Fic: I Wish I Couldn't Cry
Author: Surreal_44
Rating: PG, for mentions of suicide/murder.
Pairings: Peter/Elizabeth
Characters: Peter, Elizabeth, Neal, OC (passing mention)
Notes: Written for prompt: So I found this pic and thought, "I could totally see Elizabeth and Peter like this." Anything h/c, please! As long as it's not a deathfic! Or a Neal-leaving fic! Thanks! /recent/a36/a36pages/a36_



Elizabeth Burke was often thankful that her husband's job was less exciting, and therefore, less dangerous than what his colleagues had to face. Normally his cases were dull and boring and the worst things she had to worry about were his appalling eating habits and insane sleep schedule.

On days that she knew he was making arrests, or on the tense cases where he might go undercover, she wouldn't sleep. She couldn't, and instead, would sit up to wait for him to come back to her. When he did arrive home - usually late and always disheveled - she would slowly undress him, pulling his clothes off carefully so she could find any injuries and take care of them. Peter would laugh and tell her that she worried too much, but she could feel the tremble of his body and hear the faint quiver of his voice when things had been a little too close for comfort.

Peter was a strong man but even he had his limits. The times when he came home exhausted and looking as if he'd been hollowed out were the times when Elizabeth was truly frightened. She would take his guns and lock them up in a safe that only she knew the combination to. Then she would sit on the sofa and simply hold him, cradling his head in her lap, threading her hands through his hair as he silently cried out his grief and anguish.

Today had been no exception. He had come home and placed both his weapons in her hands. When their flesh met he actually cringed, and he reeled back towards the sofa, where he collapsed on it as if he had no strength left. His eyes were so haunted she was afraid to ask just yet what had gone wrong, afraid that maybe she didn't want to know. She swiftly went to the safe and hid his weapons away before joining him on the couch. He stared into space, so lost in his own thoughts that he didn't even seem to notice her presence.

"Honey?" she asked with fear in her voice. Different scenarios raced through her mind of Jones dead, Neal missing, Diana hurt... She listened as he spoke and his horror became her own as he whispered in a broken voice about the simple investigation that had ended in tragedy.

The suspect had slammed his home's door in the face of Peter and Neal. They had gotten halfway to the car when the gunshots rang out. Peter broke down the door as Neal called for back-up - but it was too late. The man had shot his two children and wife as they had been eating breakfast before he turned the gun on himself.

None of them survived their wounds.

Peter wept for the whole family, including the murdering husband. "I could have helped him," Peter managed to gulp out between sobs. "I would have helped. I shouldn't have pushed him so hard for information. I should have known..."

Elizabeth rocked and petted her husband, not offering any words of comfort just yet. He wasn't ready to be hear them. Not yet. Later, after he had cried himself out and maybe slept a little she would try to talk to him.

For now she just held him and let him cry.

~fin