|Electronegativity, or My Chemical Romance
Author: forty-two dreams PM
Hydrogen plus fluorine equals HF. Hard to explain. You could say it's a fanfic of chemistry. But really, really out of canon.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi - Words: 3,192 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Published: 10-03-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2256893
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"So," Edgar surveyed the rest of the P orbital. "It's Friday night. I'm spending time in the nucleus. Who's with me?"
"I heard that!" shouted Estlin. "You keep out of our nucleus, you minus a half ionizers."
Edgar ignored him and waved seductively at Paula and Petra. "Weeeellll," giggled Petra, "I would, but you can't come in. You know that."
But at this moment, Paula winked, and the effect was decidedly spoiled. Edgar smiled serenely at another typical night in Mother Fluorine.
Eric, Edgar's Pz roommate, groaned. "Come on, Edgar. For the millionth time, we have a node at the nucleus. Fricking S orbital," he pointed rather rudely at 1S, "shields us, remember? Edward and Estlin don't let anyone else spend time in that sweet, sweet, hotttt nucleus…" he trailed off into a fantasy.
"It isn't fair," Ebenezer (Ebbie) from Px complained. "Petra and Paris were totally flirting with me all week. How can we be attracted to them 24/7 and never get there, when S orbital gets all the breaks?"
Eric smiled sadly. "It isn't right, my brothers, that's for sure. Makes you want to become a neutron."
"Hey!" called Paris. "Neutrons are sweet. They have more soul than you fast electrons, anyway."
"That's right," Nathan responded. "Who needs the wild, dancing life of an electron when you can 'neutrinate' with eight fine partners." He smiled at Nick, who giggled back.
Edgar sighed. "Forget Paris," he said to Eric and Ebbie. "She's such an H plus ion. My point is, we all rush Edward and Estlin at once. Who's with me?"
"No can do," Ebbie waved to indicate the whole orbital. "We're spinning in opposite directions, right?"
"And they repel us," Eric added.
Edgar replied, "Well, they sure repel me. God knows why the nucleus doesn't leave them."
"Paula told me she thinks they're more loyal," Eric spat. "Because they can't ionize. Suckers are stuck with the protons they've got."
"That's not how we roll," Edgar laughed. "Valence electrons for life, my brothers! We get some of every nucleus out there! Remember those two protons in Francium? Polly and Patty? Tight."
"But still," Ebbie moaned. "We get to flirt with all the different protons, but we never get to that damn nucleus! Just once, I'd like to know what it felt like."
"There's always hybrid orbitals," Eric suggested. "We could bond to hydrogen. Then we'd see some nucleus."
"Yes," Ebbie conceded. "But then we'd each have to take one hydrogen atom. We'd never meet again. Are you willing to leave the orbital forever just to tap that nucleus once?"
Eric blinked. "Guess not. I fear the unknown. And I've got too much P orbital pride."
"Dude," said Edgar simply, "you can be such a neutron."
"Come on," Ebbie goaded him playfully, "you know you wouldn't ditch us just to get some proton."
Edgar shivered. "Don't get me wrong. Y'all are plus a half, and all, but I've never, ever gotten to a nucleus. And I probably never will. I'm so charge-horny right now from the tension, I don't even care. I'm not waiting another thousand years."
Eric frowned. "That's cold, man. What about 'valence electrons for life'?"
Edgar grinned dopily as he gazed across the microsphere at a likely looking hydrogen atom. "I'm serious. There it is, just waiting for me to ionize it."
"Don't quantum with me, Edgar," Eric chuckled nervously. "Back awayyyyy from the charge-emitter."
"Oh, I am so not quantuming with you right now," Edgar replied with a stern note to his voice.
"Edgar, take your eyes off that minus a half piece of carbon coating," Eric told him, grabbing his arm. "You know better than that!"
But Edgar could not. "Think about this a minute. Why not?"
"You're scum," Ebbie said quite loudly. "You have no values. What about after you get to the nucleus? Then what do you do?"
Edgar smiled. "Tap that nucleus again… and again…and again, and when I'm not getting charge, I hang with hydrogen's other electron. Maybe he's cool. If not, I'll jump onto some other atom."
