WALTER Bishop, his pants lowered to his ankles, drew a shabby old chair from the far corner of the makeshift lab and sat to face mirror.
Oddly enough, that non-allergenic dog also sat in front of the object, his head tilted and his ears perked up, emitting low growls.
He also rejected the cupcake Walter offered him and he was now nervously pacing in front of the mirror, hair standing on the back of his neck.
"My son's influence has rubbed off on you. It must have been Peter who told you not to accept food from me" Walter concluded morosely.
He understood the dog's fascination with the object, though.
Walter was also obsessed regarding the sole existence of the object, scientifically speaking, and even more so due to the fact the mirror looked so ordinary. It was big, sure enough, and it occupied more than half of a wall, but still: it was a mirror, and nothing else.
What he saw in the reflective surface, sadly, disheartened Walter Bishop till no end. He was a man changed, his physiognomy different.
No element was missing, but still, the whole was somehow wrong.
His once thick, dark curly hair that used to jut proudly and that he had trouble combing properly in the morning was now filled with grey lines. What is more, every morning after he would wake up, Walter would still find handfuls of hair on his pillow.
That occurrence wasn't unfamiliar to him. It used to happen a lot before, while he was in St. Claire's institution.
Even so, a little part of him died inwardly whenever he would find another unequivocal proof of his getting old.
Deep creases were long embedded onto his face, and his facial features seemed to constantly shift, giving him an unpredictable and mad look.
His intelligent and, some would say, cruel eyes, made way to reveal a childish, petulant gaze of a senile old man.
Their gleam could be invoked only by an incredible scientific discovery or an instant boost in the shape of a milkshake flavour he hadn't yet managed to try or Red Vines.
Even the way Walter held himself or walked had not been the same and being able to see himself completely in the mirror underlined that fact. His shoulders drooped forward in way that he resembled a hunchback, if he were to walk fast, but he could already sense the initial joviality creeping out of his body and abandoning him for ever slowly, albeit securely.
His little fellow soldier down there between his legs was still functioning but Walter would always joke inwardly that he didn't have much use for him.
If anything, it was straightforward embarrassing, what happened to him in the lab on daily, or sometimes on hourly basis.
He almost constantly had erections when he would see Agent Dunham or Asteroid. Walter was most certainly grateful that they dismissed his comments about them as ramblings.
Thought of erection lead to thought of Elizabeth. He wondered about her, staring deep into his own eyes. Walter was used to seeing her pupils in his own, since that was their little routine, their little proof to show that they still cared about each other.
They would stare at one another's eyes just until he could see her irises in his, and she, his irises in hers. The sudden realisation that she was dead and long gone hit him like a ten-ton truck and he had to gasp and rearrange his seating position, coming even closer to the mirror.
Walter knew Elizabeth was no more, there was no doubt about that, but he had spent so many years with her that it still came as a surprise to him every now and then.
After so much time during which their bodies and minds were like conjoined twins, he couldn't avoid but feel her as a part of him.
He was like a soldier who had lost an arm in war long, long time ago, but yet still felt familiar tingling where the arm was supposed to be.
Always faced with the same amalgam of anger, loss and sadness, whenever he would look at a gaping hole where the limb was no more.
He hummed a tune, his eyes now almost glassy with the ghost of past memories. At the same time, Ajax was letting out tiny squeals, licking his creased hands.
Little lost world
eighteen light years
in position now
summers back home were getting colder
thinking bout you
you're so much older now
It's a pretty long way
back to somewhere
forget all those dreams
there's no one out there now
It's a shame you got left behind
follow the sound
it's a shame there's no gravity
pulling me down
it's a shame at the end of time
to leave my only world behind
I guess it all ends here
like it started
Another big bang
and we're broken hearted now
at the end of this endless road
I will pull the trigger
on this violent payload now
cause when the whole thing's gone
without a trace
I'll be the last man in space
That was exactly who he was.
The last man in space, and time, lost as he was passing through those wonders of technique, all those self-driving cars, mobile phones, something that they called "selfie sticks", tablets and achievements that piled up while he was gone, cut off from the world.
Walter Bishop felt as if he had been frozen for at least a century and then carelessly unleashed and thrown upon the Planet Earth, to get by as he would see fit.
"Time has run us over, Gene."
He addressed the cow next who happily mooed back, lifting her huge black and white head from the portion of hay. "We are way past our usefulness."
Then a sly smile ran over his face, so similar to Peter's.
"But I was never a man of my time, albeit I was one of the future, so I should fit right in!"
People of the future were different too, more self-centred and more self-aware, surrounded by their little personality bubbles, hedonistic and blind for all other bubbles, for what it was worth.
