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More Than a Woman, More Than a Bride

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More Than a Woman, More Than a Bride

 

“Step aside, dipshits, I got this!!” Gavin Reed shoved his way past officers and androids in the DPD hurriedly, yanking forward a recently arrested gang member of Ouroboros, a new gang that had been nothing but trouble for Detroit in the last year.

Since the end of 2038, the infamous gang rose to full power by not only supporting and supplying the production of Red Ice, but Ouroboros also developed a new drug and placed it on the black market, and it was far worse than Red Ice. The drug was called Slo-Freeze, and it the ‘newest thing’ everyone had to get their hands on.

Slo-Freeze was indestructible. It was easy to be passed around and accessed, as the substance itself wasn’t costly at all to create. Majority of its ingredients could’ve even been made at someone’s house with regular home products, but that’s what also made it so addictive. Slo-Freeze worked its way to the brain, literally freezing its processing and sensory speed by 110% the regular speed, which gave the drug abusers the literal feeling of being frozen in time. Next, it slowed down the heart, and then gave it a nasty jolt, but users stated that it was almost like experiencing the best orgasm that rocketed and shook their bodies right down to the core.

The drug was a huge problem for the DPD, and Captain Fowler was going to put his best men together to remove the drug and the gang that had originated it off the streets. Unfortunately, it was tough to do so, especially when Gavin Reed was promoted from homicide to the narcotics unit.

Nines-previously known as the RK900-had been in charge of leading and organizing the narcotics unit since December of 2038, and he’d been doing a damn good job. He was diligent, organized, thorough, and really knew how to track down drug distribution in the city in a damn hurry. Unfortunately, Nines didn’t get along with Gavin, and refused to even talk to him. Then again, not very many people were fond of Detective Reed to begin with, but Jeffrey Fowler was stuck in a pretty bad dilemma.

Gavin Reed was one of his best men when it came to interrogations, protecting witnesses, and having a passion to do the right thing when it came to justice. Simply put, he was the best at his job, and Jeffrey Fowler didn’t want to lose him at all. Gavin was badly needed in the narcotics unit, especially when Hank and Connor refused to be involved in the ‘Slo-Freeze’ investigations. Having no other choice, Captain Fowler had moved Gavin to the narcotics unit.

As expected, Nines and Gavin were mercilessly at each other’s throats the moment Gavin’s new position was announced to the RK900. After one thousand insults and death glares, Nines finally agreed that he would allow Gavin on his narcotics team provided if Gavin didn’t work directly with him or within an inch of him.

Done deal.

They’d kept to their separate areas and desks, and Gavin’s work schedule had been rearranged so it wouldn’t conflict with Nines’ at all. Truthfully, it was all childish, but he had to go that extra mile to keep his men happy and content. He’d thought about placing Connor and Hank many times by force on the narcotics unit, but they vehemently refused every time the subject was broached.

And Fowler couldn’t blame them for it either; it was simply far too dangerous. Ouroboros were vicious, cold, merciless, and ruthless. They weren’t above threatening someone’s family members, and even going so far as to killing and slaughtering someone’s pets just to make their point. The threats frightened Connor, and seeing as Hank had already suffered the loss of his son all those years ago, he refused to come to work if Fowler put either Connor or Hank himself on the narcotics unit.

There was only one other option: Send in Gavin Reed.

All this would’ve been fine however, but Gavin was receiving a lot of death threats from Ouroboros. Gavin was stubborn, however. He never took any of the threats as seriously as he should have, and he merely shrugged them all off. He received mail, horrible photos that had been purposefully photoshopped to portray himself dying and being tortured in brutal ways, and when his cat had gone missing for a few days after his apartment had been broken into, Jeffrey Fowler knew he had to take severe action. Perhaps Gavin didn’t think it was a serious issue, but as the leader of the DPD, Jeffrey Fowler had to take it seriously.

He watched Gavin yank the arrested Ouroboros member along with him through the halls, no doubt heading for a holding cell. The tall Hispanic man screamed all sorts of profanities at him, but Gavin snorted and shrugged them all off.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, blow it out your ass, man.”

Fowler shook his head and sighed. This wasn’t going to be good.

Gavin roughly handled the gang member, throwing him into one of the closest holding cells. The doors slammed on the man, and Gavin made his way over to his desk to gather his notes before interrogating the gang member. Now was the best time for Fowler to have a little chat with Gavin.

Stepping out of his office quickly, he pulled up a chair and sat down beside Gavin when the Detective kicked his legs up on his desk and cracked his knuckles one-by-one. Fowler scowled at him.

“Gavin, may I speak with you for a moment?”

Cracking his neck, next, Gavin smiled happily at him, not a single care in the world. “What’s up, Cap?”

Fowler emitted a strained sigh, “I’ve told you many times not to talk to me like I’m your drinking buddy, Gavin, now pay attention.”

Gavin shrugged, but folded his hands in his lap as he waited patiently for Fowler to continue speaking.

Fowler rubbed his forehead. This was going to be painful, but he had to press on. He’d seen the threats flooding Gavin’s emails, his letters, everything. It was time to take it all seriously, before someone got hurt.

“Gavin, I know you don’t think Ouroboros will follow up with their threats of killing you, but I sure as hell take them all quite seriously.”

Gavin snorted as he looked up in time to see a delivery android smiling at him as it held a package in its hands.

“Don’t worry, Cap,” Gavin stated in a gleeful tone as the android held out a tablet for him and said: “Delivery for Detective Reed, please sign here!”

Gavin added his e-signature on the tablet before the package was placed onto his desk.

Fowler sighed again. He was about to lose his patience, but he needed to keep it maintained if he was going to talk any sense into Gavin’s head.

“Gavin,” he drew closer to the man and watched as Gavin waved the delivery android off and clutched his package onto his lap. His fingers tore into it quickly.

“…I want to keep you on the narcotics team, son,” he began as he felt his head pounding, “but I need to be sure you’re safe, because right now, I’m losing my beauty sleep worrying about your safety.”

Wrapping paper was thrown carelessly to the floor as Gavin whistled. He held a brand-new bottle of champagne in his hands.

“Ain’t she a beauty, Cap?”

Fowler sighed as he took a glance at the shiny bottle, “Yes, Gavin, it’s lovely. Now please listen to me.”

POP!

Gavin had already taken the cork out, “I’m listenin’!”

Fowler stared at the liquid inside the bottle. It was fizzing and bubbling quite a lot, and it looked pretty delectable right now. He sure could’ve used a drink himself.

“Were you expecting this from anyone?” he asked gently, trying to take his mind off the impending argument with Gavin, but also subtly trying to work it in their conversation that he wanted a sip.

Gavin hummed, “Nah, it’s from an unknown sender.”

Right then and there, Jeffrey Fowler’s heart skipped a beat.

Time slowed down, and all he saw was Gavin winking at him as he said: “Cheers, Cap!” He tilted his head back, and the bottle was inches away from his lips.

“PUT IT DOWN, GAVIN!!!” His hand shot out and slapped the bottle away from Gavin’s hands. It sailed across the bullpen, smashing into the side of another officer’s desk, and immediately, sizzling and hissing noises echoed everywhere.

Everyone stood up in fear, and Connor yelped as he ran forward to examine the fluid that had burnt the desks and carpet as it ate away into the floors like a disease spreading across a land.

Hank hung back, but he looked over Connor’s shoulder as Connor examined the areas the liquid had sprayed.

“Captain!” Gavin screeched, “I was gonna drink that!”

“It’s cyanide!!”

Connor’s cries made both Gavin’s and Fowler’s head snap over to the holding cell, and their eyes zoned in on the Ouroboros gang member. He was laughing the entire time as he threatened that this was only the beginning of Detective Reed’s worries.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

The threats had gotten so bad, that in less than three days after the cyanide incident, Gavin found his apartment had been broken into another two times, with messages written all over his walls in deep red blood.

“Gavin, this is not good,” Connor announced once he’d deciphered the messages sprawled on Gavin’s living room wall.

“No shit,” Gavin spat, still sitting in his shorts and t-shirt. He’d meant to enjoy the warm, bright, sunny summer morning outside, but he’d faced the weird messages written in Spanish all over his walls as soon as he’d exited his bedroom. He didn’t want to call anyone or tell anyone about it, and he’d been halfway through arranging cleaning products to get the blood off the walls when Hank and Connor dropped by for a visit.

Fuck.

Hank immediately rang up Fowler while Connor examined the scene and gathered enough evidence while he could. As they were doing this, Gavin grumbled and growled, irate that Hank had ratted him out to Fowler.

“You got any other bright ideas then?” Hank shot back once Gavin asked him why he’d called Fowler for the third time in less than half an hour.

“Not being a chicken shit would be one of them, Hank,” he answered back as he looked out his balcony window.

Connor placed a hand on his hip as dark cars began parking down below in the streets. Connor felt relief when he recognized the unmarked vehicles Captain Fowler often used when he did not want to be tracked down. “It’s not a ‘chicken shit’ thing to ask for help, Gavin.”

“I don’t care; I’m only showin’ Ouroboros this way that they can control me and run me out of my own home!”

“If you stay here, you’ll die!” Hank screamed angrily, “Is that what you fucking want, Reed?”

Gavin glared up at him as Fowler banged the door open, a few other officers following behind closely.

“I just want to live a normal life,” Gavin whispered out in a barely audible tone.

Once Jeffrey Fowler had taken a good look around the room and received lab results back that the blood on the walls of Gavin’s apartment had been from his own cat, his mind was made up. It was really time to take action, now, and Gavin wasn’t going to like his new idea, but he had to give it a shot, otherwise, there would definitely be a dead Detective on his hands.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin glared at Nines.

The android sat beside him in Captain Fowler’s office, looking straight ahead as he tried avoiding all eye contact with Gavin while their superior took his time to join them. They’d both been pulled away from their duties to have a ‘very important’ meeting, and Gavin couldn’t wait to ask Fowler what the heck the meeting had to do with Nines. He’d never been told that Nines was also joining, and now that Nines was here, Gavin began panicking.

Something definitely had to be wrong, otherwise, why was Nines involved??

It probably had to do with his work on the narcotics unit, he guessed. Since Nines was the head of the team, he’d probably drudged up some bullshit-lame-ass excuse to report him to Fowler just to get him demoted again. Gavin wouldn’t put it past Nines to do this, and this had to definitely be the purpose of their meeting.

He snarled at Nines, anger fueling him greatly. “Finally snitched to Fowler, huh?”

Still staring straight ahead, Nines spoke out: “I don’t know what you’re referring to, Detective Reed.”

“Oh don’t you give me that steaming load of horseshit, Nines!” Gavin almost screamed out, but then remembered they were in an office, and he didn’t want the conversation leaving said office.

He lowered his voice while staring back and forth outside the office and across the bullpen. “You should just admit that you’ve wanted me off your team since the moment Fowler gave me that promotion!”

Looking at him wearily, Nines blinked once, “You forget that I’m still technically your superior, Detective Reed,” his LED light blared red, a silent symbol of a warning that Gavin was almost wandering into territories he shouldn’t have been wandering in.

“…you should know your place, Detective, and know it well.”

Gavin gasped, “Was that a fuckin’ threat, Nines?!”

“Consider it a warning, at best.”

“It was a fuckin’ threat! You threatened me!”

Before Nines could answer him, the door slammed, and Jeffrey Fowler huffed his way inside, carrying two steaming hot cups of coffee. He set one down before Gavin as he got in his chair comfortably.

Gavin accepted it, but not before throwing Nines a scowl as he gripped the mug tightly in his hands.

Fowler stared up at him as he waved around his messy desk, “I’d offer you sugar or cream, Gavin, but I couldn’t find any in the Break Room.”

Gavin shrugged, “It’s fine, just…just tell me why the hell I’m here.”

This made Fowler’s eyebrow raise into the air. “Why do you think you’re here, Gavin?”

Gavin didn’t hesitate to point at Nines, “Because this bitch probably is lying about my work in the narcotics team!”

This earned him a glare from both Fowler and Nines simultaneously.

“Gavin,” Fowler began in a gentle rumble that hit all areas and corners of his office, which meant he was getting very serious about an upcoming warning.

“…watch your tone and language, Nines is still technically one of your leaders, and technically your boss.”

Nines almost smirked, “I concur, which means that as your said boss, I have the ability to reprimand and discipline you, Detective Reed.”

Gavin hissed, “It’s just a stupid power trip, and I won’t put up with any of it from either of you!!”

“Gavin—”

The angry Detective continued, not stopping as his face grew red. “You guys seem to forget that I have been a loyal, hard-working, honest Detective of this precinct for almost fifteen fuckin’ years! I have been here way before this…this piece of plastic waltzed in and took over! If anything, his job should be mine!!”

“GAVIN!” Fowler slammed his hands on his desk, causing his own coffee mug to rattle, and some of the contents of it splashed over the rim and got on his desk. Papers were stained and drenched, but Jeffrey Fowler had bigger worries than a few wet papers.

Gavin rose from his seat defiantly, “I’m not gonna sit here and listen to another word if you—”

“SIT THE FUCK DOWN, GAVIN!”

Immediately, upon hearing how thunderous and powerful his Captain’s voice was, Gavin blanched and sat down. “Yes sir.”

Nines snickered, but repressed it when Gavin threw him a heated glare.

Fowler smacked a hand on his desk that demanded attention, and Gavin and Nines looked away from each other and at their Captain right away.

“Fuck it,” Fowler said to himself as he shook his head and braced himself, “I’m just going to get right down to it.” Pointing at Gavin, he said: “Do you know what was written on your wall, Gavin?”

Gavin snorted, “I don’t read or speak Spanish, Cap.”

“Don’t be a fucking smartass right now, Gavin, it’s not the fucking time for that!”

Gavin rolled his eyes, but let Captain Fowler continue while Nines stared straight through Fowler, almost bored.

“The Ouroboros have threatened your life and home, Gavin, but now, they’ve said the next time you’re asleep in your bed, they will snatch you up, rape you, and cut you into tiny pieces.”

Gavin’s face was whiter than the walls, and he swallowed uncomfortably. Nines merely stared on, not caring at all as he sat motionless.

“Captain,” Gavin wheezed out, “wh-what sh-should I—”

Fowler held up a hand to silence him. “You need to be protected, Gavin, and it’s too dangerous for you to stay in your apartment any longer.”

He nodded frantically, “Y-yeah, I’ve come to that conclusion myself, sir.” But where was he to go?! He didn’t want to use his money anywhere, as the Ouroboros could easily track his transactions down, and locate him that way! What was worse was that Gavin knew that wasn’t a small bluff from the gang; Ouroboros members often followed through each of their threats and promises, often to the grave. He really was stuck, and he looked up into his Captain’s eyes desperately.

“Sir?”

Captain Fowler sighed, “Before you interrupt me, Gavin…Nines…” he said calmly as he looked at both of them, “I want you to hear me out and trust me that I wouldn’t ever dream of suggesting this outside of this horrible emergency situation.”

This got Nines’ attention, and he raised an eyebrow as he sat up in his seat. His hands tightened a little on the armrests. “Sir?”

Fowler nodded at him, “I’ll get to you in a minute, Nines, don’t worry.”

Unfortunately, whenever Captain Jeffrey Fowler told someone not to worry, it usually meant: WORRY LIKE CRAZY! This was going to be brutal, and Gavin winced as he prepared himself for what was to come.

Rubbing his chin and closing his eyes as he counted to three and whispered out: ‘why me?’, Fowler eventually stared at Nines and Gavin sitting across from him, and he let out a long, pained sigh.

“Gavin, Nines…” they both sat up eagerly.

“Yes????”

Fowler closed his eyes slowly, feeling his head about to explode. “I’m going to have to ask you both to make wedding arrangements within the next forty-eight hours and Gavin will have to move in with you, Nines.”

The office was horribly silent for at least ten minutes, and then, Gavin stood up, grabbed his chair, and he advanced towards Captain Fowler.

The other man jumped up as he held out his hands, backing away into a corner as he screamed out: “GAVIN! STOP! STOP! HEY! PUT THAT DOWN! GAAAAAAVIIIIN!!!”

There was murder written in Gavin’s eyes as he swung the chair about, “TELL ME THIS IS A FUCKING SICK JOKE, CAPTAIN! YOU TELL ME RIGHT NOW!!”

Clenching his fists tightly at his side, Fowler screamed back: “IT’S NOT A FUCKING JOKE, NOW SIT THE HELL DOWN, GAVIN!!”

In the middle of all this, it was even worse that Nines hadn’t reacted at all. He simply sat with eyes wider than golf balls, and his LED light had turned off. If Fowler didn’t know any better, he could’ve sworn that Nines had shut down after receiving the news of his plans. He didn’t blame the RK900 for wanting to do that, but Nines eventually blinked once at Captain Fowler, and then he too grabbed his chair and threw it across the office.

“STOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!!!!!”

They were about to trash the rest of the office, but Fowler held his ground and screamed out a mighty scream that made everyone outside his office gather around and stare in through the windows surrounding the office.

Fowler roared as he made his way over to the blinds and pulled them down with a ‘shlink!’

“The hell are ya’ll looking at?! Get back to work!!”

Gavin sat down on the floor of the office, rocking back and forth as he cried out repeatedly: “This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening!!!!”

Hearing him whimpering and about to break down, Fowler readjusted his tie and straightened his suit as he glared down at Gavin while Nines set his chair down and simply held his face in his hands.

“It sure as shit is happening, Gavin,” Fowler spat, “it’s real life, and it’s the only way I can save your damn life!”

Gavin stood up abruptly, grabbing Fowler’s tie as he yanked him violently forward, “No this isn’t the best you can do!” he argued wildly, his eyes dewy and slightly pink, as if he was going to cry at any minute, “can’t you just arm me with my own personal security guard at all times?!”

Shoving his hands off his tie, Fowler snapped, “I am, Gavin! And your personal security guards is Nines! God damn it!!”

“I don’t want to…” he shook horribly. He couldn’t even bring himself to say the word.

Marriage?!?!? Gavin Reed didn’t have time for marriage! Hell, he hadn’t even been in a relationship in almost three solid years!!! And besides, he wasn’t even the marrying type!!! This was ridiculous!!

“I don’t give a shit what you want, Gavin,” Fowler interrupted as he moved away from him and began fixing up the mess Gavin had created in his violent display of a temper tantrum. “You will head down to city hall and marry Nines in two days, and you will start living together for your own damn good!”

Gavin shook his head as he scowled with every bit of anger he had left in him, despite feeling somewhat drained and sick to his stomach. “No I fucking won’t!”

“Yes you will!”

“You can’t make me!”

“I’ll remove you from the case, Reed!” Fowler threatened, getting up in Gavin’s face as he jabbed a finger into his chest roughly. “Don’t think I won’t do it! I can do it in the blink of an eye, and it’ll be the easiest thing for me!”

Nines, who had still been silently sitting with his head in his hands muffled out: “I’ll d-do it.”

Gavin grinned, “Aha! See?! Nines even said—wait, what?!?!?” He was slow on the uptake, and he nearly crashed down to the floor when his brain registered what the android had said.

“Nines?!?”

Fowler nodded as he pet Nines on the back firmly. “Thank you, Nines, I’m glad you’ve still got some sense in you after all.”

Gavin took a few steps back, almost slamming into the door. “I’m not fucking marrying Nines, and that’s the end of discussion, sir!”

Fowler rolled his eyes as he pressed a hand against his forehead and rubbed it, “It’s just for pretend, Gavin,” he explained in the tone of voice that was normally reserved for talking to a child as opposed to a grown adult.

“…surely you of all people can understand that, somehow?”

Gavin bit his tongue. Although he was unable to retort back, he just shook his head as he glared into Fowler’s dark-yet tired-eyes.

Fowler took a step towards him, gripping both his shoulders tightly as he leaned into him. “I’m not asking you two to get along-god knows I know more than anyone else in here how badly you two hate each other’s guts, and that doesn’t have to change! But please, please for the sake of your own protection and safety, Gavin, do try to hear me out, son.”

Still shaking his head, Gavin inhaled sharply. It felt like his chest was going to explode, and he was certain that if he stayed a minute longer in the office, he would have a nervous breakdown. His throat tightened, his hands were shaking and clammy, and he felt hot and cold all over as he trembled violently.

“Sir…”

“Gavin,” Fowler whispered softly, “do the right thing.”

“But…”

Nines stared into his eyes the exact moment Gavin chose to look over at him in a gesture of confusion. It seemed as if Nines had made up his mind, too, and he gave Gavin a curt nod.

“Just do it, Detective.”

Fowler nodded, “It’s just a fake marriage, Gavin,” he explained as he offered a weak smile, “you can divorce the second the Ouroboros are all locked up and away from you, forever.”

Studying Captain Fowler’s face for any sign of a lie, Gavin eventually didn’t find one. He knew he had to head blindly into this, and he had to put his entire faith and trust in his Captain. After all, Fowler only wanted the best for him, right?? This was the only way he could still work the case and be safe, and as Hank said, he didn’t have any other bright ideas for the time being.

He closed his eyes as the words flew out of his mouth before he could hold them back.

“Fine.”

It was time to plan a wedding.

Chapter Text

It’d taken a few days for Gavin just to settle in with the idea that he was now kind of engaged. Soon, he was going to be married. That scared the living daylights out of him, as he had no idea what to even do in a marriage…well, a fake one, but still, it was a marriage, nevertheless! There was just too much stress on him, but he was grateful that his parents weren’t aware of what was going on, at least.

Gavin’s parents were old-fashioned Baptists who luckily lived Utah, and they were far the hell away from anything Gavin was doing. Still, that didn’t mean his mother wouldn’t call every so often and cry and ask why Gavin hadn’t found a nice girl to settle down with and have a few children…

The truth was, Gavin knew that deep down inside, he preferred men. He’d fooled around with a few guys in college, but nothing serious had ever come from it. In his entire life, he’d only been with one woman, and it was a huge mistake; a drunken encounter he’d regretted ever since. Gavin knew he was attracted to men, but he’d never had the courage to actually approach a single one, and it was for reasons like his parents having an early heart attack.

But now? Now he was fucking engaged to a man, and there was nothing he could do about it. Once he’d gotten over the shock of it as much as he could, Captain Fowler instructed him to stay in his apartment and pack his belongings so he would be able to at least move in with Nines a day before the ‘wedding ceremony’. That was literally all the time Gavin had to himself, and he officially considered this day the very last day he was a single man.

It burned. It hurt. It sucked.

He needed help, however. He had far too much shit with him to take all by himself, and Connor had always told him he was welcome to ask if he needed help…so he rang up Connor and Hank, and very soon, the two men were inside his apartment. Connor was overjoyed as he sat with Gavin in his bedroom, folding clothes and packing them up in two large suitcases. Hank stood by and kept guard if anything suspicious went on, but he helped now and then…by helping himself to food in Gavin’s kitchen.

The Detective was too exhausted to say anything, and he soon found himself alone with Connor. It was almost 11 a.m. when Gavin sat back and groaned as he held his head in his hands.

“I can’t do this, Connor!” he cried out in anguish and despair, “I can’t get married!!”

Connor nodded, placing a comforting hand on Gavin’s shoulder as he whined and held his head down. “Gavin, it’s for your own benefit,” Connor explained softly as he looked up when Hank walked in the room while munching on a peach.

“I know!” Gavin groaned as he sat up, “but I just can’t…I don’t know…this is all too fuckin’ soon for me.”

Hank wiped his lips as he snickered, “It’s not like Nines is having an easier time with this either, Reed.”

Gavin growled, “That’s easy for you to say, Hank! For all we know Nines is probably as straight as an arrow!!” A weird part of him deep inside suddenly made him freeze up after he’d uttered this statement. It was only now that Gavin really began to wonder if Nines even had a sexuality. He looked at Connor, as if wondering the same thing about the RK800, but he couldn’t just ask; it was none of his business, and he really wasn’t interested in Connor’s or Nines’ love lives at all.

Connor gave him a pained look as he said: “I wouldn’t have any information about that either way, Gavin, but the question is, are you going to be okay with the knowledge that your marriage will be made public to keep the Ouroboros off your back for a while?”

This was a very strong question Gavin hadn’t even thought of. The entire purpose of the marriage was to not only ensure that Gavin had around-the-clock protection, but also to send off a sign and a warning message to the Ouroboros that Gavin wasn’t alone; he was with someone else who was the head of the narcotics unit, as well as leading the case against the gang.

Sure, it was a marriage that would kill two birds with one stone, but there would be whisperings, gossip, and he wasn’t sure for how long the marriage would even last…what if his parents found out?!

He sighed as he sat down on his bed and popped an Ibuprofen dry. After he’d swallowed it down painfully, he grunted as he looked at Hank and Connor, “I’m not afraid of people we work with knowing I’m gay; I’m just not sure I’m okay with it bein’ with Nines…that’s all.”

Hank’s jaw suddenly fell open, and he nearly dropped his peach, “You’re gay??”

Connor threw him a nasty glare, and Hank held up a hand, as if Connor had pointed a weapon at him. “I’m just asking…sorry…”

Gavin rolled his eyes, grabbing whatever else he needed from his drawers and night tables, “Well,” he began in a soft voice, “I don’t know if I am really gay, because I’ve never…” he winced. He couldn’t believe he was saying all this out loud to his coworkers.

“…I’ve never done anything with a guy except kissing, groping, and a quick hand job, honestly.”

Hank looked a little sick, but he fought a smile onto his face as he nodded while staring at his peach, “Seems fair, Reed.”

Connor smiled a genuine smile, not at all uncomfortable or unnerved about Gavin’s sexual history and experiences. “It’s going to be okay, Gavin,” he said in a consoling tone as he rubbed Gavin’s back when he got up to sit beside him on the bed. “Nines isn’t bad, and trust me, he’ll be the one to help you and look out for you the most.”

Hank nodded in agreement, “He’s right, Reed! Your chances of surviving are better with Nines for sure.”

While Gavin’s brain knew this and agreed with it, his heart was screaming in the opposite direction. It didn’t matter how convenient this marriage was for his own benefit; he didn’t want to marry Nines, and he didn’t have any feelings other than animosity towards him. It was just that simple for him, and likely would never ever change.

He didn’t want to focus on that, for now. Getting up to his feet, he clapped his hands once as he ushered Connor and Hank out of his room.

“Move it, guys,” he said with a playful grin on his face, “I gotta get somethin’ nicer on before we drive to Nines’ place.”

As he gently closed the door behind his friends, his playful, confident grin collapsed into a fearful, worried look that only expression how scared and confused he really was.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin was so happy that Hank’s large Ford truck was able to contain enough room for all his belongings and then still have leftover room for himself and Connor to sit. The RK800 sat in the backseat with Gavin while Hank drove with a few boxes of Gavin’s belongings stacked up high on top of each other on the seat.

Gavin had looked out the window regretfully as they drove in the late afternoon, and as they got further and further away from his apartment, the hole in his heart grew larger and larger.

“If I could escape and recreate a place that’s my own world! And I could be your favorite girl forever, perfectly together! Tell me boy now wouldn’t that be sweet?”

Gavin winced as he tried drowning out the annoying sing-song voice of Connor when Hank had turned on the stupid radio and that song had played on. Connor was apparently in a good mood, and he swung his head and body happily and merrily sang on as he closed his eyes and waved his hands in the air.

Shaking his head at Connor next to him, Gavin frowned up at Hank in the driver’s seat. “Couldn’t you have turned on the radio to something else, Hank?!” This song really was fucking annoying the hell out of him, and it did nothing for his nerves as they drove past thickets of trees.

Hank scratched his beard as he chuckled, “Don’t be so grouchy, Reed, you’re gonna love the area Nines lives in!”

“The sweet escape!”

This was a punch to the gut.

So Nines lived in a better neighborhood only a year after he’d started in the narcotics unit at the DPD? Great. Gavin wasn’t even going to bother to voice this aloud; he was far too pissed, himself. He’d spent many years slaving away at the DPD, and finally, after fifteen years of being everyone’s dog, he’d gotten a promotion. But now he had heard that Nines was living the dream life?!

Fuckin’ androids.

Connor threw his head back and howled, “If I could be sweet! Sorry boy! I know I’ve been a real bad girl!!!”

Gavin bit his tongue and coughed as the coppery taste of blood filled his mouth. This made him go into an even fouler mood, even though he was dressed in freshly washed and ironed black slacks, a new grey t-shirt, and had even shaved nicely after taking a quick shower. He looked like a million bucks, but for what?

For Nines?!

For someone who had hated him from the moment he laid eyes on him?? Who the hell was he kidding?!

Hank studied his angry expression from the rearview mirror and snickered, “Shouldn’t you be happy, Reed?”

Connor crowed out as he tickled Gavin’s chin with an index finger, “I’ll try to change!”

Gavin frowned at him as he tugged on his seatbelt, “Why the hell should I be happy, Hank??”

“I didn’t mean for you to get hurt, whatsoever!”

Hank shrugged, “It’s the day of your engagement; most people are happy when shit like this goes down in their lives, ya know.”

Still singing, Connor practically screamed out: “We can make it better! Tell me boy now wouldn’t that be sweet?”

Gavin raised an eyebrow at Hank, “Oh, sure Hank! Most people would be happy for sure,” he began in a sarcastic tone, “but you see, most people aren’t gettin’ hitched to someone they absolutely can’t fuckin’ stand within an inch of their life!!”

“Sweet escape, sweet escape!”

Hank hummed, still keeping a calm demeanor while Connor’s singing overpowered Gwen Stefani’s on the radio. “You can’t head into this with that attitude, Reed,” Hank began in the form of a lecture as he peered over his shoulder at Gavin, “you gotta just take this opportunity to work the case, but also try to set your differences aside with Nines once and for all.”

Gavin snorted, “My differences?!?”

“If I could escape, if I could escape!”

Hank nodded, “Yeah! It’s not entirely impossible for you to get along with Nines, Reed; after all, he is technically your boss so long as you keep working in the narcotics unit…”

Gavin didn’t need to hear it. How many more people were going to remind him that Nines was above him, better than him, more intelligent than him, more talented than him? He could take it from Fowler, but he didn’t need to hear it from Hank, too. He turned away and glared out the window, crossing his arms over his chest as his mind drummed up images of himself strangling Nines somehow.

“I don’t want to get along with Nines, Anderson, and if you—”

“Cause I’ve been acting like sour milk all on the floor, it’s your fault you didn’t shut the refrigerator! Maybe that’s the reason I’ve been acting so cold!!”

He couldn’t take it anymore. He just couldn’t.

He roared as he sat up and gripped the back of Hank’s seat, “Shut the damn radio off, Hank.”

Begrudgingly, Hank obeyed.

“If I could es—aww…!!” Connor’s eyes flew open, and he frowned, “Why’d you turn it off??”

“Because I’m tired, Connor!” Gavin threw out angrily, turning to stare out the window again, but his jaw fell open and he gasped when he saw the beauty of the neighborhood they’d pulled up in.

It was definitely one of the more well-to-do areas in Detroit, and it practically made Gavin’s eyes bug out as he gaped through the window at the houses that were more like mansions, and no doubt were at least a few million dollars in price range.  Even Connor had grown silent beside him as he leaned next to Gavin and peered out the window.

Luscious trees that were healthy had many extending branches that bore wonderfully sweet fruit. The smell of cherry blossoms blew about, the grass was greener and livelier, and the front yards were vast and decorated by people who really knew how to spend their money in the right ways. Most of the houses were at least four levels high. Gavin guessed that doctors, lawyers, engineers, and the most hard-working and well-regarded members of society owned the houses on the street called Bishop Street.

Such a stupid name, but the pretentious people who no doubt lived here deserved it, Gavin supposed. He only wondered which of the fancy mansions Nines owned, as Hank kept driving further and further down the street. No doubt, anyone who did higher-paying jobs for a living definitely deserved to own such a spot on a street comprised of such enormous houses, but Nines didn’t deserve it! Did he?? He was just doing the same shit they all did, only he was able to lead and organize his own team now, that was all!!! What did Nines have that Gavin didn’t?

Turning to Connor, the question had been dancing on the tip of his tongue, but Gavin he knew asking such a question or bringing it up in any context would be absolutely rude in front of his friends. He had no choice but to keep his curiosity to himself, and as long as he knew who he was, and as long as he knew of his own accomplishments, he figured it was good enough for him. He didn’t need society giving him a fucking medal for doing the right thing. Fuck that life!

Still, it didn’t help his mood at all, and he could barely keep the hiss out of his voice as he spat out: “So which house belongs to Nines, Anderson?”

Hank looked back down at the neatly folded piece of paper in his hands. Nines’ neat handwriting displayed that his house number was one-hundred-eighty-six. Hank looked back up at the current house to his left, and it was a brown bricked house with a shiny golden plaque on the center of the garage door and it read one-hundred-twenty. They had a long way to go before they reached Nines’ house, so he pressed down on the gas pedal and sped through the winding path of the lovely street.

“Just enjoy the sights, Reed,” Hank sighed as he rolled down his window and let his arm hang out, fingers twitching as they played with the warm, gentle breeze.

Gavin fumed at him, “How can I enjoy anything around here?! I’m being drafted, at this fuckin’ point!”

Connor giggled as he elbowed Gavin playfully, “It’s okay to be in a bad mood for now, Gavin,” he winked at Gavin, “you’ll perhaps enjoy things greatly after you spend more time on this street!”

Gavin only growled as the car drove on.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

They eventually stumbled upon a dark brown bricked house; three levels high with a black shingled rooftop. The windows of the house had a few curtains pulled down, so that very little light emanated forth from the house. It was already starting to get a little dark, as the early summer sun had given them enough of a visit as they spent the entire day packing and chatting before they’d driven out to Nines’ home.

Gavin felt his stomach churning as he sat back and unbuckled his seatbelt when Hank cried out: “Fucking hell, we’re finally here!!”

Connor excitedly opened the doors, yanking a few of Gavin’s suitcases with him while Hank put on his sunglasses. He paused as he opened the door and peeked over at Gavin.

“Reed! You okay?”

Gavin took a few sharp breaths as he gripped the edge of the seat, “Yeah…I’m uh…I’m right behind you guys.”

Reluctantly, he got up.

With a racing heart and a shaking body despite the warm temperature, Gavin carried a few of his other packed belongings as he stared at the cement plaque resting on top of the center of the garage door with black ink displaying the number one-hundred-eighty-six. He was at the right house, and it was practically the very last house located on Bishop street. And boy, was it ever a beauty.

Leave it to Nines to own such a magnificent place, indeed.

The front yard was a garden unlike anything Gavin had ever seen, with even a small, miniature greenhouse off between the space that separated Nines’ house from his neighbor’s. All sorts of wild roses and flowers danced about in the wind, as if welcoming everyone to drop by and sniff at them. And they smelled lovely. Not a single weed was to be found in the grass, and a large birdbath and water fountain that was built and shaped like an angel carrying a baby in its arms was the centerpiece as cold, beautiful waters trickled down.

Gavin was more than envious; he was enraged at the beauties all around.

Gavin was almost afraid to step up and climb the marble stoned steps leading up to the front porch towards the front door of the giant house. The front porch was decorated in an elegant display of flowers in vases that Gavin was more than positive had been flown in from other countries to be planted right there in the flowerbeds and expensive-looking vases.

Colors of gentle purple and pink were neatly stacked in a bush right beside the steps, and flowerpots with red and marigold flowers planted within them hung from the ceiling of the roof in front of the door, lined neatly along the front porch. Extravagant tables, benches, and chairs lined up along the walls, and everything just was so damn neat about the place that it made Gavin’s skin crawl.

And to think that Nines owned this all…

Connor whistled a little merry tune as he skipped up to the door, and he was about to ring the bell, when Hank slapped his hand down.

“Wah?!”

Hank grinned, “I think the blushing bride-to-be should be the first one to see Nines, don’t you think, Connor?”

Gavin groused, “Fuck you both.”

Still, Gavin held his bags firmly in one hand, and then he raised the other-a very shaky hand-to press the doorbell to alert Nines he was here and ready to be ‘welcomed’ in. But just as he had gathered his nerve and was about to ring, the door opened, reflecting the little sunlight that was peeking up over the clouds into Gavin’s eyes.

The mahogany oak of the front door was swung open to the side, revealing Nines’ pale face before Gavin’s. Strangely, the android was dressed in casual clothing which consisted of black chino pants, and a black Oxford shirt. He wore no shoes, and Gavin had taken a moment to stare at Nines’ bare feet before he felt Hank shoving him a little to get him moving.

He stammered, “Umm…uh…hey?”

He could almost hear Hank facepalming behind him.

Nines wasn’t amused. “Hmm, good evening, everyone. So nice of you all to come by.” Though Nines had stated it politely, it fell flat, and it was beyond dull, as if somehow forgetting their new arrangements from now on.

Connor shoved Gavin aside, “Howdy, Nines!”

A smile was upon the RK900’s face, and he hugged Connor gently, “Connor.”

Hank wheeled in Gavin’s suitcases quickly, and Nines held open the door and stepped back to make room for all of Gavin’s belongings.

He studied each of them with an unreadable expression as Gavin glared at him.

Finally looking up, Nines turned to Hank, “I trust you had little-to-no-trouble finding your way to my home?”

Hank chuckled as he ran a hand through his hair and readjusted it. “No, not really,” he threw his hair over his shoulder as he pointed out one of the large windows in the main foyer, “My lucky GPS system really helped, don’t worry, Nines.”

Nines smiled politely before turning around and leading them down the large hallway.

Gavin took off his shoes and placed them neatly on the shoe placemat to the left of the door. He was almost leaning against the wall as he did the deed, but not right up against it so as to not disturb the cream-colored walls. God forbid if he even got a fingerprint on Nines’ perfect walls; he was certain the android would have a heart attack.

The floorboards were a dark mahogany color, matching the front door perfectly. Gavin decided that they had been recently mopped and dusted, for he could practically count each hair strand on his head in the reflection meeting his curious gaze in return when he stared down at the floor.

Fuckin’ Nines and his stupid perfection! Damn him!

“Hank?” Nines called over his shoulder as he headed towards an enormous kitchen that was the entire space of Gavin’s whole apartment, “would you like anything to drink? Any refreshments you prefer?” Nines had asked this so courteously, watching Hank shrug off his black coat and taking it from him gently as he placed it on the back of a large wooden stool by the kitchen counters.

Hank beamed at him and stuffed his hands in his pockets as he took off his sunglasses and folded them neatly in his shirt pocket.

“You’re a wonderful host, Nines,” he winked at Connor, “I have a thing or two to learn...”

Gavin rolled his eyes pathetically.

Nines opened the large, silver Samsung French Door fridge as he beckoned Hank over. “I have a variety of things you just might like.”

Gavin peered over Hank’s shoulder and snorted rudely, “Why would you stock up your fridge? You’re an android! You don’t need to eat or drink!”

Not even bothering to look at him, Nines ground out, “I was told to do so prior to your arrival, Detective Reed,” he stepped away from the fridge and let Hank skim around the inside of it, “now if you would be so kind as to—”

Sensing an argument about to come, Hank interrupted quickly, “Oh, some Dr. Pepper would be just fine!”

Nines tilted his head, wearing a cold expression that clearly displayed that although Hank had been quick to ‘save’ him from an argument, he didn’t appreciate being interrupted either way.

“Jesus Christ,” Gavin thought to himself while Hank reached inside the fridge and grabbed the can of Dr. Pepper he wanted. He mentally face-palmed when Hank spat out: “Thank you!” He nearly forgot what a stickler Nines was for manners and being courteous, and he only wondered how he was going to live with this android…man…thing. Gavin wouldn’t necessarily call himself a pig anytime soon, but he wasn’t exactly a ‘gentleman’, either. He loved to belch loudly, he loved to throw his dirty socks and underwear around on the floors, and he loved to sleep in the nude and walk around in the buff half of the day on weekends…this was going to be brutal, as he didn’t think Nines would ever abide by him belching up a storm after soda and cheese pizza every Saturday night.

Nines stepped back and leaned against a kitchen counter as he smiled at Hank and Connor, “Would you two like to stay for a bit?”

Hank shook his head as he downed his drink and wiped his lips on the back of a hand, “Sorry Nines! It’s just better to leave you guys to it!”

He was already grabbing Connor’s hand, and while the RK800 was poking around in one of the kitchen cupboards, Hank dragged him all the way back to the foyer.

Gavin immediately panicked, and he ran after them.

“No! Wait!” He cried out pathetically, “You guys just can’t leave me now!!”

Hank grabbed Connor’s shoulders, already opening the front door. “We did our job, Reed,” he stated hurriedly as he let Connor hold his cool drink, “and our job was to get you here safely, and we did our job well enough!”

Connor nodded, “You know what they say, Gavin…” Hank stepped out, and Connor held onto the door handle as he slowly closed the door behind himself.

“…never get involved in the affairs of a married couple!”

Gavin called out, “But we’re not married!!!”

The door slammed, and he was left all alone with Nines. Never had he felt so lost, abandoned, and frightened in his entire life before. The soft pattering of feet approaching behind served as a reminder that the bane of his existence wasn’t too far away behind him.

Gavin groaned as he turned around and faced Nines.

He was met with a cold stare, and Nines looked down at his large suitcases and boxes littering the main foyer as if they were all junk or piles of garbage instead. Then again, perhaps to Nines, they certainly seemed that way…

Fuckin’ asshole.

Nines took a step towards Gavin as he stood even taller than Gavin pictured him normally standing. “Detective Reed,” he began in a faint whisper, “please head on to the second floor while I collect the rest of your…” he paused, eyes squinting, “...things and bring them up with me. You’ll find that I’ve already set out a separate room for you, and it is located by the guest bathroom, second room to the left of the linen closet.”

Eager to get the hell away from Nines, Gavin nodded and headed on upstairs.

“Does he really trust me to search his house and go through shit as I please?”

He truly had to wonder just how much of this was going to be ‘his home’, but he wasn’t holding his breath in the department of ‘Nines is a kind husband’ anytime soon. It was much better to assume that Nines was going to treat him like a nuisance, and the sooner he got the fuck out of Nines’ way, the better it would be for them both.

Gavin ascended the grand black-banister staircase, the railings decorated with dark green wild-life-like vines curling and twisting handsomely around the railings. The carpeted floor warmed up his bare feet, as he felt each footstep sink into the cream-colored carpets which supported the strong steps. However, before Gavin could gaze around more, he found the steps were coming to an end to as he neared the second floor.

Windows stood massively, pouring in the bright orange sunlight from outside. The windows were almost the same height as Gavin himself, and they curled in a circular motion upwards throughout the right side of the house facing the staircase. Gavin wondered who decorated the house and how much time it took them to do so. The house was very perfect in its own way, and a grand, expensive chandelier glinted and twirled high above on the fancy ceiling over top it all.

Finally, he had reached the first door to the left of a decent-sized linen closet that was half the size of his entire bedroom, and he walked past it, regaining some energy and feeling his stomach rumble as he approached the second door to the left and pulled the thick, golden doorknob open.

It was a lightly decorated room: a large flat-screened Macintosh laptop that was at the very least over $5000 sat on top of a silver-colored, thin-framed desk, the screensaver set to famous paintings and sculptures Gavin could only stare at in awe and admiration. The walls of the bedroom were painted in dark red, making the room appear darker than it normally would have been at this time of day. Behind the silver desk supporting the laptop were large vertical windows leading the way to a little balcony decorated with a few flowerpots and a single statue of Cupid about to shoot forth an arrow. On the walls were a few paintings Gavin couldn’t recognize, but most had to have been purchased from a famous art gallery, for they were quite marvelously designed, and the colors were radiant and mystifying.

In the center of the bedroom was a large four-poster bed that was longer and wider than anything Gavin had even seen in a fancy home-decorating magazine. The sheets were satin, and they were as red as the walls. The pillows were large and fluffy, and the entire room smelled of something so fresh and clean that it practically made Gavin want to fall face-first into the mattress and take a deep whiff of whatever the hell it was.

A small deer-skin rug was at the foot of the bed, but Gavin peered down and was grateful it wasn’t authentic. At least Nines wasn’t supporting poaching, he thought.

He found a large standing closet to the far-right of the room, with shelves and rows emptied and waiting for his belongings and clothes to be placed and hung up within them. To the right of the bed, there was a large, black dresser, and an even bigger gothic-styled mirror stood high and tall above the dresser.

This seemed so…so much like Nines. The way he’d behaved at work, the way he’d socialized, Gavin had automatically pegged him as a posh, stuck-up asshole, and his entire house reeked of it too, now. Gavin was so happy to know that his intuition about Nines hadn’t been incorrect at all.

In the far-left-hand corner of the room, a little fireplace stood directly below a large 70-inch flat screen TV mounted highly on the wall to the left side of the desk, the fire obviously turned off and a few black piles of firewood resting in the hearth.

Gavin shivered, for this room did not have a carpet, but the same mahogany wooden floorboards as the main floor of the house. The ceiling had stylish silver pot lights implanted and embedded within, and they were too bright for Gavin to peer up into when he tried admiring them.

Gavin nodded, clearly impressed as he turned and gave Nines a small smile. “I like it, Nines!” he smiled even wider, “it’s very impressive, and not too shabby of a place you got yourself.”

Rolling one of his suitcases across the floorboards, Nines scowled at him. “If I wanted your opinion, Detective Reed, I would’ve simply asked for it.”

Ouch.

What a wonderful start.

Gavin glared at him, “I was just trying to be nice, Nines, no need to be a fuckin’ dick!”

Throwing one of the suitcases down roughly, Nines took a few long steps over towards Gavin, and leaned down into his face as he snarled while his LED light switched from yellow to red.

“Listen well, Detective Reed,” his voice was like ice that spread along Gavin’s body, and the man shivered as he backed away a little, just so he had some space between his body, and Nines’.

“I’m not as eager to allow you in my home, and if it weren’t for Captain Fowler, I’d never accept this, never!” Nines practically roared as he advanced more, “Just because we’re to be married in another day, doesn’t mean we’re going to be friends, doesn’t mean we’re going to get along, and it certainly doesn’t mean I have to speak to you any more than I already am! So you just keep to yourself, work on the case as efficiently and quickly as you can, and keep your curiosity out of my personal life! Do you hear me?!”

Gavin could only gape at Nines as he felt the back of his legs hitting the foot of the bed. He stopped backing away from the android, and he merely swallowed just to keep his throat moist.

“I said: Do you hear me, Detective Reed?” Nines asked again when Gavin was silent for too long.

Gavin nodded, “Yeah…y-yeah, I got it, Nines…”

What else was he to say, really? He was honestly scared of what an angry Nines was capable of, and he could only hang back like a little mouse as Nines straightened his shirt out and huffed at him. His LED light went back to yellow, and he turned on his heel as he began exiting the large room.

“You know where the fridge is, you know where the stove is. You’re in charge of preparing your own meals; I won’t dote on you, I won’t wait on you, and I certainly won’t offer you anything.”

With that said, Nines slammed the door behind himself and made his way back downstairs.

Gavin huffed after he’d left, and he turned around as he brushed back a few loose bangs away from his eyes and forehead.

“I can’t believe it,” he whispered to himself as he let out a strained laugh, “my fiancé’s an asshole!!”

“God damn you, Jeffrey Fowler!”

Chapter Text

It had taken Gavin almost up until nightfall to unpack and decorate his new room. Though he worked through the day under the impression that his entire apartment would never fit in the room he was provided with, he found that no matter how many of his own personal belongings he’d brought with him, the room he was to stay in still had plenty of extra space for him to store things in. Perhaps he should’ve gone shopping for random, meaningless crap, just to piss Nines off and store the garbage, extra stuff he didn’t even need in the room until it exploded…yes, that was a sound idea.

Gavin didn’t know what else to do when the unpacking was finished, but his stomach grumbled, reminding him that he should’ve eaten almost two hours ago. But he didn’t want to go downstairs!!! His moody fiancé was there, likely brooding as usual, and Gavin didn’t want to get into an argument…not on an empty stomach, anyway.

Having no other choice and not wanting to starve to death, Gavin opened the bedroom door, and he’d barely poked his head out when he heard the gentle playing of classical music from the first-floor of the mansion. It was so serene, gentle, and lovely, that it beckoned him to go down despite his initial fears. Now, all he wanted to do was to follow the sweet melody until it was directly by his ears where it could soothe and relax him further.

Gavin wandered the house, eventually locating the source of the beautiful, soothing classical music. It was coming from large black speakers that were placed in every corner of a large drawing room. At least…Gavin supposed it was a drawing room, but he couldn’t be so sure, seeing as leather sofas were placed on walls facing each other on opposite sides of the room, and plenty of desks with maps, laptops, notes, as well as other strange artefacts and heirlooms Gavin never thought Nines would own were strewn about the room. It all seemed so…homey, and that wasn’t a thought Gavin could associate with Nines.

The damn thing was a machine; not a person! Nines maybe thought he was a human and had his own personality, but at the end of the day, he was just a huge dick with an exaggerated sense of self-superiority. That was all there was to it, and Gavin didn’t need to think about Nines anymore. After all, he didn’t want to ruin his appetite! 

He focused on the lovely classical music, wondering who the composer was, when there was movement in the right-hand corner of the room. It nearly went missed, but Gavin saw a hand tilting upwards with the flick of a wrist.

As Gavin approached, he saw Nines leaning back in a ruby red armchair that must’ve cost a fortune. The cushion was thick, the fabric emanated and glowed warmth and comfort. The curtains were drawn down over the windows, but the dim lights in the room revealed to Gavin that Nines was leaning back with his eyes closed, his LED light yellow as his wrists flicked slightly in time with the music playing softly on the thin speakers.

“Glad to know that he listens to music that’s as pretentious as he is…”

Gavin took a step backwards, not wanting to disturb whatever the fuck it was that Nines was up to. He’d barely inched back a few steps when Nines drawled out in a deep growl, “Liebeslieder Waltz, Opus 114, composed by Johann Strauss.”

Swallowing down his anxiety, Gavin spat out, “I didn’t say anything!!”

Nines had his eyes still closed. “You didn’t need to,” he whispered, finally opening his eyes as his LED light turned blue, “I can hear your thoughts miles away.”

Well, this was insulting. Nines had to go and be a jerk again who was well-versed in the skill of passive-aggressive morose bullshit. Gavin didn’t need to hear it, especially before he’d eaten something.

“I’d just prefer it if you straight-up insulted me instead of being such a pretentious bitch about everything,” he ground out as he clenched his fists at his sides, willing himself not to throw a punch at the android sitting in the armchair before him.

Nines glared at him as he crossed a long leg over the other while managing to look so poised. “And I’d just prefer it if you knocked before rudely entering my rooms; I was working.”

Gavin snorted as he placed his hands on his hips, “You were listenin’ to your stupid music, Nines,” he looked over at the rest of the room, just in case Nines was hiding evidence of really having been at work.

“…I don’t see any bit of work around here.”

Nines sighed as he folded his hands in his lap, “I was mentally going over reports on what everyone already knows about Ouroboros.”

Oh.

Gavin had somehow forgotten that androids could do this without using technology, and he stood awkwardly before sniffing and shrugging it all off. “Okay…so fuckin’ what?”

Nines seemed like he was on the verge of an explosion. His fingers twitched, but he looked over at the speakers before he grabbed a small remote and turned down the volume of the music. Sitting back in his chair, his eyes flickered over Gavin’s form, and he scoffed, as if highly displeased with Gavin in some way. It pissed Gavin right off, but he pushed it aside as he tried getting whatever information about Ouroboros or Slo-Freeze as he could from Nines.

“Detective Reed,” Nines began in a haughty tone that projected nothing but arrogance, “do you even know the commonalities of the physical appearances of the members of Ouroboros?”

What a stupid question. Of course he did!

Gavin rolled his eyes, “Yeah, they are all doped-up and look like a bunch of freaks who like running around and killing people’s cats and shit!”

Nines sighed again as he shook his head. “Their tattoos, what have you noticed about their tattoos?”

Gavin frowned, “Huh?”

