(Chapter 5)

Neal was admitted to the ER and checked out, his wounds cleaned and washed up. When he was finally placed in a room he was stable so they had no need to put him in ICU. Peter hung around despite his exhaustion, calling El when he was certain the young man was doing well. She had been sleeping but woke up and drove down to be with him.

"So he's really ok? Oh, Peter... it's a miracle!" She hugged him tight as he walked with her and they made their way towards his room. They paused in the corridor not too far from the door and hugged again.

"Yes, they said he's still very weak but should hopefully wake up in a few days. He's healing in more ways than one. They cleaned him up so he doesn't look like he's made of stone anymore. He's gotten a bit of his color back I think." He sounded relieved, El smiling.

"Let's go see him." She wrapped her arm around his waist and he hers, both turning to head for the room when he paused, stopping her. A man in scrubs and surgical mask, looking somewhat nervously around, walked towards Neal's door slipping inside. El looked at her husband curiously.

"El, go get security. Quick!" He pushed her back towards the nurse's station and she nodded running back as Peter moved towards the room quietly.

"Nothing personal but Farrold says this has to be done." Peter had started to open the door quietly, hearing a voice speaking softly as he pulled out his piece.

"Freeze!" He saw the man turn startled, the sound of something hitting the floor. It was a syringe. Peter could only imagine what had been in there. He was filled with rage but he held back, pulling the mask off the figure and seeing the man who had taken them on the tour of the demolition site.

"You..." The man just looked at him dumbly, a frightened expression on his face. Peter pulled out his cuffs and secured the man's wrists behind him.

"You can get up now Will." The figure in the bed, bandages on their face, sat up suddenly frightening the hit man who screeched slightly. Peter watched as the fake patient pulled the bandages off and revealed one of the agents who had showed up with Hughes earlier.

"I think that was a win for our side. Good work, agent." Peter smiled as the agent pulled the fake IVs and such off of him and stood.

"I'm going to uhm... get dressed now then I'll take him from you." Agent Will Hoskins blushed slightly making his way with his clothes into the bathroom and disappeared. Peter grinned slightly, turning to the hit man who was trembling.

"You know he was wired. We have everything on tape now. You're going down with your boss." Peter was just barely controlling his rage, thinking how they had not just put his friend through torture but now this. He wanted to release his anger, but Hoskins came out luckily and he practically threw the man at him.

"Sorry but I need to leave if you know what I mean. I'm going to go see my partner. Make sure he's booked."

When Peter exited the room he saw Jones with a security guard and El coming towards him. He waved at the room.

"Hoskins has the hit man cuffed. Thanks for the warning." Peter patted his colleague on the arm as they went to the room and he walked over to El who looked at him confused.

"Isn't Neal in there, honey?" She was looking worried now but he held her and kissed her cheek.

"No... we got a warning that Farrold was sending someone to make sure Neal didn't talk. He's in another room that's secure but now we have enough to be sure Farrold won't be out on the street much longer." He seemed happy.


Neal was still unconscious when they showed up at the real room. He lay on the bed with a few IVs and monitors around him, face pale and still. El walked over first and hugged the young man gently, careful of his left arm in a sling and the bandages around his right hand. She brushed a bit of hair from his face and kissed his forehead.

"Neal, you're safe now. We're just waiting for you to wake up. Ok?" She hugged him once more, moving aside as Peter walked up, his face looking uncertain if anything. He sat at the chair beside the bed and took his friend's hand gently in his own.

"We caught them, Neal. Farrold is going down." He patted the young man's shoulder, stifling a yawn as El wrapped her arms around him.

"Honey, you need sleep. Come on over here and lay on the sofa a moment." She nudged him out of the chair, his hand still holding Neal's as he reluctantly rose and started to let go. He felt the thin fingers slip from his own before they gently grasped his again.

"Pe... ter?"

Both El and Peter turned to each other with a confused look.

"Pe... ter."

They both turned to the figure in the bed, Neal's face suddenly alive, eyes still closed but his hand was holding on to Peter's. He sat back down and felt his eyes growing wet with tears.

"Neal? I'm here." El sniffled, grabbing some tissues from the box on the nightstand and handing one to Peter. They watched Neal move ever so slightly, his voice just audible.

"Than... ks." The young man seemed to smile ever so slight, his eyes still shut before his grip relaxed and he went still again. El looked down at Peter with a concerned look. When he checked, the young man was just sleeping, both of them feeling better after Neal's momentary wakefulness. Peter rose, mussing the young man's hair gently before letting his wife lead him to the sofa. She curled up beside him pulling a spare blanket over them.

"Rest honey. He's going to be ok."


Neal didn't remember too much as he opened up his eyes and looked around. He squinted looking around the dimly lit room and tried to make sense of his surroundings. Was this just another dream or was he truly over the edge and thinking he was awake again? He glanced around with his eyes only, his body stiff and tired but he could feel and move when he tried noticing his left arm in a sling and is right hand bandaged.

His eyes paused on two figures across the room to his right. He wouldn't have noticed them but for the soft sound of snoring coming from one of them. He felt a grin on his face as he made to sit up, wincing from the action. He heard the snoring figure snort a bit and then two brown eyes were staring across the room at him.

"Neal?" Peter rubbed at his eyes sitting up and gently rising up so as to not wake his wife. He walked across with a stretch and yawn, holding out his hand. Neal raised his right and they shook.

