A/n: There are some slight sexual themes in this chapter. It's also badly written. Just so you know. Enjoy~

CHAPTER 5

For the first time in many years, the Krusty Krab closed early. Infact, they were closed by noon. If Mr. Krabs were dead, he would probably be rolling over in his grave. But Mr. Krabs was alive, though no one knew where he was. Squidward was contemplating just that when he felt something cold and wet press against the left side of his face. He winced and drew away from the object, eyes closed.

Maybe when he opened his eyes, he would be back home, in his bed; possibly being pampered by a sexy nurse.

"You shouldn't have done what you did," Spongebob said so quietly, Squidward almost didn't hear him at all. It was possible that he didn't even realize he'd said it aloud. Squidward pondered on this for just a moment, head aching, hands clenched around the arms of the chair he was sitting in. But seconds later his thoughts were disrupted by an explosion of pain as something went dripping down the side of his face. He winced violently, eyes looking around crazily and then came to rest upon Spongebob. He had an ice pack in one hand and a bottle of something in the other.

"What the hell did you just pour on me?!"

"Alcohol!" the sponge squeaked. "I need to sterilize the wound!"

Squidward snatched the bottle out of his little hand and read the label. It was Clamsterdam vodka. "Are you insane?!" The octopus shrieked and hugged the bottle to his chest. "Don't waste good booze!"

"Squidward, I-" He made to grab the bottle back, but the octopus held it out of his reach.

"No way," he said wildly. "I'm gonna need this later to escape from the blinding pain in my face!"

The yellow guy stared at his friend. Then, as if nothing happened, he went right back to trying to place the cold pack to the octopus's face. Surprisingly, Squidward didn't move away from the descending sponge and, now that he was ready for it this time, he grit his teeth and clenched his fists, as Spongebob slowly pressed the pack to his temple.

The pain flared up to a 9 instantly and he almost pushed the helping hand away again, but refrained. Two minutes passed in silence and agony and then, as if by magic, the throbbing in the side of his face began to subside. He began to relax.

When Squidward reached a hand up and took the ice pack from Spongebob, the boy turned and walked to the other side of the room (where Octavia had been sitting quietly through this entire endeavor). He slumped down behind the desk and stared across the top of it at the wounded one.

Squidward felt his gaze on him, but the cold pack was covering most of the exposed side of his face, so this was a small comfort. It also helped that he now held in his other hand a little mind-numbing escape. He took a sip from this escape and let it burn all the way down.

"So," Squidward said loudly, having found his voice again. "Why is that?" He was referring to the sponge's previous statement.

"What?" Spongebob asked instantly, his eyes brightening with interest. The theory that Spongebob had not meant to speak aloud was proving true.

"You said I shouldn't have done what I did," Squidward replied, unable to control the annoyance building in his voice. "It's your fault this happened in the first place."

Instead of retorting back at him, Spongebob hung his head. "I know..." He said quietly.

For some reason, this only seemed to anger Squidward further. It was just like Spongebob to blame himself before others; he didn't need reassurance about that.

"But," the yellow sponge continued suddenly. Squidward looked over at him. Octavia was sitting on the corner of the desk and her eyes were glued to the floor. She hadn't moved for a while. She was in a daze, he assumed. Her teal hair hung around her face and darkened it.

"-it alone?"

"What?" Squidward mumbled and looked back at the sponge again. He hadn't been listening and Spongebob looked regrettably hurt by this.

"If-if I'm such a nuisance to you all the time, then why did you bother getting in a fight?!"

Squidward rolled his eyes. "Oh please, you think I did that for you?" he scoffed. "I was already mad that you caused our customers to almost tear this place apart so, yes, I needed to hit something... or someone."

"You mean 'someonesss'."

Octavia said this last part and Squidward shot her a glare from his one good eye, but she wasn't looking at him. Her eyes were still fixed on the carpeted floor of the office and she didn't even seem as if she knew she'd spoken. Squidward watched her cautiously.

"They sure got you good, though..." Spongebob whispered, his face sinking deeper toward the top of the desk. The octopus had been hit with a glass during the brawl, right at the edge of his already blackened eye. He might've lost the eye completely if he'd been an inch to the left. Now he sat with a face that was twice the size it used to be.

