Walter was staring at the blood that dripped from his own arms as he came to, trembling and panting in exhilaration. His tongue found his own dry, cracked lips, and Astrid called to him again, "Walter!"
His eyes widened, and he stepped backward out of the office, covering his mouth with his palm. Jesus. He suddenly felt sick, and shut his eyes to keep from swooning. He turned away, slamming the door behind himself as he jarred lab equipment from their places to crash onto the floor. "Walter!" Astrid cried, fearing him hurt.
Walter righted himself, blinking slowly to calm his thundering heart. It didn't matter what he had done. He didn't have the time. He had to find Peter and Olivia, while he was still sane. He cleared his throat, answering raspily, "I'm alright. I…they're down in the storage rooms," he scrambled for something to wipe away the blood before Astrid could see. The stains would not come out of the trench coat sleeves, and he rubbed his face and hands with the cotton dust cover until his skin burned. He stooped to retrieve the pistol once more, "We have to hurry, there's not much time…"
Astrid had pulled herself to her feet in and attempt to get to the office, and was leaning heavily against the side rail as she watched him. Ignoring her questioned and slightly fearful gaze, Walter descended the steps, taking her arm around his shoulder. She pushed him away, "No. I'll be fine. You don't have time to drag me along- go get them." he suspected that she was slightly sickened by the fresh blood that stained his clothes.
Walter nodded, "Alright. Be careful."
"Don't forget me."
"I won't." he swept across the lab and threw the door open to the stairs that lead down into the storage rooms. Holding the pistol at the ready, he hopped the last few steps, landing on cement in the darkness. He blinked, moving slowly as his eyes adjusted, his breath nearly still in his throbbing chest as blood surged in his burning ears. The silence felt like cotton pressed to his senses. Storage. But which one?
He began to make out shapes in the dark, doors and open doorways. The was a loud clanking as he rammed his knee into a gurney, hissing a curse. He moved on, painfully aware of the echoes of his own footsteps from the distant walls. A light cord brushed his face, and he tried it, finding it dead. His chest felt like bursting, when he spotted the window.
He stared in shock at the old, discarded painting of the window before him, crooked in its old wooden frame as it hung in the dust. He found himself kneeling, touching his hand to the smooth, cement floor. It was cold. He stooped low, feeling the cold against his cheek. He pushed himself back up, looking over his shoulder at the door.
He reached out to touch the deadbolt on to door, and his fingers closed around the rusty iron handle. He concentrated, heaving the bolt back and slamming it down with a boom. His son was here.
The room before him was small and empty, and his eyes thinned with effort to see, before his vision flashed and he stumbled forward, caught around the neck as the revolver was wrenched from his grip. His arm was twisted behind his back painfully and he let out a cry, struggling.
The cold barrel of the gun was pressed to his temple, and he flinched away, "Don't shoot!" he cried.
The gun moved away slightly, "Walter?" Olivia asked.
"What?" Peter exclaimed, his grip on his father's arm loosening, "Walter, what are you doing here?!"
His eyes felt numb in the bright, flashing lights of the squad cars. He didn't much notice the iv they stuck into his arm, as he watched the commotion from the back of the ambulance. Royal was talking to Olivia and Peter, who kept shaking their heads and repeating their stories- they didn't know who had taken them. They had been attacked in the car when they had left the restaurant, and they had forced Peter to call Walter so that no suspicions would be raised by their disappearance.
Walter wondered why it felt so bad to be right. He suddenly wished he weren't such a precarious individual. His fingers drummed out a piano chord on the side of the gurney. He blinked tiredly, and felt himself dozing off, humming the 'ABC's', or perhaps 'twinkle twinkle little star'.
He awoke again and the ambulance was moving, the steady skip of the tires over pavement in rhythm with the gentle hum of the engine. He felt something touching him, and realized that someone held his hand. He opened his eyes slowly to see Peter sitting at his side, as silent as a sentinel. "Am I going back to St. Clair's?" Walter asked softly, and Peter glanced down at him, his hand becoming stiff in his embarrassment.
