Note: What was supposed to be a fluffy one shot, turned into a not quite as fluffy (but still pretty fluffy), two shot. Part one is up today and part two will be coming your way very, very soon.
Part 1: Bringing Home Otto
"Uh, Happy? It's me, Toby," he let out a small, nervous laugh, "Well, of course it's Toby. You'd know that." There was a pause, followed by a deep breath, "Uh, listen babe. I, um, I may have done something. Just, don't kill me. I'm sorry. Listen, I better, I better go. I'll explain everything when I get home. Like I said, I'm sorry, and, please, uh, please don't kill me. And remember, I love you." A small shriek came through the phone, followed by Toby's panicked voice, "No, no, not the face. Please leave the face alone. No-" and the line cut off.
Happy growled into the phone, her grip tightening around it, as she listened to that message for the tenth time, hoping to pick up some clue as to where he was...or what he had done. But she was fairly certain she knew what it was about. She used to get messages like that all the time, before they had gotten together, back when he would spend his nights gambling and drinking himself into oblivion.
She resumed her pacing around the living room, trying to keep herself calm, as she checked her phone every two seconds, hoping he would send a text telling her everything was alright. It had been almost two years; two years since he had made his final bet on them. He had stayed strong the whole time, even through the failed proposal and marriage bombshell, through the process of the divorce so she could be with him how she wanted - never once did he break his promise to her and let himself get lost in the comfort of gambling, no matter how hard it was. Then a few months later, at Christmas time, she proposed to him, convinced her method of trying things in reverse worked. They wasted no time and a week later, on New Year's Eve, they were married on the roof of the garage surrounded by their family.
They had been married a little over a year and things between them had been great. They had their ups and downs and stupid fights, of course, but never once did Toby break his promise, nor did Happy run away scared. They worked through their problems together, helping each other fight the urge to do what came naturally to them. They were stronger together, they both knew that for certain.
But now, Happy was terrified that promise was broken and Toby had fallen back into old habits. He wasn't answering her calls or texts, he had left that cryptic message, and he had been gone for over four hours, no communication of any type, aside from the voicemail, not even with other members of Scorpion, Happy had checked. She was about ready to call in the government's help. After Toby was kidnapped by Collins, Happy had made a rule with Toby - no going more than three hours without some type of communication. That way they knew the other was safe. Happy never wanted to feel like that again, like part of her was missing, and was determined to keep them together and safe.
Letting out a frustrated groan, Happy fell to the couch. She couldn't help but feel like this was somehow her fault. She had started a stupid fight that morning, something about Toby moving her tools around so he could find more space for his books. She had yelled and called him names, as he just stood there in shock, taking it, before turning and leaving without a word. The whole thing had been stupid and not worth the fight. Happy had immediately wanted to go after him and say she was sorry, but her pride got in the way and she let him leave.
Things had been tense between them lately, ever since Toby put himself in danger and almost died while on a mission, just after their one year anniversary. Happy had completely lost it when she heard he was en route to the nearest military hospital, fighting for his life, while she was stuck back home at the garage. Sylvester literally had to hold her back from driving to the airport and getting on the next plane. Once they finally let her go to him, he was in her sights constantly for a week; she was afraid if he went away, he wouldn't come back. And that overwhelming fear hadn't lessened since. That experience changed her life, more than she liked to admit.
It had affected Toby too, more than just the scars and bruises. He suddenly wanted to take charge of his life, not wait for anything. He wanted the rush of doing things spontaneously. He wanted to move forward with his life and was becoming frustrated with Happy's constant hovering and disapproving looks; "keeping him from doing things he wanted" he had said a few times in the heat of the moment. And then he had mentioned wanting kids. Happy had freaked. She didn't know why, all of a sudden, kids were on his mind, especially when they were having trouble in their marriage. He tried to explain that his injuries made him realize life is too short and precious to waste time. He knew he wanted kids with Happy, so why wait? But Happy didn't want that, at least not right then, maybe a few more years down the road.
