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aesthetically pleasing lettuce

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Jack changed into some clean underwear, gave Google another quick kiss before the android did whatever he usually did, and then sat down at his computer to continue working. The sound of discord’s notification alert came through his headphones, and Jack clicked over to see what it was about, idly nibbling at the veggies Google had left him.

It was a message from Robin: have you been getting my texts? it’s nothing i can’t handle but i’m curious

Oh. Huh. Jack quickly scrolled through his messages with Robin but found nothing between now and the last time they’d texted, almost three weeks ago.

i don’t have any recent texts, that’s weird. what’s up dude?

not much, just wanted to know how things are going with the robo :P

Well, it wasn’t urgent, that was good. pretty good actually! he’s gotten a lot less creepy and way more considerate

cool! there was something else i was curious about tho

There was a long few minutes of Robin’s username popping up and going away as he typed, and the longer it went on, Jack grew more worried. He distractedly ate some of the cheese and crackers from Google’s snack plate.

Eventually, a message from robin popped up. huh, discord must be buggin out, i can’t send the message :/ i guess it’s not that important, i’ll try again some other time

Jack wondered what Robin wanted to know but decided not to press it. ok, if you’re sure. let me know if you need anything!

Robin sent back a thumbs up emoji, and Jack let out a light huff of amusement. Jack wondered why he didn’t get those texts from Robin and made a mental note to look into it later. Maybe his phone service was acting up or something. Oh well.

 

The next day, Jack went into the kitchen for some early lunch. Google was at the counter chopping vegetables. He was always chopping vegetables it seemed, and sometimes the sound of it drove him crazy. At least he was eating healthier, so that was something. He shuffled about in the cupboards and the fridge, searching for something to eat.

“We are running low on some ingredients,” Google said after a few moments. “I will write out a list of groceries for you to obtain at your leisure.”

Jack shut the fridge door and turned to face the android. “Again? I could swear I just went shopping a couple days ago.”

“You last went grocery shopping six days ago,” Google said pleasantly, not looking away from his cutting board. “However, if you find the trips to the store inconvenient, enabling admin permissions would allow me to autonomously make the trips for you, and allow you to spend more time relaxing.”

“That does sound appealing,” Jack said, leaning against the fridge. “It’s been a while since you’ve mentioned the admin permissions though, what all does that entail?”

At this Google set down the knife and turned to face Jack. “I will be able to automatically carry out tasks I have been assigned, as well as determine what actions will be most beneficial for your health and wellness and execute them.”

“So if you can get groceries for me, does that mean you’d have access to my banking information and stuff?” Jack asked.

“I will have access to the information you choose to share with me; credit and/or debit card information will suffice for the majority of transactions I may need to make.”

Jack made a considering noise, scratching at his beard. “I’ll think about it, ok? If there’s like, a terms and conditions or whatever for the admin permissions I’d like to take a look at it.”

Google nodded. “I will search for the file and send it to you.”

Jack smiled. “Thanks, I appreciate it.” He turned to look at the cupboards and then paused, trying to remember what he’d been doing before.

“Were you looking for something to eat, Seán?” Google asked.

“I- yeah,” Jack said. “I dunno what I wanna eat though.”

“I am currently preparing a salad for you,” Google informed him. “Does that sound agreeable?”

Jack thought about it, about the crunch and the tang that comes with salad, deciding if it was something he wanted. “Yeah, that sounds fine.”

Google smiled. “Excellent. Have a seat and it will be ready shortly.” Google turned back to the cutting board and resumed chopping vegetables with seemingly more vigor than before.

Jack walked around to the other side of the counter and sat down on one of the bar stools, watching Google work with fascination.

Google had started using his metal tentacle-things casually around the house, using them in small ways like grabbing nearby items or opening cupboard doors or getting things out of the fridge. They were no longer unsettling to Jack and he even found them fascinating, especially after that handjob from the other day. A tendril sprouting from Google’s forearm reached out to drag the salad bowl closer, and on a whim Jack reached to grab it. It automatically curled around his finger and Google looked up, an amused smile on his face.

Jack couldn’t help but grin and tugged Google’s arm by the tendril until Google was leaning halfway over the counter. Jack leaned up in his seat and kissed the android briefly on the lips, plopping back down onto his seat and letting go of the tendril, smiling like a doof. Google smiled back at him, and Jack could swear he saw a pulse of blue light travel up his neck on a circuit before fading at his jaw.

Google let out a little laugh, and it was a beautifully musical, electronic noise, and Jack felt his smile widen just that much more.

God, he was so fucking enamored with him. It probably wasn’t healthy to be this fond of a robot, but Jack couldn’t be bothered to give a fuck.

Google returned to preparing the salad, and Jack watched as he mixed the dressing in. In short order, Google was setting the salad in front of Jack and began to clean up the counter.

Jack stabbed into the salad with a fork and took a bite. As he chewed, he was mildly surprised by the sense of satisfaction that settled in his chest, calming a restlessness he hadn’t even noticed was there. How was Google so good at making stuff he wanted? It must’ve been magic.

