NA: GUYS! THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH, for all the reviews! And for all the new favs and alerts. You are making me so happy to be a fanfic writer in that fandom, you have no idea.

Sorry for the wait again! Real Life is quite busy right now, I have basically no time to go on my computer (*sobs*) and I kid you not, I wrote 8 pages out of 10 of this chapter on my Ipod, in a bus. All the typos are now gone hopefully XD And I will try to answer all your reviews within the day, because you guys are awesome! IF I CAN'T, KNOW THAT I LOVE ALL OF YOU!

Beware, this is angsty! :D Because that's really all we need, right, during that awful hiatus? (Tomorrow should have been Fringe Day *sobs again*)

Anne, thank you so much for being so kind! I LOVE YOU!


Chapter 5

He fell asleep with his arms around her warm body, legs entangled, one of his hand possessively spread over her stomach

He wakes up feeling cold.

His brain still foggy, he opens his eyes to the darkness of her bedroom, blinking a few times. The reason for his chills are quite obvious; the sheets only cover his legs, and the rest of his very naked body is exposed to the air. And he's obviously lost her body warmth when she's rolled away from him. In her sleep, without a doubt. She's now curled up at the edge of the bed, her back to him. It's the only thing he can see of her, along with the cascade of blond hair spread on her pillow; the covers are hiding the rest of her body.

And he stares at this milky skin that he now knows is as soft as it looks. He's cold, but he doesn't make a move. He doesn't come closer to her, doesn't try to bring the sheets up. He simply stares at her back, lost in the memory of what has happened a short while ago.

He doesn't know if he's feeling absolutely delighted or inexplicably confused.

The truth is, this isn't how he had imagined his first time with Olivia to be.

He has told her once himself that 'first times are always sloppy', but he knows this is not what troubles him. If anything, there was nothing sloppy at all in what they had done. He had lost all power of speech and thought as soon as she had pressed her lips against his, pinning him hard against the wall as her tongue invaded his mouth. He was so lost into the sensations that he hadn't registered anything but her, her body all over his, curving and burning, intoxicating him.

She was the lead in the game they'd played, and he had let her be more than willingly.

But now, he can't help but think back. There was barely any eye-contact; she had kept hers firmly closed, and when she had looked into his eyes, the passion he had found there wasn't the kind he had expected.

He might never admit it out lout, but Peter can be a bit of a romantic. He hasn't loved a lot of women in his life, but he has loved them well, for as long as they have shared his path. And he loves sex just as much as any guy; sex is great, extremely great, especially after the months of frustration he has endured. But he knows that sex and love make for some very explosive cocktail. As well as he knows that the connection he shares with Olivia runs deeper than any other he might have had before.

He can't explain it. Right now, he can't really remember a time when he hasn't been in love with her, but he knows it wasn't love at first sight. Not when back then, she was obviously head over heel in love with John Scott, blackmailing him and forcing his crazy father on him. But things have evolved, as they always do.

And ever since he has seen her burst out of that car, to then lie presumably dead on the hard concrete, he knows he could die for her. Anything to see her alive again. To see the rare smiles on her lips, the scowl on her face, and her green eyes.

He simply wanted her to look at him again. She'd always told him so much, without saying a single word.

And he really wishes he'd seen that look in her eyes, tonight.

That look telling him without the shadow of a doubt that, wherever he goes, he belongs with her.


"You have to go home."

She can still see him, as she's remembering her time Over There.

He would appear in front of her without any notice, as she took the milk out of the fridge, or stepped out the shower. His intense stare, his knowing smile. He has given her a fare amount of advices and warning during her months on the Other Side, and she had ignored most of them.

But tonight, this one keeps popping into her mind(s) again.

Because she had finally listened. And it hadn't felt like homecoming at all.

She had followed her instincts, that night in the lab. Her love for him even, dare she say.

"You have to go home."

She is home now. So why does it feel so wrong?

As she stands in front of her apartment's door, Olivia has the feeling that this is not going to be homecoming either.

