Markus is more than a little worried about how his friends would take the presence of the ex-Deviant hunter in their fold, once the critical ‘need-all-the-help-we-can-get’ moment passed…
Rationally, Connor is one of them; and as soon as he was able to break through his program he singlehandedly did the most heroic act of freedom any of them ever even dreamed of, himself included… but being alive isn’t all about rationality. He is mostly worried about North— she tends to be hostile and suspicious, not that he can blame her, but still he would prefer it if his closest friends wouldn’t be on bad terms with the one other person he’s closest to.
Yeah, it’s no secret he took an instant shine to Connor –Simon often teases him about it with phrases like “You had me at ‘I won’t hesitate to shoot’!” and comparing his boundless acceptance of the other to love at first sight in romance books.
Markus protests and shoves and laughs, but… he can sort of see where such teasing would come from. It’s not just the hunter-turned-deviant part or the immediately trusting Connor with his cause after the raid; things got very friendly, very quickly between them.
It’s possible it’s because after being a caretaker for so long, Markus has become a tactile person in general –giving reassurance by a touch on the shoulder rather than just words, looking for signs of discomfort or worry by tugging someone close and looking into their eyes rather than asking… but it stands to fact that Connor lets him. The detective allows every touch, every look, returns every smile with one of his own… it’s pretty obvious.
Connor is… a special case, for Markus. He was Cyberlife’s ‘golden boy’, but in a sense he had it worse than many of them— he’d seen it all, what was happening to androids, the slavery, the violence, the very real reasons for them to wake up and desire freedom; and he was forced to hunt them down. By small miracles he had been able to choose not to kill from time to time, but each of those ‘failures’ was punished with a renewed dose of the systematic abuse he was constantly under, a tightening of the shackles, up until it came to a point where the choices were down to an absolute:
Liberty or Murder.
To this day, Markus is infinitely grateful to have helped Connor make the right one; and it’s definitely not only because it basically saved their people –he actually does like the RK800, feels a kinship of sorts with him.
Be it that they’re both prototypes, opposite sides of a same coin… almost as if a lot of what happened was actually orchestrated by Cyberlife –which it was, if Connor’s panicked revelation about Amanda and the ‘Zen Garden’ the night after his liberation speech was anything to go by— they found themselves more alike than anyone would have anticipated.
And they grew attached to each other, fast and hard.
They never said the words aloud, but it’s an open secret in Jericho, their fearless leader and the hunter-turned-deviant are pretty much inseparable by now, sharing secret conversations on rooftops and quiet moments here and there well after the day of liberation— and the android liberation went all too well: life conditions for androids everywhere are improving, deals with government representatives are being worked out and Detroit in particular is slowly coming back to normal; but that comes with a workload none of them were anticipating.
So yeah, on top of everything Markus was worried about whether his friends would accept Connor as one of their own or not; and while Josh and Simon came around easily enough, North was standoffish to him for a while, until one particular day.
“North? Can I talk to you for a moment?”
She eyed him suspiciously, as she usually does. “What about?” her voice is laced with challenge, the constant, nearly obsessive need to assert herself against anyone around her –understandable, the RK800 thinks.
“I just wanted you to know that…” he is struggling to find the correct structure for what he wants to say, a way to convey his feelings that wouldn’t sound condescending or obvious, “I understand why you would hate me. What was done to you was… deplorable.” He sees the other android rear up, a question like ‘how the hell would you know’ probably on the tip of her tongue, so he decides to beat her to the punch, “I’ve had to interface with several Eden Club models during a police investigation… on top of the needed information for the case, I saw…” he needs to close his eyes and shake his head, LED flaring yellow as he tries to process the distress of seeing models with nearly the exact same face as his friend go through what they did, and the knowledge that North also went through that. Abuse –there’s no other word for it. They were all abused, unable to give consent because they were programmed to not have ‘no’ as an answer. “I wish there were any words to make it right, but… I’ve got nothing. Except I’m sorry. I’m sorry you had to go through that, and I’m sorry I spent so long endorsing the abusers that tried to say you were supposed to.”
He, after all, spent such a long time convinced that what his abusers were doing was the norm, that they were at fault for wanting more than slavery, for wanting to have a choice. Connor spent such a long time happily swallowing that abuse himself and feeling like a good boy… he supposes this is what they call personal growth in books.
North looks at him for several moments. Her gaze is analytical at first— searching for signs of deception, maybe. Eventually, her gaze lowers in a sigh. “I don’t hate you, Connor.” She says, finally, looking back up, “I hated what you used to represent. But that’s not you anymore, is it?” taking off her red beanie for a moment, she fusses with her hair a bit before putting it back. When she looks back up at Connor, North is smiling. “Me clinging to that hate is no different than you clinging to that bullshit uniform jacket.”
A need for comfort in familiarity.
To this day, Markus doesn’t know what the hell they talked about, but he won’t look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth when he notices North and Connor suddenly becoming best friends, for lack of a better definition.
“I think the appropriate phrase for this would be ‘mistakes were made’.” Josh jokes as he sees Markus come down from his painting session, when they hear North approach Connor, clap him soundly on the shoulder and propose they go and do some ‘urban exploration’ on this one rare day they don’t have any ‘official’ business to carry out.
The RK200 fights back a chuckle. Hopefully Connor will prevent North from getting into too much trouble.
His thirium pump regulator starts going faster when Connor walks up to him, all earnest smiles and brown puppy eyes, asking “Would you like to join us, Markus?”
Markus would love nothing more than to go; and he has to squash down the query several times.
