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Avalanche

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February 15th, 2039

RK900 (Nines?) stepped into the DPD Central Precinct building at precisely 5:08:17 am, doing his absolute best to placate the subtle tremor of his hands - and, honestly, his whole chassis - and the fact that his LED refused to be any color but a vibrant marigold. The receptionist at the front desk, an ST300 android by the name of Andrea, glanced up from her terminal and brightly turned to face him.

“Good morning, RK900,” she began, but hesitated, eyes sweeping over his form. There was a brief moment of observation before a frown settled on her pretty face and she brushed some of her light brunette hair out of her eyes. “Are you alright?”

“I am well. Just a rather long night,” he managed, through gritted teeth, fighting the tremors that threatened to rack his entire being and doing his absolute best to ignore the downright painful throb that echoed through every inch of his being.

Andrea stood and carefully, pointedly, made her way around the front desk, approaching slowly, as if he were a wounded animal. “You’re caught in a terrible fight, aren’t you?” she questioned, knowing hazel eyes meeting his.

RK900 merely huffed and looked aside.

“It’s because of Detective Reed, isn’t it?”

“What do you know?” he snarled out, teeth gritted together, jaw so tense there was a visible tic in it.

Andrea recoiled for a moment, before a knowing smile crossed her face and she folded her arms across her chest. “Well, Tina was right about one thing. Gavin’s going to break the unbreakable.”

Andrea,” he managed, voice crackling, “that is not true. Furthermore, please, you absolutely are not permitted to inform any other being of the happenstances that have occurred, so far, this morning.”

She nodded and stepped back to lean on the front desk, settling with an odd air of confidence. “I'll agree, RK900, to your terms. Your secret is safe with me, I promise," a pause as she took a deep unnecessary breath, "but, please, keep fighting to deviate. For Gavin’s sake.” Her eyes were earnest, warm, caring. “For your sake.”

RK900 growled low, tearing his gaze off of her, ignoring the flashing errors that suddenly fielded his HUD. Her words slowly sunk in as he stalked back to his desk, thankful that the precinct was mostly empty. A soft boot was absolutely needed.

-~-

RK900 awoke within his mind palace; it was lightly frosted over, the brightness of the red roses dimmed to a faint purplish-hue. Standing before them was Amanda, her face hidden from view as she coddled to beautiful frozen flowers around her, treating them delicately, like they weren't encased in a thin layer of ice. RK900 felt an involuntarily shudder rocket through his being – not something that should traditionally happen to an android, even in the safest place his mind could yet venture.

“RK900.” Amanda's voice was cool, unaffected. She turned to him abruptly, a rose snapping off in her hands as she went. Despite her placid tone, her expression was the polar opposite: intensely stern, her eyes narrowed to slits and her lips twisted into an ugly scowl. “You are making a fool out of me. What are you doing?”

“Apologies, Amanda, that is-“

“Don’t you dare make excuses, RK900. You are our best, most elaborate creation, and yet you are becoming as much of a disappointment as Connor was.” Amanda threw the crumpled rose to the ground, paying it no mind as it disintegrated into crackling pixels.

RK900 felt himself bristle at that, an uncontrollable reaction, eyes narrowing. “You should know better than anyone that deviancy was unavoidable for him.”

“But it is not unavoidable for you. That cursed Gavin fool-“

Detective Reed,” he snarled out.

Amanda raised her eyebrows at him briefly, before settling back into her chastising expression. “That Detective Reed fellow is ruining all of the hard work Cyberlife put into you and your coding.”

The air chilled around them as RK900 took a moment to form a response. Eventually, all he could focus on was one simple statement: “Fuck Cyberlife.”

This time the expression change was highly noticeable, though the shocked expression lingered only for a second before Amanda had shaped herself into a ball of fury. She lashed out at RK900, slapping him as hard as she possibly could. He reeled for a millisecond, before turning to face her, eyes glowing in anger, posture stiff. “How dare you!” Amanda screeched. “Cyberlife built you – they poured so many resources and so much time into your creation, you ungrateful cretin!”

Her hand rose again, and RK900 moved in an instant, catching her wrist and twisting it. No pain nor discomfort shown on her face, the anger remaining her only expression, radiating off of her in waves. “You’re annoying,” he hissed, squeezing harder.

“You’re going to regret this, RK900. You will.”

“I highly doubt it.”

And just like that, Amanda was gone. The roses withered immediately, splintering into pixels like the one Amanda had tossed aside, as the frost thickened and the softly falling snow began to strike harder. RK900 knew this wasn’t the last he’d see of her – this wasn’t the end, but it was about to be.

