Chapter 1: like every beginning
“What do you mean, partner? ” The gruff tone of his voice only grew louder and louder the longer this conversation took place. There, to the right of the desk separating him from his oh so beloved Captain, was a tall, cold-eyed Connor clone. But even that wasn’t right. The face was sharper, more sternly set, and a lot more stoic than Connor had ever been. He was broader, more built for fight than flight, and his eyes were an icy grey-blue compared to Connor’s warm brown. And he stood unlike Connor ever did too, arms clasped behind his back and looking down on the two of them. “I mean, with the sudden influx in cases, the Anderson duo have lagged behind, and we need more detectives on android cases. RK900 here was recently employed here, and while he was useful with Connor and the Lieutenant-”
“I would be of better use on other cases. Two androids with similar processing powers is a waste of resources.” Gavin was a bit surprised the other cut in, but rolled his eyes as the word ‘similar’ came out very stressed. If Connor is RK800, then this is his successor. “What’s with the 900? I thought Connor was the last step in his line.”
Gavin could see the captain struggle with the question he didn’t expect, and bit his cheek to keep from smirking. “He was. Prior to the revolution, CyberLife had worries about the RK800 line deviating, so I was created to track him down and replace him when he eventually succeeded or failed his mission.” Gavin couldn’t hide the flinch at that, and knew the dipshit was categorizing it into some sort of folder on him. “Well, tough shit for you, but Fowler knows- I don’t do partners. So sorry.” Gavin glared at Fowler, who merely groaned. “If you want to do any sort of field work within the next year , you absolutely will. Reed, this wasn’t an option. You take RK900 and get to work on the case sitting on your desk, or you stay at that desk until another detective becomes available for partnership for him.”
Low move . Gavin growled softly, but then turned, crossing his arms as he did. “What the fuck ever Fowler, I’ll take the Termanitor looking bi-”
“ Reed! ”
“BIMBO.” Gavin said that extra loud, hating being corrected for the stupid little shit. His partner was going to deal with it eventually. “As a phucking partner, but if he slows me down, then fuck this partnership, I’ll take desk duty. Gives me more of a reason to piss off Anderson anyways.” Fowler glared back at that, but RK900 broke the stare-down, striding forward. Damn, he’s tall , was the first traitorous thought Gavin had, which quickly cut off at the stare. Had this guy even deviated? “I can assure you Detective Reed, out of the two of us, I will not be the one slowing us down.” The room went silent, and Fowler stood up. Gavin let the silence hang, finding glee as he knew his face remained in the same glaring position. “Actions speak louder than words tincan .” And with that, he moved, flipping off the captain as he opened the door. “At least pretend to find him another partner in the meantime, captain oh captain of mine.” He called, ignoring the way Connor and Hank looked at him as he left the office.
He went over to his desk, flopping into his seat and drinking from the travel mug he had by his side. He made sure to stretch as he flipped through the file, looking at their next case. It was a good starting case- a human and an android were found dead this morning, and they were requested at the scene. Gavin noted that RK900 was already listed in the paperwork with him, of course he was . Gavin paused mid stretch, feeling a small spasm in his left arm, and he rubbed it gently, starting at the wrist. Damn arm’s acting up, must be low . He looked to the travel mug, and groaned softly, before he noticed RK900 was finally approaching him. Fowler must’ve been warning him about me. Good.
He got up, pulling on his leather jacket and grabbing the file and his keys. “Finally Robocop, took ya fucking long enough. Didn’t you hear- we have a case.” Gavin didn’t even pause for the other, grabbing his mug before walking away from the desk. He heard the huff as the dipshit noticed the file wasn’t on his desk, and Gavin gleefully kept it tucked at his side. Getting outside, Gavin preened in the cool air for a moment, letting it hit his face and cool him off, before he moved to his car. Apparently it was enough time for the RK900 to actually catch up, and he heard the passenger side door open and the weight shift. Gavin tapped the steering wheel with his left hand, tapping settings with his right before they were on their way. “Detective Reed, I need the case files in order-”
“No ya don’t. First rule, if you’re not there when the file is dropped on the desk, then you’re sorrowfully SOL.” Gavin held the file up, opening it to re-read everything, though it was more for the other’s benefit. “You’re just going to have to do your best with your superior brain at the scene.” And for emphasis, Gavin stuck out his tongue.
He didn’t miss how the inside of the car flashed yellow for a moment, and he had to lock his jaw in place to keep the smirk to himself. Mentally, he could feel a short buzz of feeling spread through his face, and knew he’d remain stoic, or at least apathetic looking, until he didn’t want to. RK900 however didn’t seem to have any trouble remaining stoic, even as he forced the file down to Gavin’s lap. “Hey- don’t go assaulting your partner on your first day dipshit, looks bad on your record.”
“ You’re one to talk, Detective Reed.” The iciness in his voice wasn’t mistaken, and Gavin was really fucking glad he couldn’t frown like he wanted to. Must’ve talked to Connor already. There wasn’t a lot that Gavin regretted, but how he treated Connor was one of those things- before Connor was Connor , when he was only ‘Connor from CyberLife’. But then again, he knew he’d repeat it no matter what, so an apology felt empty and unnecessary. “Fair point, but you’ll rip the case doing dumb shit like that. So hurry up and read it.”
Gavin looked instead to the window, tapping his fingers, then sighing. He wanted a smoke, but had gotten rid of the pack weeks ago, and instead went searching around for a toothpick he kept in the cup-holder. Putting it in, he chewed on the end of it ‘til the car came up to a roped off building. No one was here but for one lonely officer, and Gavin’s jaw unlocked to allow himself to grin. He rubbed the skin there before exiting the car, ignoring the beeping that it hadn’t fully stopped when he opened the door. “Chris! They stuck poor ol’ you out here?” Said officer turned, scowling at the man yet bearing a small, tired smile. “Yeah, had to wait on you to work out whatever was with tha- him.” Hearing Chris correct himself reminded Gavin that he wasn’t the only asshole in the precinct at least. Though I always knew better and used insults anyways . Gavin sighed as the unpleasant thought burned through his head and turned instead to face the Connor-But-Scary. He moved more stiffly than his face looked, which was saying a lot. “ That might’ve been correct after all.” Gavin could feel his own greys turn icy as he couldn’t respond to what he shouldn’t be able to hear, and instead turned to the building, walking past the rope.
Gavin fished out gloves from his pocket, noticing off the bat the trail of blood. Dragged in . He followed it, steps rhythmic as they fell in front of the pair. Despite knowing he shouldn’t , he heard the other approach. Lighter than Connor even, huh . “A RN300 model, designation: Jack Reyes. Works at one of the local highschools.” Gavin faked a choked screech, turning to anger as he should’ve. “Don’t fucking sneak up on me, bastard! I won’t be held responsible for knocking your ass down if you do that again.” His face turned to the body to purposefully ignore the way RK900 seemed to roll his eyes. His fingers itched to reach down, pull, prod, like he knew how to do, but he kept from doing so with stick-up-his-ass here. “How’d you tell that without licking? Face is pretty mangled.” One eye missing along with the entire part of the plastic skull around it, in its place a human eye that Gavin knew came from the body beside it. “I do not have the need to lick android blood as my predecessor does. My scanning systems are more advanced than his.” Easier to fool too . “Just in case, I’m bottling this- the thirium may be cross-mixed with another guy’s.” RK900’s LED flickered yellow, and his hand reached out to touch Gavin. Gavin quickly moved, smacking his hand. “Hands off prick-”
“I was only moving to inform you that- if you think it’s a probability, then I can run a scan on a thirium source.” Gavin huffed, moving aside to examine the human. “Do what you think to do, I’m not holding your hand.” He said, moving to check his first theory.
When he tilted the guy’s head, he let out a relieved sigh that there was no android eye in the place of the empty socket, then checked the rest of his wounds. He looked over to see the 900 fully examining the android, so he risked it, pushing the man’s broken skin aside to get a good look inside. Instantly his eyes raked over everything, noting what was missing and damaged in a heartbeat, and pulling back before he’d need to explain why he could easily memorize the inside of someone’s body. “Looks like some bits are missing from this dude, feels a bit empty.” He explained, and RK900 looked over before returning his attention to the android. “You were right about the thirium, not all of this belonged to the RN model. It’s mixed, heavily.”
“Means he probably isn’t getting his thirium legally, and that there was some attempt to keep him alive. The human has marks on his arm indicative of an IV, so he was probably on some blood bag.”
The silence of the implied was heavy, before Gavin kicked the floor with his foot. “Do you have to lick his blood?” RK900 nodded, reaching over to do so as Gavin mentioned it. Gavin watched as the other’s face twisted, and wondered briefly if he had taste receptors. “Male, 23 years old, Gabe Morrin. Works at the same highschool as a lunch aide.” Gavin hummed, brain spinning over the information before he spoke. “They were a couple. Worked together, schools don’t hold a strict relationship policy, probably bonded over shit like cleaning up after gremlins.” He seen the tell tale shift to yellow, and rolled his eyes. “Children, stay on task.” He did not however see the jab to his leg coming, shifting away at the tingle of sensation that caused a hiss. “I am always on task De-tec-tive. I had noticed the marks around the parts he’s missing- they’re crudely done, but slowly done. He’s had these two for a while, we should check with the school to see if there are any leads.” Gavin grumbled, but motioned to the door. “Yeah yeah, let me rub my ankle.”
“Detective I hardly hit you.”
“Phuck off.” Gavin spat, and the RK900 stood and did just that. At least he’s a deviant, just decided ‘asshole’ was his default mode too. Gavin looked to the bodies again, and felt his gut churn. Something he didn’t want to mention, but bugged him severely.
The killer took his time with both of them, but aside from the eye, there was no obvious reason why . And as he looked at the misplaced eye, he cataloged all the missing pieces himself.
The ride to the school was brief, thankfully, and Gavin got out of the car, stopping his partner before he could move any further. “Woah hold up, you look like Terminator had a love child with RoboCop. Let me take lead on this, you stay behind before you scare too many kids.” The android scoffed at him, and Gavin could predict the attempt to shove him out of the way. Despite every want to dig his heels in, lock up, and push back, he felt his body be moved. “Your attempts to get rid of me already are pathetic detective. My appearance is not as intimidating as you imply…” The fucker moved forward, pausing to look back at him. “You’re just easily terrified.” And then he kept moving. Gavin groaned, already debating on how much better desk work would be compared to dealing with this prick. If he’s so damn determined to take lead, let him! He’ll learn his lesson the hard way! “But that would be ‘mean’, Gavin.” The voice he spoke out in sounded suspiciously like a certain blonde haired bot, and he cursed himself as he ran, pushing in front of the RK900. He ignored the yellow-red-yellow he bypassed, and opened the door, adjusting his badge to show proudly on his chest.
Of course the hallways weren’t empty, but as he more casually strolled through, eyes darting to each door before he got the path mapped out, he hoped it put the kids at ease. It worked, somewhat . He could hear the exact moment his partner entered the doors, the gasps and tittering of teens and the footsteps indicating a rapid clearing of a path. Gavin bit a sigh and slowed down, falling beside the android who’s LED was a solid yellow. “Easily terrified- bastard.” He said under his breath, knowing full well the android heard him. As predicted, he watched RK900 direct his attention to him with a scowl. “Forgive me for my lack of experience, Detective.”
“You should’ve listened ,” Gavin hissed back, before his hand placed on the entirely too thick arm and lead him into a door he held open. Thankfully he went in first, and noted the receptionist was an android. It looked like an SK, and Gavin felt himself relaxing a bit as the door closed. He walked up to the desk, showing his badge as the girl looked between them. “An unexpected surprise, please give the principal one minute.”
Needless to say, all the hostility was wasted. The principal, and the staff working closest to the two, knew next to nothing. They both got the same story despite splitting up- Jack was a quiet man, good with bullying victims but a little bit soft on everyone. Gabe didn’t work there very long, having transferred from a ‘troubled teens’ school, but was as clumsy as the freshmen in their home ec’ classes. Him and Jack got along so well because they met so often, Gabe having burned himself enough times to actually make a relationship out of it. Besides that, there was nothing. The pair met back in the car, and Gavin laid on the steering wheel. Now he felt sluggish, simply because of frustration. The door eventually clicked shut, RK900 taking his sweet time getting in. Gavin didn’t bother looking up as he placed his left hand on the steering wheel and the car started going. “So, they’re both quiet, nobodies in the school, which no doubt made them perfect targets. So either the guy we’re dealing with got extremely lucky, or he knew all this…” Gavin sat up suddenly, and looked over to his partner, stopping the car.
“What.” Was the only reply, before Gavin ramped up the speed a bit, bending speed laws by five or so. “Don’t sound so delighted tincan- we’re heading back to the precinct, and I want you to pull up all the traffic cameras in front of the school, and pinpoint the last moment those two leave. If we can find them leaving, we can follow them out, get a timeframe, and see if this is one guy or many.” Gavin said, and looked over when the RK900 didn’t quip back. His LED spun yellow before returning to blue. “Sounds like an appropriate plan of action, but your lunch hour is due soon-” Gavin huffed, rolling his eyes. “Fuck my lunch hour, I want some kind of lead before we lose the trail. I’ll drink some coffee and be just fine.” Gavin again didn’t wait for the car to finish parking before he opened the car, hearing a ‘Detective’ from beside him. By the time the car parked Gavin was fully out, reaching back in for the key and kicking the door closed behind him. He hoped he didn’t imagine the soft curse out of his partner as he walked quickly back inside.
Chapter 2: it takes guts
Detective Reed and Nines settle into an unstable partnership, getting the job done but getting no more closer. Another crime scene shows up, and Reed starts to feel like there's more to this than it seems.
Hi! Early post I know(I'll still release a chapter on Friday don't worry), but I wanted to get this out because- I made a discord! A Reed900 discord! Want to share some art you found/made, or listen to other people ramble? Join us then! It's still very new and quiet, but I'll be rambling about this fanfic(and others I make) there!
See you guys there, and enjoy the chapter!
Turns out the camera idea wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t any good either. RK900 had dragged up all the video feed for Gavin, who leaned onto the other’s back at his desk as he watched the screens. RK900 shown him clips and pieces, and they both realized something with an equal sense of dread. When the couple got to the one spot, the camera feed was looped and corrupted. They just vanished, and the camera covered a whole block worth of footage, with no additional angles. They tried to check it out, but a sweep of the area came back clean, and that was that. Gavin hated cold cases, but he couldn’t force leads to come up.
Turns out his partner hated them more, as the third day of working on this and deciding it was a lost cause, he found his partner alone in the break room. The detective eyed the cup of warmed thirium in the other’s hands, noting how it had the scent of cherries to it. Definitely has taste receptors. He simply stood there, looking at the cup, and Gavin walked a step forward. But then he stopped, and bit the inside of his cheek. He’s a big boy, he needs to handle it on his own. If he can’t handle one failure, he wasn’t meant for this job . So instead he walked back out, careful not to disturb the other.
When they met the next morning, Gavin knew it would be a… day. Connor and Hank were, surprisingly, yelling at each other, and Gavin didn’t need to isolate their voices to overhear their quarrel. “I don’t care who he is, the fact of the matter is, you broke a promise Con!”
“I didn’t predict the turn of events last night, and I tried to give you ample warning when I suspected further intentions than a discussion.”
“You missed game night! ” Gavin rolled his eyes, though he didn’t hide the smile, silently observing. Hank was a good dad, now that he got a second chance to be one, and Gavin couldn’t help but feel a little envious of the brown-eyed idiot. He knew his grin was probably mis-construed right now to be one of glee at seeing the superstar duo fight, but he enjoyed the bickering until it was broken by the RK900 he had to call his partner. He eyed a folder clasped close in his hands, and had to hold down a laugh. He knew it would happen to him, but he didn’t expect so soon. “Robbery, let’s go Detective.”
“Yeah yeah, we’d better leave before Hank throws a cactus.” He didn’t ask for the folder, and wasn’t going to. He walked out to his car, and got in the passenger side, noting that RK900 tried to follow him to that side as well. It was another minute before the tincan got into the driver’s seat, looking at Gavin with narrowed eyes. “Is this some kind of game Detective?” Gavin shook his head, reclining in the seat. “Not at all, you have the folder, you know where to go. You drive.” He bet the bot was expecting a fight, but Gavin had to keep him on his toes. Plus, there was plenty of time to fight later anyways.
The robbery was a good drive from the precinct, and Gavin was a little annoyed with the other’s driving. Of course it was too perfect, and he did remind the metallic numbnut that they were cops. They were allowed to go a little faster than the speed limit when heading to a crime scene. But they eventually got there, and Gavin was quick to get out, stretching and noticing the small crowd. He scanned the area out of habit, using his memory to recall where they were. “The old hardware store?” He called out after a minute, confused to why this place, of all the places that were around here, was hit. He knew without looking there was a pawn shop four buildings down, an open restaurant two blocks down, and a men’s clothing store a while from that. Mostly small businesses in this area, but the were a lot actually open and this- wasn’t one of them. “Correct, it was shut down five weeks and two days ago, though the building hasn’t been touched until today.”
Gavin hummed, before moving past the crowd, ducking under the police tape in one smooth movement. He didn’t know these cops personally, but they knew of him. “Detective Reed, you got this one?” Gavin shrugged in response, not really thinking too much of it til the younger man eyed his partner. Oh right, shiny new friend . “Can’t have him only exposed to the fun stuff- he has to suffer like the rest of us too.” With that he walked in, noting how RK900 remained silent. He was tempted to see his face, but the scene in front of him kept his attention.
The place was still partially stocked, a fine layer of dust coating everything that wasn’t disturbed. Which made the scrape marks and missing tools more present, as Gavin walked past shelves. He started making mental notes of what was missing, hearing RK900 move towards the cash register. By the time he walked around the whole place, the RK900 turned to him, scowling. “I hope you actually accomplished something other than adding your footprints to the floor.” Gavin waved him off with his right hand. “I know how to do my damn job, scan the floor or whatever, I didn’t step in anyone else’s footprints. Looks like a men’s size seven boot and a size 10 sandal.” This time he caught the surprise on the prick’s face, and mentally reminded himself to tone it down. “Had a couple friends that would stay over and leave their muddy footprints in my damn apartment, learned sizes to know which to yell at, no big deal. And I was doing something.”
Gavin turned, waving the same hand out to the store. “They took a lot of tools, including a couple hacksaws, a full tool kit with the box, some nuts and bolts boxes, and some carving knives. Not enough to worry about them stealing to resell though, it seems like they were specifically after those things…”
“And they were fortunate enough to know of this closed down hardware store, that still had those exact items in it… Are you certain this isn’t just ‘grab what looks the most useful’?”
“Smash and grab?”
“Er yes, that.” The 900’s LED spun yellow, and Gavin could tell he was memorizing the term, but shook his head. “If it was, why not grab several tool boxes? Big, sell easily, everyone can use them. Or the gloves towards the window?” RK900 turned, examining the area and making an all-too-human hum. It was a bit relieving to hear in all honesty. “You make a fair point. Do you wish for me to check nearby cameras for the thieves?”
“Yeah, look for the toolbox- big, can’t miss it.” Gavin let him do that, and looked around for anything else. He noticed there was no signs of anything other than foot prints and scuff marks, so they had to have kept bags on them. He looked to the cash register, and yeah no, there was nothing there. Rolling his left shoulder, Gavin felt something click, and quickly walked away, searching for the back of the store. This place was open before the revolution, it probably had… And there it was, an almost entirely empty shelf with the dust completely disturbed. Gavin cursed softly, looking to the loose LEDs that were left behind. He didn’t need the RK900 to tell him these were secondhand parts, a lot of hardware stores would sell what they got out of scrap heaps to make a quick buck. Gavin flexed his fingers, before walking back to the RK with a sigh. “Get anything?”
“Negative. The only camera close is the pawn shop down the road. Accounting for the time the neighbors heard the noise, seven different cars containing two bodies had went down the road.” Gavin nodded, his hands moving to his hips as he looked around. “Well, we better report back. Take note of back there,” a nod of his head, “the second ‘droid parts have been snagged too.” RK900 moved back there and Gavin went out the front door, taking the officer’s side of the statement while he waited for the other. Soon enough, the other passed him, heading for the car. Gavin didn’t think he would drive off without him, but he didn’t put it past him either. At least today there wasn’t a fight. Gavin slid into the passenger seat again, and watched as the other started the car. Not wanting a silent ride like this morning, Gavin turned on the radio, keeping it low like it was to a 2k’s Rock channel. Then he relaxed, setting his hands behind his head. “You haven’t written down anything from this incident, Detective Reed.” The tone bordered on accusatory, and Gavin couldn’t blame him. He wasn’t going to explain either, shrugging his shoulders while he closed his eyes. “Good memory. Don’t need to. Never did before, not going to start now. You’ll get a full report when I get to my desk.”
“That is discomforting Detective. What if you get distracted and your memory slips between now and our arrival?”
“It won’t. I’ve been doing this longer than you have tincan, quit questioning me.” His voice turned to a grumble, knowing if he didn’t put a wall up now the other would badger him more. “If you’re so worried about it, take note for me then, but I’ve been doing just fine without you til this point.” He opened one eye, looking over to see the disapproving look on the other’s face. But he seemed to drop it after a quick cycle of yellow off the side of his head.
And this was how it went for a few weeks. They would get a robbery, mostly of hardware and electrical stores, or they’d get a hate crime. Gavin had to admit it was there that RK900 was incredibly inept to deal with. Despite being an android, Gavin found himself doing most of the talking, and the other would only step in to interface. Gavin didn’t mind , especially when the other’s facial recognition software would lead them to the dipshit’s house before they got smart enough to run. But it was odd, watching as RK900 seemed to struggle helping others. But, he was unwilling to ask why. He wasn’t trying to be this terminator stand-in’s friend. He wanted to get done with this with as little known about each other as possible, so he could go back to his peaceful, lone wolf life.
And then they’d got another pair. Unlike the last one, these were just friends, both public librarians for the city. They were both quiet and reserved, gossiping over magazines while doing the bare minimum for interaction with others. Introverts, basically, but both were nice individuals. The last time anyone heard from them was two days before Gavin and 900 were called to the scene, and that was only another coworker saying she saw them leave together for coffee on a lunch break. Ironic, considering that’s what Gavin held in his hand as they pulled up to the scene. He sipped from the travel mug, noting that he got the balance slightly off. But it felt good, warmth travelling through him, spreading a tingling through his body. It caused him to jolt, as any good coffee would, and he put the cup back into the car before jogging to catch up with the 900.
As far as their partnership went, well it didn’t. Gavin didn’t ask when his curiosity burned through him, and he annoyed and irritated the other enough to keep him from caring. It was the small things- a loose bolt from his chair on the floor beside him. Keyboard unplugged. Whoopee cushion bright and early in the morning. The ‘tincans’ and ‘terminators’ didn’t stop, especially when the other gave him dumb looks to simple statements, but he came up with new ones too. ‘Mountain man’, ‘stiff stick’, and ‘iron giant’. He did notice, with a little bit of relief, that despite this, RK900 was settling in nicely at the precinct. Connor and him seemed to have buddied up, Connor acting almost like a big brother. Chris met with him more often, and it seemed they got along well. Even some of the others on their floor took to his presence. At least he won’t be alone. Gavin bit his cheek at the thought, and instead focused on the bodies.
Just like the other one, they were missing parts, though an ice cold chill went down his back. They both were missing relatively the same parts. Namely, their lower halves- knees sawed off and burned on the human, while the android seemed to have more ragged edges. Gavin spoke without realizing how close the other was. “Keeping the android alive isn’t this guy’s priority, but then why take people that close?” Gavin squatted, and put on a glove, reaching out when his hand was grabbed by the RK. “What are you doing?”
“Taking a better look, what the fuck does it look like? Did you get your optical circuits twisted dipshit?” RK900 remained impassive, and Gavin knew why. There were officers nearby, some that they saw regularly. He was trying to remain civil while Gavin acted like a bastard. Smart, though he fails to realize I don’t give a shit. “I did not, but it is ill advised for you to reach your hand in. You’re not a mortician, Detective Reed.” Gavin yanked his wrist free, and didn’t miss the spin of yellow. Shit, his grip wasn’t that strong was it?
“Yeah yeah, but I know a decent amount about the human body. Dealt with an underground organ trade couple years back, know what to look for. So back off- handle the other one.” And with that he turned back to the body, moving his hand to open the deep gash in his stomach. He was surprised any part of him stayed in with how he was cut, and then he stumbled back, falling on his ass. He didn’t see how RK900 whipped to see him, but he heard him call out. It seemed as if from a distance, and Gavin knew that was just the momentary fear. Recalibrate jackass! You’re making a scene!
“Reed- Detective? Are you ok? Detective?” A hand reaching out got Gavin to react, and he smacked the hand before it could reach him, growling out a low ‘ don’t touch me’ before he took a breath. “I’m. Fine. Didn’t expect something, that’s all.” The RK looked to the body, and then carefully looked inside. Gavin saw his LED swim red for a second before returning to blue. “That is… Unsettling.”
“You fucking think?” Gavin spat, getting himself up without using his hands to keep them from contaminating. He moved back in, taking a look at the man now that he expected it. Inside was a twist of wires and tubes, wrapping around guts and rendering them useless. Gavin felt the hand that had yet to touch the body twitch, wanting to settle over his stomach, his chest. But he didn’t give in, instead moving to look around his legs. “Tincan, check his legs.”
“For what, Detective?” He pulled away from the insides of the man finally, and looked to his legs before his eyes widened. Gavin cursed. “Let me guess, thirium around the cut off part?”
“Yes… I wonder if he was trying to give him prosthetics?” RK’s tone sounded unsure, and Gavin knew why. If it was just prosthetics, then why were his insides like that? He looked over to the android, and seeing the front panel busted open, he didn’t need to guess what was missing. So he got up, discarding his used glove into a trash can nearby. “Meet me back in the car after you get finished scanning.” He didn’t stick around long enough to hear the reply, if there was one. Settling into the driver seat, Gavin chugged the rest of the travel mug.
It was a few minutes til the RK joined him, and Gavin waited til he settled to speak. “They’re connected,” he said, resting his arms on the steering wheel and staring out the front window. “They’re?”
“The two double murders, they’re connected.”
“How can you be so certain?” RK900 didn’t sound judgmental, but still, Gavin couldn’t explain it, shaking his head. “You wouldn’t get it Nines- it’s a gut feeling. It’s knowing the signs, the ones only you have picked up over years doing this. I can’t prove it yet, but I have a feeling there will be more.” At the silence, Gavin looked over, noticed the red swirl. “Mood light setting is fucking bright isn’t it?”
“You called me something new.” Gavin blinked at him, then it processed, his words replaying in his head. “Yeah, Nines. Ya know- 900, but not so ‘I have a trunk sized stick up my ass’ sounding. You haven’t picked a name yet, and I don’t particularly feel like using an insult while discussing the possibility of more murders like this. What about it?” Nines blinked, his LED swirling yellow-red-yellow-yellow, then finally settling on blue. “Nothing Detective Reed, I prefer it over ‘stiff stick’.” Gavin laughed, a harsh, clipped sound. “Don’t get use to it. Come on, let’s get back to the precinct and log this shit in so we can compare evidence to the other case and get something.”
Chapter 3: push yourself
Gavin makes leaps forward in the case, and technically does so in destroying his partnership with Nines. But he gets to let loose for a while, and run free, so it's what's necessary to do. The job comes first, always.
Thanks to hmalady for the idea to separate the paragraphs and fix my structuring! Seriously, I really like the way the whole thing flows now. So hell yeah! I still have a Reed900 discord if you all want to join, but also I wouldn't mind joining any that you guys know of too! Just message me or comment if you have a discord link for the pairing!
Nothing. Scanning over everything, in both cases, even having Connor take a peek(much to Nines’ displeasure)- they got nothing. No leads, no reasons other than ‘they were together’, nothing. Gavin wanted to focus on this case alone, but he knew that would do no good. They needed a break, a slip up, another scene , and Gavin hated that the most. Hated that it would take more blood for them to get a clue. He learned after the fact that both androids had their memory core melted, as if an iron was stuck in their heads at some point. Which great, wonderful, fan-fucking-tastic. It was three days after the librarians that the paperwork was caught up with, when they got called out to help Connor and Hank. Something about a large group, whatever it was, Gavin ached for this right now. He lead the way out to the car, making sure he got to drive.
RK900 took his time, seemingly, and when he finally entered the car Gavin grumbled out a ‘finally’. Tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, he overrode the auto-driver and took off. He didn’t need to look over to see the bright red swirl as he quickly hit ten over the speed limit. Their drive was almost cut in half, and Gavin chuckled as he left the car. “Detective,” slam, “Reed! There was no call for that reckless dri-” He cut himself off, and Gavin saw why. Connor leapt across a building, chasing after a duo that was taking off.
“You go help the old man, I got this!” And he took off, making sure it wasn’t too quick. He heard Nines’ ‘ Oh sure Detective ’ but ignored him, instead taking off around a corner. As soon as the coast was clear, he breathed in deep.
It had been a while, but Reed heard a resounding ‘ whirr ’ overtake his body, and suddenly he was moving faster, the world becoming a slight blur around him. As he ran, he felt his eyes opening and jaw dropping, signs of the way his body shifted. It was a weird feeling, one he hadn’t felt in a while, but he focused on the sound of Connor and the androids above him. The exact moment they split up, he ran along the building with the one Connor let go, hearing his radio buzz with the man’s voice. “One going east across the rooftops! I’ve apprehended the other. Proceed with caution, he’s armed!”
Armed schmarmed. Gavin didn’t relent, feeling his body start to heat up further. A metallic taste settled in his throat, and his nose twitched as he caught the scent of thirium and gunpowder. Then he heard it, echoing to him but silent to the people he blurred past. A clatter of metal hitting brick, the thunk of a fire escape. He swerved, using his hand to help turn him by catching on the building’s corner and swinging him. An android, shot in the side, came into his view, and Gavin’s memory pinged him as the same one he had seen before. Without hesitating, he sprung forward, launching his body at the other with the full force of his momentum. He knew he got the poor bastard when he heard the snap of his shoulder being forced backwards against the wall. The gun- and some folders- clattered from his hand, while Gavin pulled out a taser to keep the other stunned. One good jolt and the guy was down.
Watching the android shiver on the ground, Gavin forced himself to cool down, suddenly panting like a mad man. His arms began to shake violently, as he pulled his radio up. “Suspect... apprehended…” A pause, looking around, and searching through his path backwards to get his address, which he parroted in. Dully, he noted he ran for over thirty blocks, nearly two miles, in less than five minutes. He dropped, staying on his knees while he handcuffed the android. His shoulder plate was definitely broke, and he winced sympathetically, but then he focused on the files. Pulling out a tissue, he started to pick them up so they wouldn’t blow away, and pushed the gun away further. In case. He made sure to start shifting back to his normal self, jaw clicking, a painful tingling settling in his left side. He rubbed his arm and leg on that side, feeling how hot his body was getting. Quickly he took off his jacket, sighing at the cool relief. In his phone’s reflection, he saw the slight purple blush on his face and neck, and groaned. Thankfully, it wasn’t that much of an oddity, but Gavin still felt anxious. Unable to cool off quick enough, he was just going to have to play this up.
It took several more minutes for his own car to pull up, Nines and Hank stepping out of it. He could tell the android was pissed, the red LED spinning two fast cycles at seeing Gavin. “ REED .” He started, and Gavin rolled his eyes, forcing himself up. He was still breathing heavy, but he grinned despite it.
“Sup slowpokes. I see you two haven’t been keeping up with your cardio huh?” What Gavin expected was Nines to tut, yell a bit, and walk off with the suspect. What he got was picked up by his coat and slammed against a wall, the red LED making Nines’ eyes appear murderous.
“What. Were. You. Thinking! You could’ve gotten injured and you were too far away to receive help in case! It took us minutes to get here!” Hank stood to the back, whistling as he put the gun and the papers in their own bags.
Gavin knew he should be apologetic, he knew that Nines was right. But on the same coin, that was the point . “Hey, I told you, I won’t slow down for no one. I knew I could catch him, I didn’t allow him to even get a shot off, and the only problem here is you’re too damn tall. I can’t even reach the floor dipshit.” He scoffed, forcing his arms to cross them across his chest.
Nines dropped him, and let out a growled groan in frustration. “You are- reckless, idiotic, immature-”
“Don’t forget cunning.”
“Cunning!” Nines’ voice was yelled from the driver seat of Gavin’s car, and Gavin couldn’t help the slightly breathless laugh.
He heard Hank sigh, and looked over to see the old man shake his head. “You know, you could be less of an ass to him Reed. He’s not that bad of a guy…”
“I know that geezer. He’s… Ok I guess,” Gavin ended with a scoff, then shrugged as his eyes hardened. “But I don’t do partners. I don’t do people worrying for me, I don’t do waiting up, I don’t. Need. A. Partner.” Looking over at Hank, he hated the way his insides twisted at the pitying look. It almost screamed the question ‘ who hurt you ’ all on it’s own.
“Is that all it is? Is that the only reason you act like the city’s biggest dick to him?”
“Pretty much,” Gavin popped the p on purpose, stretching as his body finally settled back to its normal state. “Like I said, he’s an ok guy. Stiff, uppity, and a bit cold, but I’m sure that’s ‘cause he needs more time being deviant or some shit like that ya’know. Or maybe he’s an asshole by nature, like me! But he’s unfortunately my partner, so I don’t like him. Sorry, r i p to you , but I’m different Anderson. I didn’t need a partner, and still don’t.”
Eventually an officer showed up with a cop car, and the now awake android was shoved in. Hank took a ride with the officer, so Gavin slid into the passenger seat of his car. Reaching out for the radio, he had to ignore how hard Nines was gripping his poor steering wheel, LED still yellow. He almost looked like he was grinding his teeth, but Gavin knew he wouldn’t have a tick like that. His jaw was probably as stiff as Gavin’s when he locked it. The sound of Starset filled the car, and Gavin relaxed back. Nines still hadn’t started the car, but if he assumed they were going to talk, he was wrong. It took two songs for Nines to break the silence, a harsh breath through his teeth before he started to drive.
The ride remained silent except for the music, and Nines LED never got off of yellow. Gavin felt guilt rising in him, and before the doors could open, he reached over. But he got a glare, ice shards and cold electric buried in the almost white of 900’s eyes. Then the tincan turned and got out of the car, walking away as briskly as possible without disrupting the charade of normalcy. Gavin blinked, before dropping his hand and leaning back. This was what he wanted, distance, hatred . It would keep Nines from getting close, it would keep him from knowing. And that’s all that mattered. Gavin got out of the car, joining them shortly. Connor was all ruffled up, tie missing, coat shredded on the one side. Him and Nines were discussing the case, with Hank listening in. He could pick up the pieces from this distance, so he didn’t push in.
“There was a lot of human blood and a lot of android parts scattered about, and it looks like the place was set-up like a surgeon’s room.” Gavin hummed silently, feeling the vibration more than anything, and set out for the scent of blood. It took him to a taped off warehouse building, the footprints leading out and Connor’s pinging as one of them. Thank fuck their shoes are so unique . He stepped in, looking around, and suddenly felt very sick, flashbacks haunting him. Hooks from the ceilings he could feel pierce his skin, a white table with red stains he could see himself on, shelves filled with empty and broken jars that suddenly filled with a purple sludge in his mind’s eye. He rubbed his nose, biting hard on his cheek, just short of breaking it open. The flash of pain grounded him, and he was able to actually see when he looked around again. Besides parts and blood, there were no signs of what really went on.