"Maybe he's cool?" Eric looked wounded. "You gonna replace us that easily? We been hanging with Mother Fluorine forever, my brother. You getting sick of us now?"
Edgar stared down his roommate of several hundred years. "Maybe I am getting sick of you."
"What are we living for," Ebbie responded, "if we put protons above friendship?"
Edgar got a wild look in his eyes. "What are we living for if we put comfort above what we've always dreamed of?"
He made the jump. They could barely hear, as he flew off into the distance, a faint echo of a charge-horny Edgar shouting, "Hello, Mother Hydrogen!"
Eric and Ebbie gazed after him. "Eddie!" shouted Eric. "Evan!"
"What's up?" they asked.
"He's gone," Eric said softly.
"Who?" Evan asked.
"Who do you think?" Ebbie shouted. "Edgar just ionized some hydrogen atom."
They paused, digesting this.
Eddie stared at where Ebenezer was pointing. "You mean, as in… we're F plus now?"
Evan just stood there. "That hasn't happened since… well, I came here decades ago from that reaction with the iodine, and can't even remember anyone ever leaving."
"Deserted," Ebenezer corrected him. "Minus a half charge-licker didn't leave, he deserted us."
"I didn't know you came here from iodine," Eddie asked of Evan. "Why would you choose fluorine over iodine?"
Evan smiled fondly. "Man, you know fluorine's the most electronegative atom out there." He slapped Eddie on the back fondly, waved at Nathan, and cast an amorous eye towards Petra. "Y'all know how to attract your electrons and keep them right where they are. God bless Mother Fluorine."
"Except," Ebbie started between grinding teeth, "for the electrons who think they're special."
"Dude," Eddie told him, "it happens. Even the noble gasses react sometimes. It's all in the natural order of things."
"True that," Eric sighed, trying to take things in stride, "I suppose I'll be getting a new roommate soon. As to Edgar, I can only wish him luck."
And he would need it.
"Hi," he smiled at the hydrogen atom's proton. "I'm Edgar."
She smiled back. It sure got lonely on that hydrogen atom with only one electron. "I'm Penny. And this is my electron, Earl."
They stared at each other for a moment.
Earl spoke. "I've never met another electron before. I guess we do that Pauli exclusion principal doohickey now, huh? Spin in opposite directions or something?" He began trying to spin counterclockwise, did something incredibly like the hokey pokey, and promptly fell over.
"Yeeeeah," Edgar smirked. "Something like that"
"You'll like this atom," Earl told him. "We even have a neutron. Ned, come on out and say hello to our new friend!" he called to the very frightened neutron hiding behind Penny.
"One whole neutron, huh?" Edgar just smiled at what his Fluorine friends would have to say to this homespun atom. Mother Fluorine had nine neutrons. One proton, one neutron, one electron—how did they live? Poor Ned didn't even have another neutron to 'neutrinate' with. Wait… no, he wasn't thinking of his old P orbital already, was he? Of course not. He turned his attention back to Penny.
"So," he asked as coyly as he knew how. "Can I spend time in your nucleus?"
"Well," Penny looked shocked. "Earl's the only electron who's ever been to my nucleus. I don't know if it would work with anyone else."
"Trust me," Edgar assured her. "I've seen this before. It'll work."
"Okay," she agreed.
For a moment, Edgar thought of streetwise Paris and alluring Petra, of good old Paula, for whom he had always had a soft spot… was this Penny even worth it?
But then instinct took over. And Edgar had his first nuclear experience.
Pure. Positive. Charge. It was as amazing as he'd always imagined.
And three milliseconds later, it was over.
"So," he grimaced at Edgar and Ned. "Know any good jokes?"
Edgar and Ned looked at each other. "No."
Five more seconds passed. "Well, now we know why F+ and H- aren't natural," Edgar growled.
Earl said nothing. This is amazing, thought Edgar. He'd been here five minutes, and he already realized Eric and Ebbie were right. Had he actually just joined hydrogen? Ignoring chemical precedents everywhere? How could he have made a decision that stupid in such a short period of time? He could only blame charge horniness. Hydrogen's electron sometimes joined fluorine, but no one ever left fluorine, the most electronegative element since the noble gasses… He had just taken the privilege of being a part of the coolest atom of the coolest element alive and thrown it into the gutter. Perhaps he could make a covalent bond and still catch Mother Fluorine before it drifted back into the microsphere.
