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23 January 2017 @ 07:37 pm
runthecon fic: Comfort Food  
Title: Comfort Food
Author: pooh_collector
Character(s): Peter, Neal, gen
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,045
Genre(s): Friendship, hurt/comfort, angst, (yeah, I know)
Warnings: Schmaltzy ending?
Beta Credit: angelita26
Author's/artist's notes: So I’m a very bad bear. The fic is gen, it’s PG, it’s sort of innocent, but I’m in an angsty place right now, so angsty fic. My bad. Written for this prompt from theatregirl7299 “Sometimes a hug is all you need.”

Peter took off his boots, shook out his snow-covered coat and draped it over the bench in the foyer before he began the climb up the stairs to Neal’s apartment. The weather today was too much like it had been two weeks ago, a day he would never forget. A day he would never allow himself to forget. The steps were slick under this stocking feet, so he shifted the brown paper bag he was carrying from his right to his left hand so he could hold onto the banister.

When he reached Neal’s door, he knocked perfunctorily then opened the door and stepped into the dimly lit space. A soft, grey light was filtering in from the French doors and the skylight over Neal’s bed. The bedside light was also on, casting a warmer glow around the man curled up under the covers.

Neal was lying on his side facing Peter, a book hanging limply from his hand, as if he had drifted off mid-sentence, which he probably had. It had been nearly two weeks since a blown undercover op had landed him beaten, bloodied and drowning in the freezing waters of the Hudson and Neal was still sleeping a lot as a result of the hypothermia he has suffered.

Peter set his bag on the dining room table and then wandered over to Neal’s bed. Gently he extricated the book, an early Tattersal mystery, from Neal’s lax fingers. Not Neal’s usual reading material. Peter smiled at the telltale sign that Mozzie had been lurking around.

Neal made a sleepy noise and stretched out before opening his eyes.

“Hey,” Peter said softly.

“Hey,” Neal replied, a smile spreading across his face at the sight of his partner.

“Didn’t mean to wake you.”

“It’s fine. I don’t like sleeping the whole day away.” Neal pushed himself up carefully, bringing the down comforter up with him, until he was sitting up against his extravagant tiger oak headboard. “What brings you my way on a snowy Saturday afternoon?”

“My wife. Oh, that reminds me,” Peter said as he placed the book he had been holding on the nightstand and turned back to the dining table. “I should get the gelato into the freezer.”

“Mmmmm, gelato. What flavor?”

“I think pistachio may have been mentioned,” Peter replied as he flipped on the room’s main light.

“My favorite.”

“I know.” He grabbed the bag off the table and made his way to Neal’s refrigerator. When he finished stashing the container of gelato in the freezer he reached into the bag again for the Tupperware full of beef stew that El had also packed for Neal. “Do you want some of this stew now? It’s so cold, El thought you might like something hearty.”

When Peter turned back to hear Neal’s response, his partner was standing at the dining room table, leaning against one of the chairs. In the brighter light that now infused the space Peter could clearly see the yellow green bruising around Neal’s left eye and the splotches that were still a light purple on his chest.

It was quiet for a moment, Peter staring at Neal and Neal studying Peter, before Neal replied. “Stew would be good.”

Peter nodded and turned back toward the small kitchenette intent on his task of reheating the stew.

Neal knew what Peter was really seeing when he looked at him – his body soaking and stiff, his face white, his lips and fingertips blue lying on the shore of the Hudson after he had been pulled from the water, dead by every definition of the word.

Neal didn’t remember it of course, but Diana had given him an exceedingly graphic description of the scene and of Peter’s successful attempt to revive him. And, that was all the mattered, he was here, now, with Peter because his partner had his back and always would.

While Peter puttered, Neal returned to his bed and grabbed the sweater that was lying across the bottom of his comforter. He pulled it on slowly, feeling the tightness of the bruising along his ribs. With the bulk of his injuries hidden from view, Neal returned to the small kitchen. “I hope you’re making enough for two,” he said as he opened up the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of water and one of the Heislers he kept for Peter.

“I should probably get back. I’m sure El has a bunch of stuff on the Honey-Do list for me.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing that can’t wait,” Neal countered as he placed the drinks on the table. “You know I haven’t actually thanked you properly yet.”

“For what?”

“For having my back, for saving my life.”

Peter turned from where he was stirring the pot with the simmering stew. “You don’t have to thank me for that.”

“Maybe not, but I want to.”

“You do remember that I was the reason you were in that position in the first place, right?”

Neal sighed. “Don’t do that. Cortez was the reason. And, if that’s not enough for you, then I was the reason, since I forged the bonds that got me sent to prison, or we could blame Adler or Mozzie or my father. But, I would rather just not. I would rather just thank you for having my back, as usual. Can we just go with that and then have some stew and watch a movie?”

Peter didn’t say anything, and his expression didn’t falter, so Neal moved on to Plan B. He took the wooden spoon from Peter’s hand and then carefully enveloped his partner in the kind of hug that Peter usually initiated, warm and strong and supportive. It took a moment, but finally Peter relaxed into Neal’s embrace and then his arms came up and he held Neal the same way Neal was holding him.

They stayed like that for several minutes, gaining strength from the surety of each other’s stability. Then Neal’s stomach growled. Peter not only heard it, he felt it. He snorted a laugh and gently extricated himself from Neal’s arms. “You need lunch.”

“We need lunch,” Neal replied as he turned to pull bowls for both of them from the cabinet.

Peter nodded as he took the bowls from Neal. “We need lunch.”

This entry was originally posted at http://pooh-collector.dreamwidth.org/34180.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
algeibanalgeiban on January 25th, 2017 04:59 pm (UTC)
Aw, I love this!
scarym1: Peter & Nealscarym1 on January 28th, 2017 12:39 am (UTC)
Great fic. Love that Neal was the one to initiated the hug. :)