Disclaimers: Knight Rider was created by Glen A. Larson Things you should know: Bonnie's disappearance without a trace after series one always bugged me, as did her reappearance in series 3 without explaining why she was so reluctant to come back. A couple of months ago I was watching "KITT vs KARR" and it gave me ideas. So, I've messed with the show's continuity and shifted "KITT vs KARR" to the end of the first season. If you don't like that idea, stop reading now.
And I wanna believe you,
When you tell me that it'll be ok
But I don’t
Avril Lavigne “Tomorrow”
When the jet-black car crashed easily through the closed tailgate of the semi Devon’s first thought was ‘What the devil is Michael playing at?’ Then, as it paused as if considering its next move, he realized that it wasn’t Kitt and Michael at all. Bonnie was still sitting in front of the computer, staring in shock at the vehicle that had come to rest only metres away. Devon saw its scanner flash once and he opened his mouth to shout a warning to her. He got no further than “Bon…” before the vehicle struck her, demolishing the computer and flinging her in a battered, bloody heap at his feet. Aghast he bent to check on her.
“She lives,” the dark, mephistophelian voice of KARR informed him. “If you wish her to continue doing so you will do exactly as I say. Show my young friend here where you store the alpha capacitors.”
Devon hadn’t even noticed the presence of the white-faced young man until now. His nervous gaze shifted between KARR and Bonnie. Never once did he look Devon in the eye. Grimly Devon pointed out the replacement capacitors a storage bay miraculously untouched in the carnage.
“And what’s this? A laser?”
Dumbly he looked at the laser as the man ripped it from his hands. He’d quite forgotten he even had it.
“Intended for me, no doubt. What an unexpected surprise.”
Then they were gone as suddenly as they had appeared, dropping almost noiselessly through the gaping hole in the now-stationary truck. Devon stared silently after them for a moment before dropping to the floor beside Bonnie. To his relief she was indeed still breathing, but blood was flowing freely from a wound on her temple. He wanted to move her, make her more comfortable, but he realized she might have other, more serious injuries. Instead he removed his suit jacket and draped it over her.
Suddenly a face appeared at the rear of the semi – the driver, Pete. “Get on the radio,” Devon instructed. “Get an ambulance here quickly.”
Michael saw the flashing lights of the paramedics and felt his anxiety level ratchet up a notch. As soon as Kitt slid to a halt he was out, searching for his friends. With some relief he spotted Devon leaning against the side of the semi and jogged over to join him.
“Are you OK, Devon?”
“I’m fine, Michael.”
Clearly he was anything but. He was pale and trembling slightly, obviously in shock. In the absence of any visible signs of injury Michael decided to let it go for the moment. “Where’s Bonnie?”
Devon swallowed, then indicated behind Michael. He turned to see a gurney being wheeled toward the waiting ambulance.
“Come on.” Gently taking the older man’s arm he lead him towards Kitt. Passing Pete he confirmed that the driver could handle the cleanup until the backup crew arrived to assist, then deposited Devon in Kitt’s passenger seat.
For a while there was a grim, uncomfortable silence as they followed the ambulance. Obviously Kitt felt it too. “Devon, what happened?” he asked quietly.
It took Devon a moment to reply. “KARR…” was all he could manage.
“Yeah we saw him arrive, before the video feed went down.” Michael waved a hand at Kitt’s video screens. “What did he do to Bonnie?”
“She was sitting there, at the computer … He just … ploughed right into her. Michael he has the laser! And the alpha circuits he needs to be repaired.”
Michael regarded Devon with concern. He was on the verge of hysteria. “One thing at a time, Devon. Once we know Bonnie’s gonna be alright Kitt and I will take care of KARR once and for all.” Devon seemed to accept that, and slumped back into his seat. Michael was glad he hadn’t argued the point. He had no idea how they would take out KARR, or where to even begin looking for him.
