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19 February 2012 @ 01:58 am
[fic: white collar] A State of Being Lost  
Title: A State of Being Lost
Characters/Pairing: Neal, Peter, also Diana, Mozzie; Gen
Genre/Rating: H/C, angst; PG-13
Word count: 4,500
Warnings: None
Notes: For this prompt by [personal profile] kriadydragon on [community profile] collarcorner
I have been assured by [profile] helle_d that it's valid to screw around with tenses in this way (the story was sounding utterly wrong before I did this), and she says that as an English student her opinion is unequivocally correct. *gg*

Summary: Chasing a delirious Neal over town wasn't exactly how Peter had been planning to spend his afternoon. Not that Neal was terribly happy to be chased.

- o -

They found Neal in what looked like an ordinary motel room.

It wasn't, of course — for one thing, motel rooms tended to have windows, and also to lack steel-reinforced doors with a lock only on the outside. But it had an en-suite and a microwave and a bed which Neal was lying on when they entered.

He looked up; stiffened.

"Hi, Neal," Peter said. "Took us a while to find you."

"Peter," Neal said, and sat up carefully. "This is unexpected."

Peter frowned, a bit stung. "You didn't think I'd track you down?" he asked.

Neal shrugged, slightly. His colour was high and he looked — well, he looked not great, really.

"Are you alright?" Peter asked.

Neal chuckled harshly. "Never better," he said, only now that Peter had taken a couple of steps towards him he could see the slight tremors in Neal's skin, the glassy sheen to his eyes. Which explained a lot about his odd attitude, since he hated being sick and the vulnerability that came with it. The last time he had a cold he sulked around for days, snapping grumpily at people.

"Let's get you out of here," Peter said. When Neal made no immediate attempt to obey Peter took a firm grip on his upper arm and towed him off the bed and out the door.

Neal didn't say a word as they walked down the stairs, Jones tailing them, which Peter found rather worrying, especially with the heat he could feel baking through Neal's shirt. He had already made up his mind to drive Neal straight to someplace he could get checked by a doctor, and worry about getting his statement later.

"Give me a minute?" Neal pleaded when they reached where the FBI had parked. Peter nodded.

"Sure," he said, and released Neal, watching as he leaned heavily against the hood of the Taurus, taking deep breaths of the cool air, before turning to Jones. "Will be okay to cover me at the office for a while?"

"Of course," Jones said, with complete understanding.

Diana strode up. "Banks confessed," she said, with satisfaction. "So did Kay. Once they knew we had Caffrey's location they both fell over themselves trying to incriminate the other."

Peter grinned. "Now that's good news. You hear that, Neal?" He turned.

"Well, crap," Jones said.

Neal had vanished.

- o -

Neal walks fast, messing his hair so it loses the parting and falls down over his forehead, unknots his tie and slips it in his pocket, undoes the top two buttons on his shirt. He stumbles on the sidewalk, bumps into people in the crowd. He feels hot and hazy, his thoughts falling in confused jumbles.

He's being chased. They locked him up and said they'd come back for him and they have. He needs Peter to solve this, Peter to untwist this, except they came back for him looking like Peter, a Peter who is tracking him down.

He isn't quite sure what he should be doing. He needs to — he needs to find somewhere that's safe. Which is more of a challenge than it first appears because everything's wrong and he's being chased, which is not something that's supposed to be happening.

A smartly-dressed businessman is being obnoxious to a subordinate on his cell. Neal lifts his wallet easily and finds enough cash that he can breathe a little, now. Options. He has some options. He drops the lightened wallet back into one of the man's outer pockets because Peter's rubbed off on him enough for him to feel slightly guilty.

There's been enough crowds and intersections between him and the place where they were holding him that maybe he can be safe for a little while. Then Neal spots a police officer answering her radio and his stomach drops. Because if he's being chased by a Peter who is wrong, that Peter might still be able to use official resources to try and find him.

He has to lean against a wall at this point. His head is pounding. And the gash across his ribs is being pulled hot and tight with every step; he thinks he should maybe be paying more attention to that.

There's a coffee shop just a few yards away, but first there's an electronics stand. He buys a phone, and then a mug of black coffee, and collapses into a shadowed corner booth where he's pretty sure he can see the street without being seen. It's odd how laboured his breathing is. And he's cold, but there's nothing he can do about that.

Mozzie answers on the fifth ring. "Who is this?"

