Title: Letting It Out
Disclaimer: I don't own anything at all. If I did, hiatus wouldn't exist!
Spoilers: Up to Marionette.
N/A: It's a post-Marionette fic. Because we still have 5 weeks to go 'til Firefly and really, there can't be too many post-Marionette fics.
I wrote this because (I had an idea at 2am) we see A LOT of stories about Olivia, about how she deals with the situation, about how she tells Peter about what happened to her Over There…and don't get me wrong, I ADORE THOSE FICS. Because Olivia is…you know. The love of my life.
So I wanted to give the spotlight to Peter. What about him, and his pain, and Olivia needing to hear HIM out?
So yeah. Peter!WHUMP.
For all the Peter Fangirls out there.
You know the drill. French brain, not betaed, blablabla.
LETTING IT OUT
Peter was losing it.
As pain erupted in his jaw, he corrected himself. He had already lost it. He hadn't gotten in a bar fight in years. Oh, he had been beaten up alright, between gambling debts and shady deals. But bar fights?
It was so early-twenties.
And yet, judging by the way the other bloke's fist kept meeting up with his face in a mixture of blood and sickening noises, he was definitely in the middle of one.
Except that he wasn't really fighting back at all. Even though he had provoked the guy.
He was drunk, that much was certain. Waaaaaaay too drunk.
Naively, he had thought that alcohol might finally ease the pain constantly throbbing through his head and heart; it hadn't. So he had kept drinking.
He had become annoying, as he always did when he drank too much. And he had been a wise-ass, using his best sarcasm on men who were one or two feet taller than him.
And he took the blows, all of them.
Just like he kept taking hers.
Of course, she hadn't verbally hurt him in weeks, months even. Nothing like that night, ages ago, when she had told him she didn't want to be with him. She didn't need to speak the words after that. He saw it every day, in her body language, in the distance she always kept between them. In her eyes.
He saw it all, even when she wasn't there. Even when he was in the middle of a bar fight. Or of a 'I'm-getting-my-ass-kicked' fight.
A kick in the back, and Olivia was looking away, her face cold. A blow in the stomach, and she was looking exhausted and hurt. A fist in the face again, and she was looking at him straight in the eyes this time. And they were always saying the same thing.
'She wasn't me. How could you not see that?'
As he spat more blood on the ground, he wondered the same damn thing for the thousandth time.
How could you be so in love, and not know? Or was it that you were so in love that you didn't know? Didn't want to see.
What difference did it make anyway? Either way, he had lost it all. Used and manipulated, betrayed yet again, and he could barely allow himself to dwell on that pain, because he couldn't get passed the pain he'd caused her.
Oh yeah, he had lost it alright.
At some point, he realized that he wasn't spread on the alley's concrete anymore. Someone had dropped him in a booth. He could hear words, and it became obvious that the same someone was talking to him now, but his throbbing everything made it hard for him to understand.
"What…" he mumbled through his crackled lips.
"I said a friend or 911?"
He forced his eyes open. Or eye, actually. Damn, he was still pretty drunk, despite the pain and…the pain. It was the barman. He looked annoyed like hell.
"I don't need 911," he groaned.
Yes, the last thing he needed was to be admitted to a hospital because he had gotten himself into a stupid bar fight.
"Sure you don't need it, you look so fresh, sweetheart," the man mocked him. "But I'm not gonna leave you here, bleeding all over my booth all night long. I got your phone. Give me a name, I call them, you disappear from my bar."
Damn. He instantly knew who he had to ask for. This was going to make things a hundred times worse, for sure. But he couldn't possibly call Walter, could he? And what little he had left of his pride wouldn't allow him to call Astrid.
So it was her.
He really had no pride left when it came to her. No pride, or no anything, really.
" 'Livia…" he said eventually in a hoarse voice. "Olivia. Speed dial number 2."
He shut up after that because for some reason, the words 'speed dial' were almost as painful as his face every time he breathed in and out.
He must have zoned out for while then, because next thing he knew, he was being forced up on his feet again, and really, nothing in his body agreed with that change of position, from his aching bones to his stomach.
