The phone rings.

She doesn't need to look at the clock. It's him. He can't seem to be on time for many things. He's always being rushed to 'hurry up, get ready, let's go,' but he never missed this. It makes her smile. It makes her feel important. She's not avoiding his calls. She stopped trying months ago. When he healed and began asking, 'why did you stop wearing skirts?' She knew then, it was time to leave the White House. The job was fast-paced, fascinating, addicting, but it was overwhelming. Not the job. Their proximity. The ability to do anything, say anything or stumble, fall, and dive right back into his arms at any given point. It was intoxicating. It was also damning. Olivia couldn't allow it. She handed in her informal resignation. She had never been formally hired. He expected it. When he called her immediately that evening, she was already clutching the phone.

She missed him too.

It rings again.

Grumbling, she huffed again and exited her kitchen.

Snatching the phone off the cradle, she pressed it to her ear and made her way back into the kitchen. Her breathing was labored. Her groans revealed her frustration. She muttered a string of dark curses and he chuckled loudly.

"What are you doing, Liv," He asked lightly.

"Nothing," She huffed and tried again.

He laughed. He hadn't the faintest idea, but he couldn't be more amused.

There was silence. He smirked, "Live, are you…"

"No," She shouted horrified. "Calm down. You aren't even close to being cleared."

"So, are you saying that when I am…"

"I'm laughing, Fitz. Really. Hilarious."

He chuckled richly, "A man needs hope."

"And I need about five inches."

"Well, I could give you—"

She cut him off, "Don't even."

"You asked. What are you doing again?"

"I'm…" She began awkwardly.

Crossing her arms definitely, Olivia Pope glared at the top shelf of her pantry. She had been working an hour to reach it. She had always been a terrible climber, but she needed the jar of pasta sauce. The local grocery was closed and Olivia absolutely refused to shop at Walmart. Pursing her lips, she frowned. Some of the world's most important and famous people came to her with their crisis. She couldn't even reach a jar of pasta sauce. She felt like a child. She could be using her trusted stepstool, but Abby had taken it to work and never returned it. She glared at the sauce. She could just make something else. She shook away the idea. She had prepared everything. She wasn't about to throw it all out because of her slight impairment.

"I can't reach the pasta sauce."

He burst out laughing.

"Screw you, Fitzgerald Grant."

Laughing so hard, he coughed once, "Is that a promise?"

"I am hanging up now."

An hour later, she was angrily sitting on the couch and eating popcorn. Her dinner had been reduced to popcorn and wine. Pathetic. When the doorbell rang, she lazily ejected herself from the couch. Opening the door, her eyes widened when she saw him. He hadn't come to her apartment in months. In fact, Olivia was sure that this was stricken from the list entirely. He didn't seem fazed. He waltzed past her and into the kitchen. Effortlessly, he took the pasta jar off the shelf and placed it on the counter. Resting against the doorway, she smiled softly, "Thank you."

Slowly, he moved towards her. His hands wrapped around her petite waist. He brought her close and enjoyed the warmth of her body against his. She was at least a foot shorter than he. Still, Fitz had never met a more perfect being. Cupping her cheek, his thumb caressed the apple of her cheek. She grinned and it was infectious, so did he. Her arm wrapped his neck. Her fingers stroked the quickening pulse. It felt good to feel the strong pulse beneath her fingers.

"Anytime, sweet baby," He added tenderly.

His lips descended on hers, "Anytime."

November 2013

It happens every time.

It never fails.

Olivia never understood why anyone believed this was a good idea. Cyrus wanted to believe that it would achieve higher approval ratings. Olivia was merely grateful that they couldn't hear what was going on inside the box. Every year, they convinced her to tag along to these games. She hated going with them. No, she didn't hate going with them. She loved going with Cyrus. They supported the same team. She hated when Fitz tagged along, yes, he was the tagalong, because he goaded her on purpose. He tried to rile her up, piss her off, and push her buttons for nine innings. She never understood his passion to see her angry. She had asked him, but he would pull a nonchalant shrug and give her a noncommittal answer. There were some days when she didn't struggle to find the politician in him at all. Despite his clear attempts to frustrate her, he brought her luck. She wasn't sure if it was luck or if her team merely wanted to show off. Truthfully, Olivia didn't care what it was. It had gained her a lot of money from Cyrus and other idiots that bet against her team. When the Yankees and Nationals went to the World Series, Olivia knew that she had to convince him to attend every game. Cyrus had his money set on the Yankees. He might be a Nationals fan, but he insisted that the Yankees had history. They had original plays and knew moves that baseball players dream of leaning. Olivia had reserved herself to believing it was true. Then, she thought of Fitz. Yes, she planned on using the power of the POTUS to win a few… hundreds of dollars from her good friend, Cyrus Beene.

