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As Simple as This

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A couple of weeks had passed since the "I have a boyfriend" incident. Liv seemingly forgot about it, though Lincoln knew that was impossible. She was saving it up for harassment charges, maybe. Or an embarrassing drunken Christmas story.

Neither of those thoughts were remotely true, and Lincoln was ashamed of himself for even contemplating them. He and Liv and Charlie had become a tight little trio, quickly being recognized as Fringe Division's star science response team.

Their partnership came together so easily, it almost made Lincoln want to believe in fate. Charlie knew Liv from when he taught a couple classes on procedure at Fringe boot camp; Lincoln met Charlie when he graduated the Academy and was assigned to Fringe Division, with Charlie as his first point of contact. The triangle linked up when Charlie looked over the list of new graduates and pushed for Liv's inclusion on the team, despite her lack of a science background. "We've got Lincoln for that," Charlie advocated on her behalf. "Olivia Dunham's got terrific intuition and that can't be taught. And having an Olympic dead shot on the team can't hurt."

Broyles agreed, and thank God he did. No one but a rookie would have gone after Lincoln when that class 4 vortex suddenly expanded and caught him in its shadow. Hence his gratitude, and the embarrassing kiss, which Liv had been good enough not to tease about since.

They'd been bonding after missions, too, so Lincoln wasn't surprised by the invite to Charlie's apartment after an ugly toxic-air incident. A team that played together stayed alive together, as far as he was concerned. Lincoln might have spent a little too much time wishing for more intimate kind of playing but he honestly tried not to dwell on the fantasy. Liv was in what seemed to be a committed relationship, and Charlie knew Lincoln's preferences (which was to say: diverse and enthusiastic) but had never made what he had to know would have been a welcome move. Still, all things considered Lincoln couldn't have been happier with his team, and he was perfectly capable of finding entertainment elsewhere.

But this evening held an odd tension in the air, a sense of anticipation that didn't break until Liv said out of the blue, "You're not seeing anybody, right?"

He wasn't, and she knew it. "Not seriously. Why?"

"We have a...proposition for you." Liv let out a low chuckle. "Charlie, you want to do the honors?"

Charlie leaned back against the couch, seemingly completely at ease. "Liv and I. Sometimes we hook up after the shitty jobs."

Lincoln did a double-take, checking their faces to make sure they weren't fucking with him. "For real?"

"Feels pretty real," Liv said with a sly look over at Charlie.

He was definitely a couple of steps behind. "Wait. What about your boyfriend?"

Something went over Liv's face before she answered. "You remember that bill a bunch of years back, didn't make it through Congress? 'Don't ask, don't tell?' Frank and I kind of have a version of that. When he's out of town...and we have one of those terrible missions...Charlie and I get together after. Nothing serious," she added hastily. "Just, you know. Stress relief."

Lincoln did know, regularly did the same with various willing bodies. But he hadn't had any clue about Charlie and Liv. "But when I kissed you--"

"Frank was home that week," Liv said easily. " he's not."

If this had been going on for while and he hadn't noticed, they wouldn't have brought it up unless something had changed. He could only jump in with both feet and hope for the best. "And you're...what. Inviting me to join you?"

Liv grinned. "Yep."

Too good to be true. He glanced at Charlie. "Didn't think you swung my way, Charlie."

"Only on occasion," Charlie drawled.

"Charlie's discriminating. Likes pretty boys," Liv giggled. "So what do you say, Lincoln? Interested?"

"Just after missions, the bad ones," Lincoln mused. "When Frank's not in town. And first rule of sex club is that no one talks about sex club." He looked to Charlie for confirmation. "That cover it?"

"Yeah." Charlie's eyes were bright, amused. "So in or out?"

"That's up to you, isn't it?" He crossed over to where Charlie was sitting and knocked his knees apart so he could move in between them. Lincoln leaned down, letting his lips brush over Charlie's mouth. "By the way, you're an asshole."

Charlie pulled back slightly to look at him, not at all put out. "Sometimes, why?"

"'Cause I've wanted to do this since we met and you knew that and you never gave a hint you were even available. Asshole," Lincoln repeated, and leaned back down for a real first taste.

He was just really starting to get going when he felt Liv's arms wrap around his waist. "Can I play too?"

You're an asshole too, Lincoln thought but didn't say, because he wasn't suicidal. He detached from Charlie's mouth, panting only a little. "This is Charlie's party, he sets the pace."

Charlie snorted amusement. "Kiss the girl, Lincoln."

But of course Liv wasn't a girl but a woman, warm and lithe and desirable in his arms, and there was never even the glimmer of a chance that he would pass up this opportunity, no matter what the rules. He'd never be glad or grateful for the circumstances that had brought them all together, but for the promise of further opportunities, Lincoln could find a reason to abide all the world's troubles.