Fandom: White Collar
Characters/Pairings: Peter/Neal, Dar
Word Count: 1,052
Beta Credit: elrhiarhodan
Summary: What happens after the Claiming.
Author’s Notes – Written for the wonderful pooh_collector for her birthday. I hope you like it.
This is a timestamp to Etched in Flame as part of my Dragon’verse. While technically it can stand alone, it would be a richer story if you read the first one.
Peter woke to the rays of the rising sun spilling over his face. Stretching, he enjoyed the warmth on his eyelids as he reached over to pull Neal close to him. His hand met empty bed, cool sheets. Rolling over, he opened his eyes to see Neal and Dar sitting on the floor in front of the mirrors that were still set up from the night before.
A smile tugged at his lips as he watched them – the most important parts of his life. Neal was sitting cross-legged, his back to the mirrors, sleep pants slung low on his hips. The morning beams illuminated his skin, splashing it with gold and pink from the dawn. His head was turned, looking at Dar who was hanging over his shoulder. Peter heard the dragonet making pleased noises and Neal’s low chuckle in response.
Peter propped himself up on one arm to get a better look. In the mirrors' reflection he could see Neal’s back, the living dragon tattoos displayed in vivid color. They were twisting around each other, shooting blue-green flame that Dar was chasing with its claw, little growls of frustration bursting forth when it couldn’t catch the fire. The dragons kept slinking forward, then back, teasing the dragonet. In the mirrors, Peter could see its eyes whirling gold, blue and green as it played.
He must have made a movement that Neal caught in the reflection because he turned and smiled at Peter. “Morning.”
“We’ve been playing, as you can see.” Neal tilted his head towards the mirror. “Dar likes them, but it can’t figure out why they won’t leave my back and play with it.”
“That would be confusing.” Peter grabbed the underwear on the floor by the side of the bed and pulled them on. “When did Diana bring Dar home?” He climbed out of the bed and came to sit next to Neal.
“She called about an hour ago and said Dar was crying and wouldn’t settle down until she promised that she would bring Dar home. So here we are.” Neal shifted Dar so that it was farther down his back. Peter could see the tattoos shift out of the way for a moment, then curl back in like they were cuddling the dragonet. Dar let out a pleased chuckle and began licking them. “Oh god, that tickles!” Neal wriggled his back, making the tattoo shift. Dar started to whine because it couldn’t reach them anymore.
Peter laughed. “My mom said I used to do that when I was Dar’s age. Drove her nuts.”
“Nice to know Dar comes by it honestly.” Neal settled the dragonet more securely over his shoulder and took Peter’s hand. He put it to his face and kissed the palm. Peter could feel the morning stubble on Neal’s cheek and caressed his jaw before bringing him in for a kiss. Neal’s lips were soft, his mouth welcoming as Peter teased him with his tongue. “Mmmmm….,” Neal murmured. “Definitely a good morning.”
“Mmmhmm.” Peter lost himself in Neal, his taste, his scent. He cupped the back of Neal’s neck and brushed his fingers over the spot that he knew Neal liked, chuckling as he felt Neal shiver. “Yes it is.”
They were interrupted as Dar scrabbled backwards, trying to get purchase on Neal’s shoulder. Peter steadied the dragonet, helping it shift into a more secure position. He watched Dar rub its head under Neal’s ear and nudge the fingers Peter had resting on Neal’s neck. The dragonet sighed as Peter stroked its nose and lazily licked at Peter’s thumb. “Looks like Dar may be ready to go back to sleep.”
“Yeah, I should probably put it in the crib.” Neal moved away, ready to get up, but Peter stopped him.
“No wait, just bring Dar to bed with us.”
“Yeah.” Normally they didn’t let Dar sleep with them. but this morning Peter wanted the closeness. “I want to cuddle with my family.” He gathered a sleepy Dar and stood, pulling Neal up with him. “C’mon.”
They settled Dar in between them, Neal stroking the spot in between Dar’s eyes as the dragonet sighed contentedly.
“Come here.” Peter slipped an arm under Neal’s shoulder and pulled him close. He searched Neal’s face, noting the tired eyes. “You okay?” He was still worried about Neal’s reaction from last night.
“Yeah, just tired.” Neal smiled at him. “But I’m okay.” He paused and looked at Peter. “I kind of felt different though, when I woke up this morning.”
Peter frowned, concerned. “Different how?”
“Different may be the wrong word…” Neal looked off to the side, obviously thinking. “Not different….more may be the better term.”
“What do you mean ‘more’?”
“I don’t know.” Neal shrugged. “Just ‘more’. Calmer. Settled. Especially with Dar.” Peter saw him smile down at the dragonet. “Like I finally understand.”
Peter was about to reply when he heard it.
Poppa, tell Da to shhh. Is sleepytime. The voice was small and sweet and didn’t come from either of them.
Neal’s head jerked up. “Peter? Did you…? Was that…?”
“I heard.” Peter felt the grin split his face. “And yes, I think it was.” He looked at Dar who was sprawled out on its belly. He chuckled and leaned down to kiss the dragonet on the head. I think you can tell Da yourself. He can hear you, too.
Neal gasped. “I heard you, Peter!”
I figured you might. Peter rumbled, thrilled that the tattoo had opened this connection between them. Try it.
He watched Neal close his eyes and concentrate. I love you.
Da, loud! Dar whimpered and shook its head.
“Sorry, baby. I’m….Da’s learning.” Neal met Peter’s eyes. The joy in them took Peter’s breath away. “Da…Dar called me Da.”
“Yeah.” Peter’s chest tightened with happiness.
Dar grumbled and rolled on its side. Stretching a wing, it brushed it over Neal’s eyes. Da, sleepy. Hush now. Dar settled against Neal with a sigh, its breath slowing in slumber.
Peter wrapped his arms around the two of them and rested Neal’s head on his shoulder. Da…I like that. It suits you. He kissed Neal’s temple and closed his eyes. I love you, Da.
Peter felt Neal relax, his breathing echoing the dragonet’s. I love you, too, Poppa.
Smiling, Peter fell asleep.