AN: First off I want to thank everyone for the reviews/favorites/followers. Secondly I want to apologize for the extended delay in the next chapter. I've been real busy and still struggling with a bad case of writers block.
AAN: Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. I wanted to post since its been so long. So without further ado...
A Change of Plans Ch 16:
Neal's hospital room:
Neal had tried to start up another conversation but nothing sounded right in his mind. He knew that Peter had a lot on his mind given everything he had just heard from Neal. The two men fell into an uncomfortable silence as they waited for the doctor to come back with the discharge papers.
With nothing else to do, Neal started to drift off, but opened his eyes to a knock at the door. Wanting to get up, Neal started to move, but Peter, once more, stopped him with a firm hand against Neal's shoulder. "Let me get it." Peter insisted as he rose from his chair. Neal just nodded, realizing that might be for the best, since it was unclear who might be behind the door.
The agent made his way over the door and opened it slightly. Upon seeing who was on the other side Peter let out a sigh of relief and visibly relaxed, much to Neal's relief.
"That was fast, you guys must've been really close." Peter stated as he held the door open for their guest.
"SARA!" Neal exclaimed with joy when he saw who was entering.
"Yeah, we were close. Mozzie thought it would be best to stakeout the hospital in case Collins or Kramer showed up. Don't even think of getting out of that bed without your doctor's say so." Sara snapped as she saw Neal trying once more to get up.
"I maybe a bit beat up. But I'm not at death's door, so would you two mother hens lay off long enough for me to kiss my girlfriend?" Neal stated as he managed to swing his legs over the edge of the bed. But just as he was about to stand he felt a gentle hand take his.
"How about a compromise, Caffery, why don't you stay seated and I'll join you in bed." Sara suggested seductively, as she approached the injured conman.
"You know me. Always willing to compromise." Neal chuckled as he placed a soft kiss on the back of Sara's hand.
Peter cleared his throat and approached the couple. "Well on, that note, I'll go get some coffee. Sara, don't let Houdini here disappear out the window or something equally as dangerous." The agent quipped as he grabbed his jacket off the chair.
Without turning his attention from Sara, Neal called out to his friend. "For the last time Peter, I swear I'm not going anywhere. Everything I want or need is right here with me." He mused as he ran his good hand along the side of Sara's face.
"Take it easy there, Romeo. Or I'll be bringing a bucket of ice water back for you instead of coffee." Peter replied as he made his way out the door.
Just as Neal heard the door close completely he pulled Sara closer so that their lips were fighting for dominance. Neal kissed Sara with such passion and force that both were out of breath when they finally parted. "Oh God, did I ever miss you. I know I saw you yesterday. But since you drugged me we didn't really get a chance to talk." Neal stated as he place a soft kiss to her now overly red lips.
"I said I was sorry for doing that to you when I first placed the patch on your hand. But I guess you didn't understand or hear me. So with that said, I want you to know that I'm really sorry I had to do that but it was the only way to save you." Sara explained quickly, and then looked away in shame.
Neal placed his injured hand under Sara's chin a guided her back over so that was face to face with him. But she still refused to look at him. "Sara, please look at me. It's alright." He requested, just above a whisper. Sara slowly looked into Neal's and surprised to see such unconditional love residing in the conman's bright blue eyes.
"I may be a bit upset at the fact that I was, once more, drugged against my will. But I understand why. I trust you with my life and more importantly with my heart. I trust very few people, because of the life I've chosen. You have nothing to blame yourself for, understand? Those who deserve the blame will get what's coming to them...soon. I love you, Repo." Neal pledged. His words earned him an amused smile from the insurance investigator.
"Just so you know I have my baton, and I still enjoy using it. So you had better not..." She started but was cut off by Neal once more pulling into a deep and passionate kiss.
As they parted Neal leaned forward and pulled Sara close to him, again. "I hope that convinced you and besides we both know you'd never hit an injured man." He whispered in her ear. Causing both parties to erupt in joyous laughter. But soon Neal was forced to stop because of his ribs.
"Take it easy. Maybe you shouldn't do that again until those ribs heal." Sara stated as she pulled back and placed a gentle hand against Neal's bandaged ribs. Neal jump slightly at the contact, and took a calming breath before once more taking Sara's hand in his.
"That's easier said then done considering you and I both know how ticklish I am." Neal chuckled slightly as he placed another gentle kiss on the back of Sara's hand.
"With all the excitement, I must've forgotten that little factoid." Sara replied with a sly wink of her eye.
"So are you going to tell me what's in the bag or are you going to make me guess?" Neal asked, changing the subject but still lovingly rubbing Sara's hand.
"Oh, I had completely forgotten about that." She replied with another wink. "Anyway, here I brought these for you, since the hospital took the suit you came in with." Sara exclaimed as she routed around in the bag a pulled out some dark blue jeans, a light blue button down shirt and a pair of black loafers.
"I know it's not your normal style but it's the best I could do on short notice." She continued as she laid the items out on the bed next to Neal. "But then again everything looks stunning on you." Sara continued then pulled Neal's favorite fedora out of the bag and placed it on his head.
