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That Boy Is A Powder Keg

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Part One

// Saturday 12:03 PM //

 

“How are you, Gavin?”

Gavin sits stiffly, tucked into the corner of a brown couch. He feels the soft suede under his palms. Yellowish walls become yellower in the natural light let in from the windows. It should be comfortable, everything about this room is supposed to evoke comfort and safety. It’s supposed to urge words from his mouth without too much pulling. Purge the weeds of his mind, kill them gently.

But it just doesn’t.

“M’fine.” Gavin says looking into Lauren’s eyes for a moment before looking out the window behind her. Lauren’s office is on a high enough floor that street noise doesn’t seep through the walls. It’s another thing that’s supposed make this whole process easier. Just high enough off the ground so that he can see over the tops of a few trees that dot the otherwise urban setting.

So Fowler’s making him see a shrink. It’s an agreement they came to after Fowler almost lost his voice reading Gavin the riot act. Gavin will go to a therapist for a while and Fowler will consider not throwing his ass out onto the street to find a new job.

“Okay.” Lauren says and waits. She’s patient and calm and has way more endurance than Gavin originally thought. Lauren, sitting in her own blue armchair, tablet resting neatly on her lap, stares at Gavin without fear. “If you have anything to say in the next 50 minutes I’m all ears.”

Gavin shakes his head and crosses his arms, settling back into the couch. “I’m good.”

“Okay.” Lauren smiles softly and a small bit of anger boils in Gavin’s gut. He realizes, as he sulks on the couch, that she’s probably used to the silent treatment. She’s probably analyzing his posture, his facial expressions, the color shirt he’s wearing and making a note of it. Formulating the why and the how of him and his behavior. Posture equals insomnia, facial expression equals drinking problems, shirt color equals intimacy issues. Whatever. Not saying anything to a shrink is, unfairly, still saying something.

But his advantage, if you could call it that, is that he’s the biggest asshole in Detroit. Ask anyone at the DPD who the biggest loudmouth in the office is and they’d say Gavin in a heartbeat. But Gavin’s loudmouth tendencies are just symptoms of his bigger attitude problem. A switch that is easily flipped into quiet seething. Gavin turns up the volume on his phone as he plays Tetris, just to rub a little more ‘fuck you’ salt in that ‘I don’t need help’ wound.

Lauren doesn’t question it, doesn’t make a face, doesn’t do anything in particular except maybe make a note or two on her tablet. When the session ends Lauren walks Gavin out to the reception area. “Same time next week?” She confirms.

“Mhmm.” He nods as he exits the office with white knuckled fists.

 

// Saturday - 4:42 PM //

 

Therapy ate up most of his Saturday afternoon. That is if you factor in the hour and a half Gavin spent forcing himself out of the apartment and into the car before. And the three hours Gavin spent mugging a punching bag at the gym after. By the time he gets home he’s sweaty and tired and ready to order his favorite comfort food for delivery. Lasagna and garlic bread from the Italian place a few blocks away.

He walks into his apartment, drops his gym bag and heads straight for the shower. As he adjusts the heat his phone rings.

 

Incomming Call: FuckYou → Ignore

 

Gavin strips and steps into the shower, letting the warm water work at the tension in his back and neck. He bumps up the heat as his phone continues ringing, as if the scalding water could help him block out the noise. His skin is cherry pink by the time the ringing ends. Gavin stops the water and contemplates sitting in the shower for a while. Maybe sealing it up and never going to therapy again because honestly, what a fucking waste of time. Maybe never going to work again because he doubts Fowler will ever unchain him from desk work.

Steam floods the bathroom as he exits the shower. Gavin fluffs a towel through his hair and then wraps it around his waist. He grabs his phone.

 

3 Missed Calls

1 New Voicemail

 

Text from FuckYou: call me back, it’s important.

 

He deletes the voicemail without listening to it and the same for the text without really reading it. Whatever it was it couldn’t be that important. And if it was, Elijah knew where to find him.

Gavin, suddenly too exhausted to punch in his order for delivery, has cereal for dinner and zones out through his favorite playlist. After the third time of restarting the first song he gives up trying to really listen. At night he buries himself under a steady weight of sheets, comforters and blankets. It keeps him pinned down for now.

 

// Sunday - 10:02 AM //

 

Conversation dies a quick death as Gavin steps into the break room on Sunday. Not even the ghost of a whisper when he heads towards the coffee machine. Officers politely look at everything in the room except him. People used to put up with him. Hell, some people in this office even used to like him. But things change.

