He breathes her in like she is the essence of life; he clings to her like she is sacred and the palpable sanity beneath his fingers has him sobbing harder, inhaling deeper. Almost as if by chance he can take in enough of her, he can keep her. He wants her to be more than a memory in his lungs, to circulate through his bones and stick to his veins as dried closure, but never stay with him.

He wants her.

He cries because he aches of loss of something that never truly existed. The embrace of his mother is a ghost whispering in half cocked ears, and his father will never make him feel inferior again, will never darken a doorway or bully him into submission. His father is in the ground.

In that moment he believes maybe his father was dead to him long ago.

Yet something inside him is still unhinged.

There is a strange pulsating song in his chest, emptiness, and he clings because she is the only true light he can see for miles. She: beauty incarnate, subtle perfume, and soft curves.

Brown eyes and comfort, love (although this is a word for more minimalistic dates in time and bare bodies and sweat) thirsts to run deep into his tongue and maybe tangle with hers-

But he stands in her shadow because he craves to feel her shine.

Olivia Pope is tethering him to reality.

"Come here," she had whispered.

He thinks she might as well have said, "Fall apart."

He thinks she doesn't completely comprehend the power she yields.

Already, she is drowning him. He has memorized every erogenous zone, mapped out the flesh on the undersides of her knees and the insides of her elbows, kissed constellations and prayed to deities that she will never leave him in the dark. She is his other half; he has accepted this. He accepts this now, as she's holding him to her bosom and giving life to broken wings.

The words are on his tongue, and they play t here as lost beings in a foreign land, wandering, wandering-

"I love-

He chokes, the sentiment floundering.

She gets it. She always gets him.

The sensation of her running her hands from the place they rest at the back of his scalp to cup his jaw is welcomed. Fitz turns his head to press a kiss to her palm, soft and sweet.

Liv shivers, although both are well aware the nippy California weather has no bearing on the reaction in the slightest. The heat of the sun is still a source of energy as it falls behind her, warming her back. They stay in silence more a minute. One minute. No more, no less. Finally,

"We should go inside," Olivia concedes quietly.


The ranch is beautiful in an authoritative, preeminent way, not dissimilar to the colonial style home Olivia grew up in. The floors have history in them, as if she can already associate the granite countertops of the kitchen island with flour and mixers, as if she can clearly materialize Fitz with Karen and Jerry in the carpeted den, all pillow forts and ghost stories under the beam of a flashlight. Walking back through the house with him is vastly different than it was when Mellie gave her the personalized tour earlier.

She watches intently as Fitz moves to a cabinet and takes out a glass, moving to the fridge to fill it with some juice. His shoulders have dropped millimeters, but it's enough.

He's in his habitat, she thinks bemusedly.

A strange lurch goes through her, an odd longing.

She wants to see him like this all the time.

The thudding of footsteps and muffled voices alert them to other's presence, and they look to the origin in tandem to see Mellie, already changed out of her funeral attire, and Cyrus at her heels.

They halt the conversation at hand as soon as they spot Fitz.

"My mother wants the kids and I over tonight," Mellie states without so much as a bat of eye in her husband's direction, leaning on the counter and glancing at Olivia.

Fitz snorts, taking another sip of his drink. "I'm not going."

Cyrus raises an eyebrow, shrugging. "Mellie and I figured that would be the case. Figured it would be a good idea for you to take some time, anyway. This might be the last time you get to be alone for a while."

Suddenly all eyes are on her, appraising her feedback to this turn of events. Olivia just nods, insuring her tone is even and polite. "That would be a good idea. Get your head in the game."

Everyone in the room misses her entendre except for the person it was meant for, who then proceeds to choke on orange juice until his face is red and Cyrus is half ready to stride over and knock him on the back. The truth is, Olivia Pope dabbles in the sheer animosity she can wreck upon him.

The truth is, Olivia Pope has the same problem.


Catching her by the arm, Cyrus stops Liv on the way to their respective cars. "Hey, are you staying at the Embassy Suites?"

She strips every waver from her soul.

"Actually, I'm staying with a friend from Georgetown," she lies smoothly.


She doesn't even put the keys in the ignition.

She watches Cyrus leaves and has the audacity to give a wave to Mellie, and then go back to looking at her phone like she's sending a text. Orange and pink paint the sky, a mural of settle and at the precipice of dusk. Olivia watches the last etchings of the sun hide beneath the nearby trees.

She goes back inside the house.


Her heels echo in the prestigious foyer, war drums on the battlefield.

He's sitting on the edge of the staircase, leaned back on his palms.

"They're gone?"Liv questions lowly while unwrapping her shawl, allowing it to drop to the floor.

"They're gone."

In one languid movement, she reaches behind her to the zipper and tugs, the sound jarring and sending a myriad of nerves tingling, first and foremost the bulge in his jeans.

When the ebony fabric pools at her ankles, he swallows convulsively, nostrils flaring at the view of her in the shoes and little else. There is a blatant display of carelessness when she saunters over to him, spreading her legs enough to lower down a knee on each side, the rough and tumble jean clad thighs brushing up against her skin harshly, causing her muscles to clench involuntarily.

Olivia winds her fingers in his curls and forces him to lean back against a step, kissing Fitz deeply. He groans into her mouth, vying to rectify to situation, create more friction somehow-

But Liv keeps him pinned, smiling against his lips despite herself.


"Nobody can hear us," he reminds her in a guttural growl before pulling her thighs apart more and diving back down. Every move he makes sings of masculinity, and power.

He flicks his tongue, and she fists the sheets.

