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20 July 2012 @ 01:03 am
and this old world is a new world  
and I will make you a weapon
//
by sezzie_dee
Fandom: Fringe
Rating: pg13
Summary: "This is not Olivia Dunham the protector, his trans-universal soul mate, the mother of his child; this is Olivia Dunham the soldier." Olivia sold her soul to keep them safe and Peter’s going to do whatever it takes to buy it back. Future!fic.
Notes: I started out with what I thought was a kind of dark and nifty place for this to go, but then it just developed a mind of its own and since I never really get around to finishing anything these days I sort of ran with it. It was supposed to have more back story but Peter kept insisting on having all the feels.




They find the place Bell had Olivia trapped in amber. The thing is: they just don’t find Olivia.


*


In all the time they spend searching for Olivia, Peter never considers the possibility she’d find them first.

He’s navigating a reconnaissance mission at the old Massive Dynamic when he feels it, feels prickly and on edge before he catches the flash of blonde out of the corner of his eye, and then it’s like some kind of spooky dream because she’s standing ten feet in front of him, dim and eerily backlit but the silhouette is unmistakeable and it’s her, really her, and his heart seizes and stutters in his chest.

“Olivia?” he laughs in breathless wonder.

She doesn’t return his smile, though, and when he makes towards her she takes a pointed step back that carries her into the light.

The thing that hits him first is the scar – a jagged red line traversing her left temple, rising up into an angry ridge running down the side of her eye.

She’s dressed in black slacks and a ribbed singlet that’s ridden up enough to reveal the Glock tucked into her waistband, grasping a fistful of red-orange vials on her left hand. She’s thinner than when he last saw her. Her hair, lank and fraying with disregard, is pulled back in a messy loop, ends jutting out towards the nape of her neck.

This is not Olivia Dunham the protector, his trans-universal soul mate, the mother of his child; this is Olivia Dunham the soldier, the one he’s had scattered glimpses of over the years and whose potential he supposes has always been bubbling furiously away below her cast-iron surface.

His brow furrows, anxious and confused.

“Olivia?” he repeats.

She looks up. The lights flicker then extinguish momentarily; he loses her in the seconds of darkness before the explosion and when they stutter back on, right before the lab goes up, before he makes a grab for the vials she’s dropped, before Etta drags him yelling from the hallway, she’s gone.


*


(She’s still reeling from the hit when he finds her, crouching in the shadows away from the smoke, dizzy and hungry for air. Nick’s hand finds hers - the one not in the tourniquet - and squeezes, and Olivia closes her eyes and imagines the flame licking hungrily down the hallways, literally hot on their heels as they flee, not quite close enough to burn them but enough to chase them away. Her skeleton briefly feels as if it is searing white-hot metal inside her, but the sensation recedes as quickly as it washes over her.

The lights above them flicker for a few seconds, then extinguish, and they’re alone in the hot dark.)


*


Walter’s convinced he’s seeing things.

“Loneliness takes its toll on the mind, son – it’s believed that mermaids were imagined by lovesick sailors seeing manatees in the water whilst pining for the wives they left at home.”

He knows what he saw, though. He just doesn’t understand it.

He’s careful not to mention it around Etta, partly because he doesn’t want to get her hopes up only to crush them with the confession that her mother has become some kind of impassive infidel at some point during their separation, partly in fear that she too will dismiss him as crazy, staring up at him with his own eyes and offering him, god-for-bid, pity.

He makes himself nauseous thinking about having her so close, about the step she took away, about the blank look in her eyes when he called her by name. He hardly sleeps but when he does it’s of Olivia, of a universe made up entirely of her freckles for stars, with her fishtailed and fragile, beckoning to him from the rocks, a siren sending him into the depths to drown.

Peter Bishop is all too familiar with yearning.


*


They tend towards nocturnalism, these days; it feels safer carrying out their defiances in the dark.

