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NS: Please Stop Looking at Me by Blonde-Hurricane96

Vulnerability is a strange and beautiful thing. You drew yourself as a mermaid- a rare and mythical creature that is supposed to be the...

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candyholic85:iconcandyholic85:
To all those affected by the tragic Conn. shooting- will be praying for all of you
Sat Dec 15, 2012, 4:27 AM
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Not Acceptable


Walter woke up and practically growled. He set his jaw and thought of quadrant perimeters and circuit relays, really anything to keep him in bed and perfectly still, because maybe, by some miracle, if he lay perfectly still, the room might just stop spinning. It wasn't that he was hung over. No, far from it. He had a high fever. He knew it without even having to think about it. His core was cold, but at the base of his neck, that patch of skin was blisteringly hot. His entire body ached and he could feel beads of sweat drip off his forehead, and the spot where his head and neck laid on the pillow was drenched.

But then he felt his mouth water, and he knew he had roughly seven seconds to get from the bed to the toilet or he would be vomiting on the floor, and it would be a bitch to clean out of the carpet.

After he had expelled his stomach's contents, he staggered back into his room to get his phone. He managed to turn his pillow over so he wouldn't have to lay his head back down in dampness, and he sent a text to Cabe letting him know he was sick. The second text was to Paige to inform her that he was under the weather and to let the team just simply work on their own projects until he could sufficiently recover, hopefully in the next couple of days.

Half an hour later, Walter heard a soft knocking on the door. He couldn't help but grin as he recognized Paige's knock - soft but persistent. He struggled to get out of bed and managed to pull on a robe over his boxers and undershirt. He didn’t want her to be uncomfortable with his attire, but neither did he feel up to the task of dressing himself. Besides, she was probably just going to stay long enough to drop off some soup.

Walter tried, he really did, to smile and greet her as he opened the door, but all he could manage to do was cough and try to contain the phlegm that was coming from the bronchi in his lungs. Before he knew what was happening, Paige was backing him into the house and sitting him on the couch, urging him to take sips from a water bottle.

“A little under the weather, huh?” she reiterated as she perched herself on the edge of the coffee table and felt his forehead with the back of her hand.

Walter gave her a pointed look while attempting to control his horrible coughing.

Paige returned the look without a hint of trepidation. “I'm making you tea and soup,” she announced as she stood up and presumably began hunting for something.

Within moments, she found the linen closet and pulled out a blanket and pillow, then she proceeded to make him lie down and practically tucked him in. She also retrieved a bottle of aspirin from her purse, giving Walter two to take before he laid down again.

Then in the kitchen, Paige made herself busy heating up a can of soup and boiling water for tea, but she spared a moment to peek in on him where he was still resting on the couch. His eyelids were closed and his parched lips were open to allow him to breathe through his mouth since breathing through his nose was not an option at the moment. He looked miserably ill, and Paige's heart twisted uncomfortably, willing him to recover faster.

The teakettle began to whistle, just in time for Walter to open his eyes and catch her staring at him. Paige turned quickly to attend to things as he made a gallant effort to sit up. She returned a moment later with his soup, tea, and a few crackers on a small tray and set it in front of him on the coffee table. Then she grabbed a box of tissues and offered them to him.

“You have… uh,” Paige tried to hint as she gestured toward the corner of her own mouth to call his attention to the drool that had escaped while he had taken that short rest.

It took Walter a moment to realize his faux pas, and when he did he wanted to smack himself in the face. His cheeks stained from embarrassment as he quickly took a tissue and wiped the corner of his mouth. He couldn't even bring himself to say anything and opted to just eat the soup while Paige went to his bathroom to find a thermometer. His throat welcomed the soothing hot liquid while his stomach rejoiced in being filled with something comforting and easy to digest.

Paige returned shortly and swiped the thermometer over his forehead to get a reading on his temperature. She gave a small huff through her nose, clearly not pleased with the result.

“This is not acceptable,” Walter blurted out.

Paige scrunched up her face, thinking he was referring to her soup. “Excuse me?”

“I'm a genius. I shouldn't get sick,” he protested, trying not to pout.

Paige's features relaxed and a small grin broke out on her face. “You're human. Everyone gets sick,” she soothed as she ventured to sit down next to him and rub his back comfortingly.

“I can't even breathe out of my face. This is completely ridiculous,” he groaned as he felt his body start to relax. He took a sip of the tea and tried not to grimace.

“Yeah, I know it's not great, but it will help,” Paige said when she saw his expression change.

Walter gave her a skeptical side glance but took another sip anyway.

“Here,” she prompted as she pulled him to lay his head in her lap.

“Wha...” Walter began to protest, but his body was all too willing to follow her gentle commands.

“After that car accident, when you insisted I see a medical massage therapist, this is something she taught me,” Paige explained as she began to caress his forehead with her fingertips in the pattern she had been instructed to.

Walter's eyes fluttered closed as he began to feel the effects; slowly, and then all at once. His nasal passages cleared, and he was able to breathe through his nose again.

“Thank you,” he murmured as he continued to enjoy Paige's attention.

