aphelion_orion (aphelion_orion) wrote in off_the_homerow,

[Guilty Gear] Covalent Bonds, Part III

Title: Covalent Bonds, or The Absolutely Necessary GG College AU Fic with a Bad Title
Fandom: Guilty Gear
Part: 3 of ?
Pairing: mild Sol-Ky distillate, smells distinctly of black tea and brimstone (handle with care, extremely flammable)
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: college-AU, humor/parody/crack
Notes: This was born from the idea that Sol would make the best, worst, scariest college professor who ever lived. And possibly that avatar that has Sol in a labcoat and fuzzy slippers. XD Of course, where he goes, Ky can't be far. In other words, my pitch to do something with the ill-reputed high school/college AU genre.

Summary: Sol is your not-so everyday mad science professor, and he hates the universe. That is, until he meets—— Well, no. He's still going to hate the universe. He will, however, be forced into grudging coexistence with it.

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI

Covalent Bonds
or The Absolutely Necessary GG College AU Fic with a Bad Title

Part III

Sol Badguy's mind worked in mysterious ways, not so much like the guy's who had thought up the ineffable plan, but more like the minds of all people with an IQ in the upper two-hundreds, and possibly aliens, except neither of them listened to Queen nearly as much.

Most of his thought patterns and logic were incomprehensible to the average person (usually because his words and actions seemed divorced from ordinary, everyday reality so completely that they weren't even paying alimony), and if anyone had been able to remote-intercept his brainwaves, they likely would have gone down from the punch packed by the concentrated powers of science, geekdom, and pop culture trivia interspersed with the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody and wrapped in the boxing glove of impenetrable, perpetual disgruntlement. In short, Sol Badguy's mind was the closest approximation to mental madlibs.

Knowing this helped considerably in understanding the events of the following Wednesday.

What also helped was knowing about Sol's own experience with what the world commonly referred to as 'genius'. Sol himself placed the term somewhere between Bosco Chocolate Syrup and presidential elections in terms of accuracy and usefulness because he felt it said nothing, explained nothing, and invoked in the minds of the masses a notion of a pimply, bespectacled loser who spent his youth being stuffed into trashcans a lot and never getting any dates.

It never invoked the kind of person who could end you with his knowledge of the forces of gravity, wind resistance, and the speed common to bikes in a public street, all of which would help in selecting the perfect placement for a new speed bump in a particularly dangerous slope of the neighborhood. (It should also, in the interest of full disclosure, be mentioned here that Sol was pretty popular with a certain type of girl — the type of girl that would animatedly discuss the finer points of superstring theory while unhooking her bra, and would occasionally roll over in the middle of things to grab her notebook, because that position had just given her a brilliant idea for her research paper).

However, the world rarely stopped doing something just because Sol was opposed to it, and continued to use 'genius' to refer to children with the capacity to end you.

Most people, when asked to picture Sol Badguy as a child, didn't picture a pint-sized rosy-cheeked dirt-covered bundle of brat with joyfully shining eyes as it held its jar of live tadpoles out to its dismayed parents in the middle of the formerly spotless living room carpet. What they envisioned was Sol Badguy, age thirty-five, with a permanent scowl affixed to his features and the growing competitor for the world's worst mullet on his head, shrunk down to the height of about four feet, with his lab coat pooling around his ankles as he lectured on the poor alkalinity of the pond water.

If you asked his mother, which you couldn't because she'd joined the ranks of the dearly departed a while ago, she would have informed you that the mental image was pretty much accurate, except for the five-o'clock shadow.

The point was, though, that he had been a child once upon a time, if in a purely physical, superficial way, and he had gone on to drive both his parents and teachers crazy until the gradeschool psychologist, fresh from college and armed with all the newest child-rearing theories after the last psychologist had hurled himself out the window, wailing loudly about how the universe was all wrong, had suggested gently that maybe it was a good idea to let little Freddie skip all the grades between now and high school. By this point, Sol had become able to tune out the world at will, so that all he noticed of this change in his life was the fact that his brain was suddenly getting the stimulation it had so craved. He had never paused to consider how he might be perceived by his peers, and likely wouldn't have cared, anyway.