He rises at around three. He’s yanking up the fly on his jeans after relieving himself when hears something that could be footsteps; each of the tiny hairs on the back of his neck rises to eerie attention as he listens. He snatches Etta’s gun from where she’s left it for him on the counter, sneaking towards the source of the sound when a foot connects sharply with his ribs from behind. He falls but catches the ankle on his way down, pulling his assailant with him, and when they hit the floor he twists and traps them together.

“Hey! Olivia, what the hell,” he growls when he recognises her, her green eyes boring angrily into his as she struggles against him. “It’s me. It’s Peter. What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t you know who I am?”

Her forehead creases momentarily in confusion at that, opening her mouth to respond before she decides against it, using his preoccupation to pull herself free. In his attempt to follow he knocks against the wooden table, sending various items toppling over and off the edge, and Olivia follows the movement wide-eyed when suddenly the thermometer, six empty test tubes and rack, ballpoint pen and vials of cortexiphan catch and hang suspended in the air a mere inch above the ground.

He lets out a breath.

“Are you doing that?”

She blinks and the objects hit the floor, impact softened by the minimal drop and she rolls to her feet. She makes to run but he’s up and has her by the arm, and she takes to opportunity to slam his other hand against the brick, sending the gun clattering to the floor. He grunts and flips them, pinning her against the wall before she can escape, hand at her throat and hips holding hers in place, chests heaving in unison.

He feels the change in her before he sees it; senses her body going slack beneath his, her breath hitting his face in soft chuffs of air as her lips part slightly, surrender creeping through her musculature until her eyes darken before him, pupils fully-blown and toxic, like tar. He feels the way he responds before common sense catches up to warn otherwise. His thumb sweeps the hollow of her throat.

“So help me remember,” she dares, eyes on his mouth, and the way he sees it, he has nothing to lose.

She strains past the hand at her neck to catch his lips in her own. He’s unresponsive at first, bewildered, but his body seems perfectly happy to pick up where his mind left off. His ink-stained fingers collide with the protruding curvature of each rib on the way down and she sighs and jerks against him, breasts pressing urgently against his chest. Her arousal is no lie; her body is well acquainted with his own, that much is apparent to them both. Evidence lies in the way it curls so effortlessly into him, legs and mouth parting in Pavlovian response to his pressure at her thighs.

His heart feels like it’s going to burst with the overload of feeling her beneath him. A part of him is intrigued by this, by this opportunity to experience this new, perhaps old, perhaps true Olivia Dunham, and it brings a little of Peter Bishop pre-Fringe Division rushing to the surface, fingers digging deeper than they should, teeth activated, fingers tangling roughly in hair as he takes his every frustration out on this new obstacle that continues to deny him his mate.

“I love you,” he chokes, crushing her to him with bruising force, his face pressed into her neck.

She doesn’t say anything back but whimpers as she shudders around him, fingers sliding for purchase over the sweat-slick skin of his back.

When he wakes, she’s gone, along with three vials of cortexiphan she’d dropped while fleeing Massive Dynamic. And every part of him knows he should have expected it.

He newly understands her long-ago chagrin at uncovering the truths that hid behind John Scott; there’s a special kind of flavour to being betrayed by a lover, at recognising your own weakness for another human being only in having it reflected back at you in the glistening surface of the knife you dig uncomfortably out from between your shoulder blades, not entirely sure how long ago it became buried there.

He punches the wall in an explosion of temper and lies about the encounter the next morning, but his knuckles are raw and there’s scratch marks at the nape of his neck his t-shirt can’t quite cover, and for the first time since she found him Etta looks at him like he isn’t perfect, like maybe he’s just like the rest of them, like maybe he has something sinister to hide.

(He never sees the way Olivia hugs her knees briefly to her chest before she dresses, pulling the fraying charcoal tank over the bruises blossoming in dilute violet on her body, nor does he see the way she hovers before she slips away, feet frozen to the ground, held captive by the simple rise and fall of a sleeping blonde girl’s chest beneath her cocoon of woollen blankets.)

