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[Guilty Gear] Covalent Bonds VI

Title: Covalent Bonds, or The Absolutely Necessary GG College AU Fic with a Bad Title
Fandom: Guilty Gear
Part: 6 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

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 VI



It was a widely known fact that Sol Badguy did not generally pay attention to people. It didn't matter if you were the dean of the university, the president of the United States, or the self-proclaimed archnemesis of the week (such as the guy who swore revenge in the name of scientific integrity and good taste right after Sol managed to attend a congress in a pair of novelty boxers and still walk away with funding money and the cover-story in Science Magazine).

In response to the onslaught of inanity pounding on his skull since childhood, Sol's brain had developed split-second analysis tactics and a flawless categorization system separated into "fuckwit" and "asswipe," and he found that this neatly encapsulated about ninety-eight percent of the world, thereby sparing him having to remember anything about people besides the fact that they were a colossal waste of time.

If you walked up to him to inform him of your name and station as if they meant something (or, in the case of the archnemesis, crashed into the juicer table where all the eco-reporters gathered, and screamed your doctoral degree across the after-congress buffet with all the ineffectual, humiliated fury of someone who has just been ignored by a guy in a pair of "Rub for Luck" underpants), you could count it as a triumph if Sol turned, arched an eyebrow, and asked, "...So?"

The only way to get him to even remember your name was to be persistently annoying on a very far-reaching and painful scale (like Lady Gaga), and it was generally not a good idea to try this unless you were very rich and very far away (like Lady Gaga), because then Sol would attempt to get rid of you by the quickest and most ruthless method possible. The remaining two percent of the world could be separated into people Sol found interesting and people he found to make very good chew-toys, and the latter was quite an unlucky fate, as Sol's attention liked to manifest in the form of itching weed toilet paper in the literature department bathrooms, nitrous oxide burritos in the staff lounge, and, if you happened to be Testament, a shipment from Victoria's Secret delivered straight to your office door and unpacked for inspection.

Most students, as well as most members of the faculty, had long since figured out that the best way to live with Sol was to give his lair in the science tract a wide berth, and, if that proved impossible, to remain as inconspicuous as they could.

The tiny-cute-thing-known-as-Ky-Kiske thought that these were disproportionate exaggerations.

Over the past few days, word had gotten around that it would be beneficial to check for low-flying pigs or the four horsepersons of the apocalypse (though the meteorology department was quite sure the inquiry about whether it was possible to measure the temperature in the bowels of hell had been a prank call), as the impossible had finally happened: the Science Troll had chosen to take on a lab assistant.

Over the course of the same number of days, Ky had heard more horror stories about Professor Badguy, the Merciless Tormenter of Souls, than he had heard the entire semester thus far. The head of the law department, a reserved and dignified woman, had reacted to his change in major with restrained disappointment right until she'd heard just who he would be studying under from now on, upon which her face had changed color several times before settling for a complexion associated with "muted horror." Miss Cloudberry of the student administration had leapt from her seat and rushed around her desk to check his temperature, his pulse, and for signs of a head trauma, and had eventually suggested he lie down in her office, she'd make him a nice cup of tea, clearly he was running a fever which was to account for his downright insane choice of a supervisor. His dorm-mates had taken the entire thing a step further and arranged for a mock-funeral in front of his room, at which Ky had shaken his head, though he'd still helped himself to an extra slice of the triple-layer chocolate fudge monstrosity masquerading as the funeral cake.

All in all, Ky thought, people had gross misconceptions of Professor Badguy's character. For one, the invention of pizza delivery would have suppressed any leanings towards cannibalism, not to mention that there were easier and less messy ways of obtaining human tissue samples than by keeping hapless students confined to cages. For another, a cursory check had revealed that most of the professor's on-campus victims were not, in fact, dead and buried in unspeakable places, but seemed to be still alive and doing fine, as long as they stayed away from anything rhyming with "science."