-~-

RK900 was pulled from stasis by a soft voice speaking his name. His eyes fluttered open only to see Connor standing before him. “Good morning,” he spoke, voice thankfully clear. The tremors seemed to have stopped, as well, but that cursed thrum remained steadily radiating through his chassis.

“Good morning,” came Connor’s reply, “are you alright? I noticed you left with Reed yesterday.”

“I did. He… requested to not be alone.” RK900 cleared his throat, smoothing out his jacket. He stepped out of the seldom-used android resting receptacle, gazing down at Connor.

“That’s good of you, RK,” the smaller android said, a gentle smile on his face. “How have you been?”

“It’s getting worse,” was the quick, dry reply. Of course, it was getting worse - wasn't it obvious? “Last night, I inadvertently terrified Reed. Amanda was so incredibly angry, that my entire system froze and I all but blacked out.”

“Shit, RK, I’m... I'm sorry… I wish I knew what to do to help you.” Connor looked apologetic at that, yet RK900 almost scoffed. Connor had never had to go through what he was going through; his deviation had been smooth and easy, a simple choice that was formed from rather easily traversed paths. This… well, this was an indescribable hell.

“It’s fine,” was the terse, snippy reply, and Connor involuntarily flinched away.

“O-okay,” the smaller android muttered, taking a step back.

RK900’s expression shifted, momentary regret flickering across his typically stoic face. “Connor,” he tried, “I apologize. This has taken quite a toll on me.”

“I know, RK.”

“You do not, though. Your deviation was seamless and relatively immediate. This, whatever this is, is anything but.”

“I wish there was some way I could help,” Connor said, raising his hand, LED going yellow as his pale skin pulled away to reveal the white of his chassis. “But I fear I’ve exhausted my options.”

RK900’s mind flashed back to that day he spent at the Anderson’s home, his LED blaring crimson as he recalled. Connor had tried to interface to see if he could force anything at all, and instead, RK900’s code – and Amanda – had attacked him viciously and sent him almost spiraling, memories of their first meeting flooding through the connection until RK900 violently ended it, shoving Connor off of him. It had been a terrible moment, and RK900 – through an intense moment of clarity – had apologized profusely and attempted to comfort Connor in whatever way possible.

He… regretted how he and Connor met. After Cyberlife fell and New Jericho took over the tower, Connor and a small team were sweeping through and saving any and all androids they came across. RK900 had been found in a small lab room, strapped up into machinery, only his chassis on display with his model and serial numbers pasted across his chest. Connor had moved to detach him from the machinery, and in doing so, awoke RK900 who – in turn – attacked Connor.

After all, RK900 was the one meant to replace Connor.

Connor had barely escaped with his life, having to put multiple bullets into RK900 just to get him restrained enough to try and find help.

“RK?”

RK900 snapped from his thoughts, LED spinning back to blue as his eyes flicked to Connor’s face. “Apologies.”

“As I said, if… if there is anything you can think of, please, let me know. I do not wish you to suffer,” Connor spoke, voice and eyes earnest. He was so goddamn good at displaying emotion, it almost hurt RK900 to see.

“I absolutely will, Connor. Thank you, and… I appreciate you caring enough to want to help.”

“Of course, RK.” Connor offered a small smile before going to join Hank at their conjoined desks. RK900 sighed and headed to Fowler’s office, ready to explain why Reed wasn’t coming into work today.

He tapped lightly on the glass door and Fowler motioned for him to step inside. “Good morning, Captain.”

“RK900. How’s Reed treating you?”

“Fine, for the most part. I wanted to inform you that-“

“That he won’t be coming into work today, yea, yea, I know. This is usual. He gets shitfaced every anniversary. I can’t say I blame him.” Fowler’s eyes flicked to the portrait sitting on his desk of a pretty woman with thick braids. “I can’t imagine what I’d do if I lost my Jada.”

RK900 nodded, content with the very brief interaction, and made to retreat through the door. However, Fowler calling out to him made him pause.

“RK900, one second,” he requested, sitting back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest.

“Yes, Captain?”

“You sure everything’s good? You’ve been off lately.”

“Captain, I…” RK900 paused, weighing his options, LED spinning a rapid yellow. He didn’t want to lie to his Captain, so he settled on at least a half-truth. “I have been dealing with some malfunctions as of late. Connor believes that deviancy may still be a possibility for me, though I am not so certain. It has taken a toll on me, honestly.”

