Title: Here and There
Rating: T…mostly for the use of one or two swear words
Characters/Pairing: Olivia/Peter; Alt-Olivia; Walter
Disclaimer: I do not own anything, no profit is made out of this story.
Spoilers: Up to 3x03 "The Plateau".
Summary: Stuck 'Over There', Olivia keeps having vision of Peter, to the point where her true self isn't so dormant anymore. 'Over Here', Alt-Olivia's cover might not survive her encounter with young Ella.
N/A: I will not lie, this is my first fanfiction based on Fringe. It is not my first fanfiction, though. I fell in love with this show and those characters, so badly that I HAD to write my vision of what might/should happen during this wonderful 3rd season.
Millions of thanks to my friend and beta, Em, for her corrections and suggestions (and general awesomeness).
Here and There
\\ There \\
She sees him everywhere, now.
Every day, too.
At first, she thinks it's going to fade away; that he is going to fade away. Because it is all the results of her breakdown, and he had been mangled with that breakdown, and he would disappear from her mind, now.
But he doesn't.
When she wakes up in the morning, she opens her eyes, and there he is. Looking down at her, his face is calm and relaxed. His lips are curled up into a small, knowing smile. While his eyes warm her up from the inside out. If Frank happens to be in bed with her, she just turns around and buries her face into the crook of his neck.
If he's not there, however, she simply stares at him. She always feels like she could stay like this forever.
He appears to her in the kitchen. In a crowded street. At work. In her car.
Mostly, he remains silent. Sometimes, he speaks. Or move.
"You can't forget where you're from, Olivia."
Five times already, he has hugged her, and she has let him. More than willingly. "Remember how this feels. This is real."
And it had felt so real. The warmth of his body against hers, the brush of air on her skin as he whispered in her ears.
Twice, he has kissed her.
Once, she has kissed him.
She doesn't feel any guilt doing this. She feels bad for not feeling guilty, though. Frank is such a devoted man, to his work as much as to their love life.
But when he is the room…no one else exists. No one else matters. She feels like herself, during those brief periods of time. She knows she is not crazy.
She doesn't tell anyone about her visions anymore. Because when he's not there, she feels perfectly fine. She barely thinks about it, about him.
Not much at first, anyway.
But now, most of the time, she feels like she's two people trapped in one body. There is the Olivia who adores her work and her fiancé, who smiles all the time and makes joke with her partners. And there's the other Olivia.
The Olivia who doesn't belong here, who is longing for her own world.
Longing for him.
Because each time she sees him, she remembers him a little more. Therefore, she remembers herself.
She's at a crime scene when he appears again.
Their eyes meet, as they always do, and she feels that intense tug inside her once more. She forces herself to look away, though. Charlie is here, and he's already very suspicious.
One of his 'new' favorite games nowadays is to spring unexpected questions on her, about old memories as well as regular protocols knowledge. What he doesn't know is that, since her first small errors and fits of forgetfulness, she has reread all the rules and protocols. She has a fantastic photographic memory, which incidentally has greatly surprised Frank one night. He was pondering about what he could cook for her, and she had recited twenty-three recipes she had once read in a book, six years ago.
Right now, she has a hard time focusing on the job at hand. She sees him from the corner of her eyes. She knows he's here to give her a warning of sorts, or some kind of advices.
"Do not trust the Secretary. He wants to kill me."
"Do not trust the Secretary and his experiment, he wants to use you. Let him believe you trust him, though."
"Don't forget me, Olivia."
She comes closer to him, pretending to want to take a better look at the victim's severed left arm. She looks into his clear eyes. Goosebumps rise on her skin.
"Go to the lab, Olivia. You need to go the lab."
She knows he's not talking about the lab on Liberty Island. As well as she knows she will be there before the sun sets, tonight.
/ Here /
"You're not her."
Olivia still has tears in her eyes, as she looks, startled, into the kid's face.
Ella recoils again, wrapping her arms tightly around her mother's waist. "You're not…you're not Aunt Liv," she repeats, her eyes wide with fear, but also with certainty.
Olivia stands still in the middle of the lab, feeling her heartbeat quickening in her chest, despite her best self-control. She is well too aware of the others' gaze on her.
And yet, she cannot look away from Ella's frightened face.
Two months. For almost two months, she has been fooling everybody, including her closest friends. Her lover. Even with the odd moments, the fleeting awkwardness, the holes in her knowledge of this world, her mission has been highly successful so far.
