A/N: Because I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to join the challenge with Americanchick I give you "Belle of The Ball". In case you haven't read Americanchick's yet, which I highly recommend because it rocks, the six following quotes must be used:
"Flying balls of fire"
"Gimme, gimme, gimme"
"Space monkeys on steroids"
"Peter, I want your sex"
"Does this make my butt look big?"
One thing was certain and that was that Peter Bishop hated formal occasions with a passion. He tried to stand still as Astrid stood up on her tippy toes to adjust his dress tie so that it lay centered and under his royal blue vest. The junior agent before him had been transformed into a vision of black lace and an impressive bell shaped ball gown with no straps and when her head turned in certain lights her hair would sparkle and her cheeks would give off a bronze shine. Black pearls adorned her neck and hung across her collar bone and she wore a matching set of earrings that had a single black pearl dropped low on a delicate silver chain.
"Peter," Astrid admonished. "Will you please just stand still?"
Peter sighed dramatically as if the world were against him and renewed his effort to be still as he was fussed over. The FBI was having a gala of sorts and Broyles had all but ordered the team to attend to represent the ever secretive Fringe Division. Walter, of course, had been thrilled at the idea and even Astrid was looking forward to it. Olivia had just grimaced and looked like she'd rather saw off her arm, but knew there was no easy out for them unless a case popped up that would require their immediate attention. And Peter; well he'd been adamantly against it from the start, but when he realized that Olivia would drag him at gun point he'd taken up silent pouting.
"Flying balls of fire! You're worse than Walter was!" Astrid said, swatting him on the shoulder.
Peter raised an eyebrow at her and Walter chuckled.
"Well, Olivia is late," Peter commented, trying to come off as aloof. They had all agreed to meet at the lab and take a cab over together.
Astrid gave him a knowing smirk though. "She called earlier and said she'd be meeting us there. I guess something came up last minute that Broyles needed her to take care of."
Peter knew there was almost no hope but he grasped at it anyways. "Maybe she needs my help. I should really be there with her just in case. I mean, Olivia is always getting into trouble. What if this time it's space monkeys on steroids?"
"Nice try, Peter, but I promised her I'd drag you there by the ear if I have to." Astrid grinned wickedly at him, as if daring him to test her.
Peter actually considered testing her on that but just then Walter's watch began beeping signaling that it was 7pm.
"Alright you two, let's go or we'll be late." Astrid crossed the room to grab her light jacket and started heading for the door. Walter practically bounced after her and Peter snagged his suit jacket, putting it on as he grudgingly followed.
When they got there, people were slowly moseying up the building steps and chatting. Everyone was dressed to perfection in sparkling gowns of every color and tailed coats. Peter was having a very hard time imagining his Olivia in something like what everyone else was wearing, but he kept looking around regardless. They made their way up the grand steps and into the main entrance that looked to be all glass and marble. Astrid playfully looped her arm with Walter's and Peter walked behind them. Once inside, they made a beeline for the bar and Peter made sure that both Astrid and the bartender knew that Walter wasn't to have any alcohol to drink that night, so Walter then ordered a cherry 7-up in a martini glass with two green olives. When the bartender came back carrying their drink orders Walter reached his hands out eagerly.
"Gimme, gimme, gimme!" He was practically dancing in place as he arrested the drink from the shocked man's hands and he practically gulped down the drink.
"Walter! Careful!" Astrid exclaimed, setting her drink aside already ready to jump to his rescue if he choked.
Peter just shook his head and took a sip of his whiskey and ice, trying to search for his FBI partner without it being overly obvious. The three of them chatted and sipped at their drinks while Walter guzzled his cherry 7-up's. It was only about twenty minutes before Walter was dancing for an entirely different reason.
"Peter?" Walter whined. "I need to use the bathroom."
Peter sighed and started to set down his drink when Astrid giggled at Walter's usual antics and offered to show him the way as she had to go as well. Peter thanked her and returned to searching for Olivia. What was taking her so damn long? He only had to wait a few minutes before a tallish blonde walked in wearing a long flowing light silvery silk dress that floated around her as her hips gently swayed in time with the pace. The dress was being held up negligible straps and it plunged to just between her breasts and hugged every curve until the dress hit her hips and then the amount of fabric multiplied significantly making every moment look as if she were floating on air. Her hair was up in a French twist from what he could tell, with a white lily tucked in and small wisps of hair framing her face. She wore only a little make up, but more than he'd ever seen her in. He knew he was grinning like an idiot but he couldn't stop himself. And then he saw the thing attached to her arm. Peter's face heated up as jealousy raged through him.
A tall man with light blonde hair was cradling her arm with his and beaming down at her as she laughed coyly. Peter didn't even know she could laugh coyly… They were quickly approaching him and Peter couldn't shake the feeling of nausea at seeing her with another man acting so flirtatiously and it must've shown on his face because when they reached him and he caught Olivia's gaze her smile looked a little forced.
"Peter!" She said clearly surprised to see him. "Um, this is agent Parks-"
"Please, Liv, I insist you call me Matt." The man interrupted.
