So we come to the last chapter and I must admit I'm quite sad to say good bye to the story and to you guys. Thanks for sticking around and faithfully reviewing. Hope you are not disappointed with the conclusion of Off Key!
-12 hours later- BOSTON
'Heh, sleepy head.' chuckled Olivia softly as she noticed Peter's open eyes 'I thought you were going to sleep away the whole day'
Peter blinked slowly and turned his head towards Olivia. A smile formed on his face as he saw her sitting next to his bed with a women's magazine on her lap.
'That's Dunham to you…after the stunt you pulled yesterday. Why did you fight those thugs? They nearly killed you and who would then look after Walter?'
Peter tried to sit up but sank back with a groan causing Olivia to feel guilty about her sharp reprimand.
'Sorry Olivia, they pissed me off and after they shot Walter, I lost it…'
'Wait, I'll raise the bed head a little…do you want another pillow?' Peter could see the concern in her green eyes as she jumped up to grab the remote control of the bed.
Olivia bent over Peter gently propping him up as she placed another pillow behind his head. Her face was only inches away from his and for a crazy second he considered closing the distance and kissing her. As if Olivia had sensed his thoughts she looked up directly into Peter's eyes forgetting about the pillow. Nervously she licked her lips and her pupils dilated as she read the desire in Peter's eyes. Her warm breath caressed his face and he started to lean forward when a flustered Olivia suddenly pulled back.
'Why did you never tell me about Summers?' she asked breathless, her attention focused on straightening the blanket.
Peter closed his eyes briefly before answering in a low voice.
'Not my proudest moment, Olivia. I didn't know how to tell you…how much do you know?'
'I found your letter as you intended. Also, a MI5 agent called White showed up. He had been following Summers still keen to locate the information you worked on. We were actually lucky to have his help…'
Olivia chuckled at Peter's question.
'James Bond, eat your heart out…' countered Olivia faking a dreamy look and finishing it off with a sigh. 'I think Astrid is quite sweet on him, too. And I know Walter thinks highly of him…'
'Heh, wasn't Bond MI6…?' wondered Peter
'Picky…but seriously, he kept the shape shifters from taking you, he managed to locate us after we were kidnapped, took a bullet for Astrid and then there was the small matter of the bomb…'
Peter's eyes grew bigger and bigger.
'Shape shifters? Kidnapped? Bomb?'
'Well, we have had our own little adventure yesterday while you were flat on your back in hospital, but it'll be all in my report, so why don't you wait for that and just concentrate on getting better now. That's an order by the way' and Olivia winked at him.
The door opened and Broyles stuck his head in.
'Dunham, can I talk to you? Mr. Bishop, it's good to see you awake and on the mend.' With that he was gone again.
'I'll be right back. Can I get you anything? Are you hungry?'
Peter smiled throwing a glance at the collection of jelly tubs next to his bed.
'Are you kidding? I'm in jelly heaven!'
'Yes, that was Walter's idea…'
She closed the door and joined her boss a few feet away.
'Forensics on the bomb just came in. The timer is of British design, Massive dynamic hold the patent.'
Olivia pursed her lips frowning at the implication.
'I can't believe White is responsible for it. There has to be another explanation…'
'The man who entered Dr. Bishop's room yesterday was recorded arriving with White on a flight from London on Thursday.'
As she watched Broyles walk away she thought she could hear David's voice in her head.
"…Or someone else was trying to clean up the mess Smith had made…"
-12 hours later- Hampshire, England
The few hours of sleep on the flight from Boston to London had helped David to find perspective. To him the choices he had made were in the best interest of the overall agenda. He had managed to avoid outright lying to Nina Sharp before boarding the Massive Dynamic private jet knowing that she was not a woman easily lied to but his father would constitute a different challenge. David had gone off mission and hell would have to be paid.
His parent's driver had been waiting for him at the airport and forty five minutes later they were on the motorway heading towards the family country estate where his parents spent each weekend. He had been told that his mother was expecting him for dinner which meant an excuse to stay in London and report to his father on Monday morning would not be tolerated. His arm ached and he absentmindedly adjusted the bandage under his shirt.
A newspaper lay on the back seat as David climbed into the car and he now picked it up which the driver noticed in his rearview mirror.
'Sir, your father asks you to read the news article on page 4'
David opened the newspaper to said page and quickly located the article.