“You know Detective,” Nines began as he stared intently at Gavin, “for someone who’s worked in the Precinct for as many years as you claim, and having handled major homicide cases, you really can be quite daft at times.”

What an insult.

Gavin rolled his shoulders back, as if he were prepared for a fight. “Alright Nines,” he spat out coldly, “no need to be a jerk!”

Nines’ eyes squinted at him, “You just booked and arrested a gang member the other morning, and you are incapable of telling me about the tattoo on the inside of his forearm?” Nines shook his head, “How inept.”

“Hey! I’m not inept!” Gavin argued back, “I saw the fuckin’ thing!”

“Oh really?”

“Yeah!”

Nines scoffed, “Describe it for me, if you will.”

Gavin stuck out his chin, “Alright then, it was a…umm…fuck…”

Grinning coldly as his eyes shined brightly, Nines sat up. “Ouroboros members have the design of a serpent eating its own tail in a circle brandished on their flesh, Detective. Everything they do relies heavily on this symbol,” Nines explained coolly, as if he were merely discussing his favorite movie or song instead of the history about a dangerous gang.

“The symbol of the serpent devouring itself originated from Ancient Egypt, but when it made its way to Western history, its effects weren’t forgotten. According to Jungian psychology, the Ouroboros symbol has been said to have a meaning of infinity or wholeness. In the age-old image of the Ouroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the more astute alchemists that the prima materia-that is a formless primeval substance regarded as the original material of the universe, so you know-of the art was man himself. The Ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, or of the shadow, if you will. This ‘feed-back’ process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the Ouroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilizes himself and gives birth to himself. He symbolizes the One, who proceeds from the clash of opposites, and he therefore constitutes the secret of the prima materia which ... unquestionably stems from man’s unconsciousness.”

As if that hadn’t been enough of a mouthful, Nines continued on, “Unlike other gangs, Ouroboros don’t show discrimination when it comes to ethnicity; they accept with open arms different members running different crime-unit cells from various backgrounds. This is part of what makes it so difficult for law enforcement to track their crimes and activities,” he stated with a stern look upon his face, “it’s due to how randomly they select and accept their members. They hold no bias, you see…as long as one has the mind and will to become a member, that is all it takes most days to be a part of Ouroboros. They’re run by a single, cohesive thought: ‘blood for blood’.”

Biting one of his fingernails, Gavin let out a small half-shrug, “So all it takes to be recruited in this secret club is ‘be bat-shit-insane’; doesn’t seem all that difficult! There’s tons of gangs already like that running all over Detroit, but at the end of the day, they’re all a bunch of drug addicts who think they can take on the world!”

Nines shook his head and then wagged a finger at Gavin, as if scolding a child. “That’s where you’re quite wrong, Detective…,” he began as he corrected Gavin swiftly, “…Ouroboros never use drugs. In fact, they have something else that leaves them unstoppable, often…” his eyes flickered dangerously over at Gavin’s, then, “…they have willpower, and they’re not afraid to die. That’s what fuels them, and they’re not afraid to die for their own cause if they see fit.”

Gavin’s mind was truly blown away by how much knowledge Nines had accrued on the Ouroboros. He was horribly jealous, and he was unable to hold it back as he spat out, “Impressive, Nines, so what’s the fuckin’ point of all this?”

Nines waved a hand at him, “How it came to be that you were promoted to become a part of my narcotics team and work on one of the most dangerous, and most difficult cases when you don’t even have the intelligence to fill an eggcup is beyond me, Detective Reed.”

Wanting to be as haughty and as rude as Nines, Gavin poked his chin out while scowling down at Nines, “Perhaps I was able to pull it off due to my manly charms.”

“I highly doubt that,” came the cold reply right back within a second.

Gavin felt the heat rising off his cheeks, but before he could throw insults across the room at Nines, the android stood to his full height and turned off the classical music.

“The point of the symbol itself serves as a huge warning to society,” Nines stated as he stared down at Gavin in a dominant way that said: “I know everything, and you don’t, so fuck you!”

Ignoring the vicious scowls Gavin was giving him, Nines glowered at him while he spoke on, “Ouroboros aren’t afraid of death, Detective Reed; they fully believe in their own powers and abilities, and they feel they’re immortal. They feel their purpose and work won’t ever end on the planet, and they will feed into their own destruction and malice until they grow stronger and stronger.”

He leaned into Gavin, a ghost of a smirk on his lips, “See, they enjoy failure; it gives them the perfect opportunity to rise above everything and learn from their mistakes.”

Oookaaaayyy…point taken.

Leaning away from Nines, Gavin brushed himself off with a steady hand. “Okay, I got it, Nines, no need to be such a creep!”

Nines quirked an eyebrow as he clasped his hands behind his back. “Oh really, Detective? I have a hard time believing that…”

“You doubt me?”

“Yes.”

Gavin froze for a moment, then spat out, “Well you’re just a bitch, that’s why.”

Nines hummed, a disgruntled expression on his face in an instant. “Detective Reed, you should try to figure out the real purpose behind any violent act a gang carries out; sometimes, it’s not just about the fame or money, you know.”

Feeling his stomach about to rumble, Gavin pressed a hand down against it, as if to silence it before it growled at him. “That a fact?”

Nines nodded, “Indeed, keep that in mind, and in the time being, I suggest that you—”

Beeeeeeeeep! Beeeeeeeeep! Boooooooooop! Beeeeeeeeep!!!!!!

Gavin’s eyes widened at the strange noises that seemed to be coming from beneath his feet. He peered down, and he had to leap back a little when he saw a little silvery-colored circular machine with a green light in its back. It resembled a tiny cat or a dog, and it had two legs that held and supported its round body up. A large, bulbous head was atop a thin neck, and a little appendage much like a tail flicked out from its back, though it was likely an antenna of sorts. It had a little slit in the head that Gavin supposed could’ve been an eye, but it also could have been a camera or a scanner as well. It was a narrow, vertical slit that was barely visible, but it was there nonetheless.

Gavin pointed down at the strange machine as it hovered a few feet into the air, but never came up any higher than Gavin’s kneecaps.

“The fuck is that?!?”

Nines looked down at the machine for a split second before he straightened himself out and huffed. “Ah, that would be the ‘Nano-Bot’. One of the latest and greatest inventions, courtesy of Elijah Kamski.”

Gavin gasped, “I’ve never seen one of these damn things before!!”

“That would be because it’s still in its earliest designs.”

Gavin raised an inquisitive eyebrow, “So what’s it doin’ in your home, then?”

“It was a gift given to me by Mr. Kamski.”

Rolling his eyes, Gavin let out a dry laugh, “What? Does the guy have dinners with you or some shit, like, as if you guys are friends?”

Bleeeep! Bleeeep!

Nines was silent before he nodded slowly, “Mr. Kamski and I have been keeping regular company for a while now, Detective Reed…not that it’s any of your business.”

Wow.

So not only did Nines have the job Gavin wanted, the mansion he should have had, the decorations and items he’d wanted, but now he was telling Gavin that he was best friends with Elijah Kamski?!?!?!

Gavin had found another reason to hate Nines even more, especially now that he knew the android hung out with Elijah Kamski on a regular basis.

Bleeeeeeeep!

“Good. Evening. Detective. Reed. How. May. I. Assist. You?”

Gavin looked down at the Nano-Bot as it spoke up at him in an incredibly monotone, female voice. Afterwards, a little gleam of light poured out from the center of its ‘head’, and it whirred and purred as it rose a little higher while spinning a circle. Eventually, it descended a little, and its tail flickered once before tucking itself back in a little square compartment on its back Gavin hadn’t noticed before.

Gavin was shocked again. “It talks?!?”

Nines hummed, “It’s a part of its programming.”

“What does it do??”

“It’s meant to assist you, Detective Reed,” Nines stated blandly, as if he had already explained this concept over a hundred times before. “It can carry out any task you give it.”

Gavin nodded, an impressed expression on his face. “I like it!”

“Indeed.”

He looked over at Nines, “What do you call it?”

“I beg your pardon?”

Gavin snickered, “It’s a girl, obviously, does she have a name?”

Nines sputtered, for once looking so lost and delirious as he stared up and down at Gavin in confusion.

“I…I don’t…” he shook his head, “it’s a machine, Detective; it doesn’t need a name.”

Gavin snorted, “So? You’re a machine, and yet you have a name!”

This made Nines turn almost into a statue. His eyes glazed over, and for a while, he stood rigid and firm as he stared at Gavin without blinking for almost three minutes. Gavin was certain he’d pissed Nines off, and he winced as he looked down and sighed.

“Sorry…I didn’t mean it like that, I just—”

Nines brushed past him, “You may name her, if you wish, seeing as you’re so keen on it.”

Gavin watched him walk towards the door of the drawing room, and he called out, “H-hey! Where are you goin’?”

Without looking back at him, Nines hissed thinly, “I’m off to retire for the night, if it’s alright with you, Detective Reed. I bid you goodnight.”

Before Gavin could say anything else to him, Nines disappeared, leaving Gavin all alone with the little Nano-Bot that was still hovering and whirring around his knees, possibly waiting to receive instructions.

Gavin smiled down at it while he stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Hey you!” he chuckled, “you’re kinda cute, aren’t ya?”

Boooooooop!

“Detective. What. Can. I. Assist. You. With?”

Gavin bent down and took a closer look at the Nano-Bot for a long time before he chuckled again and tilted his head at it.

“You know what? I’d like to give you a name!” he announced proudly to the little machine, and he watched its ‘eye’ flicker a little blue light.

Gavin gasped, “Can I name you?”

The machine let out a slow beep before the feminine voice spoke out: “Permission. Granted. Proceed.”

Gavin lowered his voice to a whisper, as if sharing a secret he only wanted to keep between himself and little Nano-Bot.

“I think I’ll call you Shelley, from now on.”

Beeeeeeeeeeep!

“Name. Registered. Current. Name. Shelley!”

Gavin could’ve sworn that Shelley sounded excited as her eye turned to a baby blue color. Maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad here after all.

Chapter Text

Captain Fowler jumped a mile in the air when his office phone rang. It had been silent for nearly an hour-just an hour-but then it had to ring. He’d celebrated a bit too early with the idea that he could be able to go home a little ahead of time today, but then the phone just had to ring…always a catch to having a nice day.

Sighing tiredly, he sat back down, a light spring jacket still on as the weather was slightly chilly and windy that day.

“Fowler’s office,” he spoke quickly, staring at his watch as he began already counting down the minutes.

“Captain Fowler,” Nines’ voice came on the other end of the line, “I trust you’re well?”

Fowler smiled as he leaned back in his chair, “Ahh, hey Nines,” he greeted politely as he stared at a picture of his family’s large garden hanging up across his desk on a wall, “thanks for calling me.”

“No thanking is necessary, Captain,” Nines drawled on, “I’m merely checking in with you as you requested of me.”

Fowler nodded as he scratched at his shins below his desk, “Yes Nines, I was wondering how Gavin’s doing?”

There was a slight pause on the other end of the line, and Captain Fowler had to look at the phone for a moment, wondering if it had somehow disconnected or malfunctioned then.

“Nines?”

“Yes Sir,” the android softly answered, “Detective Reed is now cohabiting with me in my home, as you know.”

“Splendid! How are you two getting along?” Fowler somehow knew what the answer to this question was going to be, but he still felt he had to ask, more so out of curiosity’s sake. It wasn’t that he was interested in relationship drama…no…not at all; he just wanted to check in on Gavin and Nines!! Yes…that was it for sure.

He heard Nines sighing before he quickly pushed out, “He’s impossible and utterly difficult to deal with as always, Sir.”

Fowler threw his head back and laughed a small bark of a laugh. When he realized Nines hadn’t joined in, he cleared his throat and tried containing himself.

“I apologize for that, Nines.”

“No need, Captain.”

Fowler could practically see the scowl on the RK900’s face right now.

Clearing his throat to keep from coughing, he moved onto another topic. “So,” he began, “the wedding…”

“Indeed.”

“I was just informed that because of a recent incident involving a business owner having some connections and ties with Ouroboros, anyone could be watching Gavin at this point.”

It seemed as though Nines had already caught on. “You want us to have a formal wedding ceremony.”

Smart android.

Fowler nodded again, “I’m afraid so, Nines. It’s the only way the wedding would seem legitimate, and again, we don’t know who is a part of Ouroboros, and who their messengers and eyes are at this point.”

Nines hated that he had to agree, and he merely sighed and shifted before he ground out impatiently, “Very well, Captain.”

“Nines, please,” Fowler pleaded gently, “this is the best way we can even find a leader of the gang…it could be the priest who marries you and Gavin, for all we know!” He followed this up with another short laugh, but Nines shifted again before sighing a long sigh.

“As you wish, Captain.”

“Appreciate it, Nines,” Fowler stood up, gathering his belongings and his car key as he prepared to exit for the day, finally. He was a lot more exhausted than he originally thought, but it was so strange that he hadn’t noticed it throughout the day. He tossed that off to how crazy busy it had gotten, so much that he had no time to even understand the signals his body was giving him.

He breathed out, “I’m getting too old for this shit.”

Nines paused for a moment, then cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, Captain, was that meant for me?”

Fowler nearly slapped himself. He really was getting old and senile if he wasn’t able to differentiate between an internal thought and voicing his thoughts out loud.

He tapped a hand against his forehead, as though he was trying to ‘beat’ the lesson into his head. “No Nines, forget I said that, please.”

“Hmm…as you wish, Sir. The ceremony is still tomorrow?”

“Sure is.”

“Very well, good day, Captain.”

He paused, “Oh! Nines?” Hoping Nines hadn’t already ended the call, Captain Fowler cried out for him again.

“I’m still here, Captain.”

He smiled, “I know you’re not fond of Gavin, but please try to be patient with him and understand him as well you’re able to, okay?”

Again, it was silent for a while, and then Nines simply said, “I’m afraid I have to go, Captain. See you at the ceremony tomorrow.”

Captain Fowler breathed out gently, holding up a small, rectangular picture frame on his desk.

“Take care, Nines.”

As the call disconnected, he studied the photograph of his family for an unknown period of time. It was a photo that had been taken barely a year ago, but it still held plenty of wonderful, happy memories still to this day. His wife and children were smiling brightly and widely, and he himself was on top of the world on that day…he set the photograph down as he shook his head and muttered to himself.

He only left when his feet ached from standing up for so long.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin was munching on an apple when he nearly collided into Nines when he’d tried exiting the kitchen. He gasped as he leapt up and suddenly dropped the apple. Quick as a flash, Nines used his inhuman reflexes to snatch up the apple before it rolled onto the floor.

Glaring down heatedly at Gavin, he held up the apple that had just recently been bitten into. His eyes curved and swam over the teeth indentations in the skin of the apple. As Nines studied the fruit, he saw the juices flowing from the bite in the middle of it. Still, the apple was crisp, fresh, and it was lovely.

Gavin grunted as he stared down awkwardly at the floor, “Ummm, can I have my apple back, Nines?”

Nines tossed it back at him wordlessly. This time, Gavin caught it in one hand, and he nodded as he bit into it again.

Turning away from him, Nines exited the kitchen through the left-side, and was trying to make his way into his office, when he heard Gavin crunching and munching on the apple. He was closely following him, and Nines peered at him over his shoulder.

Gavin’s cheeks puffed out, giving him the appearance of a chipmunk or a squirrel storing food in its mouth.

He waved at Nines and spoke while his mouth was full, “Hey.”

Nines scoffed at him, “You’re a messy eater.”

This drew a frown out of Gavin, but he wiped his apple-stained lips with the sleeve of his sweater. Nines scowled even harder at him for it, and then turned around to open the double doors leading to his office adjacent to the large kitchen.

“Were you talkin’ to Fowler earlier?” Gavin asked at his back, and as Nines moved about, the motion detection kicked up, making the lights in the office turn on immediately.

He glared at Gavin as he pulled out his chair neatly tucked into his desk, “That’s ‘Captain Fowler’ to you, Detective Reed!”

Gavin’s eyes widened a little, and he held up the apple high in the air, “Woah, woah, no need to snap at me, Nines!”

Nines practically slammed the chair down on the floor as he set himself down on it. “And furthermore,” he began in a haughty tone of voice, “it’s none of your business if I’m talking to Captain Fowler, or anyone else!!”

Gavin snapped back, “Yes it fuckin’ is!!”

Nines was about to explode, but he closed his eyes, LED light red as he felt patience slowly slipping out of him like water springing from leak in a boat in the middle of the ocean.

“I said it’s not your concern, Detective Reed.” How he had kept calm through all that was beyond him, but he made a mental note to have a little chat with Captain Fowler about an increase or bonus in his salary-just for having the patience to deal with Detective Reed.

Gripping his apple tightly, Gavin soon turned redder than the fruit he had been eating.

“It is my fuckin’ concern, Nines!!”

Raising his own voice, Nines shouted back, “How do you figure that?!”

Gavin waved around the room, spinning in a half-circle, as if the answer had been floating around in the room the entire time. “In case you’re not realizing it, we’re engaged, Nines!” Gavin spat with venom as his shoulders tightened and clenched up, “we’re about to be married, and that means that like it or not, I’m a part of your life!!”

“It’s a fake marriage, Detective,” Nines jeered at him, “we’re not partners at all, no matter whether we’re having a legitimate ceremony or otherwise.”

Gavin froze, and Nines internally punched himself in the face. He didn’t understand how he’d accidentally made the first bumble in his entire creation: telling Gavin about the news Captain Fowler had passed on to him. This was by far the first time Nines caught himself making the error a child normally would have, and he fumed as his eyes narrowed at Gavin. It was his fault!!

Gavin gasped, “Did Fowler say we’re having a real ceremony?!”

There was no use in denying it now. Best to get it over with by answering all the questions that were to be thrown at him-as idiotic as they were-so he could be gifted with peace and silence sooner.

Nines nodded, “Yes, it appears as if this is as ‘real’ of a show as it gets.”

Gavin set his apple down on top of the head of a dragon statue leaning against the wall behind him. Nines scowled at it in response, but he had bigger problems to deal with for the time being.

“I can’t fuckin’ believe it,” Gavin threw his hands up into the air dramatically, “what next? Rings and a priest to wed us?”

Nines didn’t say anything, and Gavin picked up on the hint. He let out a horrifying cry of terror.

Ignoring him, Nines ground out, “Finish that apple.”

“I can’t eat my apple, now!” Gavin grumbled childishly, almost, “my appetite’s all gone!”

“I don’t care,” Nines fumed angrily, “get rid of it. You’re making a mess everywhere!”

Placing a hand on his hip, Gavin spat down at him, “Well excuse the fuck out of me, your Royal Highness, but I hardly think a small apple could really be considered a mess!”

Nines didn’t want to argue. He stood up, and Gavin cowered for a moment, as if fearful that the tall android would hit him. Instead, Nines threw his head back and called out, “Nano-Bot! Assistance required immediately!!”

Bleeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!! Bloooooooooop!!!!!!!! Bleeeeeeeep!

At once, Shelley flew in the room, hovering above their ankles gracefully as she spun around and waited in front of Nines.

Nines nodded in the direction of the apple and then pointed at it, “Get rid of that.”

“Request. Processed. Cleansing. Beginning!”

Immediately, Shelley then floated over towards the dragon statue, and as Gavin watched in awe, her ‘tail’ snapped out of her back, and flew above her round head. Flicking forward gracefully, it wrapped around the apple, much like a rope would, and she snatched the apple close to her before her tail let out a ‘shink!’ Little barbed wires and studs burst forth from her tail, then, and as Shelley spun her tail around rapidly, the apple was sliced and diced into a couple of hundred tiny pieces. Each and every piece was then collected in the small square compartment in Shelley’s back that opened up like a pocket, and then the compartment closed, her tail withdrew back inside her body, and the single ‘eye’ on her head blinked bright blue before she hovered back over to Nines.

“Task. Complete. RK900. How. Else. May. I. Assist. You?”

Nines didn’t even look down at her as he spoke out, “Empty that in the compost bin, and that will be all.”

Gavin scoffed at Nines as Shelley whirred and flew out of the room to complete her new task.

Nines met his eyes with a heated glare, “Is there a problem, Detective?”

“Why’re you treating her like that?”

He tilted his head at Gavin curiously, “Like what?”

Gavin waved his hand in the direction Shelley had disappeared in, “Like a...a…you know! Like a…” he couldn’t bring himself to say it, but Nines was more than eager to finish the statement for him.

He leaned into Gavin as he held a cold grin on his face that oozed nothing but sarcasm. “You mean to say like a machine?”

“You bastard…”

He held his head down and stayed silent. Now wasn’t the time to argue, and he really had no idea what else to even retort back. Gavin didn’t want to admit that Nines was right, but the damn android was right, as always!!! Gavin hated that! He hated not being able to look someone in the eyes and tell them that they were an asshole he loathed! He had no issues doing it before! What was the big deal now??

But he couldn’t do it.

Nines smirked as he clasped his hands behind his back and stood to the side, eyes on the door the entire time.

“If you’ll excuse me, Detective Reed,” he emphasized the words ‘excuse me’, “I have a lot of regrouping to do before I update my team on more information I’ve accrued about Slo-Freeze and Ouroboros.”

Gavin rolled his eyes, feet already making their way to the door. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he groaned out impatiently, “I heard ya the first time, Nines.”

Grabbing the side of the door, he began closing it gently after himself.

“I’m gone.”

Before he closed the door completely, he did not miss the nasty sneer Nines threw his way for a moment before sitting down at his desk.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

After two rings, Gavin let out a sigh of relief when Connor answered his call.

“Gavin?” the excited voice hit his ears like a drumstick, and Gavin pressed himself down onto his bed as soon as he’d closed his bedroom door.

“Hey Connor,” he breathed out in a soft sigh as he kicked his feet up and rested them up along one of the posters of the bed, “how’s it going?”

Connor hummed before giggling, “I think I should be the one asking you that, right Gavin?”

It was true; Connor wasn’t the one engaged to a monster, after all. Still, it didn’t help that Gavin wasn’t entirely prepared to disclose how he felt about Nines treating him. The childish side of him only wanted to make Nines look bad, and the best way Gavin thought he could do so was by using an age-old technique: Gossip.

Still, there was something wrong and something that went against Gavin’s morals to try and use Connor’s innocence towards his own benefit. After all, Connor was one of his closest friends and was quite supportive through everything Gavin had been going through lately. Using him was just plain wrong, but Gavin shook it off as he rearranged his thinking style…at least temporarily.

Smirking up at the top of the bed while balancing his phone between his shoulder and jaw, he sighed out, “I’m not sure what to do, Connor,” he picked at his skin, “I heard that this wedding ceremony is legit!”

Now he was really putting his ‘detective skills’ to work. By saying this out loud to Connor and broaching the subject, he felt had a good chance of pulling in more information about the accuracy of the ceremony. Originally, Gavin had assumed that Nines had pulled it right out of his ass when he claimed that Fowler had stated it was going to be legitimate and proper. He’d wanted to call the RK900 on his bluff, but Nines had practically shooed him out of his office way too soon. Dealing with the RK800 was a lot better and easier, as Connor was a lot closer and on friendlier terms with Gavin, clearly.

After having heard what he’d said, it was silent on the other end of the line for many long minutes from Connor. Gavin was losing patience not hearing anything, but he brushed it all aside, counted to three, closed his eyes, and forcefully made his tone into a sweet one-though not too sweet so Connor wouldn’t catch on that Gavin was playing him.

“Connor?” he beckoned softly, “are you there?”

“I’m here, Gavin,” Connor answered, and then paused for another minute before he said, “I’m just…I’m speechless…”

Gavin’s eyes opened, “You are?”

“Of course I am!” Connor all but exploded, “no one ever told me that at all!”

“Aha!! Got you now, Fowler, you bastard!!”

Keeping his triumph at bay, Gavin put on a phony groan of despair. “This is serious, Connor! There’s going to be a priest and everything to make it official!”

Connor was silent again for a moment before he giggled playfully, “Do you think I’ll get to be a ‘best man’, or a ‘bridesmaid’?”

Frowning at the phone in his hands, Gavin sat up and kicked at the bed, “Don’t be ridiculous, Connor,” he spat as he threw a look at himself in the mirror that was so horrible and dark that he looked away in fear.

“Do I always look this menacing??? Sheesh!”

“Sorry,” Connor apologized before clearing his throat, “I think Hank and I may have to be witnesses, but the rest should be a basic marriage, I think!”

Gavin massaged his temples. “Connor.”

“Did you get a ring yet?” Connor pressed out excitedly, “I bet you must have a ring!”

Gavin stood up, making his way across his large bedroom slowly, “No Connor, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t have a ring, buddy.” He stopped only when he was before the dresser, and he looked up into the huge mirror and studied the dark circles under his eyes.

“Oh my, do I ever look like garbage…”

As if somehow hearing his thoughts, Connor cried out, “Don’t worry, Gavin! I’m sure you will be fine and look even nicer than you think!”

Damn androids and their weird, creepy powers.

Gavin ran a hand through his hair. “You think so, Connor?”

“I know so!”

“At least I don’t have grey hairs, yet!”

He dropped his hand by his side, “I still feel so fucked up, Connor,” he explained as he turned his head around and looked at his hair and the back of his neck, not really sure what he was looking for exactly.

“It’s natural to feel that way, Gavin,” Connor interrupted while speaking a little hurriedly, almost as if someone on the other end of the line was telling him to end the call quickly.

Gavin shook his head, even though Connor couldn’t see it on the other end of the phone, “It’s not natural at all, Connor,” he sighed wearily once he’d had enough of studying himself in the mirror and turned away.

“…nothing about this damn situation is ‘normal’.”

Connor sighed also, but his tone was genuine and very soft. It almost put Gavin to sleep as he stood back and listened.

“I meant that it’s natural with the wedding and all that, Gavin…consider these feelings and worries you’re having as pre-wedding jitters!”

Snickering a little, Gavin wiped his eyes, “Pre-wedding jitters? I’ve never heard of that before!”

“It happens all the time, I bet! Most people just don’t want to admit it, that’s all!”

A smile was instantly on his face, and Gavin soon forgot about Nines, his shitty attitude, and the upcoming wedding ceremony in the negative sense. Connor had really cheered him up, after all, without really having to try hard. It was hardly a question as to why he kept Connor around as a friend…

“Thanks Connor,” he walked back to his bed and sat down on the edge of it, feeling younger than he had in years in spirit.

“Don’t mention it, Gavin!” Connor gleefully cheered, “Hank and I will always be here for you, and if you ever want to talk, just reach out without hesitation!”

Gavin chuckled warmly, “You bet, Connor.”

Sensing his friend had someplace else to be, Gavin bid him farewell, and he leaned back on his bed. He’d barely closed his eyes when his bedroom door creaked open.

Sitting up abruptly, Gavin gasped out in fear, “Who’s there?!”

Chapter Text

Gavin groaned when he saw the little blue light blinking once. He leaned down as he studied the little menace that had nearly made him leap out of his skin.

“Shelley!!” he cried out in pain and relief simultaneously, “you scared the shit out of me!!”

The little Nano-Bot moved in a hurry as she turned her round, bulbous head and almost peered up at Gavin while her two little legs tucked slightly up into her body.

“May. I. Assist. You?”

Gavin smiled down at her, “If you can somehow delay this damn wedding, it’d be lovely, Shelley!”

It sounded so weird and strange saying it out loud. After all, what could a little Nano-Bot programmed to please her owners really say and do? Could she console him? Nope. He tossed it off to just being nervous, angry with the fact that he was stuck and forced into this hellhole, and beyond pissed with the fact that Nines was a snooty jerkwad. There was no reason otherwise to want to vent to Shelley, right?

Her light turned deep orange, much like a traffic signal before it switched to blue again while she scanned Gavin and processed his words.

Booooooop! “Error. Error. Unable. To. Process. Request. Error. May. I. Assist. You. With. Another. Request?”

Gavin hummed, feeling his stomach still kind of empty, and his mouth was kind of dry…almost in the sense that he was thirsty for something delicious...

His eyes fell to the digital clock resting on his dresser, and it was almost midnight. He grinned, knowing then exactly what he wanted to do-what else he could really enjoy at this hour of the night.

That damn apple hadn’t been nearly enough to satiate his hunger, and he knew he definitely needed something stronger! Looking down at Shelley, he smirked with a little idea brewing in his head.

“Shelley, can you whip up a hell of a margarita by any chance?”

She practically purred, and her legs stuck out immediately, like the flash of a sharp blade slicing through the air.

“Request. Computed!”

Gavin grinned in triumph, feeling energy shooting through him like an electric shock.

“That’s a girl!” he was so very eager to get started, and he led the way.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin hoisted the blender out of the top shelf of the highest and most out of reach cupboard in the huge kitchen. Placing it down on the counter gently, Gavin peeked at the door down towards the left. Nines was still in his office working. Perfect!

Next, Gavin got out a cocktail glass and set it aside while Shelley whirred and buzzed around him excitedly.

It took Gavin nearly ten minutes to find where a strainer was, but he fished one out of a drawer close to the fridge, and he held it up high in his hands as he cried out happily.

“Hallelujah, baby!!”

Gavin got to work, looking around in the fridge for limes, salt, ice cubes (which he found in the freezer in a jiffy), and then he paced over towards a large cabinet on the far right-hand corner of the kitchen by the table.

Turning on the lights in that portion of the kitchen, Gavin gasped in glee and joy when he saw a huge liquor cabinet. He was certain there had to be plenty more-perhaps in a cellar or basement-but the fancy ones on display right on the surface of the cabinet were a beauty. Gavin admired them as he let out a low whistle, and eventually grabbed a bottle of tequila, which he held up high in the air and waved around Shelley’s head like a baton during a parade.

“This is the real magic, girl, I tell ya!!”

Shelley only tilted her head a little, but then got to work by scanning and processing when Gavin grabbed the fresh, cool limes he’d pulled out of the fridge and placed the limes down on the floor by her in a little plate.

“Slice it right up, please, and be careful!!”

Beeeep! Booop! “Task. Computed. Slicing. Citrus. Fruit.”

As Shelley got to work, Gavin popped open the bottle of tequila, but stopped first to take a good, long whiff of it now that it was open before him. Just smelling it alone sent a great, wonderful buzz down his body right to his toes…it’d been so long!! Now that he’d had a little taste, he quickly poured it into the mixer. Next, he dumped in at least four ice-cubes, followed by a pinch of salt. Grinning from ear-to-ear, he looked around for the power cord, only to see it didn’t need one.

“State of the art!!”

“Perfect!!”

Pressing the power button, Gavin waited for the magic to happen, but he unfortunately didn’t know that he hadn’t placed the top lid of the blender on completely and properly. At once, the blender began vibrating terribly as it bounced on the counter, and while Gavin turned around to retrieve triple sec and limeade concentrate, the contents already inside the blender exploded all over the walls and counter of the kitchen.

“HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!!!”

Gavin leapt forward, trying to grab a hold of the blender whilst reaching inside a drawer for a napkin or some paper towels. In his haste and panic, he hadn’t seen that they were already in a paper-towel roll by the toaster.

“FUCK!!!”

Shelley even began panicking in her own robotic way; her legs tucked in and out of her little body, and her head spun as she circled Gavin’s legs with an orange light blinking rapidly.

“Error! Error! Danger! Danger! DANGER!!!” her voice grew louder and more unstable, as if she too was worried beyond belief in her own special way.

Before more of a mess was made, Gavin saw two long hands reaching forward, and immediately, an index finger slammed down on the power button while the other hand pressed down on the back of the blender and kept it in place.

The blender turned off at once, and Gavin let out a sigh of relief as he lowered the hands he’d pressed up against his face to shield himself from being sprayed in the face by alcohol and ice-water.

However, when he’d brushed himself off and looked up, he nearly collapsed in fear.

Nines was standing tall, and he removed his hands from the blender, and crossed them over his arms. Not a single drop of the mess Gavin made had been splashed on his clothing, however.

“Damn it, perhaps this thing isn’t as useful as I thought if he’s entirely spotless after having stood right before it!”

Gavin didn’t have much time to think or talk, however. Nines practically exploded as he stood around the counter and got in Gavin’s face rudely and boldly.

“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing to my kitchen, Detective?!?”

Gavin blinked once, a few drops of tequila dripping down from the tip of his nose as he pointed at Shelley with eyes as wide as dinner plates. “It was her idea.”

She merely responded by floating around him, her light almost a reddish hue, now. Beeep!!!! “Deception. Deception. Error. Error!”

Nines sighed angrily as he made his way over to grab a few paper towels. He bunched them into his hands as he scrubbed away at the rim of the blender first, and then the length of it gently and slowly, as if he was handling fine China instead of a plastic blender.

“When I’m through with cleaning this,” Nines began in a huff, “I would like for you to clean up your own mess, Detective Reed.”

Gavin gaped, and then stammered, ears and cheeks growing pink and heated, “But y-you said I could u-use the items in here for preparing food and stuff for myself!!”

A red LED light was all Gavin saw for a moment, and his eyes began to burn. Stubbornly, he refused to blink or wipe his eyes. If it was a glaring and scowling contest Nines wanted, then that was what he was going to get!

Nines barely kept the low growl out of his voice, “And pray tell,” he sniffed sharply as he scoffed at Gavin’s appearance, “what kind of beverage were you hoping to ‘prepare’ to go along with your ‘food and stuff’?”

Gavin glowered at him, hands already tightening up into fists.

“You bastard!”

Nines raised an eyebrow, “Well?”

“Midnight Margaritas…”

Nines leaned down a little, ear facing Gavin, “What was that?”

Gavin sighed, “I said, I was making midnight margaritas.” Nines wasn’t fucking deaf, and they both knew it. He had only asked Gavin to repeat himself so he could mock the human, and that was it. Gavin hated Nines even more for this, and he knew that there was no way he could ‘prepare’ and brace himself for the future if this was how bitchy Nines got over a fucking drink spilling a little…a lot…all over the fucking walls, and ceiling, and wedged in the pot lights somehow…okay how the hell did some of it land in the inside of a pot dangling beside its brethren from the pot and pan rack??

Nines pushed open a garbage can lid by pressing on a foot pedal that made the lid bounce up, and he dumped the wet paper towels inside it.

“Detective Reed,” he turned to face Gavin, and brushed the loose strand of dark brown hair that always fell over his forehead back, “is this really how you spend your time working on solving major criminal investigations?”

“Another low insult masked in a question? Pathetic, Nines, real damn pathetic.”

Stubbornly, Gavin shrugged, “I don’t have to answer to you.”

Nines groused, “It’s not me you need to answer to; but the entire population of Detroit. I wonder how they can all sleep properly at nights knowing that one of the world’s most inept Detectives is trying to save their lives.” Nines finished this with a sneer that cut Gavin in the worst possible way.

He wanted to at least get a word or two in, and he puffed out his chest as he stood closer to Nines. “Well this so-called ‘inept Detective’ somehow made it on your narcotics team, you arrogant swine!!”

Nines shook his head, “You barely managed to do so, but were successful only because Captain Fowler holds a soft spot for you, Detective…” he tilted his head at Gavin, eyes set in slits, “…you can call it a weakness, perhaps, but it was only by his word and signature on a document that got your application and recommendation through.”

Gavin stepped back, nearly slipping over a patch of wetness on the shiny floors that had once been clean.

“Fuck you,” he spat at his fiancé, “just fuck you.” What else was there to say, really? Nines just knew how to get to him, and he was a master at insults without having even once resorted to a curse word. Gavin knew he’d failed, and he wanted to at least sulk off with some dignity left…if Nines would allow him that, even.

It was probably just better to get to work and wipe down the entire kitchen (and the walls and ceilings) and then head off to bed instead of arguing or staring down the tall RK900, but he was just so…so infuriating!! The way he sneered at Gavin practically begged for more confrontation! It wasn’t Gavin’s fault!

As Gavin turned around to grab a sponge, paper towels, and possibly bleach, Nines hissed out coldly, “Instead of preparing ‘midnight margaritas’, perhaps you should stick to what you do best, Detective Reed…”

The way his voice just trailed off at the end naturally peaked Gavin’s curiosity, though he knew Nines had stated and presented his speech on purpose with that kind of a tone and lure in his voice. Nines wanted Gavin to give in to the chase of finding out what it was he was sneakily and impishly implying, and Gavin sadly fell for it by giving Nines the attention he didn’t deserve right now…or ever, for that matter.

Gavin looked up at him, eyebrows raised slightly and expectantly.

He was met with a cold sneer.

“What you do best is live your life out as a shadow, Detective Reed.” There was practically a purr to Nines’ voice, but it wasn’t a friendly or warm one; it was downright cruel and menacing. Gavin could confirm this as he turned and stared at Nines.

The android had a very hurtful facial expression on, and it seemed to really portray just how much pleasure he gained from Gavin’s suffering and torment.

“Why do you hate me so fucking much?!?! What did I ever do to you?!?”

Unfortunately, Gavin couldn’t voice these thoughts aloud, and he merely held his head down as he bent down beneath the sink and collected whatever cleaning supplies he could. The entire time, he felt Nines’ piercing blue eyes spear through the back of his head, and he tried ignoring it while Shelley spun around, as if observing both of them.

Nines looked down at her, and he tapped his hand against the outside of his left thigh.

“Nano-Bot,” he barked out, and Shelley straightened up as her head tilted over to him, “your assistance is required in my office.”

Booooooop!!! Beeeeeeeeep!!!

“Request. Confirmed. Task. Computed.”

Turning swiftly on his heels, Nines stalked off back to his office, with Shelley floating and moving closely behind him. She was still covered in some water and ice, but she shook herself like a little dog before Nines slammed the door on Gavin.

He was once again left all alone, and he had a huge mess to clean that would more than likely take all night.

Great.

This time, the nervous pangs he felt deep in his chest and stomach definitely weren’t pre-wedding jitters; they were feelings of abhorrence and disgust over his situation, his future, and regarding the words Nines had said to him.

Gavin thought of them all night.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin had slept like a baby that night. How could he not when the bedroom, the furniture, and the house had been so quiet and so damn perfect??

Not even so much as a ‘peep’ went through the house, and by the time Gavin had finished cleaning the mess he’d made in the kitchen, he was practically sleepwalking up the steps all the way until he reached his own bedroom.

His body worked on autopilot, and it knew where the bathroom was. He washed his hands, brushed his teeth, and gave his face a pat-down before he climbed onto the large bed. It was the most comfortable one Gavin had ever slept in, and the moment he fell into the mattress, it held him and seemed to even rock him, as if he were a newborn infant being held in his mother’s comforting and soothing arms while she sang him a lullaby.

Before he completely dozed off, Gavin had to really enjoy the peace and silence the enormous house had to offer. As he sighed in content and looked around in the dark for a moment, he wondered just where Nines ‘slept’. Was his room just as comfortable and lovely as Gavin’s was?

After a moment of wondering this to himself, Gavin almost slapped himself for wondering what Nines was doing in the middle of the night. He didn’t give a shit either way about his rude, bossy fiancé, and he supposed it was just his mind being so damn exhausted that it’d forced a weird thought into his head he’d never normally entertain.

This idea comforted him for a moment, and then he was fast asleep.

Morning couldn’t have arrived any sooner, but when it had, Gavin still felt horribly nervous. He’d had one of the best good night rests in a long, long time, as the mattress in his bedroom proved to be very thick, soft, and snuggled around the body in all the right places. The pillows fluffed up nicely, and as soon as Gavin had placed his head on one of them, a lovely odor much like lilac rose into the air, clouding around his head as he was lulled into a peaceful dreamland…only to have that all shattered and taken away from him when someone rudely walked into the bedroom and woke him up.

It had been a very bad way to have woken up, as well.

The door banged open, slamming against the wall, and that was the initial shock delivered to Gavin. The poor man reared up, bunching his sheets up in a hand tightly, and he gasped out as he choked for air like he’d been drowning.

Next, the curtains in the room had been yanked open aggressively, and sunlight blasted and flooded into the room, and directly into Gavin’s retinas. He shrieked as he held a hand up to shield himself.

“The fuck?!?”

Something swept over to him like a ghost, and when Gavin’s vision was a little more settled and accustomed to the bright morning light, he saw that Nines was glaring down at him while standing by the side of his bed.

Gavin yelped and pulled up the sheets, under the impression that he’d slept in the nude as he often would, but when he peered down at himself, he saw that that wasn’t the case. He was wearing the same navy-blue shorts and t-shirt this morning as he had put on before bed.

Thank god!

“I’m so glad I decided to grow a brain and not act like I normally would in my own home!”

Now that that mess had been sorted out, Gavin glared back at his fiancé. “The fuck do you want wakin’ me up so god damn early in the morning, Nines??!”

The android tsked as he shook his head lightly at Gavin, “Good to know that the first words out of your mouth first thing in the morning are expletives, Detective.”  

“Oh yeah?” Gavin snarled, already in a grumpy mood from being rudely awakened, “well it’s good to know that you’re gonna walk around and wake me up bright and early first thing by gifting me with a fucking heart attack!”

What a prospect to look forward to, indeed.

Nines shrugged as he rolled up the sleeves of his black, long-sleeve casual-fit cotton shirt. “I don’t really have a preference in particular for how you choose to spend your time here, Detective,” he stated as if he were bored out of his mind while his eyes seemed to harshly judge and scold Gavin the entire time.

“…you can lie here in bed from dawn until dusk for all I care, but for today…” his eyes flickered dangerously, “…you’re going to get up and prepare for the ceremony.”

Gavin groaned, head plopping back down to his pillows, “But the ceremony’s not gonna be happenin’ first thing in the morning!!!”

“It matters not,” Nines hissed at him while kicking aside one of Gavin’s discarded shirts that had somehow gotten on the deerskin rug, “what matters is that we have a lot to prepare for, and I’m not going to come back a second time and tug you out of bed!”

Sitting up, Gavin rolled his eyes as he wheezed out, “I thought you weren’t going to dote on me, Nines?”

Gripping the door handle tightly in a hand, Nines snarled at him while a dark expression fell onto his face. It made Gavin sink back into the mattress, but he swallowed down his fear and returned Nines’ scowls.

“Don’t misunderstand me, Detective Reed,” Nines stated in a clear warning at the edge of his words, playing softly like a death knell, “this is the first and last time you’ll receive such treatment from me.”

Halfway out the door, he spat out, “From tonight on, you’re on your own, and what you do is your own damn business, as always.”

The door slammed once again.

Nothing had changed, and nothing ever would change.

Chapter Text

Yelloooo all!

I just wanted to take some time to thank everyone who is reading and enjoying this fic! You guys are so sweet and wonderful, and your time is so appreciated to me! I know I will keep on delivering and posting amazing and fun chapters for you all, and I am looking forward so eagerly for that!

I also would like to address something that is popping up over and over in my comments section for this story, and rather than give everyone the same ‘copy and paste’ response, I’d like to post this note here and answer the question so that it is clear and that new readers who find this work can also refer back to this chapter if they so happen to have the same question later.

The consistent question I keep getting in this fic is: “When will Nines stop being so mean (or a bitch lol) towards Gavin?”

The answer to this is honestly simple, my dears.

This fic IS tagged as a SLOW BURN and hate-to-love relationship fic. That basically means Nines and Gavin won’t even be on friendly terms anytime soon, my mans. They hate each other for reasons I mentioned up to chapter 5, and it will take some time for them to even become friends, honestly.

Nines is also a jerk for a very good reason, which will be explained and figured out by Gavin later, which is all a part of the plot developing, my mans. I wanted to really flesh out this fic and make it longer than anything else I have ever written, which is why it is a slow burn and developing this way.

I understand that to some people, Nines is being ridiculously cold in terms of how he speaks with and treats Gavin, but he will be doing this still for some time, to be very honest with you guys. Gavin will really have to work hard on peeling away the layers Nines has built around himself, and that can’t be accomplished overnight!!

But please don’t worry and don’t think that Nines will always be like this throughout the fic. He is like this now (and will be for a while), but I am sure by the time he changes, a lot of you will appreciate how his character developed and changed a lot more this way.

There are also some very clever theories bouncing around about Shelley and how her relationship with Gavin will change and influence Nines, even, and I want to tell you all that you guys are absolutely on the right track and picking up on my hints!! But I can’t really dive deeper into them because I do not want to spoil anything for anyone!!

That’s all I wanted to say for now, my mans, and I will be working hard on responding to everyone’s comments within a day or two at the latest, and the next chapter should be up within 3 days or so!

Take care, and enjoy your week guys!

Chapter Text

Image may contain: one or more people

 

It was already almost 9 a.m. when Gavin finally dragged his ass out of bed. He’d showered, shaved, put on the best deodorant he had brought with him, gelled his bangs back a little, and dressed in freshly purchased clothes he’d managed to snatch away before his life turned to shit...also known as: ‘Fowler made me marry Nines when he knows we both hate each other more than enemies do.’

Begrudgingly, once Gavin had cleaned himself up as best as he could, he wore dark socks, dark grey dress pants, and a black and red Au Noir shirt. He’d rolled the sleeves up, pushed the cuffs back, and huffed at himself when his get-up was complete. This outfit had been meant to be worn at a good club where he could meet some hot guy on a Friday evening to go home with-for the first time ever, and now?? Now he was fucking getting married in it.

Someone up in heaven must’ve hated him.

Standing before the mirror, he sighed as he felt terribly exhausted on the inside. While he looked fresh on the outside, he really was falling to bits internally, and he knew why.

Tonight was the big night.

Captain Fowler had arranged for them to meet with him in a board room on the top floor of the DPD first and foremost. There, they would have a little chat about the ceremony for a while, and engage in other stupid formalities too, no doubt. Afterwards, they would meet up with Hank and Connor, as well as a few other ‘witnesses’ who’d expressed an interest in participating in the ceremony.

After that was going to be a small lunch break, and during that time, they had to drive down to City Hall and obtain, finalize, and sign the marriage certificates and documents. When they were finished with that, they had to head over to the New Testament Church of God In Christ in Detroit, where the ceremony would be performed and blessed by a priest. An actual motherfucking priest. What joy.

And all of this would happen in front of the witnesses, too.

Jesus Christ…they would have to become a merry, jolly couple, now…well…not literally, but yes literally!!!!

Tugging lightly on his hair in frustration, Gavin suppressed a pained cry as he walked over to his closet and pulled out his black dress shoes. Those bastards were placed on the highest shelf inside the large closet, and when Gavin stood up on his toes to reach for it, he began cursing his genetic pool for giving him such short legs.

He’d nearly swiped at the box the shoes were in, when he accidentally knocked down another row of shoes. One by one, they all came clamoring down on his head, and Gavin screamed in anger as he fell out of the closet.

The shoes followed him, and the boxes slid all over the clean floors that were slippery due to how clean they were.

Gavin began panicking, not wanting his shoes to scratch the floors. Nines would definitely kill him if that happened, and he’d already spent almost three hours cleaning the kitchen the night before! He was so not in the mood for fixing up floors, and he had no damn clue how to even start!

Bending down to collect the mess off the floor, Gavin hurriedly picked the shoes up off the floor, when one of the boxes fell open, and his favorite All-Star black and white Converse sneakers were facing him. He sighed, sitting down on the floor, and deciding to take a moment or so to ruminate.

Holding the shoes in his hands, he ran his fingers along the shoelaces, sighing as he remembered the first time he’d received these shoes…

It’d been a gift from his father to Gavin when he first made it as a Detective in the DPD. His father had been so proud that he’d wept for hours when Gavin told him the good news, and then the older Reed had driven up all the way to Detroit to see Gavin. The shoes were kept in perfect condition ever since, as Gavin had only worn them maybe twice? They were good shoes, and he wasn’t going to break into them as easily as he had his other shoes.

“Guess you guys’ll have to sadly go back to your storage, huh?”

He stood up to put them back in their box and on the shelf, when he got a weird itch in his toes. Gavin scratched at his feet gently, and as he was about to put the Converse sneakers back, his eyes swept over his form of dress one more time.

……

He had a very, very interesting idea, all of a sudden.

Peeking over at his reflection in the large mirror, he smirked with confidence and glee.

“I think I have just the thing to serve as a very good ‘pick-me-up’ that’ll help set the mood and tone for this wedding!!”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Nines had sat beside Gavin quietly in the back of the long black limousine, practically molding himself into the side door of the vehicle just to create enough room between his body, and his fiancé’s. To say the ride was ‘awkward’ would’ve been a huge understatement. Not only did Nines and Gavin not even once look at each other, but they hardly even communicated.

Nines merely pointed into the backseat when the limo had arrived, which was a silent gesture for Gavin to get the hell in first. Once Gavin had, Nines got in from the other side of the vehicle, and when the doors had automatically closed, Gavin had helped himself to a bottle of the expensive wine that had been offered as a pre-wedding gift from Captain Fowler.

The bottle had been presented and kept in a bucket filled with ice to keep it cold and refreshing, and then a little tray presenting a single wine glass for Gavin appeared next to it. Gavin barely took a sip when he felt it was enough. He didn’t want to be beyond drunk at half-past-ten in the morning. They still were expected to meet with Fowler, and he didn’t want to sway like a drunkard before his superior’s eyes.

When they reached the DPD, Gavin found that they had to head in through an entrance normally reserved for and accessed by those who were ‘higher up’ in the precinct ‘food chain’. They were kept away from everyone else as they silently rode the elevator up to the top floor of the DPD, and two large men in grey suits stood on guard before the doors of the meeting room they were expected to meet Fowler in.

Gavin had to stop himself from rolling his eyes when Nines held up his hand and the guards scanned it on an identification pad before unlocking the doors.

“All this fuss for a stupid wedding?? I suddenly feel like royalty!”

The meeting room was clean, bright, and a long, dark brown table with at least fifteen chairs placed around it was in the center of the room. Fowler was seated in the chair closest to the doors, and he turned around and gave both Nines and Gavin a firm handshake.

Their Captain was dressed as he normally would be, and his clothes seemed a little ‘worn out’, though Gavin supposed that this was no way what Fowler would be wearing to their wedding.

To save time from having to change, Nines was already dressed in his best, which consisted of brand new black dress pants with the shiniest belt Gavin had ever seen, black dress shoes shipped in from Italy-also equally as shiny as the damn belt-and a long-sleeved white dress shirt that had been worn beneath a sleeveless black vest with tiny white buttons on the front. Nines was even wearing a black bow tie to go with the white dress shirt, but Gavin still thought he looked like a goofball anyway.

“Gavin, Nines,” Fowler nodded at them both, “please have a seat.”

Immediately sitting on either side of Captain Fowler, the two men sat with their arms crossed while Fowler pulled out a white folder. He opened it up, sliding out plenty of forms and documents, but before Gavin could peer down at them and begin reading them, Captain Fowler placed a large hand over the papers.

Gavin looked up with a raised eyebrow.

Captain Fowler gave him a serious look that wasn’t one of anger, but genuine concern. Nines sat coldly staring across the room at the tinted windows, and didn’t move an inch.

“Gavin,” Fowler began in a soft tone of voice, “before I get you to read these and sign them, I want to ask you a very important question.”

Gavin nodded, “Alright, Cap, but if we could kinda hurry up, I’d appreciate it…” he cast Nines a foul look, “…I haven’t had nearly enough coffee I need to wake up, because someone rudely woke me up this mornin’ by givin’ me a god damn heart atta—”

Nines glared over at him, finally meeting his eyes for the first time that day. “Well I wouldn’t have to do that if a certain someone hadn’t decided to make ‘Midnight Margaritas’ and made a huge mess in my kitchen!!!”

Before Gavin could snap back at him, Captain Fowler grabbed two pens, and he threw them at both Gavin and Nines.

“Enough is enough,” he said with a tired look upon his face, “just sign the damn things, and I’ll explain what’s going to happen from here on.”

Grumbling, Gavin grabbed his pen, and looked over the first long sheet.

It was a ‘Mutual Agreement Clause’ which stated that although he was going to be ‘married’ to Nines *shudder*, their workplace ‘relationship’ wouldn’t be affected by it at all.

While Gavin’s eyes browsed and skimmed the document, searching for where he could sign his signature, Fowler explained into full details what the Clause meant.

