Author's Note: Thanks for the interest in this story. I couldn't get the idea out of my head for the longest time and finally decided to write it. I can't put up the full a/n here without spoiling the plot, and no one seems to know where I'm going with the whole amnesia thing. Stay tuned for a/n part 2 at the bottom of the page.
"Good morning, Peter." Amy smiled when she saw the basket in his hands. "Is that for Neal?"
Peter held up the care package El had prepared. "Who else? How is he?"
"He had a rough night, the poor guy. He's frustrated that he can't remember anything. I sat with him when I could." Amy had -surprise of surprises- developed a soft spot for the handsome young con artist in room 508. "I told him not to worry about it. His memories will return, in time. It's only been three days."
"yeah. I'm uh… gonna go see him." Peter rode the elevator up to the fifth floor and knocked on the doorframe to Neal's room. Neal looked up from the crossword.
"Hey Neal. Any luck with that?"
Neal looked at the crossword and frowned. "I can't seem to get 42 down…. Friend of Renoir..."
"How many letters?"
"Five. M, O, blank blank blank."
Peter frowned. "You really don't know?"
"No." Neal looked up at him. "I should, huh?"
"He's your favorite painter. You love the Impressionists."
"Who is it?"
"Claude Monet." Peter handed over the gift basket. "El sent this for you."
Neal grinned when he saw the sketch pad and pencils. While his partner riffled through his goody basket, Peter looked around the room. A flier sat on the bedside table, advertising some ridiculous conspiracy theory, which was obviously Mozzie's idea of a get well soon card. A new flower arrangement sat by the window, and Peter could just see a yellow flower in it that was made out of paper. Alex had been here, or at least had sent flowers. "This is great!" Neal said, happily flipping through an art history book. "Make sure you thank Elizabeth for me."
"I see you have some gifts from your friends." Peter said, picking up the flier and inspecting it.
"Yeah. I don't have a lot of friends, apparently." Neal said, looking from the flier to the origami flower.
Peter chuckled. "You're right about that, but the friends you do have are really good friends."
Neal smiled at the thought. "Tell me about them?"
"I think I see one now…" Peter stood up and left the room. Sara was standing nearby, her hand over her mouth. "Sara?"
"When you told me he had amnesia, I didn't expect it to be that bad. He can't remember anything?"
"Nothing about his past. Total blank slate." Peter said. "Are you going to come see him or lurk outside his room all day?"
"No. Of course." Sara nodded, and Peter put a sympathetic arm around her shoulders and led her in.
"Hi. I take it I know you." Neal said uncertainly. Sara nodded.
"This is your girlfriend, Neal. I told you about Sara." Peter said, letting Sara sit down beside him. Neal held out a hand, and Sara took it slowly.
"I don't know how to say this without sounding like a raging jackass, but… I don't remember you."
Sara laughed. It was so ludicrous, and the smile he had on right now was so Neal. "I know. It's okay. I'm just glad you're alright."
"Relatively speaking." Peter piped up. "I'm going to go get some coffee. Want anything, Sara?"
"No thanks, Peter." The FBI agent nodded and stepped out, giving them some privacy to talk.
"So… are we happy together, you and I?" Neal asked, those clear blue eyes scrutinizing her face.
"We are." Sara nodded, offering him an unconvincing smile.
Neal squirmed, grimacing, and Sara raised an eyebrow. "You okay there? Nothing hurts?"
"No, I have a morphine button if I need it." Neal said, pointing. "I don't hurt, exactly. I just feel weird. Like my skin is jumpy, if that makes sense." Sara watched his muscles twitching, and was forcibly reminded of an old conversation.
Sara was wrapped comfortably in a silken sheet, sharing only enough that Neal's waist and hips were covered. They were lying on their sides, facing each other. "So, tell me about prison."
"Strange topic for pillow talk, don't you think?" Neal teased.
"We're not exactly a conventional couple."
"You make a good point." Neal agreed. "I don't have to tell you that prison is unpleasant. There's a crushing monotony to the whole thing. But that's not really the worst part, you know?"
"What's the worst part?"
"I don't have to tell you that I'm…. touchy. I'm so used to having physical contact… in cons, in regular life… when I was deprived of that, I felt… weird. It's hard to explain. It was like my skin was… jumpy, if that makes sense?"
Sara watched his muscles twitching as he remembered it, and she curled up against him, planting a kiss right over his heart. "I think I understand."
Sara smiled. "I know what's wrong. You told me once that you're… very used to having physical contact. You're a tactile person, Neal, and I think it's getting to you." Slowly, trying not to freak him out, she sat on the edge of the bed and touched his face. Neal's eyes slid closed, and Sara pressed her palm against his cheek in earnest, watching him start to relax.
Eyes still closed, Neal spoke. "Lay with me? We're dating, after all."
"Well, we were." Sara said as she curled up beside him, reveling in his warmth. "Now that you're an amnesiac, a relationship would probably get awkward."
"Cuddling is nice, though." Neal said happily, wrapping his good arm around her waist and pulling her closer. She placed her head carefully down on his shoulder, trying not to hurt him, but he didn't seem to mind.
"It is nice. 23 across is 'Banal.'"
"Lacking in originality… I think you're right."
"Of course I'm right." Sarah replied primly. He tickled her side in a movement that was so familiar that she forgot to breathe for a moment.
