Here I am with chapter 4! This time it's been beta read, and correct, so you'll not fine all errors due to my translation. Hope you'll enjoy it. I wait for reviews. :)

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Chapter IV.

Neal awakened an hour later. As soon as he woke up, he detected a delicious aroma filling the living room. Usually El was considered the only cook in the Burke residence, however, after his release from prison, Neal had spent enough time with the two of them to discover that Peter could mange his fair share of cooking as well.

Neal kept his eyes shut, savoring the smell.

He soon heard footsteps approaching to him. Something had just been placed on the coffee table next to him.

He heard Peter's voice calling him as a hand touched his blanketed arm.

He cracked open his eyes and saw that Peter was pointing at the coffee table. Upon it was a bowl of steaming hot soup. Peter waited until Neal sat up before taking a seat next to him on the couch.

Even if Neal wasn't hungry, he didn't reject the meal. He hoped that the hot soup would somehow help to sooth his sore throat.

"It's still snowing heavily. While you were asleep, I laid out some clothes for you on the bed in the guest bedroom. You ready to dress up Peter Burke style?

"Let me guess. Jogging pants and an FBI t-shirt?

"Well, flannel pajamas aren't really my style."

"Personally, I prefer silk..."

Peter cut him off. "I'm pretty sure you'll survive. Anyway, the bathroom is all yours."

At that moment, Neal realized that Peter had taken a shower as well as gotten changed. He was now wearing a pair of comfortable jeans and a brown polo shirt.

A thought struck him, as he smelled the shower gel Peter had just used.

"Oh my gosh! Now i'm gonna smell like Peter Burke too."

"You could use Elizabeth's shower gel if you want..."

"Oh gosh..."

Neal put down the spoon. The soup had in fact eased his sore throat but he still couldn't manage to eat more than half of it.

He thought a hot shower might do his feverish body some good.

However, before he knew it, he had drifted back to sleep.

A few minutes later, he woke up, maybe too fast, and the hurried movement made him feel sick. While he was waiting for the room to stop spinning, Peter was already holding him tightly. A deep sense of concern filled his eyes and shaped his taut frown.

"Neal?"

"I'll be alright in a bit... give me a minute..."

"Where did you think you were going?" Neal's hurried movement clearly didn't go unnoticed by Peter.

"To take a shower..."

"I think it might be better if I come with you."

"No, no, I'm fine. I'll go.."

Neal got free from Peter's hold and was already heading towards the stairs when he realized he was being followed. He stopped, threw a glance at his tail, and without turning, said "Whatcha doing Peter?"

"I'm making sure that you don't break your collarbone falling down the stairs."

Neal turned towards Peter and watched as the older man pointed to the stairs with both his hands in a rather theatrical way.

"After you!"

"You're worst than my mother!"

Neal bit his tongue. Too late!

"Oh, oh, oh, I want more details...!"

" Oooh, no, no, no. Not going to happen!"

Neal slowly walked up the stairs, using the railing to support himself. Peter followed close behind.

"What would she do when you were sick?"

No answer.

"Would she put a cold towel on your forehead?"

More silence.

"Would she make you soup?"

Nothing.

"Got it! She would give you something to help you sleep."

"Are you done?"

"Almost. Would she sing you a song?"

Still no answer.

"Come on, at least give me a clue!"

"No way!"

Neal stopped in the guest bedroom to collect the clothes Peter had laid out for him earlier. He had almost guessed correctly, he thought, as he gathered up the gray jogging pants and a simple white t-shirt. At least the mundane outfit was comfortable.

When he stepped out, Peter was waiting for him in front of the bathroom.

"What, are you gonna follow me into the shower? I was hoping to have some privacy."

"Ok, stop it. I'll leave you alone. But yell if you need anything. Towels are in the closet near the bathtub. The green toothbrush is yours."

"Thanks."

"Anytime."

Neal locked the door.

His image in the mirror nearly scared him. There wasn't the slightest ounce of color in his face and his skin was frighteningly pale. He had dark circles under his eyes as well as a few sweat-dampened curls stuck to both his forehead and neck.

Before undressing, he took a towel from the closet and put it to the side. Then, as quickly as possible, given his aching joints, he let himself sink into the tub.
The hot water immediately relaxed him.

- - -

Peter thought about going downstairs and turning on the TV, but instead, had decided to stay near the bathroom, just in case Neal needed his help.
He entered his bedroom, but left the door open, so that he could hear if Neal yelled for him.

He then lay down on the bed, enjoying his first break in that unusually frantic day. He stayed in that position for about ten minutes. He desperately wanted to sleep, but he resisted the urge and stayed awake. He needed to know that Neal was safe, in bed, under a heap of blankets, before he could finally relax.

Finally, he heard the bathroom door open.

He stepped back into the hallway and couldn't help but smile as he looked at his partner's unconventional outfit.

Peter's clothes, too large for Neal, made him seem thinner and younger than he actually was. He then noticed that he had rolled up the t-shirt sleeves as well as the pant legs.

"Maybe I should have given you Elizabeth's clothes..."

"Ha, ha. Really funny!"

Peter opened the door to the guest room and invited Neal in. The kid sat on the bed and lay back, closing his eyes smiling. However, the pounding headache soon made him involuntarily frown.

"Headache again?"

"Hmm"

He thought of opening his eyes as he answered Peter. However, he knew better than to do that. The light would certainly worsen his headache.

He shifted his legs, laying his entire body down on the bed. He hoped that sleeping would help to soothe his pain.

Peter went downstairs to the kitchen, getting Neal a bottle of water and a couple of pills.

Once he returned to the guest bedroom, he realized that Neal had fallen asleep without even bothering to cover himself with the blankets.

He hesitated, unsure of whether to let him sleep or to wake the kid up so that he could get under the blankets.

Due to the unusually cold weather, sleeping like that would most likely worsen his fever during the night.

He had made his decision.

He sat up on the bed, and put a hand on Neal's shoulder. He cracked open his eyes, and gratefully accepted both the pills and the water.

However, despite his exhaustion, Neal noticed the worried look in Peter's eyes.

"Stop looking at me like that, Peter! I have a cold, I'm not dying!"

"Have you taken a look at yourself in the mirror recently?"

Neal thought a bit before answering.

"Okay, you're right. But I'm sure I'll be better by tomorrow."

"Neal, if you need anything, even during..."

Neal stopped his sentence, raising his hand.

"I knew you'd say that."

"I'm being serious!"

Neal looked at him grinning.

"I think you're worrying too much"

"Don't get used to it." Peter answered, pointing at him. Then, trying not to yawn, he added, "Good night, Neal."

"Good night, Peter."

Peter headed towards the door, while Neal slipped under the blankets. Before leaving the room, he threw a final glance at the kid. Satisfied that Neal was safe under the warm comforters, he closed the door behind him.

Neal turned off the light and pulled the blanket up under his chin.

Despite the room's warmth, that damn fever kept making him shiver. At least the pills Peter had given him had alleviated his headache somewhat, even if his sore throat still hadn't let up.

He closed his eyes, hoping to fall asleep soon. However, he was suddenly distracted by sounds coming from the master bedroom. Even though they were soft, they kept drawing his attention.

Neal realized he was not used to other people's presence, as he listened to Peter getting ready to go to sleep.

But after a few minutes, silence once again filled the house. Only the soft noise of the blizzard outside his bedroom window could be heard. An exhausted Neal, choosing to simply disregard this sound, peacefully drifted off to sleep.