s2309: (Kate)
[personal profile] s2309
Title: Flaw In Her Code
Characters (Pairings) Kate Moreau, Neal Caffrey (Kate/Neal)
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 2,872
Disclaimer: White Collar is Jeff Eastin's brainchild. Not mine.
Summary: Victory isn't as sweet as it should be.
Warnings: Some may see shades of dub-con in this. I didn't write it that way, but once I've written it, you're free to interpret it as you wish.
Other Content Notes: Shades of power play and humiliation (they're a light or medium grey to my eyes), post orgasm torture.
Author's Note: Written for the prompt 'safety net' from [livejournal.com profile] sheenianni, for [livejournal.com profile] runthecon.
I hope you like your porn with a ginormous heaped ladleful of Feelings, because that's what this became. Also, yes, there are 800 porn-less words in the front. Sorry about that. *glares at brain*. Title from Gasoline by Halsey. (You see where all the feels came from? xD)
I consider this part of my Tomorrow'verse. (see Tomorrow is a Different Day). There's like two fics to be written between that and this, but what the hell. Porn! (With Angst!) (?) (xD)

Kate is so tired. But that's not new. Exhaustion has been about as natural as breathing, these past two years, a mild headache constantly trying to tear her focus away from survival, then revenge, constantly trying to get her to slow down, sit down, let someone else handle it.

Thank goodness she could never figure out how to let go. If she had, maybe she wouldn't have been quite so certain that the Vincent Adler sitting in a prison cell today was thoroughly defanged, his billions somewhat safe in federal custody, his influence in smithereens, every last cache raided, every last man loyal to him either arrested or flagged.

(Never let it be said that she wasn't thorough.)

Now it's just her, and Neal. And they don't even need to flee to an island somewhere to be happy.

It's the best possible future she could have imagined. Shame her headache isn't letting her enjoy the perfection.

She waits, head leaning against the wall, as Neal fiddles with a set of keys (so much jangling), then pinches the right one between two unsteady fingers and pushes the door open, to reveal more perfection.

The apartment is bathed in moonlight, a gentle silvery-white presence that gives even the most ordinary fruit bowl an ethereal glow. Neal's easel, abandoned in the middle of the room, adds a picturesque touch to the whole affair.

Such sights could only exist in works of art.

(The overturned palette on the floor, the out of place table and a tablemat in disarray speak of another, less perfect story, but the two people looking on are romantics, idealists, and they see what they have trained themselves to see.)

Both of them glance in the direction of the door that leads to the bathroom (such hot water, such excellent water pressure), but neither of them has the energy to even walk that far. Instead, they drift towards the bed, stripping out of their wet, sweaty clothes, stepping out of their shoes. Their only goal for the evening, to be in bed and in each others' arms, as soon as possible.

Neal grimaces at his feet as he lists towards the bed. They're grimy and caked in muck that has a texture resembling that of wet clay. He looks once at the door on the other side of the room and lets out a little groan.

Kate stops his attempted voyage with a hand on his wrist. She abandons the button on her jeans, and instead strips out of her shirt and the tank top she wears underneath, dampens a corner of the shirt with water from a bottle beside his bed and hands the clothes to Neal, indicating his feet with a tilt of her head.

Neal murmurs his thanks with half shut eyes. He sits, half dressed, on the edge of the bed to tend to his feet as she divests herself of the rest of her clothes and hides under the covers, drawing them around her like a child so used to being coaxed to sleep by a loving parent, she doesn't know how to conquer the darkness on her own.

It isn't that she can't fall asleep till Neal joins her. It's that she doesn't want to. Cold beds mean dangerous times, mean always being half awake and listening for danger, mean being ready to run at a bullet's notice. And lately, even the fluffiest duvets haven't been as effective as Neal at driving the heat away.

Thankfully, he doesn't take too long. A few minutes of fussing over his feet and he's standing again, dealing with cufflinks and tie pins and belt buckles with fingers made clumsy by want of sleep, a few more minutes and he's sliding under the covers too, bare skin against sheets, placing a gentle kiss on her lips before settling himself against her body, locking an arm around her waist, holding on to her like she's his lifeline when really, she wouldn't have survived any of this if she didn't have him as a safety net.

She lets one hand reach up to tangle in his hair, lets another rest against his body, fingers lying against a number of little fabric-wrought indentations (he probably buckled his belt too tightly). She holds him close and closes her eyes, finally shutting out the odd combination of horror show and romance novel that this week has been.

Home. Safe, she tells herself, as her mind, unused to such complete lack of stress, begins to panic and spin out worst case scenarios more macabre than Shakespeare himself would have dreamt up (even when faced with the all-too-pleasurable task of dispatching a villain to literary hell).

Home. Safe, she thinks, and, reassured by the comforting weight against her, she falls asleep.


Despite the fact that the blanket is a messy knot at her feet, she wakes up warm.

