No one else could find him, so she did.
The FBI ran database searches, put out BOLOs, as if a man like Peter, who had flown under the radar for years, would be flushed so easily. Astrid glued herself to her computers, looking for a credit card charge, a cell phone activation, anything. Walter searched the houses he had lived in, the lab, all the places he thought his fake son would be. Olivia thought that only showed how clueless Walter Bishop really was. No, Olivia knew just where to look, and thought it was significant that Walter didn't think of it. Talk about your blind spots.
BELOVED WIFE AND MOTHER
There were no dates on the tombstone. It was one of those flat ones designed more for the convenience of maintenance men riding lawnmowers than the comfort of the bereaved. She saw him well before she reached it, a sodden, huddled mass. He had apparently first knelt, then fallen over.
He stirred. His face was so pale his two day old beard looked like black paint along his jaw. "Liv?"
She was so relieved to find him, she felt dizzy. It had begun to rain again, cold and drizzly. She could see the rain beading in his dark, tousled hair. Olivia put a hand on his shoulder, kneeling beside him. "Are you all right?"
An explosive, bitter laugh. "What kind of question is that?" His eyes searched hers. "How long did you know?"
Olivia returned his look as levelly as she could. "Not long. Since that building in Manhattan disappeared. That night, I saw you glimmering."
"And you didn't tell me?" There was anger in his voice, and below that, bewilderment. There were echoes of childhood trauma in it.
"Walter said he would. I ... I thought he was working up to it."
Peter made a disgusted sound and turned away. She laid a hand on his shoulder and was shrugged off.
Since she didn't know what to say, or how it would be received, she opted for silence. It was hard to go wrong with silence. She sat down next to him, Indian style, and waited. The rain picked up a little, but was still more of a drizzle than a downpour. It was the kind of rain that looked likely to continue forever, though.
Olivia hoped Peter had eaten. Maybe food wasn't important to him right now. She worried about that, though. She didn't usually worry about people, but Peter was different.
"I thought I could trust her." His voice was so low, so quiet, that for a moment Olivia imagined it came from the ground. Peter was still turned away, his shoulders hunched. "Walter, yeah, nobody in his right mind would trust him. But her...I never thought she'd lie to me. Goes to show, huh? Everybody lies." He turned his head, and his eyes were red rimmed. "Even you."
Explanations and justifications rose to her lips, but she said nothing. She laid a hand on his arm, on the rough double-breasted pea coat he'd been wearing on the bridge, that he'd worn when he fled the hospital.
He reached out, tracing over the letters of his mother's name. "You know, when I was a kid, I actually thought she was the poet. Elizabeth Bishop. I used to sneak into her desk at night, hoping to find evidence of the secret life she was leading. I thought when I got old enough, she would show me the Pulitzer Prize and all the others. I memorized some of her poems--the real poet's. I never came right out and asked my mom if she was the poet; I guess some part of me never wanted to know, or knew the truth anyway and wanted the fantasy." He swallowed. "Same goes for Walter. I think I guessed a while back. I fooled myself about a lot of things."
She squeezed his arm, saying nothing, making herself a receptive silence for his pain.
"I don't know what to believe any more," he whispered. He brought up both hands to cradle his head.
Olivia's heart ached for him. She could not imagine anything to say that did not sound trite or superficial or shopworn. So she rested her forehead against his shoulder, offering touch, which could not lie.
The sky, already gray, grew dark as sunset approached. Olivia wanted to get him out of this rain, get some hot food in him, anything to offer comfort. But she also knew this fragile moment might never come again, that it was too important for such considerations.
She ran her hand down his coat sleeve, past his bony wrist, to his hand. She interlaced her fingers in his, twining them until her palm met his, warm and solid. He said nothing, still looking away. After a long moment, his fingers gently squeezed hers in acknowledgement. She squeezed back.
They sat like that as the day dimmed down to twilight and the rain droned on and their hair slowly plastered itself to their faces and heads. Still he said nothing, just sitting, and she sat with him.
When the streetlights came on in the distance, he stirred. "You'll catch pneumonia, out here," he said in a low voice.
"You don't have to stay."
"I know." She made no move to leave.
After a moment. "Guess they'll have to bury us in the same grave, then," he said.
