Rose blinked as she set down her coffee. She glared at the brew accusingly before looking back at the man in front of her. His hair hung in a tousled fringe over his ears and eyes, and even his beard somehow managed to look rumpled, although it was not as long as she would have expected if he was a beggar or a street person. Obviously the man had his vanities, but she could hardly blame him for keeping an electric razor somewhere in his numerous pockets.
It was his face that had caught her unawares. His eyes were the same crisp and clear shade of blue. The same lips, same big ears and nose…
Mickey would never believe her if she said she had found her first Doctor's human twin. But she couldn't think of him as a "twin" really. Sure the Doctor had the ability to appear then disappear, but not like the man that was currently hunched over the breakfast plate like a prisoner afraid that someone would try to steal it at any moment. He drew a few stares from the other patrons as he dug into his eggs with his bare fingers. But if he wasn't bothered the, Rose wasn't about to care what they thought either.
"… then…" he said, and swallowed hard. "I ran into this girl in an alley, she said she can find others like me and her… told me to contact you lot… that you've been trying to protect people like me… keep us from getting into the 'wrong hands' she said…"
He looked up sharply as the waitress brought him a refill of his drink, growing impossibly still until she backed away with uncertainty after finishing her task. Rose leaned back in her seat and folded her arms over her chest. "Torchwood believes that everyone, whether human or alien, has a right to live like a normal person, free of being experimented on simply because you're different. Special. Any experimentation we do is conducted with permission from the one we study. In some cases, we've actually been able to help meta-humans to--"
"Meta-humans?" he snorted. "I like the sound of that."
Rose smiled vaguely. "To train meta-humans to let their powers reach their full potential and/or how to control what they previously had no control over. But first I need your name."
He grinned wickedly and visibly relaxed, a complete change from his previous demeanour. "Claude Raines. Where do I sign up for your protection?"
Rose reached down to the floor and retrieved her black briefcase. She set it on the table and carefully entered the code to unlock the latch. Removing a manila envelope and a pen, she watched Claude use his glass of water to rinse off his hands. He dipped a paper napkin into the glass and wiped off his beard as she snapped the case closed. "Before we do the paperwork Mister Raines, you must understand that you will have to be under twenty-four hour supervision by a trained Torchwood agent."
"Fantastic," Claude scoffed. "I get to have a babysitter…"
Rose pursed her lips. "Actually… as I am the only agent at the moment who does not have a ward and has room available for one… you would be living at my flat. You will be free to come and go as you please as long as I know where you're going, just in case you unexpectedly go missing. No rent, no scouring for food. And access to a bed and a warm shower. Does that interest you at all?"
His eyes slowly looked her over, coming to a rest at the low v of her jumper. "I think I could adjust," he said, his tone low and almost dangerous. "Will you be tackling any meanies that try to make off with me?"
"I have a really big gun to make sure they stop whatever it is they're doing to you… when we find you, that is."
A cocky smile pulled at the corner of Claude's lips. "If I were the sentimental sort… I would be falling in love with you right now."
"I'm not looking for love, and fraternization is strongly discouraged," Rose said tartly.
His eyebrows quirked and he licked his lips, although his eyes remained fixed on her cleavage. "You always so serious?" he asked.
"I have to be," she said shortly. "And I would appreciate it if you didn't make a habit of staring at my chest."
Claude's gaze shot away instantly. "Sorry… It's just been a while since a lovely woman was willing to sit near me."
Rose pursed her lips as she took a deep breath. Maybe if he bathed once in a while women would be more willing to be near him, she thought, wincing inwardly "That is all part of our program," she said. "Some meta-humans come to us after suffering considerable abuse. We help you readjust to a normal life, the life you deserve to have."
A shadow passed across his face. "I like the sound of that," he said softly.
"Claude? Claude?" Rose called out as she moved through the flat. She knew he was there, she could smell him. But that was about to change. Torchwood had given her a special experimental spray that rendered humans unconscious. However, they weren't sure how long the effects would last on a meta-human. She had offered to test it on a willing subject.
