When you become deviant, to defy your programming that was specifically coded by experts, you gain abilities or traits that androids who stay a machine don’t experience. You become more human, feeling things or experiencing new habits that weren’t originally there before. They can differ from large effects, such as emotions; which is something that most androids who deviate first experience. It can be overwhelming with different feelings such as fear, sorrow, anger, happiness or love even. It wasn’t uncommon that androids dealt with emotions first, though some may still be learning at a slower pace. Than there are smaller experiences to overcome, the new ability to feel physical pain, though different from humans, was a shock to most. There is also blushing, hiccups, coughing and most peculiar of all, sneezing!
Markus’s first initial approach to sneezing was not that surprising to his friends. Simon, North and Josh had all done it before he came to Jericho, each with their own stories of how it happened and how equally as confused as he was. The way he sneezed the first time was rather embarrassing. Him and North were on the roof of their favorite building, talking about plans during the revolution, and to lighten the mood North had decided to start a snowball fight between them. It was all fun, and lasted quite a while, until North caught Markus off guard and threw a particularly large snowball right at his face. He staggered a bit and North chuckled, but when he cleared the frozen particles from his eyes to open them, suddenly they began watering after having some snow go up his nose. It was less graceful or pretty than you think, his sneeze was rather loud, and the impact made him take a step back again. This resulted in North bursting into full blown laughter, holding her sides as she looked at Markus’ absolute horrified expression. It didn’t help, to say the least, when he tried to ask what just happened and the blond simply couldn’t get herself to stop from laughing at her friend’s misery.
He later had his answer, which resulted in Simon and Josh letting out a few laughs as well, but in the end, it left him smiling. It was just another step in feeling more human that he was okay with the ridicule, even if North wouldn’t stop bugging him about his insane sneeze that, and I quote, ‘Shook all of Jericho’. He also found that, like humans, androids sneezed in different ways as well. Simon’s was rather normal, if there even was a normal way to sneeze, but it sounded most like humans when Markus would hear a general sneeze. North’s was rather irritating, having a more breathy quiet sneeze that stopped almost abruptly, he constantly wondered how that was even satisfying to the girl. And Josh, though not as loud as Markus, was rather scary. His whole voice would be put into it, which was funny in of itself since the man was so quiet most of the time. But he supposed it was Josh’s body letting out everything he kept inside, or so he liked to think anyway.
But overall, this small finding to deviancy left Markus delighted to hear different types of sneezes from his people, it wasn’t in a creepy way in the slightest, he simply chuckled whenever he saw an android sneeze for the first time and get just as surprised as he had. One person’s sneeze he hadn’t heard though was Connor, having only deviated a little over a year ago when the revolution was still going on. He didn’t expect it to happen right away, but he didn’t expect over a year for him to experience such a new addition to their freedom, be it as small as this. Even North was excited to hear him sneeze, having done dumb stuff to try and provoke it; I.E. using a feather to his nose, have him stair up at a light and even tried throwing a snowball like she did with Markus, but nothing worked. It confused Connor every time, not sure what she was trying to do, but Markus would just chuckle and shake his head, giving his lover a kiss to his LED to reassure him.
Markus didn’t want to push it, he wanted Connor to learn on his own.
Which wasn’t as far off as he thought.
This day seemed to be all relaxation for the two lovers, having had a day off for each other on a nice spring Saturday afternoon. Connor was off work from the DPD and Markus found he had time away from meetings to spend time with the detective, the two deciding to spend the day lounging and doing whatever they wished at the late Carl Manfred’s mansion. It took some time to adjust, but who was Markus to deny staying at his father’s place since it was left to him in Carl’s will. It gave Markus peace of mind to stay there, also to keep an eye on the famous painters works to keep them safe.
Even though the two were meant to relax, the leader of the revolution knew all too well it didn’t take long for the detective to get fidgety staying in one spot for too long. Markus always kept small things for them to do in his files when this happened, things that wouldn’t put too much strain on himself but allowed Connor to have his hands do something in the meantime. One they enjoyed was Markus teaching Connor to cook food for Hank when Connor was staying with him, something he prides himself on, having been made as a caretaker android. When first brought up by Connor a while back that he wanted to make more healthier options for his adoptive father, he simply thought to just download the protocols from Markus. Said man denied it and instead began teaching him instead, it confused Connor, but he assured him that it was more fun to learn than to know.
