Disclaimer: I do not own Fringe or any of those characters. I merely use them to try and mend my broken heart after episodes like 3x12.
Spoilers: Up to 3x12 'Concentrate and Ask Again'
A/N: So like a lot of Fringies, I was a mess at the end of "Concentrate and Ask Again." I just couldn't wrap my head around WTAF that ending was suggesting. Peter having feelings, REAL feelings for Altlivia? Peter's feelings being what will determine the fate of both universes? WHAT?
So I wrote XD I wrote all day yesterday (who cares about History tests I should have been studying for, right?) and that's what came out. I left the 'fate of the universes' alone because I still haven't figure out how to make myself accept it. I focused on Peter's feelings instead.
Believe it or not, this starts as it always starts –depressing and angsty- but it won't make you cry, I swear! I wrote fluff :-O Won't happen often, enjoy it XD
Oh and this is unbetaed, so pardon my French.
JUST TELL ME THE TRUTH
Olivia didn't know that six words written on a piece of paper could hurt so much. And yet, she had known for years that a few written words could mark you forever.
Every year since her tenth birthday, she was reminded of that fact.
'Thinking of you.'
'I didn't forget you on that special day.'
'You are always on my mind.'
Those words always managed to open up old wounds that should have healed by now, but couldn't because every twelve months, he was pouring salt on the gash. It brought back anger and resentment.
It brought back a kind of fear she couldn't morph into something else. The fear of her past, following her wherever she went, whatever she did, like a heavy shadow.
Written words could make you weak. Written words could break your heart.
"He still has feeling for her."
She felt like a fool. Again. She kept telling herself that she could move past this, despite the hurt; she kept going back to him. And yet, there she was, feeling like she had just learned about their relationship all over again.
She had been so willing to get past this that she hadn't even considered the fact that maybe he didn't want to.
"She's like me but better."
Admitting out loud what she had been feeling for weeks did not help. She wished it did. She was tired of the pain. She was tired of the constant reminder that shehad been the better one, still was. Nobody said it to her, but she felt it deep inside.
What could be worse than this, really? Normal women may worry about the man they loved running off with someone younger, someone prettier, someone smarter.
Olivia worried about Peter running off with a better version of herself.
An Olivia who didn't carry her heavy burdens. An Olivia who smiled more often and more brightly. An Olivia who laughed and relaxed and enjoyed life for everything it brought to her.
Even the ones who were already claimed.
But that wasn't right. That wasn't right.
Peter was never really hers. He was born in a world in which she didn't belong.
He was born hers. The other Olivia's.
The better Olivia.
"It was never because I wanted to be with her more. Because I don't."
He had lied to her. Or had he? Was this a lie, or a mere attempt to protect her feelings again? Whatever that was, Simon had heard the truth in his head.
She couldn't make sense of this. She couldn't make sense of him anymore. She was confused and heartbroken, hearing both Simon's and Nina's words all over again.
"We're not supposed to know what people think."
"If you want to know how Peter feels, ask him."
She could spend the night finishing that bottle of whiskey already half empty from her previous sorrowful nights, dreading the morning when she would have to face him and pretend nothing had happened…or she could ask for the truth. She could ask for the truth and hope that he would give it to her, this time.
Quite spontaneously, Olivia grabbed her cell phone and typed nine words of her own. 'We need to talk. Can you please come over?'
She of course regretted it as soon as the text was sent, but there was nothing she could do about it now. She knew he would come. From his point of view, their last interaction had been quite positive, as he had complimented her on her formal wear, eyeing her more than approvingly.
She remembered now just how it had made her heart beat too fast, sending a jolt of that unique electricity down her spine.
God, she still needed a drink.
By the time she heard him knock at the door, less than twenty minutes later, she had downed two already, and wouldn't have minded a third one. At least, the alcohol was helping calm her nerves a little.
Taking a deep breath, she nervously passed a hand over her hair before opening the door.
