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Trust and Truthfulness

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"Well, here we are," you tell Ralph as you lead him into your apartment before turning to shut and lock the door behind the both of you. When you turn around, you find him staring at your television, his LED quickly flashing from blue to yellow to red and his gaze glued to the news broadcast you'd forgotten to shut off in your haste to find him, that is still telling of how all androids were to be rounded up and sent to facilities for destruction in response to the android uprising, nonviolent though it may be.

You'd first met Ralph a little over two months ago, after your friends had drunkenly dared you to spend the night alone in the old house that you would soon find wasn't nearly as abandoned as both you and they had thought. Your friends had found some back way in for you, and then left you there, promising to be back in the morning. You'd looked around some in the house, opening whatever doors you came across but also doing little more than poking your head in to glance around within them before returning to the living room.

At some point, you'd managed to fall asleep on the floor, likely due to being as tipsy as you were, and when you awoke you found Ralph standing over you, peering down at you in curiosity. You hadn't been able to stop yourself from jumping slightly, startled, or from practically yelping in shock. You suppose that he hadn't judged you to be much of a threat, if any at all, at least if the way he had apologized for scaring you and then greeted you were any indication. You and he had talked, albeit briefly, but it was long enough for you to figure out that his name was Ralph, from the way he referred to himself, and that he was an android, judging from the glowing light on his temple. You guess you'd fallen back asleep at some point because the next thing you knew you were awoken by the sound of your friends hollering for you from outside, and Ralph was nowhere to be found.

For whatever inexplicable reason, perhaps curiosity or perhaps something else, something more, two days later you found yourself making your way back to the house, and to Ralph again. He'd been surprised to see you, and somewhat nervous, but as you found yourself coming to that house more and more often, his nervousness had slowly turned into excitement at the sight of you. As for you, your initial surprise at the sight of his scars had turned from pity to affection, and then to something else that you haven't yet dared to put a name to.

And then came tonight, and the news broadcast, and above all else, you found yourself worried for him. You'd rushed to that old house as quickly as you could, hoping that nobody had found Ralph yet. It had taken you a few minutes to find him, so long that you were almost crying when you finally found him.

Trust me, you'd told him, grabbing his hand, and he did, running along with you back to your apartment even though the only explanations you could give him were half-formed and muddled. Luckily, you don't think anyone had seen the two of you.

Hopefully he still trusts you, you think to yourself as you watch him. You clear your throat and then say, softly, "Now you see why I wanted you here."

"But why? Why are you helping Ralph?" he asks, turning to peer at you in confusion, much as he had that very first night.

"Because," you begin, before pausing as you have to wonder just why you did, because you hadn't thought much about it before you'd leapt up from your couch and practically ran to find him. Because he's your friend, you almost say, but that doesn't seem quite right, because of the way your heart beats faster whenever you see any other WR600s for the simple matter of their resemblance to him, because of the way you've caught him looking at you sometimes, with a certain sort of softness in his gaze despite his fear and loathing of any other humans, and because of the fact that you just don't care about the danger you've put yourself in by doing this. You decide, and continue, "Because I care about you, Ralph. I saw that broadcast and I knew I couldn't leave you there alone."

His LED returns to yellow, circling rapidly as he processes what you told him, and he's silent for a moment, twitching slightly in both body and face, before chuckling nervously and replying, "Ralph would've been fine. He's very good at hiding."

It doesn't sound like even he wholly believes that, so you sigh and ask, walking closer to him, "Then why did you come with me?"

"Ralph cares about you too," he replies, smiling at you as his LED returns to blue. He walks closer to you, stopping a mere few inches away from you, lapsing into silence as he simply looks at you, still smiling.

"You have dirt on your face," you practically blurt out, suddenly nervous, the silence from him and the noise from your television having become too much for you to bear. Confusion passes over his face again as he reaches up to touch his face and you hurriedly tell him, "If you sit down, I can wipe it off for you."

"Ralph would like that," he says, his confusion giving way to excitement and a smile. "Ralph would like that very much!"

"Good," you say, returning his smile before continuing, "Have a seat and I'll be right back."

You walk to your kitchen and grab a clean washcloth and an empty bowl before filling the bowl with water. After the bowl has enough water in it, you return to your living room, bowl in hands and washcloth tucked in your pocket, and find Ralph stiffly in your armchair, gaze darting rapidly around the room before settling on you. His smile returns at the sight of you, and you make your way over to him. You set the bowl down on a nearby table and dip the washcloth in the water, all the while thinking about how you want to go about this.

