Chapter 1: Blue'verse: Olivia and Astrid, friendship
"Astrid," Olivia says, long fingers reaching to catch Astrid's hand in her own, "you know we'd be lost without you."
Astrid blinks against the sudden hot sting at the back of her eyes. She knows Olivia doesn't touch people casually; paralinguistic signals are language too. The gesture means the world, and it makes her more determined than ever not to disappoint the trust of this brilliant, private woman who carries the fate of universes on her capable shoulders.
It's not Olivia's burden to bear alone, not any more. "I'm always here if you need me," Astrid replies, and squeezes back.
Chapter 2: Red!Lincoln/Blue!Olivia, kiss
After all the dancing around, it's almost anticlimactic; they've been here before, after all, lips and tongues tasting each other with eager desire. But this time, both of them know exactly who they are. Lincoln knows the woman in his arms isn't his partner of two years. Olivia knows that the man she's kissing doesn't belong in her world.
The smallest divergence brings the difference home: Lincoln is hugely relieved to discover that Olivia, back in her own universe and reunited with her own air and shampoo and the everyday scents of her world, doesn't taste like Liv at all.
Chapter 3: Red'verse: Lincoln/Olivia/Charlie, tattoo
Charlie is loudly, predictably resistant, but Lincoln and Liv work on him, singly and in tandem, until he agrees. It's not even a big deal any more, with the new techniques for embedding ink under skin that don't involve needles or a risk of infection.
There's some further wrangling over the location ("not on my ass!", Charlie protests, hilariously) and the design. They finally settle for the simple Fringe Division symbol, their Show Mes proving they have the right to wear it. Extra ID in case, Charlie says cynically. But in the end they match, and that's all that matters.
Chapter 4: Blue'verse: Olivia/Lincoln, shiny and new, for monanotlisa
He's just so--Olivia tries to come up with another word, but the shoe fits--*shiny.*
It's unfair, she knows, considering Lincoln Lee has been a field agent for years. She's seen him in action and knows he possesses the mental agility to withstand the peculiar rigors of Fringe Division. Agent Lee's taken to all the weirdness better, frankly, than she did at first.
And it's inappropriate as hell, but Olivia wonders if he's really as...wholesome as he appears, all new and polished and gleaming with enthusiasm. The suit is armor, she decides, hiding myriad secrets begging to be uncovered.
Chapter 5: Blue'verse: Lincoln/Robert/Julie, boundaries
Julie sets the rules. Lincoln can't stay over; it's too awkward, with the kids in the house, and she doesn't want Amy and Jonathan asking questions she's not ready to answer. Lincoln and Robert exchange a glance laden with the full understanding that she'll never be ready for that conversation, and that's okay. This isn't about the kids.
Lincoln is very clear about his place in their life and their bed. Robert and Jules love each other, their marriage unshakable. But they're willing to share, and for their generosity in inviting him into their life, Lincoln would accept any limitation.
Chapter 6: Blue!Olivia and Red!Olivia, antagonism, for ranier76
Olivia remembers chasing magnets around the kitchen table as a child, pushing them apart with their doubles, fascinated by how the like ends repulsed each other.
She knows how they felt, now.
It's probably inevitable, the instinctual antagonism she and her alternate have for each other. Like repels like and unwilling as either of them are to admit it, they're too similar for easy rapport. Staring into the face of someone who can complete her sentences, who knows every nuance of her emotions, is too unnerving for Olivia to endure. Her double gazes also, with eyes indistinguishable from her own.
Chapter 7: Red!Astrid, secret
(Everyone wants Lincoln. It's not like I have an agenda or anything.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Astrid watches him from under her cap. She's a *Looker*; she looks. She can rattle off his name, rank, and serial number, relate his case success and failure rates with a simple calculation. What she cannot quantify, what defies all her logic and understanding, is why she cannot take her eyes off of Captain Lee.
Something else is at work here, some strange attractor defying all reason. Astrid is...*aware* of the dynamics between people, but so many of those factors don't apply to her.
Yet the discrepancy remains, and she wonders if a Looker might learn to feel, after all.
