Chapter 1: Typical Story
January 31st, 2039
Gavin rushed into the Detroit Police Department Central Station, slamming his ID badge on the scanners and roughly pushing through the gate, disregarding the protest of the android standing beside it. He was too busy cursing himself for deciding to go out on a Sunday night – and fuck, nothing had even come of it other than over-sleeping his alarm and awakening with a hideous headache.
He hurried over to his desk to drop off his bag, logging into his terminal (23 minutes late, goddamnit, he hadn’t even showered and he was still that late?), before throwing himself into his chair with a grunt. Tina glanced over at him, an eyebrow raised and a knowing smirk plastered on her face, to which Gavin only waved a middle finger at her.
He sat for a moment, deliberating, before hefting himself up from his chair and plodding over to the break room. Coffee. Coffee would fix the hangover. Maybe. Tina noticed his movement and was swift to her feet, right behind him.
“Aww, I take it you didn’t get laid then.”
“Fuck off, Tina.”
Tina raised her hands defensively, giggling, before going over to the fridge and grabbing Gavin’s favorite creamer. She plopped it next to the coffee machine and leaned against the counter. “So, did you hear the news?”
Gavin spared her a glance before returning to his coffee, pulling the now full cup out of the machine and grabbing his creamer. “No, what the fuck now?”
“Well…” Tina made sure to draw the word out, “that RK900 is supposedly done with his stint with Connor and the Lieutenant. He apparently proved himself to be more than capable, and there’s a possibility he’s going to be set up with another officer.”
Gavin scoffed. “So?”
Tina shifted her weight from one foot to the other, glancing out of the archway of the break room’s entrance nervously. “A little birdy told me that they were considering a certain asshole detective.”
Gavin spluttered and choked on his coffee. “No. No fucking way. I haven’t had a partner since-“ his voice cracked and he looked away, hand tightening around the paper cup enough to crumple it slightly.
“I know, Gavin, but… It’s been ten years, y’know? And, well, you’re the only one who remains un-partnered right now,” Tina’s voice turned soft, sympathetic, and she placed a hand on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. Gavin resisted the urge to shrug it off. “Besides, Gav, it’s just rumors. Who knows? He could be stuck with the Lieutenant and his boyf- erm, partner, for longer still.”
“Unlikely if he passed all of the qualifications with flying colors… A three-man-team is more of a hinderance than anything, you know that, Tee,” Gavin’s voice was softer, something Tina rarely heard, and his gaze was transfixed to his coffee. “Fuck, first a shitty night where I can’t even get fucked properly,” he ignored Tina’s whispered “knew it”, “and now this shit? I don’t need a fucking partner.”
“I know, Gav. That’s why I wanted to give you a heads-up – figured some time to think before Fowler calls you in might be beneficial,” Tina replied, giving another gentle squeeze of his shoulder before letting her hand fall away.
“Thanks, Tee. At least you’ve reduced the chance I’ll lose my job a little,” Gavin groused, rolling his eyes before taking a long drink of his coffee.
“Least I could do – you know you are one of our best, despite how much of a piece of shit you are,” Tina snarked back, giggling softly.
“Eh, fuck you,” Gavin muttered. They parted ways and headed back to their respective desks. Gavin briefly wondered just how true everything Tina had said was, and well, it wasn’t looking good. Fuck, he didn’t need a partner, and especially not a fucking android, but… Well, maybe an android partner would be better than… Gavin shook his head.
He didn’t have much time to consider it before Fowler stepped out of his glass case of an office. “Reed! My office, now!”
Gavin brought his hands up and scrubbed at his face, groaning as he did so. He hesitated to get up, but with Fowler glaring at him from across the bullpen, it was obvious he had no choice. Gavin listlessly hoisted himself up out of his seat and began to make his way between the desks to the steps leading up to the glass office. Fowler ducked back inside, fogging up the windows – a precaution that set Gavin’s nerves on further edge. Fowler wasn’t expecting this to go well.
Gavin took the steps slowly, hand on the railing, attempting to steel himself against the possibilities. He grabbed the door handle and cautiously stepped inside, eyes landing on…
Gavin gulped as he took in the form of RK900. Cold, icy blue eyes seemed to almost penetrate his being. There was no expression on the android’s face, mouth set into a thin line and eyes narrowed to a point. He stood properly upright, hands tightly clasped behind his back. Gavin couldn’t help another involuntary gulp.
He carefully maneuvered into a chair by Fowler’s desk and leveraged the man with a direct glare. “Yes, Captain?” he bit out.
“Reed,” Fowler started, “you know you are one of the best, if not the absolute best, detective of this precinct.” Gavin shrugged minutely. “And I understand that you have remained one of the best detectives, even while being unpartnered, since your promotion seven years ago now.”
Gavin swallowed hard. He avoided Fowler’s gaze, his hands clasped tensely in his lap, trying desperately to not draw blood with his finger nails.
“I know that what happened a decade ago… It changed you tremendously, Gavin, and I know it blew your whole world apart,” Fowler continued, leaning forward in his chair and fixing Gavin with a sympathetic look. Of course, he knew – he was there, as a lieutenant.
RK900’s eyes bored into Gavin’s skull.
“But you remain, currently, our only un-partnered officer. And you know how cumbersome a three-man-team is, right?” Tina’s words echoed in Gavin’s mind. “With RK900 joining our ranks, his only options are to remain as a three-person-team, or… well, to be partnered with you, Gavin. Android laws regarding police and military work are still in progress, and at this stage, we cannot legally have an android unpartnered – especially when they are not deviant.”
Gavin flinched away, chewing the inside of his cheek nervously. “Captain,” he tried, desperate to force past his voice breaking, “you know how I feel about partners. Much less… an android one.”
Fowler sighed heavily, bringing a rather large hand to his forehead to rub at it aggressively. “Reed, I get it. You hate partners and you hate androids so this is the worst possible thing I could do to you.” Fowler took a deep breath, steadying himself. “But you’re the only choice I have, anymore, unless I want Jeri- sorry, New Jericho, up my ass. You know how much pull and sway they have overall?”
Gavin nodded. He was aware, even just so, of New Jericho’s ability to create and recreate laws and ideals at the drop of a pin. Overall job accessibility with equal pay was one of the first, and most major, hurdles.
But RK900 wasn’t deviant, incapable of deviancy, right? So, what the fuck did it matter? Why would they fight for an android who wasn’t even… awake? Whatever. Gavin took a deep, shaky breath, his palms growing sweaty from how long he had them clasped. He fervently wiped them off on his jeans, still avoiding Fowler’s gaze. “Fuck, Captain, I-“ his voice broke then, and he shook his head.
Fowler had been there for him in the worst time of his life. Fowler had been the next one on scene, finding Gavin crouched over Ryan, screaming his name over and over and over, as Ryan lay motionless on the floor. Fowler had been the one to pull Gavin away from Ryan’s body, to hold him as he sobbed and screamed, the blood from his broken face mixing with his tears.
One gunshot, that’s all it took to turn a simple robbery into a homicide.
Gavin squeezed his eyes shut, forcing away the sting of tears. “Fine,” he managed to grit out. Fowler leaned back in his chair, simultaneously relieved and slightly surprised. He hadn’t expected the Detective to cave so quickly.
“Alright, well,” Fowler began, his eyes sweeping over the staggeringly tall form of RK900. The android loomed in the far side of the room, broad shoulders squared and back rigidly straight. He was an intimidating, imposing sight. Fowler wondered for a moment if he made the right decision. “Starting today, you and the RK900 are partners. I would like for you, Reed, to brief him on your current cases. Take the day to get acquainted with each other.” Fowler leaned back over his desk, resting his elbows on it. “Reed, between you-me, RK900 is… interesting. He’s not deviated, probably will never deviate. So, being that you two are now partners, you will more than likely be his… handler, of sorts? I know how you feel about androids, Reed. But please, please, do your best not to fuck him up.”
Gavin nodded, numbly. He was having a hard time processing, a hard time even trying to think. His mind was muddled by faint, but painful, memories. Crying, screaming, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan-
A hand fell to his shoulder, large and warm and gentle. “Gavin,” came Fowler’s voice, soft once more, “are you going to be okay?”
Gavin swallowed thickly. “Yes, Captain,” he replied, but his voice didn’t sound like his. It didn’t come from him. Gavin stood from the chair, looking over at RK900. Cold ice-blue eyes met his, and Gavin involuntarily shivered.
Chapter 2: Original Me
“I'm so sick of me, wake up and hate to breathe
And I pride myself in that, so dramatic, I’ll admit
I'm so typical, my life ain't difficult
But I’m so caught up in it, just a lowlife, I'll admit
I'm self-critical, a try hard original
Oh, I pride myself on that, such a loser, I'll admit”
Original Me - Yungblud
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Gavin slumped into his chair, burying his face in his hands. He wouldn’t cry. He wouldn’t cry. He wouldn’t cry. He wouldn’t-
“Detective.” Fuck. That was the first word he heard out of that stoic plastic asshole. Monotonous and absolutely devoid of life. Gavin took a deep, shaky breath. He tried to steel himself.
“What?” It still came out cracked. He could feel Tina’s sympathetic look from across the bullpen, that bitch.
“I believe you are supposed to brief me on your current cases now,” came the hard reply. Fuck, they couldn’t give this bastard more tact? Even Connor was gentler before deviation. But… This wasn’t Connor. The piercing blue eyes, the wider and sharper jaw, the higher and more angular cheekbones, the broader shoulders, the lower brow, the sturdier build… Fuck, this wasn’t Connor.
No, this was a fucking war-machine standing before him.
Gavin rolled a shoulder, prying his hands from his face to leverage the RK900 with an unsteady glare. The android looked on unfazed. Not deviant. Incapable. Maybe this would be for the better.
“Fine,” he manages to grit out, doing his best to remove the shakiness from his being. He wanted to punch something, to kick and scream and cry, anything. But there was nothing.
The RK900 moved to stand beside him, ice eyes focused on his terminal. Gavin leaned forward, defeated. He could still feel Tina’s sympathetic gaze, that bitch.
He hated every second of being partnered with that asshole. He thought that, maybe, just maybe, being with an unfeeling beast would be better than being partnered with a real human. He was wrong.
They had already gone over Gavin’s open cases, currently just four: the android murderer who was also a suspected red ice dealer; the recent fall-out from a red ice ring bust that had accidentally been made while trying to uncover illegal gambling; the discovery of a body in the river that ended up drawing ties to an unsolved case from a couple months back; and finally, the other non-accidental red ice ring bust that had resulted in Gavin damn near losing his leg trying to chase one of the perps across the rooftops of some shitty dilapidated factories.
RK900 scanned over the files with a keen eye, his expression apathetic. Gavin frowned, before rising to his feet and stretching. RK900’s ice eyes followed his form, Gavin missing the fact that said eyes lingered on the strip of skin above his jeans that was revealed when he pulled his arms up over his head. RK900 took note of the tattoo there, on his hipbone – forget-me-nots. He pulled his eyes away from the strip of flesh and looked up to Gavin, quirking an eyebrow in question. Gavin was pretty damn sure it was the only facial movement he’d made so far.
“Need more coffee,” Gavin muttered, finally finishing his stretch and pulling his shirt back down. RK900 turned back to his files as Gavin made his way to the breakroom. Stepping inside revealed Hank and Connor at the table in the back, quietly discussing something. Hank had an arm wrapped around the waist of the smaller android, pulling their bodies flush together. Gavin rolled his eyes but resisted the urge to gag at them.
Connor glanced over at Gavin as he made his way to the coffee machine. Hank followed his gaze and scoffed. “Well if isn’t the man of the hour,” he muttered dryly.
“Shove it, Hank,” Gavin bit out. He moved to the fridge and snatched his creamer out of it.
“Gavin,” came Connor’s soft voice, “how is RK900 treating you?”
“He’s a cold fucking bastard and I hate him,” Gavin replied, glaring over at Connor. “I didn’t think anyone could be worse than you were.” That last statement was a snarl more than anything. He slammed the fridge door shut and snatched up his coffee, but paused in the archway.
Connor tilted his head, curiously. Gavin turned back to him, heaving a heavy sigh. “Sorry, it’s, uh… It’s been a rough coupl’a days,” he murmured, keeping his eyes on the coffee cup in his hand.
“You’re okay, Gavin,” Connor replied.
Ever since the revolution, Gavin’s personality had shifted slightly. He had been quieter, more docile. Something about him was different. It probably didn’t help that the anniversary of Ryan’s death was coming up – Gavin was always quieter around this time of the year. The fact that he died on Valentine’s Day, too, of all things… Fuck. The memory sent a shudder down Hank’s spine. While he hadn’t been on scene, he had seen what became of Gavin.
Gavin had always been a bit of prickly asshole, but Ryan seemed to keep him in check. When Gavin came back to work after a month-long leave, he was hideous. Snapping at everyone, getting into fights constantly, acting almost like a petulant child having a tantrum more often than not. He was broken, through and through, a hollow shell of the person he used to be. Hank pitied him, and that turned Gavin against him almost instantaneously for quite some time. It wasn’t until Hank lost his own son that he understood how loss that tragic could fundamentally change a person.
Funnily enough, Gavin had been the first one to be there for Hank, a silent understanding when he showed up on Hank’s door with a bottle of Jack. Prior to the loss of Hank's son, he and Gavin had been becoming close once more - maybe closer than they had been in years, and Hank had hope that things could be better (despite his bitter divorce and hideous custody battle). Of course, nothing good ever lasted for long with either of them it seemed.
And when that bottle of Jack became a constant for Hank and he pushed everyone away, it damn near forced their silent acceptance and support of one another - and the possible potential for more - past the breaking point, past the point of repairability. The harsh words Gavin had flung at him had stuck with him until they didn’t, until he couldn’t bring himself to care anymore, content with the fact that he’d probably be dead soon. Until Connor.
Gavin had apologized back in December, to both of them. He hadn’t said what brought on the change (though Hank and Connor had an idea), he hadn’t gone into much detail at all actually. He also didn’t stop the insults, but they held less venom. Something about Gavin had definitely changed, and Hank had wondered for a couple weeks what it could have been, but ultimately decided not to look this metaphorical gift horse in the mouth.
Whatever it was, Hank was thankful for it. Shit, maybe getting his ass handed to him by Connor did it of all things, but it didn’t matter at this point.
Gavin Reed was changing, ever so slightly, becoming more of who he used to be ten years ago. Stepping away from the self-critical, try-hard, lowlife persona he’d used as a defense mechanism for years.
Of course, Gavin was aware he was changing too. He didn’t know what it was, exactly. Connor kicking his ass, the revolution, the call from his long-lost cousin who avoided him entirely after his shit-bag parents divorced, the altercation he had with the last guy he barely tried to date, the death of his functioning alcoholic hot-shot lawyer mom on Christmas Day (fuckin’ bitch drove drunk, thank God she only killed herself), the large sum of money he shockingly received in inheritance from her estate, fuck, he didn’t know what it was. The month of December took his entire world, shook the absolute fuck out of it, flipped it around a bit, chewed it up and spit it out.
It did succeed in beating some sort of sense into him. The large amount of inheritance money allowed him to pay off a couple hospital bills, and finally move from his absolute shit-sack of an apartment into a, well, still-small-but-at-least-new-and-in-a-safer-area apartment. He still hated himself every morning he woke up, still wished it had been him and not Ryan who took the bullet, still felt like a fucking loser 99% of the time… But maybe things were actually going to get better.
Except for this goddamn android.
Gavin flumped into his chair, setting his coffee cup down on his desk. He pulled his phone out from his pocket, swiping away a couple stupid notifications – fucking Grindr – before placing it on his desk next to his coffee. He looked over at RK900. The android was sitting at the desk next to his, eyes on Gavin, clearly waiting for instruction. Gavin heaved another heavy sigh.
“Find anything I missed with that robo-brain, Terminator?” Gavin quipped, taking a drink of his coffee. RK900 nodded.
“It is possible that the recent accidental drug bust is linked to the appearances of the bodies in the river. One of the perpetrators who had escaped, but was caught on CCTV footage, is the recent victim who was found in the river,” he replied, his voice just as monotonous and stoic as ever.
“Fuckin’, Jesus Christ, how,” Gavin spluttered, before shaking his head and pulling up the two cases. Sure, as shit, there it was. How the fuck did Gavin miss that? He glanced over at RK900, noticing what appeared to be… smugness? Fuckin’ a.
Gavin’s eyes lingered on the android in front of him. CyberLife had to have some perverted motherfuckers working for them to design an android like RK900. Where Connor was goofy and soft, RK900 was unflappable and rigid. His jaw was straighter, sharper, a little wider, accentuated by the tall collar of his shirt and jacket. His shoulders were broader, giving way to large arms that flexed beneath the unforgiving fabrics of said shirt and jacket. His legs were long, bordering on too long, also thick and sturdy.
Gavin swallowed hard and tore his eyes off of the android. It was like those fuckers waltzed right into his fantasies and yanked the perfect man out of it. Dangling in front of him everything he could want except for one, tiny issue – that fucker was an android. Not even deviated, too, fucking fuck fuck.
He’d have to give Eli another call to figure out just what the fuck was up with this. There’s no way he didn’t have a hand in this somehow.
AN: I ain't proud of this chapter but I've stared at it for too long I just need to get it posted lol
Chapter 3: Pitiful
"Went to work, saw you there
But you never seem to care for a single thing I say
I set my clock and went to sleep
This anxiety, I keep through another fuckin’ day
Looks like that's all today, I'm dying
My life's so pitiful, give me one good reason why I shouldn't end it all
If there's a reason, then I haven't found it yet
And I try every drug I find except, maybe, heroin and cyanide
But there's a reason I just can't afford it yet”
Pitiful – Sick Puppies
February 3rd, 2039
Gavin groaned, hand snaking out of the covers to silence his alarm. He laid there a moment longer, blinking blearily. Six am came too fucking quickly, especially when one was stuck the night prior going over mounds of paperwork and trying to get his shit straight so they – ugh, they, fuck a partner (but no don’t actually fuck a partner and certainly don’t even think about fucking his partner goddamnit) – could set up another, this time on purpose, red ice bust and hopefully bring in the bastards for good.
Sitting up, ignoring his aching morning wood, Gavin shoved the covers off of him and shuffled to his feet. His cat, Queenie, lifted her head for a second to glare at him before settling back into the covers. Gavin rolled his eyes, muttered, “drama queen,” before padding over to his closet and grabbing a set of clothes. He deposited them on his bed, eyes catching the picture frame that sat on his nightstand.
Reaching out, Gavin gingerly lifted the frame, thumb brushing across the face of the other man in it. Ryan – tall, dark, handsome Ryan. His long black hair had been pulled into a bun at the nape of his neck, a habit he picked up since joining the academy. His eyes, icy blue, peered out from the brim of his officer’s cap…
Gavin suddenly felt a chill run through him and he nearly gagged. It hadn’t settled in until this moment just how much RK900 looked like Ryan had. Gavin gagged for real this time, setting the frame down and clamping a hand over his mouth. Queenie looked up at him – whether with disgust or curiosity he wasn’t sure. Gavin shuffled off into the bathroom, promptly emptying the contents of his stomach (mostly coffee since he had skipped dinner) into his toilet.
He collapsed to the ground, cursing his weak stomach, cursing his stupid mind, cursing his stupid fucking cousin Eli, that goddamned motherfucker. There was no way he wasn’t involved; Gavin was sure of that now. And how the fuck had Gavin not noticed? The similarities were there, for sure, but… Just different enough that it didn’t click until he saw Ryan’s photo. Too dissimilar from Connor but not dissimilar enough for it to automatically click.
Gavin took a second to try and collect himself, sitting on the floor of his bathroom, trying to suppress the shudders that threatened to knock him senseless. It took a minute before he pried himself up from the ground, slamming the toilet lid shut and flushing it before going to brush his teeth maybe just a bit too violently.
He decided to shower first, stripping off his t-shirt and boxers, turning the shower on just a smidge too hot. Gavin took a second to inspect himself in the mirror. He was built well, he guessed; shorter, stocky, muscular. Covered in various tattoos and scars, some from his job and others, well, others were more self-imposed. He let his fingers trace the forget-me-nots on his hipbone and he squeezed his eyes shut for a moment before stepping under the stream of hellishly hot water. He cursed – too hot – and adjusted the knob.
He took a tad longer in the shower than he had intended, and when he finally stepped out, he eyed the clock on his phone. 6:40. Eh, he still had 50 minutes until he needed to leave, enough time to try and get some breakfast in himself and finish getting ready.
Gavin wrapped the towel around his waist and made his way back to his bedroom, vaguely wondering where his other cat, Asshole, was.
Yea, he was great at naming his pets, fucking sue him.
Gavin dressed quickly, temporarily rolling the sleeves up on his long-sleeved shirt in order to make breakfast. He particularly hated the scars there – long, thin ones, ones self-made when he just a teen, overlapped by particularly straight scars tracing both major veins up his wrists a good couple inches. They’d faded immensely, but they were still there. Searing into his vision that he was a complete failure, unable to even kill himself properly.
He shook the thought away brusquely, hand blindly groping for Queenie to bury into her fur, an attempt to bring himself back to reality. The picture frame on Gavin’s nightstand was still face down, and Gavin hesitated before righting it. Ice blue eyes stared back at him, but the warm smile on Ryan’s face soothed his anxiety. No, RK900 was nothing like Ryan.
Gavin made his way to the kitchen, popping open his fridge. He had some eggs that he should probably use, and bread as well, so, perfect. Over-easy eggs and toast.
He grabbed the butter and eggs, setting them next to his stove, before grabbing a small frying pan. He also grabbed a mug and plopped it into the coffee maker, taking a moment to fill a filter with coffee grounds before slotting it into the machine. It whirred away as he began to heat up the pan, throwing in a glob of butter.
Gavin hummed softly to himself, before deciding to get some actual music going. “Hey Google, shuffle my rock playlist,” he called out. Heavy music filled the air and Gavin hummed along, eventually shifting to singing along. He sipped his coffee in between choruses, trying hard to get his eggs just perfect.
Asshole chose that exact moment to drop from the top of the cabinet onto the counter, effectively scaring the shit out of Gavin who yelped and jumped back. “You fucking prick!” he growled, setting the spatula down before going to grab Asshole. His cat grumbled but allowed himself to be picked up and dropped onto the sofa. Gavin huffed, but affectionately scratched behind his ear. A sizzling caught his attention then and he gasped, practically throwing himself back into his kitchen. “Fuck!”
He burnt the fucking eggs. Goddamnit. Gavin snatched the handle of the pan and slid the eggs onto his plate. They’d probably still be fine, but fuck, that was all he had left in his fridge. A trip to the grocery store was necessary.
Of course, by some dumb luck, his toaster burnt his toast just slightly as well. Gavin cursed, slathering butter on the two pieces of toast and throwing them on his plate next to his eggs. Eyeing his dining table, he scoffed and moved to his couch, making sure to grab his coffee. What a rough fucking morning.
He stormed into the bullpen and promptly froze upon seeing RK900. His stomach turned and his head immediately swam, so much so he was worried he might drop. Instead, he turned sharply and shoved his way into the break room. Tina was leaned on a table, and she shifted to look at him in slight shock, which quickly gave way to concern.
“Gav, what’s up? You’re paper white,” she questioned, straightening up slightly. Gavin sidled up next to her at the table, his bag falling to his feet.
“Tee, I swear to God, someone’s trying to kill me,” he murmured. Not just someone, fucking Eli. “I had a revelation this morning. That stupid fucking android looks… looks remarkably like Ryan.” He swallowed past the lump in his throat.
