Spoiler: 2x7 Spies Like Us & 2x8 Defiance

Rating: T

A/N: This is my first attempt at the Scandal fandom. I have been watching the show religiously and the urge to write finally hit between episodes 7 & 8. I'm going to delve off script somewhat and mix up some events but it will all work out in the end. Enjoy!

Chapter One

Observation has always been one of the most evasive ways to understand people. Just by watching, one could ascertain all of the information they needed of a person; the slip of heartbreak leveling in the absent glance of a jilted lover, the pompous exaggerations of a guilty man act as a neon sign to the human condition, beckoning attention. Understanding people, their reactions, their rationalizations, and ultimately, their mistakes was what made Olivia Pope so damned good at what she did.

By nature, Olivia was an observer; her curiosity about the human condition fueled her keen insights and her insatiable hunger to understand why people did what they did and their reactions to the resulting consequences. This curiosity compelled her to act, to find a solution, and eventually to implement this solution. The drive to know was why she was the best of the best and why all of Washington's elite darkened her door when those mistakes were inevitably made. But for all of her tactful skills and unrelenting drive, she couldn't turn that observational gaze on herself. She had a weakness, one that would no doubt ruin her career and perhaps her life in general.

Her weakness was that she loved a man.

Her love for this man directly flew in the face of her abilities to judge all others by their moral mishaps. She knew how to work a scandal because truthfully, she knew she was only a breath away from one of her very own. The implications of their relationship would set the gossip hounds on their trail, igniting a firestorm of controversy through the streets of Washington and reverberate on the nation's conscience. That was one controversy both she and the country could do without. Even so, Olivia found that she simply couldn't let go; as much as it would benefit them, she couldn't elude the hold he had on her heart.

This man who had her heart long before he had her body was, by every account, off limits.

Still the same, Olivia loved the one man she couldn't have- The President of the United States. Sure she erected a façade and emphatically expressed that they were over but she couldn't help the residual fire that scorched every inch of her being when she thought of him. Their passion forged by similar ideals and slaked by burgeoning desires had been her best kept secret. The memory of his addictive touch taunted her every time she saw him. His smile caused her heart to flutter, his voice, rich and passionate made her quiver with excitement. It was hard to push back years of emotional and physical ties when she was constantly reminded of the bliss she found with him when she was constantly surrounded by his image, his presence.

When Olivia knew that just merely seeing him wouldn't be enough, she'd made the decision to leave his administration. Every day she had to face him, she had to restrain her lustful desires, an exhausting feat. Considering how her control unraveled under his heated gaze every time their eyes met, she'd felt safe when she handed in her resignation. Away from him, she could think clearly and process why their relationship was wrong, even though every fiber of her being wanted to justify every passionate embrace. Away from the White House, Olivia could concentrate on Olivia and be something more than the President's mistress. It was how she intended to keep it. Distance was good for them, good for his marriage, and good for her sanity. Distance would definitely benefit the country and spare the citizens of the tedious sound bites of a tawdry affair between The President and his one-time aide.

Or so she tried to tell herself.

Simply put, Olivia was addicted to Fitzgerald Grant and try as she might, she could no more ignore that addiction than she could ignore breathing. He signified everything she needed to avoid, a conflict of interest and of the heart, yet she couldn't quiet the sensual thoughts that haunted her. Their love was a specter of a life she wished for but could never have. Never in her wildest dreams did she believe that she would someday become the other woman. But his love and his passion lured her. It was a complication she was willing to shoulder. Despite everything, she loved Fitz and that is why she knew that they would never be completely finished.

Glancing at her watch, Olivia started to pace, irritated at her was she doing? Did she really want to open that festering wound left by their mutual agreement to leave each other alone? Did she want to risk everything- risk her business, her happiness, just to hear his voice?

A knock brought her out of her reverie and as she glanced back at the silent cell phone, she huffed and shifted her gaze to the door, her brow furrowing at her unannounced visitor. Waiting a second longer, she stared at the door and as she took a step closer, the phone finally came to life. There was no second guessing who was on the other end of that phone call and as the incessant pounding on her front door grew, she quickly stepped back to retrieve the cell before striding toward the door.

Olivia held the phone close to her heart as she reached the door, her hand just barely on the knob. The sporadic threading of her heart beat coupled with the now annoying thumping of the door overwhelmed her and she paused before answering either query, closing her eyes slowly and breathing outwardly. Taking a couple cleansing breaths, Olivia depressed the button on the phone and opened her eyes, anticipating the voice that haunted her dreams.

"I was starting to believe that you were going to stand me up, Liv. What took you so long?"

Hard pressed to remain angry with Fitz, especially with his glib tone, Olivia bent her lips in an effort to suppress a smile, "I was about to say the same for you. Is this a secure line?"

"As always," Fitz answered confidently. Olivia imagined that he was reclining in his seat in the Oval, the lights dimmed as he stared out of the south facing windows into the inky darkness. A few months ago, they both shared an intimate moment within that very office, skirting the precipice of destruction. At that memory, Olivia exhaled and shook her head, her lips now relaxed and upturned in a knowing grin. Fitz was the epitome of confidence; even in the eye of a firestorm, Olivia could count on him keeping his cool.

"Olivia, open up, I know you're in there. Your car is still in the drive and your office is closed…"

Startled by the familiar and commanding tone of Edison Davis' voice behind the door, Olivia's heart faltered slightly. In her attempts to move on from Fitz, she'd blindly rekindled her relationship with the Senator. In retrospect, it was a mistake she couldn't fix. Being in Edison's arms had been a temporary solution, a balm to soothe her broken heart after Fitz stringently proclaimed that they were through. She took the comfort that Edison offered without considering the emotional fallout and clung to him, thankful for a brief respite from the pain.

Olivia considered the door with a worried gaze even as Fitz's voice filled her ear; the confidence replaced by what she believed was regret, "Are you happy, Liv?"

Confused at Fitz' rueful tone, Olivia frowned and stammered, "H-happy?"

"Olivia, I won't leave until you open this door."

Now was not the time for Edison's antics and if Olivia didn't put a stop to him now, he would threaten to stick around and make good on that threat by setting up camp at her door. That simply wouldn't do.

"Do you have company, Liv? Would you like for me to hang up?"

Olivia detected a sardonic lilt in Fitz's voice and for a moment, the hurt that she desperately tried to bury deep within her heart surfaced, taking her breath. Again, Edison pounded on the door, compelling her to reach for the knob once more. She couldn't let go without hurting one or the other. Faced with a conundrum, Olivia closed her eyes and prayed for a measure of patience.

This was a complication she definitely did not need.