Chapter 5! Yaaaay~

OK, this chapter is fun because it takes Cooper out of his comfort zone for the first time in the story. Up until this point, Cooper has been seen nowhere but within the confines of his own home. Now it's time for fun, and for the unpredictability of Cooper's character to really make itself more prevalent. ;)

I did get a bit lazy at one part, which I'll probably revise should I try to get this published. (as in I cut a scene that I still want there because I didn't write it... XD)

Enjoy the chapter!

The Inventor- Chapter 5

,.~*~.,

October 26, 1871

It was breakfast time at the Archer household. David found himself talking about work to his father.

"That old place is really growing on me," he remarked. "Even Dr. Cooper's eccentricities are growing on me. He has this housemaid named Lilian- a fair young lady if I do say so myself- and he treats her like one would an old friend. He was the same way with me from day one.

"That Lilian's as odd as he is," David continued. "She's quite pretty, but sort of... unrefined. Rough around the edges. And I daresay I like her that way." He chuckled. "They're a couple of peas in a pod, those two. I almost feel like I'm interfering."

"You sound as if you're getting along pretty well with those two," said Cyril. David nodded. "I'd like to meet them," said Cyril, resolutely. "If they're half as interesting as you make them sound, I'm sure I would enjoy visiting with them."

David swallowed, surprised by the abrupt request. "Ehm... meet them?" he asked dumbly.

"Yes, meet them! Invite them over, have them come to supper. Tonight, if possible. If Cooper is too busy, I can understand, but tonight at seven is my choice time."

Surprised but not displeased, David nodded. "I'll tell him," he said.

David wasn't sure how Cooper would react to a social call. He may even refuse, as it would not be beyond him to do so. Not even the promise of a hearty meal might lure the reclusive doctor from the confines of his study; he did not seem to be a man easily tempted by food. He was more the type who would exchange a bit of food for a new book to read, or for a new thing he could experiment with. He'd stay up all night working on it, and by morning would have crafted it into something completely new and would be bursting with excitement about it. Still, he may accept the invitation out of common courtesy.

After breakfast, David set out on his way to Dr. Cooper's home again, wondering how and when he should break the news to the doctor. Deciding to worry about it later, David picked up his pace, turning onto White Street.

He then spotted some boys wrestling in the street. David had no idea how to stop such a thing- he had never had to deal with kids his whole life- so he let them keep on fighting, hoping a constable would come along. Better yet, their mums and dads!

David kicked the ground with his boot and stopped by a nearby newspaper stand, where he absently skimmed over the headlines. Finding nothing of interest, he set the paper down and continued down the street.

"Hallo again!" called a Teran voice. David saw a very familiar shopkeeper up ahead, waving at him. It was the same shopkeeper, in fact, who'd directed David to Cooper's house over a week before. David smiled politely as he crossed the street to speak to the man properly. When he was almost across, the man said, "Are ye goin' back te see Dr. Cooper again?"

"I am indeed," said David, tipping his beret to the man and coming to a stop.

The shopkeeper smiled in disbelief. "Ye're the first I've ever seen te do that," he remarked.

"Well, I'm his apprentice now," said David.

"Apprentice?" the Teran man echoed, his rusty eyebrows shooting up. "That is new. Say, what's yer name, laddie?"

"David," answered the young man. "David Archer."

"Good luck to ya, David," said the man, shaking the aforementioned's hand. "My name's Gillian O'Daniel. You can call me Gillian if you like."

"Look, I should really be going..." said David, glancing over his shoulder.

"Ah, of course. Wouldn't want te keep that doctor waiting," said Gillian, smiling brightly. "See yeh another time, then?"

"Yes," said David, politely weaving past the shopkeeper and heading back on his way. Gillian's friendliness had quickly begun to tingle uncomfortably down David's spine; he was certain he was allergic to simple people. A few paces further down, he heard Gillian's crisp Teran accent once more.

"Oi! You three! Come over here!" he was calling. "I've got some pastries fer each of yeh!"