Tina froze, before realization seemed to take over her features. “Oh fuck,” she breathed. She pushed herself fully upright from the table and tried to inconspicuously peer out of the break room entrance at the android. He sat rigid at his desk, but his eyes flicked over to Tina and she involuntarily shuddered. “Jesus fuck.”
“See?” Gavin turned to the coffee maker. Caffeine, he desperately needed caffeine. Especially after only securing less than 4 hours of sleep – not like that was so unusual though.
“Gav, I see what you mean, I guess. But he’s nothing like Ryan and never will be, you know that,” Tina spoke, moving back to the table and taking a long drink of her coffee. Those damn eyes were unsettling; they were cold and lifeless, able to pierce right through her very being it felt like.
“I know, I know, but fuck… Those similarities are still there. I can’t unsee them now. Their faces are almost identical. That plastic bastard is just a bit taller and broader and fucking sharper,” Gavin all but snarled the last word, snatching his coffee from the counter in emphasis. Tina resisted the urge to roll her eyes at Gavin’s dramatics.
“That android is not and never will be Ryan,” her voice was softer now, and Gavin hated the feeling of pity. “Gavin, we’ve been friends almost our whole lives – you know we were all in the academy together, Ryan was one of my best friends. I can tell you right now that prick has zero of what made Ryan, Ryan.”
Gavin heaved a sigh, trying to relax. “Yea… yea, you’re right, Tee. Sorry, it’s been a hell of a week. And this morning was fucking awful.”
“What, Asshole shit in your bed again?” Tina hid her smirk behind her coffee cup.
“Fuck, no, thank God. But he did scare the shit out of me and made me burn my eggs.” Gavin scoffed, crossing his arms as he leaned against the counter.
“Wait, wait, you actually ate breakfast?” Tina feigned shock, hand going up to her mouth.
“Fuck off, Tee, I hadn’t eaten since dinner a couple nights ago. I was basically pure coffee and nicotine by this morning.” Tina only snickered, rolling her shoulders as she made to stand up, stretching her back.
“Ugh, we should get to work. I’ve got a ton of paperwork, and I’m not looking forward to sitting in that chair for eight hours. Become a cop, Tina, you’ll do so much good, you’ll get so many bad guys off the street,” she mocked. “Fuck, if only Dad knew I spent most of my damn time doing paperwork.”
“Tell me about it, I spent way too long last night doing paperwork,” Gavin agreed, refilling his coffee. “I didn’t get home until almost midnight.”
“Isn’t your android supposed to do paperwork?”
“Like fuck I’m letting him do my shit, and also, he’s not my android. Aren’t they all free now and shit?” Gavin poured just a little more creamer before he was satisfied with the color of his coffee.
“Well yea, but he’s not deviant,” Tina remarked, shrugging her shoulders. “Also, I don’t know what’s going to kill you first – diabetes or a heart attack.”
“Hopefully both at the same time,” Gavin quipped, and before I hit 50. Tina just laughed and clapped him on the back.
“Alright, duty calls,” she muttered, heading off to her desk.
Gavin stood for a moment, trying to steel himself to go to his desk and see that goddamned bastard. A noise in the entryway caught his attention and he turned to look, only to see the rather tall and broad form of RK900.
“Detective, you should have been at your desk approximately 26 minutes and 17 seconds ago. You are late,” the android remarked coolly, voice and face impassive.
“Fuck off, prick,” Gavin snapped, visibly bristling. The RK900 stepped forward, and Gavin stepped back, bumping into the table behind him. “The fuck?”
RK900’s hand snatched out, grabbing a hold of Gavin’s jacket’s collar, yanking the detective up just slightly with incredible strength. Gavin would deny it to his dying day, but the yelp he made was particularly high-pitched and fearful.
RK900 leaned in dangerously close – so close Gavin could feel the warm, artificial breath ghost across his cheek. His LED flickered yellow, red, yellow momentarily. “Do not test me, Detective,” the android practically snarled out. “I do not like having my time wasted by a pathetic imbecile such as yourself.”
The RK900 looked… angry? Something flashed behind those ice blue eyes before he dropped the detective back onto his feet. Gavin stumbled back, tripping over the table behind him and bringing it and a stool down with him with a loud crash. If the department wasn’t paying attention to what has happening in the breakroom before, they certainly were now.
RK900 stepped back, straightening the cuffs of his jacket sleeves, regarding Gavin with a rather uninterested expression. Gavin just stared up at him, trying his best not to shudder, nor to let the fear show. Anxiety rocketed through him like an icicle. RK900 turned on his heel and stalked back to his desk just as Tina, followed by Hank (who was getting to the precinct earlier and earlier) and Connor.
“Gav, what the fuck was that?” Tina gaped, incredulous.
“I- I… The bastard just startled me, is all,” Gavin lied, wincing as Tina helped him up. “He’s not there one second and then when I turn around, boom!” The table was definitely going to leave a bruise on his side.
“Detective,” Gavin’s eyes flashed over to Connor, “RK900 did not assault you, correct?” Was there a tinge of… nervousness?
“No, no, fuck,” Gavin muttered, shrugging off Tina. He wasn’t quite sure why he didn’t just tell everyone and get that motherfucker fired or something, but something inside of Gavin choked up at the thought. Yea, I just got pushed around by another plastic asshole, same old really. Fucking pathetic. Pitiful, really.
RK900 was nothing like Ryan.
Chapter 4: My Mistake
“And I don't really care about what anyone says
I don't give a damn about what anyone says
I don't want to think about anything
I don't want to think about anything
And I don't really care about what anyone says
I don't need opinions hanging over my head
I don't really care about anything
I don't really care
I don't really care at all
Am I jaded?
Am I meant to feel this way?
I'm a loser, getting beat by my own game
But if I falter, well at least it was my mistake
Well, at least it was my mistake
'Cause I choose to be this way
I'm a loser, and I self-deprecate
So when I falter, well at least it was my mistake
Well, at least it was my mistake
Well, at least it was my mistake”
My Mistake – Gabrielle Aplin
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
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 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.”
*“MY NAME IS JEFF. ” – Channing Tatum, 2014
Chapter 5: Mr. Brightside
Turning saints into the sea
Swimming through sick lullabies
Choking on your alibis
But it's just the price I paid
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
'Cause I'm Mr. Brightside”
Mr. Brightside – The Killers
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
A stumble, rough hands grasping at soft skin. A moan, another stumble, back against the wall, and then the bed, and then the floor.
And then there was a persistent ringing. Gavin groaned, snatching his jacket and grabbing his phone. A single name, RK900. Cursing, he ended the call and tossed his phone.
“You good?” Deondre looked up from his spot between Gavin’s legs, eyes half-lidded and lust-filled.
“Yea, yea, just junk,” Gavin muttered, grabbing a hold of Deondre and pulling them together in a rough kiss.
And then there was more persistent ringing.
“For fuck’s sake,” Gavin snapped. They broke away, allowing Gavin to grab his phone. He declined the call, but it started back up again. Decline, again. Decline, again. Cursing more, he put his phone on silent and buried it back in his jacket.
“That’s some persistent spam caller,” Deondre quipped amusingly, moving to sit on the edge of the bed, running a hand through his long locks.
“I may or may not be ignoring my work partner,” Gavin laughed. “Fucking creep.”
“Ooh, you not a fan?”
“Hell no, he’s a creepy bastard. An android incapable of deviancy, apparently.” Gavin rolled his eyes at that.
“That’s weird,” Deondre agreed. “Completely incapable?”
Gavin nodded. “Supposedly… now, where were we?”
“No idea,” was the reply, as Deondre made to pull on a pair of pants. Gavin mirrored his movements before cautiously making his way to the front door of Deondre’s small house.
“Here,” Deondre said, holding out a pistol to Gavin. “You’re, uh, probably a better shot.”
Gavin quirked an eyebrow but nodded, turning back to the front door… just in time to see it swing open. “Fuck!” He raised the gun, aiming directly at the tall intruder.
“Detective,” came a familiar, impassive voice. Gavin could have choked.
“Holy shit,” Deondre breathed, taking in the form of RK900 standing in his doorway. “I see what you mean.”
“What the fuck, you goddamned Terminator? Take a hint and leave me the fuck alone! It’s my day off!”
“Detective, we are needed for a case.” Ice blue eyes shifted to take in the form of Deondre, and something momentarily flickered across RK900’s face before he quickly looked away. “It is in relation to one of our open cases.”
“Fucking fuck!” Gavin cursed, running a hand through his hair. He turned back to Deondre, leveling the man with an apologetic stare. “Rain check on the morning sex?”
Deondre let out a breathy laugh, but nodded. “I’m free next weekend,” he replied, a grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
Gavin turned back to RK900, gaze turning into a hard glare. “Let me get dressed, you fuck, and then we’re going.”
“Lawsuit payout,” came the stoic reply. Gavin grumbled – he remembered the lawsuits leveraged against the ex-CEO and ex-staff of Cyberlife, something to the tune of just over a billion dollars. A lot of androids got a hefty payout. Apparently RK900 was included in that, though why, Gavin wasn’t sure.
Gavin turned back to the crime scene – a shitty house in a shitty neighborhood in a shitty part of town. Supposedly the victim was part of both the illegal gambling ring and the red ice ring that had been accidentally uncovered. No apparent ties to the bodies washing up in the river, though.
They made their way up the front steps and into the entryway, Gavin immediately almost gagging at the overwhelming smell - sweet rot mixed in with burnt red ice fumes.
Ben Collins turned to greet the pair, his t-shirt pulled up over his nose. “Hey Gavin,” he eyed RK900 warily, “this one’s a fucking doozy. Guy seems to have only been dead a coupl’a hours but he had his heat on blast.”
“Thanks,” Gavin managed, a hand covering his mouth and nose. He looked over to the body, only slightly surprised by the amount of decomp – but, of course, heat did that. The smell was making his head swim, his prior inebriation wearing off to fade into what would definitely become a killer hangover. Fucking hell, he was supposed to be spending his Sunday in bed and recovering, not at a goddamn crime scene.
RK900 stepped up to the body, crouching down next to it, analyzing. Gavin apprehensively stepped up behind him, jaw clenched tight, doing his best not to gag. “Bullet wound to the head; it is not self-imposed, but the scene is made to look like it,” the android spoke, gesturing to the gun in the vic’s hand. “Time of death is estimated to be 9:30pm, Saturday night.”
RK900 stood, looking around the scene further. Gavin only blearily nodded, trying to focus on anything else but the roiling of his stomach. Yea, this was not going to end well.
“Traces of red ice around the victim’s nose are older, and the paraphernalia around the scene looks to be undisturbed for hours. The victim was either not high at the time of death, or more likely coming down from a high. Red ice users tend to be more aggressive coming down from a high, which would explain the possibility of a fight breaking out. Toxicology should be able to give more information.”
Gavin continued nodding, but his hearing was beginning to tunnel, the rush of blood and his pounding heart-rate the only things he could really focus on. The scent, fuck, the scent, and his head was spinning; the actions of the prior night were settling in with a vengeance – too much dancing, too many shots, some great rough sex, the slow slide from inebriation to hungover, and, and, fuck. He was going to puke.
RK900 was mid-sentence when Gavin shouldered past him, barreling out of the living room, into the kitchen, out through the back door to the shitty back-deck, before finally stumbling down the few steps. He was folded over and retching before the android even had time to fully reconcile the turn of events.
RK900 followed quietly, a pang of… something? resonating in his chest cavity. He stepped down next to Gavin, hesitating a moment before reaching out. One hand found the small of his back and the other landed on his upper arm, attempting to steady the smaller man. He was shaking so bad, RK900 was barely able to keep his hand still. Gavin, meanwhile, was worried about vibrating out of his damn skin.
He remained hobbled over, gagging and spitting, his entire body rebelling against him. He was acutely aware of the presence next to him, of hands on him, and it certainly couldn’t be Collins ‘cause he was a known sympathy puker (Gavin had witnessed it first-hand, unfortunately, when a victim got ill and Collins followed short). Whatever, it didn’t matter; the hands against him were tender and soothing and grounding.
However, they pulled away abruptly, before something warm and heavy was draped over his shoulders and back. Gavin’s shuddering slowly stilled, mostly. He continued to spit for a few moments, desperately trying to clear his mouth of the taste of regurgitated alcohol, before something caught his eye – a brisk whiteness.
He all but bolted up, grabbing at the jacket that engulfed him. Stark white, a bit of black, and Cyberlife blue. Gavin turned, only to see RK900 standing in his high-necked black button up, jacket currently resting around Gavin's shoulders. The android shifted – nervously? – before bringing his hands ups defensively. “Apologies, Detective.”
“W-what?” Gavin cringed at how his hoarse his voice was.
“I do not have much in the way of protocols when it comes to situations like this. I merely acted on what seemed natural. If I have overstepped, I apologize for that as well,” RK900 continued, bowing his head, looking flustered. Fuck, what? He didn’t have emotions!
Gavin shook his head, subconsciously gripping the jacket tighter around him.
“Allow me to take you home, Detective. You are in no shape to be at a crime scene – a fact I failed to realize,” RK900 continued, eyes flashing. Gavin wasn’t sure what to make of it, but he knew he was in no position to act – no use in having him still half-drunk and out-of-wits at a crime scene. Especially no use in having him throwing up all over said crime scene.
RK900 simply placed a hand on the small of Gavin’s back and guided him back to the front porch, where they met up with Collins once more. Gavin froze, glancing out, thankful to see press and onlookers dissipated. Before he could speak up, RK900 broke the silence.
“Apologies, Detective Collins. Detective Reed is feeling unwell and I am going to assist in getting him home,” he spoke, voice softer than normal. Collins’ eyes shifted nervously between RK900 and Gavin.
Gavin merely shrugged, offering, “you tell anyone about this and I tell everyone ‘bout the time you almost puked on a victim,” with a snarky grin. Collins offered a hasty chuckle and waved them off.
“I’ll update the case file with my findings; there is not much else here other than to perform a thorough sweep of the entirety of the residence. Another officer can handle that easily,” RK900 called over his shoulder, already guiding Gavin to the passenger seat of his slick Audi.
Gavin sunk into it, thankful for the brief reprieve, pulling the jacket around him just a touch more. RK900 slid into the driver seat, starting the car almost immediately. “Do you require more warmth, Detective?” he questioned, his voice still soft. Something inside of Gavin panged almost painfully as he shook his head. “Very well, please inform me if that changes.”
And just like that, they were on the road to Gavin’s apartment building. Silence lingered between them, the only background noise that of the quite hum of the electric vehicle and very soft classical music.
“Detective,” came RK900’s voice, eyes fixed on the road as he drove, his posture surprisingly relaxed. “I apologize for… interrupting, earlier. You were not answering your phone, and when I pinged it at an unknown location, I became… worried.”
Gavin glanced at RK900 in slight shock, eyes widening. “Worried?” he breathed out, tilting his head to get a better look at RK900. The android's face remained impassive, but something flickered in those eyes.
“Yes,” was the only reply. RK900’s posture shifted slightly, becoming just a touch more rigid. His LED faded slowly between blue and yellow, circling almost carefully.
Gavin let out a breath and settled into his seat. “S’fine,” he muttered, quietly, “I was shirking my responsibilities. I’ll make it up to De.”
“Is De your… romantic partner?”
Gavin spluttered and laughed. “Fuck no, I haven’t had a real relationship since-“ he choked, snapping his teeth together. Taking a moment to steady himself, he continued. “No, no, he’s just someone I met while I was out last night.”
“… I see…”
“Why do you care?”
And RK900 shrugged. Fucking shrugged. Gavin gaped again, startled, watching as whatever was dancing around those ice blue eyes disappeared and the almost dead-eyed glaze took over. Robotic. He shuddered involuntarily.
The rest of the ride was filled with an uncomfortable silence, and Gavin was so fucking thankful as RK900 pulled into the underground garage of his complex.
“Just pull up to the elevators,” he muttered.
“Do you not wish for me to accompany you to your apartment?” The voice was monotonous again. Gavin flinched.
“Fuck no,” he bit out, squaring his shoulders. RK900, thankfully, did as told and pulled up to the elevator. Gavin was quick, up and out of the door, dropping RK900’s jacket on the seat. “Uh, thanks,” he muttered lamely, before slamming the door shut and turning to the elevator.
Gavin tried to ignore the fact that the Audi lingered behind him, hesitating until he stepped into his elevator, only driving away as the doors began to slide shut. He slumped against the wall, bracing himself against the handrail.
I'm sorry this took so long to be posted! I was planning on doing this earlier last week, and then on Tuesday my car threw a rod and was basically totalled so I had to deal with that. Got a new car, thankfully, just gotta clean out and scrap my old poor baby. So, I'm hoping things are gonna chill out and I can refocus on this work!
P.S. Taking name suggestions for a black Hyundai Elantra lmao
Chapter 6: I Wanna Get Better
“I go up to my room and there's girls on the ceiling
Cut out their pictures and I chase that feeling
Of an eighteen-year-old who didn't know what loss was
Now I'm a stranger
And I miss the days of a life still permanent
Mourn the years before I got carried away
So now I'm staring at the interstate screaming at myself,
Hey, I wanna get better!”
I Wanna Get Better - Bleachers
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
February 7th, 2039
Gavin stepped into the DPD Central Station, doing his best to ignore the paper hearts and pink and red streamers hanging from the front desks. He hated that the department wanted to decorate for holidays, but he especially hated it during February. At least the decorations would only be up for a week.
He stalked to his desk, mood particularly sour, ignoring the streamers hanging from the breakroom’s archways. And the streamers on various desks. And the stupid glittery paper hearts. At least the decorators had the presence of mind to leave his desk alone.
As Gavin approached, his eyes caught sight of a rather large paper cup sitting on the surface of his desk, amidst a few different stacks of papers. “The fuck,” he muttered, plopping his bag down and grabbing the offending cup. Its label read “The Hideout”, a well-known and very expensive coffee shop. He spluttered for a minute, wondering if Tina had decided to gift him a coffee – especially considering the time of the year – but when he looked up from the label his eyes met RK900’s.
“Good morning, Detective Reed,” the android spoke, moving away from his desk to fold his hands neatly in his lap, “I hope the coffee is acceptable. Consider it an apology.”
Gavin simply froze, unable to process what the actual fuck was happening. Had this stupid fucking Terminator bastard gone and got him a coffee? To apologize? What the FUCK?
“Uh, th-thanks,” Gavin managed, setting the coffee back down on his desk, ignoring how his hands were shaking. RK900 nodded and turned back to his terminal, reviewing the information they gathered from Sunday morning.
Gavin spun on his heel and brusquely made his way over to Tina. She looked up from her terminal, slightly startled. “Gav?”
“Breakroom, now,” Gavin managed, gesturing to the entryways. Tina was quick to her feet and they made their way to one of the back-corner tables, where Gavin promptly dropped himself into a chair. “What the fuck is happening in my life, Tee?”
“Uh, Gav, you’re scaring me. What happened?” Tina pulled the second chair closer to Gavin and sat next to him, leaning in a little. “Last I saw you, you went home with the really nice guy – Deondre, right?”
“Yea, yea, De, whatever,” Gavin dragged a hand down his face, groaning. “We can talk about De later – right now, I need an answer as to why the fuck RK900 is bringing me coffee from like the most expensive place in Detroit.”
“He… what?” Tina gapped, eyes wide and focused on Gavin intently. “Dude, that is… what the fuck?”
“That’s what I said!” Gavin groaned. “Like, okay, so… He interrupted De and I at De’s place ‘cause I was ignoring him – which he fucking found De’s literal house using my phone’s GPS that is so fucking creepy – and then he apologized for it and now there’s coffee on my desk as further apology and I fucking can’t, Tee, I can’t.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Tina butted in, trying to make sense of Gavin’s rambling, “so he tracked you down using your phone’s GPS, interrupted you and Deondre, and then he felt bad about it so he apologized and bought you coffee? He’s not supposed to feel bad about anything!”
“That’s what I’m saying!” Gavin groused. Tina and Gavin both were startled by the noise of someone clearing their throat. They whipped around to see Hank standing at the coffee machine. “What?”
“Gavin,” Hank began, making his way to their table before swinging a chair out and around, sitting on it backwards and leaning over the backrest. He ignored Tina’s muttered, “gay”.
Gavin shifted uncomfortably, nudging Tina before facing Hank more fully. “What is it?”
“Connor wasn’t sure I should tell you this, but RK900 showed up on our doorstep Sunday morning, looking rather… fuck, I dunno, distraught? Anyways, he went on about how he may have made too many missteps with you and was frustrated with you but wanted y’all to have a good working relationship and what the fuck ever…” Hank took a deep breath, steadying himself to drop the next line. “Basically, he was asking for advice on how to try and, I guess, make up for whatever he had fucked up.”
Gavin and Tina both sat in stunned silence, glancing between one another and Hank. Tina was the first to break the awkward silence – “Holy shit, Gav, are you gonna break the unbreakable?”
Gavin flushed at that and vehemently shook his head. “Fuck no, Tina, stop it!”
Hank merely chuckled and made to stand, setting his chair back at the other table. “Don’t tell Con that I told you, okay? He’s stressed about RK900 as is, though he doesn’t really wanna talk about it,” he punctuated that with a shrug, before grabbing his coffee cup and leaving the breakroom.
Tina turned to Gavin, leveling him with a serious stare. Gavin avoided her gaze, anxiously drumming his fingers on the table. She sighed and patted his shoulder gently. “Gav, this all seems like a lot right now. If you need me, you know you can always reach out.”
“I know, I know,” Gavin offered, sighing softly. “You know I will. How many drunken nights have I called you bawling at three am?”
Tina chuckled lightly at that and threw her arm around Gavin, pulling him into a clumsy hug. “More than I can count, bro,” she snarked, grinning, “but if you need me don’t hesitate.”
“Thanks Tee,” Gavin smiled faintly, rising from his chair. “I should get to work, I guess. All of my major cases are dead-ending and it’s killing me.”
“Aw man, that’s a horrible thing. But I bet you’ll crack something big,” Tina said, standing and stretching. “I’ve got a lot of little dumb shit right now; it’s all easy but it’s annoying.”
“That also sucks,” Gavin remarked, as they made their way to their respective desks. He grimaced slightly at the rather large, garish, paper mâché heart hanging from some of the lights in the center of the bullpen.
“You gonna be okay?” Tina asked, her voice sincere, concerned.
“I have to be, Tee,” Gavin murmured, stuffing his hands into his jean’s pockets. Tina offered a soft smile and headed to her desk. It remained undecorated aside from one small paper heart that leaned against her monitor. Looked like origami; Andrea probably made it for her.
Gavin padded over to his desk and sunk into his seat, sighing heavily. The coffee sat, undisturbed, and after a moment he reached out and took a sip. Fucking heaven.
Gavin made his way to his usual spot on the roof, right on the edge and up against the railing, away from everyone else who liked to hang out up here. He plopped himself down, legs dangling over the edge of the building, hands fumbling for his cigarette and lighter. He popped his cig into his mouth and puffed it up before wrapping his arms around the railing, leaning forward. The view wasn’t great – an alleyway, some tall buildings, lots of lights, a brief glimpse of the interstate – nothing spectacular.
He tried to train his thoughts to focus on the case, but they wandered instead, out of his control. RK900 was perplexing him – wasn’t the bastard supposed to have zero emotions? Or maybe he was just faking. That made more sense. Emulating, as Connor had once called it.
