A/N: As promised, I'm posting the rest of this story today :) Thank you so much to those of you who reviewed, it was much appreciated! Thank you to my quiet readers as well, there were quite a lot of you, I hope you've stayed tuned for part 2 :D

You may have noticed that this is rated M. You know what that means, though it's safe to say it's a soft M. If I could, I would rate it 'S', like the latest episode was, but you'll see what I mean ;)

Enjoy, I hope!


FALLEN WARRIOR


PART 2/2


All traces of a smile have gone from Olivia's face by the time they enter his house and they take off their coats. He takes hers and drops it with his on the couch; when he turns around, his movements freeze again as he stares at her, a painful lump already forming at the base of his throat.

Without the cover of her coat, her blood-stained shirt is fully visible again, and she's staring at the sleeves, her face drained of all color.

"You know, I've come to term with the fact that killing people is part of my job," she says then after a very long minute of silence. Her voice is low, as if she's hoping it would conceal the tremors in her words. "I know that pulling the trigger save other people's lives, along with mine. And I know that most of these people deserved it, though it doesn't exactly make it excusable, to be honest. But it's part of the job. This, though…" She has turned her trembling hands over, palms up, staring at the blood, her face constricted with pain as she shakes her head. "What kind of freak makes someone blow up with the force of their mind?"

The lump has turned into a rock, now, the ache in his heart too familiar, and he instinctively starts walking slowly towards her. "Olivia…" he calls her name softly, and she raises her head, as if just remembering now that he was in the room.

When their eyes meet, hers filled with tears, her nostrils flare, and she shakes her head again. "I was doing fine without this, Peter," she whispers. "In some ways, I can see a few advantages in being able to cross over, or diffuse bombs with my mind, but killing people? Like this?" She's shaking her head again, her eyes wild and her breathing shallow, not really looking at him anymore. "There will never be anything 'extraordinary' in being able to do this kind of thing."

He has reached her now, his heart beating painfully fast within his ribcage, filled with a well-known and unbearable feeling of hopelessness that has taken hold of him on more than one occasion. He wishes he could make her see what he sees, make her see beyond her stubborn insecurities so that she would realize that what is extraordinary about her is not the abilities the Cortexiphan in her brain has given her.

"These abilities don't define you, Olivia," he tells her softly, and again, she looks too small and hurt, standing there before him with all her defenses down, glistening green eyes almost pleading him.

He cannot help himself. His hand comes up, his fingers brushing the skin of her uninjured cheek, not quite cupping it in his palm, not daring to cross that line; he knows it is a dangerous game he's playing. He pushes one of the long strands of hair that have escaped from her messy bun, tucking it behind her ear, another familiar gesture to him.

"What you did today…it was independent of your control." He reassures her in a quiet voice. "Your body protected itself. You and I both know you would never do this consciously, and the fact that you care so much, when you're the one who's been so hurt…this is what makes you extraordinary."

The moment is suspended, their faces closer than he remembers them being a second ago, his fingertips now resting on her jaw, and her eyes are swallowing him whole.

"Peter…" she breathes out, and she's so close that he feels the rush of his own name on his lips.

She's too close.

He pulls away, almost abruptly, taking a step back as his hand falls back at his side. "We really should take care of that wound."

Olivia barely seems to register his words, her gaze distant and blurry again, as if lost somewhere.

"I'll go get the kit," he says, thought he doesn't move right away, staring at her, once more filled with too many conflicting feelings.

She seems to snap out of it, then, meeting his eyes and offering him one of her famous fake smiles. "Right," she nods her head, staring at him without blinking.

He almost runs up the stairs. On his way to the bathroom, he mentally reprimands himself sternly for his behavior, even though his pounding heart makes it hard for him to refocus really efficiently. He keeps his attention fixed on what needs to be done, now, getting all the supplies he needs from the cupboard over the sink, whatever he can use to clean her face and tend her cut.

Arms full, he turns to leave the room, and is more than a little startled when he realizes Olivia is standing right there in the doorway.

After swearing very elegantly and spilling quite a good amount of warm water all over himself, his heart racing again, he instantly notices that Olivia has hardly reacted to his surprise, once again looking like she's neither here nor there. He's starting to honestly worry about her. She has fallen a few times during her fight against Jones and his Shapeshifters, maybe she's got a concussion he wasn't aware of.

