Characters: Walter and Peter (Gen)
Summary: A new package arrives for Walter.
Author's Notes: A birthday gift for killabeez, who wanted something with Peter and Walter.
Also for writers_choice, this is "Toy."
"Ah, Peter—could you help me lift this box onto the table? Astrid hasn't come in yet, and I'm anxious to get started."
Peter grabbed the box around the middle, but it resisted moving. He stopped. "What's the Hell's in this thing, Walter? Maybe it should stay on the floor."
"Mm," Walter commented, searching through one of the rolling carts. He located the forceps and syringe he was after and held them up in triumph. "This reminds me of a project we did back in the Seventies with orphaned sheep and psychotropic stimulus," he announced happily. "That is, before the funding dried up of course. Pity." He looked down at the box. "I'm sorry, Peter, weren't you going to—"
"It's heavy, Walter. Why do you need it on the table?"
"I'm going to dissect it, of course."
"Oh God, what now? A possessed carburetor? The first organism made of lead? The leg of a diseased elephant?"
"Really, Peter, it's nothing as improbable as that." Walter put his tools down on a tray. "Would you hand me that beaker over there?"
There were actually two beakers, one with a red and white mixture and the other full of something pink and lumpy. They both looked disgusting. Peter picked up the first one.
"No, no." Walter waved it away. "Don't be ridiculous, I couldn't possibly drink that—though I suppose a cannibal might find it tasty. No, it's the other one, the strawberry smoothie. I made it this morning."
Peter always found Walter's casual juxtaposition of food and experiments utterly nauseating. He regretted breakfast already. "Here."
Walter took a sip. "Delicious!" he pronounced. "Now don't forget about the box..."
"All right, but you're going to have to help me with it."
The two of them hoisted it awkwardly, and managed to get an edge over the table before pushing the whole thing to safety.
"Excellent," Walter beamed. He rummaged through a pile of connectors and wire and came up with a box cutter, which he used to slice carefully along the package's seams. He lifted the lid.
"Wait a minute..." Peter pulled off a cardboard panel to reveal the box's contents. "You can't be serious, Walter!"
"Oh, stop looking at it like that—it's more than just a rock." Walter stroked the surface reverently, eyes shining behind his protective goggles. "Chisel, please, and the mallet too."
"It's a fossil," Peter realized. "A huge fossil," he amended. "What on Earth do you expect to find in that?"
"Some bones, perhaps, or a piece of petrified wood. But one might also come across an insect or single-celled organism, or possibly even ancient bacteria or a long-dead germ!"
"Might one," Peter said dryly.
"Certainly!" Walter angled a light into position and began tapping. "It's all so exciting," he laughed to himself.
"Of course it is. I'll see you later—don't unleash the Ebola virus while I'm gone."
"Mm," Walter agreed absently.
He picked up a brush to dust off the fossil's surface, capturing the particles on a slide. "Let's see what you're made of," he whispered.
It wasn't until an hour later that he finally noticed Peter had gone.
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