“You're welcome,” she replied softly as she studied his face intently.

How did he have such thick and long eyelashes? Even when he was sick he was still handsome. And even though she was used to seeing him in a suit, the casual attire was rather endearing, if she was being honest with herself.

Her hands began to still on his head, and suddenly Walter's eyes drifted open to consider her in adoring curiosity. Paige unknowingly held her breath until Walter smiled up at her. She smiled back down before lightly scratching his scalp, her grin widening as Walter groaned in pleasure and his eyes closed again.

“I should probably be getting back,” Paige mused softly after a few moments, combing his hair back into place with her fingers.

Walter’s face returned to its prior grimace.

“Do you want me to come back later and check in on you? Or do you think you can manage on your own?” Paige inquired.

Walter racked his brain for how he should respond. At the moment, he could think of no greater use of her time than doting on himself, but he knew there may be implications in asking her to stay. He didn’t want her to think he was ‘needy,’ no matter how ill he was, even if ‘needy’ was exactly how he felt at the moment. Neither would it be the most professional thing to do, and if she got sick from being around him, he would feel immensely guilty. He also still had to protect her reputation, so to speak, so all things considered, she probably shouldn't stay too much longer.

“No, I'll be fine, thank you. I can breathe a lot better now,” Walter answered as he pulled himself up to sit again. “I should bounce back by tomorrow. The day after that by the latest.”

“Oh, okay,” Paige replied, trying to sound compliant and not disappointed as she picked up her purse from the coffee table and walked towards the door. “Call me if you need anything, Walter,” she called over her shoulder as she hesitated by the door, wanting to say something more but losing the courage to say it at the last minute before she left.

“Okay,” Walter called back as he pulled the bowl of soup back into his lap.

After he was sure she had left and wouldn't hear him, he answered her previous offer. “I need you stay, because I have responses to you that would indicate that you matter to me in an inordinate amount. So much that it is unfathomable to me. It's unacceptable because I shouldn’t have enough EQ to even feel this strongly about you, but here I am.”

His words hung in the air, laced with bitterness, sarcasm, and contempt for himself, but nonetheless completely true.
Not Acceptable
Thank you to the fantastic Alaburn for betaing this for me and thank you to you for reading. :)
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Surprise


Paige woke up and had to untangle herself from Walter as the need to go to the bathroom became overwhelming. She hurried to the toilet and fell to her knees to expel the contents of her stomach.

Walter awoke to the sound of his wife retching and began to feel queasy himself. He didn't trust himself to go in there, and his brain began going into overdrive as to what could be wrong with her. He knew she was nauseas, but the answer lay in any other symptoms she was experiencing. He then did a self-awareness check to make sure he wasn't sick. They sometimes had different things to eat for lunch. Did she get something bad? He mentally went over the ingredients available in their kitchen that he could use to make her some tea.

That was when a solution arose in his mind. They had a stick of ginger in their freezer. Paige always kept it in there 'just in case' and to add extra flavor to their meals.

He made his mind up when Paige gave her last hurl and flushed the toilet.

“Honey? You okay?” Walter called out cautiously.

“I'll be okay. It’s just something I ate I think,” Paige replied, turning on the faucet to wet a wash cloth, and she wiped her mouth before washing her entire face.

“I'll make you some ginger tea,” he offered as he got out of bed and padded to the kitchen.

Ginger was world renowned to aid in any kind of nausea. He filled the teapot with water and put it on the stove, setting it to high so it would boil quickly. Then he retrieved a grater from a cabinet and the ginger-root from the freezer. He washed his hands then got to work on grating the ginger until the teapot whistled. He grabbed Paige's favorite mug before dumping the grated ginger in it and added the boiling water. He reached for the jar of honey and added a good sized dollop and stirred it in.

Just then, he turned around to see a very sleepy Ralph looking at him curiously.

“Mom is sick, so I'm making her tea. She’ll be okay soon,” Walter assured him. “Go get some more sleep, Ralph,” he urged him, gently grasping Ralph's shoulder to usher him back to bed.

Ralph nodded and went back to his room to try to get some more sleep. Walter smiled fondly after him and went back to his own bedroom to deliver the tea to Paige.

He went into the bedroom to find that Paige wasn't there. He took a deep breath and prepared himself for the possible states she could be in. He walked over to the bathroom door and knocked as softly as he could.

“Come in,” came Paige's muffled reply.

Walter slowly opened the door to see her sitting on the floor, resting her back against the sink cabinets with a wet wash rag on her mouth and another at the base of her neck. He also noted the smell of an air freshener that she must have sprayed to keep the smell at bay.

Walter couldn't help but feel sorry for her. She looked miserable. He sat down next to her and held out the tea.

“Thank you,” Paige murmured before putting the wash cloths down so she could grasp the mug with both hands.

She inhaled the scent deep into her lungs and a little smile bloomed on her lips before she took a tentative sip.

Walter watched her anxiously, feeling rather helpless. But as the tea seemed to wash down her throat and coat her upset stomach, relief was evident on her face. Paige looked over at him and gave him a grateful smile before leaning over and resting her head on his shoulder.

