HIS FATHER'S SON
John Kennex and Dorian banter. Again. Just a fluff.
John Kennex was in exceptional high spirits. He'd spent a great evening with Stahl. She happened to be very different from what he originally thought, a woman of a few words, for starters. He could live with that. For the first time since he'd been back to the precinct, he didn't feel like the ultimate underdog. Needless to say it would reflect on his synthetic partner, and that was a good thing in his book. There were only so many jibes and taunts they both could endure, even if the android seemed immune to jeering abuse. He glanced at Dorian, absorbed in android reveries, snuggled up on his seat, quietly humming carols.
Even the winter sky was attuned to his mood, an infrequent shade of indigo that reminded him of pleasant childhood memories like riding the school bus on clear winter mornings. Like his most recent memories, his old ones were fuzzy, scarce, mostly second hand, and for good reason.
After his parents' divorce, he had to forget what carefree meant. He figured the rest went down the drain at the same time. His father spent so little time home that he couldn't care less his parents had drifted apart, or so he thought. He remembered that his sister, who was three years his junior, was always very shy around detective Kennex Sr, running off to their mom whenever she heard his key in the door, -which was not often. For better or for worse, they chose to tell their kids they were getting a divorce on New Year's Day 2017. He was eight. After all these years, he still wondered why they decided on this day of all days. It killed Christmas for him. It killed New Year's Day, and the whole holiday season. It killed everything. He still remembered it took some energy for Anna to win him over to the holidays again.
Before all hell broke loose, that is.
He glowered at the sky and winced, his mood rapidly going to pieces. Memories, good or bad, always seemed intent on ruining the moment, as if they had a life of their own. His hands clenched reflexively on the wheel. He stepped on the gas, driving forward. Dorian's singing stopped momentarily, and the android peeked curiously at his partner. He didn't comment, but his skin flickered all kind of blue.
"Don't check my vitals, you hear me!" Kennex spat. "I'm thirty-nine, I don't need a nanny, god dammit!"
"Glorious day," Dorian commented. He lifted a hand to touch the silver medal dangling before them. "I think my deepest regret is the loss of my memories," he added out of the blue. "My friends, my colleagues, it's like I lost… everything that I held dear."
Kennex shifted uneasily. No way was he going down memory lane with that tin can. "Er… Rudy the one who wiped you clean, right?" he deflected.
"No. No… someone else did, and he made a thorough job of it. Ruby gave me back most of my case files, well, except for the last one, obviously. But he wasn't authorized to give me back… the moments, you know."
"I see," said Kennex who didn't want to hear any of it.
"Still, I wonder what went wrong," said Dorian dreamily. "I can't even remember who I was partnered with before you, John. Not that I don't enjoy your companionship, but I find it very frustrating."
"I can only imagine."
"You do?" The android turned to face his partner.
"Well, on the bright side, you're not going anywhere, you're stuck with me now," Kennex smirked. "Especially after your last stunt!"
"You know, that thing you did with the truck?"
"Don't play dumb. You went full MX on that truck, don't get me wrong that was impressive! I had no idea you could do that. More paper work for me, I guess," he shrugged, "with Valerie being here and all… Well, you're full of surprises," he added with a blatant frown to Dorian's crotch.
Dorian's mouth twitched. "You know I'm fully equipped… for something else," the android prompted, enjoying his partner obvious embarrassment. Kennex went beet red and made a show of checking the road. "I might be of assistance in retrieving your memories. Would you like me to give it a try?" he asked, his face serious.
"My memories are just fine," Kennex groaned. "I don't need your help."
"Man, I feel for you. I'm glad you didn't go back to the recollectionist," Dorian announced bluntly. "I researched him."
"You remember we discussed boundaries?"
"You've done your homework, John," Dorian continued, unfazed. "He's very good, a high calibre specialist in his field. However, I'm afraid his software is obsolete, well, due to his present… predicament," Dorian sighed. "It's a shame, really. I understand the federal government won't address this issue any time soon. The Internet is just swishing with controversial facts about the Wall and illegal immigration."
"Not today, Dorian."
The android took a deep breath though he didn't have to technically, infuriating Kennex even more. Dorian tilted his head, and stayed quiet for longer than necessary, letting his partner simmer down. "Is it something I said?" he asked sheepishly.
Kennex was ready to snap. Then his eyes locked with Dorian's and he felt safer than he had been in a long time. "No, sorry man, you didn't say anything wrong. Just… I'd rather… just stay quiet, okay? I feel a bit under the weather, is all," he snarled in a huff.
"Your vitals say otherwise."
"I thought I made myself clear! You don't monitor me or any… part of me…" he added weakly, trying to picture himself pushing the damn thing out of the car. He blinked, realizing he couldn't possibly do it.
"I'm supposed to take care of you."
"Yeah, supposed being the operative word. I don't need to be taken care of."
"Everybody does." Dorian paused and sat back comfortably, looking out the window again. "Is it something I've done then?" he finally asked, his jaws clenched, looking straight ahead. "I didn't mean to invade your personal space, John. I can go to your apartment and take out the Christmas decorations, if you wish."
"Yeah, you do that."
"Oh." Dorian's face reflected something close to childish disappointment. "I'll go when you're at the precinct then, and give them back to detective Stahl."
"Valerie was kind enough to lend me some of her Christmas ornaments. You're aware I don't have money of my own," he shrugged. "She thought it'd be homier for you to get back to…"
"You asked Valerie? There's no limit to your guile!" The cruiser swerved, changing lanes abruptly. A driver honked madly.
"I did not, she actually offered," Dorian scowled, "not that it makes any difference. It was very kind of her."
Kennex cleared his throat, and relaxed. "Yes, it was nice, I mean she's a nice person." Dorian kept silent, eliciting a frown from his partner. "What now? No smart quip? Nothing?"
"You always wanted to be a cop or did you follow your father's footsteps?" asked the android.
"I wanted to be a doctor," before he knew it, Kennex found himself answering the question, "not that it is any of your business."
"A doctor… Interesting. May I ask why?"
"No, you may not."
"Come on man, humour me! There's not much we can do in this cruiser. I'm bored."
"Use your imagination."
"Are you flirting with me, John?" Dorian asked, impersonating Valerie Stahl.
Despite his resolve, Kennex's mouth curled upward. "If you must know, I wanted to be an astronaut. Now shut up!"
Kennex sighed. "Yeah, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, that king of stuff."
"Oh, a military surgeon then?"
"Yes, exactly. Now will you leave me alone?"
"You could have worked in a civil hospital after they cut the Space Program."
"What was the fun in that?"
Dorian shrugged. "How would I know?"
"Right. Sorry, Dorian, it came out wrong."
"Do I sense another apology?"
"Well, I wouldn't go that far, but yes. I'm sorry."
"It's all right. It would have been probably wrong to choose a medical career. I have often found that bleeding hearts have an ironic fear of blood," Dorian teased.
"Don't condescend. I have absolutely no fear of blood!"
"John, we're barely a half hour into our shift, and your vitals are already pretty high. Is there something on your mind?"
"Yes. Coffee. Silence. Peace. Alone. Is that simple enough for you?"
"I get it. I'll have a mocaccino, white chocolate, no froth, whipped cream."
"What's the point? You don't even drink!"
"I don't, but that it doesn't mean I can't."
"Man, you're gonna pay for hiding that piece of information!"
"But you always say you're the one who's buying…" Dorian grinned.