Neal bent down the edge of his hat and flashed Sara his best smile. "I do try my best to impress." He stated as he looked through the item.
Neal was just about to complement Sara on her selections, but was interrupted by the door swinging open. "Hope you're ready to get out of here or do you still need an ice bath?" Peter stated as he swung the door open.
"We were just discussing my options of escape. Sara's thoughts were leaning towards repelling out the window. My idea was to just walk out the front door. What's your thoughts on the matter, Peter?" Neal asked with a slightly amused tone, while looking the agent directly.
"You can file this away or mark it on your calendar. But I agree with you, Neal, I don't think you'd make it out the window in you condition. Besides I don't think we packed any ropes." Peter replied which caused everyone to chuckle.
"Gee, I never thought I'd live to see the day, that Special Agent Peter Burke would admit I made the right choice." Neal commented as he once more started to get up.
"Well don't let it go to your head. Since you're so determined to get up, let me help you." Peter replied as took ahold of Neal's arm and helped him stand. The conman staggered a bit as his feet made contact with the cool hospital floor.
"You see. You and Sara were worrying over nothing. As you see, I got this." Neal declared as stood straight and then grabbed the support bar attached to the bed with his good hand.
"Yeah, right. I remember the last time you said that. I also remember what happened next. I don't think you want to repeat that experience." Peter stated with a slight shake of his head. "Sara would you excuse us for a moment, so I can help Dino get ready." The agent requested.
"Sounds like a great suggestion. I'll call Mozzie and have him pull up to the front. Now be good, Caffery and you'll be rewarded when we get back to New York." Sara commented then winked at Neal seductively as she ran her hand along the conman's jawline.
Both men watched Sara leave with their mouths hung open slightly. Neal was the first to recover as the door closed fully. "You know I think that woman is going to be the death of me." The conman stated as he started to turn towards the bed and reach for his cloths.
As Peter came out of his own daze, he caught most of what Neal said. "Sorry buddy, the only person who gets to kill you is me. Especially if you do something as stupid as that tram stunt again." The agent replied then patted his friend on the shoulder.
Neal hiss a little at the contact but just flashed one of his famous grins like nothing was wrong. "Oh and by the way, just to give you fair warning, if you think Sara and I were "mother-hens" just wait until Elizabeth and June get ahold of you." Peter mused as he helped Neal get into his jeans.
"I think I'll be safer in jail. Isn't Sing-Sing on the way back to the office." Neal quipped starting another round of laughter.
"Sorry buddy, you're not getting off that easy. And besides if I didn't bring you back to my place as soon as we landed back in New York, you'd have to start visiting Elizabeth on Sing-Sing cause she'd be in jail for my murder." Peter replied as he held is partner, who was slightly doubled over in pain.
"You and I really need to lay off the jokes at least until this rib heals. Humor is becoming rather painful." Neal continued as he breathed through the pain his laughing had stirred up. "Anyway, I think Hughes would plead her down to justifiable homicide and she'd just get probation." Neal finished as he snapped his jeans shut under the gown.
"Oh, very funny." Peter replied as he helped Neal unsnap the hospital gown. As soon as it was removed Neal ran his hand lightly over the bandages that were wrapped around his chest.
"I bet these are going to start to inch in a few days." Neal joked as he carefully reached for his shirt. Just as he was about to put his shirt on, Peter stopped him and pulled out his cellphone.
"Neal, I need to take a couple of photos of your bruises, for the file. Do you mind?" Peter asked, hoping the conman wouldn't fight him.
"I can guess you already have some pictures?" Neal asked. Peter just nodded his head slightly. "Mozzie took them the day he dropped of my stuff, didn't he?" Neal continued to deduce. Again Peter just nodded in response. Neal sat down on the edge of the bed and let out a deep sigh, as he thought about Peter's request.
"Can I assume, you won't be the only one to see these pictures or the ones that have already been taken?" Neal asked, his voice shaking a bit.
"I can't promise that I won't be the only one to see them. But I can promise that I won't show them to anyone, not even Elizabeth, without your express permission. I know how guarded you are about how you're perceived by others." Peter swore as he gently placed his hand on Neal's uninjured shoulder.
"Alright, let's just get it over with before Sara gets back." Neal stated as he once more stood up. "And thank you for your support." The conman said softly as he looked into his friends slightly teary eyes.
"You're very welcome, partner." Peter stated as he held his cellphone in front of him as he waited for Neal to turn around. "Neal, hold your arms out so you're making a T." Peter instructed. Neal raised his arms as requested. The conman heard several shots being taken and was starting to get bored with this photo-shoot. "Just hang in there, buddy, we're almost done. Please turn around, and with a few more shots we'll be done. You can sit for those if you're feeling weak." Peter offered as he noticed his friend's posture waver a bit when he lowered his arms.
Neal sat once more on the edge of the bed and carefully ran his uninjured hand down his face tiredly. "We need to move this along, all this excitement is making me rather tired." The conman stated as he tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress a yawn.