'Private jet crashes into ocean several miles off the English coast- no survivors'
Well that meant Summers had been taken care of so at least that part had gone according to plan and his father would hopefully overlook the remainder of his failed mission once he understood David's reasoning.
The sun was already low in the sky when the car pulled up in front of the country home from the Edwardian period.
The door opened and his mother a petite brunette came out, a big smile on her face waiting to greet her son.
'Hallo David my dear' she reached up, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulled him down into a brief hug.
'Mother, I take it you are well?'
'Yes, thank you' the smile in her voice faded as she continued 'Your father is waiting for you in the study, but don't be too long. The roast is nearly finished and I want to eat on time.'
She patted him on the back and watched him stride away down the length of the hallway to the back part of the house stopping in front of the door of his father's study. After a sharp knock he entered without waiting for permission as he knew his father was expecting him.
'David, it's good to see you home, son although I hear not all went according to plan'
Little escaped his father thanks to an excellent intelligence network.
'I always feared Smith would not be able to pull it off. His men made a mess of the kidnapping, injuring Peter Bishop so severely he nearly died and unnecessarily shooting Walter Bishop, too.'
David sat down opposite his father and accepted the offered whisky, downing the drink in one swift gulp. Henry St John was an older version of David with the blond hair turning silvery white and the once arctic blue of his eyes faded to a steely grey. Deep lines creased his face and his hands were showing the early signs of arthritis with the thickening of the small joints of his fingers. His posture though was impeccable as he sat behind his desk inspecting his son.
'He won't make that mistake again after you killed him in that off mission rescue attempt' his father commented dryly. 'I'm not pleased you gave up your cover with the CIA for a cozy love in with Broyles' Fringe team. Which part of "I want them neutralized" did you not understand?'
'In my opinion Peter is well protected within the team. Agent Dunham is quite formidable and I trust she will keep him safe'
'Nonsense, working in Fringe division just makes him a target. I thought you had understood that, David. I wanted him as far away from it and far away from his father. Walter is too dangerous. If he remembers then all our years of planning are for nothing.'
'Father, it was too late for that. The time for intervention was in Iraq. I have tried to make the best of the situation. Nina concurred with my assessment. At this stage Peter is most effective working with his father and Agent Dunham. The cases they have worked on…'
'I really don't care what Nina thinks…'interrupted his father coldly 'and all I can see is Peter blindly stepping onto a battle field he has no understanding of'
'And whose fault is that? I wanted him brought into the organization after the shambles with Summers!' countered David irritated by his father's short sightedness.
'You know my position on that David'
'Well and what is your position on blowing up a quiet seaside community? I did not appreciate the bomb your man put in Walter's bag. Killing the whole team exposes us! Broyles would have never rested till he found the person responsible.'
Henry St John shrugged and the lack of concern chilled David to the bone.
'Yes Mitchell may have been a touch overeager but he was following orders. You weren't meant to be with them. This may teach you a lesson to do as you are told in the future.'
It appeared his father had forgotten that he was talking to a grown man and not a little school boy. He stood up and poured himself another whisky turning his back on his father. Best he didn't face him when he lied.
'Walter didn't recognize me so it should be alright for now.'
'Only time will tell if changing horses mid race was a wise decision on your part, David. The CIA and Smith was our best option in protecting him. If we cannot keep Peter Bishop safe then the last resort will be for you to kill him. He cannot be allowed to fall into Newton's hands. The consequences would be catastrophic, David'
'Peter was about to fall into Newton's hands. Three of the men working with Smith were shape shifters! They came after Peter in the hospital and then again after Walter.'
It gave David a little pleasure to see the alarm on his father's face. Obviously Broyles had managed to keep a lid on this not even his father had heard about the involvement of shape shifters.
Henry St John watched as his son walk across to the window overlooking the garden.
'I can see mother decided against planting the roses…'
David smiled pleasantly at his father hoping he would see reason as the information sunk in but the knitted eye brows and tightness around his mouth indicated that his father wasn't inclined to revise his opinion.
When David had met Olivia Dunham, seen what she was capable of, he had felt hope for the first time that maybe they could change the future Bell and Bishop feared. He had always championed the option to tell Peter Bishop the truth and have him working with them, but this had been strictly forbidden by Walter Bishop all those years ago. He had never been given a reason why Peter wasn't to know about Walter Bishop's and Bell's work and David wondered if even his own father understood. Reading some of the files on Fringe division's cases confirmed to him that his instinct was correct. It pained David but the time had come to choose sides.
