"NEAL!" Peter screamed as he broke through to the surface. He coughed and hacked out buckets of water it seemed, but heard nothing from his friend. Dammit! He just had to jump in after him hadn't he?
Peter Burke had surfaced and allowed the strong gust of a current to carry him to where the water had settled down a bit. He caught sight of Neal seconds before the con artist's body was tossed at frightening speed into a huge block of stone protruding from the river. The impact was so violent Peter could hear the resounding crack from above the water. He started swimming towards him as the prone form began to sink. A snake of Red liquid was twisting up from the con artist's body as he spiraled to the bottom of the clear lake.
The figure of the con artist was lying on his side, hidden by the cracked, broken sediment that had crashed over his broken body. He wasn't making an effort to get up...
Peter didn't see any bubbles drifting to the surface as he cut through the water towards his friend. No bubbles meant no air, no oxygen. No oxygen meant no life. The FBI agent couldn't have covered distance faster if he'd had flippers. Neal couldn't have survived that...No.
Peter gulped a few deep breaths of air and dove into the water. He swam as far as he could into the remarkably clear water until he arrived at the bottom where he was careful not to raise too much mud. The water was thick with blood. The clear, clean water was becoming contaminated by the gruesome red coloring revolved around his friend's torso.
Neal was in an awkward position, head and upper body floating upward with his waist acting as an anchor. His head was lying back, lips slightly parted. Neal's strong arms seemed to be weighted down as their fingertips skimmed the sand at his sides. The water was a dark, boiling shade of red.
Quickly, Peter moved closer and cupped Neal's face in his hands, forcing the drifting ex-con to look at him.
Peter couldn't move from the shock of seeing Neal's glowing blue eyes lifeless and empty. NO! That seemed to be the only word Peter's stricken mind could process.
Neal's glazed eyes stared right through Peter, unseeing. The agent forced his mouth onto Neal's and tried breathing precious air into his consultant's lungs. Nothing. He didn't move, didn't flinch, didn't even blink.
Peter forced himself to tear away from his friend and swim to the surface for air. He didn't hesitate to dive back down and try to give his partner air, but again it failed. Peter swam toward the biggest slab of rock that was succeeding in crushing the life out of his partner, the blood in the water was staining Peter's clothes.
As a logical man, Peter knew that his idea wasn't safe. If this didn't work they were both stuck, but Neal was running out of time...
Maybe his time was already run out, Peter thought. He shook his head violently. Neal had more lives than anyone he knew! He was like a black cat, unlucky, stealthy, smart and you could never get rid of them!...And Peter would never admit it, but he liked it that way.
He used his upper back and hunched underneath the heavy rock and began digging as fast as he could. Every second he was painfully aware of his partners limp form behind him. What if this didn't work? What if, even if he did manage to get Neal out of this he didn't make it? What if-
The rock shifted dramatically and Peter shoved his thoughts away and locked them in a box. It drifted upward at a 90 degree angle. Taking advantage of the situation he'd planned out Peter threw all of his weight against the offensive object and pushed hard. It slowly proceeded to tumble to river floor, out of their way, causing an ungodly amount of mud to mushroom up from the bottom of the water. Immediately, Peter swam through the muck to the ex-con's side, draped Neal's arm around his shoulders and kicked off from the floor.
The momentum didn't last long from Neal's obvious dead weight, but Peter sliced through the water as fast as he could. His chest ached from the lack of oxygen, but he needed to make it. Neal was...
Peter broke through to the surface and spluttered for air. Neal was dragging him down, but he laboriously swam to the shore, dragging the unconscious man after him...Neal was like a rag doll...He didn't gasp for air or start to breathe. He was simply...still.
Peter started to panic as he lowered his injured partner, no- friend onto the sandy bank. The amount of blood pouring from Neal's head was alarming and dangerous. Peter seriously hoped he didn't have any other unseen injuries because the head wound was certainly bad enough.
The way Neal's head had smacked back against that solid rock chilled Peter to the bone. All it took was one hit like that to kill a grown man...To kill- Red water ran down Neal's face as blood flowed from head. His head was lolling to the side, resting limply in the sand. Neal's sightless eyes we still only half opened and staring at nothing.
That rock...Neal could be...
"Neal!" Peter whispered urgently.
No response. No smart ass answer or relieving remarks. He shook Neal.
"NEAL!" The convict remained motionless. As his training had taught him Peter began performing CPR, breathing for his friend. He couldn't die...He couldn't die...He couldn't die...Not when- IT'S YOUR FAULT! Peter's mind screamed. In a moment of shock Peter realized the voice was right. It was every part his fault for not listening to his partner, his friend, for ignoring common sense. He made a rookie mistake and got cocky. But Neal had saved his sorry ass, now it was time to return the favor. Or so Peter hoped. He continued the CPR, pinching closed Neal's nose as he forced air into Neal's motionless lungs.
Peter paused to push his ear to the other man's chest. No thub-a-lub, thub-a-lub sound from the organ was heard.
He pressed on for minutes before he stopped. Shaking Neal again to try and get a reaction Peter started yelling. It couldn't be too late.
"No Neal! I own you for 4 more years! Don't you dare pull a cheap ass move and bail out now! Neal!" Peter growled threateningly.
His expression of anger melted from the agent's face. There was nothing that could bring him back now.
Screaming wouldn't work...Peter knew it. Nothing would work, Neal was gone...
