Frith (frith_in_thorns) wrote,

[fic: white collar] After the Storm

Title: After the Storm
Characters/Pairing: Neal, Peter; Gen
Genre/Rating: Fluffy angst. Or angsty fluff. PG.
Word count: 1100
Warnings: None
Notes: This was supposed to be a drabble, for a prompt from sholio, but apparently I'm not very good at writing things which fit into comment boxs. So I'm posting it as a short fic instead.
Title is a song by Mumford & Sons.

Summary: Prompt: Peter and Neal getting drunk together after something bad happens on a case

- o -

Neal goes to stand, and finds that he's not nearly as steady on his feet as he'd expected.

"Think you've had enough?" Peter says, from his position on the couch, which is hypocritical at best.

As such, Neal doesn't bother answering, heading into the kitchen (with the help of the walls) to where the Burkes keep their wine — he's finished the stuff he brought over with him. "You want another beer?" he calls.

"Yeah, sure."

He finds the beer without much trouble and sets it down on the table, if with a bit more force than he'd been aiming for. Then he bends down to the wine rack, going for the first bottle of red he sees, since everything's spinning slightly and reading labels is just more trouble than it's worth.

He straightens up and everything tilts dizzily and whirls around. Neal squeezes his eyes shut and is aware of stumbling a bit, and a loud crash, and eventually he finds he's kneeling on the kitchen floor with the bottle in splinters around him. Wine is spreading out in a puddle, soaking into the fabric of his suit pants. And pooling around his fingers, which are splayed against the tiles in the act of arresting his fall.

He just stays frozen like that, staring down.

"Neal?" Peter calls, sounding worried. "Neal, you okay?"

Neal can't think of anything to stay.

Peter's heavy steps are coming closer, and then he's in the doorway, holding the frame for support. His eyes go wide. "Fuck," he hisses. "Neal!"

Neal stares at him, and Peter stares back, his expression completely blank for long seconds. Then he slumps slightly, his fingers still tight on the frame.

Neal realises suddenly what it must look like, him on the floor with dark red liquid spreading out around him. "I'm not —" he starts. His breath hitches. "Dropped the wine. 'm sorry."

"Yeah," Peter says, after a moment. "It's just the wine, yeah. I thought —"

"Sorry," Neal says, again.

Peter sighs heavily, and scrubs the palm of his hand into his eyes. "Neal. You want to get up?"

"Oh," Neal says. "Oh, yeah." He's uncertain how best to go about it, but then Peter leans forward to grasp his upper arm and pull him to his feet. The wine drips down, stickily, as he sways and grabs onto the table, leaving a dark handprint.

"Oh, for —" Peter begins, and then stops whatever he was about to say. He half-drags Neal over to the sink and rinses off his hands.

Neal looks down at his probably-ruined pants. "Um," he says.

Peter rolls his eyes. "If you think I'm going to let you drip wine all over my carpets…"

Neal's had more than enough alcohol to not be embarrassed about Peter seeing him in his boxers, so he clumsily removes his wine-stained pants and socks and dumps them into the sink. "I liked them," he says mournfully.

"The stains might come out. I think El uses salt." Peter turns on the taps and dumps an enormous amount of salt into the water. Neal chuckles, finding Peter's earnestness even funnier than usual.

"Yeah, laugh at me," Peter mutters darkly. He looks at Neal more closely, tilting his head. "Hey. Your hands."

Neal holds them up to look. There are multiple small cuts on his palms and fingers, which are bleeding slightly. "Oh. Can't feel them."

"Yeah," says Peter. "'Cause you're drunk."

"So are you," Neal points out.

"Least I didn't put my hands down on a load of broken glass."

"I wasn't intending to."

"That's my point." Peter reaches up into a cupboard for the first aid kit, but doesn't quite manage to grab the handle properly or something, because instead he just manages to knock it down. It hits the counter and bursts open, showering its contents everywhere. At least the puddle of wine is on the other side of the room.

"Oh," Peter says, sheepishly.

Neal starts laughing and bends over double with it, letting himself slide down to the floor. He sits against the cabinet.

A moment later, Peter sits down next to him, and sighs again. "This evening's going well," he remarks.

Neal's kind of… giggling, now. When he finally stops he's tired out and more relaxed than he's felt all day, all week — since they started this latest case, really. He lets himself lean against Peter, resting his head on Peter's shoulder.

"Hands, Caffrey," Peter says, in a voice which would sound stern if it wasn't still slurring. Neal holds out his hands obediently and Peter tears open an antiseptic wipe that was apparently in reach and uses it to clean the cuts carefully. It stings a bit, but not much. Peter's solid warmth against him registers much more.

When Peter's finally satisfied that Neal's hands aren't going to become infected overnight, he leans back too. Neal can feel his breathing.

"Peter?" he says, finally.


"We can't go to sleep on your kitchen floor."

Peter stirs slightly. "Oh. Yeah. Should probably get up."


They actually do, although it takes a few minutes, and some steadying of each other. Neal's legs had begun to cramp up, and he suspects Peter's have done the same. Not to mention the general unsteadiness they both seem to be suffering from.

Peter surveys the scene of minor chaos which the kitchen's become. "El's going to kill us."

"Not til the morning," Neal says, and yawns widely.

Peter hums in agreement, and steers them to the couch where he drops down, unintentionally pulling Neal down too since he still had his arm around his shoulders. "'s good."

Neal nods sleepily, and leans on Peter again. His shoulder is very comfortable. Peter chuckles, and ruffles Neal's hair slightly, before relaxing into silence.

He's almost asleep when he hears Peter whisper, very quietly, "We almost lost you."

His eyelids are far too heavy to open. "Didn't, though," he murmurs.

"Too reckless," Peter accuses, with no bite to his voice, and Neal's certain he's half-asleep too.

"Sorry," Neal murmurs back, and he is, because he hadn't realised until now quite how upset Peter's been. He hadn't meant for that to happen. He hadn't thought, not really.

"Be more careful." He sighs. "Neal? Promise me."

"I promise," Neal whispers. Because. He doesn't ever want to hurt Peter like that, like he almost did.

Peter makes a small, contented sound, and his breathing evens out.

Neal smiles, and drifts off to sleep.

He hardly stirs when Elizabeth tucks a blanket over them both.

- o -

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Tags: angst, fanfic, fic: white collar, fluff, gen, hc, promptfic, white collar

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