Warnings: Language, violence.
Spoilers: None, really
Disclaimer: Not mine, etc.
Notes: Set when the characters are 23-ish. Implied Nick/Olivia.
The press of the crowd is nearly crushing as Peter weaves his way off the dance floor. The club reeks of sweat and spilled drinks and pheromones and he wants to just get this fucking mission over and go home because they've been on the road for weeks and he's sick to death of driving and they're all starting to snap at each other. He's closed in as tight as he can get but it's still fucking impossible to concentrate. The club is a huge converted warehouse with a dance floor the size of a football field, private rooms around the edge of the second floor, crowded with drunks looking to score. He struggles to filter out the noise of the crowd and catches flashes of disappointment and irritation from Nick and Olivia. If their mark is here, she's hiding well.
He heads upstairs to get a decent vantage over the crowd, to find a place where there aren't half a dozen strangers pressing against him, brushing against his skin. He only has to wait a few moments before Nick's at his side, giving off bright slivers of pain. They huddle together, strength in numbers to push away the din of the mob and he can feel Nick shaking. Olivia's moving towards them, slowed by being hit on every few steps.
"This isn't working." Nick's voice is strained.
He rubs at his forehead, willing the throbbing headache away. "No shit?" Olivia tucks herself between them, buries her face in Nick's neck and wraps her arms around him.
"I could just scatter them all?" Nick offers, rubbing circles on her back under her shirt.
"She'll scatter with them. Besides, we're supposed to keep this one quiet." He's trying to think but the effort of keeping them out is so fucking much. He can't even imagine how Nick's managing to function and he presses closer, closes his hand over the back of Nick's neck. Olivia peeks out from where she's hiding.
"One of us needs to go receiver, find her that way." He doesn't say anything for a few minutes, fuck, none of them do, but they know she's right.
Nick props his chin on top of her head and sweeps his eyes over the crowd. "You volunteering, Olive?"
She wrinkles her nose. "Hell no. We play for it. You two first."
The first round comes up with his rock to Nick's scisors. Nick makes a face and pushes Olivia away from him a little. Nick's paper to her rock, and he feels bad for her, knows Nick does too, but not nearly enough to take her place. He frequently wonders how upset The Bosses would be to find out how many of their field decisions are made this way.
"Fuck," she mutters. Her lips keep moving as she counts something to calm herself, focus as best she can. Nick pushes her over to him, backs off.
"I'll keep moving. When Olive finds her point me in the right direction." He nods and slips his arms around Olivia's waist, pulling her against him. Nick's moving quickly now, laying down distance before she opens up and when she does the buffet against him is like a fucking car wreck. He leans against the railing and concentrates on staying upright, tries to find a balance between between grounding her and keeping his sanity.
She's limp in his arms, breathing in shallow pants as she trawls the minds in the club. The warm weight of her is intoxicating and the little core of jealousy he has towards Nick surfaces followed by resigned embarassment. It's almost impossible to keep his walls up against her when she's this close to him but the three of them don't really have secrets from each other anymore anyway, just things they don't acknowledge. Honing them into the weapon they are joined them together pretty fucking completely. From the bursts of concern and occasional outright fear they get from their masters he's pretty goddamn sure it was unintentional.
She giggles against his chest. "'Livia?"
"There are a lot of people in this place having sex right now."
He snorts out a little laugh. "Well, duh. What do you think all these rooms up here are for?" He can feel the edges of what she's feeling, there's no blocking it out completely. Lust and violence and everything in between. She's skimming over the surface of the crowd faster now, working a pattern over the building and she stiffens when she finds who she's looking for.
"There." Whispered into his chest along with the location in his mind and Nick's already moving towards her.
"Come on, Nick's got this. Let's get the fuck out of here." He keeps his arms around her and steers her stumbling, glassy-eyed form down the stairs towards the exit, one more guy ushering a drunk girl out to the parking lot. She's giggling more than he's ever heard, completely fucking wasted from the emotions she's absorbed.
Nick's not long in coming and he's maybe overdone it with the mark. She's clinging to him, wrapped around him and he's going to have bruises on his neck for days. "Jesus, man."
"She's high. X or something, I don't know, get her off of me."
Peter untangles her arms from around Nick, keeps her from attaching herself to him and leans her against the car next to Olivia. He flashes her what he hopes is a charming smile. "Wait here a sec, 'k?" He turns back to Nick and they paw through her bag. "You don't think she'd have it on her, do you?"
"Dunno. Doubtful. It's definitely not on her on her, I checked her on the way out of the club. We can get her address off her ID card and… Whoa." Nick's voice is low and emotions flare wildly, eyes wide as he stares over Peter's shoulder.
He looks up from the girl's planner and turns to follow Nick's stare. "Dude."
The girl's arms are locked around Olivia's neck, lips against hers and Olivia's got a dazed little smile on her face that short circuits something in his mind. He and Nick are both fucking staring and the mark pulls away from Olivia's mouth, murmurs something into her ear. Olivia smiles again and her eyes flutter open to meet Nick's. He's dimly aware that someone's coming up behind him and he's readying the retort to leave them the fuck alone when something shifts and he gets a burst of panic from her, bright like shards of glass and just as painful.
