Gavin Reed was on the brink of passing out right then and there on his living room floor, and Nines had no idea what to do. Not because the human male was highly intoxicated, but because of what he’d just confessed to.
Gavin Reed had feelings for him?!
For once in his creation, Nines truly doubted himself, wondering if he’d even heard the man clearly in his inebriated state, or if he himself had somehow been wrong, and Gavin was referring to someone else they worked with?
But he had stated that he had feelings for Nines specifically…for him and him alone…
Oh, who was he kidding?? Gavin Reed didn’t have feelings for him and never, ever would in a hundred thousand years!! Nines knew better than this, and he’d known for a while that when humans went above a certain level of intoxication, nothing they said or did made any sense. Loose lipped as they may have been, no words uttered could’ve been taken that seriously, as it wasn’t at all near the truth of what reality depicted and painted when they were sober. There was a clear distinction between drunken rambling and coherent, articulate dialogue and conversation, and Nines was aware of the differences.
As odd and erratic as the behavior Gavin had displayed was, Nines wasn’t callously idiotic and foolish enough to buy into it all seriously. Gavin had no control over what he said in this state, of course, and he likely wouldn’t even remember it come dawn. It was a lot wiser for him to forget what had been said and abandon it entirely, so it seemed.
Staring down at the passed-out Gavin Reed while he collected his thoughts, Nines decided to help move the detective into a more comfortable resting position. Picking him up without much of a fuss, he gently laid him out on the sofa, and Gavin naturally sprawled himself over it with a sloppy, lopsided grin plastered over his face.
Nines wondered if he was still cognizant, so he waved a hand before Gavin’s face, testing to see whether he would gain some kind of a reaction.
After a moment, Gavin mumbled incoherently, “Mmmffuuuck off, maaa.”
There was then a retort perched on the tip of Nines’ tongue, but his mind was pulled in too many different directions at once. The longer he studied the sleepy Gavin, the faster he found himself unable to control his own reactions upon seeing such a sight…he truly couldn’t help it; he was mesmerized by just what kind of a fascinating specimen Gavin Reed happened to truly be.
Never before had Nines taken time to actually observe Gavin this much, but all things considered, now, the situation he’d been trapped in revolving around spending long hours with detective Reed when the exigencies of the man’s socio-economic status and future livelihood demanded it seemed to be too difficult to avoid.
They were in this together, somehow, and this thought terrified Nines beyond belief.
With a displeased sigh, Nines gathered that it wasn’t as easy to regard Gavin as he once had. No, he couldn’t say the human male was insipid. His psychosis was no longer dull and pedestrian as Nines originally gathered. Upon meeting the man for the first time ever two years ago, Nines initially concluded that Gavin Reed was a lump of clay that not even the most talented sculptor could fashion into art. The way he carried himself and presented himself had always been so shabby, messy, erratic, sporadic, aggressive, belligerent, and banal at times. It couldn’t be helped that despite all of Captain Fowler’s nurturing and instructing, the rebellious, spunky detective was doomed to consistently wallow in the depths of mediocrity.
…Or so Nines once thought. It appeared however that humans were constantly surprising him with their levels of unpredictability, but while he feared Gavin’s random outbursts and strange behavioral patterns, he still found it all refreshing.
Nines gave a slanted smile as he looked upon Gavin fast asleep. Here was an odd, enigmatic man sleeping away in his living room. The drunken detective’s body was glistening with perspiration, and he tossed and turned marginally in his sleep so he was lying on his side as opposed to his back. As he moved, his dark brown hair became matted and pressed down onto his forehead messily, but Nines found it made Gavin appear somewhat younger. Now, he wasn’t frowning, and the corners of his eyes weren’t marred with wrinkles and creases as often could be found given the aggressive ‘mask’ Gavin wore during work hours.
No, now, Gavin seemed… ‘freer’…
He was, Nines noted dispassionately, a rather attractive man; dark, straight lengths of hair fleeting over an angelic face. However, the man had shrunk into his sofa, trying to make himself as small as possible while he dreamt who knew what behind those closed eyelids. His eyelashes fluttered as he entered deep REM sleep, Nines supposed, and as he knelt down by Gavin’s side, he whispered gently, “I do wonder what you dream about, Gavin.”
