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18 July 2012 @ 05:09 pm
White Collar Fic: Spark Extinguished  
Written for wcpairings White Collar Pairings Fic Exchange 2012
Crossposted to whitecollarfic


Title: Spark Extinguished
Pairing/Characters: Peter/Neal
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Pilot
Summary: When Neal is shot Peter faces seeing that beautiful spark extinguished forever
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


A splash of red on a vintage white shirt.

The chaos that is Manhattan is even louder in Peter's ears what with all the squad cars around.

He's got his hands on Neal's chest, trying to stem the rush of blood there. He can hear the words 'artery' and 'bleed out' and 'medic' swirl around him, but he's focused only on keeping Neal alive.

"Talk to me," he orders and Neal sputters, blood flecks on his lips.

"How about those Yankees?" Neal teases hoarsely, or at least tries as the final word is almost buried in a body wracking cough.

"I'm serious Neal, you stay with me! Do you hear me?"

Peter bends down to position his lips near Neal's ear, desperate for a moment of privacy in this hellhole aftermath of a raid gone bad.

"Don't do this to me," he whispers. "Don't leave me. I can't..."

Another violent cough and then an ominous gurgle halt him.

He pulls back to see a thin trail of blood coming from the corner of Neal's lips. His eyes have glazed over – that bright joie de vivre that's always present almost extinguished as his life's blood drains from his body.

"Where's the medic?" Peter yells.

Almost as if on demand, he's pushed out of the way by two EMTs who get Neal on a gurney so fast he almost can't make it into the ambulance before they close the doors.

As Neal gets bandaged and hooked up to an IV Peter watches in a sort of daze of denial. This is not his Neal, this weak and pale creature. His Neal is vibrant, brilliant and so full of life it seems he exudes enough for both of them. Peter's always been the solid, normal everyday kind of guy. Neal? He's the spark. Peter's spent months wondering how he got so lucky to claim this primal force for his own, yet Neal has seemed nothing but content to be the spinning electron that orbits Peter's grounded center.

When there's an opening he reaches over to take Neal's hand. It's limp and cold and feels completely wrong, but some part of him believes that Neal will feel it and know Peter is there with him, offering his strength, his love and his faith that they'll come out of this stronger on the other side.

o--o

Peter decides the hospital waiting room is a circle of hell.

Doctors keep coming into the crowded ER waiting room with news for everyone else but him. He wants to yell, scream, flash his badge – do anything to get them to hurry up, but the logical part of his brain reminds him that quick news isn't always good news and no news likely means Neal's still in surgery and still has a chance.

He feels like he should call someone, but the Bureau already knows and Neal has no family he can contact. Oddly Peter misses his father. He was the only person Peter could turn to when he wanted to let go, not be the one in charge anymore. He had a silent strength, an inspiring competence, that Peter always admired. He needed that now, needed some fuel to be strong for Neal. All he had to draw from though was the deep love he held for the beautiful young man who lay unconscious now because Peter had to drag him into his world – a world where a single spray of bullets, randomly fired into a crowd of LEOs, would find the one man not wearing a kevlar vest.

The door opens.

"Caffrey? Anyone here for Caffrey?"

Suddenly Peter's legs don't work. He manages a small wave to alert the man with the white coat and clipboard to his presence, but it takes a few seconds to be able to rise to hear the news.

There's a buzzing in his ears that makes it hard to hear and he feels like all eyes in the room are on him.

"Is he..." The words just don't come, they falter and fall to the floor, too weak to stand on their own.

"Mr. Caffrey sustained a serious amount of blood loss. It took a long time to stop all the bleeding in surgery and his blood pressure was dangerously low..."

The words scramble in Peter's head like a whirlwind, making little sense because he only wants to know one thing.

"Will he be okay?" Peter finally interrupts.

"He's in the ICU," the doctor replies patiently. "If he doesn't regain consciousness in the next twenty-four hours..." The doctor's voice trails off. "Then we'll only know for sure what damage was done when and if he eventually wakes up."

Peter finds he's wringing his hands so tightly it hurts.

"I need to see him."

o--o

The first sunbeams of a new day slip into the room unnoticed.

Peter's head is on Neal's bed beside their clasped hands.

Drained, the last of his waning energy is tuned to Neal's body, waiting, hoping for any sign of movement, wakefulness.

The heart monitor beats steadily in the background, little comfort at this point, but he'll take it.

Neal had had some rough spots during the night and Peter had only been able to stay in the ICU with him by flashing his badge and claiming that Neal required police protection. Once the shift change came and went he disposed with pretense and didn't care who saw him kiss Neil's forehead or hold his hand.

That small contact had been his sole form of consolation throughout a night fraught with uncertainty. It seemed funny that while Neal had always said that Peter grounded him, it was Neal's turn to ground Peter in the silent hours. To let go might have meant giving up so Peter clutched his beloved's unresponsive hand, using it to anchor him to reality enough to withstand the pain that came with the threat of loss.

Raising his head, Peter stares at the wan visage in front of him. Without his clear blue eyes Neal doesn't look right. So much life in those windows to the soul... Peter misses them desperately.

"I know... I think you can hear me," he whispers. "So you should know that I'm here, waiting for you. You need to come back to me. I can't take the waiting anymore. I know you're in there and god help me if I could drag you out you know I would..." His voice falters briefly and he surreptitiously wipes the moisture from his eyes. "But you've got to do this yourself." His voice begins to crack. "You have to because... Because I'm not doing all this without you. You have to come back. Your place is by my side, in my life. I'm not letting you out early, you hear me?" He puts his head down on Neal's shoulder, almost in defeat. "Please... Just come back to me."

It takes a few good deep breaths to calm the emotion that had risen in him, but once he's done he notices his own breathing isn't the only one that's changed. Neal looks to be breathing deeper and more frequently.

"That's it, Neal. You can do it," he encourages.

A clock ticks in the distance, time slows painfully as Peter waits, hoping for another sign. He finally puts his head down, tired beyond the physical. His soul is heavy with grief and sadness, weighed down by what could have been and loaded with guilt for putting the man he cares about in harm's way.

Sunlight stripes the room through the blinds when it finally comes: movement.

Peter jolts up when he feels Neal's hand shift

"Neal?" he ventures breathlessly.

Long dark lashes flutter.

Blue eyes open, rising slow as dawn.

A word, barely a whisper: "Peter..."

A familiar smile, the spark returned.

Peter feels a flood of relief, joy and love surge through him.

His Neal is back.

o--c
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on July 19th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)
Confession
Please read my notes/apologies here.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
Winter: prompicwinterstar95 on July 19th, 2012 02:13 am (UTC)
His Neal is back --- so perfectly written. Thank you so much for this piece, it is greatly appreciated. I feel all warm and fuzzy....I love these two!
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - Neal & Peter handsomeembroiderama on July 19th, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)
This is really lovely. Peter's worry and devotion are so clear, and YAY for the ending.
coffeethyme4mecoffeethyme4me on July 21st, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
I really liked how you worked with the movement of the light, the dawn, and Neal coming to consciousness -- that was beautifully done. And the irony that it was Neal, the one not wearing the vest. Poor Peter. I thought you did Peter's fear and grief really well.
ladygray99ladygray99 on October 1st, 2012 02:10 pm (UTC)
Nurg! I thought for a moment you might actually kill Neal. Beautifully written if tense.
deepasoceandeepasocean on July 27th, 2013 11:55 pm (UTC)
Touching.
And beautiful.
Always love it when my favorite character is hurt and cried over by people who love him very much.