--Come Back to Me--
A/N: A tag-on for the aftermath of 3.13 Dual.
"It's different for you!!"
His heart ached at the glistening of unshed tears in her eyes, contradicting the defiant raise of her chin, the tension evident in her expression. His fists clenched at his sides but he fought back the part of him responding to her distress, waiting silently for what came next.
Claire drew in a shaky breath, seeming determined not to let him see her cry. "I barely got to know Meredith. You had your father with your entire life! You got him back!"
Peter's brow furrowed. "And then I found out everything I thought I knew about my father was a complete lie." He scrubbed a hand through his hair, frowning at her. "Your mother died for you, Claire. My dad was the second parent in less than a year willing to let me die."
Her face went blank and her gesticulating arms fell to her sides. Every part of her suddenly radiated defeat, and again her hurt echoed inside him, thrumming through their connection. He swallowed, hating the desolate feeling now reverberating through them both.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, letting her head drop forward as if too tired to hold up any longer, golden mess of hair falling forward to shield her from him, "I don't mean to take this out on you."
"No. Don't worry about it. I shouldn't have pushed. I'm just worried about you, baby..."
Her eyes widened at the endearment, something she had nearly forgotten; the precious sounds falling from his lips and caressing through the air. Something that reflected an intimacy they hadn't succumbed to since a fateful night nearly a year before, the night she gave herself to him without knowing if he would be alive to hold her in the same way come the next day.
She took a hesitant step toward him, then another, and it was all the encouragement Peter needed. He enfolded her in his arms, giving everything she had desperately needed but denied herself in the uncertainty of their situation. Claire sighed contently and nuzzled against his chest, surrendering to need instead of propriety.
He kissed her gently, and that one led to another, and another, and before long, they were lost in each other. Before Peter knew it, he was backed into the nearest chair, his belt abandoned somewhere on the carpet, his shirt hanging open as soft lips caressed their way down his chest. He kissed her again, gently taking control and Claire soon found herself naked as the day she was born, wrapped up in his arms as she slowly moved over him. It was only then, as he held her with more tenderness than she had ever known, for the first time since they had been reunited, that she truly felt he had come back to her completely.
Later, he slipped the blanket previously thrown over the back of the armchair around her the moment he felt her shivering in the aftermath, enveloping her into his arms as she curled up against him. She brushed her hand against the heated skin exposed by his open shirt, resting her head against his chest as he slowly, languorously combed his fingers through her hair. Claire quietly listened to the rampant sound of his thundering heart, yet to still with their exertion.
His voice, still rough in their post-coital, reverberated against her ear as he spoke. "So I've been thinking about you…"
She smiled lightly, leaning her head back to look up at him with a teasing light in her eyes. "Already? We just finished. A cold shower might be in order."
His eyes warming despite himself, he tried to make a face but ended up smiling all the same, her soft laughter shaking her form as she grinned and leaned up on her knees to peck his cheek. He caught her waist, holding her steadfast as she encircled her arms around his neck for some semblance of balance, watching his eyes shift and darken as they studied her carefully.
Calloused fingers brushing the hair out of her eyes, weathered lips pressing a chaste kiss to her temple. "You are so beautiful," he whispered throatily, watching as her cheeks were soon caressed by a rosy blush.
She shyly tucked her head into the crook of his shoulder, "Stop."
He lifted his eyes to stare at the ceiling above him, "Hmm.."
No matter the warmth, the truths, the compliments and the safety of touches that came with their love, there were still doubts and insecurities he hadn't yet managed to overshadow. There were still times when it was hard for both of them to accept that they truly, deeply loved each other, without regret or disgust or pretend. That it was just the way they felt, it was just the way they cared.
His heart was hers, and it was held in such small, delicate hands….supported by the trembling fingers of a frightened girl.
"But I'm serious, you know. You are gorgeous, Claire. I might just have to keep you here."
She arched an eyebrow, tilting her head up to look at him, "Oh? Planning to hide me away in the closet?"
"Yep. Stash you away so I'm the only one that can see you."
"Shouldn't I be the one afraid of you leaving?"
She slipped her hand into his, entwining their fingers as she laid her head back against his shoulder. "How many times are you going to pop in and out of my life, Peter?"
He closed his eyes with a pained smile, "I'm sorry."
"I know you are," she reached back and stroked his jaw, looking up into her lover's solemn, sad dark eyes. What happened to you? She wanted to ask. Peter…let me in.
Instead, she sighed. "Haiti," she grumbled under her breath, leaning back to kiss him lightly. Moving down, she brushed her lips against his neck, lingering on the lovebite she had left behind. Reminded again of his inability to heal, of the loss of his abilities. "Telling you to be careful wouldn't do any good, would it?"
She felt him smile as he nuzzled against her cheek. "Probably not."
When he came back, he would be faced with the woman he knew she was becoming, and they would talk. There couldn't be anymore avoiding the inevitable, with their connection stronger than ever. No matter where either of them tried to run, they'd be stopped short by fate's red cord, tying them to their forbidden desire- their soul-mate. It was something they would put aside for now, for when he came back…
"Come back to me."
His embrace tightened and she rested her arms over those holding her, Peter leaning his head against hers. "Heaven and hell couldn't hold me back."