Knocking on his office door, she nodded to Cyrus.

"Hey, Livvie," Fitz greeted her warmly.

Gripping the edge of the desk, he slowly stood from behind the desk. His movements were still somewhat delayed but he was making a great recovery. Her eyes steadied on him and she watched his movements anxiously. She shifted away from the door and placed her purse on the couch. She took subtle steps away from the couch and closer to him. If he was going to fall, Olivia was going to catch him. When he rounded to the front of the desk, breathing slightly labored, she watched as he tiredly rested against the edge. She took a seat on the arm of the chair.

"You didn't have to get up," Olivia argued.

"I did," He smiled.

He held her gaze.

Olivia smiled and ran a hand through her hair. She felt the heat spread through her body with his piercing stare.

Cyrus snorted loudly.

"Liv, are we still on for this weekend?"

Grinning smugly, she turned to face Cyrus, "I take cash or check. And incase, you've forgotten. You should make the check out to 'Olivia Carolyn Pope.' What was our wager on?"

Fitz interrupted, "Isn't there some law against gambling?"

Olivia smirked, "Shouldn't you know if there is some law against gambling?"

His tongue brushed his lower lip. He missed this. He missed the light banter.

"Touche', Ms. Pope."

Olivia regarded Cyrus again, "Is James coming?"

The older man burst out laughing, "That was a joke, right? You don't actually expect an answer."

Olivia continued coyly, "Wouldn't it be fun if all of us went together? You've turned into the old married couple. We never go out."

"What about me," Fitz piped up.

"You aren't invited," Cyrus deadpanned.

He shot Olivia a pointed look.

She smirked, "You can be my guest."

The grin that transformed Fitz's face was priceless.

"She's using you," Cyrus added.

"I'll take it," Fitz declared.

Olivia laughed and winked at Cyrus, "Do you remember what the check should say?"

Cyrus groaned.

He hadn't the faintest idea how he would explain this to James.

Crammed into a skybox, the group of four and a selective group of secret service agents enjoyed the World Series. They continued this tradition until the series concluded. When the series concluded, Olivia Carolyn Pope was writing a very hefty check to Cyrus Alexander Beene. She had forgotten one tiny detail about this whole scheme. In the past, Fitz had always rooted against her team. He had spent hours trying to goad her into madness. He had supported the other guys. She never thought about the consequences of him doing the opposite. Apparently, Cyrus hadn't either. Her team crumbled under the president's announcement that he hoped they won. She watched each sore defeat after another. When the Yankees finally kicked their asses, because it really couldn't be described any other way, Olivia screamed in frustration. She declared that Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III was never allowed to attend sporting events with them again. More so, he wasn't allowed to attend a sporting event when she bet Cyrus Beene five hundred dollars. She had been counting on the return to buy herself a new coat. Olivia was petulant the entire ride home. She absolutely abhorred losing. She hated it more than anything else in the world. She hated the idea, act, and even mere mention of it with her name in the sentence. No, Olivia Pope never lost.

"I can't believe you bet him five hundred dollars."

Her glare was icy.

"Don't give me that look. It's a lot of money," Fitz reasoned.

She sighed, "I am aware of that, Dad."

"Too kinky. I have a list, if you need suggestions…"

His fingers brushed across her knee.

She glared again, "No chance. Not right now."

He sighed, "What did you want to buy with that money?"

"Nothing," She muttered and kept staring out the window.

He snorted, "Let's try this again. What did you want to buy with Cyrus' hard earned—"

She scoffed.

Brushing a lock of hair from her face, Fitz pressed his lips to her temple.

"What did you want, Livvie?"

"A coat," She sighed and rested into his touch.

He snickered and quickly swallowed it, "Sorry. Don't you have enough…"

Turning, Olivia glared and quieted his comment.

"Alright, alright, what coat?"

"Pardon," She asked perplexed.

"I am buying you a coat. It will be winter soon. You need a coat. I wouldn't want you to freeze."

"I can buy my own coat," Olivia retorted sternly.

Cupping her cheek, he gently pressed his lips to hers. He didn't move away. His lips hovered at hers, "I can buy you a coat or something else." He reached for her hand and brushed his fingers across hers. He lingered at her right hand and empty ring finger. In a second, he encircled the finger and squeezed. She smiled and whispered, "I can buy my own coat."

His lips crashed against hers.

Secretly, he was grateful.

He didn't know if Tiffany's allowed returns without receipts.

January 2012

Olivia was restless.

