Disclaimer: I do not own Fringe. If I owned Fringe, I would be writing the show, instead of writing fanfics. Oh, and I would totally go stalk on Anna Torv.

A/N:I'm incredibly sorry for the wait, guys! Real Life has been pretty crazy, and it's hard to find the time to write a 15 PAGES chapter (gosh) between work and school. Plus, I wrote another oneshot in between, feel free to go read it XD

Thank you all so very much for reading, reviewing and putting it to your fav/alert. Again, I'm loving writing this so much, but knowing that you are enjoying the ride with me makes it so much more fun :')

I hope you will enjoy this one, as well XD Please don't cry.

Carrie,thank you so much for your work on this! :')


PHASE TWO INITIATED


Chapter Four

"The difference between a coward and a hero- they're both scared. It's what a hero does that makes them a hero." (Olivia Dunham, Fringe promo)

He knew he wasn't the only man who had fallen in love with her. There was just something about Olivia Dunham that got men trapped like bugs in a spider's web. It wasn't the most flattering way of describing her, but, unusual women called for unusual similes.

He wasn't her first victim, but he did wonder if they had all fallen for the same reasons. This was a stupid thought, and he knew it, but love tended to make you think stupid things pretty much around the clock. And Olivia, she was everywhere, every minute of every day. She was under his skin, and he knew he wouldn't want it any other way, despite the pain that came with that kind of unrequited love. He still liked to ponder the idea that his love for her was unique, and so were his reasons.

She was so fierce. She was unbelievably brave and smarter than you would think at first glance. She was relentless and driven, headstrong and untamable. She was all of this and more, and only a few minutes spent with her were enough to realize that. He loved every one of those traits. But he knew he hadn't fallen because of her strength.

He had fallen because of her weaknesses. Those cracks she hid so carefully. She was an incredibly intense woman, and she never hid the fact that she let her emotions drive her. And yet, she was so intent on making the whole world believe that she was made of stuffso strong that nothing could really bring her down.

She hid behind that smile, and he knew it. Not all the time of course, because this was truly what made her so radiant. She was constantly smiling, even when others would have shut their eyes in pain or lassitude. The only way to know if she smiled because she could or should was in her eyes.

How many times had she been smiling after a case, making jokes and punching Charlie's shoulder, when all he wanted to do was go to a bar and get drunk, to forget the people who had been lost forever because of a decision he made? When she had first joined the team, he had been somewhat annoyed by it, by this…carefree attitude. Sure, they all made jokes, too much of them some would say, because it was the only way to keep going without becoming insane.

Olivia, though, she was so vibrant, and full of life, especially next to those people frozen in space and time, sometimes mere feet away from her, that it was almost obnoxious. But he had learned to look again, to look into her eyes. He had learned to know her, learned to see what others would miss. She cared a lot more than she would ever admit.

And Lincoln loved her for that.


He often thought that their job would be much easier if only they had more time. Because that was what was missing, for most cases. Time to prepare, time to get the zone secured, and evacuated, time to save everybody. They didn't always have the luxury of time.

Best case scenario, the Breach wasn't threatening enough to risk the Universe's walls being torn apart, and they could set up a Quarantine area in a day, get people away, far away, before the smoke was spread. But cases like this happened too rarely.

Most of the time, there was a rush, a frenzy, a need to act now, or a whole block could be lost. So they 'Ambered away', while innocent people trying to run and save their own neck were imprisoned forever like mosquitoes. Lincoln had been doing this job for three years, and he still didn't think he would get used to it. Olivia never seemed to have too much of a problem in that area, though.

At least, until tonight.

She had been sort of off all day, and he didn't understand why. Again, it was nothing obvious. When Charlie was in a bad mood, he would let you know right away by throwing you a dark look, chewing countless pieces of gum and injecting himself with anger in his eyes. Lincoln himself was more of a quiet guy, brooding in silence.

Olivia was all over the place, laughing too much, smiling too brightly, to the point when he and Charlie started to exchange confused looks, as they were on their way to a new site – a bad one- and she was laughing loudly to one of the new recruits' dumb comments. Lincoln just knew something was bothering her, and it wasn't about to get better.

If you were part of the Fringe Division, you not only had to be responsible for the death of dozens of people, you also sometimes had to witness their loved ones trying to go back in. And when that was the case and there was no other agent around, you had no choice but try and stop them yourself. It was Olivia's turn tonight.

