Fandom: White Collar
Characters: Neal, Peter,
Genre: (emotional) hurt/comfort, permanent injury, gunshot, family, friendschip
Author's Notes: kanarek13 gave this prompt a very long time ago.
Prompt/Request: Peter somehow finds a beautiful old piano and can't resist the urge to play it. He plays some classical masterpiece (Chopin, Beethoven, it's up to you, dear writer) and Neal is literally speechless, because he always thought that Peter is not interested in any kind of art and beauty.
Characters: Peter and Neal
I Would Like: lots of friendship, admiration, Neal truly touched by the beautiful music and Peter happy that Neal enjoyed listening to him playing
I Don't Want: Peter bragging, showing-off
She even made some art for my birthday that illustrates this story well (please check out her LJ for the high resolution version).
If you want to hear what Peter is playing (Pachelbel´s canon in D) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wny1ojJli8k
Played by a full orchestra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkSp8wc8lKw
Word Count: ~ 1250
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine…
Summary: Neal is shot during a undercover up. Peter tries to be there for him during his revalidation.
Story can also be found on AO3.
Peter gets out of his car and walks into the stately mansion. He hates it. He hates to have to come here twice a week. But he owes his partner at least that last dignity. He doesn´t hate to visit Neal, but he does hate the fact that Neal is here.
He quickly walks indoors, and shivers when he enters the warm hallway; shrugging off his coat. Winter has been announcing itself early this year.
“Hi Nathalia.” he greets the receptionist.
“Good morning agent Burke. Neal is in the orangery this morning.”
Peter walks through the long corridor. Peter wonders why Neal is in the orangery. He always waits for him in the restaurant to have a cup of coffee. He enters the large glass room and finds Neal sitting near one of the windows. The nurse sitting next to him, is reading out loud from a book. She stops when she sees him approach.
“Neal, you have a visitor. Good morning Peter.” She smiles at Peter.
“Good morning Nancy. Good morning Neal.”
Neal doesn´t respond, he keeps starring outside.
“Would you like some coffee?” the nurse asks him.
“Yes, that would be great.”
“Neal is having an off day.” She says quietly while she passes him.
The nurse walks away and Peter takes the seat she vacates.
“Hey Neal, Nancy tells me you are having a bad day. Are you not feeling well?”
Neal doesn´t look at him, but shakes his head.
Peter picks up the book, Nancy left. It is Romeo and Juliette. “Ahh, still the romantic I see. Elizabeth is sending her regards. She will be over tomorrow, she had a big wedding today, with some bridezilla. She said she misses you, she could have used your sweet talking to put the girl at ease.” Peter chuckles.
He chit chats like he does every time he comes over. He tells Neal all the office gossip, well, the ones he knows. He is sure that Jones and Diana have more to tell when they are over, but that is OK. He tells Neal about his latest case. He can tell Neal is listening. By now he knows Neal´s physical tells. Neal doesn´t talk much because he hates the slurred speech he has. He works hard with his therapist, or at least that is what the doctors tell him. And he is making good progress, but not enough to his liking. Neal has always been in control of his body and know it feels like it doesn´t belong to him, that is what he told Peter recently.
But when he is having one of his bad days, he remains totally silent. Peter hates it, it is one more reminder of what happened to Neal that day.
The split moment Peter realizes things are going south, Neal slams into him. He stumbles to the side, trying to maintain his balance. There are several gunshots and Peter is momentarily disoriented. He can hear Jones and Diana call out to the gunman.
He can feel Neal lying underneath him. “I´m sorry.” Peter groans when he pushes off of Neal and gets up.
He gently shakes Neal, but he doesn´t react… at all. His eyes are open, but they aren´t tracking. Peter frantically feels for a pulse, and sighs in relief when he finds it. He feels for injuries and looks in horror at the blood on the side of Neal´s head. It gets diluted by the rain. Peter takes his cell to call 911 while trying to put pressure on the wound.
Peter is called out of his memory by Nancy who brings him his coffee and a sippy cup for Neal. There are also donuts on a plate.
Peter slowly cuts one of the donuts in small bite size pieces and puts the plate with the pieces in front of Neal.
“I´m sorry agent Burke, but Neal´s condition may be permanent, we are not sure, it is always hard to tell with brain injuries. We have done all we can and he is ready to be transferred to a facility that is better equipped to take care of Neal then we are.”
It had broken Peter´s heart when he had to sign the papers to transfer Neal from Lennox to a long term facility. Brook willows was a top node facility that was picked by Mozzie, June and himself to take care of Neal. The best therapists were hired to take care of Neal´s many needs in those early days, thanks to June´s generous funds. Neal had worked hard, but they all had to except that Neal would never the man he was before. He has his good days and bad days, and the good slowly start to get the upper hand, but on a day like today, Neal seems to be locked inside his body. Neal always gets extremely agitated when this happens.
Peter focuses back on Neal again. “You want a piece of donut?”
Peter holds the piece in front of Neal´s mouth, but he doesn´t make any attempt to open his mouth. “It’s glazed. I know you prefer cronuts and I will bring one next time I come or better, I will ask Mozzie to bring one. I heard he was coming over to show you that new app on your tablet.”
When Neal doesn´t make any movement indicating he wants the piece, Peter puts it in his own mouth and washes it down with his cup of coffee. Neal is getting agitated, he can see it in the pent up energy in his hands and the clenching of his jaw.
“It´s OK Neal, I´m here, relax. It is going to be OK.”
Neal shakes his head.
“You know this sometimes happens, you will get through it. Try to relax. Do you want to take a walk outside?” Peter rolls his eyes at himself. It is cold outside and Neal´s health isn´t the greatest. But he is saved when Neal shakes his head again.
“I don´t want to walk.” He articulates with difficulty.
“That is OK.”
Neal still hasn´t looked at him, he is staring outside. Peter knows, Neal fights his own body in times like this and he guesses this is one of those moments.
While he rubs Neal´s clenched hand, he checks out the orangery they are sitting in and spots a grand piano in the corner. It looks old and Peter walks over and sits down on the stool. He carefully opens the fall board and tries a few keys.
At first it is a bit rusty but soon he finds his rhythm and starts playing. He closes his eyes and doesn´t pay attention to Neal, he just focuses on the music. His fingers seem to find the keys without sheet music. He didn´t even know he could still do it. His piano tutor must have been better then he thought, the music comes out like it has always been there.
He doesn´t know why he chose Pachelbel but it seems fitting. When he lets go of the last key, he hears a sob. He jumps up and runs towards Neal and pulls him in a bear hug.
“Shh… It will be OK Neal, everything will be OK. We are here for you.”
“Beautiful.” Neal whispers in Peter´s ear.
Peter smiles when he can feel Neal relax in his hug. He makes a mental node to bring sheet music next time and play more for Neal.