Discoveries Now Ancient
Originally published for thehowlingwolf, with a wish for a happy Christmas, this story has been reuploaded with a more traditional twist.
K plus. Peter/ OC
~A romance all too mushy to ever exist.~
It is a snowy evening and Jane is reading to Peter from her Biology text about the structure of the human DNA- a phenomenal scientific discovery that still has scientists everywhere practically leaping with glee even two decades after its initial founding.
In between bouts of Peter thinking to himself that Jane was making more and more sense genetically, Peter won't think at all.
He sits on the old red couch of library's study room, with Jane sitting so closely that he can feel the heat her body is releasing due to the chemical reactions of her molecules. What sorts of reactions did skin like that have to go through, in order to retain such a perfect, creamy colour? Peter doesn't really care, as long as his pupils continue to admit light, the cones and rods in his eyes willingly shaping her image.
Jane finishes a section on ribonucleic acids, and smiles ironically up at him, as if apologizing for the blandness of the stuffy, intellectually-puffed words. Peter can't mind, though, because his own DNA renders him with excellent hearing, and he really, truly, adores hearing her voice lilt warmly around him, sinking like a teasing breeze through his auricle, drumming a sweet vibration around and around in the inner workings of the cochlea and semicircular canals...
Is this part of that ninety-eight percent of human DNA that is exactly the same as everyone else's? Or does she only sound like an angel to the two percent that makes Peter, Peter?
Jane shifts, so close Peter swears his epidermis will singe from the beautiful warm and moist air expelled from her alveoli, exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide, mixing with her blood, with her genetics, breathing onto Peter. It makes him wish with an utter lunacy that somehow he could breathe in and make her even a small part of him.
Genetically, Peter can see her Scandinavian roots- the honey blonde hair, straight and pulled loosely back, really just dead skin cells that has been spun into gold. A genetic Rumplestiltskin that Peter finds himself praising fervently. Her mouth is full, collagen and sensitive skin flushed with that same blood- that same DNA- and Peter wonders if it is only her two percent of DNA that made her lips look so edible- A single enchanted bite that would send Peter reeling into oblivion, that one kiss that would wake him up from this genetic spell he was cast under.
Honey and cream and apple-red are in Jane's DNA, and Peter wants to know what genius put them there so that he can give them thanks for the feast set before him.
"Dr. Pevensie?" Jane teases, because she has eyes like Peter's, just as keen, laughing even though no DNA Peter knows of can place a smile in the eyes besides Jane's, and she knows that he isn't really thinking about the section of catalysts.
"Nurse?" Peter manages, and if his voice is scant, it's because his brain is failing to fire the synapses for his diaphragm to supply an adequate oxygen supply to his lungs, and for his tongue to unglue itself from the roof of his mouth.
"The Professor won't favour you anymore if you fail this test tomorrow," Jane says, and because her DNA recognizes an admirer while her intellect may not, Peter's sharp eyes can count the tremors of blood flowing through her jugular vein in the side of her creamy neck. It beats a little faster than Peter is used to, and the rhythm of it all entrances him.
Perhaps more synapses are firing that Peter thought, because suddenly his right triceps contracts and his hand is moving forwards, finger pads chock with nerve endings stirring against the cream of her neck.
It's so smooth, that Peter thinks it can't be solid. The electromagnetic field of her atoms can't be that strong, yet despite all appearances, the flesh is strong, not liquid, pliable but not without a returning force of its own. Another tremor vibrates through his nerves, but the warmth of Jane at his side does not diminish, and now he finds the mind to order his hand to stay there, in that comfortable spot above her pulsing life.
Jane continues reading in a voice so soft that Peter would not know her larynx was restricting in tune with her melodic notes if his hand did not feel the thrumming sway of violins in her throat. Laughter in her eyes... an orchestra in her voice...
Peter removes his hand, exchanging it with his lips.
...Sweet cream in her skin.
He can taste his name, and everything that makes him who he is, is dancing at the sample of victory lingering on the tip of his tongue.
