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February 5th, 2039

Gavin sat on his couch, his head buried into his hands. One week. One week down with that stupid fucking piece of shit Terminator bastard. Gavin seethed with anger over the motherfucker; the week hadn’t gotten much better since their little altercation on Thursday, but thankfully RK900 kept his hands to himself for the rest of the week. And Gavin, petty little shit, went out of his way to ignore the android at every opportunity.

Not that RK900 even gave a shit.

It was Saturday, now, and Gavin felt both the desire to stay home and drink by himself and watch old dumb movies, or go out to his favorite bar and party a bit, just to get the stress off him. Maybe call Tina and her new stupid android… android girlfriend. Gavin should have seen it coming – he always knew Tina had the hots for the receptionist at the precinct, and when she was outed as deviant shortly after the revolution, Tina upped the flirting.

They’d only been dating less than a month but fuck, Gavin was salty. Jaded, bitter, fucking loser. Couldn’t even get fucked by a random dude and here Tina is galivanting around in a solid relationship with an ANDROID.

Gavin let out a strangled growl and thumped his hands into the couch. Tina hadn’t really been against androids, anyways. In fact, she was the one to try and settle Gavin’s issues and anger over the damn thing. She was also the only one who knew about Eli. That’s what happens when you’re besties since childhood.

A drink, that’s what Gavin needed. A good, strong drink. Anything to forget the feeling of RK900’S hand fisted into his jacket, how easily he had been lifted off his feet, that flash of… something behind those ice blue eyes. Gavin shuddered at the thought, momentarily horrified at the sensation of arousal that briefly rocked through him, before he shoved himself up from his couch and grabbed his phone.

“Tee? Hey,” Gavin greeted, immediately tuning into the rather loud background noise coming from Tina’s end of the line.

“Gaaav! What’s up and where the fuck is you? Come party with us!” Tina squealed, clearly tipsy. Gavin felt his lips pull into a grin.

“Shit babe, starting early?”

“Heyyy it’s Andrea’s activation day! So, fuck yes!” Gavin winced slightly. He vaguely remembered something about activation and Andrea and a club and fuck.

“Tee, we’re way too fucking old to go clubbing,” Gavin muttered, dragging a hand over his face. They were seated in a booth at their favorite little shitty pub, sharing a basket of fish and chips and a pitcher of Blue Moon – extra oranges.

“But Gavinnn! It’s Andrea’s activation day – she’s never been clubbing, and I want to give her the full experience of being a dumb drunk college kid.”

“Tina, she’s like our age in theory. Also, can androids even drink?”

“Yes!” she was quick to reply. “Alcoholic thirium! You didn’t know?”

“Why the fuck would I?”

A beat of silence, and then, “fair.” Tina ran a hand through her hair. “I guess some androids felt left out of the party scene and developed it. Supposedly it’s not actually alcoholic, but it’s meant to mimic the, I dunno, release of inhibitions and loss of control and what-the-fuck-ever-else.”

“Figures, androids wanna get drunk,” Gavin scoffed, taking a swig of his beer. “Give ‘em a sense of humanity and they turn to booze just like the rest of us.”

Tina chose to ignore his statement, and instead, turned on the puppy-dog eyes. “Gav, please come out with us? You’re so awesome to party with.”

Only because of my self-destructive tendencies. Gavin sighed heavily, stuffing another fry into his mouth. “Yea, whatever, I’ll think about it.”

Fucking fuck fuck. “Goddamnit, Tee, I totally forgot. Fine, let me just get my shit together, send me the location.” He had to hold his phone away from his ear, grimacing at Tina’s hideous squealing.


Gavin stepped into the club, and immediately the heavy pounding of bass filled his entire being. He sunk into it a little, enjoying the feeling of escape. Of doing his best to not give a fuck and just have a good time. Of saying fuck it all, and fuck what you think of me.

Gavin was a jaded, old loser, but at least he could still party.

He made his way through the crowd, searching for the booth that Tina and Andrea had rented – bottle service and all that jazz. Stupid Tina and her rich, loving, supportive parents.

Gavin’s eyes located the bar first, and he figured grabbing a drink couldn’t hurt. He meandered his way over there, eyes scanning the patrons. A few couples, a few lonely guys, one of whom was casually leaned up against the bar. Their eyes locked for a moment, and Gavin felt a low warmth roll through him as the tall, lean man sent him a sly smile. He grinned in return, before finding his opening at the bar.

It didn’t take long for the tall drink of water, all dressed up in leather, to sidle his way up to Gavin. “Here alone?” came the warm purr. Gavin glanced up at him, a crooked smirk on his lips.

