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White Collar Fic: The Christmas Gift

Title: The Christmas Gift
Author: dennih23
Rating: G
Word Count: 1482
Characters: Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, Elizabeth Burke (pre OT3 if you squint)
Summary: Neal’s feeling ill during the White Collar holiday party
Disclaimer: Not mine, all characters belong to Jeff Eastin

All mistakes belong to me, any comments and critiques are appreciated.

A/N: For a prompt by kanarek13 found here



Neal put the finishing touches on the package he was wrapping by adding a bright green bow. He picked up the matching tag and in elegant handwriting he wrote: ‘To Diana from your Secret Santa – Neal’. He grinned, so far Diana had no clue he had drawn her name in the office pool. Tomorrow was the last day for the Secret Santa gift exchange and the reveals were to be made during a small after work party.

It had taken Neal a few days of cajoling and practically begging before he convinced Peter to let him decorate the office with bright lights and a small tree. There was even mistletoe inside the conference room doorway. Neal was still hoping to catch a couple of people unaware and give them a holiday kiss, maybe even Peter, he thought mischievously.        

El was catering the little gathering. She would deliver the food in the late afternoon and the celebration would start at end of the work day. She would be bringing in lots of hors d’oeuvres and holiday favorites. Neal had to admit he was looking forward to the festivity.

He was also curious as to who his Secret Santa was – whoever it was had been particularly clever. Neal found his first gift hidden in his tie drawer. It was a beautiful blue silk tie by Hugo Boss. It went perfectly with the new suit he purchased only a week ago. A few days later a nice bottle of Merlot appeared sitting in his chair. Both times the gifts had appeared when he was out with Peter on a case. He kept trying to narrow down who might have his name, but the agents were sneaky and covered for each other. But tomorrow he would finally know who had drawn his name.

Before heading off to bed, Neal wrapped a few more gifts he had picked up. He had presents for Jones, Peter, El and a few other friends.

                                                   >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Neal woke and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He checked the clock. It was only two am. His head was throbbing and his throat scratchy. He dragged himself to the kitchen and drank a glass of water.  He went into the bathroom and found some cold capsules. He took them and flopped back into bed. He fell back to sleep almost immediately.

He roused to someone shaking his shoulder. He pried his eyes open to find Peter standing over him. He glanced at the bedside clock, it was almost ten o’clock. He was late for work, no wonder Peter was there. He groaned and closed his eyes again.

Peter nudged him, “Hey Neal, you okay? You look a little pale.”

“I’m fine Peter.” He croaked out, his voice a little raspy. “I just have the start of a cold. Give me a few minutes and I’ll be ready to head to the office.”

Peter glared at him but there was concern showing through the façade. “Are you sure? You don’t have to come to the office if you’re sick.”

Neal almost pouted, he wanted to be in the office today. “No, I’ll be okay. I’ll take some cold medicine and be good as new by noon, you’ll see.” Neal gave him one of his best con man grins.

Peter rolled his eyes. “If you’re not better by noon you head out, no need for you to share your germs.”

Neal crawled out of bed and headed to the bathroom. He took a hot shower and dressed while Peter settled in for a cup of June’s Italian Roast and read the paper.

                                             >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Noon rolled around and Neal was slowly getting worse. He throat was so dry and rough he was having difficulty swallowing. Currently he felt like a furnace even though five minutes ago he was freezing cold. He definitely was ill. He considered heading home but really didn’t want to miss the festivities, everyone was in good spirits today and Neal was enjoying what he could.  He took some more cold pills and sat at his desk.

The medication started to take effect an hour later. Feeling better he mingled with the agents who were supposed to be busy working. Still everyone were managing to take time to sit and chat around the conference table. The room had been the gathering point since it was filled with all sorts of holiday goodies that the agents brought in that morning.

The afternoon dragged on until finally at five o’clock El arrived with a small staff and began setting up a variety of food. Shortly before six Peter walked out of his office and called for everyone to stop working and start eating. Neal went and made himself a plate of food and took a cup of the punch. Peter had said no alcohol, but when Neal tried some of the holiday cheer it was obvious it had been spiked. He put down the drink and found the hot chocolate instead.

The party was in full swing when Neal was suddenly very light headed. Of course Peter must have noticed something was wrong and wandered over.

Peter stood in front of him, tilting his head as if trying to solve a puzzle. “Neal, you really don’t look well. Why don’t you go home?”

Plastering on his best smile, Neal replied, “I’m fine Peter, besides it’s just for another couple of hours.” Neal started to sway.

