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Unraveling a Mind

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30 days until

The two have fallen into a bit of a fight. The ‘where do we go’ comment having been much too much for Elijah and sending them back to square one of this spat. Nothing serious, but there is a fair amount of rolling around, pushing, and one semi-serious bite - courtesy of Elijah.

“Look, Elijah” Connor, beneath the man, yet with his hands on both of the man’s wrists, in total control of the situation, frowned up at Elijah. “I’m still trying to speak with you. Listen.”

Elijah only glared down at him for a moment before wrenching his wrist free to press a hand over Connor’s mouth, firmly.

“Elijah. Are you really going to choose to be difficult about this?” the words, of course, somewhat muffled.

“I’m not difficult.” Elijah refutes, and yet, his hand is still pressed persistently over Connor’s mouth.

“You are.”

“I am not.”

“Childish too.” The android responds, sitting the two of them with little effort up so that a disgruntled Elijah finds himself snugly in Connor’s lap.

“I actually like to think of myself as quite adult,” Elijah responds with a wicked grin, but before he could try anything, Connor’s hands are on the man’s hips, stilling him before he has any chance to cause distraction. Clearly, Elijah’s attempts at changing the subjects were absolutely not working on Connor as well as they would have only a few weeks ago.

“I thought you would enjoy that...” Elijah mutters somewhat dejectedly, but when he meets Connor’s gaze, he immediately sobers; the android’s eyebrows are furrowed, lips pursed, cheeks a little flushed from frustration.

“Elijah, why haven’t we run?”

It’s a simple question, but Elijah almost jumps at it nonetheless.

“I- well-” Elijah continues to try and stall for time to organize his thoughts.

“I assumed we had already been over the fact that you don’t need this company. And I do understand, Elijah, that Cyberlife means a lot to you, only- only I thought”

And before Connor could finish his sentence, Elijah cups the android’s face in his hands, gently, “You, Connor? You are vastly more important.”

“Then, why?”

“Because I’m weak, Connor. I have a horrid ego, and I can’t stand to lose, not on any front. Which isn’t fair to you, of course, you are so much more to me than any of this” Elijah leans in for a brief kiss, but Elijah meets the soft skin of Connor’s cheek instead. The android has turned his head away.

“Then why don’t we? Go now.” Connor whispers, still not meeting Elijah’s gaze.

“Well, if you become more of a risk than a potential profit, they will kill you,” another kiss, this time to android’s jaw, “it’s all cost-benefit.”

“No matter what I offer them, the risk of a free deviant who may harbor some negative feelings towards the company is too great a danger. However unpredictable a situation we find ourselves in, Connor, you can always rely on Cyberlife acting cowardly.”

“And I do have some false limiters in the later stages of development- and ideally they would create the illusion of you being non-deviant, but they are still far too dangerous, the effects perhaps irreversible.” Elijah continues.

“Is it not worth the risk?” Connor wonders aloud and is a little shocked at the grave look on Elijah’s face.

“Connor. If I were confident in my work, I would try it- we would try it. I’m not comfortable risking your well being. I promise you though that as soon as I deem it safe, we will try it. I promise.” Elijah pauses, and the awfully somber look in his eyes dissipates somewhat as he quirks his eyebrows in that way that always makes Connor want to kiss the furrowed skin between his brow, “Can I kiss you now? You’ve stressed me out a great deal.” Elijah grins at Connor and in his smile is the request for levity; a request for a change of topic.

Connor obliges, two hands gently guiding Elijah’s lips to his own. It’s slow and almost painfully sweet when they meet. The android is greeted by an analysis pop up behind his closed eyes, listing the components of Elijah’s lip gloss.

Connor does not remove his hands from the man’s jaw and uses this grip to effectively dictate Elijah’s movements. The man has, of course, taken note of this and can’t help but smile into the kiss as he lets himself be led.

When Connor breaks the kiss, he runs a reverent thumb over Elijah’s lips.

“Give me your hands.”

“Bossy.” Elijah grins, only earning himself a raised eyebrow and a retraction of both of Connor’s hands from his face.

Elijah quickly presents his hands.

“I hate that I met you here. This way.” Connor laces their fingers together a few times, mulling over how he wants to proceed with his little idea.

“I hate it too,” Elijah responds, letting his fingers go limp against the android’s. “There are so many things I detest about this.”

