Adam found it hard to move as he shift his arm that covered his and part of Patrick’s face.
“Patrick,” he whispered when he received no response he panicked. Shifting the dirt off of himself, Adam began to brush it off of Patrick’s face and neck who laid limp. “Patrick, no—please don’t leave me. Come on talk to me,” he shouted.
“Adam are you both alright?” A.J. called down from the side of the car that they were trying to back up.
“Yes—no,” Adam said not sure as he continues to dig out Patrick. “Patrick, Patrick!” he shouted again louder than before.
“We’re coming Adam, hold on,” A.J. said, shining light down on them.
Adam managed to pull Patrick upper half free taking his still body into his arm. He brushed the dirt from his face and nose and preceded to do CPR on him. Holding his nose, Adam pushed air into his mouth then pump on his chest trying to get his started. He repeated the action twice more until Patrick let out a hard cough gasping for air. Adam fought back tears as he held onto Patrick until he stopped coughing and opened his eyes. He looked at Adam and smiled.
“Hey you,” he said in a raspy voice.
“Hey yourself. I almost lost you,” Adam said.
“Never,” he said.
“Damn right never, because when I tell you to stay put—you stay put, understand?”
“And tonight, you’re staying put next to me, in my arms.”
“I’d like that Adam,” Patrick said as a tear raced down his smudged cheek.
Adam kissed him so tenderly that he forgot they were in a grave covered in dirt.
“Adam can you reach my hand?” called Artie holding out his hand while A.J. and another officer held onto him. Adam helped Patrick up and gave him a leg up to Artie’s extended hand. He was next as he gripped Artie’s hand and used his feet to kicked the soft dirt wall to hoist himself up.
Cain was dead; Justin was safe on his way to the hospital. The ETM's checks Adam and Patrick for injury and shook. Besides bumps and bruises, they were fine and refused to be admitted for observation. Adam planned a quick shower with Patrick and needed sleep.
They stood with the victims’ blankets draped over their shoulders. Adam just lets his blanket hang laxly on his frame, but Patrick gripped his tightly around his torso. His knuckles strain as his fists kept gathering the material between his fingers as his eyes locked on the white sheet that covered Cain’s lifeless body, only a few feet away. Adam took off his blanket and closed it around Patrick whose body was shaking either from the lack of his coat or seeing Cain’s blood seeping through the sheet.
Thankfully he seemed to respond to Adam’s touch and allowed him to hug him in an effort to distract him from the deceased professor.
“Patrick,” Adam spoke turning the younger man to face him and hopefully to make eye contact. Patrick slowly looks up at Adam’s face covered in dirt residue, except his perfect green eyes that were showing concern for him. “Listen, I want to take you home.”
“I can’t go back there alone Adam…”
“No—not the condo…”
"No, not my parents, I can’t let them see me like this.”
“No, again. I mean my place. I told you that in the grave remember?”
“Oh yeah, I’d like that."
“Then it’s settled. Now if you’d be so kind as to tell me where my rental is I can retrieve it, and we can leave?”
“Yeah about that. When you get to it, please bear in mind that I never learned to drive. So turning corners, and judging distances between a car and a truck left your rental a bit dinged up. But I promise I will pay for all the damages,” Patrick said in almost a daze.
After Patrick’s confession Adam managed to get the location of the viper. Adam kissed Patrick’s dusty forehead.
“I’ll be right back, and I want you not to stare in that direction any more promise?” Adam said pointing at Cain’s body.
“I promise,” said Adam.
“I’m going to go ask the detectives to keep an eye on you until I return. Don’t wonder off.”
“I’ll stay right here.” Adam leaned down and kissed Patrick’s lips who responded as they both tasted the fresh earth in their mouths.
Adam walked over to A.J. and Artie, who were talking quietly to each other. Artie caught Adam’s approach, and both men turned in his direction.
“How is he?” Artie asked.
“He’s shaken up but responsive,” replied Adam. “How are you two?”
“Oh, you mean after being zapped by an out of controlled robot? Surprisingly fine,” said Artie.
“Well, I think Dante was only defending the house, not on a killing spree. So essentially he did his job.”
“Dante?” wonder Artie. “You named it?”
“No, that’s the robot’s name, and before you ask—Patrick asked him who he was and it told us, Dante. Most likely, Cain named him when he programmed him.”
“Adam are you defending a robot?” asked A.J.
“Look Cain left victims in his wake why not robots too? Which—by the way, there’s another robot named Poe back at Patrick’s condo.”
“Another one,” said Artie exhausted.
“Yeah, I think Cain was using them to spy on Patrick and maybe Justin.”
“Okay, we’ll send people over to deal with it like the—Dante,” said Artie taking down Patrick’s address and Adam giving them the door code. He walked off to make a call leaving Adam and A.J. alone.
“A.J. can you and Artie keep an eye on Patrick and keep him away from the stiff while I get my car?”
“Sure go ahead.”
“Thanks, and to be clear, I am happy that you’re both alright.”
“Thank you, and to be clear, I’m glad you stole Artie’s car to come here. If you hadn’t, there’d be more body to bag up.”
Adam nods and cracked a smile towards his ex who was once the love of his life. Keeping it professional they shook hands and Adam walked off. A.J. watched as Adam walked out of sight and as Artie walked up.
“Where’s he going?” asked Artie.