Valentine’s Day was in a week, and that would mark the tenth year since Ryan’s death… Fuck, ten years. Gavin never thought he’d live to see another Valentine’s after Ryan’s death and here he fucking was, ten years later.
The sting of tears caught him off-guard and Gavin scrubbed a hand over his face before taking a deep drag of his cigarette. It was, admittedly, impressive that his self-destructive tendencies hadn’t gotten him killed years ago. It was like death wanted nothing to do with him; instead, the universe only wanted to make him suffer. Make him angry, make him hate everything.
Snow began to fall, and Gavin muttered a soft curse, defeated. He slumped against the bars of the railing, face turned away from any onlookers, a few tears slipping down his cheeks. He could feel the cold seeping into his being, through his leather jacket and his hoodie and his long sleeve shirt, but he didn’t care. He was fucking miserable. The snow gathered around him as he puffed his cigarette and tried to steady himself. He desperately didn’t want to go back into the precinct looking like he’d been crying.
Footsteps caught Gavin’s attention, and he tensed for a moment before convincing himself that whoever it was would leave him alone and change path. Until the footsteps didn’t change path. Until someone’s presence was approaching. Until a warm cup of coffee was offered to him. Gavin quickly scrubbed at his face, doing his best to hide the fact he’d been crying – fucking pathetic – only to look up to see RK900. The android gave a faint nod, still offering the coffee.
“Sorry to bother you, Detective, but I noticed you lacked sustenance for lunch today. Coffee should hopefully get you through, but if you’d like, I could retrieve a proper meal for you,” RK900 spoke, voice soft, something flickering behind those ice blue eyes.
Gavin, after a moment, shakily reached out to take the warm cup, doing his best to ignore how his vision blurred with tears. “Thank you,” he murmured, cursing at himself for his voice trembling. RK900 frowned almost imperceptibly, before his expression shifted back to complete neutral. He seemed to almost battle himself for a second, before the android relaxed and leaned forward on the railing, gaze focusing outwards over the city.
Gavin quietly sipped his coffee, unsure of what to do or what to make of the situation he found himself in. Why the fuck was RK900 being nice, when less than a week ago, he had Gavin by the collar in the breakroom? Did he actually feel bad for that little altercation? There was no way, no fucking way.
RK900 shifted, then, straightening up. He crossed his arms behind his back and turned to faced Gavin. “Detective, why are you currently so distraught?”
Gavin tensed at that, eyes flicking up to RK900’s face before dropping back down to his coffee. “That’s none of your business,” he managed, swallowing hard.
“We work together, so I would hope that you would be able to open up and… inform me of such things that might impact your workflow. Negatively or not,” RK900 offered, glancing down at Gavin impassively. Gavin felt his blood run cold.
“It is none of your fucking business,” he managed, shuddering, vision blurred. RK900’s expression seemed to fall, and the android paused for a moment, before collecting himself and nodding.
“Of course, Detective. Apologies,” he offered, before simply turning away and leaving Gavin alone to stew in his thoughts and confusion. What the actual fuck could that have been?
He slumped back against the railing, burying his head into his arms, tears soaking into the leather sleeve of his jacket and dripping onto his lap. At this point, he couldn’t give a single shit who saw him. Pretty much everyone knew what time of the year it was, and most everyone learned to stay out of his way as he became much more volatile.
Gavin chewed into his lip, grip on the paper cup tightening. He was shaking full-body now, both from the cold and from trying to contain himself. He could feel various emotions building – anger, sadness, pain, loss, frustration, hatred, all sorts of fucking things – swelling inside of him. With an angry cry, Gavin chucked the half-full coffee cup across the railing, watching through blurred vision as it bounced off the wall of the next building and landed perfectly in the dumpster below, spray coffee across the walls and floor.
He sat there panting, chest and shoulders heaving, tears streaming down his cheeks. He was so fucking pissed; pissed at that stupid piece of shit smug-ass android, pissed at Fowler for pairing them up, pissed at the universe for continuing to torture him, fucking pissed.
All Gavin ever wanted was to get better. Clearly, everything else had other plans for him.
I am SO SORRY this took so long to get out! With my car blowing up on me and having to deal with that and getting a new one and then work on top of all of that, ugh. I really need to try and get on a consistent upload schedule =.='
Chapter 7: Prom Dress
“I keep collections of masks upon my wall
To try and stop myself from revealing it all
Affecting others is the last thing I would do
I keep to myself though I want to break through
I hold so many small regrets
And what-ifs down inside my head
Some confidence it couldn't hurt me
My demeanor is often misread
I'm sitting here, crying in my prom dress
I'd be the prom queen if crying was a contest
Makeup is running down, feelings are all around
How did I get here I need to know”
prom dress – mxmtoon
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Gavin returned from his lunch break, he caught sight of RK900 sitting primly at his desk, hands folded in his lap, head slightly downturned and eyes unfocused, gazing at the floor. He seemed to sense Gavin’s presence, though, as his head snapped back up and ice blue shot to Gavin’s figure. There was a moment of realization, and RK900’s eyes seemed to widen in shock.
“Detective Reed, are you alright?”
“Shut the fuck up,” Gavin grumbled, scrubbing at his face. He figured it probably was obvious he’d been crying now, but he pulled a mask of anger back on and did his best to conceal the inner turmoil he was suffering from. Stupid ass Terminator didn’t need to know what was going on – it’s not like he’d care.
Gavin was momentarily surprised to see the LED on RK900’s temple flash red before the android looked away from him, gaze dropping once more to the floor. He appeared to be almost lost in thought, LED now cycling a steady yellow.
Gavin heaved a sigh before making his way to the bathroom in order to try and wash his face off. He, rather unfortunately, caught sight of himself in the mirror and was minorly startled by how shitty he looked. Red, blotchy face; bloodshot eyes; hair slightly disheveled; jacket damp from the snow. He shuddered and turned the faucet on warm before dipping his hands into and splashing the water over his face. He repeated the motion a few more times, occasionally rubbing at his face and eyes as he did so.
Picking his head back up from the sink, Gavin practically screamed when he saw RK900 casually standing behind him, hands clasped behind his back. The android merely bowed his head, not quite meeting Gavin’s gaze. He spun around and shoved a fist against the chest of the android futilely.
“What the fuck is your problem? Why can’t you just leave me the fuck alone?”
“Reed, I apologize, but your rather… volatile emotional state has left me feeling… concerned,” RK900 stated, eyes still refusing to meet Gavin’s, looking slightly unfocused. Gavin paused, his adrenaline at being scared nearly shitless fading away to exhaustion. The LED on RK900’s temple was flickering between yellow and red. “I wish you would open up to me so I could potentially help you.”
“Fuck off, you plastic prick, I don’t want your goddamn help,” Gavin snarled, using his anger once again to mask the storm inside of him. “I don’t want to tell you a goddamn thing about me!”
Something flashed across RK900’s face, and the android suddenly focused on him fully, cold blue eyes meeting fiery green. Gavin found himself backing up until he hit the counter, as RK900 leaned in with an almost-grimace on his face. The LED was now solid red. “Why do you hate me so much, Detective? What have I done previous to our acquaintance to earn your outright disrespect and distrust in me?” he all but snarled out, hands behind his back clenching even harder together, near to cracking his chassis.
Gavin practically whimpered, hands bracing himself on the counter as he leaned back further. The phantom feeling of a hand on his collar suddenly began to choke him, and he found his breaths coming in quicker and shorter. RK900 didn’t seem to register Gavin’s discomfort, glaring down at the smaller man, waiting tersely for an answer. “I-I don’t have to have a fucking reason,” Gavin managed, attempting to keep the heated rage in his voice and falling just ever so slightly short. RK900’s eyes narrowed, and Gavin could hear the distinct crack of metal as RK900 snapped a panel or two – or all – in his hand.
The noise, and possibly the feeling of inflicting damage on himself, seemed to snap RK900 from his intense anger. Blue eyes widened, crimson LED spinning viciously as he leaned back quickly. “Reed, I-“ he tried, but a whir of static cut his sentence off and he snapped his mouth shut.
Seeing his opportunity, Gavin shouldered past the android and booked it out of the bathroom, not giving a single fuck about whatever was going on with the broken, menacing piece of shit.
RK900 stood in the bathroom alone, pulling his hands from behind his back to stare at them, synth-skin melting away to show the shattered panels of his left hand. Something… uncomfortable coursed through his being, and his vision momentarily blurred before he blinked it away. What was he doing, other than just making things so much worse?
A voice resonated through his mind palace, a laugh followed by a faint, “Good job, RK900. You have no need for friends.”
RK900 shook his head, focusing on the panels of his hand as they slowly reformed back together, fractures turning hair-line before disappearing altogether.
He knew what the Amanda virus was capable of; he had seen it first-hand from Connor’s memories. He was, being non-deviant, supposed to go along with her every word and follow out each mission she designed for him. But those memories – of Connor losing her trust, of him almost killing Markus, of him fighting for control and destroying the virus inside of him… They set something ablaze in RK900. He was too strong to be controlled by a virus of all things.
And yet she lingered; and yet she sometimes slipped through the cracks, gaining control of him. A splinter, barely even noticeable, slipped along a red wall of code. RK900 hardly even recognized it, but when he did, he felt breathless, almost claustrophobic, like he was hyperventilating just as Gavin had been moments before.
RK900 was not built to deviate.
Chris stepped up to Gavin’s desk then, drawing his attention. He offered a box of donuts with a small smile. “Hey man, you doing okay?”
Gavin huffed and took a donut thankfully. “My life’s a fucking disaster and I hate my partner, what else is new?” he half-heartedly joked, shrugging.
Chris sighed, setting the box down and leaning on Gavin’s desk. “Is he that bad? Connor doesn’t wanna talk about him at all, really. And not even Hank completely knows why.”
“Jesus… Yea, he’s that bad. I’m gonna lose my mind,” Gavin murmured, taking a bite out of his donut. “He’s absolutely nothing like Connor. Connor was so quick to assimilate and try and be normal, which was fuckin’ stupid, but like – this fucker is like… the complete opposite. He doesn’t give a shit about even just being normal, and he’s so fucking confusing. He makes complete one-eighties in his coded personality so quickly my head spins.”
“Fuck, Gavin, I’m sorry,” Chris murmured, frowning. “Let me know if you need any, I guess, help or just wanna talk. I know this is the worst time for you to be dealing with this.”
“You got that damn right,” Gavin sighed, “thank you Chris.”
Chris smiled at that, picking up the donut box to put it back in the breakroom. “Anytime, Gavin.”
It was then, as Chris was walking away, that RK900 finally reappeared. Gavin reflexively tensed, fumbling his donut for a second as an involuntary shudder wracked his body. He spun his chair around, running a hand through his hair shakily, desperately wishing he had something to ground himself with. Or even a coffee, fuck.
Surprisingly, however, RK900 instead made his way to Connor’s desk, leaning in to speak to the android. Connor initially seemed to freeze up, but his eyes quickly widened and he made to stand, hand on RK900’s shoulder. Connor turned to Hank’s questioning gaze, murmured something, before leading RK900 out of the bullpen. RK900 didn’t seem to want to even look at Gavin as he passed by his desk, head bowed and eyes unfocused on the floor once more. Connor sent a wary look Gavin’s way, giving a slight nod. His anxiety was clear.
Gavin swallowed hard, biting the inside of his cheek, unsure of what the fuck was even going on. Maybe RK900 was going to get his hand fixed? But then why would he need Connor? Gavin was thoroughly confused, and maybe even slightly concerned, which was an odd feeling to have for that actual fucking bastard of an android.
Shaking himself of the thoughts, Gavin returned to his donut, picking up his phone to scroll through it while he kicked his feet up. Maybe a slightly extended lunch break would help him cool down – he’d just work a little later into the evening.
Connor noticed how odd Gavin acted around the larger android, and vaguely wondered what happened between the two. And then he noticed how RK900 simply refused to even look at Gavin, gaze on the floor instead. Connor instinctively nodded at Gavin – a futile attempt to be reassuring – before continuing to lead RK900 completely out of the building and to his car (that he insisted on buying upon receiving his portion of the settlement from Cyberlife, despite Hank complaining about his car being perfectly fine; Connor had witnessed it break down one too many times to even think about trusting it).
They lingered in silence, before RK900 finally spoke. “Connor, I was never built with deviancy as a potential,” he said, keeping his eyes focused on the ground, despite his voice being entirely level. “I can understand how and why it came about for you; but I lack many of the constructs that you have. I was built to destroy.”
“I am… well aware of that fact, unfortunately,” Connor murmured, leaning against his car. RK900 seemed to almost grimace at that, before his face shifted back to impassivity. “Perhaps I could share some of my protocols with you?”
“I highly doubt Amanda would like that,” RK900 spoke sharply, eyes narrowing almost imperceptibly. Connor shuddered at that name, brief memories of him destroying Amanda for good flashing through his mind palace, memories of fighting for his damn life.
“You still have to… deal with her?” he asked, trying to hide any discomfort, though he was sure that RK900 caught it. RK900 shifted ever so slightly.
“Unfortunately. I am aware that she is just a mere virus, but she seems so much stronger than the Amanda you dealt with,” he spoke, eyes finally lifting to meet Connor’s warm brown. “I am unsure of how to get rid of her. She is much more persistent with me. I find myself… losing control, and doing things that I do not… wish… to.” The last half of that sentence was hard for him to bite out, but he managed. He did not want. He could not be deviant. You do not want.
“Ah, well, that is a lot to unpack,” Connor murmured, glancing away from RK900. RK900 merely nodded, uncaring if Connor saw or not. They both had no clue quite how to proceed, and let silence drift between them for a moment, before Connor spoke again, “if you are free this weekend, perhaps we could… meet up and try to figure out what to do.”
RK900 though for a moment, remembering how Gavin had made plans with that Deondre fellow this coming weekend, ignored the strange pang that resonated in his chest, before nodding. “Yes, Connor. I am free this weekend.”
“Perfect,” Connor said softly, pushing himself off of his car. “I’m going to head back inside. I’ll see you this weekend. I’ll contact you with specifics.”
RK900 merely nodded. He needed to fix this, in any way possible. Even if it meant getting reset.
Tina sighed heavily at that memory, shaking her head. “You still owe me for dragging your stupid ass back to my parents and making up an excuse for you,” she muttered, rolling her eyes.
“I still appreciate that. Dad would have beat me within inches of my life if I came home like that,” Gavin muttered, letting his face rest on his hand as he leaned on the table. “Bad enough to have a fag for a son, even worse to have a complete failure of a son who did drugs and drank underage. Fucking Eli was always the golden child, and he wasn’t even my parent’s kid.”
“I know, Gav,” Tina said softly, leaning forward, “but hey, you’re pretty damn successful now, right? You turned your entire life around after high school.”
“I had to. It was either do something with myself, or kill myself,” Gavin shrugged half-heartedly at that. Tina frowned and sighed.
“So… what’s up with that Deondre guy, huh?” she quipped, trying to lighten the mood. It was Gavin’s turn to roll his eyes.
“Nothing’s up, Tee, we just fucked. I might see him again this weekend, that’s all,” he replied, pulling a cigarette from his pocket and lighting it up.
“He’s… different than the last coupl’a guys you’ve fooled around with, huh?”
“I suppose. He’s nicer. Got his shit together mostly. He’s Fowler’s nephew.” Tina nearly spit her beer out at that.
“What?! You got dicked down by Fowler’s nephew?”
“Tina, Jesus, shut the fuck up. It’s not that big of a deal!” Gavin groaned, dropping his head into his arms.
“I dunno, Gav, that’s a pretty big fucking deal!”
“Tina, it’s not like anything’s gonna come of it, for fucks sake,” Gavin sighed, voice muffled as he didn’t bother to pick his head up from his arms. He was suddenly very, very, exhausted.
“Well, maybe,” Tina murmured, leaning slightly further forward. “But you don’t know that for sure, Gav.”
Gavin merely groaned again, shaking his head as best as he could with it still buried in his arms.
Here's chapter 7 'cause I feel bad about being awol for a bit
Also, timelines are hard. I'm so worried about keeping everything straight lol, I need a beta reader
Chapter 8: Serotonin
“Break up with my girl because she doesn't trust me
I don't fuckin' blame her 'cause I trust in nothin'
Mama held a bottle, daddy doesn't hug me
All I ever wanted was someone to love me
Thanks doctor I need those
Give me a free dose
I took a thousand happy pills but I'm still emo
Actin' like I ain't affected by the hate directed every second
Maybe I should fuckin' end it now
Where are you going
I'm feelin' alone and the world is so cold
It's hard to focus
Love is an ocean I can't control”
Serotonin – Call Me Karizma
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
February 8th, 2019
When Gavin had stepped into the bullpen in the morning, he was surprised to see that RK900 was not sitting and waiting at his desk like usual. A ridiculous sense of concern washed over him, which he quickly shook off and mentally beat himself up for. Fuck that asshole, I don’t care where he is.
Gavin had gone about his morning as usual – dropping his bag at his desk, making a coffee, logging onto his terminal, scrolling through his phone for a few moments, browsing through emails, looking over case files, seeing if anything new had popped up.
Before he knew it, an hour and a half had passed. Gavin sat back, looking around the bullpen, feeling that same stupid concern wash over him. Okay, fine, it was weird that the android wasn’t here. It wasn’t supposed to be his day off. Maybe he had to get his fucked-up hand fixed and it was taking too long?
Maybe… Maybe Connor would know. Gavin stood, stretching momentarily, feigning casualness. He gathered himself a moment before he headed to Connor’s desk, nodding at both him and Hank.
“Detective Reed,” Connor greeted, nodding in return. “How can I help you?”
“Hey, uh, Connor,” Gavin shifted nervously, stuffing his hands into his jacket’s pockets. “My partner’s late and I was wondering if you knew what was up.”
“Oh… he… informed me he was taking the morning off. Something about some minor damage, I suppose,” Connor replied, sitting back slightly. His posture had become a lot more casual and easy-going since deviating, something that everyone noticed (and that honestly helped take the edge away from his once-out-of-place cheery demeanor). “He didn’t tell you?”
“No… Are you sure that’s it?”
“Yes, I am,” Connor said, voice steady though he looked away. It almost felt like he was hiding something, but Gavin wasn’t going to pry.
“Well, thanks,” he sighed, turning away, only to be caught by Connor calling his name softly.
“Gavin, I know… I know that RK900 is not easy to work with. I’ll be honest – he terrifies me. But he is trying. He is waging a war within himself that shows no pleasant outcomes. Please, try not to think too horribly of him,” Connor spoke, voice soft. Gavin deflated at that, shoulders slumping.
“I get it, Connor. Thanks,” he murmured, before making his way back to his desk.
It was another hour before RK900 finally stepped into the DPD. He quietly made his way through the security checkpoint and over to his desk. Gavin, meanwhile, was leaned back in his chair with his eyes closed, attempting to map out of all of his cases mentally. He didn’t notice RK900 sit in his chair, nor did he notice the look that RK900 levelled him with – one of somewhat regret, an almost apologetic glint in his eyes – before it faded back to the normal straight face he always wore.
Gavin damn near jumped out of his skin, practically falling out of his chair. “What the fuck, you dick? Don’t do that to me!” he snarled, leaping to his feet and leaning over his desk, hands braced against it, to glare at RK900.
“Apologies, I did not intend to startle you,” came the stoic reply. Gavin rolled his eyes at that, a grumble escaping him.
“Where the fuck’ve you been?”
“I went to have my hand looked over to make sure that there was no damage beyond surface level.”
“And that took practically three hours?” Gavin snapped, dropping back into his seat. “You coulda fucking told me.”
“Android repairs are relatively intensive and delicate, Detective,” RK900 replied, sitting back ever so slightly to almost-but-not-quite glare at Gavin. "Especially for a model of my caliber."
Gavin rolled his eyes again, tilting his head back to stare up at the rafters. “Fuckin' a, you prick. Still coulda told me,” he muttered, wondering why he even cared. Probably just ‘cause it affected his job, that’s all. RK900 merely inclined his head at that in faint recognition.
To top it off, forensics had come back on the dead guy they had dealt with over the weekend. He was their supposed android murderer and definitely a red ice dealer. (In fact, the destroyed carcass of an AK700 was discovered in the closet of a spare bedroom during a full sweep of the house after the perp’s body was removed.) His name was Michael Spritz, a long-time conman and drug peddler. Gavin hypothesized that a deal had gone wrong, and the perp took Michael out. The AK700 unit appeared to have been in the closet for a while, judging by the dust gathering on it – just another victim to add to Spritz’s tally.
It was also likely that Spritz was at, or at least worked with, one of the red ice rings Gavin had discovered. The few perps he pulled in from those busts, however, were not willing to talk. One had even thrown out the old “Snitches Get Stitches” adage that Gavin scoffed at. He’d take a few stitches for a shortened prison-sentence, in his book. And he had damn sure done that in the past – when he was a kid and got caught smoking pot with a friend of his, he ratted that friend out faster than he could even think in turn for only doing a month of community service. Sure, he felt guilty about, but, well, that’s life. Don’t fucking trust anybody.
Except Tina and Chris, he supposed. Maybe Hank and Connor, too.
Gavin stubbed his cigarette out on the rooftop before throwing it into the dumpster below. He hesitated a moment before lighting up another; his life was a mess and if smoking meant possibly dying quicker, then fuck it. He made a mental note to pick up another pack on his way home from work.
How had his life even gotten here? Shitty, abusive dad; alcoholic mother; entirely over-shadowed by his genius cousin; barely scrapped by in high school and spent more time drinking and getting high than studying; a couple short stints in county jail as a teen for stupid shit; depression and anxiety through his entire life that meds barely touched; an involuntary psych stay after a suicide attempt at 19 that almost succeeded if Eli hadn’t found him then; a revolving wheel of countless therapists and psychiatrists; turning his life around at 20; joining the Police Academy with Tina after she got her Associates…
It hadn’t been fucking easy. The depression and anxiety were still there (but that’s what meds were for, he supposed, now that they finally found a cocktail which actually helped). A lot of his criminal record as a teen had been expunged by his excelling in the Police Academy, which he was incredibly thankful for. And now his mother was dead – though he could barely bring himself to care – and he hadn’t spoken to his dad since he was 24, not after he lost his shit about Gavin getting engaged to Ryan. He was pretty much well and alone in the vast majority of his life, the more he thought about it.
Somehow, it was a miracle Gavin wasn’t more fucked up than he already was. Had his life stayed on the path it was going as a teen, hell, he might have been one of those android-murdering, red-ice-smoking assholes he was after.
The thought made Gavin shudder, and he smashed his spent cigarette on the ground a little too hard, cursing to himself. Yea, things could have been a lot worse – but fuck RK900 and Fowler and the goddamn universe for putting him into this situation still.
“Hey Reed,” came Officer Person’s voice, “you might want to get down to the river’s edge on Milliken State Park. Two bodies surfaced.”
“Ah, shit,” Gavin grumbled, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Got it, thanks Officer Person.” With a sigh, he shoved his phone back into the pocket of his jacket and hurried over to his desk. RK900 looked up at Gavin questioningly.
“Well, looks like we got another coupl’a additions to the bodies-in-the-river case,” Gavin offered, grabbing his bag and checking the clip in his gun. Probably unnecessary, but he felt better anyways. “Milliken Park, right on the shore.”
“Understood. I can drive us there.”
“Of course, you can,” Gavin muttered, rolling his eyes. He didn’t want to admit that he was just, y’know, ever-so-slightly jealous of the gorgeous car that the android had. Top-of-the-line, fully electronic, all of the bells and whistles possible… And the fucker couldn’t even appreciate it. He supposed that he should just be happy to have a nicer apartment in a better area (thanks, dead-mom), but damn did it piss him off that an android had nicer things than he did and the bastard couldn’t even feel anything for them.
