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White Collar Fic: Cowboys and Angels

Title: Cowboys and Angels
Author:  dennih23
Rating: G,  Gen
Character: Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, Elizabeth Burke
Word Count: 2100
Spoilers:  None
Summary:  Peter’s running a high fever, is Neal more than he appears to be
Disclaimer:  White Collar belongs to Jeff Eastin

For this prompt by 
 rabidchild67 at  whitecollarhc

Thank you to elrhiarhodan and  dmk0064 for leading me in the right direction, I however own all the errors.

Title from the song by Dustin Lynch



Exhaustion had its grip on Peter. He had been at the office for 36 hours straight working multiple cases. Standing at the office balcony he overlooked a very deserted White Collar unit. The flu had taken its toll and only a few agents were left standing. He knew the symptoms; he had the flu. His throat felt like sandpaper, every bone in his body aching, his eyes watered blurring his vision. One moment he was ice cold and the next he felt like he was in an inferno.

He longed to go home and let El take care of him. He wanted her to wait on him, make him lunch, and fluff his pillows.  Instead, he went back into his office where three case files waited for him. He would finish the paperwork then go home and rest.

He was bent over his desk working on files when Neal entered his office. He came to an abrupt halt inside the door. He took a long look at Peter and exhaled," You're sick, Peter. You need to go home.”

“I’m going to finish this paperwork, then go home.”

“You have the flu. You should rest, the paperwork can wait.” He gave Neal the ‘look’ that was not to be argued with.

 “At least let me help you. What do you have left?”

“I’m almost done with the Samuelson file, but the Tanner and Dickerson files need to be finished.”

“Give them to me, and I’ll work on them.”  Neal grabbed the files off Peter’s desk before he could protest. He stepped outside Peter’s office as Diana was passing by. Peter could hear them talking.

“Peter has the flu. He doesn’t want to go home until this paperwork is complete.  I’ll take Dickerson if you take the Tanner file. The quicker we finish, the sooner Peter goes home and rests.”

Diana held out her hand, “Give me the file.” She let out a small laugh, “I can’t believe it, Neal Caffrey - angel of mercy.”

Peter smiled at that and went back to work.

He fought to keep working on the file, but slowly his body conceded. His head was throbbing and soon he was slumped over his desk, arms folded, head down, and he drifted off to sleep. Small beads of sweat were gradually making their way down his pale face. That was how Neal found him an hour later when he returned with the finished files.

Neal walked over to Peter and gently shook his shoulder waking him up, “Peter, wake up. You need to go home. No arguments. You’re getting worse. You need to rest.”

“You’re right.” Peter got out of his chair and stumbled towards the door.  Neal moved behind him and kept his hand on his elbow to steady him as they headed to the parking garage. They were almost to the Taurus when his legs could no longer bear his weight and folded beneath him.

Neal caught him just before he fell. He took Peter’s car keys from his hand, “You’re not driving. I’ll drive, I promise to be careful.”  Reluctantly he gave up his keys.

Peter let Neal guide him to the passenger side of the car. He settled into the seat and started to shiver. Neal noticed because he quickly checked his forehead. Neal then checked the trunk of the car and retrieved a blanket. Throwing the blanket over Peter, he drove them to the Burkes’ home.

Luckily there was a parking space in front of the Burke house. Peter started to get out of the car, but was having difficulty. Neal appeared at his side and took his arm, helping him out of the car and escorting him up the stairs to the house. Neal than took his keys and opened the door continuing to support him.

Entering the house Peter could hear El on her phone, “Call everyone in you can find.  Contact a temp service for the waiters and waitresses. I just need to grab a few things and I’ll be there in an hour.” Elizabeth disconnected the call and turned to look at Peter and Neal. 

He shrugged off his coat as Neal walked over to El, “Peter has the flu.”

She caught a glimpse of her husband and hurried over to him.  “Oh hon”, she sighed as she felt his forehead.   “Neal’s right, you’re running a fever. I want you to get right to bed and rest. I’ll call Yvonne back and tell her to run the event herself.”

Sitting down on the couch, he shook his head, “You go take care of business.  I’ll just sit here and catch a game.”

“Yvonne can handle the event. I don’t want to leave you alone.”

Neal watched his friends, “El, go to your event. I’ll take care of Peter. I’ll make lunch and see that he gets some rest.”

 “Are you sure, Neal?”

Neal looked over at a fast fading Peter Burke, “Of course, I’ll even have dinner started when you get back.”

El glanced at her husband and then Neal. “I won’t be very long”. She grabbed her purse, kissed Peter, hugged Neal, and headed out the door. “Peter, you behave for Neal.”