It is also possible that it has nothing to do with physical distress at all, but he's stubbornly ignoring the nudging feeling in his guts.

"Olivia?" He calls her out softly, not wanting to startle her.

She blinks, twice, and meets his eyes, instantly smiling softly, even though her whole demeanor is still tinted with sadness. "I was wondering if I could borrow one of your shirts."

"One of my…" he shakes his head, as if it could help him shake off his renewed and aggravating confusion. "Sorry?"

The smile is gone, and she has averted her eyes again. "I'm just…I would really like to change into something that isn't soaked with blood…"

Of course. Shirt. Blood. He's starting to question if he isn't the one with a concussion.

"Sure," he says, his voice a bit hoarse, putting his supplies back down onto the sink. "I'll get you something."

He passes her in the doorway and walks to his room. This time, he's acutely aware of the fact that she's following him in there, and to say that his nerves are raw would be a bit of an understatement. He makes a point not to look at her as he walks into the room and to his dresser, swiftly opening a drawer to pull out a shirt. He takes his time, though, giving himself the illusion that if he appears calm and composed, he would actually get a grip on himself. But Olivia seems decided on giving him mini-strokes tonight.

When he turns around once more, shirt in his hands, Olivia is already undressing.

Needless to say he could have dropped the shirt at the sight, if his fingers hadn't instinctively clenched around the fabric. Unsurprisingly, Olivia doesn't even seem fully aware of the fact that he's in the room with her while she's unbuttoning what's left of her buttons, her eyes slowly travelling over the walls, as if taking them in. Peter stares, watching as more and more of her pale skin appears between the hems of her shirt, revealing what is undoubtedly a black bra. He knows he needs to turn around and avert his eyes, but it's incredibly hard to do anything but look.

And it's ridiculous, really. He's seen her doing this very thing more times than he can remember, long before he had become the one taking each piece of clothing off of her. He has seen her without any clothes at all, felt her naked skin against his own in this very place, watched it turn from pale to rosy under his touch…and it is exactly why the sight of her undressing is suddenly so mesmerizing.

He misses her, in every way someone can be missed, and this is excruciating.

She's done with the last button and has started getting the whole thing off her by the time Peter snaps out of his own trance and swiftly spins around, cursing himself in several languages. Swallowing with some difficulty, he holds out the shirt behind him.

"Here," he tells her, and his voice is definitely hoarse now. He stands there with his arm held out for the longest time; he's starting to wonder if he's going to have to look at her again when he feels the shirt slip from his fingers, pulled by another hand. He makes himself count to a hundred before he allows himself a peak, facing her again when he sees it's safe.

She has actually sat down on the edge of his bed, her hair now falling freely over her shoulder and back, the blond matted with dark patches. His pale blue shirt is too big for her, revealing more of her collarbone than should be allowed, and her hands are still mostly buried inside the long sleeves, as they rest on her laps. It always looks too big on her, he thinks briefly, unable to shake away this other, intense déjà vu.

But his concern for her takes over any other inappropriate thought, taking in her slightly shivering form and the heartbreaking expression on her face as she keeps on staring in the distance. It's becoming obvious that she's experiencing some kind of aftershock, and he wonders briefly if he should call Walter and ask him if the extensive use of her abilities today could be responsible for her state. The idea falls flat when he remembers that the old man is still heavily sedated for the rest of the night. It could also very well be the realization of what Nina has done to her finally hitting her.

He approaches her slowly, and speaks to her in a gentle voice he usually uses with Walter. "Do you want to go back downstairs to take care of your wound?"

She raises her eyes. And simply stares. She's staring at him as if doing it will offer her some kind of answer. All it manages to do on his side is to cause more shivers to travel under his skin.

"Olivia?" He calls her out softly again, his heart back to beating too loudly against his ears.

She eventually shakes her head, still refusing to blink. "Here's fine," she says in a murmur.

Here's really not fine, is what Peter instantly thinks.

Olivia is sitting on his bed, wearing one of his shirts, apparently decided on bearing into his soul with the simple force of her eyes. This is more than a feeling of déjà-vu; it has happened before.

