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things that are comatose in the night

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Nines hears the thump at precisely 2:38am. It occurs two seconds after the heat distribution on the right side of the bed shifts, and can be localised to a point 1.5 metres away from him, which is why Nines knows that it is not a more concerning bump in the night. Not to mention, he had his visual units recording the entire thing since Gavin started mumbling next to him four minutes ago.

As the most superior model manufactured by Cyberlife to date, Nines does not need to regularly enter stasis. He does not need to park himself in an office cubicle or a streetside charging stand – neither of which are as garishly open to the public after the reforms. Connor says they are rather comfortable and discreet. Nines does not need to personally find out if that is the truth.

As such, he shares a bed with Gavin only for appearance’s sake, whiling the hours away monitoring his vitals and running algorithms and trying to beat his personal record for a classic Rubik’s cube – 8 microseconds. His eyelids are perfunctorily closed, but his visual units are still recording on a background level.

Until Gavin starts snuffling around like the pig that he is. Nines tilts his head a few degrees on the pillow that is now labelled ‘his’, to record with crystal clarity what the man beside him is doing. He likes to review the files at later dates. It is pertinent to his designation to evaluate his surroundings regularly. Gavin also has a string of drool blending into his stubble.

The man smacks his lips and drools some more. “Hmn…”

The several percentage points of stress Nines had racked up during his meditative state quickly roll back down as he continues to watch. For all his explosive personality, the man has a strangely calming effect, one that would strongly benefit the work environment in the Detroit PD if everyone else would also appreciate it.

“Nuggets.” Gavin blurts then, with all the determination of piecing together a case-solving clue. Nines makes a note to inquire about it in the morning. There are still approximately five hours until their alarm will sound.

Then, without warning, Gavin does an about turn towards his side of the bed. If this were movement related to a nightmare, Nines would intervene. As such, he only watches as Gavin does another half-roll to send himself sailing smoothly off the edge of the mattress. He lands out of sight with a muffled grunt that only barely masks the sound of him hitting the hardwood floor.

Nines blinks.

For all his muscular padding, Gavin is still human. And from what secondhand knowledge Nines has accumulated, it is generally uncomfortable to impact a hard surface when one is flesh and bone. Quite possibly painful. He waits for the usual tirade of swearing that follows Gavin like a curse to start up.

…But it doesn’t.

He had not shifted from his comfortable position the entire night, but this spurs Nines into sitting upright and leaning to look over the bed, to where Gavin is lying snug as a rat on the wooden floor. The planks measure an average of five degrees cooler than their shared bed, but that doesn’t seem to affect the man.

He watches as Gavin pulls his arms into a more comfortable foetal position to continue snoozing, and mentally shrugs. If the man can snore like he doesn’t frequently suffer from insomnia, then it’s fine by him. Nines doesn’t need to run an algorithm to decide to lie back down and draw the blanket more firmly over himself.


Their alarm sounds at 7:30am. As usual, Nines rises silently, pausing for only a second in a seated position before moving to stand upright. He would execute it in one seamless movement, but Gavin had told him the first few times that it was ‘fuckin’ creepy’. And so he had slightly adjusted the routine.

Gavin does not rise as silently. As usual, he lets out a groan loud enough to rival the alarm, before pausing for long enough to let Nines walk around to the other side of the bed, where he can turn off the obsolete, battery-powered screeching thing with a press of a button. Gavin lies at his feet, staring up with marked confusion.

“What the –”

“You rolled yourself off the bed.”

Gavin gives him another bewildered look before pushing himself off the floor. Regret immediately spreads onto his face.

“Oh, motherfuck-!”

The man is thirty-seven, bordering on thirty-eight. He had not slept with a pillow. The ambient temperature during the night was, however, within comfortable ranges. “Are you alright,” Nines asks.

Gavin groans loud and prolonged instead of answering. He makes grabby hands at Nines, who helps him to his feet with an easy flexion of the arms. It is a little more difficult for Gavin to straighten out his joints.

“Ow, ow, fuck!” Nines gets a sullen glare for his assistance. “You didn’t think to wake me up or somethin’?” Gavin snaps.

“You were sleeping, and I quote, ‘like a baby’. Would you like to see?”

The tinge of embarrassment puts a damper on Gavin’s angry tone. He waves his hand, leaning heavily on Nines all the while. “No, no. Just help me get my fckin’ coffee and I’ll consider not killing you.”

“Very well.”