ALL IT TAKES

No inFRiNGEment intended.

Note : Snakehead filler. Post mission.

*

Walter was already gone from the lab with the promise to be extra careful on his way home. Despite the stress of the day, he still had his head on finding natural strawberry extract for a personal project and wouldn't take no for an answer when he had asked his son to let him pursue this simple goal. Peter had made his peace with giving Walter some leeway. If something was meant to happen, so be it. Walter was right. There was nothing he could do about it. He could not keep him safe from the world forever.

Peter watched her through the shades and stopped in the doorway, hands stuck deep inside his pockets. Olivia Dunham was at her desk. He stood there, glaring unfettered and relieved that he was the one with bruises and his ego down in his shoes.

That was close this time, way too close. He might want to reconsider lecturing Walter about his irresponsible actions when he was doing exactly the same thing his father was usually a fan of, pulling some inconsiderate stunts without worrying about inevitable consequences, putting friends in harm's way in the process, and always pushing the envelop too far --well, to some extent anyway since he was a firm believer that extreme measures were sometimes necessary to have the job done.

He exhaled deeply.

Olivia jumped nervously, her pen drawing an unwanted flourish on her notepad. Her mouth twitched. "Hey," she said, putting her glasses on top of her hair. "You okay?" She pinched the bridge of her nose, seeming more exhausted than he had ever seen her before.

"Hey," he smirked, "you stole my line…" he trailed with a smile.

"Excuse me?"

"Never mind. You okay?"

She chuckled, replaying his last sentence in the back of her mind. "I guess I am. But please Peter, don't you ever do that again."

"Startle you?"

"You know exactly what I mean," she said flatly, her voice almost a whisper. She cleared her throat with embarrassment. From the red on her face, she didn't mean to be so straightforward.

He let go of his vantage point by the door and came closer. She had large circles under her eyes and was glaring at him warily. "At least, they hit me on the face but they did it on the same spot," he smiled, rubbing his temple with two fingers.

"Still hurts?" she asked casually her eyes drawn to the purple marks on his neck.

Okay, he thought, small talk is good. I can do that. "Not so much," he shrugged and dropped in the armchair facing her desk. "Occupational hazards," he added softly for his own benefit.

"You're not FBI Peter, you're only a consultant!" but her protest was feeble even to her ears.

"Ouch, that, that hurts," he grinned. He bent over the desk, and placed a hand on hers. She looked at him incredulously, her eyebrow rocketing. "I know I was careless, Livia. I promise you I'll behave… next time."

She went beet red and moved her hand away, avoiding his gaze. She wasn't prepared to confront Peter right this minute. It had been a long day and she was still shaken by what could have happened. And it will happen again, Peter was reckless, there was nothing she could do about it.

The last thing she wanted was to be alone with him before having a chance to process her anger and, --was it anguish? in retrospect. And yet he was here, teasing her and doing his best at pretending that nothing happened today.

And how come he was still at the lab when she could have sworn that she heard Walter leave about a half hour ago? She knew for a fact that Astrid was gone already. The junior agent asked her if she needed anything before leaving.

How could she let it happen? She should have checked if she was really alone before indulging herself in very private post mission recreation time. Getting caught in the middle of a daydreaming fantasy involving her, Peter Bishop and a pair of cuffs? That was bad… but not as bad as the purple greenish blue bruises on his neck and face though. It was going to look really awful tomorrow, she thought. She clenched her fist under the desk, resisting the impulse to reach out to him… in a non mother-hen fashion. She felt her cheeks burning.

"I know you won't… until next time," she pushed without looking at him. She snapped the pen on the desk and sit back, lacing her fingers in front on her. "You never do what you're told." She smirked, waiting.

He grinned. "I know I'm bad."

She flushed and her eyes sent dagger to counterbalance her unwanted reaction at his double entendre. "You never stay in the car," she finally said. "You don't wait for back up. Last time you almost got yourself killed by that hitman and today, -well today that was too close, Peter…" she added, mimicking his own thoughts.

"Today, everything went smoothly in the end, thanks to Broyles and the cavalry. Nothing to worry about," he said with a flirty smile.

She knew how to read him, that was the end of the discussion. He was far more stubborn than his father. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Apple.

Her stomach growled. When was the last time she had something to eat?

