Disclaimer: I don't own anything Scorpion. I'm just borrowing and playing with the characters for a while.
Okay…. so I lied…. this first sequel to Gauguin is not a one-shot. It's going to be two chapters. This one is set approximately a month after the end of Gauguin.
Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed that story and all my stories. It makes my heart happy.
"Hey, 197, wake up!"
Walter's body jerked awake and his elbow gave out, sliding across the table into his coffee cup, sending it toppling over. Fortunately it was empty.
"What the hell, Toby?" Walter snapped as he shook his head. He looked around disoriented as he realized the sun was up. The last thing he remembered it was still dark out.
Toby snickered as he sat in the chair across the table from him and put his feet up on the corner.
"What are you doing working on this side of the garage? Your desk not good enough anymore?" Toby asked as he bit into the jelly donut in his hand.
"I was working on an experiment," Walter motioned to the table a short ways away with a beaker of yellow orange liquid sitting next to a fume hood. "I was trying to keep it contained to this side of the garage."
Toby glanced at the other table before taking another bite of his donut. "What the hell are you doing anyway?"
"Chemometric qualitative analysis," Walter replied as he rubbed his eyes and looked back at the screen of his laptop.
"Boring," Toby said around the food in his mouth.
Walter pursed his lips and rolled his eyes before focusing on the words on his screen. "Then why did you ask? And why are you bothering me?"
"I'm not interested in you," Toby said nonchalantly. "I just came over to see if you could tell me what's going on with Mrs. O'Brien."
"I don't know what you mean," Walter said as he scanned the last few paragraph's he'd typed, before he'd apparently fallen asleep, and then continued on with his thought process from earlier.
"Oh, I think you might," Toby said in a leading tone as he tossed the last of his donut into his mouth.
"I really don't," Walter said as he looked up briefly, annoyed that Toby was bothering him, but he knew the behaviorist wouldn't stop until Walter engaged him. "What is she doing?"
"She's dipping French fries in strawberry ice cream," Toby said with a straight face.
"I'm sorry, what?" Walter blinked and shook his head as he processed what Toby just said.
"She's dipping French fries into strawberry ice cream," Toby said again as his lips gave in and curved into a smirk.
"Toby, that's repulsive." Walter scoffed with disgust.
"She's your wife. And it's only seven o'clock in the morning. Who the hell eats that shit at seven in the morning?"
"Why aren't you asking her?"Walter replied as he glanced at his notes beside his keyboard and then went back to typing.
"Well Mrs. O'Brien isn't always approachable in the mornings these days so I thought I'd ask you," Toby replied as he adjusted his hat on his head.
"Why do you keep calling her that?" Walter shot Toby an annoyed look.
"Calling her what?"
"Mrs. O'Brien." Walter's tone matched his look as he replied.
"It's her name."
"You know very well that she still uses the name Dineen."
Toby waved his hand dismissively. "Only for professional purposes at Scorpion but she legally changed her name to O'Brien… therefore she is Mrs. O'Brien."
Paige had legally changed her name after they got back from their brief honeymoon. After their wedding in Tahiti, they returned home to Los Angeles, where they actually put Ralph on a plane to Portland. Then Walter surprised Paige one last time as he lead her to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX and he took her to Paris for a week. She'd always wanted to visit the Louvre and since he'd already had to endure more art than he had ever wanted in his lifetime, Walter decided to indulge his new wife once again. And she certainly rewarded his effort, more than adequately, all during their time in Paris.
Once they returned to LA, she had her name legally changed to O'Brien, although they mutually decided it would be best for her to continue using Dineen at Scorpion. She debated for a while whether or not to change her name because she didn't want Ralph to feel separate from her and Walter. But the fifteen year old just rolled his eyes, which was something he was doing more and more lately, and told his mom not to be ridiculous and to take Walter's name already.
However, quietly, a few days later Ralph approached Walter about the possibility of changing his name legally to O'Brien too. It wasn't that he felt left out, he had always viewed Walter as a father figure, but he didn't have Drew's name so he didn't feel he owed it to his biological father to keep a name they didn't share.
