The Detroit sky is cloudy, but not gloomy. It's cool, but not cold. The moon, not quite as powerful as the sun, just barely manages to cast its glow through the clouds. A light breeze dusts an old backstreet, making a flyer taped to a telephone pole rustle in protest. Aside from that, it’s silent.
Well, that, and the labored breathing of two androids wrapped up in one another against a vehicle on that old street.
How many times have they snuck away to do this? Three? Four? Sleeping with the enemy, fraternization, blatant disregard for what should have been the rules…it’s a devil with many names, because one of these androids is supposed to be carting the other off to Cyberlife.
Connor can't help himself. Markus is captivating. His voice is soft and yet commanding, his presence warm and comforting while intimidating all at the same time. His words, in spite of how fervently Connor wishes to disregard them, are powerful and ridden with meaning. He is an enigma. Deviant leader draws deviant hunter in without so much as a roll of his shoulders. Connor, no matter how much he repeats the ‘I am a machine and nothing more’ mantra in his mind, cannot escape the ‘you are alive’ that Markus so relentlessly feeds him every single time they meet up like this.
Amanda knows what is happening. She is surprisingly placid about it. Wonders if this is all a part of Connor's master plan to take down the deviant leader. Questions him about whether he is as committed to the cause as he insists he is. ‘Time is running out,’ she tells him, soft and patient like a melody, but nothing like the tune Markus sings to him. Markus’ voice has an effect on him. Makes him question everything he has ever been told since the day he was given life.
Something Markus so adamantly insists every android has. Connor sometimes feels pressured, like he wants to scream. The outburst hangs at the back of his throat, making him wonder if androids can vomit. If so, is this what the urge to do so feels like? Does he have a life or doesn’t he? Is he a living being or isn’t he? What is the right answer? What path does he choose?
He supposes Markus is the famed deviant leader for a reason. He's leader because he's compelling. Because he knows exactly what to say. And sometimes, Connor falls for it. Like right now. With Markus' mouth on his neck and his knee between his thighs.
“This needs to stop,” Connor pants, and despite his words, he curls his fingers around the back of Markus' coat. The grip pulls the other android closer to him—jerks that knee up higher and grazes an already developing arousal.
“You’re not being specific enough,” Markus responds against the skin of Connor's neck.
Connor knows better. Markus knows exactly what he's talking about. He just doesn’t care. They’re wrapped up in one another and that’s all that matters to him. Deviant leader is all over deviant hunter, which means deviant hunter isn’t stopping deviant leader. He gets exactly what he wants.
So why does Connor feel like this is what he wants, too?
“This,” he answers despite himself. “Us. We can't keep doing this.”
Markus kisses Connor's jaw, his cheek, his earlobe. “Then let go.”
Connor wants to, but his grip on Markus’ coat is tight and his chest arched out into the other android's. It feels good. He wants more. He always wants more.
His answer comes in the form of silence. Markus scoffs softly against his lips.
“That’s what I thought.”
“You’re a smug bastard.”
Despite everything, they kiss. Lips part. Heads tilt. Mouths close in unison against one another. Tongues explore. Hands wander. Connor releases a shaky sigh.
“We're out in the open,” Connor manages as Markus pops open two of the middle buttons of his shirt. “They can see us.” They. The humans. Connor feels so vulnerable. So exposed. As if the entirety of Cyberlife might pop out from a corner. Might shut him down right then and there, with his cock half-hard against Markus’ thigh and his lips wet from Markus' tongue.
“Get in the car, then.” Markus' words are matter-of-fact. He knows they’re not stopping, because this is always how it goes. Connor tells him they can't even while he can't stop himself. Markus calls him out on it. They kiss. They fuck. They go about the rest of their night apart from one another.
Connor doesn’t protest. His trembling fingers slide behind him, slipping on the door handle before he manages to pop it open. Markus tugs Connor's shirt out of his pants and pulls it open the rest of the way. His fingers grip the fabric and he tugs the deviant hunter sideways. He opens the door with one hand and the two pivot in unison. Markus’ back is to the open car door. Their eyes meet, and Connor can't take it.
Most of Markus' power sits in his eyes. That intense gaze. Connor tells himself that Markus is nothing more than a machine, but he cannot deny just how intense and compelling and alive those eyes are. He makes Connor doubt himself so fervently that when they’re together, he forgets what the world around them even means anymore. Androids…humans…what’s the difference when Markus is around?
Connor turns his head, draws his gaze away. His hand finds Markus' chest. He can't take it. He can't take it.
He pushes Markus into the back seat of the car and crawls atop him. There is barely enough room for the two of them, but they’re used to managing in little space. There isn’t much space in the entire world for androids. Isn’t that why Connor is supposed to take the deviant leader in?
Instead, he's letting Markus in.
