Disclaimer: I own nothing. Trufax!
A/N: I really like this piece. Dunno exactly why. Maybe because it's P/O or because it's fluffy or because it's all from Astride's P.O.V. Anywho, I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
"That is so creepy," Astride winced as she watched Olivia and Peter hang the last of the of the plastic spiders.
"Says the assistant of Dr. Frankenstein," Peter teased.
"Hey! I am no one's assistant and no matter what I see, spiders are still the creepiest!" she exclaimed raising a finger.
"Oh come on, Astride. Hallowe'en is fun," Olivia said as she finished with the last of the spiders and Peter got down from the chair he was on.
"Don't tell me you're one of those Hallowe'en haters," Peter asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Nope, just don't like crawly biting eight legged things," she deadpanned.
"And yet, you work here," Olivia laughed.
"The pay's good," Astride smirked. They all laughed which explained why Olivia stumbled on her back down from the stepladder. A shriek was out of Astride's mouth before she could control it but it wasn't quicker than Peter who had caught Olivia in his arms, bridal style.
"Careful, there," he breathed.
"Thanks," she gasped and Astride watched in amusement as they locked eyes, both unable to move an inch. Their faces were breath away from each other and Astride saw Peter's eyes dart to Olivia's lips.
"Peter!" Walter bowled from across the lab, disrupting the odd trance Olivia and his son were in. Peter quickly put the agent down and hurried to get to Walter. Olivia straightened her clothes and kept her eyes down, clearly determined to not look at Astride.
"Nice catch, uh?" Astride commented as lightly as she could manage. The double entendre was more obvious than she thought as she saw Olivia blush a pretty pink before scurrying away.
Mistletoe. Of course. Astride rolled her eyes at Walter's futile attempts. He told her a few days ago that it would be the only way to bring his son and the lovely agent to get closer. She shouldn't have been surprised when she arrived this morning and found about fifteen sprigs of mistletoe hung all over the lab.
Walter was whistling joyfully while hanging the last piece and Peter was glaring up at him, arms crossed and frowning eyebrows. Astride knew that stance; she called it the 'Walter's in trouble' pose.
"Walter, I know what you're up to and it won't work," the younger Bishop stated.
"Could you pass me that nail, son?" Walter asked, unaware or simply ignoring his son's irritation. Peter threw up his hands in exasperation and went to the office, slamming the door on his way.
"Are you sure this is a good idea, Dr. Bishop?" Astride asked handing the scientist the nail he's been asking for. Mistletoe might be a lovely tradition but it was also an assurance for awkward moments. She really didn't want to imagine what would happen if the wrong couple ended under one of the many twigs decorating the lab.
"You should know better than to ask that question, Asteurd," he replied while getting down from the stepladder.
"Astride," she corrected immediately but he was already pushing the stepladder toward another mistletoe-free spot. She shook her head and went to see how far Peter's aggravation extended to.
Two hours later, Astride was trying her best not to grin as Peter and Olivia stood under one of the damned branch and Walter was cheering them on.
"Come on, son! Don't you want to at least know what you're missing?" Walter asked enthusiastically. He was met by a fierce glare from his son and an awkward throat clearing from the agent.
"Walter..." Peter warned but was once again ignored. Astride thought that all of Walter's effort were worth it just for the look of embarrassment on the two usually very cool people.
"Let's get it over with," Olivia said tilting her chin upward. "We have a murder to solve and Broyles is waiting for us."
Peter leaned forward. Olivia tip-toed. Walter giggled. Astride bit on her nails. Overall, anticipation -whether it was genuine eagerness or just dread- bubbled around the little group. The bubble popped when Olivia's cell phone rang.
Saved by the bell, Astride thought. She couldn't decide what was the funniest; Olivia and Peter's relief or Walter utter disappointment.
The two partners quickly left and Astride went to console the sad scientist.
"Don't worry, Walter. Christmas is not over yet."
Astride was glued to the spot. Unable to move or even look away. Her friend Carrie tried to catch her attention but she only shushed her, completely transfixed by the dancing couple. He looked very dashing in his dark suit and she looked gorgeous in her salmon dress. They looked perfect together. They were not standing too close but the way he held her as they swayed and laughed together was more intimate than anything she'd ever witnessed.