He was dragged more than he was walking, but he didn't care. They could just drop him on the ground and let him drown his own vomit for all he cared.
But then, something got through the fog of pain and alcohol in his brain, cutting through his heart, like a blade. Slaaaaaatch.
A very specific scent that he knew too well.
He forced his eye open, and sure enough, it fell on her blond hair. There she was, one of his arms over her shoulders, while the barman must be doing the same thing on the other side –the blind one.
Funny how he could still smell her so sharply, even through his undoubtedly broken nose.
Funny how her scent and her scent were ultimately so different, too, now that he thought of it.
How thick had he been, exactly?
"Uhhhhh, I don't feel so good," he moaned –in a very manly way.
"Do not puke on my shoes, dude," the barman warned him. "Or all over your girlfriend, really."
That, didn't help. At all.
"It's alright, Peter," she said then. "Let's just get you home."
She didn't sound angry or annoyed, but he knew it didn't mean she wasn't. He would know when he'd get a good look at her face.
But for now, they were busy putting him in the car. As soon as he was sitting on the passenger side, he shut his eyes tight, trying to ignore the new wave of her when she bent over him to fasten his seatbelt.
"You gonna be fine with him?" He heard the barman ask.
"We're good, thank you. Is there any…damages that need to be reimbursed? A tab to be paid?"
Peter held back another moan. Really, this was beyond embarrassing.
"Nah, they fought outside. He got his ass kicked good enough, and gave a good show to my customers. Let's just say he paid his bill. You might want to get him checked by someone though."
"Thank you," she repeated again. "I've got him."
Oh, yeaaaah, you've got me alright, he though painfully, eyes still closed as she started the engine.
She drove in silence for what seemed to be an hour, but it might actually only have been three minutes. He was too busy focusing on keeping himself from vomiting all over her car. He really didn't like the way the vibrations of the thing were playing with his stomach.
"I think you need to see a doctor," she said then.
"I'm fine," he mumbled, even though he felt anything but fine.
"Peter, you are definitely not fine. You look like you were run over by a truck."
"It's all just…physical stuffs…will go away in a few days."
"And you getting yourself drunk enough to get into a bar-fight, will that go away in a few days, too?"
Ah, there it was. Annoyance.
He forced his good eye open, which thankfully was the left one. She was staring at the road, but her whole body was tensed, her jaw clenched. She looked pale.
He sighed. "Just…I dunno…drop me off at a hotel somewhere. I can't go home like this, Walter would freak out."
She let out a dry chuckle. "I'm not dropping you anywhere, Peter; you need to get those wounds disinfected."
"Damn it, 'Livia, just…" he groaned. "Whatever."
She didn't say anything else, and he instantly felt bad for snapping at her. But she simply had no idea how much pain he was in right now. And he wasn't only thinking about the physical kind.
Finally, after another long stretch of silent driving, she stopped the car. He opened his eye again. He didn't recognize the place.
"Where are we?" he asked as she unlocked his seatbelt.
"My new place," she answered, not looking at him, and she got out of the car.
Oh, this just kept getting better and better.
He knew she had moved. Mostly because Astrid had been spending a lot of time with her ever since her return, and had helped her with refurnishing and…stuffs.
She opened his door, and he was dreading the moment when he would be up again. "You don't have to take me in there," he groaned.
"Well, you're not giving me a lot of choices, here," she replied tersely, trying to get him to put an arm around her shoulders again. "C'mon, try and get up."
He did. Somehow, he did manage to get himself out of the car and on his feet, but he was really leaning on her, and he knew he wasn't a light weight to bear.
But of course, she simply started moving toward the building's entrance.
"Olivia, I'm too heavy." He had to say it. Always the chivalrous man.
"Yeah, you are," she panted, still walking. "But believe me; dragging your beaten-up ass isn't the hardest thing I had to do in my life. I'll manage."
Of course she would. He could have smiled at those words, but he was feeling too shitty for a smile right now.
"Tell me you don't live on the tenth floor…or that there's an elevator," he moaned as she managed to get the building's door open.
"It's your lucky night, Bishop; it's on the ground floor."
