coffeethyme4me: (Default)
[personal profile] coffeethyme4me
Title: Shelter II
Author: [personal profile] coffeethyme4me
Pairing: Peter/Neal, Peter/El
Rating: NC-17
Words: 3,920
Summary: This follows The Shelter of His Arms (http://coffeethyme4me.livejournal.com/54074.html) in which a post-Judgment Day Neal is in the Spanish Riviera missing his life and missing Peter. This one is Peter POV and continues where that one left off.
Warnings: Angst
[personal profile] elrhiarhodan gave me the prompt, "the shelter of his arms" when I was feeling down and needed to write myself out of it. I wrote this fic in part to cheer *her* up. It's the circle of life.





Peter had tried to go back.

He tried to pretend.

He tried to envision Neal Caffrey on a sunny beach with a bottle of white chilling beside him and some back issues of Artist Magazine at his dangling fingertips. And when that hurt too much, he tried not to envision him at all.

Peter’s work ethic, never one to suffer lapses, grew even more muscle. He got to work an hour early. He stayed two hours late. It wasn’t that he was avoiding his wife – he’d sooner have spent more time with her, not less – it was just his way of avoiding…himself. If he stopped, for even an hour, the memory of Neal’s face, his body ready to spring, to run, came through too clear, unstoppable. So Peter didn’t stop. He just didn’t.

And he never looked down into the bullpen at the first desk on the left.

He never looked at any empty chairs.

The conference room was full of ghosts. Full of half-realized regrets: Should he have ever given that nod? Where would they be if Neal had stayed? Would he still be by Peter’s side? Would he be shackled to Kramer? Would he be painting at June’s?

Could Peter have saved him?

These were the questions he avoided in the work. Oddly the most likely place to remind him of Neal became his only refuge from him.

Reese was going after Kramer. Peter had been rabid those first three weeks or so. But then Hughes had shut him down. Something about needing to keep Peter’s fingerprints off the case, keep the informal investigation off the books until they had something with which to help Neal.

That had been the biggest fight he and Reese had ever had. Peter’s voice had boomed through the entire floor. “He was my CI! He was my responsibility! I have the right to be the one to help him now, goddamnit!” Saying ‘was’ is what did it, really. What pushed him over the edge. Reese’s desk lamp had been a casualty. Peter had taken two days off. And when he’d come back, he didn’t mention Neal’s name. He didn’t try to get in on whatever dirt he was sure Reese was attempting to dig up on Kramer. He said nothing. He just put in his eleven hour day and went home.

El had tried to help. She’s tried getting him to talk, her sweet arm around him. When he’d gone silent, she’d tried getting them involved in things – walks together, going to the batting cages so he could teach her to hit, renting four movies and watching them all in one night until they passed out together on the couch. Peter acquiesced. And he tried not to let on how depressed he still was – how often he wished Neal were there to do those things with them.

She tried kinky sex, sweet sex, hard sex, no sex. Peter loved her. He loved her body. He’d always loved touching her, pushing inside her, tasting her. But the high never lasted. And if anything it made it even more difficult to keep images of Neal at bay:

His hands on Neal. Not sexual. They’d never gone there. Just…his hand at Neal’s back, on his shoulder, his arm around him, their bodies close. Always too close.

The prom picture. El’s easy acceptance of them – all the time they spent together, the affection Peter held for him, the adoration.

And Peter had come to adore Neal. El had been the first to see it, to point it out, and to tell him it was okay.

She’s been the first to insist that it was mutual, even though Peter had dismissed that out of hand. Neal had a thing for Sara. Neal had been in love with Kate.

“And you’re in love with me,” she’d said. Which had shut him up. But they’d never talked about it again.

Now it had been three months. Peter worked harder and longer, and his solve rate had gone down half a percent. Peter treated his team with fairness and had the undying respect of every one of them, and he’d never felt farther away from them, more cut off. Peter loved his wife and his home. And the house had never felt so empty.

It had been Reese who’d suggested the vacation time. But it had been his wife who’d told him where to go.

