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Run This Town 1/4 (Gift for Elfin)

Date: 2014-12-01 05:47 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Run This Town
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: [personal profile] elfin
Warnings: none
Characters: Redverse Olivia Dunham, Redverse Charlie Francis, Blueverse Lincoln Lee, Mona Foster, Redverse Walter Bishop, OCs
Summary:
Can't be scared when it goes down
Got a problem, tell me now
Only thing that's on my mind
Is who’s going to run this town tonight


Author’s Note: Dear Elfin, Happy exchange! I hope you like reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.


“Any change?” Olivia asked Astrid. She’d paced a hole in the carpet between Astrid’s terminal and Charlie’s desk since the event started.

“There has been no change,” the other woman said in her careful style. “A Class Nine event, eighty-three-point-two miles east of Nantucket. As I reported to you, Agent Francis, and Colonel Aguilar in my initial report an hour ago. And in every update to that report,” she added pointedly.

Olivia turned on one heel to face Charlie, slouched in his chair. “We should be there,” she said. “This is bigger than the Boston quarantine office can handle.”

“What do you want to do, steal an airship and check it out in person?” Charlie asked, unimpressed. “Livvy, the boss says no-go, we don’t go.”

With Broyles out, the Secretary had pulled Colonel Aguilar out of the Fringe Chicago office to oversee (and clean house, rumor said). Anyone who let who let themselves be deceived by the petite woman’s soft appearance, the physical opposite of Colonel Broyles’ looming presence, quickly learned she shared Colonel Broyles’ scary, scary unconcern for anything like common sense in the face of results. Indifference to orders was one of the very short list of personnel quirks on Aguilar’s zero-tolerance list. Olivia let out a restless breath as she made another circuit of the room.

“If the microquakes get any worse, we might have to start answering calls in New York,” another voice put in. The other side’s Agent Lee still looked out of place in the office, a familiar face falling into unfamiliar patterns. Her Lincoln would be pacing the floor with her, she thought, while this man plowed through Fringe Division orientation paperwork with a duffel bag shoved under his desk.

Charlie shook his head. “We’ll be out,” he corrected, “you’ll be here. Don’t want to miss your flight, do you?” Aguilar had taken one look at Lee and ordered him to Quantico for a month of intensive retraining. Lee shrugged unhappily at the reminder. “Hey, this is Colonel Aguilar’s version of a compliment,” Charlie reminded them both. “If she thought you were hopeless, she’d have you shuffling paperwork somewhere nice and safe. She’s got that sort of pull.”

“Yes, that came through clearly,” Lee said, but looked unconvinced. “It would be nice to think it was because of something I did, rather than who I remind people of.”

Olivia shook her head. “Aguilar read all our reports about the work you and Peter Bishop did on the Jones case, and your help capturing Nina Sharp and finding the shapeshifters’ headquarters. Trust me, no one’s confusing you with our Lincoln.” Including her. Identity blurred at odd moments, but when she looked him in the eye, this Lincoln was too still, head at an ever-so-slightly different angle. “If we did, we’d, you know– ” she made a vague hand gesture, deliberately smiled a little too widely “–get the science geeks to figure out which Lincoln you were. Like that movie with, um...”

“Arnold Schwarzenegger?” Lee supplied. “Total Recall?”

Olivia snapped her fingers. “Patrick Swayze.”

“Agents,” Astrid called. “The Nantucket event is stabilizing.”

They turned to the big incident board, Cape Cod a lonely hook on the left side of the map. The angry red indicator that had flashed over the ocean was fading into the map as they watched. Across the room, technicians and field agents relaxed.

“Just in time,” Lee said as he reached for his earcuff. “Taxi’s here.”

“Let me know when you get to Quantico, okay?” Olivia said impulsively. It didn’t seem right to send Fringe’s newest agent off alone. “Don’t wander off without letting us know.”

His smile was not her Lincoln’s, but it sent a similar shiver down her spine. “I think I can do that.”

Lee checked in from the Fringe training grounds with short anecdotes about training. The current cover story is that I’m your Lincoln Lee with a head injury from a Fringe event. The Fringe event… well, that’s true, isn’t it? Olivia felt an unexpected huff of laughter escape her lungs. The head injury is a self-sustaining rumor, after the Avocado Incident. No one but the Secretary’s office buys the Captain Lee part. The Agent in Charge was very clear that even with brain damage, Captain Lee would know how to operate a decohesion detector.

She wrote back with small talk and a couple of apartment listings near the office.

Are you kidding me, he replied. For this much money, I could buy a house in Connecticut.

She grinned. It felt like a mask flaking off around her mouth. Welcome to New York, she wrote back.

As much as she liked the guy, four weeks gave her time to process, and start laying to rest the illusory Lincoln that hovered in the corner of her eye. The respite made Agent Lee a welcome addition to HQ’s roster, even with Colonel Aguilar keeping him in a tight orbit around the office during his first week back in New York. On Tuesday of his second week back, he pulled together three apparently unrelated Looker reports that ID’d a radical hacker group’s negative energy materials supplier: Nina Sharp, under an alias, working out of a Manhatan apartment. When the dust and arrests had settled, Colonel Aguilar had chewed Lee out for excessive zeal in the same breath she’d commended his initiative.

Charlie clapped him on the shoulder. “Welcome to Fringe Division, Agent Lee,” Charlie said. “C’mon, let’s get you a drink.”

***

What Olivia hadn’t realized about Lincoln was that, across all the universes, any Lincoln Lee was a giant nerd.

“Nolan directed a Green Arrow trilogy,” Lee said weakly.

Mona laughed giddily. “Not quite,” she replied. “It’s Red Arrow over here. And they are really good movies,” she gushed, as she leaned back against Charlie. Charlie gave Olivia a look and a minute shrug across the cozy booth. She smirked back. You married her, Charlie.

She had to give Charlie some credit. Mona might have a lousy poker face, but her transparent enthusiasm injected energy into what could have been an awkward evening. The Secretary’s office was still dragging its feet on the paperwork for Lee’s cover story, and until their i’s were dotted and t’s crossed could Agent Lee please try to avoid all contacts familiar with the late Captain Lincoln Lee? Or leaving his hotel, when not at work? Pushing to get Bug Girl read into one of the hottest secrets of the century had been a smart – and kind – move. Olivia swirled the last dregs of tonic water in her glass, briefly lost in thought.

“Anyone else need another round?” she asked, easing out of the booth. “Mona? Lincoln?”

Mona and Lee were still at it when she returned. She handed Charlie a beer as Lee shrugged, in response to one of Mona’s questions. “Do you have Douglas Adams over here?”

She nodded. “The Dirk Gently guy? Of course.”

“That’s not what he’s known for over there…” he trailed off. Olivia stifled a snicker. The increasingly inaccurately named “Hitchhiker’s trilogy” had been part of her pop culture briefing on the other side. “People let you know about the big things, like changes in world history and Machines that rewrite timelines. It’s the little stuff that trips you up. The things you don’t see until they’re gone. That was the punchline of a joke in one of his other novels.” He looked around the crowded room. “No more McDonald’s hamburgers.”

“Lamburgers,” Olivia corrected him.

“Lamburgers,” Lee echoed skeptically.

“Yeah, that was the headline after all the sheep died. ‘No more lamburgers’.” She bumped his shoulder with hers, deliberately cheerful. “If you want a hamburger, we can hit the golden arches. This is New York! There’s a million McDonald’s.”

***

But it wasn't about comics, or lamburgers. Olivia locked her apartment door behind her and licked her lips uncertainly before she dug out her mother’s scrapbook.

There were plenty of snapshots floating around from her childhood, including a couple that had shot around the internet after she’d medaled at the Olympics: little Olive and Rachel posed in front of a freshly painted door, Marilyn and Olivia outside a gun range. Olivia kept turning the pages, the pictures stretching out across the years: Rachel’s college graduation, Olivia at Rachel and Greg's wedding, Rachel and Marilyn at the baby shower. The grandmother-to-be looked radiantly happy, but Rachel was already a little puffy, fatigue dragging at the corners of her smile. Morning sickness, their mother had scoffed, as she had poured Rachel a glass of water, sparkling clean in the golden evening sunlight. I couldn’t keep anything down until the second trimester either. It’ll pass, sweetie.

It hadn’t.

The last picture in the scrapbook had been taken at the hospital: Marilyn and Olivia on either side of the bed, their hands meeting Rachel’s swollen fingers on her belly, all of them smiling at Greg and the camera. The four Dunham girls, as close together as they’d get.

The briefings provided by the shapeshifter Newton had covered the facts of the other Olivia Dunham’s life: colleagues, favorite restaurants, known associates. But they hadn’t touched on the substance under the surface, the holes and stumbling-blocks that had tripped her up: Walter’s panicked 3 AM calls, a nearly empty Johnnie Walker bottle by a stack of takeout menus, stumbling across page after page of emails and video chat logs, including pictures of the niece she’d never met and the nephew whose existence hadn’t been even a glimmer of possibility.

The hardest thing is the people, Lee had written from Quantico. The drills are tough, but the look in someone’s eye when I have to say, no, I don’t remember them... and the look when I say or do something he wouldn’t. I volunteered for this, and I wouldn’t change that decision. But it feels like I’m getting to know this side’s Lincoln Lee by the shape of his absence. I wish I’d known him better in person, not by what he’s left behind.

Some things you got to choose; some things life, fate, whatever, chose for you. Out of habit, Olivia slipped the scrapbook back in her work bookshelf, the one place she always had been pretty sure Frank wouldn’t pry, before turning in for the night.

Run This Town 2/4 (Gift for Elfin)

Date: 2014-12-01 05:47 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Olivia scanned the situation room as she strolled in with the rest of the midshift the next morning, sipping her tea (black, one half-and-half, no lemon). In Broyles’ glass-walled office, Aguilar leaned back in her chair, gesticulating to an invisible audience. A lot of serious faces manned the desks, including Lincoln’s.

“What’ve you got there?” Olivia asked Lincoln, leaning over until her hair brushed the desk.

“A Special Forces unit raided Nina Sharp’s residence at six o’clock this morning.” He tapped a snapshot of men and women in BDUs frozen in the act of rushing an apartment building foyer. “Charlie said Secretary Bishop ordered the raid. Colonel Aguilar’s been on a conference call with Liberty Island since she came in. She wants to keep anything related to the other side in Fringe–”

“I bet,” Olivia said, irritated. “Sharp’s our case. And I recognize those warrant exhibits - those are your leads. Why would the Secretary farm it out?”

Lee shrugged. "Manpower? Politics? There's been a lot of focus on tracking and apprehending the shapeshifters, but the follow-up was…” he hesitated, but plowed on, “...downgraded, more than once, when Colonel Broyles was in charge. I think we’re feeling the effects of that now.”

Olivia rolled her eyes. “You think there’s another mole? C’mon.”

“I really hope not,” he said. “We’re missing something, but not that.” He flicked away the snapshot. “Some other connection. Sharp worked with Jones, Broyles was suborned by Jones… in your report you said Sharp told you Broyles was ‘just a pawn’. Small potatoes.”

“It was a bluff. She was trying to rattle me." Olivia said derisively. “You can’t really think someone’s out there, I don’t know, masterminding David Robert Jones.”

“Sometimes the best lie is the truth,” Lee countered. “The research team’s hit a wall tracing Jones’ history, even with the Nina Sharp investigation throwing new light on his possible associates. What if someone’s deliberately erased the information before we even knew we needed to look for it?” He leaned in slightly, glasses catching the overhead lights. “Take a step back. What do we know about Jones?”

Olivia opened a hand. “Well, most of our information came from Peter Bishop’s original timeline… he was some sort of biomedical expert, a terrorist connected to the other side’s ZFT movement. He died in that timeline, but didn’t in this one.”

“And over here, he’s working with this timeline’s Nina Sharp, running one of the most complex biomed programs we’ve ever heard of as a footnote to the multiverse experiments. Project management on a literally world-spanning scale.” He leaned back, absorbed in evidence reports highlighted in amber and red. “And almost no evidence any of this was taking place for, for years.” Lee was silent for a long moment. “We got lucky when we captured Nina Sharp, but the more I think about this, the more I really don’t like Jones running silent. Given his history, I’m worried how he might celebrate his re-appearance.”

“Astrid can run any tangible hypothesis we can tie to facts, but she can’t run lack of evidence,” Olivia said, frustrated. “It’s like the Chung case on your side... the hand of God, ‘tears of Ra’ guy?” she clarified. Lee nodded slightly, listening. “He made this compound that was some sort of paradox. To find Jones, it sounds we’d have to solve a similar paradox. We need to know what we’re looking for before we can look for what we need to know.”

Lee sighed slightly. “I wish–”

Olivia cocked her head at a familiar meep-beep, meep-beep. “Is that our cue?” Lee asked, watching her closely.

She held up a hand, listening for the shift in the monitor room’s low-voiced conversations.

“Anomalous energy signature detected,” one of the techs called out, over the whooping alarm. “Local… Manhatan. Confirmed, breach in Manhatan.” Olivia caught Lee’s eye, nodded sharply as she pushed away from the desk. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Aguilar emerge from her office as she tapped her earcuff off.

“Dunham. Where’s Francis?” she snapped.

Olivia looked at Lee. “Tea run,” he said. “Not a good time?”

Aguilar’s mouth twisted with lively gallows humor. “The Army task force at the Sharp residence tripped something that triggered a level one alert. The task force CO swears they’ve got it under control, but we’ve heard that before. I want our people on the scene before we have another Boston. Take Jessup and Lee, Hagen’s stuck on the Nixon Parkway.”

“Ma’am,” they said in chorus, scrambling for the elevator just as Charlie stepped out, balancing several take-out cups.

“Got the alert on the way back. What’s it this time?” he asked, with a resigned air.

Olivia flashed him a bright smile. “Someone ordered a wake-up call downtown.” She grabbed his shoulders, steered him right back into the elevator as Lee appropriated and set aside the other agents’ to-go orders. “Finish yours in the car, old man.”

***

“All right folks,” Charlie shouted hoarsely as the response team piled into the van, “first reports indicate an event on the 14th floor of a residential building at 5th Avenue and 119th Street. Someone triggered a device with the usual effects: blue flash, gravitational anomalies.”

“Is that Army-speak for ‘our guys floated to the ceiling?’ ” Olivia asked, half-seriously.

Charlie shrugged. “Could be a crusher – there’s been a casualty already.” He continued, “the officer in charge is a Captain Owens. Usual teams are responding from the NYPD and fire departments, just in case we need backup. Aguilar’s getting custody of the scene worked out.” Charlie looked around the van, made eye contact with each team member. “Other than the Army team, we’ve worked with all these people before, let’s act like it. Dunham will lead the evaluation team, I’ll be Fringe’s smiling face on the street with Jessup.” That got a few snickers from the tactical squad. “Agent Lee–” Lee looked up from a tablet, over his glasses “–is on science and risk reports. Lee says to move, you move.”

Olivia nodded thoughtfully. Putting their greenest agent in the technical hot seat wasn’t a great compromise, but leaving Lee out with the secondary teams, mixing the other agency personnel who had worked with her Lincoln, invited different problems.

God, she hated politics. She wished the Secretary’s office would clear Lee already and end this, this waiting. Olivia chewed on her lip, tried to redirect her restlessness into last-minute equipment checks.

She wasn’t the only person with nerves. Charlie fiddled with an injector as Lee read off the vital stats, attention darting between spiky, erratic graphs. “Numbers are showing limited molecular dissolution, no failure… yet. Air quality’s good, no oxygen needed.” On both crowded benches, hands that had started reaching for bottled air relaxed.

“You heard the man,” Charlie said as he slipped the injector back into a pocket. “This is a little one, if we handle it right. But we don’t know what else Sharp’s got in there that might accelerate the breach, and we don’t know what else the Green Berets might’ve tripped over on the scene. Be polite, but don’t let their people get in the way of doing our job.” He popped the door and jumped out, Olivia hard on his heels.

NYPD had beaten them to the event. Men and women in Army BDUs worked under the rapid direction of civilian police, barricading the wide street and pushing back a milling crowd as the Fringe Division personnel roared in.

“Who’s in charge of the scene?” Charlie shouted, squinting into the morning sun.

“Over here,” a competent-looking woman in her thirties called out. “Captain Janet Owens, Special Forces.”

“Charlie Francis, Fringe Division. And my partner, Agent Dunham. How’d your casualty happen, and where’s your event witnesses?”

“Initial report was that Sergeant Vaschenko entered apartment 1441 with his team and jostled some kind of device on a coffee table, which exploded. The team was affected by reduced gravity and sporadic reorientation.” Owens nodded in the direction of several bloodied and shaken-looking young men and women huddled near an Army transport. “He was thrown against the ceiling–” Olivia and Charlie glanced at each other “–causing ultimately fatal injuries. His CO and the rest of his team are being held for medical evaluation.”

“We’ve got some field medics with specialized experience, they can look your people over if you want,” Charlie said. “Livvy, anything urgent?”

She shook her head. “Can you question his team?” she asked, shifting from foot to foot. “We should get Lee and the response team upstairs, see if this is proliferating.”

Charlie nodded.