With the baby talk, the frustration, and the fear, life for Happy and Toby hadn't been as easy as it had been before. They had fought more than ever since Toby got home from the hospital and it was always stupid fights - like the one that morning. And Happy was scared to death that Toby had had one too many fights, that he finally broke and needed a release.
A sudden shrill ringing cut through the silence of the room, causing Happy to jump. It was her phone. She looked down and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw it was Toby. "Toby?" she said hurriedly, answering the phone, "What's going on?"
"Uh, Mrs. Curtis?" a strange voice said from the other side of the phone.
Happy felt her stomach churn. "Yes, who is this? Why do you have my husband's phone?" she asked sharply, nervously.
"This is Paul, I'm the owner of Tap's. Your husband was here earlier and left his phone on the bar top. I was calling to let you both know, so one of you could come pick it up."
Happy bit her lip and blinked back tears, she couldn't stop the feeling of dread from overtaking her. This call almost confirmed her fears. The possibility that Toby turned back to gambling instead of her, hurt her more than anything ever had before. She cleared her throat and spoke shakily, "Thank you, Toby's not home yet, but I'll be sure to let him know." She paused, needing to ask more, but afraid of the answer, "Uh, if you don't mind me asking, when - when did he leave?"
"Hmm," Paul hummed, obviously thinking, "An hour and a half ago, I suppose. He was sitting at the bar, keeping to himself, just playing on his phone. He must've heard something outside because he suddenly got up and rushed out. Then not five minutes later, he came back in. He stayed for another ten minutes and then rushed out again, like he was late for something important."
"Thank you," she forced out quietly before hanging up phone. He had called her about an hour and a half ago, if only she had answered, maybe she could've stopped him. "Damn it, Toby," Happy growled, her fear morphing into anger, "What the hell are you doing?" She wanted to throw her phone against the wall, but knew that would do no good. Without Toby and his phone here, it was the only way someone could get ahold of her. So she took a pillow, instead, and threw it across the room, knocking down a frame in the process, shattering the glass.
"Just my luck," she groaned, walking over to the mess, "Could this day get any worse?"
Kneeling down to pick up the frame, she felt a sharp pang in her heart when she turned it over and realized it was one of the few wedding pictures they had allowed Paige to take. Paige had captured the exact moment they had been announced as husband and wife. They were staring in each other's eyes, fingers intertwined as Toby held them to his chest, and they wore matching looks on their faces - love, excitement, amazement, sheer bliss. Happy remembered how comfortable, how safe she felt at that exact moment, knowing that she had finally found a home that she would never lose. She was so in love with him and that picture clearly portrayed that.
That home she had found was starting to crack though, as much as Happy fought against it. She hated the feeling of not having control and that's all she had felt since she heard Walter telling her that Toby was hurt. It brought back all the times she had been defenseless and forced to move from place to place, not being able to do anything to change her situation. So she resorted to what she knew best, snarky, hurtful words towards those she loved most. It had lost her the few friends she made when she was younger, until it reached the point that no one even came close. Until Scorpion and Toby, that is.
Sniffing, she wiped away a tear that had fallen to her cheek. Toby didn't deserve this, he didn't deserve her hurtful words thrown at him, all because she was scared. Picking up the larger pieces of the glass, Happy stood to throw them away. Dropping the pieces into the garbage can, the echo of the glass hitting the metal can filled the air, reminding her of why there even was broken glass. She steeled her emotions again, realizing it wasn't all her fault. Toby made the decision to leave earlier, he made the decision to go to the bar. Whatever he did that night, he made the decision, not her. He could've come to her, talked to her, and maybe, just maybe, she would've shared what was putting her on edge. And maybe they could've moved forward and fixed whatever was going wrong. Maybe they could have started getting back to their life from before Toby got hurt.
She walked to the hall closet to retrieve the broom, needing to clean up the rest of the glass. She stiffened when she heard the front door creak open slowly, dreading whatever the next few minutes had in store.
"Happy," Toby called out tentatively through their apartment.
Happy didn't bother walking into the room before responding, the anger that had built inside her was ready to come out. "If you need medical attention, turn your ass around and drive yourself to the hospital. I'm not cleaning you up this time," she yelled back harshly.
