Rachel had asked him if he had ever sat the Voight-Kampff empathy test and, in hindsight, he wondered if the life he had led might have desensitized him to some of the subjects that should have drawn an empathic response. He had visualized that butterfly killing jar so many times while testing for Replicants that it held no horror for him anymore. He had seen so many perfect replications of animals and animal skins that he wondered if he would be able to tell one apart from the real thing if he did walk into a room and see a tiger skin hanging on the wall.
The test was used to verify that he was human...and yet he wondered if that was still true. Being born human might not be enough anymore.
Gaff had told him that Rachel wouldn't live, but Tyrell had told Rick that she had no inception date. Tyrell had lied, and Rick had watched her slow down like a clockwork toy and die in his arms almost two months earlier. He burned her body and moved on, eventually returning to the city with its overcrowding and constant thrum of noise and traffic.
Despite the months since he was last here, his old apartment was still exactly as he had left it, opening to the same security code. Someone had paid the rent, and if he was not mistaken, that someone was living here. He could tell from the signs of recent habitation that it was likely a man with few physical needs, and Rick decided to sit on a chair in the deep shadows at the corner of the room, to wait for his unexpected house guest. He nursed a whiskey while he waited, carefully placing the heavy square glass onto the floor when he heard the door open. Rick tensed as he recognized the silhouette of the man who entered the room, and one more step forward into the light cast off from the kitchen haloed white blond hair and revealed intense blue eyes.
Roy Batty smiled directly at him, and Rick leaned forward into the light too.
Batty tilted his head. "Am I?"
Rick had watched Batty die on that rooftop all those months earlier. He had listened to words that fell like poetry, and all from a Replicant who had been built to be a soldier, a killer. A replicant who had found compassion for even his worthless life at the very end of its own.
Time to die.
Rick had thought about that moment often, and even when he looked upon Rachel's beautiful face, he saw a reflection of Roy Batty. After she was gone, it was memories and fantasies of Roy Batty that sustained him. Since that night on the rooftop, he had felt truly alive only when he had lost himself in the pleasure and memory of Batty--bringing himself to the edge of a slow and perfect release, and falling over it in despair of a loss that he could not fathom.
Except Batty was gone; wound down like a discarded toy all those months ago, and this...thing...was just another replicant made from the same template. Another skin job, but Rick had reached his fill of retiring replicants. He could no longer pretend that they were only machines with no feelings, no fears and aspirations.
Batty frowned and cocked his head a little to the side as he studied Rick. It reminded Rick of those last moments before Batty died.
"I saved you on the roof. I caught your wrist as you lost your grip and began to fall. I pulled you up and you scuttled away from me in fear."
"How?" How did this replicant know all of this when he was the only one still alive who had witnessed the event?
"Yes. That body ceased to function...but the mind could be saved. The memories, the feelings."
"The dove." Rick felt the shock ripple through him, recalling the way the dove had flown free the moment Batty died. It hadn't been real--and fulfilling the same purpose as some of its real counterparts, it had carried away a message--the entire personality and knowledge contained within a dying replicant.
Batty smiled. "Yes." Batty touched the side of his head, inferring that all of Roy Batty was housed in this new Nexus 6 body.
"Why did you come here?"
"What made you think I'd come back here?"
"Because you have no place else to go."
Rick slumped back into the chair, sickened at hearing the truth from someone--thing--that was little more than a stranger, and yet who knew him better than he knew himself.
Batty moved forward and crouched down before Rick, resting his hands on the arm rests.
"Time to go home."
Confused, Rick blinked, because he thought he was home already. At least, this was the only place he could recall being a home.
Batty reached up and cupped Rick's face between his inhuman hands, and Rick's thoughts momentarily flashed back to the discovery of Tyrell with his skull crushed, but those hands remained gentle. Batty drew Rick forward, and kissed him with equal tenderness.
"If you took the Voight-Kampff test, you would fail."
Rick frowned. "I'm a replicant?"
A sweet, indulgent smile pulled at Batty's lips. "Only in body." It didn't make any sense and Batty kissed him again as he opened his lips to question him, and gained his answer when Batty pulled back. "Even humans can become...numbed to the world around them." Batty rose to his feet gracefully and held out a hand. "Time to go home."
Eventually he would learn of the accident that destroyed his human body, and of the experimental treatment that had poured all of his memories and thoughts and feelings--his soul--into a unique shell grown in a factory at Tyrell Corporation. He was Nexus 7, the final step that blurred the lines between Replicant and Human...and he had a whole new future ahead of him with another Nexus 7, housing the soul of a dead Nexus 6.
And this time, the future was bright and long for both of them--together.