Coming back here seemed like a good idea though, an hour ago. She was exhausted, both mentally and physically, and there was no way in hell she was going to spend another night at the Bishop's. Not after everything that had transpired between her and Peter today.

He has offered to take her 'home', of course. She simply asked for her keys, some change, and took a cab.

During this short trip between the lab and her place, she voluntarily lets her mind(s) go blank. She doesn't want to think about Walter and his experiment, about the fact that he would be testing things on her again tomorrow, about the fact that she might be forever stuck with another personality inside of her.

She doesn't want to think about Peter. About Peter and her.

But as she's about to enter her place for the first time in weeks, she knows she doesn't have a choice anymore. Maybe she should just leave, and not tempt the devil. But where could she go?

All she has in this world has been tarnished.

She should just run and not look back.

And then she lets out a snort of derisive laughter and pushes the key into the keyhole. "Get a grip, Dunham," she mutters to herself, feeling suddenly careless and enjoying the change.

She goes in, closes the door and turns the light on, without any hesitation. She gives the place an appreciative look, some part of her rejoicing the fact that she has made it back here at all. But that feeling doesn't last long, as her eyes wander through the room.

She feels her whole body tense automatically, and she instinctively curls back into herself, leaning against the door.

Something is off.

She can't tell what, exactly. As far as she can tell, every piece of furniture is where it's supposed to be. That couch might have been a little more on the left, though. Had she moved it all around, to make it her own? But Olivia knows that is not what's bothering her right now. And then it hits her.

It's clean. It's too clean.

She has never been a neat person, and never wanted to be one. She always had far more important things to worry about than ironing all of her clothes and vacuuming her place twice a week. And she knows that's a trait both Olivias share. If she has lived here for two months, this place should not look so spotless. Which only leads to one conclusion.

Someone else has done some massive cleaning. And she has a good idea of who that person is.

Reluctantly, she pushes herself off the door. She knows, in every cell of her body, that she should get out now; she should grab her wallet, and go check herself in a hotel. Because there's no way she can sleep here, let alone live here right now. Or ever.

But against her best judgment, she finds herself starting to roam the apartment, looking for proofs.

She know she must be crazy, to put herself through this. But looking for evidences and figuring out puzzles, it's part of who she is. Whoever she might be. She feels so lost, all the time. She needs physical proofs of what may (must) have happened between Peter and her Alternate. Because so far, from what little interaction she has seen between the two of them, Peter is clearly angry and resentful. She guesses he has reasons to be so.

So she starts with the bedroom, because she's sure it's going to be the neatest room. It is. The bed is perfectly made, with a set of sheets she's never seen before. It looks brand new. Did he throw the old ones away? Did he burn them? She fleetingly thinks she might have, given the chance. And as the bitterness that comes with that thought causes bile to rise in her throat, she suddenly doesn't care anymore. This room looks foreign, anyway, as if she's never slept in that bed. Why should she care? Why is she even bothering with the details?

But just as suddenly, she's caring again, too much. Way too soon, she feels her other self nudge and push, that other self who has spent countless sleepless nights here. And just like this, she's herself again. She opens her dresser, and goes through her clothes, because she must have worn them, in order to take her place.

But everything smells fresh, as if it's been recently washed.

He has washed everything she's ever bought, even the old items she wouldn't even wear nowadays. And yet, as soon as she thinks it, sliding a hand on a sexy red top, a voice in her head whispers that it would actually look great on her. She closes the dresser loudly, and enters the bathroom.

It's spotless. Not even a used toothbrush, or an opened shampoo bottle. She finds all of those in the cabinet, though, brand new. She throws them away. The kitchen is just as neatly ordered. There's nothing perishable in the fridge, no fresh fruit. Not even coffee.

There's absolutely nothing. Her life and identity were stolen for two months, and she can't even prove it. Nor can she prove than Peter has ever slept with her.

She becomes really restless, agitated, going through the rooms again and again, opening cabinets and checking sinks for hair. Nothing.

