Disclaimer: Bryan Fuller… be my lover, I'll cover you.
Note: I feel as though not enough episodes have been aired to really show the audience the intricate depths that each character could have, so fanfiction will really suffer from the WGA strike, however necessary. And God said, 'Let there be oneshots before chapter fics bloom, for this is how fandoms are born.'
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By the time Olive had reached her apartment, Charlotte Charles was sitting in her living room, having moved a loveseat to the exposed window to watch the snow fall in delicate patterns and spatter the glass, legs tucked beneath her, Digby lying in a heap of fur at the floor.
Having possession over a secret that was not her own had always discontented the blonde; in grade school, she would occupy herself by smoothing the pleats of her uniformed skirt instead of appearing conspicuous enough to spill one's emotions to. In fact, it would seem that Olive's absolute avoidance of another's' burdens had softened her skin of facility to sustain another's' clandestine, biting the insides of her cheeks to no avail, and rather, ended up biting the damn pleats of her skirt after the fact.
Yet, this specific secret became one of utmost insecurity. Whatever Olive had been administering to Aunts' Lily and Vivian the past few months since Chuck's arrival to the Pie Hole, like a bruised puppy little Ned had drug up from the street side, certainly proved anything but vanilla, and the blonde uttered alternative theories under her breath until she reached home, hoping in vain that what Lily had confided in her with such brusque indifference was but a product of alien abduction.
She though to herself, as she snatched off her mittens and rustled around for her keys, simultaneously damning herself for purchasing warming devices that were knitted without layering, that perhaps it was a figment of her imagination, or of Lily's, or both.
Nevertheless, Chuck's hair fluttered down her back as she turned to address the blonde and put on a genuine, poignant smile. It was all Olive could do but bite the inside of her cheek and return the favour.
Within the two days the girl had shown upon her doorstep, Olive had yet to see Chuck flash her teeth with perfect honesty. Wearing sleep-crinkled flannel pajamas and a tear streaked face void of jest, or any emotion at all, she had struck the blonde enough to open the door to a friend and accepted a human disbandment of tears, without asking, or really, receiving voluntary explanation.
Nevertheless, Olive smiled back and threw her coat to where the rack would always be sitting, advancing towards the girl called Chuck, bearing her teeth from the sting of her cheeks rather from force at this point.
"I have news," announced Chuck, eyeing the ends of Olive's hair that lay wet, victim to snowflakes and science. She lit up as she spoke, scarlet filling her pale cheeks with fireside warmth. It felt very festive to Olive. "I'm not going to bug you anymore, or, at least, stop rearranging your furniture. Ned and I had a talk."
"Talking, right?" reiterated the blonde, as she took a shaky seat on the armrest, nearly tripping over Digby's train of fur. "No beating?"
Chuck snorted in amusement. "Of course not."
Olive pulled a relieved face, realizing that she was experiencing the beginnings of a seemingly suspicion-free conversation; long past the point of puncturing her mouth to maintain silence.
Chuck's forehead lined with phantom concern, and she parted her lips, as though rehearsing what to say. "Olive?"
"Hmm?" replied she, humming louder than intended.
"There's something the matter," Chuck's face fell ever so slightly, from the tightening of concern to the sullenness of consideration.
"What? Oh! No," Olive made a point of adding a few guttural chuckles. She nudged the brunette's shoulder. "You've just gone all wiggly-eyed from making up with Ned. I would too, believe me."
Back again was the concerned face, Chuck's eyebrows inching closer together as though squinting to make out fine print of side effects. "No, it's- I don't mean to pry, but you're hiding something."
Olive coughed nervously and closed her eyes with sobriety. "Uh, you caught me," she admitted finally, monotonous as she raised two elfin hands in surrender. "I used to be a guy."
Chuck let out an audible sigh, tilting her face to one side in order to inspect the blonde closer. "You would have to have been a very little man," observed she.
