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17 May 2012 @ 01:25 pm
[fic: white collar] Breathe  
I'm currently writing short prompt-fills as stress relief.

Title: Breathe
Characters/Pairing: Peter, Neal; Gen
Genre/Rating: Context-lite h/c; PG
Word count: 1000
Warnings: Panic attack
Notes: For a prompt by aqwt101 on whitecollarhc: Bad guy captures Neal and Peter and injects Neal with something causing panic attacks. Peter must keep him as calm as he can until help arrives.
Beta'd by helle_d.

Summary: Peter takes care of Neal, even when there's only so much he can do.

- - -

There was just enough light from the doorway for Peter to get a quick glimpse of Neal's features as he was shoved back into their cell. Then the door was slammed shut, leaving them in darkness while Neal was still in the process of stumbling forwards. He hit the floor a second later.

"Neal?" Peter demanded, feeling for him with an outstretched arm until he knocked the back of his hand against what turned out to be Neal's shoulder. "Are you alright? What did they do to you?"

Neal's breathing was slightly too fast and loud. "I'm okay," he said. "Just — they stuck me with something."

"A knife?" Peter asked, alarmed. He tried to pat Neal down gently, searching for injuries.

Neal battered his hands away. "Stop it! No. A syringe — they didn't tell me what was in it." His voice was terse.

Peter swore. "How are you feeling?"

"I don't think I feel any different," Neal said. "Maybe they were just screwing with me. I think I was pissing them off."

"Really," Peter commented, dryly. He could hear the anxiety in Neal's voice, and tried to keep his own voice normal. "They didn't do anything else?"

Neal stood up abruptly. His footsteps moved agitatedly back and forth. "No. I think they're actively trying not to hurt us."

"Unless you count injecting you with an unknown substance."

"Unless you count that," Neal agreed. He had found the door; Peter heard him slam his hands against the metal. "Peter, we need to get out of here!"

"Hey," Peter said, trying to reassure. "We'll be alright."

"We need to get out," Neal insisted.

Peter stood, worriedly, concerned by Neal's tone. "Neal. Calm down." He wasn't quite sure where Neal was in relation to him anymore — he had started pacing again.

"I don't need to calm down, Neal snapped, which was blatantly untrue. He kicked at a wall.

Peter sighed. "Neal, please."

"I don't —" Neal began, and then broke off. His breathing was still speeding up, harsh and ragged. "Peter?" he asked, in a different, unsteady voice."

"Where are you?" Peter moved cautiously towards where he thought Neal was.

"Peter," Neal said, breathlessly, and was suddenly clutching at Peter's arm. Then he dropped. Peter couldn't react in time to catch him.

"Neal?" he demanded. He found Neal's shoulders, grasped them. "Talk to me. What's wrong?"

"Hurts," Neal panted.

"Where does it hurt?" Peter found Neal's hand. "Show me."

Neal pulled his hand — and Peter's — up against his chest, and Peter momentarily felt his own heart stop. "Okay. You're going to be okay."

Neal was gasping. "Can't breathe."

"Yes you can," Peter told him, firmly. "You can. You're doing fine."

"Can't."

"Neal, stop arguing!" Peter was having to fight to stay calm himself. He reached out until he found the nearest wall. "I'm going to try and move you to feel more comfortable, okay?"

He took Neal's non-answer as assent, and dragged his partner's non-resisting body a little way so that Peter could lean against the wall with Neal pulled up against him. He pushed Neal's head forward and put an arm around his back. Neal grabbed on to his hand and squeezed it tightly.

"Peter," he moaned.

"I'm here," Peter said. "You're going to be okay." He used his free hand to check Neal's pulse at his neck — it was fluttering wildly. His skin was clammy and his rapid, shallow breaths were becoming wheezy. "Neal, listen to me. I think you're having a panic attack."

Neal made a horrible, hurting sound of distress, and spasmed slightly in Peter's grasp.

"Neal! You're going to be okay. I've got you. Try and breathe through it, okay? Try and breathe out slowly."

