"This," Gold proclaimed, holding out the curiously tall metal funnel out to his laboratory partner, "is a Bunsen burner."

Silver frowned as he leaned over the black plastic counter, folding his arms over his apron-clad chest. "No kidding," the young man snorted. "We took the same lab safety test, as we are in the same chemistry class. Don't treat me as if I failed it, because you were the one that had to retake it four times, Einstein."

"Wrong!" Gold proclaimed as he hooked the hose of the burner up to the gas valve at a nearby sink. "Einstein was a physicist, not a chemist. We are doing a completely different form of science here. Also, I only failed it twice. The third was a fluke because I fell asleep on my pencil." Giving the hose a testing tug for holes or cracks, Gold smiled satisfactorily and turned on the gas.

Silver rolled his eyes and sighed exaggeratingly, frustrated that he even had to be here after hours in the reprehensible institution that everyone called "school," as if it were a normal place and not public hell. He could be home, finishing his schoolwork and perusing the kitchen cabinets for a snack, but instead, he had to help his best friend make up for the fact that he'd skipped chemistry class for the fifth time in a row and needed to make up a glass-blowing lab that he'd missed in his supreme lack of motivation. Gold always managed to pull stunts like this; this was one of many occurrences of his uncaring attitude toward academics in the six years Silver had known him. Two days after they'd met, in fact, ten-year-old Gold left the playground following recess to walk down to a nearby soda shop and hung out there for the rest of the school day. A missing persons report had been filed by his hysterical teachers, even though Gold's parents—and later Silver, being a kid himself—could guess exactly where he was.

Of course, now that he was sixteen, Silver's dark-haired comrade was left more to his own devices, and he usually abused that privilege with the intention of pissing Silver off. Gold was a veritable lone wolf in a pack of idiotic teenagers, and he rarely worked well with anyone else except Silver. Obviously, this meant that if he was dumb enough to cut a class that he shared with Silver, his teachers asked him to help Gold catch up. Not that Silver had much else to do—he, in addition to Gold, didn't participate in extracurricular activities and weren't members of any school clubs—but he still liked his down time. Indeed, he loved Gold, but he enjoyed his privacy just as much. At the end of the day, Silver just wanted to get the hell away from school, as if it were a prison and he an escapee. No, not as if. It was a prison. Silver doubted that anyone would disagree with him.

And if there was one subject he hated, it was chemistry. Silver really, really hated chemistry, which made him instantly believe that Gold skipped science to make him stick behind on purpose. He is such a prick.

"Give me the flint striker," Gold said, reaching over with his glove-clad hand to Silver as he twisted open the cap on the bottom of the burner to allow gas to circulate.

"How about no," Silver said. "It's in the drawer right beside your leg. You have functional hands. Do it yourself."

Groaning, Gold opened the wooden drawer and retracted the igniting device, flicking the handle once to ensure that a healthy spark ensued before holding it over the Bunsen burner. With a swift snap of his thumb, the flint striker caught light. The vividly yellow flame jumped with life, sputtering momentarily before dimming to a dull but incredibly hot blue glow. Above the blaze, the air rendered from the intense heat, dancing in sweating in a frantic mirage. "I swear, I'm gonna set your stupidly long red hair on fire someday," Gold mumbled.

"You can't in here. My hair is tied back." Silver pulled at the straight ringlets of his shoulder-length mane that he had pulled into a ponytail to keep out of the way of stray flames. He'd done the lab on his own in Gold's absence during class time, and even though his hairstyle was especially difficult for a boy, he'd gotten the procedure done in record time. But with Gold, he was sure anything could go wrong. After all, his friend had nearly forgotten to put on his goggles before entering the lab, and knowing his luck, Silver was sure Gold would jab his eye out with a test tube. Certainly their high school's chemistry lab wasn't quite state-of-the-art—it was rather understocked in terms of chemicals and equipment, and the old tile floor was cracked and stained with mildew—but Gold could create a hazard out of anything.

"Long hair is gay," Gold observed frankly. "Only girls wear their hair long."

"You don't know how ignorant that makes you sound."

"This flint striker is telling me otherwise." Smirking, Gold lifted the device and brushed it once more, a bright flash ensuing. A smoke ring wafted up in the aftermath.

Coughing, Silver waved his hands to dispel the smell. "Stop it!" He scolded. "Don't go screwing everything up. The teacher had to step out for a minute, and she's entrusted me to make sure that the lab is still in one piece when she comes back."

Pouting, Gold turned back to the Bunsen burner and stared at the unwavering indigo radiance. "Whatever. She should know better than to leave me unsupervised with potentially dangerous objects anyway," he said drearily. "Can we get this over with? I'm missing training time with my Pokemon."

"You aren't unsupervised," Silver said. "I'm here." He pointed to a thin, elongated glass rod sitting several inches to the left of the Bunsen burner and handed Gold a triangular file. "First, you saw a small indention in the center of the tube and—"

"—Snap in half with your thumb. Yeah, I know. I listen sometimes, okay?" Gold huffily took the file from Silver, raised his arm up in the air, and brought the copper bar down on the pipe with a skilled whack. Instead of making a clean snap, Gold completely shattered the rod, leaving shards of broken flute everywhere on the chafed countertop. Silver stood in complete disbelief at the fact that Gold had just ignored everything he'd said and made a perilous mess of the place. The pair gazed wordlessly at the shimmering clump for a moment, as if contemplating the visible light spectrum that was appearing colorfully on the clear chunks of what once was Gold's lab project.

