A/N: Just emptying my fics folder of unposted things xD This ficlet was actually "done", just never posted, but I have so many chunks of unfinished oneshots, it's quite sad *dramatic sigh* This was written about a year ago, after 4x20 I believe, when Olivia's pregnancy had yet to be announced to the characters.
As they found themselves facing yet another impending apocalypse, they could always count on Walter to distract them from the idea of collapsing universes and the grim prospect of twelve billions deaths.
And as usual, he did so in the most embarrassing and tactless fashion imaginable.
"Olivia, have you been menstruating?"
Silence fell on the lab.
Peter, who had been discussing the meaning of a new set of data with Astrid, raised his eyes from the documents spread on the table to briefly stare at his father, before quickly moving his gaze to Olivia, who was standing at the other end of the lab with her phone pressed to her ear, a hand on her hip.
For a moment, she simply seemed frozen to the spot, a small frown soon wrinkling her brow, as if she wasn't sure she had heard correctly.
Peter hoped he hadn't heard correctly.
After another floating instant, Olivia finally moved, bringing the phone down to cover it with her palm, hiding the conversation from whoever was at the other end of the line. "Pardon me?" she asked Walter, still frowning in honest puzzlement.
"Have you been menstruating?" Walter repeated without the slightest hesitation, and his tone was as grave as the look on his face. He was holding a piece of paper in his hand, that Peter knew had to be some sort of results.
Now that it had been confirmed to everybody in the room that they had actually not misheard Walter's question the first time around, it was a matter of microseconds before Olivia's face turned into a shade of dark pink, as mortification swiftly settled in. Through her embarrassment, she threw a quick glance at Peter, who honestly felt just as mortified as her at his father's complete lack of tact.
He knew he should have said something, reprimanded Walter for speaking the words in the first place, but if the look on Olivia's face was any indication, her aggravation quickly turning into irritation, it was better for everybody present to remain quiet for now, until she was through with the old man.
She brought the phone back to her ear and muttered "Let me call you back," before her hand went back down to her hip, her face still flushed, her eyes now murderous. "Alright Walter," Olivia said bluntly, scowling. "How is this relevant in any way with what we're dealing with right now."
"It is not," Walter replied assuredly. "Not exactly, though it might explain the strange display of your abilities lately. I just got the results of the tests I ran on your blood, and you are experiencing a very high hGC level, which cannot be ignored."
"What is that supposed to mean, exactly?" Olivia asked, a hand swooping in front of her, now clearly irritated; she often was when the scientific aspect of things escaped her.
"Pregnancy, dear," Walter explained, remaining abnormally calm, and for the second time within the last five minutes, Olivia seemed to simply froze into space, a hand still up in the air.
Peter, still leaning upon the table, was as equally frozen, his eyes moving from Walter to Olivia, not quite able to feel anything just yet, content to simply watch the progression of the exchange until his state of shock passed.
"Such a high level of human chorionic gonadotrophin is typical during the early stage of pregnancy, hence my question about your cycle." Walter continued as if he was teaching one of his science classes, until he smiled a bit goofily. "I wouldn't have prodded otherwise, though now, given the circumstances, I feel that it might have been appropriate for me to warn you and Peter that condoms are not a hundred percents effective."
Peter knew he really had to speak up at this point, and he tried to; he even had his mouth open, and a few words lodged in his throat, but nothing came out.
Olivia was shaking her head now, offering Walter her best frown, as a confused smile pulled at the corners of her lips. "This is ridiculous Walter," she said, almost chuckling. "I'm not pregnant."
"So you have been menstruating, then?"
Olivia opened her mouth to answer, traces of her smile remaining on her lips, but very soon, she mimicked Peter in her inability to speak, her eyes getting lost in the distance; for the first time since Walter had asked her that question, it was obvious that she was finally focusing on its meaning itself, rather than on how inappropriate it was.
It wasn't long at all before her smile started to falter, and the warm color that had invaded her cheeks quickly receded, too, replaced by a pallor that soon turned greenish.
Her gaze moved then, to find Peter's, almost instinctively seeking him out, and the look they exchanged didn't say much beside:
Apparently, the almost horror-struck faces of his son and his girlfriend were all the confirmation Walter needed, because next thing they knew, he had dropped his serious mask and had let out a gleeful shout of happiness that filled the lab. He was on Olivia within seconds, hugging her tight and already babbling excitingly about the benefits of carrying a Bishop child, while she just stood there, squeezed, completely motionless, and looking about to experience some kind of morning sickness.
Peter, for his part, couldn't do anything but stare, assuming that he would begin feeling normal emotions again eventually, but not just yet. He watched as Walter let go of Olivia, beaming so foolishly, with his eyes so full of happy tears, and his hands soon came up to her ashy face to cup both her cheeks.
"Thank you," he said, with sheer sincerity, his grin now quivering, and then, he simply started weeping.
At this point, Olivia had no other choice but to let him hug her again as he wept against her shoulder, and she patted his back kindly, saying things like 'It's okay, Walter, there there', her own shock obviously starting to dissipate, if the intense mix of emotion now constricting her face was any indication.
Mostly, she looked terrified, and Peter couldn't help but think about what he had told her mere hours ago.
I will not lose you again, Olivia.
Peter only moved his eyes away from the scene when he felt a hand on his arm, and only then did he remember that Astrid was still standing right next to him. He met her gaze, and wasn't exactly surprised to see that her eyes had welled up with tears, too, although like him and Olivia, she clearly couldn't bring herself to feel as ecstatic as Walter about the unexpected news, not now.
She smiled at him, though, wordlessly, and he tried to smile back, but what he felt on his face surely resembled more a grimace than a smile.
His eyes quickly went back to Olivia and Walter, still locked in their teary embrace. Olivia seemed to be getting a grip on herself already, unsurprisingly, and she was speaking to Walter soothingly, as if he was the one who had just learned he was pregnant and needed reassurance.
As his own shock finally started to slowly recede, all Peter wanted to do was get Olivia away from his father and entrap her in his own arms, and then possibly force her to hide somewhere safe and away from any kind of danger –Jones being on top of the list.
But even now, when they hadn't even talked together about this rather big change of event, had barely glanced at each other, Peter knew that she would never let this take her away from the battlefield.
Maybe when they were done saving the universes, they would take a moment to freak out accordingly.
Then, they might even allow themselves to dream.