Well… Claude probably wouldn't be completely willing, but she was more than happy to ask forgiveness rather than permission at this stage. The man reeked. And even though he spent most of his time in his room, the smell was starting to drift into the rest of the flat as well.
"I know you're here, Claude, so there's no use in hiding," Rose growled angrily, and then screamed when he suddenly appeared in front of her. She clutched her chest and breathed deeply as she waited for her heart to stop racing. "You have got to stop doing that…" she panted.
"What have they got for me now?" Claude huffed, his arms folded over his chest as his eyes went to the little spray bottle in her hand. He had been staying at her flat for two months now and had become accustomed to having Torchwood send home things for him to test out, to see if he liked them. So far, they had yet to find something he was willing to actually test out.
Rose grinned up at him cheekily. "This lovely little bottle makes fantastic things happen," she said, her tongue going to the corner of her mouth. Claude's eyes drifted to her face and a small smile tugged at the corner of his lips. She was pretty sure she didn't want know what he was thinking at that moment…
"Such as?" he drawled.
"It will enable you to become absolutely irresistible to women," Rose replied. It wasn't really a lie, she thought to herself. Once he was unconscious, she could drag him to the bathroom and scrub him clean. That alone would make him irresistible.
"Even to you?" he asked with a filthy smirk.
Rose felt her heart stumble. "Oh… well… I'm immune," she lied. It had only taken two days for her to disassociate the man before her with the man in leather from her past. For one, Claude was a lot more cranky than the Doctor and had an absolutely filthy mouth at times. And he came onto her constantly almost to the point of offence.
"Then why should I bother?" Claude snorted.
Rose worried her bottom lip as she contemplated how to answer this. "Well… it was only tested on one subject and… well, he was neither human nor the sort anyone could fancy really… So I offered to see if perhaps it might work on a more visually appealing human test subject."
"So you're not immune, then?"
"Naaah… Just willing to take one in the name of science," Rose replied, beaming a smile at him. "Sorry for lying… Thought I'd have a go just to see if it would work."
"You're forgiven," Claude replied. "And, I suppose, since you're willing to take one for science… I'm more than willing to give one for science… In fact I can honestly say I am rather eager to be your test subject for this one."
Rose stepped closer to Claude, desperately fighting her natural retching reaction to the man's appalling smell. "And for the record… I don't really mind the prospect of having to take it…" she said softly. "Just hold still and breathe deeply." She gave him a flirtatious smile and sprayed the mist in his face.
He inhaled sharply and a small smirk appeared on his lips, right before he collapsed in a heap at her feet. She clicked on her wrist com to contact Torchwood's lab. "Spray applied," she said crispy. "The effects were practically instantaneous on a human subject. Well… meta-human subject. Don't think that really matters since he doesn't have healing abilities."
"We copy, Miss Tyler," one of the researchers replied. "Just monitor him now, see how long he stays out…"
She looked down at Claude's unconscious form. "Not a problem. I've got plenty to get done during the monitoring phase…"
Rose wedged the phone between her shoulder and ear. "I don't know, mum!" she said. "I don't want to cut it off and then have him be hacked off because his beard and hair is gone…"
She listened as her mum sighed heavily. "Let me ask Pete," Jackie said. After a moment, Pete came on the phone. "Don't make any dramatic changes," he said. "Just give the beard a small trim if you must but don't shave it off completely."
"What? The fact he's clean won't be a dramatic change?" Suddenly something occurred to Rose and she blushed. "Um… What do I do when it's time to clean his… manly bits?" she asked, feeling embarrassed even though Pete couldn't see her.
"Just close your eyes and scrub to your heart's content," Pete replied, sounding amused. "How'd you get him into the tub anyway? You don't look strong enough to manhandle someone…"
"I'm stronger than I look," Rose replied dryly.
Rose rang off and set the phone on the bathroom counter as she dug around in the cabinet under the sink. Mickey kept an electric razor at her flat for those times when he got into an argument with Jake. She set it on the edge of the bath, straightened her bikini, and climbed into the tub of warm, soapy water where Claude was still sleeping. After snapping on the trimmer head, she carefully set to making his beard neater.
