Disclaimer: Can't be creative. Too tired. Suffice to say not mine, and you can't prove anything :)
Authors Notes: Thanks for the reviews and support on this one. I know the likelihood of this ever happening is zero, but that's why it's fiction, right? Lol. Hope it doesn't suck, lemme know what y'all think.
Olivia glances up at Elliot in astonishment, dropping the egg roll back into the container. Hope sparks in her chest and bonds with neighbouring confusion, and she meets his gaze, knowing that he can see the questions of her heart reflected in her eyes.
"What did you say?
" – No, Elliot. Don't you dare, I wanna know what the hell you mean by that."
"It means what it means, Liv."
Olivia sighs in frustration, turning her body to face his; preparing for battle.
"You don't pitch a ball out of the park and leave it there, Elliot. And you don't throw something like that between us and expect me to forget it."
He sighs into the darkness, and drags a hand across his face, as though the action will erase the pain of the past few months and rewind the damage she knows he fears has been caused by his words.
"It means that I love my children and I care about my wife. It means that the job and all the crap that goes with it is more than work to me. It means that when a hand is forced and the truth exposed, that sometimes it can lead us places we don't expect to go. It means that when push comes to shove, none of that matters because I can't let you go."
She reaches out, closing the distance between them in the space of a heartbeat, her fingers resting and mixing with his. When it comes to them, words are superfluous, and excessive actions overrated. When it comes to them, it is the things that are left unsaid that are the most important.
He is silent by her side, but the slight constriction of his hand in hers speaks volumes. He knows she understands, and that his message has been received. Like the characters in a television show, the translucent ties that bind them to each other will remain long after the screen of their existence fades to black. Their bond cannot be broken; not be time, or truth and never by lies.
Headlights flicker in the distance, and the sedan is momentarily filled with bright shafts of golden light. She takes a moment to observe his face in the luminosity, and is fleetingly overwhelmed by the sadness splashed across his features. She knows that with any choice there can be pleasure or pain, and she feels a semblance of culpability that for now at least, she cannot erase his hurt or give him the certainty he seeks for there are answers that need to be articulated before a subconscious mind will give in to its conscious desire.
"Is that where you went?"
Elliot's head snaps up in astonishment and his eyes meet hers, deep blue clashing and duelling with warm mocha. She sees his surprise and wonders if he even realises the depth of his desertion these past months; whether he even understands that before his declaration of truth, he had been drowning them both in an ocean of fallacy.
"Went? Liv, I didn't go anywhere. I didn't leave."
"Yeah Elliot, you did. You left the moment you lied to me about Kathy. You left when you didn't trust me with the truth."
"I always trusted you Olivia. I just forgot to have faith in myself."
She understands how much that particular piece of honesty has cost him, and hopes that he has the emotional reserve to emerge unscathed. Olivia knows that she cannot heal the indelible scars left by the lies, but she can face her own truths and walk alongside him as they cross the bridge of reality and complete the journey home.
"Did you find it?"
"Yeah, Scully, I believe I did."
Her lips curve in a smile that wades through the lies towards the oasis of their truth, the intended mirth of the moniker finding its mark. She thinks she remembers Munch calling her by the name once, some time ago, and she wonders now if that is how other people see them; two halves of a whole, who breathe each other like oxygen and live a tandem existence in a solitary world.
"You know what, Elliot?"
He turns his head; eyebrows raised, waiting, and Olivia wonders if her feelings are as transparent to others as they are to her own tortured soul. She is not one for romanticism, but she thinks now of Romeo and Juliet and how lies and misconstrued messages had been their undoing. Perhaps if less time had been spent concealing emotions and hiding the truth, their destiny would have been quite different, and that maybe that was the greatest advertisement for honesty of them all.
"I think I found it too."
