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Fic: Processing Time, Almost Human, G

Title: Processing Time
Author: caitri
Rating: G
Word Count: 974
Summary: For the Comment Fic challenge at almosthumantv. honor_reid’s prompt: "Dorian gets loaned out to another detective (who is a jerk) against the wishes of Kennex, the assignment goes badly. Dorian is injured, and John is ticked. Epic h/c and bromance ensues.”
Disclaimer: I am the farthest thing from a writer or employee of Fox as it is possible to be. So.


“I don’t like it,” John repeats for oh, maybe the dozenth time. “Biggs hasn’t been in the field for two years for a reason, you know.”

Dorian looks like he wants to laugh. “I’m touched that you’re worried, John, really, I am,” and John wonders if Dorian is only teasing or if he’s serious, and how much of either is his programming, “but it can’t be any worse than hanging around you all day.”

John stops walking, and Dorian realizes--processes--that he’s gone too far. “Shit, man, I’m sorry--”

“Whatever. Good luck with Detective Asshat,” John says, and stalks to his desk.

The case briefing with Captain Maldonado takes about half. John doesn’t watch until Sandra notices and turns the blinders on, and he definitely doesn’t glare at Biggs as he and Dorian leave until Biggs has to turn around and give him the finger.


They’re just on stakeout. It won’t be that bad.


Of course, it’d be nice if Dorian could send a text. Or a vid. Or, y’know, something.


When Mister Akiyama asks where John’s friend is today, John says he’s busy with enough abruptness that Akiyama takes his menu without him ordering. John wonders if that means he’s getting kicked out, but the old man just brings out a plate of onigiri rice balls and puts them in front of him. John (and Dorian) eats here enough to know these are off-menu.

“I eat when daughter sick,” Akiyama says, and John recognizes the gesture of sympathy for what it is.


He’s almost feeling better when he gets back to the station. So of course Detective Paul greets him with a smirk and a , “Hey, Kennex, you might wanna go see Rudy. He’s got your partner.”


Rudy had shushed him firmly and said if he MUST lurk threateningly in the background while he restores art then he must lurk SILENTLY. Dorian is on the table, his synth-skin jagged scraps, most of his uniform burned away. The explosion had been more force than heat--it was the NNEMP before the explosion that had shut Dorian down so he couldn’t protect himself. His wires were elaborate enough that he could withstand most electronic attacks, but this had been old tech. As Dorian had himself said, “Newer isn’t always better.” It had been the right kind of poison.

“It’s Detective Biggs’s fault,” Rudy says without looking up where he’s wrist-deep in Dorian’s chest cavity. “If you’re going to harass someone, you may as well harass him. He sent your partner there as bait.”

“What?” John recognizes, distantly, the voice as his own, but it sounds more like a feral growl than a human asking a question.

Rudy does look up this time. “Believe it or not this work takes intense concentration. I’m trying to save your partner’s neural net because I assume you want some semblance of Dorian back when I’m done.”

“What do you mean a semblance? I thought that was the thing about DRNs, they could remember--”

“A Synthetic Soul,” Rudy articulates carefully, as if John is the dullest crayon in the box, “imitates the human brain in as far as it can be imitated. Which means that sufficient damage to the neural network not only disengages his processing nodes but can affect his memory banks and his diagnostic mechanisms. If we are very lucky,” he concludes in words John can understand, “we will have our Dorian back. And if I’m left in peace.” He goes back to his work.

John goes to find Biggs.


Captain Maldonado might actually kill him this time. She definitely looks like she wants to.

“John, I hope you understand that I know where you’re coming from, but that’s still no reason to go after Biggs the way you did. I don’t care for how he did it either, but he got the job done. The Andalusian Cartel doesn’t have any local operational set-up for a while now, which means no more nano incursions.”

“Dorian’s on Rudy’s table right now,” John bites back.

“And Lucas Biggs is getting stitches.” Sandra doesn’t miss a beat. “I have two officers out of commission right now. I hope you’re happy.”

“That’s not the word for it.”

Far from it.


“Is this gonna work?”

“If it doesn’t, nothing will.” John wishes that Rudy answered with his typical sly assurance, but the Technician sounds exhausted, and his eyes are bloodshot. He looks like he’s been through hell, and John wishes he were a good enough man he could be sympathetic, but all he’s got strength for right now is to hope that when the DRN on the table is finished rebooting, he’ll be talking to Dorian and not--

Well. The thought doesn’t bear finishing.

“Alright,” Rudy says, taking a deep breath. “Angels and ministers of grace defend us, one….two….three!”

The DRN’s eyes shoot open and he sits upright. He blinks before looking over at them. When he sees John, he smirks. “Wow, John, you really were worried.”

Rudy exhales on a delighted laugh, and John feels--he doesn’t even know. When he doesn’t answer, Dorian frowns. “I said I was sorry, you know.”

“Yeah. I know.” John’s voice is rough, and he feels sick. “I just--I’m glad you’re back is all.”

Dorian is off the table, and then his arms around him. John knows, he knows that it’s all plastic and wire, ceramics and synths, but--Dorian is still warm, and that’s still something.

“I didn’t know,” John mumbles into the crook of Dorian’s neck. “I didn’t know.”

He very carefully doesn’t think about what he’s not saying; that can come later, maybe, if he’s lucky.

“It’s okay,” Dorian says. “It just takes time to process, is all.”


( 2 comments — Add your .02 )
Dec. 7th, 2013 01:47 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww. ♥!!!!
Dec. 8th, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)
( 2 comments — Add your .02 )

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