Disclaimer: I still don't own anything Fringe related, except the DVDs.
Spoilers: None if you watch the show.
Rating: T for now to be safe, though someday it might turn into M ;p
Summary: How do you go from "Sounds like a massive pain in the ass" to "I'm pregnant"? Peter and Olivia through the seasons, series of 'missing' scenes, one per episode.
A/N: The summary says it all. I love filler/missing scenes, and the hiatus is still long, so I caved in and started this. I've actually been working on plotting most of the scenes since May, so hopefully I'll be able to update regularly :) I am not delusional enough to think I can reach the end of season 4 before 5x01 airs, but I hope you'll stay with me for the ride ;)
Olivia had thought drawing a bath would be a good idea.
She had done so almost instinctively, having years ago taken the habit of soaking her body in warm water whenever she felt too sore from whatever exertion her training or job had put her through. And one thing was certain tonight: she had rarely felt so battered up, physically speaking. How she felt on an emotional level was another thing altogether.
As she moved through her apartment, her mind elsewhere, numbed with exhaustion and grief, her every muscle ached, the pain so deep it seeped all the way down to her bones. She had poured herself an impressive glass of whiskey –another habit she had taken years ago, and had already downed half of it by the time she reached the bathroom and turned the water on.
Putting the glass down onto the sink, she started undressing herself, grimacing in pain as she did so. The simple act of untying her hair made the muscles of her neck protest, and it only got worse when she unbuttoned her shirt and took it off. She found herself staring at her reflection without really seeing it, her gaze moving over the darkening skin of her shoulder; surely another after effect of jumping off a building.
Her head was filled with the sound of the running water, coming from behind her, as it cascaded out of the faucet and into the tub in an angry rumble. She shifted her eyes from her own reflection to the pouring water, almost hypnotized as the tub progressively filled up. She thought of the lab, then, buried underneath Harvard University; she thought of the smell of dust and chemicals that had been permeating the stale air. And then, she remembered salt water and metal rods sinking into the sensitive flesh of her neck, sinking directly into her spine.
She remembered dreaming of him, dreaming of John.
She remembered blood splattered all over his face, trickling out of his mouth and down his chin, as his body arched in agony, shaking against hers at his upcoming death; the air had smelled of burnt plastic, then, and as he spoke his last few words, his breath had smelled faintly of copper, bleeding to death from the inside.
When her gaze focused once more on her reflection in the mirror, she realized she had unconsciously brought a hand up to her nape, her fingers tracing the place where the rods had perforated her skin, and all she saw looking back at her was a bruised girl with a broken heart; suddenly, she felt like she had turned back into a kid.
How many times had she examined the discoloration of her flesh back then, back when her step-father still used her as a punching bag whenever she didn't run away from his grip fast enough?
As this thought pierced through her as sharply as metal had pierced through her flesh, she averted her eyes and turned around, unwilling to let herself think about a past that was best left buried deep, because there really was no point in lamenting over herself and her misfortune.
She turned the water off hurriedly, realizing that soaking her body into water right now would be very unwise if she wanted to keep the memories of the past few days –if not hours- from getting the best of her. She sat on the edge of the tub and plunged a hand in the steaming water, pulling on the plug. She remained completely still for a long stretch time, listening to the gurgling sound and staring at the the swirling vortex it created; as she watched, vacantly, it was as if her ability to feel anything was what was being sucked down the drain.
All she really felt was thirst for more whiskey, because she knew enough of it would provide her with a different kind of numbness, one that wasn't rooted so deeply in pain. Before long, she was back on her feet, standing once more in front of the mirror as she gulped down the rest of her glass, unable not to stare at her reflection again.
The truth was, she felt like a stranger in her own skin.
The past few days had been too intense and insane, not to mention agonizing in every imaginable ways, and according to Walter Bishop, there were more of those than she could deal with. She remembered standing right there not even a week ago, in front of that same mirror, getting ready to meet John. What she remembered most of all was how she had felt back then, almost giddy with excitement at the thought of seeing her lover soon, the kind of giddiness that caused her to act in ways that had mostly been foreign to her before John.
She had enjoyed putting on some faint makeup before each of their meetings, playing with her hair and adding a touch of perfume upon her pulsing points; being with John was all about the thrill, about feeling the raw power of her undeniable femininity, something he brought out of her with ridiculous ease, and she paid him back by using it on him. He had made her feel vibrantly alive, and it had reflected in her flushed cheeks and twinkling eyes as she had gotten ready for their secret date.
Above all, he had made her feel normal, a feeling she had spent most of her life seeking without really realizing it, not even remembering why she was seeking it in the first place.