She had grabbed the girl from behind, pinning her arms against her sides by wrapping her own arms around her while the girl fought with all her might and screamed.

"Rachel!" She tried and tried again, wanting to kick whoever was holding her back, but Olivia was strong and she held on, as the smoke started to gather behind the building's windows. "Please, oh please please let me go! I have to get her, please, oh God, Rachel!"

It was over, and everybody present to witness the event knew it. As always, there were people gathered around -those who hadn't fled for their lives- who were now staring at the building, hands covering their mouths, some crying, some angry. Others, like Lincoln, had their eyes on Olivia and the screaming woman. But while most of them were staring at the woman, Lincoln stared at Olivia.

He didn't think he had ever seen her face so…blank. It was like the light had gone from her eyes, and it was such an unusual sight and so different from her behavior earlier that day that he instantly knew that this was one of those rare moments when she was revealing a crack.

That's why he asked her out for drinks as soon as the situation was under control and their day was officially over. She smirked at him as she answered. "Come on, Linc, why bother asking me when you know I can't stand alcohol?"

He smirked back, even if he could tell that her smile was somehow forced now. "A guy's gotta try, right? You won't have to drink anything you don't like, I just feel like doing it for the both of us."

She shook her head, still smiling. "Nah, I was actually planning on doing some shooting."

"Liv," he said, way more seriously that he intended to, and she realized it, her smile faltering a little. "I know shooting is your thing, but getting stupidly plastered on a Friday night is mine. I just think we could both enjoy the company."

"Alright," she eventually said, rising an eyebrow. "I can have whatever I want?"

He bowed his head. "Anything the lady wants, the lady will get."

"Awesome." She gave him a wicked grin. "I was in the mood for coffee."

Two hours and quite a few shots of vodka later, he was getting pretty drunk. She wasn't, of course; the bar didn't serve any coffee, obviously, or he would have been foolish enough to buy her some without a second thought.

Luckily for him, he had never been one of those guys who became excessively annoying when they had a little too much to drink. Actually, as teenagers, his brother would get into so much trouble when they got drunk, because he did the stupidest things. Lincoln didn't; he was the good boy. He never really appeared drunk.

But he very much was, oh yes. He felt like he could pretty much say or do anything right now –as long as it didn't earn him a slap in the face. He was feeling relaxed and he had the most beautiful woman in the world sitting across from him, laughing at his words. Life was good.

He was telling her the most ridiculous stories simply because she laughed every single time, way too often; even if he knew he wasn't that funny, he just loved her smile too much to stop.

He was drunk, and feeling bold. So he asked her what he had wanted to ask all day.

"How do you do it?" He asked, chin in his hand, as she took a sip of her third Coke.

"Do what?" she asked back with a grin, and he didn't miss the way her tongue played with the tip of her straw as she stared at him.

He forced his gaze to go up. "How do you manage to always look so happy, even when you're having a bad day?"

The grin on her face froze for a second, but quickly, she was offering him her crooked smile, her eyebrow raised. "And what makes you think that I'm having a bad day, Lee?"

He shrugged, giving her a grin of his own. "I was born with a gift; I look into any Olivia Dunham's eyes, and I know if she really feels like smiling, or if it's just a façade."

Uh, too much, Lee, too much, he thought. Now she was going to turn him down for sure.

Instead she laughed, and tilting her head she bit her bottom lip, her eyes twinkling. "You know, I think you're full of it. I am definitely not having a bad day right now."

God, he could really get lost in that smile. He also could tell that she wasn't lying, and it made him feel very manly, to know that he had brought the light back to her eyes.

"But I was having a bad day," she admitted then, still smiling but averting her eyes. "So, to thank you for turning this day into something quite enjoyable, I'll tell you how I do it. Or rather why I do it."

He didn't say anything; he simply stared at her, as she played distractedly with her straw.

"Believe it or not, I wasn't always that…exuberant." She met his eyes. "I mean, alright, I forced my mother to paint our living room yellow when I was five because I wanted the room to have the colors of the sun, so you can say that I always was a bit of an optimistic." She chuckled, looking down again. "But as a kid and a teenager, I wasn't that cheerful."