“No one’s reported any other effects, other than the first gravity shifts,” Owens added. Owens’ dark face drew into a puzzled frown as she looked past them. Olivia glanced back and followed Owens’ sightline to Lee, in conference with Jessup and the other agents. “Good luck, Agent Dunham.”

“Thanks,” Olivia replied, and flashed a polite smile at the other woman before she jogged back to Lee’s side. “Got the field kit? We’re going up.”

***

“Remind me why we’re taking the stairs?” Lee huffed, somewhere around the tenth floor.

“What, not up for a little exercise?” Olivia said, teasingly.

“I want to the gym this morning. Today’s fitness plan didn’t include a second round of weightlifting,” he said, hefting the science field kit for emphasis.

”Well, on one of my first responses in Fringe, we had a class two vortex on the 64th floor of the Chrysler building. The first response team thought they could take the elevator.” She shook her head. “The debris thrown out by the vortex ripped through the primary and backup cables.”

Lee shifted the kit to his other hand as they kept climbing. “Failsafes didn’t stop the elevator?”

“Nope. Stage four degradation, something wrong with fundamental forces. Linc said it was an elegant fuckup. We ambered three offices, tried to call the elevator, and that’s when we found the first team.” Linc had lost his dinner while Charlie held his head out of the mess. “Fourteenth floor, here we are.” She pushed open the heavy fire door.

A bar of amber sunlight was flung across the hall, ending at the half-open door of 1441. Olivia looked at Lee; Lee looked back at her. She listened closely, frowning. Was someone – a looter, or a confused civilian – in Nina Sharp’s apartment?

It was unlikely, but just in case… Olivia met Lee’s eyes as she put a finger to her lips. He nodded, and dropped behind her as he swapped the decohesion detector to his left hand, using it to brace his service weapon in the right hand. The public image of Fringe Division, Olivia thought wryly, science and guns. Agent Lee might play it a little more buttoned-down than her Lincoln, but on him it looked pretty good. She gestured for the rest of the team to stick tight in the stairs. She slid into the hall ahead of Lee and pushed the apartment door wider as silently as possible.

This side’s Nina Sharp was a woman who valued silence. A hardwood foyer was covered with a boldly patterned rug in the aggressively modern style the other side’s Nina also favored. Soundproofing muted New York’s ever-present traffic to a distant hum. The little foyer opened to a sunny living room, with a kitchen to her right. Olivia’s boots sank deep into muffling carpet with each step. She drifted toward the kitchen, half-sensed Lee pushing into the living room as she cleared the kitchen.

What the–” Lee shouted hoarsely, as a near-identical voice snapped, “FBI, on the floor.”

Olivia twisted back toward the foyer and around the corner as Lee replied to himself, “The FBI doesn’t exist over here. You know that, right?”

She blinked. Lincoln Lee was holding himself at gunpoint, a mirror image marred by one’s glasses and the other’s three-day stubble. An upended, blast-scorched coffee table and fragments of what might have been a briefcase bomb, the heaviest components stuck at improbable angles in the ceiling and upper walls, completed the tableau.

Lee thumbed the safety off. “Fringe Division, on the floor.” He didn’t move as he asked Olivia, “How hard do you think it would be for one of the shapeshifters to drop off the map?”

She swallowed as she brought up her own service weapon. Aimed for the double’s heart, just a little over from the last place she’d laid hands on her Lincoln.

“Another–” the double’s face was a study in contrasts as his weapon dropped out of position. Incredulous was winning out. “Did you– wait. Liv, I can explain.”

She didn’t move, hands steadied by cold, furious purpose. Olivia focused on her target, avoiding his eyes. “If you really are Lincoln Lee, prove it. Because if you’re not, if you’ve been walking around wearing my best friend’s face for the last two months, I promise you will not leave this room alive.”

Run This Town 3/4 (Gift for Elfin)

Date: 2014-12-01 05:48 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
“Liv,” he said, “What can I give you? C’mon, we’ve had this argument. You know how easy it is to fake stuff that’s in the records. I guess we could talk about Frank, and that time at that bar in Queens, but then I’d have to admit–”

Lee moved, just a hair. In her Lee, it might not mean anything, but this guy probably had an idea. “Tyrone,” he broke in.

The other man’s shoulders sagged as glared at his double. “Why do you– I am trying to have a life-saving moment here.”

“Good idea,” Olivia said to Lee, impressed. It wasn’t the facts, it was the reflexive tells that betrayed the substance of the person behind the face.

“Thanks.” Lee glanced past his double to Olivia. “Your call.”

Olivia licked her lips, eyes unintentionally meeting the double’s. If it talked like a duck, and walked like a duck… it could still be a shape-shifting duck, fooling them in the heat of a crisis. If it were only Lee and herself at risk, she might’ve gone on her gut, but they could lose the building, maybe even the block if she blew this call. She shifted her stance, slid one hand off the handgrip, found her earcuff under a fall of hair. “Charlie,” she said, “Charlie, get your ass up here right now.”

Not-Lee’s face brightened. “Charlie’s here? Oh, good.”

Charlie made it in record time. “Livvy, what–” he rounded the corner with the same double take.

“He says he’s not a shapeshifter,” Olivia said, tried to ignore the tightness in her throat. “Charlie, I really want to believe him.”

“Not a shapeshifter, not a mind-reader, just me,” Not-Lee said. Charlie and Lee shot him exasperated glances.

“We still have an event going on here. Do you know anything about it?” Lee asked Not-Lee.

“Who d’you think ID’d this as Sharp’s operation? I’ve been cooling my heels in Owens’ back seat all morning. Snuck out when the exploratory team started screaming for trained backup over the radio. Sharp had one of Jones’ amphilicite devices–” Not-Lee glanced up at the metallic shrapnel and back down to the scorched, broken coffee table “–set up as a failsafe. Ambering the apartment should seal the breach. The problem is, if we amber the apartment–”

“–we lose the evidence,” Olivia and Lee finished with him.

“Nice to see you’re all on the same page,” Charlie said. “You–” he pointed at Not-Lee, “If you drop the weapon, for the moment, we’ll assume you’re on our side.”

Not-Lee bent down and set the weapon on the floor, pointing the grip at Olivia. She took a deep breath as she retrieved the handgun, ejected the clip, and cleared the chamber. Everyone else in the room breathed out as she replaced her own service weapon in its holder and stuffed the other gun under her jacket.

“Situation?” Charlie asked Lee, who was swapping his own weapon for the science kit. Red light flickered and crawled through the air, concentrated near the coffee table, as he checked for universe bleedthrough.

“Not stable,” he said. “By the book, we should have ambered this place five minutes ago.”

Not-Lee nodded, picked up the thread. “Especially if Sharp kept any of Jones’ other amphilicite devices. A little flux could trigger another device and start a full rip at any second.”

“Think we can get another five minutes?” Charlie asked them.

Not-Lee shrugged. “This place could go up any minute. I’d be happier with more like three. Smash and grab?” he asked.

Charlie touched his earcuff. “Jessup, you following this? Yeah, send ‘em in and start the clock now. If something goes wrong, amber the whole building, that’s an order.” He let it go. “Livvy, you and him–” he pointed at Lee “–set up the quarantine potentiators. It’s moving day,” he said to not-Lee, “and they’re helping,” as the rest of the response team flooded the tiny foyer. “Two minutes, thirty seconds, go, go, go!”

Lee handed her two canisters. “I’ll take the bedroom, you handle in here,” she said quickly, then cut through the response team's human chain, not looking back and Lee and the double. She ignored the banging and thumps as the response team shoved the apartment's furniture into the hall, as well as the muffled thread of Not-Lee backseat driving Lee’s setup.

She activated each canister as she dropped them at opposite ends of the room, then scanned the scene: modern cream wallpaper, matching contemporary red duvet on the bed, a recently remodeled closet and bathroom, an unlikely contrast to the old-fashioned writing hutch, closed. "Hey Charlie!" Olivia shouted. "Are we taking anything out of the bedroom?"

"Up to you, Livvy," Charlie shouted back breathlessly.

Quarantine protocol has been activated. Quarantine will be initiated in two minutes.

"Can I get some help here? There’s a big writing desk–" she started to push it across the carpet "–doesn’t look like it’s – shit!" The desk jerked to a stop as something snapped and popped away from the wall.

"Liv!” “Olivia?" Lee and Not-Lee’s voices overlapped as they sprinted into the room.

"Unplugged something," she said tersely, as the automated voice droned on. Quarantine protocol has been activated. Quarantine will be initiated in one minute. As if she needed a reminder that a vortex could coalesce and spit out giant mutant ants, or a breach could twist the walls into a new floor – or ceiling – any second. Maybe they’d get carnivorous bugs, again. “Give me a hand."

They shoved the heavy desk into the living room just in time for the 45 second warning. Olivia's stomach lurched as she passed the spot the coffee table had been, felt her feet losing traction on the floor. Gravity was definitely losing its grip – she didn’t know the science behind it, just that it was a really bad sign. The three of them gave the desk a running start, now dangerously light, and slid it through the hallway into the rest of the evidence heap at 30 seconds. Charlie and the last of the response team ran out behind them, dragging hard drives, shopping bags stuffed with paper records, tablets, and incongruously, the framed pictures that had decorated the kitchen. “That everyone?” Charlie shouted. “Where’s Ruiz?”

Quarantine protocol has been activated. Quarantine will be initiated in fifteen seconds. “Here!” Ruiz shouted, hidden on the other side of the tumbled evidence pile.

“Someone stuck back there, Jorge?” one of the tac squad shouted to Ruiz, which opened the floor to general ragging. Olivia swept a glance through the hall and visually confirmed Charlie's more formal head count.

Quarantine protocol has been activated. Quarantine will be initiated in ten seconds. The warning beeps escalated in scale and intensity.

"Whoever designed the quarantine warning system has a real flair for the dramatic," Lee muttered.

"The Secretary's hidden theatrical yearnings?" Not-Lee shrugged as he ran a hand through his disarrayed hair. The usual thick smoky cloud drifted down the apartment's sunny living room and curled around the half-open door as they watched.

Olivia looked away as the amber solidified and cleared, refracting the morning light across the hall in new, distorted patterns. Her gaze landed on Lee, half in shadow, as he studied not-Lee, the mottled light masking his face.

Quarantine protocol is active. Authorized personnel only.

Lee dragged his attention back to the science tablet. "Environmental readings are stable. We're clear," he said to Charlie and the rest of the response team.

Not-Lee peered at the edge of the solid amber, using one foot to prod at the last bit of the foyer carpet where it unrolled from the quarantined residence. "Wouldn't notice a thing if the door were closed. Nice work,” he said to Lee.

Charlie drifted closer to their little group. "Jessup called up. Seems Owens got some new orders and took a squad in, broke our perimeter. Bets it's got to do with him?" He glanced at not-Lee.

“What’re we betting, that seventy you owe me?” Olivia asked.

Charlie rolled his eyes. “Some lightweight can’t remember who paid her tab last night.”

My tab–“ Olivia mock-sputtered, as the elevator doors opened. “How about first dibs on asking Aguilar if she knew about this?”

Owens stepped out of the elevator, flanked by a Special Forces tactical team. “If you want to ask her, Livvy, let me know first. Some of us have responsibilities now,” he finished, unconsciously tapping his ring finger over his crossed arms as Owens’ team approached.

"Agent Francis, Agent Lee, Agent Dunham, I've got orders to secure the scene and transport you to the Department of Defense," Owens said briskly. You too, Captain," she said to not-Lee. "I think you can guess what this is about.”

Not-Lee grimaced, but nodded.

"Captain Owens, I appreciate you're under orders, but we have reason to believe this, uh, person represents a threat to Fringe operations," Charlie said.

Owens let out a disbelieving huff. "If your threat could slip through the wringer the Secretary put this task force through, we have bigger problems," she said, as her subordinates herded them toward the elevator. "Believe me when I say this man has been established as Captain Lincoln Lee by the most rigorous tests a very paranoid science team could devise."

***

The ride to Liberty Island was remarkably silent. At the small fleet of black cars, their impromptu escort split them into pairs, herding Olivia and Charlie away from the two Lincolns. In the back seat of one SUV, Charlie caught her eye, and stared significantly at one restlessly tapping foot. Olivia leaned back into the SUV's leather seat, firmly planted both boot soles in the floor mat, trying to echo Charlie's jaded facade. Neither of them particularly wanted to discuss Not-Lee or the investigation in progress around Captain Owens’ unknown quantities. Even staring at the back of the driver's seat or at the traffic flowing past, she was pretty sure they weren't doing a great job projecting the legendary Fringe Division cool.

Their ambiguous escort, guides or unannounced arresting agents, swept them into the Up elevator, not down to the basement. "At least they haven't locked us in a maintenance closet," Lee muttered as the elevator lifted smoothly.

"That might have saved your life, considering Broyles was in Sharp's pocket," his double said, edgy. "And don't get your hopes up. Labs are on the third floor. The chemistry department has its own hazardous waste service crew."

Olivia glanced between two Army escorts at the elevator call screen. "So what's on the fourth floor? Other than the Secretary’s office."

"Some windows,” Not-Lee said. “The elevator. It’s biometrically locked, of course. Maybe a lobby for Fringe agents who ask the wrong questions and need a time out.”

"Jesus, Linc," Charlie cut in, as the elevator slid to a stop. “What’s gotten into you?”

He shifted on his feet. “Not bugs,” he said.

“They’re not bugs–“

“–they’re arachnids,” Lee, maybe-not-Not-Lee, and Olivia chorused.

The Secretary didn't keep them waiting long. His spacious office was nearly empty when they trooped in. At the window, the Secretary was silhouetted by the view across the Hudson, his back to an aide in class B's. “Captain Lee," the aide greeted them, but broke off as Olivia and Charlie loped into the room, Lee and the last Special Forces kids trailing behind.

Civilians usually didn't bother her, but the Secretary did. Or maybe dealing with Secretary Bishop after she'd watched his double shuffle through a shabby research lab in boxers and a flowered kitchen apron bothered her. This Walter Bishop turned at their approach, the superficially casual shepherd of the Department of Defense at the flourishing center of his far-flung herds.

"Thank you, Major Warner," the Secretary said to the aide. "I think that will be all for now." She took the hint, and even managed to avoid looking any of the three – four – Fringe agents on her way out. Olivia let herself fall into a half-assed at-ease, Charlie to her left, maybe-Lincoln on point between them, Lee offsides on her right.

"Explanations are in order, I believe," the Secretary began. "And apologies.” He paused. "The sniper's presence at the shapeshifter Canaan's apprehension sent alarms ringing from the most junior Lookers right up to my office. We knew our enemy Jones, and we knew some of his methods: terror, subterfuge, infiltration. Captain Lee's injury in the line of duty presented an opportunity to turn those methods against him, removing from Jones' surveillance an experienced, resourceful agent." He studied their expressions. Olivia felt her face set in studied neutrality. Trust went two ways, and he’d pulled the trigger first. "I had anticipated a longer, subtler hunt for the mole, when I feared Jones had replaced our agents with shapeshifters or worse. In such a hunt, an insider's perspectives would have been invaluable." His lined face sagged, briefly weary. "Even in my darkest moments I did not question Colonel Broyles' loyalty, or conceive he could continue such a deception for long. In the second point, at least, I was correct." Secretary Bishop sighed. “No one knows better than I the lengths a father will to go to, to save his child. This does not blind me to other motivations. The methods Jones used to suborn Philip–” he glanced at Charlie “–suggested other levers he could apply to pry open our operations.” Charlie stared right back, unblinking. That’s right, Liv thought, tried to keep her anger off her face. Try to rattle us, Mister Secretary. Sir. Half of Fringe, herself included, had taken their shot at Charlie's bugs at some point. Charlie wasn’t going to crack. “His cooperation, combined with the intelligence gleaned from Captain Lee's and Captain Owens' interrogation of Nina Sharp, suggested grave dangers to our world. And so I maintained the option to produce Captain Lee in a future gambit."

It rang true, Olivia thought. Either Walter Bishop, given the choice to go through channels or squirrel away some treat for his personal use, would go for the more secretive option. In this world, though, Bishop wasn’t hiding Red Vines or self-prescribed drugs. “It’s inconvenient when a dead man is, say, caught on security footage,” Olivia interrupted, bold in her fury. Linc and Charlie winced, but Lee nodded once, slowly, with the look around the eyes her Lincoln got as he found the puzzle-pieces locking together. “How useful if you’ve got a double around to explain those little slip-ups .”

"Liv–" Linc hissed, out of grabbing range.

But the Secretary let a slight smile crease his face. “Agent Lee’s presence provided an unwitting distraction for this sleight of hand. A cover which has now backfired,” he continued, an edge of chagrin in his voice. “Agent Lee and Captain Lee identified Nina Sharp’s residence within hours of their double’s discovery. If Captain Owens’ investigation of Nina Sharp and Fringe Division are to avoid tripping over each other, the time for subterfuge is coming to an end. To establish and defend the peace – a lasting peace – will require energy we cannot afford to waste on foolish concealment.”

Run This Town 4/4 (Gift for Elfin)

Date: 2014-12-01 05:50 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The escort left them on the pier: four Fringe agents once more let loose on an unsuspecting world.