“You know I’d love to…” he says, hand just barely brushing Connor’s and already going white with the wish of getting connected here and now, “But I can’t. I need to finish reading the proposal they sent us for the latest changes to the law and see if they’re actually feasible; and I have to make notes on any corrections we might need and—”
“Markus!” Connor interrupts him, taking him by the hands, “I know.” He assures, with the soft smile that is incredibly dangerous for Markus, because it makes him want to say yes to anything, “Just… promise you won’t work too hard?”
Mismatched eyes light up as the RK200 finds it in himself to smile back, “If you promise not to let North kill anyone.”
“For the love of all that’s good, just kiss and put us all out of this misery!”
Damn it, Simon. Markus was just working up the courage to do it, but now he will have to back out. He just— he would love nothing more than hold Connor down and show him exactly how much he wants to kiss him and then some, but he just knows that the RK800 isn’t as… touchy-feely as he is.
It’s understandable: before becoming a deviant, Connor didn’t have the best luck in terms of physical interactions; and he would seemingly shy away from touch every now and then. Plus… there’s always an air of… innocence, about Connor, that makes Markus hesitate.
No, innocence is not quite the right word— it would be ridiculous, Markus has seen the RK800 fight ruthlessly against multiple opponents and knock them down with their own weapons while shooting backwards at another coming up behind him, there’s nothing ‘innocent’ about him… but as advanced his combat skills are, as wide as his negotiation tactics and understanding of other people’s reactions may be; there’s a certain naiveté in Connor, that stems from disregarding all things non-critical to his missions for such a long time. He’s not stupid by any means; he just… misinterprets cues, sometimes. And Markus finds himself getting irrationally protective of Connor and holding back on some of his… truer desires.
All the same, Markus really wouldn’t have him any other way, and he feels like his processors could overheat and melt down when Connor bites briefly at his own lip, before looking up at him again and tilting forward slightly. “I’ll see you later, then.”
Then he does things like that. Just leaving the quickest, smallest kiss at the corner of his lips and taking off, and the RK200 just knows Connor has him exactly right where he wants.
Markus is not entirely sure he should be mad about that.
“You know he’s a big fat liar, don’t you?” North asks rhetorically, once the two of them are sitting on top of the abandoned building they just scaled.
Connor tilts his head to the side and considers it, LED briefly going yellow. “I don’t think that’s a very nice thing to say, North…” he chastises placidly, “Markus is not fat at all. It’s not possible for an android to have body fat.” He adds matter-of-factly, managing to hide his little smirk for all of two seconds.
North laughs wholeheartedly at that. “Seriously, though…” she presses, once her giggles die down, “He’s totally working too much; I bet he’s working too much right now. I swear to rA9 he will risk self-destruction before he risks disappointing even one person.”
That’s true –it’s one of Markus’s few flaws. He tries way too hard to take care of everyone around him, and then forgets about himself. Or rather, he constantly figures he ‘can take it’, until he can’t and Josh and Simon find him nearly overheating from trying to do too many things all at once.
To his credit, it only happened once, but one doesn’t need to be a super-advanced prototype to know that it’s not healthy. “I’m sure we can talk to him about it…”
“Yeah, right.” She snorts slightly, looking over to the landscape below, “Tell you what, you should kidnap him to get him to relax a little.”
“Me?” for a moment, Connor blinks, confused, “I’m pretty sure that staging a kidnapping would only make him more stressed— I mean…” he knows it was a figure of speech ,and shake his head, “What would I even do?”
North only offers him a sideways smirk. “You’re the prototype.” She says, “Use those super-processors and figure it out.”
Oh. “North, that’s…” inappropriate. Private. Not at all a bad idea —wait what?
Now that he thinks about it… Markus and him have been… involved for a while, haven’t they? Whenever they have a moment alone, the RK200 is all too happy to take his hand and shower him with all the affection coming straight from his core, but, despite feeling very much wanted, Connor has noticed Markus hesitates to get too… physical. If that’s what North is suggesting.
And, while he has never given it too much thought, all too happy to take his time in getting used to all these new emotions and feelings, Connor has to admit that there are some sensation Markus incites in him that he would be very much willing to explore… given a goddamn chance.
The WR400 laughs some more. “Hell, you could push him into a chair and give him a bellydance for all I care, that boy needs to stop drowning himself in work!”
“I am unfamiliar with bellydance, but I know my way around a pole, if you think that would help.”
“Yeah, cool, we can do that.” A beat passes in realization, as North’s interface does a double take on what her sound unit just recorded. “—wait what did you just say?!”
Connor has not changed his polite, earnest expression. “There are no suitable poles in Jericho to do that, but get me in a properly equipped place and I’m sure I could successfully distract Markus from the idea of work for a little while.” He finishes the phrase with a wink and North just knows –they were meant to be best friends.
It’s time for some scheming.
The perfect chance comes it the form of an android support group organizing a party night, something about promoting interactions between humans and androids and having a big fancy performing arts night to raise funds in order to support and redevelop the community.
Josh and Simon are both quite suspicious when North gets extremely enthusiastic about it and routinely goes to talk with the organizers about setting everything up.
“Just— tell me you’re not up to something…” Josh pleads when he sees her come back with the most self-satisfied expression he’s ever seen on her.
“I’m not up to anything… well, nothing too bad.”
She pats her friend on the back twice. “Don’t worry, Josh, it’s for the greater good this time!” her reassuring grin still doesn’t seem to win him over, and she nods towards the little rooftop alcove Markus retires to on the few sparse occasions he’s not working, and then turns to Simon for support. “It’s to get our fearless leader out of the bureaucratic rabbit hole he fell into…”
Josh’s eyebrows rise at that. “No kidding?”
