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They say it's your birthday... [Part 1]

So I'm trying something a little different, and more than a bit nervewracking: birthday presents in fanfic form. I've dedicated a fic to a friend as a sort of birthday present before, but I've never full-on written something for someone that wasn't a prompt fill.

This is for Cait, my soulmate in fandom and in plenty of other things, and I'm giving her the gift of ten ficlets for two of her OTPs, White Collar's Peter and Elizabeth and One Tree Hill's Lucas and Peyton. It was originally supposed to be 21, but I'm not nearly that talented! (These were also supposed to be drabbles, but as I learned, I fail utterly at keeping to 100 words.)

This is Part 1 of 2, the five Peter/Elizabeth ficlets. The Lucas/Peyton ones might be belated, because that's apparently how I roll. ;) I hope you enjoy them, Cait, love!


Peter and Elizabeth

I.
I’ve just seen a face
I can’t forget the time or place where we first met. 

“You’ll need to talk to our assistant manager, Elizabeth; she’s the one who has the details.”

These are the words that change his life.

Her gallery might have just been the victim of a scam, given that the painting they’ve centered their exhibition around is forged, but Elizabeth is still lively and charming. He finds himself wanting to ask her out on the spot, but it’s hardly professional, so he shakes her hand after he’s done questioning her, giving her a business card with his name and number for good measure.

He is barely two feet out of the gallery when he gives orders to a junior agent, asking them to set up a surveillance van outside the gallery. He claims that Elizabeth is a person of interest in the investigation and that’s why he has to have her house put under surveillance.

She’s a person of interest, all right, but only to him.

Eventually, he’s seen enough to know she’s not seeing anyone. And that she’s apparently caught on to the same van showing up on every street she frequents, because the photos he’s given that week include one of her holding up a sign that reads, I LOVE ITALIAN!

He calls her that night, and he’s relieved to hear that she wasn’t unnerved by the surveillance.

“I think it’s cute,” she says, and there’s a laugh hiding in her words. “You thought I had a boyfriend, didn’t you?”

“Thought if you did and I could nail him on some misdemeanor…”

The laugh escapes and she says, finally, “So you got my hint, then?”

“Wouldn’t be calling otherwise. You have a favorite place?”

“I’ll make the reservations and call you back. Tuesday sound all right?”

“It sounds perfect.”

II.
She was spinning in circles with the moon in her eyes
No room left to move in between you and I. 

Elizabeth moves her leg up so it’s against his shoulder (goddamn, she’s flexible; he had no idea) and she’s so torturously close that he can feel himself getting hard. He’s meant to run his hand up her leg and he does, but his hand is moving further, his fingers are edging under the skirt of her dress and—

“Peter,” Elizabeth whispers in his ear, sharply but with a hint of enjoyment. “We’re in public.”

“I don’t care,” he murmurs huskily, and Elizabeth is flicking her eyes around to the other couples on the dance floor. She finishes off the dance as the instructor had told them to (more romantic, he’d said), getting her leg down and kneeling on the floor, leaning her head against his waist, and if she hadn’t known before that Peter was aroused, she sure as hell knows now.

“Come on,” she breathes into his ear as she gets up, taking his hand and practically dragging him off the dance floor, seemingly not caring that they’re missing the next part of the lesson.

She’s finding an unlocked supply closet down the hall and pulling him inside, locking the door from the inside and pushing him against the door. Her fingers work at his belt buckle so fast they keep slipping, and she’s kissing him feverishly. He almost can’t believe that this is his fiancée…

… except that yes, he can.

“You sure we should be doing this here?” he’s saying, but her finger presses against his lips as she leans in to whisper, finally getting his belt undone and unzipping his pants.

“You’re going to do anything I say. And that includes keeping quiet."

“Can I say one thing beforehand?”

“Go for it.”

“I love you.”

“Then it’s a good thing you’re marrying me.”
 

III.
I see trees of green—red roses, too.
I see them bloom for me and you. 

Elizabeth loves jazz—Louis Armstrong in particular. He wasn’t particularly musical, and Elizabeth had been the one to come up with some songs for the DJ to play. She hadn’t told him what their first dance was going to be set to, and he was content to be surprised.

Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise at all that it’s “What a Wonderful World.” It’s the song he hears her humming as she gets ready in the morning, that she sings in the shower and doesn’t think he knows about when he does, that she once told him was one of her favorite songs.

The DJ has announced that they are to take the floor, and he’s standing with her in the center of a crowded room, unable to take his eyes off her. A big wedding wasn’t what they’d wanted, but despite all the people, she’s the only thing he sees.

“Are you happy now, Mr. Burke?” she says, teasing but not, tears glistening in her eyes as he twirls her and then pulls her back into his arms so that he doesn’t have to let go again.

“So happy, Mrs. Burke,” he says right back, and he thinks to himself, What a wonderful world.
 

IV.
And I built a home, for you, for me.

Of course, since they’re a married couple, since they have a home of their own, they need a dog.

Elizabeth believes this wholeheartedly. Her husband doesn’t quite, not yet, and she is determined to make him. She’s like a child begging a parent, swearing she’ll walk it and feed it, and Peter’s more iffy (she thinks), more practical (he says).

He’s got work more often than not, he says. He wouldn’t be home as often as he could, so the responsibility would be on her shoulders. Would it be safe to have a dog around in a home that’s still being built?

He raises good points, but she goes down to look at the local pet store anyway. And then she finds him. A yellow Lab puppy, so tiny, who looks up with her with eyes that break her heart and melt it at the same time. She plays with him for over an hour, even though she’s run over her lunch break and she knows her boss won’t be happy. When she knows she can’t avoid going back to work any longer, she watches one of the employees put him back in the pen with the other puppies.

She’s about to leave, but she turns back when she hears a vague commotion behind her—and finds that the puppy has cleared the pen’s gate with one leap of his little legs and is bounding straight towards her again. He wants to follow her, clearly, and this is how she knows it’s meant to be: the dog is tailing her like Peter tails a suspect.

So the puppy comes home with them, and El christens him Satchmo after her beloved Louis Armstrong. And when Peter’s half-asleep, she gets him to admit it: the house didn’t really feel complete without the dog.
 

V.
And you owe me nothing in return. 

The wrapping paper is a metallic silver kind that throws faint rainbows onto the walls when the light hits it. The gift is heavy in his hands and he hopes fervently that she didn’t spend too much on it. He’s long passed the point where he desires any gift on his birthday but her, but she insists each year.

He removes the wrapping paper and finds tissue paper, covering something hard and smooth and solid. The tissue paper comes off and reveals a sextant, and he finds himself smiling. Attached to it is a card reading: Because you’ve always helped me find my way. xx, El.

“Is it what you wanted?” Elizabeth’s asking, although he knows she’s able to tell by the smile on his face.

He looks up from the card and cups her cheek in his hand, leaning in to kiss her. “It’s perfect,” he says sincerely. “Just like you.”

Songs Used (that I in no way lay claim to):

"I've Just Seen a Face" - The Beatles
"Into the Night" - Santana feat. Chad Kroeger
"What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong
"To Build a Home" - The Cinematic Orchestra
"You Owe Me Nothing In Return" - Alanis Morissette

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