“John. Please let me stay with you, at least for tonight. Rudy is remodeling the lab and it is not a restful place to be.”
“If I say yes will you shut up about how long it’s been since I went to a meeting?”
“Yes.” Dorian agreed.
“Fine.” Kennex shrugged and shifted his grip on the steering wheel.
Inwardly he cursed himself for giving in to the damned robot. It was HIS SPACE, goddamnit, and he had no right.
It certainly wasn’t more than that, he assured himself later, staring at the ceiling. He just liked his privacy. It wasn’t that Tin Man out there featured more and more prominently in his dreams these days. It wasn’t that he found himself thinking about the perfect human, jaw, and hands, and… everything that Dorian had. Detective John Kennex was straight as a fucking arrow and if he were going to go gay, not that he was, it would at least be for an actual human being.
“John.” He must have been making a lot of noise pacing around, “Are you alright? Do you want to talk about it.”
For a moment he thought about telling him, watching the programming try to react to the news flash that making your robot cop too superhumanly good looking turned human partners to the other fucking team. Then again, maybe that was intentional. Besides, the last thing he needed was for Dorian to refer him to counseling about this out of concern.
“I’m fine. Bother me again and I am sending you back to the lab.”
Dorian can hear John tossing and turning in the other room. He has over three hundred different suggestions as to how his partner could relax himself but John has told him he doesn’t want his help and Dorian doesn’t want to risk making him angry and getting sent away.
So he simply thinks about them: John wouldn’t go in for meditation. If medication worked, John would already have used it. For some reason he seems determined not to try sexual release, based on his resistance to asking Detective Stahl out, or any other woman for that matter. When Dorian suggested men, John became very angry with him and refused to listen to his carefully constructed counseling.
As if his thinking about it made it happen, Dorian hears through the walls that John is attempting to relax himself with self service. He is sure that his partner has forgotten his observational capabilities, or he would not have done so with him here. Is that why John is so reluctant to have Dorian live with him? Does the idea of Dorian knowing he masturbates bother him?
He knowledge of what John is doing in the other room gets a reaction from Dorian. He may not be able to eat or drink or sleep but his anatomy is not just for show. His creator did give him this. Dorian reaches down and fondles his own genitals, timing his hand with John’s, cheating and scanning through the wall.
Then something happens that he doesn’t expect.
“Dorian…” John gasps and it registers to Dorian that he is the subject of John’s mastubatory fantasy. He considers going to him, letting him know that he’s heard that, and forcing the issue out into the open. Repression is bad for humans’ health and whatever John’s fantasy is, Dorian is eager to fulfill it.
Then he considers John’s reactions to all kinds of obvious truths, and concludes that he is more likely to freak out and demand Dorian be deactivated than embrace the situation.
He stays quiet.
He really thinks he is done for until Dorian comes flying out of nowhere at the last minute and tackles him to safety, using his robot form as a shield from the explosion.
“Are you alright, John?” Dorian’s programming is spectacular and if Kennex didn’t know it was just AI programming it would look and sound like someone talking to a loved one. Not that he’s had any loved ones in a long time. He knows the look though. He sees it on the job.
Okay, so maybe Dorian is right and he needs to start dating again. Fuck. At this rate he’s going to have a complete fucking break and start making out with his synth at crime scenes in front of the public if he’s not careful. It would be way too easy, to crane his face up into Dorian’s, arch his body up against him.
Dorian would probably let him chalk it up to shock. Kennex is pretty sure that his observational programming and sensors are too accurate for Dorian not to have noticed the hungry way that Kennex looks at him sometimes, but he doesn’t say anything. He’s programmed to be tactful, just like he is programmed to be thoughtful, considerate, to look out for Kennex’s well being.
Kennex has never had anyone know what he needs the way Dorian does. He’s never felt this important.
Dorian would probably let Kennex take whatever he needed from him. Part of him knows that and that’s one part of the giant problem. It’d be cheating. It wouldn’t be real… not really. Kennex has read too many goddamned fairytales because what he secretly wants is for Dorian to somehow become a real boy.
So he doesn’t kiss his savior, doesn’t devour him like he so desperately longs to.
“I’d be better if you got your heavy ass off of me.” He complains instead.
You know perfectly well I am only putting 34% of my weight on you. Dorian calls him out, but he gets up and tries to help Kennex to his feet.
“Thanks, man.” Kennex concedes.
John is so fragile. That is one of the downsides with humans. He goes around acting like he is bulletpoof but his leg is a testament to his mortality.
Dorian does the best he can to take care of his human partner. He makes sure John eats. He encourages him to sleep and tries to get him to have a social life. He watches John’s back. He knows that one day it won’t be enough, and the thought fills him with sadness.
Sometimes, Dorian thinks that he should report some of John’s risky behaviors to the Captain, but he knows that John would see it as a betrayal. It is more important for John to trust him.
“John.” He begins, once they are far enough away from the crime scene. John is usually most talkative when he is driving and doesn’t have to look Dorian in the eye.
“What?” John responds with annoyance that has a 78% chance of being a pretense.
“You know I care about your well being, don’t you?”
“Are you seriously trying to have a heart to heart with me right now?”
The disbelief has less than a 5% chance of being genuine.
“If something happened to you, the chances of my remaining in the police service is are very small.”
Often John can accept connection more easily if Dorian pretends it is self interest instead. Dorian has found various ways to insinuate himself more closely into John’s life through this approach, but none of them are enough.
Dorian wonders what the chances are that he would get favorable results from being straightforward with John and telling him how he felt about him.
The risk and the uncertainty are both too high.
If they decide he’s unfit for duty, Kennex wonders whether he could convince Maldondo to let him keep Dorian, like those service dogs they gave to soldiers who came back with PTSD. It’s not like they are using the DRNs for anything anyway. They’d probably just deactivate him forever. Kennex surprises himself by wondering how Dorian would feel about being his nervous breakdown service android. He wonders if it would make a difference whether Dorian knew how much Kennex fantasized these days about other arrangements they could have.
“I am sure it is going to be fine, John.” Dorian tells him, unaware of what Kennex is thinking.
“I was just thinking… about what will happen to you if I do lose my badge.” Kennex surprises himself even further by admitting.
“I will probably be deactivated. I might be reprogrammed for manual labor.”
Fuck it. Why not?
“If I could convince Captain Maldondo to let me keep you, would you want that?”
Dorian is silent for a moment, as if in shock.
“I mean, I doubt it would be the most interesting life… they’d probably give me psych disability, but it might be better than being turned off.”
“It would mean a great deal to me, John. I am really touched that you thought of me at a time like this.”
This is the perfect time for Kennex to tell Dorian what he means to him, maybe not the sex stuff but the emotional bullshit. Everything is going to hell anyway, and if not he can always use that as an excuse if this goes poorly, he reasons like a coward.
Old habits die hard though, so instead to scroffs: “Don’t go getting all mushy on my there, Tin Man. I’ve just sort of gotten used to having you around to order the groceries and shit.”