She was laughing, probably at one of his funny quips and Astride thought that she had never seen the agent look more carefree. He was smiling down at her with something akin to pride and she returned the look, hers as soft and as possessive. Suddenly, he leaned forward and Astride jumped to attention, ready to squeal but she was quickly disappointed as he only kissed her cheek. It was very tender but too short.
"Who are you staring at?" her friend asked annoyed.
"No one," she dismissed before spotting the other Bishop, near the buffet. She quickly made her way to him.
"Agent Farnsworth," he exclaimed with a grin. "Happy birthday!"
"Thank you, Dr. Bishop," she smiled. He had already wished her a happy birthday five times but his almost childish enthusiasm was endearing.
"I forgot your gift in the car," he said sheepishly.
She heard that before as well. "You went to get it earlier and I opened it already," she replied with an indulgent smile.
"Oh... Right," he mumbled looking at his cup of juice while she shook her head in amusement.
They turned to watch the crowd but it quickly became obvious who they were really looking for.
"I really like this song," Walter said after a while with a small smile. At last by Etta James was playing; Astride smiled to herself and shook her head.
"Hum hum," she nodded, her eyes twinkling knowingly. "Isn't it one of Olivia's favorite songs as well?" she asked through narrowed eyes, turning away from Olivia and Peter dancing forms.
Walter looked a little too pleased with himself. "Is it?"
For once, Astride wished she wasn't there to witness their interaction. It was just a little too tense, a little too passionate and a little too intimate. Olivia's face was closed, a firm mask of indignation and anger while Peter had no qualms about showing just how pissed off he was.
"Who do you think you are?" She hissed pointing an accusing finger at him. "You had no right!"
He crossed his arms and Astride realized it looked like he was trying to reign in his anger.
"No right? A re you kidding me? The guy threatened your life!" He growled.
Olivia shook her head angrily. "You jeopardized the entire mission and you could have gotten killed!" she shot.
"To hell with that! He had a gun pointed at you!"
"You don't understand, do you? This is bigger than me, bigger than us. You can't play with innocent lives like that," she finally snapped, her voice wavering. Peter took a deep breath but it was clear that he wasn't ready to back down. He took a step closer to her bringing them practically nose to nose. However, when he spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper.
"No, you don't understand. I care and you're gonna have to learn to deal with that," and just like that, the atmosphere changed. As quickly as they flared, their tempers deflated while their faces softened. There was a new intensity in the air, one that left Astride breathless.
"You can't put your life in danger like that, Peter," Olivia's voice was pained. "Y-You didn't sign up for that," she said uncrossing her arms.
"When you got me, you got the whole package. This is who I am. I can't just stand by while I watch the people I... care about suffer," he explained, his eyes piercing. Olivia finally nodded, unable to question that logic.
"You're reckless," she said sadly.
"Among other things," he replied with a forced smirk.
They kept their eyes locked together, a strange and powerful energy surrounding them. It was electric and it crackled all around the pair, creating sparks and destroying bounderies. Astride could have sworn they leaned toward each other but she was once again left unsatisfied as they turned from each other and went in different directions. Throughout the day, they kept stealing glances at each other and Astride didn't miss the looks of longing and desire.
It was only a question of time, now, she thought to herself with a smile.
He went and did it! The stupid, reckless, inconsiderate jerk. He got shot in the chest trying to stop a suspect from running away. Astride discretely wiped a tear away from her cheek as she watched the doctors wheel his bed back in his room. Walter was watching anxiously as his still unconscious son was placed in his new room for the next few days. He was mumbling incessantly, unable to put a barrier between his thoughts and his mouth. Astride put a hand on his arms, trying to calm him down enough, at least until they were alone. Surprisingly, it worked; Walter stopped talking altogether and went to seat next to Peter's bed. She left father and son alone and went to call Olivia.
She'd been sent on a mission in Paris a couple of days ago and Astride had not been able to reach her yet. Truth be told, she was glad the agent didn't call her back; she really didn't want to be the one announcing Olivia Dunham that Peter Bishop had been shot during a chase he wasn't supposed to be involved in. Agent Jessup was going to get an earful, a.k.a some serious ass-kicking.
This time her call went straight to voice mail and even though she hated doing it like that she could no longer postpone the inevitable.
"Olivia, this is Astride. Something happened..."