Both these factors played a significant role in Sol's course of action after his Monday encounter with the thing. (He would have put 'the thing' in capital letters, but the thing was too damn short to be impressive enough for capital letters).

Instead of engaging in ponderings of pedagogical concerns that might have plagued an ordinary teacher (unless, of course, this teacher happened to be I-no), he simply forgot about it. Or rather, he allowed it to be dragged under by the torrent of discoveries to be gleaned from his beloved Petri dishes, as he did with most things that had managed to annoy him to some degree, but not sufficiently enough to interfere with his life. Within a scant few minutes, the incident with the thing had been forgotten so thoroughly that Sol didn't even notice that his brain was still firmly sticking with calling it "the thing", which would have indicated that he hadn't forgotten about it nearly as thoroughly as he liked to believe.

And it stayed that way until Wednesday morning.

There was, at first, nothing special about Wednesday, other than that it was the day before Thursday, which had been transformed into another day of supreme annoyance thanks to his newly appointed teaching position. Then, Wednesday spun around, twisted in on itself, and spat out the thing, still blond, still tiny, still in a spotlessly ironed suit, right in front of his office door. Or so it seemed to Sol when he yanked open the door to catch the thing, hand poised in the act of knocking, and very surprised to find itself nose to nose with an angry glare.

Sol, for his part, was also surprised, if only because he'd been expecting the knocker to be someone from the tech department, begging him to do something about some broken mail server or another and to please return that Macbook that he'd been hogging for the past year or so. The rest of the people that could possibly come calling round to his office never knocked, and were, in fact, prone to acts of burglary.

The thing opened its mouth.

Sol slammed the door.

For normal people, this would have been the cue to leave and never come back, but whoever was paying the thing was obviously paying it a hefty amount, since it knocked again. Rather insistently, too. When the knocking failed to garner a reaction, a sheet of paper was slowly and meticulously pushed under the door.

Sol knew he should have ignored it. Even as he picked it up, he was half expecting to find some kind of crayola drawing with rainbows and asteroids on it because the kinds of colleagues that would derive merriment from his situation by deploying something such as the thing just to get on his nerves (read: all of them) were also the kinds of colleagues whose humor was about as evolved as a prehistoric flagellate blindly propelling itself through the depths of the stormy waters of the Paleoarchean oceans, in search of a single shaft of golden light.

There was no rainbow on the sheet. Instead, there was the official course list, with two classes circled neatly in red ink and a post-it note attached, written in the kind of calligraphic fountain-pen flow that had gone out of style before the end of the 19th century. This only served to further confirm Sol's theory that the thing simply couldn't be real. It was too many clichés rolled into one, and while Sol was entirely willing to believe that there were, in fact, thousands of people out there incorporating all the bad clichés, it was the polite, respectful, Dalai Lama-like patience that made him suspicious.

He reopened the door.

The thing was still standing there, waiting, allowing itself to be sized up. "Don't tell me you're lost and need to make a phone call. Should have thought of that on Monday."

"No, sir," the thing said sincerely. "I apologize for showing up so unexpectedly, but... I wasn't sure about your office hours, and it seems someone has mistakenly attached your name to the utility closet."

There was just the barest hint in the thing's voice that suggested it had an inkling as to who that 'someone' had been.

Sol might have been willing to give the thing some benefit of the doubt on Monday, mostly because after the initial face-off, the thing hadn't done anything beyond sit down and join the ranks of furiously writing students. It had become part of the background noise, a background noise that was most definitely drowned out by the idiot in row 4-C who'd kept asking how to spell hydrogen, and the nervous girl in the front seat who had desperately needed to know about the final exam, like, now, and had subsequently grown more frantic in her handwaving whenever he ignored her to test whether she would explode under the pressure of her unvoiced questions. (She hadn't, but he was pretty sure that she was the sort of person who couldn't handle not having a shopping list of instructions for life, and would thus suffer from sleepless nights by being deprived of answers).

At the time, he'd simply wanted to get it over with. Now, though, the thing was becoming a real annoyance. "I don't know how much they're paying you, kid, but if I pay you triple, will you go away?"