Except for that soap and toothbrush she's thrown in the trash, she hasn't been able to get her frustration out on anything. Or anyone.

That is when she sees it.

The blinking red '1' on her answering machine. She doesn't even think. She simply presses the button.

"You have one new message," the recorded voice announces. "Yesterday, at 11.34am:"

"Hey Liv…"

Her heart immediately jumps in her chest as she hears her sister's voice for thefirst time in months. Only now does she realize just how much she's missed her, and she sits down on the couch, heavily, feeling suddenly weak in the knees.

"I...I don't really know what to say. Peter, he...after what happens know. He tried to explain what had happened and who she was. He called me to tell me you were...back. But he also said you were having some kind of...PTSD or something, and it was better if we let you come to us. But Ella really wanted to talk to you; but you're obviously not there so I'll-"

"Aunt Liv!"

An excited voice squeals behind Rachel, and a true smile appears on Olivia's face, the first one since she's come back; her eyes start to burn, prickling with tears. "Can you come and see us soon? I really miss you! And you know what? Mom says I totally busted the other you's butt!"

"Ella, don't."

""But that's true! She was so weird! I love you, aunt Liv! Come see us! We'll make cookies!"


"I love you too, baby girl..." she whispers, as she feels a tear trickle down her cheek. But as she raises a hand to wipe it off, the machine speaks again, and she freezes in mid air.

"You have one old message. Tuesday, 23rd at 7.13pm:"

And without any warning, his voice, cheerful and happy, fills the room.

"Hey, it's me! I tried your cell phone, but it seems to be off. Did you forget to plug it again? You remember that those things need to be charged from time to time, right? Anyway, I guess you must be in the shower. I'll be there in twenty minutes, don't wear anything too sexy. I don't want hungry eyes on my girl...except for mine, of course. See you in a bit!"

The machine beeps one last time, and silence takes over the room once again.

Olivia sits very still, simply too numbed to react. It takes sharp pain in her knees to make her look down. She's gripping them so hard that her nails are digging through her pants, into her flesh. And just like that, the pain expands, the numbness vanishes, and a deep and violent ache invades her chest. Her hands come together and she presses her lips hard against her fingers, her eyes burning again.

'You know I never meant to hurt you. This message was meant for you, not for her."

Very slowly, not taking her hands away from her face, she slightly turns her head. And there he stands, in the corner of the room, in his black pea coat.

But it's not really him, of course.

She cannot speak. Her throat feels so tight. And even if she could, what would be the point? Talking to her own broken mind(s) is not going to lead her anywhere.

So he speaks for her.

"It might help actually. You need my help. And by 'my' I mean the real me's help."

She finally brings her hands down, still unable to look away from his face. "Go away…" she whispers. "I don't want to see you."

"Oh, but you do. I wouldn't be here otherwise, would I?"

" I don't," she repeats, and her voice is steady and firm this time, as she looks at him with contempt.

In fact, she sits up straighter, suddenly feeling less burdened, more confident. She's mostly annoyed by Peter Bishop appearances. "You are the last person I want to see right now. Do me and yourself a favor, and go away."

"Do we really need to go through this again, Olivia?" he asks, coming closer. "Being her won't make me or the pain go away. You're going to make me talk until you're yourself again? You know I'm really good at that game."

And of course, it's all it takes for her personalities to switch again. And with it comes the sickening ache, deep inside.

Except that now, she also feels very distressed, because she keeps going back and forth and she doesn't know how to stop it. She can't think straight and she pretty much feels like curling into a ball and start screaming.

So of course, there's a knock on her door.

She looks at it, unable to move. New knock. "Olivia?"

The pain sharpens and she closes her eyes. Only to open them again suddenly when that same voice speaks in her ear: "Let me in, Livia. We need to talk."

He has completely invaded her personal space again, and it really doesn't help her feel less crazy. She jumps off the couch, walking away, but when she turns around, he's standing right in front of her, smiling. The real Peter knocks again.

