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Apologies

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He says its crazy how love stays with me

You know and it hurts me that I didn't figure it out before

And now it's too late for soliloquies, way too late for dignity...it's time for apologies…

///

You'll find your place one day, a friend has said to him not too long ago. And not so long ago, he thought he did, next to her. She was a puzzle peace that fit perfectly and somehow with that one all the others aligned as well.

Even his relationship with Walter was healing slowly, the two of them finding common ground once again, the one built on stronger, more honest foundations. An extra cup of coffee in the paper cup holder became routine once again, together with his and the one for Astrid.

The life he was living felt like his own again, the ground he walked upon steady and familiar, his (as crazy as that sounded). He could walk up the stairs of the Harvard building and feel that he belonged there, with a grin, and smile at the thought of what crazy situation he'll find Walter in this time once he gets inside, like he always did before, before...

Just as he's started to sleep through the night without waking up and questioning his entire existence he was back to sleepless nights again, feeling completely uncomfortable lying in his own damn bed after weeks spent in hers.

He was used to that, her softer, jasmine scented bed sheets, the warmth of her body pressed against his, the whispered words in the darkness, a kiss goodnight. It was all a lie, he knew that now. Still that didn't make it easier to forget, if nothing, it made it even worse.

There was no more sleep for Peter Bishop. Not tonight, not ever if the previous two days were a good judge. Unless...

He stopped that thought before it led him where he shouldn't (couldn't?) go. To look into her eyes alone would be unbearable.

He did it once, when she was in the hospital, being checked out, a million people in the room, Walter included, making sure she was all right. He stood at the doorway, too ashamed to make his presence known. But she saw him anyway, her scared green eyes searching for his, following her instinct that led her to the doorway without fail. He held her gaze, tried to give her a reassuring smile. His presence always calmed her, made things slow down and come to focus and it worked this time too. It was just that his own eyes betrayed him now (she always could read him better than anyone else) and without a word exchanged he knew she had it all figured out.

She looked away then, and he was lost in the sea of people, pulled away from her by his own lack of deductive skills despite his high IQ. He stood in the hallway afterwards for an hour waiting for something, courage, a grand epiphany but nothing came. With hands in his pockets he walked out of the Boston General. And that was that.

They haven't spoken a single word since she came back from 'over there'.

Except he still clearly remembered having a conversation with her over breakfast just yesterday morning. He made some stupid joke and she... No, not her but the other Olivia. That wasn't her. None of it was. He had to keep reminding himself of that.

God, his head hurt. He could feel the headache spreading with every passing minute.

He needed some fresh air or he'd suffocate under these stupid synthetic sheets.

///

He takes the car keys and his jacket and goes out for a drive. His half awake, sleep deprived brain takes him to one place he avoided for the last two days. He looks up and sees the lights are still on at her place.

Minutes pass as he sits there in his car, trying to think up a decent apology, something to say that would make this all better. But he doesn't need an IQ of 190 to know there is no such thing. There's no making it better. Not right now at least.

He sighs, leans his head on the seat, closing his eyes. It has been long, hectic 36 hours he's gone through without any sleep and now he could feel his brain shutting down slowly, refusing to concentrate on anything but some rest. Rest he couldn't find. Unless...

///

Five minutes later there was a knock at Olivia Dunham's doors. She was lying in bed for the last hour or so, unable to sleep. The first thing she did upon hearing the soft knock was grab her gun from the table in the hallway, ready to defend her hard earned freedom at any cost but as she looked through the peephole of the door the gun was lowered and placed on its rightful place. The fear was replaced with the unexplainable excitement that spread through her body like a wave that quickly crashed against the wall of anger (How could he of all the people not know?).

There was no time to analyze things now when a man she's known for almost three years, a man she's come to care for and maybe even love, was waiting at the other side of those doors. She opened them with determination, prepared for anything he had to say after thinking about this exact encounter pretty much since she saw him at the hospital. What waited for her on the other side was far from what she imagined, all her speeches instantly forgotten.

