Characters/Pairing: Neal, Peter, El; canon Peter/El
Word count: 1200
Warnings: SPOILERS for 5x04
Notes: I am still not entirely sure that this is huggy enough to claim as the "Hugs" square on my hc_bingo card, but sholio claims it is. So.
Now with beautiful cover by aragarna!
Summary: Missing scene for 5x04, at the Burke house.
Neal woke up because someone was trying to take off his shoes.
Half woke up. He kicked out half-heartedly, but fell still when Peter's voice said, clearly, "Neal, stop that."
He struggled to open his eyes — they felt weighted down. His body was too heavy, and he felt slow and stupid. He moaned miserably.
"Easy there," Peter said. His hand was a warm, firm pressure on Neal's back. "Can you get up? You'll be stiff in the morning if you sleep here."
Where was here? Neal tried again to open his eyes, and finally obtained a blurred glimpse of the Burkes' living room. "Peter?" he asked.
Peter was crouching in front of him, peering at him with gentle concern. That was worrying, and more worrying was that Neal couldn't work out why he was even there. It wasn't even easy to keep his eyes focused on Peter's face. "Don't feel so good," he admitted, and was uncertain whether his voice was coming out slurred or not.
"Hey, Neal." It was El's voice, somewhere out of his sight-line. "Are you awake?"
"Barely," Peter said, over his shoulder. He turned back to Neal. "Maybe you'll learn a lesson from this."
What had happened? Neal was still struggling to wake up properly. "Why'm I here?" he asked.
"You know, that's a really good question," Peter said. He sounding mildly exasperated. "I believe the primary reason is because you decided to drug yourself. Which is such a stupid idea that I still haven't fully wrapped my head around it."
His hand hadn't left Neal's back, but Neal was suddenly terribly afraid that Peter was about to get angry with him. He remembered making that plan now. Although hadn't he been in his apartment, alone except for Mozzie?
"Hon, I'm not sure he's really taking it in," El said. She finally appeared, standing back a little way behind Peter. "You should probably let him sleep this off first."
"Be grateful to my wife," Peter said, darkly. "Okay. Neal. Can you sit up for me?"
Neal wasn't sure that his body belonged to him anymore. He tried to move, but didn't have much success until Peter forcibly levered him upright. The sudden change in position set his head spinning, and he squinted against the light.
"I'm not sure," El said, doubtfully. "Maybe we should just let him sleep on the couch."
"I don't want to leave him alone down here," Peter said. "Look at him. He's really out of it."
"I know," El said, but she sounded dubious. "I'm not sure he can stand, though."
"Can too," Neal mumbled. He felt like he had been out of the discussion for long enough. Talking was hard work, though.
There was a pause, as if both of the Burkes were surprised that he'd spoken. "Okay then," Peter said. "You ready to prove that?"
Standing turned out to be difficult. Peter pulled Neal to his feet and slung a arm around his shoulder, but he immediately started falling to one side and had to be steadied by El. Then he was swaying the other way, to be brought up short by Peter again. It took Neal some more time to realise that them both trying to pull him forwards meant that he should start to move his feet.
El coaxed him up the stairs one step at a time. He seemed to have lost his sense of balance entirely, listing from one side to the other. He was also trying desperately to piece together in his addled brain what was going on, which was probably the reason why he abruptly missed his footing. The fall was brief, and the landing jarred through him.
"Neal?" Peter sounded worried as he pulled at his shoulder.
Neal groaned, and with difficulty and El's assistance rolled over so that he could sit on a step instead of lying sprawled across several. He let his head loll back.
"Neal, you'd better not be trying to go back to sleep." Peter sat down beside him on the step. Neal leaned into him. "Come on. We're nearly there."
"Can't," Neal groaned. He tried to gesture with his hand, feeling it flop about weakly. "Feel awful. And I don't understand." Although he was starting to have a terrible feeling that he did. He'd taken the drugs Mozzie had mixed for him, and then… run here to Peter?
It sounded horribly like something he might do.
"Why'd I come here?" he demanded. His vision was blurring and fragmenting again. Everything was spinning.
"I'm not sure this is the right place to have a discussion," Peter said.
"Please." Neal captured Peter's wrist, clinging to it weakly. God, he was so tired. Narcotics had been a bad idea. He'd have to remember to tell Mozzie that.
"Neal, Peter's not doing this when you're in danger of falling down the stairs," El said, firmly.
The suspicion that he'd screwed up very badly was getting stronger. "What did I say?" he asked. "Did I — I don't remember…"
"Neal." Peter's voice was rather more frustrated this time. "Come on, up."
Somehow, they got him to his feet again. Peter all but dragged him up the remainder of the stairs, Neal clinging tightly to him with his eyes closed. The floor seemed to be tilting and swaying, and so did Peter, but he was still the steadiest thing around.
"I think we should have left him on the couch after all," Peter muttered. El laughed.
Neal hadn't particularly noticed when the interminable stairs had been replaced by the hallway at the top of them. But then he was being eased down onto something soft. Recognising that, he let himself flop the rest of the way.
Peter gave a heavy sigh of relief. "Finally."
"Shh, it's not his fault." El pulled the duvet over him, and touched his hair lightly. "Well, maybe it is," she amended. "But still."
They were talking over his head again. It felt vaguely unfair. But Neal's eyes had closed again and he couldn't seem to work out how to open them.
After a moment, he felt the mattress dip, and a different hand ruffled his hair. "You still with me?" Peter asked, quietly.
"Mmm. Yeah." Neal tried to move, but accomplished only a limp sort of flailing.
"Stop that," Peter said, and held him still with a hand. He sighed. "Neal, I think we really need to talk. Not now," he added, quickly. "When you're more coherent."
That sounded ominous. "Are you mad at me?" Neal mumbled. He was losing track of things again. But he had done things wrong. Too many things. Like coming here.
Another sigh. "No," Peter said. "I probably should be, but… no. If you do anything like this again, though, I will be. It's dangerous."
Neal nodded against Peter's hand. "What'd I do?" he asked.
"Far too many things for me to count, if all your 'confessions' were true," Peter muttered, and Neal began to be worried all over again. "Shh," Peter said, even though Neal didn't think he'd made a noise.
There was silence. Neal was finding it hard to stay awake, and harder to remember why he was trying to. Peter's steady breathing was lulling.
"Please, be careful," Peter said, finally. It was very quiet; barely above a whisper.
Neal wanted to reassure him, but he was too far under. And if he had, it might not even have been true. He was no longer sure, if he'd ever been.
But he couldn't tell Peter that, even if he wanted to.
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