She recognized a weak attempt at a joke and squeezed his hand again. "Right now, cremation sounds better." She did not attempt to repress the shiver that went through her. As if in answer, a cold breeze stirred her hair, blowing it across her face.
Peter turned his head to face her. "Liv..." His eyes said things his voice could not.
"I'm sorry, Peter," she said quietly. "I should have told you. I didn't want to hurt you. I ... I know how bad betrayal hurts."
He looked away, biting his lip. "Yeah. Guess you do."
His dark hair had fallen across his brow, soaking wet. She reached up and brushed it away, ran her fingers down his jaw. Cupped his face. "I know," she said. "I really do, Peter."
He locked eyes with her, and then his gaze dropped to her mouth. His desire, if not his intent, was clear. But he wouldn't. She knew he wouldn't. He was too hurt, and there was too much anger in him, to trust himself. Or her.
She leaned forward and kissed him, very gently. His lips were cold and wet, but immediately softened into warmth and softness under hers. Closing her eyes, she let herself feel his mouth, feel his strength and his pain, feel his sudden vulnerability. She could have, should have, pulled away, let it be a comfort kiss.
He wouldn't let her. As she debated, he pressed harder, and she felt his tongue against her lips, questioning. She answered with open lips, and tasted him for the first time.
Salt, of course. He'd been crying when she got there, although he'd tried to hide it. And she knew from experience that there were not enough tears in the world -- this one or the other one -- for the grief in him, for the loss of trust and innocence.
What could she say? How could she tell him she understood?
Words were not enough, she knew. So as his tongue explored hers, she let go of his hand, reached for his coat buttons. She had them unbuttoned before he understood what she was up to, before he pulled his mouth away with a surprised exclamation.
She slipped her hands inside his coat. His body was warm, dry. He had left his muffler behind in the hospital, but still wore the flannel shirt, the T-shirt. His eyes widened as her hands searched, unbuttoned, sneaked under his T-shirt to find his naked chest. He flinched from her cold hands. "Olivia? What...now is not the time..."
She silenced him with another kiss. This was no time for words. Only hands and mouths and bodies. Still, she broke the kiss long enough to whisper, "It's all right, Peter. It will be all right."
He hesitated, looked down at his chest, where her hands were over his beating heart. He looked up, into her eyes, and then there were doors opening behind those blue eyes. His expression softened, deepened, and then he brought his hands up and cupped Olivia's face. His kiss was tender, exploring, tentative. He waited to see what she would do next.
Olivia shrugged off her coat, shivering in the sudden chill. Her fingers trembled both with cold and excitement as she unbuttoned her blue button-down Oxford shirt, unclasped her bra. She caught his hands in hers, brought them up to place them over her breasts. He sucked in his breath, but said nothing for a long moment.
And then his hands slid around her to pull her close, her skin against his, chest to chest. His mouth took hers lazily, gently, slowly. It slid down her cheek, wet with rain, to her neck and then up under her ear. She tilted her head to let him kiss her there, feeling him grow hard against her, held tight against him.
His chest hair tickled a little, but his skin was warm against hers. She pressed closer, needing him, needing his touch. It's all right, she said with hands and lips. It's all right. I'll make it all right. You still have me.
Peter suddenly pulled away, yanking her hands from his chest and catching them in his own. His eyes were wide and dark. "I'm damned--" he said, then choked. "Damned if I am going to make love to you on my mother's grave."
Olivia looked down; they were standing on Elizabeth's tombstone. "Oh."
He turned, her right hand caught tightly in his, his chest bare to the rain. Without looking at her, he ran for the oak trees at the center of the cemetery, hauling her with him. She followed, tripping over curbs and pavement and tilted slabs with names and dates on them. The limbs of the oaks grew low, bending down until the formed a sheltered area. The rain was slowed to a fine mist by the leaves.
Peter stopped, turned, caught her in his arms for a long kiss. And then released her. He stepped back. "This was ... kind of you, Olivia. But--"
She stepped close, took his face in her hands. "Shut up, Peter." And kissed him. And said, "You need this. I need this. You know it."
He looked at her, swore softly. "Dammit." He shucked his coat, tugged off his shirt and his T-shirt.
Her eyes never left his face as she shed her coat, her shirt, her brassiere. She was reaching for the fastening on her pants when his hand stopped her. "I'll get that."
