It wasn’t an extremely potent mix— might cause some long-term stomach aches and some indigestion, but nothing that would really ‘harm’ anyone. Venomous figured it’d be rude to create a deadly virus that could cause long term damage to KO’s friends, that would just make the relationship he’d worked so hard to develop melt away. Besides; Boxman always said “We’re villains, not monsters.”
Despite this, the fluid still looked nasty, the dark purple fluid shifting around as it bubbled and fumed. Venomous fidgeted with the stopper keeping the bubbling mix from escaping. It was a slight modification of the virus he’d released to incapacitate Radicles; This time he’d changed the mix to affect any living thing, though toned down to be less violent. If he was going to be working on stuff like this, he’d need to administer a cure to KO to keep him safe if something went wrong. He’d already distributed the vaccine to Boxman last month, so he’d be alright; Fink was created to be immune to disease, there’d be no reason to distribute it to her. Venomous contemplated giving the vaccine to himself instead… but, KO was his son, Venomous could stand a little bit of a rough fever if he caught it.
Venomous made his decision, calling for KO over the intercom. He figured KO would be spending time with his stepdad, a relationship that he noticed had been developing over the last few weeks. He was happy KO was getting along well with Box. The two really ended up working well with each other once they’d been given time to really get to express their feelings about one another; it was charming to see them playing nice together.
“Oh-Oh, KO! Watch out for the edge! It’s sharp, I don’t want you cutting yourself on it!” Boxman pulled the little boy away from a sheet of metal, setting him on a stool as far away from it as possible. “Sit there until I get my gear on.”
“I don’t get it, Dad #2… how does that...” KO pointed at the metal sheet, “...turn into that?” his finger shifted over to a Darrell, who was working on sweeping up metal dust littering the floor. The Darrell turned and waved enthusiastically at KO, before returning to his work. KO giggled and waved back “...and how come some robots are made in the factory, while others are made in here?” KO stuck his tongue out, grabbing the bottom of the boots that Boxman insisted he wore in the workshop.
“Well, this is where prototypes are made. I make everything here first, then test them to see if I should mass produce them for future use. This is where the original bots were made before they were upgraded to where they are now!” Boxman explained as he rolled up his sleeves, slipping on his massive leather gloves. “This is where everything started at.”
“Like Mr. Logic?” KO exclaimed, remembering the barber’s fascinating story about his past with Boxman and his Junkfish.
“Yes… Like Mr. Logic…” Boxman slipped on his aged Blacksmithing Apron, “Of course, the workshop has become much larger since then. Now, put those on, KO.” Boxman gestured to the extra set of smithing gear, which was a bit oversized for the little boy, the gloves were obviously made to fit an adult.
“KO! Boxman! I need you up at the lab!”
“Shi... Shoot!” Boxman set his welding mask aside before he could put it on, slipping out of his gloves. “Sorry KO, we’ll do this later. Let’s get you to your Dad.”
KO frowned in reply; he’d been beyond excited to see how Boxman worked with metal. “But, I wanted to make a Proto...” KO hesitated as he attempted to remember the word.
“Come on, kid. We don’t want to keep Ven waiting.” Boxman chuckled.
“KO! Please, just let me give you the shot!” Venomous hollered, frustration growing in his voice. He had been applying numbing cream KO’s arm before the kid ran off from the sight of the syringe. He struggled to hold the medical tool, his bare fingers were numbed by the cream, he should’ve wore gloves.
“NO! I won’t let you!” KO tumbled under a counter as far away from Venomous as he could get, red-faced, as tears streamed down his cheeks. “Needles are SCARY!”
Venomous sighed and set the syringe off to the side, taking a moment to cool down. “KO. This is meant to help protect you from any experiments I make in my lab. Boxman took it recently as well, and he was very brave when he did!”
“Really?” KO perked up at the mention of his stepdad. He looked past Venomous to meet eyes with Boxman, who was nervously tapping his fingertips together.
“Well, uh… yeah! I- was brave!” Boxman chuckled in reply, shrugging at KO. “The quicker we get this over with, the quicker we can get back to the workshop!”
“Wait—Boxman! I told you to keep KO out of there—” Venomous groaned and rubbed his temples. “Okay then, KO—if you let me give you this completely painless shot, you can get back to playing safely with Boxy. In addition, you’ll be immune to any experiments from the lab. How does that sound?” He picked up the syringe again and grinned, looking more menacing than friendly.
“Fine, I’ll let you do it! Only if Box holds my hand!” KO crawled out from under the counter, reaching out for Boxman.
Venomous shared a quick look of jealousy with his boyfriend. Boxman grinned back, mouthing, “I think I’m his favorite…” Venomous squinted in annoyance, earning a nervous chuckle from his partner.