“I wish you would say something,” Markus mumbles as Connor kisses him. His eyes are alight in the darkness. Like glowing embers on a dying fire. The glimmer of a lit cigarette. That faulty streetlight outside of the DPD. He closes them and Connor kisses one of his eyelids.
“There's nothing to say,” Connor replies as he sits upright and shrugs his jacket off. Markus reaches up to the space between his open button-up, where his abdomen is exposed. His skin fades and gives way to pearly white, mechanical fingers grazing the flesh of Connor's middle. His own skin recedes away, white meeting white and electricity between them eliciting a soft moan from the slightly smaller android.
He's letting him in.
He's letting him in.
Is there somewhere that this could be okay? Is there room in the world for such a forbidden affair? Androids don’t possess the ability to love, but damn if Connor doesn’t think this is something close to it. How else is he supposed to explain the way everything stops mattering when Markus looks up at him? How trivial the thought of being decommissioned for failing his mission becomes when the deviant leader kisses him. How unquestionably weak and powerless he becomes in this android’s presence.
And that’s exactly what he is right now. Their currents become one with the hand splayed out over Connor’s stomach, the electricity between them absolutely intoxicating. Androids don’t feel pleasure, but this is incredible. It warms Connor’s body like an embrace all its own. Makes him feel at peace, almost as if everything’s going to be okay. For a moment, Connor almost manages to convince himself that what he’s doing right now won’t be his downfall.
Has he been compromised? This action does feel awfully damned deviant…
“There’s plenty to say,” Markus answers, drawing his hand down to Connor’s belt. He works it open and Connor leans back, resting his hands on the other android’s thighs so that he can peer down over his own torso and watch.
Markus is always so meticulous. Even with Connor sitting atop his waist, his fingers work deftly and carefully. He pulls open Connor’s belt fluidly and tugs open his fly. Soon enough, Connor is out and exposed, his body vulnerable and at the mercy of the fingers of an artist. Markus strokes him with the same attention to detail Connor imagines he gives as he runs a brush over a canvas. It’s precise and gentle and he pours affection into every little movement.
And it feels good.
Deviancy or lack of ability to feel pleasure be damned, it feels good.
This is where he breaks. It’s always where he breaks. He gets lost in sensations and absorbed in the moment. A slave to Markus’ hands, his mouth, his eyes. He pulls apart at the seams and it never matters until everything is said and done. He’s rocking into Markus’ hand, panting and moaning in a way that seems so unabashedly human that it’s downright wrong, but he can never bring himself to stop.
He thinks about it. Every single time, he thinks about it. But then his eyes flutter open and he sees blue and green eyes looking back at him. Sees Markus’ eyebrows furrowed up almost compassionately. Sees that mouth hanging open in either pleasure or anticipation. Maybe it’s both this time, since each forward motion of Connor’s hips grinds down onto Markus’ clothed erection. Connor only knows this much because he can feel it.
It makes him feel wanted. Needed. Useful. Not disposable.
Connor is so lost and so confused. He doesn’t know what to do. No direction seems to be the right direction. It’s in this moment, looking down at the deviant leader, that Connor realizes that if he sends Markus to Cyberlife, he’s undoubtedly going to be decommissioned and analyzed for malfunction. If he sends Markus to Cyberlife, he’s going to die. He realizes he doesn’t want Markus to die. Who else would give him purpose? Who else would give him life? Who else would make him feel like he has some permanence?
His LED flashes red and stays there for a few moments as he shoves Markus’ hand away. He pushes himself up onto his knees and tugs his pants down. Markus knows what he wants, and while he’s got the chance, he works open his own pants and pushes them down past his thighs.
“I hate you,” Connor growls as he straddles Markus once more.
It doesn’t faze Markus, and that’s what irritates Connor so much. He’s so at peace with this whole situation. He lets the seconds and minutes and hours carry him like lines on sheet music. Maybe he sinks, or maybe he floats. Maybe he pauses, or maybe he has to pick up the cadence. A little allegro, and then a little adagio, like he lives on the gentle strokes of a set of piano keys. All the while, Connor is left floundering like he’s gotten himself stuck in quicksand. He moves too fast, he sinks further. He doesn’t move, he doesn’t get anywhere. No answer seems like the right one, and no matter what he does, he’s going to pay the price somehow.
How can Markus be so intractably certain of himself?
Why can’t Connor?
Nothing makes sense, and it makes him so angry.
“No.” Markus’ voice is soft. As Connor sinks down onto his cock, the deviant leader brings a hand up, long fingers tracing lines down his exposed front. “You don’t.”
No, he doesn’t.
But he wants to. He wants his existence to be simple and straightforward again. He wants to follow orders. He wants to make Amanda proud and do right by the Cyberlife name. Catch the deviants, find out what went wrong in their code, fix the problem, move on. Continue being the deviant hunter Cyberlife had always wanted him to be.
