Word Count: 2,100
Disclaimer: Heroes characters belong to Tim Kring.
A/N: Hoo boy, okay, this fic is dedicated to:
1) visiblemarket, for her birthday.
2) gingerberrysnap, for her belated birthday.
3) saena17, for her slightly less belated birthday.
4) Me, for completing my 100th Plaude fic as tallied by my archive on my fourth Plaude anniversary. You know, I can still remember writing that first weird, historical!AU, all but stridently gen oneshot for heroes_flashfic. I was on my laptop, sitting at the desk in the living room of my mother's house. Now, the laptop's gone, the desk's gone, the room's gone, and the house is gone, but I'm still plugging away at this. And I'm not done yet.
Summary: A deleted scene from Rescue Me. Basically, where some of the porn was hiding.
Whatever else Claude has thought about Peter, he never doubted that Peter was a good nurse. Honestly, who would? He prefers not to imagine how his recovery from three weeks of near solid unconsciousness would have gone without his help. Help that Claude has done so little to earn, but he’s trying now. He can make this work. It’s more hope than he’s dared to feel for more than a decade, and that’s yet another thing Peter has given him.
Claude blinks, realizes he’s been caught staring. Again. “Nothing, sorry,” he trains his focus back on the profiles- the people yanked from their lives by the Building 26 program. Claude is meant to choose among them, figure out who can help with the new Company. He can’t deny a sick feeling in his stomach that he’s leading these people down the path that all but killed him not long ago. He has to hold on to the hope. He can make this work.
“Oh, jeez, is that what time it is?” Peter says.
Claude follows his gaze to the clock on the wall. It’s almost midnight. Even Abby left hours ago. In his head, Claude acknowledges a bit of pride- this is the latest he’s stayed awake so far. Physical therapy is all about the small victories, Peter told him that.
“Come on, let’s pack this up,” Peter says, stretching his arms over his head with a yawn. This time Claude doesn’t stop himself from watching, isn’t embarrassed when Peter drops his arms and looks at him. He smiles, and Claude feels invincible. “You ready?”
They travel down the hallway through the silent base, Peter pushing Claude’s wheelchair while Claude holds the folders full of profiles on his lap. Claude has had enough time to accept the necessity of the chair, to abandon any ideas that would soothe his ego and hurt his recovery. That said, something about this night is different. He reaches up and touches Peter’s hand, “Stop, would ya’? I want to walk some.”
Peter stops. “Yeah. Yeah, I think that’d be okay.”
Claude moves the folders to his side, and Peter steps in front of him. He doesn’t reach out, willing to let Claude stand on his own as long as he can be there if needed. Claude unfolds himself carefully from the chair, and he can honestly say he never thought he would consider putting his feet on the floor to be a novelty. But there it is- there they are, and the legs above them, the muscles in his torso also doing their part to bring him to his full height. He has to smile. The hallway looks different from up here.
He looks at Peter, who’s smiling too as he reaches out now to cup a palm to Claude’s cheek for a moment. Then they walk, one hand each on either side of the wheelchair, at a pace Claude can handle. The man beats back the temptation to run, just to see what would happen, just to see if he can. One day he will. Soon. He has to hold on to that.
He still feels good when they make it to the tiny set of rooms currently housing him, Peter, and Abby. The sitting room area practically vibrates with the force of Abby’s snores. Peter chuckles through a wince, “She get that from your side of the family?”
“Might be,” Claude admits, “A train could drive through my parents’ bedroom and the conductor would complain about the noise before it woke up my old fella.”
Peter snickers, and moves from his side of the wheelchair to take hold of Claude’s elbow, keeping up the support as they walk through the darkened space. They brush their teeth in the bathroom, and Claude wonders if he looks more tired than he feels, as Peter crams into the closet-sized area right next to him, almost never seeming to stop touching Claude- a light point of contact on his arm, or back, or waist.
When they’re done they head to the bedroom, where Peter guides Claude to sit on the mattress and flicks on the yellow light fixture. Insidious thoughts of age and infirmity creep around Claude’s mind as he lifts his arms and bows his head, allowing Peter to pull his shirt off. He glances away, at the wall, as his scars are put on display as well. Grand.
But then there are hands on his fly. Well, of course there are, he’s not going to sleep in his trousers. But he finds Peter on his knees, between his legs, looking up at him with those dark eyes and quite suddenly every nasty whisper flees from his head.
Peter’s hands have stilled. The moment draws out. Claude thinks, is almost sure, he could kiss Peter right now. He could take hold of his cheeks or his waist and pull him up, into his arms, and run the rest of the way to where they’re going, at a pace Claude can handle. Recovery over ego, he reminds himself, and breaks eye contact with Peter, instead looking down to undo his fly. Peter gets busy taking off Claude’s shoes and socks, before he helps pull his trousers down. Then it’s the shared work of lifting Claude’s legs up onto the mattress as he shifts the rest of his body to lie back. Practice has given the movement fluidity.
“Thanks, see ya’ in the morning,” Claude says before rolling onto his side. He waits for the light to flick off, to be left alone. He thinks he’ll lie awake for a while, if he won’t risk doing anything else tonight.
Then the mattress creaks as Peter sits on the edge of the bed behind Claude. “Hey,” he murmurs, and touches Claude’s shoulder. Pushes slightly, encouraging him to roll to his back again. A frozen moment passes, then Peter climbs fully onto the bed and straddles Claude’s waist.
“Uh,” Claude manages eloquently, “I thought there were rules about this sort of thing.”