Thighs quiver to lock around his shoulders, but Fitz holds them down, blowing to tease, revering in the way she tosses her head and hasn't breathed properly for a long time. He loves this control of her, loves the taste of her. She is sharp and addictive on his tongue, heaven and hell mingled, decoy of the bitter seeds in forbidden fruit. Grinding her teeth to combat the keen of her stomach so hard she can feel the enamel peeling, Olivia is fighting for her mind too.

He is in awe of the fact she doesn't think it has the same affect on him; that she's the only one benefiting from the pleasure of his mouth and lips. Funny.

As it is, he rubs hard against whatever friction he can find, humming into her at the sheer mind numbing pleasure. The vibrations send her arching in uncontrollable spasms, strangled, animalistic cries shattering the air. Managing to hold her steady through it, he goes back to work, sucking open mouthed with limited suction, well aware it will be enough to wind her up, but not to send her hurtling over the proverbial edge.

It does the trick.

Olivia's flails, babbling incoherent instructions of morerightthereGodFitzpleasey esdon'tstop.

When she somehow acknowledges the fact nothing is understood, she settles for sinking her fingers into his hair and guiding him, mouthing wordless syllables, breathy moans ripping from her throat when they bubble up and spew over. They're like a renowned masterpiece now, working together as well as they do in the company of others.

Within seconds he has her coiled, a live wire.

Slipping a long finger into the array of sensitive nerves, she bucks up once more, but this time she holds there, mouth gaping, a weak cry rolling across her vocal chords.

Fitz laps at her still, but far more gently, aware she can't take much coming down. He releases her legs to allow them to stretch out at the knee, resting up on his forearms and running his thumbs in small circles around her hipbones. Inhaling raggedly, Liv eyes him drowsily then proceeds to raise a hand in gesture.

She wants him to keep going.


When he has his tongue delving into the warmth of her mouth, she can taste herself. It's strange to think about because with past boyfriends the idea of it was unsanitary and unwelcome, but with him the sky is watercolors and everything feels natural and whole and unfathomably better.

They set the pace for passive, allowing time to gradually build and cherish details.

Her hips rose to meet his, the sheets trapping warmth enough that everything was slick and forgiving. His fingers were entwined with hers; he held her body as close to his as he could, thirsted for more when he left her heat, the affection vitally palpable in the light press of mouth to the underside of her jaw, the very place he knew made her shudder from dedication.

In that moment, they were. It was painfully obvious they were making a memory to be held in palm and tucked into back pocket, saved for a day when the world was dark and unreachable. They made love. They made love. They made love.

A final deter on the line of irrelevance and titles, Fitz lost tact and regained enough to make her go again, the heat of her finally consuming enough to swallow him whole, drown him in the most delicious of perspectives. He stared deep into Olivia Pope's eyes and thought, although not for the first time, that this world could end around them and it would be perfectly fine.

Because they'd had this moment. That was enough.


It's the first time they shower together, when the grandfather clock in the entryway sounds the arrival of midnight and she's creeping along, bare feet on tile, arms against her chest in a medicinal show of decency. Liv watches him with bleary eyes as he tests the water out with his finger before stepping in, and she follows.

The faces of Mellie's products stare up at her accusingly, but then Fitz puts a finger under her chin and tilts her head up. She forces it to the box in the dark stairwell of her mind and forgets.

His cerulean eyes smolder like the embers of a lazy fire, and she leans in willingly when he wraps his arms around her, pulling her to him further under the sprout. The height difference is pronounced without heels and facades. Shaking her hair back away from her shoulders, she presses against him just as well, the liquid running down their bodies in a flurry and disappearing down the drain with the evidence. There's always evidence.

And suddenly she's crying, and she doesn't quite know why.

Maybe it's the intimacy that smothers her, but suddenly she's digging her nails into his toned back, desperate to be as much with him as she can be and it's too much.

The truth is: she wants every moment of every day to be like this.

The reality is: that's just not possible.

It guts her, triggers a visceral reaction; her eyes shine with the sheen of tears, one fat one rolling down her cheek before it's carried away by the onslaught of the shower. Olivia wraps her arms around his neck and leans up on her toes. This kiss is brutal, dying with the colder water.

Fitz is the one to break it. When he does, he sets his mouth and reaches around to turn the gauge off. She's managed to stop the unwarranted emotion, but he addresses it because it's needed and he will never deny her anything he can give; he would give her everything, if he could.

"I love you," he tells her, simple, like it is the answer for every unspoken question, every fear, every undignified want, every lie told in kind.

It's the first time he says the words to her.

It's the beginning, and the end, because as the indefinite waves of whatever it is this is burst from her chest as songs that want to sing and breathe life, it is also the death of whims and hotel rooms and darkness. It's the end of meaningless.

And that's something to mourn.


She tries to leave, that night.

Olivia is searching for her underwear when he pads into the foyer, dressed in a pair of boxers and an old shirt, holding something that looks like a similar shirt in his hands.

"Livy?" There's a look on his face she cannot digest.

"Livy, stay."

She opens her mouth. She closes it.

"Please. I just want to sleep next to you. I want to fall asleep with you. Please."

She swallows hard, a lump in her windpipe. "Fitz," she murmurs.

"Please," he whispers again, hoarse.

The truth is: she would give him everything if she could, too.

"Okay," she breathes, the emotional disclosure echoing blindly. "Okay, Fitz."

It's that easy.


His old Navy shirt hits the tops of her thighs, and the guest bedroom's covers are still tousled from their early usage. Fitz crawls in first, allowing space to adjust and for her to choose a position. She picks for close, fitting her body into the lanky beckoning of his. There is a second when they sink into comfort, shifting limbs to accompany one another.

Her eyes are heavy and his heartbeat loud in her ear.

She whispers, "I love you too."

He doesn't hear it, falling asleep just as her chest begins to rise and fall rhythmically.

There are no dreams to be had.