Characters: Harry, Bob
Word count: 819
Summary: Home renovation. Pre-Series. Set a little while after Checkmate.
Author's Notes: For killash, who asked for 'Bob/Harry friendship'.
“Harry, it is a screwdriver, not a dagger, I don’t believe you are supposed to hold it like that.”
I paused in my carpentry to glare at Bob, then returned to the screw I was working on. “If it works, I can hold it however I like.” I finished tightening the screw. “Alright, what’s next?”
“Attach Panel C to Piece F, using L-bracket 4,” he read, hesitantly.
“You don’t sound very certain,” I noted.
“Yes, well I am attempting to translate from Swedish, Harry,” he replied.
I rolled my eyes. “Well, why don’t you look at the English instructions, Bob.”
“They are on the other side of the sheet,” he explained. “I have a choice of Swedish, Japanese, Arabic, Cantonese and what I believe might be Sanskrit.”
“Just turn the -” I began, then remembered to whom I was talking. I extracted myself from the mess of building materials and walked over to the shelf I’d recently put up. I got the instruction sheet, looked it over until I found the English instructions, then placed it back upright. “How many languages do you speak, anyway?”
“Seven,” he replied. “I read fifteen, although four of those are obsolete.” I gaped at him. “I’ve had a lot of time on my hands, Harry.” He moved his eyes back to the assembly instructions. “Yes, I was right. Panel C to Piece F via L-bracket 4, which is the one formerly by your left foot.”
I went back to the mess and started to attach. The mess was almost starting to look like a table now. The room was starting to look more like a lab too. I had one under a trap door in the living room, but Bob didn’t do up and down well. If I left him in there, he’d be stuck. On the main floor, he had pretty much full reign of the place. The basement lab was hard to get to in an emergency, as well, and I had this space I wasn’t doing anything with. A bit of masonry (by hired professionals) and I had a secret room in the wall. Empty, though. I was adding to it as I had the money. Which is why I was now putting together a table. Working on the floor is hard on your jeans.
“Panel C and Piece F are now attached,” I announced.
“Alright.” Bob scrutinized my work like used to look at my homework. He nodded, satisfied and looked back to the instructions. “Attach Piece G to the assembly you have just created, see diagram.” He pointed. “There.”
I added another leg to the table. “We are now bipedal.”
“It says to repeat steps 12 through 18 using the remaining pieces,” he said.
“Uh...wanna read steps 12 through 18 again?” I requested.
He sighed. “Very well. Join Side Panel A to Side Panel B.”
I selected two pieces of wood and tried to figure out how they connected to each other. After flipping them around a few times, I attached L-Bracket 6 to them and proceeded to connect Side Panel C to B.
“That piece is upside down,” Bob said.
“It is not!” I objected, strongly. I looked at it and decided it probably was. I undid the screw and fixed it. “Aren’t you supposed to be manning the instructions? That’s your job. My job is to put the table together.”
“If you put the table together wrong, Harry, it will just make more work for both of us in the end. Besides, if you had it your way, we wouldn’t look at the instructions at all and the table would end up being thrown out after you lost patience with it.”
I moved onto the next step. “Instructions are for the non-adventurous, Bob. I don’t need them.”
“Remember that birdhouse you made when you were fifteen?” he said.
“Birds lived in that house,” I pointed out.
“Yes, a family of robins that could no doubt afford anything better than the slums of that birdhouse. It was the low income family of the avian world.”
I grinned. “Well, we’re the low income family of the homo sapien world, Bob. Don’t be too judgmental.”
He sighed heavily. It took around an hour for us to get the table completely done, excluding the fifteen minutes spent looking for a screw that had gotten stuck in the treads of my left runner. I flipped the table upright and took a step back to examine it. It wobbled.
“It’s crooked,” Bob said. “You should tighten the right leg, there.”
I retrieved a thin book from one of the shelves and stuck it under the leg. The table no longer wobbled.
“Voila,” I declared. “Fixed.
“I suppose, if you wish to settle for mediocrity,” he sniffed.
“Get used to it, Bob,” I told him. “My life is just one mediocre achievement after another. Just be Zen about it.”
“Could you move my skull from the fish tank now?” he requested. “It’s rather undignified.”
I retrieved the skull and set it down in the centre of the table. “There. Welcome home.”
“Thank you, Harry.”
“No problem, Bob.”