“I’m meeting my best friend and her girlfriend,” he replied, a glint in his eyes as that warmth rolled through him once again.

“Well, then, perhaps I should leave you to your night,” the stranger murmured, eyelids lowering, darkening his chocolatey gaze. “But I’ll be around for the rest of the night if you fancy finding me again.”

“I will certainly consider it,” Gavin murmured, shifting himself a touch closer to the lean body. The warmth turned into both arousal and excitement. The tall man ran a hand through his dark locks and gave Gavin a wink.

“It’s Deondre, by the way. De for short,” he replied, voice deep and rumbly.

“Gavin, only my best friend gets to shorten it,” Gavin chuckled softly, lowly.

“Nice to meet you, Gavin,” his name rolled off of plump lips and Gavin almost shivered.

“Likewise, De. I’ll see you later?” Gavin purred, ignoring his drink that had just been deposited by the bartender. Put it on Tina’s tab, he had said, grinning.

“Absolutely,” Deondre all but purred back, before lacing his fingers into the hair at the back of Gavin’s neck. There was a moment of hesitation before their lips met in a quick, chaste kiss. Gavin pulled away slightly dizzy, and watched as Deondre disappeared into the crowd.

“Fffuuuuuuck,” he groaned, shifting, taking a long swig of his cocktail. At least he was gonna get lucky for once in his miserable life.

Pushing himself off the bar, Gavin looked around again, trying to find the booth until—

“GavviiiIIINNNN!” came the squeal-turned-yell. Tina all but fell against him, pulling him into what was practically a stranglehold.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Tee! You’re choking me!” he yelped out, pulling the slightly smaller woman off of him. “Good to see you too, goddamn, I need to catch up.”

“Yes, you do!” came a cheery voice from behind Tina. Andrea. Gavin looked up at her and gave her an awkward smile.

“Hey hi, uh, happy activation day?” Andrea laughed at that, soft and smooth, and Gavin relaxed slightly.

“I know!” Tina broke in. “Shots!” Cue the jumping up and down. “Let’s buy a round for the whole table!”

Gavin sighed in mock annoyance but grinned. “Get me two,” he remarked, and Tina elbowed him gently, laughing. She turned to the bar and desperately began trying to get one of the bartender’s attention.

“Here,” Andrea spoke, shifting on her feet, “I’ll show you the table.” She nodded her head back to the far side of the club, smiling rather demurely. She was nervous around Gavin, and he supposed, she probably had good reason – he hadn’t made the best name for himself with the androids at the precinct.

“Thanks, Andrea, this place is fucking huge. And kinda overwhelming,” Gavin laughed softly, rubbing the back of his neck. The electricity from De’s fingers still tingled there.

Gavin followed Andrea to the table and was only mildly surprised to see Connor and Hank there, along with Chris of course. Connor and Hank seemed momentarily off in their own little world, Connor practically in Hank’s lap, obviously… tipsy? Was that the right word?

Gavin bit back the sudden jealousy that nipped at him as he turned to greet Chris. Thank god for Chris, ever the father-figure – even though he was literally younger than all of them (was he technically younger than Connor though? Fuck that was confusing).

“Good to see you actually still have some party in you after having a baby,” Gavin quipped, sliding into the booth next to Chris. Andrea followed, grabbing her cocktail glass.

Chris looked up from his phone and turned to Gavin, a grin spreading across his face. “Yea, well, Angela ain’t too happy about it but she also wanted me to have fun.”

“Is your definition of fun sitting here and watching these two disgusting lovebirds?” Gavin waved a dismissive hand at Connor and Hank, both of whom had fully sunk into one another, lips locked.

Chris rolled his eyes. “Please, I’m a glorified fucking babysitter,” he muttered, before chuckling. “It ain’t that bad, I’m just glad to be out in actual civilian public and finally able to nurse a beer or two. Trust me, having a baby is not fun.”

“I can imagine. Shit, I thought having cats was rough,” Gavin chuckled, sitting back in the booth. “I bet cats are easier to keep alive than babies.”

“I dunno, do your cats shit themselves and cry about it?”

“Eh… Only Asshole. He’s, well, a fucking asshole.” Chris laughed at that, heartily, before taking a swig of his beer. Gavin followed suit, swallowing a mouthful of his cocktail.

Tina appeared then, a tray of shots braced against her arm. “Hear ye, hear ye, everyone! Gavin is too sober and we’re not drunk enough! Thirium shot for the ‘droids,” she winked at Andrea, who blushed a pretty blue, “and buttery nipples for the rest of us!” Chris openly groaned.

