May 18, 2021 3:34 AM
wwx and brenda banner do a science project
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"No one's going to stop you from learning things if you're not in Teenager Jail. Adults learn things all the time. Or, well, they don't, but they could."

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"Maybe.They could certainly stand to teach us more per semester."

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"You know," Wei Wuxian says, "in Chinese if you like someone you would put "a" in front of their name. Like I call Wen Ning a-Ning, and my sister calls me a-Xian, or Xianxian when I'm acting like a four-year-old again. But I don't think that works well in English. a-Brenda. a-Bren. A-da."

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"Oh! Ada!"

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Shy little smile. "I like that." She has a nickname! A non-malicious one! Also it reminds her of Ada Lovelace, which, awesomesauce.

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He bows. 

"Miss Lovelace."

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Happy little squeak! "I was thinking that too! . . . Maybe I will start calling you Babbage. Um, only if you want me to, I mean."

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"Only if I can enlist you in my projects. --The legal ones," he clarifies.

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"Ooh, what sort of projects?"

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"Currently I'm working on a big array of LEDs that you can program to be any light show you want. I have a bunch of origami animatronics in progress. And I used my Arduino to make a snake that swims."

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"Those all sound like a lot of fun and I'd love to help."

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Hardware store!

Wei Wuxian keeps putting unrelated items into the cart because he thinks he could probably come up with SOME good use for them. 

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Brenda is kind of stressed about this, because on the one hand it's none of her business if he buys some additional stuff while they're there but on the other hand what if they don't collectively have enough money to pay for it all. She bites her lip a lot but doesn't say anything.

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Wei Wuxian is totally oblivious to other people's feelings, and also thinks that this big piece of wood could be GREAT for making a ballista.

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It would be great for making a ballista, is the thing, and she wants him to be able to make a ballista, though admittedly she might feel differently if she lived next door to him, but that's not the point. 

They do eventually manage to find everything they need before the total amount of stuff in the cart after tax exceeds their budget, so she's spared the necessity of saying anything and can just steer the cart toward the register.

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"...I forgot my wallet."

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"Shit. I can't cover all this myself--" and thank goodness, honestly, because if she could she would have to decide whether to loan Wei Wuxian money, "I can go park the cart in the back of the store and sit around while you run home and get it?"

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"Give me a sec." He pulls out his phone.

"A-Qing, my darling, my sweetheart, my angel, my light, my life, my heart. --Right, yeah, I forgot my wallet. --I know, I know. --I promise. --I promise. --I know. --I'm definitely going to think about doing that very seriously. --I know! --Yeah, I'm at the hardware store at"-- he gives the address-- "can you send a-Ning over? --Thank you, love you, you're the best."

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Having siblings and/or friends sure looks nice. She fishes the school library's paperback copy of Have Space Suit, Will Travel out of her backpack and starts reading it while they wait, standing on one foot with the other one twined through the understructure of the shopping cart.

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"I liked Starship Troopers better."

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"Starship Troopers definitely had more going on. This one has better weird aliens, though."

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"Tell me about it?"

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"Have you read it already and what level of spoilers do you want?"

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"No, and I love spoilers."

Wei Wuxian thinks he should ALSO be tangled on the shopping cart. 

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"Okay, so there's these two sets of aliens, and one of them is your straightforward wants-to-conquer-earth types, and the other ones, at first we just meet one of them and she seems like a total sweetheart and helps out the humans. But then it turns out her species thinks of themselves as, like, galactic law enforcement, with the authority to just do whatever to whoever in the name of their alien conception of keeping the peace. So they genocide the conquering aliens and put the protagonists on trial as a proxy for whether they're going to genocide humanity too."

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