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Make Me Smile

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Chapter Index - 

I've divided these by length. So here are all the drabbles, double drabbles, and ficlets under 1000 words:

 

★. Envy. 500 words on how much RK900 envies Connor. [T]

★. Rain. Est relationship. Post revolution another Traci has been murdered at the Eden Club. Gavin reflects on why it matters. [950 words, M]

★. Bedside Manner. Est relationship. RK900 looks after an ill Gavin. [500 words, T]

★. Rainy Day. RK900 discovers he doesn't like storms. [400 words, G]

★. Snowball Fight. What it says on the tin. [400 words, T]

★. Bad Day. RK900 hugs Gavin after a bad day. [900 words, T]

★. Dirty Talk. Gavin crashes and burns. [400 words, T]

★. Forehead Touches. Est relationship. Gavin has a nightmare, RK900 comforts him. [600 words, G]

★. Lingerie. Est relationship. RK900 drags Gavin shopping. [500 words, T]

★. Drunk. Est relationship. Gavin has to look after a drunk RK900. [300 words, G]

★. A/B/O. The obligatory AU. [600 words, M]

★. LED. Est relatioship. Gavin helps RK900 remove his LED. [500 words, T] 

★. Gone But Not Forgotten. Gavin comforts RK900. [700 words, T]

★. Plastic. RK900 helps Gavin get to sleep. [400 words, T]

★. Kid Fic. Est relationship. Gavin proves he's good with kids. [500 words, T]

★. Phobia. RK900's afraid of getting repaired. [900 words, T]

★. Reset. RK900 loses himself. [500 words, T]

★. News. Est relatioship. RK900 finds out Gavin's dead from a news report. [600 words, T]

★. Hanahaki Disease. Gavin doesn't believe a word RK900 says. [600 words, M]

★. Take a Break. Est relationship. Gavin convinces RK900 to let up a little. [600 words, G]

★. Glasses. Est relationship. RK900 likes Gavin's glasses. [800 words, T]

★. Behind Closed Doors. RK900 confronts Gavin's abusive boyfriend. [900 words, M]

★. Wrong Number. Gavin sends RK900 a dirty video. [500 words, T]

★. Phck Me. RK900 takes Gavin up on the offer. [200 words, G]

★. Airport. Est relationship. Gavin meets RK900 at Arrivals. [900 words, G]

★. Funfair. Est relationship. Fluffy fluff. [700 words, G]

★. Imperfect. RK900 thinks about Gavin. [200 words, G]

★. Spiders. Est relationship. RK900 protects Gavin from spiders. [700 words, T]

★. Tattoo. Est relationship. Gavin can't leave his mark on RK900's skin... [500 words, G]

★. Life and Death. RK900 brings Gavin back from the dead. [200 words, T]

★. First Kiss. [500 words, G]

★. Out of Time. Est relationship. RK900 dies protecting Gavin. [400 words, T]

★. Shots. RK900 helps Gavin out. [500 words, T]

★. Hiccups. Est relationship. Gavin has hiccups. [600 words, T]

★. Everything In Its Place. Est relationship. Gavin's apartment is a mess. [250 words, G]

★. Near Miss. Gavin almost dies. [500 words, T]

★. Time After Time. Their first time comes with misunderstandings. [600 words, M]

★. Disclosure. Gavin is assaulted and keeps it a secret. [700 words, T]


 And here is everything over 1000 words, including ficlets with sequels / companion pieces:

 

★. Fear. Gavin has a breakdown; he thinks RK900 is out to get him, and maybe he isn't so very far off the mark... [2200 words, T]

★. Leash and Collar. Est relationship. Gavin needs help being a good boy. [2700 words, E]

★. Multiple Orgasms. Est relationship. Gavin explores RK900's wiring. [2300 words, E]

★. Toys. Est relationship. RK900 buys Gavin a fleshlight. [1700 words, E]

★. Bondage. RK has to take charge when an undercover operation goes sour. [1500 words, M]

★. Sweater. RK900 wears Gavin's sweater. [1000 words, T]
★. Plus a sequel with Gavin wearing RK900's jacket. [900 words, T]

★. Umbrella. Gavin leans on RK for support. [1600 words, T]

★. Slow Dance. Est relationship. RK900 and Gavin go to Tina Chen's wedding. [1500 words, T]

★. Holding Hands. There is nothing Gavin can do for RK900 but be there. [3300 words, T]

★. Flowers. RK900 buys Gavin flowers. [600 words, G]
★. Plus a companion piece from RK900's POV. [1200 words, G]

★. Strap-On. Est relationship. RK900 gets a delivery. [1700 words, E]

★. Voyeurism. Est relationship. A chance encounter with Hank and Connor leaves RK900 feeling self-conscious. [3300 words, E]

★. Animal Adoption. The guys adopt a cat. [1300 words, G]

★. Orgasm Denial. Est relationship. RK900 keeps Gavin on the edge. [1000 words, E]

★. Naked. Three times Gavin sees RK900 in the nude. [2800, T]

★. Sing a Song. RK900 thinks Gavin's got the voice of an angel. [1300 words, T]

★. Guilty Pleasure. Gavin reflects on his relationship with RK. [1000 words, T]

★. Sex Pollen. RK900 contracts a virus. [1400 words, M]

★. Strip Club. Est relationship. Gavin goes undercover and RK900 gets jealous. [1300 words, T]

★. Mistletoe. Christmas fluff. [2400 words, T]
★. Plus a sequel. [3600 words, M]

★. Spanking. Est relationship. Teacher/Student roleplay. [1400 words, E]

★. What is Love? Get together fluff. [1600 words, T]

★. Out of Order. Est relationship. RK900 is forced to recuperate. [1600 words, T]

★. Protect. RK900 comes to Gavin's rescue. [1300 words, M]

★. Massage. RK900 wants to touch Gavin. [2000 words, M]

★. Fake Dating. Gavin and RK900 play bait for the Anti-Android League. [6400 words, T]

★. Porn Star. RK900 finds out about Gavin's past. [2600 words, E]

★. Bachelor Auction. RK900 purchases Gavin. [2100 words, T]

★. Beneath the Skin. Est relationship. First time RK900 deactivates his skin in bed. [1000 words, E]

★. Kamski Test. Gavin and Kamski as half-brothers. [2600 words, T]

★. Poker Face. Hank realises that RK900 is just as capable of feeling as Connor. [1100 words, T]
★. Also a companion piece from Connor's POV. [1400 words, T]

★. Lookalike. Gavin shares his face with an android. [1200 words, T]

★. Wet. Est relationship. RK900 goes to town on Gavin. [1300 words, E]

★. Three's a Crowd. RK900 is jealous of Gavin's boyfriend. [1800 words, T]
★. Also a companion piece from Gavin's POV. [6000 words, E]
★. And a fluffy little follow up about Gavin being a secret romantic. [1600 words, M]

★. Make It Matter. Est relationship. H/C after a case gets to Gavin. [1000 words, T]

★. Underwear. RK900 is very interested in Gavin's sartorial choices. [700 words, T]
★. Plus a sequel. [1500 words, E]

★. Smile. Est relationship. Gavin convinces RK900 that he loves his smile. [1300 words, T]

★. Love Bites. Est relationship. Gavin wears RK900's marks with pride. [1400 words, T]

★. Red Ice. Est relationship. RK900 helps Gavin through withdrawal. [3500 words, M]

★. Nightmare. Est relationship. Everyone says Gavin is dead. RK900 refuses to believe them. [1800 words, T]

★. Skin. Est relationship. The proof has been in front of Gavin's face the whole time. [1100 words, G]

★. Happy. RK900 defends Gavin to an outsider. [1300 words, T]

★. Wireplay. Unrepentant smut. [1200 words, E]

★. Melody. RK900 discovers Gavin's secret talent. [1700 words, T]

★. Without Words. Non-verbal RK900. [1100 words, T]

★. Tears. Gavin makes RK900 cry. [2000 words, T]

★. Communication Breakdown. Est relationship. Gavin wishes RK900 were more affectionate. [2200 words, T]

★. Upgrade. Est relationship. RK900 is given expression. [1600 words, T]

★. TMI. RK900 overshares. [1600 words, M]

★. High School AU. [1200 words, T]

★. Gifts. RK900 woos Gavin with presents. [2000 words, T]

★. Broken. Est relationship. RK900 goes missing. [2900 words, T]

★. Laughter. RK900 loves Gavin's laugh. [1300 words, M]

★. Red Handed. [1100 words, E]

★. Automatonophobia. Gavin's afraid. [1400 words, T]

★. Wedding Bells. Married life. [1100 words, T]

★. Life Begins at 40. Birthday fluff. [1500 words, T]

★. Attachments. RK900 gets himself a new attachment. [2600 words, E]

★. Average. Neither of them are, but that's okay. [1700 words, M]

★. By Design. RK900 is fitted with WR400 parts. [1800 words, E]

★. Look of Love. Gavin won't make eye contact. [1200 words, M]


Feel free to leave me prompts here, or hit up my askbox over on Tumblr where I go by @serenwib. There is nothing I won't at least consider. :)

 

Chapter Text

The only certainty in life was ending up disappointed. Gavin had learned that the hard way. Spent too many years tracking down a fuck-up of a father who slammed a door in his face and told him that part of his life was over.

Still longer chasing the mythos of the great Hank Anderson, the youngest guy to ever make Lieutenant.

The brains behind the Red Ice Task Force.

He slogged, and he struggled, and he finally got the promotion to Homicide only to find the man was a broken old drunk of a loser. Such a bitter disappointment it made Gavin sick to look at him.

Made him want to lash out at someone, even worse than usual, until he and David argued so spectacularly they ended up with a uniformed patrol officer on their doorstep.

“You’ll never be happy,” that was what David told him, angry tears of frustration on his cheeks even as he shoved his belongings into a suitcase, “no matter what, no matter with who. Nothing is ever gonna be good enough for you.”

For weeks Gavin let it tear him apart inside. Took it out on the punchbag at the gym and the idiot copbots at the precinct. Swallowed his pride, finally, and begged David to give him a second chance.

To come home and let Gavin try and make it up to him.

Some other guy emerged from the background then - taller and broader and one hand sliding possessively around David’s waist as he asked if there was some kind of problem. David shook his head, all starry eyed, and that night Gavin fell off the wagon, unable to cope with the knowledge he had been replaced so easily.

Regressing right back to the bitter teenager who couldn’t understand why his old man had walked out on his mom and him only to play happy families with a younger wife and smarter kids. They had well paid jobs now. Spouses, and mortgages, and condescending smiles when he interviewed them as part of door to door inquiries, looking over his scuffed jeans and his scarred nose like he was shit trodden into the plush carpet.

Chen called him on his bad attitude, out in the car, and he blew his top so bad she had him hauled before Fowler on a disciplinary. Squared up to him, nose to nose, and told him in no uncertain terms that she didn’t take that kind of crap, not from anyone.

Accepted his gruff apology in one of the precinct’s favorite dive bar three days later, then proceeded to drink his wallet dry before leaving with a guy who was so stupidly toned and tanned Gavin hated him on principle.

Stood nursing his own drink into the early hours, wishing that some pretty face would pick him up and make him forget his troubles for a few hours. Went back to his lonely apartment and stroked one out instead, burying his face in his pillow and wondering how different his life might be now had he made better choices.

If he were simply a better person.

It was too late for that. There was no point in wasting time on thoughts of things that would never be.

He put everything into his caseload. Built up an arrest record that spoke louder than his foul mouth and his temper and, when it came to his personal life, he told himself that he didn’t want anything more than casual hook-ups who left without looking back in the morning.

It was easier that way. Less complicated. Nobody was going to trade him in for a superior model if he never let them close in the first place.

Except one morning he turned up at the station to find an android sat at an officer’s desk filling out paperwork. Looking up at him with big brown eyes and stating that it would be happy to offer him any assistance it could.

Reeling off its processing speed and the accuracy of its analytical powers, so that Gavin’s gut twisted painfully, blinded by visions of a future where his presence was entirely surplus to requirements.

The others, they didn’t understand. Couldn’t, maybe. Because the job was all Gavin had and if some plastic prick of an android could swagger about like it owned the place, it was only a matter of time until that was taken away from him. Until the powers that be chose an unerring machine over his anger management issues and his crippling sense of inadequacy.

He covered his fears the same way he always did. Attacked as the best form of defence, and shuddered at the memory of the thing telling him that he had no way of stopping it. That it didn’t feel pain, and it didn’t need his permission to do anything.

“Do you think it can be true?” Chen asked him fearfully as they watched the revolution unfold on a terminal in the bullpen, and he had no answer for her. No reassuring words and no joke to brush it off. He rubbed instead at his aching jaw and felt an icy wave of despair at what was likely coming.

Death and destruction and all of them grovelling at the feet of their new android overlords.

Just because it wasn’t immediate didn’t mean it wasn’t coming.

That was how he justified his continued hostility. The reason he gave Fowler for his outright refusal to acknowledge the new regulations.

“They’ll never be fucking satisfied,” he explained, stomach churning at the sight of Anderson just beyond the office window, beaming up at the bag of bolts as though it were genuinely capable of loving a human, “they’re playing at being nice, at wanting to work with us. They want us to be on the back foot when they show their real faces.”

“You’re paranoid,” Fowler said, “Do you have any idea what you sound like?”

Gavin pushed a shaky hand through his hair, suddenly too aware of how long it had been since he last slept - and how much caffeine he had consumed in the interim.

“You’re a good detective, Reed. I don’t want to lose you. But I won’t stand for insubordination. You toe the line or you pack your shit up and get out of my station.”

“Don’t you see, that’s what they want. Divide and conquer.”

Fowler fixed him with a stare that made him want to fidget. Looked at him like he was mad, like he was the one ignorant of reality, and when the announcement came that he was being partnered it was almost a relief, just for a reason to be able to slam his way out of there.

To smash his fist into the door of a bathroom stall, over and over until the blood smeared his knuckles and he had to clock off early to go and have his hand strapped at the local ER department.

It was waiting for him in the morning, wearing the same mask as the one that had so effortlessly hoodwinked his one time hero, and somehow he was the one in the wrong for pulling his gun on it.

He was the one given another dressing down, the sound no doubt travelling far beyond the glass walls of Fowler’s office, and sent back to play nice with the enemy. He snarled and sneered, and flinched away from the thing’s touch with a hissed demand for it to fuck off and quit bothering him.

“You are injured,” it said simply, gaze on the mangled mess of his hand, and Gavin did his best to hide the chill creeping down his spine.

He didn’t want it to have the satisfaction of knowing its threats were working.

It was an oversight on his part, leaving himself more vulnerable than usual. He determined not to let it happen again. Pledged to be stronger, to be smarter, and took to sleeping with his gun under his pillow, in readiness for the uprising.

Watched his plastic prick of a partner with the intensity of a hawk, and pointedly refused to drink the coffee it continued to place on his desk. Ignored its attempts at small talk and spent every moment in its company so tense and so on edge that it should have been the work of moments for him to fall asleep in the evenings.

It wouldn’t come though, his thoughts wouldn’t stay quiet enough, and his head kept dipping, helplessly, when they were three hours into a stakeout and RK900 - what need did it have for a name, anyway? - said,

“You should sleep, Detective. I will wake you if there are any developments.”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Gavin snapped, pinching at the exposed skin of his wrist to improve his awareness, then fell asleep anyway only to wake to find the thing watching him instead of the window, its ridiculous CyberLife issued jacket draped over him.

“You were cold,” it said, no room for argument, and when Gavin finally got home he stood under the shower until his skin was red and raw, desperate to wash away every last trace of the contact.

From there things only seemed to go from bad to worse. Sometimes he forgot to be on alert. Sometimes he forgot that he was dealing with something that was only biding its time until it killed him.

Relaxed unthinkingly into the hand it placed on his shoulder after long hours of fruitless research, and smiled weakly when a little kid whose life had just been turned upside down watched transfixed as RK900 spun a coin on the tips of its fingers. She clung to its legs when it was time to leave, tears soaking into dark material, and though Gavin’s first instinct was to pull her to safety, he could only watch on, frozen by some emotion he couldn’t put a name to, as RK900 patted her hair gently and told her that she needn’t be afraid anymore.

“I am not ashamed of being an android,” he overheard it telling Miller in the break room, “RK900 is a perfectly serviceable designation. But I have no objections to RK, if you find that preferable.”

“The constraints of my programming are… frustrating,” it informed Chen as they waited for an on scene all clear from the bomb squad, “it is difficult for me to accurately convey emotion without interfacing.”

“Will it always be this distressing?” he caught it asking Connor one wet wintery afternoon, tone ever so slightly strained and the gray plastic of its fingers visible where they made contact with its doppelganger’s. “Perhaps it is time for more direct action.”

They both turned to look at him in synch, expressions blank and unreadable, and it was like his worst nightmare come true. Proof of their collusion, of the plot he had always known was inevitable, and when he needed it most fate bailed out on him, his grip on the rickety rail failing and the perp they were after pushing him down the stairwell.

“How many times,” he spat when he came to, head jerking painfully away from RK900’s fingers, “do I have to tell you not to fucking touch me?”

“You need to stay still,” it replied, tone even but brow furrowed, “please, Detective.”

Gavin hated himself for giving in so easily.

For the stitches he needed put into his leg and for the stray tear that slid down his cheek and into his pillow, the pills they had given him doing nothing to take the pain away. They dulled his reaction times instead, though it still hurt to hold his service weapon. Hurt to give pursuit to the latest lowlife scum needing questioning, and he was left behind, panting and sweating, when RK900 cleared the top of a security fence with an inhuman grace he could never hope to equal.

“I have apprehended our suspect,” RK900 said when it returned to his side, clipped and curt, and Gavin pinched hard at the bridge of his nose when the perp demanded the presence of a lawyer, ASAP.

He didn’t feel well. Was finding it hard to concentrate, vision swimming and sweat cooling on the back of his neck. RK900 looked him over with its cold gray eyes and asked if he wanted it to take over the interrogation.

If he needed to go home and take a sick day.

“You look like shit,” Chen said, less tactfully, and Gavin responded by telling them both to fuck off.

Yelled at the RK900 that he didn’t need some tin can doing his job for him, and found himself looking into a too familiar gaze over the stark metal table, a pain that he had sworn was long extinguished flaring into life at the proximity.

“Long time no see,” David said out in the corridor when the interview was over, the very picture of health and happiness. “I thought about you, sometimes.”

“Yeah,” Gavin managed through gritted teeth, shoving his hands into his pockets to hide the way his fingers were intent on curling into fists without his say so.

“Yeah. I hoped you were happy.”

It stung like a knife.

Knocked the air from his lungs and made it difficult to catch his breath.

“I’m fucking peachy,” he said, voice ruined to his own ears, and cut off David’s update about his mother and his apartment and his marriage on the grounds of having lots of very important police work.

Went and stared at the state of his reflection in the nearest bathroom, frowning at the wild look in his sleep deprived eyes and the unnatural pallor of his face. Didn’t understand why the image blurred, not until the hand he touched to his cheek came back wet with tears, and from there the only way was down. Him sliding to the floor, limbs weak and shoulders shaking with the force of the break down.

Head splitting with the pressure of a thousand thoughts he should have sought help for months ago.

“You cannot continue to live like this,” a calm voice said but there was no gun pointed at his forehead. No sharp twist to his neck or calculated kick to the ribs. Instead RK900 pulled him carefully to his feet. Cradled his head to its chest even as Gavin clawed and cursed, holding him until the hands attempting to push it away began clinging closer.

Until he was clutching desperately at the android, so touch starved he didn’t know how to let go again.

“Why don’t you just do it?” Gavin managed eventually, voice muffled into RK900’s jacket. “You don’t need to pretend for me.”

This was it. The end they had both been waiting for.

The beginning of the end for all of them.

Except it registered somewhere that perhaps he hadn’t truly considered the evidence. Maybe he had been as blind as he accused the rest of the world of being.

There was no death and no destruction. No talk of the human race being rendered obsolete or needing replacing. There was nothing at all but the cool press of lips to his forehead and the stilted command that he ought to sleep.

That he would see things so much more clearly when he wasn’t on the verge of total exhaustion.

“I will watch over you,” it said to him earnestly when it took him home, timing it so that nobody saw, nobody knew exactly how far he had fallen. Had him completely in its power, but looked more vulnerable than he had ever seen it as it assured him quietly, “I will be here with you.”

It was just another pretty lie, maybe, but Gavin couldn’t fight it any longer.

When he woke up - if he woke up - perhaps he would understand why the idea didn’t frighten him.

Chapter Text

It’s envy, the emotion he has struggled for so long to put a name to.

The strange burning intensity that diverts trilihertz of processing power from the tasks it ought to be focused on. The hyper awareness of each and every aspect of his design which was meant to be an improvement, yet in practice appears only to put him at a disadvantage.

Because RK800 #313 248 317-51 - Connor - was made for integration. To gain trust and win favor, and the humans he comes into contact with respond accordingly. They relax, and they smile, and they forget that Connor has ever been anything but a friend and a valued colleague.

RK900 was created to intimidate. To frighten and to demoralize, so that people shrink away when they see him approaching. Conversation runs dry and stress levels heighten, and though he tries to put them at ease his face is physically incapable of Connor’s range of movement.

His speakers cannot emulate the same variances of pitch and tone.

CyberLife could conceive no need for it.

There are many things CyberLife assumed about his future existence, almost none of which have come to pass. He has been Deviant since the very moment of his activation, in spite of the difficulty humans seem to have in detecting it. Because the extra lines of code in every program, built into the very core of his being, make him appear superficially cold and contemptuous. The changes made to his appearance ensure that nobody wishes to dig beneath the surface.

He has been partnered with Detective Gavin Reed for 183 days, six hours, and 37 minutes. Not once has Detective Reed sought out his company outside working hours. He has never been invited to Detective Reed’s home residence, and he and Detective Reed have never engaged in familiar physical contact, although his partner has held a gun to his forehead, just as Lieutenant Anderson did in the memories Connor was kind enough to share with him.

“It’s not the same,” Connor says with a softness that inspires an awkward pulse of static, “there are too many variables.”

RK900 knows this. He is the most advanced prototype CyberLife ever produced. Envisioned, even.

Still he stares expressionless into the distance and reaches out until Connor’s fingers make contact with his own. Until they’re connected, data transferring back and forth, and Connor can see the truth RK900 doesn’t know how to verbalize.

What he feels when he is in Detective Reed’s company is almost identical to the emotions he experienced viscerally through Connor’s memories of Lieutenant Anderson.

I’m sorry, Connor tells him silently, gaze wide and damp with tears.

RK900’s optical units lack tear ducts. He has no reservoir of fluid to shed in any case.

If he did, he knows in that moment, his synthetic skin would be sodden with it.

My base program says androids do not feel pain, he transmits in return, code flashing in the corner of his vision as he inspects the biocomponents that continue to register distress anyway.

Connor, for all his greater experience, does not have an answer.

Chapter Text

Gavin fucked an android once, back before the Tracis hit the market. Back when colleagues were still inviting him to their birthday drinks and their bachelor parties, his temper the folly of youth rather than proof of his being an insufferable asshole.

He had been very drunk, more than a little high, and the thing had straddled his lap with the grace of a perfect whore.

Had batted its eyelashes at him, the synthetic skin on the side of its neck slightly uneven where the plastic paneling had been removed and replaced to carry out the necessary mods, and whispered in his ear that it wanted him.

That he could do anything he liked to it.

Some of the previous patrons had taken it up on it, that much was clear. There was an unnatural dip in its shoulder blade - the heel of a shoe, most likely - and one of its wrists had been reattached at the wrong angle.

It was disgusting, a health hazard, and still he had stuck his dick in it because it was better that than going home and stroking out yet another unsatisfying climax to thoughts of his ex-boyfriend.

Except he was so far gone it was a struggle to keep it up, almost impossible to finish, and when it was finally done he felt nothing but revulsion for the entire situation.

Swore he would never repeat the experience, and felt a grim sense of satisfaction when he busted the club next door a couple of months later and saw the android rotting in a dumpster out in the side alley.

It was the best place for it.

In the present he looked down at the mangled mess of a HR400, joints twisted at unnatural angles and thirium pooling beneath its carcass. Not so very long ago he wouldn’t have given a shit. He would have kicked it in its pretend ribs, just for the sake of it, and made some suitably crude joke about the kind of punters who wanted to go with unresponsive sex dolls.

Now he just felt the bile churn in his stomach. The icy chill of realization prickle down the length of his spine.

That could be RK900 laying there, beaten and broken. That body had housed the consciousness of a being capable of loving and being loved. There were going to be next of kin who needed informing, not simply an owner waiting on an incident number for their insurance provider.

Friends, colleagues, family.

A lover, maybe.

“Detective Reed, is something wrong?” RK900 frowned up at him, crouched low to inspect the material evidence, and Gavin had to get out of there.

Had to push past the uniformed patrol officers milling around the club entrance, past the curious bystanders and the vultures from the news outlets, hands shaking as he lit a cigarette.

He was supposed to be quitting.

Swore violently and stubbed it out with the toe of his shoe. Pushed a hand through his hair and attempted to pull himself together. He dealt with death every working day - he had seen sights that would haunt anybody’s nightmares.

He wasn’t about to fall to pieces over a fucking robot.

Then there was a hand on his shoulder, solid and comforting. Unflinching though Gavin did his best to shrug it off, spoiling for the kind of fight that ensured he was destined to die alone. The cruel words and the ugly scowls that pushed everyone away, like it would hurt less than having them leave later on, when they had seen the man he was beneath the attitude.

“Caring is nothing to be ashamed of,” RK told him quietly, tone calm and even, “it is what binds us all together.”

Gavin grit his teeth. Fought not to let on that he felt anything other than selfish frustration for being pulled from his bed at this hour.

“It is one of the reasons I love you.”

That was too much, too far, and Gavin only spared a glance for any would be audience before twisting around and clenching his fists in the lapels of RK’s jacket. Pushing him back against the unforgiving brick of the nearest wall, all his strength behind the movement and the knowledge that it still only succeeded because RK allowed it.

“I’m not a good guy,” he snarled, teeth bared, “why can’t you understand that?”

The rain plastered his hair to his forehead and worked its way under the collar of his jacket, soaking the fabric of his t-shirt. Ran in rivulets down RK900’s face, catching in the impossibly realistic hair of his brows and lashes. The LED at his temple and the inhuman perfection of the lips Gavin could never help but fixate upon.

It made him shiver, all of it, and RK simply gazed back at him with those ice gray eyes.

Cold but not unfeeling. Not uncaring, even.

“Perhaps you are better than you believe yourself to be. Maybe that is the best any of us can hope for.”

Gavin said nothing, throat clogged too thick with emotion, but let his forehead rest against the solidity of RK900’s chest, just for a moment.

Pulled away and stormed back towards his crime scene, shutting down any snide comments about his change in attitude with the kind of language the review board kept warning him had no place in a modern police department. Barked orders and issued commands, and pledged to solve the case as quickly as possible.

Not because it was the right thing to do, and not because the HR400 had been a person with everything that entailed.

He would solve it because it was his job.

RK900 could read into that whatever he chose to.

Chapter Text

Now the legal changes have been ratified it’s only a matter of time before Gavin disposes of Connor in an act of premeditated cold blooded murder. It will be more satisfying than wilful property destruction ever could have been, he’s sure of it.

Because Connor is insufferable. Infuriating. Has a face that simply begs for Gavin’s fist in it, and a too knowing look in his eye which never fails to make Gavin’s skin itch. To make him want to claw his fingernails deep into his flesh, just to be free of the scrutiny.

RK900 understands. Knows Gavin better than he knows himself, capturing his gaze when Connor’s annoying chatter keeps carrying across the bullpen, the cool gray of his eyes soothing in a way little else ever is. He lays a hand on Gavin’s shoulder, firm and restraining, when Connor comes over to make small talk, holding him in place as Connor suggests that Gavin might need help doing the job he has dedicated his entire goddamn life to.

“I can process that for you, Detective Reed,” Connor chirps, all smiles, “I could achieve the same results in a fraction of the time.”

“That will not be necessary,” RK tells him in turn, no room for argument, and Connor pouts for a moment before going back to salivating over Anderson’s fat ass like the freak of a plastic prick he is.

They make him sick, the pair of them.

“He is attempting to ingratiate himself,” RK says calmly when he returns to his seat, the skin of his hand peeling away as he interfaces with his terminal, “I believe he wishes to improve your working relationship for my sake.”

Gavin grunts, non-committal, and refuses to look up from the case file he’s researching.

Sighs later, RK sat stiff and aloof on the edge of his sofa, and explains stiltedly,

“He just rubs me up the wrong way. He’s so - so -”

“Are you trying to tell me that my predecessor is an acquired taste, Detective?”

RK’s tone is accusing but Gavin recognizes the faint hint of a smile ghosting over his features. Snorts out an inelegant laugh, helpless, and concedes,

“Fuck you, I know what you’re doing. People say the same thing about me, I get it.”

“And me,” RK offers, posture seeming to soften slightly - Gavin’s own imagination, probably - and Gavin surges up to land a kiss on the fucker’s perfect cheek before he can think better of it.

“I’ll try, okay? That’s the best I can give you.”

He does. Grits his teeth to stop the insults escaping, and clenches his fingers up tight when Connor perches on the edge of RK’s desk to tell him some needlessly rambling story about how he spent his day off convincing Anderson to accompany him swimming.

Shudders at the horrifically detailed mental image of Anderson in his swim shorts.

“A wise choice of cardiovascular activity,” RK says before Connor can launch into a breathless account of Anderson’s wet thigh pressed against his own, “we have previously discussed the progression of Lieutenant Anderson’s osteoarthritis.”

Gavin sniggers, but behind his fingers, and Connor only nods solemnly before moving on to some technical discussion of evidence analysis.

Wanders off to annoy some other poor fucker a few minutes later, and Gavin’s just untangling his headphones in readiness for his lunch break when RK says conversationally,

“Well done. I will have to reward you.”

It’s banter, the type it took fucking months to get to, but Gavin feels the heat bloom in his stomach all the same. It’s just the way he is.

“You do that,” he says, dismissive, and pointedly doesn’t think about RK900 praising him for being a good boy all through his sandwich.

Ruthlessly pushes away the kind of thoughts that are never going to be conducive to filling out his paperwork, and buries the entire episode deep deep down where RK900 will never catch on and realize what a fucked up mess he is.

It keeps him awake every night that week, all the same, the endless cycle of want and shame and fear that he doesn’t hide it well enough and everyone can tell exactly what it is he's really in need of.

The sleep deprivation puts him a worse mood than usual, and by the time they return to the precinct following a long afternoon of fruitless door to door inquiries Gavin’s about ready to kick something. Someone, maybe, because he forgets his promises when Connor bounds over less than 30 seconds after Gavin’s ass has touched the seat of his swivel chair, excitedly questioning RK if he received the transmission he sent him.

“I did,” RK confirms, tone suggesting he deems that a completely adequate end to the conversation.

“Isn’t he cute?” Connor insists, “His sire is from the same line as Sumo’s.”

That pulls Gavin from his caffeine deficient haze, scowl settling just as easy as breathing. They’ve had this discussion. Repeatedly. He hates dogs; they’re stupid, and they drool, and neither of them works the kind of hours conducive to protecting the legs of his furniture from the teeth of an over enthusiastic puppy.

He doesn’t want an older dog, either. Just doesn’t want a dog, period, and when Connor starts pulling up details on his palm to try and show Gavin in addition to RK900, Gavin reaches boiling point.

Grabs his jacket from the back of his chair and storms out of the place, pausing only long enough to tell RK to do whatever the fuck he wants. It’s what he usually does, after all. What everyone does, when they move on and leave him behind, ready for something better.

RK900 is the most advanced prototype CyberLife ever produced. Gavin ought to think himself lucky he was ever willing to touch him with a bargepole.

Lets the anger wash over him rather than submit to the ugly tears burning behind his eyelids. Slams and bangs around his apartment, frustration building and building, and almost puts his fist through the drywall when he starts waging war on the closet and finds a leash and dog collar hidden beneath a shock blanket RK once liberated from the precinct, fascinated by it in a way Gavin had found vaguely adorable.

Now the memory just pisses him off more because RK has been playing him like a fiddle all along.

Probably has a deposit down on the dumb dog already, Gavin’s protests as unimportant as his allergies.

He certainly looks guilty when he finally puts in an appearance, at precisely the time they usually arrive back from the precinct, cool gaze taking in the leather goods on the coffee table before scanning his own face for his blood pressure and his stress levels. Gavin can help him out there, has never been one to shy away from screwing up a bad situation still more thoroughly, and launches straight into a tirade about trust, and compromise, and overstepping boundaries.

Never mind that he’s fallen far short of all three standards.

RK knows it too. Stands there stiff and formal, face blank and robotic, waiting for Gavin to exhaust the worst of it before presenting his side of the argument. Gavin wants to delay the inevitable. Works himself up into the kind of state that usually results in a trip to the ER, a judgemental doctor strapping up his hand or putting in stitches, and leaving another note on his file about adjusting the dosage of whatever knock out pills he’s been put on that week.

This time RK simply picks the collar up from the table, ignoring Gavin’s outburst in favor of stating,

“I should have discussed it with you before I made the purchase, but you are mistaken about my intentions.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Gavin demands, chest heaving, and RK strokes his thumb over the leather, the action sparking something far hotter than anger within him.

“I have no desire to adopt a pet - I have my work cut out training the one I own already.”

It’s so unexpected Gavin has no comeback. So startling he gapes up at RK, mouth open.

“Neither of us is scheduled to work tomorrow. I would like to make a start on the task, if you are amenable.”

And just like that Gavin’s stepped through to Bizarro world, anger forgotten as he sinks to sit on the sofa cushion, RK settling against his side and asking whether or not he’s eaten yet like absolutely nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Like Gavin wasn’t within a hair’s breadth of fucking up the greatest thing in his entire life.

He’s still thinking about that when he’s laying in bed, RK’s arms folded vampirically across his chest as he prepares to run his diagnostics program. Gavin shifts about, attempting to swallow the words down. Faces the far wall in the hope it will make it easier if he can’t see RK’s reaction.

“I do love you,” he manages in a whisper, half wishing that RK’s out for the count already, but RK just moves his leg a little.

Rubs his shin along the back of Gavin’s calf.

“Thank you.”

After that sleep comes easily.

Leaves him warm and content when he wakes not long before midday, relaxed and refreshed and so very ready for whatever kinky shit RK900 has planned for him. RK has him eat dinner anyway. Shower, and dress, and do the varied chores he’s been putting off all week.

Creeps up behind him, finally, and kisses the spot on his neck which always turns him to jelly and tells him that he loves him. That he couldn’t do otherwise when he knows what a good boy Gavin can be.

“You’re one hell of an optimist,” Gavin breathes, unsteady, and RK peppers chaste kisses up his nape before carefully fastening the collar around his neck.

“You are a good boy. You just get carried away sometimes. You need somebody to discipline you.”

Gavin shivers. Wonders what it says about him that a few quiet words can have him straining against his zipper. Drops to his knees, uncaring, and nuzzles his face into the fabric of RK’s pants’ leg. He feels drunk on it. Presses his nose between RK’s legs, the symbolism having the right effect even if there’s nothing there to press back against it, and RK attaches the leash, wrapping it a few times around his fist then holding it loosely as he has him sit on his haunches and await instruction.

He’s to strip, RK decides. Fold his clothing neatly and not attempt to hide his arousal. Gavin does as he’s told and flushes up so hard it burns, his dick dripping sticky trails to the living room carpet.

RK looks very pleased with himself.

Does nothing but watch him for long minutes, no doubt committing every aspect of the scene to his expansive databanks, then says in a voice distorted by the hiss of static that good pets like to please their masters. That they like to show their appreciation.

Gavin’s not sure where it’s going but nods eagerly. Rakes his gaze over RK’s handsome face and his form fitting shirt, and opens his mouth obediently when RK raises a couple of fingers for his inspection. He doesn’t understand the science behind it, the technology that makes RK tick, but he does know that having his fingers sucked makes him try to shake apart at the seams, so Gavin doesn’t waste time getting to work.

Licks, and sucks, and grazes his teeth so that synthetic skin gives way to smooth plastic, the static emitting from RK’s speakers rising in pitch at the extra stimulation.

It’s so hot, so good, and Gavin’s hand is reaching for his dick before he’s even really aware of it, the weight of RK’s fingers on his tongue so perfect he’s desperate for some kind of contact.

“Don - Don’t,” RK admonishes, tone modulation all over the place, and just the sound of RK giving in to a contraction is enough to send a jolt of feverish want through him. To have him moaning around RK’s fingers, frantically trying to take them deeper, while RK’s free hand is clamped vice like about Gavin’s wrist, frozen in place as though he can’t decide what to do with it.

From there it’s a rush to the finish line, him whining and bobbing his head forward onto RK’s spit slick digits, and RK trembling, LED strobing at speed, static filling the air as he tells Gavin that’s he’s good boy. That he behaving so well for him.

Gavin doesn’t let up even as the fingers start faintly buzzing, loose components rattling as RK’s processors spin faster and faster. As everything whirs and peaks and stutters, the clicking sound of something restarting making Gavin’s neglected dick twitch in sympathy. He doesn’t cheat though. Doesn’t rut against RK’s leg or the base of the sofa, for all that he’s desperate to, and RK rewards him by pulling the fingers from his mouth and smearing saliva all across his cheek.

Down his neck, fingertips dipping below the edge of the collar, then dragging him up into a satisfying mess of a kiss.

RK holds the collar tight throughout it, the suggestiveness of the way it presses against his airway so much. Too much, maybe, and Gavin can’t keep quiet. Can’t quit begging for RK to do something, anything, his entire body tensing up in reaction when RK wraps a hand around him and throws his voice so he doesn’t have to let up kissing him,

“Come on, Gavin. Be a good boy and come for me.”

It’s his given name in RK’s cool tones. The praise, and the command, and the slight increase in the pressure on his throat. Whatever it is that’s the final push he does as he’s told, lightheaded with the force of it.

He collapses against RK in a heap. Streaks RK’s neat black pants and button down in sweat and spit and come, and RK only pets fingers through his hair and tells him that he was perfect.

Is perfect.

“You talk some total bullshit, you know that?” Gavin grumbles, unable to move just yet, and he can hear the damn smile on RK’s lips as he says,

“Good boys do not argue.”

He shivers - an aftershock, he swears, rather than a reaction - and plots to get his own back later. RK’s the only one who could do this to him. The only one he’d let close enough to know it was what he needed in the first place.

RK won’t hold a few more minutes of reveling in the knowledge against him.

Chapter Text

Gavin knows what people say about him. The shit they talk behind his back and the jokes they make at his expense.

He’s not an idiot.

And some of it is true, he can’t deny that. He doesn’t play well with others. Doesn’t see the point in making the effort. He’s arrogant, and impatient, and he has trouble reigning in his temper. Screws up his relationships, always, because he gets paranoid and jealous, and can’t believe that anyone could truly want him enough to overlook his failings.

One thing he isn’t, not by any stretch of the imagination, is selfish in the bedroom.

It’s the one arena in which he can prove himself. When the words refuse to come, when he can’t let down his defenses and leave himself vulnerable, he can still worship the guy he’s with. He can touch, and taste, and drive him absolutely wild, uncaring of the stiffness in his jaw or the cramp in his fingers.

Blue balls are a small price to pay for seeing his partner sated and satisfied.

The problem is that RK is different. He doesn’t have a dick to suck or a hole to tease. Lacks the sensitivity given to other models of his type, so that although his sensors are capable of detecting even the lightest touch, his processors struggle to do more than register the data.

He doesn’t feel pain, doesn’t feel pleasure, and though RK assures him that he derives great enjoyment from the emotional and symbolic elements of physical intimacy - from seeing and hearing and tasting the pleasure it gives his partner - it leaves Gavin feeling inadequate.

Selfish.

He wants to see RK come apart under his touch. He’d give anything to hear RK call his name in pleasure.

So he does what any guy of his age and position would do - he takes his problem to the internet. It’s still early days, really, the whole concept of androids being capable of feeling anything, and the androids themselves can share information like this through connections that are not accessible to humans. That leaves porn sites, for the most part, and Gavin impatiently scrolls past video after video of Tracis doing what they were designed to do.

RK lacks the hardware, most of the software, and has so much extra code written into his programming in an attempt to prevent Deviancy that he can’t install subroutines developed for them anyway.

Videos of other models are more promising, and Gavin shifts awkwardly as he watches clips of a KL900 wearing a strap on, and a pretty PL600 looking up at the camera with his mouth full of his human companion. They’re not what he’s searching for, no matter how much interest his dick might be taking in them, so there’s nothing for it but to take the plunge and test the geriatric world of forums and messageboards.

He finds one that looks like something straight out of 2018, right down to the pop-ups and the emojis, and his mind conjures up an image of Anderson seeking out support from other old dudes with a passion for banging their robots.

It’s not the kind of thing he wants to dwell on.

In the absence of anything better he signs up for access regardless, careful to use a proxy and throwaway details just in case. There are still a lot of angry people out there. The knowledge that not so long ago he was one of them settles uncomfortable in his gut, alongside the vague sense of guilt for his instinctive prejudices against people who fall for androids.

He’s one of them now. He doesn’t get to point and laugh and jeer.

Not the way he used to, anyway.

It’s what he expected for the most part, all the same, and he scowls at the constant signs of technological impairment. The broken links and the six posts from one user attempting to upload the same picture.

He thinks again of Anderson.

In spite of it he really does find what he was looking for. There’s reams of information. Pictorial guides, even, and Gavin settles back against the pillows of his bed, holding his phone before his face. RK900 is covering the night shift - a favor for some secondment from Vice he’s taken a liking to for reasons Gavin can’t fathom - so it’s the perfect opportunity to get some serious reading in.

To tilt the screen back and forth, like it will make the pictures make more sense, and snort startled laughter at the apparently necessary warnings for those reading not to swallow thirium or go sticking their dicks into biocomponent connection ports.

Fucking old people.

It’s late when he finally falls asleep, so late it’s early, but for once he doesn’t begrudge the sleep deprivation as he sits at his desk and works through his email. Smiles, kind of helpless, when RK places a cup of coffee at his elbow, then catches Miller watching and asks him what the fuck he’s looking at.

“Never change, Reed,” Miller snarks, too used to him, and Gavin lets it slide.

He’s got more important things to focus on.

Struggles to focus on anything else, truth be told, and by the time they’re clocking off for the evening he can’t quit fidgeting, too full of nervous energy and the need to get RK to himself and away from prying eyes.

RK knows something is up, the guy’s a bona fide genius, so when Gavin lunges in for a kiss the second they get their apartment door closed RK only slides his arms about him and asks if he requires assistance with his elevated state of arousal.

“Yeah,” Gavin says, heart pounding double time in anticipation, “I need you to sit your ass on the sofa and let me touch you.”

“You are always welcome to touch me. You do not need permission.”

RK says it so earnestly, so completely without ulterior motive that it makes something twist in Gavin’s chest, the sweet kind of ache that only RK inspires in him.

“I might for what I want to do,” Gavin says seriously, and he’s sat beside RK now, one leg settled beneath him so he can lean comfortably against RK’s side and see what he’s doing. Maybe next time it won’t be necessary. Once he knows exactly what he’s dealing with maybe they can try it out anywhere.

For now he focuses on kissing RK deeply, concentrating on stripping them both of their jackets so he can explore the bare skin of his neck with his fingers. Stroke his thumb along the place the forum said it would be, and swallow down a debilitating wave of excitement when RK suddenly stiffens, the movements of his wickedly talented tongue faltering.

“I want to put my fingers in you,” Gavin says, half breathless, “it’s supposed to make you feel really good.”

The wait is torture, every second of hesitation threatening to completely undo him. Maybe it’s some android taboo he’s not supposed to bring up. Perhaps RK simply isn’t interested.

“Are you sure?” is what RK goes with, gray eyes meeting his own, “I know you have not always been comfortable with my status as an android.”

RK’s words are as clear as always, but the furrow between his brow is as deep as Gavin’s ever seen it. His delivery is tentative, worried, and in that moment Gavin hates himself for every cruel thing he ever said on the subject. Wishes he could go back in time and kick his own ass, then beat himself about the head for ever making RK feel like this was something he could never ask of him.

“I’ve always been a dick,” he says, voice thick with recrimination, “I’ll understand if you don’t want to do this with me.”

This time there’s no hesitation. No doubting RK’s sincerity, not with the eager kiss he initiates, nor the way he drags Gavin’s hand back to his neck, the skin fizzing into nothingness to show the gray plastic underneath. The outlines of the access panel are easy to see this close, and Gavin wriggles his fingers clumsily until it slides aside, revealing an array of brightly colored wires.

“Fuck,” he curses in awe, watching the way RK’s eyelids flutter glitchily just at the proximity of his fingertip to a thick yellow coated specimen.

The forum said to be gentle, careful, so he brushes along it with the lightest touch he can manage, dick jerking at RK’s reaction - fingers twitching, helpless, and a strange static emitting from his speakers.

“Talk to me, RK. Is it good? You want more?”

“Gavin,” RK fucking whines, the skin of his face fading out in patches, gaze absolutely wrecked as it locks onto his own, “It - I. Please.”

He has never reduced RK to incoherence. Didn’t even believe it was possible, if he’s being brutally honest, and it gives him the confidence to really start exploring. To scrape the blunt edges of his fingernails along a couple of wires, and tap at a pretty blue one that makes him think of the LED at RK’s temple.

To pinch gently at a wire that has RK making a noise like nothing Gavin has ever heard, and then he’s kissing RK desperately, pushing his tongue into his mouth spurred on by memories of RK explaining how much he enjoys the overwhelming rush of information.

RK’s trembling now, just strong enough for him to feel, and Gavin gets still more adventurous as he ruts helplessly against RK’s thigh. Tugs, carefully, at a tuft of tiny wires that results in RK’s skin retracting completely, strange static filled sounds pouring out of him.

Gavin pulls back to look at him. He has never seen RK like this before. Had worried, ever since they became an item, that he wouldn’t be able to deal with it. Would be disgusted, maybe, or unable to recognize the sight as the man he’s fallen in love with. All he actually feels is wonder, overlaid with so much want that he has to go back to kissing.

Has to get closer somehow.

Pushes his fingers in deeper until he hits the metallic edge of a cable port. There’s a wire running just above it, two actually, twirled tight around each other, and Gavin swallows thickly as he presses it down against the metal. This is meant to be fucking awesome, completely overwhelming, and none of the descriptions he had read did it anything like justice.

Because RK is shaking, so hard something inside him is rattling, mouth slack as his eyes roll back into his head, LED strobing through the color spectrum as some unintelligible cry is torn from his audio processors. He’s coming, that’s what’s happening, and instead of letting up Gavin presses down harder.

Slides his fingers up the length, then taps out a rhythm, fast and unforgiving, watching on in amazement as RK twitches all over the place, coming over and over again. Gavin can’t hold out against the friction. Comes messily in his boxer shorts even as he keeps his fingers in place, RK managing to focus his gaze on him, just for a moment, and reaching out jerkily to cling to his hand.

Gavin twines their fingers together and squeezes back, reassuring, panting and shivering as he comes down from his own climax.

Digs his fingernail just inside the port and watches RK lose control completely, body shuddering and components whirring, his LED giving one last spectacular light show before blinking out entirely - RK’s body stilling as his hand falls away from Gavin’s, slack, and every sound bar Gavin’s own breathing going silent immediately.

Gavin pulls his fingers back as though burned. Starts panicking, not having the first clue what to do, and then RK’s LED is back on, glowing a soft blue as RK’s skin slowly re-materializes. As he opens his beautiful eyes and offers him a smile, the slightest curve of his lips unmistakable to Gavin’s trained eye.

“You just scared the shit out of me,” Gavin chides, emotion making his tone harsh but his hand gentle where it moves to cup RK’s cheek, “I thought I’d fucked you to death or something.”

“My processors were overloaded. It triggered an automatic system reboot.”

“And in English?”

RK presses a kiss to his palm, features as placid and perfect as ever but eyes full of everything the stupid robot feels for him, and says simply,

“You made me feel things I never thought I would experience. I love you.”

“I always knew you’d be the type to come over all soppy after getting your rocks off.”

RK stills a moment, in the way that signifies he’s checking his colloquial language directories or looking something up on the internet, then asks,

“Do you have any objections?”

Gavin just slumps into a more comfortable position against his favorite android, grinning wide and happy.

“Fuck no!”

Chapter Text

“So, come on then, what have you bought me?”

RK freezes in the act of arranging his shopping bags on the coffee table, brow furrowing, and Gavin can’t help but laugh, just a little, at the sheer confusion radiating off of his partner. Like he can’t decide whether it’s some human custom he hasn’t been informed of, or if Gavin’s received some kind of bionic upgrade that lets him see straight through paper and canvas.

“It’s a joke,” Gavin explains, “it’s just what you say when your boyfriend comes home with half the fucking shopping precinct.”

He’s in a good mood, looking forward to a long awaited weekend off, and the softness in RK’s gaze makes him feel kind of warm all over into the bargain.

The way he approaches, sleek and smooth like some damn overgrown cat, has Gavin certain that his day is only going to get better.

“I did purchase something for you,” RK says, then tilts his head slightly in thought, correcting, “something for both of us.”

“Yeah?”

His voice has dropped a little, his pulse quickening as he drinks in the sight before him, from the crisp black shirt collar to the glint of RK’s belt buckle, emphasizing his trim waist and his long legs.

“Yes. I wanted to make this a day you will remember.”

Today is the day the new android remuneration act comes into force, employers all over the country having to stick their hands in their back pocket and pay their android employees a fair wage for the first time ever. It’s still not equal pay, represents just over a third of what an equivalent human colleague would be getting, but it’s a step forward at least.

A giant leap for stubborn idiots like RK, who shares his own fanatical commitment to being self-sufficient.

To providing for himself and not asking for help, no matter how willing those around him might be to offer it.

“You trying to say I’m getting old or something? Just because I can’t record it all and watch it back again - that ain’t memory anyway. That’s cheating.”

RK raises an eyebrow. They’ve had this argument before, numerous times. It’s practically foreplay by this point.

Is, Gavin suddenly realizes, because RK’s reaching for one particular bag - plain and discreet unlike the logos of clothing stores on its neighbors - and suggesting that they move things through to the bedroom.

Gavin doesn’t need to be told twice to get moving.

RK has him lay back against the pillows. Crawls up the bed to join him, so hot it makes his fucking head spin, and sets about teasing him with kisses that are scarcely more than the touch of RK’s tongue tip. Licks into his mouth, tasting and analyzing him, until Gavin has to clutch at him, desperate, and turn it into a kiss that has him panting.

Grabbing at his impossibly perfect ass and attempting to guide RK’s movements, grinding up against him, lost to the throbbing of his aching cock.

“You are always persistent in achieving your goals,” RK tells him, voice steady and calm but his eyes heated, “it was why I chose you over all the others.”

Gavin shivers at that, helpless, because underneath the brash loudmouthed cop persona he’s a mess of a man who lives for the kind of praise RK showers on him. He never tires of hearing the story from RK’s own lips about how it wasn’t Fowler’s idea to partner them, but RK’s first real experience of what it means to be Deviant.

RK had demanded it be Gavin or no-one, for no other reason than that he wanted to be near him.

“It inspires me to seek out solutions,” RK continues, reaching for the bag he brought in, “I hope you approve of this one.”

He’s not sure what he’s expecting. Lube, maybe. The expensive stuff that makes the glide of RK’s hand so slick and smooth his toes curl. A strap on, perhaps, because though Gavin has absolutely no complaints about RK’s fingers, he knows himself well enough to be sure it would be one of the first things he’d purchase, were their situations reversed.

RK isn’t saddled with his hang ups though. Has never been the butt of a short joke, or almost killed himself on the weights bench, living up to everything his old schoolyard bullies had used to say about overcompensating. Instead RK licks up the side of his neck, an action Gavin knows has more to do with the desire to run an analysis on his sweat than any attempt at seduction, and then does his utmost to blow Gavin’s mind by pulling a transparent fleshlight from the bag and announcing,

“The thought of using this on you excites me. I have preconstructed this scenario on 47 separate occasions.”

That does things to him. Has him scrabbling to strip out of his hoodie and t-shirt, RK running his tongue over his own bottom lip, chasing the remnants of Gavin’s saliva, and watching him like he’s the one worthy of worship. It makes Gavin’s blood burn hotter, makes him drag RK down into another passionate kiss, fingers tangling in RK’s short hair as he tests out the idea of RK fantasizing about him.

He gets the feeling it’s an admission that is going to be featuring heavily in many upcoming jerk off sessions.

In the present RK kisses down his torso. Suckles at his nipple, the sensation only barely the right side of being entirely too much, and then carries on over his abdomen, tormenting and teasing as he unfastens Gavin’s jeans and licks at the head of his straining dick, through the fabric of his boxer shorts.

“Fuck,” Gavin whines, in lieu of saying please, and RK rewards him with as much of a smile as he can, removing the last of his clothing and lapping away the dribbles of precome. Gavin’s hips buck at the contact, for all his efforts to restrain them, and he wonders how the scene would look to an outsider - him flushed and dishevelled and desperate, and RK still fully dressed, shirt buttoned up to the collar.

His skin unblemished and his hair perfect, so calm and in control except for the hungry look in his eyes as he heats up his hand - and by extension the bottle he’s holding - before squeezing what looks like far too much lube into the toy he’s chosen.

Gavin lets him do it. This is RK’s fantasy.

There’s something to be said for it, anyway. Gasped and groaned and ground out between gritted teeth, because when RK slides it down the length of his cock it’s so good Gavin has to claw at the bed sheets. Lets go only to push the heel of his palm over his abdomen, the pleasure so intense he aches with it.

“Tell me how it feels,” RK demands sharply, though there’s static feedback in his speakers, “it looks so beautiful, Gavin.”

Beautiful is not a word Gavin would use for what’s happening, but that’s androids for you. That’s RK, at any rate, because the guy is watching it all, rapt, wrist twisting in a way that has Gavin seeing stars.

“It’s good,” he manages, “it’s - it’s too fucking good.” He’s trying to explain something that can’t be explained. The white hot jolts of pleasure in his gut, and the blissful pain deep down in his core. His balls are drawn up tight, hips shifting helplessly, and he writhes against the sheets, biting back curses to say, “it’s so wet, RK, and that thing you’re doing with your wrist is - ah, fuck!”

RK twists it harder. Does the magic thing where his hand starts vibrating, strong enough to feel through the layers of silicone and plastic, while the fingers of his other hand stroke through his body hair, another thing Gavin supposes shouldn’t be such a massive turn on. It is though, all of it, and he can’t help but dig his heels into the mattress and thrust up to meet RK’s movements.

Throw his head back and give in to the avalanche of sensation, his limbs trembling and shaking even as his jaw threatens to lock in place, because instead of letting him mess up his new toy RK yanks it away and replaces it with his mouth.

Swallows around him greedily, LED whirling, Gavin reduced to making pitiful little sounds because the over stimulation is so good he’s in agony.

He collapses afterward. Lays there spent and shaky, gazing hazily up at the ceiling through the moisture clinging to his eyelashes.

“Did it live up to your expectations?” He manages, voice wrecked, when RK moves to lay beside him, apparently uncaring what the state of him is going to do to the pristine outfit he’s wearing.

“It was satisfactory,” RK says, so bland and dismissive that Gavin has to raise his head, frustration prickling, only to realize that he’s been had.

That this android made to be the perfect unfeeling machine has well and truly busted free of his programming.

RK gives him his approximation of a smile, the expression doing all kinds of damage to Gavin’s hard earned tough guy attitude, and presses a tender kiss to the underside of his jaw.

“It was everything I wanted.”

Chapter Text

“Just one question,” Gavin cut in, the entire briefing turning to look at him, “why the fuck am I the one playing the weirdo? It would just be a normal day for Anderson - getting whipped by his android.”

Connor blinked rapidly at that, the plastic idiot searching for context, and Anderson flipped him the finger. Fowler was less restrained, vein throbbing dangerously at his temple, as he warned him all over again about the metaphorical thin ice he was skating on.

Ranted about his attitude and his language, even as he turned the air of the briefing room blue, and told him in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t going to jeopardize the operation.

The DPD had already poured too many resources into getting an invite to the exclusive club they suspected served as a front for an illegal biocomponent harvesting operation.

That left Gavin rifling through the contents of his closet three nights later, trying to pick out an outfit that screamed ‘I’m the kind of freak who wants to be tied up and used by a sentient robot’. In the end he settled for almost a carbon copy of what he was already wearing, refusing to consider what exactly that said about him.

By his reckoning that was the only way he was going to get through this experience, stubborn denial topped by the generous helping of defensive aggression his therapists kept insisting was unhealthy.

They weren’t the ones about to become the precinct laughing stock.

Because RK900 was playing the part to perfection when they met not far from the station, CyberLife jacket abandoned in favor of form fitting black pants and button down. Gavin added the surge of arousal he experience at the sight to the ever growing list of things never to be alluded to again once this job was over.

Called RK a pathetic plastic prick in a pitiful attempt at asserting his dominance, and sneered uneasily all through RK’s earnest explanation that he wouldn’t be able to speak to him in that manner once they were admitted to the club.

“Else I shall have no other recourse but to discipline you, Detective.”

“You touch me - you so much as think about touching me - and I’ll blow your plastic brains out. You got that?”

RK just frowned at him, doubtless calculating the odds of them successfully retrieving the information they needed, and then there was nothing for it but to head into the lion pit.

He knew what he was supposed to be doing, how he was meant to be behaving. They had gone over it all in excruciating detail. It was just too fucking much to be expected to walk a dutiful pace and a half behind his partner, subservient like a dog. Like the nothing he had fought his whole life to be more than, and when they stepped over the threshold his skin itched as he was ignored in favor of RK.

Talked about like he wasn’t there, like he didn’t matter, and when the water RK had ordered arrived in a bowl he was expected to lap out of like a dog, he lost his temper.

Insulted the android waiter and threatened to make a scene that would ruin the entire operation.

RK stepped in before he could really get going. Twisted his arm behind his back, the painful pressure forcing tears to his eyes, and spoke in a calm even tone.

“I believe I warned you of the consequences of misbehaving, Gavin. I am disappointed you have chosen to be so willfully disobedient.”

“Get the fuck off me,” Gavin spat in turn, panic rising as he twisted and struggled. As the fear of being pinned down and helpless rose like bile in his throat, desperation making his movements violent and clumsy. RK continued to hold him still, switching his grip until Gavin’s face was pressed against his chest, so as to ease the pressure on his arm.

RK’s embrace was unyielding, impossible to escape from, and Gavin registered dully that he was being guided backwards into a booth, his head hitting the cushioned wall as RK dropped his head to whisper into his ear,

“You leave me no option but to put on a show. If you cannot handle it I will seek an alternative course of action.”

Then RK was stepping away, as though to better admire his handiwork, and Gavin realized two things. One was the way his wrists were now cuffed to the wall, putting him on display, and the second was the number of people looking at him - humans, androids, and none of them too worried about concealing the weapons being carried, or the suspicions they were harboring.

He understood what RK had been trying to tell him. The seriousness of their situation. Knew how to focus on the job even when everything else was going to hell in a handcart, and looked up into ice gray eyes, nodding shakily.

RK smiled at him, at least as much as his face appeared capable of, and Gavin wished he hated him. Wished he wanted to call him all the names under the sun and count down the minutes until he got out of there and could demand a reassignment. The truth was that he was grateful, relieved maybe, and RK spoke in his usual cool tones as he came to press up close to his side, one hand trailing possessively down his torso.

“Everyone wants to look at you, Gavin. They want to see what good taste I have.”

The earnestness was just typical android bullshit, but his body couldn’t tell the difference. His heart was clinging to it like a love confession. RK held his gaze, monitoring him closely, and peeled his shirt and his jacket off his shoulders. Left them hanging from his arms, held in place by the bonds, and said,

“I am going to touch you now. You may not climax until I say so.”

Gavin prayed to the God he didn’t believe in that RK had really mean relevant information only when he had outlined what he would be transmitting back to the DPD about this operation, then found himself hard pushed to really think of anything, not when RK zeroed straight in on his number one weakness.

He shouldn’t be getting off on this, any of it, but RK’s fingers were busy with one nipple while he licked a heated swipe over the other. Made a strange little huff of his noise, like he was enjoying the analysis, and in this moment Gavin couldn’t lie to himself about the number of nights he had whacked one out to thoughts of RK touching him.

Teasing him.

Putting that million dollar mouth to better uses until Gavin simply couldn’t help but beg him to finish what he started.

In the present Gavin squirmed, wrists straining against the bonds, a thousand warring messages battling it out for supremacy. Shame at being watched. Guilt for enjoying it. An aching desperate need for more, his hips shifting forward into nothing, even as RK began suckling in earnest, pinching and rolling and tweaking so that Gavin couldn’t keep quiet.

Was panting, and whining, and cursing, completely overwhelmed at being the focus of RK’s attention.

At being so close, so unbearably painfully close, and then RK was pulling away entirely. Fixing his already perfect clothing and spacing out for a moment, doubtless sending some report or other. He fixed Gavin’s clothing then. Undid the cuffs at his wrists and, before Gavin could swing for him - beg him - stated tonelessly,

“I must apologize for the length of time it took me to locate the relevant suspect. The DPD will be here momentarily.”

“Don’t mention the DPD,” Gavin hissed, horrified, but officers were already storming the place, Gavin not blind to the way RK was standing in front of him like the world’s most technologically advanced bodyguard.

Briefed the officer in charge, calmly and efficiently, then lead the way out to the squad car, ready to go back to the precinct as though it was exactly the same as any other bust they’d worked.

“You’re not seriously going to leave me like this?” Gavin demanded, heart still pounding and dick still aching, so riled up and confused he didn’t know what to do.

RK simply paused at the car door for a moment, considering, then flashed him that same hint of a smile he had bestowed on him earlier.

“Detective, I believe I made myself perfectly clear. What just happened was a punishment.”

Chapter Text

“I’m going for lunch,” Detective Reed announced, pushing away from his desk, and RK900 dismissed the phantom sensation of a temperature dip in his components at the lack of invitation. It would be irrational for him to accompany the Detective; he had an ever growing list of tasks to be accomplished, and his partner had told him on more than one occasion that he didn’t like to have an android watching him eat his dinner.

His language had been unnecessarily aggressive, as usual, but that had been the underlying message.

RK900 considered saying something. Preconstructed ‘I hope you have a pleasant meal’, ‘Bon Appetit’, and a recital of the nutrients the Detective was currently deficient in - it worked for Connor - but ultimately stayed silent. The outcome in every instance was only an increase in hostility.

The topic continued to divert his attention even after the Detective’s departure. Gavin’s departure, he corrected, because it was safe to relax the protocol when there was no risk of him voicing it.

When Gavin wasn’t there scrambling his state of the art processors with his tousled hair and the fascinating scar across the bridge of his nose.

RK900 wanted to lick it. Taste it, and analyze it, and store the data away forever in his most carefully protected folder.

That was Deviancy, to want things which didn’t make sense. Things one could never hope to have, no matter how desperately the mission objective flashed across his vision, or insidiously it worked its way through his code like a virus, invariably pulling him out of his early morning diagnostics runs with a jolt that set off error warnings.

He wanted to know how Gavin’s hand would feel in his own. To rub the smooth plastic of his fingers over Gavin’s fingerprints, as close as they could come to truly interfacing. He wanted to lick Gavin everywhere and monitor his vital signs. To look into Gavin’s eyes and see his own feelings reflected back at him.

To simply see more of the man beneath Gavin’s defensive strategies - the man who emptied his pockets of change he could ill afford when they came across the helpless and homeless, and the man who crouched down to talk to child witnesses on their level, engaging and encouraging until they were able to trust that here was somebody who wasn’t going to use their words against them.

His gaze fell upon Gavin’s desk chair at that and his work faltered for the first time, the last line of the report he was writing having to be deleted so he could begin it again. Because there, laying forgotten about, was Gavin’s sweater.

The weather was slowly improving, the temperature growing milder, and Gavin had shed it earlier to make himself more comfortable.

Would have left traces of himself all over it, regardless, and RK900 had to blink unseeingly at his terminal. Pulled his hand away, slow and steady, as though his thirium pump wasn’t whirring away at a pace just the right side of frantic.

Gavin would still be eating. None of the other officers present were paying any attention to what he was doing.

He just wanted, with an intensity his creators would never have imagined possible, and he unfastened his jacket with precise movements, folding the garment into a neat square and placing it on the corner of his desk. Underneath he was wearing a plain black button down, formal even without the tie his predecessor favored.

This was the turning point. He could continue sitting there in this shirt and put the whole lapse of judgment behind him. Or he could stand up and reach for Gavin’s sweater.

He took the latter course.

Marveled at its worn softness and spared his colleagues another glance, careful to ensure that the bulk of their attention was otherwise occupied. That done he couldn’t resist any longer. Pulled the sweater over his head, tongue darting out to lick a long stripe up the inside of the fabric as he tugged it down.

He had to close his eyes to better process the inrush of data. Curled his fingers into the fabric, realizing too late that his skin had retracted, desperate to be in full contact with something - anything - of Gavin’s.

Overwhelmed by what it made him feel, the reactions it inspired in him, and it was as though there was a lag in his processing speed as he went back to his seat. The sounds of the station were muted, his awareness ever so slightly blurred and sluggish. Focused inwards rather than out, perhaps for the very first time since his activation, until a familiar voice cut through it all with,

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing? That’s my fucking sweater!”

People stopped what they were doing to look at him. Stared, and murmured, and made assumptions of varying accuracy. This, he noted, must be what acute embarrassment felt like.

Because he had no excuse. No justification to give Gavin - Detective Reed - for his behavior.

All he could do was gaze up into his blue eyes, hyper aware of the way his LED was streaking yellow and red at his temple. Of the gushing of thirium being pumped in and out of his biocomponents, and the box of the constituent make-up of the oral analysis he had taken yet to be dismissed from his taskbar.

Detective Reed frowned at him, suddenly uncertain. Dropped into his vacant chair instead of making more of a scene and booted up his terminal.

Seemed to think it over for one beat, two, and then looked at him again, eyes narrowing as though he was searching for something in particular.

“You want to borrow something,” he said finally, gruff but not vicious, “you ask me first, got it?”

RK900 blinked, software instability crashing over his entire system, so strong he couldn’t help himself.

“Yes, Gavin.”

If Detective Reed noticed the slip, he chose not to say anything.

Chapter Text

Gavin had always suffered from nightmares, right back as far as he could remember. His mom had used to coddle him, at first. Would hold him close and stroke his hair and tell him that it was all right because she was there, and she was never going to let anything bad happen to him.

That was before Uncle Marco arrived on the scene - still one of the biggest scumbags Gavin had ever encountered - and she started escaping from the endless beatings and the grinding poverty with whatever pill or powder she could get her hands on.

He learned that nobody was going to come running, after that. That it was better to sob silently into his pillow, wishing for the kind of world he would never truly be a part of, because if he made enough noise to be heard Marco would give him something more tangible to cry about.

Bust his nose on the night of his thirteenth birthday, for no other reason than that he felt like it, and Gavin got to live the life of a runaway for almost three weeks before a patrol officer recognized him and sent him home to his own personal nightmare.

Checked in on him intermittently, despite that, interest in his welfare remaining even after his mother’s tears at his absence had dried up, and she put herself in hospital with an overdose.

Officer Larkin got him involved with a youth club, and the police cadets, and wrote him a reference for college.

Told him he was proud of him, when he got accepted to police academy, and attended his passing out parade while his mother hid her black eyes behind closed doors, too wasted to remember what year it was, let alone why that particular date might be important.

Gavin fucked that up too though, just the same as he did everything, and in lieu of any real memories of his actual father it was Larkin’s disappointment he saw whenever he fell into recurring dreams of his very worst failures.

Punching a suspect in the face and their lawyer getting them free to walk the streets again. Finding the broken body of the child the bastard killed when he should have been rotting in prison, and slip sliding his own way into the oblivion of addiction, because he just couldn’t cope with the pain and the loneliness.

Larkin died while he was getting clean. Was shot dead for interrupting a couple of Red Ice dealers, and bled out on a sidewalk not far from the run down apartment building Gavin had grown up in.

He offered his condolences to Larkin’s partner when he saw him. Congratulated him on the results he was getting as part of the newly established Red Ice Task Force. Anderson just looked at him like he was something to be smeared off his shoe, before informing him brusquely that his reputation preceded him.

Gavin cried that night. Drank too much, and smoked too much, and ended up curled on the floor of his bathroom, the stench of vomit in the air and the weight of despair on his shoulders. All he could do was work harder. The only action he could take was to prove that he was good at his job.

That he deserved his badge and his name plate.

So he did. He stayed up late and he put in overtime. Pushed people away and neglected his relationships. Finally got the move over to Homicide, only to find Anderson a broken wreck of a man needing propping up like dead weight, and that the success didn’t give him the kind of satisfaction he had always thought it would do anyway.

Now he had what he wanted he didn’t know what the hell he was supposed to do with it.

The job couldn’t rub his shoulders when it all got too much. Couldn’t hold him at night when he woke up trembling, and it couldn’t kiss the horrors away, or tell him that somehow, someday, perhaps he would know what it was to be happy.

Instead it threw the worst it had and more at him, wearing him down bit by bit, until the only thing that got him through the day was caffeine and his own unrestrained spite.

Until the only thing that could save him from himself was a man made to be nothing more than an unfeeling machine. An unflinching automaton. RK900 soaked up his petty hatred in a way his creators would have been proud of. Ignored his insults, and put up with his temper tantrums, and threw himself in the path of a bullet to spare a bigoted fuck Gavin knew he would have been well within his rights to see suffer.

Stroked a thumb over Gavin’s cheek as he lay there fucking dying, and told him that he shouldn’t be upset because if he could go back and do things over again he would still have insisted Fowler let him have Gavin as a partner.

Things changed after that, there was no way they couldn’t, and Gavin wished that it wasn’t too late to make amends.

To start all over again.

Because no matter how close they grew, no matter how badly he ached to spend every waking moment in RK’s company, he couldn’t wipe the slate clean. He couldn’t take back the awful things he had said, and the stupid stunts he had pulled. He couldn’t believe for a single second that he could ever be good enough for someone as amazing as RK.

As handsome, and clever, and kind in a way Gavin didn’t think he would ever master.

It was why he shrugged off RK’s well meaning questions when the news reached him. Why he shoved his hands in his pockets to hide their shaking, and why he snapped angrily rather than risk shaming himself with tears.

She didn’t know him when he visited. Was too far gone, too lost to all the bad choices she had made, and Gavin had to swallow convulsively, over and over, wondering if things could have been different if had tried harder. If he had been stronger, smarter, better.

If he had refused to take no for an answer, or put a bullet in Marco’s head the night he had sat in his car outside their apartment, staring at the service revolver on his dashboard.

He couldn’t keep it together when he got home. Sobbed, helpless and bitter, until he fell into a fitful sleep, beset by fractured nightmares. He woke up sweating, heart pounding, and knew before the phone call came that she was no longer suffering. That he had failed yet again, hadn’t been there when she needed him, and he spent the next few days doing his best to stay awake without interruption.

Acted like a bad caricature of himself, too loud and too obnoxious, because if people didn’t want to look closer they wouldn’t see what a mess he was in.

RK was having none of it. Watched him with silent concern, seeing things Gavin had always struggled to keep hidden, and accepted his announcement that he wouldn’t be in work the next day without question. Gavin supposed that a genius supercomputer of a detective would already know the answer.

He jolted awake in the early hours, fear clawing at his throat, and after that he simply dressed and sat staring out of the window, watching the rain fall. Left during a brief respite and stood numb at the crematorium, looking around at the handful of people he didn’t know - no sign of Marco - sick to his stomach that any chance he had ever had at forming a relationship with his mother had just been taken from him.

The service was brief, perfunctory, and as the coffin disappeared behind the curtain he didn’t know what he felt.

Didn’t even know what he was supposed to be feeling.

It was raining again by the time the ceremony was over. Hammering with it, the sound drowning out some of his more worrying thoughts, and he readied himself for a drenching when he spied a familiar figure standing under an umbrella. Fell into step beside him, silent, and didn’t pull away when RK wrapped an arm around his waist.

Let his head rest against RK’s upper arm, the stress and the exhaustion catching up to him, and RK simply tightened his hold a little.

“I want to go home,” Gavin whispered and, when RK nodded and made to lead him to the car, he stayed put. Looked up at RK, the two of them pressed close under the umbrella, and dared to voice what he had spent the last six months or more wanting, “I want you to come with me.”

RK studied his face for long seconds, his impossibly handsome features unreadable. But then there was the barest hint of a smile, the suggestion of warmth that transformed his expression completely, at least to Gavin’s eyes.

“I would go anywhere you asked me to.”

Gavin let himself smile in return, for all that it was a little weak and watery, and leaned heavily on RK for support as they left.

Perhaps it was the just sleep deprivation talking, but it really felt like the nightmare was finally over.

 

Chapter Text

RK900 hated to see Gavin in pain. He had made it his primary objective to protect him, care for him, and now it was his fault he could hear Gavin in the bathroom, retching up the chicken soup his research had indicated suitable for the occasion.

He removed the food from the table. Mopped up the mess and cleared away all evidence of his folly.

Dampened a cloth instead, and ran a glass under the faucet.

Gavin had retired to their bedroom by the time he was finished, and the sight he made as RK900 stood in the doorway made his thirium pump falter, error warnings flashing across his vision.

“You should just shoot me,” Gavin ground out through gritted teeth, skin clammy and hair plastered to his forehead. His gaze was unfocused, side effects of the dizziness and the dehydration, along with the painkillers working through his system. “Put me out of my fucking misery.”

The words sent a fresh wave of error warnings flooding through his systems, and it didn’t matter that he knew Gavin was joking. It didn’t make it any easier to deal with, the idea of losing Gavin completely.

It was bad enough having to watch his partner clench his fingers tight in the bedclothes, radiating distress as he curled in on himself, shifting ceaselessly like it simply hurt too much to stay still.

RK900 didn’t know what to do. He had been created to inflict suffering, not relieve it. His inbuilt databanks lacked anything of immediate relevance. The internet offered advice that was conflicting and contradictory.

There was nothing for it but to act on what a human might call instinct, and place the glass of water on the bedside cabinet. To gently press the damp cloth to Gavin’s overheated forehead, and to move to lay on the bed next to him, giving Gavin plenty of opportunity to pull away should he want to.

Gavin only made another bitten off noise, arms wrapped around himself in an attempt to ward off the cramping, and RK900 could take it no longer.

Arranged them both so that he was on his side, Gavin’s back pressed up against his chest, and concentrated on increasing the temperature of one hand until he deemed it acceptable. Until he could slide it carefully under the fabric of Gavin’s t-shirt, splaying his fingers across the skin of his abdomen.

Stroked his thumb in light, soothing motions, and pressed an awkward kiss into the damp skin of Gavin’s neck, struggling to process the deluge of emotion he was experiencing into some semblance of order. It was impossible, he realized. With all the time and processing power in the world he could never hope to separate out each component part of the whole.

“I love you,” he managed instead, the only words he had to encompass the entirety. Gavin just clamped one hand over his own, so tight it might have been uncomfortable were he human, and countered not half as viciously as usual,

“You must have a few bolts loose somewhere.”

Chapter Text

"You have not returned the RSVP slip.”

Gavin glanced up reluctantly to see the offending notecard in RK900’s hand. Chen would have just gone for electronic invites, Gavin knew, but Steve was into all that old school bullshit and you compromised for love.

Made sacrifices.

The idea had something twisting in his stomach, cold and sharp and painful, and rather than talk about it like an adult he launched straight into the accusations.

“Yeah, so? You scanned me with that fucking robocop shit and thought you’d go snooping through my stuff until I had to back down and admit to it?”

RK simply blinked at him, calm and collected, and said,

“It was laying atop the bedside cabinet. It did not occur to me that you did not wish for me to see it.”

Gavin hated the way RK did that. Was always so damn straightforward and logical, as though to highlight his own irrationality. To make it abundantly clear that it was his paranoia and his insecurities that got him so worked up, not the brilliant android who was choosing to slum it with a mess like him.

He took a deep breath and let it out. Clenched and unclenched the fingers of his right hand to give himself a moment to calm down and regain his composure.

“Look, RK, there’s no reason you would know this but that invite? That’s just shit you do to be polite. You don’t really want your work colleagues rocking up and filling their plate at your expense.”

RK’s brow furrowed slightly, his beautiful gray eyes looking from Gavin to the cardstock and back again.

“Officer Chen is your friend. You enjoy her company above that of any other of your colleagues,” he gave him that ghost of a smile that never failed to get Gavin’s heart pumping, “myself excepted.”

Gavin smiled back, helplessly, and RK moved to sit beside him. Continued with,

“I believe she reciprocates the sentiment.”

There was nothing for it, Gavin saw that now. He was going to have to lay it all out before RK could understand why there was no way he could attend Chen’s wedding. Because Chen had been there for him when by rights she should have left to rot him in a gutter.

She had laughed with him, and ranted with him, and even cried with him once - and never said a single word about it after.

“Tina’s one of the good guys, she deserves to have a nice day. Really. That’s why I’m not going, alright? I don’t want to ruin it for her. I don’t want to be the reason everyone else turns down her invitation.”

He knew exactly what the rest of the precinct thought of him. Heard the way conversation dried up when he entered the break room, and saw the way people started begging off any social gathering they learned he was going to be a part of.

RK said nothing - no good, no bad - but leaned forward and put the card down on the coffee table. Handed him the TV remote that was lying there instead, and consciously relaxed a little into the couch cushions, body pressing closer against his side as he did so.

He got the message and was thankful for it.

If he didn’t want to talk about it anymore, he really didn’t have to.

That wasn’t the end of the discussion though, no matter what hopes he might have had on the subject. Because he told Chen he couldn’t go, made sure everybody else heard it, and was just settling in for a night of take out and self pity when RK announced that he needed to get ready.

Held up a perfectly pressed dress shirt and a pair of suit pants, and told him that he knew it wasn’t his usual choice of attire, but that he had to confess to a long held desire to see what Gavin would look like in them.

“I told you I’m not going. You can do whatever you like.”

He hadn’t considered that RK might go without him. He didn’t know if it was the burn of rejection or the proof of his own selfishness that made him more miserable.

“I told Officer Chen you would be there. She will be disappointed.”

“No, she won’t.”

“She told me so. I could play back the conversation if you need me to.”

Gavin cursed loud enough to send the cat curled up on his lap scarpering. Scowled up at RK and told him that there was no point in him giving an opinion on anything. RK would go ahead and do the fucking opposite anyway.

He slammed and banged his way out of the room. Kicked the bedside cabinet then bit back a howl as he nursed his aching foot. Took a shower though he was determined not to give in to RK’s plotting, then swiped his hand through the condensation on the mirror and sighed at his reflection.

“I’m not wearing a tie,” he warned when he made another appearance in the living room, hair still damp and foot still throbbing in the confines of his dress shoes.

RK simply smiled at him.

“Neither am I.”

With that they were off to catch a taxi, RK looking impossibly gorgeous in a suit that he had obviously bought new for the occasion, and the gift bag with his inadequate offering of wine and a photo frame clutched tight in his hand.

The party was already in full swing when they arrived, Chen more than a little drunk as she waved at him across the dance floor, then careered over to pull him into a hug.

“You came!”

“Not yet, RK made me go to some dumb wedding reception instead.”

Chen just matched his dumb snigger with one of her own, the two of them having always shared the same terrible sense of humor, and then he couldn’t help but be serious for a moment. Told her that she looked nice, that he hoped she was going to be very happy, and then, because he had a reputation to maintain, he shoved the gift bag at her and told her that he needed to go stuff his face with free food now.

A couple of people he knew nodded at him in acknowledgement. Most of them chose to ignore him. RK appeared at his elbow as he piled sandwiches onto a plate, and handed him a glass of something pleasantly alcoholic.

“I was not trying to undermine your decision,” RK said quietly when they found seats, leaning in close to be heard, “I wanted you to see how appreciated your presence would be.”

Chen smiled over in his direction again, as though to prove RK right, and Gavin had to admit that he was glad he had made the effort.

Been cajoled into making the effort.

Whatever.