In comparison, her face was sickeningly pale tonight, her hair falling flat and lifeless over her shoulders. There were dark and deep shadows under her eyes, an unmistakable sign of strain and exhaustion, of grief as well. That last one was even more evident in the way the rims of her eyes were despicably reddened. She hadn't cried in hours, not since she had let herself break down in the back of that ambulance, and she would make sure she didn't shed another tear for him if she could help it, but her body didn't seem to care. Her green eyes remained red and too bright, as if she had spent the day sobbing instead of only a few minutes, which in a way, she might have been doing internally.
She could hardly believe that what she was seeing now was the same woman who had stood there a week ago with a smile on her lips and something close to those cliché stars shining in her eyes. Honestly, she could barely comprehend what had happened, none of this made sense.
She felt as if her life had just been shred into pieces, along with everything she had ever known, and now, she was left trying to put these pieces back together. Except that this puzzle didn't make any sense at all, pieces that used to fit together having transformed and morphed, and she knew they would never fit again.
Instead of trying to solve it anyway, with a resolve that was typically hers, all she felt like doing was sit in the middle of this mayhem and cry at her own foolishness, cry at how betrayed she felt, at how the man she loved had used her, used her for Christ's sake!, or how she didn't recognize her life anymore, all traces of normality shattered away and gone for good.
It came to her, then, that what she needed right now –beside more whiskey, was someone to talk to, someone who could confirm that she wasn't merely stuck in some deformed, parallel universe where everything had been turned upside down. She needed someone who could understand what it felt like, to have to throw all of your beliefs away and accept new ones, ones that involved things like mind control, teleportation or even astral projection.
She needed to be told this was real. That it hadn't been all for nothing.
Rachel was out of the question of course, though she knew hearing her niece's voice would be a welcomed comfort…but then she would have to deal with her sister's questions, and she hated lying to her. She still felt too ashamed to be able to speak to Charlie either, no matter the fact that she knew he wouldn't judge her.
The name that popped into her mind then was so obvious and yet so outrageous that she might have chuckled if she'd still possessed the ability to laugh. Thinking of calling him was completely ridiculous, they were strangers, and after the diverse kind of blackmail she had put him through these past few days, she doubted he wanted to have anything to do with her unless he was forced to. And yet, now that the thought was there, she couldn't push his face out of her head.
Peter Bishop's life might have been the complete opposite of hers when they had met in Baghdad, one of them conning while the other fought for justice, the fact remained that they had both been thrown into this without much of a choice, unable to go back to before.
Also, in some odd, inexplicable ways, the thought of calling Peter seemed almost...natural. When she decided to go through with it shortly after that, having put on her robe without another glance at her reflection and making her way to the bedroom, she decided to blame this on her exhaustion and the rather impressive shot of whiskey she had downed. She dialed his number without thinking; the FBI had provided him with a phone, and the digits were now safely stored into her brain, never to be erased.
She let herself fall upon her bed as the phone rang, sprawling onto her back, unable to contain a grimace of pain as her entire body still throbbed in aching soreness. She really wished she could have taken that bath.
He picked up after only two rings, and his rather grumpy "Hello?" instantly took her thoughts away from relaxing waters and back to what she was doing –calling a stranger really late at night even though she had no real motive behind that call, and absolutely no idea what she was supposed to say now.
Speech completely deserted her for a second, her mouth opening and closing as her mind desperately tried to come up with something. "Uh…hi, it's Olivia…Dunham," she added after a short pause, realizing that they definitely weren't close enough for him to be recognizing her voice.
"I know," he answered right away, his voice already ringing with the same sarcastic notes he had been using on her rather often in the short time they had known each other. "You'd never believe it, but phones now do this wonderful thing when they flash the name of whoever's calling you on your screen; you should try and talk the bureau into updating your phone if they haven't yet."
The remark wasn't exactly mocking, but it wasn't necessary either, and all it succeeded in doing was intensify Olivia's embarrassment; she now felt utterly stupid for having even thought about calling him in the first place, her eyes roaming the room in aggravated panic, as if she could find salvation in her furniture. It only got worse when her gaze stopped on the digital clock on her nightstand, and she realized it was well past midnight.
"I'm…sorry," she almost stuttered then, bringing a hand up to her eyes in shame. "I shouldn't have called, I didn't realize it was so late, I probably woke you up."
Peter chuckled then, not unkindly, though definitely tiredly. "That would be unlikely, as I just spent the better part of two hours convincing my dear father that we didn't need to burn off all the sheets and curtains in the room. Turned out he suffers from mysophobia on top of everything else –the irrational fear of germs. As it also turned out, he likes walking around naked after that kind of attack, he says the breeze 'soothes him'. It will be a true miracle if get over that trauma any time soon." Then, he added: "But I'm pretty sure you didn't call to hear me talk about how much I'm enjoying babysitting my father."