He drew her in for a long, slow kiss as his hand stroked, caressed, drew a line up to her navel and then down, diving under her waistband, finding and releasing the catch. Olivia linked her hands behind his head, feeling his damp hair under her fingers, the roll of shoulder muscle against her biceps.
His skin was hot, despite the rainy weather. Little gusts of cold wind danced in and out of the leaves of the trees as Peter drew her pants down, slid his hands down under the waistline of her panties, slid them down. She kicked them away and stood naked in his arms. In front of her, his wide chest was warm against hers; the cool breeze bathed her back. Hot and cold, flesh and rain, salt of tears and smiles, she kissed him and he kissed back and his hands shaped her. They left her skin long enough to lose his pants (she noted that he went commando, no surprise) and then he was kissing her breasts, kneeling, kissing the skin between them, working his way down her belly to her navel. She looked down just as he looked up, and the look in his eyes said so many things for which there were no words, she felt her heart turn over.
He tugged at her hand, and she lay down with him on his damp Navy surplus pea coat. She let him kiss her all over, and her hands roamed over him, exploring. He was muscle and skin and stubble, a hard erection and a soft tongue, the smell of man and hospital disinfectant and peanut butter. (Peanut butter??) He said nothing, but his hands and mouth were everywhere, and when he slipped his hand between her legs he found her wet and ready for him.
He looked a question at her and she placed a hand over his and closed her eyes. She felt his fingers explore, and let him know with an arch of her back when he got it right. She could feel him hard against her thigh, and reached for him. He sucked in a long breath, whispered her name, and went stiff all over when she stroked him hard. His fingers stroked her again, but she was too impatient to wait. She pulled on him, guided him, and opened for him. He made a strangled sound in his throat when he slid in, and stopped for a moment when he was all the way in.
She kissed him, hard and hungry, wanting him. It didn't matter that it was dark and cold and wet, that they were in a graveyard for God's sake, that he had lost everything and she was breaking a secret rule she'd made with herself. None of that meant anything against his hot skin and his mouth and the soft look in his eyes, the look that told her this wordless act, this moment, would bring him some wholeness right now. Words were not enough; only bodies could speak like this.
So she moved against him, holding his gaze, and he moved in her, slowly at first, then with a sound deep in his throat he gathered her tight against him and thrust home. She opened wide, receiving him, wanting to take all of his pain and make it right somehow. He slammed into her, and she felt tears on her shoulder where his face was buried. He rode her hard and fast, which was okay because she knew it was part exorcism, part affirmation. She wanted this for him.
But she did not expect his sudden shift, the jolt that went through her when his angle changed, when the heat pooled low in her belly and suddenly everything was soft and touch and a building, yearning feeling, and then her body responded to his with a crashing wave, shuddering through her like the sound waves that had bridged the worlds, a harmonic convergence of their own. She heard herself saying his name over and over, felt him go rigid, then spill into her with a long sigh, a long shudder, his face still in her hair and his arms taut.
They lay like that, with the misty rain in her face, feeling their skin growing cold and clammy together. Distantly, thunder rumbled.
"Not the first place I'd have picked for this," came Peter's muffled voice.
She smiled. His head came up, his face looking down into hers. "You had a place picked out?"
He smiled, and she saw the dimples again. Some tension in her heart released itself. She moved against him, and he rolled over onto his elbows. He closed his eyes, his face raised to the rain. "You didn't have to do this," he said. He opened his eyes. "But I'm glad you did."
She sat up, picking oak leaves out of her hair. "You would never have made the first move anyway."
A twinkle in the blue eyes, then a somber look. "I guess we've kept a lot of secrets from one another," he said.
She nodded, shivering a little. He picked up her coat and draped it around her shoulders. He smelled of sex and sweat. She huddled closer to his body for warmth.
"I guess my secret's out, then," she said. She put her face in his neck.
"What secret? That you wear pink underwear? That's not a secret." He chuckled. "I saw you packing your bag once, in a hotel."
"Not that one." She put a hand on his chest. She couldn't say it. She had kept it in too long.
"Yeah," he said softly. He put a hand on top of hers. "I love you too, Olivia Dunham." He kissed the top of her head, hugged her close.
"I'm glad I found you today," she whispered.
"You never lost me."