Summary: Its just another night at the Dollhouse for Ivy and Topher.
Notes: This was written for Jackie and it was inspired by her prompt Topher/any Female, bath time, post imprint,Nothing past S2E1. I'm sorry that the rating isn't higher! I hope that you enjoy this little slice of life fic!
"You're getting good at this," Topher said as he leisurely spun himself in an office chair.
Ivy didn't spare him a glance as she finished typing up a post-imprint report on Sierra. "I should be. I've watched you enough. Oh, yeah, I also went college for like decade." She had been trying to ignore him for the last thirty minutes.
Why did she like him again?
"Come on, my Padawan, why so glum?" Topher smiled, spinning as he gestured at his command center. "You have free range over my mad laboratory while I'm out of commission." He looked at his bandaged fingers, two on his right and one on his left, the result of a secretive experiment gone wrong. He could barely type, but he wouldn't go home and vegetate with a marathon of Battlestar Galactica like normal people. He was driving her nuts with his snappy commentary.
She rolled her eyes as she submitted her report. "Free range? You've been backseat driving all day. Its like trying to cook in granny Kim's kitchen."
"I let you do Tango's imprint solo." Topher pointed out as he stood, swaying from spinning.
"You were taking a nap in a pod." Watching him grin, she could dimly remembered why she dug him. She stood up and put her hands on her lab coat clad hips, trying to stay firm and professional.
"What about Whiskey 2.0's imprint?"
"Still in the aforementioned pod, but watching Dr. Horrible with Victor." Ivy couldn't help the grin that tugged at her lips.
"Foxtrot?" Topher asked before realization bloomed in his eyes and he chuckled. "Whiskey, tango, foxtrot."
"No, you were jumping on the trampoline while bantering with DeWitt on speaker phone." She put a finger to her chin as she thought. "And, I think you were still yelling suggestions and asked me to toss you a fruit roll up."
"Which you made Victor do, B.T.W." Topher crossed his arms with a smirk. "Moral high ground is shrinking, grasshopper."
"I like fruit roll ups." Victor said smiling as he sat on a orange bean bag and played with a Rubik cube.
"You gave him one?" Ivy asked before she sighed. "He's on a strict diet."
Topher waved away her concern. "That lonely hearts engagement is over and the guy deserves a treat for being such a trooper."
"Dr. Horrible had a lonely heart." Victor said as he examined the cube.
Ivy raised an eyebrow at Topher. He was making the Actives think again and she didn't want to stay late wiping Victor because he learned to analyze a web-show.
Topher shrugged. "He did."
"Well, when he starts singing, I'm not going to explain it to our corporate overlords."
"Like the head lady doesn't love watching the mice in their maze. She used to be a scientist before she became a high tech madame." Topher looked at a computer screen, poking at the touch interface with a pinkie as he said, "Besides Boyd isn't nearly as tightly wound as Dom-" He paused, eyes darted to her and back to the screen, before he continued quieter than before. "Yeah, Victor probably better go back downstairs."
Ivy's heart went out to her man-child boss. He looked like he was feeling something not unlike shame. "It is bath time, el Jefe." She turned to Victor and put on her sugary sweet Active voice. "Hey, Victor, you should bathe now."
"I like bath time even if we're in a shower." Victor smiled as he got up. "Its a pretty shower as pretty as Penny," He said as if he was telling a secret before he left.
Ivy shot Topher a look.
"I'll wipe him in the morning." Topher sighed, throwing up his injured hands, looking like a sad panda. "Using my nose and pinkies if I have too."
"Come on, Mr. Brinks," Ivy said, throwing her arm around his shoulders, guiding him away from the chair. "We're off the clock in fifteen minutes so why don't you rest while I touch base with DeWitt and shut the machine down."
"I wanna get an Irish car bomb." Topher let her lead him to the sofa near the trampoline. "Guinness. Hmmm."
"You ought to start with an apple juice box and work your way up." Ivy said as she walked back to the computer and put the system into hibernation mode.
"Ha ha." He flopped on the sofa. "But, seriously, I got to get out of this place. Breathe some air that hasn't been through the filtration system."
"I know a place nearby. I've gone with Ramirez and some other handlers there before." Ivy picked up her phone and texted Judith, DeWitt's secretary, of their status.
Topher sat up, leaned over the sofa back, and smirked at her. "People walk in this town?"
"We might get mistaken for hookers, but I'm willing to take the risk."
"Then lets met up in ten at the guards' station for the pat down." Ivy smiled and left Topher on the sofa to go to the bathroom and get her purse.
A thread of excitement wound around her heart. She couldn't help the bubbly smile that blossomed on her face as she hung up on her lab coat. Ivy freshened up her lipstick before rushing beyond the spa-like core of the Dollhouse into the bland hallways forbidden to the dolls. She had made it to the guard station and was watching Roy, the night guard, go through her oversized bag as she answered the usual clocking out questions. Roy finished his recitation as Topher walked up with a different shirt on-- blue. It took ten minutes for Roy to pat him down, question him, and scan his bandaged hands. Topher was too lippy for his own good and his sarcastic replies only amused him (and Ivy too but she tried not to smile). Roy sent them on their way with a warning that he'd cavity search Topher next time.
