Disclaimer: I do not own anything or anyone on Fringe. I do not own any LSD either.
Spoilers: Up to 3x19 "LSD". Inspired by the promo.
A/N: So I was supposed to write a smutty shower!fic this week, but once my obsession with Bloodline calmed down and I went back to being overly obsessed with Peter and Olivia, I rewatched the promo for next week's episode. And I wondered why the heck I hadn't started writing a 'LSD' fic yet, because that was some wicked occasion to do some crazy stuffs. So here it is.
I know other people have written about 'LSD', but I have for personal rule not to read fics with "similar vibes/plots" while in the middle of writing one, so if there are similarities, it's only because all Fringies think alike :D
Also, a bit of a trivia about this. Feel free to go to the story right now if you don't care about my ramblings LOL. Still people reading? Okay, so some of you might have been reading my very first Fringe story "Here and There", that I was writing in November/December. Well, even though I never finished it (sorry D:) I really had the WHOLE thing plotted out. And basically, towards the end, Olivia was supposed to be in the Tank to try and get rid of Altlivia's personality in her for good, but somehow gets stuck in her own mind. And Peter was going to go in the Tank too, and into her mind, to help her "out". I was actually so glad I could use some of the ideas I had for that part in this oneshot. It's been in my head for quite a while XD
It's rated T for some mild-ish sexual allusions :p Also, this is huge, and unbetaed, I apologize.
LET THE WIND CARRY IT AWAY
Peter should have known that she would be the one finding him, and not the other way around.
After all, she has always been the one seeking him out.
The day they met, she crossed the world to come get him in Iraq, asking him to come back with her. Less than two years later, she was crossing universes for the same reasons, even though her motives were quite different.
Today is supposed to be his turn; he needs to bring her back. So he plunges into her mind to save her from herself, because that is what he does.
But after what seems to be hours and hours spent in this chaotic and ever changing world that her mind has made up, he still cannot find her. Everything is glowing ever so brightly; he knows it's the effect of the LSD, but he can't help and wonder if this is what she sees when he glimmers.
He has lost Walter somewhere along the way. That was predictable, really. They invaded Olivia's mind, aka the most skilled woman at keeping her emotions and feelings well hidden from their view. Her mind does not let them come peacefully, and its first victory is to get them to separate, to better hunt them down, and weakened any power they could have had together in this place.
Peter has been spending quite some time running away from a herd of faceless, angry people, except for that one man who he's pretty sure is her infamous step-father. But as he runs, everything keeps on shifting; there's a constant motion in all he sees, nothing is really tangible, and everything is too solid. Landscapes, people, places. Memories.
Peter sees glimpses of everything, and he understands nothing at all. He walks into forests and crowded places, empty spaces and quiet rooms. He looks for her behind doors that just lead to more incomprehensible places.
When he finds himself in a maze of dark corridors, he knows this is different.
When he breathes in, he can almost smell her scent. But there is nothing but empty corridors. He walks and examines. The walls are bare of any door, so he keeps on walking, until something catches his eyes.
There, at the end of that one corridor is a window, opening to a room. Even in the distance, he can tell that the room is dark. He starts to walk toward it, feeling the inexplicable urge to go turn the light on and see what is inside.
But he stops midway; his breathe suddenly gets caught in his throat, as a warm wave goes through his entire body. It isn't an actual real wave of course, but the feeling is quite dizzying. When he closes his eyes, feeling the warmth tingling under his skin and into his flesh, he can almost feel a breath on his neck.
He realizes then that he's feeling her. She has found him.
He becomes more than convinced that she's causing this when the warmth goes up several dozen of degrees in an instant, sending jolts of definite pleasure through his nerve endings, to the verge of pain, and that is one feeling he recognizes all too well. Even through tightly closed eyes, the light around him is blinding him; or maybe it's blinding him from the inside. It's hard to tell; it's incredibly hard to think, or breathe. It's like every ounce of feelings he has for her has been taken and made corporal, and he doesn't know if it's him or if it's her, but he knows that she's all around him, enclosing his entire being, smothering him.
And then he feels her. He feels her. He is now bare of all clothes and he feels her skin against his own and dear god it is way more than just skin, their bodies connected and intertwined, and yet, he has no real mass and neither has she. When he opens his 'eyes', though, he instantly drowns into hers, so bright and green and beautiful, and the bliss that has taken possession of his body becomes simply overwhelming.
There is no up, there is no down, there is just them, their real bodies still asleep in the middle of the lab, and this is a pure meeting of the minds and souls.
He doesn't need his body, because he still feels her as if she was really in his arms, the sensations too acute to be anything but real. They have no bodies and yet they move together, and he hears her sighs and rippling moans, feels her burning breathe on his skin, feels her lips on his, her tongue against his own, her curves under his palms and the shivers running under his fingers when he caresses her.