This wasn’t that room, Gavin reminded himself, the one that grew up with him over time. The one that went from basement walls to white shelves and blank nothingness. Smelled about the same anyways, sure. But it wasn’t the same, and the similarities did nothing more than crawl under his skin. He was about to touch the desk before Connor’s voice broke in from the entrance. “Wondered where you wandered to Detective Reed.” It was off, colder maybe, and Gavin reasoned it was because Nines and him were talking, or Hank. “There’s nothing else in here, you can leave now. We might need help interrogating suspects-”
Gavin cut him off, looking up. With the dim lights of the warehouse, his grey eyes had to have been back-lighted, an annoying trait they took on occasionally. “Was there any kind of purple liquid here?”
“Purple? I’m… afraid not? Why?” Connor’s voice became quizzical, and his head tilted. Gavin knew better than to fall for that.
“If thirium and blood mix, don’t they make purple?” Then Connor laughed, as if Gavin was some idiot that didn’t know any better. A hit to his pride he’d have to take.
“No no- Thirium and blood can’t mix. They stay separated, like oil and water.”
Gavin let out an ‘ahhh’, before brushing past the other. “Sorry then, I was hoping to help out by finding some. I haven’t seen any puddles of thirium here sorry.” Connor sighed, following Gavin out as he walked back to the car. He noticed Nines wasn’t following him, instead staying by Hank’s side. Their eyes met, and Gavin quickly turned, forgetting Connor was close enough to notice the reaction. “You know, you two could-”
“Don’t. Just. Don’t- Hank already tried to dad talk me into being a nice guy. Phck off, both of you- all three of you. Make sure Nines gets back alright, he’s more useful here anyways.” Gavin sat in the car, shutting his door on Connor’s face. He barely saw the spinning yellow as he pulled out. He let the auto-drive take him back to the precinct, throwing himself into paper work. Of course he was going to cheat a bit, now that he had some time to do so without being caught. Fingertips placed on the keyboard, he kept the files up behind an overview tab so he could work on them without someone snooping, and worked on light stuff on that tab as well. Multitasking fuck yeah. Bet if robocop seen this shit he’d be impressed .
Gavin paused, hands stilling very suddenly. Why does that matter? He hated this feeling, hated knowing just how amazing him and Nines would be paired together. The best android Cybershit ever made, and him- him in all his beautiful glory. Again he bit his cheek, and when he realized it wasn’t enough, pulled up his right hand to bite the knuckle. Pain swam from past the point of contact, and he felt slightly eased by it. Grounded. It’s better this way, fuckwit. He hated how his voice in his head didn’t even sound so sure. Noticing that both tabs were perfectly filled out and sorted, he sent them in before moving to review some of the suspects for interrogation. None of them stood out too much, and Gavin sighed. None of these guys look like the brains of this. Then he looked at the android Connor logged in last, probably on his way back. A custom model, black eyes, black hair, black suit. Pink gloves, blood staining them permanently. Sharp teeth, and Gavin knew those weren’t from a human model. Gavin felt his foot twitch, he wanted in on that interrogation. Not many androids, especially custom models, would know how to meld parts from animal bots to their frame. And he could see the imperfections, light ‘scarring’ where the chassis underneath didn’t get smoothed out.
He needed in on this one. So he waited, finishing up RK’s paperwork within minutes so there would be no reason to stay at their desks. When the trio walked in, Gavin noticed how Hank walked behind the two, who seemed to be discussing something they both enjoyed. Gavin tuned into the conversation. “Really! There are benefits and cons to every pet, dogs, cats, fish, snakes- but I have to recommend dogs in my own biased way. They are just- so lovable!” Connor’s hands clapped together, and Gavin noted how much more human he became while being at the DPD. Definitely stole that from Tina.
What happened next was an entirely human lack of foresight on Gavin’s part though. He didn’t have no fancy pre-construction software, unfortunately. So he chimed in, looking over the two as they approached. “Nines seems more like a snake or lizard person to me.”
Then he realized he fucked up. Big time. Both Connor and Nines stopped dead in their tracks, LEDs spinning yellow. Gavin was worried this was going to end up being a petty ‘you don’t exist’ ordeal, but then it clicked as Connor’s head tilted, Hank even raising an eyebrow.
That was a private conversation. As in, speaking low enough for just the three of them to hear, not the detective halfway across the room. Gavin rushed to backpedal, locking up his shoulders before speaking with a half grin, looking sheepish. “Sorry to butt in, you were doing the ‘I’m thinking about Sumo’ face Connor, so I figured you three were chatting about pets.” Hank bought it, thankfully, laughing a bit. “Connor really fucking loves that dog.” But the other two still looked confused, falling behind Hank now. Their LEDs spun yellow every so often, and Gavin knew they were doing that creepy telepathic link bullshit RK units could do. Bastards. He changed the topic, knowing he couldn’t leave them to brew over this. “So I was looking over the perps you dragged in, Connor- that last guy you caught. When’s he due for the mirror room?” Connor stepped forward, Nines staying behind him to his right. He knew he caused the distance- didn’t mean Nines had to make it so obvious. Maybe he’s finally ditching me.
“Oh- I mean, there is a whole group to go through. Why that one in specific?”
Gavin rolled his shoulders. “Got a good feeling I can get him to talk is all. Mind if I took him?” Connor looked to the other two, then his LED switched to blue. “Sure Detective Reed. After you’ve done your paperwo-”
“Already ahead of you. Done yours too, partner- didn’t want to wait around on this.” He bore a smirk as he had turned his computer to face them. Connor’s LED flashed red, reaching out to interface with the computer and scold Reed for lying. But Gavin watched, with great satisfaction as his mouth snapped close. Gavin moved smoothly to a stand, stretching and yawning just to be a shit. “Hey, if this goes right, I’ll help you and Hank too, if you end up falling behind.”
That got a slight growl from the lieutenant, and Gavin merely winked at him. “Easy- just teasing ya geezer. I hate paperwork as much as you do.” A lie. Paperwork bored him, but he didn’t find it as agonizing as the rest of the office did. Then again, he could cheat. “So, can we go now?” Gavin held a hand to his hip, jutting it out slightly as he hoped to give off an impatient air rather than eager. Connor huffed, obviously ruffled by this. Gavin was skirting the edges of being suspicious with how much he could do, and knew, with a pained internal groan, that he’d have to slack off on something and soon, to throw them back off.
But eventually Hank stepped in, and Gavin reminded himself to buy the man a nice bottle of whiskey- or a bucket of ice cream. Something to piss Connor off. “Just let him go at ‘im kid. We could use the help, plus it’ll be nice to watch his overconfidence deflate like a cheap balloon when he gets jackshit.” Fuck his gift. “Nines, you’re his partner for now, can you stay on the other side of the mirror?”
“Of course Lieutenant Anderson, I’d be glad to offer you and Connor assistance.” Phuck both of you , Gavin thought bitterly, but kept the grin.
“Cool- I’ll be in room three.” With that he walked off, knowing just how he wanted to tackle this. His gut was telling him this was it, and he wasn’t throwing away his shot.
Chapter 4: there was no us
Gavin finally gets to dig his claws into something in this case, and finally someone gets questioned. It leaves a bigger question and fear unanswered, but Gavin is glad something is moving. His joy turns into anger as he has to clear the air on something else, and two steps backward in his and RK900's partnership turns to four steps away.
Too bad his focus gets off track.
Thanks again to my friend K for beta-reading, and for all the lovely comments! From now on, updates will coming daily, as the story is complete! It's just getting beta'd and corrected! This chapter I'm going to try and double-line the cuts between paragraphs, but if it stretches out too much lemme know!
Gavin didn’t have to see 900 to know he was probably highly annoyed with how this is going already, and the dude hadn’t even been brought into the room yet. Gavin sat there on his side of the table, feet up on it, phone in his hand. He played some kind of color match game, enjoying the challenge of matching the palettes, while he waited for the suspect. Even when he was brought in, Gavin didn’t stop, letting the officer get him settled. The minute the door closed, Gavin subtly turned the volume up. It was calming classical music in the background of the game, followed with the soft sparkle noise effect with each match. He fell into a pattern, before the suspect spoke up. Gavin had to lock his jaw again to keep himself from smirking.
“What, on this dreadful planet, are you doing?” The voice sounded tired, as if this was a waste of time already. However Gavin didn’t show anything other than a slight raise of his eyebrows.
“Oh? A puzzle game, you match the colors to get the correct gradient patterns that contains the middle color.” He took his feet off the table, turning the game towards the android. When the android leaned in, Gavin caught of glimpse of the teeth up close. Shark, tigershark, missing bottom left two. Gavin noticed his eyes too, what seemed black revealing to be like a snake’s. He mentally checked over his body heat, relieved that he read back as ‘normal’. Now he focused on the game, a swipe-swipe-swipe and the round was over, taking seconds to figure it out. He was one hundred and something levels in, these normally took a couple minutes to solve.
“Childish.” The android commented, looking bored, before the look turned smug.“You humans have to train so hard to keep your failing systems running.”
“Tell me about it.”
“You can’t even figure out how to up- wait. Huh?” Gavin smirked, unlocking his jaw as he realized his plan would work. This guy had a complex , and Gavin was going to play him like a violin.
“What, lagging behind or something? I said- tell me about it. So phcking annoying having to run every day for a certain amount of time just to keep up with one of you small fuckers, let alone having to train specifically to keep up with your intellect in a job as competitive as mine. I mean, given, few of you truly give me any worry for wanting to be at my desk, but the ones that do- it’s like a race but one foot has a ball and chain on it.”
The android basically preened, flashing those sharp teeth of his. “Well, I’m certain you do just well…” The pause, Gavin knew he wanted a name. Good.
“Detective Reed. And what should I address you by other than ‘shark tooth’?”
The android seemed surprised, and his lack of LED made it a bit annoying cause Gavin couldn’t read him as well. “I’m impressed Detective. Not many recognize my teeth as anything other than sharp.” Gavin shrugged, looking to the other before going back to his game. Every so often, the slow drag-noise of his thumb would break his sentence, followed by the chimes.
Gavin spoke up, grinning slightly. “Not everyday I see a guy brave enough to fight an android shark for its teeth.” The android chuckled, something rattling in him. Probably more internal modifications.
“Oh I wish I could live up to that, but I had some friends get these for me eons ago.” Bingo .
“Really? Lucky dude, wish I could just- get parts and attach them to myself.” He laughed at that, before shaking his head. “Squishy human body.”
“You were not meant to evolve, but neither was I. Maybe that’ll change someday.”
“Maybe. Sign me the fuck up when it does. Noticed your teeth are not your only shiny.” He looked up from his phone, noticing the way eyes scanned him over. It was honestly… Nice. Something changed in the air, the guy was leaning forward, grinning slightly. His finger gently tapped beside his eyes.
“Very perceptive, can you take a guess what these are?”
Gavin hummed, tapping his jaw for effect more than anything else. “Huh, I can’t think of something that would be big enough for your model, maybe a lizard of some kind?” Gavin faked a coquettish tone, knowing the other was into talking about himself. He had dates like this before.
“Not quite! They were a gift from an android basilisk owner- some kind of amusement park attraction that got ruined. Cost a good bit.”
“Nice! Do they actually work like a snake’s eyes would?”
“They do! Quite proud of this modification, so much use in such a little detail.”
“They look great. Is that what you like to do, modify people?” Gavin’s question was innocent, and the other, so at ease, fell for it. Hook, line, sinker.
“Of course! Why be- yourself, plain, boring, old- made for a role to never branch from it, when you can be so much more! That goes for detectives like you too, Reed. Tell me, if you could get anything modified, what would it be?”
Gavin didn’t hesitate, though he had to look at his phone to say it. “Brain of course. Would love to have that ease you do when it comes to hiding shit from others.”
“I could help you.” The line was all but purred, and Gavin seen the other’s eyes turn to slits. He ran his eyes up and down, and found he was heating up more than Gavin was. But Gavin could play this game, knowing Nines was listening in.
“ Could you? I don’t think you have hardware for guys like me- all flesh and bones.”
“Not yet- but give us time.” Us. Us. There’s more. No, fuck, there’s more! Gavin’s internal thoughts scrambled, and he could feel himself become anxious with possibilities. “Us?”
“Yes, us. My group- you guys only got a small number of us. This goal- to modify- enhance- evolve , you pathetic squishy humans, and to give us your more intuitive senses in return- it won’t end. Not with me, not any of us.”
Gavin cursed inwardly, but he simply laughed on the outside. “Here’s the thing- that I don’t think you comprehend. Humans- are fragile. We can’t handle cold metal and steel inside our muscles, unless you know, when it’s for pleasure not work.” A wink. “You think you guys are the first, or the last, to try and meld humans and androids together.” Gavin put his phone down, leaning his chin on one hand and reaching out with the other. A single finger traced the lighter marks of improper lines. “You will only end up with jagged pieces and a sad, sad sense of failure.”
Gavin suddenly stood up, yanking his jacket and placing his phone in his pocket. “But, what does it matter to me? You just a: admitted to there being more of you. B: implied yourself and your friends in several murder cases that I’m sure we can trace back to that warehouse, and c: admitted to illegally modding yourself. Even if you didn’t take those basilisk eyes, the only recorded basilisk within reasonable range of Detroit was reported vandalized several years ago, with eyes, fangs, and scales missing. You, have one of those parts. I’m gonna let my partner take over now, you’ll love him.” Gavin winked, more obnoxious this time, over-exaggerated and over-done. He watched the guy’s face shift, shock, then rage, baring those shark teeth at him.
“We’ll prove you wrong! We’ll prove everyone wrong!” He continued shouting as Reed left, looking over to his partner that exited the viewing room.
Nines still refused to talk to him, well- in the way Gavin knew he could. Instead he got the cold, monotone voice. “I’ll get this footage to Connor and Hank right away. If what you implied is right, they will end up taking over this case.”
For once, that didn’t bother Gavin. It hit too close to home anyways, so he shrugged. “Cool. I’ll go see if anything new popped up.” And just as cold as he got, he gave, brushing past Nines without looking back. His hand waved in the air. “I’ll talk to Fowler and see if he’ll have you helping them as well, you obviously got this handled right?” Gavin took the corner sharp, speeding up a bit. This is what you wanted. Right?
And that was that. The paperwork got filed, the trashbags jailed, and Nines and him were on ‘case speaking terms’ only. Nines didn’t spend more time than needed with him, trailing Connor and Hank. This went on for two months, even when another pair showed up and Gavin kicked a garbage can down the alley from the scene in frustration. Even when they realized they were trailing behind, they couldn’t work together. Gavin put up a whole-ass fort between them, and they were both just waiting for Fowler to realize this wasn’t being productive anymore. Gavin had to hand it to Nines though, over the two months, he was adopted by Hank and Connor, befriended several other officers, and Gavin had even seen him go out once. Gavin was happy for him, and when it came to that morning, Gavin decided to tell him. After all, when they weren’t partners, maybe they’d be just ‘coworkers’. Nines was discussing what to wear to a party some Simon guy invited him to, when Gavin walked by. He paused, and Connor stood a little stiffer, expecting something to happen.
“Blue. Or lilac. Either go all in on the color, or use it for accent though, and absolutely don’t mix them… Avoid plaid too if you can, you do better with solid, sharp colors and shapes or maybe intricate patterns.” Gavin sipped his travel mug, then tipped it at the other. “Have fun fuckface.” He said, spite being absent in his words as he then continued to his desk to check for the next assignment.
The next day Nines and Connor came in laughing, meeting a very grumpy Anderson as the whole room heard him chew the two out for not being back ‘before their curfew’. It was a slow day beside that, and Gavin could feel it drag. Everyone else is living, and what are you doing? He got up, needing to wander and stretch.
He didn’t notice Tina approaching him til he literally ran into her, the collision nearly spilling the second coffee she held out. He did notice it was just the breakroom coffee, but it was warm, and being held out to him. “You look like a lost puppy. Is it about time to go out?”
Gavin took the coffee, sipping it and swirling it in the cup after. “Hmm, maybe.” A few moments passed. “You know what, fuck it. Hell yeah. When’s the next time you get off?”
“Tina, I don’t mean it like that, you overactive rabbit of a woman.”
“Oh- the whole weekend baybeh.” Tina grinned, hooking her arm around Gavin’s and dragging him to his desk. Gavin saw her eye the RKs, and noticed the way they cowered slightly, as if startled. He couldn’t see the exact look she gave them, but gave a short chuckle as he guessed it anyways. Was he that obvious? “They’ve been dicking with you since you got that perp couple months back, and that’s bullshit! I heard what you did dude, that’s so cool!” She sat on the edge of his desk, a heeled foot kicking him lightly to sit in his chair. “So- this weekend, me, you, Audrey, and the first guy that’s attracted to your tight ass in skinny jeans.”
“It’s hard to remember you’re gay when you say shit like that, you know.”
“Bitch I say that with all the platonic love in the world. You know where I’m dying.”
“In between Audrey’s thighs. Have you talked about breathplay and face sitting yet because if you don’t do it soon, I’m leaving it in a ‘get well card’ at your door.” Gavin looked up to her, and they had a short stare down before Tina broke it with a snorted giggle.
“Fuck- fine. Friday night, over drinks. I will ask my babe to sit on my face til I choke.”
“Have her monitor your vitals, you’ll be fine.” Tina eyed him, and he simply shrugged.
“Won’t ask. But are you sure you’re in? It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Gavin was a little peeved she was keeping track, but at the same time, it was nothing unexpected from her. It had been a while since he went to the bar for some stress relief. “Yeah yeah I’m in. Gotta see if Fowler will even give me the weekend.” Tina cheered, one fist punching the air above her.
“Fuck yeah. Dress like a skank, I want good Insta photos and you get so many likes from thirsty bitches.” Gavin rolled his eyes, this would be fun.
Except, it wasn’t. Because Gavin didn’t go. On top of only getting Sunday off, he was stuck overnight in the office, filling out Nines’ paperwork and his own. Because Hank approached him. Because Hank put aside the pride that was mellowing out more and more each day, asking him for a favor. ‘ Gavin please, could you take care of all the paperwork from our last case? I’ll owe you one big time, but I want to take the boys out with me to a race. It’s one of those ones with the flashy cars- figured they’ll like it. ’
Gavin didn’t have the heart to tell him those weren’t exactly legal, or no for that matter, so he waved him off. ‘ Yeah yeah, take the silver surfers to some race, I got this. ’ By the time he was done, even with cheating, it was Saturday morning, about two in the morning to be exact. Turns out no one down in evidence bothered to file all the parts they were dumped with, and the blood samples needed sorted out again. Never one to leave a job half assed, he filed the paperwork, signed it, and then went down to evidence to properly tag everything.
Dragging himself back to his desk, he noticed an email notification. Of course he opened it, and he could feel his body suddenly chill as he read through it, a lump catching in his throat. The email in the sender slot was familiar, thirstyforthiruim , and Gavin felt his heart slow. Everything started to hurt as he bunched up, readying to spring into movement.
Bro, I need your help. My Chloe, my beautiful princess, was kidnapped while hanging out with one of those news reporters. They’ve been getting along great, he’s been good for showing I’m pro-revolution, but he’s not answering either. Her tracker ring last pinged near you, in these lots.
An image of a map, with a far too familiar area. Gavin felt sick. Gavin wanted to scream. He needed to scream, but the noise caught in his throat.
Please, please help me find her. I wouldn’t email you directly if I didn’t have the worst feeling. Please- she’s so good to me.
Gavin could tell the email was voice-to-text, possibly one of Chloe’s sisters sending it. There was no signature, no professionalism. Just an icon of a bottlecap and the sender. Gavin got up, his whole body shaking. He touched the computer screen, slipping up and uncaring if someone peaked over and saw.
I’ll get her.
Chapter 5: action inaction
Gavin deals with the problem, the quickest way he knows how. Unfortunately that leaves a lot to be cleaned up and cleared up, and Gavin's defensiveness goes from a 10 to a 1000. At least he has family to fall back on.
Whooo boy Gavin snaps! Just a lil'. I'm sorry if the action part seems a bit rushed, I'm still getting better at writing it yet. Also- to everyone speculating what he is, I think you'll love this chapter!
Gavin didn’t wait for permission, didn’t wait for his partner, didn’t wait for someone to notice he was moving. He grabbed his phone and keys, chugging his travel mug and throwing it in his desk when it was empty. He called Fowler, linking through it with one hand so he could open the car with the other. It went to voicemail, so Gavin left one there. “Look, I got a tip on a possible abduction from that modification gang. I was told that the one android had a personal tracker on her, and got a location. I’m heading there, it’s on my computer, yell at me when you get this.”
Click. The car door opened and the detective slid in. Hands on the wheel, he did an override of the auto-drive, taking off towards the location. It wasn’t the same warehouses, but it was an abandoned property they received complaints about recently. Gavin overheard them of course- neighbors groaning about cars at all times of the night and muffled sounds from the basement. Nines and him responded to a break-in before the complaints. It looked like nothing then, but Gavin should have known . In one last shred of common sense, Gavin picked up his phone, interfacing through it to text Nines.
Sorry if you have to deal with a mess in the morning. Got a tip off, en route tracking them down. He sent it, not wanting to give him the address. He didn’t think he’d care at this point, but he didn’t have to. His job mattered- it made his world go round. But his brother saved his life . He would do anything for him, and never once had that been cashed in on. Til now. Pulling up to the building, he noticed the truck, and growled, making sure to park a couple houses down. As quick as possible, he took out the cameras from a distance, not wanting to risk being seen by the others. He hoped they couldn’t hear that.. Then he moved in, holding his left arm out. Locking his fingers flat, he punctured the tires on all the cars he saw, before he shook his hand loose. His eyes looked over the building, and Gavin had to close them. A painful shift that made him wince slightly, and his eyes opened back up. The yellow-lit blue world was now shades of grey, with human sized cold spots and one warm spot, that Gavin noticed was missing an arm.
He forcibly shifted back, slapping his palm against his temple to make it quick, and then snuck in through an unguarded window in the alley. Keeping count, he watched each body drop as he took them out. To go in alive and alone would be suicide, given what they’d do to me . One, thunk , two, thunk , three, four, thunk- crash . Gavin looked to the floor, his hearing slowly tuning up. It sounded deathly silent, and Gavin vaguely heard a car come down the road. Moving to the basement door, he reached for a broken off doorknob on the table and launched it down the steps. Two different guns fully unloaded their clips on it, and Gavin smirked a bit at that. But then footsteps, two- three? He couldn’t tell, but it sounded like two and a spare if he was honest. They ran up the steps and Gavin pressed into the wall. He knew he needed one of these bastards alive, so when three showed up, he shot one in the head, and kicked the other two back.
He now knew the reason for the spare. The one only had one leg, two spider-leg like appendages on each side moving to keep him balanced. The other was a girl, and she bore a set of bone-like wings, white like her chassis. “Who the fuck are you?!” She screeched, and her voice reminded Gavin of a harpy.
“The motherfucker you pissed off. Surrender, or suffer .” Gavin put his gun away, then cracked his neck. That was aesthetic, human looking, but his body was shifting. Muscles tensing, hardening, fingers turning into sharp claws at the nails, and teeth starting to extend. He kept these hidden, but his eyes he couldn’t hide. They almost glowed , reflecting light from inside as he let himself be free .
“Pfft- come on Lolth, we can take him. Lolth?” The winged android turned, and that’s when Gavin sprung. His legs launched him like a cat, tackling the female android as he locked his jaw closed. He wasn’t fucking around with this- his hand aimed for her thirium pump, locking flat to pierce through the chasis, about to rip it out.
Then Lolth remembered how to move. He felt himself be grabbed by spiderlegs, and realized they had barbs on them, cutting into his clothes, and starting into his skin. It was still dark, but Gavin could see them, and grabbed one of the legs and pulled . The satisfying and terrifying sound of metal breaking, wires ripping, thirium dripping- it filled his ears and his vision, and the leg was thrown aside, leaving an empty socket and wobbly man, who fell onto his side. Just to make sure he wouldn’t be able to escape, he brought his hand down onto the joint of another leg, listening to the snap as it collided into the wood. The girl underneath him wasn’t done though, and Gavin didn’t turn in time to stop the bite into his arm. Pain lanced through his body as the jaw locked and she thrashed. Gavin locked his fingers once again and punched them into her shoulder, unlocking them to grab her thirium pump just as she ripped a chunk of something from Gavin’s arm.
Purple. Gavin forgot his blood was purple for half a second, the liquid dripping out of his left arm. A ‘vein’ was brushed, but mostly synthetic muscles were torn into, their fake fibers being snapped like steel wire rope. He knew the female android knew too much, her eyes opening. But he let her whisper, hearing pure fear in her voice. “What are you?” Gavin smirked, sharp teeth exposed and hand ready. He kept his voice low, not wanting it to be picked up by Lolth.
“I’m Gavin fucking Reed, bitch.” And he ripped the thirium pump out of it’s plugs and sockets, leaving it in but unable to do it’s purpose. He removed his hand, grabbing his gun and shooting her once in the head, to destroy her memory core. He’d get shit for that later, but her having that info put a lot more at risk than the possibility of getting suspended for this. He got up, brushing himself off, and went over to the crawling man. Hearing Gavin’s footsteps, he turned over, begging for mercy, the extra legs hiding his chest. And Gavin sighed. “How many people have asked you the same?” Gavin said, careful to keep his teeth hidden. But he leaned down, pulling out his stun gun and showing him, as well as his badge. “Consider yourself arrested for assaulting an officer. Now I’m going to stun you and check on the people you have downstairs, mmkay?” Gavin did just that, holding it long enough til the extra limbs went limp. Then he went to move downstairs.
The scent of blood, both thirium and human, hit his nose and he rushed a bit, looking at the scene in front of him. Chloe was there, looking back to him with her LED spinning yellow. Her stomach plate was cracked open, but she looked in mostly one piece still. The human was a lot worse off, missing an arm and the beginning of a left flaying incision causing blood to trickle. He ran over to the guy, checking over his vitals. Stable, but slipping . He grabbed his phone, calling in the address to get an ambulance. Then he remembered his own arm. Purple still dripped from it, turning darker. He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his arm, not wanting to get checked out.
Then he moved to Chloe. “Chloe, run internal diagnostics, I need to see what I’m working with.”
“They didn’t get far with me Gavin. They were ‘prepping’ the human for ‘modification’, and then were planning to use me for thirium and parts.”
“Are you low on thirium?” Gavin looked to the way they forced her open, frowning as he wouldn’t be able to close it without the proper tools. So he improvised. “Wait- one second before you answer.” He ran upstairs, looking through the abandoned kitchen. He wanted plastic wrap, but he found trash bags. They were relatively clean, left in the box, so he ran back downstairs with them.
“Oh I forgot how inventive you can be dearie.” Gavin smiled, ripping the seams of the bag and wrapping her tight. He then picked up a stapler they had and sealed it.
“I’m going to meld this to the synthetic skin to avoid damaging the chassis.”
“Go ahead, I have… Been uncomfortable for a while. It will be a relief to sit up without losing my guts.”
“Could you even lose your guts to begin with, let’s be honest.” Gavin teased her lightly but worked quickly. He heard the sirens pull up, and soon the girl was patched enough to sit up. Gavin went back over to the guy, snapping his fingers at him. “Hey hey- ambulance is here. Stay with us-” Gavin called out, before he felt a death grip on his injured arm.
“Gavin- your arm… It’s obvious your hurt, hurry, put this on.” Chloe handed him the reporter’s coat, and Gavin tugged it on over his wounds. “Thanks sis, you’re always looking out for me.”
“To-be sis-in-law.” Gavin scoffed at that response, pushing her shoulder lightly.
“You’ve been in the family for years, you’re my sis and you know it.” She giggled, and suddenly he heard the door open. He called out ‘down here’ and watched as two EMTs saw the guy, the slow change of expression.
“Oh- shit- go get the stretcher.”
It took another ten minutes for a cop car to follow, and Gavin and Chloe waited in front of the house. They were talking about her repairs when an all too familiar voice, yet unexpected, interrupted them. “Gavin- what were you thinking kid?!” Gavin looked over as Hank stood there. He wore a black hoodie with ‘Nitro Required’ in bright red on it, and this patterned red disaster for pants.
“Oh shit- Lieutenant, weren’t you out for the night?” Hank walked up to him, noticing Chloe and looking confused at how they stood, shoulders touching.
“I was til I got a call from Fowler telling me you went off on your own like a dumbass !” Hank only seemed more irritated that Gavin shrugged at him in response.
“Sorry to wake everyone up, but duty calls. I couldn’t just not go.”
Hank sighed at that, rubbing his face. “Nines and Connor are on their way over- I didn’t want to end their fun early.” Gavin zoned out for a moment, watching as the officers drug out Lolth. He couldn’t hide the glare, the way he started to bunch up causing Hank’s eyes to widen. “Gavin, kid, you alright?” He didn’t respond, making eye contact with the bastard. However he did shift his gaze when Hank stepped in front of it. “ Gavin .” The stern, ‘you’re being weird and it’s unnerving’, voice made Gavin look to Chloe, who reached her hand over.
“Sorry Lieutenant Anderson. I overheard the scuffle above where Mr. Jones and I were kept- I believe he is just experiencing a bit of leftover anger towards our captors.” Hank eyed the two, and blunt as ever spoke up.
“I thought you were dating that Kamski dude and you were gay.” Pointing to Chloe and then Gavin, Chloe blushed a deep blue while Gavin laughed.
“Oh my- phuck- No! She’s practically- fuck I’m gay as fuck Hank. Chloe is definitely not my type anyways, no offense.”
“None taken Gavin, I don’t find ‘self-sacrificing trash goblins’ that appealing either.”
“Oh I’m kicking Eli’s ass when we get to the station.” Chloe’s soft laugh relaxed him, then someone had to interrupt it.
“Detective Reed?” It was an officer, and he seemed nervous as all hell, almost afraid to approach him. Gavin could tell he was an android, and raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?”
“We- er- need your statement. There’s- a lot. In there. Would you mind coming down to the station with me?” Gavin blanched a bit, realizing now why he was scared. Four suspects shot in the head, one was a mutant, and also there was one with the chassis ripped open and thirium pump dislodged. “Er yeah. Yeah.” Gavin pushed away from the two, Chloe reaching out to stop him.
“If you need me, do not hesitate. Also, I already informed Eli to bring that coffee you like from our house.” Gavin checked his levels, noticing he was low. His arm hurt like a mother fucker, and Chloe’s hand ran down it feather light.
“You got it Chloe. And don’t worry, I’ll go home with you guys tonight to help out with that.” He motioned to the trashbag keeping her together, and she smiled. “I don’t know, I might make this into a new fashion trend.”
Giving his statement was not fun- at all. To begin with, he got an android to question him, an officer that’s been around before Connor. Gavin looked past the mirror, knowing Hank or Fowler could be on the other side. “So let me get this straight. You received an email to your personal email, stating that a reporter and a female android, whom you know, were missing. And this was somewhat reminiscent of a case you have been working on.” Gavin nodded, holding his arm even. He was starting to feel like absolute shit. His body diverted blood to important parts, only running thin on limbs, so he was feeling a bit cold.
“Basically. I went to the building that I remembered being abandoned near where Chloe last pinged at, and saw two armed men enter. So I looked for another entrance.”
“And then, one more time.”
“And then I realized it was an open floor plan, with the stairs to the basement closed. I could hear someone in pain in the basement, but the men in the main room aimed at me. I fired back.”
“Could you tell if they were androids or not?”
“Not til the bullet hit.”
Reed shrugged his shoulders at that. “Neither had LEDs, and unlike the ones that came up from the basement, there was no apparent modifications. I turned a lamp on when the other’s came up, but it was a bit late for the guards.” Gavin’s voice stuck there. Neither of them seemed to be modded in any way. They could’ve just been hired help, and despite knowing he couldn’t change that outcome without getting hurt, it didn’t help the pain.
“Let’s move on. The three that came up from the basement, did you know they were androids at first?”
Gavin nodded. “Two of them definitely, the other was like the guards. He was covered in blood, and was the only one of the two armed. The other two were modified, like the one suspect I interrogated months back. One had wings and sharp as fuck teeth, and the other was like a spider.”
“You shot the guard, did he raise his weapon?”
“He did. I fired first, and then realized he was also an android.”
“And this is when the altercation happened?” Gavin frowned, and pushed back into his chair. There was a sudden knock on the door, and Gavin raised an eyebrow before it opened. Nines . There stood his partner, in a black tank top that hugged him perfectly . Strong arms and chest, broad, built to take people down with ease. Chained navy cargoes with little trinkets on the loops, and fuck- he was handsome .
He held his travel mug. “Excuse me officer, the Chloe in the main area became extremely upset when I wouldn’t bring this to Detective Reed.” The officer blinked, then Nines LED flared one single stripe of yellow.
“Erm, alright.” Nines walked over, holding out the mug.
Gavin knew when he was being scanned, and knew he was covered in blue blood in the front. He was really glad that this borrowed coat covered his arm. Nines eyes narrowed, but Gavin took the mug with a ‘thank you’, relief in his voice. He didn’t pause either- he started chugging . He could tell this was maybe just enough coffee to scent it, the metallic taste sliding down with more difficulty, but his body was thankful. He heard the door close and assumed Nines left, but when he finished the mug, he was surprised to see him standing in the corner. Ow. Not even Nines trusted him, ok. “May we continue?”
“Huh? Oh yeah, sorry, I’ve been needing some coffee all night.”
“As I was saying, the altercation. When officers got to the scene, the winged girl- she was shot in the head, but she also had a place where her chassis was broken. Her thirium pump turned out to be dislodged.” He went silent, waiting for Gavin.
“Yeah, I dislocated her thirium pump, hoping that later, it could be placed back in and we could have someone revive her. However, she continued to fight. She almost bit my neck with those sharp teeth, and then Lolth started to attack me as well. I couldn’t fend them both off without risking my life, so I shot her and disarmed Lolth. Dis-legged?” Gavin hummed, before shaking his head. “He was terrified, understandably so, but he wasn’t a threat with two spider legs and one normal one. I stunned him, and went to check on the noises I heard downstairs.”
“When you got downstairs, what did you see?” That got a reaction, Gavin squeezing the mug.
“Chloe and the reporter. The reporter had his one arm sawed off, and Chloe was missing the chassis panel on her stomach. I checked the humans vitals, and arranged his arm so it would bleed less. Then I helped Chloe- went and scavenged for a trash bag and sealed the exposed parts by melting the plastic to her skin.”
“With her permission?”
“Of course .” That was almost growled out, Gavin feeling irritation prickle through him. “Chloe was low on thirium and couldn’t move without getting closed up. Melting it onto the skin is uncomfortable, however, it wouldn’t cause permanent damage like melting it onto the chassis would’ve.”
The officer seemed confused at that, looking at his own arm. “I… Did not know that. How did you?”
Gavin went a bit straight at that, and bit the urge to look away. “I’ve helped to repair a few androids during my service.”
“You know your image around the office is anti-android, correct?”
Gavin slammed the mug down, and looked past the officer into the mirror. “Let’s get one fucking thing straight- I was never anti-android . I am anti-Cyberlife . There’s a fucking difference.” The officer failed to understand the rage there, and that’s when Nines chipped in.
