Doctor Who and all associated character names and likenesses are owned by the BBC. Used here without permission.
Smuff: rated M for Mature, for depictions of sexuality between two consenting adults.

a sort of-Doctor Who Universe Story; Third in the Songbirds Series
by Mayumi-H/Bonusparts

"Thank you, and, please, come again!"

The customary customer farewell was rote, but Sally Sparrow tried her best to make the smile that went with it more genuine. She got a fulfilling sense of accomplishment, after all, from helping strangers find what they were looking for among the shop's mixed stacks of old books and uncommon DVDs: to see another person's face light up with satisfaction or, sometimes, even joy, even if only for something so simple as a forgotten favourite hardback or a long-anticipated limited release.

It was another simple – though no less gratifying – pleasure to lay her hand on the OPEN/CLOSED sign dangling from its metal hanger and flip it about, to ensure no more curious travelers would traipse into the store, no matter how nice it might feel to help them find a hidden treasure.

But, it was the subtle shiver that ran along her spine right after that that was her favourite pleasure, regardless of the little victories and satisfactions she felt during the day. Because this joy belonged only to her: the joy of feeling Larry's hips press to hers, and his hands squeeze at her shoulders, and his breath tickle the patch of skin beneath her ear.

"We done?" he asked in the abrupt quiet of the shop.

Humming in the affirmative, Sally nodded, her hand still rested upon the glass of the door.

"Finally!" Larry said with a low snickering. Folding his arms around her waist, he put his chin in the space between her neck and shoulder. "Fancy some supper with me?"

She chuckled, laying her hands over his as he began to sway with her, gently, as though in a timid dance. "Cooking, Mister Nightingale? Really?"

"Reheating," he corrected, and snickered again. "But, I'm good at that! And, I thought you liked tandoori...?"

She giggled, playing coy. "I love tandoori!"

He turned her about, so they swayed chest-to-chest. "So, come round and help me finish it off?" He grinned. "I've got us a film to watch, too. You'll love it."

She felt her nose wrinkle up before she could stop it from doing so. "Your opinion of what films I would like is not always spot-on. Remember that one in the cabin in the woods, where that idiot chased his own hand around the room?"

Larry shifted back, his jaw falling open. "Evil Dead II is a classic!" He wagged his finger beneath her nose. "And you laughed at that Farewell to Arms joke."

Despite the seriousness of his expression, she found it difficult not to start laughing again, now; he always turned an adorable kind of cute when she pushed his buttons. Then, he shook his head, and his face turned a different kind of handsome, as a coercive smile stretched his lips.

"Come on," he said. "Just trust me, yeah?"

It didn't take more than a few seconds for Sally to decide, but she let him stew nearly a minute, anyway. Because she enjoyed teasing him, and because his arms felt so very comfortable around her.

"All right," she said, at last. Running her hands to the tops of his arms, she gave his shoulders a pat. "Do we need anything else for supper?"

Larry shook his head again. "No." He bowed his chin, so their noses touched, and said in a hushed voice, "Unless, you'd care to stay, tonight?"

She pursed her lips together, to hold back her sudden grin. This was another simple pleasure for which she'd been hoping: the softly-spoken, tentative invitation that always made her pulse patter just a bit faster than before, no matter how many times he'd made it to her.

"I could do," she whispered to him, and they both snorted brief chuckles that sounded equally amused and embarrassed. "Just let me run home and change," she added, still looking into the small space between them, "and I'll come by?"

"Perfect," he replied. He lifted his head with a breath, as though to step away, but not before briefly pressing his lips to her forehead.

This time, Sally didn't stop her smile.

She was still smiling an hour later, as she stood on the step of the two-storey house where she'd spent nearly a third of her nights over the last year-and-a-half.

In one hand, she held a plastic tote, with her familiar overnight bag slung over the opposite shoulder, its weight heavy with the rolled-up change of clothes she'd packed for tomorrow (not to mention, the lacy rose-coloured bra and pants set that had taken the longest time for her to choose, as she'd vacillated between tarty and demure). That one, she shifted higher, then pressed the buzzer beside the door with slightly more insistence than before.

