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The Goldberg Approach

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(Author's note: Part of ancient journal fic backlog.)

 

6:00AM
Watari wakes up and thinks, "Today is definitely the day. This has gone on long enough."

 

7:00AM
Watari enters the JuOhCho offices with a smile on his face and a spring in his step. Everyone he passes remarks on how he looks like he is in a good mood. He just grins at them and says that he has the feeling that it will be a good day.

 

7:15AM
Watari arrives in his laboratory and checks his email. He has 41 messages since the previous evening, most of them centered around some computer problem or another. Eleven of the rest are from the Count, who obviously became bored over the evening and started sending increasingly lewd limericks out on the staff email list.

One email is from Tsuzuki, asking that Watari take a look at his laptop because it is, "making a buzzy noise and the screen is going all foogly and warbly and Hisoka is refusing to let me keep it on my desk anymore because he says it might set the paperwork on fire."

Watari smiles and thinks, "Perfect." He sends an email back to Tsuzuki telling him to bring his laptop in to Watari's laboratory for repair oh, around 11 o'clock?

 

7:59AM
Watari puts on his lab goggles, a lead apron, and some heavy rubber gloves. With a flourish, he pulls a white sheet off a large machine in a dark corner of his laboratory and dives into its guts with a wrench, a pair of wirecutters, a can of WD40, and a roll of duct tape.

8:01AM
003, observing all of this, hightails it out of the room. Just to be safe.

10:03AM
Watari emerges from the machine's guts triumphant. He eyes the machine critically and turns it 6.5 degrees clockwise, eyes it again, and turns it 0.6 degrees counterclockwise. He then goes to clean up a bit. Also, to have some tea.

10:50AM
Watari puts on his lab coat and walks over to the newly-enhanced machine. It something resembles an electron microscope with a laser attachment and has many, many buttons and levers and dials and thingamajigs on it. One button is shiny and bright red. He installed that one specially.

Watari turns down the lights around the machine just a tad and pulls the sheet back over the contraption, artfully arranging it so that part of it is uncovered, including the bright red button. He considers his handiwork, twitches the sheet once more, and nods in satisfaction. He goes to sit at his desk and pretend to work on some of the server issues that have come up in the past week.

11:03AM
Watari looks up at the clock and then at the distinct lack of Tsuzuki in his lab. That's all right. He'd factored this into his plans.

11:42AM
Four server gremlins firmly squashed, Watari is nonetheless starting to think that his beautiful plan might have to wait for another day when Tsuzuki runs in, panting and apologizing profusely. His excuse for why he's late involves something about doughnuts and Terazuma and a challenge and Hisoka being mad at him. Hisoka, hovering over at the door with a distinctly unamused expression, offers no explanations, but his expression states that he believes he is partnered with an idiot and could Watari perhaps install a brain in him while they're there?

11:45AM
Tsuzuki hands over his laptop and demonstrates the problem, which, indeed, is a foogly screen and a distressing buzzing noise that is probably a loose wire. Watari assures Tsuzuki that he can take care of it promptly, but he's got to finish this one thing first, and could Tsuzuki perhaps put the laptop over on that shelf over there by the machine in the corner?

11:46AM
Tsuzuki places the laptop on the indicated shelf. His attention is caught by the profusion of shiny distraction under the sheet, and he twitches visibly when he sees the large red button.

Hisoka, Partner Senses tingling, strides over with a frown on his face and tells Tsuzuki to finish up so they could go and for God's sake, don't touch anything.

Watari, pretending that he's still absorbed in working on the computer system, thinks vaguely that this is too easy and almost feels bad. Almost.

11:48:32 AM
Tsuzuki, drawn by either Hisoka's scolding or the inexonorable pull of "what does THIS do?", asks Watari as much at the same time as: A) Hisoka turns an interesting shade of red and makes a sound something like a teakettle about ready to boil over
B) Watari looks up in mock-distraction (because he wouldn't want to miss this)
and C) Tsuzuki presses the red button.

11:49:40 AM
The machine gives a grunt, a click, and then an impressively resonant whirring of powering-up electronics.

11:50 AM
Lights come on under the sheet, giving the impression that the machine is some kind of living creature that just woke up and is none too pleased. An electronic voice states, "Powering up. Time to fire, two minutes. Have a nice day."

Tsuzuki, trying to make placatory motions towards the machine, helpfully tries hitting the red button a few more times, just in case it's an on/off switch.

The machine responds, "Firing time adjusted. Time to fire, five seconds. Five...four...three...."

Hisoka drags his partner down behind a lab table at the same time as Watari covers his tea cup with a no-doubt-incredibly-important and five-year-old report in his To Be Read pile.

11:51AM
The machine, now lit up and flashing like a Christmas tree, starts to glow ominously around the end of a sheeted protrusion.

Tsuzuki, peeking out from under the table, wide-eyed, says something to the effect of, "Oh, awesome, it blows stuff up!"

Hisoka looks as if he is wondering if he put in a change of partner request if Tatsumi would just mysteriously "lose" it again, because surely there were limits?

"...two...one. Firing." With a bang that shakes dust loose from the ceiling and a high-pitched whine, a beam of light in a rather fetching shade of chartreuse cuts through the wall beside the machine like a hot knife through butter. It slices into an unattended storage closet, then another wall, then the top fourth of the training dojo, then through another wall to nick a few critical bundles of wires near a switching box, then through another wall to finally come to rest in a burning brown streak against the casing of one of the main generators.