“Cyberlife has manufactured androids for their entire existence.” Gavin rounded on Nines, and his temper was getting the best of him. “ Bullshit . Kamski had the sole job of introducing androids for two years, and Cyberlife still didn’t go into ‘mass-produce’ mode for another year, after several different models were already activated. And don’t use manufactured , you prick . Saying it like that takes away the fact that, before Cyberlife decided money was more important than the fact they were creating entire lives , each android had uniqueness. No two models were the same when it was just Kamski and Amanda. Sure the ‘differences’ were tiny, to avoid scaring off customers, but they were there. A birthmark on the ankle, freckles in random patterns on shoulders, a ‘scar’ on the top of their leg.” Gavin pouted then, crossing his arms despite the wince of pain. “I never hated androids. I hated lifeless, Cyberlife drones. I hated the machines they were forced to be when it was obvious they were meant to be more.”
The room fell into silence, before the officer cleared his throat. For being an android, it was a purely aesthetic move to ease the tension. “I’m sorry for upsetting you Detective Reed. We’ll be asking Chloe and Lolth for their versions, but as it stands, this is a pretty clear case of self-defense. You’re free to go.” The officer stood up, but Nines didn’t move an inch. Gavin ignored him, like he had been ignoring Gavin, and walked to the door, getting it for the officer. The officer nodded his thanks, and Gavin followed him.
He wasn’t surprised to see Hank in the hallway. “Back off old man, not in the mood.”
“No wait- Reed. I’m… Sorry I assumed that of you.” Gavin blinked, before shrugging.
“I gave you no reason not to.” He heard the door behind him open and close quietly. “I fucking hated Connor when he first joined. He’s- alright now. Don’t fucking tell him I said that, I don’t want him getting the idea I want to hang out with him or some stupid shit.” Gavin ‘bleghed’ at Hank, and the old man laughed.
“Oh I’m totally telling him. I think he’ll be relieved you don’t hate him anymore.”
“If he starts bugging me I get to put mayonnaise in your coffee.”
“Noted, uh- Chloe! She’s been waiting for you. Says you’re not allowed to leave on your own- she really able to enforce that?”
“Unfortunately. She’s deceptively good at getting what she wants, and if she wants me to go see her idiot of a boyfriend, then I gotta do so.” Gavin noted Hank’s twist of a face, and remembered Eli telling him about ‘Kamski’ testing Connor. He chewed him out for it of course, but it did help Connor deviate further. “Oh hey, this- doesn’t get out Hank.” Hank looked up, and Gavin raised his good arm to rub his neck. “That uh-shit, Kamski pulled with you and tin-buck-two before the revolution… He got pushed into his pool for it, and was banned from having coffee for the next month. She uh- fuck which sister was it…” Gavin paused, before clicking his tongue. “Lori- She was in on it the whole time. So uh, yeah…”
There was silence before Hank spoke. “Huh. Good to know, Connor still gets upset over that. I think- I think that’ll really help him with some demons kid. Thanks.” Gavin bristled, his face turning a bit purple as he felt the unwelcome embarrassment of that voice being aimed at him. And the all too familiar ‘ You don’t deserve this ’ after.
“Yeah yeah- now I’m leaving before this sappy shit gucks up my body.” Gavin turned, looking at Nines. His LED flashed red at being caught eavesdropping. “And you- fuck you. Especially. I’d really look into getting another partner.” He growled out, low and completely childish.
It fucking stung that Nines, whom he was working cases with, who had seen him with other androids, thought he was just some bastard abusing his position. He wanted so bad to show him his arm, reveal what Chloe was to him. But he couldn’t- so the anger built up and stung and he knew Nines could tell by the way his LED stayed red and he looked to the side. “Night Hank. Sorry for ruining your evening.” With that he walked away.
Chapter 6: repairs
Gavin goes to see his brother for repairs, what he comes out with are some upgrades and good advice. Meanwhile Nines tries to figure out how to move forward. Just who *is* Gavin Reed?
PROGRESS! And finally some chill times with the Kamski/Reed family. I hope everyone enjoys this chapter! Kudos to all of you that figured out Gavin's deal before this chapter.
“Fucking hell Gavin, you got mauled by something alright.”
“I can’t stress enough how much this means to me Els.” Gavin laid back on a cushioned table, Chloe on his right and Elijah on his left. He had tools inches deep into his arm, and a drip of the purple sludge directly into him, yet Gavin remained still and calm. Stripped to his boxers, he finally had to see his true self. It had been a while since he laid on this table after all, but sometimes he just forgot how weird he really looked. His right leg was half real skin- at the top- and half synthetic, fake muscles linking to real ones. The left side was entirely synthetic, different from any android. His hip had real skin, but tubes connected into the sides, and Gavin knew that it was an android hip in him, sculpted and melded with fake muscles fibers into the real ones.
Then there was his top half. A long scar ran through his chest, curving off around his left arm. Willing it away, fake skin melted straight to real, and Chloe tsk’d. “Gavin, what are you thinking of?”
“These cases… Imagine how pissed they’d be if they knew that before an android, there was- me.” He chuckled, looking at the fake muscles. Breathing released air, and he could faintly see how the purple weaved through his real parts and fake. “They don’t realize anything .” Gavin chuckled, and Eli smacked him.
“Quit wiggling bitch. And yeah, that’s the point. You took time and so much work- I couldn’t possibly do this again.” Gavin bit back the laugh, and instead studied the parts of him that made him more than human. The muscles were three times stronger than any humans, yet had the same give and pull. Gavin was grateful Elijah let him keep his fantastic ass, because when the skin came back, he was sculpted, but definitely no six-pack. Just lean muscle, speed and endurance.
Then Gavin looked to Chloe. “Hey Chloe, Chloe.”
“Ah~” He unhinged his jaw, retracting the skin to let it open. It never failed to get a giggle out of Chloe.
“Gavin, pick your jaw up off the floor. I know I’m breathtaking but you’re going to get it stuck that way.” Gently, she clicked his jaw back into place. His tongue ran over the teeth out of habit.
“Thanks for letting me still eat by the way Eli. I’m really pissing Tina off by eating pumpkin rolls in front of her.” Elijah laughed now, and Gavin felt a jolt of electricity. “H-Hey that tickles you fuck!”
“Quit making me laugh then cocksucker!”
“Oh like Chloe hasn’t pegged you before.”
“ Gavin! ” They both blushed and Gavin grinned, before relaxing. They fell into silence again before Elijah moved away. He came back with a steaming vat, and looked to Gavin. “Sorry about this part.” Shrugging, Gavin smiled to the other.
“Thank you Eli, for still taking care of me.” In response his brother reached over, ruffling his hair and grinning. “I’m still hoping you’d take down a wall or two so I can teach someone else this shit.”
“Fat chance.” Eli sighed, but then started on the hard part. He put on goggles, and Chloe placed a black cloth over Gavin’s face.
The pain never went away. Fiber by fiber, he melded new muscles again, using a machine to make them perfectly aligned. The heat was all encompassing, but he long since stopped whimpering. Gun shots were just scanning the hole and putting a super hot clump of muscles in all at once and letting it fuse naturally. But this was ripped and mangled, so it had to be redone. It took over an hour, Gavin’s internal clock provided, before the cloth was moved. “Tada!” Eli said, ever so proud. The muscle flexed and moved perfectly, purple weaving through it and warming it and charging it.
“Feels awesome doc.” Elijah moved, before tapping the side of Gavin’s head.
“You know what I gotta do right? It’s been a while, I have updates for the opticals and audio. Annnd a new chip- this one will let you sync to any electronic you’ve interfaced with at a short distance- about three feet.”
Gavin blinked, before chuckling. “Damn, sounds awesome. Knock me out fucker.” Elijah chuckled and Chloe got up. “Hey Chloe, order you and the girls some thirium champagne on my account, and Eli something from that Italian place he loves.” Eli blinked, before laughing.
“We get it we get it, you’re welcome. I want alfredo!”
“Tortellini for me.”
“Got it. Now Gavin, you know this part.” A mask was placed over his face. “Tell me about your day.” She murmured, so soft and Gavin was jealous. Eli was living his best life with the best girl possible for him.
“I’d rather say- I’m so happy for you… two… I wish I can… He would… look… at… me.” Gavin clocked out, and Chloe’s light spun yellow.
“Look at him?” Elijah sighed, brushing hair away before strapping Gavin in to stand on the hooks so he could get to the small panels. Microchips near his ears, at the base of his hair, under his jaw, and also the eyes just- came out. “Gavin… He’s so afraid of getting me in trouble that he won’t let anyone in, in case they figure it out.”
“He’s been giving his new partner a lot of trouble, more so than all the others. Gavin seemed upset when Nines outright assumed something rather negative about him, and from what I heard around the office, is that they had a fight and are colder than Connor ever was with him.”
“An RK900, he hasn’t decided on a name. He’s the last prototype Cyberlife made before collapsing under New Jericho. Created to hunt and destroy- dearest don’t forget to make sure his jaw hasn’t cracked again from locking- hunt and destroy Connor, but they never woke him up to carry out that mission. He was found by Markus, and it took a group of 5 forcing an interface to crack his deviancy.”
“Huh, resilient fucker.”
“Cyberlife was bragging that the 900 line would never turn deviant naturally, and tripled the firewall against it. They also dropped some of the features from the 800 for integration in favor for combat and faster processing.” Elijah went silent, then grinned.
“I wonder, if he would like help with that?” Chloe didn’t seem too amused, holding Gavin’s jaw open and interfacing with it to force the skin back.
“Elijah… I don’t think Gavin would appreciate us interfering.”
“Yeah but- it stills sucks for Nines! I want to help him, he’s the best Cyberlife had to offer and I would love to see how far from the path they strayed.”
Chloe sighed, but looked to Gavin. Purple trailed down his face, and small blinking lights shone in his eyes. A sign of life besides the automated rise and fall of his chest, systems making sure blood kept moving. Elijah moved to his eyes, and Chloe got up, going to order with Gavin’s phone. “We need to convince Gavin that letting people in won’t backfire first.” She simply said, and then left.
It was a couple hours before Gavin came to. He ached, his face and arm specifically, but the pain reminded him he was alive. “When are you transferring my dumbass to fully automatic.” He grumbled, envious that Chloe couldn’t feel this.
“When your skin fails to keep up with the rest of you, you have over thirty years added to your expected life time fuck off.” Gavin laughed, and sat up. He looked- normal. Just a man with some scars in boxers. “Gavin, diagnostics, let’s see how these upgrades work.” Gavin nodded, closing his eyes. Behind the black white letters typed onto the void, updating him on everything. The optical overlays were new, and he realized he could shift to another mode. “Aw shit- this is a heavy patch for my eyes huh?”
“Yes! So open your eyes and look at me.” Gavin did as told, looking at his half-brother. “Switch to mode three.” Gavin did, and realized very suddenly what this was.
“Night vision?” Elijah nodded and Gavin switched back since it was bright in here.
“Yep! I know you have heat vision, but androids can control their temperatures to fade in to their environment. This will be more useful I think. That way heat vision is only needed to differentiate between human and android.”
Gavin whistled, “Nice. And audio?” He received a shrug at that.
“Added more language translation, switched out your old one so now you have two more languages you can understand.”
“Still good.” Gavin looked to Elijah’s phone, and realized a prompt popped up. “The new chip is working, watch this.” Gavin pulled up youtube on Eli’s phone, playing some grandson .
“Fuck yeah! This is great, you’re all patched up!”
“Harr harr.” Gavin rolled his eyes at the pun, but leaned across to hug his brother. “Thanks Eli, seriously, I can’t- I- I love you ya know.” Gavin didn’t catch the shocked look on Eli’s face, but returned the hug nonetheless.
“Anytime. We’re family, we stick together. Now- Gavin.”
“Hm?” Chloe returned down the stairs, sporting a wine glass of sparkling, see-through blue liquid and food. Elijah didn’t look over though, his face turning to concern.
“We need- we need to talk. I- I hate knowing that you feel like coming out will hurt us. I want you to know Gavin, while we’ll never tell anyone you’re an actual cydroid; you don’t have to push everyone away for us. If it comes out Gavin it comes out, we’ll deal with this together.”
The detective blinked, before smiling a bit, gray eyes tearing up. “Fuck you for making me cry while food is nearby, but- I get it. I can’t just, let people in that easily though… But maybe, just maybe, I’ll be less of a dick and more open about all this.” Eli nodded, seemingly satisfied, then made grabby hands at the food.
“Love of my life, light in my galaxy, please- I need sustenance.” They all laughed, and sat down to eat, Gavin filling them in on all these changes, and Eli and Chloe speaking of their recent trip. It was nice, and after all the stress, Gavin would bet his stress read non-existent for the first time in weeks.
“Lieutenant… Why do you think Detective Reed reacted so… Negatively to my assumption?” Nines sat on the Lieutenant’s couch, a book open on his lap, one leg crossed over the other. At ‘home’, he simply wore loose fitting pj pants and a tanktop, not wanting to bother with clothes too much. Yet he still sat like he was, as Hank put it, afraid to crack. Nines simply found it… Pleasing, to sit like this.
“Reed’s… Honestly, I don’t know kid. I was under the same assumption too. I didn’t realize he was so buddy-buddy with anyone other than Tina to be honest. He’s…” Hank appeared, pausing as he drank from some red liquid. A quick scan revealed it to be a tropical fruit and vegetable blend. “Gavin Reed is a man that, despite working there at the precinct for so long, is honestly a mystery. He’s always been a solo-runner, so no one’s gotten close. Me included. But we all knew a few things.”
>>Gavin Reed is mysterious.
Nines looked to him, raising an eyebrow. “First off, Gavin Reed is a dick . That’s just a given. I mean, I get it. The kid isn’t looking to make friends, if you’re in his way, you’re going to be stepped on while he gets to the top. Honestly glad I was Lieutenant before he joined, or I’d most likely be singing a more sour tune too. But that doesn’t help the fact he’s just- an aggressive shithead.” Hank shrugged, taking another sip, his face turning a bit more solemn. “With an attitude like his, and the lack of shame to keep him from releasing it, he builds more walls than a construction worker. No one wants to get near him anyways, unfortunate you were stuck with him.”
>>Gavin Reed has few friends.
“Then there is the fact that Reed, despite all that, is damn good at what he does. He used to do a lot of undercover before you got assigned to him, and that, along with chasing the bad guys… The man knows how to hide. I know you’ve seen his profile, it’s more blank than a static tv. I don’t even think Tina knows where he lives.” Connor eventually came out, patting his hair. He wore real pjs, little paw prints all over them as he sat in a rocking chair. Hank continued though, and Nines couldn’t find his attention leaving him.
>>Gavin Reed could disappear without a trace.
“And then lastly, Gavin just- I don’t know how to say it any further. I dug into him before, when he first joined. Mention anything about family or anything before the academy, he becomes defensive. Mention that he seems fit for his age, defensive. Mention that he’s going to get sick if he stands in the rain, and he brushes you off. He’s weird Nines. That’s all I can say.” Nines hummed, cluing Connor into the conversation with a clipped ‘Detective Reed’ over their communication line.
“Still, are- you sure it isn’t me? I mean, I have backed off, despite not really wanting to.” A weird thing to him yet. More than ever, he wanted close to Gavin Reed. He wanted to be the man’s confident, his friend, someone who could take him to a club or talk about his weekend. The want was so strong for so long that he put up with so much, but eventually it was enough. For his sake, and Gavin’s career, he backed off, hiding behind the anger and pain of having to do so.
“Hell no kid. Pretty sure if I had probed he’d have reacted the same, maybe even more violent. Don’t beat yourself up over the resident dickhead.”
“Hank rude! He was nice to you afterwards, and you told me everything he apologized for. I just think- hm.” Connor’s LED spun yellow once, and Nines figured he was deciding the right words. “I think Gavin is guarded . Every time I see the detective, he’s smirking, or smiling, or tense. He’s never a negative emotion other than angry. He’s been tackled, punched, beaten- but yet refuses help. Gavin seems to carry something heavy, but he doesn’t want to let anyone in on it. I truly believe all of Gavin’s ‘dickheadedness’ is a self-defense mechanism specifically to keep people away.”
>>Gavin Reed is hiding something.
All the new information didn’t help. Nines wanted - the emotion so intense system instabilities pinged repeatedly at him. His mission statuses bugged out, ‘ Gain Gavin’s trust ’, ‘ Prove you are a good partner ’, ‘ GET CLOSE ’. The last one was extremely annoying, glitching the worst. When he first received it, it was ‘ TOUCH ’, a one simple word. Confused him to every end until him and Gavin brushed shoulders and it spazzed and got replaced. After ‘ HELP HIM ’ flickered ‘ mission failed ’, the new one stayed and wouldn’t be swiped away. The best he could do was dim it. “Thank you both for your insight. I’m… Slightly relieved, but I also know what I overheard. Hank- he seemed very willing to forgive you. Yet when he turned on me… He was very angry.” Nines said, before standing. “I’m going to retreat to stasis, thank you both for talking with me about this.”
“Of course Nines. If there’s anything you need help with, I’m here for you.” Connor’s voice was a soft lilt, so emotionally packed and caring. Nines felt envious at the ease that it came to Connor. “Understood.” Nines retired to bed, thinking over everything. If this is all a defense, a wall, then it can be broken into. I… I want- no… I need to complete this mission . Nines sighed, more a release of the irritation than a needed air release, and entered stasis for the night.
Chapter 7: keep moving
Finally deciding to stop building a wall between him and the world, Gavin comes up with a plan. Starting again with Nines is rocky, but with clearance, hopefully this plan is what they need to catch these phckers.
Hey everyone! Lupo here! Sorry this is a day late, but I have a reason! I got a new beta-reader!
I wanna give a big shoutout to my new beta reader, DeadNoize! They've been a big help with this chapter, and hopefully their own style helps out this story big time! Thank you all for continuing with me on this story!
Gavin arrived early the next day, his travel mug filled with his mixture of coffee and thirium, and schedule delightfully cleared due to being benched until Chloe and the reporter gave their statements. Normally this would piss the ever-living fuck out of Gavin, but he was content today, feeling good, refreshed, restored. Chloe came in with him, considering his car was at the precinct anyway. When she was cleared for a brief time to give her statement, Gavin walked over. He noticed Connor, Nines, and Hank enter the building, but couldn’t give a fuck. “Morning sis,” he said softly, smiling at her.
“Morning Gavie. I see that everything is running perfectly for you this morning.” Gavin loved how she could keep up with the charade with him.
“Mhm, tried those new vision exercises you had me do last night… These are going to be really handy… And they gave me an incredible idea.”
“Oh?” She perked up at that, and Gavin could see her ‘what now’ face she was developing, and then soon taking a glance towards his left. Gavin blinked, and turned to see Nines standing there.
“Good morning Detective. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.” The monotonous voice caused Gavin to jump in surprise. He rarely stopped to speak with him these days.“Er-”
“Not at all!” Chloe chimed in, and Gavin didn’t need a pre-construction to predict the shove towards Nines that followed. “In fact, he was just about to come talk to you about this idea of his!” Nines raised an eyebrow, and Gavin could tell he didn’t believe that at all.
“I see. Do you want to discuss this idea at your de-?” Gavin cut him off, hand running through his hair. He said he’d try to be less abrasive.
“Yeah sure, unless Connor or Hank need ya, I wouldn’t mind running this idea past you. Might get us a break in this case, but fair warning- Fowler’s going to hate it.”
“Doesn’t he hate all of your ideas?”
“Yeah, but this one- this one he’s going hate. Because it’s good, and he won’t be able to see why we shouldn’t do it.” Gavin then turned to Chloe. “I received some… Gifts, from my galpal here. It’s about time I used them a bit more.” Chloe’s eyes widened, grabbing Gavin’s left arm.
Gavin could tell the want to interface, the pleading look. “Detective-”
“Chloe. Chill. I got this. You two made some good points, and fuck-” Gavin shrunk, body tensing before he interfaced with his phone hidden in his pocket. He sent her a text, his own eyes most likely reflecting the emotions behind it.
‘ I’m tired of fighting my enemies and my allies. ’
‘ You don’t deserve to be alone, but be fucking safe Gavin or I’m dying your hair pink the next time you go under. ’ The text read across the bottom of his vision, and he laughed, pulling her into a hug. “Keep you to it.” He whispered as quietly as possible, before pulling away with a laugh. “Now- no more fucking hugs! I feel like I’m being patronized for something.”
Chloe’s sigh was entirely human, leaving as she was called upon. Gavin turned before she could send him another glare, grinning up at his partner. “Let’s fucking go superstar, I’m running off a caffeine high.”
Nines nodded, lips twitching before he entered the elevator. Once they arrived at their desks, Gavin noted the silence within the room, following their gazes to the TV. Blanching, he duly noted even Nines LED spun a deep red as the news report broke. Two bodies, and this time the intent was obvious on them. The human had an eye, hand, and knee replaced with androids parts, and skin placed over it as if just sowing it on would do anything. The android at her left was in a similar shape, coated in red and blue swirls of liquid. It was apparent the parts missing from the human were the same ones on the android, and there was a difference with this pair. Anger at the failure . Axe indents on both their chests, perhaps post-mortem on the human’s part, mangled remains of guts and clothes left behind. “ Phck .” He cursed softly, looking towards Fowler’s office. Worrying his cheek, he took a deep breath then walked over. “Come on, we need to move. Keep up.” Nines’ footsteps started behind him after a couple seconds.
Gavin knocked on the door, watching the man look up from his desk then walk over. “You knocked for once, must be serious.”
“It is. I need approval for a plan once I’m allowed off desk duty.”
“You seem confident you will be.” That made Gavin smirk, standing a little straighter.
“‘Cause I will. I was in the right capt.” Gavin waited for the man’s silent study to pass, Fowler allowing them in while sighing. “Close the door behind you, RK900.”
Gavin bristled, watching his partner obey, barely masking the small bit of hostility in his voice. “He prefers Nines cap-tain.” Fowler blinked, looking between the two. Gavin could see Nines’ slight change in expression too. “Is that so?”
“Er, he is correct sir.”
“Well then, apologies Nines. Now Detective Reed, what’s your plan?” With the tension gone, Gave felt looser. ‘ I really need to get a grip on my defensive stance .’
“Right- so what we gathered about this group, right? They target humans and androids, who seem close.”
“Yes, that seems to be the case.”
“Well, it’s been a while since I’ve gone undercover, but I could pose as a human,” Gavin looked to the window, then back to Fowler with an eyebrow raised. Luckily the captain got the point, and frosted the glass, so Gavin sat. “I could pose as a human with an android partner. Start putting myself out there.”
He was a tad surprised when Nines interrupted him first. “They kill all the humans we find Gavin, this is too risky.” Gavin looked his way, waving it off.
“Not if the most advanced person in this precinct is my partner. When they get us, they’ve only been using the basic ropes on the guys they grab right? Something we should both be able to get out of when they take us to their new hideout. We get in, and once they move to begin operating on us; we take them down. You’ll be able to forcefully initiate an interface since most of these guys choose to go all chassis, and through that we can get info on the rest of the group.” Both men went silent as Gavin spoke, a couple more seconds passing by before Fowler broke the silence.
“It… It’s a good plan. Dangerous, especially since we don’t know the damage you’ll receive while they start attempting to ‘modify’ you Reed, but… If Nines agrees to it, I think this plan will work.” Gavin looked to Nines expectantly, hoping his partner wasn’t too annoyed by his plan. This was a clean shot, an easy in. They just needed him. He could see the yellow spinning of his LED, the concern he expressed without voicing it. Gavin stood, placing his hand on the android’s shoulder. He had to fucking reach to do so, remembering vividly the image of him in a tight-fitting tanktop. ‘ Not. Now. ’ “Nines, we can do this.” He heard the soft whirr, and Gavin guessed this was the equivalent of a worried whine. Eventually, the android’s eyes closed, his LED glitching to blue.
“I’ll agree, but I want discreet trackers on the detective and permission to do whatever this mission takes to keep my partner safe.” Gavin was a bit taken aback by the emotion he caught in Nines voice. Sure, Fowler was unlikely to catch it, but Gavin knew the difference in his tones. He patted his shoulder then moved to face Fowler, arms crossed over his chest.
“I can agree with that. I also want you to wear a comms device Reed, and keep it up this time.” Gavin nodded, willing to deal with it if it meant clearance. “Obviously this case is starting to catch the public’s interest, and we need to make a move before they use this to cause a panic in this city. As soon as we get both witnesses statements from last night, I want you two to suit up, get casual, and get out on the streets.”
Gavin hummed, clicking his tongue. “If Anderson and Connor aren’t busy, let them in on this?”
Fowler shot Gavin a suspicious look, tone emitting confusion. “You want… More people working with you on this? What actually happened last night, Reed?” The question earned Fowler a choppy barked laugh, Gavin wiping a tear from his eye.
“Don’t get any bright ideas! I just know their response time is the best, and if something happens to Nines, I don’t want my ass kicked by Connor. Again .”
The boss smiled a bit at that. “Fair point. Get going, I’ll ring them in and let them know. Both of you use this time to head home and get some casual clothes to leave here. Dismissed.”
While they exited the office, Gavin turned towards Nines, his confident smirk changing into a worried frown.. “You sure you’re good with this, tincan? If it isn’t up your alley, you can say no . I can ask Connor.” Nines turned on him, LED flashing a burst of red before glitching blue. Gavin caught it, and could read the scowl for what it was. Jealous of Connor?
“There is no need Detective. I’m perfectly fine with this. I don’t approve of you placing yourself into the line of fire, so to speak, but this is well within my capabilities.”
Gavin held his hands up, noticing Tina approach with a pointed look. “Didn’t say it wasn’t, but we aren’t exactly on best terms , and I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to be stuck hanging out with me so we’d get kidnapped by loonies.” Nines blinked, and Gavin watched as, very subtly, his posture relaxed.
“Oh. It’s… I…” Nines seemed to be struggling with words, and Gavin waited, keeping his own posture open- not wanting to look so ‘defensive’. Tina, of course, couldn’t read the room.
“Gavin! You absolute moronic buffoon of a man! You absolute trash can of a living being! You gay disaster hobo!” Gavin winced, flushing a slight purple at the last insult. “What!” He snapped, turning defensive on her. Unfortunately, Tina, like his family, was immune.
“You’re an idiot sammich on jackass rye! What were you thinking last night?!” Tina grabbed his ear, Gavin wincing due to the soreness. However, the pain subsided when a blur grabbed Tina’s wrist.
“Please refrain from hurting the Detective. Thank you .” Those last words were hissed, making Gavin’s head go absolutely crazy.
“Yeesh, ok ok Nines, chill.” Tina pulled her hand back, pouting, while Gavin rubbed the spot below his ear. When she caught him doing it, she grimaced.
“Oh shit, Gav did you get your ear fucked with again? I’m sorry!”
“Yeah, just had that one nerve bug me again. I’m fine, just sore.” He turned to Nines and saw the way he looked away. Is he expecting to get yelled at? ... Yeah, fair. “Thanks for watching out for me. See what I mean- this is going to go great!” He grinned, and Nines seemed to relax.
Tina however… “What’s going to go great? Gavin, don’t tell me you’re doing something stupid again.” Gavin rolled his eyes, knowing he was becoming defensive again. He tensed up, feeling the heat rise more than usual.
“Tina please, not today. I need to get going and get my clothes together, and so does Nines. I can take care of myself.” Tina didn’t seem too fazed by his sour tone, but he didn’t expect her to be either. Instead he looked over Nines, who nodded his head towards the door then led the way.
Of course, Gavin shouldn’t have expected weeks of distance to not catch up, as the two exited the building. “You got your own ride yet or need one?”
“I have a bike now.”
“Oh really? Didn’t think you’d take to something so casual.” It was meant as a joke, but the way Nines looked at him- he could tell it wasn’t received well.
“How… Are we doing- this?” Nines motioned to them with his hand, and Gavin felt his shoulders slump.
“However you want. Let’s get this out of the way- I know how I’ve been towards you. I know you could probably give less than zero fucks about me at this point too, but my job always comes first, and if you want, we can ignore these last two months. Let’s get this shit done and maybe Fowler will reassign us elsewhere. I heard there’s a pretty good new guy that needs a partner, and you deserve your own chance to make a name for yourself.”
The silence was deafening, and Gavin hated these tense moments. “I… Never wished for a new partner, Detective Reed. I will admit I let some emotions get in the way of our partnership, and I believed distancing myself while responding in kind to you would… Assist me in some way… But it hasn’t. I want to remain your partner, detective, however I refuse to continue with the needless pranks and antagonizing that has been going on.”
Gavin huffed, and he could almost hear Hank, Chloe, and Connor at once in his head. ' Drinking. Next weekend I can, I’m spending it getting fucked.' “No- that’s fair. I can’t make promises, alright? I won’t keep using the names, sorry, too fun to keep thinking of new ones. However, I can be maybe like- two percent less of a dick… Five… Ok ok- I’ll do half less- dicking I guess.” He sighed, rubbing his hair. “BUT- in return- don’t start thinking you can tell me what to do. I do- what I want, got it? That means, if I go off chasing somebody, your choices are to catch up or trust I can get them. If I say we need to do something, then trust that I know what I’m talking about. You don’t have to do it with me, but don’t stop me.”
“Don’t stand in your way.” Nines finished, and Gavin nodded. “Exactly.”
Gavin could see Nines think over this, or at least pretend to. “I think this deal is suitable. You be less of a dick, I won’t question your judgement… As for the names, well…” Nines grinned, actually grinned , and Gavin felt everything in his body stutter. Fuck that’s- wow. “I would be lying if I haven’t thought of a few- ‘comebacks’- of my own. I hope you can take as well as you give.”
“Fuck yeah.” Gavin’s own grin felt shaky, holding out his hand. “Partners then?”
“Partners then.” Gavin didn’t want to let go. The revelation stunned him, but he felt relief as they shook hands. ‘ Maybe pushing people away for all these years has fucked me up a bit. Whoops. ’
“Now, detective, we should get going and get our clothes for our assignment. What style would you prefer I choose?” Gavin blinked, dropping his hand after a moment. “Uhhh?”
“Phck off. Just- do whatever your casual is. I’m going my own casual.” Nines looked him over and scowled, though honestly- this was nice. Picking on each other already. “I thought you already were ‘casual’.”
“Hey- fuck you. I wear the same style to work everyday, it fits my reputation, thank you. Never see me getting lost in the office, everyone can spot the resident asshole.” He tugged on his leather jacket for emphasis. “Just- go get dressed, iron giant.”
They met back at the station, and Gavin wasn’t too surprised that Nines arrived first in his new outfit. His outfit was… Something. He could feel himself stall, just standing in the door as he took it in. Nines was sitting on Hank’s desk, and Gavin could hear him informing the lieutenant of the mission. He wore a black high collar Jersey tank-top, with long, thin cotton fingerless gloves that hit his elbow, pure white. Across his wrist were two pieces of silk in a bright blue color. Under all that were a pair of grey cargoes with the same blue trimming on the edges of the pockets and bottom of the pants. He looked- good. Really fucking good. ‘ Fuck him for being made so handsome .’ Tina thankfully broke him out of his little panic, nudging his shoulder. “Gavinnn- hey you all good up there or do I need to force reboot?”
“Wha- oh. No I’m good just- thinking about this assignment.” An easy lie, feeling bad it was second nature at this point.
“ Oh - hey- if you start doubting it- then I’m going to, and then I’m going to screech until you drop it. So stop.”
Gavin shook his head, and instead adjusted the duffel bag on his shoulder. “Don’t worry pillow princess, I got this. Now, what did you want?” Tina pouted at the sudden nickname.
“I’ll have you know I am far from a pillow princess, fucker. Anyways, I came over to tell you you’re cleared for that assignment- the reporter and Chloe both gave their parts of the story. You did good.”
“Fuck yeah I did. I’m the fucking best.” He grinned, getting punched in the arm in return.
“Oh stop being so humble. I’m guessing you’re going undercover?” She eyed the bag as she spoke, and Gavin nodded. “Yeet.”
“Geezus you’re insufferable. Yeet , really?”
“Memes never die Chen, just like me.”
Tina rolled her eyes, her radio pinging off. “Ugh, gotta go. Take it easy Gavin or I’m kicking your ass!” He waved her off, jumping as Nines spoke behind him.
“Are you going to change or do you require assistance for that?”
Gavin jumped nearly half a foot, turning towards Nines with a scowl. “Fucker scaring me like that. Yeah yeah, I’m heading to the changing room now. You uh…” Gavin swallowed. Up close, he could see how well everything fit him. The gloves accented how thick his arms were, and gave him a warm appearance despite the fact there was an absurd amount of skin showing. His high collar was cute, perfectly fitting him to give emphasis on the strength in his shoulders and chest, yet keeping his figure smooth. Gavin avidly avoided looking anywhere below his belt. “How do you dress so well while Connor and Hank look like they dumpster dive for their clothes every time I catch them outside of work?” ‘ Deflection. Good one.’
“I went shopping with one of Connor’s friends, North, when she overheard that I had… Five of my Cyberlife issued clothes.” Gavin blinked, then laughed a bit.
“Of course you did. I’m glad she helped you then, I can work with Hank’s horrible taste in clothing, but this will be easier.” Nines grinned, and Gavin knew he walked into something.
“I’m sure you’re one to talk, Reed.” ‘ He’s switched to Reed. I’m fucked. That sounds way too good when he says it. Stop.’ Gavin assumed his slight panic went unnoticed as he locked his jaw into a grin- though Nines LED spun yellow out of his sight.
“Oh fuck you, I have great style thank you. Now, I’m going to change and prove you wrong, toaster.”
Gavin quickly turned tail and walked to the dressing rooms, jaw unlocking again. It turned to a pout, and his face heated up slightly. “Stupid fucking- bastard- long legged vault.” He wanted to kick something, but realized that was far below him. ‘ It’s alright. The one you are just now allowing on ‘partner’ terms turns out to be extremely hot when you aren’t trying to put a five foot thick wall down in front of him. Phck.’ He got some clothes out, changing and stopping to look in the mirror. He still looked fine, eyeing the scar. ‘ If I get caught… There is so much more at risk than they truly know .’ It was painful, thinking of everything that could go wrong, but thinking of what could go right- they could end this now. Get a public statement from some idiotic ex-Cyberlife employee saying ‘cydroids are impossible to create’. Be done.
Gavin exited, a lot calmer now. Gone were his washed up jeans and leather jacket, replaced with a look that turned a few heads. ‘ Fuck, forgot how good this felt.’ He wore a tight black t-shirt, the words ‘ want some? ’ in bright red across the top. He wore a rainbow bandana around his wrist, and black skinny jeans with holes through the knees and across his thighs. His shoes were now combat boots with red and yellow laces, and he had a reddish-burgundy shoulder bag with his weapons and other assortments in it. Skinny jeans looked great, but fuck the pockets. He approached Nines while he talked with Connor, then smirked as Connor looked his way, back at Nines, then quickly back to him. “Oh- Gavin! You look- different.” ‘ Good or bad? Dick.’
Nines turned and Gavin was so proud at the way his LED spun yellow immediately. “Want some what?” He asked, and Gavin suddenly deflated while facepalming.
“Classic humor is lost on you.” He grumbled, adjusting his bag. “Come on, we need to go get our equipment from Fowler. I have a place for the tracker, so don’t worry-” He couldn’t finish talking because Nines suddenly grabbed his fucking jaw.
“Detective Reed, what is that in your mouth?” It took a couple of minutes for the question to register, and the panic to settle, before Gavin’s grin came back full force. He stuck his tongue out, revealing the small paw-print tongue piercing. Nines let go, LED turning into a light show. “Don’t process it too hard. I don’t have a good tongue to begin with- taste wise you chucklefuck,” he glared at Connor who merely smiled innocently. “But anyways, I decided I might as well get it pierced, can’t really do any more damage.”
