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Tinkering and Studying

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There was the noise again. Tapping, a short ding, a few taps of metal against more metal. Koschei put his book down and leans over to see Theta yet again tinkering with that stupid dinging device he’s been building for hours now. “Why are you even bothering with that? Why aren't you studying?” He asked of his friend.

Theta shrugged in that annoying way of his, not even looking up from his machine. “Stuff studying.” He said. “No point, it isn't like I won’t beat anyone else.” He waved his little rectangle of wiring above his head. “If anyone can tell me what this does and how I make it then I’ll study.”

“Well, could you stop it making those annoying noises, at least? I am studying, even if you aren't.” Koschei said impatiently.

Theta made a non-committed noise and put his machine down for five minutes, before resuming with its construction, though the noises were a little less annoying this time.

An hour later, Koschei could tell that the machine was finished, as Theta jumped up out of his bed and ran over to his. “I finished it, Kosch, and I think it works! Well, it isn't’t dinging at the moment which means it’s doing its job well enough. It isn't disturbing you, anyway.” He was grinning widely, looking up at Koschei for approval that was always hard-won.

Koschei smiled at him, a smile that was completely fake through his annoyance, but Theta knew that that was all that he was getting, and he was happy with that, and that Koschei wasn't knocking the device out of his hands and shouting at him for disturbing him.

It was just how their friendship worked. Koschei protected Theta from all those other people who hated him and called him a freak, and put up with him when he was being annoying (Theta knew that he was always annoying to everyone, so Koschei had a big job), and Theta had to help him with the noises he heard in his head. It was just how it worked, he didn't have to like it. Though maybe he did like it, there was friendship there, and that was something that Theta got from no one else.

“Can I hold it?” Koschei asked, and Theta hesitated. This had happened a few times before, that Koschei had wanted to see it, and he’d dropped it or broken it, and Theta knew it was purposeful even if Koschei claimed it was an accident. But Theta nodded and handed it over reluctantly.

Koschei fiddled with a small stick of metal pointing out of it as Theta watched him nervously. Five, four, three, two, one…Theta knew the snap was coming before it even happened. Hardly audible, that snap meant he’d have to rebuild the whole thing. Of all of the things Koschei could have broken, it was the one circuit that was vital to the mechanism.

Theta sighed, feeling tears well up. He’d spent hours making that, and Koschei did it every time. “That took me ages!” He cried to Koschei and grabbed the machine from his hands, feeling wires snap under his grip. “Why do you always do that?” Theta ran from the room.

Koschei rolled his eyes. Theta always ran whenever anything went remotely wrong for him. He’d have to do something about that. If they were ever in a bad situation, Koschei's focus could be vital for survival and with the drums, he could never focus.

Theta would be back. It was approaching sunset, and therefore curfew, so he’d be sent back to their room pretty soon, and he’d settle down and rebuild the stupid machine.
Theta always rebuilt what Koschei broke.

It was late, though Koschei wasn't sure how late it was, and Theta was still working on rebuilding the machine. Theta was clearly mad at him, he hadn't spoken to his room mate since he got in, and he hadn't stopped building the stupid dinging machine.

“What does it do?” Koschei asked quietly.

“You’re not getting it again.” Theta said sharply.

“I know, Thete.” Koschei said. “I’m just curious.”

Theta smiled brightly at the interest and chance to show off. “It lights up in the presence of shape shifting DNA.”