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05 March 2013 @ 12:40 pm
White Collar Fiction: "All Through The Night" (G)  
Title: All Through The Night
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Peter, Neal (Gen, H/C)
Rating: G
Summary: It's the little things that matter.
Author's Notes: A run_the_con entry for the prompt, "Sweet Dreams."

x-x-x-x-x

"Honestly, Peter, I can take it from here. I'm not sick."

"No, you just have a concussion. You're lucky they let you leave the hospital."

"It's not—"

Neal lurched, grabbing blindly for the railing.

"Exactly," Peter said. He put an arm around Neal's back as he helped him up the stairs. "Indulge me."

They climbed unsteadily to the top. Neal fumbled with the apartment key, sagging against the door frame as he tried to line the key up with the hole.

"Give me that," Peter said. He unlocked the door and guided Neal around the corner. "Do you need to use the bathroom?"

Neal's head swam. "Need to lie down," he said hoarsely.

"It's okay, I've got you." Peter half-dragged Neal through the obstacle course of furniture blocking the path from the door to the bedroom alcove. He eased Neal down onto to the bed, and took off Neal's jacket and shoes. "I wish El was here," he said.

Neal groaned on Elizabeth's behalf. "Don't call her." He stretched out on the bed toward the sweet oasis of pillows.

"I know, I know." El's conference in Chicago was important, and Peter wasn't completely incompetent at this sort of thing, no matter how much he felt like it. "Where did you say Mozzie was?"

"An art show in Philly with June. Her granddaughter."

"Huh. And you didn't want to go?"

"We're in the middle of a case, Peter! Ow!" Neal's own voice rocketed through his head like a spike. He closed his eyes and added more quietly, "I'd hoped to make it this weekend."

Peter thought about their late-night stakeouts—four of them this week. Tonight's had ended when a drunk driver crashed into the surveillance van, resulting in Neal's concussion. Peter had only suffered a bruised elbow. "Oh. I see." He shifted his feet uncomfortably, and looked around the apartment. Water. He went to the sink and filled a glass, bringing it to Neal's bedside. "For when you take your pills."

Neal started to nod and stopped when it hurt. "Thanks."

"How about you get some rest? I'll have to wake you up every couple of hours, but you can sleep in between."

Neal smiled tiredly, but couldn't help feeling a little mischievous."Will you read me a story?"

"No, I'm not going to read you a story!" Peter said. "Come on. Would Mozzie read you a story? Wait, scratch that—he'd probably regale you with the contents of his favorite conspiracy blog."

"No, he wouldn't. Well, mostly not," Neal admitted. "Seriously, just for a little while?"

Peter sighed. "Fine." He probably owed Neal anyway, considering how the evening had turned out. "Any preferences?"

Neal smiled. "Whatever you want."

Peter hunted through the bookshelves behind the sofa, looking over the choices. Most of the books probably weren't even Neal's, any more than the suits Neal wore. Nietzsche, Henry James, Chekhov… Neal probably wasn't in the mood for any of those, and Peter certainly wasn't in the mood to read them. Camus, Kafka, Wharton… Aha. This book probably didn't belong here, flanked by so many literary heavyweights, but maybe it was left over from the granddaughter's childhood. Fitting enough for this occasion—if Neal wanted to be read to, he definitely couldn't complain about this choice. Peter pulled the book out and made himself comfortable in the chair closest to the bed.

"Chapter One," he began. "There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself—not just sometimes, but always."

Neal smiled drowsily, lulled by the sound of Peter's voice.

"When he was in school he longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in. On the way he thought about coming home, and coming home he thought about going. Wherever he was he wished he were somewhere else, and when he got there he wondered why he'd bothered…"

By the end of the second page, Neal's breathing was slow and soft. Peter trailed off quietly, waiting to see if Neal noticed, but there was no change. Neal was out.

Peter leaned over the edge of the chair and looked Neal over carefully. Pale—more than usual—and obviously tired, but a couple of days off would take care of that. He would make sure of it.

Sweet dreams, he thought, wishing his own guilt over the situation could be carried away so easily. He let out a heavy breath, and sat back down again. Then he opened the book and silently read on, the back of his mind listening for trouble or discomfort as he waited for the next few hours to pass.


----- fin -----

 
 
 
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - Neal h/cembroiderama on March 5th, 2013 08:52 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥ This is wonderful! I love woozy, pained Neal and Peter being so patient. Thank you for starting off the challenge beautifully!

Edited at 2013-03-05 08:53 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 5th, 2013 09:05 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm so glad you liked it! It's always daunting to go first, but I hope I did your prompt proud!

Perfect icon. How do you have so many of these? :)
(no subject) - embroiderama on March 5th, 2013 09:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kanarek13kanarek13 on March 5th, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC)
Wheeee \o/ And so the month of fluff begins :D

Wonderful, sweet and exactly what I needed to soothe my nerves in anticipation of tonight's finale. Love Peter's protectiveness and the fact that he agreed to read Neal a story - awwwww ♥

I feel all warm and fuzzy :D Thank you :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 5th, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I'm a few episodes behind the show, so I don't even know what to be afraid of yet!

