NOTES: This is not connected with any of the stand-alone fics I've written surrounding Olivia & Phillip.
The floor for the most part was dark. There were a couple of agents still out in the field. A few were putting the final touches on reports while details were still fresh in their minds. He, though, was alone in his office. And that was how he wished to be right now.
He slid the ring of keys from his pocket and worked the lock on his desk drawer. He found the short neck of the bottle easily enough. He didn't bother with a glass or mixing it with anything. He didn't do this often, couldn't remember the last time he'd felt the need while here at work. His job was full of stress and late hours, so every now and again he would take a minute to relax. Some days, some cases, this was the only way he could relax.
He took a quick pull on the bottle, feeling the burn of the amber liquid as it coated his throat. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand before recapping the bottle, setting it back in the drawer. He left it open, though, unsure he was done just yet.
He stood from his desk, thrusting his hands into the front pockets of his pants as he walked toward the windows of his office. He oversaw a lot of people. He took it to heart that while they were on the clock he was, in essence, responsible for their lives. They all knew coming to work for him that there were risks. Risks that went beyond your standard Homeland Security threats.
He never liked it when one of his agents went down. He hated it when one was abducted. In the case of Olivia Dunham, he'd gone over it and there wasn't anything he could see that would have saved her. They'd wanted her, picked their time and acted efficiently and quickly.
It had taken him a while to name what he'd felt when word that Olivia Dunham had been abducted came to him. He saw the telltale signs on at least one other agent in the room when he'd given the briefing about the situation. He'd kept his emotions in check well but not completely. His diligence would be the same for any agent, but there was an intensity this time that wasn't usually there.
He cared for her.
Oh, he cared for each of his agents as a supervisor should for his employees, especially those in their line of work. Kid gloves weren't necessary, but reassurance that a line of pursuit was logical, and things like that went a long way.
His feelings for Olivia Dunham were different. Very different. He hadn't realized the full extent of the differences until he received her phone call. It was as if he was getting a call from beyond when his assistant said who was on the phone. He'd initially thought it was a joke, a very cruel one. He was unsure why it surprised him that she was able to escape.
And then he'd heard her voice.
He felt relief beyond anything he could describe. She was alive. And well. He regretted now telling anyone about her call. He should have gone to her himself with a small group of trusted agents. He should have seen to it she was brought in safely himself.
He was afraid if he did that his newly discovered feelings - caring - would be obvious to everyone. Including Olivia Dunham. He knew her history with Stanford Harris. The last thing he wanted was to be lumped into the same category as that bastard. He'd thought he was a friend, as friendly as someone in his line of work could be.
A heads up on an internal investigation of his Fringe Division indeed. A witch hunt, a vendetta, was more like it. He wanted Olivia Dunham brought to her knees. Worse, humiliated in front of her fellow agents. He'd been glad that Peter Bishop had pointed out to Harris that she had gotten a confession.
He'd felt something else, too, at that moment. He'd regarded Peter Bishop watching Olivia through the two-way mirror and realized the other man cared for her. He wondered if his agent reciprocated those feelings and found himself curiously jealous.
He ran his hand over the top of his head, palm resting at the nape of his neck so he could rub his neck. He was tired. Exhausted. He hadn't gone through what Olivia had, but he felt as if he had. If he was shaken from her ordeal, she had to be in even worse shape. She'd been through a lot recently.
He returned to his desk, closing and locking the desk drawer. He had things to do. Plenty with a double agent being discovered. Someone he'd considered a friend. It could wait, though. Until tomorrow. Tonight he had something more pressing to see about.
He rethought the bottle, opened his desk drawer again and slid it out. It was practically full, evidence of how seldom he used it. This time he took the accompanying glass out before locking the desk once more.
Olivia was in that in-between stage. Not quite asleep but not awake when her sister drew the blanket up to tuck Ella and her in. Her sister didn't know the details, but she knew something was wrong. That she was shaken. And, to Rachel anyway, Olivia never got shaken. Little did her sister know she did quite a bit. She'd just had to grow up too quickly, protect Rachel from bad things, and ultimately perform an action no child should. She'd learned at an early age how to hide her feelings. If anyone had found out how they had lived she and Rachel could have been pulled from her mother's care. That in itself may not have been too awful, but they probably would have been separated. And Olivia wouldn't stand for that.
She breathed in, taking in the fresh scent that was Ella. She wasn't a baby, didn't have that smell to her anymore. She did smell of innocence, though. Olivia believed things like that had scents. Just like fear. Ella made a soft sound, settling into a deeper sleep more than likely. This was right, real, good. How nice would it be to be able to come home every day to this type of situation? Unwind, feel the hug of a small child.
She'd endanger her sister and niece, though. She would never tell Rachel to leave, but it would be on her mind until they were gone. It was a part of her job.
She must have drifted off, she realized mostly because all was quiet. Ella was no longer with her, Rachel probably took her and put her to bed so that Olivia could sleep soundly. Little did Rachel know, sleep wasn't in the cards for Olivia tonight. At least not great quantities of it.
