A/N: Okay... about 3 weeks to a month ago I discovered Fringe. I never heard about it... didn't know what it was. I was at a client's house and we kept hearing the promo to it and the Chim Chim Cherree song that was played during the promo. I don't usually watch television but I was like WOOO I need to check this show out and I am so glad I did. I LOVE IT! I am halfway through season 4 ... and I can't get enough!
that being said. This is my first time writing a Fringe drabble. I LOVE all the characters but my favorite has to be Walter. And I love the way he is with Astrid. and yeah I ship them. They are just so cute together. So forgive any shakiness I may have with my character portrayal. I swear I will get better.
Title: She had a way
Rating: T for adult situations and topic
Summary: Walter is having a bad night and Astrid discovers something about herself. Set after the beginning of the 4th season when Peter doesn't exist. There was a moment that I liked and it inspired this. I obviously twisted the part to my own design. Anyone who loves Fringe would likely know what this part was in the show.
Disclaimer. I sadly do not own Fringe... :(
Boston Massachusetts was in the grip of a cold spell in mid February, most of the student body was home for the February vacation and only some of the Professors graced the halls of the university. One constant was in the basement of the college; a lab that was always in operation, had been at least for the last 4 years. Anyone walking into it would not know that it was unused, not for its intended purpose for 17 years before Dr. Walter Bishop was taken out of St. Claire's.
Various flasks over burners filled with colored liquid with no name unless you were Walter Bishop were either still or bubbling gently, filling the wide open space with an odd assortment of smells and vapors that anyone who was in there was used too by now. Alarming if you stepped into the lab for the first time, but it quickly went away. Often people who know Dr. Bishop as well as they could would wonder if there wasn't some sort of airborne d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide he created that is spewing out of those vials and into the breathable air. Knowing him as well as they did it was likely that there was something of the opiate persuasion in the air at any given time.
Something like dark matter seemed to hang in the psychedelic air as a soft and mournful blare of music that could assuredly be heard in the furthest reaches of the university, so it was no wonder Walter Bishop didn't hear Astrid Farnsworth when she walked into the lab, screaming his name in disbelief at the monumental volume of the music. She screamed his name at the top of her lungs and at this close proximity to the gigantic speakers, his body bent and sitting in a slouching manner, his butt right on the edge of the chair, his head tipped back, he reminded her of the iconic Maxell symbol of the man in the chair being blown back by intense sound.
She ran forward, unable to believe Walter could be sitting there without his head exploding. She knew he was off, she knew there was something wrong with him, but he didn't want to tell her what it was, she expected to see him gallivanting around the lab naked, high on some sort of experimental concoction he blended in the centrifuge again; not sitting static and risking deafness. Even standing over him, calling him, he didn't hear her or he was tripping on something while killing his eardrums.
She turned and pulled the needle off the record and as soon as the music stopped, Walter lifted his head and looked at her as if she had slapped him in the face.
"Walter… what did we discuss about sitting this close to the speakers with the music that high? You are going to make yourself deaf." Astrid said in a sort of mother hen fashion. Walter let his head fall back on the chair.
"I'm not a baby… I know perfectly well my limitations." He said, almost like a discontent teenager.
"Walter, your eardrums maybe but what about everyone else? You can achieve the same loudness using your headphones."
"But not the sensation. I wish to drive these redundant feelings from my body that I have no name or cause for."
"With blaring music?' Astrid asked as she stepped up to him. "Walter… talk to me."
"I feel lost… like a wretched rat running an endless maze to find the cheese and starving to death because I just keep going in circles and hitting dead ends." Walter said in a low and melancholy whisper, feeling her soft hand slip into in his rough hand. His eyes were slightly watery, the stability of his lips wavering, showing weakness, something Astrid knew the Doctor did not like to show, his brilliance is paramount and weakness showed his humanity, although now, after having suffered in an asylum for nearly two decades, the superiority complex has worn off, leaving him almost rub-raw and bare under her concerned gaze.
"Are you hungry, Walter? I can get you something to eat." Astrid had to be careful. Walter often talked in riddles and sometimes, or most of the time, when he was having one of his manic depressive moments, he would refer to food and she wasn't sure if he was trying to tell her he was hungry without saying it or if it was just the euphemism he used to tell her he was upset. She knew hunger or just general munchies weren't the case when he looked momentarily confused by her offer. She squeezed his hand a little tighter.