Boxman lifted KO up and sat him on the counter, gripping his hands and squeezing them gently; careful to watch his claws on KO’s sensitive skin.
“Alright kid, this’ll only take a moment. As long as you stay relaxed and calm, nothing will hurt.” Boxman stepped aside and allowed Ven to approach, and...
“Aaaand you’re done!” Venomous explained. He quickly applied a Band-Aid, which had little snakes patterned on it. “How do you feel?”
“That… didn’t hurt at ALL!” KO grinned and looked at the bandage before puffing out his chest in pride. “I must be getting really strong!”
“Yeah you are!” both Venomous and Boxman exclaimed in unison. The two chuckling at each other at the coincidence. KO jumped off the counter and tugged on Venomous’ lab coat.
“I’m sorry for being such a baby, dad…” KO was lifted off his feet as Venomous held him in his arms.“You’re no baby! Everyone is scared of something!”
“In fact…” Venomous paused to give Boxman a mischievous look, “Boxman cried after his shot!”
“WHAT!” KO’s mouth formed a big O as he gasped in surprise, watching Boxman’s face turn pink from embarrassment. “You CRIED!?”
Boxman sputtered as he tried to come up with a good comeback, but was inturrupted as Ernesto’s voice came over the intercom. “Sirs, Fink is back from day camp. I advise that great care is taken as you approach her, she’s had a bad time today.”
Boxman perked up and looked to Venomous. “Oh, geez. Me and KO will go take care of her, we’ll make sure she doesn’t bother you too much while you work.”
“Thanks Hon, I’ll see you both at dinner.” Venomous leaned over and kissed Boxman on the lips, causing Boxman to blush even more. KO stuck his tongue out and looked away. “Yuck!”
“See you there too, Babe.” Boxman smiled and pulled away from Venomous, his eyes trailing to the door,”We should get going, Fink isn’t the most patient kid.” He lifted KO onto his shoulders. The two left the room giggling, Boxman’s voice trailing as they playfully ran down the hall “Let’s goooooo!”
Venomous took his time, slowly mixing the beaker with a glass rod, not wanting to burn himself on the hot plate. He’d gotten an order recently for a very potent pest killer, one would kill everything that wasn’t humanoid. The order had been sent in by Billiam, who’d been having issues with bugs on his yacht, apparently.
Venomous wasn’t usually one to multitask, but he needed to keep an eye on his experimental virus.Luckily, it was calm in the lab, such silence was rare in the factory, between the kids and Boxman, it was a nice treat to finally hear his own thoughts.
“This is bliss…”
“BOSS!” Fink’s shrill voice rang out from behind the door, she was approaching quickly.
“I spoke too soon…”
Fink slammed open the door, a grin spreading across her face. “Boss! I blowed up a kid today! You should’ve seen it!” She rushed over and hopped up on the table. A bit of fluid to splash onto the hot plate; it hissed viciously as it evaporated. “Oh, oops! ANYWAYS!”
“Fink! What have I told you about messing around in the lab? You could really do some damage!” He picked up the flask of sludge, setting it on the table behind him. “I need you to get off the table so you don’t get splashed by boiling chemicals…” Venomous gave her a stern look, she hesitated for a moment, then pounced at him.
Venomous wasn’t prepared to catch her.
“Fink! No!” She slammed into him with such force that he toppled over. The Professor’s head smacked against the table behind him as he fell; the flask tipped and released its stopper, causing the bubbling goo to slide out and travel off the edge and onto Venomous’ face. He coughed and sputtered as it stuck to his hair and got its sour fluid his mouth and eyes, stinging and fuming as he attempted to wipe it away. His face smoked and peeled, the solution immediately soaking into the new wounds. “F-Fink! Bring me a towel and get Boxman!” Fink cowered as she saw the damage she caused, and scampered away to get help, her boots scrambling to gain traction on the smooth tile floor.
“Oh sh-shit, this hurts!” Venomous tried and failed again to get the sludge off of him, but it only caused the stinging to increase. He got to his knees and wobbled up onto his feet, feeling around for his chair. It would be best to sit somewhere away from the slimy mess on the floor.
Venomous lost his balance, slipping on the fluid beneath his feet. “D-DAMN!” He shouted as he felt himself falling forward, stomach lurching as he reached out for something to catch himself on. Fortunately the other table was there; unfortunately, the force of him moving the table was enough to cause the beaker of boiling pesticide to topple off its hot plate, splashing him with boiling hot chemicals. It sizzled and hissed as it made contact with the purple sludge, turning it a sickly black.
Venomous let out a piercing scream as the reaction continued.