Okay, i think something might be seriously wrong with me because i have written more this week than i did all last year. Anyway, here's my latest fic. It's just a little blurb that my generous plot bunnies gave to me and i had to write. it's told from Peters point of view and is told in the present and flashbacks. anyway, I'll shut up now and let you read.
"I can't believe that I finally get to do this!" Neal said ecstatically, putting on his shirt and buttoning it.
"You do realize that the only reason that you get to do this is because you got shot," I said casting glances at the bandages peeking through the opening of his shirt. He tried to hide it but I knew that the bullet wounds still hurt him.
The shooting had happened a week ago but it constantly played over in my mind, as fresh as if it had just happened.
"Neal, I am not going shopping with you," I said angrily.
"Please Peter," Neal asked me, gazing at me with those puppy eyes.
"Because your suits are so bland! They offer no personality, no style, they're just a… a cut-out cookie. A plain cut-out cookie like all of the other plain cut-out cookies on the hot cookie pan."
"That's quite a metaphor," I said, my mood suddenly turning sour.
"I really want a cookie now too. Hey Peter wan-"
"But you don't even know what I was going to ask."
"You want a cookie."
"Well, if you insist," he said with a smile.
It was impossible that he could actually look that cheesy with that hat and smile, and yet he did. And that's when the shots rang out. I looked ahead of us and saw a man in a black with a black mask hide his gun and run in the opposite direction. I was just about to run after him when I felt a tug at my sleeve.
I looked to Neal only to see that he wasn't there. I panicked and looked down at the ground. The image made my heart stop. Neal was laying face down, a small pool of blood flowing out from under him. I holstered my gun and flipped him on his back.
"Neal! Oh God Neal, hold on. Someone call an ambulance!" I yelled to the crowd taking off my jacket and applied pressure to his wounds.
"Peter," Neal said his face an alarming shade of white.
"I'm here Neal, just stay with me. Did someone call a god-damned ambulance!" I yelled into the gathering crowd.
"I'm calling them," a young girl said, walking up to me, "Is- is he going to be okay?"
"Yes," I said, but deep down in my gut there was a nagging feeling that tugged at my heart.
Three minutes after being shot Neal became unconscious.
Two minutes later the ambulance arrived.
Five minutes en route to the hospital Neal's heart stopped.
It took almost three minutes to start it again.
He was in surgery for two and a half hours.
His heart stopped another two times, it took almost seven minutes to start it again.
He was in a coma for three and a half days.
Neal finished dressing in his funeral attire and turned to look at me with a radiant smile.
"So, how do I look?"
"Not bad, for a dead man," I said as he adjusted his jacket. The affect of his suit and had been dampened by the setting, the Shenedal's Funeral Home basement, but as always, Neal Caffrey found a way to make coffins and mourning flowers look sexy. I really did hate him some times.
"I would make a good looking zombie," he said turning back to examine himself in the mirror.
"Come on Frankenstein, it's time to load you up. You don't want to be late to your own funeral do you?"
"I believe in always being fashionably late," He said as he crawled into his mahogany coffin with white padding inside.
I had been sitting by Neal's bedside for almost four days now and still his condition hadn't changed. June and Elizabeth had been coming in on and off to visit him and talk to me. I even thought that on Saturday I saw Alex and Mozzie wearing scrubs and standing in the hallway casting glances into Neal's private room.
Neal had been shot three times, twice in the chest and once in the shoulder. One bullet nicked an artery, causing internal bleeding and another bounced around in his chest, doing some major damage to his organs. The one in his shoulder did little damage but it would be painful for him to use his left arm.
The doctors weren't worried about his body though, they were worried about his mind. Neal had gone almost ten minutes without breathing, which could cause major brain damage. Though they had run CAT scans and MRI's and all other sorts of test that I didn't know stood for, they couldn't be completely conclusive saying that his mental activity was fine.
So I waited. Hughes understood and assigned me to 'protective duty' incase the shooter came back again. I was never so thankful for him to be my boss than in that moment. The nurse took pity on me and allowed my food to be delivered from the cafeteria so that I wouldn't have to leave Neal's side. I would never admit it to him, but I was scared shitless for the kid.
Finally, after almost ninety hours in a coma, Neal opened his eyes.
I rode in the car following the hearse along with Elizabeth and Diana. Hughes was in another car with Jones and some other agents, June followed behind with her granddaughter, Mozzie and Alex. It was a somber affair and I felt horrible that, aside from Neal and I, only Hughes knew that the funeral was a fake.
We soon arrived at where the funeral was to be held and Hughes, Jones, Mozzie, two agents and myself took up the casket and took it to where it was to be for the procession. Ever the showoff, Neal had requested an outside funeral, which the bureau hadn't minded since they were footing the bill and didn't want to spend on unnecessary expenses. Twenty or so chairs were set up in the small lawn area next to the graveyard and I was shocked to see that they had all already been taken. I gazed around the crowd and saw dozens of 'alleged' conmen, thieves, and forgers. Neal sure did know how to pick his friends, I thought to myself and noted the obvious tension between the agents and the felons.