Gavin, meanwhile, laughed delightfully and snatched his two shots from the tray. “Here, here, Andrea!” he cheered, downing one right after the other. A smooth burn made its way down his throat and he grinned at the feeling.

Andrea took hers like a pro, only slightly grimacing, before snapping both Hank’s and Connor’s attentions to the shots. Hank grabbed his, looked at Connor, shrugged, and downed it smoothly. Connor all but giggled and swallowed his shot easily. Chris eyed his warily, glancing back and forth between it and his beer.

“Alright, family man, shall I offer myself up as sacrifice?” Gavin groused, grinning, feigning annoyance. Chris rolled his eyes.

“Knock yourself out.”

Gavin snatched the shot and threw it back almost immediately. A familiar, alcoholic warmth buzzed through him. For once, he was feeling good. For once, he could properly dissociate. For once, he could stop the anxiety and depression that clawed at him… at least momentarily.

The night wore on, into a bit of a blur – dancing, shots, dancing, dancing, more shots, Connor and Hank sneaking off to the bathroom, more dancing, shots, dancing, Connor and Hank eventually coming back incredibly disheveled, dancing, shots, dancing, dancing, dancing.

Gavin was having the time of his life; he couldn’t remember the last time he felt this relaxed, this uncaring, this free, this… thoughtless. Nothing bothered him.

Until everything bothered him.

Gavin quietly escaped to the men’s restroom, needing a moment alone. Crowds had a tendency to overwhelm, and while alcohol could abate it at times, eventually the anxiety snapped vicious, sharp teeth at him. This time it came in the form of feeling choked, of being lifted off his feet and practically tossed to the ground like a rag-doll.

Thankfully, blissfully, the bathroom was mostly empty. Not like Gavin would give a fuck if anyone saw him having an anxiety attack, anyways. Not at this point. There was an empty corner he could perch up in, mindlessly scrolling through his phone and practicing breathing exercises.

The restroom door swung open, but Gavin paid it no mind – until a figure moved up to just a few feet from him. He looked up from his phone, and momentarily fell breathless as his sage green eyes met chocolatey brown. Deondre leveled him with a warm smile.

“Hey,” came the warm voice.

“Uh, h-hey,” Gavin stuttered out, flushing.

“You okay?” There was an obvious look of earnest concern on Deondre’s face, and he shifted his weight from one foot the other, stuffing his hands in his pockets.

“Y-yea, just, uh, just… y’know,” Gavin managed, flush deepening, attempting a dismissive hand wave. Fuck he was an idiot.

“Anxiety? I get it, trust me,” Deondre murmured, leaning against the sink next to him. “Part of the reason I’m in here too. Forty years old and it doesn’t get any better, unfortunately.”

“Ah, yea, I don’t expect it to, I know,” Gavin chuckled softly. He shifted off from the wall, taking in the slightly nervous form of Deondre. Something rather pleasant swelled in him, and he let out a soft sigh. “Well, this took a different turn.”

Deondre laughed at that, a rich, throaty laugh. “You’re telling me. I’m a bit of an anxious mess, didn’t expect the same from you,” he joked, winking. Gavin grinned at that, shaking his head.

“Eh, it’s part of being a cop and seeing the shit I have.”

“Oh, you work for the DPD? That’s cool. My uncle’s a cop. His name’s Jeff.”*

“Wait… Wait, wait, wait… Jeffrey Fowler?” Gavin straightened up, gaping at Deondre.

“Shiiittt… Is he your captain? Yeaaa, he’s my mom’s baby brother. My mom’s the oldest of five kids, he was the youngest. We’re super close in age so it’s weird to call him my uncle sometimes,” Deondre laughed again, softer this time, shrugging. “Holy shit, it is a small world.”

“You’re telling me,” Gavin laughed. “Not many of us know much about Fowler’s personal life, ‘cept maybe Anderson. This is kinda crazy, not gonna lie.”

“Eh, Jeff’s not always super involved with us anyways. I get it, his job is demanding,” Deondre shook his head. “If only my grandma and grandpa got it, too.”

Gavin’s phone pinged then – a text from Tina, checking in. “I should probably get back out there, Tee’s wondering where I am,” he muttered, tucking his phone back into his pocket. “You, uh, wanna come meet my friends? Then I can tell the captain I met his nephew. I’ll leave out details of course.” Gavin ended that with a wink.

Deondre chuckled, leaning forward. “Sounds great.”