For what feels like the thousandth time of the hour, he forces himself to move. Moving is good. Moving is less confusing than spending the rest of the night holding her gaze, letting the strangest kind of emotion slowly fill his every cell.

"I'll be right back," he mutters as he escapes the room, breaking free from the emerald prison she was trapping him into.

He's vaguely aware of the fact that his own hands are shaking faintly has a picks up the supplies from the bathroom, and he makes himself take a few deep breaths, eyes closed, as he gets more warm water. Ignoring the relentless and nudging feeling in his guts telling him that he knows exactly what might be happening here is becoming harder by the minute. But he is fighting a good fight.

All of his fine efforts almost shatter completely when he makes it back to the bedroom.

Olivia hasn't moved from the bed, but she has moved slightly. Her right hand has come up, fist closed around the hem of the sleeve; her wrist pressed against her good cheek, she has buried her nose into the fabric. Eyes still opened, her face is now distorted with an intense expression of pain, as she slowly breathes in.

Except that she's not breathing in, he corrects himself as he stands there, swallowing a bit convulsively. There is absolutely no reasons whatsoever why this Olivia should now be breathing in the scent of his shirt with that kind of look on her face. Instead, it is safer to assume that she has reached that point when it's becoming too hard for her to contain the pain of what she's been through today, and she's doing her best not to break down.

Slightly comforted by his own explanation, Peter sets himself into motion again, walking into the room and sitting next to her on the bed, putting the supplies down as well. As he had hoped, the movements cause Olivia to refocus again. She turns her head towards him, and when he briefly raises his eyes from what he's doing, getting some antiseptic on a piece of cotton, he's not surprised to notice that her eyes have welled up with tears. He forces his eyes back down, though, because the sight of her tears is one of his greatest weaknesses.

He has to look at her in order to work on that cut, though, but he keeps his eyes fixed on the bloody gash as he brings his hands to her face, the pads of his fingers sinking lightly into the skin of her jaw, gently changing the angle. "It might sting a bit," he warns her before he starts cleaning up the wound.

She does tense a little every time he touches the raw flesh, but once again, she seems more at ease than she should be, sitting so close to him with both his hands on her face.

He works quietly, concentrating solely on cleaning the cut as neatly and painlessly as possible. He finds the silence somewhat soothing, a feeling he appreciates after the few head rushes he has experienced tonight.

He's about ready to start stitching the skin back together when Olivia speaks, in a soft whisper:

"You're good at that."

Another memory instantly flashes in his mind, fleetingly remembering her sitting in a hospital bed; she had looked quite battered up then, too. He had been telling her about how his mother had taught him that he should always take care of the people he cared about.

Olivia had said these words to him one other time.

"Na einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toy."

Be a better man than your father.

That phrase had always held such a special meaning between him and his mother, and in more than one way, it had also weaved itself in his relationship with Olivia. She had come back from the dead to tell him these words. And when all of his illusions had shattered, when he had found himself tricked and conned, that phrase had been his way of knowing for sure that the Olivia standing in front of him in that Northwestern shirt wasn't his Olivia.

Olivia had asked him once, in the dark of night, as they'd laid spent a sated in her bed. She had asked him, almost casually, how he had finally realized her Alternate wasn't who he thought she was.

"Na einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toy..." he had eventually whispered against the back of her neck. "She had no idea what it meant…"

She had turned around in his arms to face him, then, hearing the self-loathing in his quiet words, and feeling it in the way his body had tensed around hers. She had never asked him to stop beating himself up for his mistakes, and never would, even though he knew she wanted him to; she knew that to him, time might be the only thing that would ever exempt him of his sins.

She had rested her head close to his on their shared pillow, bringing a hand up to thread her fingers through his slightly damp hair. And even in the darkness of her room, he had read in her eyes that she remembered exactly when they had exchanged these words, and she remembered their meaning perfectly as well.

It was with the softest of smiles on her lips that she had brought her face to his, gently nuzzling his nose with hers, before murmuring against his lips:

"Well, I still think you're good at that."

And Peter had known right then that never again would he be fooled, because Olivia, this Olivia, she was the only one who knew his heart.

Right now, sitting next to her on his bed, he does his best to push the memories away, fighting to remain in control of his emotions; he focuses back on the needle he's holding between his fingers, deciding that in this place and at this time, Olivia has simply whispered these words because of the way he's carefully tending her wound.

