Title: Little Things
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Fringe belongs to J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
A/N: These drabbles aren't connected and won't always be in chronological order.
A/N 2: Reviews are Good. This has been a subtle hint from the author - Please return to your regularly scheduled reading.Pre- Ep. 4:08
Peter is such an outsider looking in here. And at first he had tried to find his place, tried to see where he would fit, but this is simply a world wholly formed without him.
He doesn’t belong and it is best (safest for his own emotions, his own sanity) not to try. To focus on getting back to his
So as he watches (he very purposefully tries not to even use the term observe even in his own head. He wants to have as little similarities as possible to those beings who in this timeline for some reason decided not to save him.) and tries to just think of all the little differences he sees as just that – differences
, just things that turned out different without him. But he can’t
because somehow everything - everything
in his timeline wasn't just different it was better
And, yes, he is aware of how cocky and self-important that sounds.
But, this Fringe team lacks the sense of family that his had grown to have. There is trust and steady professionalism that dips quick and deep into the close intimacy of the friendship/family bond (the one that was hard fought for by all and now was shared so casually in his team – God, he misses being a part of it) and pulls back out just as fast so that walls can stay maintained.
Secrets, hard truths, haven’t been found and shared here. Trust hasn’t been cracked and broken multiple times only to reform into something stronger. (And Peter really doesn’t want to play the part of messenger. This might not be his Olivia but he knows how hard it was on her in his timeline.)
But, Olivia wasn't the only one struggling to find answers in this fractured world. They're all somehow even more of a damaged rat-tag group now without him then they were before. Peter would find it flattering if it didn't hurt so much.
And it does hurt to be in the same room as this version of his father, to even let himself think about Walter and his denial. Walter and him…his
Walter that is, had had to work so hard to get to where they were before he got in the machine. To get to a place where there was love and trust but still the ability to let go. To have him be his father.
Even having a version of Walter ignoring him because he felt he didn’t deserve him. Because – shit
– because in this world both universes’ Peters had died and his wife had committed suicide. It hurt. But beyond the personal sting of parental rejection it hurt so much more to see how badly messed up he was. How not having a next of kin here, not having a Peter
, he only felt safe living in the lab. Guarded by an agent.
..there is something so wrong about that. He had to keep reminding himself that this wasn’t his home. This wasn’t his fight. Wasn’t his world. Wasn’t his timeline.
He had to get back to that.
Because if he didn’t he’d want to try to find a place here (fight to form those bonds, those relationships), watch out for this Walter like he did his own. He complained constantly about the way he used to have to babysit his Father but looking at the alternative….
It’s partially what probably shaped them though. The Fringe team here - really it has to be. Here everyone sees Water at his worst and seems to know how to calm him, know how to deal with his moods.
Astrid seems the least changed to his eyes. Tailored jackets replace the cardigans of before - here though she not only assists Walter in the lab but is like another arm for him, going out in the field where he doesn’t feel safe. Following his instructions and translating his not always strictly polite responses or nonsensical theories with a mixture of patience, bemusement, and that slight roll of the eye or raise of the eyebrow signaling her opinion on what had been said in her ear in such a way that is utterly familiar.
He feels incredibly grateful towards her. Both Lincoln and her. They were the only two that actually treated him like a person – perhaps because Walter and Olivia had both had odd experiences leading up to his appearance and everyone else was treating him as a possible threat. But Lincoln was new to Fringe here and just saw him as another guy caught up in weird circumstances – which was something the agent identified a lot with at the moment. And to Astrid he was a stranger who was a part of a Fringe case but Peter always seemed to forget just how good she was with people. How she was the presence in the lab that somehow made random people comfortable going along with his fathers’ – or this world’s Dr. Bishop’s - crazy experiments on them. It was so easy to dismiss that sense of comfort until it was turned on him.
In the case of both Lincoln and Astrid it was non-intrusive and utterly casual, utterly human
, and that only made it so much more appreciated because it felt more genuine the more days he slept in a dark, perfectly square room, that could only be opened from the outside (caged. The parallels to his fathers' time in St. Claire's are not lost on him especially after the Walter here starts refusing to see him). And even after that when he was alone in a house that he shared – was supposed to be sharing – with his father. When these things were all so wrong
having Lincoln wave when he sees him enter the federal building, just a quick raise of the arm in recognition before he goes back to his work. Or to have Astrid bring him a cup of coffee while he was pouring over information about the machine in the lab – leaving it on his desk as she passed, not expecting a thank you (and when he took a sip it was exactly how he preferred it. She must have mentally taken note just as his Astrid had within his first few days in the Harvard Lab with her back home.)
Until he got back, these little things. They meant everything.
They were his armor against suspicions (or worse unrecognizing) stares from eyes that were once so warm when they looked at him, when they first opened up in the morning. (It’s not his Olivia. It’s not.
) His armor against fathers that lost him twice and don’t want to allow for the chance of a third. His armor against a world that sees him as an anomaly, a Fringe event, first and a person second – or third.
These little things will keep him sane.