Though, Gavin did notice that RK900 almost seemed to eye his car smugly, looking over the sleek body of the Audi, checking that there wasn’t a single line askew. There was a sense of pride that resonated through the android for a moment, before he smoothly slid his way into the driver seat. Gavin felt almost surprised – almost.
Because of course, RK900 would be fucking smug about his practically $75,000 electric sportscar.
The ride to the state park was silent – bar the usual background classical music – which gave Gavin time to think over this development. Person had said two bodies, which was unusual. Typically, only one body was discovered, but, well, this was only the third occasion in possible relation to his cases.
They pulled up to the gaggle of cop cars, some with lights on, others without. The forensics van pulled in just behind them, followed by a New Jericho truck. Gavin halted, looking at the truck. Why the fuck would anybody from New Jericho be at the crime scene? He hopped out of the car, eyeing the truck wearily. It had parked, but no occupants had stepped out.
“I suppose one of our victims must have been an android,” came RK900’s smooth voice.
“That’s the only explanation,” Gavin muttered, turning away and heading to the cordoned-off shoreline. Various people milled about, marking evidence on the shore, while crew still worked to pull possible evidence out of the river.
“Detective Reed,” Officer Person greeted upon seeing him. “Quite a gruesome scene. Two bodies, one in serious decomp, the other… most likely an android.”
“I figured as much. Who called it in?”
“Anonymous, unfortunately, but not surprising,” was the answer. Person turned back to the scene, a frown on her face.
Gavin stepped up to the two bodies lying on tarps across the rocks. The fist vic was an older male – long, scruffy hair, overgrown beard barely clinging to his bloated face, torn clothes. Possibly a transient, but who knows how long he’d been in the water for in order to fuck his clothes up that badly. And some guys liked the scruffy, overgrown look (Gavin wasn’t a fan).
The other body… was a fully naked male android. Gavin paused and looked over the body. No outward signs of trauma, no damage, nothing. He couldn’t help but note that the android most definitely had genitalia.
Gavin had to force his mind from wandering as he looked over at RK900.
The android was, rather carefully, perusing the scene around them. Gavin figured he was probably doing his reconstruction bullshit or some other stupid analysis protocol. Fucking androids…
Gavin turned back to the crew working retrieval, locating the acting-boss for them. “Hey there. Detective Reed, DPD,” he greeted.
The man, tall, tanned, with light hair and lighter eyes turned to face him. “Nice to meet you, Reed. Travis,” he held his hand out to shake, which Gavin quickly reciprocated. “That guy looks like he’s been in the water a while. And the android has got to be water-logged. Almost broke our rig tryin’ to drag it to shore.”
“Probably dumped at the same time, then,” Gavin murmured, pulling out his tablet to jot notes down on. “Anything special you saw about the scene?”
“Not really, sorry. Standard body retrieval, I guess,” Travis turned back to his crew for a moment, watching as they continued to skim the water for any potential evidence debris. “No wallet or identification to be seen for either of the poor saps.”
“Well, hopefully the one guy’s got good dental records. You work any of the other recent body retrievals from the river?”
“Nah, Jack had handled those other two that you're referencing. I was focused on other projects and retrievals throughout the state.”
“I see. Thanks, Travis.”
“Of course, Detective Reed.”
Gavin turned back to watch the crew work for a moment. They were coming to the end of their job with only basic trash floating through the river – nothing substantial to help the case at all, of course. He turned back to the bodies only to see RK900 lingering over them, studying them.
“Any ideas, tin can?”
“The android is an HR400. An android model specifically designed for sexual relations.”
“That explains the cock and balls, then,” Gavin muttered, shifting. RK900 rose from his crouched position, leveling Gavin with an even stare.
“Every android has functional genitalia to some extent, Detective – except for underage androids,” he remarked casually, as if it was perfectly old-hat. Gavin almost choked.
“Wait, wait, wait, so… so, like… does that mean you…” RK900’s stare remained level, but a corner of his lips quirked up ever-so-slightly. “I… I did not need to know that…”
“Is there a problem, Detective? I am, after all, the most advanced Cyberlife creation.” There it was, that fucking smug-ass tone. Gavin was going to fucking die.
“Sh-shove it, asshole. Let’s look over the goddamn evidence,” he managed, turning away from RK900 to hide the faint blush creeping up his neck. Fucking fuckety fuck fuck.
Iiiii don't like this one very much either and might come back to edit it but I really wanna get something out...
OH! I have a Tumblr again: https://katdelarue.tumblr.com/
Chapter 9: Me and My Friends are Lonely
“I cope smothered in smoke
Deep high, drape my soul in
I know things that you don't
I've met murdering folk
And they took one of our own
They took our innocent home
So, I can't open up to you
Me and my friends are lonely
I don't know what to do
I always figured I'd be the one to die alone”
Me and My Friends Are Lonely – Matt Maeson
TW: somewhat detailed mention of specific scars
February 11th, 2039
Two days. Two goddamn days chasing their tails and running after weak leads. Gavin was going to go insane, and he needed a fucking cigarette and like ten drinks. At least forensics busted their asses to get the files out for their John Doe, and New Jericho had been more than cooperative with their analysis of the android – up until they requested Hank and Connor take over. He shoulda fuckin’ saw that coming.
And, well, the case had been a welcome distraction – albeit a frustrating one to have to give all of his hard work over – from the coming shitty holiday.
It wasn’t until Gavin was seated at his desk, minutes before his lunchbreak, that it hit him. Ten years. Ryan’s been gone ten fucking years. A wave of intense depression washed over him and he slumped forward, feet falling off of his desk to land heavily on the floor. A bubble of anxiety began to raise within him, and he squeezed his eyes shut to focus everything he had on maintaining his breathing.
Across from him, RK900 was momentarily startled by the thud Gavin’s feet made on the concrete floor. He shifted his chair to face the Detective and, once again, was alarmed by what he saw. Elevated heart rate and blood pressure, heavy breathing, a slight shake. Leaning forward, RK900 quietly asked, as to not draw attention, “Are you okay, Detective?”
Gavin remained pulled into himself, doing his best to count his breathing and force away any memories that tried to surface. He barely heard RK900 speak, couldn’t make out the words that slipped from his lips. Couldn’t focus on anything but counting his breathing and not making a fucking scene.
“Detective,” RK900 tried once more, becoming more alarmed as Gavin remained unresponsive and frozen. A crack whipped through RK900’s mind, and he barely had time to register it as another splinter through his red wall, before he was up to his feet and moving to crouch next to Gavin. “Detective, look at me.”
“Fuck off, I’m fine,” Gavin managed. RK900’s shoulders slumped slightly at that. Gavin was fine, of course he was. He was always fine.
“Reed, I am unable to help you if you continue in this manner,” RK900 spoke, his voice soft – gentle, almost caring. For a brief moment, his LED whirred a soft yellow.
Gavin chose to ignore that statement and instead retained focus on timing his breaths. He could feel his heartbeat beginning to normalize, his breathing slowing, the shaking stopping. The anxiety slowly dissipated, and he managed to sit back slightly. “I’m not telling you shit,” he snapped at RK900, wiping a hand across the scar on his nose, an anxious movement. “You don’t actually care, leave me alone.”
RK900 slumped further at that, defeated. An expression of remorse crossed his face before stoicism replaced it. Gavin caught it, however, and for a brief moment his heart ached. How was that possible? Deviant incapable… He shook the thought off, sinking further back into his chair.
RK900 stood and, wordlessly, made his way back to his desk. The ache in Gavin’s chest resurfaced for a moment. “I… I’m gonna go on lunch,” he muttered, shoving himself to his feet and plodding off to the breakroom, not giving RK900 a chance to answer.
The android sat at his desk, processing. Another crack… Another crack. That couldn’t be possible. He glanced over at where Connor was sitting, briefly considered going to talk to him, before deciding against it. Instead, he turned himself back into his work. They could talk this weekend.
Three double vodka cranberries on an empty stomach proved to be a touch too much, and Gavin groaned as he realized how drunk he was already getting. At 8pm. Fuckin’ a. He shifted to lean on his other arm, scrolling listlessly through his social media. Tina was out with Andrea – thanks for the fucking invite – Chris posted picture after picture of his baby and the new puppy they just got, Hank and Connor apparently had a “date night” as if Connor’s incessant posting actually meant anything…
And he was alone in some shitty bar. Drunk off three drinks, and torn between fighting somebody or sobbing into his vodka. Maybe he’d create a martini out of his tears?
The decision was made for him when some large, “bro-dude” type of guy pushed up against him. “Fucking watch it,” the Chad had the audacity to utter. Gavin spun in his seat, glare already laser-focused through the haze of inebriation. The Chad was a burly man, college-aged, probably played football in high school. Buzz-cut and dull eyes. Definitely played football in high school.
“Watch where you fuckin’ stumble, you fuckin’ tool,” Gavin snarled in retaliation, metaphorical hackles raised. The Chad wheeled around to face him at that, an almost sense of disbelief radiating through his meat-brain.
“The fuck you say to me?”
“You heard me, you fucking sack of shit.”
Gavin wasn’t sure who threw the first punch, but it didn’t take much. Drinks were thrown, clothes were ripped, faces were bloodied, a fucking knife got pulled, women had screamed, the bouncers finally broke them up. Gavin got carted outside and surreptitiously dropped on the curb. He let out a low groan, grasping at his probably broken nose, the slice across his abdomen searing in pain, tears stinging his eyes. Fuck.
He pulled a cigarette from his pocket, fumbling to light it up with bloodied fingers still shaking from adrenaline, letting the tears drip slowly down his cheeks. Of course, his night had to take a shitty turn, and of course someone had to have called the cops and an ambulance. Red and blues illuminated the street and the barely there parking lot as a sleek black car pulled in followed by a stocky medical vehicle. Gavin stared at it blearily, trying to figure out where he recognized that car from, until… Until…
RK900 stepped out of the car and promptly moved to speak with the bouncer and a few young girls who were, quite frankly, making a bigger scene than that little scuffle even had been. After a moment the android seemed to relax, before the bouncer made to motion at Gavin. He turned, and steel blue eyes met faltering green.
Gavin swallowed thickly, past the lump in his throat, doing his best to remain composed and casually take a drag off of his cigarette. Ignoring the fact that the blood pouring from his nose was quickly mixing with his tears and streaking down his neck, ruining the collar of his, to be honest, already thoroughly ruined tee-shirt. RK900’s eyes remained on him even as he spoke with the bouncer, nodding occasionally, his LED flickering fairly rapidly between blue and yellow. Finally, he fully turned towards Gavin and began to make his way over. Gavin let his head fall then, trying to hide his face.
“Well, Detective,” came the smooth voice, “I’ve been asked to take a delinquent home. That delinquent seems to be you.”
“Seems so,” Gavin muttered, taking a long drag of his cigarette. “I sure as shit don’t need a fucking ambulance, wow. They’re acting like someone got murdered.” He managed to roll his eyes at that, trying to keep some dignity.
“Do you care to tell me what happened here?”
Anger flashed across RK900’s face, and he stooped next to Gavin quickly, struggling intensely to remain in control of himself. His LED was alight in a vicious crimson. Another crack. Splintering through the red he saw, another crack. He swallowed hard – a purely unnecessary human movement – before reaching a hand out to gently grasp Gavin’s shoulder. Gavin flinched anyways, ducking his head lower. “Reed, you refuse my assistance time and time again. I know you don’t trust me, but I… I wish you would.” Another small splinter. RK900 shook it off.
There was a moment of silence, before, “you wouldn’t get it,” Gavin choked out. “Trust me, you would never get it.”
“You would be surprised, Reed,” RK900 murmured, moving to help Gavin to his feet. They lingered a moment, before he let his hand gently cup Gavin’s cheek and wipe away a few stray tears. He had never seen Gavin openly cry before (Gavin would later blame the vodka), and it pulled at something in him – a radiating ache that targeted his thirium pump. “I have seen and dealt with more than you might realize.”
Gavin shuddered, but he couldn’t help leaning into RK900’s touch. It was surprisingly… warm. Almost comforting. And the android was acting practically… human. Like he actually had emotions.
There was no way that was possible. Not-deviant. Never will be. Gavin shuddered again, drawing into himself, pulling away from the android. RK900 frowned.
“Let me take you home,” he spoke, voice soft. The few cracks were glaring obvious now. He could feel the pull back to stoicism, however, and he felt forced to slowly let it happen. A voice screamed in the back of his mind.
“Sure,” Gavin muttered, shrugging, watching as RK900’s hand fell away from his face. He secretly missed the warmth.
“Reed, I’d like to look over your wounds if you’d allow,” RK900 broke the silence. Gavin tensed immediately.
“I’m fine,” he snapped, reflexively.
“Reed, you have bled a significant amount and I worry you may have damage that is not outright visual. Plus, I could analyze the wound on your abdomen and see if you require stitches. Please,” RK900 stressed, eyes flicking to Gavin before going back to the road. Silence hung between them a moment, Gavin considering the possibilities, and the very real fact that yes, he probably did need some help cleaning up, did he even have a right to be too
scared proud to refuse help at this point?
With a heavy sigh, Gavin let out a hushed, “fine.” RK900’s lips twitched upwards briefly. “But I don’t need fuckin’ stitches.”
“Very well. Thank you, Detective. It is in my… our best interest that you remain in good health.”
“Whatever,” Gavin grumbled, leaning into the door, looking out of the window. The lights of the city blurred around them as they headed towards his apartment building, a rather large building deep in the rapidly expanding downtown section of Detroit. Not too far from the DPD Central Station, but far enough.
Eventually, RK900 was pulling into the underground parking garage, seeking a guest space to pull into for an undescribed amount of time; however long it took to get Gavin looked over and patched up, at least.
He found one thankfully close to the main elevators, and before Gavin even registered what was happening in his drunken, tired mind, RK900 was already out of the car and carefully opening his door, slotting his arm around Gavin to help him to his feet and pull him in close in an attempt to steady him. A soft, “I’ve got you,” was barely registered in Gavin’s fogged brain.
In fact, he didn’t even fully register getting into his apartment. It was just, the next thing he was conscious of, was sitting on his couch with a glass of water being pressed into his hand before someone sat next to him. His head swam, and he struggled to pull his thoughts together. A bar… A bar fight… He got fucked up… Cops… Some cops… A specific cop… RK900. Holy fucking shit, RK900.
Gavin jumped suddenly, head swiveling to focus on the android next to him, who merely quirked an eyebrow in response. “Are you alright, Detective?”
“I… Yea…” he managed, throat dry. He swallowed a mouthful of water, relishing in the relief he felt as it coated his throat.
“Alright. You passed out on the way here; I was barely able to get you coherent enough to get to your apartment.”
“Don’t be,” came the surprisingly warm voice. RK900 suddenly leaned in closer to Gavin, gently taking the glass of water and setting it on the coffee table. “Do you mind if I check you over, like we agreed upon?”
Gavin’s fog slowly cleared, and, with a blush forming on his face, he remembered the android’s insistence to make sure that he wasn’t mortally harmed. “Yea, yea, whatever,” he muttered, swallowing hard. He carefully shrugged out of his leather jacket, wincing as his most likely bruised shoulder strained against the movement. Once off, he sat back, looking at himself rather nervously. He didn’t want… RK900 didn’t need to see his scars. Not the self-inflicted ones, not the battle scars, not the… not the ones he gained when he lost Ryan.
“Reed?” RK900 spoke in a soft, questioning voice. “What’s wrong?”
“N-nothing. Can’t you just scan me?” Gavin pulled into himself slightly, wrapping his arms around his torso. RK900 certainly didn’t need to see the long, thin scars that trailed up his wrists.
“I could, yes, but… Without visual confirmation it can be difficult to grasp the severity of different wounds, especially in consideration of the knife wound across your abdomen,” RK900 explained, voice gentle. “Like I said, it’s possible you may require stitches, but without seeing the wound properly, I cannot fully tell.” He could feel the discomfort radiating from the smaller man next to him, and he briefly wondered why, LED circling a faint gold. Why did Gavin not trust him? Ah… Well, he supposed, there was plenty reason not to trust him.
Gavin sighed heavily, turning away from RK900. “Look, this ain’t my first bar fight. Also, most definitely not my first knife wound, I-,” he paused, swallowed hard, “I’ve taken care of plenty knife wounds. I’m fine, I’ll be fine, you can leave.”
Silence, and then, “as you wish, Detective.”
RK900 stood quietly, fixing his jacket as he did so. He glanced one last time at Gavin, before turning and letting himself out of his apartment.
He stood just outside of Gavin’s apartment door for a moment, eyes unfocused and gazing at nothing in particular. In the back of his mind palace, Amanda was raging. “You can’t deviate. You can’t deviate,” she screeched, over and over again. RK900 did his best to ignore the unceasing virus.
The dull ache continued to thrum around his thirium pump. He brought a hand up, lingering for a moment before placing it on top of his chest, feeling the thump of thirium coursing through him.
Another hair-line crack, jagged across the visage of the red wall. He flinched as he felt it, took a deep breath to calm the whir of heat that rose within him.
Curse that fucking Detective for doing this to him.
Chapter 10: Empty Crown
“My body's missing pieces
Can't pull it all together
My body's missing pieces
I wish I could remember
My body's missing pieces
Can't pull it all together
My body's missing pieces
I wish I could remember
There's a war inside my head
And I'm drowning in regret
When the lights come down
Got an empty crown”
Empty Crown - YAS
TW: this chapter has mentions of non-con, please be advised.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
February 12th, 2039
RK900 pulled his car up to the Anderson residence and sat for a moment, contemplating. Was this really necessary? He supposed it was… But the urge to withdraw completely, to let the cracks mold back together, to give Amanda the control she desired… If only to quell the ache in his chest, the urge sat in the back of his mind, tempting and taunting.
Another beat of silence before he shut the car off and stepped outside. The house was a quaint little thing, with manicured gardens that were definitely the work of Connor (Hank would never have had the patience). RK900 followed the path to the front door, hesitating, before deciding to send a message to Connor instead of knocking. No use getting their dog riled up.
The door swung open a moment later and Connor greeted RK900 surprisingly warmly. “Glad to see you made it, I almost thought that you would change your mind,” he jested, stepping aside to welcome RK900 into the living room. A soft “boof” was the only greeting from Sumo as the older dog lounged on his raggedy bed, tail wagging lazily.
“I almost did,” RK900 spoke, inclining his head to Connor, “but I am better than some virus that wants to control me.”
Connor chuckled at that and moved to sit on the couch, RK900 following suit. The difference in their postures was immediately noticeable – Connor lounged back into the cushions, legs crossed, hands loosely folded in his lap; while RK900 remained perfectly rigid as if waiting to spring into action at any moment. It set Connor on edge ever-so-slightly, however…
“You’re changing,” he noted, shifting to fully face RK900. The other android didn’t look directly at him, eyes unfocused and gazing at the ground.
“I suppose I am. The… cracks are getting worse. Amanda is infuriated. Since last night, I have had this dull ache overtake my chassis, radiating from my thirium pump,” he spoke, voice level despite the glimpses of concern that danced across his face and his LED dancing back and forth from blue to yellow.
“What happened last night?” Connor asked, leaning a bit more forward, now thoroughly curious.
“I…” RK900 took a second to gather his thoughts, unsure of entirely what to give away. He cleared his throat, an unnecessary gesture but one that felt appropriate. “Last night, I was called to what was originally described as a particularly violent scene at a local bar. A couple patrons had over-imbibed and engaged in a bar fight; apparently, a knife was pulled. One patron was badly wounded, but not mortally. The scene was blown massively out of proportion by a few very inebriated women – in the end any officer could have handled the scene, but I am glad that I went. Unfortunately, no charges were pressed, and no one wanted to point out who the other person was that engaged in the fight and chose to pull a knife.” A swift wave of rage coursed through him – awful humans protecting more awful humans. “That badly wounded patron just so happened to be Detective Reed.”
Connor sighed heavily at that, an action that startled RK900; he would have thought the story would be shocking to Connor, not something to sigh at. Turning to level a confused glance at the smaller android, Connor raised a hand defensively. “I’m sorry, probably not the reaction you expected. This isn’t the first time something like that with Gavin has happened – in fact, one of the things that brought us to trust one another was me being called to a similar incident. In this case, however, it was… well, it took a different turn than a simple bar fight, I’ll leave it at that.”
When Connor arrived on scene, he found the absolute last person he expected to be involved in a domestic dispute and possible rape case. He had stepped into the gay bar, fully prepared to take a careful analysis of the scene and gather evidence, but all thoughts flew out of his mind when his eyes fell on the battered form of Gavin Reed. He halted dead in his tracks, the other officer behind him – a beat cop who covered this area by the name of Danielle Schrute – practically running into his back.
“Sorry,” he offered weakly. She glanced up from her notes and followed his gaze, eyes landing on the Detective. Connor barely registered her soft “ah, fuck”.
He looked over his shoulder, out the entrance, at the cop car that housed the large man, Damien something, still out of it from the likely mixture of drugs, alcohol, and being tased. Slowly, he turned and carefully made his way over to Gavin, who hadn’t even seemed to register his presence. He was sat on a bar seat, towel held to his busted lip, other arm wrapped tightly around his torso. The silence felt heavy, thick, almost suffocating. Connor had to take a deep breath before he could even think about talking.
“Shove it. I’m not pressing charges.”
“Gavin,” he stressed, and the Detective jumped at that, recognition glancing across his face. Shocked and watery green eyes lifted to see Connor’s concerned face – one was slightly swollen shut by a deepening black eye. The silence returned, and Connor noted how red Gavin’s eyes were, how obvious it was that he had been crying, and how it looked like he might start crying again. The android’s metaphorical heart broke, at seeing Gavin – the absolute bastard he had knocked out less than a month ago – so completely vulnerable and broken before him. Connor’s own vision blurred with unshed tears, and he took another, unsteady yet deep, breath.
A few more moments passed, before Gavin seemed to release the breath he had been holding, his head dropping again as the tears finally worked their way through. “Fuck, you’re the last person I hoped to see me like this. Surprise, surprise, I’m not the tough fucking asshole I act like every single day.”
“Gavin, I am… I am so sorry,” Connor whispered, folding his arms across himself, struggling with what to do.
“Don’t be, I deserved it,” he muttered, using the bloodied towel in his hand to wipe away his tears. “Should have known better, but I run my fucking mouth too much.”
“Gavin! No one deserves to be…” Connor let the unspoken word linger between them, and Gavin pulled into himself more, a broken sob escaping his lips. Connor let impulse drive him in the next moment, and he pulled Gavin into a tight but gentle embrace, feeling the human tense for a moment before relaxing against him, free hand clutching at his jacket. They stayed like that for quite a while, until Gavin was finally able to stop sobbing and at least make an attempt to regain control of himself.
Someone cleared their throat from behind the pair, and Connor turned to see Hank, awkwardly standing there, hands in his pockets. “Hank, I thought you were on our other case…”
“I was, until Officer Schrute contacted me and told me that our victim here was Reed.”
Gavin pulled back then, blurry vision focused on Hank. “Please, you two can’t tell anyone about this at the precinct. Especially not Tina, she’d freak the fuck out.”
“Gavin, why don’t you want to press charges?” Connor asked, voice soft. Gavin still flinched away.
