FATR: This is a prequel/off shoot for "Triple O" by Femme Mishima. Sadly, it looks as though she has taken her story off the site, but she gave me her permission to post this so I will go ahead as planned. Um... I don't own anything in this chapter, okay? Absolutely jack diddly squat. Those who read "Triple O" will know what ultimately happens but I added a special twist. This thing is chalk full of symbolism. You can spend a little extra time figuring it out or you can read it for pure pleasure. Enjoy first chip chip of Temptation Of Otto.
Icy wind tries to tug open his trench coat as he makes his way across the parking lot. It is careless in its actions, disregarding any harm it may cause to the owner if it succeeds in its venture. One leather gloved hand pulls up the collar then makes its way to the pocket to hunt up the keys. The keys sing out in greeting as the hand closes around them and lifts them into the cold air. They rest in the palm as the thumb sifts through them. The thumb applies pressure to a small red button and the car greets its master with a chirp.
Dr. Otto Octavius settles into the cold seat, puts his briefcase on the seat next to him, closes the door, and inserts the keys in the ignition. He pauses with his hand on the keys, his eyes clouding as he retreats into his own mind for a moment. The keys, the car, the weather, all watch, seeming to stop just for him. The hand slowly slides away from the keys, the fingers tracing over them as if reluctant to release them, and come to rest on his lap. His eyes move down and to the left as his other hand fishes in his pocket and comes up with a piece of white notebook paper. It is folded into a plain little square, such a simple yet sharp shape, all sides and angles equal. It is strange how such a small thing could weigh so much, make him think so hard. Though it isn't the square itself that rests so heavily in his hand and on his mind, it is the offer the square presents:
Come to the Alpha Capa Sigma house at 6 pm. This offer stands only until 6 pm.
That is written in cursive, so flowery it is almost calligraphy, with a metallic green gel pen. It is decorated with little red flowers, so that it looks like it is spelled out in vines. Underneath this elaborate text is a little red heart, and under the heart is the name Terra. Terra, like the Latin word for earth. She had certainly looked earthy, like a nymph or a fairy. Hm... in the short time he had been on campus he had already heard that the ACS sorority was full of nuts, crazies if you will. Though he has been in a slump lately. Perhaps a little craziness is the perfect remedy. Yes, a crazy pill to de-slump himself.
The keys still jingle faintly, trying to get the man's attention. This is insanity. You've had a long day. Just go home. You know what you have at home?
The hand lifts out of the lap to caress the keys, even as the other cradles the little white square. He closes his eyes, feeling the weight in his hands...
The weight of the large white box. It was square and flat, done up with green ribbon. There was a fire crackling in the hearth, casting a comfortable gold glow around the room. It challenged the windy night without to dare try and make its way within. No gap, chink, nor crevice would permit its entry. He moved his hands up and down to get a better feel for what the object in the box might weigh. He shook it a little next to his ear and squeezed it gently.
"Don't try to guess what it is, that's cheating," Rosie laughed.
Otto gazed lovingly at his wife of fifteen years then grinned mischievously. "I think I almost have it figured out, anyway."
"No, you don't."
"You want to bet?" He raised an eyebrow.
"Alright, genius." Rosie crossed her arms. "What is it?"
"It's a plate, made out of some kind of stoneware. Mostly likely ceramic." He squeezed the box again. "But I can't quite figure out what this-"
"That's it." Rosie tackled him, catching him off guard, and knocked him onto the couch. "Hand it over."
Otto slid to the other end of the couch, holding it just out of her reach. He was laughing. "It has some kind of relief sculpture in it."
Rosie lunged for him again and he leaned backwards over the armrest, holding the box over his head at arms length. She found herself laying on top of him, face to face. "Come on, Otto. Don't spoil the surprise." She was laughing too.
He put the box on the table, kissed her, and patted her rear. "Very well."
She eyed him suspiciously. "You promise?"
He made an X on his chest with his index finger. "Cross my heart." She sat back, still straddling him. He stayed on his back and gazed at her a little longer. There she was, his soul mate. Her smile was gorgeous, warming him to the very core of his existence. No more being alone, no more screaming and chaos, just her, him, and love. Otto put the box on his stomach and pulled on the green satin. His hands lifted the lid and tossed it absently on the floor. He was too happy, too at ease in the moment, to worry about being neat.