This could be considered a prequel to Hear a Woman Singing.
Chapter 8: Blue'verse: Peter/Lincoln for eyeneversleep
Setup: S4. Peter comes back, but nobody believes in him except Lincoln. Canon will joss me, I'm certain. This is too much information for a drabble, even a
double tripleoh the hell with word count.
AGENT LEE: Feel free to give me a call if you ever find yourself needing some help.
PETER: Be careful what you wish for.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The man with the blue-gray eyes seems confused, lost in every sense of the word. Lincoln knows how he feels.
He claims to be Peter *Bishop,* a declaration that sent Walter into a spiral of alternating mania and denial so profound that Olivia and Astrid can barely keep him on task. Lincoln, still new to the lab, is left with the task of wrangling the interloper.
That's fine by him. Something about Peter seems...familiar, like a scent on the breeze Lincoln can't place. There's a sense of connection that Peter appears to feel too, and he willingly allows Lincoln to stand as his keeper. Lincoln gets the impression that if Peter reckoned otherwise, he'd already have fled beyond their reach.
The days wear on and Peter grows increasingly impatient with the lack of results, his lack of memory. The others find no answers but absent other options, begin to bring Peter in on the day-to-day of the lab in the hope of jogging something loose. Olivia pauses when she catches sight of Peter out of the corner of her eye, then moves on; Lincoln keeps his company, and they bond over their mutual outsider status.
Eventually Peter is accepted as a member of the team and granted an FBI consultant's badge. He and Lincoln continue to spend their after-hours together and by this time, Lincoln is pretty sure their relationship is evolving into something other than an association of convenience. When Peter leans into him on a balmy evening after last call, sheltering against a wind that isn't there, he's certain of it.
Lincoln kisses him for the first time while they're watching a soccer match one lazy Saturday. Peter blinks at him, his lips curling into a slow smile, and after that the game is forgotten. Whoever Peter was before, Lincoln knows who he is now: He's the man who's helped to fill the empty spaces in Lincoln's heart, the ones left behind by Robert's death. It no longer matters where Peter came from as long as he stays, Lincoln's anchor against the shifting realities of the world.
-- and now, seriously, go read rainer's gorgeous Electromagnetic, it's the fully realized fic you really want. :)
Chapter 9: Blue!Olivia/Peter/Red!Olivia, sometimes only he can tell them apart, for Tenae
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
They play games with him, sometimes: Olivia puts on a red wig, or Liv dresses in dark colors. La nuit, tous les chats sont gris but Peter can tell them apart anyway. It's the difference between Liv's grin and Olivia's smile, or even the way they kiss. Liv demands his attention, lips and tongue insistent against his; Olivia is more gentle, but no less compelling.
The more time they spend together the more other people seem to have trouble telling the difference between them, mirror twins becoming less mirrored by the day. But Peter sees them clearly, and always knows.
Fr.: At night, all cats are gray; or, all cats are gray in the dark. If I've grabbed the wrong translation, please let me know!
Chapter 10: Blue'verse: Walter Bishop/Rebecca Kibner
Written for the Fringe kinkmeme using the following prompt:
From the end of "Momentum Deferred." He took Rebecca up on her offer to come in, after all.
Walter stands on Rebecca's doorstep. She invites him in, eyes offering...everything.
This woman was a girl when he knew her, but not a child. She was old enough to know her own mind, to agree to the LSD experiments with open and eager curiosity. She remembers him kindly and for that alone, Walter is grateful.
The mind is willing. He remembers Nina's white throat, and Belly's intensity. He is not so ancient to have forgotten this.
The flesh is surprisingly willing, still, even after drugs and shock treatments and libido-killing isolation.
Walter takes Rebecca's hand and follows her inside.
Chapter 11: Red/Amber'verse: Lincoln and Olivia, heroes and villains, for bluestones1
They were told of invaders. Monsters wearing their faces, the Secretary said. There was no reason to disbelieve; Walter Bishop was the hero who devised a means of saving what they could of their dissolving world.