Gavin fills his mug and leaves. He ignores how conversation is resurrected when he’s halfway back to his desk.

The office is usually a little different on Sundays. They’re already a little understaffed thanks to the revolution taking away programmed street cops. On top of that people usually take Sundays off to spend time with family or go to church or whatever the fuck it is that people are supposed to do on Sundays. Gavin has always worked Sundays and he’s always kind of liked the quiet nature of it.

Anderson used to take Sundays off to drink himself further into his grave. Every glass is another foot under. Now Connor drags him into work, makes him play the part of the cop that was responsible for that big red ice bust. Urges him back towards supposed greatness. Whatever.

Gavin smacks his palm to the scanner on the the monitor, waking his terminal to life. He’s been relegated to the world of desk duties where a never ending supply of paperwork is ready for him to fill out and file. Maybe if he’s lucky he gets to make calls concerning a real case. After that he’s promptly sent back to his personal hell. Fowler doesn’t trust him to not be a complete fuck up and yet he can’t afford not to have Gavin. Being understaffed is what was helping him keep his job.

Two hours and an empty mug later, Gavin has done paperwork for cases that he wasn’t even on . This really was a punishment. Gavin gets up to stretch and too look at something other than a screen. His grey eye are tired of reading case numbers and evidence inventories.

“Reed!” Fowler’s booming voice catches Gavin off guard. Fowler’s in the doorway of his office, not even bothering invite Gavin in his office or meet him out in the bullpen. Asshole.

“What, I’m not allowed to stretch anymore?!” Gavin mouths off because he always mouths off. “Cuff me to the desk next time.”

Fowler grits out, “Multiple homicides at Grove Apartments. You’re meeting Anderson and Connor there. Drop the attitude or I drop you.”

Gavin stumbles backwards, clutching his desk. Only a second of excitement, freedom from desk duties for the first time in three weeks. An opportunity to do his job. And then a raging storm of red washes over him, “Anderson and Connor? Don’t you think three’s a crowd?”

“I don’t have time to debate this with you. You’re the only detective sitting around here doing nothing. Go now!” Fowler orders and retreats back to his office.

Hands shaking he grabs his gear. He exits the bullpen, ignoring the eyes on him that are waiting for him to explode. They want a show. They want Gavin the loud, the brash, the furious detective to storm up to Fowler and tell him exactly where he can shove his orders. He won’t do it though, not this time. He swallows it down, a bitter pill indeed. The taste of anger and hurt.

 

// Sunday - 2:12 PM //

 

“No fucking way,” Lt. Anderson bites out as soon as Gavin steps foot into the apartment. His voice is muted slightly by a medical mask. “This is our case, get the hell out.” As if to reinforce Anderson’s words a waft of dead body hits him and he backs up a few steps. Gavin brings the collar of his t-shirt up to cover his mouth and nose.

“Listen, Anderson, as much as I hate you and you’re plastic pet there,” Gavin gestures to Connor crouched on the floor, examining a body, “I have been ordered to work this case with you. Fucking deal with it.”

It’s a full house in the two room apartment. A forensics guy walks towards Gavin tepidly, holding a mask. Gavin rips it from his hands and affixes it while he does a head count. Anderson, Connor, two beat cops who first happened upon the scene, the guy from forensics and Gavin makes six. Gavin can only see one body in the living room. Anderson motions for Gavin to follow him into one of the bedrooms. Multiple homicides, Fowler had said. The spidery legs of a bad feeling creep up Gavin’s chest.

“It’s pretty ugly in there.” Is the only warning Anderson gives before he opens the door.

Gavin’s been working homicide for nearly six years now, he’s seen a lot of fucked up shit. He’s learned to keep his reactions, emotional and physical, on a tight leash when he’s at a crime scene. He’s an asshole but he’s a damn good detective, he doesn’t want anything, especially himself, getting in the way of a case.

“Holy shit.” Gavin’s voice is barely above a whisper. Bodies. Mangled, twisted, rotted, rusted. Some human, some android. Some both, fused together in a mess of wires and blood. Some just reduced down to parts. A leg, a tongue, a thirium pump, a liver. Another wave of smells hits Gavin, some are from organic decomposition. Others are sterile and smell of bleach. “Shit, shit, shit.”

Gavin steps into the room with careful, quiet feet. He doesn’t even know where to start looking. It’s all too much. Anderson walks away and returns to talking with the other officers. Gavin’s the only living thing in this nightmarish room. He ventures towards the bed turned operating station. He picks up a syringe.

