how to grow a woman from the ground | Dollhouse, Topher/Claire, 540 words
It's one thing to whip 'em up and send 'em out on their merry way. It's another thing to have them right here, like, all the time: this living, breathing, labcoat wearing, dour-faced woman who gives shots to Actives and answers to Claire and Doctor Saunders but not [he's discovered, in the name of experimentation] to 'the Phantom.' She decides all on her own that she doesn't drink coffee, never mind the long hours or the fact that everything about her seems tired. Nah -- she's a green tea lady. She never wears her hair straight. He thinks about her standing in front of [one of] the [Dollhouse's] bathroom mirror[s] curling it for what?, ten, fifteen minutes each morning, and it makes him want to bounce up and down. But, heh-- scientifically, and with great dignity. Point is: she's fascinating. [Can he say that in a way where it doesn't come out code for 'I'm a genius'?] He did his thing, pressed play, grabbed the dust and the rib and said alakazam! and boom: here she is. A walking, talking human being. If it weren't for the scars [and, okay, the deep-rooted paralyzing fear of wide open spaces and crowds, and by crowds he means a guest list bigger than 10], he'd be tempted to set her free. Watch her soldier through life, Brave Little Toaster, and make everyone she met believe in her. What's not to believe? She's perfect. Trust him. He's got a discerning eye. And -- ehhh, it's possible -- the tiniest hint of a modesty problem.
What gets him most of all is that she seems so old. Because yeah, okay, the dolls wander around like kindergarteners on Valium and Miracle Gro -- not exactly pinnacles of maturity -- but he thinks of her before. Whiskey. Big-eyed, girly-voiced, a just-add-personality kind of sexy. You look at Claire Saunders, and she's old. Mid-thirties and old. Not to say she's not hot, especially in those -- with the shoes, and the labcoat, is it weird for him to have a thing about labcoats? He's allowed, right? Science prodigies, they're allowed. Anyway. Away from hot. Back to old. Her old eyes. The old way she moves. There's a term for that. Oh yeah. An old soul.
Topher Brink: maker of souls. Old souls, young souls, whiny prepubescent souls. You name it. He's got it covered.
She even talks different. He'd known to expect that, and it still surprises him. Conversations with her are like that scene in Jurassic Park where Dr. Grant watches the baby raptors hatch. Crawl, crawl, up and out, little beastie. Little beauty. Clever girl. Duller teeth. Which is good.
It's -- and he thinks there's no way you can argue this one -- really, really, really freaking cool. It makes him want to bow to imaginary applause. Oh, this little old thing? I call it the Doctor Saunders 2.0. And this, this is only the beginning. Ladies, gents, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
"Why are you looking at me?" asks Dr. Claire Saunders, the artist formerly known as Whiskey. She keeps catching him at it, and she seems so annoyed. It's adorable. [Clever girl.]
"No reason, Doc," he says, and holds his hands up, innocent.