Bonnie straightened up with a grin. "Well, I think that just about does it. For once, Michael came off the worse from a battle." It was an attempt to cheer Kitt up, but the AI didn't respond. Bonnie sighed. "Kitt, everything is going to be all right now. Michael's getting out of the hospital tomorrow. Things are finally back to normal."
Kitt finally spoke. "Bonnie . . . what do you call a strong emotional attachment to another?"
It took Bonnie a moment to realize what he meant. Kitt knew the answer, but he was trying to get at something and doing it the same way Michael would approach a sensitive topic – from the backdoor, so to speak. "It's called love, Kitt. You know that." she said quietly.
"I know. But love is between a man and a woman, is it not?" he responded in that reasonable tone of his. He suspected, but he wasn't sure, and right now Bonnie was the only one who could confirm it.
Bonnie shrugged. "Not always. There's parental love, love between siblings, friendship could be considered a mild form of love." She gave him an odd look. "Why are you asking?"
Now she had reached the true question Kitt wanted to ask. He hesitated. She watched as his scanner flickered a few times before finally tracking steadily. "What would you call it when friendship doesn't seem to suffice?" His voice, if possible, was even quieter.
Bonnie smiled. So that's what he was getting at. It wasn't surprising, really. After all the hell Kitt and Michael had been through, things were bound to come up, things they hadn't considered before. "Kitt, are you familiar with the term anam cara?"
Kitt hesitated. "Not offhand. I don't believe that language is in my databanks."
"It's not. But ask Michael what it means. You'll understand then." She patted the hood fondly. "What you and Michael have is special. Whatever you do, don't let that slip away."
"Why would I?" Kitt demanded, sounding surprised.
"Because people don't like what's different." Bonnie said. "It's one of our many faults. Sometimes it becomes easier just to be normal and give up everything that makes you different." With that she turned and walked away, leaving Kitt to ponder her words. He thought he understood. How many times had people at Devon's charity parties either stayed far away from him or fawned over him like he was a toy? And how many times had Michael been ostracized by his ladies for simply refusing to leave Kitt behind?
What more would they suffer for the sake of each other?
Michael was glad to be out of the hospital. The nurses were glad to have him out of the hospital. He had only been kept a week until his ribs had healed well enough for him to move without wanting to scream. Now he could get around without too much difficulty, but it still hurt and he still needed to rest before long. Add that to a leg that just wouldn't stop throbbing unless he kept his weight off of it and a broken arm, and Kitt had been following him around ever since he got back.
He liked it. He had forgotten how much he had missed his partner's protectiveness. Like he had forgotten to take care of himself because he was so used to Kitt looking out for him.
Now he was sitting in Kitt's driver's seat, simply enjoying watching the sun set at the beach. Kitt had brought him out here, oddly enough. Michael had the distinct impression he wanted to talk, but so far he hadn't said anything yet. He decided to let Kitt bring it up as he saw fit. That didn't mean he was going to let the silence continue. "You know, I've been harping on Devon about a vacation, and now that I'm on an extended one, I can't do the one thing I was hoping to do." he mused.
That got Kitt's attention, if only partially. "And what was that? Spy on the women in bikinis?"
Michael laughed. "Well, that too, but I'm doing that from here. I wanted to go surfing."
Now he had Kitt's full attention. "Surfing. Michael, really. Of all the dangerous activities to pick, why the one where I can't reach you if something goes wrong?"
"Well, I wasn't planning on anything going wrong." Michael protested mildly. "Besides, I'm enjoying this." He really had missed this, just simply being here with his partner with no one hassling them about missions or charity parties or anything else of the like.
"Is your leg still hurting?"
"It's going to hurt for a while yet, Kitt." Michael admitted. "But not right now."
"Good. Once you take those pain pills, I can't get a coherent sentence out of you."
"Oh, I hear I'm not only coherent, but very stoned." Michael chuckled. "I saw the recording Bonnie had you make."
Kitt groaned. "Why did she show you that?"
"Blackmail material. I'm her slave from now on." He gave the dash a hard look. "What's wrong, Kitt? You've got something on your mind."
For once, Kitt didn't reply with his typical witty comment. Instead, the AI hesitated for a moment. "Michael – we've been through a lot together, haven't we?"
"Yeah, Kitt." Michael sounded confused. "We've been through hell and back a few times."
Once again, Kitt hesitated, but not nearly as long. It was as if now that the words were flowing out, they wouldn't stop. "I think you know this already, but I realized when you – left – that I never said it. I need to say it now." He waited a moment, but Michael didn't interrupt, so he plowed on. "I love you, Michael. I don't want anything to happen to you."
It seemed so inadequate compared to their relationship, but Kitt couldn't find the words to describe just what Michael meant to him. Michael seemed to know anyway. He smiled gently as he leaned forward and placed his hand on the dashboard.
"I know." he said quietly. "I love you, too. Don't ever forget that."
Kitt's engine thrummed in contentment, and for a while they sat there like that, in a silence that said so much more than words ever could. The sun had vanished below the horizon and the moon was just making its presence known when Kitt finally spoke again.
"What does anam cara mean?"
Michael grinned. "It's Gaelic. It means 'soul friends'.
It means us."
AN: Ah, I hope the ending isn't too sappy. Either way, there are plans for a sequel, named (ironically enough) Anam Cara. So keep an eye out for that, probably after I finish Sisters Knight, and drop me a line to tell me what you think of this one. Until then, I remain yours truly,