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22 December 2014 @ 01:19 pm
FIC: Light of Christmas - A H/C Advent 2014 Fic  
Title: Lights of Christmas
Word Count: ~4700
Rating: PG13
Characters/Pairings: Neal, Peter, Elizabeth, P/E/N
Spoilers: None
Warnings: None
Summary: My 2014 H/C Advent entry. Fills this prompt from sahiya - An oldie but goodie: Peter and Elizabeth are out of town for Christmas when Neal gets sick - really sick. He doesn't want them to worry, so he stops answering the phone. But then they find out the truth (from Moz? June?) and they hurry back to be with him. This is not S6 compliant.

And, thank you kanarek13 for the beautiful cover art!




The day before Christmas Eve was typical for New York during the season, frigidly cold and blustery. Neal tucked himself into his warmest wool coat and headed to midtown to complete the ritual he had begun the first Christmas after he was released from Sing Sing.

He called a cab to drive him, giving his charges Satchmo and Bugsy a final pet on his way out the door. Peter and Elizabeth were in Illinois visiting with her family for the holiday and June had taken her grandchildren to the mountains of Switzerland.

When the cab pulled up at his destination, Neal smiled at the sight of the massive Rockefeller Center Christmas tree outside his window. He paid the cabbie and then stepped out onto the sidewalk before the concourse. He stood there for a minute admiring the view of the tree in the distance. It was beautiful and as much a statement of what the holiday meant to him as anything else could be.

One of his few fond childhood memories was of watching the tree lighting ceremony on the small TV in the living room with his mother in early December every year. She had loved it, calling it her birthday gift from New York City, as the event often fell on her birthday, December fifth. Neal shook off the nostalgia and the image of the worn and threadbare living room in the house that he had shared in St. Louis with his mother and returned to the festive sight before him.

The concourse was bustling with tourists, dressed in their finest winter attire. Children laughing as they twirled among the towering white angels with their golden horns that decorated the walkway, busy shoppers with their packages and bags hurrying along, seemingly oblivious to the majesty of Christmas in New York, businessmen and women with their phones to their ears trying in vain to hear over the wind that tunneled between the buildings and avenues.

Neal sidestepped into Starbucks on his way toward the tree and purchased a peppermint mocha as a nod to the season and to help him stave off the frigid chill in the air. With his latte in hand, he made his way down to the railing perched above the skating rink. The massive Christmas tree stood just across from him, forest green punctuated with a million colored lights and topped with a shining silver star. Below him skaters circled the rink to the strains of Christmas music that grew muffled and indistinct as it was carried away on the cold wind.

Neal shivered inside his coat and gripped his coffee cup a little tighter in his hands. For a moment he let himself indulge in longing for his lovers, 800 miles distant. He would have liked to share this moment with them. Next year, when he was off the anklet they would spend the holiday together, somewhere snowy, where they could snuggle up together and be a family. Peter and El had tried to get out of the trip to her parents’ home, but they had been insistent and El’s father had stared Peter down over a skype call. Under the scrutiny, Peter had caved and immediately made the airline reservations. They would be home by dinnertime the day after Christmas and the three of them would celebrate then. Neal smiled at the thought of their reunion.

He stood there at the railing for another fifteen minutes, enjoying the sight of the tree and the skaters beneath it, the sound of the flags above him whipping in the wind and the Christmas music that drifted up to his ears, until he finished the last dregs of his mocha. It was time for the next part of his ritual.

He made his way back up the concourse to Fifth Avenue, crossed the street and went uptown one block to the monument to gothic architecture that dominated the block, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He took at moment to look up to the spires where they breached the blue sky above admiring their artistry. Then he climbed the stone steps and made his way into one of the massive bronze doors, following a line of tourists. Inside the narthex he bypassing the gawkers and quickly turned into the nave. Standing at the bottom of the center aisle, Neal took a deep breath and let the underlying calm that pervaded the space, despite the comings and goings of so many tourists, fill him. His eyes followed the soaring columns up to the second set of stained glass windows tinted in a myriad shades of blue. Not much light penetrated them this deep within the city, so the Cathedral appeared dim and hushed, even in the middle of this bright, clear-skied day.

