Title: Ashes to Ashes
Summary: AU. As a young agent, Peter goes undercover to break up a prostitution ring and rescues a chid named Neal.
Warnings: contains druguse and nonexplicit references to noncon and childabuse
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
He was sitting on a stool at the hotel's bar, watching the game on the television mounted on the wall. He finished the scotch that had been sitting in front of him and signaled the bartender for another.
He was wearing a suit that was worth more than most people's yearly incomes and his name was not Hal Morgan.
Peter nervously straightened his own tie, careful not to brush the wire that was taped beneath his shirt. His hands were sweating and he subtly wiped them on his pants as he walked over to the bar. He sat in the seat next to not-Morgan, ignoring the look the other man threw at him, and ordered a whiskey.
Peter glanced up at the television as the bartender placed his drink in front of him and then walked over to another customer at the other end of the bar. The game had just gone to commercial.
"Who's winning?" he asked, picking up the drink.
The man turned to him. "What?"
Peter tossed back his drink and inclined his head towards the television.
"Patriots," came the disinterested reply.
"Shame," Peter said. "I'd been hoping the Bears would turn it around this season."
He grunted, ignoring Peter. Internally, Peter took a deep breath in preparation. He was man enough to admit, at least in his own mind, that he was nervous. He had only graduated from the academy a couple months ago and this was his first major case.
Peter had been the one to realize that the LIC Construction Firm, which had been loosely connected to a string of robberies throughout the five boroughs, was actually a front for Hal Morgan's unlawful operations. One of Morgan's more lucrative ventures just so happened to be a very successful prostitution ring. The FBI did not have enough evidence to get him on the robberies, but all they needed was indisputable proof of prostitution and they could arrest him as well as infiltrate his warehouse. So the FBI had managed to contact Morgan to place an order and Morgan agreed to meet them at the bar of this hotel with someone that would please 'Mr. Graham'.
Hughes had sent his probie, Peter, undercover as the john, Colin Graham.
The other more seasoned agents in his office teased Peter for three days about the fact that his first time on the field he was picking up a hooker. They told him to ask her for a few pointers since he had not had a girlfriend since sophomore year of college. Peter just ignored the older agents' good natured ribbing. Was it his fault he was too busy at the moment for a relationship?
Peter reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope with ten thousand and a simple circle drawn in the corner and slid it across the bar to the other man. Peter had thought that Morgan seemed too smart to actually come do the business himself, but it had not occurred to him that Morgan would probably send someone else to pretend to be him.
Pretend Morgan quickly glanced in the envelope and then placed it in the pocket inside his suit jacket. He then stood and walked towards the elevators in the lobby. Peter waited a few moments, and then followed.
He walked into the elevator the other man had just entered and watched as he pushed the button for the fifteenth floor.
They stood in silence for a minute. "Was it all there?" he asked.
The other man just nodded. Peter suppressed an eye roll. There was no point to a wire if the suspect did not give him anything.
Peter shifted and cleared his throat as the lit numbers above the doors showed him that they were now moving to the seventh floor. He has had root canals that were quicker and less painful than this elevator ride.
"You've never done this before," Fake Hal stated from beside him. Peter's head shot up, his first thought that he had somehow blown his cover.
The other man wore a knowing smirk. "Just calm down and enjoy it."
Relief flooded Peter as he realized the man had apparently misinterpreted Peter's nervousness. "Thanks for the advice," he replied, barely keeping the sarcasm out of his tone.
They finally reached the fifteenth floor and Peter followed the man to a room all the way at the end of the hotel. The halls were just as decadent as the lobby and Peter could only assume that the room that he was about to enter would be one he would never be able to afford in his own life. Peter pushed the thought away, having forced himself months ago to come to terms with the fact that he would never get the perks with this job that he may have had if he had pursued another career route.
Not Morgan produced a key from one of his many pockets and opened the door. Peter followed him in, but then almost backed out again.
Peter had never felt as sickened as he did at that moment. Lying stretched out on the bed was a small boy with curly brown hair. He looked like he was probably around eleven or twelve, but his slight frame made him look even younger. He was skinny, too skinny, and Peter could make out fading bruises on his wrists and neck.
The worst part was that they had dressed him in pajamas with red fire trucks on them. He looked so young and innocent, like he just waiting for his parents to tuck him in. The only thing that ruined the image was that the boy was blinking owlishly up at the ceiling, obviously not registering that there were others in the room. Or if he did notice, he just did not care.
Peter was either going to be sick or punch a wall. Or this bastard's face. "What's he on?" he asked, proud that he was able to keep his voice steady even though all he wanted to do was rage at the injustice of this moment and arrest this 'man' (he used this term loosely) here and now.