Larry swung open the door a moment after, looking flustered with his shirt tails flapping and his hair flying in front of his eyes. But, he always looked like that: tousled and comfortably sloppy. And cute, were she to be completely honest.

He was even rather cute as he frowned at her. "Why do you always ring up if you've got a key?"

Sally simply shrugged. "I don't like to presume," she said, and dropped her chin toward her chest. Then, she raised her gaze from beneath her fringe and shot him a sly smirk. "And, I never know when you might be walking around with your kit off."

His frown deepened, and he narrowed his blue eyes at her. "I'm never going to live that down, am I?"

She rolled her eyes toward the sky, making a show of pondering. "No," she decided...before looking back at him again and breaking into light, playful laughter.

Larry sneered. "You're so droll."

She softened her laughter and leaned up close to him. "I appreciate a man who doesn't hide anything from me," she said, and he suddenly laughed, too, a happy and relaxed sound that made her smile.

"Go on," he said, nodding toward the top of the stairs behind him, the could-have-been tiff forgotten.

Sally curtsied playfully, brushing past him as she moved inside. The touch was fleeting – less than a second – but she still managed to pick out, among the piquant aromas wafting from the kitchen above, the smell of lavender soap and, beneath that, the particular warm, faintly metallic odor that was all his own, that made her think of him hunched over hardware in the rear room of the shop, with tiny spanners and soldering pens littered about him. Then, she was up the stairs, bouncing into the pressing heat of a kitchen at work.

"Smells good," she said, as she settled her overnight bag over the back of one chair.

Larry came to stand behind her, pausing briefly at her shoulder. "Almost ready," he said. "You want something to drink?"

"I have that," she replied, and lifted the bag in her hand between them. This one she set on the table in front of them, and pulled from it a plastic carry container holding a mango-coloured liquid.

"Lassi?" Larry guessed with some surprise, and her answering nod was rewarded with another of his joyful grins. "Oh, you're spoiling me!"

Giggling to herself at how easy it was to please him, she moved over to the hutch, for a pair of small glasses, and asked, "So, what are we watching tonight? Another intergalactic love escapade of a space ship captain?"

"No," he drawled. But his timbre changed quickly, and, even without looking, she could imagine that familiar crooked smile he'd always get when something struck his fancy. "But, that would be brilliant! I mean, I like Picard; he has a certain gravitas befitting a starship captain. But there's something refreshingly visceral about a maverick like Kirk. When he seduces that alien prison guard in episode forty-six-"

Sally just snickered to herself as she poured the thick drink into the two glasses, while Larry chattered on behind her, to the background soundtrack of pans being shuffled across the stove top and dishes clattering on the counter.

There was a lot she still didn't understand about many of his interests, despite his innumerable attempts to enlighten her to the finer nuances of this or that fiction. But he always turned so animated and gleeful whenever she gave him the chance to expound, she didn't mind when he'd ramble off on some tangent or other. It was, she knew, one of those singular joys he appreciated, just as she appreciated those times when he'd let her wax rhapsodic about Shakespearean sonnets or Victorian novels.

Not that they hadn't had the unexpected happiness of a crossover of sensitivities – when she'd found him one afternoon completely engrossed in a matted paperback copy of Frankenstein, because he'd wanted to know if the book was better than the film, or when she'd squeezed herself close to him beneath a quilt, while they'd watched and wondered what was going to happen next to the investigative sceptic-and-believer duo of X-File agents – but it was rare. Though, even for its rarity, it always opened her eyes just a bit wider to the greater possibilities of his companionship.

"-And you've completely tuned me out," Larry said, now, as he stepped close to her shoulder again. "Haven't you?"

Caught in her neglecting ruminating, Sally stopped, raising her attention from the glasses to him. "I'm sorry," she said, offering him a placating smile. "I was just thinking-"

"It's all right," he said, with a rueful shake of his head. "I know it's trivial, and boring-"

"No," she began, in an effort to contradict, but he just laid one hand near the small of her back and ushered her toward the main room.