The thing was staring at him with wide blue eyes, in a manner that meant it was looking for something it might have been guilty of, and was coming up empty-handed. "Pardon, sir?"

"I'll include something extra if you tell me who put you up to this."

This seemed to put things on the right track, because the thing suddenly brightened. "Oh. Excuse me. I know registration ended a while ago, sir, but I was told to speak to you personally. I, um, was hoping you would not be opposed to my joining these classes, sir."

Now it was Sol's turn to blink, partly because he'd never been called 'sir' in two consecutive sentences before (actually, he'd never been called 'sir', period), and partly because the thing still couldn't possibly be real.

The thing seemed to take this as encouragement to proceed, because it smiled tentatively, and said in very earnest tones, "I know it's not part of my curriculum, sir, but I found the way you present the material to be fascinating."

Sol stared, realized what was going on, and did the only thing that could effectively convey his thoughts at this point.

He slammed the door.


Thursday's annoyance ratio was similar to Monday's, if not quite as high, because Thursday marked the beginning of the advanced biochemistry class, and 'advanced' carried a certain connotation of sophistication. In Sol's book, this meant more of a chance to encounter a handful of people who might not be utterly useless. So when he shuffled into class that day, in a mood commonly seen as the default mode of operation in grizzly bears, what he did not expect was for Wednesday to come back and bite him in the ass.

Or, in this case, to slap him with a hurricane of painfully high-pitched, rapturous female voices.

"Awww, will you look at that!"

"So cute!"

"So cute!"

"What's your name?"

"Are you looking for your brother or something?"

"Too cute!"

"Tell him he can wait here, we can go look for his brother after class."

In the middle of a tittering, squealing circle stood none other than the thing, smiling in the manner of someone who found this a baffling, mildly embarrassing, but not entirely novel occurrence and didn't expect to be able to get a word in edgewise. It had given up on trying to escape the hands that kept reaching out to ruffle its hair, even if its furtive glances at the rows of seats indicated its yearning for freedom. Most of the male students had remained seated, but appeared to be torn between wishing to be in the thing's place and wishing to join in.

For his part, Sol only registered the vague wish to hunt down whoever was responsible for this. But first, he needed to put a stop to the petting zoo.

"Alright, fun is over. I'm taking it back to the pet store now."

The announcement was met with a couple of gulps and eeps as the students scrambled back to their seats, leaving the thing wide open for the receiving end of Sol's thunderous, "You."

The thing blinked owlishly, before remembering that the students had made an utter mess of its head, which it surreptitiously sought to straighten out as it replied, "Yes, sir."

"You," Sol repeated for that extra bit of emphasis meant to send the thing backing up towards the door.

It didn't. "...Yes, sir?"

"This is an advanced course," he said, with that special undercurrent that was threatening to stuff the thing into a jar of ethanol and display it on his shelf.

"Yes, sir. Physical, Chemical and Molecular Biology. MCB 293," the thing rattled off, as if it were answering an honest question. "I figured, sir, since you didn't explicitly refuse yesterday..."

It trailed off. There was something in its gaze that Sol knew, but he couldn't pinpoint from where. It was the kind of glint of someone who was working to outmaneuver an opponent and knew he was winning. The rest of the students stared on, confused and uncertain, and not entirely sure they were willing to risk their lives to rescue the poor adorable creature that had mistakenly wandered into the lion's den. Maybe it was because the teacher seemed the sort who required an offering of live meat before he became even marginally tolerable. Maybe it was because they were experiencing the faint yet unshakable feeling that they were about to see a clash of wills that would make 300 look like a teleshopping commercial.

A few uncertain whispers rose in the background, students double-checking to confirm that the poor adorable creature was not, in fact, looking for a lost sibling but seeking to join the course.

Sol stared hard at the thing, trying to determine how much someone had to be getting paid to keep this charade up. Somewhere in the back of his head, a small voice muttered that maybe the kid just really, desperately wanted a transfer to his class, but it was ruthlessly smothered by the eternal cynic that occupied most of his higher brain functions.