"Would you stop looking at me like that?!" The octopus snapped. "I'm not a child! Stop talking to me like I'm a child!"

Spongebob fell silent and with him so did the rest of the room. They sat there like that for a while, the only sound coming from the crinkling of the ice pack as Squidward shifted it on his face.

Eventually the office phone rang and they all jumped (the squid even let out a tiny cry of surprise). No one picked it up, though. There was a tenseness hanging heavy in the air, because they all knew whoever answered that phone was the manager. But Spongebob didn't move. Squidward looked from him, to the phone, back to him again and then blew a deep breath out of his lungs.

"You're kidding me, right?" He said lazily. "Pick it up, already. What kind of manager are you?"

The yellow sponge squirmed in his seat behind the desk. He stared at the phone as if it were something that might bite him if he moved, but he reached a hand toward it, regardless.

Squidward kept his gaze on Spongebob. He held his breath as the yellow hand edged closer to the ringing phone. Seconds later his hand was on it, but then he paused and didn't pick it up. Squidward could see his hand was shaking, even as he grasped the phone's handle. Spongebob's face began to turn red with every ring beneath his palm.

Octavia was staring now. It was the first time since they'd gone in that room that she'd actually paid attention to everything that was going on, though she still didn't say anything. She watched Spongebob's face and nothing more.

"Squidward..." Spongebob said faintly.

The octopus didn't say anything, but he did stand up. He tossed the ice pack behind him into the chair and then walked to the front of the desk. He glanced at the squid to his right and her eyes met his for a mere second. Then he looked down at the sponge.

"Pick it up," he said calmly.

Spongebob slowly lifted his head and met his comrade's gaze.

"Squidward..." He repeated, his voice falling even fainter.

Squidward didn't move an inch more. He hardened his stare on the boy, unblinking. "Pick it up or I'm never speaking to you again."

Spongebob's hand tightened on the phone. Octavia saw it. Squidward did not.

"You know what?" Squidward continued, yawning. "Do what you want. It's a win-win situation anyway. I either don't have to be manager or I end up never having to listen to your incessant chatter-"

Spongebob's hand gripped the phone tightly and snapped it up to his ear. "Thank you for c-calling the Krusty Krab," he blurted into the receiver. "This is... This is S-" Spongebob pulled the phone away from his ear and cleared his throat, though there was nothing to clear. His hand began to shake again. "This is... Sponge..." He trailed off, the phone still away from his face. His eyes stared off into space, right through Squidward's stomach. His lip quivered in the slightest and Squidward saw it. Octavia didn't; she was busy looking at the octopus. The next second he had wrenched the phone from the sponge's hand and said loudly into it: "We're closed, so kindly fuck off for a while." Then he slammed it back into its holder.

Spongbob didn't even scold him for using foul language with a customer. He kept staring straight ahead, completely through Squidward's midsection. Squidward frowned a little deeper.

"Let's get outta here," he sighed and brought a hand up to rub his head, remembered the wound and brought the tentacle back down again.

Spongebob nodded absentminded-ly. Octavia watched the sponge with concern.

"And tomorrow?" Squidward said seriously, leaning down on the desk so that his eyes met the blue ones. "You're cooking the patties. Enough of this bullshit."

Spongebob's eyes focused on the yellow ones in front of him, though only one of them could really be called "yellow" (the other was more red than anything and swollen to all holy hell). Then he nodded again.

What is up with these two..? Octavia thought, as she stared in astonishment at them. Especially at Squidward. So many different emotions resided in this asshole octopus. First he doesn't care, then he does, then he's making Spongebob cry, then he's kicking some major ass for the little guy (even if he did deny it), then he's saying he doesn't want to be manager, but then he goes and deals with the phonecall anyway. What was he thinking? What were his true intentions? Octavia had an idea, but she decided to watch how things unfurled, instead of getting too involved... There might be more to this octopus yet...

"Squidward, help me. I can't move my legs."

"I'm not carrying you. Stop being dramatic."

x-x-x

They decided to start things over the next day. Spongebob was upset by it, of course, because he just wanted things to go back to the way they used to be. He was okay just being the fry-cook. More than okay, actually. It was just more difficult to admit. The Krusty Krab was Spongebob's entire life. If it was in trouble, he wanted to be the guy that fixed everything. But he also was very compassionate, understanding, patient...

Enough of this bullshit.