Anxiously Michael paced the corridor. They had been waiting over an hour for word on Bonnie. Devon seemed to have regained his equilibrium somewhat, but the lack of information was making them both fear the worst. Finally a doctor appeared.
“Well?” The terse question seemed to irritate the doctor. He cast a frown in Michael’s direction then turned to face Devon.
“Mr Miles? Your friend is in Recovery at the moment. We had to drain one lung that had been punctured by a broken rib. Of more concern is the head injury. Until the swelling goes down and she regains consciousness we have no way of knowing whether there has been any permanent damage done. It’s unlikely that she’ll wake in the next twelve hours, so why don’t you go home. One of the nursing staff will notify you when she comes around.”
“We’ll wait,” Devon replied faintly.
With a shrug the medic turned and disappeared back down the corridor, oblivious to the distress of the men left in his wake. A passing nurse took pity on them and fetched them coffee, guiding them to seats. “Don’t mind Doctor Hughes. He’s hopeless with people, but he’s a brilliant surgeon. Your friend is in the best possible hands.”
Devon’s head snapped up out of his doze when Michael leapt to his feet. “Where are you going?” he asked unnecessarily.
“We’ve got to stop KARR. The longer Kitt and I wait here the stronger he gets.”
“But Bonnie …”
“… won’t even know I’m gone. Devon, I’ve got to stop him before he does this to someone else.” A new thought chilled him. “Or he decides to finish all of us.”
Clearly unhappy, but aware of the necessity for swift action, Devon acquiesced. “Very well, Michael. But please be careful.”
“Count on it.” He hesitated. “You’ll call us if she wakes up?”
Slowly she drifted back to consciousness. She resisted, but a dull pain and memories she wasn’t ready to face yet were already gnawing at the edges of her safe, warm cocoon. Eventually reality won and she awoke to find Devon sitting beside her bed. He looked like he’d been there for several days.
After a few seconds he realised she was watching him and he sat forward. “Bonnie, welcome back.” He clasped her cold hand. “How do you feel?”
She blinked at him a moment before answering. “I’m not sure.” The effort of speaking sucked her back into the safety of oblivion. When she resurfaced he was still there.
“Michael just called. He and Kitt will be here shortly.” He smiled at her. “KARR has been destroyed.” Bonnie flinched. “Are you alright?” She nodded as her eyes slid shut again. Devon frowned.
Hearing the door behind him open he turned to find Michael standing there, also frowning. Quietly they stepped outside.
“How is she?”
“Physically, the doctors say she’ll make a full recovery. Beyond that, I couldn’t say.”
“Drifting in and out of consciousness. But she was lucid enough to answer my questions. Well almost.”
“Devon you look wasted.” Michael ignored the indignant glare at his choice of words. “Why don’t you go home and get some sleep? I’ll sit with her for a while.”
Over the following weeks, with no cases to follow Michael displayed a patience Devon wouldn’t have believed if he hadn’t witnessed it himself. He spent most of his time at the hospital with Bonnie, holding her hand and reading softly to her when the severe headaches were at their worst. But through it all she never once mentioned Kitt and refused to be drawn on the subject of KARR.
When the day of her release finally came Devon noted with concern how withdrawn she seemed. He expected she’d be glad to be going home. Instead she appeared tense, almost nervous. Leaning against him for support, slightly out of breath already, they waited for his car to be brought around. What Devon hadn’t mentioned was that Kitt was so eager to see her again that Michael was coming to take her home.
Kitt rounded the corner and slid smoothly to a halt in front of them. Before Michael could even open his door Bonnie had backed away, clutching Devon’s hand in terror.
“Bonnie …?” Kitt sounded confused.
“No,” she whispered hoarsely, backing up further.
Devon saw his own vehicle pull in behind Kitt. “It’s alright, Bonnie,” he reassured her. “You can come home with me. Alright?”
Nodding mutely she allowed herself to be lead to his limo. Taking her seat beside him she stared resolutely out the window, trying unsuccessfully to hide her tears.
