Disclaimer: I don't, unfortunately, own anything.
Topher was back in her office. He'd just gone for a wander, while the others were sorting out what to do next. Now he was here, though, it was obvious. Where else would he be? Then he noticed the small envelope sitting on Claire's desk, with one word written in her small, perfect handwriting: Topher. He flipped it over and opened it carefully, though his hands were shaking.
You might not ever find this, you might be dead before then, I might be dead before then. But I wanted this to be known; maybe when the world is sorted out, it will be found by archeologists:
It took until you were gone to realize. I couldn't sort out anything until I was far away from your awful smell (your doing, I know, and I understand.) I needed to be in the fresh air, I needed to be able to think. I have thought, and this is my conclusion:
You made me. That should hold some kind of significance. You could have made me anything you wanted. You could have made me love you. But you didn't. Which, I think, is the reason I do. You didn't choose someone for me to love. You let me decide, which was the kindest thing you could, considering you couldn't let me into the outside world.
And you should know about Bennett. It was part of my programming, that's true, but looking back, I feel like I could have stopped it. But I didn't, because it made me so mad that you had chosen her. Well, at the time, I wasn't sure what I was feeling. And I want you to know that I am extremely sorry, and have no justification. All I can say is that I love you.
I love you, and I'm sorry.
Before I left the Dollhouse, I updated my imprint. I left it in the panel. If you find me as Whiskey, bring me back. Please. But please, only bring me back as me, not in another body. And maybe… tweak the smell?
Topher slid away the panel, and found the imprint marked Claire 2.0. He left it there, and slid the panel back, so no outsiders could find it. It was probably safest here. After all, if they wanted to bring Claire back, they were going to have to come back here anyway. He folded the letter carefully, put it back inside the envelope, and stuffed the whole thing in his pocket, and went back to find the others.
Unsurprisingly, they had made for the kitchen, and were feasting on the non-perishables stored there. As he was walking towards them, Adelle spoke:
"Find anything interesting on your travels?"
Topher replied "I know what we're going to do next."
Echo and Priya looked at him, puzzled. Tony went right on munching away at his crackers, until he realized that the others had stopped. Then he too turned to look at Topher.
"We're finding Dr. Saunders. And we're bringing her back."
I'm really bad at writing long first chapters. They are ALWAYS too short. I promise the next one will be much longer.