And he truly is overwhelmed by pleasure and relief and love, feeling her at such an intimate, indescribable level, after days apart. Not only from her body, but from her, simply her; and even through the swirling vibrations and earthquakes that are so deliciously fogging his mind, he knows she feels the same. He is swept away by the intensity of it all, and he cannot do anything but completely yield to the rising wave as he loses himself to her.
In the aftermath of this surreal reunion, he is left quite breathless, even though he is spared the usual physical exhaustion. He opens his eyes just in time to see her leave what definitely is a bed. By the force of her mind, she has brought them into what seems to be her bedroom. Which is interesting and most unusual; ever since they have started officially seeing each other, he has never been back to her place. It's not that she doesn't want him there, he knows that. But sometimes he gets the feeling that things went incredibly fast between them, and that some steps need to be taken more slowly.
When Olivia leaves the bed, it's as if she's gliding out of it. She stands up, her back to him, her body bare. She has never been particularly prudish in front of him in the past, but she usually always makes sure she is covered with some kind of clothing or sheet before wandering around the room.
Apparently, it doesn't matter when you are wandering about inside your own mind.
Just like everything else in this strange world, there is a slight glow around her. Her skin is almost milky white, her hair giving out a soft golden halo. She walks to the dresser, and stands there for a moment, hand on the top drawer's handle. Even though Peter only has eyes for her, he can't help but notice their surrounding, part of him still amazed by the ethereal quality of it all. It's her bedroom, and yet it's not. It's larger than her actual room, and if he looked up, he knows he would see the sky. There is an armchair that belongs to his bedroom, and some random objects he has seen in the lab. The walls aren't solid either; there is a gentle motion going on there, creating a strange, fascinating ripple, as if awaiting only a thought from her to morph again.
Mostly, he's focused on her; her face slightly turned, he can only see one side of it.
"You came for me," she said then. She sounds like the wind.
"Of course I came for you," is all he answers, his voice echoing.
She looks at him, then. When their eyes meet again, the entire room around them quivers, but doesn't change. And he reads her next reply in her eyes. Or maybe the words are being whispered in his ear by her very mind.
"You didn't come, once."
A gentle rain starts to fall. He feels it, falling on him, but there's no actual water on his body.
"You need to come back, Olivia," he says softly.
Looking more closely, he can actually see the raindrops on her silky skin, each droplet glimmering in the unnatural glow of the room. She smiles, her sad smile, and the light flickers.
"I'm not sure I want to."
His instincts are urging him to try and convince her that she has to. The very selfish part of him that cannot bear the idea of spending another minute away from her wants to tell her just that, to persuade her that he simply needs her by his side.
But Walter has warned him, before they got separated. He told him that once he found Olivia, he should not try and reason with her. She's literally prisoner of her own mind and subconscious, even if part of it is voluntary. According to Walter, there must be things here that are just holding her back. What Peter needs to do is get to her to open up.
She needs to let her demons out. And he knows it is not going to be easy.
"Why would choose to stay here?" he asks then, still sounding as if he was talking in a very large, reverberating room.
She still hasn't moved, standing naked in front of her dresser, hand on the handle. She looks like some ancient Greek Goddess- a cliché image, but oh so true. She's pure delight to his sight, awaking all his other senses.
The rain stops.
"I don't know," she says, looking away. "It hurts less here."
He looks around. One of the walls has completely disappeared now, opening up to a park. Unsurprisingly, the people evolving there don't seem to notice the sudden appearance of a bedroom in the middle of the park. Or the two naked people in it. They're all part of her mind, most of them merely blurry figures, faceless characters. Some of them are not though.
He instantly recognizes Ella, swinging farther in the distance, Rachel pushing her. There's also a woman walking a dog. She has blond hair, and seems to be between fifty and sixty years of age. Even though he has never seen a picture of her, Peter instantly knows that it's her mother. The one still alive Over There. He then notices two men walking, all the while eating hot-dogs and joking around. He recognizes Charlie and…Lincoln Lee?
His eyes go back on Olivia. She's watching them, some strange longing in her eyes, especially when she focuses on the woman and her dog.
Peter needs to make her focus on him, and her world. The one outside her head.
"Olivia, why did you take us here? In your room?"
It works. The wall reappears, though it keeps on undulating slightly, and she looks at him. "What do you mean?"
"We never go to your place. Yet, you decided to bring me here. Why?"
"Why would there be a reason?" But she's agitated. Her hair is moving faintly around her head, responding to a breeze that he doesn't feel.
"Walter said there would be a reason for everything you do or choose to display. Like the rain that was falling a minute ago."
She shakes her head slowly. "I didn't create the rain. You did."
He stares at her. She's not lying. She cannot lie here. Even the things she wants to keep from him will appear in some form of another. And yet, he doesn't understand.