Michael sat in Kitt and watched the limo pull away. He’d been afraid of this.
“Michael, what did I do?”
“It’s OK, pal. It’s not you.” He patted the dash distractedly. “It’s just gonna take her a while. She’s gonna be wanting to give you a full service again before you know it.”
Bonnie sank wearily to the ground, realizing that it would be some time before she would have the strength to make the return trip. Two weeks out to the hospital and still she was struggling to catch her breath after 15 minutes of gentle exertion. The pounding headache had also returned, but she needed to escape for a while from the solicitous and sympathetic attentions of her co-workers – particularly Michael and Devon.
She leaned back against the tree and stared moodily across the small lake. This place had always soothed her. When there were problems with Kitt’s systems that she couldn’t quite untangle, or Michael was being particularly obnoxious, half an hour of peace here by the lake could put it all into perspective.
But not today. The image of KARR was the one thing she couldn’t escape. She saw the black car every time she shut her eyes. She saw it hurtling towards her, heard the sound of it impacting her body. She saw it whenever she looked at Kitt, though she knew that he would never hurt her. Even if his programming didn’t prevent him from harming anyone, Kitt would never hurt her. Still his presence terrified her.
“A penny for them.”
Startled she turned to find Michael standing over her. “Don’t do that,” she snapped, trying to cover her fright with anger.
“Sorry.” He dropped to the ground beside her. “This is a nice spot.”
She eyed him uncertainly, almost missing his now-familiar smart arse attitude. She still found it hard to reconcile the man who had spent hours reading to her while she’d been in hospital with the arrogant, irresponsible interloper who seemed to enjoy both inflicting damage on Kitt and pissing her off. Like everyone else he was walking on eggshells around her. Especially after the way she’d embarrassed herself when Michael had convinced her to visit the semi.
Finally she had to ask. “How is he?”
“He’s fine. He’s just worried about you. I think he misses you.” Michael smiled. “One of the other techs tried to give him a service. Kitt told him to go away – politely, of course.”
That didn’t make the decision she was contemplating any easier. She drew her knees up to rest her forehead on them, trying to hide the tears that were threatening to spill again. Damn, but she was tired of crying!
“Why don’t you just go and say ‘hi’ to him? Tonight, after everyone else has gone.”
The despair in her tone made him reach out and pull her into a gentle hug. She surprised him by clinging fiercely to him, shaking. A few short months ago she wouldn’t have had a bar of this, and he was pleased that she trusted him now – even if that trust was fuelled by anguish.
So he held her, wondering how it must feel to suddenly be so afraid of someone you loved, even though you knew that fear had no basis. He knew what it was like having his life turned upside down, being suddenly cast adrift from everything he knew, or thought he knew. In many ways, he supposed, he had been lucky. His burning desire for vengeance had given him something concrete to cling to and drive him forward when the terror set in. He didn’t know how to give Bonnie something to pull her through the worst of this. Maybe that was something she had to find for herself.
He noticed that her trembling had subsided he loosened his hold. “Ready to go back?”
“I guess.” She allowed him to help her up. As he tried to lead her away she stopped, turning back to look at the lake as if committing it to memory.
“You’re thinking about leaving, aren’t you?”
“Maybe … I’m no use here if I can’t do my job.”
He put his hands on her shoulders, turning her to face him. “Bon, it’s gonna take some time … more time,” he added forestalling the protest he knew she was about to make.
“You and Kitt don’t have time to sit around waiting.”
“So, take some time off and go sit on a secluded beach somewhere for a few weeks. We’ll get someone in temporarily to take care of Kitt, and he’ll be on his best behaviour. When you get back things won’t seem so bad.”
For a moment she was silent. “Why secluded?”
“Well, if I don’t get to see you in your bathing suit I don’t see why anyone else should.”
She shook her head. “I walked right into that one, didn’t I?”
“Yep. Look, just promise me you’ll think about it some more before you make a decision.”
“Alright, I promise.”
