Love is not a bandage to cover wounds

This is a little scene inspired by a word prompt (the phrase I used for the title) from the WriYe DreamWidth.  This is set after the main story in my National Museum and Archives story.  Oliver did something he shouldn’t have done and Peter is having trouble forgiving him.  What sort of relationship they have… it could be read as close friendship or something much more, depending on how you read this scene.

**

Oliver wasn’t sure what to do.  The fallout over the incident with Ackerley had gone so much further than work.  It was bad enough that he had to work to earn the trust of the rest of the security team at the National Museum again.  That, he knew, he could manage.  It would take time and effort on his part, but they’d get there eventually.  He wasn’t sure what to do about Peter.

He chewed at his lip as he watched the other man eating his lunch.  There had been a time when they’d been practically inseparable.  They’d done everything together – worked, played, eaten… slept.  He couldn’t remember a time when Peter hadn’t been by his side.  Now, he felt as if there was a wall between them that he couldn’t get around or through.

Peter said he still cared and Oliver certainly still cared for Peter.  However, he couldn’t find a way to repair the damage that was done to their relationship.  What could he do when simply caring wasn’t enough?

“You’re staring,” Peter said, his voice soft.  He glanced up and met Oliver’s eyes.  “If you’ve got something to say, just say it?”

Oliver heaved a sigh and set his elbows on the desk.  Resting his chin against his fists, he frowned.  “I’m trying to figure out… what to do,” he said, his voice soft.  “I know you’re hurt and – and you have a right to be.  I just… don’t know how to make it better.”

“The only thing that can make this better is time, Oliver,” Peter said, shrugging.  He grimaced and tossed his near-empty noodle container in the trash.  Shaking his head, he shrugged again.  “It might not be what you want to hear.”

“It’s the only answer I’m going to get,” Oliver finished.  He leaned back in his chair and shook his head.  “Apologies won’t fix it and neither will… your feelings haven’t changed.  Have they?”

Peter shook his head.  “That’s why it hurts so much,” he said, shrugging.  “If I didn’t care about you so much, Oliver, it would just be a matter of you proving to me that I could trust you not to betray us again, but… you didn’t trust me and that hurts a lot more than anything else you might have done.”

“I was scared,” Oliver said, his voice faint.  He swallowed thickly and ducked his head to hide the fact that he was near tears.  He didn’t want Peter to feel guilty, not when this whole mess was his doing.  He took a deep steadying breath and shook his head.  “I’ll just… give it time, then.”  There wasn’t anything else he could do, after all.

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