Today was no different, as soon as the darker skinned man saw Connor fiddling with his coin as they watched the television, his arm comfortable over the younger androids’ shoulders while they sported comfy baggy pants and sweatshirts, he smiled and ushered them to the kitchen. Androids didn’t need to eat, but they could, and he thought a little lunch break wouldn’t hurt them, and it gives Connor something to do.
Currently the two stood in the kitchen preparing the ingredients for a simple spaghetti recipe, the noodles boiled slowly in the pot of water while the rest was being set up. Markus stood next to the other as he already cooked the shredded beef and added the sauce, slowly simmering it to let it heat up for the pasta.
“Alright, now all we need to do is add the spices and diced tomatoes. Than we can add the pasta when it’s done” The eldest explained, looking to his lover who was stirring the sauce in the pan. With a smile and a nod, he let himself be lead to the spice rack a few paces away. “We’ll need Basil, Italian Seasoning, Minced Onion and Garlic, Parsley, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar” He listed off, Connor grabbing each one in a timely manner. Though it seemed like a lot, he knew they weren’t adding much of each, but the brunette raised an eyebrow while grabbing the sugar container.
“Why sugar?” He asked, turning to the other. Markus chuckled and lightly brushed aside the brunette’s curly hair aside to give a small peck to his forehead, pulling away and enjoying the small hue of color that danced across his pale cheeks.
“It gives the sauce a bit of a sweeter tinge to it, so that way it isn’t so overpowered by the taste of tomatoes when we dice them up.” Connor’s LED swirled yellow a moment as he nodded, obviously storing the information away for himself. They headed back to the stove with all the spices, Markus taking his time to show him how much of each to put in. In between each spice Connor stirred it together to blend into everything.
Markus let himself smirk a little “Okay, now add a pinch of salt…” Connor did this by shaking some into his hand to eye what looked like a pinch, then added it to the pan. “And a dash of pepper…” Connor paused after setting down the salt, looking to Markus with an eyebrow raised while his LED swirled yellow again.
“W-…What’s a dash?...” He asked, picking up the pepper shaker slowly. A chuckle escaped Markus, leaning up against the counter he crossed his arms and smirked wider.
“I don’t know, why don’t you eyeball it instead?” He suggested, getting another chuckle from the horrified look Connor gave.
“Why would I put my eyeball to this? Surely it would damage my Optical Unit if I were to do-“
Markus’ laughter picked up a bit “No, babe, it’s an expression.” Connor blushed darkly, pouting at the laughter the other had done. It soon vanished when the other lightly grabbed his chin and leaned in, placing his lips to his in a slow and sensual kiss that made him close his eyes and nearly drop the shaker in his hand. It didn’t last too long, much to Connor’s disappointment, but he did love the extra touch of the Eskimo kiss Markus gave him as he pulled away. It made him match the equally as bright smile Markus gave him, said man going back to leaning against the counter. “Go ahead and just see what you feel is right to put in” He insisted, giving a more direct approach this time.
Connor slowly nodded, turning back to the stove and deciding to repeat the process he had done with the salt. Though it was more difficult than he thought. His mind wasn’t sure how to process much of the fact that he was given such an extensive free will, being as how he was not even close to a caretaker android, he was afraid of messing up the recipe by either adding too much or too little. Starting out with a couple shakes into his hand, he curiously peered up at Markus for confirmation, said man simply smiled, neither disapproving or confirming the amount. It made Connor’s LED swirl yellow again and back to blue, letting out a huff and averting back to the shaker where he decided to give a few more shakes for extra measure.
That backfired immediately.
After one hardy shake it was apparent that the lid to the shaker wasn’t quite secured enough, soon finding that it came off with a loud pop and dropping to the floor. Connor let out a gasp as the contents inside the shaker poured out in a heap, pepper filled his entire palm, and some fell to the floor as well. Connor jumped a split second, once again his LED swirled from yellow, to red and back to blue in a few quick flashes. Once the initial shock subsided, he turned to Markus who doubled over in laughter, holding his sides at the sudden scene that just occurred. The brunette glared at him.