Olivia rocked on her heels, still vibrating with tension. Lee wandered over to the environmental boards, apparently discovering an intense curiosity about air quality in the outer boroughs. Removing himself from the family quarrel, she thought wryly, which left her team in a rough triangle near the water.

"Ferry should be along in about five minutes," Charlie said. And then we can get out of here was the unspoken implication. They were all on edge, Olivia thought: Charlie fiddling with his injector again, Lee withdrawn, Linc… her Lincoln looked as wrung out as she felt.

He glanced at her, met her eyes. “Settle down, Liv. I volunteered. Volunteer, you know that word?"

"Yeah, I know how Secretary Bishop asks people to step up . 'Agent Dunham, we've identified a chance to strike back at the other world and only you have a chance at successfully completing the mission.’ " Olivia crossed her arms and scowled as she looked up at Lady Liberty’s bright torch.

It was the things that weren’t in the open that were their faultlines. Things people… just didn’t bring up. A scrapbook mixed in with procedural handbooks. Brunch with a red-haired stranger who called her by a childhood nickname only her mother remembered. A voicemail for someone whose face she was wearing. “Aunt Liv, you forgot my birthday.” The substance knitting together the facts. If Jones had offered her, say, one VPE-free life, no questions asked, what would she have done?

She didn’t like the thought that Jones could get under her skin like that. Might be able to get to anyone like that. She shuddered, imagining the possibilities.

"We all knew this was a dangerous job when we signed up, Livvy," Charlie said. "Not that you're off the hook," he added in Linc’s direction.

“Ha.” Olivia shook her head, tried to muster a smile. It didn’t take. “After Frank, and everything last year with the other side, losing you–” she broke off “–either of you–”

She crossed the empty space, wrapped her arms around her Lincoln. Squeezed, hard, as his arms came around her. “Never do that to me again,” she whispered roughly, as she dug her fingers into the back of his jacket. “Please don’t ever do that again.”

“Someone’s got to watch your back,” he said, just as hoarse, hugging her back fiercely.

She felt Charlie wrap an arm around them both, leaning in. They held on, a tight unbreakable unit, under New York’s muggy skies.

***

Linc had to go to Philly, of course, once the Secretary had broken the news to his father and stepmother. With Linc off task force duty and Fringe’s name cleared, the Secretary had no qualms about dumping the rest of the Sharp-Park-Jones-Bell-shapeshifter investigation back on Aguilar’s desk. Aguilar passed it on to her current favorites with dispatch. Olivia flipped between warrant exhibits, AARs, and the rest of the documentation pile, shaking her head at the parallels between her Lincoln and Agent Lee’s reports. Similar phrases, overlapping trains of thought, close attention to the same little details... she hoped that, for everyone’s peace of mind, the two men would find their equilibrium faster than she had with the other side’s Olivia Dunham.

“We really need a better name for this investigation,” Lee said tiredly, after a briefing from Owens’ people. Olivia glanced over. SPJBS was doodled across his old-fashioned paper notepad, along with Bridge Follow-up, ShArkBell, and several increasingly silly possibilities.

“ZFT? The Jones case?” Olivia tried aloud.

Charlie rubbed his face. “Only slightly less vague than The Investigation. Nice and short, good for talking about work at bars. Now can we get going?”

“Awww, someone misses Bug Girl,” Olivia teased, practically skipping to the elevator.

“That’s Mrs. Bug Girl, Livvy,” Charlie said. “Or you could, I don’t know, try using her name.”

“Am I missing something?” Lee asked, glancing between them. “Do I need to know something before Mona’s crowd talks me into going to that comics convention?”

“Livvy didn’t exactly see Mona’s finer qualities when they met,” Charlie said, hitting the lobby button.

“I have never seen someone transform into a fifteen year old girl the way she did,” Olivia said. “It was…” she cut herself off.

“...creepy? Buggy?” Lee finished for her. He took a long step to keep Olivia between him and Charlie as they got out of the elevator. “Give her a chance, Olivia.”

“Yeah, Tyrone, message received,” Olivia said. It didn’t get the rise it always got from her Lincoln. Another little difference in a world rocked by change: Frank out, Mona in, Linc dead and back from the dead, like one of his comic book stories. Aguilar in Broyles’ office, with no clear line of succession if - when - she lit out for home.

She wasn’t sure how she felt about it. Or maybe she wasn’t sure she wanted to admit she knew exactly how she felt. Somewhere in the basement of her brain, there was another little girl crying about bad timing in an unfair world. Suck it up, she wanted to tell that kid. “Is there anyone you don’t like?” she asked Lee.

He pretended to give it some thought as they left the building and stepped into the sticky heat of late summer. “I’m pretty annoyed with this side’s Nina Sharp,” he said thoughtfully, raising his noise over the sounds of street traffic. “And I’m not a big fan of Walter’s surgical technique. The other side’s Walter,” he clarified, “not Secretary Bishop.”

“A terrorist and the man who broke two universes,” Charlie said. “That’s it?”

They bickered amiably all the way to the bar. Mona jumped up from the bar with a wave as they walked into the blissful chill of the air conditioning. The man sitting next to her half turned with an easy smile.

“Hey, look who’s back!” Charlie said, punched Linc’s shoulder. “Shouldn’t you be in Philly?”

“Dad and Sarah would’ve been happy to keep me a while longer, but the job’s here,” Linc said, with a smile. “A week off was more than enough, especially when Sarah’s on a baking binge. She made the raspberry-lemon bars,” he told Olivia.

Olivia swung around, nailed Linc with pleading, hopeful eyes. “You brought some back, right?”

“Mmm, I thought about eating all of them by myself…” Linc intercepted Lee’s puzzled look. “Sarah doesn’t bake on your side?”

“Sarah who?” Lee asked, genuinely curious.

Linc’s eyebrows rose. “Huh. Dad didn’t–” he started to ask, as Olivia said to Lee, “Sarah’s lemon bars are notorious. Don’t worry, Charlie and I’ll eat your share. She’ll never know.”

“Very funny, Liv,” Linc said.

“Thank you for the, um, considerate offer, but I think I’d like to make up my own mind about this," Lee replied. Linc glanced approvingly at his double.

Five didn’t fit in the small booths, so they grabbed one of the tables: Charlie and Mona, Linc and Olivia, Lee on the table’s short side. “Give me the updates,” Linc said, as Mona and Charlie ordered at the bar, “any developments?”

“Because Monday’s not soon enough?” Olivia said wryly.

Linc raised his hands, palms up. “Because on Monday Colonel Aguilar’s going to be giving me the death glare. It’s a little distracting.”

Lee broke in. “No sign of Jones–” he glanced around the crowded room, lowered his voice “–locally. Forensics is still processing everything we pulled out of the Sharp residence, but we've already gotten one lucky hit. That writing desk Olivia pulled out the bedroom? There was a communication device inside. It looks like an early personal computer, but it’s linked to a quantum-entangled counterpart located somewhere on the other side. In theory, at least."

Linc leaned in, unsurprised respect on his face. "Good eye, Liv.”

“Aguilar and the Secretary are still hashing out where to set it up,” Olivia added. “Aguilar wants to keep it at HQ, especially if we make contact with someone hostile on the other side. Secretary Bishop wants it in the DoD labs on Liberty Island, probably for the same reason."

Linc nodded. “I hate to say it, but the Secretary might have a point. No one has a good idea how that thing works. All we know is that we found it in the middle of an event. It could work through some kind of natural or at least stable effect, or it could punch through a soft spot and set off another breach.”

“Or it could be something else entirely,” Lee countered. “Look, the only other device we know of that affects both sides the way this PC does is the Bridge. And that was healing this world.”

“I’d really like to believe we can get back in touch with the other side.” Linc tapped the table as if swiping at the computer’s mechanical keyboard. “But we just don’t know what we’re dealing with. This communication device could cut two ways just like Peter Bishop claimed the Machine can. Both sides thought the Machine could only be used as a weapon until we turned it on. What if we activate this thing and it breaks the universe? We’re going to have to treat that computer like any other unknown tech.”

“It sounds like Secretary Bishop’s still holding some secrets in reserve, too…” Lee started to say, as Charlie and Mona came back with the first round.

“Filling him in, guys? Liv, what did I miss?” Charlie asked.

“Just the part where I reminded Linc whose turn it is to pay the tab,” Olivia said, as they squeezed awkwardly around the table.

Lee shook his head slightly. “Nice try,” Linc countered with a grin. “I know you love to grab the check, Liv–”

“Hey,” Olivia interrupted, sharply, “are you implying–”

“I think someone’s paid their dues,” Lee put in quickly. “Drinks–”

“–are on me,” Charlie finished for them. “Only fair, since I intend to– what?”

Mona looked at them all with the innocence of an angel. “Oh, the bartender has my Show-Me,” she said. “You can pay me back later tonight, sweetie.” She burst into laughter as Lee flushed pink at the double entendre and Olivia choked on her soda. She nearly missed Linc mouthing good job across the table as Olivia coughed it back up, and by the time she’d caught her breath, the conversation had moved on.

Re: Run This Town 4/4 (Gift for Elfin)

From: [personal profile] sprocket - Date: 2014-12-16 07:18 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: Run This Town 4/4 (Gift for Elfin)

Date: 2014-12-07 02:50 pm (UTC)
elfin: image: lincoln grinning (fringe.alt-lincoln smile)
From: [personal profile] elfin
Oh, wow, I love this. Thank you so much. I love how you fleshed out Mona's character and set things right with Linc. This was really wonderful.

Re: Run This Town 4/4 (Gift for Elfin)

From: [personal profile] sprocket - Date: 2014-12-16 07:25 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: Run This Town 4/4 (Gift for Elfin)

Date: 2014-12-14 02:48 pm (UTC)
opusculasedfera: Slightly roughed up Lincoln Lee looks out from behind blue curtains. Captioned Fringe Exchange. (fringe exchange)
From: [personal profile] opusculasedfera
I loved this! I was not expecting the reappearance of Linc at all and it was a beautiful surprise, plus a fun casefic. I want to hug them all a lot.

You did a great job with all the little technical terms that they casually throw out to describe completely insane things happening to the laws of physics. Made it feel very real.
Edited Date: 2014-12-14 02:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Run This Town 4/4 (Gift for Elfin)

From: [personal profile] sprocket - Date: 2014-12-16 07:29 am (UTC) - Expand

Gift for: Monanotlisa.

Date: 2014-12-02 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Token
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: Monanotlisa
Warnings: No warnings apply.


She went to see Lincoln in the hospital two days later. He’d protested the 48-hour observation, but Broyles had insisted. Olivia knew exactly how Lincoln felt, though she secretly agreed with the boss. After the encounter with “Gus” Lincoln had looked pale, drained of vitality.

By this time, Massachusetts General knew to assign Fringe agents a private room. Olivia had recuperated here on more occasions than she cared to remember, and Astrid had required a stay after an unpleasant event or two.

It remained to be seen if their new agent was still interested in pursuing the answers he’d come looking for, given his second case had landed him here.

Lincoln was sitting up in bed when she came in, flipping idly through a newspaper. He tossed it aside the moment he saw her. “Hey!”

“Hey. You look better.”

“Turns out even a sentient fungus can’t stand up to a heavy dose of IV antifungals and rehydration therapy,” he said, glancing at a bandage on his wrist. He paused, looking at her with a wry expression. “I suppose ‘sentient fungus’ is just another day on the job for you.”

“Well,” Olivia said, pulling a chair up to the side of the bed, “that’s one of the exciting perks of our work. No two cases the same.”

“Thrilling,” Lincoln muttered.

“I brought what you asked for,” she said, holding out a small wooden box. Lincoln had asked her to stop by the small rental apartment the agency had found for him. Most of his things were still in cardboard boxes—not that there were many of those, she noted—but this box had been sitting on the bedside table, without even a pretense of a lock. She’d heroically resisted the impulse to pry.

“Thanks.” He opened the box and Olivia caught a glimpse of what looked like a silver cufflink and an old ticket stub before Lincoln pulled out a small medallion on a dark cord. “Robert gave me this. It’s a Native American symbol.”

Olivia leaned in closer to get a better look. “Looks like a maze.”

He looked pleased. “That’s exactly it. The maze represents the journey of life. As you travel, life presents obstacles. You move forward and sometimes backtrack, until the right choices lead you to the center.” Lincoln stared pensively down at the pendant.

She wasn’t much for philosophy, but this was clearly important to him. “And in the center?”

“Home,” Lincoln said, his voice full of longing. “Robert and his family gave me a place to belong. Before that I always moved around a lot, never had a place that really felt like home or a reason to stay.” He looked at her, eyes clear and blue, and dropped the pendant into her hand. “I want you to have it. As a thank you for saving my life and keeping me on the path.”

“I can’t take this,” she started. It would have been like giving someone John’s medal—

Exactly like. The parallels, Olivia thought, were thick in the air. “You loved him.”

Lincoln didn’t blush, or look away. “Yeah.”

“I...know how it can be, with partners,” she said awkwardly. “But this obviously means a lot to you, I can’t—”

“I want you to have it,” Lincoln said again, his voice brooking no argument. “What you do— what we do, it’s so far beyond anything I could have imagined. An entirely new life. And maybe I’ll never stop resenting the fact that Robert died to bring me into it, but at the same time...he would have loved this. All the possibilities. If for no other reason, I need to learn how to deal with these things. So he won’t have died in vain.”

She wanted to protest again but Lincoln shook his head. “What I’m trying to say is, these...experiences...are part of the journey I’m on. And whether it’s a right turn or a wrong one, it’s obviously where I’m supposed to be right now.” He glanced away, his jaw working as he said quietly, “Maybe not home, not yet. But a step in the right direction.”

“A place to belong,” Olivia echoed, and her hand tightened around the talisman. “I...I hope you find it.”

Lincoln looked back at her, smiling faintly. “At the moment, I’ll settle for getting out of here and unpacking my stuff.”

Olivia smiled and stood, feeling unexpectedly relieved. “I’ll talk to the doctor, see about getting you released. And I can help with the unpacking, if you want. Astrid, too,” she added. “She’s much better at organizing things than I am. And if you’re lucky, she’ll bake cookies in your new oven.”

“A kinder, gentler Fringe Division welcome. I’ll take it, with thanks.”

She was about to head out, then paused. “I know it’s been a rough introduction. Maybe there’s no good way to get involved with what we do. And not everyone makes it.” She swallowed hard, thinking about the other agents who’d been part of Fringe Division, even briefly: Charlie Francis, murdered by a shapeshifter from the other side. Amy Jessup, who hadn’t been able to reconcile her personal beliefs with what she saw as perversions of God’s plan. “I wanted to tell you, you’re doing just fine.”

“Tell me that again in six months,” Lincoln said, with a look of mingled trepidation and resignation.

Olivia laughed. “Keep that sense of optimism. You’ll need it.”

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa.

Date: 2014-12-06 09:37 pm (UTC)
monanotlisa: Frowny-faced little Blue!verse Lincoln, Amber version, blue background! (lincoln blue - fringe)
From: [personal profile] monanotlisa
Eek, thank you so much for writing for me! :))) I will read the story tonight when I have time, and am v. much looking forward to it!

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa.

From: [personal profile] kerithwyn - Date: 2014-12-15 05:57 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa.

Date: 2014-12-09 04:44 am (UTC)
monanotlisa: b/w shot of amberverse's blue olivia and lincoln side by side <3 (olivialincoln blamber - fringe)
From: [personal profile] monanotlisa
This is wonderful -- a sweet yet sharp slice of life in Fringe Division, with a great loop back to the Medallion: This absolutely is part of the string of moments that made Lincoln lodge himself in Olivia's world, and I am a sucker for making things come full circle...not un-literally in this case. :)

>>By this time, Massachusetts General knew to assign Fringe agents a private room.<<

This is such a great detail — indeed, they would…

>>glancing at a bandage on his wrist. He paused, looking at her with a wry expression. “I suppose ‘sentient fungus’ is just another day on the job for you.”<<

Loving this Lincoln voice. He sounds true to himself.

>>“A kinder, gentler Fringe Division welcome. I’ll take it, with thanks.” <<

This whole exchange makes me smile…but also think back to the discussions we had, of this darker-tinted Fringe, with Olivia much more hidden behind the faceless machinations of state authorities, often nested in one another like all-black Russian Dolls. Good one.

Thank you for writing this for me! What a layered, lovely re-visit.

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa.

From: [personal profile] kerithwyn - Date: 2014-12-15 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa.

Date: 2014-12-14 02:54 pm (UTC)
opusculasedfera: stack of books, with a mug of tea on top (Default)
From: [personal profile] opusculasedfera
Lovely. Their mixed feelings about the job felt very real.

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa.

From: [personal profile] kerithwyn - Date: 2014-12-15 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand

Stocking stuffer extra for: Wikiaddicted

Date: 2014-12-03 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Chemistry
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: Wikiaddicted
Warnings: No warnings apply.

Fluffy prequel fic based in Wiki's “Boot Theory” universe.


Common wisdom says that hooking up with someone on a first meeting isn’t conducive to a lasting, significant relationship.

Common wisdom can cram itself sideways.