"What changed?" he asked, because really, he couldn't just stare at her and not say anything at all, right?

She shrugged, nibbling on her lip again, staring at that straw still moving around in her ice, and her smile faltered. "I had a pretty normal life, you know. Parents who loved me, a sister who was a pain in the butt, but who I loved to death."

The smile completely disappeared, and he felt a sudden ache deep in his chest. He'd known her for almost a year now, and didn't even know she had a sister. Then she met his eyes again, the smile back on her lips. Not in her eyes though.

"And then, like everybody else, I got my load of crap. My dad died when I was six. My mom was sick, and felt like she couldn't take care of her daughters alone…so she found that abusive, drunk guy who loved to punch her around."

He was definitely not smiling anymore, and the ache was becoming really, really painful. "Liv," he said softly, because he couldn't find better words.

But she just smiled, shrugging. "Hey, don't give me that look. I'm not telling you this so you can start feeling all sorry for me. We all have our baggage, our share of shitty stories. I'm sure you'd have tons of things to say about your family."

He smiled weakly. "If you knew my brother, you'd see it's an understatement."

She shrugged again, offering him a sweet, knowing smile. "See." She was staring at him too intensely again. "Anyway. By the time I was nine, it was just me, my sister and my mom again. Shortly after that, they found a cure for her. She had MS."

He nodded knowingly. "Multiple Sclerosis."

"Yeah," she concurred. "She was healthy again, happy to be alive, you know? That allowed my sister and I to have a pretty good adolescence." Her smile vanished again as she stared into the distance. "Funny how they can find a cure for diseases like MS, and yet, they can be completely clueless when they have to prevent a woman and her baby from dying during childbirth."

He stared at her. Her mind was miles away from him, at that instant. Despite the alcohol in his blood, he suddenly felt very sober. "Your sister?" he asked softly.

She nodded. "Six years ago, today." A long silence followed before she spoke again. "She was twenty. She was so beautiful, and happy, you know? Always telling me to loosen up a little. She was dead within hours, so was her baby girl. So I promised myself that I would live for the both of us, because she couldn't anymore."

She seemed to snap out of the memory then, looking up at him again, and almost to his surprise, she offered him a wicked grin. "Let's dance," and she was up on her feet before he could even process the brutal change of topic.

"Dance?" He narrowed his eyes, as she started to swagger toward the middle of the room, where a few couples were already dancing closely.

"What? You're one of those guys who doesn't like to dance?"

He was up on his feet in no time; he joined her, not even swaying despite the fact that his vision wasn't that steady. As he put his arms around her and she locked hers around his neck, bringing their bodies closer, she smiled up at him, giving him her happiest grin. He suddenly felt dizzy, and they did stumble a little.

"Are you drunk, boss?" she laughed, tightening her hold around him to keep him steady, and he had a very hard time keeping his hazy eyes from staring at her gorgeous lips.

"I don't think the alcohol is what's intoxicating me right now."

"You're such a flirt," she smiled softly, somehow managing to bring their bodies even closer.

He swallowed hard. Really, she was all over him, and it would soon become very obvious that he was very reactive to her. But despite the wonderful body sensations that she was offering him, his mind was still on what she had told him minutes ago.

"Seriously, Liv," he said gently and honestly, giving her a solemn look, and her smile almost disappeared again. "I'm sorry for your sister. I really am. If you-"

She kissed him, then.

Judging by the way she had abruptly changed the subject earlier, the kiss was clearly a mean to shut him up. And it was so her, to throw herself at him like that. And yet there was nothing really rushed in this kiss, no urgency. It was soft and sweet and delicious.

And then her hands ran up the length of his neck and she buried her fingers in his hair, digging her nails in his scalp to bring him closer, their mouths opening, and urgency followed. He held her body closer to his, so close, deepening the kiss and getting lost in her.

Time; he always felt like they didn't have enough time. But at that instant, time literally seemed to stop for him. He was drunk, but she wasn't, and she was kissing him just as ardently. Nothing existed but her.

He was ignorant of everything that would come as soon as she let go of him. He didn't know yet about the boyfriend, about Frank, about how he would pretend the next day that he had been too drunk to really remember what had happened.

There was no mental breakdown yet, no pregnancy, no pain, and no despair. None of them knew that in less than two years, she would be just as dead as her sister.

