Gavin wrinkled his nose at the report he was reading to catch himself up on the facts of his new case. Were they actually calling it Pink Ice? A date-rape drug targeting omegas really shouldn’t have such a cutesy title attached, but he guessed there was no controlling the street name of a substance.
“Are you all right there, Gavin?” Connor asked as he rolled his chair over from his desk so he could sit at Gavin and Nine’s.
“Yeah, just, they couldn’t have given it a better name? It’s not even pink, and forcing omegas to go into a heat so they can be raped and or killed more easily isn’t exactly cute or romantic.”
Connor nodded with a thoughtful look on his face. “This is true. But it’d be advantageous to the sellers to make their product sound innocuous to those who aren’t in the know.”
Gavin hummed in acknowledgement of his words as he flicked the page over. The drug’s composition had been listed. Connor or Nine had probably given it a lick and figured it out pretty quickly. But the production method and the group responsible for it were both unknown. The most likely suspects were those who’d invented Red Ice, but there was no evidence any of their old facilities had been reopened for a new line of production and distribution.
Gavin flipped the page again to find details of the crime report that had prompted the response in the first place. A photo of a young blonde omega woman accompanied the dry description of her forced drugging and subsequent rape. Her attacker was still unknown and on the loose.
At least she was still alive, and had been able to provide them with samples of the suspect’s DNA, as well as of the drug itself. It was awful it’d happened, but at least they had what they needed to start doing something about it.
Gavin jumped slightly when a hand landed on his shoulder, but he recognised Nine’s scent before he glanced up. Both of the androids had been built to present as alpha, but they were also capable of neutralising their scents entirely. That seemed to be Connor’s preferred mode of operation, most of the time.
“Another spate of cases was reported last night. Most of them were downtown, relatively close to Wayne State University,” Nine reported even as he gave Gavin’s shoulder a gentle squeeze.
Of course both of them could tell the circumstances of the case were bothering him. Apparently they could tell someone’s key vitals just by looking. But fortunately they also knew him well enough to not confront him about it just yet.
No matter how disconcerting the thought that he could be affected by something like this was, he had to be one of the people to deal with it. Human alphas, and even betas, couldn’t just turn their noses off like androids could. They couldn’t enter crime scenes or speak to victims without getting inappropriately aroused, or at least distracted.
And that was why Gavin had finally been given a chance to lead an investigation. While he ranked as a fairly senior detective, pervasive prejudice against omegas meant his role generally resembled that of a junior detective’s. While the circumstances of this case were awful and personally confronting, Gavin was keen on a chance to do his actual job.
And androids alone wouldn’t be enough. This was a very human problem, and a personal one. Omega males made up a small percentage of the population, but they were disproportionately likely to be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
And back when he’d been younger and stupider, Gavin had been one of them.
“Well, I think I’m getting a bit old to be blending in with the university crowd,” Gavin began. Somehow he’d ended up much closer to forty than thirty-five without even really noticing the years passing. “Was there a particular location we should start looking at?”
“No, the locations were seemingly random, and there was only one reported instance at each. Roux Lounge Bar, Wired Nightclub, and the human edition of Eden Club,” Nine replied dryly.
Gavin rolled his eyes. “The strip club you mean? What would be the point of using something like that when you’re at a brothel?”
“Apparently it’s expensive and complicated to purchase time with an omega in heat, but yes, this time it involved two patrons at the strip club.”
“Perhaps the proximity of those locations means someone was selling the drug in that general vicinity last night?” Connor suggested. “Couldn’t we get patrols down there to look for them?”
“The second they think we’re onto them, they’ll move to another location for a while. This should probably be an undercover operation for now, or at least a plainclothes one. Maybe we should put up the appearance of going bar hopping and search the area in the meantime?” Gavin suggested. They should agree on a strategy before approaching Fowler to get him to sign off on it.
Connor tilted his head. “You’re right, of course. I just can’t stand the idea of letting this go on any longer than it has to. The longer we take, the more victims there will be.”
“I know,” Gavin acknowledged. “Obviously I don’t feel any better about it. Not when it’s something that’s such a danger to me, too.”
Gavin missed the look Nine and Connor shared because he was too busying trying to visualise what he knew about the area, how close the specified locations were to each other, and what was in between them. They were already aware the strip club was owned by someone connected to a crime syndicate, so it was possible that location was linked to the distribution. Though if they were smart, they’d know the police were aware of their activity and just go for the shady stranger on a street corner approach so they could stay on the move.
Given the fast uptake of the drug, they had to have advertised it somewhere. It seemed unlikely they’d put it up anywhere public and open, but it was worth checking all avenues to be sure.
“All right, I’ll put in a request to Intel to search the dark web and more anonymised social media for anyone advertising this stuff in Detroit,” Gavin began, but both Nine and Connor seemed to have a problem with this.
“We’re going to be out all night, and probably well into the morning,” Connor said gently. “You should go home and get a head start on sleeping. We can deal with the request and planning a search route.”
Gavin naturally wanted to protest being made to warm the bench while they did all the preparation, but he couldn’t exactly argue with that logic. They could go into stasis anywhere and only needed to be in that state for a few hours a day to maintain normal functioning. He was used to getting his back up over the way he could be treated as an omega, but he knew if anyone didn’t mean it like that, it was these two.
“Before the night is out you might need to end up playing the bait, yet,” Nine murmured and squeezed his shoulder one last time before finally letting go. “You should do everything you can to maintain your alertness overnight.”
“All right, all right,” Gavin agreed as he got to his feet. “Let’s take the idea to Fowler first, then we’ll start preparing.”
It had been easy enough to convince Fowler that their plan was a good starting point. As soon as they’d managed to herd Gavin out the door and into his car, the two of them had sat down to start writing emails to the various Intel teams. Neither of them wanted to risk their systems by looking on the more illegal side of the internet with their own hardware.
“It’s been more than six months since Gavin’s last heat,” Connor commented directly into Nine’s processor. “Is that healthy?”
Omegas usually went into heat about four times a year. There were suppressants on the market, but it was generally recommended they weren’t used continuously since the fake hormones in them were so potent.
“He told me he only lets it happen once a year. With everything that’s going on with this new date-rape drug, I don’t think it’ll be any time soon.” Nine performed a quick look up in the back of his mind as he continued to work. “This frequency is considered safe by the manufacturer of the brand of suppressant he uses.”
“His last heat, the one the three of us spent together… was that the first time you two had been together in that way too?”
Connor turned to face him. They were both done with their email requests. “Yes, you know he doesn’t trust easily. And that’s when he’s at his most vulnerable. You know his pride is important to him, particularly in his professional life.”
Connor smiled somewhat grimly. “Yes, even better than you do, I’m sure. I have been on the pointy end of Gavin feeling existentially threatened by modern technology,” Connor reminded. Gavin had apologised for trying to destroy him multiple times, but it was his change in behaviour that had mattered to Connor most.
“And… Gavin has been taken advantage of during a heat before,” Nine decided to add. “This case is going to hit close to home for him, and I suspect things are only going to get a lot messier before we can make them better.”
He was sure Gavin wouldn’t mind him mentioning it, given the circumstances. It just wasn’t the sort of thing that normally came up in conversation.
“So I propose we be strategic about what we’re going to do tonight. We should both present as alpha to dissuade anyone from approaching us. If we do end up seeing a seller, I’ll try to engage them. You should stay close to Gavin and protect him from unwanted attention. It can play into the cover story I’ll use.” That he was trying to steal Gavin from under Connor’s nose, or something.
“Ok,” Connor agreed. Nine received a sense of irritation from him, but knew it was directed more at the way Gavin had to navigate the world to stay safe than anyone in particular.
“Ok,” Connor added, out loud this time. “We should go home and rest before tonight.”
Nine nodded and stood up. They’d have to be careful not to disturb Gavin’s sleep.
Gavin heard the front door open and close gently as his two android partners quietly entered the apartment. He heard the fridge open and guessed Nine had grabbed him groceries yet again. He’d tried to tell him it wasn’t necessary and that he should spend his money on things he actually needed, but he obviously didn’t care for his protests much.
It didn’t take long for Nine’s scent to permeate the apartment once again. That Kamski guy had put a lot of effort into the composition of android scents. It was obvious they were android rather than human, but it still did the same things to him as any human alpha’s scent would. He supposed the creators had had to avoid uncanny valley in more than just the visual sense.
Usually any hint of an alpha’s scent would get his back up. Unless he was close to his heat, of course. Then it’d just turn him into a shameless horny mess. But both Connor and Nine had already seen him in that state, and apparently it hadn’t changed their opinion of him.
Gavin opened his eyes to see that the soft shuffle of feet on the carpet and strengthening scent had indeed been Nine coming to stand in his doorway. Nine immediately looked apologetic.
“Sorry, did we wake you?”
Gavin shook his head and looked away. “No, I wasn’t asleep. It’s still the middle of the day. And besides, whether I’m taking suppressants or not, my body still tries to go through its cycle of hormonal changes. I haven’t been able to sleep much at all lately.”
He spent a lot more time awake than usual during a heat, and his change in scent would normally trigger a partner to do the same. The suppressants did reduce the more severe symptoms in the lead up, and prevented him from reaching a stage where he was insatiable, though.
“We might as well not bother heading out for several hours yet,” Nine said as he entered the room properly and sat on the edge of Gavin’s bed. “The kind of people we’re looking for won’t be out and about until well after sunset.”
Gavin absently reached for Nine’s hand and stroked the back of it. Right now he found the android’s scent even more attractive and comforting than usual. He was just glad this case had come across his desk today and not sometime next week, when it’d be even more obvious he was suppressing.
Gavin’s nostrils flared when another scent began to permeate the surroundings. It seemed Connor had switched his on too, which he didn’t normally do outside of bedroom activities.
“Don’t worry, we’re just going to take precautions and make him present ‘normally’ for tonight,” Nine explained. Gavin was glad to be reassured it didn’t have anything to do with his changing scent. “It takes a few hours for his clothes and surroundings to become as permeated with his scent as they should be.”
Gavin nodded against the pillow. He’d noticed that over the time the three of them had been together, of course. “I guess you two have already planned out a search route?”
Nine turned his hand over under Gavin’s and curled his fingers around it. “Yes, there will be other groups searching the university campuses and dodgier hangout spots to see what general information they can find out. The three of us will concentrate on the cases that occurred last night.