His father spoke up again.
'Now on the other matter, David… Did you locate the file that Peter Bishop worked on?'
'No, father. He never took it because he didn't know where Sarah had hidden it.'
David sipped from his whisky remembering the sage advice "if lying keep it as close to the truth as possible" and he was lying by omission.
'If you'll excuse me father… I would like to freshen up before dinner'
He finished his whisky and placed the empty glass on the desk, walking out without waiting for an answer from his father.
Henry St John leaned back in his chair and folded his hands in front of him.
There had been a change in David when his sister died all those months ago and it had become obvious to him that his own son had ceased to believe in the group's goals. The outcome of this recent mission confirmed his suspicion that he could not rely on his son anymore.
A knock on the door made him look up.
'Come in Mitchell'
A middle aged burly man entered the room and stood in front of Henry St John's desk
'Sir, I'm sorry'
'They got lucky, Mitchell and so did my son. You weren't to know that David would come and rescue them from Smith. At least he eliminated Smith and his men but the bomb would have solved all our problems. Broyles and his team will be more careful now but another opportunity may present itself soon. And David…he does tend to drive too fast and his mother has repeatedly warned him that he'll kill himself one day… Leave now. I don't want David to see you as I fear you wouldn't survive it.'
The man nodded and quietly left the room.
Henry St John refilled his glass, staring at the amber liquid before putting the glass to his lips and drinking. The decision hadn't come lightly. He fought down the grief and reminded himself that the greater good came before his son's life. Walter Bishop had started him on this path and nothing and no one would make him leave it, not even his son.
David knew he didn't have much time. When he recognized the timer, he knew that the bomb had been meant for him as much as Walter and the team. If he had stayed on mission he would have met up with Mitchell and Peter Bishop at the warehouse while the bomb would have eliminated Smith and the Fringe team. By helping Olivia, Walter and Astrid he had signed his death warrant.
He would have to activate his plan sooner than he wanted but he would adapt. The main aim for now was to remain alive.
He reached his sister's room and opened the door. His mother had left everything in place and even Sarah's piano had been shipped back from London standing close to the window. For a fleeting moment he saw his sister sitting at her piano, looking up with a wide smile as he entered the room and he shook his head pushing the memory aside.
When David reached the piano, he pulled out the chair and sat down placing the sheet of music in front of him. His hands rested on the ivory keys for a moment before he started to play the music concentrating on the notes. There it was. He played the section of music again listening. Yes, the note was pitched lower than it should, definitely off key. He ran his fingers over the ivory key, jiggled it gently and watched it give way. After pulled it out he found the microSD card and removed it.
'Clever sis…I knew you wouldn't let me down. I just hope it was worth it…'
His gaze lingered on a photo of Sarah and him from a Christmas many years ago, his finger tracing her bright smile. The time had come to say good bye to his sister and their life together as he would never return to his family home after today.
Ten minutes later he walked into the kitchen where his mother was busy turning over the roast potatoes before putting them back into the oven.
'Oh David! Good, dinner is nearly ready, darling. Would you be so kind to fetch your father from the study? I have buzzed him twice but he is not answering.'
'Of course, but I can't stay for dinner. Something has come up and father wants me on a plane tonight. That's probably why he isn't answering the intercom as he doesn't want to be interrupted…I'll go and check on him but best you keep his dinner warm for him.'
David could see his mother's disappointment and smiled apologetically. He bent down and kissed his mother's cheek, lingering for a few seconds as he closed his eyes with sadness. She wouldn't understand what he had to do and it would break her heart.
'I love you, mum' he whispered and he could see the pleasure in her eyes at the tenderness he showed her.
She reached up and cupped his cheek in her hand. '…and I love you, too. Be careful and I'll see you soon'
He smiled at her and nodded faintly as he turned and strode out of the kitchen. Only later did she realize that he had been saying good bye to her and she would never see her son again.
David glanced at his watch. He had to hurry as his ride would be here soon. Arriving back at his father's study he pushed the door open and quietly closed it behind him.
His father was sitting at his desk, unable to move or call out but his eyes were open and he could hear and see all.