(He never sees any of it at all, but this is how she’s kept them safe.)


*


When they make it to Harvard Peter abruptly closes himself off in the lab’s back office and busies himself with slamming around in the drawers, relieved to find Olivia’s whiskey stash has gone untouched by the raids. The liquor has twenty odd years on him and burns unrepentantly on the way down, and as he acquaints himself with the bottom of the bottle he allows himself to grow bitter, and for a few hours in the early morning he hates her for leaving him like this again.

He hates her because he always has to be the one that remembers; the one burdened with the memory of how beautiful the two of them can be while she is scared, while she forgets him, while she dies and leaves him all alone. He hates her and a spineless part of him thinks I can’t do this, not again.

When he wretches in the trashcan because he’s drunk too much too fast, because he hasn’t drank all that much in four-years-or-is-it-twenty, because he can barely stomach himself in this moment of weakness, there’s the gentle click of the door opening and closing, and a flutter of fingertips soothing between his shoulder blades, and his eyes fall closed and he whispers hoarsely and perhaps too hopefully,

“Olivia?”

Etta’s wide blue eyes crinkle in agonising sympathy.

“We’re going to get her back, Dad.”

He shudders for breath at that, crushing her to him, drawing strength from having her there with her mother’s long blonde hair and berating himself for not being the strong one for her.


*


Walter has a theory.

(He always does.)

“Olivia’s abilities have always been directly linked to her great capacity for compassion, however it is that very same compassion that has kept her from becoming the weapon I believe they intended her to be. She is a protector, and as such her abilities are heightened when someone she loves is threatened. I believe whoever is behind her present state deduced that the only way to force Olivia to reach her true potential was to eliminate the aspect of her personality that holds her back – her unwillingness for those she cares for to come to harm. They were, as we have seen, successful; but not for those reasons. I believe Olivia’s heightened abilities still have the same core motivation – her instinct to protect. It just so happened that they inadvertently brought it to the surface in its most powerful form.”

“I don’t understand,” Etta admits.

“You, my dear,” Walter says, oddly affectionately, cupping her face in his wrinkled palms. “There are few forces of nature fiercer than the maternal instinct to protect one’s child. Olivia gave herself over to Belly for one reason, and one reason alone – to protect you. And it is that, not their brainwashing, that has made her stronger than ever.”

“If that’s true, then some part of her has to remember Etta,” Peter interrupts. “Something we can work with.”

“Recovering lost memories is not an exact science, and oftentimes it is merely frustrating and unsuccessful, I know this from personal experience. But the fact remains that somehow Olivia was able to remember you, Peter, from a previous iteration of a timeline in which you technically never existed. Where there is faith, there is always hope.”

“I can’t just believe she would do this, even if it was to keep me safe,” Etta argues, fist closed possessively around the bullet at her throat, as if trapping and protecting the unblemished memory of her mother inside.

“Some parents are willing to do whatever is necessary to keep their children safe. You’ll understand it someday.” His gaze softens as it shifts from his daughter to his father. “It took me awhile. But I know I do.”


*


(She does what they told her – she waits to be called up. She stays fit, stays focused, stays ready. She wears the blacks and greys. She blends in and she waits, and when the call comes, she is awakened.

She is both natural and unnatural. She is a warrior.)

(She thinks they meant for her to forget.)


*


He feels… heavy.

“Walter,” he says sharply. “Do you feel that?”

His father simpers a moment.

“I feel underappreciated.”

It isn’t much to go on – Walter’s present-day personality rarely extends outside of the range of mildly tolerant to obnoxiously arrogant.

“And a little self-loathing,” he adds however, eyes crinkling in a sadness Peter hasn’t seen there since he was pulled from the amber.

“Yeah, me too.”

“I don’t feel anything,” Etta offers, to her credit only looking slightly bemused.

