A/N: Well I'm finally done. If you're still with me, kudos to you. Let me know what you thought of it, reviews are always appreciated.
I always liked the way that Andre Royo's character Bubbles in the Wire could work as Henry's back story, so I thought I'd just combine them. Here's how it ends….
Chapter 9 - The Smaller Things
Peter and Olivia returned to the lab to see if there was any way for them to help.
"Walter, how do we know that the virus hasn't gone airborne already."
"If it had we would be seeing far more cases by now."
"But Dad, even if it becomes airborne, we're still only talking about one carrier. The virus will be limited to the people he is around. There's no way for it to spread at the kind of rates we're afraid of."
"No, not yet. But as Agent Dunham's friend likes to say, viruses are fickle. They will change and adapted even when they aren't programed to. Given enough time I think it is quite possible that they virus will find a way to spread beyond the limits of its one carrier."
"But Walter," Bell interjected, "There is hope."
"There is? Oh yes, right, there is. We have developed a weak antidote."
"If should be able to cure anyone within 3 hours of infection."
"And since most victim are dead within 4 hours of exposure, it's a reasonable time frame."
"Will it cure Higgins?"
"The fellow they call Bubbles? No, but we are working on that now. You just need to find him."
As if on cue, Olivia's phone rang, "Dunham."
"Hey Liv, It's me. There's been a sighting of your suspect right in Cambridge. We're asking that the area be cleared and we're looking for a way to take him in without exposing anyone."
"Where is he?"
Three sets of eyes watched Olivia shot down an address, anxiously waiting for the news. "Thanks Charlie. I'll take care of it." She hung up the phone and pocketed the address, "Higgins is twelve blocks away. Uniforms are keeping the public at bay, but I'm going to go speak with him. See if I can get him to surrender to the CDC and a quarantine group that have been dispatched."
"Why you?" Peter could feel his stomach tying in knots. "What's to stop you from being infected?"
"Peter is right, dear. You would be putting yourself at great risk. I don't think it's a good idea."
"I'll be careful. And if anything happens, well we can always use the antidote."
"It's untested. And who knows if the virus has already begun to change. Livia, please don't do this."
"What other choice do we have?"
"A rather obvious one," Bell said in a matter-of-fact way. "I should go."
"I have already been exposed to the virus, it is logical to conclude that it will not affect me."
"But Belly, that was completely different version, we don't know if you are immune to this one."
"Don't worry, Walter. I'm dying anyway. It will only cost me a few months. Besides, this is all happening because of me. I should be the one to stop it.
Henry Higgins stood in the middle of an intersection looking frightened as he noticed the road blocks in every direction. Peter and Olivia were perched on the roof of a near by office block. A safe distance if the virus was spread by touch, but if it was airborne, well they wouldn't be the only ones in trouble. They watched Bell approach Higgins from the north. A wire allowed them to hear all that was said.
"Henry, is it?" Henry's look of surprise at being addressed by name was conformation enough for Bell, so he continued, "I've come to speak to you."
"To me? Why? What's all this about? Where is everyone? Why am I trapped here?"
"We believe you have been exposed to a virus. That you are a carrier and are unintentionally affecting those around you."
"Affecting?" he echoed with horror.
"Yes, there have been 46 cases so far. All dead. Their faces and all orifices covered with skin."
A look of terrified recognition passed over Henry's features. "That... that's what happened to Fletch. One minute, we're on top of the world, the next he's freaking out, it's like he's choking, but there's just all this skin and I didn't know what to do. It was like, when I was a kid, back home. Watching everyone get sick around me. Felt just like that, I sat there in that alley, just waiting my turn, you know, waiting to die to, cause that's what happens. But then nothing happened."
"We believe it was your body's resistance to Ebola that saved you."
Henry laughed bitterly, "I thought it was God. See, getting sick, but surviving. Seeing what I saw back then, it really messed me up. I was in a bad way, couldn't pull myself out, you know. But then I see that happen to Fletch, and I figure I'm next, but I survive. I survive again, and I just thought... I thought maybe it was God giving me another chance. Thought maybe I could be somebody else. You know, someone better. Sometimes you've got to believe in what you can't see. So I went away from everyone, shut myself up, until I didn't want that shit anymore. Until I felt like I got my life together. I knew I had to wait until I was strong enough not to need it. I only came back to the world a few days ago. But now... 46 people... I did that to them?"
"No. Just like them something was done to you. You're not responsible for that."
"Oh God. Jasmine. I just saw Jasmine this afternoon. Wanted to show her I'd got clean. She's the only one who ever believed in me, and I wanted to show her I'd got out. Do you think I infected her to? If I hurt her..." Henry looked about ready to break.
"We can help her. If she has been exposed, but it's been less than 3 hours we have a cure. We can help you too."
"How am I supposed to live with this?"
"Henry I know you feel responsible. I feel that way too. All this, this virus, it was made for me. To cure me. I feel like I all of these deaths are on my head. But we didn't do this and the best way to fight that feeling, to fight that guilt and helplessness, is to stop this thing, right here, right now. To show those actually responsible that we are not their pawns or their play things. That we are not merely instruments of fate. We can change it, Henry. We can stop this."
"If I come with you, you'll save Jasmine?"
"I give you my word."