“How did you find him?” Peter asked, wondering how she’d become the superior investigator.

“How else? I got a coded note stuck into a fruit bouquet from a Mr. Sam Hivah. Want a chocolate covered pineapple?”

“Is Moz with him then?”

“He didn’t say, but I don’t think so.” She gave him that look – the one from under her spectacular eyelashes. “He’s alone, Peter.”

His insides had twisted. “I can’t.”

“Peter.” She took his hand. “This is tearing you apart. And I can’t watch that happen to you any longer.” The tears filled her voice. “I’m not asking you to go to him. I’m telling you.”

“You’re not coming with me?” He felt like the floor was falling away, out from under his feet.

She shook her head, her thumb brushing over his hand. “This is between you and Neal.”

That name. For three long months, he’d avoided hearing that name. But hearing El say it was the most exquisite relief.

“What do I say to him? I can’t bring him back yet. Reese is still digging. El… I have nothing to give him.”

She shook her head. “Peter Burke.” The tears choked her voice. “You have *everything* to give.” She touched his face now, and he took her hand and held it to his cheek. Touching her and talking about Neal – Peter hadn’t felt this strong or hopeful in weeks. “Maybe if you see him, even not knowing when you’ll see each other again, you can say everything I know you wish you’d been able to say before you told him to run.”

He swallowed. “Like what?”

“I can’t tell you that,” she said. “I can only give you my blessing. And have you give him my love.” She had begun to cry. Peter felt his protective instinct engage, and he pulled El’s body in tight to his. “I miss him, too,” she said into his chest.

He stroked her hair. She smelled like a thunderstorm, like lilacs and ozone. “I love you,” he told her.

“I know,” she said. “I love you. And I already bought your ticket.”



He’d flown into Barcelona and headed north along the coast. He’d taken a cab so that he could look out at the view and know that this had been Neal’s home for the past three and a half months.

He watched the water on his right and tried not to feel as nervous as he was – as excited. As scared. Peter couldn’t help but wonder if Neal would shun him, blame him – if Neal had moved on in a way that Peter hadn’t. Couldn’t.

He tried to remember El’s words to him at the airport curb as they’d checked his bag: “Feelings like his don’t die from three months and a few thousand miles.”

He was trusting his wife on this one that Neal had “feelings” for him at all.

Peter sighed and cast his hand over his face.

Above all, it wasn’t about how Neal felt about Peter; it was about making sure that Neal was all right. That he was safe. That maybe he was happy. That he was okay.

That he knew Peter still cared. Cared enough to come for him – even if he couldn’t yet…could maybe never…bring him back.

The cab pulled up a secluded drive and parked near a set of whitewashed cabins. They gleamed in the sun, and Peter squinted. Peter got out and tipped the driver, lugging his bag from the trunk. He took a steadying breath.

This was Neal. Just Neal. This was his Neal. His friend.

Peter found the right cabin, the one closest to the sea, number five. As Moz had instructed, there was a spare key under the third brick of the small planter to the right of the door. Peter had to smirk at how pedestrian Neal’s security had become. Then he had to quell the guilt that rose in his throat as he used the key and opened the door.

Inside it was silent. No sound but the rustling of light curtains. Peter walked through a sparse living area and down a hall. There was only one bedroom, and when he turned into it, Peter caught his breath.

There, half exposed by a very thin white sheet, lay Neal, sleeping. Neal. Right there in front of him, unknowing, the most innocent expression of calm on his sun-darkened face. He’d grown just the slightest scruff of beard. It was half gray. All Peter wanted to do was touch that beautiful face and tell him how sorry he was.

Neal was alone. That was plain for Peter to see. Looking down at Neal on the bed, he had but one thought: this man was lost.

Peter took another deep breath. As sad as that realization was to him, the happiness at seeing Neal, at finally being near him again, washed over him anyway. He felt himself smiling for the first time in months.

And suddenly, he couldn’t wait to wake him, to talk to him. Peter felt something like joy just then.