"It's not possible," he says dumbly, because it is really not. "I can't shape what's in your mind."
She smiles then, the sweetest smile, and he swears to God, a ray of sunlight falls on her, making her glimmer even more beautifully. She closes her eyes, turning her smiling face to the sun, basking into the warmth.
"You were always special Peter…" she whispers then, without moving her lips, and her words curl their way under his skin, making him feel fiery all over again. But he has to concentrate.
"What's in the drawer?" He asks then, and the sun disappears, as she opens her eyes, looking at the drawer. "You've been holding on to it. What did you put in there?"
She blinks slowly, biting her lip, as if wondering if she should open it. Wondering if she should entrust him with her secrets. When she finally starts to pull it open, the light brightens once again around them.
What she pulls out of it is a simple folded piece of paper. She looks at it for a few seconds, and the room suddenly turns much colder. He's sure it's herdoing. She looks up at him, and without a single word, she blows on the paper.
It escapes her fingers and swirls gracefully in the air for a second or two, before it starts gliding down towards him. He catches it, and reads the six words written on it.
"He still has feelings for her."
He instantly understands their meaning. The room is so cold now that his body starts to shiver, and he has no doubt that both their minds are responsible for it. The sudden ache in his heart as he rereads the words over and over again makes it hard for him to breathe.
"Simon gave this to me after the fundraiser," she says softly. "And for about two weeks, I kept it in there. Every time I felt like calling you and asking for the truth, I would take this out instead."
The paper vanishes from between his fingers. He looks up at her. She's now dressed up in her usual outfit, shirt and trousers, hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. She has a drink in her hand, the other one holding the note. He recognizes that look on her face, that deeply hurt look that she displayed for so many weeks after she came back; just like it did back then, it cuts his heart open.
But she looks at him then, and smiles softly. "But we finally talked about it. And then we almost died. Again. And I decided that I had wasted enough time wondering why things had turned out this way, and that the moment had come to take a leap of faith and see what we could be instead. And you were right. It's beautiful."
He watches, transfixed, as her clothes and hair change again in front of his eyes. Her hair is down again, wild and disheveled. She's still wearing her trousers, but the shirt is his. It's too big and it falls almost to her knees; it makes her look incredibly sexy. There is a different kind of glow about her now, one that is definitely not caused by the LSD in his brain, and it is one he instantly recognizes; he has seen it so many times in the past few weeks, until all of this happened.
He knows whenthis is from, even before she confirms it. Even though her eyes are still on the paper, she smiles that giddy smile of hers.
"The morning following the night I came to you and we made love for the first time, I came home and went straight for the note. I burned it down."
The note bursts into flames then, and even though the fire brushes her fingers, she doesn't seem to feel any pain. Her smile disappears though, and so do the flames.
The paper is intact in her hand.
"It doesn't burn out anymore," she whispers.
"What changed?" He asks almost as softly, and she raises her eyes to look at him.
"I'm doubting you again."
He doesn't have to ask why. The room has morphed around them, and they are now standing in the middle of his 'secret room' in Harvard. The light coming from the data disks is harsh, almost crude. He is standing in front of her, dressed in his pea coat again. She's still in her 'morning after' outfit, looking so vulnerable and raw, the hurt back in her eyes.
"I'm sorry." He doesn't know what else he can say. He wants to cup her face in his hands and kiss every one of her freckles, beg her for forgiveness.
Please just come back,he wants to murmur in her ear.
She shrugs slightly, offering him a sad, knowing smile. "It's alright," she says, and he knows she means it. "I understand, you know. I've been stuck here for a while, and I had enough time to process it. I understand why you did it. I can even understand why you chose to lie to me. I know that sometimes, we lie because we care too much."
He cannot stop himself. He does bring his hands up to her face, and she sinks into his palm, closing her eyes. "Why are you doubting me, then?" he asks.
A few quiet seconds go by before she answers. "Because…because I'm wondering if caring about me made you lie about her too. Sometimes, I can't help but wonder if part of you still likes hermore."
It starts at the roots. It darkens. And then it spreads, incredibly fast. Her golden hair turns auburn in a matter of seconds, straightening out in the process, and when she opens her eyes again, she offers him a cocky smile.
"I was her, Peter. I know just how fun she is." And she wrinkles her nose, grinning.
But this is anything but fun, and he clenches his jaw. "Olivia, don't." He says almost forcefully, tightening his grip on her face. "You are nothing like her."
The pain that flashes in her eyes then instantly make any resemblance she could have had with her disappear, her green eyes widening. It takes a look at their new surrounding for him to understand that he has said something very wrong again.
They are now standing in the middle of what should be woods, but all the trees are dead; everything is grey, the sky dark with thunderclouds.
Damn! He swears to himself, as thunder crackles overhead, and rain starts to fall again.
