Explanation/Apology: This story grew out of an online conversation about Walter and his lab, and the things he might brew in his spare time. One speculation led to another, and a friend dared me to write a scenario based on her suggestion about one of Walter's experiments. I'm not usually one for, shall we say, artificial stimulation; I prefer a love scene to grow organically out of the couple's relationship. But this one appealed to me, and the crossover aspect intrigued me, so I decided on an experiment of my own.
This one is for you, PVK. You know who you are.
Peter pushed open the door to Walter's laboratory and held it for Olivia. "So, you go through the cell phone records and I'll--" She stopped so abruptly he collided with her. "Hey--Oh, my God!" The smell hit him like a two-by-four across the face. He clapped his hand over his nose but it didn't do any good.
Olivia, hands to her face, was turning away. "Walter, what is that smell?"
In the center of the dungeon-like lab, Walter Bishop turned to face them. He wore a full mask on his face; the two filters on either side of it made him look like a warthog or something. "Get out! Can't you read the sign?"
The stench was making Peter's eyes water. "What the hell are you brewing, Walter?"
Walter waved a gloved hand at him. "Get out! Or put a mask on!"
Peter backed through the door to the lab, Olivia following. When the door swung shut, he took his hand away from his nose and sniffed tentatively. "Ugh. Better breathe through your mouth," he said.
Olivia's face was twisted in disgust. "I'm going to have to burn every stitch I'm wearing."
"Me, too. What was that?"
Olivia shook her head. "I'm not sure I want to know." She bent and picked up a piece of paper from the floor. It read STRONG ODER. KEEP OUT.
"I thought Walter could spell better than that," Peter said. He coughed. The smell was still strong here in the hall. "I'm going outside for some fresh air."
Olivia nodded, and led the way outdoors. The air was crisp and cold, the snow deep and white. The recent Atlantic seaboard blizzard had frozen the entire Northeast into a popsicle; attendance at the university was down as students were stranded by unplowed streets and canceled transit services.
Peter stamped his feet and blew on his fingers. "Well, that has to qualify as the worst thing I've ever smelled."
"When I was a little girl," Olivia said. "We took a drive in the country. I remember we drove past a chicken farm. I thought that was the worst thing I'd ever smelled, until now."
"Garbage dump fire. Or maybe the smell of a burned-out chemical weapons bunker in Kandahar. Whatever Walter's doing in there, I think it qualifies as a weapon of mass disgust." He slapped his arms to keep off the cold. When he looked over at Olivia, her face looked flushed. Pretty, he thought. And then shut that thought off. His cell phone rang.
"Son, are you feeling all right?" Walter's voice said in his ear.
"My sinuses are filing a class action lawsuit," Peter replied. "What the hell are you making in there?"
"I was trying to reproduce a pheromone compound I once used in some research on primate psychology. Did you breathe it in?"
"Walter, it assaulted my nose," Peter said. "I may never set foot in this building again."
"Peter, this is very bad. Are you feeling flushed? Excited? Sexually aroused?"
Peter blinked, and involuntarily glanced at Olivia. "What did you say?"
"This compound contains primate pheromones," Walter said. "You should avoid contact with any females right now. And Agent Dunham should probably go home for the rest of the day. I already had to send Azure, my lab assistant, home."
Peter shook his head. "Wait a minute, wait a minute--"
Walter's tone was apologetic. "It would be especially good if you could avoid sweating. The sweat glands in the axilla are already loaded with pheromones. The testosterone in male sweat will intensify the reaction, and might trigger an unpredictable response. "
"Unpredictable is right," Peter said. He closed the phone. Maybe he should go home and shower. Out of nowhere, he flashed on an image of Olivia naked and wet in a shower, and suddenly he felt hot all over.
Olivia's head cocked to one side. "Something wrong? Are we in any danger?" Her hair was some color between gold and platinum in the weak winter sunlight. And why was he noticing that?
Peter shook his head and took her elbow. "No. But I'm suddenly very hungry. You want to grab some sushi?"
Olivia turned at the same time he did, and they bumped chests. "Oops." She stepped back, and looked flushed again. Why had Peter never before noticed how adorable that was? "No seafood. I'm in the mood for chocolate." She turned towards the parking lot.
"There's a pie shop down the street, if it's open in this weather," he said.
"Yum," she said. Peter could not remember ever hearing her say that, in that tone. For some reason, it make him feel a bit dizzy.
