Home

No inFRiNGEment intended.

Note: some ideas of what's going to happen after their return "home".

-o-

Peter Bishop stops at the top of the stairs. His mind is still in overdrive and the thought that Olivia hasn't even tried to reach him on his cell is unsettling enough to make him question his being here at this late hour. Anxious doesn't even begin to describe his current state of mind. Her confession over there was unexpected to say the least and his longing for her makes him ache.

"Hey!" he says, his voice rising awkwardly to an unwanted high pitch. Despite the fact that he knocked, he feels he needed more time to regroup before she opened her door. Defenceless, he stares at her, a crooked smile brightening his weary face. She doesn't move, frozen on the doorstep, her hand clenched on the doorknob. She's sporting a Red Sox No.46 Ellsbury bright red t-shirt matching her damped red hair. He can barely make out her face against the bright light flowing from the corridor and squints. "Is it too late?" he pushes with a slight shrug.

Not that he's expecting that she would throw herself at him or anything but they didn't have the chance to talk after their coming back home and this, it's simply killing him.

Home? Was he home really?

He sighs and feels his smile turning into a mask. If she's the reason he's come back, it's reasonable to have expectations. She finally lets go of the door and steps back to let him in. He hesitates a second, worried by her stern silence. Not that it is especially not in character. Childishly, he kind of waits for her to show something, excitement, joy, anything. He's not prepared for her neutral attitude and the silent treatment. Even rejection would be best. She silently closes the door behind him and follows him to her apartment. He stops in the middle of the hall, taken aback by the complete disarray he finds her house into. What happened to the perfect order he's used to? Each and every time he visited her, apart from the routinely stacks of files piled up near her laptop, there was nothing left unattended or so obviously misplaced. Tonight, he walks into a war zone, every inch of the floor packed with manila folders, filing boxes, various pieces of military equipment, several guns and enough ammo to sustain a siege and he ponders that it's only what he can spot from his standing point.

"Spring cleaning," he says, trying desperately to keep his voice in check. He holds out a bottle of Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2002 he had carefully selected. Exceptional wine for an exceptional evening. So he thought at the time.

Now, he doesn't know what to think any more. She nods and takes the bottle out of its brown bag, and he can't help noticing a fugitive expression of disgust on her face when she sits the bottle of expensive wine on her coffee table after discarding a bunch of papers directly onto the carpet. She turns her head to him, slowly and with effort. "It's not as bad as it looks", she says dryly, his voice a thread. "Hey, thanks for the wine, really appreciate it."

He moves one hand to touch her arm. His green brown eyes capture hers. She goes closer to him and covers his hand with hers. His fingers curl under hers until he's holding her hand. His fingers tighten around hers and he slowly come closer and wraps his arms around her. Her body is rigid against his and her arms go limp. He's breathing in her neck. He turns his head to kiss her and her lips are soft against his but unresponsive. He takes a step back and his eyes bore into hers. Her face is undecipherable.

"Well, that was awkward," he says in a low voice.

She doesn't stare down. "I will get you a glass," she states with a nod, simply acknowledging the fact. She gestures to the back of the apartment and turns around.

"Aren't going to drink some wine with me?" He can hear desperation in his voice.

"No thanks," she speaks as she goes to the kitchen, "I'd rather stick to root beer. I'm looking for something and I prefer to stay sober."

"That's probably the first honest thing you've said since we got back," he whispers between his teeth.

"Say again?" She holds out a delicate stem glass he's never seen before.

He shakes his head. "Nothing, I'm… I'm surprised we didn't get together sooner. It's been almost 48 hours…"

"I've been busy."

"I can see that!" He pours himself some wine and wanders to her room. She seems to have emptied her closets onto the bed and the floor. Clothes are piling up and some have already made their way to three cardboard cases against the wall. "Going for a whole new wardrobe?" He hears her breathing behind him but his question doesn't elicit any answer. "Tired of the black and grey?" he insists, gesturing to the boxes.