The generator clangs ominously, whines, and finally overheats and dies with a rather anticlimactic wisp of smoke.

The lights flicker and go out, and emergency power comes on a moment later, dim and yellow.

11:52AM
Tsuzuki, examining the dinner-plate-sized, black-edged, smoking hole in the wall (and the next, and the next, and the next), says, "...oops?"

Hisoka explodes in rather spectacular fashion, throws up his hands, and stomps out. Tsuzuki apologizes profusely (again) to Watari and runs after him.

Watari smiles, picks the report up off his tea cup, shakes the dust off it, and puts it back in its pile. He sips his tea and enjoys the last few minutes of quiet before people realize that their phones and email won't work and come to bother him in person.

12:07PM
Watari, after an inspection reveals exactly what he expected, enlists the help of a few junior shinigami to run around to all the departments and tell them that, "An accidental explosion has taken out the agency's email and phone lines for the time being. Power may also be intermittent. Dead outlets and blown fuses should be reported to maintenance. Repairs are commencing. IT suggests that everyone take a long lunch."

1:53PM
After taking his own advice, Watari returns and starts fixing things. "Fixing things" consists of flipping the reset switch on the generator, which hums to life, none the worse for its slight heatbath. Its side is really quite laser-proof.

The lights come back on...in certain sections of the building. Others, most notably the Records, Payroll, and Accounting divisions, remain dark.

Watari smiles and returns to the lab to spend an hour or so working on his latest batch of genderswitch serum.

3:05PM
Watari, in the interest of making it look as if he's actually trying to fix the problem, lets the email and phone systems work for about fourteen minutes before letting them crash again. It's a bit cruel, but he doesn't feel too bad about it.

3:07PM
Watari walks back into the generator room and thoughtfully flips several fuses, restoring power to the Records, Payroll, and Accounting divisions for roughly three minutes before flipping them back off. He walks back to his lab, whistling, imagining that he can hear the frustration from the Accounting division all the way across the building.

4:11PM
Watari decides that it's been long enough and flips the fuses for the affected divisions. Lights come back on. He subsequently pokes at a few wires and the email and phone systems for the building come back online.

Mostly.

4:55PM - 5:37PM
Watari has a visitor.

Tatsumi strides in, frowning. "Watari, my email has not been restored, nor my phone."

Watari blinks innocently. "Really? Hmm...yes, I suppose that makes sense. The power surge would have particularly affected your section. The connection boxes might need to be replaced...or possibly your whole switchbox needs to be replaced." He beams at Tatsumi.

Tatsumi rubs his temples. "Could you do it quickly, please?"

Watari shook his head mournfully. "Unfortunately, we're out of parts. Maintenance used most of them fixing other junctions earlier today. We should have some more coming Monday morning or so?"

"Monday morning?" Tatsumi twitches, as if he's already exhausted the amount of work he can do without access to the new electronic accounting or recordskeeping systems and is going a bit into withdrawal. "That's four whole days! What is my division supposed to do in the meantime?"

"Well," Watari points out, "It IS almost five o'clock. You could, oh, I don't know, go home and relax?"

Tatsumi just looks at him.

Watari purses his lips, tapping them with one finger. "Hmm...you know...we might have the parts to do it, now that I think about it...somewhere in storage...." He rubs his forehead. "Oh, it's so hard to remember when I'm hungry...."

Tatsumi's eyes narrow at him suspiciously.

Watari smiles at him. "Mmm...no, I'm afraid I can't remember. Oh look, and it's after 5:00 already! I guess that it'll have to wait until Monday after all."

Watari cheerfully shuts down his computer and shrugs out of his lab coat. Once the computer's hum is absent, he can hear what just might be the grinding of Tatsumi's teeth.

"What do you want, Watari?"

"Hmm? Whatever do you mean?" Watari slings his coat around his shoulders. "Oh, though now that you mention it, I do have this incredible craving for...oh...." He flaps his hands thoughtfully. "...something homemade...something nutty and savory and involving poultry, maybe with a side of sweet rice--"

"...this is extortion."

"--ooh, and some chocolate mousse! I do so love chocolate mousse!"

Tatsumi twitches, as if thinking of how much he hates making chocolate mousse.

Watari smiles at him, shrugging into his coat.

Tatsumi grates out, "...if I make you pecan chicken with orange rice and chocolate mousse tonight, will you fix my division?"

Watari beams. "Oooh, Tatsumi-san, you're so generous!"

"By tomorrow?"

"Only if you sit down and eat it with me."

"Deal."

Watari snaps his fingers. "You know, I do think that I remember where those parts are! Why don't you go start cooking, and I'll get right on that!"

"Yes," Tatsumi grits out. "Why don't you do that?" He turns and stalks out of the lab.

Watari, beaming, pulls the required parts out from a box under his desk. He waits long enough for Tatsumi to have left, then goes into Accounting and rips out the old switchbox, replacing it in five minutes flat. Humming, he heads back to the lab and makes sure that the system isn't set to reset and activate that node until tomorrow morning.

After all, he wouldn't want Tatsumi to be tempted to interrupt their nice, leisurely dinner with some late-night work.

Watari pats the machine with its shiny red button fondly, then switches off the lights and heads, whistling, for his dinner date.