The Man of Her Dreams

Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Fringe, just the thoughts in my head.

Rating: K+ (very mild suggestive situations)

Summary: She'd conjured a man out of thin air...

Spoilers: Post-ep to Subject 9

Author's Notes: Well, this is officially the shortest thing I've ever written in the 10 or so years I've been writing fanfic. I hope it still packs a punch. I think this also might be the first post-ep I've even managed to post before the next episode aired, thanks to the World Series. I've loved season 4 so far and relish the idea of re-writing their history with shades of the previous timeline, so here's my best effort so far.

Thanks, as always, to my best friend and eagle-eyed beta, Joy. It's a lot easier to edit when they're short, huh?

There was no way in hell she was getting any sleep tonight.

Special Agent Olivia Dunham blew out a sigh as she dug herself deeper into her pillow, staring blearily at her alarm clock as time blinked forward another minute to 3:03. The digital numbers cast a cool blue against the heavy gloom of her bedroom, a nightlight for darkness in her mind.

After three years with Fringe Division, investigating the worst horrors imaginable, Olivia had long since vanquished any monsters that may have lurked under her bed. She'd had to if she were ever to get a decent night's rest. Tonight, however, it wasn't the latest monster keeping her up, her heart thudding in her chest. It was a man, a man she'd never truly believed existed.

'I've been seeing him in my dreams for the past three weeks.'

That was a bit of an understatement.

Every time she closed her eyes, he was there, his dark gaze boring into her with a breathless intensity. He'd come to her each night for weeks, strong arms and wandering hands, soft voice whispering words that scattered on the breeze of waking, no matter how tightly she clung to them. She'd welcomed him immediately, her body open, mind willing, wrapping herself in his warmth and filling the gaping hole that plagued her soul, if only for a few hours.

Then, of course, she would wake, the heavy doors of her mind slamming shut, sealing off the vacuum within. Only his face would remain and she'd feel ridiculous in the unforgiving light of day. She had been alone a long time and didn't need an imaginary friend to get her through the night.

But, under the veil of Morpheus' cloak, he was so much more than a friend and now, he was no longer imaginary. He was very real and currently under FBI guard at Mass General.

"Who the hell is this guy?" The words rushed out on a breath, falling flat in the early morning silence.

Rolling onto her back, Olivia propped herself up against her pillows and stared at the foot of her bed. She could almost see the glimmer, the swirling mass of blue that had scorched her with its touch the same way this stranger had burned her with his words.

'Olivia, thank God you're here.'

The sharp tug deep within her chest in answer to the hint of his smile had dragged the breath right out of her. She couldn't explain it, but her heart recognized him even though her mind was drawing a complete blank.


Still, Olivia could feel the pull even now, an all-consuming need to just see him again, and she knew that closing her eyes wouldn't do the trick anymore. Letting her eyelids slip shut only brought confusing flashes of tulips and snow and a sense of homecoming that just left her hollow and desperate.

Olivia sat up sharply, eyes wide, forcing herself back into the present, into the world she could see and touch and explain, willing the analytical side of her mind to kick in and treat this like just another case. The problem was that it could never be just another case.

She'd conjured a man out of thin air.

At least that's what it felt like. Maybe Cameron was right. Maybe, somehow, she'd brought this upon herself, but how and, more importantly, why?

'Do you ever think that maybe your type doesn't exist?'

Astrid's joke a few weeks ago held more meaning than Olivia would care to admit. Was this man, this stranger who was at once so foreign and familiar, here because of her? Walter likely wouldn't agree, seeing as he'd also been haunted by his image. However, Olivia couldn't help but feel responsible. Standing there, in that field, staring up into the swirling light of his face, her heart had been just a little more whole, a little less broken and she hadn't wanted to give that up.

They'd been drowning, both of them lost in a storm she didn't understand, a storm she was starting to believe she'd created. He'd held her steady as she'd pulled him from the fray. In that fleeting moment of crushing intensity, their unlikely connection had surged before Olivia had felt it tearing, rending apart under the force of Cameron's will. A sickening cold had seeped in to fill the void and everything within her had rebelled; she couldn't let go, she wouldn't, even though she still had no explanation for it.

'You acted against all reasonable agreements and expectations. You behaved irrationally with regard to only your intuition and instincts.'

Maybe she really was crazy

Olivia didn't feel crazy, however; she felt frustrated, like the missing piece, the keystone that would make all of this make sense, was just out of her reach. For the first time since she'd been sucked into this job, this life, trying to hold the universe together, Olivia felt like she might finally get some of the answers she so desperately sought. She just didn't know where to start.

'You belong with me.'

The words came unbidden and hit her like a solid left hook, the aftershocks rippling through her brain as she clumsily tried to divine their origins. She could feel them on her lips and they tasted good, right, like she'd said them before, like a half-remembered dream she hadn't wanted to wake up from.

Closing her eyes, Olivia forced herself to let go of her frustration, and the words washed over her, drawing his singular image from the maelstrom of thoughts that had plagued her all night. Everything else fell away and the storm finally stopped. In the stillness of his presence, she found strength and a tiny flicker of hope.

It didn't make sense, it wasn't rational, but it felt right and, at the moment, that was all she needed. The realisation left her with an unexpected lassitude and Olivia welcomed the reprieve, her body sinking deeper into her mattress, ready to take whatever rest she could. There would be no dreams, but he'd be there when she woke and together, they'd find whatever it was they were looking for.