"Jane," he returns, and relishes the tremolo of vocal chords as his lingering mouth tickles her pulse and her DNA dances against his skin, her laughter infecting him with genetic joy, and he finds his mouth smiling by rule of ancient code into the line of her jaw.
Another giggle, ticklish, and creamy fingers are gently lifting his head, bathing the fiery beat of constricting blood vessels in his cheekbones with cool fingers, as soft as her neck, and he kisses those, too.
"Studying?" A reminder. A request for guidance.
"Later," he insists, because the two percent that makes Peter, Peter, wants to explore the two percent that makes Jane, Jane, more than anything else in the world.
And maybe the two percent that makes Jane, Jane wants to know him just as badly, because the she needs no further instruction.
As soon as his vocal folds are finished vibrating, her sternocleidomastoid muscles twist her head to the side and synapses are shooting in his own skull like a firework display, blinding both rods and cones inside of his eyes, his brain receiving no image but those tantalizing, apple-red lips that have just captured his, and feeling nothing but honey flowing through his fingers.
If he had been traveling by desert for forty years, he could not have been more parched, yet here was Jane, with the promise of Heaven in her very DNA.
'Watson and Crick really have no idea,' Peter finds himself thinking, as well as, 'I think I might just pass this test...'
~Where the red tape shows: An alternate ending. ~
But whatever cloud of bliss he might have found himself sinking into is abruptly ruptured when the solid double doors fly open and crack against the lining bookshelves, with Cain Jacobs and Thomas Macintosh roaring through. Thomas turns red at the sight of Peter caught in mid-kiss, but Cain, who has a strange, briefcase corded to a telephone(1) pressed up against his ear is glaring quite malevolently at Jane.
"Found them!" he yells into the mouthpeice, and Peter's burning ears pick up the sound of garble from the other end. "With what?" Cain demands of the bizarre device, and Peter's larnyx re-animates.
"What are you doing?" He sits a little ways from Jane, but feels her hand alight on his arm, and it serves to instantly calm him.
"Oh, she's got him, all right," Thomas squeaks, and lifts a iron candlestick holder in front of him like it's his saving grace. "Hurry it up before she gets ideas!"
"Peter, why are your friends acting like this?" Jane wonders. Peter says;
"Why are you lot acting like this?"
"Don't they know it's rude to interrupt people when they're trying to have time alone?"
"Don't you two block-heads know we're trying to find time alone?"
The briefcase-telephone speaks again, almost ardently, and Cain winces. "Yeah," he agrees, "It's a tight hold."
"Tell them to leave, or you'll make them wish they'd never been born."
Thomas squeaks again as Peter jumps to his feet, but Cain throws out an arm and holds his flightly friend in place, "Steady, Tom."
"Get out of here," Peter growls, fists clenched, "Or I'll send the pair of you to an early grave."
Cain suddenly blanches at the phone. "Exorcize? I don't know how to exorcize." Peter thinks he hears a tinny voice from the ear peice say, 'Well, try!'
"Great," says Cain, "Terrific. Peter- you're bewitched. She's got you under a spell, don't you see?"
"I'm flattered," remarks Jane from Peter's back. "I was always told I was such a plain little girl."
"Shut it, you."
"You leave her alone," snaps Peter, "And get off your high horse. I know spells. This is no spell. I like her. I think I might love her- What is it to you?"
"Do you keep relating everything about her to biology?" Cain asks suddenly. "Biology and food? 'Cause Edmund says that's rote for love spells."
"So what if I am? I'm a medical student," Peter is feeling rather hot around his collar, "And food is fantastic."
"This is ridiculous!" exclaims Jane, jumping from the couch to round on the instigators of this tedious interview. "Peter and I are in love! We kiss. We hold hands. We relate each other's beauty to agriculture. That's rote for all love poems from every culture- Egypt, Japan, Germany, and wherever else. Why does that bother you so much?" Her hand finds Peter's and he squeezes gently. "Why can't you just leave us alone?"
