Disclaimer: The following is a work of fan fiction based on the CBS television series, The Magnificent Seven. It is in no way intended to infringe on the copyrights of CBS, MGM, The Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp, or anyone else who may have legal rights to the characters and settings. The Sentinel copyright is held by Paramount and Pet Fly Productions.   White Collar belongs to Jeff Eastin and USA.

Thanks to Antoinette for your beta reading

 

Catch a falling Angel

In the M7 Deadly Angel AU

Special Agent in Charge Peter Burke  sat in his own home sipping a cup of coffee as he chatted to his wife about the every day, trivial matters that made up the sanctuary of his home life. Today was his first day back after two weeks on holiday, since there was no urgent messages, he was fairly sure that his partner had spent two uneventful weeks in the office. His partner, Peter took a sip of his coffee again and decided that was the right word for him. If someone had told him six months ago that he would be partnered by Neal Caffrey he would have suggested they got their heads tested, because he had spent three years of his life trying to bring the young con man and art forger to justice. He had finally managed it, but they had only got Caffrey on forged bank bonds, and there was still a mile of bad road out there full of Caffrey’s crimes that needed to be accounted for.

When Caffrey had broken out of prison, for the love of his girlfriend, Peter had ended up catching him for the second time, not that Caffrey had put up much of a fight; he had been too emotionally drained for that when he found Kate, beloved Kate missing. From there it had been a big leap, but one that had proved profitable of having Neal Caffrey released on a work programmed to help the White Collar unit convict con men, forgers and others of Caffrey’s ilk. But what he hadn’t banked on was actually forming a friendship with the younger man.

It was just then that the phone rang. It was Jones, one of his team, the man didn’t have time for pleasantries. Neal Caffrey was missing, the tracker had been severed, and there was blood. Even Director Hughes, never a fan of the con man, was saying that it looked like Neal had been taken. But the question was who and why.

Once in the office Peter’s temperament didn’t improve as he heard the comments made by some of the other agents, that Caffrey must have had it coming,  one of his cons coming back to bite him in the ass, once a criminal always a criminal.

For  Peter and his two agents, the next 72 hours was something that none of them wanted to ever live through again, Cruz and Jones might be suspicious of Neal, but he was  one of their own now and he  was  missing, and they moved heaven and earth to find him.

0-0-0-0-0

72 Hours earlier

The door to his room flew open. Neal struggled violently against the people that grabbed at him; he managed to get in a few good blows, but was brought down, his face pressed to the floor, arm twisted back. Someone caught a hand into his hair and slammed his head down against the wood floor, stunned he heard someone behind him and out of view say.

“Welcome home old friend.”

Neal knew the voice, Goodwin. Hands began to run over his body, and Neal struggled weakly, then there was a sharp pain in the side of his neck, and he tumbled down into a black void and knew nothing more.

Present

Neal was writhing on the table, naked, cuffed at his hands and feet to a steel table, his body covered in sweat his head thrashing as he tried to escape from things that only he could see, as a drug burned through his veins. There were easier drugs that could have turned Neal’s mind inside out breaking down his will. Goodwin wanted revenge, on Neal Caffrey, when he had escaped it had reflected badly on him, and he had lost out on the promotion that had been his for the taking.  So he was going to do this the old school way, the drugs he had pumped into Caffrey would have the younger man clawing his own skin off,  to try and stop the crawling sensation of his flesh. He wanted Caffrey to suffer, and beg for release.

He stood over Neal with a syringe one hand, his other hand roughly groping at the younger man, knowing that each touch was pure agony to Neal. “Your mine now Caffrey, Peter said so, he said he didn’t want you any more, said I was to take special care of you.” As he said that Goodwin’s nails dug into the tender flesh of Neal’s inner thigh, breaking the skin.

The door suddenly crashed open, Peter came in fast gun up and at the ready, with Jones and Cruz flanking him, giving mutual cover, the first thing he saw was an man in a white coat leaning over Neal, syringe in hand, his other hand, was on his partner.

“FBI, step away from him now.” Peter ordered as he closed the distance between them his gun trained right at the man’s head, there was no mistaking the threat.

The man hesitated, but by now Peter was right on him, and whatever the man saw made him shuffle backwards. “Put the syringe down on the tray and move away from it, now.”

 “You don’t understand,” the man tried to bluff, “this man is a violent mental patient he need….”