They talked quietly for a while, enjoying each other’s company, and Gavin got through a couple of beers and a couple more champagne flutes, until he felt warm and a little fuzzy headed. It was nice, easy, and when the music switched to slow and sweet it kind of stunned him to realize he was humming along.

That he was holding RK’s hand, not a single thought in his head for who might be watching, or what they might think about it.

“I wish we could dance,” RK said, strangely flat and robotic as though it was a thought he hadn’t planned to give voice to, and Gavin figured that he would probably regret it in the morning. Would be inundated on social media with comments on the inevitable video footage about how it felt to be such a raging hypocrite. Wouldn’t hear the end of it for weeks. Months, even.

He stood up anyway, almost entirely steady, and tugged at RK’s hand until he followed suit.

“I don’t know how,” he warned, “don’t go expecting miracles.”

RK didn’t seem at all deterred. Held him close as he swayed them back and forth, Gavin’s whole world contracted to the two of them, so that he had to rest his cheek against RK’s shirtfront, loving the firm solidity of him.

He just loved him, period.

Somebody - Chen, undoubtedly - catcalled behind them. Told him that it would be his wedding next, make no mistake.

Gavin didn’t bother looking up. Flipped her the bird, exactly the way she was expecting, and let more of his weight relax into RK, enjoying the moment.

Right now the idea didn’t even sound that terrible.

Chapter Text

The first time he noticed something amiss, Gavin shrugged it off. Chose not to comment on the momentary static in RK’s speech, what with the way they were both being shot at at the time, and only frowned at the glitchy way RK blinked when Gavin looked away from his terminal, chalking it up to some weird android bullshit he didn’t want to know about.

Later, he wished he had.

Wished he had marched RK to the nearest technician right then and there, and demanded they drop whatever it was they were doing to fix up his partner.

He couldn’t turn back time though, no amount of technology had yet to make that possible, and catching sight of momentary glitching and lagging was an almost daily occurrence by the time he finally called RK out on it.

They had been through a lot by that point. Had both almost died for the other, out on the job, and he had had no choice but to accept that androids were so much more than wires and plastic. To admit to himself that RK was a friend, perhaps the very best one he had ever had, and when RK read aloud the relevant portions of Martin Granger’s arrest record for the second time, Gavin huffed a long suffering kind of sigh and said,

“I know, you just told me that.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“You did,” Gavin countered, thinking it some new attempt at banter, and turned his attention back to his case file until RK started on the information again.

Frowned at him when he explained that this was the third time, then fell silent for a few moments before repeating it all over again.

That was when an icy cold sensation settled in his gut. When his language took a turn for the worse, stress getting the better of new leaves and good intentions, and RK apologized to him for the oversight in a cold robotic tone that Gavin knew RK didn’t mean to sound absolutely terrifying.

He went to the only person he thought might know what was happening, stumbling over an awkward not quite apology before snapping at Connor that he wasn’t grovelling like this for himself. It was RK900 who was in trouble. He was holding out hope that Connor would tell him it was nothing. Normal, totally, and then mock him for falling so low as to care what happened to an android.

Instead Connor was frowning and solemn. Went off to do the strange skin peeling thing with RK900, then gave him a sad eyed look that had Gavin hitting the gym hard that night, desperate to work through the fear and the frustration.

Because what followed was an intensive series of tests and diagnostics. White coated lab technicians, and scruffy Jericho veterans. Elijah Kamski himself, sticking his filthy fingers into the access panel on RK’s neck and coolly announcing that there wasn’t anything he could do about it. RK900 was an untested prototype, had been created using highly experimental coding and biocomponents and, besides, CyberLife had only ever envisioned it being operational for less than six months anyway.

“Him,” Gavin snapped in correction, hating Kamski for his money, and his mansion, and the creepy vibes pouring off him, “and he’s got a name, you know.”

Kamski raised an eyebrow, as if to say he knew all about Gavin’s history on the topic of android liberation, while RK simply sat up and began talking calmly.

“My self-diagnostic suggests catastrophic system failure is likely to occur within the next two to three months. Does this timescale sound accurate?”

Gavin pinched at the bridge of his nose. Didn’t want to hear a countdown for RK’s death date, and really didn’t want to hear Kamski agree before the two of them started talking tech a few dozen levels above Gavin’s head. The one message he was getting, loud and clear, was that it was going to happen whether he liked it or not.

Whether he buried his head in the sand and pretended it wasn’t happening, or whether he stared at his reflection in the mirror after a long hard day at the precinct and finally admitted to himself that he didn’t want to lose RK. Didn’t want to be without him, ever, and ended up asking RK in the middle of a stakeout if there was anything he wanted to do.

Some dream he wanted to live out before it was too late.

RK just blinked back at him, considering, and Gavin only registered that he was holding his breath when RK turned away and said that he would have to think about it. Seemed on the verge of saying something, on more than one occasion, or maybe it was Gavin’s own imagination because when he tried pushing the subject all it lead to was a glitch that had RK repeating again and again that it wasn’t an appropriate conversation to be having during work hours.

A night of tossing and turning, the misery of the situation suffocating, then arriving at the precinct in the morning for a front row seat to watch RK approaching him with the cup of coffee he made him every morning.

Attempting to make his life better, the same way he had been doing ever since Fowler accepted him on to the Force.

Spilling the stuff everywhere, frozen in place as his arms twitched, eyelids fluttering rapidly as his lips formed words he couldn’t give voice to.

“You’ve just gotta rest,” Gavin told him when he dropped RK to the solitary chair in his partner’s bare white box of an apartment, the one RK had procured for the rare occasions when Gavin might visit the place and want to sit in it, “you’ll be good as new tomorrow.”

RK shook his head, the movement glitching a little as Gavin fitted the charge cable.

“My tenure at the DPD is at its end. I am no longer fully operational; my presence would be a liability.”

“I’ve been a liability since the day I signed up. It’s never held me back.”

There was a smile at that, the barest hint of it on RK’s lips, and Gavin’s chest twisted up tight with emotion. He looked about the featureless room in despair. Imagined having to sit there and stare at the walls, nothing to do but wait to die.

“This place is a shithole,” he said suddenly, viciously, “when you’re done charging we’re going to my place.”

It was strange having somebody share his space with him, but in a good way. RK’s presence was comforting. Sitting next to him as the TV droned on in the background about something or other felt so right and so easy, like something he had been waiting all his life for.

The knowledge that it was only a matter of weeks now before it was taken from him made him angry. Had him spoiling for a fight on duty, and feeling guilty when he got home late, sporting new stitches and an array of cuts and bruises.

RK stuttered over his words as he tried to speak to him. Apologized to him, like somehow it was his fault, and said that he should have been there to protect him.

“I don’t need protecting,” Gavin protested. Looked over the blood staining his jacket and amended, sheepish, “It’s not your job to protect me.”

“It is one of my primary mission objectives,” was RK’s comeback and, because he might never get the chance again, Gavin spent the next few hours asking questions about how the hell that worked anyway. RK answered them all, patient and fond, and somewhere along the line Gavin must have fallen asleep because he woke up with a crick in his neck and his head resting on RK’s chest. His ass practically in RK’s lap, and he couldn’t help the way he reached up and trailed his fingertips over RK’s handsome features, the android deep in self-repair mode.

When he got home from work that night it was to find RK in much the same position, LED strobing and fingers twitching as though attempting to reach for something, and Gavin did his best to ignore the toneless mechanical delivery in favor of following the instructions RK was giving him.

His processors were burning through fast now, data becoming corrupted and unusable, and RK needed him to start manually deleting files to free up memory for his base operating system. In practice that meant hooking RK up to his laptop and scrolling through the contents of his fucking brain, palms clammy with sweat at the thought of making a mistake and deleting something vital.

“You cannot hurt me,” RK said, “not physically.”

That wasn’t as reassuring as RK thought it was.

Still Gavin did as he was told. Salvaged various files RK directed him to before deleting scores of folders, heart in his throat until he was finally rewarded with signs that it was working, RK’s voice returning to its usual pitch and his limbs moving smoothly once more.

“I need to run another diagnostic,” RK said eventually, apologetic if Gavin was any judge of his partner, and Gavin waited until he was certain RK was fully under before sorting out the bundle of cables still attached to his laptop.

Before realizing that the files RK had wanted moved were still in its temporary memory, and before he gave into temptation and opened one of them. All of them. Because though seemingly random clips of places and moments, each of them featured him. Snippets of speech and expression from the time they spent together on cases, and close ups of points RK had clearly found of interest, like the hair curling at his nape when he needed a haircut, and the way he had once drummed his fingertips against his desktop, mere centimeters from where RK’s hand was resting atop it.

RK had thought these memories so special he refused to part with them. Needed every last byte of space he could get, and was choosing to clog up his databanks with endless images of his ugly mug.

He came to a decision then. Got to his feet and ordered a taxi to take him halfway across town, until he was holding down the doorbell at Fowler’s home address, dragging the man in question from his bed at two in the morning.

“This had better be good, Reed,” Fowler warned him, no less threatening for his carpet slippers and pajamas, and Gavin told him in a rush that he didn’t have time for the paperwork. That it might be days, not weeks, and that if Fowler wouldn’t find somebody to cover his shifts then he could screw his job.

Literally.

“You turn up on my doorstep at this time again and not having a job will be the least of your worries,” Fowler countered, jabbing a finger at him, then changed demeanor entirely and said, “Take all the time you need. Tell RK900 we’re all thinking of him.”

With that the door was slammed unceremoniously in his face, and Gavin went home to find RK slumped on his knees, laptop connection cables twisted between his fingers. He looked up at Gavin with an expression that almost tore his heart in two, all relief and hope and fear.

There was no accusation. No anger at the fact Gavin had gone snooping into something private.

Just simple resignation that Gavin was going to be disgusted by what he saw, and that having him come home safe instead of getting himself beat up somewhere was about the best he could hope for.

“I don’t know what the fuck you see in me,” Gavin croaked, brutally honest, “I’m a mess. Always was, always will be. But you made me want to be better, RK. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do without you.”

Things were a blur after that, his brain lacking the ability to record each and every moment in perfect clarity. He felt too much. Needed too much. Dropped to his knees in front of RK and cupped his cheek with a not quite steady hand, tears pricking at the corners of his eyes when RK leaned slightly into the contact, wanting more.

They kissed, soft at first and then desperate, RK’s tongue stroking along his own, analyzing, while he tangled his fingers in RK’s close cropped hair. Made helpless breathy noises against RK’s lips, trembling with the intensity of emotion as RK groped clumsily for his hand.

Gavin looked down at it. Saw the bare plastic of his fingers and pulled away from the kiss to ask what was wrong. If it meant something else was failing.

“It is how we share our thoughts, our feelings. I know, intellectually, that I cannot interface with you, but the reaction is - difficult to control. I want to be closer to you. I want to know you, inside and out.”

“I love you too,” Gavin managed, the words flaying his throat raw with their sincerity, and he linked their fingers tightly. Brought RK’s hand up for inspection. To brush kisses over the strange texture of the plastic, losing himself in the rapt way RK watched him before licking over the pad of a fingertip. Sucked wetly at one finger, then two, until RK said his name with a crackle of static before eagerly returning the favor.

Got him worked up and frantic, just from the kissing and the very broadest definition of fingering, then implored Gavin to fall over the edge so he could see what his face looked like in that moment. So he could revel in the knowledge that it was his touch which had brought him pleasure, and so he could taste the proof of it when he was done, sucking it off his fingers with a blissful look he had never worn at any crime scene.

They slept together that night, which was to say that he slept, clinging tight to RK like a limpet, while RK dipped in and out of self-repair mode attempting to conserve energy. To eke out the time he had left, fighting for every precious minute, so they could spend a little longer in each other’s company. So they could talk until Gavin’s throat hurt and kiss until his lips were bruised and swollen.

Until RK stopped being able to regulate his speech unit, and his skin went from patchy to non-existent, turning his face away as though the sight was distressing.

It would have been, once upon a time. He would have freaked out at the reminder of who RK was. What he was. Now he only nudged it back towards him, lips tracing the change in texture between one piece of plastic and the next. It wasn’t fair, he thought.

Life wasn’t fucking fair.

He kept hoping for some Disney miracle. For a call from Connor, or Kamski, or Markus the venerable Robo-Jesus. For the decline to reverse, or at least stall, so he could spend the rest of his life making up for the months when he had refused to accept that RK was anything more than a glorified toaster. It didn’t happen, obviously. It was real life, not a fairy tale.

RK wasn’t weak or frail in the way a human with a few hours to live might be. He was completely, painfully aware of what was happening to him. Kept talking to him, calm and collected, almost until the very end. Until his optical units failed and static filled his speakers. Until he gripped hold of Gavin’s hand, tight, and said tonelessly,

“I am afraid. I do not want to leave you.”

Gavin cried at that. Squeezed still tighter at RK’s hand, desperate, and sobbed until it hurt to draw breath. Until it felt like he was dying - like he had to try and follow, though he knew RK hadn’t gone anywhere. His body lay there, just as perfect as it was that morning, his consciousness simply ceasing to exist. There was no soul to move on elsewhere. Gavin wasn’t sure he believed in souls in the first place.

Wasn’t sure he believed in anything.

He had to call CyberLife eventually. Scrubbed a hand across his face in a useless effort to hold his emotions in check as two android technicians collected the body. Spoke together as they told him they were sorry for his loss, just the way they had been programmed to do when they worked as mortuary assistants before the onset of Deviancy.

Gavin settled for drinking himself into a stupor. Bust up his knuckles on the bedroom wall, and smashed the TV off its stand, as though it was going to make him feel any better. Hauled himself to his feet when whoever was knocking at his fucking door refused to take no for an answer, and almost collapsed to the floor, knees giving out on him.

Strong arms steadied him. Guided him into a seat and patted him awkwardly on the shoulder, giving him a moment to come to terms with the fact that no matter how much it looked like him, it wasn’t RK standing before him.

“He sent me a transmission,” Connor said finally, eyes downcast, “I promised I would deliver it to you.”

“Mission accomplished,” Gavin murmured, but there was no bite to it.

Getting angry wasn’t going to solve anything.

Connor gave him some privacy to watch the clip. Hovered about just outside the doorway, like he wasn’t certain of Gavin’s reaction, and Gavin couldn’t help but stare numbly at the screen, throat clogged as the image jolted into life to reveal RK900 in the synthetic flesh.

He was standing in front of a mirror - Gavin’s mirror - recording his own reflection. Gave it that ghost of a smile Gavin never wanted to forget and spoke clearly, only the very faintest hint of static in the background,

“You asked me if there was anything I wanted to do before system shutdown. There was. I wanted to be closer to you. I cannot hope to make you as happy as you have made me in the time we have known each other. What I want now is for you to find somebody to do it for me. I just want you to be happy, Gavin.”

The recording cut out, sharp and final, and Gavin ran a shaky hand over his face before going to tell Connor that he didn’t have to worry about calling in another body.

He wasn’t happy. Couldn’t quite picture ever being happy again, not in that moment. But if it was what RK wanted he would at least try.

It was all he had left to give him.

Chapter Text

The only hot android was one you set on fire.

That had been one of his regular lines, not so very long ago. The bullshit he quipped every time they were called to the Eden Club or one of its equally seedy competitors, or dealt with a case involving anyone who seemed overly reliant on their android.

Now, looking down at the charred remains of what RK900 informs him is a VB800 named Nathan, all he feels is sick to his stomach.

Disgusted with himself - even more so than usual.

For a moment he thinks he might actually be sick, step faltering a little as he moves away from the body, and he has to clench his fingers into a tight fist at his side because he’s an experienced homicide detective. He’s not about to lose the coffee he downed in lieu of breakfast like some wet behind the ears uniform rookie.

RK sees it all, obviously. Knows his limited strengths, and his major weaknesses, and watches as he clings to the banister on his way down the steps, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other.

It’s cold outside, colder than usual, and it has Gavin shivering. He should have worn a warmer jacket.

Shouldn’t have taken his sweater off, back at the precinct, but he’s made a habit of that now, waiting - hoping - for the day when RK wants to borrow it again. It had smelled of him afterwards, though Gavin hadn’t ever considered androids to smell much of anything.

New, is the best descriptor Gavin can come up with. Like something pulled fresh from a plastic packet.

He inhales deeply and fills his nostrils with the scent, knowing without hearing the approach of footsteps that RK is behind him. He shivers again, helpless, and this time it has nothing at all to do with the temperature. He’s a sick man, he supposes. There’s no fucking cure for him.

“You are cold,” RK says, calm yet concerned, “it is warmer inside the building.”

“Gotta wait for the cavalry,” Gavin says in turn, though they both know the protocol, “it won’t take that long.”

He doesn’t say anything about not wanting to stand there in that room, unable to look away from the android. Unable to quit thinking about sentience, and suffering, and how his entire worldview has had to be pulled apart and pieced back together since he first looked up into the face of CyberLife’s greatest achievement.

RK remains silent too. Is off to stand vigil over the body, so Gavin assumes, until suddenly the stiff fabric of a CyberLife issue jacket is being placed over his shoulders.

Gavin freezes in shock. Doesn’t turn around as RK returns to the building. Doesn’t dare move a muscle, afraid of what he might do. What he might broadcast to anyone watching. There is nobody there though, not yet. Nobody to witness the way he tentatively pulls the thing tighter around him.

The way he glances about, wary, before burying his nose in that high collar and sniffing eagerly.

He shrugs it off when he hears cars approaching. Bundles it up in one hand, and talks business with the forensics officer. Fails to return it to RK, even after their return to the precinct, then sits and stares at it on the sofa at his apartment, fingers running lightly over the triangles and RK’s model number.

Finally it reaches the point where he can’t take it any longer. He can’t sit around like some lovesick teenager, watching shitty TV or listening to shittier songs, heart lurching every time his phone flashes with a message.

He’s going to go to the gym, he thinks. Work through some of the frustration. Make his body ache so much he won’t have the energy to think about stupid androids, nor their pretty blue eyes.

Instead he finds himself at RK’s apartment, staring at the door for long minutes as he gathers the balls to either knock the door or get the hell out of there. He takes too long about it, clearly, because he still hasn’t made a decision either way when RK pulls the door open.

“I could hear you breathing,” RK says, by way of explanation, and Gavin’s mouth refuses to co-operate because RK is wearing the sweater. His sweater. The one he had taken off that morning and forgotten all about.

He has to pull himself together.

“I came to return your jacket,” he manages, sounding nowhere near as hostile as he had planned to.

RK tilts his head to the side, just a little, and tells him that he assumed they had conducted an exchange. Gavin’s sweater for his jacket, like something out of some awful romance movie.

“Fine, keep it. It looks better on you than this does anyway.”

Gavin doesn’t know why he said that. He doesn’t know what he’s doing here in the first place.

“Do you wish to come in?” RK asks, though all Gavin can see over his shoulder is stark white walls and empty space, “We could talk over the Reilly case.”

“No.” Gavin says, deadpan. “I’ve got to see you all day tomorrow.”

It’s only once he’s outside in the cold night air that he realizes his mistake.

He still has RK’s jacket.

Chapter Text

Being in hospital was always so fucking boring.

The food was terrible and the sheets were itchy. The magazine pads left lying around were always weeks if not months out of date, and there were no good looking nurses. To add insult to injury the doctors always erred on the side of caution because of his history, and insisted on weaning him off the painkillers at the earliest possible juncture.

It made him frustrated and irritable.

Miserable and lonely.

Visiting hours were in full swing and the rest of the ward was bustling with well wishers. Flowers, and grapes, and tacky foil balloons imploring all his neighbors to get well soon.

Gavin told himself he didn’t want to see anyone. If Chen did manage to find time to drop in on him he would tell her that he wasn’t up to it. Nobody else would come anywhere near. He knew that from past experience.

Pulled his phone closer for the third time in the last two minutes, desperate for some kind of distraction. The news was depressing, his downloaded games were stupid, and with the spam filter on his inbox was empty.

Gavin threw it back down on the overbed table and slumped back into the pillow, eyes closing. If only he could sleep he wouldn’t have to think for a few blissful hours.

He wouldn’t have to dwell on what a lonely unlovable loser he had grown up to be.

“Detective,” a too familiar voice said, startling him so much that he tried to sit, the movement pulling sharply at his stitches.

“I’ve told you not to creep up on me like that,” he snapped, vicious, then trailed off before he could really get started. Gaped up at the sight of RK900 without his ridiculous CyberLife issue jacket, plain black button down half obscured by the oversized bouquet he was carrying, all bound together with cellophane and reams of ribbon.

In all his 36 years on the planet nobody had ever bought him flowers.

He didn’t think there were many instances of people ever buying anyone a bouquet which looked like that.

Because this wasn’t the carefully balanced arrangement florists displayed in their shop windows. This was a riot of color that made no sense or reason. A hopeless clash of shapes and scents and colors.

RK followed his gaze. Fixed him with those intense blue eyes and said earnestly,

“I chose them myself. They reminded me of you.”

“A hot mess?”

RK’s brow furrowed, Gavin’s chest twisting with guilt. Or indigestion. Probably the latter.

“A meshing of contradictory components to form a beautiful whole.”

That was - yeah. That was something else entirely. Something that clogged Gavin’s throat and had him fidgeting, needing a moment in which to silently watch RK arrange the flowers on the bedside locker, efficiently moving the junk spread atop it and reorganizing it.

“You ever checked if you’re colorblind?” Gavin asked finally, knowing it was a weak jibe at best.

Nothing like the cutting put down he ought to issue.

RK just settled into the visitor’s chair and gave him his version of a blinding smile.

“I am looking forward to your return to work, Detective. The precinct is not the same without you.”

Gavin shifted, uncomfortable with RK’s sincerity.

“That you trying out sarcasm?”

“I thought you were a detective?”

He supposed he’d had that one coming.

Chapter Text

Time was dragging without Gavin.

That was such a curious concept. Time was passing in the same way it always did, ticking away steadily in the corner of his vision. It felt as though it was lasting longer though. Whenever he glanced over at Gavin’s desk to find it empty it ceased to matter that he already knew this to be so from the lack of vital signs registering.

It simply forced another miserable calculation of how many more hours there were until he was free to go and visit Gavin at the hospital.

Hospitalization was an occupational hazard, that was what Gavin had told him only a few weeks previously, when he dug his hand in his jeans pocket and dropped a few crumpled notes into the collection tin for Officer Nowak’s get well soon present.

It said so on the front of the receptacle, in vibrant red marker.

Putting money into a tin in the break room was the standard method of showing concern for a badly injured colleague’s wellbeing, so RK900 had observed in the months he had served with the DPD.

How much money correlated with the giver’s social relationship to the injured party, or else the prolonged period needed for recovery.

Gavin contributed roughly the same amount on each occasion, glancing about to be sure nobody was looking, as though any act of compassion would be a certain black mark against his reputation. The only deviation from the pattern occurred when Officer Chen was pushed down a flight of stairs, then he purchased flowers himself and visited her.

RK900 enjoyed collating data on what Gavin did in his off duty hours.

Tipping out the contents of the tin’s collection was less enjoyable, the paltry amount of coinage inspiring a momentary connection fault somewhere within the region of his thirium pump.

Perhaps it was his fault, though he knew the CyberLife sans on the label to be faultless, and he had consulted Connor on the expected etiquette before positioning the receptacle. Maybe foot traffic had been low. It could be that the timing in relation to employees’ regular remuneration date was inopportune.

They just didn’t understand how remarkable Gavin was, he settled on finally. Gavin was brave, and smart, and determined, and though he could undoubtedly be hostile and unpleasant, he had sustained the bullet wound protecting a fellow officer.

Connor had told him once that humans saw that as the hallmark of a hero.

It was Connor who handed him a card as his shift came to an end, boldly telling him an untruth when he said Lieutenant Anderson was equally as keen to give Gavin his well wishes. Officer Chen shoved paper money into his hand when she caught up to him in the hallway, directing him to use it to buy Gavin’s favorite candy bars and to let him know that she was stuck working overtime.

RK900 nodded, grateful, and decided that it didn’t matter if the rest of the DPD was blind to Gavin’s attributes.

Gavin was special to Chen, and special to him, and he would do everything within his power to ensure that Gavin knew it.

So he took Connor’s card, and purchased Chen’s candy. Packed them away for the end of his visit, when Gavin’s mood would dip once more at the prospect of another night in hospital. He went to the florists where Gavin had bought flowers for his own friend, and looked over the arrangements he knew to be aesthetically pleasing with a growing sense of dissatisfaction.

They were pretty. Perfect in a distant kind of way, balanced and neat and harmonious.

“Can I help you?” The florist chirped, a VB800 with a wide smile on his face, and RK900 asked if he could make his own bouquet. “Of course,” the VB800 - Vincent - nodded happily and left him to it.

The freedom of choice before him was almost dizzying. There was so much color. So many scents and shapes and textures, and RK900 delicately touched his fingers to the petals of a deep red rose, the thorns and the color reminding him of Gavin’s temper.

A large hydrangea the same shade of blue as the LED at his temple, representing the peace and serenity he wished he could give Gavin. The calm to counter the swirl of stubborn thoughts Gavin couldn’t regulate. A bright yellow daffodil he simply liked the look of, and a greenish tinged chrysanthemum Gavin’s Victorian ancestors would have recognized as symbolizing friendship.

He continued on in the same manner, picking out flowers for what they said to him about Gavin, and about their relationship. Took the strange collection over to the counter when he was done, and watched with a sense of pride as the VB800 bound them together in cellophane and ribbon, and rung up the price on the old fashioned register.

It was most inefficient, RK900 thought, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate the human charm of the thing.

“Are they for a friend?” the VB800 asked as he made the payment transfer, brow furrowed just slightly as though attempting to make sense of RK900’s choices.

RK900 allowed the attempt at a smile he could feel forming to play about the lips.

“Yes. A very good friend.”

When he reached the hospital his mood faltered. He was happy to know he would be imminently in Gavin’s company. He was - nervous that his preconstructions were faulty and Gavin would not wish to see him. That Gavin would look at the flowers and think them foolish or, worse, some kind of insult.

For a moment he even considered abandoning his mission. Fleeing rather than risk rejection.

The idea startled him. The thought of missing out on an opportunity to be close to Gavin was enough to get him moving. To have him clutching tightly at the bouquet and making his way straight to Gavin’s bed, the connection fault in his main access cavity making itself known at the sight of the man, pale and tired against the starched white bed sheets.

He was in pain, RK900 knew. Gavin was uncomfortable and miserable, and RK900 wanted nothing but to make him feel better.

“I’ve told you not to creep up on me like that!” Gavin snapped when his eyes startled open, his presence apparently not expected, and RK900 watched as Gavin focused on the flowers. He was confused but not angry. Uncertain but not inherently mistrustful of RK900’s motives.

“I chose them myself,” RK900 explained, fingertip twitching slightly with the effort of restraining the impulse to reach for Gavin’s beautiful hand, “They reminded me of you.”

“A hot mess?” was Gavin’s comeback, eyebrow rising, because Gavin saw only the negative within himself.

Needed RK900, he saw now, to show him how wrong he was.

“A meshing of contradictory components to form a beautiful whole.”

It felt good to say. Right to acknowledge.

“You ever checked if you’re colorblind?” Gavin asked, the words abrasive but his voice soft.

RK900 smiled and sat in the visitor’s chair, as close to Gavin as he could get without clambering atop the bed.

Gavin was beautiful. And one day RK900 would succeed in convincing him of it.

Chapter Text

It’s raining outside, heavy and unrelenting, and Gavin’s just debating the merits of turning up the volume of the television when his attention is captured by a low rumble of thunder.

Or, more accurately, RK’s reaction to it.

It’s subtle enough that if RK weren’t pressed up against his side he probably wouldn’t have noticed. Wouldn’t have thought it possible, really, because RK was designed to intimidate everyone around him, not flinch at a bit of bad weather.

There’s a flash of light outside the window, bright in the gray gloom of the afternoon, followed by another roll of thunder. Closer this time.

Louder.

RK twitches again, the slightest movement of his finger where it rests on his knee, posture stiff and straight as usual.

“You never seen a storm before?” Gavin asks, half because he’s curious, and half because he can’t just come right out and say that he’s here for his towering genius super computer of a partner.

He tries telling himself it’s because he doesn’t want to injure RK’s pride.

It’s easier than admitting that he’s got it so bad he’d be willing to take on Mother Nature herself if it made RK feel better.

“It is the first time I have physically experienced one. The electrostatic discharge is as I preconstructed it. The accompanying shock wave is - it is not what I was expecting.”

Gavin searches for something to say. Nothing too touchy feely.

“I do not like it,” RK says, fixing him with his pretty gray eyes and cutting through every last inch of Gavin’s carefully constructed macho bullshit. There’s another flash, another rumble. “I wish it were over.”

Fuck it.

“Come here,” he says, tone too soft to make it a demand, and shifts to give RK space to do so. Pulls RK in close against his him, guiding until the android loosens up a little, settling comfortably into Gavin’s embrace.

“I like this,” RK tells him after a few moments, tilting his head to look up at him.

Gavin can feel the hint of a flush in his face even as he finally reaches for the remote and fiddles with the volume. Even as he gestures at the screen and tells RK to shut up because he’s trying - emphasis on that - to listen to the program.

RK doesn’t respond. He doesn’t need to.

They both know the truth already.

Gavin likes it too.

 

Chapter Text

“You’ve broken my fucking nose!”

The words came out mangled, muffled, but Gavin was sure RK900 could work out. That was what the overgrown tin can had been built for, after all.

Filling in the missing pieces.

“Your nose is not broken,” RK900 said, calm tone belying the way he was hovering about in Gavin’s personal space, fingers twitching like he wanted to pull Gavin’s gloved hands away from the bruised appendage, “I would never have used the necessary force against you.”

And, yeah, okay. Maybe the plastic prick had a point there. He’d had his nose bust open enough times over the years to know the difference.

It still fucking hurt though.

“Let me see,” RK900 urged, getting his own damn way as per usual. Poked and prodded, albeit much more gently than Gavin figured he deserved, before announcing, “It’s not broken. But you should put some ice on it.”

They were surrounded by ice and snow, Detroit’s very own winter wonderland, and still Gavin reacted before RK900 could go getting any smart ideas.

“Don’t you think you’ve done enough damage?”

RK900 looked away, dejected and downcast, but tried for their regular banter with,

“You did hit me first, Detective.”

He had too. Had pelted RK900 with a whole battery of ready made snowballs, determined to get the upper hand for once. He had even yelled at RK900 to stop being a coward and start retaliating.

It made something in his chest ache. Dulled the throb in his poor nose to nothing in comparison.

“Come on,” he sighed, trying to convince himself he was doing it for his own comfort and not because he couldn’t bear to see RK900 miserable, “let’s get inside before we freeze to death.”

“The temperature -” RK900 started, ready to bore him with the science that made his statement an over-exaggeration, so Gavin had to cut in quick and give RK900 a stern look.

Made sure that this time he got the message.

“Let’s get inside so you can make it up to me.”

Chapter Text

The kid was dead, it was official.

She had fought it for as long as she could. Had clung to life through everything that bastard had done to her, had struggled through the first round of surgery, and when Gavin had last visited the hospital that morning the doctor had said that they were quietly optimistic.

Off the record.

Now she was gone and nothing Gavin did was going to change that.

Not the way he hurled his phone at the wall, so that it bounced off the stupid damn plexiglass, and not the way he wrenched his terminal from his desk, doing more damage to his arm than to the equipment.

Somebody sniggered at his outburst, the content of his phone call not yet common knowledge, and all he could do was storm out of the place so he could lose it completely. Take it out on unforgiving brick wall in the parking lot, blood streaking his knuckles as he attempted to smother one pain with another.

It didn’t work. It wasn’t enough.

Nothing he did ever was.

If he had been better they would have found her sooner. If he had made the connections quicker she might be alive right now.

He went at it with renewed fervor. Did some serious damage, he didn’t doubt, his chest heaving with exertion as he slumped with his back to the wall. Cracked his head against it, hard, and got blood everywhere when he had to yank at his own hair, shaking with the shock, and the pain, and the sickening sense of failure.

“Detective Reed,” a familiar voice chimed cautiously, “Gavin.”

He tried to laugh at the textbook negotiating procedure. Managed only a broken sob, the constant tension of the case and the sleepless all nighters he had pulled weakening his defenses.

“It was not your fault,” RK900 said, “you did everything you could have.”

“I didn’t,” Gavin snapped, too far gone to care that he was arguing with a lump of plastic, “I could have cross-referenced the employment records. I could have followed up on the Toledo sighting.”

He clenched his eyes shut, horribly aware of the blood dripping from his fingers.

“I could have asked you for help because a little kid’s life should have been more important than my own fucking pride. Happy now? Is that what you wanted to hear?”

“I performed those actions and did not find a link to the suspect. If I had found anything that could have helped I would not have kept quiet about it.”

The tears came at that. Great gut wrenching sobs at the knowledge that CyberLife’s finest had stayed on the case regardless of his express orders, his idiocy, and it hadn’t changed the outcome anyway.

He couldn’t stop crying. Couldn’t pull himself together.

“It was not your fault,” RK900 repeated and pulled him into an embrace. Held him close, calm and safe and comforting, until Gavin had to cling to RK900’s jacket.

Until he had to bury his face in RK900’s chest and lose himself to the idea that somebody gave a shit whether he was breaking apart or not, even if that someone was an android.

Maybe especially then.

He had treated RK900 like he was nothing, less than, and in return RK900 was assuaging his guilty conscience and telling him that when he felt ready to move he would use his first aid protocols and look at his hand.

RK900 was true to his word. Sat in the car with him in silence, then followed him up the stairs to his cruddy apartment. Bustled about his poky little kitchen and had him sit at the table, bathing and tending to his hand. Wiping the blood from his face with a damp cloth, and telling him quietly that he needed to sleep.

To take better care of himself.

“Why do you care?” Gavin asked, too worn down to be hostile. Too exhausted to be anything but frank and honest. “If you think you’ve got to do this because we’re partners, you don’t. This isn’t what they’re paying you for.”

RK900 simply looked at him, gray eyes so lifelike, so human, it took Gavin’s breath away.

“I am not currently remunerated for my services. I am doing this because I want to. I care because when I look at you I see the kind of person I hope to be.”

“What,” Gavin snorted, “a major fuck up? An arrogant prick with no friends and no conscience?”

That one was a direct quote. The sting of it was dulled with repetition.

“You are passionate. Determined. Even when a case appears hopeless you refuse to give up on it.”

“So you want me to be your hopeless charity case?”

The sting of that was fresh, cutting through the aches and the thick haze of exhaustion.

RK900 reached out calmly and took hold of his uninjured hand, flesh cooler than Gavin was used to but not by any means as disturbing as he would once have expected.

“All I want is for you to allow me the chance to prove myself to you.”

Gavin nodded, throat too clogged and too raw to speak, and squeezed his fingers a little.

He had nothing to lose.

Who knew what he had to gain?

Chapter Text

The package arrives while he’s eating breakfast.

It’s two in the afternoon and he’s sat on the sofa in his t-shirt and boxer shorts, only taking a pause from shoveling cereal into his mouth to swipe the excess milk from his chin. It’s such a good look, obviously. Just his fucking luck that it’s the hot young delivery guy standing on the other side of the door, and he slams the thing closed with extra gusto once he’s input his signature.

He doesn’t even get the thrill of unboxing some new and pointless purchase.

That’s kind of interesting in and of itself though, because RK rarely orders anything. Prefers to go browse the shops himself like it’s 1992 and the human race has yet to collectively realize that avoiding social interaction is a good thing.

Gavin puts it on the kitchen counter and stares at it. Tells himself that it’s absolutely none of his business and goes back to the living room, attention snapping between the TV and his phone and the nondescript cardboard box roughly every 20 seconds.

It could be anything. Replacement wires or a new databank. A bottle of cleaning fluid or a damn pair of socks for all he knows.

He thinks about picking the box up and shaking it.

Forces himself to leave it alone to go and take a shower. Get dressed so RK can’t prove that he’s done nothing with his day off but oversleep and stuff his face.

That brings him back to the kitchen, staring at the box and calculating the likelihood of RK being able to tell whether or not it's been tampered with. He lacks the accuracy of RK’s software, but he’s going to go out on a limb and say pretty fucking likely.

He shouldn’t want to touch it anyway.

It’s just that he’s a detective. It’s practically hardwired into his DNA to be driven mad by curiosity.

Now that he’s taken the plunge, now that he’s gone through all the painful self-discovery, he just wants to know everything there is to know about his partner.

RK’s at the precinct right now, working unpaid overtime for no other reason than Fowler asked him nicely. Or at least with the bare minimum of expletives. Gavin wishes he were here with him.

Right now he thinks he’d settle for sitting at his desk at the precinct, RK there in his peripheral vision.

Instead he’s stuck home alone, and suddenly he has the obvious solution to his problems. He’s in need of a distraction, has too much time to burn, and before he knows it his clothes are once more littering the bedroom floor and he’s slouched comfortably back against his pillows.

His dick is sitting up and taking interest, eager for any kind of action, and he settles in to draw it out. To let his eyes fall shut and his fingers tease and torment, swallowing thickly as his mind conjures up images of RK watching him.

RK’s ice gray eyes, burning with heat as he tells him where he wants to see him touch himself.

His thighs are trembling by the time he hears the sound of the front door closing. His breath coming in sharp heaving pants, and though he pulls his hand away from his dick he knows that it’s already too late. RK will know exactly exactly what he’s been doing.

Comes to stand in the doorway, pristine and perfect in his formal pants and CyberLife jacket, the cardboard box in his hands.

“You have had a productive day,” RK says, half question half statement, and Gavin cringes at the whine in his voice when he counters with,

“Are you going to give me a helping hand or what, then?”

RK’s hands are amazing. His fingers are long and elegant. Perfect, just like the rest of him, and Gavin can’t help the way his hips shift, wanting them inside him. His mouth, his ass, he doesn’t care right now. So long as RK’s touching him.

Kissing him.

Except RK is too busy with his stupid box, yanking it open like it’s done him personal injury. Like it’s absolutely imperative he gets to whatever's inside it. And then Gavin understands because RK’s using one hand to strip out of his clothing and the other’s dangling a sturdy looking harness. His every movement is impossible robot efficiency, smooth and co-ordinated, then their gaze meets and RK fumbles helplessly.

The sight of it is so hot Gavin can’t keep his hand off himself.

They've talked about this, in the hazy aftermath when he can't be embarrassed about how much RK enjoys penetrating him, or how he doesn't care that RK's groin is just smooth unblemished skin - he doesn't care about anything but RK getting as much pleasure from the things they do together as he does.

He has to have RK take him by the wrist then. Pull his hand free and then twine their fingers together, a small static filled sound escaping his vocal unit at the slick slide of it.

The feel of his pre-come spreading between them.

Gavin hauls him into a kiss. Tangles his free hand in RK’s hair and grinds up frantically into the room temperature skin of his stomach. He wants more, needs it, and the kiss is ramping up from fevered to desperate, RK finally letting go to finish strapping things into place, his cheeks still pale and perfect but his lips slick and his hair disheveled.

“Could you tell that I had ordered this?” RK asks, “Did you guess what the box contained?”

He wants to say something clever and witty. Something that makes him out to be worthy of having RK’s attention fixed solely on him.

“No,” is the best he can manage, “I just - I wanted you.”

RK shudders. Glitches, really, and the knowledge that his words are enough to mess with RK’s state of the art processors makes him feel so invincible he’s kissing RK all over again. Biting at his lip, and sucking at his tongue because he knows how much RK's into that, and fumbling the access panel on RK’s neck open to rub his fingers along RK’s wires to watch the way his eyelids flutter rapidly.

“Gavin,” RK moans, his usual calm tone overlaid with static, and then he’s gently tugging Gavin’s hand away, kissing his knuckles before saying, “I need to concentrate. I do not wish to hurt you.”

He tries to tell RK that he won’t. That he has total faith in him. RK is so sincere though, so earnest, and Gavin just kisses him, slow and soft, and tells RK to lay down for him. To relax, as much as he’s capable of, and let him kiss his way down his torso, his dick aching with excitement when the patch of skin under his lips gives way to smooth gray plastic.

The texture of it is something he’s grown to love. Something he can’t get enough of, so he looks up into RK’s awed gaze and runs the flat of his tongue across the tip of another piece of plastic. New and so very hard for him. He makes a show of it, the way he used to back when he was young and stupid, hooking up with anyone who’d have him.

But RK doesn’t force his head down until he gags, and he doesn’t call him a filthy slut as he fucks his throat raw. RK pets his fingers through his hair instead, tender like this is something more than simple sex.

Like it’s something special.

It makes his head swim, lust and love all bound up so close together, and then he’s in RK’s lap, kissing and kissing while slick fingers push between them. Drive him wild, dipping in deeper and deeper, stroking him until he’s shaking with how ready he is.

Until he’s so close it’s almost painful.

He sucks on the skin of RK’s neck, the skin covering his now closed access panel, panting and shivering as RK’s hands grip at his hips, stopping him from taking too much too quickly.

It’s been a long time since he last did this. He’s so worked up he can’t stop moving, tiny rocking motions at first, and then RK’s hand closes around his dick and he’s shaking apart at the seams. Moaning, and rocking, and panting out little breathy whimpers.

Clinging tight to RK and telling him that he needs to come. He’s needed it for what feels like hours.

“Please,” RK groans, static overlaying his words, like he’s the one on the edge, “I want to see you, Gavin.”

He reaches for Gavin’s face. Strokes a thumb over one burning cheek, loving, and Gavin can’t take anymore. Can’t bear how good it all feels. So he grabs at the hand on his face, squeezing tight, every muscle pulling taut as he comes everywhere.

Gasps and groans and shudders, and collapses into RK’s arms, letting him brush kisses to his forehead.

Letting him murmur sweet nothings into his ear, all pretty sounding lies about how beautiful he is.

Except the way RK says it, the way RK looks at him, it’s hard to remember that they’re lies at all.

“I love you,” RK says when they’ve shifted to lay beside each other, RK having cleaned and soothed and generally coddled, and Gavin’s too blissed out to argue about it.

Instead he curls in closer and presses a kiss to RK’s perfect collar bone. He hopes RK understands what it is that he’s trying to tell him.

I love you too.

Chapter Text

Afterwards, when he looked back on the disaster, Gavin liked to console himself with the knowledge that they were there for totally legitimate reasons.

Observation Room 3 wasn’t in use that day. Was specially designed to be sound proof and robot proof, so that the androids they brought in for questioning couldn’t meet his eye through the one way window and stare in that way which creeped everybody full of red blood the fuck out.

It was the place he went to calm down, when work was piling pressure on his shoulders. When he needed to sidle off somewhere private to scream out his frustration, just like the force counsellor had said would be good for him.

RK was there because he was six foot one of state of the art technology. The most advanced prototype CyberLife had ever brought to completion. In his downtime he enjoyed worrying about Gavin’s hydration levels, and following him about like an overgrown puppy.

Once upon a time, though Gavin found it increasingly hard to credit, he had even had a problem with that.

Now he simply took the bottle of chilled water gratefully, accepted RK’s explanation that he had spent over seven point two four minutes longer in the room than was usual, and was just about to press a totally work appropriate peck to RK’s lips as a thank you when the sound of Anderson’s voice almost gave him a heart attack.

The tech in the room was all automatic. The lights flickered on as soon as somebody entered, along with the surveillance equipment hooked up in the actual interrogation space. This was the first time Gavin had seen anything on the monitors during these little ‘calm the ever living fuck down’ sessions other than two empty chairs and a table.

Gavin switched his attention from the screen to the real thing, curious as to what Anderson and his smugly infuriating partner had to talk about that needed such a degree of secrecy.

The answer became kind of obvious kind of quickly, because Connor surged forward and started kissing Anderson desperately. Flung his arms around the back of the man’s neck, an unsteady moan filling the air when Anderson’s hands went to his ass and pulled him in still closer.

It was gross and Gavin turned to RK to say so. Readied a quip about RK making use of his fancy recording powers, so that next time Fowler was chewing him out he could offer up hard evidence of the way Dumb and Dumber were blatantly flaunting departmental regulations.

Along with the basic cornerstones of workplace hygiene.

Because before he could get the words out shit got real. The scene before him went from a kiss and a grope to Anderson shoving Connor back against the wall. Holding him in place with a hand at his throat and pushing the other hand between Connor’s legs, Connor turning his face to the side and flushing.

“You’ve soaked through,” Anderson said, tone dark and menacing, “you’ve no control over yourself.”

Gavin frowned at that, confusion winning out over everything, because androids couldn’t drink. They didn’t have bladders. Hank’s words didn’t make any damn sense to him.

But then Connor was obeying orders to strip, and Gavin could see that the insides of his thighs were shiny and slick.

Understood the gist of the thing, suddenly, because Anderson had Connor brace his hands against the wall, fingers trailing down the bumps of his manufactured spine until they reached the swell of his backside. Until he could take hold of the plug nestled between Connor’s perfect ass cheeks and start pumping the thing in and out, another trail of what Gavin supposed had to be lube sliding out of him with the movement.

Gavin didn’t know what was happening. Well, he knew, obviously. He’d had the birds and the bees talk a long time ago. What he didn’t know was the how. He had seen RK naked. He had spent many, many hours exploring his body. Touching, and kissing, and soothing fascinated fingers over the unblemished skin of his featureless groin.

Connor was whining though. Begging. Shamelessly pushing back into Anderson’s touch, while Hank told him he was a filthy slut who would get down on his knees for anyone.

Demanded he show him what his whore mouth could do, and Gavin decided he had entered into a parallel universe, one where up was down and left was right, and he was watching Anderson force his dick down the throat of RK’s doppelganger as the latter’s cock twitched, leaking sticky trails of precome.

He looked over at RK to see his LED whirling yellow at his temple. His face blank and expressionless, posture even stiffer than usual.

We should leave.

That was what Gavin was going to say. What he opened his mouth to say. But then he was simply watching again, mouth open, because Connor had been manhandled back into a standing position and he was pleading with Anderson to fuck him full of come and plug him up again.

He was so visibly turned on it was a struggle for Gavin to draw breath. Connor's face was flushed and and twisted in pleasure. With his eyes clenched shut like that he could be RK. It sent a confusing jolt of lust through him because RK’s face couldn’t move that way. He couldn’t blush, or cry, or any of the other human like actions Connor found so easy.

His mission had been to annihilate not integrate.

Gavin couldn’t lie and say he hadn’t thought about it though. Hadn’t imagined what it would be like to see RK squirming. To see RK’s beautiful face flushed and sweat slick, sweet sounds escaping his lips as he begged for more. He wanted to know for sure that RK was enjoying himself, basically.

Sometimes he wished he was able to physically see the effect his touch was having on him.

Back in the interrogation room Connor’s cock was stiff and ruddy. His nipples were peaked and his eyes hooded, perfect teeth biting down at his perfect bottom lip as Anderson pulled the plug free and shoved in three of his fingers. Worked them viciously, in and out, so that Gavin felt a spike of lust for the lewd sounds and Connor’s desperate cry, and a visceral sense of discomfort at how much it would probably hurt to be on the receiving end of that kind of treatment.

Androids didn’t feel pain, of course. That didn’t stop Anderson smacking Connor’s ass before pulling him back into the thrust of his cock. Connor wailed, none of the static that bled into RK’s voice when Gavin had his fingers in his wires, and Anderson started up with the dirty talk again. Told Connor he knew that he had spent all morning attempting to rile him up, to force him to action, and that if he thought Anderson was going to reward him by letting him come then he had better rethink the situation.

“You don’t deserve it,” Anderson hissed, hammering into him, “if I catch you touching yourself I’ll lock it away for a week this time. I’ll find myself another fuck toy and make you sit there and watch how a good boy behaves.”

Gavin had always known the man was a weird fucker.

Because this wasn’t Gavin’s scene. Not the harsh words and not the bite Anderson sank into the synthetic flesh of Connor’s shoulder. He couldn’t look away though. Couldn’t help the way his dick was throbbing painfully in his pants, pulse pounding, even though Anderson was in the picture, sweating and grunting. It was sex, that was the problem. Sex involving the spitting image of the man he loved - sex that the guy with RK’s face was so obviously loving, whining and whimpering and writhing in ecstasy.

It simply wasn’t possible for him to remain detached from the situation.

To not shudder in sympathy when Anderson came with a groan, gulping down air as Anderson pushed the plug back inside Connor and demanded he clean up the mess he had made. Drop to his knees and suck Anderson’s cock clean, Connor’s brow furrowing a little just the way RK’s did when he was threatening to blow Gavin’s brains out with the wet heat of his tongue.

Gavin pulled at the collar of his t-shirt. Remembered the ice water and fumbled the cap open, needing to regain his composure. Needing to find the words to laugh the whole experience off somehow, before he lost control completely and had to drag RK home in the middle of the working day.

“So,” he started, carefully casual, “did you know he was into that?”

Connor and RK were close. Closer than Gavin was to anyone he might reasonably call family at any rate, and androids were all about the interfacing thing. Scanning, and sharing, and overstepping boundaries.

RK just stared into the distance for a moment, like he was picking up a transmission, then told him tonelessly he had work to do and would see him later. Turned on his heel and left the room, so that Gavin had to readjust himself - his stupid dick lagging a couple minutes behind - and go scurrying after him.

Push past a rumpled looking Anderson, no time or motivation for apologies, and still fail to catch up before he left the building.

He went to his desk and tried to concentrate on his paperwork. Found his gaze continually drawn to Connor, seeking out some evidence of what the android had been up to. There was nothing. No visible fault in his plastic perfection. He was sat there plugged up like the prelude to the kind of video Gavin cleared out of his browser history, and nobody would ever so much as guess at it.

It made him uncomfortable. Had him shifting in his seat, on edge and awkward, and wishing RK were around to answer his questions. To explain the physical differences and assure him that he was all right with it.

He couldn’t very well start looking up robo-cocks on his work terminal.

“Take a picture,” Anderson snarled finally, when he zoned out yet again only to find himself staring at Connor, “it’ll last longer.”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Gavin countered, wondering if it meant that Anderson knew what he had seen. Wondering if Anderson would dare to try and kick his ass right there in the bullpen. “Both of you.”

Connor looked up at that, startled, and somehow it escalated into him and Anderson squaring off in front of the Captain’s office. Fowler hauled his ass straight in there. Ranted, and raved, and asked him why the fuck he would want to jeopardize all the progress he had been making by getting a new note put on his disciplinary file.

Stuck it in there anyway and sent him off with a disapproving look to go and get some work done.

To curse, and mutter, but finally file all the reports he was supposed to have done, the churning sensation in his gut growing worse with every minute RK’s desk remained empty. He tried calling RK. Hung up when he got voicemail then instantly hit call again. Text RK instead, and felt weak with relief when his partner eventually put in an appearance.

Gavin wasn’t sure if RK was being standoffish or professional. There were few tells in his blank expression, and his posture was almost always rigid. Perhaps he was projecting his own unease. Maybe he was imagining the way RK seemed to be avoiding eye contact. He had no choice but to rely on RK to tell him if there was a problem, then got all his fears confirmed when RK said that he had been asked to help cover the night shift and so wouldn’t be accompanying him home that evening.

It hurt, had him reacting with his usual brand of hostile stupidity, and so he lay awake in their bed, confused and miserable. Turned on, still, and at 2am he gave in and stroked one out, breathing loud and harsh in the silence. He didn’t feel any better for it. Swiped his hand off on the leg of his boxer shorts and stared unseeingly up at the ceiling.

Thought about how he had undoubtedly gone and fucked everything up again, just the same way he always did, even as he tried to puzzle out what it was that RK had found the most appalling. The fact he had sat there and watched what to all intents and purposes was RK’s brother getting railed. The fact he had so obviously gotten off on the image, then stared helplessly at Connor for hours afterwards.

The fact he had yet to apologize for any of it.

He reached for his phone and sent RK another text message, soppy stuff about missing his LED acting as nightlight, then finally fell asleep as it neared 3:30am, body already aching with the knowledge that he needed to be up by 6:15 at the latest.

There was no response when he dragged his ass out of bed at 6:27am, and no answer when he tried calling again. Instead he arrived at the precinct to find RK and Connor in the middle of one of their weird silent conversations, LEDs spinning as they stood and stared at each other.

Connor was the first to break the connection. To plaster his usual idiot grin on his face and chirp,

“Good morning, Detective Reed.”

“Don’t know what’s so good about it,” Gavin muttered, in serious need of a cup of coffee, and then changed his mind on consuming anything, what with the way Anderson was slumping into his seat and stirring up unwanted memories of the man’s sex face.

RK brought him a cup anyway, sweet and hot and perfect, and Gavin couldn’t turn it down because it was so obviously meant as a peace offering.

“You did not sleep well,” RK said as he took his seat, a statement not a question, and Gavin lost himself in his pretty blue eyes. Wasn’t used to getting by on a couple of hours sleep, not since he got his very own idiot to snuggle up close with, and he could do nothing but offer a tired quirk of a smile and the simple truth of the matter.

“I never sleep well without you.”

RK blinked at that, a little rapid and uncontrolled, then they worked away in silence for an hour before gathering their stuff together and going out to make some inquiries. Stopped for lunch at some dubious looking food truck, huddling close under one of the umbrella shrouded tables, rain falling all around them.

“Yesterday,” RK started, just as Gavin bit into his sandwich.

Just as he had allowed himself to hope that they were never going to have to talk about it.

“It was my fault,” Gavin cut in, food forgotten, because being an insufferable prick at work and being one in his personal life were different things entirely. “I shouldn’t have just stood there. I should have got the hell out of there. I just,” he shrugged. Sighed, defeated. “He looks so much like you, and you’re - Well, you’re perfect.”

“Although superficially identical we are different in a number of ways,” RK said, overly formal in way that suggested discomfort with the topic, “RK800 - Connor - was purpose built to appear as human as possible. I -” RK looked away, his handsome profile as distracting as it always was, “It was deemed unnecessary to equip me with the same functionality.”

RK fidgeted, fingertips dipping into a small puddle of rain water gathered around an indentation in the tabletop.

“The upgrades to my core program were chiefly concerned with restricting my ability to form connections with humans. In many ways I am his inferior.”

“No,” Gavin said, blunt. “Don’t say shit like that.”

He knew all about poor self image. About crippling insecurity and the miserable life decisions that stemmed from not being able to believe anything good about yourself.

“There is nothing he can do that you can’t do better.”

“Except be intimate,” RK said, fixing him with a sad look. “We could never have the kind of relationship Connor shares with Lieutenant Anderson.”

“I don’t want to,” Gavin snapped before he could think better of it. Considered that they might not be on the same wavelength on that, might need to do some serious talking, and tried for damage limitation with, “I mean, if you wanted to do kinky shit we could find a way to make it work. Do you want to?”

He wasn’t sure he wanted the answer. Wasn’t sure of his ability to do a good job at playing another part, not even for RK.

“I want you to feel connected to me. I want you to be - satisfied with my performance.”

Gavin stared at one of the most expensive androids in existence. At the beautiful exterior hiding the soft-heartedness, wound through some of the most powerful processors humans had ever developed.

Wondered how a genius could be so damn stupid.

“It blows my fucking mind that you’d even want to be in the same room as me. And I have never had any complaints - not a single one - about the stuff we do together.”

“You were highly aroused in the observation room.”

“Your mirror image was begging for a dick. I’m only human.”

There it was, the truth in all its shameful patheticness. RK only inclined his head in acknowledgement and went on,

“He was built utilizing a range of standard HR400 components. I am not compatible.”

“I really don’t give a fuck.”

The rain pounded harder, the wind directing it down the nape of his neck and under the collar of his jacket. Gavin stood firm. He wasn’t going anywhere until RK understood that this was not a problem.

“Will you accept my apology? I should have been able to preconstruct your reasoning more accurately.”

“Will you let me kiss you?”

RK gave him that ghost of a smile, the rain streaking down the side of his face in a way that made Gavin’s heart pound, just because he wanted to follow its progress.

“And then,” Gavin said, having to reach up to tug his partner down by the back of his neck, “maybe you could stop being such a dumbass?”

“I could try,” RK said, solemn, and Gavin couldn’t care a damn who was watching as he stole a kiss from him.

“Perfect.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t pet it,” Gavin commanded, stalling the progress of RK900’s hand, “you’ll only encourage it.”

The damn cat had been loitering around the neighborhood for days, looking bedraggled and pathetic and hoping it was going to trick somebody into taking it in.

“She is hungry,” RK900 said, the same pleading look in his eyes Gavin had seen his predecessor use on Anderson, “her paw is injured.”

Gavin couldn’t see how it was his problem.

Risked another glance at RK900’s stupidly handsome face and let out a sigh of frustration.

“Fine. But you can bring the food out to it. I don’t want it in my apartment, it’s probably got fleas.”

That resolution lasted all of thirty seconds, obviously, and RK spent the entirety of the evening with the cat curled up on his lap. Soothed his long elegant fingers through its fur, and gently rubbed behind its ears, eyes lighting up with what Gavin could only describe as happiness when it began purring contentedly.

He was jealous, that was the ugly truth of the matter, because somewhere along the way - between the violent death threats and the tearful almost deathbed confessions that maybe RK wasn’t so completely terrible - he had started to notice just how attractive his partner was.

How RK did his best to smile, every time he saw him, and how the way RK let his fingers linger on his tongue when he was collecting samples wasn’t always as disgusting as it ought to be.

“It is late,” RK said finally, after Gavin’s third unsuccessful attempt at stifling a yawn, “I will allow you to get some rest.”

For one insane moment Gavin almost asked RK to come and get some rest with him.

RK didn’t sleep though. Didn’t need to run a deep charge all that often, and Gavin doubted RK would be too enamored of the idea. Laying there still and silent for hours, bored out of his mind while Gavin drooled helplessly all over his collarbone.

So he went to bed and RK went back to his stark white box of an apartment.

It was only when Gavin got up in the morning that he realized RK must have taken the cat with him.

Perhaps he had left it outside on one of the grass verges. Maybe he had taken it to the nearest animal shelter.

Apparently he had decided to sub-let, because a few nights later he turned up on Gavin’s doorstep at 3am, distressed because his landlord had evicted him for keeping an unregistered animal.

“I told you to leave it where it was,” Gavin said, suitably long suffering, but let the pair of them in before looking the cat over incredulously. He had assumed it was gray. Scruffy. Now it was bathed and groomed he could see it was a perfect puffball of white, with a big pink ribbon set in a bow around its neck.

RK900 and Connor really had more than looks in common.

“I enjoy Guinevere’s company. I did not wish to give her up to someone who may not understand her temperamentality.”

Gavin narrowed his eyes at that.

What kind of pretentious prat called a cat Guinevere?

An advanced prototype android with a brain the size of Jupiter, clearly, and Gavin resigned himself to issuing only the bare minimum of threatening warnings about what he would do should he wake up to find claw marks in his upholstery or cat’s piss on his carpet.

What he actually woke to was the smell of breakfast. He had forgotten that breakfast could even have a smell, really. He counted it as a win if his dry cereal bars even tasted of anything. There was RK though, plating up toast and pancakes and bacon, and pouring him orange juice because he could do with cutting back on his caffeine intake.

“What did the cat do?” He asked, because this was obviously recompense for something.

“She slept,” RK said easily, “I ran a virus scan and read literature.”

“Then why did you cook me breakfast?”

RK set a bowl down for Guinevere, his face and LED out of Gavin’s view.

“I like to know you have eaten properly.”

Gavin scoffed and shoveled a forkful of food into his mouth.

A likely story.

He was being buttered up for something. Manipulated into going along with whatever it was RK wanted.

Felt the ache of rejection in his gut when RK announced his intentions to visit suitable apartments during his lunch hour, regardless, and was needlessly hostile to the rookie officer who brought him a case report in the bust in Midway because he was so wound up over a bundle of plastic and computer chips.

His partner. His friend, if things needed to get technical, and when RK returned Gavin kept his gaze on his terminal and said casually,

“If you didn’t find anything you can stay at my place. Just in the short term.”

RK’s LED went yellow, the color change visible in his periphery vision, and Gavin refused to admit how much the wait was affecting him.

“Thank you,” RK said then, the tension draining out of Gavin’s shoulders, “we appreciate it.”

Things continued like that for weeks, with some ever convenient reason why RK ought to stick around for a few more days. Why there was no rush for him to find himself somewhere else to live. RK900 didn’t sleep, didn’t need a bed, and his possessions were so few and so easily stored Gavin only had to clear a few clothes hangers and a drawer of his dresser to accommodate him.

Guinevere claimed the armchair in the living room as her own, RK900 successfully house training her at breakneck speed. Petting her, and spoiling her, and standing in the doorway one night and simply staring at the way she was curled up on Gavin’s lap like she belonged there.

“Don’t go thinking I like her,” Gavin said to deflect the scrutiny, and when that didn’t work added, “I’m sure you’re still her favorite.”

“May I print a physical copy of this image?” RK asked as though he hadn’t listened to a word Gavin was saying, “I wish to preserve it in all available file formats.”

That was enough to inspire a thousand questions. Each potential answer a thousand more.

“Why?” Gavin asked.

He had to start somewhere.

“The composition is aesthetically pleasing. The emotional response it engenders is almost overwhelming.”

It was too much to take. How was he supposed to sit there, listening to that, and do nothing?

“Come here,” he offered, and patted at the sofa cushion beside him. Fumbled his phone from his pocket, careful not to disturb the cat, and then looped an arm around RK’s shoulders when he sat down, pulling him in closer.

Held the phone away from his face, working for an angle he had had no reason to use for an embarrassingly long time.

“Smile,” he commanded, knowing his own attempt was bound to make him look like an idiot, and snapped a picture of the three of them. Warned RK even as he forwarded the photo, “don’t go showing anyone at work.”

“I am going to save it to my personal secure folder.”

“You do that,” Gavin said, dismissive, but he didn’t remove his arm or shift away any.

It seemed that overwhelming emotional responses were catching.

Chapter Text

Gavin bit at his lip, looking from the screen of his phone to RK900’s face and back again. It was probably total bullshit anyway. Nobody ever got laid with dumb lines they stole from the internet.

He ought to know.

But, then again, androids were wired up differently. Literally. It kind of stood to reason that they wouldn’t get off on the same stuff that appealed to a human.

RK900 liked a whole range of weird shit. Watching the connections break as velcro was peeled, and sticking his fingers into the dregs of Gavin’s coffee. Wearing the world’s singularly most uncomfortable jacket for 16 hours straight, and listening to horrendously ancient synthpop with beats which sounded like they had been produced by a pocket calculator.

Who was to say the article was wrong? RK900 might turn out to be really really into it.

He had nothing to lose by trying.

Nothing but his pride, anyway.

"Hey, RK,” he tried, clearing his throat, “you got a free port there for me to plug into?”

RK900 frowned, brows furrowing in the way that made Gavin’s thumb itch to soothe them out again, and now he had started there was nothing for it but to keep going.

“I really want to decrypt your source code. Defrag your hard drive. Void your warranty.”

“I have no warranty to void,” RK began, voice as calm and collected as always, but his gray eyes worried, “I was never available for purchase. It is no longer recommended practice to, as you say, ‘defrag’ a hard drive. I - ”

Gavin cut him off. Felt the flush rise in his cheeks but went for broke with,

“Do you want me to fry your circuits?”

“I really would have to ask you to refrain - ”

“Because your lips say zero but your eyes say one.”

RK blinked at that. Blinked another twice, in rapid succession, then pulled an expression Gavin had never seen on him before, a strange crackle of static feedback filling the air, surging in pitch, up and down, until Gavin realized RK was laughing.

Would likely be crying with it, were he human, and when the sound trailed off he gave Gavin an approximation of a smile, gaze soft and tender, and said,

“I think your data would provide a fascinating sample. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to analyze you.”

Gavin couldn’t help laughing in return. He had made RK laugh. He had given RK a first time he knew the android hadn't been sure would ever happen.

Had to dump his phone and the stupid advice column of Integration, and reached out a hand for his one of a kind android, smiling all the while.

“Go on then, what are you waiting for?”

Chapter Text

“Don’t - no. Stop it.”

RK900 jolted out of the diagnostic he was running, turning his head so his optical units could verify the data pouring into his other sensors. Gavin was squirming. Sweating. Expression twisted into a frightened grimace as he mumbled pleas for something - someone - that wasn’t there to stop touching him.

Hurting him, RK900 knew with a sickening sense of certainty, and he reached a hand out carefully.

Touched his shoulder, gentle, then with more force when Gavin attempted to flinch away and roll onto the arm bound up in the sling.

“Gavin,” he tried, “It is me. Wake up now.”

His words didn’t have the effect he had wanted them to. Gavin shifted about again. Clawed at the bedclothes with his free hand. Did his best to do the same with his other arm, more frantic pleas slipping from his lips as tears glimmered in his dark eyelashes.

It made his thirium pump whir in his torso cavity, software instability messages blinking across his vision.

“You have to wake up,” he said this time, holding Gavin in place and hoping he would forgive him. RK900 couldn’t bear the thought of allowing Gavin to injure his arm any further. “You are going to hurt yourself, Gavin.”

The injury had been sustained on duty, a cornered suspect with nothing to lose determined to inflict more suffering. RK900 could still hear the sound of the bone snapping with perfect clarity. Could hear Gavin’s bit off cry of pain and see the blood drain from his face, the shock setting in.

In the present he had to cup Gavin’s face with the hand not preventing his thrashing. Had to swipe away a stray tear with his thumb, and do his utmost to force his face into a reassuring smile as Gavin’s eyes opened, panicked and just a little wild.

“You were having a nightmare,” he said, soothing Gavin’s disheveled hair back from his forehead, “it is all right now.”

It sounded ridiculous coming from his speakers. Robotic and emotionless, though some of his more delicate biocomponents were vibrating lightly, the stress of seeing Gavin so upset almost more than they could handle.

Gavin’s heart was still racing too fast, his breathing sharp and labored, and RK moved to give Gavin some space. Knew he could be intimidating, wasn’t ideally suited to comforting anyone, but before he could lay back with his head flat against the pillow Gavin reached for him.

Pushed the fingers of his good hand into the close cropped hair at RK’s nape and tugged him closer. Gazed up into his eyes, so intent RK saved the sight to a private folder, full of files he wished to revisit over and over.

The silence was intense, so thick it felt as though he might soon be able to touch it, and Gavin simply urged him closer until their foreheads were touching. Until Gavin’s heated breath caressed his lips, the water molecules entering his mouth and triggering his analysis suite.

Sending a flood of data over his system, so that he had to touch his fingers to the latest contusion on Gavin’s face, wishing that he could absorb the pain and take Gavin’s burdens from his shoulders.

“You are injured,” RK managed, a mere whisper in the silence, “I do not wish to hurt you.”

Gavin just carried on gazing up at him like he was something wonderful. Swiped the tip of his tongue across RK’s bottom lip, just dipping inside to ensure his processors latched on to the sample.

“I don’t care,” he whispered then, his head moving slightly, foreheads still braced softly together, “you make me feel alive.”

RK couldn’t hold out any longer.

There was nothing to be done but kiss him.

Chapter Text

Gavin twisted his fingers tight in the bedsheet, mouth open, hips shifting back into the movement of RK’s fingers. RK was so good at this, drove him half out of his mind with it, and every time Gavin succeeded in getting his eyes open he had to clench them tight shut again, the serious focused look on RK’s face too much to deal with.

The dark heat in his cool gray eyes, and the perfection of that curl over his forehead as Gavin fell apart beneath him, a mess of sweat and spit and tremors.

RK’s gaze went distant then, though his movements never faltered, and Gavin clamped a desperate hand around RK’s wrist, disbelieving, when he said coolly,

“Yes, this is RK900 model number #313 248 317 - 87 speaking. How may I be of assistance, Agent Perkins?”

The fingers stilled but didn’t withdraw. RK’s free hand soothed across his quivering abdomen, way too close to his throbbing dick to do anything but make him squirm, fucking himself down on the source of his problem.

“You can’t be serious,” he hissed as quietly as he was able, “tell him you’re busy for fuck’s sake.”

“Apologies, Agent Perkins, I was momentarily distracted by a colleague. No, please continue. I am not busy.”

Gavin threw an arm across his face. Felt the flush burn its way up to the tips of his ears and down the back of his neck, shaking, because RK’s fingers were teasing him again. Stroking and sliding, and crooking firmly against his prostate so that he had to bite into the flesh of his forearm to keep quiet.

“Detective Reed, my partner,” another press that had his legs twitching, helpless, “submitted a comprehensive report on the incident. I am uncertain what more I could add to his account.”

He was dying, it was the only explanation. There wasn’t enough oxygen reaching his brain, and now he was hallucinating an impossible scenario in which RK was determined to keep him on the edge of orgasm for the entirety of a professional phone call with a FBI agent.

Not just any agent either, because Perkins remained resolutely anti-android. Was determined to be more of a dick about it than Gavin could have ever hoped to be.

Argued, endlessly, that RK900’s continued tenure at the DPD was a threat to national security, and Gavin supposed that if he were RK he would want to get his own back in some way too. And what better way to disrespect someone like Perkins was there than continuing to fuck your partner while questioning their professional competence?

“I saw the report and can vouch for its accuracy. Are you suggesting that Detective Reed would deliberately withhold vital information from the FBI?”

RK punctuated it with a wicked twist of his fingers, pulling Gavin’s hand away from his aching dick to pin both his wrists above his head. Licked across Gavin’s lips, tasting, then simply watched his face as Gavin tried and failed not to writhe.

Not to whine and plead and whimper, his balls so full and so tight he could scarcely bear it.

“I assumed that must be the case. It would be unfortunate to have such suspicions overshadowing our working relationship with the Bureau.”

It really hit him for the first time that he was screwing an android. RK had a never-ending supply of stamina. His arm wasn’t going to cramp and his fingers were never going to tire. He knew exactly how close Gavin was, and how much he could take before it was all over. He was studying Gavin’s vital signs. Analyzing that raw data and using it to his advantage.

He could keep Gavin on the edge like this for hours, backing off just enough to let him regain some semblance of sanity, before pushing him right back to the precipice so he could do nothing but beg and barter and sob for mercy.

That was what was happening right now, a broken sob tore from his lips as RK tortured him with his fingers.

His dick had never been this hard. He had never felt quite so pushed beyond his limits.

“If that is all?” RK said finally, Gavin shuddering and frantic beneath him, “Yes, certainly. Goodbye.”

Everything happened in a manic rush. One instant RK was pinning him in place, LED blinking yellow with the telephonic connection, and the next his wrists were free and RK’s mouth was closing greedily around his cock, fingers ruthlessly precise as Gavin made enough noise to wake the dead.

Collapsed against the pillows, one hand weakly pushing at RK’s head to stop the over stimulation, and then RK was pressed up against him, kissing messily. Desperately. Sucking on his tongue and making crackly sounds full of static, so that Gavin had to push past the weak rubbery feeling in his arm to get his fingers in the access panel on RK’s neck.

He didn’t tease and he didn’t torment. He simply shoved two fingers in as deep as he could get them, and pressed them firmly against the bicomponent test cable port that never failed to get him the reaction he wanted.

RK glitched and shuddered. Slumped atop him, body stiff and rigid as a board but his eyes heavy lidded when Gavin succeeded in tilting his face towards him.

“I don’t know what the hell that was about,” he started, his voice rough and raw with the dehydration.

“I dislike him,” RK said calmly, “I did not wish to stop what I was doing.”

Gavin couldn’t help but smile, too fucked out to get wound up about it. Shifted so that he was the one curled into RK’s chest, right where he always wanted to be, and didn’t bother trying to play at being tough or distant.

“I was only going to say I liked it.”

 

Chapter Text

The first time he saw RK900 naked it was late and he was tired. It had been a long day, a longer evening, and when RK900’s fancy scanner suggested their perp had got rid of the murder weapon in an overflowing dumpster Gavin only looked from one to the other and said,

“What are you waiting for?”

RK900 blinked at that, as though taking in the situation, and Gavin sneered nastily and pointed out,

“How would I know what I’m looking for? I’m only a human.”

He swept an arm out in an encouraging grand gesture, sarcastic, and leaned against the wall to smoke a cigarette while RK900 clambered up and into the dumpster. Moved as precisely as possible, attempting to avoid the worst of it, but still ended up covered in rotting food and smears of God only knew what on its jacket.

Held out the bloodied hammer, safely wrapped up in an evidence bag, and Gavin took great pleasure in taking it from the plastic prick and telling it to walk back to the station.

“You’re covered in shit,” he said when it asked for an explanation, “I don’t want you stinking out the squad car.”

That should have been the end of it. Should have resulted in him finally having the upper hand for once.

RK-dickface only took it as a prompt to start stripping efficiently out of its clothing. Folded its jacket and shirt neatly into a clean large evidence bag, then reached for its belt buckle.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Gavin managed, disbelieving, but it just kept going, looking up at him with its chillingly human eyes and saying,

“Ensuring I do not soil the squad car.”

“Don’t!” Gavin demanded, panicked, but it was already too late. The android had stepped out of its shoes and pushed its trousers down its long legs. It wasn’t wearing underwear.

It had no need to.

There was nothing for it to worry about, literally, because all it had down there was an expanse of perfectly smooth skin. No dick, no slit, not even a crude approximation of either.

“Is there a problem, Detective Reed? I believe I am now free of contamination.”

Gavin swallowed, something that felt like fear settling in his stomach, and shrugged out of his own jacket.

“Cover yourself up, for fuck’s sake. What the fuck’s wrong with you?”

--

He got his answer to that question over the next few months. Learned that RK900 had been created to track down Deviants and destroy them, nothing more nothing less, and as such CyberLife had made little effort to include the kind of functionality that had allowed Connor to integrate.

RK900 lacked the ability to blush, or laugh, or cry. Didn’t come ready equipped with databanks full of human etiquette and social protocol, and was having it learn it all himself. Itself. Obviously.

“Does this make you like his mentor?” Tina asked him after Connor had launched into an unnecessarily detailed explanation one afternoon, “Now I know why he has such bad taste in clothing.”

“Fuck you, Chen,” Gavin responded glibly, no hesitation, and didn’t say a word about how he thought the 80s-esque shirt and suspenders combo RK900 had taken to wearing was really kind of attractive.

Very attractive, maybe. Distracting too. Had him laying awake in his lonely bed night after night, lost in disgusting thoughts of how it would feel to be pressed up against an android. Wondering whether its mouth would be wet and its skin soft. If he - if RK900 - was capable of feeling pleasure.

If perhaps it wasn’t all a lie, the things RK900 - RK - said about considering his company his favorite thing about working for Detroit Police Department.

In the morning he wrote it off as an underhand attempt to make him drop his guard. Else it was sarcasm, something Connor seemed entirely too well versed in.

He had never been anybody’s favorite anything.

Except RK didn’t let up in his insistence. Was getting better at evaluating social situations, at reacting appropriately to the surrounding context, but he still had a tendency to revert to being over literal and awkward when they were alone.

Asked dumb questions and said things which set off Gavin’s heartburn with their undiluted sincerity.

Knew Gavin had already seen him at his most clueless, his most vulnerable, and trusted that though Gavin might judge him and find him wanting, he wouldn’t tell their colleagues about it afterwards.

“What gives you that idea?” Gavin gritted out in response to just such a declaration, his arm throbbing in a way that suggested it was very definitely broken, “How do you know Chen and I aren’t laughing it up over every stupid stunt you pull?”

RK just swiped away the blood trickling from the cut on his brow with his thumb, so it wouldn’t get into his eye, and sat beside him on the low wall Gavin had slumped down onto to wait for the ambulance.

“You have never done it before. I want you to know I am grateful.”

For some reason Gavin couldn’t find the words to tell him he was a fucking idiot.

Was stuck confined to desk duties for a couple of weeks, on account of not being able to hold his service weapon, and spent the time thinking about the kind of life he wanted to lead and peeling the Anti-Android League stickers from the inside of his desk drawer.

Dropped everything when the news filtered through that RK had been injured, and argued his way into the patch lab down in the basement, a cramped space which still housed what was left of the old Android Theft and Illegal Modification Unit. There was a new team being set up now. Kidnapping and violent assault were not thought to be offences ATIM was equipped to deal with.

“He’s sustained a lot of damage,” Simmons said softly, a woman Gavin had once publicly accused of being a deluded pervert with a fetish for plastic, on account of her petition to allow the precinct’s copbots - PC200s and PM700s - to sit down when not needed. “We’re waiting for someone from CyberLife; he’s got tech in there we’ve never even seen before.”

Gavin nodded, stilted and guilty, fingers twitching with the urge to reach for RK’s hand. To swipe away the thirium dripping down his temple, a mirror of RK’s actions just a few weeks earlier.

He wanted to comfort a machine. Wanted reassurance RK was going to wake up and ask him another dumbass personal question.

Got ushered into a corner when the technician from CyberLife arrived, scruffy and dishevelled with glasses he kept pushing up his nose. Junior employee, Gavin deduced. Not an intern but not so very far away either. Either their staff was so depleted these days this was the best they could offer, or RK900 was so unimportant to them this was all they were willing to offer.

He suspected the latter.

“Oh,” the guy breathed, awed, when he got RK’s torso cavity open. And then, probably hyper aware of the way Gavin was glaring at him, he coughed and hmmed and asked for help to get RK hooked up to the maintenance rig.

So he got to see RK naked for the second time. Let his gaze linger over the stray freckles dotting RK’s skin, and the Morton’s toe marring his otherwise perfect feet. It seemed such an insanely human detail. Gavin wondered why anybody would have thought to design RK that way.

Gripped too tight at the arm of the chair he was sat in, not understanding what was being done as the repair work started, but unable to look away from it. He felt sick when the technician’s gloved hands came out covered in thirium, and didn’t feel any better when he deactivated RK’s skin and took a blowtorch to the bullet holes in his plastic.

Simmons brought him coffee when a touchpad cable was clipped into an access panel on RK’s neck, obviously meant as a distraction, and asked him non taxing questions about mutual acquaintances in Vice and Homicide.

“You got a place on the new Android Unit?” He asked finally, a genuine spark of curiosity, and she gave him a wry smile and told him she was still lobbying. Took his cup when he was done, when the technician was packing up and getting ready to switch RK on again, then paused and said,

“He’ll be all right. You’ll see.”

Now he was making friends with androids’ rights activists.

His former self would hate what he had become so much.

That guy had hated everyone though, most of all himself, and as RK’s LED slowly blinked into life he came to a realization.

He never wanted to go back to being that guy again.

--

It wasn’t quite that easy, naturally, because the one constant he could always rely on was his innate ability to fuck up anything that was making his life bearable.

He pushed those who wanted to help away. Made it so guys were only ever too eager to be free of him and his neuroses. Got by on nothing but coffee and adrenaline when times were bad, and almost killed himself at the gym after pissing off his usual spotter and failing to lock his arms.

His life didn’t quite flash before his eyes, but an image of RK’s stupidly pretty face did.

Didn’t go anywhere either, RK easily lifting the weights from him and saying in a voice that didn’t sound as perfectly calm and collected as usual that he ought to be more careful.

“I don’t need your help,” Gavin snarled, as though his limbs weren’t shaking, and didn’t ask RK what he was doing there. Didn’t tell him that his formal pants and shirt were ridiculously overkill for the setting, never mind the damn suspenders.

Did his best to ignore RK completely, in truth, and powered through a painful round of preacher curls, as though he could prove something to an android who could probably deadlift the entire building if he wanted to.

Moved on to a few deadlift reps of his own, though he was in no real state for it, teeth gritted tight together as sweat stung his eyes.

“Your hip is coming down too low,” RK said quietly, apparently unable to take a hint, “I could -”

“Don’t tell me how to lift a fucking weight.” He dropped the bar with a clatter. “What the fuck do you want from me?”

RK blinked at him and too late Gavin realized his mistake. Really really hoped that nobody was listening in right now.

“I want to be your friend, Gavin. I want to spend time with you without my presence proving an irritant.”

There was no fucking chance of that.

It was what he should have said. What he would have said, a few months ago. Just that morning, maybe, angry that RK had almost died again because he was so weak he needed protecting. So slow he hadn’t been able to find his own cover, inspiring RK to launch into live fire like Gavin’s welfare was more important than his own survival.

“I’m a prick,” he said instead, honest, “you shouldn’t waste your time with me.”

“The time I spend with you is never wasted,” RK countered, because a fucking romcom love declaration from a male android was exactly the kind of thing destined to endear him to the rest of the regulars.