“We’ll start in Roux Lounge and make our way around to the other locations as appropriate. Unfortunately with crime of this nature the reporting rate is generally low, so we’ll have to remain alert be flexible about what we actually end up achieving.”
“Yeah, that’s about what I expected,” Gavin replied. Somehow all he could focus on was watching Nine’s mouth tug into a small smile. He moved to sit up, but Nine leaned back slightly.
“If we manage to find someone involved in the trade, or better yet an actual seller, I’m going to be the one talking to them.” Nine raised Gavin’s hand to his mouth and pressed his lips to it. “It’ll be easier to convince them I’m interested in buying if I don’t have your scent all over me.”
Gavin was embarrassed, but would never admit Nine’s behaviour pleased him in any way. But both of the androids treated him like this all the time. Like he was something special. Someone worthwhile.
With them he was neither an object of desire on a pedestal, nor an irredeemable whore. It was… refreshing.
“Still, try to get some more rest. We’ll let you know well before we leave so you’ll have time to get ready. We’ll need to try and fit in with the crowd of wherever we end up.”
That’d be easy enough for Nine and Connor. It wasn’t unusual for androids to mingle in what used to be human only spaces, and on top of that they looked like they could be in their mid to late twenties. Gavin would have to be… strategic about his own appearance.
“All right, all right. If you two are still going to be moving around and stuff, then close the door.” He still wasn’t used to hearing other people in his apartment, even if it did seem like both of the androids had unofficially moved in at this point.
Nine nodded before standing and leaving. He closed the door softly. Gavin adjusted himself in his underwear and turned over.
As if he could sleep.
Connor scanned the lounge bar with a benign expression. Gavin was sitting in the chair next to him. He’d been sitting on a light beer for the last forty minutes, since he didn’t know how much he’d need to drink later in the night to blend in. Connor could tell Gavin was slightly uncomfortable with the way the android’s arm rested across the back of his chair in an almost possessive manner, but they both knew it was the best way to peacefully deter unwanted attention.
Nine was on the other side of the room, chatting up the bartender. She didn’t seem particularly charmed by him, but was still talking about what she thought she’d witnessed last night anyway. Nine was silently relaying the important details back to him, and Connor would occasionally lean over to share pertinent snippets with Gavin too.
Connor leant over to do so once again, but soon noticed Gavin was intermittently glancing at something not too far from them. Connor followed his line of sight to a man and a woman sitting around one of the small tables nearby. They were close enough for him to register their identities and alpha nature. Neither of them were known criminals, so Connor focused on what was going on in front of him. Something had made Gavin notice them in particular.
They seemed to be arguing about something. The man pushed what appeared to be a zip lock bag with a large amount of cash stuffed in it toward the woman. She bit out something harsh and put her hand over the bag, not to take it, but to block it from view.
Connor shared his visual feed with Nine, so he would know he needed to finish up his conversation before these two moved on. It’d be good to follow them and find out more, but they couldn’t be too obvious about it.
Connor shifted his hand so it was resting on Gavin’s shoulder and squeezed it lightly. He still sometimes automatically tried to connect with Gavin in the same way he did with Nine, even though he knew it wasn’t possible. A physical gesture was the only way he had to communicate he’d seen what Gavin was looking at, and that he agreed they should investigate it further.
Gavin looked up at him and raised a brow. Connor nodded slightly. Gavin leaned in and made a show of scenting his neck again so he could speak freely.
“You got anything on those two?”
“No,” Connor murmured. “Nine will follow. They know our faces.” At least subconsciously, at any rate. He and Gavin together could trigger suspicion.
Connor’s attention snapped back to their targets when the woman stood abruptly. She stormed over to the door. Nine was already extricating himself from the conversation he’d been having.
The man followed his female companion, who whirled around and stormed outside. Nine shared a look with one of the other patrons and made a show of checking if they were gone before leaving the establishment himself.
Gavin immediately became restless now that something was developing and he knew he’d have to sit around and wait again. “Finish your beer, I’ll let you know if he hears anything interesting,” Connor said quietly. Then he spoke at normal volume. “Looks like it’s about home time, huh?”
“I didn’t know people like that came out this early,” Gavin replied, and then took a long drink.
Connor just shrugged offhandedly. He was paying close attention to the data Nine was streaming back to him. It was a mix of key visual frames and significant audio snippets that would probably seem like gibberish if played directly to a human.
‘Are you fucking stupid?’ the woman snapped. ‘You can’t just ask for something like that in the middle of a lounge bar!’
‘Didn’t you see that omega with the android? Bitch needs to be taught a lesson-’
If Connor hadn’t been holding back on reacting to what was going on in his head, his eyes would have widened at that. It seemed the reason Gavin had noticed them because the man had been showing interest in him, purposely or not.
‘Oh for… Listen, after last night, the cops will probably start sniffing around this area sooner than later. You can’t just flaunt stupid amounts of cash around,’ the woman reprimanded.
Connor knew the man wasn’t alone in his attitude; he had been around humans since before the revolution, after all. He knew the first android to ever be released on the market had been a sex bot. The now famous inventor, Elijah Kamski, was an omega, and so he’d naturally made his initial line of products present as alphas.
There was a theory that he’d never released omega models because he’d wanted to give human omegas more choice, and therefore more power in society. If they could find the same type of satisfaction in an artificial substitute, there would no longer be a need for them to maintain unwanted and uncomfortable social relations for the sake of relative safety during a heat.
Naturally there had been a group of particularly angry alphas who didn’t appreciate this being taken away. Their attitude persisted even after the revolution, because even if androids weren’t owned be humans anymore, human alphas still had more competition for omega attention. Competition from androids who’d originally been programmed to treat their omega owners well, and had a limited conception of traditional social roles.
It was probable that most of the buyers were like him. That this group had found a way to get back some of what they used to have. What they needed to determine now was who would go so far to fill such a demand.
Connor looked around the bar again and noted it was still too empty to have a private conversation. There weren’t enough patrons to make enough noise to drown out their conversation. But Gavin had just finished his drink.
“Let’s get out of here,” Connor said.
Gavin nodded casually, but there was a sense of urgency in his eyes that he couldn’t quite hide. Connor would be able to both explain and assuage his worries soon enough.
Is it really a cliffhanger if you can guess what's going to happen next?
The two alphas Connor and Gavin had directed Nine toward soon separated. It seemed the man had walked away with what he wanted.
After the transaction, the woman started behaving in a much more paranoid fashion. It didn’t make following her easy, but Nine eventually found himself at the back of Wired. He watched her go through the nightclub’s service entrance from his hiding spot among the dumpsters.
The place would probably open soon. Nine intended to tell Gavin and Connor to join the line before things got too crazy, but Connor reached out to him just as he was about to say something.
‘That guy from the bar is still loitering around, like he’s waiting for an opportunity. Gavin is buying us time by pretending he needed to come out here to have a cigarette, but if we don’t move on soon he might get suspicious.’
It made sense that they should wait and see what he’d do. The fact he’d bought and was now in possession of the drug was one thing, but if he really intended to use it as a date rape, it’d be better if they could catch him in the act.
Nine wasn’t exactly comfortable with the idea that Gavin would have to be the ‘bait’, but they weren’t supposed to let their personal feelings stand in the way of an investigation. Their ability to act professionally despite difficult circumstances was the only reason Fowler let him and Gavin get away with working together so often despite their personal relationship.
‘The two of you should head for Wired and get in the line. It’s important we try to make sure no one else will be at risk of getting hurt by this guy, but I also want to see if I can find out more about the makers and distribution channels. I’ll be out the back if you need anything.’
Connor pinged his acknowledgement and cut the connection. It was time for Nine to get to work.
Gavin wished he could have just flashed his badge at security and demanded entry, but unfortunately this wasn’t a raid. Once they’d managed to get inside, he and Connor had gone straight to the dance floor so the android could move around and scan their surroundings without drawing obvious attention to himself.
After a few songs, Connor squeezed Gavin’s hip to get him to shuffle closer. Connor leaned in close so Gavin would be able to hear him over the music.
“Our friend has posted himself in the corner and hasn’t bothered to cover the fact he’s watching for an opportunity. We might as well give him one now, in case Nine has to beat a hasty retreat. He doesn’t seem to be very subtle, so if you go over to get a drink he’ll probably appear quickly. We just need a reason for me to not follow you over there.”
Gavin had an idea of how to go about it, but there wasn’t exactly much time to communicate it to Connor. He twisted his expression down into a frown and slapped the android across the face.
“Fucking hell,” he muttered as he pushed his way through the crowd and over to the bar.
He glanced back to see Connor was legitimately baffled for a few seconds before it seemed to click. His LED flashed red as he looked around helplessly, then he moved to the other side of the room.
As they’d predicted, the man was quick to come closer and attempt to intercept him. Gavin had only just managed to get close enough to the bar to order and pay for a drink when he appeared behind him.
“You all right there, darlin’?” he asked in what he clearly thought was a charming drawl.
Gavin rolled his eyes and stepped around him, taking his drink over to an unoccupied stretch of leather seating. The place had just opened, so it wasn’t exactly packed out yet. “Just great,” he called over his shoulder before sitting down.
“Guess there’re some things a hunk of plastic can’t replicate. Want to be reminded of what those are?” he asked bluntly as he sat in the small gap on the end of the seat that Gavin had left for him.
Gavin raised a brow and looked him up and down. “What is that supposed to mean? I’m not interested in getting knocked up by some alpha who can’t keep it in his pants.”
The guy wrinkled his nose, to Gavin’s private relief. “Of course that’s not the only thing. I know the owner of this place, so we could go out the back and have some real fun. I’ve got stuff that’s better than alcohol.”
“I don’t think I’ve had enough to drink to even consider it,” Gavin snapped. He needed to test the waters a bit more before getting himself in that kind of situation, even though he knew he had backup. If the guy was totally aggro, they’d need to come up with an alternative.
The guy’s mouth twitched, but he managed to hide his anger. “Oh please, don’t get so full of yourself. If you weren’t on suppressants, you’d be all over me.”
Gavin grimaced, but he couldn’t entirely deny that. It was obvious he was right on the verge of a heat, or would be if he let his hormones have their way. But of course his body didn’t care about social justice, only the biological continuation of the species.
“Come on, I can still make it good for you,” the man added, seeming to think this would sway Gavin toward his intentions rather than make him rail against them. But now Gavin was worried if he rejected his advance again, they’d lose their chance to catch him in the act.
Gavin finished his drink off as he thought about it, which fit the circumstances anyway. He looked at the guy again, who met his gaze, steady and unfailing.