“Nothing you can give him,” Peter snarled at him at him.  Once he was sure that Cruz and Jones had the man covered Peter holstered his gun, and was at Neal’s side, he gingerly laid a hand onto his partner’s naked shoulder, the skin under his hand was as cold as marble, but the moment he made contact Neal had pulled back violently, as far as the restraints could allow, fighting against them in his terror, no coherent words came out, just a none stop rambling, his words running together, heavily drugged he was lost in a world of pain and terror

“I’ve got him Peter, take care of your partner,” Cruz said with a slight shake of the head that showed she was finally getting her head round the idea of Caffrey as a partner to her boss.

Peter kept his voice low and calming, as if he was talking to a child “Easy kiddo, no one is going to hurt you.” It was heart breaking for him to hear Neal begging his voice, rasping and dry, finely he made out the words “ Don’t tttttouch me, ppppplease, don’t.” Peter caught Neal’s head in his hands, forcing the con man to still, “I am going to get you free Neal, trust me.”  The older man stared into the drug unfocused blue eyes, willing the younger man to believe him. Neal shuddered under his hand, breathing heavily, chest heaving.

 “Jones can you get the restraints off him.” Even as he spoke to his probie, Peter never let his attention moved off the young man he looked off as his partner, willing Neal to keep focused on him.

Neal suddenly went still, and Peter released his hold on his face, and moved his hand onto the younger man’s shoulder, trying to ground him. The moment Jones undid the last of the restraints, Neal moved faster that Peter though he was capable given his obvious injuries, he  threw himself backwards and managed a kick at Peter, his foot catching the agent in the chest, as he propelled himself off the table. Neal hit the floor hard, and squirmed backward into the corner of the room, one arm held up to protect his face, his other wrapped round his body, as he  rocking back and forward.

Peter spun round “what the hell did you do to him.”

The prisoner took a step back at the fury in Peter’s face and collided with the wall, “an attitude adjuster that’s all, makes him more manageable, he nearly got away twice before we got him strapped down” 

“What the hell are you talking about,” Peter all but snarled at him, but a whimper from his partner brought him back to the more important matter at hand.

Carefully Peter knelt down and edged forward Neal taking care not to loom over him as he held out one hand towards him, willing his young partner to take it. “Its okay buddy, I am not going to hurt you.” It was heart breaking for him to see the younger man pulling back on himself, the rocking getting worse, as Neal’s hand clawed at his own flesh, leaving blood spotted weal. Peter edged slowly closer only to have Neal suddenly thrown himself backward slamming against the wall, with a sickening thud as he started up a keeling cry that made the hairs on the back of Peter’s neck stand up.

But there was no way that Peter was going to give up on Neal, and he started all over again, speaking softly “You know you want to go to the MET well that’s been okay, Hughes even said I could increase your tag to include it, so in future you won’t even have to ask, you were going to show me the Picassos remember Neal. You just have to let me help you kiddo, and I’ll take you. I know El was telling her friends how much she was looking forward to going with you.”

Neal lifted his head and peered at him over the arm he held protecting his face. As Peter watched he saw the way that his partner cocked his head slightly, only then did Peter allow some of the tension to ease out of him. Neal was listening to him.

“Peeeter,” the name was slurred, but Peter was sure that he saw a little more recognition in Neal’s eyes.

“Right here kiddo.” Take that as a positive sign, Peter edged a little closer, and then reached out slowly, he saw the way that Neal flinched, but with his back against the wall Neal had nowhere to run, his chest was rising and falling in ragged breaths as he tried to control his terror.  

Gently yet firmly Peter managed to coax Neal’s head up. “P  eee t eeerrrr,” Again the use of his name tore at the FBI agent, blue eyes where wide open, but the Peter was shocked by the fear that he saw in them, “You’re safe now,” Peter willed Neal to understand even as he could see that the ex con man was struggling to understand him, “any one that wants to hurt you will have to go through me first.”.

As Peter heard footsteps he turned slightly his other arm moving away from his body and with a cry, Neal threw himself in Peter’s arms, knocking him over onto his butt, and the FBI agent found himself with his arms full a naked Neal Caffrey, who was clinging onto him for dear life. In the back of his head Peter knew that he should be pushing Caffrey away, but instead, Peter pulled him close his large hands moving over Neal’s shivering body, stroking and soothing him, as his hands travelled over the slender well toned body. It was then he felt Neal’s hands one of them fumbling at his fly, as the other tried to slide into his shirt, instantly Peter pushed Neal back from him, “what the hell,” but the next instant Neal was back against him, his body rubbing up, the slurred words finally making sense as the younger man promised  “ttttold them tto ttttake  care of me, didn’t want me, can be good, reeeal ggggood  best fuck you had,” there was a manic desperation in Neal. Peter did the only then he could he pulled Neal close to him, trapping the hand that was trying to worm it’s way down the front of his pants, as he wrapped his other arm tightly round the slender younger man’s waist.  Slowly the keeling noise halted and Neal was just making a contented noise, as he buried his face against his throat and began to nuzzle his skin.

