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03 January 2015 @ 11:58 pm
Scorpion Fic: The Scorpion Cyclone  
Written for yuletide 2014
Crossposted to scorpion_cbs


Title: The Scorpion Cyclone
Pairing/Characters: Walter/Paige, Sylvester/Megan, Happy/Toby, Ralph, Cabe
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Season 1
Summary: A group or family of scorpions is called a cyclone. It took Walter's Scorpion group a while to become a real family.
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Other comments are housed at Yuletide/AO3.


“Okay, everyone! Listen up!”

Toby was busy clanging a knife against a champagne goblet, trying to encourage silence in the boisterous dining private room at L’Italiano that Paige had booked for their special night.

Happy and Cabe stopped talking at the Scorpion table, but the fellow MS patients and hospital staff at the three tables filled with Megan’s friends were hard to quiet down.

“I’d like to propose a toast!” Toby called out, finally gaining the attention he desired. “To two people who belong together like…” he floundered with a gesture, “I don’t know, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff? Hell, I didn’t see this coming, but we’re here to celebrate the fact that Sylvester used that genius brain of his to figure out he should pop the question before someone else snatched Megan up, being the prize that she is.” He held up his glass to Megan who was smiling widely by Sylvester’s side at the main table. A round of applause and a couple of whistles showed the crowd’s enthusiasm for the couple’s engagement.

Walter watched his beaming sister pause to kiss a flustered Sylvester in front of everyone, causing more cheers and some blushing on Sylvester’s part. He’d been happy to have the mathematician for a friend, yet the idea of him becoming his brother-in-law was taking some time to pass the cognitive dissonance stage.

“No, sweetie. It’s apple juice. I made sure they gave us both juice and not champagne.”

Walter turned his head as Paige whispered to Ralph, sitting between them. Ralph was looking askew at his glass of amber colored bubbly as others had their glasses lifted in preparation for the end of the toast.

“They added carbon dioxide to give it the effervescent effect of champagne, but trust your mother, it’s still just apple juice,” he whispered to them both. “If you want we can carbonate some other liquids back at the garage this weekend so you can see how it’s done.”

Ralph’s face brightened and he nodded in excitement. “Cool.” He grabbed his glass, but his mother gestured to calm him.

“Wait until it’s time to toast.”

“I can’t take a drink now?”

“Not yet. It’s polite to listen to the whole toast before you take a drink and when you take a drink you only take a sip.”

“But I’m thirsty.”

“You can have more juice or some of your water afterwards, but for the toast, only a sip.”

“Why can’t we toast with water?”

Walter smiled at the sotto voce conversation beside him.

“That’s an excellent question, Ralph,” he interjected. “I always wondered that too.”

“Well if Walter’s wondered for a long time I’m sure you both can wait for after the toast to find out,” Paige said, hushing them with a finger to her lips as Toby took up the toasting effort again.

“So while Scorpion has been a family to those of us who are mentally enabled…” Toby raised his glass to Walter, “it’s now become part of Walter’s real family with the addition of Sylvester to the O’Brien clan.”

Walter held up his glass in return to Megan and Sylvester on the other end of the table, separated by a large floral arrangement that had to be Paige’s doing. The whole room was abloom with flowers and lit with candles, more so than the normal romantic Italian restaurant.

“So to the future Mr. and Mrs. Dodd and to the newly expanded O’Brien clan, we salute you! Megan and Sylvester, may you live happily together until the end of your days just like in all those delightful Irish blessings! To Megan and Sylvester!”

The crowd raised their glasses then followed suit as Toby drank from his with a flourish. When he was done he returned to his seat at the Scorpion table with Happy, her father Patrick, Cabe and Agent Simone Taylor, who happened to be in town. Simone was a potent reminder of the case that had brought Sylvester and Megan together. Walter had never forgotten how dismissive he’d been of Sylvester’s concerns about being in the field just seconds before the blast that had almost robbed him of his dear friend. Asking Megan to look after him had only seemed convenient at the time, but having spent time at the garage with her just before, the time in the hospital seemed to have cemented their attraction for each other. Past that it just flowed as naturally as fluid dynamics as the two became one couple.

