This was either going to be a two-parter, or a very long one-shot. Well, I chose one-shot, sorry if you think it's too long for a single chapter! I'm really lovin' toying with the whole 'kidnapped' thing, so here's another one about getting Olivia back. Cuz I'm honestly not sure if I can hold on for 15 more days!!!
Spoilers for 'Safe' (obviously), and maybe 'Bound' (crosses fingers).
Still don't own Fringe, but I'm willing to pool money to buy it from JJ! lol!
You've Changed Me
Peter couldn't sit still. That was partly because he hadn't slept in over thirty-six hours and had been relying faithfully on coffee to keep him awake. But the real reason was obvious – he was waiting to get the call that the FBI had successfully stormed the empty (or so they'd thought) warehouse on the outskirts of town, the one that was suspected to be imprisoning Olivia.
He paced back and forth in Olivia's office in Boston's Federal Building. If the call came… no, when the call came, he would be here, ready at a moment's notice to go to her. He ran a hand through his hair impatiently. She'd been gone for three days. Three. Whole. Days. It'd taken that long for the FBI to get one goddamned lead. Peter lashed out viciously in anger, kicking the door and getting nothing more out of it than a sore toe. He swore and kicked the door again out of spite, reaping the rewards of having a second throbbing toe.
Someone knocked at the door. Five quick, urgent, knocks. Peter's heart raced in his chest as he opened the door to find Charlie standing on the other side. His breath caught in his lungs as he waited for Charlie to speak, every muscle in his body tense and read to spring into action.
Charlie was breathless. "We've got her."
Peter nearly jumped as all the energy that had built up inside him was released in a rush of adrenaline. He dashed back into Olivia's office, grabbed his coat and hurried down the hall after Charlie. "They got her out of the warehouse as planned, no complications," Charlie filled Peter in as they dashed down four flights of stairs and out the front door.
"So she's ok?" Peter asked once they were in the ready-and-waiting SUV out front.
Charlie paused before answering and took his time turning on the ignition, making Peter nervous. "For the most part, she's alright, yeah."
Peter didn't like the way that Charlie put emphasis on 'for the most part'. He ran hand through his hair again, knowing it was as messy as hell, but not giving a rat's ass about it.
"Where is she now?"
"En route to Massachusetts General Hospital, we're meeting them there."
Peter nodded hastily and tried to preoccupy himself by looked out the window at the sunset. It was gorgeous; the way the sky was streaked with varying shades of golden-yellow, orange, pink, and a stunning, cherry red. Peter wanted to appreciate its beauty, wanted to be able to stare and gaze at it until it was gone, but more than anything, he wanted to share it with Olivia, and that was something he couldn't do.
The SUV pulled up to the front entrance of Massachusetts General about an hour later, due to crummy traffic conditions. Peter leapt out of the vehicle at top speed. He could distantly hear Charlie calling after him, something about probably not being able to see her yet, but he ignored it and dashed to the front desk.
"I'm here to see Olivia Dunham, she arrived here about an hour ago?" Peter asked the nurse behind the desk, holding up his 'Civilian Advisor to The Department of Homeland Security' ID badge for all it was worth. The woman behind looked tired, like she'd had a long day and wanted nothing more than for her shift to end. But something in this young man's voice caused her to look up and pay attention.
"I'll look her up for you," the woman replied kindly. "Are you a relative, co-worker, boyfriend…?"
"Friend," Peter corrected her firmly, surprising himself at how easily the word 'friend' came to his head, just as Charlie arrived beside him.
"Hey," Charlie greeted him, "Do you know where she is yet?"
Before Peter could respond, the woman behind the desk spoke. "Level four, room 456."
Peter thanked her and dashed off to the stairwell, Charlie jogging behind him. Up four floors, down the hall on the right– no, wait, wrong hall. The other way….
The hospital was quiet at this hour. Peter only noticed because the sound his feet made as they pounded down the empty corridors was almost eerie; each footstep echoed loudly on the shiny terrazzo flooring and gave a sense that the place was completely forsaken, save for the occasional nurse.
He finally found his way to the right wing of the fourth floor after having to ask for directions twice. Damn hospitals… he thought bitterly as he approached the main section of the ward where a small reception desk connected the space between that hallway and the one parallel to it. Peter ignored the desk, and the fact that he'd lost Charlie a couple hallways back, and paced quickly down the hall, counting the room numbers.
"Excuse me sir, can I help you?"
Peter turned to see a man dressed in mint green scrubs and a lab coat rise from his chair behind the desk and approach him.
