Summary: Neal And Peter end up injured and alone in an accident! Neal! Whump! Peter! Whump! Taurus! Whump! But mainly Neal! Whump!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything! (Sadly but my birthday's coming up if anyone wants to buy me rights to owning Neal Caffrey!)
"…And weather reports in Manhattan take a turn for the worse; when temperatures drop, yet again."
Peter muted the television, and groaned. "And this is why, I officially hate winter." He said to the ceiling.
Elle, sitting on the couch cuddled against her husband, sighed and said, "The only reason you hate it is because I make you shovel the front yard in the morning, Peter Burke." She said and tapped his nose lightly.
Peter rolled his eyes but smiled. "Yes. But I also hate it because this is the time of year when accidents are more prone to happen because of the black ice or even better, flu season comes around." He paused a moment. "And, if you hadn't noticed, I have to be at work longer because of the crime rates that go up during winter."
"Nope, I hadn't noticed."
Peter pretended to pout at his wife. She smiled and punched his arm playfully. "You forget. This time of year's also the time for holidays and being with your family." She reasoned.
He smiled back and kissed her on the forehead. "Yeah. I'm sure you're right."
She sat up. "'Sure'? Hmph, fine I guess if that's how you feel then I wont give you your early Christmas present then." she said, turning away and pretending to be mad.
"What? Elle, c'mon, haven't I been a good boy this year?" he began to breathe down her neck. She giggled and turned around with a small box in her hand. It was red with golden ribbon curls dangling from the top.
"Open it." she said.
"Can't I open my other present first?" he asked, finally flirting for once in his god damn life.
Elle mock-pouted and beckoned the gift a second time.
Peter took the small nicely-wrapped package and carefully unraveled the box as to not ruin the wrapping paper or make a mess. After what seemed to be five minutes, he was down to the core of the present. A small white box and lid. As to raise suspense, he slowly lifted the lid until it revealed the item enclosed within.
The small band inside seemed familiar to the man's eyes. It was a black band with a small orange light on the side. Peter looked up at his wife with confusion written all over his expression. "Elle? Is this what I think it is?"
She smiled and nodded like a small, bubbly child with a secret that she wanted to burst out saying real badly.
"You got me Neal's tracking anklet?" Peter asked, looking back at the anklet and realizing in shock that if the anklet was with him, then where was Neal? "Honey. Where did you get this?" Peter asked urgently as he held it carefully between his fingers.
"Kay Jewelers." She beamed. "What, you don't like it?"
"No, this isn't good. If I have this, and Neal isn't here—" he stopped. "Elle, I need you to tell me where and when you saw Neal last?"
"Neal? You mean Neal Caffrey? The conman you've been chasing for almost three years now? The Neal Caffrey? Peter, if I knew, then why wouldn't you have caught him by now?" She muttered the fact that she had been competing against the conman for years now, but Peter ignored it.
"What? No, I already caught him and now he's working with the FBI as a consultant and my partner." Peter re-explained even though he thought they had a pretty clear understanding of all this.
"Peter, you're starting to scare me." She commented.
"You're starting to scare me." Peter replied and fumbled for the nearest phone he could find. As soon as he had, he quickly dialed the bureau's number and requested to speak with Jones.
"Agent Burke? What do you need at this hour? Do you have anything on your search for Caffrey?"
"No, I was hoping you would." He sighed and hung up in defeat. He didn't understand what was going on at the moment, but whatever it was he sure as hell did not like it.
"Peter," Elle said from beside him and reached up to feel his forehead. She retracted her hand after not feeling a fever of any sort. "Maybe you've been working too hard lately." She looked at him worriedly.
He sighed and leaned back into the couch. She got up and returned a minute later with a couple of blankets. "Here, at least bundle yourself up." She recommended and tossed them on her husband.
He took her advice and did as he was told, yet his mind was still on everything going on. However, he was snapped from his thinking when he noticed it get drastically cooler in the house. He shivered and wrapped another blanket around himself instinctively. That's when he noticed it was the blankets making him colder. He tried removing them, yet it only made things worse.