"Open the door, Olivia," the vision says.

"Olivia, please open the door. I know you're mad, but I just want to make sure you're-"

She opens the door briskly, because it's either that or start screaming for real. "Make sure of what?" she asks brusquely. "That I'm alright?"

The differences between this Peter and the one in her head are almost shockingly obvious. The one made of flesh and bones looks pale and exhausted. He needs to shave. And that look of desperation in his eyes is not something she could have invented.

"Are you?" He finally asks, his voice soft but unsure. She crosses her arms tight in front of her chest.

"Oh, I'm fantastic," she answers sarcastically. "I was just appreciating the bit of Spring Cleaning you did."

He closes his eyes, painfully. "Olivia..."

"Save your breath," she stops him harshly; maybe too coldly, because it hurts her too when she speaks like that. "Did you really think that changing the sheets and buying new shampoo would make her disappear from this place?"

He doesn't say anything.

"Flash news, Peter. She's in my head. I'm her, half the time. Which means I know everything about her. I might not know what you and she did, but I know how she would do it, in details."

"Olivia, don't."

"Yes, Olivia, don't," the other Peter behind her agrees, and she snaps.

"Oh, shut up!" she turns around, glaring at the hallucination, who just smiles at her.

She closes her eyes briefly, but he's still there when she opens them again. They both are. When she turns back to the real Peter, though, he now seems really worried.

"I'm fine," she lies with a fake smile before he can ask the question.

"Are you still hallucinating?"

The forced smile disappear, "What?"

"When you were still on the Other Side, we could see you through a window Walter invented. He said you were having hallucinations of some sort."

For some reason, this almost hurts more than the rest, and she turns away again, finding his eyes, his smile. What could she say?

'Yes, I've been hallucinating you for weeks. I saw you everywhere, Peter, every day; even when I was so brainwashed I couldn't remember my own mother was dead. Meanwhile on this Side, you were taking her out on dates.'

So she changes the subject, like she so often does with him, walking away from the door.

"You haven't erase all the proofs of what happened with her, you know?" She looks around at him; he's now standing in the open doorway, not daring to come in completely, since she hasn't asked him to.

He swallows hard, and he looks so tired and vulnerable at that instant, holding tight on the doorframe, that she almost wants to drop it; but a more revengeful part of herself emerges then, someone who hates to lose or to be fooled…someone who's less forgiving than her.

So she presses the button on her answering machine, skipping Rachel's message. When he hears his own voice, Peter closes his eyes again, hanging his head, defeated.

"Hey, it's me! I tried your cell phone, but it seems to be off. Did you forget to plug it again? You remember that those things need to be charged from time to time, right? Anyway, I guess you must be in the shower. I'll be there in twenty minutes, don't wear anything too sexy. I don't want hungry eyes on my girl...except for mine, of course. See you in a bit!"

A very long minute of silence follow the end of the message, before she starts talking again.

"She never charged her cell phone because we don't have them Over There," she tells him, with a slightly trembling voice. "In two years, have you ever seen me without my cell phone available at all time?"

"Olivia" he tries again, but he can't even look at her face.

"I can guess what else could have given her away," 'should have given her away', she wants to add. "Did you take her out for drinks, Peter? Because she can't stand the taste of alcohol. She hasn't used a pen since preschool; and she hates math, you know. Ever asked her to remember some numbers?"

He's clenching his teeth hard, she can see it; irritation seems to be mixing up with guilt now.

He finally looks up at her, and she sees it his eyes too. "There's nothing I can say that will be enough, is there?"

"Enough to explain why it took you two months and Ella's perception to realize that she wasn't me?" she asks, trying to sound sarcastic, but she's really too hurt for that. "I don't think so"

He walks into the room, then, agitated and clearly pissed off. "You didn't make things easy for me either, Olivia."

"What do you mean?"

"You said you thought I knew you. You implied that maybe it wasn't true because...because if I did, she wouldn't have been able to fool me so easily. Now I'm wondering if you weren't right."