“You, sweetheart, are just the exception that proves the rule. Nick!” he yells out suddenly, startling his companions. “I know you’re here.”

There’s a silence followed by a shuffling sound before a figure materialises from the darkness. The man’s face is worn and creased with the two decades Peter and Olivia were denied, but Peter would recognise those cool, bright eyes anywhere; Nick Lane’s weary mood settles over him almost immediately and he struggles to fight off the tangle of emotions that aren’t his own. He takes in the scar, the singlet, the uniform; suddenly things start making sense.

“It was you that took Olivia from the amber,” he realises.

“I saved her,” Nick corrects.

“What have you done to her?” Walter barks, his face morphing into deep and angry lines.

“She’s the way she is because of what you people did to her, not me,” he snarls, and Peter feels the foreign fury pulse in his fingertips.

He pictures them, then; the two broken cortexiphan children banded together like stray animals, maltreated and prevented from biting the hands that fed them.

Self-depreciation slides down his backbone, curling through him like the insidious tendrils of a creeper vine. He feels something pushing back at it, though, making his mind that little bit clearer, and his eyes travel to where Etta’s hand has come to rest on his shoulder.

“I don’t know who you are, or what was done to you,” Etta cuts in, “but I had nothing to do with it. I just want to find my mother.”

“Mother?” Nick asks, stopping in his tracks.

It’s apparent he sees it, then; sees that these genetics cannot lie, that Olive has indeed been lovingly carved and weaved into this young woman’s skin with unmistakable clarity, that she is half the strongest person he knows and therefore is easily the second strongest person he knows at very least.

”We have cortexiphan,” Etta says, and this too effectively captures Nick’s attention, sending his eyes flicking absently to his forearm.

The trickster in Peter catches the tell and shakes his head in disgust, loosening his fists.

“So what’s your price, Nick? What’s it going to take for you to betray her, just like everybody else? Four vials? Five?”

Nick shoves him backward.

“Hey, fuck you,” he snaps.

“Please,” Etta says, eyes wide as she grabs him by the wrist. “We just want to help her. We could help you, too.”

“Maybe there’s nothing left to help, did you think of that? Sometimes what we wake up can’t be put back to sleep – isn’t that right, Dr Bishop?”

Peter groans in protest and without his own accord he’s holding a hypodermic needle to his father’s temple, his arm compelled as if by invisible force. The old Walter would have trembled in shame at such a blatant confrontation, but the newly restored Walter Bishop shows no such remorse, returning Nick’s glare with equal heat.

“Hey!” Etta says sharply, and the phantom hold over Peter’s arm severs, sending the needle crashing to the ground, although at Nick’s bequest or his daughter’s he isn’t entirely sure.

“I’ll bring her to you,” Nick says eventually. “She’s sick, and she’s not getting any better. I’m not sure I can help her anymore. But I’m going to need that cortexiphan.”

“It’s a deal,” Etta says firmly before either Bishop boy can interject.

And then all they can do is to wait.


*


(“I found us some more, Olive. It’s going to be okay.”

He pushes gently on the plunger, watching her respond as it spreads through her system, skin flushing, pupils dilating, toes curling as she waits for her mind to sharpen, frowning when the clarity never comes.

“You tricked me,” she breathes once she realises, eyes wide with betrayal like a wild animal as she thrashes, fighting in futility against the slow burn of the tranquiliser. “Nick, what did you do?”

“I’m going to tell you a story,” Nick murmurs soothingly as he catches her under her arms, lowering her gently, even as her eyes flutter. He runs his fingers through the tangles of her hair. “There was a man. And a woman, Olive – strong, just like you. Our children are our greatest resource. We have to nurture and protect them. We have to prepare them, so they can protect us. You remember, don’t you – all the old words?”

Her hand fists weakly at his shirt.

“We’re not the children anymore. I see that now. You were always the strong one, Olive. I’m sorry I couldn’t be strong like you.”)