She tossed and turned. The sheets were unnaturally soft and the underlay of down didn't sit right with her. She wasn't used to such a comfortable bed. The mattress that she had grown accustomed to was harder. It was firm. There wasn't a worry that it would swallow the sleeper whole. Olivia certainly had that fear as she attempted to get comfortable. Would she even be able to make it out alive? Stretching her legs, she wiggled her nose beneath the duvet and tried again. The bed didn't seem to get any better. The duvet was too heavy. The material was soft but it wasn't anything like she expect. She was pretty sure that the bed was made of satin. All she wanted was to jump on the bed. She wondered, would the feathers fly everywhere? It was entirely unlike her, but Olivia had spent the past three hours rolling around on the mattress. She was ready to destroy it by any means necessary. Rolling over again, Olivia huffed in frustration. She sat up and punched her fists into the pillows. It deflated briefly and then gained momentum again. She glared at the pillow, shoulders falling, and then fell back into it. She underestimated the distance between her head and the headboard. Her head grazed the wood and she yowled in pain. This was turning into be a painfully long night.

Kicking her legs, she groaned in desperate defeat. Why had she agreed to this? She should have never let him talk her into this. Not only was it wildly inappropriate, she wasn't going to be able to sleep. Her thoughts were constantly straying to him. She wanted to know, 'was he okay, was he sleeping, how was his breathing, was he in pain?' She couldn't help thinking of it for every consuming second. It drove her insane not to know. Olivia knew that this was a bad idea. No, it was an absolutely horrible idea. When she was at home, she could justify not knowing about his condition every second. She couldn't keep Tom on the phone every second. He sent her texts throughout the night. He was kind and generous. He seemed to understand that his texts were saving grace. They were his sanity. He didn't text her while she was on Camp David. She understood. Despite the lack of cameras, it was risky. They were all constantly in each other's way. Everyone wanted to make sure that Fitz was okay. They ran into each other. He kept saying when he wasn't working on policy that he just wanted some privacy. He just wanted some silence.

Olivia had been ready to give him that. She was just formalizing the last bit of his first speech. She was reviewing what would be best to address and not address. She could tell from his stare that he didn't seem to be listening. When she brushed her fingers to his hand, he wasn't startled. He didn't flinch. He merely gripped her hand tighter than she had felt in months. He murmured the damning words, 'Stay. Stay with me, please. Don't leave. I—I need you, Liv.' Olivia had never been one to refuse him. She never was capable of turning him away. She knew it was a necessary to keep her distance. They couldn't fall into this pattern again. It was dangerous. When she attempted to pull her and away, words failed her, he merely covered her hand with the other. For a brief moment, she sat in silence. 'I can't do this,' And when his voice broke, Olivia knew. She couldn't do this either. He turned to meet her reproachful gaze. He leaned close and murmured, 'I need you.' Olivia had cupped his cheek nodded. For the first time, in what felt like years, she had initiated their kiss. Her lips had pressed gingerly to his. Her hand cradled his head and when she parted his lips, her tongue swept across his first.

The memory replayed in her mind bitterly. Mellie was 'holding down the fort' in Washington. Cyrus had speculated that Fitz had asked her or perhaps, ordered her not to come. The tension had risen between them even more. When she was in the room, Fitz visibly tensed. Olivia had never asked. One evening, he had divulged his reasoning. He whispered painfully, 'Do you know what she said to me?' He explained their brief exchanges before his shooting. There had been a long pause between them. Olivia knew what his true question was. She hadn't an answer. She didn't know what to tell him. She didn't know if Mellie had ordered his near assassination as a warning to him. The shots were too risky, but the shooter was a professional. He should have been able to shoot and kill without issue. The fact that he had shot and wounded wasn't lost on either of them.

Sighing, Olivia ran a hand through her hair. She needed to see him. She squared her jaw and tossed back the covers. She hurried toward her unpacked suitcase. Pulling out a pair of yoga pants and a comfortable cable knit sweater, she slipped into them. She slid into the simple Toms and opened the front door. Grabbing the guest keys, she stepped outside and began to unlock the door. A hand on her shoulder made her jump, she subsequently screamed. Her fingers wielded the keys ready to use them as her defense. Her heart rammed in her chest. Eyes clenching shut, Olivia breathed a sigh of relief. Tom was standing before her and smiling smugly. She slugged him lightly on the arm.

"That wasn't remotely amusing, Tom," She breathed deeply and rubbed her temples.

"What are you doing here," Olivia asked unexpectedly, "Not that I am dismissing you or anything. I am just… surprised. I was just heading up to the main house."

He nodded, "I was actually sent to wake you."

Dread filled her.

Hastily, Tom reassured her.

"He can't sleep."

Ducking her head, she bit her lip to stop the smile.

"Neither can I," She admitted it.

Tom nodded and escorted her to the main house.

