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Love Him in My Absence

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Asking people for things whether he was ‘promised’ or ‘owed’ them or otherwise wasn’t something Gavin was ever fully comfortable with doing. All his life, he’d worked his ass off for things he accumulated in his life, and that felt a lot better than just being owed something or just given something so freely. Real men didn’t get where they were in the world by asking for handouts, begging, pleading, whining, crying, or playing the victim card. Yes, his life had been rather chaotic and shitty. But had he ever used that as a personal trump card into getting a free ticket in life?

No. Not in a thousand years would he. Gavin Reed preferred earning things by the sweat of his brow rather than just making it big in the world by chance or accident. No, he never wanted to be like Elijah. That man had been given everything in life, and it was true that he’d struck a gold mine along the way. But did that mean he could survive and make it in the real world? Gavin supposed not. He’d never really had a conversation with his estranged half-sibling at all beyond ‘hi, so your mom married my dad?’. Still, that wasn’t a crucial requirement in getting to know a person at all, especially someone as mollitious as Elijah Kamski.

He had his status, his wealth, his success, and his comforts, and Gavin was on a whole other wavelength altogether. They never needed to mix, collaborate, cooperate, or even be on civil terms, so they never aimed to. But now, money was on the line, and although Elijah had heaps of it, but he seemed to be the greedy sort of lout that needed more and more, ever addicted to extremities in life. Extreme success, extreme wealth, extreme joy, extreme passion, extreme craziness, extreme lavish gifts fit for a King…fuck him. Fuck that spoiled brat. Gain hated him, and he didn’t give a fuck what happened to Elijah, just as long as he was given what he was damn well owed and promised.

Only, to ask for it seemed like such an arduous task indeed. Knowing Nines like he did, there was a high chance that the android wouldn’t make it easy for him. There would be interrogation; the never-ending need to sort and sift through questions and answers, and it would be a taxing and grueling start. That was of course the start…Nines wouldn’t let it go, perhaps. Not that Gavin could blame him, really, as it wasn’t every damn day that someone approached with the request of having a fake wedding! Yes, he had the right to ask questions, but Nines always asked questions like he did when he was grilling and interrogating a suspect…it wouldn’t do, and Gavin hated being under the spotlight.

But he owed him…Nines owed him this, at least! If it was his given right, he had the privilege of asking!!

Nerves flayed to the raw end, Gavin began sweating profusely as he made his way past desks and isles way beyond the bullpen all the way to the door leading into the ‘Archive Room’. Trying to stop him and catch him before he was lost, Gavin jogged up ahead, and cried out for Nines a few times.

He hadn’t realized how loudly he’d called for the tall android. More of an audience than he required had already been gazing and listening, staring back and forth between Gavin and Nines. The powerful android ceased moving, and he turned around and stared blankly down at Gavin.

Craning his neck, his eyes narrowed a fraction, and he curtly nodded again while greeting Gavin. “Detective Reed, may I be of some assistance?”

Cringing at what he’d heard, Gavin nearly fell into a persistent vegetative state. It was still so damn weird hearing that crap coming from Nines, considering how everyone knew the RK900 was a deviant. Gavin had never before seen an android persisting and insisting upon remaining as cold and detached so that he seemed to be ‘pre-deviant’, but Nines was…well, he was Nines. The DPD oddball, he wasn’t too bad, but perhaps far too neutral, if anything.

Not wanting to stand there and mentally nitpick Nines’ strange idiosyncrasies all day long, Gavin felt the letter in his back pocket. Withdrawing it, he had been about to open it up and just show it to Nines, when the android shifted his weight a little, and he stared intently at the page.

“Is this new evidence, Detective?” came the neutral-sounding question. “Well done. I’ll need that for the Myers case.”

Gavin’s jaw dropped, and his lips formed a most confused ‘o’ shape. “Wah?” he barely managed to cough out, the page trembling in his sweaty, clammy hands. “Nines?”

“Good work, Detective,” the passive android pushed out, “I’ll keep in touch with you soon, but I’m afraid I have a few other pieces of evidence I’ll be needing to review for the case.” Not even bothering to hear Gavin out, Nines spun on his heels, and he headed past the door. It closed coldly and loudly behind him, leaving Gavin scratching his head in the wake of it.

“I…”

Someone chuckled in the far distance, and then a deep voice jabbed at him, “Nice job, Gav! He’s said more to you now than he ever has in two years!!”

