Days Gone By

Disclaimer: I do not own Fringe, and I do not own the characters, but I do own this plot for this fan-based story.

Olivia found herself in an mercilessly familiar place in time. She stood by, unable to do anything as her partner approached with the informer. As before, she could not stop herself from trying to save him... but it was no use. As before, he walked right into the shooter's sights and down her went. Olivia felt tears prick her eyes as she rushed to him. Maybe she could save him this time? Maybe she could find a way to safely remove the bullet? But before she could even reach him, her surroundings vanished. She found herself in Fringe headquarters again, looking at a map of the supposed shapeshifter signals. Looking around her, she began to panic when she did not see her latest partner. "Lincoln?" she called.

"Ma'am?" Olivia turned to see the familiar solider approaching with bad news. "I'm sorry. Lincoln Lee didn't make it."

"...You mean Captain?" Olivia's heart began to beat erratically.

"No, ma'am, neither of them made it..."

Olivia shot up in bed, eyes wide, breath short, and heart smashing itself against her ribcage. Olivia clutched the front of her shirt, trying in vain to calm herself, or at least slow down her wild pulse. She resisted the impulsive, illogical urge to call Lincoln to make sure he was okay. Olivia yanked the covers off her and went to splash her face with water. Bracing herself on the bathroom counter, she took deep breaths to steady herself and forced the dream to retreat as she always did. It had been a few days since Lincoln's knife wound, but still, the scare of almost losing him as well nearly gave Olivia conniption. After a few minutes, the dream faded away and she relaxed.

When Olivia got to work that day, Lincoln was at his desk, diligently working on the latest bit of paperwork for the few light cases he had been allowed to work on. She could see the frustration of being forced to sit behind clear on his face. Olivia wouldn't know what to do if she were in his position. They carried on the day without incident – no cases that day! That evening, as they were logging off to head home, Olivia decided it was time she made good on her offer to help Lincoln with something when he had asked almost a month ago. She walked over to his desk and leaned on it slightly. "You asked me if I could help you get an apartment a while ago, tomorrow is our day off, why don't we do that then?" She hoped he hadn't made any plans, but maybe she should have asked a while ago and planned it better. She was never one to plan so far ahead, always ready for action on the spot.

"Thanks! That sounds great," Lincoln smiled cheerfully. Clearly he was tired of living in a hotel, one could only imagine why!

"Hey, look, I'm sorry it took me so long to help you find an apartment," Olivia began, "I didn't realize our lives would get so busy! And then you got hurt and I didn't want to risk further-"

"It's okay!" Lincoln interrupted. "I get it. I'm all better now and we have the chance to go apartment shopping."

"Alright, great! In that case, why don't you get your things and stay at the spare room at my place tonight? That way we can head off on the apartment hunt ASAP?"

Lincoln fought off a blush and tried to smile nonchalantly. "Sure, that sounds good," he made to shrug but it ended up looking more like he was trying to scratch his ears with his shoulders... He kicked himself inwardly for being such a wuss and cleared his throat to inspire confidence in his voice. "I don't have much so it shouldn't take more than five minutes, just let me finish up here."

Since the trip to the hotel and then to Olivia's apartment was rather absurdly quick, they didn't speak much on the way there. Stepping inside, Olivia tossed her very loved black leather jacket on a chair and gave Lincoln the tour. Her apartment was pretty big for the location she lived in, most likely having used considerable influence to get it. She had a medium sized kitchen, with a table in the center for meals, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms – one in the master room, the other in the hall, and a rather large living room. All in all it was a pretty sweet setup.

Lincoln's brow hiked up when he saw how empty her fridge was, but Olivia managed to pull out some bread, peanut butter, and jam. Not the best of meals, but it made for a pretty tasty dinner anyway. "Sorry, Frank used to do all the shopping... I usually don't have a whole lot of time," Olivia had said. Lincoln hadn't responded, just looked around and imagined what it must have been like for Frank to live with her. Grocery shopping wasn't such a huge deal for Lincoln, that idea in mind he felt envious of Frank for having been able to be with Olivia in that capacity. Chasing away another blush, Lincoln returned his focus to Olivia as she spoke about how she didn't really spend a whole lot of time at home. Their conversations slipped into random topics until they both realized they should probably go to sleep. The odd sort of tension between them helped them in that decision.

