Title: You’ll Never Know
Pairing: O² (Olivia/Liv)
Spoilers: None. Also, this is a re-post.
Summary: Two Dunhams, one small, out of order elevator, and plenty of unresolved tension. Things happen as they are wont to happen.
Links: FF.NET // OTHER BLOG
A/N: This story was begun sometime in early September. I have a chronic issue with completion of my stories so I really tried with this one. That may have helped finish it, but it certainly wasn’t a good decision because the words sound forced and strange at some places. I don’t like that. For the record, I hate – absolutely HATE – the way I’ve written Olivia in this fic. I mean I love that character to pieces and it’s sort of really depressing how I can’t seem to write her like I want. And then in the middle of it all I lost my fic notebook, and along with it my notes and several parts of this story. So I’m sorry if this story seems stupid and abrupt to you, I assure you I did the best I could. Once again it is from Liv’s POV, I swear I have crazy chemistry with that character or something. The song is You’ll Never Know by 1927, an Australian band.
Whispering voices deep inside,
Crying to be heard
Telling me to take the risk of love until it hurts
You’ll never know
Know which choice to make
Take or break a hold
Which way to go
Say what you will
What you’re willing to give
Give or take control
Will we ever know
Maybe – maybe if you’re cool and impersonal, this feeling will go away, you think as you look across the glass wall of Lincoln’s office and spy Oliv – Agent Dunham (cool and impersonal, remember?). The little basketball feels rough and leathery in your hands, and Charlie is waiting for you to shoot it through the small hoop so that he can take his turn.
“You really need to hit that,” he says, meaning the ball.
“Yeah,” you say, your eyes fixed firmly on Agent Dunham’s ass. “I need to hit that.”
Some small, irritatingly persistent part of your brain registers that the cool and impersonal approach? Totally not working. It’s the business suit, you tell yourself, only the business suit. It has to be the business suit, right? And your inner business geek getting turned on by the rigid formality of it?
“Liv?” says Charlie, waiting.
You throw the ball in the general vicinity of the hoop, not looking, and – surprise, surprise! – you miss. Charlie must be giving you a weird look, you’re sure – you never miss – but you don’t reciprocate. Just open the door and walk out into the main hall of the Fringe division.
The business suit, you tell yourself. It’s black – it usually is – with a creamy white shirt. And the way the fluorescent lights shine on her blond hair, and the hair itself – tied into a compact little bun today – and the earnest way she has of focusing her eyes, and what the fuck, Liv Dunham, you ass, snap out of it! You realize you are standing in the middle of the floor, and staring. And she’s noticed.
She gives you a hard look – she’s really good at those – you nod a greeting, she pretends not to notice and continues talking to your Colonel Broyles. Stubborn woman – why must she hate you so? Although, to be fair, you did kidnap her from her own universe, pretended to be her in her universe, brainwashed her and made her pretend to be you in your universe, and wouldn’t have let her go even after all that – you shudder inwardly at the thought of Brandon’s evil plan – if she hadn’t managed to escape. But that had been war, this is truce. She shouldn’t hate you so!
Yeah, right, fat fucking chance.
You are so deep in your thoughts that it takes you a while to register the fact that Col. Broyles is glaring at you – in fact he is frowning and glaring at you. You have no idea what he has just been saying to you, and as his frown deepens so does your mortification.
“I asked if you would be so kind as to escort Agent Dunham to the conference room and go over the shapeshifter cases with her. Is that too much to ask, Dunham, or should I delegate this task to someone who is less focused on the thoughts of their grocery list, and more so on their work?”
You sigh inwardly as you give Agent Dunham a look – top to bottom. Grocery list, indeed.
“No, sir. Sorry, sir. If you would step this way please, Agent Dunham?”
But even before the words are out of your mouth, you can see by the set of Oliv – Agent Dunham’s jaw that she, most probably, wasn’t consulted on this minor detail of their working relationship.