Choosing to ignore Chris Miller’s silly comment, Gavin opened the door, and he made a beeline towards the Archive Room after Nines. Although the android had long legs, Gavin didn’t have to run for long before he caught up with Nines.

The page was fluttering in his hand as he panted lightly, and as he cursed himself for being a smoker for so many years, he managed to tap on Nines’ shoulder for half a second. It was successful enough in catching the android’s attention, and he stood with his hands clasped firmly behind his back.

Resembling a soldier at attention while he puffed out his chest, pushed back his broad shoulders, and stared down at Gavin with an unreadable expression in his blue eyes, his lips barely moved as he softly asked, “Is there something you require, Detective?”

That was when Gavin’s mouth snapped shut, and his brain stopped working.

Having no idea what on earth had happened, Gavin simply resigned to his current fate, which involved being statuesque and frozen as he stared and stared, and then stared some more at Nines.

What the hell was he about to say?? What was he going to do??

With Nines???

Studying Nines carefully, Gavin found he finally had his one and only chance of just taking into perspective who this was.

Nines was at least a whole head taller than he was, for one. He seemed not only ‘stronger’ in terms of his physical build, but in terms of his presence and ‘aura’, he gave off a more aggressively reserved personality type. Perhaps these associations were just vain imaginings for him, but ever since Gavin had reluctantly attended a few therapy sessions, he’d learned more than he should have in terms of human behaviorism, psychology, and relationship ‘management’. From what his therapist had assigned him to read, and from a few brief ‘google’ searches, he concluded that perhaps Nines was more aggressive than he let on, but he chose to hide and conceal it often.

Maybe he had good reasons to.

Everyone knew that the mysterious android could be violent and potent at times when displaying and demonstrating his hunter prowess and unique capabilities when it came to solving crime, tracking down perps, as well as interrogating and booking them. He was relentless, brutal, dogged in his pursuits, and he would only cease and desist when his efforts yielded some fruit.

Yes, Nines wasn’t all that passive after all.

Looking at him now in the clear lights of the hall leading into the Archive Room, Gavin felt his mouth turning even more dry than ever before.

Nines’ cold blue eyes seemed to teeter on the edge of annoyance and impatience, it seemed. Though his eyes didn’t shift as a person’s would, he hardly blinked as he just stared almost directly through the back of Gavin’s head. Those piercing eyes were the least of his concerns, however. His perfectly shaped nose seemed to turn up in revulsion and disgust at Gavin, but then ceased moving, as if sensing Gavin’s alertness to how the levels of tension were increasing. Marginally, Nines’ dark brown eyebrows clenched on his brow, and his blue LED light spun quickly on his right temple for a moment before it resumed its more ‘calm’ and ‘regular’ motions.

“Detective? Are you unwell?”

Snapping out of it, Gavin took a step back from Nines.

No way was this conversation happening; he’d made a big mistake.

Holding up a hand apologetically, Gavin continued backing away steadily, “Sorry, Nines,” he half-chuckled half-laughed out, “I think I forgot something on my desk…I’ll…” Nearly tripping over his own feet in the process, he kept on backing away until his shoulders nudged the door. “I’m just…” he ran.

The door swung shut softly, but that was the complete opposite to how madly and wildly Gavin’s heart was racing and throbbing in his chest until he reached his desk.

Plan one was shot to shit!! What was he going to do, now!?!?

 

~ѰѰѰѰѰ~

 

“No, Gavin,” Connor hissed out irritably for the fourth time in the short span of five minutes. “I don’t want to be a part of this… ‘wedding thing’!”

Gavin couldn’t believe that he’d resorted to crying and begging for the RK800 to reconsider. He hadn’t gone into details in regards to his strange experience with Nines; he’d just immediately run into the mail room asking Connor to play pretend to be his ‘partner’ just until his mother verified it and confirmed it so he could gain his lousy inheritance.

“Why don’t you want to help me, Connor?!” Gavin whined like a petulant child while the android sorted through piles and heaps of new letters, magazines, books, and other strange documents at his desk next to Hank.

Rolling his eyes dramatically, Connor snapped, “I just don’t feel comfortable enough with relationships yet, Gavin!”

Frowning, Gavin pointed crudely at him, “But you were messin’ around with an ex-Traci not too long ago, remember?”