Granted, he wasn't at all sure what had motivated the professor to change his mind about teaching in general and Ky in particular, but Ky had heard of stranger dispositions, and frankly, it seemed like far too much effort to construct such an elaborate ruse. Angry grizzly bears were not in the habit of inviting people into their caves. Plus, after almost three months of withstanding the professor's insults, death threats and classroom-staple projectiles, Ky simply felt he was in no danger of being devoured, dissected, or otherwise atomized out of existence.

Still, it would have been foolish to approach the professor's office/lab/evil lair without the proper preparations. This included a pair of insulation gloves against possibly tampered doorknobs, an all-purpose key courtesy of Professor Undersn since there was never any telling when the lock on the lab would be mysteriously switched over night, and several ounces of candy in the pockets of his backpack (also courtesy of Professor Undersn) in case Ky needed to initiate a conversation that was to elicit a response longer than "no" and "get out."

He was, however, not prepared for the sight that greeted him when, upon having his knocking ignored for the tenth time, he finally let himself in.

Actually, it couldn't quite be described as a sight, since his field of vision was immediately obstructed by a broadside of dark, clingy fabric. Sputtering, Ky peeled back the impromptu blindfold to realize that it was the skeletal money print of a pair of Benjamin Pelvis shorts that had smacked him in the face. Stunned, he dropped them like a hot potato, only to have them cheerfully swing back towards him for another slap.

Ky swiftly sidestepped the boxer assault by retreating back into the relative safety of the door frame, the material fluttering ineffectually a couple of inches from his nose before relenting again. His mortified blush kept somewhat at bay by the sheer strangeness of the occurrence, Ky craned his head to catch sight of the piece of nylon string they had been stapled to for want of some actual clothes-pins, and had to see that they weren't alone.

He was gazing at a congregation of more or less offensive laundry, a few stray t-shirts, jeans, and a pair of dangling flip-flops interspersed with a disturbingly vast collection of various underwear, which were being paraded past the entrance on a moving clothesline and disappearing into the forbidding recesses of the lab. Periodically, they would sway forward like a variety of ship's flags whenever an array of free-standing computer fans rotated to push a gust of wind towards the door.

Okay, so he'd made the mistake of coming by on laundry day, Ky concluded, forever determined to roll with reality's punches. Nothing unusual about that, the professor was a very busy man, of course he wouldn't find time to do laundry at ho—

A black negligee swung past, followed by a heart-shaped g-string.

...Okay, so the professor was into wearing women's underwear, nothing strange about that, lots of people did that, and who was Ky to judge what made others feel comfo—

A tent-sized nightgown billowed its way around the bend in the clothesline, followed by a piece of plain, ordinary cardboard.

You just don't get it, do you? it read, before it was obscured by the motion of a pair of sweatpants.

Ky goggled.

"...No?" he ventured, not sure if he was meant to be commenting on the professor's clothing habits or addressing someone specific.

Go. Away.

The new piece of cardboard whizzed past, succeeded by a cartoon-print tie that couldn't be anything but somebody's idea of a gag gift, and then—

Seriously.

"But, sir..."

A brief pause, filled with a series of mismatched socks, before a new cardboard swung his way.

What do you want?

"Um..."

The clothesline didn't feel inclined to allow Ky to formulate an answer, because a set of rapid-fire prompt cards rotated past, the professor having apparently run out of cardboard.

Money?

Ice cream?

World peace and kittens for everyone?

"Um."

I'll give you your doctoral degree if you leave.

Ky made a face and reached into his backpack, rummaging around for his notepad. When a pair of garters made its way towards him, he quickly clipped the sheet of paper on, ruthlessly suppressing the rush of embarrassment.

/I can't do that, sir./

A growl resounded from deep within the lab, as if the hounds of hell were lurking in the shadows.

Ky waited, and, when nothing more was forthcoming, fished out a Snickers bar, which he stuffed into the pocket of a passing lab coat.

@§&#%$!!!! said the clothesline.

Deciding that the sounds of the wrapping being rent to pieces were as good an invitation as he was going to get, Ky dived past the laundry — and straight into a world that would have made a koniologist happy for life.

