TITLE: Defective Heartstrings Must Be Replaced
AUTHOR: Lipsum – 1 hotmail .com
DATE: February, 2011. \ STATUS: Finished
SPOILERS: Up to 3x09 "Marionette".
PAIRINGS: Peter/Olivia, Peter/Faux!Olivia (hinted)
SUMMARY: Words can be like knives / they can cut you open / and silence that surrounds you / and haunts you… The events of "Marionette" through Peter's eyes.
NOTES: "Marionette" revisited. Sort of a songfic. AngstAngstAngst. Peter's POV. It's based in three scenes from the aforementioned episode.
WARNING: This story was written by a non-native English speaker and has not been proof-read. Mistakes are all mine, but be kind. First time at Fringe fandom.
1. plaisir d'amour [joan baez]
2. qualms of conscience [diablo swing orchestra]
3. theme no. 1 [balmorhea]
4. moonlight [beethoven]
5. bloodstream [stateless]
DEFECTIVE HEARTSTRINGS MUST BE REPLACED
written by LIPSUM
And now he's gone
Like a dream that fades in the dawn
But the words stay locked in my heartstrings
My love loves me
Plaisir d'amour ne dure qu'on moment
Chagrin d'amour dure toute la vie
Joan Baez, "Plaisir d'Amour"
(1) qualms of conscience
He froze. When he saw Olivia back on the field so soon, he was caught completely off guard – and he froze on his tracks. Peter didn't expect to see her again just yet, and let alone seeming so composed, and so cool, and so… herself.
After that long awkward talk with Walter about telling the truth to Olivia, Peter was still planning on how to plan telling her, and he wasn't ready to look into her eyes just yet, not with this secret still weighing on him and still spinning inside his mind without an escape route.
And there she was, staring at him – bright eyes and all smiles.
"Peter, look, it's Olivia!" exclaimed Walter, excited, as if Peter hadn't already seen the blonde FBI agent who stared right into his eyes, smiling.
"Hi" she said, shyly, so unlike her.
"Shouldn't you be resting?" He was deflecting. He knew he was. It couldn't be more obvious.
"Agent Dunham has been cleared for duty", stated Broyles, matter of factly.
She was glimmering with joy. She could've fooled him – with that smile, he would've thought the woman standing right in front of him was the other Olivia Dunham, not his Olivia Dunham, but something on her disguised coyness was unmistakably his Olivia.
He was panicking on the inside. "Alright, in that case, welcome back".
"Thank you" she said, softer than he would've expected.
Peter took a deep breath. This was going to be the end of them.
He started reasoning on the inside. He was going to try to act professional, he was going to try to act as if nothing important was there to be said, as if the only thing in his mind right now was the case at hand – but he couldn't help but steal a glance towards that Olivia Dunham, and follow her steps with his eyes, and wonder just how exactly he was supposed to drop a bomb like that on her…
Broyles' voice was just background noise to him.
Olivia had been through far too many things lately. And because of Peter, things would keep going downhill for her.
Dazzled, Peter was left behind by Broyles and Walter, finding himself just behind Agent Dunham. She turned her head the slightest bit as they walked towards the crime scene, and Peter saw the unmistakable shape of a coy smile, that could only be directed at him.
He felt the always-there knot in his throat tighten.
(2) theme no. 1
They waited. Doctor Ross was still in surgery.
They were finally alone with nothing else to talk but themselves. And Olivia was still all coy smiles and sideways glances to him, all very discreet, but noticeable nonetheless.
She was swallowing her coffee like there was no tomorrow, and despite his mind being miles away from small talk, he couldn't help but comment.
"It's nice to be able to take a cup of coffee for granted" she commented back, smiling.
But he saw there was more to it than just coffee flavoured pleasure – so he humoured her. "What?" he asked, before taking a sip of his own coffee.
"Well, you know when you're on vacation and you come back and some things are a revelation? Like coffee or my favourite shoes". This woman was held against her will in another universe, had been brain washed and was forced to live someone else's life for two months and god only knows what else... And when she comes back, she talks about coffee and shoes and compares her kidnapping with going on vacations.
As she went on, Peter was dazzled. Olivia Dunham was certainly one of a kind – both Olivias, he dared to think. And then she said it. "My mail was opened. It's kind of disconcerting knowing that somebody else's been living your life".
Peter couldn't help but rub his eyes, tired and remorseful. My god... she didn't have the faintest idea. Her mail being violated would be the least of her concerns when he opened his mouth.
Because he was going to tell her.
Right there, right now.
This was his first opportunity, and he was willing to play fair and don't postpone this moment. It was the least he could do – be honest and tell her the truth. He was willing to face the consequences – whatever they were, it couldn't be worse than this guilty feeling that made his stomach lurches and his head spin.
