|The Boy Who Would Be King
Author: VulcanChicks PM
It's August of 1985, and the minds of young scientists are being encouraged with an opportunity to accompany their parents to experience a day inside the walls of Aperture's underground facilities for Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Unbeknownst to them, their science fair projects aren't the only thing being constructed.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Suspense - Wheatley & Chell - Chapters: 8 - Words: 15,223 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 11-26-12 - Published: 10-21-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8631521
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 1: Doing Science
Hurried footsteps pounded down the staircase of the cramped townhouse as Alexander struggled to gather the last of his belongings for the work day ahead. His tired blue eyes darted back and forth across the room as he muttered a mental checklist.
"Hat? On. Coat? Check. Adjustment notes…" There was a beat of silent panic before he remembered. He ran his fingers through his thinning straw-colored hair as he felt the thick wad of folded papers in his back pocket. "Accounted for. Son—"
"Ready to go, Papa!" squeaked a prepubescent voice whose accent mirrored his own.
Alexander let out a startled yelp as an excited pair of arms was flung around his legs from behind, causing his knees to buckle at the unexpected force. Twisting his torso, he could just barely see his son's bespectacled face staring up at him with eager crystal-blue eyes. He was a little short for a nine-year-old, and Alexander's own remarkable stalkiness only served to make the boy look even smaller in comparison.
"John," he groaned. "You're supposed to be in bed til your mum gets back." Molly, his wife, was due to return from her rendezvous with one of their Black Mesa insiders sometime that morning.
"She told me to look after you," the boy insisted, releasing him. "And you don't have to worry about me being all alone, because I'm going to work with you!"
He looked at John with mild confusion. "No, no, why would you—"
"Am too!" the boy huffed. "It's Take Your Child to Work Day."
"Take your... oh." He had completely forgotten. Well, not so much forgotten the event as discarded it. It was Take Your Daughter to Work Day, but John had been so distraught at the idea of being excluded that he had vowed to participate. Alexander hadn't taken him seriously and had simply assumed the boy would forget. Oh, how wrong he had been.
"—and I even got my own pair of goggles!" John announced, donning a pair of cheap, green-framed plastic sunglasses with star-shaped lenses. "Some protection is better than none," he recited. It was a phrase his dad often used around the house when the proper safety gear couldn't be found.
"John," said Alexander, anxiously checking his wristwatch. "This is a day for girls, not boys. We've already talked about this."
"I promise to be good, Papa. I've got my science stuff all ready to go, and I won't go catching cooties or anything," he insisted as he pulled an oversized play lab coat over his striped t-shirt. "Not even one."
"Are you sure you don't want to wait for your mum to come back? It'll only be a couple hours." He silently cursed his employers for not waiting until the school year had started. That would have invalidated the visit, but then again, that was specifically why they had set it to a late summer date.
"Mum would want me to go." His thick little brows were knitted almost as tightly as his arms were crossed.
Every tick of the clock was painfully audible. "Alright," his father sighed, taking his ring of keys from the dull, silver hook on the wall. "But you cannot be upset if they would rather not play with you. Consider yourself warned." He scribbled a quick note to Molly and placed it on the end of the table where he knew she would see it.
John let out a tiny shriek of delight and pulled a magnifying glass from his coat pocket, waving it in the air. "Let's do some science!"