Hank snorted acerbically, while Connor seemed flustered. Throwing his hands into the air, the heated and over-emotional android cried out, “I meant that I don’t want to be in a relationship with a human being, Gavin!” He stated rudely while his tone turned serious and his eyes gleamed dangerously at Gavin, “Please stop pestering me, now; I have a lot of work to do!!”

Gavin pounded his fist into the desk as he screamed out, “You’d just sell a friend out, then?!” Face turning beet red, he added, “You’re a real piece of plastic, ain’t ya, Connor?”

Sensing that the situation was steadily rising out of hand, Hank slowly stood to his feet.

Shaking his head in anger, Connor cried out vehemently, “It’s not that I have some sense of misogamy, Gavin,” he clarified as patiently as he could, “I just don’t feel too pleased with the notion that I have to play house and family for you, while you laugh your way off to the bank after we fool your widowed mother!!”

As he returned back to his work, Hank stepped around the desk, and before Gavin could lash out and attack Connor, he grabbed the shorter male around his shoulders, and he gently guided him out of the mail room. “Step outside my office, Reed,” he lightly joked, and as he steadied Gavin in the hallway, he leaned against him and sighed a small, sad sigh. “Reed,” he began in a stern tone of voice almost like a parent, “you can’t continue harassing Connor about this, and I think you know that.”

Gavin gaped at him blankly for a moment, and then growled out in rage, “He’s such a prick! I need help right now, and he’s just pretending this shit doesn’t affect him at all!”

“That’s because it doesn’t affect him, Gavin,” Hank pressed out, ever luculent and personable. “It’s not really his business, and quite frankly, it ain’t mine either!!”

Shaking out of his ‘aggressive mode’, an almost innocent and childlike expression fell over Gavin’s face as he got up real close in Hank’s face. “Then why do you care?” he asked so softly that it nearly went missed by Hank the first time.

For a moment, the older male was just as frozen as Gavin had been earlier. His eyes seemed to almost gloss over with tears, but he sniffed as he shrugged coldly and stuffed his large hands in his jean pockets deeply. “Well, shit, Reed,” he chuckled, switching back to using Gavin’s last name. “I don’t know! I just…” He looked over at Gavin once, eyebrows rising as he spat out, “…I just don’t want ya feelin’ so bad all the time, plus, you were giving me a damn headache back there.”

Gavin snorted, “Don’t fuckin’ patronize me, Anderson; it won’t work, and I don’t need your pity, so you can shove it right up your—”

“I do apologize for interrupting,” came a deep, rich voice, and Gavin and Hank both knew whom it belonged to immediately. It was Nines.

They both stared over almost far too slowly at Nines, eyeing him carefully, as if seeing him for the first time ever before. Their eyes were wide with fear, but in a jiffy, they broke away from their disturbed facial expressions.

Nines eyed the closed door, and he said, “I need to enter the mail room for a moment.”

Gavin huffed out, “Then do it?”

Glaring at him, Hank merely tugged Gavin out of the way. “Go ahead, Nines.”

“Thanks.”

As the android barely opened the door, a mighty roar came forth at them, followed by a few letters flying out into the hallway violently.

“FOR THE LAST TIME! I DON’T WANT TO MARRY YOU, EVEN IF IT IS FOR PRETENSE, GAV—oh…sorry, Nines…”

Simultaneously, Gavin and Hank both exchanged uncomfortable glances, and then Nines took a few steps back. Awkwardly and stiffly, he turned his neck over to Gavin, and he tilted his head at the shorter male as he ground out, “I…you…” His LED light blinked red and yellow, and as the colors went through the cycle of their patterns, Hank rolled his eyes and tugged on his ponytail.

“Fuck it,” he eventually snapped out, “I’m not going to deal with this right now.” He bent down and picked up the mail Connor had thrown into the hallway, while Nines’ right eye twitched a few times before he was able to compose himself.

Turning to the door, he barely grabbed the handle, when Hank yanked the door shut and cried out, “Not now, Nines; I think Gavin needs to talk to you about something very important.” Closing the door quietly behind himself, he made sure to motion over at Nines with the jerky and twitchy jabs of his head and neck.

Gavin was left all alone with Nines in the hall, afterwards.

When the lights and air vents above hummed, buzzed and sang out, Gavin knew the silence had been too heavy. Shuffling his feet, he couldn’t believe he finally found his voice when he whispered out, “Can we t-talk somewhere else?”