The bastard shrugged. "Just something to keep him quiet," he replied nonchalantly. Peter saw red. "This one's a fighter. If that's what you want, next time make sure to say that and we'll lower the dosage." He moved towards the door, leaving the key on a side table. "I'll be back in three hours." Then, he left.
Peter wanted to follow him. Wanted to throw him against a wall and tighten the handcuffs around his wrist until it was too painful for him to even try to flex his hands. Wanted to send him away so that he never saw the light of day again.
But that was not his job. His job was to stay here and maintain his cover, while Hughes and his backup followed the other man back to Morgan.
Peter turned back to the child, who had not moved the entire time he had been in the room. "Hey, Buddy," he greeted softly and moved slowly towards the bed, so as to not frighten the boy if he was aware enough to even have that sort of reaction. "You're safe now. I'm here to help you. Can you tell me your name?"
Peter got close enough so that he was at the edge of the bed and could see the kid's face. His pupils were blown so wide that Peter could just barely make out what was probably their regular blue coloring at the very edges. The child's features were completely slack and Peter was worried that he was too late, until the boy sluggishly blinked and listless eyes landed on him momentarily. They almost instantly moved away again.
"Can you hear me?" Peter asks gently, slowly lowering himself beside the kid on the bed. He raised a hand to place in front of his face to see if he was tracking, but the kid weakly flinched away.
"I'm not going to hurt you, okay?" Peter softly reassured him, lowering his hand again. The kid just dully stared at a point beyond Peter, not reacting as he spoke. Peter did not know if this was because he could not understand him, or because this is what his rapists always told him.
And screw his cover.
"My name is Peter," he told the child. "I'm with the FBI. You're alright now. You're safe. I'm going to get you out of here very soon, okay? As soon as my friends get here, we're going to take you somewhere safe. Can you tell me your name?"
The boy slowly turned his head away, continuing his lethargic blinking in a new direction.
Peter's heart broke a little as he stared down at the track marks visible on an arm where the sleeve had been left rolled up. There were fresh marks, but there were also ones that seemed much older. Whatever was running through the kid's system was stopping him from either comprehending the situation or even caring.
Peter did not have kids. Had never even really been in the same room as one for any extended period of time since he was a kid himself. He was not good with kids and did not know how to act around a kid, especially not a beaten, traumatized, and drugged against his will child.
Not knowing what to do for the boy until backup arrived was killing Peter, so he reached out and began stroking the boy's hair in what he was hoping was a comforting gesture. The kid did not react. Peter did not know if that was good or bad, so he continued.
"I have a dog," Peter blurted out. He needed to somehow get the kid to notice him and all his other attempts had failed. All kids like dogs, right? "Well, he's not exactly my dog. I'm not sure whose dog he was. But he followed me home one day. I gave him a bagel and he just never left. I put signs up around the neighborhood, but no one claimed him. So I kept him. Or he kept me. Whichever." The boy's head turned slightly back towards him. Encouraged, Peter continued. "I named him Tom. Actually, I named him Major Tom because sometimes, when he wants food or a bone, he tries to herd me into the kitchen where I keep his things. Like dogs on farms do to sheep. I think he thinks he's a drill sergeant. But I sounded ridiculous calling him Major at the dog park, so now I just call him Tom. But when he looks at me, I can tell he thinks he's still the boss."
Peter glanced down at the kid and saw that there was a slight uplifting to his lips. He relaxed slightly, knowing the kid was somewhat alert to his surroundings, and smirked down at the kid. "You think that's funny?" he asked gently, keeping his tone light. "My dog won't let me be the man of my own house!"
"Burke," he heard a voice call from the door. Peter looked up and saw Miller, a fellow agent, in the door. The man's gaze fell on the boy, his face briefly twisting in anger before he smoothed it back out into his usual professional stoic expression, "We got Morgan. There are more kids, but they are all being taken to a hospital now."
Peter nodded, exhaling in relief, when the boy next to him suddenly stiffened. Peter looked down, his hand pausing in the thick, curly hair. "Kid, you okay?" he asked, concerned. The child's eyes suddenly rolled up in his head, until only the whites were visible, and his entire body began violently jerking.
"Shit!" Peter growled, cradling the slight boy in his lap in an attempt to stop the jerking limbs from causing further damage to the child. "Get an EMT in here now," he yelled at Miller, who was already hurrying out the door.
"Hold on," he whispered to the seizing boy in his arms. "You're going to be fine. You just need to hold on."