“To get his car.”
“Of course but I still have questions for him,” he said turning towards Patrick, who stood looking at the ground and rubbing the back of his neck.
“Will get to it before Potter comes back and raise hell.”
A.J. looked at Artie and smiled.
“For letting me care a little about Adam.”
“I know he’s a fuck up, but I also know you saw something different than the rest of us, and you just want him safe.”
“And that’s it. You are and always will be the love of my life.”
“Okay, but tonight you’re going to have to prove it.”
“Then you’re going to have to make breakfast.”
“Deal.” Artie wanted to lean in and cover the soft lips with his own, but their vocation was their baby, and they needed to show restraint that is until they clocked out.
Artie walked away to speak to returning officers from the house as A.J. walked over to Patrick.
“Hello, again Mr. Valdez.” Patrick, exhausted look up A.J. approached. Right away, Patrick knew it wasn’t to make sure he was alright. “I was wondering if we could talk for a moment.”
“About what?” Patrick asked becoming defensive.
“About that corpse,” A.J. pointed at Cain, bring Patrick’s attention back to it. “Let’s take a walk.” A.J. guided Patrick towards Cain, whom seemed unsure how to refuse walking with the detective. They came up just as the EMTs were loading him on a gurney. Patrick stopped short as they lifted Cain into the pre-open body bag. A.J. turned and studied Patrick’s reaction.
“I’m sorry; you shouldn’t be looking at this, but I need to know who he was.” Patrick was shaking as remembering the once gifted man was now a killer.
“His name was Cain Rollins we met when I was going to school overseas. He was one of my professors.”
“Did you come back home together?”
“No, in fact I didn’t know he was in town.”
“But wasn’t Cain the one who gave you your robot?”
“Yes, but Cain shipped Poe from overseas. I had him for two years.”
“What do you think set Cain off?”
“I’m not sure. We started out as just friends. We make out once, but I never felt any sexual pull towards him. I stopped seeing him when he wanted me to do kinky sex with him. I told him I didn’t want to lose my virginity that way. He was mad but not violent. I told him I wasn’t ready to explore sex with anyone, and he seemed fine with it. He sent me Poe—well HP, human companion, I named him. I had offered to pay for him, but he said it was a gift and that I should keep him.”
“How long after did you start to see Gavin?”
“Adam believes he was spying on you through Poe.”
Patrick grew quiet and spun Adam’s statement around in his head. He remembered Poe always being in a room with him without being called. The bathroom and his bedroom. He thought it was cute now he felt sick.
“Did he ever try to get in contact with you after you parted?” asked A.J.
“No, not once. I thought he moved on.”
The ETMs had the gurney on uneven ground, and one of the wheels slipped causing Cain’s hands to fall free Patrick jumped back as Cain’s head turned toward him with his eyes open.
“No, he’s still alive,” shouted Patrick, who wanted to bolt but A.J. held him in place.
“No Patrick, he’s dead. He can’t hurt you.”
“Patrick,” called Adam running up. Patrick broke free from A.J.’s grip and darted towards Adam wrapping his arms around his stronger chest and busting into tears. A.J. walked towards them, sorry he ever took Patrick near the dead man. Adam gave him an icy look warning him to back off stopping him in his tracks.
“I asked you to watch him not traumatize him,” he snapped.
“I needed answers Adam.”
“Did you get them?”
“Yes. Adam look--.”
“Yes A.J. I know you were doing your job. I get it, super-cop all the way. Now if you don’t object, I’m taking Patrick home.”
“You’re both free to go.”
Adam said nothing in response as he gathered Patrick in his arms and walk him towards the car.
After making sure Patrick’s seatbelt, was in place, and calmed down some, Adam belted himself into the driver’s seat and drove off. He was speeding again only this time Patrick didn’t scold him to slow down. Adam wished he had as he reduced his speed. Patrick stared at his hands that sat trembling in his lap.
“What did A.J. say to you?”
“He said you told him that you believed Cain was using Poe to spy on me?”
“Yeah, he gave Poe to you.”
“I could be wrong maybe he didn’t snap until after you broke up maybe he was a nice guy in the beginning.”
“So I might be able to keep him?” his hands rose to his chest strap.
“Maybe someone at the college can reprogram Poe for you. But—most likely the cops will take him in as evidences.”
“That’s fine,” Patrick whispered clinching his seatbelt.
“You had no idea that he was a sicko.”
“Like Gavin? I’m batting 2 and 0,” he tried to laugh but it only came out as a gasp.
“It’s not your fault Patrick.”
“I drove a man to kill someone, how is this, not my fault?”
“You did nothing wrong. He was a wolf in sheep clothing, don’t you dare lose sleep over that prick.”
“You must think so little of me.” Adam pulled off to the side of the road and opened his and Patrick’s seat belts.
“Come here and kiss me,” Adam said not demanding but pleading. Patrick leaned over, and Adam met him half way. Again their mouths tasted of soil but neither seems to care as Patrick held onto Adam’s coat collar, and Adam ran his fingers through his hair. They parted for air as Patrick seem to want to cry again.
“You’re not the only one who made mistakes in love and life. I made my share, but I can be sure I made the right choice in falling in love with you.”
“So you still love me?”
“Of course I do.”
“I love you too.” Another kiss as they refastened their seat belts and continued on their journey.