Neal took a few more moments to enjoy the beauty of the building and the feeling it evoked before moving over to a rack of votive candles behind the pews. He stuffed a twenty in the collection box, grabbed three of the small candles from the cardboard box on the side of the rack and then scoured the glass containers until he found three that were unlit. He placed his candles in them and then pulled one of the wooden sticks from the sand, lighting it from one of the flames near his first candle. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, he lit his own candles. One for Kate. One for Ellen. One for Rebecca. He wasn’t a religious man, or one who normally placed much credence in ritual, but he did believe in remembering, in honoring those he had loved, those that had loved him in return. He stood and watched the small flames flicker, gold and blue and white, for long enough that tears began to prickle at the corners of his eyes and then he said a quiet goodbye and left the cathedral.

Back on the street, the bitter winds assaulted him, whipping the tails of his coat around his legs. The cold air stung at his lungs and he gave a silent thank you to the spirits of Christmas that helped him find a cab so quickly as he sank into the back seat. At June’s, Neal leashed up the dogs and took them for a short walk; it was bitter enough that even they didn’t want to be outside for long.

Back in his apartment, he was leaning over snapping off Bugsy’s leash when his vision began to tunnel in and tip dangerously to the left. He blinked and straightened up carefully and slowly his vision cleared, but then his stomach flipped, a sour taste rising in his throat and a cold sweat breaking over his skin.

Neal suddenly felt the need to reach the bathroom, quickly, but between the delicate feeling in his stomach and his fear of the return of the dizziness, he was forced to take it slow. As soon as he made it through the doorway and flipped up the lid on the toilet he felt better, his stomach settling enough that he had hope that it was a false alarm. He moved over to the sink and filled a glass with cool water and began sipping at it slowly.

Unfortunately, his hope turned out to be in vain as the nausea returned with even more ferocity. Still standing, he leaned over the bowl, bracing his arms on the tank and lost his latte and the little bit of water he had just consumed. Sadly, the peppermint mocha didn’t taste nearly as good on the way back up.

When he was finally done, he made his way back over to the sink and rinsed his mouth out. His throat stung. He was thirsty and he wanted more water, but his stomach didn’t seem to be on board with that idea at all. So he left the bathroom and slowly crossed his apartment to his bed. He pulled off the wool coat he was still wearing, his suit jacket and tie and then kicked off his shoes before falling into the bed and pulling the edge of the comforter over himself. He curled onto his side and shivered hard until his body heat created a warm pocket inside the bedding.

He was certain that the bright daylight streaming into his rooms and the discomfort he was still feeling, especially from his stomach, would prevent him from sleeping, but it wasn’t long at all before he drifted off.

The sound of his phone ringing woke him hours later. He rolled onto his back and pulled the phone from his pants pocket. He blinked to clear his vision and checked the phone’s display. Peter Burke.

Neal cleared his throat in an attempt to help himself sound healthy and hale and then hit accept. “Hey, Peter.”

“Hey, buddy. El and I are both here. We have you on speaker.”

Neal winced. He might have had a chance of keeping Peter in the dark, but El was like a hawk with its eye on a rabbit across a plain when she caught the scent of illness in the air. “Hi, El.”

“Hi, sweetie. You sound tired.”

“I am a bit. I stayed up too late last night watching a marathon of old Christmas movies. I’ll be fine once I get a good night’s sleep tonight.” The lie didn't come easy, in fact he abhorred lying to Peter and El, but a little white lie to keep them from worrying while they were so far away enjoying their holiday was more than worth yet another black mark on his soul. "How’s it going there?"

El laughed lightly. “My dad has Peter completely paranoid.”

Neal could hear Peter grumbling. “It’s not paranoia, it’s fear. It always has been.”

“You have nothing to fear from my father. You're my husband.”

“Maybe you should tell him that.”

“What are you planning for tomorrow, Neal?” El asked, deftly changing the subject.

“Just a bottle of wine and a book. I’m waiting to celebrate until you’re back.”

“We’re looking forward to it, Neal.” Peter said in a voice that sent warmth spreading all the way down to Neal’s toes.

“Me too,” Neal replied.

“Okay, we need to get back downstairs for cocktails.”

Neal smiled at the distain he heard in his beer-loving partner’s voice. “Okay. Talk to you tomorrow?”

“Absolutely. And Neal, no Hallmark Channel for you tonight,” Peter admonished lightheartedly.

“I promise. Love you.”

“We love you too.” El replied. “Good night.”

“Night.”

Neal ended the call and dropped the phone onto the bed beside him with a sigh. He’d dodged a bullet. He didn’t want to worry his lovers, especially when they were too far away to do anything but worry.