"Which is why," he went on, unabated, as his winsome smile returned, "tonight is for the lady." Stepping close behind her, he inclined his head ever so slightly toward the television.

Sally followed the direction of his gaze, and, while it took her eyes a moment to adjust to the dim light, what she saw on the large main screen situated in front of the long sofa and the old, lift-top cocktail table made her smile, and give a surprised little laugh.

"Sense and Sensibility?" she said, and turned back to him with a whimpering coo. "Oh, that is one of my favourite stories!"

"I know," he said from around a slow, witting smile.

"You do?" she asked, incredulous.

He nodded. "You mentioned it, when we were up at Oxford."

She squinted her eyes at him in surprise, as she recalled said event: browsing a rainy day jumble sale in search of hardback treasures to bring back to the shop. "That was months ago...!"

He shrugged, in something not unlike embarrassment. "I have a good memory for detail." He smiled and nodded again toward the television. "Now, start 'er up," he said, as he turned back to the kitchen, "while I get our supper."

But Sally ignored him, of course, instead following him the six strides into the other room, where she picked up their glasses and twitched her nose at him in impish disregard...just as he slapped one hand to the round of her buttock.

She dropped her jaw in mock dismay, and Larry lifted his long nose toward the front room again, offering her his charming baritone laugh in reply.

Shortly after, they'd settled comfortably together on the sofa, munching on vegetable samosa and spiced tandoori chicken and sipping cooling lassi between, while the movie started up. By the time the charming John Willoughby first caught bold young Marianne's eye, the empty dishes had been stacked on the table, and Sally had her stockinged feet curled up to one side, while she leaned ever so slightly against the comfort of Larry's arm.

Though between the alternately flirtatious and clever banter of the Dashwood daughters, and the simple, quiet attraction of the staid Colonel Brandon to the spirited Marianne, Sally found herself more and more often turning her gaze away from the telly and toward the simple, quiet man beside her, whose blue eyes watched the flickering images with an engrossed interest that both impressed and astounded her.

"You're actually watching this," she said of a sudden, and smiled.

Larry turned to her in startled surprise. "Yeah," he said, and smiled, too. "It's good!" But then the smile faded, and he pursed his lips, chagrined. "There's more to me than photon torpedoes and space vampires, I'll have you know."

She sat back from him a little. "Have I ever said otherwise?"

"No," he admitted in a shallow voice, and the sheepish smile returned. "But, I have to keep you interested, somehow."

Sally gave a chiding click of her tongue. "You worry too much about that."

He hummed, his gaze darting away. "Well, what if some dashing doctor or other swoops into the shop one day, to take you on some grand adventure to who knows where? What happens then?"

She stared at him for a long second. "Some"

"Or something like that," Larry mumbled...though Sally knew it wasn't at all "something like that" that concerned him. She could see it in the bow of his head, and the shade of his eyes, and the subtle twitch of the lines around his mouth.

She had to admit, in her dreamier moments, she had fantasised about the exuberant, time-traveling Doctor tripping the chime on the shop door as he swung it wide, offering the chance to step once more into that bright blue phone box she couldn't ever forget, the one that was bigger on the inside and full of the most fantastic sights and sounds.

Because it was magnificent to imagine strolling along the same picturesque Georgian-era English moors where Emily Bronte might have dreamed her Heathcliff and Catherine falling in love. Or standing amid the eager, anticipatory crowd as a chorus of actors recited the opening lines of Henry V for the very first time at the Globe. Or staring out in wide-eyed amazement at an array of unfamiliar stars speeding by, where God only knew what wonders awaited.

But, no matter how much she might fantasise about such marvels, she couldn't imagine any of them without one uncomplicated, tender-hearted Lawrence Nightingale at her side. Because – after all the days and nights spent growing closer as friends and lovers both – how magnificent could any of those dreams truly be, if she couldn't share them with him?

Sparing a glance to the television, where Marianne's rakish wooer smiled his disarming grin, Sally inclined her head to the screen and asked, "Do you mean, a dashing young man like handsome Mister Willoughby, there?"

