Chapter Title: I Could Observe You All
Chapter Genre: Intrigue
Chapter Rating: G
Chapter Notes: None for now :)
Takes Place: During "Pilot"
Song: "Observer" by Gary Numan
Disclaimer: No, I don't own Fringe. Surprised? ;)
I could stand here for days
Or I could stand here for hours
I could stand here for a lifetime
Watching you and waiting always
I could observe you all
I could wait for a day
Or I could wait for an hour
I could wait here for a lifetime
Watching you and thinking always
I could observe you all
"Is that a good song?"
Astrid Farnsworth looked up, a little startled that someone was actually addressing her aboard the bus. Talking to another passenger was taboo—you sit there, I sit here, we leave each other alone. But this man didn't seem to know the rules and was looking at her emotionlessly. She found herself at a loss of words, as no one had spoken to her on a bus before. Plus, his appearance surprised her: an impeccable black suit and tie, and a hat clutched in hands, but it wasn't just his formal dress on public transport that shocked her. Not only was he bald, but it appeared he lacked eyebrows and eyelashes as well. 'Alopecia universalis?' she wondered. She realised she was being rude by staring, then remembered that he had asked her a question.
"Oh…yes, it is," Astrid stuttered, looking back down at her iPod then back at him.
He sat down on the empty seat next to her as the bus started moving again and she turned her attention back to her iPod; only three types of people talked to you on the bus and he looked like neither a tourist nor small town folk, which only left "weirdo". This spooked her a little, wondering if it was too late to move seats. By peripheral vision she watched him place his hat in his lap and she pretended she was interested in the scrolling album name on the iPod's screen.
"You smell very nice."
She looked back up, taking his comment to be facetious and possibly creepy, but his face was still impassive, so obviously he was being serious.
"Oh, that's my lunch. I spilled curry all over my sweater," she explained, feeling her cheeks get a little hot.
The bald man cocked his head slightly. "What is your name?"
She carefully pulled her earbuds out and put the song on pause, knowing that this strange man probably wasn't going to stop talking to her, even though they were on a bus. She offered out a hand as she answered,
"Astrid. And yours?"
The man was silent, disregarding her hand, and then said, "Astrid is a good name for you."
"Thank you" she replied.
She actually felt a little grateful that he hadn't expressed surprise when she gave him the Germanic-based name; her whole life people had always responded with facial expressions that said "But that's not a black name," and "That's weird for a black girl." She watched him pull a pair of field binoculars out of his suit; he looked out the window for a moment with them before returning them to his suit's inner chest pocket. She wondered what he was looking at and peered out the window as well, searching across the construction site they were passing, but saw nothing really interesting.
'He must just be curious,' she thought and shrugged.
She nervously turned the iPod over and over in her hand. "So you like curry? There's a place up the street that makes great Indian food."
He didn't nod but his hairless brows moved a bit. "I find that Indian spices are agreeable. Regrettably, I can hardly taste them."
"Soft palate damage?" she said without thinking. "I'm sorry, that was too personal a question."
He didn't seem offended. "You like how spicy the food is?"
She nodded. "I do."
He pulled out the binoculars again and studied a passing bus, then returned them to his suit before saying, "You're on your way to work?"
"Yes. I'm going to be working for a doctor at the laboratories at Harvard. I meet him today." She never talked to strangers, let alone ones on the bus, so she was surprised that she wanted to confess something that had been bothering her all morning. "I'm a little nervous. This is my first big job and I heard that the doctor is, uh, eccentric."
"You have nothing to be worried about. The job will be a perfect fit," he said firmly and she sighed.
"I wish I was as confident."
Without warning, his fingers planted themselves gently on the area her yoga instructor referred to as her inner eye. Normally she would have yelled or screamed out at strange hands being on her body, but most of her focus was on the fact that she quite suddenly felt completely calm and safe. All the emotional weight lifted and her stomach butterflies had disappeared.
"How'd you do that?" she murmured as he pulled his hands back, but he looked away to the bus' opening doors.
"It's your stop. You don't want to be late," he said in a detached tone, standing up and moving aside so she could leave her seat.
Astrid wanted to press this man further, but she couldn't afford to be late on her first day. She spared him one last glance, clutching at her iPod, still awaiting her to continue her song, and hurried off the bus. She was afraid, at peace, confused, excited, and a multitude of other conflicting emotions all at once. She brushed a piece of lint off her sweater, watching the bus roll away. She shook herself free of the thoughts and walked towards the steps of the Kresge Building.
A/N: omg Observer cameo! I am so in love with the weirdness that is the Observer. He's Fringe's Cigarette Smoking Man, who was also a badass. More Observer, plz!
Alopecia universalis (sometimes alopecia areata universalis) is a medical condition that causes a person to lose all their body hair with an incidence of about 1 in 100,000. It's believed to be an autoimmune disorder and there is no standard treatment or nor cure.
Random Fringe Prediction: Someone will die towards the end of the season (not Walter), but he will reanimate their ass.