David turned to see the shopkeeper beckoning to the same three boys who had been wrestling in the street before. A big grin was on his chubby face. He dashed back into his shop and came back out with three paper bags. The boys eagerly came to Gillian and took the bags, grinning excitedly.

The scene made David feel... warmer inside. He felt himself smiling genuinely, feeling no ill will whatsoever toward the friendly shopkeeper. Like a kid himself, that one, he thought, quietly turning and heading toward Warren Street.

Unfortunately, Cooper's heart was not warm.

The doctor was in a fix, constantly pacing to relieve his endless energy. His great shock of bright ginger hair was a mess and his electric blue eyes were wild. He looked dangerous, so David kept his distance. The man was pacing and muttering to himself, occasionally commenting to David.

"No, no... that wouldn't work. What am I suggesting to myself?" He stopped abruptly and lifted his hands. "Stop right there... Ooo... Yes, that could work!" He half-dashed, half-stumbled to his desk, crash-landed upon his chair, lifted the pen from the ink, and began scribbling something down, murmuring excitedly to himself in the process.

David sank down into a chair some distance from the wired Dr. Cooper, hoping the man would calm down soon. He was in his own world right now, a place where only he dwelled. It was a strange world of machines and anatomy and electricity, a world into which very few were allowed to go. David was only allowed into the outermost realms of that world, for the man inside of it was still a mystery.

David opened his mouth to speak. "Dr. Cooper-"

"Shhhh!" hissed Cooper, hunching closer to his paper.

David sighed. "Should I leave?" he asked quietly.

"No," was Cooper's answer. "I'll be right with you, I promise. Just give me five more minutes." His tone exuded irritation or indignance.

Now shows his moody side, thought David, swallowing. Up until today, Cooper had seemed rather chipper and excitable; sometimes melancholy or cold, but never snappish. It was clear that his excitement over getting an apprentice was beginning to dwindle; perhaps now the true Dr. Cooper was emerging. Could it be the cheerfulness was just a mask?

Great. Right when I have to ask him to come to supper, he decides to get moody, David thought. His job had just gotten harder.

"I like it, I suppose," said Cooper aloud, stroking his somewhat pointed chin and looking skeptically at his work. "Don't know. What do you think, David?" He held up the sheet of paper so David could look at it. The younger man didn't want to test the doctor today, so he chose to agree. He opened his mouth to respond, but Cooper slammed the paper back down on his desk in a huff. He grumbled some fuming gibberish under his breath before saying, "Bah, who am I kidding? This looks terrible. It'd never work."

David sighed through his nostrils. It was clear that David was only there for some sort of support today; Cooper was intent on doing his work alone. David glanced at the blueprints for the mechanical arm, cast hastily aside and lying on the floor beside Cooper's desk. He wondered if they would ever work on it again. It was looking more and more unlikely.

The manic doctor dug at an itch on his head, scribbled on his paper once, rapped his fingers on his desk, and sighed agitatedly, slumping forward. "I hate it, hate it, hate it!" he snapped, banging one fist on his desk. Then, in a sudden fury, Dr. Cooper snatched up the paper and tore it in half. "Enough of this!" he snarled, ripping the sheet into more and more pieces, his eyes blazing hotly. Then he stormed out of the study, cursing vehemently.

Somebody's peeved, thought David, staring off after the angry doctor. "Peeved" may not have even been the word for how Cooper was acting today. He was burning with mad energy which threatened to burst out at any moment, and for some part already had. David hoped he'd mellow out before supper; Cyril hated unruly guests. And the last thing David needed was for the doctor to make a poor impression on David's father!

David rose from his chair and approached the fragments of the would-be invention. David didn't know why Cooper had so mercilessly torn it apart and left it in pieces on the floor. Had Cooper ever done this to a person? Maybe that's why he was so lonely. The thought came out of the blue, and David quickly chased it back into the blue. What a man did to paper was hardly a reflection of what he did to people, David mused. The doctor was strange, but he certainly did not seem to be a murderer.