“I have already-”

“Fuck!” Gavin jumps at the voice, dropping the syringe. He turns to see Connor in the doorway. Gavin stomps over, balls his fist in Connor’s shirt, “Don’t ever sneak up on me like that again, you fucking machine .”

Connor’s LED flashes from blue to yellow to blue. “My apologies, Detective. I didn’t know you were so sensitive .”

“You were better before you were a deviant .”

“Not better, simply obedient.” Connor says flatly. He wrenches Gavin’s fist out of his clothes and continues with his earlier statement. “I’ve already analyzed the evidence in here. Three humans. Tom Hayden, 31. Samantha Bauer, 27. Joan Piers, 16. They each have different times of death. Four Androids of varying models.”

Gavin turns away from Connor, turns away from the scene of torture and decay. He squeezes his eyes shut. Connor catches him up to speed as Gavin catches his breath, “No fingerprints have been found other than those of the human victims and that of the tennant’s, Dorean Fisher, 71. She lived with an android caretaker before the revolution and then alone. No next of kin.”

“Whereabouts of the caretaker?” Gavin asks, ready to open his eyes once more. He faces Connor again who has already fixed his rumpled shirt and tie.

“Unknown.” Connor says, looking around the room once more. “I’ve registered her serial number, model number and factory design. Sending out an APB.” His LED spins yellow until the action is complete.

Gavin examines a syringe and a bonesaw, some gauss soaked in blood. “Prints on any of this?”

Connor shakes his head, “No.”

Gavin sighs. “Course not, that’d make it too easy,” He exits the room with Connor closely behind him, “Alright dipshit, tell me what happened here.”

Dorean Fisher lay on the floor, against the wall of the living room. Gavin could see the bruised handprints on her neck. “Dorean Fisher died approximately ten days ago due to strangulation. There were no signs of breaking and entering, so Fisher must have let the attacker in.”

“Or the attacker had a key.” Gavin adds, taking in the entryway. Pristine, no signs of a break in just like Connor had said.

“Possibly. According to the treads in the carpet she was dragged over there after her death.”

The two beat cops leave and Anderson emerges from the kitchen, having just finished collecting their reports. The forensics expert continues taking photos of the crime scene and collecting evidence despite the fact that Connor is a walking crime lab. Gavin squeezes his gloved fist. Connor could replace everyone in this room and the two cops exiting the building. A human police force grows more obsolete with every advancement Connor makes.

Gavin refuses to imagine what would have happened if Cyberlife went through with their plans to mass produce Connors for every department, every station. The police, the FBI, the CIA. Or if the revolution had gotten violent, if the Cyberlife warehouses and experimental tech had gotten into the revenge hungry hands of androids. Streets filled with Connors, a militant android police state.

“Those officers arrived a little over an hour ago due to a 911 call from a cell phone. A recording of the call is being sent to Connor as we speak. The number is being tracked down but my gut says it’s a burner.” Anderson says.

Gavin does a once over of the living room, his eyes flicker down the hallway for a moment. Two bedroom apartment for one old lady with no family? Gavin walks down and enters the other room.

“We believe this was a guest room,” Connor says, “No DNA from the victims has been found, aside from Mrs.Fisher’s.”

Gavin looks at the room. A single bed, a nightstand with a lamp, a bookshelf. Simple decorations but nothing overly personal. A thin layer of dust had just began settling over the otherwise tidy space. Gavin peaks out the window. “You fucking morons, this was the Android’s room.”

“Perhaps, but Androids do not require sleep-” The rest of Connor’s explanation is interrupted by Gavin throwing open the window.

Out on the fire escape is an overlapping mess of RA9RA9RA9RA9 . “Over here, asshole.”

Connor steps beside Gavin to look at the symbol. “Fuck.”

“Yup.” Gavin, for once, agreed with Connor.

 

// Sunday - 2:03 AM //

 

Gavin scrubs his body raw in the shower that night, unable to get the feeling of filth off his skin. He bites the inside of his cheek as he lathers more soap. Who knew it only took three weeks of staring at case files and pulling up records to make him weak again, the way he was when he had first become a detective. He should be able to handle this better.

He unclenches his jaw and his tongue pokes at the indents on the inside of his cheek left from his teeth.

His cell phone rings as he exits the shower, the water turned cold. He wraps the towel around his waist as he picks up his phone.