He stood there, hands in his coat's pockets, the slightest smile on his lips.
She didn't even give him the chance to say anything before she blurted out: "You lied to me."
He made a face. That confused face of his, with his brow all furrowed and his lips pursed.
That seemed to be his way of answering anything she said to him today. Admittedly, it wasn't the best way to start a conversation, but she really didn't care right now. His confusion did nothing but suddenly change her edginess into irritation, and she welcomed it. She always felt more in control of the situation when she was annoyed rather than anxious. She crossed her arms in front of her chest, blocking the way in.
"You heard me." She said coldly, more coldly than she intended too. "You lied to me."
He pursed his lips again, eyes narrowed, clearly trying to gauge her and the intensity of her irritation. "About what?" He asked, and his voice was soft, puzzled. She hated it.
She tilted her head shortly, a tight smile on her lips. "Why, that's exactly what I'm wondering, Peter."
He sighed, briefly closing his eyes, before he locked their gazes together again. "'Livia, it's late. We both had a very long day. I'm willing to talk about what's bothering you, but you're gonna have to help me out, here. Unlike Simon, I can't read mind."
Maybe he thought that was going to relax her a little. Being a smart ass, making jokes.
Unfortunately for him, Simon and mind-reading were exactly the reasons why she was pissed off and why he was standing in her doorway. So she offered him a very dark glare that made him recoil a little, moving to let him in.
"Make yourself at home," she said drily. "I know you're good at that."
He looked away, his own eyes dark now, before he entered her place, muttering "Alright, we're back to anger. Got it."
She closed the door a tiny bit too loudly and barely looked at him, standing awkwardly in the middle of the room in his favorite peacoat, hands still in his pocket. It reminded her too much of her time Over There, when her hallucinations of him had been the only thing preventing her from completely losing herself.
She could not think about it now.
So she made a beeline for the coffee table, grabbing the note Simon had given her. She didn't want to read it again, but her eyes fell on the words and her brain read them of its own accord. Pain stung sharply, and she tried to ignore it, to bury it in a corner of her heart. She turned around to face him, clenching the note to her chest.
He looked at the note, then at her face, and his own annoyance dissolved from his face. Apparently, she must have failed to correctly hide her pain, because worry was taking over his whole demeanor.
"What is it, Olivia?" He asked softly, taking a step closer, carefully.
She bit her lip, keeping her eyes locked into his, even though it hurt. "Simon read your mind." She said bluntly, because really, there was no point in beating around the bush.
He became incredibly pale in a matter of seconds, and it hurt more. This was not the reaction of someone who had nothing to hide. He had 'guilt' and 'secrets' written all over his face.
She smiled her mournful smile. "I guess you can't keep all your secrets from me."
"What did he tell you?" He asked then, and his voice was low. Darker, too.
So were his eyes.
She looked down at the note, and once again she felt her heart bleed as she read the words, her face contracting. She briefly closed her eyes, before she handed it to him, looking at the floor, avoiding his gaze now.
But she had to look up to see his reaction as he read the note. He looked genuinely surprised by the words written on it. Surprised, as if he had been expecting something else all together. Then realization dawned on him, and guilt reappeared.
But it was a second too late for Olivia.
She closed her eyes, feeling her face contracting painfully again, wrapping her arms tighter around herself. She was just trying to keep the hurt in as her eyes started to prickle.
She simply hated the fact that she could read his body language so well at that instant.
"Olivia…" he said softly, and she realized then that he had moved closer, way closer, now standing in front of her.
She opened her eyes and raised her head, but she immediately looked away. It took everything she had not to move away from him. He was too close. But this was a conversation they needed to have.
That she needed to have, at least.
"Why do you keep telling me she doesn't matter, Peter?" she whispered, staring at the buttons of his coat.
He didn't answer. She looked up at him, and was almost stricken by the raw sorrow she saw in his eyes. The stinging feeling intensified in her eyes, and she swallowed hard, past the painful lump blocking her throat.
