|From Scorched Earth
Author: ShadowDanseur PM
"She asks the question quietly, but it is screaming through her very soul; she burns for an answer that she knows will never come." Tag to 5x04; a brief glimpse into the aftermath of the Bishop family's loss.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Olivia D. & Peter B. - Words: 1,333 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Published: 10-30-12 - id: 8656474
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: So here is my first (posted) foray into the Fringe fandom. It's short, but the idea would just not leave me alone after the last episode (and all of the nasty feelings it left me with). Anyway, it's a tag to the episode "The Bullet That Saved the World". I hope you'll give it a try and let me know what you think! Reviews are like virtual cookies. :-)
Spoilers: The Bullet That Saved the World.
Disclaimer: Not mine - I wouldn't be so evil.
She feels as though she weighs a thousand pounds, as if the literal world has descended upon her shoulders and is intent on grinding her into nothingness. She has been reduced to nothing; pain and oblivion are all she knows. She doesn't speak: there is nothing to say, nothing to do.
She retreated to Etta's now empty room the moment they returned, and she has not left once to so much as use the restroom. Olivia is sequestered in her daughter's room, refusing to focus on anything but the mild realization that she has not, in fact, melted away. She expected to disappear long ago under the oppressive weight of the utter destruction they have been handed; instead, the moments pass in silence, in unthinkable inevitability.
Why is the world continuing to exist? Doesn't it know that her daughter is gone –truly gone this time?
A lone bullet is burning its way through her shirt over her chest, burrowing its way to her heart as though it has just been fired. One hand reaches up to wrap around the small brass object, the movement sluggish; she feels the cold metal against the skin of her fingers and it's as if she breaks apart.
Her face crumbles, her lungs constricting as the intangible weight crushes her chest; she tries to gasp, but the air has been leached from the room. She is incapable of making even a whisper of sound as the tears flood her cheeks, her body trembling and shaking with the force of mute sobs. She sees Etta's face again, light and life draining from her blue eyes as she focuses on her mother's face; Olivia is dying – she must be - her body tearing itself apart in its inability to contain the grief.
Her lungs open just as her vision blurs and she automatically sucks in a huge gulp of air. The flood gates have opened and her damned memory is going to destroy her: a picture of three year old Etta as she sits coloring with her mother at the kitchen table has decided to take that moment to replay itself. She instinctively covers her mouth with one hand, as if to contain the sound that she has not made.
Peter appears as a wraith in the doorway, as if somehow drawn by the pure force of her collapse. She cannot see him, is not looking for him, but instead feels his presence with that sixth sense of hers that seems acutely tuned to him. He is a dark force moving into her orbit, a great expanse of blackness in her world of searing white pain. He wraps an arm around her shoulders wordlessly, the other hand rubbing calming circles into her back. He buries his nose in her hair and she wraps one arm around his waist, the other fisting in his shirt as she tries desperately to anchor herself to something.
They are clinging to one another, the first time they have truly touched one another in – has it been twenty some odd years, or only days? – what feels like a very long time, and he smells just as she remembers. She uses the smell as a touchstone, something to tether herself to as the inner storm rages; she feels each tempest as it breaks against her, eroding strength and happiness and too many other things to name.
A mantra begins to pound in her mind: why? Why did this have to happen? Why was her daughter taken? Why had they gotten her back just to lose her again? She wants to rage: how can such an injustice be borne? All her life she has fought to protect, to defend, to do what is right … is this what she has earned? The gift of such a perfect, beautiful little soul … only to have her ripped away, returned, and then have her life extinguished before Olivia's very eyes? How can anyone be expected to survive such a horror?
Her voice is broken, thick with tears and shaky, but it is the first word she has spoken in hours. Peter pulls away just enough so that she can raise bloodshot eyes and colorless cheeks to look at him; her pain is reflected back upon her from his visage.
"Why did we get her back just to lose her again?"
She asks the question quietly, but it is screaming through her very soul; she burns for an answer that she knows will never come.
Peter has no answer –she didn't expect him to. He just pulls her back against his chest, warm tears dropping slowly into her hair as they once again take up their silent vigil in their daughter's equally silent bedroom.
The only comfort Olivia can find in this moment is the knowledge that they were there, right beside their little girl as she faded. Etta did not die alone: they were allowed at least that one last mercy of being able to tell their daughter how truly and completely she was loved before she took her last breath.
It is not much, she knows, but it is not nothing.
Walter cannot bring himself to stop staring out the window, and Astrid cannot bring herself to stop stealing furtive glances at him every few seconds. She has spent many years with Walter and truly believes that she has experienced every emotion and mood swing the mad scientist can fling her way, but she doesn't think she's ever seen this level of pain. Astrid has seen him hurting plenty of times, a sight that never fails to crush her heart; Walter's pain has always had the power to render her speechless with its depth.
The hardest part is how completely silent his grief can be. He can go hours – sometimes even days – without stringing a complete sentence together, and yet she can feel his pain as if it's a tangible being, reaching out to grab her from across the chasm. Sometimes he'll start crying, sometimes he flies into a rage, but always he grieves. There is only one other person Astrid knows who can internalize pain the way Walter does: Olivia.
Astrid knows all of this, has seen it before, but never on this scale. Their little family has been ravaged, very nearly torn asunder; just this morning they were a smiling tribe of Bishops, and now … now they have lost baby Bishop, and Astrid doesn't know how they will recover from this.
She does, however, know what her little family needs: each other. They must find a way to stick together now, when it will be so easy (natural, even) for them to break apart.
Walter mutters something unintelligible, drawing her attention from her thoughts.
"What was that, Walter?"
"Hmm?" He turns to her absent mindedly, eyes red rimmed and face drawn.
"You said something. What was it?"
"Something one of the observers said when they were questioning me; it's nothing really."
"I'd like to hear it anyway," She says softly, encouragingly.
There is a pregnant pause as Walter turns to stare back at the window, and she wonders briefly what is out there that could draw his attention so completely.
Then, finally, he answers her. "Nothing grows from scorched earth."
Out the window, a forlorn taxicab sits abandoned in the middle of the street, its driver's side door missing.