Peter lifts Neal up with all his strength and deposits him in the passenger seat of his car. Peter's car is warm and comfortable.

He takes a few more seconds to straighten him out and make sure he feels at ease. He knows Neal can't move himself. He climbs into the driver's seat and immediately leans over to help Neal.

"Pet—er, Pe—ter, I aam so, so, so-r-ry. Peter." Neal's speech is hindered by the unrelenting chattering of his teeth. He has gained the ability to speak again even though his throat is still killing him.

He hopes desperately that Peter will answer him. However, he does not.

Peter remains silent. Immediately, he goes to the dashboard of the car and raises the heat it's highest setting. Neal is still shivering uncontrollably. Peter continues to ignore Neal's comment. He seems to be rather deep in thought.

He grabs a blanket from the back seat and drapes it tightly around Neal. He is moves his hands up and down Neal's blanketed torso in an effort to create more heat. He knows Neal is still freezing.

The heat felt incredible on Neal's sub-zero degree body. He began to feel unexpected waves of warmth spread, coursing throughout his entire body. Neal sat frozen on the outside. But on the inside, he couldn't help but feel content.

Unfortunately, he was still in pretty bad shape. However, with Peter here, Neal knew he was safe. They waited in silence for a minute as Peter continued to warm him up. Then suddenly he stopped.

He looked right into Neal's eyes and said. "Neal. You could've died." "You actually could have died. Jesus Christ Neal. You never think about your actions or how they..or how they.." Peter's train of thought was halted for a moment. "Yeah um, or how they will affect..the people who care about you."

Peter immediately began to fiddle awkwardly with his fingers and fidget in his seat.

Neal was shocked. How could have been so blind to Peter's feelings? He was never used to this kind of love or attention. Peter was right. He never thought about of how his actions would affect others. Because before he met Peter, he never had a reason to.

Neal mustered up any morsel of strength he had and cleared his throat. "Peter, I. Am. So. Sorry." He pauses in between every word in the hopes that it would emphasize just how sincere he was.

He wasn't simply running off a worn out, clichéd phrase. He truly meant it.

Peter turned to him. Neal thought he saw a tear in his eye but he couldn't be too sure. He braced himself for how Peter would respond.

All of a sudden Neal felt a soothing pressure on his shoulder. It was Peter. He squeezed Neal's shoulder and looked into his eyes once again. "I know you are." "He said. "It's okay, Neal. I know you are."

Neal suddenly felt a much needed sense of warmth from head to toe. he felt Peter's firm, yet comforting, hand still caressing his shoulder, he couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of affection and relief. Peter was always there for him. No matter what Neal did, how he acted, or how much more complicated he made his life, Peter was always there.

"Peter" Neal said slowly. He disregarded how severely it increased the pain in his jaw.

"Thank you."

Peter's hand was still squeezing Neal's shoulder. But now, it became limp. Honestly, Peter was not expecting that.

He knew Neal would thank him because for a con artist, Neal had an incredibly kind heart and an unbelievable set of manners. However, he still wasn't expecting..that.

The passion and tenderness in his small, gentle voice as he said it, the tears forming in eyes as he looked into his, and the sincerity of his every pain inducing word. That Peter was simply not expecting. He looked up at Neal, paused, and then smiled. Peter's smile was genuine and full of love and admiration. "Of course Neal." He said finally, clearing his throat uncomfortably, "I'm just glad you're okay."

Neal smiled and continued softly. "No Peter. That's not what I meant. Well, at least it's not totally what I meant." He paused. "

"Thank you. Not just for this, but for everything. Thank you for always being there for me. No matter what. I know I don't make your life easier, and that I can be a real inconvenience sometimes." He paused, hesitant to continue. "But you don't care. You are there for me anyway. And that to a con man, well to any man honestly, is priceless."

Peter continued looking up at Neal. "Peter, I had never experienced unconditional love before. And now that I have.. I can't believe how good it feels."

Peter stared, speechless at his trembling CI.