Time for the pair of them had stood still, all Peter’s attention was focused on Neal Caffrey, trying to calm him down, when Peter looked up at Jones and Cruz, instead of revolting he saw compassion, and once again he thanked the powers that be that had gifted him with the two younger agents. But when he saw the look on the face of their prisoner, it took all of Peter’s self control not to pull his gun and shoot him, the man was gloating. “What the hell did you pump into him?” He demanded but the man just smirked, for someone just arrested for kidnapping and serious assault, the man looked too calm, as if he was he and not Peter that was in charge.

Jones kept back until Peter waved him over, the young agent, not wanting to set Caffrey off again, carefully Jones laid a blanket taken from the room next door over Neal, as Peter tried to rub some heat back the shivering ex con man.

“Thanks, and see if you can find him some clothes,” Peter felt Neal try to snuggled even closer to him, it was almost as if he was trying to share the same skin, he felt dry lips press against his throat, as the younger man rubbed his face against his, trying to draw his attention from Jones. “Bettter than him, ma make you hhaard,” suddenly Neal yawned, and his head dropped down against Peter’s shoulder, “ttired, don’t ttake mee asleep.”

Peter tightened his own arms round Neal, and tucked him into a more comfortable position, as he spoke softly to him, “your safe Neal, safe, no one is going to hurt you kiddo.”

“Liike tthat”. Neal breathed his voice little more than a whisper, and his eyes closed.

Director Reese Hughes had started the search of the disused private mental asylum, he had been in charge of the rescue, but had allowed Peter and his team to go in first, after all Caffrey was Burke’s responsibility, as well as his friend. So far they hadn’t seen anyone else, but Hughes was determined that no one was getting away, if they were on the property he wanted them arrested, no one kidnapped one of his men and got away with it. He had been about to send in the medics for Caffrey when Jones had  in hushed tones told him over the radio that SAC Burke was handling it. Hughes had read between the lines and kept them back for the moment.

Goodwin waited patiently, the older man he knew was SAC Burke, was totally focused on Caffrey, and the other agent was out of the room, the woman had the cuff on one of his  wrists, always the most dangerous time for a police officer during an arrest.

Goodwin with a surge of strength and speed he somehow managed to twist into Cruz, trapping her gun hand and body checking the smaller, lighter built woman into the wall with a sickening thud her body falling to the floor.

Peter, went for his gun, as Goodwin with Cruz’s sig in his hand turned in on them, suddenly Neal pulled away from him, Peter’s Glock in his hand, and he fired twice, the first bullet taking Goodwin in the face the second in his heart, then with a gasp, he sank down into Peter’s arms. The older man just managing to grab the gun before it fell from his hand.

Peter started at the cooling body, and at his partner, Neal hated  guns, but he had just expertly double tapped the man, Neal’s words came back to him from when they had been taking down the crooked brokers, “just because I don’t like guns don’t mean that I can’t use them,” what the hell had just happened.

Just then Jones came rushing into the room, gun in hand, and followed by Hughes, the young agent quickly kneeling by Cruz who was starting to come round. Hughes looked from the gun in Peter’s hand and to the gun by Goodwin’s body and his injured agent. He spoke quickly into his head set “I have two men down, I need medical assistance now,” then to Peter he added “It was a justified kill, Peter, I have to take your gun, and notify OPR, but it will be alright, you have my word.

 

0-0-0-0-0

Mercy General Hospital

Neal was still out cold when they got to the hospital, and Peter reluctantly watched as he was taken away, the doctor had spoken of blood tests and they needed to examine the contents of the syringe to see what had been given. Sat in the waiting room, Peter heard his name called and Elizabeth was there, he pulled her into a full body hug and held onto her.

“How is Neal?” Elizabeth had taken to the young con man from the moment she had met him, and her concern was real.

