(…Aren't we defeating the purpose, if we both remain anonymous?) o.O

This is a super-magical, cannot-be-explained-rationally fic swap! Hazzah! Now, I haven't done this in a while, so forgive if I'm the tiniest bit rusty (like the tin man after a vacation to New Orleans) on such things. I figure this pairing shouldn't surprise anyone, as the other fics I've written should already alluded to the fact that I'm. Pretty. Freaking. Weird. Long live absurd ships! ^ ^

*This is exactly the reason I don't own Fringe. Hah.

Element of Odd.

He did not ask where they were going- he knew far better than to do something like that. The silence of his pail friend would only leave him feeling even more hollow. But Walter could not sop himself from mumbling "Shotgun," as they approached a black car that he had never seen before. September spared him a glance that may have been confusion, but in an instant, the emotion vanished into a perfect mixture of enigma and calm. Walter was a scientist, and quite liked questions, but he kept silent, for now, and suddenly had a hankering for a jelly roll.

September did not understand Walters' infatuation with sugary things, as he himself found them bland and nearly flavorless. But he somehow felt obligated to fulfill his companions' unvoiced request. They got into the car and September drove in the direction of the nearest bakery; whatever the circumstances, Walter was his guest. Walter remained in the car as September entered the well-lit shop, his eyes drawn for a few seconds to the large sign that boasted their twenty-four hour trade practices. The man behind the glass counter did not give September so much as a second glance, even as he removed his black fedora to reveal a complexion as pail as the white linoleum under his shined shoes, "Do you have strawberry jelly rolls?" he questioned.

"Half dozen, full dozen, or single?"

"Full, please." September plucked a small fold of money from his sleeve, placing in beside the register as he took the strawberry-pink box and left. The stranger behind the counter had already forgotten him, September could feel his tired thoughts of his next break in a half an hour.

Walter was shuffling through the neatly filed maps and insurance information in the glove box when September neared the window, raising his knuckles to tap the glass. Walter looked up, and exclaimed excitedly, rolling down the window and taking the box of pastries from him. He was finishing his first and licking the jelly from his fingers when September got into the drivers' seat, buckling his seat belt in place.

September shook his head negatively when Walter offered him one, and Walter looked confused and slightly alarmed.

"I do not enjoy sweets," September explained shortly.

"Do they give you abdominal irritation?" Walter asked.


"Why did you get them, if we're not going to share them?" Walter smiled.

"You wanted them. And you are often denied what you want," September pulled away from the curb and into the flowing lane of traffic. He had already anticipated Walter's next question, and answered it, "I purchased the full dozen. The drive will be lengthy."

"So I get all twelve."

"Is that a problem?" September asked emotionlessly.

"Oh, no, no complaints here. But you're certain I get twelve?" Walter grinned slyly, and September did not like the rhetorical feeling of the question.


Walter held out a jelly roll to him, "Go on then. Bakers' dozen, there are thirteen in the box."

September's non-existent brows raised for a spilt second in surprise, "The cashier made a mistake?"

"No. It's a bakery, you almost always get a bakers' dozen, these days," Walter smiled again as September removed a white handkerchief from his inside pocket, taking the sticky pastry in his protected fingertips, "more bang for your buck, and I'm all for the modern economy. All but for the recession, that's not at all fun." he chuckled at his own musings, as September did not.

September glanced away from the road at the jelly roll, then over at his companion, "Why do they call it a dozen, when there are more than twelve?"

"Beats me. Some things in life I've just learned to accept at face value," Walter started in on his second pastry hungrily. September took a bite of his own, chewing mechanically, and Walter exclaimed happily, as if the bite had been a consent to his victory, "you look like you're going to work!" he chirruped.

September frowned with question, "Why does your comparison of my image echoing that of the average individual in their commute to their everyday, mundane labors bring you joy?"

"It's cute!" Walter beamed, "you need a cup of coffee, and to be yammering away on one of those cellular telephone-um-" he pointed to his ear, loosing his train of thought.

"An earpiece?" September offered.

"Exactly! Listening to Rush Limba on the radio! Is he still alive…?"

"These things- did you do them?" September interjected, "The actions are minute, and I fail to see what creates such an enthusiastic response about them."

"No," Walter admitted sheepishly, "The only regular job I ever held was teaching, and even then I was sporadic about it. And I was too destitute for a car. I was very thin, now that you mention it…"

"So you enjoy my actions because they resemble the insignificant routine of the stereotyped commute to the workplace?"

"No. I told you, I think it's cute."

"Does it make me appear normal?" September asked softly.

"Normality is a lie, September," Walter replied seriously, finishing the fourth round of jelly on his fingers, "and anyone who claims otherwise is crazier than I am."

