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18

Mel finished his breakfast then partook in a brisk shower, both in speed and temperature. He normally took cold showers, but that was when he had the choice to. Now, more than ever, he wanted to take a hot one. He would have settled for even a normal shower. Instead, he had to make do with an open pipe sprinkling down on him in the middle of a patch of debris while faeries buzzed above... At least the view was immaculate. He contemplated requesting the faeries to make the entirety out of glass to keep this pristine view, but he doubted they would be able to hear him over the screams of onlookers below. It wasn’t his fault that they looked up; they didn’t have to see him as he showered, the freakin’ creeps. They could have easily ignored him magically sealing a good portion of it then propelling it towards their heads with the force of a thousand bees. Some did. Some ignored him, but being lazy and falling asleep on their way to class is not exactly a better option, now is it?

Eh. What did it hurt to ask?

“Hey!” He called up to the buzzing balls of light. As expected, none of them seemed to be interested in what he had to say, too busy making stone brick. So he had to get a bit creative; he balled up a bit of the water, condensed it as much as he could, and lobbed it. A second or two after it began its flight it glowed red then exploded into a large snowflake, plastering some of the faeries in rime. “Excuse you! I need to talk.”

The faeries caught in the blast buzzed down, but not to him. Their wings had been encrusted in the ice, crinkling as the rest of their bodies splattered on the ground around. Some had softer landings than others, but all decided to sleep on the job. So not only ignoring him but neglecting their duties; some people just have no sense of decency, no matter what walk of life they came from.

Thankfully, one of the faeries that was not caught in the blast came down, as well, buzzing angrily before Mel. They were a little cutie, their six, bug-like eyes tinted pink while the rest of their thin, curvy form was black as obsidian. They had two pairs of prismatic, dragonfly wings, easily twice the size as it, generating both its lift and its cascading aura. Mel did not speak Fairy, but he did know that he supported their movement and that they should be proud of what they were.

“Yes! Hi. I’m sorry to interrupt, but I wanted to make a small request,” he said, slowly and loudly, enunciating every word. It was hard enough with the language barrier, but they were still screaming at him in their tongue. “I was simply wondering if you could use tempered glass or something for most of the room. I would like this view all the time. C... can you hear m- understand me- this would be a lot easier if you weren’t yelling, you know?”

But they continued to simply yell. They continued to chew him out, so he continued with his shower. He didn’t have to put up with this. He was just trying to make a simple request. It was his room, after all; he should be allowed to make small, aesthetic critiques without having his head chewed off. Besides, wouldn’t that be cheating for them... or was that mantises... He always did get the two crossed.

So Mel finished up, threw on his (still dirty) set of robes, and went back through the arch, the fairy from the platform far and away above again. Saliim had come to, three lovely lumps rising out of her hair, while Brin was all smiles and warmth. Warmth that was missing from his shower... and from the walls.

They hadn’t buzzed at all that day.

Mel felt... worried about it. There wasn’t a day that went by in this Institute that his walls didn’t threaten to shatter down upon him. Heck, they did the day before; it wasn’t always Penelope, either. Benjamin stopped by, Jack Amon every so often –in fact, that’s somebody he hasn’t seen in a while. A shame; he always did like Jack. Was nice to have another dude to shoot the shit with, but, for some reason, he just stopped showing. He wondered, like him, if he had gotten himself into some trouble with summons and had to deal with his own succubus drama, but why would that stop him? That would make both of their lives easier: the succubus can talk to each other, they could ignore them and leave them to their own chats. It was a win-freakin’-win.

But that seemed only to be wishful thinking. Mel really hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Jack in almost four months, ever since he turned down his advances. It’s not his fault he wasn’t gay; he just never liked the thought of dick or dicking a dude’s ass. Besides, Penelope was standing right beside him when he asked if he would like to go on a date, and, the way her eyes blackened, Mel had no doubt he would end up in the ground before night ever came. Hell, there’s the possibility he’s already in the ground because of her, but she didn’t have that air about her yet. No... he was still alive. Just... ignoring him.