Neal's head is still pillowed on her shoulder, he's still wrapped around her body. (This perfection is not a dream.)

The sunlight filtering in through the window feels like morning's first greeting but is probably late afternoon's goodbye brilliance.

They've slept long enough that her headache is gone.

She doesn't move out of the dent her body's made in Neal's impossibly soft mattress. She just kisses Neal's temple lightly, and, determined to stay put for as long as she can, shuts her eyes again.

To her surprise, Neal stirs a little at the kiss. "Good morning," he mumbles hoarsely.

"You're up?" she asks, without opening her eyes.

"Mmmm, not really. Dozed off again waiting for you to wake up." She feels him move, feels his morning wood shift against her thigh. She expects him to get up, carry on with the day. She doesn't expect the kiss.

Neal's recently split lip has only just scabbed over, and its edges are harsh, but he kisses her so tenderly, so gently, that she barely even feels it. He pours out his love and she responds with her own, their lips meeting and parting and meeting again like ocean waves on a good day, happy, calm, peacable.

He drifts away, then, drifts down, laying a neat row of kisses down her neck, mouth opening wider as he reaches her collarbone, lingering there so there'll be a mark later, so she has a little artefact from their escapade. (It was real.)

Her head has long since fallen back, her lips parted because she needs more breath than her nose can provide to ride this wave of desire, her eyes, which should hold as their last memory of sight the image of the sun's rays pouring into Neal's apartment, are now feasting on the sight of all the constellations she knows, improbably gathered in the same night sky.

He moves to the valley between her breasts and she shivers, rests her hands in his hair, and whispers encouragements, affirmations, begs him closer, begs him to drive her wild.

He listens. His lips and tongue take a circuitous route to her nipple, teasing the soft flesh of her breast so skilfully that what was a soft peak has hardened into a tight nub by the time his tongue captures it.

Her fingers uncurl in his hair, overgrown and chipped nails avoiding the delicate skin of his scalp with a control she didn't know she could possess in the face of this lust. She caresses his hair, letting the soft brown curls tumble through her fingers, lost in too much sensation already when one of his hands slips downwards and his middle finger lands squarely at the source of the juices that have begun to leak out of her, teasing at the opening, coaxing out her bud, that most sensitive bundle of nerves, carefully beginning to slide in.

Kate moans, a low, soft, desperate sound that causes Neal to look up at her, mouth still fastened around a nipple, and smile deviously.

Sex always starts like this, for reasons she's beyond quantifying at the moment. Neal focuses on her, drives her crazy with lust, makes her toes curl in orgasm, and then, looser-limbed than he was at the beginning, lets her have control, as if he was the one who came hard enough to see stars.

She accepts it as a part of him, doesn't think too much about it. Usually.

But today, as need hurtles closer to seemingly endless desperation, she feels small and helpless. One finger becomes two, then three, her breasts grow slicker with spit, and she feels her orgasm, so close yet so distant, separated from her by more than mere time.

Her hands leave his hair and attack the sheets, searching, searching. Why? flashes through her mind, "Please," and "Neal," escape her lips, all other words evade her grasp.

But even those pithy words are lost as Neal's three fingers are joined by his tongue, and there is no course of action open to her but to arch off the bed, sightless, wordless, no choice but to allow Neal to carry her through an orgasm that feels as harsh as acid rain at the beginning of a long awaited monsoon.

All her love has bled out through her scrabbling fingertips, and all that's left is despair. Her eyes open to find a world less perfect than the one she left. A sob wrenches its way out of her throat.

"Kate?" Neal asks, worry colouring his tone. He levers himself up using his arms and slides smoothly to look her in the face. One hand smoothes some tears away (she didn't even notice them fall), takes some despair with it.

And makes way for a curl of anger.

"Are you okay?" he asks,gentle.

"No," she bites out. Before he can even begin to express his surprise, she grabs him inelegantly by his hair, pulls him down and kisses him viciously, teeth dragging against his lips when they get in the way, tearing at the scab, splitting it so that there's a metallic tang on both their tongues. There is no gentility here.

Their ocean waves have turned deadly.

Neal pulls away and surfaces, sputtering, saltwater clouding his vision. "Kate- I-"

"Do you want me to stop?" she whispers in a tone that's almost neutral, that almost hides all evidence of the searing fire raging in her eyes, in her rainforest heart, almost.

"No," Neal says, with certainty, a response that surprises them both. Neal's hand rises to his mouth, what have I said, why do I mean it so much, his finger touches the blood on his lip in amazement. Kate waits a few seconds too long before shoving his hand out of the way and plundering his mouth again.

Neal doesn't know what he did wrong, but he gets the feeling that he doesn't need to know. And his body doesn't want him to dwell on it either. Kate's brutal kisses are as efficient as an excavator tearing through innocent earth, friction from a slick thigh planted between his legs, shifting as she does, is as potent as a stick of dynamite through his attention span.

