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Love Him in My Absence

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Nines waltzed into the bedroom with a bottle of cold water he purchased from the vending machines down the hall, and as he held it before Gavin, he also held up in his opposite hand an Ibuprofen.

“For the migraine,” he announced when Gavin stared at it for far too long.

Nodding strangely, Gavin grabbed the pill and downed it in one go with a large gulp of water. Flashing Nines a thumbs-up when he was halfway through the bottle and satiated as far as his thirst went, he muttered a simple, “Thanks.”

The debonair android merely grunted, and as he walked past the bed, he turned to the left and opened his bedroom closet doors. As Gavin watched in awe, Nines pulled out a large, rectangular container-like object. It looked like some kind of a chamber of sorts, and it was transparent save for some tiny wires and tubes at the very bottom. Those wires were eerie looking and attached to a tiny terminal on the side of the ‘box’ that emitted a small green light the moment Nines touched it.

Blinking rapidly a few times, Gavin eventually cried out, “This is way too sci-fi for my ass right now.”

“It’s mine,” Nines responded randomly as he moved the object along the floors as quickly as possible, almost shifting around on purpose so that Gavin couldn’t see him properly do whatever it was he was doing.

Gavin gaped at him before picking his jaw up and asking, “So…what’s that, Nines?”

Sliding a tiny door Gavin hadn’t been able to see before there on the object open, Nines sighed, “It’s how I charge myself every night, Detective.”

“I don’t see other androids doing that,” Gavin retorted, but when Nines clearly pointed out the CyberLife logo etched onto the glass, the detective waved at him dismissively.

Tilting his head at him, then, Nines elucidated, “You’ve surely seen ‘android charging terminals’ around the city before, have you not?”

Gavin grunted in a reply instead of talking properly.

Ignoring the rudeness, Nines gestured to the object, “Well, there’s your answer, except mine is specifically designed for only my model, as I am a unique prototype.”

Approaching the object, Gavin asked, “So if for example Connor went into this thing, would he fry up?” He couldn’t help but laugh as he clearly imagined that happening to Connor, but he was sure to wipe off his sadistic smirk when he saw the tiny scowl Nines throwing his way.

“Not really, Detective,” came the short, curt response, “but it isn’t good for his system either way.”

“So, this baby can charge other objects, too?”

Never having been faced with such an odd question before, Nines wavered before he came up with an answer he truly had to guess. “I…I estimate that it could be possible, yes.” Eyes flickering up into Gavin’s, he then took his turn to ask a question, “Why do you inquire?”

Shrugging nonchalantly, Gavin stated, “Oh, no reason, was just curious if it would be able to rev up my dildo collection every once in a while.”

………

The look Nines gave him then was one that coexisted between a blend of pain, disgust, shock, and absolute horror.

Gavin’s lopsided grin immediately died down. “I was kidding, I swear,” he covered for himself while Nines slowly got moving again. While the android’s fingers slipped a few times off the sides of the charger, Gavin coughed out, “I legit don’t own dildos, I promise.”

“Right,” Nines coughed violently, and seeing as androids didn’t need to do that, it was nothing but a forced, noncommittal gesture. “I’m going to go, now, but if you need anything, you can ask me.”

Feeling mortified, Gavin noticed how Nines purposefully wasn’t making any eye contact with him while taking his charger out of the bedroom. “Err, good night?” Gavin awkwardly sang out at his turned back, “I mean…night, dude?”

Pausing once he was further down the hall, Gavin was able to see Nines’ shadow cast on the white, blank walls before he ground out painfully, “Good night, Detective Reed.”

Not even bothering to ask if he could close the bedroom door, Gavin did so anyway, and when the door gave out a soft ‘click’, he nearly punched himself in the face. Why did everything have to be so awkward around Nines, anyway?! Gavin found he couldn’t relate to Nines at all! He couldn’t joke with the serious android like he did with his friends, and that sucked!! He missed being able to throw out a nasty, ‘R’ rated joke every once in a while, and garnering a good, hearty laugh with his buddies. He missed being able to drink and stay out late at nights laughing it up all around town while trying to flirt with and pick up all sorts of women. He missed not having to over-explain himself or his actions, as people around him just had a natural affinity to understand him, and since they were of like minds, they just ‘got it’!

But how could he do any of these things and truly enjoy them when he was around Nines?!

They hardly shared anything in common!!!

