Author: Me :)
Summary: She glanced over the edge of the folder shortly and caught his irritated expression, “Just don't call me sweetheart, okay?”
Author's Note: I wrote this one for raspberry_splat who needed some Fringe uplifting just as much as I did!
He shuffled through the doors into the office, whistling innocently. He was happy, but if anyone asked him why, he wouldn't be able to really say. He just was. Maybe it had to do with her, that blonde haired FBI agent that sat at the table, intently reading in a file. Her face was half hidden behind the folder, but he still could see the top rim of her glasses – and a frowning brow. There was something damn sexy about her when she looked like that, frowning, glasses, and all, he thought to himself as he neared the table.
“Hey sweetheart,” he quipped as he plopped down on the empty chair opposite her.
“You know better than to call me that,” came Olivia's instant reply without even looking up at him.
He learned forward on the table, his elbows resting on the table, “Are we a bit grumpy today or what?”
She glanced over the edge of the folder shortly and caught his irritated expression, “Just don't call me sweetheart, okay?”
“Fine,” he raised his hands in defense as he leaned back in the chair, “Gotta call you something though, don't I?”
His lips curled into a lopsided grin which, in return, enticed a short smile from Olivia before she went back to reading.
“Just call me Olivia,” she offered him, “Liv. Livvy. Like everyone else does.”
“But that's just the thing. I don't wanna call you something everyone else does because to me, you are not just anyone either.”
At first, Peter lost her completely with that statement. On second thought, Olivia finally understood that this was his way of saying she was special to him without actually saying it. Cryptic talking was one of the things she didn't really like about either of the Bishop boys – most of the time. Sometimes, it was just the thing she needed to feel better on a crappy day – like today. Still, she wasn't really in the mood to play word games, not when she had more important things to do.
“What's so bad about sweetheart?”
She sighed. He wasn't going to give in, she knew how persistent he could be. If she wanted him to drop it, she had to offer him a reason he couldn't question. The usual 'I just don't like it' wouldn't do it anymore. She had to give him the real reason why that word always caused her to twitch, something she had learned long ago to mask quite well. She had never told anyone, but then, Peter wasn't anyone either. He was the one she trusted. And he would understand. So she was going to offer him the truth.
“My stepfather always called me that. It was sweetheart here, sweetie there. I don't wanna hear anyone call me that ever again.”
She didn't look at him as she told him, but she could hear him breathing in sharply. The table shifted slightly, and she felt his fingers curl tightly around her hand that impatiently tapped a pen against a stack of books.
He gave her hand a gentle squeeze which she acknowledged by dropping the pen and interlacing her fingers with his. She could feel his gaze on her, but she couldn't meet his eyes, not right now. Still hiding behind the folder, she lowered her head even more. With a simple word, he had opened old wounds, and with his tenacity, had ripped them wide open.
Peter never had given much thought that there actually might be a reason why she didn't like him calling her sweetheart. At first, he sure had used it to mock her, and that had been a valid reason to be so pissed at him. He had never really understood the cold glares she had given him though whenever he had called her that and had not meant it in a teasing way. It had always been just one of the oddities about her that, in the beginning, he had never thought much about. Today though, he had caught her in a bad mood – he still didn't know why though, the day had started off so nice – and that one word had sure tipped her over.
“You know,” he started, in an attempt to make her feel better and maybe even elicit a smile from her, “my mother always used to call me her little Wonder Boy. When I was a kid, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. After all, Wonder Boy was this awesome comic superhero who battled evil with characters like Magno, Red Bee and Quicksilver. When I started middle school, she still used to call me that, even in the most inappropriate moments. They had called her to come in after I got called into the principal's office this one day in 8th grade – and don't even dare to ask why because I am not going to tell – and she kept going on and on about how her little Wonder Boy sure couldn't have done anything like that. It was embarrassing as hell, I can tell you that. She called me that in front of the principal!”
He paused, waiting for any kind of reaction from Olivia, but he wasn't rewarded with even the tiniest glimpse from her. She continued to hide behind the orange colored folder, trying to look occupied with the info inside. There had to be something he could do to lighten her mood, anything at all. Maybe just shutting his mouth probably would be the best for now.
“My mother always used to call me Olive.”
Olivia's response caught him by surprise as she finally lowered the file and met his gaze across the table. Peter immediately saw the pain in her eyes. The pain a simple word had caused.
“I was this scrawny girl, always tall for my age. That's why they always called me Olive Oil. I absolutely loathed that nickname. But when my mom called me Olive, that was different. Rachel always was baby, peanut, pumpkin... I can't even remember all those names she had for her. But I only always was Olive.”
Peter had opened a can of worms, he suddenly realized that. Olivia never talked much about her childhood, and he never asked. The bits and pieces she had shared had been enough for him to know that some things were better left unsaid. She had lived through a childhood that he wouldn't even wish upon his worst enemy.
The hold he had on her hand tightened even more, and she gave him a little smile as she went on, “No one has called me that since my mom died, not even Rachel. It just hurt too much. It... it would be nice to hear it again though.”
This was her way of letting him know that she wasn't upset with him – he couldn't have known. It was also her telling him that he wasn't just anyone for her either.
“Olive,” he let the word play on his tongue, “I like that.” And suddenly, he remembered why he had come into the office in the first place, “Hey Olive, wanna go grab some lunch? I'm starving.”
A broad smile lit up her face. That was how he liked seeing her. Happy. Maybe this day wasn't going to be so bad after all.