The interior of the pie shop was warm. Behind the counter, a girl with chestnut hair was talking to a lanky man in a black T-shirt and apron. As Peter followed Olivia into the shop, he inhaled.
"Much better," he said. "'Livia, can I take your coat?" Now where had that come from?
Olivia unwound her scarf and started unbuttoning her coat. "Mmm. Smells so good in here, I may never leave."
The young woman came up to them with menus. "Hi! Would you like a table or a booth?"
"Eating warm pie while looking at cold snow is one of my favorite treats," Peter said, grinning. "Olivia?"
The young woman led them to a booth and left menus on the table. Olivia slid into her side of the booth, and for a tiny second Peter wanted to slide in next to her. What the hell? He sat opposite her and picked up a menu. "This was a good idea. I'm glad I had it." Olivia smiled at him, and he felt like spring.
The waitress was back with mugs and hot coffee. "Our special today is Three-Plum Pie, but we've also got Apple-Pear pie baked with a Gruyère crust. I can recommend that." Her grin was infectious, and Peter found himself smiling back.
"I'll take a big piece of that, then," he said.
Olivia put down her menu. "Me, too," she said. Her skin looked flushed, soft. He found himself staring and made himself look away.
The waitress--whose name tag said Chuck for some reason--took their menus away. Peter put his elbows on the table, his hands clasped loosely before him. Olivia stared out the window at falling snow, frowning slightly.
"You think he's all right?"
Peter smiled. "Walter is never all right. But I think he'll be safe enough in his lab. Did I tell you about the sensors I installed?"
Her eyes met his. Had they always been that shade of green? he wondered. "What kind of sensors?" she asked.
"I got Broyles to authorize the installation of state-of-the-art toxic chemical and radiation detectors in the lab. Walter doesn't know it, but if he accidentally releases something that would kill him, the sprinklers and vents will come on and the system will call the fire department with a hazmat alert."
Olivia smiled. "That was thoughtful of you." She leaned forward and put her hands on his. Startled, Peter froze. But she just patted his hands...and left hers on his. He felt the warmth of her palm, the softness of her skin.
A plate appeared in front of him, and the tantalizing smell of apple pie filled his head. Olivia's hands slid away to accept hers, and Peter felt a twinge of regret. He picked up his fork and started on the pie.
Chuck the waitress stood with her hands on her hips, watching them. "Well?"
Peter smiled, his cheeks full. "Mmm!"
The waitress smiled and walked away.
The pie was remarkable. Peter could not quite name the taste on his tongue...cinnamon? Nutmeg? Something exotic and warm and sweet. Oddly, it tasted like...music? He blinked. Music? How could something taste like music? He cleared his throat. "How's your pie?"
Olivia looked up, and her look was ... glazed? Dazed? Whatever it was, she looked a million miles away. She chewed, swallowed. He watched her throat ripple, and something in his head said water and he realized that her skin moving like that was somehow just like water over silk. And that was just too weird a thought. He put down his fork. "Um. Do you feel ... funny?"
Olivia looked uncomfortable. "Yeah, actually. I don't think it's the pie. Do you think we're reacting to Walter's chemistry experiment? Did he say what that was?"
"Walter thinks he's invented an aphrodisiac," Peter said. The absurdity of what he was saying broke on him, and he smiled. "It smelled more like guaranteed birth control."
"No aphrodisiac could smell that bad." Olivia smiled, and he noticed, not for the first time, how wide and sensual and soft her mouth was. He wondered if it would taste like apple pie right now. Wow. Maybe Walter's experiment was working.
He made himself look out the window. "You know, this snow is pretty heavy. Nobody else is at work today, why should we be? I'll take you home."
She shrugged, and he thought it was the most elegant gesture he'd ever seen.
Peter picked up his fork again. It felt heavy and smooth in his hand, and he was thinking of a trumpet solo from some movie he'd seen years ago.
Olivia looked down at her pie. "Why does this taste like ... sunshine?"
Peter looked at his pie. "Maybe Walter's little experiment is messing with our neurons. The signals are getting crossed in our brains."
"Like synesthesia?" She forked more pie, and chewed slowly.
Peter ached to taste her right then. Whoa, boy. "What's that?" He could barely speak. And at that moment he became aware that he had a raging hard-on.
"It's when your sensory input gets scrambled. Like you feel music or hear colors. I haven't experienced it myself, but I'm told it's a side effect of some delusions. Or drug interactions." Olivia blinked, her long lashes fluttering like butterfly wings.