 

Incomming Call: FuckYou

 

Gavin’s thumb hovers over ignore but flashes of the crime scene are entering his mind. Elijah might know something. He knows Hank and Connor spoke with him before the revolution but, apparently, violent deviancy is still an issue. He groans as he hits accept.

“As I live and breathe,” Elijah gasps, “to what do I owe the pleasure?”

“You called me, dumbfuck. What do you want?” Gavin says, padding over to his bedroom.

A long pause without words almost makes Gavin believe that the call dropped but then Elijah’s voice is in his ear again. “I just want to talk-”

Gavin hangs up without any second thoughts. He tosses his phone onto a pile of dirty laundry before flopping onto the bed. He tells himself the wetness on his cheeks is just from the shower.

 

// Monday - 9:07 AM //

 

Blinds. They should install blinds, the fancy automated kind, in Fowler’s office so that he and Anderson can scream at each other privately. The shouting is mostly muffled but even so, as Gavin walks into the office that morning, he knows it’s about him being on the case.

Anderson must be angry about it if he’s showing up to work on time just to yell at the Captain.

Gavin leans against his desk, watching arms flying wildly and angry, bitter faces. Anderson, at one point, has the balls to blatantly point at Gavin. They make eye contact for a moment so Gavin waves. Anderson looks ready to break through the glass and strangle Gavin.

Connor leans against the desk besides Gavin and Gavin scoots away an inch. “We have received a three hits from the All Points Bulletin regarding Dorean Fisher’s former caretaker. Perhaps we should check them together.”

“And miss end of the fight between Hank ‘The Drunk’ Anderson vs Captain ‘I’ll take your badge when I want’ Fowler? No thanks, go do it yourself, prick.” Gavin sneers.

Out of the corner of his eyes Gavin sees Connor stand and turn towards him completely. All of his attention focused on Gavin. Every sensor and scanner and who knows, maybe a fucking laser is trained on him, analyzing him. It makes Gavin squirm. Connor takes another step closer, obscuring Gavin’s view of Fowler’s office. With Gavin leaning against the desk Connor, who was already taller, towers over Gavin..

“I suppose I haven’t made myself clear. We are going to work this case. I do not take pleasure in partnering with you but that doesn’t matter. What matters is-”

Gavin stands without thinking about it, not caring that he’s now practically nose to nose with Connor. “I thought you were free thinking now, Connor. Sounds like a lot of programmed bullshit to me.”

A few officers take a half step forward, as if they’re unsure about getting involved with them. “I am free thinking. It is not my fault that you don’t like the way I speak.” Connor says. His voice doesn’t exactly raise in volume, Gavin’s not even sure there’s much of a change in tone. Regardless, he feels that there’s a you simple bitch in there that’s meant for him. “I don’t want to fight.” Connor says softly, which somehow causes Gavin to relax his fist.

The glass door of Fowler’s office swings open and everyone scurries back to their work. Hank trudges toward Gavin and Connor, looking wounded. But not so badly that he doesn’t have the energy to scowl at Gavin. Gavin finds himself taking a step back from Connor.

“We’re working this case,” Hank grinds out, “together.” He lost the argument.

Gavin doesn’t know if he should be relieved or angered, both feelings waring inside him. Anger will probably win, it usually does, by kicking steel toed boots into relief’s ribs. “Joy.” Gavin says with as much sarcasm as he can manage.

“I don’t want to hear it from you, Reed.” Hank warns.

Anger continues beating the absolute shit of relief. Relief spits up blood as Gavin’s face turns a shade too red with frustration and rage. People are looking at him again makes the hair on the back of his neck stand. Goosebumps rise. “Don’t you have a bullet to swallow?”

Connor’s hands are warm and fast and unforgiving. Gavin is pinned against the desk, bent over it, head slammed hard. His hearing gets cottony, thick and soft. Cool breath in his ear and a low mumble of words that he can’t understand. The right side of his face pressed harder into the desk. Those unforgiving hands on his neck, a quick and hard squeeze. Gavin struggles to struggle, the fog in his head weakening his coordination. Without even really hearing himself he says, “I thought you said you didn’t want to fight?”

Connor is ripped off of him by Hank of all people. Gavin doesn’t have the cognitive power to realize that he should either stand up straight or sit down or anything other than continuing to be tilted over the desk.

His head throbs with the signs of a concussion. He’s peeled gently from the desk and into a rolling chair. As his head spins he sees three Captain Fowlers and they all look highly disappointed. Gavin flinches when Connor reappears in his line of sight. Two Connors, which is an improvement.