There were selfless entities, for sure, that would instantly return his faith into humanity.
One of them was Agent Farnsworth. He glanced at her and smiled upon being able to hear her light snoring.
As per usual, Peter and Agent Dunham ran into the lab, then ran out of it and shouted to Astrid to "watch Walter". He was not a child. He would not be babied. He knew perfectly well what his next step was at any given moment in time. Right now, he was actually watching over her, thank you very much.
Thought of Olivia made him smile. Yet another selfless entity. Walter Bishop was glad to see the signs of admiration his boy showed towards her. Ever since the giant slug case, Walter was painfully aware how his son felt about Olivia. The mad scientist secretly hoped that she will be nothing but a positive influence on Peter.
Peter. He was a whole new universe of associations.
Peter bound him to his now late wife, and a strong sense of guilt. Joint guilt for what they did to Peter.
And his own guilt for what he did to her. Lately, Peter was making sure that Walter would never forget that.
During the past seventeen years, Walter used to lay awake at night, surrounded with yapping yowls and inarticulate screams of his fellow inmates in the asylum, tossing and turning, wondering whether it was his responsibility. Her suicide.
Now he was alone, and the voices were gone. For the time being.
His bond with his estranged son was budding slowly yet progressing. He could feel the boy warming up to him and to what they did here.
Walter was thankful for that, for at least that silver lining in the bleakness that now surrounded him.
Even though he knew he had no right to Peter's love, he drank from its fount greedily, using it, replenishing his physical and mental faculties.
He didn't know whether he will ever be with a woman again, or love one, for that matter, but he had something in his life now.
A semblance of a family.
And he wasn't about to let that go. It was the only thing his mind was clinging to, the last barrier in front of the avalanche of the upcoming madness that would sometimes threaten to swallow him whole. Walter Bishop held his insanity at bay with sheer courage and cocktail of various medicines that no one who knew him would approve if they were aware of what he was taking.
The mirror swirled in front of him, now tripartite, or so it seemed to Walter, showing his past, the man he was now, and his future.
The image he could see reminded him of that Charles Dickens tale of the Three Ghosts that came to visit a stingy old man on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Carol was its name, Walter recalled.
Almost every man stands at least for some seconds in front of the mirror, Walter pondered. Thinking about who he is, who he was, and which way his life is going, what the next direction he will turn towards to is.
Yet this mirror was somehow different, special. Walter could literally feel energy streams lapping at his brain, like waves gently touching the sand, demanding that he come closer.
The object was also humming, faintly and for some reason, the old scientist could literally sense the presence of an empty space just behind the smooth silver surface.
It was looking for interaction, he was certain of it.
Was it how it would lure its previous victims, he wondered.
It must have altered both of their physical aspect and their behavioural patterns. It was quite and experiment and, inwardly, Walter silently bowed to the maker. Peter would not say where the mirror had come from but Walter wasn't blind.
He knew he was in front of a scientific pinnacle of humanity and he wondered how advanced the brain who concocted the concept must have been.
He wasn't certain whether it was even possible and why hide it, Walter was downright jealous.
His head was hurting a bit and he also started to feel the uncomfortable and strong desire to relieve himself.
"It's a good thing my pants are always down." he muttered to himself, as he stood up.
Ajax immediately followed, supervising the scientist as if he were a three-year-old child.
"Did Peter and Agent Dunham tell you to watch me as well? That's wonderful. Now I have two guardians, or so it seems." As Walter was staggering around the lab, trying not to trip and to remember where the devil the bathroom was, a vigorous knock was heard on the door.
Astrid murmured something under her breath and just went on sleeping.
The vigorous knock was heard again.
There was no escaping it, Walter knew he was supposed to answer the door and he hopped over to it in kangaroo style, pulling the handle towards himself in a brisk fashion.
What he saw blew him away.
A beautiful blonde girl with pallid blue eyes stood in front of him, looking a bit uncomfortable and bewildered.
Ajax immediately jumped towards her and started sniffing her between her legs.
She didn't seem to defend at all from his advances as she was too busy staring at Walter's crotch and at the pants around his ankles.
Right at the moment of realising it, Walter also became aware of his strong and painfully jutting erection.
"Oh, good afternoon, Miss…" he tried to soften the horrible first impression… "I don't recall ever hearing your name."
"It's Mirna. Mirna Statham" she chirped in a pleasant girly tone of voice and then added" and you might consider putting something on…Sir."
"Oh, this?" he pointed towards his hard pleasure instrument. "Nothing to worry about, Miss. It's just the normal reaction of the body at the sight of the exquisite female curves. I will get it under the control as soon as I manage to reallocate myself to the nearest bathroom and empty my bladder."