"It's Neal," Neal says. Possibly he has a code name right now, but he can't remember it. "I need your help."

There's an odd noise in the background, but frankly it'd be stranger if there wasn't. "Are you okay?" Mozzie asks. "I hate to pry, but you don't sound good."

"I'm fine," Neal says, which he's gathered by now probably isn't true, but he doesn't have the energy to think about why not. "Has Peter contacted you?"

"Please," Mozzie says, loftily. "You think some suit would have my number? Any of my numbers?" He pauses, clearly waiting for some riposte, but Neal just props his head on his hand and gulps coffee in the hope that it will make him feel less wiped out. "Okay," Mozzie says, his tone switching to serious. "What's going on?"

"I need a bolt-hole," Neal says. "I'm being chased, but there are no eyes on me right now."

"Who's after you? What's the Suit doing about it?" Clearly his expression of distrust a second ago has already been forgotten.

"No," Neal says, too quickly. "You can't tell anyone where I am. Anyone." He doesn't know how to explain what's happening, about Peter who he knows isn't Peter.

"Neal," Mozzie says, "You don't hear this from me often, but I think you ought to calm down. Seriously, what's going on?"

"Moz," Neal insists, and Mozzie sighs heavily.

"Fine, fine," he says. "You owe me a full explanation, to be repaid in the future." He gives directions and Neal fixes them in his memory.

"Thanks," he says, and hangs up before Mozzie has a chance to reply. He should get moving.

However, standing turns out not to be a good idea. Everything lurches and Neal barely makes it to the restroom before he throws up all the coffee he's just drunk and everything else that was in his stomach. In the mirror his face is an unhealthy colour and he winces, just slightly out of vanity. He splashes his face with water and tries to take slow, deep breaths.

Outside, with the air-currents of an endless stream of traffic sweeping past him, he feels slightly better. Not much, but enough that getting to Mozzie's nearest safe-house is a viable prospect even though his legs are shaky and he has to keep blinking to clear his vision. It'll be okay. It'll be okay. He just needs time to rest, time to sort out what's going on, and he'll be fine. He always is.

He keeps a sharp eye out for cops, or anyone who's eyeing the flow of people a bit suspiciously. Or, well, as sharp an eye as he can manage, which he's aware is well below his usual standard.

It's called Green, this place, apparently. Neal taps the code into the keypad (and the next keypad) and stumbles inside. It's eerily similar to the place where they locked him in, after slashing him a bit to prove they were serious about wanting him to work for them, and he has to blink several times to be sure that no, this isn't the same place, this isn't a trap. Then he crosses straight to the sink which he has to lean against while he pours himself a glass of water, the surface of it shuddering choppily as he drinks.

Clearly Mozzie hasn't used this place in some time, if ever. It's stocked with the sorts of supplies that will survive the apocalypse (almost certainly on purpose). Neal looks briefly at the food cupboard but his stomach heaves and he shuts it quickly and hunts for a first-aid kit instead. It's prominently located and equally well-stocked. Sometimes paranoia is an advantage.

Neal had been intending to sink into the couch but it suddenly looks a long way away, so he collapses onto one of the hard chairs by the table instead. Then he unbuttons his shirt and rips off the dark-stained gauze beneath it without giving himself time to think.

That turns out to be a bad idea. There's a shock of pain which is momentarily blinding and he vomits onto the floor, bile and water, and when he's done he drops his head into his hands for long seconds that add up into minutes before he feels strong enough to sit up properly again.

The wound is weeping and inflamed. It was hardly a proper injury, a warning really, but now it hurts as if the knife was worked right the way through him. Neal holds his palm cautiously above it, not touching and feels the heat pouring off. Infection, he knows, which is, well, bad.

Not that there's much he can do right now, while he's laying low. He manages to get back to the sink where he cleans the gash out as best he can, which seems to make it hurt even more, and swallows down painkillers and anti-inflammatories before stumbling back to the table to tape on a fresh pad of gauze. And then finally, finally, he allows himself to fold down onto the softness of the couch, just for a moment, just a brief rest…

- o -

Peter glared at the street for what felt like the hundredth time as if that would force Neal to appear. Diana stepped back to his side. "All the members of Banks's band have been accounted for," she said. "I think it's unlikely he was grabbed."

Peter sighed. "Yeah, I know. Dammit, Neal."

"It isn't as if you could have expected him to walk off like that," Diana said. She was projecting reassurance at him. "Sooner or later we're going to find him. Again."