Peter blinked. "Oh, boy." He felt a sudden lurch in his stomach, as though an elevator had dropped out from under him. What had Walter done to them? "I'm not sure I'm in any condition to work today. How about I drop you home and we call it a day?"
She scraped the last of her pie onto her fork. "Okay, if you want. One thing is for sure, I am not setting foot in that lab again until it's thoroughly vented."
"Me, too," Peter said. He signaled for the check, and the waitress drifted over languidly, her steps sounding like chocolate on the floor. No, that couldn't be right. Maybe he should not drive. Yeah, right, like there's going to be anyone else on the streets right now, he thought.
By the time he'd fished out his wallet and found money (which felt like sandpaper against his fingers, but smelled like a guitar solo by Stevie Ray Vaughan--and that right there was all kinds of weird), he knew he was in trouble. On top of his disorganized sensory delusions, his hard-on was refusing to subside. He grabbed his coat and held it in front of him as he exited the booth. It made it hard to hold Olivia's coat for her, but then again he was distracted by the way her neck muscles arched up into her hair and down into her shoulder, like some fantastic architectural invention. She brushed her hair over her collar and it sang at him.
He made her walk ahead of him out the door. His muscles felt like steel and silk inside his skin, like the smell of woodsmoke on autumn air. Peter found himself so mesmerized by the way Olivia's body was moving he didn't notice when she tripped on some ice, and he stumbled into her. Automatically his hands shot out to steady her and him, and then he found himself with Olivia in his arms and his blood really was, actually, singing. He felt like a walking opera.
"Peter?" She turned and was in his arms and the smell of her hair was like the taste of new wine--heady and sweet and purring. Purring?
"Something..." He fought the words that were dancing like little mice in his throat. "Walter..."
She blinked, wobbling a little. "Yeah." Only it came out sounding like bamboo chimes. A sweet, high clutter of notes ye-e-ah.
Peter felt hot all over. It would be especially good if you could avoid sweating. Like he could stop that when this sexy, fantastic woman was in his arms. The thought came suddenly and clearly: he needed a shower. A cold shower. Now.
"Home," he said as firmly as he could. "Shower."
She looked up at him and her eyes were green as light through summer leaves and he heard a harp somewhere and the feeling in his head was like bungee-jumping. Then she turned away, but took his hand, and that touch was warm and safe in all the strangeness around him.
"Come on," she said. Her voice sounded distant and muffled. He had the sensation of cold space all around him, extending out to the stars and beyond. The cold seemed to be licking at him like a puppy. Wind rustled in a pine tree as they stumbled down the sidewalk towards the parking lot, and the sound of the wind was like the taste of watermelon on a hot day, or maybe the feeling of a smooth pebble that had been polished at the bottom of a river for a couple of centuries. He was still working out what the feelings were like when they arrived at the car. Olivia led him around to the passenger side.
"Keys," she said. Her voice was chocolate mousse, or maybe chocolate pudding. The textural difference was subtle but important. He concentrated, trying to puzzle it out.
She stuck her hand in his pocket and he yelped. "Whoa!" She paid no attention, rummaging for his keys. Her hand brushed his hard dick in passing and he felt his face go hot but she paid no attention. Then the keys were jingling in her hand like coins made of ice or the color of sky between sunset and twilight (what?). Peter closed his eyes and the darkness was warm and funny.
He heard himself giggling as the car door opened and Olivia shoved at him. "Get in."
"Ohhhhhhhhh-kaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy...." The word seemed to stretch before him and behind him like an endless highway of sound, a ribbon of music he could almost walk on. Part of his mind was in a blind panic over his slipping self-control, but the rest of him was too busy experiencing this strange new universe. He watched in fascination as she crawled into his lap, the weight of her soft as a flute solo and sweet as purple. Dimly, he realized that not only was there something wrong with that metaphor, but that it was not normal for Olivia to be entering the driver's seat from the passenger side, let alone crawling over the passenger sitting in it.
He didn't care. His arms came up of their own volition and caught her. Her hair was in his face and it was like drinking diamonds; his heart raced as her body turned in his arms and he felt her coat brush his face, felt her knee dig into his thigh as she maneuvered over the gearshift in the SUV. She smelled like humming.
