Gavin couldn’t fucking believe this.
Well, he could, actually. But he still couldn’t quite figure out if he was supposed to be insulted that he apparently had the face of an android abuser and hence was the first choice of officer to be sent undercover at the Eden Club. Something about a supposed underground android prostitution ring, which was really fucking ballsy of Mills if it actually existed.
Barely four months since the revolution (or Revolution, as so many liked to call it, capital ‘r’ emphasis and all) and humans were back to being the greedy bastards they always were.
The legal part of the Eden Club still boasted a 100% android employment rate, but it was now more tightly regulated than ever. The androids who worked there did so of their own accord, and they had full rights and protection under the law. Even got paid for it, although Gavin had no clue what the hell they did with all that cash if they didn’t need to eat or shit.
Either way, it was none of his concern. All he needed to do was test the codes their informant had provided, get into this allegedly exclusive robo sex club, and then get out again just to write a whole damn report on it for the DPD to get a warrant to crack down on the whole establishment. Fun times.
Which was why he was now trying to answer exactly what type of android he’d like to get his rocks off to, so he could be assigned one in the same way Fowler assigned him cases.
He stared at the pleasantly smiling man before him, looking more like a waiter at a high-end establishment than anything else, and snorted coarsely. “Something that won’t fight too much if I slap it around a bit. I’m not here for a difficult time today.”
The man’s eyes crinkled like he was fucking pleased at Gavin’s answer. “We certainly have something for you, sir. Please proceed to suite three and tap your card on the reader to the left to enter. The room is occupied at the moment, and you may wait for the current users to leave before entering. Alternatively, the users have expressed no discomfort in being watched while you await your turn. Your time will not begin until the preceding customers have departed.”
Gavin bared his teeth in what he hoped looked like a grin rather than a grimace. “Wonderful,” he said, and strolled off in the right direction before he could lose it and deck that fuckwad in the nose.
The place wasn’t openly risqué like the actual Eden Club upstairs. Rather, it resembled the lounge of a six-star hotel, all plush carpets and sleek couches, exactly the kind of environment that would attract the disgustingly rich with their equally perverse hobbies. Not a single android was in sight except, presumably, behind the various doors leading off from the main area.
Gavin stopped before suite three, staring at the small timer just above the card reader informing him that its current occupants had another four minutes on the clock. He swiped his card anyway – the more suspects he could describe, or even identify, by the end of the night, the better.
The first thing that struck him was the smell – some pleasant, probably double-strength floral-scented air freshener, mixed with the musky smell of sweat and other less pleasant bodily fluids. And then the sound – the familiar rhythmic slapping of skin against skin, almost drowning out the soft whines that could only come from deep in the throat.
Coming in early had been a mistake.
The android was on all fours on the bed, a heavyset man thrusting into him from behind, fingers curled around some sort of collar around the android’s neck and pulling his head back with every jerk of his hips. Another man had his dick in the android’s mouth, hand on the back of his head and pulling him forward, a sneer on his lips at the small noises emitting from the android’s stretched lips, probably at the dual forces at work on his head. A human would have been dead of strangulation long ago.
Gavin would rather have found another dead body than be witness to this. Terrible as it was, he was familiar with death; he understood homicides, had a protocol for them. This felt too much like witnessing someone being tortured and being unable to do anything for them.
He had worked enough assault cases since the revolution and the ensuing dearth of manpower that had plagued the DPD to revise his opinion on androids. Most of them had involved human assailants and android victims – victims he’d had to comfort and take statements from. Victims who had been as hurt and terrified as any flesh and blood creature.
The second man abruptly grunted and shoved himself harder against the android’s face, clearly ejaculating down his throat. The first didn’t last much longer, although he pulled out and chuckled as he painted the android’s back and thighs with stripes of white.
The android swung his head slightly, throat working as he swallowed convulsively, face finally angling towards Gavin for the first time. The brief glimpse of that perfectly sharp nose made Gavin shift uncomfortably – something about that side profile seemed oddly familiar – but the next moment, there was a soft, sharp sizzling sound before the android’s entire form stiffened and he collapsed onto the bed.
“Here ya go,” the thicker man said jovially as he passed by Gavin, pushing a small remote into his hand. “He’s a docile one but ya never know. Have fun with him – we always do.” The guy smirked, tugging on his jeans and sucking in his hairy stomach so that he could button it up. Gavin blinked at him, fixing his face into a smirk of acknowledgement.