He looks down at her, but she is averting her eyes, now trying to get away from his hands. Her hair is blond again, back in the ponytail. But he keeps her from going away, even though he knows she can simply choose to disappear to another corner of her mind anytime she wants.
"Olivia," he says, almost pleading, and she meets his eyes again. "What I mean is that you don't have to change into her, simply to try and…'please me'. I don't want her; I never wanted her. The only time I cared about her was when I thought I was caring about you. Please. Don't do this to yourself."
She doesn't say anything, but all around them, he can see the colors coming back, the trees starting to bloom. It's quite exalting, to be honest; it's like watching the world being painted in front of your eyes.
But mostly, his eyes are on Olivia. "Come back with me," he asks softly.
One of her hands comes up to cover his, gripping his fingers, and she looks almost desperate now. "I don't know how, Peter." She sounds scared. "I'm stuck here. I don't know how to leave."
"I do," he says softly. "Walter said that you went through so much, especially those past few months, that you buried a lot in order to keep going."
"I had to, Peter," she almost chokes, and he can't stand the pain in her voice and the tears welling in her eyes. He kisses her forehead, and she clings to his coat. "It just hurt too much."
"I know, sweetheart…" he says in her ear, and she drops her head against his chest. "But you have to face these fears now. They are keeping you trapped here. It is like you created a very thick layer with all of these memories, and we are trapped beneath this layer. You need to go back to what hurt the most in order to let us out."
She shakes her head. "I can't."
"Yes you can," he says in her hair, arms tightly wrapped around her. "I'll stay with you. You don't have to do this alone anymore. I've got you, remember?"
She lets out a watery chuckle against his chest, but doesn't raise her head.
"Just close your eyes," he whispers in her ear, closing his own eyes. "Close your eyes, and show me what hurt you."
For an endless time, nothing is happening, even though he can tell by the change in her breathing, going from hectic to slow and deep, that she is going deep into herself, and he hopes with all his heart that this isn't a mistake. But it is their only way out.
Without any warning, she vanishes from his embrace, and he loses his balance. He opens his eyes, ready to start frantically looking around for her, but he doesn't need to.
They are back inside. But there is nothing familiar about the house they're in. Again, everything feels slightly off and blurry on the edge, like an old memory. Which it obviously is. Everything is darker, eerier. But he can barely focus on what his surrounding him. His eyes are on Olivia.
She's nine years old, and she's holding a gun.
She's pointing it at the front door, her whole, tiny body shaking with fear and shock and something else, her breathing loud and terrified. There is blood on her hands, he notices. And this is the most disturbing, heartbreaking scene he has ever had to witness. He knows what is about to happen, but he knows he cannot do anything; all he will be able to do is watch. He can't help her.
Or can he?
"Whose blood is it on your hands, Olivia?" he asks in a soft voice. That's when he becomes aware of the sobs, behind him.
He turns around, and sees another little girl –Rachel. She's curled up against one of the table's legs, pressing a towel on her bloody nose.
"It's Rachel's," Olivia answers, her voice so small and shaky. "He broke her nose."
He turns back to her. "Where is your mother?" He asks then, remembering all too well the story she had told him.
"In the hospital," she whispers, eyes still on the door. He knows it won't open until she decides it. "She's sick. He came home drunk. He never beats me anymore. So he beats Rachel up when mom's not here and he manages to lock me up in a room." The doorknob turns then and she tenses, shaking almost furiously now.
And Peter cannot do anything.
Peter was right about recognizing him earlier. He opens the door, only to stop in his track when he sees her standing there with his own gun. And he literally seems to freeze, the whole scene slowing down again.
He hates himself for doing this. But he needs to make her talk.
"Why are we here, Olivia?" he asks, almost in a whisper.
She's silent for a few more frozen seconds, her frantic breathing the only sound in the room.
"That's when I lost it." She murmurs then.
But the scene unfreezes at that instant, and she pulls the trigger. The bullet pierces through the man's shoulder. Recovering incredibly fast from the pull, she loads it again, tears rolling down her cheeks, and she answers just before shooting again: "What was left of my innocence."
The second bullet, hitting him in the chest incredibly close to the heart, finally sends him to the ground. And Peter sees it firsthand.
The look. That fucking look that he knows will haunt her for the rest of her life, shadowing her every action and choice with the fear of failing again. He's daring her to finish, and she can't.
Something drops from the sky onto the floor. Then another one. Then another one, until they are practically raining down on them.
Birthday cards. All twenty-one of them.
Olivia's shoulders are shaking now, under the pressure of sobs she cannot suppress, her eyes never leaving her step-father's.
"I should have shot him a third time," she cries, sounding just as desperate and heartbroken as she looks.
"You were nine," Peter says, lost for words, because there is absolutely nothing adequate to say at that instant, but he has to. He has to. "You protected your family as best as you could. No one expect a nine-year old to shoot a grown up man dead."
