Mike drove home ensconced in silence. He shifted uncomfortably; the silence was not the warm welcoming entity he was used to. Instead it was an alien thing, invading KITT with its presence, strangling him instead of soothing.
He tapped nervously on the steering wheel, not sure if he should attempt to break the silence. He couldn’t think what was bothering KITT; he hadn’t done anything extra stupid for a while and even then, KITT would ream him out, not give him the cold shoulder. Right now though, it felt like KITT was seething; he wouldn’t have been surprised if KITT’s body had started shaking with the force of the emotion.
Several more minutes passed before Mike finally decided to say something. “KITT…” He didn’t get any further.
KITT swerved, screeched to a stop at the side of the road, and flung open his driver’s door. “Get out.”
Mike blinked in confusion. “Wha?”
Straightening in his seat, Mike stared at KITT’s voice display. He didn’t think he’d ever heard KITT use that tone of voice on him. Other people sure but this was… “KITT?”
“Get out or I’ll eject you.”
What the fuck? Mike scrambled to exit the car. He wasn’t going to mess around when KITT sounded like the Artic. He watched in shock as the door slammed shut and KITT peeled away, leaving rubber marks behind as he went. Shoving his hands into his jacket pockets, Mike wondered what the hell had just happened.
Mike sat on the bus bench, trying not to think about anything. He was glad KITT had picked a not deserted street to dump him off on. He’d only had to walk a couple of blocks before finding the bench.
Logically, he knew he could call a cab; hell, he could even hop a bus to a rent-a-car dealership in the neighbourhood, and be home in a few more hours but he was afraid if he went back without KITT, he really would be without KITT. They argued sure, but this wasn’t a fight. He still had no idea what was bothering KITT and that scared him.
A couple of hours later, KITT pulled up alongside the bench he was sitting on. His door opened and his engine revved a little. “I… I’m sorry.”
Mike stared for a moment, and then sighed. “Fine. You’re sorry.” Getting up, he climbed inside.
KITT closed his door and sat silent, engine rumbling quietly in the background.
Leaning back in his seat, Mike was relieved to find the atmosphere was changed, if only slightly. KITT still seemed tense, but no longer angry. Then he wondered when he had learned to read KITT’s silences.
More minutes passed and finally Mike spoke. “Hey. Talk to me.”
“I… I don’t quite know what to say. I behaved poorly.”
“You were upset. I got that much. I just don’t know what about. Clue me in? I’m only human, you know.” It was meant as a joke but KITT’S engine skipped and Mike leaned forward, focused. “KITT?”
“What are your intentions toward Sarah?”
“What?” That was certainly out of left field. Whatever he’d been expecting, that was certainly not it.
“What are you intentions…”
Mike interrupted him. “Yeah, okay, got it the first time, just…” It reminded him that Sarah’s father was KITT’s creator. He wondered if the man had built in some sort of vetting chip to screen Sarah’s friends.
Aware that KITT is waiting for answer, he shook off his musings. “We’re friends.”
There was more silence while KITT processed his statement. “Your sexual advances toward each other would indicate otherwise.”
Mike’s eyes widened and incredibly he felt himself blushing. “We don’t… We aren’t…” Mike spluttered, feeling like he’d taken a sharp left and entered the twilight zone.
“You do. You are. On six point two occasions in the last four months you have…”
“Point two?” What was he doing encouraging KITT? He should be telling him to mind his own damn business and yet, at least now KITT was talking to him. He’d take whatever he could get.
“You were interrupted. We were called away to pursue a lead.”
“Oh. Right.” He flushed as he remembered that particular incident. “Hey, wait. Are you monitoring me while I’m…”
“Of course not,” KITT broke in. “That would be an invasion of your privacy. However, my systems are attuned to your body. I can not help but notice certain things.”
“My body tells you when I’ve been having sex?”
KITT’s headlights closed and opened again, giving the impression of someone rolling their eyes. “Do not be obtuse. Sexual activity, as with any kind of exercise, releases chemicals that affect the body both internally and externally. My systems note these changes.”
“And… You’ve been keeping track?” That was the part that boggled him, even more than the fact that KITT noticed in the first place.
KITT was silent. Then he repeated his original question.
“I told you. Despite what think your charts and graphs tell you, we’re just friends. People can have sex without it meaning anything.” Then he realized how that sounded. “I mean… Sarah’s a great person and I’m not… I mean… She doesn’t expect anything.”
More silence. “I see. I… I apologize. It is obvious the nuances of human behaviour still escape me.”
Mike patted the dash. “Don’t worry about it. The nuances escape most people. Can we go home now?”
“Of course.” KITT put himself in gear, and pulled back out onto the road, then relinquished control to Mike.
Miles passed and Mike basked in the familiar feeling. Though, something still seemed a bit off. KITT was more subdued than normal and he wondered what else was bothering him. He was about to ask when KITT beat him to it.
“So you will be having sex with Sarah when we return.”
Mike jumped, jerking the steering wheel to one side, before quickly compensating. “How the hell did you… Um..” He had actually been thinking about it, before KITT started being weird.
“When you spoke to her to report the closure of the case, she issued an invitation and you accepted.”
“What are you talking about? Sex never entered the conversation.”
“Not literally but her tone of voice and body language were clear. As were yours.”
Mike thought about that and then wondered how it was a machine seemed to be so adept at reading human cues. Then he thought of something else. “Why are you so hung up on my sex life anyway?”
There was no answer.
He was about to bug KITT again when he had an epiphany. It seemed KITT wasn’t the only one good at reading cues. Mind still buzzing, he waited for an opening in the traffic then signalled and pulled over. “You’re jealous!” He couldn’t keep the amazement out of his voice.
“I… I am uncomfortable with this turn of events, yes.”
“You know, you don’t have to be. I told you. We’re just friends. The two of us, it’s different. I’m not going to leave you behind or anything.”
KITT revved his engine hard, and then geared down making the sound drop. He took over control and pulled back out onto the street before speaking. “I share my body with only you. You share your body with me and her.” Then he turned the radio on loud.
Mike sat stunned the rest of the drive home.
He roused himself when he realized KITT was taking him to head quarters. “No. Take me home. And patch me through to Sarah.”
KITT did as he was told and one of his monitors flicked a moment before Sarah’s face appeared there.
“Mike! You’re late. I was beginning to worry.”
“Uh yeah. Hi Sarah. Look something’s come up, okay. I’m going to come in tomorrow instead. I’ll get KITT to send you the case files. Everything should be there.”
“Oh. Well, if you’re sure. It must be important.”
“Yeah, it is. I’ll see you in the morning.” He closed the connection before she could ask him any questions.
As KITT drove to his place, Mike wryly registered the silence. Had it only been a short while ago he thought the whole quiet thing was over?
KITT pulled into the driveway of his small bungalow. His door swung open but he still did not speak.
Mike got out and paused, then shook his head. He fished out his keys while listening to KITT closing his door and powering down. As soon as he was inside, he headed for the phone. Punching in the now familiar number, he rubbed the back of his neck. He was relieved when the line was picked up on the first ring.
“Hey Dad. You got a minute? I need to talk.”