pooh_collector: (pooh again)
[personal profile] pooh_collector
Title: Downtime
Rating: G
Word Count: 950
Characters: Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke, Mozzie
Spoilers: Wanted, Most Wanted
Author’s Note: Episode Tag/Missing Scene Meme Fic #3 for [livejournal.com profile] angelita26 who requested “How about something during Most Wanted where Neal was wounded and Peter and Mozzie were taking care of him? Please, please, please :D”

Despite how close to the equator Cape Verde sat, Neal usually enjoyed the brightness and heat of the island sun. But today as he stood on the grass outside Mozzie’s villa working on the painting they would use to convince the locals that Dobbs was running off with their payola, he felt unusually hot. Sweat dripped down the back of dark blue shirt, making his skin prickle and sending the occasional cold shiver along his spine.

He dropped his eyes down to his palette to add a little black to the grey he was using to detail the empty interior of the safe and his vision began to dim around the edges. He took a deep, slow breath and blinked, but his vision remained hazy, dark at the sides and overly bright in the center. Suddenly lightheaded, Neal shifted his stance, forgetting that his injured right leg wouldn’t hold his weight.

His knee gave and he began to tumble toward his easel, his vision dissipating even further into a bright white shimmer.

Mozzie caught a hint of movement out of the corner of his eye and turned just as Neal began to fall forward. He dropped the hammer he was holding and lunged toward the younger man. “Whoa!” He exclaimed, catching Neal just before he hit the canvas he had been working on.

Mozzie waited a moment until Neal seemed steadier. “Come on, let’s get you sitting down.” Keeping a hold on Neal’s arm, he slowly guided them toward the lounge chair set a few feet away. Neal’s limp was more pronounced than it had been earlier in the day and his skin was warm and moist under Mozzie’s hands.

Neal sat heavily and closed his eyes before sliding back to rest against the back of the lounger. Mozzie picked up Neal’s legs and carefully swung them up onto the chair. Neal stiffened and hissed at the sharp pain the movement ignited in his thigh, but relaxed again as it eased once he was prone. “Thanks, Moz,” he whispered gratefully.

Mozzie nodded, even though Neal couldn’t see him. “I’m going to go get you a glass of water. Don’t move.”

As if, Neal had no intention of moving in the immediate future. He still felt shaky and airy, even lying down with his eyes closed.

A minute or so later Neal heard two sets of footsteps moving toward him. Of course Mozzie brought reinforcements. He opened his eyes, blinking into the dazzling brilliance of the afternoon just as Peter perched on the edge of the lounger next to his knees.

“I’m okay. Just got a little dizzy,” Neal said hoping to forestall Peter’s overprotective streak.

Peter pressed the back of his hand to Neal’s forehead and scowled at the warmth he felt there. “I beg to differ. You were shot. You need to rest before you end up permanently sidelined.”

“There’ll be plenty of time for me to rest when we get back to New York. Peter, if we’re going to bring in McLeish, you need me.”

Peter nodded, momentarily blocking the bright sun, underscoring the serious expression on his face. “Yeah, but not at risk to your health, Neal. If we have too, Mozzie and I will make this work without you.”

Neal frowned. There was no way they could pull this off without him. There was no way he would let them even attempt pull this off without him.

Peter saw Neal’s jaw clench. He had seen the move enough times since they had been working together to know what it meant. “Just take an hour, please. Come inside, drink some water, lie down. You’re running a little warm. Maybe you just need to get out of the sun and off that leg for a while.”

Neal sighed. He was still lightheaded and maybe getting out of the sun for a little bit wasn’t a bad idea. “Okay,” he relented. “For an hour.”

Peter smiled, got up and gripped Neal under his elbow. Neal shifted his legs over the edge of the chair carefully and then let Peter help him up.

Neal was still just a bit dizzy, so he leaned on Peter as they made their way into the house. Leaning on Peter was a habit he apparently wasn’t able to break, even after running all the way to Cape Verde.

“Bedroom or sofa,” Peter asked as they crossed the threshold into the cool interior of the house.

“Sofa.” The idea of a bed sounded incredible, but the sofa was miles closer.

Peter guided Neal slowly across the tile floor to the couch. Neal sat heavily with a wince and an outward rush of breath. Peter grabbed a few of the decorative pillows that were strewn around the room and stacked them up against the arm of the sofa.

“Thanks,” Neal uttered as he leaned back against the plush pile. Mozzie was there then holding out a glass of water to him.

“Thanks Moz.” Neal took the glass and sipped the cool water. He had no idea how thirsty he actually was until the liquid hit the back of his throat. He finished most of the glass, careful to drink slowly to avoid upsetting his stomach and then set the remainder on the table next to the sofa.

Then he let himself relax, closing his eyes. The softness of the couch cushions beneath him and the cooler air inside the house were already lulling him down to sleep. “Just an hour,” he managed to mumble. “Don’t forget.”

Mozzie and Peter exchanged a knowing look. Neither of them had any intention of waking Neal any time soon. “Absolutely, just an hour,” Peter replied.

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