Once they got to the lobby in the above ground building, Ivy couldn't help but remark, "we haven't even gotten outside and someone already wants to probe you. Don't know if I want to walk the streets besides you."
"I can't help this face." Topher gestured to his blank, grumpy expression.
She laughed and elbowed him. "I'm sure you'll find your Richard Gere." The hot air, noise, and light of the night time city felt too raw and real compared to the soothing zen sterility of the dollhouse. They crossed the street and walked past a row of posters of a aging blond pop star's face pasted on a building in renovation. L.A was like an aging porn star. It looked good far away, but up close it was dirty and cheap even downtown. She could forget that she lived in such a gritty urban landscape at work. It wasn't just the air that was different, Topher above ground was different from Topher below. Some of his cockiness was gone. He was king of the lab, but just another peasant outside it.
Topher prattled on about how he had a heart of gold then he switched tacks to talk about the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. She could understand why. It was hard to think about what they did. Sometimes it felt like play, but other times she looked in the mirror and saw herself as she was – a pimp at best and a slaver at worst. Ivy shook off that train of thought as they got to the bar. It was barely ten so the place was nearly empty and the music was quiet. An air of anticipation and preparation hung in the air like the scent of the lemons the bartender was chopping up.
She nodded to the bartender and held up two fingers. "Irish car bombs."
Topher made sounds of protest and took out his wallet when she paid for the overpriced drinks and tipped generously.
Ivy shook her head and laughed. "Buy the next round." Sitting at the bar, she raised the glass the bartender set in front of her and asked, "what should we toast too?"
"World domination? DJ Jazzy Jeff? Coconut bras?" Topher fiddled with his glass and his bandaged hands before he settled on gripping it with both.
"Eclectic choices." She nodded and made a mock serious face. "How about to Jazzy Jeff dominating the world in a coconut bra?"
"Nonsensical, kinky, and vividly described." He clinked his glass against hers. His gauze bandages brushed against her fingers. "Lets hope he believes in safe words." His grin was lopsided as he asked, "are we going to be traditional about this?"
"Like sing in Gaelic traditional?" Ivy grinned.
"No, but after, we'll probably want too. No, you gotta chug it."
"Oh, so you mean in frat boy tradition." Ivy laughed and clinked their glasses.
They chugged and proceeded to drink and geek their way through a couple of rounds before their phones went off. It was Judith, DeWitt's secretary, who called her to tell her to walk outside because a car and a pot of coffee was waiting. Ivy could tell by the green tint to his face and the freaked out expression that he was on the line with DeWitt. They stumbled out of the bar and into the SUV that did have two thermos of coffee in the cup holders. Ivy focused on sobering up and not questioning how they always seemed to know where they were. The ride was short, no red lights, which made her more paranoid. They sipped their coffee and tried to sober up. Ivy felt more hyper and tipsy than sober once they got the imprinting room. They found it filled with strangers in lab coats who whispered urgently to one another before they turned to look at them.
A freckled redheaded man stepped forward, wearing a Hawaiian shirt under his lab coat, with his hand out. "Hey, you must be my LA counterpart."
Topher shook his hand with a sidelong look at Ivy. "And you are?"
"Well, some people call me Space Cowboy, some people call me the gangster of love, and -"
"Some people call him Maurice." Adelle DeWitt finished for him in chipped British tones. "He is from the Las Vegas dollhouse where they have had a mishap with two of their actives." A hint of glee broke through her professional visage. She must have been happy to see another dollhouse having trouble with their dolls.
"Ladybird and John Quincy jumped engagement and ran off to Hollywood." Maurice shrugged. "I told security to keep an eye on them. The imprint were flighty."
DeWitt nodded and smiled with polite charm. "Maurice will use our equipment and Topher will assist if necessary." The icy look she shot at Topher chilled Ivy by association.
Boyd Langton stepped into the room. "Ms. DeWitt?"
DeWitt nodded to them and left with the security head.
Ivy spent the next hour acting sober and looking for espionage. Topher spent the time making pithy commentary. Then the next hour and the next one after that until she was completely sober, tired, and sick of Maurice's humming. It was past two when a subdued blonde woman and black man were wiped and the last lab tech was sent packing to Sin City.
They found themselves watching Doctor Who on the sofa, wrapped in a Fraggle Rock blanket, and yawning.
Ivy took her high pigtails down and shook her hair out.
Topher smiled, eyes hooded and sleepy, and ran a hand through her hair. "You always have cool hair. Fonzie cool." He put an arm around her and started in on the pros and the con of the Ninth Doctor.
She couldn't help but think, as she snuggled closer to him, that it was moments like this that reminded her how much and why she liked him.
Ivy didn't remember falling asleep, but she remembered later, waking up early in the morning curled around Topher on the sofa and smiling, before drifting back to sleep.