His footsteps stopped suddenly. "What the hell are you talking about?" he asked, genuine confusion in his voice.
Slowly, Happy walked back out to the living room, broom in hand. Hope was building inside her, maybe Toby didn't do what she thought he had. As soon as her eyes locked with his, relief washed through her - he wasn't hurt or drunk or high on the good feelings from gambling. He was completely unscathed. Dropping the broom, she ran over to him, tears filling her eyes once again. "Oh thank god," she whispered, as she fell into him, wrapping her arms around his waist, "I thought you were gambling."
Toby's grip on her tightened and he kissed the top of her head, "No, Hap, not at all. I'm so sorry that I made you think that. I'm so stupid."
Happy looked up at him, a few tears had fallen to her cheeks. He smiled down at her and gently kissed her; a reassurance that he was there and everything was going to be alright.
"I was so scared," she admitted quietly, nuzzling her cheek back into his chest.
"I feel like an idiot," Toby berated himself, "That message - oh god, Hap. I am so, so sorry."
Happy took a step back, sliding her hands to rest on his chest. She took a deep breath, glad that she was finally able to breathe again. "It's fine now. You're here, you didn't gamble. We're fine."
Toby leaned down to kiss her forehead with a whispered "I love you". She closed her eyes when his lips touched her skin, savoring the feeling, memorizing it again. Just ten minutes earlier, Happy didn't know what was going to happen between them, but she knew now that they were going to be fine.
"I love you too," she mumbled, slowly opening her eyes, "But where were you?" Asking that out loud made the anger build up inside of her again. He was gone for over four hours with no communication aside from the one message. She wanted answers. Lifting her hands from his chest, she shoved him hard and let the anger she was feeling seep into her voice, "Where the hell were you? You know our rule, but you ignored it, Toby! I was freaking out, pacing around this living room."
Grabbing her hands from his chest, Toby held them close. Leaning down, he kissed her hands and smirked. "If you give me two minutes, I can explain everything. I just have to get something for you from the car."
Happy narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously, but nodded her head and watched as he raced out of the front door. A minute later, he came back through the door, but he wasn't alone, he had something in his arms. She took a step towards him, trying to get a better look, but she couldn't tell what it was.
"What is that?"
Toby beamed at her and shifted the item in his arms so that Happy could get a better look. "It's a cat," he exclaimed excitedly.
"A what?" Happy almost yelled, taking a step forward again.
Sure enough, in Toby's arms was a too-skinny grey and orange short-haired splotched cat, wiggling to be put on the ground. A weak meow escaped from it; it almost sounded more like a squeak than a meow. Happy reached out and pet him on the head, with one finger. His greenish-yellow eyes blinked shut slowly, as his pink nose sniffed the air. With another small meow, he reached out one small paw and batted at Happy's hand gently as she pulled it back.
"A cat," he grinned, "I wanted to apologize, so I got you him." He held the cat out to Happy to hold, but she just looked at it in disdain and refused to take it.
"You wanted to say you were sorry, so you bought me a cat?" she exclaimed, crossing her arms over her chest.
Toby winced and smiled at her sheepishly, "Uh, no. Well kind of. I didn't buy it, I saved it."
Happy just stared at him, waiting for him to continue.
He shifted uncomfortably on his feet, "Listen it was a rash decision. He lived in the dumpster behind the bar I was at. And the people from the pound were there trying to capture bonded before I went into the bar," he explained, looking down at the cat in his arms with a smile on his face. Reaching up, he scratched the top of the cat's head, "I gave him a piece of beef jerky because he was so hungry." He looked up at Happy again, "I couldn't just let them take him. So I pretended he was mine. I tried to call you, but you didn't answer. Please, Hap, can we keep him?" He lifted the cat even with Happy's face, "Look at this face, baby, we can't say no to this face."
"Toby..." Happy warned.