What should he say? "Just kidding about the whole deserting-you-all thing; I only left to negotiate a covalent bond. Thought it would make a nice surprise, having a full octet again and all."
The rest of the orbital would raise their eyebrows, 'you expect us to believe that?'- wise, and wait for him to admit he was wrong and beg forgiveness. But then the sweet, sweet nucleus would pretend they bought it, say polite things to Earl, and smile to have Edgar back again. And Estlin and Edward would laugh meanly, and Edgar would smile at Eric and Ebbie as if to say, "I'm really, really sorry. Please don't hold my stupidity against me." And perhaps they wouldn't.
Edgar wouldn't know. He'd never actually done anything this stupid.
But one thing was for sure, he had to get back to Mother Fluorine if there was any way possible.
Meanwhile, at the aforementioned atom, Eric, Ebbie, Evan, and Eddie were talking to the protons. "Portia! Portiaaaaa!" Evan sang out. "Looking good today."
Portia giggled. "Thanks. But I'll never be as positive as Paula."
Evan sneered. "Girl, you make Paula look like a bag of leptons."
"Dude," Eric thumped him on the head, "if Edgar were here, he'd kick your ass."
"Well," Evan responded, "he's not here."
Eric sighed. "No, he's not."
It was true that Edgar would have kicked Evan's ass, but he was busy at the moment. "Hey, Earl, want to become a bond pair?"
"A what?" he asked.
"A bond pair. You know, as in hydrogen fluoride? Don't you know anything?" He sighed nastily. "We would spend most of our time with fluorine, and then sometimes we come back and hang with hydrogen."
"Oh," said Earl. "Wait, but then Penny and Ned would be alone most of the time."
Oh, yeah. He'd forgotten about the intense loyalty the freaks felt for each other. "Well," he invented, dropping to a whisper, "I actually think they've been trying to get some alone time." He dropped his voice even more to a conspiratorial tone. "I think Penny likes Ned."
"Really?" Earl whispered back. "But… but Ned's a neutron."
Edgar smiled as if he were about to delineate some universally known principle, laughing inwardly at the idiocy of his new bond partner. "He only pretends to be a neutron so he can spend all his time in the nucleus."
"Ohhhhh, I get it," Earl nodded. "Okay, then. So, so, so if we lived in fluorine, we could still come back to visit Penny and Ned sometimes, right?"
"Aw, sure," Edgar agreed. This plan was getting better all the time. He'd get his charge every weekend with Miss Penny and still get to live on Mother Fluorine.
That was, if he could find it.
The electrical signal he sent out was brief and to the point. "I found us a covalent bond. When will you be in the area next?"
The message came back promptly: "Hope you're having fun. We'll give you some alone time with your new proton before collecting you. How does six months sound?"
Okay, he got it. They were ticked off at him. For leaving and for trying to play them. They were giving him exactly what he'd asked for. Fine. It sucked, but fine. He could hang here for six months.
No, no he couldn't.
"Okay, so I did something stupid," he amended his message. "I'm sorry. Please, please come back for me, you quarky, plus a half subatomics."
"No, no I don't think we will."
He was frustrated now. "Get your dipoles over here! I'm serious!"
"Dude,"—and this was Eric's handwriting, no doubt about it—"I am so not quantaming with you right now."
Edgar sat down heavily.
"Wow," said Penny, who had clearly been listening. No manners at all, thought Edgar. "I'm… I'm sorry, Edgar," she said sadly. "How did you get so far from home, anyway?"
She looks sincere, thought Edgar. Earl was putting a childlike hand on his shoulder, and Ned looked almost ready to speak. Even the weirdos of hydrogen were not as horrible as Edgar was. They all understood loyalty and electronegativity. What had he yelled as he jumped from Mother Fluorine? He had called this atom Mother Hydrogen. As if it were an honorific to be thrown about at will. It was Mother to Penny, Ned and Earl. But not to Edgar.