"No, Walter," he said. "You're never going back there. I promise."
Walter smiled softly, closing his eyes, "I love you, Peter," he said softly, and pretended to fall asleep. Peter was silent for a few moments, then sighed. It amused Walter a bit, to think that young people believed old people fell asleep so quickly. He refrained a chuckle, and hoped Peter didn't see the tear flee down the other side of his face, away from the light. He lay still, wondering when his son's hands had grown so much, from tiny, soft digits to strong, powerful hands that made his own hands seem weak and small.
"So, how is he holding up?" Olivia asked over the phone to Peter as he strode along the outdoor corridor of the university.
"He's alright," Peter answered, "Just as weird, you know. I don't think the stroke had any affect on him." Peter stopped, scratching the back of his neck, "There is one thing, though."
"He won't leave me alone. He's all… attached. He won't let me out of his sight, I swear…hold on…" he paused, glancing over his shoulder, and he retraced his steps along the hall. "Hi, Walter," he frowned, as his father crouched slightly behind a massive potted plant.
"Um, hello," he answered sheepishly, petting the plant, "Have you seen this plant? It has quite interesting leaves, if you look at them."
Peter pointed back down the hall, "Lab, now. You have to keep an eye on Astrid- it's your fault she got shot, you know."
Hunching his shoulders slightly as he put his hands into the pockets of his lab coat, Walter slunk off down the hall.
When Peter returned to the phone, Olivia was laughing, "Oh, shut up," he smiled, "It's really annoying, okay?"
"It's sweet," Olivia assured him, "So, did he say anything about what happened? How he found us?"
Peter shook his head, "No. whenever I ask about it, he just looks really confused, and ignores me."
"So he doesn't know?"
"I don't know. He could be faking. But what's really bothering me is the fact he got a get-well card from a stripper."
"Shelly's a singer and dancer at a night club," Walter protested from behind him, and Peter turned.
"Get back to the lab!" Peter hissed, lunging at his father and making him flinch away, "Go! Shoo!" and Walter scampered away, "My bad. 'singer and dancer at a nightclub'."
Olivia laughed again, "You'd better watch him- he gets into too much."
Peter smiled, "Yeah. I guess."
The interior of the office was dark as Nina Sharpe watched Royal over the top of the black and white photograph. The photograph showed an enlarged scene of an office interior, the walls splattered with blood and flesh. In the center of the office, a corpse, eyes wide and lily-white in death, lay filleted open like a fish on the tabletop, ribcage split apart to expose vital organs. From what she had gathered from the report, the heart had been removed. On the wall in the faint, out-of-focus background, letters of blood, slightly tilting upward, wrote: KILL NO ANGELS.
"He's a sociopath, Royal. What did you expect?" she mused, tossing the pictures onto the desktop. She seemed unaffected by the horrible images.
"Insane, yes. Violently insane, no. Bishop is our best bet at solving the pattern- you know that." Royal scooped up the photographs and slid them back into a manila envelope, "We can't afford for him to loose more of his mind than he already has."
"So? How does this involve Massive Dynamic?" Sharpe asked flatly.
"That means you can't be using my people to root out competing companies' lab facilities," he growled, "It hasn't been released to the press, but we know that lab belonged to a pharmaceutical company that is a leading adversary to Massive Dynamics."
Sharpe spread her hands, "What a coincidence," she said, "I had no idea."
"It was very clever of you, Nina. Telling their spy that you were after Walter Bishop, then baiting them into kidnapping his son and agent Dunham. What you didn't count on was Walter finding his son himself, under very mysterious circumstances. What did you hope to gain, putting my people in such reckless danger?"
"I have no idea what you're going on about," Sharpe said, "But suppose I did. Why won't you let me have access to Walter and Peter Bishops' personal files?"
"They're none of your business, Nina. What do you want from Walter Bishop?"
Sharpe smiled softly, watching him unblinkingly with her cold, ash-colored eyes, "Immunity," she replied.