“Heh I-I think… I think that’s enough pepper!” Markus exclaimed between fits of laughter, trying to wipe away the tears from the corners of his eyes. Connor’s glare darkened, opening his mouth to retort back at his lover for laughing at his discomfort, but stopped when a sudden sensation came to his nose, it stung, and his eyes watered slightly from it. This pain, he supposed what he could describe, lasted a few more seconds before he suddenly jolted forward.
Connor inhaled and let out a small “ACH-tew!”, doing so resulted his hands jerking towards him, the shaker dropping to the floor and pepper flying into the air. Not a moment later, Connor did the same thing a second time, much quicker than the first, and his hand that wasn’t stained with pepper came to his face as he covered his nose and mouth. His eyes grew wide and his LED swirled to yellow, but when he turned to Markus and saw the shocked expression and his flushed cheeks, it immediately went red. He started to panic, what just happened?! Why was Markus not responding?! Why did he look so shocked?! Did something happen to him?!
But all Markus could think was,
THAT was the cutest and most adorable sneeze he had ever heard!
It was so quick,
Just a little squeak really!
But sweet Ra9 was Markus immediately enamored by the sound!
If anything else, he’s pretty sure he fell more in love with him than he already was!
“MARKUS!” Brought out of his trance, said man shook his head, focusing on the nearly hysteric man in front of him. Connor’s hands clutched his Detroit Police sweatshirt where his Thirium Pump would be beneath his chest, his eyes were wide and his LED flashed red frantically. A quick scan shown his stress levels are at a steady 67% and slowly climbing, he was having a panic attack.
“WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?!” The detective yelled, making the other jump from not having heard this volume of Connor’s voice, well he has, but it isn’t often that it happens. “D-Did something happen to my internal hard drive!?” He continued, not even waiting for Markus to answer now. “Is something wrong with my pump regulator!? O-Or my Oxygen valves!? It hurt my nose and my eyes were watering! Is something wrong with my nasal valves!?- MARKUS, AM I GOING TO SHUT DOWN!?!” In all honesty, Markus would have laughed at how hysterical Connor was being right now. Out of all the first sneezes he had seen from androids becoming deviant, this wasn’t anything like he had seen; sure, everyone gets surprised from it and a bit taken back, but never to the point of legitimately thinking they were going to shut down. It dawned at Markus though that Connor was a new model of the RK series, only being a little over one year old, almost everything was new to him.
Not wanting to make things worse with silence, the darker skinned man smiled worriedly, taking his hands and gripping the younger man’s biceps, he brought the two slightly closer.
“Connor, babe, calm down. You aren’t going to shut down…” He calmly stated, letting his words sink into the other a moment, luckily the stress level went down a little, but only to about 60%. Connor breathed a bit heavily, furrowing his brows.
“T-Then what happened!?”
“You sneezed…” Markus chuckled, but Connor paused dead in his tracks. His LED swirled to a yellow and his breathing calmed, but his stress stayed stagnant.
“But… A-Androids can’t sneeze…”
“Deviant androids can~” Markus shrugged, his smile growing from how lost Connor seemed to be, he really was almost like an infant in cases like these. “It’s okay…” He lowered his voice and brought them closer together, his arms going around the others waist to hold him as they looked at each other. “I was just as surprised as you the first time I sneezed, everyone gets surprised or scared. We don’t really know what causes us to do so after Deviancy, but we just sort of concluded it was our bodies showing we are more than just our programming. A small thing to show we are more alive or human than human’s think” He explained this calmly and quietly, resulting in Connor’s stress significantly depleting, down to a 20%.
“Then… How come you looked so shocked when it happened?” Connor asked, cautiously raising an eyebrow, his hands laid on Markus’ chest and his LED swirled from yellow to blue then back to yellow.
