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The Game We're Playing

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"You need to clean that off before it sets, or the suit will know you've been up to something," Mozzie says as they bake the painting, and he turns Neal's hands over in his and tuts. "Messy. I remember you being neater than this."

"I remember you nagging less," Neal says, "so I think we both have faulty memories. Remember that time I painted on your face? That was messy."

"That was totally uncalled for." Not everyone got to wake up with a miniature Mona Lisa on their cheek. Most people didn't want to. At least Neal had used watercolors and not oil paint, it could have been much worse than it was. He'd even signed it, "NC, XO." "Seriously, you know how fast cadmium yellow sets into skin, go wash your freaking hands."

"Okay, okay!" Attacking the backs of his hands with Lava soap, Neal pays attention to Mozzie, who's trying to pay attention to the aging painting in the oven, but keeps getting distracted by the slow sway of Neal's hips.

One thing he recalls with total clarity is how turned on Neal got after forging a painting. Back before Kate-- way back when it was just Neal and Mozzie again, one just starting out as a genius-level forger, one relying on a background of doing pretty much anything below the radar-- way back then, if Neal got that slink to his hips and started stealing little things off Mozzie just to prove he was that fast, that unbearably pleased with himself, that meant nobody was getting any sleep, not Neal, not Mozzie, and not whatever neighbors they were unfortunate to have on the other side of the bedroom wall.

That was a long time ago, though, and Mozzie tries his best not to read anything into the way Neal shifts from foot to foot while he scrubs at his hands.

"I think the painting's done," Mozzie announces after a couple more minutes, pulling on oven mitts to extract the nicely toasted bit of master forgery. "You know, the brushwork doesn't look so bad now. This is a pretty fair copy."

"Pretty fair?" Neal leans over Mozzie's shoulder to look, close enough that his hair brushes against Mozzie's ear and makes him shiver. "It's passable. It doesn't matter, the curator will accept it."

"How can you know that?" Mozzie asks. Neal pulls the oven mitts off his hands and tosses them back on top of the stove.

"Trust me, I know how this is going to play out." When he finally gets out of Mozzie's personal space, Mozzie turns to question him and stops openmouthed when he catches sight of his bare hands. He turns a wary gaze over to Neal, who looks oh-so-innocent for about two seconds before he grins and lifts up one still-stained hand, Mozzie's rings wiggling loose on his slender fingers.

"Oh, is that the game we're playing?" Mozzie asks, aiming for unaffected but landing somewhere north of suddenly and completely aroused. Neal arches one eyebrow, that once-familiar smug look taking up residence on his pretty features.

"I don't know, did I spell it out for you loud enough? Five years ago--"

"Five years ago, we hadn't lived through the past four years," Mozzie interrupts, coming closer to Neal with deliberate slowness. "Can you blame a guy for wondering if maybe things have changed a little bit?"

"Can you blame a guy for hoping they haven't?" Neal retorts in a cautious tone, meeting Mozzie's eyes when their fingers twine together. Neal has changed-- this close, Mozzie can see it in his eyes, something hard behind the summer-sky gaze-- but when he closes his eyes and lets his head fall to Mozzie's shoulder, it's almost the same, more than close enough for Mozzie to accept. He turns to kiss Neal's temple, nuzzles against tousled black hair.

"Yeah, it's pretty much the same," he murmurs against Neal's ear, and then he holds his breath when Neal takes his hands and replaces the rings on the right fingers, such a careful and detailed thief that he can return one thing and steal another at just the same time. For him, by now, stealing Mozzie's heart is an art form of its own, one he's a master at.

"C'mon," Neal says, taking Mozzie by the wrists and pulling him through the apartment, past the easel and the sofa, then backing him against the bed. He untucks Mozzie's cravat, letting the piece of silk fall to the floor, and dances his fingers down the front of Mozzie's shirt, leaving no button untouched. Mozzie barely gets his hands on Neal's waist before he's stripped shirtless.

"In a hurry?" he teases, just because he can, not expecting the intent look Neal gives him, half-serious and half-needy. He pulls the plain white t-shirt over Neal's head and spreads his hands out over those shoulders that fill out a suit so well, glad to have them bare before him again. Sliding one hand up and back, he curls it at the nape of Neal's neck and pulls him down for a kiss. Neal steals his glasses and sets them aside, then dives back in for another kiss, agile tongue relearning once-familiar territory.