It really doesn't have to hold any deeper meaning.

"I lived with Walter for three years," he eventually says in a low voice, slowly starting to stitch, once he's made sure his fingers aren't trembling. "In more than one way, it's like being the parent of a very daring and careless child. A child who knows how to make LSD. I learned the hard way."

He actually feels her smile softly, the skin of her face stretching under his fingers. "I guess we had the same child," she tells him, just as quietly. "I had to stitch him up quite a few times, too, these past few years. He's been so much better since you've come back, though."

Silence falls back, then, and it feels thicker than it had been a minute ago. If possible. Peter is so lost in his thoughts that he doesn't even notice Olivia's odd choice of words.

It's always almost physically painful to him, to think about everything that has changed here, due to his lack of existence, despite the obvious similarities. But he has seen the way Olivia and Walter are together, now, and he would be lying if he said he didn't love to watch how patient and caring Olivia is around his father.

Around Walter, he corrects himself.

Before long, he's done with the stitching. He doesn't let go of her face, though. Instead, he picks up a piece of cloth, soaking it into the warm water. Still in silence, he then slowly and gently starts cleaning the remaining traces of grime and blood off her face, and she lets him proceed without any objection.

Once again, Olivia is the one who speaks next. "It was different the last time, wasn't it?" She's keeping her voice low, barely above a whisper, as if to preserve the quietude surrounding them.

He's working on the line of her jaw, now. He had never been able to study her face this close before; she has the exact same freckles, the same little scars. "What was?" He asks, even though he's almost sure he knows what she's referring to.

She's quiet for another long minute, but eventually, she answers. "Jones." There is another pause, and then she adds: "Nina."

Even whispered, the name quivers slightly as she says it, causing another painful squeeze within his chest. But he doesn't move his eyes up to hers, keeping his fingers and gaze on the soft skin of her face.

"Yes," he confirms. "And…no. Things were just…different."

When she speaks again, an endless moment later, her voice is barely audible. It sounds faraway, as if her mind has started to drift away once more. He had expected her to ask about these differences.

She doesn't.

"I wonder which one is worse," she says instead. "Betrayal from a lover, or from a mother."

At first, he is too distracted by the sharp pain he hears in her voice to realize what she has said right away. When he does, though, his movements finally stop, wet cloth stilling against her skin. He knows she's talking about Nina, but which 'lover' is she referencing to?

He finally brings his gaze up, his heart now back to trying to beat its way out of his throat. Her eyes have welled up with tears again, and her mind does seem to have gone somewhere far from here.

"I thought John's deception was the worst…but I don't know anymore…" she murmurs. "Maybe I was better off being completely motherless."

Peter is frozen, his frantic heartbeats affecting his breathing, now, as he tries to make sense of what she's saying. His bewilderment only worsens when he suddenly realizes what she has said, a minute ago.

"It was different the last time, wasn't it?"

She hadn't asked if it had been different in his timeline, where he came from. She had asked him to confirm something she seems to know on some level, something that had happened to her before.

"He's been so much better since you've come back, though."

Since you've come back.

He's shivering again, he can tell that much, as the thought goes through him, and overwhelms him. She can feel his tremors, his fingers still on her face.

"John didn't betray you here," he says then, and his voice is more than slightly throaty.

He knows that for a fact. He has hacked into the FBI's files months ago, when he had wanted to catch up with what had or hadn't happened in this timeline. He remembers having to deal with a bunch of conflicting feelings upon reading that John Scott had died from the disease Walter had stopped the first time around, meaning that to Olivia, her lover had died clean, as a victim, never as a traitor.

What he is feeling now is so much more than just a few conflicting feelings. He is bewildered. There is no way Olivia can know about John's betrayal; he has never written anything about it in his debrief, and they had never even mentioned John's name before tonight.

And yet, Olivia knows.

She moves then, her face turning in his hands until she's facing him, and his labored breathing briefly stops as he locks eyes with her.

"No, he didn't. Not here," she says softly. "But he did in another place, didn't he?" One of her hands comes up, then, almost tentatively, and she gently presses her palm upon his cheek. "I think you were there."

He sinks into her touch, unable to stop himself, and he lets out a shaky breath. "Olivia?"