Toby's face morphed into one he knew Happy couldn't resist; his eyes grew large with a plead, his bottom lip jutted out just a little. "We could just do a trial run. I promise, I just, I really want to be a little normal. Plus, cats can take care of themselves, so if we have to leave for a few days, he'll be fine," he begged.
Happy sighed, knowing that she couldn't say no to him. She didn't want to keep starting pointless fights. She wanted to get back to it being easy. "Fine, you can keep him," she gave in, "But if he causes problems or is too much to handle with our jobs, he has to go somewhere else."
Toby set the cat down and beamed, laughing as its scampered away to hide under the coffee table. Leaning in, he kissed Happy quickly, "You're the best."
"Yeah, I know, I know," Happy grumbled, making her way over to the couch, as the cat observed her with a suspicious side eye, meowing at her when she got close. "We're going to have to go to the store to get him some stuff and he's going to need a name."
"That's already all covered," he said proudly, heading back out the door. Just a few minutes later, he came back through the door, his hands full of bags. "I already might have gone to the store."
Happy rolled her eyes as she walked over to where Toby deposited the bags. Taking a peak inside, she saw food, toys, a bed, a collar, litter, and a litter box.
"Toby," Happy sighed, "Does he really need all of this?"
Toby just smiled and nodded, before bending down to pick up the cat that had silently moved to lay at his feet.
"Isn't it just a bit excessive?" she questioned again as she pulled out the fifth fake mouse from one of the bags.
He shook his head, "No, I want our cat to have everything he might want."
"First of all, your cat, and second of all, he's just a cat."
Toby kissed the small cat, "You say that now, but you'll grow to love it."
"We'll see," she murmured, reaching out to pet the cat again. He leaned into her touch and she had to fight her smile. Pulling her hand back, she steeled her face, "Now you said you had a name?"
He beamed again and proudly nodded, "Why yes I do."
Happy waited, but he just continued to smile at her. "Well...?" she asked slowly.
"Happy Quinn Curtis," he said, holding up the cat - the whole scene seemed to resemble The Lion King in Happy's opinion - "Meet our new baby, Otto Curtis."
Happy choked back a laugh at the ridiculous look on Toby's face, "Otto?"
He nodded excitedly, "It's perfect. I named him after Otto F. Kernberg, a leading psychiatrist in psychoanalytic theories on Borderline Personality Disorder and narcissistic pathology. And, of course, after Nikolaus Otto, who created the Otto Engine and figured out how to overcome the problems of explosive combustion. And-"
She laughed, "I know who he is, trust me. Basically all cars nowadays run using Otto Cycle engines."
"So you know how fitting the name Otto is," he laughed.
She shrugged, secretly pleased with the name, "It's alright. But are you sure, he is actually a he?"
It was Toby's turn to roll his eyes and he set the cat back down, "Hap, baby, I know my anatomy, even on cats. I once had to dissect-"
"Okay," Happy said loudly, covering her ears, "I don't need to hear it."
He laughed and grabbed her hand, pulling her to the couch with him. Otto trotted along behind, jumping up on the back of the couch once Toby and Happy sat down. Happy's hair fell over the back of the couch, which Otto proceeded to bat with his front paws, occasionally trying to bite it after a meow of warning. Toby laughed again as Happy twisted her hair up into a bun, away from Otto's paws. But then, instead of stopping his attack, he climbed onto Happy's shoulders and began to bite the bun, wrapping his front paws around it.
"Seriously?" Happy complained.
"He's just having fun and getting to know you, aren't you?," Toby said in a baby voice. Happy wasn't sure if he was really talking to her or to the cat as he lifted him off the couch and away from Happy's hair.
After setting him on the ground, Otto ran off quickly. He made his way over to the shoes and immediately began an attack on Toby's running shoe. Happy held back her laugh, not wanting Toby to see her entertained by the newest addition to their family.
Toby just sighed and shrugged, "I need a new pair anyways. Let him have his fun." Shifting his body, he turned towards Happy, pulling her on his lap. Reached out, he tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear and then kissed her gently, before saying, "I think we need to talk."