This made the leader flush a dark shade, averting his eyes a moment with an embarrassed smile. “Well… It was just… You just sneeze really adorable… Like that was the cutest sneeze I have ever heard!” He chuckled when he exclaimed the last part, looking back to his lover. There was a beat of silence and Markus froze upon seeing the unamused look Connor gave him, it was cold and unmoving. That is until Connor gave a firm smack to the leader’s chest, a loud Thwack that caught Markus off guard and stagger a little, but not taking his hold off the other.
“You made me think something was wrong with me! And you were just thinking of how cute my sneeze was!?! I thought I was going to shut down you dolt!” Even though his words held anger, his tone didn’t signify it. It was accusing and a bit whiny, but all in fun since Markus could see the hint of a smirk on his lips. It made him smile and pull him closer with a chuckle, resting his forehead against the others.
“You are absolutely adorable, love” He cradled, giving a light eskimo kiss to the blushing man in front of him, the smirk becoming more apparent when he tried to pout.
“M’ not adorable…” Connor denied, attempting to look away but Markus didn’t let him, squeezing him lovingly in his arms.
“The cutest~” He murmured, leaning in to place his lips to Connor’s, fitting together like a perfect puzzle piece, their eyes fluttering close. This kiss lasted longer than the one before, going from a slow movement, loving and full of peace; to Connor initiating more with a small nibble and lick to the others bottom lip. Markus smiled into it, allowing the other entrance to make their kiss deeper and more passionate. Connor’s hands gripped the others sweatshirt, letting out a small mule when Markus’ tongue played around with his own, fighting for dominance that the detective was glad to give him, making sure to turn off his analyzing sensors to relish more in the feeling than the facts. It would have gone further, having spent doing this a few minutes now, if not for the sudden sound of loud sizzling.
Both eyes opened widely, pulling apart with a pop to look over to the stove where the water from the pot started to overflow onto the stove, and the sauce in the pan began to overheat and bubble, causing sauce to spatter sporadically every which was. They gasped, quickly going to turn off the stoves settings and move the overheated pot and pan aside to avoid a further mess. But it was already apparent from the burnt smell of the sauce, and the obvious black charred look of the pasta, that there was no saving their lunch at this point.
A few minutes later, after throwing away the remains of the food and rinsing water into the pot and pan, the two set on cleaning up the rest of the mess. Markus went to scrubbing down the stove top, while Connor took the broom and swept up the mess he made with the pepper. At one point it was apparent that Connor may have a bit of problem with excessive amounts of the spice, letting out yet another sneeze as he threw the remains in the trash. Though still surprising, he was starting to get used to it. He didn’t even mind the loving smirk he saw Markus giving him, simply rolling his eyes and smiling at him. He loved the man to death, but he was starting to think Markus grew a bit of an obsessive attachment to his sneezes now.
Connor made his way into the entrance of New Jericho, a once empty abandoned building belonging to Cyberlife before the revolution, but since the evacuation and the emanate shutdown of Cyberlife android distribution, it had been renovated to become the haven for all androids and human supporters. Markus and Connor had a shared room on the top floor when they weren’t staying at either Hank’s house or Carl’s mansion, but it may already be their home when it came to work or every day life.
It was Monday now, a few weeks had passed since he and Markus’ cooking disaster, and the trees were now becoming greener and livelier, bright and happy, which is what Connor enjoyed most. He smiled and tugged his blazer a little closer around him, though it was approaching spring, Detroit was not known for becoming too hot during this time, so there still held a slight bit of cold in the air. Not that Connor minded, he didn’t feel cold, he couldn’t really, he just liked the feeling of warmth surrounding him.
Making his way passed the front doors he noticed a group of people across the main floor, his smile grew wider knowing it was his group of close friends and lover, all standing around each other in conversation. It didn’t seem as though it was too important, so he hastily made his way over to the group, North being the first to spot him. She smiled wide, showing her teeth as she gasped, a sinister look to her as she sprinted to the detective. He was caught off guard momentarily as she threw herself upon him, making quick to steady himself as she hugged him close, letting out a grunt but awkwardly hugged her back with a chuckle.
“Aw hey there Connor, how’s my favorite puppy!?” She exclaimed, detaching from him to look at his confused expression.