Aside his little entourage, he was completely alone on his way to Alchemy, and even when class started. He had a cauldron all to himself; Penelope decided to help New Jersey, which it was a contest as to whom looked more uncomfortable. Jersey shot glances towards Mel every so often, the look on his eyes plain for all to see, his thoughts as clear as day: take care of this crazy chick already. Even four rows back, Mel could hear Penelope muttering and the topics- topic they discussed. There were no other topics, just variations on the same one, all of which lead back to Mel. Even when she tried to... “flirt”.

Mel couldn’t help but smile the entire time through class... as it came to a close, as his potion reached its final step, turning an almost cyan blue, New Jersey wasted no time in rushing out the door. His hands were telling his true thoughts, statements he wanted to say so badly, desired to shoot off on her so much, but withheld in fear of what Mel may do –which he had no idea why. Fuck her if you want. Weren’t you listening? She “hated” how he shot off early and wanted a real man. Why be a defender of the bro code now? Please! Take her! Please! Please!

But no. She was left behind, left to wallow in misery and despair as she bottled her own, bright pink concoction among the snickering of the other... student. Seriously, where did all the others go? There used to be twenty to thirty, mostly women but with more than a smattering of men laced throughout. Yes yes, they were all at least on their second decade and had the choice for travel experience, but did they all decide it on the same Taco Tuesday or something? In fact, ever since that day, the Institute has felt emptier... brought a tear of joy to his eye. Mel was never a fan of huge crowds and preferred a small, tight handful of... friends? Acquaintances... Frienemies?

The professor puffed up to him, her soft blue body paled by the glowing mixture inside the large, black cauldron.

“This looks impressive, Mel,” she said. “What did you make today?”

“Eh. After recent events, I wanted something to cool baser instincts, so I made an inhibitor brew.”

“A what?” Saliim exclaimed.

“An inhibitor brew. You drink it, and you are less likely to want to, I dunno, jack it or anything of the sort. Most likely will also kill any want to eat or drink or sleep as well, meaning one can do more stuffs.”

“That sounds unbelievably dangerous, master,” Brin said, squeezing his shoulder... while her other hand glowed red. The cauldron creaked, the black metal quickly burning white, and melted away as the concoction inside turned to steam. “I’m sorry, but I cannot in good conscience allow this to exist.”

“A wise move, dear,” the professor said, sighing. “I know why you were trying to make it, Mel, but that won’t solve your... problem.”

“But it would have,” Mel grumbled. “Don’t you see? I’m sick and fucking tired of the drama. If I got rid of those needs, it would never be an issue again and I can go back to a carefree path of destruction.”

“Of yourself! How can you be so dense?” Saliim continued to exclaim, and smacked the back of his head. “Idiot! You can’t just shut yourself down.”

“Who said it was for me?”

“What? Was it for me, then?” Penelope cut in.

“You were still here?”

She stomped through the professor and stood in the melted slag that was the cauldron, now molded around the fire it sat upon. She wore such an ugly grimace, etched and embossed with streaks of tears. The bottle of pink was still in her hands, the glass tinkling dangerously in her shaking grip.

“Well, for your information, I, also, made you a potion,” she said, and thrust it at him. “Here!”

“What is it?” He said, sniffing it. “Smells fruity.”

“Just drink it.”

“Partake in a mixture made by a person who currently hates me? How could this possibly go wrong!” He took the phial from her and downed the potion in one quick gulp. It really was fruity, an unbelievably strong strawberry (actual strawberry; not the artificial evil that has been allowed to flourish) mixed with banana and kiwi that warmed his face, throat, and gut as it finally hit it. The heat only radiated from there, spreading to his arms, his legs, and especially what laid in between them. He leaned forward, hiding it for... some reason- ah! Right! The professor. Everyone else in the room had seen it already.

Speaking of the others in the room.

Saliim and Brin both shoved in front, blocking his view of Penelope.

“A love potion? Really?” Saliim exclaimed. “Are you that simple minded? That was the best you could do?”

“Love potions usually only last a minute,” Brin said. “As long as he cannot make eye-contact, it will wear off and you will have failed.”

