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26 September 2014 @ 06:03 pm
[Fanfiction] Being There  
Title: Being There
Author: Aragarna
Genre, rating: H/C, gen, PG-13
Characters: Neal, Peter
Words: ~2000
Summary: As Peter gets shot and they're trapped in an elevator, Neal does what it takes to keep him alive.
Author's Note: This story is based on the awesome art prompt by evil (but wonderful) kanarek13, who also awesomely did the beta on this story and the additional cover. This is a team work for sinfulslasher, who needs some cheer-up. And what's better than a gunshot and a nightmarish ride in an elevator to cheer someone up?
Next time it'll be more fluffy I swear.


Being There




Peter stepped into the elevator with Neal and pressed the 25th floor button. Neal couldn’t help noticing he seemed a little tense. His jaw was tightly clenched and his whole body language translated a high alert.

“Something wrong?”

Peter waved it off, but even his gesture was a little stiff. “Dunno. A gut feeling. I don’t feel this op’,” he said.

“Any particular reason?” Neal asked, not particularly reassured by his partner’s doubts.

“It’s too easy.”

“Should we call this off?” It was supposed to be a simple first contact with their marks, but Peter’s instincts were generally right. If he felt something was off, something was much probably off.

Peter shook his head. “No, but keep both eyes open to any suspicious behavior in our friends.”

As the elevator reached the 25th floor, Neal stepped aside to let Peter out first. But as the doors opened, the scene they revealed made them both stop dead in their tracks. Two men with guns drawn and pointed right at them were waiting for them. They barely had time to react – Peter reaching for his own gun, Neal for the closing door button – when the two men opened fire.

Neal felt Peter stagger at his side and he pressed frenetically on the button. He then randomly called for another floor, and after what seemed like an eternity the doors finally closed, but not before a couple more bullets made their way into the elevator. With a light jolt, the elevator started its way down, impassive. It all had happened so fast, it felt surreal. Neal realized he was holding his breath and forced himself to release it.

He turned to Peter, who had stepped back against the wall of the elevator. His eyes were wide open with shock and he was holding a hand to his chest. All blood drained from Neal’s face as realization dawned on him. Peter had been shot. As to confirm his fear, Peter slid on his knees to the floor, leaving, to Neal’s earnest terror, a large trail of blood on the elevator’s wall behind him.

“Peter!” Neal fell on his knees next to his friend.

Peter raised a shaky hand, pointing at the set of buttons. “Block the elevator,” he rasped, his voice laborious. “Don’t let them get us on another floor.”

Trying to keep control over the rising panic, Neal quickly complied and pressed the big STOP button. The elevator came to an abrupt stop, shaking them both and making Peter moan in pain. The digits flickered between 9 and 10.

“Sorry, Peter, I’m sorry,” Neal urged, his voice pitching way too high, as he reached for his phone in the inside pocket of his jacket.

He raced the 911 digits, mentally urging them to pick up as he sneaked his phone between his shoulder and chin.

“911, what’s your emergency?” a laconic voice answered as Neal took a knife out of his pocket and started unscrewing the control panel of the elevator.

“1250, West 156th street. South elevator, my friend has been shot in the chest,” Neal blurred all at once. His voice broke, and he swallowed back the painful lump in his throat. “He’s – he’s losing a lot of blood…”

Unable to say anything more, Neal dropped the phone and focused on the entanglement of wires. He needed to make sure the people who wanted them dead could not restart the elevator, nor open the doors.

“Hold on, Peter, hold on.”

He was trying very hard to focus on the wires, following the paths and colors, but Peter’s rash breathing was cutting through his heart, clouding his mind. He didn’t dare looking at him, as he wasn’t sure he would be able to keep it together a lot longer. Precious seconds slid away as he struggled to maintain his attention on the wires. He finally ripped a green one, and the lights went off.

“Sorry, sorry,” Neal pleaded.

He did his best to reconnect the wire into its socket. The light went back on, flickering. His heart was racing in his chest and he could feel sweat descending down his spine. His palms were getting sweaty, too, and he could feel his hairline getting damp. Focus, Neal. He cut another wire that should have been the right one this time, praying he wasn’t doing a big mistake locking them both in an elevator.

“Neal…” Peter’s voice was barely a murmur.