“The shit you have had better be good.”
The man grinned at him. “I’ll let you be the judge of that.”
Gavin had sat in the perfect spot to allow Connor to gather good recordings of their conversation. Not that they’d be called that legally, since it wasn’t his fault his memories could be uploaded to devices and viewed on a monitor.
Connor had started making his way through the crowd as soon as it looked like Gavin was going to go along with the guy’s suggestion about changing locations. He casually followed them out the back, being sure to keep some distance between them. He felt a mildly nervous but made himself look confident, like he was meant to be there.
No one stopped him from going behind the bar and through the door to back of house. The stark difference in atmosphere struck him immediately, what with the lack of coloured lights and patrons. The music was still audible of course, but much less imposing.
Connor could hear a pair of footsteps moving down the corridor to his right, but it was the woman leaning against a cardboard box straight ahead who noticed him first. She was talking to someone on her mobile, but looked up at him immediately. It took less than a second for his program to recognise her as the other alpha they had seen at the bar, but recognition seemed to light up in her eyes just as quickly.
“He’s still here!” she yelled as she stood. Not at the person on the other end of the line, as he soon discovered, but the two burly looking men who were hurriedly emerging from the room behind her. “Devon, I am going to strangle you later!” That had to be directed toward Gavin’s assailant-to-be.
The woman pulled out a gun and Connor immediately raised his hands. It occurred to him that they might have become aware of Nine’s presence since he and Gavin had checked in on him last. It seemed they thought he and Nine were the same android.
‘A little help, if you don’t mind? I don’t know where he’s taking Gavin.’
Only a moment later, Connor heard a door slam approximately twenty meters down the corridor Gavin had been led down. Maybe he had some idea after all.
‘Do I have to do everything around here?’ Nine teased. But the tinge of concern was palpable even through their direct connection.
“Is this a plant from the pigs?” one of the burly men asked. “He could be relaying data back right now.”
Connor flicked through the security cameras while he waited, but none of them showed any indication of what was happening to Gavin right now. It’d be stupid for the man to take him somewhere that was being monitored, after all.
Every second seemed to stretch out as Connor constructed what could happen to Gavin in his mind over and over again. But thinking about it was only causing his own stress level to increase. There was nothing he could do to change the outcome until he and Nine had dealt with the problem in front of them. Continuing to dwell on it would only make things drag out all the longer.
Nine was approaching the group silently from behind, and Connor prevented his eyes from flickering to look at him. When he was in position, their eyes met for a moment and the woman automatically began to look over her shoulder to follow his gaze. That was the moment Nine chose to yank her arm down and perform a rapid takedown and disarm.
Connor used the distraction to charge forward. ‘We don’t have enough handcuffs to immobilise everyone,’ he observed. In fact, between the three of them, they didn’t have any.
Nine turned the gun’s safety back on while the other three were too distracted to see what he was doing and pointed the weapon at the woman. “All of you get on the ground, now.”
Connor looked down the corridor Gavin and Devon had disappeared down as he heard a bodily thud against wood. “What the fuck did you do to me, asshole!? Get off me!”
When he glanced back in Nine’s direction he looked antsy. Connor wanted to run down there and help, but he knew that if he did, Nine would be too busy worrying to be effective where he was. Besides, if Gavin had been forced to take the drug he might not recognise Connor with his scent fully presenting the way it was.
Connor quickly circled the three people kneeling on the ground and held his hand out for the weapon. ‘Go.’
Nine nodded gratefully and took off down the corridor. Connor had barely squared up with the pistol when he got a sense of distress from Nine. The fact he was oversharing like this said enough on its own.
Connor felt Nine parse the command to switch off his olfactory sensors.
That couldn’t be a good sign.
Gavin had perhaps not been cautious enough when he’d entered the room with their target. At least he hadn’t expected to have something shoved into his mouth and be forced to swallow it right away.
Not only was it not pink, it seemed it wasn’t really ice either. If he’d paid more attention to the chemical composition part of the report he might have noticed this sooner, but…
Gavin winced when he was roughly forced back against the door. The douchebag had locked it on their way in, but at least if Gavin was near it he’d be able to undo that. Gavin took hold of the lapels of the guy’s moto jacket in return and had to force himself not to get distracted and reach up to wipe away the sweat on his forehead.
This stuff was acting on him all too quickly. But then, he doubted being so close to his natural heat was helping him there.
“What the fuck did you do to me, asshole!? Get off me!” Gavin yelled as he tried to push him away. But it was fruitless.
He’d already noticed the change in his own scent, and wouldn’t be surprised to find slick had started building up inside his entrance. When the guy started to smell attractive instead of threatening he’d really have to start worrying. He could only hope his backup would show up before then.
Where were Connor and Nine, anyway?
Gavin jumped when he felt something thump on the other side of the door. “Gavin!?”
Well, that answered that. The difference in the androids’ voices was subtle, but a curl of Nine’s reassuring scent had made its way under the door, leaving Gavin with no doubt as to who was there. The walls around them were made of old, sturdy brick, and the door itself was solid. He didn’t doubt Nine would eventually find a way in, but time was of the essence.
“So that’s your name, huh?” the guy commented as he continued trying to leverage his bodyweight against him.
Gavin growled in the back of his throat and dragged his foot along the guy’s shin, finishing up with stomping on his foot. The man swore and automatically took half a step back, shifting his weight off him as he tried to get away. Gavin took the opportunity to turn the lock on the door, which was pushed open behind him almost instantly.
Gavin found himself pushed into the guy who was attacking him for a moment. He still had enough self-awareness to realise he was at a point where any alpha’s scent had become attractive. He doubted he’d be able to keep it together for much longer. He’d watch the alphas fight over him, and then…
The guy pushed Gavin behind him, seeming to realise he’d have to fight for it too. But something wasn’t quite right. Nine’s scent hadn’t changed at all in response to Gavin’s. Were they even compatible, or was that another totally synthetic process?
He didn’t know why this was only bothering him now.
“Get away from him before I do something you’ll regret,” Nine threatened as he moved halfway into a fighting stance.
The guy rolled his eyes at the wording. “What’s your problem? He chose to come here with me to get fucked up.”
“I didn’t come back here to be forced to have a heat and have sex with you!” It was getting harder to think about anything other than his sudden sensitivity toward the material of his underwear against his entrance, though. “Nine, you need to get me out of here now.”
Nine cast a worried look over him and nodded slightly. He attempted to circle around the guy, but was blocked from getting any closer.
“Last chance, get out of my way,” Nine said evenly.
“I’m not going to let you take him from under my nose now.”
For someone who was so large and was usually so calm, Nine sure moved fast when he wanted to. Nine’s uppercut caught the guy under the jaw and he stumbled back, looking disoriented. Nine immediately moved to Gavin’s side and knelt down beside him.
Gavin leaned into him and tried to nuzzle closer to spread his scent around. But Nine still didn’t seem to be any more enticed by him than usual. “I need you inside me,” he murmured in an attempt to keep the alpha’s interest.
It seemed he had it, and yet didn’t at the same time. Nine’s LED flashed yellow for a moment before returning to a stuttering blue.
“Backup is on the way, so Connor will take care of things here,” he said quietly, but the words weren’t quite penetrating Gavin’s skull. “Let’s get you home, then I’ll help you deal with this, if that’s still what you want.”
His words were affirmative, but nothing else about him was. Still, something in the back of Gavin’s mind told him he didn’t really want to be back here either way. Going home—somewhere familiar, quiet and safe—and dealing with this there did sound much more appealing.
“Take me home, Nine. You’re the only one I trust with this.”
That finally seemed to get a response out of him. Gavin wrapped his arms around Nine’s neck as he found himself being picked up.
But the other guy stood up at the same time as them. “What do you think you’re doing, you stupid plastic asshole? Put him down and get out of here.”
“Didn’t you hear what he just said? Now you’ve done this to him, he wants me to sort it out.”
The guy shook his head disbelievingly. “Don’t try and act all noble. He slapped you across the face less than ten minutes ago! If you didn’t show up here, he’d be begging me for it instead.”
The guy had misunderstood the situation completely, of course. Maybe Connor and Nine should have dressed completely differently so they’d stop being mistaken for each other. But Gavin couldn’t deny the last part. It reached through his pre-heat fog, making him feel awful.
But Nine just sneered at the guy before turning toward the door. “Congratulations on being better than nothing?”
Gavin couldn’t help but flinch a little at the anger in the guy’s voice as he cussed Nine out again, not to mention the new change in his scent. If the guy had gotten like this while Nine hadn’t been here, he really would have been afraid of what would happen to him.
Nine took off down the hallway. Gavin guessed his LED flashing madly was him updating Connor about what was going on.
He looked over Nine’s shoulder and saw the guy had started to chase after them, but paused when he saw his buddies lying on the ground at the opposite end of the corridor. Nine seemed to be making his way toward the back entrance, so the guy ran into another room to hide from the perceived threat. Gavin hoped the other officers would find him before he could get away.
Gavin shivered when the relatively cool air of the back alley washed over him. He looked up at Nine, and saw his LED still hadn’t stopped circling yellow. He’d been won by the alpha, but Nine still didn’t seem that interested in his prize.
Gavin felt like he’d missed something, then suddenly found himself thrown into the front seat of a taxi, which had already been turned around to face the back seat. “What’s wrong, Nine? Is my scent not attractive enough anymore?” he mumbled.
As soon as Nine sat down and the door closed, Gavin crawled across the confined cab to sit in his lap. Nine didn’t bother to try and push him away, he simply reached out to interface with the console to put in directions so they could get going.
“Don’t be ridiculous, I have my olfactories turned off for a reason.”
Gavin squinted at him, the word’s definition not immediately obvious to his addled brain. But given the context, he could guess. “It’s just because you turned your nose off?” But he found he didn’t really care about the answer.
Gavin ground himself into Nine’s thigh. He knew his own dick wouldn’t get any harder than the semi he was sporting, now that his heat had hit him at full force. It was his ass that wanted to be touched, stretched and filled. He ached to have an alpha come inside him, to be knotted.
“Gavin, stop. It’ll only take twenty minutes to get back to your place, and then I’ll give you whatever you want for as long as you want.”
It was a nice offer, but not something he really had the patience or brain space to consider. “That’s way too long to wait now. Just hijack the taxi and pull over somewhere quiet,” he murmured into Nine’s ear. The android gripped his hip, revealing how he felt even if he refused to let his scent do so.
