TITLE: "Figlio, Figlio Perduto"
PAIRING: Walter/Peter's Mother
CHARACTERS: Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop, Peter's Mother
WORD COUNT: 1009
SPOILERS: reference to an event that Walter talked about in 1.10
"Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?"
Walter cradles the lifeless form of his son in his arms. He's sitting on a hospital bed, his shoulders and head resting in the corner where the two hospital room walls meet. The boy is dressed in his favourite "jammies", the ones with fighter jets on them and he has an IV leading into his wrist, keeping him hydrated. His son's empty eyes look up towards him and Walter sees a drying track of spittle trailing out the side of his mouth.
The now-dark hospital room is decorated with a mural of puppies chasing butterflies and space rockets leaving rainbow-coloured exhaust trails across the ceiling among gold-foiled stars, definitely created to make a child feel more comfortable in this sterile environment. The room is warm, but he feels cold, unsure if it's from fear or something more. The boy is just as unresponsive as he always is but as his father, Walter resumes the duty he has assigned himself of keeping him company.
He hasn't looked at a clock in hours, but he estimates it's around two in the morning. He feels numb, not tired, not worn out, but numb and he wonders if it's from the lack of sleep that he can see a double of himself lurking just out of the corner of his eye. Six days he's been awake, six solid unending eternities that he has spent unable to solve the problem, so he has temporarily abandoned his research to care for the sun of his self-centered universe. Walter's voice is barely above a whisper as he begins to recite the same epic he has been repeating for nearly an hour.
"Who rides so late through the night and wind? The father and son, we ride together on a horse through walls of wind and night has fallen. He has the boy safe in his arm, He holds him secure, he holds him warm. But suddenlythe boy trembles with fear and it becomes cold.
'My son, what makes you hide your face in fear?' he asks, to which the boy replies,
'Father, oh father, don't you see the Erlenkönig? The Erlenkönig with crown and flowing robe?'
'My son, it's a wisp of fog.'
'Lost son,' the Erlenkönig speaks, 'Do you want to play?I'll bring you joy. You dear child, come along with me! Such lovely games I'll play with you; many colorful flowers are at the shore and you shall have many golden garments.'
'My father, my father, and do you not hear what the Erlenkönig promises me so softly?'
'Be quiet, stay quiet, my child; in the dry leaves the wind is rustling.'
'Won't you come along with me, my fine boy?' the Erlenkönig hisses. 'My daughters shall attend to you so nicely. My daughters do their nightly dance, and they'll rock you and dance you and sing you to sleep.'
'My father, my father, and do you not see over there, Erlenkönig's daughters in that dark place?'
'My son, my son, I see it most definitely: it is the willow trees looking so grey.'
'Lost son,' the Erlenkönig cries, 'I will have you; I'm charmed by your beautiful form; come to me and if you're not willing, I'll use force.'
The boy says, 'Father, oh father, did you hearwhat he saidand what he will do? Father, oh father,the Erlenkönigis reaching for me!My father, my father, now he's grabbing hold of me! The Erlenkönig has done me harm!'
And the boy'seyes closed,he doesn't move,he's already lost…he's already lost. The father shudders, he rides swiftly, He holds in his arms the moaning child. He reaches the farmhouse with effort and urgency. In his arms…" Walter pauses, unable to look at his son's colourless face. "The child was dead."
"Stop singing that horrible song, god dammit!" someone sobs and Walter looks up to see Peter's mother standing in the doorway of the hospital room. "What is wrong with you?"
She is gaunt, looking like a spectral lurking there in vigilance over their son. Her cheeks and eyes are sunken in and her sallow skin is lined with tear tracks. She has a slight tremour in her movements and as she moves into the room, hesitant stumbling, she points a bony finger towards them, a silent order for him to put the boy down. Lovingly, tenderly, he lays the child back into his bed, tucking the hospital bed sheets around him. The boy's lifeless eyes are still open and Walter carefully uses his finger to shut the lids.
By now, Peter's mother has reached him, her hands grasp onto his upper arm and he realises that she has little strength to hold herself up. Together they gaze down at their son and they begin to weep again, though Walter has the strength to lead them out of the room.
"Isn't there anything you can do?" she pleads in the empty hospital hallway, her hair hanging around her face, something he's not used to—normally it's pulled back in a professional manner and after years of begging her to wear it down, he wishes she'd pin it back, because that would mean everything was normal and fine.
"I am trying to move heaven and Earth for him!" he cries, moving the stray hair out of her face. "I don't know what to look for…I'm so sorry!"
"Please, Walter! Please! You have to save Peter! Anything!" She looks frantic as she grips onto his arms with those spindly fingers. "I'll get your whatever you need, even if someone must die for it!"
"I don't know…"
She buries her face into his neck and she feels so fragile, so weak and he's afraid that if he can't protect her how can he protect his little boy.
Her voice quivers slightly, almost inaudible. "If Peter doesn't get better…"
He strokes her head, hopping it's a comforting manner and his tears are falling into her hair. "I will move heaven and Earth for him. Peter will get better. I'll save him, I promise."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: written because Walter's love for Peter is probably the Fringe storyline I'm most interested in. Yes, that's over the scienze, the Oliver shipping, the Walstrid shipping, the hotness of the Observer, and the hotness of John Scott. They could cut everything else out and as long as they kept the development of their fractured relationship in, I'd be good.
And the story Walter was singing was essentially "Figlio Perduto"/"Dalai Lama", both songs based on "Erlenkönig" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (google it, children). What a macabre thing to sing to a child, bet it really freaked Peter's mom out D:
Italian: "Figlio, figlio perduto" – "Son, lost son"
German: "Erlenkönig" – "Elf King" (but I've also seen it spelt Erlkönig, so correct me if I'm wrong)
German: "Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?" – "Who rides so late through the night and wind?
(if my languages are wrong, correct me!!!)