"Oh, my God. This is just like that one time when I walked in on my parents making out when I was a child" she started blabbing, unable to stop herself.
"That is an interesting, yet irrelevant detail" Walter pointed out mildly. "Why would you bring this up just now?"
"You could at least pull up your pants. And ooooh what a cute puppy! Come here little puppy" she pointed out, blushing strongly and then she cooed towards Ajax.
"Pull them up? I could, well, yes, I suppose I could, of course, though that would be counter-productive, wouldn't it, seeing how I am about to take a leak. Tinkle, you see? And what the devil does the dog have anything to do with anything? Are you here for the dog?" he was wondering if there was something wrong with this woman.
Why on Earth would he put his pants on when he was going to take them off in just under one minute anyway?
And why was she jumping from one topic to the other like that?
"I am here to see Agent Farnsworth. Is she here?"
"Asteroid? Yes, she is dozing off on one of those tables. If I were you, I would be careful about waking her up. She can get grumpy if she is shaken from her sleep. Can you now move from the door?" Walter was getting impatient as the feeling of his urethra exploding was becoming imminent.
"Are you…are you going to enter the hallway like that?"
"The bathroom is in the hallway. Miss, what is wrong with you?" he snapped, completely losing his patience. Walter's temper was hard to control, especially when his son wasn't around to rein him in.
"I just…I just think that is highly inappropriate" she replied, now trying to get past him.
"Unless you have an IQ higher than mine, I really don't care what you think" Walter eventually pushed her away grouchily and hopped towards the corridor.
On his way there, he realised his bladder wasn't the only thing he was going to empty.
"Darn it! I knew I should have brought some magazines with me! What am I going to read now whilst sitting on crapper for the next quarter of an hour!" he protested out loud gathering frightened looks from the lab employees. Then he staggered towards the bathroom which had an image of a little person wearing a skirt, without looking at the sign.
Ajax stirred him in the right direction towards the men's bathroom, as if he were herding a stubborn sheep.
ASTRID opened her eyes, grumbling at all that racket she was hearing.
Can't I get at least a ten-minute shut eye? Is that so much to ask? Her inner self was protesting noisily. She never did say her complaints out loud because she didn't want to offend Olivia and Agent Broyles. She knew that Peter sometimes had to go on the field with Agent Dunham and Walter was still slowly regaining his mental faculties. There was no way he was going to be left alone in the lab.
Astrid could already see the disastrous effects of Walter being left to work without anyone's supervision and she shuddered with dread. Yet, when focused, she thought, Walter was accomplishing things she had never seen or heard before in her life.
She hoped he will be able to crack the case of the murderous mirror, or to at least figure out how it changed people.
Astrid knew she could learn a lot from the mad scientist, but only when he was in the mood to teach.
Or to speak to anyone.
Or fully dressed, for what it was worth.
The next thing that happened in transcended her wildest dreams. The beautiful long legged blue-eyed blonde ran towards her and hugged her with such strength Astrid thought her bones will crack.
"Agent Allison! I am so glad to see you!"
Oh. My. God. I can't believe this. It's Mirna. Mirna Statham alias Monroe, the way I called her from the moment I saw her. And she looks better than ever. I am so surprised that she managed to find me or to remember me, for that matter, that I will let the "Allison" slip up slide.
"Miss…Statham", she managed to stutter back. "What a lovely surprise. I really didn't expect to see you here."
"I was in a neighbourhood so I thought I'd stop by" Mirna said generously, rearranging her hair. "Everyone in Mission is talking about the FBI team and the lab they are currently occupying to solve a case so it wasn't that hard to find you."
After the initial blast of infatuation had faded away and Astrid came to, Walter was her first thought.
"Hey, have you seen…"
"A peculiar man with his pants down? I have, he just ran out the door with the cutest dog I have ever seen! He had this beautiful soft grey and white fur, and lovely light blue eyes and he seemed so smart! I have always wanted a dog like this but my parents were against that. I don't really know why, when everyone knows it's useful for a child to have a dog." Mirna went on and Astrid felt forced to interrupt her.
"Can you please focus just for the second? I really need to know where he went because…He is old and…He might get lost out there somewhere. He doesn't know the city that well" Astrid congratulated herself on a well fabricated lie. She wasn't about to tell just about anyone that Walter was a bit touched in the head.
"Oh, I think that he just went to the bathroom. But never mind him. You are mentioning him so much that I might just get jealous, my darling Agnes. I am here for you! Time is what life is made of, after all and I thought, why wait, when the mutual attraction was obvious from the get go!" her girly girl voice reached an unusually high pitch.
