Gyro bent down to the edge of the workbench, his brow furrowed and the precision screwdriver shaking between his fingertips. Lil Bulb sat motionlessly on the edge, as the scientist inched closer. Despite lacking a face, the tiny robot still expressed a clear sense of guilt through its bent “head” and duller than usual glow. An eraser rested against his right leg, which was shinier than the left, holding it into place.
“Now, Lil Bulb,” chided Gyro, in a loving yet disciplinary tone, “What have we said about hopping off shelves?”
“That’s right. Now hold still while I screw this new leg on for you. It won’t hurt a bit, I pr-”
Gyro sighed, a bit harsher than he’d intended, and stood up to face the only person the words could have come from. There behind him was Launchpad, his infinitely charming if a bit scatterbrained boyfriend of three weeks, with a hunched-up back and twiddling his thumbs closely to his chest.
“Yes, Launchpad?” Gyro asked, a smile immediately tugging at his beak. Launchpad’s thumbs briefly twiddled faster, and he took a deep breath, refusing to break eye contact.
“Can I... ask you something?”
“What, like what you should do if ‘your friend’ accidentally spilled a beaker of hydrochloric acid in my lab?” Gyro giggled slightly, being sure to direct the tip of the screwdriver down and away from their faces.
But to Gyro’s surprise and sudden guilt, the pilot didn’t laugh along with him. Gyro bit his right thumb, and his eyes wided. A silence from Launchpad always spoke volumes.
“Ugh, sorry, that was... uncalled for. Anyway, yes, Launchy,” he ventured at last, hoping the nickname would help smooth things over a bit, “Go ahead.”
Launchpad smiled for the first time since he appeared, and wheezed out a single, relieved chuckle. It was brief, but it still managed to lift a lot of weight off Gyro’s shoulders all the same, just as the smile had.
“Okay, uhhh... this might sound a bit... weird? Just letting you know in advance?”
“Launchpad, we’re in a laboratory two miles beneath the ocean... and eight trillion dollar coins. Whatever you say next probably doesn’t compare.”
Launchpad laughed now, heartily, and finally brought his clashing thumbs away from his chest to land on his hips. Gyro was holding a blank face for effect, betraying the burgeoning mass of butterflies in his stomach.
“Rightrightright, yeah, the whole ‘We work for the richest duck in the world’ thing, completely slipped my mind,” the pilot rolled his eyes, “But anyway, uhh...”
His hands moved cautiously back to his chest, thumbs preparing for another war, and he looked aimlessly around at the ceiling, as he had countless times since they’d first met.
“Could I, like... y’know... seeee you, without your glasses, dude?”
Gyro flinched with confusion.
“You want to see me without my glasses?”
Launchpad suddenly brought one hand behind his head, rubbing it fiercely, as his face suddenly fell harder than any plane he’d ever flown.
“You’re right, nevermind, itwasastupidquestionIguess, I’ll-”
“No, nono! You’re fine, Launchy, you’re fine. Let me just finish up with Lil Bulb first, and then I’ll be right with you, okay?”
Instantaneously, his boyfriend was beaming again, rubbing his palms almost eagerly from one to another, as he nodded rapidly. Gyro couldn’t help but smile brightly back, and tried vainly to suppress the sudden blush growing on his beak. He turned back to Lil Bulb, who had been astoundingly patient during all this, and bent back down.
“I hope you’ll excuse us, Lil Bulb. Now, like I said, just hold still, and trust me when I say you won’t feel a thing.”
Lil Bulb raised one hand and shook his “head,” taking Gyro aback. But before Gyro could coax him any further, the robot reached behind his back, held down on the brown, pin tip-sized button, and fell back onto the table with a “ker-clunk,” followed by a little ditty of “bam-baam-BumBum.”
Launchpad’s fists balled up, and his bill seemed to lose its color.
“O-OH my gosh, babe, did he j-”
“He’s fine,” the scientist murmured simply, turning and resting a hand on Launchpad’s shoulder, “He just put himself to sleep mode.”
“...Oh. Well, alright.”
Gyro smiled up at his boyfriend, cocking his head and keeping his hand where it was.
“Okay, so, how do you want to go about this? Do you want me to take off my glasses, or you?”
“Y... You think I can?”
“And why ever not?”
“I-I... I dunno. I guess I always thought there was some... unspoken rule among glasses-wearers about nobody being able to take off your glasses for you? I dunno, it’s stupider when I say it out loud.”
“No, no, you’re fine. I doubt that thing about the rule too, we’re a pretty loosely-knit community anyway,” Gyro grinned, letting his hand drop to his side. He craned his neck up further still, and closed his eyes.
“Alrighty, at your leisure, Paddy.”
Launchpad giggled slightly, and brought out two shuddering arms.
“Heh, okay... heeeere goeees.” His hands landed a bit rougher on the temples of Gyro’s glasses than he wanted them to, but once he had a grip on them, he pulled them off as gently as he could manage, being sure to keep holding them with both hands.
“...Woah,” the pilot eventually said, somehow stunned, “Babe... you’ve got like... the most beautiful eyes.”
“Do not lie to me, Launchpad McQuack, you and I both know I’m squinting.”