“We aren’t dealing with this in the back of a taxi. Who knows how many other people have had the same idea? Just wait a little longer, it won’t kill you.”
Gavin whined as he continued to press himself against Nine. He wasn’t being pushed away yet, so he felt compelled to keep trying.
“Please Nine, I need you.”
The android’s grip on his hips tightened again as he tried to hold Gavin in place. It only encouraged him to try and grind against him all the more.
“We aren’t going to fuck in here. Who knows how long it’ll take to satisfy you, and I don’t want to get fined for vandalising a cab’s programming. I’ll help you until we get there, but you have to be ready to move somewhere else when I tell you.”
“You know I’ll do anything you want,” Gavin murmured as he worked on undoing his pants.
Nine helped pull them and his briefs down to his knees. Gavin stood as best he could in the compact space of the moving taxi and turned around. He knelt on the edge of the other seat and leaned forward to press his hands and the side of his head against the seat backing.
Nine still seemed reluctant to take his scent in, and probably wouldn’t until he reached a place he deemed safe enough to get Gavin through his heat properly. But the android had other tells that Gavin excited him, even if they were more subtle.
Gavin relished in the feel of Nine’s hands on his ass. His thumbs spread his cheeks apart, and Gavin tensed in anticipation at the stretch of his hole.
Nine leaned in and licked a line up his inner thigh, cleaning up the slick that had already started leaking from his entrance. He continued to lick his inner thighs and crack, cleaning up before turning his attention to Gavin’s entrance.
Gavin sighed as his tongue pressed against the taut muscle of his entrance. He only produced his own lubrication like this during a heat. And his hole became even more sensitive and needy.
Nine continued stroking his tongue against him, then pressed the tip of it inside. Gavin moaned and pushed back, seeking more, deeper, and trying to encourage Nine to give him what he really needed. But Nine either had an iron will or enjoyed torturing him, because he only began to thrust his tongue inside him.
“N-Nine, please… you know what I need.” Gavin scrabbled to grip the smooth seat cover as he felt himself relax and open to his alpha’s touch.
Nine continued working the outside of his entrance with his tongue as he finally pressed a finger inside him. When he realised Gavin was opening to the penetration easily, a second followed soon after. It simultaneously wasn’t nearly enough and all too much.
Nine curled his fingers into his prostate and Gavin cried out. Nine’s fingers continued to massage it as his tongue continued to press against him where it could. The hand gripping his hip prevented him from thrusting back onto Nine’s fingers too vigorously.
Gavin tensed as he reached his first orgasm. His pleasure crested almost gently as more slick gathered in his entrance and a trickle escaped the end of his flushed cock. But this was only the beginning. A warm up for the rest of the encounter, rather than the goal of it.
Nine gently pulled out and leaned back, making Gavin whine in protest. He could smell Nine’s scent had changed slightly. It seemed he’d ended up turning his sense of smell back on after all.
“We’re almost there now,” he said softly, and Gavin noticed his voice had changed too. It was slightly deeper and rougher than his usual tone. If it meant getting more, Gavin would do anything he said. “Put your clothes back on and follow me up to the apartment, then we can continue where we left off.”
He could see why Nine had tried to refuse his advances altogether until they got home. More than ever he just wanted them to pull over and fuck until sunrise. But he knew his alpha would never agree to that now.
He startled a little wen tissue touched against his skin, but it soon became clear it was just Nine helping him clean up enough to get that far. When he was done, Gavin reluctantly pulled his underwear and pants back up.
Gavin turned to sit in his seat properly. He looked at Nine and the intense look in his eye pinned him in place.
He wouldn’t be waiting for much longer.
Nine was glad it wasn’t a long walk from the side of the road to Gavin’s apartment. Otherwise he might have actually listened to Gavin’s suggestion to ‘just fuck in the bushes’.
But, they had managed to make it to the safety of the inside of his home. Nine locked the front door, knowing Connor had a key. His programmed instincts weren’t exactly conducive to sharing, but it was meant to be the three of them now. Besides, it wasn’t like he had genes to pass on.
Gavin’s tongue was determinedly roaming up and down his neck. As he pressed himself into Nine’s thigh, Nine pulled back a little. Gavin looked up at him with his lips parted and face flushed, and Nine knew he wouldn’t be able to make him wait for much longer.
He put a hand on Gavin’s cheek and tilted his head slightly upward. He needed Gavin’s attention to be on what he was going to say. “Go to the bedroom and get undressed, then wait for me on your bed. I’ll be there shortly.”
Gavin looked over his shoulder at the door that led to his room and en suite, then looked back at Nine. He obviously didn’t want to leave his side.
“I promise I won’t be long,” Nine added gently.
Gavin reluctantly pulled away and moved to get undressed in his bedroom. He didn’t close his door, seeming to want to keep Nine in his line of sight. Nine moved to the kitchen and pulled a water bottle out of the fridge. The distance between them made Gavin’s scent slightly less distracting, so he took his chance to update Connor on the situation.
‘I got Gavin home safe. What are you doing now?’
‘Good, I’m glad he’s all right,’ Connor replied, sounding sincerely relieved. ‘The alleged gang members we found have been arrested, but the one who tried to assault Gavin hasn’t been found yet. I’ll probably be doing paperwork until tomorrow morning, at this rate.’
‘Sorry to have left it all in your lap.’
‘It’s all right. Gavin needs you now,’ Connor replied before abruptly cutting off their connection.
Nine was sure that meant it wasn’t really, but that was something they would have to deal with after he came home in the morning. Gavin did need him now.
Nine grabbed a few of the protein bars Gavin kept around and made his way to the bedroom. Gavin taking his clothes off had only made his scent stronger, of course. The fact he was half sitting up on the bed and fingering himself open probably wasn’t helping either.
Gavin was fixated on Nine the moment he entered the room, but Nine avoided looking at him and moved straight into the bathroom. If they had towels nearby, it’d save a lot of hassle later.
By the time he returned to the bedroom, Gavin had shuffled on his knees to the edge of the bed. The hand that was now sticky with his own fluids was suspended in the air awkwardly while Gavin leaned to the side to try and get a proper look at him.
Nine deposited the items on Gavin’s bedside table and spread one of the towels across the bedcovers. Finally, Nine returned to the end of the bed so he could stand in front of Gavin.
And what a sight he was.
Nine gently took hold of Gavin’s wrist and licked the fluid off his palm before moving his mouth down each finger individually and sucking lightly on his way back up. Gavin’s other hand fumbled at Nine’s waistband as he tried to uncover what he was currently most interested in. He didn’t seem to be able to quite coordinate getting his belt off with one hand, so Nine released him once he’d been licked clean.
Gavin undid his pants in record time, pulling them and his briefs down just far enough to reveal his erection. Gavin took hold of his cock and went to put his mouth on it, but Nine stopped him with a gentle touch to his jaw.
“That’s hardly necessary, darling,” he murmured. “Lay back on the bed if you’re ready to take it.”
Gavin gave him a few absent strokes before Nine’s words seemed to register, then moved back to the head of the bed where he could lay back against the pillows again. The towel was in the perfect spot to soak up the mess they were going to make.
Nine swiftly finished undressing. Gavin seemed to only be getting more excited now.
Nine crawled onto the bed and pressed himself against Gavin. He tried to kiss him, but Nine turned away and started kissing his neck at the last moment.
“Remember where my mouth has been, Gavin. Your body hasn’t had time to… get entirely clean,” he finished tactfully.
Gavin whined at him, but Nine knew he’d be glad Nine had insisted once this was over. Nine swiped his hand over Gavin’s entrance, picking up some slick he could rub over his cock. It was more than easy to slide inside Gavin when he was like this.
While Nine didn’t feel pleasure in exactly the same way as a human, the positive feedback from his sensors and behavioural programs was enough to keep him invested. Gavin was hot, tight and slick, around him. Nine knew he needed him more than ever.
“Fuck me,” Gavin moaned, and Nine was happy to comply.
Connor desperately wanted to do something to bring his fraying attention back in line, like completely reorganise his internal file structure for DPD cases. He had an advantage in that it was relatively easy for him to ingest facts and spit out reports, but figuring out what to do with criminals who wouldn’t talk could only be dealt with at a certain level of efficiently.
“We witnessed you selling the drug. There’s no use sitting there and denying it,” Connor said as he stared at Nine’s memory where it was being projected on the interrogation room’s mirror.
“I want my lawyer here,” the woman repeated. Her arms remained stubbornly folded as she stared at the other wall, ignoring the images.
Connor already knew he wasn’t going to get anywhere with this right now. Between her stubbornness and his impatience to get home, they were at an impasse. And her friends had been no more forthcoming.
Connor stepped away from the table and left the room. He entered the control space behind the mirror a moment later.
Chris blocked a yawn with his fist as he turned toward Connor. He took a sip of his coffee and sighed. “This is getting ridiculous. Let’s just allow them to chat with their lawyers, impound them all overnight and get the morning crew to deal with it first thing.”
“We have video evidence, this should be straightforward enough,” Connor replied, unable to mask the irritation in his tone.
Chris gave him a sympathetic look. “Leave this for the night shift to deal with and head home. You must be worried about Gavin, and that’s not a good headspace to be in at work, super android detective or not.”
Connor gave him a small smile even as he reached out to contact Nine. ‘Will it be a problem if I come back now?’
‘The heat has already started petering out slightly, but we’re still going strong. Gavin does want to see you, of course, but maybe you could dawdle?’
“Well, I’ll at least stick around while we move them again, just in case,” he said out loud.
Chris sighed as he pushed himself to his feet. “All right then, let’s get this over with.” He hesitated before making his way over to the door, so Connor waited for him to speak. “I’m sure you know this already, but the stuff those crooks had in their possession was a slightly different formula to what we’ve seen before. His hormones being forced to fluctuate like that, well, it could have some strange effects, you know? Probably best to take him to a doctor as soon as… yeah.”
Connor nodded. Chris was a beta who didn’t have much to do with alphas or omegas, but being a human living with the need to deal with hormones gave him a different perspective.
“I will suggest it to him when he’s cognizant again,” Connor agreed. And he’d keep ‘suggesting’ it until Gavin agreed, if necessary.
Gavin had enough awareness to know he’d already come all over himself three times, and that the only thing he wanted was Nine to keep hitting his sweet spot until he spilled inside him too. Every time Nine hit just the right place, Gavin instinctively tensed around him, only increasing both of their pleasure.