“Are you going to be okay?” he asked softly.

“Yeah. I'm sure it was just something I ate,” Paige repeated as she snuggled closer to him.

Walter smiled softly down at her and wrapped his arm around her so she could rest her head on his chest. Paige hummed her appreciation and closed her eyes as he kissed the top of her head and gave her a small but meaningful side hug.

“I love you,” he said warmly.

“I love you too,” she returned, a grin spreading across her face.

“You're taking a sick day,” Walter insisted after a moment of silence.

“No. I'm feeling better already. I just need a little more sleep,” Paige countered.

“If you come in, Sylvester will freak and think you have the plague and follow you around with a can of Lysol.”

Paige groaned in response.

“So by this afternoon, if you really and truly feel better, you can come in; otherwise, I need you to stay home and rest, okay?”

“Fine,” Paige gave in. “Help me back to bed then.”

Walter nodded and shifted. “Don't spill that on me,” he requested as he lifted her from the floor and carried her to bed.

“Aw, you're carrying me. That’s so sweet,” she commented sleepily.

Walter smiled smugly before gently setting her down in a sitting position on the bed. He kissed her forehead then went over to the other side of the bed to get some more rest himself.

“Walter?” Paige asked.

“Hmm?” he answered, opening an eye to peek at her.

“Would you rub my back? Please?” Paige pleaded once she had finished her tea and laid back down in bed.

Walter grunted his agreement as he rolled over to face her and watched as she rolled over toward him to rest on her stomach. He had no idea what he was doing, but he just focused on rubbing his hand up and down her spine .She seemed to make the most pleased noises when he was touching her lower back, so that was where he spent most of his efforts.

After a few minutes, she was fast asleep and Walter ceased his actions as he snuggled closer, putting his arm around her waist and trying to get a little more sleep before he had to get up for the day.

Walter's alarm sounded and he turned over quickly to turn it off so it wouldn't disturb her. He rolled back over and kissed his wife's brow before pulling the covers up to make sure she would stay warm and comfortable. He felt her head to make sure she wasn't running a fever. She was just a little warmer than usual but nowhere near hot enough to count as a fever.

He got up and took a shower, and when he was dressed, he came back out to the kitchen to see Ralph sitting at the counter, eating his breakfast and reading a book on neurobiology that Toby had given him.

“Mom is still not feeling well, so she's going to rest this morning. I'm going to take you to school, okay?” Walter informed him.

Ralph didn't really respond, but Walter knew that he had heard him.

He grated up the rest of the ginger, making a note to pick up some more at the store before putting it into the teapot so Paige could make more tea for herself when she woke up. He also left a sticky note telling her as much, along with a reminder that he loved her and hoped she felt better with plenty of X's and O's. Because he knew she loved that sort of thing. Then he joined Ralph at the breakfast bar with his own bowl of cereal as he mentally prepared himself for the day.

“Want to go to Scorpion before school?” Walter offered.

Ralph nodded enthusiastically before closing the book and jumping down to put his bowl in the sink and put his cereal box away, signaling he was already ready to go.

“Hold on, I'm coming, I'm coming,” Walter teased as he picked up his bowl to gulp down the remaining milk.

Ralph took Walter's box of cereal and put it away as Walter put the bowl in the sink, quickly rinsing both bowls out before grabbing his backpack and car keys.

Once at Scorpion headquarters, the team looked up and collectively frowned when Paige didn't walk in with Ralph and Walter.

“Where's Mrs. O’Brien?” Toby asked.

“She's not feeling well this morning,” Walter answered and immediately cut his eyes over to Sylvester. “No, she doesn't have swine flu, bird flu, or the plague. She just ate something that didn't agree with her,” Walter assured him and everyone else.

Cabe came in after a beat. “Where's Paige?” he asked as he approached the group.

“She's feeling under the weather,” Walter answered. “What do you have for us?”

“The Federal Reserve would like a consultation to make sure their latest software updates and firewalls are as impenetrable as they think they are.”

“Pfft, so that'll take, what? Ten minutes?” Walter retorted condescendingly.

Cabe gave Walter an unamused look before he noticed Ralph standing there with them.  “Hey, how's it going, Ralph?” he greeted.

Ralph shrugged and Walter put his hand on the boy’s shoulder to get his attention.

“Actually, it's time for you to go to school. Come on, I'll drop you off,” Walter reminded him.

“The school is on the way; he can get in the van and we can drop him off,” Cabe suggested, which Ralph and the rest of the team seemed to like much more.

After dropping Ralph off at school, Cabe leaned over to Walter and gave him an expectant look. “What's really wrong with Paige?” he asked quietly.

“She just ate something that didn't agree with her. She isn't running a fever and she isn't congested, so the flu is out. She was just nauseas this morning.

“Huh. Did she throw up?” Cabe inquired.

“Yeah. I made her some ginger tea early this morning. It's not a crisis. I can handle my wife being sick, and I'm more than capable of taking care of her,” Walter insisted.

“I'm sure you are. Did her lower back hurt too?” Cabe asked with glimmer in his eye.