"I'm…very confused," she repeats then, but her words take a whole new meaning at that instant.

Her beautiful face is once again constricted with the force of whatever emotions are causing her to feel so much pain, and her eyes do scream her confusion as they roam his face. And all Peter can do is sit there, numb, torn, her fingers burning his skin where they rest on his cheek.

"Things have started to feel…different, for a while now," she continues in a distressed whisper. "It has gotten even worse since my abilities have started coming back, and tonight, I don't know if it's because of what happened today but everything is just…" She closes her eyes, shaking her head, trying to convey what she is feeling. "I've been having all these dreams, but I think they're more than dreams, I think they're memories."

"Memories," he hears himself repeat, still frozen against her hand. How can she be having memories?

This doesn't make any sense at all.

He is beyond baffled and dazed, torn between aching hope and sickening fear, the fear that this is either all a dream or an illusion, like it once was.

Never again, he had sworn himself, and above all, he had sworn Olivia, his Olivia, his home, the one he's been trying to go back to for months.

But when Olivia reopens her eyes, the Olivia he's still holding in his hands, nothing feels right and certain anymore, all of his conviction crumbling away as their eyes lock intensely. If he were honest with himself, he would admit that he hasn't been sure of anything in quite some time.

Her pupils are so dilated that the dark ring has swallowed most of the golden green of her irises; if he's feelings distraught, it is nothing compared to what she's clearly experiencing right now.

"I can't tell things apart anymore, Peter," she whispers almost in a panic, her fingers now digging almost painfully into his face. "Everything's a blur."

He fights hard against his numbness and his throbbing doubts, because no matter what, he cannot bear the sight of her in such distress. And there is also his pounding heart, begging him to listen to her and try and make sense of it all.

"What do you remember?" He asks as calmly as he can manage, looking firmly into her eyes to help her refocus, despite how shaky his entire being feels.

She shakes her head again, face distorted in anguish. "I don't know…I don't know what I'm supposed to remember or not, and right now, everything feels like…" she closes her eyes again, desperately grasping for words. "I can't explain it. It's more… I feel like all these feelings and emotions are coming back at once, and they're not even associated with anything clear yet." She reopens her eyes to look at him, then, and he recognizes the nature of the painful smile she offers him all too well, as she brings her second hand to his face, "All I know for sure is that being around you right now is a bit overwhelming." As she shakes her head again, tears begin to roll down her cheeks, the smile already gone. "But I also know you feel safe."

She has closed her eyes firmly again, losing her battle against the flow of emotions overpowering her, her hands leaving his face to grab his shirt in a death grip. "This is too much, Peter…" she chokes out, slumping against him, her face pressed against his neck, and he instinctively wraps her in his arms, still feeling mostly numbed, burying his nose into her hair.

He doesn't care about the blood, he doesn't care about the dirt, because underneath it all, she smells just like he remembers, she smells like his Olivia and god she feels just like her, too.

It feels like something is breaking inside of him, every inch of his being pleading for it to be real, and not just some other inexplicable Fringe event. He wants her to be his Olivia, had never wanted anything else with so much force before. But beneath his agonizing hope, his fears still refuse to quiet down and disappear.

Right now, he chooses to ignore them, though, as he focuses on the woman he loves no matter what, because she's crying against his skin, and maybe these tears are caused by the betrayal she's experienced today, or maybe they're caused by all these other betrayals that are coming back to her; even if she cannot quite remember them in details, he knows the burn, he knows the scar they leave on your heart like a branded seal.

"Can you imagine being flooded with years of experiences and memories that were not your own? The mind… unable to distinguish between what's real and what is not."

Walter's words keep on ringing in his head, feeding his hopes and fears at the same time as he holds her close. All he can do is rock her gently, murmuring words he hopes are soothing, the pain in his chest and throat indicating that he might be crying, too, and it doesn't matter much.

Even when her tears subside, eventually, he doesn't loosen his embrace, because she's still trembling in his arms, her body and mind beyond exhausted.

"Sleep, Olivia…" he murmurs in her ear, knowing that she is already halfway there. "Just sleep. You're safe, here," he repeats the words she has told him hoping to help her relax, also knowing that they are true.