After a few moments, Gold calmly pulled up a stool and sat down before the Bunsen burner. "I don't think I did that right," he said matter-of-factly.

"Did you intend to do that?!" Silver barked, his face turning red in deep anger. "You just fucked up the whole reason you're in here! Arceus, can't you do anything?!"

"Would you chill?" Gold snorted. "Can't you tell a sarcastic action from a serious one? Surely there are more rods."

"There is one left! One! Left!" Silver was now dramatically flailing his arms as he scuttled to the drawer in the nearby master counter that the teacher often did demonstrations on. "You obliterate this one, you fuck up your chances of passing the class!"

"Man, don't get your panties in a bunch." Gold continued to watch the flame, enticed by the double hue of deep purple and sky blue. "It's only the first quarter of the semester. If I do okay on the tests and stuff, I'll be fine. Labs are lame, anyway."

Stomping back over to Gold's lab station, Silver (gently; it was made of glass, after all) slammed another tube down beside his friend's hand. "Stop screwing around and get serious," he growled. "I will smack you senseless if you even accidentally break this one."

Gold pouted, his flaxen eyes downcast to focus on his final chance of completing his homework. "Fine," he mumbled, picking up the triangular file once again. This time, he followed directions, sawing a fine line in the center of the rod and carefully snapping it into two even halves. Taking one of the flues, Gold placed one end over the fire and began to twirl it to smooth out the sharp edges. Silver was slightly surprised at Gold's sudden obedience, and this made him wary. A Gold that heeded orders was a dangerous one.

"Now, are you actually going to do your work this time?" Silver inquired.

"Naw, I thought I'd just catch this on fire and burn the place down," Gold mumbled with an obviously sarcastic tone. The tip of the glass rod began to glow orange in an engulfed splash of warmth, signifying that it was hot enough to be molded. Removing the end over the burner, Gold blew on it gently before turning the tube over to do the other side in a similar manner.

The two stood like this in relative silence for a while, Gold completing the lab and Silver supervising, the teacher still conspicuously absent. When Gold had finished rounding the edges, he held the middle of the rod over the fire to bend it at an angle, as dictated in the second part of the lab. As he did this, he finally spoke. "You know what's wild, Silver?"

"The fact that you actually know what you're doing?"

Gold chortled. "Maybe that," he agreed. "No, I meant something I figured out the other day. You know, when I was actually here for class and we were going over the transition metals."

Silver frowned slightly as he noticed Gold's flue beginning to dip from the powerful temperature. "It's ready. Don't bend it too fast or you'll get a crick in the turn."
Snorting, Gold applied slight pressure, and the glass began to twist. "Since when are you
an expert on glassblowing?" he grumbled. "Anyway, as I was telling you before, I saw something on the periodic table at the front of the room. That jumbo poster that looks like it's for the visually impaired, you know? I found out that you are I are on it."

"What the hell are you talking about, you dolt?" Silver asked. "No, we aren't."

"Yeah huh," Gold protested. "And you think I'm the one that doesn't pay attention. Gold and Silver, Au and Ag. Think about it. Even in the organic world, you and I are together. If we were a compound, we'd be AuAg." Suddenly, he brightened as he removed the now-bent glass angle to allow it to cool. "That could be our battle cry! If we're in a huge crowd of people or dying or something, we could communicate! It can be our secret word! Auag! AUAG!" Gold threw up his arms, the steaming hot flute still in his left hand.

"Quit that! It's still hot!" Silver snapped, gesticulating to the glass. "Transition metals can't bond, genius. Only metals and nonmetals and two nonmetals can. Stop flapping your gums."

"Wrong again!" Gold said. "Metallic bonding can occur between two different metals and one pair of delocalized electrons, as long as both metals have positively charged ions. However, sadly, such simple bonding only happens between the composition of two very simplistic metals; gold and silver rely more on a quantum-mechanical technique to be made artificially."

Silver blinked. That was the most lucid thing he'd ever heard Gold utter. "I have no idea what you're saying," he answered. "Wait, here's an excellent question: Do you even have any idea what you're saying?"

"Of course I do," Gold said. "Chemistry is my strong suit. I don't show up because I already know about it." He pointed the bowed piece toward Silver with a condescending smirk. "Intelligence denied. Back to special education for you!"

Silver chose to ignore him. "Turn off the Bunsen burner."


"You're done with it, aren't you?"

"Yeah, I guess so." Reluctantly, Gold turned off the knob on the bottom of the burner and turned off the gas before disconnecting the hose. Rising from his stool, he put the item away in a nearby cabinet, but made no motion to drop his creation or remove his apron or goggles, though Silver was already in the process of doing so. As Silver reached back to untie the strings behind him, Gold took a long stride forward and closed the gap between them, wrapping his arms around his friend's neck and squeezing their bodies closely together. Little space existed amid them, every inch of clothed skin chafing amicably in their tight embrace. Silver found a sly blush creep up and swallow his face with crimson embarrassment.

"W-What are you doing?" Silver stammered, his tongue knotted from their closeness.

"A gold and silver alloy," Gold murmured lowly in his companion's ear, "is more naturally occurring than it is man-made, you know. Their bond is called 'electrum.'"

Gold's sultry baritone made Silver's body heat with the passion that the Bunsen burner smoldered with not a few minutes ago. "S-S-So what?" He managed to sputter. "I don't care."

"The more you know," Gold said smilingly, pulling back to stare at his grey-eyed friend. "Also, the glass tube is still hot, so I'm burning the back of your neck with it."

Silver opened his mouth to respond, but the sweltering, painful blister that was beginning to form right above his vertebrae spoke before he could.