Larry looked at the screen, too, and snorted. "Handsome Willoughby. Look at him," he said, gesturing with one arm toward the television. "Marianne can't help falling for the bloke. How is the boring old colonel supposed to measure up to that?"

"Colonel Brandon isn't boring!" Sally retorted. At Larry's pointedly sceptical sneer, she straightened up, her nostrils flaring. "He's plenty of favourable qualities. He's loyal, steady, and supportive. He's quite comforting-"

"You just described an old pair of shoes," Larry muttered from between his teeth. And, still looking at the screen, he frowned.

At sight of that dejected look, she softened, shifting both knees onto the sofa, to face him fully. She reached over and cupped his far cheek, turning his head toward hers. Then, stroking gently at the prickly stubble beneath her fingertips, she lowered her chin and told him:

"I've always liked Brandon better."

In the flickering light of the television, Larry blinked, as though perplexed. So Sally scooted closer to him and put her other hand on his other cheek, her fingers framing his face.

"So, what if he isn't as exciting or debonair as Willoughby?" she said softly. "He's dear to Marianne in a way Willoughby could never be. He protects her, and cares for her. He stays by her." She caressed the sharp line of his jaw with her thumbs. "She's not so blind in her sensibilities she doesn't realise how very special that is. Or how very much he loves her," she said, letting the words hover for a moment in the warm and still breath-space between them.

Then, she leaned up quite close to him, so their faces were almost touching, and whispered, quietly but with unswerving tenderness:

"Because she loves him, too."

There was a pause of a single breath. Then, finally, Larry smiled.

"By accident," he said, but Sally shook her head.

"It makes no difference of how. She does. That's what matters." And, before he could make any silly, self-conscious, unsubstantiated protest, she pulled his face the last inch toward hers and hushed him with a press of her lips that made him suck in a deep and longing breath over her cheek.

There was another long pause while their mouths clutched softly at each other. Then, he echoed her kiss with one of his own, and it was Sally who sighed, as a welcome warmth bloomed between them where their lips and tongues touched.

He tasted both sweet – like mango and cardamom – and savoury – like mace and coriander – at the same time, and she smiled inwardly at this piquant complexity. So when he started to pull back, she leaned in to him further, so they'd stay locked together in their kiss for another moment.

At last, Larry let go a broken hum as he got one hand between them. He pushed her away, though their lips still sought to hold fast to each other even as he asked:

"Should we pause the film?"

Sally considered the option only for as long as it took her to blink. Then, she said, quite plainly, "No."

"No," he echoed, sounding almost wounded as he shifted further back from her. "But, I thought this was one of your favourite stories?"

"It is," she assured him, even as she clambered up from her seat, to stretch one leg across him. She settled down again a second later, facing him in his lap with her hands on his shoulders, and smiled. "But, I like this story better," she said, and her answer made him smile, too.

"Oh," was all he said, just before she hooked her hand behind the base of his skull, pulling him close again for a new series of kisses, each one deeper and more fervent than the one to come before.

Larry didn't stay passive, circling his arms around her and hugging her tightly to his chest, as their kisses strayed to cheeks and jaws and necks, before returning to thirsty lips. Squeezing her hips, he lifted her over the hump of one leg and swung her down to the space of sofa beside him, while she gave a muffled, yelping laugh from around their mouths. The laugh became a breathy sigh then, as he shifted his weight to settle half beside and half atop her, hushing her silliness with the careful slip of his fingers beneath the hem of her pullover.

His touch tickled at first, making her shirk her belly away with a sniffing gasp. But she relaxed once more – against both his clinging lips and questing fingers – as he began to make gentle, rubbing circles over her skin. A minute later, she was even sighing again, as she felt his hand drift around the curve of her breast, kneading with the same soft, measured motion as before.

She pushed her leg between his, grinding her pelvis against the top of his thigh; he hummed in accordance, answering with a firmer squeeze of her breast and a deeper dally of his tongue. Then, just like him, she slipped her hand between them, tickling him briefly beneath the edge of his shirt. But instead of lifting her hand, she dropped it, to massage the firming, excited muscle straining between his legs. An appreciative thrum rumbled from his chest, that she felt in her lips as distinctly as she heard it in her ears.

