purple_bug: (Cup of tea and a good book)
[personal profile] purple_bug
Title: Happens To Me All the Time
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Planet of the Dead
Words: ~2000
Characters/Pairings: Bernice Summerfield/Lady Christina de Souza
Summary: Archaeology is the search for facts, not truth. Although most of the time, Benny finds that it is more about trying not to get killed.
Beta: Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] strangledduck :o)
A/N: Written for [livejournal.com profile] jinxed_wood for the [livejournal.com profile] dw_femslash ficathon.


oOoOo

Benny dragged the resisting woman through the narrow stone corridor and threw her to the ground before diving down herself. Inches behind them, a wall slammed down, blocking off the way back.

The woman shouted angrily and hit the ground with her fist. “That was my only chance!” she snapped.

“Thanks for saving my life, mysterious stranger, I would’ve got myself killed if you hadn’t been there,” Benny muttered testily, examining a grazed forearm.

The woman scoffed as she got to her feet and straightened her outfit – a form-fitting black catsuit and multi-pocketed jacket. “I would’ve been fine.”

“Oh yes?” Benny retorted, standing up to face her. “So you had those boobytrapped floor slabs right where you wanted them, I take it? And are metal spikes through the chest the height of fashion these days?”

The woman was about to snap back at her, but at that she came up short.

“What metal spikes?”

“The ones that came out of the wall behind you a second after I pulled you out of the way.”

She glanced at the floor, her eyes ticking uncertainly left and right.

“Oh.” She cleared her throat and looked back up at Benny. “Well then, I suppose thanks are in order.” She drew off one of her gloves and offered her hand. “I’m Christina. Thank you for saving my life, mysterious stranger,” she said, her smile sudden and elegant, with a dash of cheeky humour.

“Bernice,” said Bernice, smiling back, glad to be on the right foot with the strange young woman she’d rescued, who, it turned out, could be very charming when she wanted to be. “But call me Benny.”


-


The next corridor presented a tricky-looking obstacle course.

“That wasn’t there when I came this way,” Benny stated, staring at it.

“Same here.” Christina unfastened the top of her rucksack. “Shouldn’t be too hard, though.”

As she spoke, the floor ahead of them exploded with flames that rose slightly too close to the obstacles for comfort.

“You’ve not been doing this very long, have you, Christina?”


-


“Do you have a death wish?” Benny yelled, ducking sharp projectiles as she ran for cover.

Christina passed her in the opposite direction, grinning with exhilaration as she smacked at the flying blades with a ceremonial bludgeoning weapon of some kind that she’d found.

She returned, breathless but triumphant, a minute or so later and dropped down next to Benny, round the corner from the deadly attack. She held in her hand a faceless statuette, edged with precious metals and gems.

“That’s what you risked your life for?”

“The risk is most of the fun,” Christina said, laughing. Her clothes were ripped in one or two places, but she was unhurt.

Benny shook her head in amused disbelief.

“What?”

“You remind me of an old friend,” Benny told her, smiling.


-


“You do this a lot, then?” Christina asked as they both sagged against a firmly barricaded door, only just having managed to get away from something large and hairy and good at running.

“Life or death situations? Yes.” Benny reflected for a moment as she caught her breath. “This is a picnic compared to some of them.” They both slumped down to sit on the floor while they recovered from what must have been more than a two hundred metre sprint.

“I’m just starting out.” The way she said it made it sound like a career choice. “Met this guy on a bus, got sucked through a wormhole, nearly got eaten by giant metal manta rays, et cetera, et cetera.”

“Oh, that old story?” Benny raised an ironic eyebrow as she spoke, and Christina grinned.

“What’s yours, then?”

Benny thought about it. “Short version: it’s complicated.”

“What’s the long version?”

“Very complicated.”

Christina gave her a light shove and another grin, but didn’t press.

“Do you think we’re almost out of here?” she asked, pulling an insulated flask from her rucksack.

“Hard to tell. It didn’t take this long to get in as far as we did, but that’s probably a trick of the architecture – easy to get in…”

“Not so much to get out?”

“Exactly. But it’s not impossible, especially if you do this kind of thing a couple of times a month. Thanks.” Benny took the mug of coffee Christina held out to her.

“Sounds like a fun life. How do you get involved in all these life-and-death things? I have to look all over to find something exciting.”

Benny took a sip of coffee and raised an appreciative eyebrow at the taste of quality alcohol.

“I suppose these days it has a lot to do with where I work. Before then, I had this friend who was a bit of a trouble-magnet. But things seem to get a bit crazy wherever I go. Why are you so keen to get yourself into dangerous situations?”

Christina shrugged nonchalantly, before taking a leisurely gulp from her own mug.

“I like the adrenaline rush,” she replied eventually, meeting Benny’s eyes steadily. The side of her mouth curved up and her eyes glinted, suggesting danger and excitement.

Benny swallowed her mouthful of coffee hurriedly, feeling the need to laugh nervously. This couldn’t be what she thought it was.

“There’s not much that beats it, would you agree?”

Christina’s hand was lingering on Benny’s knee now. Her doubt vanished: flirting was definitely in occurrence.

