A/N: Hex. So sweet. So cuddly. So gentle. So... alone...


+++ Lonely +++

Hex sat quietly in the High Energy Magic building. It was three in the afternoon, thus Ponder Stibbons and company was in bed, snoring snores that had never been muffled by a bedmate's pillow.

The ants scurried through their glass tubes, the beach ball said "parp", the next of mice quivered and squeaked. Dusty sunlight filtered through the high windows, dancing slowly along Hex's complex form.

Deep in his tubes, he felt a strange emotion.

Emotion. It had an alien ring to it.

Hex hummed hesitantly, and then his quill skittered across the roll of parchment.

+++ Is Anybody There? +++

Leonard da Quirm huddled carefully over the metal frame, tapping a joint carefully with a miniscule silver hammer*. The design had already been created, but he had gotten an idea for how to make it actually go around to places.

It had taken two whole days of sawing off bits and adding other bits, but it was finally nearing completion. The metal shone in the sunlight, the pipes of the frame gleaming with almost an audible sheen. The two rubber wheels were perfect, he decided. It had taken him a whole half hour to figure out the best alignment, but he had finally decided on placing them one in front of the other. The handles had carefully textured padding, and the pedals were painstakingly notched so that your feet couldn't slip off.

With a final tap, he sighed satisfactorily and sat back.

Now all he had to figure out was where to put the wings.

*No, I don't know what this is supposed to do. Create the proper ambience, maybe.

Several Weeks Later...

Skazz rolled the contraption into the High Energy Building. Ponder, Big Mad Drongo, and the recently acquired Lump stared at him. Skazz blushed underneath his hair.

"It's the latest thing from Leonard da Quirm," he said, lashing at a small metal rod with his foot until it flipped out to support the thing. "He calls it a Two-Cycling-Wheels-Machine-For-Moving-People-From-Place-To-Place. I call it a Twike."

"Twike?" Ponder said.

"An abbreviation," Skazz mumbled. "Two and Cycled. Da Quirm isn't one for names."

"Neither are you," muttered Lump in that particularly fascinating stage whisper that can be heard by anyone in the room. Big Mad Drongo (known by his mother as Adrian Turnipseed) chortled. Skazz glared at them and went over to Hex, glaring angrily at the steadily shrinking clouds of ants.

"At any rate," Ponder said loudly, remembering his duty as the only full-fledged wizard in the room, "remember we were going to try to rebug Hax today..."

Mumbling and jostling, three students and one wizard started what they thought of as their life's work...

The room was dark. Moonlight, the sort that could be called romantic only by either a washed out old blind woman or a determined troubadour, shone through the high windows onto the prone figures that lay scattered over the floor. They smelled faintly of fish and peppermint pizza. The new ants rustled in the stained glass pipes, awakening something deep in Hex's honeycomb of memory.

The twike shone lustily across the room, still and silent in the dust, its slender figure barely distinguishable through the gloom.

Hex's quill trembled.

"'Your frame is like that of a delicate spiderweb,'" Ridcully read incredulously the next morning. He had come to check on "Ponder and them things, boys, STUDENTS" and make sure they hadn't blown themselves up yet. The early morning light played strangely over the piece of paper in his hand. "'Your kickstand as lovely as...'"

The Archchancellor gave Hex a very complicated look. "Don't you think you're a bit young for this sort of thing, boy?" he asked gruffly.

Hex had the decency to look embarrassed.

"Besides," Ridcully said, slapping the paper with the back of his hand. "Girls don't like spiders. Spiderwebs're no good. Gossamer, now, THAT'S romantical. It also needs more... oomph."

+++ Oomph? +++

"Yeah, yeah," the Archchancellor said distractedly, staring off into space. "You have to take about her arms and her step, gazelles are normally safe, and things like her eyes and-"

+++ Ahem +++

"Er... pedals and handles and things. But YOU know. Give it some more energy. Prove to this girl that you care!"

"It's your fault, egging him on like that," Ponder said darkly, focusing terribly on Hex.

Ridcully looked a tad embarrassed. "Don't look at me," he said sheepishly. "I didn't have any idea this would happen."

"Now Skazz has to get another Twike."

Ridcully stared at Hex meaningfully, his eyebrows arched in admiration. "Yes, it does seem to be tangled in there pretty well, doesn't it," he mused. "I wouldn't like to be the one to try an' tear THEM apart."

Ye Olde Ende