“He’s got to stop doing that,” the Doctor said.
Romana looked up from her breakfast just in time to see Adric padding out of the kitchen, clutching a cup of tea in one hand, groggily rubbing his fist in his eyes with the other. He wore only a pair Alzarian underwear, revealing a generous amount of fair skin.
Arching an eyebrow at the display, Romana turned her gaze to the Doctor. “I thought you got him a house robe?”
“I did,” the Doctor said. “He doesn’t seem to understand he’s supposed to wear it instead of traipsing about half-naked.” The Doctor shifted uncomfortably, setting his own teacup on the counter and turning away to fetch the jam.
“That’s more than half-naked,” Romana pointed out. “Perhaps it’s a cultural thing? You should talk to him about it.”
“I have!” The Doctor was now rather furiously spreading jam on his muffin. “He even said he realized it’s a bad habit of his and he’d look to fixing it.”
“Well, he was barely awake,” Romana suggested. “You can hardly blame him for acting out of sorts before he’s entirely woken up. It’s not the end of the world.”
“It’s distracting!” the Doctor protested.
“What’s distracting?” Adric asked, walking back in with his now empty cup.
“You!” the Doctor said. He turned to glare at Adric, but immediately averted his eyes, seeing the boy was still only in his underwear. If possible, he looked even more unkempt. “Go and get dressed!” he bellowed.
Adric ignored him, easily brushing past the Doctor to put his teacup into the sink. “You’re a terrible prude, aren’t you, Doctor?”
“Need I remind you that you’re a guest in my TARDIS?” the Doctor snapped.
“Then you ought to see that I feel comfortably at home, shouldn’t you?” Adric said. His eyes drifted to the muffins the Doctor was preparing. “Are those for me?”
“Certainly not!” the Doctor retorted, snatching up the plate of muffins up. He made to glare at Adric again, but found just the expanse of smooth Alzarian skin in front of his eyes once more. He spun around quickly, focusing his attention on Romana. His gaze immediately turned imploring. “Tell him, Romana.”
Romana laced her fingers together, resting her chin on them. She let her gaze drift lazily between her two companions. “I can’t decide if you two bickering is incredibly immature, or incredibly sweet.”
“You are not helping!” the Doctor said.
Adric took the moment of distraction to pilfer one of the Doctor’s muffins. He had taken a bite and swallowed before the Doctor even registered the action. “I think he’s sweet,” Adric said coyly.
This time the Doctor managed to hold his glare, despite Adric’s lack of apparel. “You need to learn some manners, boy.”
Giving an impish grin in reply, Adric licked the jam off his lips and said, “Yes, I do. And I do hope you’ll teach them to me.”
The Doctor opened his mouth to retort, but nothing came out. Instead he swirled past him, coat billowing, to sit promptly at the table, opposite Romana. He had, in his haste, left his own teacup on the counter. “Romana can teach you,” he quickly said.
Adric turned his gaze to Romana but didn’t reply, as he was busy polishing off the rest of the muffin.
Sighing, Romana set her fork down. “There are plenty of books on etiquette in the TARDIS library. You can start there.”
Adric smirked. “You assume I’ve not read them.”
“Obviously you haven’t,” the Doctor said. “Otherwise you wouldn’t run around in just your pants!”
“Oh, but wouldn’t I?” he asked. He finished the very last bite of his muffin and made quite the show of licking every last residual bit of jam off his fingers.
The Doctor caught himself staring and averted his gaze, glaring down at his remaining untouched muffin. “Adric,” the Doctor began slowly. “You really mustn’t run around undressed like that.”
Softly, sensing a change in the air, Adric replied, “Why not, Doctor?”
The Doctor’s eyes flickered up at the boy again, taking in the expanse of flesh, the tan lines and freckles, the curve of his shoulders, the dip at his navel, the fine dusting of hair along his stomach, the dark tinge of his nipples, all at once. He quickly looked back down. “It’s impolite. You’re disrespecting me.”
“Are your things in the wash?” Romana asked, aware of the awkward silence that had descended. “There’s a whole Wardrobe Room full of things you could wear, in the meantime. We all have to make compromises living together as we do.”
Adric kept his gaze focused hard on the Doctor, as though he hadn’t heard Romana at all. “I’ll do as you ask, Doctor. Because you asked.”
The softness of Adric’s words made the Doctor look up again. He focused his gaze intently on Adric’s face. There was a depth in the boy’s eyes that he found unsettling; it was hard to meet let alone hold the gaze. “Thank you, Adric,” he finally managed.
The Doctor was pleased he was already seated as he took in the beautiful smile Adric returned, before he slipped around the table and back out, presumably to dress.
Once he was gone, Romana politely hid her smile behind her teacup as she sipped, quietly saying, “Doctor, you’re blushing.”
Back in his room, Adric stared at himself in the mirror as he tightened the drawstring of his pants around his waist. In the kitchen he thought he’d finally gotten some sort of reaction from the Doctor. He swore the mighty Time Lord had been just about to break. Perhaps if Romana hadn’t been sitting there he would have. Perhaps if Adric had pushed the boundaries just a little bit further . . ..
Despite the Doctor’s instance that he play by the rules and always follow proper etiquette, he knew that in actually the Doctor was fondest of him when he was acting out. The Doctor was a bit rebellious on his own and Adric was fairly certain he found such characteristic traits appealing in others. Adric certainly had it in abundance.
He debated on what else he could do to act out whilst conforming to the Doctor’s wishes.
A knock on his door made him jump.
“Adric?” It was Romana.
“I’m changing!” he called.
“All right. I just wanted to let you know the Doctor’s in the kitchen still, and wants to apologize for his outburst. He might not admit he wants to, but he does.”
“Yes. So when you’re changed, go and talk to him. I’ll be in the library, if you need back up.”
“All right.” Adric fidgeted with his drawstring some more and debated asking her if stealing the Doctor’s scarf would upset him or amuse him more. Shaking his head dismissively, he finally said, “Romana?”
Romana didn’t reply, but he heard her footsteps as she walked away. His gaze eventually returned to his reflection in the mirror. What could possibly provoke the Doctor better than his walking about in just underwear? Especially after being repeatedly told not to? He eyed the bathrobe hanging on the back of the door and considered switching tactics, playing the good boy.
Then he recalled the brief moment the Doctor’s eyes had swept across his body, causing the magnificent Time Lord to sit himself down immediately. He blushed terribly at the thought, amused and flattered. Growing bold at the memory, he cocked his hip forward, admiring himself once more in the mirror.
Suddenly, as though a light had gone on in his mind, he broke into a wicked smile. With Romana gone, he had the perfect idea of how to draw the Doctor’s attention, and completely get his point across at the same time. He pulled the drawstring loose again, letting his trousers sag to the ground. Then, still grinning, he stepped out of his underwear, leaving both articles of clothing in a shapeless heap on the floor as he crossed to the door of his bedroom, exiting. He strode boldly down the corridor, completely naked.
If this didn’t earn him some one-on-one discipline from the Doctor, he didn’t know what would.