FRINGE

Magnolia

No copyright inFRiNGEment intended.

Note: I kinda fell robbed from something in the episode A new Day… so I figured I'd rather write it myself, just to make sure ;) please R&R!!!

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She had to ask the nurses twice. What was so strange about her request? She didn't want them to shade the windows. She was not about to confess that she still felt scared in the dark in spite of the reassuring presence of the gun under her pillow, --even if she knew that the threat was gone for good, that the demented nurse assassin, or whatever she/it/he was, was really gone. Charlie had made sure of it.

A heady aroma was filling the room and made her nostrils flare unconsciously. What was it? Magnolia? There was a time, a distant time, when she used to grow magnolias in her backyard.

At least, she thought she did.

She could not keep her eyes off the distant skyline. It appeared fuzzy in the pollution halo and yet, it comforted her. From her bed, she could see that the Twin Towers were still gone. She could not help but feel guilty at the prospect of taking comfort from this horror. The ominous question was, had she dreamt it all? The whole going in another dimension thing with the details that kept creeping back in her head, distorted and confused? It felt so real, almost so right. But why? Who was he, this man in the dark, tall, with the deep voice, was he only a figment of her imagination? Was she in the Tower? No, it couldn't be.

And yet if she ever visited the other side, surely it was before her accident, but she could not remember her visit or her car being rammed into anyway. The harder she tried, the more she failed, she could remember nothing of it, not even thrusting through the windshield.

She absolutely had no recollection of the accident to begin with, for god's sake, it was driving her insane, and yet she was the living proof that she had been in an accident. Scratches and scrapes and her wounded leg, yes there was an accident except that it was not possible.

More impossibilities, more questions, more distress. What was written will come to pass… What if she had no abilities at all? What if she was just indulging herself with some unnecessary self pity? Was it part of her healing process?

But, what if? What if she was right, that she had indeed made it to another world, different and identical at the same time, some sort of implausible mirror universe? Though unable at the moment to grasp every implications spawn from that evasive disturbing thought, she knew it was there, lurking in the back of her head, insistent, real, so real.

God, she wished she could remember, maybe she could ask Walter to perform another of his crazy procedures. Maybe he could help her reconstruct the missing hours in her schedule. Maybe she should talk to someone. Maybe if she could say it out loud, that wouldn't make it weirder, and it would become less disturbing, and yet, she could not cross that bridge. Not even with Peter. Even if she wanted to.

She closed her eyes and sighed. It was probably too early to gain full access back to these lost events and it was not something she was ready to elaborate on out loud or discuss with anyone now. She had tried that with the nurse and look what it brought to her. Not with the doctors either. She was not going to end up in some loony bin because of incoherent memories.

Bottom line, after John's death, it had taken her the best part of the last months to give her trust back to people. And it had all come tumbling down in one single day. A few hours at the very most. Hidden behind her calm façade and swashbuckling bravado, now she just felt lonely and really, really scared.

She tried to roll on her side in her hospital bed to alleviate the pressure on her leg and winced from the pain. At least, she would have more time on her hands to think it over, because she wasn't going anywhere. Physical therapy they said, the nurses nodded each time she'd asked. How long? How long before she would be back to normal. But all she was getting were the nods, the apologizing smiles, and the possible repeated light pat on the arm, everyone's eyes wandering away from her insisting gaze.

She was exhausted and at the same time exhilarated by unexpected glimpses at the intriguing shreds from her lost memories. Eventually she will regain it in full, they said, --or not, don't keep your hopes high. But to stay in the dark, that was not an option. Deep in her bones, she felt she was on a mission and she would not be satisfied before she had it all back. She was familiar with the forgetting curve, with its initial sharp drop and gradual decrease after the initial loss. She learnt it with the FBI and the Army when taught about interrogation techniques. She wanted to find the path back to the source of her newly acquired knowledge. It was there except that it seemed to evade her, again and again. The more she tried, the more she forgot.

"Hey… you awake?"

Her eyes darted in the direction of the voice and to the tall silhouette near the door.

"Hey, I thought that it was past visiting hours," she smiled, trying to sit up in her bed.

"Don't you move, I just wanted to check on you, see if you were all right."

"You didn't have to come all the way back to New York just to check on me, Peter."

"Well technically I'm supposed to run some errands for Walter, so don't blame it on you."