The reintroduction of conversation wasn’t loud enough to cover the sound of Paige’s ringtone or her grumble when she saw who was calling.

“I’ll be right back.” Walter and Ralph watched her answer as she walked away. “Drew, whatever excuse you have…”

“Sounds like your mom and dad are arguing again.”

Ralph just shrugged under Walter’s gaze.

“They always argue. More now that they’re breaking up again.”

Walter blinked, stunned.

“What?”

“They think I don’t know, but I hear more than they think I do,” Ralph admitted, kicking his feet under his chair. “My dad’s staying in Portland and he wants me to come live with him for part of the year. My mom said maybe a visit during the summer, but that’s when he’s busy playing baseball. He wants me to come for the winter, but my mom says it’s not good for me to split my school year in half.”

Walter let out a long breath. “Jeez, buddy. I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” Ralph said, offering up a strained smile.

“Well, it kind of is since I helped your dad with his fastball,” Walter admitted. “If I’d known…”

“It’s okay. I’m used to having a part time dad at this point. Besides, he can’t keep his career going much longer even with your help. Statistics show that players rarely last past age thirty.”

“So you figure you’ll get to see him once he gives up on baseball,” Walter translated.

Ralph just shrugged again. “Maybe.”

Walter cast a glance to the doorway to the restrooms where Paige paced with her cell phone to one ear and a hand covering the other to reduce the room noise so she could hear. Walter could tell by her expression the discussion wasn’t a pleasant one.

“So you are sad that your mom and dad won’t get back together?” Walter asked, splitting his gaze between Ralph and Paige.

“Not really.” Ralph matched Walter’s attention and looked over at his mother as well. “She hasn’t been happy since my dad came back to town. I want her to be happy.” Ralph turned to Walter, his expression one of almost perfect child-like innocence. “You like my mom, don’t you?”

Walter almost choked on his glass of water. “I… what?”

“You like my mom. When she first came to work for Scorpion, I could tell.”

“Ralph…”

“I think she liked you too, but then my dad came back and kind of messed things up.”

Walter let a beat pass before speaking again. “Ralph, I do like your mom. She’s a good friend and she’s been a really great employee at Scorpion this last year…”

“You grown-ups do that all the time,” Ralph mused. “You pretend you don’t like someone as much as you really do. I saw Sylvester do it with Megan. You both did the same thing.”

“What’s that?” Walter asked.

“You look at my mom like Sylvester used to look at Megan – like just looking at her made you happy.”

“Ralph…” Walter faltered, not sure what to say.

“You told me once that Agent Gallo was like a second dad to you.”

“That’s right.”

“Ralph!” Paige called over, waving her son to her. “Come over here. Your father wants to talk to you.”

“Okay!” Ralph called back, clambering down from his chair as he turned back to Walter for one final volley. “I just think you’d make a great second dad too.”

As he ran off to his mother, accepting the telephone to speak with his distant father, Walter watched the two of them, completely unaware of the rest of the room.

He’d pushed aside his feelings from the moment it became clear that Ralph was establishing a relationship with his father and that Paige was giving Drew a second chance. For someone as naïve as Ralph to be aware of something Walter hadn’t even admitted to himself…

Or had he? He’d found himself oddly jealous when Happy had admitted that Toby was her ‘no comments from the peanut gallery or I’ll have to kill someone’ date for tonight’s event. Arranging for Paige and Ralph to sit with him at the family table instead of the Scorpion table had been, in his own quiet way, a chance to claim them both as his own if even for a moment.

“Hey there, lil’ bro,” Megan teased, snapping him out of his reverie.

“Hey, sis,” he replied, letting her enfold him in a fond embrace. “Enjoying your engagement party?”

“Yes! Paige did a wonderful job, but then, she always does, doesn’t she?” Megan said, her gaze going to where Walter was having trouble avoiding. “So, when are you two going to make it official?”

“What?” Walter stammered, flustered. “You know she’s been trying to, you know, with Drew.”

“Everyone knows that’s not working,” Megan waved a hand dismissively. “She doesn’t want Drew back. She wants to move on, move forward. She needs someone to be there for her and her son. She deserves that. Don’t you think?” Megan poked him in the arm.