Lincoln meets Nick Lane his second night in Lakeside, when he’s still trying to decide whether to stay in town or move on. He has a solid offer from the local sheriff’s office for a deputy job, but on the other hand, there are probably law enforcement positions available in Jersey, closer to his sister. It’s been a long time since he’s lived near family or spent more than a couple of days around the holidays with them.

Lakeside seems like a perfectly nice little town. He likes Sheriff Francis right off the bat, and on her way out the door Deputy Farnsworth promises to bake him a pie if he signs on. The pies, Francis assures him, are very good. The other deputy, Dunham somebody, had been out on a call. For all that they serve a relatively small population, Francis explains, their jurisdiction covers a spread-out area and they need another pair of hands. The job’s his if he wants it.

He finds a satisfying, just-like-home-cooked dinner at a local diner, and the friendly waitress directs him toward evening entertainment: Eight Ball Pub and Bowling.

When in Wisconsin, he supposes.

The place is moderately busy, people streaming in and out in bowling shirts and well-worn jeans. He walks past the men and women lined up at the bar until he finds an empty stool.

“What’s your pleasure?”

“Something local,” Lincoln says, and the tall blond barman gives him an appraising look before rummaging under the bar and coming up with a brown glass bottle. He uncaps it and hands it over.

“Try this. You don’t like it, I’ll find you something else.”

Lincoln looks at the unlabeled bottle and raises an eyebrow. The barman grins, his blue-gray eyes amused. “Trust me. It’s not in my best interest to poison our new prospective lawman. Olivia would shoot me.”

“How did you know who I am? And who’s this trigger-happy Olivia?”

The guy throws back his head and laughs and Lincoln is immediately charmed by the sound. “My friend Olivia Dunham, she’s—”

“The other deputy,” Lincoln finishes, nodding. “Who’s tired of working extended hours to cover the area.”

“Exactly!” the barman beams. “As for the first thing—d’you like it?”

Lincoln finally takes a sip out of the unmarked bottle. Hard cider, to his surprise, rather than beer. It’s crisp, strong, and exactly what he hadn’t known he’d wanted. “It’s amazing. How’d you guess?”

“I had a feeling.” The man reaches a hand over the bar. “I’m Nick Lane.”

“Lincoln Lee,” he says, meeting the handshake. “So you have a talent for knowing what people want to drink, as well as who’s in town?”

Nick’s grin is a thing of sly beauty. The rest of him, Lincoln is belatedly realizing, is beautiful too. “I can only claim the first. Gossip fills in the rest, it’s always fast when there’s someone new in town. Hang on, I’ll be right back.”

Lincoln glances down the bar and watches as Nick goes down the line, filling the other patrons’ beer mugs and sharing a friendly word with everyone. No one else, he notes, has a bottle like his. He sips at it contemplatively, hearing the murmurs of conversation and the occasional crash of bowling balls hitting pins. He could make a life here. Probably less chance of being shot than in Jersey, at any rate.

Nick comes back his way, holding out a newspaper. “Apartments and houses for rent. If you want, I can warn you off the ones that are falling-down rat traps.” He leans in. “I should know. I looked at everything and bought the falling-down-est one of all.”

“Why?”

Nick shrugs. “It was cheap. And I like a challenge. Hey, you’re dry.” He reaches under the bar again and brings up a second bottle. His black-painted fingernails brush over the back of Lincoln’s hand as he passes it over.

Well. “I bet you could give me all kinds of reasons to stay,” Lincoln says, as neutrally as possible, not gazing into Nick’s eyes at all. “Tell me the worst thing about living here.”

Nick props his elbows on the bar as he considers. “The winters are awful. You’ll never feel warm again.”

Lincoln shudders. Winter in Jersey isn’t a picnic either, but he’s looked at the yearly highs and lows here and the difference is slightly terrifying. “How do you cope?”

“Poorly. I grew up in Florida, so I don’t have the built-in stoic attitude about it.” Nick stands up again, stretching, hands at the small of his back. “But I learned it’s all about layers. Long underwear, multiple shirts, and hopefully someone to wrap around you at night.”

Two things occur to Lincoln: First, he’s having his very own meet-cute in this ridiculous bowling bar. And second, the cider isn’t as hard as he is.

It’s been a long time since he’s felt such immediate chemistry with someone. But that isn’t necessarily a reason to make this cold, remote place a home. “That’s...tempting,” he says, and Nick grins.

Nick holds up a finger and goes to attend to someone waving at him from down the bar. One request turns into multiple calls and that’s fine, his absence gives Lincoln a chance to think clear of distraction.

It’s true that his sister would be happy to have him near...but it’s not like they’re so close they need to be living in each other’s pockets. Lincoln’s moved around a lot the last few years, appreciating where he is but never really settling down. This place could use him at the moment, would be glad for his presence; there’s nothing bad about that at all. He doesn’t need the constant hubbub of a big city to keep himself entertained. It’s probably even easier to avoid isolation here, where people draw together against the cold and the long winter dark.

He can sleep on the decision, at least. Or not sleep, as the case may be. He steals a glance in Nick’s direction and catches Nick stealing one right back in between tending to his other customers. Same page, then.

He flips idly through the paper while he waits. The Superior Daily Telegram seems to cover the northwestern corner of Wisconsin, connecting the small communities in the region with all the news of the day: births, marriages, and deaths, a community calendar, reports on area crime and church fundraisers and art festivals. He does glance over the rental listings and sees a few possibilities, but he’ll definitely want to get Nick’s opinion and look the places over for himself. If he decides to stay.

He’s moved on to surreptitiously profiling his fellow patrons by the time Nick returns. Nick leans over the bar again, saying quietly, “I’m usually on-shift until close, but my boss owes me a favor. A lot of favors, actually, but the important thing is that I’m heading out and I was hoping to tempt you to come home with me.”

It’s not even half the innuendo it could be and that’s what really sells Lincoln on the offer, along with Nick’s hopeful, almost shy expression. “I was hoping you would,” he says, low, and Nick’s face lights up with that beautiful smile again.

On the way out an amiable-looking guy with a dark beard and mustache gives him a half-salute from the other side of the counter. Letting his employee off early for a queer hookup constitutes a good sign, Lincoln decides, especially considering they’re in the Midwest.

Nick glances at him when they get out to his car. Lincoln sincerely hopes Nick isn’t about to ask if he’s sure about this, or worse, proclaim that he doesn’t usually do this kind of thing, because why shouldn’t he? But Nick just says, “My place is pretty far out. Just so you don’t think you’re being kidnapped.”

“Going freely and of my own will,” Lincoln says mildly. He takes a quick glance around the parking lot, but if he’s going to live here, he needs to gauge the tolerance of the natives anyway. He steps in close. “But we should establish a basic level of comparability beforehand.”

“Chemistry test,” Nick murmurs, and closes the gap with a kiss.

Lincoln hadn’t had any doubts on that score, and he’s pleased to see that Nick seems just as certain by the time they break apart. There aren’t any catcalls, which could just mean that no one was watching, but Nick hadn’t hesitated. Another good sign. “God,” Nick says, panting, “I’d say let’s go to your place, it’s closer, except the B&B’s walls are really thin.”

“There really aren’t any secrets in this town, are there?” Lincoln says, amused.

Nick shakes his head as he unlocks the car. “Every town has secrets. But gossip is practically a religion around here, next to rooting for the Packers and the Badgers.”

En route Lincoln indulges his curiosity and glances through Nick’s iPod. His playlist is an unholy mix of depressing 80’s ballads—The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths—and over-produced bubbly girl pop. Thankfully, Nick is happy to tell him all about the town as they drive, sparing Lincoln the aural assault. It’s a hell of a sales pitch, despite the weather.

Nick wasn’t lying. His place—a former hunting lodge—looks like it’s liable to crash down on their heads any second. Part of Lincoln, the part that used to spend after school at his dad’s hardware store and summers working handyman jobs, itches for a hammer. Or maybe a flamethrower.

He ends up being grateful for the seclusion, considering all the noise they make. Nick might’ve known exactly what he was doing when he bought this heap.

“Stay,” Nick whispers in the middle of the night, and Lincoln already knows he’s going to.

Four years later, he still doesn’t have a single regret.

Re: Stocking stuffer extra for: Wikiaddicted

Date: 2014-12-06 06:16 am (UTC)
wikiaddicted723: (Nick)
From: [personal profile] wikiaddicted723
I JUST SQUEALED LIKE A FIVE YEAR OLD THEY ARE ADORABLE AND I LOVE THEM, AND YOU PLAYED IN MY SANDBOX! WELCOME, WELCOME! STAY AS LONG AS YOU WANT.

Also, I'm someone who will take a hard cider over a beer any day ;)

Re: Stocking stuffer extra for: Wikiaddicted

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-12-06 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Stocking stuffer extra for: Wikiaddicted

From: [personal profile] wikiaddicted723 - Date: 2014-12-07 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: Stocking stuffer extra for: Wikiaddicted

From: [personal profile] kerithwyn - Date: 2014-12-15 06:14 pm (UTC) - Expand

Gift for: Annatorverse

Date: 2014-12-04 05:48 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: You're still gonna be fine
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: Annatorverse
Warnings: None really, apart from angst, and spoilers for the entire series.


"You're still gonna be fine."
--
If every choice, every changed decision, leads to the creation of another reality—something that Olivia Dunham knows to be factual—there has to be a reality somewhere, in which Charlie Francis lives. Not some different Charlie Francis, not a Charlie Francis with a scar on his face and a body filled with arachnids, just the man, Charlie Francis. Olivia can't help but wonder about this, some days more than others.

Sitting at her desk she pictures him, standing across from her, picking on her when she begins developing her Cortexiphan abilities.

“You know, Liv, we have seen some crazy stuff in our day, but you turning into a super hero is probably the thing I would have expected the least.” He would have said.

“Come on, Charlie, you know you are just jealous that it wasn't you.” She would have replied, both of them trying to make light of the situation. He saw the terror in her eyes, he'd seen it many times before on the field.

She would have known that he was just trying to make her feel better. He would have known she was just playing along.

“Nah, I think I'll pass on that. The whole x-man thing is a bit reaching for me, kid.” He would have joked. He would have laughed. She would have smiled and rolled her eyes.

She pictures him when she comes back from the other side, and that is especially hard because she knows there is another him so incredibly close, probably knocking back drinks somewhere with the other her, joking around, somehow living a happier life in a worse off world.

“So, you gonna keep the tattoo? It doesn't really suit your personality.” Charlie would have smirked, noticing the artwork that she had been given when she had gone to the other universe.

“I know, I want to remove it. It'll still leave a scar.”

“All things heal in time, Livvy.” He would have tried too comfort her.

“Charlie, she took everything. She took Peter, she took my job, she lived my life. I don't want to be here anymore. I don't feel like me anymore.”

“Everything will work out, don't worry. You're gonna be fine. Just hang in there.” She needed to hear that then, but he wasn't there.

She pictures him when she is making the decision to forget the life she knew to remember memories that didn't happen in this universe.

“Livvy, I can't tell you what to do. I really can't, but you need to know this, I will respect your decision. I agree with what Broyles said. If this version of you is half the woman you are, she'll still be a damn good partner. I just want you to be happy.”

“I love him.” Olivia would have smiled.

“If it was me and my wife, I would forget everything to remember her.” He would have smiled. He loved his wife.

“I know, Charlie. I know.”

She pictures him when she finds out the good things too.

“Peter, I'm pregnant.” They had smiled and embraced.

In the doorway Astrid and Walter had lingered, hearing the announcement. If Charlie was there he would have been ecstatic.

After the initial excitement, Peter would have gone to talk to his father. Charlie would have gone to Olivia.

“I can't believe you are going to be someone's mom, Livvy.” Charlie would have smiled, lifting her off the ground in a hug.

“I know, me either. I don't know how great I'm going to do at it though.”

He would have scoffed. “Are you kidding me? You're gonna be fine.”

“I appreciate that, Charlie. I really do.”

She pictures him walking down the aisle on her wedding day, hiding the fact that he was tearing up and pretending that he wasn't at all emotionally affected by his best friend and partner getting everything that she deserved in her life.

She pictures him holding her daughter on the day she has born, picking on Peter, telling him that he lucked out that the kid looked like her and not him, she pictures him being the Uncle that Henrietta would never have.

She especially pictures him on the day that Walter disappears, the day when she remembers a life that never happened, this time wishing she didn't have to remember her daughter dying in her arms.

“I don't know what we are going to do, Charlie. I saw it all. I remember what he did. I remember holding her lifeless body. I remember Peter drifting away from me, twice. I remember it all. Now Walter is gone, years out of reach, and I just don't know what we can do.” Olivia said, doing her best to calculate everything, to analyze, to plan.

Charlie would have done his best to be levelheaded. “This is all so crazy, Livvy. I feel crazy, but out of everything that we know, everything that we've seen, you guys are all gonna be fine.” He would have said, but Charlie wasn't here, and Charlie couldn't say that. Because Olivia was in the universe where Charlie didn't make it, but there wasn't a day that went by where she didn't wish that he had. Because right now, she really needed someone to tell her that she was still gonna be fine.

Re: Gift for: Annatorverse

From: [personal profile] opusculasedfera - Date: 2014-12-14 02:56 pm (UTC) - Expand

Gift for purpleyin

Date: 2014-12-04 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Rotten To the Core
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: purpleyin
Genre: Action / Scifi / Somewhat Drama
Warnings: Violence, bodyhorror, angst, strong language, 2nd part is literally long as hell
Maincharacters: Lincoln Lee, Olivia Dunham, OMC
About the plot: Story based on time after the Bridge was closed, while the Lincoln tries to get used to new world. Horrible things happen, and will be kinapped by a shape-shifter, who still thinks that he works for DRJ.

Part 1 (http://themaamyyra.dreamwidth.org/258.html)
Part 2 (http://themaamyyra.dreamwidth.org/545.html)

Re: Gift for purpleyin

Date: 2014-12-06 02:42 pm (UTC)
purpleyin: Walter Bishop and Gene the cow with caption "Party til the cows come home"" (party)
From: [personal profile] purpleyin
I don't have time to read today (big meal cooking going on in my household) but wanted to say I took a peek and wheee it has art to start, yays, and I love the sound of it from the summary. So looking forward to having time to read it.

Gift for: thatwasjustadream (Part 1 of 2)

Date: 2014-12-05 12:13 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Kindred
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: thatwasjustadream
Warnings: adult themes, doppelcest, angst, multiship
A/N: Let's pretend 4x17 had a happy ending, in addition to the events of 4x20. Also, note that this is from amber!Lincoln's perspective, who is Lincoln in this, where as red!Lincoln he is referring to as Lee (and Liv calls Linc), just to clear up who is who because part of this pairing gets very hard to separate with two guys with the same name...

Part 1 of 2



There's a glint in the man's eyes that Lincoln has never seen before; a rawness, though his expression remains closed off, even as the distance between them physically lessens until he can feel his double's hot breath on his cheek. Unnerved at the sudden proximity he blinks fast at first, settling back into a normal rhythm when he adjusts his focus by peering over and around his glasses. He finds his gaze darting about - from Lee's bright eyes to his lips and then to the side - trying to figure out where he should be looking. He thinks he ought to turn away, excuse himself but surprisingly he doesn't want to. His breathing is getting towards ragged as Lee leans in further, his nervous system's response inspired by a mix of fear of the unknown and an almost equal excitement at it.

Warm lips meet his and there's a passion to Lee's kisses, although somehow it doesn't seem entirely like it's for him. His hands drag at clothes and stroke muscles underneath but he doesn't feel seen with Lee's eyes screwed shut tight. Their attentions grow urgent but it's hard for him to be sure whether the touch is desiring the shape he discovers or not. Fingers tease his hair as if to reset it into a style that fits another dream. Lincoln knows Lee has a fever for her that eats him up, that has consumed far more of his heart than Lincoln can know, though he can still imagine the effect from how much of a mark she has made in the short time of his knowing either version of Olivia himself. That desire hasn't however stopped Lee from initiating whatever they are probably unwisely playing with here and Lincoln decides for once Lee will be deemed not hers, if only briefly. He intends to reclaim Lincoln Lee, pulling him out of his troubled head for a while and towards living in the moment, something Lincoln is starting to appreciate a whole lot more after experiencing life over here up close and personally in danger so frequently. He's not sure if he has a true place in this world and neither does he know what it means to Lee to be displaced in one of the arena's of such importance in his life; his insertion into a world he doesn't belong to has upset the natural order for everyone. Tonight at least, both of them can be lost souls together.



It isn't how Lincoln expected, which shouldn't surprise him when none of what his life currently is was expected. Every day Lee doesn't say a word to stop her from reaching out to his alternate, to persuade her he's the better option, but Lee all too often dives into the comfort of his double's body. Lincoln is her proxy and Lee is using up himself in a crazy coping mechanism he can no longer deny temptation of. There's no one else quite like Liv, but there's a strange form of self-solace to this having another version of himself instead, someone who understands and accepts what is going on.