"Do you really miss her that much?" Her voice was barely louder than a whisper again, but her pain resonated in every word she spoke. And she loathed the fact that she was once again being so honest, so bare.
But she was so tired of the lies.
He shook his head, swallowing convulsively, "Olivia, this is not what you think."
She chuckled humorlessly, wiping a lone tear from the corner of her eyes before it escaped completely. "What do you know about what I think?"
She didn't even manage to sound angry. She just sounded tired. Emotionally exhausted.
"You think I'm in love with her." He immediately answered, and that made her look up again, her breath catching in her throat. He was looking dead serious.
Her heart was racing in her chest now, loud against her ears, and she could feel her fingers starting to shake against her arms as she hugged herself. She had to ask.
"Are you?" He opened his mouth, only to close it again, closing his eyes, and her heart sunk. "Please don't lie to me anymore, Peter. Just tell me the truth."
He opened his eyes and stared deep into hers. "I've read her file."
It was her turn to feel stunned by his admission. It was quickly followed by a new wave of pain and resentment, as she realized that he had fooled her yet again. But she swallowed it back, nodding shortly, because she had asked for the truth and that was what she was getting. She didn't ask when he had read it, though. She didn't want to know if it was before or after she had done it herself. She made herself look up into his eyes again. He still looked incredibly pale, dark shadows visible under his eyes.
"So you know how she feels about you." Olivia said quietly.
He nodded, and it was his turn to look away, his gaze becoming blurry, and she knew that he was remembering her. "I do," he answered just as softly. "I thought she had been lying to me the whole time, but I realized reading it that she wasn't."
Olivia brought a hand up to her face, running her fingers over her lips, trying to stay detached from his words, and failing hard. "You love her," she said then, and her voice caught on the last word, but really, there was nothing she could do about it.
He shook his head, eyes closed. "It's not…It's complicated, 'Livia. You shouldn't have to hear about it."
"It's a little too late for that," she replied bitterly, and he opened his eyes. "I've read it too, remember. I survived. What I need to know now is how you feel. I need to know your point of view, because I just… I don't understand. I don't know what to think anymore."
"I've hurt you enough," is all he said, shaking his head again, staring at the floor.
"Stop trying to shelter me from this, Peter," she snapped back, annoyed. "You told me the truth barely six days after I came back, and even though it hurt like hell, I do appreciate the fact that you were honest. Please don't start treating me like I'm some sort of breakable object."
He chuckled almost tenderly, giving her one of those looks she had always loved a little too much, his eyes too intense and too kind. They were also too sad, right now. "I will never think you're breakable." He said softly. "But it doesn't mean you are impervious to heartbreaks, and I've caused enough of those already."
"As dramatic as it might sound, there isn't much more damages that can be done at the moment, believe me," she said with a sad smile, and she saw the flash of pain in his eyes. "Just tell me if I should expect you to go…running for her Over There at some point."
He looked almost shocked by her words. "What?" He shook his head vividly, confused. "No, Olivia, no, it isn't like that."
"How is it, then?" She sounded almost desperate now, needing a straight answer. "You obviously still have feeling for her since Simon got that much out of your head, and you were only near him for a few minutes."
He sighed, rubbing his forehead with a tired hand. Dropping it, he then stared at her, eyes full of regrets. "There are…feelings." He admitted, clearly unwillingly, and she held his gaze despite her sudden desire to curl herself up in a corner. "But those feelings…I don't know how to even begin to explain where they come from."
She felt the urge to reply with a snarky come-back, pointing out the fact that she was, once again, better than her, so it really wasn't that difficult to grasp. But she stayed quiet, waiting for him to find his words.
"The fact is, we were in a relationship together for two months, Olivia, and I was fully committed to it. To her." His voice was soft and low, because he knew it would hurt and he was trying to lessen the blow. It didn't do much. "I was in love. I was strangely happy, and I thought you were too." He averted his eyes then, lost in his memories again. "The night I learned who she really was…I had never felt so bad in my whole life, 'Livia." He met her eyes again. "I know I have no right to ask for your pity or compassion, but believe me, I'm paying the price for having been stupidly blinded by love."
"I know that, Peter," she said, her voice tight, her chest constricted. "And I told you, I understand that you are in pain. What I don't understand is…how can you have feelings for her, after what she's done to you?"
He chuckled darkly. "Oh, you have no idea how many times I have asked myself that question. Those are not blissful feelings of love anymore, Olivia." His eyes were dark, filled with barely contained resentment. "I am…confused. And that's an understatement. I don't want to think about her, I don't want to ever have to think about her again, let alone feel anything for her. But…" He sighed again, frustrated.
She tried to brace herself, knowing that what he was going to say next would somehow manage to break her heart into even tinier pieces.
'I can't help noticing the differences.' 'I keep wondering what it would be like if I had lived Over There.' ' She's better than you and I can't deny that fact anymore.'
He bore his eyes into hers and said: "My love hasn't gone anywhere. Especially not since you are here with me again, and I can now see just how different you are from each other." She closed her eyes. "But it just makes me realize why I fell in love with you in the first place."
She opened her eyes, stunned, as she felt his fingers on her face, cupping one of her cheek and raising her head so she would look at him. "I can't help myself, Olivia. I think about her and everything we shared because I'm wondering how it would have been like with you. How it should be, how we could be right now. And every time I recall those moments, those things we talked about, the things we did…it just brings it all back. The love and the pain. Those feelings, they were real, and somehow it helps to know that she wasn't always faking, that it wasn't all a waste."
He gently wiped a tear away from her skin with a brush of his thumb. "I can't make those memories go away, 'Livia. That's why they are in my head, that's why he could hear them. I can't forget what it's like to be in love with her. To be in love with you."
She really wished she could keep her emotions under control, but she was overwhelmed. She was overwhelmed by his words, by what they meant, and she was overwhelmed by his presence. His warm palm on her cheek, his face only inches away from hers, so close that she could see the different shades of blue in his eyes. They hadn't been that close since that kiss they had shared Over There, and the whole situation was giving her an intense feeling of déjà-vu. Her body was reacting to his proximity, almost humming under his gaze and gentle touch.
But she ignored her pounding heart and shaky legs, lost into his eyes, feeling those traitorous tears roll on her cheeks. His words were bringing back that flickering hope that never seemed to stay long in her life. She wanted to cling to that light; she so desperately wanted to believe him, to believe that he would choose her. She was filled with doubts, though, and they were begging to be released. He could see it in her eyes; tilting his head, frowning slightly, he silently asked her what was so heavy on her heart.
"Do you think she's better than me?" she murmured then, and she sounded terrified. She was terrified.
He slowly shook his head, and doing so, the glittering shadows now surrounding him moved too. She ignored the Glimmer, only staring into his eyes, even though its presence made her even more aware of his body, so close.
"There's no comparing, sweetheart," he answered softly, his breath on her face, and goosebumps arose all over her body. "No one could ever compare to you. Not even another version of you."
Maybe it was the use of that nickname he hadn't used in years, ever since she had told him to stop; she knew he wouldn't have used it with her either, that this remained untainted. It was still pure, still theirs. Maybe it was simply his proximity, his scent, his warmth. Or it was his honesty, allowing her to look into his soul and see by herself that he meant every word.
It was most definitely a mix of all of these that made her look down from his eyes to stare at his lips.
She didn't hesitate much more, even if there was a hesitation there that felt familiar. She moved her face closer, and he followed. The meeting of their lips was soft and gentle, and yet, she felt like the world was shattering around them, aching for him, aching so deep she could barely stand it.