We set Neal's casket down, it was opened and the funeral soon started.
Neal was now sitting up in bed, the breathing tubes and IV's had been removed and he looked almost back to his normal self. His hands were a little shaky from the slight muscle degeneration, or just his nerves, but he was trying to hide it. The doctors had run more tests and deemed that there was no brain damage from the lack of oxygen, so they said that he was allowed to have visitors.
I had just been about to call Elizabeth when Neal stopped me. His raspy voice sounded completely out of place and it successfully made my heart stop with guilt. Neal was my partner and I hadn't been able to protect him when the time called for it, and that killed me inside. Neal ate a bite of his jell-o before saying that unless I was calling Hughes than to hang up the phone.
"Why?" I asked him
"Because I know who shot me," Neal said nonchalantly and ate the last bit of his jell-o.
Neal refused to say more until Hughes got there so I was forced to do as he said and leave Elizabeth and June out of the loop. After what felt like an hour Hughes arrived at Neal's room and, instructing us to draw the curtains and shut the door, Neal elaborated on his statement about who had shot him.
"I worked with him when I was just starting out, I was young and needed experience; he was a rich man with a lot to offer me. We planned to steal one of Georgia O'Keefe's works from a private collector and replace it with a forgery. We had it all planned but, to me, something just felt wrong about it. We had the information and a replica though and nothing would stop him, so when I tried he held a gun in my face and told me that if I was backing out then the next two times he would see me would be the day that he shot me and the day of my funeral. I walked out and called the house we were going to hit. They must have handled it, or he must have suspected something because I never heard of the painting being stolen, it never showed up for sale and I never heard of him again."
"That's all very heroic of you Neal," I said impatiently, "But you have yet to tell us who shot you."
"Dante Daniels? Who is he?" I asked, the name bringing no recollection.
"You probably know him by his other name; he likes to go by 'The Phantom'."
"The Phantom? The man accused of stealing over ten billion dollars worth of art and historical artifacts worldwide?"
"The very same, and the only way to catch him is to do one thing," Neal said too calmly.
"What would that be?" Hughes asked suspiciously.
"You have to kill me," Neal said looking up innocently.
The pastor had finished with all of the usual funeral talk and had now invited Neal's friends to get up and say something. I tried to look around the crowd trying not to look suspicious, but it was hard with Elizabeth crying and holding onto my one arm and June grasping my other as silent tears rolled down her cheeks.
My gut twisted again at seeing the two women crying in unnecessary grief. I wanted to lean over and whisper that he wasn't really dead, but I knew it could compromise our whole mission, so I sat still and kept my mouth shut. One woman had just stepped down from the podium after saying a speech that didn't even register to me. I looked around and saw a man wearing a hat with his head bowed make his way to the podium. I nodded to Jones to watch him; even though they weren't in on that Neal was alive, they were told that the killer would probably show up today.
The man stepped up to the podium and looked up, revealing that it was just another average mourner. Jones looked to me for confirmation and I slowly shook my head no. He relaxed a little and the funeral proceeded on.
I solemnly walked into my house and Elizabeth nervously stood up from the couch. I could see the tear streaks on her face and she had a wadded up tissue in her hands. Even Satchmo looked worried in the way that he plodded over and sat at my feet staring up at me with his deep chocolate eyes.
I looked over to Elizabeth and, though it killed me to see her this way, I slowly shook my head. She cried out and her tears really started to fall. She sat down on the couch and I walked over to sit next to her. Satchmo placed his worried head on her knee and I hugged her closely while she cried late into the afternoon.
After Elizabeth had succumbed to her exhaustion she fell asleep on the couch. I gently covered her with a blanket and went into the kitchen to call June's house. She answered before the first ring finished and informed me that both Alex and Mozzie were waiting there with her. Once again I swallowed my guilt and told her the awful lie that Neal hadn't made it. Over the line I heard June try and choke back a sob before she thanked me and quickly hung up the phone.
I set the phone back onto the receiver and thought of Neal. He was currently in one of the FBI's safe houses and under strict orders not to leave there. I wondered how he did it, lying to people. His lies may not have physically hurt anyone but they defiantly had an emotional effect of their victims. It was like taking away a child's favorite toy and telling them that they could never have it back. Outside they were fine but inside, on the inside you had just killed a little part of them.
I thanked that Hughes would be the one to inform the office of Neal's 'demise' so that I wouldn't have to deal with their crushed faces too. They might not admit it all the time but deep down they each held Neal in their hearts.
I want upstairs and started to plan the funeral.