But the other side wasn't full of monsters. Just people, like them. People like their version of Charlie Francis, who'd been killed by a shapeshifter sent by Bishop. People like their version of Olivia, locked in a dark cell while Liv carried out her mission.
Lincoln and Liv aren't heroes from any point of view. Just people, newly determined not to be the villains.
Chapter 12: Blue'verse: Walter and Lincoln, Consultation
Written for the Fringe kinkmeme using the following prompt:
Lincoln (either one) puts himself up as a date in a charity auction. Who buys him?
It's a clear, chill autumn day but Walter's coat is warm and Astrid planted some Red Vines in his pocket when he wasn't looking; life is good.
They stroll slowly around the park. He wonders if the early morning joggers see a young man walking with his father. Not today. But perhaps sometime soon.
The boy had awkwardly offered his arm, but Walter is not as old as that. He lets the morning light sink into his bones until he's ready to begin. "Agent Lee--"
"Lincoln," the young man interrupts, like he's been waiting for the opportunity. "After what you paid for this, uh, 'date,' it's only fair that you call me by name. As long as it's not Washington or Kennedy."
"Lincoln, then," Walter says solemnly.
"So why, uh--"
Walter smiles. "Why did I pay an outrageous sum for the sole pleasure of your company?"
That nets him a laugh. "Yes, exactly."
It's a hard thing to admit that he cannot solve his current conundrum on his own. This rendezvous is, perhaps, the first step toward a solution. "Lincoln...I seem to have forgotten how to talk to my son. I was hoping I could practice with you."
Chapter 13: Blue'verse: Charlie Francis/John Scott
CHARLIE: I wasn't gonna tell you this...but [John] said he loved me too. ["The Ghost Network"]
Quick unbetaed drabble, an attempt to kickstart my brain.
They'd had a...*thing.* Totally casual, no strings, as much about a beer and watching a game as all the sweaty fucking that followed. At least as far as Charlie was concerned. John, it turned out, had other notions.
But then she came along, Olivia Dunham of the beguiling gray-green eyes. John's attention didn't so much wander as be swallowed whole, particularly in the wake of Charlie's silence.
Charlie never resented her for that, not once he got to know her and saw how she responded to John's interest, like a cactus flower soaking up water from a rare desert storm. Hard to stake a claim against that, even if he'd wanted to.
After John's death he wanted to...comfort Olivia, make that hidden triangle between them real, but by then there was Sonia, and Charlie wasn't going to be *that* guy. So he stood by her at the funeral and made the joke Olivia would never know for truth, and resolved to be there as much as she'd let him. For her sake as well as John's, and the murmured words Charlie had never answered, the ones that John deserved to hear.
Chapter 14: Red!Lincoln, father
No other reason except I adore the film and that song, really, it just fits.
Lincoln hates that movie, 1776.
That's not true. He loves the movie, loves singing along to all the songs except one. What he hates--hated--was that every year, at the annual rewatch, his father would nod in approval at that one song and say the same thing every time. "That's our family, Lincoln. The Lees of old Virginia."
But now he'd give anything to hear his father again, to roll his eyes at the idea that whatever family anyone was descended from mattered. This year when he watches he'll think of his dad, though, and know that it does.
Chapter 15: Amber'verse: Peter/Lincoln for Josh Jackson
Written for the Fringe kinkmeme using the following prompt:
From the mouth of Josh Jackson, re Pelcon:
"Well, you never know! New universe, it's cold in the winter, shit happens, I'm just sayin'. Maybe they put [Lincoln] in a peacoat, and he looks good in a peacoat too!"
Allll righty then.
It’s the smell that finally does him in.
The weather in Boston isn’t that different from what Lincoln’s used to in Hartford; the difference of a hundred miles still means brutal northeast winters. But somehow the wind here cuts right through him in a way he’s having a hard time adjusting to.
He dashes through the Kresge Building with his head down, narrowly dodging students and faculty on the way to the basement lab. It won’t be any warmer down there, unless Astrid’s already gotten in and turned on the space heaters that Walter always forgets. But at least the basement is far from any outside doors and the wind that feels like it’s following him, laying its icy fingers down his neck and laughing as he shudders.