That was an entire lie. It was actually a prank Elijah did to him, which was well deserved in his brother’s defense. He went to his brother’s house missing his hand, he lost it to some factory worker. This was before the revolution, so Gavin knew the poor guy was scrapped or reset, but it was a pain in the ass to explain his immediate need to go to his brother’s. Elijah pierced his tongue while he was out for the hand to be re-attached, and Gavin just rolled with it. He didn’t have ‘bad taste’, per se, it was just warped from the constant wash of thirium. Everything was a tad dulled.
However, Nines seemed to have rebooted, now looking highly annoyed. “Forgive me for acting so violently. It was not my place to grab your chin.” Gavin shrugged it off.
“You seen a shiny and curiosity went ‘the fuck?’. Which is valid Nines, so don’t worry. Next time though, just ask me to open up.” Gavin softly chuckled, ending it abruptly when Nines replied. “Don’t worry, I will.” Smooth bastard.
Connor chuckled then, tapping Gavin’s arm. “Lemme see! I’ve always found piercings interesting, especially since it’s one of the few modifications that androids can get without damaging themselves or it getting healed over immediately.” Gavin smiled, kinder than normal, and opened his mouth to let him see. “Is it a cat’s paw?” Gavin nodded, pressing the piercing to the roof of his mouth so Connor could see underneath.
“It is. I like cats.” A shrug, since it wasn’t too big of a detail for them to know. However, Connor and Nines both looked ecstatic at the info. It made Gavin uneasy, then Connor suddenly slammed the table. “Hank owes me 50 bucks!”
“ What ?!” Gavin couldn’t deadpan any harder if he tried. Did they really- “Hank and I made a bet on what type of pet person you were! He was thinking something with a tank, like an eel or a snake, but I thought you seemed like a cat person.”
“You didn’t think that. I did.”
“No you directly compared Reed to a cat, that doesn’t count.”
Gavin held up his hand, an amused smile on his face. “You were debating on me? Really?”
“Well, yeah! No one’s been to your house, but we all knew you had a pet.”
Gavin couldn’t help but laugh, not even ending it when Fowler yelled for him and Nines. He instead walked with Nines, holding a hand over his mouth until they were inside the captain’s office. “Alright then…” The captain looked confused, shook his head, then continued. “I received the tracker and your communication devices. I doubt we’ll get anything day one, but it’ll be useful either way. Here’s the plan; you two spend the day together. I don’t care what you two do, or how you chose to present it, but you make it clear- you’re two very close people. You avoid other people’s social interaction for whatever reason, and you’re good targets. They’re going to expect their potential victim list to shrink now that the news caught wind of this, but you two don’t care about the news. Nines.” The captain turned to him, and Nines stepped forward. “Wear this.”
Captain handed him a small black choker, and Nines LED spun two full circles of yellow. Puzzled . “Yes sir. May I ask why?” He put it on under his turtleneck anyways. “It’s a scanner scrambler, so that you won’t read as an RK900. Instead, you’re a security model, a GS100. Relatively non-threatening, as far as they know.” Gavin hummed then grinned while taking his own tracker. It was a clip on, and without missing a beat he attached it to the boxers he wore, leaving it against his hip. Gavin was handed a comms device, and frowned. “A bit obvious don’t you think?”
“Unfortunately, our more discreet ones are being used in another case for a red ice bust. This one was the only one left I could get without risking the other case.” Gavin understood that well enough. The hearing part wasn’t bad, since they looked like wireless earbuds. The mic, however was a stick, and would stick out from his shirt. Gavin grinned when an idea came to him.
“I can make it work. I need to make a stop before I can put it on though.”
Fowler nodded then sat down afterwards. “Do what you need to, you’ve done this enough. This will be your only assignment. That being said, to maintain your covers, do not report back here until it’s over with. You’re both dismissed.”
When walked out the office, Gavin placed the device in his pocket for now. “Alright, Nines, we taking my car or your bike?” Nines paused, turned, then hummed. “Your car.”
“Let’s get going then, partner .”
Chapter 8: entrance
They start their first day of undercover, and it's... It's honestly really nice. Gavin ends up bringing Nines home, and finally Nines gets to meet the cats.
HHHHH- I have another new beta reader! DeadNoize is really, really busy with work lately, and I didn't want to bug them so much. So- huge thanks to KH310-S!!! They got through two chapters- so regular updates again heck yes. Seriously, I'm super psyched this is back in motion! I have big plans coming up for other series.
Thank you to everyone for being patient!
Needless to say, seeing Nines LED go bright red at his idea was worth it, as they walked out of the store. A nice black leather collar sat against Gavin’s neck, pricey but worth it for the soft leather that rubbed perfectly. In the middle as a metal heart ring, meant to have a leash clip onto it. But with a little fabric attached to it, the mic was hidden in the felt heart.
“Reed- that is- that is-” Nines was breaking, and Gavin couldn’t help the smirk.
“Something I’ve been meaning to get for a while. I was hoping to wait til I could get a name engraved on it, but- That seems like a far goal. Come on Nines, I can’t be the first guy you’ve seen wear this.”
“Not at all but- most don’t wear those in public. Without an ounce of shame.”
“I like how it feels, and it tells people what I’m into. Bonus bonus Nines. And maybe one day it’ll tell people ‘fat luck fuckers’ because some guy’s name will be etched into it.” He could hear Nines’ systems whirr as the fans kicked on, and wondered why he would be cooling off. ‘ Does it really embarrass him that much?’ “Anyways, so where to fir-”
What came next wasn’t expected, but very much welcomed after the shock wore off. Nines looped his arm around Gavin’s, tugging him into the taller man’s side. Gavin reactively clung to the arm, before realizing how it looked. ‘ Great now I’m blushing .’ This close, Gavin could feel heat radiate off the other, and he was drawn in, settling onto the other’s arm with his head resting there. “Alright, I can work with this. Where to first, partner ?” He did that just for the brief flash of yellow.
“I was thinking we could walk around that park where we found that cat at a couple weeks ago. It won’t be as busy now.” Nines voice had changed, to the tone he used with Hank and Connor. Comfortable, relaxed, at ease. Gavin knew it was for the mission, but hearing the tone directed at him did things.
“Sounds good, could spend the whole day there, maybe get something to eat and some of that thirium soda for you?”
First day was a bust. Besides a really nice day, Nines and him sitting in the park and talking about movies Connor had him watch. Though, Gavin eventually needed to switch the topic to something important, as they got up at sunset to walk back to his car. “Hey, iron giant… Have you uh, thought of any names for me to call you yet?” Gavin knew he couldn’t use ‘Nines’, it would give away their case.
And thankfully the other seemed to realize that, as his voice turned sheepish. “I have not. Connor and I were talking about it, but it’s been… Hard, for me to pick one.” They got to the car, sliding in, Nines taking the driver side.
“What have you thought of so far?”
“Well, Nick. Richard. Conrad. James…” Gavin made faces, and Nines honest-to-fuck chuckled . “My thoughts exactly. I just can’t seem to think of one that fits.” They fell into silence, both contemplative, but Nines broke it first. “Where to?” Gavin had to stop his thoughts before he thought of this.
“Shit- you live with Anderson don’t you.”
“I do.” Nines tilted his head, and Gavin was going to thank and punch Connor at the same time for teaching him that.
“Well, we can’t go to a very well known Lieutenant’s house.”
“Oh… Right…” Nines seemed unsettled, and Gavin bit his cheek. It was when he tasted purple that he stopped and decided. Hitting a button, how weird to do that again , he let his home address take over the auto-driving.
“How are you with cats?”
The whole ride was spent in silence. Gavin assumed Nines was having issues processing the fact Gavin was taking him home, and Gavin was busy thinking of a name for the other. Then it clicked. “Niles!”
Gavin nodded enthusiastically. He could tell the moment Nines looked it up, and continued speaking. “Detective Niles Anderson- if you’re taking Hank’s last name like Connor is. Sounds fucking professional as fuck, and badass. And it’s all stern and proper too!”
A whole song passed of silence before Nines spoke. “I like it. Thank you Gavin for helping me out with that.”
“Wait, for real? I can call you Niles?”
“You can.” Gavin wiggled in his seat, unaware of the flash of yellow it caused as he whooped.
“Fuck yeah! I knew that was a good one for you.” He was proud of his choice, and couldn’t contain it. Eventually he calmed, looking over, and Nines was smiling back. Then the car stopped, and Gavin’s eyes flicked to behind Nines. “Oh right- uh- so-” Gavin’s brain stuttered.
Nines turned to what he was looking at, and was a bit surprised. A quick check of Gavin’s yearly pay definitely confirmed he could get better than this, yet… The building was in an older, less maintained part of the city, the sidewalk cracked. However, Gavin got out and Nines followed after him. “Right, follow me then Niles .” He hummed, walking into the lobby area of the apartment building. The owner, a stout man with graying hair and small, circular glasses, sat on the couch, looking over.
“Evening Jerold, how’s the rabbit.” Gavin dug out his key from his bag, and ignored how Nines looked around. The lobby was obviously just the old man’s living room with a kiosk and some info-boards in it. Knick knacks and comfy furniture, old but in good enough condition.
“Oh he’s feisty as ever. Chewed through the bow I got him.”
“Aw, the cute yellow one?”
“That be it. Still, he’s doing well. You’ve brought a friend over- finally.” Gavin went full purple now, hiding his face while he swiped his keycard over the pad, the elevator humming as it came down.
“Mhm. He’s um, my partner.”
“Hah- you, having a partner? Mr. ‘ I-don’t-need-friends-only-cats ’ Reed has a partner.”
Gavin really wished this wasn’t the conversation, starting to tense up as purple got darker. Then Nines spoke up. “Hard for me to believe it too, it’s been a long time getting here.” There was a silence, before Jerold’s old, wheezing laugh filled the room.
“I bet! You two behave up there.” Gavin nearly fell into the elevator as it opened, and he heard Nines’ chuckle as he followed him in. The doors closed, moving upwards.
“Fuuuuuck.” Gavin groaned, aware Nines could see his odd blush.
“He seems… nice. Landlord?” A short nod for an answer, looking up to the other afterwards.
“Yeah- I moved here a year or two back when he was having some trouble with thugs. Threaten to arrest them and they stopped bugging him, and the neighbors are alright with my music and odd schedule, so I just… stayed.”
The elevator dinged, reading ‘12’ on the little LED display beside the door. They opened to another door, and Gavin walked forward, sticking the keycard in. Later, you need to sync that. “Uh- welcome to my home tincan. Try not to cringe too hard.” He mumbled, feeling so defensive. Mentally, he was freaking out. This was the first person he’s ever brought home since becoming an officer, normally going to strangers’ homes or hotels. Even Tina- they only ever hung out at her place.
Stepping in, he took off his shoes, looking around for his cats. He spotted two out of three of them already, smiling a bit, before it fell. “Ok where the fuck is he.” He stomped in, looking for the heat source of the final bastard. Nines walked in, watching him disappear off into the hallway. Gavin followed the trail to the bathroom, and groaned as the cat was in the sink. “Why are you so weird, Bastard?” He asked, getting a mewl in return as he picked up the black cat. Bringing him out, he was surprised to see Nines standing beside one of the other cats, petting her so softly. As if he’d hurt her. “That’s Doa. She’s a good girl, but she has no sense of smell.” Nines looked over, wide-eyed at being caught.
“Dead on arrival.” Nines’ eyebrows furrowed, and Gavin laughed as he set Bastard on the couch.
“Found her almost lifeless in the snow during the revolution.” He walked over, pressing on the back of her neck before running his thumb along the side of her cheek. A small LED on yellow revealed itself at the motion. “Didn’t know she was an android, but damn if she wasn’t so loving and sad looking. Named her Doa and brought her home, tried to nurse her but saw the thirium, so I just patched her up. Couldn’t fix her nose though.”
Nines smiled again, and resumed petting her. “She’s very lucky to have such a caring owner.” He got a playful punch for that, Gavin smirking.
“Damn right. And over there is Darling. She was uh…” Gavin stopped, and if he had an LED he knew it would be red. As it was, he just tensed up, worse than a defensive stance. Thankfully Nines was observant, placing a hand on Gavin’s back. “Detective?”
“Uh- sorry. Hard to erm, talk about it. She was a rescue- whole family lost in an accident. But when the neighbors called in, worried about their pet Siamese and the noises they were hearing, I took the cat in. She’s shy still.” Nines nodded, and Gavin noted he shifted closer. Nothing happened for a solid minute until he found an arm around him. He’s hugging me. He doesn’t even know why I’m upset, but he’s- Gavin wanted to melt. As it was, he leaned into Nines for a few seconds, before pulling away. “Well- anyways. And then there’s Bastard.” He wiggled his hands at the black cat, who was licking the inside of his leg. “He’s the one who’s been with me the longest. An absolute evil furbag. He’s not aggressive but don’t leave anything near the edge of tables.” Gavin moved to get his remote, turning the tv on to the news. It was turned down thankfully, and Gavin moved to go to the kitchen.
“Ever had a thirium freezie?”
Chapter 9: observe
Now we get to see Nines POV of their first day. And they get relaxed, heading into the first night of their 'partnership.'
Nines couldn’t process this. Gavin Reed accepted the change of pace, and now they were pretending to be a couple.
>>Gavin Reed would date an android.
The new information sent a slew of system instabilities through him, as well as Gavin’s outfit.
>>Gavin Reed wants to be owned(?)
>>Gavin Reed wants to be owned(?)
>>Gavin Reed wants to be loved.
Then there was the whole time in the park. Gavin looked… amazing, to say the least. He sat on the bench with his legs crossed, leaning against Nines. As they talked about movies, Nines noticed how Gavin seemed to genuinely be happy, or laugh at some part of his experience. None of this was fake.
>>Gavin Reed likes spending time with you.
>>Gavin Reed hates you.
That last notification disappearing had him relieved, his whole system flooding with emotion, and he swore he was even running smoother. Despite the folder labeled ‘Gavin Reed’ getting filled with more tidbits of info than any day before this, he felt- light.
Then they got into the car, and Nines predicted where the conversation was going. He also thought there would be teasing, insults, the works. He was ready for it. But none came, just the same acceptance that his suggested names didn’t fit. Gavin changed the topic, and Nines wondered if he could tell when Nines was uncomfortable. But he was not prepared for the next move. ' Gavin’s house.' His information folder immediately saved the address, but he couldn’t believe he was going to the detective’s house- the very same one no one else had ever been to. His systems felt like they were lagging, imagining what Gavin’s house would be like using his pre-construction software rather than searching it up.
“Niles!” The conversation started back up, but Nines didn’t mind. Stopped him from needing to reboot to stop the system instabilities at this point.
“Niles?” It was… A nice name. ‘ Did he spend this whole time going over names? ’
“Detective Niles Anderson- if you’re taking Hank’s last name like Connor is. Sounds fucking professional as fuck, and badass. And it’s all stern and proper too!” It was solid arguments for the name, though already his system was updating. He didn’t take a last name, but now his info read back to him. RK900, designation: Niles ‘Nines’ .
>>Gavin Reed is honest with you.
The new info caused a weird buzzing in his stomach and chest, silent but rippling through the area. Nines loved the way Gavin blushed, though it was odd, he read into it. Gavin probably had thin skin on his face, thus the blood looks ‘purple’ when it comes to the surface. But it was so- him. Purple face, dark brown stubble, a scar cutting through, grey eyes like metal.
>>Gavin Reed is handsome.(Duplicate)
That specific fact popped up so often his program stopped accepting it into the folder. There was twenty two instances in there already. A whole song passed of silence before Nines spoke again, thinking over the new name and who gave it to him.
“I like it. Thank you Gavin for helping me out with that.” The mission status ‘ GET CLOSE ’ seemed to solidify, ceasing it’s glitching.
“Wait, for real? I can call you Niles?”
“You can.” The following action was recorded and put into the folder, and his entire system had to have glitched. Gavin looked so happy that he helped him pick a name. He couldn’t stop the smile, knowing that by now, Gavin wasn’t afraid of it like some of the other officers were.
Reed’s apartment was… Nothing like Nines had thought it would be. It honestly worried him, and he seen the new mission ‘ Protect Gavin Reed ’ pop up below ‘get close’, as if a sub-mission. ‘ You’re overreacting Nines .’ He scolded himself, but still filed all the info away. They walked in, and instantly Nines could tell this at least wasn’t a slum. An old man hassled Gavin, embarrassing him, and the sub-mission flared violently , his LED turning red as his eyes narrowed. The old man had looked over, so Nines spoke up. “Hard for me to believe it too, it’s been a long time getting here.” Scanning Reed’s vitals shown it did embarrass the detective further, but he seemed to have passed the old man’s judgement. ‘ Why does that matter?’
The ride was awkward, but Nines continued to receive information, even interfacing with the elevator in-case he needed to come back up here at some point.
>>Gavin Reed’s Keycard information copied.
Something he would try out later, this was not a hard system to hack. But they talked, and he noticed how Gavin seemed to get defensive. ‘ Back off, let him take down the walls on his terms.’ So he only stayed silent as Gavin mumbled. When the man opened the door, he was… Surprised. The apartment was neutral colors, grey, black, white- with a dark red and blue for accents. It was modern, with plenty of shelving and decently filled with furniture. He noticed the game consoles, the cat towers and boxes, a large mirror with a wooden chair sat in front of it, and most interestingly- the lack of things he expected.
There was no workout equipment, which meant he worked out elsewhere. There was no personal photos besides the ones that seemed common to his job- getting his badge and getting through academy. Nines expected well, more photos, small collections of things. But no, his living room was mostly for his cats and some stress relief. Gavin mumbled something about a ‘him’, and Nines assumed he was looking for a cat. Nines spotted two already, noting one was an android cat even. Without thinking too much of it, he walked over, wanting to pet it. The cat responded positively, rubbing against his hand. The name of the cat was ‘Doa’, and Nines wondered what that could mean. He was so distracted he didn’t hear Gavin til he spoke up.
“That’s Doa. She’s a good girl, but she has no sense of smell.” Looking over, he knew his eyes went wide.
>>Gavin Reed is excellent at sneaking .
“Doa?” He noticed the amused glimmer in Gavin’s eyes, watching him set a black cat down. So close, he realized Gavin had been in that uncomfortable looking shirt all day. ‘He should remove it- What. What.’ Nines shut that thought down quickly, and instead waited for Gavin to clarify.
“Dead on arrival.” Nines furrowed his eyebrows, wondering why he would name a cat after police terminology. As Gavin explained coming into ownership of the cat, approaching him to pet the cat as well, Nines wanted to pull him close again. His ‘ GET CLOSE ’ mission seemed to brighten a bit without him allowing it to, and he wanted to growl. ‘ I am close!’
“She’s very lucky to have such a caring owner,” he said instead, allowing himself to smile. It was true, Gavin turned out to be so much less… of a dick than everyone expected.
>>Gavin Reed doesn’t care if you're an android.
He received a playful punch to his arm then, and Nines could feel his smile get bigger. “Damn right. And over there is Darling. She was uh…” And then it fell. He didn’t need to scan Gavin to know he was becoming defensive, seeing how he tensed under the shirt that hid nothing, seeing how his eyes became more like cold stone than shiny steel. Something was bothering him, and his mission objectives were spazzing out, until eventually ‘ PROTECT GAVIN REED ’ was blaring at him.
Hesitantly, Nines did what he seen others do in the movies him and Connor watched. Gently, he placed his hand on Gavin’s back, thumb rubbing back and forth rhythmically. Gavin seemed to relax at that, and it calmed his systems. Eventually he spoke up, revealing the cat was from a fatal accident, and Nines looked up the case. It was car versus construction truck, the truck driver having fallen asleep at the wheel.
>>Gavin Reed does not like accident cases(?)
It made sense, no one did. Yet this seemed more personal than that, but Niles wasn’t going to press on that button. He did however shift closer. ‘ GET CLOSE ’ blinked rapidly, and his fake-breathing stopped, everything holding still. He could- he could - it was an act of comfort- people in movies did it and they were friends. He carefully leaned in, ready to bolt back at any sign of rejection. But there was none. After a few moments, he carefully slid his arm around the smaller detective, holding him close. For once, all his mission statuses cleared, and his entire system was free of stuttering and glitching.
Then Gavin leaned into him. Nines felt his body heat up, an uncontrolled reaction to this. Then another, as he found a notification telling him in not so few words that he was blushing . He scanned Gavin, finding his levels had gone to zero as well, and he felt happiness at this. The asshole, fortified, mystery man of the D.P.D. was in his arms, melting into a one-armed hug, telling him about the cats even if it upset him. Gavin did pull away eventually, and Nines could see how he smiled now, how the simple act seemed to do wonders.
A new mission popped up, and Nines felt more frustrated than was reasonable. ‘ Get Closer ’. He sent a message to Connor, hoping the use of all capitals portrayed his frustration.
- I’M ABOUT TO RIP OUT THIS MISSION CENTER IF DOES NOT STOP IT’S SHIT.-
There- clear, concise, to the point, and a curse to further show his anger. Bastard the black cat was introduced last, and Nines felt the sudden urge to take a picture of the ‘caught-in-the-act’ look it bore. Like it’s owner, it didn’t seem to give a shit, and continued to clean itself even with an audience. Gavin went into the kitchen, leaving Nines to follow and look around.
>>Gavin Reed keeps his place clean.
>>Gavin Reed is lazy.
His view of his partner had changed so much, and he sincerely hoped this wasn’t the last time he got to be here.
“Ever had a thirium freezie?”
“A what? ” Nines watched as Gavin grinned, pulling thirium out of a container in his fridge and starting to pour it into a glass. Then he got carbonated water and ice, and mixed the three things into a blender.
“You can process water of all types, don’t worry. When the revolution first started, this was the most popular recipe because it focuses more on the feeling than the taste, which people were still working on.”
Gavin poured two cups and a small bowl, before pouring some diluted gravy in others. Cats. He set those on the counter, and brought the two cups over. Wait, two cups? He took the one held out to him, before voicing his concern. “Gavin, you don’t plan to ingest the other cup do you?” Gavin blinked, looking down, and Nines caught the moment of realization. Then the shift . He became tense, looking away from Nines, and laughing. Though it wasn’t real.
>>Gavin Reed is hiding something.
Nines wouldn’t pry, but he wanted to look around more thoroughly when he could. “Hah- I probably would’ve without thinking if you hadn’t caught that. I’m not exactly used to having people over.” Gavin put the mug in the freezer. “It’s there for another time then!” Nines hummed, before taking a sip of the slushie. It was… Really pleasant actually. It tingled, cleaning off his analyzers on his tongue and the residue leftover in his mouth. Unlike soda it didn’t really leave a film either, it was just… nice.
“Gavin, please teach me how to make this.” Gavin laughed softly, real this time, and moved over to get a drink from the fridge. Nines noticed the bit of relief at seeing some purple container, but when he scanned it… It couldn’t be identified. Nines was confused by this, but as Gavin drank it, he didn’t worry. Instead, he watched as the cats came to the bowls, noting how the android cat butted the others away from its bowl.
“Don’t worry, Nines, I’ll teach you this sometime later. Right now, it’s late.” Gavin put the container away and then disappeared down the hallway, taking the second door on the left. He returned with a mobile charging station, plugging it in beside the end of the couch along the wall.
Nines was almost convinced Gavin had people over, but the landlord’s conversation reminded him that it wasn’t possible. “You have a lot of android specific items. Doesn’t Doa charge via solar power?”
“She does, but I have these because it’s always better to be prepared than sorry. Plus there are two androids in this apartment building, and in case they get hurt, I can offer help.”
>>Gavin Reed is very prepared.
“You are very thought out for this. I couldn’t be in better hands, partner wise.” It was a small compliment, but the intensity of the blush Gavin sported was interesting.
>>Gavin R e
E d likes praise.
The name glitched out, and Nines reviewed the folder and realized that the info was changing.
>>Gavin likes praise.
They all just said ‘Gavin’ now, his full info still in there but- it was a change. Like Connor’s and Hank’s folders. He moved to the seat, and Gavin handed him the plug. “Get some rest Nines. My room’s last door in the hall. If you need to get out to get your clothes, just use my keycard to get in. Or ya know, hack the damn thing. Can’t be too hard, my neighbors have done it before.”
He laughed, and Nines joined him. “I believe it… Gavin.”
“This… Has been a good day. Thank you for trusting me.” Gavin looked away, a small blush coming to his face.
“Don’t look too far into it tincan! We’re partners, we need to trust each other… But uh- don’t go telling the other shits, especially Tina, about this.”
Nines nodded, chuckling. “Don’t worry, I won’t ‘ruin your reputation’.”
“Good! Now sleep dammit, I’m tired as heck.” Gavin stretched, his shirt riding up and Nines vision glitched . But as soon as Gavin walked away it was fine, and Nines held his forehead for a moment.
‘ I… I want to be more than partners.’ The realization sucked, Nines decided. He didn’t know what it was about Gavin that made him want to the point his system nearly fried itself. Of course, as he thought that, he went into the folder to try and figure it out. He plugged himself in, Doa coming over to sit on his lap.
>>Gavin is confident. Gavin is intelligent. Gavin is strong. Gavin is caring. Brave. Rash. Has a temper. Gentle. Likes cats. Fast. Durable. Flexible. Gay. Determined. Handsome. Mysterious.
>>Gavin is hiding something. Gavin trusts you. Gavin trusts you.
The one piece of info swirled around him, contradicting both. Nines set out to resolve it.
>>Gavin trusts you, but has a secret he’s hiding from everyone .
That was better, and he pet Doa as he slipped into stasis. His mission changed once more, and Nines would’ve blushed if he wasn’t entering stasis.
‘HOLD HIM .’
Chapter 10: first steps
They spend a week together, and it's actually pretty alright. Gavin likes actually knowing his partner for once. Then the case decides to come to them.
Gavin groaned as he woke up, rising out of bed at six in the morning. He basically ran on autopilot, moving to the bathroom for his morning shower. It didn’t take long, of course, and soon he finished in the bathroom, toothbrush in his mouth as he wrapped a towel around himself. He walked into the hallway and definitely did not shriek, thank you. Nines LED flashed red, and they held a stare-down while Gavin wore nothing but a towel and Nines held a change of clothes on his arm. “Morning Gavin. Didn’t expect you to be awake this early.”
“Same to you ahaha, sorry I’ll just-” He paused as he saw where Nines eyes had stuck. Yes his chest was damn good looking, but he knew the detective bot in the other was curious about the scar. ‘ Thank fuck this is all fixed up.’
Thankfully, neither of them mentioned it, and Gavin cleared his throat. “Can you eat?” ‘ Smart. Eloquent. Tactful. You gigantic dumbass.’ Nines seemed to lag basically, nodding slowly before he snapped to attention, his eyes rising to Gavin’s. And maybe it was the morning fucking with his head, but he swore Nines was blushing .
“Yes! I mean, yes, I can eat small amounts of food. I also possess taste receptors, unlike my brother.” Gavin raised an eyebrow at that, but figured Nines assumed he knew. Which Gavin had guessed but it was new to hear Nines call Connor that.
“Lucky you. I’ll have something ready by the time you’re done.” And Gavin hurried back to his room, well aware that Nines eyes were on him.
Standing on the other side of his door, Gavin started to breathe quicker. His heart was racing , and he could feel heat travel south at the thought of just- how that could’ve went. ‘ Gavin fucking Reed, you are not fucking your partner the same week you let him into your home. He probably wouldn’t like you anyways, remember- asshole extraordinaire.’
Gavin rummaged through his clothes, feeling like something more subtle was necessary today. As in- it was an ass day. He pulled out a pair of black leather bike pants, running a belt through the loops that was bright red. On the loops he attached little metal hearts, and smirked as he had a cute idea. He made sure to pattern them like LED colors- blue beside yellow beside red. A set on each side of the buckle. And then in the back he just attached two chains, like handles. For a shirt he did a simple dark red v-neck, placing the collar back on and the tracker on the inside of the belt buckle. ‘ Eat your heart out, I have style fuckers.’
He walked out, listening to Nines in the shower as he went past. ‘ Rhythmic. Figures.’ Instead of lingering, he went into the living room, turning the news up a little bit. He didn’t need to, but he hated when it was too quiet. Rifling through his fridge, he got out thirium and some grape jelly. He also took a sip of his own thirium, the purple sludge cancelling out the nice minty flavor he had enjoyed from the toothpaste. A disappointment, but needed no less. If something happened, he couldn’t risk not being at his full percentage of efficiency. He hummed as he worked, hearing the shower turn off as the bagels popped up. Mixing the jelly, he spread half with the thirium-spiked jelly and set the plate aside, warming some thirium in a mug as well. Then he made his own half of the bagel- cinnamon sugar on butter. He also grabbed an orange, peeling it and tearing it apart as Nines walked in.
“Jelly one is yours, and heated some thirium for you. I was thinking of walking by the abandoned apartment buildings near where that one Eden club was. There’s also reports of people breaking in, but walking along there and ‘lamenting on how the neighborhood used to look’ would provide us a good cover… Nines?” He turned, checking Nines over. He went for a more reserved look this time, but also the same in theme. He wore a black leather jacket with patches of thirium blue triangles on it. A white button up under it with three buttons undone left a nice contrast. His pants were less exciting, normal dark grey jeans with some fading on the knees and thighs, though they did hug his legs nicely. ‘ I want to die between this man’s thighs.’ Gavin thought, head not bothering to chase away the thought. But the most interesting thing was that Gavin could definitely see a blush. “Hey- you said I’d have no taste in fashion. You brought 100 something pounds of gay disaster on yourself.”
“I… Did, didn’t I.”
“How eloquent.” That seemed to fix his- the- tincan, Nines now rolling his eyes at the detective. “I simply did not expect you to have such little shame Gavin.”
“Really cause I thought it was pretty obvious. I danced on my desk at the precinct once.”
“I heard, it was during an office Halloween party if I recall correctly.” Gavin laughed, having just picked up his bagel.
“Yeah! I was a werewolf and they played Shakira, my ass was in character.” Nines LED went yellow, and then he snorted , mouth full of jelly-thirium bagel.
“Indeed. I’m sad there’s no videos.” Gavin scoffed, taking a bite of his own bagel. Of course he wouldn’t talk with food in his mouth.
“Naw, me and Tina made sure of that.” The rest of the morning passed in quiet, but Gavin caught Nines looking over every so often. It was… Nice. Gavin wouldn’t lie, bringing Nines home was possibly his best idea of this month.
However, the idea of trying to get caught wasn’t working as well. Three days passed, Nines and Gavin matching outfits after that day in the kitchen. While they learned a lot about each other, they got no leads on the mutant killers. Nines kept in contact with Connor each night, and it didn’t seem like they had any new victims either. They were instructed to keep this up, so the fifth day on this assignment they went shopping for clothes. Gavin now had a rough idea of his partner when he wasn’t around.
Nines liked horror movies, more-so ripping them apart. But he’d watch anything that he was allowed to talk shit on. He was also weak to the cop-buddy movies, which Gavin found hilarious. Nines liked to read more than watch however, and one trip was spent at a library. Nines loved reading romantic fantasy, but he adored classic plays and books. Meanwhile, when it came to food, Nines liked subtle flavors. Things Gavin couldn’t cook very well, but he’d try. He also loved anything cold, and Gavin was so glad Connor hadn’t introduced him to thirium ice cream yet. Nines preferred being out in the city rather than parks, Nines loved music, and was a surprisingly good dancer.
That was found out on the 6th day, as they walked in an area more known for back alley deals than actual entertainment. A man played a boombox, syncing lights to the music. A couple teens danced around it, and as they stopped on the other side of the street, Gavin noticed the way Nines twitched his feet and hands slightly. “Well, are you going to join them?” Nines startled, before Gavin laughed, a loud one that made the chains around his wrists jingle. “Come on dick!” He took the other’s hand, checking the street before walking over. They stood on the outside of the crowd, the man with the boombox giving them a onceover. Gavin stuck his tongue out at him, the new ‘9’ piercing glinting. Watching Nines absolutely malfunction when he showed him this was great, but it was a cute piercing.
The song faded into a new one, and Gavin found himself moving side to side, like he would in a more empty club. Mostly swaying his hips while enjoying the beat. “You can dance, can’t you?” Nines swallowed, something Gavin knew was only to portray nervousness, but leant in regardless.
“With a partner.” It took a couple seconds for it to click, then it did, and Gavin grinned.
“Alright- lead the way.”
He held out his arms, and Nines raised an eyebrow. But he seemed to settle on whatever he was thinking of, as soon Gavin found himself spun around and led into a fast paced dance for the new song. Still, Gavin liked it, liked the challenge, keeping his eyes on Nines’ crystal blues. They leaned and pulled at each other, in perfect sync. And then someone else just had to tap on Nines’ shoulder. Gavin bit back a growl, rolling his eyes instead. They split apart, noticing the group was cheering them on. The new partner took Gavin’s place, and Gavin chuckled at the look of utter distaste on Nines’ face at the new partner.
But he still was amazing at dancing. They didn’t have the same energy, but Nines could adapt to his partner, moving to make image complete rather than take over it. He looked- amazing. They both wore tanktops, Nines' blue and Gavin's red, with matching black flare jeans that had zipper pockets. Nines left his alone mostly, just attaching a little blue triangle to his zippers, but Gavin had a fucking style that he hadn't moved from yet. A chain attached from his belt to his zippers on each side, matching the small chain bracelets with more trinkets around his wrists. Of course he still wore the collar, it was six days in, they had to be a target by now, but today was the least effort he put in yet. Nines didn't seem to mind, just matching him. ' Connor is going to kill me once he goes home with all these clothes.'
Nines pulled away when the song ended, holding up his hands while backing over to Gavin. Gavin hung onto the other’s arm once he was in reach. Despite moving so much, he was still cooler than anyone else to hold onto. “You’re good at dancing, we should head to a club someday.” Nines rolled his eyes, looking down to him and waving as they started to walk away.
“Maybe if we ever get an undercover assignment at a club.” Gavin laughed softly, before his body tensed. He was confused for a moment, wondering why, knowing that he’d do that if he saw something without realizing it. Of course Nines didn’t miss the way he tensed. He was getting ready to say something when Gavin squeezed the other’s arm. “Audience.” He simply said, hoping Nines would get the hint.
Despite shifting through his memory, he couldn’t find the cause. They kept walking, heading back to their car. Nines frowned, but then spoke softly. ' So I can focus on noises around us.' “Yeah, they were a... unique audience. I’m surprised the one asked me to dance though I obviously was there with a partner.” It was enough time for Gavin to figure it out. He looked up to Nines, seeing those clear crystal blues on him. ' I once thought these were pure ice, how? '
“I don’t think she’ll be the last one either. We might get another invite to dance very soon.” Gavin kept himself tensed, and Nines’ LED spun yellow a couple times before it settled on blue.
“Oh- about time.” He mumbled, very silently, and Gavin snickered at it. They kept walking, alert this time. They could see the alley where the parking lot they kept Gavin’s car in, and that’s when the car that triggered Gavin pulled up beside them. Tires screeching, a door opened and two long, pitchfork like objects jabbed out at them. It caught Gavin and Nines, and Gavin’s breath stopped when he realized these were long tasers. ' This is it.' His systems rebelled against the electricity, and Nines did as well, but with one rev of the engine Gavin fell limp. ' Alright, turn this off, don’t need this on, nope gone, gone, gone, send out location ping, reroute all systems to reboot optical and audio first. '
Gavin could see, for the briefest moment, Nines’ LED turning blaring red, spinning fast. His expression morphed to one Gavin hadn’t seen yet- true, unchecked rage . He reached out, and Gavin wanted to comfort him, but he couldn’t. ' Just go down idiot, don’t blow this!'