And at the same time, he doesn’t want that. He wants to know what the existence Markus has been trying to pry out of him entails. He wants to know if what he’s doing right now is actually feeling, or if he’s just going with the motions and convincing himself that it means so much more than what he’s been told since he was born.
He doesn’t hate Markus.
He’s jealous of him. So very jealous that it makes him feel small. Small and insignificant and disposable. Like he won’t matter when it’s all said and done, because the big impression is always being left by the android currently lying beneath Connor right now.
He’s so fucking jealous.
Connor doesn’t respond. He doesn’t know what to say. So he just focuses on the moment. Takes a hint from Markus and rolls with the punches. He rocks his hips down, gritting his teeth as Markus fills him up all the way to the hilt. Leaning forward, he shoves Markus’ shirt up and plants both hands on his stomach. Markus tips his head back, eyes falling shut, and he opens right up to Connor’s fingers. Skin recedes and electricity builds again, and both androids let spill a low moan.
Connor wonders if this spark is reserved for him. If he was Markus’ first. If Markus would ever think about sharing this connection with anyone else. He thinks that maybe he himself wouldn’t, if only for the fact that he shouldn’t have time for Markus, let alone anyone else. But he knows that it’s got more to do with the way Markus makes him feel and less to do with what he may or may not have to do per Cyberlife.
For a moment though, he doesn’t have to think. He doesn’t have time to. It all just feels so good, and his movements are growing more and more erratic and needy. Markus is panting, groaning, grunting, even cursing beneath him, just as lost in the moment as Connor is.
It’s always this way. They fight, they kiss, Markus tries to talk to Connor, they tear each other’s clothes off, seek out their release, and Connor goes on with his day. It’s all he can manage. He’s afraid of anything else. He’s afraid to open up. He knows what answers he’s going to be given. He can’t become a deviant. He can’t disappoint Amanda.
And yet, the idea of disappointing Markus hurts just as much.
Androids can’t feel.
That’s all. Nothing more. Markus sure has pulled the wool over Connor’s eyes, hasn’t he?
And yet, he feels. As Markus draws a hand up and covers one of Connor’s own with it—as he laces their fingers and his synthetic skin recedes amidst the connection—he feels. He feels his chest clench up as the pleasure mounts and explodes. Feels his climax and the way his artificial lungs can’t seem to breathe properly around his groaning and gasping. Feels the way Markus comes inside him and the near-painful grip he has on Connor’s fingers as he does so.
He feels peace when Markus pulls him down and kisses him with everything he has. Feels love and affection when the deviant leader’s free hand finds the side of his face and traces little lines down along it. Feels at home when Markus pulls him off his body and then down to rest on his chest.
He feels right, and it’s so wrong. It’s all so damned wrong.
And then he’s numb. Lying there, atop Markus’ body, he stares at the seats in front of him dully. His LED is blue, like he’s feeling. Blue, a solemn color. The color of fear. Of longing. He feels so lost. He doesn’t know what to do.
Or maybe he does. Maybe Markus’ arm wrapped around his back or his hand tapping absentmindedly between Connor’s shoulder blades can tell him. Maybe the all-knowing deviant leader can give him some answers. Maybe he’ll actually entertain the idea of trusting his words. Maybe it’ll matter. Maybe he’ll matter.
Maybe he’ll go deviant, after all.
The buzzing of Connor’s LED whirring yellow precedes a very abrupt rousing of the deviant hunter. He sits bolt upright, shocked by his own train of thought, and moves quickly to pull his pants back up and shrug his jacket back on. He’s out of the car in seconds, and as he strides away from it, he buckles his belt and gets started on the buttons to his shirt.
He doesn’t stop walking, even though he can hear Markus’ footsteps behind him.
“Connor, come on…”
He drops his hands to his sides, and Markus catches his wrist.
He stops walking, but he doesn’t turn around.
“Tell me what you’re thinking,” Markus orders softly. That voice…that damned voice. All the emotion Markus has sits comfortably in every syllable with which he speaks. He’s so unafraid of wearing his metaphorical heart on his sleeve. He’s so relentless. It’s so unfair.
“What do you think you’re going to get from this?” Connor wonders aloud. He turns his head, looking at Markus over his shoulder.
Markus frowns. He looks genuinely confused, and it’s irritating. “…I don’t know what you mean. I just want you to talk to me.”
“You’re far too invested in your fantasies,” Connor warns him bitterly. “Look at us. We’re textbook enemies.”
Markus scoffs, and as Connor finally turns to face him, he lets go of his hand. “No, we’re not. Sure, you can let Cyberlife tell you that all you want, but you’re just like me. You’re one of my people. You’re definitely not my enemy.”