“Everyone in the precinct is expected to treat you the same,” he said in a deep voice as he sat back and folded his hands in his lap, “you won’t be shown any discrimination just because you’re with Nines, and all members of the narcotics unit won’t be permitted to treat you any differently, Gavin. Simply put, I won’t tolerate nepotism, discrimination, or anything of the sort. You will still be expected to come to work as per usual, and you are to report to myself and Human Resources on any forms of bullying, harassment, discrimination, threats of sexual violence, derogatory statements being thrown your way, or physical assault.”

Gavin nodded as he finally found the horizontal line on the bottom of the back of the page. “Got it, Cap,” he quickly signed his name, and was onto the next sheet in a second.

Trying to keep up with him, Fowler pointed at the top of the page, which was labeled: ‘DPD Workplace Relationship Policies and Guidelines’.

Setting his pen down, Gavin glared up at Fowler. “Sir, what’s this?”

“If you’ll let me explain, Gavin,” Fowler ignored the snort coming from Nines as he signed the rest of his own set of documents, “this states that it is against the Detroit Police Department’s guidelines and regulations for you and Nines to have any kind of a relationship as long as you both are employees here.”

Gavin nearly dropped his pen as his eyes widened in shock, “Woah, woah, woah, sir!” he let out a nervous chuckle, “with all due respect sir, I wouldn’t even ever dream of gettin’ together with Nines, let alone actually bein’ with him!!!”

Nines hissed out, “The feeling is fully mutual, Detective Reed.”

Rolling his eyes, Fowler nodded, “I know, Gavin, but this is more so to save my own ass than anything else, and it would all be the exact same if you were wanting to ‘marry’ Officer Chen, or Lieutenant Anderson.”

Gavin nearly threw up in his mouth as he imagined Hank Anderson in a wedding dress, carrying a colorful bouquet of flowers as he tried balancing himself up in white high heels.

“Fair enough, sir.”

Fowler waved at the rest of the documents, “I’ll go over the rest if you want, but they’re pretty self-explanatory in regards to your jobs and the case.”

Gavin nodded and went to read them, but then a lightbulb went off in his head.

“Oh! Sir?” he cried out a little eagerly, causing Fowler to raise his eyebrows expectantly at him.

“Reed?”

Gavin bit his lower lip, hesitating for a moment when he saw Nines’ LED light turn yellow. It then flashed to blue, as if Nines knew of Gavin’s hesitation.

Nines stood to his feet, neatly placing the documents in one pile as he slid them over to Fowler.

“If you’ll excuse me, Captain,” he said in a gruff tone while straightening his bow tie, “I’ll have to meet with my team and update them on the Ouroboros case…if I have your permission, sir?”

Fowler gave him a thumbs-up, “Do what you have to do, Nines, we were just about finished here anyway.”

Slightly bowing, Nines clasped his hands behind his back, and exited the room silently as he’d entered it.

Gavin let out a sigh of relief, “Finally.”

“Reed?” His attention turned over to Fowler once again.

“What did you want to tell me, son?”

Once again, Gavin bit his lower lip softly, but then looked down at the pages and let out a soft sigh, “You wanted to ask me something when I first sat down, sir?”

He saw hesitation for the first time in Fowler’s face, and it moved across the older man like a cloud. Soon, it hung behind his eyes, but then the next minute, it was gone. Fowler smiled gently and warmly as he leaned in close to Gavin and held a twinkle in his eyes.

“So…Gavin…” he chuckled deeply, “…about those Midnight Margaritas…”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

The rest of the day breezed by like the hurried strokes of the paintbrush of a skilled artist. The minutes and hours ticked by, and Gavin was momentarily permitted to see Hank and Connor-the inseparable duo already dressed in matching grey suits and black ties and black dress shoes-as well as the rest of those he considered ‘friends’, before it was time to get back in the limo and head over to City Hall.

Gavin’s heart had been doing backflips and leaps the entire time. It got a lot worse when he looked through the rearview mirrors and saw Captain Fowler’s car right behind them as they drove up to the pristine, clean building in no time. He was sweating even more so when they exited the vehicle and were led up the steps and inside the building, with at least half a dozen security guards watching the perimeter of the building while Captain Fowler, Nines, Gavin, Hank, and Connor were taken to a room with huge, long white walls that held the portraits of famous Presidents of the United States of America.

A long rectangular table held two copies of the marriage certificate, and the moment Gavin’s eyes landed on it, he nearly crumbled back into Connor’s arms. The RK800 held him securely, and as Gavin collected himself, an elderly man with a bald head walked in.

He introduced himself as a member of the City’s council, and the room they were in was the Clerk’s office. He’d asked for identification from both Gavin and Nines, which had been presented to him by Nines without much of a hassle, but Gavin couldn’t move. He was frozen stiff to the spot, and Fowler yanked out his I.D. and showed the clerk a birth certificate, a driver’s license, and Gavin’s work badge.

When the clerk declared it was all good enough, Fowler stood by with Hank and Connor as witnesses, and they signed their own forms stating that they were in attendance to Nines and Gavin obtaining their marriage certificate.

In less than twenty minutes, Gavin and Nines had received the marriage certificate with all the signatures provided and sealed for approval.

As they were led out of the building, Gavin’s heart hammered and thumped like the great hammer of a giant booming across the vast lands it terrorized.

He was now fucking married, and there was still the evening ceremony to go along with it.

HE WAS FUCKING MARRIED!!!!!!!!

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

The Church was grand. It was beautiful, it was lovely, it was serene, and it was soothing to walk into as Gavin peered down at the red carpet, and the stone angels placed on either side of the large Church.

“If only I was just coming here for a fucking confession; not a wedding!!!”

Nothing could steady his nerves, but he held his head high and approached a man named Father Avery. The Priest was a tall, lanky man with shoulder-length long, silvery hair and a thin mustache over his upper lip. Dressed in all black and with the white collar distinctly around his neck, he welcomed everyone inside the Church, but announced that they were still waiting on a few guests to arrive.

That didn’t help Gavin’s heart. It began racing as he panicked, and he raced over to a dark brown pew and hid himself down in it while Connor chased after him with Hank closely followed behind.

“Gavin!! What’re you doing?!? The RK800 gently placed his hands on Gavin’s shoulders in a move of comfort, but Gavin groaned in misery as he held his head in his hands.

Hank shook Connor, “We can’t hide here!”

“Gavin!”

The man groaned again and removed his hands from around his face. “I can’t d-do this, you guys!!”

This drew a deep frown from Hank. He leaned over the pew as he stared down at Gavin, “What the heck do you mean, Reed?! It’s your own wedding!!! You can’t just decide you don’t want to go through with this suddenly!”

Waving up at the Priest, Gavin hissed softly, “He said there’ll be more people coming in, Hank!!!”

“More people = more embarrassment!”

Connor rubbed his back in smooth, gentle circular motions. “They’re here to make the ceremony seem official and legitimate, Gavin, don’t worry about them!”

“Yeah!” Hank chimed in, “it’s nothing to worry about, Reed; just a photographer, a reporter, and a journalist coming in to snap and automatically upload it all into the daily news and let the whole of Detroit know that--OOWW!!” he roared and leapt back when Connor elbowed him roughly.

“You’re not helping, Hank!”

“Sorry.”

Gavin peeked up ahead at the front of the Church and saw Nines standing like a statue beside Father Avery, a security guard, and Captain Fowler. Father Avery was chatting politely with Fowler, but Nines looked to be scanning the entire Church. His eyes turned dark as he looked around every corner of the large building, just skimming through everyone, but also on alert.

Suddenly, the doors burst open, and half the entire DPD walked in merrily. A few photographers accompanied them, bringing in the latest-and-greatest technology with them to capture the event live and for everyone in North America to see…

All the officers Gavin knew such as Officer Person, Chris Miller, Ben Collins, Tina Chen, and many, many new officer androids walked in wearing suits and fancy jewelry. They chatted excitedly as they sat down on the pews comfortably, and in less than ten minutes, more than half the pews were full of spectators.

“They think it’s a real wedding! Oh my god!!!”

Unable to take it anymore, Gavin tore out the back doors towards the limousine still parked outside.

“GAVIN! WAIT!!!”

He was aware of Connor and Hank following him, but that didn’t stop him from ramming himself against the locked back doors as his fists pounded on the tinted glass.

“I WANT TO GO!!! I WANT TO LEAVE!!”

Hank grabbed his shoulders, roughly spinning him around as he slammed Gavin against the door of the vehicle.

“LISTEN HERE, REED!” Hank’s rough growl made Gavin snap up to attention, and even Connor silenced himself as he stood by, only observing.

“YOU CAN PLAY RUNAWAY BRIDE ALL YOU WANT, BUT THE FACTS ARE THAT THIS IS FOR YOUR OWN DAMN GOOD!” Hank jabbed a finger into Gavin’s nose angrily, eyes boiling over with anger as his cheeks puffed out.

“SO JUST TAKE YOUR TIME OUT HERE, GET YOURSELF TOGETHER, AND WHEN YOU’RE READY, GET YOUR ASS BACK INSIDE AND STAND WITH NINES AS HIS HUSBAND!!”

Connor approached cautiously, LED light yellow, “He’s right, Gavin,” he added gently, almost as if he wanted to coax Gavin inside the Church, “Nines is doing this for your own good, and it’d be a lot better for you to just cooperate.”

Yanking his hair roughly in his fingers, Gavin spun around and looked down into the backseat of the limo. The little dark plastic bag he’d brought with him was still hiding under the seat where he’d left it, and his body began tingling when he remembered his plan that very same morning.

“Gavin?”

Spinning around slowly as he combed his hair back neatly into place with his fingers, he nodded at Hank and Connor. “I understand,” he looked over at the driver, who was having a smoke as he kept a close eye on the trio.

“You guys go on inside, there’s just something I need to do before I join you.”

Wanting to respect his wishes, Hank and Connor backed off, but Hank kept throwing him stern looks all the way until he was inside the Church with Connor.

Once he was all alone, Gavin waved over at the limo driver, “Hey! Could you unlock the back doors for a moment? There’s something I need…”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Nines pounded violently on the locked bathroom door in the Church. He felt as though he was about to burn a fuse in explosive rage any moment. Gavin had locked himself in the bathroom, and had taken his sweet, sweet time while everyone waited inside.

The photographers were already through with setting up their equipment, Father Avery was patiently waiting, and Captain Fowler was getting anxious. It was time to hurry up and get moving with the ceremony.

“Detective Reed!” he barked at the door while resisting the urge to kick it down, “hurry up with whatever mindless activity you’re preoccupied with in there! You can’t keep stalling everyone!!”

“I’ll be out in a minute!!!” came Gavin’s quick reply.

Nines sighed, but backed away from the door as he went to stand at the front of the Church in his rightful place. There was nothing else he could say, and he didn’t want to truly break down the door of the Church. The day was already bad enough without having extra charges filed for damage to religious property.

Inside the bathroom, Gavin stared at himself one final time in the mirror before smiling and flashing himself a thumbs-up seal of approval.

“Lookin’ good, Gavin Reed!!!” he tossed the plastic bag away in the garbage can, checked his shirt and pants, and was ready to go.

Brushing his hair back one final time, he straightened his posture up and unlocked the door.

As expected, the photographers were sitting in the front row next to Captain Fowler. Guards stood all around the Church, and Father Avery greeted him with a warm smile that made his mustache twitch upwards slightly.

Gavin proudly walked down the long row leading right up to where Nines stood in front of the Priest, hands folded neatly in front of himself as he glared at Gavin for being a little late.

Photos snapped as Gavin walked right up and stood before Nines, but he refused to meet the android’s eyes. Gavin wasn’t able to resist posing a little for the cameras, and he grinned at them as Father Avery held out a small sheet of paper before himself.

Once the photographers paused in their snapping of photos, Father Avery grinned as he held his head up high and opened his mouth to speak.

“Let us join hands in the union of Nines and Mr. Reed, for we are all gathered here in Holy Matrimony of these two loving individuals in the name of—”

Captain Fowler suddenly stood up after letting out a terrifying roar that made everyone in the Church jump up in their seats.

He pointed angrily down at Gavin’s feet, “HEY!!! JUST WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING PLAYING AROUND LIKE THIS, REED?!?!”

Immediately, all eyes in the Church were at Gavin’s feet.

Gavin was wearing his black and white All-Star Converse, and he proudly lifted a leg into the air as he threw Captain Fowler a smug grin.

“I’m bein’ me, sir!!” he cried out enthusiastically while Hank facepalmed and Connor sighed.

Fowler stormed up to Gavin and spat out in his ear, “Take. Them. Off. NOW.”

Gavin shook his head stubbornly, “NO!”

“Take them off, or so help me god, Gavin, I’ll—”

“They’re MY shoes!” Gavin argued back, “if I’m gonna get married, I want to at least do it in something my dad gave me so many years ago, and it will be done MY way, or it’s not happenin’ at all!”

Pausing for a moment, Fowler’s eye twitched. He pointed a finger up at Gavin, “You little—”

“Just leave it be, Captain,” Nines intervened, sighing in exhaustion as he stared at a wall behind Gavin. “I just want this to be over with, so let Detective Reed do whatever he sees fit.”

Having no other choice, Fowler threw his hands in the air as he spun around and went to go sit back down in his spot. He leaned over and whispered to a photographer quickly, “Try to keep his feet out of the pictures, for fuck’s sakes!!”

Father Avery cleared his throat, a small smile on his face the entire time. “Now then, let us continue…”

Gavin drowned out the rest of Father Avery’s speech, and he refused to hold hands with Nines. This suited the RK900 just fine, however, and he merely stood like a rock with his hands firmly planted at his sides while looking at everything and everyone else in the Church aside from Gavin himself.

“I now kindly ask the partners to exchange rings; a symbol of the union of their joining!”

Gavin’s eyes blew open.

“Wait, what…what rings?!!? RINGS?!?!”

No one had told him about rings!!!

Panicking, he threw Fowler a surprised look, and his superior held out a hand as he approached the front of the Church and stood next to them.

He withdrew from his fancy grey suit pockets two small boxes, and as Gavin stared at them with a wide-open jaw, two golden wedding bands were gleaming up into his eyes. The lights bounced off them nicely, but they appeared to be for the purposes of the ‘show’, and didn’t appear to be too expensive.

“I hope those didn’t cost a fortune, because I do NOT have the money for this crap!!”

Handing one ring to Gavin, and one to Nines, Fowler sat back down and smiled-a little too eagerly-at the couple.

Swallowing thickly, Gavin stared over at Nines, and then felt his left hand being tugged almost violently forward. Gavin practically flew forward as Nines yanked his hand towards himself, and while glaring down at Gavin’s fingers, Nines’ LED light flared red. In a few rough motions, he practically rammed the wedding ring on Gavin’s third finger, and Gavin had to wince at how roughly he was being treated.

Father Avery stared at Gavin, next, signaling that it was his turn to place his ring on Nines’ finger now.

Wanting to be as violent with Nines as he had been with him, Gavin viciously scratched the back of Nines’ left hand before snatching it up in his own grip. Gritting his teeth together strongly, he bit down his pride and ego as he studied Nines’ long fingers resting in his grip.

Gavin hated to admit it, but even Nines’ hands were far more perfect than his own…asshole!!!

Holding the ring up in his opposite hand, Gavin bent Nines’ ring finger up so harshly that he thought he’d broken it for a moment.

“Androids don’t have bones, though…well, shit…”

That still didn’t stop him from forcing the ring as violently and furiously on Nines’ finger as he could, and then he stood back and dropped his hands to his sides, wiping his hands quickly over his pants. He didn’t even want the slightest bit of ‘Nines’ on his skin.

Turning to smile one more time for the cameras, Gavin grinned widely, though it was a lot more pained, now. His ring finger burned, and it was turning pink from the amount of force Nines had used when he shoved the ring onto it…

Father Avery held up his hands, holding them above Nines and Gavin, “May the Lord in His goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with His blessings! What God has joined together, let no man put asunder!” Father Avery forced them to join hands, and then he blessed them while the officers of the DPD whispered in hushed tones.

“It is at this time that I now pronounce you partners-from here on vowing to support each other as you walk down the beautiful path God has laid out for you,” Father Avery continued while camera flashes bounced off every corner of the Church.

“…May the blessings of life, the joy of love, the peace of truth, and the wisdom and strength of Spirit be your constant companion, now and always, as partners in this wonderful and blessed union! You may seal this union with a kiss!”

Gavin nearly exploded right then.

“FUCKING WHAT!??!?! A KISS?!?!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! JEFFREY FOWLER!!! I’M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!”

As he began panicking, the voices of his colleagues grew louder, and then, the entire room went dead silent, as if everyone had been holding their breaths, eagerly waiting for a kiss.

Helpmehelpmehelpmehelpmehelpmehelpme!!!!!! Someone help meeeee!!!”

There was a brush of cold air against his face, and Gavin bit down hard on his lower lip, breaking skin in the process. He winced as he stared at Nines while the tall android leaned close to him.

However, Nines leaned into Gavin’s cheek, and he turned his head to the side as he whispered emotionlessly, “Don’t get too carried away, Detective.”

And then, Nines angled and tilted his head in the perfect way so that it only appeared he was kissing Gavin. He moved his head to the side, and his lips just barely hovered over the corner of Gavin’s lips, and as everyone in the Church let out an excited squeal-thinking they had indeed kissed-Gavin felt what barely seemed like a tap against his jaw.

The moment was gone when a few eager photographers snapped their photos, and one of them proudly stood back as he digitally uploaded it and formatted it already into a news headline. “I got the best shot!!!”

Nines pulled away from Gavin quickly, hands still at his sides as he stared at the wall behind Gavin’s head with a dull expression painted on his face.

Rounds of cheers went on within the Church, and some of the officers even threw paper confetti they’d brought with them. The evening sun peeked in through the magnificently decorated panes of glass in the Church, as if shining down in approval upon them, but Gavin didn’t feel any of it.

His cheek and jaw still burned, even though Nines had barely pressed the center of his lips coldly against Gavin’s skin in a ‘tap’ to give off the appearance of a kiss. Gavin wanted nothing more than to be shot at this moment. He swayed lightly, his head swimming with pain that began as a throbbing ache before it seemed as if someone had bashed him over the head with a brick. He felt so, so sick to his stomach.

Connor and Hank ran over to him and hugged him while Captain Fowler shook Gavin’s hand after forcefully taking it in his own.

“Smile!!!!!!!”

Gavin turned his neck towards the camera, lips barely quivering in a grimace.

Nines stood next to Fowler, and he grinned with his perfectly white teeth while standing tall with his chest puffed out proudly.

SNAP!!!!!!!!

Gavin so badly wanted nothing more than to go home and wash his entire body in varsol, bleach, scalding hot water, and then more bleach…especially over all the areas Nines had touched him.

SNAP!!!!!!

He closed his eyes as the lights practically blinded him, and he felt his knees turning into weak sticks that were barely able to keep his body up.

“I’m married…oh dear god…I’m now officially married…what do I do!?!? What do I do?!?!”

SNAP!!!!!!

Chapter Text

Wedding bells have tolled for Detective Gavin Reed of the Detroit Police Department just this past Saturday evening!! The thirty-six-year-old Detective who has been a public defender and a full-time dedicated peace-keeper tied the knot with his own coworker Nines!!

Nines has been well known for leading and organizing one of Detroit’s most advanced narcotics team, with promises of ending the terrors of ‘Slo-Freeze’, and hopefully, the imminent capture and arrest of every single member of the terrifying gang known as Ouroboros. While horrifying in their own right, the gang activity has slowed down since Nines and Gavin teamed up together!

Detective Reed also was involved with part-time volunteering at a fire department just last year, but now it seems he’ll have to put out the fires of passion blazing and burning high between himself and his now-husband Nines!

The handsome couple—

Gavin flung his tablet to the side, angrily roaring at the kitchen ceiling. It wasn’t even 7 a.m. on a Monday, and the world couldn’t just let it go that he’d experienced one of the most embarrassing moments of his entire life!! Now, all of North America knew he was married!!!

He’d spun that word around in his mind since he returned from the ceremony.

“Married, marriage, married, I’m married, I’m not single, I’m married, I had a wedding, marriage, marriage, I HAVE A HUSBAND!!!!!!!!”

That was putting it mildly. Gavin wasn’t averse to ever being with a man, he wasn’t against getting into a long-term, committed relationship, and he wasn’t opposed to the idea of marriage. But being married to NINES?!?! Now that was just horrifying.

He had to now think of Nines as his partner, and worse…his husband just to keep appearances up. As if the word ‘husband’ hadn’t been frightening enough all on its own when it was associated with Nines, every time Gavin looked down at his left ring finger, the golden wedding band he wore only served as a grim reminder of the fact that he was bound (for the time being) to Nines.

Gavin shuddered as he drummed up an image of himself walking around in tight booty shorts while he brewed a fresh cup of coffee every morning, Shelley at his side happily while he wore a pair of pink, fluffy bunny slippers. He would be whistling ‘How D’Ya Like Your Eggs In The Morning’, and then his husband would join him in the kitchen and kiss him on the cheek…

NOOOOO!

“I’m completely mortified! I’ll never ever be able to show my face in public again!!”

But he had to.

Today was a regular work day, and things had to go back to the way they were. The world wasn’t going to stop revolving around the sun just because Gavin Reed had recently gotten married, and that was how brutal life just was at times.

Grumpily grabbing his steaming cup of coffee, Gavin picked up the carton of milk he’d set out on the table as well, and he poured a little bit of it into his warm beverage. As he poured it and mixed it into his cup, he smelled something foul in the air.

“The hell?”

Setting the carton down, Gavin gathered a drop of milk that had dripped along the side of the carton, and he tasted the milk. Immediately, he wanted to throw up.

“This is horrible!! It tastes like shit!!”

Nines thundered into the kitchen, already dressed for work while Shelley floated in behind him, hot on his heels.

Nines barely looked in Gavin’s direction, “Detective.”

Gavin heaved as he shoved the milk carton across the table when Nines stood beside the kitchen table to pick up the discarded tablet.

“Yo! Nines!” Gavin spat, “do you think this milk is still alright? It kinda stinks like dog shit!” Gavin hoped Nines wasn’t trying to poison him, but that was likely just a thought his over-active imagination dreamt up more than anything else.

Growling angrily at him, Nines gripped the milk carton and held it to his side, “Must you always communicate with me as if you were some delinquent who barely made it to the second year of high school?”

“Fine then! You want me to talk like you, Nines? I can do that no problem!”

Wiping his lips, Gavin looked up at Nines sweetly. “Hello Nines, do you perchance believe that this liquid dairy product is still suitable for consuming? For I find the odor rather dubious, and akin to that of canine fecal matter…I fear I might contract an illness if I ingest such.” He finished his question by fluttering his eyelashes agitatedly at Nines and smiling even wider at him, though it dripped of sarcasm.

This earned him a dark scowl from Nines. “Kindly cease and desist with the childish games; we have to get to work.”

He wasn’t done yet.

Gavin raised an index finger as he sighed out, “Ah, whatever is the matter? I hope that I have sufficiently adapted my vocabulary to your liking, as I am very fond of it, myself.”

Nines glowered at him, appearing to have already had his fill of Gavin’s antics for the day already.

“Stop it.”

He walked over towards the sink, staring at the underside of the milk carton briefly before he snorted, “The milk has expired, be sure to purchase more if you will, Detective.”

Gavin gaped at him, “Wah?! Why do I have to do it?! It’s your house, isn’t it?”

“It may indeed be my house, Detective Reed,” Nines pressed out icily, “however, I have no such need for food or beverage.”

That was literally all Nines had to offer, and he dumped out the expired milk down the drain of the sink while Shelley hovered by Gavin’s knees. He smiled as he bent down and waved at her.

“Hey you!”

“Detective Reed,” Nines called in a snappy tone, “if you’ll cut the pleasantries short, we must hurry, as we’re already running late.”

Gavin blew a raspberry, “It’s not even seven-thirty in the mornin’ Nines!”

The android set the empty carton down on the kitchen counter, and after one long look at Shelley, she turned and floated by his side. Nines held out the milk carton for her to take.

“See to it that this is disposed of in the recycling.”

She was gone in a split second after having wrapped her barbed tail around the empty milk carton.

Gavin whined, “It’s too early in the mornin’ for this, Nines, I swear!!”

“Your point, Detective?”

Gavin folded his arms over his chest as he stuck out his chin, “I’ve never started my shifts before eight-thirty, at the earliest!”

Nines made his way towards the table again, a hand reaching out as he turned off the tablet and neatly placed it on the edge of the expensive, fancy table. “That was before you were on my team, Detective,” he almost spat down viciously, “but if you wish to revert back to that old lifestyle, I can gladly see to it that you—”

“Okay, okay, okay! I got it! Sheesh!”

Getting up quickly, Gavin brushed a hand through his hair and made his way over to the sink to dump out the nasty coffee. He felt Nines’ eyes on his back the entire time, and it gave him weird chills that ran up and down his back.

“Is there a problem, Detective Reed?”

“Yeah, its name starts with an ‘N’, ends in an ‘S’.”

He looked down at the floor, studying how brightly they shined up into his eyes. “Well…it’s just…” he sighed, “…have you seen what’s written in the news about us?”

Nines raised his head high, as if he wanted to prove to Gavin that he was in every way more dominant, more in control, and even more appealing physically as he wielded greater power and strength.

“I have not, Detective,” he answered plainly while his LED light flashed yellow, “I care very little for gossip.”

“At least I get to go down in history for wearing converse sneakers to my wedding!”

Gavin nodded as he followed Nines up to the front door. They put their shoes on, and Gavin took a moment to notice that Nines was dressed all in black today.

“I wonder whose funeral he’s going to…”

“I don’t think I can really handle what the people we work with will say when we show up t-t-together…” he’d barely made the last word fly out of his mouth in one piece, but he was happy he’d at least tried. After all, his articulation was the least of his concerns at this point.

Nines grabbed a dark spring jacket and slid into it gracefully, “It hardly matters, Detective; what matters is the work we do.”

Gavin groaned again, “Can’t I just be shot so I don’t have to deal with their whispering and the weird looks they’ll give me?”

Turning to face him, a cruel grin formed its way on Nines’ lips. “I don’t have the tools with me to carry that out, Detective, but if you’ll remind me in an hour, I’ll be more than happy to fulfill your wish.”

Gavin shoved him aside with his shoulder as he marched out the front door.

“You’re a bastard, Nines.”

“So you keep reminding me!”

Gavin didn’t even look once at Nines, and he resorted to sitting in the back seat of the black Cadillac he didn’t even notice that Nines had owned.

“Bastard!!!!!!!!”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Not a single damn thing had changed when Gavin and Nines walked into the DPD. A few people looked up for a minute, but beyond that, there were no comments thrown their way, no jokes, no quips, nothing. If Gavin didn’t know any better, he was certain that perhaps Fowler had warned everyone ahead of time to keep their mouths shut, otherwise, they would face disciplinary action.

Damn it, Fowler.

Gavin would’ve preferred fighting his own battles and dealing with smarmy colleagues on his own! He didn’t need anyone swooping in to save the motherfucking day, as if he were some Disney damsel in distress! If people just left him alone, it’d be fine! He didn’t need or want special treatment from anyone! Not from Fowler, not from his co-workers, not from Nines, not from ANYONE!!!

Gavin stumbled down the hall as he followed Nines closely, and when they reached the holding cells, Nines stopped right at the one containing the Ouroboros gang member Gavin had arrested. The burly man was still seated in the corner of the room, hands bound in his lap as his long, dark brown hair fell over his shoulders and curtained his face.

The lights of the cell were then turned on, and the man peered up, black eyes taking in the sight of Gavin and Nines standing right before his cell door. He let out a malicious grin, and then waved his hands around as he screamed at them in Spanish.

“¿Sigues vivo, gusano?”

Gavin swallowed nervously, “What’s he saying, Nines?”

Nines clicked his tongue against his teeth for a moment, as if debating on whether he should translate what the gang member was saying or not.

Finally, he sighed out, “He’s asking why you’re still alive, and he referred to you as a worm.”

Somehow, Gavin wasn’t surprised. He’d expected to be called far worse, but he felt this was only the beginning of his problems.

Placing a hand on the glass barrier between himself and the gang member, he ground out slowly, “We have to interrogate him, don’t we?”

This earned him a haughty scoff out of Nines. “I’ll be handling the interrogation, Detective,” he pressed out quickly, “you stand by and merely observe, take notes, and that’s it.”

As Nines signaled for a female android officer to pull the gang member out of his cell, Gavin whirled around and began chasing after Nines when the tall android stalked off towards the interrogation rooms.

“Hey! HEY!!”

Nines wasn’t slowing down any time soon, and Gavin had to burst into a jog so he could catch up with Nines.

“Damn those long legs!!”

Gavin finally caught up to Nines, and he gripped one of his shoulders and tried spinning him around so they were face-to-face. But with Nines being built like a brick house, it was difficult to even get him to turn an inch.

“Nines!” Gavin shook him, and he turned himself around as he snarled and sneered at the short human.

“What is it, now, Detective?” Nines began in a cold drawl that was almost as cold as freshly formed ice over a pond’s surface, “are you having some sort of problem with the instructions I’ve given you?”

Gavin knew exactly what Nines was doing, now; he was using his ‘authority’ and superior position just to get ahead and carry out what he thought was best for the case. Not wanting to get into conflict at barely eight in the morning, Gavin lowered his voice as he waved at a few of his colleagues when they smirked at him and Nines standing in the halls leading to the interrogation rooms.

“Nines,” Gavin whispered gently, “this is kind of my case…I mean,” he nodded over at the gang member currently being walked to the interrogation room, “I was the one who found him and booked him, right? Let me deal with him, please.”

He didn’t want to have to beg anymore, but he really needed to do this alone.

Apparently, his ‘husband’ didn’t seem to agree.

“No,” Nines rejected, turning and pressing the palm of his hand on the identification scanner pad to unlock the ‘observation room’ on the other side of the two-way-mirror in the interrogation room.

Gavin sputtered angrily, “What?? Why not?!” What was Nines’ ‘wise’ and noble reason for refusing his request?!

Pulling out a chair that had been meant for Gavin, Nines made sure the lights were on, the speakers were working, and all the other recording devices were in check before he turned and threw Gavin a bland look.

“The Ouroboros member is already hostile enough, Detective,” he began in a lazy drawl, “the moment he sees you seated before him, ready to carry out the interrogation process…well…” Nines snickered almost cruelly, “…I’m sure you can only begin to imagine the results that will come from that.”

“That’s a bunch of bullshit, and you know it, Nines!” Gavin retorted back loudly, and the officer leading the gang member down the hall even gaped openly at him.

Spinning around on his heels, Nines loomed over Gavin, a dark shadow that seemed to hold a threat within its depths appearing just behind his blue eyes.

“I’m the team leader, Detective,” he hissed dangerously as his LED light went from yellow to red in the blink of an eye, “either you do as I tell you to, or you’re more than welcome to go back to the homicide unit.”

Not giving up easily, Gavin screamed out, “But this is my case! I can handle it!!”

He’d never seen Nines so livid before. The android used the advantage of his height in order to make Gavin feel weak, small, and meager. His shoulders widened out, his eyes peered directly through Gavin’s, and his lips curled back in a silent snarl.

“You do not possess the necessary skills, Detective Reed,” Nines breathed in a sinister tone that only made Gavin’s skin crawl, “it will be done as I say it will be, and I don’t want to hear another word on the subject. Are we clear?”

Gavin bit his tongue rather hard. “Fine.”

Nines exited the observation room, and as Gavin peered through the two-way mirror, he began panicking. The officer set the gang member down, and he offered her a perverted, toothy grin as she made sure he was seated and handcuffed down tightly to the silver table in the center of the room.

“I’ll take it from here, officer,” Nines entered the room, and only sat down once the door was closed.

“You’re making a big mistake…”

Nines folded his hands in his lap while offering the gang member a cold, expressionless look.

Minutes ticked by and the gang member and Nines exchanged blank looks, as if silently engaging in a mental game of their own. Finally, the gang member blinked, and his long hair slid down over his shoulders as he shifted a leg.

Nines stared down at his tattoo resting on his forearm.

“Me gusta tu tatuaje.”

As Nines spoke, the recording device and microphones in the room translated what he was saying on the monitors and panels in the observation room.

Gavin read out the translation, “I like your tattoo.” 

“Great icebreaker, Nines.”

Silence greeted him as Nines and the gang member stared at each other.

Nines smirked, “¿No quieres hablar?”

“You don’t want to talk?”

Eventually, the gang member smiled up at him and spat out, “Vete a la mierda, maricon.”

“Fuck you, faggot.” Gavin winced as he read that out loud.

Nines however remained unaffected. “¿Te gustaría decirme quién te hizo ese tatuaje?”

“Would you like to tell me who gave you that tattoo?”

Throwing his head back and screaming at the ceiling, the gang member yanked his wrists up as far and as hard as he could, but the restraints and cuffs held him back, and like a dog on a leash, his hands slammed back down onto the table roughly.

Nines looked down coolly at his hands. “Puedo pedir que las aflojen si me dices quien te hizo ese tatuaje.”

“I can ask them to loosen those if you tell me who gave you the tattoo.”

“No me importa el dolor, robot!!” the gang member spat out while still struggling in his bindings.

“I don’t care about the pain, robot.”

Nines nodded, “Entonces esto no debería ser un problema para tu.”

“Then this should be no problem for you…”

Nines suddenly lashed out with an arm, snapping his fingers forward and hooking them around the gang member’s. Like a snake, Nines wrenched open the man’s hand, and he bent back his first three fingers violently.

“NOO! What’re you doing?!?” Gavin knocked roughly on the glass barrier, but Nines didn’t release the gang member’s hand.

Crying out in pain as Nines increased the pressure, the gang member worked a smile onto his face, even though he was still grunting and groaning horribly.

Nines offered him a cold smile that was all ice as he leaned forward a little and calmly said, “Sé que esto duele. Sólo habla conmigo, y te dejaré ir.”

“I know this hurts. Just talk to me, and I’ll let you go.”

Laughing loudly, the gang member hissed back, “Amo el dolor, bastardo!”

“I love pain, bastard!”

This was stupid. Gavin knew for a fact that no matter how much pain Nines was inflicting on the gang member, it wasn’t going to work. If what Nines had previously stated about Ouroboros was true, then this man wouldn’t react to pain.

Pounding on the glass desperately, Gavin spat out, “Stop! That won’t work!!”

Whether Nines had heard him or not was immaterial; he only bent the man’s fingers backwards more, and Gavin definitely heard one of them cracking like firewood.

“He’s going to break his fingers; he’s going to fucking break each and every one of them!”

“¿Estás listo para hablar, ahora?” Nines yelled with raw power and dominance in his voice that commanded the gang member’s attention.

“Are you ready to talk now?”

The man suppressed another scream when Nines snapped his middle finger, next.

“I can’t take this anymore!”

Racing to the door, Gavin flung it open, and he ran right next door. All it took was another door handle being pushed down roughly, and Gavin pressed his way inside the room. Nines glared up at him for interrupting.

“Detective! Leave us at once!!”

“NO!”

“I SAID LEAVE!!”

A roar broke the sound barrier, and as Gavin and Nines turned their attention to the gang member, he started cackling like a maniac. His laughter reverberated off the walls of the interrogation room, bouncing everywhere as he laughed and laughed and laughed. He really seemed to be having the time of his life, and Nines slammed his hand down on the table.

“CEASE!!”

Instead, the man only laughed harder, and soon, tears pooled out the corners of his eyes as he doubled over in laughter.

Before Nines could bend his entire wrist back and snap it in half, Gavin stepped up to him and violently shook him by the shoulders.

“Don’t you get it?! You can’t get anything out of him this way!!”

The gang member suddenly stopped laughing, and he turned his head over to gape at Gavin. The looks he was giving Gavin made the Detective freeze up, and he leapt back when the gang member’s long, dark brown hair curtained down over his face and only revealed one black eye twinkling murderously at him.

“¿Crees que estás a salvo sólo porque tu novio está aquí por ti?” he chuckled as he shook his head back and forth like a wild demon, “esto es sólo el principio.”

“What’s he—”

Before Gavin could finish his sentence, he saw the man open his mouth widely, and his tongue began moving back and forth along the inside of his left cheek.

Gavin gasped in fear, “He’s got somethin’ in his mouth, Nines!!”

Nines quickly scanned the gang member, and in a second, he was up on his feet. Yanking the man forward, he yelled out in his face, “STOP RIGHT NOW!!”

The man’s mouth snapped shut for a moment, and Nines gripped his chin roughly in a hand. He shook the man’s head as hard as he could, but it was no use. That tongue slithered around inside the gang member’s mouth, and soon, he turned his head to the side and threw Gavin a cold, menacing glare. That glare soon turned into a psychotic smile.

“Be careful, Mr. Reed,” the gang member suddenly hissed out in perfect English, with only the hints of a Spanish accent lingering on some vowels here and there.

Then, right before Gavin’s and Nines’ very eyes, the gang member coughed, and then swallowed something. Within seconds, his mouth and lips flooded with dark red blood. He spat it all over himself and the floor, his eyes turning wide, but he still managed to work a smile onto his face as his fists clenched into tight balls. He coughed and coughed and heaved, and the blood kept cascading down like a waterfall.

Nines gave Gavin a rough shove, sending him flying to the wall. “DON’T JUST STAND THERE, DETECTIVE!!! GET MEDICAL AID IN HERE, NOW!!”

For a while, Gavin was unable to move. He just couldn’t tear his eyes off the rapidly expanding pool of blood at Nines’ feet. It practically appeared black as it covered the entire floor, soon, and Gavin still hadn’t moved from his spot.

“DETECTIVE?!?!”

He didn’t need to do anything, however; the medical team and emergency services had heard the commotion, and they all burst inside the interrogation room. Gavin was shoved to the side, and eventually dragged out by Tina Chen while Nines held the bloodied gang member up.

The medical team soon brought a stretcher, and they hurriedly wheeled him out of the room as Nines quickly followed behind. Eventually, Captain Fowler burst forth as well, and he slammed a hand down on Gavin’s back.

“WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!”

Gavin was unable to even talk. He just stood there gaping with his jaw hanging slightly open. What was he to say?

Fowler shook him roughly, “REED! ANSWER ME!!”

Slightly down the hall, Nines heard them, and he called back to them over his shoulder, “HE SWALLOWED A RAZOR BLADE!”

“WHAT?!?!?!” Fowler tore after them with at least another four officers trailing behind him.

In the middle of all the commotion, Gavin finally snapped back to reality. He inhaled sharply, and then held a hand up to his mouth, containing a cry of anger and sadness.

“He…he killed himself…he fuckin’ k-killed himself!!”

Tina rubbed his back in small circles, trying to comfort him as best as she could, “Shhh, Gavin, don’t talk about that, now!”

“He fuckin’ killed himself so we wouldn’t g-get information about Ouroboros!!”

Tina shook her head as she guided Gavin to a small bench resting against a wall. “Gavin, please!”

He held up a hand, “N-no! H-he did it to protect the gang’s secrets!! There was no way he was going to reveal anything…no way…”

“This is all my fault…this is ALL my fault!!”

As the investigation team and relief team flooded in to inspect and clean up the bloody mess in the interrogation room, Gavin finally understood just what it meant to be a member of Ouroboros.

Die for the cause. Don’t let them take you, and if they do, don’t let them take you alive.

Now he really knew what they were up against.

Chapter Text

Gavin looked away from the bright light the ophthalmoscope shined into his eyes. He was sitting in the medical examiner’s office, just to get away from everyone and everything. The on-site doctor had rushed around trying to clean his office to prepare for other tasks, barely noticing Gavin using his office as a hiding spot after the horrible suicide incident with the gang member. Though Gavin had been asked a series of psychological questions to determine the severity and likelihood that he would harm himself, the doctor deemed soon enough that Gavin wasn’t going to harm himself...that was right until the doctor caught Gavin with blood splatter on his jeans. Worried, the doctor mistakenly thought it was his own, and he checked Gavin thoroughly.

Once Gavin had screamed at him a few times, he finally backed off and let the man rest for a moment. Unfortunately, Gavin barely had time to process what had just happened in the day, when the door burst open. A flurry of black, blue, and red rapidly moved before his eyes, and Gavin looked up in time to see Jeffrey Fowler and Nines standing in front of him. They both wore equally maddening expressions on their faces, and Fowler placed his hands on his hips, his dark red dress shirt and navy-blue suit pants still covered in some dark stains that were no doubt the gang member’s blood.

Seeing it there sent chills up Gavin’s spine, and he held his head down as he fought hard not to think about what had happened. It was all such a mess…

The doctor frowned at Nines and Fowler, as if they’d interrupted major surgery he’d been in the middle of. “Captain Fowler, Nines,” he nodded curtly at them, “what can I—”

Fowler pointed at the same door he and Nines had bulldozed in through, “Leave us, Doctor.”

Sensing how serious the issue was, the doctor only nodded as he took off his white lab coat and hung it up on a coat rack by the door before closing it after himself softly.

The moment he’d disappeared, Fowler roared down at Gavin, “Start talking, NOW.”

Gavin’s eyes remained drawn to the floor as a hopeless expression crossed over on his face. “What’s there to talk about, Fowler?”

“You tell me just what in the fuck happened, and you tell me every damn detail!”

He resisted the urge to shrug, still keeping his eyes down low, “I don’t know what to tell you.”

Fowler wasn’t having it. He grabbed Gavin by the shirt collar and yanked him up off the medical examining table he’d been currently sitting on. Gavin’s feet dangled up in the air before Fowler practically slammed him back down to stand up on his legs.

“Why don’t you start by explaining to me what in the hell you were thinking by letting our one and only opportunity to learn something about Ouroboros just slip through your fucking fingers?!”

Gavin’s eyes flickered up to Fowler’s face, but the moment they did, he saw Nines standing an inch behind their superior, and the memories all came flooding back. As they hit him harder than a punch to the gut, Gavin lost it. He dashed forward past Fowler and at Nines, hands outstretched as he snarled like a rabid dog.

“IT’S ALL YOUR DAMN FAULT!!! YOU DID THIS!!! YOU DID THIS!!!”

Fowler held him back quickly by wrapping his hands around Gavin’s midriff to hold him back from attacking Nines.

“GAVIN!!!! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!” He winced when Gavin’s ribs rammed into his sternum, but he still kept a firm hold on the explosive Detective as best as he could.

“GAVIN!!!!!”

Gavin’s fingers swiped in the air, inches away from Nines’ nose as his eyes clouded over with anger and cruelty for the android.

“I SWEAR TO GOD, I’LL FUCKING END YOU, NINES! CAPTAIN! LET ME GO!!!”

The more Gavin fought and struggled in Captain Fowler’s grip, the more amused Nines seemed to be. He threw Gavin a besmirched look, but otherwise folded his hands behind his back as he maintained eye contact with the angry human.

“JUST LET ME LAND ONE FUCKIN’ HIT, CAPTAIN! WAIT TILL I GET MY FUCKIN’ HANDS ON HIM!!”

“GAAAAVIIIIIN!!!” with a mighty roar befitting a wildcat, Captain Fowler shoved Gavin backwards until he’d effectively trapped the shorter man against a wall with a medical eye exam chart nailed high above on a hook. The walls shook as Gavin’s shoulders slammed into them, and Gavin took in a deep, pained breath as he looked at Captain Fowler as if he was seeing the other man for the first time in his life.

Gavin’s jaw fell wide open, “Sir! I—”

“No, Reed!” Fowler pointed at him aggressively, and it made Gavin cower a little.

“…I’m waiting on your explanation, Reed, and it better be a damn good one!!”

Letting out a strained cry of anguish, Gavin quickly breathed out, “This all happened because Nines refused to listen to me!”

Not sparing a moment, Fowler’s head whipped around to glare over at Nines. “Nines!” he barked out gruffly, “is this true?”

Giving Gavin one heck of an icy scowl, Nines muttered, “It’s a half-truth, Sir.”

“A half-truth?!”

Nines didn’t even nod, “Yes, it’s true that Detective Reed felt he was able to handle the interrogation, however…” his LED light immediately turned red, and his eyes seemed to turn a shade darker, even, “…I deemed it inappropriate for Detective Reed to interrogate the suspect.”

Raising an eyebrow, Fowler coughed out, “And why’s that, Nines?”

“The suspect was already incredibly hostile towards Detective Reed,” Nines explained coolly, as though he would rather be anywhere else than in the doctor’s office explaining this issue to Fowler, “and I exercised my judgement as the narcotics team leader and organizer to interrogate the suspect myself, and Detective Reed disobeyed my orders.”

Grinding his teeth together roughly, Gavin took a step forward, “You said that—”

Fowler immediately rounded on Gavin, then, “HOLD YOUR TONGUE!!!”

He’d never heard Fowler yell at him this way before. Flinching, Gavin then cowered once more, slightly nervous as his cheeks flushed. He looked away from his superiors, wishing that at least Nines didn’t have to be in the room for this. So long as Nines was there, he felt even worse, and Gavin felt as though anything Nines said, Captain Fowler would definitely take his side and word on the matter.

He was doomed.

Once Gavin’s mouth had been firmly snapped shut, Captain Fowler turned back to address Nines.

“That man was reacting to Gavin, so you decided to take control of the situation, Nines?” he spat out quickly, “is that what’re you’re telling me?”

“I wouldn’t necessarily phrase it like that, Sir,” Nines blandly mumbled out, “but the chances of the suspect cooperating with our investigation had Detective Reed interrogated him were less than six percent, by my calculation.”

“That six percent was still a chance we should’ve taken, you ass!”

Fowler crossed his thick arms over his chest as he walked over towards Nines carefully. “Nines, you’re a very reliable officer, and over time, you’ve proven to be really damn efficient in your job,” Fowler’s words were sincere, yet they still held a little lingering bite, as if he was about to follow-up with an insult or two.

“…but one thing I don’t understand is why you’d think that it was pretty damn good judgement on your behalf not to even check the suspect over to see if he had any concealed weapons on him?!”

Nines glared, as if holding back on screaming at Fowler while his LED light flashed red numerous times, like the blinking of the timer on a bomb before it went off.

“With all due respect, Sir,” he began, looking once briefly at Gavin before staring at Fowler, “I was rather…distracted, and I wasn’t able to exercise my most efficient judgement and therefore, I was unable to take the best course of action as a result.”

Gavin was livid. He knew exactly what Nines was implying, and who he was pointing fingers at in this scenario.

“You sure say a lot without saying much at all, don’t you, Nines?”

Fowler squinted at Nines, then, “Distracted?? You were distracted? By what?!?”

Gavin bit the insides of his cheeks, knowing Nines was going to say—

“By Detective Reed, Sir.”

“You stupid son of a—”

Fowler sighed as he pressed a hand against his forehead while frowning. The number of wrinkles to be found on his skin there was brutal, but Fowler was beyond stressed now.

“Nines,” he moaned in exhaustion, “if this is about your recent marriage to Gavin, I—”

“It isn’t,” Nines interrupted, shaking his head as he threw Gavin a cold stare, “Detective Reed merely argued with me over who would be the one to interrogate the suspect as I was trying to move the suspect to the interrogation rooms, and I was sidetracked as a result.”

Gavin nearly exploded in a fit of rage again, but Fowler cut ahead as he neared closer to Nines and stood as tall as he could. It was the stance of a man who could take no more, and Captain Fowler fumed at Nines as his eyebrows were set down tightly on his brow.

“Nines,” he almost roared, “that’s not a good excuse for why the suspect wasn’t even scanned or given a proper pat-down! You should know better than that!!”

Gavin almost grinned wickedly when he heard how Fowler had scolded Nines.

“Ha! Serves you right, you smug jerk!!”

A finger was suddenly in his face. “And you,” Fowler growled at him while his dark eyes were shining dangerously, “from now on, Reed, you are to do as Nines tells you, and I don’t want to hear a single word of a complaint out of you. Is that clear?!”

Gavin sputtered as he held out his hands, “B-but—”

“I said, is that clear, Reed?” Fowler’s voice came out again like the mighty roar of a lion before attacking its prey, and Gavin felt his throat dry up immediately upon hearing it.

He swallowed, “Crystal clear, Captain.”

Fowler cracked his knuckles; a sign that he was under severe stress, and wanted to get the hell out of there before he exploded.

“Good,” he sighed as he looked at Nines for a moment, “I expect you to work together with Gavin so you can both complete and submit a follow-up report on the incident today.”

He walked to the door, yanking it open as he threw back over his shoulder, “Submit it to me no later than tomorrow afternoon.”

As the door closed, Gavin glared over at Nines, only to find that his ‘husband’ was already giving him his own pointed death glares.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin was beyond through with everyone and everything when he returned home with Nines around seven-forty that evening. Gavin wasn’t even in the mood to eat, as he’d been so pissed off with Nines that his appetite had just disappeared. Still, not wanting to fall ill, Gavin lazily grabbed two slices of bread and threw them into the large stainless-steel toaster oven after spreading some cheese and garlic on top.

That was the best-albeit laziest-meal he could’ve had when he was wiped like toilet paper. Gavin didn’t ever remember being this exhausted in years, and there was no way he could have put into words how he was feeling.

As soon as he’d kicked off his shoes, he felt his feet burning, as if slightly relieved to be freed from their confines. However, the moment he crept along the ice-cold mahogany floorboards, a familiar stinging ache moved up from the soles of his feet and slid up into his spine.

Gavin trembled and shook as he waited for his meal to be prepared, and as he sat on a kitchen stool thinking about the report he was to write with Nines while his bread heated up nicely in the kitchen, Shelley breezed in and hovered by his knees.

“Good. Evening. Detective. How. Was. Your. Day?”

Snorting angrily, Gavin shrugged, “Don’t even ask, Shelley, don’t even ask.”

Beeeep! “Detective. Is. There. Anything. I. Can. Do. To. Help. Turn. Your. Evening. Into. A. More. Pleasant. One?”

Before Gavin could wave her off, Nines walked in the kitchen was well, clearly trying to make his way inside his work office. He stopped midway when he saw Gavin sitting on a stool in the direction that faced the entrance to the kitchen. Scowling at him as if he’d set the room on fire, Nines tried walking by, but Gavin pointed rudely at him.

“Oh, I would be able to have a more pleasant evening, Shelley,” Gavin started with a sneer pointed at Nines, “but you see, my darling husband had to be a major asshole today, and he not only contributed towards me getting my ass disciplined by my boss, but he’s also this big rude bully who just doesn’t even understand the meaning of the word ‘teamwork’.”

It was silent in the kitchen before Shelley’s eye-slit light turned orange in a warning.

Beeeeeep! “I’m. Sorry. Detective. I’m. Unable. To. Process. Your. Instructions.”

Staring dead-on at Nines, Gavin nodded, “Exactly, sweetie.”

Nines placed a hand down on the counter as he stood before Gavin, “It would have all gone well, Detective, had you listened to my orders the first time around.”

“So you’re sayin’ I brought this all on myself?!?”

“What I’m saying, Detective,” Nines pushed out frostily as he sneered, “is that you lack the foresight that’s required for this job.”

Gavin pointed a finger into Nines’ chest, “It was my fuckin’ case, Nines! I had it!! Who asked you to interfere?!”

Beeeeep!!!! Boooop!!!

Gavin threw a heated look down at the floor, “Not now, Shelley!!”

“Detective Reed—”

“Hellacious job, Nines,” Gavin hissed out with plenty of bite in his tone, “none of this would’ve happened if you just listened to me.”

Holding his head up high, Nines scoffed, “The error wasn’t on my part, Detective Reed, perhaps you should refer back to the initial training you received at the police academy…that is, if you even passed that?”

“Smarmy prick!!”

“Of course I passed it,” Gavin growled while clawing at the edge of the granite counter, “did you think that I got where I am today by collecting free handouts?”

Nines shook his head, “No, I think you got where you are today by acting out blindly on a whim instead of learning how to control your emotions and rely on your training.”

