FRINGE

then he kissed me

No copyright inFRiNGEment intended.

Note: after Dream Logic. I know this is corny but I'm suffering acute P/O withdrawal right now. So what if?

***

Olivia turned the corner of the street, eyes locked on her phone, she quickly texted back and scrolled down to the next message. Quickening her pace, she jogged up her stairs and almost tripped over Peter.

He sprang to his feet and made a great show of dusting his coat and jeans. "Hey!"

"Hey…" she was standing still, a comfortable foot away, and waiting for him to regain his composure.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you, I was hoping that you'd be home earlier," he said blankly. Man, did it come out wrong or what. He saw her tense and wished he hadn't uttered the first idiotic thing that had popped inside his head. He shuffled from one foot to the other. It'd probably be best not to apologize right away since his being here freezing before her front door harboured the same purpose already. Astrid was right, it was a bad, bad idea. "Can we come inside please, I'm freezing…" he blew on his gloves, his face reddened by the wind. Damn, he was doing it again! But she didn't say anything, just glared and turned away.

"Okay," she said dryly, opening her door. She switched on the light, tossed her keys near the door, untied her coat, left it on the couch on her way to the bathroom, letting her hair down in a swift move and slammed the door behind her. He stopped in her wake, shivering and wondering what to do next. Clearly, she didn't want to see him, not after what happened this afternoon. But he knew that if he changed his mind and went away, tomorrow would be too late for an explanation. Well for the kind of explanation you want to have dumbass, cause she doesn't seem to care that much for any explanation coming from you right now.

How bad could it be? I made a mistake, but she must know that it was a spur of the moment kind of thing, nothing planned. Not that it made it anymore forgivable… For crying out loud, she couldn't be mad at him for ever, could she?

He shoved his gloves and beanie in his pocket, put his leather coat on hers with his scarf. He couldn't decide whether he needed a drink or a very very black coffee. Probably a coffee. Or she'll give him THE look. He didn't need the look today.

He checked the empty coffee pot on the counter, rinsed it and took the bag of coffee from the fridge, dropped the clothes-pin she always put on top of it, and found himself on the floor on all fours, looking for the pin that rolled under her cheap IKEA wine rack. He managed to retrieve it but only with getting a splinter stuck on top of his hand.

"F…ing damn lousy rack," he cursed between his teeth.

"I'm happy to hear that you're back to your usual charming self, Peter."

He spun on his knees and tried to get up as fast as he could and bumped his head on the counter. She didn't even flinch. He closed his eyes tightly to fight the throbbing pain. She took the bag from him and put the coffee maker on. She was giving him the cold shoulder, but at least she was willing to talk or she would have ended up locked inside her room with her laptop. Or worse on the phone with Rachel.

Okay, showtime!

"I'm sorry, Livia, I didn't mean to hurt you. I acted on a whim this afternoon but Walter was driving me crazy."

"Oh, isn't it cute. Poor Peter, I won't feel sorry for you. And I'm glad you have your excuse ready. Anything else as brilliant as what you just said you'd like to share?"

"Livia don't y…"

"Please, don't Livia me. You have no excuse for what you did. I trusted you Peter, how could you do that to me?"

"I have no excuse, I know that, but Livia, could you hear me out, please?"

She turned around, taking two cups from the shelf. "Go ahead, I'm listening. You have five minutes."

He took a deep breath. "Walter is a pack rat, you can't imagine what he's been keeping for years. And now he seems to remember every stash, every garage, every storage room. And those… relics, they simply keep pouring in. He's been asking me to help him move boxes in our new apartment from day one and at this point, I think I've moved them around enough to be back to square one."

"What has it got to do with anything?" she asked, handing him a cup of hot coffee.

"Thanks." He nodded, took a sip, burnt himself, and winced silently. "It means that on top of dreaming out loud and squatting in the living room, he's turned our little living arrangement into a nightmare. There're boxes spread all over the place, half empty or half full, whether you're in a good mood or not and he's been looking for this item for days now. I guess I had less than 10 hours sleep last week. And when I manage to sleep I'm having that bad dream."

"The same dream?"

"Mmmm."

"Well, you already know what I told you repeatedly about that specific part Peter…" she trailed, perching on the counter. She put her hands on the hot mug and observed his reaction over the rim of her cup.

He sighed. "I know. But… he's not ready yet, Livia, you got to understand…"

"I do, no sweat. You have four minutes left."