The paralytic agent that David had slipped into the whisky bottle as he poured himself a drink earlier had achieved the desired effect.
'I'm sorry father….but you left me no choice.'
Biochemistry had always been a forte in his family and David had specially developed this particular agent which in other circumstances may have aroused pride in his father.
The more you struggled the worse you became affected, quite ingenious really.
David stopped in front of a panel in the wall and gently pressed against it. As it slid aside it revealed a safe with a key pad. His fingers flew over the pad and the audible click informed him the safe had been unarmed.
David heard his father gasp and smiled grimly: Safe cracking 101. Thanks to his father he had been trained well, something the old man may not forget in the future.
The most important item in the safe was an old manuscript which he reverently pulled out.
The original ZFT manuscript that Walter Bishop had given Henry to guard and based upon which his father had made all the plans. Many times his father had read passages of it to him but never had he been allowed to handle it.
He then walked over to his father's desk and inserted a USB into his father's computer.
A deep growl escaped from his father's chest.
'Now, now you don't think I'm leaving without a copy of all your files and to be fair I'll leave a little something behind for you'
On completion of the download David released a worm that would destroy his father's files and any other computer's it came in contact with. He knew that MI5 firewall would not recognize it until it was too late.
'Don't worry, father. I'm not totally unpatriotic. It will only cripple files belonging to your division. MI5 won't be the wiser what is missing. But you will have to spend some time putting everything back in order…'
He pocketed the USB and held onto the manuscript turning a last time to face his father.
'I know you ordered Mitchell to kill me. I really should return the favor but call it my weakness I don't like to kill anybody even if it would be prudent to do so. The drug will wear off in about eight hours, long enough for me to get out of the country. By the way, Mother thinks you are working and will leave you undisturbed. Don't worry she'll keep your dinner warm. The roast potatoes did look scrumptious!'
The growling intensified and David could just imagine the colorful expletives his father was launching at him.
David St John was now a fugitive with a price on his head and he would have to become a ghost.
He closed the door behind him and a few minutes later he calmly walked out the front door and into the night.
24 hours later, Monday afternoon, Boston FBI Headquarters
Olivia stared at the two opened folders in front of her. Nina Sharp had couriered them over to her with a brief note attached: FYI
The first had a news paper clipping of an article reporting on a private jet plane crash just off the coast of Britain with the loss of life of a James Summers of Devon, businessman and his pilot. After what he had put Peter through she couldn't feel any guilt over the man's death.
The other folder though had caused her heartache. The Times reported the sudden death of Lord Henry St John's son in a car accident on Sunday night as he was returning to the family estate. The tire on his car blew out and he crashed into a 250 year old oak tree killing him instantly. A black & white headshot of David accompanied the short article together with a smaller one of the mangled wreck.
She would have to have a closer albeit careful look at Henry St John who appeared to play for keeps but it would have to wait till tomorrow.
Peter was expecting her at the hospital as the previous four text messages had indicated he was close to strangling his father if no one came and took him home. She wondered if Walter had ever found that tendon hammer.
Her phone buzzed again with a new text message and with a patient sigh she flipped it open to read the message:
'Any news of my demise is exceedingly premature…'
The End…well at least for now!
Okay, so loved it? Hated it? Please let me know, so review...and I guess I have left possibilities for another story but that will definitely depend on you guys, therefore if you'd like to read some more in this vein let me know and I'll talk to my Muse. Until then take care
Comment: I initially set out to write a 'whumpage story' for Peter, something from his shady past and then this monster evolved...Some of the story came from my feelings about Bellie & Walter...they discovered a way to spy on the other universe-Bell for greater financial gain and Walter in the end for personal gain. Once the fabric between the two universes had been disrupted these bright men discovered the consequences and I think they would have started to try to fix things-each in their own way...there is also some implication that they may have known the future glimpsed through the psychedelic dream states, knew that a war would come...Bellie intervened by taking bits of Walters brain, as if to stop Walter from doing something (? harmful to the other universe) and I'm not sure but for the purpose of this story Walter consented to this and the mental breakdown being a consequence ( think how different Walter was when Newton reunited him with his missing bits) I think that if Walter knew he wouldn't be there for Peter he would have tried to have someone else look after him so I thought I'd use the reference to Oxford in his bio and implicate Walter as the author of ZFT and well the rest is the story...I have a few more ideas but I'll leave those for a future Fic