Pairing: Victor/Sierra, Topher
Warnings: it starts so happy, then it gets so sad
Author: Lily Zen
Notes: For fic_promptly. Dollhouse, Topher & Victor, Topher trying to play it cool and out of boredom giving Victor love advice.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Topher was kicking back on the couch in his office, having sent Lee off to buy him some more snack cakes. He was really looking forward to stuffing a Zinger in his mouth. It had been awhile since he'd eaten a Zinger, which was totally different from a Twinkie (haha, Lee, you don't know anything!) and deserved its own special place in the Hall of Snack Food Fame.
Anyway, what…? Oh yeah, so there he was chillin' out…maxin'…relaxin' all cool… "Shooting some b-ball outside of school," Topher started singing to himself quietly, "When a couple'a guys who were up to no good started makin' trouble in my neighborhood." As he sang, his volume steadily increased, until he was bobbing his head and thumping out a beat on the couch. "I got in one little fight and my mom got scared! She said 'you're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air. Boom, ba-duh, buh buh buuuuh-nah, ba-nah buh buh buuuuuuh-nah!"
Topher froze as he turned slightly and caught sight of Victor hovering in the doorway, watching him with the empty expression that all the dolls wore when they weren't imprinted. "Uh…" he laughed sheepishly, running a hand through his hair, "Hey, Victor. Can I help you with something?"
The doll tilted his head to the side curiously. "Can you?" he echoed uncertainly.
"I mean, um, did you have a treatment scheduled?" Topher wracked his brain, but couldn't come up with anything. Victor's next engagement wasn't until the following day, so what the hell was he doing up there?
"I enjoy my treatments," Victor replied serenely.
"Yeah," the young genius sighed, "I know you do, buddy."
"Buddy?" The other man parroted.
With a gusty exhale, Topher pushed himself off the couch. He sidled over to the huge picture window that overlooked the lounge where the rest of the dolls were peacefully enjoying their daytime activities. There was a Tai Chi class going on in the center square, and some dolls were drawing at the tables in the back corner, the simple, child-like drawings that was all they were capable of in their unimprinted state. He heard Victor creep up behind him, and he knew without checking that Victor had his gaze trained on Sierra, sitting at a lunch table by herself, not eating, not talking, not doing anything.
Victor murmured quietly, "Sierra is sad today."
"Yep," Topher agreed slowly, that weird, uneasy feeling creeping through his gut that he got whenever he thought about Sierra and her off-kilter days. Nothing he did could make them go away and nothing anyone said could convince him they didn't exist, not even when he said so. "Hey, Victor," he began haltingly, "You like Sierra, right?" Topher didn't look at Victor when the doll responded, because he knew what he'd see: that vague, innocent look in his eyes. That wasn't it though. That was the surface, the program he'd uploaded. He knew that underneath that stupid, sexless Ken doll there was a man, and that on some primal, intuitive level that man looked at that woman, and he wanted. It was to that man that Topher wished to speak to, and so for that reason he did not turn away from the window or make eye contact. That would shatter the illusion of the moment.
"Sierra is my friend," Victor answered, but somewhere underneath that simple, pre-programmed response there was a thread of what Topher was seeking, the husky timbre of the barest hint of desire.
"I know," Topher replied, "And you know what friends do? Friends look out for each other. They care about each other, make sure they're safe and healthy and happy. You make Sierra happy, so that's…that's good. It means you're good friends. It's important to have good friends." He swallowed past a sudden lump in his throat, and shoved his hands in his pockets, rocking on the balls of his feet. "When Sierra is sad, you should try and make her happy. You know what girls like? They like presents. It doesn't have to be anything big. Maybe draw her a picture or bring her a flower or just try and make her smile."
Victor was quiet for a moment, then he stated, "Sierra smiles when we eat lunch together."
"Yes," the younger man answered unnecessarily, "Yeah, she does. So that's good. You should keep doing that. Whatever you do, don't pull her hair. Girls don't like that. Well, some girls do." He coughed, realizing what he'd just said, and blushed. "But still, don't pull her hair, because I'm pretty sure she won't like it. Maybe you could, um, go on a walk together. That's romantic."
"Romantic?" The doll mimed, and Topher winced again.
"Crap," he hissed under his breath and squeezed his eyes shut. Romantic wasn't a concept that dolls were capable of understanding. He was just fucking up all over the place, wasn't he?
Topher clenched his teeth, and held his breath as he counted to ten. No wonder why he didn't mingle with the dolls much. This was frustrating! Slowly, the young genius released the air he'd held trapped in his lungs, feeling a little steadier and less like his brain was spinning off a million different directions at warp speed, which was its usual pattern. "Just be nice to Sierra," he finally said, "Keep doing what you've been doing, because it's working great. You two…you two make each other happy."
He turned away from the window and found himself staring into Victor's eyes. They should have been empty, but underneath all the layers of mental cotton they kept them wrapped in, Topher could have sworn there was a glimmer of something, something primal and intangible. Maybe that was just his mind taking off on a flight of fancy, but he liked to think it was true.
With a little smile, Victor stated, "Sierra is my friend. Friends make each other happy." Then the doll turned around and wandered back out of the room. A moment later Topher watched him descend the staircase and go sit by Sierra.
Ten minutes later she was smiling again.
As the two of them rose and began walking on the garden path side by side, Topher found himself biting his lip and wishing fervently that someday they'd get their happy ending. The withered romantic soul in him thought they deserved it. After all the crap they'd been put through, they deserved a little love. He ignored the small voice that piped up in the back of his head that wondered if he did too.