Author’s Note: Why the previous story was written in first person and this one came to me in third person, I don’t know. That’s just how the muses were talking. Dedicated to to Deb, ’cause she was sick and wanted fics and I’d owed her this one forever anyway. 🙂
“…’Then where the hell are they?’ ‘The appropriate question is “WHEN the hell are they?”! Einstein has just become the world’s first time traveler! I sent him into the future! One minute into the future, to be exact…'”
Declan Dunn reached for the bowl of popcorn as he continued to recite Doc Brown’s dialogue along with Christopher Lloyd on the screen.
Miranda flashed him a disgruntled look from the other side of the bowl. “Declan, please stop that.”
He looked up at her, a merry smile teasing his face as he tossed a piece of popcorn into the air, catching it with his tongue. “Stop what?”
“That…saying the lines with the characters.”
Much to her consternation, Declan’s grin just got wider. “Why? Does it bother you?”
“Well…yes, Declan, it bothers me.”
“Why?” Another piece of popcorn found his mouth.
“Because–” Miranda struggled to answer in the mostly unfamiliar language of leisure. “I…what difference does it make?”
He shrugged, turning his attention back to the video. “None, I guess.”
For a moment the small audience was quiet, then, softly…
“‘Oh my God. They’ve found me. I don’t know how, but they’ve found me. Run for it, Marty!’ ‘Who?’ ‘Who do you think? The Libyans!'”
“Declan!” Miranda’s voice sounded pained. “Please stop.”
The anthropologist laughed and turned a face to her that was pure mischief. “Make me.”
“What?” Now she sounded incredulous.
“Make me,” he repeated, dark eyes dancing behind his glasses.
His assistant’s often-bland expression had turned dumbfounded by this point, and she began to sputter. “How?”
Declan shrugged, his eyes still dancing. “I dunno. That’s up to you.” He turned back to the screen. “You know, Einstein looks kinda like Mole, don’t you think?” he commented, pointing to the dog in the DeLorean which had just reappeared.
He then slipped comfortably back into reciting the lines.
This was getting her nowhere, and Miranda was getting desperate. Casting a furtive glance in Declan’s direction, she then searched the room for some means of distraction. The answer, when it came to her, was sitting right between them.
He yelped in surprise, jumping to his feet, amidst a shower of golden-white puffs. Incredulous but pleased brown eyes swung to meet hers. “What’d you do that for?”
“You said to make you stop!” she protested.
Declan nodded, still amazed. “Yeah, but I didn’t expect something so…” His eyes drifted down to the floor, which was now carpeted with popcorn. “…resourceful.”
Standing with the empty bowl in her hands, Miranda found herself unable to fight a bubbling laugh. It crept up inside her until finally it fought its way through her lips and broke merrily forth from them.
“Ah ha!” he pounced on her moment of weakness. “I knew it was in there somewhere!”
She stared at him in disbelief, trying unsuccessfully to tuck the smile back away in a corner. “You mean, all that…” One hand swept out broadly to include the still-running video tape, the mess on the floor, and Mole calmly cleaning it up. “…all that was to get me to laugh?”
Declan shrugged, a calm self-deprecating smile gracing his face and twinkling in his eyes. “Pretty much, yup.”
“Declan, you…you are impossible.” Trying to look exasperated but failing because she couldn’t hide her amusement, Miranda shoved the bowl into his hands. “So since this was all your idea, you get to clean up the popcorn.”
He glanced down at the floor, then back up at her with a grin. “Nah, let Mole do it.”
Tossing the empty bowl onto his desk, Declan settled himself back into his spot on the floor, brushing a few popcorn kernels out from under himself as he did so. Then he patted the place beside him where she had been sitting. “Come on, you’re missing one of the best parts!”
With another amused shake of the head, Miranda curled her legs under her and sank back to the floor. Still smiling, Declan reached an arm out and gave her shoulders a friendly squeeze just as Marty ran over one of Old Man Peabody’s pines in the DeLorean.
She didn’t flinch from his touch.