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11 September 2010 @ 02:42 pm
White Collar Fic: Instead  
Written for whitecollar100 Challenge #010 – Home

Title: Instead
Pairing/Characters: Peter/Elizabeth, Neal, OC
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 300
Spoilers: Company Man
Summary: It's a blur from the time Elizabeth gets the call about what happened to Peter
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

It's only after she gets home from the hospital that Elizabeth falls apart.

The rush of adrenaline that had been keeping her going non-stop since Neal's phone call - Don't panic, Elle. Peter's going to be fine. Jones is sending a car for you to bring you to the hospital. Breathe, just breathe. - has finally been tapped out and she's running on fumes now.

The white of the hospital walls assaults her when she closes her eyes - Your husband was poisoned, Mrs. Burke. We had to give him a shot of epi to restart his heart. Restart his heart... - but she can't lose it on the stairs, she has to at least make it to the bedroom, their bedroom.

Satchmo follows her up, clinging close, knowing as dogs do when their humans are upset enough to need their closer presence. She makes it to the bed and falls onto it, tears already flowing hot and fierce. Satchmo curls up beside her and consolingly licks the clenched hand that bears her wedding ring, a little puppy whimper showing he misses his father too. She was strong the whole time: as Neal related what went wrong, as he told her Peter made him go back for the other man even though he was the murderer, as his voice broke when he told her about the EMTs working on Peter's still body. But she can't be strong anymore. Her beloved husband, the man who made her smile and laugh and love life, essentially died tonight.

Elle, if I could have taken his place, I would have.

Elizabeth had said nothing then to Neal's heartfelt oath. She just went home when they kicked her out at the end of visiting hours and indulged herself by wishing it had been him instead.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on September 11th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
I confess I've been wanting to AU every White Collar episode that has H/C in it to make it even more Hurt/Comforty. ;-)


Emma DeMarais
ladygray99: WC100ladygray99 on September 11th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
I think this is a wonderful and very realistic look at what El and Satchmo went through. El would have been strong for Peter and Neal but would have needed to be weak when along. Very good work. Thank you.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 11th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
YW! I was all set to write something finale related using Peter and Neal and then Elizabeth showed up. /scratches head/ Must have been the prompt. :-)
.afiawri on September 11th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you for giving us a human! El moment. Those are so rare, even in canon. And that selfish thought, wishing it had been Neal- so powerful and realistic. I like this fic a great deal.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 12th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading! I figure Elle will feel bad later about thinking that way, but for now the anguish of almost losing her husband is too fresh and too strong not to wish he'd been spared.
sinkwriter: WC - Neal - Staircasesinkwriter on September 12th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Thanks for giving this a go! When I saw that episode, one of my first thoughts after it was over was: where was Elizabeth? They went from this traumatic scene with the the adrenaline shot to Peter telling the guy he was under arrest as they're both being wheeled out on gurneys, and then it jumps to being back in the office, Peter much better. It was missing a crucial moment between El and Peter, or for El by herself, as you show here. I know Tiffani was on maternity leave, but still... the episode needed something. They have such a fantastic relationship, and this is something that would shake El. After all, Peter's not working a crime unit; he's not supposed to get hurt or poisoned or shot at or killed. It would be so scary for her to get that kind of call. I'm glad you gave her this kind of moment. Nicely done!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 12th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
Thank you! What a great comment!

I agree that we missed out on so much that episode, but I hope to do something about it by AUing the ep so it's not as absurd (I so didn't buy Peter going from a cardiac arrest to arresting the bad guy BEFORE they even made it to the ambulance.

But that will have to wait for something longer than a drabble. /grins/

FWIW I never really liked Tiffani before this character, but I have really missed her during maternity leave. I look forward to her being around properly in January.
rubynye: Tilly (Hyel)rubynye on September 12th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
Oh, that's vivid asnd heartwrenching and makes so much psychological sense.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 12th, 2010 04:46 am (UTC)
Hey, hon! I didn't expect to see you here! /hugs/ (Did you get the mail?) ♥
rubynyerubynye on September 18th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
I kept this in my inbox to remind me to look. Alas, if it was paper mail I did not get what you sent me. I'm sorry.

Thank you for thinking of me, though. *huggles you*
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 18th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
Re: :(
That sucks! (Mel and I both said that.)

We sent you a lovely postcard from both of us when you were feeling down. I'm seriously annoyed that you never got it. Grr...

But yes, we wanted you to have paper mail to show that we ♥ you outside of cyberspace.
jrosemaryjrosemary on September 12th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
Wonderful fill for the episode. As much as Elizabeth cares for Neal, in a situation like that I can certainly see her wishing he had been in Peter's place instead.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on September 12th, 2010 04:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! She does seem to adore Neal (he's hard not to like), but this is her husband of ten years we're talking about as opposed to a guy she's mostly just heard talked about for a few years and has only known a matter of months in person.
shao7shao7 on March 12th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
Love this story! Thank you for remembering El. She should have been in that scene somehow.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on March 12th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
Thank you! I just couldn't ignore the effect of Peter almost dying on Elizabeth, even if canon brushed over the whole brush with death WAY too fast.