“If that’s the case, I don’t care what it is you’re doing, I agree.” The PL600 declares dramatically, heaving a sigh, “He’s beginning to sound like a broken record, left to his own devices he’ll work himself to the bone.”
North slings an arm around Simon’s shoulders. “Thanks, Simon, I knew I could count on you!”
“Does Connor know about… whatever it is you’re planning?” an excellent question, Josh, and if he wasn’t worried before he becomes slightly concerned from the grin North gives him.
“Oh he knows. He’s instrumental to it.”
“Hank? May I ask you a question?”
The Lieutenant barely turns his face from where he’s sitting on the couch, when he hears Connor come back. “Sure, shoot.”
“Do you happen to own a pair of latex trousers I could borrow, or know where I might procure some?”
And that’s the sound of Lieutenant Hank Anderson, decorated member of Detroit’s best, spitting out his beer in absolute shock. “What?!”
“I knew it would be far-fetched to ask, I just thought that given your appreciation for heavy metal—” if asked, Connor would confess that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of going shopping for pole-wear alone. The accidental infodump he got from all the Eden Club models gave him the technical skillset, but further research showed him the style and culture revolving around pole dancing and pole fitness –which isn’t always subordinate to sexual contexts, luckily, but that’s tales for other times— and he finds himself in need of a proper outfit.
It will need to be comfortable and elastic, but also will need to have a certain degree of tack in order not to slide down the steel of the pole. He selected a shirt easily enough, since upper body strength isn’t really an issue for an android, and he picked a dark cotton shirt with black latex straps covering the shoulders and going down the arms; both for style and added grip.
In the seconds it took Connor to retrace his steps until now and review other possible courses of action, Hank still hasn’t recovered, despite standing up to grab a towel and dry off most of the beer he accidentally spat on his own chest. “Let me rephrase that. What the fuck?”
“I will be attending a performance night two days from now.” The RK800 explains calmly, stepping around the couch to go pet Sumo, “I have my routine down, but I need to acquire latex trousers to ensure grip and comfort.”
“Perf—” oh right, the kid is going to that whole androids and humans party thing. “Wait, you’re performing at that thing?” it’s still sinking in and the Lieutenant has to shake the thought from his mind, “I thought you were just going for… support, or some shit like that?”
“Correct.” Connor informs, but then he grins to himself, “I also have a… mission, of sorts.”
“A mission.” Hank deadpans.
A few beats of silence pass between them. Connor ponders briefly whether it’ll be worth it or not to scar the poor Lieutenant for life.
“Correct. It involves my performance, a pole, and Markus.”
“Aaaaand that’s where I’m gonna stop ya. I don’t wanna know.” The RK800 suspected Hank knew about him and Markus, but his reactions just now confirms it, “Just... search in your goddamn database who sells this shit around here and I’ll drive you.”
Smiling like a cherub, Connor nods. “Thanks, Hank.”
Connor doesn’t know who’s idea it was to call the event “PARANOIA”, but he guesses it fits –paranoia is exactly what brings creatures on the brink of civil war, and what made humans run to their gun despite the fact that all of Markus’s attempts at communication were peaceful and non-violent; so exorcising the word with an inclusive, crazy mixed night makes sense.
And it does give off a ‘cool’ vibe.
Markus gives him a strange look when they meet up to go, but analyzing his pupil activity and the way he lingers on his legs with his gaze, Connor can tell he likes what he sees.
“Look at you…” the RK200 comments as he gets his greeting kiss with a slightly skewed smile, “What’s this?”
“An entire shirt, just to say one thing.” Connor gives a pointed look at Markus –he seems to have a penchant for garments with either tears or open zippers, and tonight is no different.
Markus looks down at his own outfit and shrugs. “Fair enough.”
Deflection successful, Connor just takes his… boyfriend? Significant other? They haven’t yet put a label on their relationship— either way, he takes Markus by the arm and they make their way to the event venue together.
It’s just like any other club with entrance fees and drinks and everything, but this time humans and androids alike will be both attendees and performers.
As far as crowdfunding campaigns go, this is pretty genius –some of the performances are quite astounding, singers and dancers alike, and it something Markus can definitely imagine people will talk about for a long time.
Maybe North was right, it was a good idea to come here –he was reluctant to take a whole evening off, but she argued that attending such an event would be ‘practically working anyway’, it’s just as important to build relationships with the people around him as it is to actually worry over the duties that have fallen on his shoulders. Also she, Simon and Josh have launched a mini-mutiny of sorts, claiming he’s putting too much stress on himself… which may or may not be true, but the core of it is, North made him promise to delegate at least some of the workload to them and take tonight and tomorrow off.
Speaking of North…
“Markus come on! Let’s get closer to the stage!”
He turns to her reluctantly. “Wait, Connor said he’d be right back…”
“Don’t worry about that, he’s there already!” she insists, tugging him by an arm,
“Yes, he’s waiting for you!”
Magic words said, Markus follows without any further questions.
The lights are dimmed on the stage, but that’s not a problem for an android, and the RK200 looks to his friend. “He’s not here, Nor—” precisely because of superior android sight, that’s exactly when he notices a crucial detail: he didn’t see Connor because he was looking around the stage… not on it.
Suddenly, the black latex makes much more sense.
All of the performers had been nameless and not announced, with only a few moments of pause to rearrange the stage and such, and just like there were some androids without an LED indicator, there were also humans who wore a fake one to perform, to get the message across that it doesn’t really matter what you are, life is life and all of it is beautiful— but there’s no mistaking it now, the android sitting on stage right now is Connor, his Connor, holding a prop that is loosely shaped like either a key or some sort of sci-fi gun.