It wasn’t something he’d even uttered lightly; he really wondered just what could be at the very center of Gavin’s dreams, visiting him every night as he slept soundly.
As Nines watched Gavin, the male blurted out something randomly, and then smiled a lopsided smile as he wiggled against the seats of the sofa.
Nines’ eyebrows shot up, but he remained silent while Gavin stirred once again and then hiccupped softly. An immediate sense of concern flooded Nines’ mind.
Was Gavin comfortable in such a state? Did he prefer sleeping on a bed??
Not wanting to move the man to wake him, Nines barely tapped him on his shoulder, only to have Gavin emit a low growl as he turned his back to the android and faced in the opposite direction.
Seeing this dynamic shift, Nines would’ve assumed that it was a gesture of deference, but the other man’s chin was tilted in an unmistakably defiant angle. As such, Nines felt something stirring deeply within himself, some primal corner of his nature. The android bared his teeth at Gavin’s turned back. He wanted to punish this insolent man for his disrespect when he’d been so concerned about his state of well-being!
However, before Nines could rudely shake Gavin out of his drunken stupor, the shorter male reached up with his arms and stretched. As he did, however, his natural body odors flew up into the air before Nines. Like a bloodhound, the android took a deep whiff, and his entire system was now far more alert than ever before. Scent wasn’t always easy for an android to discern in the first place, but for some reason, Gavin’s scent imprinted rather quickly on Nines.
And what a unique scent it was…it seemed almost floral, and it reminded Nines of the plants he housed and nurtured. His senses worked on overdrive as he took it all in, resisting the urge to practically bend over and bury the tip of his nose in Gavin’s hair.
To do that to the pliant detective while he slept would result in an unavoidable altercation, no doubt, and it was morally and ethically wrong to do that. Nines wouldn’t even bring himself to fathom doing such a horrible deed, so he backed off and moved as far away from the sofa as possible.
It was so rare that anything in his day-to-day life stirred up such extreme emotions. Nines held onto the feeling, trying to analyze where it had come from, and what it was about this strange new side to Gavin Reed that had caused it. While he’d been pondering it, Gavin’s face suddenly changed, clenching in an expression of pain. It was a worrying sight, and given how abrupt it was, Nines felt flustered. Scanning the sleeping human, he figured it had to be a nasty bodily reaction from all the alcohol, no doubt.
It was even getting worse for Gavin. Although he managed to smooth out his clenched and pained facial expression almost immediately, Nines had seen it, and his growing sense of concern wasn’t going away that easily. Notions of suffering made even the android’s usually blank face stunningly pained; empathy was as real to him as a Renaissance painting, a warm summer breeze, or an orchestra playing sweet, godly music for the world to hear.
What was he feeling??
Staring down at Gavin, he saw how full his lips looked even in the midst of a pained grimace! Nines began to wonder just how much bluer those eyes would look if they were glazed with tears? What about when Gavin smiled broadly in the throes of passion and utmost tranquility?? What did that feel like?
Realizing suddenly just how envious of humans he was, Nines nearly broke down. He’d always withheld a meticulous persona, completely incapable of feeling vindicated or offended. Nothing people said before ever got to him, as he’d prided himself on remaining as cold and detached while he watched how humans behaved. Yes, they’d always fascinated him to some degree, but he knew now that never before had he been so entranced by one human.
His control would have to be rectified in the future, he noted.
For now, he resumed watching Gavin, his eyes and head moving and tilting in time with the motions Gavin’s body made as he tossed and turned around and around.
Muttering to himself gently, Nines hissed, “What am I really doing??”
Though he forlornly thought of the sacrifice he’d been making, the estranged android felt he didn’t know nearly enough about Gavin to answer his own question. After all, how could he? The pieces of the odd puzzle he had currently available couldn’t fit together to form the entire picture, and Connor had warned him against leaping to conclusions when it came to humans and their unpredictable natures.
Yes, the RK800 had been correct, sadly. It was inconceivable that merely from second and third hand encounters he had all the tools and techniques to know every little detail when it came to Gavin Reed. Nines yearned and longed to know more, but he would be damned if he dared to ask. As it so happened, he was confrontational enough as it was, and he knew he didn’t exactly come off as the world’s most approachable creature, but he was trying to make a change for himself, at least. It was all the effort he could put in for himself to get through, and for…
For Gavin?? Was he doing this for Gavin, as well??