Once again, the room was horribly silent as Gavin processed what Nines had said. He couldn’t deny that he had been impulsive, emotional, and all over the place with the interrogation of the gang member. But still, Nines should’ve given him a chance!! He deserved that, at the very least!

Gavin leaned over the counter as he glowered at Nines, “Were you even aware that the gang member knew English?”

Nines scoffed, “I’m not a mind reader, Detective.”

“See?” Gavin chided, “even you were caught unaware of somethin’ today, Nines!”

“I said before that Ouroboros members are from all over. Last month, a member from Sicily nearly abducted a school bus full of children on a field-trip, Detective Reed…” he leaned in even closer, head bent as he snarled at Gavin even more, as if to rub it all in, “…the man was able to speak perfect English, Spanish, French, as well as Italian, and he easily slipped through the school security to do his horribly ghastly deed.”

Gavin swallowed nervously. It suddenly felt as if he’d been kicked in the gut, and he had a feeling that things were going to get a lot worse from now on, still.

Nines leaned back slowly, “Contrary to what your pea-sized brain might believe, Ouroboros members are capable of a greater many things you can only begin to dream about…but no matter how much you may think you understand, your understanding only pales in comparison to the reality of the matter.”

“You are the team organizer and leader, Nines,” Gavin snapped, not wanting to back off yet, despite feeling as if he’d been kicked in the face after imagining a school bus full of innocent children having to deal with a wild, crazy gang member.

“...you should’ve just let me do my job, and then we’d both come away with somethin’ to work with!”

Nines huffed, as if the idea itself was as appealing to him as being run over by a garbage truck. “Weighing your transgressions against mine, Detective, let’s just say mine is like a German Panzer tank,” he ignored the way Gavin’s eyes immediately filled up with confusion, “but yours in comparison to my own are like the RMS Titanic.”

Gavin had nothing to say as he simply glared at Nines. What was there to say, really? Nines was being cruel, and this was overkill, but what could he really argue back that wouldn’t make him seem like a hurt thirteen-year-old?

The best he could do to save his pride and ego was to feign a laugh. It came out dry, however, and he backed it up with a nonchalant shrug.

“Nice analogy, Nines, but that still doesn’t change the fact that you fucked up biiiiiiig time, and you didn’t even know the guy had a concealed weapon right in his fuckin’ mouth.”

Before Nines could say anything to that, Gavin clapped sarcastically. “Phenomenal job,” he nodded his head and then flashed Nines a thumbs-up, “oh, and good work threatening the dude with physical violence when it clearly wasn’t working.”

Nines drummed his fingers on the granite countertop, “I expected resistance from an Ouroboros member. I told you, life is meaningless to them, and they’re even willing to sacrifice the lives of their own families for their cause.”

Gavin rolled his eyes, but otherwise stayed silent. Again, Nines had trapped him into a corner, and there wasn’t much he could offer back. He hated being caught in this type of a position, and he hated that he couldn’t just beat the ever-loving shit out of Nines, too! What was his life, now?!

Nines stared at him for a long time, and Gavin initially wondered if he had something on his face. He ran a hand along his nose, then his cheeks, but when nothing was on his palm, he snarled, “What?”

Nines just sighed. “Your meal is ready.”

“But the toaster didn’t—”

DING!

“This asshole has to know everything, doesn’t he?”

Nines began walking away, but Gavin suddenly remembered the report. Not wanting Nines to work on it all alone and make him look like a jackass in it, he stood up abruptly.

“Shelley, my toast!”

She floated upwards, “Request. Processed. Retrieving. Toast.”

Nines was almost in his work office, and Gavin tore after him, managing to slide a hand in the doorway before the door completely shut on his face.

“Nines, wait just a sec!!”

Sighing a little loudly and dramatically, Nines turned around and held open the door for Gavin.

“What is it now, Detective Reed?”

Not wanting to get into an argument this late in the evening, Gavin chewed on his lower lip for a moment as he tried mulling over what it was he wanted to say, and more importantly; how he was going to say it. Due to the ‘wondrous’ things that had transpired during the day, Gavin had a sneaking suspicion that Nines wasn’t entirely ‘over it’ as much as he wanted to portray. It was a lot better for him to just be careful with his approach if he wanted to avoid a screaming match.

“Umm…”

“How intellectually captivating, Detective Reed,” Nines spat hurriedly, pushing the door closed a little further, “now if that’s all you have to contribute as far as a conversation goes, then I’ll just be—”

Pushing himself to speak, Gavin cried out, “The report!! Aren’t we supposed to complete it together?”

Nines looked up at the ceiling for a moment, and he closed his eyes so slowly that Gavin thought he was only doing it to prevent himself from exploding in anger. His grip on the door handle even tightened a little, but Gavin stood by silently and patiently for Nines to speak.

Eventually, Nines opened his eyes again and hummed in thought. “I can take care of it, Detective.”

“Oh for fuck’s sakes, here we go again. He’s going to try and handle things on his own and fuck it all up for me, too, and then Fowler will kick my ass across the DPD for it, I’ll bet.”

Gavin shook his head, “No, I don’t agree with that, Nines.”

“I thought as much.”

“Let me work on it, too.”

Gavin could’ve sworn he heard the wood of the door creaking.

“Holy smokes, I hope it doesn’t break with how tightly he’s gripping it…”

Nines refused to meet Gavin’s eyes for a while, but he eventually growled out, “Alright.”

Gavin could hardly believe it. “Say what?”

“I said alright, Detective,” Nines stated in an almost hushed tone. “I will remind you to set some time aside later and we can compile your portions with my own before we submit it…just so Captain Fowler receives work that is fluent and doesn’t conflict.”

It was fair, it was good enough, and Gavin knew that was the best deal he was going to get.

He nodded and backed away from the door, “Okay, Nines…umm…”

Nines tilted his head down at him for a moment, and Gavin felt even more awkward than before.

“Umm…so…”

The door slammed in his face a second later.

It was rude for sure, but still, Gavin wasn’t offended in the least. Nines had saved him from something embarrassing, and frankly, he didn’t want to spend another second around his ‘husband’ more than he had to.

The only thing that was on Gavin’s mind for the time being was to eat his meal, try to enjoy it (somehow), and then fall into another peaceful, dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

Gavin deleted his segment of the report for the fifth time that morning, and then hurriedly typed it out from scratch all over again. No matter what he did, no matter how hard he worked on his wording and descriptions of the event involving the untimely suicide of the gang member, nothing seemed right. There was no way on earth Fowler was going to accept his report the way it was written, and Gavin went over it one more time as he leaned back in his seat, pushed his legs up onto his desk, and pulled his work laptop closer towards himself.

The interrogation began shortly around 8:10 a.m. Nines instructed me to observe and wait in the ‘observation room’, despite the fact that initially, I made the arrest and could have handled the case due to my training and skills.

Nines vehemently disagreed, and I was ignored, despite trying to assure him that I had everything under control.

The suspect wasn’t responsive to any of the questions Nines posed, and the interrogation was a waste of time. The longer I observed the incident, the more reasons I had to intervene. It was for the good of the investigation, and for the progression of the case that I eventually exited the observation area and got involved in the situation.

The interrogation was escalating to physical violence and assault, and despite my warnings, Nines continued to harass the suspect.

By the time I reached the room myself, the suspect had already swallowed a concealed razor blade that Nines had neglected to find on his person. The interrogation was a huge failure due to negligence on Nines’ part.

I believe it came to this because he is one big asshole, and there was nothing else but his own pride and ego he wanted to stroke as opposed to listening to me when I told him ‘I got this shit’, dumbass, so step aside and let me do my freakin’ job.

Gavin groaned as he read over the last paragraph.

He’d definitely lost control when he got to that part, and the words had just seemingly written themselves without his knowledge, practically. What else was he to really say to Fowler, after all??

“This is a complete mess!” he rubbed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Think, Gavin, think!!! Just rewrite it without getting angry!”

That was so much easier said than done, unfortunately. As often as he’d went over the incident in his mind, his nerves always flared up whenever he recalled how the situation had gone to shit in just a few seconds flat.

It was no good.

Before he could press the ‘delete’ key on his laptop’s keyboard, Gavin felt something brushing against his shoulders and along his back.

“Tsk tsk tsk, I don’t really think Captain Fowler will accept your report with all these expletives, Gavin!”

The Detective sighed as he wheeled his chair around and spun until he was facing Connor. The RK800 gave him a playful smile that Gavin was unable to fully return.

Observing his grumpy face, Connor’s smile fell. “You okay?”

Gavin grunted, “I’m married to Nines, Connor, shouldn’t that tell you plenty?”

Connor giggled, “I can’t say I blame you there, Gavin, but you really need to take it easy at work.”

“Tell me how, and I will, Connor.”

The android merely shrugged, “The way I see it, it could be a lot worse, Gavin!”

Gavin’s eyebrows rose up into his hairline, practically. “Jesus Christ, Connor,” he let out a strained laugh that did not depict joy or happiness at all, “you’re not the one who has to fuckin’ live with Nines! You’ve no idea what kind of an asshole he is!”

Connor waved him off, “So he’s a stickler for rules and is over-the-top organized, so what?”

“He’s an asshole!” Gavin’s screams ricocheted off every wall in the bullpen, practically, and everyone peeked over curiously at him. Whispers went around, phones stopped ringing, and even the coffee machine suddenly stopped working.

Gavin swallowed before ducking his head down over his desk and hiding his face in his arms.

“I hate my life.”

Connor gently rubbed his back, “Don’t be so negative, Gavin! I know yesterday was brutal for you, but you shouldn’t take it so personally.”

One of Gavin’s tired eyes glared up at him from the corner of the inside of his folded arms. “You’re not even workin’ the case, Connor,” he groused heatedly, “you have no idea how frustrating this crap is!”

Connor only beamed at him, “Oh I know how bad it is!” he chortled snootily, “that’s why I refused to join the narcotics unit!”

“You smug little bastard.”

Heavy footsteps approached them, “Hey Reed, how’s married life treating ya?”

Gavin growled as he raised his middle finger, “Kiss my ass, Anderson.”

Hank merely chuckled as he winked at Connor, “I can already see who wears the pants in their relationship!”

The RK800 suddenly eyed Gavin with a dark, impish look. “And I think I know who’s the ‘top’ and who’s the ‘bottom’!” he almost sang out in a childish tune that made Gavin’s skin crawl.

As soon as Gavin had made an attempt at throwing something at Hank and Connor, he saw a long, dark peacoat which he recognized as the one Nines would often wear.

“So this is how you all ensure your productivity rates?” Nines glared down at the trio, reserving the most serious of his scowls for Gavin.

With a loud sigh that sounded affronted by the inconvenience, Hank nonetheless nodded, as if somehow trying to get Nines riled up against Gavin.

Before any one of them could say something to him, Nines snorted as he stared at Gavin’s middle finger, still raised up aggressively at Hank.

Nines rolled his eyes, “Wonderful, with that digit waving around in the air like the flag of the United States of America, it’s no wonder your attitude often limits you from advancing in your work, Detective.” The grin on the RK900’s face was completely self-satisfied.

Nines didn’t even wait for Gavin’s words or his reaction; he merely held his head high up as if he were a part of the Royal Family, and without another word uttered, he started to stalk off towards the Evidence and Archives Room in the basement of the DPD.

Hank, Connor, and Gavin stared at his retreating back, and Gavin-not wanting to be left humiliated in front of his friends-grabbed a ballpoint blue pen, and flung it as hard and as fast as he could at Nines.

It was as if Nines had ESP or eyes in the back of his head. Without even turning to peek behind himself, he merely swayed to the left, and the pen cut through the air like a dart. It sailed past Nines and landed right on Chris Miller. The pen smacked into his chin, and the tip exploded, immediately spraying blue ink all over Chris as a result.

The surprised officer yelped as he nearly toppled over backwards in his chair, trying to get the ink off himself by slapping away at his skin with his bare hands.

He looked up across his desk’s location, and his eyes darted around the bullpen quickly. “Who did that?!?!? Huh!?! What the hell?!”

Tina Chen smirked at him, “Nice goatee, Chris, can we all call you ‘Bluebeard’, now?”

A few other officers giggled as Chris Miller tried wiping his chin and goatee with napkins, but he was still trying to locate who had assaulted him with the pen in the first place. As his eyes narrowed in on Hank, Connor, and Gavin, the other two looked around awkwardly while Gavin bent his head down to pretend like he was busied with something.

Chris Miller wasn’t buying it at all. He pointed directly at Gavin, “HEY! REED!”

At once, Hank and Connor dispersed. “See ya later, Reed!”

“Bye Gavin!”

Gavin gaped up at them in shock, “You guys?! The fuck?!?”

“They are just leaving me like this?! Some friends you guys are!! Jackasses!”

Soon, Gavin was left all alone, and it only made Chris more suspicious. He pointed heatedly at Gavin, “Reed! What’s wrong with you?”

Just before Nines opened the door leading to the basement of the DPD, he turned around and threw a satisfied sneer at the trouble Gavin was now in, and the trouble he now had to get himself out of.

“My husband’s a bastard…no…he’s much, much worse!!”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin had run out of time. It was already lunchtime, and he had yet to complete his report. Great! That meant overtime for him! Well, it just so happened that this wasn’t the first time Gavin had to work into his lunchbreak. No sweat, he was used to it, right? All he had to do was just sit down somewhere nice and quiet so he could wrap up his report and then--oh shit, Nines was already in the Break Room chatting up a storm with four other androids sitting around him in a small circle.

They’d pulled two tables together and were conversing like they were the best of friends, but then again, Gavin supposed these were the members of the narcotics unit and task force team Nines led…right?

No…they couldn’t have been! Gavin had never seen these androids before, and he couldn’t recognize a single one of them. As he was gripped and held firmly by wild curiosity, he casually gazed around the room, making it appear as if he was looking for something when he was trying to observe the small horde surrounding Nines.

He saw soon that the androids all had I.D. cards and nametags around their necks that read out the words: Officer in Training.

Aha! Just as he suspected, these were the newest recruits. But since when did Nines train them? This was certainly new…

His thoughts soon had been interrupted when the female android directly facing him in the small circle looked up and saw him. She had shortly-cut, light brown hair, soft brown eyes, pink plump lips, and she appeared to be the friendliest out of the bunch. Her nametag read: ‘Kelly’.

She waved at him excitedly, “Hey there! Are you okay?”

At once, the other three androids around her stared up at Gavin, followed last by Nines. The latter merely sneered before turning away and staring across the Break Room coldly.

Gavin wished she hadn’t done this, as all eyes were now on him, no doubt assessing him, scanning him, observing him closely…shit…

“Umm…h-hey…guys?” he offered painfully in the way of a greeting, hoping it would be good enough to render the other androids-who were all males-from staring at him with wide eyes. They each had a different appearance, and a different personality just from the way they stared at him alone.

The android seated to Kelly’s right also had brown hair, but it was a few shades darker than hers, and he had soft-black eyes. He had light brown, soft-looking skin, and his lips were thin and slightly pale-looking, but he seemed friendly as well while a small smile formed on his face. His name was apparently ‘Joe’.

The android on Kelly’s left seemed a little less moody than Nines, but he nodded curtly at Gavin. He had short black hair and light blue eyes, thick eyebrows, and a yellow (cautious) LED light. His name was ‘Phil’.

And finally, an android seated to Nines’ right also waved at Gavin, and he had honey-colored hair and round eyes that were almost the same shade, with little freckles dancing along his slightly tanned skin. His name was ‘Dom’.

Apparently, Gavin’s presence had tested Nines’ patience a lot. Drumming his fingers along the clean surface of the table, he spat out, “Detective Reed, you’re interrupting us.”

Kelly let out a tiny squeal, “Your wedding was beautiful!!!” she sighed as she looked at them both, “it’s a shame we were unable to attend the ceremony!”

Gavin and Nines both froze up. Of course the androids had heard and read about the wedding; half the world likely knew about it. But it was odd how they all assumed it was legitimate, though Gavin was under the assumption that anyone outside the DPD likely wasn’t in on the whole plot and had no idea it was indeed a fake marriage.

Dom’s LED light blinked blue, “Oh, so you two met and got together from work, huh?”

Nines nodded, “Unfortunately so, Detective Reed is now a part of my narcotics and ‘Slo-Freeze’ task force team.”

Kelly gasped, “I’ve read a lot about Slo-Freeze and Ouroboros!” she clasped her hands together as she looked back and forth between Gavin and Nines, “it’s apparently one of the most dangerous drugs out there, and very easy to get your hands on!”

Nines, Dom, and Phil all nodded in agreement.

Suddenly feeling so left out of the conversation, Gavin cleared his throat and began to turn around, eager to make his way back to his report, and then find a much quieter place so he could finish the damn thing.

He had barely taken a few steps when Kelly rose to her feet and called out, “You’re more than welcome to join us, Detective!!”

“Ohfuckohshitohfuckohshitohfuckohshit!!!”

His heart began racing like a wild hare, but he slowly turned around as he struggled to come up with an excuse so he could finally leave.

“I uh…”

It appeared as if Nines was cutting to the chase for him. He sat up as he clasped his hands into fists and rested them beneath his chin. “Detective Reed is awfully busy, Kelly,” he mumbled while staring at her, “and besides, we’re—”

“You know what? I’ll take you up on your offer, Kelly,” with a smirk, he approached their table right then and there. If Nines was so eager to get him out of the way, he would remain there, just in spite of the rude RK900.

Gavin pulled out a chair from another table, and he sat himself directly across the table in front of Nines.

“Ha! Serves you right, Nines! Now you have no choice to not only include me in your little ‘group’, but you have to do so while lookin’ right at me across from you!”

Gavin was hardly able to keep the smug grin off his face as he sat down and crossed his legs at the ankles, stretching his feet out before him beneath the table as he got comfortable. Nines merely looked to the left side of the room, a snarl tugging at the corners of his lips.

The African American android model named Joe smiled warmly at him, “Detective Reed, right?” he offered his hand to Gavin in a handshake, and Gavin took it gladly.

“Hey.”

“How long have you known Nines, Detective?” Kelly inquired eagerly, her round eyes shining brightly as she leaned in close to Gavin.

Gavin whistled, his eyebrows rising high on his forehead. “That would be…hmm…” he rolled his eyes up to the ceiling and then sighed, “…way too damn long.”

The androids-except for Phil and Nines-burst out in laughter at this. Gavin jutted out his chin at Nines, as if to say: “haha, I’m suddenly likeable and cool!!”

Nines leaned back as he cleared his throat, “Yes well, Detective Reed is a rather ‘interesting’ specimen, and shows great promise…however…” his eyes flicked up into Gavin’s, then, “…I think he is horribly out of place here.”

Gavin’s grin broke away immediately. He knew that this was a double-edged sword that was meant to cut straight through him. Nines had not only meant he was horribly out of place among their group, but also in the narcotics unit, no doubt.

“You sarcastic ass.”

Dom rolled his eyes, Kelly gasped, Joe shrugged, and Phil smirked. Gavin had no idea what to say, but he felt Kelly gently placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Nines!” she hissed lightly, “that’s not a very nice thing to say to your spouse!”

Nines glared down at the ring on his finger, as if directing all his hatred and anger towards it. Gavin also peeked down at his own ring, and he wished more than anything else in the world that he could take it off and throw it down the deepest, darkest hole in the ground. He never wanted to see another wedding ring in his entire life!!

Nines waved Kelly off, “I assure you, this is a joke between Detective Reed and I; please don’t worry much.”

“What’ll be hilarious is me kickin’ your stupid ass, eh Nines? We’ll see who’s laughing then!”

Kelly’s hand was still on him, and Gavin gently pulled away from her. “Yeah, it’s no sweat, guys,” he stated as he awkwardly and uncomfortably avoided making eye contact with any of them, “it’s just a joke.”

Kelly didn’t seem like she believed it, but before she could say something, Nines stood up, tucked his chair into the table, and straightened out his black dress shirt coolly and collectedly. At once, the other androids stood up as well, and Kelly seemed to be the only reluctant one. She got up last, still looking down at Gavin with a worried expression painted onto her pretty face.

Nines cleared his throat, “Now then,” he began in an authoritative tone of voice, “we shall continue with our tour of the precinct, as well as a question and answer period before the day is through.”

The androids lined up nicely behind him, eagerly waiting for him to lead the way.

Nines held out a hand, “Shall we?”

Their footsteps soon moved out of the Break Room, and as Gavin looked up to watch them leave, he saw Nines hanging back for a moment. Before he could look away, Nines turned to peek over his shoulder down at Gavin, and their eyes met in an instant.

Gavin scowled at him, and Nines did nothing except return the heated scowl with one of his own. The way Nines glared at him sent shivers up Gavin’s spine, as it was a horribly ugly look he’d never seen on Nines before.

It appeared that even in silence, Nines was always trying to ‘best’ him, and win against him. Not only were his insults wittier, more pointed, and crueler, but so were his glares, now. Perhaps it was time to admit and accept that there wasn’t any winning against Nines…

Nines sneered at him, as if somehow hearing his internal thoughts.

“Good day to you, Detective Reed.”

Once he’d watched Nines leave, making his way towards his group as he led them down the halls to the right, Gavin slammed a hand down on the table he was still seated at. His entire day had been ruined; his mood had gone to shit, and he was emotionally drained beyond belief.

And this was all thanks to one thing Nines had said.

“Fuck you too then, Nines.”

It sucked even more that the blasted RK900 wasn’t even there to hear his insult.

Son of a bitch!

Chapter Text

Gavin angrily held his phone in his hands as he shoved the shopping cart before him violently. After his work day, he’d taken a taxi to the nearest supermarket he could find, and he began shopping for the items he needed to restock Nines’ fridge with.

Sure, he’d been less than chuffed to have to go grocery shopping straight after work instead of having a rest first. Sure, he’d been upset with the fact that he was unable to locate the brand of milk he loved pouring into his coffee. Of course, he’d been angry that the shopping cart he’d so brutally shoved forward had nearly slammed into a woman’s backside while she had been trying to attend to a nagging, whining toddler as they both took up the entire space of the isle he’d been trying to get into, and definitely, he was pissed with the fact that he nearly slipped and fell onto his ass by not carefully reading the: CAUTION! WET FLOOR! sign that’d been laid out across the front of the isle ahead of him.

Most importantly, Gavin was pissed and beyond irate with the fact that Nines had majorly damaged his ego.

Of course, it wasn’t as if people who were close to him hadn’t informed him of the fact that he had a massive-sized ego, but that wasn’t it! How dare it be Nines who had reduced him and degraded him into feeling lower than dirt??? If Connor or Hank had insulted him, he’d just easily brush it off like dust on furniture. But Nines?? Nines was an entirely different story. No matter what he’d done, Gavin just couldn’t let it go or forget how easy it was for Nines to rip into him.

“And he destroyed my ego in front of four other people…err…androids, too!”

Nothing was worse than being mocked and judged by a bunch of machines-especially new recruits! Now that Nines had lit the fires of ‘let’s-shit-on-Detective-Reed’, Gavin was certain that the other androids would follow in his footsteps and harass him any chance they got!

Well…except for Kelly. He really didn’t see Kelly as the bullying type, and she was a lot kinder than the others!

Well…Dom seemed kinda cool, too, and he was always smiling and laughing at him, and—oh fuck it! None of the androids were horrible, evil monsters! It was just his own stupid ‘husband’ that was the problem; not the other androids! He’d just been taking out his frustrations inappropriately, and he’d just associated ‘jerkhoodness’ with the androids only because Nines was a big jerk! But that didn’t mean the rest of them were as well!

Gavin grumbled and mumbled all sorts of profanities directed at Nines while he pushed his shopping cart down the ‘snacks and pasta’ isle. He didn’t care that he was stocking up on junk food and unhealthy crap; he was just livid and a raging ball of fire inside.

His hand reached out along the shelf, and Gavin hurriedly swiped into his cart spaghetti noodles, ramen noodles, popcorn, and some eggrolls. That was enough for this isle, and he moved over towards the ‘frozen-food’ section.

“Fuckin’ asshole Nines,” he spat out angrily as he viciously yanked open the freezer doors and shoved his hands around inside.

“Who the hell does he think he is anyway? Mockin’ me and shit in front of everyone! Pathetic son of a bitch!!”

Gavin pulled out two packages of frozen pizza, macaroni, ice-cream, frozen pierogies, and one package of frozen shawarma. He dumped them all into his cart and kicked the freezer door closed, turning to make his way out of the frozen-food section, when his eyes caught sight of frozen cake as well.

He nearly slapped himself for being so forgetful.

“Stupid Nines!” he hissed, “makin’ me forget everythin’ and act all weird and crazy all the time!”

Gavin tore open the freezer door once again, and he felt the icy-cold blast from the freezer snap onto his fingers while he reached around for the cake. There were only two kinds left: chocolate, and strawberry-vanilla. Hell yeah he was going to pick strawberry-vanilla!

His hands reached for the cake, and Gavin grunted as he felt more cold air hitting him in the chin.

“Why should I have to even do the shopping??” he whispered to himself as he snatched the cake into his hands finally, “I get that I’m the one eatin’ it, but it’s his fuckin’ house, his fuckin’ fridge! This is his job!!”

Gavin nearly laughed at himself. “As if!” he snorted while a package of home-made frozen burgers clattered down at the bottom of the freezer, “if I leave it to Nines, the maniac will probably never get any food, and he’ll be more than happy to see me waste away and starve to death!!”

It was something that-while horrible and evil in thought-Gavin found he just couldn’t put it past Nines to even give two shits whether he ate or not.

“He just loves seein’ me suffer,” Gavin spat out before the frozen food while his fingers extended towards the delicious-looking cake.

He huffed, “Why do I even care to think about what kind of a son of a bitch he really is, anyway??”

“More importantly; why the hell am I yappin’ to myself like a psychotic nut in the middle of a jam-packed grocery store?!?”

People around him must’ve thought he was crazy, but he shrugged it off as he held the cake up to his eyes.

“Awesome.”

As Gavin turned around and placed it on the messy pile of food in his cart, he rammed his body roughly into someone’s back. One-by-one, the items the person had been carrying clattered to the floor, landing all over Gavin in a huge mess. Thankfully, whatever the individual had been meaning to buy had mostly been in packages, cans, and little boxes, and didn’t spill or explode everywhere.

Gavin groaned as his cake rolled underneath the freezer.

“And that was the last of the strawberry-vanilla flavors, too…”

He’d already had a shitty day at the DPD, but now? Now he was beyond livid. With his cake now gone, all Gavin wanted to do was beat the shit out of the person he’d bumped into.

He leapt up to his feet and shoved the shopping cart aside. “Thanks, jackass,” he spat angrily at the man’s back, “way to be a klutz!”

The man was a few inches taller than he was, and he was wearing a grey sweatshirt. Once he turned around, Gavin froze. He recognized this man…he did…oh god this face was familiar!

The letters UDM were in gold colored font in the center of the grey sweatshirt. The man was wearing black track pants with white stripes running down the sides of his legs, white running shoes, and he had a light brown stubble on his face. His cheeks were slightly red, and his skin was half a shade darker than Gavin’s. He had more muscle, and his arms bulked out like he’d recently come out of the gym. He had dark green eyes, and short, wavy dirty-blonde hair.

His jaw fell open as soon as his eyes registered Gavin standing before him.

“Gavin Reed??”

Woah…so this man recognized him, as well?!

The man laughed in shock, “Holy shit!! Gavin Reed!” he pointed at Gavin, then, “by god, it really is you!!”

This man who Gavin was gaping openly at was none other than Raoul Spencer. Raoul had been something of a thorn in Gavin’s side for the first few years of their time spent in police academy. Raoul was a bully back in the day, and his tormenting of Gavin never ended-until he’d transferred right out of the police academy and instead began attending University of Detroit Mercy. Gavin had never seen Raoul ever again, and frankly, he’d never wanted to. Why should he have been curious about what one of his most hated and annoying bullies had been up to since their early twenties???

It appeared as if Raoul’s life had gone over quite well; he must’ve joined a sports team at the University of Detroit, for he was wearing a varsity shirt of some kind while also having doubled two times his size in mass and width. He appeared to have a healthier diet as well, only having collected soup cans, fresh vegetables, fruits, and a slab of fresh steak.

Gavin immediately was jealous, and he remembered why he’d hated this son of a bitch back in the day. Raoul looked like he could afford to live and eat well, and it pissed Gavin right off as he glared at his food items.

Trying to collect his own junk food (and dignity) up off the floor, Gavin snarled as he gathered everything and anything he could into his chest and dumped the items back into his shopping cart.

Bending down, Raoul picked up one of the pizza packages, “Do you remember me?”

Gavin hissed out finally, “Of course I do! You’re Raoul Spencer!”

This seemed to have impressed the other man somehow, and he grinned proudly while Gavin snatched his frozen pizza out of his hands and threw it carelessly back into his cart.

“I didn’t think you’d remember me,” Raoul stated while smiling from ear-to-ear, “I went to University pretty early on, I guess.”

“Good for you, Mr. Perfection!”

Gavin grunted, “That’s nice…” He really didn’t give a shit; he just wanted to be as far away from Raoul as possible. The last thing he needed in order to add more ‘spice’ to his shitty day was for a previous bully to come back waltzing into his life and rubbing all his wonderful things in his face.

Raoul seemed like he was in the mood for a chat, and he smiled down at Gavin as he watched him reorganize the items in his cart quickly. “Did you ever manage to finish up your police training?” he asked gently while he reached into Gavin’s cart and stacked the popcorn to lay flatly on the pizza packages.

Gavin fumed both internally and externally. “Yeah, I did…what about you?” he shot Raoul a nasty look, but it merely rolled off the other man’s shoulders as he smiled.

“I graduated with my MBA, actually, and then I went back a few months ago to obtain a graduate certificate in Forensic Accounting!”

Lovely. So not only was Raoul taller, stronger, and richer than him, but he was also smarter, now.

Feeling highly insulted, Gavin felt himself flushing as he turned away from Raoul and peeked under the freezer. He wanted his cake, sure, but that was only half of the reason why he avoided looking at Raoul; he just was too fucking mortified to even think straight, and feared lashing out at the man in public.

Raoul chuckled, though it didn’t seem to be in a cruel manner. “Looking for something?”

Gavin sighed, “My cake. My fuckin’ cake is gone.”

Raoul stared at the freezer, eyes landing on the chocolate cake. “There’s one more left!”

“I wanted that strawberry-vanilla one,” he groused, “it’s gone and that was the last one.”

In a split second, Raoul moved the cart out of his way, “I’ll get it for you, Reed, don’t worry.”

“No that’s fine, you don’t have to—”

Before he could protest further, Raoul bent down and slid his long arms beneath the freezer. He shifted effortlessly, sliding his face right up against the bottom of the large freezer while trying to reach for the cake.

“There’s no chance in hell that he’ll be able to grab it—”

“Got it!” Raoul happily cheered, moving backwards as he brought the cake up with him.

“Well…shit…”

He proudly offered the cake to Gavin, and the other male took it reluctantly. He didn’t want to say ‘thank you’ and be slightly indebted to his ex-bully, but it seemed that was the way it was going when Raoul smirked at him.

“We should catch up some time, Reed,” he said warmly, “why don’t you let me take you for a cup of coffee or something?”

Feeling his internal organs recoiling, Gavin let out a shocked cry. “I umm…I…”

“Hey! What the hell, dad??” They’d been interrupted by a slightly high-pitched young voice.

As Gavin and Raoul spun around, they gazed upon a young boy no older than twelve or thirteen years old. He had light-colored eyes that were somewhere between green and blue in shade, and had golden blonde hair. He was wearing a Tony Stark t-shirt and black shorts with sneakers. It didn’t take Gavin too long to piece together that this was Raoul’s son…he had a son?!?!?

The boy glowered up at his father, “You told me you would be back soon!”

Chuckling, Raoul walked up to his son and rubbed his head. “Sorry about that, Paul,” he nodded over at Gavin, “I accidentally ran into an old friend…well,” he chuckled again, “technically, he ran into me!”

Gavin forced himself to close his jaw, before either Raoul or ‘Paul’ noticed he was gaping at them.

Raoul caught his look at the last minute before he switched it into an uncomfortable one, and he pointed at his son. “Oh! I’m sorry for not introducing ‘trouble’ to you, Reed!” he pet his son’s shoulders, giving him a little shake, “this is my son, Paul!”

Gavin nodded, “Hey.”

The young boy waved back, “Hey…Reed?”

“Well, you can call me Gavin, I guess?”

The kid merely grunted, “How do you know my dad?”

Raoul gently rubbed his back, “We used to go to school together for a bit.”

“Oh…” Paul then looked up at his dad, and he shifted as if he had to urinate. “Dad, can we go now? I gotta pee!”

Gavin rolled his eyes.

“Alright son, just a moment,” Raoul said, and Paul quickly turned and walked down another isle, humming to himself as he disappeared between the large shelves.

Turning to Gavin once again, Raoul gave him a polite smile. “So what’s changed in your life?”

Gavin shrugged, “Clearly not as much as yours! Never knew you were married.”

A faint blush appeared on Raoul’s cheeks, suddenly. “Actually, I just got divorced,” he corrected, and Gavin bit down on his tongue.

“Yikes…as it turns out, I just got married!! What’re the coincidences, eh??”

While Raoul held his head down, as if shameful of having gone through a divorce, his eyes caught the golden ring on Gavin’s finger.

“Hey!” he cried out as he flicked a finger at it, “you’re married?”

Alarm bells suddenly went off in Gavin’s mind. How was it that Raoul didn’t know about his wedding? Strangely, the androids new to the DPD even knew about it, for that matter, even though most androids often didn’t pay attention to the news as much as humans did! Surely Raoul must’ve received some news about it, considering how it was a very widely announced wedding!

He cleared his throat, “Well…yeah…just recently tied the knot,” his eyes turned a little dark and squinted at Raoul, “I’m shocked you didn’t really know about it.”

Raoul merely waved it off, “I had a lot to deal with in regards to my own separation, and I was living in Alabama for a while with my wife at the time.”

Oh.

Well, it was a reason as good as any, but Gavin still found it a bit strange, nonetheless.

“Well, my life can’t revolve around everyone else’s, so maybe that’s why he never heard of my marriage to begin with.”

Going with that as a good, logical reason, Gavin gripped his shopping cart and made to push it by Raoul, when the man stepped up right beside him.

“Who’s the lucky woman, Reed?”

Well, now this was indeed a tricky, messy dilemma he was caught in.

From the looks of it, Raoul Spencer appeared to be a clean-cut, All-American ‘straight-as-a-doornail’ heterosexual male. He’d never bullied anyone-or Gavin-for being a homosexual, but Gavin really had no idea how Raoul would take the news that he had recently gotten married to a man…and an android no less!

“Okay, maybe he doesn’t need to know I’m married to an android…yeah, I’ll leave that part out of it!”

Knowing Raoul was waiting for his answer, Gavin stared on ahead at the isle Paul had disappeared into. “I’m actually m-married to a g-guy, Spencer,” he breathed out calmly as possible.

Raoul’s eyes widened a little, but then a small smile broke out onto his face. “I’ll admit; I never saw that one coming!” he laughed a little while scratching at the back of his head.

“Yeah me neither,” he thought to himself, “there’s nothing worse than just coming to terms with your homosexuality, and then being married off to the bane of your existence!!”

Raoul still kept smiling at Gavin while they turned away from the freezers.

“I hope I can maybe meet him one day,” Raoul announced, smiling even wider at the idea, “I’m sure you guys are pretty happy together and all that!”

Eyeing Paul’s little head poking out from the side of the isle, Gavin sighed, “Well I’m kinda busy these days, Raoul.”

“In other words, just fuck off, back off, and leave me the hell alone already!!”

Nodding, Raoul waved his son over, and the little boy practically skittered feverishly over to his father. “I understand everything there is to know about being busy, Reed,” Raoul stated softly, “I mean, you’re telling me! It’s crazy when you’re a parent, too!”

Gavin shrugged, “I guess,” he quickly turned the cart to the left, making a clean break for the self-checkout center in the store. “I don’t mean to be rude, Spencer,” he grumbled out, “but I gotta head home.”

Raoul merely winked playfully at him, “Husband worries a lot? Or does he get jealous, haha!”

Gavin wanted nothing more than to bash Raoul’s face in. He had no idea what the hell he was saying, though Gavin couldn’t blame him; he didn’t know the truth of the matter, and never would. Still, he didn’t like that he was caught having to even mention having a ‘husband’ in front of an ex-bully. It just made his skin crawl…

“Daaaaad,” Paul whined as he kicked his feet along the floors, “I wanna go!!”

Raoul gently pushed on his back, “We’re leaving, kiddo.”

“Thank god! It was about time!!”

Trying not to reveal how happy he was to finally be alone again, Gavin threw his items onto the self-checkout machine. It beeped and began weighing his items as it calculated the costs once the barcodes were scanned on each product.

Raoul did the same thing, and since he had fewer items than Gavin did, his shopping was finished faster, and he paid for the purchases quickly while Paul fidgeted and ran around stacks of boxes and rows of shopping carts in little circles.

Feeling he was being watched, Gavin turned his head, and he saw Raoul waving at him while ushering his son down the self-checkout isle.

“Well Reed,” he stated with a small half-chuckle, “I’m glad I ran into ya!”

“You mean I ran into you!” Gavin hissed dully.

Raoul laughed again happily, “Right!” his son was already speeding past the automatic sliding doors.

“See you later, Reed! Hope I’ll catch you around maybe!!”

“I hope you won’t!!!!!”

With another wave of a hand, Raoul was gone as well.

Sighing as he carried his bags towards the exit, Gavin heard the distant rumbling of thunder high above in the skies. It seemed like it was taunting him as he lugged his purchases around with him, and he grabbed his phone after remembering that he had to call another stupid taxi to take him back to Nines’ mansion.

Fuckin’ asshole android!!!!!

He almost willingly threw his cake into the parking lot when the first raindrops pattered down, beating over his head harshly while he huddled in a corner outside the grocery store, waiting for his ride.

What a day.

What a lovely day.

Chapter Text

Good afternoon everyone!

Just popping in to say hello, ask how you all are, and to deliver a quick PSA message.

Please, PLEASE (I ask very nicely), don’t tell me how to write my work, don’t tell me what segments of my work make sense and which parts don’t, because I have chosen to write my work a certain way and in a certain style, and it is my own way.

This fic especially is marked as COMEDY. This is one of the tags. The purpose of it is to be funny and exaggerate the heck out of stuff.

I’m only taking time to say this because a few people seem to believe and feel that the wedding and union between Nines and Gavin was forced and came out of nowhere. I respect your views, but at this point, it should be obvious WHY they were forced to wed.

Here are some reasons, to name a few.

  • Gavin would never consent willingly to having an around-the-clock bodyguard from nowhere. He was even refusing to leave his apartment in chapter one, even though it had been broken into. Fowler had to do something extreme in order to get him to go along with this plot.
  • Nines and Gavin wouldn’t hang out willingly since they hated each other, and Nines wouldn’t just up and protect Gavin at work or after work for NO reason or NO incentive. The whole point of their marriage is so Gavin lives with Nines and is seen as his spouse, and people normally protect and cherish their spouse lol that was the whole point for the gang.
  • Nines would be able to better protect Gavin in a ‘marriage’ because Fowler knows if he forces them into such a situation, there is a high probability of them becoming emotionally connected and able to form a BOND.

These were my most obvious reasons, but if some people feel it STILL makes no sense, that’s totally okay, but this is my work, and I chose to write it this way. Please, I ask again nicely, if it isn’t to your liking, don’t take time out of your day to say so; just click on to another fic!

 

Thank you!

Avixi

Chapter Text

Gavin’s hair and clothes were beyond drenched and soaked by the time the taxi dropped him off in the double-garage driveway of the mansion. Water trickled off his hair and slid down the back of his shirt, gliding over his skin like ice spreading across a winter land. It made him seize up, and his teeth clattered together horribly as he shivered.

What the heck was with this weather in this time of the early summer?! Unbelievable how windy and how cold it was!! He supposed it was as unpredictable as life, though, and he laughed off the minor existential and philosophical thoughts that troubled him as collected his bearings.

Gavin hurriedly paid the taxi driver his due fee, and holding the groceries tightly, he held the bags above his head like a makeshift umbrella as he stood on the front porch of the house. It only occurred to Gavin as he stared at the door handle that he didn’t even have a key…lovely. That meant he’d have to beg Nines to make him a copy, no doubt…that was even if his dumbass of a husband allowed it.

Wonderful.

Gavin rang the doorbell and waited beneath the light hanging to the left of the front door, and within minutes, the door squeaked open.

An angry-looking Nines stood before him, then, opening the screen door as he sneered at Gavin standing in the pouring rain.

“Wonderful, Detective Reed,” he spat icily, “only someone as dense as yourself would be far too busy with your meager social obligations you foolishly label as ‘activities’, than be bothered to check the weather forecast.”

Ignoring him before he lost it, Gavin brushed past Nines and kicked off his wet sneakers. He didn’t care that they squelched disgustingly on the clean hard-wood floors; he was beyond caring about the mess he’d made right now.

Nines leered at Gavin’s shoes lying half-strewn-half-sprawled over a few rain boots. Puddles formed beneath them, and it was enough to send the neat and orderly android into a frenzy. He tore after Gavin, both their feet thundering in the halls as Gavin approached the large fridge.

He threw his groceries down next to him as he tugged the doors open and tried to find out where he could stuff the food.

Nines stood behind him, fuming so much and so hard that Gavin could’ve sworn he’d been able to feel two little holes burning in the back of his skull. Regardless, he ignored Nines, and moved to the freezer, grabbing the ice-cream and making room for it beneath some ice-packs and frozen beans and snow peas.

He snorted at them before snapping at Nines, “You think I’m gonna ever get around to eating this shit?”

Nines hummed in deep thought, “It doesn’t matter anyway when you’re going to carelessly spend money on that kind of poisonous sludge you deem ‘edible food’, does it?”

“Again with the sarcasm…”

Gavin just shrugged as he stuffed the pizza boxes in the freezer next, and then shut the door by kicking his leg against it. The freezer compartment rattled, and the entire fridge shook a little, causing Nines to raise an angry eyebrow at Gavin as his LED light turned yellow.

Gavin brushed his hands on his pants and stared at Nines, “What? What did I do, now?”

Nines couldn’t help but spit out, “Just you breathing in oxygen is reason enough for my displeasure, Detective Reed.”

Gasping as he slapped his hands up and rested them upon his cheeks, Gavin mimicked the famous artwork by Edvard Munch titled ‘The Scream’. A copy of the wondrous, infamous piece had been placed on one of the kitchen walls behind the pot and pan rack, and it was the first thing Gavin’s eyes caught on to, and he felt it definitely matched how he felt about this situation.

He struck the pose; jaw hanging obscenely and widely open, while his eyes bugged out and turned into small saucers, practically. Whether Nines realized what it was he’d meant to mimic or otherwise was immaterial…well, Nines didn’t stick around long enough to care, anyway. He immediately backed off, turning around as he breezed past counters and cupboards, no doubt heading for his office.

The way he was so cold about everything made Gavin seethe with anger on the inside. Sadly, he was unable to stay silent for long, and he yelled out at Nines, “You’re pathetic!!”

Not even bothering to turn around, Nines replied back, “No, Detective Reed, I’m sorry to differ with you, but the pathetic one would be yourself, seeing as you have yet to finalize and submit your report to Captain Fowler…”

“Holy god motherfucking damn shit balls ass tits dicks!! He’s right!!!”

Gavin bit down hard on the insides of his cheeks as he let out a slow sigh, counted to three, curled his toes against the floor, and felt searing hot pain running inside his mouth.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have bitten his cheeks so hard, but Nines was so god damn insufferable!! How was anyone supposed to communicate-let alone work-around such a smarmy bastard?! It was impossible!!

Still, Gavin managed to keep his anger in check, and all he did was crack a few of his knuckles while shrugging at Nines. “I was gonna work on it, Nines,” he groused moodily, “but you and your posse decided to just be bitches to me in the Break Room, and ya’ll broke my concentration!”

There! That was a good way to put it, and he waited with a little smug expression on his face for Nines to come up with an argument against that.

It seemed as if Nines had already somehow anticipated and been prepared for Gavin’s argument, and he grinned a horribly cruel grin that was all teeth. “Consider yourself lucky, Detective Reed,” he spat poisonously, “that incident could’ve gone over a lot worse…especially for yourself.”

Gavin gasped again, “Ooooh, was that a threat, Nines?” he pretended to shiver, “scary!!!”

“Whether you feel it was a threat or it wasn’t is irrelevant, Detective Reed, considering how your entire life is comprised of insignificance and mediocrity smothering you at every angle,” the android cut to the chase directly, making sure to jab at Gavin with plenty of insults throughout.

Gavin waved him off nonchalantly, “Your insults are silly, Nines,” he snickered, “gonna have to try harder than that!”

“I don’t have to ‘try’, Detective,” came the cold drawl of a reply, “I can see you’re already affected, otherwise, why even bother engaging in this ridiculous banter with me?”

Gavin clasped his hands together beneath his head and closed his eyes, snoring lightly as he pretended his head was upon a makeshift pillow. He yawned, opened one eye, and then hissed out, “Shoot! I fell asleep! What’d I miss?”

Nines’ eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. “You’re an incorrigible, recalcitrant brat, Detective.”

Once he’d stated this, Gavin fluttered his eyelashes at Nines, and he bounced up to him, balancing himself on the tip of his toes before he stopped right in front of Nines. The tall android glared down at him like a giant towering before a meager man, but Gavin wasn’t deterred by this. He reached out with an index finger, and he flicked it forward into Nines’ nose using his thumb and the tip of his finger.

“Guess what, Nines?” he giggled playfully, but with an edge of sarcasm clinging onto it, “I’m rubber, and you’re glue, and whatever you say bounces off me, and ends up right back on youuuuuu!!!”

His husband merely stared at him with an unimpressed frown on his face, as his LED light turned to red. “I’m surprised you didn’t pontificate on that further, Detective,” Nines stated with a grimace as he leaned away from Gavin and sniffed, as if his nose had instantly caught some illness or disease from physical contact bestowed upon it from Gavin.

Gavin winked, still playful, but trying to stay on the path of caution, just in case his crazy husband decided to go all homicidal on his ass…not literally.

“Oh staaahhp it, yooouuu,” Gavin crooned, slamming his elbow into Nines’ sternum. The blasted brick wall of an android unfortunately didn’t move an inch, and Gavin frowned when he tried it again.

Yep. Nines wasn’t moving. His feet must’ve been planted firmly into a special compartment built into the floor or something.

Staring down at the floor so he could locate said special compartment, Gavin hummed as his brows furrowed on his forehead.

Nines sighed tiredly, “Are you quite finished now?”

Gavin snapped back up to attention. “Yep! All done.” This was too awkward, and he was still soaking wet and in dire need of a shower…a hot shower…yesssss.

Nines nodded, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Detective, I’m going to have to leave, before you scream at me.”

“Huh?”

Nines scowled, “I took the liberty of submitting our ‘report’ because you weren’t inclined to complete it.”

This time, Gavin lost it. He shoved Nines hard in the chest, despite knowing he wouldn’t move an inch.

“God damn it, Nines!! I fuckin’ told you to wait!!!” his screams were ignored, and Nines merely clasped his hands behind his back as he glared down at his short husband.

“If you wanted to submit your version of the events, Detective, you should’ve completed it much earlier…” he snickered, “after all, you had plenty of time.”

Gavin pointed a finger into his chin angrily, “You cheated!” he screamed, his voice hitting every corner of the kitchen and sending Shelley peeking curiously around the corner from Nines’ work office at what all the chaos and commotion was all about. Her little eye-slit narrowed at them, and her light turned a cautious orange.

“…you used your stupid android mental power bullshit…thing!!” Gavin’s cheeks were aflame, but he couldn’t stop screaming. How could Nines do this to him?!?! Was he purposefully trying to mess everything up?!

Nines rolled his eyes, “There’s no need to shout in my home, Detective; I gave you plenty of chances to work on your report, but you have no one else to blame for your incompetence, once again.”

Gavin shook his head, “Stop being such a two-timing asshole!! You said I could work on the damn thing!!”

Nines frowned, “I know what I said, Detective,” he snarled, then, “I don’t need you to give me your bastardized version of the events,” he finished as he spat out obliquely.

“Then why did you ruin my report?!”

“I didn’t,” Nines grumbled out hurriedly, “I merely wrapped it up and submitted it with your name and my own attached to it, so it appears as if we worked on it together.”

Gavin groaned as he gripped his hair strands in his fingers and yanked on them while turning around. Shelley ducked behind the wall again, though her antenna tail stuck out, a sign that she was still listening in on the couple arguing away in the kitchen.

When his throat burned and stung from groaning and screaming, Gavin felt his wet clothes sticking to his body as it tried warming itself up, and he shivered as he draped his arms around himself. He needed that bath, now. To hell with Nines and the blasted report. If he wanted to finish it on his own, fine. So be it.

When it came to matters of screaming and arguments, Gavin loved the challenge to dominate and beat the other person, but for now, his health and comfort overpowered this need, and he wanted nothing more than to shrug out of his damp clothes and hit the shower.

As if sensing his desires, Nines rolled his eyes and rubbed his forehead. “Have a bath, Detective,” he turned around, and before he could face his office, Shelley withdrew her tail back into her body and hid.

“Before you go to bed, however,” Nines began, leaning half-way into his office while still peering over at Gavin, “I need to speak with you about the lab results regarding the autopsy of the suspect.”

Gavin froze, all the blood rushing to his head for a moment, and then pooling down into his stomach. He’d soon forgotten about his bath, and he ran over and gripped Nines by the front of his shirt collar.

Yanking his husband close to his face, Gavin gaped at him with wide eyes.

Nines was taken aback, and he gasped as he gripped Gavin’s hands in his own and pried his fingers off his clothes.

“Sweet Circe, Detective!” he motioned at Gavin’s face, “you’re as pale as my walls!” he gave Gavin a semi-rough push, “get to your bath!”

Stubbornly, Gavin shook his head as he swiped at Nines. “No! You tell me now what’s going on!!”

Noticing him trembling, Nines gripped his forearm, and he spun Gavin around and pointed down the halls.

“We will discuss it later, Detective,” he snarled angrily, “for now, you must leave, as you’re getting water all over my floors.”

“Fuck your floors!!!”

Unfortunately, when his fingertips turned a little blue, Gavin decided to hold back on his insults and arguments, and he shivered all the way up the stairs until he’d reached the large bathroom. His health really did come first, and he was far too tired to summon up the energy to argue with Nines…for now.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

The shower was so warm, cozy, comfortable, and perfect, that Gavin hardly wanted to exit the steamy bathroom. And what a grand bathroom it was, indeed. Two large chandeliers hung from the high ceiling, beaming brightly and warming up the cream-colored walls of the lovely, steamy room nicely in all the right ways.

The standing shower could’ve easily held at least four people within it, and it was perfect for relaxation. A lovely and comfortable shower bench had been built into it, with a large assortment of shampoos, conditioner, body wash, and bubble bath containers. Each of them had a fruity-name and an even more amazing fruity-smell that sent Gavin into a frenzy as he sat and just allowed the water to warm up his sore bones and muscles for nearly fifteen minutes straight.

Grey stones served as the walls of the shower, and the floor was made up of expensive tiles that were also grey and had a dash of off-white. Gavin felt the waters pooling around his toes, and he massaged every ache and sore in his body until he was able to stand up.

He quickly washed himself off and shampooed his hair, noticing that it’d taken well over twenty-four minutes for his shower to complete. Oh well. Not his fault. He blamed Nines for having such wonderful lighting, perfect walls, floors, a good sense of style, fancy plants and decorations strewn about the bathroom…how could he want to ever leave such a wonderful place?

Gavin had stood about in the center of the bathroom, admiring and studying the beautiful pottery placed around the room on little golden stands, when he heard a little ‘bleeeeep!’.