Assessing it all finally now that he was sober, Gavin leaned back on his new, clean Hemnes bed and stared up at the bright ceiling for a while.

“Shit,” he eventually muttered to himself as he stroked his chin, “just what in the hell do I have in common with Nines, anyway?!” Even for the purposes of pretense, he was genuinely curious, and he already began making comparisons.

Nines was fashionable, often looking quite dapper in his dark, silk suits and meticulous clothes, while Gavin usually donned jeans and a t-shirt on warmer days, and on colder days, jeans and a sweater that sometimes was only washed twice a week at best. Nines wasn’t much of a hoarder, and yet he was. Nines never had trash heaps and dirty clothes all over his living room, and Gavin had his own personal brand of obstacle courses to go through on a regular basis in his apartment. Nines was quiet, reserved, and often watched what he said, and Gavin had no social filter, and loose lips. While Nines had an odd sense of humor, it was a vastly dry one, and differed greatly in comparison to Gavin’s. To understand most of Nines’ jokes, Gavin sometimes had to think deeply, and when it came to comedy, he wasn’t a fan of thinking about it all as if he were out on solving a case. Gavin was loutish, crass, rude, tardy, and had a general fixation on keeping up with a dilatory attitude, and Nines was outstanding in his work, decorous around just about anyone who crossed his path.

What. The. Hell. Did. They. Have. In. Common?!?!?

Suddenly, the lights above were too bright, and his lungs ached and burned with a familiar need…only one thing would solve this conundrum and hopefully soothe his nerves before he could fall into a somewhat ‘peaceful’ sleep.

Inching across the bed, Gavin leaned down and yanked his gym bag up on the side of the bed, and as he dug out a cigarette from his freshly purchased pack, he then dragged out his lighter. “Ahh, hello baby,” he purred at his red colored lighter with a topless blonde woman decorating the length. “Finally, we’re alone at last…”

He’d barely flicked the lighter on, when on the other side of the wall, Nines’ voice came booming at his ears.

“You can’t smoke in here, Reed.”

Gavin lost it right then and there.

Throwing his lighter and cigarette down to the floor in a tiny burst of rage, he screamed, “SCREW YOU, NINES!!”

……

Silence came from the other side of the wall, but just when Gavin tried lying back down, Nines called out to him again.

“Feel better, now?”

Truthfully, he really did, but he would never admit that to Nines; not in a thousand years.

 

~ѰѰѰѰѰ~

 

Sleeping in an unfamiliar place naturally woke Gavin up way earlier than he would’ve liked, and Gavin was quite the grumpy son of a bitch when he hadn’t received a full, proper night’s rest. Then again, so were other people, of course, but Gavin really, really took it to an extreme.

Not even bothering to shave first and foremost, a highly irritable and short-tempered Gavin Reed untangled himself from the sweaty mass of sheets, and he stormed over into the living room. Surprisingly, Nines was still in his charger chamber…

Finding the android sitting on a tiny plastic stool within the charging chamber, Gavin froze as he stared Nines up and down slowly. Was he in stasis?! Gavin didn’t have the faintest clue, because Nines’ eyelids were tightly shut, and his LED light was off.

Nines didn’t even stir as Gavin approached, but the detective noticed that as he grew closer, he saw that the transparent door to the charging chamber had been left wide open. Perhaps for the purpose of making it easier to get out if Nines was needed, Gavin supposed. But this was still so weird!!! How did Nines even rest in this damn thing?!

Steadily approaching, as Gavin decreased the gap between his own body and Nines’ within the chamber, he found that the android’s long, slim left leg had been draped over the right, which was slightly stretched out. Nines was swaying and leaning more so to the left, and even his left arm hung loosely and limply down by his side. It was so bizarre and eerie, but Gavin was drawn to it, somehow. Approaching more and more, he wondered if Nines was ‘awake’ in some way…

Wanting to test it, the curious man stretched out a hand while still making the last few steps. Now, he was barely an inch away from Nines; an inch away from touching the back of his right hand, which was lying draped across his lap.

Fingers trembling and hovering in the air, Gavin swallowed down his anxiety abruptly. There was a green light still pulsating beneath Nines, and it seemed to be coming from the bottom of the charging chamber. What did that mean?!

Caught up in his curiosity, Gavin took one final step towards Nines. His hand was trembling like a naked, thin branch caught up in the violent blows of the wind, much like how it was right now outside.