Rosie put the fingers tips of one hand to her lips, the other squeezing a fistful of her flowing terra cotta skirt in anticipation. She watched him lift the plate out of its box. It was colored to look like a sandy ocean floor. It had clear glass water in it, and rising out of the clear glass was a relief sculpture of an octopus. She watched hopefully as he studied it. He looked puzzled for half a second, then a slow smile slipped across his face. The smile was the harbinger of a deep chuckle.
"An octopus, that's really clever." He put the plate on the table and sat up, bracing himself on one hand. The box slid off of his stomach and landed on the floor with a dull thump. He caressed Rosie's face with his free hand. "I do believe I have something for you, too."
"Is that so?"
"But I can't get it with you on top of me."
"Is that so?" Her eyes grew mischievous, showing no sign that she intended to get up.
"Am I going to have move you myself?" Otto threatened playfully. Her smile widened and she giggled. "What, you think I can't anymore?" He laid back and grabbed her waist, growling like a father playing monster with his child. He lifted her and she squealed in genuine surprise as he sat up, placing her at the other end of the couch. He hadn't lifted her that much, but the fact that he could still do what he had done seemed to have caught her off guard. "That's it, naughty girls don't get presents." He got up and started for his coat. "I'm taking it back."
"Hey, now!" She pounced on him for the third time that evening but this time he was ready. He turned and caught her around the waist with his arms as she wrapped her own around his neck.
"Well... okay. Wait here a moment." Without removing his eyes from her until he absolutely had to, he went into his study. He stopped for a minute, leaning on the edge of the desk, grinning like an idiot at nothing in particular. It was almost too much. He felt giddy and tipsy from the joy. Fifteen years, fifteen years of memories together, fifteen years of happiness. It almost felt as though he shouldn't be allowed it. Though he didn't believe in such things, it seemed as though some karmic force must be watching him now, waiting to swing in and knock him down.
Don't think so darkly, those days are over now. Dad, never thought I'd amount to much. Look at me now, huh? I've built something that could lead to a huge breakthrough in the construction of prosthetic limbs, my fusion generator is halfway to completion, and I have the most wonderful woman in all the world by my side through it all. Yeah, this 'wimpy tub of lard' turned out to be ten times any kind of man you could have even aspired to be.
The bottom drawer slid open and his hand delved into the layers of old tentacle designs, unearthing the long rectangular box like a buried treasure. He couldn't wait to see the look on her face. His feet guided him back into the living room where his bride awaited his return. "Happy anniversary, my love." The box passed from his work worn masculine hands to her lotion soft feminine ones.
"Fifteen years," Rosie reflected.
"And you've only grown more and more beautiful each day." She gave him a strange smile and began tearing away the paper. There was something in the smile he didn't like, but his excitement to see her expression when she saw her gift chased his misgivings away. Otto held his breath and kept his eyes riveted to her face. The anticipation was killing him. The lid came off and her eyes lit up. "A rose for my sweet rose." He moved behind her and put his hands on her shoulders, planting a tender kiss on her cheek.
Rosie lifted the pewter rose out of the box. It wasn't decked out in jewels or anything, but the intricacy of the detail was more beautiful than any superficial flashiness. "It's gorgeous," she breathed.
His arms embraced her shoulders. "It can also be used as a book mark. There's a little reading light under one of the leaves. Just the result of months and months of right brain thinking."
Rosie gaped at him. "You made this? How did you find the time? You really shouldn't have risked the Osborn grant-" Her lips were silenced by his.
He broke the kiss long enough to whisper, "I wanted to." Then he pulled her into a deeper kiss and ran his fingers through her auburn hair. Rosie always smelled faintly of cinnamon, a sweet, spicy smell. His lips traced to her neck and his hand found her breast.
"Otto..." Rosie laughed and gently took his hand in hers. "You really are turning into an octopus, all hands."
Otto laughed too. "Come on, my little flower, it's our anniversary." There was that look again. What was it?
"I have papers to grade."
Concern wrinkled his brow. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I'm just too stressed to be in the mood right now. Maybe after I get some of them done and feel a little more relaxed..."
"I understand." He held her close for a while, enjoying her aura. "I have to do some work on the fusion generator, anyway. Mr. Osborn is not a patient man."