When Lincoln swipes his keycard with shaky fingers and steps inside the lab, the blast of warm air that hits him makes it clear that Astrid, or someone else, has gotten here ahead of him. But he’s still shivering and no one is in sight, not even Walter, so he decides that propriety is overrated and reaches for the first warm thing he sees, a piece of heavy fabric on the coat rack, and envelops himself in it.
It’s at least a few minutes before he starts to feel his core temperature coming up to resemble something nearly human, and it’s only after his fingers have stopped tingling that Lincoln realizes he’s wrapped himself up in Peter’s peacoat.
And it--the coat *smells.* Not in a bad way, not at all. It’s full of the scent of slightly damp wool, and Peter’s aftershave, and the wood of the old house he’s been living in. There’s still no one in the lab, so Lincoln turns his head slightly into the coat’s collar and breathes it in, catching the hint of some kind of spice, probably from Peter’s last cooking experiment, and faintly the scent of Peter himself where the collar had rubbed against his neck--
The door opens and he’s caught, his head jerking up with a start as Peter comes in, balancing a cardboard tray with a couple of capped paper cups from the cafeteria upstairs. “Hey, you’re in. I got coffee. --no, don’t get up,” he adds, his face creasing in a grin. “It’s brutal out there today.”
Lincoln just nods and sinks back down into the coat, given sanction for his impromptu exploitation of Peter’s clothing. He watches as Peter sets the tray down and then wanders back his way.
“Astrid took Walter out for breakfast. You look good in my coat,” Peter offers, casually, a faint smirk on his lips.
Maybe that it’s that he’s warmed up in more ways than one, maybe it’s that smirk, or maybe it’s the scent of the coat all around him that finally pushes Lincoln to the place he’s wanted to go for weeks. “I’d look better out of it,” he says, standing, and is both relieved and delighted by Peter’s answering laugh.
“I’m still a little chilly, though,” Peter says, and steps forward to push his hands into the coat, his arms curling around Lincoln’s back, the closeness of his body with the both of them under the coat turning warmth into real heat. “Yeah, that’s better,” he says, and laughs again as Lincoln pulls him down for a kiss.
Chapter 16: Blue'verse: Olivia and Broyles, post-"Pilot."
Olivia was still reeling from the events of the last few days, not the least of which was her sudden change of status within the Bureau.
Special Agent-in-Charge Broyles' attitude shift had been abrupt. He'd gone from that sarcastic "honey," which still rankled, to asking--demanding--that she join his hunt for something called the "Pattern." It was a tempting package: a special assignment, corresponding pay bump, top-secret clearance she'd never sought after. Catching bad guys was really all she'd ever wanted. But after what she'd seen....
A week ago, she would have said it was all crazy. Now.... Now, if she was going to do this, she needed to know that her boss had her back.
The plethora of forms she had to fill out provided an adequate excuse to stop by his office in person. She dropped the papers on his desk and waited until he raised his head to acknowledge her.
"You seemed to have reservations about my involvement, when we first met," Olivia said, not bothering to sugar-coat the issue. "I wanted to make sure that was no longer the case."
Broyles leaned back in his chair and looked at her, his expression impenetrable. "The job offer wasn't enough?"
"I'd like to know why you changed your mind. Sir."
He watched her for a moment, then nodded once. "Because I didn't want to believe that my friend was capable of what he'd been accused of. But I very quickly saw what you were capable of, your determination and integrity, and it became obvious that one of you was mistaken. Or outright lying." His lips thinned. "And it was equally obvious which one it was.
"Is that all?"
It clearly was enough. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir," Olivia said, and made her getaway before she provoked another attitude shift.
Chapter 17: Blue'verse: Nina/Walter/William
Old unclaimed fic written for the Fringe kinkmeme using the following prompt:
Nina/Walter/William Drug-fueled college-era threesome, Nina as psychological (or maybe even physical) top.
Nina likes to watch.