Nines nodded. “Fine.”

That did very little to ease the tension in Gavin’s chest, stomach, shoulders, and neck. Worst of all, he really knew he had no time to put this as gently and break it as painlessly to Nines as he could.

Perhaps the hard way was the best method in this case.

 

~ѰѰѰѰѰ~

 

Gavin kicked at the vending machine in the third-floor hallway again when he saw that his can of Coke got stuck. To be fair, Nines had technically warned him that this vending machine wasn’t in working condition…but he didn’t listen; he never did, and listening wasn’t a skill Gavin was well known for.

Grunting when he saw his can wedged in the tiny orifice located at the bottom, he shoved his hands inside the little hole to yank it out, but it was impossible; it was stuck, truly. Not yet wanting to give up on it, he backed away while pointing at the vending machine awkwardly. “This thing’s a piece of shit, isn’t it?”

Behind him, Nines waited, staring at the Coke can. “Detective Reed,” he pushed out in a drone, “I hate to be rude, but if you wanted to just discuss the failure of the vending machine, I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave, as I have to retrieve some of my mail that got lost last week and was mixed with Captain Fowler’s.”

Right.

Gavin knew he didn’t have a lot of time to fuck around, as Nines wasn’t someone who was in favor of fucking around.

Clapping his hands together in a strange attempt at calming himself down, he sighed, “Right, okay, Nines, I’m just gonna come right out and say it bluntly, okay?”

“That’d be wise.”

“Okay…” Mentally counting down from ‘three’, Gavin took a sharp breath before wheezing out quickly, “Nines, remember how two years ago I got in the way of a shot aimed at you when we were workin’ that case where that guy took his entire family hostage?”

Not moving for a while, Nines eventually nodded. “Yes…I do…I remember everything, Detective Reed. Why do you inquire?”

Feeling his anger and irritation spiking, Gavin held up an index finger. “I’m gettin’ to that, Nines!” Counting once again down from ‘three’, he groaned, “Look, I don’t mean to be annoying or anything, but you said that you would help me if I ever needed it!”

Nines sniffed. “I recall that as well.”

More tension and awkwardness seemed to be increasing between them, but since they were already this far with progress, Gavin knew he couldn’t turn back. Pressing forward was his only option.

Closing his eyes, he hurriedly said, “Yeah, and now, I really need your help, Nines, because my mom told me that my dad’s left me a pretty good amount of money for my inheritance, but I can’t touch it unless I get married.” Pausing for a short intake of breath, he finished, “So I just need you to pretend to be my partner, because my mom frankly doesn’t care if I am gay or not, haha, but you know, I’m not gay!! I like chicks with big tits, but I’ll be honest, I find some guys sexy! Never fooled around with one; I just find some dudes hot, but I think everyone goes through shit like that as a phase, and whoever says they don’t is a fuckin’ liar, and I think they’re secretly all out gay but they—”

“No, Gavin.”

When Gavin heard his first name coming out of Nines’ mouth, his words died on his tongue. Letting out a choked noise, he couldn’t help but gasp out in awe and shock, “Nines!! You called me by my first name?!” Laughing once, he added, “Jesus! That’s a first!!”

Nines didn’t seem to care about that. Repeating his previous statement, he replied again with, “No, Gavin.”

“No?” Gavin finally muttered out, the realization sinking into his brain, “what do you mean ‘no’?” Not in the mood of cryptic messages, he spat, “You’re saying ‘no’ to me when you didn’t hear my whole story!!”

Stepping up to him, Nines loomed tall as he retorted, “I don’t care what your story happens to be, and I’m very sorry to hear about your peculiar situation, but I refuse to help you out in this scenario.”

Now, Gavin was beyond angry. Reaching back into his pocket, he threw his letter up, and he held it before Nines’ eyes. “My dad’s dead, Nines,” he admitted coldly, hardly feeling anything even though he’d vocally stated it. “He’s gone, and he left me with an inheritance, which was the only thing that cold-hearted bastard left behind for me after effectively—”

No.

He couldn’t go there, and he wouldn’t.

Not with Nines, not with anyone.

Biting down hard on his tongue, he felt tears welling up in his eyes from the pain, and it helped him distract himself from the mess he’d nearly created for himself and blindly stumbled into. Pain was now here in his mouth as opposed to in his heart…good…he felt better.