(All she knows is blackness.)


*


Her forehead is covered in a thick sheen of sweat, her eyes sunken in her sick and ghostly pallor. The way her wrists have been strapped to the chair leaves her underarms exposed, and Peter swallows as he takes in everything he missed in the half-light; the track marks and the angry red tattoo, the kind of branding the Observers took pride in.

“Jesus, Olivia,” he says on a sharp intake of breath, “what the hell did they do to you?”

Walter doesn’t even glance up.

“Her system has been blasted with extremely high doses of cortexiphan, repeatedly, for months, perhaps years. It seems inevitably, her body has developed a reliance on it.”

“So, what – they’ve made her a cortexiphan addict?” Astrid asks.

“Essentially, yes.”

She’s restless even in sleep, her body twisting often, her eyelids fluttering at the constant and rapid movement beneath them. Peter drops to a crouch beside her, unable to stop himself from brushing the errant hairs from her face.

“I know you’re still in there somewhere,” he murmurs.

His resolve crumbles and he reaches out, vision blurring with moisture as he strokes the scar marring the side of her face. She winces at the contact, forehead creasing briefly before her eyes fly open as she flattens her features back out again, an open and unforgiving book.

“You,” she hisses when she sees him.

“Olivia…”

“Let - me - go.”

She spits out each word slowly and deliberately, as if administrating careful venom.

“That’s just the problem,” he says softly. “I can’t.”


*


Walter, Astrid and Etta work tirelessly on preparing Walter’s serum, on working out the right dosages, on deciding exactly what it is they’re going to do to bring her back to him, and while they do this, Peter watches. He watches her sleep, tormented by dreams and her body’s agonising slow withdrawal, he watches her awake and ignoring his watching, and he watches the way she stills and studies every time she happens to catch a glimpse of Etta’s pale hair through the doorway.

He tries to talk to her, sometimes, but she just looks down and doesn’t respond, and he isn’t entirely sure what to say to her, isn’t sure what to say at all beyond surely it isn’t supposed to be this hard.

She grows bored with sitting still and takes to shifting objects around their workspace in an attempt to rile him, he’s sure; Walter insists it’s a good thing, that it’s helping to expend all the extra cortexiphan and so he feigns ignorance to it as best he can.

It’s around eight thirty when he has the epiphany. A few moments spent rifling through boxes and he finds the chess set he had found by accident days before. He drags a table over and places it in front of her. She raises an eyebrow.

“You looked like you could use some entertainment. You know how to play, right?”

She snorts and indicates her shackles.

“Funny. This mean you’re letting me off the leash? Because I just can’t seem to reach.”

“No,” he replies quietly. “But you don’t need your hands to play, do you, ‘Livia?”

Olivia’s a fitting enough opponent, a fair strategist and a card-carrying risk taker but Peter is also a certified genius; she puts up a valiant fight but in the end he has her cornered, one move away from winning the game. He’s reaching for his triumphant piece when the bishop in question explodes suddenly, growing molten and bursting into a hungry yellow flame. The cause of the unexpected outburst is of course seated directly opposite him practically humming in satisfaction with herself, and her intended symbolism is not lost on him as he withdraws his hand, looking mildly annoyed.

She’s always been impatient, and she’s definitely never liked losing. Traits he once found endearing but is now reconsidering in light of his near-miss with having charcoaled stumps for fingers.

“Okay, Firestarter. Game time’s over.”

He knows that her little display with the chess piece is only proof that their imprisonment of her is a fragile illusion she’s politely allowing them to entertain; he has no doubts that if she really wanted to she could do any number of things to escape, starting with setting fire to the entire room if it so pleased her, if she wasn’t significantly curious about their proffered cure to her addiction.

He’s halfway across their little makeshift laboratory when she calls out to him, her voice wrought with frustration.

“Did it ever occur to you that maybe I don’t want to remember? That there’s a reason you’re not in my head anymore?”