The young man sat back down in his chair just seconds before Dr. Cooper walked back in, carrying a glass of water and some tape. He looked plainly remorseful as he gazed down at the pieces of torn paper on the floor. "David, you could use something to do. Could you pick up these pieces of paper for me?" he asked. "I know you probably feel useless over there..."

David nodded, got up, and bent down to pick up the pieces from the floor, saying nothing. The young man then handed them to Dr. Cooper, who appeared rather glum at the moment. He had lost his burning rage and suddenly seemed quite tired. Even his radiant hair seemed to have lost its fire.

Cooper sat down at his desk and laid out all the pieces in front of him. He took a sip of water and sighed. "I'll warn you now, David; I'm a fool," he said, shuffling through the torn papers. "I do things like this and I say things I don't always mean." He selected a corner piece and set it aside, then drew out another piece, matched it with another, and carefully taped the pieces together. "I'm in no state to teach you. You can go home now if you like."

"What about downstairs?" questioned David.

Cooper shrugged unenthusiastically. "If you prefer," he half-mumbled. "Just stay away from me for now, eh?" He turned back to his work.

David quietly agreed, standing up and leaving Cooper to his own devices. He froze in his tracks, however, remembering that he needed to ask something of the doctor...

"Oh, and... Dr. Cooper?"

Cooper turned to face his apprentice once more. "Yes?" he questioned.

"My father wants you and Lilian over for supper tonight," said David.

The doctor's eyebrows went up in a display of some emotion besides anger or sadness. "Oh?" he vocalized in a questioning tone. "What time?"

"Seven," replied David.

Cooper nodded. "Tell Cyril I'll be there," he said.

David started to leave. "I shall," he said.

,.~*~.,

At six-fifty that evening, both David and Cyril kept their eyes on the clock. David didn't know if Cooper would show up earlier than, later than, or promptly at seven. If there was one thing that David had learned today, it was that Cooper was unpredictable. His mentor was the one area where David's prediction abilities failed him.

"I'd think you'd be more excited, David," said Cyril, approaching his son.

"I am... I'm just the nervous sort of excited," said the young man. "You know, I've never seen him outside his house. This will be new."

"Well, he's never been inside our house, so it's a new experience for him as well," said Cyril, trying to sound reassuring.

"That's what I'm afraid of," said David. "Something tells me that Dr. Cooper doesn't like leaving his comfort area for much. I've only seen him outside that study of his a relative few times. I have no idea what... how he's going to act... what mood he'll be in..."

"Don't worry about it, David," said Cyril. "No matter what, I'll try to accept him as you have."

"What about Lilian?" David questioned.

Cyril smiled knowingly. "I'm sure she'll be just fine, the way you talk about her," he said.

David smiled lightly and glanced at the clock. 6:55PM.

RAK RAK RAK!

"He's here," said David. "Let's go meet him."

The two men headed for the door. Cyril opened it. Dr. Cooper stood humbly at the door, Lilian by his side. "Dr. Cooper, I presume?" questioned Cyril.

"You are correct," said Cooper, removing his top hat politely. "May we come in?"

"Certainly," said Cyril, stepping aside so the doctor and his young lady companion could enter.

David noticed that Cooper had changed his clothes. He now wore black trousers with his black-and-gold boots, a sharp white shirt, a black vest and coat, and a black bow tie. The amount of black he was wearing somehow made him look twice as skinny. And Lilian was dressed out in a lovely green dress that made her look twice as beautiful, David decided.

"You must be Miss Lilian," said Cyril with a polite nod toward the lady. She smiled cordially and curtseyed.

Cyril smiled and shut the door behind his guests. "Shall I take your coat, Doctor?"

"No, thank you," said Cooper, tugging his coat closer. "It's cold." David could tell the man didn't feel overly comfortable in such a wide-open space.

"Well, supper is hot. That should warm you up," said Cyril.