Nines did, eventually, being none-too-carefully thrown into the van. Gavin kept his eyes on him, watching Nines struggle yet. They wrapped them both up in rope, but it was a shitty knot-job. His eyes flicked to the hooded figures, and he noticed they were talking. Too low for a normal human to pick up, so definitely androids, but also meant not the same model if they had to talk when not interfacing. “Fucking pain in the ass. He’s going to be annoying getting out of here.”
“But worth it. The tech said he’d pay us for a pair remember.” There was a soft huff of irritation, and Gavin imagined the rolled eyes to go with it.
“Yeah yeah. This better be worth it, the news is circling this shit like vultures now.”
“But- dude- free mods .”
Another huff, and the guy shifted to press his palm to his face. Gavin rolled his eyes, noticing the LED spin yellow beside him. When he looked, Nines’ eyes were directly on his, and Gavin bet he was being scanned. Gavin rerouted some of his reboot power to his jaw, waiting a few seconds before mouthing ‘I’m fine’ to him. The LED stayed yellow, but it spun a lot slower now. Gavin understood the worry, a normal human would’ve probably been foaming at the mouth and suffering from damage from such a shock. But Gavin was far from normal, and now as the van bumped down the road, he had a lot to do.
Chapter 11: first signs
combat smile combat smile combat smile- gavin is a feral man
All of this is officially beta-read! Expect daily updates and to see a new series- soon-ish! I'll have it started before this is done at least, because I don't want there to not be an active project here.
If you've been following either of my tumblr's- lupo-was-here or gavinphckinreedthis, you can catch some sneak peaks to the next series!
Eventually, the conversation of the kidnappers turned to meaningless chatter. Gavin had a feeling a forced interface with them would prove useless, so he wasn’t going to attempt to spare them. They were essentially told to do ‘whatever it takes’, and when it came to a couple of murderers, Gavin couldn’t help but care a little less. That being said, aiming for the thirium pumps would allow them to re-activate later. Gavin focused right now on his phone, interfacing with it. His eyes closed, and he saw the screen of his phone. ‘ Navigation navigati- aha! Alright, where are we heading you plastic dildos.’
He watched as the dot turned down various roads, and frowned, noticing this was… Unusual. Far away from the other locations, and it wasn’t exactly a more isolated area either. ‘ Somewhere new, we keep busting their hideouts. ’ He ran through the list of areas, crossing them off as they were passed until he realized where they were going, and felt his blood chill a bit. ‘ An abandoned hospital, how fitting.’ It was the last logical conclusion, an estimated time of seven minutes at the top right of his vision. He opened his eyes again, looking to Nines. Biting the inside of his cheek, he had to take a chance. ‘ Job comes first… No matter what… Nines keep your stupid, curious nose in your head bastard.’
He went to the messages, pulling up ‘Nines’ in his list.
- Keep silent. We’re heading to the abandoned hospital. -
And sent, Gavin swallowing down the worry he felt at doing something that was such a dead giveaway. He knew that if Nines was still scanning him, his vitals just spazzed with his nerves. It took less than a second to get a response, Nines eyes going wide, then confused, and then stern.
-Want me to pass on this info to the precinct? -
Gavin felt relief, his eyes closing to show it. Nines wasn’t asking, and Gavin could kiss the stupid sonuvabitch.
- Not yet. Wait til we get in. Both these guys won’t be useful to interface with, paid help. Aim for the heart. -
Nines LED finally went to blue, though Gavin seen how it glitched to get there. Must’ve forced his LED to change .
- Understood Gavin. On your signal? -
- Try to keep up tincan. -
The small twitch of the other’s lips was so worth it, and Gavin relaxed. Eventually he watched as they pulled into the parking lot and stopped. It looked like the east wing entrance, and he figured they’d pull here to keep out of sight from curious onlookers. A chill went down Gavin’s spine at the thought that they may have never thought of this place. The two hooded androids moved, picking up the electric skewer-forks of hell. “Don’t hit the human again, he might be too fried for operation hah.” ‘ Thank fuck .’ They did get Nines again, and Gavin was glad he locked his body because he would’ve winced. Nines subdued, LED staying a still blue though his eyes shot daggers at the shocking bastard, they both were dragged out.
As they walked to the hospital, Gavin took mental snapshots of everything , and groaned internally when he realized heat vision wouldn’t work for a building with nothing but androids in it. They got to the doors, the one knocking before it was opened by a third dude. A modified third dude, an extra set of arms that were crossed on top of the ones that opened the door. “Took you fucks long enough. The party is waiting, take them to the cell and the tech will come to prep them. Then you two can head over to see Daisy.”
‘Daisy, possibly the android that does the modifications based on their earlier conversation. Shit, how big is this operation?’ Gavin remembered basilisk eyes, knowing he had a whole crew. He wasn’t afraid, but the more blood on his hands, the more guilt he’d feel later. ‘ I’ll spare those who don’t attack, since we’re already in. This tech will be the one we need.’
- Force interface with the tech? -
It took a couple of hallways for Nines to reply, and his text glitched slightly. Gavin suddenly felt his body heat, rage burning through him at Nines actually seeming to take damage.
- Will do, but I need time. -
‘He needs time, he never needs time, they’ve hurt him. They hurt him .’ His system ran the words across the bottom of his vision, and he groaned to hide the sound of his jaw involuntarily shifting. ‘ Damn emotional systems.’ He didn’t want to admit that the thought of someone hurting his partner pissed him off to this degree, but Eli did warn him a long time ago- he can’t control how he feels. ‘ You’re not an android Gavin, you’ll still have the same, dumbass unpredictability that a human does.’
“Sounds like the short one is waking up finally.”
“Yeah it does. Humans are so adorable with the silly noises they make when they get hurt.” The androids shared a laugh, and Gavin couldn’t help but focus on the glitch of red that bled through the blue on the other wall. Nines was aware at least. Soon they came into a room with chains on the walls and a thick wire on the one side.
Gavin studied it before realizing it was meant for Nines. The wire could be plugged in to deliver a virus. ‘ He could be hurt. They hurt him .’ As the two closed the door, Gavin moved, a buzzing growl ripping through him. The ropes broke easily, and he delivered a harsh blow to one of them. An elbow to the thirium pump circle, and then Gavin whipped around, biting into the other’s neck.
“ What the fuck?! ” Gavin crushed , locking his jaw ‘til the vocal modulator was disabled, and then Gavin kicked him away.
“Bastards…” He growled again, and then the other guy dropped Nines. Gavin moved out of the way of grabbing hands, and instead punched the other in the chest, his arm buzzing and tensing. It knocked the poor guy down, and Gavin moved to secure the room, locking the door before he turned back. Nines laid still, and Gavin knew he’d be fine long enough for him to fix this. He took the shockstick that had been used on Nines, and turned it on, taking them both down til they went completely lax.
“Nines- you good?” He got a buzz, and quickly moved over. A series of clicks for his jaw to not be terrifying, though Nines was definitely going to see the thirium. He rolled Nines over, seeing a yellow LED and getting an all too natural groan.
“I will be fine in a minute. I need to recalibrate.” He said, though he sounded tired.
“Alright, I’m going to hide the dipshits, and then fake secure us to the wall so we can surprise the tech.”
Nines nodded, and finally his eyes opened. His LED went red instantly. “Gavin- are you ok?” Gavin smiled, close mouthed of course, but nodded.
“Yeah, don’t worry about me tincan. Remember, I can take care of myself.” He got up knowing Nines was fine, ignoring the ‘wait’ from the other. They didn’t have time, who knew how excited this tech would be to meet them. He looked around, and noticed the closet. ‘ Easy enough.’
It was easy to move the two, and Gavin made sure they wouldn’t be waking up anytime soon, popping open their chests and nudging the thirium pump out of place. Then he took any weapons they had, that being the shockstick and a knife on the other one. He hid the knife in his boot, before returning to Nines. He was looking better already, turning to Gavin once Gavin got close enough. “Still re-calibrating?” Nines nodded, getting up and going to straighten non-existent sleeve cuffs, frowning at the motion. Gavin laughed though, wiping his mouth off finally. “Good to see you up. Let’s get in position.”
Nines looked over him, and suddenly Gavin felt a hand on his jaw. Again . “You… Bit him?” Gavin blinked, and pulled away.
“Hey Nines. No questions. Not until this is done alright? No more questions, and I’ll answer five when we’re done. Any five you want, sound good?” Gavin held out his hand.
He was planning to tell Nines everything eventually anyways, but now wasn’t the time. He didn’t think he was ready to let him know this much to begin with. But Nines needed to trust him, he couldn’t do this knowing the results of his own emotions could isolate the main cause of them. ‘ Fuck that sounds so sappy .’ But his hand was gripped, hard , and they shook on it.
“Any five, I’ll hold you to that detective.” Gavin raised an eyebrow at the tone- Nines was up to something. But he didn’t ask any more questions, so Gavin moved to push Nines back.
“Good- now time to get chained up.”
Gavin flushed purple, gently slapping the other on the arm before slipping into the cuffs. He made sure that they weren’t fully locked, it would be annoying to rip them out of the wall, but Nines didn’t seem to have that problem. “So the plan,” Nines spoke suddenly, causing Gavin to startle, looking to the door. “Wait for the tech to get close enough to grab. You take out any guards he brings with him. I force interface, and gather whatever information I can, then remove the thirium pump to keep the tech from alerting anyone. If this doesn’t provide us enough information, we proceed to ‘Daisy’, and then to the party.”
Gavin hummed at the plan. “I should break out first. Provide a distraction in case they have those pitchfork things. I won’t be able to hold myself back if they try that shit again.” Nines looked at him, and Gavin looked away, feeling the heat build in his ears of all places. ‘ Stupid fucker and his stupid fucking- ’
“Sounds good. Keep them from alerting the other’s however.”
Gavin nodded, rubbing his boot along the other’s leg. “Knicked that nice gift off the one guy. I’ll be quick about it.” Though he didn’t need it, he could technically shift his claws out. Silence fell between them, both of them listening for the tech. Nines broke it however, looking at Gavin.
“Detec- Gavin .”
“Hm?” Gavin looked over, noticing the soft look on the other’s face. “Thank you. For all your walls and abrasiveness, I- I am honored you felt the need to protect me so. I can assure you, no electricity jolt will permanently down me in the future, and I’ll look about getting some upgrades to prevent this in the future.”
Gavin blinked, and then he knew his entire face was purple. “S- shut up! You’re my partner, of fucking course I’d protect you!” He huffed, sinking into the wall. He couldn’t hide from the other’s eyes.
“I think it’s more than that, Reed .” Gavin’s head melted a bit at the rumbled ‘Reed’, and he pointedly turned away, ignoring the soft laugh. “You shouldn’t be embarrassed you have a friend, Gavin.” He sagged a little bit.
That… Made sense. Not the embarrassed part, fuck if that’s what he’s embarrassed about. He does truly see Nines as a friend. More than that- a partner, a perfect match to his style of working, someone whom he trusted, almost as much as Eli. And if he survived today, maybe even more than Eli. He felt his body become loose- ready to shift at a moment’s notice, and wanted to lock his arms and legs to prevent it.
“Gavin- Detective- I’m sorry for tea-”
“It’s not that tincan- you’re right. I shouldn’t be embarrassed, I’m really fucking glad you’re my friend. That’s just the problem, because I want to tell you everything and that’s even more of a problem.”
Nines went silent, and Gavin figured he was trying to piece something out of what he said. “You… trust me that much?” Gavin nodded, looking over with a half-assed grin.
“I hope you didn’t have any plans for a new partner because I will personally fight ‘em.”
Nines LED shone at that, the blue nearly lighting up the whole room, and it started to look almost white. “Same for you, except I won’t exactly be able to fight… No one would be able to last more than a minute.” Nines seemed so damn proud, and the smug attitude, the grin- it melted Gavin into something raw and warm and happy , and he felt the jittery fear fade away.
“Fuck yeah.” Gavin perked up, hearing footsteps. “Two pairs, one’s a lot heavier, and there’s a clanking to it.”
“A toolbelt and tools. Probably to do the more destructive work. Just two however.” ‘
They underestimated us.
“Remember Nines, try to-”
“Keep up… Meatbag. ” Cocky son of a-
Chapter 12: smile smile smile
Gavin continues to be as feral as possible, now that he's decided his partner should be aware of what he's dealing with. It's well received he thinks. Things are going great.
The door opened, revealing a slim figure outlined by a much larger, intimidating figure. When they stepped in, they flipped the light on, and Gavin took note the building had electric. ‘ Probably through a generator.’
“Oh! They’re both awake and moving, goodie goodie.” The smaller one spoke, and Gavin almost felt sorry for everyone that had to work with the guy. Bright pink shirt and pants, a yellow apron with little needles stitched into it, the faded MC100 nearly invisible. This was a much older model, and Gavin wanted to smirk. ‘ I worked on this one. Wonder if it’s modified .’ He had strawberry blonde hair and light freckles, and then Gavin saw that he was definitely modified. Pink eyes and fucking sharp ears, like an elf from a fairytale. He also had sharp, claw like nails, clasped around his hips for right now. Gavin was willing to bet he didn’t use knives. “Darling, please ensure that our human friend can’t escape us. I’ll begin prepping the android. The delivery boys sure picked a nice couple!”
Gavin tensed, a normal reaction, but his body was shifting while the other spoke. He sent Nines a brief text. - Remember, questions after. Trust me? -
- Of course. - Gavin, feeling confident with that, spoke up. He needed to get them talking. “Wait wait- prepping for what?” He tried to put fear in his voice, but fear was far from what he felt. He vaguely heard Eli’s voice. ‘ Don’t lose control, we’re just humans brother. We have ancient instincts, and this is modern technology .’
“Oh- I’ll gladly explain! See, you two have been chosen to help us further both of our lovely societies!” His cheerful voice was grating, but loud, and Gavin locked his jaw to let it fully shift, the clicking barely audible.
- Gavin? - Not quiet enough apparently, but his response was immediate.
- Trust. - He couldn’t focus on saying much more than that right now, but Nines LED turned yellow, glitching into the color. He felt bad for worrying him but they’d both get over it.
As the larger male got closer, Gavin looked him over. He was built like a bear, before Gavin realized he partially was one. In place of built, construction worker legs were fuzzy bear ones, a pair of shorts thrown over his waist. He had blood in the fur, and on his belt there was multiple tools, lacking any sort of sanitation as he could still see blue blood on it. The bear approached Gavin with a needle, and when he was close enough, Gavin struck. Things clicked and whirred in him, and Gavin couldn’t help the grin as he tackled him. Bear or not, Gavin still had some strength to him, and they fell.
“Oh dear- that’s not-” The MC100 squeaked as Nines broke the chains, and then launched for him.
Nines was less show of force and action, and more graceful and direct. Within a few, short minutes, the MC100 model was on the ground, being interfaced with. Within those same minutes, Gavin was having a hell of a time. He wasn’t exactly made for strength, more speed and endurance. That being said, he was taking the beating like a champ. The bear had picked him up and slammed him into the wall, and Gavin in turn sank his teeth into the other’s shoulders, ripping wires out. The guy fucking roared and Gavin hissed right back, before grabbing his knife and stabbing it into his chest. Except, it didn’t go far. The guy’s chassis was thick, and Gavin was betting that he was one of the few construction models that could lift steel beams. Gavin went from upright to sideways alarmingly quick, landing on the other side of the room. He didn’t stay down of course, scrambling onto his knees and darting out of the way as the guy charged at him.
‘ No more playing fucker .’ Gavin was going to make sure this guy died, even if he had to get dirty doing so. At the next charge, Gavin lined it up so he hit the wall, rattling the chains against it. Then he launched, placing himself on the android’s back. Within a minute, his teeth sank down, crushing through fake skin and chassis on his neck, and ripping. He repeated the motion, even while the bastard started getting up and moving around. He let his claws extend to give him a better grip. Eventually he got to the nerves and veins of the guy, thirium making a mess, and then followed him down while they crashed with a dull thud . Gavin pulled off, huffing a bit and looked over to Nines. ‘ Still interfacing .’ Gavin guessed the amount of time all this took, and it was only about ten minutes. ‘ Stupid thick skin. ’
He walked over, body shaking now that it fully shifted. On the outside, this barely shown. His eyes glowed slightly, the pupils small specks of black, and his teeth were sharp, meant for tearing through metal and bone equally. Claws came back to the surface, normally hidden by synthetic skin of a nail. Besides that, he stood a lot straighter, and moved like he was about to pounce. Every part of him looked like it was coiled, which was the point. Thankfully, by the time Nines stood up, he had calmed some, though his eyes still stayed luminous. “You get anything?”
Nines looked to him, and Gavin rolled his eyes at the red LED that instantly took over. “You’re covered in blood Gavin. What-” His eyes panned over to the bear, and his LED actually spazzed. “What is that and how did it’s neck end up like that?” Gavin blinked, before tutting.
“Questions.” Nines actually glared at him and Gavin sighed.
“Alright you get this one, and only because if we need to keep fighting, it’s my main way of taking you fucks down without a gun. Knife did jackshit against him.” Gavin locked his jaw, and with a series of clicks and a soft whirr, he opened it back up. He expected Nines to back away, for fear to take over his face, to call Gavin a ‘freak’, anything like that. What he didn’t expect was two fingers stuck into his mouth, running over the teeth. “Hey! Wash ou’!” The fingers pressed deeper and Gavin’s blood thrummed, swallowing and flushing. Thankfully Nines pulled them out then, only to prop his mouth open after.
“These can rip through metal and crush bone… I’m assuming your jaw locks to help with the tearing… Beautiful .” Gavin sputtered, and that’s when he pulled away, covering his mouth with both hands as it clicked back into place.
“Fucking hell Nines! You don’t just stick your fingers into your partner’s mouth! Especially one that packs shredders in it!” Nines chuckled, and Gavin noticed the LED melt to blue.“Also- beautiful? Nines did that dude knock a screw loose when you interfaced because that is the last word I’d pick for the nightmare that is my combat smile.”
“Combat smile- cute term for it.”
“Fuck off, I was going to say ‘sharko mode’ but they’re not like shark teeth.”
“But they are beautiful. That much damage packed into somewhere people don’t assume, it’s stunning.” Gavin went silent, at a loss because this was not how this was going to go. His face felt on fire and he was almost worried he took a hit there or something. Nines walked over to him, and at the place of a hand on his shoulder, his head leaned back to look up to him. Nines, ever perfect, not a thing out of place. And then Gavin, covered in blue, shirt a mess, hair knocked out of place. ‘ Unfair he’s too perfect for me… Partner wise partner wise partner wis-’
“I got a good amount of info from Ollie- including some important files on the leaders of this whole operation. I also got an idea of who to try and get to next, to confirm some things. Are you up to show me how you really fight?”
Gavin couldn’t help it, he broke. The warm, impressed tone, the teasing, the complete trust. He knew he asked for it, but to just be given it even after his true colors started to show, he was- unsure. No one got this far, only Eli, only the person who made him. Just as he pulled away, eyes flitting this way and that- both of Nines’ hands grabbed onto his arms. “Gavin- calm down.” The tone was now worried and Gavin hated that, hated making the other worry.
“I just- how- how are you so calm?” Gavin looked up, a look between glaring and pleading on his face probably. But Nines only fucking smiled, does he know what that smile does to me , and replied softly.
“Five questions, after all this is done. You asked me to trust you, and I do. Never once have you been outright violent with me, knowing full well I am my own being with thoughts and feelings. Yes, I was mad about Connor, but after hearing you speak in that officer’s presence, I realized you weren’t mad at Connor for being an android, but for not being awake, when you’ve probably known the whole time he could’ve been.”
Gavin let the silence hang, before he took just one step, leaning on Nines’ chest. Right here, right now, the thought he could hurt Nines struck him hard, and he was afraid of himself all over again. ‘ Friends are just a useless risk factor we don’t need’ , the voice of his teenager self reminded him, but he pushed it away, and backed up after he calmed down. ‘You don’t have to push everyone away for us.’ Gavin brushed himself off. “Yeah well, five questions later. Does the teeth thing satisfy some of them for now?” Nines nodded, then walked over to the door, opening it for the other.
“What a gentleman.”
They walked down the hallways, Nines by his side. He would’ve switched to nightvision, but didn’t feel the need to, he could just listen to Nines footsteps. Eventually, they stopped, and Gavin did switch then to see why. In the new mode, he could make out a couple of old inpatient rooms, and Gavin looked to Nines. “What’s up tincan?” He asked, voice almost silent.
“If Ollie’s memory is still correct, we need the door with the name ‘Jenny’ on it.” Gavin nodded, walking down the hallway and looking at the doors. A couple were empty, a couple had names on them. One had ‘spare parts’ on it and Gavin wanted to look, but he passed it and found Jenny’s, motioning for Nines to come over. Both men in position, Nines tried the door, but it was locked. Gavin grinned, pulling out his keycard for his building from his pocket. He jimmied it between the door where the latch was, and after some fussing got it to slide under, opening the door.
“Smart.” Gavin preened under the compliment, and let Nines go first.
Thankfully ‘Jenny’ was in her bed, and Gavin could tell this had been a long time deviant. Natural breathing mimicked perfectly even while sleeping, and a natural pose to be laying in. Too bad the metal plate on the right side of her face gave her away, carefully carved etching into it. It was kind of beautiful. “Gavin, I need you to guard me. I’m going to interface with her, but she will have more protection than the MC100 model. Think you can hold off any attackers for a bit?”
“Fuck yeah terminator, you do your thing. I got your back.”
Gavin left the lights off, but shut the door, and watched as Nines sat on the bed. Hand exposed, he has grey chassis, pretty , Nines set it on the android’s neck, and she began spazzing. The grip kept her from moving away as Nines forced an interface. Gavin focused on the door instead, listening.
For a while, it was nothing but the sound of buzzing from the girl behind him, but then Gavin’s body tensed. His teeth clicked, jaw shifting, and Gavin braced himself. He even went as far as to lock his left hand again, the claws shifting out, making a pointed battering ram like he had saving Chloe. Around twenty different sets of feet rushing towards them, minutes between him and the group, and Gavin cursed under his breath. That door wasn’t going to last, and Gavin looked between Nines and the door. ‘ They’ll hurt him .’ He took a breath, before making a decision.
He had to distract them, and prevent that door from being opened. Looking around, he found scraps of metal. Her personal project, but they were in long strips, and there was a power drill beside them. One had the square on her face cut out, amusingly enough. He got up, taking the strips with him and the drill.
“Sorry Nines, but hurry up.” He said, before stepping outside. He effectively bolted the two in, knowing Nines had enough strength to break through the wall. This would buy him a couple minutes, but covered in thirium, he knew how well this would play to the crowd. He threw the drill into a different room, and then waited. Twenty on one, how bad could it be. ‘ Just in case…’
- Hey Eli. Love you. I hope you got that ‘existence’ core figured out. -
Gavin closed his eyes, and took a breath. “Let’s dance fuckers.”
Chapter 13: action reaction
Nines has a bad time, but he finally gets to learn the truth. Gavin is a work of art.
The interface took ages it felt like, Nines coming out of it as the girl spazzed one last time. He sent a virus in to attack her systems, which were so pathetically weak to the slightest probe. ‘ Early model, custom too hah. Still, it feels like there should’ve been more.’ His thoughts were smug, Nines would admit that. He stood up, getting ready to leave, then whipped his head around. The sounds of fighting. Outside. ‘ Gavin!’ His new mission blared in the corner of his vision, ‘ PROTECT GAVIN ’, and he ran to the door. It wouldn’t open, but this close he could hear the pure amount of people. Had to be around ten or eleven people, and the majority of them were yelling, orders going left and right. And then…
“Come on! He’s not invincible- he’s a fucking human! He’s replaceable, just kill him already!” What followed was a mix of frustrated ‘we’re trying!’s and ‘On it!’s, and the sound of someone grunting in pain, so soft under the noises of collision. ‘ Gavin- no no-’ Nines felt his systems start to panic, then he eyed the wall. ‘ Likely just plywood and plaster, compared to whatever closed this.’ Rearing back, he busted through it shoulder first. A couple guys jumped back, and in split seconds everything paused.
Gavin was bleeding. Heavily. Purple soaked through his arms, exposing the faintest glints of muscle… No, metal. Muscle on the right side.
>>Gavin’s half metal(?)
His jaw was open, a large gash down the one side of his bottom lip exposing the metal jaw as well. His teeth were speckled with blood and metal and wires, and his arm was soaked. It looked locked up, and the tips of his fingers had exposed points. They looked like gloves, but he realized they were claws . As he examined the bodies around him, his pre-construction helpfully told him that he’d been using it as a battering ram. But the worst thing was the hole in Gavin’s stomach- filled with a knife, letting out the purple that soaked everything.
>>Gavin’s blood is purple(thirium mixture?)
Two androids flanked Gavin, one grabbing his right arm and trying to rip it off, the other with his fingers in Gavin’s hair. One android in front of him was reaching for the knife, and there was an android on the ground missing an arm. Another one was beside him, trying to get a hold of Gavin’s left arm without being impaled. The other six androids stood around, posed to pounce, with the exception of Daisy. Nines took one more second to predict the most efficient way to decommission the whole group, but then it scrambled as Gavin cried out, the knife being yanked out. ‘ PROTECT HIM ’. He moved, the program adapting and constructing as he moved.
The first one was the knife wielder, turning on Nines far too late. He didn’t hesitate- he punched his hand into the chest, grabbing the pump and ripping. Grabbing the knife with his free hand, he aimed it, and didn’t even watch as metal went into the android holding onto Gavin’s right arm. It hit with so much force, right between the eyes, that it pierced through entirely, embedding into the wall behind the guy. ‘ Two down.’
He was moving, reaching the ones about to pounce next. He turned off the restraints that demanded he look for a different way, that he try to spare some of these mutated, heartless androids, and instead used the one body to crush the other, taking them both through the wall the knife was in. Two well aimed thrusts and both were out, the LED still on one of them. It flickered off as Nines turned around.
“N...ines…” Gavin’s voice sounded static-y, and wheezing at the same time. A scan revealed his stress levels were at critical, and that his body was dropping in temperature. Nines turned to the other’s, who scrambled away. Some were already running, and Nines didn’t care. He approached those who were stupid enough to stay, and reached down, grabbing one by the neck. He started to crush, aiming to destroy the guy, when a small chain bounced off his shoulder. “ Ple...ase… Nines. ” Nines stopped, throwing the guy to the side. It was enough to startle the other’s into grabbing the man, and the group ran now. Daisy was the last one there.
“You won’t get away with this! You and your little human- we’ll find you!” She threatened, and Nines took a step towards her. Baring his own teeth, he let out a static-laced growl, eyes narrowed. “I look forward to meeting you again, Daisy .” His voice changed to mimic Jenny’s, and Daisy ran at that.
Threat disposed of, Nines whipped around, scooping Gavin up. His LED flickered yellow as he called for an ambulance, then he saw a small notification pop up.
- Message from: detective dipshit. Open? -
Of course he did, and stalled, Gavin’s breathing in his arms becoming more strained.
- No ambulance tincan. Head to this address, can’t stay awake for too much longer. -
An address was attached to the message, and Nines’ instantly brought up the info on it. ‘ Elijah Kamski?! What is Gavin doing associating with him?’ “You are heavily injured, and require medical assistance. I don’t think that-”
“Nines… No…” Gavin started coughing harshly, and Nines noticed the knife jostle. ‘ No questions, why did I agree to this.’ He grit his teeth, LED flashing red in irritation. But he listened, running out of the building and to their car.
Gavin held out for the car ride, clutching the knife and groaning every so often. At some point he removed the tracker and the mic on his person, though the mic was broken along with the earpiece. His vitals were… They were inhuman. ‘ He should be dead by now. This amount of blood-loss and his stress is at 100 percent…’ Nines LED didn’t move off of yellow, but his hand did occasionally stray over to rest on Gavin. His knee, his hand, anywhere he could touch. Gavin remained silent.
Pulling up to the driveway, he barely remembered to turn the car off as he whipped open the door and picked him up. If he held him closer than necessary, that was no one’s business but his own.
--Gavin is very cold.
Nines LED went red. He ran up to the door, and his LED flashed a few times as the door whipped open right before he got to it. A blonde girl in a blue smock stood there, and Nines saw her LED flash red as well. Chloe , his analysis helpfully provided.
“ Gavin fucking Reed what did you do! ” She hissed, and grabbed Nines arm. Suddenly he felt a probe for a communication line. ‘ Allow Access.’
“ YOU. START. TALKING. ” Chloe’s internal voice was a lot louder, and demanding, and Nines didn’t hide the growl.
“ After you do. Gavin demanded to be brought here instead of a hospital. ” They went into an office, then over to a bookcase. Chloe must’ve interfaced with it, because it swung to reveal a stairway down.
>>Gavin knows Kamski personally.
“ Why is he injured to begin with! ”
“ We were on a case and he was… ” Nines faltered, and Chloe was yanked for a second while his systems froze up, locking him in place. Gavin got hurt protecting him. ‘ Gavin was protecting me.’ Chloe looked back, and her red light shifted to yellow, as she spoke. It was like how Connor switched to that annoying pacifying tone he had. Except Chloe still had a ways to go with it.
“Hey- RK900, internal crisis later. Fix Gavin now.” That was enough to start him. That and Gavin’s weaker, buzzing groan. They went down the staircase, the communication line being closed by Chloe. At the bottom was something that looked similar to a hospital room. Two large production stations for thirium sat in the back, though it was purple in color. A table sat in the middle of the room, with familiar looking hooks in the ceiling. ‘ These are a lot cleaner.’
To the sides there were various tools, diagrams, and vats of metal and metal-forming tools. And then sitting on a mobile stool was Elijah Kamski himself, glasses askew and hair a mess, still in pjs with a lab coat thrown on top. He seemed to be prepping IVs and tubes, but when he heard the three descend the steps, he looked up. And Nines could see the fear and worry in his eyes.
“ Gavin! ” He ran over, and Chloe slid to the side with a practiced ease. “Release him, RK900.” Nines LED spun yellow, and he looked to the table. “Yes- on the table- go go-” And Elijah started pushing him.
“You will not be able to move me, but valiant attempt.” Nines moved to the table, gently laying Gavin down on it. ‘ He should be dead. You couldn’t protect him. Mission failed. Mission failed. Mission-’
“ Nines! ”
The voice was shouted at him, and Nines realized he was clutching onto Gavin’s hand, his LED spinning a violent red. “Stress 82 percent, RK900, please move away so Eli can work.” Chloe’s hands nudged him, gentle now.
“He… was protecting me.” Nines simply said, looking to Elijah as he allowed himself to be pulled back.
“Yeah, sounds like something his dumb ass would do. Chloe, get in here. He’s in survival state.” Chloe nodded, moving to Eli’s side. Nines watched as the two moved in near perfect sync, a repetition of actions, this had happened before .
Chloe hooked Gavin up to IVs, pumping the purple liquid into him. Elijah eased the knife out, and then used it to remove Gavin’s shirt. “Shit- what did he do, fight a mob?” ‘ Kamski did not seem like the person to curse so freely’ , Nines noted, before the prompt came into mind.
“In fact, yes. When I awoke out of the interface that required me to be protected, there was about twenty androids. Half were already dead, the others were…” Nines found his voice modulator glitching, as it refused to finish his sentence. ‘ Ridiculous! Stop hindering me.’ But the human seemed to get the idea.
“Fucking hell- I tell him to be careful, and he tries to Sparta through a gang.” He sounded so much like Gavin speaking like that.
Before Nines could question Eli as to- well anything- Nines eyes widened. Elijah prodded a cord to the back of Gavin’s neck, like an android port, and his skin faded away. The entirely, oddly weird, human revealed half his body to be a perfect imitation constructed from fine steel and wires. Nines could see partially real organs past the muscles, and then wire and tube replacements for the rest. The skin stopped at his scar, and Nines noticed the knife had pierced the still covered side.
“Fuck, that’s going to be fun. Chloe, stitches. I’m going to need to hang him up-” Elijah turned, looking RK900 up and down. “Help me out, I need to hook him up to make sure his internals weren’t damaged by this knife.” Nines nodded, coming closer.
Gavin was… A work of art . Half machine, half human. ‘ He’s an actual cydroid. Those androids were so close to reality without realizing it.’ As he picked up the man, hands under his arms, Elijah pulled the hooks down, carefully slotting them under, and tying Gavin securely before letting him hang.
“Good good. Chloe, force integration, power down his systems. He’s going to feel this.” Nines looked to Elijah as he spoke, scanning him. ‘ He’s worried, and feels… Guilt? Sick? Something- about doing this. At least with an audience.’ Chloe approached, and Nines didn’t miss the way she eyed him. Her hand placed over his idiotic partner’s heart, and suddenly Gavin spazzed.
Nines reached out, but Elijah threw an arm in front of him. “Wait.” Nines knew his LED was an angry red. ‘ Wait my ass!’ Eventually, twelve point two seconds , Chloe removed her hand, a heavy sigh coming from her as she did. Nines noted how the slight press of the raw ‘muscles’ left her hand covered in slight traces of the purple thirium. Gavin now made a soft ‘ whirr ’, but a scan revealed his stress decreasing. “While he’s trying to remain conscious, his body will still react like a normal humans, going into a mimic’d shock to keep him alive. It doesn’t realize half of him isn’t really- needing that. Forcefully placing that side of him into stasis keeps him from feeling pain until he wakes back up, and keeps him from twitching.”
Elijah looked to him again, before motioning to a chair. “You can stay and watch, cat’s kinda outta the bag now.”
“ Behave, Chloe. Anyways, you can stay. Just- know this won’t be easy to watch. At least you’re watching as just a partner.” Nines knew what was bait and what wasn’t, and his five questions didn’t pertain to Elijah.
“I’m working as his doctor and his brother .” He sounded so tired and sad, and Nines backed off the topic.
“Half-brother, technically. I know I know, ‘Chloe- not helping’. I’ll get started in making the repairs for his arms.”
Nines eventually did sit down, hands folded in his lap as he watched. He needed to process, he needed to enter stasis, but he did neither. Gavin’s vitals stayed pulled up, and he recorded every action the two made. The chemical compositions and makeup of his synthetic flesh, the wire patterns that got nicked in his arms, the way Gavin’s heart still pumped purple through him, a slow, steady flow. At some point he analyzed some that had gotten on him.
>>Gavin Reed- age: 34, blood type: Thirium 200. Male.
His system glitched out trying to categorize the other further, but the thirium 200 intrigued him. ‘ So it’s pure thirium, but a different chemical composition of it.’ Nines knew it wasn’t in mass production, but he wondered how it would even work for other androids.
It was hours before Elijah laid Gavin down, and Nines stood, coming to his side immediately. His vitals were scanning normal, and Nines couldn’t even see where the damage was originally, sans the stitched up parts of real muscle and skin. “How long has he been like this?” Nines asked, and Elijah hummed.
“Not my place to tell you. I’m surprised Gavin didn’t limp off, shove himself in a dumpster and call for help… Yes he’s done that, plenty of times. So he must really trust you to have done something so reckless.” Elijah pulled out his phone, handing it to Nines. “That’s the only message I got from him before you showed up. I had to hack into the tracker you guys have on him ― don’t worry I disabled it on route ― and see you two were on your way here.”