"It's the or later I'm worried about," Peter said grimly. He replayed again the brief minutes in the room-cum-cell Neal had been held in. "He was wary. Didn't seem particularly happy to be rescued. I'm pretty sure he was sick, or getting there."

Diana laid a placating hand on his arm. "We've got a BOLO out for him, and you've got June watching for if he goes home. Peter, we'll find him."

Peter sighed, frustrated. "You're right. I know."

They walked past a group of street vendors and Diana brought a photo of Neal up on her phone. "Hey. Any of you seen this man?"

She got a collection of head-shakes, but one man, behind a stand piled high with cut-price electronics, hesitated.

Diana noticed, proffered her phone again towards him. "How about you?"

"I don't want no trouble," the man said. A couple of yellowing bruises on his face suggested that he found it often enough anyway.

"You're not in any," Diana said.

He pursed his lips for a second, and shrugged. "Guy bought a cheap cell, hour or so ago. Paid cash."

Peter rolled his eyes but refrained from commenting on how Neal had almost certainly had no cash on him when he disappeared.

"Did you happen to see where he was headed?"

The vendor nodded. "Into that Starbucks," he said, pointing. He leaned forwards, dropping his voice conspiratorially. "I remember him looking real nervous. Did he kill someone?"

"No," Diana said, firmly. "Thank you for your time." She started walking away quickly and Peter caught up with her.

The coffee shop was crowded. Peter scanned the patrons carefully, but they didn't appear to include Neal. He did a slow circuit, confirming his suspicions, while Diana questioned employees. He waited by the door until she was finished.

"Anything?" he asked.

"Neal was here," Diana said. "He paid for a cup of coffee with a twenty-dollar bill and left the change. The barista over there remembers him talking on his cell, and she says he looked really ill. She's pretty sure he was throwing up in the mens' room."

"That's a lot of detail to remember," Peter commented, and Diana rolled her eyes.

"Caffrey," she muttered, holding the door open for them to exit through.

Peter smothered a grin. "Okay. We've got a lead. Bets on who he was calling?"

"Do you have Mozzie's number?" Diana asked, and Peter groaned, his phone half out of his pocket. Well, why would this start getting easy for them now?

Then suspicion struck, and he hit speed-dial. "Hi, hon," he said, once he had a connection. "Do you have Mozzie's phone number?"

"Which one?" El asked brightly.

Peter bit back another groan, because he was completely unsurprised. "How many have you got? Never mind, just give me all of them."

"Mmm," she said, and he could picture her apologetic smile. "I'm really sorry, but I did promise that I wouldn't share. I can pass on a message, though?"

He gave her their location, and a brief outline of the situation. "I'm worried about Neal. Tell him to call me immediately or get here himself or something. Neither of them are in trouble."

"I'll do my best," she promised.

Peter leant back against the nearest wall. "This is ridiculous."

"We'll find him," Diana repeated. "Peter, even Neal can only get into a limited amount of trouble in a couple of hours. Well, probably."

Peter scanned the crowd to save himself the pessimism of a reply. Because he was worried, and he knew that Diana was too. He could remember the heat of Neal's body through his shirt. All signs, in fact, pointed to Neal being seriously ill, and choosing to go off on a wander through the city for no apparent reason.

He kept his cell in his hand. Mozzie had to call.

In fact, Mozzie appeared — which Peter hadn't really been expecting, despite near demanding it. "What is it, Suit?" he asked, guardedly.

"Where's Neal?" Peter asked.

Mozzie narrowed his eyes. "What makes you think I have that sort of privileged information? And why should I tell you if I did?"

Peter put his hands on his hips. "Seriously, I don't have time for this. I think Neal needs help. And I know he called you earlier on a burn phone."

"Yes, and what did you do to him first?"

"I didn't do anything to him!"

Thankfully, Diana put a steadying hand on Peter's arm and stepped in to give Mozzie the rundown.

"How do I know you're telling the truth?" Mozzie wanted to know, once she had finished.

Peter raised his eyebrows, and waited.

"Alright, fine." Mozzie raised his hands. "I was in the neighbourhood to check on him when Mrs Suit called. To be honest, he sounded pretty off on the phone."

"Off how?"

"He was almost panicking at one point, and Neal doesn't do panic. He said he was being chased and got frantic when I asked if you knew. Also he wanted to know if you'd called me." Mozzie frowned. "Actually, from your observations, being out of his head with a fever sounds like a distinct possibility."