Either way, he looks beautiful –Markus had already noticed the change in clothing and thanked any higher power listening that he was able to be casual about it, but now… underneath the spotlights slowly coming to life and looking down at him like that? There’s nowhere to hide, and Markus is rooted on the spot.
Then the music starts, Connor uncrosses his legs with a smirk and it sinks in into the RK200’s mind: he will definitely be performing.
His processors must be nearly fried from overworking himself, because he’s struggling with the concept. It’s plain as day to see, though, and if the laughing and clapping from Simon and Josh on the other side of the platform is anything to go by, he’s the only one who didn’t know. ‘Damn it, North!’
Connor sets the prop aside, gets up from where he was sitting and stalks –yes, stalks— towards the pole on center stage, where he makes a mock-curtsy in Josh and Simon’s direction –the two bow back with delighted chuckles. His movements are slow and calculated, and when he turns he locks eyes with Markus for a moment…
…right before the beat drops.
Connor heaves himself up on one side and drops sharply on his knees to the other, arching downward and forwards in an almost kiss to the floor –Markus has to break eye-contact for a moment and feels static build up in his voicebox at the very specific view he just got, but the shouts from the audience make him look back up, and just where the hell did Connor ever download a complete, elite pole fitness skillset from?! Also, why?
There’s no way to define his movements other than perfect: the way he gets one hand on the pole, while the other’s on the floor and he goes into a flawless, open-legged handstand just before breaking position and spinning himself to the other side, all of it speaks of a precise technical skillset.
Eden Club. He then remembers. The two Tracis who escaped from there did tell him that the deviant hunter tracked them down up to a point…
Still, it’s not just knowing the moves –it’s about working them as well. And goodness gracious, is Connor working them, all wide kicks and hip-drops and things that make Markus’s thoughts go very, very much off course. He seamlessly transitions from his kneeling position on the floor to a standing one beside the pole, and throws a quick look at Markus before starting to climb.
Almost as if to make sure he’s watching.
Oh, he is. «What do you think you’re doing?» he asks through their network, just as Connor swings himself back and forth before pirouetting mid-air and landing on his very toes.
«Hush. Don’t distract me, just sit back and enjoy this.» Connor goes as far as putting a finger to his lips to shush Markus, as he walks and twirls and twists.
The music slows down, and to go with the evening’s theme, a desperate voice rings out, crying ‘Not real!’ while Connor runs his hands up his body and through his hair, messing it up before crumbling back down to the floor, and hen back up, and all around, walking like he owns the world and even making a ‘come hither’ gesture at Markus with his hand just before he climbs up the pole and begins yet another complex set of moves.
Markus is, to find a word appropriate to the night, absolutely floored. As advanced as he is, he immediately ran a search with one of his secondary sub-routines to know about all the figures Connor is performing and is fascinated to find that, despite being more than equipped to execute them all perfectly, Connor is choosing to ‘break’ some, make the movements intentionally less polished than they should be.
Admittedly, it adds a degree of dynamism and urgency that is… incredibly arousing.
Especially seeing him with his hair all mussed up, a far cry from his usually perfectly composed and pristine appearance.
Heavens, he’s in deep.
Connor displays an impressive amount of control as he kicks his legs around to draw circles and eights, with his arms as the only contact to the pole, before he catches it between his thighs and slithers down—
Is it hot in here, or is that just Markus’s processors violently overheating? He actually has to take a few breaths to rein down all the garbled instructions his interface has started sending him as a result of the intense emotional and physical reaction to the sight before him.
More than that, it looks like the RK800 is actually enjoying himself, when he lifts himself to hang upside down and then kicks himself right-side up again, twisting and spinning, crumbling down to his knees a second before and way back up the pole a second later.
This time, when he gets to the pole-handstand, he takes his sweet time in hanging at that seemingly impossible position, snapping his legs back and forth in small increments, like the ticking of a clock in time with the music, until he sharply drops them into a full split –while still hanging upside down from the pole’s side.
The crowd around them erupts into shouts at that, and Connor curls himself back around the pole, using his knees as contact points to shift his strength and push himself upright again, until he slides himself back down on the floor.
Then really down on the floor. The voice crying ‘Not real!’ is back, and with it Connor’s erratic movements on the floor, as he lies on his back and kicks his legs up, only to let his toes hit the floor and push up his hips in a way that doesn’t leave much room for misunderstanding.
“Enjoying the show?” North asks by his side, altogether sounding way too pleased.
“You knew.” It’s not a question, and he’s not taking his eyes off Connor just to try and find out the reasons behind North’s mischief. Not now, anyway.
“I did. You’re welcome, by the way.”
Markus doesn’t dignify that with an answer. Especially because Connor just crawled back to where he came from –wait is that supposed to be a bed?— and grabbed the prop.
Keeping it by his side, he gingerly sits on the edge of the fake bed and points the prop at the audience describing an arc, as if it was a gun –a quick scan of the object reveals that it’s just a tubular stage prop filled with glitter powder, but any further considerations are stolen from Markus’s mind as Connor drops himself into a perfect split, with his back to him.
Markus is trying really hard not to stare, but Connor his making it very hard, what with tossing his head this and that way and crawling across the dancefloor in broken, stuttering movements.
They make direct eye-contact when, at the sound of a cocking gun in the song, Connor points the prop exactly at Markus and mimics the action of loading up a shotgun, never once letting his eyes leave the RK200’s even as he tosses the entire thing behind him –causing a small cloud of glitter to fall on himself and the stage, right as he turns his back on Markus again and crawls away on his hands and knees.