It was no doubt Shelley, waiting on the other side of the closed and locked bathroom door. She likely had been sent up to remind him to get his ass moving and join his annoying husband downstairs to discuss the gang member’s autopsy.

He didn’t want to get moving, but he eventually grabbed one fluffy, white large towel from the shelves on the walls and dried himself off, hurriedly dressing in a loose, white gauze lanai shirt, and grey baggy, loose cotton linen summer shorts. He ruffled his hair, shaking the rest of the water out of it, and it stood out somewhat frizzy, but he didn’t care. It was good enough, and he figured he was already going to receiving a scolding for being ‘late’.

As Gavin descended the steps and eventually made his way over into the drawing room where Nines was seated in the same red chair he’d first found him in upon spending his first night in the large house, he noticed that Nines had rested a clenched fist under his chin, and his LED light was yellow as he stared into the turned off fireplace, deep in thought.

Gavin cleared his throat to announce his presence, and Nines glared up at him, clearly in a terrible mood as his LED light switched red.

“Detective Reed,” he growled angrily, “how kind of you to eventually grace me with your presence after keeping me waiting for nearly an hour.”

Gavin felt himself growing beet red in the face, but he kept his mouth shut as he heard Shelley whirring into the drawing room and waiting behind him like an eager puppy.

Nines’ cold blue eyes swept over his entire form for a moment, quietly assessing and studying him, and then Nines huffed. “Now then, if you’ve indeed taken all the time required in order for yourself to feel suitable enough to prance around, I think you should have a seat so we can discuss the reports and findings.”

“Hahahaha, you’re such a fuckin’ comedian!!”

He only nodded, noticing a dark-oaked wooden chair leaning against the side of the fireplace, and he grabbed it and set it down to the right of Nines and crossed one leg over the other as he folded his arms in his lap and patiently waited for Nines to begin talking.

Nines nodded back, “According to the lab results, there was a—” his eyes fell onto Shelley, and he squinted his eyes at her while she slowly hovered around the back of Gavin’s seat.

Nines let out an exhausted sigh. “Nano-Bot, leave.”

Gavin’s head whipped around, and he looked over at Shelley. “Wah!? Why? What did she do??”

With a shrug, Nines also crossed a long leg over the other down on the floor, “The Nano-Bot’s presence isn’t required here, Detective Reed.” Nines waved his hand at Shelley, and Gavin could’ve sworn she let out a small sound eerily mirroring that of a disappointed sigh before she turned around and whirred out of the room.

Gavin glared at Nines, “You’re a jerk, you know that?”

The android merely rolled his eyes. “Spare me your sentiments and feelings, Detective Reed,” he sat up in his seat and cleared his throat, “may we continue? Or have you more theatrical performances you would like to put on for me that would make any Shakespearean actor weep?”

Snorting, Gavin pointed at him, “If anything,” he began in a sarcastic drawl, “your language and manner of speaking deserves the standing ovation of the century, Nines!”

Ignoring him, Nines merely looked back at the fireplace. He had a stern look upon his face then, and Gavin knew he didn’t want to waste anymore time arguing. It was time to discuss the case and the lab results.

Nines hissed softly, “It was said that the suspect had designed a pouch of sorts into his hip where he kept the razor blade.”

Gavin froze. He was sure he knew what that meant, but he had to ask anyway, just to be sure.

“Come again?”

Nines rolled his eyes, “He crafted and carved into his skin around his hips an area to store the weapon, Detective Reed,” he groused as he glared at Gavin, “what about that is so complicated to comprehend?”

“Well it’s not every damn day you hear about people having a separate compartment into their hips where they can keep razors, Nines! Jesus!!”

Nines cut in, “Regardless, it seems the suspect had planned his own suicide the entire time, and it was irrevocably set the moment you arrested him.”

Gavin cupped his chin in one of his hands as he looked to the side, thinking about what to say next. “Could it be that this is something all the gang members are taught to do, though?” he inquired gently, hoping Nines wasn’t going to lash out at him or insult him for asking such a question, “maybe it’s how they keep all their members in line!”

Nines hummed, “I wouldn’t use the word ‘taught’, Detective, but more so ‘brainwashed’,” he tapped a finger on the armrest of his chair, “they seem to be following orders blindly and mindlessly without thinking much independently…that would only suggest…” his voice trailed off, and he shook his head and closed his eyes.

“…No, forget that.”

Gavin frowned, “Okay, so how do you expect me to ‘forget’ it when you’ve gone and made it sound so suspicious or something?!”

Nines clicked his tongue against his teeth, still refusing to look at Gavin. “Very well, Detective,” he folded his hands in his lap and sat up straighter than ever, “I truly believe that despite the fact that Ouroboros operate with majorly spread-out crime ‘cells’, they follow the orders of one, single leader.”

Gavin was silent for a moment, before he choked out a laugh he was unable to contain. Nines merely frowned at him as he turned his body slightly away from Gavin.

“It’s no laughing matter, Detective.”

Gavin held his belly as he wrapped his arms around his abdomen, still giggling. This was just hilarious!!! How could Nines even entertain such an idea?! Surely he realized how ridiculous it sounded out loud, right?

“I’m s-sorry, Nines,” he choked and wheezed out, “but you r-really expect me t-to believe that these dumb assholes respect and follow one supreme ‘King’ or some shit? Pffffffft!”

As he burst out into another round of laughter, eyes clenched tightly and little wrinkles forming in the corners as he slapped a hand over his mouth. Shaking his head as he breathed out his nose, he looked over and saw Nines frowning away at him.

The android’s lips were set in a thin line. “You may laugh all you like, Detective, but my research so far points in this direction more than you know.”

Gavin rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, “So, what?” he chuckled briefly, “are you sayin’ they’re all like worker ants and they’re following the orders of the Queen or somethin’?”

“Something like that, I reckon,” Nines explained, “as you see, they operate in different groups, but answer to one leader…”

Even though Gavin rolled his eyes and waved it off, there was a tiny, niggling feeling that began from the base of his spine and flew up through the rest of his body. He didn’t want to believe Nines’ assertions and words, but something seemed to penetrate and ring true within the back of his mind as soon as Nines had proposed his theory. But hopefully, it was nothing more than just that; a theory. Although, one could disprove a theory for certain, and that’s what Gavin was aiming to do as soon as possible.

He sat up, rubbing his forehead and then sliding his hands through his hair, combing it back as best as he could without the use of a mirror.

“Well Nines,” he chuckled as he shook his head in minor disbelief, “let me know when you find this supposed ‘leader’, okay? Then maybe I’ll believe what you have to say!”

He turned and began exiting the room when Nines drawled softly at his retreating back, “I know for a fact they have a leader…they’re not addicted to Slo-Freeze or Red Ice for this very reason,” he stated, his voice almost dying down in a whisper, “after all, how could they be addicted to narcotics and still operate in such an organized fashion that has rendered authorities and law enforcement baffled by their antics for almost a year, now?”

Gavin stopped walking, but didn’t turn around as all his ears were trained solely on the words Nines was speaking gently.

“…their leader needs their minds to be fully alert, clear, and cognizant for the brainwashing to take place, you see…” his almost snickered, eyes still on the fireplace, “I daresay, I really am eager to meet such a powerful individual,” he then looked up at the back of Gavin’s neck.

“…aren’t you feeling the same way, Detective Reed?”

As he looked back into the fireplace pit, the door to the drawing room closed with a soft click.

Chapter Text

Gavin was sitting at his desk, rolling his blue ballpoint ink pen back and forth between his fingers as he rested a clenched fist against his temple. Ever since Nines had told him about his personal theories regarding a supposed ‘leader’ of Ouroboros, he hadn’t been able to sleep and eat properly. His performance at work had suffered as a result, which was why he had to forcefully be ordered by Nines to take a break while Nines and his team discussed a psychological profile on the possible leader of the gang in a meeting room just down the hall from where Gavin’s desk was located.

The door was closed, but as Gavin leaned a little forward across his desk, he saw Nines from the glass insert of the meeting room door delivering a speech and a lecture of sorts to his team. He was moving around and pointing coolly at a white board with tons of notes and photographs of victims suffering from Slo-Freeze effects on the body as he spoke on and on and on coldly. It seemed as if he had recited these words and phrases a billion times, and he was beyond bored out of his mind…

“Guess we’re not giving the Almighty Nines something productive and exciting to do, huh?”

He grinned slyly at his own inner musings, and then grabbed a piece of sticky-note paper and began doodling on it randomly. His hand flew up and down, and he wasn’t sure what the heck he was drawing as he trained his eyes on Nines while he kept lecturing his team.

Gavin’s fingers gripped the pen tightly, and he began drawing a random circle at the top of the sticky note as he sneered at Nines. His anger was growing, and his hand moved faster and wildly up and down on his desk as he drew and scrambled on and on.

“Do you think you’re honestly smarter than anyone else in the DPD, Nines? Hmm?”

His pen scratched against the sticky note, and the ink grew and grew and spread in erratic shapes on the little note paper.

“Well I’ve got some news here for you, Nines,” he pressed down a little harder than he intended to, and the paper hissed as it slid upwards along the desk. Gavin merely slid his arms up with it, eyes still cast on the glass insert of the meeting room door.

“…when it comes right down to it, you’re just like everyone else, Nines…you’re just on our playing field, and you’re no better or worse than the rest of us.”

He glared on at Nines while the pen skated and danced wildly along the sticky note in jerky motions, and the desk shifted and grunted when Gavin leaned forward so he could observe Nines a little more closely.

“I hate that we’re fuckin’ married now, too,” it made his blood boil knowing he was wearing a wedding ring that showed everyone who he was tied to, and it made him even more sick knowing that Nines also wore a matching one of his own.

The ring on the android’s finger gleamed and glinted at him under the lights in the meeting room, and it offended him even more than the foulest curse word someone could have thrown at him. It was like a beacon, and Gavin didn’t want to see it as he instead focused on Nines’ stern face.

“You look like every bit of what a hardass looks like, Nines,” his shoulders clenched, and he ground his teeth while his feet stomped down even harder on the floor. His pen was still flying wildly on the little sticky note.

“You’re an asshat, and I swear, I would want nothing more than for someone to just walk right up to you and yank out every bit of your wires until they’re lying outside your stupid, stretched-out body in a crazy and blue-blooded heap.”

Connor and Hank heard the scratching of the pen, and they turned and stared at Gavin for a few moments. Studying his arm and elbow dancing along the surface of his desk, Hank exchanged a confused look with Connor, who merely shrugged and pointed at Hank’s laptop, indicating that he should get back to work and mind his own business.

Hank rolled his eyes but went back to his work and put his headphones over his ears only when Gavin’s pen scratching grew to be too much for him to bear.

Gavin felt his fingers digging into the desk and pen as he grumbled under his breath while still drawing and observing Nines.

“God, I wish you only knew how much I hated you, Nines…if only you knew…”

In a split second, Nines turned his head to the right, and he peered directly out the glass insert and right across the bullpen. He was staring directly into Gavin’s blue-grey eyes, and Gavin immediately froze.

He even stopped breathing, and he felt his heart suddenly seize up like he was about to have a heart attack. Logically, he knew that wasn’t possible, as he was more fit than a butcher’s dog, but something within him caused him to just stop breathing. Gavin was certain that even the blood running in his veins had frozen up, and he couldn’t do anything but stare back at Nines.

And Nines stood just as frozen for a moment, and then there was something very odd and very alien that crept onto his face. It was an expression Gavin had no idea how to describe and attribute a description or name to. It was unlike anything he’d ever seen-not only on Nines-but also on anyone. It was a very…unearthly expression…

And then, in the next moment, it was all gone. It was as if someone had literally reset Nines’ features, and his old, taciturn, moody sneer was back on his face in an instant. His gaze taunted Gavin from the other side of the room, and Gavin felt himself growing defensive and angry once again.

Many things happened at that moment.

Gavin pressed down so hard on his ballpoint pen, that it exploded and snapped, and the sticky note tore loudly with a ‘riiiiiiiiiiip!’ that echoed at least up over to where Hank and Connor were sitting. Due to the force and pressure of how hard he’d been pressing down on the pen, now that it’d snapped, Gavin slammed his chin down hard on the surface of the desk as his arms gave out and sent him crashing onto the desk.

A horribly loud ‘SLAM!’ sounded in the bullpen, and Gavin cradled his chin as tears formed in his eyes next.

“Kamski damn you, Nines!!”

Nursing the pain in his chin, Gavin rubbed at the area gently, and he looked over at Nines and caught the android throwing him one final death glare before shaking his head and returning back to his lecture.

“Dick!” Gavin hissed, massaging the sore area, when he saw Connor walking over to him, eyes on the sticky note. It was torn in half, but the image was still there upon it…

Gavin’s eyes flickered down to it, and he slammed a hand down hard on the sticky note, throwing a small smile up at Connor.

“Hey buddy!” he greeted cheerfully, still rubbing his chin, “h-how’s it goin’?”

Connor’s eyebrows quirked up. “You feeling okay, Gavin?”

Gavin shrugged, “I’m fine Connor, why do you ask?”

Connor pointed at his chin with a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, “Because that was a pretty painful thing you did back there a second ago!”

“Blame Nines for that one.”

He only laughed, “Ahaha, yeah, I guess I just sometimes do things…” scratching the back of his head, Gavin saw Connor’s eyes suspiciously glance over at the tip of the torn piece of the sticky note. It was obviously covered in blue ink, and it appeared to be a round shape. But still, there was a missing piece, and Gavin had it resting and hidden away beneath his hand upon the desk.

Connor leaned into him, “Can I see what you drew?”

Snatching up the pieces, Gavin rose to his feet quickly, “Nah, you wouldn’t be interested, Connor,” he added with an uncomfortable chuckle, cheeks turning red as he collected the pieces and hid them behind his back.

“Let’s just go for a small break, okay?”

Before Connor could argue, the door of the meeting room swung open at the exact same time Captain Fowler’s office door banged open. Nines raced out to meet Captain Fowler halfway across the bullpen, and Connor and Gavin both leapt up in shock.

Nines’ team hung behind, half of the members lingering in the hall, while the others gathered in the doorway of the room they’d just had a lecture in, scratching their heads and whispering under their breath.

Captain Fowler grabbed one of Gavin’s shoulders roughly. “Reed! Thank god!” he panted like he’d been running for a day, and when Nines approached them, Captain Fowler leaned his free hand on Nines’ shoulder as well.

“Sir?” Gavin asked in a tiny voice, hoping Fowler wasn’t going to yell at him.

“A 9800-6 has just been called in, Reed,” Fowler explained, peeking over at Nines and nodding at him, too.

Gavin snorted, “So what? It’s not our call, Cap.” Why did they have to investigate a civil dispute, now?

Nines raised an eyebrow inquisitively, “I’m afraid I don’t understand either, Sir,” he looked over at his team, “the domestic crimes aren’t for—”

Fowler roared as he tugged both of them around the right-hand corner of the bullpen, away from everyone else’s eyes, and close to the front reception and entrance. A few androids on administrative duties gave them funny glances, but after Fowler cast them his infamous ‘murder glare’, they turned back to their work with frightened eyes and yellow LED lights.

Fowler leaned into both Nines and Gavin, whispering softly as he could while Gavin tried edging himself away from Nines and also trying to keep the fist that held his drawing tightly closed.

“Listen, you fools!” Fowler’s voice and breath pushed against his throat, making it seem like he was wheezing or suffering from a dry throat, and Gavin winced as he stared at his superior in slight fear.

“…I can’t run around the damn precinct screaming about Slo-Freeze being involved in the domestic dispute, and I need you both to get your asses over to the address so you can interview these people and see what they know about the drug and about Ouroboros! Got it?!?!?”

Gavin’s jaw dropped open as the nature and scope of their new task dawned on him, “Oooooh!”

Nines gave Captain Fowler a curt nod, indicating that he understood. “Detective, let’s get moving.” He grabbed Gavin’s shoulder and began pulling him towards the parking lot, when he looked down at Gavin’s hand and saw it clenched tightly around something.

“Detective?”

“Hmm?”

Captain Fowler rolled his eyes and muttered something sounding a lot like “God help them both”, then began walking back to his office quickly while Gavin turned and stared at Nines.

Noticing how the RK900 wasn’t even blinking at him, Gavin felt rather odd. “What’s the problem now, Nines?” he asked in an exasperated tone of voice.

The android pointed at his clenched fist, “Is that of any import?”

Gavin’s eyes widened a little, but he clenched his fist tighter and placed it over his chest almost protectively while shrugging apathetically, “No, Nines!” he looked at the exit, “we’re wastin’ time! Come on!!”

Knowing this was true, Nines merely brushed past Gavin, head held high as he began leading the way. Connor and Hank got back to their own work station, but the RK800 threw Gavin a weary glance that the other man ignored.

Brushing himself off with his free hand, Gavin walked down the halls of the DPD, and only stopped to open his palm and stare at what he’d drawn. He had to hold both the torn pieces together for a moment, and he laid them out as best he could on his palm. The lights above beamed down upon his hand, like the sun shining out of the clouds, and Gavin frowned when his eyes squinted down at what it was he’d drawn.

How it came to be that he had drawn such an almost near-perfect image was beyond him, but he was unable to deny and falsify what it was that reality held right there in the palm of his hand.

He’d drawn a very accurate sketch of his own husband. It was remarkable, and unmistakable. The sketch wasn’t highly life-like or close to a ‘portrait’, however, one could really make out the black and white CyberLife uniform-even though Nines no longer wore it. His LED light hadn’t been colored in, but every other facial detail-from his eyes, nose, chin, cheeks, and right to his lips-had been sketched down pretty neatly given how hurriedly and erratically Gavin had drawn it.

But all these things didn’t freak Gavin out the most, no.

What scared him and shook him right from his head to his toes and pooled right down into his core, was the fact that he’d drawn Nines with a bright smile on his face…

And he couldn’t have looked happier in the sketch.

“Detective!!”

When he heard Nines calling out for him, Gavin immediately stuffed the drawing into his jean pocket. He heard the pieces crinkling in his pockets, and he winced, hoping Nines also wouldn’t hear it. Luckily however, the RK900 was far too swept up with the sudden investigation, and he was already half-way across the parking lot of the DPD.

Sighing in relief, Gavin hung his head down and followed him.

He didn’t even notice how his right hand slipped within his jean pocket, petting and gently touching the ripped-up drawing.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

“We have arrived, Detective,” Nines announced in his stone-cold voice as he parked the car in the driveway of the old, derelict, dilapidated house…if one could even call it a house to begin with.

Half of the shingles of the roof had been completely torn apart. The windows and windowsills had to be held together with dark masking tape and duct tape, and some cracks still were present in the dirty, mold-covered glass. The grass and trees were scorched and dead, and piles of leaves littered the lawn, even though the summer season was still very early in the year. Animals and vegetation seemed to even refuse to go near the property, for Gavin saw a mother cat immediately pick up her kitten in her jaws and carry its little body away with her when it tried pouncing on the grass.  

The wood of the porch, the door, and railings, and the little hand-crafted bench by the front door had been termite infested, rotten, and it let out a foul odor into the air when the wind blew. A few boots-each of them missing a foot in the pair-were strewn and left with mud covering them up to the ankles, a sliced-up piece of old rope was discarded on the porch, an old tire, as well as a broken baseball bat.

Everything had an old, eerie, ominous feel to it, and Gavin shivered as he stood beside Nines, who was busy surveying and scanning the house, no doubt.

“So Fowler sends us to a fuckin’ crack house?” he scoffed, “what luck.”

“It’s ‘Captain Fowler’, Detective,” Nines spat in his direction as he turned and glared at him, “and do keep your voice down, Detective; we’re still on duty.”

As he moved on ahead, Gavin sneered and flipped him off behind his back, showing attitude given how much Nines had been bossing and ordering him around lately.

“I saw that.”

Gavin froze midway taking a step. His eyes widened, and he let out a small gasp, “The fuck?”

Nines was still approaching the porch, but Gavin childishly wanted to keep up with the banter, and he made the ‘cuckoo’ sign around his head by spinning his index finger in small circular motions by his temple.

“I saw that, too,” Nines’ voice came at his ears again, and Gavin threw his hands up into the air.

“I give up!!”

Standing beside Nines, he looked for a doorbell, but it’d been smashed and busted up, so he knocked. He rapped his knuckles on the old door, crossed his arms over his chest, and threw Nines the dirtiest of glares he could muster.

The tall android merely stared coldly at the front door, and Gavin raised a curious eyebrow at him, simply standing beside him and observing just how tall Nines really was.

“Holy Batman and Robin, he’s even taller than Connor!!” Gavin’s inner thoughts went on for a while as he looked at Nines from head to toe, noticing how the top of his head nearly brushed against the top of the front door before them.

Before he could study anything else, the front door squeaked open loudly, and all of a sudden, a litter of at least seven Corgi puppies ran right out and between Gavin’s legs.

“WHAT THE ASS?!?” Gavin stumbled backwards a little, and he turned to gape at the little furry creatures, when something horrible caught his eye.

He elbowed Nines immediately as he whispered out, “Nines! The puppies are malnourished!”

Nines stared at them as they could barely summon up enough energy and strength to lift their paws and yip away at each other, playing and rolling in the burnt grass. Most of the puppies had their ribs perfectly visible, and tufts of their fur had been torn out in some places. Their ears were a little more bent than usual, and they seemed to hang back and stay as far away from both Gavin and Nines…as if they were afraid of them…

Nines nodded at Gavin, and they turned around when they heard soft footsteps finally approaching. The footsteps stopped, and then standing right before them, was a woman with bright-orange-red dyed hair. She looked like a mess. Whoever had cut her hair obviously didn’t know how to style hair, and their lack of training in the art showed itself greatly. Her hair wasn’t the same length at all anywhere, and she looked like a scarecrow as she stood before Nines and Gavin.

She was tall, thin-far too thin, rather-and had dark bags under her eyes that made her appear gaunter than she already was. She shielded her eyes from the sun with a hand, as if it had been days since she even saw daylight…her clothes seemed far too baggy, and they practically looked like bags hanging around her thin body as she wore them. Gavin hated to come to this conclusion, but he really thought she fit the look and stereotype of a ‘dug addict’.

“May I help you gents?” she had a very heavy accent, and if Gavin had to wager randomly, he was positive she had to have originally come from Kentucky.

He nodded at her at the same time Nines flashed his I.D. and badge. “Good afternoon, ma’am,” Nines greeted coldly, as if he were a drill sergeant about to start up the day with new recruits.

“I’m Lieutenant Nines,” he barely even looked over at Gavin, next, “and this is my partner Detective Reed.”

She inspected his I.D., and then Gavin’s when he raised his badge up, and she sighed and ran a hand through her hair. It flopped down over her forehead like a mop.

“Is this about the call?”

Gavin tilted his head at her, “The call? Which call?”

Nines glared down at him for a second, and then he nodded at the woman, “Yes ma’am, one of your neighbors called in to report a civil dispute?”

She looked down, and her tired, dark brown eyes seemed so downtrodden for a moment. The door then squeaked open more, and a fat man with a beer belly and a green baseball cap appeared next to her. He dragged one of his chubby, large hands around her shoulder, and he tugged her protectively into his chest as he snarled at Nines and Gavin.

He had a thick, black mustache, greasy black hair that hung right down to his chest, and frightful sea-green eyes. His skin was dark, and his fingertips were especially stained yellow…

“The hell is going on here?” he practically roared as he stared between Nines and Gavin a few times.

Suddenly, an expression akin to recognition flooded his face, and his lips twitched before he broke out into one of the craziest grins Gavin had ever seen.

He raised a large hand and pointed at Nines, and then at Gavin, slowly.

“Say…” his eyes twinkled with an emotion Gavin had no idea how to identify, but he knew he didn’t like it at all, whatever it was.

“…I know you two…”

Chapter Text

Hello all! I had many people request to see Shelley, and ever since I created her, I myself even wanted to see what she would look like! Luckily, my amazingly talented sister (who also is a writer on this website), drew a concept art of her with her tail not extended, and legs out of her body. As such, we BOTH are so excited to share her with you!

Seriously, I have to thank my baby sis for doing this for me, and by all means, if anyone wishes to check out her fanfic, she has one written for Attack on Titan called 'The Color of Their Eyes!' 
Her account name is : 

wingsoffreedom_jeager

Much love to you sis!!! Shelley looks amazing! 😊😊🐤🌹💖

 

No photo description available.

Chapter Text

Gavin sat right beside Nines on one of the most disgusting, dirtiest, and foul-smelling sofas he’d ever seen. The entire fabric of the furniture was torn-as were the other furniture sets-and cigarette burn marks and stains ran all over the cushions. Food was caught and trapped between each seat, clinging to it for dear life, and more sticky, half-wet substances Gavin didn’t even want to think about clung to the sofa as well and reeked of a foul stench.

The interior of the house had torn-up, moldy walls and wallpaper that was at least two decades old. The titles in the floor were cracked, and the grouts had been so old and sullied that dirt pushed up from the cracks between them, almost as if the earth beneath the house was trying to make way up to the surface.

Everything was a mess; clothing that was quite old and half-torn up had gone unwashed and laid about everywhere, and Gavin even noticed that some of the clothes perhaps had been used for the puppies, as urine and feces was evident on some of the clothes. Torn newspapers and books also littered the floor, and a few dog kennels lined up against the walls and had been gated off at the far end of the living room away from the sofas.

A coffee table that had a hole right in the left-hand side-possibly the result of someone either kicking or punching their way through it-held dirty cups and plates, and Gavin turned his nose away from them as a few houseflies buzzed about his head.

He turned and gave Nines a look that seemed to say: ‘help me, for God’s sake!’

Nines returned the look in his own cold way, but then the man and the woman sat before Nines and Gavin on a loveseat right across from them on the other side of the coffee table.

The man barely could sit down; his beer-belly enabled him to wedge his way between the coffee table and the sofa, and he grunted as he tried sucking in his gut before he crashed down on the sofa seat next to his ‘wife’.

The rail-thin, pale woman held her hands up in clenched fists, resting them beneath her nose as if praying. She studied Nines for a long time, and then Gavin, before she flashed them both a strange smile. Her teeth were extremely stained, and Gavin doubted that even the most skilled dentist could’ve helped her by now. One of her teeth seemed to even be chipped, but before he could gaze long enough at it, the man seated next to her stroked his mustache, and then he snickered as he pointed crudely at Gavin and Nines.

“I saw these two on the TV,” he elbowed his wife, still snickering, “these two guys are gays!!”

His wife gasped, lowering her fists from her mouth as she giggled like a little girl who just heard the funniest joke on the planet. “I saw ya’ll’s wedding!” she hooted, slapping a hand over her mouth as she leaned against the large man next to her and beamed at Gavin and Nines.

Feeling quite uncomfortable, Gavin cleared his throat, and then gently elbowed Nines so he could begin talking to the bizarre couple, at the very least. It was bad enough that he’d just come to terms with being gay, but now the entire population of North America had to see it, too. What luck.

Nines sighed as he eyed the couple before him. “May I ask you both your names?” Nines more than likely already had this information in his mind, but it was an age-old police trick of trying to sniff out deception based on the answer and the delivery of it from the suspects.

The man gruffly snorted as he grabbed his wife by the elbow and straightened her posture out a bit. “Ain’t you the cops?”

Nines squinted at him, choosing to remain silent.

The chubby man snorted, as if that proved his point. “You should know the answer then, right?”

“Just answer the question, sir,” Gavin cut in before Nines could say something in retaliation.

He held up a hand, and it eventually came down to rest on the woman’s bone-thin thigh that resembled a twig beneath her loose jeans. “This here is Maggie,” he said, and then he rested that same chubby hand over his own chest as he took in a deep breath, “and I’m Riley.”

He scratched at his chest beneath the yellow-stained wife-beater that had no doubt been white, once, and Nines squinted at him. “May I ask what you two do for a living?”

Riley leaned against his wife as he played with her dry, unkempt hair, “I used to be a pizza delivery man for a few years, and my girl here,” he chuckled, “she don’t work none.”

Nines took in a sharp breath, “I see…” his eyes moved over to the walls, and he noticed some holes in the wall that weren’t bullet holes, but seemed to match the same shape, width, and length of the holes in the coffee table.

Looking back at the table, Nines hummed as his LED light flashed yellow. Gavin knew he was already scanning things and constructing his own ‘crime scene’ for the investigation, and he leaned forward a little, leaning his hands on his kneecaps as he made plenty of mental notes not to touch anything in this house…unless he wanted to get all his vaccinations and a Tetanus shot to boot.

He nervously wrung his fingers and wove them around each other while Nines scanned the floor, and Gavin cleared his throat as he stared at the couple. “Ummm,” Gavin nearly slapped himself, then.

“Think, dipshit!! What the hell kind of a way to start the conversation is ‘ummm’?!?!”

He coughed again, trying to cover up for his obvious bumble, and Maggie stared at him with little-to-no concern in her eyes. “Are you okay, Detective?”

He nodded, “Oh yeah, just…just peachy…”

“Hurry the fuck up, Nines!!”

Maggie tapped a hand on her bony kneecap that almost appeared to cut from beneath her jeans, “I assume you have some questions for us, then?”

Before Gavin could respond, Riley snorted as he leaned into his wife and hissed in her ear, “I think the only real question is: ‘why’re we allowin’ the gays in our home?’”

Nines glared up immediately at them, but it was Gavin who spoke first.

“With all due respect, Riley, this is America, and gay marriage was made legal way back in June 26th, 2015,” he then paused for added impact, “but if you two are going to support and practice homophobia—”

Riley and Maggie exchanged frightened looks, and then they both shook their heads quickly.

Giggling nervously, Riley waved a hand at Gavin, “Nah, ahaha, who hates them gays?” he looked at his wife, “you? Me? Nah man! I love them gays!”

“Stop fucking saying ‘gays’, you stupid ignorant hick!”

Nines took the lead, suddenly. “Very well, sir,” he pointed at the hole in the coffee table, and then the walls, “what happened?”

Riley looked at the wall, and then at the table, shrugging as he wiped his dry lips with the back of a hairy hand, “Just some troubles with the missus, sometimes,” he winked at Nines, “you meanin’ to tell me that you don’t have problems with your wife, Lieutenant?”

At once, Nines stood up, and the table slid violently into Riley’s knees, making him squeal in fear as Nines towered over him with a dangerous expression on his face and an equally dangerously red LED light glowing in the room.

Gavin gently pressed a hand against Nines’, and he whispered, “Nines, don’t…”

Something in his voice must’ve appealed to Nines and moved him. He stared down at Gavin, and he closed his eyes as he slowly sat down and straightened his peacoat with a hand while brushing his dark dress pants off.

“I apologize for that,” he stated plainly, “if you’ll just answer some questions we have, then we’ll leave your home if neither of you wish to press charges.”

Maggie lifted a thin eyebrow, “Charges? What charges?!”

Gavin looked over at Riley, “Your neighbor reported that your husband beat you, ma’am.”

She shook her head stubbornly and wildly, “He don’t beat me!”

“But your neighbor—”

“She should mind her own affairs!” Maggie snapped, then, and Nines stared at her arms when she raised them to brush her hair back when it fell in her face during her angry display. His eyes zoomed in on a pair of little dots embedded in her skin, as if two insects had stung her, but that wasn’t the case exactly…

Gavin raised a hand up, trying to make the upset woman calm again, “Ma’am, it’s okay to tell us the truth,” he glared at Riley, as if already having his mind made up about the man abusing his wife, “you don’t need to defend him anymore!”

Nines snapped at him, suddenly, “Silence, Detective Reed.”

Gavin shut his mouth, not needing much more of an encouragement. He sat back and felt himself blushing due to being scolded by his husband in front of these strange people, but somewhere deep inside, he trusted that Nines had a good reason to tell him to be quiet, and that he was onto something very important.

Nines rose, leaning over the table and towards Maggie as he eyed her arm that was slightly exposed due to the loose sweater she was wearing. Noticing where his attention was, Maggie cowered down into the seat right away, looking like a mouse as she huddled back on the loveseat. Her eyes turned a little glassy, but she sat still while Nines studied her arm.

He gently reached up her sleeve, ignoring Riley’s minor protests. Slowly, Nines rolled her sleeve all the way up to her elbow and he sighed when he saw more of the same two dots littering her skin, covering up and down her forearm and even up to her shoulder when he scanned her on a deeper level.

Gavin noticed it, too, and he gasped, “What happened?!”

“Slo-Freeze,” Nines answered before Maggie could, “you both are addicted to it, aren’t you?”

Maggie’s eyes suddenly rolled up back into her head, and she let out loud giggles as she cradled her knees up and pulled them into her chest as she laughed and laughed and laughed. She began drooling, then, and she held up a hand to her lips, wiping them quickly while her eyes darted around the room.

Gavin stood up as well, and he softly asked Nines, “Is she under the influence right now?”

“No,” Nines responded quickly, then looked back down at Maggie and Riley, “where is the rest of your stash? Hmm?” he paced his way around the table, and stood by Riley’s side, “I know you have them with you, now.”

Holding up both his hands as if Nines had held a gun to his head, the large man merely shook his head wildly, “N-no!!” he waved his hands agitatedly, meat jiggling as he moved, “you’ve got it wrong, now!! I didn’t hit my wife, and we ain’t on drugs!!”

Nines tilted his head down at them both, “Well, not right now you are…”

Gavin gasped, “Wait, they aren’t drug addicts now?”

Sighing tiredly, Nines glared over at Gavin, and there was a moment of awkward silence between them. The harder Nines stared at Gavin, the more confused he became, and then, when Nines blinked for one split second, Gavin’s eyes widened.

“Oh fuck! I got it, now!!! He’s already gone over their criminal records and shit!! I forgot he could do that in a second or two…”

Turning back to the couple, Nines rested a hand against back of the loveseat, leaning down and smiling coldly at Maggie. His eyes swept over the numerous ‘dots’ in her skin, and he ran a finger down and over a few of them. “Tell me about the first time you took Slo-Freeze, Maggie,” he hissed gently, trying to coax a response from her gently and carefully, “tell me how it felt…”

“Nines! What the fu—”

Nines’ blue eyes bore into his, and he was immediately silenced.

Maggie gaped at Nines, her hands and fingers shaking and trembling, and she looked at her husband once, and then over at Gavin, and then forward at the coffee table.

Knowing it was going to take more of an effort to get the answer out of her, Nines knelt down by her side. His hand draped forward to rest on the armrest of the sofa, and he offered Maggie another smile, although this one seemed a little more ‘friendly’…if that could be associated with Nines.

“Maggie,” Nines gently breathed, and as she looked over at him, a giggle escaped her, then. She silenced herself by grabbing her husband’s hand, and she pressed it over her mouth, though she still snickered and giggled through her nose.

Nines merely ignored it. “I know you both have been off Slo-Freeze and Red Ice for a few months, and according to your counselor and AA meeting leader, you’re both doing very well and are on the road to recovery…” his eyes fell to her arm once again, “…however, you should consider this more than a friendly warning, Maggie, for if we do find out that you are indeed back on Slo-Freeze, I’m afraid things are going to have to be turned over to the court.”

Riley gasped in shock, and he cradled his giggling wife to his chest. “You can’t do that!! We’re so clean!” he even held out his own arms, as if to make his point, “see?!?! We’re not addicted to shit!!”

Nines tapped a finger on the sofa, “That may very well be true, Riley, but the way things look here,” he held up a finger as he counted down a list of his own, “you could have a case against you for animal abuse, unsanitary and dangerous living conditions, as well as a refusal to cooperate with authorities…”

Gavin held up a finger, “Don’t forget discrimination against homosexuals.”

Nines nodded, “Indeed…” he stopped smiling immediately as he sneered at Riley more than his spaced-out wife, “…now, are you going to answer my questions and allow Maggie to tell me everything she knows about Slo-Freeze, or not?”

Gulping nervously, Riley shook Maggie roughly and growled in her ear, “Just talk to him, Mag!”

Still rocking back and forth on the seat while giggling, Maggie nodded as she stared off at something on the coffee table that likely wasn’t even there. She raised a hand and placed it over her cheek, moaning and gasping in both pain and shock.

“Slo-Freeze…it’s…” she shook her head and giggled again, little tears forming in the corners of her eyes as she slapped her hands on her thighs over and over again until she couldn’t take it anymore and stopped.

Nines stared intently at her, “Yes, you know what you have to tell me, Maggie,” his arm crept up over the back of the sofa until it was directly resting behind her little shoulders, “just tell me the truth, and all this will be over…like one bad dream you forget in the morning.”

“Nines, you’re playing with fire…I hope you know what you’re doing!” Gavin worriedly bit on one of his fingernails as he watched Maggie for any signs of distress or unpredictability. Even if she’d been off drugs for some odd months, that wasn’t enough of a comfort to him to guarantee him that she wouldn’t attack them if Nines pushed her too hard.

Maggie hooked her fingers onto her husband’s arm, but it seemed like she was just grabbing onto him for support as opposed to trying or wanting to inflict pain. Her eyes were as wide as golf balls, and she looked so awake and alert, now. It was a complete contrast to how they’d first stumbled upon her, as she’d looked so tired and worn-out earlier, but now, she was filled with energy, backed up by fear.

She shook as she placed her hands on her ears and smiled widely, “It’s…it’s a feeling like you’ll never know…n-never ever…”

Nines hissed softly, “Tell me about it, Maggie…”

She giggled as she gently tugged at her hair while her husband looked at her with fear and concern flooding in his eyes.

“Nothing b-beats your f-first time on ‘Freeze’,” she stated in a series of high-pitched giggles and cackles that nearly shook the walls and coffee table, “…it’s the b-best and worst f-feeling ever!!”

Gavin closed his eyes as he shook his head, wishing that he could wave a magic wand and disappear from here forever. This situation was just too uncomfortable, tense, and insane for him to fathom. How Nines could keep pressing this disturbed woman was beyond him. These methods were far too dangerous and inhumane!

Riley crossed his arms over his chest and sternly looked down at the floor, shaking his head slowly while his wife giggled and rocked back and forth like she was trying to comfort and console herself.

“Y-y-you don’t g-g-get stuck on i-i-it right aw-w-way,” she told Nines, lowering her voice to a whisper as she reached out with a finger and tapped his LED light. He allowed it as he stared intently at her.

“Go on.”

She shrieked when the LED light blinked a few times, but remained golden while Nines studied her face. He took notice of how dilated her pupils got as she spoke and trembled more.

Maggie bit her lower lip and shivered, “It’s a d-d-delicious feeling…like, n-n-nothing’s happening, yet everything is at th-the same time…”

She ran her index finger in circles around the LED light, tracing it as she gave off a dreamy smile at it. “It’s l-like being stuck in a dreamland even wh-when you’re awake,” she sighed and then placed a hand on Nines’ forehead, her fingers stroking his skin gently and softly.

“You hate that you begin to love it…”

Nines frowned deeply at her, but still was silent as she turned away from him and looked up at the ceiling.

“What’s r-really bad is that you know your world is on f-fire, yet you can’t s-stop it, because that f-fire feels sooooooooo good…”

Riley closed his eyes and pressed his hands against Maggie’s back, “That’s enough now!” he cried out in pain, “leave her alone now! You got all your answers, didn’t you?!”

Gavin opened his eyes and nodded over at Nines, “He’s right! That’s enough, Nines!!”

Glaring at all three of them, Nines gripped Maggie’s shoulders, and he dragged her closer towards him, making her face him forcefully as he stared down at her. “Tell me who supplies the Slo-Freeze! Tell me everything, NOW!”

Riley tried yanking his wife out of Nines’ grip, but the android was too strong. He kept yelling at Maggie, though it had no effect on her as she rolled her head from side-to-side, knees knocking together and swaying as she swung her legs about and kept giggling.

“WHO IS THE LEADER OF OUROBOROS?? I KNOW YOU HAVE THAT INFORMATION!!!”

“LEAVE MY WIFE ALONE!!!”

“NIIIIIIIIINES!!!!!!!!!!”

There was too much noise and yelling all at once, and Gavin roared as he stood up, shoved the coffee table to the side, and grabbed Maggie in his own hands and stood between her and Nines. He’d wedged himself between her body and Nines’, standing like a protective barrier as he held out a hand and shoved Nines a few feet away from her.

She cried and sobbed, turning and hiding her face against her husband’s chest, and he hushed her and softly rubbed her back and shoulders, whispering things to her to calm her down and console her, while Gavin and Nines stared each other down.

It was silent for a while before Riley screamed up at both of them, “She don’t know who the leader is! For God’s sake can’t you see that?!?”

Nines and Gavin looked at him, and then at each other as they snarled and scowled heatedly before one another.

“We just got the Slo-Freeze from a common street provider; nothing more!” Riley went on to explain, holding his wife closely, “just leave us alone, now! We don’t done no harm to anyone!!”

Gavin nodded, still holding out a hand before Nines, just in case the android wanted to attack Maggie or Riley once again, “He’s right, Nines! Ouroboros don’t go around just easily handing this information out, you should know that!” he then held out both hands and shrugged, “I don’t know what the hell’s gotten into you, Nines, but unless you think the ‘leader’ directly is selling and giving Slo-Freeze away to everyone who asks, you’re more dense than I thought, and I am done with this damn investigation!”

Nines growled, “What do you mean you’re—”

“I’m filing the report back to Fowler, as this woman isn’t wishing to press charges against her husband, I see no damn evidence supporting a domestic abuse case, and they’re drug-free, as is the rest of the household…” he turned and glared at Riley, then, “but I’m going to definitely file a complaint against you both for animal abuse and neglect!!”

Riley’s jaw fell open, and he stood up with the help of a hand pressed against the sofa armrest for support, as well as another hand gripping his wife’s bony thigh. His mustache twitched as he held a hand out at Gavin. “Now just you wait a second here!” he began gruffly, “you can’t just come in here and mock me and my woman, and then threaten to take away our pets!!”

Maggie leaned her head on Riley’s shoulder and just shrugged, whispering over and over, “It freezes the mind, it freezes the soul, it freezes everything, it freezes everything, it freezes…”

Riley pointed at her, “See what you done?!”

Gavin was already turning back to the front door, so eager to get the hell out of this nightmare of a jungle. “Expect a call from Animal Protection Services sometime this week,” he hurriedly yanked open the front door, hearing it squeaking as it rocked on the hinges, just barely still held up in place.

Looking back over his shoulder, Gavin saw Nines following closely behind him, though he was throwing dirty looks over at Riley and Maggie as they kept up behind him. Maggie shivered still, hiding her face against her husband’s thick neck while he shooed them forward with his hands.

“Go on! Get!!” he screamed, “get off my darn property!!”

Gavin did a mock bow, “Don’t worry, we’re leaving, Your Worship!”

Just before the door closed on them, Gavin heard Maggie’s soft voice still whispering out, “It freezes everything, it damages everything…it will kill you and then make you reborn…”

Chapter Text

Gavin watched as one final puppy refused to go back in the hellhole of a house through the little doggie door built into the bottom of the front door. Though the others had eagerly bounded inside, this particular puppy seemed less frightened of Gavin and Nines in comparison to its siblings, and it sniffed at Gavin’s shoes while letting out small ‘yips’ and barks. It stopped and panted up at him, barely able to stand up on its hind legs while it pawed at him for attention.

Nines stared down at it when Gavin bent down and picked it up in his arms.

“Hey little fella!!” As he lifted the puppy, it nuzzled against his chest, tail wagging back and forth excitedly, as if this was one of the first times it’d been held in a long, long time.

Nines sighed as his mouth twisted in a moue of disgust, “Put it down; we don’t know what kinds of germs it may have, Detective.”

Gavin cradled the puppy to his chest, gently stroking its head and ears. “You sound like you’re raving, Nines,” he said as the puppy licked his hands in a show of gratitude and playfulness.

Nines rolled his eyes as he moved a little closer to the DPD police vehicle they’d arrived at the house in. He calmly opened the door and stood by it, LED light yellow. “Detective Reed,” he said coldly and snidely, “I’m going to make a call to Captain Fowler, and by the time I finish my conversation, I hope you’ve set that animal down and will join me in the car…unless you want to find an alternative ride back to the precinct.”

With that stated, Nines sat down in the car, and slammed the diver’s door behind himself. His lips started moving, indicating he was already speaking with Captain Fowler.

Gavin rolled his eyes at Nines, but then he stared at the puppy and gave it a warm smile. It tilted its head at him and yipped in response, which made Gavin smile even more.

“Don’t listen to him,” Gavin whispered into one of its long ears, “he’s always grumpy!!”

Again, the puppy yipped, and it struggled in his hands almost desperately. Its paws scratched at Gavin’s clothing, and it let out small whines as it shifted in his arms.

Gavin’s eyes widened, “Woah, woah, woah,” he lowered the puppy to the grass, “don’t pee on me! Just go if you gotta go!!”

Thinking it indeed was trying to urinate, Gavin set the puppy down, and he watched it scamper over around the yellow-painted, old, peeling garage door. It went around the right-hand corner, tail wagging as its little, tiny paws supported its body. It looked back at Gavin, barking and pointing with its snout somewhere in the grass.

Gavin stared intently at it, taking a few steps closer to it as he brushed past the front of the car.

“What’re you doin’, little one?”

The puppy growled at something, holding its head and snout down in the grass, sniffing heavily and excitedly at something. Suddenly, its tail stopped wagging, and it growled a little before looking over at Gavin shortly.

Something was off. Gavin sensed it right away, and thinking that the puppy had gotten into rotten food, scrap metal, paint, poison, or something far worse that would endanger its life, Gavin rushed on ahead, falling into the grass as he gently pushed the puppy aside.

“Hey, hey, hey,” he cooed at it, “what’re you doin’?”

It pushed back in its original spot, clawing at the grass, and as shortly-cut and burnt as it was, when Gavin bent down his head a little, he saw something he’d nearly missed when he first knelt down in the grass next to the puppy.

There, beneath the sunlight in the bright, clear day, was a little square-shaped object. It was impossible to see even when he bent down so much into the grass, and Gavin carefully grabbed it and placed it in his open palm. The Corgi puppy whined as it stared at him with round, dark eyes, letting out a little half-growl before it barked softly.

“Shhh,” Gavin hushed it, turning the little ‘box’ over in his hands. It was grey in color, and it was barely the size of even a dime. In shined and glinted in the sunlight, and Gavin turned it around, but he was unable to find anything within it. It was just a solid mass, and although it had a few lines and indents in it, the box was otherwise untouched.

Strange…what a strange find indeed…

“Detective!!”

Gavin nearly fell over in fear, but he got to his feet when Nines called out for him. He quickly put the object into his pocket, worried that the Corgi puppy would later return to eat it and harm itself. Picking the little creature up in his hands, Gavin waved at Nines while walking back over to the front porch with the puppy, and he set it down by the doggie door as he sighed sadly.

“Sorry little guy,” he rubbed its head and ears one more time while it whined, as if picking up on the clue that he had to leave, now.

“I can’t bring you with me, I’m so sorry, little one,” he tapped it gently on the tip of its wet nose, and it wagged its tail, albeit sadly, and a little slowly while it whined and cried.

Ruefully, Gavin whispered before it while he held open the swinging door for it, “I promise I’m gonna get you and your brothers and sisters outta here! You’ll see!”

The puppy licked his face once before hurrying inside, its little paws and sharp claws clicking away as it disappeared once more inside the horribly messy, foul-smelling house. Soon, its white and brown furry back was out of view, and Gavin sighed as he got up and brushed dirt off his jeans and shirt.

Nines glared at him from inside the car. “Are you finished playing around with dogs, Detective??”

Gavin made a ‘yapping’ motion with his hand, flapping his fingers up and down against his thumb as he mimed a mouth opening and closing as words flew out of it. Nines snarled at him and merely pointed at the passenger’s seat with his jaw and chin jutting forth.

Taking the hint, Gavin sat down after he’d thrown open the passenger door, and once he was buckled in, he slammed the door-just to get a rise out of Nines. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and all the stoic RK900 did was pull out of the driveway while glaring straight ahead out the windshield.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin was comfortable with driving in silence. He didn’t mind that Nines wasn’t talking to him as they made their way back to the station. He really longed for silence as he thought to himself while staring out his side of the window. The world sped by as Nines drove faster, and trees, grass, leaves, bushes, birds, cows, horses, and all sorts of other worldly, outdoor things breezed past the clean window as Gavin stroked the little box in his jean pocket whenever he placed his hand right above it.

He snuck his hands into his pockets, bored of his mind as he imagined what he was going to do when the day was over. Perhaps he should head out for a night in town? No…he was ‘married’, and he was sure his ‘husband’ would want them to work on the damn investigation.

Fuckin’ married life.

As he was swamped in his thoughts regarding Maggie’s statements about Slo-Freeze, Gavin felt that nothing really made sense at all. Maggie had claimed that Slo-Freeze wasn’t immediately addictive and likely not as satisfying to take as Red Ice was, but then why were so many people in Detroit addicted to Slo-Freeze?! Surely they knew its effects, no?? What was the point of being addicted to something so horrible evil that it made your mind literally freeze up while it destroyed your body piece-by-piece, limb-by-limb??

He didn’t understand it, but as he dove deeper in his thoughts, Nines just had to go and interrupt him, as usual.

“Are you really going to make a report to Animal Protective Services, Detective Reed?” he inquired plainly, and it seemed more like a declarative statement than a question.

Gavin threw him a foul look. “I can’t believe you’re even asking this, Nines,” he grumbled, “I mean, you saw how those poor pups were living!! How can you not feel sorry for them?”

Though Nines was listening to him and watching him, he didn’t even offer a sneer…just those dark blue eyes full of loathing.

Gavin rolled his eyes as he held out a hand before Nines. “See? You don’t care much at all.”

It was silent for a little while longer before Gavin ran a hand through his hair and tried sitting as comfortably as he could in his seat. It just dug into his shoulders and back, and he sat forward, eager to get away from that sharp pain.

The box dug into his jeans deeper, and it practically poked into his thighs. How uncomfortable!!!

Gavin dug his fingers into his pockets, slowly pulling the box out with him as Nines turned on the windshield wipers.

This earned him a snort from Gavin, “It’s not raining, dipshit!”

A few seconds later, thunder echoed and boomed in the sky, and the first few little raindrops splashed down on the clean windshield. The wipers brushed them back and away, and Gavin felt his entire face growing red with embarrassment when Nines turned his head to the right and threw him a triumphant look.

He cleared his throat, “Sorry Detective, you were saying?”

“You twerp,” Gavin snarled as he finally withdrew the tiny box, holding it in a closed palm as he sighed in exhaustion.

A snort was his response. “Prevarication and obfuscation appear to be your greatest fortes, Detective Reed.”

“And apparently, yours consists of being a mega-douche!” Gavin argued back ferociously.

The wipers squelched and squeaked obnoxiously as they dragged along the windshield, and Nines grunted as he stared on ahead at the road before them. “It appears that Slo-Freeze is just a means to an end for Ouroboros,” he said more to himself than to Gavin, “whoever the gutter-slime is serving as their leader deserves nothing more than ignominy for the rest of their natural born life…” he turned and peeked over at Gavin, who had opened the palm of his hand slowly.

“…and when I get my hands on them, I shall personally see to it that—DETECTIVE!!!!!!!!! DROP THAT AT ONCE!!!!!!!!!”

The sounds of Nines’ thundering voice scared the hell out of him.

In less than a few seconds, Gavin’s shoulders and muscles involuntarily tightened and spasmed, and his hand closed tightly around the tiny box. It rolled down to his wrist when the car went over a little bump in the road, and the box then jiggled, and it let out a small noise.

“Shhhhhhiiiiiiiiink!”

As Gavin peered down at it while Nines screamed at him and swiped at him to drop the box, the tiny object shook again, and then two needles burst out from beneath it. They dug sharply into Gavin’s wrist, and pierced right into his veins.