He’d almost touched Nines, now…closer, closer, closer…

Staring intently at the RK900’s closed eyelids, Gavin nearly made a grab for his right hand, just to see if he was really not going to get up, yet.

……

And he’d missed the exact moment when the green light ceased pulsating, and Nines’ fingers moved ever so slightly. Rearing up almost violently, Nines’ right hand latched onto Gavin’s just a second before Gavin could even make physical contact with the android. As a result from the shocking, jarring motion, Gavin let out a loud yelp and backed off after jumping into the air a few inches.

“THE FUCK!?!”

Nines merely smiled at him, righting his body posture up straightly as he lowered his left leg down to the floor to join the right. “Good morning, Detective,” he hummed on a wonderfully deep note, then stared out the clear glass barriers of his charging chamber. “I hope you slept well?”

Gavin recoiled as the RK900 stretched up and gave him an odd grin while reaching out of the charging chamber. When Nines took notice of how strangely Gavin was eyeing him, he froze, frowned deeply in thought, and asked, “Something wrong?”

The detective immediately backed away, “Nah, not first thing in the morning, jackass,” his body trembled, reminding him that mornings were now always colder than they had been in the summer months. “I need a fuckin’ shave and a shower before I deal with your weird shit today.”

Nines merely brushed his white dress shirt off coolly, “Good luck doing that without a mirror,” he chuckled at Gavin, and the detective growled under his breath.

“It’s not that hard, genius,” he spat venomously. “It’s not like I’m training for the U.S. Navy SEALs!!”

Nines looked down at his feet. “If you say so, Detective, but I’m here should you require any assistance.”

Gavin decided that wasn’t going to be an option, and his body had already entered the bathroom before his mind even registered where he was. It seemed he was really intent and eager to get away from Nines after the oddities of the morning he’d seen the android displaying.

Why was Nines so freaking weird?! Couldn’t he have picked someone else to play his fiancé?!

“Too bad all my exes hate me,” Gavin sighed to himself, hurrying to adjust the water of the shower. In no time at all, he’d cleaned himself for the second time in less than eight hours, but it was more so to refresh himself and look a tad prim and proper than anything else. Feeling calmer once he stepped out, he stood awkwardly before the vanity and sink, staring at the white wall that held no god damn mirror at all on it.

Stupid Nines.

“Whatever,” Gavin hissed to himself, “I can manage this; I’ve shaved many times before in my life!!”

For some reason, he found that all thoughts of Nines were suddenly so annoying to him. As he held tightly onto his razor and turned on the water to fill up the sink slightly, he growled and muttered a few expletives under his breath, aiming majority of them towards Nines. As he went along waiting while the steam of the water rose and grew thick, he wet his face, and began lathering and soaping up his face all over.

When it felt ‘good’ and ‘ready’ enough, Gavin began shaving away as gently as he could. After a few of the blind motions, he suddenly smelled the familiar, potent smell of coffee wafting into the bathroom from behind himself…

He missed coffee…

And right then as he’d been distracted for the moment, Gavin nicked himself pretty badly along the chin. Throwing his head back and screaming in both pain and anger while a few drops of blood pattered into the water within the sink, it wasn’t long at all before the bathroom door opened with a small ‘creak’.

Nines stared ahead at him from the doorway, “You rang?”

Cradling his chin while the stinging sensation from the soap really burned and singed deeply, Gavin hissed, “PISS OFF!!!”

As if that would do anything to ward off the inquisitive RK900. Nines followed him in the bathroom, standing behind him as he got out from the vanity cupboard a professional, expensive shaving kit. Eyeing it nervously, Gavin waited while Nines set up.

“I step away for hardly a few minutes to get you some coffee, and already you’ve hurt yourself?” Nines tsked. “Well done, Detective.”

“You stupid freak!” Gavin snapped while pointing to his cut chin. “This shit is why you get a fuckin’ mirror!!”

Ignoring him for a moment, Nines was simply beside himself with zeal and grace as he inched himself right before Gavin and grabbed his face with a strong hand. Only putting up a small fuss, Gavin eventually calmed down and relaxed himself when Nines eyed him seriously, and he held up the black Remington electric razor. It was already on, and as he gently touched it to Gavin’s upper right cheek, he turned his gaze away from Gavin’s eyes.

