Peter's breathing came faster each second. One of Claude's hands traced down his ribs and Peter's hips bucked; Claude's other hand tangled in Peter's hair, pulling so hard it was starting to hurt.

Peter didn't care. "Fuck," he whispered, rocking his hips to Claude's rhythm. They'd barely made it back to the apartment; clothes were dropped in a trail leading from the hallway to the bedroom, minus a shirt Peter had lost track of during the long subway ride home. The first kiss on the roof had been like an explosion; Peter couldn't even remember who had kissed whom, only that when it broke off they'd looked at each other and known that this had to happen right now.

Hell, if it hadn't been so fucking cold up there they probably wouldn't have bothered leaving the roof.

Claude's hands had been on Peter since they'd gotten back to street level, and for all the bitching he did about Peter's hair he sure seemed to like holding on to it.

Peter cracked his eyes open and saw Claude staring at him, his eyes intense and ice-blue in the dim light. Peter let go of his death grip on the sheets and trailed his hands up Claude's arms, across his shoulders, down his chest, over the scars Peter wasn't allowed to ask about. Claude's eyes snapped shut the instant Peter touched him and his hold on Peter's hair tightened even more. "God, Pete," he said, forcing the words out through clenched teeth. Claude moaned deep in his throat as Peter raked his nails down his back, and Peter grinned at how deep the lines of concentration on his face grew. "Keep that up and this's endin' real fast."

Peter levered himself up on his elbows just far enough to brush his lips against Claude's. Claude held still for a moment, then he whimpered and leaned forward into the kiss. Claude kissed like he was dying of thirst and had just found water; there was so much need in that kiss that Peter could taste it, and he didn't break the kiss so much as finally come up for air.

Peter fell back to the bed and pulled Claude down with him. He felt Claude's ragged breathing against his shoulder, and now it was his hands clutched onto Claude's hair. He felt Claude's beard scratching across his skin, and suddenly Claude's lips were pressed against Peter's neck. Peter moaned as Claude licked a trail up his neck; Peter arched up against him and didn't think he'd ever been this hard in his life. "Faster."

Claude obliged, digging his nails into Peter's shoulders. "That's the problem with you kids today," he said, his accent rougher than usual. "Never want to take your time."

Hearing the arousal in Claude's voice almost made Peter come right there. "Oh God, keep talking, keep talking."

Claude laughed; Peter felt the deep rumbling vibration of it race up his spine. "So you like my voice, do you?" he said, his voice low and teasing. "That why you're always makin' me yell at you?"

Peter was wondering about that himself. It was starting to seem to him that the last few days of circling each other had actually been elaborate, incredibly dysfunctional foreplay.

Then Claude started whispering absolute filth into his ear, and Peter had a hard time thinking much of anything. It felt like Claude's hands were everywhere at once. Every breath came out as a moan; it was torture, the way Claude was playing with him, drawing this out. Peter moaned Claude's name and bucked his hips hard to urge him on faster.

He heard Claude chuckle. Not gonna let you come 'til I'm ready for you to. It took Peter a second to realize he'd turned on his telepathy without meaning to; Claude's mental voice was overlapping with the physical one still talking rapid-fire into Peter's ear. Havin' too much fun watchin' you.

The world had shrunk down to sensation, to Claude moving inside him, to Claude's voice in his ear. He'd long since lost the ability to tell the difference between the physical and the mental anymore, and wasn't even trying; what he could tell was that Claude was rapidly losing the ability to string words together in either. "God, Pete."

The little break in Claude's voice on his name almost did Peter in. He held onto Claude for dear life; he felt Claude's fingers curl around his shaft and groaned, bucking his hips hard. Suddenly Claude's mouth was on his and finally, Claude gave in and started fucking Peter fast and hard.

For a moment Peter hit a plateau, suspended in a place where the heat of Claude's body, the taste of him, was all there was in the world. Then there was one last, sold thrust, and Peter came so hard he almost passed out.

The rush was so strong that he was only vaguely aware of it when Claude collapsed gasping on top of him a minute or so later. He distantly felt Claude's breath hot against his neck, Claude's lips pressed against his temple, then he drifted off.

When Peter came back to a few minutes later, the endorphins had faded enough so that, in addition to incredibly good, Peter also felt sticky and sweaty and in need of a hot shower. Claude was still wrapped around him; when Peter tried to dislodge himself from Claude's arms, he just found himself held tighter. "No."

Peter chuckled. "I'm just going to take a shower. I'll be right back."

Claude made a sound that Peter knew would have been an insult if the man had just a bit more energy. "I'll be right back," he repeated. "Promise."

Claude finally loosened his grip. "Y'better," he said, the threat muted by being muttered face-down into a pillow.

"Claude, I live here," Peter said, getting up. "This is my bed."

"Mine now," Claude said, stretching out.

Toweling his hair dry a few minutes later, as Peter walked back into the bedroom he realized that he hadn't been sure Claude would still be there until the moment he saw him still in bed. At first Peter thought Claude was asleep, but as he got closer he could see Claude's blue eyes trained on him, and something guarded in that look told Peter that Claude hadn't been at all sure if he'd be sticking around, either.

Peter perched on the edge of the bed and trailed his hand down Claude's spine. Claude sighed and arched into the touch like a cat. Nobody sees me. For the first time Peter tried to imagine what it would be like to be invisible all of the time. Months, years, no one ever seeing him. He felt the tension in Claude's back melt away under his fingertips.

Years with no one speaking to him. Years where no one touched him. Peter wondered how long he would have lasted before he lost it.

"Scoot over," he said. Claude grumbled but moved aside as Peter slid back into bed. Claude wrapped his arms around Peter's waist again, and Peter leaned against him. "I couldn't do it," he said, after several long minutes. Claude made a questioning sound, and Peter continued, "What you do. I mean, the way you..." He shook his head. "I think I'd go nuts. I don't know how you don't go nuts."

Claude was quiet for so long that Peter thought he hadn't heard. "You learn to do what you have to," he finally said. "Find yourself capable of all sorts of things."

Peter could feel Claude's heart beating. It was tempting to try using the mind reading power again; it would answer so many questions, ones he knew Claude would never answer and would probably send him flying off the roof again just for asking. He tried to tell himself, well, the whole point of all this was to get him to learn how to use his powers, right?

In fact, there was almost every reason to do it, as the dark voice in his head (which always sounded an awful lot like Nathan's, when Peter thought about it) whispered. Every reason, except that Peter knew that using that power during training had absolutely nothing in common with using it now. And even though there was no reason to believe that Claude would know...he might. He just might. And Peter could feel that Claude might even praise him for doing it, for finally showing some initiative for once.

Yeah, he could gain a lot from it. But Peter knew in his heart that if he spied on Claude now he would somehow know, and the trade off would be that this would never happen again. And more than all the good he could get out of that ability, Peter really, really wanted this to happen again.

He felt Claude's breathing slowly deepen as he fell asleep. In the morning would be more training, more being knocked on his ass on top of the Deveaux building. One day closer to finding out whether or not he was going to explode and take half the city out with him. One more tick of the clock.

But that was tomorrow.

Tonight, though. Tonight was good. Peter thought he could face all of those tomorrows if they would buy him just a few more tonights.

Peter closed his eyes and listened to Claude's breathing. Within a few minutes he was asleep, too.