And stumbling slightly all the way to her door, they eventually found themselves inside her apartment. If he hadn't been sick and in pain –and still kinda drunk too, he would have looked around to take it all in. He couldn't get his one eye to focus on anything right now, though.
"Let's put you on the couch, I'll get the first aid kit."
"No," he mumbled. "The bathroom's floor will have to do. I don't wanna risk it."
She didn't fight him this time, simply dragged him in there, and before long, he was finally on the floor again, back against the bathtub, head resting on the edge.
She left him there, and he tried his best to make the world stop spinning so fast, but he knew it was a lost battle. He'd had quite a few (a lot of) shots of whiskey, and there was no avoiding that part of the drunken experience.
A glass suddenly materialized in front of his eyes. He looked up at her face.
"Here," she was also holding out pills. "It will help with the pain."
He shook his head. "No, there's no point," he mumbled.
She sighed, exasperated. "I get the whole 'I'm a man, I can take it' thing, but this is just ridiculous, you're obviously in a lot of pain."
He chuckled darkly, and then moaned. "I'm not trying to be a smart-ass, believe it or not. I would take a perfusion of morphine if you had one. All I'm saying is that everything is going to come out pretty soon anyway, so I'll better wait if I want the medicine to stay down."
"Charming…" she breathed out, putting the glass down on the sink, before opening the cabinet.
While she was gathering everything she needed to tend his wounds, he couldn't help thinking that this was the longest they had spent just two of them together in months. She hadn't been avoiding him for a while now, not exactly; but she wasn't seeking him anymore either. She had been…professional.
And that attitude had been making his broken heart crave for the easy connection they had shared when they had first met. It had been so much simpler, back then. He knew he was attracted to her, and he was pretty she was too, to a certain extent. Then it had gotten deeper than that.
And then it had blown up all over the place.
"It's gonna sting."
He opened his eye abruptly when he heard her voice so close to him. He hadn't realized that she had gotten everything she needed and had crouched down between his legs to clean his face. To see her so close, after being so far from her for so long, it made his heart jump. Thankfully, his sudden and loud intake of breath happened just when she started cleaning a cut over his swollen eye, so she took it for a reaction to the pain.
But the truth was that he almost forgot the different aches shooting through his body for a moment there, as he stared shamelessly at her face. She was intensely focused on what she doing; he knew and loved that look.
He could tell that she had lost some weight; her face was thinner, but she was still perfect to him. He loved her eyes, that impossible shade of green, the depth that had been missing in the other Olivia's eyes. He hadn't realized how different a simple look could be, until she had woken up that day in the hospital and she had looked at him.
She looked tired, worn out. There were dark circles under her eyes. He wondered if she was sleeping at all at night. He knew he wasn't.
And then he realized that he must have pulled her out of bed tonight. Her hair was down and ruffled, and she was wearing a baggy white shirt that Ella must have made for her because it said: "I won the Best Aunt Award." His eye quickly went back to her face before she started thinking that he was trying to get a look at something else. But she was still focused on his face.
He noticed that her bangs had grown out, too. They were still shorter than the rest of her hair, but she could now tuck them behind her ears, which he knew must be a relief. He remembered how often she used to slide her hands over her hair when she came back, making sure they weren't coming down.
Making sure she didn't resemble her.
He closed his eye, his face contracting.
"Sorry," she said softly. "I know it hurts."
His heart was thumping painfully beneath his aching ribs, and the sickening feeling in his stomach was back now, along with a massive lump in his throat.
"You have no idea," he whispered, trying to calm himself down, and failing.
A few seconds passed before he realized that he didn't feel her touch on his face anymore. Not sure if it was a good idea, but needing to anyway, he opened his eye again.
She was not focused on his cuts anymore, that's for sure. Their eyes met as soon as he opened his, and he found it hard to breathe again. The look on her face…a mixture of hurt and anger and pain and confusion. It was almost unbearable.
She knew he hadn't been talking about his face.
He remained silent. This was her chance to move away, like she always seemed to do nowadays. He was giving her the space she needed and wanted, even though she was only a few inches away from his reach, so close that he could almost feel the warmth of her body. She was hurt, he understood that more than she knew, and he wouldn't force it on her.