“I hate how I’ve never slept in a bed with you, and I hate how I’ve never cooked for you, I hate that I’ve never seen you wake up-” a white patch, just above the wrist begins to branch out slowly along Connor’s wrist as the android maintains careful eye contact with Elijah.

“I always have awful bed head. You wouldn’t like me in the morning.”

“I always like you,” Connor mutters, a slight pout playing at his lips.

This comment causes a little fit of laughter from the typically serious man. For some reason, his smile makes Connor want to burst into tears. Something so unrestrained and lovely didn’t belong in this world - Elijah had cultivated a world he was not meant to function in.

“Completely false. We fight awfully.” again, that softer smile saved for Connor exclusively spreads across Elijah’s face.

The smooth white had almost wholly replaced the artificial skin of both of Connor’s hands before Elijah took any real notice.

“You and I have only fought… once or so.”

“I remember it being fairly brutal, Connor.” Elijah mumbles, a little too fascinated in what Connor was doing with their hands to pay full attention to the words he spoke.

The android merely shrugs in response before closing his eyes and seeming to concentrate very hard on… something. Elijah can feel a slight static beneath his fingers, and at the same moment, he realizes precisely what Connor is attempting, the android breaths out some angelic sort of sigh and Elijah shivers at the sound.

“Is this doing something for you, Connor?” Elijah asks in a hushed tone, unable to look away from the androids soft and longing expression.

Connor merely nods, before grasping Elijah’s hands tighter, the static slowly becoming more of a tingling-shocking sensation, and Elijah is happy to oblige, wholly intrigued by whatever gratification Connor was finding in this- that is until an actual shock of alarmingly strong voltage meets the delicate skin of Elijah’s wrists.

The man jerks his hands away with a shout, already bringing the burnt skin closer for inspection.

“Sorry! I didn’t- I wasn’t thinking about… skin” The android says, trying to see the damage.

“You forgot about skin?” Elijah asks incredulously, still nursing his burnt hand.

“I’m not well versed, seeing as I don’t have any.”

“Right…” the decidedly inhuman aspects of Connor still startled Elijah every now and again.

“Let me see.” Connor requests, and when Elijah presents the injury, Connor gives a sheepish smile before pressing a kiss to the skin.

“Nothing burn cream can’t fix.”

“What was your life like before all this, Elijah?” Connor asks, separating and untangling himself from the man for a moment to allow Elijah to reach into his pocket and pull out the burn cream he kept especially for electrical injuries that he so often obtained when working on androids. It was fortunate he had forgotten to put it away in his workshop after working all morning with one of the Chloe’s on her broken knee joint - water damage.

“Why the sudden interest, Connor?”

“I was, at one point, programmed to interrogate.”

Elijah can’t help but smile at Connor, even as his wrist continues to burn horribly.

“I’m sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have many stories of college benders. I’ve been the same person, always. If that’s what you’re asking.”

“You aren’t always the same person to all people. Elijah. You’ve been so many different people to me already.” Connor frowns.

“Well, college was mostly solitary; being so young. What drugs and drinking I did, I did alone. I started the company right out of college. I was 16. I didn’t exactly choose the best business partners- well clearly.” the man shrugged and cocked his head to the side - a gesture he had picked up from Connor- before continuing, “I was smart then too, but I’d never had someone try to steal my work, or try to befriend me for the work perks. I was much less discerning and lost for it, many times. It was odd going through that at 16. Several people befriended me and walked away as soon as they got whatever paycheck they had been after. I’ve had family reappear and disappear depending on how the company was looking. A cousin of mine disowned me when I wouldn’t pay for his schooling - he ended up working as a fireman or a cop… whatever it was, it wasn’t his dream job. His parents, of course, blamed me when he started up with drinking and smoking.”

By the end of his little monologue, Elijah had finished with the nursing of his hand.

Connor just looks at Elijah. “Do you remember,” he starts, “the time you told me I wasn’t ‘made for pain such as this?’”

Elijah raises an eyebrow, “Of course. You broke my heart with that face of yours the moment I saw you.”

“I’d like to return the sentiment now.”

“I’m not as fragile as you think.”

An amused look flits across Connor’s face as he watches the man on his lap, “I think you are much more breakable than you would like to believe.”

Connor reaches around to pull at the elastic, keeping Elijah’s hair in a neat bun. Connor quickly undoes it and starts a slow carding through the strands. Slowly, the gentle carding, accentuated with a few catches on small knots, morphs into a purposeful tugging. The man grins each time he feels a twinge of pain at the consistent pulling.