Things would have gone just fine if Lincoln hadn't stepped out of the guest room to grab another blanket from the linen closet. On his way back he had noticed Olivia's door open a crack. The reflection on the mirror displayed her getting undressed. He spotted her silky black undergarments and spun around, tearing his gaze away. Oh he wanted to keep watching, a deep and intense drive inside him told him he was a moron for not continuing... but damn it, he was better than that! He wasn't sure what his double would have done, but he resisted the temptation and forced his feet back toward his room. He knew his dreams would be full of her tonight... but if he was being honest with himself, when he wasn't having nightmares, he dreamt of her anyway. Only this time, he had vivid images to go along with his fantasies.

Olivia hadn't been as chivalrous that night.

When she stepped out of her room to grab a glass of water, she had been presented with a similar opportunity. She wasn't so quick to look away however, though she made sure he didn't catch her staring. She told herself that she was only checking to see how his wound was healing, nothing else... but she knew that despite her true curiosity for that, she had never had the opportunity to look at her partner in that fashion. She couldn't deny that she liked what she saw. His skin was starting to tighten with muscles in all the right places, a shadow of an athletic form starting to develop. A little more training and he'd be statue-worthy. Brushing away her increasingly inappropriate thoughts, she did take note of the wound spot too; not even a tiny sliver of a scar left on his skin, as far as she could tell from the distance she stood from him at least. When he began to turn, face her where the bed was, Olivia slipped quietly back into her room.

As she lay in bed, Olivia wondered why she was suddenly so fascinated by him? Could losing a version of him once already opened her eyes to him? Or had she always felt a tug toward him that she ignored, for the sake of their continued healthy friendship? And then she thought of something else... she had heard him walking around a little earlier, and she kept her door open a crack as well... could he have done the same thing? Strangely enough, the thought of him seeing her didn't bother her at all.

One thing was for sure, neither of them managed to get too much sleep that night.

Lincoln had not been expecting to see Olivia already awake when he woke up as early as he had that morning. Olivia sat in the living room, tea cup in hand, looking over her tablet. She moved her eyes up at him from her tablet when he shut his door. "'Morning," she smiled. "The kettle is still hot if you want some tea."

"Um, thanks, not much of a tea drinker though," Lincoln said quietly.

"Neither was he at first." Lincoln knew who she was talking about and nodded in acceptance. He'd probably have to get used to it too until the coffee trees were restored... if they ever were. The blight had done a number on wildlife. Even though it was true that it no longer existed, thanks to the other universe healing that one, it was still tricky, expensive, and time consuming trying to terraform the ruined landscape. "You're welcome to orange juice though, we still have plenty of that -thank God!" She grinned.

Lincoln smiled back, "thanks," he said as he made his way to the kitchen. Last night during "dinner" he had felt nervous and awkward, but for reasons he couldn't explain he now felt a little more at ease. In fact, it almost felt natural to wake up to her in the morning... even if they hadn't shared a bed. Brushing those thoughts from his mind, and glad that Olivia couldn't see his blush, Lincoln set out to get himself some juice.

What Lincoln hadn't known was that a similar thought had been on Olivia's mind since she opened her eyes in bed that morning. Lincoln, the other one, had crashed once or twice at her place before, but it was usually either he was trying to escape a persistent date, or he and Charlie had too much fun at the bar that night. Her house was much closer to the bar they frequented before than his, after all. But this... it felt different. He was different. In many ways, and Olivia was having a hard time reconciling this.

A few minutes later, Lincoln walked over with a cheerful little smile. "You went shopping?" He mentioned.

