"He's not answering," Peter grumbled, returning Olivia's phone to her, "it's not turned off, though."
Olivia shook her head as she slowed the car to a stop at the intersection, "We can't track him unless he picks up. Don't worry, I'll call David, and tell him to send out a bulletin to the local precincts. We'll have him in no time."
"I'm not worried," Peter grumbled, "But you do remember that the last time Walter decided to go on a city safari, I had twelve hundred volts of electricity up my nose?"
Olivia laughed, "True. What possessed him, this time, do you know?"
"Uh, hello- the man is mentally insane, with the social graces of a four-year-old. Does he need any other reason?" Peter glared out the window, "…And we had another fight, last night."
Olivia glanced over at him, "I see."
"Hey, I'm not the guilty one, here. He got me up in the middle of the night to make him a snack, and I just snapped, okay?" Peter sighed, "Any rational individual would have done the same thing."
"Is that what happened to your hand?" Olivia asked as the light turned green, and they continued on.
Peter glanced down at his hand, wrapped with bandaging. "Yes."
Olivia was silent for a few moments, "What happened to him?" She questioned gently.
"I didn't hit Walter," Peter growled, glaring at her, "I punched a cabinet. I was really angry, alright?!"
"The thought hadn't occurred to me," Olivia said obligingly, "But do you think you may have frightened Walter?"
Peter shook his head, his fingers finding his temples, "No. I just yelled at him. I told him he was driving me crazy- and he is, you know. I don't have a second to myself, anymore…"
"You told him that?" Olivia said, "Listen, I don't want to be family mediator, here, but I think this may be Walter's misplaced attempt at giving you your space."
Peter stared at her, "You think? I know that, Olivia. He's my dad- I hate it, when I understand him, but I do. But what I am worried about is the poor mugger that doesn't know what he's getting into, when Walter makes him an experiment."
The security personnel had been awfully kind, he had to admit. They were quite forgiving, or, had been. He couldn't decide if it had been shoplifting jellybeans or his unique questionings about piercings to a young woman with a Mohawk that they had considered unruly behavior, but they seemed quite agitated at him, now.
Walter peeked out of the curtains of the photo booth as the guard passed, huffing in his large uniform as his puffy, overweight cheeks were splotched with red. The guard did not look back at him.
Walter let out a sigh, looking back inside, "He's gone."
The two Asian girls only stared at him, terrified.
"Thanks a lot. Sorry I had to interrupt your photos, sorry," He climbed out of the booth, bowing numerous times, "Thanks again. Have a nice day," and he scampered off in the opposite direction that the security guard had gone. The girls watched him go, at a complete loss.
When he emerged outside the clothing retailer, he found it was nearly sundown. He blinked, and sighed. Has a day been long enough? I wonder if Peter had fun, today. I hope he did.
Truthfully, this is getting a bit dull. But I'm alive, so I guess-
Walter let out a cry as someone grabbed his arm, twisting it around behind his back and crushing it to his shoulder blades. He felt the air rush from his lungs as his knees were swept from him, and he landed on the sidewalk chest down. He tasted blood on the inside of his bitten cheek.
"Don't move, you bastard!" Peter hissed in his ear, "I've got to call Olivia, and tell her I've got you." Walter let out a grunt of pain as Peter sat on him, holding him in place with his knee as he flipped open a loner cell phone, dialing, "Do you have any idea how worried you've got everyone?!" Peter demanded.
"Peter!" Walter said happily, his voice muffled by asphalt, "I was just thinking about you."
"Hello, Olivia? Yeah, I've got him. Outside 'Vodka'. No, he's fine. Alright, see you." Peter flipped the phone shut, "What the hell were you thinking, Walter?! Going out on your own is dangerous, okay? Never pull this crap again!"
"Sorry," Walter answered, wincing.
Peter sighed, at last letting his father up from the pavement. Walter rubbed his sore shoulder as Peter helped bat the dirt from his clothes, "You had me worried, Walter," Peter said at last.
"Thank you," Walter replied. They stood in silence, "…I didn't mean any ill, Peter. It's just that…I want you to be happy. I really do."
"Hey…" Peter reached into his pocket, drawing out a handful Walter's 'possessions', "Are these yours?"
Walter stiffened, his face flushing as anger flicked hotly in his chest, "Give those back, Peter," He said evenly, "Please give them back."
Peter returned the items to his pocket, "No."
Walter felt his lips draw away from his teeth in hostility, "Give them back now," He growled.
"You don't need these, Walter," Peter replied, watching him carefully, "Olivia told me that you keep little things like this because you think possessions are worth something."
"Jesus, Olivia knows?! Give them back, Peter!" Walter stepped forward in challenge, his voice tight with fear and embarrassment. Peter thought he sounded like a child contesting a bully.
"Back off," Peter warned, "Walter, you need to know that-- that things like this don't mean anything. It's just junk."
"It's not junk, it's mine!" Walter snapped, "You have no idea what you're talking about, now return the items to me immediately."
"Not gonna happen," Peter answered.
Walter lunged for his sons' chest, only to find himself on the pavement once more, wriggling under Peter's weight, "Calm the hell down, Walter!" Peter said firmly, "Can't you get it through your head- you don't need that, because you have me!"
Walter blinked, panting.
"Why can't I be enough, Walter? Why can't I be the one thing you want to keep? Am I second to thumbtacks, to you?!"
"I can't have you!" Walter cried, feeling close to tears, "You're a man now, Peter! I had my chance, and I screwed it up! It doesn't matter how hard I fight, you'll never come back to me!"
Peter's weight lifted from him, and Walter pushed himself onto all fours, covering his eyes with his forearm, "You're wrong," Peter said softly, watching him, "You're just going to give up again? That easily?"
"I didn't say that," Walter replied, "I didn't say I've given up. I'll fight forever, because at the very least, that's what you deserve from me." he sat back on his ankles, and looked up at his son, "The least I can give you is the rest of what I am."
"So you fight for nothing."
Walter bowed his head.
"Because you've won." Peter turned away, gazing out distantly at the darkening parking lot before them, and he scratched the back of his neck in annoyance, growling, "Get off the ground, you're embarrassing me."
Walter stared at him for a few moments, and sheepishly got to his feet, "Yes…I suppose I am." He dusted his knees, "I'm sorry, Peter." Peter didn't know just exactly what Walter was apologizing for.
"What?" Peter asked, as his father touched his shoulder. Walter dropped the safety pin into his hand.
"Put this with the rest," he murmured, smiling softly, "I'd like to keep all of you together, so I don't loose you again."
Peter chuckled quietly, "Just don't go cramming me into a hole in the floor, okay?"
"The thought had crossed my mind."
"Let's go, Walter." Peter pushed him on the shoulder toward the storefront.
"…Not back into the shopping centre, please. I've- well, there was some trouble, earlier…it's probably best we stay outside."
"Walter, what did you- oh, never mind. Where do you want to eat, tonight?"
"I had the best Monte Cristo sandwich, one time…"Walter mused as Peter rested his elbow on his fathers' shoulder.
"I've heard this one. The diner in San Jose, right?"
"…Oh, um. Yes. So…I suppose there's no chance of getting one, is there?"
"Hmm. I don't want anything."
"Are you serious? You're not hungry? Are you ill?"
"Well, now that you mention it, ramen sounds alright…"