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29 May 2016 @ 06:26 pm
Episode Tag/Missing Scene MEME FIC #1 - The Truth Will Keep You Bound  
Title: The Truth Will Keep You Bound
Rating: G
Word Count: 1,470
Characters: Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, Elizabeth Burke
Spoilers: Pretty much everything into Season 5
Author’s Note: Written for my Episode Tag/Missing Scene meme for kanarek13’s prompt. “I'm craving cuddles so how about some flooooof after drugged Neal falls asleep on Peter's couch in Controlling Interest? He had to wake up at some point, lol :D” Sorry, my friend, this went a bit angsty. But I did sneak in one cuddle.

Neal was face down on the sofa, the blue pillow he’d been clutching since he sat down still tightly wrapped in his arms. Peter couldn’t prevent a small smile from crossing his face as he draped the blanket from the arm of the couch across his slumbering CI’s body. His crazy, impulsive, infuriating CI.

It was comforting, that Neal didn’t know what happened to David. But, Peter was convinced that Neal knew something. The conflicted look on Neal’s face and his uncertain response, even under the influence of Mozzie’s concoction, were proof enough of that to Peter. If only he’d had another minute to continue to question Neal, to find out whatever it was that he wasn’t able to say without Goodnight Cinderella dulling his inhibitions. Mozzie, as usual, had perfect timing.

Oh well.

Peter reached down and ran his hand through Neal’s unruly curls. “Get some sleep, buddy. El and I will be here,” he whispered softly.

Two hours later, Peter was sitting at the dining room table, a stack of case files at his elbow trying to concentrate on the massive amount of paperwork that being an ASAC required. El was sitting across from him, working on her laptop when a low moan reached them from the living room. They were out of their chairs a moment later, El to get a glass of water for Neal from the kitchen and Peter to check on Neal.

Neal hadn’t moved while he’d been sleeping. His face was still pressed into the sofa, but he was definitely awake now, the one eye Peter could see blinking sluggishly.

“Hey buddy, how ya doing?

Neal was quiet for a moment, assessing. “Sadly, I still seem to be alive,” he finally managed to mumble.

El appeared then carrying a glass. “Come on, you should drink something.”

Neal whined and turned his face deeper into the couch. “Ugh.”

El’s eyes sparkled in mirth in the dimly lit living room at Neal’s response. “It will make you feel better, I promise,” she coaxed.

With a sigh, Neal pulled himself up so that he was leaning against the back of the sofa, the decorative blue pillow still held tightly to his chest.

El perched on the edge of the sofa beside him and handed him the glass. Neal took a few tentative sips and then placed the glass on the coffee table in front of him. “Thanks, Elizabeth.”

She patted him on the knee. “You’re welcome. Can I make you something to eat?”

Neal blanched slightly and swallowed hard. “No thanks, food bad.”

Peter laughed softly as he sat in the chair in front of Neal. “Mozzie assured me you’ll be fine, once his enhanced version of Goodnight Cinderella works its way out of your system.”

The sight of Peter sitting across from him was enough to spark a memory in Neal’s mind of his arrival at the Burke’s home. He’d been drugged out of his skull and probably babbling like a guy stupid enough to be talked into believing that more of the same was the cure for what ailed him. In trying to figure out if he had told Summers anything about Hagen, had he inadvertently told Peter what he was so desperately trying to keep hidden? “Did I say anything, um, helpful?” He asked tentatively.

Peter lifted his eyebrows. “You mean did you say anything incriminating?”

Neal sighed and after a moment’s hesitation nodded. “Yeah.”

Peter shook his head. “Well yes, but thankfully for you, the statute of limitations is up on everything you did when you were ten.”

Neal blinked, trying to process Peter’s words in his still listless brain.

El patted Neal on the knee again. Neal found the weight of her hand to be comforting in a way he wasn’t ready to fully consider.

“It was cute, really, and nothing to worry about.”

Neal closed his eyes in relief and dropped his head to rest against the back of the sofa.

“Don’t get comfortable,” Peter ordered. “We should get you upstairs and into bed so you can sleep the rest of this off properly.”

Peter rose from his seat and put a hand under Neal’s elbow to help him up.

“I’m fine here, really,” Neal tried to argue.

“Not tonight buddy. Come on.” Peter tugged gently on Neal’s arm.

With a sigh of capitulation Neal got to his feet and shuffled up to the guest room, Peter following just behind.

The bed was already turned down and a pair of Peter’s pajama bottoms were laid out. El must have been busy while he was out for the count on the sofa, Neal surmised. He kicked off his shoes and then stripped off his chinos and his polo shirt before pulling the light cotton pjs on. Peter was still standing watch by the dresser when Neal came back from using the bathroom and brushing his teeth with the toothbrush that El had also left ready for him.

After he sank down into the bed, Peter stepped up and pulled the covers up over him. “Get some sleep.”

Neal nodded and closed his eyes, but he wasn’t ready to go back to sleep just yet. All the things he had thought and said over the course of the day, to Summers, to Mozzie, were still turning around and around in his mind like a whirlwind. And then there were the things that Summers had said to him.

Peter was at the door when Neal called out to him. “Peter?”

