A/N: Somebody wanted more fic on the theme of Adam's heart (yay for canon contradicting itself on whether it's augmented or not). This calls back to a few fics I've written on the theme before, including Opia, Clockwork and Unfamiliar.
It's been five months.
David calls out of the blue. "Adam, how are you feeling?" is his immediate greeting when Adam answers the door, not waiting for an invitation before striding inside. "Dr Marcovic tells me you're making excellent progress. Unprecedented, even."
Adam purses his lips, hides his face as he lets the door close, and wishes he'd thought to put a shirt on. Or at least let the eye shields go up before reaching the door. Now it would just be rude. "I'm getting by."
"Good, good." David wanders further inside as though it's his own apartment (is it, technically?) and pans a steady gaze over the surroundings. Adam's stuff is still in boxes, never unpacked, after David had so generously had it packed for him in the first place. He comes to a stop at the workbench by the window, casts a brief glance out over the city behind the notes Adam has taped to the glass, then turns back to the man he's come to visit. "Everything alright with the apartment? I heard there might have been trouble with the bathroom. Something broken again?"
Adam approaches, slow and cautious. "Reported it to building management already. They'll deal with it."
"Alright. Well, if you're sure. I paid good money for this place; I want it in top condition for you." A look passes over his face that might be annoyance, and then quickly vanishes again. "If there is anything I can do to help, Adam, all you have to do is say."
"I appreciate it, boss." The words leave his mouth automatically. Diplomatic. Appeasing. He isn't sure he means them.
He watches Sarif's eyes drop to the workbench, curiosity showing in the natural grey, and an unexpected twinge of anxiety begins to creep through Adam's gut. All his clocks and watches are lying in pieces on the table. Half-assembled, strangely vulnerable. That gleaming golden black hand is hovering too close. "Actually," Adam says, stepping closer to rest his own black hand beside the tarnished gold of a pocket watch in a gesture that feels almost protective. "There is something."
Adam looks up and meets those natural eyes with his augmented green-gold. "Tell me what happened to the rest of me."
There's a beat. A glimmer of confusion shows in David's face, but it doesn't quite read as genuine. "The...rest of you?"
"A woman came round here a few weeks back claiming she got tissue from my eyes as part of a corneal transplant. Did you know anything about that?"
Sarif looks away, takes a moment to gather himself. His surprise is more convincing. "No, I...can't say I did. Tissue bank collected the waste material from LIMB after we finished your surgery; I don't know what they chose to do with it."
"But you can take a guess, right?"
"Adam, listen." Sarif reaches out, places his augmented hand on Adam's shoulder, and is oblivious to the sudden tensing it causes. "Those old parts were no good to you anymore. These new ones are what you should focus on: they'll make you better, stronger. Don't dwell on what you lost."
"I just need to know what happened to them, then I can stop thinking about it."
Sarif heaves a sigh. He looks like he's going to try to dissuade him again, and then with a small shake of his head, decides instead to answer. "Alright, well. Your old eyes were full of blood when we got round to operating, but I can see how they might still find use for your corneas. If you were a registered donor, doesn't surprise me they collected them. Your limbs, if there was anything salvageable, I signed permission to donate to the University of Detroit Mercy Teaching Hospital."
"You signed permission?"
"You weren't going to find use for them anymore, Adam. Somebody else may as well. Part of your trachea was crushed and the section of your bowel we replaced was already destroyed. They'll have gone straight in the incinerator, I expect. Same with the skull fragments after the surgeons dug the bullet out of your brain."
"And my heart?"
A frown creases Sarif's brow. He goes still for a moment, and then moves his hand from Adam's shoulder and brings it to rest on the bare skin of his chest. The touch is gentler, this time. Almost hesitant at first. Then it grows more confident. "It's still in there, son."
Adam suppresses a shiver. He wants to pull away, but doesn't see the point. As if there's anything left to hide. David knows this body better than he does. "You're sure? Not just a lump of plastic and metal now?"
"Plastic hearts don't beat. You don't feel that?"
"It feels...different to how it did before."
Sarif's frown deepens. It looks like something approaching concern, until he shakes his head and dismisses it. "That will be the Sentinel. Helps it beat stronger."
Adam raises his own hand to creep into the spaces not touched by David's fingers. "No, it's not that."
"You taken your medication today, Adam? It's really racing in there. When's your next LIMB appointment? Might be an early sign of aug rejection."
Gritting his teeth, Adam finally grasps David's hand in his own and pushes him away. "I'm fine, boss. Really. Just tired."
Grey eyes blink, almost surprised by the assertiveness. "You want me out of your hair, don't you?"
"You should use those shades I gave you more often. You're a bad liar." David heaves yet another sigh and once more glances down at the array of cogs and tools strewn across the workbench. "Let's call this a flying visit and I'll let you get back to your clocks. You're getting good at building them."
"I don't know about that. I can fix them, if they're broken."
"At this rate, you'll be coming back to work as an engineer instead of security chief." Adam purses his lips and refrains from commenting. "Take care of yourself. And I mean it—first sign of DDS, get yourself back to a LIMB clinic."
Automatic response again. Of course David can tell. He doesn't call Adam out on it.
It's several minutes after Sarif's gone before Adam begins to breathe easier and returns to his seat at the workbench. To his relief, all of it had avoided David's interference. He stares at his latest project: an old antique pocket watch, the newly installed parts many decades younger than the watch itself, yet everything still fits. Clockwork doesn't change. The same gears in the same places, the same mechanisms turning hands around the same face, and yet…
He can't hear this one tick. Something is different. Battery in place of a mainspring. Gears turn smooth, the gleaming new components at odds with the scuffed old case. The second hand sweeps around the dial, six degrees with every passing second, yet even when Adam holds it up to his augmented ear, if there's any sound, it's too quiet to make out.
Adam rests a hand on his chest and wonders if there isn't silence inside after all.