"How is he?" Paige asked the moment Walter and Ralph walked into the room.

"He's fine," Walter said. "He had an elevated heart rate when they brought him in, but they said it's coming down to normal. He was probably just stressed from the delivery."

"Well, we all were," Paige said. "And he was the least aware of what was going on, so I suppose he's entitled to a little panic."

Walter smiled, glancing down at Ralph. With calling the team, Sean and Louise, and Veronica, the two of them hadn't had a chance to talk. He wanted to. He wanted to take the boy aside and promise him that nothing had changed with the addition of Ralph's brother. He was just as committed to the older boy before Paige had gotten pregnant – before he and Paige had even gotten together. My relationship with your mother will never dictate my relationship with you.

"They're going to bring him by in an hour or so," Walter said to Paige, "once they've made sure he's completely within the normal range."

"Good." Paige looked sad. "I only got to hold him for a few moments."

Walter remembered the warmth of the baby as he'd clutched him to his chest in his first moments of life. He wanted to hold him again, too. Most of all, he wanted to hold Paige as she him. "You'll hold him again soon," He assured her, walking around the bed brushing her hair back, tucking it behind her ear.

"I know." She looked up at him, smiling. "Hey."

"Hey." He smiled back. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm good," she said. "I'm really good. They said I could be released today. Tonight."

"Good. See? Everything worked out well."

Paige bit her lip. "Yeah. Uh, Ralph?"

The boy raised his eyebrows as she turned to face him. "Yeah, Mom?"

"You shouldn't have been in there when he was born," Paige said. "I'm so sorry, baby."

"Don't be sorry, Mom," Ralph said.

"No, I am. You're not even fifteen."

"Mom." Ralph bit his lip. "Can I tell you something?"

"Of course."

"Promise you won't be mad?"

Paige cocked her head. "Uh, sure."

Ralph shifted his weight awkwardly. "I wasn't lying when I said I was excited about the baby. But I was more excited about what it would mean for me and Walter."

Paige glanced at Walter. He hoped his face didn't show that he knew what Ralph was talking about. Looking back at her older son, Paige cleared her throat. "You and Walter?"

"If you guys broke up," Ralph said, "if we ever moved away...so many things can happen. Walter had a falling out with Cabe. He didn't see him for years. It might be too hard for us to keep our relationship. I'm not his biological son. But once I found out about Ron, I...I remembered how hard you tried to keep Drew in my life. And you'd try just as hard to keep Walter in Ron's, no matter what happened. And then I'd...I'd get to see him too."

Judging by the look on Paige's face, Walter determined that it had been right of him not to bring this up when she was in labor.

Ralph bit his lip before continuing. "Every time you passed a milestone, like seeing the heartbeat. Learning he's a boy, feeling him kick, viability, I...got more excited because this security blanket was becoming less and less likely to be swept out from under me. But today..." He grabbed her hand. "Today when he was born, it all felt different. I was there. With you and Walter. I was a part of it. And it reminded me that we're already a family. And that I was an idiot to think that he would ever leave me just because he's not my father." Ralph lifted his eyes to Walter and smiled. "And when Ron was born, I realized that I love him. And not for selfish reasons. I love him because he's my brother. And I have to protect him." He smiled. "I remember you talking to Walter about the birth of the parent. I didn't understand that then. But now I do. Because when he was born, I became a brother. And I like that."

Walter had watched Paige as Ralph talked, seeing her grow misty eyed. When the boy stopped, she covered his hand with her other one. "Oh, Ralphie," she whispered. "I'm so sorry we didn't know that you were feeling that way. And I'm so glad that you love him now. That's all that matters, you know. When there's a new baby, everyone has to get used to the idea. And it's okay if you weren't completely happy about it at first. I'm not mad, baby. I could never be mad at something like that."

"Ron?"

Paige and Ralph looked over at him in confusion, and Walter realized he had spoken the thought that popped into his head out loud. Paige blinked, looking back at Ralph, realizing what Walter meant. "You called him Ron."

"Yeah, well..." Ralph shoved his hands in his pockets. "That's what I've been calling him. In my head."

Paige looked at Walter, eyebrows raised. "Do you like that?"

"Ron?" Walter shrugged. "I...I don't have any real thought..."

"After Grandma," Ralph said. "In my head, we named him after Grandma. And Walter. Ronald Walter Dineen."

Paige ran the tip of her tongue along her lower lip as she squeezed Ralph's hand. She glanced at Walter again. "I like it."

"I do too," Walter said. He hadn't realized that Ron was a homage to Veronica. But it didn't surprise him to learn it was. Ralph had always been close to Paige's mother.

"That's his name, then," Paige said softly. "Ronald Walter. But, um..." She looked over at Walter. "Can you sit?"

Walter nodded, settling on the bed beside her. She removed one of her hands from Ralph's and slid it into his. "There's something about that name that I'm not sure I like."

"We don't have to name him after me," Walter said. "I think Ralph would be okay if you picked the middle name."

"No," Paige said. "Ronald Walter is perfect. But can I ask you something?"

"Sure. Anything."

Paige wet her lips, glancing down at their hands before reestablishing the eye contact. "Will you marry me?"

Walter thought his heart literally skipped a beat. "What?"

"I want to spend the rest of my life with you. And...and Ralph does, too."

"Is this because of what Ralph..."

"No." She shook her head rapidly. "No, it's not. I promise. It's because I love you. And I don't see that ever changing. And as much as Ronald Walter Dineen sounds lovely, I want him to be Ronald Walter O'Brien."

"That's significant, Walter," Ralph said. "She didn't give me Drew's last name."

Walter could see the excitement on the boy's face. He looked back at Paige. He used to feel afraid when she looked at him like that. It was so like what he'd dared to dream about that he used to have to remind himself that what was between them was real. Now, the love brimming in her eyes made him feel confidant. Safe. Sure.

He drew her hand up to his lips. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you, too. With all three of you."

Paige smiled, a little laugh escaping her. "Come on, Walter, I proposed, the least you can do is give me an explicit answer."

He grinned, leaning down and brushing his lips across hers. "Yes. Yes, I'll marry you."


The end.