Spoilers: Spoilers through the end of Season 3.
Disclaimer: I don't own Fringe or its characters.
Author's note: Written for Kink Bingo. Prompt: phonesex/epistolary. Much thanks to crazylittleelf for the beta.
"What are you wearing?"
Olivia grinned as she pushed the door open with her hip. "Really, Peter?" She flipped on the lights, dropping her suitcase in front of the bed as she surveyed the hotel room. Bland colors, inoffensive prints on the walls, sturdy but unremarkable furniture. Functional, but impersonal. Lonely. She bit back a sigh. Fourteen months dating her partner and she'd lost her taste for solo investigations. Not that she was solo on this one, not really, but it wasn't the same. "How's the knee?"
"Still hurts like hell." She heard him shift and mutter a curse under his breath. "Walter keeps trying to be helpful. And he's hovering. It's driving me crazy."
"Consider it incentive to get better quickly." She toed off her shoes and settled onto the couch, putting her phone on speaker and setting it on the cushion beside her. For a moment she sat, her eyes closed, then took a deep breath and pulled files from her briefcase to go through her notes once more. There had to be a connection between the victims; if she stared at her notes long enough she could figure out what she had missed.
"Backup team treating you right?" Peter asked as she was organizing the pile of files on her lap.
She tilted her head, considering. "Brandon's not bad, but excited and excitable. Worse than Walter." He'd practically bounced at being in the field, delighted to take a break from his extravagantly-funded lab to do what he called 'back to basics science'. "Agent Jessup is good, though. Competent." And thorough, and eager. Best and brightest of the FBI, everything Olivia should have wanted in a subordinate. She sat back, studying the flower print over the bed as she tapped a finger against the top file. After a moment, she cleared her throat and added, "She's not you, though. No more jumping off buildings while chasing after suspects, okay?"
"I'll leave that to the expert." Amusement warmed his voice, and she could picture the knowing grin that probably accompanied it. Snorting, she shook her head and bent over her notes.
"So what are you wearing?" he repeated coaxingly.
She blinked. "Back to that?"
"If I don't distract you, you'll bury yourself in those files all night."
"Are you saying I work too much?" Raising her eyebrows, she dragged her attention away from said files and gave the phone a crooked grin.
He chuckled. "I'm saying you're you and sometimes you need to be reminded to take a break."
"And besides, you want to be distracted from Walter?"
She glanced at her notes and bit her lip. She wasn't getting anywhere; a short break might do some good. "Fine, then," she said, closing the file and putting the stack on the side table. "Grey suit. Black shirt. You know, the outfit you saw me put on fifteen hours ago."
"You might have changed."
"Into some sexy number just in case you wanted to proposition me by phone?"
"Hey, don't knock the suits."
She ran a hand down her jacket, amused at his defense of her working attire. "They just scream sex kitten."
"Less kitten and more panther. Sleek and purposeful, powerful. Of course, if I was there, I'd be getting you out of it right about now. Lips on that skin bared by the deep vee of your shirt, hands under the hem and working their way up your back."
She grinned. "If you were here you'd be sitting beside me on the couch going through files."
"But I'd be wanting to get you out of the suit."
"Because it's the thought that counts?"
"And that's what I'm always thinking."
She laughed outright at that, sitting back and tucking her legs underneath her. "Always? Even in the middle of all the guts and gore and just plain weird?"
"And bodily fluids. Don't forget the bodily fluids. And yes, Agent Dunham, always." His voice went low and throaty on the last. "Hell, with our history, guts, gore, and weird is practically a date."
She licked her lips and toyed with the edge of her shirt, rubbing her thumb against the seam. "So you want me, in the suit, in, what, the lab? Walter might object."
"Walter would make us a gift basket."
"Another one?" As Peter groaned, she added, "The body temperature chocolate sauce was a nice touch last time."
"And again, images I want to dig out of my brain," he complained, his voice muffled, she bet, from scrubbing his hand over his face. She hid her mouth with her hand to muffle her laugh. "How did Walter get into this, anyway? I'm trying to seduce my girlfriend."
"Is that what this is?"
"If you have to ask, I must be losing my touch."
"Maybe you need more practice."
"Hmm. Want to help? I can make it worth your time."
"I can be persuaded." She dropped her head to the back of the couch, staring at the ceiling through half-lidded eyes. The banter was both comfortable and comforting, and she relaxed, really relaxed, for the first time since Broyles' phone call woke her. "Might not be easy, though."
"I like a challenge."
"I'm counting on it."
His laughter turned into a yelp, and she jerked upright to stare at her phone. She heard a clatter as his phone hit a solid surface—the rug, if she had to guess—and more swearing laced with pain.
"Peter?" she asked, her mouth dry, even though she knew he couldn't hear her. She closed her eyes, remembering a few days ago: the shout of pain abruptly cut off, the burst of speed as she rounded the corner to see Peter sprawled on the ground, everything freezing until he opened his eyes. This time the annoyance in his voice had outweighed the pain and there were indistinct swears instead of silence, but she dug her fingers into the cushions as she waited for him to come back on the line.
An eternity later, he grumbled, "Damned knee," then added, ruefully, "Sorry about that."
She swallowed and opened her eyes, tracing the stitching of the bedspread with her eyes. "Tried to do something you shouldn't?"
"Forgot that bending the knee is a bad thing."
She realized her fingers were still digging into the cushions, and she unclenched them, running her fingertips back and forth over the brocade. "Maybe I do too good a job distracting you."
"No such thing."
"You say that now. Just wait until…" she trailed off, her eyes drawn back to the files. She stiffened again, every part of her coming to attention as she reached for her notes. "Tried to do something you shouldn't," she repeated as she scanned through her observations from speaking with the victim's families.
"You got something."
She nodded. "All three of them saw doctors in the last three months. Ellery Madison was in the emergency room after a car accident, Mary Doyle delivered a child, and Jessica Thurmond went to see an endocrinologist about thyroid issues."
"True. But get this: according to their families, all of them eventually went against the advice of their doctors." She flipped through her notes of the interviews. "I should have caught this earlier. Madison was supposed to go to the doctor for a follow-up visit, but he canceled at the last minute because of a meeting and never rescheduled. Doyle's doctor wanted to keep her daughter another day for observation, but Doyle pulled some strings to get her home early. Thurmond put off further tests until after her vacation; she didn't want to know one way or the other until later."
"And you think that pissed someone off?"
"Maybe. I don't know yet." Her gut told her this was the right connection, even if she couldn't see the whole pattern yet. She chewed her lip. She needed evidence to back up her instincts. "Peter, I—"
"Go. Give someone else the thrill of being pulled out of bed for a change."
"I hate to deny you the pleasure," she said, already slipping back into her shoes.
"You can make it up to me after you catch the bastard."
"I'll wear the suit." With a fierce grin, she pushed open the door and strode down the hall, rapping first on Jessup's door, then on Brandon's.
"I look forward to getting you out of it."
"It's a date."