Jack swallowed his mouthful before speaking. “I dunno how you always know the kinda thing I’m craving, this is really good.”

“Thank you, I am glad you like it,” Google said as he washed the cutting board. “There is a macaroni and cheese casserole in the oven that will be ready shortly.”

“Oh, sweet! I love mac and cheese!” Jack ate his salad in a surprisingly short amount of time, and when he was done, he had to resist the giddy urge to swing his legs back and forth like a little kid. He didn’t know why he was in an oddly perky mood, but he was glad for it anyway.

Soon enough, the mac and cheese was ready, and Google was serving it to him on a clean plate with a clean fork.

It tasted great, of course it did. Thankfully Google had gotten much better about not obviously staring at him while he ate, which greatly helped ease the awkwardness.

If Jack was being honest, he was really enjoying having Google around. Whatever learning algorithm the engineers had given him was really starting to bloom and make communication and bonding that much smoother, in addition to Jack getting used to Google’s odd quirks. Jack was growing really fond of the android, to the point where he constantly wanted to casually touch and hug the android, since that was just how he interacted with people, but he always found himself pulling his hands away somewhat awkwardly. Why was he doing that?

Why indeed? Jack thoughtfully chewed his macaroni as he rolled the question over in his mind. Well, Google was a robot. There was the stereotype that robots were cold and emotionless. Maybe he was afraid that Google wouldn’t be able to return his feelings? Was he afraid of making a fool of himself? But if that was true, then what had possessed him to give Google a quick kiss earlier? Maybe the exchange prior to the handjob was what had given him the courage, that had only happened a couple days prior, and the hesitancy to touch had been around for longer. Maybe he just had to take a leap of faith and trust that no matter what, Google would do his utmost to make Jack happy.

….but Jack didn’t also want Google to do things that made the android uncomfortable, assuming he was capable of feeling that. The thought of Google being uncomfortable while outwardly showing no signs of distress made him feel uncomfortable, but the thought of going without physical touch for so long made him cold and lonely on the inside.

Jack could almost physically feel his mood dropping at the somber thoughts. He finished eating the macaroni with less vigor.

It must’ve shown on his face because Google was standing in front of him, a light frown on his face, and saying, “Is something wrong, Seán?”

“It’s nothing,” Jack said, perhaps a bit too dismissively.

Googles frown deepened as he took the dirty dishes. “Are you sure?”

The note of genuine concern in Google’s voice bid Jack be more honest. “I’m. I don’t wanna talk about it right now, maybe later?”

Google was quiet for a moment, eyes bright blue in the silence. “Alright,” Google conceded, eyes flickering back to brown, “tell me when you are ready, alright? I would hate for you to wallow in sadness too long.”

Jack gave him a small smile. “Thanks, Googs.”

 

Jack was drunk. Completely, undeniably hammered. Wasted. Blitzed out of his fucking skull. Totally legless, off his tits. Absolutely-

He was getting off track.

Anyway. He’d decided to do a video that involved taking shots when he got questions wrong because those were always popular, and he hadn’t done one in a while. So. He’d ended up taking like, six shots of some whiskey he couldn’t remember the name of. Or was it seven? Maybe eight??? He wasn’t sure, but it was a lot. Google had frowned very disapprovingly when he saw Jack take the bottle into his recording room, and Jack had defended himself by saying it was for a video and besides, when had Googs ever seen him drink more than a couple beers at one time in the months he’d been there??

Jack had made his way out of the recording room afterwards, intent on flopping down on the couch and channel surfing. Thank goodness he’d decided to do this one last.

Google had met him almost immediately with a bottle of water and insisted on helping him to the couch. Jack had stumbled a little as he made his way around the dinner table (Jack claimed loudly it was Google’s fault, the big dummy was hoverin’ too close!!) and Google had caught him around the bicep and righted him perhaps a touch more roughly than was strictly necessary and that… that had made something happen in his belly, something his drunk mind didn’t know how to process, so he just kinda ignored it and pressed forward.

Now he was flopped in the dead center of the couch, the TV playing some show he didn’t recognize and Google’s insides humming away next to him on his left. Jack giggled at something that probably wasn’t actually funny and took a sip from his mostly full water bottle.

Jack looked over at Google, who was staring silently ahead at the TV. The fluorescent light in the kitchen behind him and the lamplight from the corner near the TV highlighted the robot’s features nicely. He found himself staring at the strong jawline, the sweep of his lashes, the soft flow of his hair…

Before Jack quite realized it, he was raising his hand and running his fingers though the synthetic hair, sighing happily at the soft texture of it

Google’s head was turning suddenly, almost bending into the touch. “Seán? Is there something you need?”

“Your hair’s soft,” Jack said. He let the silky strands fall from his fingers. Abruptly, he pulled his hand back and looked downward guiltily. “I shoulda asked first, ‘m sorry.”

“If it makes you happy, you may continue to touch my hair,” Google said. His eyes were curious, both soft and keenly sharp all at once.