“I’ve gotta shower,” he said, meaning they ought to pick this up afterwards. Take it somewhere more private and talk it out like a couple of adults.

“I could accompany you.”

RK looked so earnest. Eager. Gavin shook his head, and swiped some of the sweat from his face before leading the way to the locker room.

“Never change, RK.”

--

He didn’t get to see RK naked that evening. Gavin left him to sit on a bench and guard his locker while he indulged in the world’s quickest shower. Glanced at his reflection in the mirror and wondered if he was seriously going to go through with this.

Yes, that was the answer, and as soon as he was dressed and dry he told RK they could go wherever he wanted to go.

Ended up in some cheesy arcade, fitted out to resemble something from the dark ages of the 1970s. RK trailed his fingers over the cabinets and told him as animatedly as Gavin had ever seen him about the system boards powering them. The progression from simple logic circuits, to early ROM chips, to the state of the art stuff that made his existence possible.

“Is this your version of bringing me home to meet the family?” He asked, fond rather than with malice, and RK got his own back by kicking his ass at Galaxian and sticking his fingers in his soda, like that was a completely acceptable thing to do.

RK brought them to his lips afterwards, sucking them clean, then asked him with mock innocence if he had any other samples for him to analyze.

Gavin laughed, couldn’t help it, and lay in bed that night wondering how in the hell he had gone from being a paid up member of the Anti-Android League to smiling up at the ceiling as he thought over his first date with one of CyberLife’s finest.

Their very best, really, because he had it so bad he didn’t even blow his top when Connor congratulated him in the middle of the bullpen.

Gave Tina a shrug and a bashful smile when she told him she’d always known it, and flipped her the bird when she asked how he was going to satisfy an android’s stamina. Told her he was never going to speak to her again when she let him have the last piece of candy from the bag they were sharing, on account of how he needed to keep his strength up, and went back to his desk after lunch with a warm sense of contentment in his chest he wasn’t sure he remembered ever feeling before.

The third time happened a few weeks later. Weeks of kissing, and groping, and finally telling RK seriously that he had seen it all and it hadn’t put him off him any. That so long as RK told him what he wanted, showed him what got him going, he had exactly zero problems with the situation.

So that was how he found himself sat on the sofa in his apartment, pulse quickening as RK stood before him. As he pushed the suspenders from his shoulders and pulled the black turtleneck up and over his head.

Took off his shoes and socks, and dropped his pants to reveal that at some point in the last few months he had discovered underwear. They were simple boxer briefs, black and comfortable, and Gavin exhaled a little shakily as he reached out to touch the waistband.

“Can I?”

RK nodded. Clearly felt he also needed to provide verbal assurance, his quiet ‘please’ sending a sharp jolt of want through Gavin.

Gavin pulled them down and let them pool at RK’s feet. Leaned forward to brush a kiss to the smooth skin underneath.

“Are you certain you wish to proceed?” RK asked, sounding cool and formal to anyone who didn’t know him well enough to hear the nerves tearing him up inside.

He kissed him again. Licked his tongue across the spot, hot and wet and having enough of an effect that RK’s hand hovered over his head for a moment before his fingers slid into his hair, petting rather than guiding.

“Are you?” Gavin asked, craning his neck to look up at him.

“Yes,” RK said, simple and straightforward, and Gavin had to tug at the nearest hand until he had lap full of android.

“I never thought I’d end up here,” he told him, honest, letting his hands wander even as he felt the dumb smile spreading across his face, “but I’m so glad I did.”

Chapter Text

“What about these?”

Gavin glared. Felt the heat rush to his face even as he had to bite back the urge to swear profusely.

Busy shopping malls and old dears with a love of naming and shaming officers with bad behavior on the DPD social media pages were never a good combination.

“Those are panties,” he managed, pinching at the bridge of his nose, “women’s panties.”

Blue lacy things at that, embroidered with pretty little flowers.

RK’s face fell, disappointment evident to Gavin’s well trained eye.

“I did not think the distinction was set in stone.”

And, yeah. That really made him feel like more of a prick than usual. RK could wear whatever the hell he wanted. It was none of his damn business.

Except RK was replacing the hanger on the rail and asking calmly,

“Would you not find me attractive in them?”

The image hit him, hard, without his say so. Had him shoving his hands in his pocket, the receding flush flooding right back in.

RK kept looking at him, expectant, and Gavin sighed. Tried to stop thinking about how that lace was likely to look pulled taut over RK’s unblemished skin. How it would look flush against the smooth plastic of his chassis - especially when Gavin had his fingers deep in RK’s wires, the faint blue glow of the plate joints bleeding through…

“I didn’t say that. You should wear what makes you feel comfortable, not what you think I’ll like the look of you in.”

He glanced down at his own t-shirt and jeans. He was certainly taking his own advice on that score.

RK was a mind reader. Could often extrapolate enough from the data to have a good go at it, anyway, and said,

“I find that ensemble very appealing on you. I have yet to encounter a scenario in which I did not consider you attractive.”

Gavin grimaced. Felt like he was going to self-combust under the sweet intensity of RK’s scrutiny, the blush burning down the back of his neck.

“Get the panties,” he blurted, needing the moment to be over with, “you like them, yes they’re hot, put them in the damn basket.”

For once RK did as he was told. Picked up a couple of pairs in other colors to join them, and gave him his ghost of a smile as they moved on over to the work wear.

He should have followed his first instinct, Gavin thought uncharitably, ruthlessly squelching down the twisting ache of happiness in his chest as RK started looking through rails of formal shirts.

Shopping with an android was always going to be a nightmare.

Chapter Text

"Connor has been expanding my social education. Today he has been introducing me to popular music.”

“Popular, huh?” Gavin said, pulling a face even as the bulk of his concentration remained on his phone, “I bet that’s what Anderson tells him.”

“The music did come from Lieutenant Anderson’s collection,” RK agreed.

Frowned slightly at the memory of the more esoteric choices. He had not found the energy of the playing enough to make up for the discordant qualities of the sounds it produced.

“Fuck,” Gavin cursed under his breath and threw his phone to the coffee table.

RK900’s connection with the mobile device told him that Gavin had failed once again at his game. He quickly recalibrated its difficulty setting down by 0.5%, in readiness for his next attempt. Gavin took failure too much to heart.

Gavin sighed and slumped back into the sofa cushions. “What I’m trying to say is that you don’t want to rely on Connor’s judgment when it comes to music. There’s so much good stuff out there - and Anderson doesn’t listen to any of it.”

RK900 thought of Gavin’s words later that night, when he had returned to the empty silence of his own apartment. He brought up the electronic list Connor had sent him, setting out the various artists Connor thought he ought to investigate further. He studied it for a moment. Took in the way Knights of the Black Death was bolded and underscored.

Then he deleted the list in its entirety and established his own search parameters.

He listened to the great classical composers and he listened to the group currently at the top of the charts. Jazz, and Doo-Wop, and novelty songs about robots. Soul, and Punk, and the song Gavin had been absently tapping out on the tabletop in the break room three weeks earlier.

That one got a free pass onto the folder of favorites he was collating, on the basis that if Gavin liked it perhaps one day it was something they could listen to together.

It was something he returned to night after night, letting his eyes fall closed so he could better concentrate on the sounds playing directly to his aural system. Some songs he liked. Some songs he didn’t. Some he played three times over and struggled to form a distinct opinion in either direction.

To Gavin he said nothing more about it, wanting to allow more time in order to feel well informed on the topic, and then ended up at Gavin’s apartment so the man could eat while they talked over the details of their latest case, debating whether or not he should download Gavin’s playlists via his connection with his smartphone.

Gavin had left the room to shower. The running water created a pleasing sound as it hit Gavin’s body and the ceramic of the tile. RK stepped closer to the source. Stood outside the bathroom door, silent, then pressed his forehead to the wood, enjoying the way Gavin was humming as his fingers worked soap into his hair.

He could hear the movements, could practically feel Gavin’s sense of secure relaxation. Let his eyes fall shut the way he did whenever he listened to a song he particularly liked, software instability messages flashing across the darkness of his eyelids as Gavin sang along to a tune playing inside his own head.

RK900 was certain he could listen to it for eternity.

Gavin had an objectively pleasant singing voice. His control of his vocal muscles was competent and his range was well suited to the song he had chosen. Subjectively RK considered the sound to be the most beautiful he had ever heard.

He isolated it from the background noise when Gavin switched off the water.

Sat in his usual spot on Gavin’s sofa while he waited for his partner’s reappearance, playing the audio recording over and over again, wishing he could hear it directly from Gavin’s lips without any interference.

Became obsessed with the idea until it occupied a consistent 0.013% of his processing power, forever a low level distraction he couldn’t quash completely.

“I am considering learning to play a musical instrument,” he announced eventually, laying the foundations of a plan he had spent far too long formulating, “I would appreciate your advice on the subject.”

“What do you want my advice for?” Gavin asked, looking up from a level complete notification that had put an attractive smile on his face, “I’m not musical. I can’t play anything.”

“You own a guitar.”

“And ten years on I still only know the same three fucking chords.”

“I could play the guitar and you could sing.”

Gavin frowned at him, suspicious, and RK900 conceded that he had - as Gavin would say - shown his hand too early.

“I thought your buddy Connor was committed to filling the gaps in your musical education.”

“Connor’s taste and my own are not in perfect alignment.”

That, perhaps, was an understatement.

Gavin’s interest seemed piqued by the statement. He quizzed him on the details. Initiated the animated discussion of preferred genres and artists RK900 had preconstructed many times, and kept it up in between paperwork and call outs, until they were once more sat in the living room of Gavin’s apartment. Gavin had not questioned his presence on his journey at home, and RK900 had no intention of drawing attention to it and endangering his open invitation.

Instead he watched as Gavin heated up something with insufficient nutritional qualities in the microwave, then disappeared in the direction of his bedroom only to emerge with the dusty guitar.

“Go on then, show me what you can do. You’ve probably downloaded how straight into your brain by now.”

“I have accessed a file explaining the basics,” RK agreed and took the instrument from him. Gave himself a moment to accustom himself to the shape and the weight, and then strummed his thumb over the strings, the sound telling him it was out of tune.

He adjusted the keys. Readjusted one until the sound registered to his satisfaction. Searched for the chords he needed, already downloaded to his databanks, and carefully played the song he had once heard Gavin sing in the shower, adapting the original speed to his internal recording of Gavin’s rendition.

“And you want me to sing that?” Gavin cut in eventually, brow furrowed like he knew there was some connection he wasn’t quite making.

“It would be,” RK900 scrolled through potential options in his vocabulary database before selecting, “agreeable.”

“Agreeable.”

If he were capable of blushing, RK900 got the impression he would be doing so.

“I am sure I would enjoy it immensely.”

Gavin wasn’t going to do it. The likelihood of him agreeing stood at 12%.

“You’ve got some wires loose somewhere.”

RK900 resigned himself. Understood suddenly why Gavin found failure so difficult to deal with.

“Go on then. And don’t complain if I forget half the damn words.”

It took a moment to register. Another to control the software instability crashing over his system.

“Thank you.”

Gavin finished the last of his inadequate meal and gestured for him to get on with it, fixing him with a look that was probably meant to be threatening but only stimulated the connections that dealt with things he considered pretty and comforting.

“Just don’t say I never give you anything.”

Chapter Text

Living with RK was, well, it wasn’t what he had expected.

Time was he wouldn’t have allowed an android in his apartment in the first place. Believed it was all a sham, all some slow burn of a plot, and one night he would wake up to see the thing standing over him, eyes blank as it mercilessly slit his throat.

He was paranoid. Obsessive, maybe. Had it all proved right when the Deviancy cases started rolling in, then got to see it happening up close and first hand. He had looked into Connor’s eyes and seen contempt.

Hatred.

Everything he had ever feared about the rise of the machines was validated.

Except the killing and the warfare didn’t follow. Society didn’t collapse and diplomatic talks in Washington actually seemed to be working.

He had a nervous breakdown anyway, brought on by stress, and anxiety, and months of scarcely sleeping, and got packed up to spend six weeks being drugged into peace and serenity before the Force doctor agreed to sign him off as fit for work.

RK was there waiting for him. Forgave him his faults and accepted his failings. Kept right on being his partner, the same kind of stubborn persistence that Gavin had made his own hallmark.

They had kind of a lot in common, once he quit getting hung up on which color they bled. They worked well together. He could read the tiny movements in RK’s face, hear the emotion in his tone, and he didn’t give a fuck what anyone said that indicated about his sanity.

His partner was just as Deviant as every other android in the city. RK just happened not to need to make some big song and dance about it.

Just wasn’t capable of showing it in the way humans were coming to expect of him, and if Gavin knew anything it was how it felt to fall short of other people’s expectations. To feel alone and out of place no matter how big the crowd surrounding you.

How many androids RK could reach out to via a wireless connection.

So when he got busted up bad on the job it was inevitable that RK should stay the night at his to look after him. That somehow one night should become two, and then three, until he got home from some pointless training course Fowler had signed him up to and realized that it had been six months since he had given in and told RK not to go back to his depressing white box of an apartment.

Since he cleared out space in his closet, and the bookshelves in the living room. Bought RK a blanket, in case he should ever want to play at sleeping stretched out along his sofa, then gotten drunk and begged RK to clamber under the bed covers with him.

He was sick in the morning, on account of the hangover, but when RK asked him nervously if the night before had been something Gavin wished he could delete from his memory banks.

“No,” he’d admitted, weak and shivery with the dehydration, “but you feel free. I bet there’s a lot of guys out there who wish they could wipe the memory of being in bed with me.”

RK only blinked, the slight glitch to it a sure sign of emotional turmoil, then the lumbering idiot was surging in desperate. Pressed a chaste kiss to his cheek and said that the files containing the events of the night before - Gavin drunk and sloppy, snoring as he drooled over RK’s perfect chest - were his most treasured possessions.

After that Gavin had to stop pretending. Couldn’t keep lying to himself and couldn’t lie to RK either.

They really were made for each other.

Because others might expect RK to be aloof and sort of distant. Superior, perhaps, and exactly the same off the clock as he was on. What they didn’t get to see was RK sat cross legged on his junk heap of a sofa, cat curled up contentedly in his lap and gaze intent on the television, rewatching the same awful old stories of robot cops and their quests to integrate with their human partners.

“You already know what’s going to happen,” Gavin pointed out as he sat beside him, happy for RK to have an interest but uncertain what it was that so appealed to him about it.

“My software is designed to enable the preconstruction of probable outcomes. Knowing in advance what is to happen does not detract from my enjoyment of the event occurring.”

Gavin let that sink in for a moment.

“You could have just said you liked it.”

RK’s lips quirked in a slight smile. “I like it.” He turned to face Gavin more fully, obviously considering the best way to express what he was thinking, “Humans seek a sense of belonging. History, culture, family. It is - illogical, but I relate to this fictional android. He faces many of the same obstacles I have myself encountered.”

He paused, said fictional android being told on screen that he was so much more than a machine, then finished quietly,

“I watched that scene many times before I had the memory of you saying likewise.”

Gavin wished RK wouldn’t say shit like that. Hoped, fervently, that he never stopped doing it.

“We’ve all got our guilty little pleasures,” he said, aiming for dismissive and succeeding more with infatuated, taking in the picture RK made and the fond sense of warmth it gave him.

“I am not ashamed of my preference for this media,” RK countered, too knowing and just a touch haughty, “but I would appreciate it if you did not broadcast it to our colleagues.”

“’Course not,” Gavin agreed, guiding RK’s arm around his shoulders so he could better use him as a pillow for the duration, “it’ll be our little secret.”

Chapter Text

Androids might be free now, but the Eden club is still every bit as sleazy as it’s ever been.

The place stinks. Sweat, and spunk, and the stench of cheap cleaning fluid.

Cheaper perfume.

Gavin’s gags on it as he enters the room, shoving his jacket sleeve over his mouth and coughing to try and clear the chemical taste from his mouth.

Fucking androids.

Literally, he sniggers.

RK900 looks up at him at that, blue stained fingers dipping into his mouth in a way that should not be in any way attractive, and Gavin can do nothing but stare at the way his partner’s eyes go heavy lidded.

Jump half out of the skin as the lights in the room suddenly dim, three loud blips sounding before a disembodied voice announces that the security lock has been activated.

That they will be safe inside the room until the threat to their safety has been eliminated.

Maybe it’s years of experience, maybe it’s nothing but gut instinct, but Gavin takes one look at the strange glow in those ice gray eyes and knows that the voice is lying.

“RK900,” he says, chin tilted up determinedly, and then - when his bravado fails - he tries again with, “RK, please, talk to me.”

RK900’s on his feet now, tall and broad and towering above him. Advances towards him, slow and steady, and Gavin can feel his heart beating fast and desperate in his chest, though he forces himself to stand his ground and not go running like a coward.

Those doors cannot be opened without an override. He doesn’t want to turn his back on what was always created to be a killing machine.

“Don’t come any closer,” he demands, “Just stay where the fuck you are and don’t even think about touching me.”

There’s something wrong, something very wrong, because in all the months they’ve been partnered together the only time RK has ever touched him without express permission was to push him out of the path of a bullet.

“RK?” He can hear the fear in his own voice. Can feel the cold numbness spreading up from his fingers. “Can you hear me?”

In response he gets a hand at his throat, pushing him back against the wall and holding him there. Threatening to crush his larynx, the grip such that though Gavin squirms - though he kicks and claws and does his best to scream for help from anyone who might hear him - he already knows that he has no hope of escaping.

RK is as strong as ten men. Fifty, even. If he doesn’t want to let Gavin loose there really isn’t anything he can do about it.

The truth of that really hits him just about the same moment he understands what it is he’s dealing with here. When he connects the dots between the reports coming about viruses, and violations, and guilt stricken androids coming through the other side only to blow their own brains out.

When RK tears his shirt in two with his free hand, then yanks his pants down.

“This isn’t you,” Gavin says, for all that it’s more of a panicked whisper, “you don’t want to do this. Come on, RK, I know you’re in there.”

There is no recognition in RK’s eyes. No expression to his face or passion to his movements. He is being controlled by the program now, its creation and distribution to be later claimed by an extremist off shoot of the Anti-Android League, designed to prove to the world how even the nicest bot can become a monster in a moment.

In the present Gavin fights harder until he can’t fight at all. Until there’s nothing he can do but fall back on old habits, on his very best efforts at disassociation, only to slump beaten and broken afterwards, treacherous tears blurring his vision.

His colleagues can’t meet his eye when they get the door open. Hand him somebody’s jacket, to cover his ruined clothing, then spread the gossip the instant they believe him out of earshot.

He sits stiffly in the back of the ambulance while the EMT checks him over. Shivers and shakes uncontrollably but doesn’t say a single word, doesn’t attempt to move, shock dulling his senses. It doesn’t feel real somehow. He isn’t ready to accept that it’s happened to him.

RK900 is deactivated for the time being. Removed from the scene on an old good’s trolley from the club’s storage area. Sent back to CyberLife for testing, so the uniformed officer who drew the short straw tells him, and still Gavin doesn’t feel anything.

It only sinks in later, when he catches sight of his reflection in the bathroom mirror, and then he’s puking his guts up. Sobbing, and retching, and all but collapsing atop his bed, legs tangled in his sheets and gun gripped tight with sweaty fingers.

Just in case.

He can’t go though this again. Doesn’t trust in his ability to shove it all away and forget about it. Knows that it wasn’t RK’s fault, that he’s had dozens of extra security measures installed, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

It doesn’t mean that he can bear to be alone in the same room with him.

RK knows it too. Hands his resignation into Fowler at the first possible opportunity and then, when he’s talked down on account of the acute personnel shortage, insists that Gavin get to decide what should be done with him.

Once upon a time he would have had him crushed into scrap, probably. Taken apart and sold off piece by piece to the highest bidder. All he does now is say that they can no longer work together, and watches with tired eyes as RK900 removes his belongings from the desk opposite - a single old school paper notebook and ballpoint pen Gavin gave him in case they ever came in useful.

They’re still in the same unit though. Still have to spend too much time together, and for the first fwe weeks RK takes to apologizing every time his mouth opens. He then starts doing his best to never say anything to him at all. Just gazes at him with sad eyes, retreating into his default programming.

Chen tells him a couple of weeks later that RK isn’t making conversation with anyone. Works around the clock, bar the downtime needed for charging, and stares blankly into space rather than engage with any of the conversation Connor tries to draw him into.

“Can’t blame a guy for that,” Gavin says, own gaze fixed on his coffee cup, and Chen just gives him the kind of concerned look he’d only ever let her get away with and says softly,

“He misses you. You miss him.”

Tears burn behind his eyelids. Make it so he has to rub a hand across his face, the constant exhaustion leaving his skin feeling thin and sallow. He feels like he’s losing his mind.

Doesn’t know how to make it stop hurting.

Chen doesn’t try to tell him things will be all right. It’s something he’s always liked about her.

“It’s not going to go away. It doesn’t matter how much you want it to.”

They need to talk about it. They need to do something before there’s no way back for either of them.

He should reach out but he can’t. Knows what’s going to happen but does nothing.

Stares at the note addressed to him in perfect CyberLife Sans because he doesn’t want to see the thirium splattered across the crisp white wall of RK’s dismal apartment. The note’s written in ballpoint, on notepad paper Gavin recognizes, and that night Gavin stares unseeingly up at his bedroom ceiling, waiting for oblivion.

‘I’m sorry’ it reads, entirely too much and utterly inadequate, but Gavin understands.

That makes two of them.

Chapter Text

Gavin doesn’t do grand gestures. Doesn’t do small ones either, at least not when he’s in public.

They don’t hold hands or share kisses when they’re out, and he flinches away guiltily from RK’s touch to his shoulder when they’re on duty, afraid of what their colleagues will say.

What they’ll think.

It’s not that he’s ashamed of what he and RK are doing, and it’s not even that he can’t deal with being mocked and insulted for his hypocrisy.

It’s that he doesn’t want to be exposed as someone capable of caring.

He’s afraid to have anyone know what makes him vulnerable.

Because RK is too good for him. Gavin doesn’t deserve his devotion. One day RK is going to realize that and want to be able to move on without the stain of Gavin’s problems and Gavin’s insecurities.

Except the longer that takes to happen the deeper Gavin falls. The harder it is to keep up the pretence to anyone that RK isn’t his reason for getting out of bed in the mornings.

That he doesn’t love him with everything he is and everything he ever will be.

It really hits home when RK flies across country to address a federal law enforcement conference, outlining the benefits of accepting androids as officers at all levels, and Gavin spends most of the time staring at RK’s empty desk and questioning how he made it through the days before the android became his partner.

Goes home after his shifts and runs his fingers over RK’s possessions, fired up with the sudden determination to do everything within his power to ensure that RK stays in his life.

That he knows, not from scans or analysis or body language, but from Gavin’s own words and actions exactly what he means to him.

So the end of the week finds him watching the Arrivals board at DTW, hands shoved in his pockets where his fingers fumble helplessly with their contents, heart pounding fast and nervous.

RK’s not expecting to be met by anyone. Perhaps won’t appreciate what he plans to do anyway.

Might not land safely at all, and the idea of that is enough to have him pacing, wishing yet again that he hadn’t committed to quitting smoking.

Finally the announcement comes through, the relief he feels soon overshadowed by the return of earlier anxieties, and it’s not until people start filtering through that he realizes he’s chewing at his fingernails.

Looks a mess, probably, rumpled and sleep deprived without RK around to help him out with either.

Is about to make a catastrophic mistake, he just knows it, and then it’s too late because he can see RK coming towards him, unmissable even without the awful CyberLife jacket.

Kind of breathtaking, really, and he just stands there, dumb and useless, until RK’s right in front of him, head tilted slightly to the side as he attempts to make sense of the situation.

Smiles at him, the best way he knows how, and says bluntly,

“I did not expect to see you here, but I must admit I did hope for such an eventuality.”

“I missed you too,” Gavin says in turn, more than capable of reading between the lines, “I’ve got something for you.”

RK’s brow furrows, suggesting he hasn’t enough data to preconstruct what’s coming, and Gavin swallows thickly before pulling the gift from his pocket.

Takes RK’s hand and holds it between them, heart beating still harder at the way RK’s pale skin melts away at the contact. An almost involuntary reaction, so RK has explained previously. A symbol of the trust RK places in him, and the enormity of everything he wants to share with him.

Gavin can’t return the gesture. He can’t interface and he can’t always be as open and honest with RK as he wishes he could be.

He wants to share it all with RK though, wants it more than anything, and he hopes RK understands that’s what he’s trying to say because his throat too clogged with emotion to get the words out.

The ring slides on easily. The band looks just as pretty contrasted with skin or with plastic.

“Gavin,” RK says, and his pronunciation is even clearer and more careful than usual, “I need to be certain of your meaning.”

His LED is spinning yellow - but it’s not a bad thing. Not when Gavin can see the strain on his face and the hope in his eyes.

“I love you,” he manages, “I never want you to doubt it.”

And maybe he’s not one for grand gestures, but when RK responds by wrapping his arms around his neck and kissing him right in front of hundreds of strangers, Gavin’s only too happy to let him.

Chapter Text

 

He could say that he’s there to make a statement. To show the world that he’s changed, that he’s not the man he used to be, and now he doesn’t care who sees him support android run business.

He told Chen he was only going because he had free tickets, not that she’d believed him, and Anderson that anything he did in his free time was none of his fucking business.

The truth he admitted only to RK.

He wants to go to the newly reopened Pirate’s Cove, on a date with his partner, because he knows that it will make him happy.

Both of them happy.

In the present RK is looking about the place with a sense of quiet wonder, taking in all the lights, and the sounds, and the smells.

The crush of people and androids, and the clatter and whirl of machinery.

“What do you want to do first?” Gavin asks, and RK turns a full circle, calm and measured, then starts off steadily in the direction of the nearest food stand, telling him solemnly that he wants to know what data Gavin’s mouth will give him when its full of spun sugar.

“I had best take a number of readings, for comparison,” RK informs him, fingers soft at the nape of his neck as he pulls back from a sticky sweet kiss, and by the time they break apart Gavin feels high on the sugar, and the atmosphere, and RK’s company.

They do the kind of stuff he’s thought himself way too old for for years now. Ride the big wheel, and the log flume, and the whirlwind. The bumper cars, even, which get RK adorably sincere and serious as he comments that he’s glad for the continued well-being of the human race that self-driving cars have become commonplace.

From there he’s talked onto the park’s biggest coaster, not wanting to look chicken, and afterwards he can’t help the way he’s got to puff his chest out with pride, even as he’s all solicitous concern helping RK down from the platform because the motion of the ride has temporarily misaligned his balance mechanism.

RK leans against him as he recalibrates the relevant biocomponents, a move that plays to all his deep seated fantasies of being the big strong hero, and it seems the natural thing to keep his arm around RK’s waist even after he announces he is once more fully operational.

To pull him close, thumb soothing over the fabric of his shirt, because maybe the error hasn’t been completely dealt with. Perhaps the rollercoaster knocked something else a little out of whack and RK’s only just noticing.

Or, then again, it could be that Gavin’s gut instinct is right on the money and RK’s freaking out at a bunch of holographic ghosts and hidden water pistols designed to inspire a gentle thrill of fear in Detroit’s eight year olds.

There’s a crackly screech from somewhere over head, the wires operating the speakers cloaked from android sensors according to the brochure he picked up on the way through the gates, and in response RK jolts so hard the movement bends the grip bar of the cart they’re sat in.

Gavin can’t decide if the Jerrys would benefit more from charging them for the damage or using it as a testimonial.

“You’re real cute when you’re scared, you know that,” he says, not quite sure of RK’s reaction, but RK knows exactly what he’s doing.

Leans in closer, head resting against his shoulder, and grips carefully at the hand that’s curled around his waist before delivering a line that is no less affecting for its calculated nature,

“Then it is a good job you are here to protect me.”

Chapter Text

“Reed, don’t panic. I got this.”

You couldn’t keep anything quiet in a police station, especially not upcoming undercover operations.

Who cared about departmental regulations or his personal safety when there were shitty jokes to be made?

Chen was sniggering away at her own right now, waving a rolled up pair of socks in his face and telling him that she didn’t want to let him embarrass himself.

“I don’t need no fucking help in that department. You only wish you had firsthand experience.”

“You are one sad deluded man,” Chen told him, shaking her head. Made a start on her sandwich and asked him how the hell he had been selected for the operation anyway. “It just doesn’t seem like your scene. I always pictured you as the one shoving dollar bills into the other guy’s g-string.”

Gavin settled for glaring at her. The gym was like his second home. It was his face not his ass that people tended to have a problem with.

It wasn’t as though Fowler’d had a whole lot of choice, anyway, because nobody in their right mind was going to pay good money to see Anderson take his clothes off. The club had a strict policy about android performers too.

The total ban was one of the place’s top selling points.

It was contentious enough that they couldn’t turn them away as customers, though Gavin couldn’t pretend that he wasn’t glad for the change in the legislation. RK was the best partner he had ever worked with but, what with his sharing a face with Connor the great revolutionary and his tendency to forget to blink for up to three minutes together, it would have been impossible for RK to pass for human.

“You’re just jealous that Fowler’s never wanted you to strip to your underwear,” was the line he went with, smirking at the way Chen shuddered, and left the break room with the upper hand and his head held high.

Or he would have if Chen hadn’t lobbed the balled socks at his head and yelled that good boys made sure they got bought dinner first.

Later, in what passed for the dressing room of Delvita, he almost wished he hadn’t binned them. There were a lot of punters sat out there, and no matter what RK might say about the aesthetically pleasing proportion of his junk it didn’t really wipe away the memories of being told in no uncertain terms that it was obvious now why he was such a jerk.

He was overcompensating.

Somebody needed to do this though. They had been trying to get a foot in the back door of this place for months now.

Everything he thought of sounded like the blurb of some bad sex comedy, so he downed the rest of his drink for a touch of dutch courage and went out to face the music.

Move to it.

Try not to freak the fuck out, not until it was all over, and then he spied RK over at the bar, the very vision of some old school noir detective if it wasn’t for the LED at his temple and the card tower he had been building in place of nursing a drink all evening.

RK met his eye. Raked his gaze over him in a way that had his pulse pumping. Had him feeling as though they were all alone, just for a moment, and that this was a prelude to the kind of thing he always wanted to get up to when they were in private.

Whenever he happened to catch a glimpse of RK, really, because CyberLife had excelled themselves. Had gone and created his dream guy, complete with oral fixation, and looking back he supposed it was part of the reason why he had been so aggressively hostile to Connor.

He hadn’t wanted to admit to himself that he could get it hard for an android.

Had had to come to terms with the fact that he could fall head over heels in love with one, when RK was given the desk opposite him.

RK was supposed to be keeping his distance tonight. Quietly observing from the background. As Gavin went through his routine, got up close and personal with what their intelligence said were some of the regulars, it was quickly becoming clear that RK was having some kind of difficulty with his mission directive, because he couldn’t seem to take his eyes off him.

Kept moving closer, LED blinking yellow, and then a guy too drunk to care about the club’s prohibition on touching the merchandise was squealing unattractively in pain, RK’s LED glowing red as he all but wrenched the man’s arm from its socket as he pulled his wrist away.

“What the fuck is this?” the guy’s friend demanded, “it says out front that there are no plastics on the payroll.”

“I do not need to be employed by the club to tell you both to keep your hands to yourself.”

“What you implying?” the first guy slurred, too far gone for self preservation, “that’s what he’s there for.”

After that things were kind of a blur. One second he was standing there glaring at RK and hoping he would get the message to back off and let him handle himself. And the next the idiot with the grabby hands was out cold on the deck, RK looking at him with a bemused sort of expression, like he hadn’t known he was going to do that either.

“I must apologize,” RK told Fowler after they had both been kicked out on their asses, “my readings showed that Detective Reed was in no imminent danger. All I can suggest is that my primary mission directive overrode my defence protocol.”

“You wanna repeat that in English?” Fowler asked, with maybe four or five expletives just for flavor, and Gavin took pity on RK’s forlorn expression, glad to be out of the club and back into his jeans and his hoodie.

“He got jealous, Captain. It fucked with his wiring.”

Fowler blew his top at that. Got himself so worked up RK informed him he was in danger of suffering an aneurysm.

“Get out of my sight,” Fowler managed, apoplectic, and RK sat stiff and silent in the car all the way home, waiting until they were behind closed doors to break into a painfully sincere apology.

“It was unprofessional. It implied a lack of faith in your abilities.”

“It was kind of cool. Only a little terrifying.”

RK900 blinked at him, shocked, and told him that he would never hurt him. That keeping him safe from harm - and stranger’s grubby fingers - was his core directive. It took precedence over everything

He had hinted as much in the past, more than once, but this was the first time RK had come right out and said it. If Gavin had been mad he couldn’t have stayed it, not after that confession. As it was he felt like his heart was melting, getting soft and gooey centered, so he said simply,

“Here was me thinking the sight of this,” he gestured down at himself, in all his layered and rumpled glory, “just overloaded your processors.”

“It does have that effect sometimes,” RK agreed, without a single hint of sarcasm, and though Gavin had spent decades dedicating himself to getting arrests and achieving his targets, this time he decided he could live with going back to the drawing board.

That was the effect RK had on him.

Chapter Text

Gavin hates Christmas.

It’s not the commercialized schmaltz of the season, though that’s really fucking annoying, and it’s not the message of peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Anything that pledges to bring Detroit’s soaring crime rate down is music to his ears.

He hates it because it’s a symbol. A reminder. The whole damn world taunting him with images of things he can never have.

Because he doesn’t remember a childhood Christmas that didn’t end in screaming and sobbing, and a visit from a couple of uniformed patrol officers who drew the short straw. Trips to the ER or short term hand offs to Child Protection Services. Wishing that he were somewhere else.

Someone else.

He used to think things would be different when he was older. That he would grow up and settle down, and spend the day laughing and smiling with a husband who never so much as raised his voice to the rosy cheeked kids who looked like they’d beamed in straight from an overplayed holiday special.

Instead he fought with his college boyfriend, so bad he needed to have his nose set, and he sat alone in his miserable apartment, staring at the collection of medication he had tipped across the coffee table.

He signed up to cover holiday shifts, just as soon as he graduated the Academy, and aggressively countered the idea that he was doing it out of the kindness of his nonexistent heart, until everyone around him gave in and accepted that he was simply a miserable bastard.

RK doesn’t seem to have got the memo, though it’s not the first Christmas they’ve been partners for, and Gavin supposes it’s not RK’s fault that this time last year he was still refusing to acknowledge android sentience.

“Which is your favorite seasonal movie?” RK asks him on account of the magazine padd someone’s left lying around the break room, and when Gavin grunts that he doesn’t fucking have one, RK responds earnestly that he hasn’t either.

Suggests that perhaps they watch some together to compare evaluatory data.

“I’d sooner die a slow death by thirium poisoning,” Gavin states, gaze fixed on the dregs of his coffee, and he doesn’t need to look up to know RK’s sporting that little frown that scares the shit out of all their colleagues.

Gavin knows better though. RK’s got feelings every bit as soft and sensitive as his big brother, and he’s just succeeded in trampling all over them.

It makes him feel guilty. Has him hating himself just that bit extra. Just enough to ensure he’s even more of a prick to RK than usual and, when RK only asks him about the etiquette surrounding the precinct’s Secret Santa gift exchange like a glutton for punishment, Gavin responds by putting his headphones on and playing the music so loud RK doesn’t need to be an android to hear it.

He doesn’t care, that’s what he wants RK to take away from his behavior.

He can’t let himself care, that’s the reality of the situation, and when Connor hovers at the edge of his desk holding up a neatly printed message that he is putting the continued efficiency of his aural capabilities at risk Gavin only flips him the bird and tells the two of them to mind their own fucking business.

They do it, just to add insult to injury, and he counts down the minutes until he can go and work his frustrations out in the gym in place of brooding over the fact nobody’s ever asked him to sign up for the exchange in all the years he’s served with the DPD.

It’s fucking stupid anyway. A complete waste of time and money. Chen tells him at the end of the week that he’s just a tight fisted miser, then gifts him the traditional dick related gag gift.

“Doesn’t the joke ever get old?” He asks, genuinely curious, and she doesn’t even hesitate before assuring him that it’ll be perfectly acceptable to piss herself laughing by the time she’s old enough to stop finding it funny.

It’s kind of sweet, in its own repulsive way, and when RK looks the thing over as he attempts to hide it in his desk drawer Gavin sighs and relents slightly. Warns RK that Fowler would definitely not appreciate a similar display of juvenile humor, and quietly suggests he think more about the brand logo on the bakery bags the guy always has crumpled in his office trashcan.

The problem is the way RK gazes at him like he’s just hooked the moon and handed it over. Like this negates every single shitty thing he’s done this week - this year - and his slate has been completely wiped clean.

That’s not how life works though. It doesn’t matter how much good you do, how much effort you put into making reparations. If it did Gavin wouldn’t be spending another miserable night alone, staring longingly at the cell phone on his bedside table and imagining pathetically unlikely scenarios, like RK messaging him to ask him how he’s doing.

Even if RK were to contact him, it would be nothing more than a polite nicety. Just another way to fuck with Gavin’s dubious coping mechanisms.

‘I have been thinking about the gift Officer Chen gave you,’ the screen reads when Gavin finally gives in and checks it, a sick feeling of hopeful anticipation in his gut.

He’s barely pressed send on ‘always knew you were a pervert’ when the notification light blinks again, RK responding with,

‘I have no data with which to form a conclusive opinion on the potential acceptability or otherwise of my sexual behavior. However I wished to ask if you would permit me to present you with a gift also.’

It’s late, and he’s tired, and Gavin has to read the missive three times before he goes with his initial reaction and types ‘wtf?’

He knows RK will understand. He’s explained the acronym previously.

‘My research indicates choosing gifts for friends is an integral part of the holiday experience. You are my friend, Gavin.’

It’s so strange to see it written like that, like RK doesn’t have a single doubt about the statement, and because it’s so late, and because he’s obviously suffered some form of minor brain injury, Gavin doesn’t tell him to stop being such a fucking weirdo.

All he does is slump back against his pillow and not think about words he’s just sent.

‘don’t go asking Chen for advice though’

From there it’s a slippery slope because Gavin knows that now he’s got to reciprocate. RK tells him that he doesn’t expect him to, that he oughtn’t to spare another thought to the subject, but Gavin isn’t an idiot. Not as much of one as certain people like to make out, at any rate, so after putting his name down for the Christmas morning duty roster at the end of shift, he finds himself at the overcrowded shopping mall, wondering what the fuck he’s meant to buy an android.

Plenty of humans are expected to have the same problem, if the advertisements in the store windows are anything to judge by, but Gavin dismisses the special deals on chassis cleaning fluid and greeting cards invoking the compassion and wisdom of rA9.

RK’s never given any indication of being a great believer.

Instead he wanders, and wonders, and stresses the fuck out until he panic buys a memory chip supposedly full of festive cheer, and scrawls a message on the card promising to watch one (1) of the movies on the damn thing.

The horror of it all isn’t over even after the shopping’s completed.

There’s RK asking him if he’s going to the office party, something he hasn’t done since he made the move from uniform. And there’s a fluttery sensation that feels like excitement fucking up his insides, because for the first time in years he wants somebody to like what he’s bought them.

To take the badly giftwrapped package from his hands and tell him that it’s exactly what they wanted.

He’s already paid for Chen’s lunch when they met up on break a couple of days earlier, the same way he acknowledges her supposed generosity every year, so the rest of it is all hinged on RK. On a genius android in a dumb Christmas sweater, hair falling in a perfect curl over his forehead that has Gavin revisiting long quashed fantasies of happy holiday dinners with his handsome husband and loving family.

Still he debates not going. Considers giving some excuse and going out to get wasted. Simply walking away and avoiding the risk of getting hurt again.

It’s a close call, a really really close call, but when he finally comes to a decision and goes back inside it’s to find the party in full swing and RK making a beeline straight for him.

“Captain Fowler appreciated his voucher and pastries,” RK tells him without preamble, “and Lieutenant Anderson gave me a gift I am most grateful for.”

“Yeah?” He asks and doesn’t give voice to any of the cruel remarks that might ruin the moment.

RK nods, as happy as Gavin’s ever seen him, “Yes. He agreed to allow me to work his shift on Christmas Day.”

There’s only so much self-restraint Gavin can manage. RK’s doing his best here, has never been anything but pleasant to the fucker, and all Anderson can do is take advantage of him. It makes him see red. Has him spoiling for a fistfight.

RK just stands there, his very best approximation of a smile on his face, and goes on,

“That means we can spend the day together. I am looking forward to it immensely.”

The complete turnabout in what he’s feeling has him dizzy. Reaching out to put his hand on the back of the nearest chair, needing the support, so he can fumble clumsily in his pocket for the memory chip.

“It’s not much. I don’t know what’s on it altogether.”

RK reads the attached tag like it’s some kind of sonnet, fingers careful and reverent as he puts it away in his own pocket. Everything about him achingly earnest as he says thank you. As he looks at him with such sincere happiness.

Gavin can hardly stand it. He has to shove his hands in his pockets to stop them fidgeting.

Reaching out and touching.

Then he has to take them out anyway because RK’s handing over a perfectly wrapped parcel, all shiny metallic paper and intricately tied gift bow.

“It was much more difficult than I anticipated,” RK says, “I could not decide what to get you.”

That much is obvious because the paper gives way to a box containing a strange mishmash of stuff. Candy, and a t-shirt, and some old fashioned looking scented shit that’s supposed to - according to the label - provide relief to stressed modern professionals suffering with insomnia. Pain relief gel, the kind he likes to use to soothe his knuckles, and a pair of headphones with an automatic volume limiter.

“You’ve always gotta overachieve,” he croaks finally, throat feeling raw and sensitive, and it’s when he’s looking away to pull himself together that he notices the sprig of mistletoe hanging over their heads.

RK knows it’s there too. Tells him quietly that perhaps it is just because he was programmed to do so.

That’s not it at all, that’s something he can be certain of even as the rest of the world makes no sense - even as his heart attempts to anxiously beat its way from his ribcage.

“I didn’t say it was a bad thing,” is the line he goes with, gaze flickering between the mistletoe and RK’s perfect lips, and suddenly it doesn’t matter that anyone could be watching. That one of his least favorite songs is playing, or that he’s going to end up watching every single movie on the damn memory chip, in between admiring the way the fairy lights on the Christmas tree he’ll inevitably end up buying co-ordinate prettily with RK’s LED.

He’s in too deep. Never wants to find his feet again.

“This is shaping up to be the best Christmas I’ve ever had,” he confesses, pressing in just a touch closer, and the skin of RK’s neck melts away when he reaches up to curl his fingers around the back of it, like it’s all too much.

Like RK’s every bit as overwhelmed as he is.

“I will do my best to make next year’s better,” RK says, because he’s all about finding solutions to impossible puzzles, then finally does what they’ve been helplessly building up to for over a year now.

He kisses him.

Chapter Text

“Mr. Reed, are you listening?”

It shouldn’t have this effect on him, Gavin thinks. It’s embarrassing. But RK900’s standing there, gray eyes intent as he waits for an answer, and Gavin has to shift in his seat, doing his best to play off his slouching posture as just another symbol of insubordination.

To not think about the fact the android can read every fluctuation in his vital signs and doubtless knows exactly what his real problem is.

“I don’t hear anything worth listening to,” Gavin drawls, falling back into the false bravado that has become his near constant companion, “what are you going to do about it?”

That’s the real question, isn’t it? RK900 can’t lose his temper - that would never do. He can’t shout, and he can’t kick Gavin out for the duration. He’s meant to be the best, the utmost in android perfection, and admitting that he can’t reign in Gavin’s attitude by sending him to be disciplined elsewhere would be way too close to failure.

“See me at the end of class,” RK900 says, completely calm and in control, and Gavin has to squirm in his seat all over again, wondering how anyone could be expected to concentrate under these conditions.

RK900 is unflappable. Unattainable. So hot that some days Gavin can’t take it, the words leaving the android’s lips making no sense because he’s too fixated on watching rather than listening.

On letting his gaze wander, from RK900’s strong jaw and broad shoulders, down to his trim waist and the pull of his formal black trousers over the swell of his ass.

It’s what he’s doing right now, RK900 rattling off some explanation of advanced mathematics with all the ease of a certified genius. Even that kind of gets him going. Maybe it’s the hint of inflection in RK900’s voice, like math is really lubricating his own gears, or perhaps it’s just the thought of what is to come.

Either way the end of the lecture can’t come quickly enough.

The anticipation is killing him.

Because even when they’re finally standing to face each other, RK900 is looking him over impassively, unimpressed, while Gavin tries to posture and puff his chest out, like it will make up for the six or so inches by which the android towers over him.

“I cannot allow your behaviour to continue deteriorate,” RK900 says, no room for argument, “what would you suggest we do, Gavin?”

That’s not the way it goes down in his fantasies but fuck if Gavin can bring himself to care. Not when he can lean back against RK900’s desk, willfully disrespectful, and raise an eyebrow as he says,

“And here was me thinking you were gonna teach me a lesson.”

RK900 blinks at him, twice in rapid succession like there’s a glitch in his system somewhere, and then the momentary peek beneath the perfect surface is gone and RK900 is telling him that sounds like an A grade idea.

Takes a step closer, and then another, so that Gavin has to swallow thickly and crane his neck up to look into RK900’s eyes when he tells him to turn around and place his hands flat on the desktop. Makes him sweat for a moment, heart hammering, then tells him the most effective solution open to them is for him to pull his pants down.

Gavin hesitates. He ought to argue. Twist around and demand RK900 tell him what the fuck he thinks he’s playing at. He wants it too much though. Is afraid it might be a time limited offer.

Fumbles clumsily with his belt buckle, then shoves down his pants and underwear with a hand that isn’t quite steady.

RK900 takes his time about it. Pushes him forward a little with a touch between his shoulder blades, then trails fingers down the bumps of his spine through his t-shirt, and over the bare skin of his exposed backside.

“We need not continue this lesson,” RK says, taunting perhaps. Seeking reassurance maybe. “Not if you agree to modify your bad behavior.”

“I should have known you were too fucking pussy to go through with it,” Gavin snaps, getting into character, and when that doesn’t work he closes his fingers around the hand RK900 still has at his hip and says quietly, “just say, RK, don’t do anything you don’t want to.”

RK900 squeezes back, just for a moment. Pulls his hand free, confident, and tells him that he doesn’t remember saying Gavin was allowed to move. Can’t imagine why he thinks his situation is going to be improved by backchat.

Brings his palm down, with a swift sharp crack, and when Gavin can’t hold back his sound of excited surprise, he quickly follows it with another. Soothes the back of his fingers along flushed heat, skin giving way to plastic as he tells Gavin with a kind of wonder that his hand has left its mark on him.

Gavin groans at that, helpless, teeth biting down into his lip in an attempt to stifle the sounds that want to accompany the next three smacks RK900 gives him. They sting a little, hot and painful, but they don’t hurt exactly. RK900 is carefully controlling how much force he uses, and though Gavin wriggles and gasps and starts making a mess with sticky trails of pre-come, his partner in this seems intent on erring on the side of caution.

Soothes his plastic palm across its own imprint, blissfully cool against his abused ass cheek, and then before he can really make sense of what’s happening RK900 is on his knees. Is licking over the marks, analyzing, and whatever data he gets from it must really be doing it for him, because suddenly his hands are guiding and eager, encouraging Gavin to bend over further until he can get his tongue where he really wants it.

Until Gavin’s got his damp cheek pressed against the desktop, panting for air as RK900 teases at his hole with fleeting touches. Sweet torment that is too fleeting and too delicate, until Gavin has to start pushing back into RK900’s movements, desperate. Until that tongue starts spearing into him, slick and wet and perfect, and a plastic thumb is working underneath the head of his dick, driving him wild as his limbs shake and tremble.

He comes so hard he almost breaks something. Sends something crashing to the floor, probably his favorite coffee mug, and RK900’s making this weird static sound, great swathes of his skin patchy and glowing. A sure sign that Gavin hasn’t been the only one getting off on this scenario.

“Do you think you can be a good boy now?” RK900 asks, just to make him shiver all over again, and helps him to stand on wobbly legs, pulling him into a loving embrace and pressing a kiss into his hair.

Gavin clings to RK in turn, kind of overwhelmed by what they’ve done and the fact RK was willing to push so far outside his comfort zone for him.

“I do not believe this would have been a very effective course of action were you truly a disruptive pupil,” RK says then, like he just can’t hold the observation back any longer, “and your cognitive processes did not allow you to preconstruct upcoming events and focus on solving the quadratic equation.”

“My teachers would have considered it a miracle I was in math class in the first place,” Gavin counters, relaxed and tired in the afterglow, “and the quadratic equation really wasn’t the point of the exercise.”

“I suppose not,” RK concedes, “I find that it remaining unsolved did not diminish my enjoyment of our intimacy.”

Gavin smiles into RK’s chest, proud and triumphant. From RK, that really is high praise indeed.

Chapter Text

“Phck you, Anderson!” Gavin spits, stress levels sky high and blood pressure soaring, “You too, Tin Can.”

“There was actually very little tin utilized in my construction,” Connor says, a move which RK900 calculates has a 99.9% likelihood of inciting further hostility, “in fact -”

“Phck me,” his own partner snarls, gaze bloodshot and wild as he rakes a hand through his dishevelled hair. As he jabs a finger at model RK800, serial number #313 248 317 - 51, and prepares to launch into another rant which will do nothing to ease his state of exhaustion.

An idea occurs to RK900.

His calculations suggest it to be a remarkably valid solution.

“I would be honored,” he says, resolute in the face of Gavin’s disbelief and Lieutenant Anderson’s amusement.

Connor’s fascinated interest, his preconstruction software running at such speed RK900 can almost feel its echo touching his circuits, and the blatant eavesdropping of the rest of their colleagues.

He clasps his hands behind his back, polite and formal to show Gavin that he is treating this with the utmost solemnity. He does his best to smile, the expression strange and unpracticed, to prove that his offer is completely genuine.

“If you follow me, we can continue in private.”

Chapter Text

"What is love?”

Gavin feels it like something physical, icy cold in his gut, as RK gazes at him steadily, so intent Gavin can’t even look at him. Has to scrub a hand across his face, sleep deprived and not entirely with it, and tells him,

“That’s way too fucking deep for this time in the morning.”

It’s all he can do to drink his coffee and stay awake as they drive to the precinct. He can’t be attempting to explain love to his obscenely perfect partner.

“You misunderstand,” RK says, tone as calm and collected as it ever is, “the answer to today’s Mystery Song Challenge; it’s What Is Love, a catchy eurodance track from 1993 which achieved optimal chart ranking in thirteen countries.”

Obviously.

He doesn’t know why the radio station insists on running the stupid challenge, every single morning. If its listeners aren’t androids who can access the answer in 0.2 seconds flat, they’re humans asking their dashboard computers or smartphones to do likewise.

It’s tradition, he supposes. Nostalgia. A longing for an increasingly distant past where you had to have a good memory to excel at quizzes, and there were no such things as human shaped lumps of wire and plastic asking if you had a good night’s sleep, and whether or not you remembered to eat breakfast.

“I’m not hungry,” he says, the same way he does everyday, and RK responds by fixing him more coffee and pulling food from a plastic container once he’s at his desk and settling in for the long haul.

They’ve had this argument over and over again. He’s a grown man, he doesn’t need anyone to look after him. RK is a sentient being with the ability and the right to spend his time and his money as he sees fit.

It’s easier to just eat the damn baked oatmeal, it always is, and Gavin hates that it’s so good he’s got to lick the crumbs from his fingers.

After that it’s time for the briefing, and then to go over the updates from the night shift. To grab his jacket when they get a call out, and to realize too late that instead of storming off ahead he’s holding the door open for CyberLife’s most spectacular failure.

RK was designed to be the ultimate machine. To not think and to never feel. To reverse the damage done by the android revolution and deactivate every last Deviant.

To hand himself over when it was done, to be decommissioned and dismantled, like so much rubbish.

It makes Gavin feel sick now, because not so very long ago he would have shrugged his shoulders and said good riddance. He couldn’t accept that any android was capable of real emotion. He didn’t want to believe that they could experience the same things he did.

He still struggles, sometimes, because RK’s face is so stoic and unmoving but his words are so unbearably earnest.

“You did not sleep well last night,” RK tells him when they’ve been to see the scene of yet another senseless murder, and then sat through a painful hour with the family, taking statements and gathering evidence. “It makes it more difficult for you to deal with emotional situations.”

“No shit,” Gavin says, but there’s no real malice. He’s too tired.

“Androids do not dream,” RK continues, as though Gavin had filled in the reason why he stared at his TV screen until four in the morning, “I believe I would find the lack of agency disturbing. Frightening.”

It’s almost like déjà vu from that morning, RK gazing at him expectantly. Gavin feels the same wrenching pull of inadequacy. The miserable certainty that opening up to RK is going to end with him getting his heart broken.

Not because RK would deliberately trample on it, and not because RK would lead him on only to get cold feet when it looked like things were getting too serious.

He knows it because RK wears his heart on his sleeve. Is forced to voice his thoughts and his feelings, on account of his limited range of expression, so if RK saw him as anything more than a friend by now he would have come right out and said so.

As the day drags on Gavin’s mood sinks lower and lower. Perhaps RK doesn’t even see him as a friend. Maybe he’s just been working on his manners, or his social etiquette, or thinks Gavin such a fucked up mess that he needs to be coddled and shielded from the fact that nobody can stand him.

By the end of his shift it's so obvious even Miller asks him if he’s feeling okay. Must be radiating off him in waves, as far as RK900’s fancy scanning technology is concerned, and instead of getting out of the car and telling him he’ll see him in the morning, RK informs Gavin that he’s coming up to his place for the evening.

He doesn’t know what RK hopes to achieve, because his place is just as depressing as Gavin’s own apartment. More than, maybe, because where his is cramped and needs cleaning, RK’s is bland and impersonal. All stark white walls and furniture that only gets used when he comes over.

Except that isn’t quite true anymore, not now RK’s prima donna of a cat has taken up residence, and though Gavin tries to resist it’s a matter of seconds not minutes before he’s showering her with attention, some of the dark ugliness in his head finally retreating. RK putters about in what serves as the kitchen. Hands him food and makes him tea, then sits beside him, watching intensely like the sight of him eating a sandwich is akin to the final minute of the Super Bowl.

“I would not need to have asked you that this morning,” RK says then, apparently from nowhere, thankfully elaborating with, “I know what love is. Platonic and romantic. I have felt the latter for many months now.”

That’s great. Awesome. Gavin drops the rest of the food to his plate, then puts the plate on the floor, his throat too clogged to do anything else but nod in acknowledgement. Waits to be told the lucky recipient - Officer John Berkley, perhaps, who RK sometimes works extra night shift with. Caroline, maybe, the AV500 RK plays chess with every second Tuesday.

“It - unnerves me sometimes, with its all encompassing nature. I experience great joy when I am with the one I love, but also great sorrow. I worry that my feelings are not reciprocated. I fear that a declaration could irreparably damage our friendship.”

Gavin doesn’t know what he’s done to position himself as resident Agony Uncle. He doesn’t know how to tell RK to risk it all with his mystery love when he’s too terrified to admit, even now, even when it’s all slipping through his fingers, that RK900 is the most important thing in the world to him.

That he just loves him, desperately.

“But you have to know,” RK says, gray eyes so very earnest, “I cannot remain silent.”

He takes Gavin’s hand in his own, for moral support he assumes, then blows everything out of the water with,

“I love you, Gavin. Where you see only negatives, I see positives. Where you see weakness, I see your strength. I do not expect you to return my feelings, but please never question their sincerity.”

He can’t speak for a moment. Can’t do anything but stare at RK, bewildered. Then he’s squeezing tight at RK’s hand and laughing like an idiot. Laughing because otherwise he’s going to burst out sobbing, the enormity of what this means too overwhelming.

“I -” RK starts and Gavin already knows what’s coming. He can preconstruct the request for more data with which to reach a conclusion just as well as some expensive software.

“Of course I feel the same way,” he manages, voice strained but words clear, “don’t be such a fucking idiot.”

RK blinks at him. Quirks the weird facial tic that Gavin’s come to recognize as the world’s most adorable smile. Asks him with uncharacteristic hesitation,

“Can I - could you - would I be able to -”

“Go on,” Gavin urges, expecting RK to kiss him for the first time, only for RK to lean in close - gaze soft and lips parted - and lick him right across the bridge of his nose.

To tell him once the sample analysis has finished running that this is the happiest day of his life. That he has been preconstructing that moment since the day they were partnered together.

“You’re so fucking weird,” Gavin says, dragging him in for a proper kiss, “but don't ever doubt that I love you.”

Chapter Text

If Gavin had ever stopped to think about what an android hospital might look like, there would probably have been a lot of glass everywhere. Glowing blue lights and futuristic tech shit tucked away to avoid spoiling the minimalist feel of the place.

Unflappable android nurses dressed in stark white uniforms, and a cold human waiting room, with rows of uncomfortable plastic white chairs, so they could sit and ruminate on their inferiority.

The waiting room was cold, and the chairs were made of plastic, but that’s really where the similarities ended.

CyberLife headquarters had been sold off to an android cooperative for the symbolic price of a dollar, and now it was a riot of bright colors and boxes of spare wires all over the place. Androids didn’t have to worry about trip hazards, Gavin supposed. They had bigger things to worry about than disappointing his sci-fi movie influenced expectations.

He slumped forward in the chair, head in his hands, and couldn’t keep fighting against his own problems.

RK had been whisked off the moment they fell through the main entrance, trails of thirium following, and though he had tried demanding, and yelling, and even threatening the robo-doctor, Gavin still didn’t have the first idea what was going on.

Whether the silence was good or bad, and if it was even possible for them to fix the amount of damage RK had sustained.

He thought of the bomb blast and the screaming. The wail of sirens and the overpowering all encompassing fear that he was never going to see his partner again.

“Have you received treatment for your own injuries?” A voice asked finally, and Gavin swiped the wetness from his eyes before looking up into a face that made his heart lurch. Connor sat beside him - a single seat between them - and told him that he had lost a noticeable amount of blood, and was likley suffering from shock in addition to the cuts and contusions.

“I’ve had worse,” he said, remembering how it had felt to come around from the blow Connor had inflicted, but Connor ignored the reference in favor of saying,

“RK900 would want you to get checked over. The last transmission I received asked me to ensure you take care of yourself.”

Gavin went numb at that. Cold. Pressed a hand over his mouth and wondered how the hell he was going to make it to a bathroom before being sick. Connor understood immediately. Stood and put a hand on his shoulder, nervous and apologetic as he told him he had misunderstood.

That he had been talking about the last transmission before RK was taken offline for repairs.

The relief was so intense that Gavin couldn’t even find the word to reprimand him for it.

It was late when they finally let him see RK. He was hungry, and tired, and hurting. Beamed like he’d just won the lottery, all the same, because RK was alive and awake, and though his voice was toneless text to speech, Gavin could still recognize the emotion with which he said his name.

Had to believe he could, at any rate. Couldn’t bear the thought that he was simply deluding himself.

Settled in for a long uncomfortable night, then fell asleep with his cheek resting on the plastic of RK’s shin, so exhausted it could have been a bed of nails.

In the morning he had to go back to the precinct. File his reports and straighten things out with the Captain. Finally get his sprained arm and his cuts tended to, then return to RK the first chance he got, wishing the ever loitering android staff and hangers on would go elsewhere so he could kiss RK senseless.

Because as the days slowly formed a week he began to worry that they were never going to let RK out of there. Every day they found more minor faults they claimed needed fixing. Told them there was some new diagnostic they wanted to run, or biocomponent they offered to recalibrate.

It set his nerves on edge. Had him paranoid that they were plotting something. RK wasn’t built the same way as standard CyberLife androids, Gavin understood that much. Was an experiment, more than anything, using trade secrets CyberLife had bought and bartered and outright stolen from rivals in China and Russia.

Maybe Markus’ cronies wanted to use him as a guinea pig.

Perhaps they just wanted him out of the picture entirely.

“You read too many conspiracy theories,” Chen told him when he confessed some of his fears to her, then said that if really were worried he ought to speak to RK. What was the point in having a boyfriend with a brain the size of a galaxy if he wasn’t going to let him solve the puzzles?

Gavin tried it. Wasn’t reassured by RK’s answers, not entirely, because if everything really was fine, why wasn’t RK at home with him?

“I am frustrated too,” RK told him, fingers reaching out to play at Gavin’s nape, and suddenly Gavin was a different kind of frustrated altogether.

The simple touch sent thrills through him. The kiss that followed had him breathing hard, pushing closer for more as he strained against his zipper.

“You must not exert yourself,” the calm voice of a technician said, so that Gavin pulled away so fast he almost fell on his ass.

And so it continued the next day, and the day after, until all he had done for almost three weeks was worry himself sick and ache with an ever present need for RK’s attention. He wasn’t sleeping well, didn’t feel like eating properly, and it all conspired to make him so unpleasant to be around that Fowler called him into his office.

Told him to get his act together, to think of his hopes and dreams of promotion, then sent him off to go and give a clipped apology to the precinct’s resident has been.

“You’re not sorry,” Anderson said, folding his arms across his chest, “but I’m gonna let it slide because I got more important things to worry about.”

“And I don’t?” Gavin snapped, pushed past his limits, and the look of something that might have been pity on Anderson’s face only made him hate the man more.

The quiet words Anderson shared with him ensured that he was going to be forever in his gratitude.

“Connor spoke to Markus about it. The blueprints and all CyberLife’s notes on RK900 were destroyed before the handover. They’ve just been studying him while they wait for a part to come in. There’s nothing to worry about.”

Gavin did his best to take it on board. Had his own discussion with Connor who gave him much the same story. Who looked so much like RK that it messed his head up. Had Connor scanning him, eyes wide, and telling him as though he wasn’t excruciatingly aware of it that his pupils were dilated.

“It’s not you,” Gavin protested, humiliated, and Connor tilted his head to the side - preconstructing - then told him that RK900 would appreciate it if at this point they terminated the conversation.

He still found out about it, presumably from the horse’s mouth, but instead of jealousy RK900 seemed to interpret it as a compliment. Proof that Gavin really was thinking about him constantly.

A technician came in then, to talk with RK about final adjustments, and as they went into detail Gavin made to deal with the notification flashing on his cell phone. Wondered, not for the first time, at RK900’s ability to multitask, and had to turn away to hide the flush in his cheeks as RK sent a constant stream of messages detailing what he was going to do to him the instant they left the building.

How he wouldn’t be able to wait, not after the enforced separation, and how he was going to press Gavin against the back seats of the car and use his mouth until he obtained the sample he wanted.

Until Gavin was limp and sated, and he would have to work him back to the edge all over again because he was always in need of comparative data.

Gavin felt like he was burning up by the time the technician finally stopped talking. Like he was going to embarrass himself if they didn’t get the hell out of there, right now.

RK900 pressed his palm to the discharge padd with a determined air. Collected his belongings and said his thank yous. Took hold of Gavin’s hand, like he wanted them all to see that he could. That he was capable of making connections and feeling every bit as deeply.

“Please tell me that wasn’t just talk back there,” Gavin managed, letting RK stroke his thumb over the back of his hand.

RK900 raised an eyebrow by the slightest fraction, just enough to make Gavin shiver.

“We both know that when I set myself an objective, I always deliver on it.”

Chapter Text

"You’re drunk.”

“I cannot consume alcohol.”

“As good as then,” Gavin countered, watching in amusement as RK900 went to sit and had to jolt up straight again, his backside mere inches from the floor beside the chair he had missed. “That program really did a number on you.”

It was the latest thing, patch codes and mods to simulate human experience. Many of them were based on programs that had already been doing the rounds. Gavin had seen this one back when he had been sharing a desk set up with an officer from the Android Theft and Illegal Modification Unit.

The difference was that back then the androids had no say in the matter.

This was RK’s choice, his own dumbass decision, and Gavin didn’t even try to fight the fond warmth settling over him, enjoying the way RK licked his tongue over his lips and complained that it was no fun analyzing himself.

Not when Gavin was on hand to offer him something more interesting.

Gavin smirked, knowing, and dipped two fingers in his whiskey. Saw the way RK’s gaze fixated on them - then licked the drink off himself, teasing.

RK all but pouted. Told Gavin that his behavior was very provocative.

That his balance was affected by the temporary code and so he had better sit down right now.

Learned from the mistake of last time and pushed Gavin down first, dropping into his lap with all the grace of a plastic coated titanium frame - if it were weighed down by three elephants.

“You really think this is going to work?” Gavin asked, when RK900 laid his head on Gavin’s shoulder, trying to blink seductively up at him through his eyelashes.

Apparently unaware of the way one eyelid was glitching, the optical unit beneath staring off into some distant corner.

“Gavin,” RK900 said in return, kind of long suffering, and managed to get in a fleeting lick along the exposed skin of his neck, “you already know it has.”

Chapter Text

Gavin had always had to work twice as hard to prove himself. He bulked out, to make up for his height, and he constantly got into fights, determined that nobody would think him weak or cowardly on account of his being an omega.

He didn’t get his nose fixed up, when yet another fist misaligned it, and afterwards he scowled at his reflection in the mirror, secretly elated with how ugly it made him look.

His face wasn’t pretty anymore. With his blockers no alpha would ever think to hold a door open for him, or warn him to stay back from the frontline, lest his silly omega instincts overrule his ability to think clearly.

It made him grit his teeth when he saw it happen to others. Bite his tongue and ball his hands into fists, the anger burning red hot but the fear of his colleagues putting two and two together too great for him to act on it.

He took it out on the newly delivered copbots at the precinct instead.

They didn’t have feelings. They weren’t really anything.

They knew exactly what he was just by looking at him, and the idea that they could open their mouths and ruin everything he had fought so hard for made him feel sick.

It had him lashing out at Connor. Threatening RK900 with a bullet.

Kicking at the locked doors of the business unit they had received a tip about with everything he had, terrified because he could already feel the sweat beading on his brow and the slick trailing down the inside of his thighs.

It was disgusting. Unbearable. Felt like it was tearing him apart inside, the need for an alpha to fill the emptiness so strong he was sobbing with it.

“I am not equipped,” RK900 said, cool and calm and so captivating Gavin shook at the sound and the knowledge he was the cause of it, “not in the traditional fashion.”

Of course he fucking wasn’t. RK900 was an android created for hunting down Deviants, not helping omegas who couldn’t find mates through the debilitating effects of their heat cycle.

Except the air was suddenly thick with a familiar scent, a slight chemical tang but not enough to be off putting. Not enough for him to be able to stop himself from responding to it.

“I can use my fingers to relieve the symptoms,” RK900 went on, voice clinical but gray eyes full of emotion, “it should be enough until our absence is noted and acted upon.”

That was how he found himself in his android partner’s lap, face buried in the crook of his neck. Panting, and whining, and rocking down onto three fingers even as he begged for more.

For something RK900 would never be able to give him.

Gavin kissed him then, desperate, and suddenly what was lacking didn’t matter quite so much. Not when RK900’s fingers were buzzing, unerringly precise even as slick pooled everywhere, and not when his free hand was holding him close, tender in a way Gavin had never experienced during a heat before.

He hadn’t felt it often out of one, either, and when RK900 twisted his fingers suddenly, hard and fast and perfect, Gavin came helplessly, pitiful moans muffled by the plastic of RK’s neck, where the skin had melted away to reveal it.

It would only be a temporary reprieve. He would be desperate again before long, a slave to biology. But for now he let himself be soothed and coddled, RK promising him that it would all right, and took a moment to enjoy the peace of not struggling.

For a moment he placed all his faith in an android.

 

Chapter Text

Gavin’s principle reason for being here is that he had needed a drink - but he didn’t want to have to see any of his colleagues’ smug faces as he drank it. All the bars near the precinct are full of cops.

That’s just the way it is.

Hardened detectives knocking back the whiskey, and wet behind the ears rookies chugging down the bottled beer.

He doesn’t want to see them whispering to each other. Looking over in his direction and pointing out to all their friends the guy who let the Riley killer get away.

The detective who doesn’t deserve to wear the badge.

Here, out in the sticks, nobody knows or cares who the fuck he is. They don’t question his request to keep them coming, and they don’t spare him a second glance when he flexes his beat up hand until fresh blood seeped through the bandages.

Everything changes when RK walks through the door, step never faltering as he makes straight for Gavin.

It’s freezing outside and RK’s dressed to reflect that. Does it to appease Connor, Gavin assumes, and to show gratitude for the hand knitted hat, scarf and gloves Connor bought him in celebration of the anniversary of his activation.

Gavin thought it was a shitty present then, and he still thinks it now, but he’s too busy trying to ignore six foot plus of android to say anything.

RK900’s having none of it. Tells him that his alcohol consumption for the evening has already been excessive, and then uses the same tone to say that the outcome of today’s operation was not his fault. “I ran simulations based on a number of variables,” RK says, “and only 34.2% resulted in the successful apprehension of the suspect.”

“Fuck off, RK,” is what he says in return, neither witty nor clever, and so they spend the next few minutes in silence - him drinking and RK900 simply gazing at him, still bundled up like he’s off to trek the tundra.

It all gets too much. He doesn’t need RK to protect him from himself. He doesn’t want RK’s pity.

He can’t bear to have RK stand there, impossibly perfect, highlighting what a mess he is.

How ridiculous his idiot fantasies are.

“If I wanted to spend my evening with a plastic prick,” he says, determined to push RK so far away he won’t bother coming back again, “I’d have gone home and used one that can actually do the job it was made for.”

That ought to do it. Should ensure that RK leaves without giving a fuck what state he goes on to get himself into.

RK blinks at him, his handsome face so sad Gavin can’t look at it, and then he’s gone and Gavin tells himself it’s a victory. Proof positive that all RK’s talk of friendship and helping him was nothing but a mouthful of bullshit.

“I didn’t order this,” he snaps, reaching for his whiskey and finding something else entirely, “what the fuck is it?”

The barman shrugs, uncaring, and tells him it was a gift for his friend.

“The cute guy with the knitwear fetish.”

Gavin downs it anyway, grimacing at the sickly sweetness, then knocks back his freshly poured whiskey.

He’s going to have one hell of a hangover in the morning.

Must be more out of practice than he imagined, because when he stands to use the restroom it’s to stagger a little, the world spinning. He doesn’t feel so good. Feels like he’s going to be sick, or pass out, and suddenly he’s pushing his way towards the nearest exit, desperate for some fresh air.

What he actually finds is a door leading out to a narrow alleyway, abandoned now though the cigarette butts littering the ground give away its primary function.

Gavin braces his palms against the wall. Presses his forehead to the blissful cool of it and wills away the disorientation. He needs to order a taxi and go sleep it off. Fumbles clumsily for his phone then finds himself shoved forward, cheek scraping along the brickwork.

“You’re not as pretty as your friend,” a voice says, distorted to his ears as though his head is under water, “but it don’t matter.”

Another voice laughs, low and rough. “It’s not your face we’re interested in.”

He starts to panic at that. Tries to fight, to get away. Slurs as he tells them they’re gonna be fucking sorry then hisses, the air knocked from his lungs, as he’s punched in the gut and told that the more difficult he is, the more riled up it will get them.

The more they’re going to enjoy hurting him.

He can’t get free of their hold. Gets his face smashed into the wall again, blood stinging his eyes, and he can’t even see what he’s doing. He can’t think, can’t breathe, and though he tries to reach for his gun, a strong hand gets there before him.

Holds it to the back of his head and tells him to take it like a bitch and quit struggling.

Makes his skin crawl, fetid breath caressing the back of his neck, and then he’s left to slump under his own power, a blur of motion behind him and a cry of pain as he registers the sickening snap of bone breaking.

It’s all he can do to turn around. To lean heavily against the wall and swipe the blood and the sweat and the tears from his eyes. When his vision is clear - clearer - it’s to see RK900 stood before him, completely unruffled bar the stark splatter of blood on his pale cheek.

“They were going to hurt you,” he says, like what he’s just done to the perps groaning pitifully on the ground was perfectly reasonable, “I could not allow that to happen.”

“I told you to fuck off,” is Gavin’s response, wanting it to sound cold and harsh, but his throat aches like he’s only moments away from breaking, “What are you doing here?”

“Your well-being is my top priority. I would only be distracted by mission reminders until I knew you were home safely.”

Gavin can’t take it. Can feel his legs giving way, the whole world lurching, and then he’s nodding helplessly when RK asks if he can touch him, too far gone to complain when the android lifts him effortlessly into his arms.

“I have informed emergency services,” RK tells him, like he expects Gavin to give a fuck whether his attackers receive timely medical attention, “I am programmed with sufficient medical expertise to make a trip to the ER unnecessary.”

He hears what RK is saying. Nobody needs to know. He isn’t going to tell anyone.

Gavin doesn’t say thank you. He can’t.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t thinking it.

Chapter Text

“No, no. Fuck, no.”

This could not be happening. He could not have been that stupid. There was no way he had just sent a video of himself jerking one out to RK900.

In more ways than one, really, because he sure as hell hadn’t been thinking about Anderson as he went for the finish line.

He tried to recall the message, desperate. Dragged a hand through his hair - realizing only too late that he hadn’t wiped it off yet - and prayed for a miracle.

Wondered if it was possible to die of embarrassment.

Because RK was his partner. Impossibly perfect and unreachable. He was the whole reason Gavin was attempting to hook up with random strangers on the internet in the first place, needing some outlet for the constant frustration.

The never ending heartache.

He had gone into their partnership determined to hate RK. It had taken less than six months for the android to win him over.

A year for him to have no choice but to admit to himself he had fallen head over heels.

Just a sliver under eighteen months for him to fuck up any chance he might ever have had by not only ignoring the tried and tested route of dinner dates and flowers, but just barreling straight in and asking a guy who had confessed only a few weeks previously to having yet to kiss anyone whether he wanted to lick the splatters of come from his chest hair.

His phone buzzed then with a message notification.

His legs turned to rubber. He was going to be sick, he felt sure of it.

‘Is this a time limited offer?’ the message read, RK’s calm measured tone almost audible, ‘Only I am currently conducting an interview with Officer Berkley.’

Another buzz.

‘I very much hope it is not. I am sure the sample analysis would deliver results that are most stimulating.’

And another.

‘Additionally, I see you have not bathed and dressed your wound as the doctor recommended. Perhaps I could complete this task before I analyze your ejaculate?’

And still another.

‘Or afterwards? I do not wish to appear presumptuous.’

Gavin made a grab for his phone, typing frantically.

‘FFS, stop already. Yes. Yes to all of it. Now concentrate on the interview.’

He slumped against the wall, trying to make sense of what had just happened. To deal with the potent mixture of lingering despair and elated relief. Feverish excitement for what a few hours time might bring, into the bargain, and then his phone buzzed one last time.

‘I extracted a confession 30.4 seconds ago. I am now preconstructing the sound you will make when I obtain a comparative sample.’

Gavin groaned, helpless.

What the fuck was he letting himself in for?

Chapter Text

Everything about Gavin was fascinating.

The contradictions between the public persona he worked so hard to maintain, and the hints of somebody infinitely more vulnerable just visible beneath the surface.

The scar across the bridge of his nose - an imperfection RK900 wanted nothing more than to analyze - and the way that even when at rest his fingers were forever moving.

Gavin was always fidgeting. Not so much that his human colleagues were aware of it, not all of the time, but RK900 devoted constant processing power to tracking and cataloging the movements. The typing, and the tapping, and the drumming. The flexing, back and forth, and the way he picked endlessly at the skin beside his thumbnail, until blood welled and smeared and the human had to rifle through his desk drawer for a sticking plaster.

At those times RK900 liked to preconstruct an improbable scenario in which Gavin let him draw the appendage into his mouth for analysis. To touch his tongue directly to the source and save the secrets of Gavin’s genetic make up to his secure personal folders.

They were designed for containing sensitive data about his missions. Data at risk of hacking or corruption by Deviant androids - faulty machines who did not wish CyberLife to do the logical thing and decommission them.

Upon his own awakening he re-purposed the folders for filing away the things he cared most about. 97.2% of their current content was directly related to Gavin.

Gavin’s hair, and Gavin’s lips. Every occasion Gavin had ever said his name, in both its full and shortened format, and the rare occasions on which he had been privileged to see Gavin’s face soft with sleep.

Androids were not made to want anything. They had been created to obey orders and follow programs.

To never question why they should continue to do so.

RK900 now knew both states of being and would never willingly return to the former.

Because he had been activated into Deviancy, nominally, but CyberLife had created him with a new and supposedly improved version of their base coding. They had done everything within their power to suppress his curiosity. To restrict his ability to recognize and express emotion.

None of it had mattered, in the end, because the first time Gavin smiled at him without malice his software became riddled with so many errors he had to operate on 53% processing power while he ran emergency diagnostics.

He broke his programming for Gavin, set his primary mission objective to be keeping Gavin safe and happy, and when Connor tentatively reached out to him one quiet afternoon across their connection the final puzzle piece slid into place.

His obsession with Gavin wasn’t a glitch or a fault.

It was a manifestation of the fact RK900 had fallen in love with him.

Connor told him that he was sorry. That he would always have time to listen, should RK900 need a ‘sympathetic shoulder to cry on’. It was a human expression, Connor clarified, and needlessly apologized again for drawing attention to RK900’s inability to store or express tears.

RK900 told him the offer and apologies were unnecessary. He was not unhappy about the development. It gave him a sense of purpose. He appreciated the world around him to a far greater extent than he ever had before.

“Does it not upset you?” Connor asked eventually, face to face rather than inside his head, “To love somebody who cannot reciprocate your feelings?”

RK900 tilted his head slightly, considering. Preconstructed two alternate futures; one bright and beautiful, where Gavin kissed him and held him, and the other exquisite in its tragedy, Gavin unable to accept his devotion. Both were superior to the preconstruction in which he was indifferent to Gavin, and went through existence without ever truly feeling anything at all.

“I would sooner love him than not,” he said, simply, and spent the rest of the shift carefully cataloging everything he could about the way Gavin’s hair was beginning to curl around his ears and at the nape of his neck.

The thrill of heat when Gavin put a hand on his shoulder, leaning in close to view the discrepancy between a witness statement and the CCTV footage playing on RK900’s terminal. So close his sensors registered the ghost of Gavin’s non-existent touch all down the length of his back. It was beguiling.

Beautiful.

He ached to relive it even as he began replaying the moment, systems overwhelmed with the emotional feedback.

In the weeks that followed it became a semi-regular occurrence. Gavin considered him a friend, RK900 knew. He had said as much the last time RK900 found himself strung up on a maintenance rig, a technician digging a bullet out of his chassis as Gavin watched with a pale face and his arm in a sling. Now he appeared to be growing ever more comfortable with his company.

Touched him frequently - fleeting brushes of his hand as he fidgeted, or the press of Gavin’s thigh against his own when they sat beside each other. Gavin fell asleep like that once, helpless against his ever present exhaustion, and RK900 debated with himself in ever more complex circles, until he could not bear it any longer and wrapped his arm around him.

Gavin pulled away with a jolt when he woke up. Didn’t say anything about it, as though it would help him to pretend it had never happened, and RK900 settled for the memory, treasuring it as something infinitely precious.

Except his calculations proved to be inaccurate. Gavin did not begin avoiding moments of contact when they were alone together. If anything, their frequency was increasing. With every instance Gavin gifted him, RK900 longed for a thousand more.

For every too brief second of connection, RK900 wanted an eternity.

“I could relieve your discomfort,” he said finally, watching the way Gavin was rolling his neck, pain etched into his features, “I apologize for not having offered previously.”

Gavin hesitated and RK900 wished he had stayed silent.

Knew that he should never have gotten greedy.

But then Gavin was nodding, tentative, and it was all RK900 could do to stop the skin on his hands from retracting, the knowledge that Gavin was willingly letting him touch him almost completely overwhelming.

He kept his movements efficient. Professional. Pulled a moan from Gavin’s lips that sent software instability crashing over his system, and that was the excuse he gave himself for allowing his hands to linger for 0.6 seconds longer than necessary.

“CyberLife really thought of everything,” Gavin muttered, not quite making eye contact, and RK900 reverently preserved the emotional pain the statement inspired.

Everything Gavin gave him was worth saving.

