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Other Men

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Olivia can't remember what she was dreaming, just knows she can't get warm, cuddles deeper into the blanket, harder against the mattress in the space where John--no, Peter--no, Frank, god damn it has left his indentation. But the hollowness is too much, in and out and she's still shivering and she drags all the sheets and blankets with her to the bathroom where she turns on the water as hot as it can go.

She sheds her cocoon and curls up under the spray near the floor of the stall and if she were anyone but Olivia Dunham she'd probably be sobbing in frustration. Where do these other names, the ideas of these other men, keep coming from? She's never dated a John, she can't remember even knowing a Peter but they're still in her head. If she thinks about John long enough she can even call back a sense memory of long, blunt fingers on her thighs and the way his thumb would trace the lower curve of her breast after they'd made love. Only there was never a John in her life to make love to, and Frank's gestures of affection are different: a touch to the tattoo they share, his fingertips light on the pulsepoint at her wrist.

She shakes her head, lets it fall against the cool tile of the shower and tries to lose herself in the water rushing over her skin and down into the drain. She doesn't give herself permission to ask why she has no such memories of Peter.

It's the scent of wet wool that draws her back to herself. She opens eyes she hadn't realized she'd closed.

"I think that's enough, Olivia, unless you want to drown in there."

She groans, but tilts her head back before drawing herself to her feet despite the broad-palmed hand stretched out in front of her, the sleeve of the hallucination's pea coat the source of the oddly comforting smell. He's never touched her nor she him and she assumes -- hopes -- that they can't because he has to be some projection of her own subconscious.

She looks across at his green eyes staring back at her face, reaches around the shower door to grab her robe, and yet feels no hurry to cover herself, which she takes as further evidence he's not real.

It's probably a characteristic of her line of work that she's less frightened at the idea she's losing her mind than any of the other options she's thought of.

He stays silent but in her line of sight as she draws her robe on, pulling the belt tight around her waist. He's got a face with character, a familiar unfamiliar face which only makes sense if he's a mental projection.

"Liv," he says, and concern deepens his voice intriguingly, "do you remember what woke you?"

"You're in my head," she answers, shortly, "you know so much about me, you tell me." Because she doesn't want to remember what she was dreaming, she never does, she never has, and then he's by her side, murmuring in her ear.

"I can't tell you what I don't know. But I can tell you it wasn't your dream."

She feels fingers stroke her tricep, firm and warm and she still shivers at Peter's touch in the moment before she pulls away to grab her gun from beneath her pillow. She glances over her shoulder, but isn't surprised to find he's already vanished.

The whispers, though, the voices she'd heard below his murmur, heard even while she was dreaming, still linger. She dials Lincoln on her earpiece, making her cautious way out to the living room to solve the problem.