Time may stop for you, occasionally. Momentum could be deferred, but it must always be paid back, in full.


OoOoOoO


Where is the glow?

Considering the fact that he hadn't seen her in weeks, months even, it was a very strange first thought to have. But that was what went through his mind as soon as she opened her door.

There was no more glow around her. Pregnant as she was, he would have thought that she would be one of those women who simply shined when their belly rounded up. And Olivia had always been so vibrant.

She wasn't anymore.

She smiled at him, but it didn't even reach her eyes; eyes that looked very reddish and tired, he noticed immediately. His first instinct was to ask her what was wrong, because his heart was already aching too much inside is chest. But they hadn't seen each other in so long; he felt like he didn't have the luxury of comforting her anymore.

It was kind of depressing to realize that you didn't know the person you were in love with anymore. Or that you never really knew them in the first place.

Lincoln couldn't figure out what had changed so drastically; not that it mattered very much. Olivia was different, and it had nothing to do with the pregnancy. Or maybe it had everything to do with it, but he would have no way to know that, would he?

This was only the third time he was seeing her in the last six months. And three times in six months was really not enough when you were used to spending at least eight hours a day with someone –and that you were sadly loving that someone a little too much. But the choice wasn't his; it was hers, like it had always been. Ever since she had announced her pregnancy, and then took a leave of absence until the baby was born, she had been avoiding him completely. He had tried to call, especially in the beginning. He worried about her, of course, and he simply missed her. But she rarely answered, so he had stopped calling, trying to ignore the fact that she was still talking to Charlie.

'She's fine,' Charlie would say, giving him a knowing look, because he felt sorry for him. 'Her mom's staying with her now, to help her out.'

Why was she avoiding him? Was it because she thought he couldn't bear the sight of her pregnant with another man's child? The thought was stupid. Learning about it hadn't been exactly fun, but he had swallowed back the hurt, like he always did when it came to Olivia Dunham. This was and always would be a one-way kind of love and he had come to term with it. He wished she could see that he would basically do anything for her, that he was actually happy for her, because this was her life, her future, and he would never be selfish enough to resent her because she was moving on and had decided he wasn't part of the ride.

That was why it came as a bit of a surprised when she called him that night and asked him if he could come over. She didn't say "Sorry for ignoring you for the past six months," just "Can you come over?" and he was knocking at her door eighteen minutes later.

And when she opened the door, his first thought was 'Where is the glow?'

"Hey," she said with a smile, moving to let him in, and his eyes couldn't help but fall on her extremely prominent belly.

"Wow, you're getting there, aren't you?" He said with in exaggeratedly light tone, because he didn't know how to behave around her anymore.

"Yeah," she said, closing the door, glancing at him. The smile was already gone. "Ten days, officially; but it could happen sooner or later."

"Are you counting the days?" he asked softly, because he assumed that her exhaustion was due to the fact that she was very pregnant.

She let out a dark chuckle that he didn't understand then, and made her way to the living room. "Oh yeah, I'm counting each and every one of them."

He followed her, feeling more lost than ever. She sat down heavily on the couch, sighing and closing her eyes, bringing a hand to her face, the other one resting on her stomach. He just stood there, hands in his pockets, feeling awkward and out of place. He hated feeling like this around her, but how else was he supposed to react, exactly?

"I'm sorry, Lincoln," she said then, almost in a whisper, eyes still closed.

"For what?"

She dropped her hand and looked at him. God, she looked so…he didn't know how to describe it. She was darker.

"For pushing you out of my life without any kind of explanation, and then calling you out of the blue."

He shrugged, offering her a small smile, but inside his chest, his heart was already beating faster. "It's alright. That's what friends do, right? I'm here whenever you need me."

"I know, and I really appreciate you coming," she said, staring at him; she shook her head then, looking away. "It's not alright, though. Nothing's right anymore."

To his immense surprise –not to say shockingly, her face contracted painfully then, and tears started to roll down her pale cheeks. Tears.

"Hey," he said, coming closer, and not really thinking anymore, he just sat on the coffee table to face her. "Hey, Liv, what is it?" He wanted to do more, so much more. He wanted to take her hands, to hug her, anything to make her stop crying.

She shook her head harder, wiping her cheeks angrily. "I'm fine, it's these fucking hormones. I feel like I'm crying twenty-four seven nowadays."