Normally, Ky estimated, the dust would have been lying thick enough to poke a yardstick in it. Thanks to the power of the numerous computer fans, though, it was swirling gently along the floor, looping backwards and forwards like some bizarrely choreographed dust bunny ballet. If Ky had had a microscope, he would have been able to detect that a good portion of the dust had found its way into the main office from the backroom, and that he was actually peering at roughly four generations of dust, left to procreate in peace since the 1950s. The narrow entrance space quickly gave way to a precarious construction of several interlocking shelves, each of them packed with gutted computer husks, dirty beakers and boxes, old light bulbs, collision ball pendulums, cables, a variety of tools ranging from simple soldering irons to a pair of industrial bolt cutters, gyroscopes, books and empty propane bottles.

Past a board with a six-inch layer of memos and a rack of multicolored flasks bearing the bio-hazard sign, Professor Badguy was bent over in his office chair, tinkering with an array of machinery Ky couldn't quite make out past his broad shoulders. The massacred remains of the candy wrapper were still lying on top of his desk in the form of minuscule bits of shining foil, suggesting that the professor had accepted the gift more out of obligation to his stomach than because he actually wanted to. Still, Ky thought this was progress. He had yet to yell or slam any doors.

Clearing his throat, he stepped forward. "Good morning, sir. I—"

The professor held up a warning finger in Ky's general direction, and went right back to tinkering. After a while, his hand came up again, this time blindly groping along the edge of his desk as if looking for something.

"Screwdriver," the professor ordered, as if the command could scare the furniture into procuring the missing item. Ky couldn't honestly say that he would have been surprised if it worked.

"Screwdriver," the professor repeated, still more to the desk than to his visitor, but Ky felt it would be prudent to just assume that any utterance directed at an inanimate object was meant for him instead. A quick glance around yielded the location of the tool where it had rolled underneath the filing cabinet, so he placed it in the professor's impatiently curling hand.

"Hmph," the professor said to the desk, and concentrated on his work again. "...Cable."

Another look around only revealed a nicked and twisted SCSI cable, wedged between two half-open drawers, but the professor seemed satisfied with the offering, because he snatched it up with a "Finally!" and plugged it in with a little flourish.

"Um, sir, I—" Ky tried, but was met with the finger once more.

Flipping a switch, the professor swiveled away from his creation and planted his feet on top of his research notes. In the background, an ancient printer started up with a strangely musical screech, its cartridge transport stuttering forward. It was soon joined in its efforts by the pinging of an oscilloscope, accompanied by the rhythmic snarling of several floppy drives. Ky winced as the unlikely orchestra trilled and squeaked its way up and down the gamut, quite unmistakably warbling out the melody to Bohemian Rhapsody.

He directed a doubtful look at the professor, who had reclined in his chair the best he could with his eyes closed in an expression not unlike bliss, and knew better than to ask. Charms to soothe the savage beast, and all that, even if these charms were liable to send anyone with perfect pitch into a faint.

Once the cacophony ended, the professor slowly cracked one eye open. "Why are you still here?"

"You didn't seem entirely disinclined to see me, sir."

"Hmph." Withdrawing his feet, the professor reached into one of his drawers to pull out a contraption made up of an old Geiger counter attached to a pair of spring-mounted eyeballs. "Stay put."

Ky dutifully held still as the eyeballs bounced up and down. "What is—?"

"Quiet. I'm measuring your annoyance potential."

The bottom of the device popped out, sending a bunch of wires spilling towards the floor.

"You've broken the meter. Now go away."

Ky frowned. "Sir, I'm here on your request. I understand you might not have expected me so early, but I fail to see how I can assist you if I'm not physically present."

"Actually, that'd be assisting me a great deal," Professor Badguy said. He put the meter aside, and turned to look Ky straight in the eye. "Let's make one thing clear, kid, before you imprint on me like a lost duckling or something. I don't want you here. I never wanted you here. The only reason you are here is because the universe hates me and everybody thinks this is going to be hysterically entertaining. The old bastard tricked me, end of story. So don't go getting any ideas."

"But Professor Undersn said you gave him my paper."

