Losses 3/3

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Somebody was holding Neal back, pulling and tugging him, and he was only a moment or two from twisting and throwing a punch. He had to get free, to make it to the plane. She might still be alive, waiting for him to come save her. The two of them hadn't gone through all the games and the separation for nothing. He hadn't risked everything to find her only to have it end like this. Not possible...

Abruptly, waves of heat and pressure swept over him and drove him backwards. He stumbled and almost fell to his knees, but strong arms were there to support him and keep him safe. Initially, he willingly buried his head in Peter's shoulder, breathing harshly, hiding from the snarl of the inferno and protecting his now tender, reddened face. He didn't renew his struggles until the other man tightened his hold and began to ease them both down into a sitting position.

"No! God... Leggo... Peter, leggo! God, please... Kate!"

The words suddenly being crooned close to his ear took several minutes to penetrate the thick fog of grief that had swallowed Neal whole, but eventually he ceased his efforts to break away and slumped in his partner's arms. The anguish ripping him up wouldn't stop, however, and kept pouring out of his throat no matter what he did.

A few minutes later, a second set of hands touched him, rubbing his back and neck. Recognizing her perfume instantly, he finally lifted his head and gazed up at Elizabeth.

"El..."

"I know, sweetheart. I know." She told him, swiping his tears away. "It'll be alright. We're taking you home."

Peter, knowing from the sound of the word that she didn't mean June's home, startled and began to question her, but she stopped him with a hand on his lips.

"El, honey..."

"No. The mansion is his house... his apartment. Home is a safe place, a refuge .."

"... where they have to take you in." Peter choked out. "If I let myself... and he runs..."

"We'll give him reasons not to. Don't be afraid, Peter. Please, don't be afraid..."

Staring uncertainly into her eyes, Peter latched onto the strength, determination and compassion that had made him fall in love with El so long ago and levered himself up to his knees, bringing an unresisting Neal along with him. With El's assistance, the men stood and the trio slowly made their way back to the car. When Peter seemed as if he was about to place Neal in the front passenger's position, El stopped him and guided them both to the back, tucking them in together. Returning to the driver's seat, she made a gentle turn and headed for the road. Glancing in the rear view mirror at Neal and Peter clinging to each other, she smiled and swept away a tear of her own. The men she loved would both have everything they deserved. She would see to that.


END (this section anyway. If I don't like the direction it's headed when the new season starts... well, the lovely Alternate Universe Resort and Spa is one of my favorite places in the world to go when I'm unhappy.)