He hated this. He hated the torturous sounds Neal was making, and how he himself couldn't do anything about to ease them. Hated the way Neal was shaking and shivering, clutching Peter's hand like it was the only solid thing in the world. Most of all he hated that he was praying that this was a panic attack, because the alternatives were even less pleasant, and possibly fatal.

Neal seemed to be only tangentially aware of him. Peter wished desperately for light, so that Neal could at least see him and know he wasn't alone.

"Did I ever tell you about how we caught Owen Lewis?" he asked. "He was running several health insurance scams at once — a real nasty piece of work. Good at covering his tracks, too." Neal didn't slow the rate of his hoarse breathing, but he wriggled slightly, pressing himself closer to Peter. Peter continued with the story of the case, which involved long surveillance shifts and some excellent digital data-mining by Jones, and stroked Neal's hair back from his sweat-slicked face, establishing a slow, steady rhythm. He could feel Neal struggling to match it.

"You're doing really well," he said, gently, when he'd wrapped up the case. "I'm proud of you. Just keep breathing through it."

"Please," Neal whispered, his voice harsh and broken.

So Peter kept talking, telling Neal another story, and then another one, hearing and feeling Neal's shudders eventually stop, his breathing gradually slow.

"How're you doing?" Peter asked, eventually.

"Better," Neal whispered. Then his shoulders shook sharply. It wasn't until it happened a couple more times that Peter realised Neal was crying silently, trying not to let him know.

As if Peter was going to think less of him for that. "Come here," he said, firmly, and pulled Neal against his chest. Neal tensed for a moment and then all of the tension seemed to drain out of his body at once, and he hugged Peter back.

Peter held him there. "It's okay," he said, quietly. "I've got you. You're safe."

"Thank you," Neal breathed. He rested his head in the crook of Peter's shoulder, and sighed as Peter rubbed a hand up and down his back.

"You're okay," Peter repeated, and felt Neal's breathing slowly slacken into an exhausted sleep.

When Jones broke down the door, he almost told him off for waking Neal.

- - -

Posted at http://frith-in-thorns.dreamwidth.org/56352.html with comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
 
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - Neal & Peter handsomeembroiderama on May 17th, 2012 12:46 pm (UTC)
OH MY HEART! I love how steady Peter is here and how you show so much without visual descriptions.
Frith: White Collar - Peter - scepticalfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D I've been playing around a load with limitations like loss of sight in my notebook recently - they're interesting to write. I'm glad you enjoyed this!
elrhiarhodanelrhiarhodan on May 17th, 2012 12:57 pm (UTC)
Poor Neal - and Peter was so perfectly wonderful here.

Thank you.
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - walk wallsfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I thought I should focus on Peter for a change (even though Neal still gets the hurt *g*). I'm really glad you liked this!
Rumrouzrumrouz on May 17th, 2012 01:01 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwww!
I love it!!!! Especially hugs in the end! And that Neal fell asleep on Peter! And... God, I love all of it!!!
When Jones broke down the door, he almost told him off for waking Neal.
I lost all words and now I look like this smile -

Thank you so much!

Edited at 2012-05-17 01:02 pm (UTC)
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile hatfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! I'm delighted to get so many smilies for this one -- I'm really happy that you enjoyed it! :D ♥
noiproksanoiproksa on May 17th, 2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
Love this! The comfort part is especially sweet.
My favorite part:
Then his shoulders shook sharply. It wasn't until it happened a couple more times that Peter realised Neal was crying silently, trying not to let him know.
As if Peter was going to think less of him for that.

Awwwww! This is so ... I don't even have words for it. I love how Neal doesn't want Peter to know (because that's very Neal) and the darkness provides perfect cover - well, almost perfect. And how Peter takes care of him with comfort hug and all - again: awwwwwwwww! - letting him know that it's okay (to cry) and that he's safe - and then Neal feels safe enough with him to fall asleep after all the exhaustion even though they're still in the cell, but, well, he's with Peter so that's okay. :) Just - all of it! So. Cute!
Frith: White Collar - Neal - writingfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I really, really love Peter taking care of Neal, although I think I don't usually focus on him enough. So I'm really glad you liked that here - I also do have a massive fondness for hugging as a form of comforting :) Again, thank you!
RabidChild's Ficrabidchild on May 17th, 2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
This is a wonderful example of what a good friend Peter is. Awww.