“Don’t move, Detective. I’m trained in first-aid.” Connor says, his voice less muffled now. His LED flickers red, yellow, red, like a broken traffic light.

“Don’t touch me. M’fine.” Gavin says in the least ‘fine’ voice. “Just gonna have a huge ass headache.” His eyes drift close. A light hand patting his cheek makes him open his eyes. He’s met with Connor’s brown ones, analyzing him.

A minute or hour later, Gavin doesn’t really know, a glass of water and two small pills are in each of his hands. He swallows the medicine as Fowler emerges from his office. “Someone get him home.” He says. He looks around the office, “Everyone get back to work. This didn’t happen.”

 

// Monday - 10:13 AM //

 

In a strange show of equilibrium, Connor escorts Gavin home even when Gavin begs for anyone else in the whole office to do it. Then he remembers to insist that he can get himself home fine but it’s already too late. Gavin whines the whole way as Connor guides him out of the office and into the back of a cab. Hank stays behind and works the case, grinding his teeth the whole time.

Gavin’s head pounds regardless of the medication. His entire body is sore as he exits the cab. Connor tries to assist only to have Gavin bat him away. “This is stupid, I’m a grown man.”

“Detective, I have been asked to deliver you home and I intend to do so to the best of my abilities.”

“You’re the one who gave me the concussion in the first place. Least you could do is leave me alone.” Gavin mumbles, walking towards his apartment. The complex is nice, not too new or flashy. It has the old charm of a brick building, perhaps once a warehouse or factory, turned into urban living. Trees and greenery dot the walkway towards main entrance. Gavin only sways once during this walk.

A short elevator ride filled with silent glares is followed by Gavin dramatically opening the door to his apartment. “There, you’ve delivered me. Now leave.”

“Allow me to do one last examination.” Connor promises. Gavin doesn’t buy it for a minute but Connor is already in his kitchen getting ice before he can say no.

Gavin sighs and enters his apartment, kicking off his shoes. He ignores Connor and heads towards the bathroom. He hasn’t checked for bruises yet. When he arrives at the mirror, it’s really not as bad as he thought it would be. Some swelling, maybe a slight bump on his brow but not too horrible. He looks a little flushed, the scar on his nose more noticeable. He hates that.

“I didn’t know you had a cat.” Connor says absently, and it makes Gavin wonder if his concussion is making him hear things. Is that possible?

“What?” Gavin asks, poking at his collar. No hand marks on his neck, thank God.

Connor’s voice is closer, “Your cat.”

“I don’t have a cat.”

“There’s no need to lie, Gavin. I have him right here.” Connor is suddenly in the bathroom, ice pack in one hand and a black cat tucked under his arm. “I’ve never noticed cat hair on your clothes or desk chair before, how do you remove it?”

“I don’t have a--” Gavin, huffs a frustrated breath, “Connor, that’s not my cat.”

Connor frowns, “Oh. Who’s cat is he?”

Gavin snatches the ice pack and applies it to the right side of his face. He winces at the cold for a moment. “Probably a stray. I leave my windows open sometimes.”

“That’s dangerous.” Connor scratches the cat’s ears. The thing is purring in his hands, nuzzling into his chest. “I can’t detect a tracking chip on him”

Gavin rolls his eyes, ignoring the smile on Connor’s face. “I thought you were here to examine me , dipshit.”

Connor looks up, solemn once more. “My apologies.” Connor stares at him for a few moments. He tests Gavin’s vision, hearing, balance, asks him who the president is until Gavin pushes him out of the doorway of the bathroom. The cat protests. “There is only a 0.03% chance of any serious neurological damage in the next 24 hours.”

Gavin rolls his eyes, “Fantastic. Get out of my apartment.”

The cat leaps out of Connors arms to nest on Gavin’s couch. “What are you going to do with the cat?”

“Dunno. Goodbye, Connor.”

“Wait,” Connor says. His voice is soft and sincere and it makes Gavin’s hands pause while reaching to open the door. “I am very sorry, detective. I allowed my emotions to get the better of me. I shouldn’t have acted violently. I’m still...adjusting.”

Thankfully Gavin is turned away from Connor as his face, inexplicably, heats up. He presses the ice pack in his hand to his face and blames it on the exhaustion from the morning he’s had. “Whatever. Just don’t knock me out tomorrow, somebody has to work the case.”