“Yes. The act of throwing up often puts a lot of stress on the body. A body ache and certainly a back ache is a reasonable side effect,” Walter explained.

“Sure it is,” Cabe replied, his tone disbelieving and hinting at something else entirely. but it was completely lost on Walter.

Toby and Sylvester gave each other confused looks as Sylvester went over all the possibilities and probabilities of what could be wrong with Paige. Happy, however, just rolled her eyes and continued to drive to the Federal Reserve.

Once back at Scorpion headquarters, Paige was sitting at her desk and eating a large bowl of pho from the Vietnamese place a few blocks away as she continued drinking the tea Walter had started for her that morning.

“It certainly smells good in here,” Toby proclaimed the moment he opened the door and smiled as his eyes landed on Paige.

Paige smiled back from her seat, despite her mouth being full of noodles and broth.

“Honey, I thought I told you to take the day off?” Walter contested as he walked over to her.

“Well I’m fine now, so I decided to come in,” she told him before eating another big mouthful of her soup.

“Well I'm glad to see you're doing better,” Cabe cut in with a proud smile before noticing a buzzing sound. “What's that sound?”

“Oh, me,” Paige answered as she leaned to the side so they could see the seat massager she was sitting on. “My back has been killing me lately,” she explained.

“Okay,” Cabe replied with a slow nod, looking pointedly at Walter who just looked back at him, confused. Cabe finally gave up and rolled his eyes. “You know, you had me worried this morning, with the symptoms Walter told us you had I thought you would be out of commission with the flu or…  something else,” he hinted.

“Nope, I'm fine,” Paige repeated as she downed a spring roll in two bites.

“You know it must be that newly married thing, where the bride just continues to glow,” he hinted again.

“Well, you know what they say about a bride who gets married in the month of June,” Toby chimed in, watching the scene with curious interest.

“Oh, oh, the bride who marries in June, stays a bride all her life, and that the bride groom who marries in June, gets a sweetheart for a wife,” Sylvester answered quickly, proud that he remembered the lyrics to June Bride from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, a classic film from the fifty's.

“And it's November. What’s your point?” Walter asked, not seeing the connection.

At that point, Cabe groaned as he pinched the bridge of his nose before looking at all of them. “You know for a bunch of geniuses, you guys sure don't have a clue,” he finally told them, shaking his head at them.

They all looked at him, confusion clear on their faces, except for Happy, who was wearing a mischievous grin for once.

Toby glanced at her and noted her grin, which Cabe was now sharing with her. “What are you two grinning about?”

“Wait,” Happy cautioned as she nodded over to Paige who had stopped eating and looked to be deep in thought.

She appeared to be doing some mental calculations right before a moment of realization flashed on her face. Bolting up from her seat, she grabbed her purse and left without saying another word to anyone.

Walter simply stared after her in complete confusion.

“She'll be back in a few minutes,” Happy announced with a knowing grin. “Good call,” she told Cabe.

“I've been around enough to know it when I see it,” he replied.

“Know what?! What are you guys talking about?!” Walter demanded.

“Let's just be patient until Paige comes back. No one say anything,” Cabe suggested, grabbing Walter by the shoulder and giving it a comforting squeeze.


After what seemed like an eternity later, Page came back with an unreadable expression on her face. Walter immediately came to her side, and the rest of the team tried to listen to the low murmurs of their conversation, Happy and Cabe still giving each other knowing looks. Toby's understanding finally dawned on him, and he couldn't help but smile excitedly as he wrote down 'pregnant' on a piece of paper and gave it to Sylvester, who nodded and tried not to cry with the sudden joy blooming in his chest.

Meanwhile, Paige held up four pregnancy test sticks, all showing a positive result for Walter to look at. They were all different brands, but Walter examined the digital one, the readout giving an estimation of how far along she might be.

“We need to see an OB/GYN,” he said suddenly.

“I already made an appointment for Wednesday,” Paige told him, an excited smile spreading over her features.

“You're going to have a baby,” he said, mostly to himself to help it sink in. “We're going to have a baby,” he repeated, his voice getting a little louder, and before he could stop himself, he had gathered Paige into his arms and kissed her soundly.

The rest of the group let them have their moment before erupting into applause.

Paige and Walter broke apart and laughed.

“Congratulations!” Cabe said as he shook Walter's hand and welcomed the hug Paige gave him. “If you need anything, you say the word, okay?” he added when Paige pulled away.

“Thank you,” Paige replied with a grateful smile.

“I think this calls for a group hug!” Sylvester shouted.
Surprise
Many great thanks to Alaburn for betaing and thank you for reading! This is the result of seeing a list of prompts for Scorpion on Tumblr and at the top of the list was this one- established Paige/Walter, Paige gets pregnant and Cabe or Hetty is the first to figure it out. and viola, one-shot. 
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Family Portrait


Paige arrived at Scorpion that afternoon with a large tote bag that had the most odd looking shapes protruding from within. She went to a private corner of Scorpion that had a large enough table for her to set everything out while still providing some privacy. She grabbed the scissors from her desk and a dusting rag from a shelf and put her bag down, carefully taking the contents out and arranging them in an orderly way.