Okay, he knew that hormones did make pregnant women a lot more sensitive to changes of emotion, but for her to be crying like this –and apparently quite frequently– there must be something really wrong.

And he decided here and now that he had spent enough time not asking questions.

"What happened to you, Olivia?" He asked, and his voice was a lot sterner than he intended to, but at least she focused her eyes on him. She chuckled again, that chuckle lacking any kind of happiness.

"Do you want me to make a list?" He just stared gravely, and she sighed, wiping the last of her tears. "I can't tell you."

"Then why did you call me, if you don't want to talk to me?" The bitterness he had felt for the last six months was obvious in his tone now, and she closed her eyes.

"It's not that I don't want to talk to you, it's that I can't." She whispered.

"C'mon, Liv. We are both smart people, both under oath of secrecy because of our jobs. But we both know they are ways of saying things without really saying them."

She opened her eyes, pressing her lips together. "Alright," she said. "Remember my breakdown, about a year ago?"

He simply nodded. How could he ever forget that time when she had been so lost, and he had been so in pain himself, physically and emotionally, unable to help her like he wanted to.

"What if I told you that…I never really had a breakdown? That when 'I' was saying this wasn't my life, I wasn't lying? "

He stared at her, his heart missing a beat. He suddenly remembered a conversation he'd had with Charlie months ago, about this. 'What if she's telling the truth? What if it's not the real her?', and he was filled with an inexplicable sense of dread.

"Do you mean that she-"

"Stop," she said, shaking her head. "I won't say anything else, think whatever you want, but we can't discuss it."

Her eyes were lost in the distance again, as she rubbed her stomach. Whatever had happened to her, it happened during that time, but there were just too many possibilities, too many implications.

She let out a groan then and her face contracted, her hands tightening on her belly. He instantly straightened up, sitting on the very edge of the table. "You okay?"

"Yeah," she sighed, moving a little, changing position to put a cushion behind the small of her back. "She's kicking pretty hard now, and she doesn't have that much room."

His heart fluttered at the thought of the baby, and oddly enough, it wasn't in a bad way at all. "It's a girl, huh?" He couldn't help but smile. "Already kicking ass like her mama?"

She chuckled, and his smile grew wider because for the first time since he had entered her apartment, it was genuine, and even her face seemed to light up a little. "Right now she's more focused on kicking my bladder, actually." She was still smiling softly, as her hand ran slowly over her rounded belly.

"You got a name for her yet?" He asked; he would talk about her baby all night long if it meant she would keep smiling like this.

She nodded, but didn't say anything; he didn't push it, simply staring at her, as her fingers kept going up and down, still smiling softly.

"You're going to be a great mom," he said then. Because he meant it.

He'd expected her to chuckle again at his words, roll her eyes maybe. Instead, and to his surprise, the smile disappeared and all colors were drained from her face, which was contracting again. She closed her eyes, and two fat tears rolled down her cheeks. She sighed and wiped them off with a tired hand. He just sat there, feeling incredibly lost again because he didn't understand the pain she was in.

"Liv, talk to me," he said softly.

She remained silent for a long minute, nibbling on her lip, eyes closed. When she opened them again, they were filled with unshed tears and storming emotions. And there it was again. That haunted look he had only seen once before. When she was having that breakdown she apparently never really had.

"Do you believe in God, Linc?" She asked then.

Usually, if someone asked him that question, he would quickly change the subject because he wasn't big on the 'Faith Talk'. If he was with a girl and didn't want to upset her, he would try and make a joke like 'Don't ask a guy with a fancy degree if he believes in something he cannot test in a lab.'

He had never thought of Olivia as being the kind of woman who believed in God, but again, he didn't know that much about her, did he? But what he knew at that instant was what she was really asking. He saw it in her eyes, all over her pale face, what she was really feeling.

Guilt.

This was a feeling he knew well, that's why he could recognize it in her.

"I believe in forgiveness," he answered softly. "Whatever wrong someone might have done, I believe they can achieve redemption."

She stared at him intensely, pressing her lips together again, before she spoke again. "What about murder? Is it forgivable, to kill someone cold-heartedly? To kill one, or two, even three people?"

