Four Times Someone Took Care of Neal when he was Sick…
Peter and Elizabeth
Disclaimer: I do not (unfortunately) own White Collar
Neal walked down the steps of June's mansion towards Peter's car, trying hard not to move his pounding head too much.
"You okay?" Peter asked as soon as Neal was in the car, "You look kind of pale."
"I'm fine," Neal said, "Just tired." Peter didn't push it, but kept an eye on Neal for the entire drive to the Bureau, noticing how his CI leaned his head against the window and closed his eyes. When they finally arrived at the FBI and got out of the car, Neal had to grip the door for a moment to stop the parking garage from spinning.
"You sure you're okay?" Peter asked again.
"Fine," Neal insisted as they started walking into the office. Peter didn't say anymore and for a while Neal really did appear to be fine. It wasn't until several hours later when the topic of Neal's health was once again brought to his attention.
"Hey Boss," Diana said, sticking her head in the door.
"Hey," Peter replied, "What's up?"
"I think something's wrong with Neal," Diana said, "He says he's fine, but he just doesn't look right." Peter looked through the bullpen and towards his CI's desk. Neal was leaning back in his chair, clearing trying to look like he was okay, but also clearly not.
"Thanks Diana," he said, walking out of his office.
"Hey," Peter said, approaching Neal's desk, "You alright?"
"That's the third time you've asked me that," Neal said, his voice much raspier than it had been that morning.
"Come on," Peter said, grabbing Neal by the elbow and helping him up.
"Where are we going?" Neal asked as he and Peter headed into the elevator.
"I am taking you to my house where El and I can keep an eye on you until you're healthy again."
"But I'm not sick," Neal said. However, at that moment, his body decided to betray him and he started coughing violently. The sound echoed throughout the elevator and Peter put his hand on Neal's back to steady him.
"Okay," Neal breathed, "Maybe I am sick." Peter chuckled quietly and when the elevator stopped he led Neal out of the bureau and through the parking garage until they reached his car. The drive to the Burke house was silent, and Peter was surprised to find he missed the constant banter that usually occurred when he was with Neal. Eventually they pulled up in front of the house and Peter helped the younger man out of the car.
"Hey hun!" Elizabeth called when she heard the front door open, "What are you doing home righ–oh! Hi Neal, is everything okay?" She immediately noticed how pale Neal was and knew something was wrong.
"Neal's sick," peter explained, "I figured he could come back here and sleep for the rest of the day. It'll be easier for me to keep an eye on him rather than if he was at June's."
"Of course," Elizabeth said, "I'm working from home today so if you need to go back to the office I can keep an eye on him."
"Thanks hun," Peter smiled. Elizabeth gently took Neal's arm and led him over to the couch.
"You lie here," she said gently, putting a pillow under his head, "I'm going to make you some tea." Neal nodded slightly and then closed his eyes, grimacing as his head pounded. He lay there silently for a moment, but then opened his eyes again when he felt something cool on his forehead.
Peter held his hand there for a moment, noting how warm his CI was. He was just thinking about getting the thermometer when Elizabeth returned with it and the cup of tea she had promised.
"Neal sweetie, can you sit up for a minute please?" El asked gently and Peter helped him sit up. Elizabeth and Peter sat down on either side of him, helping him to remain where he was.
"Open up," El said and Neal did so without comment, proving to them just how ill he felt. Elizabeth stuck the thermometer under Neal's tongue and the three of them say in silence as they waited for it to beep.
"102.8," Elizabeth read out, "I think I'll make up the spare room for you tonight."
"You really don't have to –" Neal started, but Peter cut him off.
"You're staying here until you're better," he said firmly and Neal just nodded.
"Well now that that's settled, I'm going to get the spare room ready," Elizabeth said, walking up the stairs and leaving the two men alone.
Later that night, Peter and El were asleep in their bed, unbeknownst to them that Neal was tossing and turning in the guest room down the hall. Suddenly, he bolted upright in the bed and then stumbled his way out of the room. He made it to the bathroom just in time to hunch over the toilet and vomit violently. He wasn't sure how long he sat there, but eventually he felt a firm, yet gently hand rubbing circles on his back and a quiet voice in his ear.
"Shhh, you're okay Neal," Peter said quietly, taking a cool cloth from his wife and placing it on the younger man's neck, "That's it buddy, you're alright." Eventually it stopped, and Neal felt himself being pulled back to lean against Peter's chest. He was covered in sweat and was shaking harshly.
He felt Peter pushing him forward gently and couldn't help the small noise of protest that escaped his throat. He didn't want to move; he didn't want to be alone right now. Not a moment later he was being pulled back again so he was leaning against Peter's chest, but he was much warmer now. He realized Elizabeth had wrapped a blanket around his shoulders.
"You're alright Neal," Peter said quietly.
"Don't feel alright," Neal mumbled.
"I know buddy, but you will be," Peter assured him.
"And until you are," Elizabeth added, "We'll look after you."
"Thanks," Neal said quietly.
"It's what families do Neal," El said simply, and Neal couldn't help the small smile that crossed his face. He was home.
So what did you guys think? This is my first attempt at a "Four Times…One Time" story so I'm hoping I'll do it justice.