The gunshot's deafening and he drops to the ground, rolling to face the enemy and there's a gun in his face and even if he was armed he'd never get to his weapon in time and this sure as fuck isn't how things were supposed to end. There's a split second when he meets the gunman's eyes and then he's wavering like asphalt in summer, grip on the gun loosening.
"Shit!" He runs into Nick as they both try to scramble away from the flames that are starting to lick up the gunman's body. They're too close, far too close and he can hear Nick yelling her name. He feels the pressure in front of him as she flings the man away just before he detonates. He watches in horror as the explosion takes out the front of the building, the crowd there flashing away in an instant. "Oh fuck."
He struggles to his feet and pulls Nick after him. She's still holding the girl's body, both of them sliding to the ground as Olivia collapses. She's staring at the fire, the left side of her face splattered with the girl's blood and bits of bone, her clothing wet and red. He keeps ahold of Nick's hand and grabs hers, pulling them along after him. It's fucking chaos, people churning out of the ruins of the club and they're running with everyone else, aimless along the streets until distance and training slow their flight. A few blocks later and he finds a car that'll work for them and they're in and away in moments.
The apartment is across town and he's glad he memorized all the maps and not just the streets around the club. He's trying to tune out Olivia's panicky sobs from the backseat, just get them where they're going. Nick's voice is a low, constant stream and by the time they get to the apartment she's gone blank and is just barely functional. They park her in the living room, in front of a huge aquarium and he and Nick search the apartment, working their way through the rooms systematically.
They're in a back bedroom, rooting around under the bed and Nick's been glancing at him since they got there. "What?"
Nick rocks back on his heels and runs his hands over his head and looks over to Peter, eyes wide with worry. "She's really close to breaking."
"Yeah. Got that."
"What are we gonna do?"
Peter shrugs. "We hold her together." He looks over and Nick and holds up the little clear disc he found under the mattress. "We've done it before." He stands and offers a hand to Nick, pulls him up and and tries to push reassurance to him through his grip on Nick's hand.
"Come on. Let's get the fuck out of here. We can find someplace on the road to stop for the night. Get some rest."
Nick nods. "Yeah. Okay."
She's staring into the aquarium, fingertips pressed against the glass. Tears are starting to slide down her cheeks, cutting tracks through the blood and Nick goes to her. He slides one hand over the back of her neck and fuck, Peter wants to go to the both, just hold them but they can't stay much longer. "Nick…"
"Come on, Olive. We've gotta leave." He pulls her away from the aquarium gently and she shakes him off with a little snarl.
"Olivia, we can't… what are you doing?" Peter frowns as she digs around in the cabinet under the fish tank, comes up with a chunk of some white crap that she drops into the water. He walks over to stand next to her and they all three watch the fish nibble at the feeder as it sinks to the bottom. He clenches his teeth against the pain and turns to wrap her into a hug, kisses her forehead.
He gets them to a motel on the edge of town, gets them a room, herds them into it. "Get her cleaned up. I'll call this in." Nick looks like he's going to protest for a moment but he nods and guides Olivia into the bathroom. He calls home and the hollowness of his voice must have clued the handler in; he barely gets any flack. The report is quick. They'll have to answer for things when they get back but for now they can rest and he's already working out how to spin things to deflect the worst of the fallout away from Olivia. He turns the phone off and throws it down on the battered dresser. He can hear water running in the bathroom and heads to the open door, leans heavily against the frame.
Olivia's sitting on the counter wearing panties and a tank top. Nick's in front of her in his boxers, their blood-splattered clothing in the bathtub. She's tapping the fingertips of her left hand against her thumb rapidly, her lips moving to recite some equation, some sequence. Nick tilts her head up to scrub at a smudge of blood on her neck then tosses a red-tinged washcloth into the tub. Nick looks over to him. "Trouble?"
"Nah… I'll take care of it." He reaches over and rubs his knuckles lightly over her cheek. "Ready for bed?"
She looks at him but he's not really sure she sees him. Nick takes her hand and tugs gently. "Bedtime, sleepy Olive." Nick leads her to bed and Peter strips his clothing off as well, adding it to the pile they'll burn somewhere along the road back to Boston. He splashes water over his face, glares at his reflection for a moment and heads to the front room.
Nick's on his back, staring at the ceiling and Olivia's curled herself against his side. Peter watches them a moment, too weary now even for jealousy before moving to the other bed.
Nick lifts his head, gives him a puzzled look. "Don't be stupid, Peter."
A smile twitches the corner of his mouth. "What? You kick in your sleep."
He shrugs and crawls under the blanket and molds himself along Olivia's back. He concentrates and slips past the walls, past the strange dark places in her mind until he finds where she's hiding. Nick's there, too, and they tangle their thoughts around her like their limbs.