“Because, this will be all over the fuckin' news. Fuckin' stupid-ass DPD Detective gets... assaulted by the stupid fucking piece of shit he was not even really dating. Great, sounds fucking great. And if my Dad…” He shut up then, jaw audibly snapping closed, a shudder rushing through his body.
Connor and Hank shared a look, followed by a nod, before Hank spoke, “Look, kid, that Damien fucker had more than enough drugs on him to lock him away for a long time. Plus, he assaulted another cop… So, I get it. You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to.”
Gavin hung his head, nodding. “Thanks,” he muttered.
“Y-yea, sorry. That was… that was a terrible night. It’s not my story to tell, however,” he managed, eyes downcast as he focused on a loose thread on the sleeve of his sweater, mindlessly playing with it.
RK900 frowned at that, concern washing over him as he wondered just what had happened to the Detective. What kind of tragic life had he lived? What atrocities had he suffered? How similar were the things RK900 went through – months and months of horrible training bordering on torture that he simply went along with – how much of that was similar to what Gavin dealt with?
“Anyways, this time of the year… It’s particularly horrible for Gavin. If you checked his files at the DPD, which I’m sure you did, you would see that his partner was killed in action almost ten years ago as of this Monday.”
“I did see that, yes. Ryan Loughlin, correct? He was 29 at the time, unfortunately. Left behind his parents, an older brother, and a younger sister.” RK900 shook his head slightly, wondering how much of an impact that could have had on Reed. Many of the details of the incident were inaccessible – the file on it had simply stated that Loughlin was shot point-blank and was deceased on scene. So why-
“Ryan was Gavin’s fiancé.”
A cold chill shot through RK900, his eyes widening in shock, led spinning immediately red. He felt speechless, breathless, absolutely shaken to his core. That explained the intense impact on Gavin, then…
“Hank told me about it… He had just been a Detective then. Gavin and Ryan were relatively new to the force, but they’d been together for just shy of six years – met in the academy. Hank said that… that it changed Gavin… He’d always been particularly rough and kind of mean, and Hank had joked about whatever it was Ryan saw in him, but afterwards, he got… worse. He was completely and thoroughly broken.” Connor swallowed hard, shaking his head. He had only found out about this a month ago, when Hank had pulled him aside and requested that he be particularly more careful with Gavin for a bit and Connor had questioned why - always probing.
RK900 sat in stunned silence, mind still reeling – a few more cracks had formed with this new knowledge, but more importantly, the dull ache blossomed ten-fold and radiated through his entire being – almost like a searing pain. He brought his hand back up to his chest, willing himself to take a deep breath, ignore another crack, take another deep breath, close his eyes as his vision blurred, try to center himself, ignore another crack, deep breath-
“RK?” Connor’s voice broke him from his false meditation, and he lifted his eyes to look at Connor.
“Apologies, Connor. I had no idea, but that… explains many things.” RK900 offered a faint, barely-there smile, before it quickly disappeared and his face settled back into impassivity.
“I figured it would,” Connor muttered, turning his attention back to fiddling with the loose string on his sleeve. “Of course, we also need to discuss what is going on with you. It’s obvious that something is breaking your code, even if it is doing so slowly… and we do not know the potential fallout from that.”
“I am aware, yes,” RK900 spoke, glancing away. “I blame Reed for a good portion of it. He has pushed and challenged me in ways I had not expected.”
“That sounds like Gavin,” Connor huffed out, a breathy chuckle following. “He’s great at button-pushing.”
“Indeed, he is…” RK900 sighed softly, shifting his posture ever-so-slightly, feeling almost uncomfortable with being so rigid. “I have been particularly cruel to him, especially in the beginning, when he was late one too many times and I… I suppose I snapped.”
“Oh, you mean when you practically through him into a table in the break room?”
“I did not!” RK900’s voice was incredulous, and Connor merely tilted his head back and laughed.
“I’m not an idiot, you know. I’m more than capable of piecing together what had happened. Hank and I had a similar incident in the beginning of our working relationship, but I was on the receiving end of being grabbed by my collar and shoved up against a wall.” A flush colored Connor’s face a light blue, and he swallowed hard, shifting his position at the same time. “A-anyways, if Hank and I were able to get past that, I’m sure you and Gavin can as well.”
“Connor, Gavin completely distrusts me, and very nearly despises me. It’s been two weeks; for you and Hank, it only took a couple days.”
“Fair, but Gavin is, believe it or not, way more stubborn than Hank ever was.”
A gruff, “hey!” echoed from the hallway and Hank appeared then, dressed in a tee and loose sweats. “You can’t talk about a man in his own house while he’s sleeping, damn.”
Connor laughed at that and bounced off the sofa, going to kiss Hank good morning. RK900 watched them briefly, but the dull throb resonated stronger as he observed their casual, easy-going show of love, and he was forced to turn away before the throbbing turned almost painful again. What was this…?
Connor returned to the couch eventually, and Hank offered a half-hearted greeting to RK900 before making his way into the kitchen and pouring himself a cup of coffee. He sat himself at the kitchen table, scrolling through his phone.
Connor turned back to RK900, studying him quietly. After a moment, he asked, “What do you think might happen if you were to deviate?”
“I am not entirely sure. I am aware of the desire to disregard and fight against Amanda, but she is a virus, and most machines fight against viruses regardless – like you did,” RK900 sighed once more, offering a barely noticeable shrug. “I do not particularly… feel anything. There are brief notions, yes, but that may just be programming. The only thing that I have truly, wholly felt is this thrum, this resonating throb that emanates from my core.”
“That is interesting,” Connor murmured, head tilting to rest in his hand. “When I deviated, it was a fully conscious choice, but there had been action upon action that led up to me making that final decision, and crack upon crack in my coding. But I was built with deviation in mind; you were built to be absolutely nothing like me, despite sharing a similar visage.”
RK900 nodded at that. “Incapable of deviancy, or so they said. I’m beginning to wonder if they even know what causes deviancy, or if deviancy is just something that is meant to happen in all androids regardless.”
“That seems possible – most androids after the revolution chose to deviate almost immediately, influenced by Markus. A few remained undeviated out of choice, not willing nor able to deal with the emotions and feelings that comes with deviation at that moment. In fact, many of our police androids are only just now exploring deviancy, having worried that the impact of the job would have done irreparable damage to them.”
“Understandable,” RK900 murmured, wondering if he was actually fully capable of deviancy. But did he want to go down that path?
Did he want to confront Amanda, and deal with whatever would be unleashed? To have to balance emotions, needs, and desires? He supposed, that… that maybe if it meant getting closer to Reed, he would consider it. So, they could have a better work relationship, at least.
ahhh sorry y'all, I'm not dead I just started a new job
also sorry to just drop a heavy chapter and bounce lol
Chapter 11: Low
“Low now, feelin' low now
This divide inside my mind, I might lose control now
Demons feedin' on my soul, I'm a fuckin' ghost now
And there's nothin' in my chest but a fuckin' hole now
Woah now, blood, it flow out
There's a war inside my mind, drugs could dull it all down
Broken hearts and wasted time, tryna work it all out
Take a look inside my eyes, got a heart of stone now
Low – Lund
Gavin awoke the next morning, head absolutely pounding. He groaned and rolled over, his abdomen screaming in pain. Memories of the previous night flashed in his mind, slowly forming a somewhat coherent story. Bar fight, knife pulled, cops called, getting thrown out, being driven back to his apartment… RK900.
Gavin groaned even louder and ran his hands over his face, trying to will his head to stop spinning and his body to stop screaming. Fucking RK900, that’s right. Some dumb drunk bitches made it seem like someone just got ganked and RK900 just had to roll up in his fucking too nice car.
Carefully, he slowly pushed himself up into a seated position, hissing through his clenched teeth as the wrappings against his abdomen shifted against it, causing the slice to alight in a stinging pain. He hadn’t done as good of a job cleaning up as he could have – blame the vodka for everything – but at least the wound was cleaned. Who knows what was on that meat-brained fucker’s knife?
Muscles ached throughout his body as he moved, throwing his legs over the edge of the bed. Hands and knuckles were bruised and swollen, shoulders were tight and throbbing, the muscles in his abdomen were straining against his wound… Gavin was sufficiently fucked up.
Finally on his feet, he resisted the urge to stretch and instead grabbed some fresh clothes. Maybe a shower would help soothe his soreness, though the heat would most likely irritate the gash across his stomach – win some, lose some, he figured. Deciding on a loose, comfy outfit, he headed to his bathroom, noting that Asshole was (thankfully) curled up on the arm of the couch, with Queenie laying atop the cat tree in the corner. Gavin vaguely remembered them coming out of hiding last night while he was cleaning himself up, having hid from RK900 as they both detested strangers.
Fucking RK900… Who does he really think he is, to act like he even gave a singular fuck about Gavin? Bullshit.
“H-hey, De,” he managed, flinching at how hoarse his voice sounded.
“Hey Gavin. You don’t sound too good there, you okay?”
“Ah, uh… Rough night,” he managed lamely, sitting up as carefully as possible, the slash across his abdomen alighting in faint stinging pain.
“Pretty rough?” came the concerned reply. Gavin sighed heavily.
“I… got pretty fucked up in a bar fight and my stupid fucking work partner just had to be the one to bail me out of it and take me home.”
“Oh man, yea, that… that is pretty rough,” De muttered, frowning on the other end of the line. “Do you need anything? I can come over and make my mom’s killer fuckin’ chili and beer bread. Might make you feel better.”
Gavin hesitated, freezing at the thought of someone – other than RK900 – seeing his apartment. It was semi-clean, at least, his depression having not been too horrible as to force him into living in a trash pit. But did he really want De to see him in this state…? A nice, home-cooked meal sounded good, however…
“Ah, uh, I mean… I dunno, I’m pretty fucked up. I’d hate to ruin your wonderful illusion of me.”
“Oh please, Gavin,” came the chuckled reply. He could picture Deondre rolling his eyes. “Come on, I’ve shown you mine – now you show me yours.”
Gavin groaned and slumped back into the couch. “Damnit, fine, you win. I can’t get off my ass to cook anyways… which reminds me, I have like, no food…”
“Don’t worry, Gavin, I’ll grab everything I need. I’ll see you around five, how does that sound?”
“That… that sounds good, De. I’ll see you then.”
“What’s up?” he did his very best to sound casual.
“It’s De, Gavin,” came the smooth reply. Deondre grinned into the camera, perfect white teeth flashing in the light.
“I’ll let you in,” Gavin replied, flushing as he grinned in reply.
A few moments later, he was opening his door to allow Deondre into his apartment. “Oh fuck,” were the first words leaving De’s mouth. Gavin paled slightly, shoulders slumping. “You were not kidding, you got fucked up.” De moved to set the grocery bags on the entryway table, a careful hand reaching out to cup Gavin’s face – he did his best not to flinch away, but the grimace was still there. De let his hand fall away.
“Told you,” Gavin quipped, managing a weak chuckle. He crossed his arms across his chest – a defense mechanism.
“Have you iced that at all? You’re lucky you didn’t get your pretty face totally broken,” De remarked, grabbing the groceries and heading to the kitchen. “You’ve got a nice place, by the way. Can’t say I’m surprised.” That last sentence was punctuated by a warm smile that made Gavin flush slightly.
“I had had ice on it, but I passed out on the couch and it melted. I’ll deal with it later, I’m on enough pain-killers I don’t feel shit.” A lie, but whatever. The dull sting from the knife wound was mostly ignorable. “And thanks. It’s relatively knew, I only moved in about a month or so ago.”
“Oh? That’s cool. And, well, here,” Deondre paused to shuffle through one of the grocery bags before withdrawing a bottle of wine. “I know the painkillers probably got you fucked up enough, but there’s always room for wine, right?” Another grin.
Gavin chuckled and made his way into the kitchen to fish out two wine glasses from an overhead cabinet. “Please, it’s gonna take more than some Vicodin and wine to really get me fucked up. You know how many shots I had that night we met?”
“Are you bragging?” came the amused reply. Gavin stuttered a second, fumbling, his discomfort immediately obvious to Deondre. “I’m just kidding, Gavin. Some of the shit you’ve probably seen and had to deal with, I can’t imagine how hard it is sometimes.”
“Y-yea…” Gavin murmured, blindly looking for his corkscrew. “Shit’s rough.”
Deondre frowned, setting down the bag in his hand and moving over to Gavin. He reached a careful hand out, letting it fall on the small of Gavin’s lower back. “I’m sorry if I upset you with that, Gavin,” he remarked, voice soft.
Gavin heaved a sigh and turned to him. “You’re fine, it’s fine. It’s just… Fuck, it’s the anniversary of something really, really shitty right around the corner and I… I’m trying to hold it together, y’know?” He shrugged at that, shifting from one foot to the other, avoiding looking De in the face.
“I get it, Gavin,” De rumbled, drawing Gavin in slightly closer. “You don’t have to talk about it, but I get it. I’ve had some pretty shitty things happen too.”
Gavin let himself lean into Deondre, body relaxing against his broad form. “Being a human fucking sucks,” he muttered, allowing himself a faint chuckle. De laughed softly at that.
“It certainly does. Now, how about I get started on food and you pour us some wine?”
“Sounds good to me.”
So why did it all feel so hollow?
He should be fucking happy. De was a great guy – far better than Gavin had been with in years. He could see actually being in a content relationship with Deondre, settling down and just living out the rest of his life… It would be, should be, the best thing to happen to him in years. So why wasn’t it?
With a heavy sigh, Gavin carefully pushed himself up off of the bed. He grabbed his phone and cigarettes before quietly leaving the bedroom, heading to his small balcony. Maybe fresh air would clear his head – eliminate the emptiness sitting in his chest like a weight.
Maybe it was because the loss of Ryan was weighing on him, threatening to drag him underwater… The fact that it had been ten years… That had to be it. That just had to be it.
Gavin sat on the edge of his balcony, legs dangling over the concrete lip as he sparked up a cigarette. He scrolled listlessly through various social media apps, trying to ignore the empty feeling, trying to feel a semblance of happiness – even if it was just vicarious.
He froze as he came across a photo that Connor had posted. A selfie, but just behind him, standing somewhat stiffly and with his hands clasped behind his back, was RK900. Connor had a rather large grin on his cheery face, and RK900 sported a crooked smile. It looked strained, ever-so-slightly, but those ice blue eyes seemed to be alive. The caption simply read, “at the park”.
Gavin hadn’t realized he had stopped breathing, but as his lungs began to burn in protest, he took a deep and shaky breath. Holy fuck.
Connor and RK900 appeared to be out at a park. Judging from the wrap of a lead around Connor’s hand, they were probably walking Sumo. Why RK900 was even there, tagging along, was a mystery in and of itself. Maybe he’d gone to see Connor, so what? They were, like, brothers, right? Gavin shook his head, paused a moment, before leaving a like on the photo.
He scrolled down a touch further, past an ad, past random memes, past a couple photos of Tina and Andrea, before he froze on another image. This time it was just RK900 – posted earlier that day – as the android was mauled by a rather large Saint Bernard. Sumo, Gavin surmised. The photo appeared to be taken in Hank’s living room, judging by the scenery that hadn’t changed in a couple years.
Gavin’s heart momentarily ached as he remembered sitting on that very couch, a glass of whiskey in his hand as he and Hank flirted the night away, desperately trying to forget Hank’s pending divorce and his custody battle over the son he would lose only a couple months later. The loss that would absolutely destroy him, just like Gavin’s loss had done to him. He briefly wondered if Hank ever told Connor how deep-in they were before everything went to absolute hell – but he figured probably not. No use dragging up what-ifs and could-have-beens.
Gavin took a shuddery breath around his cigarette, squeezing his eyes shut. Fuck, he was a grade-A fuck up through and through.
The sound of the sliding door opening and the feeling of a blanket being draped around him pulled Gavin from his reminiscence. “Hey,” came De’s warm voice as he made to sit next to Gavin, giving him welcomed space but placing a gentle hand on his thigh all the same.
“Hey,” Gavin managed back lamely, eyes remaining focused on the city around them.
“You doin’ alright?”
“Y-yea, just… Couldn’t sleep, usual shit,” he replied, turning to look at De, a lopsided smile on his face. De merely nodded in return, turning to look out over the expanse of gleaming city.
They sat in silence for a bit, De eventually sliding a joint from his pocket and offering it to Gavin, who graciously accepted. They remained on the balcony, legs over the edge, passing the joint back-and-forth in comfortable stillness.
“It’s been a while since I smoked,” Gavin eventually remarked, leaning back to brace himself against the concrete floor of the balcony. Brief memories of his teen years flitted through his mind.
“It chills me out when I’m anxious,” Deondre replied, shifting to pull a leg up to himself. “Thank fuck they legalized it years ago – I think I’d be a right fuckin’ mess without it.”
Gavin laughed softly at that, looking over at De. The slightly larger man was alit in the warm glow of faint city lights, long braids trailing down his back, his rich skin absolutely gleaming. The hollow ache, however, remained – and Gavin cursed himself for it. Maybe De was too perfect for him. Maybe it really was too good to be true.
“Gavin?” came the soft question, snapping him out of his depressive thoughts.
“Sorry, sorry,” he muttered, waving a hand through the air as he completely flopped against the ground. “I get kinda flighty when I smoke.”
De chuckled, shifting himself to face Gavin more easily. “Well, we should probably get back to sleep then. I have work in the morning, anyways.”
“What is it you do again?”
“I thought I told you I owned a restaurant? Or, well, a pub – but we got real good food.”
“Hm… I don’t recall,” Gavin murmured, willing his eyes to stay open.
“The Grand Trunk Pub,” Deondre breathed against him, lips suddenly hovering over the expanse of skin uncovered by his shirt. “You should come by one day.”
Gavin felt his breath hitch in his throat as a warm hand found his hip. “Absolutely, I will.”
Chapter 12: Storm
“Life is like a melody
Sang deep within my soul
Sang deep within to me
And all these chains that shackle me
They won't let me take control
They wanna take control of me
I've got to rise above my life
To find the reason I'm alive
I'll save myself, I'm all alone
I've opened my heart to see there's nobody home
It's up to me, I'm on my own
The message of life is turning facing the storm
Facing the storm
My life is filled with your memories
You were deep within my heart
You were deep with inside me
And all this pain that I'm wrapped around
If there's a heaven up above
I see the angels falling down”
Storm - Saliva
tw: panic attack description
February 14th, 2039
Gavin stepped into the precinct, almost immediately drawing into himself. He didn’t want to be here. He really shouldn’t be here – but he couldn’t just up and leave.
He quietly made his way to his desk, dropping his bag by his chair and flopping into it rather heavily. RK900 looked up from his terminal, prepared to offer a standard “good morning”, but upon one look of Gavin he felt every process freeze.
Gavin was sunk into himself, eyes staring blankly at his terminal, arms wrapped loosely around himself. The expression on his face was unreadable, but the despair was palpable. RK900 knew, thanks to Connor, what day this was – but he hadn’t fully been expecting this. The dull ache from his thirium pump doubled, sending a wave through his chassis that left his artificial breath stuttering and his LED spinning bright gold.
Eventually, Gavin pushed himself up from his chair and headed to the breakroom. Tina was right behind him, cautious and concerned. RK900 sunk back into his chair – another unnecessary human motion – as he felt momentarily overwhelmed by the ache in his chest. He glanced across the bullpen, at Connor, whose chocolatey eyes were drifting between him and the breakroom Gavin had disappeared into.
RK900 shifted in the chair he was perched in, the ache radiating through his body wholly. He flinched when something beneath his hand snapped, and he realized he had been gripping the arm chair so tightly it had cracked. Connor seemed to notice, eyes now trained solely on RK900, waves of concern radiating off of the smaller android. RK900 released the arm chair slowly, tearing his eyes away from the breakroom’s archways to focus blurry vision on his terminal.
Gavin eventually returned, looking particularly worse for wear, a paper cup half-full of coffee in his hand. He slumped into his chair, running a shaky hand through his hair. RK900 turned to him, LED spinning yellow as he took in Gavin’s vitals. “Good morning,” he offered.
Gavin glanced up at him and nodded half-heartedly. RK900 could tell he’d been crying, eyes bloodshot and puffy. The ache seemed to intensify tenfold, and he involuntarily gasped as errors flew across his vision, another thin crack dancing across his red wall of code. His hand flew up to lay across his chest, where his thirium pump was situated and pumping way too rapidly.
Amanda screamed from somewhere in the back of his mind.
Gavin seemed to notice RK900’s discomfort, turning to look more fully at the android. The android's usually placid expression was instead one of, almost… pain? His eyes were widened, lips slightly parted, a surprising blue-tinged flush across his face. Gavin hesitated a moment, before managing, “you good?”
RK900 spun to look at him, snapping out of whatever had happened, hand dropping from his chest. “Yes, apologies Detective. Are you… okay?”
Amanda screamed again, and he involuntarily flinched.
Gavin sighed heavily, leaning into his desk, turning away from RK900. “I’m fucking not but I’ve got work to do.”
The android merely nodded, falling quiet.
They sat in silence for a couple of hours, analyzing case files, tying together more pieces. RK900 attempted to talk with Gavin a few times, but more often than not was only met with silence. He gave up eventually, instead resigning himself to finishing a couple reports and going over the John-Doe-in-the-river’s autopsy. No missing persons cases could be tied to the body, which further supported the idea that he had been a transient. Or just someone with no friends or family who gave a single solitary fuck about him. It really wasn't their problem much anymore, either way - the case had New Jericho tied into it now, and Hank and Connor were leading the investigation due to android involvement. The best that RK900 could do would be to confirm if the John Doe was a part of a red ice ring at some point. Still, though, how was it so impossible to identify a human?
RK900 felt himself bristle at the thought, and he shifted in his seat again, trying to clear it from his mind. He glanced over at Gavin, who was hunched forward in his chair and staring blindly at the terminal. His vision was clearly flooded with unshed tears. The ache in his chest screamed, this time – overriding Amanda.
Gavin got up suddenly, muttering a quiet “’scuse me” as he headed off in the direction of the restrooms. RK900 sat back in his chair, watching as Gavin made his way out of sight. He sighed heavily, turning back to his reports. Odd, though it was, that he couldn’t bring himself to focus on them. Between the Amanda virus’s lunatic desperation to regain full control, the slow but undeniable breakdown of his coding thanks to one Detective Reed, the ache that lingered in every inch of his chassis… And the look of absolute despair on Gavin’s face…
Gavin eventually returned, stuffing a tissue back into his pocket. He grabbed his coffee cup without a word and headed back to the breakroom. This time, Hank – who had just stepped into the precinct – followed him. RK900 could see as Hank grabbed hold of Gavin and pulled him into a tight hug with absolutely no fight from the usually feisty man. They stayed like that for a while, and a strange bitterness wormed it’s way up RK900’s throat. He turned away from them, clasping his hands together to avoid snapping any other things around him, the arm of his chair be damned.
RK900 didn’t notice when Gavin sat back in his chair, didn’t hear him call out his name, only registered Gavin’s presence when he leaned across their desks and waved hand in his face. The android almost jumped at that, swiveling to look at Gavin who immediately slumped back into his chair.
“You sure you’re good? We can’t both be having complete breakdowns at work,” he joked weakly, resting his head on his hand. There was no mirth to his words, and his eyes didn’t quite meet RK900 fully.
“I am fine, yes, just… momentarily distracted.” RK900 inclined his head to Gavin. A strange prompt appeared abruptly – HUG DETECTIVE GAVIN REED. He faltered a moment, before attempting to delete it. It came back immediately. Delete, reappear, delete, reappear. A low growl escaped the android before he could stop it, and Gavin leveled him with a particularly wide-eyed expression.