To his immense surprise, her sobs abruptly stop, and her face gets colder, darker, an intense look of determination in her eyes. And when she finally turns her face to him, a shiver runs up his spine; she looks at him straight in the eyes and says:
And she turns her head back, loading and aiming the gun at her step father one last time.
And she shoots.
The sound is deafening, exploding in the air with the force of a bomb, and he closes his eyes, hands covering his ears. When he opens them again, the scene has completely changed again. Except for the fact that she's still holding a gun, now fully grown again. She holds the gun until it is knocked out of her hands by a Charlie Francis well decided on winning this fight.
But Olivia always fights back.
They struggle around the alley, and with a swipe of her legs, he falls down; she uses the opportunity to grab her gun, and she doesn't hesitate before she shoots him square in the chest, twice in a row.
He barely recoils, completely emotionless. He stares at her, still out of breath on the ground, and he raises his gun.
She shots again, hitting his shoulder and then his head. And the Shapeshifter finally falls dead, blood and mercury trickling down his forehead.
It's raining again, but it's part of her memory.
Peter watches as Olivia bends over in pain and sorrow, feeling his own heart break at the sight of her and the sounds of her dry sobs. He realizes then that the raindrops he feels on his skin are too warm, too thick. He forces himself to look away from her broken form to look down at his hands, palms up. The drops falling on him are a scarlet red, with a slight silvery tinge. He looks at her again, realizing then that he can't hear her anymore.
She's still kneeling on the ground, but she has raised her head, looking straight in front of her, bloody tears and raindrops tracing wavy lines down her cheeks. He follows her gaze.
Charlie Francis stands a little farther away from his own dead body. But this Charlie has a scar on his face, and his clothes are from another world altogether.
"Thank you for not shooting me," he says to Olivia then, and she simply stares back, despair written all over her face.
Peter walks closer to her, eventually crouching down to be leveled with her. "Why are we here, Olivia?" He asks softly. "We both know that you didn't kill Charlie. And we know that you lost your best friend that day. So what is this really about?"
She still staring at the Other Charlie when she answers in a whisper: "I didn't know he was gone."
The scene smoothly changes, and she's now kneeling in front of his grave. She holds out a hand, starting to trace the letter of his name with her finger. "I don't know when he died. I never got to say goodbye. To any of them."
They both raise their heads towards this other version of Charlie Francis. He's leaning against a tree, and there's a small smile on his lips; small but warm and comforting.
"You're gonna be fine, kiddo."
She brings a trembling hand to her face, eyes full of tears again. "Did you do that?" She breathes out, and he knows she's talking to him.
"I don't know," he answers truthfully. "Did you? Or did he?"
She meets his eyes again, and a warm breeze ruffles her hair. She closes her eyes, turning her face towards the sun again. But the sun is already gone, as everything dissolves around them once more.
Even she becomes blurry and insubstantial. When the scene becomes steady again, he understands why.
She's younger again. Thirteen, fourteen maybe.
She's standing in front of a coffee dispenser, worn eyes lost in the distance. One of her hand is still stretched out in front of her, fingers halfway through pushing a button on the machine. Her other hand is clenched to her chest; he can see a silver cross dangling from her fingers. His first intake of breathe fills his lungs with a nauseating smell, full of antiseptic and…death.
They are in a hospital.
He looks around, but the rest of the place is completely blurry and colorless, made of indistinctive shapes, as if the only thing she remembers from this moment is the coffee machine and the smell.
She looks beyond exhausted. Her young face is incredibly pale, and there are deep and dark circles under her glassy eyes. Her hair is even longer than it is as an adult, tied up in loose ponytail that has seen better days. She has seen better days.
He doesn't even have to ask the question. She knows what she needs to do.
"My mom is dying," she says. Her voice is as blank as her eyes, but he knows it's only because she's hurting too much. "And I don't mean that in a general way. She's dying now."
She finally presses one of the buttons, and the sounds the machine makes as it works is obnoxiously loud in the quiet stillness of this memory.
"See the nurse behind me? She's coming right now to let me know."Peter turns his head, and indeed, there is a woman in the distance coming their way. "I don't remember her name. She was sweet, though."
Her coffee is done, but she makes no move to pick it up, simply staring at the smoking cup.
"I haven't slept in three days, because I was afraid I would be asleep when it happened." She whispers. "I wanted to be there, holding her hand. Saying goodbye. But the nurse said I should really get something to drink or eat. We both knew it was going to happen any minute now. I left the room anyway."
The nurse has reached her, and Olivia turns toward her.
"I am so sorry sweetheart," she says quietly, and everything instantly becomes even darker and colder. "Your mom just passed away."
Without even awaiting for any kind of approval, the woman hugs Olivia. Even though she remains limp and unresponsive to the physical comfort she's offering her, her face contorts in pain.