He hoped he would indeed feel better tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep. With any luck, it was just the mocha. Maybe the milk was turning. He wanted to believe that, he really did, but it was hard to ignore the fact that even with the latte gone from his stomach for hours now, he still felt queasy and a nasty headache had settled into the base of his skull.

Neal knew he should get up, get some water, take something for the headache, change into his pajamas so he could get more comfortable, but keeping it together during his phone call with El and Peter had taken what little energy he had had. He rolled over onto his side again, slowly, breathing through his nose, careful not to make his nausea worse, and closed his eyes. This time it took a while, despite how tired he felt, to fall asleep.

It was the sound of whining that woke him next. Neal listened for a moment trying to think past his headache to figure out exactly what was he was hearing. The sound came again, higher pitched this time and Neal remembered, Bugsy and Satchmo.

His apartment was dark but for the city lights filtering in through the balcony doors. Neal reached over tentatively and turned on his bedside lamp. The warm glow reached across his apartment. The dogs noticed the change and bounded to Neal’s bedside.

"I'm sorry guys." Neal levered himself up gently and swung his legs off the side of the bed. His head swam, the ache in the base of his skull building. He waited until he felt as stable as he thought was going to be possible and then stood and made his way slowly around the dogs and into the kitchen. He made their dinners, the scent of the dry dog food escalating his nausea alarmingly. After a few deep breathes he placed their bowls on the floor by bending at the knees and supporting himself with one hand firmly on the counter.

Bugsy ate so fast he could hardly have tasted a morsel and then danced around Satchmo looking for a way to get his head into the Lab's bowl.

While they ate, Neal made his way back over to where his shoes and coat lay strewn. He slipped his feet back into the loafers and pulled the coat on and by the time he made his way over to his front door the dogs were waiting for him.

He snapped on both of their leashes, but he knew it would be disastrous to hold onto them all the way downstairs, so he watched as the two dogs bounded down the four flights, their leashes trailing behind them like second tails. Neal made his way down after them, keeping a tight hold on the railing with his eyes closed. He knew these stairs like the back of his hand and he was certain it would be safer to go down blind rather than risk his vision fading out and the dizziness returning.

In the front entryway he picked up the leashes again and the three of them made their way out into the cold, windy night. The street outside was brightly lit, warm orange coming from the windows of the neighbors’ homes and even a few façades decorated with multi-colored holiday lights. Neal smiled at the sight of them.

All of his life, for as long as he could remember, the holidays elicited in him a mixture of melancholy and delight. He loved the trappings, the Christmases trees, the lights, the music. He loved the idea behind the sentiment, family, friends and celebration, just as much. But, the reality of that sentiment had always presented a problem for him. His childhood Christmases had been far from merry most years with his mom being who she was and Neal himself missing his hero father. Most of his Christmases since had been spent alone, on the run, in prison or too involved in planning his next big con to get any real enjoyment from the season. Maybe now that he was with El and Peter things would be different, better.

The brisk air felt refreshing and Neal breathed deeply in through his nose, glad for anything that made him feel a little less ill.

He walked the dogs to the far corner after they had completed their business and then they returned to the mansion. Neal held onto Bugsy's leash on the way back up the stairs. He was afraid the pug would wander off in search of June and be lost somewhere in the vastness of the house if he let him go.

After the effort required to climb just the first flight Neal felt the small spark of rejuvenation he had experienced outside in the crisp evening air abandon him. He held onto the railing on the landing and took a moment to rest, his head pounding and his stomach aching fiercely. By the time he made it up to the third floor landing, Neal needed to sink down and sit, even though he was honestly worried that he wouldn't be able to get up again. Bugsy whined and pranced around the landing anxious to keep moving, but Satchmo seemed to know that something was wrong and he laid down beside Neal resting his head on Neal's shaking thigh.

Neal took some comfort from Satchmo's attention, running his hand through the lab's soft fur. He stayed there on the landing for a good twenty minutes before he felt like he might make it up the rest of the steps. He stood slowly, supporting himself heavily on the railing and then took the last flight one step at a time until finally he was at his apartment door.

Inside he unleashed the dogs and stumbled back to his bed. Thoughts like change, drink something, take some medication, call for help, bumbled around in his brain. But, he couldn't turn his thoughts into actions. He didn't have the energy or the will. He made it to the bed and fell onto it with a moan of pain and distress.