After another pause, she let her hand fall from her face, reopening her eyes to stare at her ceiling. Oddly enough, his small monologue about Walter's eccentricities had actually managed to ease some of her embarrassment, realizing that he wasn't exactly mad at her, but mostly frustrated by the entire situation.
"I'm sorry," she repeated then, though she was apologizing for something completely different now, thinking about how she was forcing him to stay in that hotel room with a father he had been refusing to see so adamantly less than fifty hours ago. She was also well aware of the fact that she was eluding answering his inquiry about the meaning of her call. "This should really be only temporary; we will let you go back to your...activities as soon as we get a better understanding of what's happening."
Judging by the silence that followed, a heavy sound suddenly filled with the untold, she knew he was aware of her eluding skills, especially after the way she had ignored all of his questions about John earlier today.
And as it turned out, Peter Bishop was not one to let her get away that easily, deciding to get straight to the point with her instead by saying:
"John is dead, isn't he?"
Both the shock of hearing him say these words and their meaning itself caused her breathing to hitch in her throat, and she had to bite hard on the inside of her cheek to contain the sudden return of the burning sensation in her eyes. Wanting to preserve herself, she thought about eluding some more, maybe lie to him, for his sake as much as hers –he didn't need to be burdened with her disastrous love life more than he already was.
But she realized she didn't want to lie; his tone had been deeper, softer, too, and closing her eyes, Olivia could suddenly see him clearly, as he had been a few hours ago, standing outside Harvard in the cold Boston air. For the first time since Iraq, he had seemed to let another side of him show, if only in the gentle concern in his eyes and voice, or with that worry line between his eyes. It was almost as if…as if he was already starting to care about her, somehow.
The thought was absolutely ridiculous, of course. No one cared about her; she had fooled herself into thinking that John did, but she had been blinded, so naively blinded, tricked into loving him, seeing what she wanted to see, and believing his every lying word.
Olivia didn't want to lie to Peter anymore.
"Who told you?" she finally asked in a low, almost feeble voice.
"No one needs to tell me anything," he said calmly. "You might have conned the con man once, reading people is still one of my finest skills." After another pause, he added, more softly: "I'm sorry, Olivia."
And he really did sound sorry.
She stared at the vent in her ceiling, not really seeing it, now feeling each beat of her heart with painful intensity as it pulsed under her ribs. "He was a traitor," she said in a hollow voice, thinking she didn't deserve his kind words, and trying to sound as if she was completely detached from the matter. She felt a painful smile stretch her lips then, as her face constricted once more, in another kind of pain this time. "I guess he wasn't so worth it after all."
"Olivia…" Peter sighed her name in a way she had never heard her name be said before, by anyone, but she was too engulfed in her own sorrowful thoughts to realize it was the kind of sound she could get addicted to, and probably would someday. "Look…I know we've only known each other for a couple of days, and for all intent and purposes, we're nothing more than strangers, not to mention the fact that you're a cop and I'm a crook. But these couple of days have been insanely intense, even for me –and I'm a guy who likes thrill and excitement. What I'm trying to say is…you have a good heart. What you did for John was very brave, no matter the outcome."
She had to squeeze her eyes shut again, fighting to keep her breathing steady. "It was stupid."
"Well, there's a reason why everybody says people in love do the dumbest things," she could almost picture his small, smug smile. But his voice remained kind as he added: "Doesn't mean your actions weren't noble or creepily selfless. Though you did strip down to your underwear in front of people you hardly knew, which incidentally, usually only happens after the second date for me, first one if I'm having a particularly good day, so I guess I have to revise that comment about us being nothing more than strangers."
"You're a jackass," she said, shaking her head, but in truth, she wasn't exactly annoyed at all.
"Yup, I've heard that one before. But you already knew that when you decided to call me in the middle of the night to distract me from my naked father. I definitely owe you a thank you."
If she were honest with herself, considering how the weight pressing down upon her chest seemed slightly less heavy, she would admit that it should be the other way around, that she was the one with a thank you to give. But words of this kind never came easy for her, especially not today; she thought he understood, though, that maybe he was hearing the quiet gratitude in her silence.
There really wasn't anything else to say after that, and they both knew it. And so, she simply wished him a goodnight, and hung up after he returned the sentiment.
She never even realized she was smiling softly.
A/N: Don't let the new review posting system scare you, I'd love to hear from you :) This is a big project, words from you would definitely keep me focused and motivated :D