Cooper grunted softly, looking around. "Nice place you've got here, David," he commented, nodding approvingly. "Wish I'd grown up in a place like this."

Lilian inhaled deeply, then breathed out contentedly. "Something certainly smells good," she said.

David chuckled. "That's the turkey stew," he said.

"Turkey stew?" the doctor echoed. "Funny. I don't recall ever eating turkey before. This will be a first." He cracked what could be described as a distant smile.

"Really?" questioned Cyril, sounding surprised. "Not even the occasional Christmas turkey?"

"Never," said Cooper. "No such fortune, I'm afraid. You Archers are very blessed indeed." There was the slightest undertone of either sadness or bitterness in the man's voice, unless David had simply imagined it.

"Well," Cyril began, "It smells as if supper's ready, so arriving five minutes early probably didn't make any difference. I trust you will enjoy yourselves."

"I'll certainly try," said Cooper, chuckling softly.

,.~*~.,

The Archers made sure their guests ate heartily, and that Dr. Cooper got as much turkey stew as he wished. As they ate, they spoke of an array of things. Cooper spoke mostly of his career and latest projects, but when Cyril brought up politics, the doctor began to rant about the council.

"They don't like me, whoever they are," said he. "I hate that council. Every time... every time I try to patent an invention, they reject it." He slammed his hands down on the table. "Apparently my inventions aren't worthy of being in society. And ever since my apparent threat to one of them, I've had the most difficult time even getting through the front door."

"Did you?" questioned David.

"Hmm?" Cooper vocalized. "Did I what?"

"Threaten a council member," David clarified, hesitating. "You never really answered the question, so... did you do it?"

Cooper sighed, visibly deflating under the questioning eyes of everyone at the table. "I didn't actually threaten him. You see, this is what happened." He cleared his throat. "I designed a leg brace which would enable the wearer to walk normally with a paralyzed leg or a broken bone. And, while trying to get this brace patented, the council, to my face, told me my invention was ridiculous."

"Ridiculous?" Cyril exclaimed in disbelief. "I think that's a splendid idea!"

"And it worked," Cooper added. "I know it works, too. Anyway, I may have... lost my temper and asked the councilman if he'd like me to break his leg and prove my invention worked. Mind you, I wouldn't have. I'm a doctor, and I'm not a violent man. I just let my tongue go, I'm afraid." He chuckled softly and shared a glance with Lilian. "But, the council calls me a madman and they believe the same." He quietly sipped the broth from his stew.

Cyril, noticing that the doctor was almost finished, attempted to pass him the stew. "Ah, Doctor, would you like...?"

"No thank you, Cyril," said Cooper, holding up one hand in polite refusal. "I've had quite enough."

"I'll say," smiled Lilian. "It's wonderful turkey stew, Mr. Archer. Thank the cooks for me." She glanced at Cooper, who was silently sipping down the remainder of his stew. "And for Dr. Cooper," she added.

Cooper's expression portrayed slight indignation for having a request involving him made without his consent, but he said nothing. David was surprised when he realized that he knew what that meant. It meant that Cooper agreed with Lilian but didn't feel his input was needed. David smiled, but soon stopped when he realized he was staring at Lilian. He cleared his throat and looked at his father instead. He rested his chin in one hand to inconspicuously hide his warm cheeks should they be turning pink.

"Well, if we're all done here, I don't see why we shouldn't move our conversation to another room," said Cyril.

Cooper suddenly perked up, his eyes gleaming hopefully. "Do you have a reading room?" he inquired.

"We do," answered Cyril.

Cooper seemed almost childlike in his demeanor now. "Brilliant! Really, that is. Could we maybe go there?"

"Well I... don't see why not," said Cyril.

Cooper smiled gratefully. "God bless you, Cyril," he said. "I adore books- my collection is rather small, as David will tell you- but I've always loved books and studying and the like. A blessing to any man, you are!" He laughed in a slightly mad fashion. Cooper rose from his chair, picked up the Falcon's Claw, and was off like a smooth stone across a pond, rattling off something to himself.

