TITLE: The Prodigal
GENRE: Slash Romance/Angst
SUMMARY: After Jump, Push, Fall someone returns to Boston.
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own any of the characters on Crossing Jordan or the show itself.
A/N: The events in this fic parallel ‘There’s No Place Like Home 2' and are seen through the eyes of a cast member who I wish had been there. The pairing occurred to me after I accepted this challenge and now I want to write more of it. I don’t think anyone has ever written a fic with this pairing before and I hope you enjoy it.
QUOTE- Age is opportunity no less,
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
**Warning** - This fic depicts a male/male relationship. If this sort of thing offends you then please do not read past the cutline. There is an uncut version of this with lots of smut, which will be posted on adult fanfiction at http://www.adultfanfiction.net/aff/
Peter awoke with a start just a few minutes after dropping off to sleep, feeling he may already be too late. Calling the reservation’s desk for the airline, he crammed clothes into his battered duffel bag. By the time he had given his credit card information to the annoyingly cheerful airline representative on the phone, he had stripped the small room completely, eliminating any evidence of the last year and a half and his time here.
He’d been ready to move on; had only been waiting for a change in the wind, a sign of where to go next. Tonight’s dream had decided things for him; this time moving forward would mean going back. Peter left the room the way he’d found it. Its barrenness waiting for the next lost soul struggling find a path back to themselves.
He arrived at San Francisco International with only a few minutes to spare. Hearing the overhead system announce the last boarding call for the 11 P.M. flight to Boston, Peter sprinted down the concourse to the gate. He quickly settled in his seat and fastened the seatbelt. Boston. Home. Him.
Peter knew that he was the reason for the inexorable pull he’d felt on waking. Something had happened and somehow he needed him. It was strange to feel that; he’d never needed anyone for as long as he’d known him. Always strong, yet underneath there had been a need he had never allowed anyone to see. It was a need they shared, the need to be accepted by even one person for whom and what they truly were. Not the public faces, but the hidden man, the one that both had been afraid to show to the rest of the world.
Peter had seen that hidden face, knew the soul-deep doubt the man carried, the pain he endured without flinching. It was a pain Peter understood only too well, the pain of trying to live as only half of what you were, denying a part of your self. That pain had led Peter to a sham marriage and drug addiction. That pain led him to hide the loving soul that lay beneath the cynical facade he showed the world.
For a time Peter had seen that hidden man come out, shown fully to him in intimate loving moments, but glimpses became visible to those they worked with also. Each had commented at one time or another about the change they’d seen in him, Jordan had speculated aloud that he must be ‘getting some’. Peter knew that the change wasn’t just about physical satisfaction, but about love.
Love was not a word Peter would have equated with him when they first met, but slowly, over time, Peter began to see the man behind the mask. A man who was capable of loving so intently and so fully that he had freely let Peter go when it became obvious to both of them that he could not fight his demons in Boston. Not only bidding him a loving goodbye, but also using his contacts to make certain that Peter had a very well paying job waiting when he was far enough along in his recovery.
There had been letters to encourage him every day, filled with news of Peter’s friends at the morgue. While the letters never declared his love for Peter, it was imbued in each pen stroke. There was never a mention of the future when it came to the two of them, but Peter could sense the hope in what was not said, hope that Peter would return to Boston and the man who wrote.
Now as the plane left the runway, Peter hoped that he was not too late. That the strange warning tingle in his spine wasn’t some sort of prescient message of ruin or death. He closed his eyes, but found that the feeling of dread had driven sleep far away. He should be exhausted, unable to stay awake after pulling a double and then running errands all day. Except for the forty minutes he’d slept while dreaming, he’d been awake for almost thirty hours. He contented himself with some ridiculous novel left by a previous passenger. The plot was something about a failed writer finding himself in a rundown Mexican seaside town minus one kidney and running through filthy water being chased by bad guys, who wanted to steal the other one.
Finally, the flight attendant announced that they would be landing in twenty minutes. Peter slipped the book into his carryon and sat waiting to be allowed off the plane, once again feeling the full strength of the urgency that had never really left him, only abated somewhat during the cross-country flight.
He was on his feet the moment the attendant opened the door to the jet way. He hurried through Logan, glad he traveled so lightly, unlike his fellow passengers who were waiting for their bags. He made a beeline for the cabstand and gave the driver the address, settling back for the ride through the TWT and into South Boston.
Arriving at the apartment building, he asked the driver to wait while he walked in and check the post boxes; the name was still there. He paid the fare and went back in to the elevator. On the slow ascent, he wondered what he’d find. At the door, he lifted his hand and hesitated for a brief moment to send up a prayer to whatever higher power there might be that he was wrong and the man on the other side of the door didn’t need him.