Pausing before the door, Olivia slipped out of her shoes. She stepped quietly through the door and placed them next to threshold. Running a hand through her hair, she watched his form the moonlight. She could make him out against the propped up pillows. His silence stopped worrying her a while ago. Sometimes, silence was more enveloping than words. Sometimes, the volume of silence was louder than any words could be. Tugging off her sweater, she draped it over a couch. Stopping at the edge of the bed, she teasingly tickled his foot. He kicked her lightly and she grinned. Crawling toward him, Olivia squeezed his thigh affectionately. Sitting next to him, she pushed back the duvet. She could hear the strain when his hand came around her shoulders. At first, Olivia had tried to help him. In her overwhelming anxiety, she had steadied and guided his movements. Eventually, he had snapped and explained that he wasn't a child. He wasn't a boy. He could hold her without her constant need to direct him. They had argued. He needed help. He needed to accept that he wasn't at his full strength yet. He swore, he understood but not to deny him the little things. If it caused him discomfort and even pain, she had to let him. She had to let him regain some normalcy. While it bothered Olivia endlessly to let him struggle, she knew that this battle was better left to him. Some sacrifices she needed to make. Gingerly, she rested her head against him. She felt him wince and raised her head again.

"Liv," He murmured.

"Fitz, I am hurting you."

"I am okay," He promised.

She lightly pressed her head down again. His hand twitched as it rested on her shoulders.

Olivia pressed a kiss to his collarbone.

His fingers played with the ends of her hair. He spun her curls through his shaky fingers. She carefully moved down. His hand grasped more of her hair. He could brush his fingers through her thick locks. Fitz sighed contently. Craning his head, he pressed a kiss to her brow. She sighed contently as well and wrapped her arm around his waist. The warmth that radiated from his skin was alluring. She nuzzled her mouth into his shoulder. She missed this. She missed his touch. She missed his warmth. Again, Olivia found that she deeply regretted that he hadn't resigned. She pressed another kiss to his chest. Her hand slid under his shirt. The words 'Navy' stamped across the chest. Her fingers brushed across his skin. The sparse hair was only just beginning to grow back in coarse patches.

"I love you," She whispered suddenly.

"Don't say it," Fitz replied hoarsely.

She sat up in surprise.

Through the darkness, she challengingly met his piercing eyes.

"Don't say it and then leave, or form another coup with Mellie, or hand me your resignation."

Olivia silenced his fears with a deep kiss. Her lips closed the space between them. Tentatively, she brought her hands into his hair. The other brushed over his cheek. Her fingers traced the strong line of his cheekbone and jaw. She kissed him hungrily. She had missed the taste that was purely his. The lack of coffee on his tongue made her smile. He must be agonizing without it. She smiled and only spurned her need to kiss him further. Her teeth scraped his lower. She moaned quietly. She felt his twitching hand move away from the pillow. She could feel the rigidness of his body and attempt to come closer. Olivia shifted nearer to his body. It wasn't enough. She could feel his brow crease in concentration and his kissing slowed. She wouldn't let him suffer. Grasping his hand, she delicately brought his hand to her waist. His other hand cupped the back of her neck and pulled her near. He was only partially impaired. She felt his hand slide under camisole. The heat of his hands made her moan. Her tongue battled with his and his fingers twisted in her hair. She gasped. Her breaths were short and unsteady as they fanned across his lips. She pulled away for a moment to speak and he tugged her close again. His hand pushed her bra away from her breast. She attempted to pull back again. He groaned wickedly, this couldn't truly be happening. His hand hadn't been allowed on her breast in a year. Was this necessary? Why couldn't she regret it tomorrow? Fitz kept his eyes closed and released a short breath through his nose. He could feel her eyes studying him.

"What, Liv?"

She pulled away. His hand drifted down to her waist. He absently drew circles on her waist. He was torturing himself. He would never forget how soft her skin was. He could never forget the way that she tasted. Already, she lingered on his lips. Swallowing, he relaxed as her hand brushed his cheek. Taking a deep breath, he opened his eyes and grinned. He felt himself harden beneath the blanket. If he was going to die, he was going to die with Olivia Pope in his arms and no doubt that she loved him. She had said it. She was here. She was touching him. He took in a shuddering breath and leaned forward to kiss her. Shaking her head, Olivia pecked his lips. A chaste kiss, simple, and familiar, a kiss that was usually resolved for couples. A short kiss, a kiss that symbolized the familiarity of being able to do this 'whenever,' and he recognized it instantly. She wasn't leaving. She fixed the pillows, flattening as many as she could, and attempting to batter the rest straight.

"It's really unfair that I'm still dressed," Fitz reasoned.

"I wouldn't be able to control myself," Liv teased.

He glared, "I'll just do it myself then."

"Don't be an ass," She snapped and helped him undress.

When Tom entered to remind the president of his pain medication, he quickly stepped out of the room again. In the center of the bed, Fitzgerald was comfortably relaxed on his back and snorting quietly. The love of his life, Olivia Pope was curled into his side; her cheek nestled against heart and hand atop his chest. The president had found his pain reliever.

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