Shiny Happy People

Chapter 7

11:30 AM, MARCH 14 XXXX

Held's only spoken to Levia and Behemo for a while before the elder sister drags her younger brother out in her excitement to show him more things, but he's picked up enough from the exchanges.

Behemo is so alike, and so unlike Levia.

They've only exchanged pleasantries and each others' names, but Held instantly took a liking to the young man. Judging from the way he dressed, he came from older, more conservative times. Behemo was polite-- he used his proper honorifics, something that Held figured Gumillia would like. He seemed quieter than Levia, but that was too early to judge. Maybe if the young man started opening up, he might be more talkative, or even more so than his counterpart.

What unnerved Held, however, was the recent news about a massacre of 17 customers in Hammond Bar.

Parma told him that the two handled the ambush fairly calmly, no signs of Malice as they carried out their kills. 'They were still rational minded,'Held remembered Parma saying. 'Creative with the cane, the boy. Efficient, the girl. Kept their heads and looked out for each other, so there's proof of the fact that they were acting sanely-- if you count that as sane.'

Sane.

He's not so sure what's the definition of 'sane' anymore.

Held almost thought that Levia's alternate self was female, given that Behemo wore a dress when he was treated by Michaela and Levia in that abandoned hospital. It also came across as a shock when just a few weeks ago, Levia was fixated on ending Behemo, but after bringing him into this universe she pleaded for his life, hysterically panicking when he started bleeding from his nose and ears.

In a short moment, he was the dearest, most important person to her.

The professor sat back down onto his seat and ran a hand through his green hair, sighing.


“This isn't your age of tea and crumpets,” Levia began.

“...there weren't any tea and crumpets back where I was anyways,” Behemo cut off, but Levia continued.

“...so for starters, no one here has a last name. Even if they do, they take it from the parent that they're born from, either mother or father. Whichever rolls off your tongue best.”

The neurologist held her counterpart's hand, never letting go as they walked past a few more doors to enter a room with Levia's name on it, as well as her field. Behemo never bothered to look-- he'll look at it later, because he's got a very strong feeling that he'll be seeing it a lot from then on. The elder twin unlocked the door to her office, opened it, and felt the instant pang of shame hammering in her stomach.

Her office was terribly untidy-- no, that was an understatement. Her office had clothes all over the place-- coats on the table, coats on the chair and the occasional underwear on the sofa. Piles of theses and papers were stacked together on the tables and floors as if it was a lawyer's office, and beakers of unfinished experiments stayed stale in room temperature, covered with papers wrapped with rubber bands to seal them.

“Oh god, I'm sorry-- I'll clean this up in a second…!” Levia gasped, hurriedly trying to gather whatever she could to stuff them in any empty compartment she could think of.

Embarrassing.

“How do you work in here?” Behemo asked light-heartedly, trying not to embarrass Levia even further. Really, her office is incredible-- the busiest people tend to be the least neat. He looked at the walls-- there's a bit of art here and there, so maybe that was the only redeeming factor of the trashy office.

“S-Shut up!” Levia retorted, eventually giving up on her futile attempts. She spotted an amused grin on Behemo's face, making her hiss a bit. “You're not exactly neat either, the last time I remembered!”

“No,” Behemo said, trying to be cockily ignorant. “I'm the epitome of neatness.”

“You keep that up, and you won't get your own office,” she grumbled, throwing a coat aside.

“My own office?” Behemo asked, perplexed. He's never even thought of getting his own office in the laboratories-- in fact, he was almost hoping that he could go back. But even if he went back, it would be a lot worse, but then again, he couldn't see himself working here. He really couldn't.

And Levia looked as surprised as he is.

“Yes, your own office. You'll be working here...if you don't mind?” Her voice sounded as if she was daring him to contradict her, but he wasn't in the mood to be intimidated by her seemingly domineering front at that moment.

“I can't...see myself working here,” Behemo admitted.

“Why not?”

“I never thought of working here in the first place, not in my life,” he said uncomfortably. “Or in any form of...institution.”

Levia could hear him cringing at that last word, and she was almost dismayed herself. If he works elsewhere when he stays here, she won't get to protect him or monitor him-- she knows that it sounds incredibly overprotective and territorial, but she absolutely couldn't take her sights off him. Not at the current moment. Not even later.

But she really ought to stop being so demanding. She's demanded him enough. She brought him into her world and patched him up because she was lonely and she loved him.

“...I'm sorry,” Behemo's voice came.

“It's okay,” Levia quietly said. “I shouldn't force you.” She shouldn't have opened her mouth in the first place. What a stupid girl she was.

Just because he's her parallel self, that doesn't mean that they have to share the same interests.

She should've known.

It wasn't the fact that he wasn't much of a scientist that upset her-- that would be incredibly awful and hypocritical. It was the fact that Levia finally realized how much she had imposed on him, rather than him imposing on her. It was the fact that she was the one who almost got them killed in the hospital, and it was the fact that if she hadn't went through the mirror in the first place, they would've been fine, even if Malice was running rampant.

She was forcing things on him and she felt so horrible.

“I mean,” she heard him speak again, “I can do desk jobs here and there. Maybe I can be a receptionist here if you'd like, but I don't think that I'm cut out for anything science at the moment.”

“O-Of course.”

“See you around then,” he said, and left the room, closing the door behind him.

Levia looked at her messes and wished that she could shoot herself in the head.


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