Great. So they were trying to chase down a paranoid and possibly delirious Neal. And Peter had thought earlier that the hard part was over. "Right. You said you were on your way to check on him — so you know where he is?"

"I have numerous… locations," Mozzie said, looking dubiously between Peter and Diana.

"I'm not in the mood to play secret agent games," Peter said. "Tell us."

Mozzie huffed. "I'll show you," he said. "But don't bother putting surveillance on the place afterwards, Suits."

"Yeah, yeah, you'll clear out as soon as we've contaminated it with our presence. Can we go now?"

"No need to be like that about it," Mozzie muttered, and Diana snorted.

It wasn't far, tucked away in a nondescript apartment building. Peter nearly commented on the ordinary nature of the door, but then where there might once have been a small entrance hallway there was actually a space before another, very obviously reinforced door which had an entry code about double the length of the first one.

"Neal?" Mozzie called, cautiously, as he pushed this one open. "It's me. Moz."

Silence greeted them.

"Is there another way out?" Diana asked, and then caught herself. "Okay, stupid question. Of course there will be."

It took very little time to establish that the other way out (a rope-ladder bolted into the wall so that it could be tossed out of the window above at a moment's notice) had been used.


Peter felt his mouth settle into a grim line as he took in the table top with the disembowelled first aid kit and the gauze pad thick with dried blood. The evidence that Neal had continued to throw up was also all too obvious. This was becoming more and more worrying by the minute.

"Call his burn phone," he ordered.

Mozzie dialled it obediently. A few seconds later the shrill notes of a default ring-tone trilled from between the couch cushions. "Well, that's helpful," he said, which was probably the understatement of the year.

Peter rubbed his forehead. "Okay. We split up, search the area on foot. Diana, call everyone else and tell them. In this state he can't have got too far, but we need to find him quickly."

- o -

Neal is becoming convinced that at some point he made a bad decision. It's just hard to pin it down, especially when nothing in his field of vision will stay still and his head is pounding.

He's not even sure what he's doing. He was running, theoretically still is, but he's blanking on the details of why, exactly, and whether he's running from or to something. The sidewalk tosses under him like the deck of a ship and then it changes to grass under his feet and he keeps going until he slips and falls and the dew is beautifully cool against every inch of his skin.

It's a struggle to move, but he lifts his head and the trees nearby are stretching down their clawed branches to catch him and maybe they're what he's running from so he keeps going, keeps going.

And there's some sort of lake, or pond, with some sort of wooden jetty and he stumbles out onto it because if the trees are trying to catch him then maybe he's safe out here, where they'll drown if they try to grow — except this is wood so maybe he isn't safe after all but he's on his hands and knees, is now sitting slumped against one of the posts, and everything he has is spent, every bit of energy drained and gone, gone, gone.

He tips his head back and closes his eyes.

His name drifts towards him on the evening air. Neal! "Neal!" He hears it, and eventually it registers, but he doesn't do anything about it.

"Neal!" But now it's close, now it's not going away, and he lifts his heavy head up. And there's Peter, saying his name in a tone which is now altogether different. "Neal, don't move."

"Peter," Neal says, his tongue thick and heavy in his mouth. Peter is chasing him; Peter is finding him. He's looking for Peter. He isn't quite sure which, but in any case Peter being here is important.

Peter crouches down, so that they're on the same level, just separated by distance and planking. "You want to tell me what you're doing out there?" he asks.

"It was the trees," Neal tries, but that sounds wrong. "He was going to put you in prison. Was that you?"

"No, Neal, I'm not going to put you in prison," Peter says, and he's speaking very slowly and clearly. "I think you're very sick, and confused. We're going to sort it out but I just need to make a phone call, okay?"

"Okay," Neal agrees, and he watches and half-listens as Peter gets someone on the line and demands EMS and Rescue services. Then he tells Neal that he's been found, or maybe he's telling someone else, because Neal thinks he might know that already. It's difficult to follow.

"Neal?" Peter asks as he hangs up, "Are you still with me?"

"Sorry," Neal says, because if he's supposed to be with Peter then he's not, he's out on the jetty, so he pushes himself back to hands and knees.

"Stop!" Peter barks, and Neal does because it's so unexpected. "Seriously, Neal, don't move. That thing's rotting to pieces. Rescue's on its way, we'll have you safe in no time."