No, more precisely: Nina likes to *direct.*
Both Walter and William would be happy to have her (and *have* her) on the bed with them, but she prefers to perch on the edge of the desk, carefully rolled joint smoldering in hand, while she tells them what to do.
"Yes, Walter, now you suck him. Belly! Open your eyes. Watch him get you hard so you can fuck him. ...oh, that's good."
And under her exacting instructions, as flawlessly ordered as a well-planned experiment, it is.
She waits until they're sprawled over each other exhausted before she slides almost demurely down from the desk, lifts up her flippy skirt (underwear, of course, would be an unnecessary obstacle) and finally kneels on the bed with her white thighs on either side of William's face.
"Now suck me," she growls, and he does, because Nina Sharp always has the biggest balls in any room, flippy skirt or no.
Chapter 18: Red'verse: Charlie on the plane
Post-"Everything in Its Right Place."
When my brain spit this out, I wrote: Fuck you, show. Fuck you forever for making me write this, since we didn’t get so much as a line about Charlie’s absence. The sentiment stands.
It’s the worst flight of Charlie’s life.
Bad enough that he’d left his new wife back at the beach house, after a screaming knock-down drag-out fight that ended with him storming out without as much as a toothbrush. It’s entirely possible he might not even still be married when this is over, but right now, Charlie can’t bring himself to care.
His Fringe badge got him a priority flight and an instant upgrade, which at least is keeping him away from most of the civilians. The flight attendants are giving him a wide berth, probably safest for everyone. He knows his face is reflecting a mixture of anger and grief, a black swath of emotion just looking for a target.
Lincoln Lee is dead.
He can’t-- he can’t process it. The words seem impossible, had certainly been incomprehensible the first time and the twelfth time he’d read them off the official notice. It wasn’t until he got Liv on the line, heard the shaking in her voice, that Charlie started to acknowledge that *something* had happened. The story he got out of Colonel Broyles sounds ridiculous--shot by a sniper, really, considering everything else Lincoln had survived? It’s inconceivable.
The word doesn’t mean what he thinks it means, and neither does the world, anymore.
There’s a low sound coming from somewhere, a grinding whine that’s starting to get on his nerves, but before he can pinpoint it there’s a suited woman leaning over to talk to him. “Sir, I’m sorry, but you’re-- disturbing the other passengers.”
Charlie realizes with a start that it’s him, the sound is coming from his own throat, a cross between a keen and a growl. “My partner’s dead,” he grits out, even if he hasn’t really absorbed it yet, and the woman blanches and goes away. He vaguely hears her telling the other passengers that he’s a Fringe agent who’s suffered a loss, and as far as he knows no one says a fucking word after that.
He doesn’t care about that, either.
When the plane lands, he’s going to have to pull himself together enough to start kicking the asses that need kicking. To find Liv and get on the same page. To get some goddamn facts, because all he’s got right now is a gaping hole of illogic where all the certainties of his world used to live.
Chapter 19: Red'verse: Red!Astrid and Peter
Post-"Enemy of My Enemy." Not sure I got to where I was aiming at, but it's enough for a drabble.
Peter Bishop is an anomaly.
He comes, if the intel is to believed, not just from another universe, but from another timeline. Astrid would very much like to question him, to determine the differences between the world he knows and the one she does, but there’s no time. Fringe Division is entirely focused on tracking David Robert Jones and as the highest-ranking looker on staff, it’s her responsibility to keep that effort focused and free of distractions.
Except that *she* is...distracted. It’s not a state that occurs often and is therefore worthy of consideration. Later, after the crisis is over--unsatisfactorily resolved, although the new accord between universes should allow for better data, always a desired result--Astrid goes home and eats her dinner, cleans her apartment, and sits down to contemplate the distracting event.
Peter Bishop had touched her when no one else did.
It was a gesture clearly meant to comfort, reassurance that her error had not, in fact, been her fault. Logic dictates that he is correct; she could not look for something that had no previous significance. But logic has nothing to do with his hand on her shoulder, that brief moment of purely human contact. A reminder that she is still, even after all the enhancements and improvements, merely human.