The man standing in front of her wasn't her Peter Bishop, she concluded. He would never allow himself to show up this rumpled in public, with dark circles under those blue eyes, his hair a complete mess. Were those actually his old grey sweat pants he was wearing under that jacket? He looked so tired, like all the life has been drained out of him, leaving nothing but a ghost wondering her desolate halls. It scared her, to see him like this. He was always the person she leaned on, and even yesterday, after everything, when she saw him in the hospital he looked as he always did, composed and put together, the only thing giving him away those blue, blue eyes.

She couldn't see them now because they were hidden away by those thick, dark eyelashes as he focused his eyes on some spot on the floor. It didn't occur to her before but now when she thought about it, that was what she missed the most. His eyes. There were other things too but the feeling she got at the pit of her stomach when she felt his eyes upon her was like nothing she's ever experienced before.

"Peter." she said finally, anxious for those eyes to look up at her.

They did, halfway at least, the obvious lack of sleep being the main reason for what she assumed was a failed attempt at a smile that always seemed to find a way to make an appearance on those rugged features, except today that is. The Peter in her hallucinations was never without that half grin that made his eyes shine, a stark contrast to the Peter that stood before her tonight.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, regretting it immediately as she saw him take an automatic step back at the harshness of her words. She didn't mean it to come out that way, as angry as she was she didn't want him to go. She didn't want him to disappear again.

"I… I couldn't sleep." he said "So I decided to go for a drive to clear my head and then…" he stopped, let out a breath "then I ended up here."

She crossed her hands, nodding for him to go on.

He didn't know how. Correction, he did but he didn't want to say it knowing the words he was about to say will undoubtedly hurt her. And he's done enough of that already. But he's made it this far so he had no choice. It was this or another night on caffeine pills and tons of JD.

"This will probably sound ridiculous to you…" he starts, something between a laugh and a cry making him pause and she doesn't think that anything he's about to tell her will be funny at all. "And if for any reason you find it unacceptable, which I'm absolutely sure you will, feel free to throw me out and blame it on some serious sleep deprivation that I'm currently cursed with. You see I wanted to ask you if I could stay here, just for tonight. I'm just really tired and I promise I'll be gone in the morning before you know it. Just…"

She stopped him then, flashing back to this afternoon when she walked into her bedroom for the first time to find her bed unmade but everything else looking the same as she's left it, more or less. Everything but the male blue pajama bottoms lying on one side of the bed. She didn't figure it out right then but she understood perfectly now.

Angry tears weld up in her eyes but any harsh words she wanted to say to him died on her lips at the sight in front of her. He looked as tired as she felt and she didn't have the strength to get into it all right now.

Most of all she didn't want to be alone.

So she let him in, watching with sad eyes as he found his way around her apartment on unsteady feet better than she did now, biting her lip every time a tear threatened to escape.

///

He was in bed by the time she finished brushing her teeth, on the far left, leaving her plenty of space. It was a kind gesture but it still hurt. The reason for it stayed unspoken but well known by both sides, hanging heavily in the air.

She crawled under the covers, said good night. Then there was only silence for a long, long time. She resisted the urge to open her eyes and make sure he was actually still there, that he wasn't just a figment of her imagination.

Then she felt him move closer, just close enough she could feel the warmth of his body nearby and feel his fingers gently brush against hers as he settled in. She let her fingers entwine with his then, squeezing his hand a little tighter than she intended, waking him completely.

"'Livia, what?"

"I... I just wanted to make sure you were real." she confessed, surprising them both (maybe she wasn't Olivia either tonight just like he wasn't Peter), trying hard to mask the sigh of relief that escaped her lips at the realization that he really was here, making that little voice of doubt in her head quiet down.

"I know the feeling." he said in a tired voice, turning to face her, blue eyes meeting green. It was strange to see him this serious.

In all honesty, she expected him to mock her in typical Peter fashion. The last thing she hoped for was the raw honesty at two in the morning, those blue eyes mirroring what she felt but couldn't find words or strength to explain.

"Good night, Dunham."

She closed her eyes. Drifting off to sleep she thought one last conscious thought, that maybe she should let go of his hand now. She doesn't.

I'm the part of you that you have to hold on to.

(the end)