Spongebob kept repeating it over in his head. Squidward was so mean... It wasn't as if he were trying to cause problems on purpose. He just wanted to help.

"Come on, Gary!" Spongebob called up the stairs. "Dinner is ready!"

He was back home. Octavia would be there, too, but she said she wanted to walk Squidward to his door. That was so nice of her. Spongebob hoped that the two of them would get along soon. They just needed to get to know each other better.

The sponge dropped the spoon he'd been washing and it fell into the sink with a clang.

"But what if they never become friends?" He said fearfully to himself. If they never became friends, then Spongebob would have to divide his time between the two of them. And let's not forget Patrick. And Sandy. "Oh no, this isn't good, Gary!" Spongebob cried to the snail that just slid into the kitchen. Gary, mouth open, ready to take a bite of food from his bowl, suddenly froze, staring at the sponge with caution. He then backed out of the kitchen again and disappeared.

"Psh, you're right Gary," Spongebob said, turning back to the sink. "It's too hard not being friends with Squidward. They'll be bff's in no time!"

There came a quiet meow from the other room, but Spongebob continued to smile to himself and didn't hear it. Everything was going to be just fine...

x-x-x

If it wasn't bad enough that in the past two days Squidward had been punched, slammed with a door, punched some more, cut with glass and burned with vodka, all on the left side of his face, he was now about to be slapped on the right side. Only he caught her around the wrist and held her hand at bay. She balled it into a fist and snarled at the octopus.

"Oh, so you're left-handed then," he remarked thoughtfully. "I do appreciate that you tried to spare my left side, though."

She suddenly sent her right fist straight up between them and into the octopus's jaw. Squidward stumbled backward, biting his lip in the process. Before he was able to fall all the way to his back, the octopus caught himself with one arm against the side of the couch, then reflexively brought the other arm up to his mouth.

"That's for being an insensitive jerk!" The squid yelled and next door a little snail's ears perked up.

He hadn't expected her to hit him. It came out of nowhere. The moment they got into his house, she'd rounded on him. Spouting some shit about Spongebob and how Squidward was... What was the word? "Diminishing" his happiness... He told her to mind her own fucking business and, well, that's where the attempted slap came into play. He really didn't expect her to suddenly send an uppercut through his jaw, though.

Squidward drug his arm across his lips and smeared red across his cheek. "Tch..." He spat blood from his mouth and glared up at her. "Well, I just can't catch a break today, can I?"

"You don't deserve one!"

"That was real cute, you know?" He simpered, dodging her insult with ease. "You lead Spongebob to believe that you wanted to walk poor, hurt me safely back home-"

"Oh please," Octavia spat. "Spare me the speech. We both know I don't like you."

"Oh what," Squidward replied sarcastically. "Still mad I didn't let you, a STRANGER, into my home?" There was a soft poit poit poit sound as the octopus made his way down the hall.

"Maybe I am- hey!" She called from the doorway. "Come back here!"

"Excuse me while I wash the fucking blood off my face!" He belted over his shoulder. Then he turned a corner and arrived in the dimly lit half bathroom. The one upstairs was much larger and had a full jacuzzi bathtub. This one had only a sink and a toilet, so it was barely large enough for one person, let alone two. Perhaps that's why the squid didn't try to walk in. She simply followed the octopus and then proceeded to lean against the doorframe and watch him.

Squidward continued to ignore her while he splashed water on his face. Once the wounds on the side of his face got wet he sucked in his breath and held it. It was going to hurt for days...

"I'm sorry I hit you," Octavia suddenly hissed through clenched teeth.

Squidward looked back at her with wide eyes. "Was that really an apology?" He asked in honest astonishment. "Because you look like you're going to hit me again."

The squid was breathing heavily through her tiny nose and her brow was drawn so far down toward her green eyes it nearly disappeared within them. She did look pissed. Especially by the way she kept flexing her hands against her folded arms.

Squidward stopped washing. He wiped the water from his eyes and simply stared at her. She was really losing her shit. "Hey," he said slowly. "No offense, but should I be fearing for my life right now?"

Octavia closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She let it out very slowly and then finally seemed to calm down. When she opened her eyes again, Squidward had straightened back up and was leaning against the sink, eyes locked on her. "I'm sorry I hit you," she said again, but this time she sounded sincere. Squidward couldn't look away from her blue lips. "I was feeling at fault for what happened," she continued in the same soft tone. "I got mad. It's something I need to work on."

