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beth writing 30 days without

FIC: Finding the Crack (1/1) K+

Title:  Finding the Crack
Author: maddie_amber
Rating: K+
Spoilers: "Northwest Passage"
Warnings:  None
Disclaimer:  The world of Fringe doesn't belong to me.  No in"finge"ment intended.
Summary: This story explores what Peter was thinking in the last scenes of "Northwest Passage", so it isn't really an episode tag as much as it is an expansion of that scene.  It was actually written before I watched "Over There" so any discrepancies at the end are because of that. 



Finding the Crack

The icy water against his warm flesh made his arms ache all the way to his shoulders as he scrubbed the blood from his knuckles. "Out damn spot," he muttered as visions of Lady MacBeth ran through his head. He could wash the blood from his hands, but no matter how hard he scrubbed he could not rid himself of the shame of having beaten another person so ruthlessly. Yes, that other person was a serial murderer and yes he was trying to kill him, but at the time Peter was only obsessed with defending himself against Newton. He was so convinced these murders were all about him that he had missed the bigger picture.

How appropriate, he thought as he scoured his hands ruthlessly, quoting Lady Macbeth, yet another crazy. A few hours ago he had vehemently told Mathis that he was not paranoid, was not hallucinating and was not insane. But he had spent the last hour seriously questioning his own sanity. Had he really seen Newton, or had he imagined him, at the diner, and in the woods? Had he imagined the middle of the night phone calls of which there were no records? Yes, telephone records could be expunged, but had they been? Did insanity truly run in his family? He'd always thought his mother was firmly grounded in reality until she committed suicide. Had her calm, steady demeanor been a sham? And Walter was certifiable. Maybe he was just following in his father's footsteps right off the deep end. No, he corrected himself bitterly, because neither of them is actually family. I'm just certifiable all on my own.

He dragged the sleeve of his coat across his gritty eyes. When had he slept last? True restful, recuperative sleep, not an hour or two crashed on a couch in a hotel lobby. Sheriff Mathis had asked that question too, and in all honesty he couldn't answer. Since he had left Boston he had managed snatch bits of sleep here and there just enough for his nightmares to pursue him across the country even if Newton had not. But could he call his dream wracked ventures into sleep truly restful? He plunged his hands back into the icy bucket and continued to scrub, even thought the blood had long been washed from his hands.

He felt the sheriff's presence long before he heard her. Felt her standing over him. What must she be thinking now, he thought, probably that I'm lost in my own fantasy world.

When she did not address him immediately, Peter spoke first, a touch of contrition in his voice. "I don't know what to say." He didn't know what to say and did not know what to expect from Mathis. He had helped to apprehend a murderer, but he half expected a reprimand for overstepping his bounds.

What he did not expect was that Mathis actually seemed surprised by his words, "You saved Bill's life and you tracked a killer, what else is there to say." She paused for a minute, and seemed to feel as awkward as he did. When she spoke her voice was surprisingly gently. "I wish there was something I could do for you. Whatever your experiences are, whatever you can't or won't tell me about. I think you're looking for meaning in things that have no meaning."

Was that truly the case? Was he so convinced that he was the center of all the twisted evil they had encountered over the past two years that he let his conviction cloud his judgment. Was he imagining universe crossing invaders behind every crime? Seeing "the Pattern" where there was no pattern to be seen? Standing slowly Peter wished it were that simple. Wished he could just tell someone the whole story and have them believe. Mathis would, if anyone could, but that would not relieve the burden he had been carrying since he had made the final connection on the bridge, since he had discovered his true origins. He was the enemy they had struggled against. One of the nameless, faceless, interlopers from 'over there' who had wrought so much havoc in this universe. He was one of them and he had trouble wrapping his head around that thought. He didn't know if he should feel guilty for being 'one of them' or curious about his own origins.

"I don't know who I am anymore," he confessed, as much to Mathis as to himself. Through all that had happened to him in his life, all the places he had been and people he had pretended to be, he had always had a firm hold on who he thought Peter Bishop was. He had lost that rock solid sense of being, and that more than anything had shaken him to the core.

"When I was in college, my family was killed," Mathis said softly, interrupting his reverie, her voice calm, "– murdered."

"I'm sorry," Peter answered sincerely, surprised that she would confide in him and also touched that she would trust him with so personal a story.

"Sometimes, I still think, one day, I might catch whoever did it." There was an old sadness in the Sheriff's eyes, the kind of sadness that never completely goes away, yet her voice and her face expressed a deep empathy for him. "I was alone for a long time, but I found my place. You will too." She reached out to shake his hand, and as she did she slipped something into his. She pulled free and walked away, not looking back. In Peter's hand lay her pen, the gift she had received from Officer Ferguson, the words 'Find the Crack' etched in gold on its surface.

If only it were that simple, he thought staring at the pen and the irony of the words written upon it. Did he really want to find the crack between two universes? Worse yet, did he want that crack to engulf him? Given the choice, would he return to the universe of his birth? The thought left a deep abiding fear in the pit of his stomach. Was that fear really what he had been running from?

At first he had convinced himself that he had left Boston because he felt betrayed and could no longer trust anything Walter told him. The smoldering anger that had burned through him in those first few days had been a searing goad that drove him farther from the sweet familiarity of the only home he had known in years. He had said goodbye and good riddance to everyone and everything, swearing to never place his trust in any of them again. But when he found himself in trouble the first person he had called had been Broyles. Faced with what he thought was a threat from Newton he had fallen back on the identity he had told himself he was done with. He had used his credentials with the FBI to protect himself and it had felt right. Why had he kept his identification badge? Was it because in the back of his mind he still hoped he could return to Boston. Did he believe he had left his own best chance for salvation behind him?

He rubbed at his eyes pushing back against the dull throb of an oncoming headache. Even though he was exhausted, he did not want to spend another hour in Noyo County. Mathis had cleared him to leave, certain she had enough material evidence that his testimony would not be needed in court. He wanted to put miles between himself and this place before he rested and he did not care where he went as long as it was not here.

Catching a ride back to his hotel, Peter quickly checked out. He did not bother to pick a destination this time, he just started driving. At the first rest area, he had discovered the CD still in his pocket. "Peter from Boston" scrawled in Sharpie marker across the surface, all the 'o's" in the shape of little hearts. He should have turned it over to Mathis, but instead he had slipped it back into his pocket. The Sheriff had told him he was free to go. She did not know about the CD so it must not be needed as evidence. At the truck stop forty miles back, he had purchased an inexpensive Walkman.

When the odometer told him he had been on the road for over 200 miles and his body could no longer fight sleep, he pulled into the first motel he came to. The town was little more than spit on a gnat's wing so out of the way no one could locate him unless they were tracking the GPS unit in his car's navi. The clerk at the hotel had barely stifled a yawn as he processed him in and handed him a key.

Slipping the deadbolt on the door, he crossed the room and tossed the Walkman on the bed, then placed his gun, wallet and room key on the bedside table. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he ignored the squeak of the bed frame and the over soft mattress. He was exhausted and sleeping on a bed of rocks would have felt good. He popped the CD out of its case and into the player, wrapped the headphones around his head and lay down on his back with a deep sigh. As the music began to play the briefest smile touched his lips and his eyes closed. Maybe, tonight he would sleep without nightmares.


<end of story – “The Other Side”, part one starts here>






You are the ONLY Fringe fanfic author I have read who actually writes well, and sticks to the actual characters and their situations.

Keep up the good work.

Re: Excellent

Thank you very much for the compliment and for taking the time to review my story. I'm glad you liked it.