And suddenly, she feels like everything could very well fall apart.
Because of a child.
She knows her game is off, at that instant. She has been trained hard, before joining the Fringe Division. She has always enjoyed life and considers herself a 'cheerful optimistic'. But when it comes to work, she can be more a soldier than an agent; she can kill and deceive without much remorse.
But she had been examining Walter's new results with Peter and Astrid, when she had heard a very familiar voice at the door. A voice she hadn't heard in years.
"I knew you would be hiding here, for a change."
She had turned around, to face her sister. Her very dead sister.
No, that's not right. This is not Rachel; her Rachel died seven years ago, during childbirth.
She couldn't stop staring, though, paralyzed. If she was not her, then why did she have the same features? The same smile, the same voice…She didn't look like 'a monster from this Other World', like the Secretary loves to call the people from this Side.
"What?" Rachel had asked, with a small laugh. "You look like you've just seen a ghost."
Mere seconds later, she was hugging her, fiercely, painfully. And she had felt tears sting her eyes. Tears! She hadn't allowed herself to cry since her death. She could not be weak. And yet…
Rachel had been rightly surprised by the intensity of her embrace, but she had quickly returned the hug.
"I've missed you too, Liv…" she had murmured in her ear, gently rubbing her back. "And Ella, too. She couldn't stop asking when we'll come and visit you again; I gave in, obviously."
That's when Olivia had let her go, taking a few steps back. It was just enough for her to drop her eyes and look at the other visitor.
And she had smiled. Her first real, genuine smile since she had crossed over. Here was another face she knew and loved, dearly.
"Hi, Ella," she had said, still smiling.
But Ella did not smile back. On the contrary, she started recoiling, her hand grasping her mother's coat.
"You're not her."
Rachel crouches down to be at her daughter's level, trying to meet her eyes; but the girl does not look away from Olivia.
"What is the matter, baby?" Rachel asks softly, with a note of incredulity. "Why would you say something like that to Liv?"
"She is not Liv!" Ella repeats, louder.
Olivia forces herself to smile. There's nothing genuine in that one. "Who else would I be, sweetie?" she asks, trying to sound more amused than confused, and almost succeeding. "It's the new haircut, isn't it? I admit I still have a hard time recognizing myself in the mirror someti-"
"What did you give me?" the little girl whispers. Her face is pale and terrified, and she's now clinging to Rachel's neck.
Olivia is painfully aware that, despite the fact that there are currently six people in the lab, three of them have not uttered a single word since Rachel and Ella arrived.
That's why she cannot turn and look at them. She knows.
She knows that, in spite of her hard work, of her best performances, they all feel it. Little things that, added up together, make them feel, if not 'know', that something isn't quite right with her.
And if she looks into any of their faces, right now, there won't be any room left for doubts.
She has to convince the girl. She must convince the girl.
"What do you mean?" Again, her voice is steady, calm, and warm. Nobody can hear her racing heart, though.
"What did you give me, the last time we were at your place?"
Damn, the girl is smart. Of course, she is smart. The Ella of her world has always been very clever, too.
How the fuck is she supposed to know what the Other Olivia gave the kid?
She's thinking hard now; so hard that she can feel drops of sweat starting to form on her forehead. Breathe, Dunham, breathe! She orders herself.
The silence is eerie, getting louder and louder, with every passing second. It can't be a toy; she wouldn't ask if it was a toy…must be something symbolic…something important… If only she knew when and under which circumstances they had met last time!
Knowing she cannot let the silence stretch any longer, for her lack of answer would be their answer, she takes a leap of faith.
"My mom's cross. I gave you my mom's cross."
Which is one of her most cherished possession; her mom gave it to her shortly after Rachel's death, when she had been so down, and depressed, feeling so empty and lonely…
That's something she would give her Ella.
Uncertainty now flows on this Ella's face. Doubts. Slowly, she slides one hand under her shirt, and pulls back a long chain.
On which is dangling a little silver cross.
Olivia fights the urge to let a sigh a relief escape her, as her tensed muscles start to relax. She smiles down at her 'niece', reassuringly.
"You see, baby girl, I'm still the same old aunt L-"
But she should have looked around, after all; especially at Peter.
Because before she can end her sentence, pain erupts in the back of her head, and everything turns black.