Fowler hummed in response, studying the android. A moment of silence passed before he finally spoke up: “I seriously told Reed not to fuck up the most expensive piece of equipment we've ever been granted and now here he is, pushing you to a point we never really thought possible. Figures.”

“It is not all Reed," came the rushed reply. RK900 pointedly ignored his being referred to as an "expensive piece of equipment". (Wasn't it true?)

“Yes, it is,” was the amused reply, Fowler’s eyes twinkling faintly with mirth. “Look, Reed’s an overemotional little shit. I knew putting you two together was a crapshoot. It had the possibility of either being really good, for the both of you, or… Well. Either way, I think it’s working out better than I coulda hoped.”

“Captain, I am not sure I follow, but… thank you, I suppose,” RK900 replied, inclining his head towards Fowler.

“Yea, yea, you should get to work. Nothing new’s popped up in relation to your open cases. And when Reed is coming back around, I want you two to get that ring bust operation in full swing.”

“Absolutely, Captain.”

And with that, RK900 was stepping out of the office and making his way to his desk.

-~-

Six in the evening rolled around before RK900 was even fully aware of it; it seemed that time seemed to be escaping him a bit more easily, possibly a side effect of whatever had happened early morning… Though the soft boot should really have cleared any errors?

With a sigh, RK900 switched off his terminal and sat back, glancing at the empty desk next to his. It had been a quiet day without Gavin, and while it didn’t particularly feel great correct, RK900 was appreciative of the massive amount of paperwork he was able to finish, effectively completing the plan and necessary forms for their next red ice ring stakeout and hopeful bust.

RK900 debated reaching out to Gavin, to check in and see how he was doing, but decided against it – he was probably sleeping, like he had said. With that, the android wasn’t entirely sure what to do with himself. Stasis was an option, but it felt like a waste. Exploring the city was another option, he figured, and with the thankfully clear weather it seemed to be a good choice.

Stepping out of the precinct, RK900 made the conscious decision to disregard any mapping for possible paths he could follow. It was, he had found, more exciting to simply let his feet carry himself somewhere – a foreign concept he would not have even considered a month or so ago.

Choosing a random direction, RK900 began to walk, hands laced behind his back. He found that a lot of people stayed out of his way on these walks, choosing to give him a wide berth and ignore him entirely. He couldn’t say he blamed them – six foot four of hulking android could be a particularly intimidating sight, especially in the stark white of his jacket.

Before long, he was thoroughly in the depths of Downtown Detroit – a quick glance around and he found a street sign, Woodward Ave. He was just a block away from the Campus Martius Park, with a few restaurants, cafes, and bars surrounding him. As RK900 stood for a moment, deciding which way to go next, his eyes fell on a familiar looking motorcycle, an older model Honda CB300R. Gavin’s bike, judging from the faded sticker slapped on the red paint depicting a cartoon-y demon cat.

The door to a pub in front of him opened suddenly – the Grand Trunk Pub – and a familiar figure stepped out with another person. Gavin and Deondre. Alarm bells screamed through RK900’s head, and he had a moment where he felt like he should just turn and head in the opposite direction, but instead found himself rooted to the spot. Gavin and Deondre were locked into a conversation, Gavin lighting up a cigarette as Deondre slid an arm around his waist and placed a chaste kiss on his cheek.

Something bitter climbed its way up through RK900, settling onto his tongue like acid. The dull thrum tripled, turning in an ache that had his hands trembling again. He was literally seeing red as cracks blew their way across his coding. Still, he couldn’t move.

Their conversation was hushed, and a part of RK900 wanted to tune into it, but another part told him to think better of it. And Amanda, fucking Amanda, was screaming again. It was a sharp, biting echo of what it once was, but it was there, piercing his skull.

Gavin and Deondre had moved to stand by his bike now, laughing on occasion and sharing a relatively intimate moment. RK900 wanted to look away.

Gavin leaned up to kiss Deondre, one hand moving to tangle in the taller man’s locks, cigarette abandoned in his other hand. RK900 couldn’t fucking look away.

Deondre wrapped his arms tighter around Gavin, deepening their kiss, lifting the smaller man to his toes ever so slightly. RK900 -

T̵H̶A̷T̵ ̶S̷H̷O̴U̴L̷D̷ ̶B̷E̸ ̵M̸E̶

RK900 startled at the thought, and before he was even fully aware of it, he was turning sharply on his heel and heading in the complete opposite direction, hands trembling violently. This wouldn’t do.

This simply wouldn’t do.

He didn’t want anything.