"No, I'm not hungry, my dear. I have been confused lately.' Walter said in a low voice, not seeing the 'you mean confused more than usual' disbelieving smile on his assistant's face, 'Things have been bothering me and what puzzles me is I don't know what these things are. I…I thought if I tried to lose myself in a slow mournful melody, it may jar some sort of reasoning in my head… so far all it's done is start to give me a throbbing headache." His face screwed up a little as he looked up at her.
"Well, a headache isn't so surprising; Walter… a decibel louder and the music could have shattered the windows. And the fact that you aren't using drugs to work out your problems worries me. Talk to me, Walter, what are you feeling?" Astrid asked, her hand that held on to Walter's clenched in a reassuring way, and whether she meant too, her other hand slipped up over his knuckles, enveloping that one hand in both of hers as she brought it consolingly to her chest. His hand did not touch her, she didn't feel his skin against hers, but something made her tingle when she did it. She found that her eyes had a hard time keeping locked on his face, his eyes as he looked up at her.
"No, I am not in a drug induced stupor. I wanted to be lucid… to see if sound can draw out memory the way smell and sight can" Walter sat up a little.
"You mean that music? Like it may be familiar, like you have heard it before and you are trying to associate it with something?" Astrid asked, kneeling down, her eyes coming down below his eye level, she looked up at him now and it forced him to readjust his position to keep her in sight.
"No… not like that. Sometimes sound, a melody… is not attached to a specific item, or moment in time… but the feelings the music may evoke may be. My dear, the power of music isn't just pleasure for your ears… music can induce all sorts of euphoric sensations. Not limited to auditory stimuli… Belly and I once tested the effect of music on the libido… everything from the rock genre to instrumental… you would be surprised what the simple sound of a fiddle does to the prostate gland when played really loud and in rapid increments~"He stopped talking when he noticed the slight flush on her cheeks and the wide state of her eyes as she slowly drew back.
"Oh dear… I've said too much again." He looked mildly disgusted with himself as he pulled his hand out of her slackened ones. He did this frequently to her and he didn't mean too.
"Walter… it's not a bad thing that you know so much… it's just…" She tried to explain that it wasn't so much his wealth of knowledge, but his inability to say the most embarrassing things with no apparent need for discretion… and the thought of him… Walter getting a hard on… she flushed deeper and with no seemingly good reason for the creep of red on her cheeks, Astrid turned her head away from Walter, trying to hide how she further embarrassed herself with the thought of him having an erection.
"I don't know when to shut my trap… is that it?" Walter took her averting eyes to mean she was frustrated with him or disgusted because he mentioned, to no great length in his mind; he could go on forever about the male reproductive organ and with much more pleasure, the female reproductive organ… the strangely lovely things music can do to the sexual organ. His eyes widened a little… suddenly he realized something. A sly little smirk played across his lips and he leaned forward slightly, whispering to her is if sharing a fantastic and dirty secret.
"Oh… this isn't about me explaining the musical effects on the libido. It's what the libido does when it is stimulated that is making you blush like a pretty little pink flower petal, Agent Farnsworth."
Astrid coughed and stood up, now fully alight with an embarrassed glow on her face, she couldn't look at Walter and turned away from him; making to go into the bathroom to splash cold water on her cheeks to stem the heated flow burning her. She didn't know why she was reacting like this. Walter must have put something in the air again despite what he says about being lucid. She took two steps forward and heard Walter lift himself from the chair. She wasn't sure why, but the thought of him standing up to his full height behind her made the flesh on her slender body goose up.
It wasn't fear, but it propelled her forward a little faster, imagining his hands reaching out to either grab her arm or touch her neck. She imagined him looking at her as if he wanted to… do things to her. She felt a thrill again… and like last time it wasn't fear… was it… excitement? Did she really want to know what it felt like to be touched by him? She looked over her shoulder as she moved forward in an evasive maneuver. She had been expecting to see him standing tall… looking down on her from his 6'1" frame, a devilish smile on his lips and a strange and wonderfully animalistic predatory dominance.
