"Okay. Are you ready?"
"Are we ever ready, son?" Walter smiled wryly.
Peter chuckled softly, "I guess you're right. Grab the case." Walter hefted the briefcase from his lap, and Peter leaned over to take it from him, "Listen, just try not to say anything, and you won't get shot-" he paused, his eyes widening.
Walter watched him, alarmed and puzzled, "Peter?" Peter lifted his hand away from the seat, melted chocolate stuck to his palm. He glared up at Walter, who swallowed with dread, "it-it's just a car, Peter…" he attempted weakly.
Peter punched him in the face sharply, and his father yelped, covering his nose, "Anyways," Peter continued, rubbing away the chocolate with his handkerchief, "stick next to me for this, and you'll come out of this alright." he kicked open his door.
"Right, right, I deserved that," Walter dabbed away the blood escaping one of his nostrils, and stepped out of the car, following after his son.
The parking structure was deserted, it had been for a great many years. Illegible spray-paint signatures littered the tall, broad cement pillars, their visibility poor with time and the dim grey of daybreak. It was cold, and their breath fogged in the chill, "I told you we should have gotten three-pieces," Walter grumbled, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his black slacks.
"No one wears three-pieces anymore, Walter. Shut up."
"A pity, too. Sharp-looking suit, a three-piece. I got married in a three piece."
"Wonderful. Now shut up, I hear someone coming," they came to a halt, standing back-to-back, watching the pillars cautiously. Peter's hand tightened on the briefcase, his breath slow as he thought of the gun strapped against his abdomen, under his blazer. How many seconds would it take to draw, he wondered? Dropping the case, diving into his jacket for his firearm in a bolt for cover… if the individual shooting was any sort of accurate, the odds were not in his favor.
No shots rang out in the parking structure, and there was no feel of burning lead striking his body. Peter did not move, his shoulders touching with Walter's. They waited.
"Mr. Bishop, Dr. Bishop," came a soft call. Peter looked up, as Nina Sharpe stepped out toward them, her arms away from her body to show that she hid nothing, "I'm not armed."
"Stay there," Peter said calmly, "don't move, or we won't hesitate to kill you."
Walter elbowed him sharply, "Manners, boy," he growled, "You have better blood than to treat a lady like that."
Fighting back his urge to shoot his father in the back of the head, Peter gave Nina a pained smile, "Please stand there, or we may have to shoot you."
"See, now was that so hard? You certainly haven't been to charm school, have you?"
Nina hid a smile as Peter bit the inside of his cheek angrily, "You have the systems files disks?" she questioned. She tightened her black leather gloves, "…All of them?"
"Yes," Peter answered.
"Then why are we waiting?"
"Broyals has to be here for conformation, Miss Sharpe, you know that."
"I see him!" Walter exclaimed, and he waved, as Broyals approached. Walter frowned, raising his gun, "I'm terribly sorry, but you're going to have to stay where you are, for now. If not… well, I think you know…"
Philip Broyals frowned, looking back and fourth to the Bishops and Nina Sharpe, "What's going on here, Nina?"
"We were waiting for you, Philip," she replied patiently, "for conformation."
Broyals nodded, replying cynically, "Of course. How thoughtful of you."
"It was my idea!" Walter chirruped, "But it was Peter's, to get us arrested."
"What?!" Nina and Broyals demanded in unison.
Peter and Walter grinned at each other as sirens sounded, a black FBI cruiser screeching into the empty garage, "This isn't what we agreed on," Broyals said, stepping back, "This wasn't the plan, Bishop."
Olivia and Astrid emerged from the car, guns at the ready as they fell into position from cover, "Freeze!" Olivia cried, "Walter! Drop the gun!"
"New plan," Peter mused, drawing his gun to drop it onto the ground , and Walter placed his own at his feet, "I understand why you felt you had to do this, Agent Broyals. If no company had any information, the pattern couldn't possibly continue. Whoever was controlling it would have to start from scratch, without any of Walter's work to base from. So it all had to go- even Massive Dynamic, so conveniently controlled by William Bell."
Olivia blinked in disbelief, "Sir…?" she questioned. He did not offer an answer, his jaw tightening.
"And I understand you, Miss Sharpe- if you had all of the information, there would be no competition, and the pattern would end, because you would control it. Using Raze to funnel information was clever, but you really shouldn't have killed him. He knew all along, he loved you, for chrissake. So both of you hired Walter and I to achieve the same end- the demise of the Pattern." Peter glanced at Olivia and Astrid, hoping desperately that his words were having an affect. Olivia's breath only fogged in the morning air, as she held her sight on him.
"Spoken like Shakespeare, my boy," Walter said proudly, "Encore, encore!"
"We did what you told us. We cut ties with the FBI, went rouge. We stole from Massive Dynamic, to clear you of suspicions. But we got something far more valuable from Raze than you did. While you had concluded that we had not managed to acquire all of your system, what you didn't suspect was where the last bit had gone. Raze had gone to retrieve it behind your back when he had rebuilt your system, and curiously found it missing. He quickly found that it had been obtained by Astrid, who had cleared the rest of the system afterward." Peter smiled at the chagrinned Astrid as Nina stared. But it was working. At last, the truth. Olivia remained unreadable.
"We… sort of… planted… the address, Agent Dunham," Walter said apologetically, "We had to reacquire the information and destroy any other copies, but Peter insisted that he needed to drop you a hint of where the exchange would be, so you could catch us. I always knew you would ,by the way. Peter thought we could pull it off, but I know you're much smarter than he is…"
"Anyways," Peter continued struggling to repair his damage with his words, "We swapped the note Nina gave Astrid. You were at the Shaw's, and- well, anyways, having the pinpoint location, we replaced the address with one of our choosing- a second bank for Massive Dynamic."