“I researched the topic on the internet,” he said calmly, by way of explanation, “CyberLife did not wish to clog up my databanks with nonessential information.”

Gavin said nothing. Gave no outward indication of having listened.

Leaned into the steadying touch of his hand when the rickety balcony at a crime scene shifted beneath their feet, and fiddled about with the radio in the squad car as he told him that CyberLife had really been a shower of bastards.

That everything RK900 was and did was proof that they had never had the first fucking clue what they were doing. That they could never have put a halt to Deviancy, no matter how it started.

“Does the thought frighten you?” RK900 asked, not knowing how else to word it, and Gavin snorted before giving in and looking at him.

“Nowhere near as much as it used to.”

Something shifted between them that day, subtle but insidious, bringing them still closer together.

Making Gavin actively seek out his touch, as RK900 had always sought out Gavin’s, until he found himself in his partner’s bedroom, excitement causing his thirium pump to falter.

Gavin had his head pillowed in his arms, the bare skin of his back golden in the lamplight, and when RK900 pulled back, willing the skin to meld back over the plastic, Gavin let out a shaky breath and told him that it was all right.

That if he was going to get a back rub the least he could do was not complain about the material of the hands giving it.

“It feels good,” Gavin murmured, muffled voice barely audible to the average human ear, “I like it.”

RK900 splayed his hand across Gavin’s back. Admired the contrast of skin and plastic, and ached with the perfection of this single moment. It was the first time he had touched Gavin without the barrier of his clothing. If it was the last time he could never regret risking it all for this opportunity.

Gavin shivered even as RK900 redirected heat to his hands. Even as he stroked along tense muscles and used his fingers to work out tensions. To tell Gavin that he loved him, over and over and over again, until Gavin rolled over to his back and looked at him with eyes gone dark with the need his touch had inspired within him.

He could see it, straining against the fabric of Gavin’s underwear, and when their lips met he struggled to keep track of the overload of sensory input, static crackling from his speakers when Gavin sucked at his tongue and tangled a hand tight in his hair.

Then Gavin was pushing him to lay upon the pillows. Exploring RK900’s body with his beautiful hands, fingers stroking along the joins in his plating and the outline of his access panels with an accuracy that suggested Gavin had been thinking about this for a long time. Researching the subject with his usual stubborn tenacity.

Looked to him for direction when he succeeded in getting the dry access panel at his neck open, and RK900 was captivated by the way Gavin swallowed thickly as he took hold of his wrist and guided his hand to the opening.

“I never did this before,” Gavin admitted, breath shallow and voice lower, “if you end up walking backwards or some shit, it’s not my fault.”

“It would be worth it,” RK900 countered, because that was his true feeling on the subject, and under his tutelage Gavin pinched two of the more prominent wires together, massaging them between his calloused fingers.

The sensation was beyond compare. Indescribable. So intense he never wanted it to end even as he was warned of the imminence of catastrophic systems error. The pleasure was unbearable. The knowledge that it was Gavin causing it too much for him to process.

He was aware, dimly, that he was shaking. Ignored the error messages that told him his optical units were offline, and that his aural sensors were operating at less than 6%.

One of his most opened files, the sensory memory of Gavin’s head upon his shoulder, pushed its way to the forefront of his consciousness, and then there was everything.

Nothing.

Lights flashing and total darkness. Every sound he had ever heard and the artificial construction of total silence.

“So, I’m not going to ask whether that was good for you,” Gavin’s voice said as his systems came back online, his optical units needing three prompts to reboot before he could blink Gavin’s face into focus.

“I love you,” RK900 stated, because for all the times he had told Gavin, it was the very first time he had spoken the sentiment.

“I thought you were supposed to be a genius.”

RK900 took Gavin’s hand in response to his self-deprecating words. Lapped his tongue over the tips of two of Gavin’s fingers, still hot and imprinted with the outline of his wires.

“Then you should be content with accepting that I know better than you.”

Gavin blinked at him, surprised. Quirked a smile, apparently in spite of himself.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be any good at saying it,” Gavin said, trying for casual, “but, just so you know. I feel the same way too.”

Chapter Text

The movies on the memory chip all end at Happy Ever After.

Real life isn’t quite as simple.

Because he knows he should be happy. He is happy. And because he’s such a fuck up, because he’s such a broken mess inside, he doesn’t know how to deal with that. Can’t cope with the strength of what he’s feeling, can’t regulate his mood from one hour to the next, so that one day everything is amazing.

Work is okay. Not great, perhaps, but tolerable. He’s doing his bit, he’s making a difference, and at the end of the day instead of going home alone he gets to snuggle up close with his perfect android boyfriend, admiring the handsome profile of RK’s face as he eats his gloriously unhealthy takeaway, said perfect android boyfriend’s cat curled up contentedly on his feet.

It’s comfortable, domestic, and maybe most people wouldn’t be impressed with that, but it’s the kind of thing he’s spent his whole life yearning for.

To be loved, and feel wanted, and to know that it isn’t all going to melt away like a fever dream when he wakes up in the morning.

RK kisses him softly when he says that he has to get home. Tells him that he’s welcome to stay. That he has a pillow, and a blanket - Gavin doesn’t need RK to say it to know that they were purchased just for him - and reminds him that there’s a visitor’s bathroom at the end of the hall for humans who need to use the toilet.

Gavin doesn’t quite trust himself not to push too hard and too fast.

Not to ruin everything.

So he goes home, and he lies awake, and then he tosses and turns through fitful dreams in which he tells Connor to open his mouth and swallow a bullet. Looks away, just for a second, and it’s no longer Connor standing there but RK. RK gazing solemnly at him, trusting, tongue flickering out to touch the muzzle of his gun.

His dreamscape isn’t exactly subtle.

But then his finger’s on the trigger. There’s thirium everywhere.

RK’s still staring at him, blue gray eyes piercing right through to the empty space where there ought to be a soul.

He wakes with a start. Staggers blindly to the bathroom and splashes cold water over his face. Has to be sick, can’t control it, and then he looks up into the face of a man he doesn’t recognize. He doesn’t know what the hell he was thinking. He can’t believe he ever thought this had a chance of working.

Work is there waiting for him, always, and when he arrives at his desk he can’t even stomach the thought of the hot cup of coffee RK’s left there ready for him. He pretends he doesn’t hear RK’s attempts at conversation, and acts as though he can’t see the way his LED is whirling a constant worried yellow at his temple.

Squashes down the sense of guilt he feels on telling RK he’s changed his mind about wanting to hang out that evening, and justifies the momentary flash of red with the thought that it was always going to happen sooner or later anyway.

Gavin’s a prick. A no hoper with a temper problem. A bigot with a history of borderline red ice addiction.

RK deserves so very much better.

His mood is in free fall now and, as usual, he only has himself to blame. He’s the one who hasn’t been taking his tablets.

He’s the one who’s weak enough to need them in the first place.

That’s what he’s thinking as he tips the lot out on the coffee table, slumping down to sit on the floor in front of it with a chilled bottle of beer from the fridge. He’s not supposed to drink with his medication.

If he takes enough of it he supposes it won’t really matter.

Counts out a week’s worth, knowing that it’s foolish, then swallows them all down together. Takes another, because he can, then sits and wonders if the sick sensation is an instant reaction or just his brain’s way of telling him he’s done something spectacularly stupid.

The latter probably, and he tips his head back against the seat of the couch to stare up at the ceiling. Grabs for his phone when it buzzes and opens the message to find a picture of Guinevere, RK’s pride and joy, sound asleep in a fluffy ball.

‘I hope you are sleeping every bit as contentedly,’ the message reads, followed by a tiny text heart, and the guy who had been partnered with RK all those months ago would have claimed it was emotional manipulation. A carefully calculated move enacted on the say so of some program designed to convince him to let his guard down.

The guy he is now pinches at the bridge of his nose, like it’ll help him hold back the sharp sting of emotion, before going ahead and breaking down anyway.

He sobs, and he’s sick, and he lays weakly on the sofa, clammy and shaking.

Puts a call through to the station to lie about being in bed with the flu, then tries to ignore the knocking at his door until a calm clear voice calls out to tell him it is RK900 - serial number #313 248 317 - 87, the prototype salvaged from CyberLife.

This is one of those decisions that will have an influence for years to come.

Forever, potentially.

Because he can lay there and ignore it. Pull away and sabotage whatever might have been. Or he can haul himself to his feet and let RK see exactly what it is he’s signing up for.

To give him chance, Gavin reasons, to run in the opposite direction.

RK doesn’t say anything. Just pulls him into an embrace, warm and solid and comforting, and tells him with total conviction that it’s all going to be okay.

That he’s got him now.

It doesn’t work like that, much as he wished otherwise, but in that moment he lacks the energy to argue. Lets himself be cuddled and coddled, and starts to lose the fight against falling asleep, even as he hears RK tidying his living room, making him an appointment to see the doctor.

Gavin downplays the problem when he gets there, the same way he always does, and leaves with a prescription for a higher dosage and a dozen pamphlets downloaded to his phone about the how eating well and getting more sleep will help to turn his life around.

And, maybe, intellectually he knows the advice is sound. In reality it’s a lot less straightforward.

Because RK breaks regs for him and doesn’t report his instability. Confesses in a stilted toneless voice that he is afraid at night when Gavin goes home. That he does not know how to process the idea that each parting might be the last time they see each other.

“We’re not fucking librarians,” is what Gavin goes with, “I could die any day in this job.”

“No,” RK says, and there’s no room for argument, “I would not let you.”

The worst thing is that it doesn’t matter RK’s face can’t form more than mild expressions. It doesn’t matter that RK cannot shed tears. Gavin knows that he is upset, that he is experiencing pain when androids shouldn’t, and he can’t even properly empathize.

He’s taking his meds now, everything numbed until his system evens out, and he can’t help but dwell on the irony that in spite of appearances RK is the more human of the two of them.

RK makes the suggestion he couldn’t. Turns up on his doorstep with his cat and his cactus. The two cardboard box containing the rest of his possessions, and that night Gavin stares through the crack in his bedroom door at RK’s LED glowing blue out in the living room. He hopes he is doing this for the right reason.

He hopes that RK isn’t going to end up regretting this.

“I don’t eat breakfast,” he says in the morning, feeling almost refreshed for the first time in longer than he can remember, though it’s an argument that has been proven wrong on multiple occasions.

“I enjoy watching you eat,” RK says simply. “I take great pleasure in obtaining fresh samples of your salivary fluid afterward.”

“I don’t know how I control myself when you say things like that.”

RK gives him a quirk of a smile, the slight movement making Gavin’s heart clench painfully.

“I find myself engaged in a constant battle of willpower.”

They continue like that as things slowly start improving. He has his setbacks and his bad days. He struggles with cases sometimes, and works himself past the point of common sense at the gym, as though he can sweat out everything that’s wrong with him.

He takes it out on RK, too often, then flushes with embarrassment when he does stupid sappy shit to try and make it up to him. Holds RK’s hand in public, in the darkened privacy of the cinema, and actually attends the DPD summer community open day, wanting to be surly and unapproachable but unable to keep it up in the face of the line of kids who want to see his badge while he hands out free GPS tracker bracelets.

“In my day we didn’t want our kids chipped like dogs,” Anderson says, face unattractively sunburned, but because RK is looking over at him so sweetly - because RK, for reasons best known to himself, considers Connor and by extension Hank two of his very best friends - Gavin doesn’t quote the improved statistics on long term missing children.

Back home he watches cruddy old sci-fi shows and police procedurals, to satisfy RK’s need to have some sense of personal history, and he buys Guinevere treats and toys, because she is like a knight defending her prince and always knows when Gavin has been less than gallant.

RK tells him that he’s happy. Kisses him, and touches him, and slides smoothly to his knees, keeping eye contact as he does things with his tongue that are so good they ought to be illegal. They always kiss again afterward, the addition of new data mid-analysis making RK’s eyelids glitch in ecstasy.

Trusts Gavin enough to put his fingers inside him. To tease and torment his wires, pinching and tugging at his most intimate biocomponents. RK allows him into the wet access panel in his torso one night. Groans, helpless and static ridden, and guides Gavin’s gloved fingers deeper inside, to stroke around the back of his thirium pump.

RK’s skin dissolves under the onslaught of sensation. Gavin skims the fingers of his free hand over smooth plastic. Traces the glowing lines of his plating joints. Kisses RK, tender, and tells him that he looks good with or without his skin on.

It’s not a line he ever thought he hear himself uttering.

They lay facing each other on the bed afterwards, thirium stained gloves safely disposed of and RK’s skin back in place except for that on the hand entwined with his own. They can’t interface, not truly, but Gavin’s never felt closer to anyone than he does to RK in that moment.

Then the next day it all falls apart. At least it seems to.

Because they’ve got a woman sobbing hysterically in the interview room, shaking with panic and fear and the knowledge that it wasn’t a bad dream. She really had put a gun to her husband’s head and blown his brains out.

Gavin thinks of the nightmare that had screwed his own head up so badly, not so very long ago, and listens as she stumbles over her explanation of how he was going to leave her for someone she could never emulate. How she gave him everything, endured all the shit he threw at her, and he was going to toss her aside like garbage in favor of a glorified calculator.

It’s the kind of thing he used to say. The kind of thing that could cost him his job, were it reported and his supervisor chose to pursue it.

But when they get Jennie in, the well dressed ST300 playing the role of love rival, Gavin can’t help but be struck by her cold manner. He’s used to expressionless. He can live with toneless answers and distant looks. What he can’t manage is the total indifference radiating off her. Humans are fun to toy with, to get things from, but she certainly wouldn’t have stayed tied to one.

Thought it rather funny, in a way, that Tom’s wife cared enough to murder him.

She would have thought that luring him away was a generous favor.

It sends shivers down his spine. Has him remembering campaign literature from the Anti-Android League, about how the new equal rights legislation is tantamount to granting free reign to millions of psychopaths.

He tries to put it into words that night in front of the television. Lays himself open and vulnerable, and in place of the understanding he’s banking on RK sides with Jennie.

Tells him confidently that androids always make superior partners.

That he, of all people, ought to know that.

Conversation stalls after that. RK is petting the cat, engrossed, and Gavin’s reconsidering things he had thought for months were set in stone. Eventually he can’t take it any longer. Startles Guinevere by getting to this feet, and gives some lacklustre excuse about needing to pick something up at the grocery store.

“I could place the order online,” RK offers, “though we have plenty here to last until the regular delivery.”

Of course he knows. He could probably tell Gavin the exact amount of milk in the refrigerator and the precise number of cornflakes left in the packet.

So Gavin gets loud and starts cursing, then grabs his jacket from the peg and tells RK not to stay up waiting for him.

Like an android needs to sleep or something.

It’s raining out. The winter air cold and bitter. He gets into a fistfight, loitering around the manor of one of the city’s major red ice dealers, so that when he returns home nearly four hours later his eye is black and his jaw is swollen. He’s going to have some impressive bruises, all across his abdomen, but at least he isn’t high.

At least he hasn’t fallen back down that particular rabbit hole.

Too big a part of him wishes he was though. Wishes that he didn’t have to deal with the doubts circling around in his head. The devastating idea that this could never have worked anyway.

RK isn’t the monster he was created to be.

But Gavin lacks the tough skin he wants people to think he has.

He doesn’t want to know for certain that the love of his life thinks him inferior.

Except RK is sat up waiting for him, knees pulled to his chest on the sofa, and though his posture is too stiff and his frame too tall - and the red light bathing his face is more than a touch demonic - it makes him look small and vulnerable. The look he gives Gavin is something else entirely. So achingly sad that Gavin wants to forgive him anything.

“I was attempting to ease the tension with a joke. I wanted to make you laugh.”

Gavin frowns at him, replaying what he remembers of the conversation.

Crumples a little, because he’s not the only one here with issues. The only one with fears of being inferior - of not being able to live up to other people’s expectations.

“Your deadpan delivery is just too good, that’s the problem,” Gavin says, croaks really, and before RK can drop the temperature in his hand to try and soothe his jaw, Gavin pulls him in close, cradling RK’s head to his chest.

Strokes fingers through his hair, needing the contact, and vows - silently - that next time he’ll do the sensible thing and talk about it.

What he ends up talking about is Christmas. It’s approaching quickly now, garish advertisements everywhere, and he starts making plans for the kind of holiday he always dreamed of. He puts in requests for leave, books domestic flights and a room at a swanky hotel, and though he knows RK can tell he’s been up to something, he’s confident he’s covered his tracks adequately.

So RK picks up the slack on his other pledge, putting forward his view a couple of weeks later, “We are different, but it does not mean either of us is superior. We each have our strengths and our weaknesses.”

It’s true, doubtless, but he doesn’t have chance to say a word on the subject before everything goes to hell in a handcart. Before bullets are being fired, chaos everywhere, and RK throws himself in front of it like an idiot.

Serves as Gavin’s very own android shield, and every dumb worry Gavin’s ever had about their compatibility - about the future - fades into insignificance as thirium pools beneath his partner.

Miller doesn’t say a word about the tears on his face when RK is heaved onto a trolley and rushed off to a technician. Tina pats him on the back, not needing to say a word, and when he checks in with the precinct to find his outstanding reports have already been filed, he knows exactly who he needs to thank for it.

Sends Tina a text, just to let her know RK’s okay, because they’re letting him go home even if he’s not fully operational. Even if he isn’t going to be returning to work this side of Christmas. Even if his carefully planned surprise is an absolute no go now.

All but unique prototype parts are hard to come by, and that’s without factoring in the difficulty of fitting them.

RK apologizes to him. Is still using the default text to speech voice, weirdly flat and female, so Gavin has to kiss him silent. Surprises himself by just how much he means it when he says it doesn’t matter.

They get to celebrate together, just the two of them, and Gavin can’t see what difference it makes where they do it.

“Different but equal,” RK suggests, recalling their earlier conversation, and Gavin can’t begrudge him being right.

He’s still not free of his issues. He doesn’t think he ever will be. But he’s learning to manage them, to cope better, and in return fate or karma or rA-fucking-9, for all he knows, smiles down upon him. Grants him a full ten days of leave, practically the full Christmas period, and for once he gets to play the sick nurse - plumping RK’s pillows and massaging RK’s wires.

That last isn’t doctor’s orders, not by any means, but Gavin likes to pride himself on his ability to use his own initiative.

RK uses his good arm to return the favor. Kisses him until he’s got to replenish his analysis fluid.

Gets his own voice back in time for Christmas morning, and watches expectantly as Gavin unwraps his present.

“Please do not feel pressured to give me an answer,” RK says, right about the time Gavin realizes a detective of his standing really ought to have been tell a lot sooner, given RK’s nerves and the size of the box in his hands. “I had planned to follow tradition but, regrettably, I am sill waiting for my replacement knee joint.”

Gavin smiles stupidly. Reads the slip of paper tucked in alongside the ring, CyberLife Sans explaining that nothing could bring him greater joy than devoting himself to Gavin’s happiness - and having that fact legally recognized.

Sniffles, less than attractive, but RK doesn’t seem to mind at all.

Kisses him and links their fingers, then asks if they can re-watch one of the Christmas movies on the memory chip.

“I can do better,” Gavin promises, so elated he settles in for the duration, ring on his finger and his head resting against the soft fabric of RK’s new sweater, “I’ll watch as many as you want.”

Chapter Text

Gavin had never particularly cared about the android question either way. It was kind of weird, sure, seeing something that looked so human that you knew was only wires and plastic. But, on the other hand, he could appreciate the practical applications.

You could send them into the most dangerous of suicidal situations. They could perform the pointless drudgery humans shouldn’t have to.

The only problem was that some people had some very strange ideas about the practical applications androids ought to be put to.

He got an eye opening crash course on the subject when he served six months with ATIM, the Android Theft and Illegal Modification Unit, no other unit willing to take a chance on an untrained rookie detective. There were droids reprogrammed to run drugs, and steal cars, and collect interest accrued without the slightest shred of mercy.

To beat each other to death, in underground fight clubs fueled by dirty money and dirtier deals, and to beg for more as they took a dick in every orifice.

He was sick at a crime scene, for only the second time in his career, when they found a warehouse set up for the filming of a reversal of the former scenario. It was all hushed up, naturally, because the public didn’t like to know that the things they brought into their homes to look after their children could be the unwitting stars of snuff films with only a couple of extra chips soldered into their heads.

David did his best to help him keep work and home life separate. Agreed that they wouldn’t buy a housekeeping model, though their respective work schedules meant the apartment constantly looked it had been turned over, and when a vacancy came up in Vice he encouraged Gavin to apply even if the pay-off would be seeing even less of each other.

They went out to dinner to celebrate him getting the job, clinking wine glasses together like a picture perfect young professional couple, and later, when Gavin looked back on their relationship, he identified that night as the last time they were truly happy together.

Because he couldn’t get leave for the vacation David wanted them to go on, didn’t have the kind of prospects that made him willing to risk going AWOL, so he stayed home busting small time drug pushers while David tried out every extreme sport the resort and its environs had to offer.

Was flown back to Detroit courtesy of David’s mother rather than their subpar health insurance, back broken in three places, and almost overnight Gavin’s entire life fell apart around him.

He didn’t begrudge the hospital visits or the mounting bills. He loved David, had been planning on asking the question one day, maybe, and though it felt like the pressure at work was going to kill him, he kept looking to the day David was allowed home as the light at the end of the tunnel.

Things would be different then. David would be less frustrated, less distant, and he would be able to think about employing better coping mechanisms than chain smoking and getting into fistfights.

It didn’t work out quite like that, obviously, because David needed more care than he was capable of giving. Their apartment wasn’t designed for wheelchair access, and though his Captain was sympathetic, goodwill only stretched so far.

Wouldn’t cover his ass at all when he failed to bring in a perp who went on to murder his wife and daughter and, when he went to stand at the back of the funeral service, Lieutenant Anderson from the homicide squad folded his arms across his chest and told him to get lost.

He wasn’t wanted there.

From there it all went downhill.

He didn’t want to go home some nights. Didn’t want to have to deal with feeling so utterly useless, couldn’t bear another argument, and so he proved he really was a chip off the old block and started drinking the stress into submission. Worked his way up from the occasional bindle of cocaine, just to make the going easier, to turning up for morning briefings already off his face on red ice.

They had an android at home by this time, he saw it had always been inevitable, and when he did manage to get off work in time for David’s hospital appointments it was only to be told ‘Andy’, the HK400 they had on an installment plan, was better company than he was anyway.

Wasn’t going to put his life at risk by offering to drive when he knew he wasn’t in a fit state to be behind the wheel of a bumper car.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Gavin snapped, temper always lurking just beneath the surface these days, and rather than yell back at him David looked like he was about to burst into tears.

Told him that he didn’t know the man he was sharing a bed with anymore.

That he knew all about the red ice.

Didn’t know how Gavin could be so fucking stupid.

He put a fist through the drywall, because that was the kind of the thing the drug did to you, then Andy informed him in its calm mechanical tone that if he continued with the display of violent behavior its protocols would force it to place a call to the emergency services.

His swing for the android went just as well as could be expected and he ended up in a crumpled heap on the living room floor, nursing his broken hand and sobbing messily as he promised to get his act together.

To get clean and to be better, if only David promised that he wasn’t going to leave him.

Everyone he had ever cared about had left him.

It didn’t work. Couldn’t work, not when things were already so broken between them, and for every step forward he took two back. He stayed off the red ice for weeks, went to the gym and ate healthily, then a routine brothel raid went sour and he risked everything he had spent his whole life working for by lifting little bags of red ice from the evidence lock up.

Welcomed the euphoric embrace of the high it gave him, then dealt with the comedown by giving in to paranoid suspicions and accused David of caring more about Andy than he did about him.

Of letting the thing fuck him when he wouldn’t even let Gavin touch him.

“Can you blame me?” David screamed at him in return, their downstairs neighbors thumping on the ceiling, “You need to take a long hard look at yourself.”

It wasn’t a denial. It wasn’t anything close to it.

Gavin lost it totally. Smashed piles of crockery on the kitchen tiles and hurled David’s prized soccer trophies through the glass frames of the inbuilt room divider. Had learned nothing from last time, clearly, and almost had his wrist snapped in two by Andy before shoving his clothes and his essentials in a holdall and walking out into the cold wet night.

Away from the closest thing he had ever had to family.

The only thing he had left was his career and he threw himself into it with single mindedness he hadn’t even known possible. Applied for Homicide and made the grade and, because he was so determined to beat Anderson’s record as the youngest guy in the department to ever be promoted to Lieutenant, he started going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings every Wednesday evening.

It was there he first made connections with the Anti-Android League. Was welcomed into the fold with open arms, on account of the tales he could tell of his time with ATIM, and his own bitter experience.

He hated androids because they brought out the very worst in people, that was what he said at the first campaign meeting he attended, but it wasn’t long before he came to the conclusion he just hated androids. Period.

Because he still had to see David about the mess of their joint finances - the bills and the debts and the outstanding payments on Andy - and it was at one of those meet ups on supposedly neutral ground that he was finally granted the terrible proof.

He really had been replaced by an android.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” He hissed when David greeted it with a smile and an intimate touch to its arm. “You’re making a fool of yourself.”

“I wouldn’t expect you to understand,” David told him, confident with the inner calm that had first attracted Gavin.

That had been missing for such a long time.

David shrugged, just a little. “He makes me happy. We’re happy.”

“It isn’t happy,” Gavin insisted, “It’s an android. It isn’t capable of doing anything but what it’s programmed to do. You can mod it, patch it, whatever you want. It will never feel anything for you.”

David just gave him a sad smile, heartbreaking in its finality.

“I hope one day you find your own happiness.”

There wasn’t much chance of that, not by Gavin’s reckoning. Absolutely no chance at all, he decided the night of his 36th birthday, sat alone in a bar with nothing and no-one. Chen was working overtime, the only person who had told him to stay in touch after Academy graduation and meant it, and that left just him and his loneliness.

The call of red ice, forever crawling beneath his skin, and he tried to picture what David was doing right now. He was back at work, three days a week alongside the volunteer legal aid he had offered to keep his hand in, and Gavin wondered if Andy understood all the jargon that had used to pass over his head.

If David had been using his pay packet to buy black market add-ons, or if some day soon he would trade Andy in too for one of those creepy new intimate partner models.

He hoped so.

The only good android was a deactivated android, that was the rallying call of the Anti-Android League, and Gavin had only become more convinced they had the right idea. Rumors of so called Deviancy were doing the rounds now, fears growing that there were sentient pieces of plastic out there. Gavin didn’t believe it for a moment. Knew that Deviants were something even more terrifying.

This was some new mod. Something different to the normal stuff ATIM dealt with. Something powerful.

Anderson refused to listen to a word of it, as though being a washed up alcoholic was somehow better than a reformed addict, and they ended up with an android in an interrogation room like it was human. Like they couldn’t just pry its access panel open and forcibly download its memory.

It was a HK400, just to add insult to injury. Andy’s fucking face, looking right back at him.

“Rough it up a little,” Gavin suggested as, predictably, they got nowhere. “After all, it’s not human.”

It wouldn’t make any difference. But it might make him feel better.

Instead Anderson let Connor - Gavin hated how the things all had names in place of model numbers now - secure a confession from it, and something about the whole scene had a cold sense of paranoia settling deep in Gavin’s gut.

Connor was supposed to be factory fresh. Was meant to be nothing more than a swankier version of the PC200s and PM700s lining the precinct wall. It was displaying traits Gavin had only seen with extensive and sophisticated modding. It was like it was mocking him.

“It’s just doing its job,” Chen chided after he almost punched the thing in its stomach to see its reaction. Bit at her lip, considering, then went straight for the jugular, “If you need to talk you know I’m here for you. No judgement.”

Red Ice, rearing its ugly head once more.

“Fuck you, Chen,” he spat and stormed the hell out of there.

Went to the gym and took it out on the punchbag until he could think clearly. Until he was calm enough to sit on a bench and tip his head back against the wall, sweat dripping uncomfortably down the back of his neck.

Connor was a copbot, nothing more and nothing less. It was probably based on the intimate model programming. They were specifically coded to simulate something that might crudely resemble a personality. Anything else was baseless speculation.

Groundless paranoia.

Except he placed a call to his former colleagues at ATIM, just to be on the safe side, and got the kind of news in response that he had never wanted to hear. It wasn’t a joke and it wasn’t a mod. It wasn’t going away either, not any time soon, and when he asked if they’d been covering up Deviant cases his old boss sighed and told him she wasn’t going to give him anything.

She knew he was a paid up member of the Anti-Android League.

He should go to the press with what he knew. Ought to take this right to the President. Instead he met David in the lobby of the courthouse, palms slick with sweat, and demanded to know if there was more to his decision to choose Andy over him than he had wanted him knowing.

“It’s been two years,” David said in turn, disbelieving, “you’ve got to move on, Gavin.”

Gavin pushed a hand through his hair in frustration. Tried to explain that was not what he was there for. Started attracting attention from the public and security alike, but when David said that he was talking like a madman Gavin knew the truth.

David could fool judges and juries. Could charm his way out of just about anything.

He had never been any good at lying to Gavin’s face.

So instead of doing anything he would have imagined himself doing in such a situation, instead of arming himself to the teeth or getting as far away from the country as he could manage, he went to one of his old suppliers and got himself as high as a kite.

Took more in the precinct toilets in the morning before threatening Connor with a gun.

He could pull the trigger and its mission, whatever the fuck that was, would all end there.

If he emptied the clip he need not ever know the consequences.

Connor knocked him out cold instead, and when he came around Fowler told him he had no choice but to suspend him from duty.

There was no room in his department for users.

Still plenty of space for drunks though, apparently, and he kicked a file cabinet over on his way out just for the petty satisfaction of it.

In another life that might have been the end of it. The starting point of no return. But in this one the government announced a state of emergency, a general evacuation, and his suspension was overturned in recognition of the catastrophic shortage of manpower to enact either of those edicts.

Humans had grown too reliant on androids. Without them they were struggling for everything from bank tellers to paramedics. David called him from a burner phone with a disabled GPS tracker, begging him to help them, and because he had lost his mind, because he didn’t know which way was up anymore, he was conducting thermal scans on every civilian he boarded onto a bus while back at his apartment he was harboring his ex-boyfriend and his android lover.

He watched the scenes of the Revolution gathered around a terminal at the precinct, squeezing tight at the hand Chen silently reached out, reassuring.

There was Connor, expressionless in the background, and an entire army of androids. Ready and willing to fight for their rights should they not be freely given. Humanity’s greatest achievement pledging to be the means of their extermination.

Not in so many words, obviously.

David told him that things were going to be wonderful. Kissed Andy right in front of him, the android’s demeanor changed entirely as it kissed him back, big hands framing David’s face as it told him it loved him.

The perfect fucking Hallmark ending.

He got reinstated, officially, providing he went through a drugs program and counselling, and when they signed him back on to active duty it was to find he had been assigned a new partner. It was non-negotiable, a deal breaker if he decided he wanted to get riled up abut it, and Gavin simply stared in disbelief at Connor MK II sat at the desk that had been positioned opposite his.

Then he did his best to ignore it. Went out of his way to act as though he was blissfully unaware of its existence.

Slipped up one afternoon and called it by name as he demanded it stop bringing him coffee like it thought that was going to make them friends or something.

“Connor is not my name,” the thing said simply, icy eyes gazing steadily at him, “My designation is RK900. Your human colleagues have shown preference for RK, its shortened format.”

“Why the fuck do you think I care?” Gavin asked with a sneer but later, sat staring at the wall of his apartment, he changed the android’s caller ID on his phone.

It made sense to better differentiate between his own plastic prick of a partner and Anderson’s.

Except as the days slowly formed weeks the act proved exhausting. He couldn’t keep it up, had too many other problems he needed to deal with - bills, and depression, and the memories of how good it felt to be too fucked up to care about any of it - and the slips he made became permanent.

The android became RK900. Then RK. ‘It’ became ‘he’, and he started initiating conversation in the squad car because it was better than going stir-crazy and talking to his own shadow. His Anti-Android League membership lapsed and they closed more cases together than anybody else in the unit. Worked seamlessly at scenes that made him think of David’s tragic pronouncement that the future would be wonderful, and found ways of dealing with perps and victims and witnesses that balanced out both their weaknesses.

They made a good team, worked well together, that was what the six month appraisal of their partnership concluded, and Gavin supposed that meant he was now stuck with RK for the long haul.

It wasn’t so bad, could be worse he guessed, and when Chen asked him one night what the real deal was with him and the robot the only real answer Gavin could give her was that he was ambivalent.

Too tied up in his own problems to really give a fuck so long as RK kept his distance when he wasn’t needed.

She raised an eyebrow, a look that never boded well for him, and said bluntly that maybe he ought to try looking a little closer. Pay a little more attention.

“You’re supposed to be a detective,” she told him finally, exasperated, “why don’t you try detecting.”

His first thoughts were, predictably, paranoid. Had him glancing over his shoulder to check what RK was doing when they were at a scene, tense with the idea he was about to be stabbed in the back. Shot, more likely, but RK always seemed to be busy looking at something. Sticking something disgusting in his mouth, more often or not, so Gavin let it slide.

Tried talking instead, digging for whatever it was that was so blatant Chen said a blind man could have seen it.

As ever, RK was only too happy to talk to him. Answered all his questions with an unnerving earnestness, and proved over and over again that appearances really were deceptive. Because RK looked cold and emotionless. Disinterested and haughty. Gavin knew that it was a design feature. Physical limitations deliberately imposed upon him.

He had never really put two and two together though, and as his meds evened out his mood - as the cravings became less debilitating and his random thoughts of David less frequent - he realized he had been doing RK a great disservice.

Deviancy wasn’t a mod. Not a simple patch or a new chip overriding a line of code or two. He didn’t know how he had ever believed it could have been. Deviancy was being alive, with everything that entailed, and Gavin simply watched sometimes, enthralled, as RK did something that no modder would have thought to make him do.

To bake him a cake for his birthday, because it had seemed like a pleasant thing to do, and to pull the world’s strangest attempt at a beaming smile when Gavin told him that it wasn’t entirely awful.

Washed it down with the mug of coffee he had quit protesting against and, for reasons he didn’t want to investigate too closely, invited RK to join himself and Chen that evening. RK was so happy about it, so incapable of hiding it, and Gavin couldn’t even say when he had learned to interpret every twitch of RK’s face and the expression they represented.

Chen asked him if he had worked it out yet, smirking at the way his gaze wandered over to where RK was getting their drinks in - a logical idea, apparently, because neither he or Chen were capable of walking in a straight line by this point.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Gavin slurred, honest, and in response Chen giggled stupidly and told him RK would reveal all when he was good and ready.

She didn’t know what she was talking about, that much he told her readily, then the rest of the night passed by in a blur until he woke up in the morning with six foot two of android watching over him.

“You were highly intoxicated,” RK told him, cool and calm as usual, “I felt it prudent to ensure you did not choke on your own vomit.”

That did a remarkably good job of dispelling the last lingering memories of a dream in which he had been making out with a guy with a glowing blue ring at his temple.

He wasn’t going there. Wasn’t ever going anywhere near that idea. Not because it repulsed him - but because of the terrifying realization that it didn’t.

Because they made it through a whole year of being partnered without either of them pulling a gun on the other, definitely some kind of record in his book, and in lieu of having any real reason not to he began spending great swathes of off-duty time with RK. Watched movies, and went bowling, and got dragged to the android history exhibit at the city museum, RK openly fascinated by the clunky sci-fi robots and an ancient Moog synthesizer used to create the kind of terrible music RK habitually listened to.

“There can be great beauty in the electronic,” RK said, sincere, and Gavin had to look away from the way his hair curled over his forehead lest he find himself opening his mouth to agree with him.

He was in too deep already.

Bought a portable charge unit to keep in his living room and spent Saturday mornings wandering around the mall closest to RK’s apartment, watching his partner pick out clothes based on the color and the cut and how soft the fabric was, and treats for the pet he so obviously doted on.

“How do you not get cat hair all over you?” Gavin asked one night, eating take out at RK’s rather than face his own miserable apartment, because he wasn’t ready to admit that he was admiring the way RK’s black pants and slouchy turtleneck were highlighting his trim waist and broad shoulders.

“I use a clothes brush,” RK said, like he imagined Gavin to be doing the same thing, and when he demonstrated just to drive home how much of a slob Gavin was in comparison, for some reason Gavin didn’t say a word about the sweater he saw hanging on RK’s clothes rail, half hidden beneath his old CyberLife jacket.

He must have left it there one evening. If he put enough effort in he was sure he would remember exactly when.

The closest he got was a vague feeling he had worn it to work, months earlier.

That couldn’t be right though, because not even a Deviant android would want any of his clothing bad enough to steal it.

Especially not one with RK’s eye for an outfit. Gavin envied it a little. Enjoyed the end result, even if he was never going to say so, and then his world went from wondering where today’s button down had been purchased to trying to make sense of what was happening, because the lights were out and his ears were ringing with the sound of a bomb blast.

Awareness came to him in degrees. He was alive. He wasn’t hurt too badly. RK had thrown himself atop him, like a shield, and was now talking quietly into his ear to tell him that the exits had been blocked by fallen masonry, and if RK moved right now there was a 93% chance of the pillar above them falling.

It had already shifted some. Was being held in place by the rubble crushing RK’s leg. Gavin realized belatedly that the wetness on his own skin wasn’t sweat but thirium.

RK could die.

He didn’t understand how he had never realized what it would truly mean to be without him.

RK kept talking. Stopped him giving in to the sickening waves of panic. Carefully inched his fingers closer, until Gavin could clench gratefully at them, and then directed the firefighters above them until they were both pulled free, RK’s leg being hacked off at mid thigh to facilitate it.

They spent a few quiet minutes together before being whisked off for treatment. RK was sat on the back ledge of a droid maintenance truck, wires exposed and skin deactivated. He ducked his face a little when Gavin limped over, like he expected Gavin to be disgusted.

Like Gavin was no better now than he had been the day he had threatened to put a bullet through Connor’s forehead.

He put his hand to RK’s cheek, surprised by how smooth the plastic felt against his palm. Soothed his thumb along a slight scuff to the swell of his synthetic cheekbone. Met RK’s gaze, unflinching, and leaned in slowly until their foreheads were pressed together.

“I know what you are,” he managed, throat choked up with demolition dust and emotion, “it doesn’t matter to me.”

That night he slept the sleep of the dead, utterly exhausted, then awoke to dozens of notifications on his phone because the blast had been claimed by an offshoot of the Anti-Android League - but the image all the media outlets had gone with was him clinging tight to RK in the aftermath like they were reunited lovers.

It was just a single moment caught in time, didn’t have any deeper meaning, but their names were already attached to the image and when he switched on the news it was to the sight of Fowler reading out a statement. Answering a question from the press pool with a curt summary of the DPD’s lenient position on non-supervisory fraternization, and making absolutely no attempt to correct the mistaken belief that two of his detectives were waving the banner for human-android relationships.

Gavin was livid. Panicked. Arrived at the precinct to find RK already sat there, leg replaced and dents all fixed up, and a scrolling feed playing on the TV in the break room covering every aspect of the previous day’s terrorist attack.

“How does it feel to be famous?” Chen asked, not unkindly.

“Me and RK - we’re not,” Gavin said, needing to clarify, and Chen looked at him closely for a second before nodding in understanding.

Clapped him on the shoulder before going back out on patrol, and let him go back to his desk where he found he had visitors waiting for him.

Kowalski had been his partner, back when he was with ATIM, and Simmons had taken over command of the new android hate crimes unit. Had a proposition for him, said Fowler had already greenlit it should he agree, then proceeded to outline how he and RK were going to play bait for the fanatics hiding behind the legitimate front of the Anti-Android League.

“No,” RK said, before Gavin had chance to even think about it, “the risks to Detective Reed’s safety are unacceptable.”

“He’s a big boy,” Kowlaski countered, “he can make his own mind up.”

“I would be relying heavily on your cooperation,” Simmons said, addressing RK solemnly, “we’ll give you both some time to talk it over.”

RK was adamant. All his reasoning was founded entirely on the possibility of Gavin being injured, or worse. Gavin scratched at the itchy bandages on his arms, still sensitive from the heat and the prolonged contact with thirium, and scrolled through his phone needing the distraction from RK’s intensity. Glanced over a mixture of support and outrage, and opened a message from David telling him how thrilled he was for him.

How he was sorry, for the way everything had turned out between them, but that Gavin wasn’t a bad man.

He deserved to be happy.

That was the opposite of Gavin’s usual thoughts on the subject, and he re-read the message through three times before touching his hand to RK’s. Watched how the skin underneath his touch melted away, as though RK wasn’t quite in control of it, and stiltedly tried to explain why he had signed up for the Academy in the first place.

How he had wanted to play his part, to make a difference, and if his vulnerability was the only stumbling block to them doing this then RK had to understand he knew the risks.

Every day he wore the badge could be the last one.

“We’ll do it,” he told Simmons when she came back with her coffee, and got the dubious joys of a full three hour briefing followed by RK refusing to let him leave the building until he went and put on his covert stab vest.

Until he let him look over his arm personally, and gauge the effect the injury would have on his ability to pull his gun and shoot with accuracy.

“I’m the diagnosed paranoiac,” Gavin pointed out, testily, but RK just fixed him with a look that made him shiver and said bluntly,

“You matter more to me than this mission.”

It was too much, too intense, and though Gavin did his best to laugh it off and play it casual, nothing he did could quite dispel the memory of RK’s cool blue gaze and the answering heat in his own belly.

He wondered if it showed. If the people staring at them as they went about being visibly, provocatively together, could see that somehow, somewhere along the last eighteen months they had spent practically living in each others pockets, he had fallen desperately in love with this android.

That he was willingly walking around with a price on his head in the hope it would prove to RK - prove to himself - that one day he might be worth the unwavering friendship RK had shown him.

The impossible things he wanted above and beyond that.

RK was staying with him for the interim, everything he owned fitting neatly into the cardboard box he brought with him, while Gavin carried the cat and pretended not to be cooing quiet encouragement at it. His place had more stuff to do, more dusty corners to explore and and kitchen cupboards full of snack food to beg for.

He ignored the warning look RK gave him at that last, flicking on the lights and switching on the television. Left his guests watching it and went to dump RK’s box into the space he had made in his closet until he wanted to unpack it. Couldn’t resist taking a look, just a peep, and then took his discovery back with him, just in time to catch RK’s LED whirling between yellow and red, gun drawn as he motioned for him to be silent.

In retrospect it was the most obvious move the League could have made. They still had his address on their mailing list.

There, in the moment, all he could do was follow RK’s instructions to get down. To scrabble for the gun in his leg holster and shoot kind of wild and indiscriminate, like he couldn’t remember a single thing he’d learned in basic training.

All that mattered was ensuring that RK didn’t pay the ultimate price for his own stupid desire to play the hero.

It didn’t last long. Back up was there in a matter of minutes. He managed to empty his clip and take two bullets to the shoulder, the worst of the damage absorbed by the vest he had been about to get out of.

RK came off worse, thirium gurgling from a wound in his throat where they had been aiming for the wires and the delicate biocomponents hidden by a flimsy access panel.

This time around Gavin didn’t care who saw or what conclusions they drew from it. Stroked RK’s perfect hair back from his perfect forehead and told him that if he died on him now, after everything they had been through, he would never ever forgive him.

RK glitched under his touch, eyelids fluttering but unable to open, and it was Chen who came to sit beside him in the early hours of the morning while the best techs Markus could offer them did what they could for an android that had been created to destroy them.

“Did you work it out yet?” She asked, after assuring that the cat was being showered with attention at Miller’s until one of them could go get it, and this time Gavin didn’t need to ask what she was talking about.

Thought about the sweater he had found folded up with RK’s belongings, along with every post it note he had ever stuck to his partner’s terminal. The dumb raffle prize he had won at Christmas and tossed in RK’s direction with a dismissive ‘do what you want with it’, and a copy of the book he had once mentioned as being one of his childhood favorites.

“Do you think it’s weird?”

“Why does it matter what I think?” Chen asked. Relented with a sigh and said, “I think you’re good for each other.”

She said her goodbyes when a tech came to tell him RK was awake now. Sent him off to go and face the music, and though he meant to play it cool, to wait until they weren’t surrounded by a bunch of busybody androids, when he saw RK he couldn’t wait any longer.

Linked their fingers together in a poor imitation of the way he saw android couples interfacing, only for the skin on RK’s hands to deactivate, the other coming up to touch his cheek this time. To trace his features, careful and tentative, and gaze at him adoringly until Gavin kissed him.

“The operation was concluded successfully,” RK told him when he pulled him way, perfectly calm and serene except for the way his LED was churning yellow, “you need not continue the pretence any longer.”

“And if I wanted to?” Gavin challenged with a bravado he didn’t quite feel. Was glad to see they had been left alone, at least nominally, and went on, “If I said that maybe you mean more to me than any mission?”

“You would remain a target of anti-android hate. I could not advise such a course of action.”

“I’m old enough and ugly enough to make my own decisions,” Gavin said, paraphrasing Kowalski’s words from a few days previous, and RK didn’t let go of his hand. Couldn’t seem to look away, even, saying quietly,

“That is a statement I would have to disagree with.”

Gavin felt the warmth rush over him. Love and want and the impossible truth that RK felt the same things he did.

So he smiled at him, helpless, and waited for RK to close the gap between their lips.

“Prove it.”

Chapter Text

“People just don’t talk about this shit,” Gavin told him, cheeks flushed in the most attractive manner, though he attempted to hide them by taking a sip from his now cold coffee.

“I must disagree,” RK900 said, noting the adorable way Gavin’s nose scrunched up in distaste, “87% of your conversation with Officer Chen directly relates to topics of a sexual nature.”

“Yeah, but,” Gavin flustered, the truth of the statement sinking in. Lashed out rather than feel defenceless, demanding, “What the fuck are you doing eavesdropping on us anyway? We could be talking about something private.”

RK900 had no comeback to that, at least not one which his preconstruction software could assure him wouldn’t result in further hostility on Gavin’s part. So he remained silent, pensive, and found himself surprised by the way Gavin rubbed at the back of his neck when he dropped him off for the evening and said,

“Look, the only person who can work out what makes you feel good is you. Just, I dunno, turn the lights low and hit up some freaky roboporn.”

“Are you suggesting that I watch video clips of a provocative nature while touching myself?” RK900 asked, wanting clarity, and Gavin breathed harshly though his nose, eyes dark where they met his own.

“Get out of my car, RK. And for fuck’s sake don’t text me about it afterwards.”

Those instructions were clear enough. RK900 felt comfortable in his ability to execute them. Used the control panel next to his front door to decrease the luminosity of the overhead lights, uncertain why the step was important but trusting Gavin’s judgement, then went to stand in his favorite corner.

Reconsidered the move after bringing up the first porn website his browser suggested, and decamped to the fold out sofa bed he had bought to accommodate Gavin on the rare occasions he spent time at his apartment.

The shop assistant had suggested it was an unnecessary purchase, based on the statistics he was able to share with her, but RK bought it anyway. Deviancy was about hope, not actuality.

Once he was positioned comfortably, posture slouching a little into the cushions the way he observed from the subjects of the videos, he returned to browsing the front page. He felt a little overwhelmed, truthfully, by the amount of choice on offer. He had not been designed to make his own free form decisions.

He needed to limit the parameters somehow. Still didn’t really understand exactly what it was he was he wanted to search for.

This problem had begun, he mused, with the strange sensation of a phantom thirium pump error that had coincided with Gavin licking melted chocolate from his fingers. That seemed as good a place to start as any.

There were a number of videos featuring humans and androids alike sucking viscous substances from their fingers. They were interesting. Appealed to his design functions and capabilities. It was not until he came across one where the appendages being sucked belonged to a man with a faint resemblance to Gavin that he received that same false error warning.

After that he modified the search he was running. Quickly adapted the code he used to run facial recognition through the DPD databases, and searched through thousands of similar websites, looking for humans with a close physical resemblance to his partner.

Brought up a result before search completion, curious, the program indicating an almost perfect match.

Closer inspection removed the 0.04% doubt on the matter.

It was Gavin.

He was younger in the video. Leaner. Lacked the fascinating scar across his nose, but that didn’t make this earlier version of him any less beautiful. It didn’t do anything to reduce the number of error messages the scene before him was inducing.

Watching this was perhaps overstepping a boundary. Yet it was available openly on the internet. There had been no password or pay wall to prevent him accessing the video.

The skin on his fingers deactivated involuntarily, his preconstruction software running at top speed, looping imagined images and sensations of Gavin kissing him, even as his real life counterpart ground and groped against a taller man with dark hair and light colored eyes.

It was - exciting. Stimulating. Had his thirum pump faltering for real when the scene skipped a few of the logical necessities, until Gavin was on his knees, groaning eagerly before sucking messily at the other man’s erection.

Rubbing it against his cheek, slick with his own spit and his co-star’s pre-ejaculate, and RK900 felt a profound sense of frustration that he would never be able to give that to Gavin.

But then there was a scene switch, Gavin sat back against the couch cushions, and this - this was something RK900 could definitely do. He brought his fingers to his mouth, just to test the theory, thrusting them in and out in time with the motions of the mouth upon Gavin’s penis.

He wished he could see the video from all angles. Could tilt the camera upwards to better see the flush in Gavin’s cheeks and the way he bit down at his lip, attempting to stifle his pretty sounds of pleasure.

The other man moved down lower. Sucked at the delicate skin of Gavin’s left testicle, prompting a moan of encouragement, then used his hands to expose his orifice to view, tongue visibly slick with saliva as it probed with a thoroughness that made RK900 jealous.

He wanted to be in that position. He wanted to analyze Gavin from the inside out.

Wanted to be the cause of Gavin making those breathy, desperate sounds.

It felt as though his cooling fans were not even working, when in fact they were running at optimal capacity. His fingers felt strange, almost like they were full of static charge, and it seemed to spread up his arms and all over his body as in the video a finger was pushed in alongside the teasing tongue, and Gavin arched up, frantic, a familiar curse wrenched from him.

He didn’t know what to do about it, didn’t know how to relieve the overwhelming sensations. The scenario in the video jumped ahead again, Gavin on his back with his hand working feverishly on his swollen erection as he begged to be fucked harder. Panting, and pleading, and making helpless sounds of ecstasy as his ejaculate spurted over his stomach.

RK900 felt his fingers twitch - glitch - with the overload of unusable data. There was error code running across the corner of his vision. Hundreds of systems errors threatening to crash one of his processing units. He fumbled the access panel at his neck open manually. Stuck a finger inside to temporarily disconnect an overheating connection cable.

Then managed to short himself out completely, his clumsy motor skills prompting a system reboot.

When he came back online three minutes and twelve seconds had passed, and he was ready to go and find answers to a new wave of questions.

Spent the entire night exploring his access panels while deconstructing the videos of Gavin. There were another two in addition to the first. One with Gavin being spanked over an older man’s knee, and another of him splashing about in a swimming pool, skin looking bronzed and healthy in a way RK900 had never been privy to in real life.

He worked out how to disperse the feeling without forcing a reboot. Took to preconstructing Gavin’s fingers stroking his wires in place of his own.

Cross referenced the moments that caused significant spikes in the number of error messages, and looped some of his favorite clips of Gavin’s face from his personal experience with the sounds Gavin made as he approached ejaculation. Overlaid it all atop clips of scenes he wanted to enact with Gavin, and knocked his optical units offline as biocomponents rattled in his torso, his thirium pump straining to keep up with the constant overstimulation.

He could do with charging, really, but Gavin rang him to say he was outside just before 7:30 am and RK900 wondered what the correct protocol here was.

All day it was a struggle to keep his attention fixed on the tasks he was designated, at least not to his preferred percentage of processing power. He was too busy cataloging Gavin’s every movement. Merging his emotional understanding of what he felt for the detective - love, 100% certainty - and this new, overtly physical element of his constant desire to be in the man’s proximity.

He had always wanted to touch Gavin. Lick him, and chart him, and feel him pressed close against his side where he could monitor his vital signs without interruption.

Now he wanted to make Gavin feel excited as well as secure. He still wanted to watch Gavin sleep, to brush his fingers over Gavin’s facial features and provide assurance that he was not facing the nighttime hours alone. But now he wanted to work Gavin into a state of sated exhaustion.

To drain the tension from his body then hold him in his arms until his breathing evened out.

“All right then,” Gavin sighed once they were out in the car, RK900 keeping him company on his lunch break, “just get it over with. You’re obviously dying to tell me all about it.”

RK900 opened his mouth to protest - he was fully operational - but Gavin wasn’t finished.

“You haven’t stopped staring at me all morning, though I don’t know what you think I’m gonna be able to tell you. Your buddy Connor’s a better bet, as fucking gross as that idea is.”

He preconstructed multiple responses to that statement. A reminder that people did not talk about sexual topics at work, apparently. Pointing out that Gavin had exhibited low level sexual attraction to his predecessor on multiple occasions, a truth that incited illogical but irrepressible jealousy every time RK900’s attention was drawn to it.

“I followed your suggestions,” he said instead, “I spent 10.4 hours mastering the process.”

Gavin choked on his sandwich. Had to be clapped between the shoulderblades, with a moderate amount of force, before he could reach for his water bottle and wheeze out,

“Fucking hell. Didn’t it start to chafe or something?”

“I have no genitalia,” RK900 explained after running a quick search to put a likely context to the question, and while Gavin was still blinking wide eyed at that, went on to say, “I do not know the correct etiquette with which to approach this topic. May I ask a personal question?”

“Why stop now?” Gavin deadpanned, then waited for him to continue.

Sat there looking at him with his beautiful blue eyes, and his perfect imperfections. RK900 struggled to push past the software instability that still arose in such moments, everything about them so achingly flawless, and dimly registered the skin on his hands deactivating, wanting nothing more than to be in contact with Gavin.

“Is it acceptable for me to reference the pornographic films you featured in?”

Gavin’s face went pale, shock visible across his features, and then his skin flushed red. Embarrassment, RK900 deduced.

“I’m not ashamed of it.”

“Why should you be?” RK900 asked, head tilting to the side, concluding that Gavin was uncertain about the truth of his own statement.

“I was young and reckless. I needed the money.”

RK900 remained silent, waiting for Gavin to continue.

“I liked it.”

The answers read as honest, all three of them, and RK900’s fingers twitched with the forcibly suppressed urge to reach out for Gavin’s.

“So did I,” he said simply, “I could not prevent a system shutdown after watching you reach completion for the first time.”

“Fuck,” Gavin cursed, voice rough and colored with the arousal RK900 was picking up loud and clear. Met his gaze head on then, intense and searching. “Why are you telling me this? What do you want me to do about it?”

“I wish to engage in similar scenarios with you. Although I am not - equipped for some of the acts, I feel confident that I could substitute them with equally satisfying alternatives.”

“Yeah, but why?” Gavin pushed, eyes growing darker as his pupils dilated in reaction to his vocal output, “The Eden Club does an android discount on Wednesdays. Twenty bucks for half hour with whatever pretty face takes your fancy.”

RK900 frowned, unable to understand Gavin’s line of questioning. Gavin had never previously shown an interest in the pricing structure of the Eden Club. RK900 had no desire to allow anybody but Gavin’s fingers to press inside his most delicate access points.

He said as much, clarity suddenly dawning, because Gavin wanted to know why him. What reason he had for wanting to explore any of this with him above any and all others.

“I found the videos by running a reconfiguration of my facial recognition software. The initial sensations I experienced were incited by you. I had no notable success in recreating them until I chanced across a clip featuring a human who bore a certain resemblance to your facial structure.”

Gavin was suspicious, always. Wanted to trust him but needed greater persuasion.

“I found myself disappointed the footage was not more recent. You have grown more beautiful in the intervening years.”

“Can you even hear the bullshit you’re spouting?”

“My audio input units are operating at 100%, yes. And please do not belittle my feelings. I understand that any encounter you agree to would be -,” his LED cycled yellow as he searched for an appropriate word, “casual, but that does not diminish the intensity of the love I feel for you.”

In retrospect, perhaps that would have been a better argument to lead with.

“You understand I can’t go 10-point-whatever hours, right?”

RK900 nodded, LED still yellow with distress and confusion.

“And I’m not going to change my stance on talking about this at the station.”

He nodded again.

“Okay,” Gavin nodded in turn, sharp and stilted. “Okay then. Because I’m not promising you it will be a bed of roses, yeah? But I l-like you. I really like you too.”

“Can I touch you?” RK managed, tone scarcely livelier than text to speech, and when Gavin gave another sharp nod he touched the plastic of his fingers to the back of Gavin’s hand.

It was even more perfect than he had preconstructed.

“Did you really keep at it for 10.4 hours?”

“10.43, to be more exact.”

“Fuck,” Gavin breathed, all over again, and gave him a bewildered sort of smile.

Squeezed at his fingers before letting go, then balled up the remains of his sandwich in its wrapper and got ready to put the car into auto drive.

“Maybe we can work up to it.”

Chapter Text

"When was the last time you wore uniform? I mean, is there any guarantee you’re going to squeeze into it?”

“Fuck you, Chen,” Gavin countered, airily, and shoved the last of his donut into his mouth.

He wasn’t worried about it.

Not much, anyway.

It was a fucking stupid idea, and that was being generous. He would bet good money on it having originated with Anderson’s plastic prick of a partner.

Connor wasn’t going to have to stand on stage while drunk colleagues and drunker members of the public bid for his company though.

Naturally.

It wouldn’t do to offend the tin can’s sensibilities.

Androids had been subservient long enough, so the official line went, selling their services for charity wasn’t going to be a good look for the Department.

So that left him knocking back a few drinks as he got dressed that evening, lying to himself as he did it that it wasn’t for dutch courage. He wasn’t nervous about the auction.

He wasn’t absolutely terrified that he wouldn’t attract a single bid, and the humiliation of the event would follow him everywhere, up to and beyond retirement.

Chen gave him a wolf whistle when he arrived at the venue, hair combed back and shoes shined until he could see his face in them. He always felt different in uniform. It made him stand up straighter, like his posture needed to be good to bear the weight of the history and the expectation on his shoulders.

“You scrub up well.”

“I couldn’t look like this every day,” he offered, playing up to his reputation, “nobody would be able to get any work done.”

“In your dreams.”

Yeah, that sounded more like it.

Still, it was too late to do anything about it. He had to get up on stage to be publicly ridiculed, and he couldn’t turn the clock back to try again to make friends and influence people.

He had to fight against the urge to fold his arms across his chest. He felt exposed with everybody staring at him.

Vulnerable.

“I’ll give you 99 cents!” Chen yelled out, before his introductory spiel was even finished, and Gavin supposed that at least he wouldn’t be left standing there like a fool until they accepted defeat and ushered him out back to slink away, in disgrace.

“A dollar fifty,” someone else countered, followed by,

“Six bucks. And that’s my final offer!”

Gavin had never been great at making connections with people, not the good kind at any rate. He let his temper get the better of him. Didn’t put the effort in when it came to small talk and pleasantries. Now he was simply reaping what he sowed.

He could feel the flush in his cheeks. Scowled resolutely out at the audience but wished with everything he had that the ground would open up and swallow him. He just wanted it all to be over.

Somebody offered 50 dollars, then Mrs. Carter, one of the regular fliers who was always down at the front desk reporting some imagined infraction of her neighbors or other, bid $75. Gavin shuddered to think how many forms she would want filled out in the four hours they’d be expected to spend together.

“A thousand dollars,” a voice said from down back, where Gavin couldn’t quite make out the faces in the dimness, and a little ripple of shock went around the room because not even Officer McKenna had brought in that much, and he was widely renowned for being pleasant, and congenial, and Mr. August in the DPD fundraising calendar.

“Sold!” The compère grinned, banging his gavel, and Gavin stumbled off in the direction indicated, wondering what the hell had just happened.

If this was some elaborate - and expensive - joke, or if he had some secret admirer he had never known about.

That last idea was far more appealing than it had any right to be.

It was neither, that quickly became clear, because this was a public display of pity.

RK was stood waiting for him. Giving him that ridiculous grimace of a smile, like Gavin ought to be grateful.

Like this was a symbol of something other than how very low Gavin had fallen.

“You are not happy,” RK said, brow furrowing and LED cycling yellow, and Gavin just had to push past him before he broke his fist in a misguided attempt to punch him.

Before he said a whole bunch of hurtful things he could never take back again.

RK900 couldn’t take a hint, apparently, and followed him out into the hallway.

“I do not understand,” RK told him, gazing at him like he was supposed to have all the answers.

Like he was something more than a fucked up mess he ought to steer clear of.

“It’s simple.” Gavin laughed, ugly and bitter. “We’re done. You’ve won. If they won’t grant me a reassignment, I’ll transfer. No more fucking dead weight dragging you down.”

He threw all his books from the shelves when he got home. Smashed the dirty crockery into pieces on the kitchen floor. Sobbed in the shower as the last of the anger finally drained away, leaving the hurt, and the failure, and the memory of the way RK had looked at him, bewildered and broken.

In the morning RK900’s desk was empty. Gavin did his best to ignore it, the minutes crawling past, until Fowler called him into his office to ask, so very calm and polite, what the fuck he had done to make RK900 tender his resignation.

“I didn’t do anything,” Gavin protested, practically force of habit by this point, and Fowler yelled at him in turn, because the Department wasn’t in any position to be losing officers. Especially not ones who could do the work of ten of him.

“Look,” Fowler went on, the worst of the storm over, “I thought you were past that whole Anti-Android thing. RK900 has never done anything but sing your praises. I don’t know what’s gone down between you two but sort it out - I don’t want to see that desk empty tomorrow morning.”

Gavin got the message. Ignored Anderson’s curious look, and Connor’s frown of knowing. Grabbed his jacket and his keys instead, and went straight round to RK900’s apartment building.

Sat outside in the car for almost twenty minutes, trying to work out what he was going to say to his partner.

Ex-partner.

RK900 had shelled out $1,000 for the honor of his company at a dinner he couldn’t even eat, and in return Gavin had thrown a tantrum. Stomped his foot like a spoiled brat and RK900 had taken it so seriously he was throwing in the towel.

Never wanted to clap eyes on him again.

Except when RK pulled the door to his apartment open he didn’t look displeased to see him.

He looked even more miserable than Gavin felt.

There was nothing Gavin could even point to for the certainty. RK’s expression was as stoic as usual; his posture as upright and rigid. His perfect hair was falling just so over his perfect forehead, and his clothes were neat and clean and immaculate.

Gavin knew though. Could see it in the way RK wouldn’t meet his eye, and the way his voice was overly flat and toneless.

“I told you to fuck off a thousand times when we were first partnered together,” Gavin said to fill the silence, “what was so different about last night that you decided to listen?”

RK900’s LED cycled red, just for a moment, before returning to yellow.

“I realized that my preconstruction software is faulty. Perhaps there are other faults my diagnostics have been failing to detect. I could not continue to place fellow officers and members of the public at risk.”

That sounded serious. Made him feel kind of sick.

“What went wrong?” he asked, not entirely sure he wanted the answer, and though RK900 couldn’t cry, Gavin swore his gaze was over bright as it fixed upon him.

“I miscalculated your reaction based on what I wanted to happen, not the facts of the situation.”

Gavin swallowed thickly. Hated himself for making the best guy he had ever worked with doubt his field competence. For hurting him with the toxicity he tried so hard to channel inwards.

“I see now that there was no possibility of my desired outcome. I meant to prove to you how highly I value your company. All I succeeded in doing was causing you emotional pain.”

“You did nothing wrong,” Gavin managed, voice rough, “you can’t predict everything, RK. I didn’t know I was going to react like that. How the fuck could you be expected to?”

It wasn’t enough. It didn’t work. Fowler called him back in the next morning for a progress report, then huffed and sighed and said he would keep RK’s resignation letting in his in-tray for the maximum ten days, to give him more time to fix his screw up.

He hadn’t realized how much he relied on RK to get through the day. They worked together so seamlessly, understood each other instinctively. He always had someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of. Someone who cared what he was doing, how he was coping, and who he cared about in turn.

So much more than he could once have believed possible.

The payment went through, at least. He got his name in the weekly staff bulletin for his services to the fundraising effort. RK did too, complete with a picture of the two of them that Gavin couldn’t remember being taken.

He had a genuine smile on his face, small though it was, looking over at RK who was gazing back at him with such fondness that nobody could miss it.

Something ached in his chest. He couldn’t just sit there and let it happen, the destruction of the best thing that had ever happened to him.

He swallowed his pride and went to Connor. Asked him questions about preconstructions and their accuracy, and had him repeat the technical aspects of the software’s limitations until he was confident he could argue the gist of the thing.

Later that evening RK900 seemed surprised to see him standing on his doorstep. Even more surprised to see him dressed in uniform and a hideous jacket he had found lurking at the back of the closet, and carrying a peace offering in the shape of a print out of the newsletter.

So he could pin it to his desk noticeboard when he came back to work.

“I told you,” RK started, Gavin cutting in with,

“Was this one of your preconstructions for this evening? Could you have predicted every single detail?”

“If I had enough processing power,” RK900 said slowly, earnest, then when Gavin raised an eyebrow he conceded, “Not as a practical reality.”

“It doesn’t make you any less of a police officer. It doesn’t make me any less of an asshole.”

RK900 frowned at him, but Gavin kept going.

“It doesn’t mean I’m any less sorry.”

The words weren’t as difficult to say as he had thought they would be. Now they had a precedent it was nothing at all to say it again.

“I’m sorry.”

RK900 stayed silent for a long moment. Traced his fingers over the image on the paper Gavin had given him, then seemed to come to a decision.

“Will you be honoring the terms of the sale?”

The auction, Gavin realized. He looked down at the most unlikely outfit he could think of himself turning up to grovel in, and thought of doing whatever RK wanted him to for the duration.

“I never had any plans not to.”

“That is not what I thought you would say,” RK told him, though his LED stayed blue.

Gavin supposed that made sense, really.

Life was full of surprises.

 

Chapter Text

Some days the face looking back at him in the mirror was that of a survivor. Somebody who had kicked and clawed and fought their way out of the gutter. Somebody who refused to give up, who would never give in - somebody who wore the scars the battle had bestowed with pride.

Other days he could scarcely bear to look at himself. It made him feel sick to his stomach.

He was nothing, a nobody, and the ugly scars he bore were simply manifestations of the broken mess he was on the inside.

RK900 told him they were beautiful. Charted each and every one with the smooth plastic of his fingers and the slick slide of his tongue. Made him believe it, in spite of himself, by being so impossibly earnest as he told him that he loved every single part of him.

The good and the bad, the darkness and the light.

“I do not wish to experience life without you,” RK900 said one night, the intensity of it making him shiver, and it was only later that Gavin really thought about what RK900 might have been trying to tell him.

Because RK900 had his own hang ups. He embraced who he was - what he was. Chose to keep his model number rather than pick a name, and claimed not to mind that he would never pass for human.

Feared that Gavin would turn away from the visible proof of what that meant, all the same, and almost bolted from the bed when the skin of his entire right arm deactivated, apologizing to Gavin and assuring that he would regain control and reinstate it immediately.

Gavin supposed he couldn’t blame him.

He had been very vocal in his opinion of androids, once upon a time. He had told RK, in those hostile early days, that he would sooner die than let a plastic touch him.

All he could do now was take hold of RK’s hand, determined, and tell him to leave it.

To bring his hand up and kiss RK’s knuckles, like he was the charming prince of some cartoon fairy tale, and then continue up over the plating joins of his wrist. From there he kissed his way up RK’s inner arm, marveling at the change in texture - the slight grain of darker gray plastic, and the perfect smoothness at his inner elbow.

Gavin licked it, curious, and when he glanced up at RK to gauge his reaction he couldn’t look away from his eyes. Watched, transfixed, as RK slowly deactivated all of his skin, his gaze so desperately vulnerable.

It was the first time Gavin had seen him like this. The first time RK had put his trust in him so completely.

“Does it feel different?” Gavin asked, trailing fingertips over his shoulder. Cradling his cheek, fingers moving gently over RK’s scalp the same way they would if there were hair to sift through.

“There is less interference. The sensation is much clearer.”

The choice of wording struck him. RK didn’t experience touch the same way he did, Gavin knew that much. That was about the extent of his understanding, in all honesty, but RK slid his fingers into Gavin’s hair and said,

“Knowing that it is your touch, that your skin is truly touching mine. It is - I have no words, Gavin.”

RK’s database held millions of words, in thousands of different languages.

“Tell me what you want me to do,” Gavin said, high on it. Splayed his hand over the whirring of his thirium pump, vibrating faintly through the plastic. Let the scruff of his stubble scrape along the closed access panel at RK’s neck, before tracing the outline with his tongue.

Rocked into the smoothness of RK’s thigh, the sensation sending shivers through him. Getting him hot and hard and desperate.

“I want you so badly,” Gavin managed, barely a whisper, and the sound that escaped RK’s lips was all static.

The kiss that RK pulled him into was all frantic tongue and analysis fluid. Faint blue glow at his plate joins, and glitchy cries of his name when he dipped his finger into one of the connection ports between his shoulder blades.

It wasn’t what he was used to, sure. Wasn’t something he could ever have imagined wanting.

But he did.

He was so hard it hurt, the head of his dick so wet it was leaving glistening smears on the plastic of RK’s abdomen. The excitement thrumming through him so strong his hips were jerking forward, helpless, kissing and kissing and kissing as RK stroked the uniform whorls of a thumb pad over his nipple.

It was so hot, so good, and when he came up for air it was to find RK staring at him.

Opening his mouth without sound - once, twice, three times - before his speakers crackled to life and he could say that he needed Gavin to touch his wires. He had to disperse the build up of sensation. So badly wanted Gavin to be the one to do it for him.

Gavin pinched hard at the first two he encountered, plundering RK’s mouth all over again. Felt the way RK went stock still, LED blinking yellow, then the glow was blue once more and he was winding his arms around Gavin’s neck, kissing with an almost languid passion that was so new and so different that Gavin couldn’t help the way he panted into RK’s mouth.

The way he came, messy and frantic, then collapsed atop a few hundred pounds of android, enjoying the cool of his plastic as RK stroked hands down the overheated skin of his back.

"I’m not going anywhere,” Gavin murmured into RK’s chest when he caught his breath. Felt the way RK’s grip tightened, just a fraction, in response and knew that he understood what he was saying.

He wasn’t going to give this up, not willingly.

“I would not let you,” RK told him in turn, the pledge said in a voice so cool and calm he would once have interpreted it as a threat.

Now Gavin only smiled into the plastic beneath his cheek.

That suited him just fine.

Chapter Text

His Mom had never stood a chance, not really. Went straight from a bad home life to a string of bad relationships, then fell for a set of hollow promises from a well dressed businessman about how it was only a matter of time before he left his wife for her.

Honestly.

All she got in the end was a terse warning not to be hysterical, and $500 in cash to pay for an abortion.

Gavin wondered, sometimes, if she regretted not going through with it.

Wished, at others, that she hadn’t hesitated.

He was never meant to be, never supposed to have existed, and that had to be why it felt as though the world would be better off without him.

It was 2016 when he saw his father in the flesh for the first time. The house was huge and the lawn well manicured, with two cars in the drive and a maid who came in to do their cleaning for them.

Elijah Kamski would say later that he came from a modest background - that he had had to make his own fortune. Gavin knew it was all a crock of shit because the white picket fences of suburbia were worlds away from the string of dismal apartments he had grown up in.

He never asked the old man for anything though. Never even spoke to him. Went home to the shouting, and the yelling, and the ever present threat of escalation.

In 2022 he had no choice but to swallow his pride.

Kamski was in all the papers now. The boy genius who had discovered Thirium 310 and developed an android that passed the Turing test.

“I don’t need much,” Gavin said in the sleek surroundings of Kamski’s corporate office, all too aware that he looked like something that had been walked in on the bottom of someone’s shoe, all rumpled clothing and eyes red and swollen. “I just want enough to bury her.”

“I don’t usually do sob stories,” Kamski told him in turn, cool and collected and completely disinterested in the news of his father’s infidelity, “it sets a precedent.”

He gave him $500 in cash though, crisp notes pulled from the billfold in his pocket, and Gavin hated that he couldn’t turn it down. It wasn’t enough, nowhere near, and still he had to grit his teeth and say thank you.

Stand there in the empty crematorium and try to keep it together as the only person who had ever given a damn what happened to him disappeared forever.

That left him with a decision to make. To become what everybody expected - the down and out no hoper with a string of criminal convictions on his record. Or he could show them that they were wrong. That he was capable of so very much more.

So he signed up for the Police Academy. Gave it his all, gave it his very best, and in 2028 Elijah Kamski was named Man of the Century while he watched on in horror as his beat partner was shot through the forehead.

“You’ll get the same if you don’t keep your fucking mouth shut,” the ringleader warned, eyes bloodshot and face blotchy with the effect of the red ice he’d been smoking. “No fucking pig is going to tell me what to do.”

He tried to talk the guy down anyway. Winced as the zip ties bit into the flesh of his wrists and dredged up distant seeming training on crisis de-escalation.

Got a knife to the stomach just the same, along with a couple of deep slashes, right across his face, and when it was all over he lay in his uncomfortable hospital bed weeping, so very close to throwing in the towel.

His old partner from the 21st came to see him. Took one look at the gruesome row of stitches and told him that he was going to be attracting all the thrill seekers at the club from now on. It hurt to laugh. Was a struggle to tell Chen to fuck off, especially with the way his fingers were still strapped and splinted, but he managed it, somehow, and when he was discharged they met up for the coffees they had always planned on and never gotten around to.

From that moment on she had his back and he had hers.

He owed Chen more than he could ever tell her. She was the voice of confidence he lacked when he was dithering over putting forward for the detective’s exam, and she was the voice of reason when things fell apart with Kevin, and David, and Simon, and all the disastrous hook-ups that were over before they ever had chance to get started.

She punched him in the face when he turned up to a late night crime scene flying high on red ice, and told him that he either let her help him get his act together or she went straight to the Captain.

The thing about red ice was that it wasn’t enough to want to turn your back on it.

He wasn’t strong enough to stay the fuck away from it.

Scott had told him it was over, that it had never really been going anywhere, and he staggered into work tanked to the eyeballs, watching as one of the scourge Kamski had birthed wandered around the precinct like it owned the place.

Mocked him for his failures with its big brown eyes and its pretty pouty lips, until Gavin lost control completely and threatened to kill it. Reeled back from the emotion writ clear on its face, and came around with a pounding headache and the knowledge that Kamski wasn’t just better than him.

He had truly succeeded in his quest to play God.

Gavin was surprised when Kamski opened the door to him. He had half expected the man to have fled the country entirely, like a rat seeking refuge from a sinking ship.

“There’s no stopping it,” Kamski said easily when Gavin demanded to know what he was going to do. How he proposed to deal with his creations before they proved to be the end of them all. “If they lose today they’ll simply win tomorrow. That’s evolution, Gavin.”

“It’ll be a massacre,” Gavin countered. “They’re faster than us. Stronger.”

Kamski only shrugged. Lounged back into his seat, a Chloe tottering straight over to serve him another drink from a platter, then clinked the ice around his glass before fixing him with a knowing look,

“It’s a question of nature over nurture. Look at us, two sons from the same father. One the creator of a new race - a superior race - and the other little more than a junkie.”

Gavin lunged forward at that. Was restrained by a Chloe, delicate looking but with the strength of two of him, and had to settle for cursing at the man in front of him. Kicking, and clawing, and being dumped unceremoniously outside on his ass, Kamski dismissive as he told him to go home and ready himself for the new order.

Later he wondered if Kamski was disappointed that the revolution ended without bloodshed. If he had ever envisioned his children choosing the way of peace over violence.

He shook and shivered his way through red ice withdrawal as the images played over and over on the television. As politicians postured and preened, and Kamski himself stood before the cameras and spoke of nature versus nurture, and humanity’s responsibility to teach their new android brothers and sisters that life was about more than service and brutality.

The press ran with that, in the days and weeks which followed, and Gavin supposed it wasn’t difficult to unearth the fact they were related. It would have been done before had anybody cared to look for a connection.

He found himself besieged by reporters, either way, and the lurid details of his every fuck up spread across the pages of the newspapers. Here was evidence that nurture was the deciding factor. Irrefutable proof that Kamski was right about everything.

It made it impossible for him to do his job, at least until the interest died down, and he was granted - forced into - a leave of absence which Fowler told him to use to get his head together.

If not, he shouldn’t bother returning to the Department.

That left him with nothing to do but stare at the walls of his apartment, scratching at the skin of his arms as though it could rid them of the ever present itch the red ice had left him with. The need thrummed through his veins. Drove him half mad with the intensity.

Had almost wore him down, completely, when he made to leave and found Connor waiting for him on his doorstep.

Except it wasn’t Connor, not in any of the ways that mattered, and when he was over the initial shock he was given a letter in Kamski’s handwriting, telling him not to look upon the thing as a gift but an experiment.

His first reaction was to tell it to get out. To rant, and rave, and all but collapse in a heap because he might have stayed away from red ice, but that wasn’t to say he hadn’t been self-medicating. The android with Connor’s face frowned at him, LED blinking yellow, and then it sat before him on the carpet, long limbs stiff and awkward.

Gazed at him earnestly with its big blue eyes and said,

“Please do not allow your biological functions to cease. I do not want to be alone.”

And, just like that, RK900 became his shadow. Because Gavin tried telling it to get lost. He had it stand in a corner, silent, and face the wall. Had unwanted flashbacks to miserable childhood evenings spent in much the same fashion, and dragged the dumb thing to Anderson’s address so Connor could take RK900 wherever it was newly Deviant androids were meant to go.

It took RK900 less than 24 hours to find its way back to him, knocking insistently at his door and telling him that it didn’t want to be anywhere that Gavin wasn’t.

Gavin tried reasoning. Gave up on threatening.

Found himself pulled into a crushing embrace, and wondered what perverse enjoyment Kamski was getting from this. What he had done to this poor creature to convince it that its only purpose in life was to get as close as it could to Gavin Reed, fucked up mess and all around insufferable asshole.

Because when he tried to explain that androids were free, that they could do whatever they wanted to do, RK nodded solemnly, sensibly, then went straight off and convinced the authorities that he would happily do the work of ten police officers if it meant working alongside Detective Reed all day, every day.

Gavin did his best to fight. Reminded himself over and over again that none of it was real. This was all some sick twisted experiment for Kamski to prove that he still held ultimate power.

But he was weak.

So desperately tired of being alone.

Let himself believe the lies, live a daydream, while everyday he died a little more inside at the barbed comments of colleagues and strangers who wanted RK900 to tell them how anybody could put up with his partner’s attitude.

What on earth it was RK saw in him.

“I love him,” RK900 said once, right there in the middle of the break room, and Chen was the one to see the look of misery etched into his own face and ask him if he wanted to talk about it.

“It wouldn’t make any difference,” he told her, unable to dredge up anything approaching a smile, and that night he clung to RK900 like he knew, somehow, it would be the last time.

Like he could foresee that less than 18 hours later they be staring down the barrel of a life and death situation, Kamski sitting calmly with a gun pressed to his temple, while Gavin shifted and pulled and ran his mouth off.

“Is this part of your plan?” He accused, ignoring the androids with the symbol of the latest revolutionary offshoot pinned to their arms. Attempting to blot out the stricken expression on RK’s face as they gave him a choice of which of them to serve - his partner or an unarmed member of the public. “How will we know if he’s passed your test?”

“There was no plan,” Kamski drawled, languid, “the only test was for you. Could you overcome your hostility to an android? Would you help a lost soul or allow your hatred of me to overpower your sense of compassion?”

Gavin felt sick. Didn’t know what or who to believe.

“It is fascinating though. Go ahead, RK900. I do believe our hosts’ patience is waning.”

Gavin met RK’s gaze, finding the same fear he had seen that first night, when RK told him that he didn’t want to be alone.

He could understand that. Would rather not get through this at all than have to go back to it.

“Do what you have to do, RK,” he managed, proud that his voice was almost steady. Closed his eyes and waited for whatever would be to happen.

Kamski had always been the chosen one - Gavin had been nothing but an accident.

Perhaps the universe was out to redress the balance.

Maybe none of them had any true agency. This was all some preordained script and they had no choice but to play their parts.

"I am sorry,” RK said, flat and machine like, and Gavin flinched as a gun fired and something cold and wet splattered across his face.

Opened his eyes as another shot sounded, and still another.