The professor grit his teeth, obviously unhappy that this tidbit of information had found its way to Ky. "Yes. More proof that it doesn't pay to do good deeds. I thought it'd get you off my back, kid, not get you glued there like a flea-infested spider monkey. Oh, stop it with the wounded deer stare. What do you want?!" He spread his arms wide, eyes blazing. "There's nothing here! Nothing. I'm not going to pat you on the head and tell you what a little smartypants you are and — fucking hell, what did you expect?!"

"Nothing, sir, I..." Ky slumped his shoulders, already aware that it would be futile to try and convince the professor of his lack of ulterior motives. He shifted his backpack, and turned to go. "I wasn't aware of the situation. If you'd rather I ask someone else, I will."

"...no."

There wasn't a font size tiny or wispy enough to convey the sheer, gut-twisting, soul-ripping, reality-warping reluctance contained in that word. Half-convinced he'd hallucinated the protest, Ky turned back around just in time to catch the professor with an expression that suggested he was in the process of internally punching himself in the face and about two seconds away from repeating the violence in real-time.

"...Sir?"

"I. said. no," the professor bit out, as if every syllable was coated with tongue-dissolving venom.

"I. Oh. Oh. Thank you, sir! I won't—"

"For fuck's sake, stop acting like this is Christmas and I'm Santa Claus!"

"Yes, sir!" Ky said, but was unable to stop beaming.

"Just. Go. Go away," the professor groaned, pressing both hands against his temples. "Go sit over there and don't bother me and don't move and don't touch anything and don't breathe until I say you can."

Wisely deciding not to push his luck, Ky followed in the direction pointed out to him, carefully making his way between the shelves and boxes until he reached the opposite corner of the room, where the dust bunnies were still playing. He looked around, but everything was clustered with an unbelievable amount of stuff, with no seats or desks to be seen under the piles of junk and equipment.

He bit his lip, and called, "Sit where, sir?"

His only answer was a string of near-incoherent swearing that he had to stop translating once it hit Swahili.

Shaking his head, Ky decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth, dropped his backpack, and settled in for the wait.

----

The wait, it turned out, mainly served to give the professor ample time to brick himself in. Whenever Ky moved, blinked, or sneezed against the gale of dust, a new item was directed to the ever-growing barrier rising around the professor's desk. It didn't seem to matter whether the barrier was opaque or not, as petri dishes, a miniature rack of pipettes, a trio of glass containers for raising algea and a couple of empty beer bottles were nudged into place just like overflowing folders, old take-out boxes and a dismantled ghetto blaster, though the professor seemed to vastly prefer objects that would prevent him from seeing Ky.

For his part, Ky tried not to move too much, both to demonstrate his downright uncanny willingness to make this work and in order not to drive the barrier to its inevitable collapse, as it had taken to shivering threateningly whenever another piece of equipment joined the resistance. In truth, however, he could scarcely wait to get to work, shove aside the detritus and test out all the fascinating ideas he'd had in the past couple of weeks. Of course, he would have vastly preferred it if the professor had been available to discuss them, but that didn't look like it was going to happen any time soon.

He glanced up to catch the professor glaring at him through the flask-window on his right like a particularly suspicious Roman camping out on the safe side of Hadrian's wall, possibly hoping that the intruder would lose interest if he stayed behind it for long enough.

Under different circumstances, Ky would have wondered at the apparent conspiracy centered around the forced socialization of a man who should have been living in a single-tenant doom fortress in the middle of a fiery lava pit, except the professor appeared to be mostly doing it to himself. Maybe he was just one of those people who needed some time to get used to the idea of change, and liked to go to great lengths to avoid it. As long as he stayed on his best behavior, Ky figured (not that he was, objectively speaking, capable of exhibiting any sort of behavior that would be considered reprehensible by any standard other than his own), and proved himself to be a helpful, non-irritant factor in the professor's personal space, there was a good chance the professor would warm up to him.

"...You still here?"

Ky peered between the shelves. He couldn't see very much thanks to the barrier, just the tip of the professor's mullet shifting back and forth, but talk was definitely a good sign. Maybe they were finally getting somewhere. "Yes, sir."