He thought about calling Peter and El for help once he was horizontal, but then he remembered that they were in Illinois, a plane ride away. They couldn't help him and he didn't want to ruin their holiday. It was just a stomach bug. He just needed to sleep. He would be fine by the time they came home, if he just slept.

***

"Neal, I came to get the other bottle of that South African Stellenbosch. Sally and I are planning a little Christmas Eve celebration later." Mozzie entered Neal's apartment in his usual way, without knocking and headed directly toward the wine rack.

He turned when he heard a set of small paws skittering across the hardwood floor to see Bugsy barreling toward him. "Hey Benjamin Siegelbaum, where is your temporary master?"

Bugsy jumped furiously against his leg and whined in response, which Mozzie found curious. The pug could be a bit high strung at times, but not usually to this extent. Satchmo ambled over next and pushed his head under Moz's hand to try to steal his attention away from Bugsy.

That was when Mozzie realized that something was most certainly amiss. He trained his eyes around the apartment and spied Neal curled in a ball on top of the bed still wearing his wool coat and his shoes. "Neal?" Mozzie exclaimed as he bee lined past the dogs to the bed.

Neal didn’t move or make a sound in response. But when Mozzie reached the bed he could hear Neal’s breathing, too fast and too shallow. “Neal?” He bid again, hoping for some response.

Still nothing. Mozzie placed his hand on Neal’s shoulder, shaking gently. If Neal had merely been asleep, even deeply asleep, he would have responded to being touched. Carefully, Mozzie pulled his friend over so that he was lying on his back and felt his forehead. Too warm. Then he dug under the cuff of Neal’s coat and checked the younger man’s pulse. Too fast and thready.

Mozzie quickly considered the options before him; call for an ambulance, try to get Neal help on his own, call for an ambulance, call one of the demi-suits, call for an ambulance. With a sense of conviction, Mozzie pulled out his emergency burner and dialed 911.

Twenty minutes later, the EMTs had a semi-conscious Neal loaded onto a stretcher and were on their way down the grand staircase to rush him to Lennox Hill. Mozzie planned to meet them there after he fed and walked the dogs. He was just turning away from Neal’s bed to the kitchenette when he heard the sound of a phone ringing. He groped around under the covers until he found Neal’s cell. Peter Burke, the screen read.

Mozzie debated for just a moment and then answered it. “Suit.”

“Mozzie? Where’s Neal?” Peter asked.

Mozzie sighed heavily. “On his way to Lennox Hill. I found him unconscious half an hour ago.”

“What? What happened?”

“I have no idea. I just happened to stop by to pick up a bottle of wine.” Mozzie was silent for a moment, considering how thankful he was that he just happened to stop by. “He's sick. I think he’s very sick.”

Mozzie could feel Peter’s tension and fear across the miles through the phone line. “We’re coming. We’ll catch the first flight back that we can. Mozzie, can you go to the hospital, please. I don’t want him to be alone.”

“He won’t be.”

“Thank you, Moz.”

***

It took Peter and Elizabeth a torturous five hours to pack, drive to the airport, get on a flight and get back to New York. As soon as their flight touched down on the runway, Peter had his phone out and powered up. Mozzie had texted them while they were somewhere over Ohio. “Diagnosis – bad virus, serious dehydration, will be fine.”

Peter hadn’t realized that his hand was shaking as he held the phone until he started to type a reply.
“Just landed. Will be there in an hour.”

Just as the plane pulled up to the gate Peter’s phone buzzed. “Room 316.”

Peter hadn’t counted on Christmas Eve traffic, so the drive to the hospital took almost two hours. It was nearly 8:30 in the evening by the time they turned into the parking garage. Peter pulled into the first open spot he found and they made their way quickly into the building and up to room 316.

Neal was lying semi-upright in the bed, a hospital gown covering his torso. IV lines led into the backs of both of his hands. Neal’s face was grey against the white linens, but he seemed to be sleeping peacefully when Peter and El entered his room. Mozzie was sitting in a chair next to the bed, his arms folded across his chest.

“Moz, how is he?” Peter whispered anxiously.

“Better. He’s stable. They want to keep him overnight so he can suck up more fluids and antivirals.”

Peter nodded and moved around Mozzie’s chair to stand next to Neal. El went to his other side and immediately ran her hand through his hair, brushing his forelock away from his face.

“Do you have any idea what happened?” Peter asked, turning back to Moz.

