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Neal's Very Long Day

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Peter is, and always has been, dependable and in some twisted sense of irony, has become the only person in my life I know I can trust. I've never had that, not with my Mom, Ellen, Mozzie, Alex or even Kate. I've been lied to too easily, used in others games or for their own agendas too often, trust quickly became a luxury I could ill afford in my life. And then along came Peter, an FBI Agent. The very last person someone like me should consider a friend. The very idea still has me internally collapsing with unrestrained hilarity every time I think about it.

So, when Peter goes missing during an undercover case, an undercover case which has already had a body count of one and plenty of warning there could easily be another, I lose it. My mind can't handle the feeling of loss that covers it like a death shroud. El is at home, waiting, watching the phone for news she doesn't yet know is coming, because although she knows Peter has gone undercover and could be gone a few days, she's yet to be informed he failed to keep his arranged check in this morning. She's still worrying unnecessarily in her mind, the kind of worry that comes from being outside the FBI loop and doesn't go away until her husband walks through the door at the end of the day.

It takes twenty-four hours… give or take. Hughes thinks I've gone home. Diana should have taken me there. De ja vu of the worst kind. Only this time I knew nothing of the suspects and held no insider knowledge of their methods. Action is how I usually operate, no good can come from me mopping around my apartment waiting for something to happen. All I know is one minute I'm on the streets doing what I do best, getting answers using misdirection and promises I have no intention of keeping. The next Jones is calling, demanding I meet them in the van.

The fact both Diana and Jones are present when I arrive at the van's location, no more enlightened as to Peter's circumstances than I was when I left this morning is mute, because Peter's Agent's prove how good they are.

"We got a lead on Peter. But we need you to go into that warehouse and pretend to be a buyer. You'll wear a camera so we can see what's going on inside. The mic will pick up any conversation. You're just there for eyes and ears. Don't get stupid on us, Caffrey."

I nod enthusiastically at the barrage of instructions. Not really caring beyond the fact they are actually including him in the plan and assuming their hunch is right, and Peter is inside, I'll get to see him first.

"No stupid, got it." I grin, bright and wide.

They assume as I intend, that I'm being cocky. Diana gives me the Peter speech which is always prompted by this same grin. It's almost as if he's trained them to act as him in his absence. It's creepy, but heightens how much I miss him by my side for these things and only serves to make me want Peter back even more.

What happens next isn't anything to write about. I walk through the warehouse, navigating my way through numerous stacked crates and boxes full of all sorts of treasures I'll probably never get to see, looking for the main players, noting as I go the shoddy security for such a supposedly high-profile operation. When I find the main office and stroll in all eyes turn to me. There's two burly Russians stood guarding a solid door. I don't get to see what's on the other side, because the object of this mission is actually stood opposite them, staring at me like he's wishing I were never there.

Realising he probably thinks I've come in half cocked and have no back-up I quickly assure his growing panic by taking out the gadget pen and twirling it through my fingers in plain view. As soon as recognition flashes I slip it back in my breast pocket, running my hand down my tie over the tiny camera. A smile quickly spreads over his face and just like that the show is on. Information needed is exchanged, five minutes and a lot of my bullshit later the reinforcements pile in. Peter pulls me to the side, pushing me bodily down behind an empty desk as soon as the guns come out.

Not a shot fired, bad guys arrested and marched out, I stand from my forced crouched position. It's in that moment I realise it's over. Peter's not dead and I won't have to live the rest of my life knowing I lost the one person in my life who I know I can rely on. Peter must see some of that realisation in my expression because without a word he opens his arms and welcomes me to him whole heartedly.

Okay, so it's not like he'd been in more than the usual danger, but I guess he remembers how I reacted the last time we were forcibly separated. It seems no matter who gets taken, it's always harder on the one left behind. Peter's used to finding me, he worries, but in the end takes it all in his stride. I however am not used to him being the one needing to be found and the fear running through me these past forty-eight hours since he went undercover has resulted in the emotional train wreck currently doing a koala impression in his arms.

Holding me tight, he gives a quick squeeze of reassurance which is clearly all he'd prepared for, but when Peter tries to separate us, I refuse to budge. Hands hovering, unsure as to what move to make, it takes less than a second for him to take the leap and quickly wrap me in his embrace once again. This time a little looser, letting me cling, but giving me the opportunity to pull away when ready.

Fat chance of that!

I'm never letting him go. Ever.

I feel his chin move, nodding slowly against my shoulder. Next thing I know the door behind us opens and two people slip out. Must be Jones and Diana. They were the only others left in the room.

"What's going on Neal?" Peter gives me a quick squeeze.

I can feel his breath against my ear. If I open my eyes, I can probably look up at him, see the worry in his face to match the soft words. But I don't. I squeeze them tight, so tight blobs of colour take over my vision in the darkness. I don't want to see or hear what's going on around me. I just want back that feeling of safety, the feeling of security Peter's always provided me just by being there. For all my complaints about the anklet and the lack of freedom, knowing Peter always know where I am and takes any action to protect me, is nice to me without wanting something in return, it means everything. I just want to hold onto that feeling. Is that really too much to ask?

"No, it's not." Peter's words come through loud and clear, infecting my mind with thoughts and images I really can't handle.

I pull away and swipe at my eyes. "Sorry, I'm fine." Though he didn't ask I can hear him thinking it.


There's that tone, the one that demands the truth and damnit if it doesn't draw me back in every time.

"I'm glad you're okay Peter." I try a watery smile for size. "It's been a very long day."