Sep 15, 2019 6:02 AM
a Jean and Chainsaw in Federation
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"Okay. Congratulations."

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"What can I say; I have an interest in beautiful feats of engineering."

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"You're kind of a creep," she says. "But like, in a cute way? It's weird."

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...he laughs. 

"You know, I think I shall take that as a compliment."

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"Sure. So, again: why are you stalking me."

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"I have an interest," he repeats, carefully, "in beautiful feats of engineering."

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"Heard you the first time. You're just not being super clear about the nature of that interest, and I am getting a little antsy. Like, is this 'wear my skin as a coat' interest or 'call the cops' interest or 'you just really want to bang me' interest or (d) none of the above, kind of thing."

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"--you're right, I apologize, I should know better than to underestimate you. Your skin is much prettier as not a coat, and I would very much prefer that you didn't call the cops, so while you are lovely I think I'm going to have to put myself into slot D. Professional interest, I suppose, of a sort. I try to look out for people like us."

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"Oh, cute."

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"'Oh, cute'?"

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She laughs. "Yeah. What, you got a problem with that?"

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"...it's, ah, hardly the usual response, though I suppose not particularly in a bad way?"

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"Why, what's the usual response?"

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"'Oh thank god'? 'That's exactly what an undercover officer would say'? 'I don't know what you're talking about just stay away from me'? 'What do you want'? 'Wait, are you that one terrorist'? 'Do you know what happened to my family, are they alive?' Really, just about anything but 'oh, cute.'"

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She looks thoughtfully at him.

Then she says, "Will you, like, faint, if you enter my house."

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"Not having seen the inside of your house, I wouldn't know!"

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"Fine, we'll give it the smoke test. C'mon in."

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"Thank you!" He follows her.

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And inside the house—

A squashy couch with a faded cream-and-gold floral pattern, piled with mismatched pillows and blankets whose disparate patterns and colours somehow come together into a unified whole. Round windows in round walls, and round tables and round stools and round chairs. It's not a very tidy space, but it looks like - like it was designed to accomodate the amount of mess it has; there are things piled on tables but still some space free, a few boxes shoved under a desk but without obstructing the associated chair. All of the furniture looks like it was picked up at yard sales, but put together with a discerning eye. It is comfortable and cozy and the kind of haphazard you can only get away with when you're such an artistic genius that even your careless piles of junk have good visual balance.

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...he looks less like he might faint and more like he might have an aneurysm. A very, very appreciative aneurysm.

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"Please don't die, I'd be sad. And it'd be really inconvenient to dispose of the body."

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"Oh, don't--"

He stops, and switches smoothly from the perfectly average accent he'd slipped into to his usual French one.

"--don't worry, I have all sorts of in-case-of-my-sudden-and-unexpected-death protocols, I really doubt you'd be left dealing with the body."

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"If you dropped dead in my living room?"

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"I have people! They would be very interested in why exactly I dropped dead in your living room!"

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"Clearly they don't know you very well, then."

She flops onto the couch and unearths some sort of nonstandard computing device from beneath a pile of pillows.

"So do you wanna see the reason why I'm not asking after my family?"

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