"Yeah. You keep surprising me by doing normal things." Sara propped herself up on her elbow to look at him. "Are you playing me, Caffrey?"
"You'll never know." He teased, that playful half-con smile in place. Impulsively, she kissed him, then pulled away, flushing.
"I'm not complaining." Neal smiled. "I obviously have good taste in women."
"Jackass." Sara settled down against his side again as Peter made his presence known.
"I really didn't want to see that." He came in and set his coffee down. "Decided to work on that together, huh?"
"I was starved for contact." Neal explained.
"Why doesn't that surprise me? You sticking around, Sara?"
"No, I have to go. I'm already late to work." Sara stood and kissed Neal on the cheek. "Rest up, feel better, get your memory back."
"I'll try my best." Neal assured her, reaching out to catch her hand and pull her in for a proper kiss. "Come back and see me."
"I will." Sara left, and Neal grinned.
"She's beautiful, and smart, and funny. I have great taste in women."
"Erase your memory and you still get all the girls. What is it about you?" Peter shook his head. "You told her you love her, you know. About two weeks ago."
"I did? Did she say she loved me back?"
"Not until the day before your accident." Peter plucked the crossword from Neal and looked it over.
"That must be hard for her." Neal said, frowning.
"She understands. Sara's smart, remember? Don't worry about her. Worry about you. We need you back at the bureau."
"So I work at the FBI."
"Kind of. You don't work anywhere, really. I work at the FBI. You're my consultant. You use your contacts in the crime world to help me solve my cases. You and I have a 94% conviction rate. We make good partners." Peter's phone rang, and he glanced at the display. "It's Diana. I have to take this, Neal. I'll be right back." He stepped out of the room. "Diana."
"Boss, we've got a case you might like. We've got a forged passport, and it's so good that if Caffrey didn't have amnesia, I would think he did it."
"That good, huh?" Peter smiled. "Oh, he'll love this… Alright, thanks, Diana." He hung up the phone and returned to Neal's room, where Mozzie was sitting, stone-faced and listening to Neal explain that he worked for the FBI, and helped put criminals in jail.
"Suit, can I talk to you for a minute?" Mozzie asked, leading him back out of Neal's room and closing the door. "You told him that he was a fed? What were you thinking?"
"I didn't tell him that he was an agent. I told him that he was my consultant at the FBI and got a call before I could explain that he was a con artist. Neal must have gotten the wrong idea."
"Well go in there and set him straight!"
Peter opened his mouth to explain that he was going to when a terrible, wonderful idea occurred to him. Within moments, his mind was made up. "No."
"No? What do you mean, no? Go in there and tell him, or I will!"
"I would hate to have to look into your exploits as a criminal, Mozzie." Peter said, too casually. Mozzie stopped in his tracks.
"Threatening me? What would you get on me, Suit?"
"I would start with the Dentist of Detroit, get your real name from Mr. Jeffries, and see where that trail led me. I'm sure it would come up with interesting results." Peter stared him down.
"I misjudged you, Suit, and when Neal gets his memory back, he'll realize that he misjudged you too."
"I'll cross that bridge when I come to it." Mozzie glared at him, then stormed away.
Dinner was waiting for him when he got home, and he knew immediately that Mozzie had been here to see El. She was quiet all through the meal, and finally spoke. "Honey?"
"Yes?" Here it comes.
"Did you tell Neal that he's an FBI agent?"
"No. I told him that he worked with me at the FBI as a consultant. Then I stepped out to take a call and Neal must have jumped to the wrong conclusion."
"Did you correct him?" She already knew the answer. He could see it.
"No, I didn't."
El nodded, too calm. It scared him. "Why not?"
"He has to change anyway." Peter said. "This might help make that transition easier. The thing about Neal is that he's going to test it if I tell him that he's a con artist. He's already been seduced by that lifestyle before. Why give an alcoholic a drink?"
"You're lying to him, Peter! Neal isn't a lawman, no matter how much you might want him to be!" El argued.
"If I tell him the truth now, El, I'll be putting him in jail by the end of the month. I'm not going to ruin him like that. He's made so much progress, but without his memory to make him understand why he wants to stay, he'll run."
"You don't know that."
"I'm not willing to take the chance."
"What happens when his memory comes back?"
"If I can forgive him for hiding the treasure and getting you kidnapped, he can forgive me for this." Peter said certainly. "He'll understand. He's smart."
"I'm not going to be able to change your mind about this, am I?" El sighed. "I don't want him in this house, Peter, and I don't want to see him. I'm not going to be a part of this."
Peter had hoped that she would see his point of view on this, and she did. If she didn't, she would never let it go, and he would eventually have to tell Neal. El wasn't a liar. Neither was he, really, but when it came to Neal, there wasn't much Peter wouldn't do to keep the young con on the straight and narrow. "Alright, Hon."
Author's Note (part 2): Forgive the fact that it's mostly dialogue, and that it's rushed. It's late, and I'm tired, but I really wanted to get this chapter up today. I will take my time with the next chapter and have it up soon. I also tried to stay (mostly) in character, although I took a few liberties. I do not, however, believe that lying to Neal would have never occurred to Peter until the damage had been done. Who wouldn't be tempted? Reviews are always great. Who doesn't like hearing from their readers?