It had been a while since a woman flirted with her; she’d almost forgotten the funny little rush it gave her, somehow subtly different from anything she experienced with men. She had noticed Christina’s youthful beauty at several points in the brief time they’d known each other, and something about her appealed, she couldn’t deny that. Something about the way she was talented yet naïve; she reminded Benny of some of her former students.

Was she too young, in that case? Benny took a long, deliberate sip of her coffee.

In the same moment, an ominous vibration started up under her feet.

“Do you feel that?” she asked, just for the moment putting aside the issue of fancying someone well over a dozen years younger. It wasn’t the first time; it could wait.

“Feel it?” Christina echoed incredulously. “I can hear it!” She raised her voice as the vibration quickly rose to a loud rumble. “Think we’ve stopped for long enough,” she shouted, grabbing the plastic mug from Benny’s hands and tipping the remaining coffee out along with hers. Benny hauled herself to her feet and began to run along the corridor, Christina moments behind her, jamming the cups back inside her rucksack.

They hurtled down the passage, the rumbling drowning out their echoing footfalls and getting closer with every second.

“That’s not another creature, right?” Christina gasped behind her.

“Don’t think so,” Benny panted back. “Probably something heavy, like a crukking great big boulder.”

“Great, we’re in an Indiana Jones movie - that’s really reassuring!” came the sarcastic reply.

It was much nearer now; Benny had deduced several seconds ago that they were running towards it rather than away, but as the only way back had a heavy door at the end of it that would only serve to trap them, she didn’t see any other option than to keep running and hope that something came up. The fact that something almost invariably did come up was probably down to incredible luck and coincidence, and Benny tried not to question it too much.

“Benny!” Catching up with her, Christina grabbed the sleeve of her jacket and yanked her to the side, just as what was indeed a crukking great big boulder came into view and rumbled its way rapidly towards them both. Christina shoved Benny into a narrow gap in the wall, dropped the rucksack, and squeezed in after her. It was tighter than a tight fit; face-to-face with Christina, Benny could see her panicking as she tried desperately to squeeze her body further into the gap, out of the path of the boulder.

Benny dragged her arms free of the stone pinning them against her sides and grabbed hold of Christina’s jacket. A combined effort of pulling and wriggling succeeded in dragging her further into the crevice, until she was more or less out of the boulder’s way.

“I’ve got you,” Benny breathed, panting from the effort and adrenaline.

A moment or two later the deafening crescendo seemed to shake the air around them. Benny held tightly to Christina’s jacket, tugging her close, eyes tightly closed against the falling dust.

When the shaking finally receded, her fingers were stiff in their clutching position. She felt Christina’s warm, fast breath on her face as the young woman recovered from the close call, and she let out a soft, shaky laugh.

The sound was muffled abruptly as Christina pressed her lips to Benny’s. Their already half-open mouths slid together too easily, and their shortness of breath and lightheaded relief made it all the more urgent and demanding.

They were wedged into a tiny gap in a wall, Benny’s hands were bleeding from where she’d scraped them against the wall, Christina’s jacket was torn to shreds at the back and her rucksack was lost to the hallways of the deadly labyrinth, but they clung to each other anyway, alive and full of adrenaline.


-


“If that’s the kind of thing you do two or three times a month, then count me in,” said Christina, standing with her eyes closed in the onslaught of the alien sun, basking in the light and warmth.

Benny watched her, smiling to herself. Then she did a mental double-take on what Christina had just said.

“You want to come with me?”

Christina opened her eyes and laughed, probably at Benny’s surprised expression.

“Do you think I snog just anyone who saves my life four times in one day?”

“I thought -” Benny floundered for a sensible response, one that wouldn’t make her sound like a foolish teenage girl. Christina grinned, her smile dazzling in the bright light. She lifted Benny’s cut and bruised hands to her face and kissed them gently, one after the other, like a knight would greet a lady. Then she kissed her properly.

Through a rush of feeling, Benny thought it very strange how a girl so much her junior could make her feel like a teenager again.


-


“Your spaceship is a double-decker bus.”

“Yes, sort of.”

Benny stepped back and looked Christina warily up and down.

“Iris?”

“Pardon?”

“No, never mind.” Benny shook her head to rid it of the almost-plausible idea. Honestly, the coincidences you came across when you made acquaintances with time-travellers. “It doesn’t look very space-worthy to me.”

“I met an engineer; he made it air-tight.”

“It’s from London,” Benny said slowly.

“Yes?” Christina looked slightly confused.

“In the 20th century.”

“21st, actually.”

“Right, so how are you here, exactly?”

Christina laughed. “The engineer was an alien. He sounded like he was from London, but he knew too much to be human. He seemed to think I’d do better with a more up-to-date engine. Next thing I know, fifth gear is half the speed of light and the left indicator takes me forward in time.”

“And the right takes you back?”

“Supposedly. I’ve only been forward, so far.” Christina looked over to Benny’s spacecraft. “Rather snug, yours.”

“It’s an extremely comfortable one-person shuttlecraft,” Benny said defensively. “It’s very efficient. And mine doesn’t need windscreen wipers.”

Christina laughed aloud at that, and gave Benny a warm smile.

“Well it won’t fit us both, and I’m not leaving the Two Hundred behind. Come on,” she said, starting towards the two ships. “A lot of the seats are already missing – let’s see if it fits in the wheelchair bay.”

oOoOo
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