Title: Safe Places
Characters/Pairing: Neal, Peter, Jones
Word count: 900
Warnings: SPOILERS for 5x04
Notes: This totally fills the "Counseling" square on my hc_bingo card. If you squint.
Summary: Another missing scene for 5x04. The aftereffects of Neal's first visit to Dr Summers.
Neal barely remembered, afterwards, how he got down the stairs and out of the building while riding a surge of tightly-suppressed panic. He burst out into the open air aching to catch his breath. But there was a cabstand right opposite on the sidewalk, good, and he all but threw himself into the back seat of the closest one, giving the Bureau's address.
His heart was hammering. Adrenaline. That could be what was making his hands shake, too, or it could be the after-effects of whatever drugs were in his system.
Drugs. God, he'd been drugged — Dr Summers had denied it but he knew what his own body was telling him — and he hadn't seen it coming. He couldn't even remember it, which was terrifying.
Adding to his discomfort, he could still feel the artificial drowsiness lurking under the sharp edge of his fear. He clenched his fists, digging his fingernails into his palms, and tried to focus on the pain. Traffic and buildings were rushing past in a blur outside.
Remember… remember… All he was doing was bringing on a headache, and he didn't even notice for a minute that the cab had come to a stop outside the Bureau until the driver asked if he was planning on sitting there all day.
"How much?" he asked.
The driver told him as he was getting out his wallet. And then he instantly forgot, staring blankly at the bills in his hand. Trying to cover, he passed over an amount he thought looked about right, and as there were no complaints he must have guessed correctly. Or overpaid by several dollars. He didn't really care, so long as he could get out.
He had another moment of panic as he stared at the elevator buttons, momentarily unable to remember which one to press. Shit. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut for a second and let his hand make the decision from muscle memory. The adrenaline was leaving fast, and what he wanted more than anything was to retreat to somewhere safe and secluded where he could put his head down and give his body time to pull itself back together.
The next best thing, though, would be finding Peter, who would make sure that he was safe.
He found both Peter and Jones in the conference room, and took a chair quickly. Peter's eyes widened as Neal outlined what had happened, and his eyes anxiously searched him up and down.
"I'm okay, really," Neal insisted, as Jones left to arrange for someone to draw some blood. He hadn't been feeling so sure a few minutes ago, but now he just wanted to reassure Peter, who looked horribly worried.
"I'm sure you are," Peter agreed. "I think we should get you some water, though. Come on."
With a hand on Neal's back, he shepherded him down the stairs and towards the break room. They were drawing several curious glances, and Neal wondered if he looked as dishevelled as he felt. He hoped not. Mostly he just wanted to sit down again.
He got his wish — Peter guided him down onto the couch in the break room, and shut the door before pouring Neal a glass of water. "You'll need to take off your jacket and tie for when the medic gets here," he said.
"My tie's in the way of drawing blood?" Neal asked, raising an eyebrow skeptically. But he knew what Peter was trying to do, of course, and went along with it, removing his tie and loosening his collar.
Peter pulled up one of the plastic chairs and sat down in it, just giving Neal some quiet, until Jones came in with a medic behind him. "Hello, Mr Caffrey," she said. "This won't take long. Do you mind if I just take your vitals first?"
"Sure," Neal said, and let her take his pulse, blood pressure and temperature, which she did without talking more than necessary. He was grateful for that. Then he rolled up his sleeve so that she could fill two vacuum tubes of blood from the vein in his elbow.
"You seem pretty healthy," she said. "You should rest for a few minutes now, and try to eat something."
"I'll make sure he does," Peter said.
"Thanks, doc," Jones said. "I'll show you out."
Left alone with Peter, Neal made a desultory attempt to get up. Peter stopped him instantly with a hand on his shoulder. "Were you not listening a minute ago?" he asked. "You were told to rest. Lie down."
"She didn't tell me to lie down," Neal protested. "I'm resting fine here."
Peter fixed him with a stern gaze. "I don't care; I want you to lie down. You were unconscious, Neal, and you didn't look to me like you were feeling a hundred percent even before you had blood drawn. Am I wrong?"
"No," Neal admitted, recognising an argument he was unlikely to win. He swung his legs up over the arm of the couch and stretched out. "Better?"
"Much better," Peter said, sounding satisfied. He patted Neal on the shoulder, and then rested his hand there as if he was worried that Neal might still be considering escape.
Neal smiled a little, and closed his eyes. He didn't fall asleep, but he relaxed. Peter was there, and he would keep the rest of the world away for just a little while. Much better. Yes.
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