really, why can't I have a clingy Neal on top of me every once in a while, dammit?
Frith: White Collar - Neal - hat greenfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
Maybe if you're very good you'll get one for Christmas :P
And thank you! I love Peter being all caring for Neal :)
saphirablue on May 17th, 2012 02:01 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥

I'm in love with this! Peter taking care of Neal, calming him down and talking to him in order to try to counteract the panic attack. ♥ And most importantly? Neal trusting Peter in this situation. It could have gone in an other way too, but Neal trusts Peter. ♥

Thank you! :)
Frith: White Collar - Peter - scepticalfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much! Peter looking after Neal is one of my Favourite Things, I'm glad you like it too :)
aqwt101aqwt101 on May 17th, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww! &hearts &hearts &hearts *melts in a puddle*

It's awesome! You pushed so many buttons of mine: Peter taking care of Neal and telling him stories in the dark to calm him, Peter letting Neal know that it's okay to cry, and the hug, and Neal falling asleep on Peter because it is safe with Peter here...


Thank you so much for filling my prompt!
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile hatfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm really glad you enjoyed this, and that it was what you wanted! It was a very fun prompt, and I definitely enjoyed writing it. Thank you! ♥
leesa_perrie: Neal & Peterleesa_perrie on May 17th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
Wondeful! I loved how Peter stays solid throughout it all, and manages to calm Neal down!

When Jones broke down the door, he almost told him off for waking Neal.

LOL! Great last line!!
Frith: White Collar - Peter - scepticalfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm really glad you liked this. Peter is just that awesome :)
oh these heroes come and go;: [wc] n/p - i'll let you go; i'll set youmicheleeeex on May 17th, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
Poor Neal! I love this!
Frith: White Collar - Neal - worried shirtfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :)
nieseryjnanieseryjna on May 17th, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
great story, nicely build tension, and you got me wondering what exactly Neal got so panicked!

When Jones broke down the door, he almost told him off for waking Neal.</a> aaaawwwww the best line!
Frith: White Collar - Neal - writingfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed this!

(As for what exactly caused it, there are looooads of drugs which can induce panic-attacks, I thought it wouldn't be terribly interesting to get bogged down in detail, though :) )
Sholio: WhiteCollar-Peter Neal soft filtersholio on May 17th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Awwwww! I am perfectly down with contextless h/c. ♥
Frith: White Collar - Neal - paperfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :) I'm writing h/c in my revision breaks; it's surprisingly restful ;P

(Please don't be offended that I haven't got around to reading your longer fic yet - I'm saving it as a reward for when I've done a certain amount of work :) )
(no subject) - sholio on May 18th, 2012 07:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
kriadydragon: Dolphinkriadydragon on May 17th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Looooooove! This was wonderful. I so adore stories where one character is in a bad way and the other sets aside all awkwardness to comfort him, because all that matters is getting him through it. Thank you so much for this :D
Frith: White Collar - Peter - scepticalfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really enjoy writing those sorts of fics, actually. I'm very happy you enjoyed this! :)
shadowfireflame: White Collarshadowfireflame on May 17th, 2012 08:50 pm (UTC)
He hated this. He hated the torturous sounds Neal was making, and how he himself couldn't do anything about to ease them.

But, Peter, you can, and you are! Just by existing and being there for Neal, you’re making things better than they would otherwise have been, making Neal feel more safe and protected. *hugs them*

Great job. <3
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - walk wallsfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
*gives them all the hugs*

Thank you! I love writing protective!Peter, he's such a lovely character :) I'm really happy that you enjoyed this!
Varda ☆: Neal and Peter Badgesx_varda_x on May 17th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
I love this! Poor crying Neal and the hug at the end was so sweet *wibbles*
Frith: White Collar - Neal - dirty handsfrith_in_thorns on May 17th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
squeakyoflightsqueakyoflight on May 17th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
Excellent, harrowing and sweet fic all at once. I really liked this!

Squeaky
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile hatfrith_in_thorns on May 18th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :)