TITLE: Study On The Substantial Differences Between Mirrored Images

AUTHOR: Lipsum (Mistrust)

FANDOM: Fringe

SPOILERS: Up to Concentrate And Ask Again (312).

GENRE: Angst Angst Angst Angst

RATING: PG

WARNINGS: Do not archive without my knowledge. Written by a non-native English speaker. Not proof-read. Pardon me.

SUMMARY: Olivia does what she does best: rationalising.

NOTES: This is a post-Concentrate And Ask Again story, meaning: the author is a complete mess. That being said, so is my Olivia Duhnam. Also, I'm kind of a sadist. So, my Olivia Duhnam suffers a lot. I won't get into the matters of the Machine just yet, but let's see.


STUDY ON THE SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MIRRORED IMAGES

by Lipsum

He still has feelings for her.

Olivia downs yet another shot of whiskey and feels nothing. Her throat is already numb, along with her whole body, lying still on the sofa. The brief note Simon had given her is being used as a paper towel after she spilled some of her whiskey a while ago – she doesn't need the physical evidence for something that is already internalised on her, already doing its dirty work, already damaging her from inside out, already ripping her open without mercy.

The problem is, her mind isn't as numb as the rest of her, and she can't help the thoughts, exactly the ones she is trying so hard to keep at bay, to keep from tearing her apart.

He still has feelings for her.

Of course he does.

Why wouldn't he?

She shuts her eyes and exhales.

When I'm with PB I find myself forgetting why I'm here.

Coffee with milk.

She's much quicker with a smile.

Olivia, I'm sorry.

It always takes her a lot of whiskey to shut her mind – she is very alcohol-resistant, ever since she started drinking, and sometimes this is a problem. Like at that very moment, when all she wants is to slip into the comfortable numbness that only drunkenness can bring you. She knows it isn't peace of mind, but it is something that feels a lot like it.

Or at least, the closest thing she ever gets from peace of mind in the past two years.

Her eidetic memory doesn't help either.

She just can't stop the flood of thoughts.

Please, don't tell Peter.

For how long did you know?

You belong with me.

But he didn't.

He didn't belong with her – Olivia had made a mistake, and now she is wondering if she isn't paying for that mistake right now. But how could she know?

How could anyone have expected her to rationalise while she was on the other side? But again, she is pride to say that she can see intricate patterns where no one else can... So how could she miss it? How could she not entertain the possibility?

There is another Olivia Duhnam Over There. There is another version of her (a better, untraumatised version of her), on the side he was born. On the side from where he was stolen.

She downs another shot, and this time, she is filled with a slight dizziness that would have made her sway if she was standing.

There. Much better.

She is very aware of how selfish she is being. But yet, she thinks her selfishness is only human. No one would act differently, she ponders, and this thought comforts her a teensy bit.

...He was stolen. That's no denying it.

Of course he still has feelings for her.

Of course.

She takes a deep breath a ventures getting up, and the room spins rapidly around her.

Olivia allows herself to flop down on the sofa once again. She can sleep there tonight, after all, it won't be like it was the first time.

He was stolen from her, and the intruder is not the other her, but her herself. This Olivia Duhnam, lying drunk on the sofa, all by her lonesome, in a house that still feels foreign to her, and yet she refuses to move – because then it would be like saying she wasn't strong enough to deal with this... even though she wasn't.

She was the intruder.

The uninvited.

She had lost Peter a long time ago – she had lost him to his disease, when he was just a child. She had lost him log before she could ever have him.

Peter belonged with her – only, he was the wrong Peter.

And for a split second there, Olivia feels like she has stepped into Peter's shoes.

How would she act if she had to choose between two Peters? How would she act if "her" Peter was replaced with other Peter, from another universe?

It wasn't me. How could you not see that?

Now she understands how.

Now she sees it clearly.

And it hurts. A lot.

He couldn't see because it was her – it was the right her.

A betterfied version of herself. That's how she came to think of the other Olivia – free of the cortexiphan tests, free of drunk stepfather, free of the sight of her mother's dead body when she was fourteen, free of burden that was Charlie's death... Free.

It could have been her – Olivia is very aware of that. But it wasn't. And it would never be. She could never be the right Olivia to Peter – bright smiles, carefree, seductive, playful. Because it just isn't her, it isn't what she is, what she had become over the years.

He loves Olivia Duhnam – it doesn't matter from which universe. If other Olivias were out there, Peter would be bound to love any of them, as would other Olivias, bound their Peters.

This Olivia was just the wrong one, she thinks, as she feels her eyelids drooping.

She forgets about the whiskey. She doesn't have the strength to pick it up and pour another shot. The alcohol is finally getting to her cortexiphan-intoxicated brain. Olivia will finally slip into that comfortable feeling of numbness.

It'll be all gone by tomorrow morning, the only trace of her sleepless night being the dark circles under her eyes – but again, that wouldn't be quite out of the ordinary. Everyone has already adapted to her drained self since she came back.

It'll be all gone by tomorrow morning.

It'll be all gone.

But it won't be fine.


NOTE: More to come. Expect some Peter's POV ahead.