((Hey everyone, You know the drill I don't own White Collar if I did the season would have been longet and Neal would be shirtless in every scene. I make no money off this as you know)) (( I would like to thank peppe1951 for ideas and kenziealizabeth for all you're help on reading and now on witht he story))
Chapter 1: Lost Time
Peter trudged through the nearly ankle deep mud of the empty lot, it had stopped raining after two days of on and off downpours. The FBI agent saw the other members of his team coming toward him. Peter had gotten a call that Neal's tracker had gone out of its range, when he had gotten off the phone with the U.S. Marshalls the second call came from Jones. It was one call he never wanted to ever get.
"Don't do it Peter…" Jones said as he tried to stop Peter from moving any farther across the empty lot. A cold November wind howled through the lot. Ignoring the warning Peter walked over and looked down at the covered body. "Let me see…" he ordered as the coroner's assistant pulled the sheet down.
Neal was laying face up in the mud his hair caked in mud; his clothes were torn and disheveled. As he crouched closer Peter sighed "Neal what happened to you?" Peter mumbled as he looked down at his friend and partner. The coroner walked over "Agent Burke… we have to take the body now." He said waving his men over with the gurney.
Peter reached over to pull the sheet back up over Neal's face; just then Neal bolted up right and looked around the group. The shock of a man thought to be dead made some of members of the group jump back.
"Jesus, Neal, you scared us half to death" Peter said as he moved his hand from over his heart. The coroner looked at one of his men "Call this in, we need some paramedics down here to check him out." He ordered.
Neal put his hand on the back of his head "My head is killing me…what happened, and who are you anyway? You called me Neal is that my name?" Neal asked looking at Peter.
Memory loss…though I guess that's expected with a knock like that. Peter thought as the paramedics pulled up and made their way through the mud to the two men. Neal was beginning to shiver from his mud soaked suit and cold wind.
After he was cleared to move the paramedics put Neal in the ambulance and wrapped him in blankets to try and raise his body temperature. Peter sat with Neal as he was taken to the nearest hospital for care.
All Peter could think about was the last few hours, he had dropped Neal off and June's for the night and made his way home and had a quiet evening with Elizabeth. Everything was normal till he got the phone call telling him that Neal had left his two mile radius. Seconds later came the call that made his heart stop even after what had happened.
"Neal can you remember anything that happened to you even the smallest detail?" Peter asked as he attempted to keep Neal awake till they got to the hospital.
Sighing Neal looked at his friend that he couldn't remember. "Look, I can't remember anything so don't waste your time asking even." Neal said keeping his head still since it felt like it was being repeatedly struck with a sledgehammer.
Peter looked at his watch for a moment, he knew Elizabeth would has still been awake waiting for his call on why he had to leave the house in the middle of the night.
The paramedic kept a close eye on Neal as they backed up to the emergency room doors and brought the con inside. Peter kept close to Neal as he was checked over by the doctor on call.
"Well you're a very lucky man Mr. Caffrey, a gouge this deep should have killed you" The doctor commented as the nurse readied the suture tray for him.
Peter gave the smallest smirk "I always knew he was hard headed, what about the amnesia how long is that going to last?" Peter asked as he stood at the end of the bed.
"I have no idea; it could last a couple hours to a couple weeks even. You said that he didn't even remember his own name; with so much forgotten it could take awhile for everything to come back to him. I would like to keep him here tonight just to keep an eye on him, after that he can go home and go back to his daily life. If you keep doing everything normally his memories should come back quickly. Mental stimulation is said to bring memories back very quickly." The doctor said as numbed the wound before stitching it up.
When Neal was set up in a hospital room Peter flashed his badge allowing him to spend the night. "Neal do you remember anything, anything at all?" Peter asked taking a seat next to the hospital bed.
Neal turned his head toward the federal agent "I told you before I don't remember anything. You don't need to baby sit me like some child." Neal said as he looked at the covered window "I'm not going to run away, I have no idea who I am or where I am for that matter so I'm not going anywhere" he added.
Peter slid his jacket and gun holster off "Memories or not I'm not leaving you alone for a second; whoever did this to you thinks you're dead. If they find out you're still alive they could try and finish the job" Peter said as he got comfortable in the uncomfortable chair.
Giving a loud defeated sigh Neal rolled onto his side to avoid putting his head on the pillow as much as possible. The drugs the nurse gave him finally began to take effect; soon the room became hazy as Neal fell into a deep sleep.
After an hour of watching Neal sleep Peter got out of the chair and stretched, he craved a cup of coffee, even the crappy hospital coffee would sustain him till the local coffee shops were open. One of the night nurses walked into Neal's room with an extra blanket and handed it to Peter.
"Is there anything I could get you agent Burke?" she asked as Peter took the blanket from her. With a smile Peter put the blanket down on the chair. "No I'm fine" he said as he walked around the small room.
Peter checked his watch it was close to two in the morning he sighed as he checked on Neal. He left the room and closed the door behind him as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.
"Jones I want you and Lauren to get me a timeline on Neal's movements from when I dropped him off at seven-thirty to when he was found in that lot. Even the slightest detail matters so make sure we know everything."Peter ordered as he hung up his phone and put it back in his pocket.