He stared back. Oh, he understood what she was implying alright, but…this wasn't her. Despite his now pounding heart, he refused to believe that she was a heartless murderer. Olivia was a protector, not a monster. He couldn't imagine her killing people just for the fun of it, there must have been reasons behind her actions. And judging by how this was affecting her, she did regret it now.

He didn't answer, so she kept going. "I told you once about my abusive step-father, and I said he was out of our lives by the time I was nine. Wanna know why?"

Again, he didn't say anything because she didn't expect him to, and she gave him a forced smile, half-shrugging: "I shot him. Killed him, actually." She averted her eyes then, her face somber. "Obviously, he started it, beating up my mom whenever he was drunk, which was pretty much every day by that time. And one night, I just had enough, I couldn't stand the mere sight of him; I couldn't let him hurt my family anymore. So I took his gun. Shot him three times."

She made a gun with her fingers and pointed at his shoulder. "One," she pointed at his chest. "Two," and her invisible gun came up to his head, her fingers almost brushing the skin of his forehead. "Three," she whispered.

Her hands fell back on her belly then, and she stared at his knees. "Most kids my age would have been traumatized for life. I wasn't. I told the shrinks I was having horrible nightmares about it so they would leave me alone. But you wanna know the truth?"

She met his eyes then, and her face was cold.

"I loved it. He had hurt us so much, and for so long…that night, I was the one with the gun. I was the one with the power. For the first time in years, I was in control; I was stronger than a six-foot tall grown man. And you know what they say, once you've killed once..." Her cold mask crumbled then, her face contracting, looking almost confused. "That's why I was so perfect for that job. He knew. That's what he told me before I left that night. 'I've read your file thoroughly, Olivia. I know that you, more than anyone else, understand the choices and sacrifices that need to be made to protect our loved ones…to protect our world.'"

She was leaving too many things out for him to fully understand what she was saying and who she was talking about, but it didn't matter at the moment. She was crying again, but she didn't even try to wipe the tears away this time, as she stared in the distance, her mind far away from this room. The sorrow coming out of her was so raw that he could almost feel it cut through his skin. He couldn't take it anymore. He moved then, leaving the coffee table to sit down next to her on the couch.

He raised a hand and cupped her wet cheek, and she finally focused on him. They stared at each other for a long time, and all he wanted to do was bring her closer, hold her tight against him, prove her that he was there for her. But she was already so distressed and lost, he wasn't sure she would accept that kind of comfort; he didn't want her to get the feeling that he thought she was weak. Because he really didn't; Olivia was anything but weak. She was simply very human at that instant.

Her eyes dropped to stare at his lips, then, and he instantly felt the energy shift between them. Bringing her eyes back to his, she whispered: "I lied to you."

"About what?" He whispered back.

She offered him a weak smile that was almost sincere. "I didn't call you because I needed a friend. I would have called Charlie if I wanted friendly company. And I wouldn't have kicked my mother out for the night."

Lincoln was getting her signals alright –she wasn't exactly subtle, despite her best efforts. He understood what she was implying, but he wasn't sure he wanted to believe it. This was just too improbable, it couldn't be true. And yet, she seemed to lean even more into his hand, her eyes on his lips again; he could literally feel his body temperature go up.

But the ache in his chest was dominating at the moment; she was not alright, something was very wrong, and he was desperate to understand what.

"Why did you call me, then?" He asked softly. "Why now?"

Her green eyes met his blue, and he merely got lost in everything that was storming in there. "Because I'm lonely…I'm hormonal. I'm terrified. Because I'm going to-"

But she stopped herself, closing her eyes painfully and shaking her head. "I'm fine." She seemed to be saying it more to herself than to him, and inexplicably, it just broke his heart.

She moved away from his touch, then, avoiding his eyes. "I'm sorry, that was stupid of me. Like I said, I'm a hormonal mess, like every fat, pregnant woman, and I'm delusional. I'm just gonna-"

It was his turn to shut her up. He grabbed her face again, in both his hands this time, and brought her face closer to his until their lips met. He tasted the salty and bittersweet tang of her tears, and almost felt like crying himself. Her hands grabbed his shirt quite desperately and they lost themselves into the kiss. He only let go of her lips when oxygen seriously started to lack in his brain, but he kept his face close to hers, hating those tears still leaking out of her eyes, and yet loving her so much because she was letting him see her.