He couldn't tell this innocent little proton he had used her. "I got lost," he muttered quietly, and it was true in a way. "Let's not talk about it."
Earl nodded. In a sudden spurt of energy (these hydrogen atoms had such short attention spans), he burst out, "Want to play orbital tag?"
Edgar smiled slightly. "But we're spinning in opposite directions. We repel each other and can never actually touch."
Earl began bouncing around. "Then we can play forever!"
Edgar grinned, fully and naturally. "You're it!" he shouted, surprising even himself.
They chased each other around the orbital for a long time before screeching to a halt, panting and laughing. "Looks like fun," came a voice from the nucleus.
"Ned!" Edgar exclaimed, high on this new game. "You do speak!"
"Certainly," Ned replied. "And might I just say, we're glad to have you here."
"I'm… I'm glad to be here," Edgar told him. Suddenly, he felt weighted down by his secret. "Can I tell you something?" he looked around at the three particles.
"Sure," Penny said, confused.
And then he heard a voice from overhead. "Edgar!" called a familiar voice.
Edgar looked up. "Mother Fluorine?" he asked. "I thought…"
"Well, you thought wrong," Ebenezer told him. "We wouldn't really leave you in the middle of Hicksville forever."
"So," called Eric, "Did you ever get some proton?"
Penny looked up at Edgar with wide eyes. "Why, what could they mean?"
Uh-oh, thought Edgar.
"I… I only joined hydrogen because I wanted to get to the nucleus," he admitted. "But that was before I knew you. I'm sorry."
Earl's face was the first to change. "You… you minus a half! You stay away from Penny!"
Edgar bowed his head. "Of course. I'll just go now." To the denizens of Mother Fluorine, he whispered, "Thank you for coming back for me. I know it's more than I deserve."
And for a time, things went back to normal. Petra and Paula giggled, Edward and Estlin growled, Nathan and Nick neutrinated, and the boys of p orbital had their fun. But they behaved just a bit more cautiously.
"Tell us about the nucleus," Eric asked one day. "Was it sweet?"
Edgar sighed. "It wasn't much like I'd pictured. It felt, well, positive, but I don't think we're meant to use it for its own purposes. Protons are good for more than just charge, and I guess I forgot that."
He growled. "I've got to make this right."
So he sent Earl an electrical signal.
Dear Earl, Penny, and Ned,
I must say again that I am sorry for treating you so poorly. I don't know what possessed me, but I will say that I learned something important from you guys: big or small, an atom is a particle's home, and they all have dignity. I like living on Fluorine, but I miss you all sometimes. Please forgive me.
One day, Mother Fluorine got a response from Earl. Edgar read it twice and chuckled. Ned must have helped him write it, Edgar was sure.
Dear Edgar and his Friends,
I'm still mad at you, Edgar, but I know you're sorry, and that's something, isn't it?
Life is hard when you're hydrogen. I keep getting pulled every which way. Today, we passed diatomic oxygen. It has so many protons, I almost got drawn into it. Twelve protons are hard to stay away from. I see now that we are all a victim of forces that we can't control. I don't want to leave Penny and Ned alone, but hanging out with a bigger atom is tempting. We all want what we haven't got.
Yet, we all know covalent bonds are not ionic bonds. Visiting is not leaving for good.
You wanted me to become your bond partner once. If any of your p orbital electrons want to be bond partners, or even want to take turns, I would appreciate it. Maybe it would be better if nobody went to our nucleus for awhile, but if you sent an electron back with me to visit Mother Hydrogen sometime, I bet we could have fun and play orbital tag. And when I was with Fluorine, we could do whatever p orbital electrons do. I want to know what it's like to be part of a big atom, just like you wanted to know how it was to be part of a small atom.
It's great that there are so many elements. They're all a little different. But then some of them have stuff in common, like the noble gasses, so whoever made us might have known what he was doing, right? I know I shouldn't trust you, because you just wanted to get charge, but I guess you're better than a strange atom that we don't know. We've always been cut off from other atoms and a little shy, so I'm sort of glad you came into our lives, and it would be nice if we could form something deeper. Let me know what you decide.
Greetings from our atom to yours,
Edgar smiled deeply. And that's the story of hydrofluoric acid.