Her hands came up, grabbing the hem of his coat, and she held on tight as their lips moved, always so slowly. She pulled at his coat, though, bringing his body closer to hers and she felt his second hand cup the other side of her burning face. Opening her mouth, she let him know that she needed more, her tongue running over his bottom lip, and he instantly responded, his lips parting and granting her entrance. As the kiss deepened and her body temperature increased dramatically, passion took over the initial tenderness. She felt that intense throbbing awaking deep inside her core, and she thought she might faint when he released her face to grab her hips, holding her firmly to him. She let go of his coat, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck, pressing the length of her body against his. She was driven wild by the groan that escaped him when she moved against him, following the rhythm of their mouths and tongues. When she felt his hands disappear under her shirt, warm palms on the silky skin of her back, it was her turn to moan.
That's when he let go of her mouth, taking his hands away from under her shirt as well to cup her face again, resting his forehead against hers. They didn't say anything for a while, simply listening to their heavy breathing gradually calming down. His eyes were closed but hers weren't; she stared at him, as he was clearly trying to get his emotions under control, and it took a lot of willpower not to simply attack his body with hers, because he felt so incredibly good.
She knew they weren't ready for that yet, though; they might not even have been ready for that kind of kiss, but she felt like this was the first step to claiming him back.
Maybe he could be all hers, after all.
When he finally opened his eyes, he let out a shaky breath. "Phew. I blame this on the dress."
She couldn't help it; she chuckled. "I'm not wearing the dress anymore."
He smiled and moved his head to press a kiss on her temple. She closed her eyes, feeling his breath near her ear. "Maybe not, but I have those images well stored in my brain, believe me."
She smiled, lowering her head to rest her cheek against his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his chest. One of his hands came up to rest on the back of her neck, and she felt his chin on the top of her head. For a few moments, she allowed herself to be freed of any heartache.
That was until his fingers started to move her collar around and she felt him move his head. And she knew what had caught his eyes. Sure enough, she then felt the tip of his fingers brush the ink on her skin.
"Olivia, what is this?" He asked softly.
"It's a tattoo," she answered against his coat, still not willing to open her eyes.
"I can tell that much, yes," he replied calmly, his hands moving to her shoulders and gently forcing their bodies apart. "Did you get it Over There?"
She sighed and looked up into his eyes. "It's her tattoo. They put it on me when they forced me to believe I was her. I guess she had it removed when she first came here, since you seem surprise to see it there."
Surprisingly, it didn't hurt as much as it usually did, to talk about them together.
"Why didn't you get it remove yet?" He asked then, his voice soft and understanding.
She shrugged, averting her eyes again, unease already creeping back inside of her. "I don't know. I think in a way, it reminds me of everything I went through Over There, of everything I have to do to save both worlds."
He put a finger under her chin, so she would look at him, and he tilted his head. "It also constantly reminds you of the switch, 'Livia."
She stared at him and he stared back. And once again, she felt an incredible sense of calm invade her. She had a very hard time believing than an hour ago, she had been feeling so broken. Things were far from being mended, but she was hopeful again; they had been honest with each other, and she knew this was how they were going to get through this.
No more lies.
No more ink engraved on her skin either.
Tomorrow, she would make an appointment to get it removed. And while on the phone, she might take Simon's note and watch it burn.
A/N: Okay, just so you know, when I started this, they were really not supposed to kiss, because I really don't think they are at that stage yet (BUT GOD THEY WERE SO HOT IN THESE DRESS/TUX); plus it ruins my reputation of Evil Writer. But I thought we could all use the fluff! :D
This will never happen. The writers are going to drag that unthinkable love triangle for the rest of the season. If you read my other stories you know I really love Altlivia, but I just can't accept the fact that Peter's 'feelings' for her are put on the same level as his feelings for Olivia. I don't get it!
So I'll just keep pretending fanfics are canon. Yes.
Reviews, anyone? Thought about the story? Thought about the episode? About the dress? The lipstick? The untied bowtie?