It's like slap in her face. But instead of breaking her down, it makes her just as angry as him. "Fine, you're right," she says, and she hates the crack in her voice as she speaks. "After everything you and her did together, between the sweet dates and the time in bed, you clearly know her more than you ever knew me."

"That is not what I meant, and don't put words in my mouth, Olivia," he growls. "I will take all the blame for this, Liv, and I will do it willingly. But there must be a reason why I could be so easily fooled. Knowing you will never say no to some whiskey, or that you have a photographic memory, is not enough for me to know you."

'Why are you doing this?' is what she wants to scream.

But instead she says with a voice shaking with anger and heartbreak: "Alright, Peter. We spent two years working side by side, being in each other's company almost 24/7, and I was being so cold and closed up that you don't know anything about me."

He doesn't answer, but the irritation quickly vanishes from his face as he looks into her eyes, suddenly realizing just how deeply he's hurt her.

"I'm sorry, Livia."

"Get out." She turns around, only to realize the vision is still there, too. And it's simply too much for her.


"Get OUT!" She shouts, and there's a loud swooping sound behind her, followed by the door closing with a reverberating 'BANG'. She looks around, and he's gone. She has the feeling her very special brain hasn't given him any choice, there.

She can't stand being in her own skin, at that instant. She starts walking in circles, breathing loud and fast, one hand up in her hair.

"You know what I meant when I said I didn't really know you, right?" He asks behind her.

She ignores him, her dilated eyes looking around frantically, trying to find something that could help her focus and calm down; but her eyes fall on the answering machine again, and as she stares at it, it begins to smoke.

"Oh, fuck," she breathes out, walking away fast before she sets fire to the entire place.

"You know the feelings there are real, Olivia." He insists, following her around. "But you really never told me much about your life, or the simple things you love."

She enters the bathroom and turns the cold water on, splashing some on her face. She breathes in and out deeply, griping each side of the sink. And then, her eyes find her own in the mirror.

Her dark hair falls straight on each side of her face. The bangs are getting too long, and the roots are blond again; she was supposed to dye it again on Wednesday, but since she was asleep in Walter's lab, she couldn't have done it, could she?

But she knows she will never dye it red again.

She desperately wants to be herself again, completely. Because as much as her other self is quiet at the moment, due to her very intense reaction and the fact she's pretty much 'active' right now, she knows it's only temporary. Ten minutes from now, she can be calm and composed again, wishing she could go do some target shooting to relax, and missing Frank.

She should go out and buy some blond dye. She can't possibly wait for months for her real hair to grow out blond. But deep down, right where it hurts the most, she knows it would not change anything.

She has blond hair, now. She had blond hair when she had kissed him, stealing moments that should have been hers.

She had blond hair when he had made love to her in her own bed.

She closes her eyes hard, a broken sob coming out of her, a tearless one. This is just too painful for tears.

She breathes deep again for a long while, until it feels safe to open her eyes again without breaking the mirror with her mind, or setting the room on fire. And when she opens them again, they fall on the scissors lying there, on the side of the sink. She stares at them for two longs minutes, before she reaches for them with trembling fingers. She then straightens up again, looking at her reflection decisively.

He's still here of course, standing behind her. He's not smiling anymore, though. He simply stares at her, gravely. She doesn't care.

She grabs a fistful of her hair and begins to cut.


When Ruth opens up her curtains, with no other intent than to turn the sign from 'CLOSED' to 'OPEN', she jumps out when she sees the woman standing in front of her door.

She really wasn't expecting anyone, not that early in the morning; she always opens up at that time, but business has been really slow, and not that many people would come and see her at 7.30 in the morning.

The woman is wearing a grey sweatshirt. The hood is up, masking part of her face.

Ruth takes the earphones out of her ears and opens the door, offering the woman a questioning look.

"Are you open?" The stranger asks, and her voice is tensed.

Ruth is still suspicious, but she's always had good instincts, and she doesn't give out the vibes of a dangerous person. "Do you need a haircut?"