"What are you talking about?" Squidward interjected, putting a hand up. "At fault for what?"

Octavia's cheeks turned slightly purple as a faint blush graced them. "I didn't cook the food quickly enough," she said offensively. "If it wasn't for me, then the customers wouldn't have-"

"This was SPONGEBOB'S fault," he said so slowly and articulately, you would have thought he were trying to communicate with someone who didn't speak English. "And I'll let you in on a little secret... It's always his fault!"

"Why do you do that?" The squid suddenly said, her voice turning back into poison. "Why are you so mean to him? Spongebob is so kind and forgiving and you are just-"

"Don't analyze us," Squidward said taking a step (the only step) toward her and closing the small distance between them. "You don't know him. You can't know him. You've barely been around for three days. And I can see you're already starting to outstay your welcome."

"So I wonder why you did it then," Octavia continued, eyes glued to his.

"What?" he replied, feeling genuinely confused.

"I wonder why you got all noble over someone who pisses you off so much," she replied, but her voice grew softer with the words.

Squidward's heart beat a little faster as she spoke. He glanced down at her lips, then back up to her eyes. She had moved even closer and he hadn't realized it. "What?" He responded again, voice faltering only slightly.

"If you hate Spongebob so much, why did you defend him?"

Squidward couldn't move. He could hardly even concentrate on what she was saying, because her face was so close that he could see that her eyes were not only green, but there was a ring of gold around the iris, as well. It glinted in the soft glow of the bathroom light. "I already... told him..." Squidward mumbled, as he tried to figure out what she was trying to do. "I didn't do it... for him-" Her hands (tentacles, really) had come up and were resting on his shoulders. She rubbed them gently, almost caressing. Squidward's breath caught in his throat and he held it.

"But you lied..." Octavia continued, her hands now running up his neck. "Didn't you?"

"I-I... I..." The octopus felt his knees buckle as the squid's blue lips were so close to his that her breath warmed and slightly moistened his skin.

"Didn't you?" She whispered directly into his mouth and her lips brushed his.

Squidward's lips parted slightly, wanting to be ready to greet hers the moment she decided to close that last fraction of space between them. He let out a soft "yes", eyes closed in ecstasy. Sure she was a loud mouth sometimes, but she had a damn nice body and those lips were soft, what little of them he could feel. Maybe they could make this a regular thing. He didn't have to speak to her at all; they could just kiss sometimes or touch or more... And with that thought in his mind, Squidward went in for the kill.

Only there was no kill. Not even a little bit. Squidward leaned in to connect with her lips, but all he met was air. He opened his eyes and met a pair that stared back at him with such demented satisfaction that he drew back from her in shock. Though, she still had a hold on his head, and she was surprisingly strong, so he couldn't move very far, regardless.

"That's what I thought," the squid whispered.

Squidward's eyes grew wide and he finally found the strength to push away from her. He stumbled back against the wall of the bathroom and Octavia caught the doorframe with her left arm.

"What's wrong?" She half laughed at him. "Mad that I got you to admit that you did something NICE for someone else? Or-"

"You bitch," he seethed, feeling his face get red from anger and embarrassment.

"-is it that I didn't let you, a STRANGER," she continued, completely unfazed from the insult. "Kiss me?"

"You bitch," Squidward said again, but this time he sounded just slightly less confident in the words.

"Call me what you want," Octavia raised her voice and roughly wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "But I will NEVER kiss you." She said it with every bit of disgust and hate that she could muster. Squidward glared back at her, equally hateful, and shamefully hurt by her words. Then she walked away and out of the octopus's house, leaving him there to deal with his anger (and sexual frustration) on his own.

"That bitch..." He said to the empty bathroom, as he slid down and onto the toilet. She knew exactly how to play him. Even as his anger grew, he felt his arousal grow more. How shamefully annoying. He couldn't even control it. She was hot. And, strangely, the angrier she made him, the hotter he was for her. He didn't know whether he wanted to choke her or let her choke him. "Yeah, but that's all she's good for," he said aloud, even as he took himself in his hand. "A tease... Just a raging bitch and a tease." He then spent the next ten minutes relieving himself.