His head was slightly clearer now that he’d had some relief. It occurred to him that Nine wasn’t going to give him what he wanted until he let him know he was ready for it. But that was easier thought than said.
“N-Nine, please,” Gavin began softly. His breath hitched when Nine’s cock slammed into him again. His legs were propped up on Nine’s shoulders, and his crossed ankles slid against each other behind Nine’s head.
“Please what?” he asked, voice huskier and more breathless than ever.
“I want… I want,” Gavin began. Nine slowed his pace as though it’d help him to listen more closely, and Gavin groaned in protest. “God Nine, don’t stop now. I want your come inside me. I want to feel your knot.”
“Of course,” Nine murmured as he ran his hands up Gavin’s trembling thighs. He lowered Gavin’s legs and let him wrap them around his waist instead.
Nine took hold of his hips and positioned him as desired. Gavin let him do whatever he wanted, since it was probably fair to say Nine knew this aspect of his body better than he did. The swift and deep strokes had him tilting his head back and moaning almost right away. He pushed his hips up even further, feeling his back trying to arch.
He felt himself tighten around Nine as he came once again, and this time Nine buried himself deep and stayed there so he could finish inside him. He felt the swell of Nine’s knot at the inside of his entrance. Gavin sighed softly and relaxed, using his legs to try and pull Nine closer.
The android leaned over and Gavin reached up and pulled him down so he could nuzzle the side of his neck. He felt Nine’s shoulders stiffen a bit and he looked away. Then Gavin noticed it too.
It was faint, but Connor’s scent was wafting around the apartment. It was more than just the background smell of him having been there only hours ago. The kitchen light flicked on, only a little of it reaching the bedroom, so things remained dimmed down. Connor appeared in the doorway of the bedroom and looked them over.
“How are you feeling, Gavin?”
“Mm, really good,” he murmured as he pressed his face into Nine’s neck again. He rocked down onto his knot slightly, but paused when he thought he felt some of Nine’s come escape him. He knew it wasn’t likely he’d actually felt something like that, but it was probably better to be still for now.
Connor smiled softly. “That isn’t quite what I meant, but good to hear it. I’m just going to have a shower to get the rest of my scent off, then I can join you.”
“Ok,” Gavin replied, but he noticed Connor didn’t move until Nine had nodded as well. Once Connor had disappeared into his en suite, Gavin smacked Nine on the shoulder. “Stop being an asshole, it’s just Connor.”
Nine looked a little sheepish. “I know, I know. But when we’re like this, what pass for my instincts are screaming at me to keep you away from other alphas. It’s just because he had his scent on earlier,” Nine assured.
Gavin rolled his eyes. If there was one thing to be happy about, it seemed the artificial heat really was only going to last less than twenty-four hours. Eventually he spoke again.
“Why? It’s not like you have to worry about propagating your genes.”
Nine shrugged. “It was probably carried over to motivate the android to protect the human omega from more unsavoury alphas out there, while retaining some ‘authenticity’.”
Gavin didn’t really have anything to say to that. He’d just had a demonstration of Nine doing that to an alpha that did mean him harm.
It wasn’t long before Connor returned from the bathroom. He’d left his clothes on the floor and closed the door behind him to block out the scent that lingered on them. He’d sprayed Gavin’s scent mask over himself as well, so between that and the shower he smelled almost neutral again. The last thing Gavin noticed was the damp cloth he was holding.
“Connor, come here,” Gavin said, patting the bed next to him. When Connor automatically looked to Nine for confirmation he added, “Ignore that asshole. I want you here.”
Nine growled at Gavin softly and nipped at his shoulder, but didn’t say anything else. Connor looked amused as he approached and sat down.
“I want to lie on my side,” Gavin said. Nine sat back and helped him arrange his legs so they could change position without separating. Gavin’s breath caught as he felt Nine’s knot right up against the inside of his entrance, but then they relaxed into a position where they were both on their sides.
Connor began wiping Gavin’s torso down with the damp cloth, but Nine gently put a hand over his. “There’s no point in doing that just yet. I think we can get Gavin to come at least once more,” he said quietly.
Nine’s hand moved to Gavin’s hip to stabilise him while his knot pressed to his entrance again, then pressed past so he was partially outside him again. Nine rocked back and forth very slightly to maintain both the stretch and the sensation of movement.
“F-fuck!” Gavin cried at the intense sensation, but the pleasure far outweighed any pain. He was still slick and pliant from earlier activities, after all.
Gavin barely registered Connor lying down next to him. He pressed close enough for Gavin’s half hard cock to rub against his stomach. He leaned in to place gentle kisses on his face, and his mouth between his desperate gasps and moans.
Gavin allowed his focus to narrow down to the pleasure he was feeling once again. He knew he could trust Nine and Connor with the rest.
Uhhh, now is probably a good time to check the tags again. On top of that, warning for POV character vomiting in the first scene of this chapter.
When Gavin woke up the first thing he noticed was how shitty he felt. He squinted his eyes open, glad his room was still dimly lit. His face was buried in Nine’s chest, but he could feel who he presumed was Connor leaning over him.
Gavin shifted his head to look up at Nine, and his movement made Nine and Connor break apart from their kiss. They looked down at him, probably both performing their own scans.
“Don’t let me interrupt,” Gavin mumbled. He was sure his voice was hoarse from more than just sleep.
“Good morning,” they said in unison, and with twin smiles too.
Gavin sighed and settled back against Nine’s chest. “Feels like a pretty shitty one to me.”
The reflection of yellow light off the sheets and Nine’s skin was a telling indicator of their concern.
“Are you all right? Do you feel sick?” Connor asked at last, probably on behalf of both of them.
Gavin had to think about it for a while. “If I move I might throw up,” he decided.
He didn’t normally feel this way after a heat. Not that having such a short one was normal for him either. But for the drug to be so effective, it had to have screwed up his natural hormone cycle pretty badly. It probably shouldn’t be surprising that his body wanted to purge whatever remained of it as soon as possible.
Connor leaned back and Nine carefully manoeuvred Gavin so he wasn’t lying on his chest anymore. “I’ll take you to the bathroom, just in case,” Nine said as he got out of bed.
Gavin tried to sit up to follow him, but his nausea immediately arced up. Nine picked him up and carried him over the short distance instead. Gavin managed to kneel down in front of the toilet before he lost whatever had been sloshing around in his empty stomach. He felt Nine trace comforting lines along his scalp, which made it a little easier to bear.
Gavin stayed where he was, feeling like he might start heaving again at any moment. He glanced at Connor when he came to stand next to the toilet bowl. He was holding a half-empty bottle of water. Gavin shook his head slightly, not sure if he’d even be able to keep that down just yet. Connor put the bottle on the floor and knelt down next to him as well. He rubbed soothing circles into his lower back.
“I think you should see a doctor, Gavin. A sharp hormone imbalance like that could do damage.”
Gavin groaned and rested his head in his hands, while his elbows rested on the edges of the toilet bowl. “I don’t want to go anywhere or look at anyone else right now.”
Connor opened his mouth, probably to protest, but closed it when Nine beat him to speaking. “You clearly aren’t feeling your best, and your scent is… well, it’s strange, but not in a way I can identify. If your symptoms increase in severity, we’ll have to at least organise a home visit.
“But in the meantime, I should head to the precinct and determine our next move.”
Gavin groaned again, but this time it was out of frustration. “This is supposed to be my fucking case.” His chance to prove himself. And, inevitably, probably affect how omegas as a group were treated by management. Even if it was unfair, screwing this up could make things a whole lot more difficult for other up and coming omegas around the department.
Whether he liked it or not, he was going to be used as a representative example.
Nine made a somewhat stilted sound of amusement, but his smile wasn’t condescending. “Perhaps I should have worded that better. I’ll go find out what’s going on, then I’ll report back to the team so we can make a decision about what to do next.”
“Better,” Gavin grumbled. His stomach seemed to have settled for now, so he reached up to flush the toilet.
“We can definitively say this formula is different from the ones used in previously reported cases,” Connor informed them as his LED continued to flash yellow. “Other cases reported last night mostly involved this version of the formula as well.”
Gavin reconsidered his need to continue throwing up. Of course, this case wasn’t just about him and his pride. The longer they took, the more victims there would be. He had to ignore his own condition and find a way to focus. Things would have been a lot worse if his partners hadn’t been there. He was relatively well off, and didn’t need to be babied along.
“So either someone is still experimenting with the effects, there are different grades of the stuff being sold by one group, or multiple groups came up with the same idea and are implementing it differently,” Gavin reasoned. “There are people checking out the nightclub now, right?”
He wondered who would be coordinating the searches and questioning of witnesses while he wasn’t there. As the case lead, he should be the one giving instructions. Besides, he’d been put in his position because he could speak to vulnerable victims and the like. He wasn’t supposed to almost become one himself.
“You should both be there. They need people like you who can talk to victims without distressing them. And anyway, we don’t have time to fuck around with this. If we let this ‘business’ take off, things will soon get a lot worse.”
Nine and Connor shared a look. “It’s not necessary for both of us to be there in person right now,” Nine began. “We’ve been taking turns coordinating things since Connor got home. Now that you’re starting to recover, we’ll get you up to speed and loop you back into the decision making process.”
Gavin sighed. That wasn’t ideal, but at least they’d made it look like he hadn’t dropped things completely. “Good. Let’s see if we can find something I can stomach right now and sort this out over breakfast.”
“All right,” Connor agreed. “You should also think about the statement you want to deliver about being forced to take the drug. It would be worth seeing a doctor since they’ll be able to confirm what is and has been in your bloodstream.”
“One thing at a time,” Gavin muttered.
His priority was the case as a whole, not the consequences of his own idiotic mistake.
After eating and rehydrating, Gavin had ended up falling asleep again. Clearly he was still mentally and physically exhausted after last night.
Connor lay next to him on the bed while he spoke to Nine silently. They were trying to work out how to neatly summarise everything into a report they could give Gavin. It’d be nice if it could double as a progress report to Fowler as well, and if all Gavin had to do was sign off on it, it’d make it easier to hold up the façade that they were handling everything.
‘I think Gavin’s supposition that there are multiple groups involved is the most likely at the moment. The previously observed samples of ‘Pink Ice’ made the heat come on more slowly, and made it imitate a natural one much more closely, what with the way it’d last several days. This version seems to sacrifice the omega’s health and natural cycle for the sake of near instantaneous results that last around twelve hours,’ Nine explained.
