Story: Radial: Unravel
Challenge: FOTD - Axial; Fudge Ripple #20 - Denial
Word Count: 594
Summary: Milos asks one question and gets a different answer that both destroys a little bit of his childhood and rebuilds a little part of his adulthood.
Notes: Because I looked at the prompt and saw the picture and what I wrote bore no resemblance to what I initially intended to write... (Not helped by the fact I wrote it on a Nexus.) I have no idea what a quick(ish) 3D render counts as, so I've just left that untagged. I just like rendering Alex and Milos...
Resting his folded arms on the dais, he stared up at the complicated collection of struts and spheres and let out a sigh. "Is there anything else you're going to spring on me?"
"What?" It was amazing the sheer amount of irritation Alex could pack into one word.
"I mean," he said softly, never tearing his eyes from the orrery, "you're not going to suddenly tell me that the world rotates on its side, or there are twenty more planets in the solar system no one wanted us to know about?"
"Why would I do that?"
Milos shrugged and glanced over his shoulder at the man they'd insisted was his partner, and who clearly didn't want to be. "You keep telling me everything I know is wrong, so... Just how wrong is that?"
Alex glanced up at the contraption, his scowl never fading even when faced with the wonders of the shifting universe. "No."
"No what?" He couldn't stop the note of frustration creeping into his voice.
"No." Alex gave the orrery another long stare and for one moment Milos thought his expression softened. If it did it didn't last long. "The world is exactly like you were taught, assuming you were in school long enough for them to teach you it," he paused and gave the alfa the kind of smile that made him want to wipe it from his face with a fist. "Nothing has changed. There's still..." he squinted at the weird assortment of semi-precious stones that made up the cosmos, "nine planets, apparently. I suppose they wouldn't desecrate something like this by ripping off an arm."
"What?" He was totally at a loss now. "Desecrate what? Why?"
The look Alex turned on him was mystified, until realisation slowly dawned on him, as did another smug smile. "You didn't know."
"Know what?" This was getting irritating now.
He reached up and cuffed one tiny jewelled planet, making it twirl on its axis with only a faint squeak. "Pluto got de-planeted a few years ago."
Alex's smirk widened. "Why would I lie about something like that?" He patted the little planet again. "Pluto is no longer important. It's a dwarf planet, not a real one."
"Bullshit." He stared up as the blue-green stone that represented the planet slowed to a stop. "No one declassifies a planet. They're too... too big to declassify."
With a shrug the human turned away and refocused his attention on his notebook. "Disbelieve me all you like. It's you who'll look stupid for it, not me."
Milos's continued to stare at the tiny sphere, once a minute but important part of his education and now? Discarded, no longer good enough for anyone. A sense of affinity surged through his chest; he'd been taught it was a planet and by God it'd remain one, even if it was just in his head. And maybe if he could believe that, he could believe in himself too, believe he had a use.
A clear case of avoiding reality if ever he'd heard one.
He snorted to himself and took one last look at the outdated orrery. Too late to be fixed. The same went for himself, if Robin was to be believed. But it was still standing. So was the so-recently declassified planet; so was he.
At the very least he could stick around just to put Alex's nose out of joint. He might be useless, but like a stubborn ball of ice orbiting a particularly volatile sun he had no intention of making life easy and vanishing now.