Lincoln keeps intending to put a stop to it, to avoid any chance of it happening again but the job requires decompression from its horrors and frequenting a bar with fellow agents isn't uncommon. Liv always cops off early, growing bored of more than a couple of sodas, an action that more often than not leaves him alone with their Captain. The problem is having a few drinks under his belt has him reaching very literally for a release and stumbling back to an apartment he's getting to know better than his own temporary residence.

It's wrong because he knows this skin too well – it's not the exploration it would be were he an entirely other man. Lee's hands travel over old paths, an achingly familiar reach to drive them both wild in an escalation that certainly goes somewhere and yet Lincoln suspects those caresses never reach Lee's intended destination, searching for something else he can't have.

It's wrong because he is all over himself, inside himself, distinctly not pressing into her heat like he knows he wants. Like they both want, but maybe that's part of why this works. They know who they're thinking of other than themselves and there's no kidding each other.

It isn't how Lincoln expected at all. The pace isn't fast, but Lee's ownership of his body is unrelenting, pushing him past his limits until he is pleading for a conclusion. Honestly, it’s the best he's ever had, leaving him wanting. He doesn't know what to think of the desire left hanging that first time; still, back he comes.

It's wrong, Lincoln knows as the guilt settles in his stomach each morning after. He smiles at Liv in greeting at work, hoping she won't notice the tightness of it belaying his unease and avoids facing Lee for a good chunk of the day, hiding behind cups of tea and paperwork, virtual as it may be, that neither partner complains if he wants to single-handedly polish off.

What's more wrong is to give in time after time with decreasing resistance, like this is an acceptable inevitability for them. The hot promise of Lee's leering made him uncomfortable before, but now it feels freeing, lifting a new burden from his heart. Lee has seen the looks, the touches that flow easily from Liv to him – everything Lee wanted diverted, a displaced destiny. He isn't sure that's right either so Lincoln lets him take a subtle revenge against him in teasing nearly pathetic pleas from his mouth and claiming each night they continue this as purely his.

-

It's worse than he expected too. The memory of Lee's demanding lips lingers as he gets to kiss her goodnight for the first time and he doesn't know how to explain what feels like a hole in his chest at doing so, because he has this and Lee does not. They're not the same, not really, but they're spun from the same cloth. He draws up everything he feels for Liv already and when he imagines the multiplication of that by days, weeks, months, years, it chokes him. He wants to ask 'Why me and not him?' but it wouldn't be fair to question her feelings. This is simply how it is.

Except, now, in the back of his mind, there's a cocky voice of the person he could be, asking 'Why not both of us?'.

Lincoln doesn't ask anything in the end, but breaks off from the virtually chaste peck she's gifted him because of his lack of response and makes his excuses. He's tired, not sleeping well, not used to the caseload; nothing is said that isn't true. He'd ignore it all for her, if he could get the doubt out of his mind about who he is here and who he wants to be. He doesn't feel like he's the person she deserves, not with what he's been doing in the dark of night with her friend. So he sits in his hotel room, knocking back whiskey like another partner of his in another world and contemplates how he's unlucky enough to love her in every universe when the same is not true in reverse.

-

"Hi."

"Hey," Lee says, eyes wary, door part open, a welcome not yet extended to him.

"She kissed me," he confesses, like that one event is an invitation to finally talk about the thing they've been studiously ignoring when together.

Lee opens the door, letting Lincoln stroll in casually, but already turns away from him so that his reaction is impossible to gauge. The latch clicks closed on the door behind him with Lee's hand quick to seclude them inside and there is a shift in his whole world as Lee turns back to him, chasing her touch on his lips, adding to the mix their now normal but likely unhealthy amount of groping considering they're more like twins than anything else. Of course neither of them is recognizing that properly since society never accounted for this possibility and it's far past mattering; weirder things have happened.

He breaks the kiss off, with difficulty as Lee's not only forceful but thoroughly convincing with his tongue too, eliciting a remorseful moan at the self-denial of the contact.

"Call her," he prompts.

"And say what?" Lee demands, pacing across the room, coming to settle on his couch with arms crossed and head tilted back defiant of what is being suggested, "Want to come hang out and watch your new boyfriend make out with your best friend? If you think that's really gonna work you don't know Liv that well." Don't deserve her is the implication too.

Lincoln sighs, decides he's not taking anymore of Lee's tortured crap. It's been rubbing off on him and he doesn't need any of this added drama on top of moving universes. All his, admittedly drunken, pondering has brought him to the conclusion what they need to eke out is, if not a solution from this interpersonal mess, then at least get the truth of it in the open.

"Neither do you, not like that."

At that unpleasant reminder, Lee shies away from his scrutinizing look.

"I hope you can handle the idea of her knowing. Because I already told her to meet me here, to tell her about..." he swallows here, courage flagging but admitting it is right, "About us."

Re: Gift for: thatwasjustadream (Part 1 of 2)

Date: 2014-12-06 05:31 pm (UTC)
thatwasjustadream: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thatwasjustadream
Thank you so much for my gift! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for some Agent Lee/Captain Lee. :). I like the direction you went with it, too. The pairing probably always calls for introspection on the characters' parts - after all, anything they do to/for each other is in some faint way done to/for themselves. Putting their Olivia between them makes it high stakes for them both. I'm glad she's able to process it, think it through and go with it. After all, two Lincolns? Dayum, if I were her, i'd have been on that mission day one, lol.

This line made me smile: "...for once Lee will be deemed not hers, if only briefly." And the line that weirder things *have* happened made me laugh.

Yummy all the way around. Thank you again!!!

Re: Gift for: thatwasjustadream (Part 1 of 2)

From: [personal profile] purpleyin - Date: 2014-12-23 11:20 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for: thatwasjustadream (Part 1 of 2)

From: [personal profile] purpleyin - Date: 2014-12-23 11:21 am (UTC) - Expand

Gift for: thatwasjustadream (Part 2 of 2)

Date: 2014-12-05 12:17 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Kindred
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: thatwasjustadream
Warnings: adult themes, doppelcest, angst, multiship
A/N: Let's pretend 4x17 had a happy ending, in addition to the events of 4x20. Also, note that this is from amber!Lincoln's perspective, who is Lincoln in this, where as red!Lincoln he is referring to as Lee (and Liv calls Linc), just to clear up who is who because part of this pairing gets very hard to separate with two guys with the same name...

Part 2 of 2

---

Lee's eyes burn into his with annoyance but he doesn't demand he cancel the encounter. He's as invested in the outcome as he can be – neither of them has been able to stop the casual arrangement they'd fallen into and they need to know where to go from here, whether Liv can deal with it.

Lincoln stands by the door, leans against the wall Lee had been pressing him up against only minutes ago and tries to block out thoughts of what he'd interrupted, what might never happen again. If this goes badly there's no chance he's still getting laid tonight, but the result, knowing where they all stand, is much more important than some quick fling no matter how good it is.

There's a knock eventually, Lincoln swinging round to open the door, his clumsiness at fiddling with mechanisms he finds unfamiliar delaying. Liv smiles at him with a hint of confusion looks like she might be about to try kissing him again in greeting but thinks better of it as she spots Lee in the background. At a glance to Lee, Lincoln sees he's staring resolutely out of his window like he wants to be anywhere but in a room with them of all people.

"What's up?" She asks like she already knows something is wrong. Her tone is light and the phrase is said uncharacteristically gently, the same manner one would use if trying not to startle a scared animal. He realises he must look worse than he feels. Which was pretty bad to start with and not improving considering the several drinks hitting him.

"We need to talk," he means it to be a request but finds it coming out commandingly.

"All of us," he clarifies as he walks over to Lee, intending to draw his presence back to mind and into the conversation he very much needs to be part of too. Lee still doesn't look towards them as Lincoln stands at the end of the couch, as close as he dares at the moment but he is enticed to speak, an angry drawl springing forth.

"I'm not the one involved in a badly concealed mating dance around the bullpen."

Lincoln feels his hackles rise at Lee's intent to deftly deflect away from his involvement in the situation they're in and lashes back instinctively. "No. Your moves are expertly concealed, especially from Olivia."

For several seconds Lee glares at him and he returns it full force, mentally willing him to rashly reply in return and crack that can of worms that is long overdue opening. Unfortunately Liv interrupts, voice tinged with equal measure of concern and frustration, "Someone clue me in here,"

Lee clams up and turns back to the window, leaving Lincoln to go for it. "He's jealous, of you and I."

"Oh."

The word would indicate surprise but she says it in a way that indicates she's not really that shocked. Lincoln supposes anyone who'd take a minute to think about could see Lee had a thing for her and Liv isn't dumb, just possibly prone to treating that with wilful obliviousness in order to avoid it all the longer.

By the fact she doesn't ask the question 'Possessive of who?' he knows she assumes it is jealousy of Lincoln with her. He'd assumed it was only that at first, now he's not certain given with the tangle of thoughts in his head. Distinguishing who for and what he feels is hard enough, though he doesn't know what Lee is feeling thesedays either, if his original assumptions for why they'd been together have proved to be incorrect or incomplete. Maybe, he thinks as he watches Lee stare at the floor attempting to look impassive, it wasn't ever only just about her. Lincoln drags a weary hand over his face and moves to sit next to Lee, not knowing what to say next when only half of what needs to be confessed is out there. He opts for simply draping an arm over Lee, offering comfort, cautious at first but relaxing as the man leans into it and rests his head on his shoulder, practically hiding his face in the crook of Lincoln's neck.

"You guys have a thing together?" This she says with surprise. Cooly asked, a level of detachment to the question but disbelief and curiosity creeping in.

"I didn't plan for it. It sort of happened, cold comfort I know."

"Hey, I've got no claims," she says, motioning with her hands to indicate how she has no hold on him. He can see the sadness as she insists it, his crushing her hopes by the admission, not that it has to be like that. Liv starts pacing the room as she processes the new information.

"If there's something between the two of you then why am I here?"

Lee pipes up, voice inordinately low as if it takes a lot out of him to speak at all. "I'm not jealous of you. Well, that's a lie, more than a bit yeah, but that's not all Clark Kent over there is trying to get at."

"Ah," she exclaims softly. Liv really does look surprised this time and further confused. He can't say this was a situation he'd ever imagined they could get into when he'd made the decision to live here and he doubts it had crossed her mind either, that she could end up loved by two versions of the same person with their own unique bond that defied logic.

Lee gets up, avoiding looking at anyone and after a few moments of silence there's the sound of the refrigerator opening and the hiss of an bottle cap removed. Lee hangs in the kitchen doorway, facing away from them as he gulps down most of the beer in one. Liv taking action, goes to him, though she merely hovers close, allowing space where he might prefer.

"You're my friend, why didn't you say something?"

There's a huff of amusement from Lee, before he takes a swig, "I didn't say anything because you're my friend. Didn't want to make things awkward. It doesn't matter."

"Of course it matters, Linc."

Lincoln spies fear on Lee's face as he expects rejection but Liv hugs him tightly, and he can see Lee relax into it once he realises she isn't going to begrudge him his feelings for her. Lincoln feels morose in an instant, hit with the sense he's the intruder in their lives again and he can't get out of there quick enough. Playing up his whiskey binge as having hit him hard enough to warrant immediate rest, and waving away their concern, he makes a thankfully swift exit, leaving them be. Tapping off his earpiece as he flees in a cab outside, he rides back to his hotel in silence. He could have told them how he felt, talked it out, but he can't bear hearing any explanations to prove him wrong because he knows it's an irrational feeling anyway, one that will pass naturally, it always does. He belongs here now, even if he doesn't yet know who he belongs with.

-

Work is as awkward as could be expected the next day, with one difference. He greets Liv as normally as possible but doesn't ignore Lee like usual, who eyes him bemusedly when he tries to offer a small wry smile. It's a start to mending what's been broken too long around here. He catches Liv watching him and Lee every now and then, gaze piercing like she's studying them, keen to figure out what this is. Lincoln doesn't know himself and focuses on getting through this day alive.

A whole week passes, day in and day out with nothing else said, and they find themselves kicking back on Friday evening in a bar, comradeship over a particularly tough case solved setting their team at ease despite the ever present tensions. It hits 10pm and Liv is still there, nursing what must be her 7th soda and Lincoln had been so at ease somehow he'd not noticed the significance of her staying behind. The air between them feels changed somehow, an absence of the red flags put up by his brain and he thinks it's possible only he has been projecting those onto every interaction. Are they just gone after a few drinks because it wasn't ultimately there past that initial burst?

Liv's smiling brightly at both of them now and he feels Lee's arm slung casually around his shoulders, simple but delightful to have there. He feels at home here for the first time, amongst them, his partners. He isn't sure how he means it and he doesn't care at that precise moment, he enjoys it instead of over analyzing it to death like he tends to. Maybe that's how he should be able to tell he's truly happy for once.

He wants to trust his gut because he thinks it's possible it was meant to be, them three. It's all too easy to believe that when Liv asks them over for a movie night the next day and he can see the look of anticipation in her eyes, not to mention Lee's. He agrees with a grin and a toast to partnership that they all raise their glasses to. What will be will be and he drinks deep to that.

Gift for Wikiaddicted723

Date: 2014-12-05 02:49 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)

Title: Incompatible Realities
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: Wikiaddicted723
Warnings: Offscreen major character death
Rating: T for implied sexual content
Word count: 1,991
Characters: Charlie Francis, Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, Philip Broyles, Astrid Farnsworth, Sonia Francis (mentioned), Walter Bishop (mentioned), John Scott (mentioned), Lincoln Lee (mentioned)
Summary: Charlie, Liv, their Jaegar, and a kaiju called Knifehead.



Charlie hit the ground with a groan and lay there for a minute, just swearing under his breath.


“I understand that the kaiju don’t keep office hours,” he complained to the world at large, “but why the hell do they always come up at ass o’clock in the morning? Why can’t they wait until after brunch?”


Liv was probably up and at ‘em, doing star jumps as a warm up before going for a five mile run in the time it took him to stand up, pull on some pants, and get to the bay. Charlie admired it about her - she was like one of those little ballerinas in a music box, always wound up and ready to dance no matter what damn time the alert sirens started screaming. Charlie always seemed to be either five-miles deep in a dream or… Something else deep in Sonia, but Liv? Liv was never caught off guard. Sometimes, he wondered how in the world they were Drift compatible, but he figured they probably balanced one another or something.


Well, no, he knew why they were Drift compatible. Even before they’d been hooked up to one another’s brains, they’d worked well together, and they had a freaky level of synch on the mat. If Charlie had had his way, Liv would have been his best man when him and Sonia got married, but that wasn’t the Done Thing, so he’d ended up with John, and Liv had been Sonia’s bridesmaid, and they’d had one hell of a party.


He managed to lift his head off the floor, and sure enough, there was Liv, doing frickin’ star-jumps. She was like the goddamn Energiser bunny - nothing ever seemed to hit her, not the fact that they’d just been woken up after three hours sleep, not the seventeen hour day they’d put in yesterday, not all that goddamn running she did, around the ‘dome with John, and Peter, and Astrid from K-Science. Not even not getting to hook up with her super-secret boyfriend phased her, which Charlie had to admit, he kind of admired. If he had a super-secret girlfriend he saw as little as Liv saw her fancy man, he’d have cracked up. He was just lucky that Sonia lived on base, too, and that married couples were allowed to spend time being… Married. They’d fought a war for those conjugal visits for the pilots, and Charlie was glad they had. He didn’t know if he would have ever been able to ask Liv to stay away for a night so he could get freaky with his wife. He didn’t know that he’d’ve been able to look Liv in the face after asking her to let him make use of her safer, more stable lower bunk.


Man, he really would crack up if he had to sneak around to be with Sonia the way Liv had to sneak around to be with John. Not that Charlie knew anything about Liv and John. Relationships between pilots from different teams were discouraged - honestly, relationships at all were kind of discouraged, unless they were between co-pilots, if only because the PPDC didn’t much want to have to pay out huge life assurance packages to the families of the pilots who died in action. Liv and John were damn good at their jobs - that made it almost worse that they were flouting unofficial protocol, because that meant that they were too valuable to lose. Charlie knew that the Marshal didn’t know about John and Liv because John and Lincoln were still being sent out with him and Liv. If Broyles knew, he’d never run the risk of Liv or John moving to protect one another instead of putting the kaiju down.


But no, Charlie knew nothing about Liv and John fucking like bunnies whenever the Marshal’s back was turned. Pinky promise.


“Come on, old man,” Liv said, breaking him out of his pleasant, sleepy musings by dumping clean clothes on top of him and kicking his boots across the room. “We’ve got a monster to fight.”


 




 


Maybe the best thing about being Liv’s co-pilot was that even if they hadn’t been Drift compatible, they would have been friends.


There weren’t too many teams who weren’t either married, like Charlie’s favourite Russians, the Kaidonovskys, or family, like the Hansens outta Sydney who, while assholes, were damn good at their jobs, so some people kind of assumed him and Liv had a little something going on on the side - hell, it wouldn’t have been hard, considering they had to share a set of bunk beds in their own little room, and they’d been a team longer than Charlie’d been with Sonia - but the idea of sleeping with Liv was… Well, it was just weird. Charlie’d rather sleep with Broyles than share a bed with Liv for anything other than warmth.