Then she was fitting the keys into the ignition---three times. She giggled as the engine turned over. When she glanced at him, her eyes sparkled like music. Distantly, he heard her saying, "It sounds like fur!"
Crazily enough, he knew exactly what she meant. She pushed on the gearshift and they backed out of the space. And kept backing. Olivia turned, put her arm across the back of his seat (he smelled distant thunder) and maneuvered out of the parking lot and into the street. The car kept going, across all the lanes, until it thumped into a snowdrift and came to a rocking halt.
Peter and Olivia both broke into laughter. Snow drifted across his face as he listened to her (clash of emeralds) and he realized that his door was still open. He reached over and closed it, she shifted gears, and they pulled away from the snowdrift.
There was no one else in the world. The car drifted from side to side down the street, careening with stately grandeur from heaped-up snowdrift to snowdrift. At some point Peter's elbow bumped the steering column and activated the wipers. Olivia hit the brakes and they sat for a long time, mesmerized by the wipe-wipe-wipe action.
Olivia turned her head to look at Peter, and her eyes were the ones he had seen in dreams all his life, the ones promising everything, and she said, "Bread" and he knew exactly what she meant, that the wipers were beating out the rhythmic thump of a woman kneading bread, and he remembered his mother making bread so long ago.
A horn sounded behind them and the sound pierced Peter's head like a blow from an axe. "Ow!" After a moment a car pulled around them, someone yelled something orange at him and the other car pulled away. The spell was broken, and Olivia drove on, still following some internal map that took the car lazily from one side of the empty street to the other.
They wound up at his house. Actually, in the yard of his house. Olivia brought the SUV to a stop with its nose in the snow-covered rosebush in front of his porch. It was dark, and she had not turned on the lights, and the late twilight was reflecting off the snow in blue cascades of violin and bass. It was so beautiful that Peter felt tears on his face. When he turned to look at Olivia, there were tears on her face, too, and for him it was one of the most sublime moments of his life: perfect synchronicity, perfect harmony.
Olivia opened her door and tried to climb out. She struggled until Peter reached over and unclicked her seat belt. His had never been fastened. He practically fell out of the car, which was okay because the snow was warm and smelled of roast turkey. Then her boots were in front of his face, sounding like the taste of lightning. Her hand came into view, the purest ivory hand in the world, so pure it would melt if he moved, so he didn't. She grabbed his collar and yanked, and he rose, happy to follow this being made of song and laughter anywhere in the world.
Steps. Fell down. Steps again. Door. Hallway. Floor. Peter gave up trying to make sense of it all and lay in the middle of the floor, the wood whispering to his back and the smell of time in his nose. It was very important to just lie there and sort things through. Nothing he was feeling made sense, but that was all right because he was safe. Why was he safe? Oh, yeah. Because she was here.
No, that wasn't right. Peter frowned a bit. She wasn't supposed to make him safe. It was supposed to be the other way around. He moved his head (feeling his neck muscles moving smooth and peaceful like dawn) and she was there, lying next to him, her eyes closed. But she was not asleep, he knew that.
"Olivia," he whispered. But it came out "Ohhhhhhhliv-i-aaaahhhhhhh," a long sigh.
She opened her eyes and he met them and he felt a drum roll in his head. She reached out and touched his face with fingers made of the sound of wings, and he had just enough understanding left to reach for her. Then she was in his arms and they were lying on the floor together.
"Ohhhhhhhhhh-liviaahhhhhhhhhh." In his ears it sounded like caramel tasted, and her eyes were right there, looking at him from an inch away, and then as naturally and simply as smiling, he kissed her.
Feathers. The taste of apples, which was a choir. She smiled against his mouth and he heard a rainbow. The whisper of her coat, as soft as clouds, and then he was shedding his jacket like a snake skin, only it felt more naked than that. Her hands cupped his face and he didn't ever, ever, ever want them to go away. He wanted them to grow into his face like pleached branches, and where the hell had that thought come from?
"Peter," she whispered, but it was more than a whisper, it was a fire alarm. He was not frightened, but he was aware, on every level of every cell, right down to the quantuum level, that this was an invitation and his body was responding. Powerfully.
Her mouth was on his again, like silk and it went through his head as if she had kissed him all over. His hands slipped inside her coat, sliding down to the edge of her shirt and tugging at it (flavors of ice cream and roses sang in his head). He pulled and she tugged and they tangled, laughing and breathless, desperate to rid themselves of these confining things.