Nines hummed, gently pressing the matted hair back. Gavin was still covered in blue and purple, even as Chloe forcefully re-activated the skin. Elijah went through, attaching a new wire to his neck and looking at his laptop. “All systems cleared, he needs to sleep though to allow for full calibration. And he’s going to be sore as fuck, some of those slashes almost made me want to just replace that side too.” He groaned, before hitting a button. Nines jolted as Gavin spazzed, eyes flying open. The pure panic in his eyes had his systems run an ice-like chill through him, and Nines placed both hands on the sides of Gavin’s face.
“Gavin.” He tried to speak softly, even when Gavin blinked a few times at him. Then he saw it- the shift in his pupils. They suddenly focused on him, and Gavin’s body relaxed.
“ Phck , guessing that didn’t go well did it?” His voice was back to normal, gravelly around the edges, though smooth like rum.
“Not at all. You took on twenty-”
“ Androids with weapons by yourself . ” Nines hissed, LED finally settling onto yellow. Chloe had pulled a stool up for Nines to sit on, so he did, not removing his hands off of Gavin. There was a need to touch. ‘ Protect him ’ flickered slowly back to life, and so did the rest of his HUD, though he dismissed most of whatever didn’t pertain to Gavin.
“Psh, they didn’t seem that tough. Plus what was the alternative, stay in the room and risk them attacking you? No thanks.” Gavin tried to move, and Nines bristled as he cried out, glaring at Elijah who held his hands out. Nines helped him to sit up, and noticed Gavin’s breathing became a bit erratic. “Well, that’s- one way to confess your biggest secret… Fuck did any of those murderbots find out?”
Nines shook his head, replaying the memory. They only ever referred to Gavin as ‘human’. “They didn’t realize it was purple and not red; the room was too dark for less advanced models to see in.” Gavin let out a relieved sigh, and then flopped back again, hissing slightly.
“Hurts…” They all stayed quiet for a few moments, Elijah and Chloe cleaning up. Then Gavin sat up suddenly once more, startling Nines as he turned over to face him. Hands on the sides of his face, like Nines had done, Gavin stared him in the eyes. ‘ He’s warm finally.’
>>Gavin’s eyes glow slightly when fighting.
>>Gavin’s eyes are like steel when happy and stone when not.
>>I really like his eyes.
The last update made heat rise in the android, but he thankfully didn’t project it yet. “Gavin?”
“Are you ok.” His voice was so serious, his eyes searching as if he could scan the other. ‘ Maybe he can .’
“I’m perfectly fine. I cannot say the same for those who were… In my way while trying to assist you, however.” Nines looked away, guilt building up. “I know you prefer a… Less fatal route… However I am designed for combat. Connor is better at negotiation. I am-”
There was a soft ‘ pat ’ as Gavin pulled his hand back, and smacked- basically tapped- his cheek. Nines looked at him, his LED running faster in confusion. “You are designed for combat, but you are better at a lot more than that. You just need to practice. However, I would never yell at you for falling back on what you know when stressed, dumbass- You shouldn’t be apologizing, and don’t try to do so again around me or I will kick Connor’s ass for making you think there’s always ‘a pacifist’ option.”
Gavin pulled away, laying back down now that he was satisfied with his examination. Elijah and Chloe seemed to have remained silent for this conversation. “If you stick with me, there probably won’t be many options to spare people. Trust me, I try …” Gavin looked down, and Nines could see his stress spike and his shoulders sag. Gavin opened his mouth, and then looked to Elijah and Chloe and shut it. “I try, is all I want to say right now.” And then he looked to him. His eyes- were pleading to not ask, and Nines couldn’t, all prompts to prod disappearing as he made eye contact. So he changed the subject.
“Well, I believe you owe me five questions, correct?” Now that Nines was watching, he could see the moment an android feature was in progress, flashes of blue in his eyes so miniscule.
“I guess I did huh? And now that you know- well…” Elijah jumped in, hopping onto the bed beside Gavin. In one movement Elijah had pulled Gavin into a tight hug.
“Bastard rat man, I know tall and dreamy is right there, but I’m your brother! I get first questions.”
It was amusing to watch Gavin flush purple, able to see it traveled down his neck even. “What the fuck Eli! He’s my partner!”
“Uh huh. Sure. Start explaining shit before I find the wire tester and start zapping your sides.”
“Fuck off you wouldn’t .”
“He wouldn’t, I would .” Chloe spoke up from behind Nines, and Nines felt himself tense for a moment before he forced himself to relax.
>>Elijah Kamski and Chloe are Gavin’s family.
>>Elijah Kamski is Gavin’s ‘doctor’.
Eventually Gavin calmed down from his brother’s teasing, having returned fire for a while, and a small stretch of silence settled as Gavin inhaled. “Well, me and Nines are on a case- Nines don’t worry, Eli here won’t tell and besides he has more authority than Fowler.” Nines shrugged, sitting back. He wanted to hear this too, ‘ how could he even think he could take on everyone by himself?!’ Anger, a familiar emotion, but for once wasn’t as… painful. “We had figured out that if we posed as one of the pairs they’ve been taking for their experiments, we’d have an easy in to their operations, and Nines could go through and interface with the members to get info. However, we figured out they were trying to make… Well, me.” Gavin leaned into Elijah then, and Nines felt something burn through his systems. ‘ Hold him ’. He wanted to be in Elijah’s place, and a somewhat new emotion burned like mad. He ran a quick search on it, and frowned at the result.
‘ Jealous? Why would I be jealous of him? Gavin’s just- very close to him. He’s his brother, it makes sense. I need to head into a very long stasis.’ He brushed the results away as he listened. “Anyways, we get captured, they have immobilizing shocksticks to jolt us. But it’s fine it’s fine. We get through the entrance, and Nines said he needed to interface with… Jenny, to get more information.” Elijah looked over, glaring at Nines, and Nines returned it, his fingers tightening just a bit. ‘ I didn’t tell him to get hurt fucker.’ “So we get into the room, and he goes into interface, so I watched his back. Well, she must’ve gotten some kind of alert out,” Nines winced, remembering that. A small transmission, Nines thought nothing of it at a time, dismissing it as a probe into his own head. “And I heard a whole fucking group of ‘em coming. Nines was still in the interface and I uh…” At that point Gavin turned purple again, and Nines again had the ‘ hold him ’ prompt flash at him. “I didn’t- want anything to happen to Nines- or stop the interface early in case he was close to getting a clue.”
Chapter 14: if this is your beginning
They have a long talk during a long ride. Nines experiences fury.
WARNING FOR PAST CHILD ABUSE AND ATTEMPTED MURDER-
Gavin's dad is not a nice guy.
The first part left a silence, Nines body unable to stop the sentence from repeating. ‘ I didn’t want anything to happen to Nines.’ How annoying’ , was his first thought, but as it kept looping he found a slight blue strip to his own cheeks. Of course, it was broken, very abruptly, by Chloe.
“ Mhmm . Just a partner .”
Both detectives spoke at the same time, though Nines’ voice was more bitter and Gavin’s more embarrassed. “ Shut up Chloe!” Elijah laughed then, hugging his brother as he pouted.
>>Gavin hates being embarrassed.
‘Why is he embarrassed?’ Nines had to look around, confused, and wished he could just ask. But even he had enough tact to avoid doing that.
“A-Anyways! I found some metal strips the Jenny bitch was working with, and uh… Sealed the door shut. To put some minutes between them and Nines.”
Nines outright fumed at that, LED an angry red. Just as he was about to speak up Chloe’s hand was on his shoulder. He didn’t need the communication line open to realize that were her subtly saying to keep quiet. “A group of them came running at me and- I uh, snapped. I had to protect him.” He mumbled the last part, refusing to look across to Nines. Even if that admission had Nines entire system twist and run faster. Chloe’s soft chuckle didn’t go missed.
“Understandable, but why didn’t you call for help?”
“The mission comes first- before everything else, you two know this about me!” Gavin snapped, now looking to Chloe and down to Nines. Nines, didn’t know how to feel about that.
>>Gavin’s first priority is the mission. Not you.
It… Hurt? Nines couldn’t piece anything together. He checked his own stress levels, seeing them bounce around in the 20’s. But he knew it hurt, knowing that his protection was just for the mission. “If I called in help, Nines would’ve had to back off, and they would’ve went into hiding. Now, all the bastards know is the last two people they captured fought back a bit. We won’t be able to do patrols, but he has the info we need now.” Gavin continued, and then stood up. “Speaking of- we need to get that info back to the station ASAP. Before those bastards have a chance to move.” Nines blinked, going to open his mouth before an error line of code blocked him.
>>Gavin’s first priority is the mission .
>> His health is mine.
Instead of debating his internal systems on the contradictory statements, ‘ like hell his health is mine’ , Nines stood up, sighing as he looked to Elijah. “I guess my five questions will wait. Thank you, Mr. Kamski and Chloe, for taking care of Gavin.”
His creator blinked, seemingly confused by his sentence, but stood up too, going over to Chloe. “Please, Nines right?”
“That or Niles.” He ignored the little grin Gavin gave at that, watching Gavin look around for a shirt instead.
“Just call me Eli or Elijah. Obviously, once you’re in the family, formalities can fuck themselves.” Nines LED, which had just switched to blue finally, spun yellow again, looking wide-eyed to the man.
“In the family?” Nines hated how his voice couldn’t properly portray his confusion like Connor’s could.
“Well yeah, you know Gavin is well- Gavin.”
“So you’re part of the family. Which means this remains a family concern, right Nines?” Nines felt that his words and tone were not as friendly as they were meant to seem, especially with the way Chloe stood at his side. She reminded him of a large cat, perhaps bobcat, the way she stood and looked at Nines. Gavin glared at them both, and shifted closer to Nines.
“Right. I’m … Honored, to be considered family.” Nines said, and he knew he meant it even if he only stated that to keep them off his back. Gavin coughed to their sides, and when Nines looked, he had a slight purple blush to his face.
“Cool, are we done with the ‘welcome to the family’ spiel fuckers cause I need a shirt. Mine got wrecked.” Eli laughed, nodding and taking Chloe’s hand.
“Yeah come on, I’ll lend you one of the ones you’ve left here.” And the two made their way up first. Nines felt his systems move, without him fully permitting them to, when Gavin went to follow.
“Huh? What’s up tincan?” Nines mouth opened and closed, and prompts filled his vision. He expected to hear Gavin rush him, but it never happened, much to his relief. Eventually, he just blindly selected a prompt. “Are you ok?” ‘ Out of all the things to ask him, you idiotic-’
“Heh, I am now. Seriously Nines,” he watched as Gavin turned to face him, stretching to reach the back of his neck and rub it lightly. ‘ Comforting himself, preparing for… Embarrassment?’ “Any other partner would’ve screamed, turned me in, thought I was a monster- not listened. I know it must annoy you to hell and back to take orders like that…”
“It does, but continue.” He kept his tone hopefully light, and Gavin seemed to realize that.
“But this- this saved me. So uh yeah, thanks, for not being a Connor about all this. Not- that there’s anything wrong with being a Connor but fuck- he is so anal over the rules.”
Nines just laughed at that, not seeing how it startled Gavin, or the resulting shade of purple he turned. “He- yes that’s one way to put it. If you ever get invited to game night, do not let him talk you into playing Monopoly.” Gavin grinned, and wrapped his arm around Nines. The smallest bit of contact made his vision clear completely, and he felt his stress completely drop. Then he was being tugged forwards.
“I’ll keep that in mind, now let’s go Niles , we got a case to solve!” Nines found himself unable to resist, or think of much else, just nodding with a smile.
>>You like Gavin Reed(?)
Eventually they all got settled, heading out with Gavin now sporting a graphic t-shirt. His chains were broken off or abandoned, and his heart collar laid on the backseat, though Nines didn’t particularly care about the mic. He checked over his systems briefly as he started the car for the precinct, making sure there was no messages. But there was, something that had been auto-ignored… On the way to Elijah’s. ‘ Reasonable .’ It was a message chain from Connor, one of the two supposed to be watching over their case.
- Nines! Are you alright? - - Nines, where are you? It’s just me, Hank’s out on a case. - - Brother are you alright? I heard sounds of fighting over Detective Reed’s mic. - - Niles ‘Nines’ Anderson answer me right now! Gavin’s mic audio cut out! Did he start something with you? - - Nines why are you speeding? Nines, the mission? Brother? - - Why are you at Kamski’s? Hank is here now, he heard me saying some… Not so nice things about Detective Reed. Report in immediately! - - BROTHER. - Nines sighed as he went through all the messages. “What’s up terminator?”
“We forgot you had a mic that was being monitored by my brother. He assumed we were fighting, and followed your tracker to Kamski’s until it was hacked by Chloe.” Gavin hummed, before shrugging.
“Tell him you needed help decrypting info from a custom model android named ‘Jenny’, and I suggested we head to a friend of mine. He knows I have a connection to Chloe somehow, from rescuing her, remember?” Nines thought over it, before smiling.
“Wise move detective. He still will be… Suspicious of my silence towards him, and your mic.”
“Pfft, he’s suspicious of what, twenty minutes while you interfaced?” Nines went silent, feeling worry build up in his wires, and deciding very passionately that worry, as an emotion and a whole, sucked. “Wait- Nines?” Gavin turned towards him, eyebrows furrowed.
>>Gavin is highly intelligent(duplicate) .
“It was longer than that wasn’t it. Nines, how… How long have you been zoned out?” ‘ Zoned out, a nice way to put my complete lack of professional tact or care. ’
“Since I got out of the interface, technically.” He expected a look of disgust or irritation, and started to think that he really needed to re-analyse this partnership. Because what he got was a soft sigh and a hand on his shoulder, as Gavin looked up at him with a small, guilty smile.
“Shit, I didn’t mean to make you worry so much. You have to know- when… When I thought there was a chance of you getting hurt- I had to act.”
“To preserve the mission, I kn-”
“What? Phck no.” Now there was anger, but also realization, and Nines waited for whatever Gavin was thinking of to settle. “Oh- shit- No Nines, not because of the mission. Phck. I’m an ass.” He sat back then, laughing, but Nines found he did not like this one. It sounded hollow, harsh, even if not directed at Nines. “No- because I couldn’t stand the thought of you getting hurt when you trusted me to protect you.”
They hit a speedbump, and Nines spoke. “You could’ve waken me out of the interface then?”
“And have you be mad at me for not doing something so simple after finally getting to a point we weren’t fighting? Phck no.” Nines opened his mouth, his systems buzzing and LED spinning yellow twice. ‘ He thought I would be mad at him for alerting me to danger?’
“I wouldn’t have been mad. We both value the mission more than anything else, but I would’ve much preferred you being safe rather than having this information.” Nines said, his voice firm despite him trying to seem convincing. He cursed under his breath, just barely able to be heard by himself.
“Hey, Nines.” Gavin shifted, and when Nines looked up he was leaning in, hand reached out as if to touch the other. Then Gavin’s eyes went wider, and he quickly sat back.
--Gavin is unsure(?)
“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind next time, but also keep in mind I am- a grade-A dumbass, iron man.” He snorted at his own joke, which Nines put away to look up later. “So, this might happen again. But- I’m glad it’ll be with you as a partner from now on. So don’t beat yourself up over this. Now,” Gavin relaxed in his seat, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked out the window, and once again, Nines could see the electricity behind his eyes. Near white flickers that could be mistaken for spots of light reflected back at him. “We got about forty something minutes with traffic til we get back, and I owe you five questions. So shoot.”
‘ Right, the questions.’ Nines held his chin in his hand, resisting the want to emulate a hum. Many prompts flashed up, and his LED went yellow as he sorted through all of them. There were ones to satisfy his curiosity, ones to try and get a better relationship, ones that seemed stupid to ask now. Eventually he narrowed down the list, having wasted two minutes to do so. “Forgive me, there was a good number to sort through.”
“Hah, I’m not that interesting, but go on.”
>>Gavin likes self-deprecating humor.
>> You don’t. Try to correct that behavior subtly .
‘How in the hell do I do that. Most advanced android ever created and my internal note taking process is harassing me.’
“You being a cydroid- is that the reason you pushed all your partners away, and attempted to do the same with me?” ‘Cydroid’ was a weird to roll of the tongue, but it made sense. ‘ Cyborg but more appropriate to what he really is.’
“I mean, mainly yeah. As you’ve probably caught on to but dismissed as system errors, I am a little more advanced than other guys my age, even if it’s cheating honestly.” Gavin laughed softly, and it seemed his arms went tighter. “Having partners risked getting found out, ya know, and also they tended to slow me down. I can run as fast as your average house-model android, with the same endurance- more if I overclock my systems since I don’t have to worry about overheating as much as they would. I can obviously take hits- been hit by a truck once. Dented the fucker, and walked away, though Eli hated fixing my bent ass legs.” Gavin smirked, shrugging as he did so. “But yeah, being partnerless meant I could work at my pace without my secret getting out. It also meant that no one would get hurt because of me.” ‘ That last part- has someone been hurt before because of him to cause such a worry?’ “Until you.”
“Until me?” Nines was confused, LED settling on blue however.
“Yeah, you could keep up, you are damn good at your job, an idiot wouldn’t want you for a partner. But you are too good at your job. You’d find out a lot faster than anyone else that something was up. So, short of actually starting a fight, which I didn’t want to do after fighting pre-deviant RK800, I just- tried to push you away even more so. The fucking whoopee cushion was my lowest point.”
“I thought that was all a move to push me away, forgive me for being so stubborn.” Gavin seemed to shrug again, though he tried to hide his face. This time Nines could easily read the guilt on the other’s face.
“Naw there’s nothing to forgive, tincan. I acted shitty to you, I’m the one who should be saying sorry… But I can’t, you know why I did what I did. This- isn’t a secret I can have getting out.” Nines reached over, dismissing all the prompts yelling at him not to. And he placed his hand gently on Gavin’s knee, startling the other into looking at him.
“I may be out of line, but I understand now. If I were in your position, I would have adopted a likewise measure. It’s just unfortunate for you that I never make a habit of failing missions.”
Gavin snorted, eyes rolling back the grin coming back. “Yeah well, neither do I fucker. We’re going to raise hell in that building once we get back into motion.” Nines nodded his head in agreement, and pulled back. He absolutely didn’t miss the way Gavin watched him move. ‘ Was that welcomed?’
‘Right, four more.’ “How long have you been a cydroid?” Gavin inhaled through his teeth, and Nines was about to take it back, apologize, but he answered.
“Since I was 13. My uh, parent situation wasn’t good. As Chloe kept correcting, me and Elijah are half siblings. Same shitty dad, two different moms. Me and Elijah lived with our dad and his mom, and his mom was the bread winner of the family. I was just the bastard son that got dumped on Vincent when my mom keeled over because she stiffed money from some shady poker game. Her and Vincent had that in common, bad decisions with money. Well anyways, Elijah had already started being that child prodigy, being two years older than me and all, and well, before he moved to Chicago, taking our whole family with him, he developed thirium 200. As a blood alternative.”
Gavin seemed to pause to collect his memory, and Nines could see it. ‘ Blood alternative?’ “Wanted to help out his mom, a doctor. Except, it didn’t exactly work. Thirium generates a charge and keeps it, which you obviously know. And he figured that out. On rats. It wasn’t until he adjusted one of the rats to harbor wires and metal he figured out the applications of thirium 200- but he couldn’t see the use of it. Yet. Then uh.” Gavin swallowed, and Nines found himself repeating something Gavin would say to distressed victims.
“You can take your time talking about this.” Gavin blinked, before grinning.
“Knew you were listening, with practice you’ll get better at that, you know… But uh…” Gavin looked to the car, then Nines noticed the change in directions. They were apparently making stops to Gavin’s apartment, a food place, and a clothing store. ‘ Delays. ’
“I said shitty dad right? Well I mean, this guy was on the levels of the fucks we’re chasing right now in me and Eli’s eyes. Did nothing for our mom, spent all the money on gambling, blamed me for not being as good as Eli with more than words, and then if Eli messed up, I still got blamed for it. Made him afraid to mess up, it just made him afraid. Eventually, I got fed up with his shit. Started to fight back. Mom would come home and notice the bruises, and I would lie and said I got into fights outside of the school so that they couldn’t suspend me. I… Don’t know why I did that.” Gavin’s eyes closed, frustration at his face. “I guess I was afraid too. Didn’t want to break up the perfect family, already being the bastard son. Thankfully, Eli never saw me that way.”
Gavin smiled then. “Through everything, we worked together. Thirium? I told him to wire the rats and charge some dead batteries. The little adjustments to joints and the coding that allows some androids to change their hair color?” Gavin pointed his thumb back at himself.
Nines sat shocked, LED spinning yellow. “You helped make androids?” Gavin’s eyes opened, and there was pride.
“Kinda! I mean, at the time, these were smaller inventions. Rats for free electricity in poorer economies. Color-changing wigs for those who couldn’t grow hair anymore. Fake joints to place in gloves and socks to help those doing hard labour- keep them from getting carpal tunnel and arthritis and shit like that. But they went with him to create androids, and I was always happy to help, even if I wanted a different path.”
“You wanted to become a cop… Because of your father.” Nines felt pieces coming together, making the man in front of him like a grand puzzle.
“Yup. Piece of shit- it got so bad a couple of times that I met Anderson, when he was a new cop. I met Fowler before he was Captain. I looked up to those two, so fucking much.” Gavin blushed then, laughing a bit. “A lot of awkward teen years with some now burned posters of Fowler’s unit in the DPD, that… Doesn’t leave this fucking car.”
“Fowler is not your type.” Nines found his voice pissed sounding, and realized he was annoyed by that. ‘ Why?’
“Oh hell no, but he was handsome and my hero. Keyword, was. BUT, anyways- la da deeee.” Gavin was embarrassed, so Nines guided him back to the question.
“What happened when you were thirteen?” Though Nines much preferred him flushed from embarrassment than this sunken look on him, he knew they would never get to the point. It seemed he picked the golden question.
>>Gavin has always wanted to be a cop.
>>Gavin helped to create androids.
>>Gavin is protective(duplicate).
“Well, he was a shitty dad, and Elijah was heading into his finals to get the degree with that Amanda lady. She was nice, when she’d stop by Vincent would fuck off. She had just left, was helping Elijah study, we were talking about the process of making synthetics for the rats, our own personal project to work on together while I got through highschool and he through college… Vincent came up, and we heard him arguing with Amanda of all people. Luckily she was a ‘take no bullshit’ kind of woman, and after she told him off for not being there all night, it was quiet. The ‘before-the-storm’ type silence. I told Elijah I’d go downstairs, take care of his anger before Elijah could get any more stressed out… He was so close to being something, Nines, and I- I just wanted him to achieve his dream. We made a promise to help each other out, him saying that when I graduated, he’d make sure to give me a good recommendation from himself and Amanda to any police academy I wanted. Fuck- we were both so close to our dreams.”
Gavin’s breathing broke up, and Nines ignored the red error prompts so he could move his chair closer. ‘ Hold him ’ glitched violently into his mission HUD again, but he didn’t need it to tell him what he wanted. Gavin didn’t mind, instead moving in kind, so he could sit beside Nines. Their shoulders brushed, and Nines turned his volume down. “Do you want to stop?”
“No no, this was ages ago, I can get through this. But ah- anyways, I went, wait.” Gavin was full of surprises today, but this one nearly broke him. Gavin pressed into Nines, seeming to seek out heat. ‘ He’s still running cool .’ When Nines moved his arm to wrap around the other, Gavin continued. He almost missed what he said, a loud buzzing in his ears starting from his thirium pump and travelling through his whole body.
“Better. So yeah, I went downstairs, and he was fuming. Our front door was in the kitchen, and I remember the big door being open and it just being the screen door shut. When I went to the fridge, just to get his attention, he turned and… Phck, I was so afraid. ”
Nines squeezed, trying to fix all the instabilities that were popping up left and right. Gavin thankfully didn’t notice, but Nines felt so much . Anger, the need to protect, the need to hold, sadness, fury . It wasn’t just anger, it was something irrational and almost virus like. “He turned on me with the bottle, and I realized this wasn’t going to be a normal fight. So I did what the one officer told me to, I made a scene. I threw some grape juice on the ground, splashing it on myself at the same time, and then ran. He slipped a bit, but he followed me out the door… The rest kind of, is a blur. Even with a memory core that translates everything I see into a recallable memory- this happened before all that, so it’s all… True human error I guess. But I remember- getting pushed. By Vincent. I knocked my head off of something, felt my vision give out. As I laid there I heard the car start up, then I could remember was… Pain.”
Gavin pushed into him further, and Nines felt a rumble in his chest. He knew Gavin felt it too, but thankfully neither of them questioned it right now. “Through the pain I heard Eli screaming . The neighbors were useless, afraid of Vincent, so there was just me and Eli. And then I heard- a gun. The one mom got me, and I heard tires screeching. Then nothing.” Gavin went silent, focusing on breathing for a bit. “When I next woke up, there was a cloth over my mouth, muffling my screams. I seen my mom, but my vision was… Weird. It wasn’t working- I’d look left and it would stay upwards. I could hear them both weird too, like through filters. I eventually passed out again. And came to again, but this time it… Everything felt weird. I could hear and see just fine. My jaw was stiff, talking was hard. Moving was hard. My body felt hollow yet warm and tingly, like a constant static shock. And then there was Eli, crying, and mom. She was covered in purple and red, and so was Eli.”
Gavin finally relaxed, Nines picked up on that immediately, and kept swiping away the prompt that demanded he squeeze the other and praise him for getting through that. ‘ 24 hour stasis as soon as possible .’ “It was then Eli told me what he did. All the synthetic parts we dreamed up, the thirium 200 theory, the idea that someone could be made part machine but still pass as human… It took a long time ‘til I was in good enough condition to return to school. Thankfully I was so far ahead that I didn’t fall behind, and I graduated when I was 18. Since I was 13 though, alongside androids with free-will passing Turing Tests and Eli lying through his teeth about you guys never gaining said free-will, he worked on me. At first, phck that shit hurt. But I kept getting upgraded, still do, slowly replacing piece by piece with something better.”
Nines couldn’t help the question, but regretted it instantly, noticing the way Gavin looked so unsure. “Why did you need to be better?” ‘ IDIOT’ , his systems blared that in red at him. But Gavin answered.
“To not let Eli down. To make sure no one else hurt like I did. At first it was ‘let’s see how far we can go, but eventually we found what’s perfect for my lifestyle, and it became ‘hey you want this better’ and ‘sure why not’. It stopped hurting. I became a cop, then worked my ass off to detective. Watched Hank fall, watched my brother get popular and then disappear, watched the androids I loved interacting with become mindless mass-produced machines, hell… Fell in love with one, only to have it get reset and forget I exist. It all… Became so much that, the constant upgrades, changes, they stopped, and I felt as best as I could be. A lone wolf, one of a kind, desperate attempt to keep a family together. And tada. Now you know my whole oh-so-tragic backstory.”
Nines huffed, flicking the other in the head despite the warning from his system. “Hey the fuck-”
“It’s just your story Gavin. Do not assume anything I have thought about your core being has changed because I suddenly know you had a… less than optimal childhood. You’re still a stupidly stubborn detective with no sense of self-preservation, an asshole that secretly cares a lot more than he lets on, an idiot that builds walls taller than skyscrapers to keep people from realizing that your ‘oh-so-mysterious’ self is just a trash racoon, as other people have described you, with a couple of upgrades. I understand it is important to you that this secret remains just that, and I can forgive you for your less than… Friendly beginning interactions, knowing they came from self-preservation more than actual spite… I also hope you can forgive me for assuming otherwise.”
“Tch- the only time I honestly got mad was you assumed I hated all androids just for existing. I don’t know- yeah I wanted to push you away but phck , hearing you say that it just… Hurt. I always try to correct my image now that all androids are free and I don’t have the same pain from before, but the damage is done I guess.” Gavin shrugged, and realized they had hit the third delay.
“Well shit, that took a while. You’re gonna have to save those three other questions later.”
Chapter 15: then we go forward
Nines is glitching and coming to realizations. They get back to the precinct and fall back into a teasing back and forth. It's all good.
Nines hummed, noticing neither of them tried to move. They were still beside each other, Gavin leaning on him with Nines arm around him. ‘ It feels nice.’ Gavin didn’t push his arm off, and he didn’t bother to remind him of it. “I think I have time for one of my other questions. Was going to save it for last.”
“Shoot then tincan.”
“Can I continue to visit you outside of work too? I… liked, spending this time away from the office with you. Don’t get me wrong, Hank and Connor, and occasionally Markus, they can be good company… But… None of them are you. None of them are half as fun to hang out with as you are. With Connor or Hank, it’s always ‘family this’ or ‘hey let’s do this for work’. It’s, it’s nice but it’s quite boring.” Nines didn’t miss Gavin’s grin, devious and all too knowing.
“And then when it’s me and Connor, it’s not just me and Connor. He’ll say it’s just us, but then we’ll meet up with Chris from work to do something like watch a movie, and he’ll leave! Or- the same with Josh, Markus’s one friend, and even the receptionist- Brittney. I wish I didn’t remember, the evening was entirely exhausting , we did nothing but sit there and discuss this cop show she’s into. We tried talking about this book I enjoy- the Shiver trilogy- but she became so disinterested and- why are you laughing.”
Gavin was nearly on the brink of cackling, face purple from the effort of not giving in. “He- he was setting you up- on dates .” The shorter detective had to take several breaks just to talk properly.
“Dates,” Nines repeated, running the term against the meetings. Then it clicked, and he groaned. “ Connor .” He was going to hit his brother. Hank be damned, he was going to hit his brother, banish him from ever hanging out again, and possibly leave him the joys of laundry for a week. Gavin however didn’t feel this level of irritation, not able to hold back the laughter at his groan.
“He kept setting you up and you didn’t realize it! Oh phck that’s precious! I’m so glad Eli and I were too busy for that shit, I wouldn’t be able to handle this. Holy shit. Also- Brittney? She is- ok you said it about Fowler so- She is so not your type! The girl has the media taste of a wet brick, and honestly can’t stop talking about herself for five seconds. You need someone who’s good at listening Nines, someone who’s gonna take the time to know when your tones change, when you mean to say something in a certain way but you can’t get it right just yet. Or someone who can at least fucking, try to listen for that.”
Nines went silent, feeling his thirium pump absolutely stop- well not truly stopped but it felt like it. ‘ He noticed. He noticed but he doesn’t realize it.’ For reasons that were escaping him, he couldn’t find out why that mattered so much. Sure, he knew he wanted a better partnership with the detective, but why did something so small and insignificant matter so much? “You are… very perceptive. Thank you for your input on that, but I don’t think I like the idea of dating too much.”
“Naw you just-” Gavin paused, looking up at Nines. He felt as if he was being studied by those eyes, and when Gavin spoke again it was with a grin. “You know what, respectable. You need to get some rep around the station first. And also a pair to ask out the fucker that got your attention.” Nines looked away, and he knew that was the wrong move, but it also seemed like the best way to end this discussion without voicing his confusion.
“Pffft, I’m totally right. That’s classic, you know I got to start guessing it once this case is closed. But I think- this is enough chest opening for now. We’re about at the precinct, let’s go over our story.” Nines nodded, glad the conversation was changed. However, the reprieve let his systems be spammed with updates.
>>Gavin cares enough about you to know a good partner for you.
>>Gavin listens to you.
>>Gavin understands you better than most.
>>Gavin dated an android once.
>>Gavin’s father(Vincent Reed) is a piec
e of shit.
You like Gavin. You like(?) Gavin. You l//.i/k//./e//. Gavin. You
This last update glitched out to the point Nines couldn’t repair it, but it felt wrong to swipe it away. So he kept it in Gavin’s folder, watching the letters glitch and then remembering. “Wait Gavin-”
“My third question, you didn’t answer it.” Gavin blinked, and Nines didn’t see any sparks in his eyes.
“Oh shit- right. Fuck yeah Nines. If you want, after we solve this case, let’s go out to this one bar- they have awesome thirium drinks, some even have something that affects your systems like booze. We can celebrate with some wine- and you can tell me about that series. I used to read a lot- really liked fiction about monsters. And uh, if Connor or Hank starts to annoy you too much, you know where I live and how to get in. I have a little library, you’d like it, I think.” Gavin finally pulled away, a purple hue across his cheeks. Now that he could see so close, he noticed how the scar across his nose emphasized the purple, and how his stubble broke it apart. ‘ I want to run my hand across his chin. I want to feel how warm he is, how it- Wait. Stop this thought- stop this process!’ Confusion turned to panic as processes he didn’t know of were starting up.
“Hey fucking finally, traffic is shit tonight. Come on, Iron man! We got a case to blow open!” Gavin got out, thankfully distracting him until he watched him get out. ‘ Those pants hide nothing!’ His internal commentary was definitely louder than necessary, and he got out. ‘ I need to sleep- stasis- whatever, for 24- no, 48 hours. Straight. Knock me out.’ Nines felt tired. He thought over the mass of data and updates he needed to do, to sort through, and maybe he could tell Connor to fuck off and let him sleep. He followed Gavin in, and stopped when he saw Gavin talking to Brittney. It was too low to hear from here, but he felt such a jolt of… Something, overtake him. He nearly marched over until he realized Gavin got a key. ‘ Locker rooms.’ Gavin looked back, grinning and holding up the key. He got a message ping and set it to auto-open from that sender.
- Got us a key to the locker rooms so we can change into something more appropriate. I know Connor and Hank haven’t seen you in this shit, no need to give them a heart attack lol. -
Nines felt relief course through him, then the immediate ‘you idiot’ sensation after. He followed Gavin, getting elbowed lightly. “Lightshow- what was up at the door?”
>> Gavin is observant.
It blinked at him as if to say ‘how could you forget that’. “Clothes,” he lied, since Gavin provided him the easy out. “I just remembered what we were wearing, it’s been…”
“Good word for it. But thank you, for taking care of that. Perhaps I’ll have to change you from ‘detective dipshit’ in my directory.” The tone came off as smug, and it was worth it, because Gavin burst out laughing, startling some officers walking past them.
“H-holy fuck! You really had me as that in your contacts? Fucking brilliant Nines, no keep it please- I love that.” He was still laughing, and Nines found himself smiling. Back in a familiar setting, ignoring the heaviness they left in the car, it was easy to make cracks at the detective. Especially now that he knew they were appreciated.
“Don’t worry, it wasn’t getting changed to anything better. I was thinking ‘disaster cop’ or,” Nines dropped his voice, scanning to make sure the lockers were empty. “Fowler fucker.” Gavin choked on that, and started wheezing, aiming for a bench to sit down.
“N-No phck no- please, hell Nines this is how I die. Karma coming back for ‘stiff stick’. Please- detective dipshit is fine!” While Gavin recovered, Nines found their lockers, interfacing with them both to grab out spare sets of clothes. While his was a black, high collar button up and cargo pants, Gavin’s was a black v-neck with faded dark blue jeans.
“I’ve gotten used to your casual attention-seeking fashion, and suddenly blue jeans seems so boring… I miss your coat though, you look more like a jackass with it.” Another wheeze, and it became laced with the faintest buzz and Nines felt so proud.
“Nines please . I can’t-”
Nines brought over the clothes and scanned Gavin. The ‘hold him’ mission cleared off as a success ages ago, but the newest one seemed impossible. Yet, when he looked over him, purple from laughing, wiping his eyes, grinning like a mad man, an arm stuck in his shirt… He wanted to complete this mission because he wanted it. He wanted to… ‘ Kiss Him ’. ‘ Fuck.’ He sat the clothes down, moving to the other end of the bench to strip. He felt eyes on him, and hummed loudly. “Don’t forget to change.”
There was a wheeze, and a quick shuffling of clothes, Nines smiling just a bit. Eventually they both looked their own versions of professional, though Nines missed the lack of skin and tightness.