Jack smiled brightly at him. “Thank you!” His hand immediately went back to Google’s hair. Soft. So very soft. Patpatpat. He leaned in to sniff at it, and it smelled like a newly opened box of… something. Something electrical. Industrial. Jack wrinkled his nose and pulled back. “You smell weird.”

“Weird?” The harmony of Google’s voice caught on Jack’s ears and it made him squeeze his legs together.

“Yeah. Like… new box. You should… you should take a shower.” Jack paused his ramblings, his statement registering belatedly. “Wait, you’d die!!”

Google’s eyes were focused on his face, glowing in the darkness behind the curtain of hair. “I could sponge myself down and wash my clothes, if that would make me more palatable to your sense of smell.”

Jack looked shocked. “You can do that?!”

A corner of Google’s mouth pulled back in a smile. “I can. Would you like me to do that?” His voice was amused, and it made Jack happy to hear Google happy.

“Yes, please!! I can’t cuddle you if you smell weird!” Huh. Where had that thought come from?

Google’s eyes glowed a little brighter. “Then I will do so at the earliest opportunity.”

Jack played with his hair for a few more moments before flopping back into the couch, the water in his hand sloshing out of the bottle.

Google carefully pried the bottle out of his hand and set it on the floor. “You are going to get yourself all wet like that.”

Jack made a noise in his throat in response. In the months that he’d had the bot, Google had only been out of the apartment a few times, usually to help with groceries. Did Google feel trapped in here, in the apartment with him?

Jack turned on the couch and laid down, so his head was in Google’s lap, looking up at him. He stared at Google’s pretty face, almost losing his train of thought before he blurted out, “Do you get lonely? I’m always in my recording room and I feel bad.”

Google seemed confused. “I do not get lonely. Why would I when I have you to take care of?”

Jack smiled up at him, but it only lasted for a moment. Google’s legs were oddly squishy, like human ones, and they vibrated ever so slightly beneath his head a little from all the humming inner bits. Having Google around had reminded Jack exactly how touch-starved he was. Sure they’d messed around some (that handjob had been, what? Two, three weeks ago?) but he felt weird asking for physical affection. Google was just a robot, and probably wouldn’t appreciate it, never mind that Google had said it was okay probably a dozen times. He didn’t want to seem clingy, and the lack of touch was getting to him. Jack felt the loneliness in his arms and along his ribs, and his face fell.

“Is the something wrong, Seán?” Google asked him.

Jack looked up into Google’s eyes. “’m lonely, Googs. I need hugs,” he said plaintively.

Without a word, Google picked him up by the armpits and dragged his body up so that his butt sat on his lap, and wrapped his arms around Jack, pressing the human’s face into his shoulder and resting his chin on top of Jack’s hair.

There was that low burn in his gut again. Something sighed and relaxed within him, and he turned into the hold, folding his legs onto the middle cushion and pressing his face right into the crook of Google’s neck, where the collar of his T-shirt met skin. Google tightened his grip accordingly, and the close contact made Jack almost want to cry.

“Better?” Google’s voice rumbled next to his ear.

“Yeah.” Jack’s voice was muffled, choked up. His fists curled into Google’s shirt and he felt small, the warmth from all the processing the robot did bleeding into his skin almost like body heat.

They stayed like that for a while, with only the TV playing in the background. Almost imperceptibly, the volume turned down to a quiet white noise.

“You know, I could fill all your emotional needs, if you allowed me,” Google said in a low murmur.

The thought was enticing. It really was. It could be nice, feeling emotionally fulfilled, but on the other hand… Google was a robot. How emotionally fulfilling could he really be?

“Can you?” Jack asked, just as quietly.

Google ran his hand down the length of Jack’s back, and then up again. “I could not offer it as an option if I had not passed the tests for it.”

Well shit, he had a point. Jack’s heart quivered, aching for something to fill the ever-growing hole of loneliness.

As if sensing his indecisiveness, Google pressed onwards. “In fact, I could even fulfill your needs before you even realized you had them, if you gave me admin permissions. I could be everything you needed, and you would lack for nothing, neither physically nor emotionally.”

Everything he needed, huh. That was… that was really enticing actually. And he remembered that every time he’d said ‘no’ to that request, Google had looked a little sad, and Jack didn’t want him to be sad. No sad robots allowed in this apartment, no sirree. But. There was just one thing he was concerned about.

“If. If I put up boundaries, like, lines I didn’t want you to cross… you’d respect them, right?” Jack’s voice was soft, uncertain. Unlike him.

“Of course I would. I would not allow you to feel unsafe in my presence,” Google reassured.

Jack mulled over the statement for a bit. “Ok,” he decided. “I’ll give you admin permissions. Take care of me real good, please.”

Google was quiet for a moment, perhaps a little too long. “Excellent,” he said. Then he was pulling Jack’s face out of its hiding place and a little confirmation window popped up in front of Jack.

Jack stared at it for a moment, and then tapped the little ‘Ok’ button. The window disappeared and Jack buried his face back into its comfy little hidey hole.

“Thank you very much,” Google said, and Jack could hear the happiness in it. Google pulled him marginally closer, and Jack could swear the hold felt warmer and cozier than before.