Happy didn't know how it was possible, but she managed to stiffen in his arms, while relaxing into him at the same time. Laying her head on his shoulder, she nodded, "I think that's a good idea. I hate how things have been between us lately."
They were both silent for a few minutes, each one waiting for the other to begin. Happy had one of his hands in other of hers, gently tracing the veins on the back of his hand. While Toby mindlessly rubbed circles into her skin where his hand rested underneath her shirt on her hip.
"How about I start?" Toby finally said after a sigh, breaking the silence.
Happy just nodded.
After a pregnant pause with Toby trying to figure out what to say, he began, "Hap, I'm sorry for the way I've been acting lately. But I realized something when I was laying in the hospital bed. I realized that I want to experience life, especially life with you."
She shifted and looked up at him with confusion on her face.
He gave her a small smile and leaned in to brush his lips against her temple. "I'm afraid that we'll get so caught up in saving the world, that we won't ever have our own life together. And I desperately want that, Hap. I want to have a family, a life with you." He shrugged, "I guess that's why I brought up kids, maybe even why I brought home Otto. So we have something that's ours, something to share and take care of, together. Something that makes our lives more about just work."
Happy stiffened in his arms again, furrowing her brow. When she spoke, there was fear in her voice, "So, are you saying your not happy just being with me?"
Toby immediately tightened his grip on her, "No, never that," he reassured her quickly, "I am beyond happy being with you. There aren't enough words to express my happiness with you, babe. Don't ever think anything else." He tilted her chin up to kiss her sweetly, "I am so in love with you. Just by being with you, my life is complete. You are everything to me." He kissed her again, hoping to calm her fears.
Reached up, she ran her fingers over his jaw, "Then, what do you mean?"
They both turned towards Otto, who had let out the loud, annoyed sound, and started laughing. Otto had managed to pull Toby's shoe over near the couch, where he somehow had gotten his head stuck in the shoe. He currently was standing on his back legs, trying to bat off the shoe with his front paws. He was flailing hilariously and then fell over to his back, a pitiful meow coming from inside the shoe.
"Just a second," Toby said through his laughter, pushing Happy off his lap as he stood.
"Stupid cat," Happy said, chuckling lightly.
Toby managed to pull off the shoe while avoiding Otto's flailing claws. Once it was off, Otto immediately couched on all fours and hissed at the shoe, before sprinting off to the other room.
Throwing the shoe up in the air and catching, Toby said, "I guess it's safe to say my shoe is not his friend anymore." He smirked and winked at Happy, tossing it back over by the front door with the other shoes.
Happy just rolled her eyes and grinned, as Toby sat back down, pulling her back on top of him. He kissed the tip of her nose and grew serious.
"As I was saying, I don't mean that I'm not happy, because I am, unbelievably so and I never thought that would happen for me. What I mean is that I want to experience more of what life has to offer with you. I don't want work to hold us back so we have regrets later on. When I got hurt, I got scared." He took a deep breath, "There's so much I still want to do with you, but I'm worried we won't get to do it all. Kids are one of those things. I know we both have reservations about it, so that's why I brought home Otto. He can kind of be like a trial kid - we have to take care of him and he's ours."
"Cats are a little different than real life kids, Doc."
He chuckled, "I know that, trust me. But if we can care for him, I truly believe we could care for a baby. Plus, having a pet is another one of those life experiences I want us to have. Neither of us got to have an animal when we were younger, but we can have one now, so why not?"
Happy was quiet for a moment, playing with her fingers, "I get where you're coming from, Toby, I do. And I do want kids, I think, but not right now, further down the road. I want-" she shook her head, "no, I need, more time with just you, us. I love what we have and I don't want to lose it." She swiped away a tear that had fallen to her cheek and spoke quietly, "When I thought you were going to die, a part of me died too." She looked up and cupped his face in her hands, "I wouldn't be able to handle losing you now. You mean so much to me, that it scares me at times."
"It's the same for me, Hap," he murmured with a smile, brushing away another tear.
"I want to spend as much time as I can you," she continued softly, "It might be selfish, but I want more time with you, alone, before we have kids join us. I'm not saying I won't ever want them, just," she paused and grabbed his hands, intertwining them together, "not now."