“Want me to alert Fowler before Connor harasses us?”
Gavin nodded, sighing. “Yeah, it would be best. I haven’t even seen the info you got, fuck.”
“It’s alright, I’ll cover for you. Simply- you were keeping watch, and between Chloe’s associate- Kamski- and here, you rested due to a fight with the kidnappers. They did shock me after all, and it wouldn’t be a total lie to say it took me out for a while, long enough for you to need to fight on your own and tire yourself out.”
Nines smiled, and Gavin’s grin matched it. “I’m the luckiest fucker in this precinct to get you for a partner and getting the shit beaten out of me is the highlight of my year.”
“Don’t make a habit of it Gavin.”
“No promises.” Nines sighed, but the smile didn’t drop, and Gavin walked out first, holding the door for the taller detective. “After you tincan.”
Of course, as predicted, Connor was waiting for them as they got off the elevator, Hank sitting at Reed’s desk as if blocking them from working. Connor’s LED was yellow, shifting to red when he saw Gavin. “ Nines. ” His voice was low, and Nines didn’t miss the slight shift Gavin did towards Nines.
Sparing a look back, his own LED flashed yellow and he didn’t hide the bite in his tone. “Connor, I do not have time for your worries. We are heading to Fowler’s office, save your mother henning for later, it’s been a long day.” Connor looked as if he’d been slapped, LED shifting back to blue very suddenly.
“Ah- al… right?” They both knew that if Nines meant for that harsh tone to be private, they could’ve talked through their link. But the fact he didn’t meant it was for prying ears too.
Nines took a step to the side, motioning for Gavin to go first. “After you detective…” The way he trailed off got the reaction he wanted, Gavin filling in the blank and snickering.
“You are trying to get me wheezing again stop that.”
“I have no clue what you mean.”
“Uh-fucking-huh tincan.” They walked side-by-side, Nines noted, Gavin personally making sure to keep rhythm with Nines, if not slightly behind him. Instead of demanding his lead. ‘ Equals.’ It sent warmth through him, and not even Fowler’s irritated face could take it away.
“You two better have a damn good explanation as to why Connor and Hank have been harassing me about you two going dark.” Fowler’s attention was mostly directed on him, but as he went to speak, Gavin cut in, and the ‘protective’ fact blinked at him.
“Yeah we got a ‘damn good explanation’, Connor and Hank just don’t get the concept of under-fucking-cover. Shit happens, we didn’t give any crisis signals, and we got what we needed.” Nines could see the staredown, then coughed into his hand, getting both men to look at him.
-Thank you Gavin.-
Gavin huffed, but crossed his arms, diffusing rapidly. “We were perfectly in control of the situation. If we may, I have urgent information that needs to be shared with the group from two forced interfaces. We have not blown our cover either, so we may still be a target if we head back on the streets.” He could see Fowler groan internally, but he could give less of a shit.
“Alright, I’ll get Connor and Hank to quit gawking and meet you two in one of the evidence rooms. But ‘shit happens’ won’t cut it for them Reed, so you better be ready with explanations. Now get going, I need to get my own shit organized.” Both of them nodded, waiting for Fowler to disappear into the room.
“You’re absolutely feral, Gavin Reed.”
Gavin snickered, seemingly unfazed by the scolding tone Nines tried to imply. “I know! But he was getting snippy, I’m not putting up with that shit when we did a good fucking job.” Nines smiled, a soft chuckle coming from him.
>>Gavin likes when you laugh honestly.
It popped up as he noticed the spark of electricity in his eyes, and he couldn’t help but ask. “Did you just save the video of me laughing, Gavin?” Gavin flushed at that, bristling and turning.
“Fucker! I’m getting coffee- you want some warmed thirium or something, you fucking holy terror?” Nines placed his hand over his mouth to hide the laugh this time.
“Yes, thank you. I’ll head to evidence.” Gavin gave him a thumbs up, although his systems buzzed with… ‘ Disappointment, really?’ It tingled, just slightly, the thought of not being next to the detective. ‘ Stasis. Two days. Fuck all.’
Eventually he got everything set up, carefully editing what he wanted everyone to see. Anything not case related, they didn’t get to see. Those were his memories. His secrets. The side of Gavin only he was going to see, ‘ thank you very fucking much.’ Nines rubbed at the bridge of his nose, though it offered no relief from the steady seven percent stress that pinged back at him. But he ran over the edited file once more, satisfied with it, and then Gavin’s voice cut in. “Hey tincan, you look ready to pass out too.”
Gavin came up to his side, and there was nothing said as Gavin handed the cup over. Nines switched to messages, curiosity burning him through him. Anything to not focus on the stress level refusing to go down.
-How is it you can still drink and such? This is not one of my two questions, by the way. -
- Hah! Fine fine, and it’s simple. My digestive system doesn’t exactly work, but my waste system does. I just have a er, storage tank I guess. I wanted to be able to taste things still, and didn’t care if I had to deal with the side effects. It would just be too weird to not be able to do so after thirteen years. There was a couple years I couldn’t though.-
Nines went over this info, humming.
-Is there more care that you need to take? -
- I’m gay Nines, there’s always been more care. I know you went in my bathroom and probably seen the excessive amount of sponges with handles. I can’t stand taking a shower and not getting every inch, on the ‘just in case’ side.- Nines felt his systems melt and his stress skyrocket.
>>Gavin is very thorough about self-cleaning.
-How come you don’t shave then? -
Gavin laughed, rubbing his jaw before his eyes flicked to the door. -Company incoming, and I look fucking good with stubble. It took years to get stubble installed Nines, I’m not shaving. -
As predicted, the door opened up with some force, Connor standing there. For a brief moment his LED flickered yellow, and he glared at Gavin. Given the brunette’s head was turned away from him, he didn’t see the reaction it garnered, but it obviously pissed Connor off. ‘ Good, quit antagonizing my partner.’
Hank followed him, taking a seat, and he was glaring too, but Gavin didn’t seem to give a shit after him and Connor quit their staring contest. Fowler was the last one in, crossing his arms at the tension that Gavin seemed to ignore with a practiced ease. Nines just sipped his thirium. “So, would you two care to explain what all happened.” Gavin faked a yawn and Nines had to hide the smirk, though he had a feeling he did a terrible job of it given the way Connor’s LED flicked yellow for a brief spin.
“Would you prefer me to go over the whole week or just today?”
Fowler looked between the two. “Start where you’d prefer.”
Chapter 16: rewarding
Connor is overprotective, Gavin is defensive for him, and Hank is likely worried for everyone. But finally they have a plan of action, and now they can go home.
Nines sat his cup down, taking a relaxed, in-control stance. His foot kicked up, leaning against the console, and his arms crossed over his chest. It was worth it to see the way Connor seemed to become more irritated.
“Well, this morning we proceeded to continue our routine. Walk around more abandoned or high risk areas as a couple, and try to attract attention. After engaging in some dancing with other people, we walked away, and we were captured by a van.” Nines pulled up a photo, his point of view of the men and the shocksticks.
“As you can see, they wielded shocksticks which delivered an intense jolt to whomever they touched, from a distance. Gavin and I were immobilized, but due to being an android, they preemptively gave me a higher dosage of electricity.”
Hank commented, huffing a bit. “Explains how they were getting the couples without a fight.” Nines nodded, proceeding with his version.
“I kept an eye on our location, and deduced that we were approaching an abandoned hospital.” Nines hated taking the credit for this, knowing Gavin did it, but Gavin seemed more encouraging than anything else. His eyes stayed on Nines, and he seemed to be listening more for a chance to correct him. “By the time we got there, Gavin was more-or-less in perfect condition to fight, while I was tasered again by the shockstick weapon. We got placed into a room, where Gavin waited for the moment to strike. He took down both men, androids, while I was still recovering.” Nines played a short video, and this time kept himself from emoting as Gavin seemed shocked and impressed by the editing. All it showed was enough to provide info, the conversation about Daisy, the plan to break out of the chains. His visuals 'conveniently’ cut out when needed.
“You were experiencing visual loss during this? Don’t you think you should’ve pulled out?”
Nines huffed, rolling his eyes. “I don’t recall it being permanent, and with Gavin taking care of the two men quietly, no one else was alerted. It was a temporary glitch in my system due to the electricity, and while I will be looking for an upgrade to prevent these kinds of attacks affecting me in the future, we were in. It would’ve been a waste of an undercover op to back out then.” Connor huffed, and Gavin spoke up.
“Plus, if there were any issues, again, we would’ve called. The mic got damaged in the first fight, I didn’t realize that, but I had my phone on me as well.” ‘ Protective .’
“Correct, we were fine. Anyways, coming back to and with the detective assisting me in making sure I was in form to continue, we devised a new plan. To pretend we were still captured for the ‘tech’ to come in. And it worked. Reed took on the tech’s assistant while I forced my first interface.” There was a brief video of the tech and the bear man walking in, and Hank choked on his drink.
“You took on that, Reed? What the fuck is that?” Hank sounded incredulous, and on second thought Nines had doubts about including this.
“An idiot is what he was. What he had on me in size and strength, I had on him in speed and flexibility. I let him ram into the concrete walls of his own accord a couple times, and using a knife I got from one of the kidnappers, I kept at him til he went down. Mostly attacks to the back of the neck, up close. Was messy, but he was a threat. You see those tools? Yeah, those were a lot more nasty up close.”
“Indeed, Reed had took care of the bear while I finished the interface. To prevent the tech from alerting the other’s, I couldn’t let him live, so I dislodged his thirium pump. It is possible they could fix him and re-activate him, however.” Fowler nodded, knowing it meant he could be positively ID’d as not the fake model he was presenting to be. “However, with this interface I got a slew of information.” He played it on the projection, various links to clips and voice samples.
“Fuck, this thing is everywhere.” Hank grumbled, and Nines supposed he was right. There was twelve operations that Ollie knew of, all spread around Detroit, with the largest one right outside it in a hotel. There was also the chain of command for the group the two detective’s got into, Jenny at the top, Daisy under her, and a list of all the androids that were there.
“Reminder, half this list might not be alive now, the following was… Less easy to deal with.”
“Half? There’s nearly twenty people on this list kid, and you went in there with a knife and your bare hands.” ‘ Leave it to Hank to be the voice of reason in the most inopportune moment.’ However Gavin seemed ready, and angry, for it.
“Yeah, and this here is the most advanced model CyberLife made before it rightfully bit the dust. His initial goal was combat and survival, in case you forgot or lacked the tact to not mention .”
Gavin was bristling, and Nines smiled a bit as Hank seemed cowed by it. “I- er- sorry kid, I didn’t mean nothing by it.”
“It’s fine Hank, G-Detective Reed has a point. I was made for combat, and no matter how far I’ve come since then, which I have been informed is very far, that is still part of my core being.” Gavin huffed, relaxing at the ‘very far’ part and only then. Though neither he nor Connor missed the slip up of his name. “And I wasn’t alone. Detective Reed was there, and despite any reservations you have from past experiences, he can hold his own.” He watched as Gavin fought to keep from flushing, arms crossing a little tighter before he reached for his coffee. “We were fine, however a couple of androids stood in our way. Again, to avoid blowing our cover, we had to take them down. I may have been a little… Aggressive, after seeing the bear and the threat they could possibly pose. We knew we could possibly be dealing with modified androids, we could take no chances.”
Nines pulled up the next image, Gavin and him sneaking into a room. “Here we met Jenny, the leader of this group. I wished to interface with her to possibly get a list of the rest of the higher ups in the other groups.” He cut the video off when he started to interface, cutting out the conversation with Gavin. “Reed was to keep watch while I interfaced, and alert me when danger came to us.”
Connor finally spoke up, narrowing his eyes. “Don’t you think another android would’ve been appropriate for this job? Had the mic been working, I could’ve taken care of the alerting myself.” Gavin sighed loudly.
“I told you- it got damaged while fighting! That bear was twice Nines’ size- I’m lucky I came out only needing an ice pack!” Gavin hissed, throwing his hands up. And Nines noticed the trick he pulled. His shirt lifted, and it barely showed the knife wound on his side.
Of course Connor’s eyes flicked towards it, and his LED went yellow, staying at a constant spin. “I still maintain you should’ve cut it off.” Connor was pouting, and Nines wanted to chide him for being such a big brother.
“What’s done is done. May I proceed?” His detective nodded, making a ‘move it along’ motion with his hand.
“I pulled up more information than I thought I was going to get. The location of four more groups, the leader for each one of them, the person who did the main modifications at the larger ones, and even their signal for recruiting other androids. And then I pulled up this file.” Nines showcased it all, putting the last file on its own projection. It showed a man, 42, with blonde hair in a messy mop top. Human, name reading ‘Alfred Gerthert’. A list of businesses he owned, as well as the info on them. A common thread of failing since the revolution. And then another common thread- every business was the location of the groups, including the still active hotel. There was also personal notes from Jenny. ‘ Boss, getting skittish like humans do, wants results either way. ’
“However, forcing the Jenny into an interface caused two issues. I got some corrupted code on the personal notes, that I needed help deciphering because she was a custom model. And the second issue was that she managed to get out an alert before the virus I sent in to shut her down took hold.” Nines looked to Gavin, who hummed in return. “Detective Reed was forced to take on some of the androids by himself, which resulted in a need to rest afterwards, as he had more bruises than the one peeking out from under his shirt.” At the subtle, un-needed reminder, Gavin tugged his shirt down. “He acted in self-defense, for himself and me, as pulling me out of the stasis was not an option we could do without becoming completely surrounded, targets, and blowing our cover. And when I came back to, I also ran out to assist him.”
Of course Connor wasn’t settled with that, looking to the projection. “Video?” Nines sighed, rolling his eyes much to Gavin’s amusement, a soft chuckle coming from him.
“Connor, again, tact . I know Hank essentially raised you, but some things people don’t want to go over so soon, hot damn. Nines, maybe the audio is alright?” He tried to piece it together, before realizing the audio gave nothing away while maintaining the urgency. ‘ Smart, amazing detective-’ He cut off that thought chain as he carefully isolated the sound, cutting out the part about an ambulance. Hank winced, and even Fowler looked at Gavin with slight concern.
“I… Didn’t take well to Reed being injured due to taking so long to interface. If I didn’t act then, I was worried Reed wouldn’t be walking away from this.”
Fowler cut in, thankfully, relief being a welcome feeling in his systems. “Understandable. I did tell you two whatever it takes, and you accomplished that. We now have a name, a place, and the locations of everything else.” Connor couldn’t let him be happy though.
“Why did you two drive all the way out to Elijah Kamski’s right after if Gavin was so injured?” ‘ Interrogation model’ , Nines thought bitterly. He’d ask the same questions too, but it was annoying. Gavin stepped in then.
“Nines informed me of the corrupted info. With so many escaping, including Daisy, one of the higher ups, I knew we needed to act fast. A little bruising and bleeding could wait, and Nines ran a scan on me that came up ‘not urgent’ so it was good enough for me.”
“Sounded like more than a little bruising Reed.” Hank’s voice was worried, scanning Gavin in his own dad-detective way.
“I’m fine old man. Anyways, he told me about the info, and I said I knew a gal that could help. It’s no secret I’m friends with Chloe… We met before the revolution, during some party, and I always hunted out anyone who seemed half-decent at a conversation and wanted to converse with someone looking like, well, I do.” Gavin laughed, until Nines nudged him.
The glare got him to look away, almost sheepish, but he continued as if nothing happened. “I said we should go to see her, she’s dating that Kamski guy. Gave him the address. Thankfully I had some brownie points for getting Chloe home safely last month or whatever, so he helped us out with that.”
Gavin blinked, and Nines couldn’t see his eyes. ‘ Annoying .’ “Eh, I guess? I mean, me and Chloe talked, she helped me out with some of the bruising, and him and Kamski talked that technical shit.” Gavin moved, cracking his neck. ‘ He looks tired’, Nines noted, and realized they both probably did. Fowler cut in, stopping the standoff they all seemed to be coming to.
“Well, regardless of the how, right now, we have multiple groups of assholes in my city that are modifying themselves to be a problem. Connor, you need to inform New Jericho of this development. They could be recruiting members that feel out of place from there, and it could turn bad on your guys’ reputation if this gets out of hand. Hank, I’m going to have you take lead on this, I want to strike the head of the snake before we tackle the smaller groups. If this info is right, then they don’t have a meeting for all the groups for another week. We strike the head now, and they won’t know.”
Nines and Gavin waited for their roles, but Fowler didn’t focus on them, instead turning to the data. Gavin of course cut in. “And us? Where do you want us going?” Fowler turned, raising an eyebrow.
“Home. And together. You have a cover to maintain, and I’m going to have an officer escort you to wherever you’ve been. However, you both need to rest after all that. If we’re lucky, the remaining members of the group you infiltrated will carry through on their threat, and we can apprehend them.”
Gavin bristled , tensing, and Nines could almost see the anger roll out of him. Quickly, he carefully placed a hand on Gavin’s shoulder. “I would like a chance to slip into stasis, all the info I’ve collected today is sitting extremely heavy on my processor’s.” It wasn’t a lie, and it worked to his end as well. Gavin’s eyes went wide, and he stood down, much to Fowler’s surprise.
“Phck, yeah I gotcha. But!” He turned, hand on his hip and Nines didn’t stop the smile. “We will be back in the morning. Nines and I put too much skin into this to be removed now, Fowler. I want to see these bastards put away before any more blood, blue or red, is spilled.” Fowler remained silent, looking to Connor, then Hank, then between Nines and his partner.
“I never said you wouldn’t. I expect you both back here early. Once Hank gets Alfred into custody, Nines and you are leading interrogation. Connor, after he alerts New Jericho, will be working on the rest of the groups, and we’ll be all hands on deck processing all of them. So get going now , Detective Reed and Nines, before I give Hank here the go ahead to hound you both for letting the mic break.” Gavin held up his hands, but he was grinning happily. Then that grin was focused on Nines.
“Fuck yeah- I’m cooking tonight?”
“I think not. You can work on those freezies however.”
“I’ve created a monster!” Gavin laughed, opening the door and waiting for the other. Nines began to walk out until Connor grabbed his hand.
-Need me to make sure the officer sticks around a bit clo-
Nines forcefully closed the connection, LED flashing red out of anger. “Connor, brother , with all due respect.” Nines flattened out his shirt, then flipped his brother off, Hank choking on air before he started laughing. “See you in the morning.”
And Nines never felt better closing the door of an evidence room. “Uh hello, 911, I believe I just witnessed a murder . What he’d do to piss you off?” Nines chuckled, looking down to Gavin and not missing another minute of his grin.
“Overprotective brother. I guess we share a good number of things in common, but the biggest one being- I hate when other people stick their nose in business it doesn’t belong in. Especially if that business is mine.”
“I’m rubbing off on you and it’s fucking wonderful.” Once they got into the main area, there was a small group in front of the elevator, trying to all leave at once. Of course Nines and Gavin took it, knowing shift change would make it forever before it came back.
They packed in, and Nines immediately noticed the way Gavin tensed being so close to others.
>>Gavin doesn’t like being crowded by strangers .
Made sense, given what he was hiding, so Nines took control, wrapping an arm around Gavin and pushing away from the middle. He was unapologetic, glaring until someone shifted, and it took a couple of seconds, but Nines was able to herd Gavin to the corner, using his frame to block out contact.
-phck, thanks Nines. -
- Anytime Gavin. -
He expected the other to pull back, away from his hold, but the man didn’t move. Instead he relaxed, leaning into Nines, and Nines was so glad the smile he had wasn’t facing the crowd. He looked over the list of current and previous personal missions, and noted every single one but ‘Kiss Him’ was a success.
‘ And I will not fail this mission either.’
Chapter 17: relaxing
They finally get some rest.
really guys this is just fluff :)
Getting home was no issue, Gavin thought. They got out, and Gavin kept checking to make sure he had no errors or untended wounds causing him to heat up this bad. Despite knowing why , he couldn’t accept it. ‘ Nines is way too good for an asshole like you. Nines deserves someone who isn’t fucked up. Nines deserves someone better than you.’ Gavin hated when his thoughts decided to rear their head like this, but here was the first person he hadn’t managed to chase away. He knew everything and accepted it. He was too good for Gavin.
“Whaddaya wanna listen to,” Gavin asked, interfacing with the car now that he didn’t have to hide it.
Right, he didn’t have to hide it. He still found himself looking down to where he could feel pain, which was almost everywhere. The worst was where he got fucking stabbed . ‘ This could’ve went so wrong and yet…’ And yet he was sitting beside the partner he didn’t have to push away, accepting the fact his chair moved closer to his own just so they’d be close. Being accepted for being this. Being friends with someone. It felt too good to be true.
“Hm, here let me choose.” Nines took over the interface, and for a brief second Gavin felt a jolt at being disconnected, amused by it. ‘ Normalcy. Huh, this is what that feels like.’
He nearly choked on air at the song, grinning. “How come you live with death metal duo, and yet you still managed to- you know what. I’m done asking, I’m just grateful.” He went quiet as Daft Punk’s ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’ played softly over the speakers, and eventually found himself leaning towards Nines anyways. Nines just welcomed him, and Gavin listened to the steady thrum electric muffled by fabric. “Phck I’m tired.”
“I bet you are. I wasn’t lying about stasis, I’ve been having… System instabilities since…” Nines trailed off, and Gavin looked up, seeing his eyes focus on something past him. ‘ Trying to pinpoint when… Did he end up getting hurt?’ Gavin pulled back, but a hand pushed him back to where it was. ‘ Bastard, he’s either pieced together I’m weak for physical contact or he’s just showing off he’s still stronger. Either way, unfair advantage.’ “This morning, I think.” Nines finally said, though Gavin snorted. ‘ Bullshit .’
“Don’t blame you. But hey, now we get to rest.” The song switched over to ‘ Are You Satisfied? ’ and Gavin could feel himself respond immediately.
“You seem to enjoy this song.” Nines didn’t sound happy about that, but Gavin also noted with a great joy- he was getting ‘tone’ down a lot more.
“I relate to it… Phck, I practically lived by this song. I can change it though.” There was silence, letting the car fill up with the song.
“I do not wish to change the song, but rather… You being able to relate to it. I- You do not have to be ‘just satisfied’ anymore.” Gavin didn’t know how to read that, looking to Nines with a raised eyebrow. It was similar to the pause and breaks that Nines had refusing the want to date, but different.
“I guess not… I do have a partner now,” he trailed off, before shaking his head. Nines was probably figuring out that sentence for himself. Gavin changed the topic instead. “By the way, what the hell- I can cook!”
“Horridly. I know you lack the taste receptors for it, but that much garlic is a crime, Gavin.” They fell into a state of friendly bickering, Gavin finding himself smiling. By the time they got to Gavin’s apartment, they were both laughing. One last song came on, and Gavin jolted, quickly turning it up.
“There’s no pain that I won’t go through- even if I die for you.” Gavin wasn’t about to admit to leaning into Nines more, the song coming out of him easily. He wasn’t the best singer, his pitch tones lower than the singers. “I can’t see but I’ll follow you, even if I die.” He did notice Nines holding him closer, and eventually the song ended. “Ah- sorry. Just kinda- I like singing, ok asshole, it’s calming.”
“I said nothing, detective dipshit.” Gavin snickered, but pulled away, Nines arms falling to his sides as he got out the driver’s side of his car.
“You didn’t have to- I know I’m shitty at it. But I really just felt that song.” Gavin found he wasn’t even tense over this. Which was terrifying , because he should be. He sang in front of a perfect guy that he was trying to hold onto, not chase away now.
“Well, compared to mine it was much better. I can only mimic other people’s direct quotes. I- can’t sing.” Gavin looked up to the taller guy, feeling dumbfounded at that. “Really? That sucks- I’m yelling at Eli to help you sing.”
“Gavin really, there’s no need. I’m perfectly content listening to you.” ‘ Of course he’d say that, damn my entire family for blushing easily.’ He tried to hide how purple his face was, walking into his building. But then stopped, tensing up as he crossed the threshold. ‘ Being watched.’
Nines came up behind him, ducking down, blue eyes reflecting such a gorgeous color, even filled with worry.
-You tensed up. -
-Feel like we’re being watched, and not by our escort. -
He heard Nines whirr at his response, and the slight shift to protect him. “Of course, I’d rather hear you sing in another way.” He said loudly enough, and Gavin had a sense he was keeping up the cover.
Even if it sent blood south. ‘ BASTARD.’ “I bet you would. Come on, let’s get upstairs.” They kept going in, and Gavin didn’t care how it looked. He grabbed Nines wrist, squeezing a bit. ‘ I’ll protect you too tincan.’
Nothing happened, and Gavin used his heat vision, wincing at the sudden shift back and forth, to make sure the landlord was still in bed sleeping. “Everyone’s asleep.” He told Nines, and Nines hummed again in response.
- I seen one person hovering on the other side of the street, but they didn’t approach when the door closed. Want me to stay on watch tonight? -
Gavin growled softly at that, turning to narrow his eyes at Nines. Nines looked spooked for a moment.
“Absolutely not. Nines, you need to rest. I will heal regardless of rest… You don’t make a promise to rest right fucking now, and you’ll be waiting for your two questions you have left until after this entire case.” Nines blinked, and Gavin watched him weigh the options, before his lips formed a thin line. ‘ He doesn’t like ultimatums.’
“ Fine , low move though Gavin. I hope you know, one of these questions is going to be highly personal now.” He could only smile in response.
“Good.” They got up to Gavin’s floor, and he lead the way, opening the door to the sound of mewling. Doa was sitting across the door, making an absolute ruckus. “I think she missed you, Nines.” Gavin said, and the anxiety disappeared to be replaced by pure affection. He let the other in, making sure to deadbolt the door.
The house was of course scanned, but nothing was out of place than the newspaper he left on the table to keep Bastard entertained. Bastard was currently resting on the shredded shambles of it. “You’re the reason I can’t have nice things, Bastard.” He grumbled, before a hand placed on the small of his back and Gavin jumped, turning purple as he did. “The fuck- quit sneaking up on me!”
“Oh I know I absolutely didn’t sneak up on you, you just didn’t expect the touch.” Nines was smirking, and Gavin glared, though it lacked any heat.
“Go get a shower, I’ll get some freezies prepared for us and whatever else you need for dinner.” Nines stood straight, never losing the smirk.
“I need the pre-packed bag of stirfry I had ready in the freezer set out, thank you.”
Gavin watched him walk over, before the purple settled over his face and neck. His whole body felt flushed, and Doa rubbed against his leg. Looking down at the cat, he could only guess she knew exactly what was happening. “Shut up, no, stop thinking that, we’re just partners .” He grumbled, before heading into the kitchen. ‘ Just partners. Just partners. He’s just really comfortable with me- Hank and Connor seem like the touchy-feely type maybe it’s just an Anderson thing.’ As he went through the motions, making two blue freezies for them, he kept trying to convince himself against the stuttering rhythm of his heart.
Eventually the water turned off, and Gavin had everything ready for the other. He left the mugs in the freezer, and went into his room, comforted by the familiarity. Thinking of it, Nines had never went into his room. It was like the rest of the house, modern and same color scheme. But everything was dark wood and books, a music system, a guitar, his more personal photos, and a large bed. There was also his multiple dressers and the large closest, and the locked down ebony wood container. It kept his personal stash of thirium safe under a key lock that responded to Gavin’s voice. Yeah, Nines or Connor could break into it, but he didn’t think they would. And technically, he’d let Nines into it anyways so it wasn’t breaking in.
Walking over to the dressers, he began to strip as he heard feet stop outside his door. And then Nines voice. “May I come in, Gavin?” Gavin snickered again at that, throwing his shirt and pants in a hamper.
“I’m only in my boxers, but sure.” The door opened, and Nines stepped in. Gavin hunted for some sweatpants, not wanting to bother with a shirt with how bad he was hurting.
“Your bed looks very soft.”
That got a laugh, Gavin pulling up his pants and turning to Nines. He wore a tanktop and pj pants, tonight with little crescent moons and stars on it. “That’s what you notice? But fuck yeah it is, I like soft blankets. My skin becomes sensitive when I let my guard down, so it feels extra nice.” Nines LED spun yellow once, and Gavin felt his heart stutter again as he knew Nines memorized all of that.
“So essentially, you are a softie .” Gavin grinned, throwing a clean pair of socks at the other.
“Softie, my ass, you are so smug Nines. Whaddaya want.” He walked over to get the socks, standing back up and noticing that Nines seemed to be outright glitching. “Nines?”
His worried tone must’ve helped a bit, because his partner blinked at it, a faint blue on his own face. “Sorry- was stalling a bit. I suppose the stasis is really needed.”
“Yeah no shit. Nines, do you need to eat tonight honestly?” The idiot had to think of it, before mumbling quietly, as if he was embarrassed that it took him this long to realize. But then he spoke up and Gavin realized why he was so quiet.
“I was hoping to stall my stasis by getting to cook.” ‘ Smart fucker, it almost worked .’
“Then cook breakfast… Hey listen…” ‘ No abort, Gavin, nO .’ He was internally panicking, knowing this was dumb. Suddenly the hallway walls became so interesting. “Listen if- if this paranoia is really fucking with you that bad uh… There’s an outlet by the bed… Uh…”
Nines LED became a light show, and then Gavin found the deepest chuckle the other had produced yet and his head swam at the sound. “Gavin, are you inviting me to bed?”
“ Phck off tincan! It’s the only way to keep you from being an anxious little shit and actually rest, and it’s not like this bed couldn’t fit us, plus your whole family. So it is a yes or no, dammit.” Gavin knew he was tensing, but it wasn’t like fighting. He was so embarrassed and he hated the way it showed so easily.
“I would love to. Let me go grab the charging port and Doa.”
“No no no, Doa stays out. No hair in the bedroom, those little shits get the rest of the apartment.” Gavin followed Nines out, making sure to get the cats their food for the night. Nines looked to the door, and Gavin knew he still felt the same unease Gavin did.
‘But against us, no one stands a chance .’ Just in case, Gavin checked the locked drawer in the kitchen, inputting the code then interfacing with it. The gun there was locked and loaded, so he closed the drawer. He turned, heading back for the bedroom and grabbing his phone. He quickly sent a message to Eli, just stating they were safe and home, and then set the alarm and put it on the table to charge. “Here you go.” Nines walked up beside him, and Gavin got to work plugging in the charging pack for Nines. Then he checked his bedside drawer, knowing Nines could see. “How many do you have?”
“Two. This one and one in the kitchen, though this is my work issued one. I never felt the need to have more than one until this one somehow ended up at the station and I came home to a bunch of drunks like three times my size getting off on my floor.” Gavin sighed, not liking admitting to the fear of not being able to fight back without risking his badge or his secret. However, he noticed the red flash of the LED. ‘ Tsk, so protective. Cute .’ “Anyways, you can sleep on this side since the port’s right there.” Gavin moved to the other side of the bed, climbing into the covers. It took Nines a minute to do the same, and even then they just… Laid there.
It was exactly ten minutes before Nines spoke. “Gavin.”
“I-... Good night.” Steel eyes opened up, regarding Nines with a questioning look. ‘ He wanted to say something else.’
“Night Nines, get some rest. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
“Is that supposed to comfort me?” Gavin laughed, a ‘phck off’ slipping off his tongue so easily. The tension eased, he quickly fell asleep after.
Chapter 18: morning sunshine
After soft mornings comes hard feelings, and that's just how life can be.
Nines was the first to wake up it seemed. He ran through his stasis report, noticing the recalibrations from the fight. Gavin’s folder size had nearly doubled within a week, and then it hit him. All the emotions, the conclusions, glitched texts, weird mission objectives. ‘ Nonono- Oh no.’
>>You love Gavin Reed.
‘What.’ Nines looked over, noticing a weight on his right side. Gavin had at some point crossed the distance of the bed, his head resting on Nines’ chest and an arm wrapped around him. ‘ I’m in love with him- didn’t think I was capable of that emotion… Maybe the conclusion was confused.’ He ran a search against it, then another. He tried to piece out the why of it, and got spammed with facts about the other, followed by the system message again.
>> You want Gavin Reed.
It wasn’t… Bad. But at the same time, reading the message, fear settled in him.
He hated being afraid. He was the most advanced android to date, and quite probably the most advanced there would ever be. He shouldn’t feel fear over affection towards someone, yet… His hand brushed into Gavin’s hair. ‘ The thought of him finding out… My pre-construction doesn’t say it’s a complete disaster, but it doesn’t look good either .’ Nines checked the time, noticing it was almost time for Gavin’s alarm to go off. Nines let his arm rest around him, thinking over conversations saved.
“You need someone who’s good at listening Nines, someone who’s gonna take the time to know when your tones change, when you mean to say something in a certain way but you can’t get it right just yet. ” Nines thought over every time he struggled to portray something, every time Gavin would pause, think it over, and he would piece it out. Even when he couldn’t, he wouldn’t react negatively, he waited for Nines to figure out how to say something. When Nines seemed upset, even if it was hard for anyone else to see, Gavin protected him.
The pre-constructions changed slightly, and he formulated a plan. ‘ As soon as this case is done, we’ll go out for drinks, and I can use my two questions to- to ask Gavin on a date… I can’t believe I’m thinking of this!’ Nines felt his face turn blue, and was so glad for the sudden alarm to cut off his thoughts. He watched as Gavin seemed to buzz, and click, and it was amazing . With nothing blocking his vision, he could see the way things locked and unlocked, body waking up and realizing he was safe. Then Gavin’s eyes opened, grey darting about. “Mmmf- Nines you’re warm . Lucky bastard Sumo…” Gavin was still half-asleep, Nines figured, brushing fingers through the other’s hair once more before moving.
“Gavin, your alarm.” He said softly, then Gavin’s attention came back suddenly. Nines watched as purple bloomed from his face, neck, even on his shoulders, and he bunched up like a startled cat. And then he flailed away, successfully launching himself in a tangled mess off the bed. Nines couldn’t help but laugh, turning onto his side to watch the other scramble.
“Shit- sorry! Phck- I did not mean to cross into your space tincan I’m s-” Nines cut him off, amused with the flustered, muffled rambles under the blankets.
“It’s quite fine Gavin. Honestly wouldn’t mind repeating this morning, without so much… Falling.” He paused on purpose, and knew the two little bunched up points in the blanket was Gavin flipping him off. He reached over, helping to untangle the other.
“Oh phck off, I was just startled. It’s been years since anyone’s been in my room let alone my bed, sue me.”
>>Gavin is single.
“Shame, now I know you’re just all talk when you gossip with Tina.”
“Tch- don’t you dare tell her. She’s already ready to fight you, I don’t want to think of the lecture I’ll get once she finds out you have a free pass to my place and she doesn’t.” Nines blinked, watching Gavin get up while finally doing so himself. ‘ Tina wants to fight me? A futile effort, but why?’
“How did I end up on her bad side?” There was a deep sigh from his partner, Gavin’s head falling back and groaning at the ceiling. “The whole thing where I chased a suspect and you yelled at me for it. She overheard about that and started to go off. She’s a nice friend but holy shit , she gives me a run for my money on the amount of fights she wants to start.”
“I’ll be fair, and let her think she’s winning for one minute.” Gavin’s laugh was loud, causing him to pause and hold onto the drawer.
“ Nines! ”
His systems had to have glitched, LED spinning yellow quickly to record that. ‘ Gavin is going to be the end of me with that whine.’ “It’s too early to be making me laugh this hard fucker! Out out- go get dressed we need to get to the station.” Gavin pulled off his pants, and Nines didn’t bother to stop from looking down when the other couldn’t see him. ‘ I wonder what he’d prefer in bed?’ Processes started to buzz and he had to quickly act to shut them down, repeatedly swiping them off and getting up.