"Well, damn."

"I'm sorry?" Ky said, not really all that sorry now that the erratic pendulum of stay-go, go-stay had taken to hovering closer to the 'I won't toss you out on your ear...yet' end of the spectrum.

More shifting, followed by the sound of a locker door falling closed, and then the professor reappeared on Ky's side of the wall, dressed in an outdoor coat and carrying a battered laptop bag bulging with the printer and its mechanical backup singers.

"Gotta run some field tests," he announced, before shuffling towards the emergency exit. "Be back whenever."

Ky blinked, and decided it would be better not to ask any questions. "...What should I be doing in the meantime?"

"I dunno, what have you been doing so far?"

"...Not... much, sir," Ky said.

"Good. Keep doing that."

And before he was able to get another word in edgewise, the door banged shut. Thinking better of heaving a sigh, as he truly didn't want to introduce his lungs to any more members of the resident bunny population, Ky glanced around the room.

The dust lolled back and forth. The clothes on the line continued circling aimlessly around the perimeter. The beakers shimmered in varying shades of unnatural greens and browns. One side of the Hadrian's wall gave a weak groan and collapsed in a landslide of papers and glass.

The more Ky looked at it, the more it became clear that he had to do something. Fact aside that he really wasn't looking forward to doing experiments on the floor, the professor really needed some help in keeping this place presentable. He had heard about it often enough, usually in connection with his own tendency to keep everything labeled, filed, and in chronological order — most smart and dedicated people were simply not very good at taking care of themselves. Maybe that was to at least partially account for the professor's near-constant bad mood; being faced with the task of keeping everything tidy on top of all his research work had to be really daunting, and this kind of workplace environment was detrimental even to the most chipper of spirits.

Yes, this was probably it.

Nodding to himself, Ky shrugged out of his jacket, determinedly rolled up his sleeves, and went on to locate the place of exile of all the terrified cleaning supplies.

----

Sol was in a good mood. Nobody could tell that he was in a good mood because he wasn't prone to smiling (which was a good thing, as it was a sight that could make grown men start shaking in their boots), but he nonetheless felt considerably better than he had just a few hours ago. A round of "terrorize the campus" tended to do that to a guy, and he was very pleased to add the conservatory to his list of places that would never dare perform another revival of Grease - The Musical ever again. The fact that the Queen Machine had also taken out the late morning aerobics meet-up in the central courtyard, the construction workers on the east side with their off-key renditions of the Pet Shop Boys, and the literature department's poetry slam in lecture hall four was just an unexpected bonus.

Since his few remaining moral circuits had kept him from plotting revenge against an elderly man who had to tilt his head backwards to even see what would hit him, or from dangling the thing out of a tenth-story window by its belt hoops, he just had to lower his blood pressure in another way, and performing an educational interlude for people who wouldn't know music if it bit them in the ass was simply the most effective way to prevent himself from rocketing into the atmosphere on the power of his own rage.

His ire now successfully funneled elsewhere, he found that he could kind of sort of maybe begin to deal with the fact that he'd been saddled with babysitting. It didn't mean he was about to accept it — nothing could have been further from his mind — but it meant he could slowly begin to think about the fact that the thing had invaded his dwelling without immediately popping a vein. In fact, he was currently taking pleasure in the knowledge that at this moment, the thing, ever eager to take him literally and carry out an assignment to the T, was undoubtedly about to fall over from standing around unoccupied for hours, if its little neatfreak mind hadn't already been sent into a meltdown from exposure to the lab.

Of course, this didn't solve the overarching problem of having the thing in his sacred personal bubble in the first place, but he didn't feel like acknowledging just yet that he really hadn't wanted to see how the thing would turn out in the care of any of the imbeciles, or perhaps in the hands of that one guy from the pharmacological institute who tended to talk to himself and wore paper bags on his head. For the moment, it was enough to claim that he'd been disappointed at how quickly the thing had suddenly deflated in the face of a little adversary, and, much more importantly, that he still had a score to settle. Let the thing enjoy its false sense of security, he would find ways of reducing it to a pile of helpless, steaming fury.