But she didn't move. She simply stared at him, and he stared back, because as always, he just found himself mesmerized by her.
"My mother raised me well, you know…" he finally said, his voice low and tensed, because he was in pain and desperate, and talking about his mother, which was not going to help. "She taught me to be independent and to take care of myself; but above all, she taught me how important it was to take care of…of the people I cared about."
"I remember," Olivia whispered. "Na einai kalitero anthropo apo ton patera tou"
He swallowed hard, past the lump, trying to ignore the memory flashing back in his mind. The memory of that night when his world had come crashing down.
"Yeah…" He breathed out. "So, even if caring for my father wasn't an option at the time, I took care of everybody else. No matter how nomadic my life might have been, I met a lot of people, and I cared for quite a few of them. Girls mostly, obviously. Once I got past my teenage years and I got fit and less thick, I was kind of popular in that area."
He paused, to give himself the courage to keep on going, but also to let her know that she could still stop him. She didn't.
So he went on.
"I've never cheated on a woman, Olivia." He admitted then, his voice hoarse and raw. She looked away, pressing her lips hard together, but he saw the flash of deep hurt in her eyes anyway, upon hearing those words. She didn't look back at him, staring at the floor, lips still pressed together. But she didn't move away either.
"Some of them were…not my type, after a while, and I wasn't theirs either. And it's so easy, when you're angry at someone, or tired of each other, to simply go and gave in to the attraction you might feel for somebody else. But I never did because…because it was just wrong. My mother also taught me that women had to be treated with respect, because men wouldn't survive without women. She used to say… She used to say 'You're going to break quite a few hearts, Peter, but trust my words: One of them will break yours too, and it will be the worst pain you will ever experience.'"
He saw a tear roll down her cheek then, even though she hurriedly wiped it away.
It was another minute of heavy silence before she spoke.
"Sometimes I feel like…maybe it would have been better if I had just died there." She whispered.
This made his blood turn cold in an instant. "Olivia?" He pressed her, unable to believe that she could think that way.
She finally turned her head to look at him again, and he would have given anything to make that look of despair disappear from her face. "You were in love," she said, her voice shaky. "And now she's gone."
This was madness. He shook his head hard, ignoring the atrocious pounding that resulted, because he simply couldn't let her say that. How could she even believe it?
"Olivia, I am not talking about her." He told her, his voice almost pleading her to listen to his words. To really listen. "It was never about her."
She brushed a few tears away again, looking up at the ceiling, but he knew it was useless, they were coming too fast now, and it just killed him to see her cry.
His most basic instincts were screaming at him, telling him to hold her, to just hold her tight until she stopped crying. But he couldn't. Because he was the reason why she was crying in the first place.
And he knew how difficult this must be for her as well; he saw it in the way she kept on wiping her face with frustrated hands, unable to keep a strong face on, to keep the hurt in. He had tried keeping it in, too.
It had led him to a bar fight.
"I know you hate me," he finally said in a whisper, because he couldn't speak any louder without letting his own despair out. "But you have to believe me, Olivia. I thought she was you. Everything I did with her, every…every time I looked at her, or…kissed her or simply put a string of hair back behind her ear…It was all for you."
The sound of a broken sob resonated in the room then, as she buried her face in her hands, rocking slightly back on forth and shaking her head hard, and he had to close his eyes because he just couldn't bear it. This was so much worse than any of his broken bones.
He just sat there, broken and covered in blood, listening to her sobbing her heart out, and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.
An unbearably long time had passed before he realized that she was trying to speak. But her own body was against her of course, and all she could do was let the dry chokes wear themselves out.
He opened his eye regularly, just peeking at her, because he knew she would also hate it if he just stared. But she was finally winning the fight. One leg on the floor, the other bent up in front her, her forehead was resting on her knee, as she took deeper and deeper breaths.
When she finally raised her head again, their eyes instantly met. Hers were red and swollen and her face and hair were wet with tears and sweat, and yet he couldn't help thinking that she was tragically beautiful.
She shook her head again, more gently, as she stared right into his eye. "I don't hate you, Peter."
