## Love by Numbers

### Work Text:

Dorian counts.

He counts every second of every day, adding up the seconds to the hours which he counts up to days, weeks, months. Dorian doesn’t count up to years yet, he hasn’t lived that long.
It’s a subroutine he can’t stop and most times it fades into the background of his processing like white noise. Numbers adding up into data stored in his memory, points of information both important and useless.
Dorian counts everything. He counts the number of people in a room, windows in buildings, the cars on the road, the frequency of Kennex to say profanity in response to the cars on the road.

He counts everything about John Kennex.

John has 4 limbs, 2 eyes, 1 prosthetic leg, 20 scars from surgery that Dorian knows about from medical records. John eats 2 meals a day and averages 10 alcoholic drinks in a standard week. His right eyebrow consists of 126 hairs while his left is 121. There is 1 freckle on his left cheek, approximately 1 inch equidistant from both his nose and mouth.

John’s eyes are hazel, a color found in only 15.3% of the population in the U.S.

John is 6’1” and Dorian is 5’10” which makes their height difference 3”. John’s shoe size is 12w and he wears a 32” waist. Dorian wears a 30” waist and his shoe size is 11. Dorian likes that John is bigger than he is; John should take up more space in the world for how much space he takes up in Dorian’s memory.

Dorian can delete the surplus data collected from his counting. He never does, instead keeping it in his reserve memory cache. He holds onto this data because it’s a record of his existence. Proof that he lived all those seconds he counted. He could delete it, but he won’t. It will continue to fill up his memory cache, compressing and storing all the seconds, hours, days, weeks, months, years of his life.

The things Dorian counts about John go into a different cache.

Double encrypted firewalls surround the memory cache John inhabits, reinforced with back-ups and protocols to ensure the survival of the data inside. Dorian ignores most of his counting but the information about John is always at the front of his processor.

Dorian has counted the different facial expressions John has (11, John is surprisingly communicative for how little he moves his facial muscles), the nicknames he has for Dorian (5 and counting, Dorian will never admit that “coffee-warmer” is his favorite), how often John has flashbacks to the ambush (once a day on average, twice when there’s been violence).

Dorian has counted everything about John Kennex and added him up. Being born with a Synthetic Soul means Dorian is capable of interpreting his logical data with the emotional concepts programmed into his cortex. Interpreting the data he has on John leads him to one conclusion, one he can’t discredit because the logic is impeccable and he can feel its right.

He loves John. He is in love with him.

Dorian counts all the ways it could go wrong. Counts the regulations it breaks, the laws, the social conventions. Dorian makes lists and diagrams about how John could reject him, will reject him. How John will take Detective Stahl up on her offer of a beer, the one she’s on going to make in 3.2 weeks.

Facts fill Dorian’s brain at night in his charge pod. The ones he hoards from John and the ones he endlessly pours over that take John away. The first month of their partnership Dorian only thought of mundane things but now his nights consist only of John.

Days are what Dorian thinks torture must be like. John is so close to him, he jibes and runs and shoots and smiles while Dorian drinks the data in. Dorian is always monitoring John’s vitals, though that no longer includes his balls. He checks partly because his programming is designed to take readings of his human partner in case of emergency, but he also checks because every fact about John is fascinating.

John’s body temperature stays at 97 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.6 degrees lower than normal due to his synthetic leg. Dorian loves John’s synthetic leg. It’s a piece of Dorian’s world in John’s and its beautiful, even if John still hates it.
Dorian counts the ways in which he knows John doesn’t hate him.

He counts how many times John defends him to others even if he degrades him in private, what humans call “teasing.” He counts the incidents in which John covers him from harm despite Dorian’s skin being 40% Kevlar. He counts the registers John’s voice changes when saying his name, progressing from annoyed to annoyed and fond.

In his counting of John, Dorian begins to notice a change.

John’s glances at Dorian rise from 4 times per hour to 9, his use of nicknames increases from 34% to 57%, as do the number of names used. John touches him 29% more often than he used to, touches to the arm and shoulder had been recorded before but now John flicks him on the nose and ruffles his short hair.

When Dorian is within 2ft of John, John’s temperature rises 2.7 degrees. His pupils expand and the veins in his body enlarge with the excess blood flow that circulates. John has ceased his private conversations with Detective Stahl, instead remaining strictly professional.

Dorian counts, and begins to hope.

It’s been 6 months since Dorian was woken up and assigned to be John Kennex’s partner. 5 Months since Dorian has given John his own space in his neural cortex. 4.2 Months since Dorian began to notice a change in John’s behavior. 3.1 Months since he acted on it. Today it has been 1 month since Dorian kissed John, just once.

3 Weeks since John kissed Dorian, more than once.

In those 3 weeks there have been 4 dates unrelated to work, 6 that have been. 56 Kisses, 27 initiated by Dorian, 29 by John. Dorian has “slept” in John’s bed 5 times, well actually compressed files while John slept. 2 New nicknames have been added, “love-machine” being Dorian’s least favorite. John has gained 3 new expressions, which he shows only when alone with Dorian.

Dorian has made John curse and leave angrily 10 times in the last month, John has made Dorian go into “brainless-MX” mode 9 times. John has also hit 2 people for derogatory language against Dorian in the last 3 weeks, one of which was Detective Paul. John and Dorian have also been on traffic duty 2 times in the last 3 weeks as well. Dorian has woken John up from nightmares 4 times and held him until his breathing returned to the regulatory 10 breaths per minute.

They average 2.7 fights, 34.6 kisses, and 3 dates a week.

Dorian counts everything. Data both important and useless fills his memory caches, statistics and figures that represent his life. He’ll never delete any of it and hoard the numbers like photos on a wall.

Dorian used to think that data was all he would have to prove his existence. But now he has John, who lives every second with him, an enduring memento. For the first time in his short existence, Dorian is content to follow the numbers into the future. For the first time, he is happy.

Dorian counts.