White Collar: Antiques

Fandom: White Collar
Genre: poly/slash. Angst.
Summary: It’s okay that he forgets.

Warning: deals with Alzheimers


 

“Neal, are you coming to watch the game with me?”

Neal looked at one of his two lovers, his husband, and smiled brightly. “Sure, Peter, why not.” He shrugged, he always had a hatred for sports on TV, and he’d rather experience it live. He handed Peter one of the fruit juice carton boxes that he liked so much and got a glass of water for himself. He then sat down next to Peter, smiling widely. “You want to bet who’ll win?”

“I’m not betting against you.” Peter snorted. “You always find a way to cheat.”

“I don’t!” Neal said shocked. “I’ve given up on trying cheating my way out of betting with you ages ago.”

“Yeah, sure. Why didn’t you get me a beer?”

“We’ve ran out.” Neal smirked.

“No!”

“Oh yes.” Neal nodded. “Deal with it.”

“I’ll try.” Peter brought the straw of the carton of juice to his mouth and sucked on it. “Silly to watch the game without beer.”

Neal looked at the clock and smiled. “At least we’ll have a snack in about 10 minutes.”

“Really? What’s El making?”

Neal swallowed hard. “Eh… I don’t know.” He hesitated. “You know how she gets when she’s in the kitchen.” He smiled. “Always busy.” Neal didn’t have the heart to tell Peter, again, that Elizabeth was gone. He just hoped that Peter wouldn’t start calling for her, again. The last time it took several hours for Peter to calm down when he found out that Elizabeth had passed a few years earlier.

It was quiet for a while, as Peter was so involved in the game. Neal already knew who was going to win, it was the game from last year, which he and Peter watched almost every other week, but yet he wasn’t bored. Spending time with Peter was precious these days and he seized every minute of it. “Hey, Neal?”

“Yes, Peter?”

“You don’t have to watch the game with me.”

“I know, but I want to.”

Peter didn’t speak for the remainder of the game; he just kept staring at the TV. Neal took this time to make sure that Peter was in one piece and not showing signs of bed sore. Peter had lost the ability to walk even before Elizabeth had passed, and up until six months ago Peter had been at home.

But it had become a tough day job for Neal after he fell down a flight of stairs and there had been too many accidents with Peter so Neal decided it was safer to keep Peter as comfortable and well-taken care of as possible. Neal couldn’t do it all by himself anymore, but he made sure he spent most of his days with Peter in the hospice.

Peter was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s too, the chance of finding him lucid each day had gotten less and less and it hurt Neal to see his lover deteriorate before his eyes, knowing fully well that one day, Neal would be all alone.

The game had ended and Peter switched off the TV. He then looked at Neal, who was holding him. “You’re not real.”

“I am.” Neal softly said and slowly got off the bed.

“Who are you?”

“Neal.”

“Nah, Caffrey looks younger than you, and he’s in prison.” Peter said sternly. “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?”

Neal knew what time it was, he had to get out before he’d upset Peter and the nurses had to sedate him. “I’m sorry. I must have entered the wrong house, these houses look so much alike.” He managed to smile.

“I’m an FBI agent, you know.”

“I know.” Neal nodded, gathered his hat and coat from the coat rack and waved apologetically. “I’m sorry Mr. Burke. Enjoy your day.”

Peter huffed and Neal walked out the door. Once on the hallway of the hospice he took a deep breath before putting his coat on. “Mr. Burke?” a nurse walked to him. “Are you okay?”

Neal managed to smile, most of the days his heart got broken by Peter, he was supposed to be used to it by now, but he still wasn’t. “Yeah, I will be. Is my taxi waiting?”

“Yes, Mr. Burke. I was just about to come and get you.”

“Not to worry, I’m already here.” He put the hat on his head and followed the nurse towards the front door. “Peter’s probably asleep by now.”

“Very well Mr. Burke. Enjoy the rest of your day.” She smiled and opened the door for him. “Same time tomorrow?”

“Yes.” He smiled and exited the building. He got into the cab that took him home to an empty house, to the failed attempts of Neal trying to forge a Monet (whatever he tried, he couldn’t defy ageing and his shaking hands), to the mess that was his kitchen and to the safe haven that was his bed.

It still smelled of Peter.

Maybe, when Neal would wake up from his power nap, he’d cowboy up and call social services to help him around the house. Life still went on, despite Peter being on his last legs. Neal was still in remarkable good shape, he knew that he’d have to stick around a while longer. Or at least, that was his decision now anyway.

At the moment, he just wanted to nap and dream his heartache away.

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