Happy Halloween, everybody! ^.^
*I do not own Fringe. It does own me.
"Peeeeeter," his father continued in singsong. Peter snorted as something soft tickled the underside of his nose, and lifted his hand to bat the sensation away. Walter ran the feather across his lip again, smiling fondly, "Wakey wakey, sunshine."
Peter groaned, pushing Walter's feather away and shrouding his face in the dusty sheets, "Is it the equinox? Or did you just have another bad dream?" he questioned flatly.
"No, son- it's fall, it's fall!" Walter said excitedly, "Or autumn, if you want to be formal about it. But I don't like the word 'autumn'- it feels too stuffy."
"Speaking of stuffy, howsabout you put a shirt on, huh?" Peter coughed, sitting up to rub grains of dirt from his eyes. He blinked his eyes open for the first time in three months, and was nearly depressed at what he saw- the interior of a tattered, abandoned bedroom, its Victorian grandeur long fallen to dust and disrepair. But he was always depressed, after what his father called 'inverse hibernation'- maybe it was the thought of how much time had passed, that he was aware of it.
He hadn't seen summer since his sixteenth birthday.
Walter rolled off of his son, playing with the ratted old feather in his fingertips and ignoring his suggestion, "I started coffee down in the kitchen, I know how cranky you can get, after the hot months. The smell reminds me of when you would wake me, when you were young… always surprising me with breakfast. The problem is, all you could ever make was peanut butter sandwiches…" Walter chuckled, grinning over at him, the twin peaks of large canines glinting in the dim, "Your mother hated peanut butter."
" And it always got stuck to the roof of your mouth," Peter answered, reaching out to ruffle his father's messy hair.
"But I enjoyed it. Because you're my pup. And I love you." Walter bounced up from the feather mattress, tightening his belt around his waist to hold up his oversized trousers. It ran in the family that they lost a dangerous amount of weight, during sleep, "I'm going to head down, see about making some breakfast. Hopefully there's still something useable, and we might be able to put on some bulk, before we head out tonight." He sauntered out of the room and into the drafty hall, the dirty cuffs of his slacks scuffing the dust to elongate his footprints.
Peter sighed and stretched, scratching dust caked on his scalp and under his armpits. At length he pushed the covers away, hugging his warm knees to his chest and rubbing his arms against the chill. The air felt wet, as if a heavy dew had not yet cleared itself away for the thin, bright sunlight.
Despite his hollow feelings upon waking, Peter felt perfectly energized, and could feel his new blood, granted from his slumber, trickling warmly across his muscles and he stood, stretching the kinks from his limbs. He pulled on a robe over his under shorts and undershirt, and shuffled into the bathroom.
The water ran red with rust in the sink as he squeaked open the tap, the pipes in the walls churning and shuttering with ancient strain. Peter let it run over his hands, twisting the grit in his fingers until the water ran clear. He filled his palms with water and splashed it over his face.
Peter frowned at his own reflection in the cobwebbed mirror, his thin fingers scratching at the stubble on his hollowed cheeks. He still looked very much like a corpse- he'd always been jealous of how fast Walter 'filled out' his skin, after every oversummer. Peter, however, would continue to look half-mummified until he got around to drinking something.
Impatiently, Peter stooped to suck water through his cracked lips, tasting of rust.
He shuffled at last down the creaking spiral stairs from the loft. Downstairs was in even worse shape, if there was such a thing; it appeared that it had been heavily vandalized, in the time he had been out. But repair would be simple, now that he had another nine months of sleeplessness. At least he would have something to do.
"Walter, no wings at the table," Peter said as he entered the low kitchen, sliding onto a stool at the counter as he took up a steaming cup of black coffee.
"I'm only trying to stop the draft," Walter replied reasonably, his voice muffled behind a wall of sorrel-grey feathers that shrouded him, "it's making it hell, trying to cook pancakes."
"Pancakes again?" Peter said, looking over a trash magazine that had been left behind, "we always have pancakes, Walter. I'm craving an omelet."
"Nope, nope. You need the carbs, and flapjacks are the fastest way to get them," Walter turned, folding his surplus appendages behind himself to fit snugly against his spine- this would have been perfectly concealable, had Walter been wearing a shirt as requested. He pushed off a golden-colored pancake onto a plate, "Surprise! I made peanut butter syrup!" He beamed.
"Gross," Peter agreed, "don't put any on mine."
"Tsk. You'll like it. Besides, peanut butter is the only thing the rats and weevils haven't gotten into."
"Great," Peter grumped, jamming a fork into the stack of pancakes and hauling them off the plate to take a massive bite.
"For the love, Peter, chew your food," Walter said disapprovingly, pausing to refill his son's coffee cup and move back to the stove, "I know you're in a hurry to fill out, I can't imagine going around looking like jerky, myself, but please."