The FBI agent walked back into the hospital room Neal was breathing in and out softly. Peter sighed as picked up the blanket and got himself comfortable in the very uncomfortable hospital chair.
Hopefully we'll be able to figure out who did this to him. Peter thought as he draped the blanket over his body. "Goodnight Neal…" he said as he closed his eyes and tried to sleep.
Elizabeth had been too worried to go back to bed; she knew if it was important Peter would have called her. He had dressed and ran out of the house after two phone calls.
She knew that two calls in a row meant that Neal had left his radius and the second call meant he had done something wrong that had either the local police or the FBI involved.
Not wanting to be alone while she waited Elizabeth let Satchmo the lovable golden lab onto the bed to take Peter's place.
"Don't worry Satch; I'm sure your father will be home soon, Neal just got into some trouble again." Elizabeth said as she shut the light on the night stand off.
The glow from outside the bedroom window barely lit up the room, Elizabeth lay under the comforter. Even with Satchmo next to her sleep wasn't coming. Reaching onto the nightstand Elizabeth grabbed the cordless phone and dialed Reese Hughes's number, she waited as the other line rang a few times before it was answered.
"He's at the hospital with Caffrey who seems to have amnesia; he can't seem to remember even his own name so Peter decided to stay at the hospital so Caffrey doesn't run off." Reese said knowing exactly what Elizabeth wanted.
Elizabeth smiled into the phone "Thank you Reese, I'm sorry I called so late." Elizabeth said before hanging up. With a renewed sense that her husband was fine Elizabeth put the phone back on the charger and tried to sleep.
Just as Elizabeth began to fall asleep the doorbell rang. Letting out a loud groan she pushed the heavy covers off and slipped her robe on. She made her way down to the front door and opened it.
"Mozzie it's two in the morning what are you doing here?" Elizabeth asked as she let the older man into her house. The short bald man took a seat on the couch. "June called me she said Neal left the house at nine last night and he never came back." Mozzie said as Elizabeth turned a couple lights on.
Elizabeth took a seat on one of the dining room chairs "Neal's in the hospital, he has amnesia; apparently it's serious…Neal doesn't even remember his own name. I really don't know any more than that myself."Elizabeth said sighing lightly as she looked at her guest.
Mozzie removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "So he doesn't even remember Kate or what happened to her."He said solemnly "If he doesn't remember anything or anybody does that me the suit is going to put Neal back in prison since he is no longer useful?" Mozzie asked.
"Peter would never do that, he's sitting in Neal's hospital room right now making sure Neal is fine. I really don't know any more than that. I'm sure that Peter will have more information for all of us later today." She said smiling. "Mozzie would you like a cup of coffee?" Elizabeth asked as she made her way into the kitchen. She knew that sleep was going to elude her.
When Elizabeth walked into the kitchen her eyes fell on a picture of Neal and Peter at a FBI dinner. In the years Peter had been chasing the con Elizabeth noticed that whenever her husband would talk about Neal there was admiration even when he was telling her how the now ex con had gotten away or sent him a gift or the birthday cards Neal sent.
As the coffee pot percolated Elizabeth walked back into the living room. "The coffee will be ready soon, and Mozzie Neal will probably be released from the hospital later today they are just keeping him for observations." Elizabeth said with a small smile.
Mozzie sighed as he put his glasses back on. "With Neal like this he isn't safe; there are a lot of people who would love to take advantage of this opportunity. If he can't remember his enemies then he's an easy target." Mozzie said in a worried tone.
"Mozzie can you think of anyone that would do this to Neal, Peter can help protect him if he knows who to watch out for." Elizabeth said hoping to help the ex con.
Neal tossed and turned in his sleep his thrashing woke Peter, the agent got up and held Neal down on the bed. "Calm down Neal its okay I'm here…"Peter said as he calmed the younger man down by rubbing back and whispering to him softly.
Over the years of chasing Neal around Peter had started to think of Neal as a troublemaking younger brother that he never had. Seeing him vulnerable when Kate died was minimal compared to how Neal was now.
"Neal I'm going to find who did this to you and I will make them pay" Peter whispered as he pulled the blanket back up to keep Neal warm. He may not remember anything but that doesn't mean that his nightmares will go away; he's still haunted by what happened. Peter thought as he resumed rubbing Neal's back softly.
When Peter was absolutely sure Neal was sound asleep he moved off the edge of the bed his cell phone fixed to his ear.
"Jones, tell me you figured something out about what happened to Neal?" Peter asked as he watched Neal like a hawk he wanted to be there in case of anymore nightmares or even when Neal woke up to see if he could remember anything yet about that night.
The other agent sighed over the phone "All I can tell you is that Neal stayed within his radius, most likely in a car, what I can also tell is from Neal's tracker is someone took something metal to it a baseball bat or a pipe, it's busted beyond recognition someone made sure that we would know where Neal was only after they dumped him." he said looking over the information on the computer.
"We'll keep looking into it but the information is sketchy at best, Lauren and I will try and figure out something. I tell you what we come up with later." Jones said suppressing a yawn as he hung up.
Peter closed his phone and sat back down on the chair beside Neal's bed. Reaching over to the small lamp on the nightstand he turned the small switch with a loud click. As he sat in the dark Peter let sleep reclaim him.