"Hey. You okay?"
Obviously, Peter wasn't making too much effort to hide his discomfort right now. He couldn't care less for playing cool. He felt like being teared apart by just looking at her and knowing that those wonderful, unbelievable nights he spend with her weren't real. And he felt even more terrible when acknowledging to himself that he still liked them nonetheless.
God, he was despicable.
Olivia stared at him curiously, almost idly.
"There's something I have to talk to you about" he couldn't do anything else but to be honest. "About her".
She didn't say a word. Her eyes, though, darkened, a little confused, and she tightened her grip on her cup of coffee. Peter could tell she wasn't quite sure what that was all about.
He wanted to be honest with her. He really did. But he also wanted to be as soft as possible. He couldn't help but weight the words in his mind before actually speaking them, turning his truth-speech slow and uncomfortable and torturing – and he was afraid he wasn't the only one feeling like that.
"I noticed..." he pondered. "Changes". There. 'Changes' was a good one. Ambiguous. "Small changes, but they were definitely there".
Her expression changes. Her posture tenses up.
"She's..." he thinks about the other Olivia. He thinks about how much he liked seeing her easy smile, but it's a thought that doesn't last more than a split second. "She's much quicker with a smile". His Olivia is hurting. Slowly, her rare smile fades. He is hurting her. "Less... I don't know, less intense maybe". God, that couldn't have sounded worse – he can see concern and shame and hurt all over her features. "She said when she was over there, when she saw her other life it made her wanna change... to be happier", and deep inside, Peter knew that he had just said that he considered Olivia a sad person, in comparison to the other one.
"And I believed her because that made sense". And it did. And he knew he was slowly killing his dearest friend with his words, it didn't matter how much he striven to make them sound soft – they cut the very air around them like knives.
"There was no way for you to know" she interrupted him. God, she had no idea where that conversation was heading. He could see in her features that she didn't want to have that conversation right now – she was playing cool, she was playing the understanding girlfriend, ready to let go of any slip from his part.
She had no idea... "Everything happened so fast, I can't even tell you how they did it... And it's okay, I'm here now".
And she meant it. God, how she meant it.
Her words were killing him now. He had to make himself clearer. "When you asked me to come back to this world with you..." he swallowed "you said..."
"You belonged with me", she lowered her head, but she said it right away, almost unashamedly, almost proudly. She ventured a glance at him.
He swallowed hard once again. His Olivia was being honest in a way she had never been before – and he was about to ruin everything for them. "And so I came back for you", and as her smile slowly faded, Peter knew she was finally grasping what he wanted to say, "For us".
She was shattering in front of him, but he didn't stop. "And we started seeing each other".
As Peter went on about how he blinded himself to her different behaviour, how he would come up with excuses for it, he couldn't truly believe his voice was still coming out of his mouth. Olivia's expression was drooping slowly, and it was about the saddest thing he had ever witnessed, but he couldn't stop himself.
"I thought she was you, Olivia".
Pathetic. He was plain and utterly pathetic.
But he had no choice.
And so he waited. At any moment now, she was going to break in front of his eyes – Peter was sure he could trace the cracks on her porcelain skin with his fingers, if he dared to touch her.
She struggled to say the next words, that would only cut him open: "Does everyone know?"
"I reported everything when I found out who she was", it was flat, professional answer, but it was all he could manage right now... Amidst everything that he had to tell her, there was only one thing that mattered to him, and after seeing the cracks on her surface starting to deepen, he hurried to say it: "Olivia, I'm sorry".
And when she smiled at him, he felt as if a hundred knives stabbed his back all at once.
When she started mumbling about the other Olivia's life, about her boyfriend, and her friends and coworkers and people who risked their lives for her and who believed she was their Olivia Dunham... As she mumbled all of this, creating a reasonable excuse to Peter's mistakes, he knew none of that could compare to what he did over here. And as much as he'd love to be led on by her reasoning, he could never fool himself in believing that his betrayal wasn't a betrayal and a complete lack of perception from his part.
And how was she able to say all of that, to reason in his behalf, after what he had said? How could she dare smiling at him after that?
Then the nurse interrupted her mumbling, and his thinking, and all he wanted was to sort things out as quickly as possible – he asked for a moment, the nurse left them, and he would've reasoned against Olivia's logical excuses...
"Peter" she ventured a quick squeeze on his arm, "It's fine. We're good. Let's go." And she got up, hurriedly following the nurse.
It took Peter a few seconds to finally rise from his seat and follow her, in a daze.
He had really never met anyone who could do the things that she did... And for the first time, he wasn't sure he liked it.
And he wasn't sure that telling her the truth eased his pain as he thought it would.
She flinched away from his touch, as if he was burning her.
There she was, elbows resting on her knees, head lowered between her hands, hunched forward; she was silently screaming for help. But when he got closer to her – she flinched.