Oh, hell. He’d figured out about John and Liv at his and Sonia’s wedding - was that when they hooked up the first time? Those assholes, using Charlie’s wedding as an excuse to break the rules.


“Hey, Charlie?” Liv said, her voice crackling across the comms. “You know how when we’re piloting, we’re in each other’s heads?”


He had kind of forgotten - not completely, of course, you never could, but Drifting with Liv was so much of a habit that sometimes, Charlie forgot that the little voice in the back of his head was a different person. His thoughts maybe got away from him a little, but hey, he know one hell of a lot more about John Scott’s anatomy than he ever could have wanted, thanks to Liv’s runaway thoughts.


“You’re not my type either,” she assured him, her mind shimmering with amusement in the back of his head. “Trust me, Charlie, I don’t go for married, or shorter than me, or-”


“Yeah, yeah,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Stop before you hurt my feelings, Liv, I'm a sensitive guy - you don't wanna hurt me, do you?"


“She's trying to reassure Sonia, Francis,” Peter’s voice came from way back in the ‘dome. “Isn’t your lovely wife’s peace of mind worth a little ribbing?”


“Funny thing about that, Bishop,” Charlie called back. “I don’t remember how you became an authority on marriage - was it that time you forged a marriage licence to get Liv out of Dubai?”


“Eyes on the prize, big guy,” Peter said, and Charlie couldn’t help but laugh - it wasn’t often Peter came so close to admitting defeat. “Figuring out Dunham’s place in your marriage can wait.”


“Hey, Bishop?”


“Yeah, Francis?”


“Hey, fuck you, man.”


Peter just laughed, but so did Liv, so that was fine.


Having a good team behind them meant him and Liv could focus on the kaiju when they were out at sea - Sonia as head engineer, Peter on the comms, Walter and Astrid in K-Science, John and Lincoln and their team - but even with that confidence, everyone clenched up when Peter announced Marshal on deck. Broyles was a hard-ass, but he knew his stuff. Him and Nina Sharp had been gods in their day, and even now, he was a legend, and legends got respect even from a disrespectful asshole genius like Peter Bishop.


“We’ve got a Cat Four coming in fast from the north east,” Broyles said. “It hasn’t surfaced yet, but going on the sonar, it looks all tail and crest - try and catch it from a distance, don’t get too close.”


“Yes, sir,” Charlie and Liv said together, and Charlie figured that if there was video, it’d catch him and Liv rolling their eyes together, too. At least Broyles hadn’t-


“And less of the cussing while on duty, Francis.”


Yup, there it was. Sorry, Dad.


“What’re we calling this bad boy?” Liv asked, switching to their fog lights. “You’ve got a knack for these things, Peter - what’s mine and Charlie’s fifth drop gonna be called?”


“How does Knifehead sound, Olivia?”


 




 


Olivia stayed behind Broyles as he sloshed through the rain to get to the ‘dome. He cut a dash, she had to say, in his long coat and those boots.


Liv wondered if he’d changed at all since last she’d set foot in a shatterdome. She figured it’d be easier to tell if he didn’t have his head shaved - and clenched her fist. She’d never been in a ‘dome without Charlie before, and it felt like she’d forgotten an arm and a leg when she left the lab back in Anchorage to come here. It felt too big and too hollow and too quiet, even though she could barely hear the Marshal speak over the whir of the chopper blades and the bustle of activity on the landing platform. Two or three other birds, military grade, big ones, had come in around the same time as theirs, and Liv’s stomach dropped when she saw Walter shouting and waving at some poor porter, who was just there to transport his specimens.


“Good to see some things never change,” she called, gesturing towards Walter and someone that had to be Astrid. Liv had missed Astrid, really - it had been Astrid who’d hunted her down and let her know about John’s death, John’s and Lincoln’s - and thought that maybe it’d be nice to see her, at least. It would be uncomfortable to see Walter, who’d always looked a little too hard at Liv, and she had never quite known what to make of Marshal Broyles, but Astrid, yeah, she was looking forward to seeing Astrid again.


Broyles took an umbrella from a tall, skinny guy with hair something the same colour as Liv’s own and handed it to her, then motioned for her to lead on - or follow on, since Walter and Astrid were right ahead of them, she guessed. When she looked back, the blonde guy was gone, but Broyles had his own umbrella up, and he was watching her expectantly.


Liv shrugged her duffle higher up her shoulder, and followed behind K-Science’s tanks.


 




 


Seeing Peter again had been a shock - he’d been the last thing she heard in the conn pod that morning, before she blacked out, Olivia, Olivia, are you still there? Can you hear me Olivia? Olivia, do you copy? - but it had been good, too, kind of. He looked the same, more or less, from the weird kaiju-blue sheen under the skin of his throat because of the experiments Walter did on him as a kid to the rough skin of his jaw against the side of her neck when he hugged her, because he never bothered shaving unless he was going somewhere with a formal dress code.


Seeing Walter hadn’t been as good - he’d talked about the mechanics of dredging the sea to find Charlie’s body, and hadn’t stopped until Astrid, who had been wonderful to see again, whacked him on the chest with a three-inch-thick file stained in some kind of blueish goop.


“Sonia retired after Charlie died,” Astrid explained. “She has a kid now, born six months after Knifehead - Chaz. Charles Francis Junior. His middle name is Oliver.”


 




 


“You’re gonna be piloting with one of these men,” Broyles said, leading her into the gym. It was all laid out, mats and a selection of non-lethal weapons, and a bunch of muscle-bound goons who’d probably tested out of the Academy.


And that one skinny guy with hair the same colour as Liv’s own.


“Him,” she said, nodding to the guy. “Who’s he?”


“Name’s Nick Lane,” Broyles said, clasping his hands behind his back. “Tested way above average in the Academy, can’t find anyone compatible with him.”


Liv looked across the room, eyed all her potential co-pilots, and nodded once.


“I think he just found someone,” she said, kicking off her boots and stepping onto the mat. “You, Nick Lane - wanna dance?”

Re: Gift for Wikiaddicted723

Date: 2014-12-06 05:58 am (UTC)
wikiaddicted723: (P/O car scene 4.13)
From: [personal profile] wikiaddicted723
first of all, THANK YOU, ANON, THANK YOU. THIS IS WONDERFUL. THIS IS MAJESTIC. THIS IS GREAT. A couple things:

1. CHAAAAAAAARRRLIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!! (and Lincoln!)
2. OOoooohhhh, Walter doing experiments with Kaiju blood!!!!!
3. This is maybe going to sound rude (but I love it, don't doubt that I do, I'm just being an ass); WHERE IS THE REST?

Re: Gift for Wikiaddicted723

From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-12-06 10:06 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for Wikiaddicted723

From: [personal profile] wikiaddicted723 - Date: 2014-12-06 10:34 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for Wikiaddicted723

From: [personal profile] not_bang - Date: 2014-12-07 02:06 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for Wikiaddicted723

From: [personal profile] opusculasedfera - Date: 2014-12-14 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand

Gift for: Monanotlisa and Elfin

Date: 2014-12-05 03:24 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Recriprocal
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: Monanotlisa and Elfin, and anyone else who likes this kind of thing
Warnings: Explicit sex, poly blend.


In the four years since he’d been infected by a transgenic monstrosity, Charlie had gotten used to the constant injections to keep the arachnids quiescent. But he’d never resigned himself to the itching under his skin, or knowing there were alien things inside his body.

He never would’ve made it through without his partners. At first Olivia and Lincoln were just his Fringe Division teammates, then fuckbuddies after the bad events, and then—eventually—his partners in every sense of the word. At work, at home. Intrinsically entwined in his life in ways he never could have imagined, and to hell with what the rest of the world thought.

Considering the state of the rest of the world, most people were too concerned with their own situations to pay attention to theirs. Small favors.

The doctors who’d been working with him all these years to keep the bugs quiet never stopped looking for a cure. Olivia had come back with notes from the other-side Charlie’s encounter with a similar—not identical—kind of creature, but since the Fringe agents over here had applied a flamethrower to the chimera with extreme prejudice, the same treatment wasn’t a possibility.

Still, they’d kept him alive and Charlie wasn’t inclined to quibble with their results. Dr. Foster had been a constant source of encouragement, even if she seemed more interested in his bugs than him. Still, she’d been hopeful about the latest experimental serum. Charlie took the injection stoically, just like all the other attempts. As long as the bugs weren’t chewing their way through his skin, he was willing to live with the détente. No real choice about that.

So the last thing he expected during one of his biweekly checkups was a delay. The docs had his exams down to a literal science, physical checks and blood draws and samples of other fluids. He’d stopped bitching about the tests years ago, after realizing they could’ve insisted on spinal taps as well.

But this week they’d left him cooling his heels in the bare exam room way longer than usual. Charlie gave them ten minutes, then five more, and then he opened the door and stuck his head out into the hall.

Just in time to see Dr. Foster rushing toward him, one of the lab techs he’d seen in passing on her heels. “Agent Francis! I was just— We have to— It’s too soon to say, but—”

“Finish a thought, Doc,” Charlie drawled, but he felt his pulse jump.

She flashed him a quick, excited smile. “I need to do another blood draw. And an ultrasound.”

“Fine,” Charlie said cautiously. She wouldn’t have been smiling if he’d been in danger, so— “Did the spiders move around or something?”

“There’s no evidence of transgenic proteins in your blood,” the tech blurted, and immediately blanched as Dr. Foster turned on him with a furious expression.

“I was going to— Oooh!” She let out a huff of frustrated breath and turned back to Charlie as the tech fled back down the hall. “Charlie, it looks like you’re clear of the arachnid infection. But I want to run additional tests to make sure.”

He reached out, groping for the door frame as the muscles in his legs turned to water. “Just... just like that?”

Dr. Foster reached out to pat his arm. “Well, that last serum did take years to develop. And I didn’t want to give you false hope in case it didn’t work. But when it worked, it worked fast.” She gave him a gentle push back into the room. “Shirt off. I’ll send a second sample to the lab, and then we’ll do the ultrasound. But the preliminary results look good.”

Two hours later he was staring down at his own copy of the results on his datapad, watching the absence of foreign movement on the ultrasound video. Dr. Foster grinned as she watched him. “I’m so happy for you, Charlie.” She added with a smirk, “I’m thrilled about the paper I’m going to get out of this.”

He shook his head in wonder and closed down the pad. “Doc, I could kiss you.”

She laughed. “I know there are other people you’d rather be kissing. Go on, now. Don’t be a stranger?”

He leaned in to kiss her cheek anyway. “I’ll never forget what you did.”

Dr. Foster shooed him off, blushing. Charlie grabbed his jacket and got, intent on a single goal. Or a dual one, rather.

***

By the time he got back to division, Charlie was jittery with reaction. Lincoln saw him come in and waved a casual hand, like it was any other post-checkup day. “Hey, you’re late. Everything okay?”

“Good,” Charlie managed. “It’s— is Liv around?”

“She’s down at the gun range, giving pointers to the new recruits. You need her for something?”

“Yeah,” Charlie said. “Both of you.”

Lincoln straightened up from where he’d been tapping at his screen. “What’s up?”

“Just get her, okay?” He collapsed into the chair at his desk, trying to keep a lid on his emotions. “Please, Linc,” he said, and it came out in the kind of tone he tried not to use at work.

Lincoln stared at him, now looking genuinely concerned, but his hand was already reaching for his earcuff. “Liv, get up here.”

Charlie smiled at him, knowing he was freaking Lincoln out, but he needed to be a lot less public immediately. “It’s okay. Meet me in our spot.”

He got up and headed back out of the command center. “Their spot” was a maintenance closet—cliché and all—that wasn’t under direct surveillance. Everyone knew that the three of them had claimed it for their own use, but the closet saw a lot less on the job hanky-panky than their coworkers probably imagined. Sometimes one or all of them just needed a quiet moment with their partners, away from prying eyes.

He’d been there long enough to get his breathing under control when Lincoln and Liv slipped into the small space. Charlie handed over his pad before they had a chance to question him. “Read that.”

Charlie imagined that the looks on their faces as they read mirrored his in the exam room: utter disbelief, followed by rising excitement and unhoped-for joy. But it was all there in the battery of tests, the meticulous examinations.

The arachnids were gone.

His body was his again.

“Charlie,” Liv breathed, and reached for him with Lincoln only a second behind. He let himself fall into them, hugging tightly, and then—

Part of him was amazed that they didn’t fight over who got to kiss him first, instead trading him between them with unspoken accord. The rest of him didn’t care. He’d missed this so much, the sweetness of Olivia’s mouth, Lincoln’s eager tongue. Not having to be afraid of his own damn fluids or the chance (impossible as the docs all said it was) of infecting either of them.

He was trembling by the time they let him step back. “I never thought,” he started, but what he’d thought was past, it no longer mattered. Charlie cleared his throat and tried again. “We should, uh, probably get out of here.”

“We should celebrate,” Lincoln said promptly.

Charlie glanced at him as Liv checked the corridor and they stepped into the hall. “You wanna go out?”

“Stay in,” Liv and Lincoln said together, and Lincoln grinned. “God, I can’t wait.”

You can’t wait,” Charlie said, mocking, but Christ, he couldn’t either.

The news had hit Broyles’ terminal by the time they got back to the command room. He waved for the three of them to come up to his office and reached out to shake Charlie’s hand as they entered. “Congratulations, Agent Francis.” Before Charlie could say anything, Broyles looked the three of them over and rolled his eyes. “You’re dismissed for the day. Get it out of your systems. Don’t be late tomorrow.”

Unprofessional as hell on all of their parts, though they were halfway out of the building before Charlie had even the glimmer of self-consciousness about it. Broyles knew as well as anyone how the arachnids had impacted his life.

But not any longer.

***

The ride home was a blur. Charlie spent the trip resolutely staring out of the window, not daring to glance over at Olivia driving or Lincoln in the back seat, his hands clenched tightly in his lap to keep himself from reaching out to them.

They spilled through the door of the apartment in a tangle, slamming the door behind them. In an eyeblink Lincoln was on his knees, scrabbling to tear off Charlie’s pants, clearly intent on his mission. “Can’t wait to get my mouth on you.”

“Your tongue in me, Charlie, I missed that,” Liv breathed into his ear. Charlie reached down to haul Lincoln back to his feet, shoving him toward the bedroom where they could fulfill all those years of thwarted promises at once.

They hit the bed in a flurry of discarded clothing and eager hands. Olivia and Lincoln wrestled for Charlie’s attention, nearly on the verge of blows over who got to touch and taste him first. And where and how to touch him.

“Option paralysis,” Lincoln muttered.

But Charlie had been thinking about this too long to put up with their dithering. He lay down, pointing at his cock and then at Lincoln. “Need an invitation?”

Lincoln was on him almost before he’d finished the question. Charlie groaned, rolling his head at the feel of Lincoln’s mouth without a damn condom between them. He reached out for Liv, pulling her closer, kissing her lush mouth. But that wasn’t where he wanted his tongue.

“Sit on my face.” He was way past trying for subtlety. Liv grinned and swung her leg over his head, careful not to hit Lincoln as she positioned herself. Charlie drew her hips down and licked at her hard, without warm up.

Liv gasped and reached out to grab hold of the headboard, settling her knees on either side of his head. Charlie took a second just to breathe her in, the heady scent of musk and want. Lincoln was humming against his cock and generally doing his best to throw Charlie’s concentration all to hell. Charlie knew this game, Lincoln was a master at it—but Charlie was determined to have all of this, all at once, for as long as he could. And then do it again.

Charlie lost himself for a while in Liv’s smell and taste, in the sensations of Lincoln licking and sucking at his cock. The intensity was nearly overwhelming: the feel of his partners against his skin, free of barriers and without fear.

When he could focus again Charlie realized he was sucking hard on her clit, like Lincoln was sucking on him. Liv’s hips rolled in a rhythmic circle, keeping his mouth where she wanted it, grinding down against his face.

Charlie reached up to pinch gently at her nipple and was rewarded with both a throaty cry and the liquid gush of her excitement on his tongue. He could barely breathe, the scent and taste of her filling his senses.

He plunged his tongue inside Liv at the same time that Lincoln hollowed his cheeks, increasing the pressure and that was it, he was gone. He was far too out of it to track where they were until the two of them rearranged themselves on either side of him, patiently waiting for his brains to unscramble. Charlie realized he was probably a mess, Liv’s juices smeared all over his face, but that was part of his new freedom. He’d just discovered a kink for it and he was pretty sure neither of them would mind.

“That was awesome for a start, but. Important question.” Lincoln’s eyes were intense. “Which of us do you want to fuck first?”

Might as well flip a coin on that decision but either way, he’d win. Charlie started to laugh uncontrollably, and if there were tears by the end of it they’d understand. That’s what partners were for.

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa and Elfin

Date: 2014-12-06 09:38 pm (UTC)
monanotlisa: Diana as Diana Prince in glasses and a hat, lifting the rim of the latter rakishly. HOT! (Default)
From: [personal profile] monanotlisa
Oh my, TWO stories for me -- thank you so much for this; will read asap, i.e. tonight. <3

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa and Elfin

From: [personal profile] monanotlisa - Date: 2014-12-09 04:56 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa and Elfin

From: [personal profile] kerithwyn - Date: 2014-12-15 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa and Elfin

From: [personal profile] kass - Date: 2014-12-09 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Gift for: Monanotlisa and Elfin

From: [personal profile] kerithwyn - Date: 2014-12-15 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-12-05 06:29 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Out of Time
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: Notbang
Warnings: Happy ending optional.

