Chubby fingers curled and straightened. Brown eyes peeking from beneath a mop of brown hair watched intently.
“Those are your fingers,” said Meltec. “Do you like your fingers?”
David smiled. “Finners,” he said, holding his hand toward the android.
“Fingers,” Meltec corrected. “I have fingers, too.” He held up a glossy metal hand next to David’s smaller one.
Tiny fingers took hold of slender metal joints. “Cold,” said David.
“Yes, the temperature of my hands is lower than yours. That’s because you’re human and I’m an android.” The child’s forehead creased and he tipped his head, looking at Meltec. “I’m metal,” said Meltec. “You are skin.”
David released Meltec’s hand and looked at his own fingers again. He turned his hand over to examine the palm. He turned it back to look at his knuckles. Fingers wiggled again, then reached for Meltec’s hand once more. He pulled the android hand close to his face, just inches from his nose, and used his own fingers to flex those of his metallic guardian.
“I metal, too,” David said, and held his hand toward Meltec’s face. “I be metal.”
“You can’t be metal. Humans aren’t metal, they’re flesh. Skin.”
David’s brow creased and his lower lip began to protrude. “No skin,” he said with a huff. “Metal. I be like Meltec. I metal.”
Meltec began to realize that this was something called stubborn. Despite the illogic of it, humans were sometimes prone to insist on falsehoods as if they were true.
“Hand,” he said, holding up his own hand. Then reaching for David’s little fist, he put it next to his own. “Hand,” he said again. “We both have hands. Even though they are not the same size, our hands can do most of the same things.”
David frowned slightly. Meltec could not determine if the child was unhappy, or if he was deep in thought. He considered, not for the first time, that humans would be much easier to understand if they had light arrays like androids. But that was the same sort of illogical reasoning the boy was displaying. He dismissed the idea.
A small stuffed bear made of fabric sat on the table. Meltec lifted it and held it up. David smiled, the pleasure on his face apparent, even without lights. “Bear,” he squealed.
“Yes,” said Meltec. “It’s your bear.” He pointed a finger at the bear’s arm. “Bear has no hands.”
David’s mouth stretched into a surprised “O”.
“But, I have hands.” Meltec flexed his fingers. “I can pick up the bear, and hold it, and hand it to you.” He held the bear toward David who wrapped his own fingers around it before hugging it close.
“You have hands too.” David held up a hand and looked at Meltec. “You can hold the bear, just like me.”
“Just like you,” said David and smiled.
“We both have hands,” Meltec continued. “That’s more important that whether they are skin or metal.” He knew, as he said it, that it was true.
David looked again at his own hand, then reached out to hold Meltec’s hand. “Hands,” he said.
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