Two nights later she stood nervously in the door of the darkened garage, regarding the still form of Kitt with some trepidation. He was in recharge mode, but she knew his scanners would have registered her presence the minute she opened the door. Summoning all her courage she moved towards him. “Kitt?” she whispered.
In response his driver’s side door popped open and she slid inside with only a moment’s hesitation. The door shut again, sealing her safely in his cabin. For a moment they sat in silence, neither sure what to say.
“I’m glad to see you again, Bonnie,” Kitt said finally.
“I’ve missed you, Kitt. I’m sorry I’ve been avoiding you, but …”
“… I remind you of KARR.”
“Yes.” Absently she rubbed his steering wheel. Although Kitt denied having any emotions she had never doubted it and she knew that the comparison with KARR hurt his feelings. “I’m leaving next week.”
“Why do you have to go?”
“I’m no use to the team like this. Being in the semi scares me to death and every time I see you I can picture KARR. I know I could transfer to a purely R&D position, but I don’t think I could watch someone else go out with you guys in my place.”
“But Michael said …”
“I know – time.” She smiled faintly for a moment. “I think it’s going to take a lot of time. More time than the foundation can spare. And being afraid of you is more than I can bear.”
“You could paint me purple.”
“Purple?” Michael’s quirky sense of humour was rubbing off on the AI. “I’m sorry, Kitt. I wish I didn’t feel like this, but I can’t just turn it off. I need to be somewhere else for it to get better. Can you understand that?”
“Not really. But if that’s what you need to do I can accept it. I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you, too.” I already do, she thought. Reluctantly she opened the door and slid out. “Goodbye, Kitt.”
She was almost out the door before she heard his soft reply. “Goodbye Bonnie.”
Hours later Michael discovered her sitting on the patio steps, watching the lights of the estate ripple in the waters of the reflecting pool. He watched her for a moment. She seemed calmer, somehow. He called her name softly, not wanting to scare her again. This time she turned and gave him a slight smile. Yes, definitely calmer.
They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes before the reason for her momentary serenity suddenly dawned on him. “You’ve decided to go, haven’t you?”
“Yes.” Her tone suggested she was expecting some sort of argument from him.
For a moment he was tempted to do so, more out of habit than anything else. Then he stopped. If deciding to leave had given her even this temporary respite maybe it was the right choice. “Are you going to tell Kitt?”
She nodded. “I spoke to him a couple of hours ago. I think he understands that I need to do this.”
“You went to the garage?” Again she nodded, and he felt the faint tremble from a shudder she couldn’t quite repress. He shifted closer and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “So, what are planning to do?”
She leaned closer. “I haven’t decided yet. But I’ve had offers from few universities around the country for their 12-month grad programs. There are still a few weeks before the start of the semester. Normally I just throw them out.”
Embarrassed she studied her hands, laced in her lap. “Yeah, they send them every year.”
With an affectionate smile he kissed her forehead. “Gonna miss you, Bon.”
She paused, half expecting him to make a joke out of it, somehow take it that one step too far just to irritate her. Then she realized he meant it. He would miss her. And she would miss him. All of them. Devon, Kitt, even Michael. Maybe Michael especially.
Suddenly she wondered if she was doing the right thing in exiling herself from her family. But then she remembered how it felt to step inside the semi, to stand next to Kitt’s sleek shell. This no longer felt like home. It had been ripped away in a matter of seconds by an intelligence whose former indifference to human suffering had devolved into actual malice. No, home was not here anymore. She’d have to find it elsewhere.Turning, she wrapped both arms around him in a tight hug. “I’ll miss you, too.”
what makes us decide,
Our future journey,
I'm not along for the ride
Avril Lavigne “Falling Down”
Glancing down at the component in her hands she frowned. “You’re trying to tempt me,” she accused without rancour.
Michael grinned impudently at her. “How am I doing?”