Climbing up the stairs was like scaling Mount Everest, but Peter finally made it with Neal’s help.  The bed called to him as they entered the bedroom. Feeling like crap he just wanted to burrow under the blankets and sleep. He sat down on the edge of the bed as Neal disappeared into the master bathroom returning with a glass of water and Tylenol in hand. Peter took the pills and then was handed the thermometer. He frowned, but complied.

When it beeped Neal looked and it read 105. He shook his head, “Peter you need to change. Where are your sweatpants and t-shirts?”

“In the second drawer,” he pointed at the dresser.

Grabbing the clothing out of the drawer he handed them to Peter. “You change. I’m going to make some soup. I’ll bring it up when it’s ready. Just rest, can you do that?”

He nodded and regretted it. His head was spinning as he crawled under the blankets. Neal helped him arrange the blankets and pillows. He glanced at Neal and swore he saw a halo and wings. Was Neal an angel? When had that happened?

He closed his eyes thinking he was just seeing things, but when he opened them the wings and halo were still there. “Where did you get those?”

Neal looked around, but could find nothing unusual. “What are you talking about Peter”?

“Those wings, that halo. Who did you steal them from?”

“Peter, I don’t know what you’re referring to, but I don’t think you’re allowed to steal wings or halos. You’re imaging things, you need to rest and let the Tylenol work.”

He kept staring, the feathers were sparkling, a lustrous white, and almost transparent. He stretched his arm behind Neal hoping to touch the one, but as his hand neared the feathers they disappeared. He twisted his head and stared at Neal, watching to see if the wings would reappear. Neal helped him lie back down on the bed and then went downstairs to get lunch.

He drifted off for awhile, but a violent coughing spell woke him up. He couldn’t stop the dry hacking. There was a glass of water on the nightstand so he started to sit up. Neal returned at that moment with the lunch tray. He put the tray down on the dresser and sat down on the bed next to Peter. Neal handed Peter the glass or water and leaned over him, gently rubbing his back. He leaned into Neal until the coughing subsided.

“How about trying a little bit of soup?”

“That sounds good. Would you mind getting me another glass of water?”

“Let me get you the soup and then I’ll get you more water.”

As he turned away to retrieve the tray from the dresser Peter saw the wings again. He kept a close eye on Neal waiting for him to move closer, but when Neal faced him again the wings disappeared. He was fascinated, why he never noticed the wings before.

Neal put the tray in front of him and went to fill the water glass. He returned handing him the glass and sitting in the chair next to the bed. He ate a little bit of soup and studied Neal.

Finally Neal spoke, “Do you need something else?”

“I just want to know” Peter broke off the sentence and started to move his hand toward Neal’s shoulder. He cautiously moved his hand down Neal’s back, but felt nothing unusual. He didn’t know what to think. “Where did they go? Your wings were just here.

Neal turned around to show Peter, “I don’t have any wings. You’re hallucinating. Do you want me to call El, or maybe you need to go to the emergency room.”

“No, I’ll be okay”, but he kept watching Neal not really knowing what to think. He was positive he saw the wings and a halo.

“Okay, but get some more rest.” Neal went to the closet and found extra blankets and laid one on top of him. “I’m going back downstairs to clean up the kitchen. I’ll be back to check on you in a little while.”

He closed his eyes and fell asleep. In his dreams Neal was flying over New York City. Neal was graceful and beautiful to watch, gliding through the air. He kept watching as the sky turned dark, lightning striking down from the sky. A darker creature was chasing Neal. He kept watching until the figure came closer, it was Matthew Keller.

Keller had wings. They were dark, sharp, with jagged edges, and ominous. Keller closed the gap between himself and Neal, ready to attack. Peter screamed “Neal! Watch out!” His own screams waking him. He found he couldn’t breath, panic was consuming him.

Neal came running into the bedroom. “Peter, what’s wrong?”

He could not catch his breath, the dream still lingering. Finally he spoke, his voice wavering, “You were flying. Keller was there too, he was chasing you. He tried to kill you.”

 “Relax Peter, it was only a dream.” He spoke calmly as if to he was trying to put Peter at ease.

Peter relaxed and settled back into his bed. He tossed and turned unable to get comfortable. Neal went and got the thermometer and handed it to him. It still read 105.

Neal grabbed more Tylenol for Peter and retrieved a damp washcloth from the bathroom. After feeding him the pills he set the washcloth on his forehead. He stood watch until his breathing evened out then Neal headed downstairs to start dinner.