He could not blow his cover by kicking this lowlife in the nuts. He absolutely could not.
He looked down at the controller in his hand instead – a small dial with a series of numbers around it, and a single button with a lightning bolt printed on it. A remote for a shock collar.
The door slid shut behind the two men, and Gavin immediately slapped his palm over the lock panel. No one else would be getting in before the end of his session.
The faint rustle of sheets made his attention snap back to the bed, where the android was already stirring feebly, pushing himself up and turning blearily to face Gavin. His eyelids were twitching and jumping, most likely a residual aftereffect from the shock, but Gavin barely registered that. The entire world felt like it had ground itself to a halt around him.
The last time he’d seen that face had been outside the evidence room, wide-eyed and almost anxious-looking. He had disregarded it then – if androids weren’t alive, they couldn’t feel, and so whatever he might have seen on the android’s face had certainly not been any nameable emotion.
He hadn’t thought he’d ever see Anderson’s pet again, not after that day and the news that had followed soon after.
So it didn’t make any sense to Gavin at all, to see the too-familiar android quivering before him, LED flaring a sudden, painful red as Connor finally recognised him. Gavin expected shouting, or anger, or even blame – but the android only stared at him with those stupid wide eyes, looking so afraid it made him want to hurl, like he thought Gavin was really here to use him as some sort of sex slave.
Where the fuck have you been? was what he wanted to yell at it. The only reason Anderson hadn’t yet offed himself was because he was so goddamn sure he would see this stupid android again. He must have escaped to Canada and he’s laying low until it’s safe again, was the latest theory, and no one really had the heart to tell the old man that if the android were a missing person, he was almost certainly dead if he hadn’t been found after more than four months.
And yet here they were.
Gavin stepped forward slowly and opened his mouth, wanting to give Connor some words of reassurance, wanting to tell him that everything was going to be fine. That he was going to get that report written up tonight even if it killed him so that they could bust him out of this godforsaken place by the end of the week.
Instead, what he said was, “Is there any form of surveillance in here?”
From this distance, looking down as Connor craned his neck up to keep Gavin’s expression in sight, he could see the way the android’s pupils contracted at the question. More fear.
Slowly, Connor shook his head. There was semen on the corner of his lips.
Gavin closed his eyes and sat heavily down on the bed with a soft huff of, “Thank god.” At least he wouldn’t have to pretend to assault the poor sod on the off-chance that someone was getting off to whatever was happening on the CCTVs. He tossed the remote aside, pretending not to notice the way Connor flinched in his peripheral vision.
“I’m here undercover,” he grunted, carefully keeping his gaze locked ahead of him, treating the android the way he would a skittish wild animal. “We got a tip-off about this place and I have the face of an asshole, so here I am. We didn’t – we didn’t know you were here or Anderson would’ve busted down the doors single-handedly ages ago.”
Connor twitched at that, moving forward just a couple of inches, the first sign of interest he had shown in anything Gavin had said.
Gavin stared down at his own hands, at the rough knuckles and the calluses along his digits. “I’m sorry,” he muttered, “for not coming for you. You probably won’t believe me but seeing you like this – I feel like fuckin’ shit.”
Abruptly, he stood, breathing out long and slow through his nose the way he always did to calm himself down. Pacing always helped. He’d never been one for sitting still for too long. He tried to think about what he would put in his report, and tried very hard not to think about the possibility of smuggling Connor out of here this very night.
The bigger picture, dipshit. The bigger picture. But he had never been the best at impulse control, especially not in situations like this.
He could feel Connor’s eyes following him back and forth, perhaps just a little less wary than before. He should be asking Connor more about the place, about all the demented shit they did to androids here, about how he was even here in the first place. But he couldn’t look the android in the eye without the image of him being penetrated from both ends popping into his mind, making his stomach roil with discomfort.
“Detective Reed?” The small voice made him jump about a foot in the air, and he forced himself to turn slowly. No sudden movements.
“Yeah?” he said, gruff but controlled.
Connor’s LED had settled to a dull, pulsing yellow. “You look…distressed,” he said carefully, and just for that moment Gavin felt like they were back at the precinct, with Connor tiptoeing around him in every way possible while he’d constantly been itching for a fight.
He snorted. “Course I’m fucking distressed,” he muttered. “I’m right smack in the middle of an illegal android prostitution ring. What else would I be? Delighted? Fuckin’ hell.”