And that flinch hurt him more than he would have expected, and a hideous thought crossed his mind: the other Olivia would never do that. He wasn't quite sure how to act around this Olivia anymore, and it wasn't just a matter of being with the other her – it was a matter that all their feelings were exposed, raw and bare, for everyone to see, including them. He couldn't possibly know what was wrong and what was right at that point – hell, he barely knew what was wrong and right when they pretended neither of them felt anything!
Peter hated himself for thinking about the other Olivia at that moment, and as he sat on the other chair close to her, and asked "what is it?", he wasn't honestly expecting the storm that would hit him right there and sweep him off his feet.
"You know what Barrett said?" she started, one finger nervously rubbing her bottom lip, eyes glistening with unshed tears. "He said that he looked into her eyes and he knew it wasn't her".
He looked down as he felt his mouth dry out of words, one lame "Olivia…" whispered, as if he was about to apologise once again, even though he knew there was nothing he could say – as he also knew she wouldn't let him say anything at all.
"I understand the facts…" she started, and as she went on, Peter fought against the urge to interrupt her with a yell, he fought against the urge to tell her to shut up, he fought against the urge to get down on his knees and ask for forgiveness as he cried unashamedly, and as he was fighting against all of this, he felt tears welling up on his eyes, and a knot tightening on his throat, and as she went on… As she went on, he thought he might just do them both a favour and die right there, deprived of breathing space, for the burden he felt weighting on his shoulders was too much to bear, and he knew that her words would make him crack under that weight at any moment now.
This. Her. It was all his fault.
"…but when I was over there I thought about you, and you were just a figment of my imagination!", he detected a split second of disdain on her face – disdain directed to herself. "But I held on to you"… Disdain for having held on to him while he, the real Peter Bishop, was screwing not only someone else, but someone who was supposed to be her. And he didn't see it. He didn't see it. "And it wasn't reasonable, and it wasn't logical, but I did it, so…" My god, her eyes. "Why didn't you?... She wasn't me. How could you not see that?"
How could he not see that?
Maybe he didn't want to see it, after all.
"Now she's everywhere" her voice was filled with disgust, and it was almost like it was direct at him alone, not at the other Olivia. "She's in my house, my job, my bed, and I don't wanna wear my clothes anymore and I don't wanna live in my apartment and I don't wanna be with you…"
And Peter knew that ripping off his heart with bare hands couldn't have possibly be more painful that hearing those words.
"She's taken everything." And it was like she had given up her own life.
He couldn't trust his voice just right now. This time, making amends would take much more than mere words. This time, he didn't know what would take.
Olivia got up and walked away, bleak and steady.
Peter could barely stand the thought of getting up.
She couldn't hear him anymore, so he tried the only words that he could think of throughout her outburst, that crawled from the pit of his stomach to the tip of his tongue, words that came out with so much effort, and yet barely above a whisper:
Pathetic. Just like he imagined.
Walter would start asking for him at any moment now. He had to get up. He had to.
But he let himself sit there in the dark of that decaying garden for a bit longer, as he swallowed hard, as he felt the tears drying out on their own, as he finally felt his lungs filling with air.
He wouldn't die just yet.
And he wasn't quite sure that was a good thing.
He felt defective.
He felt dysfunctional.
Maybe he was – he didn't even belong to that universe, for starters. He was certainly defective if you'd cast him in this light, his very existence was wrong. How he could have imagined that he belonged here? How he could have dared to imagine that he belonged with her?
How he dared to think of the other Olivia? What could be possibly wrong in his making?
His heart ached.
Wake up, look me in the eyes again
I need to feel your hand upon my face
Words can be like knives
They can cut you open
And the silence that surrounds you
And haunts you…
Firstly, if you got that far, congratulations! I do appreciate it very much! So, now a few commentaries before I really leave you alone.
I do not support Peter\Faux!Livia, but to believe that she had no impact whatsoever in his mind is an understatement. I particularly don't think the other Olivia could possibly have cherished the kind of love that our Olivia has for him, for that matter. People often exaggerate when writing Peter\Faux!Livia stories, the canon still haven't offered us much evidence on the true feelings behind that mission of hers. I mean, of course she wasn't immune to his charm, but she had a long-term relationship with someone else and she spent too little time with Peter. She might have developed the beginnings of a true love there, but to me this is not a reality just yet on the show.
As to the "real" Olivia, I don't even want to think what she felt like when discovering the truth.
And as to Peter, it might have been a lot worse... This story is a flimsy attempt at trying to cast some light in his suffering regarding the present situation he is in. I can't possibly imagine what kind of twisted thoughts he has.
Thanks for bearing with me & my grammar mistakes all this way!
Lipsum (a.k.a Mistrust)