Disclaimer: As always I own nothing, borrow for fun, and hope that it lives up to the show's standards.

A/N: This came up after "Ability" and with the awesome beta talents of Chichuri, formed into a bit of much needed introspection on Olivia's part. She's been thrown into the deep end - I want to see what she thinks of treading water there. Enjoy!

Convictions

There has to be a point, Olivia thinks, where she should be utterly terrified that things are starting to make sense. Not sense in the "normal" definition of the word, because she's begun to redefine normal on a case by case basis. But if all things were right in the world, and all the various equations rounded up to nice, even numbers, then she should be having some kind of reaction to the news that she might have been experimented on as a child.

Like running screaming for the nearest padded room.

She downs her third glass of wine for the night, and contemplates the empty bottle on her coffee table. She isn't surprised by Nina's information. She should be flabbergasted, appalled… enraged. Any one of ten descriptives other than the resigned weight that feels like lead in her stomach. But after that moment, in front of that bomb, when that first little innocuous light winked out, Olivia lost her grip on all her assumptions. And having her confidence in her own abilities, the certainty that she at least knows herself and her own childhood yanked out from under her feet is the final straw.

Olivia was happy to blow off Jones' wild theories once she'd determined that the clinical trial William Bell had performed was nowhere near her as a child. The question that had been gnawing at her like a rabid dog – why she was taken – had been answered, but Olivia didn't allow herself to believe it.

Since creating her little team, Olivia has been surrounded by talent. Walter's insane brilliance; Peter's innate genius and chameleon-like ability to slip through the lines between light and dark, perfectly at home in the shades of grey; the different factions surrounding the Pattern and their ever-increasing ability to come up with new and horrifying technology. At times she felt like she'd been transported into a science fiction show, light-years behind the rest of the players.

She grapples with the possibility that she's been at their level all along, an idea at odds with her humble assessment of her capabilities. She knows she's a good investigator, with a penchant for pattern recognition and memory, but those in themselves seem hardly noteworthy compared to the things she's seen. It was easy to dismiss Jones' protestations that she was somehow special – that her part in this deranged game was integral – as just the ravings of another lunatic. Now, she's not sure anything is easy anymore.

She could read the strength of Jones' belief in his eyes, and part of her envied him. How nice it would be to know all the angles, all the answers, and be absolutely sure that what you were fighting for was right. Insane or not, Jones simply seemed to know. An unshakable faith that has been forever just out of Olivia's reach.

Olivia walks to her kitchen and sets her glass by the sink. Weariness sets in, and suddenly she has to lean against the cabinets for support, or crumple to a heap on the floor. Questions are roiling in her head, a tempest so loud she can hardly think. Why would her parents allow her to be injected with that drug? Why keep it from her? Why does everyone seem to know more about her past than she does? Heaving a sigh, Olivia rubs her temples.

It's all connected. From the start, the game was set out, and the players were chosen long before Flight 626. John's betrayal, Walter's work with Bell, all threads of the larger tapestry whose image she still can't quite make out. And apparently, she's been woven into the design for a long time now. There is something frightening about that realization that makes the wine in her stomach churn. What if her fate is not her own?

She wants to laugh at that thought, because she's never really believed in fate. Life was what you made of it, the choices you make and consequences thereof, and nothing was preordained. Until now, it seems.

Suddenly, Olivia wants to call Peter. She needs his rationalism, his steady voice telling her that it's just the stress of dealing with a lunatic and defusing a bomb that could have killed thousands that's making her brain work overtime. She needs him to suggest they get those drinks she put off earlier. To sit across from him in some dusky bar, let a single-malt scotch dull her thoughts, and simply gaze into those blue-green eyes of his while he regales her with some story from his shady past. She needs him to remind her of what's real, to stop her from dwelling in the intangible ether of "what if".

Staring at her phone, which has somehow materialized in her hand, Olivia wonders about Peter's convictions. A man with his past, his nomadic lifestyle, hasn't had time to forge much faith in anything… save for the knowledge that the only one he can count on is himself. He's always the one with a level-headed answer to the weird permeating their lives, or at least something funny to off-put the fact that they're all shaken by what they've seen. Peter's been her grounding rod, trying to stem her river of questions with sincere rationalization. She finds herself reading Peter's name on the tiny cell phone screen, although she doesn't remember scrolling through her phonebook.

Olivia knows her stubbornness gets to him. She can still feel the iron grip of Peter's hand on her wrist as she threw reason to the wind to try to defuse the bomb. He was trying to protect her… and himself. She wasn't surprised to hear his retreating footsteps a moment later. She didn't blame him for choosing himself. The last mooring tie was cut and she was set adrift to face her fate alone.

What did surprise her was feeling, more than hearing, his presence behind her again. She'd been standing there, staring at those lights with all her might, trying to summon up some of the absolute faith that Jones had in her ability. And it wasn't working. She was going to die trying the impossible, and Olivia was okay with that. But Peter's presence behind her – a silent confirmation that he was standing with her, making sure she wasn't alone – caused something to fall into place. Olivia sets her phone down and smiles.

The man who had no faith in anything was willing to die with her, hoping she'd find the faith in herself to do the impossible. And the lights winked out, one by one.

She still doesn't know what she did differently, but something had happened. She'd felt it, but couldn't describe it. And to her amazement, Peter "Ye of little faith and big, rational explanations" Bishop is ready to believe that she turned off the trigger with some sort of telekinetic talent. Their roles reverse and Olivia is the one offering the simplest, most reasonable answer. He's spent the last few months arguing and mistrusting evidence of the impossible that was right in front of his face. Now, Peter's just happy to be alive and accept the weird shit going on as the easiest explanation. The irony nearly makes her chuckle.

Olivia realizes she's come to trust Peter with everything from case evidence to her own life. If she can't find her way to believing all the implications of her ability, then perhaps she can trust Peter's faith in her.

Perhaps fate and faith are intertwined. Olivia used to think it was by chance that she was dragged into the Pattern; that she was able to find Walter and subsequently, rope Peter into this tripped-out carnival freak-show. But the events of the day have proven that she's more deeply entrenched in this chess match than she ever imagined, and she's being maneuvered into place along with the rest of the pieces. Olivia doesn't like giving up control. But she thinks that if she's going to find the answers to this never-ending puzzle, she's going to have to accept the possibility that someone enlisted her in this game without asking. Indignation ignites within her, making her more determined than ever to see the big picture amongst disjointed shards.

With a little help, she'll use this determination to forge new convictions atop the rubble of the ones she thought she knew. Assume nothing, question everything. And every once in a while, she'll rely on Peter to remind her when it's time to take a step back from the magnifying glass she's peering through. His objectivity tempers her obsessions, and she doesn't think he knows how grateful she is to him for that. One day she'll tell him that his belief in her helped save both their lives that night.

After all, a little faith never hurt anyone.

END


Like? Hate? Drowning in hiatus woes? Let me know! READ and REVIEW!