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In the morning Peter had to thwack the snooze button twice, and it was only El getting ready that spurred him out of bed in the end. He sleepwalked through a shower and shave; she had to straighten his tie and put a mug of coffee in his hand when he got downstairs. "Didn't sleep well?"
"Eh. I had weird dreams," Peter said, skimming over the four A.M. encounter with his CI. "Getting up to speed, hon. I'll make it."
"You better. I have a meeting this afternoon, if Neal's no better I might need you to come home and watch him." It was amazing how quickly she'd incorporated their pet criminal into their routine. "-Well, on the whole I think he can probably be trusted to watch himself, but you know what I mean."
"I know what you mean." He mentally flipped through the day's schedule. "I don't think there's anything crucial this afternoon, I can probably get home around two, if that works?"
"That's perfect." El kissed him firmly. "Go catch the bad guys, hon. I'll see you tonight."
"Yes ma'am." He raised an invisible cowboy hat. "Hey, let me know how he's doing, okay? I bet he'll sleep half the day through, but keep me posted."
She nodded, and put her cup down to wrap her arms around him and hug him tight. "I love you, Peter Burke. We'll be in touch."
Another tip of the invisible hat, and he shrugged into his coat. "See that you are. Have a good day, honey."
When the door closed behind Peter, Elizabeth looked up at the ceiling, wondering exactly how much Neal Caffrey knew about her husband, and how much her husband actually cared for Neal Caffrey; because, she was finding out, it was almost impossible not to love the man.
She brought him up a tray a little later: tea with honey, toast, a soft-boiled egg, with a bud snipped from their backyard climbing rose in a small vase. "I can't help it," she said, when he gave her an eyebrow at the sight of the vase. "Event planner. I think aesthetics. How're you feeling, honey?"
Neal looked wan, and there was something off about him Elizabeth couldn't quite place; then it came to her. She'd given him Peter's blue pinstripe pyjamas yesterday, and this morning he was in Peter's beige pinstripe pyjamas. Which, she thought, meant something had happened in the night, and combined with Peter's morning somnolence probably meant he'd been there for it.
All of this flashed across her mind's eye without registering on her face, and she could tell Neal was a little relieved that she didn't make any mention of his change in clothes. He shrugged a bit, and she noticed that not only was the guest-room trash bin beside the bed but one of the guest-room towels was draped over the pillows behind him. Poor Neal, she thought, and then He should have woken me, but Peter seemed to have managed the situation on his own.
I love that man.
Neal eyed the toast and egg suspiciously. "I'm not sure I..."
"Don't worry. Just drink the tea, you don't have to eat anything if you don't want to." Elizabeth busied herself with the curtains, giving him a chance to get control of everything, and then came back to perch on the bed. "Peter's at work, of course, but he should be home this afternoon. I have a meeting out on Long Island-" eyeroll-"with what I hope should be a super-wonderful-marvelous client, but he said he'd be home around two to make sure you stay out of trouble."
Neal had nibbled on one of the toast soldiers while she was busy with the window, and having realized his stomach was enthusiastic about further activity, was attacking his egg hungrily. "-He doesn't have to," he said, toast soldier halfway to his mouth. "I mean. I...I'm not going to do anything. You could put me in a taxi and June's people would get the fare, it's..."
"Oh, Neal." Elizabeth reached out to touch his tumbled hair. "That is not what I meant. Neither of us want you to be home alone while you're ill, okay? We just want to make sure someone's around to wait on you hand and foot. You're still pretty feverish and I'm not letting you go off to June's until you're properly better."
He seemed to slump a bit, and smiled up at her through the hair. "Thanks, El."