This is a fic snippet from when sholio and I accidentally started writing a White Collar AU in which all the characters were Fae. Well, she wrote setup and world building and excellent stuff like that, and then I skipped way ahead because I wanted to write gratuitous hurt/comfort. So when you read this and go "but there's no context, what happened previously?" the answer is that I don't know because never got around making actual plot. Hopefully the h/c will suffice for now.
Relevant background: Neal is Cait Sidhe — a cat fae — and Peter is half Cu Sidhe and half Tuatha De Dannon, so half dog fae and with teleporting powers. Peter is a knight in June's court, and Neal is… Neal. Then plot stuff happened. Neal got shot. The usual.
1000 words, gen.
Dragging a limp and unresisting Neal along with him, Peter sketched a circle in the air and teleported them both as far away from Adler's knowe as he possibly could, stretching the power of his Tuatha De Dannon heritage to its very limit. He pulled up every bit of magic he could summon, the smell of leather and freshly turned earth rising around them.
He'd moved them much further than he'd ever managed before, he could tell instantly. Far more than was safe for him. Magic-burn ripped into him as the spell completed, and his knees buckled as he landed. His head felt like it was about to explode, and it was all he could do to turn enough to not get any vomit on him as he threw up.
He blacked out temporarily, but when he came to himself again he didn't think much time had passed. Pain was still a sick pounding throb in his head. What had awoken him was his Cu Sidhe senses, protesting at the too-near presence of cat.
Neal still lay where Peter had dropped him. When Peter cautiously raised himself up onto one elbow he found that they were lying on grass, with willow branches forming a shield overhead. They must be in one of the parks, although he didn't know which one, and was in no shape to find out. He sat up to cast a quick don't-look-here on the small area sheltered by the willow — they might be shutting out potential help, but it was just as likely that they were in a County allied to Adler, given the limited distance Peter was capable of teleporting. The don't-look-here was a basic piece of magic, but casting it made Peter break out in a cold sweat, reeling dizzily, and he nearly blacked out again.
Throughout, Neal didn't stir. When Peter could finally manage to sit up once more Neal's eyes were still closed, his skin waxy and his chest rising and falling only slightly. The bullet wound in his upper chest was bleeding only sluggishly now, but Peter could smell the poisonous presence of the iron.
If it wasn't removed soon, Neal would die.
"I can't believe what I'm doing for you, cat," Peter muttered. Hearing the sound of his own voice helped him focus, so he kept talking. "You stole from my Duchess, dragged me into this mess, and now I'm risking iron for you."
When he slid out the sharp steel knife he wore at his hip, Peter realised just how badly his hands were shaking. His vision kept blurring and splintering, and fresh waves of agony were jarred from his head at his every movement. He was in no shape to perform amateur surgery, but Neal didn't have the luxury of waiting for someone better-suited to come along. Adler's knights were surely already searching for them.
"Don't shapeshift while I'm doing this," he warned Neal, although he knew full well that it was the presence of iron lodged inside him that was keeping the Cait Sidhe locked in his human form.
Neal gave no indication of awareness. Peter gritted his teeth, aware that time was running out. He cut and pulled away the fine cloth of Neal's shirt, and gingerly inserted the blade tip into the bloody hole in Neal's chest, using it to probe for the bullet.
The unearned luck of cats was on their side. The lump of iron had broken a rib and lodged there between shards of bone, rather than burrowing into Neal's lung. Peter's hands were quickly covered in blood — Neal's and his both, as he had to hold the knife by the blade to keep it steady enough for such delicate work, and he could feel it slice at his fingers. Even without touching it, the iron was a dull throb of pain.
When the bullet finally popped free of the bone it took him by surprise. He pulled it out as fast as possible, choking back a cry of pain as it burned his fingertips. Almost, he flung it aside with force — remembering only at the last second that it would break the don't-look-here.
He dropped it to the ground instead, almost expecting the grass to shrivel and blacken at its touch. With the knife he stabbed a hole into the soil and pushed the bullet into it, grinding earth down on top of it until it was buried deep enough to no longer be dangerous.
That done, he turned back to Neal. There didn't seem any obvious way to close the wound or to bandage him, so Peter had to settle for tearing off another piece of Neal's shirt to make a pad to at least protect it somewhat. If he survived there would be an ugly scar — iron interfered with even magical healing.
If he survived. Peter sat back on his heels, and abruptly the stress and frantic tension which had been sustaining him burst. The scent of blood was suddenly overwhelming to his too-sensitive sense of smell, and the pain in his head was near-blinding. He realised he was about to be sick again, and managed to at least crawl away from Neal before doing so.
The sound was thin and fragile. Peter turned and through his fracturing vision he saw that Neal had his eyes half-open, and his fingers were scrabbling against the grass, reaching out.
Peter made it back across the distance before he collapsed, his body simply refusing to hold him up any longer. "We're out," he gasped to Neal. Not safe, he couldn't promise that, but away. They had a chance of safety, at least.
Neal's searching fingers brushed against his cheek. Peter, in what he knew were his last seconds of consciousness, rolled himself closer so that his body lay alongside Neal's. The cat-smell greeted him, entwined with the faint traces of wintergreen and watercolour paint that was the scent of Neal's magic. However, the combination was no longer to Peter. Rather, what it now inspired in his Cu Sidhe senses was a fierce, unwavering protectiveness.
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