‘It’s possible there are two or more groups with different goals in mind,’ Connor acknowledged. ‘Is there any evidence of increased tensions between gangs?’
‘Nothing obvious yet, but I’m running an analysis across the department’s data. I’ll also question the other analysts about what they know.’
Connor sent a ping of acknowledgement. He shuffled closer to Gavin so he could press himself against his back. ‘The other teams did find evidence of advertising for the drug, right? Why would they still be experimenting with it if they’re ready to start mass producing?’
Nine didn’t answer him directly, but Connor got the sense that he agreed with him. ‘I’ll meet up with the other teams involved and fill in the gaps. Let me know when Gavin wakes up again.’
‘I will… Thank you for letting me stay with him this time,’ Connor added. He looked down at Gavin and ran his fingers through his soft strands of hair, his HUD automatically keeping track of the human’s steady breaths and heartbeat. He transferred a sample of the data to Nine to reassure him.
‘It only seems fair after Friday night,’ Nine replied hurriedly. It seemed he didn’t really want to address it right now, but he felt bad about it in retrospect.
‘We all did what we had to,’ Connor replied. Of course they had to expect difficulties like this when Connor was technically an alpha as well. Not that he chose to advertise it much, to the extent he’d been able to have a sexual relationship with Hank, another alpha. Still…
Nine sent another ping, acknowledging the receipt of his message but not necessarily agreeing with it. Connor would take that much, for now.
Gavin woke up again in the evening, just in time for dinner. He was disoriented and exhausted, and his body ached in weird places. He didn’t think it was just from the sex.
His chest in particular felt overly sensitive, to the point he had to lift the material of his shirt away to stop himself from feeling over sensitised. While male omegas didn’t develop breasts as such, there was still an awkward period of time where mammary glands started developing, just in case they’d be needed at some point. The pain he was feeling now sort of reminded him of that stage of puberty.
Gavin pulled his shirt all the way up and looked down, wondering if he’d be able to see what was wrong. His pecs looked mostly normal, given his body fat percentage generally hovered somewhere slightly above what was considered normal for male betas and alphas. His nipples may be slightly puffier than usual, but everything else seemed fine.
Gavin rested his head back on the pillows and stared up at the ceiling as he ran his hand around them, gently pressing down and feeling for anything he should be concerned about. He didn’t notice anything unusual, but when he strained his neck to lift his head and look down at his chest again, he saw a clear fluid was beginning to bead at one of his nipples.
He automatically looked around, searching for Nine or Connor. They probably wouldn’t have any trouble with identifying what the substance was, or the implications of it. He was beginning to suspect, but tried to tell himself to not panic yet.
“Is anyone here?” Gavin called softly.
Gavin heard footsteps hurry across the living room, and then Connor appeared in his doorway. “Gavin?” he asked, but his eyes had already zeroed in on the problem.
“Connor… What’s happening to me?” Gavin asked. He tried not to sound too concerned, but wasn’t sure how successful he was.
Connor approached him. His gaze moved between Gavin’s eyes and his chest.
“Can I?” he asked as he began to reach forward with two fingers. Gavin nodded and Connor’s fingers slid over his nipple, making him flinch at the stimulation.
Connor licked his fingers and his LED was caught between blue and yellow for a moment. “This is colostrum, often produced in the early stages of lactation,” Connor reported. “The overdose of sex hormones may have fooled your body into believing this was necessary.”
In other words, his body was freaking out because it thought it was a few months into a pregnancy or something. At least, Gavin really hoped it was just the false hormones causing the change. He never remembered everything that happened during a heat in great detail, and sometimes later realised he had whole sections of his memory missing. What exactly did happen to him the other night?
“You’re sure it’s just the fake hormones?” Gavin asked cautiously as he sat up and removed his shirt properly. He looked down at his chest and began touching it again, wanting to be sure nothing else was wrong.
“It’s impossible for you to be pregnant. It’s not like you would start lactating within a few days from that alone, anyway,” Connor confirmed.
Gavin couldn’t help but worry anyway. While his suppressants stopped his heat from coming on so strongly, they weren’t a perfect method of birth control. “I should see that doctor tomorrow,” he said as he stood up and moved to the bathroom. More fluid had started leaking.
When Gavin stopped and bent over the sink, Connor stood behind him. Gavin squeezed around his nipples and immediately winced. A little of the fluid dribbled out into the bottom of the sink, but it seemed to be an ineffective method of getting it out of his body.
“Don’t hurt yourself,” Connor said, sounding worried.
“It’s already fucking hurting, that’s why I’m trying to get rid of it,” Gavin grumbled.
“There are less painful ways,” Connor insisted.
For all Gavin knew, he was searching the internet for reputable sources on dealing with male omega lactation as he spoke. Connor reached around Gavin, and used his thumb and forefinger to massage the region of his pecs that weren’t taken up by his nipples. Connor squeezed him gently as he slid his fingers forward and back.
The clear viscous fluid began to dribble out of him much more quickly. Now that he was standing a little straighter, most of it slid further down his torso instead of dropping into the sink. Some of it inevitably coated Connor’s fingers. Gavin couldn’t deny that the relief from pressure, and Connor’s attention, felt good.
“Releasing any more will only stimulate your body to start lactating properly,” Connor said softly. His hands stilled and began to slide away, but Gavin automatically clamped his arms to his sides to prevent him from pulling away.
“It still hurts,” he tried not to whine. “A little more should do it.”
They made eye contact in the mirror, and Connor nodded. He turned his hands so he’d stimulate different glands, or whatever he was doing. That was when Gavin thought he felt something change. Suddenly things were flowing much more easily.
Gavin closed his eyes and pressed back against Connor, feeling the android’s hip and thigh at his back. Connor took hold of his pecs as best he could in both hands and squeezed. Gavin, much to his embarrassment, moaned in relief as another wave of colostrum dribbled down his front.
This time Connor successfully slid away from him. Gavin tried to step back and turn to look at him, but the android had already moved to the bathroom doorway. He was facing away from Gavin when he spoke.
“We… may have taken that too far as it is. I’ve just about finished making your dinner, so come to the kitchen when you finish getting cleaned up, ok?”
Before Gavin had a chance to reply, Connor was gone. Gavin looked in the mirror, which still afforded him a view of Connor as he left Gavin’s room. He didn’t seem to realise Gavin could see him, since he licked his fingers clean on the way out.
Was it a force of habit from always sampling evidence, or had Connor actually gotten off on that?
Gavin wasn’t sure how he felt about it either way.
Gavin actually woke up at a normal time in the morning, at last. Though he wasn’t entirely sure what day it was anymore. The fact Connor and Nine were lying on either side of him probably meant they’d already put him down for personal leave.
Gavin rolled away from Nine slightly to lie on his back. He couldn’t help but wince from the discomfort in his chest. He felt full again, like Connor hadn’t done anything to him yesterday.
That couldn’t be a good sign.
Gavin looked down at his naked torso, seeing his pecs were more swollen than yesterday, and his nipples just as puffy and flushed. He groaned as he let his head fall back against the pillow. Hands came to his shoulders and arms, fingers gently touching him and offering him support.
“I’d ask how you’re feeling, but I think I already know what you’re going to say,” Nine murmured.
‘Shitty’ didn’t even cover it this time. “I’ve got a choice between being in pain and producing fucking milk from my tits, so yeah, I think you get the idea,” Gavin replied harshly. But it didn’t seem to put either of them off.
Connor ran a hand over his gut and thigh. Something didn’t feel quite right. Gavin wondered if he’d put on weight, or if he was just being paranoid.
“I’m sorry,” Connor said softly.
Gavin sighed and turned his head to look at him. “I was the one who told you to keep going.”
“I was the one who got too enthusiastic about it,” Connor reminded.
“Well, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if you wanted to be helpful again,” Gavin replied softly, embarrassed. For better or worse, it had felt good. “Maybe the doctor can suggest another way to make it stop again.”
“Are you sure that’s what you want?”
“Yeah, just, without the sink we’re going to make a mess so…” Gavin looked around for a solution even as Connor’s hands came up to massage around his nipples. Fluid began to bead again, and he was surprised to see the fluid was already whiter than last time.
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem,” Connor replied. Before Gavin could get him to clarify, Connor bent his head forward and began gently sucking at his overly sensitive nipple.
“Oh… ohhh,” Gavin moaned as understanding hit him.
Nine hummed his amusement at their interaction as he ran a hand through Gavin’s hair. His fingers were comforting against his scalp.
While the method Connor had used to squeeze it out of him yesterday hadn’t been painful, this felt even better. The gentle stimulation against his nipple was soothing, and not at all demanding and painful.
It seemed to take some convincing, but eventually the stimulation caused the fluid to flow more freely. Unfortunately his other nipple had also decided to start expressing in response to the stimulation. It was going to cause a mess if left unchecked.
Gavin barely had time to open his mouth to point this out before Nine bent over to start licking up the excess. Nine looked up at him, tongue pressing against his nipple. His LED flickered yellow and Gavin just knew it was because he and Connor were conversing.
Connor gave a particularly strong suck and Gavin moaned in a mix of pleasure and pain. He felt his back arch as he pressed his chest forward. Nine took the hint and began to suckle at his other side.
Gavin gasped at the added stimulation, his hips jerking against Connor’s torso of their own accord. Connor slid against him, his warmth palpable through the thin material of Gavin’s underwear. The friction had him gasping.
Gavin pressed his chest forward again. He ran his fingers through soft, artificial strands of hair as his hands passed over the backs of heads and napes of necks. He became aware of the heat in his own face.
It shouldn’t feel this good.
Connor slowly pulled back, seemingly finished. But he remained between Gavin’s legs, allowing him to continue attempting to rut up against him.
“You’re already producing so much, and you’ve never even been pregnant before,” Connor commented softly. “Have you ever considered donating to parents who have more trouble?”
Gavin scoffed breathlessly even as Nine continued sucking at him. “You’re just saying that so you have an excuse to keep being a pervert once my hormone levels go back to normal.”
Nine made an amused sound as he pulled away from Gavin’s chest as well. “Connor’s the pervert?” he said as he slid his hand under the waistband of Gavin’s underwear. “Last I checked, you were the one getting off on this,” he added as he cupped his junk and squeezed.
“I’m sure Mister Oral Fetish over there has nothing to do with this,” Gavin grumbled as Connor slid further down his body, taking Gavin’s underwear with him. He laved the head of his dick with his tongue. Nine’s hands came up to cup Gavin’s face as he pressed a tender kiss to his lips.
