Olivia slept fitfully since receiving a text from Peter that they were on for tomorrow. She finally gave up at five am and booted up the coffee maker and did her morning workout, the news playing in the background. At seven she dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, sticking her still-not-blonde hair in a pony tail and called herself ready.
She was the first to arrive at the lab and she was greeted by Gene who gave her baleful chorus of "moo's". Deciding that a distraction would do her good, Olivia got busy moving hay into Gene's troffer and then brought over an empty bucket and set it down under the cow, pulling over the milking stool Walter kept nearby. Olivia was so consumed with her task that she never heard the rest of the team trickling into the lab. When she was finished milking Gene she pulled the bucket out from under Gene and walked back into the main part of the lab to see Peter jump from his station to take the bucket from her and relocate it into the designated fridge and when he returned back to her he eyed her carefully.
"What…?" Olivia asked cautiously.
"You look like shit, Dunham." He replied.
"You don't exactly look like a bed of roses yourself, Bishop." Olivia raised an eyebrow and raked her eyes over him. He was dressed in pajama pants and an MIT t-shirt, but what really caught her attention were the purple bags under his very tired looking eyes.
"Alright, we're all here!" Walter exclaimed. "Astra, let's get the tank ready!"
Astrid rolled her eyes and began her work.
"Peter, can I talk to you in the office?" Olivia asked almost shyly.
"Sure," Peter agreed, leading the way and shutting the door behind them. "What's up?"
"I know I don't have an ideal past or childhood, but everything that has happened to me has made me the way I am today for better or worse," Olivia paused to think about her next words and he nodded in encouragement. "Whether you believe it or not you're a good guy, Peter, and I know you'll be tempted to remove some of the less than pleasant memories but I need you to promise me you won't."
Peter stared into her eyes knowing that she was right. He wasn't sure what exactly he'd see, but he knew her past wasn't that of a picture perfect person. It cost him to agree but agree he did.
"Okay," he kept eye contact with her, hoping she'd change her mind. Olivia of all people, he thought, deserved a little bit of happiness and that was why he hadn't questioned the changes once they had gotten back from the other side. Selfishly he had thought he had made her happy and he didn't want to question a good thing – though now he wished he had.
"Thank you, Peter," Olivia said and lightly squeezed his hand before pulling back.
"They returned to the lab to see the set up well underway and Peter and Olivia jumped in to help. An hour passed with them all working steadily before it came down to Olivia's least favorite part. She shut herself into her office and stripped down to her undergarments and then covered herself up with the bath robe that became somewhat of a permanent lab garment. When she walked back out into the lab, Peter was already just in boxers and him and Astrid were placing the electrodes on his bare skin. He looked up and caught her gaze and blushed. Olivia smirked at him knowing he was thinking back to when she had seen him strip in her apartment. By the time Olivia got to where they were standing, Peter was done and they both turned on her with a fresh batch of electrodes. Olivia couldn't help but shiver every time his fingers brushed against her bare skin and wondered if he was comparing her to her double. When Walter pressed in the metal rod into the base of Peter's skull he jerked forward and muttered curses while cringing.
"I can't believe you've done that more than once," Peter grumbled, fighting the urge to rub the back of his neck.
When it was Olivia's turn, despite being prepared for what was coming she still fell forward with a long groan and Peter was there to support her.
"It's alright sweetheart, I've got you," he murmured, letting her get her balance back slowly.
"You know what's funny?" Olivia asked dryly. "After you've seen my past you won't want anything to do with me and this tension we've been living through won't exist."
He snapped back from her and stared at her with horror warring against anger on his face.
"Take it back," Peter growled, voice so low only she heard him.
"I guess we'll see," Olivia sighed in sad defeat.
Peter wanted to argue that absolutely nothing he saw would change how he felt about her, but he knew she wouldn't be very receptive to those emotions right now. Walter pulled the tank doors open for them and Peter raised an arm.
"Ladies first," he said with a weak smile.
Olivia rolled her eyes at him but returned his weak smile with one of her own as she stepped into the luke warm water. After the tank from the other side this one seemed rather primitive and it would definitely be a tight fit for both of them. She laid herself out and her body bobbed to the surface once she relaxed. She felt Peter step in beside her and she kept her eyes closed knowing that it would be too tempting to stare. Once he'd settled in beside her she turned her head toward him and caught his fearful gaze with her own. His hand crossed the short distance between them and he laced his fingers with hers and she squeezed his hand back lightly.