He clenched his other hand into the tight round of her buttock, holding her close even as he pulled his mouth from hers with a low and gasping groan of her name that sounded as filled with longing as his kisses felt. So she licked at her lips, once, and took the initiative to voice the familiar entreaty he usually broached at these junctures, in a throaty, muted whisper:

"Should we go to the bed?"

She was already pushing herself up from the cushions, too, when he stopped her.


Sally blinked, as a sudden and unexpected weight in her chest stayed her rapid pulse. "No?" she said, echoing him, this time, and wilted at the word.

But Larry just smiled, and gave a gentle shake of his head. "Not yet," he said, and lowered himself for one more kiss of her lips, which she accepted with a silent smile of her own.

At the same moment, he moved both hands to her belly, where he fumbled with her button and zip. She gave an amused hum at his awkward performance, and giggled when she felt his fingers curls around the waist of her trousers. Then, she very quickly gasped, as he gave a yank of both her trousers and her pants, pulling them almost to her knees.

"All right?" he asked, peering up at her as he eased to the floor, his hands still clutching the bunched cloth around her legs.

She nodded, her gaze never leaving his. Not when he dragged her clothes from her legs and dropped them to the side, nor when he ran his fingers over her socks and calves and thighs, nor when he squeezed her hips and tugged her to the edge of the sofa. Not even when he bent toward her, shifting his shoulders beneath her knees, nor when he dipped his head, to start a path of slow, sweet, soft kisses up the inside of her thigh.

It was only when he closed his eyes as he pressed his mouth to her mound that she let her gaze roll away to the ceiling, where the lights from the television made strange and beautiful shadows in the crevices and cracks.

As the focus of her eyes shimmered and drifted, she felt her own breath as it passed over her lips, and her own sweat as it beaded upon her neck and between her breasts and beneath her knees, and her own heart as it began to beat so strong and so loud and so fast, it made her breathe even harder and sweat even more.

But, more than any of these, she felt him: the digging pressure of his fingers to hold her steady as she squirmed, the delightfully scratchy tickling of his stubble as he held her thighs close to his head, the wet kiss of his lips over her most sensitive skin as she started to writhe, and the surprisingly bold, wonderfully deft, pleasingly delving lap of his tongue, as he hit the spot of her finest joy.

"...oh, love...!" she whimpered, and struck out her hands for something to hold on to.

One of them found the corner of the cushion behind her head, and she dragged her nails over the woven fabric, making a staccato scraping sound with each clenching seethe. The other found his hair, and in her dim awareness, she tried her best to be gentle...when his curling tongue touched her in a way she'd never, ever felt before – not by his fingers or by his cock, or by any other man's before him – and she grabbed at those dusty-blond strands, holding his head as she bucked and rolled her hips against his face.

"Ah!" she whined, swallowing back a fiercer cry in her throat, even while she arched up on her shoulders, to force herself closer to his eagerly working mouth.

He gave a groan of what could have been excitement or approval, and answered her prompting with a more frenetic thrusting of his tongue that made her toes go tingly-numb and her insides do a twisting flip as her hips did a corkscrew dance against him.

Tossing her head back, her faint pattering of wheezing pleas turned from "no" to "oh" to "yes," until, at last, the beating cluster of her delight exploded along her quivering nerves like a brilliant and beautiful bomb, making her cry out his name and God's in the same breath.

For a string of pounding heartbeats, she could sense nothing at all, save the sound of Larry's low, muffled humming. Then, very slowly, she realised he'd been holding her tightly to him this whole time, as she felt the clutch of his hands suddenly ease around her hips, and she drifted back to the cushions.

He followed her down, still stroking with his mouth, but much more gently, now; the slow and suckling kisses soothed, like a lovesome massage.

Sally uttered a faint moan, watching with a lazy fluttering of her lashes as he nuzzled her one last time before raising his head to ask:

"Are you all right?"

She nodded, as her eyes flickered closed again. She tried to disentangle her legs from around him, but they didn't want to work. Her arms and torso, neither. She could only give another inarticulate groan and bob her head again.