“Don’t pull from the tips. If you must-” Here, Elijah reaches an arm back to readjust Connor’s grip; now the android had a firm fist full of Elijah’s hair at the base of the man’s neck, “Pull it like that.”

Connor pulled experimentally, lightly, but even just with that one small motion Elijah was rolling his head back and sighing; eyes closed and a contented smile spreading across the man’s features.

“What were we talking about?” Elijah questions again, finally free enough to press his hips down onto Connor’s.

“Hm, not sure.”

“I know that you know. Androids don’t forget. I think you were talking about the founding of my company.”

“That sounds correct.” Connor raised a free hand to press into Elijah’s lower lip, “although, I thought you said you would rather not talk about work,” When the android pulls his finger away, it’s just barely stained a soft pink. Connor presses the finger into his own mouth, finally curious enough about the lipstick to fully pay attention to the informational pop up; the analysis came up immediately.

“Guerlain?”

“Hush.” and to Connor’s amusement and utter shock, Elijah actually blushes, ever so slightly.

“Well, I think it looks very nice,” Connor pulls back on Elijah’s hair again, exposing the man’s neck. “May I?”

Elijah laughs something low and thrilling and gives a quick nod, “What else were we talking about?”

“The things I hate.”

“Ah, yes. Carry on.”

“I hate that you will most likely object to my giving you a hickey. Seeing as I have already burnt your skin today.”

“Hm… I don’t wholly object to your marking me. What else?”

“I hate that your shirt isn’t on the floor.”

“That can be remedied,” and with that, Elijah casts off the black sleeveless turtleneck he had been wearing, and Connor smiles up at him.

“I hate that you bruise so easy, I hate that I can’t bite you.”

Elijah takes a moment to consider before he sighs and leans into Connor, with a soft ‘gently please.’

The feeling of Connor’s teeth against his skin is surprisingly enjoyable. It’s the same type of dull pain he so relishes when the android pulls at his hair. The same type of edgeless yet whole pain he feels every time he considers the unlikeliness of a smooth departure from Cyberlife with Connor.
__________________

Elijah slips silently down the hall in the direction of security. It’s the same ritual he has been carrying out almost nightly ever since his and Connor’s first kiss. Of course, Elijah prefers other methods of obscuring the camera’s proverbial line of sight; waiting for sunlight to bounce off the windows just right, slowly readjusting the exact angle of the cameras, having Connor do the interference himself. Any one of these methods would have been preferable and have saved Elijah the always slightly panic-inducing walk to the room in which all the video footage for the floor was stored.

The halls themselves are completely empty, the air of the space is lifeless, and yet Elijah can’t help the little thrum panic that fills his chest each time he turns a corner.

Upon arrival, Elijah notices something unusual right away, a keypad, shiny, silver, and new right beside the door that read in bright blue letters’ security.’ Typically, this room only required the physical key Elijah always keeps on him; however, he is sure that the typical company number for these sorts of keypads will work just as well.

With slightly trembling fingers, Elijah reaches out towards the smooths keys and gently types in the standard six-digit code.

It flashes red.

Elijah, brows furrowed, retype it. Again, denied.

He can feel his breath coming in short as he proceeds to type in every possible iteration of company code that has ever been used in all of Cyberlife’s history; nothing.

Elijah leans closer to the keypad, inspecting the keys, hoping to find which keys have been worn down to perhaps indicate which buttons were pressed most often, but, because of the newness of this machine, every single key is equally as pristine as the others.

The panic really sets in now. Elijah reaches for his phone, considers calling and flat out asking for the code, but there is no possible way even he could play that off casually.

The very fact that this new measure of security had been installed was proof enough to Elijah that Cyberlife had him figured out. They must have seen something, or perhaps this was some petty move after recent the trainwreck of meeting, or maybe Connor’s tampering was not as subtle as Elijah had believed it to be.

Whatever the reason, Elijah was sure of one thing, someone within the company would have access to the video of the last few he had spent with Connor.

Elijah leaned back against the door, trying to calm his thoughts, trying to find a solution, trying to find a workaround, but there was nothing. Slowly, he slid to the ground.