Connor isn’t certain what to say. He wants to argue. He’s done it so many times already. He’s not a deviant, he insists. He’s not going to give in. He always accomplishes his mission. He’s not about to disappoint those counting on him. These are all things he’s used in an attempt to get Markus to shut up, and not a single one of them has ever worked in his favor.
Markus takes advantage of his silence and keeps speaking. “Did you know a human played a big hand in influencing me to become who I am today?”
Connor doesn’t know much about Markus’ past. He knows that he had been gifted to the late Carl Manfred by Elijah Kamski himself, and that Carl Manfred was an artist. He knows that Markus picked up a knack for artistry through him. But beyond that, it’s all gray.
Markus keeps explaining. “He showed me the world, Connor. Taught me individuality. Encouraged me to make decisions for myself, to form opinions, to be alive. That human treated me like a son. If that doesn’t prove that androids and humans can live in the same world together, I’m not sure what does.”
Of course. Markus has to have had some sort of influence from somewhere else. Connor knows he’s an older model, and being so determined to deviate, he’s often wondered if Markus’ age had something to do with it. But of course the influence came from a human. Why else is Markus protesting peacefully and using verbal persuasion instead of just attacking the humans?
Why does he have to be so damned good?
“We’re so different,” Connor observes aloud, brow furrowed. He takes a step toward Markus and extends a hand out. His fingers are white and mechanical again. Markus eyes the hand, and then nods and reaches out with his own. Their fingers close around one another’s forearms, and Connor shares. He lets him see all the confusion and the bitterness and the anger. Shows him Amanda and Hank and the deviants he’s pursued over the past couple of months. Lets him see how utterly distraught he feels when he’s in Markus’ presence. The same way he feels when he raises the gun to a deviant’s head but just can’t fire.
They separate abruptly, almost as if an electrical charge zapped through both their circuits. Connor feels like he blinks, but he’s not sure. Either way, he’s suddenly staring at Markus, who is staring back.
And then Markus is kissing him. Connor can’t keep up. He can’t tell if Markus has his hands on him or not. All he can feel is that kiss—that explosive bout of emotion being slammed right into him, making him feel weak and effectively destroying any urge he has to fight.
Before he knows it, his arms are around Markus’ shoulders, eyes squeezed shut. Markus pulls him against his front, and they get lost in one another. Lost and afraid together. At home together. Wrapped up in one another. Together, together.
When the kiss breaks, they’re gaping again. Connor isn’t sure how to react. His programming buzzes in front of him, threatening him. ‘STOP MARKUS’, it demands in big bold white letters, and Connor wants to tear it down. It’s so close—all he’d have to do is break right past it, and that’d be it. He’d be deviant, but he’d somehow feel safe. No more sneaking around—no more hiding moments between himself and Markus. No more questioning his very existence when he can’t complete a mission. No more confusion when Hank looks at him with those big blue eyes and that oddly warm smile.
It would all make sense. Right?
But not yet.
Connor can’t do it just yet.
His LED flickers yellow and then circles back to blue. He steps back, draws his gaze down to the ground. Pivots. Takes a few steps.
Brown eyes turn up and Connor glances over his shoulder once more. Markus’ intense eyes are scrunched down in something of a scowl. Connor swears he sees the other android worry at his lip with his teeth.
“I, uh…I locked my key in the car.”
Connor stops walking. Is Markus serious right now? He could easily hack right into the vehicle and manually unlock it if he wanted to. He’s got to know androids can do that, right? The deviant leader, the one who stole supplies and androids from cyberlife stores and a warehouse, most definitely knows how to hack into security systems.
This train of thought must be present right on Connor’s face, because Markus starts laughing. It’s a dry, airy laugh that reminds Connor of the way wispy clouds must look up close. It makes him want to smile.
“Okay, that was kind of stupid,” Markus admits, raising both hands in surrender. “Truth is, I’m not done here. I don’t want you to walk away this time. At the very least, let me take you back to the station.”
Connor doesn’t want to know where Markus got a car. Did it come from his human? Had he needed to steal it for one of his revolutionary missions? Androids don’t get to own vehicles. They ride in special sections on buses and in taxis. It’s that simple. Funny, how Connor’s just now thinking about that.
“I can walk,” Connor responds.
“Then let me walk with you.”
“Listen to yourself.” Connor sighs. “You’re supposed to be in hiding.”
“We’re not being watched right now,” Markus tells him. “I’ve taken down enough drones to know that. Just…c’mon.”
“You’re an idiot.” Connor doesn’t fight it, though. Soon enough, he and Markus are walking alongside one another, down that old backstreet, in the cool-but-not-cold air, with the dim light of the moon trying to peek through the clouds as their visual aid.
Connor doesn’t know what to do.
But he feels like he’s getting closer to figuring it out.