Gavin’s head snapped back, and he let out a choked cry as his eyes rolled back into his head. His blood could literally be seen behind closed eyelids as it froze within his veins, like a beautiful waterfall caught in a blizzard, snapping shut and still in time as all semblances of motion had been stripped from it. His red and white blood cells danced like little elves, spinning and interchanging as they swung about each other in a slow, horrible masquerade.

“DETECTIVE!!!!!!!!!!! DETECTIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

His brain could register that Nines was screaming, but then, as if in a movie of sorts, everything slowed down by more than 90%. The car moved like a snail. Other cars that drove by were like turtles just gliding along the dark road. The raindrops slowly fell and took their time, turning into nails and screws as they clattered down from dark clouds and spread wildfire everywhere with them that ate him up one bone at a time.

He felt he was drooling, but his face, tongue, lips, teeth, nose, ears, eyes, throat, everything was dumb. His teeth were feeling as if a million worms and bugs were crawling within his gums, daring to burst forth as they shoved and ate away a path through his teeth so they could come out. His tongue lolled, his eyes snapped shut on their own accord, and everything felt as if it weighed more than ten million pounds. His flesh was dragging on his muscles and bones, and it was just too, too much for him. He wanted nothing more than to unzip himself out of the man-suit of flesh he had, just to shrug off the extra weight and finally be free.

Freedom…it tasted sooooo good; it soothed, it relaxed, it beckoned, it begged.

Lights and flashes danced along him, and he was spinning along with them as he felt hands grabbing at him and dancing with him. They would dance away into nothingness, and it was all he wanted to do as his internal organs burned and turned to mush and goo.

He was falling upside-down, backwards, sideways, through time, through air, through nothingness as he laughed and heard people laughing with him. The stars and cosmos were nothing, now, and wherever he was, he was shrouded in warmth and happiness that was so acute he could practically taste it. Chasing after that feeling, he cried out for joy, hands reaching up and feeling like he was holding two large logs instead of his own arms.

He was certain he had finally left the realm of the waking world, and he was beyond any possible plane of existence. He felt his body detaching from his soul, like an empty husk or a shell of what he once was, and he felt himself lifelessly floating upwards. He wasn’t cold, he wasn’t warm, he wasn’t even exhausted; he wasn’t even alive…

He closed and opened his eyes without a hassle or struggle, and he heard no noises surrounding him; he just knew he was not here. He closed his eyes again, not feeling pressed for air, and when he opened them, he saw a shadowy figure surrounded by a faint orange glow approaching him. Time seemed to be unimportant suddenly, for the figure seemed to float, and then lose and gain distance, until in an instant, it was inches away from Gavin’s eyes.

He was unable to feel pain or discomfort, now, but he knew something was terribly off. It was all felt when his steady heartbeat echoed in his ears, and then Gavin knew that whatever had happened, it was coming to an end. Things were stabilizing, and his body was his own. He wasn’t feeling heavy, tired, and numb all over anymore, and he was finally able to open his eyelids a little.

The light stung, and he let out a tiny hiss as he saw something dark looming over him. Was it a monster?! Was he dead?! Was he in hell? Heaven!??! What had happened??

He hated not having answers, but how was he to get any?? He was too weak to move, and all Gavin could do was lie back as he willed himself to close his eyes and beg for unconsciousness. At least he would be away from this madness if he fell into a deep, dreamless sleep…

He knew he wasn’t alone, however. The shape looming and hovering over him was hissing down at him, and then it shifted, its movements and patterns still too fast to take in at once without Gavin feeling like his head was going to explode if he studied it too much and for too long.

Something cool touched his lips, a startling electricity bolt against the agony of his skin. He opened his mouth, desperate, afraid; and then an ice-cold liquid poured into it, and Gavin’s throat locked up. His tongue was working, thankfully, as were his taste buds and his senses.

Water. Someone was giving him fresh, cool water, and it was like a blessing literally raining down upon him after he experienced what felt like months of torture.

He was unable to control himself, and he drank too quickly, still not used to having all the feelings and sensations in his face returning at once. The cold water then poured out of his mouth, and a firm-yet gentle-hand came to rub his throat. He choked and coughed until the liquid had gone down his esophagus, and the fingers massaged his neck and throat very gently, urging more of the water down.

“Drink, Gavin, drink,” urged a hoarse, panicked whisper, and Gavin couldn’t believe it was coming from Nines. He swallowed, pain like a pulse in the back of his throat, and Nines kept pouring more and more of the fresh water until it was escaping from his mouth, rivers of ice over his chin. Nines then stopped pouring, mumbling something that might have been encouraging, and long fingers scooped up the escaping liquid and poured it back into Gavin’s mouth.

Blissful, peaceful coldness was spreading through Gavin, and Gavin had never wanted anything more in his life as the fires burning within him finally were extinguished. Eyes closed, he fought to catch the last drops of blessed relief, catching Nines’ index finger with his tongue, sucking every last speck of water from the warm skin in a delirium of relief.

Like the bloom of a blush, warmth returned to him; real, natural warmth, and his muscles relaxed with a pleasure that was almost obscene. He opened his eyes.

Nines’ fingers were still against his lips. Gavin’s tongue was curled around one finger, and Nines was staring at him with a wide-eyed expression that brought back Gavin’s panic in a sudden rush.

Realizing he was sucking on his husband’s digit like an infant suckling its mother’s breast, he released the finger with a shriek and sat up. Immediately however, Gavin clutched at his head, the room spinning like a crazy top. His stomach lurched and he let out a pained groan as he studied his own bedroom walls.

Great.

At least Nines had the decency to bring him back home, instead of taking him back to the precinct. At least he could now suffer in the privacy of the home as opposed to in front of his colleagues.

But first, he needed to get rid of the headache he’d somehow had, and he sat up more, trying to get up and find some aspirin, when Nines held out his hand and gently pushed him back down on his bed.

“Lie still,” he gently breathed, frowning down at Gavin as his LED light turned yellow, “your skull’s likely feeling like someone cleaved it in two, yes?”

Gavin moaned in pain, rubbing his eyes as his head and brain banged against each other.

When he’d opened his eyes, he was shocked to see a concerned face hovering above his and almost let out a scream. The concerned expression disappeared instantly however, and was replaced by one of sneering indifference.

“You should take up the art of acting, Detective Reed,” Nines hissed down at him as he leaned over his bed, “you have always had a flair for dramatics and attention seeking antics,” Nines taunted as he brushed his hands against his black pants, and Gavin suddenly remembered that they still were slightly damp from the water he’d poured into his own palms before gently pressing them against his lips and helping Gavin drink…

His memories slammed back into him, and Gavin gasped as he gripped his clean sheets and pointed over them at Nines, “You called me ‘Gavin’…” he coughed, barely able to speak, but then summoned strength in his vocal chords somehow and rasped out, “I swear, I…I heard you calling me by my first name…”

Nines merely grunted, “Well, you were halfway to your death due to your own ineptitude, Detective Reed,” he paced over towards the other side of the bed, where he collected a wet face towel Gavin had never seen previously resting over the edge of a small bowl filled with warm water.

“When did he place that there??”

Holding the bowl and cloth in a hand, Nines peered down at Gavin coldly, and he raised a brow, as if waiting for Gavin to say something.

Gavin felt himself blushing again, and he sniffed, “Umm…th-thank you?”

Nines sighed in exasperation and cast Gavin a wary look. “This doesn’t excuse you and your pusillanimous actions, Detective Reed,” he set the bowl and cloth down on the dresser by the bed before wandering back over to the left side of the bed and crossing his arms over his broad chest while sneering down at Gavin.

“Would you like to tell me how in the name of Persephone you managed to get your hands on Slo-Freeze, Detective?”

Gavin nearly fainted. While he’d heard what Nines had proclaimed, there was just no way, no way Nines had actually said it…NO WAY!!!!!

And yet, he knew Nines had, for he easily repeated himself while glaring menacingly at Gavin, who was still lying on his back as he stared up at the ceiling in fright and panic. He couldn’t face Nines, not when his expression was so sharp with hot anger it could have cut and burned flesh. But the android’s words rang about in Gavin’s head and rattled in his skull for a few minutes while Gavin’s brain slowly processed what Nines had asked him.

What.

The.

FUCK?!

Chapter Text

Nines placed his hands on his hips as he sneered down haughtily at Gavin. “I’m waiting for your answer, Detective Reed,” he spat out scathingly, eyes constantly moving over Gavin, constantly judging and assessing him with contempt.

Gavin shook and quivered beneath the sheets, even though he wasn’t cold. His faculties had returned to him and were functioning as before the incident, but that didn’t make Gavin feel better about the situation he found himself currently in.

He was fully awake, now, and all he could do was gasp and stammer as his eyes glazed over and widened, minutes going by without him blinking. His eyes grew dry and began to burn and sting, so he forced himself to blink as he rubbed his eyes and groaned.

“Nooo…n-nooo fuckin’ way this is happenin’ to me, Nines…nooo!”

Nines frowned at him, “It most certainly did happen, Detective,” he walked a little closer to the bed, “so I suggest you tell me right now what in the name of Hades possessed you to inject yourself with Slo-Freeze??”

Gavin felt his headache growing, and he held a hand against his stomach as he blinked blearily at Nines and shook his head. “I…I don’t understand h-h-how I took it either…”

“This is becoming very tedious, Detective,” Nines warned thinly as he held up a hand, “would you prefer answering to Captain Fowler instead, then?”

That was a very good question, but Gavin had to ask one of his own, then.

“Wait…why are we in your home, Nines?” he checked the bedroom, as if needing to make extra sure that this wasn’t a dream at all.

Nines tapped a finger on his chin, LED light yellow. “Don’t answer a question with a question, Detective; it’s quite banal.”

Gavin threw his hands down on the bed, and the mattress gave a slight groan when his limbs sank into it. “I just…” he closed his eyes and shook his head. How was he to even answer this question?! He couldn’t exactly say: ‘See, Nines, this Corgi puppy showed it to me, and I thought it was just a part of a machine or something, so I picked it up because I didn’t want the little puppy eating it and choking on it!!’ As if Nines would even believe that for a second!!!

Gavin glared back up at Nines, who was already sneering derisively at him, the hard line of his mouth curling up like a wire caught in flames. “Let me guess,” he said blandly, “you’ve never before seen what Slo-Freeze even looks like, have you?”

………………

“You twat…”

Nothing needed to be said; everything was already heavy and clear in the silence between Gavin and Nines. The tall android pressed a hand against his right cheek as he shook his head in disbelief at Gavin. The detective felt his own cheeks burning and turning red, and he nearly slid back under the sheets just to escape the look Nines was giving him silently.

He clicked his tongue against his teeth. “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” he wagged a finger at Gavin, “another display of your interminable ineptitude, Detective?”

Gavin growled, “Let’s move past this, Ninesit’s not like you’ve never made a mistake in your damn life either.”

“You can’t ignore your maladroitness for too long, my husband,” Nines spat with plenty of venom that it made Gavin blanch, “I fear it could be your own undoing one day…”

Gavin waved him off, finally finding his strength as he pushed the covers aside. “I don’t think so, Nines,” he looked down at the floor, and his eyes burned, stomach suddenly queasy.

“Okay…don’t get up too quickly, Gavin…not unless you want to barf all over his floor…or on him…yeah…let’s aim to barf on him!!”

He steadied himself up carefully, placing one foot down on the floor while rooting the other in the mattress for support. He almost retreated back to the bed and beneath the covers when he felt how cold the wood beneath his foot was.

Gavin shivered a little, “Come on, Nines! I’ve never seen-let alone held-Slo-Freeze before!!” he squinted up at Nines, then, “how the heck was I supposed to know what it looked like??”

Nines hummed, staring at the ceiling before glaring down at Gavin. “I guess I could answer you in a way that you would understand…” he grinned impishly, “…so I will say: ‘haven’t you ever heard of Google?’”

“….Seriously, I’m really going to barf on him, now.”

Gavin threw him a sarcastic smirk, “Oh, hardy-har-bloody-har, you’re so freakin’ funny, Nines!!”

Nines shook his head, “I really wish you would have more insight, Detective,” he looked to the side, almost a little uneasy, “that was only a tiny dosage you ingested as well, so it really could’ve ended up more perilous for your case.”

Before Gavin could snap back at him, Nines fixed him with a withering look. Frustration and annoyance bled off him as he barked out, “Don’t be a fool. It was obviously a momentary lapse on my part to even let you near the damn thing. If it engenders this kind of reaction, then I surely won’t be so stupid again.”

Gavin snarled, “I don’t need a fuckin’ babysitter, Nines!”

Nines actually laughed. “I don’t know why I was nearly surprised by your impertinence. You are a fool, Detective; that dose wasn’t meant to draw you in just yet! It was only a taste!”

Gavin groaned as he tried getting up again, and he placed a hand on the night table by the left side of the bed for support. “Well Nines,” he chuckled as he shook his head, “I’ll be sure to include that feature into my book of ‘Drugsie-Wugsies’.”

“This is serious, Detective,” Nines spat as he watched Gavin practically limp over towards his dresser and grab a pair of black socks, “there’s no way to really tell what Slo-Freeze can do to the human body immediately.”

Gavin sat down on the foot of the bed as he dressed himself slowly into something a little warmer. “Well, you heard Maggie,” he explained as he put on the right-foot sock first, “she said that you can’t really get addicted to it first, right?” he then addressed the left-foot, “I’m sure we’ve nothing to fear, Nines.”

His husband merely snorted, “Only someone with a puerile brain would believe such notions…” he paused, snidely glaring at Gavin, then. “I sure hope you’re as confident about this as you sound, Detective,” Nines turned and began making his way for the bedroom door, pausing in his steps as he turned and cast Gavin a cold look.

Gavin was getting up to go to the closet and grab himself a black sweater, when he saw the look Nines was casting at him. It was horribly cruel, and held a lot of sheer and utter disappointment. It only instilled anger and hatred in Gavin’s heart, and he frowned at Nines as he stood and offered him an equally spiteful look of his own.

After a few minutes, Nines grabbed the door handle, and gently closed the door behind himself as he left.

Gavin snorted and whispered, “Well, fuck you too, my darling husband.”

He put the sweater on, immediately feeling warmth seeping into his bones as he threw his head back and sighed. He massaged his lower back, not having noticed before how badly it actually ached…odd.

Gavin rolled his shoulders forwards, and then backwards, and then rolled his neck from side to side as he worked the tension out of his body. As he was engaged in his little warm-up ‘exercise’, something banged against his door, and he yelped as he moved away from it.

“The hell?!?”

Gavin ran back up to it, pressing a hand down against the door handle, “Who’s there?!?!”

Booooooooop!!!!!! Beeeeeeeeep!!!! “Detective. Reed. Open. The. Door. Please.”

He let out a sigh of relief, immediately flinging the door open as he bent down. “Shelley!! I almost forgot about you, girl!” he chuckled when the little silvery-colored Nano-Bot floated into the room, her eye light soft blue as she circled him and beeped tiny beeps, perhaps her own version of an excited greeting.

“You’re so quiet all the time that I sometimes forget about you, I’m sorry!”

Shelley paused as she floated before him, her single front-leg and single back-leg standing rigidly as she tilted her head at him. “Error. Words. Unrecognized. Error.”

Gavin sighed, “Yeah, I figured.”

“Doesn’t Nines ever fuckin’ upgrade her or some shit?? I feel like she only knows a few, limited certain things…”

Wanting to test this out, Gavin paused for a moment while Shelley studied him, and he came up with a little ‘task’ for the Nano-Bot.

“Shelley,” he spoke calmly-but clearly, “what’s your opinion on President Cristina Warren?”

Beeeeeeeeep!!!!! Suddenly, a little holographic image appeared out from Shelley’s ‘eye’, and her light glowed white as she presented a small ‘clip’ of the President walking around, and then giving a speech.

“President. Warren. Date. Of. Birth. September. 17th. 1985. First. Term. Of. Election. In. The. United. States. Year. 2036.”

Gavin sighed in exasperation as he tossed her an incredulous look, “I said ‘opinion’, baby girl,” he spoke a little louder, then, “what’s your opinion on President Warren?”

Shelley’s clips of the President discontinued, and her light turned orange, suddenly. Booooop!!!! Beeeep!! “Error. Error. ‘Opinion’. Not. Computing. Error.”

“Hmmm….”

She tilted her head at him, then, “Good. Evening. Detective. Reed. What. Can. I. Assist. You. With?”

“Aaaaaand we’re back to square one. Lovely.”

Well, at least he knew for a fact that Shelley did things she was ‘ordered’ to do as far as a strict, concrete task was concerned, so Gavin stood to his full height as he pointed at himself.

“Scan me, Shelley,” he looked down at his toes and sighed, “I need to know if I’m fucked up after accidentally taking Slo-Freeze.” Technically, Gavin knew he could’ve just asked Nines to do it for him, but he really, really didn’t want to do that right now. Shelley was for sure the better option!!!

Shelley’s light turned bright green, and it wavered over Gavin slowly, from head-to-toe. Beeeeeeeeeep! “Initiating. Bio-scan. Initiating. Bio-scan.” Booooooooop!!!!! Beeeeeep! “Bio-scan. Complete. Bio-scan. Complete!”

Gavin anticipated the worst, so he sat back down on the foot of the large bed as he held his hands together in his lap. Staring down worriedly at Shelley, he sighed, “Okay girl, tell me what you got for me.”

Beeeeep! “Detective. Reed. Healthy. Lungs. Healthy. Heart. Healthy. Brain. Blood. Pressure. Slightly. Above. 80.”

Gavin frowned, “Okay…so that’s not too bad…continue…”

Boooooop! “Body. Temperature. 97.9°F. Slight. Case. Of. Hyperspermia.”

Gavin scratched his head, “Huh? Wanna define that for me, Shelley?” Too many fancy medical terms gave him a headache!!

Beeeeeeep! She tilted her head up at him as she spoke on, “Hyperspermia. A. Condition. In. Which. A. Man. Produces. A. Larger. Than. Normal. Volume. Of. Semen.”

“Aaaaaaaaaalrightyyyyy, I wish I never fuckin’ asked.”

Although he knew that she didn’t care how mortified he was, he still held his head down and looked around the bedroom as he coughed awkwardly.

“Well,” he began, “I’m glad my guys are healthy and all that, but—”

Shelley apparently had more information for him. Beeeep! “Males. With. Hyperspermia. Usually. Have. Higher. Sex. Drives. Than. Males. That. Do. Not. The. Testicles—”

“Shelley, STOP!!” Gavin waved both hands at her, then took to hiding his face in the palm of his hand as he shook his head. He was beyond embarrassed.

“Jesus Christ, Shelley!!”

Boooop!!! Beeepp!! “What. Else. May. I. Assist. You. With?”

Gavin coughed, “Well, seein’ as my balls and dick are healthy,” he shook his head, “Jesus Christ-ahem! I think we should move on to making a report to Animal Protective Agencies about the shit I saw happenin’ to these poor Corgi puppies…” he hadn’t forgotten about the little pups left back with the crazy couple-Maggie and Riley. If there was one thing Gavin Reed constantly ensured he did, it was to keep his promises. He also just couldn’t go to sleep tonight worrying about the puppies, either.

Shelley whirred and purred at him, as if hearing about ‘puppies’ alone was cheering her up.

“Task. Computed. Address. Required. For. Report.”

Gavin smiled, “My pleasure. It’s 109 Charles Street West, home of a Maggie and Riley Saunders.”

Shelley’s eye-slit shut for a moment, and she whirred as she hovered a little higher into the air. Her eye then opened, and she stopped moving. Suddenly, a woman’s voice that wasn’t her own spoke out loud.

“Emergency Animal Rescue Hotline, how may I help you?”

Gavin knew he was on speaker, so he nodded at Shelley. “Hi there,” he greeted warmly, “I’d like to make a report about some ‘at-risk’ Corgi puppies.”

The woman began typing something on her keyboard quickly, “Okay sir, I’m just going to have to ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind!”

He smiled, even though she was unable to see it. “I don’t mind at all.”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

When the report had been made, Gavin found himself feeling a lot better-both physically and emotionally. He could really go to bed tonight knowing he’d done something good for the world, even though he’d accidentally taken Slo-Freeze. That was still an issue, and he wondered how Nines was taking it all…

Suddenly, as Gavin was sitting down on his bed remembering how furious Nines had been with him, he heard voices coming up from within the heater vent installed down in the floor right beside his left-hand night table. Curiosity gripped and took him hard, and Gavin walked over towards the heating vent, bending down as he lowered his head and practically made his ear kiss the vent. He could just about hear Nines speaking to someone!

Shelley was now perfectly level with his ears, and she spun around him excitedly. She made a lot of noise, sadly, and Gavin could hardly make out the words Nines was saying downstairs.

Beeeeep, beeeep, boooop, boooop, beeeep!!!

He grunted in agony, “Shelley, please hush!! I can’t hear shit!!”

Booop! Booop! Beeep!!

Gavin was barely able to make out Nines saying: Captain Fowler.

He sat up as his patience began wearing thin. While he knew it was horrible to eavesdrop on Nines’ conversation, he just couldn’t help but be nosy and want to poke around a little, especially after what had happened.

Gavin was truthfully grateful that Nines hadn’t taken them both back to the precinct as per Fowler’s orders and instructions, but there was still an aching feeling deep down in Gavin’s gut that made him worry and fearful of whether Nines was still reporting the incident to Fowler or not. He needed to find out, NOW.

As Shelley flew around his head, he was about to yell at her, when he thought of something brilliant.

Spinning around quickly, Gavin placed his hands down on the floorboards as he smiled at Shelley warmly. “Hey, Shelley!!”

She immediately stopped flying around and beeped at him.

“You can record things, right girl?”

Beeeep! “Affirmative. May. I. Assist. You. In. A. Recording?”

Gavin bit his lower lip, wanting to test it first, just in case Shelley did something weird or crazy like record his ass or something…well, she did scan his balls before, so what other conclusion was he to come to???

He pointed up at his mouth, “Record this, please: Nines is an asshole, and he smells worse than a garbage dump hobo freshly washed up on a beach and having roasted in the hot sun for almost a full day…and he’s a shit-miser.”

Beeeeeeeeep! “Recording. Complete.”

He gave her a half-smile, “Play it back for me.”

Boooooooop!! “Nines is an asshole, and he smells worse than a garbage dump hobo freshly washed up on a beach and having roasted in the hot sun for almost a full day…and he’s a shit-miser.”

He clapped in glee and triumph when his own voice came back at his ears, and he beamed down with pride at Shelley. “Excellent, girl! Now,” he leaned down before her, eyes shining as he smiled even wider now that this all had worked and been proven to work flawlessly.

“…I need you to do something for me, Shelley…”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Nines sat in his favorite red chair, staring at the turned off fireplace as he spoke to Captain Fowler as part of Gavin’s and his own routine check-up. Needless to say, his superior was furious that Nines and Gavin had yet to return and report back to him at the precinct, and he’d yelled at Nines for nearly four whole minutes before Nines had been able to successfully calm Captain Fowler down. Unfortunately, Nines was still in ‘trouble’ due to not having looked after the investigation as properly and closely as he should have been, and Captain Fowler was still sternly scolding him as he reminded him about his duties and responsibilities for the thousandth time.

“I made you in charge of the narcotics unit for a reason, Nines!” Fowler screamed at him, making his audio receptors buzz and hum, and his LED light turned red as he clenched a fist down into his lap.

“…I know you’re one of the best, Nines,” Fowler continued, voice still loud as a beating drum, “and I expect the best from my best!!!”

“I understand, Sir,” Nines stated for the hundredth time, crossing a leg and draping it over the other as he closed his eyes and waited for this all to be over…if that time would arrive…soon…please…

Fowler gruffly screamed out again, “It was a simple task, Nines! Just investigate the Saunder property, report back to me, and then finish the day with whatever the fuck it is you do!!! Is that too much to ask?!?!”

Nines clenched his teeth together as he ground out, “No Sir, it is not.”

“Damn right it ain’t!!” Fowler spat, “I expected you to be back with Gavin, Nines, and what did you do?? You disappointed me by ditching and probably going off somewhere to argue or fight with Gavin-just as you usually do!!”

Nines mumbled under his breath, “That wasn’t the case; Detective Reed was dealing with a health issue, Sir.”

“What was that, Nines?!?!”

He nearly felt his patience finally slip away, but like a thread dangling on the edge, he hooked onto it, and held it tightly.

“I said, Detective Reed was dealing with some health issues, Sir.”

“What kind of health issues?”

Nines was grateful this call had been off-camera, otherwise, Captain Fowler would’ve seen the uncertainty displayed all over his face, and his blaring red LED light, indicative of the fact that he was about to lie…

He sighed, “Detective Reed had severe flu-like symptoms, and after completing a bio-scan on him, I came to the conclusion that he was indeed coming down with the flu, Sir.”

Fowler huffed, though Nines sensed he was buying the lie nicely. “Well then,” he said gruffly, shifting about and then moving some papers around on the other end of the line, “I guess that serves him just fine for being such a dick to everyone all the time and disobeying me for years, now!!”

Nines hummed, “Yes, years overdue, I’d say.”

The door to the drawing room suddenly squeaked, and Nines turned his head around to face whoever had been listening in on his conversation with Captain Fowler. There was nothing but darkness behind him, and his desk chair, the desk itself, his drawings and artwork, posters, and other information surrounding the case had been untouched and undisturbed in the room.

Still uneasy, Nines stood to his feet, scanning and searching all corners of the room for the spy. He was completely convinced someone had been spying here, but whoever it was, they were long gone, and they hadn’t left behind any traces of evidence behind. Nothing in the room had even been moved, and there weren’t any hair or fingerprint traces anywhere, also…perhaps it had just been the house making noises, and he let it get to him due to the fact that he’d already been lying to Captain Fowler.

Yes, he deduced that this was the best and most logical explanation, and he knew it was time to end the call.

“Nines?”

Had Captain Fowler asked him something?? He surely hoped not, as it would make him appear more incompetent than he already seemed due to the day’s events…

“Sir,” he stated coldly and seriously, “if there isn’t anything further to add and discuss, I have to get back to work.”

Fowler grunted dismissively, “No, there ain’t anything else, Nines, but just make sure that this doesn’t become a repeat incident, and try to make sure Gavin feels better, alright?”

Nines almost growled, but then Fowler cut him off abruptly. “You’re supposed to be taking care of him, Nines, remember?”

Yes, he remembered fully well what his part in this entailed, and he could’ve gone without the reminder all the time.

He pinched the bridge of his nose, “Yes Sir, I remember.”

“Just see to it that you always do.”

“Indeed.”

Fowler hissed, “Goodnight, Nines.”

“Goodnight, Sir.”

Captain Fowler didn’t even cut the call off gently; he slammed his phone down and it made Nines grind his teeth as he sighed in irritation from having his audio receptors buzz lightly.

“I wish he wouldn’t do that…”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Shelley gently shoved her round head in through the tiny crack Gavin had left in his door for her to easily slide back into his room when she was finished recording Nines’ conversation. The Nano-Bot floated into the room as Gavin sat cross-legged on his bed, and he smiled as he waved her over.

“Shelley, hey!!” she crooned at his whispers, hovering by the edge of the bed, but he saw that despite her greatest efforts, it was almost impossible for her to float up by his side on the large, high bed. This upset him, and he wanted to do something about it.

He tapped on the mattress, “Shelley, I’m gonna get you up here, okay?”

Beeeep! Beeeep!!!

“Just…don’t freak out or anything…gonna just grab you for one second…” he leaned down to the side over the bed, and gently and very slowly lowered his hands down to her sides.

She tilted her head up at him, reading the gestures and hints, and she floated up as high as she could, barely brushing his fingers.

He smiled, “Don’t worry, gonna help you, girl.” Gavin then wrapped his hands and fingers around her little body, and he gently lifted her up into the air, moving her over to float up beside him while he got comfortable once again as he sat flatly down.

“Taaadaaaa!” he sang out, smiling cheerfully at her while she purred.

Suddenly, her holographic feature kicked in, and she presented a clip of an audience sitting down and giving a joyful round of applause.

Gavin snickered as he did a mock bow, “Thank you, thank you,” he chuckled, “t’was nothin’ on my end, really.”

He paused, then, making sure that Nines was still downstairs-which he was as he moved about, and his footsteps thundered around somewhere by the kitchen. Perfect.

Gavin grabbed a pillow and laid it flatly down on the mattress, and he placed his chest on it as he kicked his feet up and grabbed his laptop that had been lying beneath the bed. Placing it before him, he started it up and got even more comfortable, digging his hips into the soft mattress as he let out a content sigh.

Turning to Shelley, he winked at her, “So, give me the goods, gorgeous!”

She tilted her head at him, and he let his laptop load up to the screensaver and background images.

“Can you please play the recording for me, Shelley?” he was already navigating to his twitter page and other social media, not having checked them since he arrived at Nines’ mansion, “I’m just checking my social media profiles, but I’m listening!!”

Ignoring how horrible this all felt-given the fact that he had taken advantage of his husband’s privacy, Gavin walked towards his bedroom door and firmly locked and shut it before plopping down beside Shelley on the bed again. He saw and heard her going over the recording; her light flashing orange, and then yellow.

“Recording. Ready. Recording. Playback!”

He pressed his index finger over his lips as he loaded up his internet page, “Shhh, not so loud, girl,” he frowned, “and tell me what the damn Wi-Fi password here is, too!”

She purred, “Retrieving. Wi-Fi. Password. Password. Set. To. Ignoramus. Detective!”

Gavin nearly slapped himself in mortification. “Of course Nines would set it to that shit…stupid smug prick!!”

He still typed it in, and once it went through and connected, Gavin immediately went to his twitter page. He had been clever and wise enough not to post anything recent, but he was bored enough out of his mind to at least want to take a gander at what the world-otherwise known as his followers-had been saying about him, and about other things in general.

The internet was extremely fast in the large mansion, and while Gavin cupped a hand beneath his chin as he went through his twitter page, Shelley played back what she’d recorded from Nines’ conversation.

“This is a first for you, Nines,” Fowler’s voice sounded right off the bat angry, but thankfully, Shelley had lowered the volume quite a lot, but Gavin was still able to hear everything perfectly fine.

“I do apologize, Captain,” Nines spoke softly, “it was something I couldn’t avoid.”

“Riiiight,” Gavin wheezed, looking down to his last tweet and then signing out when nothing important had been updated or found.

“I made you in charge of the narcotics unit for a reason, Nines!” Fowler screamed through, and Gavin winced as he shook his head.

“Well,” he snickered to himself, “Nines only got the position because he’s a spoiled, pampered dickhead, and he never passed with any real fuckin’ talent, that’s how.”

“…I know you’re one of the best, Nines,” Gavin kept his ears on the conversation, but he moved on to his Facebook page, which hadn’t been updated or had anything posted on it for almost a little over four months. Not that he really cared, but he was at least a little curious to check up on some friends, engage in drama, read their posts if they so happened to share news of their relationship struggles and issues for the world to see…that sort of thing.

He scrolled through at least fifty cat videos and photos, feeling his eyes watering as he remembered his own cat being killed by Ouroboros.

Gavin wiped his eyes as he sniffled, “You fucking dicks…”

“Noooo I’m not gonna cry!! I’m not!!”

He instead focused more on the recording, his watery eyes floating up to the top of his Facebook homepage where he saw he had a few new friend requests-all mostly from relatives he didn’t want to talk to, and a few spam accounts with no profile photos.

“It was a simple task, Nines! Just investigate the Saunder property, report back to me, and then finish the day with whatever the fuck it is you do!!! Is that too much to ask?!?!”

Nines’ voice came out deeply, “No Sir, it is not.”

Gavin rolled his eyes as he ignored the friend requests, “Ufffhhh, ‘no sir, no sir, no sir’,” he shook his head as his eyes dried, “no sir my little foot!”

“Damn right it ain’t!!” Fowler roared, and it made Gavin smirk. “Yeah, you show ‘em who’s boss, Cap.” Something about Nines finally getting screamed at made him feel so warm and fuzzy inside…

“I expected you to be back with Gavin, Nines, and what did you do?? You disappointed me by ditching and probably going off somewhere to argue or fight with Gavin-just as you usually do!!”

Gavin looked at his inbox, next, noticing that he hadn’t responded to messages from his mother and sister, but he ignored them when he saw a brand-new message that had lined itself up above all the other regular chat threads he’d held with regular contacts…

Nines mumbled then, “That wasn’t the case; Detective Reed was dealing with a health issue, Sir.”

“What was that, Nines?!?!”

Woah.

Gavin turned away from the laptop screen, staring over at Shelley with wide eyes. His jaw dropped open, and he pointed at her with a shaky hand.

“He…h-he lied?! He lied??!?”

She merely tilted her head, the recording still on-going.

“I said, Detective Reed was dealing with some health issues, Sir.”

Gavin held onto the laptop as he gasped, “No fuckin’ way…holy sh-shit, Nines lied!!?!? What the hell?!?! Why????”

Still not trusting it, Gavin’s mind supplied the answer. “He just wants to save his own android ass and avoid disciplinary action; don’t read too much into it, dipshit.”

“What kind of health issues?” Fowler pressed on, and Gavin listened intently.

“Detective Reed had severe flu-like symptoms, and after completing a bio-scan on him, I came to the conclusion that he was indeed coming down with the flu, Sir.”

Gavin pressed a hand up to his mouth, “No fuckin’ way…he didn’t tell Fowler about the Slo-Freeze??!! How??!! Why?!??!”

This was extremely unbecoming of Nines, and Gavin asked Shelley to rewind the conversation recording and go over it all again, just in case he had missed something. When it all played back the same way as the first time, he gripped his stomach tightly, his heart slamming repeatedly in his chest as his eyes widened more and more.

“He lied…did he lie for me, or for himself?!”

Not able to locate the answer to his own question, Gavin’s mind pulled him back to the new message sitting in his inbox.

It had been sent almost three days ago, around 11:49 PM as well. It was just a short, brief little message that served as an introduction or a greeting of sorts, but that wasn’t what made Gavin nearly fall off his bed in shock and worry.

What made him nearly have a heart attack and a seizure was the fact that the message read out:

Hey, can we talk?

And more importantly, it was sent to him from Raoul Spencer.

Chapter Text

It was definitely Raoul, alright. Not only was his Facebook profile name labeled as such, but when Gavin quickly visited his profile, he was faced with the same man he’d bumped into at the grocery store not even half a week ago. Yep, it was Raoul he saw in the display photo with his dark green eyes, and short, wavy dirty-blonde hair.

In his current profile photo, he was wearing a basketball jersey, black shorts which showed off his long-toned legs, and black Nike running shoes. He was posed with two other guys, but they had been slightly cropped out of the photo, as Raoul was the center-piece of the picture.

His cover photo on his Facebook profile was one of himself and his son, Paul. Paul was much younger in this photo than when Gavin had seen him in the grocery store, however, and he was wearing bright blue shorts, matching blue and yellow sandals, with an orange t-shirt. His hair was surprisingly quite long, and it almost hit his little shoulders. He was hoisted up on his dad’s shoulders, and his little fists were buried in Raoul’s hair as the man smiled at the camera while holding onto Paul’s little stubby legs. They must’ve taken the photo in a park or something, as there was plenty of sunlight in the background shining down on their heads, and a few birds sitting in their nests on the tops of trees were also visible in the photo.

It was a very charming photo, to say the least, and Gavin went through a few more slowly before he read some of Raoul’s posts on his Facebook timeline.

Apparently, in the month of February of the year 2027, Raoul had gotten engaged to his then-wife, Anne Marie Lorde. She was a tall, athletic cheerleader type with long red hair, and she totally seemed to be Raoul’s type of girl. Their marriage hadn’t lasted too long, as Raoul’s photos with her grew infrequent until she had had Paul. But then, after a few more awkward family photos and Christmas posts, Raoul’s relationship status had gone from ‘married’ to ‘single’ in the year 2038.

“Ahhh, so he hadn’t lied about his relationship status, I guess…wait…why the fuck do I care??”

Frowning at himself, Gavin clicked out of Raoul’s family pictures, and moved on to an album tilted: ‘New Year, New Me!’

Something in his gut screamed at him not to go further, judging by the first photo in the set. It was of Raoul wearing nothing but a beach towel wrapped tightly around his waist. Unfortunately, Gavin was beyond curious, and although his curiosity began as a ‘how much more of a well-built body does Raoul have in comparison to me?’, it soon turned into ‘how good does he look as he runs along the shores of the beach while wearing a speedo?’

As Gavin clicked through the photos one-by-one, they got a lot more ‘carnal’ and slightly lewd. In the first two, Raoul was simply having a drink as he relaxed under a large blue umbrella. The others were of him being shoved and smothered in the sand as his son Paul buried him under while also making a small sand castle near him.

Gavin suppressed a giggle, but his giggle died away when he saw that Raoul was flexing in the next photo, and he had the most perfectly chiseled abs and pecs Gavin had ever seen. His chest was strong, his shoulders were broad, his body was perfectly in proportion, and his hips and lower abs were perfectly shaped in a ‘V’ shape beneath his shorts…

Gavin quickly slammed the laptop lid down as he turned away from the photo and faced Shelley. Her light was red, and she tilted her head at him, her legs folding in and out from beneath her body slowly, as if she had been scolding him in her own way.

Gavin rolled his eyes at her while grabbing his phone, “Hey, don’t you judge me!”

She merely let out a series of deep humming noises while she hovered by his side.

Quickly, Gavin opened up the Facebook Messenger app on his phone, and he went back to his inbox. Tapping Raoul’s message open, for a moment, Gavin’s finger hovered over the ‘delete conversation’ option, and he nearly pressed down on it when the little green circle by Raoul’s profile picture turned up, indicating that he was online just now.

Gavin nearly dropped his phone, but he moved back towards his pillows as he stared down at the screen intently. In fact, he was staring so hard, that he was surprised his phone hadn’t cracked. He didn’t know what to do, and for a moment, considering how Raoul had so easily found his Facebook profile and had messaged him days ago made Gavin want to block him, but then again, Raoul hadn’t done or said anything wrong…he just wanted to reach out and talk!!

A dark shadow fell over his phone, and Gavin looked up to see Shelley’s head tilted down at the phone while her light was still red.

“Oh come on,” Gavin hissed at her, not wanting to be scolded by her, on top of everything else. Why did he need to feel badly for just talking?? “There’s nothing wrong with just some friendly, casual talking, Shelley!” Even though he tried ushering his words out with some confidence, his excitement and said confidence dampened, but he covered it up by clearing his throat noisily.

Apparently, she disagreed, and she let him know so as she circled around his phone angrily, emitting what resembled to be little growls.

Ignoring her, Gavin began texting out his reply.

“Just gonna keep it short, simple, and sweet. Nothing more, nothing less!”

Gavin R: hey…whats up?

There. That was a good enough of a start. Perhaps a little awkward, but still good! He leaned back, and in no time, Raoul was already composing his message, as the three little dots at the bottom of the chat window presented themselves.

His reply came after a minute or so.

Raoul: hey, sorry if it was weird for me to reach out to you like this…your twitter page wasn’t too active.

“So he’s checked ALL my social media??? That’s kinda…that’s kinda odd…”

Another reply was sent in a few seconds.

Raoul: how’ve u been?

Gavin R: umm…fine? He frowned as he began writing the next part of his message. What the fuck do you wan—

“No…that’s way too rude.” He deleted that and started over. Shelley seemed to disapprove of the fact that he’d deleted the unnecessarily impolite message, but Gavin ignored her protests.

Gavin R: so what did u want 2 talk 2me about??

Leaning back on his pillows, Gavin bit and chewed on his lower lip, feeling a little weird for talking to Raoul when he was married…but this wasn’t cheating, and his relationship wasn’t real at all! So then why did this feel like it was an act of infidelity?

“Because he has a hot body,” his mind supplied, and Gavin nearly punched himself in the face.

“NO, RAOUL SPENCER DOES NOT HAVE A HOT BODY, SHUT THE HELL UP AND WE ARE SOOOOO NOT GOING THERE.”

His phone vibrated, and he almost shut it off, not wanting to read what Raoul had texted him. For some reason, anticipating his response was worse than reading it, and Gavin tried snapping out of it as he forced himself to look down at the words waiting for him on the screen.

Raoul: was just tired. Paul’s with his mother, and he’s gonna be with her for a bit, but I was wondering if you maybe wanted to have a couple of drinks with me tomorrow?

“Is he…is he asking me out on a date?!??! A DATE?!?!?”

What the actual fuck?! Was Raoul really asking this?!

He quickly texted back, Raoul, you do know im married, right????

“What’s up with this guy?!?”

The response came a few seconds later, and Gavin had to wipe his eyes as he glared down at the phone.

Raoul: Reed, you do know im not gay, right? Lol

“God damn it…now I look desperate AND crazy!! What a great combination!!”

Resisting the urge to really slap himself silly, Gavin bit down his mortification, knowing he was blushing redder than an apple, and he ignored Shelley as she let out a low ‘beep’ while he responded quickly to Raoul, wanting this all to be over with right now.

Gavin R: right…sorry…yeah umm…sure? You pick the bar; I don’t usually work Saturdays anyway.

Something at the back of his brain told him to tell Nines, or at least ask if he could bring him along. It wasn’t that Nines could even drink; something just felt so wrong about having a chat with a recently-divorced attractive man when Gavin knew he was gay and very touch-starved!! Honesty had always been his policies in relationships-not that he had any with guys, really-but he didn’t know how to exactly ask Nines…the android was already beyond pissed and disappointed in him for the Slo-Freeze incident, and asking about this and having to answer a million questions Nines threw at him? Nah…forget asking.

He was a grown man, after all! So what if he was married? Why did he have to ask permission to go anywhere?!?! He wasn’t doing anything wrong or bad! He was just having a few drinks, catching up with an old classmate, and who knows? Perhaps he could make a new friend!! There wasn’t anything bad about these things at all, and Gavin made up his mind in mere seconds about how to proceed.

Realizing he had been thinking for a while and had gotten lost in his thoughts, his phone vibrated many times, and Shelley even flicked her sharp, barbed tail at it while she waited to see what he would respond to Raoul with.

Gavin’s fingers slipped a few times, and he could barely hold the phone as he read out Raoul’s messages.

Raoul: u there? Hope i didn’t offend you…
hello? im sorry if i was rude

Gavin sighed and whispered to himself, “Get it together, Gav.” He hurriedly responded, before Raoul thought something was wrong with him.

Gavin R: yah sorry, i was just kinda interrupted with something.

He looked up, throwing Shelley a disgruntled look, and she didn’t appreciate it a lot as she flicked her tail up and down while her light flashed red, and then orange a few times. Gavin held up a hand to shield his eyes away from it as he felt his phone vibrating.

Raoul: oh…thats good, i thought ur husband was there lol!

Once again, Gavin felt horrible. He’d never ever seen or heard of anyone in his family cheating on their partner or spouse, and the small, minor relationships Gavin had had in high school and college while figuring out his real sexual orientation had even dealt him a lucky hand of never being cheated on or having cheated himself. As far as he was concerned, he was as loyal to partners as he was to his co-workers in his workplace and duties, and this seemed…just horrible.

He was literally sitting in Nines’ home, under his roof, in a room he technically owned, on top of a bed he had purchased, and he was plotting something behind his back. This was just foul and so, so very wrong, but for some reason, Gavin couldn’t say ‘no’ to Raoul. He was either insane, or possessed, and he had no idea which of the two it happened to be, but needless to say, his fingers still pressed on the letters, and in no time, the sentence was formed.

Gavin R: nah, my husband’s working, we’re good.

Shelley this time headbutted him, and Gavin nearly dropped his phone when her round head smashed into his forehead. He cradled his semi-injured head as he hissed out in pain while scowling furiously at her.

“Shelley?!?! The heck is wrong with you, girl?!?!”

BEEEEEEEEP!!!! BOOOOOOP!!! She flew forward at him once more, heading right for the center of Gavin’s forehead this time, but he cleverly ducked, and she nearly crashed into his pillow. He rolled over to the side, phone still in his hand as he got off the bed while Raoul’s next message was delivered to him.

Gavin waved a finger at the irate Shelley, “No thank you, girl,” he shook his head next, “I know you’re very protective over me, but I assure you honey, I got this!”

He read Raoul’s message quickly, before Shelley could make noise or do something else to interrupt and distract him.

Raoul: cool, so ill message u tomorrow sometime after 6, k?

BEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!! BLEEEEEEEEP!!!

Gavin immediately texted out: sure, gtg for now, cya

Raoul’s response came half a second later: goodnight, Reed.

Closing the Facebook messenger app, Gavin threw his phone down onto the bed as he held his hands up before Shelley as if she had a dangerous weapon pointed right at him. He glared at her when she ceased her beeping.

“Whaaaaaaaaaat?!?!”

She merely hovered in the air as she spun around in a few circles, her little makeshift antenna ears twitching slightly. If Gavin didn’t know any better, he would’ve assumed she was beyond pissed with him. She had every right to be, but as far as he was concerned, he hadn’t done anything wrong, and he was willing to defend that to the grave…somewhat.

He held his head up high as he snorted down at her, “I’m not doing anything, Shelley; just catching up with an old friend! What’s the big deal anyway??”

Booooooop!!!!!!!! Beeeeeeeep!

He waved her off, “Don’t be such a drama Queen!”

Beeeeeep!!!

“He’s straight, if you’re asking!”

………………..

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!

He rolled his eyes as he threw his hands up to the ceiling. “You’re impossible, Shelley.”

Before she could make another angry noise, Nines screamed up for Gavin, no doubt probably waiting down by the large, grand staircase railing.

“Detective!!” his loud voice rang out in the night, cutting like a sword through butter, “your presence is required downstairs in my office!!”

Gavin rolled his eyes, about to say something to Shelley as he pointed down at her, but he was interrupted once more by Nines.

“NOOOOOOOOW!!”

“Alright!!” he leapt up in fright, pushing his hair back as he made his way to the door. “Jesus Christ!!”

Before leaving, he turned and pointed at Shelley, “Don’t get into too much trouble while I’m gone.”

Tossing her a playful wink, he gently closed the bedroom door.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Madamina, il catalogo è questo,

Delle belle che amò il padron mio;

Un catalogo egli è che ho fatt'io;

Osservate, leggete con me!

Osservate, leggete con me!

Gavin pushed open the office door, eyeing Nines-who was standing by the large black desk pressed against the left-hand wall when he walked in.

Loud opera was playing, and while Gavin thought he could’ve recognized the piece, he wasn’t too sure exactly, nor did he want to make a fool out of himself in front of Nines…or god forbid, spoil his husband’s wonderful taste in ‘art’…

He pointed at one of the speakers, “It’s lovely!!”

Lowering the volume a little, Nines spoke out, “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Don Giovanni, Madamina, il catalogo è questo-otherwise known as the Catalogue Aria.”

Gavin nodded as the music continued on beautifully.

In Italia seicento e quaranta;

In Alemagna duecento e trentuna;

Cento in Francia, in Turchia novantuna;

Ma in Ispagna son già mille e tre…

Mille e tre…

Mille e tre…

Gavin nodded once again when there was a brief pause, and once Nines had been staring at him for far too long. “Errr, right…” he sat down on a small, three post chaise lounge. Gavin placed his feet on top of it, trying to get comfortable as he wormed his way up to the top of it, his back leaning against the wall behind the chaise lounge while Nines looked down at the contents of the desk before him.

He turned around and threw Gavin a nasty scowl that pinned Gavin where he remained. “Feet off the furniture, Detective.”

Gavin sighed, “I’m wearing clean socks, though!!”

“Get. Off. Now.”

Not wanting to argue, Gavin rolled his eyes as he got off the chaise lounge and instead sat in it properly as one was meant to do. He folded his hands between his thighs and grumbled under his breath deep at the back of his throat as he looked down angrily at the floor. Whatever the hell Nines wanted, he hoped they would be able to finish with it, fast.

Once Gavin was silent for a while, Nines hummed as he shoved a hand in his grey dress pants pocket, and then turned around and collected something off his desk. He held it out of Gavin’s view, however, and due to the secrecy of it all, Gavin began to worry about just what exactly it was that Nines wanted.

Perhaps…perhaps Nines had caught Shelley spying?? Oh dear god…he hoped that wasn’t the case at all, for if it were…oh, he didn’t even want to think about how livid Nines would be.

Gavin patiently waited, however, trying not to reveal how nervous and scared he was as he pressed both hands against his mouth and watched as Nines walked over to him and held out a tiny object.

Before Gavin’s eyeballs could take the image of whatever it was into his mind, Nines grabbed the black metal chair resting by his desk, and he sat down in it when he turned it around so he could face Gavin. He produced what was the tiniest little cylinder container Gavin had ever seen, and Nines held it up between his thumb and index finger. It glimmered in the lights above, and Gavin still had to squint to really focus his vision hard on it so he could see it properly.

It wasn’t a thing he could identify by sight alone, and he wasn’t going to bother relying on that as he shrugged at Nines while the android stared intently and blankly at him, perhaps waiting for a reaction from Gavin as far as ‘recognizing’ the item was concerned.

“I don’t know what that is,” Gavin spat uncouthly, “it’s just a fuckin’ empty container.”

Nines smirked while his eyes glittered malevolently, though it was an unfriendly smirk meant more so to belittle Gavin’s incompetence more than anything. “I thought as much,” he coldly spoke out as he himself turned the object over while still holding it, staring at it for a while before holding it out in front of Gavin once again.

“You rely far too heavily on your eyes; you limit yourself.”

Gavin snorted, “I need my eyes to see, darling husband.”

Nines grinned again, though it seemed very forced and pained. He stood up, holding the cylinder container gently, and he motioned over towards the door. “Follow me.”

Not wanting to argue at this hour of the night, Gavin merely sighed as he too got up and allowed Nines to lead him all the way down past the dining room, and once they were at the far end of the room, Nines gently rubbed a hand against one of the bookcases, and it pushed back, revealing a little door in the wall only slightly taller than Gavin.

The other man gasped, “Holy shit…this is like a haunted house movie!”

Nines ignored him as he pressed the door open, still leading the way with his head raised up high and mighty like some King. Their footsteps automatically led them downwards, and Gavin’s eyes adjusted as best they could in the dark, but he allowed himself to be led by Nines’ bright blue LED light, and he saw that an old stairwell took them down into some kind of underground tunnel.

“Wow,” he whistled as he let out a soft chuckle, “did you build this yourself, Nines, or did the house come with this feature?”

His husband still ignored him, but slowed down as he pointed at the old stone walls, and Gavin saw little red arrows drawn crudely in red paint as they pointed straight ahead.

“This is the first-and only-time I’ll show you this path,” Nines vocalized unenthusiastically, “so learn it, memorize it, and rely on these arrows; the lighting here is nonexistent, and I am not going to be making a change to that just for your sake.”

Nodding wordlessly, Gavin peered down a particularly narrow corridor and looked at his directions. The same little red arrows egged him on. Gavin obeyed them, hunkering down into his shirt and wondering idly what life would be like for a claustrophobic person trapped down here. The corridors twisted and bent, going on for quite some time, throwing his sense of direction off completely, until his path emerged into a low-ceiling hall. There was a single door in front of him, marked with the word One singed into the wood. He waited right behind Nines, then, not wanting to touch things that weren’t his-especially unknown doors which he had no idea about and to where they led.

Nines turned around and stared down at Gavin, pressing a hand against the black handle of the door, which seemed far too old to be considered even remotely ‘modern’. The door opened under his knuckles with a loud groan.

He led the way, not bothering to turn back to Gavin as he hissed out like a serpent, “In here.”

The room beyond was icy cold, and much smaller than the usual ‘broom closet’ Gavin’s mind had conjured up when he was waiting outside with Nines. There were only three long desks from the front to the back, and a single thick, large, white plastic table was at the front of the room. It stood out among the wooden ones in the back, and it held many interesting things upon it. This table bore lab equipment Gavin recognized immediately from the Forensic and Narcotics Investigation team back at the DPD precinct. What was it doing here, however?!