She pulled up a chair and began to work on her self-assigned task, and after about thirty minutes she was finished. She pulled out a package of wrapping paper and the scotch tape to wrap each finished item. She smiled proudly as she attached little bows to each one as a finishing touch.

When Drew had come back into her life, she had, understandably, gotten uptight and overreacted, and they had all proven to her that they were more of a family than anything else she had ever known. They really did love Ralph and had only done what they did because they cared about him. They were looking out for him and had his best intentions at heart. Paige felt the need to make it up to them, and she figured this was probably the most symbolic gesture she could give them.

She picked up the four parcels and placed each one on their prospective recipient's desk, being careful as to how she set each one down, and along with a small card she had made by hand. She really was quite crafty and artistic. Sylvester and Toby would probably notice and appreciate these details the most.

When the team came back from lunch, she sat on the edge of her desk, waiting for them.

“What's this?” Walter asked first as he picked it up and examined it curiously.

“A peace offering and an apology,” Paige answered, watching as they each opened their gifts.

Sylvester was the first one to audibly get choked up, immediately grabbing a handful of tissues. Toby put his hand over his mouth as he regarded the gift in fascination and reverence. Happy was biting her lips, trying not to let her emotions give her away.

Walter, however, had a look of disbelief and awe at what he was holding in his hands, the wrapping paper dropped and forgotten. He looked down at the framed picture of all of them. It had been taken at Ralph's Halloween party. They had all gathered together, each striking a pose, but Ralph had been positioned in front of Paige and Walter, the three of them standing the closest together and Ralph holding Walter's hand along with his mother's. At the top of the picture frame, Paige had used fancy letter embellishments to spell out “Scorpion,” and on the bottom she had inscribed “Cyclone.”

“Apology accepted,” Walter replied with a grateful smile.

Paige let out a breath she hadn't known she was holding and felt a deep sense of relief.

“Same,” each of the others chimed in.

“Thanks, guys,” she muttered appreciatively.
Family Portrait
First I would like to thank the ever so talented Alaburn for being my amazing beta. Second, this was a response fic for the teaser trailers for tomorrow's episode. I hadn't intended to write this but...when inspirations strikes, it's hard to say no. So thank you so much for reading! 
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The Experiment


Walter felt he had gathered enough data to create a hypothesis. And now he just needed a means and method of testing out said hypothesis.

He understood why his hands would suddenly get clammy, why his heart rate would increase, and why his throat would suddenly become a little tight. He did not, however, appreciate that these things were happening. It wasn't that complicated. It was just a scientific experiment. An exercise really.

“So would you be interested in testing out a theory?” Walter proposed as he stood in front of her desk.

Paige looked at him curiously and couldn't help but grin, urging him to continue.

“In an effort to make our communication more efficient, I need to become more familiar with your facial expressions, since you use nonverbal cues seventy-one percent more than verbal ones. For me to really study said expressions, I need for you to exude facial cues, but in order for them to be accurate, they need to be manifested naturally,” Walter explained and noticed Paige slowly nod as she tried to keep up with what he was saying.

“And how do you propose to accomplish such a feat?” Paige asked as she tilted her head, her grin growing ever so slightly.

“I thought a trip to the museum would be a good choice,” Walter answered, a smug grin on his lips.

He knew that this would be a perfect choice for her. He didn't care where they went; he still didn't like art, but watching her look at art was something he could spend hours and hours doing.  

“So is this a bio-social exploration with a neuro-chemical overlay that could modify our colleague-slash-friendship paradigm?” Paige asked, pleased she remembered the terms from watching the Big Bang Theory.

Walter's eyes widened as his jaw lowered a smidge. Paige's own smug smile told Walter that she knew exactly what she was asking, and he couldn't help but smile broader.

“If that's what you want it to be, yes,” Walter answered, his eyes alight with joy.

“When?” Paige countered.

“Now?” Walter offered as he gestured for the door.

“Okay,” Paige agreed as she reached for her purse.

At the museum, Walter let Paige take the lead with the pace. At first she kept looking at him to gauge his reactions, trying to see if he was regretting his decision to take her here of all places, but he remained stoic, if not slightly amused. She could feel him watch her. She knew he would be and didn't hide her expressions as she openly admired the artwork.

At one point, Walter found the courage to take her hand and lead her over to a Gauguin that the Museum was showcasing. Paige never tried to get her hand back, but instead laced her fingers with his and continued to enjoy holding his hand throughout the rest of the museum.

Walter, to his credit, did do a little research on what the different art exhibits were so he could at least know enough to discuss them with her. But holding her hand, something that as a child he had a difficult time grasping the meaning and importance of, was now something he relished and deeply appreciated in this moment. However, she was still the most attractive and, dare he say, beautiful 'exhibit' there. The way her face would subtly change, the extensive array of smiles she possessed, and since she was giving him one particular smile that implied she was excessively pleased, that she was happy with him. And that had been the desired result of this exercise.
The Experiment
Thank you Alaburn for betaing this, REALLY FAST HOLY COW WOMAN YOU ARE ON FIRE. And thank you for reading. 
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Couch Time with Toby


Toby woke up that morning, smiling as the remembrance of his dream washed over him. Ah, Happy wearing nothing but those little cat whiskers… Then he mentally went over what he had to do that day: get a shower, brush his teeth, get something to eat. Oh, breakfast, what would he go with? Bacon and eggs? Waffles or pancakes? White toast or wheat? What jelly would he put on his toast? Oh, what about biscuits and gravy? Or ham and grits? Oh, chicken fried steak sounded delightful, and maybe an omelet with some fresh fruit. What would Happy usually like for breakfast? Would she ever do the breakfast in bed kind of thing?