Neal continued. "Honestly Peter, I don't know where I'd be without you." He paused.

Suddenly, he stopped talking and shifted a little awkwardly in his seat. He had monetarily lost sight of his pain. He suddenly remembered how cold he was again. Involuntarily, he shivered violently, his whole body shook as he did.

Peter noticed this.

He had not moved since Neal had started talking. Breaking his dream-like trance, Peter leans over and fixes the vent closest to Neal so that the heat went more directly on him. Then he returned to his original position.

Neal smiled a soft closed-mouth smile. He puts his hands in front of the vent for a few seconds before continuing.

"Peter, you will never understand how much you've done for me. You have been not only an incredibly supportive and encouraging partner, but a loyal, loving, and patient (Neal and Peter both smile after Neal lists this particular trait) friend.

Neal hesitates. This is difficult for him to say.

"You see me as more than just a con man. You treat me like an asset to the FBI, an equal partner, and most importantly a human being." Peter saw Neal begin to relax a little.

"To you, I'm not a criminal, I'm your friend. And for that, I could never thank you enough."

Peter couldn't believe his ears, he sat motionless, shocket at the word's escaping the mouth of this once sly, deceiving con artist.

His heart rushed a sense of warmth and tenderness throughout his body. Neal was his friend. And he was a true friend at that.

Peter cleared his throat. "Thank you Neal. That honestly means so much to me."

Neal noticed the true emotion in Peter's voice. Neal realized that Peter rarely gets emotional. A small, yet beautiful smile began to form on Neal's face.

Peter inhaled and continued. "You don't complicate my life.. you.. enhance it." Peter laughed lightly. "You are one of the reasons I love doing what I do."

"You have helped the Bureau achieve a 94% success rate and have aided in locking up some of the world's most infamous criminals. These are accomplishments the Bureau could only dream about before you came along. I never want you to feel second rate to the other agents at the firm."

"The contributions you make are vital. I treat you like a person Neal, because you are one. Anklet, or no anklet, don't ever forget that." Peter is shocked by his own words. He is not one to get emotional. He feels a little embarassed but knows that for Neal's sake, it needed to be said.

Neal stared at his friend with such love and admiration. He finally felt satisfied.

"Don't worry Neal. You are not alone. You are never alone. I know you are still grieving over Kate's death. But you have to understand. You are never alone. I will be by your side every step of the way. You are going to get through this. We are going to get through this. Together."

Neal wiped a tear that was falling down his check. He felt the uncontrollable urge to hug his friend. To put his arms around him and never let go. He wanted to feel this safe, this happy, this satisfied, forever.

Neal used all his power to fight off this seemingly juvenile urge. However, the desire was unrelenting.

He attempted to brush off the feeling by shifting a little in his seat. It was no use. So it came as no surprise that Neal was incredibly grateful for what Peter did next.

After Neal stopped fidgeting, he felt Peter's warm, affectionate grasp around him.

His whole body filled with a priceless sensation of warmth and affection. He gently reciproacted, putting his arms around Peter too. He squeezed tightly. They both relaxed into each other's arms. They finally felt that incessant sense of lonliness disapate.

While Peter had Elizabth to aid his loneliness, this was quite different. To feel such love towards your partner and your friend was so incredibly rewarding. It was so gratifying to know that they both appreciated each other and that they both needed the other in their lives.

Peter knew that Neal was not a bad person. He simply craved this reciprocation of love and companionship just like everybody else. He suddenly heard Neal stifle a sniffle, masking his tears. At this he squeezed Neal even tighter.

Soon they both loosened their grasp and returned to their original positions. Neal had tears in his eyes.

He turned to the window to wipe his eyes quickly so Peter wouldn't notice. But he did. And he didn't care.

He put his hand on Neal's shoulder and angled him away from the window. He took out a tissue from the glove compartment and put it in his hands.

Neal wiped his eyes. "Thanks."

Peter nodded. "It's okay if you cry Neal. You don't need to hide anything from me."

Neal looked up. "I know that now Peter." He smiled. "I know that now."