As her body instantly gets heavier and heavier against him and she melts in his arms, fitting there perfectly, he feels her breath against his neck as she murmurs: "I know I am…"

Olivia falls asleep.

...

Peter dreams.

Every night, Peter dreams.

He dreams of her, soft eyes and gentle smiles, loving touch and comforting warmth. He dreams he's back home, with her, because she is home. And for that one suspended instant, everything feels right again.

Peter is dreaming again. He dreams that Olivia is with him, in his bed, under the sheets, and at first, he doesn't question it. He always dreams of her.

Everything is dark, and everything is her, her bare skin under his palms, her warm body pressed upon his, and he feels her fingers travel over him, pulling at his shirt as she tries to get it off his skin.

Peter's certainty starts to weaver. His brain is hopeless, fogged with sleep and the unmistakable stirs of a fast growing desire.

She feels too real against him, he realizes then, feeling the shivers that ripple under the skin of her back as his fingers trace her spine. There is something else; she feels damp, but not from sweat, and her scent is fresh, clean, his. It occurs to him that the cool sensation he's been feeling against his neck is caused by her wet hair.

His grip on her instinctively tightens over her hipbones and she sighs, her face so close to his, her hands still busy trying to free more skin from his shirt.

"Olivia?" He almost chokes out her name, squinting his eyes through the darkness.

Focusing is nearly impossible. She's naked upon him, moving slowly over his numb body, effectively waking it up with every shift of her hips.

"Shhhh…" she murmurs against his lips; her fingers have settled under his shirt, fingernails gently raking over the tense muscles of his chest. "Raise your arms…"

He cannot do anything but obey, somehow still feeling like he's dreaming, letting her raise his arms over his head, telling himself that he's doing it solely to get his hands off her skin.

Unsurprisingly, she manages to get his shirt off him rather quickly. As soon as it is discarded somewhere in the darkness surrounding his bed, she leans over him again, her breasts pressing into the bare skin of his chest, and lets out a low groan, her lips hovering an inch away from his again, as strands of wet hair graze his face in a cool caress.

The room is not completely devoid of light, he realizes then; the timid glow streaming through his window is a dark blue, the unmistakable sign of a fast approaching dawn, wrapping them both in a soft ethereal cocoon.

This is a dream, he tells himself again, but every detail he feels with burning acuity tells him that it's not, cannot be. Even in this dim light, he can perfectly make out the dark line marking her cheek, the healing wound he has tended only hours ago. And it's all coming back to him, now, how she had fallen asleep in his arms, how he had carefully laid her down on his bed, and how he had settled down with her. He had thought he would spend the night doing nothing but stare at her in sheer disbelief.

It is quite obvious now that his own exhaustion had gotten the best of him at some point, causing him to fall into a slumber that had been deeper than any sleep he had gotten in weeks, his lungs filled with the scent of her hair with every breath he took. Apparently, he was sleeping so soundly that she had managed to escape his embrace, leave his room and slither back over him completely naked and still wet from her shower, without him even realizing it.

She moves without a moment respite upon him in a slow, slow dance, her warm breath burning the skin of his face, his whole body definitely awakened now, their bare chests meeting and rubbing continuously; he tries to convince himself that he should stop her, but his hands are back on her hips, and even if he's not encouraging her movements, he's definitely not stopping them either.

When her fingers decide to focus on unbuttoning his pants, though, and the mere presence of her hand over this particular area causes the warmth beneath his skin to expand quite dramatically, he does try and stop the rocking of her hips.

"We shouldn't…" he says, or rather stammers in a hoarse whisper that doesn't sound like his voice at all.

But she presses her lips to his, then, a butterfly kiss, truly, kissing his jaw next, more firmly, and he shivers forcefully when he feels the warmth of her breath against his ear. "It's okay, Peter…" she murmurs. "I remember, now…" And she brings her face back to his, leaning her forehead upon his as she says: "I remember you…"

When she kisses him again, her lips more fervent and demanding this time, more eager too, Peter is convinced that he is about to drown. He is going to drown in the implacable wave washing through him at the implication of her words, drown in the sheer relief consuming him against his will.

And he will drown in her, evidently, in the feel of her against him, his body moving of his own accord now, starting to meet her fever with vibrant intensity. His hands roam her shivering back, pressing his palms into her curves in a desperate attempt to bring her closer to him as he loses himself into her kiss, savoring a taste that hasn't changed at all.