In the back of his head, the little voice refrained from pointing out the inherent immaturity in taking out his frustrations on a fourteen-year-old kid, and settled for rolling its... well, the eyes it imagined having. It had been on strike ever since the Starbucks Incident, as there clearly was nothing to be gained from playing the voice of reason for someone so hell-bent on refusing to accept its input and live according to the rules of normal, civilized human society. It wasn't going to listen to the complaints if Sol ended up cold and lonely and possibly ruled deranged by a court, no sir.

Sol, however, was too wrapped up in fantasies of spiting the thing to take note of the plight of his own imaginary voices. In fact, he was so enamored with the idea of introducing the thing to his collection of electrified eyeballs that he didn't notice the overly sweet fumes of acetone wafting down the science tract, as if all the female students had decided to paint their nails in the same spot as part of some kind of beauty sit-in.

If he had, it might have cushioned the full force of the shock somewhat.

For a second, he was convinced he'd opened the wrong door. That he'd taken a different turn somewhere and ended up stumbling in on a bacteriological sterilization test arrangement or possibly a janitor's illicit tryst with a gallon of easy squeezy solution. That what he was seeing was in no way his own lab, his very own lovingly decorated lab with its pandemonium of loot and the coffee stains on the linoleum and the semi-sentient disinfection mat and the modern art arrangement of old take-out boxes and his ratty couch that he'd stolen from the third floor staff lounge for the purpose of naps — simply because, if this was indeed his lab, it was now missing all of its carefully crafted mayhem.

Instead, what was opening up before him was a vast and shining place of absolutely horrifying cleanliness, the sunlight from the formerly boarded-up basement windows bouncing off a variety of surfaces that shouldn't even have any reflective qualities and highlighting the geometrically arranged furniture and glimmering lab equipment, beakers lined up from shortest to tallest, liquids grouped according to basic and acidic properties, tools, prongs and burners stowed in properly labeled boxes. On the far side of the room, stacks of yellowed, dog-eared papers were waiting to be sorted into color-coded folders, and to add insult to injury, all the laundry he had specifically brought in just to weird out the thing had been folded and stacked in a stray chair.

This wasn't his lab. This simply couldn't be his lab. Maybe he had fallen down a flight of stairs somewhere and this was his own personalized version of hell—

"Welcome back, sir," chirped the devil in attendance, hefting a dripping mop on its shoulder and flashing him the happiest, friendliest, most undevilish grin in existence.

Inside his head, the little voice sighed. Clearly, this was a job for it, if it wanted to prevent the destruction of the planet, and it deeply regretted not having any hands to take control of the levers in Sol's brain that would make him stop gaping like a strung smelt and say something sensible like 'thank you' or 'you didn't have to' or even 'that wasn't necessary' (which would have been the most blatant lie for the sake of courtesy in recent history). Distinctly lacking in options, however, all that was left for it to do was to pull out a stock of soothing phrases to throw at the blockhead in control of the vocal chords before—

"WHAT DID YOU DO."

— yes, before that happened.

The thing stared, baffled, as if it had been under the assumption that Sol would actually appreciate being blinded by the magnitude of sparkling conformism. "I... just tidied, sir. A little. Plus whatever was oozing out of that jar that was trying to eat my leg."

"WHERE IS ALL MY STUFF."

"Oh. Well." The thing hesitated briefly, and started ticking the points off its fingers. "The coffee mugs are soaking in acid cleaner to get rid of all the..." It paused momentarily to omit 'five-year-old', "...sediment. I went through the pin board and removed any memo that's older than 1995. I've filed the rest in case there is anything you would like to keep. The couch is at the dry-cleaner's, the disinfectant mat was... uh, very affectionate, so we're getting a replacement, you're owing three thousand two-hundred and sixty-five dollars worth of library fines for all these overdue books, and the city is sending someone to pick up the old propane bottles. They said not to worry, and they'll be charging the costs to your stipend. All the spare parts were moved to the storage room—"

Sol, who had been trying to keep up the expression of an injudiciously incensed killer whale against the barrage of productivity, blinked. "I have a storage room?"

