So Kyra (melvester on Tumblr) has once again come up with something that I thought was BRILLIANT and wanted to turn into a fic, and once again I feel like I didn't do it justice but I did my best. Her idea was basically Happy and Toby convince Sly to get a tattoo for Megan, and Walter initially thinks it's a bad idea, but Paige helps him come around.
Toby leaned against the wall, his elbow helping him prop his head up on his hand."Have you thought about maybe...doing something more permanent?"
"This ring represents our love," Sylvester said. "We healed each other as much as we could. It's fitting."
"Sly, it's a bandaid," Happy said. "Get a tattoo."
"Ah haha," Sylvester chuckled, smiling for a few seconds before he realized Happy was serious. "A tattoo." He pointed at himself. "Me, getting a tattoo. Me, with anxiety levels that cannot be accurately measured, getting a tattoo."
"Your anxiety isn't as bad as it used to be," Toby said. "And she had everything to do with that. Getting something like that, that won't ever go away, that you couldn't have possibly gotten before her..." he shrugged, his brow furrowing as he noticed the look on his girlfriend's face. "What?"
"You're being awfully sentimental today."
"I like tattoos, okay?"
"You don't have any."
"They use needles!" He shrieked. Noticing the raised eyebrows on both Happy and Sylvester's faces, he cleared his throat. "So, a Megan tattoo, Sly, I think that'd be a good idea."
"What is this about needles?" Walter asked, jogging down the stairs. "Is it time for Toby to get another tetanus shot?"
"I have another four months and I do not wish to think about it until the day of."
"See," Sylvester said. "But Toby's only problem is getting him into the office. Once he's there his nerves settle, it's just the thought of the process of going for a shot that psychs him out. Me? I'd be sitting in that tattoo parlor shaking in my sneakers as I wait for them to-"
"Uh, what?" Walter frowned, setting the papers he'd picked up off of Paige's desk right back down where he'd gotten them. "Tattoo parlor?"
"We're trying to convince Sly to get a tattoo in memory of Megan." Happy said.
"That's a horrible idea."
"Says our resident buzzkill," Toby said.
"Says our resident Grinch," Happy said in response.
"Tattoos..." Walter shook his head. "Tattoos are completely unnecessary. You're purposefully injuring yourself for sentimentality. You're exposing your outermost protective layer to...to hepatitis, to HIV, to all sorts of general infections if the healing process isn't followed entirely."
They all jumped as the door opened. "Hey guys," Paige said. "Sorry I'm late, I was doing the carpool."
"Paige, perfect," Toby said. "Tell Walter that Sylvester should get a tattoo inspired by Megan."
"Does Sylvester want to get a tattoo inspired by Megan?"
"Sylvester is thinking about it," Sylvester replied.
"The risks we take in life must be calculated," Walter said. "Destroying your body's natural defense just to have an image, or a word, permanently emblazoned under your skin? Where is the value in that? How is the outcome worth the risk?"
"Tattoo parlors are actually very strict with their hygiene policies," Paige said. "Needles are unwrapped in front of the person getting tattooed, and they throw them out in front of you too, and each one has a unique serial number that corresponds with it, so nothing gets mixed up. And the artists wear gloves."
"You seem to know a lot about this," Toby said, raising his eyebrows and making a show of eyeing her head to toe. "Is there anything you'd like to tell those of us who haven't seen you naked?"
"An old boyfriend of mine had a couple. Guy I dated in high school, it was his first year of college, he had this whole 'independence' thing going and got like four tattoos in one semester."
"Please tell me one of them wasn't of a catcher's mitt."
"I didn't date Drew until my first year of college." She dropped her coat on the chair by her desk. "What's the problem, Walter?"
"It's just...it's stupid." Walter cleared his throat, picking up the papers on her desk again. "Can you look these over for me?"
"Yeah, right away." Paige cocked her head at him.
"You'll have to look it over later," Cabe said, marching through the front door. "We have a case."