I think they meant for us to forget.

He almost chuckles.

“No,” he says simply, and he’d like to think it’s not arrogance – they have been here before, after all, and the decision to erase him from her life was far more warranted back then.


*


“We’re going to assault Olivia’s mind in a variety of ways, in the hopes that some combination of the methods we’re using stimulates the desired response,” is all Walter cares to explain to them, and from what Peter can deduce it involves performing delicate surgery on an area of Olivia’s brain, administering shock therapy and flooding her with a new cocktail of drugs intended to coax awake the paralysed parts of her mind, ideally simultaneously and without causing further damage to her already fragile system.

“Is this safe?” Etta asks, alarmed.

“On the contrary, there is a high chance it will kill her,” Walter says gruffly.

“Dad,” Etta hisses, grabbing Peter’s arm and yanking him aside. “Did you hear him? Are you sure you want to do this?”

He sees himself, suddenly, in his daughter’s distress; taken unexpectedly back to one of his first encounters with Olivia Dunham, her lover from another life sprawled out and dying on an operating table, he with his doubtful hand around his father’s wrist, and Olivia’s sombre eyes, willing to do anything to save her partner’s life.

“Walter knows what he’s doing,” he says firmly. “She’s going to be fine.”

Astrid starts her on the first drip.


*


please don’t dream tonight please don’t dream tonight

(She dreams herself in long blonde hair coloured red with someone else’s blood, breathless and sprinting in icy futility through a never ending maze of dimly lit alleyways until she stumbles, the pavement rushing up to meet her unforgiving and hard against her outspread palms until she’s falling, falling through air, and water, the salt stinging in her eyes until she falls right through, the bitumen clawing at her flesh and she gasps, shredded forehead pressed into the uneven ground and the sound of bells ringing in her ears.

Her lungs constrict, like she can’t get enough oxygen, like she’s drawing in nothing but dust, in water, in amber, until she’s swirling and frozen in golden gas, in glass, and she can’t move or breathe or cry for help.

All she can do is dream.)


*


His gaze has been resting heavy on her since Walter administered the treatment, waiting with bated breath for the eyelids to flutter, for her groggy features to crease first in confusion then reawakened recognition. For hours she doesn’t wake, though, and despite his blossoming worry he soon joins her in her loss of consciousness, chin resting in his hand as he dozes.

“Son, she’s waking up.”

He blinks awake to find her stirring. She tugs instinctively at the IV, and Walter clucks surprisingly soothingly at her, easy, as he removes the drip and checks her pupils, and she must finally feel him staring because her eyes lock suddenly onto his.

There’s a hesitant pause where Peter’s heart stops mid-motion, lungs seizing, unable to move, and then she breaks out in a radiant smile that sends his blood rushing jubilantly back through his limbs. She smiles up at him, and he can see her lips forming his name but his ears are pounding too loudly for him to actually hear her, and she makes to reach for him, jerking against the leather straps keeping her in place.

“Walter,” he says thickly, and his father understands because he’s scrambling to release her, to reunite them, and she’s laughing in wonder but then the last restraint is loosened and something changes in her face that makes Peter freeze.

“Olivia, no!”

And then she’s slamming Walter into the tray of supplies, sending him and the equipment sprawling. Peter lunges for her but she’s too quick; she scrambles from the chair and puts it between them, weapon already retrieved and snug in her waistband and he curses himself for leaving it in such easy reach.

it hasn’t worked it hasn’t worked

The blow to his gut takes catches him unawares and he folds as the metal beam connects with his stomach, crying out in equal parts surprise and pain. Astrid rushes to Walter’s side and he hears Etta calling his name from the next room but Olivia’s already sprinted for the tunnel and every molecule that composes him focuses itself entirely on pursuing her.

The underground is a maze to navigate at the best of times, let alone following extended exposure to a detoxing apocalyptic power source, and Peter stumbles, scrambling at the walls for balance as he follows Olivia into the dark labyrinth of blown-out halogen globes with only the sound of the thin glass crunching under her feet for guidance.