"Elle?" He looked around for Elle, but she was nowhere to be seen. He saw that his living room became icy and blue tinged all around him. Acting quickly, he turned the volume up on the TV as to see if there's anything on the news of what was currently going on.
"And in other news, time for the week's forecast with Lauren Cruz." Peter blinked at the name. His eyes were glued to the screen until he saw the unmistakable face on the television. When she started speaking, the only noise that could be heard was an unpleasant whistling wind noise that echoed around the presumably empty house.
Peter was tempted to wrap another blanket around him, but turned against the idea and instead rubbed his arms in hopes to get the blood in his arms flowing at least.
Peter sat on the couch with a still expression, recognizing that horribly familiar voice. Reluctantly, he slowly turned around to see a woman with brilliant blue eyes and long, straight, dark brown hair standing directly behind him from the staircase.
"Kate." He breathed the name that caused his friend so much grief. As soon as he had spoken her name, everything became darker and even colder than before. It was so cold to the point where it felt as if it was more burning rather than freezing.
Peter woke up slowly only to be greeted by the agonizing cold and whistling winds of the frosty air that surrounded him, despite being behind the wheel in the safety of the totaled Taurus. As he faded back to awareness and reality of the situation, he was hit with a deep pulse of pain coming from his right side of his abdomen and leg. He muffled himself by biting his lower lip until the pain weakened. Then, when his masculinity returned, forced himself to turn and look at the damage done.
His favorite pair of slacks and cell phone combo were legitimately ruined as a result of having a large shard of glass stabbed severely, and painfully along the side of his pant leg right where his pocket with the cell phone in it. He groaned when he imagined Elle's face when she figured out he had 'gone out and ruined another suit' with a bonus 'How could you have broken another cell phone, Peter? This is the third one this month!' even though it was an exaggeration, his wife would still be quite annoyed.
Why did Neal have to forget his cell phone at the bureau? He suddenly remembered Neal. He frantically looked around him. "Neal!" he called desperately. When he had called for his friend, his voice was strangled with the pain coming from his stomach he had temporarily forgotten about.
He probed his stomach for the source of the pain wherever it had been coming from. He winced as he counted the broken ribs in his side. Fortunately, he had only found one. He tried again. "Neal!" he called for the young man, choking on more pain at the end.
This is getting me nowhere. He thought, feeling his frustration rise. He tried to get up, but his aching side protested and throbbed with a strong pulse of pain. He bit his lip and rode out the feeling a second time. Then, he gritted his teeth as he mentally prepared himself for what he was about to do next. He clenched his bloodied hand around the shard of glass that stuck deep in his leg. Then, on the silent count to three, he pulled the fragment from his lower limb and screamed.
As soon as the stinging had lessened, he quickly removed his tie and made it a tourniquet around the wound in attempt to stop, if nor slow down, the bleeding. Feeling the adrenaline flowing through his veins, he pushed himself up from the car seat and fell out of the seat into the snow. The cold stung, yet felt good on the injured side. Much like a compress. Again, he pushed himself up and began to scuttle around with his hand over his stomach.
He anxiously looked for his friend. "Neal!" he coughed on the coldness, but continued on. As he looked around, he found a body lying on its side. In a frenzy, he quickly approached it and felt for a pulse. He found none and felt his heart sink. With great force, he flipped him onto his back. Peter felt a little relief wash over him when he found that it wasn't Neal, but the man they'd been after with a cigar in his mouth. He must have known this was going to happen. Peter angrily smacked some of the snow on the ground.
Still, he had to find Neal. He left the body's side and continued to search for the consultant. "Neal!" he called for what seemed like the millionth time on his parched lips. This time, at the corner of his eye, he saw something twitch. He quickly turned to see it was his partner's leg with the anklet that was going to save them if the team came in time.
Peter hurriedly limped over to where the movement had come from. He found his friend with his limbs sprawled out around him as if he were making mutant one-armed snow angels instead lying there injured. He knelt beside him and felt his neck for a pulse. It was faint, but still there. "Neal, can you hear me? Neal!"
"Mm," he moaned with a look of discomfort evident on his expression. "Peter, you're…too loud." He mumbled weakly as he came to. He tilted his bleeding head in the direction of Peter's voice and opened his bleary eyes to see him.