No…no he wasn’t. After all, how could he?
To the rude, brazen detective currently snoozing away on his sofa, this was all about money, and Nines was only in on this because he hated being indebted to someone.
That’s what this was all about.
Mildly content with this, he knew that tonight would pass like any other as long as he kept himself in check, and they could go on just ignoring the elephant in the room until things could return back to normal.
Well, that’s what Nines really wanted, but he knew that would never happen…
Did he want it to happen? Did Gavin want for it to happen?
Uncomfortable by all these questions flooding into his mind, Nines chose instead to switch to didactic methods and measures that would hopefully set out to not only protect himself from Gavin’s ulterior motives, but also shield himself from getting too close and too deep into this.
Once he was pulled in beyond the point of no return, he feared he wouldn’t be able to get himself out of it. Not until it was too late, anyway, and that’s what the fearless RK900 genuinely feared.
You’re just too good to be true,
I can’t take my eyes off of you,
You’d be like heaven to touch,
I wanna hold you so much…
At long last love has arrived,
and I thank God I’m alive…
Gavin felt his head pounding like a damn hammer drilling and slamming into concrete, and his stomach tossed and churned like a violent, uncontrollable tidal wave during a dark stormy night. He felt like utter shit, to say the least, and what pissed him off was that he was sure he was hearing things, too…it sounded like music, perhaps?
It wasn’t a song he recognized in particular, but even though it was so soft and serene as it played in the background, to his sensitive ears, it sounded like a damn rock concert, and he felt like he was right beside every HD speaker in the world.
Sitting up with a groan, Gavin felt his stomach heaving mightily.
He was going to be sick.
Slapping a hand over his mouth and breathing in and out through his nose while his nostrils flared crazily, he let out muffled cries as he closed his eyes and tilted his head back, trying to ignore the fact that his head literally was about to explode, and a shit ton of alcohol and stomach acid were climbing up from his stomach all the way towards his esophagus…
Mumbling through the small spaces between his fingers, he groaned, “Niiiines, dooo youuu have a-aaa buuuucket?? Gonnnaaaa beeee siick!”
Soft footsteps pattered their way towards him, and when Gavin barely summoned up enough strength to open his eyes a little, he saw the tall, lean android approaching from the side. He’d been in the ‘kitchen’, it seemed, and he scowled down at Gavin while shaking his head in clear disdain.
“If you vomit all over my floor or the sofa, Reed, I swear, I’ll make you clean it all up with your own fingers and no gloves will be allowed or given to you.”
The threat bounced and rolled off Gavin’s shoulders as he hugged himself and fought against shivering. To shake and let the tremors go through himself would only make it so that his brain knocked against his skull and rolled around in his cranium, and he couldn’t take all that pain. Cradling his head, he tried drowning out every possible noise, even if that meant shutting off the noises in his head.
Everything was so loud and echoed terribly!
Nines eyed him with nothing but caution, “How’s that migraine?”
Gavin only flipped him off as a result, and Nines chuckled.
“Charming,” he purred out while rounding on Gavin as a look of sheer delight crossed his features. “Luckily for you, I have Ibuprofen, but I don’t have a bucket…”
Gavin got up immediately when he felt his stomach rising up and down as if it were bouncing on a trampoline built inside his body. “Mmm gonna throw up!!” With that warning uttered, he turned and ran towards the kitchen so he could vomit into the sink, hopefully, but Nines grabbed him by the back of the shirt quickly.
Hurriedly dragging Gavin towards the bathroom, in no time at all, he turned on the lights and pushed Gavin inside first. To the intoxicated detective’s amusement and awe, all the soil, gardening materials, boxes, and wood had been completely removed from the bathroom, and it actually looked like a genuine bathroom…except for the fact that there was still no mirror present.
Throwing open the toilet bowl lid, Nines made sure Gavin didn’t bash his forehead and skull against the actual bowl, and he steadied the adult male as he shoved his own face directly into the center of the toilet and threw up violently.