Although Walter didn't subscribe to the sentimentality of the desire to share names, he was touched by Ralph's request, and welcomed the idea of the boy, he considered a son, also taking his name. But he told the young genius they needed to do their research and have their arguments tight if they were going to present the request to Paige.
They were currently very close to presenting their case to her. She and Drew weren't married when Ralph was born, in fact Drew was on the road and not even there when Paige gave birth. He didn't arrive until the next day, after he finished his game, and long after the birth certificate was filled out and filed. But even though she gave Ralph her last name, a little out of spite she had once confided to Walter, she did, at least, list Drew as the father on it.
As a result, Paige was required by law to inform Drew if she intended to change Ralph's surname, as least until he turned eighteen, at which time Ralph could change it himself with no one's permission. So Drew was going to have to be brought into the process and Walter suspected he would probably object, if for no other reason than to spite him. Walter had already consulted an attorney because he wanted to have all the information for Paige to make her decision and he and Ralph were planning to bring it up to her the following weekend.
"Are we not at Scorpion," Walter gestured to the garage around him in response.
"Why are you so cranky?" Toby inquired as he looked closer. "And why do you look like a mack truck hit you? Did you pull an all nighter or something?"
Walter shook his head. "No. I've only been down here since about three thirty."
"Are you and Mrs. O'Brien fighting?" Toby asked curiously.
"Why would you ask me that?"
"Because you're a newlywed and if you're awake at three thirty in the morning you should be conducting very different kinds of experiments. And they should involve you and your new bride very naked."
Walter kept his face impassive as he continued typing. Toby had no idea how much time he and Paige spent naked, especially recently. In the month since he and Paige had been married, his new wife had been pushing the limits of their endurance in the bedroom. She was insatiable, it seemed, and they'd gone from having sex an average of three times a week to almost daily, sometimes more than once.
They always had what one would consider a healthy sex life. Both he and Paige made that aspect of their relationship a priority and Walter certainly wasn't complaining. No man, genius or not, would, in his right mind, complain about having a wife who enjoyed sex as much as Paige did. And Walter had always been extremely disciplined, focused, and able to pace himself and maintain his stamina, so he was able to keep up with her amorous advances. But lately, in the last several weeks, she'd been pushing the limits of even his endurance.
He needed only a few hours of sleep a night but he usually left her in bed, sated and exhausted, so he could continue to work on his projects. But where he used to, eventually, return to bed hours later to find her sleeping soundly, she, now, very often rolled over as soon as he fell into bed beside her, seeking him out again. And who was he to refuse the beautiful woman who desired him so intensely. But he was beginning to wonder just how long he and his body were going to be able to keep it up. More than once his body had not been able to perform but fortunately his mouth and fingers could satisfy her when his body failed him.
When Walter didn't offer up any kind of answer Toby repeated. "So again I ask are you and the Mrs. fighting?"
"We're not fighting, Toby," Walter huffed in an annoyed tone. "Don't you have something you should be doing other than bothering me?"
"It's only seven in the morning and we don't have a case yet so the answer to your inquiry is, no, I don't have anything else I need to be doing right now except harassing you." Toby grinned as he tilted the chair onto its two back legs and put he hands behind his head.
"Lucky me," Walter deadpanned as he went back to typing.
Before Toby could respond with a sarcastic retort, Paige walked over carrying Ferret Bueller in one hand and a two French fries covered in strawberry ice cream in the other. She tossed the fries in her mouth as she stopped beside Walter.
"Well hello, Mrs. O'Brien," Toby drawled and he grinned when he saw Walter shake his head in annoyance.
Paige ignored him and held Ferret Bueller out to Walter. "Did you lose something?"
He looked up from his screen. "Huh?"
She looked pointedly down at the ferret and then back at Walter, meeting his eyes.
"I found something of yours," she said as she shook Ferret Bueller gently in front of his face.
"What are you talking about?" he looked at her confused but then his eyes dropped down at the sound of a small clattering on the table in front of him.
His wedding ring.