It’s *because* Peter is an anomaly, because he lies outside all the patterns of possibility and predictability, that Astrid can feel something outside her...programming. “Training” is a more polite word, but less accurate. Feelings get in the way of accurate analysis. They are always to be set aside in favor of logic and numerical certainties.
Nothing about Peter Bishop is certain, and his mere existence allows Astrid to see beyond her screens and numbers.
He is not going to stay. His entire purpose, from what Astrid has gathered, is to return to his own timeline.
But it doesn’t matter. That one moment opened up her world, let her see beyond her patterns and known quantities. Something in her has shifted and can never be set back to spec.
Astrid doesn’t want it to.
Chapter 20: Blue'verse: Three in This Bed
Written for the Fringe kinkmeme using the following prompt:
we're both thinking of someone else, but that's okay
This prompt deserved a longer answer, but it's all I've got for now.
Olivia’s eyes are closed.
And that’s okay, it’s not like Peter minds the idea that she’s too overcome with passion to keep her eyes open. Except that Olivia usually watches him while they’re making love and doesn’t often close her eyes except at her climax, when all her nerves fire off with pleasure and her eyelids flutter shut. Peter knows this like he knows the rest of her responses. He’s made an intense study of the subject, looks forward to a lifetime of learning more.
But now Olivia’s eyes are closed, a faint smile on her face, and he’s always too curious not to ask. Peter braces himself on one arm and brings a hand up to brush across her cheek. “Falling asleep on me?”
“Never,” she answers immediately, the internal *squeeze* she gives him seconding her assertion, and opens her eyes. There’s a faint blush on her cheek, though, warm under his hand. “Just enjoying the moment.”
“You were somewhere else, though,” he guesses, and the blush deepens.
“I was...oh, Peter.” Olivia draws him down, her lips brushing against his. “Tell you later.” She rolls them effortlessly, grins down at him from her new position, and sets a pace that leaves him breathless and in short order, completely incapable of thinking at all.
But afterward, when they’re all clean and dry and snuggled together in bed--ostensibly to sleep--he can’t help but ask again.
Olivia, being Olivia, doesn’t obfuscate. “I was thinking about Lincoln.”
The warm flush that runs through Peter definitely isn’t a normal response. “Normal” would be jealousy, or anger, or--
But no, he’s mostly intrigued. And Olivia knows it, the smile in her eyes a testament to her surety.
Chapter 21: Red!Lincoln and Blue!Olivia: another moment in October
Clearly, a theme I can't stop picking at. This could be a missing (canon compliant!) scene from "One Night in October."
He’s fascinated by the blonde hair.
Yeah, he’s seen Olivia as a blonde before--in all her old pictures, of course, before she dyed her hair. Like the famous one of her holding up her Olympic medal. But Liv’s been a redhead all the years Lincoln’s known her, the color a perfect reflection of her personality.
And yet here’s another Olivia, the hair cascading down around her shoulders suiting her far better than the wig Liv had worn to mimic her double.
It’s a total stereotype but he’d expected the blonde to-- to *soften* the other Olivia somehow, but that’s not at all true. She’s a pale blade, honed to a sharp watchfulness. Still where Liv can’t stop moving, but just as observant and intuitive.
Lincoln doesn’t hesitate for a second when they find the storm cellar, instinctively counting on the other Olivia to back him up. It’s sloppy and dangerous, assuming that this Olivia will be just as effective as his partner of three years, but he doesn’t even consider his actions until later. It feels right working with her, the way it feels right working with Liv.
While they’re stabilizing Professor McClennan for his return to the other universe, Lincoln casts around for something to say to this silent, self-contained Olivia that won’t get him shot. The only thing he can think of is hardly diplomatic, but at least has the virtue of being true. “Agent Dunham. I just-- I just wanted you to know. Charlie and I had no idea you were being held here against your will. All we were told was that Liv was on special assignment.”
She finally turns to look at him, gaze piercing. “I wasn’t holding you accountable.”
But Liv and the Secretary, yes, and in retrospect Lincoln realizes how treasonous his words probably were. In spirit, if not in actual letter of the law. “That’s. Uh. That’s good. I’m glad you were willing to work with us despite that.”