David was up next, knowing that someone had to show the man to the reading room before he got himself lost. He struggled to catch up with Cooper, who acted as if he knew where he was going. "Dr. Cooper, you wouldn't mind having someone to show you to the reading room, would you?" David questioned.

"That... would be nice, yes," answered Cooper, still striding along with certainty. "Lead the way."

David got ahead of Cooper and walked as quickly as he could, making his way to the reading room. The swift-footed doctor was struggling to keep his pace slower, constantly advancing on David before pausing and slowing his step. David stopped in front of the reading room. Cooper came to a halt as well, then edged around his apprentice and eagerly waited for the door to be opened.

When David opened the door, the lanky doctor pushed his way past the young man and was the first inside. David followed behind him and entered the room to find Cooper standing transfixed, staring all around the room in awe. "Some reading room... some reading room indeed!" Dr. Cooper crowed a maniacal laugh. "It's more like a bloomin' library!" With that, the inventor hurried off into the room, getting himself lost between the bookshelves.

David chuckled and found a seat, choosing a book from the table and opening it. Moments later, Cyril and Lilian entered. Lilian looked around in awe, much like Cooper had, whereas Cyril approached David, looking a little confused. "David, where is Dr. Cooper?" he asked. David motioned toward a set of bookshelves, behind which a conspicuous head of bright red hair was moving.

Lilian was heading that way herself, grinning. "Doctor, just look at this place!" she declared.

Cyril sat down across from David, smiling. "They're nice people," he said, watching Cooper and Lilian fuss over the books. "Cooper, he... he doesn't seem to be the madman that the news always makes him out to be. He's definitely an eccentric, though; I'll give him that much."

David smiled warmly. "I'm not sure the news recognizes a difference between madness and oddness," he remarked quietly.

Cyril had a determined glint in his eye. "Perhaps they should, then," he said.

Cooper approached the two men, an excited grin on his face. He had about five books tucked under one arm and a sixth in his other hand; that book was lodged between Cooper's hand and the Falcon's Claw. "I just wish I could safely take these home with me without tearing them apart word by word." He sat down with David and Cyril and opened up one book. "Amazing place you've got here... really, it is..." He trailed off, realizing he was the only one talking.

"You can come back next week if you like," said Cyril. "We'd be happy to have you."

"I will give no promises, but..." Cooper shrugged. "I'll think about it, yes."

Lilian hurried over to where the men were sitting. "Excuse me, but... Could I take this book home with me to read? I love this sort of thing..."

"Certainly," said Cyril.

David looked up at her, then down at the book she had. He grinned. "'Ey, that's one of my favorites," he said.

"Oh! Then don't tell me anything about it," said Lilian, taking a seat next to Dr. Cooper, who was currently fully focused on the book he was reading. He soon abruptly turned and tapped Lilian on the shoulder. When she looked at him, he pointed to a section in the material.

"Totally false statement, this," he said quietly to her. "By Jove, I can't believe this man calls himself a scientist! Why, of all the most improbable, unscientific hubblepuff..."

As David looked around the room- at his father, at patient Lilian, at eccentric Dr. Cooper- he couldn't help but feel as if they were all family. He couldn't really explain the feeling, either. These people that he'd only known for a little over a week felt as familiar to him as his own father!

,.~*~.,

Finally finished! *celebrates* This chapter took longer to type than I'd originally anticipated. Ah well. It's done now! Hurray for finished chapters...

The next chapter probably won't be any sooner released; I've got a bit of um... Writer's Block...

Anyways, hope you enjoyed! Please review; I love reviews, but PLEASE refrain from asking me to update soon. Especially in light of the information I've just provided.

Also, if you like writing and you have a big project you're working on, I'm making a site about writing... It's a WIP so I'm not sharing the link at this time, but when it's ready, it's going on my profile... Remember me. XD