“He’s resting and they’re doing blood work on him, he’s been hurt,” Peter’s voice trailed off, and Elizabeth took her husband’s hand, and lead him to a quiet corner, where he told her about the rescue,  “Neal had heavy bruising to his hips, and inner thighs along with scratch marks to his thighs back and stomach.”

Elizabeth’s hand went to her face “he was,” she couldn’t put it into words, but when she saw her husband nod, the tears ran slowly down her face. Taking a deep breath she brushed them away , “when they tell him he can leave he comes home with us Peter, not back to June’s, she’s away for the next month, he’ll need people he can trust round him.”

Peter leaned in and gave her a kiss and a hug.

The sound of a man coughing brought Peter round, the doctor stood there, a file in his hand, “Are you the family of Mr. Caffrey?”

Peter nodded “Neal is my FBI partner, and he’s family to us.”

The doctor had dealt with law enforcement partners before, and knew how deep it ran. 

“We have completed the blood work on Mr. Caffrey, it tested positive for rohypnol, and two other drugs which customized it, causing dissociative, hypnotic hallucinations, and compliance, the drug is particularly strong and would have lasted in his system for at least twelve hours at a time, you said that he was missing 72 hours, it would have built up in his body. He is resting, given the dosage he could have loss of memory for the time he was held, don’t push him for details Agent Burke, it might or might not come back.

“You said two other drugs, doctor.”

The doctor looked puzzled, “we don’t know what they are not on the  drugs data base, but they appears to be clearing from Mr. Caffrey’s body along with the rohypol.”

“Did you perform a rape kit?”

“Yes,” the doctor nodded, “and I am sorry, there is evidence of prolonged sexual assault.”

“Thanks you doctor, when can we see him,” Peter had to fight to keep the anger from his voice.

“I’ll have the nurse take you through.”

0-0-0-0-0

Elizabeth rushed into the room, and was sat by Neal’s side, taking one of his limp pale hands in hers and gently stroked the back of his hand, as Peter stood in the doorway, a shudder ran through him, it was so wrong for his hyperactive, vibrant partner to be laying so still and quiet.

“Hi, sweetie,” Elizabeth said as she saw the blue eyes open and blink owlishly at her, she lightly with her other hand brushed his hair from his eyes, smiling at him. Neal raised a shaking hand and his fingers brushed the lapel of her jacket, and he tried to pull her down to him, Elizabeth, leaned into him, and the next thing found herself lip locked to him. The kiss was hard and desperate, as if he was trying to pour his whole soul into it.

Elizabeth broke the kiss and pressed him back against the pillow, “I am alright Peter,” she had heard her husband, telling Neal to get his hands off her, but she had acted before he could do something he would regret.

“It seems the drug is still in his system, affectionate isn’t he.” She lightly stroked Neal’s face as he nuzzled against her hand, “he’s going to be mortified when he remembers this.” Elizabeth felt Peter’s hand rest on her shoulder, “But we’re going to be there for him,” she didn’t have see her husband’s face to know that Peter was in agreement.

0-0-0-0-0

The home of Elizabeth and Peter

Elizabeth woke to screaming. Peter, half asleep, was already out of the bed. His hand was groping for his gun in the bed side drawer.

“Neal,” Elizabeth was out of bed and rushing to the guest room, Neal was in the middle of night terror, his handsome face contorted with fear, as he tried to fight off whatever only he could see. He was screamed at them not to hurt him, begged Peter not to send him away that he would be no trouble that he wouldn’t run.

Peter caught hold of him as he nearly fell out of the bed and dragged him close, holding onto him until the night terror fades and he felt the lean body in his arms relax. Neal’s voice was low, unsure, “Peter what happened.”

“A nightmare.”

“I woke you?” his voice shook, and then he saw Elizabeth, his voice apologetic “I am sorry,” he rubbed at his face with his hand. “I am alright now you best get to bed, sorry,” his voice trailing off.  He reluctantly pulled away from Peter’s arms, it had felt so right to him, and it was as if nothing could harm him while he was there. While he was in hospital Peter, had put him right, he wanted him as his partner, and there was nothing he could do that would change that, and he had believed him.  He had been dreading returning to the emptiness of June’s house when he was released from hospital, so when Elizabeth had told him he was coming home with them a little of  the fear had gone away.

An hour later they were back in the guest bedroom, Elizabeth had taken the lead this time,, taking Neal’s hand she had drawn him to his feet, he had swayed and Peter had  put a protective arm round his waist, and even as he had protested they had taken him to their bed, settling him between them.