Simply being reduced to standing there, Gavin looked at the ceiling while Nines gracefully and gently shaved his entire right cheek in barely a few minutes. He did a rather good job, cleaning off the razor with a clean cloth before going over the last bits of stubble one last time.

“This isn’t so bad, is it, Detective?” he asked Gavin as he began lathering the left side of his face. Gavin said nothing as Nines’ free hand rubbed the soap up and down and all over his face. The RK900’s hand moved forward, and it traced a few shapes onto his soapy face while Nines emitted a gentle purr.

“Stop it!” Gavin slapped Nines’ hands away and reapplied soap where the android had playfully smeared it awkwardly. After a few more attempts-each of them a failure due to Nines pushing and shrugging the annoyed detective’s hands down, Gavin gave up. He allowed Nines to turn him around completely, shaving away calmly while a tiny smile formed in the corners of his lips.

Gavin scowled at him for it. “Glad you can do this without the use of a mirror, but do I have to drag you in here each and every time I need to shave?!” He wasn’t a god damn baby! He didn’t need help all the time!!!

As he scraped away at his stubble so tenderly, the RK900 stepped around and stared at his own hands while they guided the razor about his skin. Every time Nines made the electric razor skate along Gavin’s face, the other man felt the steady hum and vibrations rivet him in place even more. With his feet firmly planted on the cold white tiles, he raised a brow at the RK900 and leaned forward curiously. Evidently, he shouldn’t have done that, for Nines abruptly pushed him back in his original spot by placing a hand right over Gavin’s now smooth left-cheek.

As Nines guided the razor over the rest of the areas he’d missed, he threw Gavin a fleeting glance. Gruffly, he commented, “There is a solution to this torment after all, Detective Reed…” Stopping the razor in time before it hit the wounded area around Gavin’s chin, Nines listened to the shorter male sigh while he set down the electric razor for a moment as soon as he’d turned it off.

Once Nines turned on the warm water, Gavin snorted, “Oh yeah? And what’s your solution then, smartass?”

Making sure to clean out whatever gunk and soap was on the razor blades, Nines took his time before a light growl sounded out of him, first. “Perhaps you should grow a beard, Detective,” he suggested as he dried off the razor and wiped it the rest of it down.

When he motioned for Gavin to wash his face, the shorter male rebelliously shook his head.

“No way am I gonna grow facial pubes, Nines,” he argued. “You can consider it a cold day in hell before I fuckin’ do that.”

Shrugging quickly, Nines said, “Noted, Detective, but don’t you want to talk about what happened a few days ago when we were out shopping?”

Of all times to bring that up, really.

Bending over the sink, Gavin hurried splashed warm water over his face, washing it carefully around the cut area near his chin. It stung, still, but he wasn’t going to be a child about it. Once he got done washing his face, he pet it dry with a small facial cloth Nines provided for him.

Rubbing the cloth over his face carefully, Gavin sighed out, “I feel great…”

“You’re disassociating,” Nines pointed out. “I’m still curious to know how it is that nothing that occurred the other day affected you.”

And right then, Gavin knew there was only one way he was going to be able to get rid of the curious android. He wasn’t going to simply stand there and talk about his feelings with Nines, or anyone else, for that matter. Nines wasn’t his damn therapist; he didn’t even have one anymore, technically speaking!!

Turning away from Nines’ penetrating, curious eyes, Gavin whistled as he rubbed cream over his face from his gym bag, and then looked around the bathroom. After a minute, while still staring down at the floor, he asked, “Do you have a band aid or something?”

Nines wasn’t stupid; he knew that this meant the topic was already closed and off limits for discussion. Still, he couldn’t help but wonder why. Though he wasn’t interested in pushing Gavin and having the man lash out at him loudly or perhaps, violently, he merely nodded as he bent down and opened up the vanity cupboards.

Handing the band aid package over to Gavin, he hissed out softly, “Here; the previous tenant seems to have left these behind.”

Taking them gladly, Gavin then pushed, “Where’s my coffee?”

With the nod of a head out the door, Nines replied, “In the kitchen.”

“Sweet.”

As Gavin walked away carelessly whistling a random tune, Nines caught himself staring at the blank space in the wall above the bathroom sink. Something suddenly stung deeply within himself and more specifically, in his mind.

Backing out of the bathroom quickly, he turned off the lights almost viciously, which was a contrast to how softly he made sure the door clicked shut.