She wakes up with a terrible headache.
Even though her mind is foggy and unfocused, she can't help but think about that time, two months ago, when her Doppelganger had knocked her out.
Her headache had been just as horribly throbbing…and she had been tied up, as well.
Chin again her chest, she blinks repeatedly, forcing her brain to start functioning correctly again, all the while pulling hard behind her, trying to free her hands.
"There's no need to try," an almost familiar voice says, not far in front of her. "I've been told I make the best knots of this universe."
She raises her head. Peter stands there, arms crossed.
Never before has she seen his face so cold and…pitiless. True, she has only known him for two months, but somehow, she had gotten used to his…gentleness. His kind smile, his warm, peaceful eyes.
The eyes of a man in love.
He is no Frank, of course. But she can understand why the Other Olivia has fallen for him.
The time is not appropriate for that kind of contemplation, however.
She's tied up on a chair, in the middle of Walter's lab; on the Enemy's side. And her formally Puppy-Eyed-Boy looks ready to attack and chew on her bones.
Time to put her game face on.
"Peter?" she murmurs, her voice hoarse and weak…which is not a hard act to pull off, truth be told. "Why…what's wrong?"
She knows she's displaying her best desperate face. Olivia's face. His Olivia. She has seen it first hand, after all, in her own apartment, while a blond version of herself was almost begging for help.
"I need to speak to Peter Bishop. He's in danger… Please, I need to speak to him."
Such an intense desperation. So weak.
But her well-rehearsed face disappears quickly, to be replaced by a very legitimate grimace of pain. Peter had slapped her, hard.
"Don't," he growls, his voice low and furious. "Don't you dare act like her, ever again."
She stretches her aching jaw, containing a moan of pain. Bastard.
Truth is, she might be trained to face a lot of crazy shit in her line of work, she can't help but start to slightly panic. She is a universe away from her home, from her allies. She seriously doubts Newton is going to help her right now, not after all those times she had reminded him she was the boss.
You dug your own grave, Dunham. Get out of it by yourself, now.
But she is pretty sure her cover has blown up for good, this time. There might be no use in pretending, anymore, but she will not go quietly.
So she faces him and lets the mask fall. For the first time in two months, she's truly herself in front of him.
She sees his jaw clench, as he instinctively crosses his arms again. He sees her, now.
"Took you long enough," she then says, letting a sneer grow on her face.
She knows he really wants to slap her again; to inflict her any kind of pain, really. She doesn't care.
"What was my giveaway?" she asks, more curious than anything else. She's pretty much screwed, anyway.
He stares at her for another few seconds, before he unfolds his arms once again, and opens his right fist. A long chain falls and swings from his fingers. It's a chain with a silver cross.
Her eyes narrow.
"This, is yours." He says flatly. "Olivia's is around Ella's neck. I guess you shouldn't have let me see you naked."
He does not fool her, in spite of his coldness. She can hear the guilt behind his sarcasm.
Of course he had seen the cross; they had had sex three times. She usually never wears the cross, not in her world anyway, where it would stay well hidden and safe in an inside pocked of her jacket. But since she has come here, she has felt the…urge to keep it around her neck.
That, she knows, is a sign of weakness. And it turned out to be a giveaway. She's furious. She's furious, and scared, and unprepared for that kind of failure.
So she takes it out on him.
A nasty, mocking laugh escapes her, then: "You didn't seem to mind my nakedness at that time, Peter."
His face hardens again. "Shut up."
Truth is, she hadn't fully enjoyed the nakedness. He is not a bad shag, by far. But…each time, she had thought of Frank. And each time had happened within the last two weeks. It had been a mean for her to shut him up when he had been too close to discover something compromising, or was asking too many questions. And boys will be boys...
He was a man in love, and doubts or not, she had been all over him, offering him her body. Never her soul, though.
She is screwed, in every possible way. She has failed her universe, and she has betrayed her man.
"Why should I shut up now, Peter?" she spits with disdain. "Because I pretended to be your Sweetie Pie for a few weeks? Because I slept in her bed, along with you, and you didn't have a single clue?"
"Shut. UP!" he almost yells, his face red and distorted with rage.
But she laughs again. "You were so easy to fool. So easy. All I had to do was bat my eyelashes amorously, and whisper your name as if you were my God," she makes a very obvious expression, then, full of pleasure and devotion. "Oh, Peter…"
Next thing she knows, he's the one who's all over her.