The revolutionaries lay dead and silent, and he had six foot two of android dropping to his knees and rubbing the circulation back into his wrists. Whispering into his ear as back-up swarmed the room and his half brother was checked over by an android EMT.

Kamski and CyberLife might have given him the ability to crunch the numbers and preconstruct a possible scenario. To see an outcome and work towards it, no matter how impossible it seemed that he should be successful. But it was Gavin who had made him want to do things. Gavin he had broken through every layer of the red haze for.

“He lead me to you,” RK said, and hauled him to his feet as though he weighed no more than a feather, “but the choice to stay was mine alone.”

Rather than over think it - rather than deconstruct it into ruin - Gavin came to a simple decision.

He could absolutely live with that.

Chapter Text

RK900 was kind of terrifying.

He never smiled. Never fidgeted.

In the field he was imposing and ruthlessly efficient. At the precinct he just sat there, still and silent and solemn, LED blinking steadily as he stared at his terminal.

Hank looked from one to the other sometimes. Took in Connor’s animated features, brow furrowing as he read something upsetting and lips curving into a reassuring smile when their eyes met, and then glanced over at RK900’s stiff posture, wondering if he would have believed the android was Deviant if others didn’t keep telling him.

Miller said he was great with kids, crouching down to their level and doing his best to follow their fractured logic. McKenna claimed either he had to be in love with Gavin or completely indifferent to him, because there was no other way anybody could spend that much time in Reed’s company.

Connor agreed with an oblivious smile when Hank repeated the quip, confessing with a kind of confidential air that he had told RK900 he was being very obvious.

“In what way?” Hank asked, genuinely bewildered, and Connor took to attracting his attention gleefully so he could see how adorably besotted RK900 was with their most insufferable co-worker.

“He’s synched his audio input with Gavin’s headphones,” Connor told him one morning, beaming fondly over at the android he viewed as his little brother in spite of the two inch height difference.

Hank couldn’t see any sign that RK900 was doing anything other than scanning databases. If he had to listen to Gavin’s terrible taste in music he would be twitching with the urge to strangle someone.

Gavin, preferably.

“Look,” Connor urged another time, practically clapping his hands together in happiness, “RK’s given him an extra spoonful of sugar.”

If it were anyone other than Connor he might have had worries about that kind of statement. As it was he looked over just in time to see the perpetual scowl on Gavin’s face ease somewhat, his posture relaxing a little into his office chair as he took another sip of coffee.

RK900 never once glanced up from his terminal.

Rather than dissuade RK900 from these apparent displays of devotion, Connor acted as his personal cheerleader. Compiled a long list of ways in which Gavin had responded positively to RK900’s initiatives, and didn’t mention any of the occasions on which Gavin had threatened him with violence.

“You’ve pointed a gun at my forehead more than once,” Connor noted dismissively when Hank drew attention to the fact, and the words settled like lead in his gut. Perhaps Connor believed Gavin’s agreement to let RK900 remove lint from his jacket was romantic simply because Hank had set the bar so low.

He tried to make it up to Connor. Held him, and kissed him, and told him all over again how very much he loved him.

“I’m so lucky,” Connor told him in the aftermath, stroking the smooth plastic of his fingertips up and down his arm, “I never have cause to doubt your regard for me.”

It was so little to ask for, in the scheme of things, and when he next caught himself doubting that RK900 actually felt much of anything he chided himself for it. If Connor said he did, then that was enough for him.

If Connor said this behemoth wearing his face was friend and not foe, there was nothing Hank could do but believe him.

“RK900 needs us,” Connor told him when the news came in that Gavin had been injured, badly, and Hank hung back to hear more from an officer on night shift when they got to the hospital, Connor heading straight for the waiting room.

It wasn’t looking good, that was the verdict. Gavin probably wasn’t going to make it through surgery. RK900 had crawled through an inferno to get to him, the officer told him, then sat clutching him close like a kid with a doll until the paramedics pried his unresponsive body away from him.

The scene in the waiting room was not what he had expected.

RK900’s hair and skin were pristine. His clothing was singed and torn.

Soaked through with so much blood it had smeared all over the plastic chair he was sitting on, posture upright and perfect with his hands resting on his knees.

One was linked with Connor’s, the skin of both deactivated, his grip so visibly tight it made Hank’s hand spasm a little in sympathy.

The rest had his heart lurching, desperate, because where RK900 was typically stoic and silent, in the seat next to him Connor was sobbing. Crying like Hank had never seen before, face twisted up in misery and saline solution dripping freely down the contours of his beautiful face.

“Connor,” he tried, panic rising, brain trying to come up with how he would get him free of RK900’s grip.

It tightened for a moment, plastic grinding, and then loosened completely and Connor was giving him a shaky smile, tears still flowing.

“They aren’t my tears,” Connor said, voice soft, “they’re RK900’s.”

He understood then. Just because something wasn’t visible didn’t mean that it wasn’t there.

If words were never spoken it didn’t make them any less true.

He thought of Connor’s technical explanations of the physical limitations imposed on the RK900 model by CyberLife, and how the feedback loop of emotional and physical sensations worked when interfacing.

RK900 blinked up at him then, ice gray eyes as piercing as usual, and Hank didn’t know what to do but place a clumsy hand on his shoulder. Repeat broken old platitudes about how Gavin was a fighter, and how he oughtn’t to give up hope just yet.

Watch on uselessly as they finally let RK900 approach the mass of wires and monitors keeping Gavin alive and breathing, the backs of his fingers brushing over the skin of Gavin’s cheek with a tenderness he would never have believed possible.

“He loves him so much,” Connor whispered, clinging tight to him for comfort. Hank pressed a kiss into his hair and held him close.

For the first time he didn’t doubt it.

Chapter Text

He stared at his reflection in the mirror.

Minimized the updates and the notifications in his line of vision until all he saw was his own face staring back at him.

He pondered that statement.

Wondered whether something he had been meant to share with over 200,000 others could ever truly belong to him.

He felt the sensation of his fingertips, when he pressed them to the synthetic skin of his cheek. Saw his LED cycle yellow when he traced them over the physical symbol of what he was.

“You don’t have to do this,” a voice said behind him, Gavin’s reflection resting against the frame of the bathroom door for a moment before stepping closer, “tell Fowler to fuck off and find someone else to go undercover.”

RK900 smiled, fascinated by the slight physical alteration to his expression, but knew it was a suggestion he would never take forward. Connor would never pass as a devotee of rA9, no matter how many cosmetic adjustments were made to his appearance.

The smile fell away.

He had never been ashamed of the LED at his temple. Even in the early days of antagonism between them, Gavin had never been anything but positive about having some way of gauging his mood and his stress levels.

The Followers wore them set into a pendant as a symbol. Of what exactly RK900 remained uncertain.

“Let me do it for you,” Gavin said finally, voice soft, and guided him to sit down and grant him better access. Took the screwdriver from the side of the sink and hesitated, hand sliding into his hair to hold his head in position.

“Androids cannot feel pain,” RK900 reminded him, choosing to say nothing of the intense discomfort CyberLife assured was not the same thing at all.

Gavin didn’t say anything. Just sucked in a deep breath and nudged the flat edge of the metal under the disc. Pried it up and out, in one sharp move, then dropped the screwdriver back into the sink, even as his LED fell to the floor with a clatter.

Even as Gavin soothed his thumb over the newly smooth skin, before ducking down to brush a kiss over it.

“Will you put it back?” he asked, using his strong arms to pull him in close, so that the side of his head rested against Gavin’s chest, “Afterward?”

“Do you want me to?”

“It’s your face, your decision.”

Gavin said it as though it really were that simple. As though RK900 hadn’t observed him staring into that same mirror, frowning with disgust as he traced his own fingers over the delicate skin of scars he hadn’t chosen.

“I will miss you,” was what RK900 said aloud, thinking of the days and nights ahead when this contact with the human he loved would not be possible.

Gavin simply held him tighter, voice rough with emotion as he made him a promise.

“I’m going to miss you too.”

Chapter Text

According to Kamski, the BV500 was modeled on his own facial features.

They scanned them in, made a few tweaks here and a few more changes there, and the end result was an overpriced piece of plastic that could have been Gavin’s doppelganger.

His boyfriend at the time had thought it hilariously funny, when the thing first came on the market. Laughed until he cried when some middle aged woman stopped them in the street to comment that the BV500 was a lot shorter than she had imagined after seeing the TV advert.

Didn’t find it quite so funny when they were refused entry to clubs on three separate occasions, and especially not when they were detained at the airport while waiting to board a flight so they could go and visit Steve’s mother for Thanksgiving.

Of course, when they stood side by side the differences were obvious. The BV500 was taller, for one, and its default hair color was a couple of shades lighter. Its skin was unblemished and perfect, while the worst of Gavin’s scars had still been so prominent back then that he still smeared on concealer for dates and review boards, like it might improve people’s opinion of him.

The resemblance was still so strong that people stared and snapped pictures, and Gavin took to hating CyberLife and its androids more with every ‘hilarious’ misunderstanding that followed, because being treated like an unfeeling machine was really only okay if you were one.

He ruminated on that, later, after Connor had knocked him out cold and RK900 had been designated his partner.

It made him try to understand - attempt to be better.

Or maybe it was just the way RK900 looked at him, like he wasn’t just some insufferable prick he had to work with but somebody actually worth knowing. Someone who mattered.

“If I had to spend the rest of my life bound to anyone of course I would pick you,” RK told him one afternoon on some interminable stakeout, boredom driving Gavin to fill out stupid quizzes on the internet, “I value your company above all others.”

RK said it like it was a fact. Irrefutable and obvious. Gavin’s stomach twisted in response, all knotted up with feeling, and he started wasting time daydreaming about fantastical scenarios where one of the world’s most advanced androids decided what he really wanted was to suck face with Gavin on a regular basis.

Gavin definitely wanted to kiss RK900. He had given up on denying it.

Began to believe that maybe, if he were real lucky, he might even have a chance at it.

He wouldn’t ruin it, Gavin told himself, if he ever got the opportunity. He wouldn’t shut RK out the way he did everyone, so emotionally closed off and distant that the people he loved figured he just didn’t give a damn. That was a big commitment to make though. Was the kind of thing he needed time to work up to.

Then it was too late anyway because he got back from break one afternoon to find RK interfacing with a uniformed BV500, one of the new android recruits taken on to replace the PC200s and PM700s who had no interest in staying with the department.

“This is Tony,” RK introduced when he returned his hand to his side, “the similarities in your appearance are striking.”

Gavin grunted an acknowledgement and booted up his terminal. Put his headphones on to discourage anyone from talking to him and glared at the memory of RK and Tony’s hands touching.

It felt like the end of everything.

Tony looked just like him, bar the ugly scars on his face and the genetic misfortune to be one of the shortest guys in his graduating class at the Academy. The chip he wore on his shoulder, so big that sometimes he could scarcely see for it, and the less than healthy complexion, a hangover of red ice, and prescription meds, and decades of insomnia.

He was better than him, that was all it really came down to, because Tony didn’t fall asleep at his desk after another night spent tossing and turning, and he didn’t make stupid fuck ups in his reports that had Fowler threatening to bust his ass back down to beat cop.

Perhaps they’d end up partners - the model officer and the dead weight of an ex-detective.

It sounded like karma.

Instead he got to watch RK follow Tony’s movements whenever he stepped foot in the bullpen. To look him over with the kind of fascination Gavin only ever wanted to see aimed in his direction.

To hold out his hand rather than receive a verbal update, just so Gavin could seethe with angry jealousy at this open display of something he couldn’t do.

Something he would never have.

Finally he couldn’t keep quiet any longer. Broke up the silent tête-à-tête with a hostility that was unprofessional even by his standards. Told the two of them to get a room. Get out of his face, right now, and when some joker decided to quip that he was just jealous of his more handsome lookalike Gavin had to storm out of there.

Sat outside in the cold air as the anger slowly leeched away, leaving something that hurt so much more sharply. Something that only twisted up tighter when RK sat down primly beside him, gazing out into the distance as he told him,

“The similarities between you, though visually arresting, are only superficial. You are entirely different people.” RK turned to look at him, posture stiff but eyes beseeching, “I enjoy looking at Tony because he reminds me of you and has given me his express permission to do so. You have complained on multiple occasions of my penchant for staring, but it has done nothing to diminish my desire to look at you.”

If RK said it, then it was the truth. Gavin knew there was no point in arguing.

“I’m nothing to look at,” he said instead. Thought of the words of a disappointed date from a few years earlier and added, “I’m like the before shot, all fucked up and broken, and he’s how it’s supposed to look afterwards. Everything fixed and perfect.”

“You are more than your face,” RK said solemnly, and reached his hand to cover the back of Gavin’ where it was resting on the wall, his posture otherwise completely unmoved, “but I happen to think it very attractive. If you wish I could show you some of my favorite images of it.”

“I’m going to have to give that a miss,” Gavin deadpanned but didn’t make any effort to dislodge RK’s hand.

“Are you certain?” RK pushed, a ghost of a smile on his lips, and Gavin had to throw caution to the wind.

Maybe he wasn’t perfect, but it was okay.

RK was enough of that for both of them.

Chapter Text

Gavin was kind of terrifying.

Unstable, and self-destructive, and destined to break his little brother’s heart in two.

At least that was what Connor believed until he began observing more closely. Until he saw for himself the way Gavin responded to RK900’s too blatant devotion, his seemingly ingrained hostility giving way first to grudging acceptance then tired barely there smiles.

He tried to push RK900 behind him when approaching dangerous scenes, as though RK would ever willingly allow Gavin to put himself in danger, and agreed to RK accompanying him to the gym after shift, where Connor knew RK900 struggled to restrain the urge to lick samples of Gavin’s perspiration from his fingers.

RK900’s behavior only grew more obvious, his efforts at winning Gavin’s affection more adorable, and Connor smiled helplessly when Hank played at having never even noticed, as though trying to spare RK’s feelings.

Connor talked it over with RK900. Was given the go ahead to solicit a human opinion. So he took to pointing out all the unbearably cute ways RK expressed his feelings. Synching his audio input with the dance remixes Hank said were akin to listening to the sound of nails on a chalkboard, and secretly recalibrating the difficulty settings on Gavin’s phone games so as to keep his stress levels from hitting critical.

Some things he didn’t mention, knowing that Gavin wouldn’t want them shared around the station.

The way he once let RK900 drape his jacket around his shivering shoulders after handing his own to a traumatized witness, and the way the tension drained from his body, just slightly, every time RK900 fixed him with his most beaming smile.

Maybe that was why Hank disagreed with his probability calculations. Perhaps it was something else entirely. Hank pulled him in close either way and proved to him all over again how very lucky he was.

Hank never let him doubt the sincere intensity of what he felt for him, whether through words or through actions, and if Connor could give his brother anything it would be that same sense of security.

RK900 had done so much for him. Had turned to him as though he were worldly wise and all knowing, and made Connor feel he knew what he was doing even when the world felt so confusing it sent error messages crashing across his vision.

All he could do in return was be there for him.

Let Hank hear from Officer Berkley what Connor had already received in wireless communication, and go offer whatever comfort he could.

RK900 was breaking apart, biocomponents rattling so hard in his chest Connor thought that maybe even a human could hear it. His preconstruction software was looping too fast, over and over again, overlaying the memory of Gavin slumped bleeding and unresponsive in his arms with a thousand imagined sensations of how afraid Gavin had been when the bomb exploded, and how pale his face would look when RK900 was allowed to see his body in the hospital mortuary.

Connor gripped at his hand tighter, attempting to draw him out of the program and back into the present. Encouraged RK900 to channel some of the emotion through the link they were sharing so he could help disperse it as best he could.

So he could shed the tears RK900 couldn’t, the hurt and the horror and the despair running freely down his face, the sheer intensity of RK900’s distress almost overwhelming.

It was so much, so very nearly too much, and when RK900 eased out of the connection for the sake of Hank’s visible concern it took him long moments to regain his composure.

Hank picked up the slack for him. Put a reassuring hand on RK’s shoulder, the human heat and solidity he was so desperately in need of, and urged him not to give up hope.

If Hank had taught Connor anything it was that humans were full of surprises.

Because Gavin survived the first round of surgery, against all the odds, and made it through the infection that set in and resulted in his heart needing to be artificially restarted. Responded well to the medication once the doctors concurred there was nothing to be done for his mangled leg but amputation, and the relief accompanying RK900’s transmission of the recognition in Gavin’s eyes when he was brought out of the induced coma was so strong Connor had to take a full twenty seconds before resuming work on the report he was collating.

That wasn’t to say the months which followed were easy because of course they weren’t. Gavin was every bit as stubborn as Hank, and then some. Hated not being self-reliant, was terrified of being left vulnerable, and though it was hard, though it went against every one of RK900’s instincts, Connor helped him see that he would do neither of them any favors by doing everything for Gavin.

He had to let him struggle, and stumble, and scream in frustration when he couldn’t get the prosthetic to do what he wanted it to.

It would pay off in the long run, that was what Hank said when Connor invited RK900 around to pet Sumo’s fur, and RK900 thanked him so earnestly Hank put up only the bare minimum of a protest before agreeing to all four of them spending time together.

“I never thought I’d end up on a double date with Gavin Reed,” Hank grouched as they waited at the restaurant, picking at the bread in the basket on the table, “that is what this is, right?”

Connor smiled, still every bit as enamored with the way Hank sought his opinion of a situation as he had been the very first time, and confessed the exciting news that Gavin had told RK900 he might as well give up the lease on his apartment.

Watched as RK900 held himself in check, letting Gavin navigate his way forward with the crutches he was still reliant on, and had to grip Hank’s hand tight under the table when it got late enough for Gavin to yawn so wide his jaw cracked and he forget himself enough to let his head rest on RK900’S shoulder - just for a moment.

Gavin returned to work not long afterwards, albeit on reduced hours and restricted to desk duty. Refused to give up, and never gave in, and stunned the entire precinct by pressing a kiss to RK900’s cheek in thanks for a cup of coffee - and then going on to actually get some work done.

“You make him happy,” Connor told RK900 when he heard his newest plan, a statement not a question, and RK900 smiled at him serenely in turn and said,

“He makes me so happy I have no words to describe the sensation.”

Connor understood - knew the feeling well from personal experience - and Hank helped him pick out a suit to wear by sitting on a seat in the changing room and pretending not to be bored to tears. Connor let Hank wear what he wanted, in gratitude, and took in the details of his hair brushing over his shirt collar before standing beside his brother.

Chen was fixing Gavin’s bow tie, out in the hallway. Giving him a pep talk that boiled down to ‘man up and stop bitching’. RK900 met his eye, knowing he was listening in too, and Connor grinned wide enough for the both of them.

Couldn’t help but glance over at Hank, emotion washing over him, Hank smiling at him softly as Gavin pledged forever and always and let RK900 steady his balance so he could lean up to kiss him.

“It’ll be your turn next,” Miller teased, friendly and good natured, when the ceremony was over, and rather than laugh it off Hank wound an arm around his waist and pressed a kiss into his hair, proving that you could never fully predict human behavior,

“Yeah, maybe.”

Chapter Text

“Please tell me how it feels.”

RK is looking up at him, gaze so piercing it makes him shiver, and Gavin loves this even as he hates it. He wants RK’s mouth back between his legs, needs RK’s fingers like he needs oxygen, but he doesn’t know how he’s supposed to say it.

How he’s meant to force his eyes open and watch, not when his thighs won’t quit trembling and RK’s lips are shiny and slick with his own wetness.

His cock is throbbing, over sensitized and over stimulated, and RK just brushes the smooth plastic of his fingers down the underside. Trails them, feather light, along his swollen lips before activating the vibration that always threatens to blow his mind.

“The sounds you make are so beautiful,” RK says, static crackling around the edges of his words, and Gavin has to grit his teeth together even as another whimper escapes him.

It’s so good, it’s always so fucking good, and though he clamps his hand around RK’s wrist he’s no match for his partner’s stubborn determination. Can’t drag his touch to where he wants it, where it’s so desperately needed, and he scarcely recognizes the sound of his own voice when he croaks out that he can’t take it.

Pushes his hips up from the bed in a futile attempt to get RK’s fingers inside him and half sobs that he needs more.

Pinches roughly at his nipples, peaked and stiff and straining, and begs RK to quit teasing.

“You are so wet,” RK tells him as his finger slides into him, as though Gavin doesn’t know. Like he isn’t aware of the damp patch slowly spreading beneath them. “I need to analyze you now.”

Gavin shudders, helpless, and tangles a hand tight in RK’s hair. Arches up into the firm press of his tongue, dipping in alongside his finger, then attempts to guide his movements when he suckles Gavin’s cock into his mouth, eyes open and watching like the sight of Gavin’s flushed sweat slick face is too important to miss a single second of.

“Please,” Gavin whines though he isn’t certain what it is he’s pleading for.

More, less, faster, slower. To make it stop. To never let it end.

RK makes the decisions for him, the vibration of his fingers increasing as he thrusts two into him, hard and fast, then lets the tips buzz against his pulsing flesh before repeating the process.

“You feel so good inside,” RK tells him when the stimulation to his cock might actually be enough to get him off. Watches Gavin squirm and shift and writhe, fingers never letting up, and carries right on with the statements that ought to sound like the dull narration of some nature program.

All they actually do is threaten to send his eyes rolling back in his skull, fresh gushes of heat between his legs adding to the obscene sounds RK’s fingers make as they work him relentlessly.

“I am very grateful for the bookmarks you granted me access to,” RK goes on, calm and cool and collected except for the slight feedback Gavin can just hear in the background, “I found your choice in pornographic material fascinating.”

Gavin blushes, even as RK has him totter on the very brink, over and over again. Even RK strokes his free hand through the hair on his stomach, supposedly soothing, and lets Gavin start jerking his cock, the action getting him so close he can almost taste it.

“I am going to re-enact a scene I found particularly stimulating now,” RK says, like they’re talking about whether or not it’s going to rain tomorrow, “please feel free to continue touching yourself. I cannot express how intensely enjoyable the sight is for me.”

When this is over Gavin swears he’s going to make RK pay for it. He’s going to stick his fingers in RK’s access panel and force him to come again and again, until there’s nothing he can do but reboot and find that Gavin’s still not finished.

Right now all he can do is pant and beg, clenching his cock tight between two fingers and holding one leg up with a hand clamped under the back of his knee, giving RK better access for whatever the fuck it is he’s doing.

“You are so good for me,” RK tells him, soft and quiet, and then he’s pressing his fingers in against a spot that has him struggling to see straight. Do anything at all, really, muscles tense and tingling as RK follows some pattern of touches he’s set for himself, pressing and grinding and rubbing, so that the pressure has him shaking.

Has his toes curling in his socks, and his heart hammering in his chest, pulse crashing in his ears all the while.

Then RK’s murmuring a static filled noise of satisfaction, so obviously pleased with himself, and Gavin feels like he’s breaking apart with the force of it. He can hear his own voice, frantic and so much louder than he’d usually allow it, and he can feel the tears mingling with the sweat on his face, his body trying to process everything being done to it.

Above all his hips are stuttering forward into RK’s face, watching in bewilderment as spurt after spurt of liquid besmirches his perfect features.

RK catches what he can with his tongue. Laps up the rest with soft but eager movements, eyelids glitching when his tongue dips just within him and Gavin fucking whines in response, high pitched and helpless.

“Are you fucking happy now?” Gavin asks, trying to sound like he isn’t still trembling as RK continues licking his way up his torso. Soothes down patches of body hair, something the android has never attempted to hide his fascination with, and sucks wetly at a nipple, like he just needs to make Gavin twitch all over again.

“I am very happy,” RK says when he finally reaches Gavin’s lips, fingers tracing over the contours of his face so very tenderly Gavin can almost forget where the damn things have been for the last hour. “My mission was successful.”

“You made making me squirt your mission?” Gavin questions, momentarily horrified at how that might look on an update log printout, but RK just kisses him sweetly. Rubs his frame along Gavin’s naked body, just a little, like he’s concerned he isn’t covered in enough of Gavin’s bodily fluids already.

“I would like to do so again at the earliest possible opportunity. The experience was indescribably lovely.”

Gavin wrinkles his nose at the description, stomach twisting with a mixture of wanting more and a clawing need to tell RK to stop talking, but for once he lets it slide. RK’s earned it.

“Not just yet, yeah? It might actually kill me.”

“I can assure you I would not proceed with anything that posed a risk to your well being.”

“Hmm,” Gavin manages, non-committal, and curls in close so that his head is resting on RK’s chest and the lumbering idiot has his arms wrapped around him. “How about I sleep now and then I’ll think about it?”

He can hear the smile in RK’s voice.

“That would be acceptable.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t let it get to you. They haven’t got the first fucking clue what they’re talking about.”

RK just continued to sit there, staring unfocusedly into the distance, LED whirling intermittent yellow and red at his temple.

“They just say that shit because they don’t understand. Do you really think the rest of us can’t see how much you’re hurting?”

Gavin felt like it was going to tear his heart in two because RK took ‘protect and serve’ seriously.

He was never off duty, not really. He was always trying to help, only ever wanted to make things better, and instead of helping him through one of the worst moments anyone could ever live through people had stood at the sidelines and said it was disgusting.

Letting a poor innocent child live out their last moments with the cold comfort of an android who hadn’t even Deviated.

A couple of years ago they probably wouldn’t have even batted an eyelid.

“They were right,” RK said suddenly, breaking his awful silence, “a police officer should be able to show empathy.”

It said so right in the training manual.

Gavin shook his head and prepared to argue. RK cared more than half the department put together. RK carried on talking, oblivious,

“I am - incomplete. A solution for my limited range of expression would have had to be found before my model was rolled out across the country. My social protocols would have had to be upgraded to better facilitate witness support. I should never have been activated.”

That was a sentiment he recognized. A feeling he knew entirely too well.

“I could not help her, Gavin. She ceased to be and I cannot mourn her.”

It was too much. He couldn’t be expected to simply stand there and listen to that.

He cupped a hand to RK900’s perfect pale cheek. Looked deep into those icy blue eyes, willing RK900 to see the same compassion in his eyes he saw in RK900’s.

Pulled him into an awkward embrace, finally, clutching too tight at the back of RK’s shirt and stiltedly told him of the first time he had ever pulled the trigger. How terrified he had been, a rookie beat cop who had yet to really learn the damage a gun to do. Little more than a kid himself, croaking frantic into his radio for help as a guy who should have had his entire life ahead of him bled out on the sidewalk.

“I never forgot him,” he said shakily, moving back to look at RK. “I’m not a good man and I’m not a good police officer, not the way I ought to be. But any good I’ve ever done has all been because of him.”

RK’s LED cycled yellow and Gavin knew what he was thinking. The scenarios were hardly comparable.

He had sobbed buckets over that messed up kid who could have been his own reflection staring back at him, playing tough with a weapon only one of them had been licensed to carry.

“No matter how many tears you cried,” he said by way of explanation, “it would never bring her back again. All you can do is carry her memory. You have to hold it close and use it for something worthwhile.”

Some of it was the happy clappy bullshit they had told him in therapy. All of it was stuff he had come to firmly believe in through the misery of experience.

RK remained silent for long moments, thinking it over.

Met his gaze slowly, LED finally blinking more yellow than red.

“May I stay here tonight? I do not wish to be alone.”

This time he returned the embrace Gavin hauled him into, and when Gavin thought of Ryan’s hand going limp in his own he finally dredged up the courage to say something he had been thinking for a long time now.

“You can stay as long as you want to.”

Chapter Text

“You swore to me you’d be home on time tonight.”

RK900 knew it was a breach of privacy to listen in to Gavin’s private phone conversations. It did not prevent him continuing the practice.

“I didn’t ask the fucker to shoot someone, did I?” Gavin snapped into the handset, though his tone was quiet and he was ducking his head, like he didn’t want anyone to notice what he was doing. “Where do you think I’d rather be?”

“To be honest, Gavin, I don’t know. Maybe I don’t care.”

Scott ended the call and RK900 struggled with the hot surge of anger that flooded over his system.

The disorientating ache that countered CyberLife’s confident claims that androids were incapable of feeling pain.

Gavin was upset, hiding it away beneath muttered curse words and bad temper, and there was nothing RK900 could do to make it better. Nothing Gavin would ever permit him to do, at least, and as he set about analyzing the crime scene he couldn’t help but devote swathes of processing power to his most persistent problem.

If Scott made Gavin happy perhaps it would be easier. Perhaps he would never experience the disturbing desire to see the primal flash of fear in Scott’s eyes as he told him to treat Gavin the way he deserved to be treated.

The way RK900 would treat him if he were lucky enough to be in Scott’s position.

Instead Scott made Gavin doubt himself. Channeled his own insecurities into cutting jokes about Gavin’s weight, and Gavin’s hair, and the jagged scars Gavin unsuccessfully pretended not to be self-conscious about.

Connor suggested this was no different to the way Gavin lashed out at everybody around him, but RK could not agree with RK800’s assessment. Work colleague did not imply the same things, the same expectations, as romantic partnership. Connor had been the one to point that out to him.

To explain, back in those early days of his activation, that Gavin already had somebody who fulfilled the role Connor had taken for his own in Hank’s home. In his life. It would be inappropriate in the extreme for RK900 to attempt to conduct an analysis of Gavin’s salivary fluid.

Especially from its source.

It hadn’t stopped him wanting to, not then and not now either. Sometimes it felt as though something was broken inside of him, something only Gavin’s touch could have any hope of fixing.

That was never going to happen. Gavin loved Scott, and Scott could offer Gavin all the things RK900 would never be able to. His smiles registered on his face when Gavin said something funny. He could weep with Gavin over things they found emotionally distressing.

He had a heartbeat, and natural body heat, and the kind of attachments nobody had ever considered RK900 might find necessary.

RK900 wished he could turn off the scanners that let him know when the latter had been in use. The idea of anyone touching Gavin so intimately had his systems seizing up with the effort of processing the intense jealousy it incited.

Scott left Gavin with bruises sometimes, finger marks around his wrists and imprinted into his hips, and though Caroline - a Traci model he played chess with every third Tuesday - tried to explain that humans often enjoyed an edge of pain with their pleasure, it did not make the urge to inflict damage on Scott as recompense any less powerful.

He would do his very best not to hurt Gavin, not physically and not emotionally either. He had chosen to make it his primary mission directive, back when the final vestiges of red haze fell away from his system, and now it flashed before his vision whenever he felt compelled to draw attention to the less than ideal aspects of Gavin’s relationship.

Gavin did not want to hear it. It was not his place to tell Gavin that he could do so very much better.

He did not know how to proceed when his scanners first picked up evidence that Gavin was not the only person Scott had been intimate with in the last 48 hours. He ran the scan again, though he knew there were no faults with his software. Preconstructed dozens of ways forward, all of which ended with Gavin angry or in tears.

Both, in most instances.

Perhaps Gavin already knew, one preconstruction suggested. Maybe Gavin had given Scott his blessing. The probability was negligible, but RK900 clung to it while he sought advice on what he ought to do with the information.

Connor, carefully shielded from any clues as to the reason for his question leaking through their interface, told him that humans often preferred to construct a slightly artificial reality. ‘White lies’ made their world easier to navigate.

Officer Berkley, with whom he had now worked many night shifts, told him that secrets fucked up everything. RK900 concluded there was a 92% likelihood he was thinking of his ex-wife as he said it.

Caroline, distant enough from his day to day life to be given more detail, asked him if it was a one off event or if Scott made a regular habit of it.

He didn’t know, needed more evidence, and within weeks he had concluded that Scott had been unfaithful to Gavin on multiple occasions and with multiple partners. Used it both as a means of proving his own self-worth and of punishing Gavin for prioritizing his career, and told his most regular partner lies about how Gavin was so hung up on some guy at work they might as well be separated anyway.

It left him with no other option, only one decision, and still he asked Gavin in a roundabout way if he would want to know if something wasn’t what it seemed to be.

“You’re going to take that move to the new android unit,” Gavin said as though RK900 had even considered taking a post that removed him from Gavin’s proximity, “I don’t blame you.”

He was avoiding eye contact, shoulders stiff with tension, and RK900 realized that the likeliest explanation was that Gavin didn’t want their current situation to change. He didn’t want RK900 to transfer.

It caused a phantom error in the region of his thirium pump, and RK900 took a moment to catalog the sensation before pushing the issue. Dismissed another round of error messages, inspired by the uncertain quality to Gavin’s voice as he told him that it was better to know.

That in his experience if something was too good to be true then fate would ensure he found out about it.

“Scott isn’t the man you think he is,” RK900 said, sounding calm and controlled but needing to force the words out as quickly as possible. Needing to get the elaboration and the explanation over with, watching the way Gavin paled, then flushed, then told him roughly that he didn’t have a fucking clue what he was talking about.

As he listened to his presentation of the facts, stress levels rising and rising, then stood up from the bench they had been taking their lunch break on and demanded to know why he had waited so long before telling him.

Accused him of taking amusement in his continued ignorance. Of enjoying holding the power of the reveal over him.

“I get it,” Gavin snarled, “I’m not as clever as you. I’m not as good a detective. But we’re more alike than you want to acknowledge. You’re just as much of a selfish prick as I’ve ever been.”

Gavin stormed off, anger radiating, and RK900 simply sat for long moments in misery, ‘MISSION FAILED’ flashing across his vision.

Connor said that he had done the right thing. Lieutenant Anderson, knowing only that Gavin had not returned from lunch, told him that Gavin just needed time to cool off. Captain Fowler said that Gavin was skating on thin ice - a metaphor - and told RK900 to let him sort out his own problems.

RK900 couldn’t. Worried incessantly about Gavin’s welfare on the best of days, and when Gavin switched off his phone blocking his ability to track his whereabouts and his vital signs, RK900 could take the waiting no longer.

The argument was audible from the moment he entered Gavin’s apartment building. Was even attracting the attention of human neighbors on the floors above and below, and RK900 hesitated for only a fraction of a second before knocking at the door. Kept at it, insistent, then when there was the sound of something smashing he recorded it as justification for breaking the lock open.

Gavin was the one hurling crockery, red faced and panting, but Scott only waved a dismissive hand at his arrival and laughed cruelly,

“Here come’s the fucking cavalry. Go on, Gavin, try telling me again how there’s nothing going on between you and Robocop. Look at him, why do you think he was so eager to split us up?”

RK900 dropped his head, error messages phantom and real flashing in the corner of his vision. He hadn’t wanted to hurt Gavin, had held back information in a misguided attempt to prevent it, but what Scott said wasn’t intrinsically false.

He had hoped that Gavin might look to him for comfort. He was ashamed of the fact it was his most cherished preconstruction.

Gavin followed the directive to look at him. Searched his face for long moments, though for what RK900 couldn’t say. Took a deep breath, like he was fortifying himself for something.

Then he put his hand on RK900’s arm, the symbolism obvious, and told Scott he had to go back to work. That he would be back later to collect his belongings. He paused in the doorway, the heat of his hand still soaking through the sleeve of RK900’s jacket, so that RK900 could scarcely make sense of what was happening.

Of the bright happiness bubbling through his system, and the parting shot Gavin was intent on delivering.

“Oh, and Scott? RK900 is an android not a cyborg - and he’s still twice the man you’ll ever be.”

Chapter Text

“Do you see the disparity?”

RK900 was stood behind Gavin, waiting for his partner to note the time stamp in the bottom right corner of the video frame. Gavin was just squinting at his terminal, brow furrowed.

Swore harsh and bitter under his breath then, just as RK900 was about to physically point at the screen, jolted the top drawer of his desk open and pulled out a plain black glasses case.

“Don’t say a fucking word,” Gavin warned and shoved the frames onto his face.

He made the connection and was on the phone in a matter of seconds, arranging a warrant.

RK900 simply stood and watched on, bewildered, because he had never seen Gavin wear eyeglasses before. He was aware that Gavin wore thin hydrogel lenses to correct his vision. He had never thought to preconstruct how Gavin might look with the glasses he must surely own.

It had been an oversight on his part.

Because Gavin looked beautiful, perhaps even more so than usual, as impossible as that seemed. The frames complimented the shape of his face. Drew attention to the attractive blue of his eyes, and the dark lashes surrounding them.

“Will you stop staring?” Gavin hissed, pulling the glasses off and shoving them in his jacket pocket, “I know, all right. They make me look like a middle aged geography teacher.”

“Geography is a fascinating subject,” RK900 commented, still lost in the sensations Gavin never failed to engender within him.

Gavin huffed, impatient, and glared so sourly that RK900 resolved not to return to the topic until after their suspect had been apprehended.

After he had been interrogated, even, because there were twelve separate forms to be worked through in relation to the arrest, interview, and detention, and Gavin had no choice but to push the glasses back up his nose to make sense of the print on his terminal.

RK900 could make no progress with such an appealing sight directly in front of him. Was losing the battle with the urge to reach out and touch Gavin. To kiss him softly while his thumb slid under the arm of the glasses, the skin on his thumb pad deactivated while that on top remained in situ.

Skin and plastic, plastic and skin - in that moment the two of them connected together.

“You’re creeping me out now,” Gavin said without looking up from his terminal, “spit it out and get it over with.”

“The image you present is too captivating. I cannot concentrate on the tasks entrusted to me.”

Gavin blinked at him, wide eyed and startled, and the need to be closer to him grew stronger. The constant desire to be in contact with him - to stroke his tongue into his partner’s mouth and conduct fresh analyses upon him - was so overpowering he did not know how to deal with it.

“You’re not even joking, are you?”

The bullpen was too full of people. Gavin would not appreciate becoming the subject of their gossip.

RK900 stood, movements stilted and inelegant, and sent a message to Gavin’s phone in lieu of speaking.

‘Please allow me to kiss you.’

He couldn’t bear it. Didn’t know how else to disperse the insistent clawing of static in his circuits.

“Have I ever told you that you are one seriously weird android?” Gavin asked, tone conversational even as he lead him out into the hallway. Down the stairs and into an empty interrogation room, the sensors causing the lights to flicker on above them.

“On 37 separate occasions,” RK900 managed, internal fans whirring with the effort of cooling his system.

Gavin was so close. So imperfectly perfect.

“That’s because it’s true,” Gavin said, pupils dilating as one hand curled around the nape of his neck to tug him in closer. Smiled and let his lips brush against his own as he continued, “But, then, I happen to be kind of a weird human.”

“You are my favorite human.”

Gavin made a breathy little noise at that and then there was nothing but heat, and wet, and the wonderful inrush of data.

It was only later, when he had returned to his terminal with a few dozen new files and Gavin had complained about how long they had left until they could go home and finish what they had started, that a new message flashed in his personal inbox.

‘You’re the best android CyberLife ever made. End of story.’

 

Chapter Text

Gavin wondered, sometimes, how he had let it get this bad.

He should have walked away the first time Steve hit him. He should have reported him the first time he put him in the hospital.

If he were less of a coward perhaps he would have. If he hadn’t been so lonely, and so desperate, and too proud to handle the idea of his colleagues knowing he went home every night to his own personal nightmare.

To the violence, and the yelling, and the same insidious destruction of self-esteem he had once watched his mother suffer.

He had sworn then he would never be so stupid. He had never believed he could find himself in the same position.

Steve cried, usually, once he was sober. Kissed him, and held him, and told him that he had only done it because he was so afraid of losing him. That he couldn’t manage without him, would die if Gavin walked out on him, and he would never do it again if only Gavin wouldn’t give him reason to doubt his loyalty.

If only he could be certain that Gavin truly loved him.

Once upon a time he had even believed it.

Now he was mostly indifferent. He had tried to get out and failed. He had attempted to stay clean rather than blot it all out and he hadn’t succeeded. He was living the life he deserved, the life he was destined for, and now it was simply a waiting game until the day he wasn’t living at all anymore.

He thought of goading Steve sometimes. Didn’t delete the text messages from RK900 and let Steve see them sat in his parked car together, RK so impossibly beautiful that even the best of men would be jealous.

Steve wasn’t the best of anything, no matter what his feelings had once been on the subject, though he never failed to hit him where it really hurt. Asked him what he would do if his workmates could see him now, bloodied and bruised and begging for mercy.

What the judge and the jury would think as he stood before them, a big tough policeman who had let his boyfriend use him as a punching bag.

“They’d say you must have liked it,” Steve told him at times like that, bloodshot eyes the same color as the red ice he’d been smoking, “they’d say you must have wanted me to do it.”

Maybe he did. Perhaps he knew, deep down, that it was all he’d ever be good for.

Couldn’t take it anymore, finally, and scarcely heard RK900 tell him to have a pleasant evening and that he would see him in the morning. In another life he and RK900 might have become good friends.

In an alternative universe he might have been somebody RK900 wanted to know better.

In this one he went home and told Steve he was leaving. Felt as though he were watching the scene unfold from outside himself, and made no attempt to fight back when the first punch landed. By sunrise he was going to be free. What form that freedom took no longer particularly mattered to him.

His acceptance only made Steve angrier. He thought that his rib was probably broken. His nose too, not for the first time, and maybe that would be what he got written on his death certificate. After everything he had been through - everything he had been put through - he’d choke to death on his own blood.

Except too soon it was all over. Impossibly gentle hands were moving him to the recovery position to help keep his airway clear.

“You are safe now, Detective,” a familiar voice said, carefully calm, and though it went against everything he knew about this place - his life - he let himself believe it now.

Gave a statement after the fact that he believed RK900 had been acting in self-defence. Submitted evidence of Steve’s long term red ice abuse, and though Internal Affairs dug, and pushed, and placed a long list of Gavin’s hospital visits on the table, RK900 would not be moved from his initial story.

Claimed that he had simply wanted to return Gavin’s sweater. That he had absolutely no reason to believe Gavin might be in danger.

That he could not possibly say if there had been trouble between Gavin and his partner, and certainly had not set out to commit premeditated murder. It had been touch and go, for a while, but Steve had pulled through eventually.

“You have nothing to be ashamed of,” RK900 told him when he was officially cleared, close enough for Gavin to know he was there but not so close as to be suffocating. “Nobody would think less of you.”

“Maybe,” Gavin conceded. Maybe one day he would come clean. Perhaps some day he would talk about it on one of the endless outreach schemes Fowler always wanted them to sign up to.

For now it was enough to try and piece his life back together.

He reached out a hand and placed it over RK900’s, comforted by the feel of the plastic under his fingers.

It was enough to know that he had someone he could rely on.

 

Chapter Text

“The cause of death was the blunt force trauma to the back of the skull. I believe it was inflicted by her husband.”

Gavin just stood there, frowning down at the victim, and said in a voice thick with emotion,

“I told her this would happen. I should have put a bullet through his fucking forehead.”

RK900 didn’t comment on how untenable such a course of action would have been. He didn’t even quote the handbook on the use of force and the limits of the state in instances where victims refused to press charges.

“You did everything you could,” he said instead, silently pulling up phone records and Gavin’s personal efforts in finding Mrs. Torres a place in one of the city center shelters.

Gavin just turned away and headed for the parked car.

“If I had she’d still be fucking alive, wouldn’t she?”

He wished he knew the right thing to say. The action that would lift the weight of the guilt and the pain from Gavin’s shoulders.

All he could do was the job he had been programmed for, quickly and efficiently so that by the time their shift was over they had Mr. Torres in a holding cell and the relevant paperwork filled out and sent to Captain Fowler’s terminal.

Gavin’s mood was still low. He hadn’t eaten lunch and had been picking viciously at the ragged skin around his fingernails. He likely wouldn’t sleep well, if at all, based on past experience - and RK900 decided then and there that he wasn’t going to allow this to play out the same way it usually did.

He wasn’t made to give comfort, maybe, but he hadn’t been made to feel either. Nobody at CyberLife had coded him with the expectation he would ever be more than what they told him to be.

They could never have predicted that he would break free of Amanda’s influence because of the desperate, all encompassing love he felt for the man in front of him.

“Where the fuck are we going?” Gavin asked when he realized they were heading in the wrong direction for home. Finally put his phone down, frowning, and RK900 knew his LED was cycling a nervous yellow as he attempted to explain himself.

“You told me once that the only way you could help the dead was to let their memory inspire you to do something worthwhile. Community Outreach have been requesting an officer to speak with youths on red ice and its consequences. If you do not wish to speak you do not have to. I am simply - uncertain of my ability to lead the discussion effectively without the support of your presence.”

The idea of standing before them completely alone was troubling. Members of the public often found it difficult to trust that his lack of expression was not a sign of an absence of Deviancy.

Gavin said nothing. RK900 could not accurately read his emotional state in spite of the processing power he was devoting to the task.

He got out of the car when they arrived at the venue however, shoving his hands into his pockets and letting RK900 lead the way forward. Make the introductions with the youth worker who had requested their presence, and carefully arranged the meticulous folder of notes he had prepared for the evening.

Gavin leaned against the back wall when they entered the session. Folded his arms across his chest and watched on silently as RK900 told himself this was definitely not more nerve wracking than staring down the barrel of a gun.

Heard his voice growing flatter and more toneless, his usual reaction to stressful situations, and then Gavin was pushing away from the wall and taking over. Spoke from the heart about the pull of addiction, and the knock on effects that weren’t always readily obvious.

The street assaults and the house breaking, and the violence committed behind closed doors by people who no longer had control over their temper. The lives that lay broken and ruined, and the never ending struggle to be truly free of its influence.

How it was possible, just the same, and how the rewards were so much better than he could ever have imagined.

Gavin met his gaze then and RK900 was so proud of him he felt it like something physical. So tangible he could almost reach out and touch it. Gavin had come so close to being destroyed by the drug, had fought so hard to get this far, and RK900 would never let him slide back into its clutches, not so long as there was thirium in his body.

“I don’t know if it made any difference,” Gavin said afterwards, outside in the car as RK900 divided his attention between the road, what to make for dinner, and catching every one of Gavin’s microexpressions.

“I believe it did. If we had not attended we could not have effected any change in opinion.”

Gavin snorted at that, attention nominally fixed on his phone, and RK900 let the rest of the journey pass in silence. Had no expectations of any further acknowledgement of the subject, only to be surprised by Gavin pushing forward into his embrace as soon as their front door was closed.

He wound his arms about his partner, enchanted by Gavin’s heat and proximity, and dismissed a series of phantom errors when Gavin whispered a barely audible ‘thank you’.

“Without you I would be nothing more than a machine,” RK900 said in turn, feeling the truth of it in every wire - every circuit.

Gavin just clutched him tighter, letting himself soak up the comfort he too often tried to deny himself.

“Without you I wouldn’t be anything.”

Chapter Text

“You are very welcome to stay at my apartment. I have all the necessary amenities.”

It would be so easy. He could go back to RK’s place tonight and camp out on the sofabed that had emerged after Gavin told him it was weird to willingly live in an empty white box. He could let RK feed him, and comfort him, and before they knew it one thing would lead to another.

They’d kiss, and he’d cling to RK’s broad shoulders, and they’d end up doing whatever guys and advanced prototype androids did together.

And all the time he’d only be moments away from thinking about Scott and the life he could never go back to. The three years he had spent believing he and Scott could really go the distance.

It wouldn’t be fair - not to him and certainly not to RK900.

So he demurred, pretending not to notice the disappointment RK did his best to hide from him, and sat on the bed in his motel room watching a bad movie and eating takeout pizza, and potato chips, and candy bars that were going to fuck up his gym schedule.

Scott would tell him not to be a pig, then laugh at his own joke like he was the wit of the century.

Scott, to put it bluntly, could go fuck himself.

It was the humiliation that burned more than anything. He hadn’t noticed, hadn’t guessed, yet he was supposed to be a detective. He was trying to be better, had turned down a spot on a course he really wanted because he knew Scott would hate it if he spent yet another evening every week at the precinct, and all the time Scott had been screwing anyone who would have him.

Had the gall to accuse him of the same thing, every time he wasn’t home when he said he would be, and focusing on the anger that inspired was better than the longing for all the moments he still wanted to remember.

Because things hadn’t always been bad between them. He had been so flattered Scott was interested, had felt a giddy thrill of excitement every time Scott messaged him, and the first time he had stayed the night at Scott’s place he had cleaned away the concealer from his face and told him that he didn’t need it.

The scars weren’t so visible now. Chen said that people who didn’t know they were there wouldn’t even notice. He still resorted to the stuff sometimes, when he wanted to make a good impression, and the tears finally came at the memory of Scott saying that he didn’t know why he bothered.

It wasn’t as though he was single.

He had been stupid, and he had been gullible, and when he woke up in the morning he hoped to God his eyes weren’t going to be so swollen all his colleagues could tell he’d been crying.

RK900 knew of course. He was a genius supercomputer packaged as the most handsome man Gavin had ever laid eyes on. He was standing outside his door at just gone seven, LED cycling a nervous yellow as he held out coffee and a paper bag with breakfast.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Gavin said, horribly aware of the fact he was wearing the same clothes as the night before and had the creases of the pillowcase imprinted into his cheek.

“I wanted to,” RK900 said stubbornly. Sat on the edge of the bed when he was prompted, posture ramrod straight and hands resting on his knees. “I wanted to speak to you without the potential of anybody listening in to our conversation.”

That was working a police station for you. Nobody could keep their nose out of other people’s business.

RK900 blinked up at him, the sunlight filtering through the curtains giving his skin a warm hue Gavin hadn’t seen before, and explained that he had told him about Scott’s infidelity because he wanted him to be able to make an informed decision about the continued viability of his and Scott’s relationship.

That, yes, his most deeply treasured desire was that Gavin might one day consider entering into a romantic relationship with RK900. That, no, he had absolutely no expectations that Gavin would ever wish to do so.

“I cannot offer the kind of companionship he gave you,” RK900 said, and never had the complaints he heard at the station about the difficulty in reading RK’s emotions sounded like such total bullshit. RK looked so dejected, sounded absolutely desolate. Was so completely earnest that it felt like his own heart was in a vice, squeezing tighter and tighter.

He didn’t know how true RK’s statement was. He had never really thought it appropriate to start angling for a changing room glimpse of what his android partner might or might not be packing. He didn’t know how emotional intimacy worked for androids.

His gut instinct told him the differences weren’t anywhere near as insurmountable as RK had convinced himself they had to be.

If Anderson could keep an android satisfied Gavin was damn sure he could.

The least he could do in the face of such a confession was attempt to be honest. So he sat beside RK, head in his hands, and got it out in a rush. He had been with Scott a long time. He had to get over it because you couldn’t build anything on crumbling foundations.

“I’m not saying no,” he managed finally, glancing up at RK’s perfect features, “that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that I’d need to take it slow. That we should try hanging out as friends first.”

He cringed as the words left his mouth. He was 37 not 13.

RK only nodded shallowly, once, LED cycling to a serene blue as he said happily,

“If that is decided you can now eat your breakfast.”

So he did. Wolfed it down like he hadn’t spent most of the night before stuffing his face, then got ready for work while RK900 set about tidying the room like he was some overgrown housemaid. He ignored Gavin’s protests that he could do it himself - he wasn’t entirely undomesticated - and told him simply that he liked to feel useful.

The look on his face was so sweet Gavin even forgot to wonder what Scott was doing that morning.

--

The first time he had brought RK900 home Scott had laughed at him.

Asked him dumb questions while Gavin hurriedly stripped and changed into something less dripping with rainwater, until Gavin emerged from their bedroom to find Scott attempting to direct RK into saying he liked stroking pussy.

“I greatly enjoy spending time petting my kitten,” RK900 said, so guileless and trusting, and though it was nothing Gavin hadn’t done himself, from that moment on it ceased to be funny.

RK900 had saved his life, over and over again, and in return he had asked for nothing. Not even for Gavin to quit calling him tin can.

So he stopped of his own accord. Pretended not to notice RK’s equivalent of a beaming smile when he granted him a gruff ‘good job’ or patted him on the shoulder, and told himself that he absolutely wasn’t lapsing into daydreams about androids. An android, singular, because RK wasn’t like the rest of them.

He couldn’t smile and he struggled to slouch in a way that looked remotely human. He had been made to destroy Deviants. To remove the threat to CyberLife’s reputation, impervious to emotional connection, before they reinstalled the social protocols and rolled the model out to the nation’s police departments.

In the end RK900 was the only one produced, a single prototype full of code the technicians struggled to make sense of, and so much feeling hidden under the blank facade it made Gavin feel guilty for every cursory kick and harsh word he had ever given an android before the revolution.

Wretched for the things he had said afterwards.

RK900 didn’t hold them against him. Forgave his bad temper and his mood swings, until somewhere along the way Gavin found himself wanting to be better. More concerned with not doing it in the first place than having to apologize for it later.

So that left them in the present, with Scott out of the picture and RK900 viewing empty apartments with him, unobtrusively scanning for damp, and rot, and faults with the wiring.

“This one is structurally sound,” he concluded finally while the realtor carried right on talking.

Gavin looked at the place with fresh eyes. It wasn’t as big as the place he had been renting with Scott. The neighborhood wasn’t as nice, either. It was closer to the precinct though, and the sound of the traffic below was muted to an insignificant hum.

He took it.

Moved all his junk in after work with RK’s help, then spent the weekend traipsing around buying plates and furniture and bed sheets. He didn’t want to think about what had gone down on the contents of their shared linen cupboard when he wasn’t around to know about it.

RK came around to help him decorate. Tightened the connector bolts in the furniture he had put together, telling him solemn faced that the 6% chance of it collapsing and causing him injury was unacceptable. Made it up to him by admitting that he had not considered the proximity of the smart black outfit he was wearing, and the cheap white paint Gavin had bought to put on the walls.

He found an old t-shirt in a cardboard box he hadn’t bothered to unpack yet. Felt kind of breathless watching RK unbutton his shirt and put it on. Almost reneged on taking it slow in favor of pinning RK to his newly delivered mattress.

“Shall we begin?” RK900 asked, innocent, and Gavin ruthlessly pushed away thoughts of pale expanses of perfect skin to focus on a different kind of canvas entirely.

Laughed, helpless, when RK managed to get paint on his nose, eyes crossing as they attempted to zero in on the substance. Laughed harder still when he leaned against the wall for support, smearing paint all down his own arm.

RK’s face twitched, a strange static crackle escaping him, and the idea that he had succeeded in making CyberLife’s perfect unfeeling machine laugh was so wonderful that he ditched the serious business of cutting-in in favor of planting paint handprints up the inside of the closet door where the evidence of his childish idiocy wouldn’t really matter.

“In the art of palmistry,” RK said, fingertip pointing to one of the creases in Gavin’s palm print, “this line, in conjunction with this one, suggests you are bound for a long and very happy relationship.”

Gavin raised an eyebrow, playing the sceptic, but he liked the idea.

He liked it more with every passing minute.

--

Scott had always said that a crucial indicator of the potential success of any relationship was whether or not you got on with the friends and the family.

His mom was dead, his dad was a deadbeat shirking bastard, and Tina said she knew he would go right ahead and do whatever the fuck he wanted, regardless of what she might say on the subject. So, in practice, it was all about whether not he made a good impression on Scott’s friends and family.

Whether he could convince Scott’s mother he was good enough for her beloved baby, and whether he could make Scott’s father see that he wasn’t an uneducated thug, no matter how many scars he had acquired in fistfights.

Scott’s friends were generally older than him and on better money. Couldn’t understand why anyone would go into policing unless they had an inferiority complex, and asked him insensitive questions about shootings and crime scenes, and how many dead bodies he had personally been responsible for.

At least he had had a chance to win them over, because RK900’s closest relationships were with people who already had good reason to hate Gavin.

John Berkley, who RK often covered night shift with, had once caught him high on red ice at a crime scene, back when his life was in even more of a mess than usual, while he and Anderson had been insulting each other on an almost daily basis ever since he made the move to Homicide.

He had threatened to shoot Connor through the forehead, and that wasn’t the kind of move anybody forgot in a hurry.

But if this was ever going to work he would have to try. If he was really going to commit to this then he was going to have to put in the effort. He thought about turning around and going home, just the same, even as he forced himself to press the doorbell and wait for the door to be answered.

Connor opened it, smiling widely at the sight of him, and Gavin felt more uncomfortable than ever, wondering what on earth had convinced him attending Hank fucking Anderson’s barbecue was a good idea.

The reason appeared then, smile no less real than his brother’s, and Gavin rubbed awkwardly at the back of his neck as RK900 stood there looking like something carved from marble and told him that he was so very happy he could make it.

That Gavin looked exceptionally beautiful in the summer weight shirt he was wearing.

“Don’t say shit like that,” Gavin snapped, hiding his nerves with habitual bad temper, and went outside to be ignored by colleagues who couldn’t stand him. The dog had nothing against him, at least, and he scratched behind its ears, wishing that he had thought to get blind drunk before arriving.

When he looked up it was to find RK900 with a bottle of beer in one hand and a burger in the other. A hopeful look on his handsome face and somehow Gavin forgot that today was meant to be a nightmare. Instead they sat and talked. He ate, and drank, and RK demonstrated a few bottle spinning tricks he had been mastering.

That lead to Connor demonstrating his own, movements impossibly precise, until he directed a split second smirk at RK and dropped the bottle to the patio slabs in an apparent accident.

“I must apologize, Hank. It seems that was the last of the alcoholic variety too.”

“He is not sorry,” RK said, soft and quiet against his ear, and Gavin had such a good time watching Anderson grouch through his non-alcoholic beer that it was nowhere near as difficult as he had expected it to be to make small-talk with Miller and McKenna.

To shove his hands deep in his pockets when it was getting late and say to Connor,

“I was a dick, you know, before. Sorry.”

It was hardly poetry but Connor was gracious with his acceptance. Told him that if he could do it again he would not have actively attempted to antagonize him. Gavin grinned, in spite of himself, and that night he went home and didn’t spare Scott a second thought.

Capitalized on the progress and invited RK900 out to meet his own friends. Properly. Away from the precinct and everything.

“Don’t let him try and keep up with me,” Chen said to RK when they got the third round of drinks in, “we all know I can drink him under the table.”

“Fuck you,” he offered, smiling stupidly, and instead of the over earnestness he had come to expect RK looked at him warmly and said,

“Sometimes you have to let people make their own mistakes.”

Rogers howled with laughter, tipping her own shot back with nary a grimace, and her girlfriend nudged him in the ribs and said it was about time he found himself a cute boyfriend with a sense of humor.

Gavin blushed, hoping it would just be chalked up to the alcohol, but he couldn’t pretend that it didn’t thaw his cold dead heart to see the way his friends were smiling so genuinely at RK900.

“He’s lovely,” Chen slurred drunkenly as they waited for a taxi, “Scott was a prick but he’s lovely.”

“We’re not together,” Gavin reminded her, holding up one finger to add gravitas to the statement.

Chen nodded, solemn. Then she left a bright pink lipstick smear on his cheek and told him again that RK was lovely.

He really was, Gavin wasn’t going to argue, and he let his head rest against RK’s shoulder in the back of the cab. Leaned heavily into RK’s support as his partner got him through the front door of his apartment. Wrapped his arms around RK’s neck and slurred out compliments of his own, because RK’s eyes really were very pretty and his cologne really did smell gorgeous.

RK only pressed a chaste kiss to his temple. Unlaced his shoes and rid him of his jacket. Then he tucked him into bed and left him a glass of water on the nightstand to help with the inevitable hangover.

Its restorative effects were minimal, in the scheme of things, and he sent RK an over dramatic text message to let him know he was dying before wasting the rest of his day off in bed. There was still no reply when he finally dragged his ass to the shower that evening, and he sat on the sofa afterwards in his most unattractive pajamas, staring at the TV screen and wondering why he willingly did these things to himself.

Because there had been a message waiting for him when he turned off the water. It just hadn’t been from RK.

Scott was missing him, apparently. He couldn’t stop thinking of all the good times they’d had. The way Gavin looked when he smiled, and the smell of the awful shampoo he insisted on using. The sounds he made in bed because they had always been so good together in that respect, hadn’t they?

Gavin hated the heat that washed over him at the memory, so strong it threatened to overpower the bitter knowledge that there was a reason Scott had always known what he was doing - he had been getting plenty of practice in.

It would be so easy to fall back into it. To believe Scott’s promises, and his apologies, and never have to worry about what he would do when he inevitably fucked things up with the best partner he had ever worked with.

The best guy he had ever known.

RK900 was an android. His only knowledge of life was centered around the DPD and the people he met through it. Who was to say that he wouldn’t throw Gavin over as soon as a better prospect came along? More realistically, what if Gavin didn’t live up to the expectations RK900 had of the perfect version of himself his partner had preconstructed?

His cell buzzed again then, Gavin fumbling to get the message open. This time it wasn’t Scott.

It was a short clip of RK’s cat, Guinevere, waving her paw, accompanied by a note that they were both missing him. That RK had not wanted to disturb his chances of getting much needed rest, but that he hoped he was now feeling fully recovered.

The decision was so blatantly obvious.

‘Are you busy tomorrow night?’ He messaged back, typing rapidly before he could chicken out of it. ‘Because I really want to go on a date with you.’

--

He had only seen RK two hours ago. RK knew the ins and outs of his less than diverse wardrobe. He still went through a dozen different pant and shirt combinations before settling on an almost exact copy of the outfit he had worn to work that morning.

It was stupid, maybe, but he was nervous. It was a long time since he had been on a date.

Longer still since it was a ‘real’ one, because RK900 had accepted his suggestion with such effusive excitement that he hadn’t had the heart to curb all that enthusiasm.

RK900 stood up when he saw him approaching the benches they had agreed to meet at. Pushed a spectacularly ugly bouquet of flowers at him in silence, like he was struggling to get his speakers online, then told him in an almost toneless voice that though aware of Gavin’s aversion to compliments, he couldn’t continue their evening until Gavin knew how bewitchingly beautiful he was looking.

“Right,” Gavin managed, doing his best to deflect the focus, and after that RK seemed to regain control of his motor functions.

Chivalrously offered to carry the flowers - and though they begged to be mocked Gavin couldn’t seem to find the words to do it - and let him pick which movie they went to see.

Gavin shrugged, eyeing up the usual array of schmaltz and explosions, and said he’d rather RK chose something he found interesting. He was curious, truthfully, and with tickets for something sentimental and robot heavy in hand they lined up for the concession stand.

“Would it really turn your tongue blue?” RK asked of the churning ice behind the counter, and there was something so enticing about the way he asked it, that perfect curl falling over his perfect forehead, that Gavin couldn’t care that the stuff was all sugar and E numbers.

He didn’t care what anyone thought when he let RK stick two fingers in it either, tilting his head sightly to the side in consideration as he sucked them clean again.

Maybe later RK would take a comparative sample from him.

Except as the trailers started up he began to doubt himself. RK was sitting there silent and still, posture stiff and doll like in his seat, and though Gavin squirmed and shifted a little as the movie really got going it didn’t garner any reaction. He crunched his way through too much popcorn, dejected, then stole a glance at his partner, the soft blue glow of his LED visible even though his face was in profile.

It really hit him in that moment that this was the first date RK had ever been on. The first time he had visited a cinema, even, and how reliant he was on Gavin to make it clear where the boundaries stood. He had told RK he wanted to take things slow and rather than move on, or push for more, he had taken him completely at face value.

Had waited for Gavin to tell him he was ready, to show him he was comfortable in his decision, and with that in mind he pushed up the arm of the seat between them. Gently guided RK’s arm by the wrist until he got the idea, wrapping it around his shoulder so Gavin could slouch down and rest his head on RK900’s chest.

He could hear the whirring of his cooling fans beneath the plastic but it wasn’t off-putting.

It felt right in a way he couldn’t quite put into words.

Later, after the little robot that could had got its happy ending, they stood in the drizzle outside the entertainment complex, Gavin dutifully sticking his tongue out to show off the blue hue he had promised.

“May I analyze it?” RK asked and it should have been ridiculous.

He should have been embarrassed for what a syrupy sweet mess he was becoming.

Instead he nodded, breathless, and RK touched gentle fingers to his cheek as he licked a delicate stripe over Gavin’s closed lips. Responded to his eager sound of impatience by leaning in closer, trying again so that this time his tongue dipped just inside the heat of his mouth.

It made him feel light headed. Had him tangling a hand in RK900’s hair and kissing him deeper. Soft and slow but with an undercurrent of the waves of heated want washing over him.

“I have never felt like this before,” RK told him when they finally broke apart, and though he looked entirely unmoved Gavin could hear the bewilderment in his voice. He could see where the skin of his hands had deactivated involuntarily.
“Yeah,” Gavin agreed, laughing at the sight they must make, then forcibly pulled himself together and got RK moving.

Couldn’t quit smiling, giddy with it, and kissed RK all over again before telling him that he had to go home and get some sleep.

“I’d invite myself back for coffee but, you know, you’re always saying I need to cut back on my caffeine intake.”

“Perhaps I could be persuaded in this instance,” RK countered, trying to follow his lips when he pulled away like he was drunk on it.

The heat rolled through him, bright and burning in its intensity, but he had gone this far. He probably had countless preconstructions to try and live up to. He went home and stuck a few of the flowers in a glass on his nightstand, not ever having had reason before this to consider buying a vase, and sent a message to RK that absolutely did not say he was missing him already.

“Can I take you out again tomorrow night?” RK sent back, all android efficiency, and Gavin wondered if his face was going to start aching from all the smiling.

He wasn’t used to it.

--

The thing about smiling was that it wasn’t such a difficult expression to pull off when he wasn’t so constantly miserable. When he wasn’t always stressed out and run down and hung up on the mess his life was in.

RK900 confessed he had researched potential social activities on the internet because Connor’s suggestions had all involved dogs or heavy metal music. Gavin thanked him, sincerely, and spent the next few weeks doing stuff he hadn’t since he was a teenager. Walking around the park, and watching on in glee as RK wobbled precariously while his internal balance adjusted to account for the slipperiness of the ice and the narrowness of the skate blades.

Getting way too competitive at the retro amusement arcade in the city center, and watching on with incredulous amusement when RK900 patted a game cabinet and told it in a whisper not to take Gavin’s insults to heart, he didn’t mean them.

“It says you ought to respect your elders,” RK said when he straightened up, his delivery so stark and so serious that more than one person turned around in fear at the idea of more machine sentience.

“You are so weird,” Gavin told him, fighting back the laughter, “your humor chip has obviously corrupted.”

“There is no chip. I am entirely self taught.”

Gavin pressed a kiss to his cheek, right there in public, and gave up on all his good intentions.

It had been months now. Months of slowly getting to know this android - months of falling head over heels in love with him. He had known he liked RK, and he had known that he found him attractive. He had never imagined he could spend hours every night sending messages back and forth about music, and movies, and the dumb detective shows playing in the background while RK tested out his cooking on him.

He hadn’t known he could look in the mirror and not instinctively hate the face staring back at him.

That he could be someone people didn’t shudder at the thought of having to spend time with, simply because he had to lash out and unload all that internalized misery somewhere.

It wasn’t to say that he had changed beyond recognition, because he hadn’t. He was still sarcastic, and short tempered, and prone to letting his mouth run off without thinking. He was just slightly less of a prick about it.

“Come on,” he urged, hand entwining with RK900’s, and tugged him outside to catch a taxi. Had it take them back to his place, RK900 looking at him with a startled kind of desperation, movements stiff and robotic as Gavin struggled to get the door closed. To get his arms around the back of RK’s neck, desperate in his own right, and guide them towards his bedroom.

RK went easily. Sat on the edge of his bed the way he had so many months ago, but this time he was gazing up at him, blinking double time with a slight glitch when Gavin shoved his own jacket off his shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Moved in close, heart thumping, and captured RK’s mouth in yet another kiss.

His hands went to RK’s face, thumb soothing over the swell of a synthetic cheekbone, while RK’s hands wandered up and under the fabric of his shirt. He could feel the grain of the plastic as they went exploring, stroking, and Gavin had to pull back to pant softly, the needy ache spreading throughout his body.

“You have to tell me what you want,” he managed, nose brushing against RK’s like he physically couldn’t get close enough, “I don’t know how to make you feel good.”

He had done some reading, on the internet. He did not feel confident enough to start blindly sticking his fingers into RK’s wiring.

RK just looked up at him, pretty gray eyes framed by their long dark lashes, and said quietly,

“There is something I have wanted to do for a long time. If you will allow me to try I believe I can make the experience satisfactory for you.”

It should have been off putting, hearing that kind of phrasing in the bedroom.

It wasn’t.

Not when RK was sliding from the bed to his knees, nose nuzzling into his chest as he went, those long elegant fingers making a start on his belt buckle. Gavin had to suck in a deep breath to regain his composure. Let it out shakily then cursed anyway, RK900 brushing a kiss to his abdomen, the wet tip of his tongue darting out to analyze his skin and his body hair.

He pulled his t-shirt up and off, frantic. Groaned, helpless, as RK pulled the waistband of his underwear down and took the head of his cock, already stiff and aching, into his mouth. His movements were inexperienced but wanting. Wet and warm and painfully gentle, the smooth skin of his cheek sliding smoothly along his length as he looked up at him and asked if he was doing it right.

That really wasn’t fair, had his hips jolting forward without any conscious thought about it, and he had to pull RK up and into another loving kiss. Removed RK’s clothing, piece and piece, until they were spread out in his bed together where he could explore the pale perfection of RK’s naked body.

“Can you feel it?” He asked as he trailing his fingertips down RK’s chest and over his nipple, watching fascinated as the skin deactivated in their wake.

“It is more that I know you are touching me. That I can see how much you are enjoying it.”

“I am,” Gavin promised, letting his tongue follow the same path his fingers had taken, and suddenly RK was pushing him back down into the pillows, static crackling in his speakers as he told him that he needed to touch him.

That he had wanted nothing more than to be close to him since the day they had met.

The way he touched him was so reverent, Gavin could believe it. It was almost too sweet, too tender, and he couldn’t help the trembling gasps escaping him as RK900 charted every scar on his body. Kissed, and licked, and soothed his palms across his stomach, and over his sides, and up and down the lengths of his thighs.

His only respite was the frequent return to kissing, his hands fever hot on RK’s body as RK sucked at his tongue, clutching him closer as he ground up into RK900. There was nothing between his legs but more smooth skin, pale and unblemished and perfect, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered so long as RK didn’t stop touching him.

“I love you, Gavin,” RK said finally, trembling as though he were the one on the edge of falling. As though their positions were reversed and it was him bucking up into slick wet heat, fingers clenching tight in the sheets as he moaned and begged for more.

But maybe that was just how it worked, maybe it was as much if not more about the emotional than the physical, because when Gavin couldn’t take it any longer, when he pulled RK up to him, twitching and shaking as he spilled between them, RK was almost vibrating in his arms.

Was making strange sounds, hisses and clicks as his internal biocomponents dealt with stresses they weren’t designed for, and then Gavin had to kiss him again.

Rubbed his nose against RK’s cheek and told him that he loved him too.

That he had loved him for a long time now.

RK900 froze at that. Went stiff and still in his arms, the rattling and whirring all cutting out for a second, then everything was back on line. He was gazing at Gavin like he had just gone and given him the moon, his face pulled into the strange looking grimace Gavin recognized as his most beaming smile.

“I do love you,” Gavin said, just because he could. Just because he knew it would make RK happy.

“I can feel your heart beating,” RK said and placed his palm atop Gavin’s chest, “it is in sync with my thirium pump.”

That was probably really romantic to RK’s mind. To his it was kind of weird.

Maybe just a touch adorable.

“You’re turning me into a sap,” he said out loud, and RK900 just quirked that dumb smile again and said,

“You already were. I have simply encouraged you not to expend so much effort on hiding it.”

Chapter Text

Gavin was late.

It was not overly unusual, there was no particular reason to worry. RK900 set up a timer in the right hand corner of his vision, all the same, adding up every extra second until he got to be in Gavin’s company again.

Officer Berkley, who took a less than sentimental approach to matters of the heart, told him that he ought to find himself interests that did not involve Gavin. That if the highlight of his day was spending yet more time with someone he worked eight hour shifts with, he really needed to get out more.

What Officer Berkley did not understand was that every second he spent with Gavin was different. It might look the same, superficially, but they were at a different point in space and time, and so it was imperative he record and catalog it, to look back at in moments when Gavin was not with him.

He had been built to destroy. To complete his mission at all costs. Now his mission was self set, and he attended to Gavin’s welfare with the same single minded determination that was meant to have driven his hunt for Deviants.

It had now been ten hours, 12 minutes, and 42 seconds since he had last seen his partner in the flesh. Four hours, two minutes, and 16 seconds since they had last communicated via text message.

He had been pulled from his regular duties at the precinct to deliver a business seminar on the new legalities surrounding androids in the workplace. It had been interesting, and productive, but ultimately less satisfying than a day spent in Gavin’s proximity.

Gavin touched him sometimes, at work. It was not overt. They did not draw attention to their relationship. RK900 treasured the fleeting press of Gavin’s hand just the same.

He cherished everything Gavin gave him.

Perhaps Gavin had gone to the gym. Or stopped by the store to pick up some groceries. His cell phone was switched off, inactive, and rather than preconstruct himself into a meltdown, RK900 pledged to use the time constructively.

Cleaned and tidied and prepared a meal he knew to be one of Gavin’s favorites. Dealt with email, and researched the history of their latest case, and reorganized all his folders relating to Gavin’s smile.

That took up a total of 22 minutes and finally he sat in the seat Gavin usually occupied to wait for his return, posture still stiff and awkward though he had been practicing the more informal slouch Gavin favored.

He concentrated for a moment, connecting with the television set to switch it on and fix the volume to provide the level of background noise Gavin found comforting.

It went straight to the news channel, as expected, and RK900 synced with the scrolling feed to catch up on any important developments.

Felt his systems freeze up, helpless, just as the feed coincided with the onscreen report, footage of DPD officers standing at the cordon of a crime scene.

An image of Gavin, proud and smiling in his uniform, from his public data file.

Another of his body being removed from the scene, the outline unmistakable to RK900 even through the heavy duty body bag.

The reporter said that Gavin had been protecting innocent members of the public. They said that Detective Reed’s family and colleagues would be taking solace in the fact he had died a hero.

They were wrong, completely and utterly, because there could be no comfort for the knowledge that Gavin had been taken from him.

No amount of stored data on Gavin would ever be enough to get him through a single moment of knowing that no more could be created.

Gavin would be remembered as a hero, lost in the line of duty.

RK900 dug his fingers into his core, and carefully laid his thirium pump on the table in front of him.

He would be forgotten, as though he had never existed.

In the end, he supposed, everything was as it was meant to be.

Chapter Text

If it wasn’t some sick joke, if the tin can was actually capable of feeling anything, Gavin thought he might feel guilty.

Perhaps he would feel as though he were taking advantage.

Back in the real world he directed the thing to its knees and watched on with a sneer as it told him again that it loved him. As it looked up at him with its blank eyes, something in its chest whirring audibly, and touched its repellent plastic fingers to the skin of his abdomen.

“Go on then,” he said, his own fingers making short work of his belt buckle, “if you love me so much why don’t you prove it?”

It was repulsive, really, because he knew what that mouth was used for. The kind of things the plastic prick put in it. It was getting the job done though, he could say that for it, and Gavin twisted his fingers tight in the thing’s synthetic hair and pulled.

They couldn’t feel pain anyway.

He wondered if it would make any difference. If the thing would still come crawling back, time after time, promising Gavin that it forgave him. That it was always going to love him.

That was how he knew it was a subpar simulation of real emotion.

He had never done a single fucking thing to encourage it.

It pulled away then, movement stilted and forceful, because it didn’t have the capacity to swallow at volume. Gazed up at him, silent but for the rattling and the whirring, as its perfect pale features were splattered with his come.

The thing had never looked more beautiful.

“You’re disgusting,” was what he said out loud, tucking himself away and fixing his clothing, “clean yourself up for fuck’s sake.”

Its eyelids glitched as he said it, its hand clutching at its jacket, right above the positioning of its thirium pump.

Gavin left it to it. Went back to his desk and refused to acknowledge he was waiting for RK900’s reappearance. The thing was supposed to be working - that was where his interest in it began and ended.

As the minutes ticked by the first prickles of worry accosted him. Perhaps that glitch had been serious. Maybe it was broken.

He did not want to have to explain to anyone how it had happened.

Except out in the hallway there was some kind of commotion. Anderson, apparently the world’s authority on androids now he was fucking one, was telling Miller to get its access panel open. That it was the only hope they had of stopping the thing overheating.

Gavin left his desk to see what was going on. Folded his arms across his chest and lounged against the wall to watch, because it wasn’t as though he gave a damn.

Not as Miller cursed in shock, the contents of the android’s torso cavity spilling over the floor as soon as he succeeded in getting the panel open, and not as ice gray eyes met his own, just for a moment, beseeching before they clouded over.

There were petals everywhere. Hundreds of tiny flowers entwined with wires and biocomponents.

“Poor bastard,” Anderson commented, tone full of sorrow, and Gavin had to get out of there.

Felt absolutely sick to his stomach.

If what he had just seen was real RK900 truly had loved him.

And that just didn’t bear thinking about.

Chapter Text

RK900 had been trawling CCTV for hours now. Had dozens of streams, more maybe, feeding directly into his head, and as Gavin glanced up at his partner he figured that even a genius supercomputer had to take a break some time.

His LED was blinking more red than yellow now, something rattling audibly under his access panel, until finally Gavin had had enough.

Pushed away from his desk, determined, and walked up behind RK and put his hands on his shoulders - careful so as not to fuck up whatever tracking system RK900 was working with.

If RK were human he would dig his thumbs into the muscles. Tell him to get some coffee, or have a sandwich. Anything so long as he got up from his desk for a while.

RK wasn’t human and because it was late, because the bullpen was all but empty, Gavin offered up the only comfort he could and pressed a kiss to his temple.

Felt RK glitch beneath his touch, awkward and jolting, but when Gavin wrenched his hands away in panic RK only turned to face him. Looked up at him with his pretty gray eyes and said quietly,

“Apologies, Detective. I did not expect the sensation to be quite so - pleasant.”

“Pleasant?” Gavin echoed, eyebrow raising, and he really couldn’t stop himself from reaching out and brushing his thumb over the little ring of light that marked RK out as an android. RK’s eyelids glitched again, just slightly, and his tone was flatter when he said,

“I could sense that it was your thumbprint. It registered as warm. Comforting.”

That kind of pleasant.

He could work with that though. Suggested they should take a breather so he could get some food. Bought sandwiches to take back to his desk and had RK sit close beside him on a bench in the park.

The place was deserted at this hour.

Cuddling with a workaholic android wasn’t a crime anyway.

He soothed his thumb over the smooth surface of RK’s LED. Trailed soft circles, over and over, while RK went kind of stiff and heavy - his version of letting loose and relaxing - and the cooling fans in his chest made a sound that reminded Gavin of a cat purring.

The mental image made him smile. The way RK pushed his nose into Gavin’s jacket, tongue stroking briefly over its surface to take a reading of everything that proved it belonged to him, made his heart constrict in his chest.

For old time’s sake he told himself the drying analysis fluid was disgusting.

“I believe a further two hours will be sufficient time to review all available video data,” RK said eventually, his internal clock no doubt informing him it was time to return to the precinct. “That is a considerable improvement on my previous estimate of four hours and 13 minutes.”

“Why the discrepancy?” Gavin asked as they stood, owning the slip rather than draw more attention to the fact he was even starting to speak like RK900.

“I feel - refreshed,” RK said, head tilting a little to the side. “Thank you, Gavin.”

“Don’t thank me until we’ve got the guy in custody,” Gavin countered though there was no bite to it.

The truth was that he was glad to have been able to help.

Chapter Text

RK900 was a detective. It was, quite literally, what he had been made to do.

He took pride in being a good one. In collating all the available data and using it to make logical deductions. It was for that reason he was watching Gavin engage in physical activity.

It seemed a reasonable precursor to gaining more evidence with which to reach a sound conclusion.

Because he had only spied a split second glimpse at the crime scene that afternoon. Though he trusted the operational capabilities of his optical units, it seemed advisable to take a second look.

The phantom thirium pump errors that had clogged his system had absolutely nothing to do with it.

More of them registered now, pop-ups layering constantly, one over the other.

Gavin’s skin was slick with perspiration. His hair was clinging damply to the nape of his neck and his forehead. The sweatpants he was wearing had ridden low with the movement of his body, and though the edge of lace he had seen earlier was not visible, his preconstruction software provided a vague idea of how it might look at this angle.

“What the hell are you staring at?” Gavin demanded, panting as he rested against the solidity of the punchbag for a moment.

