On the door, quietly words spelled, "Professor Dawnstar Alfbridge"and underneath "Historian" and underneath that, a bunch of pinned, ripped, sellotaped sticky notes with quirky phrases or words or drawings from his students. Mikal wondered whether he had observed the notes in some time, as many inappropriate messages were still stuck on the very judicious man's door.
"Sir?" Mikal knocked hesitantly, carefully on the polished, red-brown wood, and heard the heels of the mans shoes clipping against his polished office floor until he pulled the door open further to reveal a scraggy stubble, tired black eyes, but rimmed with the witchery of black coffee. He reeked of it, even more so than Mikal himself.
"I can tell by the smell of you that you too have been...struggling." The professor exchanged a small smile with Mikal, and the two men, one painfully middle-aged, one painfully still in youth.
"I heard by some reports that you've been slacking off, despite this...struggle." His back revealed until he swerved to face his student again, brisk eyes studying the redness with his own.
"It has distracted me."
"Did you not listen to me before? Mikal, you are a university student. As much as it's your doing, I'd recommend you to not pull back on your work now, and you can forget about joining me."
"What happened at the visit, Professor?"
"Mikal, hear me, you will not get involved with this nonsense anymore. Alright, it's barbaric. Science-fiction crap!"
"So, after all that? After all of it, you call it "crap"."
"It's not about that, Mikal, it's about a professional opening his eyes to rationality and logic. I can't dig deeper any more than we have already. It's time to stop."
"No. You mean it's time for me to stop. You however...you will keep going, won't you?"
"Perhaps. Perhaps I won't. I'm not the one whose future is in jeopardy to be frank. You can't study two things at once and give each your life. Mikal, if you want to continue with this, you'll have to give it your life. Either drop the "freshers" bullshit or the "science fiction" bullshit. It's totally up to you."
"You can't talk to me like this, Professor. It's a choice beyond you now. Ulimatums should not be a custom of my age range."
"Yes, I respect your age, Mikal. But you're still half the age of me...'round about. Time to make some life decisions. You can't study either like this. You can't live the best of both worlds, Mike. Not now." The Professor's face was tired and warm, quiet and shy, and alone. The study had drained them both, yet the calls wouldn't stop there. So, Mikal told the Professor that he'll leave with him to study the world, for why not now rather than in a decade-or-so, where Professor Alfbridge might be gone. Gone. Both of them.