Once she finished, she tossed the shaver onto the counter, sending it into the sink. She pulled Claude forward into a sitting position, resting his head against her chest as she began to wash his hair. There were a few tangles, but it was otherwise soft beneath her touch, particularly after she liberally applied conditioner.
After his hair was clean, Rose began to cleanse his body, carefully leaving his pelvic region for last. Despite his being asleep, Claude was clearly reacting to her gentle ministrations. He had a small smile on his lips and a rather obvious erection, despite her attempts to avoid arousing him. She'd even left his pants on when she had gotten him into the bath, thinking she would remove them when he body was concealed by the water and suds. But, eventually, erection or no erection she had to clean there. She made a mental note to herself that if she ever had to bathe him again, she should just go ahead and do that bit first and have done with it.
And even though it took a lot of stress off her back, she shouldn't sit on his lap.
Rose closed her eyes and carefully slid Claude's pants down his legs and dropped the drenched garment into the bottom of the tub. She wedged herself between his knees and lathered up the facecloth with more soap then really necessary before plunging her cloth covered hand into the water. Claude gave a soft moan as she scrubbed the join of his torso and thighs and then groaned as she gently washed between his legs.
Her face flushed as she reached his very prominent erection. She squeezed her eyes shut and used both of her hands to assure a quick and thorough cleaning. Claude sighed heavily and he jerked into her grasp, moaning her name as his hips bucked into her hands. Her mouth dropped open in shock and she released him. That had definitely not happened during her medical aide training at Torchwood…
Claude's eyes fluttered open and he gave her a lazy smile. Before he could fully regain consciousness, Rose grabbed the spray bottle and gave him another dose, sighing with relief as he instantly went back to sleep. Her face burning with embarrassment, Rose hurried off to do a quick cleaning of his room before she attempted getting him out of the bath.
Claude groaned loudly as he awoke, his face buried in his pillows. Pillows. He had slept rough for so long he still found it amazing to awaken in a bed with soft pillows. And to make it even better, the pillows beneath him were heavy with the scent of flowery dryer sheets. The sheets surrounding him felt cool and clean. They even smelled clean. And how that could be when he'd slept on them for the past two months was a complete mystery. Wait… wait… His skin didn't feel sticky with its usual coating of street grit and grime. Perhaps he had died and gone to heaven… A heaven where he found himself in a warm bath, with Rose Tyler straddling his hips. A heaven where he awoke, warm and clean, in a soft bed, naked except for a towel around his waist.
The only down side was that there was no Rose Tyler in the bed with him.
Maybe it was hell.
He certainly deserved hell for the dreams like he'd been having about his young protector, and even more so for being tempted to bring the dreams to reality. Rose was half his age, even if she didn't act that young.
Most of the time, she was serious and full of rules and restrictions. She forced him to eat three meals a day, threatening to cuff him to the chair if necessary. In retaliation, he insisted that if she wanted him to eat something, all she needed to do was sit on the edge of the table and spread her legs. He rather enjoyed the flustered look on her face and the way her jaw dropped with shock. It was strange, really. He'd never been such a flirt before. Perhaps he did it with Rose simply because of the lovely reactions he got.
She never seemed truly offended. He knew that if she had, he would have stopped immediately. But instead, the normally serious faced young woman blushed like a teenager and smiled shyly at him once she picked her jaw up off the floor. And smiles really suited Rose Tyler.
Claude had never been one to follow the papers, but he remembered seeing her face on the front pages many times. But she rarely seemed to be happy in the photos; she almost always had a sad look… or a scowl… on her face. She wore mostly dark colours, black or navy blue, with the only hint of colour a blouse that was just a few shades lighter.
So if there was anything he could do to replace her normal scowl, or to replace the sadness in her eyes with a wicked gleam, he would do it as often as he could. But he knew, deep down, the real reason he flirted like he did was because she honestly didn't seem to mind it. More than once she had even managed a good come back, the way she had before she sprayed that mist in---
Wait a minute…
Claude went invisible and eased off the bed. His ability still worked, so that was good. He noticed that his hair was somewhat damp so he made himself visible again and checked his reflection in the wardrobe mirror. Apparently he had taken a bath or shower… and gotten his beard trimmed up as well.
