Said it's been too quiet around her home without you there. She sent over some of your favorites to wear while you're in the hospital. Figured you'd like something other than their usual fair." He smiled and nodded.
"Tell her thanks for me?" El nodded.
"She's come a few times to visit. You've both been sleeping for about two days. Peter off and on. They said he had a light concussion but nothing else it seems." She brushed a few strands of hair from his face and smiled wistfully.
"Your knee may take a bit to heal but your shoulder is doing better now that they got the sutures back in place. You'll be on crutches." She sighed, hugging him again with a concerned look. He gave her a light squeeze back.
"I've broken a leg once. I'll live. Just glad you're both ok. We didn't know what happened to you. We... I was worried." He could finally say it now. She nodded at him.
"Neal, I think we were all in the dark about things for a while there but now, we're all safe." They both turned at the sound of a low groan from the other bed. It was Peter waking up. Jones stood up and walked over to Neal as El made her way towards her husband. Jones bumped fists with the young man.
"You did good Caffrey. It was hard to trace but we found you guys after a while. I guess they had lead in the building and it was wrecking havoc with the infared." Neal smiled looking across at Peter and El.
"Jones, you did good. I couldn't protect him but you did. Thanks for showing up." Jones shook his head.
"You called. That helped. Got a trace before Wilkes smashed the phone. At least he's history now. One less ghost from your past?" Neal nodded with a slight frown.
"Yeah, one less." He looked over at Peter and El again and wondered if he was doing the right thing staying with them. Being Peter's partner and possibly causing them more trouble. He had a past and people in it like Wilkes who would be willing to come after them at some point. Neal stared up at the ceiling deep in thought when he heard someone cough. He looked over at Peter who was now staring directly at him.
"Hey... You look better." Neal blinked and nodded.
"You too. Thanks." Peter shook his head.
"Don't start that. I'm in a good mood. We had each other's back. Pure and simple." Peter glanced over at Jones and smiled. The agent nodded.
"We're all a team and we did what had to be done. If only I could muss that hair of yours..." Neal scrunched back into his bed a bit, feigning fear.
"Yeah right. I'd like to see you try." Neal stuck his tongue out at his friend. Peter started to push himself out of bed but El held him back.
"Honey, the doctor said you're not supposed to strain yourself..." Peter stopped, his eyes squinting in an Eastwood-esque Dirty Harry kind of glance.
"You feeling lucky punk?" Neal and Jones gave each other a look and tried not to laugh, stifling their reaction. El even looked like she was going to giggle. Peter blushed.
"Oh come on... I think that was accurate!" He crossed his arms over his chest and sulked a bit like a kid. El fluffed up his pillows so he could sit up.
"Behave, Peter. I brought you some food and Coffee." He turned his eyes to her and the last word made him perk up.
"Fine, but once I get permission to get out of this bed, that hair is getting mussed." Neal pretended to be scared.
"Oooh... I'll be sure to keep my guard up. Jones you'll protect me right?" The agent held up his hands.
"I am not getting involved. Besides, I have no hair to muss." Neal raised an eyebrow.
"Oh I see how it is... Protecting your boss. Uh huh..." Jones just shrugged, walking over to the table and pulling one of cups from the tray.
"I'm just saying... I don't get involved with domestic disputes." Neal blinked as did Peter and El just covered her mouth, winking at the agent as she tried not to laugh.
"I think they're making fun of us, Neal." Peter looked at his wife who just couldn't stop to answer him, she was holding back the laughter.
"They're just jealous. Right?" El nodded at Neal but her face was still red from holding back. Peter sighed.