Million stars up in the sky
Formed a tiger’s eye
That looked down on my face,
Out of time and out of place.

“Your Bones,” Of Monsters and Men

- Olivia -

The world is an onslaught of flashing faces around her and she is helpless to stop it. Everything pulls her attention – the stutter of footsteps on the sidewalk, rumbling thunder, a flash of paisley skirt on the corner by a fruit stand –

The fruit stand. Her skirt.

“Peter!” she tugs his elbow and tries to go after her, after Etta, but he’s reigning her in, a hand on her shoulder moving up, his fingers fast and gentle on her neck. She yanks away. “Peter, come on, I saw her. Please!”

But he’s shaking his head. “Olivia, it’s not her. She had brown hair.”

“I saw her, Peter.” She runs a few steps ahead, shoving aside a shivering teenager, an aged woman, the man in a trench coat she saw two blocks back. She can still see her, the girl, just her pink skirt, torn and muddied as she trips along the sidewalk. Etta.

“Olivia.” He catches her by the elbow again and pulls her back so that her heels skid and she stumbles into his chest. She thrashes a little, but he pins her to him and won’t let go. Twisting, she elbows him in the ribs, wrenches at the arms clasped tightly about her. “Olivia,” he grunts, breath hot on her ear. “Olivia stop. It’s not her.”

“But Peter, what if it is, what if – ”

“Look,” he grinds out, and the brokenness in his voice makes her stop, listen, follow his command. Her eyes skim the crowd, jumping over black hats and bloody faces, raking the surface of the city’s pain in search of her little girl.

“Peter, I don’t – I don’t see her. I lost her, you’ve got – ”

“There, in front of the newsstand. No, look up.”

And she sees it then, why he stopped her, why it is not her little girl. The fight drains out of her and he loosens his hold. She sinks back, curls into him, a hand strangling his jacket. He smells of sweat and two days without a shower.

“Peter. The skirt. I thought – thought for sure it was her.”

He cards his fingers through her hair, cradles the back of her head as she leans against him. “I know,” he rasps, lips pressed to the crown of her head. “I know.”

They stand there until a man jostles past. Peter rouses, pulls in a shuddering breath. “C’mon. We need to eat.”

She lets herself be pulled into a nearby diner. The garish red of the flickering neon whips at her nerves and she cringes away. Peter heads for a booth bracketed by windows and Olivia follows, sliding across the cracked vinyl seating until she reaches the end. Silent, she presses her cheek to the cool of the glass and continues to stare at the shifting figures.

A waitress brings menus and asks if they’d like anything to drink. Peter orders two coffees, one with sugar. The girl shifts and says there isn’t any sugar – their suppliers never delivered. Her voice is full of apology.

“We put the last of it in the pies – would you like some of that? We have apple and pecan. Maybe a little lemon left, too.”

“Pie okay with you? Olivia?”

She nods, the movement barely a flicker against the window. In truth, she doesn’t care. Isn’t hungry. Hasn’t been for days.

Etta.

“We’ll take two slices of apple with the coffee,” Peter decides, handing back the menus. “Thank you.”

The girl nods and hurries off with their orders.

“Olivia?”

She watches a middle-aged man pass by the window, his shirt pale and fluttering in the wind, raindrops glistening against the wool of his coat.

“Liv,” Peter tries again. He squeezes her knee beneath the table.

“No one has an umbrella,” she murmurs, watching the crowds scatter as the clouds go belly-up.

“We’re gonna find her, Olivia. We’re gonna find our little girl.”

She turns her head to look at him. Marvels at the hope still shining there, clinging tightly to his eyes. How does he do it? How can he be so sure she’s still out there?

“Peter…” she begins, but a man materializes at their table. Olivia jumps, expecting to see bald flesh, black fabric, but instead meets white teeth and the glow of laughing eyes. “Who are you?” she asks, shoulders tense beneath her jacket.

“Donovan, at your service, ma’am,” he beams as he rattles two plates onto the table. “Missy over there placed your orders and I just had to bring them myself. Y’see, it’s my world-famous apple pie, and I didn’t even put sugar in it.”

“But I thought the girl – Missy – said you put the last of it in the pies,” Peter cuts in.

Olivia sinks back against the booth. Peter takes over the conversation and she lets him, too tired to care. Her gaze returns to the scene outside, flickering over the half-empty streets and people scrambling to cover their heads. Everything is black or bleeding shades of gray, as if the Observers have stretched a giant newspaper over the city and now watch as the rain sheets through it, inking everything it touches with the news that they are here.

Her eyes slide shut.

They are here, and Etta is not.



Hope. She can feel it slipping through her fingers like soap, and the harder she holds on, the more elusive it becomes, until one morning she wakes up and it’s gone, just gone, and all she holds are memories, clinging like suds to her fingers, her heart.



Olivia swallows and rolls her shoulders, grits her teeth at the ache in her back. They’ve been at it for days, canvassing the suburbs. She can’t remember the last time she showered, slept in a bed, ate. It’s finally stopped raining, but now everything is cold, bright. Like the operating room just before the surgeons cut you open, expose you to the light.

The door closes and Peter turns to face her and she doesn’t have to ask to know what the answer was. No. I haven’t seen her, but you might try…

Etta. Her name is pain, stapled lungs, the sudden absence of air and a great aching emptiness rising to claim her.

- Peter -

The sun is only a pale flutter between the shells of buildings when he rouses, limbs stiff and lips numb. Peter blinks and scrubs gloved fingers across his eyes, shifts his feet to make sure his boots are still laced around them. His jaw cracks as he yawns, echoing the smack of his head against the ceiling as he miscalculates – again – the distance between his head and the van roof.

Olivia stirs beside him, curls into herself to compensate for the sudden loss of heat, and Peter stills for a moment, watching her. The pale silk of her hair is lost beneath her cap, as is the rest of her face. All he can see is the pale jut of her jaw, so sharp and white against the mounds of black and gray around her. He can’t see her face, but he can guess what lies upon it – a deep and troubled sea of hurt without answers. A mirror of his own.

He shakes his head, easing his fingers around the door handle, and prepares to slip out, pack in hand. The door cracks open and a tendril of cold seeps into the space, causing Olivia to curl deeper into her pile of blankets. Peter shoves his shoulder through the crack and tips out, jerking the door shut with an ease only weeks of practice will give. Once out, he bounces a little in the chill, tugs his hat down farther over his ears.

It only takes him a minute to adjust to the cold, and soon he’s unfolding into his morning routine. Five minutes, and he’s got a fire burning, fueled by trash from the alley, and ten minutes sees him swinging a pot of coffee over the coals. Fifteen, and he’s swinging it back off again, tilting the watery brown liquid into a chipped mug before grimacing it down his throat, chasing the aftertaste with a hunk of stale bread. Two minutes more and he’s done, bread swallowed and limbs warmed.

Peter stands, shoulders his pack, and pokes at the fire, makes sure it has enough fuel to burn another twenty, thirty minutes, and then sets out in search of his daughter.

Alone.



He hunches over the fire and chews his bread, squinting into the crackling blaze. All around him, the city is lean and fire-hardened, quiet, but slowly stirring to life. Now that the sun is down, it isn’t safe for him to move about. Not that it matters – he can’t search well in the dark, anyway. Besides, who would leave a child out in the night?

A glass bottle rolls and shatters against the mouth of the alley and he jumps, hand reaching for his gun. But it’s just Olivia. He relaxes as she steps into the light.

“There’s soup,” he murmurs, gesturing to the pot on the fire. She nods and pours some into a mug, wrapping her bone-white fingers around the warmth before sitting across from him.

“You okay?” he asks, but she only stares into her mug, eyes glassy in the light.

“I went to see Walter today,” she says finally, voice so low that the sound of the fire almost masks it.

“What?”

She tips her eyes up to meet his. “I went to see Walter. At the lab.” A pause. “He and Astrid have a plan.”

“A plan.”

“To defeat the Observers.”

“A plan to defeat the Observers.”

She nods, straightening her hunched shoulders. “They’ve been working on it in the lab with September.”

“September?”

“Apparently he knew about the Observers coming.”

“He what?” Peter jumps to his feet.

“He warned Walter ahead of time.”

“And Walter didn’t tell us. Damn it Olivia – he knew and he didn’t even tell us!” Peter fumes. He scrapes a hand through his hair and tugs, but the pain does nothing to clear his head.

She only watches him through the flames, green eyes turned gold in the light. “He said you’d react this way,” she says at last. Peter flinches.

“They need our help.”

He stares at her.

“They have a plan.”

“Yes, and I have a daughter. A daughter who’s missing.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Olivia shouts, jumping to her feet. Her mug shatters as it drops and Peter can see soup bleeding across the pavement. “You’re not the only one hurting here, Peter. She was my daughter, too. Our daughter.”

He stops pacing at her outburst but keeps his gaze fixed on the spilled soup as it creeps slowly toward the shadows.

“Peter.” Her voice is desperate. Wild. Is this what they’ve become? “Peter please just look at me. I need to know you’re still here.”

“Was,” he whispers.

“What?”

“You said was. She was your daughter.”

“Peter – ”

“No.” He shakes his head, fingers knotting into fists. “No, not was. Is. She is our daughter, and I’m not giving up on her.”

“Peter, I’m not giving up – I’m telling you, Walter and September have a plan. A plan to defeat the Observers, get rid of them – ”

“Just like they got rid of our daughter?”

She stops, rigid with silence. Minutes later, her shoulders slump and he’s left alone in the freezing night.



Walter calls an hour later, but Peter sends it straight to voicemail. Days later, when he’s hollow with the absence of her, he plays his father’s message.

Peter, it’s your father. I’m calling to let you know that Olivia is safe. She’s at the lab, with Aspirin and me. September is here, as well. I don’t want you to worry.

And that is all. Nothing more.

- Olivia -

She stands on the platform, shoulders taut, thumb hitched under her pack strap to ease the pressure on her aching limbs. Her back spasms and she winces, twitches a little to relieve the pain. Beside her, Walter mumbles last-minute instructions like a mantra, the same mantra he’s been babbling for the past twelve days as they’ve prepped her for the trip. Astrid shoots her a sympathetic look and Olivia smiles, nothing more than eye contact and a twist of her lips. But it’s enough.

“I packed food to last you three days. You should be able to find our contacts before then,” Astrid says. She squeezes Olivia’s arm briefly. “Be careful, all right?”

Olivia nods, but offers no words of assurance. She’ll do whatever it takes to make this plan work.

“Olivia – ” Walter mewls, a fumbling hand on her shoulder. She softens and turns to embrace him, this father she never had.

“I know,” she whispers, clinging tight. “I’ll be careful.”

He nods and steps back, eyes bright.

“I’ll call when I get there,” she says, and boards the train.



Olivia gazes out the window as the train pulls away, watching Walter and Astrid fade from view, peeled like stickers from the glass.

She glances down at her hand and Peter’s ring glinting there, wonders if she’s doing the right thing. And then she remembers Etta, Etta, Etta, the long sleepless nights and cold mornings, the slammed doors and crammed hospitals, the terror of the unknown about to be known. It’s better this way, she reasons, and twists the ring off her finger. This way, she’ll be fighting the Observers, something she knows how to do. She was never meant to be a mother.

Olivia clenches her fist around the ring one last time before reaching into her jacket, unzipping a pocket there.

“For Etta,” she whispers, and drops the ring inside.

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Gift for: cotillion66 (1/2)

Date: 2014-12-05 10:00 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: altera ipsa soror
Author:
Anonymous
Recipient: cotillion66
Warnings: (vague) mentions of domestic abuse
A/N: This was supposed to be something else entirely but then it decided it wanted to turn into rambly meandering backstory, so hopefully you're down with that.



When Olivia Dunham is nine years old, her stepfather breaks her mother’s nose.

It’s the week before Christmas and her baby sister is upstairs wailing from all the yelling, the television playing a commercial for dishwashing soap as Marilyn slides down the wall, hand overflowing from the blood that followed the sickening crunch that was fist connecting with face.

The angry protests, the near-hysterical demands that he leave her alone come tumbling out before she can stop herself, and when he inevitably rounds in on her, eyes flicking up to Rachel on the balcony as he makes his way over Olivia runs for her life.

She shoves her sister towards the bathroom and its promise of a locking door. Her fingers fumble with the lock but she slides it into place, flattening herself over Rachel who cries out in alarm, biting down hard on the hand that forces itself across her mouth, trapping her scream inside. Tears prick at Olivia’s eyes as the teeth cut into her palm but she does not falter; her other hand skims Rachel’s side to wrap around one of her own, giving it a tight, reassuring squeeze.

The pain subsides as the incisors relent, and Olivia releases her sister’s mouth.

His footsteps are heavy up the staircase and both sisters hold their breath as his fist lands heavy on the door, once, twice –

– and then he’s gone.

(Until Olivia hears the car turn back around, and her fingers curl around the gun.)


*


At age fourteen Olivia Dunham becomes an orphan, and the system isn’t particularly kind to girls with records of shooting their stepfathers.

She breaks a mug and her punishment is to have all her long blonde hair chopped off to the chin. She is Samson, without a Delilah, and Rachel sits in the corner shrieking, hysterical and confused, because at her age it makes entirely too much sense that her older sister’s unwavering strength correlates directly to the length of her hair.

The scissors are unforgiving, leaving the short strands jutting out a little jagged and not quite in line with Olivia’s quivering jaw, her eyes blurry and tear streaked as she squeezes them shut, feeling the discarded locks wisp against her shoulders as they fall to the ground.

This is a lesson she learns at a young age: to some people there is satisfaction in destruction, beauty in orchestrated breakdown.

She wears a dark red beanie of Rachel’s for weeks, tugged down around her ears, errant pieces of hair poking out at the edges like straw, and grows to feel comfort in the weight of the wool. They move on not long after that, her and Rachel, and when the tresses finally creep back down over her shoulders she runs her hands through it often in relief and makes a stubborn vow to never allow it to be cut again.


*


She joins the Military straight out of boarding school partly to pay for college, partly because it seems organic. There has always been a part of her that has long been predisposed to fight, though not necessarily with her fists; whether through family background or an accident of genetics she is a soldier at heart - a protector, a defender, a challenger.

Rachel takes her relocation to Northwestern to heart.

“I figured I could just come live here. With you.”

Olivia lets out a huff of air, giving a slow shake of her head.

“Rachel… I can’t look after you. I have college, not to mention the fact that I can barely look after myself. You’re still a kid – you need things that I can’t give you.”

Rachel is the lucky one - she always has been. Too young to really remember any of what happened to them as kids, young enough to catch the eye of two people that are in it for the long haul, pleasant and passive and agreeable where Olivia is cool and prickly and prone to agitation.

Rachel’s foster parents are refreshingly apathetic towards Olivia; they’ve heard the stories, of course, but unlike others she’s encountered in the past they make no great effort to separate stained sister from unspoiled. Rachel is permitted to visit with Olivia on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and occasionally the older Dunham is invited to family dinners and events.

Rachel’s foster father catches the way Olivia follows her sister with her eyes everywhere she goes, alert and guarded.

“I know this probably won’t mean much to you, but you don’t have to protect her anymore. She’s safe now. You can start looking after yourself.”

He slips her a twenty before she leaves. Olivia isn’t in the business of accepting charity from anyone, but when she tries to pass it back he refuses.

“Keep it. Next time Rachel’s over, you can buy a pizza, or something.”

(They order a vegetarian, with extra cheese, and fall asleep watching cheesy horror films in the early hours of the morning.)


*


She loses her virginity at seventeen, the summer before she goes away to college, long limbed and too-thin as she lets a boy hike her skirt up around her waist in the back seat of his car, freckle-faced and lonely as she tugs the wool back down into place and stumbles from the vehicle like she can't take in enough air.

Rachel loses her virginity at sixteen - Olivia knows this to be true because her sister comes to her, cheeks flushed both in heat and surprise at her own actions, hair knotted at the back, and hovers by the end of Olivia’s bed. She makes a move to sit but withdraws at the last minute, mindful of the spread of her sister’s papers as she studies, and wrings her hands.

Olivia plays dumb and says quietly, “You know, Rach, your foster mom thinks you’re visiting me, so maybe next time we should actually spend some time in the same room.”

Rachel to her credit looks vaguely remorseful.

Olivia realises, though, that whilst Rachel is pretty where she is plain, sweet where she is sour, so too is she innocent where she is injured; there is nothing overly manipulative or untoward about her sister and there has been no ulterior motive in her staying out past the agreed time. She is simply young and full of guileless love.

Feeling guilty, she takes off her glasses and tilts her head invitingly.

“So – it’s pretty awkward, right?” she says conspiratorially, and Rachel collapses beside her on the bed in giddy relief.

“So awkward,” she agrees, “but actually kind of… sweet, too.”

“I’m glad,” Olivia says, and she is glad, if not a little jealous, because she can’t really remember a time where anything she’s done has felt sweet.