So it is the trees after all, bending and crumbling beneath him. Or… something. Peter will make it safe.

"Neal. Neal, please just stay still. You'll be fine, I promise."

"It's fine," Neal says, because he's just realised that getting to Peter is unquestionably the right thing to do, and if he can do that then everything will be fine.

"No, no, it really isn't." Peter sounds afraid, his voice hitching like he's fighting to keep it under control. "Listen to me, that thing is rotted through, it isn't safe and I really don't want to think about whether you're even capable of swimming right now. Stop."

Neal keeps moving doggedly, because in front of him is Peter, so of course it's safe. A moment later Peter starts talking to him again, guiding him now, telling him where to place his hands and where to avoid.

Something beneath him snaps. He throws his body forwards and Peter's got him under the arms, dragging him out onto the grass. That pulls at the gash on his chest and Neal gasps or shrieks or both and Peter's turned him so he's lying on his back and can see the early stars spinning and spinning and spinning above. And Peter's face eclipses the moon, keeping the wicked clutching branches away and of course he's the right Peter, why was there ever any question?

"Jesus, Neal," Peter says, wonderfully cool fingers pressed against his throat. "What on earth were you doing?"

Neal doesn't know how to answer that so he closes his eyes and turns his head to lean against Peter's thigh.

Peter taps his face. "No, stop that. I need you to stay awake until the paramedics get here. Don't pass out on me now."

Then suddenly Mozzie's there too. "Neal, I can't believe I helped you attempt to get yourself killed. What were you possibly thinking?"

"Stop it, you're upsetting him," Peter says. Somewhat hypocritically.

"Upset him? Yeah, he's the one who's upset here. I mean, honestly."

Neal thinks he should say something but he can't make his body or his voice obey. Instead he shuts his eyes, and they all disappear.

- o -

By the time the paramedics arrived Neal had stopped even sluggishly responding. Peter found it hard to take his fingers from the pulse point on Neal's neck where his heartbeat fluttered desperately, far too fast beneath the furnace heat of his skin.

He only moved when Diana took his shoulder and pulled him gently away so that the medic had room to start an IV. Neal was apparently dangerously dehydrated, which wasn't at all surprising. His eyes were deeply shadowed in the bright light of the ambulance, and he didn't stir at all during the ride to the hospital.

Peter was asked questions, and gave what answers he could. He remembered the dirty gauze in the safe house and one of the medics quickly found the darkly inflamed wound. It looked — well. Bad. Is he going to be okay? he wanted to be asking, but was worried about being a distraction, and it wasn't like he was going to be able to do anything to change the answer.

Neal ended up in a bed in the ICU, which wasn't on the face of it very reassuring, but on the other hand meant that his condition was being taken seriously. Diana brought Peter coffee and some of his paperwork without waiting to be asked, and he felt vaguely embarrassed to be so predictable, but mostly pleased.

He settled down to wait.

Some time later, Neal shifted under the blankets, and flexed the hand which had the IV needle attached. "Don't do that," Peter said, and held Neal's forearm down to make him stop.

Neal blinked a few times, his eyes flitting around the room. "Peter?" His voice was a murmur.

"You're in the hospital," Peter said, reading Neal's confusion. "You've got a high fever, and you're on antibiotics and fluids. You're going to be fine."

"Oh," Neal said, like Peter hadn't told him anything especially important. He looked exhausted, like it was taking vast amounts of energy just to keep his eyes open.

"You should probably go back to sleep," Peter said. He sat back in his chair, to show that he didn't intend to go anywhere.

"Hmm," Neal murmured, and to all intents and purposes did so. Peter was just reaching for the latest report when Neal spoke again, without opening his eyes. "You found me."

"You didn't make it easy," Peter commented.

"Thought… I don't know. You were someone else. You, but different."

Peter raised an eyebrow even though it went unseen. Under the circumstances it had been a surprisingly long speech, and he could glean at least some meaning from it. "Neal," he said, clearly, "I'm not angry with you. You were very ill."

"Was frightened," Neal said, and Peter knew that that was something he would never had admitted if his thinking was clear. And he would probably never forgive Peter if it were mentioned when he was well.

Peter reached over and squeezed Neal's arm. "I'll find you every time," he said. "Be afraid of that, Caffrey."

Neal breathed out a small huff of laughter, and Peter allowed himself a smile of relief.

"Seriously, Neal," he said, sternly, "Go back to sleep."