As he stood taking long, measured breaths, Nines tilted his head down at him, a brow quirked.

“I’m sorry to hear about your loss, Reed,” he switched back to using Gavin’s last name, “but I still don’t feel it’s necessary for me to play the role of your partner and trick your mother into handing you over the inheritance.” When he saw how silent Gavin still was, he opened his mouth and stated, “Might I however suggest and encourage you to seek out a lawyer to get a case going for the inheritance? Or, perhaps, would you prefer a psychiatrist to help you along the grieving process?”  

Gavin nearly threw up. He knew that for the most part, a lot of androids had been programmed to help humans in any way possible. But deviant androids typically didn’t talk like this, and he knew that Nines was really going out of his way to be as cold and detached as possible.

Bastard.

Resisting the urge to throw a mega-punch at the android, Gavin snarled, “Don’t fuckin’ be a dick, Nines! I don’t need that kind of help!”

“Then what do you require, Reed?”

Holding out his hands, Gavin slowly pushed out, “I need for you to listen to me, Nines! I know you don’t like me, and I don’t like you either, you know,” he stated factually, noticing how Nines’ lips quirked into a strange expression before his face turned passive once again.

“I’d offer you money, or a cut of the inheritance,” Gavin snorted, taking a step closer to the tall android and shivering, “but I know bribes don’t work on you guys.”

Nines hummed, “Not inaccurate.”

Pressing on, Gavin said, “Look, I just need you to help me out this one time, and I swear, I’ll be in your debt forever.”

Sarcastically, Nines threw out, “Define ‘forever’, Detective Reed.”

This may have been the worst, and craziest thing Gavin was going to do, especially considering just how annoying Nines was being. What made matters worse was that he really seemed to be going out of his way to make this difficult, but Gavin had already anticipated and expected for this to happen. Trying to remain as tough and cold as the machine he’d been appealing to and begging, Gavin stood up as tall as he could. Internally, he was screaming away and cursing at his genetics for rendering him so damn short, and he threw a particularly explicit curse his stepbrother’s way for creating this damn machine and making him so tall.

When he had Nines’ undivided attention, Gavin summoned his courage and guts, and he extended a strong index finger. Jabbing it away at Nines’ sternum, he tapped away, imagining that he was using a knife to sharply pierce and stab through to Nines.

Maybe then the dense moron would grasp the context and situation.

As their eyes met, Gavin nodded and enunciated clearly as he could.

“You. Owe. Me.”

Nines snarled, but remained silent, which Gavin took as a sign to continue, and he did.

“I. Saved. You. Now, I need you to save me,” he finished the rest without resorting to a chopped, robotic way of speaking. When he backed away from Nines, the lights flickered for a moment, and then they buzzed as the hallway fell silent once again.

After an age, Nines seemed to break out of his frozen state, and he asked, “A phony relationship?”

“Yes.”

“For how long?”

“Just until my mom confirms it and I can get my damn inheritance.”

“Why do you need it so badly?”

Not minding the questions being fired away rapidly at him, he replied, “Because I don’t have enough to even get by anymore, Nines, and I need something better to rely on when I want to retire.”

It was quiet again before Nines shifted. “I see,” was his only comment, and after another pregnant pause that hung in the air, he hissed, “you’ll swear to me to come to my assistance shall I need it at any given time, then?”

Gavin nodded, “Yep. I swear.”

Nines grunted deeply, “You swear?”

“You heard me,” came the almost animal-like growl, “I swear.”

…….

A flash of red was the LED light, and a dangerous flash of coldness seeped through Nines’ eyes before he gave only one curt nod. “This ends the moment you receive whatever it is you think you’re due, and then,” Nines practically had to keep himself from bursting out in anger, “…then, I wish for you to leave me alone, are we clear?”

Gavin shrugged, “I’m happy with that arrangement.”

“Fine,” blue eyes met Gavin’s own, “I’ll do it.”

A second later, the vending machine let out a rumble of a noise, and the Coke can crashed down right out of the machine and landed on the floor. The can dented badly, and as the soft drink exploded all over the floor, its sticky liquid spilled forth out of it, leaking everywhere and soaking up the clean floor.

Nines only smirked as he backed off Gavin, head held high as he announced, “It looks like you’ve received your first task, Detective Reed.”