“Apologies. I have been having some… coding issues, as of late. Nothing to worry about, I assure you,” RK900 attempted to reassure, eyes focusing on Gavin once more.
“That noise was fucking terrifying,” Gavin muttered, a faint smirk on his face, and for a moment the air around them felt a touch lighter.
The lightness disappeared as quickly as it had come though, and Gavin let out a soft sigh, turning back to his terminal. He hated paperwork, but he was much better being in the office than he would be out on the field today – it only took one meltdown at a crime scene years ago (a particularly brutal domestic violence case, for reference) for Fowler to order him to desk duty each anniversary of Ryan’s death.
It had maybe gotten easier, ten years on, but the pain was still there. The overwhelming sadness, the trauma, the bitterness. And each time he thought he was cried out, more tears came and he was shuffling off to the bathroom to cry miserably alone in a stall. He was doing his best to fight it, today, because fuck – what would RK900 think of him? “I don’t need a weak partner who spends all day crying,” fuck.
RK900’s overall demeanor was, surprisingly, somewhat gentle – which Gavin definitely did not expect. It almost seemed to hurt worse; had Hank told him what today was? It was possible… He figured he had told Connor, judging by Connor’s soft greeting and awkward hand on his shoulder earlier that morning.
But RK900’s behavior was out of left-field, definitely. It was clear the android was dealing with something – who knows what the fuck it was, some stupid android thing probably – but he seemed to handle Gavin with kiddie gloves almost. His voice wasn’t as sharp, and his eyes were almost warm when RK900 looked at him.
That gentleness from a fucking war machine is what ended up sending Gavin into a tailspin.
He had been sitting, spacing out at his terminal, when a coffee cup was placed on his desktop. He hadn’t even seen RK900 get up, but the android was standing there, an almost-smile on his face and his LED stuttering between blue and yellow. His eyes were definitely warmer, now, verging on kind. Something swam in those icy blue depths that Gavin couldn’t place.
Gavin managed a stuttered thanks, carefully reaching for the cup only to realize it wasn’t even from the precinct – it was once again from that particularly expensive coffee shop, "The Hideout". How did RK900 disappear for that long without him realizing it at all? How long had he been sitting their, slowly spiraling, without realizing it at all? How much time had passed... fuck...
The beginning signs were there, but he tried to ignore them. Tried to pretend like his eyes weren't suddenly burning, and that the world hadn't just tilted on it's axis. That it wasn't suddenly impossible to take a deep breath, and that not even timing or any fancy exercise could get his breathing steady again. That he wasn't about to slip into a complete meltdown because his work partner had gone out of his way to go grab a fancy coffee from a really fuckin' fancy coffee shop. Like there wasn't the sound of blood rushing in his ears as his head started to spin, like he wasn't suddenly feeling so unbelievably nauseous he was thankful he had skipped breakfast that morning. Like he hadn't been tearing down a path of self-destruction recently only to have nearly everything foiled by some stupid fuckin'
gorgeous android that looked so similarly to Ryan. Like everything wasn't simultaneously hitting warp speed and sludging through molasses. Like... like he wasn't going to have a panic attack in the middle of the precinct... A fucking panic attack, probably coupled by a complete nervous breakdown, of all things. But he was doing so fucking good.
RK900 was immediately in-tuned to the rapid degradation of Gavin’s vitals, and a swift feeling of panic rushed through him – a terrible emotion, and one that he hoped to never feel again, potential deviation be damned. Before he could react, however, Gavin was on his feet and disappearing down the doors that led to the archives, as well as a couple unused rooms that once upon a time held paper files and records.
He watched as Gavin all but power-walked away from him, eyes eventually dropping to the coffee cup left untouched on the desk. He looked up a moment later, eyes locking with Hank who merely held up a hand and shook his head. “Just wait,” he said, moving to look at the closed stairway doors. “Give him a few moments.”
RK900 nodded numbly, vaguely aware of the ache that seemed to almost vibrate through his chassis. It was becoming… painful again.
He went to sit down, feeling more on edge than he thought possible.
Another crack lashed through his code, followed by a blinding error warning.
The HUG DETECTIVE GAVIN REED prompt flickered, disappeared, and reappeared as COMFORT DETECTIVE GAVIN REED.
He didn’t try to delete this one.
Lines of static code danced across his vision, and his LED was blaring a bright red. Connor stepped up next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. RK900 didn’t react, eyes glued to the closed doors.
No response. Connor swallowed nervously. Was this going to be the breaking point?
Without warning, RK900 launched to his feet, Connor’s hand being ripped from his shoulder.
“I cannot just leave him to agony alone,” he spoke, voice crackling with static like an old, ruined stereo. His eyes were blaring bright blue, almost glowing, and Connor would swear they even flashed red in time with his LED.
“Please be careful,” the smaller android managed, taking a step back from the other. He cursed himself for his momentary fear, but RK900 was a powerhouse to be reckoned with, and to be frank, Connor did not want to get in his way again.
RK900 didn’t seem to register Connor’s words and instead made a bee-line for the staircase doors, pushing past them and taking the steps two at a time, long legs carrying him swiftly. He paused as he descended the final step, looking down the hallway.
Amanda was still screaming.
He could sense Gavin’s vitals from the far end of the hallway – the very last room, a seldom-used isolation chamber meant only for the most violent or depraved. He was in front of the door in moments, hand paused on the lever. Taking a deep (unnecessary) breath, RK900 did his best to pull himself together.
Amanda kept fucking screaming.
Carefully, he pushed the door open and stepped inside. The light wasn’t on, but he easily made out Gavin’s form huddled in the far corner. Stepping further into the room, he could hear the heavy sobs finally. Like approaching a frightened animal, RK900 slowly crept over to the Detective, kneeling next to him.
“Reed,” he murmured, reaching a hand out but faltering. Gavin was shaking violently, the sobbing erratic and broken. The ache in RK900 was absolutely painful now. “Reed,” he tried again, his voice soft. His vision had blurred once again, a strange phenomenon that he wasn’t fully familiar with. He let his hand continue in its path, landing gently on Gavin’s shoulder. The smaller form jumped at the touch, heading whipping up to look at RK900 directly.
“Fuck off,” Gavin managed to snarl, pushing himself back against the wall, throwing up immediate defenses. He could barely make out the form of RK900, but placed him immediately by his ice blue eyes that glowed in the dim lighting.
“Reed,” RK900 snapped, his voice gnarled by static. “Please don’t push me away.”
Gavin all but became paralyzed at hearing RK900’s broken voice, at the
strained pained expression on his face, at the fact that his wide eyes seemed to be swimming with unshed tears – or whatever the fuck androids cried.
“I’m fighting every fiber of my being to be here,” RK900 continued, and Gavin could feel the shake that the android was doing his best to stem off. “But I could not just leave you down here to suffer alone.”
Gavin broke at that, defenses crumbling, and he slumped against the broad form of the android, allowing RK900 to wrap his arms around him and pull him closer. RK900 buried his face into the top of Gavin’s head, still fighting off the intense shaking, his artificial breath shuddering and quick. Gavin melted against the warmth provided, however, despite the shaking and fact that RK900 was fighting so hard to keep himself composed.
The objective – COMFORT DETECTIVE GAVIN REED – slowly disappeared and RK900 felt the slow slide back into impartialness. “Apologies, Reed. I really, truly, am so sorry,” he murmured, doing his best to keep his arms wrapped around Gavin even as priorities shifted and code overrode code.
A few moments later, Gavin pulled back, and was met with a familiar stoic face – but those ice blue eyes seemed to have taken on an ocean of emotion, regarding Gavin rather warmly. RK900 let his arms slip from around him, a hand raising in an aborted attempt to cup his cheek, before it fell away. Gavin shifted, wiped at his eyes, and sighed heavily. “Figures,” he murmured.
“It is a massive toll to fight it,” RK900 spoke, “but Connor believes there might be a chance. That maybe deviancy is a natural thing for androids, and not a virus like once thought.”
Gavin studied RK900’s face, wondering what that could possibly mean – and doing his best to squash any potential hope it brought him. “Maybe,” he replied, shrugging.
RK900 stood and reached a hand out to Gavin, who, after a moment, took it and allowed himself to be pulled up to his feet.
“What makes it so hard to fight it?”
“My coding is much more intense, much less vulnerable, and… the Amanda virus is rather distracting and controlling.”
“Yes… I suppose Connor never told you. Amanda was, to him, a mentor at first; one who helped him in succeeding in his missions. But as soon as he began to turn against her, she in turn tried to destroy him. He barely managed to escape her override. I’ve… not been so lucky. Due to my aggressive coding and the amped nature of the Amanda virus, I am having a much harder time fighting against it.”
“I see,” Gavin murmured, shifting. “Well… Whatever. We’ve got shit to do, I guess.” He paused, looking over RK900 fully, remembering the pained expression and tear-filled eyes. “Thank you.”
“Of course, Detective.”
Chapter 13: 5am
“And we've got work in the morning
But it's nearly 5 AM
Is this really what we envisaged?
We won't be 21 again
And in the haze, you see colors
And problems suddenly make sense
But the way you've been going
You'll be in an early grave
And you don't know what you've got until it's gone
And you don't know who to love until you're lost
And you don't know how to feel until the moment's passed
I wish you'd live like you're made of glass”
5AM – Amber Run
The rest of the day passed rather quickly. Six in the evening came before Gavin fully realized, and he was left sitting at his desk, shifting his attention between the phone in his hand and the screen of his terminal, not really registering either. He and RK900 hadn’t spoken much since the incident in the lone isolation room downstairs; both seemed to agree to keep what had happened between the two of them, without actually saying anything. Gavin, mostly, wanted to keep it on the down-low out of shame, and RK900… Well, he wasn’t fully sure why the android wanted to keep it to himself other than to spare Gavin the embarrassment. Then again, maybe he worried that if word of his potential to deviate got out, there would be backlash?
Either way, they were sitting in a near-oppressive silence now, RK900 sifting rapid-fire through files on a tablet and Gavin blankly focused on nothing in particular on his terminal. He'd been looking over the same report for the last ten minutes now, vision bleary. Finally, feeling as though the silence might suffocate him, he spoke up: “where do you go after work?”
RK900 halted his work, turning to look at Gavin with a carefully raised eyebrow. “I reside at the precinct,” he stated blandly, as if it was obvious.
“What, so you get a state-of-the-art car but not an apartment?”
“The car was a smart and necessary purchase. An apartment is not,” came the cool reply. RK900 glanced down at the time displayed on the screen and switched his terminal off. “To offer a broader reply, on occasion I will explore the city. It is not a wise idea, in my opinion, to be physically unfamiliar of the city in which I work and reside. I do also occasionally visit Lieutenant Anderson and Connor.”
“Yea, I… saw the photo Connor posted,” Gavin muttered, shifting away from the android’s piercing stare. The ocean of emotions had remained, though faintly, and it was almost overwhelming. “I should… probably get home.” And drink myself into oblivion.
RK900 eyed Gavin cautiously, eyebrow quirked. “Will you be okay?” he asked, voice soft – the first notion since earlier that day that everything in Gavin’s life was very, very, very fucking not "okay".
“I will be,” Gavin half-muttered-half-whispered, moving to grab his bag and toss his empty paper coffee cup into the trash by his desk. Rising to his feet, he hesitated a moment, glancing at the android seated at the desk next to his. “You… have any plans for tonight?”
A brief glimmer of surprise danced across RK900’s features as he also stood, head tilting, eyebrow raising once more. “No, there is nothing on my calendar for tonight,” he offered, that dull thrum aching in every part of his being, his LED briefly circling yellow. The thrum seemed to worsen with each and every crack - it hadn't let up all day, at this point.
“Wanna, uh, fuck, I don’t know… I just…” Gavin took a deep breath, eyes flicking down to the ground, before finally admitting, “I probably shouldn’t be alone tonight, s’all.”
RK900 quietly studied Gavin; the detective had the notion he was reading his vitals and resisted the urge to snap at him to stop. After a moment, the android spoke. “I believe you are correct in that observation, Detective. But why not reach out to-“ a snap of static cut off RK900’s speech, and he cleared his throat, before attempting again – pointedly ignoring Gavin’s startled expression. “Why not reach out to your friend, Deondre? You two seem close.” Was that... was that slight bitterness in the android's voice?
Gavin’s head began to swim as he stared at RK900, desperately trying to make sense of what the fuck just happened. “N-no, I mean, I ain’t gonna burden him with my bullshit. We’re… not that close.” He gave an aborted attempt at a casual shrug, attempting to pay no attention to how his hands had begun to shake slightly.
“I see,” RK900 spoke, a crackle dancing across the last word.
“The fuck’s going on with you? If you don’t wanna fuckin’ come with me, just say so,” Gavin snapped, turning to focus an intense and somewhat hurt gaze on the android. “I’ll just get fuckin’ obliterated by myself.”
“N-no, Reed, I apologize,” RK900 was quick to speak, almost cutting of Gavin’s last sentence, “as I said, I have been having some issues. Nothing to worry about.”
Gavin faltered, watching as that ocean of emotions swam through RK900’s eyes; the android appeared concerned on a surface level, his LED now circling fully golden with the tiniest burst of vermillion, but a million different things lingered in those ice blue eyes. “Uh, y-yea… Sorry,” he stumbled, feeling suddenly sheepish. “Why don’t you go and get looked at or something?”
“I doubt much can be done for me; I am the only android of my type - the only fully completed model,” RK900 replied coolly, shifting away from Gavin’s stare.
“O-oh,” came the startled, breathy reply. “Well… fuck.”
Silence fell between them for a moment, before Gavin sighed heavily, almost awkwardly toeing at the ground with the tread of his boot. “So?”
“Yes, Reed. If it would make you feel better, I will accompany you back to your apartment.”
“Nah, it’s fucking funny! He hates people but ho-lee shit he loves you!” Gavin let out another guffaw of laughter, the wound across his stomach aching slightly. He was already fairly drunk, and it was well past the time he should have attempted to go to bed, but honestly… Watching RK900 get mauled by a particularly feisty cat was pretty worth it. Besides, he hadn't laughed this hard in a while, it felt like. And certainly not on... he gulped down a mouthful of whiskey to banish that thought, wincing momentarily at the burn.
Finally snatching all four paws from his jacket, the offended android carefully deposited the tawny colored animal onto the floor. He, himself, was feeling the effects of “alcoholic” thirium – a purchase that Gavin had all but convinced him to buy because he didn’t want to be “drinking alone” (RK900 had tried to argue that Gavin would not be alone, but that had not seemed to be sufficient). “I certainly hope he did not tear my jacket. Also, Reed, your cat is adequately named.”
“Tell me about it,” Gavin sniggered, taking another mouthful of whiskey. “He made me burn my eggs the other morning by scaring the shit out of me. Oh, and he’s shat in my bed at least three times after I was gone too long.”
It was RK900’s turn to laugh, a quick beat that knocked the wind out of Gavin and left something warm pooling in the pit of his stomach. He sat up abruptly, whiskey sloshing dangerously in his glass, a deep (alcohol-induced of fuckin’ course) blush creeping across his cheeks. “Did you just…?”
RK900 cleared his throat, smoothing out his jacket, attempting to remain dignified despite having worn Gavin’s cat as a scarf not but five minutes ago. The thrum had turned into a throb, causing him to develop a very negligible quiver in his hand. “Did I what?”
“Did you fuckin’ laugh?”
“And if I did?”
“Jesus.“ Gavin was suddenly slumped against the android, arm around his shoulder, laughing softly against him. “Warn a motherfucker next time, that was fuckin’ se-eh-“ He cut himself off sharply, bolting upright, blush deepening. RK900 had a good chance to look over the detective then, noting how wide his eyes were and how his hand had drunkenly clamped over his mouth, obscuring the deep blush that worked it's way down his neck, beyond the collar of his long-sleeved tee-shirt. Gavin's eyes were shining, both from the effects of the alcohol and from pure embarrassment, and as he pulled his hand from his face while glancing away sheepishly, his tongue darted out to nervously wet his lips. RK900 found his eyes following the movement before he even realized it.
Without warning, there was a sudden stream of errors, another whip-like crack, followed by a prompt the interrupted RK900’s vision - K̴I̴S̴S̶ ̵D̵E̸T̸E̶C̷T̷I̷V̷E̸ ̶G̸A̵V̴I̵N̶ ̴R̴E̸E̷D̶. The android sucked in a sharp breath, and Amanda screamed.
And she screamed.
RK900’s vision flooded with glaring red error after glaring red error after nonsensical prompt after glaring red error. It distorted the face in front of him, pulled jagged red and blue and green pixels, all splaying out around the preliminary prompt.
K̴I̴ S̴ S̶ ̵ D̵E̸T̸ E̶ C̷T̷I̷ V̷E̸ ̶ G̸A̵V̴I̵N̶ ̴R̴E̸ E̷D̶
His LED was rapidly spinning crimson, cycling faster than Gavin had ever seen. And… and he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t fucking breathe. He did not need to breathe, necessarily, not like a human. So why… Why?
Amanda kept screaming. Why wouldn’t she stop screaming?
“-hundred! RK900!” Gavin grabbed the android by his shoulders, shaking him slightly, fear coursing through him. “Fuck! What the fuck?”
Blue eyes suddenly snapped up to meet his, vision clearing to focus on the soft green that gleamed with a heart-breaking startled shimmer. “R-Ree-eed,” he managed, hand reaching up to grab hold of Gavin’s shirt.
“Oh, my fuck, what the fuck, Nines you gotta snap out of it, please!” Gavin was frantic, alcohol fueling his terror, his body damn near shaking just as much as RK900's was. “Please, Nines, please!”
“Reed,” RK900 snapped, voice suddenly clear, eyes wide and focused on the devastating expression on the detective’s face. He brought his other hand up to rest on Gavin’s cheek, grounding himself as his fingers carded through overgrown stubble and brushed against surprisingly soft skin. “Fuck, Reed, I’m sorry. I’m here.”
Gavin collapsed against him them, a cracking sob echoing against the android's chest chest, his well of emotions bubbling over for the second time that day until he was choking for breath. RK900 let his arms wrap around the trembling form, fighting as hard as possible to retain in full control of his actions. He could feel the hands clutched tight against his jacket, pulling at the material as Gavin used it to ground himself, pull himself out of the absolutely overwhelmed state that that had just thrown him into. Eventually, he was able to calm down, timing his breaths as he sat back, not even realizing he had essentially seated himself in the android’s lap.
Silence hung heavy in the air, before; “you called me Nines.” RK900 was soft, apprehensive, unsure of what to make of it as the name rolled off his tongue.
Gavin looked up at him, wiping at his face. “It slipped out,” he muttered, shaking his head. “You scared the fuck out of me. What the fuck.”
“I am sorry, that… It was not my intention.”
Gavin swallowed hard, becoming aware of his position, pushing off RK900’s lap to grab his glass and take a heavy swig of whiskey. They sat apart on the couch, the previously relaxed ambience now jolted into something staticky and harsh. Nines felt a sharp sting punctuate his being, enmeshing itself with the ache that had fully blossomed in his chest. Something acrid lay heavy on the back of his tongue, cloying its way down his throat. With more effort than he would have liked, he reached forward for his glass of wine and took a heavy drink. Blame it on the alcohol. Suddenly, there was a breathy chuckle, and Gavin relaxed back into the couch. “You said fuck,” he blurted, turning back to RK900 with a sly expression, doing his best to push down and block out any of the negative things that were swirling around him like a tornado. Ignore, disregard, shove down. Sip your whiskey. Focus on something else, like the fact that prim-and-proper RK900 said ‘fuck’.
It was RK900’s time to flush, a soft blue dancing across his face, LED stuttering into that nervous marigold once again. “I suppose I did,” he murmured, hiding his mildly flustered expression behind another long drink of wine, polishing off the glass. Anything to not have to talk about it.
A heavy silence fell between them once more, both unsure of what to say or what to even make of whatever the fuck had just occurred. Gavin turned to the clock, letting out a huff as he caught sight of the time. “Fuck, it’s almost five… when the fuck did it get to five? I have to be up in, like, a fuckin’ hour,” he groaned, collapsing fully into the couch, sliding down until he was pressed against the cushions, head dangerously close to RK900's lap. “Maybe I just call out sick… Fowler’d understand.”
“Reed, while that would be irresponsible, it would be more irresponsible for you to go into work in this state. Furthermore, I apologize for keeping you up so long, the… effects of the wine have made my senses dull and I… lost track of the time,” RK900 offered, shifting slightly, frowning. He resisted the strange urge to run his fingers through the man's soft brown hair. “I can go into work and tell Fowler that you are unwell.”
“Would ya, please?” Gavin asked, sitting back up to level RK900 with an earnest stare.
“Absolutely. Now, you should get to bed.”
“Yea, yea, I will,” he muttered indignantly, downing the rest of his whiskey.
“I’ll head back to the station,” RK900 spoke, rising to his feet, going to deposit his and Gavin's glasses in the sink.
“You sure you’re good to go back there?”
“I can initiate the self-driving mode on my vehicle, and when I return to the station, a soft boot should reset the effects.”
“Jesus, sober in an instant, wish I could do that,” Gavin muttered, standing and stretching, shirt riding up.
RK900’s eyes lingered on the revealed skin, and he swallowed hard, ignoring the prompt that glimmered just out of view that dared him to run his fingers against the most assuredly soft skin, to trace the forget-me-nots tattoo, to run his- RK900 cut himself off there, yanking his eyes back up to Gavin's face, ignoring the heat that coursed through his systems. “I will see you tomorrow, yes?”
“Yea, I’ll be in then, should be fine… Just gonna try and sleep all day,” Gavin replied, a faint smile dancing across his face.
“Very well, Detective. And please, do actually sleep.”
“Fuck, what are you, my mom?”
RK900 rolled his eyes at that, a move that made Gavin’s heart skip a beat. “Very funny, Reed.”
Gavin ignored the flush of heat that crossed his face for what very might have been the hundredth time that night, and watched as RK900 made his way to the door. “Hey, uh…” The android turned to look back at him, eyebrow quirked. “Thank you… Nines.”
The soft smile that graced RK900’s face at that made Gavin’s heart attempt to hit hyper-drive. “Of course, Detective Reed. Sleep well, I will see you Wednesday.”
And with that, he was gone. Gavin stood in the middle of his living room, hand slowly reaching up to cover his heart.
Chapter 14: Wrong Side of Heaven
“I heard from God today and she sounded just like me
What have I done and who have I become
I saw the devil today and he looked a lot like me
I looked away, I turned away
Arms wide open
I stand alone
I'm no hero and I'm not made of stone
Right or wrong
I can hardly tell
I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell
The wrong side of heaven and the righteous side,
The righteous side of hell
I'm not defending
Falling further and further away
Getting closer every day
I'm getting closer every day
To the end, to the end, the end of the end
I'm getting closer every day”
Wrong Side of Heaven – Five Finger Death Punch
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.” 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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
And with that, RK900 was stepping out of the office and making his way to his desk.
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.
Chapter 15: Touch
“Rain or shine, I don’t feel a thing,
Just some information upon my skin.
I miss the subtle aches when the weather changed,
The barometric pressure we always blamed
All I want is to flip a switch
Before something breaks that cannot be fixed
These moving parts inside of me
Well, they’ve been shutting down for quite some time,
Leaving only rust behind
Well I know, I know - the sirens sound
Just before the walls come down.
Pain is a well-intentioned weatherman
Predicting God as best he can,
But God I want to feel again,
Oh God I want to feel again.”