"...Yes, sir. So..." The thing brightened. "You now have places to put things!"

Sol scowled.

"There was a desk under all that stuff, so... I moved it over to the window. You know, for my studies. That is, if you don't mind, sir."

Apparently, a nondescript sound from the back of his throat was a good enough answer for the thing, because it continued, "I haven't gotten around to your desk, yet, but I thought it best to ask you first if—"

"What happened to the fridge."

"Um, I cleaned it, sir."

"You... cleaned it."

"Well, I cleaned the first one." The thing coughed. "I'm afraid I couldn't do anything for the second. It kind of... jumped out the window. Screaming."

"..."

"There was some chow mein left... at least, I think it was chow mein. It was sort of... exhibiting some unusual characteristics... behavior... properties..." It cleared its throat again, figuring that this was the best way to politely convey the fact that it'd had to prevent all the leftover take-out Sol had ever forgotten in the bowels of the mini-fridge from forming a provincial government. "I've put it in a containment box for further study."

Taking a deep breath, Sol squared his shoulders, distinctly not pleased with how his rage had fizzled out under the thing's heartfelt, stone-melting stare of sincerity like a vampire in broad daylight. He wasn't quite sure how to stop what was clearly a militant carebear before it started bringing flowers and scented candles and erected a feng shui spring in the middle of the room. Facing off against the fridge and winning, he reluctantly admitted, did deserve a commendation, as the last time anyone had tried had been a good three years ago, and it had eaten several mops and put one janitor into institutional therapy, but then again, he didn't want the thing to think that what it had done was in any way desirable or worthy of praise.

He also didn't want to sacrifice any more of his reign of rats and pestilence and chaos (well, okay, maybe not rats, but definitely pestilence and chaos), now that his desk was all that was left of a once mighty empire, the sole remaining island of darkness. Naturally, the easiest way to deal with this would have been to grab the thing and boot it out of his office, but visions of cross-eyed, uncoordinated swans prevented that move.

He gnashed his teeth, screwed his eyes shut, and summoned irritation, cousin to rage and keeper of its ashes.

"Alright, listen up, kid."

Ever obedient, the thing perked.

"You get one get-out-of-jail-free card since this is your first day here and you've been talking to all the wrong sources. I did not, do not, and will never need your help. Not everyone has to live off a diet of unicorn rays to be complete. Now, this part over there..." He indicated the far half of the room, "...is obviously beyond help, so... stay there and raise baby putti or something. I don't care. But this..." He indicated the space around his own desk. "...is alphabetically organized dirt. If you cross this line, if I see you so much as thinking of taking a feather duster to my space, I will strap you to a rocket and shoot you into orbit. Are we clear."

The thing nodded fiercely. "Crystal, sir. Just..."

"What."

"Um, how am I going to get outside? The door is... kind of on your side, sir."

Shrugging, Sol turned in the direction of his oasis. "Place has got windows, right?"

A pause. "I have the coffee pot."

Sol turned back around, unable to see how this would make for a good bargaining chip, since this particular piece of inherited hardware had seen its last ritual washing some time around the first moon landing. "So?"

"It's... clean, sir."

"...How."

"Trade secret," the thing said, though he could have sworn that he saw its gaze furtively flicker to the locker housing the radiation equipment. "Would you be willing to negotiate coffee for free passage, sir?"

"Give me one reason not to just march over there and take it back."

Very slowly, the thing smiled, as if it was certain that Sol would never be able to refuse its offer. "I'm told I brew a really mean espresso."






-TBC-

-----

A/N: And all is well that ends well... OR IS IT?! *doom doom doom* C&C is much appreciated.

For the record:
- Sol isn't really into women's underwear. He just likes to scandalize people. He does, however, own several of these.
- Ky felt sort of bad for the rug, until it started trying to hump his leg.
- The printer orchestra? Totally exists.
- And yes, I've been announcing I-no's revenge for two chapters now. She'll really show up next time, promise.





Tags: college au, guilty gear, sol/ky
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