She registers the pain in her back, as well as the blinding one in the back of her head, again. If that alone is not enough to bring her to the edge of unconsciousness again, his hands around her throat would be.
He's crushing her windpipe, and she cannot breathe, hardly managing to utter a few gurgling noises, as he strangles her.
Through the pain, the panic and the horrifying lack of air, she can hear him screaming. "Where is she! Where is Olivia!"
And then he's gone, and she's breathing again. Breathing and coughing. The pain in her throat is a delight, because it's caused by oxygen coming down to fill up her lungs.
There are movements around her; hands pull and push her chair up, and she feels her feet touch the ground again. Still panting, she focuses her gaze on Peter, at the other end of the room. He's clenching his hair with both hands, walking in circles, almost doubled over; he's clearly trying to calm himself down.
She turns her head, to see that her saviors are no others than Walter and Astrid. But there is no more warmth in their eyes.
All that remains is cold anger. And some disgust.
"Thank you…" she manages to breathe anyway, looking into Walter's eyes. But she almost regrets it instantly.
"Make no mistake, Miss Dunham," he says coldly. "The only reason why I didn't let my son kill you is because your dead body would be no use to me. I need you alive to bring our Olivia back from the Other Side, where I'm sure you left her in very bad company."
At this instant, never before has he more resembled his 'Evil Double'.
\\ There \\
The road leading to Boston is a sad sight.
There's no more green, no more life. All is grey and dead. Quarantined.
She stands near the Quarantine site for a very long time, that first night. She knows all about Quarantine, of course, it's her field of expertise. She has known about those 'holes' in the Universe for years, knows Boston has been in that state for almost two decades, now.
Still, she cannot look away from the frozen bodies, standing forever immobile only five feet away from her. Olivia has been here before. She has seen this devastation. She doesn't care.
To the other Olivia, her true self, it feels like the first time.
And her heart breaks a little more inside.
The lab is dark and dusty.
She is not foolish enough to turn on the lights. She uses her flashlight instead, thinking fleetingly that she would need to bring candles next time. Because there would be a next time.
Just stepping into that darkened place feels a bit like going home.
Her light glides over a sea of white blankets, each of them covering instruments she would be incapable of using. And yet, she feels drawn to each and every one of them.
As she inspects the room slowly and quietly, the beam of her light stops on a dark figure standing near the desk. She should have been frightened. She should definitely have jumped out and clenched her chest.
Because it's him.
"Welcome back, Olivia" Peter says softly, always smiling.
And she smiles in return.
/ Here /
To Peter, Walter seems to be almost more distressed than him over Olivia's fate.
But again, the fact the he is sane while Walter is not, might be affecting his perspective.
Despite the aching, bleeding hole in his chest, he cannot roam the lab back and forth, crying and asking for forgiveness, wearing nothing but underwear. Unlike Walter.
Thank God for small mercies, Walter's sanity is still there most of the time, long enough for them to work on a way to bring her back.
But 'working on it' doesn't make up for the fact that she is not here. She's there.
And for two months, he had thought she was on their side. On his side. He had been used and deceived.
He has betrayed her.
The guilt of his actions is enough to keep him from sleeping at night.
When he had gone to the other side with Walternate, Olivia had risked everything to come and save him within two days.
It has taken him two months to even realize that she is still stuck there. Sometimes, he feels physically sick when he thinks of all the things that could have happened to her, in all that time.
After much questioning –and some techniques invented by Walter that are as successful as they are highly illegal and unethical- the Fake Olivia has told them that she is still alive and safe, for now.
He still cannot sleep. He can hardly eat, and the only reason he shaves is because he remembers what Walter looked like before he got out of St Claire's.
Unexpectedly, Walter is the one who tries to 'cheer him up'. Those are his exact words. "I have something for you that might cheer you up."
Peter stares blankly at the man he once called his father. "Unless you're about to tell me you found a way to bring Olivia back within the hour, I seriously doubt that."
Walter lets out a very dry chuckle, his smile disappearing from his lips, as he beckons Peter to follow him: "I'm afraid I can't tell you that, son, but…come and see, quickly."
Curious now, Peter follows him. "See what, Walter?"
"Her, of course," he answers without stopping.