"NO! You will NOT die, Neal! God dammit Caffrey! WAKE UP!"
Peter beat his fists on Neal's chest and lowered his head so his forehead was resting against the man's torso.
This was his fault. All his fault. Neal was gone and it was because of his actions. Of all the ways to die...Neal had always wanted to go out with a bang doing something he loved or for someone he cared about. Who would have thought he'd die saving Peter Burke, the dumb ass who'd thrown Neal's ass in prison multiple times... It was so unfair! All your fault...Everything...All your fault.
The man could never shoot another smart ass comment his way. He would never dress like that damn cartoon cartoon character or mess with his hat. He couldn't argue with Peter over the difference between the primitive nature of beer and the more sophisticated taste of wine. Peter wouldn't ever need to shove his consultant's expensive designer shoes off his work desk.
Neal couldn't steal toys out of his breakfast cereal. When had Neal managed to worm his way into his heart like this? When had Peter stopped caring about eating at the same breakfast table with a convicted felon? NO! Neal was not just a convicted felon anymore...Not to Peter. When had he cared about whether or not Neal got sent back to jail? Neal wasn't going to come back to walk his dog or charm his wife...
"Wud you m'nd terr'bly getting off o' me?" A very weak Neal choked out.
Peter's head shot up at the speed of light. He stared at the person speaking in utter disbelief. There was no way...He was...Neal turned his head briefly to see around his shoulder blade and smirked. Apparently something was funny. Eye brow raised.
"Y'er gur'na gi' yerself wh'plash Pete..." Neal slurred.
As if those words broke some sort of spell Peter's silent tears started to fall. Neal had...His partner...Neal was okay. He was okay.
"Neal..." Peter said, voice cracking.
Neal's eyebrows drew together in confusion, wondering what was wrong with the distraught agent.
"Peter are you-" A cry of pain cut off the rest of his sentence as Neal attempted to sit up.
He started to collapse back onto the bank, but Peter was there, clutching him, holding him close and hugging him tightly. Was Peter crying? Peter Burke? Neal took shallow breaths as his head continued to spin. Note to self: Moving sucked.
Suddenly a horrifying thought occured to him.
"Pet'r..." Neal paused to hack and cough painfully, he was tired. Losing the ability to keep his eyes open. Peter rubbed his back gently, still not letting his partner go.
Neal's weak raspy voice seemed to almost scare the other man as he stared down at Neal. Neal's eyes were drooping shut.
"No, Neal...You gotta stay awake or I'm shoving your ass back in jail."
Neal flinched and his eyes closed completely. The comment stung. Hurt was a more appropriate word, Neal thought. Why would he feel that way? After everything...So Peter really didn't care...At least he was safe.
The darkness was warm...Soft and quiet. It was beautiful, an escape from the pain erupting in his head. He wanted nothing more than to just bask in it. Sleep. Let go.
A rather loud commanding shout burst through the silence as he heard,
Neal almost, almost, opened his eyes. He didn't, the warmth was too wondrous. He would have loved to stay...
As soon as Peter saw the reaction flash across Neal's features Peter regretted the words leaving his mouth.
He hadn't meant that.
It was a reflex to use that as a scare tactic and right now...Neal was scaring Peter enough to make the older one want to piss his pants. He'd just gotten Neal back, he couldn't lose him! That head injury could not be safe to sleep with. Peter shook his partner.
"No, no buddy you need to wake up! Open your eyes buddy! COME ON!"
No response met the FBI agent other than Neal's head beginning to loll to the side and he began to panic again. He pressed his cold, shaking fingers to Neal's neck to find the man's pulse growing slower and weaker by the second. No...
"NEAL CAFFREY!" Peter demanded loudly, hoping that would elicit something...anything.
Neal didn't even twitch.
"STAY WITH ME! PLEASE!" He screamed at the limp form of the man in front of him.
"Dammit Pet'r...So f'cking lowd..." Neal complained. He attempted to push the FBI agent away from him unsuccessfully. Neal's eyes met Peter's, filled with annoyance.
Neal saw the hope in Peter's eyes and blinked. Huh?
The confusion on his tired features seemed to bring out something in Peter's expression and he pulled Neal closer and muttered something sound like, "Neal. Thank GOD."
By that point there was sure to be someone out there looking for the two of them. Peter and Neal clutched each other for warmth and waited. Peter engaged Neal in conversation and continued to shake him awake multiple times. Sleeping for Neal was not an option. Under the circumstances keeping Neal awake was not something that should have been hard to do...but Peter managed to keep his friend's eyes open with useless conversation and babble of anything until the paramedics arrived around 2 hours and 45 minutes later.
As the obnoxious, bright lights seared around the two of them the hospital helicopter occupants loaded Neal onto a stretcher and covered them both with heavy, soft blankets. The male paramedic gave Neal some painkillers until the ride to the hospital was officially over.
Before Neal fell into a deep, safe sleep Neal looked over at a relieved Peter quizzically as he was being checked out. For some reason Peter was holding his hand comfortingly. It didn't bother him, but he was seriously confused as to why on earth the FBI agent would want to have a 3 hour conversation about goats with him...
Sorry guys, but after all the suspense and everything I simply HAD to end it on a funny...xD
I'm good with the word vomit thing... Serious stories suck for me to write sometimes and this didn't really have an exceptional plot, but hell I'm a 15 year old girl leave me alone! Ha~ Rate and review please? (;