Broyals looked up at Nina, "And yet you failed to mention that, Nina," he said quietly.
"The second address I gave Raze," Nina replied, "I never trusted him."
"Perhaps you should have, and things would have turned out differently," Walter reprimanded, and she fell silent.
"The second bank was old, but it still had to go. Knowing that Broyals would have to confirm with Sharpe, we hit the current base and stripped it. Then, we just had to wait for you."
"If you stripped the other base, why did you blow up the mansion?" Olivia questioned. Peter opened his mouth to answer when he was interrupted
"Peter needed collateral. If Olivia wouldn't let him go, he'd threaten," Walter said smugly.
"Why are you trying to make me look bad?!" Peter demanded.
"You punched me in the face. I don't exactly like you, right now."
"But you ended up using it," Astrid said.
"I did. But, rather than threatening you with a moral dilemma, I merely appealed to your better, caring nature. Peter really does underestimate you, Olivia. He's a looser. Don't date him."
"It was a peanut M'n'M, Peter. A peanut M'n'M."
"Finish or I'll shoot you!" Olivia snapped. At last a reaction. It was falling into place, everything she had dared, in the back of her heart, to hope.
"So we talked to Edgar. We'd pissed him off enough for him to want us caught, regardless of how it implicated him, in it all. He wasn't careful like Raze had been. He dropped you the exchange date, time, all that.. You got here. Now you know what's been going on," Peter said. He raised the briefcase, "You know what this has in it." his eyes locked with hers, "What should I do with it, Olivia? The entire Pattern is right here, in my hands. Do you want it?"
Olivia looked taken aback, and only stared.
"We had a deal, Broyals," Nina warned.
Broyals ignored her, watching Olivia.
"I don't want it," Olivia said at last, "I don't want anything to do with it." she lowered her gun, "Peter… Walter…"
Walter smiled, and Peter only continued to watch, his face a mosaic of emotions, all unrecognizable.
"…Destroy it," she finished.
"Yaay!" Walter yipped, fairly hopping up and down, "Burn it! Let's burn it!"
"You and burning things," Peter grumbled.
"Broyals," Nina repeated, an undertone of panic in her voice.
"This is what we wanted, Nina. The Pattern ends here, regardless of how it is achieved," a small smile broke across his face, and he turned away, "Good work, boys."
Nina retained her composure, swallowing, "Very well. So it ends, that's what matters. You just be careful, Bishop," she said quietly, " You've completed your task, with amnesty. I applaud you. But I warn you… if anything might surface indicting Massive Dynamic in any of this, I'll know where to go." And she strode away in the growing dawn.
"Tulips and lies…" Walter murmured.
Peter had opened the case on the ground, pouring on the last of the lighter fluid. They stepped back, as Astrid and Olivia came to stand beside them. Peter paused as he held the matches, and turned to his father, holding them out. Walter looked confused, "Go on," Peter said gruffly.
"Wait, we're trusting me with fire, now…?"
"You started this, Walter," Olivia explained, glancing at Peter. Even after all that had happened, she still knew what he meant to say, "It's time for you to end it."
"All of it," Astrid interjected, and they looked up at her. She held single floppy disk in her fingertips, "aren't you missing something?"
Walter swallowed. Gingerly, he held out his hand, "May… may I have that disk, miss?"
"What's my name?" she questioned, raising a brow.
Walter's eyes widened with horror. He looked back and fourth in panic, and Peter and Olivia offered nothing. "…I don't know," he answered at last, shamefaced.
Astrid smiled, reaching out to take his hand, "That's you, Walter," she murmured, stepping forward to toss the disk onto the pile.
Flushed slightly, Walter flicked the match to life with his thumbnail. He watched it for a few moments, "All of it… ends," he said softly, his brows furrowing in a look of pain.
"But you don't," Peter replied, "we don't. the world doesn't. We can live now, Walter."
Astrid gently squeezed Walter's hand as he continued to glare at the tiny flame. At last it burned his fingertips, and he exclaimed, dropping it onto the disks. The pyre flared up, and he stepped back, his eyes round with awe. Then, a wide grin spread across his face, and he let out a whooping cry of glee.
Peter found himself echoing his father's smile, turning to Olivia. His smile immediately faded, "…I lied to you," he said quietly.
Olivia did not look at him, and the flames only reflected in her emerald irises.
"You were right. I'm just like him."
"You're not," Olivia replied. At last she looked up at him, "You two are nothing alike. I know that, now."
"Why?" Peter asked at last, "how do you know?"
"Because you're stupid. John didn't tell me anything because he thought I wouldn't understand. You didn't tell me anything because you were scared that I would."
Peter swallowed. The truth slightly offended him, and he offered only silence. He exclaimed with surprise when Olivia pulled him in for a kiss, "nice suit," she murmured, straitening his lapels.
"Thanks," Peter replied, draping his arms around her waist. He wondered if she could feel his heart hammering in his chest.
"Don't you ever do crap like this ever again," she said without looking at him, "I'm not stupid, Peter. But you make me feel like it, sometimes. You have to tell me the truth. I can't take any more lies. Never lie to me again, understand?"
"I don't think the situation will present itself," he replied with a smile, stooping to kiss her again. Things would never go back to the way they had been, but life had somehow gotten inexplicably better.
"BIGGER, HA HA! Throw something else on! I want to watch it burn!" Walter was nearly dancing around the small bonfire, his eyes aflame as they welled with joy and he roared, "Feed my creation!"
"Walter, calm down!" Astrid laughed.
" Peter! Let's burn the Viper! I hate that fucking car!"
*rubs hands together* Well, that finished up nicely. And just shy of the next installment of Fringe, I see. Now, off too see how the real writers do it…