"Uh," Walter said as he cringed, picked up the ring and slipped it onto his finger. "I took it off because I was working with aqua regia, which is one of the few chemical compounds that have an effect on it."
"Aqua regia is the only thing that will dissolve platinum," Toby offered as he answered the question before Paige had a chance to ask it.
"I didn't want to risk ruining the ring if I got some on my hands," Walter continued as he looked warily at his wife. He had a habit of taking his ring off and she always managed to catch him when he did.
"Not that it would have mattered at that point because it would have dissolved your skin along with it too," Toby added for good measure as he glanced at the other table again and it registered the beaker of acid was outside the fume hood.
Walter shot the behaviorist a glare as Paige tucked Ferret Bueller against her chest. He chattered happily as he started trying to burrow his face down the front of her shirt.
"In fact," Toby said suddenly as he stood up and quickly ushered Paige away from the table.
"Toby, what the hell are you doing?" Paige asked as she shook him off.
"It's not good to inhale it so you should probably step back," Toby insisted as he released her arm.
"It's lost most of its efficacy," Walter said, pursing his lips as started gathering his notes.
"It's still not good for some people, particularly, to inhale it," Toby replied as he walked over to the table with the beaker.
"It's only dangerous to children and pregnant women," Walter said as his brow furrowed. "And as Paige is neither of those things what's the problem?"
Paige sighed and walked back toward the kitchen area, leaving the two geniuses to do what they were going to do.
"Is this bucket of ice to neutralize it?" Toby asked but didn't wait for Walter to answer before he dumped the waste liquid into the bucket and then moved it outside to the back door.
"I guess it's a good thing I was done with that," Walter muttered as he picked his laptop up and walked back toward his desk.
Paige put Ferret Bueller down on one of the chairs and grabbed another French fry and dipped it into her dish of ice cream.
Walter walked up to her and shoved his hands in his pockets. "I'm sorry I took it off again."
Paige looked at him and although she seemed a bit annoyed she didn't seem angry. That was a good sign.
"I wasn't scolding you for taking it off, Walter," she said as she tossed a fry in her mouth. Walter cringed as she chewed quickly and swallowed before she spoke again. "I was talking about leaving it on the edge of the kitchen sink where Ferret Bueller can find it and abscond with it."
Walter looked down at the ferret in question as he chattered and pawed at Paige's hip. The ferret was obsessed with her and it seemed to only be getting worse since they got home from their honeymoon. He grabbed the small animal and lifted him, scratching around his ears the way he often saw Paige do.
"He was about to run off the counter with it when I caught him."
"I'll be more careful," Walter assured her as he, again, cringed as she grabbed another fry but this time dipped it in a small bowl of chocolate sauce that was beside her ice cream bowl. "What on earth are you eating?"
Paige shrugged. "I just felt like something salty and sweet."
"That's revolting," he said and she shrugged again, not letting him bother her.
"How long have you had those cravings, Mrs. O'Brien?" Toby asked as he walked up to the table.
"Only since yesterday," Paige said absently. "I have no idea where-" But then she stopped mid sentence as she inhaled a sharp breath, the fry in her hand dropping onto the floor.
"So the light finally turns on?" Toby said wryly just as Happy walked into the kitchen.
"What are you blathering on about Doc?" she asked as she poured herself a cup of coffee.
Paige dropped wordlessly into the chair beside her as she stared at the food on the table. Her lips moved silently as she mentally calculated in her head.
"Just waiting for Mrs. O'Brien to do the math," he said cryptically never taking his eyes off the woman in front of him. He'd suspected for about a week but this morning was the clincher when he saw what she was eating for breakfast.
"Will you stop calling her that already? Her name is Paige," Walter snapped as he looked at his wife curiously, a worried frown forming on his lips. "Paige?" Walter said her name apprehensively. "All the color has drained from your face. Are you okay?"
Walter put Ferret Bueller on the table and he scurried over to Paige and hopped into her lap, burrowing against her.
"It's not possible," Paige said absently, more to herself, as she ignored Walter's question and Ferret Bueller as he dove his head down the front of her shirt.