Olive mashed her lips together and shrugged apathetically. "And, y'know, I've always wondered why they hired without interview for being an elf in department store Santa Claus sightings."
"I think you've just made me a tad more cynical about the world, now that I know department stores discriminated against the stunted, and weren't conscious of criminal records," nodded the brunette, untucking her bare feet from beneath herself and letting them skim Digby's back lazily.
"I stole from toddlers," Olive winked scandalously.
"You're a bad person," countered Chuck.
The blonde let her eyes be attracted to the scene from the window, as tufts of white were drifted down into the streets. "I call it being resourceful. Puh-tayto, poh-ta-toe..."
Being at a parallel eye-level now that the smaller of the two was elevated, and the other reclined, Chuck tilted her head in the opposite direction in order to steal Olive's attention. "I was being serious when I said you were hiding something," she persisted. "My aunts- how are they?"
"They'd be twins if they were any better," smiled the blonde triumphantly. The edges of her lips faltered, "They're not… twins, are they?"
Chuck shook her head no, evidently dissatisfied with the response, yet Olive took no notice and decided to divert the subject once again, for her vigour had begun to wear thin, requiring breathing space to recuperate. She clapped her hands together. "You know what's better than presents?"
Chuck quirked a brow. "Word on my aunts?"
"Vodka," Olive corrected with finality, lurching from her seat as though her pants were set aflame. "Have you ever tried it in hot chocolate? I bet not. Me neither. It's probably horrible," she pondered, then raised a finger to declare, "I'll have it in a sec."
She tittered off; the sound of her feet slapping hardwood caused Digby to raise his once slumbering head from the floor with lethargy, but practically crack it back down when nothing advanced toward him. The sudden change in behaviour meant that something had gone awry at her aunt's' house, and not only did this concern Chuck for her relatives, but for the likes of Olive, as well.
She didn't feel particularly regretful for occupying the man the waitress had fallen for, but felt a great sense of relief when the blonde became more and more attached to her aunts, as anyone was bound to become. For, the aunts and Olive dwelt on a common ground of loss, serving as asylum from observance of an outside participant. Chuck wrung her hands and decided to follow the blonde to the kitchen, where a pot was already boiling on the stove, and the blonde was nervously tapping her fingers together.
Chuck wandered from one room to the next, watching the intense change in elaborate decoration. From the living room to the kitchen, and even Olive's bedroom, there was wallpaper patterned with complex lines, colours not as noticeable for the purpose of celebrating their configuration "You have such intricate ornamentation on your walls," she said bluntly.
"I enjoy ornamentation, it makes me seem taller," Olive replied, her voice hard, but her physicality was entirely absent, likened to having a radio reply instead. "Would you be angry if I said all the vodka was gone?"
"I would be rather thankful, actually," admitted Chuck, approaching the blonde, "as long as it hadn't disappeared just now."
"Are you staying here tonight, or going back to Ned's?"
"I'll sleep at Ned's, but… I wanted to spend some time with you," the brunette smiled sheepishly, forgetting the purpose of her worry.
Olive struck from her seemingly hypnotism, and let a squeal emit from her throat. "Oh! Ain't she the sweetest little thing? This officially means we're gal pals," she grinned.
"That might have been asserted from having slept in your bed," shrugged the other woman.
Olive waved a hand as she turned to rummage through the cupboards. "I was going to say that, this way, we could commemorate with vodka, but," she chuckled sheepishly, her smile goofy, "realized it was gone."
"That's fine, but Olive, how were my aunts?" Chuck beckoned once more, taking a seat at the table. It seemed that Digby realized his loneliness and didn't appreciate his ignorance to the party's migration to another room, and joined them lazily to plop down at Chuck's feet just as before.
Olive laid two mugs onto the countertop and sighed. "They're swimming, as I said before," she began thoughtfully. "Vivian was talking about a widespread tour; now wouldn't that just be delighting?"
