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Vulnerable

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The strands of soft, dark hair between your fingers, and the crackling coming from the fireplace in front of you, made for a rather calm and pleasant air between you. The hard rain had long since faded into the background, what happened outside the walls of your home at this moment did not concern you. A barrier of sorts. Your shirt was stained with dark spots, though not in result of the weather. In your arms, you held a turbulent android whose emotions more or less coincided with the outside conditions. He had come to you for help, hoping you could fix it; make it go away, this feeling.

To be honest, you didn’t even know he was capable of tears. And if he had been aware of it himself, you weren’t entirely sure. He looked so vulnerable with wet trails down his cheeks and grip so tight it reminded you of animal babies clinging to their mother. Vulnerable: a word you never before thought to pair Connor with.

You stroked his hair away from his forehead and leaned down to place a tender kiss on it. Your fingers grazed over his LED and stayed there, following it in circles of red. The way he cried... was difficult to understand. He didn’t say a word, nor did he ever let out a sob. His breathing had changed, but never too drastically.

You didn’t even know what was wrong, although you had an inkling. A few days had passed since the revolution, and the happenings of that day were public. But Connor had never told anyone of it in his perspective. You had decided not to ask and just continue to hold him, comfort him. He had told you that he found embracing to be enjoyable. Maybe he needed as much love and contact as a human did, and you were here to provide.

“Shh, shh it’s okay.” you whispered and rocked him a little. “It’s okay.”

When you first noticed that he was crying you were taken aback. He had been quiet for a while, watching the flames of fire dance. You were just scrolling on your phone, letting out a laugh here and there at something you found funny. When you glanced up at Connor to check on him, the last thing you were expecting was what you got. He looked like he was in a trance, the light reflecting on his wet cheeks. Your phone was quickly forgotten, your whole being filled with concern instead—and guilt, about laughing when he was not.

“Are you okay?”

He tore his eyes from the fire upon your question and set them on you, “What makes you say that?”

“You’re... you’re crying.” you said with a finger on your cheek.

He mirrored your action and inspected his finger. Did he really not know? He began wiping it all away.

“It seems that I am. Sorry.”

You ignored his apology and repeated your question, “Connor, are you okay?”

“I... don’t know. I don’t think so.”

You stood up from your armchair and motioned for him to come over. When he did, you hugged him, with all the emotion you could manage to put into it. And that’s how you ended up on the floor, your back against the armchair and Connor’s face against your collarbones, renewed with tears. You made no comment on it.

You were already nodding off when Connor spoke up again and, with that one sentence, you were fully awake.

“I don’t want to die.” was what he had said, whispered even.

I don’t want to die. Why did he say that? What was he thinking about that made him say that? What had happened? You momentarily ceased your actions, but held him closer.

“How so?”

He didn’t answer. You were beginning to think that this was the end of the conversation, that he wasn’t ready to tell you more. Maybe he didn’t know the answer, or maybe he didn’t know how to put it into words.

“During the rally... when Markus spoke to the deviants, I... I...”

“It’s okay.” you encouraged him, tried to anyway.

“I... pointed my gun at him. I was close to pulling the trigger when I realized what I was doing.”

Your brows creased, not understanding why he would do that.

“Amanda told me that, everything had been according to plan. That in the event of my deviancy, they’d resume control and carry out the mission. I was trapped inside my own mind, and it was freezing cold and snowing. I remembered what Kamski said about a backdoor in all his programs, finding it and successfully putting a stop to what was happening. But I’m scared that she’ll be there again, that I’ll lose control and that I won’t be able to find the backdoor again.”

“What happens when you access your mindscape? Is she still there?”

“...I haven’t tried to. I don’t want to be there.”

You didn’t know what to say, this was a rather serious situation. You wished that Kamski could somehow reassure Connor that it couldn’t possibly happen. You wished that it was indeed impossible.

“But there’s always going to be a backdoor, no? It can’t disappear, can it?”

“That’s what I don’t know. What if Amanda finds a way to change my coding, finds a way to hide or completely delete it.”

“Is it even in her capabilities to do that? I mean, CyberLife must’ve put some restriction on her?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know.”

This all was very troubling, and you really did consider trying to contact Kamski for an answer.

“Why did you say that you don’t want to die?”

It just didn’t add up, everything he had told you so far. What did it have to do with his first statement?

“I’ve... I’ve been thinking about deactivation as a solution.”

No, he... he couldn’t possibly?

...Suicide?

You took a deep breath, a shaky one at that, trying not to cry too. Trying to be strong, it was a lie. You felt weak, I mean... suicide? You didn’t even want to think about... you didn’t want him to die either. You couldn’t stop them, joining him in the waterworks.

“It’s okay, okay? We’ll find a way to, to make her disappear forever, okay? I promise. Please, please don’t kill yourself.” you were furiously rubbing his back, trying to comfort not only him, but yourself too, “It’s gonna be okay. I promise you, it’s going... it’s going to be okay. It’s not gonna happen again.

Don’t disappear on me, okay? I don’t want you to die either.”