He really did have a thing for food. Well, he had a thing for pleasure, period, but food seemed to kill two birds with one stone, and while he was at it, he figured he would get breakfast for the team. Much to Happy's surprise, he had not, in fact, gambled away his last paycheck. And he had made good when he had gone back to Vegas with Walter, so money wasn't necessarily an issue today.  

Paige seemed like a crepe kind of girl, Walter was a solid eggs and sausage kind of guy, and Happy didn't really eat breakfast. Occasionally a breakfast burrito maybe, but he figured she would probably only go for toast, maybe some bacon. Sylvester had been a bit of a nervous wreck and needed the comfort of carbs – waffles - definitely waffles. For himself, an omelet did sound really good. He needed a little bit of everything this morning.

After going to a diner and getting, well, everything and bringing it back to Scorpion headquarters, Toby took a seat at the table and surrounded himself with his movable feast.

Happy walked in and raised her eyebrows at the sight of Toby practically gorging himself.

“You're welcome to join me,” Toby offered, his mouth still mostly full while trying to smile at her.

“No thanks. I'm not one for breakfast anyway,” Happy replied as she grabbed a bottle of water.

“Toast?” he suggested as he held out a plate of it toward her.

Happy huffed but grabbed the slice of toast he offered before she walked back to her area.

Toby smiled to himself over his tiny victory before Sylvester came in.

“Got you waffles,” Toby greeted, handing them to his friend.

“Oh, good. Hey, when you get a chance, I'm gonna need some couch time today,” Sylvester informed him, trying not to sound as anxious as he was, but his mood visibly lightened with the prospect of fresh waffles with strawberry topping and whipped cream.  

Toby nodded between chews and mentally added that to his to do list that day.

Then Paige and Ralph came in an hour before Ralph had to go to school, as had become their new custom.

“There's my favorite guy in the universe!” Toby greeted Ralph with a high five.

Ralph smiled and sat down.

“Help yourself. There’s plenty here,” Toby said as he gestured to the mountain of food in front of him.

“Wow. What’s the occasion, Toby?” Paige inquired as she watched her son dig in.

“No occasion really. I just wanted to do something nice for myself and everyone else. You get us food all the time, and I wanted to return the favor. I got you crepes,” Toby explained as he handed them to her.

“How did you know I liked crepes?” Paige asked as she took the last chair.

“Your delicate and sweet nature tipped me off,” he answered with a smug grin.

“What's all this?” Walter asked as he came in.

“Breakfast,” Toby answered, handing Walter his eggs and sausage.

“Thanks,” Walter replied as he walked away, only to return with another chair to join the group at the table, choosing to sit between Toby and Ralph.

Toby gave his friend a meaningful look but didn't say anything.

“How are you this morning, Walter?” Paige asked, as it looked like Walter could have used at least another hour of sleep.

“I'm fine,” he answered, looking up for a moment before returning his attention back to his breakfast.

Paige's face flashed something for a fraction of a second before returning to a practiced pleasantness. Toby caught it and it peaked his curiosity. Couch time with her was going to be interesting, to say the least.

After breakfast was over and Paige had left to take Ralph to school, Toby decided that it was probably the best time to have his couch time with Sylvester.

“I feel like Collins is still with us. I mean, we've dealt with him before, so we knew how to counteract him, but he still got to Walter. You heard and saw how Cabe gave him his last goodbye, and he just said 'okay' like it was nothing. I know Walter has low EQ, but when Collins came around, it was like he stripped Walter of what little he had. It’s like he took his humanity away.”

“And that can be very frightening,” Toby agreed. “Collins is a master manipulator; he knew where and how to hit us and undermine us, and I hope for all our sakes that Collins stays locked up forever.”

“Yeah. Do you think he'll come back?” Sylvester asked, trepidation coloring his every feature.

“I don't know, but we'll stick together and remind Walter to keep his distance if he ever does,” Toby assured him.

Later that morning, Toby stopped by Happy's area to check in on her.

“How's the piston?” he asked as she took apart an engine block.

Happy smirked and pulled the piston out, showing it had snapped. “Like Collins’ neck if he ever comes around again,” she answered.

“Awesome,” Toby replied with an approving smile, fighting the urge to at least wrap his arm around her waist. “Did he get to you?” he asked softly as he picked up a tool and examined it nonchalantly, trying not to pressure her.

“Thanks to you, no,” she admitted. “That note helped,”

“You're welcome. How’s the book?” he inquired.

“It was okay,” she muttered. “It helped me keep my head.”

“Good,” Toby murmured.