Neal dropped by his friend’s side. He could barely sustain to look at Peter. The pain was way too evident on his face, and it was hurting Neal to see him suffering like that. Peter was also way too pale, the whiteness of his skin contrasting with the red on his shirt, his hands, the wall, everywhere.

“I’m here, Peter,” Neal said softly. “I’ve locked the doors, you’re safe now.”

Neal could swear he saw a hint of a mocking rictus brushing Peter’s lips. “Don’t feel much safe right now,” he said between two harsh breaths.

He raised his hand and Neal grabbed it. It was all sticky from the blood, but Neal kept his hold.

“Phone…” Peter said, and Neal realized Peter’s phone was buzzing in his jacket. Taking it out with his free hand, he looked for the caller. It was Diana. Neal flinched. He’ll have to tell them. His blood was pounding anxiously in his ears as he took the call.

“Peter!” Diana shot, dread obvious in her voice. She must have heard the gunshots from the one way audio feed.

“It’s Neal,” he managed to say, beating his lips not to cry. “Peter’s been shot.”

He heard Diana gasp over the line. “How bad?”

“Bad.”

Hits on the doors made Neal and Peter startle. Peter squeezed Neal’s hand a little tighter, and Neal squeezed back. Neal turned to the doors, holding his breath, but they didn’t move.

“We’re trapped in the elevator,” he told Diana over the phone. “They’re still trying to get to us. I’ve locked the door, but I don’t know how long it’ll hold and Peter is in no shape…” His voice trailed off.

He could hear muffled sounds and orders shouted on the other side of the line. Diana’s voice finally came back. “Okay, Caffrey, you two hold on. Help’s on the way. Stay on the line for us, please.”

“Okay.”

A louder bang on the doors made Neal jump. But they seemed to hold. Somewhere a police siren shrieked. They heard the muffled sound of urging orders on the other side of the elevator doors, and then silence. Their enemies seemed to have opted for a quick retreat.

Neal transferred back his attention to Peter. His head was lolling, and he was slowly slumping on the side, unable to maintain his posture. Neal caught hold of him and tried to maintain him against the wall.

“Stay with me, Peter, stay with me,” he whispered.

“Can’t.”

Peter was losing consciousness. It was like life was slowly seeping away from his body along with the blood soaking his shirt.

“Hold on, please, hold on,” Neal pleaded. It was like his heart itself had been ripped by a bullet. “I can’t lose you, Peter. Don’t do that to me.”

“El…” Peter said, his voice increasingly sluggish. “Keep her safe.”

“You know the only one that can keep her safe is you,” Neal said. “El needs you, Peter. You have to hold on for her.”

Diana’s voice crackled through the speaker of the abandoned phone on the floor. “Hold on, boss. We’re on our way.” Peter’s watch was still transmitting. No doubt she had heard everything.

Peter looked up at Neal, struggling to keep focus. He weakly squeezed Neal’s hand again. “-‘m sorry Neal.” His voice was a whisper. “Tell her… Love her.”

Neal’s heart shattered. He envisioned Elizabeth, being told her husband was gone. He couldn’t do that to her. He knew such loss was like a hole in your soul that never truly healed. And he knew that hole would be too hard to bear for Elizabeth. And for him.

“Nonono, you stay with me! You heard Diana, help’s on its way,” Neal shot, strengthening his grip on Peter. He wanted to scream, to shake Peter, and tell him he had no right to leave them.

“ ‘twas great working with you. Proud.”

It was more than Neal could take. He was crying now. Tears were rolling down his cheeks, heavy and bitter, and he couldn’t stop them. He felt helpless. The always resourceful Caffrey was no match against a life slipping away and it was killing him.

 “If you die, I’ll go back to the life,” he shot defiantly.

Peter’s hurt look totally undid Neal. But at least he seemed to regain some strength. He shook his head sluggishly and gripped Neal’s arm.

“No, Neal. You can’t – You can’t do that.”

“Watch me,” Neal retorted.

“Neal…”

Peter released his hold. He closed his eyes in pain. For Neal, it felt like a small death, tormenting Peter to keep him alive. And Neal prayed that it wouldn’t become the last thing he said to Peter… That would be… It wouldn’t be. Neal grabbed Peter’s hand again, but it had lost all strength. Peter slowly slumped against Neal’s chest, unconscious. Neal wrapped his arms around him.

“It was great working with you too. Thank you, for all you’ve done for me,” he whispered.

