If there was one almost good thing about prison, it was that most of the time Susan didn't actually feel so freakish and oversized. Everything was set to such huge proportions, from the common room itself to the meager furnishings. And it was pretty hard to feel like much of a giant next to Insectosaurus.

Of course, there was the matter of being able to absentmindedly buckle metal if she didn't watch her step or where she was leaning. There was still a crater of an indentation on her table from where she'd (seemingly) ineffectually thumped a fist down in frustration.

That had killed her taste for tantrums. She'd shifted herself into a state of grim, perpetual optimism.

"I wonder if your strength is proportionate or exponentially increased with your size?" Dr. Cockroach asked aloud, sitting at the edge of the dent and scribbling in the notebook resting on his knee, as per usual. His presence was simultaneously an affront to her little fantasy and the only source of her slightly manic hope.

"I don't know." This was her new routine: Dr. Cockroach and his endless hypothesizing about exactly what was effecting her, Link seemingly unsure of whether he was trying to haze or impress her, and B.O.B. doing... well, nobody really knew what B.O.B. was going to do on a day to day basis. Least of all B.O.B.

"Tentatively, I'd guess the latter, but there's really no way to test that under current conditions."

"Is this... Is this going to help me get back to normal?" she questioned hesitantly.

"In a sense, it's part of the process."

"In a sense?"

"Which is to say... Not really," he admitted. "But frankly, I have no idea what's causing your size. It can't hurt to gather information, even if most of it will end up being useless. After all, breakthroughs come from the smallest things. A moldy orange, water over the side of the tub and whatnot."

"Oh." It was sort of odd that even when he directly stated that he was in the dark, Dr. Cockroach still managed to sound like he knew exactly what was going on.

"Besides, aren't you curious about your own capabilities?"


He blinked a little. "Not at all?"

She shook her head. "I don't care that I can bust through a roof or, or squish steel or whatever. I just want to be normal again."

"I'm quite aware of that, my dear. But there's something to be said for playing the hand you've been dealt. And you've been dealt quite an extraordinary hand, if you don't mind me saying so."

"Extraordinary how? All that's happened is that I got stuck in monster prison."

"Touché," he conceded.

"I just want to get out of here. I mean, well... You told me about your experiment, Doctor. If you could go back to being normal and human and go free, wouldn't you?"

Dr. Cockroach considered this, chewing on his pen in thought. Or possibly because he was hungry. "No, I don't believe I would," he said eventually, flipping to a new page in his notebook. "At any rate, since whatever was in that meteor that caused your growth, perhaps the foreign substance could be removed by some sort of reverse osmosis process..."

"Ah... Okay?"

"I believe I could have a prototype by tomorrow."

She grinned, weak with relief. "Sounds great! Thank you so much for doing this."

"Not at all, my dear. The challenge of it is quite a refreshing change of pace. Of course, I can't guarantee anything, and certainly not on the first go, but I'll try my best."

Susan nodded, reining in her momentary excitement. Of course. Still, as he launched into a bunch of confusing questions/theories about her metabolic processes, the optimism in her chest felt a little less taut and desperate and more like genuine hope.

Or possibly faith, because she had not a clue about what he was talking about somewhere around ninety-six percent of the time. But he did, which she supposed was more important.

She'd just have to trust him. And she found that despite the fact she'd know him all of a week and she still hadn't figured out how to quell an instinctual repulsion to things that skittered, despite not really having any sort of reason or proof to do so... She did. Implicitly.

But what that would get her in the long run was anyone's guess.

A/N: Special thanks are due to Nobility for our eighty trillion conversations about how Dr. C/Susan bonding SHOULD go. They were immensely fun, and not to mention the entire backbone of this.

The actual formulation of this was the result of the broken debris of several failed attempts on my part, having always wanted to read a fic that was somewhat more realistic about their earlier interactions, and the wonderful, random trajectory of inspiration. And this is literally the first time I've written their interation in a finished fic with which I'm actually satisfied.

On a side note, Dr. C is fun to write. Really, really fun. And much easier than I'd anticipated. I think it's because I weild vocabulary in a similar fashion myself.