“You need to help Paige,” Happy blurted out suddenly. “When we went back to Collins' basement, I walked away to read your note and keep my head, but I think when I did that, Collins got into hers. She hasn't been quite the same since.”

“Yeah, I told her she was welcome to have some couch time. Hopefully I can smuggle her away from Walter this afternoon.”

“Good luck with that,” Happy snorted. “It's painful to watch him sometimes. He likes her so much, but he can't process that he likes her.”

“Do you think the attraction is mutual?” Toby asked, impressed at Happy's deftness.

“Is gasoline flammable?” she retorted, which got Toby to laugh.

God help him, he loved her sense of humor and quick wit.

“I picked up on that too; I just wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one who could see it,” he admitted before looking at her meaningfully. She was so effortlessly pretty. He really could look at her all day long.

“Don't you have some couch time to do?” Happy reminded him.

“Yeah, I better go do the couch thing - the thing with the couch - couch time,” Toby punned, which did get a tiny smirk from Happy, underneath her annoyance that he was still lingering.


Toby waited until Walter had gone quiet for a moment before stealing Paige away.

“Can you spare a few minutes?” Toby asked.

“Oh, for couch time?” Paige asked quietly so Walter wouldn't hear.

“Yeah, or whenever you're ready,” he offered.

Paige looked back over her shoulder at Walter, who didn't seem to notice her absence. “Sure,” she agreed.

“You don't actually have to sit on a couch, by the way,” Toby mentioned, causing Paige to crack a smile.

“Have you ever been to a therapist before?” Toby asked once they got to the roof. He thought the fresh sunshine might help.

They leaned on the pony wall overlooking the city as Paige began to reply. “Yes, actually. When Ralph was first diagnosed with being ‘challenged,’ we met with a counselor. And then when Ralph's father and I started having problems because we couldn't connect with our son, we stopped connecting with each other. Then one day a blonde in a Tahoe came to pick him up, and we never heard from him again.”

“Did you ever get divorce papers or anything?” Toby inquired.

“No. We were never married,” Paige admitted.

Toby nodded and decided to change the subject. “So you seem to have found your stride here. Walter was right; you're thriving.”

He noted that when he said Walter's name, Paige deflated, just by a fraction, but then quickly regained her composure.

“I'm getting there. You guys haven't made it easy,” she leveled with him honestly.

“True, and I would like to apologize for that. I'm gonna try to make it easier on you. But just a second ago when I said Walter's name, you had a micro reaction. What's going on there?”

“How many times has Walter 'tried on' someone? To see if they fit, and if they don't, discard them?” she asked, trying to keep her pained expression at bay, but her eyes gave her away.

“Never. He’s unbelievably picky,” Toby answered, but his concern started to rise. “What gave you the impression he would do something like that?” he asked.

Instead of replying, Paige turned her face away as her shoulders dropped.

“Paige, what happened to make you think that?” he rephrased.

“Collins,” she admitted.

“What did he say to you?” Toby asked, his voice soft but earnest.

“He said that Walter tries people on, to see if they fit, and then if they don't, he discards them. Collins also pointed out how Walter will simply say 'I'm fine' when he really isn't just to shut you out, which is something Walter does to me all the time. And with Ralph getting so attached to everyone, especially Walter....” Paige recounted but paused as she fought to keep her voice even. “If Walter did that, I don't know if Ralph would ever recover.”

Toby's understanding suddenly broadened as things clicked into place. Collins got in her head and played. He got to her, manipulated her, found her fears, and planted giant seeds of doubt.

“Paige,” Toby began as he leaned forward and made sure he kept eye contact. “That's not what is happening here. You’re as necessary to Scorpion as the rest of us. If anything, you bind us together just as much as Walter does we would have been without a clue back in Vegas if hadn't been for you. Collins is a master manipulator; he does this to everyone, especially to Walter. He is the most mean-spirited person I've ever encountered, and let me tell you, I've seen my fair share of horrible people,” he tried to reassure her. “Have you told any of this to Walter?”

“Yeah. He just told me that I was one of you guys, and that 'we can't do this without you',” Paige reiterated.

“Well that's true, but do you believe him?” Toby inquired.

Paige was silent for a moment as she thought it over. Toby didn't say anything, as he sensed she just needed a minute to get her thoughts together.

“The way he looked at me when he said it,” Paige finally answered. “I don't know; when he looks at me it's like, I know his brain is probably working on a thousand other things, but when we're talking one on one, it's like I am the only one in the world worth talking to. All of his attention gently rests on me,” she explained.

“Then that should squelch those doubts right?” Toby encouraged.

Paige shrugged and couldn't help but smile.

“You're going to be just fine Paige,” he assured her.

“Thanks.”

“Do you want a hug?” he offered, more as a joke than anything.

“Will Happy put my car's engine in my bed?” Paige asked, making a Godfather reference with a lighthearted laugh.

Toby softly chuckled along with her as he fantasized about Happy becoming that territorial of him.
“I don't think so, but better to be safe than sorry with her,” he replied.