“Of course she does! Drew doesn’t deserve either of them, running off twice now just to play ball.” It took him a second with his ire to notice Megan snickering.

“You’ve been so protective of them both for the past year. I’ve been shaking my head watching you watch her like she’s just out of reach.”

“She is.” Walter indulged in a longing glance to where Paige had hung up the phone and had crouched down to talk to Ralph at his level. The two seemed to be having some sort of heart to heart.

“Not if you really want her,” Megan told him. “But if you wait…” Her sweet smile held a sadness that made him hurt inside. “If you wait she might just pass you by and neither of you will know what it is to be happy like me, like Sylvester and – if you’ve been paying attention tonight – like Toby and Happy.”

Walter followed her gesture to where Toby and Happy where sitting beside each other, heads close to each other as if they were sharing some private quiet moment of blissful peace. Walter could see the adoration on Toby’s face, unsurprising since he’d made his intentions clear early on with Happy. But it was Happy truly the vision of her name that stunned him. Gone was the cynical woman who scoffed at relationships and love, the strong female who needed no one, the genius who thought little of those who succumbed to love’s ensnarement.

“Now if you’ll excuse me,” Megan leaned heavily on her crutches. “I need to go figure out how to dance with my future husband with these things on.” She kissed Walter’s cheek. “Think about it, baby bro.”

He watched, wordless, as she walked out to the small dance floor between the tables and beckoned to Sylvester with a crooked finger as the music shifted to a new song.

Sylvester looked a bit panicked, but came dutifully. After a brief negotiation, Megan took off her crutches and let Sylvester half hold her up and half carry her slender form through their dance.

“Aw, how sweet!” Paige’s return almost startled Walter and he caught a little grin from Ralph as he settled back into his seat. “Look at them dance.”

“They worked it out,” Ralph whispered to Walter. “When I get to visit my dad in Portland and all.”

“Glad to hear it,” Walter managed, not sure how to respond. His gaze shifted to Paige, whose sweet smile at the sight of Sylvester and Megan touched him inside in a way he had forgotten she could do to him.

“Paige?” he asked impulsively, rising. “May I have this dance?”

He held out his hand to her and for a split second she didn’t move or react, a split second that felt like an eternity to Walter – one filled Schrödinger-like with both grief and beautiful possibility.

“I’d love to,” she finally said.

Taking his hand, they walked out on the dance floor, joining Toby and Happy, Cabe and Simone and several other couples as a ballad played.

“I love this song,” Paige mused, settling into his arms like she belonged there. “This is that same song that was playing when we danced that time we were looking for that stolen painting.”

“Then I guess we have a song now,” Walter noted.

Paige looked at him, cocking her head as if trying to read him.

“Yeah, our song from our first dance.”

Walter pulled her in close.

“The first of many I hope…”

*

The clanging of a knife against glass wasn’t enough to get people’s attention, but Happy’s wolf whistle was loud enough to get people to shut up and pay attention to a flustered Sylvester.

“Uh, thanks Happy for getting everyone’s attention.” Sylvester shuffled his notecards as Happy took her seat again. “So, um. I’m supposed to be doing the toast, but I think I wrote so much everyone here might die of thirst before I finish…”

A roar of laughter visibly boosted his confidence and Walter turned to Paige beside him.

“Did you give him that joke to use?” he asked in a lowered voice.

“Is it that obvious?” Paige giggled in his ear. “He was so nervous, poor thing, that I figured one successful joke at the start might help put him at ease.”

Megan leaned over from further down the table and mouthed ‘thank you’ to Paige.

“If any of us had asked Happy two years ago if she planned on getting married, that person might have walked away with a bloody lip,” Sylvester read.

“If they could still walk,” Happy commented, spurring more laughter.

“And if any of us had told Toby he was crazy for thinking he had a chance with Happy, well, he might just crack open the DSM-5 psychiatric diagnostic manual to prove there was nothing insane about love or patience.” Sylvester put his cards down on the table. “So I guess we’re here to celebrate the patience that led to love the same way hope led to my chance to love my beautiful wife, Megan.” He gestured to where Megan sat and beamed when she blew a kiss in his direction. He raised his glass to where Toby and Happy sat together holding hands and displaying the diamond ring Toby bought with all the money he didn’t gamble with in the last year, cured by Happy’s threats as much as her affection. “So here’s to Toby, who chased Happy until he finally caught her and to Happy, who finally softened enough to let Toby think he was the one who was in charge of that chase.”