The funeral was almost over and still Dante hadn't shown and I was starting to get worried. Neal had been lying in the casket for almost and hour and half and the more he did the more chance there was that someone would notice that he was breathing. We had insisted that it be a closed casket funeral but Neal rejected, saying that Dante would want to be a hundred percent sure. Neal was so convinced that he would be there.
I looked at my watch and saw that it was almost time to close the casket and take it to the burial plot. I looked around once more, my fear growing with each passing second. The priest was just about to get up at the podium and say the last remarks when a man in black stepped forward.
"Excuse me, I'm sorry but I would like to say a few words," the man said and Dante Daniels stepped up to the podium.
"I can't believe that I finally get to do this!" Neal said ecstatically, putting on his shirt and buttoning it.
"You do realize that the only reason that you get to do this is because you got shot," I said casting glances at the bandages peeking through the opening of his shirt. He tried to hide it but I knew that the bullet wounds still hurt.
I had just gotten him from the safe house and had driven him to the funeral home where he was getting dressed in his funeral attire. What scared me the most wasn't that we were putting him into immediate danger by letting him get into the casket, it was how much he cared about his suit. This was the third time he had adjusted it already.
"Neal, your going to a fake funeral, you don't have to look perfect."
"But Peter, it's my fake funeral. Most people only get to do this once."
"No Neal, most normal people don't have to fake their funeral. They live their lives, they get married, they have kids and then they die. Not fake die, they really die. No longer breathing, not sleeping, actually die. See, normal people don't have an excuse to fake their deaths," I said looking up from the news broadcast on the small TV. A hurt expression flashed across his face, but only for a millisecond and if I hadn't been looking all I would have seen was his cheesy grin. A feeling of guilt ran through me but I was interrupted by a news broadcast.
'And in other news,' the news anchor said on the TV, 'the identity of the man who was shot last Friday has been released. Former conman and FBI consultant Neal Caffrey was shot three times by an unknown assailant. Caffrey was in a coma for three days before his heart gave out from wounds sustained by one of the bullets. The FBI is currently looking into the case but currently has no leads. The funeral is today in a field next to Flanner's Graveyard where-.' I shut the TV off and stared at the blank screen.
"Huh," Neal said from behind me.
"There wasn't a picture," he said dismayed and turned back to the mirror. Neal finished dressing in his funeral suit and turned to look at me with a radiant smile, "So, how do I look?"
"Not bad, for a dead man."
Dante stepped up to the podium and, looking over at Neal cleared his throat, "Neal and I only worked one con together and, truth be told he didn't even pull it off. He chickened out and walked away. I told him that day that there would only be two more times when he would see me," he said and I slowly got up to make my way towards him. Jones saw my movements and nodded to the other agents to get ready, "I told him that the next two times I saw him would be the day when I shot him… and the day of his funeral. Well, this is the second of those days."
At this the group's demeanor changed. Bowed heads shot up and tears stopped, replaced by steely glares. They may not have been Neal's true friends but, it couldn't be said that they didn't care about him. By now I was almost behind Dante and ready to make my move.
"I am proud to say that I was the man who shot Neal Caffrey!" Dante said joyously and nearly everyone shot out of their seats.
"I guess that it's too bad you didn't kill me," Neal said, now sitting up in his casket. There was a gasp from the people in the seats and I heard a few people say Neal's name. I took this as my chance to cuff Dante.
"What but, but how?" Dante asked.
"You're a horrible shot Dante," Neal said climbing out of the casket.
I handed Dante off to Hughes and he escorted him to one of the waiting FBI cars, reading him his Miranda rights. Elizabeth and June shakily walked up to Neal and he put on a brilliant smile.
"You, you're alive," Elizabeth said reaching out to Neal, "How could you not tell me!" she said slapping Neal with each word.
"Hey, Peter help!" Neal yelled to me and I went over to help my partner.
"Elizabeth, calm down," I said putting a hand on her shoulder to calm her down.
"And you! How could you not tell me that he was still alive! Do you know how worried I was!" Elizabeth yelled at me, smacking me repeatedly before storming off.
"June, you understand right?" Neal said pleadingly.
"You're lucky that I'm forgiving," June said with a steely voice which made even me shudder. She cast a steely glare at me before walking off after Elizabeth, her granddaughter in tow.
Neal rubbed his arms where Elizabeth had slapped him but stopped as soon as Alex walked up to him. He smiled and opened his mouth to talk but she slapped him across the cheek and turned away. She took a step, turned back and slapped his other cheek before walking away.
"Ah, the people will always criticize," Mozzie said leaning against Neal's casket, "Very brilliant my friend."
"Yeah, but I don't think that I'll be faking my death again."
"Not as exciting as you thought it would be?"
"No, too painful," Neal said rubbing his cheek.
I hoped that you liked it because i had a lot of fun writing it!