"Errands?"

"Yup. There're some things that you can find only in New York, son."

"And what is it? Some secret device he perfected in another life time?"

He chuckled, nodding behind his fist and walked into the eerie lights from the uncovered windows. "More like bagels."

"You kidding right?"

"Nope. I guess it's his way to tell me that I might be beside you at the hospital."

She dropped her head to her chest, crossed her arms and grinned to herself. "I'm glad you came," she said, her eyes locked on his.

"I'm glad I came," he said, sitting on the bed. He brushed her arm lightly and she shivering at the touch. "You cold?"

She shook her head, glad it was dark in the room, unsure that she could conceal her feelings and her despair. "No, it's just…"

"It's okay, you don't tell. This is awkward. I feel awkward to. But I want to make sure that you know should you need me, I'm here 'Livia."

"I know," she smiled. "You didn't have to come all the way from Boston to tell me that Peter."

"Actually, it's a present from the Fringe Division. You see, I asked Walter for a can I have getting the hell out of here present."

"You want to leave me? I mean us…"

He grinned. "No, of course not 'Livia, you of all people must know that I'm not going anywhere." He put his hand on hers and it stayed there. "Just so you know, we were grocery shopping the day of your accident, it was taking Walter like for ages to make it to the exit. He wanted to bake for me, you see," he explained matter-of-factly.

"Bake? Why would he want to bake for you?" She relaxed on her pillow, her head slightly turned to Peter.

"Well, it was supposed to be my birthday present."

"Oh, I…" Olivia flinched and tried to sit up, but he leaned towards her, and placed a light hand on her shoulder to make her stay still. She stopped.

"He wanted to make me custard. It's his specialty. According to my father, I'm supposed to love custard. But what I'm thinking is that he merely wanted to gloat about the only thing he can actually cook apart from the occasional roasting of marshmallows over a Bunsen burner. He asked me to invite you to the party, you know, so he can see the look on your face when you taste it."

"Peter, it was your birthday, I'm sorry, I'm not good with these things, I guess I forgot."

"And you shall be punished for that," he grinned again, "and I've come to claim my retribution."

"What…"

He leaned further and she felt his breath on her face. Her eyes went wide and she was pretty sure she stopped breathing. His lips were salty. He took his time, exploring every inch of her mouth. She moaned and reached for his head and neck. But his body was not even close enough to touch her hospital gown. She closed her eyes and….

All the single ladies All the single ladies All the single ladies All the single ladies All the single ladies All the single ladies All the single ladies

"Hello…" Olivia whispered in her cell, her voice husky and low.

"Hi Olivia! It's your morning call." Astrid sounded energetic and well awake.

"Hi Astrid… what… ---what time is it? I think I overslept again."

"Don't worry. Nothing but routine lately. Walter specifically instructed me not to wake you up. He said you needed your beauty sleep."

"Time," she muttered.

"Noon, it's almost noon. Peter is on his way to your house. Actually, he must be round the corner as far as I know."

"Thanks Astrid. See you later," she snapped, tossing her phone on her bed. She tried to get up but her leg was still stiff and sore. She cursed between her teeth when she heard the familiar rap and the keys at the front door. Yes, Peter was here already. She could have used a real advanced notice.

"Hey, 'Livia! I'm here! Are you decent?"

"Hey… Peter, hi, I'm still in bed," she shouted from her bed. "I'm stuck. I could use some help."

"Careful I'm coming," she heard him dash to her room and he came in with his hand on his eyes, but his fingers were spread on his face. "You ok? You look like shit."

"Thanks, good morning to you too. And your description is accurate, I feel like shit."

He bent to the bed and she laced her fingers around his neck. She nuzzled against his shirt. Insensé, by Givenchy, a base note of cedar, with top notes of cassis and basil, and a potent heart note of magnolia. The perfume she gave him for his birthday.

He helped her stand up. "You okay? Really? Do you want me to help you with getting in the shower?"

She chuckled. "Nice try, not today you don't. But I could kill for a strong mug of hot coffee."

"Astrid made a pot." He retrieved a thermos bottle from his coat pocket. "I'll get you a mug."

"Thanks Peter."

She let him walk her to the bathroom, leaning heavily on his arm. I could get used to having him around, she thought.

"Careful," he said. "Or you'll break your other leg and I'll have to move to your place."