"I'm here to see a friend, Olivia Dunham? The nurse downstairs told me that her room was down this hall…"
"Yes, room –" the doctor checked his chart, "– number 456?"
"That's the one," Peter confirmed, beginning to get irritated.
"Well, I'm afraid she's not out of the trauma bay yet. You'll have to wait for a while."
Peter's temper had been rising all day and had finally come to its boiling point, and this guy was not helping one bit.
"But the woman – the woman at the desk downstairs, she said she'd be in room 456 and then you tell me something different?!" he snapped back, feeling his blood pressure rising steadily right alongside his anger level.
"That's because that's the room we've booked for her," the doctor explained in a steady voice, his way of trying to calm down the extremely pissed off man before him, but it only resulted in greater frustration on Peter's end. "Now, if you'd like to wait until she comes up, maybe get a cup of coffee, please do, but I'd ask that you do it quietly. I have sleeping patients down both these halls," the doctor gestured behind him to the opposite hall behind the desk.
Peter wanted to get into a yelling match with this guy for not letting him see Olivia, more than anything he wanted to do that and then storm into the trauma bay and find her himself. But he didn't, especially because he could hear Charlie's footsteps coming down the hall, and making a scene in the hospital probably wouldn't go over well with the Bureau.
"Alright, I'll wait," he managed to say with a painfully calm, but even, voice.
The doctor nodded, looking slightly relieved. "Shall I check and see when they think she'll be transferred to her room?"
"Yes, thank you," Charlie answered for him, appearing beside him to join in the conversation.
Peter nodded to show his thanks, not wanting to open his mouth again and risk being incapable of controlling what came tumbling out of it. The doctor smiled at them and returned to his post behind the desk and picked up the phone to page the trauma bay. The hallway fell quiet again as Charlie led Peter out of earshot of the desk.
"What happened back there, Bishop?" Charlie asked him. Peter almost blew up in his face too, but he noted that Charlie didn't look mad, just worried.
"Nothing, really," Peter dodged the question. "I've just been running on a short fuse the last few days."
Charlie nodded understandingly. "You're not the only one." He checked his watch. "'Liv's not gonna be out of there for a while, so I'm gonna grab a coffee. Looks like you could use one too, Bishop."
"Yeah, a coffee would be great, thanks," Peter accepted his offer graciously and slumped down on one of the benches that occasionally occupied the wall space between two rooms. He was exhausted, but no cup of coffee would be able to fix that. But no matter – he would sit and wait for Olivia on this uncomfortable wooden bench all night if he had to, not that falling asleep was an option or anything. Peter bet himself that he wouldn't be able to get one wink of sleep even if he tried. So he sat there in that empty, quiet hallway and waited.
Some time later, at least an hour or more, and long after Charlie had come back with his coffee, Peter began wandering the halls in search of a vending machine. The doctor had told them that the nurse in the trauma bay had said that Olivia wouldn't be transferred to a room anytime soon, and that it would probably happen anywhere between forty-five minutes to an hour and a half from then. Some help that is, Peter had thought sulkily.
The coffee from Charlie had perked him up for a short while, but he finally concluded that caffeine alone wasn't gonna cut it – he needed an old fashioned chocolate bar. Plus, sitting around wasn't something he was good at, and especially when he was anxious. So, vending machine it was.
It took Peter a few wrong turns to find one, but he finally did, at the opposite end of the hall from one of the main elevators, and bought a Three Musketeers bar. He was just about to rip open the wrapper when the silent hallway suddenly became not so silent. One of the elevator doors opened, and a few doctors and nursed came out, wheeling a bed down the hallway in the opposite direction of the vending machine, the way Peter had come down the hall. Over the course of the last hour or more, he'd seen several patients being wheeled around in beds to be transported to different areas of the hospital. Maybe it was from the lack of sleep, but he didn't think anything of it, at least not until he caught a glimpse of long, blonde hair between the flapping lab coats of the doctors.
Feeling like he was in a dream, Peter began to walk down the long corridor after the bed, then that walk turned into a jog, which then turned into a run, and that into a side-splitting sprint as he booked it down the hall, past the elevators, around the corner, straight for a few yards, and then skidding around another corner into the hallway where Olivia's room was. He stopped, breathless, at the beginning of the hallway where he'd been waiting for the last hour. The bed was being wheeled into her room. Charlie was looking on the group, but Peter could see that they wouldn't let him see her yet.
Peter hurried down the hall (yet again) and caught up with Charlie. The two men stood in silence as they waited for the convoy to re-emerge for a full two minutes and thirty-eight seconds, by Peter's watch.