“I’m sure,” Nine murmured between kisses. Gavin didn’t have enough brain space to voice a complaint, not that it mattered anymore.
It didn’t take long for him to come undone between them.
Gavin was uncomfortable with the doctor even though she was an omega. Even though he was in his own home. She’d sat on the couch next to him, and they had turned so they were mostly facing each other.
Nine and Connor had posted themselves in the bedroom doorway and kitchen respectively to give him some semblance of privacy while still being there. They had looked nervous when she’d pulled out the needle, but apparently a blood test was the best way to analyse what was going on with his hormones.
The machine the doctor had put the sample in beeped, and she turned away to look at the results. Gavin fiddled with the sleeve of his jacket and glanced around at each of his partners.
“Hmm, interesting,” she muttered before turning to face Gavin properly again. “If you hadn’t just explained your circumstances to me, I would have diagnosed a pregnancy in the second trimester. It seems the initial spike of hormones has caused your body to start a chain reaction. You might find yourself getting worse before you get better.”
“You mean like the fact I started lactating yesterday?” Gavin asked, his face immediately heating up. Saying it out loud meant he had to accept it was actually happening.
“Well, yes, but your body might change more as well. Naturally occurring phantom pregnancies aren’t unheard of for omegas coming off heat, though they are rare. Symptoms usually include weight gain, distended stomach and a change in scent. The causes of the natural phenomenon are still unclear, but it does happen,” the doctor explained.
“It’s 2040, why the hell doesn’t anyone know why that happens yet?” Gavin demanded.
“Historically not as much medical research has involved omegas as it has alphas and betas. I suppose it’s an effect of long term prejudice,” she replied. He was a little surprised she had a serious answer to his question.
Gavin nodded and shifted in his seat. He wasn’t surprised somehow. “Is there any sort of treatment to regulate my hormones again? I really can’t afford this sort of interruption to my work right now, and this lactating thing is going to get old, fast.”
“Unfortunately the way different amounts of hormones affect the body isn’t an exact science. I think it would be safer to let your body try to deal with it naturally, under close monitoring of course. Given previous cases, your condition could recede within anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.”
She could see Gavin clearly wasn’t happy with the prospect, and tried to placate him.
“It should be at least a month before you notice any differences in your size and shape. You can finish whatever work project you’re doing in that time, right?”
Gavin honestly didn’t know. Cases like this could go on for years. Or they might manage to nip the illegal activity in the bud within a few months. Either way, solving this in a month was unlikely.
“Anyway,” the doctor continued when he remained silent. “As for the lactation, it’ll continue to some degree no matter what you do until the phantom pregnancy symptoms go away. You should relieve the pressure when it becomes painful, but you can decrease the flow by not emptying the glands entirely. You can use cotton pads to catch any excess while you’re trying to decrease production.”
That meant he’d have to find a way that wasn’t too embarrassing or obvious to hold them in place. He’d need to mask his scent too, since that was the last thing he wanted someone to smell on him. Not in the middle of a case like this.
Gavin bit the inside of his cheek, but nodded. He glanced up at Connor, who looked somewhat guilty. Gavin would just have to make himself suffer for a few days instead of going to him for ‘help’.
“All right, at least I know a bit more about what to expect,” Gavin replied quietly.
The doctor nodded and turned away to begin packing up her equipment. “Let me know if you start experiencing any new symptoms, or if any of them change in intensity. I can check on you again this time next week to make sure everything is under control and as normal as they can be in the circumstances.”
Gavin nodded slowly. “Ok,” he agreed.
He’d go to work tomorrow and at least try to get the ball rolling on things before he had to hand the case off onto someone else in a few weeks. Apparently experiencing bullshit like this was just another danger of the job now.
Gavin looked up at Connor, then turned to look at Nine. It seemed they could guess the direction of his thoughts, and neither of them looked particularly impressed.
That was too bad.
Gavin knew his partners were trying not to hover, but they were doing a bad job of it. He entered the DPD reception area and looked around at the movement and bustle, trying to ignore the androids walking right behind him.
Gavin hesitated on his way over to the ID scanner when he noticed the baby that was crying in the back corner still hadn’t seemed to stop to take a breath. The android receptionist on duty looked like she wished she could turn her hearing down and continue signing people in at the same time.
He looked around the room again and saw the baby was being held by a woman who looked absolutely exhausted. Even so, she was bent over the manila folder she’d spread open on the small coffee table next to her seat.
There were a lot of people in the room, but Gavin thought he’d identified her alpha scent. That explained why she might be having trouble breastfeeding, though it didn’t really explain why she hadn’t brought formula along or some other replacement. Or how he just knew the baby was crying because it was hungry. But maybe she’d been in a hurry to report whatever had happened to them to the police?
Gavin hesitated on the precipice of doing something about it. Honestly it was unlikely his interference would be welcome. But maybe this had been going on long enough that she’d accept any sort of help. Gavin sighed to himself as he walked over to fill the biggest omega stereotype he could think of.
Thankfully Nine and Connor had finally quit trying to be his shadow.
“Uh, excuse me,” he began awkwardly. The woman glanced up, and he internally winced at the dark bags under her eyes. “If… if you have any formula on you, we can heat it up in the staff room,” he offered first, just in case he’d misunderstood the situation.
“Oh, yes, someone else already offered that. But I was in a hurry and didn’t bring any. I thought I’d be able to breastfeed her until we got home, but I’ve been here since last night and now…”
“Oh, well, I know this might be a bit strange but I’m…” Gavin didn’t know how to word it without sounding nuts. “I’m still producing since, you know…” He could feel the cotton pads he’d bandaged to his chest were getting damp. The baby’s cries had clearly triggered his letdown reflex. “I could help, if you wanted.”
“Oh!” She looked him up and down, clearly not believing he’d been pregnant recently. But she was also pretty desperate. “I suppose that’s probably for the best,” she replied as she closed her folder and stood up.
“There’s a parent’s room over there,” Gavin said, not wanting to do this in the middle of the floor and risk a co-worker seeing him.
“Right,” she replied, then paused to look around at the various bags of baby things she had.
“Don’t worry about moving it all, reception will keep an eye on it,” Gavin supplied.
She nodded, but still picked up the folder before standing and following him into the parent’s room. Gavin shrugged out of his jacket and leaned against the changing table as he removed his arm from the sleeve of his t-shirt on the side that felt dampest. He hooked it over his shoulder and began to unwind the bandage he’d used to try and keep everything in place.
“I’m not sure if that method would be recommended by a doctor,” she joked weakly over her baby’s persistent crying.
“I was kind of caught off guard, so this was the best I could come up with for now.”
Once the bandage and pads were off, he held out his hands. The woman hesitated for a moment longer, then handed her baby over. Since Gavin was already fulfilling every omega stereotype there was today, it shouldn’t surprise him that holding it came so naturally, even though he’d never had much to do with caring for babies.
“Is she a girl?” Gavin asked, taking a guess from the pastel baby clothes. The woman nodded as she watched her girl come to accept she was being held by some strange omega now.
Once the baby was settled she latched onto him easily enough. Gavin automatically shifted his elbow to better support her head, then glanced up at her mother. She was staring in a way that kind of made him uncomfortable. He reached for his jacket and slung it over his shoulder. It provided some coverage and the baby settled further.
“So, uh, what’s your name? Why have you been here since last night?” Gavin began, since breastfeeding someone’s baby without at least making small talk would only make things even more awkward. Especially since it was dead quiet now that the baby was too busy to keep crying.
“Oh, my name’s Laura. I’m a lawyer. I was supposed to be on maternity leave, but it seemed my client needed me in particular, and urgently.”
Gavin frowned, then winced slightly when the baby started sucking more demandingly. Connor had been downright gentle compared to this. He just hoped she wasn’t taking it in so fast that she’d end up throwing it all back up again.
“Really? Must be important,” he commented neutrally.
“Well, it’s for family. My sister, so…” She cut herself off and smiled tautly. “Anyway, what’s your name? And I’m sorry, by the way. I’m sure this doesn’t fall under your usual job description, and it looks like you’ve been trying to make the flow dry up for a while.”
“Uh, yeah. My partner has been saying I should donate it instead of getting frustrated about it,” he replied, ignoring the implication that he’d had a child. “But you’re right about that, this isn’t what I normally spend my days doing. I’m Gavin Reed, a detective here.”
The woman frowned slightly. Gavin wondered if she had old-fashioned opinions on omegas, or if she recognised his name from somewhere.
Gavin jumped slightly when the heavy door to the room suddenly swung open, but it was only Nine. He looked between them, face apparently blank. But Gavin knew that only meant he was calculating something.
“Sorry to interrupt, but you’re going to be late to a meeting about the case,” Nine said.
Gavin was immediately concerned. “What happened now?”
He glanced down when the baby stopped suckling and began to get fussy. He carefully sat her up and gently patted her back to burp her as though he’d been doing it all his life. This was getting ridiculous.
Nine sent a significant look in Laura’s direction. Of course, he couldn’t talk about anything outside the investigation team and management yet.
“Uh,” Gavin began as the baby began to make quiet sounds of upset again. He got the impression she wouldn’t be very impressed if he didn’t finish feeding her. “How long are you expecting to be here?”
“She’ll be here at least until the end of our meeting,” Nine interrupted. Gavin noticed Laura looked kind of nervous now. He was definitely missing something here.
“I can take her into the meeting, then come right back out,” Gavin said over cries that were slowly increasing in volume.
Laura glanced at her baby, and Gavin didn’t think he’d ever seen anyone look quite as tired as she did in that moment. “All right,” she agreed hesitantly.
Laura took her baby back for a moment so Gavin could switch his set up with his shirt and jacket to the other side. Nine picked up the bandages and cotton pads and hid them in a large hand.
“This hopefully shouldn’t take too long,” Gavin said as he took the baby back again. She immediately wanted to nurse again, so he let her do so.
They moved back into the waiting room, and Laura held up a finger as she made her way over to the bags she’d left around her seat. She picked one up and brought it over. Nine took it before Gavin could try to balance both it and the baby.
“You’re probably going to need that,” she said softly.
“We won’t be too long, don’t worry,” Gavin repeated as he covered the baby with his jacket again.
Laura smiled uneasily and clutched the folder to her chest. Gavin nodded one last time before he and Nine turned away and made their way over to the main entrance to the station. The closer they got, the more Gavin seemed to realise that if he walked around like this in there, his co-workers were going to see him.