Olivia just smiled politely. "And this is my partner, Peter Bishop."
The man obviously did not care about anything other than Olivia Dunham and getting her into a bed, but he wasn't going down without a fight.
"Livia, can I speak to you for a second?" Peter asked, turning the charm up a notch. Olivia's smile brightened and she let the Ken Doll's arm down and went with him a few feet away. Once they were out of hearing distance and turned away from the other agent Olivia relaxed significantly.
"Oh thank God! You know all those times I've saved your ass?" Olivia said in one breath.
Peter nodded, very confused by what she was saying.
"Well after that, we're even. You saved me from a fate worse than death." Olivia sighed dramatically and Peter couldn't help but laugh at her.
"What? You mean you don't like Ken Doll over there?" Peter asked tilting his head in the agent's direction.
A look of horror flashed across her face before she could stop it and it only made Peter laugh more. Olivia slugged him none too gently in the shoulder and scowled at him.
"So how did you get stuck with him?" Peter asked.
"Broyles wanted me in the interrogation room to get my take on a suspect and agent Asshole was the agent in charge." Peter laughed at her nick name for him and she continued. "I don't think he would've given me a second look if I hadn't been ready for this event when I went in there."
Peter smiled at her and stepped just a little closer so that he was on the edge of her personal space barrier. "You do look amazing tonight." He murmured so only she could hear. He saw her blush a very comely pink and smiled at this small victory.
"You clean up pretty well yourself, Bishop." She grinned up at him, fighting the blush.
Ken Doll was back though and ruined their moment. "Liv, can I get you a drink?" He asked, throwing her that 100 watt smile.
"No thank you, agent Parks. Peter just offered to get me my usual," she threw Peter a forced smile and he almost laughed but instead nodded.
"Great! Than he can grab me a green appletini while he's up at the bar."
"Not a chance," Peter said laughing.
Ken Doll gave Olivia a look that said clearly, 'make him get me the drink so we can be alone again' and Olivia shook her head 'no'.
"It was nice working with you earlier, but I think I'll be staying around my partner for the rest of the evening." Olivia smiled brightly, knowing she was finally getting rid of him. He looked as if he very much wanted to argue to get her to stay but she had already turned her back to him and looped her arm with Peter's. They walked leisurely over to the bar and Olivia looked as if she were fighting giggles. "Sweet freedom!"
They both laughed jovially and when they arrived at the bar they were met by Walter and Astrid.
"Olivia, dear! You look breath taking!" Walter exclaimed. "Peter! Doesn't she look simply beautiful?"
Peter rolled his eyes. "I already told her that, thank you very much."
"Oh! Good, good." And then he was lost in thought.
"Olivia you do look amazing," Astrid said, clearly surprised that she'd worn a dress at all.
"Thanks, Astrid. You too!"
"You're sure? I mean – does this make my butt look big?" Astrid turned her hips so that her back end was visible and Peter and Olivia broke out in laughter.
"No, Astrid, your butt looks fine." Olivia said between laughs. They all spent the next half an hour laughing and sharing stories until a voice came over the loudspeaker.
"It's time for the Partner's Dance!" The voice boomed, making both Peter and Olivia cringe. "That's right! Even if you're a guy with a guy partner or woman with a woman partner you'll be dancing!" A faster pace song came on that would allow people not to have to touch.
Peter, grinning, took Olivia's hand and dragged her out onto the dance floor. When he found an open spot he began to twirl her around the dance floor. She barely kept up with him as they moved around, him deftly maneuvering her where he wanted her to be with spins and side steps. When Olivia finally just let loose and let him have the lead she truly had fun. She laughed heartily when she almost stumbled but he caught her quickly and they continued. The song finished and Olivia was sad about it ending as they were having a lot of fun and had barely stopped laughing for more than a few seconds at a time.
A slow song came on next and most of the dance floor cleared. Olivia turned to follow them, but Peter tugged her back. Neither said anything as he pulled her close and rested one hand on her waist and the other in her hand. Trying to keep her breath even and calm, Olivia moved her free arm up to rest on his shoulder so her hand rested at the base of his neck. The swayed gently to the music and lost themselves in the comfort of being in each other's arms. When the song ended there were some polite claps and they regretfully pulled apart.
"I think I could use another drink… you?" Olivia asked pointing toward the bar with her thumb.
Peter nodded and they walked back to their place at the bar where Walter was explaining something to Astrid with the use of a salt shaker and empty martini glass. Peter rested his hand gently on Olivia's lower back when they pulled up to the bar and instead of pulling away like he thought she would, she leaned back into him a little. Peter fought a losing battle to hide the wide grin on his face at her acceptance of his touch.
They chatted some more and Olivia went out of her way to touch Peter's arm and let her hip "accidently" touch his. Peter was having one hell of a time trying to understand her at the moment. Was she flirting with him? 98% of his brain scoffed at the very idea and another 2% said, 'why not?'. The voice came booming over the loudspeaker again and announced that a tango competition would commence the next song and the winners would get a day paid vacation. Peter jumped from his spot beside Olivia and started leading her onto the dance floor.
