CHRISTMAS

John and Dorian banter. Just playing. Way too much dialogue. My bad. Gay innuendos.

-o-

John was driving carefully in the early morning traffic. By his side, Dorian was humming, his fingers tapping his thigh rhythmically. "I could do without Elton John today," John's mouth twitched. "Do you expect me to outlive his entire repertoire?"

"Am I boring you Reginald?" Dorian grinned.

"Stop it already, okay? It's getting old."

"As you wish." The android stopped instantly, and remained perfectly still.

John gave his partner a brief glance. His posture is uncanny, he thought, realizing that he had come to consider Dorian more human than he really was. "Oh, come on, you're not sulking now, are you?"

Dorian's face flashed blue shimmering lights. "No, of course not John, why would I?" he said, his voice soothing. He stayed silent for an innerving ten seconds. "Christmas is in three weeks," he finally said.

"I know." John shrugged, happy the android had chosen to go back to safer grounds. "What has it got to do with anything? You think we could organize a raid when the city thugs attend the midnight mass?"

"You spent Thanksgiving alone… Well, I should say we spent Thanksgiving together working on that heist. I was wondering, have you any plans?"

Not so safe, after all. Where was he getting at? "Nope. Christmas, Easter, Hanukah, whatever, that doesn't make much difference to me, just another day on the job."

His bravado wasn't lost on Dorian. "Don't you have relatives somewhere that you'd like to spend some time with?"

"And again, that's a no." His tone was neutral but he clenched the wheel reflexively. "Well, maybe I still got some distant half-cousins somewhere in Arkansas. I'm not even sure."

"Half-cousins…" Dorian commented with a nod. "I see."

"What are you saying? Are you inviting me? I'm way too old for presents. Anyway, I don't need anything," he added in haste. If Dorian was in a holiday shopping spree mood, he didn't want to end up with something embarrassing he would have to wear at the precinct. The image of a terrible reindeer sweater popped up inside his head. Worse, Santa. He shivered in mocked anticipation.

But Dorian's train of thought wasn't so easily derailed. "I disagree. I think you need a friend. Unfortunately, I have no place to speak of," the android said, "otherwise, I'd be happy to have you over."

"What do you mean you have no place?" John was frowning now. "Everybody has a place. I pick you up every morning…" at the corner of avenue C and 8th, he thought. "I mean, I never really thought about that. Where do you sleep?"

"You know I don't."

"I mean where do you… stay at night if you don't have a place?"

"It doesn't really qualify as a place, per se. I must admit it's more like a metal bunk bed and a charger. You already know that I don't need much, so I guess it makes sense."

"Everybody needs a place! They can't just put you away in some DRN parking garage every night like a… lawnmower, that's outrageous!"

"A lawnmower? Interesting, and quite an improvement. Is it not a notch above coffee warmer?" Dorian chuckled. "Anyway, be assured it's nothing like, say, the morgue, it's an abandoned warehouse, but, yes, you get the gist of it. Fortunately, being the only commissioned DRN, I don't have to share the precinct basement with the MXs. Rudy helped me with that."

"Are you serious? He didn't help you enough, and that's a fact! Why didn't you say anything? I'm your partner!"

"What is there to say?" Dorian's voice was even. "You do understand I'm not human. I don't need anything, it would be a waste of resources."

"Are you kidding me? Why didn't you put a request to Maldonado?"

Dorian grinned. "What for? DNR requests two bedroom flat in the vicinity of the precinct until predictable freeway accident?" He smiled. "I can't afford the rent, man."

"I see," John groaned. Making a show of clearing his throat. "What if you share my place? You'd have your own room. Would that be acceptable?"

"You don't have to do that, John, it's very thoughtful of you but…"

Some static on the radio interrupted the DRN, followed by a female voice from dispatch asking for backup two blocks away.

"Now, you shut it before I change my mind! Let's roll."

-o-

"Did you just offer to service me?" John's eyes were practically bulging out. So much for the stupid sweater, androids' mind did work in mysterious ways. He stood up and stepped away from Dorian, managing to put the kitchen counter between him and the android.

"I came to the conclusion that I don't know you enough to find you the perfect Christmas gift. It is only logical."

"You don't know me enough!" John exploded. "What's wrong with a key-ring or a subscription to 'Police Weekly'?"

"It's not personal enough."

"Beats me. There's a difference between personal and personal, Dorian."

"Like I said, you're backed up. I can be of assistance in this particular predicament. "There's no predicament." John's voice was dangerously low. "When did my sex life become your aim in life? If you must know, my sex life is perfectly fine!"

"Be real, man. You cannot deny that you need to get laid."

"I can't believe…" He leaned over the counter, punctuating his words with his fist. "Don't. Say. Another. Word." He put away his takeout to the garbage in one swift swipe, took a deep breath, exhaled even more loudly. "I can get any woman I want," he snapped with a meaningful stare before looking away.

"Who? I've been staying here with you for almost two weeks now, I haven't seen any woman," Dorian stated, motionless.

John zigzagged to the coffee table to avoid any hazardous contact. He was plainly aware his leg had started to squeak again. "YET! You haven't seen any woman yet." He turned on the TV. "I don't have to meet them here, you know."

"That's a blatant lie, John, you're either here or at work… with me."

"Okay, I admit my dance card is not exactly full right now but that doesn't mean… I mean I can… For god's sake! Are you out of your droid mind?!"

"I simply do the math, John. Your current physical state is detrimental to your work, and thus, endangers us both. I thought of asking out detective Stahl on your behalf, but ultimately decided against it. I'd rather watch you wriggle out of your own skin whenever she's around."

John dropped on the couch. "You're too kind," he snapped, his eyes locked on the screen. "You'd rather give me a hand job? Classy."

"No, we could go all the way," he said, eliciting another growl from his human partner. "34,67% of the general population uses the services of Intimate Robot Companions on a monthly basis. And that is above 45% percent a week with your colleagues at the police department, male and female."

John threw his arm over the back of the couch and turned around. "How would you know?"

"I asked the MXs."

"Christ, you are insane!" John commented, turning back to the TV. The players were running on the field, oblivious of his current discomfort.

"And then, I wondered, given your distaste of synthetics, whether you'd be more amendable to another prospect. You shouldn't be embarrassed by my proposition." Dorian stood in front of the TV now, arms crossed before his chest, in his usual police DRN attire. John tilted his head to see the screen, failed, and ultimately tried his best to look indifferent. "My programming includes all forms of sexuality," Dorian continued, "and if you're into something I don't know, I can always check the Internet," Dorian joked, unfazed by his partner's glare. "John, I'm glad to help. At night all the cats are grey. I'm sure you can grasp the recreational aspect of…"

Despite his resolve, John's eyes flicked to his partner. "Really, we turn off the light and go at it!? Dorian, you're a ro… you're a man."

"You're right, technically, I'm a bot. I consider gender as an intellectual construction, myself. But since you're interested in the specifics, I have a complete functional male anatomy."

"I'm not interested. End of discussion."

"Does that bother you?"

"You really have to ask? Of course, that bothers me. I'm not desperate."

"Gay intercourse can prove to be extremely pleasurable."

"How would you know?" He closed his eyes, and shook his head violently. "Don't. Don't you answer that. I meant I'm not THAT desperate."

"Okay, I won't ask again. But in any case, just so you know…"

"Stop, or you're going to sleep in the garage." John nodded. "But you probably wouldn't mind."

"You're right John," Dorian, using Valerie Stahl's voice. "I wouldn't mind but I'd rather sleep with you, John. John?"