The next day, after another day spent at the hospital, Peter was still unconscious and Olivia was still unreachable. Something akin to despair was starting to grow in Astride's chest and she was more than reluctant to go back home for the night. But she'd been there for forty hours straight and exhaustion was making it hard to remain rational. So she went home that night and caught up on some sleep before hurrying back to the hospital.
She was not prepared for the sight that welcomed her when she opened Peter's room door. Olivia was reading the morning paper to a very awake Peter and neither of them seemed to notice her arrival.
"Who can read those things first thing in the morning," he asked voice raspy.
"Hey, I'm just obliging you. You're the one who wanted me to read the finance section," she said with a small smile.
"I was trying to sound smart," he joked before coughing. Olivia quickly handed him the cup of water and he gratefully accepted.
"I can understand," she said worry now clearly showing in her pretty green eyes. "Your intelligence was severely questioned when you jumped in front of a bullet," she said, her tone accusatory.
"That was heroic. Ladies dig heroes," he replied and while his words were intended to be funny, his tone was nothing but. His eyes darkened when he saw the anguish crossing his partner's features.
"Not when they're not alive," she said brokenly and he reached over to take her hand. "You really are reckless."
"I'm sorry, 'Liv."
"And stupid!" she added trying harder and harder to hold back the tears.
"But still very much alive," he said, his tone steadier, trying to reassure her.
"Let's keep it like that," she said finally turning her shinning eyes to his and Peter nodded, one of his lovely smiles finally making an appearance. He intertwined their fingers and he watched as a few tears escaped her.
Astride closed the door quietly, amazed by what she just witnessed and relieved that they didn't catch her spying on their private moment. In the hallway she found Walter seating on a chair, a cup of coffee in his hands.
"Hello, Walter," she said as she sat down. "You look better," she assessed after a while.
"I am," he said with a small nod and a smile in his eyes.
Laughter echoed through the unusually quiet lab. Astride had been updating the data on the latest case in the computer while Walter was taking care of Jean. She'd assumed that they were alone until she heard the unmistakable laughter of Olivia. She turned on her stool who was facing the office and nearly dropped the scalding cup of coffee she was holding.
The door to the office was ajar and through the open space she could see Olivia seating on Peter's desk while he stood in front of her. Astride's shock was mostly due to the fact that he was kissing his girlfriend as if there would be no tomorrow. At work. They've been dating for a few months now but the junior agent had never caught them before. It was like an unspoken rule between them; no fooling around in public.
Astride quickly scrambled to her feet and, as discretely as she could, made her way to the office. She stood right next to the door, still out of sight but at a better hearing distance.
"You really shouldn't be doing this," Olivia breathed when Peter finally let go of her.
"You really shouldn't tempt me," he shot back smirking before dipping down and kissing her cheek, sweetly.
"They could catch us," she tried again but her message was contradicted by her actions when she drew him even closer to her and kissed him deeply.
"Catch us? Olivia we're not fifteen and sneaking out of your parents' bedroom," he laughed and she rolled her eyes.
"I'd like to remain professional," at his raised eyebrow she amended, "as professional as possible."
"You're no fun," he taunted.
"Why am I always the reasonable one?" she said letting her hands travel down from his shoulders to his hands.
He chuckled. "I see two reasons. One," he said bringing a finger -and consequentially one of hers- up, " it would be out of character for you to be the one doing the luring," he smirked and she laughed softly, nodding.
"True," she amended with a smile and Astride watched as his eyes grew immensely tender at the sight of her light smile. His smirk turned into a genuine grin and he leaned over pecking her lips sweetly and shortly.
"Second," he carried on, raising another pair of fingers, "you love making me beg for your attention," he finished and his tone was rough and husky and a little too intimate for Astride's liking.
Smiling, she quickly went to join Walter next to their beloved pet.
"To think that there was a time when I wished they spent less time working and more time kissing," Walter said not even looking up toward her. Astride burst out laughing.
"Walter, you are to blame!" she said still giggling and patted his shoulder.
Neither of them saw the couple for the rest of the day but they found it difficult to blame them. After years of dancing around each other, it was perfectly normal for the 'honeymoon' phase to last for months.
And Astride wasn't about to complain, she's been rooting for them from the very first day.
A/N: if you want more of my P/O lovin', leave a review. Thank you for reading.