Peter grabbed him before he fell. He shook his head. “Neal, you can’t even stand up straight.” He glanced up at his office and back to Neal. “I still think you should head out but if you’re not willing to, then go and lay down on the couch in my office for a bit.”

Neal nodded and wished he hadn’t. It felt as though the little drummer boy was inside his skull banging to get out. With Peter’s help he made if up the stairs and into the office. Peter assisted him in laying down on the sofa and turned off the lights in the office. Peter left the door ajar so only a little light from the hallway escaped into the room.

Just before heading back to the gathering Peter checked that he was comfortable. “Get some rest I’ll check on you in a little while and make sure you’re okay.”

Peter grabbed his wool overcoat from the coat rack in his office. He threw it over Neal. “This will help keep you warm.” Neal’s only response was to close his eyes. He was too tired right now and just wanted to rest.

Sleep came for a little while but the noise from the conference room slowly wafted up the steps and found its way into the space. Neal stirred but really didn’t feel like going back to party. He rolled over and spotted a large bag sitting next to Peter’s desk. Sticking out of the sack was a present wrapped in bright paper. Neal couldn’t resist, he wondered whose name Peter had drawn. He crept over to investigate.

He was surprised to see his name on the package. Peter had been his Secret Santa. Neal had never even considered him, the presents had shown good taste. El must have helped Peter pick up the presents.

Neal carefully picked up the box and shook it to see if he could figure out what might be in it but he couldn’t tell. He carried the package back to the couch and sat down. He wanted to open the present and see what Peter had given him but at the same time he wanted to wait until Peter was there.

After contemplating about it he decided he could wait. He curled back up on the couch cradling the box. Neal fell back to sleep, his arms wrapped around Peter’s gift, and a small smile on his face.

He awakened a little while later to the sound of El shushing her husband. He kept his eyes closed and listened to their conversation.

El spoke softly, “Hon, don’t wake him, he looks so happy. The cleanup will take at least another half hour, then you can get him up. We’ll take him home with us and he can sleep in the guest room tonight.”

Peter whispered back, “Sounds like a good plan. I’ll help with the cleaning and then we’ll head out. I think June’s out of town visiting family. Do you mind if Neal stayed with us over the holiday? He shouldn’t be by himself if he’s sick.”

“Hon, of course he can stay with us. I think it’s a wonderful idea and if he’s feeling better tomorrow maybe he can help us decorate the tree.”

Neal heard them close the door. He grasped the box he was holding tighter and his smile got even bigger. There was no place he would rather be than with Peter and El on Christmas day.




Thank you for reading.


Crossposted at AO3

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
scarym1
Dec. 18th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
Great story. I am curious as to what Peter got Neal for Christmas. :)
dennih23
Dec. 20th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Peter’s gift to Neal would be his trust in Neal :D
cookielaura
Dec. 18th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
Aww, lovely! :)
dennih23
Dec. 20th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
aragarna
Dec. 18th, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC)
awww sweet! ♥
dennih23
Dec. 20th, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you :D
kanarek13
Dec. 19th, 2014 02:31 am (UTC)
Oh, wow, what an unexpect but awesome treat, yay :D Perfect, exactly what I had in mind *pets Neal* Awww, that image if Neal sleeping on the couch and clutching that gift from Peter is really the most adorable thing ever, awww ♥

Love it so much :D Thank you, my friend :D
dennih23
Dec. 20th, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC)
I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. When I read your prompt I feel in love with it. I love the thought of Neal curled up on a sofa grasping a gift from Peter. These two mean so much to each other (even if they don’t always admit it).

Happy Holidays! *hugs*
pipilj
Dec. 19th, 2014 06:38 am (UTC)
aww this so sweet ♥♥
dennih23
Dec. 20th, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
eldorah
Dec. 22nd, 2014 04:29 am (UTC)
D'awww, this was just full of adorableness. I love the image of a sick!Neal clutching his gift from Peter on the sofa. So sweet! Now I want to know what Peter's last gift to Neal was.... :)

Happy Holidays!
dennih23
Dec. 22nd, 2014 10:47 am (UTC)
Thanks. The image of Neal curled up with a present from Peter is adorable. I think maybe Peter gave him a new fedora -- because we know how much Peter loves Neal's hats. But it really doesn't matter what Peter gives Neal because Neal will always treasure the gift.
pooh_collector
Dec. 23rd, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
That was adorable!

Poor Neal! I know I wouldn't want to miss out just because I was sick. The holidays do only come once a year.

Happy Holidays dennih!
dennih23
Dec. 24th, 2014 12:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It is miserable to be sick over the holiday season (been there and done that).

Happy Holidays Pooh! Looking forward to a new year filled with lots of White Collar stories :D
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )