One of the Best
Disclaimer: White Collar belongs to Jeff Eastin and USA. Any other characters or names other than NYC locations were made up by me.
A/N: This is my first fan fiction, so I'm a bit nervous, but I hope you like it. I'm not really a medical person, but I did some basic research, so hopefully it makes sense. There are 10 chapters, and I've already written them, so I should be able to post regularly. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Peter and Neal were sitting in Peter's office going through their latest mortgage fraud case. As usual, Neal had his feet up on Peter's desk and was reclining in his chair with his trademark fedora pulled down over his eyes.
"Neal, for the last time, would you please take your feet off my desk?"
The fedora didn't move, and neither did the body attached to it.
"Peter, I'm just taking a quick nap, besides, you haven't asked my opinion for three whole minutes. I'm getting bored, so I thought I'd take a quick nap."
"Answer me this then, we have five different couples who all bought townhomes in a re-developed part of The Bronx, and they've all received eviction notices within the last month for non-payment of rent. We've questioned all five couples, and they all have cancelled check stubs, although no receipt from the mortgage company. So where did the money go?"
"Quite obviously it's a shell company created for this nefarious purpose, and you didn't need me to tell you that."
Neal still hadn't moved, and was clearly bored by Peter's question, but he couldn't resist teasing Peter.
"You wanted me to ask you a question; you didn't say it had to be a good one."
Peter smirked, not sure if Neal could see him from under the hat.
"We're still trying to track down this mysterious and, according to you, nefarious MEC Company. The Operating Officer listed turns out to be a phony name; it's not pulling up in any of our databases. The couples swear they met with this Kris Montoya who they signed the paperwork with."
"I don't suppose you have any pictures that we could scan for facial recognition?"
"No, who takes pictures at a closing?"
"Peter, think about it, maybe not at closing, but someone would have to show it to you to begin with, and if this is your first home wouldn't you be extremely excited? Wouldn't you want pictures? There is a chance that you could at least get the realtor in the picture. When you & Elizabeth bought your home, did you take pictures of it before you bought it?"
"I don't remember, Elle takes all the pictures. I don't even know how to use our camera."
Neal chuckled, trying to cover his laughter.
"So, this must be why Jones takes all the surveillance photos?"
Peter glared at him, not willing to admit that at one time he had taken some surveillance photos of Elle before they were married, but Neal would have way too much fun with that information. Peter decided to retaliate instead by simply reaching over and pushing Neal's feet off the desk. It was only Neal's quick thinking that allowed him not to fall backward with his chair or break his neck at his sudden change in position.
Once Neal had righted himself, had both feet securely on the floor, and had his fedora back on his head, he gave Peter a nasty glare.
"Hey, careful, you don't want to lose all my expert knowledge from a freak accident where I break my neck, do you? Honestly, Peter, I don't know why I put up with you."
"Put up with me?"
Peter was the one that chuckled this time.
"Because if you don't you could be tangling with those nice people in orange jumpsuits who will know that you couldn't cut it working with the FBI; your charms won't be able to save you in there."
Neal didn't reply, but had a stubborn and sullen look on his face.
"Come on, let's go check out the last known address for this supposed MEC Company and see if we can find out anything before my headache gets worse."
Peter grabbed his jacket and headed out the door. Neal stood up more slowly, grumbling before shuffling after Peter.
"You know if you wore a hat, you could take a nap more often. Then maybe you wouldn't have all these headaches and you wouldn't think I was as annoying."
"Hurry up, I'm holding the elevator."
Unfortunately for Peter that didn't seem to have any effect on Neal's shuffling pace.
"You should be excited… this is out of your two miles radius."
Peter snuck a look over at Neal to see his facial reaction, and Neal plastered a really fake smile on just to annoy him.
"Yeah, Peter, I'm so excited! Can I play with the map thingy again?"
Peter just groaned as the elevator doors opened and they walked toward the parking garage to take Peter's Taurus.
Peter and Neal discovered that the address for MEC Company was an abandoned building in a not so good area of The Bronx.
"Peter, this is creepy, let's just go. I don't think we're going to find anything here."
They had just stepped inside the building as Peter had tried the door handle and found it open. It looked like it had recently been occupied. The open sign was still dangling on the inside of the front door, but the desks had been emptied. It looked like the occupants had taken all the files and left all of the office furniture behind; probably in somewhat of a hurry. There was another open door to a warehouse area that had elevated stacks of large plastic tubing and piles of lumber. Peter guessed that the offices were a front for some sort of illegal business back here, and maybe the two were related. Peter was also trying to think how they could have been tipped off to evacuate, when he heard footsteps, but they sounded like they were above him. He looked to see if it was Neal, but he was standing still several yards ahead of him, taking inventory of the contents of the warehouse with his back to one of the piles. Peter didn't see the plastic tubing move until it was too late. Once one started, they all seemed to be rolling, and all heading straight for Neal.
Neal heard the rumbling sound, but didn't realize what it was until it was too late. He was hit first in the back of the head and knocked to the ground, feebly trying to protect himself with his hands, but it was too late as the tubing kept falling gaining in momentum until all of them had rolled down; some rolling down over Neal and not stopping until they had reached the other side of the warehouse.
Peter looked on in horror as he saw the plastic tubing take out Neal, who collapsed to the floor. Peter realized there was nothing he could do to stop it, and had to let nature take its course or be swallowed up himself. He was relieved that some of the tubes kept rolling so that he wouldn't have to dig Neal out from under all of them.
As soon as they stopped, Peter raced to the area he had last seen Neal, and struggled to roll the tubes away; desperate to see some sign of Neal's body.
Peter didn't know why he was yelling, it wasn't likely Neal could respond, but he yelled anyway, just in case.
Peter had moved several more tubes away before he saw a pair of black dress trousers. He felt a new surge of adrenaline as he feverishly worked to clear the area around Neal. Neal was laying face down, and there was a big bloody gash on the back of his head where Peter presumed he had first been hit.
Once Peter had cleared the area around Neal, he checked for any obvious injuries, but it didn't look like any bones were sticking out; other than a serious amount of blood, Peter was guessing most of the injuries were internal. Peter quickly pulled out his cell phone when he discovered the message 'NO SIGNAL' on his screen.
"Great! Just great!"
Having no other choice, because he was not about to leave Neal's side in case the assailant was still in the area, Peter quickly but carefully scooped Neal up, trying to keep his back as straight as possible and walked quickly back out the way they had come in. He didn't see anyone, and hoped that whoever had knocked down the plastic tubing was long gone. He was sure that this had not been an accident, but Neal needed his attention first; then maybe he could call Jones or Diana to investigate further once he had signal again. He carefully laid Neal on the hood of the Taurus for just a minute while he fished a blanket out of the trunk and laid it down in the back seat. He didn't want blood everywhere in the Taurus, and he also wanted to keep Neal warm. He tried to lay Neal down gently, but it didn't matter as Neal never even made a sound as Peter maneuvered him into the back seat, and this worried Peter intensely. Peter decided to put his flashing light in the windshield and drove like a madman to Calvary Hospital, which was the nearest hospital he could think of in The Bronx. He wasn't tremendously familiar with the area, but he had visited a friend of his there once so he felt comfortable taking Neal there.
Peter screeched up to the emergency room exit, lights still flashing, and ran into the emergency room.
"Somebody, please help me!"
He was quickly surrounded by nurses who followed him out to the Taurus. They expertly lifted Neal onto the gurney and disappeared through some swinging double doors.
Peter stood there just staring at the doors for several minutes, before a nurse gently touched his shoulder.
Peter tried to shake himself out of his thoughts.
"What is the name of the patient you just brought in?"
The nurse asked gently, but it still took Peter a few seconds to break through his shock before answering.
"His name is Neal Caffrey. He works for the FBI. He's my partner."
Peter then took out his own badge to show her.
"I'm Agent Peter Burke. He's my partner. We're partners."
The nurse finished writing and then looked up at him as if realizing he was still in shock. She came around the desk, took his hand and led him to a chair.
"Why don't you sit here for just a minute, and then you can move your car. Ok?"
Peter had already forgotten about his car, but a glance outside showed that the Taurus was still sitting there with the red lights flashing in the windshield. His feet felt like lead, and he just couldn't move at the moment, so he pulled out his cell phone, relieved to see that he had signal again, and called his wife.
"What's up, honey?"
Elle's sweet voice came over the line, and Peter felt relief washing over him at hearing her voice.
"Elle, I…I'm fine…I need you...I'm at Calvary Hospital…"
"Peter, what's wrong? Are you hurt?"
"No...No…I'm fine, but it's…it's Neal, there's been an accident."
"I'll be there as soon as I can. Peter, it's ok. Neal will be ok."
Peter decided disagreeing with his wife over the phone would not be a smart idea. She would see soon enough for herself how bad it was, and then she might be mad at him for not protecting Neal, protective as she was about him. He marveled at her mothering instincts with Neal; he was too old to be her son, but that didn't seem to stop Elle from mothering him whenever possible. Despite his fear of her reaction at Neal's condition, he desperately needed her in his arms to reassure him that everything would be ok.