Part I - Toluidine Blue
Gingetsu came home one day to find that Lan had managed to get a light microscope delivered and set up without his knowledge. He thought nothing of it and Lan did not mention it either, even in passing.
It was the third year. Lan had stopped growing halfway through the second.
His limbs were gangly and chaotic, like a forced weed. In spite of this, Lan retained his strange grace and rarely showed the awkwardness that came with adolescence or adulthood.
Perhaps he had never learned to be gauche.
The microscope sat on Lan's table, in his room. Gingetsu never saw it up close. He had seen the dyes Lan used, arranged neatly in small glass phials, and labelled with slips of white sticky paper. He did not try to make out the scrawled black marks, in Lan's spidery handwriting.
He had gotten up on a number of occasions to find Lan still awake, crouched over the microscope, his table strewn with glass droppers leaking fluid in dark blue, green, red, yellow.
It's late, Gingetsu would say.
Lan would agree with a distracted nod, trying to clean up the detritus of stain blotches and unidentifiable pieces of organic material that lay all over his workbench, bits and pieces that he had managed to salvage from somewhere.
"Just this one last slide."
"If that's what you want to do."
And Gingetsu would go back to bed, knowing he had to be up again in an hour anyway.
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