Peter was in the ER waiting room. Neal only had a concussion, but that didn't mean no one had to be there when he was at the hospital right? Peter would have done the same for El. In fact, Elizabeth Burke was on her way over as well. He'd called his wife seconds after the ambulance had arrived at the hospital. The FBI was at the crime scene now and Peter had ordered Diana and Jones to stay there. Peter chuckled at how easily the con-man had wormed his way into their lives like he'd belonged there. In a way Peter thought maybe he did. Neal had lost consciousness at the crime scene and had to be taken to the hospital in the ambulance so Peter rode with him, concerned.

One of the staff came over from the white door to his left and crossed the white floor to where Peter was pacing worriedly. She smiled reassuringly and grabbed him by the shoulders, tucking her clip board under one arm as she stared up at him.

"Sir, I'll need you to stop that before you fall through the floor." The woman said firmly, but not in an unfriendly way. "If you tell me who you're looking for I can get you the information. The doctors here aren't usually very informative, I know."

Peter glanced to her name tag. Candy. Well she certainly was! Shit, if El were here she'd bitch slap him so hard he'd wake up next week next to Neal on a hospital bed, but he would never want anyone but her. The FBI agent stopped his pacing and blinked. A small smile spread on his face and he said, "My partner's name is Neal Caffrey. He came in with a concussion about half an hour ago and they won't tell me anything...I thought that maybe he got worse?I'm Peter Burke, FBI." Peter held out a hand. Candy took it and smiled warmly up at Peter and nodded.

"I'll be back in a moment!" Candy said cheerfully as she walked off quickly.

She was a little to preppy to be a nurse, Peter thought as he watched her glide off. He shook his head and moved over to the waiting area to sit down in one of the white seats.

No wonder Neal hates hospitals, Peter considered. This place has no personality whatsoever...

As he slouched into the cheap plastic chair something in his front pants pocket pricked him in the leg, almost making him jump. As it was he yelped a bit, causing the old man beside him to stare.

Peter waved him off and dug into his pockets. As his fingers closed over something metal and cool, Peter remembered the object Neal had forced him to take before he'd pushed Peter through his makeshift escape route. When Neal thought he wouldn't make it.

Peter hesitated and then quickly pulled the object from his pocket and opened his fingers. He gasped. In the palm of his hand was a knock-off copy of a sheriff's badge. The same badge Neal had carried around with him since week one when he'd unceremoniously stolen the plastic toy from Peter's breakfast cereal.

Peter remembered how he'd told Neal that he wasn't welcome at the table. That criminal's shouldn't be allowed in his house, let alone sitting at his table eating breakfast with his wife.

Now, Neal was invited over any time and he knew it. This badge had annoyed the living hell out of Peter for quite a while, but eventually it had just become common to see Neal walking around and brandishing it in criminal's faces confidently. Like it was completely natural. Peter chuckled and clasped both hands over the badge.

Suddenly, Candy walked through the double doors at the opposite end of the white room and gestured him over.

"Hello Agent Burke! I found your partner," Here she stopped to check her clipboard, eyebrows coming together. "... Mr. Caffrey? All Mr. Caffrey suffered was a concussion and some minor blood loss. He should be fine so there's no need to worry-OH!"

Candy seemed to remember something important. "He's being discharged as we speak, but it wasn't clear who was staying with him...He was about to call someone when I walked in."

Peter growled a little bit. If they'd let him see his partner then he wouldn't -

"Thank you Candy." Peter said gratefully, "Could you maybe, take me to him?"

Candy grinned and nodded. The young woman practically dragged the poor man through the drab hospital at top speed. How she managed to avoid knocking over carts and patients was beyond him. Finally they reached another room and the door was wide open. Candy stopped there and led him inside.

"Mr. Caffrey," Candy exclaimed, " Agent Burke is here to see you discharged."

Peter fingered the badge in his left hand. He kept it behind his back, not quite sure what to do with it now the he was in the room.

Without another word Candy skipped pleasantly from the room and took a left, going back to whatever fairy tale she'd fallen out of. Neal looked at Peter in confusion like 'what just happened?'.
Peter chuckled.

Neal had a small white bandage on his temple, but that was it. The hospital had provided extra clothes for him apparently as Neal was dressed in a white cotton t-shirt and khaki pants. The ex-con was sitting on the side of his bed, propped up on his hands.

"Soooo...When are we leaving?" Neal asked almost tiredly.

All the humor had left his eyes. Like he'd deflated or something which worried Peter. He shot his friend a questioning look that Neal didn't quite seem to catch.

"Could we at least wait until tomorrow to cuff me?"

Neal asking Peter this like it was the most understandable request in the history of man-kind almost made Peter trip over himself. He looked at Neal, completely shocked at the inquiry and blinked, but Neal refused to meet his eyes.

Peter needed to say something.


Neal looked up at him in confusion. How could Peter not know what he was referring to?

"Peter. I cut my anklet-technically I ran and stole government property." Neal said seriously. His blue gaze cut through Peter as he realized what Neal was saying. Neal had already been cleared, but apparently no one had found the time or wasted the effort to tell the man.

Peter grinned. "Didn't you know Caffrey?" He said casually.

Neal looked up at him in surprise at the use of his last name.

"Neal Caffrey is back with the FBI effective immediately." With that said, Peter held out Neal's 'badge' and shoved it into his partners rather surprised grip. Neal could only stare at it in shock and ….was that happiness? Peter grinned with him. Neal proceeded to tuck the star into his breast pocket of his cotton shirt and stand.

Looking Peter straight in the eye he said softly, "Thank you Peter."

Peter merely nodded and clapped his partner on the back gently. "As if I'd let my best friend go to jail."
The surprised look he received from Neal Caffrey could have made a perfect Kodak moment.