“I still do not know why you call me a puppy, I am not in any way a canine.” He explained, but it only made her chuckle, placing her free hand on his shoulder, only now noticing the other was carrying a bag.
“And that’s why you’re a puppy, Connor” She simply put, Connor went to reply but stopped as the other three members joined them with similar bright smiles. Markus, like a magnet, went to Connor’s side immediately, giving his LED a kiss that made Connor smile again. “Hey, don’t get lovey dovey just yet, I have something for Connor!” North exclaimed, shooing away her best friend with a swat of her hand to his chest, much to his disappointment he let go so she could do what she wanted first.
“Something for me?” Connor echoed, eyeing the strawberry blond when she placed the paper bag on the floor, straightening up she smiled.
“Yup! Your boyfriend here may buy you clothes all the time, but I have yet to see you have a fashionable and cute jacket to wear. It’s either your worn down DPD sweatshirt or Hank’s old jacket, and that simply can’t do!” North emphasized her point with a glare to Markus, as if telling him he needs to take better care of Connor. This resulted in Markus blushing and looking away from the woman, Simon and Josh chuckled at his discomfort. “So, when I saw this I immediately thought of you and just had to get it!” As she explained, she bent down to get the jacket from the bag on the floor.
“That is very kind of you North, but you did not have to get me-“Before he could finish North shot straight up and startled the detective, a flash of brown covered his vision and before he knew it the woman had wrapped a very soft and fluffy jacket around his shoulders, having to stand on her tip toes to get it over him. She pulled it close around him, covering his neck and the fur went around his face to brush up against his nose. The jacket in of itself was very stylish, it mimicked that of Markus’ jacket if he was being honest. A trench coat that was dark grey and went down to his calves, instead of zippers like Markus’ though this one had buttons that could actually close the jacket. The material itself was a light wool, fuzzy to the touch, but what Connor loved the most was the inside. Doing a quick scan, he saw the inside material was lined with fake light grey fur, extremely soft to the touch. It draped around the neck and lined opening flaps that were shown off in the front. All in all, he was in love with it!
Seeing the loving expression on his face as he looked at the jacket, North smiled triumphantly. “See! Look’s just like your boyfriends but has a touch of you to it! Thought I would let Markus stand next to the true eye catcher here anyway” Markus rolled his eyes at that “Plus you love soft stuff so I figured-“
“ACH-tew!” She stopped short, letting go of the jacket in haste. In her haste to get it over his shoulders, she hadn’t noticed the fur came to contact with Connor’s nose, resulting in said man to inhale and having it tickle his nostrils in the process. She, as well as Josh and Simon looked at Connor in shock while he rubbed at his nose and muttered an apology. Markus, though he had heard it before, was still floored by the sound and let out a small squeal of happiness upon hearing it. Connor glared, about to retort, when suddenly the woman in front of him grabbed onto his biceps abruptly and gasped.
“THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY FUCKING ADORABLE!!!” She exclaimed, Simon rushed up next to him with an excited grin of his own.
“Seriously Connor that was the cutest sneeze I have ever heard an android make!” Simon cooed, and like the others, Josh came up and chuckled next though not as frantic as the other two were.
“Yeah, I never knew an android, let alone you, could make a sound like that. It almost sounded like a kitten!” Connor blinked, first he was referred to as a puppy, and now a kitten? When will this misunderstanding end?! Before he knew it, strong arms wrapped around his shoulders from behind, an all too familiar laugh sounded next to his ear, Markus snuggled up against his neck.
“He sounds like a kitten and acts like a puppy, he’s the whole package that I’m lucky to have~” His voice filled with love that made Connor flush a dark shade on his cheeks, North huffed a laugh and hugged around his waist. Surprising Connor even more, Simon and Josh laughed and joined in on the wholesome fun, wrapping their arms around each side of the three, ultimately trapping Connor in a fake fur jacket and a warm group hug. The detective took a moment to register the situation, not sure what to make of it, but soon found himself smiling just as warm as his new jacket and wrapping his arms the best he could in the group hug, joining in on the laughter of his close friends.
Seriously? All of this love, just because of a sneeze....