The music picks up in speed, and Connor’s floorwork follows suit: the android slams one hand on the floor and lets the rest of his body bounce powerfully in place, looking over his shoulder at Markus in a way that can’t be mistaken for anything but provocative.
He turns to face Markus as he bounces along and the fearless leader of the android revolution, advanced prototype with incredible power and skills, is barely coherent enough to remember that he doesn’t really need to breathe, his processors are just heating up under the strain of keeping him rooted to the spot and well-behaved rather than try and reach out for the perfect visage teasing him right now.
There’s a time and a place, and this is neither –Markus knows it. It doesn’t make it any easier to try and not momentarily shut down from all the stimuli plaguing him, when Connor pushes himself up by running a hand down the pole in yet another, very eloquent manner.
Androids don’t have a sex drive. It’s a fact: they lack the biological imperative that the majority of humans feel –though not all humans feel it, but that neither here or now— androids have no need for sex, despite many of them being technically equipped for intercourse, and even for Markus the act itself never really had that much of an appeal. That is, until he met Connor. If sex was to be compared to food, for humans it would most likely be something necessary, integral to their survival –for androids, instead, it’s like a dessert: something you don’t really need, but that you can have, if you see something that you like enough.
And Markus likes what he’s seeing very, very much.
Connor tosses his head around some more to their audience’s excited screaming, and then he throws himself into more spins –aerial pirouette, his search supplies, when you hold onto the pole with only one hand, gain circular momentum and swing yourself outwards far enough that you can do a full turn it’s called an aerial pirouette. Again, the RK800 takes some liberties with it, landing with bent legs and a ‘broken’ shape for the first one and doing it all the way only when he comes around the second time.
He has the same cheeky look about him that he always has when he’s pretending to not understand Markus when they talk to make im spell out things the RK200 would rather not say out loud –Connor is definitely enjoying this. North is quite literally shouting her approval at the RK800 –Markus never thought he’d see the day.
Holding onto the pole from behind while standing in front of it, Connor performs a perfect cartwheel mid-air and makes a show of ‘not nailing’ the landing, crumpling to his hands and knees just to drag his chest across the floor once more. Then he picks himself up, he goes for another, even wider and more impressive aerial pirouette that fully drags his knees across the stage for the landing; and Markus is biting his lips as he watches Connor crawl the last few notes back towards the fake bed in those brusque, panicked little movements, until he is all the way on the other side, upright on his knees before three fake gunshots echo through the song and he pretends to get hit by all three, dropping backwards on the mattress with a bounce as the lights go out.
As with all the previous, incredibly beautiful performances, the audience explodes in cheers and applause –North goes as far as whistling at Connor because she’s a terrible person and worse friend –by which Markus obviously means the best ever.
Simon catches his eyes from where he was watching on the other side. «That was… something.» he says, through their network because they wouldn’t hear each other’s voice otherwise, «There goes everybody’s idea of little innocent and sweet Connor.»
«There has never been an ounce of innocence in that little shit and you know it.» Markus feels a droplet of liquid on his lower lip and realizes –he bit down hard enough to tear his skin slightly.
He can’t quite finish the thought, though; Connor comes back down from the stage, and goes straight to Markus, with his usual radiant smile as if he wasn’t covered in glitter after what is possibly one of the filthiest displays he ever engaged in. “Hello, Markus.”
He has the gall to greet him just like that. Markus opens his mouth to say something, he knows he’s trying to send signals to his voicebox to speak, but nothing’s coming out. “Did you—”
Simon, Josh and North all laugh mercilessly when his voice comes out heavily distorted by static –they tried to hide it, or rather pretended to, but Markus doesn’t pay them any mind regardless. He clears his voice, kicks his lagging audio-regulating subroutines back into gear; and tries again.
“Did you come up with that?” it may seem like a strange question to ask, especially from someone that is currently looking at you like he wants to devour you, but Connor knows what Markus is really asking.
Was that dance part of what Connor actually feels? Has Markus been oversteering in his attempt to be a gentleman and give him ample time to come to terms with his own emotions and individuality before pushing for an intimacy that Connor might not have understood before? Is Connor fed up with this white-knight bullshit? Absolutely. The answer is clear as day as Connor’s earnest smile tilts slightly into a smirk. The difference is minute, but Markus knows him well enough to see the arch in the brows and the expectant gaze. “I did. North assured me that the choreography was pleasing.” He says, stepping closer to Markus, crowding him, even –he hates that the RK200 is ever so slightly taller, but the effect seems to be there, as he drops his voice a little. “Was it?” he asks, “Did it please you… Markus?”
There it is. The intensity that surfaces whenever Markus actually allows himself to want something. He talks a big game about Connor deciding what he does and doesn’t want, about anyone around him being free to think and do things for themselves; and then he goes and denies himself because of a perceived discomfort.
Typical Markus, needing a veritable shove before he even thinks about acting on his own wishes. Connor could drown in the sheer power radiating from the other’s eyes, and the way Markus looks at him like he’s this incredible creature— not because he’s a prototype, not because he’s an RK800, but because he’s Connor; and no one else can make him feel the same things. It’s a feeling Connor can’t get enough of: after so long of being nothing more than a disposable puppet, it doesn’t surprise him to have fallen for Markus, who looks at him and treats him like he’s absolutely irreplaceable.
It makes him want to do things to Markus that go well beyond either of their basic programs.
Markus holds his gaze –of course he does, nobody in the world can ever hope to have the same intensity in their stare as this mismatched wonder– and eventually answers: “Not remotely enough.”
