grittyfic: (Four out of five)
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Title: The Unexpected
Fandom: Doctor Who
Genre: Vignette
Characters: Three
Rating: MPAA G
Word Count: 600 according to MS Word
Warnings/Notes: Written for the [livejournal.com profile] best_enemies Birthday Challenge 4, for the anniversary of Jon Pertwee's birthday. Beta'd by the lovely [livejournal.com profile] x_los. Linked at my main blog and [livejournal.com profile] best_enemies, and archived at A Teaspoon and an Open Mind.
Disclaimer: All things Doctor Who belong to Aunty Beeb et. al. I'm just playing with them.
Summary: That package wasn't there last night.

The Unexpected

A package sat on his lab table amongst the beakers, bits and bobs. It hadn’t been there when he retired to the TARDIS last night, he was certain. For one thing, he could hardly have missed a box wrapped in bright red paper sitting alongside all that metal and glass, and for another it would have been a horrible nuisance, taking up room right in the middle of his workspace like that.

The Doctor had developed a healthy wariness of unfamiliar objects since a certain Someone had decided to take advantage of his temporary immobility to use this planet in general, and his location specifically, as a test bed for said Someone’s latest schemes for taking over the universe. In fact, ordinary objects were not exactly safe any more – one never knew when even something as innocuous as the telephone cord would take a notion to become homicidal.

As for the gaily-wrapped problem on the table… when neither touching it nor carefully lifting it caused it to explode or otherwise react, he set about running the entire package, still boxed and wrapped, through every piece of analyzing equipment U.N.I.T. had provided and quite a few others of his own invention. The best he could do: it was a gadget. Forty-five percent vulcanized rubber, forty-five percent metal alloy, and the ten percent between the two were some highly miniaturized computer bits and a tiny power source, definitely far too advanced for this time period on Earth. No discernable gasses or explosives, but… Absolutely, positively from Someone then, and therefore Not To Be Trusted.

Shrugging, the Doctor unwrapped the box. When nothing happened, he lifted the lid. Nestled in tissue paper was a car horn, just like Bessie’s.

He carefully lifted it from the box with both hands. Holding it in front of his face – which he immediately realized was an unwise move, but oh well – he turned it this way and that, trying to find some trick or trigger. None were apparent.

Setting it back down on the lab table, he leaned back, rubbing one finger on his lower lip and “hmmmmm”-ing softly. Reaching out with that same finger, he rotated the horn until the bell was pointed away from him and toward nothing else but a bookcase on the back wall. Engaging his respiratory bypass, he squeezed the bulb.

The melody of the first line of rather racy (and officially-discouraged) Academy drinking song played at a volume far too loud for an indoor setting, starting all the glass in the room to rattling and no doubt the cause of several doors down the hall being slammed shut.

Chuckling, the Doctor scooped up the horn and was about to set it back in the box when he noticed a slip of paper that had been hidden underneath the gift. The circular Gallifreyan script announced “I remembered your birthday”; the arrangement of the entire statement implying that the reverse could not be truthfully claimed. “Not much I could do about that, stuck here,” he muttered to the room at large, fairly certain that the Master would not have passed up the opportunity to watch him open the gift, albeit remotely. “Thank you, by the way,” he added, gesturing with the horn before replacing it in its tissue-paper nest.

Tucking the box under his arm and grabbing the necessary tools, he went out to install his gift on his beloved car. He hoped desperately that there wasn’t a time-delayed trap involved, and even more fervently that nobody asked him about the words to that tune.
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