Affannato: anguished

A/N: This came to me as an idea of how some people wish to rid themselves of guilt or burdens, some which are so heavy that they are unbearable. One can only wonder what kind of weight has settled on Peter after what he did in "Reciprocity". The Peter in this is somewhat dark to let everyone know.

I'd also like to thank everyone who has read or favourited my other stories, you're awesome :)

Disclaimer: I own nothing except for the incessant little plot bunnies that keep popping up in my life.

It was the look of unhindered trust in her eyes that finally made something in Peter crack. Not gently like the crack of a twig but sharp and hard like the snap of bone.

He could feel the thick tendrils of black guilt seeping into his tissue as he stumbled towards the piano. The guilt was like an ink, it stained everything it touched as it migrated through his system. The ivory keys on the piano gleamed at him with a saint's promise, as if a single touch would pull this black tar from his conscience.

The piano bench settled beneath him as he brought his hands to the keys; his one finger fell early which resulted in a low, growling base note to thunder through the room.

He wondered for an instant if Walter had heard it and would come running abruptly down the stairs to see what the noise was.

But the next instant he didn't care.

He let his other fingers fall onto the keys, which released a chord with sourness comparable to lemons.

He lifted his fingers again and let the weight of his deceit carry them back down, his fingers heavy like iron.

Another chord was set loose, more tame but still frazzled like a half-domesticated creature. It was almost like trying to tame a lion.

The next chord came the easiest as his fingers settled on the keys swiftly.

The room trembled, his heart stuttered and his fingers shook for the tiniest fraction of a second. He played the chord again and poured his guilt, his pain and his anger into it. The black tar in his spirit seemed to pour onto the keys, the melody swept from his mind.

He let the guilt fall from his fingers, as if he were bleeding this dark black guilt. He watched the faces of those shape shifters fall first; they were not even human.

He doubted that a weight of this magnitude could come from that particular crime.

It was when he started to see Olivia's face pool in his black guilt that his eyes burned. It was a wonder that his tears hadn't been stained black too. He could see her face there, in front of him as he played and each tear that fell disturbed that perfect image.

What bothered him the most about this scenario was his thick shroud of secrecy.

He could still hear Walter's words: If you were doing nothing wrong then why didn't you tell us?

If only one could know how many varying degrees of wrong there were in the world. And he suspected that he'd committed a wrong worse than killing five shape shifters.

He'd lied to Olivia, just when the shredded threads of their relationship were coming together again he went and sliced them apart. Only he'd selfishly left her blind on the precipice, so close to falling and yet so near to salvation.

The obsidian guilt was racing out of him now, boiling with molten fury that spattered the keys. They rose and fell in waves as they met the onyx lava.

Notes tumbled into the air like steam as he played. He could feel a hint of relief in his shoulders.

His fingers were getting fatigued and he knew he would need to stop soon.

He played a rich chord as three of his knuckles cracked. The muscles in his hand burned.

He let his left hand fall to his side as the right one scrambled to the last chord, where three fingers settled on the keys and he thought that he felt a faint drop of black guilt drip onto the keys.

But his voracious improvisation did not cure him of guilt's disease; Karma would be after him with a bounty on his head. He had two options: come clean or run from karma for as long as he could.

For some reason the latter was much more appealing.

He knew that there would eventually be a price he would have to pay, when Olivia found out that he'd killed the shape shifters and not told her.

It would be a high price.

What price I wouldn't pay for you sweetheart, he thought.


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