A/N: This takes place at an ambiguous time after Jacksonville, but there are still spoilers, so watch out.
Disclaimer: I don't own Fringe.
They are drinking.
By some unspoken decision, this is how they spend their time together.
It's better to become an alcoholic with someone than to become an alcoholic alone, Olivia decides. And she's quite right.
She notices them immediately. It could've been because of the bell on the door, alerting the bartenders of new customers. It could've been the sheer girth of these men, the hate etched into their faces. It could've been the comically huge guns they were holding.
But it was because of the glow surrounding them.
They give a look to one of the bartenders, and start firing everywhere.
Somehow, they burn. Bright flames, the smell of burnt flesh.
The dust settles and Olivia sees people cowering in their crouched states, under tables and chairs. She sees people see the dead, watches as their eyes swing from the spontaneous combustion spectacle to their loved ones and (formerly) potential sexual exploits.
There are no wounded. You're either alive or you're not.
Except for one.
Peter and Olivia crawl out from under the table. They sit back against their chairs, still on the floor. His breathing is far too labored.
"So do you think you can give me a ride to the hospital?" he asks.
He pulls his hand away from where it was struggling to hold his insides in. Her eyes widen horribly.
"Don't freak out: I don't think it hit anything."
He is very obviously drunk, far drunker than usual. That's a problem.
"You don't think it hit anything? It hit you!"
And so she drives him to the hospital. He glows bright with her panic.
She left the live, the dead, and the burning far behind.
Hospitals are far too light. Maybe it was supposed to make the sick feel better, but that definitely wasn't happening right now, to her, the woman with the massive headache and the ball of nerves deep in her chest. The whiteness feels far too sterile and uneasy to be rehabilitating. She wishes to paint the walls in color for him in the hopes that he'll open his eyes to see it.
While conversing with her boss, she comes to the conclusion that (a) everyone is heartless except for her, and (b) that that is neither fair to her nor good for them.
"Why do you think they came here? What are the odds?" Broyles ponders.
"What are the odds of two inter-dimensional terrorists finding us and shooting Peter?" Hysterical, she barked a laugh. "I don't know. What are the odds of me setting them on fire with my mind?"
Walter, sitting behind them solemnly, propagates that it's difficult to calculate the probability because "we don't know what we're up against." But if he would guess: about 247,358, 401 to one, because the other side has been substantially more successful than he.
Even if it's true, Walter should just shut up.
Olivia just breathes deeply, because Peter would kill her if she stopped doing that.
She pulls her hair loose from its confines and sits back in the chair in which she set up residence. Astrid escorted Walter home with some difficulty; he didn't want to leave his son alone in a hospital. Olivia promised to stay, and used that as a cover excuse for what she would have done anyway.
2 AM brings great relief.
Eyelids fluttering, he stirs. There is something so great about that.
Suddenly self-conscious, she feels like a mess. She doesn't want him to see her dried tears and dark eyes. But it's too late to do anything because his gaze gravitates to her.
"Hey," he whispers.
He squeezes her hand, and she remembers she's holding his.
"Why are you crying?"
She wiped her face, shook her head.
"Are you okay?"
She gasped a laugh, but didn't respond.
"God," he rasped. "Don't do this to me."
She looks straight at him now.
"It's not fair," he continued. "I tell you lots of things." He moves to the opposite edge of the bed with probably a lot of difficulty, making just enough room for her.
He just looked at her expectantly. She sized up the situation. And then she crawled on to the bed. She rested her head on his chest and clutched at him as tightly as possibly while minding his wound.
"I'll tell you something."
He waited very patiently.
"You scare the crap out of me."
It hangs in the air like smoke in the still wind.
Secrets press against her chest from the inside. Tears are the only things that escape. In her book, he has nothing to be sorry for.
"It's okay," she forgives. "It's a good fear."
And in the morning they pretend it never happened.