The light gets better the further they move away from the bunker, but the sound of her footfalls disappears and Peter’s almost started to believe he’s lost her for good in the tunnels. His fears prove unfounded when he rounds a corner to find her standing there with her gun in his face.

He curses, eyes scrunching shut in frustration as he raises his hands in surrender.

There’s the click of the safety being turned off and when Peter opens his eyes Etta is aiming a gun at the side of her mother’s head.

“Lower your weapon,” Etta commands, every inch the agent save the wet shine of her eyes, effectively belying her hard tone.

Peter has to fight back the urge to be violently ill.

When Olivia doesn’t respond Etta places a second hand on the gun to steady herself, in that way that’s supposed to convey one means business, and Peter’s heart’s hammering at his ribcage so hard he isn’t entirely sure it isn’t going to smash right on through.

“Olivia, please,” he whispers. “This isn’t you. I know you’re still in there somewhere.”

Etta’s brow is furrowed like she’s concentrating on something, hard, and he’s vaguely aware of Olivia shaking off the wince of someone having the teeth of someone else’s mind combed through the cobwebs of their own. It’s a window, though he isn’t entirely sure what to --

“Dad,” Etta pleads, “do something.”

-- so he starts talking.

He starts talking about the first time he saw her, headstrong and desperately grasping at scientific straws in the Iraqi desert, about the cases they worked, about her flying head first through the windshield of her SUV and waking suddenly from a coma with his mother’s words on her lips. He tells her how he nearly kissed her in Jacksonville, how she saw him glimmer and went to the ends of this universe and the next to bring him home, and how after he was finally sure he’d blown any chance of them ever being together straight to hell she’d surprised him, as she always did, when she appeared on his doorstep brandishing a sheepish smile and a whisky bottle.

“Stop,” Olivia whispers.

“You see that bullet, around her neck? It killed you, Olivia. You were dead. Until I watched my father dig it out of the back of your skull with a letter opener. And later on? When we took you to the hospital, to have you checked over, just to be safe? They told you you were pregnant. With her. Henrietta. Our daughter.”

Olivia’s arms don’t relent but he can see her resolve flickering with her eyes towards the girl in her periphery. Emboldened, he goes on.

“You know what you told me? You said that there’s a glitch in the time space continuum that keeps bringing me back to you. And it’s gotta be true, because Olivia, you died, not just the once, and I got into that machine and went into the future and came back again and I somehow erased myself from time. And it makes no sense that either of us are here right now, like we haven’t aged a day in twenty years, and I thought you were gone but you’re here, you’re right in front of me, and all that can’t be so you can shoot me. All that can’t be for nothing.”

He decides to hell with it, goes for the Hail Mary pass and grabs for her wrist and the response is electric; Olivia jerks and twists her head sharply to the side, eyes scrunching shut as if in pain, the gun clattering to the floor. She sways and he sinks to his knees with her, grasping her arms, tears flowing freely now. He isn’t entirely sure but it feels like she’s crying too, nose wet as he presses his face into hers, desperate, mumbling into her damp skin.

“You can’t forget who you are. You can’t forget this.”

He feels the sigh of air as her lips part, her eyelashes fluttering against his cheeks as she relaxes suddenly in his arms. His body reacts without thought to this tiny sign of surrender, mouth moulding to hers in an instant.

She’s fought her way back from false memories before but never as violently as this; recollection slams into her like a freight train and she shoves him away from her, gasping for breath.

Peter crumples in his perceived failure, his own breathing ragged and distraught. Olivia’s too overwhelmed, too winded to persuade him back from his precipice of despair, her skin feeling strange and unusual, hypersensitive and overstimulated.

It’s Etta that notices the change, that stubborn tingle of hope catching fire in her chest as she lowers her weapon.

“Mom?”

