Author: Almighty Hat
Fandom: Knight Rider, Knight Rider 2000
Warnings: Graphic Imagery
Summary: They’re honestly more similar than they look, these drivers forged in gunfire.
Disclaimer: Knight Rider, Knight Rider 2000, and all related indicia are property of Glen A. Larson and Universal Studios. They are used here without intention to profit and with no infringement intended. A vague disclaimer is no one’s friend.
The Lyric You Chose: Can be found heading the story.
Out of the island,
And into the highway,
Past the places where you might have turned.
Everything You Want -- Vertical Horizon
That was what they were, that was... the point, or so it had seemed at the time. Their lives had fallen apart, been blown apart, and they were made into drivers. Gunfire had transformed them both into other people.
If she hadn’t picked up that gun, if she had sent it to Forensics instead, even had she hand-delivered it... She could not, now, remember what emotion, what instinct, had spurred her to keep it, hide it, give it to her partner to trace. There must have been something she could have done differently, something that would have saved her.
“We can work this out,” her memory said, and she closed her eyes against the replay she knew was coming.
“Relax, officer. You’re off-duty now.”
The world exploded, slid, fell over, and he stood over her, they both had stood over her, “Officer down,” one of them said, but he was so far away. Such a nice man. She’d been so glad to be partnered with such a nice man. But it hurt and she couldn’t think. Her hair was wet and she didn’t know why and then everything was light and dark and light and dark, wheeling down into a room that was just white. And there were sounds. And then there was nothing and she couldn’t feel anymore. Memories sealed in clear plastic: pristine and perfect should she want to see them, hear them, but not touch them, not feel them. And there is no strength to anything but the regret, the loss, the betrayal. It hurts to be so empty, to remember how she once could laugh and yet not be able to laugh that way again.
There came a light sense of brush, and images. She was smiling down at him, amused. She was curled asleep in the driver’s seat, soft and peaceful. He was borrowing her voice, and she was smiling, shaking her head, complaining he could flirt better than she knew how.
She opened her eyes, and reality returned. The ferry was still in the middle of the Sound, and it was nice, peaceful, watching the waves break against the prow. But she stood and crossed to the garage, sought out a cherry-red sports car that someday she’d manage to get repainted black.
The scanner, now blending in instead of standing out like a spotlight, bounced gently back and forth. “Some days I really do wish you wouldn’t upload your memories into my chip,” she said.
“It was my chip first, you know,” he replied over the soft pop of his driver’s side door opening. “Feeling better, Shawn?”
She rested a hand on his hood before climbing in, settling into a seat that conformed to her body automatically. “Somewhat. How is it you always know what to say, Kitt?”
“We need each other,” the AI explained. “Even with a perfect memory, you’re only human. I don’t want you forgetting that.”
“Mm,” which was probably agreement. She settled back into the seat, eyes closing, relaxing. “But you were watching.”
“With these sensors, it’s not difficult to monitor your memory chip.”
An AI didn’t need to hesitate, nor to gather his thoughts. Nonetheless, a long moment slipped by before Kitt answered her. “I always keep an eye on you after we visit Michael.”
He had been born and Christened Michael Arthur Long. After Tanya Walker blew his face away, they’d let him keep the first two names. He’d gotten used to being Michael Knight; after his retirement there had stopped being any real difference between Knight and Long.
Orcas Island was beautiful, and even if his bass charter wasn’t exactly raking in the dough, it kept the bills paid and he liked running it. It was relaxing, out there on the water, just you and the fish and the sea and a couple of paying customers. It was a nice life to wake up to when you’d finished having a nightmare of gunshots.
Sometimes they were the usual sort. He was leading the other POWs to safety and there was some Viet Cong soldier he hadn’t seen, hadn’t noticed, and there was no time to dodge before the rifle butt cracked against his forehead. Before his own machine gun went off, spitting bullets, making good old Charlie dance like a marionette with an epileptic puppeteer before Michael staggered, slid, was caught by someone whose face he couldn’t see, the world going blurry.
And then he woke up.
He’d make himself a pot of coffee, then, and a good big breakfast, and make a mental list of all the ways that Orcas Island, Washington, USA, was different from Vietnam.
Sometimes, more often, it was another dream. Point blank, staring down the barrel of her gun, blonde thing, could have been pretty if she weren’t so processed. She’d seemed so sweet. But she’d shot him. He’d jumped, twisted, hit his head on the Trans-Am, and come to... come to not long after. Staring up into the beam of the headlights. His face was in agony, breathing was torturous. He could taste blood, dirt. His nose ached. He couldn’t feel his upper lip. He could see, but it was hazy, red. Flesh had been torn, blasted, burnt, and he was bleeding out from his face in the desert, and there was a light above him, a noise like thunder with a beat.
And then he woke up.
He calmed the shakes with a hot shower, with staring in a mirror and reminding himself that he had a face, even if it was different. That was still his old jaw, mostly his old chin, with a cleft added. Still his eyes. Wilton Knight’s surgeon had put him back together skillfully, with hardly a visible scar. He still had a face, even if it was the one he’d grown used to instead of the one he’d grown into.
The worst, though, was when the bullet didn’t hit him. The worst was when it hit her, and she fell down, pale gold hair a halo, sparkling white dress stained crimson. When she looked up at him, his beautiful Stevie, his wife, and said his name. Then she died for his job, for what he had seen and done.
Rarely, his dream-bride turned her face to his, and Shawn had whispered, “Partner,” then sagged in his arms. Only once had the blonde hair darkened to brown, had Bonnie looked up at him with dark eyes full of confusion and asked “Is Kitt okay?” before her breath stopped.
On the nights when the shooter’s victim was not a Michael of one name or another, there was no hot coffee, no shower. There was the nightstand drawer, and his grandmother’s rosary.
Thank god Michael Long had carried it while on duty, or he would have lost that with his name.
He prayed for them all.
He prayed for Bonnie’s happiness, wherever she’d taken herself. He prayed for Stevie’s soul, for Devon’s. He prayed for Shawn’s life, for her safety. He prayed that Kitt would protect her the way he’d protected Michael for years.
He prayed for dreams of long desert roads instead of the brief roar of gunshots and the taste of blood almost as an afterthought.