She stops kissing him as she herself is carried off, head arching again, leaving him with clawlike nails digging into one shoulder and the sweet friction of her using him as a pole to rub against, plunging her own hand into herself, driving herself squarely towards a lightning-quick orgasm, over almost as soon as it had begun.

As her breathing slows again, as she winds down and tosses her sweaty hair over her shoulders and becomes cognizant of his presence, he notices a little frown at the corner of her mouth. He can read it, as plainly as if it was written across her face. Not good enough.

She reaches down with one hand, holds his chin between three slick fingers and says, "Sit up."

He moves carefully till he's leaning against the headboard, following her with half-lidded eyes, perhaps more relaxed than he should be when faced with a Kate so tempestuous that he can barely tell what's going to happen next.

She directs his hands to the headboard and he holds on obediently, lies back and plays the canvas as her nails dance across his chest, as her mouth captures his cock and sends a full-bodied shudder through him

"Kate, I don't-" he manages to say before a finger finds his slit and his words are stolen away.

She abandons her task for a moment to say, "Not this time."

Of course she knows exactly what he's talking about. He doesn't like to come till they're almost done. Refratory periods take away all the romance. And he likes to give her romance, pink glasses, rainbows, candy canes and all.

She doesn't want it.

She blows him like she was kissing him - holding absolutely nothing back - and it shows, in the teeth occasionally grazing against his shaft, in the tongue dancing as skilfully as a prima ballerina, in the mouth slowly, exquisitely driving him up the wall with the gentlest pleasure he could think of as her nails deliver more damage than he ever dreamed possible.

And slowly, he realizes why he isn't even apprehensive. This is Kate. This is the most honest version of herself she's been since he got out of prison after the plane explosion, and... and he trusts her not to hurt him. He trusts that she loves him. There are no doubtful voices in his head, there's no Moz, no Peter. Just the two of them. The way it should be.

She loves me. There's no need to prove it to anyone. Just the truth.

She loves me.

Neal's hips start disobeying him, jerking reactively at every new sensation travelling down his cock, causing Kate to abandon his abused chest, his reddened nipples, and hold them down firmly, even as his orgasm causes him to lose even more of his control.

Kate's mouth, full of his come, stays too long on his softening cock, eliciting a strangled groan from him. She withdraws at that, a kindness he somehow didn't expect. Then she spits his come onto his own chest.

It should be embarrassing, but he knows that after sex, she likes to curl up on his chest. It'll be on both of us, he thinks, and just by looking into her eyes, he can tell that she knows it too.

Her hands are still pincer-tight on his hips, hovering just above his crotch with an eyebrow raised in question. He's confused for a moment, but then he notices her eye on the last of his erection.

"Do it," Neal says with his last breath and then falls apart again, more dangerously, as Kate's hand captures the base of his cock, keeps the last of the blood from leaving it, as her mouth captures the head and pleasures it mercilessly, her tongue teasing at his slit with wicked precision, what should have been pleasure somehow translated into pain by his post-orgasmic brain, his throat trying desperately to find even a sliver of breath to scream with as his hands cling determinedly to the headboard.

It feels like Copenhagen. What should have been perfection, wrecked beyond recognition.

Maybe that's the point.

As he falls back to Earth, he's conscious of Kate's weight on him, pressing purposefully on the come she'd spat out onto him (he was right, it's on both of them) (he wonders what else is). He can read the apology in her gentle, tearful eyes, and he grimaces at it. He wanted this. He would have stopped her if he didn't. She gave him room to stop her.

"Don't be sorry," he tells her, but she shakes her head.

"I just wanted you to know how it felt," she says in a whisper,

How she felt, Neal thinks, and suddenly, he understands the almost undetectable thread of artificiality that's been threaded through every smile, every loving look she sends him outside these walls.

She meant those smiles, but while every eye on them was trying desperately to find something to point at and say see, she doesn't love you, she couldn't say or be anything more than that smile. Not even here.

"Kate..." The little crack in his voice is nothing compared to his heart. He wraps an arm around her, kisses her briefly, reverently.

She's been through so much. And he keeps forgetting that while he always had someone to call a friend, there were months at a stretch where she could trust nobody but herself.

He closes his eyes and is about to settle in when she slips out of his arms and dashes across the room.

"Hey!" he calls out, outraged.

"Gotta pee," comes the muffled reply, from deep within his walk-in closet.

He smiles and makes his way across as well. Now that she mentions it, he could do with a shower. Also, since they're probably done with the complicated sex for the day, and since they're both probably worn out by it, maybe some simple, steamy shower sex is called for.

There's nothing romantic about thinking through all of this so casually, Neal realizes.

But maybe they don't need that much romance all the time. Maybe just being them can be enough sometimes.
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