“He’s hasn’t been awake much. But from what I gather he started feeling sick late yesterday morning. It got bad fast apparently. His doctor thinks he went more than 36 hours without drinking anything and between that and the virus itself, he got knocked for a loop.”

Peter sighed and turned back to his partner. “Why didn’t you say something when we called?” He asked softly, not expecting an answer and not wanting to wake Neal.

Neal shifted in his sleep and moaned softly.

El shushed him tenderly, still running her fingers gently through his hair. He settled into her touch, turning his head toward her.

“I’m going to go back to Neal’s place and take care of Bugsy and Satchmo,” Mozzie said as he rose from his seat and started toward the door.

“Mozzie,” Peter called after him.

Mozzie turned and looked back at Peter.

“Thank you. If you hadn’t found him, and hadn’t gotten him help…”

Mozzie nodded. “I’ll bring Satchmo back out to Brooklyn tomorrow afternoon.” He turned back then and left Peter and El alone with their lover.

***

When Neal woke it was late. It was pitch dark outside the window and only a single light glowed softly from above him. He felt heavy and weird. His stomach and his head still ached, though less so than they had earlier. He wet his chapped lips and sighed wishing for a glass of water.

There was movement next to him and Neal turned his head, expecting to see Mozzie sitting beside his bed. But it wasn’t Moz. Neal blinked to make sure the fever he was still running wasn’t messing with his head.

“Hey buddy, how are you feeling?” Peter asked.

“Peter? What are you doing here?”

Neal caught movement from the other side of his bed out of the corner of his eye. Then a small, warm hand brushed gently through his hair.

“Hey sweetie,” El whispered.

“El, you’re here,” he said, his voice laced with surprise.

“Of course I am.”

“But, your family. You were with them.”

“Neal,” Peter said reaching over the bed rail to take Neal’s hand carefully in his, “You’re our family.”

Neal blinked, tears welling in his eyes.

Peter saw the emotion plainly on his partner’s face and gave Neal’s hand a light squeeze. “We love you.”

“I love you both too and I’m really glad you’re here,” Neal replied around the lump that had grown in his throat.

El leaned over and kissed his forehead and Peter smiled at him in a way that made Neal’s heart skip a beat.

“You should go back to sleep. You need to rest so that you can get discharged tomorrow.”

Neal nodded. “Can I have some water first?”

“Of course,” Peter replied. He let go of Neal’s hand and then poured water into a cup from the pitcher on the nightstand. He passed the cup to Neal. “Go slow, okay.”

Neal nodded and then sipped at the water. It was cool and sweet and Neal savored every drop. When he’d had as much as he thought his stomach could handle he passed the cup back to Peter. “Thanks.”

"You’re welcome. Get some sleep.”

“’kay,” Neal replied as his eyes slid closed.

“Merry Christmas, buddy.” Peter murmured in Neal’s ear just before kissing him on the temple.

“Merry Christmas,” Neal mumbled as he sank back into sleep.

***

Late the next morning after a series of stern lectures from Neal's doctor, he was finally discharged and Peter and El took him out to Brooklyn.

Peter helped Neal into the house with a hand on his elbow and settled him down on the couch. Then he moved across the living room and turned the lights of the Christmas tree on, illuminating the room in a warm, yellow glow.

Neal lay down with a heavy sigh and pulled one of the thrown pillows into his arms. A moment later El was there, gently laying a blanket over him. Then she sat in the space beside his bent knees and ran a hand soothingly up and down his upturned thigh.

"Do you need anything, sweetie?"

Neal shook his head and smiled up at her. "I have everything I could ever possibly need right here."

His lovers smiled back at him and Peter moved over to the sofa. He took a seat on the coffee table and cupped his hand around Neal's head.

Neal never felt more loved, more cared for than he did in that moment.

***

New Year's Eve morning dawned clear and bright, perfect weather for an outing.

Peter and Elizabeth bundled a mostly-recovered Neal up tight and refused to tell him where they were taking him as they settled him into the BMW. They drove into midtown and Peter pulled into a parking garage just off Fifth Avenue on 48th.

“Will you tell me where we’re going now?” Neal asked as Peter found a space and pulled in.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” Peter replied with a smirk.

Neal sighed, knowing he had little choice in the matter and honestly happy to let his lovers take the lead. Despite how awful it had been to be so sick, Neal had very much appreciated Peter and El’s concern and attentiveness.