"I know it's somewhat unusual," the thing was saying, "But... as I said yesterday, I found the material really interesting."

Sol gnashed his teeth, and decided to go for broke. The small voice, forever trying its best to ruin his unscrupulously realistic outlook on life, was grumbling about how he wasn't being exactly fair, that maybe there had been true, honest-to-Freddie-Mercury enthusiasm in the thing's voice, but the rest of him was still hung up on the fact that the universe seemed to have it in for him this term. He drew himself up menacingly (or more menacingly, anyway).

"Alright then, kid. I'll give you till the end of this class to answer a question. If you can't, then I want you out of here."

The thing's expression grew firm. "Understood, sir."

"Oh, and the rest of you—" Sol made a sweeping gesture at the rest of the class, which sent a few students' heads fleeing into the protective custody of their shoulders, "—can get cracking on this, too. How much of your DNA do you share with a common house plant?"


The question was as old as dirt, or at least as old as the first forays into genetics. The more scientists got poking and prodding at the human genome, or any kind of genome, really, the more it morphed from an earth-shattering and deeply philosophical inquiry into a kind of trick question, the kind of trick question people like Sol Badguy liked to throw at a class of unprepared students who were still caught up in debating in whispers whether the tiny cute thing that had so unexpectedly dropped in on them would make a better pet project or a class mascot.

Bewildered and somewhat intimidated by the fact that their teacher appeared to be equal parts unforgiving, vengeful man and man-eating grizzly, they put themselves to the task of answering as best they could. The one foolhardy soul who dared to raise his hand and ask, "Which house plant?" got a swift and dead-accurate sponge to the head, and spent the rest of class furiously staring at his notepad, his flaming cheeks muted by a sheen of chalky dust.

The tiny-cute-thing-known-as-Ky-Kiske was not scribbling. He had tilted his head to one side, letting his gaze sweep over the ceiling of the lecture hall, tracing the insulation tiles and noting a bit of near-transparent cobwebs in one corner that couldn't be reached without a very long mop and a ladder, shifting to a spot of slightly melted enamel that indicated the location of a long-forgotten experiment gone awry, and turning upwards into the searing whiteness of the halogen lights. To an outsider, he might have appeared anything from daydreaming to slightly pensive, but he was thinking very intensely.

Ten minutes later, he raised his arm. "A hundred percent, sir."

The scribbling around him stopped.

At the blackboard, the professor narrowed his eyes, daring him to continue.

"Um. Well. Since we all have the same type of DNA... that is, the same four amino acids... technically we share a hundred percent with just about everything. It's the arrangement that matters." Ky hesitated. "...Sir."

The professor's expression was resembling that of a snapper turtle that had swallowed a lemon, but he gave an acquiescing nod, turned to the blackboard, and scrawled in all caps, "THE FUCKING PROTEIN BIOSYNTHESIS."

The class collectively decided they had just been handed the tiniest, cutest superweapon against the science troll, and that it would definitely pay to take very good care of it. It could still be the class mascot on the side.

Unseen, Ky allowed himself a small moment of pleased elation. Then, he reached for his notepad and started writing, carefully omitting the stray swears.

- TBC -


A/N: What is the tragic story of Ky's past?! Will Sol be able to defy the fiendish machinations of fate?! What deep, dark secrets hide in the depths of his lab?! And most importantly... how high is Ky's annoyance ratio?! Tune in next time to—— Ahem. Getting carried away here a little. *straightens* As you already guessed, this concludes another chapter of the unrepentant college crack. It seems that whenever I think I'll update slowly, I'll do it quickly, and whenever I promise to update quickly, well. Story of my life. As usual, I hope it provided some entertainment. Comments and thoughts are much appreciated. :)

Notes for the Bored:
- Poor Ky is still under the impression that college professors are people of great wisdom that should be respected. He's going to be in for a few revelations.

- I don't care what Ishiwatari says, Sol is never in his early twenties. Never. I peg him in the range of anything from 30-35, personally. Yeah, older people can do things! I'm not sure he ages in this universe, either. He seems to be thriving on universal hatred like roses on sunlight. XD

Tags: college au, guilty gear, sol/ky
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