He frowned, scratching his forehead as he gazed at the numerous photos plastered on a whiteboard above the plastic table, majority of the photos zooming in on damaged and badly burned body parts of unidentified people, with numbers drawn crudely on the top-right-hand corner of them. Other X-ray photos were strewn about on the walls as well, which were made up of the same kind of stone Gavin remembered seeing in the tunnels and corridors before they entered the room. There were strange jars on shelves mounted within the walls bearing some kind of lime-green and yellow viscous fluid. Little lamps were spaced out randomly on the desks and within the walls, but they were so old that they held within their shades and covers plenty of dust, a few dead flies, and would often flicker once or twice.

The entire room had a very creepy and eerie feeling to it, and it made Gavin’s stomach clench up as he felt nausea float in him as he tried making out what exactly the strange fleshy things were within the jars. He luckily didn’t have too much of a chance to think on it, for Nines shut the large wooden door on them and gently brushed past Gavin.

“Come.”

“A man of many words, he is.”

Gavin sighed as he trailed behind Nines. They stopped when they stood before a brand-new white microscope, though Nines didn’t place the container underneath it, yet. He instead turned and threw a strange look of contempt over at Gavin.

“Before we examine this,” he stated as he held up the cylinder shape up to Gavin’s eyes crudely, “would you like to estimate as to what the identity of this object could be?”

Gavin growled mutinously, “Nines, it’s past midnight, and you’re choosing to play 21 Questions with me right now?” he laughed a dry laugh, “Christ, you’re a bastard sometimes, aren’t you?”

Taking that as a ‘no’, Nines merely turned around coolly, and he beckoned Gavin over with a finger as he got to work placing the cylinder right on the flat stage of the microscope and beneath the eyepiece lens. He stepped aside once his skilled fingers had adjusted the diaphragm to pour just enough light over the piece, and he selected an objective lens that zoomed in on the object and magnified it by 40%.

He pointed at the microscope once it was ready, “Take a look for yourself.”

Gavin grumbled, but leaned forward and peered down through the ocular lens. He didn’t see much at first, but Nines stood by him, crossing his arms over his chest as he studied Gavin.

“What do you see?”

Gavin drummed his fingers on the plastic desk, “Well it’s made up of glass; that’s what I can see now…”

“Good, what else?”

He was about to scream out to Nines that there wasn’t anything else, and that he was beyond tired and in dire need of rest, when he saw a few drops of turquoise-colored liquid…it then bounced like a jelly bean, forming and gathering in a mass-solid shape, pressing against the glass prison it was confined in.

Nearly leaping right out of his skin, Gavin yelped as he pointed down at the cylinder with a trembling hand, “The hell!!!?? Why does it move?!”

Nines smiled coldly, “Because it can sense your blood close by, Detective.”

Gavin’s jaw dropped, and quivered, “Is it…is it…?”

“What do you think it is, now?”

He knew very well. “It’s Slo-Freeze!!!”

Nines nodded, studying the turquoise fluid as he spoke calmly, “This substance is kept within the square container you found back at the Saunder residence, and within that, is the cylinder glass where the Slo-Freeze is often stored carefully.”

Gavin didn’t want to look back into the ocular lens, but he did, and once again, he saw the Slo-Freeze moving around like it was alive, shifting from side-to-side and then rolling around its confined space as if it wanted to get out and escape so desperately.

“Since you never have observed it this up-close before,” Nines continued, “I will explain how it injected itself into your veins.”

Stepping away for a moment, Nines withdrew from a small plastic bag Gavin hadn’t even seen him storing in his back pocket, the square outer container of the Slo-Freeze. As if it would bite him just from staring at it, Gavin moved away, almost hiding behind the other side of the plastic table as he glared at the square container.

Nines noticed his anxiety, and rolled his eyes, as if it were a huge inconvenience to him more than anything else. “It’s not lethal right now, Detective,” he hissed with contempt, “in fact, this dose was merely meant to ‘test’ you before breaking you in, as opposed to leaving deleterious effects…”

Gavin sneered, “It’s still fuckin’ creepy is what it is!” he looked into Nines’ eyes, then, “just tell me how it works, before I throw up!”

“How dramatic of you,” Nines started, looking down at the liquid as he stood back and crossed his arms over his chest. “Detective,” he smiled coldly, “think of the drug as Hirudo medicinalis…” he paused, sighing in exhaustion when Gavin threw him a very confused stare.

“…a leech, Detective Reed,” he spat shortly, “it’s like a leech, given how leeches are known for attaching themselves to a host with a sucker and feeding on blood.”

Gavin grew pale, and he pressed a hand against his abdomen as the room spun. “Fuckin’ lovely,” he groaned, “I swear, I’m gonna really throw up, now.”

Ignoring his complaints and discomfort, Nines studied the box, turning it about on his palm as he pushed and poked at it with an index finger. The ‘needle-sharp’ points that had pierced through Gavin’s skin were still ejected and standing out, and they faced Gavin when Nines held his hand up to his eyes.

“As you can see,” Nines calmly presented, “it’s not just an open-and-shut-case of inject the drug immediately…no,” he shook his head and smiled almost appreciatively over the creation, “…the user needs to be injected first with a burst of a paralyzing agent, which is an inoculation otherwise known as Propofol-or commonly referred to in pharmaceutical companies as Diprivan.”

Gavin nodded, “Okay, so what does that shit do, actually?”

“It is responsible for behaving as a short-acting medication that results in a decreased level of consciousness and lack of memory for events. Its uses include the starting and maintenance of general anesthesia, sedation for mechanically ventilated adults, and procedural sedation doctors and surgeons typically use for patients undergoing heavy operation.”

Gavin pressed a hand on the top of his head. This was all too much to take suddenly, and he closed his eyes as he tried remembering what he’d been doing before the drug injected itself into his system. Strangely, his mind drew a big, blank wall, and it hurt to even try and think to remember everything. He just couldn’t do it at all.

When he opened his eyes, Nines had placed a hand on his hip as he casually leaned against the table whilst casting him blank stares he was unable to read.

“I know it’s confusing for you, Detective Reed,” Nines stated plainly, eyes moving over Gavin’s face slowly, as if seeing him for the first time.

“However,” he continued while holding up a hand, “I have a perfectly rational theory as for why Ouroboros use ‘leeching’ methods in Slo-Freeze…”

Gavin knew he wasn’t going to like what he was about to hear, but for the sake of the investigation progressing, and for the sake of saving future and potential victims, Gavin willed himself to put up with this lecture and just listen.

Once he was sure he had his undivided attention, Nines drawled on. “Medicinal leeches have been used for clinical bloodletting for at least 2,500 years. Ayurvedic texts describe their use for bloodletting in ancient India and in ancient Greece. You see, bloodletting was practiced according to the theory of humors—” Nines paused, giving off an exhausted sigh when Gavin frowned in confusion.

“Dear me, Detective,” Nines whispered softly-but with a tinge of anger just bubbling beneath his words, “did you sleep through all of your chemistry and history lessons?” Nines’ glare carried so much disdain that Gavin wanted to slap him for it.

Instead, he merely shrugged all the anger off his shoulders. “I took an introductory course in Medieval Studies…does that count?”

Nines blinked once; expression unreadable. “You are an imbecile.”

Gavin scowled at him, “I swear! We talked about it in Medieval studies courses!! That’s when they were practicing with leeches, you goon!”

Nines scowled back. “No it wasn’t…” he paused, head tilted as he spat out, “idiot”, just for good measure.

Gavin rolled his eyes, but let Nines explain to him what he didn’t know.

“Prior to the 19th century, medical practice was based largely on what ancient Greeks termed ‘the four humors,’ an idea formally introduced by Hippocrates way back in the fourth and fifth century B.C. The four humors were thought to be sanguine-blood, choleric- or yellow bile, melancholic, or black bile, and phlegmatic-otherwise known as phlegm. Their composition within the body was considered to determine a patient’s personality and health concerns. Every human body was thought to contain some measure of each of these humors.”

Gavin nodded as he took this all in. “Okay, and the leeches were used for…?”

Frowning, Nines continued, “Bloodletting using leeches enabled physicians to restore balance if blood was present in excess. It was noted that from the medicinal use of leeches in ancient Rome, they were often used for gout, and that patients became addicted to the treatment. Leeches were used in medicine from ancient times until the 19th century to draw blood from patients. In modern times, leeches find medical use in treatment of joint diseases such as epicondylitis and osteoarthritis, extremity vein diseases, and microsurgery, while hirudin is a valuable drug for some blood-clotting disorders.”

Gavin wasn’t stupid. He had picked up on the hint that Nines had slyly and cleverly thrown in there. It was present within the way he said the word ‘addicted’. He nodded as he pushed back a few fallen, stray bangs away from his eyes and forehead.

“So therein lies the addiction, I guess,” he offered softly, his voice barely hovering in the air between them as Nines moved away from the table and the microscope.

Staring at Gavin with a bit of a new expression Gavin still had trouble deciphering and understanding, Nines huffed, “It goes even far beyond that, Detective Reed,” he motioned at the table, “we need to dissect it, document it well, and test it for the purposes of re-creation.”

Gavin frowned at him, “Can’t you ask your fancy druggie team to do that for you?!?”

Nines merely shrugged it off, “I technically could, though I am not inclined to at the moment, Detective,” he sneered cruelly, “seeing as you were one who stumbled upon it, I think it should count as your find, and therefore; your study.”

“The hell!” Gavin cried out angrily, “I didn’t just ‘stumble’ upon it on my own! A Corgi puppy found it and was about to chomp on it!!”

Nines sneered derisively in response. “I don’t care if Aleister Crowley himself rose from his grave and personally handed it to you, Detective,” he threw back as he took a step towards Gavin, eyes suddenly menacing, dark, and very serious. “For the time being, however, you will work on what you can find and discover from Slo-Freeze-by my assistance, of course-and only when we’ve made some progress, we can involve my team. Otherwise, I’m not wasting time and resources.” His tone dripped with condescension, and was acerbic, as if he were explaining to a none-too-bright child instead of an adult.

He spun around, making his way briskly back out the door, when Gavin called out at his back loudly, “You may not be wasting their time, but you’re totally okay with wasting mine.”

This made Nines pause, and he turned, gripping the door handle in one hand, and throwing Gavin an utmost foul sneer. It turned into a cruel grin, however, spreading across Nines’ face widely like a growing illness until it had completely taken over his entire face.

“You have oodles of time to be wasted, Detective Reed,” Nines spat, “however, if you find yourself at your wits end from being conflicted about engaging in your dull social obligations, then you should best get started on this task earlier, husband of mine.”

The door softly closed with a gentle click, after that, and Gavin nearly doubled over in both uneasiness and anger coiling in the pit of his stomach.

Chapter Text

Saturday morning had arrived. This wasn’t the first weekend Gavin had remained in Nines’ mansion, but seeing as he’d been married a little over a week ago, he hadn’t fully been able to properly enjoy his weekend as he would’ve liked to. This Saturday was going to be a lot different, however; he was going to have a few drinks with Raoul, and Gavin made a promise to himself to at least get some work on the case done before he borrowed time to hang out with Raoul. This way, he could enjoy his time with Raoul with a piece of mind and a clear conscience that he hadn’t wasted the days away.

He was almost awake when the bedroom door banged open again, and Nines waltzed proudly in with his hands clasped behind his back. Shelley floated in behind him a few seconds later, her light a soft baby blue color as she hovered by Gavin’s bedside. The rude wake-up call hadn’t scared him though, as he felt he was finally getting used to Nines barging into his room like a wild bull on the odd day or so.

“I would wish you a ‘good morning’, Detective Reed,” Nines began nonchalantly, “but you aren’t exactly ‘deserving’ of what entails a good morning, in actuality.” He made his way over to the curtains, pushing them aside and allowing mild sunlight to flood in the room like a heavy tide. Nines turned back to Gavin, eyeing him cautiously as Gavin put on the clean sweater he had draped over the little night table closest to him. It was a bit of a chilly morning, but he was ready to face it anyway as he cracked his knuckles and neck, stretching a little here and there as he got up.

Nines winced as he stared at him while he stretched his hands up above his head towards the ceiling, and Shelley merely purred as she too floated up as high as she could, though she only came up to his thighs. Whenever Gavin stretched, she seemed to do the same, almost imitating his movements and motions as she purred and made little noises.

“Cease your infernal stretching, Detective,” Nines spat out quickly, walking over towards Gavin and looming over him menacingly, “it is a sickening sight to see you mending and bending your body as if you were some exotic contortionist.”

Gavin sighed, already tired even though he’d just woken up, “Do you have to insult me before I’ve even had my coffee??”

Nines only showed his white, sharp teeth, “You could do with a shave, too, I think.”

Gavin yawned, scratching at his five-o’clock shadow. “Guess so…”

Shelley stood between them, whirring and purring as she watched them carefully with her one eye.

Gavin looked down at her and waved, “Good morning sweetie! How’re you—”

He was interrupted by Nines scoffing, “Your attachment to that machine is rising to levels of ad nauseam, Detective.”

Gavin merely shrugged, “Better to be attached to her than you, eh Nines?”

Not bothering to stick around for Nines’ next insult, Gavin walked over to the linen closet, grabbed a fresh towel, and was already getting ready for a shower and a shave. Nines trailed behind him, his dark clothes billowing in the wind and breeze floating in through the windows as he glared at the back of Gavin’s head.

“Detective,” he blurted out hurriedly, “have you drawn your own theories for why Slo-Freeze can be compared to leeching and bloodletting methods as I mentioned last night?”

Gavin yanked open the bathroom door, nearly being blinded by the sun poking down into his eyes through the huge skylight above in the ceiling. He sighed, “I’m not an idiot, Nines,” he threw the towel on a large vanity and counter set, “I think Ouroboros fully believe that Slo-Freeze cleanses the body, much like people thought using leeches would help get rid of ‘tainted’ blood…” he looked up into Nines’ eyes, as if waiting for him to confirm or dispel his theory. He was met with nothing but contempt and coldness, unfortunately.

Nines still nodded, “Yes, for once we seem to agree on something, Detective.”

Gavin scratched at his stubbly face; eyebrows furrowed as thoughts hit him like stones being thrown into his face. “Still,” he sighed, “it doesn’t make a lot of sense as to why they kill people, torture people, maim people, oh!” he held up a finger, “and it sure as shit doesn’t explain why they fuckin’ killed my cat!!”

A grumble was his response from his husband. “Another monument to your immortalized stupidity, Detective Reed,” Nines spat viciously, “I believe I already stated that the preliminary targets are pets; a means to an end, no doubt, but a clever and supremely bold move taken towards psychologically wearing down the intended victim.”

Gavin huffed as pain once again flooded his mind and heart when he remembered his cat first having gone missing, and then having been bled out with its blood serving as paint for the crude message drawn up on his apartment walls.

“I don’t want to talk about this, Nines.” He spun around, opening the large, sliding glass doors of the shower stall, not bothering to care that Nines was directly behind him. Tossing his sweater off first, he then began pulling his shirt up and off his body. Suddenly, he heard Nines take in a sharp breath. Gavin nearly fell forward in shock when he heard the gasp emanating from Nines. Was his cold, stoic, taciturn husband really that daunted by a slight reveal of flesh??? No…impossible…

Gavin wheeled back around and lowered his shirt. Nines was staring off to the side, and his LED light was yellow. He seemed very uncomfortable, no matter how tall and proudly he tried standing. If he had been a human, Gavin wouldn’t have been surprised if he blushed…

But Nines didn’t blush; he merely stared at the walls in the bathroom until Gavin stepped in his field of vision. Nines still refused to meet his eyes, however, but at least he was staring at his chin…or maybe his chest? Whatever.

Gavin ran a hand through his hair just when Shelley also entered the bathroom. She flew around Nines and Gavin in slow, deliberate circles, like a shark stalking its prey before devouring it. She purred happily, and it made Gavin feel a little better, in spite of the weird shit that he still had to force himself to study and go through before he met up with…

Shit.

He needed to already be cleaning himself and shaving! That would take at least an hour and half!!!!!!

“Time to get movin’!”

He approached Nines, carefully and steadily pressing his hands against his chest, and he shoved the tall android backwards and out of the bathroom. Nines knocked into Shelley, pushing her back along with him, and Gavin merely smiled at them both widely and as politely as he could.

“Move it, folks!” he laughed, “I’ve got a lot of things to do, and ya’ll are in my waaayyyy!”

Nines glared at him, but Gavin slammed the door on his face. He pressed his back against it, just taking a moment to fully breathe in some fresh air before he looked down at his clothes.

He was a mess; he was slightly sweaty, stinky, and he reallllyyyyy needed that shave! A look at one of the three large mirrors in the spacious bathroom confirmed that for him, and Gavin shuddered at his appearance. It really was time to clean up!!

He was more than eager to get into the standing shower when he remembered the first few showers he’d had in the home, and his body practically begged for it and sought it out. Acquiescing to his physical needs, he disrobed, and Gavin was on cloud nine within minutes as steam fogged throughout the bathroom the moment he turned on the warm water.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

It was almost 10 a.m. when Gavin got out of the shower, and he made his way down the creepy, long, dark tunnels Nines had shown him the night before. He followed the marked red arrows until he was back in the same room holding the lab equipment and photos, and as he ignored the strange items in the murky glass jars, Gavin got to work on first examining the Slo-Freeze in its container. Nines had left it on the stage of the microscope, and Gavin studied its outer container before setting the small box to the side, shivering when he saw the two little sharp needles that had once been buried in his veins.

He studied the box and turquoise-colored liquid within it for almost forty-minutes, just taking down notes on the shape, its reaction whenever he tilted the cylinder container, and then he moved on to once again study the outer box it had been in when he first stumbled upon it. Taking a few more notes down, he lost himself in his work, and didn’t notice that Nines also swept in the room.

A flash of blackness before his eyes was what broke Gavin out of his concentration, and he looked up just in time to catch Nines in a brand-new pair of black jeans, black sneakers, and a long-sleeve, white button-up dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He looked a bit odd from the waist down, but Gavin didn’t have time to comment on it. He got back to his notes when Nines moved over to the front of the room, and he looked up and studied the photographs and X-rays for quite some time.

They didn’t say anything to each other for nearly another hour, and soon, Gavin had unconsciously sought out a desire to be away from Nines, and he had moved himself to sit on top of one of the long, rectangular desks. He crossed his legs atop it, his toes wiggling once he had removed his Converse sneakers. The cool air of the room hit his bare feet, and he nearly sighed in relief as he rubbed his aching wrists after having written so many notes down.

Nines noticed where he was seated, and he stood tall as he glared at Gavin from the front of the large room.

“Detective,” said Nines, and it was an ugly noise. “Get off the desk.”

“Or what?” Gavin threw back, almost without thinking.

“Or I can tell Captain Fowler about your neat little find,” Nines threatened, eyes twinkling in a small warning that didn’t go missed by Gavin.

Gavin grumbled, but slammed his notebook shut as he got off from the top of the desk and sat down on the low seating portion of it instead. Nines smirked in triumph.

“Speaking of,” Gavin’s voice hissed out no louder than that of a serpent’s as he draped an arm up and folded it so he could lean his head against his open-hand, “you still haven’t told me why you’re not sending what I found off for evidence.”

It was a good question. Gavin had been so confused regarding Nines’ behavior, that the question had been burning in his brain all night last night, and up until when he’d brought it up again. It just was so unbecoming of Nines to hide evidence away, but Gavin had a sneaking suspicion that Nines had only done this for a very, very important reason.

He grinned up at his dour husband, arms crossed over his chest as he snickered, “Well?”

Nines relented. “Very well,” he leaned against the edge of the plastic, white table, “as you know, Detective, majority of the findings surrounding any case have to be submitted and recorded through a long, tedious process before evidence can even be used or taken from it…that is, if the investigation team deems it noteworthy of lending their time, anyway.”

Moving some papers and documents around, Nines neatly organized them in a pile, and then paper-clipped them together as he continued explaining and justifying his actions. “Who knows how long it would’ve taken for the evidence to even be examined?” he shrugged as he continued, “by my estimates, it could’ve taken up to ten full months, at this rate, considering how this isn’t strictly a homicide or a kidnapping case where it requires immediate action. The more time we waste, the more calamitous the situation becomes.”

Nines had a point. They would only be wasting time and energy if they sat around and waited for the DPD to take care of the evidence. But how much progress could they really make on their own?? They were a two-person team!!

Gavin ran a hand over his jeans, wiping away his sweaty palms. “I’m not trained in narcotics though, Nines,” he reminded his husband, “sooner or later you’re gonna have to call up your boys and ask them to—”

“All in good time, my impatient husband,” Nines cooed out sarcastically, which made Gavin scowl deeply, “just concentrate on your part, and I will determine when it’s the right time to involve the team in this.”

Gavin let out a tired sigh, “So you’re gonna call the shots like you did with the suspect instead of trustin’ me?” he snorted, “you’re a slow learner, huh Nines?”

“As much as your condescending tone irritates me to no end, Detective Reed,” Nines drawled deeply, “I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for a rebuttal from me, as I have an incoming call awaiting my answer.”

He made his way past Gavin and out the door, missing the sarcastic curtsy Gavin gave him along the way.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Notes:

-Slo-Freeze paralyzes and relaxes users before its other effects kick in approximately 3.5 minutes later
-history of drug? Unknown! (needs more research into chemical processes and their functions)
-Greek Medicine roots (could a member-or leader of the gang-be Greek??)
-possible blood cleansing/purification ritual? (reference to leeches?)
-gradual eradication of the individual’s mind (long-term effects cause memory loss)
-stripping away of the person’s actions, memories, thoughts (dehumanize them? Why?)
-no ‘cure’ as of yet for the effects
-can take up to a year to reverse the side-effects of the drug
PURPOSE OF SUCH A DRUG???

…………?????????
Possible zombification of humanity so Ouroboros can take over the world?

“Aaaaaaaaarrrg!! This is so stupid!! I can’t even think anymore!!!!”

Gavin threw his notebook down on the surface of the desk he was sitting at, and he turned around, staring at the walls of the room in hopes that a clock was here somewhere so he could tell what time it was. Something internally told him it was almost noon, and as if agreeing, his stomach let out a deep rumble, demanding food right away.

Gavin looked at the door, swinging his legs from beneath the table top, and he just barely got to his feet, when the large wooden door burst open. Gavin nearly had a heart attack, but before he could throw a lovely manner of expletives at Nines, the android strolled in, holding up a black cellphone that thankfully wasn’t Gavin’s.

Gavin stared at it for a moment, then lifted a brow at Nines. “What the—”

He heard feminine shrieking on the other end of the line, and then Nines growled at him, “Talk to this hysterical woman right now, before I break this phone.”

Gavin pointed at himself, “You want me to—”

Nines shoved the phone into his chest, and Gavin fell back down on the bench seat of the desk, eyes wide with fear and worry. He slowly held the phone up to his ear.

“Umm…hello?”

…………….

“GAVIN REED! YOU UNGRATEFUL WHELP OF A CHILD!!!!!!”

He nearly sank into the floors. It was his mother, and she was pissed. She had been screaming at him just like she used to when he was young and had gotten into trouble, but soon, her shrill voice rose higher and higher in volume, and Gavin literally sank back into the table as he closed his eyes.

His mother had only spoken to him like this once in his life, and that time had been when he missed his sister’s engagement party only because he thought her fiancé was a douchebag.

“YOU DIDN’T THINK I WOULD FIND OUT, DID YOU?! OHOHO! YOU THOUGHT YOUR MOTHER WAS BEYOND STUPID JUST BECAUSE I JUST RECENTLY GOT USED TO THESE SMARTPHONES, HUH???”

He facepalmed, “Hey ma.”

This made his mother explode. “DON’T YOU ‘HEY MA’ ME!!” she shrieked horribly, “HOW COME I’M ONE OF THE LAST PEOPLE WHO FOUND OUT YOU ARE GAY, GAVIN?!?! HUH?!? I’M YOUR MOTHER, YOUR OWN DAMN MOTHER, AND I WAS THE LAST PERSON TO KNOW! EVEN YOUR FATHER KNEW, AND HE WAS TRYING TO HIDE THE NEWS ARTICLES FROM ME!!! YOU UNGRATEFUL WRETCH!!!!!!!!”

Gavin heard acerbic snickering, and he glared up at Nines, finding the tall android leaning over another row of tables as he sneered down at the phone he held in his hands while his mother raved on.

“WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME YOU GOT MARRIED, HUH?!?! WHY??? I’M YOUR MOTHER! I OUGHT TO KNOW!!”

Gavin rubbed his forehead; positive a headache was coming. “Mom, please,” he begged, “it was kind of an unexpected last-minute thing…I swear!!”

She kept going, however. “IT’S BAD ENOUGH THAT YOU’RE CHOOSING TO HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SISTER! IT’S OKAY IF YOU WANT TO CUT HER OUT OF YOUR LIFE, GAVIN, BUT HOW COULD YOU NOT EVEN TELL YOUR OWN PARENTS THAT YOU WERE GETTING MARRIED?!?!?”

“Mom, please, calm down,” he urged gently, “I’m sure I can explain it—”

“I DON’T NEED YOUR EXPLANATIONS!!! YOUR HUSBAND JUST TALKED TO ME ON THE PHONE, AND EVEN THOUGH HE SOUNDS LIKE A NICE, KIND, REFINED GENTLEMAN, YOU’RE STILL A DISGRACE TO ME, GAVIN REED!!!! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO YOUR OWN MOTHER?!?!? I WANTED GRANDBABIES, GAVIN! GRANDBABIES!!!!!! HOW COULD YOU DENY ME THIS RIGHT??!!? HUH?!?!”

Gavin tried hitting the ‘video call’ button so his mother could see him at least, but the moment it connected, she cut it off.

“I CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT YOU RIGHT NOW, GAVIN! I CAN’T!!”

“Mom, please,” he begged as he tried to connect again, but she refused, and Gavin heard a deep-but gentle-voice in the background, and he recognized it as his father’s voice.

He let out a sigh of relief, “Please, can I at least have a video call with dad? Maybe he can see my h-husband…” he looked at Nines, and was only met with a head tilt, and a look of indifference.

There was shuffling, and then his mother gave out a weary sigh, plopping down somewhere before the call connected to video format, and the entire screen of the phone soon revealed the interior of Gavin’s parents’ home.

It was just as he last remembered it; neat, cozy, homey, and tidy. His mother was sprawled on the couch, head her lap as she shook it back and forth while muttering something. Her long black hair curtained her face away from his view, but then his father stood before him, shielding his mother out of the way.

Gavin’s father had aged considerably since the last time Gavin had seen him. His hair had grown whiter, shorter-due to falling and thinning out-and his face held many more wrinkles. Still, in spite of all of that, his face remained calm, gentle, kind, and loving. His blue-grey eyes smiled at Gavin, and he steadied the phone as he spoke out, “Hello, son.”

Gavin’s father had a very contagious smile, and it immediately affected his son in positive ways. He smiled back, “Hey dad, how’re you?”

His father looked over at Gavin’s mother and sighed, “Things could obviously be better Gavin, who am I to lie to you?”

Gavin held out a hand, “Dad, if you’ll just take a second to meet Nines-just on here-I’m sure you’ll be able to see that it’s not so bad.”

“Son,” his father interrupted as Nines stood to his full height, as if getting ready to step in the view at any moment he was needed.

Gavin’s father carried on kindly and patiently, every word bearing warmth and acceptance. “I just wanted you to know that I’m not mad at you, and I’m not disappointed…” he looked down warily, “…truth be told, I’m just disappointed that you felt you couldn’t trust me enough to at least let me know you preferred men.”

Gavin’s jaw fell. “You…you knew?!? You knew???”

His mother looked up in the background, too.

“Of course I did,” his father whispered, “I don’t have an issue with it, son, and neither does your mother.”

“Yes I do, Harris! Don’t you lie to him!!”

He roared back at her, “You hush, now! You know he’s our boy no matter what, and that’s the anger in you that’s just talking, crazy woman!!”

Gavin’s mother closed her mouth as she just got off the couch and stormed somewhere off-camera. A door slammed in the distance, then.

Gavin smiled at his father, and his father chuckled warmly. “Don’t take offense to her, son,” he stated warmly, “she’ll come around eventually.”

Feeling his heart burning with both pain and overwhelming emotions, Gavin pushed out softly and meaningfully, “I love you, dad.”

His father nodded at him, “I love you too, son, no matter what, you hear?”

“I know, dad.”

Before things got awkward, Gavin heard his father sniffling, and he wiped his eyes as he cleared his throat. “Oh! But your mother and I will definitely need to drive on down to see you and your new…partner…how’s about next weekend?”

Gavin gasped, and he looked over at Nines, who merely shrugged.

“They’re your family, Detective,” he stated obviously, “I can’t stop them from visiting you.”

Gavin beamed at his father excitedly, “He says it’s okay!”

His father nodded, “Alright son, we’ll call you when we’re about to leave, just so you know when to expect us…” he saw Gavin shifting, and he cleared his throat, “oh, and Gavin!”

Gavin froze once again, “Yes?”

“We’re gonna need to have a loooooong chat son, just the two of us.”

Biting his lower lip nervously, Gavin only sighed as he nodded. “I know. I’ll talk to you later, dad; I’ve gotta work a bit more.”

“Till next time, son.”

The call ended, and Gavin’s father disappeared from the screen. Gavin ran his fingers down along the screen, as if almost wanting to reach out and just touch his father’s face as he used to do in the past in a move of comfort whenever he really needed it. He only felt the cold screen against his fingertips, now, and he sighed as he set the phone down on his lap and looked at Nines shyly.

“I’m sorry about that,” he almost whispered, “she means well, you know, but I guess she—”

“Spare me the maudlin notions, Detective,” Nines snapped with more venom and spite than necessary, “I’d like to get back to my own work now, if it’s all the same to you.”

Frowning at him, Gavin waved his rudeness off, “You were the one who barged in here; not me!”

“That raving woman interrupted not only my work, but also Captain Fowler’s!!”

Gavin stood up angrily, “That ‘raving woman’ is my mother, and her name is Stacey Louise Reed!!”

“I don’t particularly care one way or another, Detective Reed,” Nines cut in sharply, “all I know is that Captain Fowler called me, and he was furious that some woman had tried calling not only your extension, but then she’d called his personal line when you weren’t responding. She screamed not only at him, but also at me, I’ll have you know.”

Gavin smirked, “Yep, that’s my mom, alright.”

Nines sneered cruelly in response, “Indeed. Glad to see the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

He turned to exit the room, but then reached out for the cellphone resting by Gavin’s legs. He grunted, “I think I’ll have that back, now.”

Gavin rolled his eyes, but gave it to him, and his stomach grumbled again.

“It’s lunchtime, right?”

Nines growled tastelessly, “It is.”

“What can I eat??” Gavin didn’t understand why he’d asked Nines this, and he nearly slapped himself in the face for it. He’d done the shopping; he should’ve known the answer to that!! So why had he asked Nines?!?

Nines appeared to have been thinking the same, and his brown eyebrows rose to his hairline, almost. “What a stupid question, Detective Reed,” he barked out angrily, “you were the one who stocked up the fridge last time, no?” he wasn’t waiting for an answer, “then you should be the one who prepares his own meals!!”

Gavin nodded quickly, “Yes, but I’m thinkin’ of goin’ on a low-carb diet, Nines,” he pet his stomach, “and I figured since your lifestyle is so dandy, maybe you know of a recipe or two that relies much more on vegetables and protein?”

Nines rolled his eyes as he swept around towards the door, “You can have whatever you find crawling about on the floor for all I care; just let me get back to my work!!”

Gavin merely scratched the scar on his nose, but followed Nines out of the room, making sure to turn off the lights after himself as the door clicked shut so softly that they both couldn’t hear it.

Chapter Text

It was almost half-past 4 p.m. when Gavin’s phone went off, and thankfully, he was in his bedroom, selecting outfits he could potentially wear. He dove for the bed, knowing it was Raoul even before he loaded the Facebook messenger app.

As if on cue, Shelley poked her head in the room, and she flew in as Gavin was reading Raoul’s message.

Raoul: hey, we still on for tonight?

Gavin R: yep, u bet!

Raoul: great! cant wait 2 c u!!

Gavin R: me 2

Shelley made a strange noise that much resembled a growl, as if she’d secretly hacked Gavin’s phone and had read his reply to Raoul. She’d been a lot more ‘alert’ and sensitive to anything Gavin did on his phone as of late, and the detective had worked hard on keeping his phone away and hidden in odd places just so she wouldn’t pay attention to it. But it’d turned out to be a difficult task when Shelley literally began following Gavin everywhere all weekend, as if keeping her eye on him at all times. The detective hardly got time to himself; any room he would wander in, Shelley would often float behind him like a shadow, her eye light orange as she cautiously studied him until he’d had some time to sneak away into his own room.

Now, as the little Nano-Bot hovered impatiently around Gavin’s legs like a shark circling its prey, it did nothing for Gavin’s nerves. If anything, it made him feel as if he’d been plotting something horrible. He didn’t like it at all.

Gavin lowered the phone as he glared down at her. “Whaaaat?!?” he whined, “I’m not doin’ anything!!” He knew he sounded so petulant, but he didn’t care; he just wanted her to stop glowering at him so angrily.

Before she could utter another machine-like protest, Gavin held up two clothes hangers. In his left hand, a lovely black suit and a white tie dangled from the hanger, and on the right-hand clothes hanger, was a simple cream sweater with black dress pants and soft-black loafers he’d laid out at the foot of the bed.

“Which one do you think is the best, Shelley?” he held the hangers down a little lower, and she merely flew around the outfit on the right.

Gavin smiled at her, and then at the clothes. “We have the exact same style, girl,” he giggled as he placed the fancy suit back in his closet. “Glad we think alike, Shelley!!”

Beeeeeeep!!! “Error. Error. Unable. To. Recognize. Statements. Error. Unable. To. Process!!” Boooop!!!!

Gavin felt bad for her, then. He knew that as of late, he’d been talking to her as he used to talk to his older sister when they were growing up, and while a human being could handle the social intimacy and closeness, he knew it was harder for machines. The little Nano-Bot seemed horribly confused, as a huge overload of error messages seemed to spin in her round head like a storm brewing. She flew a few feet back and lowered herself to the floor, settling on her front and hind leg as she let out low ‘boooops’ repeatedly.

“I should really ask Nines how to ‘update’ her…or something like that! I can’t just leave her like this! She’s not understanding me, and she’s suffering!!”

After he’d made that little mental note to himself, Gavin gently grabbed Shelley, and he placed her on top of one of the fluffiest pillows on his bed. “Rest here, sweetie,” he cooed down at her while he hurriedly put on his deodorant and hair softener products. He couldn’t believe that time was literally slipping out of his fingers; it was nearly 5 already!!

He popped a minty tic tac in his mouth, checked his appearance in his mirror, and then silently made his way out of his room, closing the door only half-way behind him as he turned off the lights. Shelley’s little blue light flickered at him from on top of his pillow, and he waved ‘goodbye’ to her as he whispered, “I’ll be back soon, gorgeous! Don’t you worry!!”

Beeeeeeooooppp! “Error. Error. Unable. To. Process. Error!”

He looked down in pain and sadness, “I know, girl, I know.”

Something had to be done to help Shelley, and Gavin was already forming plans.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

“Jesus Christ, it really took forever for me to get ready!” Gavin placed his loafers down on the main floor as he tiptoed around, checking one last time if he had his phone with him, enough cash to buy his own drinks, and just in case, he even had a stun gun with him…

Gavin glared at it for a moment, holding the dangerous object in his hands as he frowned.

“The hell am I thinkin’?? It’s just Raoul!! I don’t need this!!” Being prepared for anything was always a good practice, but how was he to make a new friend by already doubting him? No, the weapon would have to go, and trust was required. Deciding to toss it into a black knapsack he’d brought with him and hung in the hallway closet, Gavin shut its door softly, trying not to make too much noise as Nines worked away in his office just beyond the hall and through the kitchen.

Once again, Gavin really had to stand by and wonder just what the hell he was doing. It was already quarter past five, and he was lingering in the halls of Nines’ home, about to call for a taxi once Raoul decided to let him know which bar downtown he was at.

Great.

This seemed like such a stupid, awkward idea, but Gavin was unable to stop himself from reaching into his dress pants pockets, and he withdrew his phone. It immediately buzzed and vibrated, and Gavin fumbled for it, cursing himself for not having the decency to turn off the volume.

The Facebook notifications screamed at him in the darkness of the hall, and as Gavin’s sweaty hands fought to go up to adjust the volume and mute the phone, the lights in the hallway turned on suddenly.

Gavin froze in fear at once.

Nines stood before him, leaning casually against one of the walls, his head right underneath a golden colored picture frame which held the hand-drawn portrait of a Siberian Tiger. Nines didn’t look impressed, and he studied Gavin’s form of dress carefully for a moment before he whispered softly, “Headed out?”

Gavin fumbled for his words, “Umm…yeah I’m just…j-just visiting Connor and Anderson…is there a problem with that?”

It wasn’t the smoothest lie he could’ve come up with, but it kind of fit…Hank and Connor lived right next door to each other, now, and they had both previously told Gavin he was free to drop by any time he wanted…Gavin only hoped Nines would buy the lie, and he smiled confidently-though he tried making it seem friendly, too.

Nines merely quirked a serious brow. “Indeed, and I take it that I’d be in the way of your exuberant conversations with them?”

Gavin was suddenly on the alert. He knew for a fact that Nines was going to be contacting Connor telepathically in their weird android way to likely check if this was all true, and he hadn’t bothered to ask Connor to cover for him. He was sooooooooo screwed! But he couldn’t just ask Nines to come along! What if Nines actually agreed to it?!? How would he meet up with Raoul, then?!?!

As Gavin stood in pause, Nines’ LED light turned yellow. “What’s wrong, Detective?” he smiled coldly, “you shouldn’t keep Connor and Lieutenant Anderson waiting; it’s very rude, you know.” He turned around, practically hovering and levitating off the floor due to how quietly he walked back into his office, and shut the door without even peering back at Gavin.

Gavin let out a long sigh of relief, but he didn’t spare even a moment; he had to let Connor know that he needed back-up, and not the police kind!!!

He stepped out the front door, moving along until he was beneath the garage door lights, and then he called Connor. The RK800 answered the incoming call promptly, as he often would do.

“Gavin!! Hey!! How are you??” While Connor’s voice was warm and pleasant to listen to, it did nothing to soothe tension in Gavin’s nerves. A few cars drove by, but they were residents who lived on Bishop Street, and they each pulled into the driveways of their homes as tired neighbors on the street went inside their large, fancy houses for the night.

“Connor,” Gavin breathed lowly, “I need you to do me a favor, buddy…”

Connor gasped, “Oh shoot! Hang on, Gavin, Nines is trying to reach me!”

His heart leapt a mile in his chest at once. “CONNOR!!!!!” he hadn’t meant to raise his voice, and he looked around the neighborhood, and then over at the closed front door of the mansion. Luckily, all the lights were off inside, and Nines was more than likely still inside his office working…err…trying to get a hold of Connor, it seemed.

“Gavin? Are you okay??” Connor’s concerned voice brought him back to the situation at hand, and Gavin forced himself to breathe and smile, even though Connor couldn’t see it. It was often a technique he’d used to help himself calm down, and he smiled on as he answered Connor.

“Uhh yeah! I’m okay Connor, I just needed to get some air, and I told Nines I was gonna be seein’ you and Hank…” his voice trailed off at the end there, and he winced, closing his eyes as he awaited Connor’s screams.

They never came.

Gavin stared at his phone, wondering if the call had disconnected, but then Connor giggled, “It’s okay, Gavin, I think I get it!!”

“Y-you do?”

“Sure!” he happily cried out, “you just need some ‘me’ time, and that’s okay!!” he hummed, his tone growing a little stern, “but next time, you should tell your husband that.”

Gavin groused, “For God’s sakes, he’s not—”

“I’ll tell him you’re with me for now, but try not to lie to Nines anymore, Gavin,” Connor warned softly, “it’s really not nice, you know.”

“What the—”

“Gotta answer Nines now, Gavin, byyeeee!” Without another thought or word, Connor disconnected the call.

Gavin was left wondering what the hell had happened, but at least his heart and nerves were a lot calmer now that he knew Connor was going to be an alibi for him regarding his whereabouts. At least he had that sorted, but now, he had to call up a taxi as he read out Raoul’s message.

Raoul: let’s meet up at Rabid Hound downtown

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

It was already ten-to 6, now, and Gavin wasn’t thinking anything. His mind was one blank slate, as if someone had erased all thoughts. He relied heavily on his legs to get running the moment the city cab stopped on the side of the street closest to the Rabid Hound, and Gavin leapt out of the car after quickly paying his fare.

The bar was quite busy, thankfully, and the lights were very brightly shining and beaming in the setting evening sky. People chatted merrily inside, and Gavin could practically taste the beer enticing and seducing him already…it really had been so long since he’d had a cold beer, and his mouth began salivating as his mind conjured up images of fresh bottles of alcohol he could taste all night. He didn’t need to be encouraged more, and Gavin headed inside when a couple shoved their way out the doors past him, giggling and laughing into the evening sky happily and jovially.

Gavin fought through the sea of bodies as he began searching for Raoul, when he saw a long hand jut out from above everyone else’s heads. The hand beckoned him over, and he knew it was Raoul as he waved the limb around like a flag blowing in the wind.

“Yo!! Reed! Over here!!”

Recognizing Raoul’s baritone voice, Gavin looked up, and really stretched his neck up to see the top of Raoul’s dirty-blonde-colored hair. He shoved a few people out of the way a bit rudely, but he didn’t care; Raoul was waiting for him by a few sofas not too far away from a large pool table in the center of the bar.

Raoul was already all set; he had a drink of his own, and he was wearing a black leather jacket, a white t-shirt underneath it, and black biker boots.

Gavin’s heart skipped a few beats, and then he felt himself blushing-angry that he had overdressed, when Raoul was just wearing casual clothing that he no doubt was comfortable in, but also looked amazing in.

Damn!!

He dragged his feet until he sat himself down in the black sofa beside Raoul, and he shook his hand quickly.

“Glad you could make it,” Raoul stated, pushing up his black sunglasses and letting them sit atop his head.

The music in the bar was loud, obnoxious, and country music. It was the only music Gavin couldn’t stand, and he was pretty sure it was a song by Brad Paisley…he shivered as he tried drowning it out.

He looked for a moment at Raoul, and he nearly blushed again. Unlike himself, Raoul had chosen to keep a five-o’clock shadow, and he looked really good in it. His skin was clean, and he smelled like mint, and something spicy and hot. Whatever it was, Gavin didn’t need to be smelling it, as every intake of breath seemed to do something odd to his thoughts and body slowly.

He readjusted his wedding ring, pushing it higher up on his finger, as if he was afraid it was going to somehow fall off. He motioned for a bartender with short, spiky blonde hair to come over, and she happily practically cat-walked over to them.

“What can I do for you fine gentlemen?” she asked while blinking flirtatiously at them.

Gavin smiled politely, “I’ll have a uh…” he peeked over at the cold beer Raoul was drinking for a guide, “…yeah I’ll have a Heineken, please-no ice, though!!”

She winked, “You got it, sugar!!”

Raoul snickered once she was off, “You could’ve just asked me, Reed; I would have bought it for you.”

Gavin shrugged his offer away as he blushed, “Oh please,” he snorted, “you’re only doing that because I’m dressed like someone’s grandfather who just recently got out of Church!”

Raoul threw his head back and laughed, “Nah! You look good!” he laughed a little louder when Gavin waved him off, “I’m serious,” he leaned in close to Gavin, “at least, you look better than the guy who came in here minutes before you found me…”

Gavin raised an inquisitive brow, “What guy?”

Raoul whistled as his eyes widened dramatically, “Awww man,” he leaned back in his seat, “right before you showed up, there was this big guy who came in here, and I guess he was meeting up with someone else…like a date or something…” he snickered impishly as he took a swig from his bottle, “anyway, he waddles up to me, and he’s biiiiiiiiiig, Reed, like seriously huuuuuuge!”

Gavin threw his head back and laughed, and a second later, the bartender came back with his drink. “Here we are!” she winked again at him before she skipped away, her long, red boots flashing in the lights.

Raoul continued, “Anyway, he waddles up to me, says hi, and then immediately starts flirting with me!!!”

Gavin gasped, “Noooo, why???” he lowered his voice a little, “I mean…did he think you were g-gay?”

Raoul shrugged, “I have no idea, but he sat right beside me where you are sitting now, and tried to make himself all sweet for me, and the entire time I just kept thinking: ‘please god…please help me’…”

Gavin laughed again, his stomach and sides aching a little as he imagined an overweight man hitting on a man as heterosexual as Raoul Spencer. It was just too priceless to even imagine, and it made him seriously bend over in laughter as he pictured it all happening while Raoul went on with his story, even though he was being a bit more superfluous than Gavin would’ve liked.

“I guess he thought I was into him or something,” he took off his sunglasses and folded them into a pocket on his t-shirt, “but I swear I was just being friendly. After a few moments, you could just tell that he was so sexually…charged…” he shivered as he held his beer to his chest.

Gavin felt a little uneasy by this, as he wasn’t sure if it was a sign that Raoul was throwing his way. Was he saying that he found homosexual men disgusting? Or did he not want to be hit on by a certain type and build of male? It was impossible to tell, but then Raoul threw Gavin a charming smile that melted away Gavin’s trepidation.

“I mean, this guy was just biiiig,” Raoul held out his hands for the desired effect, “and it’s okay to be big, but it’s not my thing, you know?”

“Wait…are you suggesting that you like men, but not overweight men? Or are you suggesting that you don’t like men in general? I’m so confused about you!!!!”

………………..

“Why the fuck do I care?!?!? I’m MARRIED!!!!!!”

Wanting to get away from his erratic thoughts, Gavin asked, “Was he hitting on you a lot?”

“Yeah totally!” Raoul sighed in disdain, “like, it was over-the-top pathetic!”

Gavin giggled as he imagined it all happening, “My goodness, so he was just trying to hook up with you the entire time??”

Raoul tsked, “Not like in the way you think, but yeah there was a lot of innuendo about cucumbers and bananas, and you could just tell this dude was sexually charged from the energy he gave off around me!!”

Gavin chuckled again, “That’s brutal!!”

“It doesn’t end there,” Raoul whispered when the music switched to more country, “he said he wanted to see me, but I told him I was waiting on my boyfriend to come back from ordering drinks, and then a second later, you walked in and I called your name!”

Gavin felt all the blood freezing in his veins.

“Boyfriend??? The hell?!?!”

Why was he panicking?? Sure, Raoul had lied to get away from someone creepy and distasteful, but why had he used him as a his ‘boyfriend’ placement? Surely he could’ve asked someone else?? Why him?? Especially when he knew he was ‘married’…

Shaking his head, Gavin finally took a drink. His beer felt cool enough on his lips that it was refreshing as he washed it down his throat. All his senses and nerves tingled as he took another swig, and he leaned back a little, allowing himself to finally get comfortable and immersed in the environment and scene around them.

Many patrons in the bar danced, talked, and joked around as they played ping-pong, pool, and other video games off at the sides. Others sat about in booths and seats, just chatting and trying to be quiet as they enjoyed the music and their drinks. Gavin felt himself relaxing, but when he looked over at Raoul, he found that the other man was giving him a rather strange look. It was the look of someone who wanted something delectable to taste, and it was a somewhat sexually lewd look. While it threw him completely off about Raoul, Gavin tried not focusing on meeting Raoul’s eyes. The last thing he wanted to do was send out the wrong signals, and there was still no way on earth he was going to ask about Raoul’s prior sexual escapades, for that matter.

Gavin turned his eyes towards his beer, wondering if he had gone so long without a drink that he was already inebriated and simply imagining things. He hoped it had been his imagination, but just in case it wasn’t, he tried smiling widely as he covered for his awkwardness.

“Wanna hear about my worst dating experience?”

Raoul grinned as he held his beer to his chest, “Hell yeah, if you think you can beat mine, that is, haha!”

Gavin nodded, “Bet is on!” he took another sip and then began explaining. “When I was still in college, my dad got me a new iPhone, and it was my first-ever iPhone. I was still kinda confused about my sexuality, and I downloaded this stupid app—”

“It was Grindr, wasn’t it?” Raoul interrupted, and Gavin had to laugh as he looked down at his hands.

“Yeah…yeah it was.”

Raoul snickered and slapped him gently on the back, “S’all good, man!”

Smiling at the beer bottle in his hands, Gavin continued. “Anyway, so I was messaging this guy who was a year younger than me and apparently went to the same University you did, ironically, and after a few weeks of just textin’, we decided to meet up in a mall…” he laughed as he wiped his lips after he took another drink, “and when I met this guy…okay!” he held up a finger, “first of all, I felt like I was catfished, because his display photo was sooooo much more different than what he looked like in reality.”

Raoul smiled, “Not half as attractive in the flesh?”

“Not. Even. Close,” Gavin sighed in exasperation, “but I was willin’ to ignore that, if only his personality hadn’t been so…so draining!!”

“What do you mean?”

“Like…the second we sat down on a bench and started talking, this guy was just sooooooo depressed!! He told me about his parents dying, and how he became an orphan, and I was trying to support him and be kind to him and all that, but within an hour of meeting him, he just drained all my emotional energy!!” he took a small sip, “it was horrible!”

“Wow, haha,” Raoul shook his head, his eyebrows rising dramatically as he took a sip of his drink.

Gavin pointed at himself, “And I thought I was depressing! But Jesus! There was just noooo life left in this young dude!!” Gavin pushed his hair back as he snickered, “I was supportive, but the things he told me just drained me, and I seriously never wanted to see him again!”

Raoul clapped as he laughed joyfully, “Holy shit, who the hell just airs out information like that to their date???”

“That guy did, apparently!” Gavin snorted, “needless to say, we never saw each other again, and that was the end of dating for me, thank god!!”

He missed the confused look upon Raoul’s face. “But you’re married now,” he pointed out as he looked down at Gavin’s ring.

“Hmm?”

“You’re married, Reed,” Raoul snickered, “can’t say I could’ve pictured that.” He sat back and draped a hand over the back of the small sofa seat, smiling warmly at Gavin as his eyes lingered a little too long on his mouth.

Gavin covered it with his hand as he shrugged, “You were married too, Spencer.”

“Aaaand I regret it almost every damn day,” Raoul admitted, looking down at his almost-empty beer bottle, “the married life’s not what it’s cracked up to be, I can safely tell you that one.”

“You don’t have to tell me; I know already from personal experience.”

Trying not to think about Nines so his night wouldn’t be spoiled, Gavin smiled again with pink cheeks at Raoul, “Don’t worry though,” he assured gently, “at least you got a pretty good-looking boy from your marriage, right?”

Raoul raised his beer bottle in a small toast, “Yep! Gotta say he gets his looks from me, though!”

Gavin chose not to comment on that, and as he stared over at a bunch of men playing poker behind Raoul, his eyes caught sight of the other male’s eyes wandering over his body a little…licentiously. Gavin once again wondered how much he really had to drink, but when he shook his beer bottle, he realized it was still over half-way full. There was no way he was drunk; Raoul was checking him out…but why?

He cleared his throat as he forced himself to look back over at Raoul. “So…uh…so…”

Gavin was beyond mortified. He didn’t understand what was going on-whether it was the alcohol, his nerves, the fact that he hadn’t been out to a bar in a long, long time-but whatever it was, he felt as if his tongue was petrified, and he was unable to form a coherent thought or phrase.

Raoul didn’t seem to mind it, however, and his eyes swept and up and down Gavin’s body slowly, as if he never wanted to stop staring at him. It began making Gavin feel uncomfortable, and he turned to the side as he crossed a leg over the other.

He cleared his throat, “I umm…I think I’m almost done here…”

Raoul smirked, “Can I get you another beer, maybe?”

Gavin shook his head as he scratched the back of his neck, “Nah, I should get goin’ soon, actually.”

“Oooooh,” Raoul quipped playfully, “is your hubby gonna get mad at you or something?”