“You had a serial killer on the loose. I wasn’t going to--” her eyes drop briefly, a relief from that relentless look. “No, that’s not true. I wasn’t...entirely eager to help. Our Agent Broyles convinced me. He was right, of course.”
“Come back,” Lincoln says impulsively, before he even knows what he’s saying. “After you’ve dropped McClennan off. You should see what’s good about this world. So you know what we’re trying to save. So you know we’re not--” not monsters, he doesn’t say, because Liv *isn’t* and he’s not going to inadvertently call her one. “Not trying to hurt your world.”
Olivia raises her eyes to his again, startled. “I don’t-- think that. Mostly.” An unexpected smile touches the corner of her mouth. “I’ll grant I have some...trust issues with your side. But I see that, Captain Lee.” She turns and points to the Twin Towers, bold against the skyline, and Lincoln remembers what he’d read about the other side. “I know what you have to fight for.”
Chapter 22: s5: The Love Song of Edward J. Markham
Because *Markham,* you guys. Spoilers for 5x01.
Markham knows he’s outlived his world, which is why it thinks he’s dead. He spends his nights stalking the black market for precious old books, CDs, anything from times gone by. He spends his days hunched over manuscripts no one cares about any more, watching shows no one remembers. No one remembers him and that’s the way he wants it.
And then he finds it. Her.
It-- she costs him everything he has, every marker he can call, every last scrap of fresh food he can lay hands on. He borrows and cheats and steals for the rest. She’s worth it.
She’s a princess in a glass (Amber) coffin, and if he can only find a way to wake her, he might be a hero after all, instead of a dead coward hiding in squalor.
(The irony’s not lost on him; he’s not that far gone. Edward Markham is no one’s handsome prince. More like one of the ugly dwarves. And he can’t touch her to kiss her, anyway.)
Still. He has a blissful few days, lost in his fantasy. “Olivia,” he croons softly, crouched over her frozen, beautiful face. “Ohhh-liv-eeeeeah.”
--and then old habits resurface and she won’t mind, can’t know if he puts a book down on the Amber slab, and then a cup, and then--
Then they burst in, her friends who are all supposed to be for-real dead, and all he can do is wail that no, he’s supposed to save her, no, they can’t take her.
But they do. And he’s alone again.
Markham spends the next day, maybe two, maybe a week--time doesn’t mean anything anymore--lost to himself. Sometimes he weeps, sometimes he only makes a kind of low moaning sound that would be terrifying his neighbors, if he had any. He throws things and tears at whatever he can reach (but not the books, never the books) and thinks, when he thinks at all, of going up to the roof with his shotgun and taking out as many of the bald bastards as he can before they melt his brain.
The books stop him, the same way they’ve ruled every other aspect of his life. If he dies, who will care for them? Who will love them like he does? Who will use--
Use them for their intended purpose.
Above all, Edward Markham is not a stupid man. He understands now, after the madness has passed and he’s clear-headed again, exactly how the venerated Fringe agents appeared precisely as they had during the days when they came into his shop, when he had a shop. They’d been preserved in Amber, just as she had.
With their return he sees his purpose in having lived so long as a dead man. The Observers understand that information is power. In his rat-hole rooms, beneath the floor in hidden compartments, Markham holds power. Not the juvenile rantings of The Anarchist Cookbook, but far more dangerous texts. Recipes. Instructions. Formulas of destruction and perhaps, salvation.
He can find the rag-tag resistance through the black market. He won’t tell them about the team’s return--that’s for them to reveal--but he can show the resistance his books. He can share the histories of improvised weaponry and sabotage and guerilla warfare. No doubt they’ve learned most of it by trial and error by now, but the lessons of the past still matter, if for nothing else than to drive home the point about superior forces being overcome by a dedicated resistance. He’ll go back to David and Goliath if he needs to.
He’ll build her an army.
It’s the least he can do. She’s the hero and he’s still just an ugly dwarf, but Olivia Dunham’s saved him all the same.