Connor smiled weakly. “Would it,” he started hesitantly, pausing for so long that Gavin stopped in his tracks to stare at him quizzically. “Would it be acceptable if I held your hand?”
Something in Gavin’s gut churned. “Sure,” he muttered, resuming his seat on the bed and holding his hand out to the android. It was shaking slightly.
Connor looked at it for a long moment before finally reaching out, his hand turning palm up as he slid it gently against Gavin’s, fingers curling lightly in a more secure grip. His palm was warm and slightly sticky, probably with bodily fluids that Gavin didn’t really want to think about.
His gaze flicked up to Connor’s face, lips thinning at the way the android had hunched in on himself, his features all screwed up like he wanted to cry, yet no tears were visible. What a fucking mess this was.
“Alright, look, why don’t you tell me what happened after I left you at the evidence room?” he asked, squeezing Connor’s hand firmly. “You just fucking disappeared. Mystery of the ages. Anderson was frantic. You should’ve seen him, ready to tear all his hair out.”
Connor seemed to shake himself, blinking rapidly like he was rebooting, focus returning to his eyes. “I was unable to locate Jericho from the evidence we had gathered. My directive was thus to return to CyberLife for deactivation,” he said, more robotically than Gavin had ever heard him sound, but he supposed he’d take that over a breakdown any day. “I was deactivated upon my return. When I next returned to awareness, my communication functions had been disabled and I was unable to access the network or contact anyone. From the conversations around me, I deduced that the revolution had succeeded and that CyberLife was required to release all androids in their care so that they might find freedom.”
Here he stopped, eyelids flickering once more before he shifted marginally closer to Gavin with a shiver. “The employees put in charge of the release reasoned that the order did not apply to decommissioned models, and they decided to ‘make a quick buck,’ as they put it, by selling us to various interested parties, one of them being the Eden Club.”
His free hand shifted, reaching up to touch the shock collar wrapped around his neck. It was slim and black, studded with blunt metal spikes and far too stylish for an accessory so needlessly cruel.
Gavin’s jaw was tense to the point of pain, and it took effort to voluntarily relax. “You’re safe now,” he said harshly, looking over and meeting Connor’s eyes with his own furious gaze. “I swear it. We’re going to shut this shithole down and then you’ll probably drown in Anderson’s tears of joy.”
Connor sucked in a shaky breath and nodded. “Thank you, Detective Reed,” he murmured, and despite his formality, he suddenly lurched forward towards Gavin, one hand outstretched, begging for comfort. Gavin let go of Connor’s hand and opened his arms, wincing slightly as the android crashed full force against him, burying his face into Gavin’s shoulder as he trembled.
Gavin felt sick. It would have been better for them all if he had remained the biggest piece of shit to exist in Connor’s life.
“I don’t know how long Fowler will take to get the paperwork together,” he said, chin resting against Connor’s shoulder as he patted awkwardly at the android’s back. “But I’ll be back tomorrow night. I’ll be back every night until they’re ready to come get you out of here.”
He felt Connor sigh against him. “That sounds like it will be a very costly endeavour, Detective. I have endured my stay for this long. Another few days will not hurt me unduly.”
Gavin pulled back so he could fix the android with his most disapproving frown. “Do I look like I care about the cost?” he snapped. “I’ll be here. I’ll even download some board games on my fucking phone or something so we have things to do, get it?”
Connor blinked, something in his expression seeming to relax even further. “Yes, Detective Reed,” he said indulgently, sounding almost like the cocky android Gavin had met for the first time what felt like ages ago.
“Gavin,” he muttered, sounding disgruntled. “Just call me Gavin, you idiot.”
Connor chuckled, the sound flowing out in an exhausted burst, head inclining in acknowledgement before he relaxed once more, almost going limp as he curled up against Gavin’s body. His breaths slowed as the minutes passed, perfectly angled nose pressing into Gavin’s chest. His LED was a soft blue.
Gavin just stared down at the still body in his arms, running his fingers absently through Connor’s stiff, tousled hair, a bittersweet pang pulsing in his chest.
“Connor,” he said, feeling the android shift at the sound of his name. “After we get you out of this hellhole – let’s be friends.”
Connor’s grip tightened on the front of his shirt, his voice coming out muffled.
“I think we already are, Gavin.”