Summary: It was a fiendish trick but she can't complain at the results. Fluffy Nick/Claudia ficlet.
Spoilers: For season 1 more generally.
A\N: Written at the prompting of gojkilp who wanted “something fluffy...something sweet...How about, Nick and Claudia accidentally on purpose meet up of an evening, and a prehistoric creature conspires to ruin the happy 'coincidence' :P”. Betaread by rodlox.
She saw him over the apples. There Nick Cutter was staring at her over a Sainsbury's fruit aisle, eyes shining crystal blue between the shockingly green Granny Smith's and the more demure mix of dark green and red of the Braeburn's.
Perhaps it had slipped her mind – almost - that she'd mentioned earlier in the day, rather casually in front of him and Lester's secretary, how she was starving. She'd had no breakfast you see; her cupboards were completely bare...and honestly it had been a perfectly innocent comment. Though maybe not entirely so considering she'd asked Linda to look up the Sainsbury's nearest to the anomaly they were due investigating when Nick would blatantly overhear. Really it could have waited until later, after the meeting, but something had driven her on. A wish to see where it would lead and the thought of Nick, probably...definitely.
The same Nick who was standing across from her with a smirk on his face. She imagined she must have had that same smirk on her face, very briefly at least, as she strode around the corner to meet him. The spring in her step was short-lived however, as she wasn't even face to face with him before she sensed a sudden change in the atmosphere. An almighty crash rang out from somewhere else in the store and his focus shifted, eyes darting around. Searching for the source he ran past her, and she spun around, chasing after him.
“And here I thought you'd come to see me,” she called out, as she tried to catch up with him, half-annoyed. Half-hopeful too that he'd specifically correct her seeing as he seemed just as surprised by the turns of events.
Nearing the epicentre of the commotion they saw packets flying off the shelves at timely intervals but no culprit in sight. People were edging away; some leaving the shop altogether. Others were impatient and rushing the checkout staff. A few children cried in the background. But Nick stood stock-still, listening ever so carefully – and completely missed the wingerd fiend as it barrelled towards him from the ceiling support above.
Instead of being knocked down by a stray creature he found himself tackled to the floor, supposedly out of harm's way, by one Claudia Brown. On second thoughts being crushed by her was possibly more harmful than whatever the thing lying dazed against a refrigeration panel was. Not to mention this was an entirely unprofessional a situation to be in, bodies flush and laying in the middle of a supermarket, neither having promptly got up after their brush with danger. There were dozens of witnesses.
“Sharovipteryx,” he said breathlessly, his face just an inch away from hers, “from the early Triassic period. It's a fair bit bigger than we thought. They're meant to be about 8 inches.”
She gave it a second glance - it looked tiny now. It was tiny, twice the size of Rex at best. Pathetically it tried to flap its long wings, ending up with haphazardly, not well enough to gain flight and she guessed it was concussed.
“But quite harmless,” he added, pointedly drawing her attention back to him with his subtle teasing. “Didn't expect to see one of those today.”
“I expect not,” she replied, taking a moment to read his face – he was amused it seemed - before getting up and dusting herself off distractedly.
She had considered it an eminently practical course of action of course, but then again the thing had seemed much larger when it was a screeching bundle of wings headed for Cutter, so perhaps this was something to keep out of the reports. It'd be hard to keep the blush away if she had to recall this particular scenario and not out of sheer embarrassment; there were some mistakes she'd be quite happy to make again, and this was certainly one of them. Just, perhaps, not in public..next time.
Much to the confusion of the rest of the team, who'd been called back to the scene, and despite the publicity nightmare and the capture of several tetchy flying creatures with a nasty nip from the locality, they both had faint knowing smiles on their lips for the rest of the night.