It sounded horrifying, it looked terrifying, and it smelled absolutely unearthly.
And yet, Nines didn’t want to go.
Gavin took a small break, raising his head and wiping his lips with a trembling hand. While he gulped in mouthfuls of fresh air, he glared over to the side at Nines, and as if seeing him for the first time ever, he snarled, “Th-the fuck are y-you doing in here?!”
Nines rolled his blue eyes, “I can’t exactly leave you in this state, Detective Reed, what if you hurt yourself somehow?”
“I can take c-care of myse—oh god…” Once again, his eyes widened, his shoulders shook terribly, and he vomited again for almost half a minute.
Leaning back, Nines sat with his back and shoulders against the vanity, and he sighed, “Let it all out, Detective; I’m fine with being here all night if that’s what it’ll take.”
Halfway through vomiting, Gavin roared, “L-like fuuuck I’m g-gonna be s-s-stuck in heeere with you all niiiight!!” Again, he took to puking for a while, and Nines merely waved him off.
“We’ll talk when you’re sober, Detective,” he stated logically. “I doubt you can even hardly remember much of anything that happened barely an hour ago.”
For some reason, Gavin took this statement rather offensively. Sitting up on his knees, he grabbed a clean wad of toilet paper, and he wiped his mouth and tongue with it before clearing his throat and glaring at Nines. A thin sheen of sweat covered practically all over his face and neck, but he held a most defiant, rebellious look on his face that made Nines nearly double over in shock.
“What’s with that look, Reed?” Nines growled angrily, already on edge so easily and quickly, much to his own dismay.
Gavin snarled back, “Th-the hell does that mean?”
“What does what mean?”
Not giving up, the irate human snapped, “What you j-just said!”
Pausing, Nines finally let it sink in. “Oh,” his LED light stopped flashing yellow. “Well, for starters, do you remember saying this?” Clearing his throat, his LED light flashed blue once, and then, perfectly imitating Gavin’s voice 100%, he repeated: “Niiiines, chiiill! I’m not gonna drink so much that I’ll end up redecorating your walls with my barf!”
Rubbing his left temple with his left hand, Gavin cringed as he wheezed in a raw voice, “Fuuuck, Nines, don’t be doin’ that shit when I’m piss drunk! It’s fucked up!”
“Well,” Nines clicked out, “that’s what you said about an hour ago, need I remind you.”
Groaning, Gavin whispered, “I wonder wh-what else I said…”
Cruelly, Nines taunted him, “Oh, nothing much; you just also admitted to me that you once ran through your old police academy buck naked while singing a Spice Girls song.”
Looking even more sickly than ever, Gavin whimpered, “P-please t-t-tell me that shit isn’t t-true…th-that didn’t happen!!!”
An impish look was what met his eyes, “You’re right; it was a Lady Gaga song, come to think of it.”
Nines smirked, “I was kidding, Reed.”
“Oh, you’re such a biiii---blaaarrgh!!” He couldn’t even complete his sentence when the urge and need to puke took over once again.
“Point made, Reed,” the detached android spat as he got up and flushed the toilet. Turning away from the sick swirling around in the bowl and heading down the drain, he pointed at Gavin sharply as he asked, “Are you done, or is there room for more?”
The exhausted man barely managed to shrug, “I think I’m d-done.”
“Good.” Nines’ next task was to make sure Gavin somehow got into the shower without drowning himself, but he didn’t actually want to be there while Gavin actually showered.
How could he put this without seeming…bizarre?
As if reading his mind and thoughts, Gavin held out a hand, “Help me off the floor.”
Nines did so, and as he pulled up the wary detective, he turned his head to the side in revulsion when Gavin coughed in his face. “Detective!” Nines cried in anger, “would you mind keeping your vomit-scented breath to yourself, for now and all times?!”
Turning his nose up at Gavin, Nines icily hissed, “Yes, I can see how ‘sorry’ you are about it indeed, Detective.” Hoisting him up, he allowed him to lean on the glass shower doors, and momentarily backing off him, he moved back inside his own bedroom where he remembered Gavin had stored a gym bag full of his own fresh clothes.