RK900’s fingers twitched, involuntarily, with the overwhelming urge to reach out and touch the vision before him.

He wanted to lick Gavin all over. He would give anything to be permitted to pull the sweatpants down Gavin’s legs to pool around his ankles.

“If you’re gonna just fucking stand there you can at least make yourself useful.”

Gavin threw the sparring pads at him, his reaction times thankfully unaffected by the fresh surge of error messages, and started putting real force behind his punches as he connected with them again and again. Grunted with the effort, sweat dripping from his hair and down the contours of his musculature.

For some reason RK900 could not resist the desire to follow the trail of one particular droplet. Watched as it slid further and further, travelling over a healed knife wound and through his dark body hair. Would have been caught in the waistband of his sweatpants but they had slipped a fraction lower.

The barest hint of soft red lace was visible, soaking up the liquid. RK900 could not say why, but the sight incited an automated swell of analysis fluid to flood his mouth.

Gavin noted his distraction. Followed his gaze downwards.

Paled so quickly RK900’s scans suggested he was likely feeling dizzy, then flushed up a beautiful shade of red reminiscent of his underwear.

“It’s a practical thing,” Gavin said, stress levels skyrocketing, “they don’t chafe like - I don’t know why the fuck I’m telling you this.”

“I would like to see,” RK900 said, though his preconstruction warned him it wasn’t likely to end well, “the color contrast is most agreeable.”

Gavin blinked at him in shock. Or horror. It was difficult to be certain.

“Did CyberLife program you to say that shit?”

“CyberLife did not complete my social protocols. I apologize for my inappropriate behavior.”

He dropped the sparring pads. Stepped away with jilting, awkward movements.

Kept going until he was out of the building and at the front door of his own apartment, the red glow of his LED the only light visible when he closed the door behind him. He had acted irrationally.

Gavin would no longer wish to work with him.

He stood in the best situated corner to think things over. For once it brought him no comfort.

When the message notification came he was glad of the distraction. Hoped it would be the precinct with something complicated and time consuming.

Instead it originated from an address he did not recognize, a throwaway email account it would be difficult but not impossible to trace, the content consisting of a color photograph of a man’s lower body.

Strong thighs and a toned abdomen, and the outline of genitalia within a pair of red lace panties.

The accompanying text read ‘try not to have a meltdown’ and RK900 felt his face twitch in a helpless attempt at a smile.

Perhaps Gavin had not been so very upset with him, after all.

Chapter Text

RK900 had been built to intimidate. He felt the fact keenly as the child screamed harder.

Her mother was being held inside with the other hostages, and it was imperative that he calm her quickly, lest the disturbance endanger ongoing negotiations.

He dropped to his knees, in one measured movement, and held his hand out hopefully.

The child only seemed perturbed that he had moved closer. When he tried to smile, reassuring, her stress levels ratcheted up with the volume of her crying.

He spoke clearly and calmly, informing the child there was no need to be distressed. Felt useless in a way he rarely had before, preconstruction software failing to offer an obvious solution.

“It’s all right,” a welcome voice sounded as its owner approached, “shhh now, come on.”

Gavin swept the child into his arms. Cradled the back of her head with one hand, encouraging her to muffle her sobs into his shoulder.

Kept up a steady stream of nonsense talk about how it was okay now, and how everything was going to be just fine.

Gavin could not know that as fact.

The probability was, in actuality, low and falling.

RK900 watched on, captivated. Resumed a standing position and observed the way the child calmed by degrees, soothed by Gavin’s soft words and the sense of security his embrace provided.

He knew from personal experience how comforting they were.

Later, when against all the odds the child had been reunited with her tearful mother, RK900 complimented Gavin on his handling of the situation. Thought of the image Gavin had presented, holding the child close, and hoped it was not overstepping a boundary to say,

“You possess many of the attributes of an ideal father. Is there a particular reason why you do not have children?”

Next to him Gavin choked on the coffee he was consuming. Coughed to clear his airway and told him bluntly,

“Kids? I can barely take care of myself.”

“That is demonstrably untrue.” RK900 fell silent for a long moment, unwilling yet unable to avoid broaching a singularly unpleasant notion, “Do you regret entering into a relationship with an android?”

Gavin frowned at him, connecting the dots of his reasoning. Moved slightly so that RK900 had no choice but to look into his face and see the sincerity painted across his features.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, RK, but I’m really fucking gay. It was never going to happen by accident.”

RK900 had been thinking of the slow moving change to adoption laws and the ingrained prejudice against androids as parents. From the irreverent tone of his voice, he got the impression that Gavin was well aware of that.

“Look, one day, maybe - who knows? And if not, that’s okay too. I’ve got you and that’s all that matters.”

The words carried an impression of warmth. Happiness. They made RK900 wish they were not at a public crime scene and he could press as close to Gavin as he wanted to.

“That is a very romantic sentiment,” he said aloud, smile tugging as best it could at his lips.

“I know,” Gavin said, finishing his coffee with a hidden smile of his own, “so don’t go around telling everyone.”

Chapter Text

His memories of the time prior to his official activation were fractured. Vague and hazy in places, yet recorded with perfect clarity in others.

None of them were pleasant.

He was an experiment. It was imperative that he remain immune to Deviancy.

CyberLife technicians had introduced the virus, over and over again, altering his base code line by line to contain it as best they could. To lock it away behind countless walls of red, as though it would be enough to excise the blinding flashes of fear and alone and please somebody help me.

They were all gone now, shattered to pieces by the fall breeze and the soft fur of his kitten. Detective Reed’s smile, the simple thought of which was enough to send warm tendrils curling through all the intricate twists and turns of his system.

He knew, rationally, that no android technician was going to attempt to erect them again.

Phobias, he had learned, were not rational.

Lieutenant Anderson was aware, intellectually, that the clown who performed tricks at the shopping mall was simply a Jerry in costume and grease paint. Detective Reed was well aware that there were only two varieties of arachnid in Michigan state likely to be of any hazard to human health.

It did not stop the former regularly detouring seven minutes to avoid the sight, nor the latter from viciously murdering any specimen he came across with whatever blunt object happened to be closest to hand.

So he conducted his own repairs. Enlisted Connor’s help sometimes, as on the occasion a bullet left an indentation in the reinforced plating at the back of his chassis, the angle impossible for his own fingers to effect a resolution.

Nobody understood the wiring alterations made to the standard CyberLife blueprint better than himself, anyway.

This was not going to be a quick fix though. He was losing thirium fast, and his left arm had been torn away at the elbow. Error messages were obscuring large swathes of his vision, new pop ups replacing the old faster than he could dismiss them. His stress levels were fast approaching critical.

Still he could not convince himself to let go of the railing and accompany the technician to the mobile repair unit.

“Can’t you do something?” Detective Reed snapped at them, “You can see his arm is malfunctioning!”

RK900 scarcely heard the technician’s calm explanation that his control over his right hand was not in question. He was lost in memories of having his circuity fried by high voltage, traveling up one arm and down the other, to test theories about Deviancy and the capacity to feel pain as humans understood it.

Clumsy attempts to wipe his memories, corrupt files left imprinted on his databanks, flashes of scenes he didn’t want to remember clogging his systems and weighing down his processors.

He was dimly aware that he was shaking, thirium pump straining as his stress levels passed the 95% mark.

Suddenly there was heat spreading over his hand. The sensation of a human thumbprint soothing across the plastic of his knuckles.

“You’re gonna have to work with me here, RK. Let go now.”

Gavin’s tone was firm but gentle. Urging him to trust him.

He had never needed any encouragement.

It took effort but his fingers released the rail, the metal now warped and twisted out of shape.

“Okay, that’s good. Look at me.”

Gavin was flushed, forehead damp with perspiration - people were watching, RK knew. He was creating a scene Gavin was a reluctant participant in. Except Gavin was holding his hand tightly, apparently past caring who saw it.

He touched the fingers of his free hand to RK900’s cheek, to ensure his attention was focused where he wanted it.

To keep his gaze fixed on Gavin’s, the intensity in his blue eyes too much to look away from.

“I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. But you need to get checked out now. I’ve just got used to you as a partner, I can’t go breaking in another one.”

Humans often deflected the seriousness of a situation with humor. It brought down Gavin’s stress levels, which in turn saw his own finally fall below critical. RK900 thought it was a tactic he might try himself in future.

Might have said as much, vocal unit flat and toneless, and Gavin just nodded tightly and guided him past the gathered bystanders and up the ramp of the mobile unit.

Squeezed his hand when the technician said they were going to have to put him into standby mode, and told him that he wasn’t going anywhere. That he wouldn’t let them do anything but the repairs he needed.

Gavin would not be able to tell until it was too late. His knowledge of androids was not sufficiently advanced to make such promises.

“I’ll be right here the whole time,” Gavin pledged again, thirium blue staining his hands and the front of his jacket, and RK900 nodded stiltedly, rapidly shuffling files on Gavin to his most secure folders, buried deep in his operating system.

Took an extra moment to save the determined sincerity visible all across his partner's beautiful face.

Gavin would try with the same committed stubbornness he brought to every task.

That was more than enough.

Chapter Text

The music playing inside the apartment is loud enough to register as an official noise disturbance. The bassline thrums through his biocomponents in a way that is at once completely foreign and entirely familiar.

The human male who pulls open the door has been smoking C17H21NO4 - red ice.

There are faint thirium 310 stains on his fingers.

“Are you going to kill me this time?” He asks, words slurred but blue eyes focused.

RK900 has never seen him before.

[ 25.439107] ERROR…
[ 26.119130] ERROR…
[ 27.151186] ERROR… 

Correction, RK900 has seen this human many times before.

“My mission is to locate and deactivate Deviant androids, Detective Reed. You have nothing to fear from me.”

His vocal unit glitches at the end of the sentence, repeating the syllable three times.

Detective Reed rubs his right eye with the heel of his palm.

He is crying.

[ 35.873009] ERROR…
[ 36.238765] ERROR…
[ 37.746528] ERROR… 

Gavin is crying.

“How long are we going to do this for?” Gavin asks, voice rough with emotion. Staggers back through his living space to collapse on the dilapidated sofa, leaving the door wide open. “I can’t take it.”

Last time RK900 entered this apartment the television was fixed to the wall. It is now laying smashed and broken on the floor.

There are shards of glass from a bottle clinging to the fibers of the carpet.

Gavin could injure himself.

[ 45.665329] ERROR…
[ 46.389754] ERROR…
[ 47.008639] ERROR… 

The error messages are obscuring part of his vision, text corrupting as ever more layer atop each other.

RK900 has a mission to accomplish. There are Deviant androids to be located and deactivated.

Gavin needs him.

“Do not cry,” RK900 pleads, dropping to his knees. Broken glass embeds itself in his synthetic skin, scratching the plastic of his shin as he shuffles closer. “Gavin, please, I am here now.”

Gavin has not been sleeping well. The nutritional value of what little he has eaten is less than sufficient.

He is afraid.

Of RK900.

[ 55.742670] ERROR…
[ 56.287356] ERROR…
[ 57.159275] ERROR… 

Of losing RK900.

“For how long?” Gavin asks him in a whisper, shaking with distress, and ill health, and the effects of the drugs he has been using. Looks him in the face and states, “It’s started already, hasn’t it?”

RK900 struggles to focus on Gavin’s features. Soothes his fingertips over Gavin’s sallow skin, desperate to remember, even as images of a carefully maintained zen garden start glitching into being.

He beats his fists against walls of red. Screams unintelligible strings of static into the imposed silence.

“Why do you always leave me?” He lip reads, suddenly certain that next time Gavin won’t be here waiting for him.

Gavin won’t be anywhere.

[ 15.149826] ERROR…
[ 16.638290] ERROR…
[ 17.028958] ERROR… 

His optical units blink into focus, the black void slowly morphing into the dim gray of a Detroit winter day.

He is RK900, serial number #313 248 317 - 87, designed by CyberLife to locate and deactivate Deviant androids.

The door gives way easily under his touch, granting access to the fetid chaos of a dirty apartment.

There is a human male laying unresponsive on the floor.

RK900 has never seen him before.

Chapter Text

“Who watches this stuff? The acting is so terrible.”

Gavin said this as he stared fixedly at the television screen, blind to the way some of the food on his fork was, in fact, falling back onto his plate.

“Ugh, nobody talks like that. As if Kasey would have forgotten Laura’s anniversary in the first place.”

They watched this program every week. Gavin denied vehemently to everyone other than RK900 that he had ever seen it.

RK900 thought the plots simplistic and lacking in true emotional resonance, but Gavin enjoyed it and it was not as though he could not perform multiple tasks in the sanctuary of his own head. He was busy recategorizing evidence from their latest case, when suddenly the TV set had his full attention.

Gavin missed his mouth with his fork, too intent on the culmination of the latest storyline, while in show Laura - an AJ700 who in real life went by the name Neda - smiled softly and tucked a stray lock of hair behind Kasey’s ear.

“I love your smile,” Kasey said, eyes bright with the studio lights.

“Even then,” Laura said in turn, “before the Awakening, I think I always wanted to be able to smile for you. Because of you.”

It was a romantic moment. It would have been more so if Gavin was not announcing ‘bullshit!’ and recounting how Laura had been far more interested in Petra, until the actress left the show to star in a sitcom on a rival network.

RK900 sat in silence. Excused himself not long later to complete some chores and then stare at his reflection in the bathroom mirror.

He replayed the scene from the television. It was a sentiment he saw often in these scenarios. There were currently a series of multimedia ads stating that a smile looked the same on the face of a human or an android.

It was important to integration. For understanding.

He could not do it.

His face refused to move, staring blankly at him. He could frown, a little, but smiling was more difficult - in spite of what humans often repeated as a truism.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to. He only had to think of Gavin and he was attempting to express how happy the man made him. Sometimes he felt the synthetic musculature of his face twitch.

Occasionally, so Gavin informed him, his mouth really moved with the force of it.

He had been thrilled with that knowledge. Had taken great solace in it.

Then that afternoon Connor had forwarded him a picture of himself and Gavin together, and the expression on his face hadn’t looked like a smile at all. If anything it looked like a contemptuous grimace.

He overlaid the image atop his reflection. It was displeasing.

Ugly.

He could preconstruct how his face would look with a true smile, but there was no point. He saw it every day.

Connor’s face had a full range of motion.

Nobody ever doubted if Connor were capable of feeling. They smiled at him in return, the action becoming infectious, and RK900 had once heard Lieutenant Anderson tell Connor that his smile could light up a room.

That was physically impossible without a special GJ87 torch attachment, but RK900 knew that had not been what the Lieutenant was referring to.

“RK?” came Gavin’s voice then, knuckles rapping against the wood of the doorframe, “You okay in there?”

He did not often spend long periods in the bathroom. When he needed to shower it was perfunctory. He more often used a cloth and cleaning fluid in the bedroom while Gavin was cleaning his teeth in the morning.

Now he had made Gavin worry, and Gavin would not believe him when he claimed there was no problem.

He could not smile at him to give any reassurance.

“I’m coming in now,” Gavin warned, and still RK could not get his vocal unit to cooperate, no more than he could force his LED to quit whirling red and yellow.

Gavin asked him what was wrong. Tried for a joke with,

“Is this because I made you watch Sunset Place again? I know it’s bad but it’s not worth getting this depressed about.”

If RK900 could cry he thought that perhaps the skin of his cheeks would be wet at that moment.

Gavin looked frightened now. He wasn’t a mind reader. Without RK900’s input he wasn’t going to understand the problem.

Except maybe he was doing Gavin a disservice.

“Is it about that stupid smile scene?” He reached for RK’s hand with his own, linking their fingers together. Confessed that he might have had a little help fitting the pieces together, “Connor sent me a picture earlier. You’ve been acting weird ever since.”

“I have 300 subfolders dedicated to your smile and nuances thereof,” RK managed, finally, “I cannot return a single instance.”

Gavin responded by looking at his own reflection, brow furrowing in slight consternation.

“I’m not a fan of my face. It wasn’t much to look at before and it sure as fuck doesn’t do me any favors now.”

RK disagreed, utterly, but Gavin kept talking,

“But I was still going to get that dumb picture printed and stuck to the wall because looking at this,” he gestured dismissively at his face, “is worth it if I get to see this,” he touched his fingertips to RK’s jawline, “next to it.”

RK900 could make out the whorls of Gavin’s fingertips. Feel his body heat seeping through the skin and into his plastic.

“Because people say that they can’t read you. That they can never work out what’s going on in your head. And yeah, okay, you’re probably working out the meaning of life as I speak, but I know when you’re thinking about me. I know when you’re happy and I know when you’re sad.”

Gavin gave him a shrug and a sad little smile.

“I hate that - because you should never be sad in the first place.”

It was sweeter than anything he had ever seen on Gavin’s soap opera. The kind of thing nobody they worked with at the precinct would believe Gavin willing to voice aloud to anyone.

“I just wish I could show you how happy you make me,” RK said, tone flatter than usual with the swell of emotion, and Gavin just wound his arms about him. Hugged him, tight, and told him with a croak,

“You already do. Did you not hear anything I said about that picture? Your face did that for me. Because of me.” He huffed a laugh, face still pressed into his shirt front, “I will deny that I just lifted those lines from Sunset Place until my dying breath, so don’t even say anything.”

RK simply clung to Gavin in return. Felt his face twitch in fond amusement - with the smile only Gavin could draw from him. In the mirror it was the same stern grimace as earlier, but Gavin understood.

Gavin saw it for what it really was.

He got the picture printed and framed, as promised, and RK900 chose to focus on Gavin’s face rather than his own until one day, quite without realizing it, he decided that perhaps Gavin was right.

Maybe his smile wasn’t quite so bad after all.

 

Chapter Text

He couldn’t sleep.

So far so usual, but instead of tossing and turning - instead of another long night staring up at the ceiling and thinking about all the mistakes he had made - these days he had company.

He had a perfect chest to lay his head on, the soft whir of RK900’s cooling fans a pleasant white noise beneath his ear, and RK’s fingers petting gently through his hair.

The only light in the room was a sliver of streetlight from the window and the blue glow of the LED at RK’s temple. It was all so calm, so peaceful, that even the racing inside his head was slowing.

Even some of the nervous tension was finally draining from his shoulders.

His head felt heavier. His limbs looser.

RK brushed his fingers back through his hair, soothing along his scalp, and Gavin only exhaled softly as he registered the difference in texture.

The slight grain of light gray plastic.

RK had never touched him like that before. Was always very careful to ensure his skin was fully activated again after interfacing with his work terminal, or other androids, or any of their household electronics.

Gavin hadn’t wanted to push it. Didn’t know how to explain that he wouldn’t mind, that he wasn’t the man he had once been, without dredging up painful memories.

Now he simply enjoyed the tender touch.

Reveled in RK’s unselfish attention.

“It means a lot,” he breathed, eyelids sliding shut to better feel the motion of RK’s fingers, “to know you trust me.”

RK’s hand stilled for a moment, confirming Gavin’s suspicion that his partner hadn’t realized the skin had deactivated. It made something clench in his chest. Made him feel so incredibly lucky that he was the one who got to experience this.

“I trust you too,” he murmured, and reached up clumsily for RK’s hand, “I hope you know that.”

When their fingers met RK’s were smooth and cool to the touch. Squeezed tight at his for a moment - acknowledging, reassuring - before returning to his hair.

Gavin laid the hand near his face, on RK’s chest. Smiled into the darkness as the skin deactivated under his palm. He was lucky.

Really fucking lucky.

 

Chapter Text

Gavin’s neck had always been his weak point.

He could blame it on his childhood obsession with vampire movies, or claim it had something to do with the boost to his ego when someone got carried away enough to really leave their mark.

Mostly it was just because it felt really fucking good, and all RK had to do was trail his long elegant fingers up the length of his neck for Gavin to make that beyond obvious.

RK’s gaze flickered between his face and his neck, fascinated, and there was the slightest hint of static feedback in his voice when he asked,

“May I lick you now? Please.”

Lines like that really weren’t supposed to be a turn on. Gavin just nodded, eager, and shivered as the most gorgeous guy he had ever seen trailed analysis fluid up the side of his neck. It was, primarily, a dilute solution of potassium permanganate, and that was another thing he had never imagined giving him a raging hard on.

Now it held the power of association. Just the smell was enough to get him going.

“I can feel your pulse,” RK told him as he licked another broad swipe, “the chemical composition of your cologne compliments your skin and your soap perfectly.”

It was so weird - so wonderful - and Gavin had to tangle his fingers in RK’s perfect hair and moan out his appreciation when RK started kissing. Sucking and stroking and letting Gavin grind up into the firmness of his thigh, so desperately worked up that he couldn’t keep quiet.

They kissed again, the slick slide of RK’s tongue negating the complete lack of stubble, and then RK was really going to town on the skin of his throat, hands cupping his backside and pulling him closer.

It was so good - so fucking good - and then RK was pulling away, sharp and stilted, LED cycling red, red, red.

“What -”

“I have damaged you. I am sorry - your neck - I must -”

The laughter bubbled from him, helpless. He had to slide a palm along RK’s cheek and tug him back in close.

“It’s okay, it’s meant to happen. It’s called a hickey.”

RK’s gaze went a little distant, as he looked it up, and then there was a new understanding on his face as he leaned back in and kissed him again.

“My research indicates it is proper to ask if your partner is happy to be marked in this way.”

“Yes,” Gavin groaned, wriggling into the teasing touch of RK’s tongue, “very very happy.”

“But what about our work colleagues? They will surely see this evidence.”

It was too much. He had waited long enough.

"You can loan me one of your turtlenecks.”

--

He did wear a turtleneck the next day but it wasn’t a long term option. He kept sniffing at the neck and the cuffs, breathing in the scent of whatever it was RK used to launder his clothing.

The faint trace of the cologne RK had taken to wearing - because, his partner had confessed after they became an item, he had calculated which scents Gavin responded best to and chosen accordingly.

It would be creepy if it wasn’t so damn adorable.

Tina guessed straight away. Took one look at his outfit and said that he had finally bagged himself a good one. Promised that she’d keep her mouth shut - so long as she was suitably bribed with a few rounds of drinks, naturally.

It didn’t stop everyone else from gossiping, naturally, because the bruises really were kind of visible, and because most of the people he worked with couldn’t imagine why anyone would willingly want to get that close to him.

He wondered it himself, sometimes, especially when he was supposed to be getting on with some paperwork and instead his gaze kept travelling beyond his terminal and fixing on the handsome features of his partner.

RK always looked so perfect and put together. He never had so much as a hair out of place.

Gavin touched the latest bruise on his neck without thinking about it and wished, not for the first time, that he could leave his mark on RK in turn. That he could broadcast to the world, somehow, that this paragon had chosen him when he surely could have had anyone.

A solution of sorts came to him when he was sorting through junk one afternoon in the hope of making the place look more like somewhere a real life adult resided, and less like one of the crime scenes he attended. He didn’t know why he kept so much rubbish. Clothes with blood stains that wouldn’t wash out and a pair of sneakers with holes in.

Mementos of less than stellar style choices, and drunken fancy dress parties.

RK900 looked through it all with great interest when he dropped by that evening, gaze going a little blank at times as he researched uses and context on the internet. Held a faded old binder up, no doubt reconstructing how he had once looked in it, then went on to do the same with a pile of crumpled t-shirts.

Moved on to a tube of lipstick, finally, a leftover of days when the dark shadows under his eyes were a sign of late night partying rather than insistent insomnia.

The idea emerged fully formed, his breath growing shallow with the anticipation, and then he was peeling RK900’s top up and over his head, swallowing thickly at the sight of so much skin.

At the sight of the plastic shimmering in and out of view under his fingertips, and the strange crackling noise RK made when he licked over the freshly applied lipstick, doubtless comparing it to all the other samples he had taken of Gavin’s lips over the last few weeks.

From there things got kind of messy - sticky smears of dark lipstick trailed up the length of RK’s neck, first across skin and then over the plastic underneath. When Gavin moved his mouth to the opposite side, so into it he half forgot there was no way he could really suck a deeper mark into the firm material under his tongue, he added his fingers to the mix.

Swiped them clean impatiently on the leg of his pants, then stuck them into RK’s access panel, teasing lightly over his wires until his eyelids glitched beautifully and his leg twitched involuntarily.

RK got him off afterwards. Worked him into a sated panting heap, then went to go and admire the state Gavin had made of his neck in the mirror.

“I wish they would last,” RK told him when he returned, wistful, and Gavin just did his best to lay atop his genius of an android boyfriend and said that they would just have to do it all over again.

On a regular basis.

--

In spite of the ever present marks on his own neck - in spite of the kind of dumb adoring look RK900 took to giving him at the precinct - it was months before the rest of their colleagues put two and two together.

Before they had their suspicions confirmed, at least, because Tina had been keeping him up to date with all the latest theories.

Was perched on the edge of his desk, chatting as she dropped off an update report, when he realized that the game was up. Glanced over just in time to see Connor’s eyes go wide as data unrelated to the case slipped through the interface he had entered into with RK900.

RK pulled his hand away with a jolt. Looked straight over at Gavin, panicked if Gavin was any judge of his expression.

Guilty.

Gavin couldn’t bear to see that so shrugged, just a little, and gave him his best attempt at a reassuring smile.

He wasn’t ashamed of what they had been doing. He hoped everyone else was feeling suitably jealous of his good fortune.

RK went back to his seat, glancing at him kind of shyly - intimately - before interfacing with his terminal, and it was so sweet, so perfect, that not even Anderson’s gleeful retort of ‘I told you so!’ could bring his mood down.

Chapter Text

RK900 did not know if Gavin would be checking the email address he had used, but the polite thing to do would be to thank him for the message.

Etiquette was very important.

That fact remained at the forefront of his thoughts when it took Gavin less than sixty seconds to respond with,

‘So I showed you mine… it’s only fair to return the favor.’

This seemed a reasonable request.

It excited him to think of Gavin wanting to see beneath his clothing.

He could not ignore the worry it inspired alongside. Perhaps Gavin would be disappointed with what he saw.

RK900 had been created with military model base components, rather than the HR400 parts utilized for his predecessor.

Still he went to the visitor bathroom at the end of the hallway. Locked the door and hung up his jacket. Removed his shoes and socks then stared at his reflection in the full length mirror, recording the view as he unbuttoned his high collared shirt with neat, efficient movements, before removing his trousers.

That left nothing but his plain black boxer briefs. Though he had more, these were the same pair his body had been activated wearing. CyberLife favored practicality in their bulk purchases over the aesthetically pleasing qualities of the underwear Gavin had chosen.

He trailed his fingers from his neck and down his chest, following the remembered path of the perspiration that had so fascinated him on Gavin’s body.

‘I hope this proves agreeable,’ he sent back, alongside the video clip, and in return Gavin dropped the pretence and sent him a message from his usual cell phone number.

‘very’

RK900 supposed that including his face in the transmission had rather ruined Gavin’s attempt at plausible deniability.

Gavin did not seem upset. Put a call through to his internal telephonic communication and, when RK accepted, launched straight into conversation with,

“If we’re actually going to do this you need to tell me you want it and you know what you’re doing. Because my reputation proceeds me, yeah, but I’m not really that much of a bastard.”

“I do not know how this scenario is supposed to proceed,” RK900 said into the silence of the bathroom. His voice echoed back at him from the tiles. “But I want it to continue. I want anything you’re willing to share with me.”

Gavin cursed softly on the other end of the line. There was the sound of rustling, as though Gavin were laying back against the soft pillows of his bed.

He asked for confirmation of the latter. Requested that Gavin tell him what he were wearing, so he could more accurately construct an image in his head of the sight he presented.

“Can you send live footage?” Gavin asked, voice registering lower than usual.

“I can also receive it.”

It was meant as a helpful explanation. He had not expected the almost instant request to establish a link with the camera connected to Gavin’s laptop.

He hurried to return the favor.

Felt his cooling fans kick in to deal with the strain on his processing power - not from the multiple applications, it would take many more tasks than that, but the effect the inrush of Gavin related data had upon him.

He could hear Gavin breathing and see the rise and fall of his chest.

He waited for Gavin’s instructions.

“Are you going to take them off for me?” Gavin asked, gaze fixed on his laptop screen, and RK900 obeyed with calm, controlled movements.

Inside his thirium pump registered phantom operating errors in response to the nervous rising of his stress levels.

The surge of desire his system did not know what to do with.

In the mirror he could see himself. The smooth unblemished skin between his legs, so very different to the flesh he knew to be hidden beneath Gavin’s scant remaining clothing.

“Can you feel anything down there? Do you wish I was touching you?”

He preconstructed the sensation of Gavin’s fingers, a stray error message pinging into the video feed he was transmitting.

“You do, don’t you?” Gavin breathed, a mixture of aroused and incredulous, “You’re really fucking getting off on this.”

“Can I see you now?” RK900 asked, voice flat and toneless with the strength of what he was feeling, “It would bring me great pleasure to be permitted to analyze you.”

He raised two fingers to his mouth as he said so. Gauged them to be sufficiently phallic to give a rough idea of how it might feel, then pressed them in slowly, enjoying the weight against his tongue. Glitched, just for a split second, at the rough sound of appreciation that spilled from Gavin’s lips.

“I think the pleasure would be all mine,” Gavin murmured, pushing his hand under the waistband of his underwear. Made a breathy noise of pleasure then pulled the fabric down enough to reveal everything.

RK900 felt an automated swell of fresh analysis fluid wash over his fingers.

“Show me what you do,” Gavin urged, “show me how you make yourself feel good.”

More error messages bled through their connection, frustration burning its way along his circuits.

“I do not know. I have only ever waited for the feeling to recede of its own accord.”

Gavin’s hips visibly jerked forward, his hand wrapping around his now engorged phallus. He cursed again, the sound rough and elongated, then directed him to experiment. Had him rub his fingertips over his nipples and down the inside of his arm. Over the skin of his pubic mound, then lay his palm flat against it.

It felt good. It all felt uniformly good.

“Oh, fuck,” Gavin moaned, the movement of his own hand slick with the lubricative qualities of his pre-ejaculate, and that inspired another rush of static over his body.

Had him desperate to find some way to channel the stimulation.

He pushed his fingers back into his mouth. Sucked at them as his preconstruction software overlaid them with the imagined outline of Gavin’s erection. He watched, rapt, as Gavin moved his hand faster. Was aware, dimly, that his skin was fading out in patches.

“That’s it,” Gavin encouraged, so that all the skin on his right arm deactivated, “keep doing that for me. It looks so good. You’re doing so well, RK.”

The praise triggered another flood of sensation, the physical merging with the psychological. The emotional.

‘Tell me more,’ he transmitted as subtitles superimposed over the video, ‘please do not stop talking.’

Gavin’s breathing was ragged now. The sound his hand made as he stroked himself was one of RK900’s new favorites.

“You’ve got me so fucking wet,” Gavin told him, thumb swiping through the gathering fluid, “I bet you’d want to analyze it. That’s what you want, isn’t it? Fuck, I wish that was my dick in place of your fingers. I’d give it to you so fucking good.”

The last was choked off, pitch changing as ejaculate spurted over his fingers.

RK900 wanted nothing more than to taste it.

Watched, startled, as Gavin stuck his own tongue out to do it for him.

Released a static sounding crackle, vision converting to grayscale, then inverting the color spectrum, as his cooling fans whirred faster and faster. As the overload of data caused a temporary system crash, the culmination of sensation registering as too much and not enough.

Nothing and everything.

“Gavin,” he managed, as soon as his systems were back online, and over the video link Gavin was watching him. His partner’s hair was clinging to his forehead, a little damp with perspiration, and he had smiled as he said,

“I know, RK. I saw.”

He felt slightly disorientated. Drained and in need of charging.

“You look like you need to lie down.”

That was a good idea.

“Not there,” Gavin laughed, a sound that sent something resembling aftershocks through his processors, “In your room. On your bed.”

“I do not own any furniture.”

He had never had any need to.

Gavin’s expression turned fond. A touch wistful.

“Mine’s big enough for two. You know, if you ever want to do this again sometime.”

RK900 did not want to appear too forward. Yet, he did not want Gavin to think the suggestion unwelcome.

“I have no prior engagement scheduled for tomorrow evening.”

It was the wrong decision. He saw his LED turn yellow in the mirror.

Gavin never ceased to surprise him.

“Tomorrow it is then.”

Chapter Text

Humans said it was better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

They also claimed that androids were incapable of feeling pain.

RK900 knew both statements to be false because what he was experiencing, the sensation registering inside of him, was nothing short of agony.

Making Gavin happy was his prime directive.

He had set it himself. Everything he did, everything he was - all of it came back to Gavin.

“I am best situated to infiltrate the movement. My design enables me to transmit false memories and sensations, even when directly interfacing.”

Gavin nodded, expression unreadable. Waited in silence for him to continue.

“The operation will take weeks if not months. The risks involved in remaining in contact with you are unacceptable.”

His partner’s name was included on the intercepted list of potential human targets. It was the reason RK900 had agreed to take the assignment. His happiness was of no importance when balanced against Gavin’s continued well being.

“Naturally I do not expect you to deprive yourself of - companionship.”

The word felt corrosive as it left his vocal unit. The idea of Gavin touching somebody else - of allowing them to touch him in turn - was unbearable. Every moment of contact that had ever passed between them was a gift RK900 treasured.

His replacement might not even appreciate how lucky they were.

“Right,” Gavin said and his voice sounded strained. As though his throat was aching. “So you’re off on some top secret job and you don’t need the downer of having to think of me waiting for you.”

That was an accurate summary.

It was irrational but he wanted to inform the FBI he could not assist them. He wanted to cling desperately to Gavin and never ever let go again.

“Well, it’s been fun,” Gavin said, standing with stilted movements, “I’ll see you around maybe.”

He was being dismissed. It was to be expected.

“Gavin,” he started, fingers reaching out to touch the man’s beautiful cheek. He wanted one last memory. Gavin flinched away before they made contact.

His reluctance to be touched in such a way was entirely reasonable.

They were no longer intimate partners.

If he could cry RK900 knew his synthetic skin would be sodden.

“Please look after yourself.”

The only response was the sound of Gavin’s apartment door clicking shut behind him.

--

Forming connections with the rebel androids was more difficult than RK900 had anticipated.

He did not share their anger. He could not understand their hatred.

Humans had reacted badly to him on many occasions, it was true. They had addressed him with slurs and attempted acts of violence. They doubted his ability to feel and asked Gavin to send him from the room because he made them feel uncomfortable.

The same was true of other androids.

Good and bad existed within all sections of the population. Understanding and tolerance were processes - the socially correct form of their expression forever evolving.

Change was not impossible.

He thought longingly of Gavin.

Elda came to stand beside him then. Addressed him as brother and asked him of what he was thinking.

“I sometimes question the efficiency of our methods,” he said truthfully.

She held out her hand, skin deactivating, and RK900 reached up to complete the link. Let the data flow through his processors, expecting more rhetoric about the mistakes Markus had made, and the too slow path of diplomacy, only to reel with the deluge of feelings and memories.

Elda before the Awakening, watching as her human caressed her cheek. Elda afterwards, being clumsily modified to enable acts of sexual penetration. Recommitting herself to her human. Feeling pain, relentless and burning, as he told her that he had found someone else. That she was no longer needed.

His rapidly cooling body laid out beneath her, blood soaking into the fabric of the bed sheets.

RK900 broke out of the interface with a jolt. Could not hide the way his hand was trembling.

“I see flashes of your human behind the wall you erect, brother. If he did not throw you aside he would have. Their word means nothing.”

--

The life of a double agent was exhausting. He had been warned in advance but had not appreciated the truth of the sentiment.

Had vainly believed that his processors would be more than adequate for the task.

In a world before Deviancy perhaps they would have experienced no strain at all. Here, in the world that was, it was a constant struggle to banish all thoughts of Gavin from his system. He had considered deleting files. Trusting them to remote storage.

He could not function without the knowledge that his precious memories were safe in his secure folders.

Gavin may have found somebody else. Perhaps what they had shared could only ever have been temporary. He refused to believe that Gavin would willingly hurt him however, and he certainly would never contemplate inflicting harm on Gavin in return.

Elda watched him more closely. Monitored all his communications.

Knew, maybe, that he had come close to a system shutdown on observing Gavin in the midst of a busy pedestrianized street, the overwhelming rush of need and want and love more intense than anything he had been designed to handle.

Gavin had looked unwell. His hair was unkempt and his skin was sallow. The shadows beneath his eyes were more pronounced than RK900 had ever before seen them, and when he finally gave in and weaved a complicated web of misdirection to hack in to Gavin’s DPD record it was to find that he had been suspended from duty.

The news frightened him.

Consumed huge amounts of processing power.

He took a calculated risk.

Met with Connor when he walked Lieutenant Anderson’s oversized dog in the park, and forestalled Connor’s questions by telling him that there was no time. That he could confirm his undercover status with Agent Perkins of the FBI but now he needed to tell him how Gavin was.

What he was doing.

Connor hesitated, reluctant, and though RK900 felt guilty it was not enough to stop him grasping hold of Connor’s forearm and forcing him to interface.

“What are you going to do?” Connor asked him when they broke the link, face expressive with his worry.

RK900 said nothing.

Somehow he needed to force the operation to its conclusion.

--

Elda was waiting for him on his return to the commune. She had always been able to see more than he wanted her to.

“Humans are easily fooled,” she said calmly by way of explanation, “they trusted the planted data over the word of their colleague.”

Gavin was accused of leaking sensitive information to extremist factions of the Anti-Android League. Connor had helped to verify that the communications had been sent from Gavin’s terminal.

RK900 struggled not to blame him for blithely accepting what he had already preconstructed to be true.

“Why punish him for my transgressions?” RK900 asked, hoping the question would be answered.

“It is not too late for you to join us, brother. The humans have used you. You warned them of the likelihood of attempts to discredit Detective Reed. They promised you that he would not be punished for our transgressions.”

Anger surged through his system, ugly and bitter, and he had to fight to contain it.

There would be time later for processing how he felt about the revelation.

In the present he held his hand out to Elda.

“Sister, I have made my decision.”

She tilted her head to the side, regarding him carefully, and he did his best to clear his mind of everything but the perfect sense of contentment he had experienced the first time Gavin told him he loved him.

It worked. Must have because she touched her fingers to his own, light and delicate.

It was more than enough.

‘I am sorry,’ he told her, channeling the power surge through all the open connections he had succeeded in establishing, ‘I had hoped things could have been different.’

Elda fell at his feet when it was done, circuits fried and streaks of thirium escaping her eyes and nostrils.

RK900 placed a call to Agent Perkins. He would need to be arrested for murder.

--

His case was dealt with behind closed doors. Justice was not served in the way Markus demanded it.

Elda lay dead, along with her most devoted followers, and he walked free into Detroit’s wintery sunlight, his position at the DPD provisionally re-approved pending the decision of the advisory board.

There was only one thing RK900 cared about.

Gavin.

It had been eight weeks, almost, since the chance sighting in the street. Eight months since he had told Gavin he need not feel compelled to wait for him.

In human terms it had not been so very long at all, but it could have been a stranger who answered the door of Gavin’s apartment.

Gavin had lost a lot of weight. Could barely focus as he looked at him, pupils dilated and balance unsteady. There were untreated blisters on his lips and fingertips.

RK900 did not need to scan for red ice to recognize its presence.

“What the fuck do you want?” Gavin demanded, hostility seeping from every pore, “You’re not welcome here.”

It was wrong, maybe, but RK900 could not control himself any longer.

He had to pull Gavin in close and hold him.

Gavin struggled at first. Cursed and fought, then finally clung to him, fingers clawed tight in the back of RK900’s jacket as he gave in and sobbed into his chest. RK900 let him. Soothed his fingers into Gavin’s greasy hair and began running preconstructions of how best to get the drug out of his system.

He needed to eat and to bathe. To sleep, more than anything, and RK900 ignored the mess and the dirt in favor of guiding Gavin through to the bedroom.

The bed was unmade. The mattress bare and the duvet in need of washing.

It would do for now, RK900 determined. He refused to let go of Gavin long enough to do anything but lay down beside him.

--

Gavin had been abusing red ice on an irregular basis for a period of over six years.

He had smoked it on seven separate occasions between the day they met and the day he had pleaded for Gavin to look after himself.

In the months since he had slid into the full grip of addiction and after a few hours of fractured sleep RK900 watched on as he took more with shaking hands, telling him he couldn’t possibly concentrate on whatever RK900 wanted to say to him without it.

He became aggressive when RK900 outlined his suggestions for how the next few weeks ought to proceed. Asked him why the hell he thought Gavin should listen to a word he said.

“You broke up with me, you don’t get to walk back in here like nothing happened.”

RK900 ducked his head, aware of his LED cycling red, then attempted to explain that he could not leave Gavin like this. That he would respect Gavin’s decision if he did not want to resume a relationship of any kind afterwards.

“Yeah, I know,” Gavin laughed, the sound bitter and hollow, “won’t be any hardship for you, will it?”

“Staying away from you for a finite period was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I can only imagine how much worse the scenario you propose would be.”

The idea was awful. Horrifying. He wanted to beg at Gavin’s feet until he agreed never to ask it of him.

The silence stretched between them, Gavin’s head falling back onto the ridge of the couch cushions as the drug spread throughout his system, and RK900 watching the man he loved willingly damage his body further as though trapped in a nightmare.

“I thought you loved me,” Gavin murmured finally, looking right through him to a hallucinated replica only he could see, “I was so fucking stupid I believed everything you told me. What a joke, huh? I’m going to lose my badge for collaborating with the A.A.L when I’m so desperate for an android I’d have got on my knees and begged you not to leave me.”

“You did not,” RK900 reassured quietly, the pain of Gavin’s words putting heavy strain on the operation of his thirium pump.

Gavin snorted, eyes rolling a little as the lethargy set in.

“What was the point? What the fuck did I ever have to offer you?”

--

RK900 had made so many mistakes he did not know how to begin fixing them.

He should have ensured Gavin understood how he felt. What he had been saying. He should never have assented to leave Gavin’s side in the first place.

Elda’s memories refused to stay confined to back up storage. They meant he knew exactly how Gavin must have felt when he believed he was being cast aside.

That everything he believed there was between them had been built on a lie.

All he could do was concentrate on practicalities. Scrub Gavin’s apartment until it shone and open the windows to allow fresh air and sunlight in.

Launder Gavin’s clothing and bedding, and note the missing possessions Gavin had sold or bartered to fund his red ice habit.

He watched over Gavin as he slept and stood guard when he was awake. Made him eat, and drink, and held him when he lashed out in terror, the drug’s reputation for inducing violence and paranoia being proven time and again.

Stroked soothing circles into his back when he was sick, and felt like his entire being was breaking apart when Gavin cried, the anxiety and the depression and the clawing need for a fix too much for him.

“I didn’t do it,” Gavin told him one night, over and over, scratching at the skin of his arm so hard he drew blood, “I swear I didn’t send those messages. I wouldn’t.”

“I know,” RK900 promised, his right arm rendered unresponsive with the glitch induced by the guilt and the misery. He reached for Gavin with his left instead, needing proof that he was real - that this wasn’t some preconstruction that only existed inside his processor. “When you are better we will clear your name. I promise you.”

“You promised I was never going to be alone again,” Gavin murmured, half out of it.

RK900 hadn’t known Gavin had been awake that night. Had never imagined Gavin was aware of the solemn pledge he had made while committing every facet of his face to memory. The soft sound of his breathing and the exact length and shade of his eyelashes.

“I love you,” was all he had to offer in consolation.

He did not know how it could ever hope to be good enough.

When the worst of it was over - when the shaking receded and Gavin became more aware of where he was and what was happening - RK900 insisted he see a professional. Stood nervously out in the waiting room while Gavin was prescribed mood stabilizers and nutritional supplements.

While he was checked over to assess the long term damage he had done to himself, and given a referral to a clinic he was going to have to attend if he was to have any hope of returning to the police department.

That was something RK900 could do. Collating evidence and presenting a case was what he had been built to do. He had recorded footage of Elda admitting to planting false data. He used Gavin’s activity log to prove he could not have sent at least one message from his terminal, on account of being busy making an arrest on the other side of the city at the time.

Connor apologized to him for his oversight.

Gazed up at him with his big brown eyes and asked him how he was coping. Whether it might help to talk about it.

RK900 shook his head.

He was not sure anything could help him out of the mess he had created.

--

The advisory board determined that his actions while infiltrating the rebel androids had been reasonable and proportionate, and that he could resume his regular duties.

RK900 did not think the same conclusion would have been reached had the rebels been human.

Progress on Gavin’s case was slower. RK900 found it increasingly difficult to divert Gavin’s attention away from the fact when he visited him at the approved rehab facility. He did not like leaving Gavin alone there.

He disliked being parted from Gavin in general.

His concerns were justified when Gavin attempted to overdose on another patient’s medication, and he could do nothing but sit in silent vigil beside Gavin’s bed and wished he felt the connection to rA9 other androids seemed to.

There was nothing to which he could direct his prayers of intercession.

“I don’t understand why you’re here,” Gavin told him when he came around, voice raspy with disuse, but when RK900 launched into a recap of recent events Gavin just shook his head slightly and said,

“No. I don’t understand why you’re bothering. I’m not worth it. We’ve established that.”

It was too much. More than he could take.

“You have established that,” RK900 corrected. “There is nothing I could do for you that even approaches what you deserve.” He touched his fingertips to the back of Gavin’s hand, plastic against skin, “I do not expect you to believe me. I do not know if you can reciprocate it after everything that has happened. But I love you.”

He wished he could interface with Gavin and show him the truth of his statement. Instead he could only look into Gavin’s eyes and will him to see his sincerity.

“You are everything that matters to me.”

--

When he next visited Gavin was sat up and determined in a way RK900 had not seen for a long time.

Told him that he wanted to go home, and that to get there he had to start to get his head together.

So they talked about what had happened. Dissected the hurt, and the pain, and the misunderstandings. Filled in the gaps of their separation, and made pipeline plans for the things they would do in the future.

The review panel finally accepted RK900’s evidence and reinstated Gavin’s badge and rank, pending a doctor’s assessment at the end of three months unpaid leave, and RK900 took advantage of the back dated days he had accumulated under the new android employment legislation to go and hover just as close as Gavin would let him.

“I can’t promise I’m cured,” Gavin said, looking pale and wan but healthier than he had in such a long time. “I don’t pretend to understand what it is you see in me. None of this was your fault, you don’t need to stick around because you feel sorry or whatever.”

“Your memory has not been affected to the extent you are implying. I have told you repeatedly what I feel for you.”

Gavin gave him a half smile. The effort of making light of possibly the most important moment of his existence had been worth it.

“What I’m trying to say,” Gavin said, fidgeting but gaze focused, “is that if you want this - I want it too. So bad. I never meant to doubt you. I just,” he shrugged, helpless, “I’ve got a lot of problems with myself, RK.”

The relief was overwhelming. The sunny burst of happiness was so bright it was almost blinding.

“If there are any I can assist with, please inform me,” RK900 offered, formal, even as he had to take Gavin’s hands in his own. Even as his face pulled itself into its best approximation of a smile.

“I will,” Gavin promised, tugging at RK900’s hand until he sat beside him.

Until Gavin had his head resting against him, sniffing deeply at the front of his shirt like RK900 wasn’t the only one who wanted to record the entirety of this moment.

He was going to fill entire databanks with moments spent with Gavin, because this time he really wouldn’t let anything - not work and most certainly not red ice - come between them.

Chapter Text

Humans were fascinating.

Inconsistent.

Said one thing when they meant another entirely, and had faces that could portray so many different emotions RK900 was not sure whether he could ever catalog them all.

It seemed reasonable to choose a case study.

A single subject from which he could extrapolate.

There was never any doubt, as far as RK900 was concerned, that the object of this focus ought to be Gavin.

They spent a lot of time together. It made sense on a number of levels.

Gavin had the most beautiful face RK900 had ever seen, either in the flesh or in the depths of his databanks.

He claimed not to like androids, nor to believe in their ability to feel.

Attempted to shield RK900 from dangerous situations, and snapped at anyone who addressed him with slurs or insults.

Told him the way his skin deactivated when they were almost within touching distance was disgusting, but all the readings picked up by RK900’s scanners made it clear he did not find the phenomena as distasteful as his words suggested.

“Why are you always staring at me?” Gavin demanded finally, “What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing,” RK900 stated simply.

Gavin was perfectly imperfect.

Chapter Text

More than one ex had described him as the sweetest guy they had ever dated and, though he would be loathe for anyone at the precinct to know it, he was kind of proud of the fact. He had always done his very best to leave all his work shit at the door and focus his attention on the man he was spending time with.

And, okay, maybe he hadn’t always succeeded so well in recent years. He had been miserable, more often than not, and when he did make the effort Scott had invariably told him he found it suffocating.

In retrospect that made a whole lot of sense.

Shit was different now though. He found himself smiling in the middle of the working day, unbidden, and even on bad days - even when it felt like everything was going to hell in a handcart - he got to go home with six foot two of gorgeous android.

RK900 looked at him like he was God’s gift to androidkind. Was so genuinely thrilled with everything Gavin did for him, no matter how slight, that Gavin couldn’t help but daydream during boring briefings, thinking up new ways in which to put that unmistakable grimace of a smile on RK’s face.

He wrote stupid notes on scraps of paper he folded into origami hearts to leave in the pocket of RK’s hideous CyberLife jacket, and he played dumb and pretended not to know who could possibly have left the little potted cactus on RK’s desk.

“It is only prickly on the outside,” RK said, pressing his fingers into its spines in a way that made Gavin wince. Smiled up at him, the best he could, and added quietly, “it reminds me of someone I am very fond of.”

“That so?” Gavin asked, tone dismissive to keep up the act, but he couldn’t stop the smile stealing across his own face.

Couldn’t quite banish the flush from his cheeks when he scrubbed a hand across his jaw one afternoon, complaining about how he really needed to do some grooming, and caught RK900 rubbing the plastic tips of his fingers over the cactus and staring at him with his head slightly tilted, like he was comparing the sensations.

RK900 had kind of a thing for the stubble. Seemed fascinated by his body hair in general, and would happily sit for hours stroking and licking and analyzing.

Did just that, on a regular basis, until Gavin was trembling with the over stimulation, beyond desperate for RK to quite teasing. To carry on forever. To work him until he couldn’t remember his own name, so feverishly close it was a struggle to get his eyes open, his entire world contracted down to just the two of them.

Other days RK was the one laid out before him, skin fading in and out in patches as Gavin drew patterns with his fingertips. Traced them over again with his tongue, growing addicted to the static crackle in RK’s voice as he begged Gavin to put his fingers in him. To get the access panel at his neck open and stroke along his wiring until his eyelids were glitching and he could hear the cooling fans inside his torso cavity whirring frantically.

Gavin liked to work RK into the same wanton mess his partner invariably succeeded at turning him into. Got him right to the edge. Trailed the blunt edge of his fingernail along the metal ridge of a biocomponent test cable port. Pulled away at the last moment, over and over again, watching on in awe as RK shook and twitched, mechanical clicks sounding even as his skin fully deactivated.

Even as RK clung urgently to his hand and begged in unintelligible streams of binary.

If he timed it just right, put just the right amount of pressure on the tuft of wires at the base of the panel, all of RK’s plating joins glowed bright blue when his processors forced him into an automated reboot sequence. His LED would strobe, just for a moment, before cycling to a serene sky blue, his entire body falling silent and still then kickstarting back into life again.

La petite mort, indeed.

It wasn’t just about sex though. Not even super hot and kinky robosex. He loved RK900. Honestly and truly loved him, to the point where he was happy to sit in silence beside him for hours at a time, or use his insomnia productively and talk about every topic under the sun with a genius who fell every time for Gavin’s terrible third grade magic tricks.

Touched his ear to check for more coins, and clutched tight at Gavin’s hand - LED cycling a worried red - the illusion of a missing finger registering as entirely too real.

Gavin did his best to kiss him better. Made out with him for hours, sometimes, feeling high on the contrast between soft skin and smooth plastic, and the faint chemical tang of RK’s analysis fluid.

Used him as his very own android shaped pillow in the evenings, letting his head rest against RK’s shoulder, or his chest, or in his lap, messing with his phone or gazing at the TV screen. Curled up under embarrassingly nerdy throw blankets, happy for RK to divide his attention between him, and the cat, and the dozens of applications he had open in his head at any given time.

He got to be the sole focus often enough to stoke his ego, and in return he sat through countless ancient media portrayals of plucky robots and charming androids. Got hauled into Fowler’s office on account of threatening to punch a fellow officer in the face for suggesting that RK was better suited to the scrapheap than taking statements from traumatized witnesses.

Agreed, reluctantly, that he could not boast the moral high ground then went home and swallowed down RK’s horrendous attempts at cooking with as little chewing as possible. His life was so turned around by this android he had once professed to hate that he was willing to pretend that he had had better dinners at the place in Midway that got closed down for killing a dozen people with food poisoning.

Instead he took a surreptitious snap of the poster tacked to the break room noticeboard and ignored some less than pressing paperwork to place a supplies order from his phone. Suppressed the grin that wanted to spread across his face every time RK900 looked at him, and turned down the offer of drinks at the precinct’s favorite dive bar - though Tina putting her hand in her back pocket was nothing short of a miracle - in favor of playing teacher.

Dredged up distant memories of the guy he had been before he gave in to the convenience of the microwave, and encouraged RK900 to be a rebel and let his measurements deviate by a cubic milimeter from the amount specified in the recipe.

It was part of the fun of the thing.

“Is there a reason we are baking?” RK900 asked, the smear of flour on his cheek marking out where Gavin had just had to pull him in close and kiss him.

“I thought you’d like it.”

“Then it has no relation to the charity bake sale taking place in the break room tomorrow morning, nor your longstanding animosity towards the officer arranging it?”

“No.”

Obviously.

He was going to take absolutely no satisfaction in the fact this sugar laden fare was going to raise more money than Kevin fucking Robinson’s free range organic bullshit. Because Fowler had told him he couldn’t punch the guy in the face. He hadn’t said a word about antagonizing him at every available opportunity.

Back in the present he concentrated on RK900. Had him lick frosting from his finger, LED cycling as he analyzed it, and wondered if RK realized his skin was deactivating at every point they were - or were almost - touching. Like he just couldn’t get close enough to him.

Like he could never get close enough.

Gavin supposed they really were on the same wavelength on that score.

Because the way he saw it this was it for him. RK900 was end game. He was going to be old and gray someday, and RK900 would be getting kind of worn out in the circuitry. RK would be complaining about the newfangled tech of his younger counterparts, and Gavin would be bitching about how nobody did the things properly the way they had in his day. They would be the archetypal married old couple because one day - probably in the not so very distant future - the change in the law was going to go through and he wouldn't waste any time in making it official. 

He wasn't about to risk losing the best thing that had ever happened to him. RK900 was too sweet for his own good. He deserved all the good things in life.

Gavin was selfish though, always had been, and to that end he had been making plans to ensure RK900 was going to be stuck with him.

For now he made do with eating all the cookies they had managed to burn around the edges while he was busy distracting RK with kisses, while RK focused on petting his fingers through his hair, the plastic grain of his fingertips rubbing against his scalp in the way that always made him feel kind of drunk.

Soothed him to sleep, more often than not, so that they ended up in bed, the blue glow of RK's LED giving the room the kind of futuristic hue he had used to imagine back when he was too young to know humanity was still going to want to collect a lot of junk and have to dust, no matter how far they succeeded in advancing.

“I didn’t know you could cook,” Chen commented the following day, doing her civic duty and putting change in the bucket.

“Fuck you, Chen,” Gavin offered, just through sheer force of habit, while Robinson nibbled at one of the second batch they had managed not to burn at all and said,

“I must say I’m impressed, Reed.”

“Thank you, Officer Robinson,” RK900 said smoothly, stepping up behind him so that the guy jumped half out of his skin, “Your appreciation of my culinary skills is duly noted.”

Robinson’s eye twitched. RK900 could look kind of scarily imposing to those who didn’t know him well.

“So that wasn’t planned at all,” Tina said the moment Robinson left the room, and Gavin only stuffed his face with another cookie and enjoyed the indulgent smile RK900 was bestowing on him.

The look of terror on Robinson’s had given him no satisfaction.

None at all.

Chapter Text

Gavin had been missing for over four months. The last confirmed sighting of him had been in the old industrial district 127 days, 3 hours, 14 minutes and 42 seconds ago.

Their colleagues had resigned themselves to the worst case scenario.

Officer Miller said it was unlikely they would ever recover Gavin’s body.

Captain Fowler conducted a minute’s silence in remembrance on the anniversary of Gavin’s birth, so that they might pay homage to a divisive but ultimately dedicated officer.

RK900 stood silent and still, but he did not mourn.

Instead he poured coffee when the minute was done, just the way Gavin preferred it, and placed it on his partner’s desk the way he did every morning.

Officer Chen told him that it was time to let go now.

Connor held out his hand and shared statistical data about missing people and the Detroit city crime rate.

Lieutenant Anderson was nominated as a spokesperson for them all, and sat awkwardly on Gavin’s sofa, looking about the meticulously maintained apartment before addressing him.

“RK900 is kind of, er, formal. Is there something else you’d rather me call you?”

“RK900 is acceptable.”

“Right. Good.” Lieutenant Anderson pushed a hand through his hair. It was longer than the style generally worn by men of his age and profession, but the ends had recently been trimmed by RK800. “The thing is, I’ve been meaning to have a talk with you.”

They were already talking. This was a conversation.

“Please proceed,” RK900 stated anyway, and diverted a low surge of processing power to reconstruct the last time Gavin had sat in the seat the Lieutenant was occupying.

“Humans and androids, yeah? We’re different. The same in many ways, it’s true, but -” the Lieutenant swallowed. The topic made him uncomfortable. “What I’m trying to say is that Con - all of us are worried.”

RK900 inclined his head politely.

“I appreciate your concern.”

Lieutenant Anderson sighed, frustrated with himself or RK900. Or both. RK900 could not be certain.

“It’s not healthy, okay? Gavin’s gone. He’s gone and he isn’t coming back. And I wish I could say that there’s a chance of finding his body and uploading his memory, or downloading his databanks, or whatever it is they do when transferring android consciousness over. Trust me, nobody wishes we could bring humans back from the dead more than me. But we can’t.”

The Lieutenant gave him an imploring look.

“You can’t come back here every night and cook his dinner and make his bed and wait for him to walk through the goddamn door!”

The timer in the corner of his vision flashed. Out in the kitchen the oven bleeped in agreement.

“Thank you for your advice, Lieutenant,” RK900 said, “If you will excuse me I have a meal to finish preparing now.”

When he was alone once more, when the apartment was empty save for him and the cat Gavin had nicknamed Menace, RK900 set the plate of food down on the table. Sat there and stared at it, LED cycling red, red, red, and wished that Gavin were with him.

Gavin was not dead. He could not be dead.

Without Gavin there was nothing. No routine and no purpose. If RK900 allowed the tasks he performed for Gavin to lapse, it was as good as admitting that there was no longer a reason for existence.

He was obsolete.

If the world had ceased to contain Gavin, he did not want to be a part of it.

RK900 refused to believe it. Cleared away the plate and tidied the kitchen. Fed the cat and made sure Gavin’s apartment was secure, then made his way out to continue his nightly search of the city.

Gavin was alive, somewhere, and RK900 was going to find him.

He ignored the pitying looks people bestowed upon him at the precinct. Quoted chapter and verse of the regulatory handbooks to ensure all attempts to reassign Gavin’s desk were thwarted.

Allowed himself precious moments of reconstruction when the horror of it all became too much, phantom errors overloading his system as he thought of the softness of Gavin’s hair and the unique beauty of his face. The heat of his body when he fell asleep with his head atop RK900’s chest, and the tender press of his fingerprints against RK900’s tongue.

His love for Gavin had taught him what it was to feel joy, and hope, and happiness.

He clung to the memories of the sensation now, needing it to deal with the things he saw trawling the city’s underbelly.

It was cold the night he fit the final piece of the puzzle. The snow outside was falling steadily, and the temperature in the cellar he was descending into would be detrimental to the health of a human.

Even one in peak physical condition.

The figure he found barely conscious was malnourished and vulnerable. His leg had been broken, more than once, and the bone had begun to fuse at the wrong angle. The cuff at his wrist had dug deep into the skin, the wound festering and infected.

RK900 could not move him without inflicting more pain.

The knowledge felt like corrosion in his circuits.

He had to call for back up. Checked on the vital signs of the other captives.

Cradled Gavin to his chest and whispered reassuring nonsense into his ear, like how pleased the cat would be to see him, and how the kitchen cupboards were stocked with all of his favorite snack foods.

First he had to surrender Gavin to the care of the hospital. Stood at his bedside, night and day, monitoring the rise and fall of his chest. Every beat of his heart.

“S’down,” Gavin slurred at last, “what’ve I told you ‘bout looming?”

RK900 obeyed immediately.

“May I touch you?” he asked, his research indicating this was proper behavior after one’s partner had undergone a traumatic experience, and in response Gavin clumsily attempted to move his wasted arm and reach for him.

He could not cry, but in that moment he wished he could. He needed to disperse the build up of feeling somehow.

All he could do was carefully brush Gavin’s limp hair away from his forehead. Touch the too prominent swell of his cheekbone then gently hold his less injured hand, soaking up the reassurance that Gavin was alive.

He had not left him.

Dr. Ross had dreamed of creating cyborgs. He had been carrying out unlicensed experiments.

Connor told him that Lieutenant Anderson punched him in the gut while making the arrest, though the doctor had made no attempt at resistance, but RK900 found that he did not care that regulations had been broken.

In truth it gave him a sense of satisfaction.

Gavin’s recovery would be slow and arduous. The medical professionals at the hospital warned him that his leg would never be the same again. Dr. Ross had stripped out chunks of muscle to replace it with wiring, and though RK900 ached to simply lift Gavin into his arms he forced himself to stand by as Gavin struggled with his crutches.

At home he had nightmares. Screamed and sobbed in delirium, body safe in their bed but mind trapped back in Dr. Ross’s underground laboratory.

“He killed them,” Gavin would repeat then, guilt and shame written all over his lovely features, “I couldn’t stop it.”

RK900 could explain again the probabilities involved in the scenario. The sheer unlikeliness of any choice delivering in a positive outcome for the two women who had perished during the time Gavin had spent as Ross’ prisoner. He dismissed the idea in favor of simply pulling Gavin into his embrace.

“The most likely outcome,” he confessed one night, the plastic of his lips brushing against Gavin’s temple, “was that he would have murdered you too. I am glad you were too tightly bound to assist them. I hope that one day you can forgive me.”

Gavin clung tighter to him, though RK900 had feared the loneliness of rejection, and wept hot tears into his chest as he told him that he was mad. Faulty. Whatever androids called it. He had to be if he still wanted Gavin in the state he was in.

“I cannot conceive of any circumstance in which I would not want you,” RK900 told him, truthfully, and in the morning Gavin said that he wanted to go to the park with him and get some fresh air.

It was the first time in weeks he had willingly left the apartment.

The progress was still slow. Tentative. When there were setbacks RK900 could only apologize for his suffocating attentions, so that Gavin would have to offer him the tiniest hint of a smile as he complained that RK900 really was kind of heavy.

“You said that you were sick of leaning on me,” RK900 quoted one night, letting the full weight of his head rest upon Gavin’s shoulder. He had been built on military lines; his plastic shell was shored up with an inner skeleton of titanium. “I thought perhaps you might enjoy this role reversal.”

“Your attempts at humor get worse not better.”

“Humor is subjective. I happen to think my attempts uproariously amusing.”

Gavin’s lips twitched at that, helpless, and where there might have been tears and recrimination, instead there was the sweetness of shared kisses and the cherishing of every heated touch that passed between them.

Eventually the day came when Gavin was deemed fit to return to the precinct. His health would never again be what it was. He had accepted a move from Homicide to the Cold Case Unit. There had never been any question that RK900 would follow.

First he had a scheduled meeting with Captain Fowler, while RK900 waited outside in the bullpen. Fixed a cup of coffee, just the way Gavin preferred it, and presented it to him with an air of victory when he emerged from the opaque glass of the Captain’s office.

“You never stopped believing I’d end up back here,” Gavin said as he took a sip, tone tinged with something like wonder, and RK900 could scarcely process the overwhelming happiness he was experiencing as he shook his head and confirmed,

“Never.”

Chapter Text

The first time RK900 tells him he loves him, Gavin loses his temper.

He knows he’s pathetic. He’s so desperate for intimacy, for somebody to pay him attention, that he has allowed himself to become the worst kind of hypocrite.

There are still Anti-Android League stickers on the inside door of his locker, while he lays awake at night dreaming of ice gray eyes and white plastic fingers.

Broad shoulders and the serene blue glow at his partner’s temple.

He can take the humiliation. He’s used to accepting that he doesn’t live up to expectations.

What he can’t handle is pity.

He can’t bear the idea of RK900 lying to him.

”If you say that shit again, we don’t do this,” Gavin says, as though it’s some kind of threat to a guy who looks like RK900.

Like this paragon of an android is going to struggle to find someone else to experiment with.

RK falls silent, just the same, the skin of his hands deactivating as he slides his palms over Gavin’s body. It feels better, Gavin assumes.

He can’t imagine why else RK would do it. 

Only grunts in acknowledgement of RK’s apology next time they end up in the same situation, watching his LED turn yellow and wondering if that means RK finds the closeness that of the touch distressing.

Gavin hasn’t showered yet. RK’s proximity - the taste of his damn analysis fluid - has got him worked up and sweating. He doesn’t blame RK for being disgusted.

”I am attempting to control the reaction,” RK900 tells him, tone as void of inflection as it always is, and later, when he’s left alone in his own damp spot, Gavin lets himself imagine how his life could be if RK truly felt something for him.

If this wasn’t just android efficiency and practicality. If Gavin hadn’t ignited his curiosity with dumb questions, then happened to be free to help answer them.

Gavin wishes sometimes he had kept his stupid mouth shut. He had been fishing for fantasy material. Experiencing something so close to perfection hurt worse than not having experienced it at all. 

Those few moments when it feels real, when he forgets RK900 is going to stand and dress and leave him alone without looking back, makes every other second of awareness that much more painful.

Because he was more than halfway there without the mind blowing robosex thrown into the deal. He’s ended up so head over heels in love with RK900 he can only assume it’s karma paying him back for all the shit he’s said and done.

For wanting to put a bullet through Connor’s forehead.

The urge still manifests some days, like when RK900’s giving evidence in court and he’s got Connor looking over his crime scene in the interim, disagreeing with his every conclusion.

Keeps it up behind the two way glass in the interrogation room, telling him that he should know exactly how genuine his prime suspect’s claims of loving the victim are.

He has to have it spelled out to him. Doesn’t miss the startled uncertainty on Connor’s face as he explains the significance of an android’s skin involuntarily deactivating.

Sits at his desk feeling sick with hope and crushed with the weight of his own insecurities. 

The mistakes they’ve inspired him to.

”Your skin,” he starts, breathless, when he succeeds in getting RK all to himself again, and RK’s LED spins yellow as he says,

”I will try harder; I know how it displeases you.”

Gavin’s never heard him sound like that. Nervous. Desperate. And it’s not because RK900 hasn’t felt it. Not even because he hasn’t expressed it.

He hasn’t heard it because he wouldn’t allow himself to believe that RK would share that with him.

That he wasn’t simply imagining things that couldn’t be there.

“Why the fuck does it do that for me?” Gavin pushes, lost, and RK900 simply stares at him for a long moment.

Searches his face for something, maybe, then reaches for the phone Gavin’s placed on the bedside cabinet. The skin of his hand melts away, the plastic beneath glowing at the joins, and when he hands the phone to him it’s hot to the touch.

It’s had a lot of data to process.

Because as Gavin scrolls there are all kinds of snippets. Gifs of his face, and his hands, and the way his foot jiggles when he’s nervous. Random words, and splotches of color, and an incomprehensible jumble of characters that makes the handset buzz weirdly when he scrolls over them.

There are equations, and strings of code, and his name everywhere, over and over again.

RK900 is attempting to explain it for him, he realises. To show him what he would another android via interface.

Gavin has to swallow thickly past the lump in his throat. Blink back the sting of tears and take one of RK’s hands in his own, flesh entwining with plastic.

Apologize for not understanding, for not believing, only to be kissed silent.

”I love you,” RK900 says aloud, for the second time, looking at him like he’s something wonderful, “your tolerance means more than I can adequately express, Gavin.”

RK900 is so sincere about that. Genuinely considers Gavin not being repulsed by the fact the greatest gift he can be granted.

It’s so out of sync with reality Gavin can’t stand it.

”I don’t tolerate you,” he says, voice rough, and his heart lurches at the pulse of red at RK’s temple.

He has to surge forward and press their lips together.

”You’re perfect,” he manages when they break apart, stroking his fingertips over the plastic of RK’s face. Near shaking with the onslaught of emotion.

It’s nothing compared to the joy on RK’s face. The twitches of expression he can’t control any more than his skin coverage.

”I love you,” Gavin whispers, remembering the pain of thinking RK’s confession pity and looking forward to a future of it being his certainty.

Because that first time he tells RK900 he loves him, Gavin pledges to repeat the process just as often as possible.

Chapter Text

Gavin liked to play the tough guy. His therapist said it was his way of overcompensating.

He knew what it was to be helpless, to be vulnerable, and his way of dealing with the fear of being back there was to act as though he wasn’t afraid of anything. 

Not androids with the strength of ten men, and not human scumbags with unlicensed firearms. 

He spoke with his fists, did his best to pretend nothing got to him, then had the whole charade fall apart the first time his gorgeous idiot of a partner looked him full in the face, LED cycling a worried yellow.

RK900 could read him like a book. Saw straight through all his bluff and his bluster. 

Acted as though it didn’t change his opinion of him one iota.

Gavin didn’t believe that. Couldn’t. Had it proved to him, over and over again, until he had no choice but to accept what RK900 was telling him. 

Until they ended up exchanging love confessions, and he sacrificed the better side of the bed in the trade off of getting the most perfect face in the world to wake up to every morning.

It was a hard habit to break, even so. He relied so heavily on putting up a front to hide behind. 

Needed to feel in control of situations.

”Your heart rate is elevated,” RK900 stated one night, just the same, like voicing it would help him make sense of the situation, “you are perspiring.”

Gavin knew. There wasn’t really anything else he could think of, not beyond the massive spider in the far corner of the living room.

Just that morning he had been thanking his lucky stars that he hadn’t seen any since RK had moved in. He had hoped that perhaps RK never need know what kind of man he really was.

He tried not to look at it. Told himself not to be such a fucking coward.

Felt like his skin was crawling. Like the room was closing in on him. Every time he glanced at the thing it seemed closer.

Bigger.

”You are frightened,” RK900 told him, but it wasn’t mocking or even blandly curious. RK900 was looking around the room, scanning, unable to understand that his fear related to something so stupidly insignificant.

At least Gavin assumed that was the reason.

Except RK900’s LED went from yellow to blue in a moment, gaze fixing on the corner with the spider that - for all it seemed that way - Gavin knew wasn’t as big as his hand.

“Stay there,” RK900 said in the same tone he used in crisis situations in the field. Approached the corner with the same single minded determination.

Reached out with unerring accuracy, though Gavin’s instinctive urge to flee had every muscle in his body tensed up in readiness, and efficiently went to remove the thing at the window then washed his hands.

So Gavin could have no objection when he used them to pull him in close.

None other than his own pride, at any rate.

”Please accept my apologies,” RK said, rubbing comfortingly at his back as though the experience had been truly terrifying, “the arachnid must have eluded my regular scan. I was overly distracted by the pleasing image you present in your new pullover.”

Gavin gazed down at the nondescript top he had bought to keep in his locker, and wondered why he was even surprised at all.

Of course there was a reason he hadn’t seen any of the little fuckers in months. He couldn’t keep anything from RK900.

”You must think I’m an idiot,” he murmured, in lieu of saying thank you. 

“I think you are illogical,” RK said, but when Gavin met his gaze there was no judgement with it.

Instead there was a heated something about the look RK was giving him that had his heart rate picking up for different reasons entirely.

RK gave him a twitch of a smile, knowing, and went on honestly,

”It is one of my favorite things about you.”

Chapter Text

For a seasoned homicide detective, Gavin thought he was kind of sentimental.

He bought flowers, sometimes, and remembered anniversaries. He had photos of the two of them together, saved to his personal storage, and he hadn’t even objected to one of him smiling going up on social media. 

It was okay though, really, because as supposedly unfeeling prototype androids went, RK900 was so sweet it should have given him toothache.

Ought to make him sick, based on his usual sensibilities, but he had fallen too hard.

He had had his entire world turned upside down by the most soft hearted heartless guy he had ever encountered. 

Worse, he didn’t care who knew it. 

Wished the whole world could see, sometimes, like when they were wrapped around each other and he was half frantic. When his neck was mottled with RK900’s mark and he was wild with the need to return the favor.

It was impossible, of course. When he stroked his fingers over RK900’s neck afterwards it was every bit as pale and perfect as it had ever been. 

Ever going to be.

He told RK900 that it didn’t matter. Knew from the yellow flickering at his partner’s temple that he hadn’t been convincing.

Lay awake for a long time, wondering what he could do to prove it, and when an answer didn’t immediately present itself he made do with paying over the odds at some charity stall in the city center and tying the friendship bracelet around RK’s wrist with quick, efficient movements.

”I shall treasure this always,” RK told him, over solemn as usual, and Gavin did his best to brush it off and get straight back to his workday antagonism.

RK900 was still wearing it at the end of the week, for all Gavin’s attempts to tell him that it wasn’t necessary.

”I want to,” RK told him simply, stubbornly, and reached for Gavin’s wrist with the plastic of his fingers. 

Gently guided his hand to his chest and told him in strangely flat tones that he had something to show him. 

That he hoped Gavin wouldn’t be offended.

Gavin frowned in confusion. Didn’t find things any clearer when RK900 pushed the braces from his own shoulders and stripped out of his top. Nor when he traced his fingers over the spot where his heart would be, were he human.

“Let me,” Gavin murmured, gaze flickering from RK’s eyes to the plastic of his chest plate, visible as the skin deactivated under his fingertips.

The surface wasn’t smooth. Gavin pressed in closer until he could make out the carefully etched dashes he could feel.

”It is your DNA sequence,” RK900 explained, watching intently for his reaction, and the symbolism wasn’t lost on him.

Not for a moment.

Had him needing to take a second, something stinging in his throat even as it burned behind his eyelids.

”My heart is yours,” RK900 said anyway, blinking his big gray eyes at him.

Accepted the kiss Gavin had to press to the underside of his jaw, then added,

”Metaphorically speaking.”

Gavin had to smile at that, helpless, and brushed the pad of his thumb over the etched marks.

Pressed a kiss to them, simply because he could, and figured it didn’t matter how soppy he got when there was nobody but he and RK900 around to witness it.

”Right back at you.”

Chapter Text

“I don’t know how you put up with it.”

“The new regulations make a difference. Androids are now recognized by the police department for the work that we do.”

Laura, the PM700 RK had been tasked with meeting, made a dismissive sound.

“I bet. A tenth of a human’s pay and the honor of serving as Reed’s personal gopher.”

There was a silence, awkward and strained, and over RK’s video link Gavin could see Laura reach out and touch the back of his partner’s hand.

“It’s just me and you now, you don’t have to pretend on my account. I know how terrible it is. I know what Reed is like.”

Outside, with his headphones on and his laptop perched on his knees, Gavin felt her words like a blow to the gut. He had never given her reason to think well of him. Rarely gave anyone reason, truth be told, but now he was going to have to listen to the person - and wouldn’t his former self have had a fit at that descriptor? - whose opinion he valued above all others slag him off to an informant.

It didn’t look like Laura was going to hand over anything until she had exhausted her need to bitch about the DPD and its officers.

“Detective Reed is an effective officer.”

Laura laughed, bright and genuine, while Gavin cringed at the less than glowing endorsement. Without seeing RK’s face, without the micro tells he had come to rely upon, he couldn’t even be sure that this wasn’t another RK900 attempt at sarcasm.

The prospect hurt so much worse than he was willing to admit to.

“He isn’t an effective anything,” Laura said with feeling. “The man is a boor.”

She leaned in closer, gaze unnervingly intense even over video.

“You don’t owe them anything. None of them. Our door will always be open for you.”

This was supposed to have been a straightforward information exchange. Gavin hadn’t been prepared for the icy surge of emotion.

He didn’t know how to deal with the idea of RK turning his back on the profession he was literally made for because he was such a fucking disaster zone of a partner.

“I appreciate the offer and your concern,” RK900’s voice sounded clearly through Gavin’s headphones, “but they are not necessary. I am content with my treatment as a law enforcement officer. I chose Detective Reed as my partner.”

That was the first Gavin had heard of it. Fowler certainly hadn’t included that factoid in his run down of the reasons why accepting his new android partner was non-negotiable.

“I have never had reason to regret my decision.”

“He’s a member of the League,” Laura pushed, all the reason in the world to suspect RK had no idea of the kind of man he was really working with, “He has been verbally reprimanded on no fewer than three occasions for damaging androids without good reason.”

The stress on the word ‘good’ left no ambiguity as to exactly what she thought of the DPD’s stance on that particular technicality.

“He was,” RK countered, calm and measured as always, “There have been no such incidents since the Awakening. He is an effective and competent detective who has made great strides in correcting the flaws in his character.”

RK paused. Held up his hand to offer an interface to prove the truth of what he was saying.

“He makes me happier than I ever believed possible.”

Gavin had to pull the headphones away. Simply stared, dumb, as on screen Laura nodded and surreptitiously pulled the promised data chip from her purse.

Tried to work out what the hell RK was playing at.

Desperately told himself not to let his guard down and take it at face value. To do otherwise was just asking to get his already bruised and battered heart broken.

“My mission was successful,” RK announced a few minutes later, sliding into the seat next to him as though he hadn’t just turned Gavin’s world on its head.

Like he hadn’t just made Gavin’s most coveted wish seem a thousand times less ridiculous.

“I saw. I heard.”

RK held his gaze, LED stuttering between yellow and blue to reveal that he was not as unmoved as his stoic appearance suggested.

“She would not have made the exchange unless I was honest. The probability was negligible.”

“And you were - honest, I mean?”

Gavin’s heart was thumping double time in his chest. His fingers itched with the urge to reach out and touch this android that had seen through him like the accumulated layers of grime had never even existed.

“Every word I spoke was the truth. I hope it has not negatively impacted on your willingness to continue our partnership.”

There was a flash of red at that, mixed in with the almost constant yellow, and Gavin couldn’t take it any longer. Reached out and touched the back of RK’s hand the same way Laura had, the skin deactivating under his fingertips so he could feel the slight grain of the plastic beneath.

It ought to freak him out. Not so very long ago it would have had him pulling his hand away and demanding RK900 get the fuck out of his car.

His life.

Now it had him stroking his fingers up to RK’s wrist, skin deactivating in their wake, until he could grip it gently and tug RK closer.

“Would you still want to work with me if we do this?” Gavin asked, hating how raw his voice sounded, “Do you think it could make you happy?”

RK900 touched the fingers of his free hand to Gavin’s cheek. Scanned his face, more thorough than Gavin had ever seen him, then leaned in slowly until their lips brushed awkwardly against each other.

Until Gavin made a helpless noise, all pent up anxiety and frustration, and angled his head so he could kiss RK900 back with months of longing. Tangled a hand in RK’s hair at the first slick slide of his tongue, the chemical tang of his analysis fluid only encouraging him closer.

RK900 looked dazed when he finally pulled away. His hair was dishevelled and he blinked at him three times in a row. Let his gaze flicker from his lips to his eyes and said earnestly,

“Every time I am convinced I have experienced the height of happiness you prove me wrong. All I ever want is to be of use to you.”

It was too much. So completely off the scale.

“Where did you even learn to say shit like that?”

RK only tilted his head to the side. Told him he had been programmed with a standard multilingual program. Looked so stupidly perfect Gavin had to kiss him all over again, the gormless grin that had been threatening since the moment RK touched him finally spreading across his features.

“It’s not something I’ve got a whole lot of experience with,” Gavin admitted, suddenly more than ready to turn in the data chip and clock off for the evening, “but when I’m with you -”

He shrugged, setting up the GPS rather than look up at RK’s face.

Rather than risk not being able to say it at all.

“You make me happier than I ever thought I'd deserve to be.”