Shots fired somewhere outside startled Neal and he shifted to stand between the doors and Peter. Diana’s voice suddenly reached again through the phone.

“Neal?”

Neal grabbed the phone. “Diana! Peter’s….” dying. “You have to hurry.”

“The building is secured. We’re on the other side. The rescue team is working on opening the doors.”

In no time, the doors were opened, and paramedics took Peter away from Neal. In a nightmarish haze, Neal let himself be checked out, taken to the hospital, he answered questions he later couldn’t remember. All he could think of was that the last thing Peter heard was that he’d go back to his criminal life.

----------------------------------

Neal found himself sitting alone in a gloomy hospital room. He startled when someone called his name.

“Neal?”

It was Elizabeth. Neal’s heart flinched. He couldn’t say anything, and he just stared at her. Her eyes were red, and make-up had leaked down her cheeks. Neal noticed her hands were shaking and he held his out. She took it and briskly pull him into a hug.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I’m sorry.”

They were still holding each other when the doctor came in to update them on Peter’s condition. Neal didn’t want to listen. He didn’t want to see Elizabeth falling apart. He didn’t want a world without Peter. The doctor was talking about his friend with such a clinical vocabulary that all Neal could think of was looking for an escape. Run.

“What does that mean?” Elizabeth asked, holding his hand tighter.

“It means he’s going to be fine,” the doctor said, looking at them with a reassuring smile.

Neal felt his knees give in and sat abruptly on the nearest chair. He’s going to be fine.

-------------------------------------

Now, too many hours later, they were waiting for Peter to wake up, each on a side of the bed. Elizabeth on the right, Neal on the left, both equally pretending to be reading a magazine while constantly glancing at Peter, searching for any sign of consciousness.

Elizabeth was the first one to see it. She shot up to her feet and Neal immediately looked at Peter. His eyelids flickered an instant and he finally opened his eyes. He looked at Elizabeth, then Neal, and a soft smile appeared on his lips. Elizabeth bent over to kiss him, and brushed his cheek softly with her fingers.

“Hey hon,” she said. “Welcome back.”

“Hey hon,” Peter answered, his voice weak, but warm.

Neal felt relief finally wash over him. He leaned back on his chair, allowing himself to breath.

“Welcome back,” he echoed.

Peter turned his head in his direction. He stared at Neal, and his eyes slowly narrowed, his smile fading away.

“That was mean,” Peter said after a while.

Neal shifted on his chair. “I’m sorry, Peter, I – You know I wouldn’t have –“ he started.

Peter cut him off. “So you mean you were lying to me?”

Neal stared at him, speechless. “I – No!” Yes?

Peter’s eyes sparkled in mischief. “Thank you,” he said, breaking into a found smile.

Neal shrugged. “For what? Torturing you into not dying? Your team are those you should thank. They’re the ones who responded fast enough.”

Peter slowly shook his head. “I will, but still, thank you, Neal.”

“But what for?”

“For being there.”


FIN.



 
 
 
kanarek13kanarek13 on September 26th, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC)
Wheeeeeeeee \o/ Thank you so much again for writing this. It's made of awesome. And yes, you definitely made sure Peter was okay, hee :D

*hugs the boys gently*

Love it ♥
aragarnaaragarna on September 26th, 2014 11:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you for letting me play with your great art!

Of course they're all okay in the end. Torturing them is bad enough, I wouldn't have it any other way. ;-)

*joins the hug*
(no subject) - sg_lab on September 28th, 2014 03:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aragarna on September 28th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
dennih23: Season 5 hugdennih23 on September 26th, 2014 11:56 pm (UTC)
Awwww - this is terrific. Neal pulled out all the stops to get Peter to fight back and telling Peter he was going back to his life of crime was the perfect con. This was gripping and kept me on edge - even though I knew you would never kill off Peter, I was still right with Neal and worried about him.