All the time Neal had been protesting, but they hadn’t allowed it, but exhaustion won out in the end and he had started to slip into sleep, he had felt, Peter wrapped an arm round his waist and anchored him against his strong body, offering protection from his fears,  it was then he heard Peter say with a laugher in his voice. “Just don’t’ tell anyone in the office I bedded Caffrey.”

“Oh I think I have bragging rights there, Pete, Martha is going to be spitting nails, and she’s been drooling over Neal ever since she met him.” For the first time since his rescue Neal had smiled softly to himself, and could see an end to this all, with people like Peter and Elizabeth caring about him, he couldn’t fail.  

For the next   four nights they had taken him into their bed, until finally he was able to sleep through the night, putting the worse of his fears behind him. Neal knew that he would be forever thankful to them, they didn’t have to have done that, or sit up with him, late into the evening, he was all too aware that they could have taken the easy option, and sent him back to the prison hospital to recover. But they hadn’t they had taken him into their home and made him feel safe, and protected.

He had been surprised when Hughes had arrived at the front door the other day, immediately he had thought it was to replace the tracker anklet, he was all too aware that they hadn’t refitted it after his time in hospital. But the Director had brushed that away saying it could wait, at the same time smiling actually smiling at him, Hughes had then told him he was there to take his statement, Neal had felt his heart lurch, and had suddenly felt faint, only to have Hughes catch his arm, and help him to the couch, as gentle and loving Satchmo, the Burke’s dog growled all the time deep and low in its throat, as if he was a guard dog. Peter had calmed the dog, and instead of being angry, the Director had just shaken his head in amusement. Neal couldn’t believe how Hughes had treated him,  the Director had been kind, informal and patient with him, allowing  Peter to stay with him while he talked, he had been thankful for the quiet support he got, and couldn’t miss the protective glare that Peter was leveling at his boss. Not that he could tell them much, his memory was Swiss cheese, but he was able identify Joe Goodwin from a photograph line up as his attacker.   Finally Hughes had placed his papers, and the tape recorder back into his case, and patted him on the shoulder, “I look forward to seeing you back in the office, and the place is too damn quiet.” Neal hadn’t known what to say, and Peter’s words had come back to him, “you have more friends in White Collar than you realize,” so maybe it was true.

Two days later, Neal was curled up on their sofa the Burke family dog, sat against it, as if sensing that he was needed, since his return to their house Satchmo had refused to leave his side, always a comforting presence for him. Neal yawned  and cracked an eye open, Elizabeth was in the kitchen, and he could hear banging from the shoebox size garden as Peter tried to put up a  bird feeder, where Satchmo couldn’t get to it.

On the coffee table was his art supplies and a half completed picture of Elizabeth that he was drawing as a thank you present, he yawned again, reaching  a hand down to riffle the dogs fur, and then went back to sleep, he still felt bone tired the difference was that he could finally sleep.

 

The telephone rang and Elizabeth picked up the extension in the kitchen, Peter was at home doing some DIY while he was waiting for the paper work to clear on his shooting, they didn’t have any secrets and he had told her how Neal had saved his life, and that he had taken the blame for the killing. A FBI agent killing someone in self defense was acceptable, but a felon working as a consultant was another, Neal would have been arrested and taken to the prison hospital, and he didn’t need that. He had done it to protect him, and he would take the consequences. But for now they had to give him time to heal.

Elizabeth frowned and then took the telephone out the back where Peter was working, “for you dear, it’s a Special Agent Ezra Standish, the Denver office.”

Peter took the phone and shrugged, he listened carefully, “I’ll check with Director Hughes, and” he broke off, “how you could know that, I haven’t been informed yet.”  Peter paused, “You want me to bring my wife and Neal to Denver, I don’t know who the hell you think you are but that isn’t going to happen any time soon Standish, you want me in Denver, put the paper work through. Hell.” Peter pulled the phone away from his ear, “can you get the door, El, and I need to set this idiot straight.”

Elizabeth smiled and with a quick glance to make sure the Neal was still sleeping she opened the front door, the man facing her was dressed to the nines, he could even given Neal a run for the front cover of GQ, he was slighter smaller than her husband putting him under six foot, with dark hair, and intelligent green eyes, he looked like a successful CEO.

“Can I help you,” even as she spoke she saw him, click his cell phone shut. “Special Agent Ezra Standish, ATF Denver, I think your husband is expecting me.”

The end.

 

 continues in FLIP SIDE OF THE COIN

 

 

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