“I’m sorry, sir, but would it be possible for you to assign someone else to work with me?” she says.
You try not to grind your teeth.
“No, Agent Dunham, that won’t be possible,” says Broyles. In fact he snaps at her. “I’m already one agent short after giving you Dunham. I cannot possibly pull anyone else out of the field. Also, as I explained to your Colonel Broyles not such a long while ago, Agent Dunham is familiar with most of the cases and uniquely qualified for working with you on them.”
Oh, thank you, sir, for reminding her of that! Your annoyance with Broyles surges momentarily. Everyone knows why you’re uniquely qualified for this task, and the reason you have intimate knowledge of their universe. Thatis exactly why she doesn’t want to work with you!
“Sir,” Olivia begins to say but stops when you widen your eyes at her.
“Yes, Agent Dunham? Is there another problem?”
She takes in a deep breath, glares at you. “No, sir,” she says.
“Very well. Take care of this Dunham, I would expect a thorough report before you get off,” he says to you before leaving.
“I do not like this arrangement!” She says as soon as he turns his back on the two of you.
“Oh, really?” You let out a humorless chuckle. “Well, you could’ve fooled me.”
That really seems to get to her. “I’d really prefer for you to keep a lid on your attitude if we’re going to be working together like this –”
You hold up a hand to shut her up and walk off so that she has to follow.
And then the both of you end up in the conference room, going over several cases that occurred in the last three years and their connection to Walternate’s shapeshifters.
It seems like you’ve been sitting here for hours. You’re getting restless.
You unzip your jacket a little, zip it again, shuffle the clutter that has – somehow – gathered in front of you in the last hour and a half. Try to concentrate on the neat, meticulously written report in your hands, rifle through the pages to check how many are left for the hundredth time – too many, no photographs – tap your fingers on the table, leg moving restlessly underneath, and sigh. All this while stealing glances at the woman sitting not two chairs away from you.
She sits so straight and still, lips pursed, eyes fixed on the file in front of her. Prissy, so very prissy, you think. You begin to notice again the little things, the blond hair in a meticulous bun, the chunky, black reading glasses she’s wearing, the little frown between arched blond brows as she concentrates. The pristine white shirt, the black suit that is still so perfect and unwrinkled – how does she manage that, anyway? That one time you had to be her in her universe, and later during the John McClennon case in your own universe, those suits were a horror to keep so neat and tidy, and you kept loosing shirt and jacket buttons, and once a whole, damn jacket! You much prefer your cargo pants and leather jackets. The glasses, though. You contemplate getting a pair for yourself, they look rather interesting.
She acts like you’re not there, like you’re just another piece of furniture in the room, like you’re not sitting an arm’s length from her, going through the same cases as her – or supposed to be – all you’ve done so far is to sneak looks at her and fidget. It makes you a little angry that she can act all nonchalant like this. But the thing that makes you angrier is that you can’t. And the fact that you’re ridiculously attracted to her – which your psych evaluator would have a lot to say about, if he knew – what kind of twisted person is attracted to themselves? What does that have to say about your ego? Hello – vanity and narcissism, thy name is Liv Dunham! – and that thought makes you even more angry and disgusted with yourself.
Fuck it, you’re done playing nice, you tell yourself.
So you put your elbows up on the glass table surface, rest your chin on your palms and stare at her openly. And you make sure that the expression on your face is equal parts interested, curious and lecherous. Tongue in cheek, you look at her.
It doesn’t take you long to notice her discomfort. Oh, she hides it well – she’s very good at the ‘stone-faced expressionless’ thing, but it’s your own face. You can see the little signs that’d be easy to miss if anyone other than you were looking. The deepened furrow between her brows, the random, slightly agitated movement of her eyes, the barely perceptible, nervous fidgeting of her hands, the hard set of her jaw. And the faint, tell-tale blush creeping across her cheeks. How adorable.