"Please don't call me that," she whispers, and it almost sounds like a plea. She raises her eyes to look up at him. "That's what she used to call me."
It all starts to shift and change once more. He watches as she grows several inches, her hair turning red again; the woman hugging her changes completely.
It's the woman from the park. Her mother from Over There.
The room is almost painfully detailed after the blurriness of the last one. He can read the books' titles on the shelf, that's how well she remembers this.
It is recent, and so is her pain.
While she had been limp and impassive in the nurse's arms, she sinks deep into her mother's embrace, eyes closed, her face painfully distorted.
"She was just like her, Peter…" she whispers then. "She looked the same, smelled the same, felt the same…" She opens her eyes to look at him. "So I gave in. I was weak. I let her win because it was easier. It hurt less to be her."
Peter knows. He knows what it is like, to be faced with the exact replica of someone you love, physically at least; you're caring so much that you are willing to look past the obvious difference, because having this other version is better than having none at all.
"Olivia." His voice is thick with emotions that keep on building up with every new memory he witnesses. "You are not weak. Anyone in your situation would have given up long ago. She was offering you the kind of comfort you hadn't had in years. You were drugged, alone, confused and scared. There is nothing weak in letting people care for you; I've told you that before."
She closes her eyes again, pressing her lips against her mother's shoulder, as tears quietly start rolling down her cheeks.
"But I have to let her go, haven't I?"
She has spoken with her mind, and there is a sort of moaning, longing note that echoes her words, and keeps on piercing the air with melancholy for many more seconds.
This is physically hurting him, even though he doesn't even have a body, not exactly. He wishes he could just make her pain stop. He wants to give her her mother back. But as much as they have dealt with the impossible in the past, they both know this is not a possibility.
"You have to let her go," he says softly.
She nods, crying quite forcefully now, but still amazingly quietly. She kisses her mother's cheek, and stands back to look into her eyes. As he has seen it happen before, the scene seems to unfreeze, and Marilyn Dunham smiles at who she thinks is her daughter.
"This is your home, sweetheart," she tells her reassuringly, bringing a tender hand up to her face, wiping her cheek, and Olivia smiles, so heartbreakingly.
"Thank you for reminding me of what it felt like," she whispers, and she closes her eyes. "Goodbye."
As her mind works its wonder again and shift scenes, Peter wonders how many more layers of painful memories she is going to have to go through.
One thing for sure, the next one rips his heart apart just as much as the previous one.
The room they are in is small and confined, bare of all colors and furniture except for the metal bench and the chair on which Broyles sits. But it is not Broyles. It's Colonel Broyles, the man they have found torn apart in that van, when the Other Olivia escaped to the Other Side. But Peter can barely focus on him.
Olivia is kneeling on the floor in front of him, wearing nothing but a white gown. Never before has he seen her looking so small and defenseless, and he knows it has everything to do with the sheer helplessness on her face.
A face on which black doted lines have been drawn. He very well knows the meaning of those lines.
She grabs Colonel Broyles' legs, bringing her face closer to his, desperate. "Please, help me," she begs softly. "If you can get me out of here, I can get myself home."
Peter can only watch, revolted and disturbed, as she tries to convince him that her world never intended to start a war with theirs, that she only came here to save him. He watches as she begs him again, with those eyes and those words, and he is powerless, forced to just stand there as Colonel Broyles leaves the room.
He leaves her shaking and distraught, sitting on that hard, cold floor. She exchanges one last look with the other man through the window, until she closes her eyes in defeat.
"Why are we here?"
His words are barely louder than a murmur.
Things change slightly again. The room stays the same, but all over the walls, spikes start to emerge, sharp and deadly. He realizes then that the walls are also moving, coming closer together, slowly enclosing her.
"That's when I lost hope," she says in a defeated voice, and all light fades from the room then; the spikes shine eerily in the darkness, coming always closer and closer to her. She does look more hopeless than he has ever seen her. It makes him feel like he's being pierced by a thousand of those metallic thorns.
"I begged him…" she whispers in the dark, and the words echo around them. I begged him I begged him I begged him I begged him… "I begged him to spare my life. And he left me here to die."
She's about to get pierced by the spikes her mind has conjured, and even if he knows it can't possibly kill her, he cannot let this happen. So he speaks loud and clear.
"But he came back for you, Olivia. He came back and saved your life."
The walls stop moving, inches away from her, and the light comes back. She turns her face back to the window.
Colonel Broyles is standing behind it again.
"He did…" she whispers, almost in awe. "He died for me."
Window and walls vanish all together, then. He offers her a dark, solemn look, nodding at her. "In the end, I have to believe in hope. Please make this worth it."
"I will," Olivia promises, but her voice is already being washed away, swallowed in the swirl of the morphing memory.