"Peter! Wait – what are you doing…" She asked.
"I want a day off from this mess and you're going to help me win it." Peter explained as he found a spot near the edge of the dance floor.
"I don't think this is such a great idea… I mean the tango is a very…" She looked like she knew a good word but wanted to find a different one so he helped her out.
"Dance like dance?" Peter offered cheekily. This earned him a very pointed glare, but they were out of time and the music was just starting. "Just follow my lead, Dunham."
He led them out onto the floor and then with a sharp pull of his arm she was spinning into his chest and only stopping when their bodies were pressed tightly together. Olivia gasped as she felt every inch of him molded into her body and she felt her knees grow a little weak. He whipped her back away and he began the complicated dance of the tango, twisting and jerking her around with considerable flair and style. At one point he even lifted her up and then dragged her body slowly down his and they never lost eye contact as she rolled down his body. A few more twirls and a dip where her leg was rather high up as he lowered her and then raised her back up so that their faces were an inch apart and then the song ended. The hall was filled with clapping and shouting. Peter and Olivia looked around to see that they were the last of the couples left and while Olivia blushed madly, Peter took a dramatic bow. Olivia dragged him by the hand off the dance floor and out a set of side doors.
Peter stumbled after her and when they were through the doors he tugged her to a stop.
"Livia, what's wrong?" Peter asked, thoroughly confused as to how she was acting.
"Not here," she tugged at his hand again. "Just follow me."
He'd never had a reason not to trust her, so he followed, not asking anymore questions. They came up on a hallway with a row of doors and Olivia opened the one labeled "COAT CLOSET" and pulled him in after her and they were quickly encased in absolute darkness. Maybe she wanted to go home. Had he pushed her too far out there? Maybe embarrassed her? He was about to ask when he felt lips pressed to his and for a moment he actually wondered if there was someone else in the closet with them and kissing him, but he knew those lips. Sure he'd never touched them before, but he had practically memorized them by sight. Forcing all thoughts out of his head Peter kissed her back and reached for her in the dark. She moaned into his mouth as his hands caressed her sides and settled on her hips. Her hands splayed at first on his chest, slowly moved down and began fiddling with his pants.
Peter jerked back in surprise and was grateful his eyes had adjusted to the darkness because he could see the shock and lust spelled very clearly on her face.
"Peter, strip." Olivia said with a rather commanding voice and for a second Peter listened; undoing the buttons on his jacket and loosening the tie a bit but then he stopped.
"Wait – I'm confused; what are we doing?" Peter asked.
"Isn't it obvious?" She asked, squinting at him as if he were a dog who had done an interesting trick.
"Normally, with you, it would be, but I think I need you to spell this one out for me here, Livia."
Olivia huffed and rolled her eyes. "Peter, I want your sex." She stated as if it were common knowledge to everyone.
Peter coughed when his breath caught in his throat and he couldn't stop. He doubled over and backed away from her and when he finally got some more air his voice was a little raspy but very clear, "what??"
"Please don't make me say it again, Peter." She sighed dramatically.
He straightened and looked at her as if she had grown three heads and that's when the idea hit Olivia square in the chest. He didn't want her. She had been fooling herself. Backing away she tried to maneuver around him so she could escape but he was quicker and grabbed her arm to stop her.
"Livia!" He whispered loudly.
"I'm sorry, Peter. I shouldn't have assumed – I mean, why would you – I'll just leave you now." She was stuttering and saying anything that came into her head as she tried in vein to tug her arm from his grasp and escape him.
"That's so not it." Peter said quickly. "I've wanted you for so long I just had to be sure I was hearing you right."
Olivia did stop in her tracks then and turned to look into his eyes and face him.
"What?" She asked.
"I've wanted to get romantically involved with you for quite some time now, 'Livia. I was just waiting and hoping that someday you might want that with me too." Peter explained and dropped his hand from her arm so she could run screaming if she wanted, but she didn't.
"Peter," she sighed and moved closer to him. "How could I not?" And she went on her toes to clear the distance between their lips and he met her half way. This kiss was slow and gentle, speaking more of an emotional attachment and future than the lust driven one prior to now. Olivia whimpered into his mouth when his teeth grazed her lower lip.
"As much as I want you right here and now, this might not be the best of places," Peter murmured between kisses. Olivia sighed dramatically and pulled away.
"I know you're right."
Peter's heart skipped a beat when he saw just how upset she was at having to stop and he couldn't believe that this was happening so he kissed her again; quick and chaste.
"Sorry, I just had to make sure that I wasn't dreaming and that this is really happening." He explained casually as Olivia's knees almost buckled.
"Jerk," Olivia murmured playfully. She turned around and flipped the light switch on and they were both temporarily blinded as they tried to adjust their eyes again. When she could see him again, Olivia laughed and stepped into his space so that she could adjust his tie so it was straight again and button the two buttons in his jacket but he stopped her at the buttons.
"I think it might be a little too warm for this jacket any way," and he removed it and turned to hang it up. "Besides, this gives us a decent alibi."
"We'll definitely need one of those if Walter catches us."
Peter laughed, "Truer words have never been said."