"She is out," Olivia was chuckling as she draped her coat over the curled form of a sleeping gypsy in the back seat of the Vista Cruiser. Ella had changed her mind about her costume yet again, only a few hours before they had gone out trick-or-treating.

"It's late," Peter agreed, as he leaned in to gather Ella up, lifting her out of the car gently, "I kind of think that maybe we stayed out too long…"

"I'm sure Rachel will understand Ella's insistence, on getting those last few houses," Olivia said, shutting the car door gently as they turned toward the house. She carried with her a pillowcase of candy, and was searching around inside, "she got a pretty good haul this year, too."

"When I was a kid, I used to be a contest of seeing how long I could make the candy last, afterward," Peter said, as they made their way up the steps to the front door, "I always lost- when you've got Walter as a father, no candy stash is safe."

"I imagine not-" Olivia started, before she was interrupted as the door swung open. Rachel blinked at them, "Hey, Rach."

"Hey, Liv. Oh, Ella," Rachel sighed fondly, accepting her sleeping form out of Peter's arms, "The little beast just ran herself ragged, didn't she?"

"More or less," Peter agreed.

"You're a bad influence on her, Peter," Rachel smirked, "I had her all set to thinking adults were boring and never did anything. You and Liv have gone and blown that one, thanks a lot."

"Sorry," Peter and Olivia said together.

Rachel laughed, "Well, I'm going to get this gremlin to bed. Goodnight, Peter."

"Goodnight," Peter answered. Rachel left the door open as she disappeared.

"I hope this wasn't too boring," Olivia said, "I know it isn't how you like to spend you Halloweens."

"What, brooding and doing housework?" Peter smirked, "No moment I spend with you is boring, Olivia. You kick the crap out of rewiring the house, trust me."

Olivia laughed, "Thanks, I guess," she said. Peter smiled again, set to turn and leave, before she stopped him, "Peter, wait."

Peter turned back, his brows raised.

Olivia leaned forward to kiss him, her fingers gathering the front of his blazer. Unconsciously he felt his arms slip around her middle, drawing her in closer. At last she pulled away only slightly to look up, into his face, "I have to go back to New York," she said.


"It's for work. Trust me, I don't want to. I don't want to go back there, to my job where I only deal with the worst of things. All the time I spend with you, Peter… it feels like the world doesn't exist. And after meeting you, I just don't want to see that side of the world, anymore." She dropped her gaze as she continued to fiddle with his jacket front.

"Then why are you going back?" Peter questioned.

"Because I have to. Just because I don't want everything else to exist doesn't mean it stops. And I have a responsibility, to protect people… so that they can go on, and pretend it doesn't exist." Olivia dropped her hands with a sigh, "I guess you wouldn't understand, I know it sounds nuts."

"Hey," Peter lifted her chin with his fingertips to look into her sad green irises, "I do understand. My life hasn't exactly been a fairytale, Olivia. In fact, it pretty much sucked, until I met you. But I understand what it means, to protect someone."

Olivia smiled, "So I guess that means you don't want to come back with me," she said.

"Want to? Hells yes, I want to. But I can't. Just as you have responsibilities, so do I," Peter said, "I'm sorry. I have to protect Walter. The world you hate- it creeps up on him every day. It creeps up on us all. And you and I- we have to do what we can to stop it, don't we?"

Olivia raised her arms to wrap them around his neck, "A philosophical monster, huh?"

"Nope. Just an average idiot," Peter answered, stooping to kiss her again.


Peter could hear the gentle crackling of the wood fireplace in his father's den and smell the musky sent of faint wood smoke as he quietly shut the front door, muting the jingling of his keys with his palm as he placed them on the side table. He pulled off his coat and hung it near the door, and slid off his boots, his footfalls muted by his socks as he shuffled down the entryway and into the living room, headed for the stairs.

Walter's form appeared in the doorway of the den, his silhouette inky with the backlighting of the flickering firelight, "It's late, son," he said.

Peter paused at the banister, "Yeah."

"How was your wild rumpus?" Walter questioned, a smile in his voice.

Peter chuckled quietly, "It wasn't a wild rumpus, Walter. We just took Ella out for trick-or-treating."

"And how was that?"

"Fun. More fun than it was when I was a kid."

"Good, good."

They were silent for a few moments. "How was your night?" Peter asked.

"Good," Walter turned to look over his shoulder, back at the couch in the den, and his expression was finally visible, showing a small, fond smile, "She's sleeping, now."

Peter stared at his father for a few moments, "Walter, you didn't…?"

Walter raised his brows in question.


"Who? Gene. She wandered over this afternoon, it was wonderful to see her. I didn't think the Tullocks would mind, so I made her a place in the well house." Peter could not tell if his father were serious or not, behind his enigmatic smile.

Peter shook his head, deciding not to bother, "Never mind. Which reminds me," Peter delved into his pocket, "Olivia sent this for you," Peter approached his father, extending a Sugar Daddy.

Walter chuckled, taking it from him, "I really like her, son," he said.

"She's going back to New York," Peter said.


"Yeah. She told me tonight she's got to go back, for work."

"Are you going with her?" Walter questioned.

"She offered, but I said no."


Peter smiled, "Because you'd hate New York," he answered.

Walter smiled in return, "I see."

"She says she'll visit for Christmas," Peter said, "That's only a month, so I guess I'll live. Besides, if I left you here by yourself, this house would end up in worse condition than it is after every oversummer."

Walter chuckled, "True, true. But Peter- there's nothing keeping you from visiting her every now and again, you know. She's a woman with a purpose, and a very important one, at that. Perhaps she can help you find a purpose of your own." Walter retreated into the den, fiddling with his candy, "Just food for thought."

"Yeah, well, I don't want to be stuck here with you anyways," Peter chided, and Walter laughed back. Peter tromped up stairs.

Peter sighed as he set to stripping of his clothes and starting the shower. He played with the steam on the mirror for a few moments, before stepping into the tub and turning his face to the shower with a sigh.

It would be a long wait. But he'd waited far longer, for Olivia to come along, and it had been more than worth it.



And again, happy Halloween, everyone. ~F