“Psh, no one would even phking miss me” Gavin scoffed.
Nines wasn’t quite sure how they’d gotten on the topic of dying in action. He’d only been paying half-attention to his conversation with Detective Gavin Reed as they sat in said detective’s apartment finishing up some reports that were due the next day. He replayed the last couple minutes to refresh what had been said so as to better approach his next words.
“Can you even die?” Gavin asked while reading something from a tablet.
“Before the revolution, if Connor were to become irreversibly damaged Cyberlife would simply transfer his memory files to another RK800 model with only slight hindrances. However, this is now illegal as each android is seen as their own person with a right to life. So, although I was built to sustain heavy damage, if I were to be fatally injured I could permanently shut down.”
Gavin looked lost after Nines’ long-winded answer.
“To put it simply, yes, I can die in a way.”
“Huh” was all Gavin replied.
After a stretch of silence, he continued.
“I guess that’s good to know in case we get in another gun fight” By Gavin’s tone, it seemed this statement was meant to be taken as a joke but Nines’ didn’t find it very funny.
“I assure you, in most situations I can be easily repaired. It is your health I would find more distressing.”
“Psh, no one would even phking miss me”
Gavin’s statement had unusually irked the android and he found himself unable to concentrate on the reports to any extent.
“Now, detective, you know that’s not true” he finally replied in as calm and collected a voice as he could manage.
“Uh, no, RK900, I don’t ‘know that’s not true’” Gavin snapped back in a mocking tone. “I’m a phking asshole, if you haven’t noticed. No one cares about me.”
“I would highly disagree!” Concern crept into the android’s voice as he looked his partner up and down, eyebrows scrunched.
Gavin chuckled sourly.
“Right, name one person who would miss me. One person who gives a single shit about my well-being.”
Nines stared disbelievingly at Gavin’s certainty. Did he truly believe no one cared about him?
“I don’t know, maybe Officer Chen? She is who I would presume you would consider your best friend. Or what about Officer Miller? He always accompanies you and Officer Chen to the bar. Or even Lieutenant Anderson! Despite all the shit you give him, it’s clear in his actions that he does care about your well-being.”
Gavin gave him an unconvinced look, though Nines could see some subtle signs of shock. It seemed he had made some points his partner had previously overlooked however, it still wasn’t enough.
He sighed, a rather unnecessary human habit he must have picked up in his deviancy, before continuing.
“Gavin, I would miss you.” He hadn’t meant for his voice to turn so soft but at least it seemed to catch his partner’s attention.
“Nines, what the phk do you even know about me?”
He hesitated. Not because he didn’t have a good answer, but because he was unsure how much to disclose. Truth is, Nines had many files solely dedicated to his observations of Gavin Reed. He wasn’t sure when he had started filing away little details he discovered about his partner but it had eventually developed into a sort of adoration he couldn’t dispel.
He made a noise like clearing his throat, another unnecessary human habit he was unaware he had developed.
“Well, I know you have a ginger tabby cat named Cleopatra, or Cleo for short, and you love her more than anything else in the world. In fact, your phone’s photo gallery almost only consists of pictures of her. I know your favorite color is burgundy red, which is likely one reason why that hoodie you’re currently wearing is your favorite. I know you hate the pulp from oranges. You will only drink pulp-free orange juice and you always pick off as much pulp as you can manage from the mandarin oranges you sometimes get from the break room.”
He glanced towards Gavin, trying to gauge his reaction.
“I know you always grab a banana-nut muffin when Officer Miller brings muffins and bagels in to share. I know you like your coffee with one packet of sugar and a generous amount of milk because it cools it down and you are extremely impatient. I know you played the trumpet in your high school’s band and you currently play the guitar. I know you used to be obsessed with the book series Harry Potter and you identify as a Gryffindor.”
Once Nines had gotten started, he couldn’t stop. Meanwhile, Gavin’s eyes seemed to bore into his very being as he stared, dumbfounded.
“I know you despise situations in which you feel out of control, which is a big reason you lash out all the time. I know you often get lost in long conversations, only remembering random details. Sometimes this gets you in trouble but others it aids you in deduction. Sometimes it simply makes someone’s day when you remember something important to them. I know you often fidget by tying knots, your hoodie strings being common victims.”
Nines closed his eyes, unable to sustain eye contact.
“I know that despite your claims, you are truly a good man deep down who cares for those around him. I know that despite all logic, you are the most important person in my life and I care very deeply for you. I know I would miss you beyond comprehension if you were to die by any means. I know you, Gavin.”
Many warnings appeared notifying him of various system malfunctions. He was sure his LED was blaring red as he panicked from the prolonged silence that followed his confession. Surely this was a mistake. He shouldn’t have provided that many observations, a few would have sufficed. He had gotten carried away in trying to convince Gavin of his genuine intent. Now he was likely going to kick Nines out, creeped out by his fascination with him. He’d been informed by Officer Chen he was Gavin’s longest standing partner but that was surely coming to an end. How unprofessional of him. They were work partners, he should never have allowed his feelings to stray so far from that.
Finally, Gavin mumbled a reply, pulling Nines from his distressed thoughts.
“Jesus, you make me sound like an anxious nerd.”
That… was not what Nines had expected.
He suddenly remembered his eyes were still shut and opened them to peer at Gavin. He was awkwardly hunched up on himself, gaze directed at the floor looking as though he were thinking. Processing. Nines didn’t know how to proceed, but then Gavin continued.
“I- How… how do you know all that stuff?” Gavin gave no indication as to how he felt about Nines’ confession, just pure shock.
“I make a point to remember things when it comes to you, detective” Nines simply stated. He didn’t want to give away more than necessary again.
“But why?” Gavin finally looked up at Nines, confused.
What was there to be so confused about? He had laid it all out for him, plain and simple. Put his feelings on full display and was now ready to pay the price. Why did Gavin feel the need to drag it out so much? Couldn’t he just get it over with, for Nines’ sake?
“I- I already told you why.”
He couldn’t help but look away as he spoke, feeling much too vulnerable for his comfort. He was not programmed to feel this way and he found it difficult to hold back the urge to just leave, to get himself out of this awful situation and pretend it never happened.
He nearly flinched when he felt something press against his thigh. He turned to see Gavin sitting next him. How had he not noticed Gavin approaching? His hand was squeezing Nines’ thigh in what seemed to be an attempt at reassurance, his other hand moving to cup Nines’ cheek.
“Um, may I?” He whispered, voice hesitant but full of desire.
All Nines could do was nod as all thoughts beyond Gavin’s lips being so close to his were forgotten.
And then those lips were on his. They started slow and unsure but gradually picked up speed. It somewhat reminded Nines of interfacing as they seemed to convey a thousand different emotions all at once in their subtle movements, mutual feelings finally coming to light. Without disconnecting their lips, Gavin climbed onto Nines’ lap to get a better angle, placing his knees on either side of Nine’s thighs and cupping his other cheek. Nines moved his hands to Gavin’s waist, keeping him steady.
They stayed like this until quick, shallow intakes of breath no longer satisfied Gavin’s need for oxygen and he was forced to pull away. He didn’t go far, however, instead placing his forehead on Nines’ as he caught his breath.
“Guess I’ll try not to die anytime soon, then” Gavin finally said, smiling uncontrollably.
“I’d sure hope so” Nines replied before capturing Gavin’s lips again. Their reports were left forgotten.