Walter came up to the roof only to find Toby and Paige standing close and smiling at each other. Jealousy licked up his spine and caused his core to clench uncomfortably.

“Guys, Gallo's here,” he called out.

Paige and Toby turned and quickly came to the door to go downstairs to see what Gallo had for them. Only Walter held Toby's arm and waited until Paige was out of earshot.

“What was going on up here?” Walter asked in a low tone.

“Couch time,” Toby answered as he moved to join the others. “And word to the wise, stop telling Paige you're fine,” he admonished before pulling away and heading downstairs, smirking as he felt Walter's harsh gaze on the back of his head.


After everyone had started packing up for the night to go home, Toby came over to Walter's area and put a bottle of beer on his desk as he held his own.

“What's this?” Walter asked as he eyed the cold bottle that had already started to form condensation on the label.

“You need couch time more than anyone,” Toby reminded him.

“I'm fine,” Walter insisted as he started to shut down his computer.

“You know I can read you like a book. You're not fine. You’re stressed and anxious and most importantly, in denial,” Toby argued as he pulled up a chair across from his friend.

“Really, I'm in denial?” Walter deadpanned.

“Yeah, about a lot of things. I mean, we've nearly had the team destroyed and had more meltdowns than chyrnoble, but yet we as a team are still here, and dare I say, stronger than ever. But still, you're uptight,” Toby noted, and with every word he said, Walter showed more signs that he was hitting the nail on the head.

Walter finally gave in and took the beer, unscrewed the top off with his hand, and took a swing while he sat back in his chair.

“How was couch time with Paige?” Walter asked.

“It was fine. Collins got into her head and did some nasty things,” Toby baited and watched Walter's jaw clench and his eyes narrow as he gripped the armrests of his chair tighter. “He had her convinced that you were going to drop her like a hot rock,” he continued. “Abandon her like everyone else in her life, including her ex. And that if you start saying 'I'm fine' all the time, you're pushing her away and pushing her out, and that's one step away from leaving her completely. However, Paige is mostly concerned about Ralph, which is completely understandable since her life revolves around that kid like any good mother's life should,” Toby explained, thinking that disclosing that piece of information wouldn’t completely break their confidentiality agreement.

Walter pursed his lips as he thought about what Toby was saying.

“Collins really did a number on us, Walter. He had Sylvester damn near in hysteria with nightmares, and he had Happy in a homicidal rage. He knew when and where and how to pick us apart and he did, all to get to you again. He is the biggest threat to Scorpion and to you personally. You showed serious regression in your EQ when Collins came back. He got in your head and under your skin, and it scared all of us,” Toby leveled.  

“So is this couch time or a lecture?” Walter rebutted.

“This is me being completely honest about the state of affairs around here,” Toby replied. “So, now that we have that out of the way, how are you?”

“I'm okay. Tired, if I'm honest. Mostly just trying to make sure Scorpion stays afloat,” Walter answered.

“Hmm, sounds very adult and boring,” Toby noted before he took a swig of beer.

Walter cracked a smile and took a swig of his own. “It is, but it needs to be done.”

“That's why you get to do it. So anything else?” Toby pried again.

“If anything happens, I'll let you know.”
Couch Time With Toby
Great thanks to Alaburn for betaing this super fast for me, also I would also like to apologize because this isn't TOBY toby, I know he only tolerates Paige but he really does love Ralph, everyone loves Ralph. But I wanted to showcase how each member of the team takes care of each other because they really do care about each other. Thanks for reading. :)
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Wow it's been six months since I've had a journal, yikes. 
So I just uploaded the LAST CHAPTER (officially) of We Love The Water, considering Alaburn and I started that story  A YEAR AGO. It's been a long time coming. I'm sad to see it end, it's been a blast but I'm proud of it at the same time. 
So, what's on the horizen for me? 
Well, after I get my health sorted, (cause my MS and Crohn's are back) I do have a few stories I want to work on. I have a Pacific Rim drabble I want to work on, an Inception fic I started a year and a half ago that I really want to finish because I think it's a really interesting twist on it. Um..there's a tahnorra week coming up that I'm seriously considering doing. And I have two more drabbles to add to the wltw verse, Korra picking out her wedding dress and the actual wedding. So I have a few things on my plate. 
So...that's about all that's going on. lol. 

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:icongam3rg1rl13:
Gam3rG1rl13 Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Professional General Artist
You are a beautiful and wonderful person and I do not deserve your friendship! Thank you so much for another fave!

Bless you!
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You're welcome and right back at ya sweetie!
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:icongam3rg1rl13:
Gam3rG1rl13 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks for another fave! Hug 
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candyholic85 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014
You're welcome!
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:icongam3rg1rl13:
Gam3rG1rl13 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the fave!!! You are the best!!!
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candyholic85 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014
Of course! How could I NOT fave that?
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I finished your commission! :D iesnoth.deviantart.com/art/522…
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candyholic85 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
I saw and it's GLORIOUS! Thank you so much!!
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Gentlewolf Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014
YAY! :w00t: Thanks so much for the :+fav:, again! SO Glad you liked it, too! :XD:
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candyholic85 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014
LOVED IT, KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK! 
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