For the first time Olivia sees familiarity in the other woman’s features; recognises Peter’s imploring blue eyes peering hopefully down at her from beneath a neatly parted curtain of Dunham-family flaxen hair. Her frantic mind can barely join the dots, making the painfully giant leap back to the four year old bundle of arms and legs that once assaulted her early morning slumber on a daily basis. It all seems so impossible, but she supposes if anyone knows how truly fluid the definition of impossible can be, it’s her.

“Henrietta,” she whispers, as if testing the sound of it on her tongue. Peter’s head shoots up when she speaks. “Etta. Is it really you?”

Etta launches herself at her, then; slams into her mother’s frame and buries herself in her arms, her hair, her tentative warmth.

“I’m so sorry,” Olivia murmurs, unable to hold her tight enough. “But I’m here now. I promise.”

There are things that will be important, after; things like the fact that William Bell succeeded after all in making Olivia a weapon, but she was their weapon now, because people have a habit of forging the swords that slay them. Things like the fact that Peter can bring anything mechanical back to life, his father is Dr Frankenstein, his wife has the force of an apocalypse behind her and that their daughter is just as special, more than they know, perhaps even special enough to save them all. These things will all be important, after, and certainly in the grand scheme of things, but for now there’s that flash of recognition in Olivia’s eyes as she holds his gaze across their daughter’s shoulders, exhausted and bewildered but so full of the love he knew he’d never lost and the feeling, the knowing that now, everything’s going to be okay.

“It’s good to see you again, Olivia Dunham,” he says, smiling at her through his tears.

And she laughs at that, her own emotions spilling over, the moisture clearing pathways to her freckles underneath her sooty skin.

“It’s good to see you, too,” she says in turn, and Etta laughs with the back of her hand pressed against her mouth, invincible, and thinks nothing’s going to stop us now.

*

(Nothing ever does.)


 
 
 
Firework Rocket: fringe: olivia; down close-upbook232 on July 19th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely amazing. Wow. Thank you. ♥
i will write in words of fireposhlil on July 20th, 2012 06:56 am (UTC)
Woah. In lieu of the new season starting today, I'll take this. That was intense. I love it, thank you for sharing it with us!
ziparumpazooziparumpazoo on July 20th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Wow. This is fantastic. Im a little breathless fromthe lace and the intensity of this piece. Not the direction I'd hope for in season five (because ouch, on so many levels), but very plausible, and their actions all very true to the characters. This is a fascinating spin on the future and you flesh out their world and relationships beautifully.
Mack the Spoon: oliviamack_the_spoon on July 21st, 2012 01:11 pm (UTC)
This is so intense, well-plotted, painful, and wonderful. Excellent.
Blade: Psych | Shawn and Gusblademistress on July 22nd, 2012 08:00 am (UTC)
Awesome.
three steps left of the centre fold line.: just looking for someone to dance withsezzie_dee on July 22nd, 2012 10:53 am (UTC)
I was totally thinking of you the other day when I was thinking about how the writers were basically giftwrapping the possibility of Peter/Etta for us. And then I had to remind myself I wasn't watching tP, so they probably weren't.
Blade: The Pretender | wicked!Jarodblademistress on July 30th, 2012 07:20 am (UTC)
I was actually updating my ff.net profile and talking to Jacci about importing the archive over to the Ao3 the other day and being somewhat nostalgic. I think Fringe is the show tP wished they could be, but sadly isn't that warped. Although that said, rewatching the pilot of tP not so long ago I was struck by just how far ahead Olivia is in terms of independence.
(Anonymous) on September 12th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
tP?
I am intrigued to know what tP stands for.
All the letters I can write: Fringewendelah1 on August 31st, 2012 03:03 am (UTC)
This is wonderful.
Purpleyin/Hans: memissyvortexdv on April 5th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, you have a way with words that fits this terrifying future of her as a soldier only. I loved to see Nick again too, the echoes of ZFT.