Disclaimer: I made no profit from this, got nothing out of this but my own enjoyment. I don't own Fringe. But my birthday is in June... One Peter Bishop to go, please?:) Maybe two? He could have a twin, or a clone...

Note: The scene on in the building after the bomb from Ability totally sucked. It could have been done so much better. Here's my take on things, please review. SPOILERS for Ability... A cookie for whoever can tell me where the last line came from:) (Sorry, I just couldn't resist! It was just too perfect not to use here.)

"You came back." It was a statement, not a question, since the answer was obvious and asking would have just been silly. His green eyes were right there in front of her, staring back into hers, grinning the adrenaline-fueled grin of a chronic risk-taker who had won another round by sheer luck rather than skill. His face was flushed, eyes wide with amazement, astonishment…admiration? What was that about? He couldn't really believe…? "I didn't do anything. He had the lights on a timer, to go off in the end or something. I don't know, I just know I didn't…"

If possible, his grin got even wider. "Olivia, I know what I just saw. You saved us. You saved a whole lot of people, and I haven't even figured out how yet, but you did." His hand shook slightly as he put it on her shoulder, a by-product of the receding flood of adrenaline that had filled him as he watched the clock tick down, knowing that this time it was over. Unlike ever time before, there would be no last-second plan, no action he could take. His death was coming and all he could do was stand there and watch helplessly as it drew closer. He couldn't even run, couldn't leave her.

She couldn't argue with him, as she wasn't even sure what had happened herself. Had she felt something? Was there something in her brain that had clicked into place as the seconds ticked down, or was it just fear, seeping into the crevasses of her mind? "You came back," she repeated. "I was facing down a biological weapon of massive power and instead of running, you came back to stand at ground zero?"

He shrugged. "As many times as I've cheated death, I'm thinking maybe I'm immortal. You know. 'I am Connor MacLeod, of the clan MacLeod' and all that. Maybe I should get a big, sharp sword and all that. You think Massive Dynamics has a division that makes swords? The real good ones, maybe a Scottish Claymore? Or a nice Gladiator shortsword, maybe..." He was rambling more than usual, but near-death experiences tended to do that to him.

Olivia leaned on him suddenly as she felt the strength flow suddenly out of her arms and legs, although she wasn't sure if it was exertion or adrenaline backlash that robbed her of her strength. Had to be the latter…she refused to think it might be a byproduct of some exhausting mental feat. "You're not immortal, Peter," she said as he gently helped her to the stairwell, where he sat beside her on the top step with one arm around her to keep her from pitching forward in case she passed out. "You could have died today." I could have had to watch him die today...

"That happens to me a lot," he said. "I'll survive. I usually do."

His joke fell flat, and she looked up at him. "Peter, you knew I couldn't do what I had to do, and yet instead of running away like any reasonably sane person, you came back. Why?"

He sighed. Deflecting with sarcasm wasn't helping, so that left one other option short of the truth. A half-truth. Wincing, he looked over at her, waiting for her eyes to meet his. "Liv, there wasn't time to get far enough away to keep from getting infected. Even if I had run, I would still have died a hideous death, probably alone in some hospital isolation ward with no one except doctors and scientists in space suits to be with me. I don't want that. I spent enough time as Walter's lab rat to ever want to be studied again, especially if I'm dying and in pain." Her face twisted at the thought of him suffering. "Oh, yeah," he thought. "She's totally buying this!"

"I don't want to die like that," he continued, putting on his most pitiful face. "When the end comes, I'd rather face it on the front line, ground zero as you put it, than catch it in the back while fleeing." Then he added the partial truth that made it stick. "I'd rather face it beside you than abandon you to it while I run like a coward."

She stared into his eyes, and put her arm around his back. "You realize running doesn't mean you're a coward, right?"

He grinned his trademark grin. "Olivia, please! Have you ever even seen a John Wayne movie??"

She laughed, and he breathed an internal sigh of relief. Total acceptance of his pathetic, overly masculine rationalization. John Wayne movie... he had thought he was laying it on too thick there. That hurt, really, that she would accept something so cliche'd from him. But it was perfect. He looked at her as he helped her to her feet, taking in her beauty, her tenacity, every part of her that was written across her features, and felt the relief fill him. She hadn't made him say it.

I don't want to live in a world where you don't exist.