He swallowed hard, as the lump in his own throat became too painful again.
He heard the words, but his brain couldn't process them.
How could she not hate him?
"I'm…hurt," she admitted, and then she let out a dry chuckle, wiping her nose. "Obviously. I'm trying to move on, to put it behind me, behind us but...a big part of me still believe that you were happier with her, even if you don't think so."
He shook his head again, and now it was his nausea's turn to come back. "How can you say that?" he asked her.
She smiled, but it wasn't a smile, not really, and she shrugged. "How could I not? I know who she is, in details. I know she's…happier. Less burden. Or…less intense, like you said."
He had regretted telling her those words ever since they had come out of his mouth. But like everything else, he couldn't take it back.
"You don't understand," he tried to explain, but the sickening feeling in his stomach was getting stronger and stronger, making him shudder. But he had to explain himself. "I saw that she was happier, yes, I did. And I thought it was because…because you were happier with me. You came to me and told me that I belonged with you. From there, I didn't know what to except from you anymore, when it came to you and me."
She just stared at him, distractedly biting down on her lip. But for the first time in months really, he got the feeling that he was getting through. That she was finally listening to him.
If only the world could stop spinning. He could feel sweat forming on his already sweaty and bloody face. But he had to say it all.
"I won't lie, Olivia, I'm grieving you." He confessed and his voice broke on the last word. "Even if it's not really…you. And it's not her, definitely not her. But…I was in love, yes." He stared at her, hard, hoping she could feel what he felt. "She…she used the feelings I had for you, and she turned them against me. She made me believe that I was…that I was loving you. That I was making you happy. And I wanted so hard to believe it, because you had been through so much, and nobody deserves happiness more than you do. I was feeling like…for once in my life, I was doing something right."
And as the reality of what had really been came crashing down on him once again, he dry-heaved.
"She's taken everything from me too."
Only instincts and force of habits from his younger years permitted him to reach for the toilet bowl on time for his whiskey to come out in the right place.
He didn't even care about the fact that he was throwing his guts up in front of her. He was feeling beyond miserable at the moment, and all he could do was cling to that intense anatomical relief that came with the simple action of freeing your body of a poisonous substance.
He just let it out.
He let it all out.
And when he was done, he could do nothing but rest his throbbing head against the cold stone of the bowl. He didn't even have the strength to flush it out.
His stomach had finally settled down, but the pain…oh the pain was everywhere, radiating through every inch of his body and soul.
He only opened his eye again when the toilet was flushed for him.
He didn't move though, not even his gaze. She was standing in front of him alright, since he was staring at her bare feet. He didn't want to look up. He didn't want to know what look she was displaying while looking at him.
Disgust? Cold indifference?
He didn't know which one would be worse, to be honest.
But then she moved. He heard her turn the water on for a few seconds, then turn it off. Then she was back in front of him.
And then she was crouching again. And then she put her hand on his cheek, so he would move his head away from the bowl.
"Lay back," she told him softly, and he did so, grunting in pain as he took his place back against the bathtub, eye shut tight.
And then he felt something deliciously cold against the burning skin of his face, and he couldn't help but finally look at her.
There was no trace of disgust on her face, as she cleaned him up with a cold clothe. And the emotion displayed there definitely wasn't cold indifference.
She was avoiding his gaze though, but he couldn't blame her. Her eyes looked steamy again, and he really didn't want her to shed one more tear because of him.
But his heart was thumping too fast and too hard and too loud for him to do nothing at all, as she gently tended his wounds.
All of them. Even the one she couldn't see.
So he reached out for her, slowly, stopping her hand by holding it in his.
And so she gave in and met his eyes.
"I'm sorry, 'Livia." He whispered. The tears were there, in her eyes. But they didn't roll down her face this time.
Instead, she offered him the slightest, saddest smile of all, tilting her head in a way that was so…her.
"I'm sorry too," she whispered back, and she squeezed his fingers in hers. "Just rest now. I've got you."
And so he closed his eyes and let go of her hand. But it was alright.
It was going to be alright.
N/A: Be my Santa and leave me a review? Pretty pleaaase? :D