FRINGE

Curiosity Kills the Cat

No copyright inFRiNGEment intended.

Note: something in the last episode of season 1 caught everybody's attention: here's my take on Olivia's SUV near miss on her way to New York and her meeting with Ms Nina S.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

PROLOGUE

Walter's eyes snapped open. It took him a few seconds to evaluate his current situation. The hotel room, the faint light of his bedside lamp, Peter sleeping in the other room. He was not in Sainte Claire's, at least, he could assume that much.

He sat on the bed, peered through the dim light and gave a worried look at the crumpled covers and sheets on the couch across his own bed. He sighed, got up, scurried silently to his son's side.

He watched him for a while struggle against invisible enemies, standing in his plaid robe, his hands restless on his lap, unable to decide what to do, his feet shuffling absently on the rug. After an agonizing few minutes, he glided to the couch and crouched down next to Peter, sat on the coffee table, waiting helplessly for his agitation to recede. His eyes intent and placid at the same time, his head slightly tilted, he mulled over checking his radial pulse.

Deep inside, Walter felt prepared after all these months spent in the close companionship of his only son but he could not help but flinch at the violent reactions that Peter was exhibiting in his sleep. Finally when he bucked with what sounded to his ears like an anguished moan, Walter patted his left hand gently and attempted to shush him back to sleep.

The light touch that Walter intended to be soothing acted like a thunderbolt and Peter awoke with a start.

"Aaah!" Walter yelped springing to his feet.

"Aaaah!" Peter's voice echoed. "Walter, what on earth are you doing?"

Walter shifted his weight from one foot to the other and plastered on his face his best impersonation of a cocker spaniel. "Nothing."

"And you're doing nothing at…" Peter checked his watch, "4:23 in the morning and right next to me. Are you trying to frighten me to death? What is it that could possibly explain that you feel the need to talk to me now? You hungry?"

Walter winced and went back to his usual Cheshire cat face. "No, of course I'm not, it's the middle of the night!" he protested, half offended half sulking. "But…"

"Hey! … but? Be careful Walter, I'm not in the mood for one of your idiotic demand."

Walter barely hesitated. "Are you all right son?"

Peter discarded his obvious concern with a shrug. "I guess I was until you managed to wake me up!" Peter swung his legs to the floor and made his way to the bathroom in his boxer shorts with Walter in his wake. Turning around, "Do you mind?" he barked. His dishevelled hair and the dark circles under his eyes were proof enough that he was short of a few hours of sleep but Walter was not ready to let go.

"You were in pain, son, I just wanted to help."

Peter stopped dead in tracks. "Not again, please, not the same lame excuse again. Can't you give me the benefit of one night, one single night of well earned rest Walter? What am I to you, another of your experiments?" He shook his head. "Don't answer. I don't want to know. Now if you don't mind I'd like to take a l…"

"I understand," Walter stepped back and gestured him to go ahead. Peter slammed the door behind him. Walter moved ahead and stood perfectly still two inches away from the door.

When Peter fanned the door open, he jumped startled by the close proximity of his father. "Don't you do that, step away, step away from the door Walter. What is it with you? Is it the tai food you had for dinner?"

Walter made a face, outraged at the uncanny possibility that his own son was so unable to read him. "You were having a bad dream," he prompted dryly. "Maybe a mild sedative would help you to sleep," he proposed.

"A bad dream? Come on, you can do better than that," Peter quipped, making a dash for the couch. "Go back to bed Walter. I'm not going to tuck you in. And don't even think of trying to dose me against my will with your homemade cocktails."

"I was only trying to help."

"Really?" Peter lay down on the couch and grabbed the blankets only succeeding in removing them from his feet. "You mean you just woke me up to give you the opportunity to feed me with sleeping pills? This is getting old Walter, go back to bed, I'm not kidding."

"You said some things in your sleep."

"Were you spying on me?"

Walter chose to ignore his sly comment. "It was about agent Dunham. Don't you remember son?"

"No I don't, now will you go back to…" Peter froze. It was all coming back. He felt the impact of the unexpected backlash and felt sick in his stomach. She was in her SUV, driving too fast. She was distracted. He could hear the clash of the torn metal when her car rammed into the grey sedan. Was she hurt? Was it only a dream? It felt so real.

"Ah! I knew it! You do remember," Walter exulted.

"I was… I was dreaming that she was in an accident," he said carefully. He sat on the couch, wrapped himself up in the sheet and paused. "She was in her car…"

"What was she wearing?"

"I remember a raincoat, you know the one that looks like a special agent cliché?"

Walter nodded, his two forefingers joined before his mouth.

"With her usual signature pantsuit," he continued, the shadow of a smile graced his lips, "and a baby blue shirt."

"Nothing out of the ordinary?"

"She's driving too fast. It's not her natural MO. She's not in Boston."

"Do you recognize the scenery?"

"I think this is… yes she's in New York. What would she do in New York?" he asked.

Walter assessed it was only rhetorical and nodded again.

"Why would she be in New York?" Peter insisted. "She never told me she was going to New York…"

"Calm down son, it's only a dream, merely a product of your imagination."

Peter got his cell from the coffee table and speed dialled her. "No it's not. She's in New York and she went alone. What if it was a trap?"

"It was a bad dream Peter, you must know that…"

"It's not a dream Walter, you of all people, you should believe me. I'm positive she's been hurt."

Walter furrowed his brow and leaned towards his son. Was he delusional? Maybe if he could give him some…

"You said I was agitated and that you tried to calm me down. Is it what you were trying to do? Answer me!"

"You're not thinking straight Peter, let me get you someth…"

"Enough with your obsession for self medication, I'm perfectly all right, I'm telling you she was in an accident and now she's not answering her phone. I got to call Broyles."

"First I want you to come to the lab and let me examine you," Walter stopped him. "Then you should call agent Francis. I noticed that agent Dunham and agent Francis are very close."

Peter stared at his father and shook his head. "All right, I'll take us to the lab, but no tank, right?"

"Right."

"Get ready Walter, I'll check with the hospitals in the meantime."

TBC