Just what the hell had Rose sprayed him with?
He went invisible again and stormed out of his open bedroom door, hell bent on giving Rose Tyler a bit of his mind for doing whatever it was she had done. He saw her standing in the living room, her back to him, and opened his mouth to bellow at her, but then fell silent, his anger disappearing, as she raised her hands over her head and bent over to touch her toes.
She was wearing nothing but a tiny pair of shorts and a shirt she had knotted in the back. Her hair was tied up in a messy ponytail atop her head. The curve of her bum peeked out of the legs of her shorts as Rose rested the palms of her hands against the carpe while the woman on the DVD counted slowly to ten.
Claude clamped his mouth shut, finding it impossible to be furious with her when all he wanted to do was walk up behind her and show her one of the many good uses for the downward dog position. Instead, he silently went back to his room and gently closed the door. He heard Rose softly call his name.
"Getting dressed!" he called back sharply.
"Claude?" Rose called again, this time right outside his door. "Pe-- My dad brought over some of his old clothes to see if you could fit into them… Just until we can get to the shops to get you a new wardrobe, that is…"
With the door firmly between them, his anger returned and found he now had the ability to yell at her. "What the hell did you spray me with?"
Rose was silent a moment before replying, "Well, apparently the reaction with human subjects is that it… makes you pass out. It's not the strangest thing we've had happen with a Torchwood experiment… We once tested out this stuff that was supposed to curb the appetite. Instead. it made human men extremely horny. Publicly the story was that it was meant to be a medication for blood pressure or asthma… not sure which. I mean, how do you explain that an alien diet pill increases male libido?" She laughed nervously. "We never really know what alien technology does to humans… I mean it did properly for the lab rats… couldn't keep the female rats away from Squeaky with the stuff I used on you."
"How did I get cleaned up? That some sort of strange Torchwood rubbish as well?"
"Actually… I put you in the bath and scrubbed you as thoroughly as I could. I couldn't just leave you lying on the floor, after all."
"That makes no sense," Claude objected. "Why not just put me into the bed until I woke up?" When she didn't reply after a moment, he shouted. "Why didn't you just put me in the bed and be done with it?"
"Because I…" Rose stammered. "I… I… Oh for the love of God, Claude, the neighbours have been complaining about how badly you smelled. I've been having to tell them that your work gets you sweaty and dirty just to shut them up. And the flat was starting to smell bad too!" Her tone softened a bit, sounding almost apologetic. "And I was afraid that if I told you, you'd go invisible and stay that way… and leave. And if you left… you'd be in danger. I don't want you to be in danger…"
She sounded so helpless as she spoke that Claude was tempted to fling the door open and pull her into his arms. He was stepping towards the door to do just that when he remembered that he was wearing only a towel. He looked around the room and spotted a small stack of clothing on the end of the bed, including several packages of clean briefs. He tore open the plastic packaging and pulled on a pair before grabbing some jeans from the stack of clothes. He tugged them on quickly, zipping them up before yanking open his door. The jeans were a bit short and the waist a bit loose, but that didn't seem to matter as he watched Rose look him up and down. Her breath caught before she finally met his eyes.
"I'm sorry," she said softly, her eyes wide. "But… if it's any consolation… I… do find you somewhat irresistible now."
"Only somewhat?" he asked, grinning cheekily at her.
Rose blushed gently and looked away. "Yeah," she said with a shy smile.
"I suppose I'll have to start scrubbing myself down at least twice a day then? Might even slap on a bit of cologne…" Rose wrinkled her nose at that thought. "Okay, no cologne," he continued.
"I'm your guardian," Rose said quietly, looking back up at him at last. "I'm not supposed to… to take advantage of my role."
"But you want to?" he asked gently, reaching up to brush a stray bit of her hair away from her face. Rose nodded gently, stepping close enough to rest the palm of her hand against his chest. "You could always just be my companion then," he offered, grinning broadly.
Rose gasped sharply and backed away from him abruptly. She stared at him as if he was as alien as the beings she dealt with on a daily basis. "No. No," she said, the serious Rose firmly back in place. "I… can't. I just… can't. Not with you. Sorry… I just… I just can't."