Then the light in the room changed, and Peter realized that it was because she was naked and somehow shining, or glowing, or something he could not quite name. There wasn't a word for it because humans didn't experience this and so they hadn't invented a word for it, but his body (bare now, and beginning to feel the cold) knew what it was. He reached for her, and it seemed to take years and nanoseconds, both, but she came to him.
She pressed her naked self all up against him and he felt like some meteor, caught in forces beyond his control, reaching for space and pushed from behind by the giant hand of some god. Her skin smelled of daylight and music, her mouth tasted of dreams and laughter, and the sound of her voice whispering his name was like the taste of sun-warmed grapes.
She ran her tongue down his neck; it was like moonrise in summer, a glowing emergence into sight of the perfect love. He found her breast in his hand, velvet and silk, the nipple hardening either from cold or arousal, but tasting like Fourth of July fireworks in his mouth. She nuzzled his armpit and he bit her shoulder (softly). Her skin was a landscape of tenderness and lace, tasting of afternoon and happiness. His hands stroked her, everywhere, finding symphonies in its softness, hosannas in its smoothness.
When she found his cock he nearly blacked out. Her hand on him felt like a fall from a great height, dizzying and rushing and even frightening. Then her tongue was against his and she was moving against him, curling under him, and he rolled and she opened and he thrust, moving with clean, pure instinct. She surrounded him richly, and he was awash in clouds of red song, his eyes open and looking at hers, at the pupils dilating until her green eyes turned dark with desire. Her mouth opened, and her breath smelled like cinnamon and apples and running under a full sun. She made sounds that washed over him in a green waterfall. She opened to him, he filled her, they rocked together and the wooden floor felt as comfortable as the smell of coffee. She shuddered, and he clutched her to him. When she cried out, he smiled and thrust deeper, until it felt as if he were coming apart. And that was all right, because by now her atoms were as hot as his and they were the same color and texture and taste, the two of them completely harmonized right down to the last molecule. Surely they would look like twins, part of his mind said.
Then he topped the crest of his particular wave, and slid down the other side in a long, groaning release that lasted forever and forever and forever, delicious and wide and soft and perfect. His arms were full of warm, sweet woman, her soft laughter was in his ears, her breasts flattened against him luscious and ripe. He subsided into her arms like sugar dissolving in tea, like a cloud fading into rain. Comfort and serenity washed over him, lilac and jasmine. As he slipped into sleep, he thought he heard a great cat, purring.
When he woke, he was stiff and cold all over, except where he was lying on something soft and warm. Something that breathed.
He jerked upward, bracing himself on his hands, and looked down into the sleeping face of Olivia Dunham.
She was naked. He was naked. And if his memory of what had happened was hazy in some spots (how did her kiss feel like a song made of feathers?) it was extremely clear in others.
He shifted, carefully, trying not to wake her, desperately thinking if there was some way, any way, out of this without anger and humiliation and recriminations. This was a disaster. She would hate him, justifiably, forever.
Her eyes opened. He met them, and for a long, quiet moment neither of them spoke. Then Olivia looked down at their naked bodies, still entwined. Peter tensed, waiting for the explosion.
She smiled. She looked up at him, with laughter behind her eyes. "Wow," she said softly.
His grin spread all over his body. "Yeah," he said.
"Uh, yeah, I think we did," he said. He rolled to one side, settling on an elbow. And he let himself look her over, his gaze wandering over her sleek, familiar yet unfamiliar form. "I definitely think we did. Don't you?"
She rolled on her side to face him, propping her head on her hands. "Walter?"
"Yeah, I think we can lay this at his door," Peter said. "I'll hold him while you hit him. We can hide the body behind the incubators."
A smile. "Are you kidding? If he can bottle that stuff, he'll make a fortune. We can all retire."
Peter felt laughter bubbling in him. He reached out and brushed a lock of her hair over her shoulder. "I don't know. I feel like keeping this to ourselves."
Her hand on his cheek--silk. Familiar. "Me, too."
And he watched as she drew nearer, raising her mouth to his, and he couldn't help but close his eyes when their lips touched. Yes, oh, yes. This had nothing to do with pheromones or aphrodisiacs, and his senses, while reacting normally, were nevertheless overwhelming him. She tasted like a woman, not a cloud or anything else. She was Olivia. She was home.
His arm went around her and she was hot against him and his dick was reacting again. He waited for her to draw back, but she didn't, and he buried his face in her hair.