Nine rested his free hand on Gavin’s lower back as they scanned their ID cards and passed through the door. It was a comfort, and Gavin reminded himself that he shouldn’t care what anyone thought. If anyone questioned him he’d just tell them to fuck off.
“She’s Alyssa’s sister,” Nine explained quietly once the door had closed behind them. “Related to the woman who sold Devon the drugs he used on you,” he clarified a moment later.
“Oh.” Gavin automatically looked back in her direction, even though they had no chance of seeing each other through the frosted glass of the door.
“And I’m quite sure she knows you were the victim of that now, too,” Nine added.
“Great,” Gavin muttered. For some reason Nine didn’t seem to be that worried. “What am I supposed to do, bribe her with breastmilk to keep her mouth shut about the fact she knows who I am?”
“You said it, not me,” Nine replied blandly, but failed to entirely hide the amusement on his face.
Gavin decided not to comment, worried he’d just bury himself in an even deeper hole.
“Reed!” Fowler exclaimed, though not as loudly as he might have normally. “Where the hell did that baby come from?”
Connor watched Gavin roll his eyes and adjust his jacket so it was covering more of the baby, and the bare part of his chest. Connor suspected he was in pain, but knew he wouldn’t say anything about it in front of the higher ups.
“I found her in reception, and her mother would like her back sooner than later. So can we focus on the case already?” Gavin snapped.
Hank looked like he would very much like to make a disparaging comment of some sort, but managed to hold himself back. Connor suspected it had something to do with an omega stereotype, to which Gavin would react even worse than usual right now.
“All right, so, the suspects…” Hank tried to begin.
But Gavin frowned at him and his mouth turned downward. “Why are you here again? There have been a few homicides attached to this case, but it’s definitely not the main issue.”
Hank opened his mouth, then just exhaled deeply. “It didn’t occur to you that the one who knows the most about red ice distribution would be me?”
“Just because they’re named similarly, doesn’t mean it’s the same people!” Gavin protested. “In fact, I think it’s pretty clear by now that it’s not. The club seems to have been used for storage and distribution, based on the amount of it that was found out the back. But we still don’t know how or where they’re making it.”
“Well, it has been a long time since the task force finished up. The details might have changed since then. But I have plenty of suggestions about where you can start looking.”
Connor sat up straighter before Gavin could snap something in return. “I’ve already started going over the data. I think you’ll find a few locations are of interest to us.”
“Hm,” Gavin muttered as he checked on the baby. It seemed she was satisfied for now. Gavin handed her off to Nine as he rearranged his clothing so he was properly dressed again.
Hank and Fowler looked away awkwardly. Undoubtedly it was Gavin’s scent that they found distracting more than his state of dress. A seemingly pregnant omega who was lactating had to be signalling their protective instincts. But it wasn’t exactly appropriate for them to say anything about it.
“And I’ve been trying to interrogate the suspects we have been able to keep here under suspicion,” Nine added before handing the baby back to Gavin, who began to burp her. “They’ve been particularly stubborn, and their lawyer out there hasn’t exactly improved things. Fortunately Gavin might have gotten himself into her good books today.”
Gavin frowned at him, and then turned to look at Connor. “So that’s why you two conveniently disappeared.”
Connor looked away guiltily. They hadn’t meant to cause an issue with the baby, but they’d both been too worried to leave Gavin alone for long with an alpha related to a group that had already proven to be violent and coercive. Thankfully this one didn’t seem to be much like her relative.
“And I suppose you two have already decided what you want to do next,” Gavin added.
Before Connor or Nine could answer, Fowler intervened again. “As well as these androids have been constructed for the task of investigating a crime like this, there still needs to be adequate human supervision to ensure the kind of judgement calls that require experience are being given. This case needs to be pulled back on track. Hank will act as a mentor and supervise your next lot of efforts.”
“What?” Gavin demanded. “Why? I thought you were going to give me a chance to actually act in my role for once!”
“I gave you a chance to act above your role and you almost got assaulted!” Jeffrey replied forcefully. “I’m not going to reassign the case at this point, but I do have a responsibility to maintain officers’ safety. So I suggest you take advantage of this resource!”
Gavin instinctively flinched at the volume and harsh tone in Fowler’s voice. Connor could see Nine had to restrain himself from shifting any closer or acting protective. Gavin clenched his jaw and gripped his own forearm tightly so he wouldn’t explode or inadvertently hurt the baby. She already seemed upset by the tension in the room.
“Gavin,” Hank began.
But Gavin had already stood up and was making his way over to the meeting room door. Gavin cast one last glare around the roomful of alphas before exhaling sharply and leaving. Nine bent over to pick up the bag of baby things he’d left behind and stood as well.
“Oh for…” Fowler muttered as he gathered up the files he’d brought with him. Connor thought he heard him mutter something about omega mood swings before he and Nine left the room together.
Hank sighed and slouched in his chair, folding his arms across his chest. “I tried to tell him that one wasn’t going to go over well.” When Connor remained silent, Hank turned his head to look at him. “Other than the obvious, has everything been all right with Gavin?”
“No, the drug is making his body react in ways he doesn’t know how to deal with,” Connor admitted. “He was already beating himself up about his perceived failure to contain the situation, so I really don’t think this decision is going to help him. I feel that some of Fowler’s comments were unnecessary,” Connor added diplomatically.
“Look, I know Gavin is willing to take risks. That’s what he signed up for when he entered the force. I don’t want to hover, but I know he’s not going to communicate with me properly. Can you just let me know if he’s planning to do something reckless again?”
“As you said, he’s willing to take the risks, and he can deal with the consequences. Otherwise, he has his team to provide help.”
“I know, that asshole is crazy,” Hank said as he sat up straighter, but it was almost affectionate rather than insulting. “But this is a health and safety issue. If something bad happens, it’ll be recorded as a statistic. And statistics are used to make decisions about staff allocation and roles.”
Connor thought he understood what Hank was implying. If anything else happened, it really would affect how those who came after Gavin would be treated.
“I’ll encourage him to show a little more restraint,” Connor conceded. He stood up and straightened his clothes. Hank quickly followed suit before he could start moving toward the exit.
“How are things on a more personal level? He hasn’t done anything like…?”
“No, he’s definitely had a change of heart toward me, and androids in general,” Connor confirmed.
Hank nodded, but looked like he wanted to say something more. Instead he just muttered, “Good.” He left the room before Connor could ask him to elaborate.
Gavin hadn’t been intending to lock himself in the bathroom to sulk. But hot tears had started running down his face the minute he’d even thought about sitting back down at his desk after returning the baby. He’d had to retreat somewhere private to try and get a hold of himself.
He froze when the bathroom door swung open and a pair of shoes came to stand in front of his locked cubicle door. He couldn’t smell anyone, which led him to suspect it was Connor. Of course Gavin had snapped at Nine to leave him alone when he’d left their workstation, so he wouldn’t have come to find him so soon.
Somehow, telling Connor to go away now just seemed too juvenile. He opted to stay silent instead, as if that was much better.
“Gavin, can I please speak to you properly?” Connor asked patiently.
Gavin hesitated, but when he examined his own feelings he realised he did want to talk. He was frustrated, but there was really only one way to deal with that outside of blowing up in Fowler or Hank’s face.
Gavin stood and unlocked the cubicle door. He was surprised when Connor joined him inside of it instead of dragging him back outside. Gavin stood around awkwardly for a moment before deciding to sit down on the toilet he’d put the seat down on earlier.
Connor knelt down in front of him so we wasn’t towering over him, and pressed his hand to Gavin’s cheek. Gavin roughly wiped away the dampness still on his face before looking at him properly.
“You know Hank has no interest in taking over the case. He’s just there as a mentor figure because Fowler told him to be. They’re just worried about your safety.”
“I know, it’s just, this was supposed to be my chance. To prove I deserve my job title, that is.”
“Everyone who matters already knows that you’re good at your job. Even if you are more reckless than we’d like…” Connor admitted.
Gavin huffed and lightly kicked his toe against Connor’s thigh. But he couldn’t exactly deny it. “Part of me just wants to quit. If I’m never going to be taken seriously, then what’s the point? If I’m going to change professions, I should do it before it’s too late.”
“Well, that kind of decision is up to you, ultimately,” Connor replied, and Gavin could tell he was being careful with his wording. His expression turned more teasing. “I found out a local charity pays for milk since it’s so difficult to get donors. If you donated even just 90mL a day you’d make more than you do now as a detective.”
Gavin sighed and massaged his forehead. “If you’re trying to make me feel better, that really isn’t going to do it,” he said flatly. It was pretty depressing, actually. To think, if he’d have just used his body before he’d have led a very different life.
“I mean…” Connor mumbled. “It’s good to have a backup plan?”
“I don’t have to feed it to the baby directly do I? Don’t think I could put up with the pain,” Gavin asked, trying to steer the conversation away from that. He needed more time to think. He moved his hand up Connor’s arm, across his shoulder and onto the back of his neck. “It seems they aren’t as considerate as you.”
Connor’s tongue darted out to trace his bottom lip, and then he sat up on his knees to bring their faces closer together. “No, they take it in containers so it can be frozen until it’s needed. I could be your pump.”
Gavin felt the heat rise in his cheeks, which definitely meant Connor could see it. “I still don’t get why this turns you on so much. You’re an android, it’s not like you were born and raised…?”
“No, but I was programmed to react to scent in a similar way to human alphas. I suppose subconsciously knowing your body is capable of providing for offspring makes you an attractive prospect. I don’t know why I’ve developed an attraction toward it beyond that,” Connor admitted. “I suppose it’s intimate in a way we haven’t been before now.”
“Well, if you like it that much, I guess we may as well continue as long as this fake pregnancy thing is going to be annoying us. And may as well put it to good use where possible.”
Connor smiled at him and pressed a kiss to his forehead before standing up. “All right Detective. Now that that’s settled, we have a case to discuss. We need more information on who this gang is and whether any of the information we have will be helpful in identifying where their facilities are located. Perhaps your new acquaintance could help us.”
Gavin raised a brow. “I think you’re being a bit optimistic there. But if we can’t narrow down any other leads, that might be all we’ll have left.”
“Then let’s go talk to Nine and take a look at our options.”
Gavin nodded as he stood. At the end of the day, the most important thing had to be solving this case and minimising the harm the gang was doing.
Everything else could be dealt with later.