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New Fic: Could've, Should've, Would've

Could’ve, Would’ve, Should’ve
Fandom: Fringe
Rated: PG
Category: Ficlet. Peter angst.
Season: One.
Spoilers: The No-Brainer.
Summary: They say familiarity breeds contempt. For Peter, that was true – but not in the usual way. Nothing happens in the usual way for Peter. Not anymore.
Word Count: 400.

xxx

Everything about her was odd. Unfamiliar. Not something I was used to.

And she made me a stranger, too. She made me stick around, when every part of me screamed not to, and though I tolerated it for the sake of the job, I still didn’t like it.

Then I met her sister, and suddenly, things felt normal, if only for a moment.

And when I met the sister again, this time dropping off a file and accidentally catching her alone, the feeling came back. This was something I knew; something familiar. And in my line of work, that was comforting – more so than even I would have guessed. I didn’t realize until that moment that I was wrapped tighter than a suspension spring. I didn’t feel the tension until it was gone.

In an instant, all my old habits started to click into place. I felt myself smile. I turned on the charm.

It would have worked, too. I could tell, both from her expression and experience.

A woman on the rebound?

The stereotypical fun sister?

Now that I could handle. I’d done it many times, in fact, and something about a quick release appealed to my baser instincts a lot. It had been a lot longer for me than I wanted to think about. Hell, with Walter around, I couldn’t even… well, never mind. Walter and that should never be in the same sentence. Ever.

And like I said, this was familiar ground. I could do this in my sleep.

And then leave the next morning, of course.

The kid would be none the wiser, so no harm there.

And this sister would get over it.

But the other one?

The one turning my life upside down and making me think twice about everything I’d have done in a heartbeat in the past? The one who wouldn’t leave me alone, even now?

That one would make me pay for that release for the rest of my life.

The likely very short rest of my life.

So instead of amping up the charm, I shut it down and went home.

Now, I shake my head in bed as Walter recites the phonetic alphabet. The tension is back full force, and I can think only one thing.

I could’ve stayed in Iraq, but for one person on this planet more clever than me.

Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve.

Damn you, Olivia Dunham.

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