"On a liquid diet again Livia?" he asked glancing around, his stare a little too inquisitive on purpose. "Isn't it a bit early, even for you?"

Her mouth twitched and she shook her head. "No." She caught her smile. "I mean, no I'm not. But I should have. I could really use a drink right now."

"Is it an invitation?"

"Nope." No hesitation. " Just a thought." She relaxed.

"… because I happen to know a bar…"

She let a grin brighten her face. "No, no. Not tonight. I must really finish that…" she waved her hand over the documents piled in front of her, "stuff."

"Okay." He got back on his feet and smiled. He didn't need to be psychic to see she was disappointed that he didn't insist, her face was like an open book. "I'll leave you to your work then. I have to…" he gestured to the door, "I have those… things to… do… too." His face was serious now. "See you tomorrow boss."

"Peter?"

He swirled back. "Yes."

"Be gentle with Walter tonight. He was shocked. More than you know."

"No, I know." He turned around without adding anything.

She watched him leave and listened to his footsteps in the lab, his coat rustling against the hanger, the door squeaking… He was gone. Well, that went well considering, she mused. Handcuff, Olivia, you could do better than that. It has been too long since John was dead. She needed no fantasizing. She needed to get laid. Not that she was quite picturing herself on the prowl but it was simply a matter of staying healthy, wasn't it? Or maybe she could stop being such a drama queen and rent When Harry Met Sally, --again. Or make her move on Peter. No. No, no, no, no. She smoothed her hair with her hand and her glasses fell under her desk. She dove to retrieve them.

Okay, that was it. She'd better go home and soak in a bubble bath until she was numb. Obviously a glass of whisky and a detective novel could help too. She switched off her laptop, swapped her phone from the desk, took her coat and killed the lights as she went. Peter was definitely right. She needed a drink. Maybe it'll take her thoughts off of him.

She locked the door behind her and rushed through the empty corridors of the Kreske building back to her car, her eyes on the ground. She crossed the threshold to the building, taken aback by the freezing temperature. She put her coat on and pressed the car remote, hurrying to her black shiny SUV. She didn't spot him in the dark, she saw his feet first. He was casually leaning against the car.

"Any chance you changed your mind?" he said, his voice husky, his face unreadable in the dim light of the parking lot.

"My place," Her voice was harsh. "Hop in."

He gave her a quizzical glance. Is it all it takes? he thought, fastening his seat belt, a deep crease on his forehead. After they went out of the university campus, the car accelerated in the empty streets. Her hands clasped on the wheel, her jaw clenched, Olivia's eyes never left the road. She looked fierce and determined. She pulled over in front of her building and slammed the door, ran briskly to her door, not bothering to see if he was following her.

"Livia!" he hailed her from the sidewalk. "This is a bad idea. You're upset. I'd better leave."

"Can't you just indulge me, play along for once?" she hissed. "That's easy, imagine we just met. We're two total strangers…"

"No." He trotted up the stairs, his hand on the railing. "This is a bad idea Livia" he said again. He tilted his head, concerned. He put a soothing hand on her face. She recoiled before smiling sadly. "You'll regret it in the morning."

"You're probably right," she admitted.

"I don't blame you. Engaging in certain… activities after you almost died is good. It makes you feel alive. But if it makes you happy," he teased, "I'll take a raincheck…"

She watched his face intently, feeling helpless, her eyes so wide she looked like an anime cartoon character. Tears began to swell up.

"Come on." He hugged her tight, rocking her in his arms. He took a step back, his hands on her shoulders and his eyes bore intohers, watching for any reaction. His face softened. "What the hell," he whispered. With his thumb he wiped away her tears then he leaned in and kissed her softly.

…. "Livia! Olivia, you okay? Livia? Can you hear me? What the hell happened?"

She looked up at him groggily. "I must have knocked myself out," she winced and her hand rocketed to her head. "My glasses fell and…"

"You're lucky I forgot my car keys. There's no way I'm leaving you alone now. I'll take you back to your apartment."

She nodded, hoping it was not obviously frantic. "I'll get my things."

"Don't bother, I'll do it, just put on your coat, I'll take care of everything."

He was too relieved to notice her very willing obedience. Is it all it takes? she thought.

-o-

Thanks for reading!!