Peter couldn't hide the small smile forming on his own face. "Good to have you back." His smile faded when the other man began to cough into his good arm's fist forcefully.
He made a note of the man's injuries, the ones he could see at least. Besides the concussion, his right shoulder was clearly and had been promptly dislocated. His white collar shirt was becoming soaked in the crimson water from the injuries behind it. Peter began unbuttoning the young man's shirt. "Don't get too excited." He said.
Neal stared at him in disbelief. Peter shrugged as he opened the bloodied shirt. "We've been hanging out too much. You've corrupted me." Peter quickly commented as he studied the full extent of his friend's injuries. His chest was bruised a dark shade of purple, indicating he had also broken a couple of ribs as well. Besides broken ribs, there was a sizeable piece of glass sticking out of the side of his stomach that was covered in blood.
Peter bit his lip with some worry. He tried to imagine how Neal had gotten so banged up, then remembered he hadn't been wearing his seatbelt when the accident happened and flew through the front windshield.
Neal saw the expression on Peter's face and paled slightly. Both from cold and worry. "How bad is it?" he asked, his voice was still feeble.
"I'm not going to lie. You're banged up pretty good, kid. Next time I tell you to wear the seatbelt. Wear it." He replied as calmly as he could. His eyes still on the glass sticking out. He began looking around for something. He finally found a stick and held it to the young man's face.
"Bite this." He breathed.
He looked at him with both panic and confusion. "What?"
"Just do it." he ordered.
Neal complied unenthusiastically and held the twig in his mouth. He was disgusted, thinking how unsanitary holding a random twig off the ground was. All his thoughts were forgotten when he felt a sharp stinging pain on his stomach. Instinctively, he kicked his legs and tried to flinch away, but it was no use.
"Quit thrashing around!" Peter yelled. Again, Neal listened to him and did his best to calm down by taking breaths through his nose. When the stinging started back up, he did everything in his willpower to remain still. Eventually, the pain ended and was quickly replaced by the cold.
Peter leaned back over Neal's face and removed the stick. "Sorry, but if I had told you, it would've hurt that much more." He apologized, holding up his thumb and finger as an indicator of how much.
Neal blinked back the tears forming in his eyes and nodded silently. He closed his eyes once more and began to take deep breaths of the chilly midday air, trying to calm down.
Peter slowly and carefully buttoned the man's shirt back up and sheltered the wound. He felt horrible about what he did to Neal, but if he hadn't, it would've ended up becoming infected and that was the last thing that the young man needed to add to his list of ailments at the moment. He looked at the piece of blood-covered glass he extracted from his side. It had been larger than it appeared before he pulled it out.
He returned his attention to Neal, who appeared to be falling asleep.
Neal sighed and began to relax a little, feeling exhaustion sweep over him. His breathing evened out as he began to fall asleep. He was rudely awakened as he felt someone slapping his face.
"C'mon, Neal. I can't have you falling asleep on me. Not yet. First we need to get you warmed up." Peter's voice urged.
Neal cracked open his eyes and looked at the agent. "Peter," his voice sounded weaker than before. "Whatta…'bout you?" he slurred.
"I'll be all right. We'll be all right." He quickly corrected himself. "I'll be right back. Don't fall asleep." Peter warned and got up. He went back to the destroyed Taurus and looked for any blankets or something to keep them warm. He found the consultant's double-breasted coat. Figuring the coat wasn't going to be enough, he walked back over to the dead body of the felon he had mistaken for Neal earlier.
He removed the jacket from him and returned to Neal's side with the two coats. "Here, cover up." He ordered. When Neal didn't respond, he grew alarmed and felt his neck for a pulse. It was weak, but still there. "Neal, Neal, wake up." He sounded more as if he were pleading than ordering.
Neal groaned and blinked his eyes open at his friend. "Huh? Oh, sorry, Peter, I was resting my eyes…honest…" he smiled tiredly with a small yawn.
"Yeah, well don't let it happen again. The only way you're leaving this partnership is if you're wearing orange. Got it?" He threatened and draped the coats over him.