"We're all done." Peter declared as he held Neal's shirt open for him. As Neal placed his first arm in the sleeve there was a knock at the door. Peter turned away from Neal and made his way over to the door and pulled it open a crack.
"You boys almost done, Neal's doctor is here with the discharge papers." Sara explained as she leaned against the doorframe.
"Send him in, I forgot about Neal's IV hookup it's hindering things a bit." Peter explained with an amused smile.
Moments later there was another knock at the door. Peter checked to make sure it was the doctor then stepped back to let the physician in.
"I know you said that you don't like hospitals, Mr. Fitzroy, but it seems that sentiment is shared by your colleagues. I've never seen a bunch of people in such a hurry to get out of a building. It's almost like y'all are being chased." The doctor commented as he finished some notes on the discharge papers then sat his clip board on the end of Neal's bed.
"I assure you doc, I'm not being chased today. I'm just really eager to get home." Neal replied as he held hands towards the doctor so he could remove the IV's and pulse monitor.
"So where's home, Mr. Fitzroy?" The doctor inquired as he pulled the IV from Neal's hand. Neal didn't answer right away thinking it might be a setup. He glanced at Peter and shot him a half smile.
"St. Louis!" The conman exclaimed with a bit of a flinch as the needle was pulled from his right hand. "Careful, Doc. Peter is a stickler for paperwork and I'm right handed." Neal quipped with a slight chuckle.
"Don't worry, Agent Burke, your consultant will be fit as a fiddle in a few days. Writing hand and all. So you're from St. Louis, I'm pretty good with accents and your's seems more like a New York accent." Dr. McKensy, stated then noticed a flash of panic run across his patient's face.
Neal noticed Peter straighten up and step closer to his bed. Hoping that his skills weren't going to fail him even though he was still a bit fuzzy from the sedatives, the conman tried to deflect the line of inquiry. "Well I grew up in St. Louis so I miss it."
"I guess you would after running away when you were 18, isn't that right, Neal?" The doc stated as he finished placing a bandage over where the IV had been, then looked the stunned conman right in the eye.
Totally shocked at the doctor's comment, Peter went on full alert. "I think you may be confused Dr. McKensy, his name is Michael Fitzroy, not this Neal person you mentioned." Peter stated as he approached the doctor from behind in case he tried something.
As the doctor continued to watch Neal's expression he noticed the man's anxiety level was skyrocketing. "Take it easy, Neal. I'm not going to turn you in or anything along that line. And Agent Burke, you really should get one of the those sound proofing devices governments are known for having." Dr. McKensy explained as he turned to face the agent.
"Were you eavesdropping doctor, cause I happen to know that's unethical." Neal stated as he finished pulling on his shirt and started to button it. "Or are you just trying to stall us until your new friends show up. Did you make a little deal with Kramer and Collins, they'd look the other way about some scheme you've got going and you call them. Trust me Peter can make you a better deal." Neal suggested as he drew up what remained of his strength and stood on his own.
"You are the last person who should be proclaiming anybody should trust you, Neal. As I said you and Agent Burke have nothing to worry about, as I said I'm not going to turn you in. I wasn't eavesdropping either, as Agent Burke knows, there was a man here earlier looking for you. He had your picture and said the man in the photo's first name was Neal and that you were a dangerous fugitive that often changed names to scam people." As the doctor explained both Neal and Peter relaxed a bit. "I told him we didn't have anyone in the building that matched his photo and even if we did I couldn't tell him because of patient confidentiality. But I don't think he believed me so you three had better get going, before the other agent or any of his friends come back." He continued then stepped towards towards a now much calmer Peter. "Here are Mr. Fitzroy's, discharge papers and a prescription for pain medication if he needs it. I would recommend, Mr, Fitzroy, getting it filled as soon as possible when you get to New York."
The doc then turned his attention to Neal. "That cracked rib is really going to start hurting in about 4 or 5 hours, as I told your handler, you're very lucky whatever cracked your rib didn't hit any harder or it might've punctured your lung. Now, I'm going to get the wheelchair and one of the nurses will escort you and your party to the main entrance." He explained then made his way to the door.
"Maybe we should reconsider the window." Neal quipped as he finished buttoning his shirt.
"Sorry, buddy. It's going to be the front door. Besides, neither one of us are in good enough shape to repel down five floors." Peter replied as he once more helped his consultant stand up as the doctor re-entered with the wheelchair.
"Who's my chauffeur?" Neal asked as he got settled into the chair.
"That would be me." Sara announced as she came up behind the conman. Then she leaned down and placed a small kiss on Neal's cheek. "But you'll be paying me back for my services when we get home." Sara whispered as she stood and grabbed the chairs handles and placed a small kiss on the conman's ear.
Neal was sure his face was glowing like a bright flare. "Well you know me, I always pay my debts." Neal replied with a slight tip of his fedora and a wink of his eye.
Feeling a bit out of place in the conversation the doctor cleared his throat. "I think I'll also prescribe at least a week of cold showers for the sake of your own health, Mr. Fitzroy." His remark earning a round of laughter from everyone.
Pleas feel free to review and any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.