Her sister lays down beside her and pauses hesitantly.

“It gets better, though, right? I mean, kind of like a practice makes perfect kind of deal?”

Olivia arches an eyebrow as she slips an arm around Rachel’s waist, nose bumping against the crown of her head as they curl together into a familiar spiral.

“Just how much practice were you planning on getting?”

“That depends. Are you being my sister, or my mother right now?” Rachel laughs.

Olivia can’t help it when the smile slips from her face, and Rachel doesn’t have to turn her head to see that it has – her sister’s body has stiffened behind hers and pulled back an inch of its own accord.

“Liv, don’t,” she immediately pleads, grabbing the hand at her waist before she can draw it away, “don’t get serious. I’m sorry. I was joking, I shouldn’t have said anything.”

Rachel twists to face her, and when she’s satisfied Olivia’s palm is going to stay where it is she reaches for the cross around her neck, rolling it between her thumb and forefinger.


*


Rachel dates Greg for two years and finds out she’s pregnant two weeks after her nineteenth birthday. She doesn’t say much but kind of shrugs hopelessly and brandishes the stick with its twin blue lines by way of an explanation.

“Surprise?”

Olivia has never been more terrified.

“Liv, it’s fine. I’m okay with this. A little excited, even. Be happy for me. I’m happy for me!”

Rachel’s smile wavers in her sister’s silence.

“Liv, say something. Please.

Olivia tosses back her third drink and brings the glass down hard on the bar before rising. There’s an emboldened swagger in her stride as she pushes her hands deep into her pockets and walks the three blocks from the bar to her sister’s boyfriend’s house.

Greg swings the door open with raised eyebrows, but doesn’t seem overly surprised to see her.

“Olivia. I guess I was kind of expecting to hear from you.”

He gestures her inside. She takes in the messy sprawl of his apartment, the suitcase lying open and half-packed by the sofa.

“You planning a trip, Mr Blake?”

“I’m not skipping out on your sister, if that’s what you mean. Just visiting my parents in New York.”

“I’m a Marine, Greg. You know that? I probably know about sixteen different ways to kill you with my bare hands.”

He starts to laugh at this but stifles it at the look on her face; despite her stature there is something quiet and powerful about her that tends to make people take her seriously.

“You and I don’t have to be adversaries. In fact, since you’re here, I was hoping to get your approval on something.”

Greg tosses her something that she catches instinctually; the black box is in her hands before she can process its movement towards her. She doesn’t have to open it to know what’s inside, but she does anyway. Her heart clenches in her ribcage.

“I know you two don’t… I know your parents aren’t around, anymore. So I can’t do this the traditional way. But I do know that you’re the most important person in the world to her.”

“My sister is eighteen years old,” she hisses, closing the box in annoyance.

“You think I don’t know that? Yeah, she’s young. I’m young too! I didn’t plan any of this either. But I do love your sister. I’m just trying to do right by her.”

“It’s late, and I’m a little drunk, so. I think I’m just going to go. I shouldn’t have come here like this, I’m sorry.”

When she gets home Rachel is already asleep. Olivia shrugs out of her coat, her clothes, insinuates herself under the covers and tries to memorise the pattern of freckles on her sister’s nose.

“Hey,” Rachel mumbles sleepily.

“Hey.”

She presses their foreheads together and beneath the blankets traces her forefinger down the stomach of Rachel’s t-shirt.

“So there’s a little person growing in there. That’s kind of crazy, right?”

Rachel laughs at that, voice husky.

“So, so crazy.”

Olivia pauses. She is used to all they’ve got consisting of each other.

“I’m here, Rach. You know that, right? I’m sorry if it seemed like I wasn’t going to be.”

“I know. And I’m glad. I can’t do this without my sister.”

(Olivia thinks she’s pregnant, once. She calls Lucas to tell him and a week later he’s taking a job offer in Germany. It turns out to be a false alarm, of course, and he apologises for freaking out on her but by then the damage is done.)


*


“Agent Dunham.”

Charlie barks her name across the bullpen, holding the phone and looking serious, and something in her stomach drops and tightens.

“Congratulations,” he says after an agonising second, and in that moment she curses him for not being much of a smiler. “Apparently you just became an aunt.”

She’s vaguely aware of being clapped on the shoulder by several of her colleagues but she barely responds, oddly rooted to the spot and unsure which way to move next.

“Hey Liv,” Charlie says, at her side now. “You still with us?”

“Yeah, Charlie. I’m here.” She gives him an affectionate squeeze. “My sister’s a mom?”

“That I can’t confirm. They only passed on the aunt part.”

She laughs, feeling breathless and surreal.

Olivia thinks she’s never seen Rachel look more beautiful than when she finally stumbles into her sister’s room to find her a little sweaty and dishevelled but radiating contentedness, a whimpering mass of red skin swathed in pink cotton cradled lovingly against her chest.

“Hey,” Olivia says softly, and Rachel’s eyes reluctantly crawl away from the baby in her arms.

“Hey,” she replies. “I was wondering when you’d show up. This,” she says, offering up the bundle, “is your niece. Ella.”

“Well hello there, baby girl,” she murmurs, pressing her lips against the infant’s tiny forehead. “I have just been dying to meet you.”

When Ella’s back in her crib and dozing she sinks her head into her hands, elbows on Rachel’s bed, staring up at her sister in amazement.

“Oh God, Rach - she’s kind of perfect, isn’t she?”

“Yeah,” Rachel agrees, “she’s pretty perfect.”

“I might just have to start believing in love at first sight.”

(She doesn’t though, not really.)


Gift for: cotillion66 (2/2)

Date: 2014-12-05 10:01 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
(cont.)


*


Rachel meets the man she ends up marrying at a keg party neither of them were supposed to be at, hovering around the punchbowl and smiling infatuatedly at each other over plastic cups. Olivia meets the man she ends up marrying in the desert of a country in a universe he was never supposed to be in, his face stubbly and personality equally prickly.

She meets the man she could have married, though, not long after she joins the FBI, and John Scott is particularly gifted at making it extremely clear he is exactly where he’s supposed to be.

Contrary to Bureau belief, her relationship with John did not blossom from inter-office flirtation; the meaningful glances, the sly touches - they came after.

She had disliked him at first, finding him trying a little too hard to be a hard-ass, with buckets of arrogance and equal parts self-aware charm. Her irritation with him dissipated upon discovering he was not treating her with any particular, personal disdain; rather, he was treating her precisely the way he treated every other man in the Bureau, an experience which was so disturbingly new for her that she wasn’t quite sure how to respond.

They’re on a raid when her fight-or-flight response leans a little too heavy towards fight and she ignores a command to take cover.

“Dunham, get down!”

A millisecond later when she still hasn’t responded he flies at her, knocking her roughly to the ground. To this, her reaction is immediate; her hands fly out in furious protest against his chest, her elbow eventually connecting with his chin.

“Jesus, Dunham,” he hisses, rolling off her.

She waits for the accusations to fly once they retire for the evening but she catches his eye in the lobby after dinner and all she gets from him is a dark look. It’s her, then, and not him that initiates the confrontation – the humiliation seething inside her and manifesting itself as fury until she’s striding purposefully down the hallway and pounding on his door.

Something in his face tells her a part of him has been expecting this.

“I want you to know, I’m not some damsel in distress you have to protect from the fire fight.”

“Easy, Dunham. No one’s been fooling themselves thinking you are,” he cajoles.

“Well I didn’t see you shielding anyone else out there today!”

His demeanour shifts entirely at that – bristling visibly he draws himself up to full height and draws his brows together in annoyance.

“That’s because nobody else is as pig headed as you when it comes to personal safety! If it had have been Agent Lewis thinking it was funny to play sitting duck out there, I would have tackled him too.”

“Good.”

“Good.”

If Olivia’s completely honest with herself, she’s not entirely surprised when Scott’s mouth slams into hers – in fact she’s pretty sure she did a good job of meeting him halfway on that one. What’s most alarming is that she doesn’t do this – doesn’t get swept away on angry tides of pent up passion and tension, doesn’t allow herself the sin of kissing a co-worker after hours in the threshold of his motel room, doesn’t get involved with people on any level other than what is absolutely required. But what she’s doing here and now with her partner is definitely a form of involvement, his body insinuating itself around hers, her legs wrapping around his waist and hands tangling in hair as her shirt disappears smoothly over her head.

It’s hard and fast, just like he is, and everything moves so quickly that it translates somehow into smoothness; there’s no time to fumble or grow awkward with overthought.

He doesn’t collapse over her or climb off but bows his head a moment, catching his breath and collecting his thoughts before meeting her eyes.

“Dunham,” he says, and she can read the hesitation on his face - that they’re coworkers, that he has a good twelve years on her at least, that he has crossed some sort of line she didn’t want him to cross. Olivia on the other hand feels young and energised and alive, playful even, and rolls her hips against him, crisscrossing her ankles over his calves with a gentle squeeze.

“So, you do this with Lewis, too?”

His eyes crinkle with relief and he smiles, really smiles as he eases off of her, and Olivia thinks it might just be the first time she’s seen him do it.

“Only when he undermines my authority, then yells at me,” he quips back, sweeping her hair behind her ear.

“That has to be a lot. I mean, Lewis, he’s a bit of a trouble maker,” she smiles against his mouth, opening her own to grant him entrance.

(She bites her lip when he eventually tells her he loves her because although she knows she should be wary, there’s still that little girl inside of her that wants so desperately to be adored. Sometimes when John Scott looks at her she feels eleven years old again, hair short and jagged around her jaw bone, and despite the vulnerability she shies away from it makes her feel warm right down to the tips of her toes. Mostly though when John Scott looks at her she feels all woman, lithe and blonde and elegantly limbed.)


*


John Scott dies in Olivia’s arms and not long after Greg raises his hand to Rachel during one fight of many, and when Rachel packs Ella into the car and books the next flight from Chicago to Boston Olivia can’t help but feel like history’s starting to repeat itself.

It’s three days before the FBI stars align and Olivia has an evening free to cook dinner and share a glass of wine with her sister, Ella in bed by eight thirty and the phone forgivingly silent. Marital troubles aside she thinks Rachel looks good, healthy, and in true Dunham nonchalance she brushes Olivia’s frown of concern off with a fluttery hand gesture.

“It’ll blow over. It always does.”

“Just promise me you won’t make the same mistake mom did. If he ever crosses that line… think about Ella.”

“Ella needs a dad, Liv. Don’t you wish we had a dad?”

“I had a dad, Rach. Two of them, in fact, and that was more than enough, believe me.”

She sits still as Rachel begins to absently plait Olivia’s long blonde hair, like she used to when they were teenagers.

“Do you remember him? Dad?” Rachel asks quietly.

“Yeah,” Olivia replies, equally soft. “Yeah, I remember him.” She shifts, turning to face her sister, the half-formed braid sliding through Rachel’s fingers. “I know you don’t. I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry that you have to. Remember the other stuff, I mean. I get it, Liv. I do. Mom stuck around when she shouldn’t have, and Greg can be a total asshole. But he loves Ella. I have to give him that.”

“Okay,” Olivia says eventually.

(Greg files for divorce and sole custody not long after. Olivia would like to think he doesn’t have a leg to stand on but there is another knowledge she possesses, too; the universe can be unspeakably cruel, and she is all too familiar with faults in fathers and daughters growing up without their mothers.)


*


(Rachel stays for seven weeks before she bites her tongue and reconciles; in between there’s Peter, but Olivia can’t quite bring herself to think about that.)


*


The weekend after the Barrett case it’s Olivia that finds herself seeking sanctuary at her sister’s place for once and not the other way around. Her flight gets delayed and exhaustion kicks in after what has already been an emotionally fraught – what? week? month? lifetime? She still has residual memories in her mind of her sister’s death in childbirth; still dreams in darkness of a world without her niece. When Rachel answers the door she doesn’t hesitate to envelope her in a hug.

“I’ve been worried about you lately,” Rachel confesses from where she’s preparing hot chocolate in the kitchen, and Olivia glances up in surprise. “I mean, you cut your hair, for starters. That was… not like you.”

“It was for work,” she says, thickly.

“The FBI needed you to have bangs?”

She lets out a laugh at that which somehow turns into a sob; her hand flies to her mouth and she turns away, staring desperately at some point on the ceiling willing it to absorb the tears that are determined to escape.

“Liv, hey. Hey. What is going on with you?”

She composes herself and pulls her fingers from her mouth, curling them out in an agitated shrug, other hand resting on her hip. The posture - half defensive, half devil-may-care - is organic to her.

“It’s nothing. Work’s just been crazy lately, and there was this thing with Peter, but it didn’t work out, so that’s over now. It’s nothing. I’ll be fine.”

“A thing with Peter, and you think you’re getting off that easy? A week ago you showed up on my doorstep with nothing but a couple of boxes of hair dye after checking yourself out of the hospital, against doctor’s orders might I add. You asked me not to ask questions, so I didn’t – I kept my mouth shut about the red hair, the tattoo. The next morning you took off before breakfast and now you’re back here with your bags packed and you look like you’ve seen a ghost. I know you there’s stuff you can’t talk about with your job, but now? I’m asking questions.”

“There was someone else. And it’s not what you think,” she says quickly, knowing Peter doesn’t necessarily deserve the label Rachel would immediately be applying to him, “but I can’t stop thinking about how he should have known, that he should have acted differently. And from a logical standpoint, I can see his side of the story, I really can. But I don’t think I can do it, Rach. I don’t think I can let this one go.”

Rachel is silent a moment, as if debating whether or not she should say what it is she wants to. Ultimately she decides to go ahead as she reaches over the brush her fingers across the back of Olivia’s hand.

“Do you remember what you said to me about Greg? About not putting up with stuff that we shouldn’t have to, like mom did?”

Olivia draws her lips into her mouth and turns away, supposing she deserves having her words thrown back at her like this.

“Rachel.”

“Olivia.”

“It isn’t like that.”

“Do you remember what I said to you about Greg?”

“I do. And this is still completely different. It’s complicated.”

“Life is complicated. Loving someone is complicated.”

“I know what you’re doing.” At her sister’s raised eyebrow she elaborates, “You’re trying to use reverse psychology on me.”

“Is it working?”

“No,” she says with a small smile, “but I appreciate the attempt.”

“Well, it’s not like you’re giving me much to work with here,” her sister says wryly, curling into her on the sofa and pulling a blanket over their knees.

Olivia sighs and presses her cheek into her sister’s hair, taking odd comfort in the familiar smell of her shampoo. Her fingers toy with the hem of her sweater.

When Ella emerges from her room a few minutes later, dragging a crumpled sheet along beside her and gazing bemusedly at her aunt who seems to be making a habit of appearing out of nowhere in the middle of the night, Olivia says nothing but raises her left arm in open invitation. Ella, adorably bed-rumpled, burrows into her side in sleepy delight.

“Hey Aunt Liv,” she mumbles, eyelids already fluttering. “Are you going to stay for breakfast this time?”

“Only if your mom’s making pancakes.”

“Lucky I bought blueberries yesterday.”

Rachel yawns and it’s contagious; her eyes are pulling shut of their own accord.

“Then it’s a deal,” Olivia replies, and as she drifts off to sleep, sandwiched between the warmth and love of two of her favourite people in the world, she muses vaguely that in the morning they’re probably all going to have sore necks.


*


She forgives Peter eventually.

She calls Rachel after the Merchant case and begs her not to judge, even as her fingers trace the label on the whisky bottle, feeling courageous.

Rachel laughs at her defensiveness.

“Liv, all I want is for you to be happy for once,” she says.

(I want what you want, and for the first time in her life, finally something sticks.)




fin.

Re: Gift for: cotillion66 (2/2)

Date: 2014-12-06 04:14 pm (UTC)
cotillion66: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cotillion66
I'm totally down with backstory! Thank you so much, I loved it. My head canon can easily assimilate your own. I think you've managed to capture the essence of Olivia and Rachel both. :)

A gift for: sussur

Date: 2014-12-05 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Title: Another Day, Another Arachnoid Mutant (or, Aww, Cute: Brotherly Love!)
Author: Anonymous
Recipient: sussur
Warnings: SPIDERS!

Image (http://imgur.com/FJXtlCX)

Re: A gift for: sussur

Date: 2014-12-06 11:57 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
JESUS CHRIST TAKE THE WHEEL WE'RE RIDING ON HEAVEN

This is just cute as hell 8D I really love the idea and the achievement, and the little noodle monster~ and Walter there just seriously derping with his science. This sure is cute~ >w<
Peter's ಠ_ಠ-expression when he hears out the spiders has Lee's DNA and THE LAST PANEL OMFG /*A*/ Dat little hairy sparkly eyed spidey and Big Bro Lincoln 8D
I wonder if we would see in the future Lincoln walking around with the Vernon 2 on his head XD
It's also nice how you've put some effort to the details and background 8D Makes this look even better uwu

Thank you so much for this ;w; I shall protect this with my heart >8D

Having a slight suspicion who the Santa would be, since spiders >BD But it doesn't matter I love this anyway~

Re: A gift for: sussur

From: [personal profile] opusculasedfera - Date: 2014-12-18 03:23 pm (UTC) - Expand

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