"Thanks, Walter. Really good for my self esteem," Peter swigged his coffee, and returned to his consumption.
"You have your mother's appetite, I sometimes think," Walter said, shutting off the burner and sliding his own pancakes onto his plate. He sat and began to slather them with the caramel-colored syrup, "It's a real pity she tried to eat you. Women of our kind simply aren't that stable, I think. Speaking of which, you need to find a nice girl of your own-"
"Hey, no. Let's not start into that again," Peter warned, "We've been over this- I don't want a girl, not yet. And don't think you have any say in that, alright? So just back off."
Walter sighed, poking at his pancakes with disinterest, "But Peter," he whined at last, "I want grandpups. And I'm not getting any younger."
"I don't want to have children with some woman that will try to eat them, when they reach adolescence," Peter snapped. He glared at his plate, knocking his tail against the underside of his chair, "human woman don't eat their kids."
"Human? What do humans have to do with anything?" Walter questioned, lost.
"Forget it," Peter said. He took another drink of his coffee, "Make me some more pancakes. I don't want to go to the store looking like king Tut. And put on a shirt, for the last time."
After shaking the dead moths out of his clothes and taking a bath, Peter felt that he had taken on enough water to reconstitute his cells, to look at least halfway normal. He found the station wagon where they had left it in the locked garage- the car was a piece of junk, but it was nice to have something to take into town, after oversummer, and they kept the vehicle locked in a fortified annex next to the well house. Peter wondered if the car were as old as the house and his father combined.
Peter siphoned out the old gas, refilling it with a jerry can he had filled for just that purpose months earlier. He pushed aside a few pieces of Walter's collection of animal taxidermies and hauled down the chain to open the garage door, letting in the light and wind to swirl around the dust.
Farm country. Too much dust.
Peter grunted as he lowered himself into the drivers' seat, pushing aside the newspaper that covered the upholstery, "Okay, are you going to work for me, today…?" He questioned, and slid the key into the ignition, turning it.
"Oil?" Someone questioned, and Peter jumped. Walter was stooped to watch him, his arms on the sill of the passenger window. His brows rose with surprise, "did I frighten you, son?"
"No," Peter lied, "I heard you coming." Another lie- he'd been trying not to exercise his hearing too much, as it made it harder to endure the noises of town, "Listen. I'm going into town with the list. Is there anything you need?"
"Toothbrush," Walter answered, "ooh- and can you see if they have candied apples? I want one of those. But if you can't get that, get me something chocolate. But no sprinkles- you know how I detest sprinkles. Useless things."
Peter chuckled, "Whatever, Walter. I'll say hi to your girlfriend, if I see her."
Walter's pale complexion reddened a bit, "I haven't been able to find Gene," he confessed, motioning out at the desolate, yellow field of dying grass just beyond an old plank fence. It seemed to stretch on forever, "The Tullocks promised me they wouldn't take her to market, they know how much I adore her…"
"I was talking about Astrid," Peter frowned.
"Never mind. I'll be back in a bit," Peter said, grinding the shifter into gear as he pulled out of the garage.
"Make sure to put in a quart, when you get to the petrol station!" Walter called after him as the station wagon rumbled away in a cloud of dirt and gravel, and he frowned and fidgeted uncomfortably, "I worry about that boy…"
Peter was adjusting his mirrors on his way down the driveway when he spotted a singular figure, picking its way along the side of the road among the tall, yellowed weeds beside the barbed wire fence. A smile found Peter's slightly cracked lips before he could stop it, and he slowed the car to a stop, "Hey, lady!" he called out.
Astrid Farnsworth laughed, approaching the off drivers side, placing her palm on the dirty windshield as she placed her other hand on her hip, provocatively displaying her denim cut-offs, "Hey, mister! Lookin' for a good time, sailor?"
Peter chuckled, "'Morning, Astrid. Walter's up at the house, and- ohmigawd, I love you!" he exclaimed as she offered a bottle of cola through the window, and he took it, twisting it open and drinking deeply.
"You look a little dehydrated. I was hoping to get up there before you guys got up- how late am I?"
"Walter got me up early this morning," Peter licked the sugar off his lips, then wiped them on his sleeve.
"Rats. I made lunch," Astrid offered, holding up a basket no doubt filled with various delicious, homemade foodstuffs, "I made pumpkin pie."
"I'm sure Walter will appreciate the vittles, but I've got to go and pick up a few things," Peter said apologetically, "I myself was subjected to his pancakes and peanut butter syrup, this morning."
Astrid made a face, which still somehow managed to be adorable.
"Yeah, I know. Anyways, see you in a bit," Peter said, "And thanks for the coke." Astrid smiled and waved, as he drove away.