Could It Be Platonic?

No in FRiNGEment intended.

Note: "Bound" & "The No-Brainer" related. Another Magic 8Ball fic…

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"Peter went to my place to see Rachel yesterday evening," Olivia Dunham whispered. She shook the ball and tried to decipher the answer.

Very doubtful, the ball read.

Her mouth twitched and she glanced at Astrid who was fixing coffee fifty feet from her. She checked her watch, it was almost eight. The Bishops will be here any minute now. Time enough to brace herself against her possible reaction when she sees him again after his late visit, she thought.

She was not sure what had really happened the night before when he made it to her place. He was drunk, that's why, she pondered, or on the contrary he needed to get drunk to come over. Either way, she could not decide whether he wanted to see her or her sister.

Peter showing up on her porch was certainly a first and totally unexpected. And now she was having a bad case of butterflies and a lot on her mind. She could have sworn that she had never thought of Peter Bishop that way before, but with Rachel somehow in the midst of their non-relationship, she had to admit she might have had some lapses of judgment in the feeling department lately.

I should have invited him in and simply ask, I'm not sixteen anymore, why is it always so complicated for god's sake.

She sighed deeply and put the ball away in her drawer. She was not interested in Peter. He was only a colleague. She opened the file in front of her and attempted to review it. Despite her best efforts, photographs and reports insisted on dancing in front of her eyes.

She checked her watch again. She had to face the possibility that he might be late. He was wasted yesterday and probably found some other bars on his way back to the hotel… and there was always the possibility that Walter had kept him awake for the best part of the night. Biting her lip, she glanced again through the blinds to pierce the dim light of the lab, could not spot Astrid and retrieved the ball from the drawer.

"Peter wanted to see me," she asked softly and shook it.

Most likely, answered the ball.

"Damn it," she cursed and tried again. "He wanted to see me."

It is certain, the ball said.

"Perfect", she said to herself, "I rest my case. I'm so nuts about him."

She relaxed back on her chair and smoothed her hair with one hand indulging herself in her new obsessive single-minded reverie. She almost jumped to her feet and clutched to the ball instead when Peter Bishop barged in her office, dropped his coat on the hanger near the door with his hand still on the outside knob, took away his wool scarf, threw it on top of the coat, slammed the door shut and swirled to her with grace before slumping down on the chair facing her desk. He blew in his hands reddened by the outside cold. In the lab, Walter was already talking to Astrid and having his first mug of coffee.

"What are you up to?" he asked with an inquisitive look to her hands resting on the 8ball.

"Hello Peter. I was just… daydreaming I guess," Olivia said with an awkward smile.

She turned the toy in her hands and shook it lightly. Was he going to tell something about the day before, anything? Her eyes wandered to the transparent window and to the die floating in the blue liquid. Don't count on it, she read. Fine, I can live perfectly in denial.

"Well, good for you Dunham, but no need to sound so pessimistic about it, don't you think? Daydreaming is great," he cheered, startling her again.

"You're probably right," she shrugged, "but this thing with Ella," she said trying to find a way out of the conversation she yet desperately wanted, "I… I, I --just can't shake it off."

"Speaking of shaking, contrary to the collective belief, you don't have to shake the ball to get answers," he said lightly choosing to ignore her last sentence. "At best you will create air bubbles that will blur the answer."

Olivia immediately felt her cheeks going hot and she knew she was helplessly blushing. In less than forty five seconds, he had managed to do it again, she thought. She glanced in his direction but he was not paying attention to the obvious consequence of his innocent banter and fidgeting already with her paper work, a deep crease forming in the middle of his forehead. I have to ask, she thought. My reply is no, said the ball.

"As for Ella, please don't get me started again," he finally said in a toneless voice and ultimately addressing her apparent concern, "but you should have asked for backup."

He watched her intensely and she nodded. He was right. Her fight with Harris was no reason to neglect safety protocols. She could have been killed and she could have had Peter killed and Dempsey would have been free to conduct his insane project.

"You're not responsible for every demented computer freak who tries to play tricks on people's minds. You should be happy that he did not launch a general attack instead of freaking out about what might have happened. If he was not a mental case, his first choice would have been to go global --and not only to prove his previous employer wrong for letting him go but to seize the opportunity of demonstrating his genius to the world and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it."