Not even bothering to ask Gavin what he wanted to wear, he pulled out a pair of grey pajama bottoms and a thin white sweater. It would do, and if Gavin wanted to put up a fuss, then he was more than welcome to dress himself afterwards.
Once he returned to the bathroom, Gavin was already prying the sliding doors open, but he nearly lost his balance and tumbled in dangerously. Nines’ fast reflexes however managed to save him, and he threw Gavin’s clothes onto the countertop of the vanity while gently tugging on Gavin’s shirt.
Ignoring the saliva and vomit stains already on it, Nines managed to roll it halfway up his chest, when Gavin snapped out of his alcohol-induced state of ‘high’.
Slapping Nines’ hands roughly, he roared, “What the hell?!?”
“Shut up!” Nines barked, “do you have any idea what time it is?!”
Pushing his shirt back down almost desperately, Gavin looked Nines up and down in fear. “Yeah!” he answered, “time for me to get molested, apparently!!”
“Oh, shut up, Reed,” Nines growled dangerously. “I don’t want you stinking up the place with your puke! So just have a shower, and then get to sleep!”
Nodding, Gavin quickly said, “Okay, but can you like, leave?”
Biting his lower lip in irritation, Nines retorted, “Yeah, I’m going to like, leave now.”
“Appreciate it, dickwad!” Gavin elbowed him in the chest roughly, but as Nines backed away and held onto the side of the door, another thought struck into his mind and worried him sick.
Gavin was still rather weak. What if something horrible happened to him while he was alone in the bathroom?
Almost slapping himself across the face when he realized how fragile and annoying humans were at times, Nines moved out of the bathroom, but he stuck his head inside and forced himself to stare down at the floor when he noticed Gavin pulling up his own shirt to disrobe. “Reed,” he grumbled, “I’m going to be waiting on the other side of the door, and I won’t close it all the way.” When he saw the angry look in Gavin’s eyes, he supplied, “I’m not spying or peeking in on you; I just don’t want you to drown.”
Turning back around, Gavin was convinced rather quickly, and he pressed out, “Okay, weirdo.”
“Great,” backing away completely, Nines tucked his head out of the bathroom, and not even a few minutes later, the water was already running, and Gavin had slid the shower doors shut. Nines waited awkwardly for a moment, but then he heard Gavin sighing, coughing, and then sighing again.
“What’s going on, Reed?” Nines worriedly inquired, eyeing steam rising up from under the doorway.
After a few seconds, Gavin replied, “Nothin’, just talk to me if you can, even though this is weird.”
Initially wanting to mock Gavin for stating this, Nines suddenly found he genuinely had some questions for the snarky detective after all.
Pressing himself against the door, he spoke softly, “What does your mother do for a living?”
Gavin hummed, “She’s a university professor.”
This shocked and stunned Nines. Truthfully, he had underestimated Gavin’s lineage quite badly, though he didn’t want to admit to the man that he’d originally surmised that his entire family consisted of college dropouts and punks.
Nodding in bewilderment, he then asked, “What does she teach?”
“Science and biology,” Gavin swiftly and cleanly replied back. “She got her PhD in it a while ago.”
Intrigued further, Nines pushed on, “Which University?”
“Fordham University,” Gavin responded, clearly not minding the slew of questions as he expounded on that subject deeper. “She manages the Graduate of Science department in Biological Sciences.”
Completely taken aback by all the new information, Nines could only utter, “I see…that’s…that’s very interesting, Reed. I’m sure you’re proud of her.”
For the longest time, Nines supposed he’d somehow gone and offended Gavin. The entire bathroom was horrendously and fiercely silent, but Nines knew Gavin hadn’t fainted or hurt himself; he still sensed and was able to receive human motion alerts in his system.
However, he also read clearly that Gavin’s heart rate had accelerated exponentially, and he was highly stressed out.
All that had catered to Nines not feeling shocked or surprised when Gavin changed the topic drastically.
“I heard music before…right as I was waking up…was that you?”
“No, Detective Reed,” Nines looked down at his hands, and they were shaking slightly. He clenched them tightly into two fists, and he got a hold of himself as best as he could while he leaned his back straight up against the door.
Standing as tall as he could, he glared into the dark hallway before solidifying his final response.
“You must’ve imagined it, Detective.”