Walter closed the tank doors and they were thrown into darkness, the drugs that had been injected into their systems slowly taking effect. Twenty minutes or so passed and he felt Olivia's hand go slack in his and then he heard her whisper echo in the tank.
Peter felt himself being jerked and then he was in a backyard with green grass and carefully tended flowers. A blonde haired girl held a baseball bat and shook her hips mockingly as she waited for a pitch from the man just fifteen feet from her. He was tall, maybe a few inches past six feet with dusty blonde hair in a military cut.
"Alright Olive, I'm going to give you the Dunham-double deuce!"
Olivia giggled and fidgeted with the bat.
"You ready?" He asked, holding the ball up.
"Just throw it already!" Miniature Olivia whined playfully. Her dad released the ball and she hit the ball, making it soar far over the fence a whole house down.
"HOMERUN!" Her dad shouted and threw Olivia into the air. "DUNHAM HITS THE WINNING RUN!" He paraded her around the yard on his shoulders.
"Peter…" Walter's voice came from nowhere. "Whose memory does this belong to?"
Peter thought about it and determined that this must be a six or seven year old Olivia and probably theirs.
"Our Olivia," he said.
"Very good," Walter murmured and then he felt himself falling into a very different memory.
"I don't think we should see each other anymore," a man with black hair told a 20-something Olivia.
"What?" Olivia asked, too stunned to say anything else.
"They've offered me a promotion but it's out in Germany and we've both been more focused on our careers anyways," the man said casually. "What we had was always meant to be casual."
"Casual my ass!" Olivia's eyes welled with tears and she turned so the other man wouldn't see them. "You know what? Just leave me alone Lucas."
"Liv – "
"Leave. Now." She growled.
Peter racked his brain for any mention of a Lucas, but then he thought to the words she had said to Lucas and how similar they were to the ones she had said to him just a month ago.
"Our Olivia," Peter murmured sadly.
The next memory was sniper training and he knew that it wasn't her. The bangs, the cold grin, the flawless aim.
"The other Olivia," Peter said confidently.
Peter was yanked again and found himself in an old 70's style living room that was trashed. He blinked and then he saw a blur of white-gold fly across the room to collide with the wall and slide to the floor. She was maybe nine and looking every inch the defiant and stubborn girl he knew today despite the bruises and bloody nose. Peter choked back on the emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. She'd just gotten to her feet when the man that must've been her stepfather swooped down with fists, hitting her wherever he could. Olivia only flinched and kept silent; taking the abuse.
"Livvy?" A squeak of a voice came from behind Peter and he turned to see six year old Rachel, squeezing a stuffed dog.
The man turned at the sound and started toward the new prey but then Olivia got to her feet and got in a good kick at the man and she was the focus of the abuse once again. Peter ached to see her taking each hit and the urge to kill the man doing her the damage was almost overwhelming.
"Peter…" His father's voice drifted back to him.
"Our Olivia," he said sadly and then the memory changed.
He was crouched low in the back of an SUV and then he saw flailing arms and legs as two people scrambled to get into the back seat. Peter's stomach did a very unpleasant twist when he realized he might just witness Olivia and John getting it on in the backseat, but when they settled with Olivia straddling the man's lap he saw it was Fauxlivia with red-brown hair and bangs, so the man must be Franc.
"Mmmmm, Linc…" She purred and Peter's eyes widened as the blonde haired man licked and kissed at her neck but then pulled back when she ground her hips into his.
"Liv – maybe we shouldn't. I mean you and Franc are engaged, and – "
Her lips devoured his and swallowed all his initial protests as he dug his fingers into her hips and pulled her closer. It was like a train wreck; he wanted to look away but found his eyes incapable of closing. They stripped themselves of clothing and before her partner peeled away her bra Peter was able to squeeze his eyes shut.
"Their Olivia," he muttered, hearing the breathy moans echoing in the car and then he was rushed into another memory.
He began to work his way more quickly through the memories until his brain was weary in exhaustion and the drugs had worn off. He was pulled roughly into inky black darkness and a vice-like grip on his hand drew him back into the tank and he felt the water sloshing around him as his body seized.
A/N: Sorry that took so long folks! In my defense, I got married and am on my honeymoon right now. So as I write this I am staring out at the ocean in a swimsuit and drinking a mango strawberry smoothie. Lucky for me my new husband understands the creative pull of writing and let me write this out. Hope you all enjoyed though! Might only be 2-3 chapters left of this one.