It's a strange thing to watch. N's writing hand skitters, left-to-right, fast as lightning, leaving naught but thin scrawls of graphite in its wake. The side of his right hand is smeared with that comfortable gunmetal gray, and N's face is so close to his paper, Whitlea is a little sure his nose might be touching the desk if he was angled any lower. It would almost be funny looking, but N looks so serious, it's almost a hilarious image.

Whitlea doesn't want to look, but she's almost completely sure that N is doing math. Which, in her very valuable opinion, is a complete waste of time. Rolling her tongue over her pink, sugar-loaded bubblegum, Whitlea can't imagine the point.

N probably would disagree. Not that he'd talk to her while he's doing...this, but Whitlea can almost picture the petulant, almost superiority-complex inflected way he'd ever so politely tell her she was wrong. Math probably got him off at night. Dem theorems and sexyfine postulates.

Whitlea snickers, picturing N rubbing one out to, in place of porn, a math textbook.

It's still odd to see, though, that way N is so tuned-out and concentrated to what seems like a waste of time to her. And she wonders why N had asked her to come here. N had said something about enjoying her company, but he didn't seem to be paying her the slightest heed now. Why bother? Whitlea twisted a curl of her ponytail, chewing her bubblegum.

And then: pop.

N's concentration breaks like the sugary bubble on her lips, his pencil coming to an abrupt halt.


Whitlea raises an eyebrow, and does it again.


"Does that," pop, "bother you?" Pop. Whitlea's tongue struggles with the effort to snap it successively, but she manages.

N swivels around in his office chair, an easygoing smile on his face. It looks a little forced, but Whitlea understands what he's trying for, anyway.

"Not particularly. It simply occured to me to thank you for coming. I haven't been a very entertaining host."

Whitlea pops her gum again in despair. She'd secretly hoped to figure out a pet peeve of N's. She's done all of the annoying, rude, and generally dumb stuff she could think of in front of him, and none of it seemed to do a thing.

"I don't mind, I guess. But maybe we can do something else. Like, something together."

Her gum has started to lose its taste; Whitlea twists and turns, trying to spot a wastebasket.

"Something else? Do you have any suggestions?" N says, playing with a square-shaped bangle shyly. Whitlea clicks her tongue and ducks around him.

Aha. Trashcan.

Whitlea chucks her gum and continues, seemingly satisfied. "Lemme see your math crap. I mean, you worked so hard on it, I wanna know what you were up to."

N offers an awkward half-smile. "If you were expecting anything that makes sense, I'm afraid you will be disappointed. Mathematics - geometry in general - does not work that way."

Whitlea plops herself on his lap and spins to face the desk. N's hands immediately go to her waist to support her, so they both don't go flying off, but it's a close call. But Whitlea likes playing it fast and loose with gravity. Championship doesn't pass you by without a few scars. Neither does life.

"There's a heart here?" Whitlea points an an equation, underscoring a messy graph and what looks to be a weird, lopsided shape.

N taps her hip with his fingers, as if his fingers are rearing to go writing again. "It's an implicit curve. It yields what looks to be a heart shape, although not quite proportionate to what I find is generally the traditional representation for a heart symbol."

He gestures to the equation.

(x^2 + y^2 − 1)^3 − x^2y^3 = 0

Whitlea stares at it in a complete lack of understanding.

"It equals zero? Why, dude?"

"Because it does?"

"That as sad as fuck." Whitlea turns to look at him, poking him in the head with one angry finger. "That heart? It equals infinity times a million times a fuckton more, okay?"

N stares at her, frowning slightly. "That's not true, though."

Whitlea smacks him upside the head. "Shut up. Now it is."

"You can't alter what is true in mathematics." N insists, looking into her eyes deeply. "It's an undeniable foundation of our universe. If it isn't infallible, than nothing else could be trusted."

Whitlea isn't entirely sure what he said, but it pisses her off. "No."

N's eyes are menacingly bright before he cracks what Whitlea thinks is a true, real smile; something she hasn't seen on his face since he'd said goodbye so long ago. It occurs to Whitlea that, yeah, he has real emotions, but N isn't good at processing them. They pull through his brainy, logical filter and are phased out. It just seemed so special when he displayed something so...human.

"Thank you for correcting me, then."

Whitlea thinks he's leaning in to kiss her, and she closes her eyes and holds her breath and then -

N's pencil flicks across the paper. Whitlea turns to look, and as her eyes widen, N's lips connect with hers.

hearts = infinity