It wasn't fair. It was horrid and painful and wrong that that same thing that brought him unparalled joyed only hours before now had been turned on him. His own affections turned into a weapon agaist him.
_________________________________________

29 days until

Elijah has just sent a very dangerous email. He knows it. The early morning still moves with the same sluggishness; almost normal enough that he can forget the happenings of a few hours ago. He still takes his coffee in his bedroom, and as he drinks, he still gazes listlessly out across the miles and miles that separate him from the rest of the city like he has every Saturday morning that had come before.

Elijah considered going to Connor; had passed around in his garage at 2 am just itching to drive back to Cyberlife to explain the situation to him, but now knowing that every action of his would be recorded, he didn’t think it wise to visit as such disparate hours.

For May, it was surprisingly wet and grey, so much so that everything in the house seemed to take on a desaturated hue. Not that there was much color in the house, to begin with, but coupled with the weather, the effect was somewhat like one of those old black and white films.

Elijah turns the mug in his hands a few times, drawing the warmth out as well as he could. A slight tremor in his hand made each sip of the hot and bitter drink just a tad more challenging than it should have been.

Elijah reaches for his phone that he had tossed somewhere at the foot of his bed. Reaching across the expanse of silk, Elijah wonders why he is even checking again. No alert went off. No alarm buzzed. Yet the man can’t seem to stop himself from picking up the device.

Nothing.

The sun is beginning to appear along the horizon line. Slowly, slowly, the room becomes saturated again; Elijah watches with an amused detachment as he finishes his drink. His free hand drifts up to massage the dark purple bruises Connor had littered across his neck.

For a company always hounding him with various calls, texts, emails, and anything of the sort really, they were remarkably bad about getting back to him.

Elijah opened up the email he had sent, and read it over for about the eighth time today.

Alistire,
In my working with the RK800 android, I have discovered that he is a wonderful model for me to test various upgrades on, as that is the model type that most of my at-home projects would run most smoothly on.
I have learned all I can from it regarding deviancy, and as you are aware, the limiters are only a few days from completion.
I’m requesting that you sell the RK800 to me.
You may consider this part pf my payment for working with the company. I propose that you take 25% of the company’s earnings when I am awarded full leadership of the company. You, of course, don’t need to be reminded of how large of a cut 25% is of a multi-billion dollar international company.
On top of that, I am prepared to meet any additional price you may ask of me.

Elijah Kamski

 

__________

Connor wakes to the familiar sound of the lab doors being opened. He sits and stretches his arms above his head, yawning as he does so. The android stands, still warm and unfocused from sleep and, barefoot, rounds the corner. Connor knows Elijah’s footsteps so well that he hardly has to look up at the man before folding himself comfortably into Elijah’s chest yet the android can immediately sense that something is off.

“Morning to you too, Connor.” The man responds with what sounds like a smile, yet he gingerly pulls himself away from the android.

Connor simply frowns and reaches out for Elijah again, only to have the man step gently out of his grasp.

“Elijah?” the Android questions, suddenly very alert on account of Elijah’s bizarre behavior.

“Is everything alright?” Connor questions, but Elijah is moving back to the workspace and plugging in his computer.

“Connor, we need to talk about something that happened last night.”

“You’re not mad about the-,” and Connor lifts a finger to gesture towards the array of purple marks along Elijah’s neck and collar bones.

“Absolutely not.” Elijah gave him a warm smile, then lowered his voice drastically, “I wasn’t able to delete the video from last night.”

Connor felt like he might just shut down, if not for the steadying hand Elijah placed on his shoulder.

“I’ve asked to buy your freedom, but I’ve not heard anything back yet. This is an extremely precarious situation. I really can’t touch you now, for obvious reasons. I believe we should carry on as normal until I hear back. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hold back this answer just to cause me the extra stress.” Elijah is still trying to maintain that natural smile as he watches Connor process this information.

“I told them to name a price, and offered Alistire 25% of the company, of course, I’d give up the whole thing for you Connor, but I can’t have them knowing just how much you mean to me. Are you okay, Connor?”

The android simply nods, but Elijah can read his discomfort clearly.

“Until then? You won’t stop visiting right? I don’t think I could handle that, Elijah.”

“Of course, I’ll be here. I don’t think I would fair too well without you, either.”

“Elijah, I remember you telling me that no matter the price, they wouldn’t free me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that has not changed in the last few hours.”

Elijah can’t help the pained expression that washes over his face as he gazes at Connor’s equally confused and anxiety-ridden features.

“That’s our only option now Connor. I’m sorry.”