"I'm sorry, Asterisk… I didn't mean to insinuate anything." He was slightly hunched over, one hand holding his balance on the arm of the chair and she stopped. He wasn't bent over in age or anything. He wasn't nearly old enough for that. But he was submissively convex… like he was supplicating, genuinely sorry for having upset her as he must know he had and setting his body intuitively to show it.
The look in his eyes made Astrid turn around and face him again, the burn in her face still alive but she felt she couldn't leave him like this. He didn't mean the way he is; he is just so brilliant and powerful he couldn't contain it. And to see him stooped over like that was heartbreaking and over what? A moment of blatant flirtatious mannerisms? Astrid was sickened with herself. Not only had she made this man bow over when he didn't need too… she made herself look like a prude. And she couldn't aptly hide that she did like him, he had to have sensed it in some manner or he would not have taken that little step over her boundaries.
"No, I'm sorry, Walter. I don't know why I reacted like that… I just…'
"Oh it's simple really…" Walter ambled over to her and as he always did, he got right in her personal space, his face lowered to hers so she can see every line on his skin, see the unnatural shine in his right eye… the deep lines of ascent green within the blue. He was never sloppy with himself. He always looked well groomed and smelled good so he wasn't offensive in that manner and she was used to this by now… Walter nearly draped over her when he felt he was explaining something to a fool child and rather than it be insulting, like it was at first, it was sort of endearing. But the look on his face was different now.
He had a smile, as if he was trying to make her feel better. "You are a young and beautiful woman. You felt naturally uncomfortable with having an ugly old codger talking to you about sexual things. I… I hope you don't get me in trouble by springing sexual harassment on me… I just got out of Saint Claire's. I don't want to go to jail." He stammered, and as thoughts came to him about what could possibly happen to him he started to get worked up. He panted and looked around, expecting to see men with restraints coming through the lab door and grabbing him. His fear so paramount that he hadn't even noticed that his assistant was talking.
"Walter!"Astrid said again, her hand coming up to bring his face to look at her by angling his chin. "Firstly… I am not going to press charges for sexual harassment. You hadn't actually done anything to me. I was just caught off guard, that's all. You did nothing wrong." Astrid said and let her hand fall down at her side when she was sure Walter was coming down from his panic attack. He uttered a small 'oh' as he looked at her with a tremulous smile. "And secondly… you're not an ugly old codger. You are actually a very good looking man. And you may be eccentric Walter, but you are a handsome and brilliant eccentric man." Astrid said with a gentle smile and was pleased to see the blush on his cheeks in turn. He timidly twisted away a little at her compliment but he never the less still smiled and looked back at her coyly.
"Thank you, my dear."
Astrid really had grown to care for Walter… she had no problems admitting that, but a subtle feeling crept up too now that seemed to rise like a spark from ashes. She stepped forward. There wasn't much space left to close between them, Walter had done a lot of gap closing before that, but her hands came up, one hand on either side of his neck, dimly aware that he didn't fight or try to pull back, she stood up on tip toe and kissed his cheek. She saw him draw up a little and for the first time he looked like a completely different Walter Bishop. The same man, but one who had never spent 17 years in an asylum. There was a seriousness in his face she had only seen on occasion… but never directed at her. It didn't scare her. It was concentration. Like he was weighing what was happening, a true scientist. She smiled a little and wasn't one bit ashamed, but shook never the less, when she pressed her lips to his. She felt him tighten momentarily before his hands came up and sat loosely on her hips.
It may have been innocuous… a purely platonically laced kiss. But it lingered… and Walter was starting to smell and taste the wild cherry lip balm on her pretty lush lips. Whatever his problem was before this, he deduced now that it wasn't something that couldn't be covered with the companionship of a beautiful woman. He leaned in a little to her kiss, pressing a little harder to her mouth. He could feel her shaking pleasantly. How had it come to this? One thing may be true, he thought, was flights of fancy was not something he was good at… and he didn't figure she was either. So to have her initiate something so personal meant it wasn't a dream. Her arms came up around his neck and his hands came up to brace her near the ribs, her mouth deepening and opening to allow him to explore her mouth a little. He wasn't afraid in the least and that was something he was sure of. Is whenever she was around him, he was never scared. She had a way about her.