Peter flashes a smile, “Depends on who you ask.” He leans down, hands running lightly over Claude’s chest and shoulders, neck and cheeks. “Do you wanna stop?” he breathes, more or less directly into Claude’s ear.
His hands react first, reaching up to catch two grips as firm as he can make them on Peter’s thighs, “Don’t you dare.”
Peter laughs against his skin, following it up with the first of a shower of kisses Claude does his best to return while his arms reach for more contact. He gets his hands under Peter’s shirt, though it seems to take a long time for the empath to notice and help pull it off. Claude’s already panting, but not in the way he wants to be. His lungs and arms burn, even as he tries to distract himself with Peter’s mouth and skin.
Clammy fatigue wins out, as his hands can barely go higher than Peter’s hips and he’s too busy gulping air to kiss. Peter stills, and Claude shuts his eyes, waiting for the inevitable. He just hopes Peter won’t be all guilt-ridden and obsequious come morning. That would be insufferable.
“Claude...” He opens his eyes a crack and finds Peter watching him. Shockingly, there’s not a hint of pity or even concern in his gaze. Just desire, and determination. He leans sideways, gently rolling them both until they lie facing each other, his leg hitched over Claude’s hip, pulling them together. It’s simple for Claude to curl a hand around Peter’s neck and kiss him deeply, a moan emerging unexpectedly at the twine of Peter’s arms around his torso and shoulders.
They’re tangled up in each other now, and Claude’s head is spinning in just the way he wants it to. Peter’s leg squeezes their bodies even tighter, bringing to Claude’s attention his own thigh positioned most conveniently between Peter’s. He lets out a gasp as Claude presses against the growing hardness there. Claude grins and runs his hand along Peter’s back, all the way down to where his ass and thigh meet- the perfect place to dig his fingers in and pull that hardness against his own.
Peter groans into his mouth and bucks sharply. “Fuck, Claude, please... I- I need to...” His fingers fumble at his zipper, clumsier than the man has ever seen him and that’s probably not one of the world’s saner turn-ons, but he can’t possibly be bothered to care. Rather suddenly, Peter is gripping the back of Claude’s head, all but attacking his mouth with kisses, and reaching for his cock. With a sudden burst of prescience, Claude catches hold of Peter’s questing hand, keeping it still until the rest of Peter stops. “Sorry, sorry,” he babbles, “What’s wrong?”
Claude tries for a reassuring smile, “Not much of anything at all. Just thought... maybe slow things down a bit. Shouldn’t rush off the cliff when there’s such lovely scenery around, yeah? Dunno if we’ll be by here again.”
Peter is silent a moment, before saying with calm certainty, “We will.”
It’s the first time Claude has appreciated precognition. But he can’t resist grinning, “Sure that wasn’t just a wet dream you had, mate? I mean, not that I’d blame you...”
A grin ten times more wicked comes to Peter’s face as he wraps his arms around Claude’s shoulders and leans close to his ear again, “I know the difference. I can tell you all about it.”
Claude shudders at the words, as much their meaning as the sensation of them, and at the dripping cock brushing against his stomach. “Go on then,” he whispers, and reaches down to wrap his hand around the solid length.
For a moment the only sound Peter manages is a rather high-pitched cry as he leans as far as he can into Claude’s touch. But he swallows hard and says, “I don’t know- don’t know where we are, in the dream.”
“Mmhm...” Claude lays kisses into Peter’s neck, kneading him with the thigh between his legs and granting his cock a slow stroke.
“Fuck, uh... But it doesn’t- mm- doesn’t really matter. You’re holding me up... against a wall...”
Claude chuckles, “Long time from now then, obviously.”
“Shut up,” Peter growls, kissing him fiercely before breaking away with wet smack, “You’re holding me up and you’re fucking me, Claude.”
The image that blazes into Claude’s mind is so vivid he thinks for a second Peter has somehow transferred the dream to him. He can’t wait any longer- he pulls down his pants as quickly as he can and strokes him and Peter together. “Yeah?”
“Ah, yes,” Peter hisses, “And it’s amazing. It feels... amazing. Mm, Claude...” One of his hands anchors itself at the back of Claude’s head again, while the other never stops wandering along his body.
The fatigue is starting to reemerge, the bastard, driving Claude to speed his pace and tighten his grip while he still can. Peter is gasping wordlessly against his neck, thrusting into his grip. Claude squeezes his eyes shut and does his best to drown himself in the sensation. Eventually, and not without fatigue chasing right behind, orgasm floods through Claude and all he can do is hold on until Peter stiffens and cries out against him.
The room is actually spinning, and Claude is so drained that for a frightening moment he thinks he might be paralyzed. Even though he’s gasping for air and his pants and trousers are bunched over his knees, Peter sits up and lays two fingers on Claude’s pulse.
“Survived, didn’t I?”
Peter shoots him a smile, “Just about. Do you feel okay?”
Subjectively speaking Claude feels better than he has in many, many years, possibly his whole life. But he has to put that aside now, close his eyes and take stock. “Dizzy as fuck, mate, and... think I’ll be a while... catching my breath.”
“Okay.” Peter hunts around the bed until he can snag his shirt to clean them up at least a little. Then he wriggles out of his clothes and lays a hand on the worn cotton shoved halfway down Claude’s thighs, “On or off?”
“On. Don’t think I could get ‘em off... just now.” Claude’s chest is still heaving like it hasn’t in months.
Peter gingerly pulls the pants back up, and then lies down so his chest presses against Claude’s back. He lays a hand over Claude’s sternum. “Breathe with me.”
Claude closes his eyes again and tries to match Peter’s slow, deep inhalations and exhalations. They’re both asleep by the time he manages it.