"You're beautiful," he said in a whisper, kissing her softly. "You're beautiful. And whatever happened to you, Olivia, whatever you did…I forgive you. I forgive you."

A broken sob came out of her then, and she crashed her lips onto his again, grabbing his face; and there was so much despair and urgency in her touch, so much that he didn't understand.

But it didn't matter. He didn't need to understand. He didn't need to know who she was right now, what was haunting her. His feelings for her hadn't changed. They were there, and they were real. And he knew this was why she had called him tonight; this was what she was looking for, what she was asking for.

She just needed to feel loved.

And so he loved her. He loved her in every kiss, in every caress, in every whisper of her name. And for a beautiful, fleeting moment, he believed that she might have loved him to.

Later, he fell asleep against the skin of her back, his nose buried into her blazing hair. One of his hands was resting on her belly, almost possessively; and right before he was taken by Morpheus' arms, he thought that he might love her too.

He was already snoring softly when Olivia slid her own hand over his, intertwining their fingers. Long minutes went by before she spoke, whispering into the night.

She knew he wouldn't hear her, that nobody will ever hear her. But she needed to say it.

"I don't want to die."

The kick she then felt against their joined hands and deep inside herself seemed to answer her.

'Neither do I.'


OoOoOoO


Marilyn Dunham never was a brave woman.

The problem was the fear. She simply couldn't function under the smothering pressure of fear; it was like her whole brain shut down.

The fear that you may feel for your children was a different kind of fear, though. It could make the most coward person turn into a tiger, if it meant protecting their child. Or their grandchild.

She knew what was going to happen now, and she didn't care. She was almost awaiting it. Eight years ago, her child was taken from her, along with her granddaughter.

And now, history was about to repeat itself.

She pressed the button on her ear and whispered Elizabeth's name. She answered right away.

"It worked," is all Marilyn said. "She crossed-over."

Only silence followed. Elizabeth knew better than anyone else that no word would sooth her pain now.

"Are you sure you don't want me to come get you? You know what Walter will do to any of us if he finds out we helped her."

"I know. I'm fine. Go. Get away as fast as you can. They won't be able to question me, and if they do, I won't say anything. Not willingly anyway."

"They're going to come and Amber the place."

Marilyn raised her head, staring at the black sky. "I know. I can hear the choppers already." Indeed, the distant sound of flying machines could be heard somewhere into the night, coming closer and closer.

She knew who would come; she was counting on it.

"This was the right thing to do," Elizabeth said softly. "She will be safer There."

Marilyn couldn't answer, blinded by the pain, as a recent memory flashed behind her closed eyes.

She could see her daughter, standing in her living only a few days ago, as they were about to leave her place forever. Olivia had just returned from her last appointment at the Lab on Liberty Island, and her fingers were brushing the bruised skin in the crook of her arm, were they had put needles in her veins. Again.

"Are you sure you want to go through with this, baby?" Marilyn couldn't help but asked.

"This is the right thing to do," she had whispered eventually, her hand leaving her arm to go rest on her belly. "She'll be safer There."

Marilyn forced the memory out of her mind because they would be here any seconds now. "Goodbye, Elizabeth. And thank you."

She heard his voice before she saw him, loud and professional over the sound of the helicopters.

"I want science and risk report in three minutes, move it people!"

Marilyn didn't even hide. She hadn't moved from where she had been standing when Olivia had disappeared in a flash of blue light.

He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw her, standing in the middle of the road. "Mrs Dunham." His voice had lost all professionalism. He didn't even ask her why she was in street that was surely about to get Quarantined. The first question that came out of his mouth was: "Where's Olivia? I thought you were with her."

She could have smiled. He was so obviously in love with her daughter that it was almost ridiculous. But she didn't smile.

"Olivia is Over There now, Lincoln." She said. "She crossed-over. That's why there was a breach."

"Hey Linc!" Charlie Francis was running toward them. "We got a universal hole to fill up here, what are you-"

But Lincoln raised a hand to silent him, staring at her. "What do you mean?"

"You know what I mean." She gave him a knowing look. "She told me that she explained part of the truth to you last week. She said you would put the pieces together and understand. She asked me to tell you, once she was Over There."

People were shooting all around them, but both men had come closer to her, ignoring the frenzy, Charlie clearly trying to understand what she was talking about.