It was easily one of the longest two minutes and thirty-eight seconds of Peter's life.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the small group came out of Olivia's room. One of the nurses approached them.
"Can we see Agent Dunham now?" Charlie asked the woman, a slight bite to his voice, making Peter smile inwardly. Better him than me, he thought dryly.
"Yes, you may, but please be quiet, she's asleep," the nurse replied, sounding worn out and in need of some sleep herself, before hastily heading off to check on some more patient charts behind the desk.
"You go in first," Charlie told him, "I've got to call Broyles and give him an update."
Peter was shocked. "Are you sure?" he asked, eyebrows raised.
"Yeah, you on ahead, I'll catch up in a bit. God knows how long it'll take to get a decent cell phone reception in here," Charlie looked a bit down, but he smiled encouragingly at Peter and started off down the hall.
With his heart thumping loudly in his chest, Peter took a breath and opened the door. He hadn't even thought of what he might say to her once she was awake, much less what he might think when he saw her….
He entered the room, dimly lit by a small lamp on her bedside table. But the first thing he saw was her. Olivia. Lying in the hospital bed with a bandaged up arm, a couple stitches above her right eyebrow, and a few scrapes and bruises that marred her features – but she still looked as beautiful as ever to Peter.
He approached her bedside on light feet, not wanting to wake her. Pulling a chair over, Peter took a deep calming breath in an effort to hold back a sob. It caused him physical pain to see her like this, all beaten up and suffering. It occurred to him that he'd never seen her sleeping before, and in addition to all her injuries, that somehow made her seem smaller – less like the willful, slightly intimidating FBI Agent she was – and more like… Olivia. Just Olivia, a regular person who didn't deal with God knows what kinds of weird and frightening pseudoscience on a daily basis.
Choking back another sob, he reached out with a shaking hand and stroked her hair to the rhythm of the heart-rate monitor.
Sensing his touch, Olivia woke with a start, surprising Peter, and began attempting to disconnect herself from the IV drip in her arm, crying incoherent things and whimpering pathetically.
"Olivia, it's me, it's Peter." He had stood up in alarm and was now shaking terribly, holding his hands up in a display of innocence. She stopped struggling and looked up at him with fearful eyes. "You're safe, you're safe now…" he said soothingly, for both Olivia's and his benefits. She didn't move from her position, perched on the opposite edge of the bed. Her hair was all mussed up and the two sizes too large hospital gown she was wearing had slipped, exposing her left shoulder. Peter tried not to stare when he saw that it too was sporting a nasty, purplish bruise. Olivia's hand was still poised on the IV drip. She's already clawed at it enough to irritate the surrounding skin, which was now bright red.
"Peter?" Her voice was quiet, scared – like she'd just woken from a night terror and was still disoriented and confused.
"I'm right here," he replied just as softly, slowly dropping his hands and resting them on the edge of the bed. "I'm right here…"
Olivia nodded, biting her lower lip, her eyes teary. She glanced down at the IV, fingering the enflamed skin around it. "This thing hurts like hell," she confessed with a dry laugh, a slight choke in her voice.
"When you hack at it like that, then yeah, it's supposed to be a pain in the ass," Peter replied, giving her a small grin. He sat down on the edge of the bed, silently praying that she wouldn't freak again. To his utmost relief, Olivia not only remained calm, but she inched her way bit-by-bit back into bed. Peter smiled and shifted his position so that he was actually sitting on the bed beside her.
"May I?" he asked, pointing to her arm with the IV in it. After a split-second hesitation, Olivia nodded and held it out for him. Peter held her arm gently in his hands, inspecting the swollen area for signs of serious inflammation that could turn into a whole bunch of other pointless problems that she sure as hell didn't need right now. He lightly traced his fingers along her forearm around the afflicted area.
"Will I live?" Olivia glanced up at him with a weak smile, but a smile nonetheless. Peter was amazed that she could crack a joke.
He smiled at her and gently took her hand in his, lacing their fingers together. "You're gonna be fine, I promise."
Olivia looked down at their entwined hands thoughtfully before nodding silently.
"C'mere," Peter said, ever so gently wrapping his arm around her shoulders and drawing her to him. Olivia shuddered and leaned in closer, resting her head on Peter's shoulder. He felt her shudders and frowned. "Olivia? What's wrong?"
"I'm cold…" she whispered. A shiver ran up and down her back and she pressed herself a bit closer to Peter. He wrapped his other arm around her too, resting his head on top of hers.