"Promise to come with me when they kick it off," the brunette demanded excitedly, expression melting into a nostalgic smile. "You could serve as their support and I will be the mysterious lady in glasses and a broad hat. Oh- and Ned has to come, too! And I'm sure Emerson enjoys… things."
Olive smirked. "Slow it down, Erica Excitement, it's only talk, but I sure will do everything in my power to persuade them." She raised her right hand briefly to prove her commitment.
"What else?" Chuck waggled her foot with anticipation, resting her chin in the palms of her hands like an excited child.
"They don't know how to work the furnace- it's a wonder they didn't freeze to death." The kettle hissed steam from its spout, the noise startling Olive and growing higher until she realized it was her cue to remove it from the stove. The heat from the kettle warmed her fingers and tickled her thawing nose, the familiar sensation of comfort beginning to ease her towards asking a much more trying question, once the formalities were through.
Chuck scrunched up her face. "They didn't light the furnace?"
Olive shrugged visibly as she carefully poured from the kettle. "They said you never taught them." The metal clang of the kettle knocking porcelain disrupted the quiet kitchen as Olive held both full mugs in one hand with the skill only a waitress might possess, and set them down on the table. She gave the other woman a leveled gaze, "Chuck, about the pie."
Chuck smiled shyly and accepted her mug. "I know it's odd that I insist upon Gruyere, but it's sort of been a family-"
"It's not the Gruyere, it's the vanilla," admitted the blonde, and a flash of finality sparked within Chuck's dark irises. "The bottle you handed me… wasn't vanilla?"
Chuck sat quietly with her fingers wrapped around the warm mug, the heartening scent wafting through her nostrils. Her eyes dropped from Olive's, and she asked without returning them, "Was that a statement, or a question?"
Olive squirmed uncomfortably in her seat, biting the raw inside of her cheek and wondering how the other woman could possibly cause her apprehension when it wasn't she who was under discussion. "I was asking as a question, yes," she clasped her hands soberly.
"Some questions can only be answered when the time is ripe," Chuck explained, her eyes still not meeting Olive's, and the blonde was glad for it.
For, it was not the questionable vile which Olive had dispensed into the pie that she pondered on Chuck's words, but rather, the words of her aunt Lily, of whom served possibilities of Mamma Lily. This single confession would bestow the agonizing obligation for silence on Olive, and she speculated whether it could be pawned off for something that could not yet be logistically proven, and was therefore untrue. If it were untrue, it would not be a secret Olive had to carry for the aunts without their acquiescence.
The two sat in silence, sipping their hot drinks occasionally, without meeting eyes; perhaps the things each were thinking would offend or wound the other, and they acquaintance was too novel to shatter with the matter of a single expression. Olive sat on her feet and bit her lip, finding that her own denial might save Chuck for her and Ned's present, even if that meant sacrificing a great amount of time. She considered the aunts a misuse of her afternoons, before growing so fond that they became her aunts, too.
Feeling entitled to help her aunts in whichever indirect way, and also quite restless with looming silence, Chuck raised her head and caught the attention of the blonde. "Want to go to the Pie Hole and… make a pie?"
Olive's teeth freed her lower lip from its prison. "As long as we can fill it with something gross and feed it to Emerson," she negotiated, pouting in thought of the ideal filling. "How about the stock of rotted fruit that Ned keeps in storage but never really explains?"
Chuck snorted at the thought, vexed by Olive's credulousness, and nodded in agreement. "Only if we can replace liquid ingredients with vodka."
With the sneaking suspicion that a mocking blow had been administered to her pride, Olive shook her bob and simulated severity, lowering her eyebrows and clicking her tongue. "Only if you supply it."
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Perhaps it's the worst thing I've posted, but I had to contribute something. I mean, it's PD! It's hilarious dead people and knitting detectives, and... a diner called The Pie Hole. Why don't you review and tell me your opinion.