"What isn't possible?" Walter asked as he stepped closer and reached out to set his hand on her shoulder as his eyes raked over her face. "Toby, what's wrong with her?"
"Nothing seven or eight months won't cure," he replied casually as a small smile formed on his lips.
"Toby," Paige snapped as she turned her head and glared at him. "Quit flapping your gums. It's not possible."
"What's not possible?"
"Paige what are you talking about?"
Happy and Walter asked respectively as Toby and Paige stared at each other clearly having a silent conversation.
Finally Toby spoke. "Is the math adding up?"
She nodded her head imperceptibly. Walter crouched down beside her and put his hand on her thigh.
"Paige," he said hesitantly. He'd never seen her like this. Her face was a mask of shock and confusion but her eyes were glassy almost like she was going to cry as she blinked rapidly. "What's going on? You and Toby aren't making any sense."
"Maybe you should take Paige upstairs," Toby suggested using Paige's first name for the first time in weeks. "I'll drop Ralph off at campus for his morning class."
"Doc, you want to tell me what's going on?" Happy asked as she crossed her arms and leaned against the counter, curiously watching the scene in front of her play out.
Walter grabbed Ferret Bueller and pulled him out of Paige's shirt, handing him to Toby who in turn handed him to Happy. Walter took Paige's hand and stood up, pulling her up along with him.
"Come on, love," Walter urged calling her by the term of endearment he now used regularly without thought. "I think Toby's right. Maybe you didn't get enough sleep last night."
Paige yanked her hand out of Walters and turned to Toby. She grabbed him by the lapels of the leather jacket he was wearing. She yanked him toward her. "How could this have happened?" she asked her eyes raking over his face as she looked for any kind of logical answer.
"Paige," Walter said her name, shocked by her behavior. He reached out and gripped her shoulders, pulling her away from Toby but she just pulled the shrink along with her.
Toby stumbled as he replied. "Uh, if you don't know I think I need to have a serious chat with Mr. 197."
"I really wish someone would tell me what the hell is going on?" Happy said as she looked back and forth between the other three just as Sylvester walked over.
"I concur," Walter said his annoyance beginning to show through. "Paige, let Toby go."
"What's going on in here?" Sylvester asked anxiously as he took in the sight of Paige gripping Toby and Walter gripping Paige and Happy looking thoroughly confused as she held a squirming and chattering Ferret Bueller under his arms.
"Toby, I can't be pregnant. I'm on birth control," Paige blurted out, her mouth working faster than her brain and then her eyes widened, as did Toby's, as she released him and pushed him away.
"Oh, shit," Happy muttered as she set Ferret Bueller on the counter.
"Did she just say pregnant?" Sylvester squeaked as Walter's hands dropped from Paige's shoulders.
"Hey, you're the one who let the cat out of the bag, not me," Toby said quickly as he lifted his hands and stepped back away from Paige.
She sighed and closed her eyes getting her bearings before she finally turned and looked at Walter. He was looking at her, his eyes frantically scanning her face before they dropped to her stomach and then quickly returned to her face.
"Walter," she said his name softly, recognizing that look in his eyes. It was the one he got when his brain was on overload.
She reached out her hand but he took a step back, his calf hitting the chair Paige had been sitting in, and he sat down with a quiet thud as his eyes slipped back to Paige's abdomen.
"Oh man, he's shutting down." Paige heard Happy say.
"Is he going to go down the rabbit hole?" Sylvester asked worriedly.
"Will you to be quiet," Toby said. "Give him a minute."
"Walter," Paige said his name again as she stepped closer to him. She lifted her hand and touched his cheek. He blinked his eyes and looked back up at her but didn't reply. "Walter," she said his name again just as Ralph descended the stairs.
"Mom, I'm going to be late for class if we don't leave in five minutes."
Walter's eyes again dropped to her abdomen and Paige sighed and looked over at her son.
"Toby's going to take you this morning."
"Actually I think I should take him. I have a feeling the Doc might need to stay," Happy jumped in as she pushed off the counter. "I'll just go get my keys."
