Love, we go down, we go down
Breathe, it's over now, over now
We can love, we can love
"Halcyon," The Paper Kites
He wakes to the crispness of an open window in winter. Stretching, eyes still closed, Peter shakes his head and wonders if Walter will ever learn the weather of the seasons and when it is and is not okay to leave a window cracked all night.
But then he opens his eyes and sees the fluttering curtains, the red-and-brown spray of the bedspread across his chest, the flower-patterned chair in the corner. Fanning his arm to the side, he fingers the coolness of the space beside him, trails his hand through the messiness of slept-in sheets.
Peter smiles and snakes an arm around her pillow, pressing it to his nose so he can breathe in her scent. Warm and spicy, with a hint of something softer underneath – he grins. Even now, he can't place it. And oh, he's missed this. So much.
Scrubbing a hand down his face, Peter throws back the covers and pads into the bathroom. Rummaging around in the cabinet, he finds the extra toothbrush she always keeps on hand and pops it out of the package, squeezing a fat slug of paste onto the bristles and lathering up his teeth. Spitting, he rinses his mouth a few times, splashes water on his eyes, and wipes them dry as he heads into the living room.
He finds her perched on a stool in the kitchen, studying the crossword before her. A glass of orange juice sits abandoned on the countertop. Peter leans against the doorframe and watches as she takes a long, frowning sip from the mug in her hand. The blonde curtain of her hair slides back to reveal the black of her glasses, and he smiles.
He's missed those too.
"Stumped?" he asks, moving into the kitchen fully. She glances up with a smile, slides the glasses off. Her green eyes shine in the morning light.
"Hey, sleepyhead. You're up."
He laughs and reaches for the fridge handle. "How long've you been awake?"
"Uh, 'bout an hour," she replies, rustling the crossword. "Couldn't go back to sleep." A pause. "Coffee's in the pot, and there's creamer in the side door. Hazelnut, right?"
He swings around. "You got me creamer?"
"Yeah." She frowns. "You do like creamer in your coffee, right? I mean – that's what I remembered. Did I get it wrong?"
"No! No, no," he laughs. "No, I guess I'm just… still getting used to having you back."
She ducks her head and rubs a thumb along the palm of her left hand. "Yeah… yeah, me too."
Peter lets the fridge swing shut. "Hey," he starts, moving closer so he can cup a hand along her cheek. "You okay? With all of this?"
Her green eyes search his face, then dart back down to the counter and her twined fingers. "Peter…"
"Liv, if we're moving too fast – "
She shakes her head and breathes a laugh, stands up. Quiets him with a finger to his lips. "Peter, I'm your Olivia, remember? I'm not… I'm not the same person I was last week. I remember – everything." She smiles up at him, green eyes glowing like there's a sunrise behind them. "I remember kissing you in the bar and bringing whiskey to your house that night, waking up beside you the next morning, watching you asleep on the pillow beside me… running my hands through your hair. Wanting to touch every inch of you, to make sure it was real, that I wasn't back on the Other Side dreaming it like before…"
"Olivia – "
She shakes her head, still smiling, lets the words keep rolling off her tongue. "And I remember all the mornings after that, when you would wake me up with kisses that tasted like toothpaste and hand me my coffee, black with one sugar. Just the way I liked it."
Her fingers curl at his neck, tracing patterns there, her voice and her touch mesmerizing him as she continues. "I remember running with you every Saturday morning, and coming back to Walter's blueberry pancakes, the way he'd make faces on them and insist we try his newest milkshakes. And," she grins, standing on tiptoe to whisper in his ear, "I remember Tuesdays, too… and what we'd do while Walter cooked."
Oh. This woman. He can't. Peter takes her mouth, pouring himself into every inch of it, wanting to taste the residue of each sweet word she's just spoken, hungry for this love that he's only remembered for so many aching months. His hands skim her sides, rucking up her T-shirt and brushing it back down again, fingers reaching up to tangle in her hair. Her palms press hard onto his shoulders, calves stretched tight as she toes upward, seeking more.
At last, she breaks the kiss, but gently, drifting down to rest her forehead on his shoulder.
"Your coffee's getting cold," she murmurs, voice muffled in his shirt.
"I don't care," he hums, still a little breathless. "I just want you." As if to prove it, he draws her closer, almost crushing her against him. As the long, lean lines of her body mold to his, Peter shuts his eyes and revels in the fact that he really has her now.