Neal closed his eyes and nodded. Peter slapped him again, earning an annoyed look from the young consultant. "Okay…okay, 'Don't fall asleep'. You have a callous front hand slap, I hope you know that."
Peter ignored the last comment and began looking around him. Neal blinked at him. "Looking…for something…Peter…?" he coughed into his good hand.
"Something to burn. I'm making a fire. You could only pull off the blue-eyed look, not the blue-lipped look." Peter looked around until he found a little wood. He made a small pile, enough to kindle some hope for Peter and Neal.
"Neal," Peter breathed, feeling the adrenaline began to seep from his body. "You got a light?"
Neal shook his head and exhaled. Peter groaned and looked around distraughtly. His faith was renewed when he remembered the cigar in the dead man's mouth. He hurriedly crawled over to the body and searched his pockets. However, his heart sank when he didn't find the lighter that a smoker would usually carry with them.
Exhaustedly, he crawled to the remains of his car—a midnight blue colored Subaru—and searched for anything that was used for a light. However, his efforts were vain when he found nothing.
He began back to the pile of sticks and his injured partner. He plopped down in front of the sticks and picked up one in each hand. Using his bear-scout skills, he rubbed the two sticks together trying to cause enough friction to spark a fire.
He noticed Neal hadn't talked in a while and peeked over his shoulder to look at him. His eyes were half-lidded and staring directly above him. "Neal," Peter called.
Neal's eyes snapped back open and he looked at him. "Wasn't asleep…honest!" Peter frowned at how weak his voice had gotten.
"Sure." He replied as he readjusted his seat on the snow as to see both Neal and the soon-to-be-lit fire. He had to keep the young man talking if he wanted any chance to keep him conscious. "So, tell me." He started, thinking up a good question of how to keep his interest. "Do you know what Mozzie's real name is? Because Moz doesn't sound like a real name."
Neal smiled for the first time in the situation. "Moz's…real name?" He looked contemplative. "Don't know…"
Peter inwardly groaned. He really did want to know so he could run a file on him later. "Well, do you know how he got the name? Mozzie? There has to be a story behind that." He yawned, beginning to feel the exhaustion of the day's events taking place. He knew he had to act fast.
Neal said something barely above a whisper, but Peter couldn't really hear what he was saying. "Huh? Sorry, didn't get that."
Neal tried to speak up, but ended up coughing. "I said," cough. "Mozzie," cough. "MozzIE." He paused as he cleared his throat a second time. He continued when he managed the pain-driven coughing from the broken ribs. "He told me…he chose the…name because…the extension…"
"Extension? Neal, I didn't hear that, the wind's too loud!" he pretended he couldn't hear, trying to egg the other man on.
It worked. "MozzIE. You know…the IE exten…sion…?" his voice strengthened a little in annoyance. "Internet…explorer?"
Peter actually looked up from the pile of sticks and at the consultant. "Really? I was thinking the mosquito nickname or something about the hang glider." He chuckled.
Neal chuckled weakly. "Me too."
Peter groaned in frustration as he tried to start the fire. His efforts were getting them nowhere. Neal began to sit up. "Peter, I-"
Peter saw him from the corner of his eye. "Hey, be careful. That wound you have is pretty big. I can't have you making it worse. I'd hate to imagine all the paperwork I'd have to do if you died on me, Caffrey." He half-joked.
"I'm touched…you care…" he mock retorted. "But, Peter…there's…a light…"
The agent turned around to see the consultant's shivering hand with a small green lighter enclosed in it. He took the offered lighter and used it on the wood.
Now I know how the Neanderthals felt. Peter thought proudly as he looked into the unbelievably small fire before him. It was small, but enough for the time being. Quickly, he pulled the consultant closer to the fire, hoping to get him heated up a little.
The two sat in silence as the fire heated them up. He felt a little calmer when he noticed the blue tinge leave the younger man's lips.
"We're going need more firewood soon if we don't want this fire to blow over any minute, now." He commented as he noticed the twigs quickly disintegrate in the flames. Peter got up and cringed at the sudden movement. He fell and looked as if he were kneeling instead of doubled-over, wheezing slightly in attempt to catch his breath.