Maybe Neal is in a hurry; maybe he has a point. Whatever the case, the kiss certainly lights a fire under Mozzie's feet, until he's the one racing to get Neal naked, slowing down just to get a good long look at the way Neal's snug boxer-briefs show off the shape of him hard and ready to be touched. Neal slides up onto the bed, long legs sprawling out, and Mozzie stands between them and holds Neal's face between both hands, teasing him with kisses while Neal's quick fingers make short work of Mozzie's belt and the fly of his pants. He kicks out of them and climbs up next to Neal, mouth half open on a question when Neal tackles him down onto the bed and kisses him like he's desperate, like nothing outside of this big comfortable bed can matter at all compared to what's going on right here between them.

Neal always did have a way of making a person feel like they were the only important thing in the world. It's been a long time since Mozzie felt the weight of that regard, and he likes it even more now. He's breathless by the time Neal pulls back, and it feels like breathing is optional when Neal kneels up and settles himself comfortably in Mozzie's lap, perching his ass just perfectly against Mozzie's cock so that first shivery helpless thrust drags him right between the cheeks. No question about what Neal wants tonight, not a single doubt left when one arm shoots out to the side and comes back a minute later with a bottle and a strip of condoms.

"A whole strip?" Mozzie feels the need to comment, and he gets Neal's brightest lying grin.

"What, too old to keep up with me any more?"

"Oh, you did not just--" Mozzie swats at Neal's ass, making him jump a little, and doesn't that feel nice given the context of that flinch? Banter falls by the wayside anyway, once a slick finger circles Neal's hole and he sighs and relaxes under that careful pressure. Neal presses his face into Mozzie's chest and lets his hips do the talking, mostly begging for more whenever Mozzie's hand pulls away, easing back into the press of two fingers, then three. Mozzie knows he's good with his hands and he puts that to use now, stretching Neal gently, seeking out his prostate and giving it a friendly brush, then doing it again just to make Neal moan and writhe.

"Okay," Neal finally says when Mozzie drags the prep out to pure teasing, or rather gasps, reaching for normal tones and not even coming close, "Any time now, Moz." He emphasizes his words by rolling a condom onto Mozzie; they both reach down to try and guide him in, which means they both end up feeling exactly how Neal's body yields around Mozzie's cock.

There are words he could try to apply to this situation, half-voiced expletives and exaltations, encouragements, anything, but the only one that his lips can manage is "Neal," soft and breathless and probably more revealing than any one word should be. His hands settle on Neal's thighs and he can feel the tension in them as Neal shifts, rising and falling experimentally, then figuring out the rhythm he wants. He might be the one inside Neal, but it's Neal calling the shots as always, setting the pace he wants and dragging Mozzie along for the exhilarating ride.

Mozzie kisses wherever he can reach while Neal is in ceaseless motion: the top of one shoulder, the side of his throat, between his pectorals. He manages a quick nip at one nipple and cries out louder than Neal does at the way his body tenses around Mozzie. One hand wraps around Neal and strokes in counterpoint to the way Neal rides him, the rhythm making sense when all his senses are lit up like fireworks. He only has one point of pride: he'll be damned if he can't get Neal off first.

The only problem-- no really, the only single thing that Mozzie has to complain about in this position is that Neal's too far away to see, but that's a big fucking deal when half the fun of fucking Neal is the look on his face when he's about to come. "Hold on," he says, and Neal makes a confused sound before Mozzie pulls out, pushes him over and rolls on top, settling himself between Neal's thighs like he's finally found his place in the universe and this is exactly where he's supposed to be.

"You sap," Neal says, because he knows why Mozzie did it. Mozzie doesn't deny it, he just kisses Neal to shut him up and presses back in, going a little slower but a lot deeper. "Oh, like that, just like that," Neal gasps when the angles are right, as if Mozzie couldn't tell by the way his whole body shivered and his eyes squeezed shut. There's an art to reading Neal Caffrey, and once you're an expert in it, you don't soon forget the kind of masterpieces you can work with his body.

"Look at me, Neal," Mozzie breathes when he feels the tension ratchet tighter in that lean body, "look at me," and those bright blue eyes only see him for an instant before they go distant and dazed, Neal's whole form shaking with pleasure as he spills into the tight clutch of Mozzie's hand. Mozzie kisses him through the trembling, then regains the tempo he lost momentarily. A few more deep thrusts and he's following Neal over the edge into bliss.

"Mozzie. God, Moz," Neal murmurs, arms wrapped around his friend, "you have no idea how much I missed doing this with you." Mozzie nuzzles against his chest for a moment, then looks up, blinking owlishly and squinting to focus on Neal.

"The sex or the forgery?" he has to ask, even if he knows full well the only answer he'll get is a laugh.