Maxwell's Justice And Deathscythe's Hell

The following was supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so 'profound' that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why you now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well. The original wording was kept intact, only names and occasional pronouns changed to protect the innocent – and to incriminate Duo. :-)

"I do so understand chemistry!"

"Really, Maxwell?" Wufei asked, turning a page of his textbook with one idle finger. He smirked down at his nose at the other boy. "Prove it," he challenged.

The speed with which a matching grin crossed his lover's face should have warned Wufei that he was in trouble – but he had long been known for underestimating his opposition.

Especially where one Duo Maxwell was concerned.

"Ninmu ryoukai," Duo accepted and proceeded to get his 'proof,' which involved him removing every item in his backpack in the search for some unnamed article, which, according to Murphy's Law, would be the last thing he removed from said backpack.

But before Wufei could rethink his position – and possibly retract his dare, which would be safest for all concerned – the door was shoved open, and Heero and Quatre entered, followed closely by Trowa.

Heero took one look at the braided whirlwind that was his best friend and sighed. Turning to Wufei, he asked, "What did you do now, Chang?"

Wufei bristled at the insinuation. "What makes you think I did anything, Yuy?" he demanded.

"Why else would Duo be acting like even more of a maniac than usual?" Heero asked.

"Maxwell always acts like a maniac." Wufei sniffed. "Why should this time be due to anything other than his own innate craziness?"

"Because normally, Duo isn't this single-minded unless he's on a mission," Heero said flatly, pointing to the pilot in question, who was completely ignoring the other four boys in the room in favor of rooting through his backpack, tossing out the occasional crumpled wad of paper, stubby pencil, and a few utterances such as, "Nope, not it," and, "Gotta be in here somewhere," before moving on to continue looking.

Quatre had begun chuckling at the sight of the braided boy's backpack burrowing, but at Heero's words he quickly turned his laughter into a cough. "Heero does have a point," he said reluctantly.

"And so do I!" Duo proclaimed, waving a slightly crumpled sheaf of papers in the air. He brandished the stapled papers like they were the Holy Grail – or at least proof of that fabled icon's existence.

"Proof of what?" Heero asked reasonably, eyes tracking back and forth to try to read the print on the papers that Duo was waving around. It was an exercise in futility, even for someone with 20/10 vision – which Heero had, not that it was doing him much good in this situation – as the papers were moving much too fast for him to get a sight lock on them.

"That I do understand chemistry," Duo replied. He flipped the top three pages over and held the papers out to Heero.

"What is this?" Heero asked, accepting the papers and quickly scanning the content. What he was able to discern of the words brought a frown to his face. "Nani?"

"It's last week's chemistry test," Duo replied, turning to give his boyfriend a smug look. "We got them back today."

Wufei just raised one eyebrow in amusement. "And how is this going to prove to me that you understand chemistry? Anyone can memorize the book and give the correct answer."

Giving a Shinigami grin, Duo gestured to Heero. "Heero, buddy, read the bonus question out loud, would ya?"

Heero took another look at the paper in front of him and, one eyebrow climbing up to hide in his messy bangs, he read, deadpan, "Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?"

Wufei choked. "That was an actual question on your chemistry test?" he asked disbelievingly.

"It was the bonus question, 'Fei," Duo replied. "You know, free points if you get the answer right?" He smiled smugly. "And I was the only one who did," he added.

"Do tell," Wufei said dryly, folding his arms across his chest. "Knowing you, you could pull an answer to such a ridiculous farce of a question out of your ass, but I can't wait to hear how you managed to explain it."

Blue eyes quickly scanning farther down the page in his hand, Heero said, a small smile lurking around his lips, "Looks like he used Boyle's Law to explain it."

"Boyle's Law?" Quatre asked. "I'm not sure I'm familiar with that."

"It's the one that states that gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed," Trowa replied.

"So what was the baka's answer?" Wufei asked.

Clearing his throat, Heero began to read in his usual monotone. "First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving."

Quatre pursed his lips in thought, then nodded. "Sounds reasonable," he allowed, though a glint of humor could be seen lurking in his aqua-colored eyes.

Trowa nodded his own agreement, as did Wufei – albeit the last, reluctantly.

"As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today," Heero continued. "Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell."

Quatre choked. "Ano…"

Trowa quirked a brow at his lover. "Sounds reasonable," he said dryly, repeating the other's words.

Quatre glared at him.

Heero coughed and continued before the two lovers got into an argument, "With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added."

"And tons of them are added after every battle I'm in," Duo put in, falling silent as Heero gave him a look.

"This gives two possibilities," Heero went on. "The first is that if Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose. The second is that if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over. So which is it?"

"That's what I'd like to know," Wufei grumbled, becoming impatient with the slow torture that was Heero Yuy's reading.

"Me too!" Quatre chimed in, Trowa just giving another nod.

Heero gave a small smirk and read, "If we accept the postulate given to me by my friend Wufei last year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with Wufei last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over."

Wufei squirmed in his chair at the amused looks the other three pilots were giving him. "Maxwell…" he sputtered.

Duo just gave him a cheeky grin. "What, you thought I forgot you said that, 'Fei? I never forget anything."

"No, an elephant never does," Wufei groused.

Heero snickered silently at the dumbstruck look on Duo's face and continued reading. "The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct…leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Wufei kept shouting out, 'Oh, my God!'"

Quatre burst out into giggles at the red flush that suffused Wufei's face.

"You really are a baka," Heero said, shaking his head at his friend.

"Definitely," Wufei agreed in a strangled tone of voice.

Duo huffed and looked down his nose – no mean feat considering that despite his Asian heritage, Wufei was two inches taller than he was – at his lover, giving him a superior look. The snooty façade was belied only by the glint of mischief in those indigo orbs. "So says you. But Himura-sensei gave me an 'A' – the only one in the class."

Quatre blinked – repeatedly. Then he turned away from Wufei's searing gaze and broke out into quiet snickers.

Trowa gave a small smirk.

Heero flipped to the top page of the test. Seeing a large, red letter 'A' in the top left-hand corner, his eyes went wide and he burst out laughing.

Wufei groaned. The final indignity: Heero Yuy is laughing at me. "There is no justice," he proclaimed staunchly. "None at all."

Duo just smiled. "None except mine."

Wufei whimpered.