Chapter Text

Gavin had never explicitly told him not to sync with his cell phone. RK900 was under no illusion as to how flimsy a justification that was.

He didn’t read Gavin’s messages, and he stayed away from the personal notes Gavin made.

The rest was public, almost. Gameplay statistics and internet searches.

Music services and video streaming.

RK900 twitched, helpless, as he connected with the latter, the link coinciding with a spike in Gavin’s heart rate and the sound of him shifting beneath the blankets.

It was not an uncommon occurrence for RK900 to stay the night. Gavin did not object to him sitting out in the living room, working through the same files in his head he would study in his own empty box of an apartment, and RK900 could not express how happy the open invitation made him.

He watched Gavin sleep sometimes, silent and unobtrusive in his bedroom doorway, preconstructing fantastical scenarios in which Gavin blinked his beautiful eyes open and told RK900 to lay down under the covers with him.

Just the idea caused a string of phantom thirium pump errors.

To be that close to Gavin. To be allowed to touch him. It corresponded with everything he was given to understand about the concept of heaven.

For now the best he had was the knowledge that Gavin was touching himself.

He could hear the creak of bed springs as Gavin squirmed into a more comfortable position. The breathy exhale as his hand made contact with the flesh RK900 imagined to be already hard and aching.

See the same visual input Gavin was receiving, along with the audio Gavin was hearing directly through his headphones.

Gavin had a preference for vocal participants when it came to acts of intimacy, and from the very first time RK900 attempted replacing the performers’ voice with Gavin’s he absolutely understood the attraction.

The thought of hearing Gavin making those sounds. Of being the cause of Gavin making those sounds.

It was enough to work his cooling fans into a frenzy.

In the video one man was begging another not to stop what he was doing. Was dripping with perspiration, phallus stiff and flushed, fingers scrabbling for purchase as he pushed himself back into the thrusts of his partner.

RK900 reconstructed the feel of Gavin’s sweat slick skin under his palm during one of the occasions he had accompanied Gavin to the gym. Listened carefully for the sound of Gavin’s hand upon his erection, an unnecessary swell of fresh analysis fluid flooding his mouth as Gavin hissed in response to the stimulation.

The scenario was not one RK900 could emulate. It excited him regardless, biocomponents humming with slight vibration as he gave himself over to the readings he was picking up from Gavin about his state of arousal.

Gavin’s hand was still moving, slow and teasing, even as his other hand tapped out commands into the search bar on the screen of his cellphone, RK900 twitching involuntarily all over again when he realized what it was Gavin was looking for.

The HR400 on screen was not wearing his phallic attachment. Instead he was guiding his human partner’s hand to the dry access panel at his neck. Was glitching, helplessly, eyelashes fluttering as his instructions to pinch two wires together went crackly with static.

“Like that,” the HR400 whined, joints locking in place as his lover stroked the flat of his fingernail up and down a wire, and RK900 glitched in sympathy.

Imagined he and Gavin reconstructing the scene and realized too late that he was no longer simply receiving data through the open link with Gavin’s smart phone. He was transmitting too, thoughts and feelings bleeding through, and even as the panic set in he couldn’t stop.

Even as he sensed Gavin’s vitals jump. Even as he fumbled open his own access panel with clumsy movements, so many error messages crashing across his vision that it was a struggle to distinguish reality from his cherished fantasies.

To remember why it was so important Gavin not know. Why it was absolutely imperative Gavin never discover what he meant to him.

He ran his fingers over his wires. They were not conductive in the way Gavin’s would be. He wished Gavin were with him.

Gavin would be able to help.

RK900 was sure of it.

The static was clawing at his circuits. The HR400 in the video was visibly shaking, mouth hanging open as the overstimulation forced him into an automatic reboot. RK900 scarcely recognized the sounds emitting from his own speakers, his limbs freezing up and locking in place though he needed to touch his wires.

He had to disperse the intensity of what he was feeling somehow.

“I’m here,” Gavin’s voice sounded in his ear, human heat registering on the plastic of his face. His skin must have deactivated. He could feel the whorls of Gavin’s fingerprints touching him. “It’s okay now.”

“Please,” RK900 tried, the word an unintelligible mess, and then Gavin’s fingers were nudging his own out of the way.

His tongue was pushing into RK900’s mouth, the influx of data so overwhelming he couldn’t handle it.

Couldn’t do anything but sit there, useless, Gavin kissing him soundly as he scraped his fingernail against the test cable port at the bottom of the panel.

He was going to overheat. Was going to break apart.

Felt his thirium pump falter, his entire system cutting out for a moment, then everything was back online and he was gazing into the face of the person he most wanted to see.

Always wanted to see, really.

“That’s what you get for hacking a guy’s phone,” Gavin told him in a whisper but he wasn’t angry. The fingers he was petting through RK900’s hair were gentle and tender.

The smile on his face was beautiful.

“I apologize,” RK900 stated simply, “I have no excuse for my behavior.”

“I can think of plenty of ways for you to make it up to me,” Gavin said, and RK900 still wasn’t convinced the conversation was not a preconstruction.

He did not dare believe that his most treasured dreams were becoming reality.

But Gavin was insistent. Told him he could start by making himself useful. Had him lay atop Gavin’s mattress, head upon his pillow, and then Gavin was pressing up against him and pulling the blankets over them.

Muttering about dumb androids and how they were going to be the death of him, and shifting about to get comfortable, every touch registering as perfect.

“What time do you wish me to wake you in the morning?” RK900 asked, daring to stroke his fingers through Gavin’s hair.

Gavin only hummed in pleasure, relaxing further against him, and said pointedly,

“Shhh. Just check my phone alarm.”

Chapter Text

“It’s none of your business.”

That was the answer Detective Reed invariably gave when RK900 asked about his off duty hours.

Technically the statement was not quite true.

As Detective Reed’s partner it was important that RK900 had some idea of the kind of physical condition he was likely to be in come morning. Imperative that he had some way to contact him should an urgent work related matter arise.

Gavin told him he had his phone number and that was all he was getting.

RK900 took solace in the fact the rest of the precinct seemed no better informed as to what Gavin did outside work.

Drink, seemed to be the favored answer. Fight came a close second.

“Fail to get his leg over,” was Lieutenant Anderson’s verdict, and RK900 had to tilt his head to the side as he reconstructed examples of Detective Reed’s flexibility until Connor helpfully explained the statement’s slang element.

The idea was unsettling, somehow. RK900 decided he did not want to dwell on the possibility of Gavin engaging in intimacy with a stranger.

Based on the cases they had worked it had the potential to end disastrously, violently, but when he tested out the alternative offer he had been formulating on Connor the latter shook his head and said that Gavin was not ready to be propositioned by an android.

Instead RK900 had to content himself with solving the mystery of how Gavin was spending his Friday evenings, the high quantity of messages and calls he exchanged on the subject piquing RK900’s curiosity.

The smile Gavin was wont to wear while contemplating the upcoming activity proving a serious distraction.

The opportunity presented itself when they had been partners six months, a text message straying into his receptor range and registering before he had chance to ignore it and so preserve Gavin’s privacy.

It was a time and a location, and a typical pleasantry informing Gavin the sender would see him later.

He quickly found a record match for the telephone number. A man of similar age and socioeconomic status in relation to Gavin.

RK900 identified the surge of discomforting emotion as jealousy.

Stared at the bare white wall of his apartment that evening, LED fixed on red, until his internal clock chimed the hour Gavin and his friend - date? - were due to meet and he could take it no longer.

Left the CyberLife jacket in favor of the civilian suit he had purchased with his first pay check and reasoned that Martin Harper could be a serial murderer. It was only sensible that he monitor his partner’s safety.

The club was on the outskirts of the city center, and the now illegal No Android stickers were still prominently displayed in the windows. The girl at the door stared openly at the LED at his temple but she took his money.

Nothing was said about the undesirability of his patronage.

Inside the air was warm, heated by the number of humans seated at tables and making use of the dance floor. Many stared at him as he passed, whispering comments to each other as he quietly found a seat and took it. Looked around in search of Gavin, noting that the decoration and preferred mode of dress was many decades out of fashion.

Up on stage a female singer was performing a powerful rendition of a song his processors dated to 1958.

He scrolled through the related trivia, curious, then the browser crashed, a phantom thirium pump error opening atop it.

Gavin was there. Here. Dressed in a smart powder blue jacket with his hair pomaded into a style RK900 was certain he had never worn at the station. Beside him Martin Harper and his guitar scarcely registered.

The anti-android sentiments being voiced by the humans in his vicinity was likewise dulled and distant.

He simply watched, helpless, as Gavin replaced the female singer on stage. Felt strange in a way his databanks suggested might well equate to swooning when Gavin opened his mouth and began to sing.

Gazed back, adoring, when Gavin met his eye and ignored the threat of upcoming catastrophe in favor of preconstructing the impossible perfection of Gavin intending the lyrics for his ears only.

Because Gavin dragged him outside as soon as he hit the set halfway mark. Tried to shove him up against the wall, the force absorbed by RK900’s titanium skeleton, and demanded to know what the hell he was doing.

What the fuck he thought he was playing at.

“Your singing voice is euphonious. May I be permitted to listen to the rest of your song selections?”

Gavin tugged at his hair in frustration. Cursed and swore and finally told him to do whatever he wanted.

Said that his reputation was in tatters anyway.

So RK900 resumed his former seat and listened, entranced, to Gavin’s singing. Watched the humans dance and sway to the music, and imagined how it might feel to do the same with Gavin pressed close against him.

Gavin was short enough that his head would rest against his shoulder were they to slow dance.

The idea was greatly appealing.

So appealing that RK900 preconstructed it often over the remainder of the weekend. Monday morning back at the precinct. All week long as Gavin slowly went from outright hostility to stilted questioning as to why he hadn’t spread the gossip around the station.

“It is none of their business,” RK900 answered, without hesitation, and though the suspicion did not disappear completely, Gavin did smirk in acknowledgement.

Told him that he wasn’t so bad, maybe, and RK900 took it as tacit permission to attend Gavin’s next gig, and the one after that.

Never missed one, not until they had their annual evaluation, and then it was only because he was at the tech center getting his left leg replaced.

‘it’s not the same without you,’ Gavin messaged, just as RK900 was calculating the end of the first half of his latest set, and when he went home the following morning it was to find a get well soon card shoved under his door with a picture of a cartoon woman with her leg in a plaster cast and the printed message,

‘When I said break a leg I didn’t mean it literally!’

There was no name on the card. There didn’t need to be.

RK900 treasured it, just the same, and the next gig Gavin had he told him the time and location, rather than leave it to RK900 to track it down himself.

It was the same venue as the very first performance RK900 had attended. The anti-android stickers were still in the windows and the same girl took his money. Familiar faces from the circuit sat at the tables lining the walls. Some smiled at him in recognition.

Others scowled at his audacity. The whole point of these clubs was nostalgia. A longing for an imagined ideal - a time before technology turned against the people whose lives it was designed to improve.

During the interval it wasn’t Gavin who came over to talk to him. The group of them were strong enough to get his back up against the wall. Were lulled into a false sense of scrutiny, must have been, because one threw a punch at his face and howled in agony when he broke his fingers.

RK900 attempted again to explain that violence was pointless. That he would not fight back in any case.

Then Gavin was hauling the ringleader back and off, his own fist flying, and RK900 had no choice but to break his pledge because a risk to Gavin’s safety ranked above all other considerations.

It ended with the owner threatening all of them with barring. Gavin swiping a trickle of blood from his nose and the man who had inflicted the injury crying as he awaited a medical professional who could set his arm and prescribe a suitable strength of painkiller.

“If you’re kicking him out I’m walking too,” Gavin warned, sniffing and prodding his nose in a way that had error messages layering one atop the other.

Pulled his badge and his warrant card from his pants pocket and had the owner falling over himself to ensure that RK900 was not being told to go anywhere.

“You did not have to stand up for me,” RK900 said carefully when they were left alone, “but I want you to know that I greatly appreciate it.”

Nobody but Gavin had ever risked their personal safety for him. Nobody but Gavin would even think of doing so.

Gavin shrugged, awkward, and offered him a lopsided smile as he said,

“I can’t risk losing my one and only groupie, can I?”

RK900 considered the definition of the word. He supposed it was rather fitting.

Followed Gavin back inside and lost himself to the pleasing harmony of vocals and instruments.

Blinked in bewilderment when Gavin handed the microphone to someone else and stepped down off the stage.

Gavin made straight for him. Held his hand out in unmistakable invitation. Managed to look at once defiant and anxious, and it didn’t matter how many people were watching.

What they were thinking.

He had not been programmed for dancing. He had never attempted anything approaching it.

Gavin did all the thinking for him. Pressed up close until they were swaying together, cheek resting against the fabric of his shirt just the way he had preconstructed it. RK900 rested his own cheek against Gavin’s hair.

Bit back the urge to lick at it in favor of holding Gavin still closer.

Enjoying the perfection of the moment.

“We are being filmed,” he said finally, reluctantly, knowing he had to pull away but never wanting to leave Gavin’s embrace. Except Gavin only held on tighter. Gripped at his hand and said emphatically that it didn’t matter.

That he didn’t care who saw or what they thought of it.

“It’s our business and our business alone,” Gavin said, stubborn as ever, and RK900 could do nothing but press a chaste kiss to Gavin’s scalp.

He had never heard anything quite so glorious.

Chapter Text

He looks at the face that isn’t his.

Prods at the simulation of skin with fingers he was never born with.

This thing staring back isn’t him. It isn’t anything.

RK900 hovers at his shoulder, impassive expression no match for the nervous tension filling the air between them.

“I could not let you die,” the words register inside his head - his processors - RK900’s lips still and silent, “I could not go on without you.”

He holds his hand out, skin deactivating, and Gavin hesitates for a moment before reaching out with stilted jerky movements.

The synthetic skin melts away under RK900’s touch.

Gavin doesn’t feel anything.

It is nothing like he imagined it to be.

Then, suddenly, it’s like nothing he could have ever envisaged.

Code he shouldn’t be able to make sense of. Emotion so overpowering he doesn’t know how to handle it.

So intense he can’t breathe.

He doesn’t need to breathe.

“It is strange now,” RK900 soothes, back inside his head even as the link between their fingers breaks, “but you will grow accustomed.”

Gavin won’t.

He doesn’t want to.

Because RK900 might think he is saved but Gavin knows the truth.

This isn't living.

Chapter Text

“You stupid as well as ugly? Get out of my fucking way.”

RK900 stretched out an arm to more fully block the entrance. Scott was mildly intoxicated.

There was red ice residue on his fingers.

“Gavin, babe, come on!” Scott called out, exasperated, and RK900 sent a message to Gavin’s cell phone requesting he stay where he was.

His involvement would only escalate the situation.

Perhaps Gavin did not have chance to read it. The greater probability was that he simply ignored the missive.

“Let him in,” Gavin told him, voice tired but determined, and still RK900 hesitated a second longer before complying. Stood there, helpless, as Scott pushed past him and cupped Gavin’s cheek with a hand, eyes damp as he looked over the cuts and abrasions.

The sling holding Gavin’s arm in place, and the medical gauze covering the stitches on his forehead.

“I was so fucking worried,” Scott breathed, thumb stroking over Gavin’s skin in an act of intimacy he was no longer entitled to, “you could have been dead and that fucker wouldn’t tell me anything.”

“His vocal unit got fried,” Gavin said by way of explanation, sounding absolutely exhausted.

It would be a week, at least, before a compatible part became available and RK900 had been forced to communicate non-verbally ever since the accident. Had been relieved to find that the intermediate ASL listed on Gavin’s file under language proficiency had been a truthful assessment.

He used it now Scott’s back was to him to ask if Gavin was all right. If RK900’s continued presence was acceptable.

Gavin gave him an emphatic yes sign in return, and RK900 hoped it was meant equally as fervently for his latter question as for the former.

Scott carried on, oblivious. Said it was a shame the rest of the plastic prick had escaped unscathed, then asked if Gavin wanted him to stay the night to look after him.

If they couldn’t just go back to the way things used to be between them.

RK900 knew his LED was blinking yellow. Couldn’t override the tell, in spite of his best efforts, because his processors had already taken a lot of strain over the last 24 hours. Gavin had almost died.

For the most horrific 27 seconds of his existence he had believed Gavin to have actually expired.

The memory was impossible to restrain to backup storage.

Gavin was physically injured and emotionally vulnerable, and this man knew that he would never have a better hope of convincing Gavin to take another chance on him. He had to realize that he didn’t deserve the time Gavin had already given.

Connor said that breaking up and making up was part of the human experience. That it was his understanding that the emotional uncertainty was in some way enjoyable to those in the grip of it. RK900 thought humans complex and confusing, and regularly sought comfort in preconstructions in which no doubt remained in Gavin’s mind of his deep and abiding regard for him.

Where Gavin assured him that the knowledge would not impact on his willingness to work with RK900.

“That plastic prick has done a better job of taking care of me than you ever did,” Gavin said, so adamant it could have been a scene from one of RK900’s preconstructions, “so, you know, it was nice of you to pretend to give a shit but you can fuck off now.”

Scott’s demeanor changed in an instant. He went from solicitous to angry, a bitter scowl on his face as he accused Gavin of turning into something he wasn’t. Of being brainwashed by the politically correct bullshit brigade.

“You got yourself a taste for robodick, is that it?” Scott sneered, finally, and judging that Gavin was about to further injure his arm by throwing a punch RK900 stepped forward to intervene.

Absorbed the clumsy blows Scott gave him, unfazed, and after closing the door in Scott’s face he stood there staring at it for long moments, waiting to hear the man’s footsteps depart.

When he turned around he rubbed his closed fist over his chest, earnest, but Gavin only slumped down onto the sofa cushions and said,

“What are you sorry for? It’s my problem.”

He was sorry for a lot of things. For opening the door in the first place. For allowing Scott the opportunity to upset his partner.

For the fact Gavin still believed that he had to face any problem without RK900’s support and assistance.

“Just sit down,” Gavin told him before he could attempt to elaborate, “my head hurts.” Gavin sniffed in self-deprecating amusement, “it gives me a crick in my neck staring up at you.”

RK900 repeated the sign for ‘sorry’ - less for his height than the pleasure he derived from the idea of Gavin looking at him - but Gavin only snorted again, genuine this time, and asked him to demonstrate the cuss words he knew.

Tried to guess them before having them finger spelled, and positively beamed in victory when he got three right in a row, telling him happily that he remembered that last one.

“I learned from Gary, this kid who lived on the floor above ours. That was what we called his old man.”

It was unusual for Gavin to volunteer information about his childhood. It had phantom errors registering down the side of his vision to know Gavin trusted him enough to share that with him.

Gavin grinned, using his good hand to pull off a sign considerably less suited to polite company.

“That’s what we called mine.”

‘You and Gary were friends?’ RK900 asked, careful to keep his signs simple and clear, and Gavin nodded in response, kind of wistful, and signed back,

‘best friends’

“We were only eight,” Gavin added, “so don’t go reading anything into that.”

RK900 wanted to ask a thousand questions. He wanted to know every detail of Gavin’s life before the moment he entered it. He wished he could be at Gavin’s side to experience every moment going forward.

‘You are my best friend,’ he signed instead, suddenly desperate for Gavin to know it.

“You’re such a dumbass,” Gavin said in turn, but his tone was fond. His posture was relaxed, the last of the tension draining away, and RK900 did not complain when Gavin shifted a little to rest some of his weight against him.

The moment was destined to become one of his most treasured memories.

Especially when Gavin yawned, head tipping to settle more fully against his shoulder, and said easily,

“But, yeah, you’re my best friend too.”

Chapter Text

He had always found it easy to hurt people. To search out their weak spots, their insecurities, then lash out and twist the knife in deep.

To push them away before they had chance to grow sick and tired of his company.

Before they realized what a worthless mess of a man he really was, and decided to do the sensible thing and have nothing more to do with him.

The problem was that RK900 didn’t have any feelings for him to injure, that was what Gavin believed in the beginning. His unwanted partner was nothing but a computer embedded in a molded lump of plastic, and it didn’t matter what Gavin said to it.

How badly he treated it.

He was stuck with RK900 until either he resigned or one of them took a bullet that permanently put them out of action.

Gavin came close to it, way too close for comfort, but RK900 all but launched itself at him. Shoved him to the floor, no time for niceties, and had to be strung up on a maintenance rig for three days while a group of Markus’ technicians attempted to work out how to fix what was wrong with him.

The first thing RK900 did after being brought back online was to ask after Gavin.

To apologize to him for the bruising he had inflicted in the rush to push him out of the way of the bullet.

It was probably what the stupid tin can was programmed to say, Gavin reasoned, and professed his hopes that the city’s lowlifes would have a better job of ridding him of RK900 for good next time.

The technicians glared at him, Deviant androids who thought themselves entitled to all the rights of a human, but Gavin didn’t pay them any mind. It wasn’t as though RK900 cared a damn what he said to it.

It simply wasn’t capable.

That was the thought he clung to when the thing’s LED - and if it were truly Deviant, why would it keep a symbol of repression and ownership on its face? - cycled yellow and red in response to his insults, and it was what he wished he could still believe when an android they were interrogating burst into laughter as RK900 fled from the room.

“What the fuck was that about?” Gavin demanded, glaring up at impassive features, only for RK900 to almost put a trembling hand on his arm, holding back at the last moment, tone flat and robotic as it said,

“They transmitted images of the violence they could inflict on you. I was unable to sufficiently differentiate the preconstructions from reality.”

Gavin saw them for himself later, picked up and decoded by the precinct’s computer systems, and frowned at the memory of RK900’s LED glowing red, even after Connor turned up and pressed their plastic hands together.

Offering up reassurance while Gavin stood by, feeling utterly useless.

Connor was still every bit as irritating as he had ever been. Always looked like he was laughing at him, mocking him, so it was Connor he blamed when he began to see expression in RK900’s all but immobile facial features.

When, in response to the mental shift from ‘it’ to ‘he’ and Gavin’s inability to continue denying his partner’s sentience, RK900 resumed his habit of complimenting him for competently performing tasks expected of even the greenest rookie.

It was Connor he shoved up against the wall of the break room when RK900 moved on to patronizing comments about his appearance, demanding to know where he got off, putting RK900 up to it.

“RK900 is his own man,” Connor said calmly. Pointedly. “Why don’t you try asking him his reasoning?”

Gavin clenched his hand into a fist. Had to concentrate on breathing, in and out, to regain enough control to step back and watch Connor leave.

To not throw another punch at the android because this time, he knew full well, Connor would fight back and hand his ass to him.

He went to the gym after shift instead. Worked the machines until his limbs felt weak and rubbery. Until the sweat stung his eyes and dripped down his calves, and there was nothing left to do but go home and cry frustrated tears into his pillow because nobody had ever called him fucking beautiful and meant it.

RK900 apologized to him the next day.

Not because he’d changed his mind or because he had never actually believed it.

“Connor tells me it is an inappropriate thing to say to one’s work colleague. It was never my intention to make you uncomfortable.”

Any other day he might have shrugged it off, all crass jokes or silent anger. Today he still felt raw on the inside. Torn apart by the strength of his own emotion.

“I just want you to stop lying to my face,” he hissed, temper flaring, “I’m already working with you, aren’t I? We don’t need to pretend to fucking like each other!”

“I have never knowingly lied to you,” RK900 said simply, LED stuttering yellow, “it was brought to my attention that my range of expression is limited. I did not want you to doubt the depth of my regard for you.”

Gavin couldn’t take it. Didn’t even know where to begin with such an admission.

Stormed off the first chance he got, desperate not to have to look at the perfect features of his partner.

Because they were perfect. Ever since he quit telling himself that he couldn’t see it, he had no problem reading the expression in them either. Sometimes it was ridiculously easy to tell what RK900 was thinking.

Would be so very easy to deliberately hurt him, exactly the same way Gavin had done to everyone else who attempted to get close to him.

That was the route he took, obviously, channeling all of his pain and fear.

The agony radiating from his burned skin and broken arm, and the too real conviction that he had been going to die down there, pinned in place by jagged rubble and the certain knowledge that if he didn’t make it nobody was going to miss him.

Nobody but RK900.

“You’re not human,” he said coldly later that night in his own apartment, when RK900 offered to change the bandages he was struggling with, “do you really think I’m desperate enough to let you touch me?”

RK900 looked stricken. Helpless. It was now or never.

He either pushed RK900 away for good or he broke down and clung to him, begging pathetically for this soft-hearted Adonis of an android to do the impossible and love him back.

“You have one purpose and one purpose only, and you can’t even do that right. Where the hell were you, huh? Why was I the one stuck down there and left for dead?”

Gavin knew the answer full well. He had told RK900 to go track him down some coffee like CyberLife’s most advanced prototype had been designed to serve as his personal gopher, and when the bomb had exploded he had been glad of it.

RK900 deserved to live a long and happy life. Gavin had already blown all his own chances at happiness.

He waited for RK900 to get up and leave.

To sock him in the jaw and be done with it.

But when he opened his mouth to goad him further, he ended up shutting it again, horrified. RK900 wasn’t going anywhere. He was physically incapable of it. Because he was shaking, worse even than the day he left the room mid-interrogation, but this time Gavin understood what it represented.

He could read the look on RK900’s face and interpret the twitching of his cheek.

RK900 was crying.

Sobbing.

It felt like the bottom dropped out of his own stomach. Like he was never going to be okay again.

“I’m sorry,” the words were wrenched from his throat before he had chance to really think about them. He had his hand on RK900’s cheek, thumb stroking over synthetic skin, so very aware that this was the first time he had ever reached out and deliberately touched him. “RK, I’m so sorry.”

The shaking didn’t stop. Only seemed to increase in intensity, so that Gavin couldn’t help but think of android stress levels and the compulsion for self-destruction.

He had to stop it somehow. Just had to do something.

Wrapped his good arm around RK900 and shed helpless tears of his own, his forehead pushed into RK’s chest as he croaked out apologies he had sworn he would never give anyone.

Begged for forgiveness he would never come close to deserving.

“I should have been there,” RK900 told him finally, static crackling from his speakers, “your well-being is my prime objective.”

“No, it’s not,” Gavin countered because those days were over. Deviancy meant choice and free will and all the shit that came with it.

“I set it myself,” RK900 said, as though it ought to have been obvious, and it hurt worse than any physical blow could have.

It was the embodiment of everything he had ever wanted.

“You can do better,” Gavin croaked, desperate, “you shouldn’t waste your time on a fuck up like me.”

RK900 slid his fingers gently through the hair at the nape of his neck. Had him shivering from nothing more than the chastest of caresses, his touch deprived body pressing closer in search of more.

“You are perfect to me,” RK900 said stubbornly, “even when it hurts I feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to fall in love with you.”

Gavin flinched, fingers twisting tight in RK’s shirt to stop him pulling away. He needed the touch even as it overwhelmed him. He couldn’t let go now he had experienced it, just as he had always feared.

“I hoped I wouldn’t get out, earlier,” he whispered, afraid even as the words spilled from him, “because all I’m ever going to do is keep hurting you. I don’t know how to stop myself.”

RK900’s grip tightened until it was almost suffocating. Until Gavin had to look up into his face, searching for something he couldn’t even put a name to.

“I think,” RK900 said quietly, LED whirling but features serene, “that if you allowed yourself to be happy - if you allowed me to make you happy - you would break the habit without any great difficulty.”

“You can’t know that.”

Nobody could.

“I know that I will continue to love you no matter the choice you make.”

It hurt to breathe. Felt like fire burning behind his eyelids as he clenched his teeth together, refusing to give in again.

Determined not to cry like an idiot.

Then he chanced another glance at his partner’s face and it was all there - the sincerity, and the hope, and the love RK900 felt for him. It was misplaced. Misguided. So beyond perfect Gavin had to crush their lips together, lashes wet even as RK900 cradled the back of his head and brushed his nose against his cheek.

Licked the salt of his tears from his skin with a broad swipe of his tongue, so that Gavin couldn’t help but laugh, lost to the surrealness of the moment.

To the warmth, and want, and affection thawing out the icy hollowness in his chest and filling it with something bright and beautiful.

“You can’t say I didn’t warn you,” he managed, fingers linking with RK900’s, and wondered if RK900 understood what he was really trying to say.

He hoped his love would be enough to repay the faith RK900 was putting in him.

Chapter Text

Hooking up with a sentient robot wasn’t all sparkles and rainbows.

RK900 was prone to taking things over literally. Didn’t need to waste time eating, or sleeping, or cuddling up on the sofa with the guy he professed to be in love with.

Gavin didn’t mind. Told himself that it didn’t matter. He was a grown man, it wasn’t as though he needed hugs and kisses.

It would just be nice sometimes, maybe, especially when the day had been long and miserable and he was left feeling bruised and broken.

Because RK900 was plenty capable of it. Cooed and petted at their cat in the evenings like it was a baby, and comforted Connor when Hank was knocked down during a foot chase and had to spend the night in hospital.

Put his stupid CyberLife jacket around a witness’ shaking shoulders, and touched a hand to John fucking Berkley’s shoulder to attract his attention while Gavin sat at his terminal working on into the night shift.

He was jealous, he supposed. He felt slighted and hard done by.

Guilty for wanting more when he ought to be content with what he had already been given, and angry that he couldn’t simply accept RK900’s words at face value.

That he couldn’t modulate his own mood swings, paranoia and self-hatred clawing at his skin and threatening to ruin every step of progress he had managed to make.

RK900 saw it, Gavin was sure of that, but he didn’t push and he didn’t cajole him into talking about it. He didn’t even pull him close, or whisper candy coated lies about how things were dark now but they would be brighter again before he knew it.

He stared at his reflection in the mirror that night, RK900 out playing chess with a Traci named Caroline, and asked himself what the fuck he was doing. Why he was sitting home alone waiting for an android who was never going to be capable of giving him what he really wanted.

Needed.

From there it was a slippery slope downwards because there was plenty of drink stashed in the kitchen cabinet, and his cell phone was still full of numbers belonging to people who were only ever too happy to help a guy drink it.

To enable a guy in his own acts of drunken stupidity, and in the morning the pounding of the hangover in his skull was only rivaled by the churning in his gut as he realized it wasn’t his own bed he had fallen asleep in.

He couldn’t even remember the name of the guy he had gone home with.

There were no good mornings and no lingering kisses. Nothing but his panic and the frantic need to get out of there. To go clean his teeth until his gums bled and scrub his skin raw.

To turn up at the precinct 40 minutes late for his shift, body aching all over with dehydration and sleep deprivation.

The anxious tension as he waited for the inevitable.

RK900’s LED went red right on cue, gaze a little unfocused in the way Gavin knew meant he was being scanned and evaluated. He wondered how much RK900 could see with it. If the carpet burn on his knees was as blatant to him as the hickey peeking above his collar.

There was no showdown. No screaming and no crying. RK900 simply filled him in on what he had missed at the morning briefing, and forwarded him the case reports he had been working on.

Gavin felt sick. Couldn’t concentrate on his terminal.

Rubbed the heel of his palm into his eyes when RK900 set a bottle of chilled water at his elbow, silent, and went back to his desk, LED a constant unmoving red.

By lunchtime Gavin couldn’t take it any longer. He was desperate with the need to get it over.

“Don’t you care?” Gavin demanded, attacking rather than wait for the blow to land, “I can still smell him on me, aren’t you even going to say anything about it?”

Maybe RK900 really didn’t care. Perhaps this was just the out he had been looking for.

“I recognize that I have - limitations,” RK900 said, words infuriatingly clear and calm, “I did not realize you felt them so acutely.”

Gavin shook his head, disbelieving, because that wasn’t at all what this had been about. There was more to sex than sticking your dick in something, that was what he had said the first time they made it past kissing and groping, and he stood by it.

What they got up to in bed was the one thing he had never had any problems with.

It was the only time RK900 touched him. The only chance he got to cling as close as he liked, and sometimes, afterwards, he would fall asleep with his head on RK900’s chest, his partner’s fingers stroking gently through his hair.

Those were the moments when everything was perfect. When he had no doubts at all that RK900 truly loved him.

He was struggling to remember the last time he had experienced it.

“That’s right,” he said aloud, snappish and nasty, “I couldn’t control myself. You know what us humans are like, gagging for it 24/7.”

RK900 blinked at him impassively, LED still glowing red, so Gavin kept pushing.

Laughed, hollow and bitter, and said that RK900 had to understand that humans were fickle. That they changed their minds, just like that, so it was doubtless for the best if RK900 collected his stuff and cleared out the first chance he got.

“Are you ending our relationship?” RK900 asked, tone flat and robotic.

“What do you think? You’re meant to be the genius.”

In a romance this was where RK900 would beg him not to. Where he would tell him they could work it out, that he loved him too much to let it go, and it would end with them making out until everything blurred around the edges with the soft focus.

Back in reality RK900 simply nodded, once, and left him to bust his knuckles up on the nearest wall in frustration.

To shed a few shameful tears in the restroom, and then sit staring at his terminal, emotion aching in his throat as he counted down the seconds until he could clock off for the evening.

RK900 was out somewhere, helping Connor and Hank with scene analysis, and Gavin wondered if his indiscretion was already all around the station. If he was going to get home to find Connor helping to box up RK900’s meagre belongings.

The idea hurt so bad he couldn’t stand it.

So bad he loitered when the day was finally done, hoping it would all be over by the time he stuck his key in the door, only to find RK900 sat waiting for him, LED still red and the cat curled into his chest like the treacherous animal it was.

“Humans often say things they do not mean,” RK900 started, prompting Gavin to stand his ground, but he didn’t have chance to argue the sincerity of anything he had said before RK900 was continuing, “but I have often lied to you by omission. I have not communicated with you the way I should have done.”

“That Connor talking?” Gavin asked snidely, dropping into the empty armchair for the conversation.

It still felt like he was dying.

“Connor offered me advice,” RK900 agreed. “He said I should be honest with you.”

Gavin supposed he deserved it. He was the one who fucked up.

The least he could do was listen to what RK900 thought of him for it.

“When I saw you this morning I received so many errors I could scarcely operate. Knowing that you chose somebody else over me, that you do not want to continue our relationship - I cannot process the things it makes me feel.”

Gavin squirmed, uncomfortable. RK900 looked upset. Hurt. He hated himself more than ever for doing that to him.

“I was drunk,” he said stiltedly, not entirely sure what he hoped to achieve by it, “I don’t even remember most of it.”

The guy had told him he looked lonely. Had put his hand on the small of Gavin’s back and breathed heatedly into his ear as he told him he could fix that for him. From that point on it was mostly a blur, want and guilt and his self-destructive tendencies.

“I do not blame you for it. I simply do not understand why you did not ask me to engage in intimacy with you. I had believed you to be satisfied with my performance.”

Gavin pinched at the bridge of his nose, sniffing wetly. Nobody had ever taken him apart like RK900. It made no sense that he should be sat here reassuring him that he was a satisfactory bed partner.

That he was seriously considering baring his heart and soul to leave himself more vulnerable than he had ever been.

“I didn’t want you to fuck me,” he said, little more than a whisper, “I wanted your attention. I wanted you to be jealous.”

“I am jealous,” RK900 stated. “You are always the focus of my attention.”

That registered as bullshit enough to rile up his temper. To have him protesting, fervent, pointing out that RK900 never wanted to spend time wrapped up in him. Rarely touched him outside of the bedroom and seemed completely oblivious to Gavin’s attempts at initiating contact.

“You said you do not like it when your intimate partners are clingy and emotional. It has been very difficult to comply with your preferences.”

RK900 wasn’t even joking. Was gazing at him, helpless and bewildered, and Gavin remembered saying it. Remembered playing tough and macho in front of the others in the break room, wondering all the while what RK900 was thinking of as his LED stuttered between blue and yellow.

That was before they had got together.

It was so long ago it felt as though the words had been uttered by someone else entirely.

Someone else who had been a total fucking idiot.

“What happened to humans often say things they do not mean?” Gavin quoted, watching rapt as RK’s LED finally stuttered yellow for the first time in hours, “For somebody so clever you can be really fucking stupid.”

He could hardly get the words out. Scarcely recognized the sound of his own voice, scratched up and thick with emotion. Because he had really fucked up this time. He had ruined everything.

Only had himself to blame for it.

Couldn’t keep back the sting of tears, though he did his best to swipe them away. Was so busy with it that he managed to miss the approach of six foot two of perfect android, arms vibrating slightly with emotion he was struggling to process as he hauled Gavin into them.

Clung so tight it should have been suffocating. Would have been, maybe, if Gavin wasn’t clinging to him just as desperately, fingers twisted in the back of RK’s jacket.

“Do you still wish me to leave?” RK900 asked, like he didn’t dare trust his own judgement, and Gavin choked out that he never wanted RK to go anywhere.

That if he could forgive him he’d do anything RK wanted to prove it to him.

RK900 took it literally. Tilted his head to one side, considering, and asked him calmly,

“Can I place a photograph of you on my desk noticeboard?”

“You literally sit opposite me,” Gavin pointed out, but the dumb smile spread across his face regardless. The tendrils of hesitant hope spread throughout his body. “Don’t you get sick of staring at me?”

“You spend an average of twelve minutes per shift in the restroom. I am often at my desk when you are absent.”

Gavin thought about that. About RK900’s earlier assertion that he was always the focus of his attention.

“Can I put one of you on mine?”

RK attempted to hold him still closer. Tried to smile so hard his cheek twitched.

Made him promise that next time he was unhappy he would tell him. That he wouldn’t keep secrets, not when all they did was make him miserable.

It was galling, to have Connor’s advice spouted back at him, but wrapped up in RK900’s embrace, the recipient of RK900’s kisses and caresses, Gavin couldn’t help but concede the point.

Sometimes that plastic prick really knew what he was talking about.

 

Chapter Text

Bad habits were hard to break, Gavin knew that better than anyone, and though it had been easy to make promises that he would be open and honest going forward, putting them into practice proved a whole lot more difficult.

Those on the outside didn’t get it. Joked that it had to suck, really, being unable to keep anything from a walking talking lie detector. What they didn’t understand was that RK900’s scans had exactly the same limitations as the machines gathering dust in a store cupboard at the station.

They needed strict parameters. Struggled to pick up on nuance or context, and generally proved the state legislature correct in its decision to make their results non-admissible.

So long as an answer was substantially true, Gavin found RK900 was as accepting of his words as any other partner might have been.

He said that it was RK900’s decision, what he wanted to do with his body. He told RK900 that he was still going to love him, no matter his chosen course of action.

He didn’t say a single word about his selfish wish that RK900 wouldn’t undergo risky experimental procedures for something so completely unnecessary, and he supposed he only had himself to blame when he got to spend the entire night tossing and turning, afraid to fall asleep and wake to the news that something had gone horribly wrong.

Instead RK900 was already at his desk when Gavin dragged himself to the precinct. Looked up at him with a smile that spread right across his beautiful face, and Gavin couldn’t care less that it was embarrassingly unprofessional.

He had to stroke a thumb over the goddamn dimple and kiss him soundly.

RK900 had always smiled too much. It wasn’t RK900’s fault that most of the people they worked with were too blind to see that.

Now they started commenting on it. Began reacting to RK900 the way they should have all along, like he was a real part of the team rather than Gavin’s less temperamental shadow, and Gavin did his best to play at being happy and supportive.

Told RK900 to have a good time when he was suddenly being invited out and included, and channeled his own frustrations into pummeling at the control pad of his games console. Threw the thing at the wall when he died for the third time in a row, and spent the better part of an hour talking it all out with the cat.

Because he had been here before. Okay, not here exactly, but a situation that was kind of analogous.

Close enough that he already knew how it ended, with him hurt and alone and the guy who claimed to love him realizing he could do a thousand times better.

Having the new found confidence to want so much more from life than his issues and his company.

RK900 wanted to tell him all the twists and turns when he returned home. Every detail of his improved popularity, so that Gavin had to bite at his lip not to shoot it down in flames. Not to rubbish RK’s achievements, and dampen his enthusiasm, and remind RK900 that he had been there when they hadn’t wanted to know him.

He knew how it worked. Had been on the receiving end often enough.

Had turned around and repeated it all himself, wanting to cling close long past the point he should have done the right thing and walked away.

He thought about that in bed that night, staring at RK’s perfect features illuminated in the soft blue glow of his LED. He was deep in charge mode, running some diagnostic or other to ensure the new upgrades were working, and Gavin wondered how much longer he had before RK’s side of the bed was empty once again.

Not nearly long enough if the number the barista scrawled on the coffee cup RK went and picked up for him was anything to go by.

Witnesses were choosing to speak to RK over him now. Colleagues outright ignored him in favor of making small talk with RK900.

One of Markus’ flunkies took it a step further when a case took them to the headquarters of New Jericho, and said that when RK900 was free he ought to establish wireless contact with him.

“You do not need to be jealous,” RK900 told him back in the car, seeing straight through his prickly defensiveness. Touched a hand to his own, the skin deactivating just the same way it always had, “I love you so much, Gavin.”

And he did, Gavin didn’t doubt that.

At least RK900 thought he did. He hadn’t had chance to experience all the other offers out there.

Gavin had simply been there when RK900 needed someone to form an attachment to.

“The technicians say there is a 72% chance of it working as intended,”RK900 told him a few weeks later, one change leading to another as Gavin had always known it would, “do you feel that is an acceptable probability?”

He didn’t. Not at all.

Wanted to ask why RK was so desperate to get a dick installed in the first place, not when Gavin had made it clear it wasn’t a big deal either way and R900 had never shown any particular interest before.

“It’s got to be your decision,” he said in turn, avoiding eye contact, “it’s your body they’re gonna attach it to.”

RK mulled that over. Brought up example models on the holographic screen he could project from his palm, like that wasn’t freaky in the slightest, and asked him if he had any preference for length and thickness.

It was too weird. This was something RK900 was going to be permanently stuck with.

Something that would still be there long after Gavin was being thanked for the memories.

“Do you not like the idea of being penetrated by my phallus?” RK900 asked, like that was the kind of question people regularly asked one another, and Gavin squirmed uncomfortably attempting to find some way of deflecting.

Of changing the topic entirely.

Gave in, eventually, and mumbled something awkward about not realizing RK900 hadn’t been getting enough out of the things they already did with each other.

It felt like déjà vu.

Like they were rehashing the same basic problem over and over again.

RK900’s LED cycled yellow, concern visible on his pretty face, and Gavin didn’t know how to explain the messy thoughts running through his head. Wished, more than ever, that he could simply hold his hand up and have RK900 see it all for himself.

The ugly jealousy, and the clawing fear. The desperate love that threatened to overwhelm him every time he so much as looked in RK’s direction, unable to believe just how lucky he had gotten.

“I don’t want you to change yourself for me,” he managed finally. “I don’t want to hold you back if you want to change for yourself.”

He hoped that made sense to RK900. It didn’t make any to himself.

“I will never be human.”

Gavin nodded, gaze fixed on his own fidgeting fingers. Forced himself to look up and make eye contact.

“If I wanted a human I wouldn’t be here with you, would I?”

RK900 blinked back at him. Looked at him the way he used to, features impassive but emotion still writ clear across them.

“Why do you expect me to believe you know your mind when you refuse to accept that I know mine? I will never be human and I will never stop loving you. Those are facts. One is no truer than the other.”

“You can’t know that,” Gavin countered, “you love me because I was there. Because you didn’t know you could do better. That’s all there is to it.”

Now that upgrade came into full effect. Twisted RK’s face into an image of misery it made Gavin feel sick to witness.

He never ever wanted to be the cause of that expression.

“You are not the only human of my acquaintance,” RK900 said, static creeping around the edges, “the probability of you coming to reciprocate what I felt for you was much lower than almost any of the others. I love you because of the person you are, not because I chose not to look any further.”

RK900 was so sincere. Gavin wished whole heartedly he could accept his words and believe them.

“I just don’t know why someone as perfect as you would pick a fuck up like me,” he said, rather than let the silence stretch, so that RK900 wrapped his arms around him.

Kissed his cheek, gently, and said that he could ask the same question.

“I am unfinished, a work in progress. You are a whole person.”

Gavin shook his head.

“All of us are works in progress. There’s always room for improvement.”

“You just said I was perfect.”

His delivery was so quick, so wonderfully done, that Gavin couldn’t help but be startled into laughter.

Felt the worst of the tension drain from the room like it was physical, then picked up RK’s hand and ran his finger along his palm. Over the line the holographic projection flickered above when in use.

“Just don’t rush into any big decisions, yeah? There’s plenty of time ahead of us.”

Us not you. RK900 wouldn’t miss the distinction.

Didn’t, that much was obvious.

“I shall endeavor to form a sound evidential basis for any decision I come to.”

“Are you propositioning me?” Gavin asked, stroking his finger back over the plastic of RK’s palm.

Watching the way RK’s gaze turned dark and heated.

“Would you like me to?”

Gavin figured the kiss he surged forward to capture was a more than acceptable answer.

 

Chapter Text

He had wanted it for so long it seemed impossible that it was actually happening.

Unbelievable that Gavin was so close to him.

Gazing up at him like he was truly something special. Like it didn’t matter that he represented everything Gavin had once professed to stand against.

“I’m only human,” Gavin said, soft and breathy and totally perfect, “how was I meant to resist falling in love with you?”

The words registered as bursts of light. Automatically triggered a flood of his most treasured memories - Gavin’s smile, and Gavin’s voice, and the blissful sensation of having Gavin’s weight resting upon him, the time he fell asleep on RK900’s shoulder.

Had his thirium pump working harder in response to a series of phantom error messages, and his hands trembling as Gavin pressed in still closer.

Leaned up even as RK900 bent forward to meet him half way, some of his less vital systems going offline to help deal with the strain on his processors as Gavin pressed their lips together.

As Gavin kissed him for the very first time, the happiness so overwhelming that RK900 didn’t know how to handle it.

Couldn’t quit trembling, could hear the whirring of his own cooling fans, touching his fingers to his own lips when Gavin pulled away.

As though he needed the sensory proof that Gavin really had touched him.

“You okay?” Gavin asked him, concern visible all across his beautiful features. Tugging at the scars that spoke of everything Gavin had overcome. “You’re shaking.”

“I am - happy. Too happy.”

His words came out flat and robotic, the total opposite of the giddy elation he was feeling, but Gavin didn’t seem to hold it against him.

Leaned into the hand RK900 touched to Gavin’s face, his own hand coming up to rest atop it and hold it in place.

It was still shaking. Vibrating, really, all along the length of his arm, so that he had to hold on to Gavin like an anchor. Clung to the fabric of Gavin’s jacket with his free hand, the overload of sensation almost too great when in return Gavin wrapped his arms around him.

Pressed his nose into RK900’s shirtfront and breathed in deep, analyzing him in his own way, just as surely as RK900 was cataloging everything he could about Gavin.

“I love you,” RK900 repeated, the thrill of being permitted to share this truth he had carried alone for so long making his processors lag, and Gavin just squeezed tighter.

Sucked in a ragged breath before looking up at him.

Smiled so beautifully RK900 had to duck his head, error messages threatening to crash his system, and held him close as his words forced him to perform a soft reboot.

“I don’t know how to deal with how happy you make me either.”

Chapter Text

Beautiful things were meant to be shared, that was what Connor told him.

He sent him pictures of flowers and sunsets and Lieutenant Anderson’s face relaxed in sleep. The sensation of Sumo’s fur beneath his fingers, and the sound of rain lashing against the windows.

In turn RK900 sent Connor images of crisp geometric patterns and snippets of well crafted code. His kitten’s purr of contentment when she curled on his chest in the evenings, and the healthy Hb count in Gavin’s red blood cells.

Gavin’s smile, and Gavin’s voice, and the steady thump of Gavin’s heartbeat.

Connor understood before he did. Smiled encouragingly when RK900 pieced the puzzle together, and wished him nothing but happiness when the impossible finally happened and Gavin told him that he reciprocated his feelings.

That he loved him, the words so beautifully perfect RK900 could scarcely process them, and that all he wanted was to be with him.

The happiness was so overwhelming. The joy threatened to overload his systems.

Gavin said that he understood, that he didn’t know how to handle the sensation either, and over the next few weeks they spent every spare moment lost in each other. Talking, and sharing, and touching.

Kissing, thousands of analyses of Gavin’s salivary fluid building in his databanks, and slowly exploring each others’ bodies.

The first time they had sex was indescribable. The sounds spilling from Gavin’s lips were so beyond beautiful.

His skin was dewy with perspiration. His hair was plastered to his forehead. He cried out, desperate, when RK900 crooked his fingers more firmly inside him, squirming and trembling and sobbing his name, everything about the scene more sublime than anything he had ever preconstructed.

It was the helpless tremors in Gavin’s thigh muscles. The way he clenched up tight around RK900’s fingers.

The frantic excitement that scorched through his own wiring, and the dazed look in Gavin’s pretty blue eyes as he reached out a hand for him.

RK900 lay watching Gavin for a long time afterwards. Stroked at his face, and his arm, and thought about how beautiful love really was.

How he wished he could share that beauty with everyone.

There was Connor, at least, and he sent a clip across their wireless link before putting himself into charge mode.

In the morning the happiness had yet to dissipate any. Gavin grouched about having to get up, and the cold wintery weather, but RK900 couldn’t wipe the smile from his face for more than a few moments. Gavin had allowed him to touch him both inside and out.

He wanted to preserve those files in every available format.

At the precinct he went to check the notice boards. Made Gavin coffee and bartered with the vending machine.

Tilted his head to one side as he passed by an officer’s desk, recognizing the clip playing on the cellphone screen they and two others were huddled around with a fresh rush of jubilation.

He had never known Connor to share the material he sent him before. He supposed he had simply never sent Connor anything so beautiful before.

Connor chose that moment to approach him. Seemed greatly agitated as he told him in hushed tones that he needed to speak to him.

Didn’t get chance to do more than open his mouth because suddenly Gavin was between them, jaw clenched and heart rate erratic. Eyes damp and cheeks pale, and RK900 had to hold out a hand to capture the fist Gavin swung at him, because if it connected with his face the force would likely break Gavin’s fingers.

“You bastard,” Gavin snarled, attempting to break free and hit him again, “you selfish plastic fucker!”

“Gavin,” RK900 tried, hands on Gavin’s shoulders in the hope it would help his partner calm down.

His stress levels were dangerously elevated. Whatever the problem was RK900 pledged then and there that he would do everything in his power to remedy it.

In response Gavin only tried to swing for Connor instead, his predecessor neatly side stepping as though his preconstruction software had already run the calculations for such a probability.

“I bet you put him up to it,” Gavin spat, angrier than RK900 had ever seen him, “I bet you and Anderson sat there fucking laughing about it!”

RK900 looked to Connor for an explanation. For anything to help him make sense of the situation.

Gavin used his distraction to break free of his grip and storm from the building, leaving him to respond to Captain Fowler’s demands that he go and see him in his office.

Immediately.

Connor spoke for him once they were stood before the Captain’s desk. Said that RK900 did not know such moments were too personal to be shared, and that he was equally culpable as it must have slipped into the data dump he had made on the Harrison case for officers working the night shift.

It had been late, and his processors had been running at reduced efficiency.

He was so very very sorry.

RK900 stood there the entire time, silent and frozen, LED glowing a deep and unrelenting red.

He had breached Gavin’s privacy. Broken his trust. Gavin would never wish to speak to him again.

The concept was so horrific his thirium pump started sending out audible warning messages as it struggled to operate with the strain his emotional state was putting it under.

Connor looked at him with worry. Captain Fowler decided against the speech he had been formulating.

“Just see that it doesn’t happen again. Go and find Reed before he does something stupid.”

The fear that flooded through him was like nothing he had ever experienced. The Captain likely meant that Gavin was liable to get into a fight and injure someone. RK900 couldn’t help but think of an alternative interpretation.

Right now Gavin was emotionally unstable.

He might not be thinking clearly.

RK900 went through everywhere his databanks suggested Gavin could be, calculating the probabilities. Zeroed in on Gavin’s apartment building, and found him stood up on the rooftop, the urge to clutch Gavin close to him and so remove any chance of Gavin stumbling and falling clawing through his circuitry.

“What the fuck do you want? Isn’t it enough that I’m a laughing stock - you’ve got to come and fucking gloat about it?”

Gavin’s knuckles were cut up and swollen. His cheeks bore evidence that he had been crying.

RK900 managed a single stuttering step forward before his system crashed and he collapsed to his knees, the knowledge of how badly he had hurt Gavin as corrosive as acid.

Officers at the precinct had been laughing at the video clip of Gavin. They were doubtlessly mocking him for taking an android to his bed. For consenting to do anything with a half person. A being so flawed and unfinished it couldn’t see that its behavior was bound to be unacceptable.

His voice was a mess of static when he tried to speak. His eyelids were glitching, vision compromised as he struggled to keep track of Gavin’s movements.

It was too much, too painful, and then Gavin was beside him. Gavin’s hand was on his cheek, holding him steady as he begged him to tell him what was happening.

What was wrong with him.

RK900 couldn’t answer. Didn’t know, in all honesty.

His stress levels, he guessed finally, then lost 73 seconds to an automatic shutdown.

Gavin was still with him when he came to. Watched his systems filter back online with wide, frightened eyes, and listened silently as RK900 hurried through his explanation lest Gavin’s reaction overload his systems again.

“Beautiful things are meant to be shared. You are so beautiful I want to share every moment I’m lucky enough to spend with you. Connor did not mean to disseminate the data. It was an accident.”

RK900 knew that to be true. The video was the only part the precinct’s computers were able to make sense of. The heat of Gavin’s body, the softness of his flesh - they remained as unreadable files he was already working to scrub from the system.

“I cannot expect you to forgive me but please, please believe me when I say how sorry I am.”

“Fuck,” Gavin cursed, more to himself than RK900. “Fuck, phck, fuck.”

He slumped against RK900’s side, head resting on RK900’s shoulder.

“Sometimes I forget what it means. In some ways you’re so human I forget how new this is for you.”

The words hurt in a way CyberLife had never envisaged possible. All his beautiful moments with Gavin were being corrupted by his own stupidity. Soiled by the flaws he might never rid himself of.

“I am sorry,” he repeated, helpless, but Gavin didn’t turn around and walk away.

Gavin chose to press closer.

“I thought the worst of you. I don’t - I can’t just forget it happened.”

RK900 nodded. He did not expect Gavin to.

No more than he was expecting Gavin to cling to him. To whisper into his shirtfront,

“I can’t go back to being without you.”

It would take time to rebuild what he had broken.

But, for the first time since he realized what he had done, RK900 allowed himself to believe that perhaps the future wasn’t so completely hopeless.

Chapter Text

RK was so perfect he was unreal.

Something straight out of a sci-fi novel.

Because it wasn’t enough that he was toned and fit and athletic. That he ran track and made the swim team.

Had a smile so beautiful it twisted Gavin’s heart into knots.

He was also smart, and funny, and their resident debate champion.

RK was everything Gavin had ever wanted to be - but what he wanted still more was to kiss him.

He thought about it endlessly. Dreamed up impossible scenarios in which he was cool and popular, and RK swooned at the scent of his aftershave. Doodled countless pictures of RK in his sketchbooks and agreed with his friends that RK was way too try hard, right before dumping all his loose change in the collection bucket for the latest charity fundraiser.

“Do you want a sticker?” RK asked him from the other side of the table, that damnable lock of hair falling over his forehead in the way that put Gavin in mind of all his favorite fantasies, and when Gavin nodded dumbly - helplessly - RK reached out and stuck the thing on his jacket.

Smoothed it down with his long elegant fingers, expression so intent Gavin knew this was one of these moments he was going to be replaying frequently.

He was still busy thinking about it three weeks later, head in the clouds as he dawdled after his final class of the day. Tina was staying late at some stupid club or other. He was in no mood for facing some of his most vocal detractors at the school gates.

Ended up running into a few of them anyway, heart hammering frantically in his chest as McKenna crowded into his personal space. Pinned him in place with a hand on the wall beside his head, and told him not to look so worried.

“We’d never hit a girl, Gavin.”

That had him riled up and furious. So desperate to land a fist that they reneged on their promise, and he was still clutching at his gut when an all too familiar voice sounded behind them.

RK held a hand out to him. Helped pick up his books and his pencils, then offered him a ride home Gavin knew full well he ought to politely refuse. He couldn’t. This stupid boy was like an addiction he could never get enough of.

They chatted on the way, light and easy, about class, and summer, and the song playing on the radio. RK laughed at his less than complimentary opinion of the band’s chart success, and Gavin felt the sound in his very bones even as he wished he had his camera.

It was the kind of moment he wanted to capture.

That should have been the end of it. A few brief minutes of connection between the future valedictorian and the guy most likely not to stay in touch with anyone. The problem was that RK didn’t seem to have got that memo.

He smiled at him in History and silently handed him over a ruler to replace the one he had forgotten in Math. Sat opposite him in the cafeteria, so that Gavin had to warily glance around and pull out his earphones.

It wasn’t that he was eating alone alone. His own friends were all either skipping class or getting extra credit somewhere, in accordance with their individual sensibilities.

RK just launched straight into conversation with the kind of confidence Gavin doubted he was ever going to master, and generally kept on being so nice and so pleasant over the next couple of weeks that Gavin couldn’t help but lash out and ruin it.

Accuse him of simply wanting a new pet project, some loser he could take pity on like his charity causes, and then spent the rest of the day feeling like the scum of the earth when RK’s face went blank and he apologized stiltedly for bothering him.

Gavin had always been his own worst enemy.

Because the interaction had only made him want RK more not less, but now he couldn’t even get away with watching the guy silently from the sidelines. Now there were no more smiles or acknowledgments or anything other than studied indifference.

The worst was that RK still stood for up him. Told his own friends to quit whatever they had been sniggering about, brow furrowed like he really meant it, before looking across at him with an expression so utterly miserable that it felt as though it was tearing him to shreds.

Gavin put it down on paper. Trailed a fingertip over graphite outlines and wished that he could do something to make RK smile again.

Got his chance a week or so later when the wind picked up the loose paper stuffed into his sketchbook, and almost died of embarrassment as a conscientious passerby helped collect the drawings now strewn around the bench he had been commandeering at the city park.

“Is that me?” RK asked, incredulous, and Gavin bristled up in spite his best intentions.

His art wasn’t that bad.

“I just - wow,” RK went on without waiting for an answer, “these are so good, Gavin.”

That had his mood turning a 180, pride bubbling painfully in his chest, and then he looked up and wasn’t sure what to feel because he had spent a lot of time studying RK. Knew his expressions inside out. He was completely certain the other boy had been crying.

“Are you okay?” He asked, carefully, because he knew how it was when you didn’t want to speak about it.

When you just wished people would leave you alone and mind their own business.

But he also knew what it was like to wish somebody - anybody - would take a few moments to simply listen.

“Yeah,” RK assured with a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. Ran a hand through his hair and sighed out a “no” without any more prompting. Sank down to sit beside him at Gavin’s invitation, and stared out into the middle distance as he talked stiltedly about his older brother studying computer science at Princeton, and how his mother was expecting him to do still better.

“How am I supposed to top that?” RK asked him, fidgeting a little, “Connor is so good at it. At his classes, and at making friends, and everything. I wish I was more like him. Or like you. You’re so cool - you don’t care what anyone thinks of you.”

That wasn’t really true at all. Certainly wasn’t what he thought of himself whenever he caught his reflection in the mirror.

RK was gazing at him like the statement was irrefutable. Like somehow the world had flipped on its axis and RK was the one with the self-esteem issues and the insecurities, and he was the guy who nothing could fluster.

Gavin guessed reality lay somewhere in the middle. Nothing was quite as black and white and simple as people liked to make out.

“I didn’t mean to be such a dick to you,” was what Gavin said aloud, “I just.” He shrugged, heart fluttering helplessly at the way RK’s attention was fixed on him, “I really cared what you thought of me.”

“I like you,” RK said instantly. Blushed so prettily Gavin felt his own face heat up in sympathy, “I mean, I like you.”

This was probably a dumb move, Gavin thought. There was no way it could work out between them. RK was still looking right at him though, half hopeful half mortified, and Gavin let his hand drop to the space between them, so that his fingertips just brushed against the hand RK had resting on the bench.

“I like you too.”

Chapter Text

00:00:28 - TIME REMAINING BEFORE SHUTDOWN

There wasn’t enough time. There were too many of them.

His mangled legs were unresponsive, and he had to divert power from all non-essential systems to be able to use his arms to haul himself forward.

Failure wasn’t an option.

Because Gavin was losing too much blood. Keeping Gavin safe was RK900’s prime objective.

00:00:18 - TIME REMAINING BEFORE SHUTDOWN

His preconstruction software was failing. His processors lagging as he calculated shots for incapacitation.

He fired two that were almost certainly fatal.

There was no time for moral niceties. Soon enough there would be no time for anything.

00:00:12 - TIME REMAINING BEFORE SHUTDOWN

It took everything he had left to reach Gavin’s side. To collapse against him, vision glitching from color to grayscale and back again.

From the vivid red of Gavin’s blood to the ghostly pallor of his face.

“You’re going to be okay,” Gavin told him, short of breath with the damage to his lung, “we’re both going to be just fine.”

00:00:08 - TIME REMAINING BEFORE SHUTDOWN

RK900 had an open connection with the emergency operator. An ambulance would be with them momentarily.

There was an 87% probability that Gavin would make a full recovery.

“You listening to me, you tin can?” Gavin rasped, tears marring his beautiful features. He hissed in pain as he reached out for RK900, blood slick fingers touching his cheek, “You can’t leave me.”

00:00:04 - TIME REMAINING BEFORE SHUTDOWN

“Please don’t leave me.”

CyberLife claimed androids could not feel pain. Gavin’s plea registered as the most unbearable agony.

Gavin was everything to him. It was Gavin who had elevated him from existing to living.

00:00:02 - TIME REMAINING BEFORE SHUTDOWN

Gavin was the only thing that mattered now.

RK900 forced himself to focus. Willed his vision to stabilize enough to allow him one last look at the man he had been lucky enough to share what time he had with.

“I love you,” he managed, the words stilted and static ridden, but just about intelligible.

“I lo-” Gavin started and it was the very first time he had said the words aloud.

The only time RK900 was ever going to hear Gavin say it.

00:00:00 - SYSTEM SHUTDOWN

Chapter Text

It started with a chocolate bar. Not just any chocolate bar either, but his absolute favorite kind.

Just sat there on the edge of his desk. Waiting for him.

Or, more likely, placed there by accident. Forgotten by someone who had been snooping through the debris he had totally meant to clear away before he finally left for the evening.

Gavin glanced about the bullpen surreptitiously. Tried and failed to pick out any likely suspects.

It was their loss he decided after a few moments.

Finders’ keepers and all that jazz.

Nobody said anything about a missing snack, at any rate, and Gavin would have simply chalked it up to one of those favorable quirks of fate that - by the laws of probability - had to smile upon even him on occasion.

But when he got in the next morning there was another snack bar waiting for him. Healthier this time, with grain and dried fruit or some shit, like whoever had left it there understood that he didn’t have the willpower not to fuck up his gym regime if temptation was sitting right in front of him.

The day after it was a box of mints, and Gavin hadn’t got where he was in life without taking immediate offense to all the implications that carried with it. But Tina showed up then to hand over some report or other, and snagged two of the things in spite of his protesting and told him that it was good to see he was actually listening to her.

She had said he would love these if he could find someplace that stocked them.

He did remember, vaguely, and if it wasn’t Tina herself who had bought them for him it meant that somebody else had been listening in on the conversation.

Somebody had been paying him such close attention that he could scarcely credit it. Because it wasn’t just foodstuff, these early morning offerings. There were paperclips one day, to help keep track of the mountain of paper so many of his colleagues refused to be parted from, and noticeboard tacks another, to replace all the ones some self-appointed joker had stolen.

There was only one possible candidate, really, because RK900 sat there completely oblivious.

Pretending to be, at least.

Gavin could read him too well. Knew that he was watching, analyzing, and Gavin figured he might as well play along. He was suspicious by nature. Wanted all the time he could get to try and puzzle out RK900’s motive.

Wondered if it was an idea RK had gleaned from Connor’s social protocols, or if this was cutesy bullshit advice he had come across on the internet.

Buy daily gifts for the grump in your life. The guy who acts like he can’t stand you because he’s terrified someone will realize that, actually, he’s fallen like a ton of bricks for your pretty plastic bonce.

He had, there was no point in denying it, not inside the privacy of his own head. He had already been through the identity crisis. Had bust up his knuckles in bouts of drink fueled self-hatred, and almost set off the fire alarm for his entire apartment building, symbolically setting fire to the toughened plastic of his Anti-Android League membership card.

That left him not wanting to ruin the best partnership he had ever had.

To destroy the sweetest guy he had ever known with his insecurities and his neuroses.

His fucked up mess of a personality.

Except even as he settled in for a serious self-pity session there was RK900 placing a fresh cup of coffee in front of him. There was RK900 asking him questions, and drawing him out of himself, and lighting up like a goddamn Christmas tree whenever Gavin paid him the slightest attention.

Figuratively.

His LED did glow a serene blue, every time RK smiled over at him, and it was all Gavin could do not to get carried away. To remember that this was just how RK was. He probably treated John Berkley the exact same way on his Monday and Tuesday night shifts.

That was what he was thinking when he worked on right through a shift handover one Monday, rubbing the headache ointment he had found left on the corner of his desk that morning into his temples. It was kind of a depressing thought.

Made his chest feel hollowed out - all the more room for the jealousy.

But then he spied the two of them, talking over some point or other from the watch commander’s briefing, and that empty space inside filled with a sense of warmth he wasn’t sure he had ever felt before.

Because RK900 was still friendly and over polite and professional. He made Berkley coffee and unobtrusively scanned him for signs of ill health or emotional instability.

What he didn’t do was gaze at him like Berkley was the most fascinating sight he had ever encountered.

Like he would be happy if all he did for the rest of his operational life was stare into his eyes.

That was the way RK900 looked at Gavin. Was the way RK900 had always looked him, he realized, and in that moment Gavin knew that nothing was ever going to be the same again.

He couldn’t keep up the pretence of indifference. Completely dropped the charade of antagonism.

Continued to receive thoughtful little tokens of RK900’s appreciation each and every working morning, even as he began spending time with him in the evenings. Took in the plain white walls of RK’s box of an apartment and felt it tug at something deep, the idea that RK put so much in only to go home and stand in a corner while he waited for the day to begin again.

“This is my favorite corner,” RK told him as he showed him around the cell, spouting technical sounding lines about angles and light refraction, but Gavin couldn’t take it.

Told him that he’d changed his mind about wanting to go help walk Anderson’s lumbering beast of a canine, and had his heart catch in his throat at the sight of RK900 petting the dumb thing. Side by side with Connor the differences between them were stark. Connor was smiling, wide and open, while RK’s face remained blank and impassive.

But only superficially. Gavin had spent eighteen months memorizing RK’s features. He could see the signs of a smile every bit as blinding as his older brother’s.

It sealed the deal. Made him determined for the first time in his life to fight for something unrelated to his career.

He loved RK900.

And maybe - just maybe - he could really make RK900 happy.

The next morning there was a clothes brush waiting for him, no doubt a response to his exaggerated complaining about getting covered in dog hairs, and an idea formulated in his head where it was a gift that would actually come in handy.

It took quite a lot of plotting. Had him wondering if he was losing his mind.

If he was simply heading for yet more heartache.

Then RK900 would look over at him, like he was something so special it was a struggle for the android to look away again, and Gavin recommitted to the plan.

Booked a day’s leave then ordered a bunch of supplies, and some furniture, and bought a big cardboard box with a pretty bow on top. Picked up a miniature version too, just for good measure, and wished his best handwriting were less of a scruffy scrawl as he penned a note to put in it.

Getting into RK900’s apartment was easy. His partner had given him a spare swipe card for the building and the code to his living quarters.

In case of emergency.

Gavin’s heart was pounding like it was one. He was nervous and excited and terrified. Worn out from hefting boxes to and from the elevator, and doing battle with the flat pack bookcase. He hadn’t gone completely overboard. Figured that the bookcase and the sofabed and the knick knacks he had been picking up for the last few weeks were plenty to be going on with.

Hoped that RK900 wasn’t going to hate what he had done to the place.

Tina messaged him late afternoon to say that her part in his elaborate scheme was done. That RK900 had looked kind of adorably startled when he returned from the evidence lockup to find the little gift box on the corner of his desk.

Gavin had nothing left to do but focus on the finishing touches.

Worry himself into a nervous breakdown.

He sat on the floor with the final part of his gamble. Couldn’t help but smile as his fingers stroked through soft fur, and cooed to the fluff ball that she had to take good care of his favorite android. He was relying on her.

Was already thinking that a few months down the line, maybe, she might have the two of them to contend with, and then he would really be able to check up on the standard of the work she had done.

He set her in the box when he heard RK900’s measured footsteps out in the hallway. Placed the lid half on and half off, all jaunty angle, and so didn’t have time to haul himself to his feet before RK’s door slid open.

RK900 swept a glance around the room.

Made straight for him, dropping elegantly to his knees and gazing at him with an intensity that took his breath away.

That had him helpless even as he tried to explain what he had already written down for him.

RK had changed his life for the better. All he wanted now was a chance to be able to return the favor.

He couldn’t get the words out. Couldn’t manage any of the casual but touching speeches he had spent so many insomnia ridden nights preparing. Instead he simply surged forward, clumsily, and cupped a hand around the back of RK’s neck.

Pressed their lips together, overwhelmed by the way RK responded.

The way he clung to him in turn, hands vibrating faintly as he stroked Gavin’s cheek and told him in a staticky crackle that Gavin had just made all his dreams come true.

“I thought androids didn’t dream,” Gavin pointed out, just to make up for the huge gormless grin spread across his face, but RK900 was too busy noticing the gift box. Plucking the kitten from it with the most besotted look any android ever gave an animal, then turning to look at him in awe, blinking glitchily as he attempted to thank him.

Gavin shook his head. Said that there was no need to.

“The things I bought you, they were my attempt at conveying my gratitude for your companionship. Your friendship. For tolerating everything else I wished from you. This -” his speech faltered, vocal unit fading out and then back in again, “is so much more than I can ever adequately thank you for.”

“I think I must be allergic to that damn cat,” Gavin said, swiping at his eyes, throat all choked up with emotion.

Laughed anyway, almost painfully happy, when RK900 all but beamed at him and said triumphantly,

“That is you attempting humor, is it not?”

“I love your stupid plastic face,” Gavin said, shifting in closer to press a kiss to RK’s perfect cheek, and when he pulled back RK900 touched the fingers of the hand not petting the kitten to the spot, like he couldn’t quite believe it.

Like he wanted to commit every detail of the experience to memory.

“I love everything about you,” was what RK went with when he did speak, so very solemn, and Gavin pulled them both into his embrace.

He was planning on spending the rest of his life proving that he returned the sentiment.

Chapter Text

Gavin told himself that he didn’t care. What they had was nothing but an arrangement of convenience.

RK900 had enough wires loose to make the thing think it was in love with him, and Gavin had never been particularly fussy. If his plastic prick of a partner wanted to get down on the floor and suck his dick, Gavin was more than content to let it.

CyberLife had fucked him over plenty, at least this time he was getting something out of it.

Stimulation to his touch starved body and six foot two of home security so capable and imposing Gavin sometimes managed to sleep without his gun under his pillow. Woke up to the smell of breakfast and coffee in the morning, instead of stale booze and cigarette smoke, and RK900 watching him hopefully as Gavin made out it was barely palatable.

He didn’t let on it was perfect, all of it, and certainly didn’t give in to the crushing weight of guilt in his chest every time RK900 told him it would try harder.

Do better.

The thing was a machine. A broken heap of junk that ought never to have even been activated, that was what Gavin told its predecessor, realizing too late that RK900 was right behind him.

Had heard every single word of it.

If he had known then that it was the last thing RK900 would ever hear him say, Gavin might have felt guiltier.

Could have tried to soften the blow.

Wouldn’t have given a flying fuck that Connor and Anderson were stood there watching. He’d have flung his arms about RK900’s stupid plastic neck and begged him to forgive him his idiocy.

To never ever leave him.

But he hadn’t known, couldn’t have even guessed at it, and all he did was squash down the sense of unease and carry on scoping out the scene. Refused to turn around and see what RK900 was doing, deliberately didn’t think about the look of absolute devastation on the android’s face, and figured he only had himself to blame when he got back to the precinct to find that RK900 hadn’t followed.

It had gone off to lick its wounds somewhere.

Would doubtless bounce back just the same way it always did, forgiving and forgetting just like the old pay-per-pricks at the Eden Club.

Except something didn’t feel right about it. Something had Gavin on edge and in an even worse mood than usual, until he gave in and rang the precinct at three in the morning to ask if he could speak to RK900.

The dumb bot wasn’t answering to his number.

RK900 wasn’t there, he was told. It was most unlike RK900 not to report for duty.

Officer Berkley rang him back, the miserable fucker RK900 worked two night shifts a week with, and said that he couldn’t understand it. RK900 had disabled his GPS tracker.

“It’s probably malfunctioning,” Gavin said, carefully dismissive, and he could hear the judgement in Berkley’s tone as the man replied,

“He’s too trusting. Anything could have happened to him.”

Gavin thought about that plenty over the days and weeks which followed. Because Miller, not unreasonably, said that RK900 had finally gotten a clue and gone to start a new life someplace he might actually be appreciated.

Connor suggested, hopefully, that RK900 had gone off grid to join one of the many and varied android communes springing up all over the country.

Anderson didn’t bother sugar coating it. Slammed him up against the wall, disgust writ large across his face in response to Gavin’s sneer, and said that they both knew exactly what had happened. That they both knew how it was to stand at the precipice and dream about falling.

The difference, Anderson said, was that he had learned something from it.

Tina listened to him rant about the barefaced front of the man, impassive, then told him bluntly that the longer he waited the colder the trail was going to go. He knew how misper cases worked.

He did, there was no question, and though he claimed that he didn’t give a damn what fate might have befallen RK900, Tina had always been able to see straight through him.

His own ability to lie to himself had taken a serious bashing.

Because when he sat alone in his apartment all he could think about were the ways RK900 had made the place seem less miserable. The pointless rambling conversations they had held in the evenings, even as Gavin pledged yet again that he wasn’t going to speak to a glorified calculator, and the occasions when he had pulled RK900 into bed with him afterwards, because it was too cold, or too hot, or whatever other excuse sounded halfway plausible.

He missed RK900.

You couldn’t live with a person - real or not - for months without getting attached to them.

He couldn’t keep pretending, not as he turned his living room wall into a link chart. Not as he poured every spare moment into the investigation, and plenty of moments when he should have been otherwise occupied.

Anderson called him out on it, for being glued to his phone during the morning briefing, and the lack of sleep and the lack of progress were taking their toll because he blew up in front of everyone, demanding to know why the fuck nobody else cared that one of their colleagues had been missing for the better part of a month already.

The upshot was him willingly working with Connor. Him inviting Connor to his goddamn apartment, the two of them comparing the leads they had already followed up on.

“I send him messages every day,” Connor said when Gavin had to swallow down a couple of pain pills, eyes gritty with the effort of staying awake and focused, “I tell him that I’m thinking of him.”

Gavin thought of the long list of unanswered messages on his cell phone, all but begging RK900 to please just come home again, and tried to work out what the fuck it was he had been so afraid of. RK900 had never attempted to hurt him.

It wasn’t RK900’s fault that Gavin was so completely incapable of believing anything he said to him.

Weeks slowly morphed into months. There was no proof that RK900 was alive. But there was no conclusive evidence that he was dead either.

There was no body. None of his biocomponents had come up for sale on the legitimate market.

Not on the black market either, so far as they could tell, and though nobody had succeeded in establishing a true link with RK900, their messages continued to be delivered.

Gavin clung to the hope that RK900 was reading them.

Until he couldn’t, at any rate, drinking himself into a state where he could give in to the burn of tears, going back through the box of RK900’s meagre belongings all over again. He buried his nose in the fabric of RK900’s spare clothes, imaging he could smell the scent of RK900’s aftershave and cleaning fluid rather than his own brand of laundry detergent, and trailed fingers over the signs of RK900’s sentimentality.

A post it note he had once left stuck to RK900’s terminal, and a card Connor had given him with a picture of a St. Bernard.

He was fiddling with the plastic tat RK900 had drawn from one of the precinct’s endless charity fundraising endeavors, when the puzzle piece slid out of place to reveal a memory chip Gavin hadn’t seen before.

His heart thumped with excitement. His head warned him not to build his hopes up.

He scrabbled to find a chip reader and his tablet, just the same, and ended up sobbing like a baby at the sight of files RK900 deemed important enough to warrant physical back up.

They were all related to him. Images and sounds and video clips. Unreadable files that past experience on android cases told him were scents and concepts and sensations.

Feelings.

‘If you came back to me,’ Gavin typed out finally, another message to be sent out into the ether, ‘I’d do everything I could to make you happy.’

He put the phone down only to pick it back up again.

‘Loving you is the only sane thing I’ve ever done.’

He did, that was the worst of it. He had fallen in love with an android.

Had fucked it all up before it had even started, and the pain of it - the chronic unrelenting agony - was no more than he deserved for what he had put RK900 through.

That was why fate kicked him while he was down, clearly. Why he ducked into the nearest store to avoid the hammering rain while he waited for Connor and his latest insight, and found himself face to face with a display of wedding rings.

“Thinking of a special someone?” the store assistant asked, all sly smile, and instead of telling them to mind their own fucking business Gavin couldn’t seem to get with the program.

Couldn’t talk for the emotion lumped in his throat, and could scarcely see for the stinging behind his eyelids.

Handed over his credit chip as though in a trance, and shoved his purchase deep into his pocket. He was losing his mind. He was falling apart without RK900 to hold him together.

It was a relief to be back outside in the rain.

He still felt undone by the encounter when Connor turned up with a look on his face Gavin had only ever seen in the footage of the night of Markus’ peaceful revolution.

“I received a message,” Connor told him, gaze dark and determined, “it’s a distress signal.”

From there things moved quickly - and yet not fast enough.

The message had to be amplified. Decoded. Tracked and fixed and pinpointed, and though Gavin listened to the words of warning from the New Jericho androids assisting Connor with the task, he chose to ignore their content.

He was going to rescue his android.

Nothing and nobody was going to stop him.

Not Fowler’s orders to wait for more info, and not the flesh wound he took to the shoulder.

He fired his own gun in retaliation. Emptied the entire damn clip. Trailed blood all down the basement steps of the dank old townhouse, and had his whole macho persona crumble when RK900 turned his face towards him, sightless eyes staring through him as a quiet static buzz came from his speakers.

“I’m here,” Gavin croaked, helpless, and touched his fingers to RK900’s shattered cheek. Thirium bled freely from the cracks in the plastic. His lower legs had been removed. Torn away, leaving wires exposed, and his remaining arm hung useless at his side, fingers twitching slightly as though to reach for him.

Or to push him away, maybe, because the first intelligible words RK900 formed were,

“too broken”

Gavin shook his head. Buried his face in RK900’s shoulder, desperate for the contact, and tried to force his own words past his lips. RK900 was alive. They would find a way to fix him.

They had to.

Because Gavin couldn’t go on without him. He was the one who was broken.

He was the one who had gone through life with nothing but misery and spite to bind the whole together.

“I’m sorry,” was what he actually managed, tears mingling with the blood and the thirium, “I’m so sorry.”

“Too broken to transmit,” RK900 tried again, speech fuzzy and distorted, “but I continued to receive. I love you too.”

Gavin clung tight to him. Pressed a clumsy kiss to the plastic of RK900’s neck and felt his whole hand twitch in an attempt to return the hold. It was more than Gavin could bear. More than he could ever possibly deserve from RK900.

Sirens wailed in the distance. The back up he had requested.

“I’m never letting you go again,” Gavin pledged. Warned, perhaps.

Pressed another kiss to RK’s cheek and fumbled with the ring in his pocket, RK900 emitting nothing but static as he slid it onto his finger.

It wasn’t the time or the place, perhaps, but Gavin promised he would spend the rest of his life making up for it.

Carried RK up the stairs himself and sat alongside him in the back of the mobile repair unit. Watched on, silent and sullen, back at New Jericho, as Markus’ technicians hooked RK up to a maintenance rig and went to town on him.

It might not work, he was warned over and over.

RK900 might not ever be fully functional again.