“Hey, sleepyhead.”

Peter watched him wake and was treated to Neal Caffrey, King of Charm, rubbing at his eyes like a cranky child. Peter couldn’t keep the smile from his face. He watched Neal look around, blinking. Peter walked to the side of the bed.

“Peter?”

The sound of that voice! It was the same. It was musical. What had El called it once when she was a little tipsy on some of Neal’s good wine? Sonorous. Peter finally got that. He understood her now, standing here in his little cabin on the Spanish Rivera. The sound of Neal’s voice saying his name, a hopeful question, was one of the most beautiful things Peter had ever heard.

“Peter,” Neal said again. Peter sat down and grabbed Neal, and he pulled him into his arms.

Neal’s body was sleep-warm, his skin hot against Peter’s hands. Their bodies fit together with a precision and rightness that Peter had feared would be lost.

“What are you doing here?” Neal asked.

Peter dragged him in harder. “Not yet. Just let me feel you.” He’d said the words – they were in the air. He splayed his hands on Neal’s back, letting every finger feel him.

It was then that he realized that the sheet had fallen, and he could see Neal’s naked hip, the muscular curve of the top of his ass. The shy, dark indentation….

The turn of his feelings – of the very oxygen in the room – was immediate. And Neal wasn’t just nude in Peter’s arms.

Neal was getting hard.

Peter’s whole body responded – his heart, his breathing, his cock. He pulled back only enough to see Neal’s face, to cast his gaze down Neal’s beautiful body once, to watch his chest move with his breath, to see the sparse trail of hair beneath his navel, the push of Neal’s cock against the sheet, and then back up to his swallowing throat, the apprehension and arousal on his face. They shared one single wordless moment, looking at each other…

…and then Peter was unbuckling his belt, and Neal was trying to help, but his hands were shaking. Peter took Neal’s leg and hauled it to the other side of his hips. He got his cock free. Neal rose up enough to take it between his legs and then grabbed for something on his nightstand – a bottle of lubricant – and he fingered some into himself. Peter hefted him with one arm around Neal’s waist, and then his cock was there, touching him, entering him, and Neal was lowering himself, panting, eyes wide. It was so tight.

Neal impaled himself, slowly, trembling, searching Peter’s eyes. They started to fuck, Peter taking short thrusts up into Neal’s body and Neal riding his cock, undulating.

Peter had never gotten inside someone so fast in his life.

Neal shimmied Peter’s shirt up and off. His hands danced over Peter’s chest, his shoulders, into his hair. His cock, between them, lay hot against Peter’s belly, rubbing against him. Peter bit his lip. Neal’s eyes dropped to it. He didn’t hesitate; he leaned forward and kissed Peter.

Peter was deep inside Neal and Neal’s tongue was in his mouth. He wrapped his arms around Neal, touching everywhere he could – his little finger dipping down into the crack of his ass, the other hand up into Neal’s thick hair. Their tongues met, retreated, and met again – wet and hot and soft.

They broke apart to fuck faster – so that Neal could slam into him.

Neal’s fingers dug hard into Peter’s shoulders and he came on his stomach. Peter held him tight through it, feeling Neal’s sweet moans shock through his whole body. When Neal was sated, he pushed on Peter’s chest and pulled back enough to see his face. Neal’s eyes were indigo dark, sparkling with tears. He smiled at Peter for the first time, then, tired and crooked.

“Neal…” Peter said.

It was real, then.

He was inside Neal.

They were making love.

There was no going back.

Neal smiled at him, and he started lifting himself up until Peter was almost out of him and then sinking back down on Peter’s cock. It was slow and agonizing, and Peter felt every inch, every delicious descent, at the end of which he was buried to the hilt inside of Neal. Home.

It wasn’t long before he orgasmed, and for the first time in over ten years, Peter came in someone other than his wife. He closed his eyes, his lips sought the place behind Neal’s ear, and he groaned. Guilt and joy flooded through him as he emptied his balls into the friend he thought he’d lost and the man he was afraid he might love.