So he let Peter and El guide him out of the garage and up to Fifth and then uptown toward Rockefeller Center. When they stopped at the top of the concourse and turned toward the Christmas tree, Neal felt a rush of warmth fill him.

He turned to Peter and asked, “How did you know?”

Peter raised an eyebrow and then glanced down toward Neal’s feet. “You do remember how that piece of jewelry on your ankle works, right?” Peter sobered and wrapped an arm around Neal’s waist. “You’ve come here every year, just before Christmas. We know it’s a little late, but we thought we could share the experience with you this year.”

Neal nodded. “I would like that very much.”

El took his hand in hers and Peter kept his arm around Neal’s waist as they ambled down the concourse toward the tree that now held both sweet memories of the past and a joyful hope for the future.

 
 
 
elrhiarhodanelrhiarhodan on December 22nd, 2014 09:23 pm (UTC)
Awwww.

And AWWWW!!!!!!!!!!

It might be an oldie, but it's one of my all-time favorite WC HC tropes, and this will be one of my favorite renditions of it.

Thank you!!!!!!!!!
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on December 26th, 2014 04:38 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!

I'm so glad you liked it. I feel like I'm becoming the queen of melancholic Christmas fic, LOL.
kanarek13kanarek13 on December 22nd, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
D'awwwwwwwwww... oh, Neal. You should know by now that Peter and El will always want to be there for you, especially when you need help *smishes him*

And wow, that was scary, especially with Neal collapsing on the bed in his clothes. Thank God Mozzie found him. But what a lovely, perfect ending with all of them getting to spend the Holidays together. Love the bit in the hospital with El carding her fingers through Neal hair and Neal leaning into the touch (I feel like I got another mini-fill for my second manip, heeee :D)

Love it \o/ So very, very much \o/
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on December 26th, 2014 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I had already written that scene with El when you posted your manip. And, I was all like, BRAIN TWINS!

You should know that it was your cover art that got the short scene in the Burke's living room added to this story. I just had to after I saw it.
scarym1scarym1 on December 23rd, 2014 12:31 am (UTC)
Poor Neal!!! I love this line - "Neal,” Peter said reaching over the bed rail to take Neal’s hand carefully in his, “You’re our family.”


pooh_collectorpooh_collector on December 26th, 2014 04:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you scary!

I kind of love that line too and the idea of the three of them as a family.
eldorah: Neal H/Celdorah on December 23rd, 2014 03:23 am (UTC)
D'awww, this was lovely. There's was something so beautifully tragic about the beginning, with Neal's nostalgia about Christmastime, his lone ritual at Rockefeller, and him lighting the candles in remembrance of Kate, Ellen, and Rebecca. I am so glad Mozzie can't stay away from Neal's wine collection for too long though, so that he was able to find him!

Thanks so much for sharing this! :)
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on December 26th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
You're welcome.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I think that Christmastime is very nostalgic for many people, and I really think that Neal would fit into that category with the life he has lived thus far.

pipiljpipilj on December 23rd, 2014 08:44 am (UTC)
Aww this was lovely
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on December 26th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you pipi!
Stacysahiya on December 24th, 2014 06:12 am (UTC)
Oh man, this was everything I'd hoped for and more with this prompt. Poor Neal, getting sick so suddenly. Thank goodness for Mozzie! And then I loved the sweet comfort at the end, with El and Peter. Thank you so much! Happy Holidays!
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on December 26th, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I couldn't pass up your prompt. A sick!Neal makes for a happy bear.

Happy Holiday to you to!
doctor_fangeek: Vital Signsdoctor_fangeek on December 27th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC)
Classics are classics for a reason, right? :-)

Poor Neal, really getting hammered by how quickly things got so bad. And I love Neal asking Peter how he knows about Rockefeller Center, and Peter's all, 'Anklet?' And El brushing back that errant lock of hair - aww.

Lovely!
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on December 28th, 2014 02:44 am (UTC)
Thanks doc!

You hit all my favorite bits in this story too! Great minds and all!
riverotter1951: north American river otterriverotter1951 on December 29th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)
This was great. I enjoyed seeing how much Peter and El care for Neal. The scene with the three of them visiting Rockefeller Center and creating a new family tradition is priceless.
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on December 31st, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I adore the idea of them as a family. And, of El and Peter pouring their concern and love on Neal who clearly didn't have enough of that growing up.