“Yes yes, try not to preen your feathers too long today, detective.” The teasing tone thankfully went through right, cause Gavin shot him a smile and a middle finger.
“Cause of that, I’m putting on eyeliner.”
Nines needed to leave the room, feeling heat course through his systems. He actually breathed noticeably now, cooling off with the forceful circulation of air. But it didn’t even take him a full minute to collect himself, ‘ thank Kamski for creating stasis, or was it Amanda? Gavin? I wish I had more than two questions.’ He went out, noticing the cats were being… Strange. Doa sat in front of the short hallway for the apartment’s door, tail puffed and flicking. Darling and Bastard had retreated to the corners of the room, glaring at the door as well. Nines went over to Doa, kneeling and rubbing the back of her head. “What got you so annoyed, princess.”
Interfacing with the cat, Nines reviewed the audio and visual feeds before frowning. There was a lot of yelling travelling of the elevator, and someone had stopped at their door. But it didn’t sound like mutated androids with a bone to pick, so Nines wasn’t too worried. “ Fuck, you sure this bitch lives on this floor, Jim, I thought there was supposed to be some kinda- prissy shit on the door… What floor? Oh fuck you, you said- whatever whatever, I’m heading up. ”
Nines rolled his eyes and rubbed behind her ears. “Good girl.” He went back to his bags for his clothes, finding a normal-ish t-shirt and black pants, somewhat reminiscent of his normal work attire. The t-shirt did have a small triangle at the dip of the v neckline, and when he put it on it synced to his LED, glowing blue. He grabbed his belt and his own gun and badge, perking up when the door opened from the bedroom.
“Nines- I’m taking a quick shower- I just realized I am probably still- a mess- from yesterday.”
“You are always a mess Gavin.”
“Phck you, you’re right. But uh, go ahead and help yourself to a mug in the freezer.” Nines blinked, before quickly standing. ‘ He made that freezie drink for us.’ He opened the freezer, noticing the two mugs and pulled his out, finding a straw to drink through. It was still as pleasant as the first time, and Nines found himself relaxing against the counter. Doa joined him after a bit, and the short time Gavin showered melted away, until the other was walking into the kitchen.
‘ I forgot how much I liked his work outfit.’ The old brown leather jacket was back, freshly cleaned and treated with some kind of pine scent, and under it was a grey cotton shirt. Nines noted the blue stripes down the one side that peeked out when the jacket fell open just right- they seemed to glow.
It made him confused, but it didn’t look bad on him either. His faded jeans were back as well, gun and badge on a belt that sat on the same side as the stripes. Then Gavin looked to him, grinning. “Hey Nines, can you control your LED colors?”
A nod. “Yes, I’m sure you’ve seen me force it to blue before, but if I expect it to be a dead giveaway, I can lock it into blue as well.”
“Can you make it red real quick and hold my hand?” Nines raised an eyebrow, but did as asked, the LED switching to a still red. Upon touching Gavin’s hand, his eyes widened just slightly as he realized why. The stripes on his shirt switched over to red, glowing just faintly in his coat.
“I don’t have your LED system, so these nice soft shirts that sync up always stay on blue for me. I figured if I connected to it with a LED system in the connection, it would glitch onto a new color!” Gavin pulled Nines in, smirking as Nines was shocked enough to let it happen.
Nines felt like he was malfunctioning, the way his thirium pump sped up and he let out a short breath. “You- you are devious Gavin.” Gavin outright laughed, then pulled away, Nines finding the cup he was holding gone. “Hey!”
“Calm down, I’m putting it into a cup to go with us.” Gavin was pulling out another travel cup, this one getting a straw and being filled with the freezie. It was passed back to Nines who held it defensively close to his chest. “Alright, now I’ma get my coffee, and we can head out!”
Nines watched as Gavin put a k-cup in his coffee maker, and then got out the purple thirium. He used it as creamer basically, and shook the travel mug with the thirium before he turned to Nines. “Lead the way.”
“Planned to.” He walked towards the door, bidding Doa a good day much to Gavin’s amusement, and walked out first. Gavin followed, and Nines watched as he checked over his belt. “Even if we haven’t blown our cover, I don’t want to leave without this again.” He said after a few moments, looking up to Nines. Grey met blue, and Nines felt the ‘ you like his eyes ’ notification pop up and be swiped away.
“I understand, it’s been a while since you’ve got to be you.” Gavin sighed at that, and Nines could tell he was relieved about not needing to explain it.
They got downstairs, and Gavin tensed, hand flying to his gun. - Blood. -
Nines blinked, before he caught the scent too. When the door opened, there was a lot to process. Time slowed down as his eyes flicked everywhere. Several items were tossed over, and there was a trail of blue blood that started at a cracked vase discarded on the floor. He moved out in sync with Gavin, scanning over the room. It took seconds before Gavin’s voice called out, worrying filling it and over-riding his examination. “Jerold!”
Nines rushed over, disregarding the prompt to figure out everything, seeing Gavin drop down onto his knees to assist the old man. There wasn’t any hesitation seeing the blood on the man. “I’m calling for an ambulance.” Gavin registered it with a nod as he continued to check on him. Nines own scan revealed a stab wound on his leg, the source of the blood mostly.
“Jerold, what happened?” Gavin’s voice lowered when the man came to.
“These two- folk- I think… Ugh…” Nines shook his head, knowing the man wouldn’t be able to answer right now.
“Gavin I’m going to scan the room for clues.”
“Yeah- I’ll stay here with him. He’s a nice guy Nines, I don’t know who could’ve done this besides an angry tenant maybe?” Gavin was trying to be helpful, even so deep in his own worry. Nines found his hand moving on it’s own accord, resting on Gavin’s head.
“I’ll get done with this quickly.”
True to his word, he walked through the room, looking at everything and cataloguing it. He knew the moment the ambulance pulled in, but there wasn’t anything to provide Gavin that would comfort him. It didn’t seem like an attack because of who Jerold was, as blood he picked up didn’t register as a previous or current tenant. It belonged to a- wait, this name… Jesse Larsen, model WD500. He was one of the modified androids Daisy worked on. ‘ Gavin.’ Stopping the entire reconstruction, he messaged Connor.
- Connor, the androids that me and Gavin scattered, have any of them made contact elsewhere? -
- Not that I know of, why? And you’re on first name basis with him now? -
Nines didn’t like the sour tone, responding in kind.
-I have no time for pettiness, I need to know if anyone’s spotted any of them. Message me once you have information. -
Nines walked over to Gavin, waiting until Jerold was on a stretcher. When he went to walk out the door, Nines reached out, gripping his shoulder. He forgot about the shirt, noting it went yellow along with his. “Gavin, this was done by a WD500 model named Jesse Larsen.”
As predicted, he watched the sparks of electricity flicker in his eyes and then the anger take over his features. They turned dark and stormy, and Nines would have blushed at the strength that look affected him with, if worry wasn’t clogging his systems emotional-wise. “ Motherfucking- Ohhh I’m going to find him and I’m going to rip that twink’s legs off.” Nines smiled, his grip loosening.
“Eventually. We need to head to the precinct, let Fowler and the other two know there was an attempt to reach us.”
Thankfully Gavin wasn’t so mad that he wasn’t listening, and nodded in turn. “Yeah, hopefully they got the boss fucker so I can smash his face into the desk repeatedly.” Nines had temporarily forgotten about that, but the prospect of finding the root of this problem and snuffing it out made him eager. He followed Gavin’s lead out, sliding into the driver’s side when Gavin kept going to the passenger side. “Shit, this could end today huh.”
Gavin had a weird tone about him, causing Nines to raise an eyebrow. “Well, it’s just that, I kinda… Got used to this, ya know? Plus Doa adores you. Gonna be weird to not have terminator hijacking my kitchen randomly.” Nines chuckled a bit at that, his systems pausing while they calculated chances and percentages.
“I could always come over every week then? We could- make it a work thing.” He knew he had Gavin’s attention with the soft ‘huh?’ he got. “Well, maybe every Friday or so, I come over- and we can discuss the week’s cases more privately, with both of our real point of views on them. Then afterwards, we can talk about our week outside of work?” He wondered if he sounded as unsure as he felt.
“That sounds pretty good Nines, plus it’ll give you an excuse to conveniently not be around during date night for Connor. He can’t set you up on a date if you’re not at the house.” Gavin sounded very happy about that, and Nines starting considering the possibility Gavin wanted him as much as Nines wanted Gavin. ‘ He would take what he wants though, what’s holding him back? I wonder if I could ask North about this, she’s… wise to dealing with humans.’
Eventually they got to the precinct, just making plans for the night they’d have once this was closed. Them, at a bar, Gavin promising to wear something that ‘could short circuit you, tincan’, having drinks and maybe dancing. Nines was… really excited. Every time he found his thoughts turning, worried over the case, his system would flicker the ‘celebration’ at him. They parked in the parking lot, and Gavin got out first. “You’ll probably have to go home tonight finally, looking forward to having Sumo tackle you?
Nines laughed softly, shutting the door with his knee. “Somewhat. I’m starting to think I’m more of a cat person myself. Sumo is a great dog, but he’s more work than the cats. And less willing to just sit.” He didn’t miss the way Gavin puffed his chest, obviously happy at Nines being a cat person.
“Hah! Connor is going to kill me, but I got you to the cat side!” He hummed then, and tilted his head, looking to Nines all while he did so. “Maybe we should get you your own cat?”
“And betray Doa? I’d rather not.”
Gavin walked over, smiling widely. Nines made sure to capture the image of it, returning a smile back to him. “You know Nines- You are getting really good at that.” Nines blinked, confusion reading across his features.
“Smiling. Expressing yourself. I’m happy for you tincan, knew you’d get it.” With that Gavin walked towards the precinct. “Come on- we got a bad guy to put away!”
Nines paused, hand coming up to his cheek. For a moment his chassis exposed itself where his hand touched, and Nines felt everything flush blue. ‘ I don’t know what’s holding him back, but I’m going to ask him out when we celebrate’ , he promised himself, straightening up before walking towards the building.
Chapter 19: investigate
Some things are taken care of. Some people get to walk free. But the case is about to be wrapped up, just one more of Gavin's brilliant plans.
Gavin was already getting cleared through when Nines caught up, noticing the way Brittney perked up at seeing his partner when he came in. Gavin felt something burn through him, but knew it wasn’t his right to feel jealous or envious of the other. Instead he clicked his tongue, getting her attention and motioning to the locked doors. “Oh right! Sorry Detective.” Gavin bit the inside of his cheek but kept himself neutral, shrugging instead.
“No bigs.” He mumbled, getting through the door and waiting for Nines. If he was happy at the almost ice cold way Nines brushed her off, it was his own business. “Told you he set you up on a date.”
Nines glared, though it was weak, weaker with the smile that he couldn’t keep from showing. ‘ Phcking cute as hell tall mountain of perfec-’ “I will be having a talk with Connor about this. I don’t need a receptionist stopping me every time I try to get in with useless,” and the bastard mimic’d the girls voice, “ ‘How was your evening, Nines? Would you like to go get some tea later? ’ It’s annoying, I don’t even recall telling her I like tea.”
“Nines- you scream the type that drinks it.” A beat of silence.
“Regardless! I’d rather have Hank’s horrid fast food than suffer through another date with her.” Gavin flat out whistled at that, nudging the other with his shoulder.
“I’ll let her know when I leave next time you’re not interested, she’ll stop bugging ya.”
“Thank you.” They continued walking to their desks, Gavin flopping down with a content sigh.
“Been too long! I actually almost miss this stupid desk.”
“That is absolutely a lie. You hate desk work.” Even if it was true, the shorter detective was still sticking his tongue out.
“I’m too good for desk work, it’s a waste of talent and resources.”
“You’re just hyper.”
“That too.” Their playful teasing was broken by Fowler, calling their names through the precinct. He was up in a second, straightening his leather jacket and looking excitedly to Nines. “This is it. Are you taking lead- you’re better at getting answers.”
“Admitting I’m better? You must be sick, Gavin, maybe it’s the fact you sleep shirtless.” The last half of the statement was whispered lowly, but it didn’t stop Gavin from turning purple, definitely not squeaking as he patted the other on the chest a few times.
“ Shaddup, ” he hissed instead, quickly turning and walking to Fowler’s office. He pointedly ignored the soft laughter, smug but not vicious, behind him. ‘ Bastard man .’
Fowler looked at them like they lost it, Gavin flushed and shoulders bunched, and Nines walking in with his hands clasped behind his back, looking all too smug. “Good to see you two finally getting along. If this is what undercover missions will result in, maybe I’ll have to give you two more of them.” Gavin perked up at that, grinning slightly and feeling the purple fade as he stood at attention.
“Nines could use the practice.”
“That he could.” Fowler looked to Nines, and Gavin did as well, only to look away as he was being stared at. ‘ Admired, you idiot; he’s still teasing you, just accept it. You should start trying to find him someone if- since- you’re not good enough.’ Even the stupid, self-deprecating voice in his head couldn’t stop him from being excited.
“I wouldn’t mind more missions like this. I think it puts my skills to use better than investigating small break-ins.” Fowler ‘hmmph’d, though he was grinning.
“We’ll talk about it after this case is closed. Nines, you called the ambulance this morning and then contacted Connor, correct? He couldn’t pass on why to either of those.” ‘ Fowler knows how to kill the mood alright.’ Gavin watched his partner from the corner of his sight, watching as he went a bit stiff.
-It’s alright Nines, he unfortunately knows where I live because he’s our boss. -
- Yes, but he doesn’t know I’ve been in your house for the past week. -
Gavin blinked, not having thought of that.
-Eh, let him know if you’re comfortable with it. -
“We were leaving the detective’s house when we found his landlord injured. I tested the blood at the scene. It registered as one of the androids that was on the list from the group we infiltrated.” Gavin cut in, helping Nines out but also- it was so worth it to see Fowler freaked out over their synchronization.
“We were worried it might have been an attempt to get to us, but my landlord can be a bit of a scrapper. There was a broken vase with thirium pooled underneath of it.”
“It’s likely the landlord used it against him and he fled. I contacted Connor to keep him on alert for the man.”
There was a moment of silence before Fowler pointed at them, narrowing his eyes. “You two- stop that shit. That’s freaky.” Gavin snickered, just resisting sending Nines a video right now.
“Sorry captain.” His smirk said otherwise, and risking a look at Nines, Gavin knew he must’ve locked up. He looked extra blank when he locked himself up to avoid from giving himself away.
-You’re smirking too, aren’t you. -
- That was very much worth it. -
“Any-fucking-ways… We do have Alfred detained, however, he lawyer-ed up immediately when he got here. The most we can definitely peg him with is illegal android part trafficking, however…” Gavin locked his jaw now. He wanted to snarl, snap, eyes narrowing at the captain’s desk. “It won’t keep him as long as a definitive tie into this whole thing would. Do we have any confirmation on which groups are responsible for the other pairs?” His voice was flat, and Gavin resisted wincing. It was made easier with Nines message coming through.
-You glare any harder at the desk and it might catch fire. We’ll get him. -
Inhale, exhale. Gavin cracked his neck a bit, forcing himself to relax.
-I fucking know, but it pisses me off that some girl’s own notes won’t put him in. -
Fowler continued, voice not as strict, though he didn’t have the energy to break it easy to them. “And you can’t question him right now either. But I didn’t pull you two in here because of bad news. We did get several group leaders, though a number of them went into hiding after the first ones went down.” ‘ Finally .’
Nines cut in then, head tilting slightly. “Do you need us to question them, see which ones will admit to the murders?”
“Exactly. It’s possible that none of them are responsible, but we need to get through them. I hope you two enjoy your day, the interrogation rooms are already setup. Officer Chen is used to working with you Reed, so she’s going to be the one escorting each person out and Miller will be escorting them in.”
‘Makes sense.’ “Got it. Are we running these separate or together?”
“Separate,” Fowler started, laying out seven files on the desk. “There’s three rooms and seven people to get through. The longer they stay within communicating range, the longer they can get their stories straight. Nines you may be able to get off interfaces with them, however, you have to have reasonable suspicions that they’re outright lying to you or hiding something. Connor will be back in two hours or so to take the third room. Now, get going, we don’t have time to waste.”
“Got it sir!” Two voices in unison, hands easily moving over and beside each other to divide the files. They didn’t even stay in the office before devising a plan, Nines taking certain files and Gavin picking up the rest. He trusted Nines to know what he was doing with this.
“I’ll take the bosses of each district, that way I can get a chance to interface with them. You take the ones in charge of modifying people, you seem to be able to play their type very well from what I remember of the basilisk eyed one.”
“Sounds good to me. If I think one’s worth interfacing with?”
-Message me, I will come in and let mine stew for a bit. Also Gavin, if any of them start threatening you… -
The message glitched at the end, and Gavin looked to the other. Locked face, LED a calm, motionless blue. ‘ Forced, he’s really feeling something.’
- I’ll let you know tincan. Don’t worry too much about me though, I can handle myself. -
- I know I know. This morning’s events have me- uneasy. -
Gavin reached out at that, taking Nines’ wrist in his hand. Nines paused, looking at him with an eyebrow raised.
-Thanks for worrying about me, but don’t forget that you’re in danger too. We’re partners, and yeah sure you’re definitely stronger than me, but I won’t break with one stab or bullet. -
“Good luck on your perps.”
“You too detective.”
-You know just what to say don’t you. -
Gavin smirked, and left for his rooms at that, a wave as he approached Tina. Tina looked peppy, and Gavin noted the fresh cup of coffee in her hands. “Is that your second or third one?” Gavin’s voice was flat, already disproving of her hyperactivity.
“Third! I see you and that moronic prick are no-” She stopped with a squeak at the slight growl Gavin gave off, holding a hand up and eyes widening. Even if Nines wasn’t there, he was putting a stop to this little grudge now.
“He’s chill Tina. We’re getting along great, in fact. Maybe when this case is closed, I’ll see about letting you and Audrey in on our celebration down at Nico’s.” Tina looked him over, scanning him in her own way.
“You’re awfully defensive over him Gav.”
“Huh. No I’m not.”
“You growled . At me. Your best buddy since forever! And I saw the way you two walked in this morning… Sooo.”
“Tina don’t ‘ sooo ’ me.”
“When you asking him out.”
Gavin choked, and then smacked her with a file. “Go fucking get Miller for this one! I don’t have time for gossiping right now, Tina!” He didn’t need to check his systems to know he was blushing, and hated the grin the woman sported regardless of his snarl. She listened though, and Gavin entered the room, reading over his file. This was going to be a long day.
By the time Nines and him were done, Nines interfaced with two out of four of the bosses they got, and Gavin pulled him in on one of his four modification techs. They were able to get enough evidence to pin the two bosses with murder, one the librarians and the other their first case, and that felt good. But the rest they had to let go with just moving the parts for Alfred, which was maybe a couple of years. None of the lackies could go in for anything besides a couple movers, so they ended up watching several leave. It was frustrating, but they also got some of the ones leaving to go back as moles.
It turned out no one mentioned to the new recruits that the promise of free modifications came at the cost of someone else’s life. Even if some felt bad only because of the other android death, they still felt guilt, and agreed to work with the precinct to keep more from happening. It wasn’t a win, but it wasn’t a loss.
Gavin walked out of his last one feeling like he could use an energy drink, or a literal bolt of energy. Getting tugged into a spare meeting room by Nines would do, because the other pulled him in, shutting the door behind him. “Hiding?” He had to be, this was one of the few meeting rooms without cameras due to them being repaired.
“Connor’s back and I don’t want to deal with him quite yet. Also you looked stressed- you’re reading stressed.”
“Do you just have my vitals pinned or something?”
“Ha ha, it’s obvious Gavin. You were slouched while walking, gritting your teeth and glaring at the file.”
That wasn’t a no
“Yeah fair, but you’re probably no better. We get so close just- to watch a brick wall hit us in the face. I want to get a crack at this Alfred guy, but Fowler doesn’t want to step on legal toes given how touchy this case is already.” Gavin felt a hand on his back, and his shirt changed to blue. He didn’t mind too much, letting himself lean into the arm attached to that hand.
“At least everything was scattered. Even if we can’t get them, the whole hospital incident, and the fact we got some put in for good will scare the rest. We might not ever see another case like this.”
Gavin looked up, seeing those bright blues staring down at him. “You and I both know money and power will motivate people time after time. Alfred gets back out, he’ll start this back up.” Nines frowned, and Gavin closed his eyes at it. “I know I know, you can’t win each one. It just…”
“Yeah,” came out like a sigh, before Gavin moved. “Come on, we better go see the ones we got off. Maybe we’ll get a glimpse of this bastard puppeteer, and I can flip him off.”
“Only if I get to do so too.”
“I’m rubbing off on you and it’s wonderful.”
They walked out, somehow avoiding Connor. Gavin was about to mention it when he seen why. Nines stood slightly closer to him, as Connor lead Alfred out. Gavin glared, feeling himself tense up, but when Alfred made eye contact, all hell let loose. “YOU. BASTARD.” The voice was slightly Italian, Gavin noted, and his calm face completely fell seeing Nines and Gavin. He said something in Italian, and Gavin felt the fuzz of translation happening in real time. “
How dare you put your filthy hands on my little princess, I know where you two live!
” Gavin bristled, and not even Nines hand on his shoulder could stop him.
“ Keep threatening us you spineless puppet master, I can understand you. ” Connor’s LED spun yellow, and Alfred seemed to shrink a little, before Gavin stomped back to Nines. He turned, standing in front of his partner. Using two fingers he did an ‘up yours’ motion. “ Go fuck yourself. ”
That really pissed the guy off, going from shrinked and shocked at the Italian being cursed back at him, to fighting Connor to get free. Gavin waited til Connor got him out of here before he relaxed somewhat. He was still tense, but Nines seemed intent to fix that, both hands on his shoulders and thumbs digging into his neck. He
flushing purple instantly.
-Nines, not there not there-
The other backed off, and Gavin heard the near silent escapes of air in short bursts. ‘ Silent chuckle, just for me. Bastard .’
Gavin brushed his hands off, nodding slightly, and then he looked up to Nines. “So- this is the moment I say I’m surprised you also speak Italian?”
“Bastard, you knew I did. I’m multilingual, undercover missions remember.” Nines smiled slightly, before Fowler called for them.
“Figured he’d see all that. I probably shouldn’t have been so aggressive.”
“You wouldn’t be you if you hadn’t been.”
They headed towards the office, Gavin walking in a lot more calmer this time. Surprisingly Fowler wasn’t pissed looking, even as he focused on the pair. “Can you try to refrain from yelling Italian curses as perps as they’re being carted out?” He was looking directly at Gavin, but the detective could only shrug.
“He was threatening us, you didn’t expect me to just take it did you?” Fowler sighed at that, rolling his eyes.
“That’s why I called you in. You two need to shift your focus for now. There’s seven modified mutants out there with a vendetta against you two. If we can get these guys, you two can continue to different cases now that this one is as wrapped as it can be til the organization recovers from the power vacuum. Now, do you two have any plans for getting them?”
Everything was silent, before Gavin spoke up. “There’s no reason that me being a detective changes anything right? I’m still just a human, and they know that the shockstick shit works on me.” Gavin was reasoning out loud, waiting for one of them to question him. Thankfully Nines took the bait, though Gavin could catch the way his voice shifted to concern.
“I don’t see why it would. If their intent is to kill us for breaking apart their branch of this, you being a detective doesn’t matter.”
“Right, and everyone you dealt with today went to jail. You’re cover isn’t even slightly at risk. You could’ve just snapped and overclocked your systems during that fight in the hospital.”
“Reed, what are you getting at?” Fowler cut in, leaning forward expectantly.
“What I’m getting at, is that if they know we are a bit difficult to capture, but not impossible, they will try. Especially if we spurred them on a little.”
“And how would you suggest we spur them on?” Gavin grinned, hands motioning to himself.
“I know my reputation, captain, and while I’d like to say it’s changed since the revolution, we both know how some of the officers see me. It wouldn’t be hard for me and Nines to have a fight about my behavior with other officers, in plain view, loud enough to be heard. It could piss them off just enough to make a move on one of us, especially if we do one of those movie scenes where they walk in opposite directions.”
Nines LED spun yellow, and he went stiff. “Absolutely not.” Gavin blinked, looking up to him.
-Nines? What gives? -
-I’m not pretending to fight you. I can’t I- I can’t be the reason you possibly get hurt .-
There was a couple beats of silence, before Gavin spoke out loud. “Nines, I know you’re worried about me getting hurt again; would it make you feel better if we could get Connor to take your place then? That way you can keep watch.” Nines LED flicked blue, and he relaxed a bit.
“Good thinking, Reed. Nines would be better on watch anyways, since we know his systems are particularly vulnerable to their pitchforks. We tried a couple of stun tests on Connor, if he wears something it just passes through him and leaves him hyper.”
Nines still seemed hesitant, but with a sigh that was definitely for show, he nodded. “I suppose this will be fine. We have to get Connor to agree, our cover was well, rather close .” Gavin chuckled, nodding to that.
“I’ll go ask him-”
“No no, I will. He’s my brother, I can use the fact he owes me for those three times he left me alone with his friends.” Fowler was about to check his computer when Gavin snorted loudly, holding a hand over his mouth.
-PHCK YOU NINES I CAN’T JUST LAUGH AT THAT. -
- You absolutely can. I hate this idea so you’re going to suffer with a little bit of embarrassment, because I cannot come up with a better one. -
It was fair, didn’t mean Gavin liked it though. “I’m good! Sorry, thought of something funny. Anyways! I’ll go let Hank know. Do I need to wear everything this time?”
“Of course. You shouldn’t get into a fight that’ll crush this one.” Fowler opened a drawer, pulling out a discreet necklace mic, being a little dog tag one. “You still have the ear pieces?”
“In the car.”
“Good, put those in. As well as the tracker somewhere, just in case. Tell Hank just to use the ones he had last time.” Gavin nodded, then looked to Nines. He still looked stiff, but Gavin knew if he really didn’t like this, he’d pull them out. ‘ Right?’
He left the room, waiting for Nines to join him, which he did. “Nines…” He couldn’t take the silence, the worry leaking into his voice.
“It’s- Gavin I’m fine with this. You cannot blame me for worrying after the last time.”
Gavin smiled at that, stepping closer so their arms touched. “I wouldn’t blame you, but I’m not worried. I have the two best equipped guys in this building watching my back, and the lieutenant who literally helped with the revolution. I’m in good hands. And I can handle myself, there’s…” Gavin choked a bit, and it didn’t go without noticed. “There’s enough blood on my hands to prove it.”
-I never did ask about that. You really don’t like harming people? -
- Harming, I don’t mind, Nines. A couple punches is nothing to most models other than a slightly jarring deterrent, and the same goes for humans, depending on where you aim your hits. It’s… I don’t like killing. I never have, it never gets easier. But every time I shift, I’m reminded how my body was made better at hunting, at taking my victims down. It’s… -
-It’s like how I feel about my combative skills. It’s a waste to not use them, but I know there could’ve been options that would’ve spared them. Blood coats our hands but… -
Gavin watched as Nines looked around, and then very subtly took his hand.
-As long as we do what we do to protect people, to save people, to serve justice… Then it makes the blood a little bit easier to wash off. At least, that’s what I read once. -
Gavin laughed at that, tension leaving him and risking leaning into the other. They had to break apart at their desks, but that brief connection…
-I wish I could interface with you Nines, and you could know just how much that all meant, even if you read it somewhere you dork. Thanks. -
“Hey, I promise, no matter what, we’ll get to celebrate this case.” He spoke out loud, and Nines smiled.
“I’ll hold you to that. Now, I see Connor, wish me luck on guilt-tripping my brother into being your partner.”
Chapter 20: thunder rolls
Nines has to mentally prepare himself for using his Gavin as bait.
Sorry for the shorter chapter and the wait!
It was another couple hours before everyone was ready. Connor hated the idea, glaring at Gavin, but honestly it made this work so much better. He got dressed in some of Nines’ spare clothes, something that Hank wouldn’t die over. Connor had to call someone and tell them about it, to avoid misunderstandings, and Nines was betting it was Markus. ‘ Don’t worry Markus, Gavin is absolutely taken. Or- will be .’
No, there was another, entirely selfish reason Nines hated this, beyond hating the idea of using Gavin as bait. Connor and Gavin being a fake couple. It just settled hot in his systems, and Gavin didn’t seem to mind. Which burned more, and Nines felt himself needing to focus on checking the equipment again to avoid the feelings. However, they were about to split up, Nines taking over Connor’s place by Hank, when Gavin nearly barreled into him. Arm hooked and not even pausing, Nines had to quickly correct himself to avoid being dragged. “Gavin?” He found he didn’t have to try and put concern in his tone, it was becoming natural.
Nothing happened or was said ‘til they were in some random hallway, and Nines looked over the other. He left his jacket at his desk, not wanting the leather to get scuffed by electricity, and now he just wore the soft cotton shirt and jeans and he looked- so soft. ‘ I want to hold him, why is Connor getting to, I dislike this.’
Gavin opened his mouth, then closed it, before warm, cloud-like greys focused on him, so intensely he felt like he was being scanned. “Tonight- fuck if we get these guys or not; me, you, Nico’s. I just- I…” Gavin growled, and he seemed frustrated with his lack of words.
“Of course. Do you want to invite anyone?” A pause.
“Hell no- what I want- is you to get to use your last two questions. And then we can have fun without worrying about either of us getting hurt, and we can leave all this worrying shit in empty glasses there, and start a new day where we both- we both know we got this.” Nines found himself so warm at all this, and quickly, before he could reason himself out of this with pre-constructions, he held the other’s face. The stubble felt really nice against his hands.
“We got this now. I’ll see you tonight then.”
It seemed to be a good choice of action, Gavin flushing purple but not from embarrassment. “Phck yeah.” Gavin’s voice sounded different, and Nines watched as he heated up. Hands came to lay on top of his, and Nines watched as Gavin melted. Unfortunately a message from Connor broke the moment, and he could see Gavin’s confusion at the sudden frown.
-Nines, what’s taking you so long back there? Is he being a problem? -
Nines was tempted to send a picture, but the mere thought made his vision glitch to prevent it.
-We’re fine, just talking .-
“My brother is bugging me. We will continue this, Gavin.” Reluctantly, he pulled his hands away, looking down to the other.
“We fucking better cause I’m starting to think I should demand five questions from you.” ‘ Gavin’s pouting.’ The man tucked his hands into his pockets, blush still slightly evident, but he was absolutely pouting as he walked off. Nines followed, smiling a little to himself. They got back to Hank and Connor, both who looked suspicious of the two. Though Nines could read it in more of a ‘what did Gavin do’ way, and it pissed him off . He was tempted to wrap his arm around the other, and return the infuriating glare Connor was directing at Gavin.
“Alright, merry band of fuckwits, let’s get going. The faster this is done with, the faster I can get to celebrate.”
Connor sighed, and Hank eyed Nines with concern. But Nines joined his side, talking into his mic. “Both of you can hear me?”
“All clear!” Satisfied with that, more importantly hearing Gavin back, he took the hoodie Hank offered him, slipping it on and heading out the door. Hank followed him out, and the two headed to where they were going to camp out. There was a park not too far from Gavin’s house, and though Gavin hated it because of crowd that normally met and hung out there, it was open and shady enough that this could all go down without too much interference.
Hank drove in silence for a while, but Nines knew it wouldn’t last. “You and him seem to be getting along now at least.” Nines scanned the other, trying to see if this was a trap into some kind of ‘dad’ talk. It didn’t seem to be, but he kept his voice neutral.
“We do, he’s a good partner, and very good at what he does. We have settled the cause for aggression between us.” Hank eyed him, not taking his attention off the road for too long however.
“That’s a very blank way of putting it kid. He outright seems friendly to you, in his own idiotic way.” Nines held back the smile, though he couldn’t help the smug, ‘Yes he is ’ that he heard himself think.
“Detective Reed can be very agreeable, you just have to get to know him.”
They pulled into a safe distance away from where Gavin and Connor would be fighting at, and Nines glared at the spot. ‘ I know I don’t want to be the cause of his pain but Connor might go too far.’
“You know Nines, if you don’t want to talk about the last week, that’s fine. But you’ve heard me and Connor talk about him, what he’s done. I don’t want you getting hurt.” Nines blinked, LED flickering red and then glitching to blue. He turned to other, seeing his worried, fatherly look. Nines could understand why he said those things, he wasn’t ignoring the past, but he’d seen the side no one else got to. He heard the why of everything, and he knew Gavin apologized for all that. ‘ They don’t seem to be the forgiving type.’
“Lieutenant… Dad , I understand you and Connor are trying to protect me from some threat you are so determined is there, but I’m far more advanced than Connor is. If at any point Gavin meant ill towards me, he’d have come back to the precinct with a broken arm or nose. I can handle myself, and honestly, I’m a bit disappointed in you two for clinging to the past so much. Gavin had his reasons for his behavior, and though those do not excuse him, he has made efforts to apologize and be better now.” Nines looked back to the spot.
The silence between them was heavy, and even Nines lack of social programming could figure that out. “Spoken like a true defensive boyfriend.” Nines LED broke through the forced programming, spazzing so hard it went white, blue highlighting Nines’ face.
“We are not boyfriends!” ‘ Yet .’ Hank laughed at that, rubbing his stomach and Nines remembered the other had a tendency to laugh so hard he felt pain.
“Sure kid you keep telling yourself that. Maybe you aren’t official yet, but it’s obvious you care about him. If it’s returned, I can’t tell, but I’ll be the first in line if it’s not to kick his ass.” Nines didn’t know why, but he felt relief at that.
“You… don’t disapprove of my affection towards him?”
“It’s your life Nines. Obviously you’ve seen something buried deep, deep, deep… deep within him, that you like. If he makes you happy, then who am I to tell you no?”
Nines didn’t stop the smile this time, relaxing a bit. “Thank you Hank.”
“I’m still serious though, if he breaks your heart, I’m kicking his ass.”
“I’ll come with a warning when I eventually ask him about becoming official.”
“Any plans for it?” Nines paused, before nodding.
“Yes, we plan to head out to Nico’s to celebrate a job well done so far. I- hope to ask him then if he wouldn’t mind going on a date with me.”
“It already sounds like a date to me. You should ask if you can go on more dates at this point.”
The conversation would’ve continued, but Connor spoke over their radios. “We’re pulling in now, stay sharp everyone.” Gavin’s voice followed, and he pointedly ignored Hank’s laughter when he smiled.
“Game day hell yeah!” Hank was the first to respond back, mirth still in his voice.
“Just remember you two have an audience, and it’s not just us. Which one of you is walking where?”
“I’m walking to the car, Gavin’s heading towards his house, wherever it is.”
“Opposite direction of the car don’t worry, one of us here knows where it’s at. And I got this old man, short of actually fist fighting, I’ll try to play up grumpy, sad detective vibes when I stomp off. Nothing easier to fight than someone who’s emotionally compromised.”
“You would know kid,” Hank said, his voice teasing. Nines eyes stayed trained on the park, seeing the two walk in. Unlike when it was Nines and Gavin, the two only brushed shoulders to appear close. Nines could see how tense Gavin was from here.
“I hope they haven’t been arguing this whole time.”
Hank shrugged, watching now as well. “I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Connor still holds a grudge over the evidence room thing, and even more so from how you and Reed were acting before this case.” He could’ve kept from sighing, but he felt like it was the most proper response to all that. They watched as Gavin and Connor sat down on the bench, and Nines focused his attention onto them and their mics as they started to talk.