He knocked softly enough that the sleeping neighbors would not have their predawn rest disturbed, knowing that the man inside would hear even though he might be sound asleep himself. The brief lapse between his knock and the sound of someone on the other side of the door banished any thought that he’d awakened the occupant. The quick darkening, then lightening at the peephole was followed by the sound of the locks being released and the door opened quickly. The man on the other side pulled him into a hard almost desperate embrace, enfolding him in strong arms and sending a thrill through him and he was assailed by a familiar scent, the subtle smell of cigars, good scotch and that warm earthy scent he’d awakened to so many mornings.
“Peter” His voice was filled with surprise and a hint of relief. Before he could respond, he was pulled into a passionate kiss that sent a shaft of electricity through him, as he returned the caress.
Finally, breathless, Peter broke the kiss and pulled back slightly, feeling the other man’s arms tighten as though he feared Peter would slip away. Looking into brown eyes that had haunted his dreams, Peter spoke, finally seeing the man in front of him. “Jesus, Garret, you look like shit.”
“Thanks.” The soft gentle feel of his fingers tracing the planes of Peter’s face, testing the three-day beard growth, belied the sarcasm in Garret’s voice. “When did you get back? What are you doing back? Why didn’t you call me? I’d have met your plane.”
“An hour ago; because I just knew you needed me; I didn’t stop long enough to; you couldn’t have driven in your condition.” Peter supplied the answers in the same manner as the questions. “Garret, what the hell is going on? The workday starts in less than four hours and you’re drunk practically off your ass.”
“I don’t work there anymore. I don’t work anywhere.” Garret held him close as he closed the door and led him into the apartment they had shared far too briefly before Peter had left to go into rehab.
“What happened?” Peter was stunned by the revelation.
“Do you recall me telling you about the Sylvia Moreau case?”
Peter instantly remembered Garret’s story of the one case that still haunted him almost twenty years after it was closed. “The suicide your boss wouldn’t let you look into further?”
“That’s the one, only it turned out to be murder and the evidence I suppressed could have convicted the man responsible.” Peter sat down on the couch pulling Garret with him, settling the older man between his legs, enjoying just holding him. Garret leaned back against Peter’s chest and continued. “Jack Slokum and the governor’s crime commission found a witness who saw someone leaving the scene that night and they suspended me, pending an investigation. After we solved the case, I turned over the evidence and they fired me.”
“No wonder you look like hell. When did this all happen? Why didn’t you call me?” Peter suddenly knew why he’d felt drawn back to Boston. Garret needed him to lean on until he found his feet again, the way Peter had needed Garret to be his strength until he found his own.
“Eight weeks ago.”
“Garret, you should have called. Did you think I wouldn’t come?” Peter held him tighter, remembering the agonizing first few days of withdrawal after he’d screwed up and started using again, ending eight months of hard won sobriety.
Garret had been there for him, held him as alternating chills and fever had racked his body and the craving for just one more taste had driven him to claw his skin and vomit up anything he tried to eat. Garret had cleaned him, fed him and listened to his screams and pleas. Never once had he made Peter feel judged or worthless, had vehemently denied Peter’s insistence that he was just a useless junkie, and should be allowed to die.
The older man had held Peter and cried when Peter begged him to let him kill himself and the sight of those tears had made Peter realize that he was hurting the one person left in this world that knew him inside and out and loved him anyway. The knowledge of that love had given Peter the courage to go back into rehab, even though it meant leaving Boston. There were several good programs here he could have gone through, but knew he needed a complete break from anything that might remind him of his ex-wife and their mutual descent into madness.
“You had your own problems to deal with. You didn’t need mine too.” Garret relaxed back onto Peter’s chest.
“Gar, I’m going to be dealing with my addiction the rest of my life, that doesn’t preclude me being here for you.” Peter rested his head on Garret’s shoulder.
“Is it still bad?” Garret asked.
“I only want to use every day, but I put my head between my knees and the feeling passes.” Peter joked, glad to be home even if he was saddened by the reason he’d felt drawn here. “Kind of like missing you. It never went away.”
He remembered the goodbye at the airport. For once, he and Garret had both let the public masks slip and simply held each other, allowing the sea of travelers to ebb and flow around them as they committed the feel of each other to memory. He’d looked into Garret’s eyes and knew that somehow, he’d find his way back and Garret would be waiting. What Peter had found with him was something he’d thought only existed in fairy tales and cheap romance novels. He’d found the other half of himself, the missing piece of his soul.
God, Garret would laugh to hear Peter refer to him as a soul mate, a sentiment the older man had scoffed at when put forth by Lily in a conversation one evening. At the thought of Lily, he smiled. She’d been the only one who knew about Peter and Garret’s relationship and had wholeheartedly approved, seeing in them each others salvation from their personal demons.