“He doesn’t even know I’m here with you!”

“Ah…not exactly,” Gavin responded calmly, swishing the alcoholic contents around in the beer bottle as he played with it, “he just can be a little…” he stopped, looking at Raoul suddenly. The other man was frowning a little, but he seemed too eager to hear what Gavin was going to say. Raoul was leaning forward a little, and he placed a hand beneath his chin as he stroked the skin there, eyes intently gazing into Gavin’s. The other male couldn’t help but lean in closer as well.

“…look, my husband can just be a little closed-minded when it comes to certain things, that’s all!” Perhaps if it had been simplified like this, there wouldn’t be as big of a need to explain more? He duly hoped not…

Raoul threw him a little knowing smirk, “Married your polar opposite, huh?”

Gavin’s jaw fell open, “Huh?! How could you possibly know that—”

“I went through it, Reed,” Raoul grumbled, finally dropping his hands to rest on his lap as he looked around the crowded, rowdy bar. It appeared he was just looking around, and he finished, turning his head over as he offered Gavin a little half-smile that seemed slightly pained.

“Believe me,” he started softly, “it’s not easy to know what you want when you’re younger,” he pointed at himself, then, “learn from my mistakes; don’t go around thinking that you need to marry anyone you stick your di—”

“More beer, gentlemen?”

Gavin nearly leapt up in fright when the same long-legged, short-haired bartender stood before them. She was now wearing a cowboy hat, and she winked playfully at Gavin. He merely shook his head.

“No thank you, ma’am.”

“Let me know if you change your mind!!” She seemed slightly miffed by the rejection, but she sauntered off anyway, her hips swaying seductively and invitingly.

Gavin shivered as he turned away from her and stared at the floor.

“She’s into you,” Raoul announced, and it made Gavin shiver again.

“No thanks,” he spat with disgust, “she’s got the wrong equipment, if you know what I mean.”

Something dark twinkled in the center of Raoul’s eyes, and he huffed-though not in an unfriendly or judgmental way. He merely leaned over as he draped a hand over the back of Gavin’s seat.

“You sure you’re not going through a confusing time or something, Reed?” Raoul inquired as he threw a small grin at Gavin that almost teetered on the edge of over-confidence. “It could just be a phase, you know…” his breath tickled Gavin’s cheeks, and when the detective looked over, Raoul was barely a few inches away from his face!!

Freaking out immediately, Gavin grabbed his beer bottle, and he tore himself off the seat, running through the dancing groups of drunken patrons. He never stopped running, not even when he had already exited the bar, and nearly crashed into someone else trying to come in. His beer bottle was smacked out of his hands, however, and it broke into a hundred tiny pieces as it shattered on the hard, concrete pavement.

As the shiny glass shards stared back up at him in the dark, Gavin was still able to see his own shocked expression glaring back at him one hundred times. It still wasn’t enough…

Running faster, he eventually flagged down a city cab, and he hurried back to Nines’ home without another thought.

Chapter Text

The weekend was going by too slowly, now, and for once in his entire life, Gavin Reed wished it would hurry up and finish. All of Saturday night after he’d bolted from the bar, the minute Gavin had hurried in through the front door of the mansion-which was still unlocked as he’d left it-his phone had been assaulted by plenty of messages from Raoul.

Gavin had at least made an attempt to ignore the messages, and he’d been doing relatively well, considering how he had very little to do. Shelley provided enough of a distraction for him in the night, as she had grown accustomed to ‘sleeping’ in Gavin’s room lately. Sometimes, she would lie on a pillow next to him, and other times, she would end up at the foot of the bed, next to Gavin’s feet. He was worried about her and still didn’t want to approach Nines for help, but Gavin spent as much time talking to her as he could until sleep took over his body and mind.

Perhaps when he woke up, the messages from Raoul would cease, and the others would just disappear in the night like a bad dream…then again, reality disappointed him when he woke up Sunday morning around quarter to six.

The persistent man just wouldn’t stop messaging, and majority of his messages were about Gavin running off on Saturday night.

Raoul: im sorry for scaring you…i didnt mean it, Reed, pls talk to me?

Raoul: hello? u there?

Raoul: Reed, i just wanna know if you made it home safely, pls message me

Raoul: guess ur mad at me? Im sorry…i wasnt trying to be creepy

Raoul: i also wasnt hitting on you! i swear on everything!

Raoul: plz be ok…so worried…

Raoul: hello?!!!!!!!!?!!?!?

Raoul: GAVIN!??!?!?!? CALL ME!!!!!!!!!!!

Gavin groaned as he turned his phone off, knowing that the stupid Facebook messenger app was going to alert Raoul to the fact that he had indeed checked and read his messages sooner or later.

“Stupid Facebook and their ‘pro-stalker’ features!!”

That was the least of his worries, however; he’d forgotten to even pay for his drink, and he was worried about the police coming after him for it…the irony. It wasn’t just law enforcement Gavin feared; if they showed up, it would mean that Nines would soon learn he wasn’t with Connor or Hank!!!

“Why was I such a fool?!? Why didn’t I think and plan this better?!?! UGGHH!!”

But perhaps it was because he wasn’t used to doing this…at all…like, never! Going over it all, Gavin realized that he’d never been unfaithful in a relationship…not that he had many at all, actually. At least, nothing serous…but still! He was always a loyal, honest, decent, trustworthy partner!! So what had changed last night?

True, he despised Nines a great deal, and he thought he was nothing more than the self-righteous smug prick he was ‘married’ to, but still, Nines didn’t deserve to be lied to, nor did he deserve his ‘husband’ running off to hang out with another attractive guy…

The fuckery of it all was getting to him, and Gavin hid in the shower for at least an hour after he woke up before Nines banged on the door and told him to get out, else he would shut off all the hot water in the entire mansion. That threat worked like a charm, and Gavin climbed out of the shower, hurriedly drying himself off as he dressed in blue slacks, black flip flops, and a black and red t-shirt. Although he had clean clothes on and felt physically clean, something inside him still itched and burned, and he truly felt ‘sullied’ inside, even though nothing had really happened…he really needed to get his mind off this.

He searched through the kitchen for something to eat for breakfast, but his appetite died the moment he saw Nines sitting down by the kitchen table. Nines looked like a big jungle cat; he was wearing a black and white pinstripe three-piece suit that looked perfectly new, and black loafers. Gavin eyed his getup wearily but grabbed an egg as he searched for a small pan on the pot and pan rack.

“Good morning, zebra,” he spat out sarcastically at Nines when he fished out a pan small enough for his egg. He cracked the eggshell open on the side of the pan and poured the yolk and everything else that was delicious and healthy inside it once the stove was on.

Turning on music emanating from within his office, Nines called out to Gavin, “Did you have a good time with Connor and Hank?” Strangely, Nines sounded somewhat… ‘chipper’…

Nines’ question nearly made Gavin faint. He remembered his lie-of course-but had Nines truly found out about his real whereabouts the other night? Surely not…oh dear god, he hoped not…

Gavin played it cool, shrugging as he yawned, “Yep, they’re both good, thanks for asking, by the way.”

“I’m pleased to hear things were copacetic,” Nines huffed, “now, hurry up with your meal, Detective,” he then stood tall as he brushed his suit clean, “we have a lot of work to do today.”

Gavin groaned, “It’s a Sunday, Nines!!”

Nines apparently didn’t care one way or another. “I know, my husband,” he said icily, already heading for the dining room, eager to go down to the tunnels beneath the mansion.

“The day’s work won’t wait, Detective,” he called out to Gavin as his egg cooked, “hurry up!”

Perhaps it was the music, but Gavin found it to be an odd choice, and it made him freeze and forget about all his worries, and everything he had been occupied with doing. The music was obviously classical, but it seemed to be very erratic. It was all over the place, and it sent out an unsettling, haunting tune before a violinist played on. His music took flight, and Gavin swayed as he felt millions of emotions pouring through him at once. Music had never turned him into frozen jelly in this way before, but he loved it…

“What is this piece??? I must know…” It reeled him in, and he felt dizzy as he stared at Nines.

“Nines,” he breathed out with some effort, “what is this piece??”

Nines turned around slowly, and his eyes suddenly were full of emotions. “Violin Sonata in G minor, by Giuseppe Tartini.” When Nines saw he had Gavin’s attention as the violin made all hairs on Gavin’s body stand, Nines paced his way back over to Gavin and grinned. “I can see that is has an effect on you,” he pointed out factually, “this piece is also known as ‘The Devil’s Trill Sonata’, Detective Reed…” his eyes swept over Gavin’s flushed face, and his grin grew wider. “Would you care to know why it is called ‘The Devil’s Trill Sonata’?”

Gavin panted, as if he had been drowning. The more the music swept around him, though, the more he felt that way. It struck right through his bones and organs, and he felt petrified on the spot while Nines turned around him in a circle. The circles grew smaller however, and as Nines wove his way around Gavin, he leaned into him closer and closer.

“It is said that Tartini allegedly told the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that he had dreamed that the devil had appeared to him in his dreams, and had asked to be Tartini’s servant and teacher…” Nines’ breath hit Gavin’s throat, causing the shorter man to seize up as small bolts of pleasure floated through him.

“At the end of the music lesson, Tartini handed the devil his violin to test his skill, which the devil began to play with virtuosity; delivering an intense and magnificent performance. So singularly beautiful and executed with such superior taste and precision, that the composer felt his breath taken away…” Nines scoffed, “…much like you are feeling right now, Detective…” there was a slight purr to his deep, velvety tone, and Gavin felt his head growing heavy, and his body tingled with something close to yearning…

Continuing, Nines reached out with a hand, and a few of his fingers very softly ghosted along the shell of Gavin’s right ear. “Mesmerized by the devil’s brilliant and awe-inspiring playing, Tartini attempted to recreate what he had heard. However, despite having said that the sonata was his favorite, Tartini later wrote that it was “so inferior to what I had heard, that if I could have subsisted on other means, I would have broken my violin and abandoned music forever.”

Gavin latched onto the connection, but he couldn’t say a single word; he feared whatever he would say or do when his mouth opened would lead to embarrassment.

“This Devil I am searching for who leads Ouroboros is but a dream at this point,” Nines continued on, fingers gliding and skating through the air that hung between his body, and Gavin’s. “He taunts me and beckons me to come closer,” his fingertips then swept back over Gavin’s neck, “I would make a pact with this devil for my soul, if it just meant finally catching him, once and for all…” sighing, he dropped his hand away from Gavin’s neck, and the shorter man nearly collapsed weakly against Nines, who was standing behind him like a strong pillar.

Grinning triumphantly at him when Gavin turned around nervously to chance a small peek upwards, Nines hissed thinly down at his husband, “It appears that anytime I wake up, that dream fades, just as the music of the Devil’s Trill faded away from Tartini…”

Trembling with desire, confusion, anger, and resentment, Gavin leaned up slightly, and his head was tilted back as he stared wantonly at Nines’ lips. He didn’t know why he’d been compelled to do such a thing, but his eyes were drawn there naturally like a moth to a flame. The words Nines spoke seemed like poetry of the gods, suddenly…he was mesmerized, and he just wanted to watch as the words were formed on those dour lips.

“Hmmf,” Nines scoffed, “there’s no cure for madness, Detective Reed.” Standing back, he shut off the music when he made his way back to his office.

Mourning the loss of the beautiful, moving music, Gavin groaned as he held his head in his hands. Why did everything hurt suddenly?!? The spell was broken, and reality was so much more painful, and a huge bitch to face!!

Nines brushed past him, his shoulder bumping into Gavin’s. “I’m through with chasing dreams, Detective,” he almost screamed, but then gained control over his emotions and calmed down significantly. “I’ll see to it that I ensnare this devil, with your help!”

“B-but I—” he was interrupted by a distinct burning smell, and then Nines cried out when he’d already ducked down into the secret passage, “Your egg’s burning.”

Gavin was beyond livid, and with his meal ruined, he threw the entire pan right into the sink with a loud ‘CLANG’.

“NIIIIIIINESSSSSSSS! YOU BASTARD!!!!!!!!”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

His breakfast had been so horribly ruined, that Gavin instead chose to make coffee, and he hurried down the tunnels until he reached the ‘study room’-as he deemed and labelled it. Nines was already inside, and he was busy freezing the bit of Slo-Freeze they had gathered.

Gavin studied him for a moment, watching intently as Nines gathered the liquid and placed it into another longer cylinder before stuffing it inside a tiny freezer behind the white plastic table.

“Don’t give me that look, Detective,” Nines growled, barely looking up at Gavin, “we have to freeze it before we break it apart for further analysis.”

“So what exactly are we looking for?”

Nines stared down at the freezer, “We have to begin by milling the drug first, Detective. During the drug manufacturing process, milling is often required in order to reduce the average particle size in a drug powder. There are a number of reasons for this, including increasing homogeneity and dosage uniformity, increasing bioavailability, and increasing the solubility of the drug compound.”

Gavin nodded as if he understood all that. “So essentially break it down and see what’s inside?”

Nines rolled his eyes, “If you wish to view it in that crude way, then yes, Detective,” he closed the freezer door after carefully placing the vial storing the container inside it, “we can do that.”

Gavin nodded, “Great, so while it freezes up, what can I do?”

Nines offered him a creepy smile, and Gavin shrank back from it. Beckoning him forward with a finger, Nines led him over to a large rack against the left-hand side of the room Gavin hadn’t seen before due to poor lighting, but it held plenty of other liquids of various colors.

“You can begin by testing the compounds of these, Detective, and labeling them appropriately,” Nines instructed, “and then, I want you to dust and scrub every inch of these desks and shelves; as you can see, this room is quite dusty.”

Gavin practically screamed out, “What?!?! I’m not a fuckin’ maid, Nines!!”

“Language, Detective.” Nines’ voice was smooth and cold, his implacable expression giving nothing away.

Gavin nearly exploded again, and he merely kicked the wall behind him in retaliation, resembling a recalcitrant teenager more than a grown adult while he mumbled profanities under his heated breath.

But Nines didn’t want to hear any of it; he made his way towards the microscope and began adjusting the lenses and tubes, placing items Gavin didn’t even recognize beneath them as he studied them all intently.

After catching on to the silent sign, Gavin started to work. He arranged the shelves nicely and neatly, first, dusting them all-which took nearly half an hour-before wiping them down one more time. When the shelves were done, Gavin studied the vials holding certain liquids and chemicals he was too scared to touch. It all looked like a mad scientist’s dream house, but Gavin kept to himself and didn’t voice his comments as he worked hard on relabeling the vials that already had slightly smudgy writing on them from previous years.

Who knew how old they all were, too, but Gavin eventually finished, and he set the vials aside as he made his way over to a large bookcase containing tons of books about random things. Gavin found books about cooking, gardening, art, opera, music, crime, history, law, and politics. It was a very random-yet vast-range, and his eyes soon were drawn to a book about famous Italian pastries.

He started to work on diving into the book’s recipes, but it was difficult to do so with his nerves jangling in anxiety as they were whenever Nines wrote something down in a small notebook on the white, plastic table. The sound of his pen scratching on the paper was enough to make Gavin worry, and he tried being surreptitious about his ‘reading break’.

Nines had eventually moved over to a small cauldron-like item to the far-right corner of the table, and if Gavin didn’t know any better, he would’ve assumed that Nines was making meth, or something equally as sinister. In reality, he wasn’t, and he merely was testing the known compounds of the infamous drug Red Ice by throwing them into the burning cauldron that sat above a lit element. The blue flames danced and circled the little pot as if worshipping it above, and the liquids burning within the pot soon turned into a translucent lime green color.

Gavin had no idea what Nines was doing, for the substance didn’t even have a smell, but as he turned and watched Nines, he saw the android throwing in fragments that he’d frozen of Red Ice into the cauldron, and he leaned as far away from the burning pot as he could. Soon, the steam began rising up and twisting out before his face, as if possessed by spirits and ghosts to reach out for him in agony and pain. Nines merely stared with a tilted head as he observed the reactions and noted them down quickly.

As Gavin watched him write, he focused on the back of his hand, his fingers holding the black fountain pen elegantly, and then his eyeballs found his golden wedding ring…the painful reminder seeped into his brain, and he shivered as he looked away from it.

Nines’ mere presence in the room seemed to tap into something primal, something uncomfortable and angry; something that started at the base of his spine and clawed its way up without consultation from his brain. He didn’t know if it was just the chill in the air, or the poor ventilation of the tunnels making him dizzy, or just the fact that they hadn’t talked about any of the things that hung between them ever since they got married–

Gavin caught himself just before he stared at Nines all day instead of focusing on his work and notes. He’d left them abandoned by the edge of one of the desks, and his eyes fell on the last sentence he’d written before his mind somehow forced him to take another peek at Nines for whatever reason. As he stared atop the white plastic desk and into the little boiling cauldron, he found that at least, this time, the concoction was the color he supposed was a lot less insane-looking. Not that he had much to compare it to, after all, he hadn’t even watched a single episode of Breaking Bad. How was he supposed to know a thing about how to test, analyze, manufacture, and break down narcotics?

Gavin let out a small sigh as he mulled over the hard fact that his weekend had essentially come down to this shit, when it was probably more than likely a fact that Hank and Connor were probably doing something cool and fun with Sumo.

“And this is how I spend my weekend, folks; dusting shelves, desks, vials, and jars, while my husband tests and recreates drugs. Ain’t married life grand?”

It wasn’t lovely or grand, and Gavin soon found himself growing weary of the heavy silence in the room between the two of them. None of it would’ve been as bad if Nines just talked to him…but he never so much as even looked up to acknowledge him.

As slowly as time passed by, it was fiddly, though. And, after forty-five minutes, mind-numbingly boring.

Having nothing else left to scrub and clean, Gavin threw his dust-covered cloth into a plastic bag, and for the final ten minutes, he decided to watch Nines instead. Unlike Gavin, Nines didn’t look bored while working on his mysterious drug potion. He looked...different. Almost peaceful, except for his eyes, which were narrowed, and highly focused. Gavin suddenly remembered the RK900 in the DPD-especially during his first meeting with him as he revisited those memories. It was a strange and direct contrast to how Nines appeared now…the Nines of last year at work had been so intense and serious about everything, and so good at all this…he made every task he was given look easy, as though he could store all the information and data in the world in his head and just let them pour out, naturally, when the need arose.

But the Nines he knew today was different as he worked…he made it look like magic.

Gavin hadn’t realized he’d been staring for over ten minutes, and Nines eventually glanced up at him, his blue eyes capturing Gavin’s, and then a sneer broke out on his face. Gavin swallowed thickly as he looked away and scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment after having been caught staring.

“See something you’re interested in, Detective?” Nines snarled, standing up as he switched the element off with the wave of a hand, and the steam rising up slightly simmered down and blew away when Nines breezed past it and around the white desk, instead making his way over to stand before Gavin. He chuckled deeply, “I do wonder what’s caught your fancy, you supercilious man…”

Gavin looked down at his feet as he struggled with a frown on his face, but it didn’t come easy to him after all the strange awkwardness running through his body. “No, it’s nothing,” he pressed out gruffly, “I was just thinking…”

Nines merely scoffed, “Thinking? I doubt that’s something you frequently even engage in, Detective, but do enlighten me.”

Gavin just growled, “Leave me alone.”

Nines crossed his arms over his chest, head held high as he haughtily stared Gavin down. “I’m afraid I can’t do that for the time being, Detective,” he hissed, “as much pleasure as it would bring me. We’re finished here, but we need to head up to the kitchen and begin meal preparations.”

He didn’t wait for Gavin; he collected their notes and shoved them all neatly into a drawer in the white desk at the front of the room.

Gavin sputtered in shock and confusion, “Cooking??? Whatever for?”

Nines hissed coldly, “Elijah Kamski often visits me at least one Sunday a month, Detective,” he slammed a drawer shut and stood tall once again, “and I do believe I told you he often visits me, so you just proved you never listen, as usual, Detective.”

Gavin growled as he yanked his notebook out of Nines’ hands, “Alright then, my husband,” he snapped sardonically as he turned and made his way for the door, “let’s get cooking, then.”

He missed the small smile Nines threw at his back.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

“You wanna remind me again what we’re makin’?” Gavin groused as he neatly put on a cooking apron, watching as Nines tied the strings of his own cooking apron back without much effort or a struggle. They stood side-by-side at a large counter, a huge, wide chopping board before them as they stared down at freshly cut meat lying in meat-wrapping paper.

Nines gently pushed open the paper, “Pan-seared duck breast with blueberry sauce atop a bed of bok choy, wild mushrooms, pancetta, and shallots,” he grinned down at the items as he pointed at them before continuing on, “served with a side of roasted potatoes seasoned with rosemary and thyme, it is a rather savory dish,” he concluded with a smug smirk.

Gavin rolled his eyes, “Jesus, even Kamski has a very pretentious palate, huh?”

Nines hummed as he rolled up his white dress shirt sleeves, having changed into something far less fancy as soon as they left the tunnels. “I wouldn’t say that, Detective,” he began as he rolled out the meat tenderly, as if he were handling fine China, “but he is a very dear friend to me, and I intend to treat him well.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it.”

Gavin watched as Nines stretched his hands upwards and gently yanked open a white cupboard door. He handed out to Gavin fresh black pepper, though it had yet to be ground, and he passed along brown sugar which was packed and not softened as well. Gavin eyed it curiously, but Nines merely produced a mortar and pestle and gently pushed it forward so it rested against his knuckles.

Staring down at it, Gavin frowned, and then Nines sighed dejectedly. “Surely you know how to use this, Detective?”

Not wanting to be insulted further, Gavin snatched the pestle and mortar, and he tore open the package of round, fresh black peppers. Muttering under his breath, he held the black pestle, and in another hand, he steadied the white mortar. He dumped the round pepper pellets within its circular body, and they bounced around until they sat evenly at the bottom. Holding the pestle firmly, Gavin began grinding them.

As Nines gently cleaned the duck meat, his knife delicately swished and cut through the lean meat, and Gavin began envying how skilled the android was even when it came to preparing a meal. He moved gracefully as he tenderly handled the duck, pressing down on it as he evened it out over the cutting board. Gavin’s lip curled upwards, and unbeknownst to him, he expressed his contempt for his husband through his ‘grinding’…if it could even be called that, now. He was practically bashing the peppers now, the heavy, blunt pestle slamming and crashing against the bottom of the mortar.

Nines sighed as he stopped midway seasoning the duck. “Once again Detective, you show your lack of understanding and inability to follow through with a simple task,” he swiftly moved over behind Gavin, and before the startled man could do anything, Nines inched his body closer, and his chest pressed firmly against Gavin’s back.

Long arms reached around Gavin’s sides, and they rested over his own as he held the pestle and mortar firmly. At first, Gavin assumed that Nines was going to try and take the items away from him, but then, he was proven wrong. Nines rested his hands on top of Gavin’s, and as he leaned over Gavin’s shoulder, he softly spoke into his ear while he helped guide Gavin’s hands and fingers.

“There is a clear distinction between grinding something, and bashing something to bits, Detective Reed,” Nines warmly and calmly stated in Gavin’s ear as his hands moved on top of Gavin’s in slow, deliberate, and circular motions, just barely adding the perfect amount of pressure. “Surely even a wayward Detective such as yourself would be able to distinguish between these two actions?” As Nines pushed down on top of Gavin’s arms, he also knew how and when to pull away, making sure the pepper wasn’t ground to dust. Bits of it still happened to be present as he helped Gavin grind, and anytime he moved, his shoulders and chest rolled forward into Gavin’s back.

Gavin was a mess internally. His abdomen, stomach, and hips kept gently rolling forward into the kitchen counter, and he had to bite down hard on his tongue to keep silent as Nines massaged and rolled his hands on top of his own. There was a delicious heat pooling between their bodies, and Gavin’s biology betrayed him by reacting to it right away. He hated that his hormones and testosterone blasted through his entire body, and in no time, he was almost fully erect.

Still, that didn’t stop Nines from practically massaging his hands with his own, and rubbing his hips deliciously against Gavin’s ass. Layers of clothing of course separated them, but in Gavin’s mind, he’d already undressed Nines a couple of times. He imagined the well-built android naked, and he barely was able to stop himself from panting in exertion when Nines shifted. He pressed himself a little closer to Gavin as he sneered and whispered into his ear, “Now let’s see if you can manage this by yourself…”

“Waaaaaah?!?!? NOOOOOOO!”

That deliciously warm pressure was removed and off his back, and Gavin whipped around, practically dropping the pestle roughly onto the counter. Gavin then stared down at the floor, trying to inch closer to the counter just in case Nines could see a little tent forming between his legs and making the apron rise up slightly…it appeared he had not, however. Nines merely went back to his own work, pressing a meat tenderizer mallet down against the lean meat before himself.

“That was it?!?!? He can just walk away from that like it was nothing and it had no effect on him?!?!”

Gavi burned with anger, and his arousal thankfully went away as he instead focused his energy on repressing his heated rage for Nines. It was just beyond his comprehension how the android could merely do that to him-possibly understanding how he would react-and then just walk away coldly. Son of a bitch!!

Gavin shoved aside the black pepper once it looked good enough, and he moved on to the brown sugar, tearing the package open with his teeth as he imagined tearing his teeth into his husband’s neck.

Yes…this was satisfying.

As Gavin gently massaged and separated the firm brown sugar, he giggled to himself as he conjured up images of himself shoving Nines roughly into a wall, punching him in the face roughly a few times, and then strangling him. He would shake him and break him, and he wouldn’t stop until he himself was beyond tired.

Gavin moved to the fridge and pulled out the butter, melting it in the microwave just a little so it would be ready for the duck meat. The thoughts he held of beating the crap out of Nines persisted, and he smirked and giggled softly to himself as the butter melted slowly as it spun around in the microwave.

He still saw himself biting down on Nines’ nose, and then over to his neck violently. Oh, it would be sooooooo much what he deserved for being such a stuck-up, pretentious, snarky asshole!! He deserved the beating of a lifetime, and Gavin wanted to give it to him for hours on end. Perhaps he could even throw a chair at his head, who knows?

When the butter had melted, Gavin snatched it out of the microwave, and practically threw it onto the counter in its little bowl. Nines ignored him, however, moving on to grind some salt onto the duck meat, turning it over gently as he liberally spread salt all over the duck until it was covered evenly everywhere.

Gavin was still enjoying his thoughts and fantasies. Nines began to make the sauce, and he added the balsamic vinegar and red wine to the pan he selected for the duck. He motioned at Gavin, next, “Please bring me olive oil; I’ll be needing two tablespoons of it for the meal.”

“As you wish, your Royal Assness!”

Gavin moved over to the spices and oil rack hanging above on a wall near the fridge, and he selected ‘extra virgin olive oil’. He slammed it down on the counter by Nines’ hand, and he crossed his arms as he tried going back to his fantasies of biting Nines’ neck violently. His aim had been to fantasize about delivering pain, just to see Nines put in his damn rightful place, for once.

He had been enjoying himself when suddenly, the images took an interesting turn. Whatever the cause for it was, Gavin didn’t know, but he did know that the images in his mind had gone from violent and aggressive, to sexual and pleasurable. Where the Gavin in his imagination had previously been biting down hard over Nines’ shoulder to get him to bleed out thirium, this Gavin was now pressing love bites onto his husband’s skin; sucking, licking, and nibbling tenderly. Nines was even nibbling back, and he used his tongue to coil it around Gavin’s earlobe before he sucked it deeply into his hot, wet mouth as his large hands explored Gavin’s body sensually…

Gavin was hard once more, instantly.

“SON OF A FUCKING BITCH!!!!!!!!!!”

Nines whipped around angrily, LED light red. “I beg your pardon?!?”

Gavin tore off the cooking apron, bunching it up between his legs as he snarled at Nines. “Just leave me the fuck alone, Nines!!” He ran past the startled, confused android, flinging the apron down just by the stove.

Nines followed him for a moment, expression more heated and conflicted than angry, now. He cried out in a biting tone, “Detective, get back here!!”

Gavin was already ascending the steps, and he yelled back at Nines viciously, “Prepare your own fuckin’ meal, and leave me the fuck alone!! Okay?!?”

Sighing, Nines stepped back, “Fine! I don’t know what’s gotten into you, Detective,” he snarled coldly, “but you had better compose yourself before Mr. Kamski arrives in less than three hours. Have I made myself clear?”

Gavin stomped up the steps, “Fuck off.”

He practically burst in his bedroom, making sure the door was perfectly and tightly shut and locked before he threw himself down on the bed next to Shelley. The Nano-Bot regarded him with mild curiosity, but she seemed a lot better now. Her light turned a solid blue, and she merely gave off a few tiny ‘beeps’ before floating up above him.

“Detective. What. May. I. Assist. You. With?”

He sighed as he gently shoved her away from his face. “Not now, Shelley,” he looked at his hands with remorse, then. “I just want to be alone for a while, please.”

“Noted.” That was all she said as she floated off the bed and made her way down to the floor where she hid beneath Gavin’s bed like a sad little pet.

“Fuckin’ forgot to ask Nines how to ‘fix’ her…shit.” Gavin sighed in exhaustion and frustration as he moved up along his mattress. His back landed on something solid and rough, and he grunted in discomfort as he reached beneath himself and yanked whatever it was out from under his back.

Holding it up to his face, Gavin saw it had been his phone…

It was still off, but Gavin’s curiosity had peaked once more. Wanting nothing more than to forget whatever the fuck was going on with him and his messed-up brain regarding Nines, Gavin’s hands shook for a moment before he made his choice.

Pressing down on the power button, he started his phone up, waiting for the messenger app to open up so he could return Raoul’s messages.

Whatever was going on, he was uncertain about, but he felt it was somehow a lot clearer and ‘safer’ to at least turn to someone else for some words of advice, comfort, and solace, so that’s what he was aiming to do.

If his husband couldn’t provide him with what he needed, perhaps another man could…

 


 

Nothing seduces your husband more than Classical Music.

 

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Chapter Text

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Gavin R: sorry for running away last night…just going through a lot atm…

Raoul: hey, no sweat. i realized i was being a bit creepy. sorry for that.

Gavin R: its ok. i reacted badly…wasn’t all ur fault

Raoul: no need 2b nice 2 me, Reed. i drank a little 2 much b4 u showed up, but thats no excuse for my actions. Plz accept my apologies.

Gavin R: no need 2 apologize! im not the best at socializing, so things r likely 2 get awkward sumtimes … dont know if that makes sense, but i legit wasnt tryin 2 run from u.

Raoul: nah, ur good but if its ok with u, i was wondering if i could see u again?

Gavin R: y?

Raoul: theres been a lot on my mind too, and i think im confused about who i am…

It was at this moment in the chat history that Gavin had to step back and read over Raoul’s messages at least six times before the wheels in his mind began turning and working. How was it that he was living in a world where someone as confident and magnificently sure of himself as Raoul Spencer was having doubts?? And more importantly; what kind of doubts, and what did they have to do with Gavin??

Trying to find a polite way to ask these questions, Gavin texted slowly as he whispered the words out loud, reading them back to himself before sending them off.

Gavin R: its ok to be a little unsure of urself, but i bet you will gain your strength and confidence back. It’s just the divorce probably, right? If so, i am here if u wanna talk about it!

“Yep! Seems fair, seems friendly, and doesn’t seem desperate!!”

He sent it off, chewing on his lower lip nervously as he waited for Raoul’s response. It didn’t take too long, however, but Gavin didn’t like what he read. It disturbed him more than anything else, and he had to grab onto a pillow for support as he squeezed it between his fingers while his heart raced wildly in his chest. Still, that didn’t change or rearrange what had been written and sent to him, and no matter how hard he tried looking beyond the words on the screen, he was unable to.

Raoul: it’s not that im not confident in myself…im just not certain about my sexual orientation like i used 2 b when we were in college.

Gavin threw the phone down as he stared blankly across the room. “Okay, what the actual ass did I just read???” He picked the phone up again, turned it over, and stared at the screen. The same words and the same sentence were still there, no matter how many times he blinked and tried picturing them gone from the screen. “Okay…it’s not my imagination then…what the fuck…”

It suddenly felt too unreal for him. There was just no way that out of the blue, an old college bully wandered back into his life, had been recently divorced, and now was questioning his sexuality. No…reality didn’t work like the movies, and Gavin snapped himself out of his reverie, and stared down at the phone.

His fingers began texting, but then, Raoul initiated a Facebook messenger voice call…

“HOLY SHIT!!!!” he sprang off the bed, scaring both himself and Shelley when his footsteps thundered along the floors. Like a flash of lightning, the little Nano-Bot emerged from under the bed, her light red and alert.

Gavin held out a hand, “Shelley!! Don’t worry about this, okay?”

She hovered around him, but didn’t seem to want to go anywhere. Gavin’s phone vibrated and vibrated, the volume still low, thankfully. But how was he going to talk to Raoul without Nines hearing???

Looking around the room wildly and desperately, Gavin’s eyes landed on the standing closet storing his clothes, shoes, and suitcases.

“Perfect!!!!”

He made a clean break for it, hiding himself away within it, and closing the door behind himself softly so he wouldn’t rouse suspicion. Shelley had gotten in at the last minute with him, and her light illumined the dark closet, along with the glow of the phone screen.

With a shaky finger, Gavin accepted the call, and he pressed the phone against his ear tightly, though his hands trembled.  “Umm…hey?”

Raoul chuckled, “Sorry to just call you up out of the blue like that; it was getting kinda annoying to text, plus, I figured this is something that has deep meaning for us both, and should be talked about on voice.”

While Gavin agreed, there wasn’t much he could actually vocalize; he was still frozen and paralyzed with fear, and very soon, the smell of the duck roasting and cooking away from the main floor hit his nostrils. It made him terribly hungry, but also served as a grim reminder that his husband wasn’t too far away. Reality was that while Gavin was hiding away in a closet-ready to chat with another man-his husband was in the kitchen cooking and setting up the fancy, expensive dining set, getting ready for the arrival of Mr. Elijah Kamski in less than an hour.

Gavin groaned, “I’m sorry, Raoul, you just caught me at a bad time…”

The other male hummed deeply, and it was a rich tone that drove Gavin insane.

“Wasn’t it enough that my own husband fuckin’ tortured me not even an hour ago??? Now this hunk is doing it, too?!?! WHYYYYYYYYY?!?!?”

“I’ll try to keep this brief, then,” Raoul offered, and it made Gavin sigh out in relief. He tried focusing on what the duck looked like, and how Nines had decorated the kitchen and dining room, hopefully bringing out the best and most expensive champagne or wine for them…

“Gavin,” Raoul began, his voice softly caressing Gavin’s name like it was one of the most precious things in his life, “is it weird for a guy to be questioning his sexuality after years of living with a woman, and only having dated and slept with women all his life before that?”

Gavin looked around the dark closet, feeling Shelley rubbing her body over his legs, as if begging with him and pleading for them to leave and exit the closet. Her head tilted up at him, and she let out a dull ‘beeeep’.

Raoul apparently heard it. “What was that?” he asked as he chuckled, “I’m not on speaker or something, am I?”

Gavin chuckled as well, though his was more nervous sounding. “Umm, no, I wouldn’t do that to you, Raoul.”

The other man let out a little gasp, “Then what would you do to me, Gavin?”

“Holy fuck…did he just…no…no fuckin’ way!!!!!!!”

He still voiced the question aloud, “Excuse me???”

“I asked you what you would do to me…” Raoul snickered, “…if you found out I was maybe bi or gay?”

Shelley let out a louder ‘beep’, indicating that she was serious, and that she’d had her fill of the conversation. Enough was enough, and she rammed her head and body against the closet door. The noises were loud, and Gavin was certain Nines would hear it if she kept at it. The door rattled and shook so violently, that Gavin was positive she would break through it if she kept it up.

He slid a leg between Shelley’s body and the door, and he hissed at her to stay quiet.

Raoul chuckled, clearly finding his gasps and sighs of frustration amusing to listen to. “You okay there, Gavin?” he playfully laughed, “I hope I’m not making you uncomfortable or anything; I’m just trying to flirt with a guy, see if I like it…”

Gavin frowned immediately as he gently pushed Shelley away from the door. “Oh, so you’re using me for your own self-discovery, then, right?” What nerve. How like Raoul Spencer to use and dispose of people whenever he needed to.

Raoul gasped, “Nah come on, don’t accuse me of that, Gavin!” he sighed, “I just think you’re…I dunno…you’re like the opposite of me!” he explained slowly, hanging on every word as if he were savoring a wonderful meal, “you’re confident, brazen, proud, and you don’t give a shit about what others think! I like it!! It’s so refreshing to see someone who doesn’t live for pleasing others, Gavin.”

While these compliments were lovely to hear and boosted his ego a great deal, something at the back of Gavin’s mind tugged at his conscience and told him to end the conversation quickly, before he-or Raoul-said something they would both end up regretting later. Besides, he was still married, as much as that pissed him off.

“Raoul,” he began, trying to find some shred of honesty in all this while Shelley tried floating above his leg so she could resume bashing herself against the closet door. “Unfortunately, I’m married, and while it’s not a marriage that’s a typical one, it’s still a marriage, and I can’t just—”

“Woah, woah,” the other male interrupted, “it’s not a typical one??” he chuckled, as if not ready to believe it, “the heck does that mean, Reed? Are you in an arranged marriage or something??!”

Gavin closed his eyes and sighed. He hated how impulsive and unable he was to control his mouth sometimes, but the damage had already been done; the cat was already out of the bag. The only thing he could’ve hoped to do was perhaps vent to someone who was somewhat of a ‘friend’…maybe it would help him feel better about the odd situation he was trapped in, anyway.

He shifted as he stared around in the closet. “It’s not an arranged marriage like that…he just…my husband just…” he had no idea where he was going with this, but he threw something out anyway, hoping it would make sense, and that he wouldn’t have to explain further.

“…my husband just takes care of me, and it’s like a ‘business’ marriage, if you must know…” he ignored Shelley’s little growls as her light flashed and remained bright red, “…we don’t really get along, and again, it’s just not something conventional, and I don’t want to talk about it anymore!!”

Raoul was silent for a moment, and Gavin wondered if he’d scared him off or made him think and believe he was weird. He wouldn’t blame the guy if that were the case, but what else was he to say?

After some time, Raoul snickered. “I find that hard to believe, Gavin,” he lowered his voice a little, next, “I mean…who wouldn’t want to be with a guy as wonderfully appealing and good-looking as you?”

Gavin cleared his throat, “Look, Raoul,” he sighed, “it’s not that I don’t appreciate what you told me, it’s just that—”

“Detective!!!!! Detective!!!!!”

What amazing timing. Now, Gavin didn’t even need a lie to get out of this one.

“I’m sorry, Raoul,” he said as he gently picked Shelley up, and cradled her to his chest, “my husband’s calling for me. I have to go.”

“Can I still see you later?” Raoul wasn’t giving up any time soon, and it pissed Gavin off.

“Maybe it’s just better to say ‘yes’ for now, and that way you can change your mind later!!”

Yes…giving in seemed like the only way he was going to be free, and he grunted, “Sure, but I don’t know when I’ll be free again.”

“I’ll message you,” came the reply, and then Raoul chuckled, “later, Reed.”

Once he’d ended the call, Gavin turned the doorknob, and he took fresh air into his lungs. He was happy to be out of that confined space, but he was also being stared intently at by Shelley. The Nano-Bot merely struggled in his arms for a moment, and he set her down with a sad look upon his face.

He pointed at her once she was on the floor safely, “Keep this between us for now, okay?”

She tilted her head at him. “Error. Error. Does. Not. Compute.” Why did she sound so angry with him?? It had to have been his overactive imagination, right??

He nodded as he made his way over to his bedroom door, “I know, Shelley,” he threw it open, hanging back into the room for just a moment. He peered over the second-floor railing before he whispered to himself, “It doesn’t compute for me, either.”

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Nines really had gone the extra mile for Elijah Kamski. He had set the table with some of the most expensive China Gavin had ever seen. The plates and utensils were decorated with lovely markings and Chinese symbols, but before Gavin could study them intently, Nines pushed him aside as he brought out the wine.

“It’s more than a willow pattern, Detective Reed,” he explained as he set three champagne glasses, which confused Gavin.

He pointed at the extra one, “You drink?”

Nines avoided eye contact, “I can drink tea only; a concoction Mr. Kamski usually gifts me with whenever we visit each other.”

Gavin ran the tip of his index finger around the rim of one of the glasses, “That’s news to me!”

“Indeed,” Nines gently pried it out of his hands and placed it at the head of the table, “Elijah Kamski often does a lot of things for me, which I’m eternally grateful for.”

Gavin snarled, “Oh? How sweet…” he turned away from the table, eyeing the expensive wine and feeling his blood boiling when he read the label on the bottle. It appeared that Nines was going to serve Elijah Kamski a bottle of Chateau Lafite’s 1869 wine.

Gavin shook his head as he set the bottle down gently and glared at Nines. When the RK900 met his eyes, he sneered.

“What is it now, my husband?”

Gavin shrugged coldly, “I don’t understand why this nutbar gets the bottle of the good stuff, while I don’t even get soda around here.”

Nines waved about the table, “I felt it was apropos considering the ‘Oriental style’, Detective,” he explained as he held up the bottle of wine, smiling at it as if it comforted him the most in the world, “the Chateau Lafite’s 1869 bidding war for rare vintage resulted in a price of $230,000 for a standard sized bottle available at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2010. Though ancient, this is a highly sought-after delicacy.”

Gavin nearly vomited, but studied the Chinese-styled plates and utensils. “Okay, okay,” he moaned in anguish, “I got it! Just…just can you lay off the ‘artsy-fartsy’ stuff for tonight, Nines?”

Nines merely gave him a foul look, his lips making a moue of protest just before he threw out a low growl. “I’m not going to alter my way of living just because you think I should do so, Detective,” he hissed irritably as he folded the white, clean serviettes into little swan shapes that sat in the center of the plates. As Gavin stared at them, he hated to admit that he found them cute, beautiful, and a lovely work of art. He nearly slapped himself, then, but he was pulled away from the little make-shift swans when he heard soft classical music playing.

It was a piano concerto, no doubt, but Gavin couldn’t recognize it at all. He never listened to classical music before often, but for some reason, it was soothing him a lot lately. He’d never liked it or cared for it before, but now that Nines played it constantly, he found himself growing accustomed to the sound and beauty of it.

Still a little shy to ask about the music, he chose instead to comment about it. “This is very lovely, Nines…”

“Indeed,” the android agreed, “it’s Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, II. Adagio…one of Mr. Kamski’s favorite pieces.”

Gavin growled, “Does everything have to revolve around that snob?”

Nines threw him a disgruntled look. “Don’t be so dramatic, Detective; and I recall once asking you to drop your self-superior and supercilious attitude long ago.”

As Gavin had been in the midst of arguing, the front doorbell rang, and Nines smiled brighter than Gavin had ever seen or known him to. His whole face lit up, and he made sure each and every plate was centered perfectly on the vast, long dining room table before he made his way down the hall to greet their guest.

Elijah Kamski had arrived.

 

{---@```---@```---}

 

Gavin had been sent back upstairs to dress into a black and white three-piece suit, much as Nines was now wearing a dark blue three-piece suit that practically made him shine with handsomeness and perfection Gavin had never before seen on the tall android. He’d even gelled the stray bang of dark brown hair, pushing it back and within the rest of his shortly cropped strands as he greeted Elijah Kamski and welcomed him into the home.

Elijah Kamski was wearing a suit that was split in colors; on the left side, his suit was deep purple, and on the right, it was bright ruby red. His shoes were plain white, and he hugged Nines tightly, as if greeting a brother.

His hair was a little longer than Gavin had seen it whenever he’d given speeches and presentations around Detroit, and he was unaccompanied, which was rather odd, considering how he had a very attractive and friendly female android he’d named ‘Chloe’.

“Good to see you, Elijah,” Nines greeted, stepping back and taking the gift basket and bags Kamski had gifted him with pleasantly, “though I wonder where the beautiful Chloe is?”

Kamski merely chuckled, his eyes appearing smaller as little wrinkles formed in the sides. “Oh, I’m going ‘bachelor’ tonight, Nines,” he joked playfully, “besides, sometimes women need their personal time!”

Nines set the bags in the kitchen as Gavin slowly descended the steps. He hadn’t meant to take so long getting ready, but it was too late, and he decided to make a quiet entrance.

As he entered the large kitchen, he saw Nines pulling out decent-sized boxes containing some strange containers. Gavin assumed this was the brew Elijah had fixed personally for Nines, and while it didn’t seem to be like ‘tea’ in essence, Gavin assumed that’s what Nines referred to it as anyway.

It was held and contained in blue bottles once Nines opened the boxes, and he grinned proudly at Elijah. “They’re prepared just as I like them, thank you, Elijah.”

Kamski snorted and laughed, “So prim and proper, Nines!! I should get to work making you a beautiful wife one of these days!”

That was when Gavin tiptoed into the kitchen, and Kamski must’ve heard him. He wheeled around, gasping once he laid eyes on him, and he laughed nervously. “Oh, I do apologize!” he cried out, “I…I didn’t know Nines had another guest over!” he immediately offered his hand out to Gavin, “I’m Eli—”

“Yes, you’re Elijah Kamski,” Gavin smiled politely, and when Kamski raised a thin, black eyebrow, Gavin smiled even wider, “everyone knows who the famous android creator is.”

Kamski bowed his head in appreciation. “I appreciate the sentiment, Mr…?”

“Reed, Detective Gavin Reed.” He finally shook hands with Kamski, and the man gasped when he heard his full title.

“Detective?” he smiled, though there was a hint of concern in his eyes. “I’m not in any trouble, am I?”

Gavin laughed warmly, “No, you can relax fully well tonight, Mr. Kamski; I’m only here as a guest as well.”

While it’d been a half-joke, Nines didn’t seem to appreciate it, and he glared away at Gavin. Ignoring his moody husband, Gavin smiled brightly at Elijah Kamski, letting the other man study him carefully.

Kamski’s cold blue eyes finally studied the golden ring on his finger. “Oh!!” he exclaimed in surprise, his eyebrows raised up dramatically, “and so it appears you’re spoken for, as well then?”

Gavin blushed, “Ummm—”

“She must be a real beauty!” Kamski interrupted, and then behind him, Nines closed one of the kitchen cupboards a little loudly. Staring at him briefly, Kamski’s facial expression grew a little concerned. Nines ignored them, reaching over to the stove as he attempted to put on oven mitts so he could bring their meal forward.

Kamski then located the matching golden wedding band on Nines’ left-hand ring finger, and he gaped as he leapt back a few feet. “Nines?!?!” he placed a hand on his stomach, eyes wide and curious at the same time, “you…y-you’re married?!?!”

“So it appears I am, Elijah.”

Gavin turned around, holding his head down as he walked into the dining room with a bit of disappointment and anger in his blood. He’d heard of rumors that Elijah Kamski was a very open-minded individual, but if that were the case, why did he look so green and sick in the face when he pieced together that Gavin was with Nines?

Kamski and Nines entered the dining room next, and Kamski dimmed the chandelier lights a little, eyeing Gavin coolly while he sat down at the end of the table that was facing the China Cabinet.

Nines placed the cooked duck in the center of the dining room table, and he sat down at one end of the table, and Gavin sat down right across from him at the other; the only place with a plate and utensils.

“Great, now I’m going to have to look at his grumpy face during the entire meal, huh?”

Kamski chuckled as he smelled the duck, and then let out a content sigh as his eyes closed. Nines pulled out a carving knife, and he delicately sliced some breast portions for Kamski. He then handled the bottle of wine with extra caution, and he didn’t spill a drop as he poured up to more than halfway of the glass for his friend, first.

Eyeing Gavin’s plate and glass, next, Nines poured him a smaller portion than he had with Kamski, but he still handled the knife delicately and cut with precise accuracy until Gavin’s plate was decorated nicely with duck and a few berries right on top.

Kamski clasped his hands together as he chuckled at Gavin and Nines, “You know what? This is a good thing!” he nodded over at their wedding rings, “if I can create a sentient creature that not only chooses to go deviant and adopt its own lifestyle, but picks its own mate?!!” he whistled as he clapped again, “now that’s the ultimate jackpot!!”

As Gavin’s wine was poured, he looked up into his husband’s eyes, wondering whether Nines was going to say anything to Elijah Kamski about the truth of their union, but it appeared that Nines wasn’t going to utter a single word. Once Gavin’s glass had been halfway full as well, Nines turned and sat across from Gavin at the far end of the table, and he waved a hand at the assortment of vegetables, exotic salads, and the duck.

“Bon appétit,” he smiled proudly, leaning back as he helped himself to a glass of the strange blue liquid Kamski had brought with him.

As the piano and orchestra in the background played on softly, Gavin took the first bite out of the duck. His mouth watered around it, and it had cooled down perfectly; not too cold, and not too hot. The distinct flavors and hints of rosemary, lemon juice, and thyme were each tasted by his taste buds, and it made Gavin crave even more. The meat itself was delicious; not too dry, and not too soft. It was just the perfect temperature, and as he collected some of the cubed, baked potatoes from the side-trays onto his plate, he felt Elijah Kamski’s eyes on him.

Peeking up, Gavin confirmed that the man was indeed staring at him with a curious expression on his face.

Gavin wiped his lips and smiled, “Yes?”

Kamski gave a little smirk, “Nothing…I’m just surprised that I never was invited to a wedding!” he chuckled briefly as he pointed a butter knife at Nines, “I thought I’d be the first to know, old friend.”

Nines shrugged, “It was kind of a surprise for me too, Elijah.”

The man gasped as he looked over at Gavin, then. “So how did you two meet? And who asked who???” his eyes were filled with playfulness, and he sighed as he leaned back and held up his glass of wine, “I’m usually not this nosy, Detective Reed,” he tapped a fingernail on the edge of the shiny glass, “but I must say, you two make quite the interesting pair…”

Gavin gazed across the dining room table, and he saw Nines throwing him a serious look. He picked up on the hint, and he merely forced a laugh as he said, “We met at work, and I asked Nines to be with me, Mr. Kamski!” He truly hoped his exuberant answer would suffice.

“Please, call me Elijah!”

He nodded, “Elijah.”

It wasn’t a satisfying answer, but as long as it brought an end to the questions from Kamski, it would have to do. The other man seemed to buy it, and he held up his wine glass high in the air, the reflections bouncing off the glass, the beverage within, and forming interesting shapes that twisted about on the ceiling and off the walls.

“A toast then,” he began happily and excitedly, “to the wonderful new couple I’m more than honored to be dining with tonight!!”

Following his lead, Gavin and Nines held up their glasses as well, and they all toasted without touching their glasses together. Regardless, the feelings were all passed around nicely, and they began eating.

Gavin felt Nines watching him, but he did his best to ignore it. He pointed down at his plate, and he smiled, “This is a very good duck confit.”

Kamski snickered in amusement, but he held up his napkin and placed it over his lips as he closed his eyes and tried keeping his composure. His shoulders shook as he laughed, but Nines merely threw Gavin an unimpressed stare.

“What the hell did I do wrong, now??!?” Gavin was about to ask, but then Nines held his glass down to his lap.

“It’s pronounced ‘con-fee’, Detective Reed,” he corrected coldly, “the ‘t’ is silent, and furthermore, this isn’t duck confit.”

“I wish YOU would be silent,” Gavin entertained in his mind, although he smiled right through his hurt and pain, eager not to fall into the trap Nines had set out for him which would no doubt involve a boat load of misery and embarrassment in front of their guest.

Gavin didn’t have time to be embarrassed; Elijah Kamski laughed louder, but it was a very friendly laugh that didn’t seem to be aimed at Gavin specifically and only for the purposes of mocking him or alienating him simply because he’d mispronounced a word.

“It’s alright, Nines,” Kamski said as he wiped his eyes with his napkin softly and delicately, “I really like your Detective Reed just as errant as he is…” he tossed Gavin a small wink before continuing to eat his meal.

No one heard Nines whisper, “You’d be the only one, frankly.”