Title: Genuine Article
Spoilers: For the finale, mildly
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the dollhouse and profit in no way from my fic.
Author's Note: I've been writing a lot of Paul/Topher comment fic lately and thought I'd put them all up together. There's not a whole lot connecting them but I hope you enjoy.
"Ah! Don't do that!" Topher demanded with a jump, frowning dramatically as he looked down at the juice box he had spilt then shifted his gaze quickly to Ballard who was eyeing him critically and making no move to apologize.
"What is it? Genius at work here," Topher said petulantly as he shuffled away nervously.
Ballard walked casually in front of the computer, "Ah, sci-fi message boards, where true genius can always be found."
Scrambling to turn off the screen, Topher flailed and stood protectively in front of his computer, "You'd be surprised. Again, what do you want?"
Paul watched Topher shift restlessly with a satisfied smirk, "Nervous much?"
"No, I'm just naturally … energetic. But you're not exactly my favorite person to have around, alone in my sanctuary. You heard of first impressions, you made one with a tazer! So you'll forgive me that when you're around all I can think is "ow, ow, ow"!" Topher ranted as he paced through the lab, clicking keys here and there, avoiding eye contact but keeping Ballard in his sights at all times.
For his part, Paul laughed at the memory, feeling no remorse whatsoever, "So this is where it happens. Where you wipe people? Steal their identities."
"You really don't get the word "volunteer" do you?" Topher mumbled.
"What's it like?" Ballard demanded.
Topher shrugged, "From this side of the chair it's a grunt and a lightshow. For them, I have no idea, it's impossible for them to remember. By the time it's over they're someone else. Someone … special."
"Someone like you?" Paul commented cruelly. "You say you're a super-genius, you think that happens naturally?"
"I'm not a doll," Topher answered confidently, actually laughing slightly at Ballard's attempt to get in his head.
"How can you be sure? Dr. Saunders …"
"Chicken and the egg my non-friend. I created this technology, therefore it could not have been used to create this wonderful brain you see before you. I came first," Topher explained, tearing open a chocolate bar and taking a victorious bite.
"Well, the brain may have come first. I never said you might not be a real person, I implied you might not always have been this person," Ballard elaborated but Topher continued to shake his head.
"Look Prince Charming, you don't like me, I get it, I'm a cruel, heartless beast for what I do to our poor defenseless actives who live a life of luxury better than I'll ever get, but your little mind games, not gonna work. I know I'm real, I have undeniable, irretractable proof," Topher announced triumphantly. Ballard scoffed.
"What? Photos? Memories? Those can all be forged apparently."
"Unh, unh, unh, not memories, insight," Topher continued. "If I was a doll I would have been made a lot less annoying."
Paul nodded, "Can't argue with that."
"Ha! See, told ya. 100% real! I'm even a natural blond," Topher bragged, turning to fiddle with one of his consoles. Moments later a hand yanked on his shoulder, hauling him to his feet and shoving him up against the wall. "Please, no tazer! No tazer!"
Paul smirked as he pressed his body up tighter against Topher's and kissed him hard, knocking the genius's head against the wood. Topher panted but didn't resist, in fact he responded instinctually opening up his mouth and even leaning forward for more when Paul pulled away, smirking.
"But … what?" Topher asked breathlessly, eyes huge and blinking as he was now completely confused and really turned on.
"I had to be sure you were the genuine thing. I'm sick of chasing dolls," Paul explained, to which Topher smiled lopsidedly and more than welcomed the next bruising kiss. Despite the arousal when Paul pulled away roughly Topher still flinched from his powerful movements.
"So, what can we do about this nervousness issue?"
Topher shrugged, "Bonding? Do you like video games?"