He sat for a time holding Garret close, breathing in his scent as though it were oxygen he’d been denied for too long.
“So what are you going to do now?” Peter finally asked. “How are you going to fight it?”
“I’m not.” Garret’s voice was rough with too much booze and too little sleep. “I’ve got nothing left to fight with Peter. It’s all gone to hell, there’s no point in fighting. Endings are inevitable”
“Bullshit.” Peter told him. “That is exactly the kind of crap I tried on you, it’s total shit and you know it, Garret. If you’ve lost the balls to fight, fine, but don’t try to feed me this inevitable endings shit. That is a philosophical copout. It’s a rationalization for sitting on your ass and doing nothing.” Peter leaned over and whispered. “That is not the man I fell in love with, the man I fell in love with came to chew bubble gum and kick ass and he was usually all out of bubble gum.”
“Once Peter, but I getting too old for that shit. There’s no fight left in me. I’m too tired to kick anyone’s ass now.”
Peter leaned in to kiss the back of Garret’s neck, smiling at the visible shiver the touch of his lips produced. “But you will. I know you, Garret. You may be ready to throw in the towel right now, but soon you’ll burst out guns blazing, Dirty Garry rides again.” He felt, more than heard the older man’s brief, bitter laugh.
“Not this time Peter, I’ve got nothing left to fight with or for. My professional reputation is shattered and I’m probably never going to find another job in forensics. I’ll end up working in some two-bit emergency clinic for peanuts.” Garret turned slightly to rest his head on Peter’s chest. “I’ve lost the respect of my staff and Jordan’s friendship.”
“Garret, you know Jordan. She’ll get over it.”
“This is the first time I’ve ever betrayed her. I’ve always been the one to prop her up when someone else disappointed her. Now I’m the cause of her disappointment.”
“Trust me Garret, Jordan can never stay mad at you, give her some time.” Peter could tell that Garret wasn’t going to listen to any more tonight and he was still too buzzed to be rational. Better to catch him sober in the morning. For tonight, Peter’s mind was more on how long it had been since they’d been together. He tightened his arms around Garret. “Now, why don’t you and I go to bed?” He murmured in Garret’s ear, his tone dropping to a low sensual rumble.
Garret turned to face him, pulling him in for another deep, slow, passionate kiss. “Who needs a bed?” He growled as he broke the kiss, reaching for Peter’s shirt, slowly unbuttoning it, his fingers teasing the smooth, nearly hairless skin of Peter’s chest beneath. Kissing his way across the exposed skin, Garret circled around first one nipple then the other as Peter closed his eyes and reveled in the sensation. He knew Garret liked to make the first move, to have Peter under him, allowing him to explore his skin at his leisure. Peter stayed still for as long as he could before reaching for the older man’s t-shirt and pulling it over his head, so that he could feel Garret’s skin under his hands.
It had been far too long since Peter had touched Garret and he actually felt more nervous than the first time, his hands trembling as he slid them along Garret’s back. At the first touch across the tight jeans Peter wore, he thrust up against the hand drawing down the zipper. Garret smiled at him and slowly finished undoing the fly, sliding the pants down Peter’s slim hips.
As Peter raised his hips off the couch to help remove the confining denim, Garret leaned forward and blew gently on the exposed flesh. Peter couldn’t move for a brief moment as the sensation froze his muscles in place and seemed to stop his heart. He drew in a ragged breath and moaned. The grin Garret gave him at the sound was almost piratical.
Afterward, he stretched out on top of Garret and stroked the defined contours of his chest, lightly tracing the muscles that had surprised him the first time he’d undressed him. Garret’s usual clothing choice for work was slacks and dress shirts worn loose and comfortable, so the first time Peter had seen him in jeans and a T-shirt he’d been amazed at the finely carved frame of the shorter man. Every muscle on Garret’s body was easily seen and Garret’s ass was truly a sight to behold, even at 50 it was hard enough to bounce a quarter off of. Something Peter had once tried to do, but Garret had stopped him by the simple expedient of pulling him down on the bed and giving him an incredible blow job.
Peter felt his eyelids beginning to droop and raised his head to meet Garret’s eyes. “I think we need to take this to the bedroom. While you make an interesting pillow, I don’t think you’ll appreciate the experience in the morning.” He smiled at the drowsy nod of agreement he received and the two men rose from the couch and made their way to the bed they’d shared before Peter left.
After settling in and pulling up the blanket, Garret pulled Peter to him and placed Peter’s head on his shoulder. Peter reached up sleepily and kissed him on the lips. “I missed you, old man.” He teased.
“Shut up and go to sleep, asshole.” Came the reply, punctuated by a yawn and Peter smiled as sleep overtook him.