After the day (well days) that they'd had, Peter was barely able to stay conscious as he and Olivia sat in the hospital, waiting for Walter and Bell to emerge from the quarantined areas. When they finally did arrive, Peter was barely aware that his body had stood up and was walking towards them, closely followed by Olivia.
"Walter, please tell me you have good news."
"Yes. Wonderful news in fact. We were able to save the young woman-"
"Jasmine." Bell clarified.
"We have Henry heavily quarantined, but Belly and I are working in conjunction with the doctors here and we are hopeful that he will make a full recovery. Have there been any cases since Belly brought him in?"
"None." Olivia confirmed, "I think it really is over."
"Wonderful, I knew we could do it. Now if you don't mind, we should return to our patient. The nurses just brought us some vanilla pudding and I'd like to get back before one of the doctors eats it." Walter was nearly out of the room before he turned back to Peter, "I'm sorry, Son. I forgot you don't have your car here. I won't be able to give you a ride home."
"Don't worry Walter, I can drive Peter."
"Excellent. My pudding awaits. Have a lovely evening you two."
It was past three in the morning by the time they left and there was hardly another car on the road. As they drove in relative silence Olivia let out a large yawn. Unable to help himself, Peter did the same. They both laughed. "Long day, huh?" Olivia said with a crocked smile.
"Well we've been up for over 72 hours straight. By this point I think we can start calling it a long week."
"But you know, as exhausted as I am, I feel awake. I don't think I could sleep even if I tried."
"I know what you mean. Averting disaster must be a pretty good energy boast."
"I guess even without Frank we were meant to solve this."
"Don't say 'meant to'."
"Why not?" Olivia asked playfully, shooting him a sideways look.
"That just makes it sound like it was our fate."
"And you don't think it was? Even after everything we've seen and experienced, you are honestly going to tell me you don't believe in fate?"
"I don't," Peter said honestly, "and I'll tell you why. Because of the alternate universes."
"The alternate universes?" Olivia echoed with skepticism.
"Yeah. See in theory, for every decision, big or small, and new universe forms. Which means that all outcomes are not only equally likely, they are all happening simultaneously. When we look back at our own universe, we see only that one path that got us to where we are, and it seems so improbably, that it seems like it must be 'meant to be', when really it's just the one random times that things worked out in this way. In another universe, we don't stop the disease and everyone dies, in another one, Jones never invents it to begin with. In another we never meet, or my father never loses his son, or none of us were ever born. There are an infinite number of worlds, each one of them thinking they're special, that fate guides them along a set path. When really, Einstein was wrong, God does play dice."
"Okay, you don't have to call it fate. But I still believe in something beyond random chance, something that connects and guides us."
Olivia took her eyes off the road for a long second and just looked at him. Finally she said in a small voice, "Because I met you. Even though we were never suppose to. Because no matter the differences in people's lives they still seem to end up falling in love, regardless of the universe. Your parents, mine, Charlie and his wife. Heck, I bet you the other universe's Henry Higgins has a Jasmine all his own. People find each other, again and again, even though, by your description of infinite universes, they should end up with an infinite collection of partners."
Olivia was looking back at the road. Peter stared at her profile, realizing how familiar it was to him; as if he had been staring at her face his whole life. "Please don't tell me you're taking me home."
"I'm not. Not to your home, anyway."
They were in each other arms long before they made it into the apartment. All thought of sleep left them as Peter pinned Olivia against her apartment door and began to kiss her neck. In a true show of dexterity Olivia managed to unlock her door while her back was still pressed against it, and the two of them practically fell into apartment 2A. Coats and shoes were discarded in a sea of hands and stolen kisses. It wasn't until Olivia turned around to lead Peter to the bedroom that she noticed September sitting on her couch. Still holding on to Peter's hand and with her body pointed in the direction of her room, she said, "We've stopped the virus and saved the world. Can't we just have one night off?" The observer merely tilted his head to the side. Reluctantly Olivia and Peter sat down on the couch across from him.
"I have told the others the timeline has been repaired. I do not think they will come after you. They are not concerned with the small details. They are interested in the big things, and great moments in history. Great moments of change. I have come to appreciate some of the smaller things. To marvel at those who work hard and struggle, those who fight against their fate. And with everything you and your counter parts in the alternate universe have endure, it seemed only right, that at least one set of your should have the opportunity to be happy". With that he was gone. Olivia stared at the seat of the couch that he used to occupy. She felt every sleepless hour hit her like a brick wall. She glanced at Peter, but saw her own feelings reflected in his eyes. The spark was out; all that was left was exhaustion and a vague emptiness.
Olivia got ready for bed in a daze, barely aware that Peter was even there. As she lay down she found it hard to believe she had been so happy only minutes before. The observer's not so veiled prophecy about her dream self upset her. The fact was that she liked the other Olivia and Peter, and she didn't have much interest in watching their lives crumble and break. Just the thought of it made her feel a deep foreboding in the pit of her stomach. The bed creaked slightly at Peter's weight as he climbed in next to her. He wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin against her shoulder. His stubble tickled. He whispered in her ear, "He was wrong about us." Olivia smiled. Peter did too, she could feel it against her back. Her dark mood faded away, and she pressed herself further into his embrace. Once again she felt relief. She felt completely content and at peace as she drifted into sleep. Into a field of white flowers and a little boy who would always know where to find her. A boy who would always be home.