She was done with sleep for the moment. Watching TV was out of the question. She didn't want to wake anyone up, a very foreign thing for her to have to worry about. She changed in the dark, writing a note to Rachel so she wouldn't worry and went for a drive.
It wasn't long before she found herself at work, wondering if she would be able to go in tomorrow. Would Broyles put her on administrative leave? Make her see a shrink before she returned to the field? She wouldn't be surprised after what happened to her. She just wanted to get back to work, though. That was the best form of therapy she could ask for.
She went in, not that she had any need to be here. She was a little surprised she wasn't stopped, expecting that Broyles wouldn't let her enter again until he'd at least talked to her.
She wasn't surprised to find the floor pretty much deserted and dark. Nor was she surprised to see a light was on in Phillip Broyles' office. She could have chosen to ignore it, feigned innocence that she hadn't seen it on. It was dim, most likely one on his desk. The fact none of the other ones were on suggested he wanted to be alone.
She couldn't ignore it, though. Perhaps she'd known he would be here and that was why she had ended up here. Maybe it was just dumb luck. She would never know for sure, but the answers to whether or not she was to report to work tomorrow were in that office. She had to know. Now. She couldn't wait until the morning, finding out with other agents bustling about to their various assignments.
She knocked, a rarity for her, and something she was sure would reflect the uncertainty she had as to her standing in the department. It wasn't her fault, she tried to tell herself. She'd been captured and managed to escape only to have those supposedly on her side capture her again. She couldn't have foreseen that, had been too happy to see the good guys to question Harris' presence there.
Until it was too late anyway.
She almost thought he wasn't there, that he'd left the light on by accident and had gone home hours ago as he should have. Finally, he opened his door, somehow not seeming surprised in the least to see her on the other side of it.
"Agent Broyles, I'm sorry to intrude."
"You're not really. Come in," he said, stepping away from the door to allow her to pass. While she didn't see evidence of it, she smelled alcohol on his breath as she passed him.
"Have any to share?" she asked.
"Any of what?"
Her eyes widened, wondering if he was going to make her spell it out. It wasn't a surprise to find he had a bottle stashed in his office, she wouldn't be surprised if many more did.
"There are bars in town, Dunham."
"Most would offer you better company than me."
She shrugged, taking a seat at the table in his office rather than his desk. She watched as he pulled the bottle and shot glass from his desk.
"That's a matter of opinion, of course. No one else would really believe what I'd gone through…"
"I suppose not. We'll have to share."
"I don't mind," she offered him a smile.
He filled the glass, offering it to her which she took and downed the shot quickly. He didn't mess around with the cheap stuff. While it burned a little going down it didn't taste as bad as some of the house whiskey's she'd had in bars over the years.
She let the whiskey do its magic, coat her throat, her stomach, her mind before setting the shot glass down.
"Please," she said, extending the glass toward him.
He poured, she drank again. The coating of her mind more thorough with this drink than the last, which is what she'd wanted once she'd smelled the liquor on him.
She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, pursing her lips as the second shot worked its magic. She extended the glass to him, releasing it this time. He poured another one and took it for himself.
"What's on your mind, Olivia?"
"Do I still have a job?"
"Can I report tomorrow?"
"As simple as that? No psych eval? No time to evaluate what happened?"
"I know what happened."
"I know that Harris is using my department to exact some sort of vengeance against you. And I won't allow it. Taking you out of the field would only give him what he wants."
"And you don't think he's right?"
"No, I recruited you, remember?"
She stood then, walking to one of the windows looking over the floor. "He handcuffed me to the bed like I was some sort of dangerous criminal. An animal."
He was right behind her. She'd been distantly aware of him getting out of the chair, more wrapped up in her thoughts than due to the alcohol. It took more than two shots to get someone to catch her unaware.
Broad, warm hands at her shoulders offered her comfort, support and assurance.
"I know, Olivia, and I cannot tell you how many times I've replayed it in my head to where I personally went to rescue you instead of letting him do it."
"It's not your fault. You didn't know."
"It's my job to know. I suspected there was more to his being here than a simple evaluation, I should have dug further instead I put it off thinking it wasn't important."
"Go home, Olivia, get some rest. You'll be reporting to work in the morning as usual."
"My sister and niece are there, I'm not sure how much rest I'll be able to get."
"I suspect you'll sleep better now."
"Are you okay to drive?"
She laughed a little. "Yes, but thank you."
She turned to face him then, searching his face for some sign of his mood. He was being kind to her, she doubted he was like this with other agents but he wasn't coming onto her or anything. He was fond of her for whatever reason.
"He's going to be upset to see me back so soon."
"I know. I'll handle the backlash, Olivia. And I won't let him get to you like that again."
"Don't make promises you can't keep."
"I'm not planning on breaking my word on this."
She nodded simply and walked to the door.
"How about you?"
"What about me?"
"Who gets to look after you?"
"Me, I guess," he said simply, there was no disappointment or self-pity in his voice.
She regarded him again. "I trust you, Phillip," she said simply. She'd never called him by his first name before, didn't know if it was appropriate even now that they'd shared a couple of clandestine drinks together. He didn't appear offended or taken aback.
"Thank you, Dunham. Good night."
Taking that as the dismissal he meant it to be, she left.