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[personal profile] lonetread
A/N: First posted at week 70 of [livejournal.com profile] writing_game (prompts: "whose name begins with an 'L' as far as you can recall" and "allow"/"community"). Title from the poem "Forgetfulness" by Billy Collins. 400 words (two doubledrabbles), written 8/23-26/10.


Used to Know By Heart

The realization that he’s in a hospital comes quickly.

What he’s having a harder time understanding is why the woman next to him is talking to him like he should know her. He thinks maybe her name starts with an “L”, but he can’t quite remember. He expects asking might upset her, so he lets her talk, lets her tell him all about what happened to him. Words like “cranial contusion” flow over him.

A nurse comes in. “Good, you’re awake. Some people from the FBI want to see you. Is that okay?”

He shrugs, says, “Sure,” then, once she leaves, asks the woman beside him, “The FBI? What do they want?”

“Well,” she says, “you were injured on the job, they probably want to clear up what happened. And make sure you’re okay, of course.”

He’s barely halfway through “Why would an on-the-job injury be a matter for the FBI?” before she’s looking at him strangely.

“Peter,” she says (and that’s one question answered), “what year is it?”

He tries to will the memory back, but finally puts up his hands in defeat. “I don’t know.”

Her face falls.

“I have a lot to catch up on, don’t I.”

---

There’s little time for explanations before the FBI arrive.

The agents are quickly informed, and they introduce themselves and set about patiently explaining their side, only halfheartedly asking for his own.

Peter tries to follow along with the story, but he finds himself more curious about the guy in the hat, who’s obviously not an agent, and who seems nervous, antsy; he’s been shifting on his feet, worrying at something on his ankle. When the agents finish talking, Peter asks him, “Remind me who you are?”

The man smiles widely, disarmingly. “Neal Caffrey,” he says. “I’m a—”

“Felon in FBI custody,” says Hughes.

“—‘consultant’, I’d have said, but that works too.” He pauses, then stage-whispers, “Don’t listen to him, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m a pillar of the community.” There’s laughter in his eyes, though, and Peter grins easily.

“Caffrey, cut it out,” Hughes says. “Let’s get going, we have criminals to catch.”

And suddenly, Caffrey looks anxious again.

“Can I stay? Please? I won’t go anywhere.”

Hughes looks at Neal, over at Peter, and back, before finally nodding. “You too, Jones. Watch him.” Jones nods.

Caffrey relaxes again, and, oddly, Peter finds himself doing the same.
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Justin

October 2010

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