"Are you ready?"
"No," Sylvester said.
"We're right here, Sly," Happy said, reaching out and taking his left hand. His right was clutching the front of the armrest that the tattoo artist had positioned for him.
Sylvester glanced again at his arm. "This place isn't very painful," the artist had assured him. Her name was Caiyun. "It's one of the least sensitive spots because there isn't bone too close to the skin." So now, the stencil was laid out, 2-15-15 in purple on his skin, a cluster of stars bursting from around the date.
"So you want the inside shaded, yes?" Caiyun said. "Not all black."
"Not all black," Happy said when Sylvester's jaw locked and his knuckles turned white. "She hated black."
"Okay. I'll do the stars first, okay Sylvester?" Caiyun said. "They're smaller, so they'll be quicker. Then we'll work on getting the numbers all done and shade them in. That'll be more intense, but you'll know you can handle it because you'll have gotten the rest of it all out of the way already. Okay?"
"Just start please just start."
"Okay. Shift a little...there you go." The needle began to buzz.
"Happy, Happy talk to me," Sylvester said.
"No, don't talk to me," Happy said. "Talk to Megan. Imagine she was here. You know what she'd be saying."
"Look at you go, Sly!" Sylvester said. "Once you're inked I can bring you home to my folks and totally freak them out." He smiled. "Then she'd giggle and lean over to kiss me."
"She would," Happy said. "You know one time when she was at the garage and you were going out to get food, she told me she always had this extra energy when she was with you or Walter. She would get so giddy whenever she was with one of you."
"There you go," Caiyun said. "Look, Sylvester."
He turned, feeling a stinging on his arm, but nothing worse than a sunburn. And one of his purple outlines was now a star. "Wow," he said. "That didn't hurt. Or...or it probably did, but..."
"But Megan's still helping you," Happy said. "You know some people say that a person only truly dies when their name is forgotten. And you won't let anyone forget hers. It's actually quite a powerful statement, knowing that this is something you want forever, a tribute to someone important. Permanence is a powerful thing."
"You're starting to sound like Toby," Sylvester joked. "Analyzing just how deep this gesture goes."
"If you'd like I can stay silent and you can think about what Caiyun is doing to your arm."
"No thank you."
"Where are Sly and Happy?" Paige asked.
"It's tattoo day," Toby said. "Apparently when the four of us went into the place for the consultation Sylvester was told he can't have 'entourages' in the tattooing room. The website said he can bring 'one or two people' and that would leave one of us out, so he took Happy. He was afraid I'd analyse the situation too much and figured Paige would be needed for Walter Control."
"He should be back any minute," Paige said. "He was stopping at the store to get cinnamon after dropping Ralph off at school."
"So I have to start getting my coffee before I get here again?" Toby asked. "Speak of the devil!"
"Morning, everyone." Walter was carrying a grocery bag. He stopped and held it out toward Paige.
She reached inside and pulled out the cinnamon, a grin coming over her face. "Thaaaank you Walllter," she said flirtatiously, leaning over and briefly touching her lips to his.
"I'm going to put the rest of this stuff upstairs. Where is Sylvester and Happy?"
"It's tattoo day!" Paige said, setting the cinnamon down on her desk.
"Mmm. Tattoo day." Walter gave a little scoff and shake of his head.
"Walter," Toby said, "has it ever occurred to you that it's not for you to decide? It's Sylvester's money, Sylvester's body, Sylvester's decision."
"I didn't try to stop him," Walter said. "I just said it's a stupid idea. That's all." Slinging the grocery bag over his shoulder, he marched up the stairs.
Paige followed him, stopping at the top of the stairs. His back was to her, but he put his hands on the table and leaned on them, sighing. She knew he knew she was there, and she waited.
"I'm trying to understand."
She gave a nod. He knew she did it.