Peter turned and looked back. Neal looked so uncertain. “Yeah?”

The younger man pulled himself up against the headboard. “Do you think I’m a sociopath?”

“A what?” Peter asked, stepping back over toward the bed.

“A sociopath.”

“Dr. Summers called you that?”

Neal nodded.

Peter sat on the edge of the bed. “No, Neal. I don’t think you’re a sociopath or a psychopath for that matter.” There was conviction in Peter’s tone, but there was more that Peter didn’t know.

“I don’t feel remorse for the things I do.” Neal couldn’t meet Peter’s eyes, didn’t want to see what Peter was thinking when he spoke.

Peter wasn’t surprised by that admission. And, he couldn’t say that it wasn’t troubling on some level that Neal’s morals were, flexible, for lack of a better definition. But there was a lot more to Neal’s story and to his psychology than that.

“Neal, you’ve never stolen an old woman’s social security check, you’ve never taken someone’s last dime, or their last Cezanne for that matter, you don’t possess a violent bone in your body. You don’t hurt people and take pleasure in it. Do you know how to break the rules in nearly every way imaginable? Yeah. Is your moral code cockeyed? Definitely. But you have a moral code, Neal and you do experience motions, including empathy.”

“I’m a con man. I could just be very good at faking it.”

There was no way to deny that the two of them had a roller coaster of a relationship and that trust was something that Peter would always struggle with with Neal. Neal could, would and did steal a treasure and spend months lying about it. But the thing that defined Neal more than anything else was that he would turn around and give up every gold doubloon and every Degas in a heartbeat to save a life. He had proven that early in their partnership with Wilkes, and he’d done it again more than once over the years.

“You didn’t fake it for Lindsay Gless or for Elizabeth or for me.”

Neal did look up at Peter then. “No. I couldn’t. And, I am sorry that you got hurt because of me.”

Neal wasn’t always honest, but Peter knew he could tell when Neal was at least sincere. “I know you are. And, that’s why I never broke our deal and sent you back. And, that’s why despite some ups and downs, I still consider you a friend. I know I haven’t been good at showing you that lately.”

“I understand.”

“Good.” Peter reached out and pulled Neal into his arms. Neal put his head down on Peter’s shoulder and savored the contact, the strength of Peter’s understanding and his friendship. Just like when Elizabeth had patted his leg earlier, it made Neal feel reassured, comforted.

With a final gentle rap on Neal’s back, Peter released him. “Now, I think you should get some sleep, so we can put that sneaky, but non-psychopathic brain of yours to use trying catch Summers at her own game tomorrow.”

Neal nodded and scooted back down into the bed. Summers had described him as deceitful and manipulative, and he was certainly capable of both, but Peter had just reminded him that he could be loyal and giving too. And, for Peter, he would be.

elrhiarhodanelrhiarhodan on May 30th, 2016 12:32 am (UTC)
Oh, happy, happy, HAPPY sigh.

Nothing like cuddles and bonding and reassurance.

And for what it's worth, I want to be that blue pillow Neal was hugging.
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 1st, 2016 01:20 am (UTC)
You and me both! That blue pillow had all the fun.

Thanks Elr! Glad you liked it.
kanarek13kanarek13 on May 30th, 2016 07:29 pm (UTC)

Oh, my friend, such perfection!!!!!! D'awwwwwwww :D There is seriously nothing better than Peter putting exhausted Neal to bed, tucking him in and easing some of his angst with a cuddle :D :D :D Poor baby, Peter always makes things better (well, after he f***s up :P :P :P)

I love it, thank you soooo much :D And go you \o/

Also, I clearly can't even leave a comment in the proper place - I'm squeee-blinded, lol :D
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 1st, 2016 01:26 am (UTC)
You are so welcome! I'm so glad you liked it. I was kind of a struggle to get that one cuddle in there. So, early in season 5. Silly boys and their issues messing with our h/c.
dennih23: countermeasuresdennih23 on May 30th, 2016 10:15 pm (UTC)
**smishes both of them** I love that Peter sees the positive in Neal - even when Neal doesn't.
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 1st, 2016 01:28 am (UTC)
Awwww, thank you! They are so very smishable!
Sherylynsherylyn on May 31st, 2016 02:05 am (UTC)
I'm just finalllllly home and able to enjoy this, and oooooh, it's so aching perfect!! I love that it's insanely, impossibly, wonderfully, amazingly, perfectly **them**. I wantz to huggles them both!! <3
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 1st, 2016 01:30 am (UTC)
Wow! That's a lot of adjectives and a very awesome compliment.

Sherylynsherylyn on June 1st, 2016 06:01 pm (UTC)
Hee! I couldn't resist ;-)
angelita26: NealPeter Hug Heartangelita26 on June 1st, 2016 01:42 am (UTC)
Awwwwww, Neal and Peter hugs!

I won't lie, I totally wanted to cuddle Neal throughout the whole thing.

I especially loved Peter assuring him that he's not a sociopath or a psychopath. *hugs to them both*

Great job, pooh bear! Thanks for sharing!
pooh_collectorpooh_collector on June 1st, 2016 01:49 am (UTC)
Thanks ang! Even when they're at odds, they're still there for each other. Love our boys.