"She said she was sorry for not telling you both the truth," Marilyn added with tears in her voice. "But she couldn't risk for you to try and stop her."

"Stop her from doing what?" Charlie asked roughly, his eyes dark.

"From crossing-over," she repeated. "To the Other Side. Her baby would be in great danger here. You cannot trust Walter Bishop anymore. She said you had to know, because there may come a time when he sends you Over There to get the child back."

Charlie was almost fidgeting as he tried to process everything she was saying, but she stared at Lincoln, who looked very pale. And she knew he had understood, like her daughter had predicted.

He knew there would be no way back for Olivia.

The shooting got louder and Charlie seemed to snap out of it, remembering what they were supposed to be doing. One glance at Lincoln told him that he wouldn't be much use right now.

"You don't go anywhere," he pointed a finger at her. "We'll talk about this in details as soon as this is under control." And he was gone.

"She's going to die." Lincoln said then, his voice hollow, and she nodded, tears prickling her eyes. "She knew it."

"She has known for weeks, months, even," she whispered. "She gave up her life to save her child's. She said you would understand why she had to do it."

"Redemption…" He said then, more to himself than to her, lost in a memory.

'Quarantine protocol imminent. Evacuate the area immediately. Warning. Protocol initiation imminent. Massive loss of life will result. Warning.'

"You need to get away from here," he said then, but his voice was still empty. "The Smoke will be released soon."

Marilyn shook her head. "You go now. I will be fine."

He didn't even try and change her mind. He just walked away, soon running towards his crew. Marilyn finally moved and went into a dark alley, just in case Charlie felt like stopping her.

She wasn't being brave. She wasn't doing it to insure that their secrets would remain safe, confine in the Amber with her. She was being quite the coward again, actually.

She didn't want to live in a world where both her babies were dead. She didn't want to live every minute of her life fearing the Secretary. She knew he was driven by revenge; he was restless and unstoppable, and she was too weak.

She was too scared to be brave.

And as the Smoke started to swirl toward her, she thought of Olivia again.

The darkness in her eyes in those last few days had been almost unbearable. Her Olivia, her Olive, who had always been so optimistic, and who had loved life so much since her sister had passed. She had lost her spark. The only other times she had seen that same haunted look had been eight years ago, outside that delivery room in which Rachel lay dead.

And about a year ago, in her own living-room.

"My mother died when I was fourteen years old, this is all wrong, you're not supposed to be here!"

She knew now that it hadn't really been her Olivia. She had understood everything when Olivia had explained what had happened; she had understood why she had felt so strongly that something was incredibly wrong with her daughter, but she had been so desperate to keep her safe that she had dismissed it. She wasn't her daughter, but did it really matter?

She was Olivia, too; they both were.

She just couldn't get that image out of her head. Her Olivia, grazing her fingers over the red punctures in her arm, eyes lost in the distance, full of shadows.

Her daughter had known she was going to die. She had lived those last few days with that fear in her soul.

She had been terrified, and yet, she had done it.

Marilyn never was a brave woman; Olivia had always been brave enough for the both of them.


OoOoOoO


A/N: I know most of you care a lot more about Olivia and Peter and how they are dealing with little Elizabeth, and don't worry, it's coming next.

I just needed to give Altivia some depth (A SOUL! XD), some backstory (and some loving XD), because damn, I just love her character (and i still feel guilty for killing her) ; the show really needs to give us more information about her (and I'm sure Anna Torv wouldn't mind).

Altlivia killing AssStepFather is canon in my head now, just so you know.

I don't even ship Altlivia/Lincoln (even though I do get the shippy vibe and they are adorable), so I hope those of you who do enjoyed it (looking at you Kayla XD) I needed to let him in the secret somehow because he might come back later in this story :p

I won't write about Altlivia anymore…I think.

Oh, and I don't think I'm spoiling anyone because it's been going around for days and days, but most of you must be aware of the renewed rumor, the one I used to write this fic in the first place.

I still won't believe it until I see it (and to be honest, I won't really mind it anymore because I trust our writers blindly; I'm just afraid of the mass reaction in the fandom). Sooo I will keep writing this story, and hope it will stay just a story :D

I'll post the next chapter as soon as humanly possible (and it will all about our side I swear).