It wasn't at all like Peter to show this much affection towards anyone, but Olivia wasn't like the other girls. She didn't bat her eyelashes at him or flirt endlessly in his presence. And that's why Peter was holding her now, at least that's what he told himself. Admittedly, he knew that there was much more between them than met the eye, or there wouldn't be tears in his eyes as he pressed his lips to her hair and inhaled her scent, gently rocking her shivering form back and forth. If they weren't more than just co-workers, then he wouldn't be burning with anger, itching to lay his hands the bastards who did this to her and punch their lights out. If it weren't for his current… relationship with Olivia Dunham, then a lot of things would be much different.
Eventually, Olivia pulled away and looked up at Peter. He pulled away a bit too, but he kept his arms in a protective circle around her. Her eyes were heavy from exhaustion, but she saw the way his eyes were a little pink and puffy.
"You should get some rest, ok?" Peter suggested quickly, hastily wiping away his tears. She nodded in compliance but something in those impeccably green eyes said that she was just as worried about him as he was about her. Peter helped her lay back down for fear that she would push herself too much and, like always, end up hurting herself.
Once she was tucked in, Peter pulled his chair up closer to the bed and sat down again so that they were on the same eye-level.
"Hmm?" He met her gaze and saw that the unusual glint that was in her eyes a moment before was still there.
"I don't want you beating yourself up over this," she spoke earnestly. Peter tried to cut in and tell her that he was fine, but she stopped him. "Peter, listen to me," Olivia continued in a small, but forceful voice. "I can't have you breaking down on me over something that's not remotely your fault, something well beyond what you can control… I – I can barely cope with this myself." She reached out and took his hand, fresh tears filling her eyes. "I need you –" she cut off abruptly, realizing what had just come out of her mouth. Olivia's eyes were wide with shock and her face was slowly turning to a light shade of crimson.
Peter could feel her hand heating up beneath his. He grinned, unable to help but find her expression a bit amusing. Olivia's blush deepened and she looked away quickly in a pointless attempt to hide it, giggling a little in spite of herself.
Peter rested his elbows on the edge of the bed, still holding Olivia's hand in his. "I'll make a deal with you," he proposed, a teasing smile playing on his lips, "how about you get some sleep now and we can come back to this pressing issue later?"
"Deal," Olivia said, eyes dancing, her blush beginning to fade.
Peter's smile widened as he stood and took a step towards the door, thought better of it, turned, and bent over Olivia until their faces were no more than a few inches apart. "Sleep well," he whispered and placed a small kiss on her cheek, careful to avoid touching a scrape or bruise. Peter could've sworn that he'd heard a tiny gasp escape her lips at his touch, but then again, maybe it was just his ego getting carried away with itself.
He pulled away only a foot or so and laid his hand against her cheek, softly caressing it with his thumb and smiling at her. Olivia stared up into his eyes, momentarily mesmerized by his gaze, blushing madly yet again. After a moment, Peter stood, if a bit reluctantly, released his grip on her hand, and was about to leave to give her some privacy, but stopped because Olivia's hand was still clamped to his.
"Don't leave, please," she begged him, a hint of possible hysteria in her voice. Peter couldn't blame her, and felt like a jerk for even considering leaving her alone after all that had just happened.
"It's ok, I'll stay," he assured her.
Olivia nodded and let out a small sigh, looking somewhat at ease for the first time, and closed her eyes. Peter turned out the bedside light and leaned back in his chair. Now that he knew that Olivia was safe and not more than a few feet away from him, he could finally let himself breathe and catch up on his much needed sleep. What's more, he felt like whatever weight he'd been carrying around on his shoulders for the last three days had been lifted off by some unknown force. A few small bricks remained, but Peter always carried the weight of one or more things on his shoulders. It was nothing compared to the lead bricks that had threatened to break him during the seventy-two hours of uncertainty concerning Olivia's safety.
Peter opened his eyes sleepily and glanced over at the bed to make sure that she still there. Olivia's blonde hair shone in the moonlight the streamed through cracks in the blinds. Her breathing was slow, suggesting that she was already out cold. He smiled and closed his eyes again, resting his head on the back of the chair, and drifted off to the sound of the quiet beep, beep of the heart-rate machine and Olivia's slow, steady breathing.
What did you guys think? I'm not sure if I could continue this one, or how I would. Any ideas welcome in a review! And you know how much I love feedback.... :D
This is probably my last fic for a while because my life turns back into hell starting tomorrow at 5 am (tear tear). I love you all, thanks so much for taking the time to read my stuff!