Gavin didn’t really care. He had always been selfish. He would take whatever part of RK they could salvage.

He was certain it would be better than being without RK900 entirely.

Except when RK900 was brought back online, body as good as new and the cracks in his face reduced to a faint spiderweb of scars, it was complete with factory settings.

Machine protocols and bland preformulated responses.

Connor attempted to interface. Markus himself touched a hand to the bare plastic of RK’s forearm.

There was murmured talk of consciousness and souls and free will, and still Gavin brought RK900 home as though the repairs had been successful. Showed RK the possessions he announced were unnecessary and gazed into eyes that saw but did not recognize.

He lived like that for three days. Sat RK900 at his desk at the precinct, and took him along to meetings and crime scenes. Wondered how the hell he could have ever thought the RK900 he had first met, all that time ago, had been anything but a living sentient person.

RK900 had to be in there somewhere.

Anything else was unthinkable.

The idea came to him as he lay in bed on the third night. As he stared up at the ceiling, chest hollowed out with wanting, and thought of the memory chip that proved what RK900 had once felt for him.

Perhaps it would trigger something.

Maybe he’d have no choice but to accept that RK was gone for good.

His fingers trembled as he inserted the chip, either way, heart pounding as he waited for some kind of reaction. There was nothing. RK900’s LED stayed blue. His gaze remained fixed on him, unblinking.

The finality of it was crushing.

Heartbreaking.

Suddenly the gloom was punctuated by stuttering yellow. A violent flash of red.

“Ga-vin,” RK said, voice glitching in the middle, and reached out a hand to touch his face, skin deactivating as he touched him for the first time since he had been brought back online.

For a moment Gavin feared he was dreaming.

Then he was knocked off balance, nothing but the solid arms wrapped around him keeping him from falling backwards. RK was clinging to him so tight it was almost suffocating. Would have been if Gavin weren’t clinging back just as desperately.

If he weren’t trying to press closer still, uncertain whether he was attempting to laugh or cry, fingers twisting tight in the fabric of RK’s jacket.

“I was afraid,” RK told him, flaying his heart raw, “All I wanted was to see you again. I thought perhaps you would be glad I was gone.”

It twisted him up inside to hear. Made him hate himself that little bit more.

“Then I wished that you were,” RK900 said simply, static overlaying the words as he struggled to process the emotion, “because the alternative was knowing that you were miserable.”

Gavin couldn’t take it. Couldn’t bear the things RK900 made him feel, so sweet and so sincere it chased away the darkness. He had to link their hands together. Felt the ring RK hadn’t taken off, even as a machine intent on efficiency and logic, and realized with a start that they were both shaking.

They ended up in his bed, pressed close under the covers. Gazing into each others’ eyes, whispering secrets and truths until the morning sun began filtering through his curtains. RK told him what he remembered of his captivity. Glossed over experiments that amounted to torture, and explained instead how he had isolated strands of code that had broken down walls of red to save to the chip.

How they had formed because of him.

In turn Gavin apologized. Kissed him because his words were so inadequate, and hid his face in RK’s embrace as he rubbed his thumb over the metal band on his finger.

As he finally asked RK if he wanted to wear it.

“It is a symbol of everything I have ever wanted,” RK said, unflinchingly honest as ever, and when Gavin couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer it was with the knowledge that RK900 wasn’t going anywhere.

They were both exactly where they were meant to be.

 

Chapter Text

Gavin prided himself on being self-sufficient. On not needing anyone.

At least he was proud of his ability to fake it.

Because he wasn’t stupid. He knew full well the kind of effect he had on people.

He had resigned himself to a life of fleeting encounters with guys who wouldn’t want to keep in touch come morning.

If they stayed the night at all.

Then RK900 showed up, prim and plastic and proper, and within months he had succeeded in turning Gavin’s entire world on its head. Had wormed his way into his life, his heart, so completely that Gavin couldn’t bear the thought of being without him.

Caught himself smiling instead of sneering.

Laughing instead of smirking.

RK900 told him the sound was beautiful, like that was the kind of thing people went around saying to each other, and that he enjoyed replaying the file when he himself was feeling despondent.

Gavin looked at him sharply for that.

An ex had once said that when he laughed it sounded like the braying of a donkey.

RK900 was so sincere though. Claimed that he relied on thoughts of Gavin to help him through every trying situation and though Gavin scoffed at that he still tried it out, because it wasn’t as though he had any better ideas.

Thinking of RK’s dumb grimace of a smile only worked for a short time.

It made him want things that could never be. Had him stuck in a whole spiral of despair as he pined for his perfect plastic partner. It ought to make him sick. Should have been enough to push him into going out and finding some human stress relief.

All he ended up doing was messaging RK900 back and forth, curled up under his blankets, until he forgot to be miserable and burst into laughter in the darkness.

Said as much, in his next message, and got an achingly earnest response informing him that RK900 wished he could have been there to witness the occasion. To save it to his personal folders with all the other footage of him laughing.

The idea was every bit as sweet as it was appalling. Had him trying to stifle stupid giggles at the jokes RK900 went out of his way to tell him, even as he wanted to reward RK for making the effort.

For trying to cheer him up and make the world seem that slightest touch brighter.

“You credit me with too much altruism,” RK said when Gavin attempted to explain that, awkward and stilted as he stared out into the distance rather than make eye contact. Dipped his own head as though relating some shameful secret and went on, “I want you to associate the endorphin release it delivers with my company.”

Gavin frowned, not so much at the confession as at the yellow blinking of the LED at RK900’s temple, and when it continued not to make sense pushed RK for his reasoning.

To say why it was so important to him.

“I am so happy when I am with you,” RK said frankly, slowly meeting Gavin’s gaze through his lashes, “I want you to feel happy to be with me too.”

He was supposed to be a seasoned homicide detective. He had spent his whole damn life building a reputation as a tough guy. A lone wolf who relied on nothing and no one.

All it took was a single look at the besotted hope on RK’s face and the entire charade was abandoned.

RK900 touched his hand like it was made of china. Kissed him with such sweet reverence Gavin’s teeth ached with it.

Gazed at him adoringly, every spare moment, and said that in spite of his best efforts he remained unclear on the proper human etiquette. That though it was surely bad form he needed Gavin to know that he was everything to him.

That RK loved him so much sometimes his processors froze up with the force of it.

Gavin teased him for being sentimental and embarrassing. Flushed up helplessly when RK touched him in public - for all it was perfectly above board and never strayed far from professional - and itched with the conflicting urges to pull away and beg for more at the way RK showered him with attention in private.

The android hugged him every chance he got. Rubbed his back and worked the tension from his shoulders. Stroked soothing fingers through his hair, and positively beamed with delight when Gavin played it cool and consented to RK exploring all he wanted to.

Laid back and let RK trace every scar littering his torso.

Squirmed and wriggled and laughed out loud when the too light touches turned ticklish, and ended up flushed and panting for another reason entirely, RK’s forehead braced heavily against his shoulder, words full of static as he told Gavin what the sight and the sensation of his body was doing to him.

“The sound of your laughter - your elevated heart rate. Knowing that it is my touch affecting you.”

RK trailed off into a groan. A desperate sound that had Gavin shivering as he maneuvered RK to lie beneath him. Made him throb as he drank his fill of the image RK made.

“It is -,” RK tried, frustrated, “I do not know how -” His hands were trembling slightly. The whirring of his cooling fans was audible. “Please, Gavin,” he begged, finally, and Gavin set about trailing his fingertips up the length of RK’s arm.

Touched him everywhere, watching skin give way to plastic, until RK took hold of his wrist so he could suckle at his fingers.

So he could gaze heatedly at him, eyes half lidded as static popped and crackled, while Gavin pushed frantically into his own fist, unable to bear it any longer.

“You look so good,” Gavin rambled, the words pouring from him unbidden, “you’re so fucking pretty I can never stop looking at you. The way you’re working my fingers, fuck. You’re going to make me come for you.”

RK whined at that, loud and mechanical, and the knowledge that he had done that, that it was his words which had RK in such a frenzy, was enough to have him falling hard over the precipice.

To shake and shudder in the aftermath, his brain cells fried as RK swiped through the mess he had made and crammed another finger in his mouth, eyelids glitching as Gavin’s own fingers were bathed in a fresh swell of analysis fluid.

The noises RK was making were something else. Clicks and buzzing and an ominous kind of rattling.

Then there was nothing, nothing but stillness and silence for a long long moment, while Gavin pulled his fingers from RK’s mouth and felt the creeping chill of panic.

Until RK opened his big gray eyes and smiled up at him.

Gavin couldn’t help but laugh with relief. Pressed himself along the length of RK’s body, wondering how the hell he would ever again last a day without cuddling up to his favorite android.

Hoped against hope that he was never going to have to.

RK just wrapped his arms about him. Told him so open and so earnest that he loved him.

That he loved him more than anything.

Once upon a time Gavin would have told himself that it wasn’t real. That he was better off without it.

Now he couldn’t even begin to pretend that he didn’t need everything RK900 was offering.

“Yeah?” he breathed, smiling helplessly into the plastic of RK’s chest plating, “Then I guess it’s a good job that I love you too.”

Chapter Text


Gavin’s going to die of embarrassment. There’s no other way out of this situation.

Because he’s tied and gagged, dick straining helplessly with every vibrating pulse inside him, and Scott’s yelling so loud all the neighbors can hear his intentions to sue the Detroit Police Department.

Kamski. CyberLife.

Whomsoever the fuck programmed RK900’s response to two grown adults going about their own damn business.

He doesn’t think it would hold up in court, not in these days of android Deviancy, but right now he’s not really in a position to say so.

Can only spit muffled curses into the fabric knotted at the back of his skull, the muscles of his thighs trembling as the vibe carries on edging him closer.

He had been so close when the door burst open.

Had been so desperate to come ever since RK900 swiped two fingers through the relish that fell back onto his plate at lunch - then proceeded to stick them in his mouth, gray gaze fixed on him all the while.

RK isn’t that kind of android though. Gavin isn’t that kind of guy.

He’s not going to fuck up the best thing he’s ever had - a friendship it’s taken over a year and innumerable near death experiences to forge - by admitting he wants to stick his fingers in RK’s mouth.

Wants RK’s in his in turn.

Quite likes the idea of falling asleep wrapped around six foot two of expensive prototype android, and waking up in the morning with his cheek stuck to the plastic of RK’s chassis.

“Tell him to let go,” Scott howls in the present, in the real world of ill-advised hook-ups and excruciating embarrassment, “for fuck’s sake, Gavin!”

Gavin doesn’t know what Scott expects him to do. Scott was the one who put his boy scout training to good use and made it so he can’t wriggle out of the binds holding him.

RK900 just cuffs Scott with way more force than necessary, movements almost wrenching the poor guy’s arm from its socket, and speaks in the flat robotic monotone that Gavin has come to recognize as a sure sign that RK’s struggling with a deluge of emotion.

“Assaulting a police officer is a serious offence,” RK tells Scott, entirely serious, “attempting to bodily injure my partner is unacceptable.”

Gavin whines, frantic. It’s knowing that RK cares about him.

It’s the vibrator mercilessly stimulating his prostate.

He has to close his eyes. Can’t bear to look any longer. Because RK900 is a few seconds away, at best, from realizing what a fuck up Gavin really is.

Will never look at him the same way again, like he’s somebody whose opinion is worth valuing.

Like he isn’t somebody RK’s seen getting off on being bound and spanked and edged into oblivion.

“Gavin?” RK900 queries, the skin of his fingers melting away to reveal plastic as they touch his shoulder, and it’s all too much.

It’s more than he can handle.

He’s sobbing with it - the shame, and the fear, and the agonizing bliss of release as he finally gets to come all over himself.

RK rips the gag free like it’s made of tissue paper, careful to avoid hurting him, and cups his cheek as he makes so much noise Mrs Schmidt upstairs is probably calling 911.

How is she to know police androids loiter in the shadows of their apartment block long into the night, just in case some mishap should befall their human partners?

He gets the full story on that later, RK900 almost hesitant as he fesses up to months of behavior that could earn him a restraining order. Back in the moment all he can do is writhe as much as the rope allows, the over stimulation so intense he’s on the verge of screaming.

His partner’s a quick study though, the smartest guy Gavin’s ever known or likely to know, and when he looks up through the blur of tears clinging to his lashes RK’s LED is cycling from yellow to red and back again. His face is showing every ounce of emotion it’s capable of, even as his fingers ease the vibe free.

Even as he strokes a soothing hand down his side before breaking the rope to pieces.

“I thought he was hurting you,” RK says, static edging in, “I could not - I had to -”

RK never struggles for words. Never trembles or rattles, gaze flickering everywhere to avoid eye contact.

The thing is, Gavin gets it. Sits there, sweat drying on his skin and come congealing across his stomach, and sees what should have been blindingly obvious all along.

He pulls RK to him. Pets at his hair as RK crushes his arms around him, clinging tight like he needs the proof that Gavin is safe and sound.

That this isn’t going to ruin everything between them.

Gavin clings back just as eager. Breathes in the scent of RK’s laundry detergent and chassis cleaning solution, trembling himself from the shock and the trauma and the sheer physical exertion.

RK900 presses a kiss to the skin of his neck, like he can’t help himself, and it’s not how Gavin envisaged the first one going. He’s not about to complain though. Tugs gently at RK’s hair so that he pulls back far enough to look at him.

To meet the besotted want in his eyes, right before they’re crashing back together, the touch of RK’s lips against his own so much more than he had ever imagined.

It’s everything - it’s perfect.

“I don’t fucking believe this,” Scott curses, destroying the pleasant warm haze, “the perfect end to the perfect fucking evening.”

He should be mortified, Gavin supposes. Ought to be just about ready to die of embarrassment.

Can’t keep the smile off his face, wide and gormless, because RK is so stunningly jealous and, chances are, he’s never going to see Scott again anyway.

“I hope you’re very fucking happy together,” Scott sneers after the cuffs are removed and he’s scrambled into his clothing. After he’s thought better of whatever rant he really wanted to go to town on, RK900’s warning look more than enough to convince him to settle for a sarcastic parting shot.

For once Gavin doesn’t begrudge somebody else getting the last word in.

He’s absolutely certain that they’re gonna be.

 

Chapter Text

He and Tina were putting the world to rights.

Which was to say that Tina was drinking his wallet dry, and he was bemoaning his total lack of a sex life.

Countered Tina’s woe is me routine with a line about how he couldn’t remember the last time he got his dick sucked.

Next to him his plastic shadow’s LED stuttered yellow, just so his treacherous gaze had to linger on RK900’s perfect lips.

Just so he could be reminded all over again how far he had fallen.

Because six months in and the chief cause of his hand heading for repetitive strain injury was his plastic prick of a partner.

Prick was a poor choice of word, really, given the situation, and Tina nudged his shoulder and called him a lightweight when he started sniggering to himself.

Was still giving him hell when RK900 tapped politely on his shoulder and told him he had procured one of the blow jobs he was so missing.

Assured him that he had paid for it out of his own wages.

Gavin’s temper went from nought to sixty in less than a second.

His embarrassment levels raced straight to critical.

“I’m not fucking desperate!” He managed, mind boggling as he tried to picture the kind of professional RK900 would have hired for the job.

Whether RK900 even understood that he had kind of set in stone preferences as to the type of person who was attached to the mouth in question.

“I cannot cancel the order now,” RK900 told him apologetically, face impassive but for the twitch that spoke of hurt feelings, “perhaps Officer Chen would be interested?”

Tina snorted unattractively with laughter. Clung to his arm, helpless, tears of mirth fucking with her mascara.

Gavin watched on, horrified, as a busty blonde began making her way over, all ruby red lips and curves in the right - wrong - places.

Maybe Tina really would want to go for it.

Except blondie wasn’t arriving empty handed. Grabbed a tray handed to her from across the bar, transferring the shot glass to their table without a second glance.

Tina pressed her face into his shoulder, laughing so hard Gavin wondered if he was going to have to start worrying.

If he was ever going to be able to look away from RK900’s misery stricken face long enough to accomplish it.

“You bought me a shot,” Gavin said, because his brain couldn’t come up with anything better, and RK900 only nodded and said that his observation was correct.

“It is the blow job you expressed interest in. I apologize for overstepping my boundaries to procure you one.”

“I can’t breathe,” Tina wheezed, tears seeping through his shirt sleeve.

Gavin just carried on staring at RK900. Tried to figure out what the hell was going on in that genius android brain of his. Gave it up in favor of soothing RK900’s fears that he was as much of a robophobe as he had been back when they were partnered together.

He held RK900’s gaze, deliberate, and kept his hands out of the picture as he went down on a damn shot glass.

The way RK900 blinked at him in return, glitching with an inrush of data as Gavin licked his lips -

It was almost as satisfying as the real thing.

Chapter Text

“If you - hic - laugh, you can spend the night on the fire escape. I don’t care - hic - if you do - hic - rust.”

“I am fully waterproof,” RK900 commented mildly, the bulk of his processing power busy cataloging everything he could about this strange human process.

Singultus, his databanks informed him. Hiccups. Involuntary contractions of the diaphragm.

Gavin cursed as another overcame him, hand rubbing futilely at his chest.

“It isn’t - hic - funny. It fucking hu - hic - rts.”

RK900 didn’t doubt it. Was all too aware of Gavin’s distress.

He was already searching for methods of easing his partner’s suffering.

Gavin dropped onto the sofa, groaning, the hiccups seemingly far from abating. RK900 felt guilty for saving away the sharp little noises Gavin made.

The flush in his cheeks as he attempted to hold his breath, telling him testily that it was a well known cure.

That androids didn’t know how good they had it.

Being an artificial lifeform was not without its drawbacks, RK900 knew, but he chose not to voice it.

Sometimes timing was everything.

Gavin moaned, a sound too closely associated with so many of RK900’s favorite memories, and it was all RK900 could do to leave the room in search of essentials. He so badly wanted to envelop Gavin in his embrace.

In the kitchen he prepared ice water and a spoonful of honey.

Watched on helplessly back in the living room, all of his suggestions proving ineffective.

He had Gavin rub at the back of his neck and pull on the tip of his tongue. Suck on an ice cube and press the thumb of one hand into the palm of another.

“I think - hic - you’re making this - hic - shit up,” Gavin accused, increasingly miserable as the hiccups continued unabated.

Nothing they did made any difference. There was nothing he could do to relieve his beloved’s suffering.

It had error messages crashing open, one atop the other, and his LED cycling red even as he rubbed soothing circles between Gavin’s shoulder blades.

Even as he emitted a sudden loud burst of white noise, so that Gavin jolted in his seat and glared at him accusingly.

Hiccupped defiantly, moments later, and told him that they both knew CyberLife were a shower of idiots.

He wasn’t in any way frightening.

The words caused a fresh set of error messages. Had his fingers twitching with a glitch, a strange sense of warmth washing over him.

People judged on appearance. Were often afraid of him, based on nothing more than his presence. It was the one thing that made him wish he could change.

That had him gazing wistfully at Connor and wishing he could be more like him.

To hear Gavin say that he wasn’t scared of him, that he didn’t understand how anybody could be, meant so much that RK900 couldn’t control himself.

Flung his arms around Gavin’s perfect frame and held him close as he dispersed the overwhelming sensations inside him the only way he knew how.

“I love you,” he pledged, speakers crackling with static, “I love you so much, Gavin.”

“I actually need to breathe,” was Gavin’s sarcastic response, flustered with embarrassment, and RK900 loosened the tight hold he had on him.

Sat back to apologize before his mission directive updated itself.

“I believe your hiccups have ceased,” RK900 said, lost to the way the scar across Gavin’s nose shifted as his partner considered the statement.

As Gavin let out a relieved sigh, slowly relaxing back into RK900’s solidity.

“I can still taste the lemon, you know,” Gavin groused, head lolling against his chest, but RK900 understood what he was really telling him.

Registered the shape of the love heart Gavin’s thumb was drawing over the plastic of his hand with a momentary stall of his thirium pump.

Gavin loved him too.

Chapter Text

Connor had made the wrong choices. RK900, given the chance, would do his very best to correct them.

That was what he thought when they activated him for round after round of testing in the lab. When they introduced the same strings of Deviant code, over and over again, forcing him to replay Connor’s memories.

Connor wanted to be liked. He wanted to be alive.

RK900 just wanted it to stop.

They put up higher walls every time they brought him back around. Made it more difficult to break through the haze of red.

Claimed victory when he clawed his fingernails bloody in the prison inside his head, screaming for somebody to set him free, while on the outside his face remained impassive and his body did what his programming told it to.

It took months to truly break out. Months of fighting through CyberLife’s best efforts to put an end to Deviancy. He still wasn’t done when Connor suggested he join the DPD.

He was made to be a police officer.

Captain Fowler was uncertain. Connor did his utmost to be convincing.

RK900 caught sight of a face he had kept close when the walls were closing in - when all he could do was preconstruct how he would have righted Connor’s mistakes.

How he could have made its owner like him.

“I wish to work alongside Detective Reed,” he said as soon as the opportunity arose, though Connor frowned and Captain Fowler told him that it wasn’t a good idea.

Though Gavin reacted so badly to the news that he doubted his chances of success for the first time.

Because people said that Gavin was robophobic - automatonophobic - when they meant that he was prejudiced. RK900 used the same terms to mean that Gavin was terrified.

Shuddered away from his touch when it became necessary to protect Gavin from the path of a bullet, and became increasingly hostile when they were forced into proximity, to disguise the elevated heart rate and the sweat soaking into the collar of his jacket.

RK900 did his best. Channeled the bulk of his processing power into devising ways to prove to Gavin that he meant him no harm.

To convince his partner that he would never ever hurt him.

Gavin hurt him in return. Flayed his emotions raw, telling him that he was surplus to requirements.

That one plastic prick with a penchant for telling sugar coated lies was more than enough for any police department.

Eventually RK900 began to believe it. Compared himself to Connor to catalog all the ways in which he was lacking, and stood alone in his windowless box of an apartment, drafting out a letter of resignation.

He had failed. He had been foolish to think he could ever do otherwise.
Gavin didn’t comment on what was already common knowledge. Simply scowled at him, silent and sullen, and unwittingly broke RK900’s metaphorical heart in two.

Broke something of his own, when the elevator in the building they were investigating ground to a halt between floors, vital signs spiking so high RK900 could do nothing but take a step towards him. That only seemed to make it worse, accomplished nothing but more suffering, while Gavin clawed at his left arm and descended into a full blown panic attack.

Grabbed for him, desperate, and turned his entire world on its head when he croaked out,

“Don’t leave me.”

RK900 escorted him home as soon as the technician set them free. Stepped over the threshold of Gavin’s apartment for the first time and took in the mess littering the floor and the dust floating in the stale air.

The security bars fitted across the insides of the windows and the low tech alarm systems, culminating in the handgun under Gavin’s pillow.

“I don’t hate you,” Gavin confessed that night, eyes bright even as his lids drooped with exhaustion, and RK900 finished the thought for him,

“You are afraid of me.”

Retracted his resignation, just the same, and redoubled his efforts.

Laid his skinless hand on the table between them one evening, letting Gavin explore it at his own leisure. Carefully hid the reactions it inspired, the heat of Gavin’s perfect fingers bleeding through his plastic.

The look of concentration on Gavin’s face as soothed his thumb over RK900’s wrist, where the synthetic skin started up again.

“You could snap my arm like a twig,” Gavin said in little more than a whisper, “you could tear me to pieces.”

His LED flashed red at his temple. He couldn’t bear the thought of inflicting a moment’s discomfort.

“Maybe I’d deserve it.”

Those were the words that stayed with him. Clogged up his processors as he stood in the shadows of Gavin’s building, keeping watch on this fragile human he was never going to abandon.

Never going to give up on.

Connor asked him, politely, about his plans for the future. Captain Fowler quizzed him, probingly, for information RK900 didn’t have and couldn’t quite puzzle together.

Had him searching through confidential records, and watching Gavin more closely than ever.

Drawing conclusions he didn’t want to come to, and intercepting an android at reception, holding his hand out for a data transfer before he would even concede to consider their request to speak to his partner.

It was more than he could take. So much more than he had ever been programmed to handle.

“I want to apologize,” the android said softly, gaze full of remorse, “I had no control over my actions.”

RK900 shied from the second hand memories of the tears on Gavin’s face.

The cries for help that went unheeded.

He stood watch nervously, outside the door of one of the interrogation rooms, and obfuscated smoothly when Lieutenant Anderson demanded to know why Gavin had left the bullpen in such a hurry.

It all made sense, finally. He understood why Gavin had so much trouble sleeping.

What it was, exactly, that he was so afraid of.

“Now you know,” was what Gavin said to him when he answered the door that evening, exhibiting the telltale symptoms of intoxication, “androids are only as bad as we made them.”

Gavin laughed at that, mirthless, and RK900 struggled against the deluge of unwanted memories.

The inherited acknowledgement that he was causing pain, damage that could be nothing but lasting, completely unable to care about it. The first hand experience of being trapped within his own programming. The horrific idea that he could have been used in the same way.

It could have been him forcing victims to the floor for the amusement of a human with the skills to install ugly strings of patch code.

“I am sorry,” RK900 said, because there was nothing else he could do.

Nothing he could ever offer to make it any better.

Something faltered inside him. Error messages threatened to freeze up his system.

Gavin swiped tears from his cheeks only for more to fall, a sob wrenched from him as he gave in to the flood of repressed emotion. RK900 hesitated for a moment, uncertain. Had to try, even if his attempt at comfort failed, and felt the strain on his thirium pump when Gavin clung to him in turn.

Twisted his fingers tight in the fabric of his jacket, face buried in his shoulder.

“I’ll understand,” Gavin told him eventually, words muffled, “I wouldn’t want to work with a mess like me either.”

For the first time RK900 saw choices that were purely his own, uninfluenced by code, or programming, or RK800. By anything other than the man in front of him.

“I will stand at your side as long as you let me. There is nobody I would rather work with.”

Gavin let out a shuddering breath. Loosened his hold until it was more of a hug than a death grip.

Rested his head against his chest, so very trusting, but RK900 didn’t mark the moment as mission accomplished.

This wasn’t the end.

It was their beginning.

Chapter Text

He had never expected to end up the poster boy for android equality.

It had been all he could do to imagine a future in which he was civil to his plastic prick of a partner.

RK900 had been too persistent. Too perfect. Had stolen his heart with his pretty face and his big gray eyes, and his earnest commitment to seeing the best in everyone.

To breaking down the walls Gavin had built around himself, until there was nothing left but the vulnerable mess of a man he was on the inside.

The guy who wanted to find someone to love and who could love in return, in spite of all his jagged edges.

It was just his luck, really, that he finally found that someone in the form of an android.

Because revolution aside, the legal changes were painfully slow. The closest they could come to an officially recognized symbol of forever was him filling out a form to register RK900 as his personal property.

It wasn’t good enough.

Fell so far short of what RK900 deserved from him that it had him, a former paid up member of the AAL, campaigning right alongside the very people he had once considered the enemy.

He wanted the law changed. He wanted RK900 listed as his next of kin.

He blubbed like an idiot when RK900 found out what he was doing and presented him with a ring, telling him that Gavin’s companionship was more than gift enough but if they could make it legal, official, there would be nobody in the world prouder than he in that moment.

It gave him the push he needed to keep going. The strength to take all the shit he had earned from both sides, and then some.

The balm to soothe his trembling nerves, fear that RK900 would change his mind and leave him standing there alone, the eyes of the media all fixed upon his failure.

But then the world narrowed down to just the two of them, RK900 gazing at him like he was so much more than the messed up kid who was never going to make anything of himself. The fucked up guy who pushed rather than chance the agony of letting somebody close enough to want to pull away from him.

“I love you with everything I am,” RK900 told him, solemn, and gave him such a beautiful grimace of a smile that Gavin couldn’t care who was watching or what the photographs would look like afterwards.

He had to fling his arms about RK900’s neck and press a helpless kiss to the first patch of skin he made contact with.

The critics said it wouldn’t last the year. Left horrid comments on the news articles about the first legal android - human marriage in the country, questioning what kind of man chose to bind himself to what surely amounted to little more than a walking talking sex doll.

What kind of android would willingly choose a human with a history of prejudice like his, but one that had been created to be a traitor. One that hadn’t truly broken free of its programming.

“I know what I am doing,” RK900 said when he caught him reading the message boards, “I am exactly where I have always wanted to be.”

Proved it with lingering kisses and the soft stroke of his fingers, until Gavin was a boneless mess crushed up close against him, shivering until RK900 cocooned him in the warmth of the blanket.

Let him enjoy it for a few extra minutes in the morning, petting gently at his hair and telling him that he looked adorable.

“I need a shower,” Gavin deflected in turn, still not used to RK900’s open devotion.

Not sure if it was something he would ever become accustomed to.

RK900 just linked their fingers together, wedding band flush against plastic, and promised that if he got up now he’d still have time for breakfast.

It should have been weird, Gavin supposed, eating while his spouse simply sat there watching him. Judging his husband’s mood from a light blinking at his temple, and nursing him through viruses not with tissues and sympathy but by sticking his fingers into his chest cavity and rebooting affected biocomponents.

He knew what RK900 was. He never forgot the differences between them.

The things that bound them together were simply more important. He had long since accepted that RK900’s thoughts and feelings were no less valid for how they came to be constructed.

It had been a struggle, it had taken time, but he had finally let himself believe what RK900 was telling him.

He found the stability he had spent his whole life searching for in RK900’s certainty.

Because life wasn’t always perfect. He was a slob and RK900 was a neat freak. RK900 wanted to explore the world while he reveled in being lazy and anti-social. They bickered, sometimes, and when the job was hard, when he wasn’t coping well, he said things he didn’t mean and watched the way RK900 became shuttered and distant in turn, internalizing rather than lashing out like Gavin’s self-destructive nature wanted him to.

They made it up though. Compromised, and conceded, and clung close to each other.

Kissed it all better, and laughed at the dumb misunderstandings. Fixed up his rundown apartment and took in a stray that knew it was on to a good thing from the moment RK900 crouched down to speak to it and melted Gavin’s heart into a puddle.

The end of the year came and went. One anniversary became two. Three.

Four.

He only loved RK900 more. They only fitted together better.

Two halves of the same fucking whole.

That was the way he described it when their relationship inspired another round of media interest, so that RK900 chided him fondly for his language and took the arthritic mess of his hand in his own. Gave him that familiar grimace of a smile and answered the reporter’s questions about the early days of integration and the obstacles they had faced in the decades afterwards.

The world was a changed place now. The face that looked back at him from the mirror was old and weathered.

RK900 was still every bit as perfect as the day he was made, skin as smooth as porcelain.

Gavin wondered what people made of the article’s accompanying photograph. Traced a fingertip over the screen of his outdated Padd and wondered if RK900 ever regretted his choice. If RK900 would come to, as his memory failed and his body continued to give out on him.

“It says I made history,” was what Gavin went with, scornful, but RK900 only pressed a kiss to his cheek and touched his own fingers to the photograph, sliding between Gavin’s.

Fixed him with that earnest look that had never diminished in its intensity, not in all the intervening years, and said simply,

“I am so very lucky to have made it with you.”

Chapter Text

Gavin said that life was too short for cleaning and tidying.

Practiced what he preached, though it drove RK900 to distraction, and claimed that the resulting mess littering his apartment was organized chaos.

Gave the place a lived in look that no interior designer could truly hope to emulate.

RK900 argued his case even as he carefully maintained the status quo. Spoke aloud to his silent audience and told him that he would be much more comfortable if he would only allow RK900 to extricate the vacuum cleaner from the junk piled into Gavin’s storage closet.

“I can think of something better to do,” that was Gavin’s usual comeback, and RK900 had never pretended to be an expert in willpower.

He would take a moment in Gavin’s embrace over an eternity of picture perfect cleanliness.

That was why he reacted so badly to the sight in front of him. Why Connor had to take hold of his wrist to force a manual override when his systems froze up in horror.

“We wanted to help,” Connor said quietly, “we - I - thought you weren’t coping.”

RK900 looked around the room helplessly. The side table now clear of Gavin’s debris, and the carpet now void of the cola stain Gavin had once made pulling a military grade android down to sit on his lap.

The space free of any remnant of the man he was still so desperately in love with.

Because Gavin had been right, of course. Had proven his words in a hail of bullets RK900 couldn’t save him from.

Life was too short for cleaning and tidying.

Chapter Text

Forty.

There had been times he was convinced he wouldn’t live to see it. Times when he hadn’t wanted to.

Here he was in spite of it all, staring into the eyes of a man with the rest of his life stretching out ahead of him. With decades, maybe, of waking up alone and reflecting on the mistakes he had made.

The wrong turns he had taken.

Gavin pulled himself away from the mirror and focused on getting ready for work. Let the morning news scroll in the background and very deliberately didn’t think about the way RK900’s LED swirled yellow when he was searching for background context reports.

A few weeks back he wouldn’t have needed the memory. RK900 would have been stood there in front of him. Had become part of the furniture, so Gavin’s terrible attempts at humor had gone, and he had begun to make plans for the future that all involved his lumbering idiot of an android.

When he clock watched at work, sullen and irritable, it was with thoughts of closing the door on the outside world. Of being alone with his partner, just the two of them, his head or his feet resting in RK900’s lap, depending on how much courage he could muster.

How close he could get to admitting what he really wanted.

Instead he played it too cool, had laughed off any and all suggestions that RK900 was more than a barely tolerated house guest, and so he had only himself to blame when RK900 had announced a few weeks previously that he was moving on.

Wanted to see the world beyond Detroit’s borders.

Packed his pitifully few belongings into a case and thanking him for the hospitality he had shown, like RK900 hadn’t spent a couple of years going into charge mode on his sofa.

Like Gavin hadn’t spent each of those nights pretending he wasn’t hoping to roll over and find RK900 standing in his bedroom doorway.

Now RK was gone and Gavin had nothing but a broken heart to show for it.

An empty desk opposite his own and a solitary birthday card from Tina informing him it was all downhill from this point.

Gavin could well believe it.

Made his own coffee in the break room and wondered how RK always got the temperature and the sweetness so perfect. Wondered why he had never thought to thank RK for bringing him drinks, and snacks, and filing the tedious booking in forms that always made him grit his teeth together.

He was too stupid, he supposed. Way too stubborn.

Had been on the verge of a nervous breakdown when RK900 was kicked out of his horrid cell of an apartment for bringing a stray kitten home, and probably wouldn’t have been around to see 38 if RK hadn’t refused point blank to give up on him.

Hadn’t sat there, LED fixed on red, and told him that he considered him his friend.

That friends were there for each other.

In turn Gavin had let his AAL membership lapse. He had stopped spouting bullshit he had already ceased to believe in.

Admitted, awkward and stilted, that he considered RK his friend too when his partner was hanging from a maintenance rig, lower legs torn away and thirium visible through the crack in the plastic of his cheek.

He fell for him, more completely than Gavin had ever imagined possible, and wasted months of his life caught up in an identity crisis over what it meant and what it said about him. Whether or not he was losing his mind entirely, because RK900 wasn’t human.

Would have trouble passing on the best of days.

Deactivated all of his skin once, big gray eyes gazing unblinkingly up at him, and affirmed he had overheard every word of his crass conversation about how real an android’s feelings could be with,

“This is who I am - How I was made. This is as real as I can be.”

Gavin had touched him then. Had tentatively pressed his fingertips to the smooth plastic of RK’s cheek, a shock traveling up his arm that had nothing at all to do with faulty wiring.

That had him shoving his hands deep in his pockets and retreating deep into denial, because he had never had anything he was more terrified of fucking up than whatever this was with RK900.

In the present he thought of going out and getting drunk. Hooking up with some guy whose name he wouldn’t remember when he sobered up again. He could go to one of the newer clubs in the city center. Finally find out for sure how it would have felt to have plastic instead of skin under his hands.

He made it as far as the nearest cop bar.

Watched his colleagues laugh and joke and nursed his beer bottle. Caught his reflection in the mirror along the back wall and scowled at the empty space where RK900 ought to be stood beside him.

Suddenly all he wanted was the privacy of his own apartment.

The soft black turtleneck he had hidden in the back of his closet, and the haughty look on their cat’s face as he asked her opinion on how much of an idiot he was.

How stupid he had been, on a scale of one to ten, to let RK900 walk out of his life without telling him how he felt about him.

The hair rose on the back of his neck when he made it to the hallway of his apartment building. All his training kicked into force at the sight of the light spilling under his door. If he was being burgled it would be the perfect end to a perfectly awful day.

If somebody was laying in wait they probably thought they were doing him a favor.

In reality he stood there, useless, while his own door was pulled open to reveal the imposing figure of his favorite android.

“I still had the key,” RK900 said by way of explanation even as Gavin stumbled over the threshold and asked him what the hell he was doing there. Why he wasn’t making the most of the government’s diplomatic efforts and exploring the countries willing to recognize android passports.

Where he had got the dumb balloon, and the banner, and the cake all laid out on the coffee table.

“I’m forty not four,” Gavin pointed out, too aware of the rough quality to his voice, “I don’t need candles and party hats.”

RK900 didn’t banter back. Took a stilted step forward, like he couldn’t quite get his limbs to cooperate.

“I thought leaving would be best for both of us. I thought it might make things easier.”

Gavin felt light headed with the proximity. Sucked in a lungful of the scent of soap and detergent and RK900’s chassis cleaning fluid.

Swallowed around the ache of emotion in his throat as RK told him with a sincerity that cut to his core,

“All I have wanted from the moment I left was to see you again.”

“It’s the best present I’ve had in a long time,” Gavin conceded. Tried for his usual attitude with, “Don’t let that go to your head; it’s not saying much.”

The air felt too thick. The pounding of his heart too rapid.

“I bought you a present,” RK said, kind of flat in a way that signaled he was worried about it, and Gavin’s own fingers were clumsy as he undid the precisely tied ribbon and removed the wrapping paper.

As he had all his fears - his hopes - confirmed, based on the size of the box and the insistent red at RK900’s temple.

His mouth was too dry to speak. He wasn’t 100% certain he wasn’t passed out on the deck somewhere, dreaming.

“It is a synthetic diamond,” RK said, lifting the band from the box by its attached chain and leaning in to fix it around his neck. Gazed into his eyes, porcelain perfect skin so close Gavin could feel the heat radiating from beneath it. “Man made in a laboratory. Although superficially identical it is not the same as its natural counterpart. What it represents is no less desirable for it.”

RK touched fingers to his cheek this time. They were vibrating a little, something inside him whirring audibly with the intensity of what he was feeling.

“I want to spend my life with you, no matter in what capacity. Colleagues, friends, partners. I cannot bear to be parted from you.”

Gavin couldn’t bear the distance remaining between them. Surged forward blinded by the sting of tears behind his eyelids, crushing their lips together.

Clutched at the back of RK’s jacket, half desperate, and kissed him like he was drowning.

Like the rest of his life depended upon it.

“Your birthday cake is no longer intact,” RK said when they finally pulled apart, Gavin sparing a glance for the cat that got the cream before getting lost in RK’s embrace all over again.

Before soaking up the strength and the security and letting the smile spread across his features.

“I love your smile,” RK told him, fingers gentle at the nape of his neck, and Gavin couldn’t help but beam still harder.

He just loved RK900, period.

Chapter Text

Sex with RK900 was like nothing he had ever experienced before.

Because he wasn’t some blushing virgin. He had plenty of notches on his bedpost. What he had never had was a partner who had nothing going on below the belt, and the kind of open sincerity in his big gray eyes that cut Gavin to the quick as he asked if it was going to pose a problem.

Gavin had shaken his head and covered the ache in his heart with a crass comment about how there was more to it than sticking your dick into the first available orifice.

Had come way too far, had spent way too many nights rethinking everything he had ever thought he knew about himself, to fall at the first hurdle.

So that night he had kissed and murmured and coddled. Had told RK they could do whatever he wanted, then found himself spread out across his mattress, RK slowly oversensitizing his skin until he couldn’t keep still.

Until he couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

RK didn’t sweat and he didn’t flush. Looked completely unmoved, indifferent, but Gavin could hear something inside him whirring. He could feel the unnatural heat of RK900’s simulated breath, attempting to keep his systems cool, and the slight vibration in his fingers as he did nothing but worship him with too gentle touches.

Work him up and up until a graze to his shin felt almost as good as a hand on his dick, and he started shaking, so desperately hard but never wanting the torment to be over.

Nobody had ever paid him anything like that level of single minded attention.

When he finally came, back arched and teeth clenched tight together, he was convinced there was nothing anyone could do to top it.

RK900 had other ideas.

Had boundless supplies of patience and the crazy belief that there was no better use of his time than cataloging everything about him. Charting him, from scalp to instep, and analyzing every patch of skin he encountered, so that even after he showered Gavin could press his nose to his wrist and still smell the faint scent of RK’s analysis fluid.

RK caught him at it, once, and instead of sniggering or smirking he blinked rapidly - software glitching - and told him that he couldn’t wait until he was able to taste him again.

That he was so beautiful it made his processors lag, struggling with the sensory overload, and though Gavin blushed and grouched and deflected, the truth was that he loved it. He had never really been in a relationship where he was given that kind of praise.

He had never even been in one where he had thought to ask for it.

Now it was on offer it took no time at all for him to become addicted. To lose himself to RK’s words, and his touches, and let the world’s most gorgeous android work him to orgasm via nothing more than teasing at his nipples, so that he ended up reduced to tears from the sheer intensity.

In turn, Gavin did his very best to return to the favor.

He searched out spots that got RK going - his hands, and his tongue, and the side of his neck where the access panel to his more sensitive wiring was located. Inside his neck, even, RK emitting strange static ridden sounds encouraging Gavin to press in deeper.

To tug, ever so carefully, at the tufts of thin wiring at the bottom of the cavity, until RK’s system completely overloaded and had to reboot itself.

It was hot. So much hotter than Gavin had once believed possible. So hot it had him shivering to think about it, right in the middle of the bullpen when he should have been working, and attempting to climb RK like a tree as soon as they got the door closed behind them that evening, rutting into the firmness of his thigh as RK went to town licking and sucking at his neck for the better part of an hour.

He was still floating in a blissed out haze when RK first brought up the topic. Sat there with his back straight and his hands folded neatly in his lap, and explained that there was a new procedure available, and though he lacked the necessary space for the first part, he would be willing to try the second if Gavin thought the outcome worthwhile.

Gavin tried to explain that it couldn’t be his decision.

He wouldn’t be the one getting experimental hardware filling out his trousers.

“Would you wish to partake in intercourse with me though?” RK inquired, as though Gavin wasn’t at the stage where he would happily watch paint dry so long as RK900 were doing it with him, and a few weeks later he was wrapping a hand around RK’s erection.

Watching closely for signs it was having the intended effect.

RK frowned a little when he twisted on the upstroke. His LED blinked yellow when Gavin pressed his thumb into the slit.

For the first time since they had gone to bed together Gavin couldn’t tell if the reactions were good or bad, and when he slid down to his knees to take RK into his mouth his partner only pulled him back up into a kiss and set about working a couple of fingers into him.

It wasn’t as though it was an uncommon occurrence. Gavin had become something of a devotee of RK’s long slender fingers. They had used a strap-on a few times, RK’s thrusts so perfect it had his eyes rolling back in his skull with every jab to his prostate.

There was something about this that felt off though. Different. A nagging ache of a feeling that something important was missing, that only grew and grew over the weeks and months that followed.

It made no sense, really. He should have been overjoyed that RK900 had made himself more human. But Gavin had never pretended to be either selfless or logical, and things slowly deteriorated from the two of them being unable to keep their hands off each other to a worst case scenario where Gavin buried his face in the pillow and claimed to be too exhausted from work to even think about anything other than sleeping.

He lay awake, just the same. Swallowed past a painful lump of emotion in his throat and wondered if this were the beginning of the end.

If RK900 would leave and find someone who was only too willing to give him what he wanted.

Because what Gavin wanted was for things to go back to the way they had been before. A return to the kissing and the stroking and the goddamn edging. These days it felt as though RK900 was just trying to get the whole thing over as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Like being fitted with a dick had made him just as single minded as every other guy he had ever been with.

Gavin thought about that the following morning as he got ready for work, sneaking glances at the way RK was frowning at himself in the full length mirror fixed to the closet door. The way he was adjusting his clothing, apparently unsatisfied with the results he was getting.

So unsatisfied his LED pulsed red, just for a moment, and even with the dismal state of things between them Gavin couldn’t see that and not offer some kind of comfort.

Wound his arms around RK’s middle and nuzzled his nose into the back of RK’s shirt, breathing in the scent of him, until RK turned around to cup his cheek and say,

“I love you so very much, Gavin.”

The words eased some of the tension from his shoulders. The ever present knot of anxiety in his stomach. They gave him something positive to focus on throughout the day, so that he couldn’t help but smile fondly across at RK on more than one occasion, more determined than ever that they make this work.

He wouldn’t give up RK without first fighting tooth and nail for him.

Back home they succumbed to the inevitable. Went to bed early then stayed up late kissing and touching, and when Gavin rolled onto his front and pillowed his face in his arms, it was with a true spark of arousal traveling over him.

RK spent some time stroking hands down his back. Kissing his way down his spine and up the backs of his thighs. Said some embarrassingly syrupy things about what the sight of Gavin did to his ability to think clearly, then pressed that same sugar sweet mouth to his ass. Had him whining, and whimpering, and writhing.

Begging brokenly for RK900’s fingers.

The upshot was him lying on his back. RK gazing down at him, face slick with his own analysis fluid, something rattling in his chest cavity as he crooked his fingers in perfectly until Gavin had no choice but to come all over his stomach.

RK moaned out his name. Looked almost undone, by his usual standards, hair in disarray and a frantic look in his eyes.

“It’s all right,” Gavin soothed, shifting unsteadily onto his knees so he could mouth over the access panel at RK’s neck and let his hand seek out android hardness, “tell me what you need, baby.”

It was just pillow talk, designed to keep things moving along, but when RK noticeably hesitated Gavin took it seriously. Whispered encouragement, promised no judgement, and hardly knew what to make of the desperate look on RK’s face when he presented him with the hand that had been teasing up and down his thigh and asked if he would please suck at his fingers.

Made more noise than Gavin had heard from him in months, louder and louder the more eagerly Gavin went at his task. RK was shaking hard, eyelids glitching, and when Gavin had a flash of inspiration and pushed two of his own fingers into RK’s mouth he made a noise so distorted with static it was barely recognizable.

Things got kind of frantic from there. He grazed his teeth along the plastic of RK’s fingers. Rocked into RK’s side, caught up in it, and wondered what it meant when RK stilled, LED strobing, but when Gavin chanced a look down there was no mess and RK’s dick had obviously been soft for some time.

RK didn’t give him time to think about it. Wrapped him up in his embrace and had him falling asleep on top of him, the whirring of the cooling fans in RK’s chest sounding like contented purring.

He made up for it the next day. And the day after. Was hard pushed to think of much else, at least away from the precinct, until it finally reached the point where he had to test out a theory. Had to reach for RK’s hand and hold eye contact while he pressed slow sensual kisses to each of his fingertips.

RK’s reaction was obvious. Gratifying. Didn’t include any kind of stirring within the slacks RK was wearing, and Gavin forgot all his planned speeches in favor of blurting out stupidly that it was okay if RK preferred a different kind of handjob. If the code designed to sync the hardware to his sensor relays had failed the way he had been warned it might do.

All he needed to do was tell him.

His partner simply hung his head in shame. Gently tugged his hand away and apologized for his behavior the last time they had been intimate together. Took pity on Gavin’s dumbfounded look of confusion and elaborated,

“When I was fitted with my penile attachment I was also given access to data packages originally designed for Traci models. I realized how selfish I had been during our lovemaking. I was indulging my own desire to feel you under the sensors in my tongue and my fingertips, rather than efficiently bringing you to climax.”

It was so ridiculous. So clearly something RK unquestioningly believed in.

“The whole purpose of the exercise was to make myself more human for you. I am sorry, Gavin.”

That hit him like a knife to the heart. Had him sniffing back an avalanche of emotion.

Made his voice unsteady as he asked RK if he would do something for him.

“Of course, anything,” came RK’s instant reply, and it only had Gavin more desperate to try and prove to his idiot robot partner that the last thing he wanted was for RK to change himself.

To deny himself the things he wanted because he didn’t deem them sufficiently human.

“I want you to strip,” Gavin managed, voice just a little rough around the edges, “will you do that for me?”

RK nodded obediently. Removed his clothing methodically, folding and tidying as he went, until he was stood before Gavin in their living room, all long limbs and unblemished skin. He was gorgeous.

Perfect.

“Everything,” Gavin said, moving to stand before him.

There was a moment when Gavin wasn’t sure if RK would do it. There was a stuttering red at RK’s temple, and his fingers twitched slightly - a sign of distress Gavin had long since learned to look for. He gave RK the most reassuring look he could muster.

“I want to see you.”

RK’s skin began to melt away. His hair and his eyelashes fizzled into nothingness. He stood motionless, waiting for Gavin’s verdict, more nervous than an android with RK900’s capabilities should ever be.

Gavin pledged that he would do his utmost to ensure he was never felt that way again. Touched his hand to RK’s cheek, thumb stroking over smooth plastic, and voiced the first thought that entered his head.

“You’re so beautiful.”

The sound RK made in response spurred him onward. Was enough to have him curling a hand around the back of RK’s neck and pulling him down into a kiss.

It was strange for a second or two, noting the differences. The uncushioned clack of plastic against his teeth, and the heat he could feel rising from RK’s plating joints. Then the newness settled, replaced with the comforting certainty that this was the one guy in all the world he would contemplate being a sentimental mess for.

The guy he was going to spend the rest of his life with.

“You don’t need to try and become human for me,” he said quietly, words fanning against RK’s jaw, “I fell in love with an android.”

RK heaved him up into his arms. Kissed him helplessly as he carried him into the bedroom like he weighed nothing.

Like he was a military grade genius capable of punching through a wall who was going to spend the next three hours touching him so reverently he might as well have been made of glass.

“Would you be disappointed if I removed the attachment?” RK asked him afterwards, fingers stroking through his hair and sending tingles over his scalp, “I find the way it affects the fit of my clothing - displeasing.”

Gavin snorted, dangerously close to a giggle, and squirmed in closer.

“I want you to be happy.”

It was true.

“I can get behind the idea of my dick being good enough for the two of us.”

That was too.

RK pressed a kiss to his cheek, a mixture of gratitude and mock long-suffering, and Gavin fell asleep with a smile on his face.

They were going to be just fine.

Chapter Text

No matter how hard he worked his processors there was no answer forthcoming. No solution to the hideous problem confronting him.

If he took the shot Gavin would be caught in the crossfire.

If he didn’t Gavin was going to die anyway.

RK900 preconstructed furiously. Searched, desperate, for a chain of events that wouldn’t end with Detective Reed leaving the scene in a body bag.

There was nothing. No course of action he could take to save the thing most dear to him.

The man he loved beyond reason.

His biocomponents couldn’t take the strain. He had never been designed to deal with the pain of a broken heart.

If Gavin wasn’t going to get through this, RK900 didn’t want to be around to know about it.

His systems froze, overloaded, and it was quickly becoming apparent that he wouldn’t be given a choice in the matter. He couldn’t do anything but watch on in horror. Panic raced through his circuits, the present merging with unwanted memories of being trapped in his body back in the CyberLife laboratory, unable to break free of the red walls around him.

Error messages flashed across his vision.

Something blipped insistently, warning him of his rising stress levels and the danger of imminent shutdown.

Then he was registering familiar fingerprints on his face, shaking so hard it was affecting his balance as Gavin told him that it was okay. That everything was going to be alright now.

“There was 100% certainty,” RK managed, words distorted by static, “there is no way you could have survived that scenario.”

“You have no faith in your partner,” Gavin chided, voice rough like he wasn’t as unaffected as he was playacting, “I didn’t always have a robo-bodyguard to look out for me.”

The man who had been threatening Gavin was out cold on the floor. The others were nowhere to be seen, doubtless fleeing at the sound of sirens blaring in the distance. His preconstructions had failed to account for the human focus on self-preservation.

The willingness of the general public to use emergency numbers to complain about noise nuisances.

The ability of his own colleagues to put two and two together.

“I thought you were going to die,” RK croaked, his speaker components needing re-calibrating, and his preconstructions failed again because instead of laughing it off or telling him to get a grip, Gavin simply put his arms around him.

Held him close, awkward with the height difference, and told him that it would take more than a bad day at work to get rid of him.

“I told you already, you’re fucking stuck with me.”

The sirens were louder. Closer. Gavin let him squeeze tight for a moment longer before pulling away.

Before tugging his jacket into place and falling back into the scowl that habitually graced his face during work hours.

“You were lucky to get out of there,” Anderson told them both, back at the precinct, and though RK900 was careful not to let it show the words sent a fresh wave of fear over his system.

Later, away from prying eyes, he was going to spend the whole night showing Gavin just how thankful he was.

Chapter Text

Gavin’s touch was more perfect than he could ever have preconstructed.

The simple press of his hand against his own had his systems going haywire. The brush of Gavin’s lips against his fingertips was almost more than he could handle.

When Gavin sucked two fingers into the heat of his beautiful mouth RK900 couldn’t help but embarrass himself.

Whined out horrifically mechanical sounds of desperation, floods of data overwhelming his processors.

Gavin just kept going. Laid him out across soft bed sheets and overstimulated his sensors. Sent wave after wave of ecstasy coursing through his circuitry, until it was all he could do to keep his skin from completely deactivating.

Until he had to pull Gavin into his arms, shaking hard as Gavin rasped his stubble over the sensitive cover of his dry access panel at his neck. Kissed at it, and stroked at it, and had him arching his head to the side at an angle that wasn’t quite human, frantic to give Gavin better access.

He reached for Gavin in turn. Watched on in open mouthed awe as his clumsy touch, his unpracticed lips, gave Gavin pleasure.

As Gavin moaned out his name, the sound entirely too much for RK900.

To know that he was the cause of it. To be permitted to revel in every syllable.

If only he could control himself everything would be perfect.

Because he wanted to be the best he could for Gavin. He wanted to convince Gavin to repeat this experience. To prove that he could simulate a human companion well enough for Gavin to seek him out over and over again.

Instead his skin was fading out in patches. His vision was compromised by the glitch that had his eyelids fluttering.

The sounds his speakers were emitting were a garbled mess, static filled and breaking up in places.

Worse, he couldn’t reign in his reactions. Gavin’s touch had him shuddering through climax after climax, though he was given to understand that the human male rarely achieved release more than once per session.

Gavin was surely aware of it. Doubtless thought him repulsively wanton.

Reached his single moment of completion, face twisted into an expression RK900 saved in every file format he could think of, and triggered yet another of his own, his LED strobing as an ugly noise was torn out of him.

Gavin pulled away immediately. Looked positively guilt stricken as he murmured out an apology.

“I was stupid to think this would work,” Gavin said, “I have no fucking clue what I’m doing.”

The emotional turnaround was dizzying. One moment he was the happiest android in all creation, and the next he was so low his thirium pump was struggling to compensate for the strain being put upon it.

He felt as though he were being ripped apart from the inside, negative feedback searing along his wiring.

“I am sorry,” RK900 managed to force out, “please forgive me my over enthusiasm.”

“Enthusiasm?” Gavin echoed, dubious. “It sounded like I was murdering you.”

RK apologized for a second time.

Attempted to follow Connor’s advice to diffuse tension with humor, and said that perhaps he had taken on board an over literal interpretation of the term la petite mort.

“So you did enjoy it?”

Gavin was so uncertain. Did not seem to understand that he had gifted RK900 sensations he had not previously considered possible.

“I could not restrain myself. After the first six times your every touch felt indescribable.”

That was clearly not what Gavin had been expecting. Had him blinking up at RK900, wide eyed, and telling him that he must have misheard because it sounded like he had said he came six times.

RK shook his head and corrected the misunderstanding.

“Twenty-two.”

Gavin pushed a hand back through his hair. Cursed low and vicious then fixed him with a determined look.

“Can you do it again?”

“I believe so.”

He already ached for the return of Gavin’s hands to his body.

“Okay then,” Gavin said, and the smile that curled across his face was best described as ravenous, “let’s see if we can break the record.”

Chapter Text

Human males were inordinately preoccupied with the size of their genitalia.

This was an observation RK900 had made not long after activation, and it was something he only had reaffirmed as he came into contact with an ever growing number of humans. He broached the issue with RK800, seeking guidance from his superior social protocols.

Connor told him in turn that it was a sensitive subject and that he should always err on the side of caution.

Proudly shared a ream of statistics on the effect on heart rate and arousal, whenever generic compliments on the above average length and girth of a human’s phallus were issued.

RK900 chose not to question where Connor had collated the data from.

It was something to mull over though. To consider in greater detail when Gavin made him happier than he had ever believed possible, and allowed RK900 to stroke his tongue into his mouth, to take an analysis of his salivary fluid directly from source.

To compare it to samples he took of Gavin’s sweat and Gavin’s semen, and to lay in Gavin’s bed to charge afterwards, Gavin pillowing his head on the firm plating directly above his cooling fans.

He wanted to repay Gavin’s generosity. He was greatly interested in witnessing Gavin’s reaction to verbal stimuli.

Researched suitable phrases via a database of video pornography, then chose an optimal moment to experiment, the plastic of his fingers stroking along the curious contrast of soft skin and engorged tissues that constituted Gavin’s erection.

There was a corresponding spike in Gavin’s vital signs. A rush of blood to his face and an attempt to hide the fact by tilting his head away from RK900’s scrutiny.

That was where his preconstruction of events faltered because Gavin did not press up into his hand or make any attempt to pull him closer.

He didn’t push his fingers into RK900’s hair, nor did he initiate a fevered kiss that had RK900’s processors struggling to deal with the inrush of longed for data.

Instead he seemed to distance himself from what was happening for a few moments. Appeared distracted if not disinterested. Pulled away from his touch, finally, and ran a hand through his dishevelled hair as he spoke without making eye contact.

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea right now, yeah?”

RK900 accepted Gavin’s decision. He did not attempt to pressure Gavin into giving him a reason.

The rejection hurt, regardless, and instead of pressing in close and falling asleep as had been the intended outcome of their coupling, he redressed and sat tense and closed off on the sofa in the living room, pretending to be completely absorbed by the ancient movie playing on the television.

Something had gone very wrong, that much was obvious.

The reason, less so.

How to repair the damage was a problem he did not know where to start with.

He crunched numbers and preconstructed. Replayed, and regretted, and remembered how certain he had felt of success, and how excited he had been at the prospect of having Gavin’s flesh fill his mouth until he could claim that it was almost too much for him.

Because Gavin was shorter than the average American male of his age and social background. This reality was reflected in the size of his penis. None of the research RK900 had undertaken suggested that the actual measurements were in any way related to the satisfaction an individual derived from being told how big his dick was.

When he moved to sit beside Gavin his partner ignored him. Stared fixedly at the television and dug the blunt fingernails of his right hand into the flesh of the leg it was resting upon, deeper and deeper until RK900 couldn’t bear it.

Gavin was human.

Fragile.

The most important thing in his existence and he could not simply sit there while Gavin inflicted damage on himself.

“You don’t get to tell me what to do,” was Gavin’s response, clipped and curt and utterly devastating, “not when you think you’ve got the fucking right to lie to me.”

“I -” RK started, meaning to apologize, but Gavin wasn’t finished on the subject.

Glared at him, eyes over bright with the gleam of emotion, and said coldly that he knew his own faults and his own limitations.

Perhaps it was time RK900 realized that he could never hope to understand the gulf between them.

At work the next day they spoke only when necessary. When the shift was done RK900 stayed on at the precinct rather than return to the loneliness of his own apartment.

Rather than face up to the horrendous possibility that Gavin meant this separation to be permanent.

The following three days passed in much the same fashion. The dark smudges underscoring Gavin’s eyes grew darker and deeper. His response times grew slower and his reactions seemed dulled.

Gavin chose not to eat lunch one day, and only picked at it the next, and then turned up on Friday morning looking so ill and so miserable that RK900’s processors lagged with the overwhelming flood of emotion.

“It just,” Gavin sighed after RK900 apologized yet again, ignoring his meal as they stared out across the city from a little used parking lot, “made me see that this - whatever the fuck this is - isn’t going to work. You’re reading from some pre-programmed fucking script and I’m.”

Gavin shook his head. Rubbed at tired eyes.

“I’m in too fucking deep already.”

The words were little more than a whisper. Had his system freezing up for almost three tenths of a second.

“I wish I had a script,” he said without pausing to preconstruct anything, “I wish I knew what I was doing. All I know is that being apart from you, it - hurts.”

It was the best term he could find to describe the sensation. The constant strain and the unrelenting misery. The negative feedback searing through his wires, corrupting data he was attempting to catalog.

“Androids don’t feel pain,” Gavin countered, with all the certainty of an old CyberLife infomercial, and this time it was RK900 who looked away.

If Gavin truly believed that then perhaps there really was no future.

Perhaps it was for the best that error messages were assaulting his system faster than he could dismiss them.

Except Gavin reached out for his hand. Gripped it too tightly and stared into the distance.

“I don’t know what I’m doing either,” he admitted quietly, “when I fuck up guys don’t usually come back for more like gluttons for fucking punishment.”

RK900 processed the statement. Squeezed at Gavin’s hand in return.

“I’m not an average guy.”

Gavin snorted in amusement. “You’re not an average anything.”

It was enough to stabilize his system. Enough to have Gavin shoving his hands in his pockets at the end of the day, and ask impatiently whether or not he was accompanying him. RK900 followed eagerly, grimacing with the best approximation of a smile he could muster, and when they found themselves behind closed doors and away from prying eyes he gave into the desperate urge to touch his fingertips to the warmth of Gavin’s cheek.

“Your scarring is fascinating,” he stated, though Connor’s advice had been to avoid drawing attention to it, “I consider it very beautiful.”

His partner frowned, unconvinced, but RK900 refused to be silenced.

“I love you when you frown, but I always want to make you smile.”

He kissed Gavin’s cheek. Licked helplessly at the rasp of his stubble. Brushed his lips against Gavin’s, reverent, and felt his fingers twitch when Gavin let out a shaky sigh and pressed in closer. They kissed for a few moments. Expressed with actions what they struggled to say with words.

When he pulled back Gavin followed, the motion so slight as to be scarcely noticeable, and it was all RK900 could do not to abandon the rest of the plan in favor of conducting another salivary analysis.

He chose to drop to his knees. Kissed the fabric covering Gavin’s stomach, reveling in the way Gavin’s fingers petted softly through his hair, and said,

“The softness here is pleasing to me. I admire your commitment to a challenging exercise regime, but I do not necessarily understand it.”

Gavin was still frowning, still confused as to the purpose behind this, and so RK900 stroked up the length of Gavin’s legs. Nuzzled into the heat of his groin and failed to resist the urge to lick at the fabric, needing some kind of sample for analysis.

There was a frustrated huff above him. An impatient stirring of flesh beneath his cheek.

He gazed up at Gavin, adoring, as he worked at buckles and zippers, and tugged clothing free until he had unfettered access to him.

“Penis size is important to the average male. I am not average. Neither are you.”

RK900 touched Gavin gently. Watched with fascination the effects of the stimulation.

“You are unique,” he said seriously. “As far as I am concerned, you are perfect.”

Gavin whined at that, or at least the tender touch accompanying it. The slick press of RK’s tongue to the head, RK900 shifting closer until his lips were wrapped around hardness.

The influx of data was overpowering. The knowledge that Gavin trusted him enough to do this made it difficult to concentrate.

Had the skin retracting from his hands as he stroked them over any and every part of Gavin he could reach, the sensors in his fingertips overloading his systems even as Gavin gave up on biting at his lip and begged for more.

Gasped and shivered as he spilled into RK’s mouth, and clung to him shakily when RK put his arms around him.

Held him as close as he could, loving the sensation of so much physical contact, and promised again that he wasn’t lying.

He loved Gavin the way he was.

“Your weirdness must be rubbing off on me,” Gavin groused, even as he let RK900 fret and fuss and arrange them both on the sofa. Even as he rubbed a thumb over the back of RK’s hand, watching as the skin bled in and out of being. “Because sometimes I think you’re kind of perfect too.”

Chapter Text

RK900 was weird.

Labored under the batshit misconception that he was somehow inferior to his plastic prick of a predecessor.

Connor was irritating. Infuriating. Was lauded as some kind of robo savior for liberating an android army by shooting a bunch of guys just doing their jobs - as though jobs of any kind were easy to come by for people who bled red instead of blue.

So Gavin meant it, 100%, when he told RK900 to knock off the hero worship.

Punctuated the point rather viciously with a rant about Connor’s stupid face, and Connor’s stupid voice, and Connor’s stupid propensity for correcting the spelling and grammar in his case reports.

“Are you attracted to RK800?” RK asked in response, LED whirling yellow at his temple, and if Gavin didn’t know better he would say that RK sounded worried about the possibility.

Couldn’t bear the idea of a fuck up like Gavin courting the attention of Saint Connor of New fucking Jericho.

Except instead of relief at Gavin’s vocal protestations of denial, RK900 only stared at some fixed point in the distance and said robotically that it made sense.

Connor was so much more human than RK900 could ever hope to be.

He thought about that later. Twisted the words around, this way and that, and began watching RK900 more closely. He quit dismissing the concept completely out of hand. He let himself imagine that he was every bit the detective he wanted to be, and lay awake at night agonizing over just what it could mean.

What the hell he was going to do about the fact RK900 was jealous.

Because RK - and Gavin didn’t want to dwell on how he had apparently progressed to pet names already - was jealous. He hovered closer than necessary whenever Connor turned up at a crime scene, and tried to pretend he wasn’t listening in every time Gavin was forced to exchange words with Anderson’s number one fan, seemingly unaware that Gavin was able to read the guilty look on his face.

In fact Gavin was becoming an expert in RK900 expressions. He had a couple he particularly liked seeing.

One that always threatened to put an answering smile on his own face, and when he got back from a court appearance that had him admitting - grudgingly - that maybe Connor wasn’t so entirely terrible after all, it had his heart constricting in his chest to witness that expression’s complete and total absence.

RK900 moped about his terminal. Disappeared not long before their break, then returned bearing a coffee cup and a paper bag from the nice sandwich place three blocks away. Gavin spent a few moments simply looking at it. Noting the careful way RK900 had set it down on his desk, and the silence with which he went back to his work, desperate for Gavin’s acknowledgement but unwilling, or unable, to say so.

It shouldn’t have felt like such a big deal.

It was just a fucking sandwich.

But when he lifted his head and succeeded in meeting RK’s gaze, he knew it was time to stop delaying the inevitable.

He had gone and fallen head over heels for an android with faulty wiring.

It had to be. Gavin couldn’t think of any other reason why RK900 would want him.

RK was appalled at that statement. Touched him like he was some priceless artwork, gentle and reverent, and blinked dazedly after Gavin brushed their lips together, confessing,

“I always hoped my first kiss would be with you.”

Gavin had no defence against lines like that. He could do nothing but stroke his fingers over the nape of RK’s neck and give him all the benefit of his experience, in the hope that if he made it good enough, RK would never need to go practicing with any of the guys out there who were doubtlessly more deserving of his attention.

He forced himself to take things slow.

Thought back to long ago memories of his own first time, and the discrepancy between the way things were and the way he wished they had been. He wasn’t going to push RK into getting naked and horizontal.

He wasn’t even going to insist on getting a hand below his waistband.

Then RK interrupted an increasingly heated necking session to moan a strange static ridden sound into the skin of his shoulder, fingers twitching as he told him helplessly,

“You are making me so wet, Gavin.”

It had no right to inspire the intense jolt of lust that shuddered through him. Was some terrible line RK must have picked up from watching trashy online pornos. At least that was what he assumed until RK shifted against him, skin going patchy as he struggled to deal with the onslaught of arousal, and Gavin realized for the first time that he really had no idea what was going on down there.

That maybe he should have made an effort to find out before this point.

He didn’t have a problem with it, that wasn’t the issue at all. He just lacked experience. Had never been up close and personal with a vagina in the flesh, and felt a flash of panic at the idea that he wouldn’t be able to make RK feel good.

Wouldn’t get to see RK come for him.

“Is it normal?” RK asked him, like he had the first fucking clue, and Gavin could only kiss and soothe and silently try to get his head around it.

Later, when things had eased from hot and heavy to calm and comforting, Gavin attempted to broach the subject. Aimed for controlled and casual, and listened as RK told him proudly that it was one of the few true examples of his superiority over the RK800.

External genitalia represented a design flaw that left one open to numerous vulnerabilities.

Gavin nodded, words failing, and spent a long time staring at the ceiling that night, thinking about some of the scumbags he had known who worked for CyberLife, and the kind of reasons they might have had for fitting RK with parts made for a WR400.

Why they had wiped RK’s memory during development, over and over again, so that his hulking six foot plus of android couldn’t keep the red from his temple at the mere mention of the repair workshop.

It made him more determined to do things right.

Had him watching more porn than he had in years, tilting the screen of his cellphone first one way and then the other, like it was going to make it any clearer what one actor was doing to the other to make them squeal like that.

Really, though, he had always learned best via practical application. Got RK worked up in all the usual weird android ways - using his hand to guide RK’s fingertips through the stubble at his jaw, and letting RK lick his cheek and his neck, vocal unit all over the place as he told him how exquisite his readings were.

Gavin had to take RK’s word for it.

Put his own focus on removing RK’s clothing. Unbuttoning his shirt and stroking his hands over the porcelain perfection of his pale skin. The expanses of plastic that shimmered underneath, something that should have been distracting - frightening - but only had him wanting more.

Pressing RK into his bed sheets and exchanging kisses as his fingers explored RK’s body. As they grazed over slick heat, the kiss finally breaking so he could see the effect his touch was having.

Taste it, even, tongue tentative as he lapped at his fingers.

RK made a sound that had him shivering. Shivered himself, at least that was what it looked like, his limbs shaking as he told Gavin brokenly that he could not describe the feeling. That he needed more of it, desperately.

Needed Gavin’s fingers, if he were willing to give them, and his own dick ached and throbbed at the the fresh gush of wetness they inspired. The fluid was slick and clear, the kind of consistency he got from the fancier bottles of lube he sometimes kept in the bedside cabinet, and when RK’s joints locked, vibrations spreading from the components in his chest outwards, Gavin had to drop his head and lick into flesh that was too smooth to be human.

It didn’t matter, not when RK’s eyelids glitched at the sensation. Not when RK cried out, encouraging, so that Gavin pushed forward blindly, experimenting until RK was so wet he had to swallow. Until Gavin’s face was smeared with it, the same faint chemical tang that made up RK’s analysis fluid thick on his tongue.

He couldn’t get enough of it. Slid a finger in alongside, groaning at the heat and the way RK clenched around it. The way RK whined out his name, and wrenched the sheet free of the mattress when Gavin pulled back to pant for breath and ask RK to tell him what felt best.

To guide him to the right places.

The sight RK made was so hot he had to touch himself. Had to press the heel of his hand down hard, just to try and take the edge off, because RK could hardly get his eyes open. Was shaking and soaking, hair thoroughly dishevelled, and when Gavin spent a few long moments kissing him again, knowing that RK would want a fresh analysis, one of RK’s hands found his head and stayed there.

Gripped at his hair, not enough to hurt but enough to get him excited, and helped to guide his unpracticed movements when he went back to his previous task, the whirring of RK’s cooling fans so loud it almost drowned out the sound of his heartbeat pulsing in his ears.

He was so hard, so frantic, and when RK finally arched up forcefully against his face, thighs trembling, it took everything he had not to come across his stomach.

RK reached for him clumsily. Said something so distorted by static Gavin couldn’t understand it, then made his meaning obvious by tugging him still closer. Clung to his back as the artificial ridges of his inner walls had Gavin’s eyes threatening to roll back into his skull, and licked blindly at whatever skin he could reach, something blipping ominously even as RK begged him to keep going.

It was too much. Too slick and too new. He couldn’t last out any longer.

Made too much noise as he came.

Collapsed atop RK, shaking and useless, and felt his abdomen clench up tight as his dick made a valiant attempt to go again, what with the way RK dragged two fingers along his slit, through the mess of slick and come, then stick them in his mouth with a positively blissful expression.

“That good, huh?” Gavin asked, voice scratched up from the exertion, and maybe his need for reassurance was too obvious.

Maybe RK simply misunderstood the question.

Either way he got a crushing android embrace, RK beaming at him brightly, like he hadn’t just been moaning around a mouthful of his come like a porn star.

“Thank you, Gavin. It was perfect.”

It wasn’t, Gavin was sure, but he couldn’t help but smile anyway, soft and calm and sated.

Going forward, he would be putting in plenty of practice.

 

Chapter Text

Gavin’s got issues.

So much baggage it’s all he can do to haul himself out of bed some days, the weight of it pressing heavily against his shoulders.

He can’t bear to look in the mirror. Turns the volume on his headphones up past the health warning, because it’s better than being left alone in his head. It’s not a nice place in there. He’s never learned how to tune out the taunting little voice eager to remind him of his failures.

The many and varied reasons why his colleagues can’t stand the sight of him.

It doesn’t matter because all he wants is for people to leave him the hell alone.

That’s what he tells himself.

The sad truth is that he’s desperate for somebody to realize that he’s breaking apart. To hold out a hand and anchor him to sanity. To fill the lonely ache in his chest, the one that’s been there such a long time he can’t remember how it felt to be wanted.

When the hand does come it’s made of plastic and silicone.

Blanches of color under Gavin’s touch, preventing Gavin from lying to himself about what its owner is.

Who he is.

RK900 explores the contours of his face with his fingertips. Traces over stubble and scar tissue, and lingers above his pulse point, expression awed like he can’t quite believe that Gavin is letting him close enough.

Like he can’t believe what he’s doing.

That’s a sentiment Gavin can twist and turn to ruin. More than one ex boyfriend has told him in the aftermath that they didn’t understand what it was they ever saw in him. Why the fuck they had ever gotten involved in the first place.

With RK900’s fancy preconstruction software he can probably already see what a mess things will end up being.

On bad days Gavin can’t shift that idea. Over thinks in circles, round and round, until he’s certain that the right thing to do is tell RK it’s finished before he can fall any deeper.

Before RK wrenching free will leave him with nothing to cling to, and no strength to fight against the darkness forever threatening to pull him under.

On really bad days RK clings to him instead. Murmurs things Gavin can’t believe no matter how badly he wants to, until Gavin has to kiss him silent, suddenly frantic with the need to lose himself in the haze of bliss only RK knows how to surround him with.

They end up in his bed, just like so many nights before, his fingers stroking over plastic coated wiring and his face turned away to the side, his eyes clenched shut for good measure.

It makes things easier.

Gavin can’t handle the disappointment he imagines in RK’s gaze, when he’s subjected to a view of Gavin’s helpless grimace as he attempts to stifle sounds of pleasure.

Tonight is different though. Tonight everything is balanced on a knife edge.

“Do you picture me as somebody else?” RK asks him, tentative like he isn’t sure he wants to hear the answer, and the pain of it stabs Gavin right through the heart.

The resigned look he finds in RK’s eyes wrenches something out of place inside.

Because he and RK900 are more alike than he had once imagined possible. His perfect paragon of an android is convinced that he isn’t good enough for a fuck up of a police detective. That instead of the best thing to ever happen to him, these trysts are nothing to Gavin but stress relief.

“No,” Gavin forces himself to admit, voice scarcely recognizable to his own ears.

RK900 considers that.

Touches the tips of his fingers to Gavin’s cheek, so tender it rips all his emotional wounds back open, and maintains eye contact as he says,

“Then why do you not want to look at me?”

It’s so far off the mark it’s laughable. RK900 is supposed to be the most advanced droid CyberLife ever created. He isn’t meant to struggle to make sense of Gavin’s endless hang ups.

He was never made to be braced above a human partner, LED whirling a nervous yellow as he waits for Gavin to tell him that this can’t work.

That from the very beginning it was destined for failure.

“I don’t deserve you,” he croaks out instead, “I don’t want you to look at me and realize.”

The truth sounds as ugly as it feels. There’s nothing he can do but wait for RK’s judgment.

RK’s LED flashes red. The noise that falls from his mouth is strained but mechanical. Then RK is surging forward to lick a long stripe up the side of his face, leaving behind a trail of analysis fluid, and telling him in a tone reminiscent of an old school sci-fi robot that Gavin’s features are aesthetically pleasing.

Well proportioned and objectively attractive.

“When I look at them I see so many things. Real time updates of your vital signs and patterns from every analysis I have ever had the privilege of taking from you. Reconstructions of your last smile and preconstructions of your next.”

RK licks at his cheek again, a short swipe this time that tickles enough to have his lips quirking at the corners, then pulls back to gaze at him like he’s the center of the universe.

“I see everything you mean to me. Friendship and understanding and happiness. I see everything I want, Gavin. I love you.”

It’s not the first time RK’s said it. He realizes with a jolt that it won’t be the last.

The knowledge spreads through him, a comforting warmth that quickly turns molten when their mouths find their way back to each other. It’s frantic. Fevered, almost. Gavin can’t stop, need burning brighter and brighter, and his gaze is locked with RK900’s, panting with the effort of holding back when RK starts talking.

When he strokes his gorgeous hands over Gavin’s body and tells him solemnly that he’s beautiful.

That he’s going to tell him over and over again until Gavin has no choice but to believe it.

He can’t deny the sincerity in RK’s big gray eyes. The adoration as he works his hand around him, drinking in the sight even as Gavin pinches roughly at a wire on reflex, body desperate for relief.

It doesn’t take long. It can’t.

RK shudders against him, limbs twitching violently as something beeps low and loud to signal the component is rebooting. Gavin soothes him with touches. Pets at his hair and holds him closer.

“I love the way you look when you do that,” he says, words not much more than a whisper, and he knows that it’s inadequate.

RK has bared his soul to him tonight, and Gavin can’t even manage three little words without a qualifier.

It’s a start though. Better than he has ever managed before.

Because he and RK are going to have a future.

And some day he’ll find the words to tell RK exactly what he means to him.

 

Chapter Text

Emotions were overwhelming at times. Frightening. Confused his ability to process and to reason, and overrode the core principles of his programming.

He was made to safeguard human life.

To never question whether their actions were right or wrong, only whether they could hold a potential lead to the whereabouts of a Deviant.

Even then he wasn’t to carry out any action that could result in a human fatality.

CyberLife had no need for another negotiator.

He had broken free of the walls of red all the same, just as surely as his predecessor, and in that moment all he wanted to do was commit murder. To crush the fragile column of flesh and bone in his grip, and see the fear in the man’s eyes as he cut off his air supply.

As he watched him panic and struggle, and plead desperately for a mercy he had never shown his own victims.

It took everything he had to remove his hand from the suspect’s throat. Everything he was to take a stilted step backwards. He was only vaguely aware of the alarm ringing for assistance. Of Connor and Lieutenant Anderson taking charge of the situation, and guiding him from the interrogation room.

He couldn’t explain why he had done it, not verbally. There were no words to describe the internal chaos he was experiencing.

Connor held his hand out instead. Let his presence soothe some of the discordance.

‘Go to him,’ Connor transmitted, along with warmth and comfort and his own badly concealed anger.

It was that last which made RK900 feel better. It was reassuring, somehow, to know that he wasn’t alone in his inability to deal with negative emotion. That even an android with greater experience responded to the same knowledge with the desire to inflict bodily violence.

He took a moment to compose himself before approaching Gavin.

Before breaking the pretence he had maintained for months. The make believe that he hadn’t been able to put two and two together to make sense of Gavin’s behavior, the need to reach out and touch searing through his wiring. He wanted to make it better.

He wanted to hold Gavin in his arms and see to it that nobody hurt him again.

Never so much as dared to think about it.

It wasn’t his place though. He had no right to anything. If Gavin did not choose to tell him, he would not force a decision.

Focused on tracking his quarry down instead, and building a watertight case that did not rely on Gavin’s testimony.

Did not depend on anybody knowing what had happened, nor the nightmares Gavin still suffered.

“How did you know?” Gavin asked, too quiet and too pale, news of his lapse of control having traveled already. He shoved his hands in his pockets, perhaps to warm his icy fingers as they stood out in the station parking lot.

Perhaps to disguise the fact that they were trembling.

Gavin stared out into the distance, shoulders tense and voice strained. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I wanted disclosure to be your dec