Peter realizes then that he's leading them to Gene. He stops dead, exasperation flooding back. "Walter, why do you want me to see the cow, exactly?"
"What an idiotic thing to say, I am not talking about Gene. I'm talking about Olivia."
Peter can't move as he registers his words. Olivia? How-
"Peter, we don't have all night!" protests Walter from inside the cow's room.
So Peter joins him, not allowing himself to feel the tiniest bit of hope. He looks around. Gene is on one side of the room, while Walter stands at the other side. Behind a very peculiar piece of equipment he has never seen before. It looks like a big piece of glass. He can see Walter's face on the other side. He's looking through it at Gene, a small smile on his lips. "She's asleep."
Peter looks around at the cow. Gene looks back at him, chewing calmly and surely wondering why she's suddenly so interesting.
"Walter," he growls softly, turning back to him. "If you don't explain yourself in the next thirty seconds, I'm gonna-"
"Come on that side, son. You will understand." He's still smiling. It's a sad kind of smile, Peter realizes.
In spite of himself, he feels his heart starting to beat faster beneath his chest. He walks to the place where Walter stands, and come on his side of the 'glass'. He instinctively looks through it, expecting to see nothing but the chewing cow.
His next intake of breath is sharp and loud, as he jumps back, eyes wide.
There's no more Gene on the other side of the glass. Instead, this side of the room his dark, only lit by what seem to be a weak candle light.
And there's a form sitting on the ground, curled up against the wall.
His heart now pounding furiously against his ears, Peter takes a few steps closer to the machine. His eyes are glued to the sleeping woman. Even in the semi-darkness, he would recognize her anywhere. Her hair is red, long and straight, instead of being blond and pulled back into a ponytail.
He steps even closer, both his hands rising to grip each side of the machine, his nose only a few inches away from the glass. And he stares, with all his might.
She's sitting on the floor, her legs up against her chest. She has wrapped her arms around them, and her cheek lies on her knees. Her long, dark hair flows over her leg; the left side of her face is perfectly visible. Even in her sleep, he can see that her face is contracted, almost painfully.
This is Olivia. His Olivia.
Overwhelmed by a wild variety of emotions, going from relief to pain, to frustration and hope, he turns hastily to Walter. "How…what…how did you…what is…"
Walter looks at him, gravely. "Belly and I created this 'Window' to the Other Side more than twenty years ago. You… My Peter was extremely sick and I had to see what Walternate was doing to save…you."
"This…this is a window?" he turns back, his eyes instantly falling back on Olivia, his Olivia. Here. There. And once more, he's transfixed.
"Yes. I…damaged it, not long after… It was an understandable act of anger and grief. I've been working on it for the last two weeks. I've fixed it so you could…see her. See that she's alive and sound, if not quite safe."
He wants to look at Walter, but he can't. He wants to say something. But he can't. He wants to reach through that window and touch her.
But he can't.
"What…How did you know she would be here? What is she even doing there?" His voice cracks on the last word; he doesn't care.
"It seems that she has taken up the habit of coming to the lab almost every night, now."
That makes him turns around swiftly. "What do you mean, 'she has taken up the habit'? How long have you been seeing her through that thing without telling me?"
"I…don't be mad, son, I have been working on it for two weeks, it's been working on and off, the quality was sometimes really dreadful. I didn't want to show you before I was sure it was going to work steadily."
"I did see her at different places of the lab; she seems to be looking for something, or someone. I think she's hallucinating, too."
This is too much to process; his exhausted, desperate brain complains by sending a jolt of pain through his frontal lobe, but he ignores the headache, glaring at his…at Walter.
"What are you saying? Is she herself? Her Double said she had been injected with a product that made her think she belonged to their world!"
"I know, Peter." Walter raises his trembling hands, as if to protect himself from his booming voice. "But I don't know exactly what her state of mind is like; I've only seen glimpses of her. What I'm sure of is that she has been responding to some kind of… invisible presence in the lab. That's what leads me to think she's hallucinating."
Peter is staring at her again, needing so badly to go over there and to hold her. Just to feel her.
"Whatever she's seeing, it makes her look like…herself," Walter says softly behind him. "She's not lost, Peter. She's still there."
Peter's throat closes up painfully, and he swallows hard, fighting the sudden burning feeling in his eyes, which still bear endlessly onto her.
"Yes…"he murmurs, feeling as elated as he feels defeated. "She's still there."
