“Hey Astrid, I’ve got your phone…” Melody froze in the doorway, cell phone hitting the floor with a clatter. Into the silence Olivia’s quiet “shit” carried as if she had shouted. Walter was the first to recover.
“Melody! Would you like some eggs? With chives?”
Melody shook herself. “Uh, no thanks Walter, I ate at home.” She replied, bending down to pick up the pieces of the phone, snapping the case back together and checking it for damage.
“Hey Walter, why don’t you make Agent Farnsworth some eggs while Astrid and I talk to Melody.” Olivia suggested, coming forward and gently steering Melody towards the back office. Once all three were inside Olivia closed the door and gestured Melody to a chair at the desk.
"Wha... Astrid, what's going on? Do you have an identical twin you never told me about or something?" Melody collapsed into the chair and looked expectantly between Olivia and Astrid, her eyes silently begging them to give her a simple, normal explanation for what she had seen. She new better though, from the haunted look in Astrid’s eyes when she came home some day, and the things she couldn't say. Astrid and Olivia exchanged a look and Melody held her breath until Olivia nodded. Olivia pulled out her phone. "I'll get the paperwork going. We should have done this months ago anyway." Olivia said as she stepped away to one corner of the room.
Astrid pulled another chair next to Melody’s and squeezed her hand. They sat there silently, avoiding each other’s eyes and listening to Olivia on the phone with Broyles. "Yes sir, thank you. We'll head to the scene as soon as we're done here." Hanging up Olivia turned to them with an ironic smile. "Welcome to Fringe Division Melody. We're going to have to give you the quick and dirty explanation because we have a case." Olivia took a breath meeting Melody's eyes seriously. "This division is high classified. Do not talk about anything you learn here with anyone outside the division. Now that you will have been cleared we may call on you to consult on a case occasionally but we do realize you have your own important job that keeps you busy. We will ask that, now that you know, you keep an eye out for fringe related cases at the hospital.” Olivia waited for Melody to nod her understanding before she continued. "Fringe Division deals with events not explained by current mainstream science. Specifically related to Agent Farnsworth who you saw in the lab, parallel universes." Astrid nodded when Melody turned to look at her incredulously.
"This is the first time I've met her. She's autistic, so she doesn't do field work. You've actually met Olivia's counterpart before. Relations between our universes haven't always been as ... Congenial as they are now. The other Olivia was here spying."
"Speaking of my counterpart," Olivia interjected mildly as Melody was about to launch into a string of questions. "She'll be here shortly to collect Agent Farnsworth and I should probably go warn Walter before she gets here." Olivia paused on her way out the door. We’ll leave for the crime scene as soon as I finish with Walter. Melody, you’re welcome to join us if you’d like.” And then Olivia was gone, closing the door behind her and leaving Astrid alone with her wife.
“I’m sorry you had to find out this way.” Astrid said quietly, looking down. “Olivia’s right, I should have started the paperwork to get you fully cleared eons ago. I mean, you were bound to see something coming by the lab as often as you do.” Astrid raised her hand as Melody opened her mouth to speak. “Just, hear me out?” Melody nodded, subsiding back into her chair. “I guess I just wanted to protect you from this craziness. You’re my rock; I can go home to you in the evening and put all the wacky, scary stuff that I don’t understand to the side. And I selfishly didn’t want to loose that.” Astrid let out a breath. “There, done.”
Melody smiled, leaning forward to take Astrid’s hands and rub small circles on her palms. “I can still be your rock you know. It’ll take me a bit to get over seeing you next to your evil military twin from another universe.”
Melody shuddered lightly while Astrid protested, “She’s not evil!” Melody ignored her.
“And I plan to have a good freak out complete with denial and yelling when I get home tonight. But, all this means is that when you want to talk you can, not that you have to. And I promise I won’t push.”
Astrid smiled at Melody. How many other people could say their wife could take being ambushed by parallel universes in stride and still be sweet and supportive when, by all rights, she should be the one freaking out. Astrid would make sure to stop by the store on the way home and get the fixings for Melody’s favorite meal. Leaning forward Astrid gave Melody a brief kiss before standing and peering out the office window.
“The shouting has died down, looks like it’s time for me to go. Do you want to come? Or you could stay here. Or you could do whatever you were planning for your day off.” Astrid shook her head. “You’re supposed to be the one flustered and freaking out. How are you so calm?”
Melody grinned impishly. “Like I said, I’m saving my freak out for at home tonight. Right now I’m just pretending I’m back on my psych rotation. I think I’ll stay here. I wouldn’t want to miss two Olivia’s in one spot. That’s got to be quite the show.”
Astrid shook her head, laughing. “Just don’t tell Walter either of those things or you’ll never hear the end of it.”
After another quick kiss Astrid exited the office, Melody trailing behind more slowly. Melody found a seat in a back corner of the lab while Astrid gathered her coat and equipment and followed Olivia out of the lab. Walter and Agent Farnsworth seemed to have forgotten that she was there, so Melody settled in for some quality people watching.