Disclaimer: not mine, not for profit

Notes: A Whedonland gift fic featuring Topher and using prompts "something broken" and "something green"

Summary: Topher breaks something precious and fears for his life. Humour, fluff, minor angst.

Oh. Dear. God.

Topher looked down in horror at the shards of china on the polished wooden floor of Adelle's office. He shouldn't have been in here at all but while she was away for two days, attending an important meeting at the Center, he'd been taking the opportunity to update her computer system. She hated when he "fiddled" with it but it needed more memory and it had been the work of a moment to slip in another bank of RAM.

Which would have been an end to it if he hadn't decided to pick up Adelle's teapot. Her prized celadon green teapot used to entertain clients, a symbol of her polite British-ness, a sign of a civilized meeting. Adelle poured tea as if she were enacting a Japanese tea ceremony. She loved this teapot. It wasn't just some cheap pot from Ikea; it was probably an heirloom from her grandmother, the product of a now defunct ceramics firm in Merry Olde England.

For no obvious reason, Topher had picked it up, and somehow, as he'd examined it, it had slipped from his fingers. He'd watched, unable to stop it as it fell, in slow motion, to the floor with an accusatory crash and promptly shattered into a million pieces.

Topher felt his jaw drop open. He stumbled backwards and his knees connected with a sofa, making him sit automatically. He was dead, he knew that; it was only a matter of time before his body became aware of the fact.

He whimpered and tugged at his hair. Adelle would kill him when she got back. He could see it now, Adelle sitting at her desk and turning coolly to her trusted security chief.

"Mr Dominic, would you kindly take Mr Brink outside and execute him, please?"

He could see the sadistic grin on Dominic's face as he replied, "Certainly." The man had been waiting since day one for Topher slip up this badly and he'd had plenty of time to devise some interesting ways to torture him before the final decisive shot to the head.

No, no, Topher thought. That was all wrong. This was personal. This was something Adelle would punish him for herself. Whip him to death, maybe; it was always the quiet, reserved ones who kept a stash of bondage materials in the closet.

Or death by sword. She was an expert fencer, Topher knew. He'd once reported to her, talking rapidly, while she flexed a foil in her hands. He remembered that he'd crossed his hands reflexively in front of his groin as she toyed with the weapon, and that time he hadn't even been in trouble.

He wondered how sharp a foil actually was. Fencers wore protective equipment but surely the lightweight swords weren't actually meant to harm? But a pointed weapon was a pointed weapon, he supposed. He'd heard the stories of what Dominic could do with a sharpened pencil and had no doubt that Adelle knew of them too, and how to re-enact them if necessary.

Topher sent a few minutes composing his eulogy. He intended to type it up and mail it to Ivy to read at his memorial service. This maudlin exercise in self-pity over, he stood, ready to make one last ditch effort to save himself. He was, after all, a genius. There had to be a way to fix this.

What would Dr Rodney McKay do? Probably build a time machine and go back and not break the damn china, but Topher didn't have access to that sort of equipment. He'd have to make do with what he had.

It took luck, as well as an hour of searching, followed by some frantic bidding, and it cost a small fortune in next day shipping, but a replica was duly delivered to Topher Brink's somewhat shaky hands. He clutched the brown carton to him in relief. He'd already swept up the evidence of course, and now all he had to do was put the new pot in place of the old one and pray.

Adelle returned and Topher kept an uncharacteristically low profile for the rest of the day, eating compulsively. Several bags of potato based product later and he hadn't summoned to explain his actions; not even any rumours of a furious DeWitt came to his ears. Finally, he relaxed. It had been close, but he was safe, then.

Thank God for eBay.