“Shit… I’m sorry…” he breathed. Neal’s hips kept rocking in his lap. Peter spilled a little more.

Neal cradled his head and kissed his hair. He murmured in his ear, sending shivers down Peter’s sensitized skin, still rocking, “What exactly are you sorry for, Peter? Making me smile for the first time that I can remember? Or giving me maybe the best sex of my life.”

Peter pulled Neal’s head back and kissed his mouth, hard and sloppy. He poured into it all his anger at himself for what he’d just done, his anger at Neal for not being angry. He kissed Neal deep and long as his cock softened and slipped free of Neal’s body. Neal inhaled sharply into the kiss.

“You should hate me, Neal,” Peter said. He couldn’t stop stroking Neal’s body, but he had to say it again. “Why don’t you hate me?”

“You saved my life, Peter.”

“Not for that. For this.” He couldn’t stop holding Neal. He should. He’d just used him. They’d hardly spoken – certainly hadn’t talked about any of it – what it had been like for Neal, if he was lonely, if he needed anything that Peter could give him. Peter had just taken him. He’d wanted him so badly that he’d taken him without any thought to the consequences. He’d just…lost control. “For both,” he allowed, maybe only just now feeling the weight that the last three months had been. The horrible fear he’d held. That he’d done the wrong thing. That he’d done wrong by Neal. That he was still, at this very moment, doing wrong by him. But Neal’s beautiful body was warm against his – and he simply couldn’t let go.

“Maybe I will someday. I can’t today, Peter. I can’t.” He kissed Peter again, softly – brief little kisses against the corner of Peter’s mouth, his jaw. “How long can you stay?”

Peter swallowed. Neal didn’t expect to be brought back. He didn’t expect to be saved. “Neal…”

“Don’t say you’re sorry again,” Neal told him. “Just tell me how long I’ve got you.”

“The ticket’s open-ended. But I can’t leave El there for longer than a week.”

Neal’s eyes registered fear then. Fear and sadness. “Elizabeth. Oh Peter…”

“She knows,” Peter said. “El knows.”

“She does?” Neal’s relief was palpable.

Peter smiled. “She knew before I did. She sent me here.” He stroked Neal’s scruffy face. “You look good,” he mused.

“I look like hell.”

“You look like hell,” Peter allowed. “But you’re still beautiful.”

Neal blushed. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Peter kissed his lips. He didn’t have the words to tell Neal – to tell him all that he was feeling.

They kissed for a long time. They kissed like lovers who wanted to remember what it felt like long after it had stopped. But eventually, Peter had to pull back. “Does this place have a shower?” They were moving beyond sticky to crusty, and Peter’s back had begun to ache. He couldn’t imagine how Neal’s hips must feel! Still, even aching and gross, he couldn’t help but drop his hands to stroke Neal’s bottom while he waited for an answer. His soft, tight, squeezable little bottom. God, to just get to touch Neal! Peter tamped down the worry – the worry that it might feel like dying to leave him.

“Only if I can join you,” Neal said.

“Hey, it’s your place. Your rules.”

Neal smiled at him, a real smile, and Peter couldn’t believe he’d had to live without seeing it for so long.



They showered together, each unable to stop smiling at how easy, how perfect, it was to touch each other. They soaped one another slowly, thoroughly, and though they both got erections, they didn’t bring each other off. They just explored, kissing under the hot water, laughing for no good reason, patient.

It wasn’t until they’d gotten out that Peter pushed Neal up against the wall and went to his knees in front of him. He sucked Neal’s cock. It felt like the right thing to do – to take care of this man that had been in his charge in really the only way he had left.

And Neal tasted good. His cock was long and dripping, and Peter took his time making him come.

When Neal spilled into his mouth, Peter had to watch, glancing up at how Neal’s damp head rolled against the wall, how his eyes squeezed shut, how his hips couldn’t not thrust.

Peter stroked Neal’s legs through it. He kissed the head. His hands dropped to Neal’s ankles and felt…nothing.