September finished his pastry in three bite, and Walter looked impressed, "Thank you," September said.

"Why are you thanking me? You purchased the sweets," Walter grumbled.

"Not for that. For not thinking that I am odd." September said, "because I know that I am."


September removed his eyes from the road to look over at his companion, once again confused at the scientist's unexpected antics. Walter had crossed his arms behind his head, stretching tiredly as he shut his eyes, the half-empty, pink box on the top of the console, "And just what makes you think that you're odd? That you don't like the things that other people do, that you don't think the way that they do?"

"Yes," September said, failing to see the point in his companions' sentiments.

"Sure, sure," Walter murmured, growing drowsy, "because, after all, the ignorant masses are always right…" and he fell asleep, or at least fell silent. The drive resumed wordlessly.

A few hours passed, and Walter's cheek twitched in his slumber, an indication of slight discomfort, in his distant and unremembered dreams. September's invisible eyebrows dipped in worry, as he watched soundlessly. Walter's face only continued to tighten in the brief moments of light allowed by the passing street lamps. He was having a nightmare.

"Walter," September said softly, his pale eyes returning to the road ahead as he drove.

There was no response from his companion in the off-drivers' seat. Walter's fingernails began to rip into the leather of the armrest.

"Walter," September tried again, Walter still asleep. As odd as it had seemed, he had been enjoying watching him sleep, as he did not partake in the habit. But this new feeling of tense fear alarmed him.

September slowed the car, reaching over to place his hand over Walter's white and trembling knuckles, "Walter." Worry, an emotion that was still very new to him, crossed Septembers' face, as he looked into an expression of fear and pain. September found himself suddenly taking on the emotion of fear that his friend emitted, knowing that the emotion was not his own, but disliking it none the less.

He didn't know what to do. He couldn't let Walter's bad dream continue, or he himself would continue to be effected with fear. But how was a sleeping person woken? A thing so small as a touch or a word snapped the mind out of its racing pace, disrupting the slumber process and waking the individual. Words and touch weren't working. Glancing ahead to be certain of clearance, September leaned across the center console, kissing the bitter crease at the side of Walter's lips, repeating his name.

Walter jerked his head from its place against the lip of the shoulder rest, exhaling sharply. He blinked blurrily for a few moments, disoriented, and stared at September.

September wondered what the burning on his own face meant- was he ill?

"Aren't you driving?" Walter asked distantly.

September nearly ran a red light, and slammed on the breaks to avoid cross-traffic. Walter laughed excitedly, his sense of danger slurred drowsily.

"You were having a bad dream," September said emotionlessly as the drive resumed normally.

Walter sat staring at his hands in his lap for a few moments, blinking slowly, then rolled down the window and inhaled the crisp, dawn air deeply, "Where am I?"

"We're almost there," September replied, wondering if his transgression had gone unnoticed. He knew that people tended to react quite strangely, when it came to such things. Especially, it seemed, if they were kissed by someone of the same gender, and September suddenly realized the jeopardy that he had placed his friendship in.

"Oh. Oh, you're not Peter," Walter smiled, stretching as his spine popped quietly back into place, "That's good. I would start to worry about the boy, kissing me like that."

September suddenly felt heavy, his gaze frozen on the road ahead, replying the only way he could, "Yes."

"Thank you."

September glanced over at him.

Walter stuck his hand out of the window, splaying his fingers to feel the cold air pressing into his palm, "I know how awkward things like that are, for you. And putting yourself at such discomfort for my gain is quite generous of you."


"I should tell you that you're blushing," Walter mused, flexing his nearly numb fingers.

"That is the conduction of temperature on my features?" September asked.

"Yep. Here," Walter leaned over the island, gently touching the side of Septembers' face with his cold fingertips, then placing his cool palm across his cheek, "better?"

"No," September admitted. Walter's fingers crept behind his ear, the cold points strangely numbing. Following their slight pressures, September found himself drawn from the road, his lips then pressed into a firm embrace with Walters'. He wondered at the abruptness of the kiss, and if the strange fluttery feeling in his chest was another emotion he had pulled from his friend. Walter pulled away, and kissed him again, seeming to enjoy the experience, not at all nervous or uncomfortable. September suddenly felt himself growing weak.

Walter broke away, staring into his companions' eyes. "I smell ocean," he said seriously.

"W-what?" September stammered breathlessly.

A wide grin spread across Walter's face, "I smell ocean!" he released him, bouncing across the cab to stick his head out of the window, "Are we going to the ocean?!"

September swerved and gave a cry to avoid clipping the side rail of the road.