\\ There \\
She awakes with a jolt, her head snapping up from her knees.
Her voice resonates through the stillness of the lab.
She immediately realizes that the candle has died out. She's swallowed into thick darkness. She wonders if it's the sudden absence of light that has woken her up.
Once again, when she should feel slightly frightened by the fact that she is in the dark, inside an obviously creepy place, she is not.
She pulls her flashlight from her coat and turns it on, almost expecting him to stand there in front of her, as he so often does in the lab.
But he's not here. She stands up slowly, the beam of her light inspecting each corners of the room. She then goes back into the main room, but there is still no trace of him.
So why does she feel like he is here? He feels so close, at that instant.
"Concentrate on that feeling, Olivia."
She turns around hastily, and there he is. Always in that same dark coat. She starts to smile, but then realizes that he is not. That is most unusual. He always smiles in her visions.
He seems very grave, tonight. Focused. Intense.
"You're almost there, Livy," he says firmly, but always calmly. "It is not this image of me you're feeling right now, and you know it. Concentrate."
And so she does. She turns on the spot, slowly. Her light is still in her hand, but she knows she doesn't need it. What she's looking for is not there, not exactly.
Her breathing has become slow and focused, as she feels an almost dormant part of her brain awaking within her skull. Strange, intense emotions are attempting to flow back into her, but she blocks them. She needs to stay focused.
Her breathing is deep now, and she closes her eyes, listening to every nerves of her body. Listening to his voice, within her. She turns slightly, as her hands start to quiver. Then it's her legs, then her chest, and soon, her whole body is shaking. As well as the ground under her feet.
But through it all, her trance stays strong and deep. She can feel him; he is here and there, only a few feet away from her. She breathes in, loudly, and she can see him so clearly in her mind's eyes now.
And as she exhales, certainty explodes within her whole being, and she opens her eyes.
They lock instantly onto his, as clear and blue as she has ever seen them.
They are not warm and peaceful, as she has gotten use to see them, those past two months.
They are wide with fright and awe. Haunted.
"Peter…" she whispers.
And then she is pulled, hard.
And the world explodes.
\\ Here and there /
Peter is still staring at her when the weak candle light completely disappears.
"No!" he shouts, desperation grasping his heart again. He wants to keep looking at her, just five more minutes, please.
But he looks through that window, and there's nothing there but darkness.
With a moan of painful frustration, he turns around and hits the wall with both his hand, his aching head quickly doing the same, painfully. The wall feels cold under his feverish forehead. This is madness. How is he supposed to go on, to go through each day, knowing he could see her, but she could not see him? Knowing that she is so close, and yet so far?
More exhausted and defeated than ever, he turns around, leaning on the wall. But he straightens up right away.
The darkness is gone, replaced by a steady light. It comes from the flashlight Olivia holds in her hand.
His own hands are grasping each side of the glass again within seconds, as she stands up, clearly looking for something.
And then she moves. She walks out of sight.
"Walter!" he yells, not caring about sounding crazy. "How do you move this thing?"
Less than a minute later, Walter has joined him and helped him take the window off its 'base'. The thing is way heavier than it looks, but he doesn't care. He holds it at arm's length; as he goes back to main room, looking everywhere for the sight of her.
"Peter," says Walter with a shaky voice behind him. "She surely has left the lab, it is rather late and she may not be herself at this instant."
"She hasn't," he replies, firmly. "She still there, I know it."
He keeps walking, turning, and ignoring the ache in his arms. And then he stops. "She's here! Go get me the base!"
She's standing less than four feet away from him. So close that he would touch her, if he could only reach out in this other world.
She turns around abruptly, and he can see most of her face now. Despite the hair, she is herself. As much as she was, when she had asked him to come back with her, that night. To come back for her.
She smiles, then. But it's not at him. She's looking at something on his right, her left; he turns the window to try and see what she's looking at, but there's nothing. She's alone in this lab.
"Here," Walter pants, and together, they fix the window again. Peter never lets her out of his sight.
She doesn't move. She doesn't smile anymore, either. Her eyes are focused and she seems to be breathing very deeply.
"Oh my, YES!" Walter exclaims suddenly, his voice almost outrageously cheerful.
"What, Walter?" barks Peter, not taking his eyes off her. If only she would move slightly and look up, their eyes would meet.
"Don't you see?" cheers Walter. "Don't you understand what she's doing?"