Peter is so persuadable, whether he realizes it or not. :)
(no subject) - kanarek13 on March 5th, 2013 09:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 5th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was hoping it wasn't too much OR too dry, and that the feeling came through. :)
angelita26: MattTimSnuggleangelita26 on March 5th, 2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww! I love concussed!Neal. This was lovely - Peter taking care of Neal - so sweet! Thanks for sharing :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 5th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
It's funny that the prompt finally worked its way around to this, but once the idea came I couldn't resist this setup. Reluctantly nurturing Peter never gets old for me, and crabby but accepting Neal is one of my favorite versions. :)
elrhiarhodanelrhiarhodan on March 5th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
Throws her arms in the air and cheers - The Phantom Tollbooth is one of my all-time favorite books.

What a lovely way to start off this round - I hope, when it's my turn, that I can write something as good as this.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 5th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
\o/ Someone recognized the book! \o/

I loved that story so much as a kid, and it was completely neglected in my own kids' education. I read it to my son at bedtime long after he should have encountered it himself... and just this last year he re-read it. There's so much wonderful weirdness in that story.

I'm so glad you liked this, and thought it was worthy of the kickoff! There's a lot of pressure being the first one, somehow. :)
(no subject) - elrhiarhodan on March 5th, 2013 09:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 5th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elrhiarhodan on March 5th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
theatregirl7299theatregirl7299 on March 5th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
Brava! What a wonderful story to start off run_the_con. So sweet and schmoopy. I can just see Neal curled up in bed with Peter softly reading to him.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)
Thank you-- so glad you enjoyed it!
Sholio: WhiteCollar-Peter Neal soft filtersholio on March 5th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww. ♥ This is so sweet; I love (if that doesn't sound too strange) woozy Neal, and Peter looking out for him.

(And tagged! Eek! :D)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)
It seems as if a lot of people like woozy Neal, so you're in good company.

Tagged IS "eek," but I want to get you before one of your hiatus days. :)
sinfulslasher: neal owiesinfulslasher on March 5th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
D'AWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!

Owie!Neal is one of my favorites (big surprise there *g*) so this was already a winner in my book, but then you had Peter read Neal a story. *melts* This pushed a button I didn't even know I had! :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 01:12 am (UTC)
I like hurt-Neal quite a bit (emotionally or physically), partly because it forces him to drop some of his defenses. More of his vulnerability and kindness come through, which the viewer knows are there but people like Peter... not so much.

So glad you enjoyed this one!
Kerstinkerrylang on March 5th, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
Oh that was sweet! ♥

Peter all caring, sooooo cute. And Neal whump always a winner. Thanks for this little story, I always need more and can't get enough.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 01:14 am (UTC)
Gruff and sure-he's-doing-it-wrong Peter in caring mode is just wonderfully appealing to me. He's never as bad at it as he thinks.

Glad this gave you a little happiness!
ratherastoryratherastory on March 6th, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
Aw, yay! Concussed!Neal is great, and poor Peter, a little out of his depth without El, as usual. ;)

This was lovely!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 02:00 am (UTC)
poor Peter, a little out of his depth without El, as usual.
He doesn't give himself enough credit, but then again, with El's ease right there on display all the time... who could blame him? :)
hurinhousehurinhouse on March 6th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
awwww. perfect story to read to neal and perfect fic for us h/c lovers. i love the mix of banter and care. it'll be a long night for them.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 02:02 am (UTC)
I thought about the book for awhile, and finding the nexus of something Peter would want to read that wouldn't be too heavy but also not too "dramatic" led right to this one.

I'm glad you liked the banter! That's one of my favorite things about the show, and I always want more of it. :)
deej1957deej1957 on March 6th, 2013 12:56 am (UTC)
This was adorable! I love a Neal who's open because of pain or meds. And reading the story--good Peter. Rather appropriate story, too, when it comes to Neal!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 02:03 am (UTC)
I thought about that the irony of that particular story while writing this. To some degree, Neal's tendency to become easily bored has led to a lot of adventures for him. It's figuring out how to satisfy that hunger within legal channels that's Peter's biggest challenge!
ladyrose42ladyrose42 on March 6th, 2013 01:34 am (UTC)
Read fic and discover more books you should have read as a child! Suddenly thinking of musical play Cats! and the RumRumTiger song.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 02:04 am (UTC)
Oh, "The Phantom Tollbooth" is a wonderfully bizarre book! It came up as a Yuletide request this year, with encouragement for people to add onto its universe. I only wish I had been up to that challenge!
Stacysahiya on March 6th, 2013 02:48 am (UTC)
Reading aloud is a favorite trope of mine. This was lovely!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 05:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
shimyakuhybridshade on March 6th, 2013 03:15 am (UTC)
D'aww the cute! And concussed!Neal is always a winner. Great start to the challenge! :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: White Collar- Neal & Peterhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2013 05:52 am (UTC)
Concussed Neal is much easier to pin down, isn't he? And begs to be taken care of, whether he wants it or not. :)