Summary: Elizabeth helps a shaken Peter deal with a loss that hasn't happened yet.
Rating: R, just because of some non-explicit sexual content.
Characters/Pairing: Peter/Elizabeth; if you squint, maybe Neal/Peter
Warnings: Some sexual content. Angst.
Spoilers: Sort of for "Front Man"
Author's Note: I wrote this on a whim when I'm supposed to be writing other things. No beta, so please point out errors. :-) It feels incomplete, but...I couldn't fix it. :p
"He's going to run." Peter's voice reaches Elizabeth from the doorway and she looks up sharply, her blue eyes assessing and worried. Peter looked…Elizabeth had only seen him like this twice before; once on a case that had ended with two dead agents, and the other time when his sister had died suddenly in a traffic accident.
This wasn't as bad, but it was close. He was grieving the loss that hadn't happened yet, preparing him self for the final rejection. Peter had tried so hard to not care. When he failed to keep himself distant from the con man, he had tried to save him. He'd given so much over to Neal that it was no surprise that he looked as if someone had scooped him out and left him hollow.
"He's going to run and I can't stop him." His words were heavy, laced with hopelessness. The broad shoulders slumped with dejection, the weight of his responsibilities finally wearing into his very being, stealing his life, his strength.
"Honey," she breathed, and she rushed to his side. He clung to her desperately and she let him take comfort from her. She tried not to notice how his hands trembled slightly or the way he struggled to catch his breath as he held her. Peter was a reserved man, quiet and contained. When his façade finally slipped it was like removing a tourniquet from a wound – his emotions would pour out, leaving him drained and exhausted.
"You don't know that," Elizabeth tried to reassure him, wanting to remove the haunted look from Peter's eyes. Peter didn't smile or pretend to agree with her. He just buried his head in her neck, breathing in her scent, running his hands along her body as if he were trying to memorize every part of her. And she knew why.
Where Neal ran, Peter would follow. It was that simple. There would be long nights alone, maybe days or weeks while Peter was on the hunt. More holidays missed. More stress for Peter. By far, the worst would be the worry eating at him. Fear that she'd leave him, that he would miss one birthday too many, and that he would have nothing to come back to.
For a brief moment she hated Neal Caffrey. Hated him for taking up so much of Peter's time, hated him for giving Peter this soul wound. Then she remembered that Neal was fighting his own demons, and she focused on the man she could still help.
"Come on, dinner is waiting," she urged him. Peter nodded and slipped out of his coat, patting Satchmo on the head absently as he walked by the bouncing dog. They made it through dinner with very little conversation. Peter was distracted, and Elizabeth let him be.
After dinner they did the dishes together. It was still quiet, but there was a crackle in the air. Their arms brushed together, and Elizabeth looked at him. He was focused on her, his eyes still sad, but there was hunger. Desire. Need.
So she gave him what he needed all night long. In the kitchen. In the living room. In their bedroom. When they were done, she simply held him and kissed his warm forehead, let him tremble and fall to pieces. Let him know that she wouldn't leave him. It didn't matter how long the chase was, Peter would always have her to come home to.