"We should leave them alone," says Thomas, candlestick drooping.
Cain shakes his shoulder. "Come off it, Thomas. We're not finished." He looks back at Peter holds his gaze for a moment, then holds out the telephone. "Here. If you're sure. At least talk to your brother so he understands.
"I'll take it!" says Jane, and snatches the phone out of Cain's hand before he can draw it back. She turns away from them all, "Hello, this is Jane, Peter's- What?" she asks. For a second, she neither speaks nor moves, but when she does, it is to throw the entire set of the phone- receiver, breifcase, and all, with all her strength away from her. It crashes on a short way off (rather dense with the most high-technology of the day) and everyone in the room can hear the clear, flowing exorcism that is not only in Old Narnian, but in the lilting tones of Lucy Pevensie.
"Stop it! Stop it!" shrieks Jane, backing away. She turns to Peter, clutching at his arms. "Stop them!"
But Peter is backing away a bit, because her full, apple-red lips are more like the puffy swell of a fish, her creamy skin a sallowed note of soured milk. Her hair is limp- patchy and mousy. Her blue eyes watery like a rodent. All in all, she is not a truly attractive creature. Yet this is not the true source of his discouragement.
Cain steps closer, patting his distressed classmate on the back, "It's going to be all right, Pevensie."
"In Narnia, I can understand, but here?" Peter cries, "How many witches and magicians can there be in a magic-less world? This whole love-potion nonsense was bad enough there!"
"Edmund told me his informants were picking up on more of them. I dunno- more portals between worlds cracking or something? He had Lucy make the call while we took care of you because its ten-times harder for a witch to enchant a girl as it is to enchant a boy."
"Good old, Ed," croaks Peter, collapsing back onto the couch and planting his face in his hands. "I wish I could drink at this age."
"Oh, I'm hideous again!" sobs Jane, pulling at her stringy hair at her relflection in the mirror above the fireplace, "I was so pretty! Why can't I be pretty?" And really, the blotchy patches of red popping up on her sallow skin while she cries is doing nothing to prompt relief from this notion. "You idiot!" She turns on Peter, throwing books from the side tables at his head that he valiantly tried to duck. "You blasted idiot!"
"That's enough!" Lucy's voice cuts through the ruckus like a shot, and all eyes turn to the discarded portable-phone. "Jane, I have no idea what you look like, but you're a ruddy good brain. I bet you're top of the class over there."
"I want to be beautiful," groans Jane, sinking to the floor and clutching at her face, "I'd give up all of that just to be beautiful."
"That makes you the idiot," Lucy remarks. "I don't intend to be mean, Jane, but it's that time of month for me and this is the seventh time in my life that someone has tried to bewitch Peter (nevermind Edmund) into loving them. If you think being pretty for a few years will get you farther along than being brainy 'til you drop dead, then you're wrong. Agriculture? Good edible stuff. But it doesn't last, Jane. Nothing lasts. Lion's Mane, just once, can a girl have sense about this sort of thing?"
Jane hiccups, but says nothing, staring forlornly at the carpet. The three boys stare warily at the phone, cowed to silence by this feminine wrath.
"I'm coming to meet you," says Lucy suddenly, "Yes, I'm coming to meet you. This week. And you and I will talk and we'll be friends because you have a brain and I'm not in the mood to leave you to your own devices. Right now you need to go back to your rooms, wash your face, change into something comfortable and maybe drink a little milk before you go to bed."
"I'm... not tired," manages Jane, watery eyes looking in confused amazement at the phone.
"Yes, you are. Peter?"
"You go to your room, too. Have Thomas walk you. Cain, go with Jane. All of you go to bed! Now, I'm tired. I'll see you all later this week."
And because Lucy hangs up so succinctly, there is really nothing left for the four to do but follow her rather grumpy advice.
A/N: Dedicated to peanutmeg, with hopes that she feels better, and to anyone else that might be having an all-around sucky week.