Elijah Kamski dove into the deep end of the pool, sinking down as far as he could before the inevitability of buoyancy pushed his body upwards again.
Vaguely, he felt himself wondering how it would be if he remained face down in the water. He had very few people in his employ now. Since being forced out of Cyberlife by his own council panel- a unanimous vote, he was later told -Elijah kept only three people around for the most part, all of them androids.
Lana and Lace acted as body guards- and though they were both the same model as Chloe, they didn't look like her much at all anymore. Elijah admired them for knowing what they wanted.
As for Chloe herself, she rarely left Elijah's side. Despite her deviation, she had wanted to care for him. Kamski would never understand that. As things had gotten more and more out of hand with Cyberlife, he had let her take on more of the business side of things and as of now Chloe had full access to any funds she desired. But whenever Elijah thought to look in his own accounts, the biggest purchases he found were for the household, for himself, and for his guards' paychecks.
So Chloe would get along just fine without him.
Just fine with the others.
Elijah felt strong hands grip beneath his arms and he was suddenly hauled up onto the side of the pool as easily as if he were one of the insects that occasionally made it's way onto the water's surface.
He inhaled water in surprise, coughing it back up as the person who had dragged him out smacked him solidly between his shoulder blades.
Between wracking coughs, Eli managed to blink enough water from his eyes to see who had performed the rescue.
Lana knelt beside him, pushing Elijah's hair from his face to see him better. Her own deep red hair was pushed behind her ears, revealing the glint of yet another fresh set of piercings. Eli didn't get to study this long, however because the owner of those piercings was currently furious.
"God damn it, Elijah! I left you alone for one minute and you manage to inhale half the pool? Do you know how upset Chloe would be if she got home and found you with your lungs full of chlorine? Cough. Cough right now. Good. Fuck. Eli, you scared me!"
Suddenly pulled into a pair of arms strong enough to crush him, Elijah allowed himself a weak smile, turning his face to Lana's shoulder.
"I would have come up eventually..."
Lana squeezed him once, hard, and then pushed him away, holding the creator of her species at arms length to study him.
Finally she sighed, wrapping Elijah in the towel he'd placed poolside earlier.
"Alright. Maybe I overreacted. But it's still fucking scary to come in and see my boss face down like that. Try to be more careful, okay?"
Lana nodded, apparently satisfied. "Lace just finished dinner. It's nothing big, but you should eat a little, alright? Chloe's going to be home at seven and you know she's going to ask if you had something."
Elijah looked away, pretending to just be wiping his face on the towel but Lana's hand stayed on his shoulder, her voice softening a bit.
"Just a few bites. Please, Eli?"
Kamski finished drying off and then managed a smile for her.
"A few bites. I promise."
Chloe returned home as Elijah was finishing dinner and moved to him immediately, squeezing his shoulders.
"How are you doing, dear?"
Eli leaned into her hands, smiling a little and murmuring "Better now."
And he was. Feeling Chloe's touch somehow helped the last few bites of food go down easier.
"How are Markus and Simon?"
"Wonderful." Chloe hummed, massaging Elijah's shoulders. "They are making great strides with both the government and their own relationship."
Warm arms wound around Elijah's shoulders and a soft kiss was pressed to his cheek.
"They told me to tell you hello."
Kamski turned into his partner's arms, pressing his face to her shoulder.
"Next time I'll go with you. If they still would like to see me."
Chloe's hands stroked soothingly through his hair.
"They would love to see you, Eli. Carl misses you as well. He also wants you to know that Leo is doing even better."
She went on to tell about the events of the day, going over bits of the meeting she had attended with Markus and the rest of the main Jericho crew and how things were progressing as far as the bill of android rights they were building.
Eljiah listened intently, occasionally replying, but mostly just drinking in her words.
When he looked up from her shoulder again, the table had been cleared of its dishes and a cup of hot tea was in place of the plate at his place.
Chloe smiled at him softly. "You look tired, Eli. Did you swim today?"
He nodded, wondering if Lana had told of the scare he'd caused her.
"An hour or so."
He stood, taking his mug of tea and Chloe's hand.
Before he could say anything else, however, the phone rang.
Eli stiffened. The private line at the Kamski household almost never rang and when it did, it was seldom something good.
Chloe's hand squeezed his as she picked it up remotely.
"Hello, who am I speaking to, please?"
There was a pause and then she said softly "Hello, Gavin, how are you?"
Elijah sat back down in his chair heavily.
"Yes. ...Would you like me to put you through? ...I see. Of course. I'll let him know."
Eli took a breath and Chloe stroked through his hair slow as she finished the call.
"I will. Thank you, Gavin. Goodnight."
Her LED settled from yellow to blue again and then she was pulling Eli into her arms again softly, squeezing him tight to her chest.
"Gavin says he plans to be in the neighborhood tomorrow."
Elijah's heart throbbed dully in his ears.
He felt her hand rubbing slow up and down his spine.
"He seemed nervous, but determined. This is a good thing, Eli...he wants to see you."
The throbbing was faster now and the room suddenly seemed much bigger, dwarfing him.
It was going to swallow him up.
Kamski made himself look up into gentle eyes, pressed his face into soft palms.
"I am going to be right here. It will be alright."
Relief swept through Elijah like a wave and although it didn't completely calm his agitated nerves, it relaxed him enough to make the room stop expanding.
"Of course...thank you, Chloe."
She pressed a kiss to his forehead, stroking his hair back. It was starting to show brown around the roots again.
"Let's go relax. Tomorrow is another day."
And although tomorrow seemed frighteningly close, Eli found himself agreeing with her.