A momentary touch of his hand on her arm is the only indication that he has heard her pronouncement, but it is enough to sustain her for now. They fall into a companionable silence, their attention directed towards the doorway of the forgotten building, watching, waiting. She supposes she should feel guilty; Milczek and takeout food have long since disappeared from the forefront of their congested minds. It is not like them to smudge the line in the sand, for there is no room for personal deviations on the job. It seems that rule has been stricken from the record for tonight at least, and she hopes that all that has been discovered will not be lost with the sunrise. Even so, she feels an obligation to forget honesty and deceit for the moment and focus on the task at hand.
"Doesn't look like he's gonna move tonight."
He turns to look at her, his face impassively confused ,as though she is speaking a language that he cannot understand.
"President Bush, Elliot. Who do you think?"
He grins at her in the gloom, and she thinks that for the first time in months, the smile has reached his eyes.
"Sorry. Guess I'm more tired than I thought."
"You wanna give it another ten and then call it a night?"
He moves his head in agreement, and Olivia continues her surveillance. She feels him move beside her; stretching, shifting bones and joints that have long complained against their extended and compacted confinement.
She jumps slightly when she hears his voice in her ear, his proximity unexpected, but welcome all the same.
. He doesn't answer right away and when he speaks, his voice is uncertain; tone faltering slightly, like a child taking its first bicycle ride without training wheels. Always the protector, she wants to reach out and steady him, to make the ride less perilous, but she understands that he needs to complete the task alone. And so she waits.
"What's the biggest lie you have ever told?"
"That I like that tie you've got on."
Outside, the wind has grown cold, and her eye catches a newspaper as it moves like the ebb and flow of a tide along the pavement. She observes as it dances on the invisible zephyr, moving back and forth, engaged in a lonely ballet of ambiguity. She thinks the path of the battered paper is a little like life, moments of stability that change with the breeze, like a decision made that alters the direction of a singular existence.
"Jesus, Elliot. I don't know."
"That many, huh?"
"No. I guess –"
"I guess it was that if you lie to yourself, no-one that matters can be hurt."
He does not answer, and she does not expect one. Instead, she turns her head once more and watches the paper as it battles against the breeze, as though it has made an indiscernible decision to move forward despite the obstacles in its way. In that moment, Olivia makes a resolution of her own. Her course, she knows now has been certain since the moment they met, and neither external lie nor intrinsic omission will change the itinerary of fate.
Above them, the sky is beginning to break and the glow of morning is beginning to chip through the gloom. As a child, she had loved to watch the sunrise from the window of her apartment and she remembers now how the sunlight would paint patterns in the dust on the glass, bringing a fleetingly peaceful beauty to her precarious existence.
Olivia thinks of how her mother had found her one morning, and how she had smiled at her daughter's capricious contemplations. She recalls watching as her mother had picked up the bottle lying haphazardly on the worn carpet and swallowed the meagre contents before hurling it in apparent fury at the cracked walls. She wasn't surprised; hadn't even flinched as the bottle shattered with her childish romanticisms into jagged, amber-stained pieces at her feet.
That was the last time the sunrise had brought her joy. It was the day that she had learned that lies were often less painful than the truth.
Today, the light is different. Today, the light bounces from the marshmallow clouds in a glorious explosion of luminosity and anticipation. Today she knows that the lies have left her life with the shadows of night and the declaration of dawn has brought truth to her existence once more.
"Come on Liv, I'll take you home" His voice, roughened by restlessness and hesitancy fills their vehicular shelter with its dark beauty.
Home. Olivia had always thought it to be a strange word, for it implied the presence of warmth and a semblance of familial bliss. She knows that until tonight, she had thought the ideal to be little more than a romanticised fallacy; the Hallmark hope of a lonely heart. She knows now that she had been mistaken and that, as the adage says, home is where the heart is. Like the truth, home is often remarkable, seldom tangible and never easy to find. In the end the path itself is not important, but the choices made along the way that matter the most, for they are the things that will lead us from idealism and steer us towards reality. She knows too that the truth, once it is discovered should never be left unspoken.
She watches his fingers draw haphazard patterns on the steering wheel for a moment before raising his head to meet her gaze. In his eyes, she sees the anchor of her world. In his eyes she finds the answers to all her questions and she knows unequivocally that her place is here with him - now and forever.
"I'm already there."