He seemed to understand, because, a moment later, she felt his hands and arms around her, shifting her more properly onto the sofa with her head near one end and her feet at the other. But when the warmth of him started to slip away, she reached out with one hand, grabbing him by the shirt, and bade him:


His breath blew cool against her temple as he chuckled. "Are you certain? There's not much room," he said, but she held fast.

"Just for a little while," she said, and touched the flat of his chest with her palm. "Please?"

Beneath her fingers, she felt the comforting, steady bump-bump of his pulse...when it abruptly stopped, for just a second, only to begin anew with his quiet exhalation. The cushions of the sofa shifted then, as he crawled up beside her, scooting one arm under the curve of her waist and laying the other over her top hip, smoothing her pullover over her buttock with a light stroke of his hand.

He pulled himself close to her, and she clasped her hands near her chin, nestling her nose into the crook of his neck that smelled faintly of sweat and citrus.

"I'll always be here," he whispered, pressing his lips into her hair as his arms closed, around her, in a firm and assuring hug.

Sally nodded a third time, before snuggling herself deeper into his chest. She gave one last shimmy of her hips against him, then felt herself slip into a calm and easy sleep.

When she woke, she found herself alone in the dark, the only light a pale shaft emanating from the kitchen.

Unraveling her legs from the quilt tucked around her, she got to her feet, passing by the pile of her clothes folded on the low table and into the other room, where she paused at the doorway.

Larry stood at the sink, his head bent and shoulders shifting as he finished the chore of dishwashing. She paid particular attention to the long- and light-fingered care he gave the forks and spoons, which he dropped into their specific containers in the drying rack. She smiled wider as he accidentally dropped the last fork into the spoon section, then pulled it out again, to place it decisively with its mates.

Sense will always have attractions for you, Sally thought, recalling the quote with an inward chuckle. As he reached across the counter for a hand towel, she padded over the tile floor to him, and wrapped her arms around his chest.

"What's this, now?" Larry asked with a surprised laugh.

Sally squeezed him, like clutching a cuddly toy, and laid her head against the space between his shoulders. "I'm sorry I fell asleep."

He shuddered beneath her cheek with another light laugh. "That's all right. That happens sometimes." He settled his still-damp hand upon hers and stroked at her fingers, pausing for a long minute. Then, he asked, softly, "Did you like that?"

Feeling a hot blush race into her chest and face, she gave a wordless noise of affirmation and moved her cheek up and down against his back. "Thank you."

Grasping her fingers, he lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles. "You're welcome. I liked it, too."

Sally laughed. "I hesitate to ask where you learned how to do that!"

"It's fascinating, what you can learn from the Internet," he quipped, and Sally laughed again, too. Then, turning around in her embrace, he laid his hands upon her hips and smiled with abashed pride.

"See?" he said, as though challenging. "I'm not always a dull swot."

Her smile crumbled at his words, his self-loathing making her nostrils twitch.

"Stop," she told him in a firm voice, and locked her hands behind his back, to hold him in place so he couldn't ignore her or fidget away. "If there's one thing I know, it's my own mind. So don't insult me by implying I'm a fool for wasting my time on someone who isn't worth my full attention. I wouldn't be here, otherwise."

Larry blinked at her. Then, fittingly cowed, he dropped his shoulders with a clipped sigh. "I know. It's just-"

"It's just nothing," Sally said, and, as the focus of his eyes swung away, she gave him a tug of her arms, jostling his attention back to her.

In that moment, she studied his face, at the defined lines and rough edges she'd looked at and touched and come to memorise over the last almost-three years since he first stumbled, quite literally, into her sight, and paused. Because in those lines and angles, she could see the very clear and very honest affection he held for her, and that clarity and that honesty mellowed her annoyance at him, as she considered the whole of the man he was.

"I'm with you because that's what I want," she said, as she pressed her hips and chest against his. "Because I love feeling your arms around me. And hearing the sound of your laugh. And seeing that look in your eyes, when you smile."

He did so, now, as beautifully and wonderfully as she'd told him, and it made her chuckle.

