Note: Happy fourth anniversary, "Quite Peculiar"! Hard to believe it's been so long… and harder to believe I'm celebrating with some recycled material (all written for Dalek Week over on DeviantArt). I wanted to throw new stuff at you wonderful people, who continue to read and review – though I'm scarcely breaking new ground at this point – but as always, real life intervened.
New stuff is coming, I promise! In the meantime, enjoy all of these lil' snippets, set at different points in the "face to face" modern AU.
"Made it myself," Deryn says.
Alek looks at the plate… and the misshapen mass on top of it. "Ah."
She looks too. "I can't sodding cook."
"No," he says, trying not to laugh; he can't cook, either.
She sticks a finger into the icing, scoops up a sizable dollop, pops it into her mouth. "Mm. That's not bad, though."
He copies her and nearly gags on the sugar. "Regardless of edibility – thank you," he says, "for the birthday cake."
Her kiss isn't nearly as sweet the icing. He enjoys it far more.
They toss the cake into the rubbish bin.
Alek can't tell what the protestors are protesting. Their blue-and-white placards simply proclaim YES, which seems… ambiguous.
He asks Deryn as they eat lunch. Through a mouthful of food, she says, "Scottish independence. There's a national referendum soon."
Alek looks at the protestors again. "Why?"
She shrugs. "The English are dirty wee bastards, why else?"
"Austrians are all right, I hope," he asks, nudging her foot with his beneath the table.
"Oh, aye." She winks at him.
"Will you vote?"
Another shrug. "They never conquered us properly, you know."
She flicks a piece of food at him; he laughs.
They're back in the hotel room not five minutes when Alek groans. "God's wounds, I forgot to take pictures."
"I did." Deryn tosses him her phone and collapses onto the bed. Touristing is hard.
She kicks off her shoes – ah, that's better – while Alek scrolls through her photos.
"These are all pictures of food."
"Aye," she says, sighing happily. "I'm in love with apfelstrudel."
He tosses the phone back. "I should have expected this."
"The coffee's not bad here, either."
"And the natives," he says, sitting beside her, "are rather brilliant."
"Aye," she says again, and kisses him.
"Help," Deryn whispers, mock-fearful.
Alek grins at the computer screen, glad to be distracted from his assignment. "Not much I can do from here, I'm afraid."
"Ma's after me again," she says normally. "Mascara lessons, this time."
"If you require political asylum…"
"Aye, it's inhumane."
"Speaking of which – my literature tutor believes I should be familiar with 'classic English works'. Has your school covered Jane Austen?"
"Mr. Darcy and that lot?" She makes a face. "All blether."
Meaning Pride and Prejudice lacks aeronautical diagrams.
"Any assistance would be welcome," he assures her. "I have an essay."
"In that case, then…"
The phone wakes him, face down in his textbook.
"Hmm?" he manages.
"The RAF won't have me," she says. "My knee."
The bleak voice, the small sad catch, jolts him fully awake. "Deryn –"
"What am I to do, Alek?"
He closes his eyes. Wishes he was in Glasgow, with her.
"What you've always done, I expect," he says softly, after a moment. "Ignore the Dummkopfs and go on as you please."
Silence. Then… "Aye, I'm good at that," she says, humor creeping in.
"Do you want me to come up -?"
"No. No, I'm fine now."
And she is.
Jaspert spits out his drink when the Skype video window opens. "What -?"
"My thoughts precisely," Alek says, dry.
"Sod off, both of you," Deryn says. She adjusts her red wig, grinning madly. "You can't go to a barking convention without dressing up."
"Mm," Jaspert says. Takes a drink. To Alek, he says, "Don't listen to her excuses, lad. She's always been pure dead daft about the Doctor."
"So I gathered." But the look Alek gives her is fond.
"Which number are you?" Jaspert asks.
Alek touches his fez. Sighs. "Eleven."
"Geronimo, then," Jaspert says, and salutes them through the screen.
7. HAPPY DAYS
"I report in two weeks," Deryn says, before he gets to "hello".
Alek finds himself grinning like a fool. Grips the phone more tightly. "Then your knee –?"
"Good enough for the RAF, now." She sounds giddy. "That sodding evil physical therapist was worth it."
"Wunderbar. Good. I'm glad – I could help." He'd financed the PT, to Volger's disapproval. And he is glad, though it heralds even less time with her.
Someone knocks on his door.
"Sorry, one moment," he says into the phone, aggrieved. Crosses his flat. Opens the door.
"Hullo," Deryn says, grinning at him. "We've two weeks, aye?"