They are back in her apartment. But it doesn't feel like some glossy dream anymore.
This is another recent memory, and everything feels almost too real. It feels wrong, incredibly wrong. If he looked around more closely, he would see that almost everything in here looks slightly singed, as if touched by a scorching hand. But Peter doesn't notice it because he's watching Olivia.
Curled up on the floor against her washing machine, she's crying into her arms. No, she's sobbing. And he knows.
He knows deep inside his suddenly inexistent guts that he is most definitely responsible for her sorrow.
She's only wearing a simple black robe, her hair wet and blond again; it's still darker than her natural color, as it was for a few weeks after she came back. But this is not a 'few week after'. This is right after, this is new and raw and unbearable, he feels it with every muffled sob coming out of her.
After a while, she starts to slowly regain control, and she raises her head, eyes red and swollen, cheeks glistening. She looks at him straight in the eyes.
"Aren't you going to ask me why we're here?" She asks then between two hiccups. "Or when this is from?"
He doesn't say anything, letting her eyes burn him.
She licks some tears from her upper lip, looking away, before briefly pressing her lips together. And then she says: "It's about…ten hours after you told me about you and her."
He wants to ask her to stop. He doesn't need to hear it; seeing her cry like this is more than enough. But why would he spare himself now, when has asked her so many times to pour herself out to him? Something Walter told a few years ago echoes in his mind, then.
"Are you presumptuous to believe her only when she says what you want to hear?"
Is he? Is he also presumptuous to witness her worst heartbreaks and let her talk about them only when he hasn't caused them?
And so he lets her speak, just like he has let her speak that night in the garden.
"It's funny, you know," she says in a quiet voice. She's still not looking at him, and there is absolutely nothing funny about her broken demeanor. "I actually woke up smiling that morning. It really doesn't happen often. But I was back. I was home. I was alive. And I admit that I was thinking about you. For reasons I didn't understand yet, you had been avoiding visiting me, preferring short and shallow phone conversations instead. So I was quite giddy just knowing I would see you soon." She finally looks at him and shrugs slightly, smiling almost apologetically as quiet tears roll down her cheeks again. "I had missed you."
It starts to rain gently again, but none of them really care. She distractingly wipes her cheeks off, which is a little futile since both her eyes and the sky over head keep on leaking.
"I guess when you told me the truth, I spent most of the day in denial. It was bad, really bad, actually, but I thought 'Alright, so what, they went on a couple of dates, kissed maybe?' I had kissed Frank Over There, after all. But then I came home and…" She shakes her head, doing that thing with her mouth she only does when she's particularly upset, looking around. "She was everywhere, on everything."
That is when Peter takes in the slightly burnt marks on her furniture and possessions. Her mark.
"And then I found your M.I.T. shirt in the washing machine." She holds out the shirt, which has mostly turned black. "That's when I realized just how involved you two actually were, and I felt like such a fool." Her voice cracks on the last word as she drops the shirt, hiding her face from him again.
"Olivia," he almost chokes. "I'm so so-"
"Don't," she cuts him off, shaking her head, looking back at him, wiping her cheeks. "Don't apologize. I'm not telling you this to make you feel guilty all over again. I'm just being honest, because it's what this is all about right? I'm being honest, just like I was when I told you you had saved my life. I was foolishly honest, that's for sure, but I still mean it, you know."
She offers him the slightest smile. "Even if it was all in my head, even if it wasn't really you…I don't think my mind chose you simply because I was in love. It chose you because for the last two years, you had always been the one here for me, to get me out of all those weird and messed up situations. You had proven yourself worthy of my trust long ago, worthy of my life, even. You were my constant."
They simply stare at each other; it has stopped raining. She chuckles softly then and says: "Actually, you look exactly like the projection of you I kept seeing. Pea coat and all. He had more of a cheeky smile, though. But he was a real pain in the ass, always telling me that I had to go home. So who knows? Maybe I'm just hallucinating again."
She smiling sadly, but there is something in the way she says it that tells him she wouldn't even be surprised if he turned to be just that –a hallucination.
"I am real, Olivia," he says softly but firmly. "As real as my consciousness invading yours can be."
She shrugs again, and whispers: "Real is just a matter of perception."
He doesn't know what he can add to that. How do you even prove that you are not just a figment of someone's imagination, anyway?
"I mean, really," she continues, eyes lost in the distance. "We all perceive what we want to see, and we make it so it works for the best for us…or for the worst, if we're feeling particularly pessimistic. Look at what my mind has been displaying, or at that rain you keep on making fall every time I strike a nerve." She meets his eyes again. "To you, she was me, because that is what you wanted to see. And to me, this moment is worse than your actual revelation, because that's when I realized that she hadn't only taken away everything I had hoped we would be; she had also taken you away, my partner, my best friend. You weren't just mine anymore."