"There it is," she said, and lifted her hand, to just-barely stroke her fingers over his lips.

"I love your smile," she said, feeling herself go oddly fluttery inside at this particular articulation.

Larry's brow furrowed, ever so slightly. Then, pressing one palm to her cheek, his smile fractured, just a bit. "I love yours, as well," he said, and bowed his head to hers, slowly but with unmistakeable intent. And, with his next breath, he cupped the round of her cheek and lifted her face to his, murmuring, "I adore everything about you, Sally Sparrow."

His kiss was but a moment, but Sally still experienced an electrifying tingle of excitement along her nerves, the same as before but also not.

The complexity of her taste on his lips was gone, replaced by a faint but permeating minty-ness, and there was no urgent press of his mouth as there'd been before. But, then, she thought maybe it was the naked simplicity of this kiss that affected her so. For there was nothing in it designed to impress, coerce, or arouse, just his unwavering and marvellous affection for her...and – as she settled back on her heels, and she actually felt her lips wanting to hold fast to his, even as they part – she realised: her unwavering and marvellous affection for him.

Easing back from her, he nuzzled at her forehead and asked in a low voice, "Would you still like to stay?"

Nuzzling back against his chin, she smiled. "Of course."

"I can make up the sofa, if you like. Get some fresh linens-"

"You always make that offer," she said, and smirked at his once-again familiar propriety.

He shrugged one shoulder up. "I don't like to presume, either."

Sally giggled for a moment, then peered up at him with another coy smile. "Would you rather I stay on the sofa, tonight?"

This time, Larry brightened with a warm flush, as he glanced away, as though trying to hide that adorably sheepish smile that curled his lip over his teeth.

"...No," he said, half-mumbling and half-chuckling, and that made her giggle again, too.

"Then, I'm going to wash up." She wound her fingers through his belt loops and gave a not-so-subtle shimmy of her naked hips, and grinned up at him. "And I suggest you take these clothes off, get into bed, and make yourself comfortable. Because it is going to be a very long night." She wrinkled her nose at him, suitably coquettish. "How does that sound, big man?"

His formerly abashed smile turned wide, showing off his eyeteeth. "That sounds brilliant," he said with a quick laugh. Then, he craned his head down to her again, almost-kissing her, and asked, "What is it I've done right to deserve you?"

Sally lifted her chin and rubbed her nose against his. "You're Lawrence Nightingale." Rising up on her toes, she pressed her lips to his, and – despite her splendid designs for the rest of their night – it was a long time before she let him go from their kiss.


I figured Sally would identify a lot with Marianne (from Sense and Sensibility), since she's moved by her emotions and prone to seeking excitement. Larry, on the other hand, always feels like a more reserved character, somehow. He cares deeply for Sally, certainly, but - like dear Colonel Brandon sees himself in comparison to Willoughby - he's not nearly as dashing, thrilling, or glamorous as the wily Doctor.

As for references:

Evil Dead II is a comedy/horror movie from 1987, arguably the best of the franchise and its quirky genre. (And the Farewell to Arms gag is pretty hilarious.)
The starship captains to which Larry refers are Jean-Luc Picard and James T. Kirk, of Star Trek The Next Generation and the Classic series, respectively. Episode 46 of Classic Trek is "The Gamesters of Triskelion," where Kirk seduces a green-haired female alien guard in order to escape his prison...a common plot device in the older series.
Frankenstein, of course, is the Gothic novel by Mary Shelley. And, while the 1931 movie is great, the book is indeed better.
The "sceptic-and-believer" duo of government agents refers to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, of the television series The X-Files, of which I have no doubt Larry would be a fan, for more than the obvious reasons.
The Emily Bronte line - about Heathcliff and Catherine - is a reference to Wuthering Heights, another Gothic novel with which Sally would probably be familiar.
Finally, the line "Sense will always have attractions for you" is a re-working of Elinor's line "Sense will always have attractions for me," from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It's a description that Elinor gives to younger sister Marianne, about Colonel Brandon.
...And, I think that's it.

Thanks very much for reading!