"I just...it goes against our logic. We work to help people. Make them better. Stop the hurt and the danger and the risk." He turned, facing her. "Why would anyone want to put themselves in pain? Why would they permanently alter themselves for no reason other than sentiment?"
She cocked her head. "Walter, not everyone who gets tattoos get them for sentimental reasons, but I'm going to ease you into this, okay?"
She stepped forward, coming close to him. "Just listen. Okay? Because I know you. I know you can understand this. Just listen."
"We as human beings, we experience pain. We get scarred. We leave permanent marks on each other, Walter. Some physical, some emotional, but they're there. And we carry them with us, everyone and everything. And they aren't all bad. And we find the silver lining in what is bad. You know Megan's death changed you. You know you and I have made each other better. Happy and Toby are immeasurably good for each other. And Sly? Megan is everything to him. And if he gets a tattoo that has something to do with her, it's another way he can carry her with him. It's a clear reminder – even if others rarely or never see it – that she is a part of who he is. An important part. We as people feel things. We experience sentimentality, and nostalgia. You know that. We all have certain people that...that leave thesemarks on our souls." She caressed his hand with her thumb. "And sometimes, Love, people want to carry those marks on the outside."
"Alright," Caiyun said. "This is what you want?" She looked at the piece of paper Walter had handed her. "Placed like this?"
"Yeah, um...I have samples of her handwriting..." Walter turned to Paige, who handed him the notebook. "The words I want...where they each individually appear in the notebook I've circled, and..."
"We can get it in her handwriting," Caiyun said, nodding. "This I can do. How big?"
"Not very. Small. Just not so small that it'll you know."
"We can go a little smaller than it's displayed on here," Caiyun said. "I'll size it down as much as I can without it risking blending together over time. I'll go back, draw it out and get the stencil ready, then we'll go in the back, okay?"
"Yup." Walter nodded, reaching over and grabbing Paige's hand.
"You think you'd ever do this?" He asked when Caiyun had gone.
"It would be a little more complicated for me to get a tattoo over my heart."
"You know what I mean."
It was accompanied by a nervous chuckle. Paige's eyebrows inched up. Ever since he'd seen Sylvester's tattoo, he'd been thinking hard about what he should get. He ran ideas by her every evening, once even gently shaking her awake at three in the morning to bounce an idea off of her. Fortunately for him, that late night idea was what he ended up going with. Made the blow to the face with the pillow as punishment for waking her up worth it. Never had he given an inclination that he was uneasy. But now...
She gave a teasing smile. "You're kinda breaking my hand here."
"Sorry." He let her hand go, putting his arm around her shoulders. "I wasn't expecting to be this anxious about it."
She put her head on his shoulder. "You're giving my hand a break now so it can work overtime while Caiyun's working on you."
"Hmmph." He closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath.
"Wanna make a bet on how long it will be before someone figures out you did this?"
"They won't find out. I have a well thought out plan to prevent them from seeing it."
She felt him shrug. "Not let anyone but you see me with my shirt off."
"It's brilliant," Paige said. "They'll never know."
They sat in silence until Caiyun called them into the back. "This look okay?" She asked, showing him the stencil.
Walter let out a shaky breath as he looked at it. "It's...it's..."
"Perfect?" Paige supplied.
"Yes." Walter nodded. "What she said."
"Okay. I'm going to have you lay on your back here," she said. "And she can sit in the chair right here and hold your hand, okay?"
Walter eased onto the surface. "Paige."
"Okay," Caiyun said, placing the stencil on his chest. "Are you ready?"
Walter tipped his chin down to look at it. "Yeah."
"Are you feeling okay?"
"Uh, yeah," Walter said, glancing at Paige as she took his hand. "I think so."
"It's okay to be a little nervous," she said.
"I'm not," he said. "I used to be. Not anymore." He pointed at his chest.
Don't be afraid.
Kyra gave me the idea for Sly's tattoo. Walter's, I knew I wanted him to get the last thing his sister said to him.