‘I can feel you staring at me, you do realise.’
‘I’m not staring at you.’
The Doctor turned to lift an eyebrow at Peri, who was indeed staring at him and not so much as bothering to pretend otherwise, studying him with narrowed eyes the way she might do a particularly interesting specimen of alien flora. She widened her eyes in a show of innocence. The Doctor scoffed.
‘Really, my girl, I’m beginning to feel positively gymnophoric!’
‘Gymna-what-ic? What’s that, the urge to sing on the treadmill?’
‘To sing on the treadmill?’ the Doctor repeated, scathing. ‘Hardly. Phoric, not phonic. Although as erroneous back-formations go, I’ve heard worse. Gymnos, Peri, means naked, and indeed your word gymnasium–’
‘Comes from the Greeks preferring their sports naked and oiled up,’ Peri interrupted him wryly. ‘I know, I know. Can we skip the linguistics lecture?’
The Doctor harrumphed. ‘If you insist. The point being: gymnophoria, the sensation that one is being mentally undressed.’ He lifted an accusatory eyebrow, lips pursing. Peri wrinkled her nose at him, unabashed.
‘Yeah, well, if you’re gonna go dressing like that. It’s practically an invitation for people to try and imagine what you’d look like without it.’
‘Hmm,’ hummed the Doctor significantly. He looked as though he wasn’t sure whether he ought to be offended, or amused, or flattered. ‘And are your mental exercises restricted to taking my clothes off, or are you dressing me again afterwards in what you imagine to be fashionable?’
Peri snickered, and leaned forward to prop her chin on her hand, even more blatant than before in her perusal of the Doctor, taking him in in a lazy up-and-down sweep of her gaze. ‘Little bit of both.’
‘And your conclusions?’
She laughed again. ‘God, you are like a cat. Get all huffy and then roll over and beg to be petted.’
‘I am hardly–’
‘Oh, hush. My conclusions?’ Peri pushed herself up out of the chair she’d been sunk into, pacing over to the Doctor. ‘You’d probably look great in blue. Or a nice dove grey; it’d temper your complexion. But you have to get rid of the spats. And,’ she continued after a pause, with a wicked grin, ‘I bet you’ve got a great ass.’ And as if to illustrate, she gave said backside a slap.
The Doctor yelped. ‘Peri! Honestly, of all the– there was hardly any need for that.’
But Peri had retreated back to her chair, where she was collapsed, laughing at the Doctor’s puffed up indignation. He sniffed with injured dignity, turning back to the manual he’d been perusing. A significant silence stretched for some moments, until, with an acquiescent little breath, he turned back to Peri.
She smirked. ‘Not bad at all. The yellow pinstriped pants really don’t do it justice.’
And, slightly ruffled, but, catlike, pleased with having got a compliment out of it, the Doctor turned back to his work.