Title: Into the Fire (Or, Five Times Mozz Caught Neal With His Pants Down)
Rating: R to NC-17
Pairings: Neal/Kate, Neal/Mozz, Neal/Peter (Neal/Peter/El, if you squint)
Spoilers: For the finale (Out of the Box).
Warnings: Grief, crying.
Author's Note: Thank you to photoash, who prompted me with "five times Mozz caught Neal with his pants down." Apologies for how far it diverged from the fun little thing it started as.
Summary: There's more than one way to see a man naked.
There was a problem, Mozz thought absently, with being half in love with your straight criminal accomplice. Well, there were several problems--it interfered with your effectiveness at doing your job and it made you break into cold sweats at inappropriate times and it seriously fucked with your sleep cycles. Oh, and it was idiotic.
But if you had to pick one problem, the worst problem, with being half in love with your straight criminal accomplice, then this was definitely it.
"Mozz," Neal said, clearly biting back some awkward laughter. Kate was splayed across the kitchen counter, shirt unbuttoned, skirt hiked up around her knees, and his dick was still in her. Mozz was could feel the blood rushing to his face, could feel himself steadily turning red. Redder. Probably purple, by now.
"Uh," he said. "That's--people eat on that."
"Come on," Kate said, clearly annoyed to have been interrupted, "can't we discuss this later?" Neal put a hand over her mouth to shut her up and even that, the casual way he touched her, made Mozz want to kill someone.
"Mozzie," he said, flashing one of those smiles that always, goddamn it, always worked, even if Mozz would never admit it. "Forgive me?"
"I want you to know you're disgusting," he informed them both, and exited before Neal's sharp eyes and sharper intellect could notice the other place to which his blood was rushing.
"I seriously didn't need to see this," Mozz said. He wanted to turn away but--but couldn't. He was weak in the face of temptation. He had fallen to the sheer sexual magnetism of his own personal Adonis, damn the Greeks and all their tragedies.
And Neal was like an Adonis, even just from the waist down. There was a sculpted, ethereal quality to him, one that Mozz had always found captivating. That being said, Mozz didn't think Adonis had ever spent an afternoon in a t-shirt and nothing else, staring at his own dick in his living room mirror.
"I needed to check something," Neal said absently. He lifted his cock to look at the underside and Mozz drew in a sharp, pointed breath--even flaccid it did something strange and painful to his insides, made something in him keen.
"And you didn't lock the door first because?"
"It was urgent." Neal flicked the thing again, almost unthinkingly, and Mozz was actually going crazy, this was some kind of insane dream--
"What," he said, hoping he was keeping his voice even, "could possibly have been so urgent that taking the time to lock the door was impossible?"
Neal waved a hand. "Did you know," he said, "that sometimes people don't realize they have skin cancer because the first signs are--" he gestured broadly at the area Mozz could not seem to look away from. "I wanted to be sure."
"You don't have skin cancer, Neal," Mozzie said, wearily. "I'm sorry I ever told you about all the poisons they put in our food, okay?"
"I thought you said paranoia was healthy," Neal replied, quirking an eyebrow, and god, the bastard was making a point. He'd probably planned this, sneaky smirky little shit. Mozz bit back a scream of frustration and told Neal to get dressed, finally forced himself to drag his eyes to the ceiling, and vowed to avoid pissing the man off in the future.
Little known fact: Neal Caffrey got off on committing crimes. Mozz, who was nothing if not observant, had known that from the first little caper they'd pulled together, a bust on a jewelry store to build capital for a bigger job. They'd gone out the back way, made it to an alley a few blocks away--at a walk, not a run--and then Neal had leaned against a building, breathing rather harder than was required.
It wouldn't have taken a rocket scientist to figure out what was going on beneath his pants; the bulge there was swelling, and Mozz knew from their then-limited personal interaction that Neal was between girls. And, well...the man was pretty. There was no denying that the man was pretty.
"I could take care of that for you," he said. Neal slanted him a hooded half-smile.
"I'm straight," he said, a test in his voice. Mozz shrugged.
"I have a mouth. You have a dick. It's not going to care that I have one too."
Neal stared at him for long moment. Then he glanced around, and let out a faint huff of a laugh. Mozzie looked away, assuming he'd been dismissed (he was oddly humiliated, for having expected the worst); then he heard that light, amused voice tell him to turn around, and when he did, Neal's expensive pants were in a heap on the floor of the dirty alley.
"Please," Neal said. Mozz smiled at him.
(It was quick work--Neal was so hard it hurt to look at his cock and Mozz was messy and brief, almost desperate to see how he tasted. It was easy, brilliant--after every job until Alex, and then Kate, Mozz slipped to his knees in whatever dingy circumstances allowed and sucked the victory from Neal, sucked until he shuddered and and sobbed. He knew Neal didn't have any idea how often he thought about it later, how he replayed those moments over and over, his own dick in his hand, remembering.)