"What's going on?" Ralph looked around the kitchen to see everyone but Toby with a look of shock on their face. "Why does everyone looked like they just found out the theory of stable equilibrium is false?"
"Uh, Ralph, now is probably not the time to ask questions," Sylvester suggested helpfully as he wrung his fingers together anxiously.
"Yeah, your mom and Walter just found out some pretty unexpected news," Toby offered as he kept his eyes on Walter looking for any sign in the genius's eyes that he might be retreating dangerously deep into his mind.
"What kind of news?" Ralph asked as he walked over and picked up Ferret Bueller and scratched down his back causing the little animal to wiggle and chatter happily.
"The kind that two consenting adults should know is possible when they play slappy tickly."
Happy walked up at that moment and slapped Toby on the back of the head as she shook hers. "Don't be a dick, Doc."
"Huh? What does that mean?" Ralph looked at them and then a light bulb went on. "Oh did she finally tell you she's pregnant?"
"What did you say?"
A chorus of voices filled the room as Paige, Sylvester and Happy all looked at him.
"How the hell did 185 know before 197?" Toby asked referring to Ralph and Walter by their IQ's.
"How did you guys not know?" the young genius asked as he put Ferret Bueller back on the counter. He grabbed an apple out of the fruit bowl before turning and looking pointedly at the spread on the table.
"Ralph," Paige took a step toward her son. "I didn't realize I was pregnant."
The teen snorted as he swallowed his bite of apple. "Really? I just thought you were waiting to tell everyone."
"How did you know?" Happy asked curiously.
Ralph shrugged as he glanced at Walter, who was still staring, blankly, at Paige's abdomen, before answering. "She's been acting kinda crazy for weeks. Have none of you noticed this?"
Paige frowned when she noticed everyone in the room, except Walter, nodded their heads tentatively.
"She's moody and eating everything in sight. She's put on weight," Ralph added and Paige hiccupped and then frowned again as Happy, Sylvester and Toby all choked a little before he continued. "She's tired all the time but that could be because she and Walter go at it all night long lately."
"Ralph," Paige scolded him as she looked horrified and he just shrugged as he looked at his mother.
"It's the truth. I finally had to start sleeping with earplugs in because you kept waking me up."
"Oh god," Paige muttered mortified that her son had heard them.
"I was wondering why Walt looked so exhausted lately," Toby mused with a chuckle. "Overactive sex drive is very common in early pregnancy."
"The snoring," Walter said his first words since Paige had blurted out her announcement.
"What?" Paige asked as she turned and looked at him again. He looked up at her and she could practically see his brain working on overdrive.
"Oh, hey, there he is," Toby said. "Glad to have you back with us 197."
"The snoring," Walter said again, ignoring Toby, as he looked down at Paige's stomach then back up at her face. "When I told you in Tahiti that you were snoring during your nap you said you snored the entire time you were pregnant with Ralph."
"Yeah," Paige agreed as she reached out and touched his shoulder gently.
"You snore every night now," he said as he flexed his fingers. He wanted to reach out for her but his arms felt like lead.
Paige dropped down into the chair across from Walter and reached for his hand. She'd noticed him flexing his fingers and knew he needed to touch her. She squeezed his hand gently in return.
"No wonder I've been so horny lately," she mumbled absently as she looked down at her still flat stomach. "My first two trimesters with Ralph I was insatiable."
A strangled sound came from the back of Walter's throat.
"Uh, mom," Ralph's strangled voice matched the tone coming from Walter. "Maybe you should stop talking about sex when you were pregnant with me because you're going to permanently scar your son and give your new husband an aneurysm."
"Ralph we should probably go," Happy suggested as Toby chuckled under his breath.
"Let me just go get my backpack," Ralph replied before he bolted up the stairs.
"Walter," Paige said her husband's name again but his face was an impassive mask as he failed to reply. "I think we need to go upstairs for a little bit."
"That's probably a good idea," Toby said just as the door to the garage opened.
The team looked over expecting it to be Cabe but a collective groan sounded softly as the tall dark haired man entered.
"Drew, what are you doing here?" Paige asked with an exasperated sigh as she stood up.