By the time he manages to refocus enough to break away from her lips, he realizes that her sneaky fingers have made some serious progress when it comes to getting the rest of his clothes off him. Before he knows it, she has combined all of her efforts, and both pants and boxers are gone. When she pins herself to him once more, there is absolutely nothing separating them anymore, and the light around them briefly brightens as it floods his mind; their sighs and groans mingle, just like their limbs, and the profound craving he feels for her overcomes everything else. It has been so long, so long, and she's there in his arms, rippling over him, smoldering flesh and feverish eyes, claiming that she remembers him, now, she remembers him.

But no matter what, Peter is a scarred man, and he has to know, he cannot risk it, he has to know.

Grabbing her face in his hands, his fingers digging into her wet hair and feeling it drip upon his skin, he pulls her head away from his neck where she had been pressing heated kisses, bringing her face up to his to meet her gaze.

"How do I know for sure?" He murmurs, terrified of his own words, but he had promised her and he had promised himself.

Never again.

Olivia leans down, then, slowly, moving her body and hips upon his in a way that leaves no doubt about what is about to happen next. And she presses her nose against his, letting her heaving breath scorch his lips before she whispers these words that shatter the last of his hesitancy: "Na einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toy, Peter."

And with her next move, she descends upon him, joining not only their bodies but also their souls, sealing them back together, and Peter drowns.

He doesn't question it anymore, doesn't want to, doesn't need to.

All he needs is her, and the irrevocable feel of her, so comforting, entrancing and familiar as she sways over him, upon him, into him, and he meets her dance with equal fervor and adoration. One of his hands endlessly travel over the smooth skin of her back while the other remains buried in her hair, keeping her face close to his, so close. His body is breaking, each thrust of her hips sending throbbing heat through his core and far beyond, and his heart is thumping insanely beneath his ribs, his solace more powerful than anything else.

"Olivia…" he whispers her name again, but it isn't a plea for her to stop this time; it is a call full of gratitude and love, begging her to stay here, with him, to never go again.

And she knows, and she understands, her fingers curling in his hair, staring deep into his eyes as she rocks into him, carrying him home.

"I love you…" she whispers against his lips. She has grabbed one of his hands, bringing it up over his head, intertwining their fingers together, and he thinks he feels another kind of wetness fall upon his face. "Do you love me?"

Does he love her? He could have wept, too; and again, maybe he already is. It doesn't matter much. "I do…" he whispers back.

She's slithering over him again, and it is too much, and not nearly enough. "Then tell me…I wanna hear you say it."

There is no trace of doubt in her breathless voice, only a genuine desire to hear him say these words he should have said back months ago, before the Machine, before the Blank space of time when they had briefly lost sight of each other. With the next slow thrust of her hips, he sits himself back up, wrapping her in his arms as she cups his jaw in her hands, nothing but an inch of heated air separating their faces.

"I love you." Peter murmurs the sentiment against her lips, screams it with his eyes, proves it in the way he holds her tight.

Above all, he feels it in the way he is now complete again, after being broken for months, and he knows she feels it too.

Because Olivia smiles, then, and he thinks she's never been more beautiful, and she's never felt so heavenly.

In the growing light of dawn, every detail of her sharpens; her face is still covered with bruises and cuts, but these dark marks on the rosy, glistening skin of her cheeks are not imperfections.

They are evidences of the battles she has fought, of the betrayals she has endured, undeniable proofs that she will keep on fighting, no matter what. She might have fallen, a mere day ago, but resembling the phoenix coming back from the ashes, the fallen warrior always stands back up on her feet, fierce and strong.

My home.

They dance and move in ways that were never completely forgotten, slick skin and longing sighs, her back soon pressed hard upon the mattress as he melts into her, his face buried into her neck, and his fingers grasp hers again, pinning their joined hands upon the pillow, pledging to never let her go again if she holds on to him, too.

And as they merge into one another, slowly, perfectly, beautifully, the sun keeps on rising in a world just outside their own.

A world that is once more full of promise.


FIN


A/N: Writing this took many, many hours, as well as most of my heart and brain. Reviews would most definitely be loved :')