"Peter... this is real?" He sounded hopeful blue eyes looking up at the agent curiously.

"Yes. How are you feeling?" Peter sat at the chair holding the young man's hand and smiling. Neal blinked, moving ever so slightly to get comfy. Peter tried to help by adjusting the bed angle. Neal smiled back.

"Thanks... I don't know. How long was I trapped? It felt like weeks." His eyes rolled slightly back a moment to white then back again. Peter made to push the nurse's call but Neal grasped his wrist gently.

"Not yet. I just want to... talk." He moved a bit more to get comfy, eyes rolling loosely in their sockets. Neal looked like he might pass out again.

"Ok, Neal." He saw Neal was looking at him and remember he had asked him how long. Peter gulped.

"I'd say 18 hours before they were able to dig you out. I'm sorry I didn't get to you sooner." Peter felt his face flush with guilt at not having gone into the basement when they'd had the chance. He wanted to say more but Neal just held a hand up and shook his head.

"Not... your fault. I saw you on the screen. You tried. What about Farrold?" He was slumping a bit, head turned to one side as he faced Peter, eyes starting to close. Neal was going to pass out. Peter held his hand trying to keep him awake.

"He's going down. We have more than enough evidence on him. The man with the watch is going to testify for a lesser sentence but at least we'll have the main guy and your captors will go away." Peter was grinning fiercely, Neal smiling sleepily back.

"Good..." His voice trailed off and he was out again. Peter tucked him back in, pushing the nurse call button. He turned and saw El watching him. Neither had noticed her watching the scene but she was smiling.

"See, I told you he would be ok." She motioned for him to come back, Peter obeying as he sat beside her and they curled up.

"You're always right, dear." He kissed her and they were sitting there till the nurse walked in and saw them. She just smiled and went to check on Neal.

"Did he push the button or did one of you?"

"I did. He was awake for a few minutes then fell unconscious again. Is he still ok?" Peter was going to stand up but El pulled him back, kissing him again. The nurse kept her smile, looking at Neal and nodding.

"He's doing fine but next time he wakes up, let us know. For now, let him sleep." She finished her check up and left the room quietly. El nestled against Peter his arms wrapped around her.

"Sleep honey. You need to rest or you'll get sick." She made him lay on the sofa, curling up next him again. Peter watched his wife start to fall asleep again, feeling his own eyes grow heavy as his attention moved from her to Neal's sleeping form in the bed across the room.


It was three more days before Neal was released from the hospital. He had been weak and dehydrated but had healed quickly. Hughes gave Peter time off till the case was ready to go to trial and Neal was healthier.

Neal returned to his rooms at June's, sleeping in most days as he healed. Peter and El would visit, as would Mozzie, when he had his moments of lucidness. He was over the worse of his injuries, his left arm in a sling, but he still had moments of weakness that made him stay in bed to rest.

Another week passed. Neal woke up and looked around the room. He heard voices from the terrace, the smell of Italian roast drifting in on a soft breeze. He sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes, grabbing up his robe as he pulled the blankets aside and pushed himself out of bed. He pulled his robe on and pushed his feet into his slippers as he stood and padded towards the sounds.

"I'm just glad he's doing better. Poor dear needs his sleep." It was June's voice talking to someone. He tied his robe closed, rubbing at his eyes as the sunlight hit them and he stepped out onto the terrace. He saw two sets of eyes looking at him.

"Neal?" It was June and Elizabeth, El the one who spoke. She stood and walked over slowly, taking his hand. He let her lead him to a chair and he sat down, June pouring him some coffee and pushing some food his way. He smiled looking between the two women as they babied him.

"He's awake!"

Neal turned to see Peter coming in the bedroom door. He was smiling as he made his way towards them. He stood behind Neal and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. June stood and offered her chair to Peter.

"I'm going to get some more food for you, young man. You look too skinny." She winked at Neal taking the tray and leaving, Elizabeth following. The two men were alone now, Peter reaching up to keep his hair from whipping in the wind. Neal just dealt with it, apparently liking the feel of the breeze and closing his eyes to take it all in.

"Feeling better?" Peter's voice was curious, Neal opening his eyes and nodding.

"Yeah. I guess I needed the sleep. Sorry I haven't been around. Did I miss the trial for Farrold?" Neal yawned, taking a sip of the coffee June had poured him before he took a bite of the sandwich on the plate. Peter shook his head as he watched him, the young man feeling a bit self-conscious.

"Sorry... just glad you're doing better." Peter turned his glance to an unused cup, pouring himself some coffee.

"Thanks, Peter. It's all a little fuzzy but I seem to recall you guys talking to me on the phone. It kept me sane." He stood and walked over, hugging the agent. Peter hugged him back, the action lasting only a moment before they separated and Neal sat back down.

"I didn't want to lose my best partner." He sniffed slightly, pushing the coffee cup to his lips as he blinked. Neal noticed the tears in Peter's eyes, wiping his own away as he nodded back.

"Well I knew if anyone was going to find me, it would be you. I even had a crazy dream about when you caught me the first time. I relived the day it happened and the time after." Neal sniffled a bit this time, eating more of the sandwich. Peter looked at him curiously.

"I guess this makes us 4 and 0 now?" He smirked slightly when he saw Neal's expression. The young man started to chuckle smiling back.

"Yeah I guess it is. I need to learn to run better." He winked at the agent who gave a mock sigh of frustration.

"Don't make me reduce that radius to 5 feet Neal."

(The End)