"Okay, sleep deprivation, done," he said, counting on his fingers with an enticing smile. She didn't bat an eyelash. You're not out of the woods yet. "Last week, he came up with his latest idiosyncrasy, that our breakfast is a disgrace to New England. So it appears that he wants to make professional waffles now. And around 7:30 this morning, this truck delivered a huge double waffle baker with aluminium grid, digital control board, floating hinge, capable of baking up to 20 waffles per hour. It would be great in Lolo's, but it just doesn't seem like something you'd buy for your home. Walter used to make pancakes for me when I was a child and he didn't need to buy all that fancy equipment!" He sat on the stool facing her, looking frustrated.

"I get it Peter. You're worried. But I'm sure that Walter's going to be fine. You can't expect him to be back to normal within a year or so. He's so much better already, give him a break! He'll be fine, I'm sure."

"I can't shake the feeling that something's off."

She could see that he was worried but it was a conversation for another time. "Three minutes."

"Three minutes… It was fun today, no?"

"Fun?" she tried to keep her voice in check. "Is it all you can come up with? If it is your definition of fun I do…"

"No, no, not THAT part. The way it started."

"Oh you mean the Halloween part?"

"Yep, that part. It was fun, huh?"

She nodded, and managed to hide she was blushing behind her hair. She softly blew on her coffee, "Yes, Peter, it was fun. At first."

"Come on! It was brilliant! I had no idea that Astrid and Walter planned all that when we were in Seattle."

"All right then, it was nice." She smiled for the first time.

"Come on! Walter was a magnificent Julius Caesar, and Astrid?"

"Okay," she chuckled, "her Cleopatra was gorgeous."

He placed his mug back on the counter and closed the distance between them. "And you're a fan of Star Wars aren't you?"

"Not a fan per se…"

"But you were Han, you told me, remember?"

"It stuck," she said, "yeah, doesn't make me a die-hard fan though."

"You're mad at me because I was dressed up as Solo?" he tried.

"I'm mad at Walter because he chose me that… costume, or lack of it, to be more specific. And he really spiked our drinks or…"

"Or you'd never have put the costume on to begin with," he smiled. "But you were fantastic, Dunham. Really. The best Leia I've ever seen in a costume party or else."

"Listen to you. You got two minutes left. And don't you think that you're going to get out of it by using obsequious flattery."

"Livia, the fact is that I don't know why I did it. It only seemed natural at the time."

"That's it? Natural? You seem to easily forget that we had an agreement Peter."

"I know, I know, I told you, I made a mistake."

"A mistake you can't fix." Her eyes were hard again, smile had left her face. She got up and left him abruptly.

"Livia! How was I supposed to know that Broyles and Sharp would pay us a visit today of all days?"

"You weren't, but hey, lucky me, they did. I'm not proud of myself for getting drunk on the job, but I can't blame it on anyone but me. What you did is unforg…"

"You're not going to punish me forever Livia, please."

"One minute. Unless you can find a good reason, or provide me with a suitable explanation, I suggest that you put on your coat already." She folded hers arms on her chest and waited.

"You don't expect me to justify my actions, do you?"

"Oh yes Peter, that's exactly what I'm expecting right now."

"Okay. But remember, you asked for it."

Peter knelt on one knee. "Walter was desperately trying to find something in his thousands of boxes and he found it." He took something in his pocket and opened the small black box. "It was his mother's. The bottom line is that I love you Olivia Dunham, and I can't see why an innocent kiss in front of you superior officer is going to change how I feel. I don't want to hide. I won't. I've done enough hiding for a lifetime."

"Peter what are you doing?"

"Buying me some time… I guess… Is it working?" He tried his best puppy eyes.

"You're an idiot," she giggled, "get on your feet already, you're making me uncomfortable."

"So I win?" he exclaimed, bouncing around the couch like a kid.

"Nobody wins. But if you're having bad dreams again, I'm here Peter, you know that. Now go back to Walter," she said in a calm voice handing him his coat.

"I can give him a call…"

She helped him slipped into it and tied his scarf around his neck. "Nice try," she patted the scarf. "Not tonight Peter, I'm tired, I've got to wash my hair."

"I can help you with that…"

"Home!" She said firmly, showing him the door with her finger.

"But everyone knows, now that we kissed, there's no need for me to go back to the apartment or sneak in yours."

"Night Peter. I'll see you tomorrow." She pushed him to the door.

"At least kiss me good night."

"I know what you're trying to do. If we kiss, you'll end up in my bed again and I have to sleep once in a while. So go, go back to your father. Don't make me beg."

"Okay boss. See you tomorrow then?"

She opened the door and nodded. He stroked her cheek on his way out, and abruptly turning around in the doorway he kissed her.

"Peter!" she protested. "No! No…" she moaned. He walked back inside and shut the door behind him with his foot.

"I promise I'll help you with your hair," he whispered in her ear.