The woman doesn't answer immediately. She remains still a few more seconds, until she raises a hand to pull her hood down. Ruth stares at her, careful not to let her face show any kind of shock. This is, after all, not the first time she has seen hair in that state.

"I think I do," she says then, and she looks so lost and confused that Ruth can't do anything but move aside.

"Come in, honey."

She does, and as she looks around to take in her surrounding, Ruth takes in the damage there, already planning what she can do to repair it. She must have had long hair, because it's not cut that short, and after she's done with it, it still should be at shoulder length. She's definitely going to need a color, too. She would usually start with it, but she knows it's not the priority right now. The girl needs to feel normal again, whatever may have happened to her.

"Come and sit down," she offers her, pointing at the washing chairs.

She obliges without hesitation, most likely glad that she wasn't asked any question or looked at weirdly. But Ruth has been doing this job for a very long time, and she knows haircuts are like taking a cab; sometimes, you want the driver to talk to you the whole way through, and sometimes you just want to enjoy a quiet ride.

So she starts, washing her hair with warm water, taking her time and being gentle, and she can almost feel the woman relax in the chair. She stays quiet the whole way through shampoo. Only when she's sitting in front of a mirror, staring at her badly cut hair does she speaks again.

"You must think I'm crazy."

And there's fear in her voice, as if she really might think herself mad. Ruth stops combing, looking straight into her eyes.

"Honey, I've been doing this for over twenty years; I assure you you're not the first person who takes it out on their hair."

"Really?'re okay with this?"

Ruth shrugs, focusing on her task at hand again, "Who am I to judge? I'm more of a dish breaker myself; no plate survives me when I'm in a mood. But, I guess sometimes it's just too personal, and cold dishes aren't enough. I would rather have you cut your hair than use those scissors somewhere else on your body, honey."

She's focused on what she's doing with her scissors, but she keeps an eye on her face; she has hit home, apparently, judging by the way her face is distorted by a very raw kind of desperation. She doesn't speak. And yet, Ruth has the feeling the girl needs to.

"It's a man, isn't it?"

She swallows hard, trying to compose herself again, but not really succeeding. She clears her throat before answering in a weak voice: "A man and a lot of other things. But I guess the man is the main reason."

Aren't they always?

This poor girl simply looks broken inside, and it truly pains Ruth to look at her face. She doesn't even know her name, but she gets the feeling she didn't deserve this, whatever 'this' might be.

"Let me guess. He fooled around with another woman, didn't he?"

She smiles then, and it's the saddest smile, the kind that just breaks your heart. "Actually, no. He really didn't."

She doesn't say more, and Ruth doesn't push it, respecting her silence. Finally, she's done, and she's actually quite proud of herself; it really doesn't look bad at all. Of course, the girl is naturally beautiful to beginning with, which means she could be bald and still look stunning.

She puts her hands on her shoulders, then, not asking her if she 'likes it' because it would be a very dumb question. "Do you want it red again?" She asks instead. "Or are we going back to blond?"

She smiles again, then, more warmly, and it lights up her tired face. "Actually, I was thinking neither."


Well, it's not hard to know what color it's going to be. It's not like she has a lot of choices left :p Oh, and in my head, the hairdresser lady totally IS the Cleaning Lady from 'The Abducted'. I just had to put her in, because SHE'S A HERO. SHE CALLED PETER!

Sooooo. Yeah. Pretty angsty, isn't it? I think it might be my favorite chapter so far! I MADE MYSELF CRY, and I'm just cruel like that haha XD

I was supposed to write one more little part to introduce the next chapter, but this one is already huge, and I have so little time to write and go online this week, it's crazy!

I hope you're still enjoying this :) Please, don't hesitate to tell me what you're thinking, it always motivates me so much!

Next chapter: Walter will try to get Altlivia's memories out of Olivia's head. I'll give you a hint: there will be water involved (and possibly Olivia in her underwear, but shhh I didn't say that!)