Through her last monologue, Peter has come closer to her, now standing just above her. He's holding out his hand for her to take. He is done just letting her talk.
She barely hesitates before she slides a hand into his, and he intertwines their fingers, helping her up. She comes flush against him, faces millimeters apart, and he can see every detail in that incredible shade of green in her eyes, the shape of each tear still glistening on her cheeks.
He lets go of her hand to cup her cheeks again. He kisses her face, then, and his touch his incredibly tender in comparison to the throbbing ache he feels in his heart at the simple sight of her, at the thought of every word she said, of every painful moment he has witnessed. He kisses her face and feels her fingers on his forearms, digging into his flesh, holding on tight. He moves his mouth to her ear.
"I'm still all yours, Olivia…" he whispers. "Because I belong to you."
Funny how changing one simple word can make all the difference. He feels more warm tears sliding down against his fingers, and he opens his eyes.
At some point, the scene has changed again, and he isn't surprised at all by where they are now standing, or by the fact that her hair is red again. She hasn't done it trying to look more like her; her hair is red because that was her color that night Over There when she had uttered those similar words.
They are in the apartment that would have been his if he had stayed There. But he could never have stayed There. They are standing exactly where they were a year ago, wearing the exact same clothes.
She even has the same desperation in her eyes.
"Why are we here, 'Livia?" he whispers, and once again, one of her hand comes up to covers his on her cheek.
She smiles her saddest smile, briefly averting her eyes, before meeting his gaze again, and she whispers:
"That's when I lost you."
All he can do is offer her his most confused look, his heart thumping painfully loudly beneath his chest. "You didn't lose me."
She nods. "I did, Peter."
And those tears that keep on rolling down her face, burning his flesh, and none of them is surprised at all when it starts raining yet again. Because she was right, of course.
The rain is a mere projection of his bleeding heart, and it falls on them, warm and soft and unreal.
She's the only thing real to him.
"I didn't lose you that day on the bridge, when you realized you weren't from my world and that we had lied to you," she says in a whisper. "I didn't lose you when you followed your biological father Over There. I lost you when I asked you to come back for me, and you did. But I didn't. She did."
He sincerely doesn't know if he wants to cry himself, or moan in frustration.
He stares hard into her eyes, tightening his grip on her face. "You are so incredibly stubborn, Olivia," he almost growls, desperate to make her see what is in his heart. "What do I have to do or say to prove that I mean it when I say that you are the only one who matters to me? That you are the only one I love, the only one I would give up my world for? My life for?"
It starts with the hair, of course. Slowly, it lightens again, going back that that beautiful golden glow. Briefly looking away from her glittering eyes, he takes in what he knows will be their last scenery.
They are standing in the middle of a wide field, and for what seems to be miles around, the ground is covered with white tulips. Each and every one of them shimmers intensely into the night, a light so pure and delicate that he forgets to breathe for a moment. That is until his eyes go back to Olivia, and his heart literally stops.
The dress she is now wearing seems to be made of the softest of silk, and it glows with the same ethereal glimmer as the flowers beneath their feet, enveloping her entire being in a glistening aura.
The breeze that he feels on his skin is ruffling her hair and the soft fabric of her dress, making them float around her in a quiet ballet. She is looking around too, her breath just as taken away.
This feels different. It's as if it isn't just part of a dream, but also part of some distant memory.
It starts to snow, then, and they watch, amazed, as the flakes gently swirls from the sky, landing onto her ivory skin and golden hair.
"Did you imagine that?" he asks softly. It's a bit of a ludicrous question, since they are still obviously in her mind, but it just feels like the right thing to ask.
She smiles her most beautiful smile, then, and it is her turn to cup his face in her hands. "I think we both did," she says.
Whatever this place is, it seems to have appeased her, somehow. Maybe it's the purity of it all, soothing her deepest wounds. Or maybe this place holds a power on them that goes beyond their understanding. They don't need to understand.
They simply need to feel it, perceive it, and make it real.
They both know that there is one last thing she needs to do.
She brings a hand down to his shirt, and pulls the note out from one of his pockets. She stares at it for a moment, as if wondering if she should try and set it alight again. And he knows exactly what is going through her mind. Ironically.
What if the paper refuses to burn down again?
He brushes her chin with his finger so she would look up at him again, and she does, hair still slowly swirling around her.
"Don't worry," he says softly. "If you can't burn it down, let the wind carry it away."
She smiles, looking down at the note again. And then, she extends her hand and open her fingers, letting the paper get caught by the next breeze.
For a moment, they both watch as it twirls and glides away, getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller…
He brings his hands up to her face one last time, leaning his forehead against hers, and staring deep into her eyes, he whispers against her lips:
"Take us home."
And she does just that.
A/N: You would really make the hours and hours I spent on this baby even more worth it if you let me know what you thought of it :)) Reviews are like LSD, literally.