Neal looked down at him. Peter caressed Neal’s naked ankle, looking at it in silent amazement. Then he looked up at Neal again, and they shared a smile.

Neal fixed omelets in his underwear and they ate out on the terrace.

“Unreal,” Peter said, admiring the view.

“I prefer skyscrapers,” Neal said quietly.

Peter nodded.

They waited until after they’d eaten and Peter had washed the dishes to talk about Kramer.

“So Hughes is trying to help me?” Neal asked once Peter had told him everything he could.

“We all want you back,” Peter said softly.

Neal rested his hand against Peter’s cheek. “Thank you.”

“I don’t deserve it.”

Neal kissed him. He wrapped his arms around him. Peter left his self-recriminations where they stood and started backing Neal down the hall toward his bedroom. They crossed the threshold, and Neal broke the kiss on a naughty little laugh.



They were in bed on the sixth night, and Peter’s plane left at 11 am the next day. Neal lay against Peter’s chest, and Peter was slowly stroking Neal’s hair.

“I’m going to make Reese put me back on Kramer,” Peter said to the ceiling.

“Don’t endanger your career for me, Peter, I’m fine.”

Peter had flipped them and was looming over Neal within a breath. “Don’t,” he said, his jaw clenched. He fought the tears that wanted to choke him. “Don’t. Jesus, Neal, your freedom is worth more than my career.”

Neal touched him, his fingers light on Peter’s throat. “You’re forgetting that I don’t deserve to be free.”

“You’re a good man,” Peter said.

“I love you, Peter,” Neal replied, and Peter gasped.

Neal smiled, brilliant and relaxed. He looked the opposite of how Peter felt – on the edge of tears, on the edge of turning into a person who could harbor a fugitive, who could turn his back on everything he had sought to build his whole life. “I—“

“Shut up,” Neal said. “Don’t say a damned thing, Peter. Make love to me.”

Peter started to touch Neal – to tease his nipples and get him ready.

Neal shook his head. “Do it like you did before.” His eyes were sparkling, aroused and hopeful.

He gasped when Peter flipped him over hard. He moaned, “Yes…” when Peter pulled on his hips and got Neal onto his knees. Peter slicked himself with the lube by the bed, and then he rutted against Neal’s hole until he breached it. Neal cried out as he drove all the way in.

Peter pulled Neal back onto him, watching his cock disappear inside him, until that was too much, and he fell over Neal’s back. They moved together in the deep shadows. Peter gripped the headboard over Neal’s head. Neal’s hand crept back and held onto Peter’s tensing thigh. Neal arched his back, took three shivering breaths, and started to come. He took Peter with him. They rode it out together.

Peter had never felt so exhilarated. So sad and alive.

They collapsed side by side, but when he’d caught his breath, Peter manhandled Neal onto his side and spooned up behind him. Neither one talked about the morning. Neither one talked at all. Peter fell asleep with his lips against Neal’s shoulder and his hand against the other man’s heart.




The cab honked its horn for the second time, and Neal saw Peter to the door. Peter motioned for the driver to wait and then shut himself back inside with Neal again, dropping his bag to the floor. “I can’t.”

“You can’t what?”

“Leave you.”

“Yes, you can. You have to.”

“No.” Peter cupped Neal’s face, and the tears he’d never let himself cry came. It wasn’t right that Neal had to stand here and be the strong one. Peter had come here to show Neal he was strong enough to get them both through this. He was wrong. It was Neal who was stronger.

“You know what you have to do,” Neal told him. “You have to get in that cab, catch your plane, and go back to New York. You have to kiss El for me. You have to keep your job. It’s the only way I’ll ever get to come home, Peter. You’re my way.”

Neal rested his forehead against Peter’s. He kissed the tears from Peter’s lips.

“I love you, Neal. I’ve loved you for a long time.”

“I know.”

They kissed again – hard. Then Peter picked up his bag and opened the door. He walked away quickly. The sun was too bright on his face. He got in the cab. “Barcelona airport,” he said.

He didn’t look back.


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