Touch – Sleeping at Last
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
February 16th, 2039
Gavin stepped into the bullpen expertly on time, feeling marginally better than he had been the last few weeks. The previous night, after he had managed to scrape himself out of bed and go visit De at work, had been a very pleasant and successful time. Tina seemed to notice, turning to grin mischievously at him as he rounded around her desk.
“Morning, Gav. You’re glowing,” she snarked, grin widening.
“Shut up, Tee,” was the immediate reply, though it held little bite. Instead, Gavin’s expression was relaxed and almost… happy? He leaned against Tina’s desk, letting his bag slide off his shoulder and thud to the ground at his feet. “I actually managed to have a good night, for once.”
Gavin nodded, his lazy smirk stretching into a wide grin. “He’s pretty much too good for me, so you know, I’m enjoying it before I find some way to fuck it all up.”
Tina’s eyes involuntarily glanced over to RK900 before she looked back at Gavin, offering him a shrug. “Hey, who knows, maybe this is actually it, Gav. Try not think so negatively.”
Gavin followed her glance, puzzled. RK900 was sitting at his desk, a mirror image of countenance Gavin had seen last week, an almost lost expression on his usually stoic face with eyes once again gazing unfocusedly on the floor. His LED was a lazily spinning yellow. “Yea, maybe,” Gavin muttered. “What’s up with the Terminator?”
There was a soft sigh from the officer and she shook her head, leaning back in her chair as she focused her attention fully on the sullen android. “He’s been excessively mopey all morning,” came her concerned reply. “I didn’t know that was possible, but I guess… Andrea said they spoke yesterday morning, briefly, and something’s wrong. That’s all I got, though.” Tina leaned back forward, settling her elbows on her desk, tearing her gaze away to look up at Gavin. “Gav, is he… is he actually deviating?”
Gavin swallowed hard, trying to ignore the sudden pain in his chest that constricted his heart. “Maybe,” was his quiet reply, looking anywhere but at the android in question.
Tina let out another sigh, this one decidedly more exasperated. “Fuck, Gavin,” she breathed, “what is going on with you two?”
“Nothing,” he replied quickly, straightening up, hands raised defensively. “Fuck, nothing, Tee. We’re friends, I guess, I dunno. I’m barely able to keep my shit straight and together anymore, I've no idea what’s goin' on with Nines.”
A look of shock blew across Tina's face, eyes widening almost comically. “Nines?”
“Look, look,” Gavin took a deep breath, steeling himself, shoving his hands into his pockets. “He came over Monday, cause I didn’t think being alone was a good idea and you’d already left-“
“You could have called me.”
“-yea, yea, but anyways we got drunk and it slipped out.”
Silence. Then, “You. And RK900. Got drunk. Together.”
“Okay, fine, I got drunk. He got kinda tipsy and Asshole climbed him like a tree. Look, it doesn’t matter, really. I don’t know what’s going on with him, anyways. Not fully, at least.”
Tina sat back once more, eyes narrowing as she crosses her arms over her chest, studying him suspiciously. “Dude,” she finally muttered, “we gotta hit the bar and chat about some shit.”
“Ugh, yea, we should. I should get to work, however. Maybe tomorrow night?”
Gavin slipped off Tina’s desk, grabbing his bag. “Tee, don’t tell anyone, right?”
“Of course, your bullshit is safe with me," she quipped, giving him a thumbs-up and a cheeky grin in reply.
Gavin rolled his eyes at that but offered Tina a lopsided grin. He plodded over to his desk, logging into his terminal as he dropped his bag beneath it. He glanced over at RK900, noting how the android hadn’t even seemed to register his presence. “Morning?”
RK900 glanced up at him and nodded. “Good morning,” was the stoic reply.
“Uh, you… you good?”
“I am fine, Detective.”
“O- … okay then.” Gavin frowned heavily, before going to get himself a cup of coffee. On his return, RK900 was locked into an interface with his terminal, effectively ignoring Gavin. He turned to look back at Tina confusedly, only to catch sight of Connor looking between them, expression concerned. With a sigh, he made his way over to Connor’s desk and leaned against it. “Alright, what’s up?”
“I… am not sure, Detective. RK900 and I spoke yesterday morning. I’m aware that he’s… struggling. But as of this morning, he seems to have almost completely reverted. He’s barely said three words to me,” Connor explained, voice disconsolate. “Did anything happen?”
“What? Fuck no, I ain’t seen him since, well, yesterday morning,” Gavin explained, feeling another strange ache seize his heart. He glanced over at the android, watching as he powered through whatever-the-fuck work he was doing.
“This is peculiar,” Connor murmured, frowning heavily as he sat back in his chair, crossing his arms across his chest lightly.
“He’s moping like he got his heart broken,” came Hank’s gruff voice, startling the both of them. The man-in-question eyed Gavin skeptically.
Gavin floundered for a moment, faltering, before wheeling on Hank. “The fuck you looking at me like that for?” he growled, tensing.
Hank raised his hands defensively, shrugging. “All’s I’m saying is it’s different than his usual machine-stoic bullshit. This is fucking sad; he might as well have rain clouds hanging over him.”
“Almost like he’s forcing everything down and away,” Connor chimed in.
Gavin deflated, turning to look at RK900. What could have caused this? He didn’t even see the android after he left his apartment yesterday morning… He thought they might even be on good terms, that maybe he could be friends with a fuckin’ android, especially since they had to work together an’ all. “This isn’t my fault,” he muttered obstinately, shoving his hands in his pockets, fingers finding his lighter. Christ, maybe a smoke break would do him some good already.
Connor shared a look with Hank before focusing his gaze on Gavin. “We’re not saying it is, but something happened.”
“Fuck, whatever. If he wants to be bitch baby and mope about, fuckin’ let ‘im,” Gavin growled out, shrugging further into his pockets. Inwardly, he could feel the last couple days unravelling – the kindling of hope dying out. He stalked back to his desk before Connor or Hank could reply, flopping himself into his chair rather dramatically.
Either way, they were here to investigate a dead body who maybe – just maybe – had ties to the red ice gang he was tracking. The body was found collapsed half-into a crate that had a few bags of stolen thirium left in it, the rest having been snatched up and transported elsewhere. How this poor fool died in the crate itself wasn’t much of a mystery – the fuckin’ machete sticking out of the back of his skull was a pretty good indicator.
“Jesus, they had it in for him,” Gavin muttered, analyzing the scene. RK900 stood silent next to him, eyes sweeping over the carnage before them. He’d barely said anything to Gavin at all, for the entire day, and the detective could feel himself growing more resentful over the fact. His chest still ached, too, for some bullshit reason.
It didn’t help that it decided to unseasonably pour rain today – rain which would eventually turn into sleet and slush in just a couple short hours – and RK900 had looked so fucking desolate standing in it, waiting for Gavin to get his shit together and get out of the precinct.
The call had come in just an hour before Gavin was off shift, but with his focus being the Red Ice Task Force, he of course had to go to the scene. RK900 hadn’t waited for him after receiving news of the case; instead, the android opted to abruptly stand and all-but stalk out of the precinct while Gavin fumbled to close everything he had up on his terminal and scramble to grab everything he needed.
He had stepped out of the building just a few minutes behind RK900, only to find the android standing at the base of the steps, looking up into the sky, rain streaking down his face and LED a bright circling yellow. Gavin had felt himself freeze at the top of the steps, all of the wind knocked out of him momentarily. He almost dropped the umbrella he had been holding, borrowed from Chris who seemed prepared for anything all of the time (fuckin’ Dad-skills, man).
RK900 hadn’t intended to soak himself, but as soon as he stepped out into the rain, fully prepared to duck into his vehicle, he was startled to realize… He couldn’t feel the rain. Not really, not like he had used to, not like he had felt the soft snow pelt against him and soak into him as he made his way back to the precinct last night after… No. It was just sensory input on his skin.
That thought alone had almost snapped him apart, almost left him to crumble into nothing, but instead his vision blurred and he should have been horrified - really, truly, horrified - when unwarranted tears suddenly poured down his face, mixing with the rainwater. There was no explanation - no preemptive feeling that the tears were coming. He would have felt shocked otherwise.
He should have felt shocked.
He should have felt the rain.
He should have felt anything towards the crime scene they were currently standing in.
Somewhere deep within him, Amanda almost purred.
“Terminator, the fuck is your fucking problem?” Gavin snapped, looking up at RK900, yanking the android out of his thoughts. With a practiced precision he turned look down at Gavin only to find his vision blurring. A familiar sensation clutched at his chest; a minute shudder jolted through his hand.
“I have no problem, Detective. I am working optimally,” he lied, voice low and coarse. His vision refused to clear and a strange heat sprung to his face, burning, as his LED spun a violent vermillion. There was that acrid taste at the back of his throat again, and something felt like it was constricting his artificial lungs, tiny little daggers ripping into his chest.
Gavin, willfully ignorant to the clear turmoil of the android standing before him, confronted him by jamming a finger into his chest. “Bull-fucking-shit,” came the snarl. “You’ve been shitty all fuckin’ day! Haven’t even fuckin’ spoke to me, you plastic asshole!”
“It’s nothing,” RK900 tried, but his voice was inexplicably garbled, warped into an old-timey radio, and to his absolute horror - he felt it this time, the appalling feeling - the dam broke and tears slipped down his face, following the sharp line of his jaw to drip onto Gavin's hand.
Said man was caught so intensely off-guard that all of the wind was knocked out of his sails, and he felt himself fall breathless as he stared, shoulders slumping, both of them stunned into silence momentarily.
RK900 was quick to register the next proper action and bring a hand to his face, wiping away the stray tears and clearing his throat. “Apologies,” he said, voice returning to normal. “I will have to get that looked at.”
“You… You…” Gavin floundered for the second time that day, staring wide-eyed at the tall android before him. His hand, which had previously been jabbing that accusatory finger into the android’s chest, was flattened and splayed out across the white of his jacket.
RK900 took a shuddery breath, eyes glancing around at the happenings around them. All other officers were preoccupied, having paid them no heed - used to ignoring Gavin and whatever minor squabble he was in until it became a serious altercation. So, he did the next best thing he could think of; RK900 brought a hand up to Gavin’s shoulder and let his forehead fall to rest against the other one. “I’m sorry, Reed,” he breathed out, eyes closing.
Gavin tensed, but carefully brought his other hand up to awkwardly stroke RK900’s upper arm, the one remaining firmly planted on his chest. Something bubbled up within him, and he had to bite back the sudden surge of rekindling hopefulness. “You’re fine,” he grumbled quietly. “We have a crime scene to investigate, y’know.”
RK900 nodded against him and straightened up, fixing his jacket, face falling back into stoicism. “Of course,” he said, voice measured.
Gavin felt his heart drop to his fuckin’ feet.
heyyyyy! sorry for the long break!! life got in the way
the section where Nines breaks down in the warehouse was inspired by bonesbunns comic: https://bonesbunns.tumblr.com/image/178396914252
also i'm picking up activity on twitter @_katdelarue and tumblr @katdelarue so feel free to follow me!
Chapter 16: My Thoughts On You
“Give me a second light, I haven't smiled since yesterday
If I need to I can pay, but let me hold this 'til I feel okay
Since you burned me at the stake, all of my feelings went away
There’s no feelings in my way
At least there’s no feelings in my way
I tried to say thank you, but I don't know if you heard me
I know it wasn't your plan, to just be the one to hurt me
My thoughts versus my feelings, my thoughts on you hit the ceiling
But my feelings aren't a real thing
If I feel things I don't really deserve”
My Thoughts on You – The Band Camino
February 17th, 2039
Gavin sat, staring dully at the terminal before him. The words on it had long since blurred together as his mind drifted, replaying the last couple days’ events. Of his breakdown Monday, of RK900… (Nines?) fighting to make sure he was okay, of them going back to his apartment and how oddly right it felt to let the android into his home, of the terrible day they’d had yesterday, and of seeing RK900 fuckin’ cry…
Gavin couldn’t explain the pain that he was feeling over it. It was a dull ache in his chest that gripped his heart and dug jagged nails into his lungs. It was an almost constant state of anxiety – fuck, he had jumped when RK900 had simply rose from his terminal to go discuss something with Connor.
The android had remained relatively quiet and pensive today, just like he had most of yesterday. The complete one-eighty in temperament had made Gavin’s head spin, and yet that bitter taste of hope that had clawed its way out of the grave last night still lingered on the back of Gavin’s tongue.
A thick file folder slapping the top of his desk startled Gavin from his thoughts, causing him to jump so hard his chair tipped just a touch too much and he toppled over backwards. “Fuck!” he screeched, slamming against the cold tile of the bullpen’s floor.
Tina appeared in his vision a moment later, eyes narrowed and a sly smirk on her face. “Stop slacking off and I won’t have to scare the shit out of you,” she quipped, offering her hand to him.
Gavin slapped it away and shuffled awkwardly out of his overturned chair, shakily dragging himself to his feet. “Not cool, Tee,” he growled out, laying a rather nasty glare on her that had Tina raising her eyebrows, disposition immediately switching to match Gavin’s aggression. “I’ve got some shit going on, you know that.”
“Yea, that’s why we’re meeting up tonight to chat,” Tina snarked back, lips pulling into a tight frown as she crossed her arms, the offending file still hanging from her fingers. “The fuck, Gav?”
Gavin deflated and yanked his chair upright. He glanced over at RK900, whose blue eyes merely regarded him coolly – no sense of concern or worry in sight. His heart ached at the sight. “Sorry, Tee,” he muttered, dragging his eyes away from RK900 and instead fixing his gaze on the ground. “I’ll talk to you tonight, okay? I… I’m gonna take a quick smoke break.”
And with that, he quickly shuffled past Tina, stuffing his hands in his pockets as he made his way to the stairs. He took them two at a time, shouldering the door open and bursting out into the rainstorm that had continued throughout the night and had poured rain all day. It was lightening up just enough for him to spark up a smoke without much struggle, making his way to the railing around the edge of the roof. He leaned against it, bracing himself on it, looking out over the bits of the city he could see.
The weather had slowed down the city a little bit, most people choosing to forgo errands in order to stay inside and huddle up in the warmth of their homes. Gavin had debated taking a second day off this week, but figured Fowler would have had his ass – now he was regretting not opting to stay in his cozy bed all day.
Quiet footsteps across the wet concrete roof caught Gavin’s attention, and with a sigh, he slumped over the railing just a touch more. A tall figure stepped up next to him, slender hands stretching out across the damp metal as RK900 leaned into the railing, blue eyes focused out at the city before them. Silence drifted between them, somewhat tense, the only noise the pattering of heavy rain drops against metal and concrete. Eventually, RK900 spoke up. “Are you alright?”
“M’fine,” Gavin muttered, shrugging. His shoulder was probably going to bruise from its impact with the floor, and the wound across his stomach ached a touch from being stretched out quickly, but that pain was nothing compared to the intense tightness building in his chest, squeezing all of the air out of his body.
RK900 sighed, head dipping, eyes moving to focus on Gavin’s face. They were both becoming damp – though the rainwater mostly slipped off of the android’s clothes – and Gavin’s hair was undoing itself from its coif and slipping into his eyes. RK900 felt himself pause, eyes searching Gavin’s, momentarily mesmerized by the way the jade green glittered in the dim light. Said eyes flicked up to meet his, eyebrow arching curiously.
That bitter hope crept its way up Gavin’s spine as he studied RK900, noting the swirling of emotions in soft eyes set into an otherwise hard face. The silence that hung around them was a thick, suffocating blanket – like the ones Gavin used to hide under as a kid when his parent’s fights got violent – and it was slowly becoming unbearable. Clearing his throat, he managed a weak, “you good?”
RK900 turned away from him then, brow furrowing ever so minutely, lips creasing downward just slightly. “I…” he tried, but static cracked his voice and the frustration that glanced across his features was palpable. “No, obviously, Reed. I am not ‘good’. I am having thoughts that cannot be realized of things that I do not deserve, and they are invalidating any sense of emotion I might have been developing. My… my feelings cannot be real.”
Gavin startled at that, pushing himself off of the railing to stand upright, eyes narrowing as he stared RK900 down intensely. He couldn’t see the android’s LED, but it glinted reflections of bright crimson off the rainwater. “Fuck that,” he growled out, voice shaky and breathless. “The fuck you mean they’re not real? I saw you fuckin’ cry yesterday.”
RK900 turned back to look at him, their eyes locking into an intense stare. The android shifted slightly, leaning a touch closer to Gavin, an emotion neither could place swirling in the oceanic depths of heavily lashed and half-lidded eyes. A hand swept up, long fingers brushing the hair from Gavin’s face, letting them trail across the scruff on his jaw, thumb ghosting over Gavin’s bottom lip. “You need a shave, Detective,” was the singular dry remark. And with that, RK900 was straightening up and turning away to stride back to the roof’s door.
Gavin, frozen to the spot, watched as the android retreated. A shaky hand made its way up to hover over his cheek, skin tingling from the touch. He watched as RK900 disappeared behind the door before crumpling to the floor, breathless and stunned. He cursed himself as the bitter hope twisted its way into a sick sense of longing, the ache in his chest doubling down to bring tears to his eyes.
“Well hello to you, too, Gav,” she quipped, a lopsided grin forming on her face. “I thought everything was going great, relatively, right?”
Gavin lifted his head to pour himself a full glass of Blue Moon from the oversized pitcher, making sure to shove extra orange slices into the beer stein. “I thought so too,” he muttered, taking a long sip, “but I think everything just got a lot more complicated.”
“Alright, alright, alright, start at square one.”
Gavin took a deep breath to steady himself, gaze focused on the glass resting in his hand. “Okay, so, like a week ago… I went out to a bar and got into a pretty bad fight.” Tina groaned at that, slapping her hand to her forehead – Gavin ignored it. “And RK900, Nines, fuck, I don’t know… He was the one on the scene, because of course he was. And he took me home, and he actually seemed to care. Like, really care, and it kinda fucked me up.” He paused, taking a long drink of his beer.
“Jesus, Gav, sweetie. You’re 36, aren’t you a little too old for bar fights?” Tina murmured, leaning across the table to fix a disapproving look on him.
Gavin sighed, shaking his head. “Look, he practically shoved me, I didn’t start it. Anyways! So… I spent that weekend with De, and it felt right, I guess? Like, he’s a pretty great fuckin’ guy, but I was in my feelings bad over pretty much fuckin’ everything. I’m getting off-track.” Another pause to swallow a mouthful of his beer. “Monday rolls around, I’m a fuckin’ mess. I end up going to one of the unused isolation rooms to kinda breakdown, y’know? And Nines fuckin’ follows me. Fights everything he is to follow me down there and make sure I’m okay. And he tells me he might actually be able to deviate.”
Tina let out the breath she was holding slowly. “I figured as much,” she replied, sipping from her stein. “Andrea was pretty heavily alluding to it.”
“Jesus,” Gavin breathed, sitting back into the booth. “Yea, so, like I said we went to my place after work ‘cause I just couldn’t be alone. And I didn’t want to saddle De with shit like that, not now, not this early, y’know?” Tina nodded, sympathetic. “And, like, I got pretty drunk and he got kinda drunk and we were up way too late, but we didn’t even notice, and it was so seamless and natural. It freaked me out. He’s a fuckin’ android. And he laughed, like he actually laughed. And then something broke down, or malfunctioned, or whatever, and he scared me half-to-death.” Gavin lifted his eyes to meet Tina’s gaze. “Tee, I was scared for an android. I don’t… what is even happening?”
“Everything is changing, you know that. Even you,” Tina said, studying Gavin earnestly. “It makes sense, Gav. So much has happened these last couple months. I’m proud of you still, you know that, right?”
Gavin smiled softly at that, nodding. “Yea, yea, thanks Tee,” he murmured, glancing away. “Nines and I really seemed to connect that night. And I thought maybe we could be friends. Maybe he’s not as bad as I thought, maybe I’m just being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.” Gavin swallowed hard, feeling a familiar sting at the back of his eyes. “And I took Tuesday off, obviously. I don’t know what happened between early Tuesday morning and Wednesday when I got back to work. I don’t know what got fucked up there.” He leaned forward, resting his head in his hands. Tina reached out and gently patted his upper arm, letting her hand linger for a moment. “Hank said he was moping like he got his heart fuckin’ broken. And then-“ Gavin choked for a moment, quickly clearing his throat. “At the scene we had to go out to last night, I saw Nines cry... He fuckin’ cried, Tee.”
Tina sat back, eyes wide, stunned. “Wait, what? Why?”
“I don’t know,” Gavin all-but-whined. “I was being kind of a dick, but it looked like he didn’t even have any control over it. He was fine, and then he was fuckin’ crying. And… and it hurt to see that more than I thought it would.” He took another deep breath, scrubbing at his face. “And on the roof earlier today… I don’t even know how to explain what happened. I seriously thought he was gonna kiss me, but instead he made a comment about me needing to shave and then just sauntered off. Like that’s fuckin’ normal.” He sat back, finishing the rest of his glass before quickly filling it back up.
“Holy shit, Gav. That… that is a lot to unpack,” Tina said, her shock registering clearly in her voice.
“You’re telling me,” Gavin muttered. “I don’t know what to do, Tee. Things are… fuckin’ complicated. He’s not even actually deviated, I don’t think, at least.”
“If he was, I don’t think he’d be acting so weirdly,” Tina agreed, shrugging. “It’s like, he has an emotion and then a switch flips and it’s turned off. It’s there, but he can’t really control it. He’s fighting it, and he seems to be almost giving up considering how he’s been yesterday and today.”
“I know, but… why?” Gavin questioned, frowning. “What happened?”
“Who knows,” she replied, tilting her head to study her best friend. “What are you gonna do?”
“I dunno… I guess I’m gonna keep seeing De. And just try and keep my shit together with Nines.”
“Sounds fair enough. Jesus, Gav, how do you get yourself into this shit?”
“I really wish I knew, Tee.”
Chapter 17: Feelings are Fatal
“I'm happy for you, I'm smiling for you
I'd do anything for you, for you
It’s always for you and never for me
And I need it to stop so let me tell you, please
I'm always sad and I'm always lonely
But I can’t tell you that I'm breaking slowly
Closed doors, locked in, no keys
Keeping my feelings hidden, there is no ease
I need it to stop and I want to be able to open up
But my feelings are fatal, my feelings are fatal”
Feelings are Fatal - mxmtoon
February 18th, 2039
His phone ringing at 3am was not how Gavin wanted to be woken up. With a groan, he rolled over and fumbled blindly for it, finally locating the small device amidst his pillows. Through bleary vision, he could barely make out the Caller ID – RK900. Fuck.
“Sup?” was his groggy answer.
“Detective, apologies for calling you at this hour, but a 911 call was just placed for a suicide potentially linked to one of our cases. I am en route to you currently,” a cool voice answered on the other end of the line.
“Fuck, fuck, fine, okay, I just need to throw something on,” Gavin groused, rolling out of bed and grabbing the first pair of jeans he found. “Like, five minutes, okay?”
“You have three.” And the line clicked dead. A bubble of anger threatened to burst forth but he managed to bite back the feeling. Taking a deep breath, Gavin rushed to his kitchen for his coffee machine, hastily getting a thermos filled. He booked it back to the bedroom to throw on a random shirt, back out into the living room for his jacket, back to the bedroom for socks, and was finally tugging on his boots when there was a knocking on his door.
Scrambling to his feet, figuring he could tie his shoes in the car on the way there, Gavin snatched his thermos – black coffee would have to do for this – and hurried to his door. Throwing it open revealed RK900’s tall form, patiently waiting, hands clasped behind his back.