"Mutual…attraction…" Astrid muttered, not quite understanding what was going on.
It looked awfully like scenes that used to go through her head while she was sleeping but never while she was awake. Astrid needed to fully focus on the job and she knew very well it was forbidden to date a case witness.
"Yes!" the girl took step forward, overjoyed and exuberant, as she reached for Astrid once more and stuck her tongue between Astrid's lips. After several seconds of disbelief, Astrid just went for it.
What the heck. We only have one life, curly haired FBI junior agent thought.
They made out ferociously for several seconds, during which process Mirna started undressing incredibly fast.
"But… What about… the no-witness dating policy?" Astrid tried to fight in vain, her hands full of Mirna's boobs.
"Haven't you heard, darling? The case has been closed today! It's all over newspapers and I got an online notification. Your FBI agents discovered the culprit behind all this and we are assured the killings won't occur again." She simply stated and then proceeded to put her forefinger between Astrid's legs.
Just as things were about to get heated, Constable Murray strolled into the laboratory.
"This was a sad day. A sad day for us all." He stated sullenly, ill-tempered. "But at least now, we can think it is all over and behind us."
He froze still in his tracks, staring at the blonde, pale skinned girl and caramel skinned, dark haired girl making out, obviously in various state of undress in front of the gigantic mirror.
Murray didn't have the time to access the situation, nor the fact how he was intruding upon their privacy.
He lounged towards them both in a perfectly captured slow motion scream.
"Nooooooooooooo!" he yelped, jumping on the two girls and knocking them down on the floor, as far from the mirror as he could.
When Peter and Olivia stepped into the lab next, they could only see Murray lying intertwined with two handsome girls. Olivia covered her eyes but not before rolling them high up, while Peter couldn't refrain himself from commenting.
"Smooth operator. And here we were thinking that poor, naive Constable Murray couldn't get laid at all. Now, we find him all hot and bothered, surrounded by two girls. Inside the laboratory working space, no less."
"No" the man muttered, trying to get up from the floor and justifying himself. "You don't understand. They were undressing in front of the…Mirror and you know how dangerous that is!"
"Sure. Sure. Whatever you say, big fella." Peter just couldn't let it go. Good call. If he hadn't walked in, something might have happened to Astrid and her…Girlfriend. I didn't know that particular detail about Agent Farnsworth's sexual preferences but I had my doubts. Still, I am having tooq much fun as it is.
To complete the whole scene, Walter strolled in, his pants yet again down to his ankles, with a pleading look in his eyes. The unbearable smell filled the lab.
"Oh, I see that the pleasant young lady has finally found Agent Farnsworth. Son, could you please help me out here. You see, I was going to piss but it turned out I had to go number two. There wasn't enough toilet paper for both things and I… Do you have some more paper, or a Kleenex?"
"Thank you for providing me with a detailed account of your toiletry habits, Walter. And, as always, in front of many nice people." His voice mellowed down as he noticed the horrible discomfort on his father's face. "Come on" Peter sighed. "Let's get you cleaned up." He caught Olivia's gaze and she cast a smile in his direction. There were many more of those to come his way, he suspected.
Agent Dunham turned towards the now red in face Constable Murray.
"I don't know what mirror you are talking about, but, it's time for us to go back to Boston. Thank you for your help on the case, Constable. We couldn't have done it without you" she smiled as he leaned to kiss her hand, both of them trying to ignore Astrid and Mirna who were now hastily getting dressed, telling each other they promise they would call and visit each other.
THE TWELVE stared at the laboratory from the outside, standing in the street, lined up perfectly next to one another. The passers-by paid no attention to them. They thought the bald men were going to some kind of a comic book convention, or simply playing dress-up.
"It has been done. The Mirror has been taken away and it is soon to be destroyed." September emphasised every syllable as he slowly turned his head towards his fellow scientists.
"June has successfully fulfilled his mission." December nodded solemnly. "Without any emotional involvement. They will not remember this case, nor will the town."
"Timeline as it is supposed to be yet again." June confirmed. "Agent Astrid Farnsworth will marry Mirna Statham and they will adopt a girl who will study bioengineering at University of Oslo, Norway and posteriorly participate in our creation.
Walter Bishop will drive the dog away from his son with his obnoxious behaviour and Agent Broyles will proceed to gift a dog to his son Cristopher.
Ajax will save the boy from the potential death in a car accident. These are the events that will occur in the future, just as we programmed them to happen.
Windmark has failed yet again.
But we must continue to foil his plans as the Fringe Division fights on.
They are soon to discover the existence of the RedVerse and their reaction to such occurrence is to be closely monitored."