Neal had been acting odd since the day before. He'd made excuses when Peter invited him to lunch and slipped off not long after for over an hour. When he'd returned to the office, he'd immediately jumped into a case with Jones. They quickly left to recon a suspect, so Peter hadn't even gotten a chance to interrogate him about where he'd been.
Even though it was a Friday night, and Neal spent every Friday night with them, he'd left a vague message on the answering machine about not making it out Brooklyn that night. When Peter had called back, Neal's voicemail immediately picked up. It was strange, but his gut was telling him that this wasn't a criminal endeavor and that Neal sometimes needed his own space.
He was immensely relieved when Neal let himself into the house the next morning with a bouquet for flowers that he presented to El with a flourish and a kiss on the lips.
"You look ravishing this morning, Elizabeth," he said with a grin.
She touched her sleep-mused hair and drew her brows together in confusion. "Are you feeling okay, sweetie?"
He just nodded and moved over to the table to give Peter a kiss too. His lover tasted of minty toothpaste and smelled of aftershave, both familiar comforts after the last twenty-four hours of indistinct worry. "Don't I get flowers?" Peter teased.
Neal just laughed and took his usual seat to Peter's left. He rubbed Satchmo's ears when the lab trotted over to greet his favorite playmate.
Elizabeth served Neal a plate of French toast and a mug of coffee before heading upstairs to take a shower.
When they were alone, Neal slid a small box across the table to Peter. "That's for you."
Peter gave the box a suspicious glance. "What's this for?"
"It's December 7th, and I thought it was time that I got you some jewelry."
He laughed loudly at Neal's admission. They'd talked about it not long ago; December 7th was the day that Peter had originally caught and arrested Neal by exposing Kate's position to the younger man. How things had changed in only a few short years.
Neal and Elizabeth had their own anniversary of their first meeting to celebrate, and, of course, Peter and Elizabeth had theirs. This was clearly for the two of them, and Peter couldn't wait to see what Neal had gotten him.
Picking up the box, he gave it a cursory shake, and something metallic tinkled inside. He eased the lid off and found a pair of platinum cufflinks inside with the letters E, P, and N intertwined and engraved on both pieces.
"I thought it was the worst day of my life when you busted through that storage facility door. Intellectually, I knew I couldn't run forever, but I had no idea everything would catch up to me that day.
"You'd been a very worthy opponent though – I like the smart ones too – and when I shook your hand, I felt something. That spark that I still feel every time we touch. I've never loved anyone more than I love you, Peter Burke."
There were tears in Peter's eyes when he leaned forward to grasp Neal's lapels and pull him into a kiss. He invited Neal deeper with a flick of his tongue against his lover's soft, full lips. They kissed until they were breathless and almost thrumming with lust and need.
"I love you too, Neal Caffrey. More than I ever thought possible."
Neal laughed, a hearty, happy sound, and tugged him toward the stairs. They stumbled over each other, tearing off clothing while they hastily made their way up to the second floor. December 7th was definitely their day, and it would be remembered for quite a while to come.
Thanks for reading!