*I do not own Fringe. What I do, ladies and gentlemen, is heresy.
It had started as a hopeful cure to his insomnia. Walter Bishop had never meant any harm, from it- he had only sought comfort. But the guilt that had plagued him, for his thievery, had driven him forward, in the pursuit of joy. Perhaps all he wanted was to give back the pleasant dreams he had stolen.
It was a terrible thing, the making of his machine.
Walter Bishop awoke when his hip met to wood floor of his bedroom, an especially jarring and painful thump, and he winced and cried out at his head hit next. Damn his thrashing, he'd forgotten to place his restraints. He lay on his side for a few moments, in a slight daze, wondering if perhaps the pain was only lingering from his nightmares. But soon, the ache began to settle in, and he shifted, rolling onto his back and looking up, at the ceiling.
The hum of an electric fan met his ears, the only noise in the stuffy room. Walter slowly began to push himself up, into a sitting position, grabbing for the sheet that had shifted off the bed when he had fallen. Dragging his useless legs along with him, he began to crawl back up, when the sheet suddenly gave with a soft sound of friction, and he was sprawled on his back again. Nursing his injured and aching hip with a small sigh, he tilted his head back, calling "Peter!"
The fan continued to annoy him, and he called again, "Peter!"
A slight vibration, in the floor- perhaps Peter getting up. He hoped so. He didn't want to spent another night lying next to his socks. There was the sound of quiet footsteps in the hall, and the door of the bedroom opened, "Walter?" he questioned raspily.
"Lend me a hand, I've fallen off the bed again," Walter replied, half annoyed, half embarrassed.
"Oh- jeez, here," Peter crossed the darkened room, flipping on a lamp, and he rubbed his tired eyes, "Let's get you back up."
He stooped to scoop Walter up; he weighed a deal less than the average person, without the use of his legs. Carefully, Peter laid him out on the mattress, beginning to gather his disheveled blankets and pull them back around him, "Thank you," Walter said, half muttering.
Peter smiled at him brightly, for so early in the morning, "No problem, Dr. Bishop. Is there anything else I can get you, while I'm up?"
Walter nodded, "My restraints, if you would?"
Peter pulled up the thin chains that connected the bed frame and a leather shackle, and Walter offered his wrist. Peter paused, as he was tightening it, "I don't think this is fair."
Walter raised his eyebrows, "What isn't fair?"
"This. This isn't fair, not to you. I've known you for just about my whole life, Dr. B…. I've seen you do so much good, for the world. These nightmares… you don't deserve them."
Walter smiled at him, "Don't worry about me, my boy. It's just my age, I think."
"You're the greatest man I've ever known." Peter began to buckle his ankle chains, glaring at his task.
"And you will be a far greater man than I, Peter," Walter assured him, "Long after I'm gone, I have only to hope."
"Is there any way to get them to stop? I mean, you've created so many things that make people happier, what do you think it would take, to stop your nightmares?"
Walter chuckled softly, "I don't know, Peter. Maybe someday, I'll put an end to all nightmares. The more darkness… the more unpleasantness I can take out of this world, the more chance there is to stop so much suffering. Even if it means taking on some of that suffering for myself."
"It doesn't seem beyond you," Peter said fondly. He straightened the blankets over Walter's form with a sigh. He watched Walter for a few moments, looking deep in thought, "Walter… you know that if you ever need anything… I'll help you, right?"
"I know, Peter. You're a good man, I'm blessed to know I can count on you," Walter patted his arm, the chain jingling faintly, "I don't deserve you."
"I'll always be there," Peter said, admiration shining in his eyes. "Now, you're sure there's nothing I can do, for you?"
"No, Peter, thank you. Good night."
Peter moved away from his bedside, "Okay. I'll be in in the morning, to get you loose. Good night." Peter clicked off the light, and left the room.
Of course he would follow him. To the ends of the earth, if need be. But it was only because what Peter saw in Walter Bishop was not, in fact, Walter Bishop. His perception was clouded with love.
But how would his love be effected, if he were to find out that his hero was a monster? That what he did, to stop his suffering, was to cause the suffering of others?
Walter Bishop lay on his back in the dark, staring up at the ceiling, bars of faint orange light playing across the stucco from the streetlamp outside. He was lucky, to live outside the city- there were hardly any cars to distract him, and the noises of life were faint, compared to the turmoil of his own thoughts. The way he could spin dreams into reality required quiet concentration, and he toiled away constantly, to stave off his own conscience. Perhaps Peter thought that this was in itself an act of love, perhaps that was what had caused such devotion, in the boy…
But Peters' had been the first dreams he had stolen.
Walter's eyelids began to grow heavy, and he forced them open again. He didn't want to sleep, didn't want to dream, anymore… not at what it cost. But the drugs he had taken and the measures he had gone through as a younger, stronger man had taken their toll. Walter was dying. When his heart beat, the pain he had felt for his actions was now physical, and he knew that it was only a matter of time, before it stop beating all together.
He itched his throat, letting out an exhausted sigh, before he laid his hand across his chest, his fingers splayed to feel the faint beating. To think that one day it would simply stop, and his nights of guilt and torment would end… he didn't know if he looked forward to it, or feared it. What would become of him? His accomplishments, the wonderful things he had stolen, he could only speculate that the world would go on loving him, for what he had done.
He wanted someone to love him. He wanted someone to forgive him. He wanted someone to understand him. Or, maybe he wanted someone to see him for what he was; a monster.
His eyes would stay open no longer, and his eyelids ached slightly as they met, and his breathing evened, warm through his nostrils as the hum of the fan hypnotized his mind into numbness. He would soon slip in to another paradise of imagination that he did not deserve.