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Five Moments (2/2), a.k.a. White Collar Promptfest Fic #3
Matt TNH 1
doctor_fangeek
See previous post (Part 1) for notes/rating/summary.

It’s 5 o’clock Sunday morning when Peter calls. They’ve found Neal. Peter is at the hospital.

“The hospital?” Elizabeth asks, already getting up out of bed and working out how long it will take her to get there. “Is he all right? What’s going on?”

Neal, it turns out, is more or less all right, though a bit rough around the edges. He took a blow to the head, though it’s not too serious – probably only a mild concussion, and they’re getting ready to take him into surgery to fix his ankle. Apparently someone took a blunt object to his anklet when the alarm started going off after they took him out of his radius, and either it didn’t occur to them or they didn’t care that the electronic device was attached to flesh and bone. Peter tells her she might as well go ahead and take a shower and have some breakfast, as it will be at least a couple of hours before she can see Neal anyway, though if all goes well the doctors are saying he can go home later today as long as he has someone to keep an eye on him for the next twenty-four hours or so. Elizabeth is about to tell Peter that Neal will of course come home with them, but he’s actually beaten her to the punch on that one, and he assures her that he’s already told the medical staff that there is no problem, Neal can stay with them for a few days. He promises to call her as soon as there is any more news, and Elizabeth smiles to herself as she hangs up the phone, then goes downstairs to let Satchmo out and get ready for the day.

When she gets to the hospital early that afternoon and makes her way to Neal’s room, she decides that he must be doing better, as she finds him flirting with the nurse who is patiently explaining to him that the wheelchair is hospital policy, and not optional. Elizabeth watches for a moment longer as Neal continues to pour on the charm, before deciding to step in and help the poor woman out.

“Behave, Neal,” she says. “She’s only doing her job.”

Neal looks up from where he’s sitting on the side of the bed, and Elizabeth is warmed by the bright smile that lights up his face. “Elizabeth! You didn’t have to come. Peter’s still here. He’s driving me home.” Neal is right – Elizabeth isn’t really needed. But whatever he’s saying, she can tell that Neal is happy to see her, and she knows she made the right decision. Even if the next thing she knows he’s starting to reach for the crutches that are sitting next to him.

“You stay right there,” she says, shaking her head and crossing the room in a few quick steps. She stops in front of him, taking Neal’s hands in hers and looking him over. All things considered, he looks pretty good, and she knows better than to ask him how he’s doing, as he’ll most likely just tell her, “Fine.” Instead she tells him she’s glad that he’s all right, gives him a peck on the cheek, and orders him into the wheelchair so they can get him discharged and take him home.

****

It’s 5 o’clock Sunday evening and Elizabeth smiles as she looks in on their houseguest. The couch is not ideal, and it’s a hair too short, but it had seemed like the lesser of two evils compared to trying to get Neal up the stairs to the guest room, at least for the time being. And so Elizabeth had brought down some extra pillows and a quilt, and Peter had helped Neal get in from the car and get settled on the sofa in their living room. His left leg, the one with the broken ankle and the blue fiberglass cast, is propped up, he’s taken his pain meds, and he appears to have dozed off while watching an old Cary Grant movie on TV. Elizabeth is struck by how young and vulnerable Neal looks as he sleeps, dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt borrowed from Peter’s closet. The clothes are just a little too big, and Neal’s hair is just a little less than its usual perfection, and Elizabeth feels a brief, sharp flare of anger at the men who took him, and a protectiveness she isn’t used to – Neal is tougher than he looks, she knows, and generally quite self-sufficient. Not surprisingly, he’d even tried to convince Peter and Elizabeth that he was “fine” and that it was okay for them to take him to June’s. June, however, is out of town for the week, and Peter had made it very clear that Neal was only allowed to leave the hospital today if there would be someone to keep an eye on him for the next day or two.

****

It’s 5 o’clock Monday morning, and Peter has just come back upstairs after checking on Neal again. They were told they didn’t have to actually wake him up every few hours, but should check every so often to make sure that he was responsive. Elizabeth rolls over and opens her eyes as Peter comes back in the room. He’s trying to be quiet, but it’s not as if she was fully asleep anyway.

“How is he?” she asks.

“He’s fine. I didn’t mean to wake you,” Peter says, slipping back into bed.

“You didn’t. I was only half asleep anyway.”

“Not sleeping well tonight?” Peter asks.

“No. You?”

“Not really.”

“Hmm. If we’re not going to get any more sleep anyway,” Elizabeth says, rolling over to straddle her husbands hips, “maybe we can find a better way to pass the time until we have to check on Neal again.” And with that she leans down to capture Peter’s lips in a long, slow kiss.

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This was sweet and lovely! A great Monday morning wake-up :-).

If only I hadn't been up at some crazy time in the wee hours, which is how it ended up posted by Monday morning. :-)

Thanks so much for the feedback!

Aw, that's lovely. I like the warmth and genuine care.

Thanks for the comment. I wanted that warmth to come through, especially after the angst - glad it worked for you.

What a lovely story :) I really liked how Elizabeth and Mozzie are friends that can share wine and takeout and how Peter is not automatically assuming that Neal has run away again. It really is how I see their friendship progressing. Thank you for putting it into words!

Thanks a lot for the feedback. I'd like to think that the relationship is progressing over time, and I'm glad that resonated with you. Thanks for stopping by.

This is lovely! I like the friendship between El and Moz. :-)

Oh, this is wonderful. I love this El, and Mozzie turning up was such a treat. *hearts*

Thanks so much for commenting.

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