Olivia woke with a start from bad dreams of Observers, alternate universes, and futures branching without end.
All was dark. It was raining outside, the raindrops making an irregular pattern of sound on the pavement. Lincoln slept beside her, his chest rising and falling in a soothingly rhythmic way. Besides a slight cut on his face, one would never have known anything had happened today out of the ordinary. One would never have known she'd seen the other Olivia after twenty years' silence of the broken bridge. No one would have known about the apocalyptic struggle occurring in the other universe: the other Olivia intending to change time itself. Perhaps she already had.
Here it was all calm, save in her mind.
She got out of bed, looked in the boys' room. Trevor had burrowed under the covers, as was his wont, and Charles was sleeping with the frown on his face that had come directly from Lincoln. She smiled at them, briefly entertained the thought of giving them a kiss, and then dismissed the idea lest it wake them. She'd hug and kiss them again tomorrow morning, even if they protested. (Trevor had, from the height of his senior-in-high-school superiority, decided that sometimes parents were Just Like That And One Must Endure It. Charles still objected to sappiness.)
She lay down back beside her husband. He put an arm around her, without opening his eyes. "Hey. Liv. Not worrying, are you?"
She let herself relax against him. "No." She knew Lincoln had taken all the precautions against another Observer coming through. After twenty years, she knew she could trust her Lincoln's meticulous nature. (Even after twenty years, part of her marveled as to how her Lincoln — as she now thought of him —- could be so different from her universe's Lincoln, the one she had known before; although he wasn't exactly slapdash, she would never have used meticulous to describe him.)
She thought, as she often did, that they made an excellent team: she had the boldness and the political savvy to navigate the turbulent administrative waters Fringe Division often swam in, while Lincoln had the detail-oriented mind and keen sense of intuition that made him almost a legend among the younger Fringe analysts.
"Credit for your thoughts?" Lincoln asked sleepily.
She smiled into the dark. "Just thinking about what a great guy you are. Excellent taste in women, too."
"Always had a thing for brunettes," he murmured into her hair. "Especially brunettes going grey, mm."
She snorted. "Flattery will get you everywhere. And sometimes I hear you have a thing for blondes," she teased. It had always been odd, knowing that her husband's old crush was a version of her, even though she knew very well (oh, how she knew) they were two very different people.
"D'you… ever wonder? About roads not taken?"
"No," she said honestly. She'd never been in the least attracted to her universe's Lincoln, though he'd been her best friend. She'd never considered leaving her universe for another. Once in a while she did wonder, if things had worked out with Frank… but that was so long ago, and so much had happened since then, that it was hardly worth thinking about. Belatedly, it occurred to her that he probably had his own reasons for asking the question. "Do you?"
"If you'd asked me yesterday, I would have said no. But seeing Olivia, I mean my universe's Olivia, it made me wonder. Not that I would ever have chosen otherwise, but just what might have been. Not with her, you understand, that ship sailed long ago."
She smiled at Lincoln's hasty addendum. She wasn't jealous of the other Olivia. They had — as Lincoln had told her the other Olivia herself had said — all made their own choices, and Lincoln had made his more than twenty years ago.
"But just-- I might have been able to help, when the Observers came."
"I know," she said gently. That was what she had first loved about this Lincoln, twenty years ago: he cared so much, he wanted to be where he could do the most good. "But think, Lincoln, about the condition this world was in when you came, where it is today. You made the right choice. You came where you were needed." A thought struck her. "And you were here, when she came; you could help her when she needed it most."
His arm tightened around her. He was silent for a while. Then he said, "I wonder whether she succeeded."
"I guess we'll always wonder," Olivia said ruefully. "Unless they contact us again, but I figure that's unlikely, whether they win or lose… but from all I know about the other Olivia, I bet she did everything she set out to do."
She thought: I'm glad I got to see her again, this once. Even if we never know whether their plan worked. Even if she never knows for sure whether our world healed all the way. Even if, for that matter, we never know for sure --
She was very still as she thought of the other Olivia, as her mind ran through the events of the day that she hadn't had time to process in the moment. And then she started to laugh.
"Mm?" Lincoln asked sleepily, nestling into her.
"Olivia told me, when they closed the bridge, to watch for rainbows. And I did. Hell, all of us have been watching these twenty years, and we've never seen any. But today… there were rainbows around Olivia. In her aura, when she crossed over." She smiled through the tears in her eyes. "Lincoln, there were rainbows!"
And they saw the first rainbow over New York the next day.