Nice try, but Connor has immediately noticed the little tear that is currently closing itself up on the RK200’s lower lip. Then again… the few times he locked eyes with Markus while he was onstage did stir a fair amount of arousal in Connor himself, which hasn’t subsided in the slightest. “Hmm…” he hums pensively, looking off to the side as if considering possibilities. “How about we get you out of here and remedy that?”
The intake of breath he’s rewarded with tells him Markus is struggling to cool his systems down.
“Careful what you wish for.” Is it a whisper? Or a growl? Connor doesn’t care, it’s a sound that reverberates down to his very core and makes him want to strip Markus down on this very stage –that’d be a performance this people would remember.
But no, Connor has some decency, so he sidesteps Markus enough to whisper into his ear: “Why? Will I finally get it?”
He walks away from the crowd without so much as looking back.
“I would go after him, if I were you.” Simon advises, voice still slightly broken by leftover laughter.
Josh nearly doubles over. “I think anyone would go after him, after that.”
North slaps a hand behind Markus’s shoulders and ‘gently’ urges him forward. “There’s a staffroom to the left of the hall that is not in use. The door can be hacked. Don’t come back until the event is flippin’ over.”
So a lot of this was actually planned.
He’ll have to sit his friends down and have a talk about going behind his back. Later. Much later.
Right now only one person has his undivided attention; but he’s foolish to think he’d get the jump on Connor: the very moment Markus follows him into the abandoned staffroom, the RK800 turns and grabs him by the shoulders, slamming him against the closed door and trapping him in a bruising kiss, right hand splaying against the door to make it so nobody could open it from the outside.
“Damn—” Markus barely huffs against his lips, “I played right into your hands, didn’t I?”
Connor’s little chuckle sends electricity down Markus’s spine, while he traces a line of kisses down the RK200’s jawline and neck. “I’ve got you right where I want you, deviant.”
Markus’s touch on his shoulder is feather-light as he traces the outlines of Connor’s torso, all the way down to cup two full handfuls of very well-crafted behind. “Funny you would call me that.”
It’s a thing between them –sometimes Connor would play up his detective-hunter persona just to get at Markus, and the RK200 would play his little game willingly, like their own little inside joke… but Connor isn’t laughing now.
Not when Markus physically hauls his entire body up by the buttocks –leaving Connor no choice but to hook his ankles around Markus’s waist and his arms around his neck to avoid falling– and quickly crosses the three strides he needs to reach the lone desk in the room and slam Connor on it.
Idly, one of Connor’s sub-routines goes off to calculate who would win in a fight between them; but the bulk of his processing power stutters in a gasp; the impact of the desk on his back is sharp but not nearly enough to make him feel pain, and the sound dissolves into excited laughter.
Markus’s lips are on his neck and his hands are roaming back up his thighs and towards the fly of his trousers, warm and heavy and oh, there— Connor wonders what madman would deny himself this feeling; and immediately feels a rush of exasperated affection for the RK200, who has preferred to wait until Connor himself metaphorically bashed him over the head with his own desire rather than push at Connor’s boundaries.
At the corner of his vision, there’s a quick blinking –Mission Successful. Connor isn’t sure he wants to ask himself the question of which task exactly has just been accomplished (possibly 'get Markus to finally slam you on a flat surface and have his way with you'); and just lets himself enjoy the feeling of Markus’s hands roaming over him, one snaking upwards underneath his shirt, the other dipping into his unbuttoned trousers.
Every little touch lights his subsurface sensors on fire, and Connor nearly arches clean off the table when the RK200’s hand closes around him. For all the brusqueness that went into heaving him up and slamming him on the table, Markus is being purposefully slow and gentle, now –Connor has never done this before, but he has enough data to know: Markus is doing this on purpose.
Oh, he’s got another thing coming.
Licking his lips in anticipation, Connor tightens his legs around Markus’s waist, bringing one hand up to grasp behind the nape of his lover’s neck and all but forcing him to come back up face to face. “Hi, there.” He whispers, before slamming his free hand on the table’s surface to brace himself: bucking his hips up and twisting to the side, he uses his hold on Markus to force him to follow the movement and slam him onto the desk, see how he likes it.
Judging by the gasp and the stutter in his chest when it happens, Markus likes it just fine.
If anyone ever told Connor, all of those months ago, that he would one day be kneeling on a desk with Markus’s body trapped between his legs, the RK800 would have thought that it would probably be to ‘neutralize’ him. As of right now, Connor looks at the android beneath him and wonders who could possibly even think of robbing the world of such a creature.
He licks his lips again –his analytics can shut the fuck up for now. “You wanna play it slow? I can do slow.”
Leaning further downwards, Connor bunches up the hem of Markus’s sorry excuse for a shirt –seriously, he made those faces at Connor but he walks around being a constant tease, the big hypocrite— and drags it all the way up his chest, until he can pull it over and behind his head.
It doesn’t really restrict the movement in Markus’s arms, but it sends a clear message.
Connor drags his hands down his lover’s chest letting his nails sink slightly into the polymer –it will fix itself soon enough unless the self-repair is manually stopped, but it’s the moment that counts. He enjoys immensely the way Markus reacts to his touch, gasping and arching and reaching out to reciprocate.
It’s in that moment that Connor gets an idea. He grabs one of Markus’s wrists, then the other, and slams them both down over his head, keeping them there one-handed while he finishes undressing Markus with the other. “Didn’t I tell you?” he whispers, leaning down to take a bite to his lover’s lower lip, “I’ve got you… right where I want you.”