The rest of the afternoon and evening went by without incident. Peter slept and Neal took the time to make an exquisite dinner. He was just putting the finishing touches on the seared salmon tortellini salad when El walked through the door.

“How’s our patient?”

“He’s sleeping. He had a rough afternoon. He thought I was an angel. He kept seeing a halo and wings.”

“He thought you were an angel”? She tilted her head and smiled, “I better go check on him. Thank you for taking care of him today.” She hugged him and hurried up the stairs to the bedroom.

She quietly entered the room and sat on the edge of their bed. She gently brushed back the damp hair off his face. He was still flushed, but was cooler than earlier in the day. Opening his eyes he saw his beautiful wife, “Hey hon,” he spoke his voice rough.

El grabbed a glass of water and handed it to him. “Hey hon, how are you feeling?”

Peter nodded, “Better, is Neal still here?”

“He’s downstairs making dinner.”

He leaned over and whispered to El, “He probably thinks I’m crazy. Earlier today I swore was an angel. I thought I saw wings and a halo."

El smiled, “Of course Neal’s an angel. If he wasn’t I never would have let him take care of you.” She kissed his cheek, “You get some more rest. I’ll be right back.” Peter laughed and closed his eyes drifting back to sleep.

She started to rise from the bed when something under the chair caught her attention. It was a small pile of white feathers. She wondered where they came from, they were bright white and delicate. She’d had never seen anything like them before. She thought about what Peter just said about Neal being an angel and having wings.

She grabbed a handful of feathers and ran down the stairs, “Neal?”

Seeing what she held, Neal smiled. His face lit up with his best conman grin, “About those…..”



Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
rabidchild
Jun. 19th, 2012 08:56 am (UTC)
Ah ha! This was terrific. Woobie!Peter is adorable, and Neal is such a good mother hen. And the ending - very nice - I loved it! Thanks for writing this. You ought to post it to the h/c community!
dennih23
Jun. 24th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it. Thank you for the great prompt.
ktrn_lucas88
Jun. 24th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
Awesome. I love it!
dennih23
Jun. 27th, 2012 10:52 am (UTC)
Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the story.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 24th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
This was so good! I can definitely picture Neal with beautiful white wings and a halo! I'd love to have an angle like him around if I was sick. And such a great ending!!
sholio
Jun. 25th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)
Awww, sweet story. :) I like angel!Neal taking care of Peter!
dennih23
Jun. 27th, 2012 10:54 am (UTC)
Thank you. I think it would be fun to have angel!Neal taking care of me. Of course - I wouldn't mind either one taking care of me if I were sick!
embroiderama
Jun. 25th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
Aw, I love sick!Peter, and there's so very little of it. This is awesome.
dennih23
Jun. 27th, 2012 10:55 am (UTC)
Thank you -- we can always use more sick!Peter stories. There can never be enough of them.
indigocat
Jun. 25th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
That was a great story.
sanuye12
Jun. 25th, 2012 05:28 am (UTC)
This was very nice. Finally sick!Peter and Neal doing the comforting. Loved it.
dennih23
Jun. 27th, 2012 10:55 am (UTC)
Thank you
pipilj
Jun. 25th, 2012 05:32 am (UTC)
Loved reading about sick Peter. The end was awesome
dennih23
Jun. 27th, 2012 10:56 am (UTC)
Thank you, more sick!Peter stories are always needed.
love_82
Jun. 25th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC)
This was great! I love Neal taking care of Peter. I liked the twist at the end.
dennih23
Jun. 27th, 2012 10:57 am (UTC)
Thank you. Neal would be a good angel.
Ferryboat George
Jun. 25th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
LOL, is he or isn't he? :) Very cute
dennih23
Jun. 27th, 2012 10:59 am (UTC)
Thank you - I think Neal is probably an angel, but he might be running a small con on Peter.
frith_in_thorns
Jun. 26th, 2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
This was lovely! I really liked Neal and El taking care of Peter :)
dennih23
Jun. 27th, 2012 10:59 am (UTC)
Thank you.
livejournal
Jun. 28th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
User coolceruleanblu referenced to your post from Wednesday, June 27, 2012 saying: [...] Character(s): Peter, Neal, Elizabeth. Rating: R. By: . - Cowboys and Angels [...]
livejournal
Jun. 30th, 2012 12:58 pm (UTC)
The Peter!Whump Master List
User kanarek13 referenced to your post from The Peter!Whump Master List saying: [...] ng well but keeps it to himself, until he collapses. (Gen) (added 6-30-2012) Cowboys And Angels [...]
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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