He was pretty sure that Neal did, but Peter kept his hand where it was just in case.

- o -

Posted at http://frith-in-thorns.dreamwidth.org/44036.html with comment count unavailable comments.
Winterwinterstar95 on February 19th, 2012 02:36 am (UTC)
You've done another spectacular job. I love how you've written this and how it draws everything to focus. Very well done. Thanks so much for sharing!
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile hatfrith_in_thorns on February 20th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm very happy you enjoyed it :)
Sholio: WhiteCollar-Peter Neal hugsholio on February 19th, 2012 03:05 am (UTC)
Awwwww. So sweet! I really like how you handled Neal's confused state of mind, his fear and his trust in Peter. I also like how Mozzie was incorporated into this -- willing to help Neal hide from the feds, but also willing to help certain feds find him. *g* (ETA: Also, I thought the tense shifts worked just fine - heh, I've even done the same thing for the exact same reason, to convey a delirious character's state of mind in a completely different fandom. Anyway, I didn't find it out of place at all.)

Edited at 2012-02-19 03:07 am (UTC)
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - blindsfrith_in_thorns on February 20th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)
I'm glad the tense shifts worked, I wasn't sure if that's "allowed" in writing! I was trying to write it consistantly, but I just kept slipping into present for Neal and past for Peter without noticing. (Made this quite fun to type up from longhand...)

And thank you! I don't think I've really written Mozzie before, but he was fun to do - and I think he's defintely willing to reconsider decisions when he gets more information about them. Of course, I'm also always up for writing confused!Neal! *gg*
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - Peter & Nealembroiderama on February 19th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
Meeeep, this is wonderful! I especially love Neal's bleary POV.
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - shirtsfrith_in_thorns on February 20th, 2012 02:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really do seem to have a thing for writing out-of-it!Neal POV *gg*
kriadydragon: Dolphinkriadydragon on February 19th, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Thak you so much! that is exactly what I wanted! *hugs* Delirious, scared Neal and determined Peter finding him, then being there when he wakes up. Love, love, love!
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - wake upfrith_in_thorns on February 20th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
*grins* Thank you very much, I'm really glad that you liked this! It was loads of fun to write, especially Neal's sections :D
imbecamiel: WC Neal jacketimbecamiel on February 19th, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)
Eeeee. Oh, this is so sweet. You do know how to pack the awesomeness into a fic. ^.^

There's just so much to love here - the tension, your portrayal of Neal's confused, frightened take on things... The fact that Peter doesn't have Moz's number... but El does. And that she helps, but still refuses to share, even with Peter. :D Really, I just love all the characters so much in this, it's ridiculous. *hugs for all of them* Lovely, lovely story.

(Also, as a Professional Editor I can confirm that your use of tenses is perfectly valid. And - just as important, if not more so - enhances the story without being distracting. So you're definitely good there! *g*)

Edited at 2012-02-19 04:02 am (UTC)
Frith: White Collar - El - happy phonefrith_in_thorns on February 23rd, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! :D This was really a lot of fun to write. And I love that you enjoy how I write the characters! I can't imagine Mozzie trusting his number to Peter, but I think he totally would to El *g*

Also, I kept trying to keep it in consistant tenses when I wrote this fic, but my writing kept slipping into the past/present thing without me noticing and then I'd change back. I had to concentrate quite hard when typing it up, there was such a verb jumble everywhere :P
leahk80leahk80 on February 19th, 2012 05:45 am (UTC)
nicely done
Frith: White Collar - Neal - passportfrith_in_thorns on February 23rd, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
oh these heroes come and go;: [wc] peter/neal hug!!!!!!;;micheleeeex on February 19th, 2012 06:58 am (UTC)
I love this!!
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - blindsfrith_in_thorns on February 23rd, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
Sally M: white collar 1sallymn on February 19th, 2012 08:14 am (UTC)
Oh poor darling Neal, so confused, and still so sure he needs and has to find Peter... and I just love everyone else, so totally themselves trying to find him :)

Oh, and that scene with the two of them at the jetty... perfect.

This is just absolutely lovely.

Edited at 2012-02-19 08:15 am (UTC)
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile shirtfrith_in_thorns on February 23rd, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I love writing confused!Neal, it's so much fun :P I'm really happy you enjoyed this :)
noiproksanoiproksa on February 19th, 2012 08:17 am (UTC)
This is so awesome! I love how Neal just slips away: Oldest Caffrey trick: “Give me a minute?” and the moment Peter turns around and isn't looking at him, he walks off. *g* Of course, Peter really didn't have any reason to believe he would do that, especially in his condition.