"So all of what has been happening lately is because you don't want kids right now?"
Happy bit her lip, "Not entirely." She sighed and looked up to look him in the eye, "I've not been fair to you. I was terrified when you got hurt...still am. So I guess I've been taking out my fear that I'm going to lose you, on you. Which is doing exactly what I don't want it to do, it's pushing you away." She blinked back more tears that sprang to her eyes, "Toby, I was terrified that you decided to gamble again tonight."
"Hap, I would-"
She shook her head and raised her hand to his mouth to quiet him, "I though you chose cards and poker chips over me and I was crushed, because I did that to you." She looked down to avoid his eyes, "I thought maybe I pushed you too far. I didn't know what to do."
"Hap," he said gently, tilting her chin up to look at him, "I told you,mum done gambling. I'm not going to do that to you. I'm not gonna lie, there have been times where it's been hard, but all it takes is one look from you and I know I, strong enough to not gamble because I have you by my side. I will always come to you if I think it's getting to be too much. I will never choose that over you, ever. I love you and I'm not willing to risk our life together, just to gamble. The cards aren't worth it."
Otto jumped up on the couch and settled down next to them with a content sigh. Toby reached out and began to pet him. A purred filled the silent air.
"I know that, I do. I'm sorry I doubted you. It won't happen again," she said, leaning in to kiss his jaw.
"Baby, what else is wrong?" Toby asked concernedly. "I can tell there's more that you're not telling me."
"You're going to think its stupid now," she murmured, burying her face in his neck.
Otto let out a meow as he jumped up to the back of the couch. Getting as close as possible to them, he nudged Happy's head with his own.
Toby chuckled, "See, even Otto wants to know what's going on."
"All the talk about kids lately made me think that I wasn't enough for you anymore." She buried her face even further into him in embarrassment, "You weren't happy with me anymore." She lifted her head, a pink blush on her cheeks, "I took out all my worry on you, instead of just talking to you. And I am so sorry."
Toby kissed her forehead, "Well you know that's not the case."
She nodded, "I do now."
He smiled, "Good because, as I told you, that's not the case. I'm sorry if I made it feel that way. I don't want you to ever doubt me, doubt what we have."
"I won't, I promise." She pressed her lips against his in the softest, the sweetest of kisses.
"No more baby talk from me," Toby said when they pulled apart, "How about you come to me when you're ready? But until then, I won't say another word."
She smiled and nodded. He kissed the tip of her nose again, which she crinkled in response, "And besides," he continued, "we have a fur baby to take care of now."
Happy rolled her eyes, but smiled, "You're suck a dork." She laid her head back down on his shoulder.
A few minutes later, Happy sniffed the air, "Uh, babe, don't take this the wrong way, but you stink. You need to go get a shower."
Toby sniffed his armpit, "I got one this morning and I didn't do anything today but sit on my ass and save this kitty," he said, scratching the cat's ears again.
Happy turned towards the cat on the back of the couch. He was just sitting there, staring at them. "Oh god, it's him," she said, wrinkling her nose in disgust, "You need to give him a bath."
Toby laughed, "You don't give cats a bath, Hap. They give themselves baths."
She stood up and crossed her arms, "This one you have to. I'm not having that cat stink up my house. Where did you say you found him again?"
He looked up at her sheepishly, "In the alley behind the bar. I'm pretty sure he lived in the dumpsters."
"Toby!" Happy yelled, "Go give that cat a bath now!"
"Alright, alright," Toby said, grabbing the cat as he stood up, "Come on Otto, your mother says I have to give you a bath, so don't hate me."
Otto meowed in protest.
Happy groaned, "It's not my cat, Doc, and I'm not its mother."
Toby turned around with a fake pout on his face. He lifted Otto to his face, "Don't you listen to her, Otto. She's just being a grumpy, mean lady."
"I'm going to give him a bath. Mark my words, you're going to learn to love this cat."
"Highly doubt it."
"Just wait and see, baby. Just wait and see."