Henry lived and worked in an environment that was exceedingly unusual. This was something he had long realised and come to love. It was not, however, the things you might think that made it unusual. It was not that he co-inhabited with Big Foot, nor that he routinely created devices that would rival the heights of science fiction. It was not, even, the knowledge that his beautiful, youthful, boss had already forgotten the details of her centennial celebration. No, the delightful quirkiness that so defined the sanctuary was by virtue of its staff. Which is why, when Will loped into his lab with an easy smile that had been noticeably absent for weeks, Henry didn't comment and instead took it as part of the day's turning.
Settling himself onto a lab stool, Will reached for a screwdriver with an obviously affected air of casualness. Henry ignored him.
"Soooo," Will drawled.
Henry glanced up. It was not unusual for Will or Kate to join him in his lab, though it was far more likely to be Kate than Will. It was, however, odd for Will to be present without even the pretence of work – there was no neat stack of journals or reports-in-progress on the bench in front of him.
"Soooo, what?" Henry echoed.
Will's smile quirked in a way that meant trouble for poor Henry. "So... where are we on the pool?"
Henry sighed. Figured. "Which one?"
It had been a poorly made comment one day on Henry's behalf, the half-joking bet about how long it would take Magnus to break over the pit referred to as Kate's room. Calls were made, pocket change exchanged hands, and Henry was now the sanctuary's unofficial bookie and keeper of secret bets. Anyone could submit a bet – there was, in fact, only one rule: don't tell the boss.
"The one about Magnus leaving her office," Will said, pushing the screwdriver away in frustration.
Magnus had been working herself silly. The sanctuary had fallen into a weirdly quiet spell of late and, instead of taking the opportunity to relax, to take a break between life threatening disasters, she had thrown herself into her neglected research. She had rebuffed all Will's entreaties to leave her office, claiming that this was 'fun', breaks for fresh air/snacks/sleep were absolutely unnecessary. Since Will had taken 'Magnus Management' into his list of sanctuary duties, he had taken Kate's wager of when, exactly, she would leave her office as a rather personal affront.
Henry reached for the notebook taped to the underside of his desk. "Kate's down for Friday, three pm; Chuck, next Monday at noon; the Big Guy, tomorrow at eight pm; and me, Sunday eight am. Why?"
Will 'hmm'ed in an annoying kind of way. "I'm feeling kind of lucky today, think you could put me down for five dollars?"
"Fine," Henry said. He was starting to tire of this 'job'. "For when?"
"Oh... Well..." Will toned, rather annoyingly, "how about, shall we say..."
From the depths of Sanctuary a irritated shout echoed. "WILLIAM ZIMMERMAN!"
"...right now." Will finished smugly.
For Magnus' voice to carry all the way from her office to Henry's lab she must have bellowed it with a volume that belied her size, and the very thought made Henry uncomfortable. There were few times in his life that he had reason to witness Magnus shout like that and it had never bode well for anyone.
"Duuuude," he drawled nervously. "What did you do?"
Will grinned as he propelled himself off the stool with ease. Pulling something from his jeans pocket he threw it in the air and caught it with a flourish. "Just my job. I'll be back to get my winnings later."
And with that he was gone, practically skipping out of the lab just as Magnus' footfalls reached a dangerous proximity. Shoving the betting book under some spare components, Henry grabbed the object Will had left on his desk. It was a slim, tapered fountain pen, it's surface covered in swirled engravings, it's golden length ending with a thin nib. There was no doubting its owner... even if said owner wasn't clearly on the warpath.
Not prepared to receive the blame for this one, he slipped the pen into his pocket for Will to return later. As he did so, Magnus tore into the room. It was rare that he saw her this worked up - you know, unless she was being chased by something large and nasty - but Will did possess a special ability to rile her up at the oddest of times. She scanned the room frantically, looking for Will (her prey, Henry's mind supplied), but finding only Henry, she calmed slightly.
"Henry," she said abruptly. "Have you seen William?"
Too scared to smirk at her use of his full name (he was definitely in trouble), he simply raised his hand and pointed, wordlessly, down the hall in the direction Will had gone.
"Thank you," she huffed.
As she chased after him, Henry could hear her mutters floating back down the corridor. "I mean off all things - you simply must respect the pen!"
No longer in danger of cross fire, Henry coughed out a laugh. He loved his job.
Lisawind: save me from Will. Tell me what he could have left in Kate's room at the end of Wingman. Has to be something that's obv his.
Becca: pen jacket glasses journal or book?
Lisawind: hmmm... Glasses would work, a pen would make me laugh.
Becca: I'd go back for a pen... But I'm weird and pen obsessed.
Becca: also remarkably possessive of my pens
Lisawind: me too on both accounts. tis why I'm giggling.
Becca: so not surprised by that!
Lisawind: I mean they're pens and they're shiny and they make pretty ink and even if they're crappy they're still pens.
Becca: besactly! You have to respect the pen!
[August 27, 2011]