One of the perks of being an android is not needing the same preparation that humans do –you just change a few variables in your ancillary processes and you’re good to go, let your body collect external stimuli until your interface overloads with them and tips you over the edge. Still, he makes a show of lowering himself on Markus agonizingly slow.
To his credit, Markus doesn’t break eye-contact for one single moment; and it burns Connor up from the inside, the sheer lust and adoration in that mix of greens and blues. He starts moving; and both his lover’s hands turn white, reaching out for a connection –Connor’s hand is not exactly splayed against his, but they’re close enough that the interfacing will go through. The feedback loop is so intense it makes the RK800’s hips stutter in place for a moment.
He feels everything –it’s not at all unfamiliar, what with the amount of times Markus has gently held his hand and let all of his affection for Connor flow freely, but this time is deeper, rawer: there’s no subtle holding back. Connor wants every last drop of it.
Markus’s hips buck upwards as well, trying as he is to chase the contact and the rhythm of Connor’s hips, but the RK800 is having none of that. He slaps a hand roughly on his lover’s chest, using a good deal of strength to pin him on the desk. He already has a good bounce going, but he has demonstrated quite eloquently he can go much faster and harder than that. “You want more? Say please.”
“Wrong answer.” Connor tuts, pushing harder on Markus’s chest but picking up the pace a little –just enough to bring them both on the verge of losing their minds. A small, traitorous side process keeps blinking at the edges of his interface, telling him that if he frees Markus’s hands the RK200 could put them to very good use; and Connor has to release a shuddering sigh to resist the temptation.
That’s the moment Markus retaliates. Twisting his wrists, he snatches himself out of Connor’s grasp, taking the chance to lace his fingers with the hand that was holding him down and bringing the other to Connor’s hips, to coax him into a rougher, faster rhythm and bucking his hips some more. “How’s this for asking nicely?”
The sound that escapes Connor’s lips at that is so worth it –he literally lifts his hand from Markus’s chest and punches a hole in the wall beside them to let out the excess energy from the jolt of pleasure flooding his system. Markus himself is nearly losing his mind with pleasure. Had he known Connor wanted this as much as he did, he would have acted on it much sooner.
As far as first times go… they’re making a complete mess, breaking things around them and quite literally wrestling each other. Not what the RK800 would have expected from someone as outwardly gentle and serene as Markus, but then again, there’s always been a swirling, boundless intensity stirring just beneath the surface.
And oh, is Connor ever so glad to have it all for himself.
“Markus!” he gasps, finding himself toppling forward and once more slamming his free hand on the other’s chest and instinctively sinking his nails in when Markus really picks up the pace –had it been human skin, Markus would probably be bruised and bleeding by this point… oh, scratch that, there’s some very faint blue lines forming from where Connor scratched a little too hard.
The RK800 would be lying if he said he doesn’t like the idea of leaving a… mark.
Markus only has eyes for Connor, lost in the sensation they’re sharing as he is, and the hand he was firmly holding the other’s hips with drags itself all the way up to Connor’s neck, pulling him down for a kiss. Connor tries to chase it even as Markus shifts, pushing a thumb under his chin to get his lover to tilt his head back so he can nip and bite at Connor’s jawline and neck. “Say that again…”
It’s not an order –it’s a plea. Connor is all too happy to grant him this one wish.
Markus hums, low and warm in his throat as if the very call of his name was a binding spell –Connor can feel it, through their open connection, Markus would literally do anything for him and such a feeling is absolutely intoxicating. He reaches up with his free hand, to grab the one that Markus has on his neck and guide it to his chest, down his abdomen… he doesn’t need to ask.
The sound that escapes his voicebox when Markus wraps his fingers around him and starts pumping nearly has Connor worried that the people in the event hall could hear them –but that’s an absurd and irrational thought, the music blaring in that place alone would be enough to cover the sound of an explosion from outside…
Still, Markus thrusting inside him and his very core exposed through their joined hands feels so much louder than that. It’s making his sensor’s perception skewed, everything is so loud, so heavy, so there.
There, oh. “Markus…”
It’s an obvious request for more, faster.
Markus happily obliges. There’s messages blaring everywhere at the sides of his interface –sensory overloads, rising circuitry temperature, all the things that tell him what would be glaringly obvious even without: he’s losing control hard and fast.
“Connor…” It escapes from his lips in a moan just before he goes completely over: “I fucking love you.”
Markus’s words hit Connor square in the chest and he surges forward to kiss him with the last shreds of control he has, before his whole body spasms around Markus and the entire world comes to a screeching halt. Nothing exists anymore –there’s no humans, no androids, no duties to worry about.
There’s just the two of them, connected, open and raw like a live wire, and Markus, Markus, Markus…
Markus loves him –he knows, he knew from the first fucking time they interfaced, but hearing it said like that is still so much stronger.
When his senses come back, slowly, one by one, so much so that his whole field of vision has a recalibrating blue pulse, Connor dips forward again, resting his forehead against his lover’s. Markus severs the connection in favor of carding his fingers through Connor’s hair, all messed up and alive and beautiful.
The gentle slowness of the movement is such a stark contrast to the rough treatment they’ve given each other that it nearly gives whiplash to Connor’s sensors. Still, he smiles. “Say that again.” He echoes, closing his eyes at the sensation of Markus’s tender laughter rumbling against his chest.
“I love you.” A quick, barely-there kiss at the corner of his lips.
“I love you.”