Neal grew concerned and felt his own adrenaline rush getting to him. "Peter…you all right?"
"Yeah. Just tripped." He lied. Neal looked at him concernedly and knew he was lying. Who did he think he was, trying to lie to a conman? He smiled to himself at the thought as he watched Peter get back up and look around. Peter returned a few minutes later with a medium-sized piece of wood that looked as if it would last them for a good half-hour.
Peter carefully lowered himself back onto the ground next to the young man and near the fire. He remembered that he had to keep Neal talking. "Neal." He breathed. "You say you hate guns. So how are you so good with them? I don't get it."
Neal groaned and turned away from Peter and the fire, trying to ignore the question. His plan was ruined when Peter moved him back. "Uh-uh, you can't get out of this that easily, Caffrey." He propped him up against him.
"Sleep." Neal mumbled with his eyes closed.
"Fine. You can sleep if you answer my question: How are you so good with guns?"
"Neal!" Peter shook him roughly and roused him.
His blue eyes snapped back open and stared into the flames with a blank, half-lidded expression. "My dad…he taught me." He said quietly. "Said I'd need it…if I wanted…to live." He shivered more at the memory than the cold. Peter moved him closer to the fire anyway.
"Why would he say that?" Peter asked.
"Depends…am I…talking to…Agent Burke…or Peter?" He could feel the young man take a deep breath and puff out the frosty air.
Peter hesitated. "Peter." He finally replied.
"Good. None of this…goes to Burke. Snow like Vegas, understand…?"
"Got it." he promised with a small nod.
Neal scooted up a little and cleared his throat. "Poor as a kid…my dad. He was…very involved…with mob. He made quick…money. He was able to talk his way out of a lot."
"Much like someone I know."
Neal brushed off the comment and continued. "But one day…I guess he knew, he was too far in…to get out. He knew he…was going to die. He knew, after…they'd got him, they'd come after me." He coughed a little at the end.
"What about your mom?" Peter pieced the story together.
"Never met her…died when I…young." Neal's eyes slid shut.
"How?" he had to keep him talking.
"Heart attack…or so I've been…told."
Peter had hoped that question would keep him talking. He shivered, feeling the cold began to take its toll on him. The young man below him felt guilty about not being able to do anything.
Neal tried to sit up again. He was successful, but in excruciating pain. "Take this…" he offered one of the coats.
But Peter declined. "I can't. You need it more than me."
"I'm not…offering…take it…it's ugly…" he complained sarcastically.
Peter knew what the conman was doing, but played along. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'd forgotten the great Neal Caffrey still had to have style, even when beaten and lying injured in the snow. Here, let me get your hat for you." He got up slowly and went to the Taurus and to retrieve the hat when he providentially found something else to burn with the little adrenaline he had remaining. He returned to Neal and sat back down next to the fire with a small grunt.
"Your majesty…" he caught his breath and handed him the infamous fedora.
"Damn right." He took the hat and weakly flashed his trademark grin, but it faded quickly as his own energy had left. With a soft sigh, he collapsed onto Peter's stomach, just under his broken rib. Peter 'oof'-ed in both surprise and ache, then looked down at the young man and was about to ask if he was all right when he spoke.
"This isn't spooning…just so we're clear." Neal mumbled sleepily.
Peter smirked. "See? I told you you've corrupted my mind."
"Did not. Damn it!"
Neal laughed weakly and went silent. Peter looked down at him to see he had fallen asleep. But this time, he wouldn't wake him up. He felt his pulse and was pleased to find it stronger than it had been. He stared into the fire, thinking about what Neal had said. Before he'd even begun chasing him, he'd done a full and what he'd thought—thorough—file on the man. However, it still seems as if everyday he learns something new about the bureau's consultant, his partner, his friend, Neal Caffrey.
And maybe the next day, he'd learn a little more.
Thanks for reading! Please R&R, flames will be used to keep them alive and warm until Diana and the others show up! Okay, not really, you could just write FLAMES TO KEEP NEAL AND PETER ALIVE on the bottom or something XD Just kidding, whatever haha! Please review! And thanks again for reading!