"Yeah, there's a gas station nearby that's open twenty-four seven, I figured I'd be a good hostess and offer you some breakfast at least," Olivia smiled, pleased that he seemed happy about this. A meal of eggs, fruit, and toast was a big improvement from the pb&j dinner they had had last night. She took her tablet with her and led him back to the kitchen, setting it on the counter. "I assume you like eggs too?"

"Love them!" Olivia was surprised and oddly very happy to see Lincoln's face split into a familiar grin, brandishing those two glorious dips in his cheeks and all.

"So the saying is true then? The way to a man's heart really is through their stomach!" Olivia laughed.

"I suppose..." Lincoln rubbed his neck in slight embarrassment, though he couldn't keep a ghost of that smile from his lips. He hadn't had eggs in what seemed like months now. "Here, let me help you-"

"No, no, it's fine! I got it, you're a guest!" Olivia insisted, though she knew that it wouldn't work – every single Lincoln in any universe seemed driven to be stubborn.

"It's the least I can do," Lincoln responded just as firmly. This, however, led to a few complications. Olivia had been used to working with Frank in the kitchen; they knew where to move and when to stay out of each others ways. Lincoln and Olivia were not quite in sync quite yet.

"Yet?" Olivia muttered to herself as she tried to dodge Lincoln reaching for another cup for her.

"What's that?" Lincoln glanced over at her as she tried to evade him. Unfortunately, as he turned she tried to move to the side, but this only led to them bumping into each other. "Sorry..." Lincoln murmured, smiling nervously.

"'S alright," Olivia waved his apology away, glad he had gotten distracted enough. "Er, here, you move here," Olivia placed her hands on his shoulders – surprisingly firm shoulders, nudging him aside so she could get around him to the fridge. She ducked away from him quickly to hide her irrational sudden fluster.

"Maybe I should just get out of your way?" Lincoln mentioned, he too blushing slightly.

"Well now you're committed to helping! Here," Olivia handed him the carton of eggs. As they cooked they fell into a more efficient rhythm, though the tension between them just seemed to escalate with every bump and graze of their arms or fingers. Neither of them knew what was wrong with them, but both of them breathed an inward sigh of relief when they were done and seated at the table. When they were finished, Olivia sat down next to him and showed him what she had been looking over that morning. There were several listings for apartments relatively near Fringe Headquarters, at decent prices, and she had selected the ones she thought he would like best.

"Looks good, I like this one the best from the images," Lincoln leaned over to show her. Olivia blinked in alarm at how her heart seemed to pick up speed just a little more when he did that. Insisting to herself that it was probably the sugar from the orange juice, she focused on what Lincoln was saying instead... and not on how long his eyelashes were, or how soft his lips looked, or how unreasonably nice his eyes were... Olivia physically shook her head, mentally berating herself for thinking such things. This was Lincoln! He wasn't even her type! ...Was he? Well, then again, she went for the "nice guys" ...her old partner put on a show that sometimes bugged her, hiding how he felt behind brashness and flirting with every woman he could... but her new partner didn't do that. He was a "nice guy", and she'd be a fool and blind not to admit he definitely did have looks going for him. That she always knew. She was glad that so far he hadn't flaunted it like his alternate had. "'Liv? You still with me?"

"Wha? Oh, yeah I am, hey why don't we get started?" Olivia grabbed his plate and hers and took them to the sink, finding his very close proximity suddenly overpowering. Olivia used the silence of the car ride to calm down. Funny, this sort of thing hadn't happened to her since she was in the academy, crushing on the older soldiers. Then Frank came along and she experienced it again... she hadn't felt this way with "her other Lincoln", so why now?

When they got to the first apartment, one that resembled Lincoln's counterpart's, they noticed a few things off about it right away. It was too far from work, too close to a bad neighborhood, and a little more expensive than it had been listed at in the advertisement. That didn't stop the landlord, a sweet little old lady, from trying her best to negate the negatives. When Lincoln and Olivia tried to speak to each other in private to see if they should reject the offer or not, the landlord must have been eavesdropping for she said:

"Well isn't this sweet? You two must be a couple!" The little old lady smiled brightly. Lincoln and Olivia stared at each other awkwardly, noticing just then how close they were standing.