Mozz had, over the years, faked most everything imaginable. Bonds, art, love--if you could name it, he could fake it. But perhaps his greatest skill was his ability to feign sleep; he certainly wouldn't have been hearing what he was hearing otherwise.
It had been kind of Neal, to let him sleep at June's. Kind of him and incredibly painful for Mozz, to curl up on the couch surrounded by Neal's typical opulence and imagine. And so he hadn't fallen asleep, wanting to drink in the feel of him, the sound of his even breathing in the darkness.
Except...except that his breathing wasn't even. It was hitching, in a way all too familiar to Mozz, in a way he'd heard too many times to ever forget. Mozz moved and gave the unassuming grunt of a sleeping man; it wouldn't do to oversell it. With his eyes slitted he could see Neal arching up against his sheet, dick in hand.
"Peter," he said, writhing, pulling at himself, coaxing himself to orgasm. He was such a study in, in everything Mozz had always wanted, that it almost didn't matter what he was saying. "Peter," he repeated, and came in a sticky mess all over himself, the Suit's name still on his lips.
It really wasn't fair, Mozz mused, sitting on the terrace three hours later and drunk on Neal's last bottle of wine. Some people had all the motherfucking luck.
He only went back to June's because he didn't have anywhere else to go.
Well, he could have gone home, of course. That would have made sense. But the idea of going back there, of staring at the cluttered mess that was his life (freedom, he supposed, had its price); he couldn't do it. He kept replaying that last moment in his mind, reaching his hand out and not touching--touching would have been unbearable. Oh, but now he wished he had touched, had overcome the agony to run his hand one last time along the neat, tailored lines of Neal.
He'd wandered the city for hours after they'd parted. It had been the only way, the aimless in and out, weaving through the labyrinth of streets and alleys that somehow coalesced into a metropolis; Mozz had lost a lot of tails, over the years. If he changed pace enough, if he altered his course over and over and wore a hole in his thinning socks--maybe the memory, too, would shake.
It hadn't, and so he went back to June's. She was--well, he couldn't very well call the Suit, and he'd always hated Alex, and June had embraced him and his oddities the same way Neal had, once. He thought maybe she'd still like him, even with their binding factor gone. It wouldn't hurt to try.
He wasn't expecting her to open the door with anguish written into every crevice of her face and tears streaking her makeup. It didn't take her long to explain: Kate and the plane, the Suit half-dragging Neal upstairs, the talk of surveillance and traitors and allegiances. She told him that Peter had just left, to go get Mrs. Suit; selfish, Mozz thought, and didn't say. She told him that Neal had locked his door, that she was terrified of what he might be doing in there, that his eyes had looked so--cold, that he hadn't gotten around to teaching her to pick locks before he left, that she'd let him have the only key--
"I've got it," Mozz told her, and he put a hand on her shoulder, and finally knew firsthand what a terror it was to see a strong woman weep.
It didn't take him long to pick the lock on Neal's door; he occupied his thoughts with moving as quickly as possible to distract himself from the idea that he was relieved, relieved to know Neal wasn't gone. He wasn't relieved, he couldn't be, the circumstances--oh, but he was, a little. The lock snicked open and the space hadn't changed yet and the weight of losing Neal lifted from his heart, only to be replaced with a crushing guilt instead.
"Neal?" he called. The apartment was empty, but Mozz could hear the sound of running water. He slipped into the bathroom and...and...
Neal was naked on the floor of the shower. He was shaking, curled into a ball; before he could think about it, Mozz stepped forward, stuck a hand into the stream. It was ice cold, and he shut it off. He wanted to say something, but words had always been Neal's arena; he stood, silent, instead, waiting for the intricate technicalities of this moment to reveal themselves to him, to tell him what to do.
Neal looked up after what felt like a year, apparently noticing the absence of the spray. "Mozz," he said, and his voice warbled and shattered on that one syllable, and the necessary steps unfolded; Mozz turned his mind over to instinct entirely and climbed into the shower himself. He crouched, picking Neal up by both shoulders, and nestled them into the corner; he let Neal lean into his chest, let him press himself into Mozz's shoulder.
It was wet in there. Mozz could feel the cold water seeping through his pants and jacket and shoes, but it was better than the warmth spreading into his neck where Neal was crying. "Kate," he keened, and Mozz rubbed his back and rocked him back and forth and thought about relief, and not meaning it. He thought about all the times he'd hated Kate and then the Suit, and how he'd trade his life for either of theirs to keep Neal from making that sound anymore.
He knew the Suit would come back, Elizabeth in tow; he knew eventually Neal would stop crying or they'd pick him up, wrap him in clothes and blankets and make him talk. Mozz, to whom convention had always been a nearly unbreakable code, for whom disaster lurked at every turn...Mozz rubbed, and rocked, and waited. Mozz held on.