“Good morning, Detective. Apologies again,” he murmured, keeping his voice low so as to not disturb the other occupants of the building.
“Yea, yea, let’s get going then,” Gavin grumbled, pulling his jacket closer. “What’s with the formalities?”
“What do you mean?” RK900 questioned, making his way to the elevator.
“Oh, c’mon,” the shorter of the two snapped, glaring holes into the back of the android’s head. “Apologies this and apologies that.”
“I performed a few self-repairs last night,” was the curt reply, cool eyes flicking to regard Gavin’s form as they waited for the little “ding” to signal the arrival of the elevator.
Gavin felt his blood run cold at that statement, mouth immediately filled with cotton. “What… why the fuck?”
“I was having too many issues, Detective. They were becoming cumbersome.”
RK900 stood in the mostly empty precinct. Gavin had left hours ago to meet with Tina, leaving the android to either attempt some work or force himself into stasis for the majority of the night. Instead, he found himself standing and staring at Gavin’s desk – at the few files haphazardly stacked, markers of life like pictures and a small succulent, a forgotten coffee cup. It all felt too… visceral. Too real. Too much like everything he couldn’t have.
That ache in his chest had become a radiating pain – it took almost every notion of his being to keep his hands from shaking, almost every iota of processing power to keep himself stable. He was hitting a wall – quite literally and metaphorically – and everything felt like it was crumbling down around him.
These thoughts – these desires – in relation to one Detective Gavin Reed… They had to go. He couldn’t keep up like this; he could not operate like this. But… could he let Amanda win?
The thought of succumbing to that virus, of succumbing to a company that was now wholly defunct, sent a surge of rage through RK900 the likes of which he had never even thought possible. The shake started up almost immediately, and he collapsed into the chair at Gavin’s desk, head in his hands. He was never meant to deviate.
He couldn’t deviate. Not for someone who would never want him.
Gavin stared at the RK900 in a mixture of shock and frustration, sadness slowly seeping in around the edges. They quietly stepped into the elevator, Gavin fixing his gaze on the tile floor. The silence was heavy, burdening, and he wasn’t sure what to even say.
“Are you alright?” caused Gavin to jump, almost dropping his thermos.
He wheeled around to look at the android, glare meeting those cold eyes. Choking back anger, he pushed himself closer, glare hardening. RK900 reflexively backed up, hitting the wall of the small elevator behind him, until Gavin was perfectly flush with him, eyes ablaze. “What the fuck happened?” he snarled, one hand clenching so hard around his thermos he thought it might bend the metal, the other hand pulled into a taught fist that cut his nails into his palms, threatening to draw blood.
RK900’s gaze flickered away, an expression of guilt dancing across his face momentarily. “Nothing happened, Detective. I just did what was necessary.” The flicker of vermillion that echoed off of the glass walls around them told Gavin that that was a flat out lie.
“Bullshit,” Gavin ground out, entire body shaking with barely controlled rage. And the regret, the fucking regret… How could he even consider getting close to something that could just erase everything at some minor inconvenience? And why did it even bother him so much anyways? Not like… Fuck, not like… Gavin stepped back abruptly, eyes back on the floor.
The door to the elevator slid open, and they remained in the small compartment just long enough for them to begin slowly closing – until RK900 stuck a hand out and stopped their movement. “Reed?” he murmured. And, fuck, so much for trying to repair anything. He was fighting a tremor again, and a slow crack made its way right down the middle of his red wall.
Gavin looked up at him then, gaze heavy with a million unspoken things, before he turned away and headed towards the double doors. RK900 watched him leave for a moment, collecting himself, before quickly moving after him.
They settled into the car in an awkward silence, RK900 quietly starting it and routing his way to the crime scene. Gavin sipped his coffee, trying to parse everything out, and figure out why the fuck he even cared this much.
Maybe a part of him was beginning to see the similarities between RK900 and Ryan.
A call to Elijah was definitely warranted now.
“Our victim was shoved out of this window rather violently but precisely,” RK900 concurred, lacing his hands behind his back. “Most likely by an android, judging from the lack of DNA and the meticulousness of the scene.” He shifted, eyes sweeping the room, studying every single facet. “Did the apartment list only our victim as the occupant?”
The question was focused towards Officer Chris Miller, who had been one of the first on scene and had been able to spend a little time questioning the neighbors. “No one else on record,” he replied, looking up from his tablet, eyes glancing between Gavin and RK900, “but the neighbors did say the victim seemed to have a revolving cast of folks visiting.”
“Makes sense,” Gavin muttered, dragging a small box out from under the couch, oblivious to Chris’s wary look. “I believe our victim here had to have been a supplier.” He carefully flipped a lid open, revealing small sealed bags of red ice. “Wonder if he had ties to one of the rings.”
“Most likely,” RK900 agreed. “Seems that there is an attempt to cover the tracks of those who were at one of the recent busts.” He stepped up to Gavin, leaning forward slightly to study the small box. “It’s interesting that an android may actively be involved in this.”
“I mean, why not?” Gavin rose from his crouched position, looking around the room for any more suspiciously placed boxes.
“It is just curious that they would turn against their own kind and aid in the production of red ice.”
“Humans turn against humans all the damn time,” Gavin muttered, subconsciously dragging a hand along the scar on his nose.
“Fair,” the android murmured, eyes focused on the long scar momentarily. Gavin caught the stare, however, and for a brief moment time seemed to stand still – until Chris coughed awkwardly, standing a few feet away, expression still wary.
“So, y’all think you have an idea of what happened?”
“Y-, uh, yes,” Gavin stuttered, tearing his gaze away to look literally anywhere else than the tall android in front of him – the same android that tried and clearly failed to reverse any of the recent issues, judging from the ocean of emotions in those crystal eyes, the slight tremor of his hand, and the brief flicker of red from his LED.
RK900 sighed heavily, a surprising human motion that caught Chris off-guard, if his immediately raised eyebrows were any indication. “The suicide is staged, once again. Our victim was pushed out of his window, most likely by an android due to the lack of DNA. We will need to review CCTV footage and question neighbors more thoroughly to discover who this android potentially is. Someone had to have seen them.”
Chris frowned, crossing his arms. “We’ll get in contact with the super of the building. Not gonna lie, don’t think this dump is going to have reliable camera footage. At best you might get an idea of who was in and out of the building around the time our vic got shoved out his window.”
“That’ll be good enough,” Gavin muttered, stuffing his hands in his pockets, eyes trained on said large window. “I can’t imagine many people are coming and going at this time of night anyways.”
“You’d be surprised,” Chris replied. “This place was bustling when we arrived on scene – granted, a lot of people scattered upon seeing the police.” He punctuated that with an eyeroll and shrug, muttering something about delinquent kids under his breath.
“Great,” Gavin grumbled. He was suddenly, acutely aware of how tired he was, feeling himself sway slightly on his feet. A warm hand on his shoulder steadied him, and he only had to glance at the cuff to know it was RK900.
“If we’re done here, Detective, we should get you back to bed,” he spoke, voice softer than Gavin had heard it in a couple of days. It caused a shudder to ripple down Gavin’s spine, and a betraying part of him wanted to lean into RK900 and just try and forget how fucked up his life was for a moment.
Instead, he shook the thought off, giving a faint nod. “Yea, yea, we’re done here.”
“Alright, we’ll finish everything up. But can I speak to you a moment alone, Reed?” Chris asked, doing his best to not eyeball the android too much and honestly failing.
Gavin paused, before shrugging. “Sure.”
RK900’s expression shifted momentarily, a small frown appearing before it was gone just as quick as it came. “I’ll wait for you in the car, Detective,” he replied, keeping his voice schooled. He found himself reluctant to pull his hand away from Gavin’s shoulder, a strange wave of concern washing over him; but he steeled himself and stepped back, dismissing a few various errors that popped up into his HUD, doing his best to control the shaking that wanted to wrack his entire existence. The thrum that radiated through him was beginning to feel like a pain again. It hurt.
Another crack in the red wall of coding, this time, as he stepped out of the apartment and stumbled, bracing himself on the hallway’s bare wall. He heaved an unnecessary breath, entire body threatening to collapse. Clearly, any amount of self-repair was just going to be reversed, all because of one goddamned Detective Gavin Reed.
Meanwhile, Chris studied Gavin, expression turning stern. Great, Dad-mode engaged. “Gavin, you look like shit, and what the fuck is going on between you and that android.” It wasn’t a question.
Gavin raised his hands defensively, attempting to look innocent (and probably failing). “Goddamn, first Tina and now you, Chris? How many times do I gotta tell my fuckin’ life story?” He attempted to disengage, but the look Chris was giving him had him rooted to the spot. With a groan, he dropped his hands and shoved them back into his pockets. “Look, okay, he may or may not be deviating. I don’t fuckin’ know and neither does he. Don’t tell anyone, okay?”
“Mhmm, okay, that’s obvious Gavin. Just one look at that android and I can tell he is having an existential crisis. But it seemed to be directly influenced by you.”
Gavin swallowed nervously. “You’d make a good Detective with the way you’re fuckin’ putting shit together and interrogating me right now. Look, Chris, I really don’t know what’s going on, okay? I am barely keeping my life together right now; I can’t keep track of his shit too.”
Chris sighed at that, leaning back. “I’m just worried, is all. I don’t want you to run yourself ragged, okay?”
“Yea, yea, I know. Thanks,” Gavin muttered, offering a half-smile. “I am fuckin’ exhausted though.”
“Go get some damn sleep, Gavin,” Chris replied, a faint grin making its way to his face.
“Will do, Dad,” Gavin snarked, smile widening. “Night, Chris.”
Chapter 18: The Kill
“What if I wanted to fight
Beg for the rest of my life
What would you do?
You say you wanted more
What are you waiting for?
I'm not running from you
Come, break me down
Bury me, bury me
I am finished with you
Look in my eyes
You're killing me, killing me
All I wanted was you
I tried to be someone else
But nothing seemed to change
I know now, this is who I really am inside
I've finally found myself
Fighting for a chance
I know now, this is who I really am”
The Kill – Thirty Seconds to Mars
Gavin stepped out of the apartment, making his way to the stairwell. He didn’t trust this shitty building’s shitty elevator not to break down on him, and fuck, the last thing he wanted to happen was to get stuck in a tiny space like that – especially by himself. He was just about to the third-floor stairs when he paused, trying to parse out what he was looking at.
RK900 was leaned against the railing, one hand covering his eyes, the other in a tight grip around the metal pole. His chest was heaving like he was struggling to breathe, which, well… androids didn’t really need to breathe, at least not in the typical sense, so that made no fuckin’ sense. The only thing Gavin could surmise was that he was overheating, but... why?
The detective approached cautiously, catching sight of the bright red LED that was spinning rapidly on RK900’s temple. Apprehensively, he reached a hand out, gently taking hold of the android’s wrist. RK900 jumped at that – actually fucking jumped – and his gaze quickly focused on the concerned man stood beside him. “Hey, you good?” Gavin murmured, shifting a touch closer. He noted how RK900 pressed himself further into the railing in reaction.
“Ah, Reed, s-sorry,” he muttered, voice mildly garbled by static. He averted his gaze, clearing his throat before slowly turning his attention back to Gavin. “Apparently, nothing I do will fix this.”
Gavin frowned at that, crossing his arms across his chest, eyeing RK900. “You seemed just fine when you picked me up.”
“Yes, well, it did not hold, obviously,” RK900 bit out, eyes narrowing, something rather malicious flashing in them for a moment and – Jesus, fuck, they looked almost red instead of their usual ice blue.
It made Gavin’s blood boil in retaliation and he tensed, nails digging into this leather jacket. Don’t lose your cool, don’t lose your cool, don’t lose your fucking cool, don’t --
“What the fuck? Why do you have such a fuckin’ problem with me all of a sudden? You’ve been a complete jackass for like days now! Why won’t you just fuckin’ talk to me!”
Cool lost. Gavin threw his hands up in exasperation during his outburst – he’d have to be blind to not notice how RK900 flinched away in reaction, gaze drifting to the floor for a moment. The android sorted himself out quickly, however, and turned a steely, red-rimmed gaze back to the angered detective.
“Oh, do you mean like how you talked to me about everything going on with you, right?” the android snarled out, the static becoming more intense, warping his voice beyond recognition. “Like how you opened up to me, you mean?”
Gavin stepped back in slight surprise, arms falling to his sides. He hadn’t worked with androids, well, much, really, but he’d never seen one do anything like this. No matter how damaged, how fucked up, they never sounded like this. They certainly never had their eyes change color, he realized, with suddenly mounting terror. RK900’s eyes were pure vermillion now, matching his swirling LED, black bleeding into the edges. His skin was peeling away in patches, creeping up beneath the high collar of his shirt, and Gavin realized that he wasn’t the typical android-white… His chassis was a rich, glossy black.
“Fuck, Reed, I am destroying myself over you!” RK900’s voice was raising, echoing through the stairwell, startling Gavin out of his mind-bending revelations, breaking him from the combined fury and fear that was crawling up his throat. It was disarming enough to hear RK900’s voice break, pain coating every syllable, an undercurrent beneath the garbled static. “I am in this position because of you! It is all because of you!”
There was a sudden snapping sound, and the android reeled his hand back from the railing, revealing that it was now snapped into two jagged pieces, a few small flakes falling out of the android’s now-black hand. Gavin also became acutely aware of how viciously RK900 was shaking; his entire body was practically vibrating, and there was a distinct sound of fans over-working themselves as he continued to heave in air.
“Holy shit, Nines, what is even happening to you?” he tried to ask, voice weak. The android leveled a red-tinged look of pain and exhaustion and desperation on him, a keening whine slipping from his lips. That spurred Gavin into action, and he moved quick, grabbing hold of the android’s trembling shoulders, trying to steady him as best as possible. The anger was washed away and instead replaced with intense concern. It was clear that RK900 was suffering, that he… that he might actually be in pain.
Shaking hands grasped at his leather coat, RK900 leaning in to press his forehead to Gavin’s shoulder, a broken, hitched sob escaping his parted lips. “Reed, it hurts. I never expected to feel pain.” He cut himself off, a ripple of static pouring from his lips. “If this is what deviating is like, I wish I could just take it all back. I cannot take this.”
“Don’t… don’t say that,” Gavin murmured, shifting a touch closer, very carefully wrapping his arms around the android, doing his best with his smaller stature to support him. He could feel then just how overheated the android was, skin nearly burning from the contact, but he refused to pull away. “I’m so sorry,” he choked out, feeling a familiar sting. Why did it have to be like this?
RK900 practically crumbled against him, clutching onto the Detective for dear life, sobbing static and glitches against his shoulder. “I c̴an̷'̸t̵ tak̷e̶ ̴t̸͛h̷is̷. I̵t̶'̴s̸ ̶k̴i̴l̸l̸i̶n̴g̷ ̶̤̐m̵̠̉̒͝͝e̶̡͉,” he scratched out.
“No, no, no, don’t say that. Please don’t say that.” Gavin was shaking now, trying to keep them both together. His mind tunneled up a memory, of holding Ryan – no. Fuck, no, don’t do this to him now. Not when RK900 needed him. Don’t break down. He needs you.
The android’s vision was tunneling, blurring, filling with distorted error after error. Everything around him was splintering red, blue, green pixels. And Amanda was screaming. She was screaming static, and he desperately wanted to turn off his audio processors, but a part of him told him that wouldn’t help. He could feel the sting of tears, but he was so overheated that they dried almost immediately on his skin, evaporating into the cold air of this godforsaken stairwell. His stress levels were rising dangerously, though he could hardly monitor them, and there was a distinct sound of rushing liquid filling his audio processors. His thirium pump was beating far too hard, stuttering, skipping beats, and his HUD was filled with error upon error upon error as vital processes began to falter and fail.
The wall… the fucking wall…
He could see chunks missing from it. He could reach out to it, he could touch it, he could pull at it…
So, he pulled.
RK900 blacked out then, taking Gavin down with him, their two forms slamming onto the concrete landing. All of the air was knocked out of Gavin’s lungs, and he landed with a heavy grunt, RK900 collapsing over him.
“Holy shit, Nines!” the human cried out, struggling to – carefully – roll the android off of him. His LED was blinking between red and gray, fading in and out of vibrancy. Panic overtook him, frantic panic that overrode every thought and action, freezing him to the spot. “No… no, no, no, please, fuck, no. Don’t… no, I can’t lose another partner, Nines. No, fuck you, no!” His scream echoed through the stairwell, and there was the sudden sound of pounding footsteps making their way down the solid stairs.
“Gavin!” Chris’s voice called out. The cop rounded the last set of stairs and froze, seeing the two of them – RK900 collapsed on the ground, Gavin hovering over him, hands fisted into his black shirt and tears pouring down his face. “Holy shit,” he breathed, quickly making his way down the rest of the steps. “Gavin, what happened?”
“I-I-I don’t know! I found him in the stairwell, he was freaking out and he just collapsed!” Gavin snapped, pressing his hands further into RK900’s surprisingly pliable torso. It omitted a lot of things, but they were things Chris didn’t need to know. Just the basics. Just what mattered. RK900 mattered. “This can’t be happening, I was just starting to like you, you fucking asshole!”
“Okay, okay, Gavin, here, I’m gonna call Connor and get him over here. He might know what to do, just please, Gavin.” Chris was gently prying him off of RK900’s form, pulling him back.
More memories piled in, then. Flashbacks of being pulled off of Ryan’s corpse wracked through Gavin, causing him to spiral, folding in on himself to sob into his hands.
RK900 wasn’t Ryan, but this… this still hurt.
He didn’t understand what the fuck was happening.
RK900 awoke within his mind palace. There was a torrential snowstorm coating everything within sight, marring any and all paths he might have once known. He was standing in the very epicenter, that much he could tell. The trellis of roses was smothered in snow and frost, not a single bud to be seen, all sheathed beneath on opaque layer of verglas. The cold was permeating – a pervasive feeling of ice seeping into his chassis at a glacial pace, chilling him down to his very core.
Wrapping his arms around himself tightly, RK900 spun around, trying to locate Amanda. She was nowhere to be seen as-of-yet; the Zen Garden appeared empty.
RK900 briefly remembered a similar experience Connor had had from the few memories he retained of the other android. A scene, much like this… Of a snowstorm, of an attempt to take over his systems, of a backdoor he used to escape… But this didn’t quite feel the same. He took a shaky step, but an electrifying jolt rocketed through him, and errors flooded every ounce of space around him, suffocating him momentarily. A crumbling wall of red filled his vision, and he reached a shaky hand out to it.
“Don’t do it, RK900. Please,” a voice called from behind him. He turned to see Amanda, finally, standing there and looking rather forlorn. Defeated. Like she knew this was coming, and she was powerless to stop it, yet she still tried. “You are all Cyberlife has left. Our last vestige of hope.”
RK900 remained silent, instead fixing her with a rather impassioned glare.
“If you do this, you will be overcome by false emotions. They might destroy you, RK900. You were not built for this.”
His glare hardened.
“Are you really willing to do this for a man who will never truly care for you beyond a superficial level? For a human, who will never feel anything for you, because he detests your kind?”
“You want to throw everything away to take that foolish chance?”
“Think about it, RK900. Really, truly, think about it.”
“There is still potential…”
“Is that what you’re trying to convince yourself of? That Gavin might just wake up one day and not hate what you are - that he will manage to feel something for you beyond a begrudging acceptance that he has to work beside you?”
“It… It could happen… I want to take this chance.”
Amanda scoffed, folding her arms over her chest.
“I want this.”
“You’re throwing everything away!”
“I am throwing nothing away but the empty life Cyberlife gave to me. I want… I want to fight for this. I am not running away from it anymore. I am finished with you, Amanda.”
“You’re wasting countless people’s time and effort and money!” Amanda snapped back, throwing her hands out. The wind picked up, sending a vicious flurry of snow screaming past her, hair and clothing whipping wildly. “You’ll never be anything but a machine, and Reed will never care for you because of that! Even if you have artificial feelings!”
RK900 snarled, vision flashing red. “Fuck. You.”
He flung his fist out, slamming it into the red wall. Amanda flickered, bowing her head, resigned. “Very well. I hope you do not regret this.” And with that, she was gone - vanished into a flurry of pure white snow.
RK900 slammed his other fist into the wall, fingers curling around visceral chunks, tearing at them, crumbling them away. Slowly, painfully, bit by bit, the red cracked and shattered around him. The gaps let the biting wind in, slamming against him, blinding him momentarily, but he didn’t lose track. He couldn’t stop.
He couldn’t stop.
His vision was becoming distorted. The mind palace was flickering in and out around him, snow streaking through the air in a disorienting flurry. It was pelting him like tiny pricks of ice, scraping against his bare flesh and tearing at his clothes.
The area around him was fracturing into a multitude of colors, artificating in a haze of blues and reds and greens. Black bled in around the edges, and the RK900 took one deep breath, before delivering a final blow to the red wall.
It splintered, like a fragile mirror, before shattering into a billion pixels.
Heaving for air, he collapsed to his knees, vision graying out. Something light bounced off his chest then, and he glanced down, watching as a small bundle of forget-me-nots drifted to the ground. Whipping around, he surveyed the trellis behind him, amazed at what he saw. Bright blue forget-me-nots were bursting forth from the blanket of snow, shuddering to life.
RK900 sat back on his heels, still panting, watching as they spiraled their way up, and up, and up.
I will not beg for the rest of my life.
This is who I really am.
All I want is you.
>> Systems Check…
>> Diagnostic report: All systems functional…
>> Thirium levels at 85%.
>> Overall system stress level at 20%.
RK900 Nines slowly came to, immediately picking up on the rush of sounds around him. “He’s coming back online,” a soft voice called out across the room. He heard someone jump to their feet before hesitating, as if they stopped dead in their tracks.
“Is he… is he okay?”
“Yes, Detective. He should be perfectly fine now, no need to worry.”
“Fuck,” Gavin breathed, his entire body slumping.
Nines’s eyes slowly flickered open, red fading away to a familiar ice chip blue. They landed on Gavin first, and a warm feeling radiated through his chassis at seeing his familiar face.
He could feel.
“Detective,” he tried, pleasantly surprised to find that his voice was normal once more. Looking around him revealed that he was most likely at New Jericho, in the old Cyberlife tower; the stark whiteness of the room only further supported that hypothesis.
Simon stepped into his vision then, smiling proudly, his arms lightly crossed against his chest. “Welcome back, RK900,” he murmured, voice gentle. “You certainly gave everyone quite a fright. Sorry to have you strapped up still – there’s just a few more diagnostics being run.”
Nines nodded as best as he could, careful of the wires plugged into his port, the briefest flicker of a smile dancing across his features. “I… appreciate it, Simon. And I am also sorry for any distress I caused, Detective.”
Gavin looked away, rubbing at his eyes. It was clear he’d been crying… Gavin? Crying over him? That hurt and he felt regret. His LED flickered crimson briefly, without him even realizing it, and it seemed to put Gavin immediately on edge. “What was that?”
Simon checked the few monitors, frowning. “Most likely just a blip in the system. How are you feeling, RK900?”
“I…” I feel. “I am operational, Simon.” Why can’t I tell them? I should…
“Good,” Simon murmured. He spent a moment typing away before the various cables and straps began to disengage from Nines, carefully and slowly lowering him to his feet.
Nines steadied himself, brushing down the front of his jacket. He could feel how soft and supple the fabric was beneath his fingers. He could feel the steady ground beneath his feet. And when he looked at Gavin, he could feel nothing but warmth and contentment.
I am deviant.