"Enlighten me." His absolute lack of patience obvious.
She closes her eyes, just then, breathing even more deeply. She does turn around slightly, to finally face him
"She's in trance Peter! She is in the perfect state of mind for a cross over!"
"What?" Peter can't help but turn his gaze briefly on Walter, who looks like a kid on Christmas Morning. "Do you mean she's trying to come back?"
"I don't know if she is aware of it," admits Walter, his smile fading a little. "Who knows what they did to her, what they injected her with. But I can assure you that she's trying hard."
He returns his gaze on her. She has started to shake. Slightly at first, but soon her whole body is shaking.
He suddenly realizes that she isn't the only one shaking. The whole lab is vibrating, on their side.
"What's happening, Walter?"
"She's opening a door! She is!"
The ground shakes underneath his feet, but it's nothing, nothing compared to the way his heart pounds faster and louder than ever against his ears. While her breathing seems deep and perfectly controlled, his is shallow and unsteady. His hands are tightly griping the window, as the world shakes around them.
And then, she opens her eyes and looks into his. And he knows without the shadow of a doubt that she sees him as clearly as he sees her.
"Peter…" her lips form his name.
That is when the world explodes.
The blast is powerful and ruthless.
He is blown away and his feet leave the ground. He's projected, hard, several feet away, hitting the autopsy table. He falls to the ground with a cry of pain, disoriented.
But not for long.
Ignoring the different aches throbbing through his body, he scrambles to his feet and stumbles to the place where he and Walter were standing, less than a minute ago. He knows he should look around to find Walter, but his heart only beats furiously for one person.
The person lying on the floor, mere feet away from him.
He's on his knees again, reaching for her, not caring about the pale color of her skin, or the blood coming out her nose, or from the side of his head. She's here, she's here with him.
And he touches her, then, he grabs her, delicately despite his urgency; he holds her upper body up to him, disbelief coursing through his body, as he inhales the scent of her hair. Amazingly, it is still her scent; he painfully closes his eyes, not even realizing that he's rocking her, softly.
"You're okay…" he whispers. "You're okay…you're back…you're back…"
He is not prepared for what comes next.
Eyes closed, he doesn't realize that she is conscious again. Next thing he knows, she has hit him hard in the chest with her elbow. He doesn't know how he ends up on his back, her hands tightly griping his throat.
He must be more hurt than he originally thought, because he's too weak to get away from that murderous embrace.
She's straddling him, her thighs squeezing him with as much force as her hands around his throat. Her eyes are wide and crazy, confused and pitiless. She's scared, reacting by pure instincts.
"Olivia…" he gurgles, his own hands on her arms, desperately trying to loosen her grip. "Olivia, please…"
Black spots appear in his vision, but he keeps fighting. This can't be real, this can't be happening.
And then she lets out a gasp of pain, and her crazed hold on him slackens completely. She falls on him, and despite his weak and confused state, he instinctively reach for her head, before it can hit the ground.
He looks up, to see Walter standing above them. He looks like he's just escaped some kind of tornado, hair wild, clothes unraveled. He holds an empty syringe in his left hand.
"I had to sedate her. I'm sure you'll understand. She seemed quite confused."
"You have a way with understatements, Walter…" he manages to say with a hoarse and broken voice.
'Confused' seems a bit feeble, knowing she has just tried to strangle him to death. But he doesn't care.
He closes his eyes again, sliding his fingers in her hair, as he holds her head again his chest. Hoping she can hear how loudly his heart beat, at that instant. Hoping she can sense his gratitude. His admiration.
He doesn't care about her insane reaction, not after all she has been through. Olivia has saved herself.
And she's here now. In his arms.
N/A: I think this is in pretty need of a sequel (my brain/shipper heart thinks so anyway). What do you think?
I hope you enjoyed, I personally had a blast writing it :D Incidentally, I don't usually write in English (if I do, it's always translation of my French fanfics), but those characters' voices just imposed themselves in English, who am I to complain? ^^ I sincerely hope it didn't show too much!
I would be forever grateful for any feedback, those are so yummy :D Let me know if you want a sequel :)
(PS: My beta pointed out to me that she had the feeling Alt-Olivia didn't have a niece in the Other World. Personally, I got the opposite vibe :D I guess we might know in a future episode!)
EDIT: You can now read CHAPTER 2