And to think that he had her all along.
Olivia watches as he moves about the kitchen, clad in pajama bottoms and a white T-shirt. The simple attire only accentuates the expanse of his shoulders beneath the fabric, the tapered line of his waist, the easy movement of his arms as he works. She smiles. Even in the stupor of 6 am, he's handsome. And the bedhead is kinda cute. Then again, the spikes in his hair could be the result of their rather… intense kiss just moments before.
Her skin flushes, remembering the heat of his hands on her ribcage and his fingers in her hair, the dizzying slant of his mouth across hers. Her knees are weak just thinking about it. Maybe she should sit down. Yes. Good idea.
Peter opens the fridge and pulls out a carton of eggs, some milk, the package of shredded cheese from the meat drawer. Leaning down, he roots about for a moment before popping up with a jar of minced garlic and jiggling it in her direction.
"All right if I use this?"
"Yeah, sure – whatever's in there," she startles, still trying to calm the fire his hands had fanned inside her. She shifts in her seat. "What're you making?"
"Scrambled eggs." He closes the fridge and rattles around in the cabinet for a bowl.
Her brow dips. "With garlic?"
"Yeah! I made it up a couple weeks ago, when I got bored and Walter wouldn't let me in the lab."
He pauses. "You want something different? I can make pancakes."
"No, no – you've got me interested now." She smiles. Folds her hands on the tabletop.
"Aha!" he crows, and sets the bowl spinning on the counter. Shoots her another look, full of mischief. "You're gonna love them."
She waits as he cracks four eggs into the bowl, stirs in a little milk, sprinkles the mixture with salt and pepper. That done, he settles a skillet onto the stove and flips the dial to medium heat, dumping the mixture in with barely a glance. As he waits for the eggs to scramble, he studies her spice rack, finally selecting steak seasoning. Placing it on the counter beside the garlic and cheese, he stirs the eggs and appears to think.
"Need anything?" she ventures.
He frowns, lifting a finger. "Yeah. Yeah – do you have any tomatoes?"
"Uh. Yeah I think so. Lemme look." She slips off the stool and heads for the fridge. "Will little ones work?"
"Cherry? Yeah, that's perfect," he says, and takes the package from her fingers. He makes short work of the tomatoes, and soon he's added them to the eggs, tossing in a handful of cheese, some garlic, and a dash of steak seasoning, as well. Suddenly, her kitchen smells delicious. Olivia's stomach rumbles.
"Oh my gosh," she moans, sucking in a deep breath. "That smells amazing."
He flicks her a glance, lopsided smile on his lips. "And they taste even better."
A few more stirs and the eggs are done. He takes the plates she offers him and dishes them up, hands them back to her, and drops the skillet in the sink to soak before joining her at the table. Olivia passes him a fork, and they dig in.
"Oh. Oh my word. Peter." She closes her eyes and chews slowly, amazed at the flavors bursting across her tongue. It's as if the Fourth of July fireworks have moved into her mouth.
"You like it?"
She opens her eyes and he's grinning at her, his own eggs untouched. "I love it. And, I'm about to steal yours if you don't stop staring at me. Eat." She jabs her fork at him for emphasis.
He chuckles, shaking his head a little, but dutifully shovels in a bite. "Better?" he mumbles through a mouthful of eggs. She punches his shoulder.
"Ouch!" he yelps.
Olivia grins. "Serves you right. Slob."
He glares at her, which only makes her laugh harder. He returns to his meal and Olivia quiets, the laughter fading from her lips like a happy sigh. She's missed this.
"Peter?" she lays her fork aside.
He pauses and looks up at her, sees something in her eyes. "Yeah?" His fork, too, finds its way to the placemat.
"I'm… sorry that it took me so long. To remember."
His eyes soften, lips melting into a sad little smile. "Olivia…"
She shakes her head. "I know. It's weird, and complicated, and I don't even understand how or why it happened, but – it did, and… I just wanted to make sure that you know."
"That I know what?" Peter asks, searching her gaze.
"That I love you."
Peter freezes, and her heart catches painfully in her throat, hanging on a skipped beat as she awaits his reaction.
"Liv," he finally breathes out, fingers a little shaky as they frame her cheek. Eyes sliding closed, she leans into him, his touch the only answer she needs.