Fantastic story and artwork!
aragarna: Peter b&waragarna on September 27th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
aww thank you!! ♥
angelita26: Peter Whumpangelita26 on September 27th, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwwww Peter! Awwwww Neal! This was lovely - hurt and comfort and Peter will be just fine. All my favorite things! Thank you for sharing!
aragarnaaragarna on September 27th, 2014 12:48 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked it! :-)
nywcgirlnywcgirl on September 27th, 2014 08:34 am (UTC)
Wow, great story, lots of whump. It fits so well with the art. Great job, the both of you.
aragarna: Peter and Nealaragarna on September 27th, 2014 01:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :-)
pipiljpipilj on September 27th, 2014 10:40 am (UTC)
Loved your story u ranked up the tension beautifully. Loved Neal con about threatening to go back to a live of crime. The last scene was cherry on top of a fantastic story.
aragarnaaragarna on September 27th, 2014 01:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ♥♥
leesa_perrie: Neal Worriedleesa_perrie on September 27th, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
Wow, excellent fic! Full of emotions and angst, with a lovely ending that leaves me going 'awwwww'! *hugs Peter, Neal and El*
aragarnaaragarna on September 27th, 2014 01:19 pm (UTC)
Heeee thank you!! :-)
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - Peter h/cembroiderama on September 27th, 2014 12:54 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, what great tension and angst here! And yay for a happy ending.
aragarna: Peter smilingaragarna on September 27th, 2014 01:20 pm (UTC)
thanks! lol yes, happy endings are mandatory.
paganlowroaderpaganlowroader on September 27th, 2014 01:22 pm (UTC)
Alone, Neal could have shimmied out of that elevator in seconds. But we know he'd never leave a wounded Peter behind. I could really feel his fumbling panic to do anything to prevent those doors opening. I'd love the story with the roles reversed now.
aragarnaaragarna on September 27th, 2014 01:28 pm (UTC)
True! "we don't leave anyone behind" ;-) (I just rewatched Company Man yesterday)

Well, I kinda wrote the reversal in my previous story, A Hole in the Heart
http://aragarna.livejournal.com/88151.html
(again all Kanarek's fault!)
paganlowroaderpaganlowroader on September 27th, 2014 01:42 pm (UTC)
I say the Stalled Elevator meme should have its own fest. There would be three categories to choose from. The first is genre: comedy, h/c, drama. The second would be the cast of characters. Lastly, Skills Revealed, such as show tunes, whittling, yoga poses, story-telling. Flip them in the air and choose one from each category. Please.
aragarnaaragarna on September 27th, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC)
LOL great idea! You should run this by evil-prompter Kanarek ;-)
elrhiarhodanelrhiarhodan on September 27th, 2014 01:54 pm (UTC)
Awwww - I'd lie to Peter too if it meant keeping him alive!!!!!!
aragarna: Peter seriousaragarna on September 27th, 2014 02:14 pm (UTC)
heeee I'm sure! ;-)
sapphire2309sapphire2309 on September 27th, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC)
Neal's low blow of 'I'll go back to the life' felt so realistic in this situation. And Peter!!! *hugs him carefully* He was so perfect in this fic. He felt like the star. Loved this :)
aragarna: Peter b&waragarna on September 27th, 2014 02:21 pm (UTC)
awww Thank you! ♥ Glad you enjoyed it!
maryrose_itmaryrose_it on September 27th, 2014 07:28 pm (UTC)
perfect story !thanks Ara after karanek art I said I was going to dream something about...and when today I read your story ehehe I barely remember my dream but I would have liked to dream a story like yours!


aragarnaaragarna on September 27th, 2014 07:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! :-) I'm happy you enjoyed the story,thanks for your comment!
ladyrose42ladyrose42 on September 27th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
Neal hitting below the belt. Peter remembering. Very like canon
aragarnaaragarna on September 27th, 2014 07:32 pm (UTC)
Heee thank you ♥
scarym1scarym1 on September 27th, 2014 08:41 pm (UTC)
Love the intensity of this. : )

I thought this part was especially sad because Neal does knows what it is like to lose someone you love.

"Neal’s heart shattered. He envisioned Elizabeth, being told her husband was gone. He couldn’t do that to her. He knew such loss was like a hole in your soul that never truly healed. And he knew that hole would be too hard to bear for Elizabeth. And for him."



aragarnaaragarna on September 27th, 2014 08:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Yes, I can't even imaging how can Neal still be sane after all that happened to him...
(no subject) - scarym1 on September 27th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
caseyf123 on September 29th, 2014 12:14 am (UTC)
Great story. I absolutely loved Neal's ploy to keep Peter fighting. Perfect mix of hurt/comfort. Well done.
aragarnaaragarna on September 29th, 2014 12:28 am (UTC)
Thank you!! :-)