You tilt your head to one side and smirk a little. The minutes tick away.
Finally she can’t take it anymore. She takes a deep breath, closes the file with a snap and throws it down on the table. In the silent conference room, the sound seems to echo like a gunshot.
“Stop it!” she says, eyes hard and angry behind the glasses.
You give her the famous Liv Dunham Half-smile. Lincoln says you invented that one!
“Whatever it is that you’re trying to do! It’s not going to work.”
“Well, that’s interesting,” you calmly tilt your head to a side, not taking your eyes off of her face for a second. “It seems to me it’s working already.”
Her eyes flash with anger, her cheeks are flushed.
“Stop staring at me!”
“Does it bother you?” Leaning forward a little, you run the tip of your tongue along your upper teeth.
She seems flustered by the sudden question. “N – I’m – no,” she says taking off her glasses.
“You look a little bothered.”
“I am not bothered.”
You shrug, gesturing outwards with a hand. “Well, then. I don’t see why I should stop.”
Her mouth hangs open in disbelief for a second. “I can’t believe you just – it’s rude! I don’t know about you people, but where I’m from, staring at someone is considered very rude!”
You let a slow smile spread on your face. “But it doesn’t bother you, right?”
Oh, you love messing with her. This is fun, fun, fun.
“No,” she says. “It doesn’t.”
“That’s great, then,” you lean back into the chair, making yourself comfortable, still gazing at her. “I’ve never been considered a polite little girl, anyway. God forbid that I spoil my reputation now!”
She lets out a half-snort like she can’t believe what you’re saying, opens her mouth to say something, closes it again, shakes her head. In the end she throws down the pen – she was using it to take notes – on top of the file, squares her shoulders and fixes you with a glare.
You raise an eyebrow. This is gonna be del-icious!
“So what is your problem anyway?” she says.
You flash her the half-smile again. “Oh, I don’t have one.”
“Really? Because all day today, you’ve been giving me these – looks –”
You love the way she says it, like it’s an obscene word.
“– and – and staring¬ at me! And not just today – ever since we’ve had this truce. I’ve noticed – don’t think that I haven’t!”
“You have?” You chew a corner of your lip, trying to bite back the smile but it sort of escapes, and you’re gratified to see the deepening blush and growing frustration on her face.
“Look,” she says. “I don’t know what your deal is, but let me make it clear: it isn’t going to work.”
You bite your lower lip and nod. “Okay,” you say.
“Okay?” She sounds surprised.
“Yeah,” you say. “So, you talked to Colonel Broyles about getting Newton’s file?”
She glares at you, suspicious at the sudden changing of topics. You swallow a smile.
“Yes,” she finally says. “I wanted to see Newton’s file, compare it with some of the unsolved cases in our archive, and see if I found any matches. I don’t think it’s here, though.”
You snort. “Of course, it’s not here. That kind of information is too … let’s just say volatile to keep with our general case files. Newton was–”
“–the leader, yeah, I know,” she says, a hard note creeping into her voice. “So you’re saying there are other,non-general archives?”
“The Database Library,” you nod. “You need special clearance for that, which–”
“–I don’t have,” she completes, lips set in a thin line.
You let a smirk spread across your lips. You like this, completing each other’s sentences. Cozy. “Actually, I was going to say which I have, but you’re right, of course. You don’t have clearance.”
“So I can’t see those files?”
“Technically, no, you can’t.”
She huffs out a sigh. You smile to yourself, standing up.
“Where are you going?”
“Do you want me to stay?” You tilt your head to a side playfully.
She takes a deep breath, like she is trying to calm herself, and looks away.
You pause at the door. “So are you coming or not?”
“To the Database Library, you want the files, don’t you?”
“You’d do that? Let me have the files?”
“Why?” she says, suspicious again.
You stop yourself from rolling your eyes by force. “Well, the Colonel did say to provide you every possible help I could. So get off your high horse, and come.”
She glares at you, but follows.