"No... no ma'am, we're just friends..." Olivia corrected her, taking a slight step away from him. Olivia hid her astonishment at noting the very quick flash of disappointment that went through Lincoln's face. She decided it was the lighting in the room. Surely he wouldn't want..? This would happen once more, prompting Olivia to retaliate by agreeing that they were a couple. Kinky lovers looking for a fun place for their role-playing mystery nights. Of course, both Lincoln and the landlord gave Olivia a startled look. Olivia took Lincoln's arm and fluttered her eyes playfully.

"I um... well," Lincoln flushed scarlet. "We're not-"

"So what more is there to see from this place?" Olivia interrupted, winking at Lincoln. She was pleased when his gave her a subtle roll of his eyes but kept quiet. Maybe a little fun would help loosen him up a bit? The landlord showed them the rest of the apartment, while – to Olivia's amusement – he kept stealing awkward glances at them. By the end of the day, not only had the finally found a good deal, but Lincoln had started to relax and play along a little.

"Oh look, dear, we can keep our toys here..." Lincoln had said, pointing to a built-in shelf in one of the rooms.

"On display too, I like how you think honeybun," Olivia grinned. The look the landlord had given them was almost too much. Keeping their laughter in was almost difficult by that point. Once the paperwork was finished and the first payment given, Lincoln was handed his new keys.

"Why does it seem like you're more invested in finding the perfect place than I am?" Lincoln asked. Olivia simply grinned and shrugged as she always did. After spending one more night at Olivia's apartment that weekend, they took advantage of the fact that there didn't seem to be any sudden cases to go shopping for basic essentials for Lincoln's apartment. On their way back to the car, totting almost two carts full of items, Lincoln felt his glasses slip off his nose. He tried to swipe at them quickly, catch them before they fell, but he was not quick enough. "Damn!"

"What's wrong?" Olivia looked over to see Lincoln picking up his cracked glasses.

"I left my old ones back... well, back in the other universe," Lincoln sighed.

"You could always get your eyes fixed? There aren't a whole lot of people with glasses around here... I sometimes where them but mostly as magnifiers," Olivia suggested. It took a bit of convincing, and assurance that Olivia would be fine seeing him looking so much like her old partner, but finally Lincoln agreed. Fortunately, he had been paid recently for the latest case and had enough for the surgery. One hour later, Lincoln stepped out wearing shaded protective eyewear. "How'd it go?" Olivia asked him.

"It's done, but I have to wear this for another half hour until my eyes adjust," he explained. Once that was done, Olivia offered to help straighten some things out in his apartment, figuring he'd be able to relax and get to sleep in his place faster if they both worked. By the time they unloaded the bought items into his new apartment, Lincoln's eyes had returned to normal and he was able to put the shades away. Olivia smiled wistfully at him.

After helping him set up his new stuff at his place, though a bit more subdued than before, Olivia decided to turn in early. "I'm beat. I'll see you tomorrow, Linc..." she said. She wasn't really that tired, but she needed time to sort through her thoughts, understand what it is she really feels about this. Sure, it was her idea to get his eyes fixed, but she had assumed that somehow he would look differently, she knew it was stupid, but perhaps it was some sort of defense mechanism.

"Alright," Lincoln sighed inwardly, having a good idea as to why she was heading home so early. "'Night, 'Liv."


End A/N: I'm sorry for the wait, life sucks sometimes! Things are starting to get interesting between them, eh? One of the reasons for the wait is because I had to completely change the next two chapters. I had been starting to write in a soap-opera-y way and that had to be fixed immediately! For a while I didn't know what to write though, but I finally figured something out. Just to warn you, I have some exams coming up so I'm not sure when the next chapter will go up! Please let me know what you thought!