Curiosity Kills the Cat

No copyright inFRiNGEment intended.

Note: Peter had a bad dream. He can't shake the idea that Olivia was in a car accident. This is the last part, --for now. I guess that in A New Day in the Old Town Peter will get all the answers he needs. Please R&R!!



Peter glanced through the window and spotted an old woman walking her tiny old dog on the opposite side of the street. The dog was wearing a plaid coat and looking grim and disenchanted. Who wouldn't, Peter thought, being seen in such attire in the gloomy morning light. The woman trampled her way to the corner with the tiny old dog in her wake and disappeared from his view. He sighed and looked back at his father.

Despite his quiet demeanour, Peter felt restless. Okay, he had had a bad dream. Olivia confirmed he shouldn't be worried anytime soon. Bottom line, he had been making a fool of himself. Too much coffee, not enough vegetables and a sprinkle of sleep deprivation, that's what it does to you. With last night to add to the list, he had lost count.

Fortunately, Walter has been his only witness, so far. Hopefully, Olivia would never know why he called Charlie Francis on his cell at the wee hours, -- that is unless Walter feels in the mood to gloat about it to Astrid or someone else or even better to advertise it on the planet Fringe next time they were to visit the FBI office downtown. What to expect from a crazy scientist whose world suddenly became his oyster again? Or maybe he was the one who was crazy. Maybe they were both crazy, like father like son. Maybe, she would simply forget he called. Not in this lifetime, he chuckled to himself.

For now he was pretending to have a gargantuan breakfast to celebrate, for lack of a better word, his being fit for duty and he was happy to please Walter. At this precise moment, his father was busy with soaking his food. He was pouring a ridiculous amount of maple syrup on his third course of so-called homemade pancakes with an evil grin. Peter winced and diverted his eyes from his father's plate and away from his own untouched bacon, congealed scrambled eggs, cold hash browns, and gritty oatmeal porridge. He was feeling nauseous and now that the morning came, his fears from last night sounded completely irrational.

But his guts insisted on telling him that something was very wrong. He was suspecting that Walter had taken advantage of his dismay when submitting him to all those tests for hours. He was distracted or he would never have accepted it. And there was something else. Something about Olivia and that grey sedan. He took a sip of cold coffee and waited patiently for Walter to feel satiated enough to go back to the lab.

A half hour later, he pushed the lab door, feeling like he was 300 years old. He needed a shower and a million hours of dreamless sleep… and to be away from Walter.

"Hey," Astrid greeted them. "You there already? Isn't it a bit early even for you two?"

Peter shrugged and waved his hand with a you don't want to know look on his face, turning his back to the dashing assistant while Walter rushed to her side. "Asteroid, I have something to tell you that comforts my theory," he volunteered with a conspiratorial smile, "but I promised Peter not to say anything."

"Really?" she smiled back. "And what is it?"

Walter leaned forward and whispered in her ear.

"Walter, what did you say?" she shook her head. It was going to be a long day.

Walter frowned and glanced in the approximate direction of his son. He slipped his coat and scarf off and gave them to Astrid. "No, no, no… I promised. But you must know that I was right!" He raised a triumphant finger under her nose that made her recoil.

"Okay." She took the clothes and watched him put on his lab coat.

He was nodding and muttering.

"Are you all right Walter?" she felt compelled to ask.

"Yes, I'm quite all right and you'll be glad to hear that Peter is, too. We performed a thorough analysis and I couldn't find anything wrong with him," he stated flatly.

Now, regardless of her dealing on a daily basis with Walter's peculiar idiosyncrasies, Astrid was beginning to be alarmed. "Really? And why would you do this in the middle of the night?"

"Obviously," his eyebrow rocketed, "because there's everything in this lab to run every test I needed to get to the root of the problem if there were any… except for a scanner. Maybe I… I should probably ask Olivia for one of those. Digital imagery, that's simply fantastic, you know. Perhaps it is too expensive, you…"

"The problem? Is Peter sick or something?" she cut him off. She felt rude but didn't flinch, bracing herself pre-emptively against any possible outburst.

"Of course not, nonsense!" he scurried away to his bench and picked a manila folder. "He was just… over reacting." Directly engulfed in his work, he suddenly went perfectly still and silent.

"Astrid, leave him be. He's gonna calm down eventually," Peter's voice in her back startled her. "I had a bad dream and Walter… Well, it's a long story. I think I'll have a nap in Olivia's office. Wake me up if anything goes wrong."

"Goes wrong?"

"Yup. I have this feeling, you know. Just wake me up, okay?"

"Will do," she smiled.

Peter disappeared in the back of the lab.

Astrid went back to making a pot of fresh coffee and fix a plate of cinnamon rolls for Walter. Well it was just another day of work at the lab, she smiled, picking up Walter's favourite mug near Mr Coffee. She'd have to ask Olivia about this new riddle. But she had to admit that Peter sleeping on Olivia's couch, that was certainly a first.

She had almost forgotten about this surprising start when Olivia popped in, fresh as a daisy, almost two hours later.

"Hey, what's up? Do you need me today Walter?" The blonde agent asked in her casual manner. She didn't expect any answer but she was rewarded by the interrogating gaze of two pairs of eyes.

"Good morning agent Dunham," Walter exclaimed. He winced and looked around. "Peter's asleep in your office. He barely slept last night, I'd rather prefer that you don't wake him up, --if you can," he whispered in a somewhat mysterious voice.

"Is there something wrong?"

"No, be assured that I took every precaution. My son is perfectly fine." Olivia looked puzzled but she didn't make any attempt at worming more information out of him. He made a face as if he did expect she would. "I promised not to tell anyone," he finally added in a stronger voice.

"Okay… Well, I thought I'd come to the lab to talk about his phone call last night but that can wait. I'm on my way then. I won't be back today. You can reach my on my cell in case you need me," she told Astrid.

"You're leaving already?" Walter whined. "At least have a donut… a cinnamon roll that is today."

"No thanks Walter, I have to go to New York. I have a meeting with Nina Sharp."

"You're going to New York? Can I come with you? I dreamt of the perfect bagel some nights ago and I… maybe not." Walter's face melted and he returned to his vials and test tubes. "Have a nice trip agent Dunham," he said without a look back.

"Something new?" Astrid chimed in.

"Not sure yet, I'll let you know. I should be back to Boston late in the afternoon should you need me here. Tell Peter I say hi." With that, she was gone and Walter immediately forgot she was even here.

Olivia slammed the door on her way out.

Peter opened his eyes and listened intently. Nothing but the quiet familiar white noise of the lab. He closed his eyes, folding his arms on his chest and went back to sleep.