"Yes." She shoves her hands inside her Hawaiian pants. "I've been thinking to give all this to a charity for a while. This time is as good as any."

"Going for second-hand clothes in the meantime?" he points to her colourful choice of clothing.

"There's a store down the street."

"Quite handy," he mutters going back to the living room. He resists the need to touch her, to stroke her unusual hair. He stacks carefully some ammunition boxes onto the coffee table and slumps onto the couch. "Need some help with all this?"

"Peter, you came here to talk. So, talk."

His glass stops halfway to his mouth. "You're right. I came here to talk. Among other things." If he's disappointed she doesn't react, he doesn't show.

She sits in the armchair opposite the couch, crosses her legs and sips on her soda. "I'm listening."

"You're not going to make this easy, are you?"

She shrugs and tucks a strand of wet hair behind her ear. "I guess not. I needed time to think things over."

"I assumed that much but you could have called me. It takes 30 seconds to make a phone call."

"Sure. Sorry. I've been swamped. I need to talk to you too."

Peter visibly relaxes. "You first," he says.

She bits the inside of her cheeks and her mouth does that thing he likes so much. "I can't decide if I keep this colour or not," she finally says, twisting a lock of hair in her free hand.

He smiles, aware she's aiming at distracting him and deflects his questions. "I told you, I like this colour. I mean… I told the other you."

"The other me? So you did meet her?"

"Well. Yes. Briefly. You're not jealous are you," he jokes. "She works for my fath… Walternate. She showed me to my apartment."

"Oh. I see," she sips again. "How is she?"

"That was odd; she's so… different and so alike. That was eerie."

"Tell me."

"She's more… straightforward. I don't know. We only met briefly. It was a peculiar time."

"Did you tell her about me?"

"No. Yes. Not really. She asked. I mean, I didn't anticipate what happened between us at that time."

"I bet," she sighs. "I didn't either."

Her smile persuades him to keep talking. "Do you regret what you told me? Do you regret that we made love? I take it, it was a bit rushed but we have all the time in the world now." She looks down, absorbed in the contemplation of her glass. "I don't regret anything," he says. "I'd never have crossed over if I had known." She's staring now. "Why didn't you tell me before? You must have known that I was attracted to you too, even when I was pretending I was better off as a friend." She nods, encouraging him to go on. "I would never have left you, well... I'm not being honest here. I would have probably crossed over. But I would have found a way to be back. Back to you."

"I see," she says, her voice icy cold. "Don't you think they will retaliate?"

"Probably. But not my concern right now. I want to pick up where we left." He bends a little over the table to look into her face. "What's wrong Livia?" He stares into her eyes a little longer. After a moment of silence, he finally says, "I wish things had been different between us. What about a fresh start?"

"And this is the time when you end up saying what you came here for, isn't it? Something like, I can't stay with Walter right now, would you take me in?"

"Something along those lines, yes." He chuckles. "You're as straightforward as she is. So, what do you say? I can help you pack all that stuff in a jiffy! And while I'm here, I could help you with finding what you're looking for in this mess… What do you say?"

She abruptly stands up. "I say that I don't want to rush things and jeopardise our future relationship. And you moving in with me would be a mistake."

"I'm not talking of moving in!"

"Yes you are. And it's unfair. You're using me."

He winces, a deep crease on his forehead. She can see that he's struggling against going to her, gripping her shoulders and getting the truth out of her. He wishes he could get in her head. "You're right, it's unfair. We should take it slow."

"I'm glad you understand."

"I've missed you."

She nods briefly. "I know. Peter, it's late. Do you want me to find you a hotel?"

"Nope. It's all be taken care of already. I guess I was just trying to take advantage of the situation. Give me a kiss and I'll be off your hair."

This time, she responds to his embrace. After he left, she spends some time pondering their conversation. How much time before he finds out? If he was in love with "her", it can take some time, she thinks, shuffling papers around. When she runs out of pop, she finally gives in. She throws her clothes in the laundry basket, takes a cold shower and clears the bed. "I wish I could talk to Charlie," is her last thought before she falls asleep.