Walter and Paige followed suit as Sylvester and the rest of the crowd drank to the couple’s engagement.
“Who thought those two would end up together?” Walter mused to Paige.

“Me, for one, and clearly Toby,” Paige tossed back. “I could tell when I first met them that he liked her.”

“Yeah, but Happy? There was no way.”

Paige took Walter’s hand, covering the wedding band on his left hand with her own diamond ringed left hand. “You and I took time to truly find each other. It’s like Sylvester said, patience was what Happy needed and it’s what you needed.”

“Me?”

“Yes, I had to be patient with you… Wait for you to come around.”

“Oh, no no no!” Walter countered. “I had to wait for you to be done with Drew.”

Paige settled her gaze on him. “Why do you think I gave Drew a second chance? Because you had ignored all my efforts to get you to look at me.”

“I looked!” He waved over his stepson who was walking around with his new camera taking pictures of the party guests. “Ralph! Come over for a minute!”

“What’s up?” Ralph asked. He’d gotten so tall in the last couple of years, Walter felt he’d start looking up to him any day now. At the rate he was growing he’d be taller than even his biological father in a matter of months.

“What’s your version of the story on how your mother and I became a couple?”

“That’s easy,” Ralph’s easy grin mirrored his mother’s. “It was all me.”

“How do you figure?” Walter and Paige exchanged glances.

“It was after you danced at Sylvester and Megan’s engagement party that you got together,” Ralph explained.

“Well, that was because that was when I’d finally given up on your father,” Paige explained.

“Nope,” Ralph shook his head. “You’d already given up on him. That was just when you made it official.”

“Was it when you told me she’d given up on him?” Walter asked, confused.

“Nope. Give up?” At his parents’ befuddled expressions, Ralph just laughed. “It was the song! Your song! Mom couldn’t stop listening to that song at home so I knew it would work. The night of the engagement party I gave Toby five bucks to make sure they played it so you guys would dance to it again.”

Walter and Paige both laughed heartily, a sight that Ralph made sure to get on camera.

Walter pulled out his wallet and handed Ralph a five dollar bill.

“Okay, Mr. Mastermind. Go bribe Sylvester to play it again.”

“Cool!” Ralph snatched the bill and ran off, making Paige furrow her brow at her husband.

“Wait, if we’re married, Megan and Sylvester are married and Happy and Toby are engaged, who’s left to inspire with that song?”

Walter cocked his head over to where Cabe was sitting with Simone.

“She didn’t move to LA to make working with Interpol easier. Our Scorpion cyclone isn’t settled until every member is settled and happy.”

“What about Ralph? Isn’t he part of Scorpion too?”

“Most definitely, even if we have to wait until he hits sixteen to officially hire him. Still, I don’t think we have to worry about him. He’ll find the perfect woman in time.” He gestured to where Ralph was chatting animatedly with the DJ’s teen assistant.

A few seconds later the music changed to a familiar tune.

Walter rose and offered his hand to his wife.

“May I have this dance?”

“Of course,” she answered. “This and all the others.”

01110011
 
 
 
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 31st, 2015 11:37 pm (UTC)
Confession
I confess I’m posting this Yuletide fic from 2014 in December of 2015. I suck, I admit it.

This fic was written as my second main Yuletide assignment for recipient hilandmum as part of the 2014 Yuletide challenge. I thought it was cool that we had two fandoms in common so I wrote two fic!

The request was as follows: "We've seen a lot of the team lately, but very little of Ralph. I think the relationship between Walter and Ralph should be explored more, as well as that between each of them and Paige."

Very special thanks to my beta isabeau for her assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
sharp2799: teasharp2799 on January 1st, 2016 04:45 am (UTC)
Sweet!
hilandmumhilandmum on January 1st, 2016 11:26 pm (UTC)
I loved this story. It was one of my favorite Yuletide presents ever!