This was the last thing she needed at the moment. She saw Walter's jaw clench out of the corner of her eye and she reached out and slid her fingers through his hair, gently scratching just above his right ear, which normally calmed him, and she felt him relax slightly beneath her fingers.
"I'm in town for spring training," Drew replied as he walked into the kitchen, oblivious to the situation or the tension in the room. "I sent you an email."
Paige sighed again as she dropped her hand from Walter's hair and turned to face her ex. "Yeah, I saw that in my inbox but I haven't had a chance to read it."
"I sent it last week," he said with a frown as he shoved his hands in his pockets.
"I've been busy," Paige replied shortly as Sylvester backed subtly out of the kitchen. "You really should have called though. Ralph is about to leave for class so he doesn't have time to see you."
Happy gripped Toby's elbow and tried to nudge him out of the room but he just shook his head and held his ground just as Ralph came back down the stairs.
"Dad?" he said surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"Does no one read my emails?" Drew complained as he shook his head.
"I've had a couple of projects due so I'm behind on my email. Why didn't you call?" Ralph replied the same was his mother did.
Happy jingled her keys in her hand. "You ready, dude?"
"I'll drive you to campus," Drew offered as he finally appeared to catch on to the tension in the room. His eyes dropped to the table and then widened. "Salty sweet?" he said with surprise as he pointed to the bowl of melting ice cream and the plate of french fries beside it. He looked up at Paige. "Are you pregnant? Is that why the two of you got married?"
Walter's eyes whipped to Ralph's father and he glared at Drew's insinuation.
"Drew," Paige snapped as she, too, glared at her ex.
"Congrats, man," Drew said with a short laugh as he slapped Walter on the back of the shoulder. Walter instantly twisted away from him. "I remember what that was like. Have fun with that," the baseball coach grinned shamelessly.
"Drew, that's enough. You need to go," Paige snapped as she scowled at him and she felt Walter's fingers as he reached out and gripped her thigh. She reached down and pried his fingers away, threading their fingers together.
"Ew," Ralph blanched as he slung his backpack over his shoulder.
"What? What did I say?" Drew asked as Ralph grabbed his father's forearm.
"Let's go, Dad."
Drew shook his head as he pulled his arm out of Ralph's hand. The teen shrugged and walked toward the door. "I'll meet you in the car," he called over his shoulder as he walked out the door.
"I need to talk to you," Drew said as he looked back at Paige. "It will only take a few minutes."
"Now is not a good time, Drew,"
"But-" he started but Paige interrupted him.
"No, Drew! Not now," she insisted adamantly. "Ralph needs to get to class. Call me," she emphasized the word call, "And we can talk over the phone."
"I'd really rather talk in person," he insisted as he crossed his arms over his chest.
"Drew, go, now," Paige pointed as she snapped and Walter felt his lips pulling up at the corners. His wife was a glorious site to behold when she was at her breaking point. Unfortunately he was usually the one on the receiving end of her wrath, but that didn't mean he failed to appreciate her in all her glory. And he thoroughly enjoyed seeing that wrath directed at her ex.
"Okay, okay," Drew muttered as he held up his hand. "I remember this part of you being pregnant too," he said quietly as he turned to walk away, but it was not so quiet that everyone didn't hear him.
Walter stood, abruptly, as his eyes shot daggers at his wife's ex. "Watch your mouth, Baker," Walter warned in a low growl and both Paige and Toby stepped between them.
"I think you need to leave, Andrew," Toby said his tone broaching no room for argument as Paige squeezed Walter's hand.
"Walter, ignore him. He's just being a jerk." Paige soothed as she tugged her husband toward the stairs. Walter held his ground for a few seconds before he let her lead him away. "Toby, please escort Drew out," Paige asked as she and Walter ascended the stairs.
"Gladly," Toby said, smirking now as he stepped up to Drew and pointed to the door. "You heard Mrs. O'Brien."
"I'll call you later, Paige," Drew said as he turned and walked out but Paige ignored him as she led her husband to their apartment upstairs.
To be continued...
Thanks again for reading and reviewing.