She was surprised by just how much she was tempted. Two months ago, at the agreed end of her twelve-month sabbatical, Devon had called. Her old job was available if she wanted to return. Despite the fact that she still missed them all and had found herself designing upgrades for Kitt in her scant spare time she told Devon ‘no’. And she had meant it. That time was over. What was that saying? ‘You can’t go home again.’
But now Michael stood in front of her, literally waving a technical conundrum under her nose and her resolve was wavering. “No contracts, no promises, no obligations?” His answering smile melted the last of her resistance and she allowed herself to be dragged back in one last time.
Of course she should have realized that ‘one last time’ would not be the end of it. A day later Michael was back, this time with Devon and the semi. As she stepped through the side door she tensed, ready for the wave of fear to wash over her again. Michael’s hand settled on her shoulder – obviously he was expecting the same reaction. Instead there was nothing. Well, not nothing exactly. More of a slight frisson, the memory of the fear rather than panic itself. Even the sight of Kitt sitting in his customary spot, scanner sweeping calmly back and forth, didn’t trigger more than a split second of unease.
Relieved, she turned to Devon and hugged him. “I see you’ve redecorated.”
“A necessity, I afraid.” The look that passed between him and Michael intrigued her. “It’s good to see you again, my dear.”
Frowning at the report he was trying unsuccessfully to read, Devon glanced at his watch. Michael had been gone for several hours now. Without Kitt’s protection he was extremely vulnerable. His gaze wandered over to where Kitt sat, outer shell looking pristine once more.
Bonnie was sitting in the driver’s seat, installing new components and making some delicate adjustments. They were talking, and had been doing so from the moment Bonnie had brought Kitt’s CPU back online. Devon couldn’t hear what they were talking about, but as he saw Bonnie smile at something Kitt had just said, he found himself smiling as well. As fond as the three of them had become of April, Bonnie was family. This was where she belonged. Perhaps when this case was over he would try again to convince her to return.
He turned, surprised to find Bonnie standing nervously in the semi’s door. He thought time had healed those wounds. Maybe Halston’s betrayal had re-opened them. Standing he went to greet her.
“You’ve just missed Michael and Kitt, I’m afraid. They’re off sailing, or at least Michael is.”
She shook her head. “Actually, it’s you I came to see.”
“What can I do for you my dear?”
“I was wondering … Does that job offer still stand?”
Smiling broadly, he hugged her. “Welcome home, Bonnie.”
“You know, I do believe we may catch up to Michael if we leave now. I’m sure he’d like to hear the good news in person.” He proffered his arm. “What do you say? A spot of sailing before lunch?”
“That sounds wonderful.”
By the late afternoon she found herself seated beside Michael on Kitt’s hood, watching the sun set across San Francisco bay. Devon had departed some hours earlier – he had arrangements to make, he had said, so that she would be back with them as soon as possible. Michael had spent much of the day catching her up on events at the Foundation, and Kitt had filled her in on the indignities Michael had inflicted upon him in her absence. Eventually they lapsed into a companionable silence.
Michael had turned, and was studying her, something obviously on his mind.
“What?” she queried softly.
“Did it help? Being away?”
“Yeah, it did.” She turned back to watch the dying tendrils of sunlight disappear behind the horizon, trying to find the words to explain. “The worst part was being so completely out of control of my own reactions. Feeling like at any moment someone would make some innocuous comment and I was going to just, I don’t know, freak out and run screaming into the hills.”
Michael grinned at the unlikely mental image. “Given what you’d been through, nobody expected you to just carry on like nothing had happened.”
“I did. Or at least, I wanted to believe I could. Leaving was the only way I could get some control over my life back again.” Absently she stroked Kitt’s smooth surface. “Did you ever notice how the minute you think you have a handle on where your life is going something comes along and brings it all crashing down around your ears?”
“Yeah, I think you could say I’m familiar with that scenario.” He smiled knowingly at her. “Still, that’s not always a bad thing.”She smiled back at him. “No, maybe it’s not.” And maybe, just maybe, you could go home again.