Delirious!Neal comes across really well, and I love the change of pov (and tenses *g*) with Neal running from the “wrong” Peter, and Peter, as always, not far behind.
I especially liked Neal picking the pocket of the businessman, but only taking the cash and leaving the wallet, and Peter's reaction when they find out he bought a cell: “Peter rolled his eyes but refrained from commenting on how Neal had almost certainly had no cash on him when he disappeared.” *g*

The second to last part, where Neal's delusions reach their peak, might have been my favorite part (yeah, I know, I'm just saying *everything* was my favorite part, here, but it's hard to choose favorite bits when I enjoyed the whole story). His fear and confusion and irrationality really made me feel for him (poor Neal, but I absolutely adore it!). Also the way he tries to make sense of the world around him until Peter is there to rescue him – I really liked how we see Peter's worry and fear for Neal even through delirious!Neal's eyes.
And then there's this sentence when he's finally (more or less) safe: “And Peter's face eclipses the moon, keeping the wicked clutching branches away and of course he's the right Peter, why was there ever any question?” And the world makes sense again – well, at least in a very roundabout way in Neal's head ... (and yeah, trees are *evil*! *g*) I love how Neal's anthropomorphizing them. Again: poor Neal, but luckily, Peter's there for him in a very sweet last scene, where still-kind-of-loopy!Neal confesses that he ran because he was scared (awww!) and then: Peter reached over and squeezed Neal's arm. "I'll find you every time," he said. "Be afraid of that, Caffrey." Such a perfect, cute ending to the fic.
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - blindsfrith_in_thorns on February 27th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for this awesome comment! And I'm sorry for taking so long to reply.

I'm really happy that you liked this so much! :D Delirious!Neal was great fun to write, his last POV section was definitely my favourite too. I'm happy that all the characters worked okay! Picking out all those bits you like was lovely of you, and making me grin massively, thank you again!

(Also, trees are totally not evil! *gg* But they can be a bit creepy sometimes :P)
shadowfireflame: Sherlockshadowfireflame on February 19th, 2012 08:34 am (UTC)
I really can't get enough of you writing Neal h/c. This was perfect. The part where Neal is on rotting wood was really tense and wonderful. I especially love Mozzie's role in it and the fact that Peter knew to call Elizabeth for info on Mozzie!
Frith: White Collar - El - happy phonefrith_in_thorns on February 27th, 2012 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :D I think this was my first attempt at writing Mozzie, so I'm glad he came across okay. El would totally have his number(s) *gg*
saphirablue on February 19th, 2012 09:34 am (UTC)

Delirious!Neal = made of win! :)

I love, love, love the fact that Elizabeth has Mozzie's numbers. *grins*

Love the confused POV of Neal and Peter's worrying.

Thank you for this fic! :)
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - walk wallsfrith_in_thorns on February 27th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! It was really fun writing Neal being all confused like this. And Mozzie would definitely let Elizabeth have his number! I'm very happy you enjoyed this :)
(Anonymous) on February 19th, 2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
Story review
Another excellent story. I really enjoy your writing!
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile shirtfrith_in_thorns on February 27th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Story review
Thank you! I'm happy you liked this :D
love_82 on February 20th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
This is really sweet. I agree the tense changes worked well in with your great descriptions of Neal's confusion and delerium. I love the trust that Neal has in Peter and poor Peter worrying and trying to find him. The ending was just perfect.

Edited at 2012-02-20 03:49 am (UTC)
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - blindsfrith_in_thorns on February 27th, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you :) I'm really happy that you enjoyed reading this fic :)
govgalgovgal on February 20th, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
Awww. Nicely done!
Frith: White Collar - Neal - hat bluefrith_in_thorns on February 27th, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
RabidChild's Fic: Neal - hot for teacherrabidchild on February 20th, 2012 08:27 am (UTC)
This is just wonderful. Neal's state of mind, and the trippiness of the hallucinations were very well done, and imaginative. Love Peter's frantic attempts to get Neal to listen (and of course, like my cat, he won't;) )

Great story.
Frith: White Collar - Neal - paperfrith_in_thorns on February 27th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yeah, Neal's pretty bad at following instructions :P I'm glad you enjoyed this!