“Oh, it’s not a love potion,” Penelope said, singing a little. She hummed as Mel could see her feet retreat back to the professor’s desk, hiking up as she laid back on it. “It’s a love magnet potion. In a moment, he shall be pulled to the person who he loves the most... and who loves him the most.”

“That’s funny, because I’m right here.” Saliim stated. “There won’t be any change.”

Brin didn’t say anything, instead turning around and cupping Mel’s face. She had such a sad smile on her face, such fear in her eyes, but nothing would stop once he felt that pull. It was just behind his naval, as if a hook had got stuck in it, a quick tug before the world became a blur. Screams were heard behind, Saliim and Brin being dragged at the speed of light while he was entering plaid with how fast it was reeling him in. His robes flapped to the side, giving everyone a good look at his divining rod, twitching this way and that until, at last, it stopped, engorged four times its original size.

Pointing up at himself.

He stood in his room, looking down at his Godzilla-grown schlong, and couldn’t help but chuckle.

“Of course,” he said, shaking his head. “There is nobody that loves me more than I love myself. But what am I supposed to do with this?”

“I don’t know. Looks painful,” Nobody s-

“What the fuck! Daisy? What are you doing here?”

She shrugged, standing in his doorway. “I saw a streak of plaid rip its way through the dimensions and wondered what was causing it. Won’t lie: was expecting Spaceball 1, not God Cock.” She waggled a finger down at the two succubus on the ground, twitching and whimpering but those were the only signs they were at all alive. The rest of them looked akin to the start of a slasher movie special, roasted and charred to a black crisp. “Looks like they won’t be able to really help.”

“Yeah. Yeah... looks like I’m flying solo for this.”

“I mean... you don’t have to.”

“I really don’t want Penelope’s help for this.”

“Who said Penelope?” Nobody strolled into the room, the door allowed to shut at last, and Mel could see that her robes were already dangerously loose. She tittered as she sauntered up to him, letting it slack off even more, revealing her bodacious breasts, jiggling with each, hard step. She stopped before him, putting a hand to his chest, and he could feel the heat coming from her scarlet cheeks. “I think I should have been a bit more forward.”

“You think?”

“Well, it’s kind of hard when every guy I say I have an interest in tells me no... but I think I know why now... You believed I was a lesbian, didn’t you? Did Penelope tell you?”

“Yeah.”

“As other girls have told other guys, no doubt... I’m so lonely, Mel. You were the only guy to ever come over to my place, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind... You’re not like the others.”

“No doubt.”

She giggled... but her smile faded into a frown. Her hand slipped off his shoulder, eyes gleaming with tears as she backed away.

“But that probably means you have no interest in me, right?” She said, scoffing as she shook her head. “Of course... That would make too much sense. The gods’ cruelest joke onto me.”

“Now now. Let’s not get carried away. I would love nothing more than to bury your face into my pillows, but there’s a precedent to set. I’m not an easy floozy, you know?”

She feigned a gasp, looking up at him again.

“Are you saying I am?”

“I’m saying I don’t want to jump in bed just after one cup of tea.”

“Uh, there were two cups, thank you.”

“Fine! Two cups... How about we go on a magic carpet ride this weekend?”

“Is that a euphemism?”

“If it’s a euphemism for a ride on a floating carpet that’s going to show you the world, then yes.”

She giggled, all smiles again, and winked at him.

“All right! It’s a date. However, that means we would have two; expect me to try to take advantage of you.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way... Well... you best get going. I’m going to have my hands full for a few hours.”

“You can easily tell me to go, but you don’t need to lie to me. You’ll only be a few minutes, if the rumor mill is to be trusted.”

“Shoot off once and everybody is talking about it.”

A bit of stone fell at that moment, crumbling in between them, and Nobody giggled again, waving as she started towards the door.

“Ta ta for now, Mel. I hope you’ll treat me right,” she said, waiting for the entry to slide open- Penelope was on the other side. “Hello. I simply came to check up on him.”

“You shouldn’t have-” Penelope started, and hit the ground with a solid thump.

Nobody shook her left hand, her knuckles already bruising, then waved again at Mel. He waved back then settled on his futon, what he was about to do hidden by the shutting of his door once more.

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