"I know. And I know we've been lucky," she sighed, gazing absently at the 8ball she was rubbing with her thumb.

I have to confront him, the sooner the better, get this thing out of my system and out in the open. Should I ask him, she thought, her eyes wandering to the ball. Concentrate and ask again. She almost hissed in frustration.

"And that's why you're playing with this?" he snapped.

"What?"

She let go of the toy and locked her eyes on Peter, her cheeks going crimson again. He was smiling and looking a bit worried.

"The magic ball?" he pointed to the desk. "I didn't know you were into fortune telling," he smirked.

"Oh, I'm not" she lied, "Ella gave it to me and I find it kind of soothing. And I'm sure it's magic in a weird way," she trailed.

"Really? Maybe it's time that you take that leave of absence we were just talking about the other day, remember? Get some rest."

She sighed and tilted her head.

"I didn't have the chance to tell you how I exposed Loeb, did I? It's because of the ball. He was very convincing otherwise, could have fooled me. But he was showing off, he said that maybe the ball could help. And it did; when he gave it back to me, it fell and that's why I saw the stain on his shoe."

"I had no idea. May I?"

She reluctantly handed him the ball. He inspected it thoroughly while she held her breath.

"I had practically the same one when I was a kid. Did you know that the die inside is a perfect polyhedron? Actually it's an icosahedron, one of the five Platonic solids."

Olivia froze. She was a firm believer that signs should be acknowledged. And this was definitely a sign. Their relation ought to stay exactly the way it was, platonic. He didn't have to know whether she was smitten, and she was probably not anyway. It was merely stress playing tricks on her, and the after-effect of her abduction. She was only going to make a fool of herself by asking him why he came over.

And Rachel was his type. Was she not, always?

"The die inside the ball is a regular icosahedron which means that its twenty triangular faces are equilateral," he continued, oblivious of her train of thoughts. "I remember I tore it open to get the die. I thought it was easier to just throw the die and get rid of the ball," he chuckled.

"I see," she said eyes locked on the ball. "Ella wanted to get me something from her room," she shrugged, "it was a good choice: I never had one of those when I was a kid."

"She's great," said Peter who was playing with the ball now, "Ella. I had no idea you had a niece and a sister."

She cleared her throat. "They live in Philly. Rach and I, we're not very close."

"She said she was the party type, Rachel. And she's the one with a kid and a significant other and you're the single woman with a career."

She watched him blandly.

"Let me have a confirmation from the ball," he joked. "Reply hazy, try again," he said. He winked and turned to her. "Trying again. Signs point to yes," he read.

Her head jerked. "She's… let's say that she's on a break," she confirmed.

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. She sought refuge?" He tossed the ball again. "Yes, definitely," he read out loud.

"Yup," she nodded.

She stood up, and piled her files. This was getting too personal for her taste. She tucked her hair behind her ear and waited for Peter to follow suit.

"What's the rush? You're afraid of what the ball might reveal?"

"Of course I am," she said, "and we've got to get some work done don't you think?"

"Absolutely." He got up and placed carefully the magic 8 ball back on her desk. "Any new case I should know about?"

"I don't think so, but the day is young and we've still work to do, reports to write…"

"Liv, I hope that you're not mad at me. I have no idea why I had to see you yesterday evening. Probably I had one too many drinks, hence the urgency," he smiled. "All I know is that it could not wait until morning and before I knew it, I was in your street and knocking on your door, and I'm glad I came over. Anyway… I'm really grateful. Walter slept like a baby, and I did too."

He stepped forward and hugged her briefly, nuzzling in her hair. Before he let go of her, he kissed her lightly on the cheek. "Thank you Liv," he whispered. "Shall we," he extended his hand to reach out for the door.

"I'll be right behind you."

"Suit yourself," he shrugged, shoving his hands deep in his pockets.

He left with a smile on his face and she watched him get to the others. When she was certain he was not looking she leaned to the ball and checked the answer. Outlook good, she read.

-o-

I guess there will be a lot of fanfics involving the evil magic 8 ball
I had to give it a try… what do you think? I can't wait for you guys to tell me what you think!