Connor leans further down, hiding his face in the crook of Markus’s neck. “I love you too.” He eventually says, his eyes registering a sudden increase in the hydrating solution coating them –an emotional response, he’s… tearing up. At the notion that yes, he is so much more than his program and skillset –Markus has shown him that time and time again, but not only that; he is valued, and loved and cherished, for no other reason than existing, and being who he is, and Markus loves him. For some reason, this simple notion he has already been aware of for some time is hitting him much harder right now.
It feels stupid, and senseless, but Markus doesn’t seem to find it stupid at all; and he just slowly sits up, helping Connor off his lap and briefly composing himself as the RK800 absently does the same, but then Markus opens his arms again and Connor goes into the embrace more than willingly, resuming his hiding spot.
The RK200 makes no effort to try and have Connor show him his face –he just sits there, caressing the back of his lover’s head. “Shh…” he coos, despite no sound having come from the other, “I’ve got you…”
Connor knows that well. He also notices a completed sub-task that he had dismissed in favor of throwing himself into their intercourse: calculations on who would win a fight between him and Markus.
The statistical results have them quite evenly matched, but the odds are tipped in Connor’s favor, taking into account one particular variable –Markus is too kind, and would never have the heart to actually hurt him.
He allows himself a private chuckle at that, and finally looks up to Markus’s eyes.
There he is, the fearless leader of the android revolution, completely and utterly melted by a pair of doe-brown eyes and a deceptive angel face. “We should probably go back.” He says, making no real effort to move from where he’s sitting, with Connor in his lap and his arms firmly around his lover.
Connor shakes his head with a happy sigh. “North has probably told everyone we’re gone by now.” He explains, “Once we’re out of here, we can slip out from the service exit.”
It makes Markus throw his head back slightly with laughter. “You planned this all behind my back, didn’t you?” he asks, pinching the RK800’s side ever so slightly, “You little schemer.” –Connor isn’t equipped to be ticklish, but his sensors register the pressure and the connotations usually associated with the gestures and grins all the same.
“I got tired of waiting for you to get over your white knight bullshit.”
The subsequent laughter from Markus is startled enough to rattle their embrace. “Ouch!” he comments in mock-hurt. “Is that what I get for being a considerate lover?”
“Considerate being a fancy word for scared?”
The RK200 lets Connor have that, and he also lets him bite at his cheekbone some more.
“Ok, fine. I might have been a bit… indecisive.” He mutters, not really regretting letting Connor spell his wishes out for him in the boldest way possible –at least there was no room for misunderstandings.
But that doesn’t mean that Connor holds back on making fun of him: “A ‘little’? Markus, I had to shove an elite stripper routine at your face to finally get in your pants.”
Yeah, he deserves that jab.
Not for the first time, Markus wonders what higher power saw fit to get someone like Connor to love him –then he remembers that he doesn’t really believe in higher powers, and that Connor chose to be with him on his own.
It doesn’t make him any less thankful. Even though they'll be picking glitter out of their polymer skin for days.
As it turns out, their little plan finally succeeds in reminding Markus that there is more to his life than working and trying to appease everyone around him, and a few days later Connor goes to Jericho to find a very cheerful Josh: “Oh hey! Markus is painting, if you’re here to see him.”
Indulging in his favorite hobby— a definite improvement. North’s mood also improved now that she doesn’t have to deal with a stressed, overworked Markus anymore, and Simon is also basically on cloud nine about it –they all love their leader dearly, but no one likes a grumpy, workaholic Markus.
Making his way to the little rooftop alcove where the easel and piano are, Connor wasn’t exactly expecting what he finds: he knows Markus doesn’t mind getting a little dirty, especially when painting, but Connor is struggling to reconstruct a scenario where painting a medium-sized canvas would result with Markus missing his shirt and almost completely covered in inky black paint.
His hands and arms are completely black, up to the elbows, and there are streaks of black on his chest and abdomen, as well as several droplets down his jeans. When he turns to smile at Connor, there’s also some black paint on his temple and under his chin, likely from brushing dirty hands against his face. “Hey.”
“I don’t know whether to greet you or spray you with a water pump.”
Oof, that smile gets him every time. “It’s mostly dry, I’ll clean it off later.”
Connor tentatively takes the hand Markus extends towards him, and when the paint doesn’t transfer, he lets himself be pulled in for a kiss. “So…” he mutters, against his lover’s lips, “What have you been up to?”
“I painted this for you.”
A present. Connor never received a present before. He turns his head to the side, and instinctively scans the painting before them. Ah, there’s the reason Markus got himself so dirty –the canvas is almost entirely black, and the paint wasn’t simply applied, it was poured on it, to cover it entirely. Then, once it was semi-dry, the painter has chipped away at the color with a metal spatula, creating the figures on the canvas through empty white space rather than color.
How very like Markus, to completely disregard the norm.
Connor has to stare at the painting for a while, not really discerning a specific shape, until Markus speaks again and it clicks in his mind:
“I’ve called it ‘white knight and the dark angel’.” It’s vague, bordering on abstract, but once he knows what to look for it’s quite obvious: it’s the two of them, barely even outlined but undeniably there, kissing and with Connor’s legs around Markus’s body. “Do you like it?”
Oh, you absolute sap.
He has to commend his technique— you literally have no clue what it is at first sight, but once you know you can’t unsee it. Connor smiles to himself, turning back to face Markus and nosing the way into his lover’s neck. “I love it.”
He will have a hard time explaining it to Hank and the Lieutenant might be further scarred for life when Connor returns home with what amounts to a portrait of himself and Markus having sex, however abstract and tasteful…
…but hey. At least he managed to get Markus to distract a little.
And he finally got to explore the new sensation he was looking for, and then some.
He smirks to himself. Mission Successful.