You know that androids are supposed to be waterproof, but you're not sure if that applies to just their outer parts, or all of them. Either way, you want to be careful with his scarred side, and try to avoid getting water actually inside of the spots where the damage is deeper than superficial, namely the two large gashes that are so deep you're sure you could actually see inside of him if you looked closely enough. As much as you like Ralph, you're not sure you really want to physically see inside of him, so you haven't looked that closely yet, and doubt that you ever will.

Besides, if the water is actually detrimental to Ralph, you'd rather not have to attempt to get him to stick his face in a bowl of rice. If that even works in regards to androids, of course.

You squeeze the towel to rid it of excess water and then decide to begin with the unblemished side of his face. You step closer to him, close enough that you can feel his legs brushing against yours, and begin wiping gently at a smudge of dirt on his forehead. From there, you work your way down, from brow to cheek to chin and then over to his nose, occasionally stepping back to wet the washcloth again. It's not long before you've finished with this side of his face, and then move on to the other, all the while being sure to take special care around his scars, and especially around the open gashes, wiping away dirt and traces of blue blood, until finally you've made it down to his jaw. You start close to his ear and then make your way down the line of his jaw, until your rag comes to rest just under his mouth.

You've been so focused on your task of cleaning his face while simultaneously ignoring the racing of your heart that you haven't noticed the way he's looking at you until now. But now that you do, the sheer emotion in his good eye is enough to make your heart beat even faster, if that's even possible, while also setting butterflies a-fluttering in your stomach, because the mix of wonder and trust in his hazel gaze is starting to look an awful lot like love. Your face is burning hot, but you smile at him nonetheless, and bring the cloth gently across his bottom lip. He inhales sharply, practically gasping, his LED flickering yellow and his own face, or at least the undamaged side, flushing blue. You set the washcloth down and are struck by the urge to follow its former path across his lip with your thumb, so you do. His eyelids flutter, not quite closing, as he almost twitches underneath your touch.

You shake your own head as if to clear it before stepping back, and letting your hand fall away from him as you say, "There. All done."

His eyes open fully as disappointment overtakes his features. You pick up the bowl and washcloth and carry both of them back to the kitchen.

"What is Ralph supposed to do now?" Ralph asks, the sound of his voice close enough that you guess he'd gotten up and come to stand in the entrance of your kitchen.

"You can bathe in my bathroom, if you want. And I can wash your clothes for you, so that they'll be clean until I can get you something new," you tell him, emptying the bowl and setting it down before rinsing the cloth out in your kitchen sink and shutting the water off. You hang the washcloth over your faucet and then Ralph is asking, quietly, so quietly you almost don't hear the question, "Will you help Ralph with the rest as well?"

"If you want me to," you reply, turning to face him even as your face heats up again.

"Ralph does," he says, smiling broadly. You can't help but to smile at him in return before saying, "Well, follow me, then."

You turn and begin making your way to your bathroom, glancing briefly over your shoulder to make sure Ralph is following you. Surely enough, he is. Before long, you're both standing just inside of your bathroom, and you find yourself suddenly nervous.

"I'll go ahead and run the water, so how about you just get undressed and wait for me? You can put your clothes on the counter, but just leave your shoes on the floor, if you don't mind?" you ask, and without even waiting to see if he complies, you hurriedly make your way over to the tub. You bend and put the plug in the tub before running the tap.

Do androids even have temperature preferences? you find yourself wondering as you fiddle with the temperature knobs. You have half a mind to just ask Ralph, but then find yourself questioning if he's ever even taken a bath before. He had tended the city gardens before he came to that old house, and you doubt he'd ever been afforded the opportunity to be cleaned off properly then, unless by a hose. You end up setting the temperature to lukewarm, and then shut it off completely once there's roughly a couple of inches of water in the tub. You stand up straight and turn around to find that Ralph has done exactly as you'd asked him to, so that he's now standing bare in your bathroom, with only his hands keeping him modest.

"I'll just go and put these in the wash and then be right back," you say, ignoring the way your face heats up, bending slightly to scoop up the tattered cloak and gardener's uniform from the counter before hurrying past Ralph and then to your small laundry room. You practically fling the lid of your washing machine open, flustered as you are, and dump his clothes into the drum of it.

You can still hear the news broadcast from your television in here, and as you pour detergent into its designated spot, you resolve to yourself that if anyone comes looking for Ralph here, they'll have to either arrest you or kill you before you let them get to him. As you return the detergent to the shelf from which it came, you find yourself wondering just how you'd explain this to your parents, especially if you really were arrested.

At least it wasn't because of drugs, you imagine yourself telling them, and can't help but to snort at the thought. You close the lid of the washing machine and then lean against it, suddenly exhausted, all of your prior adrenaline drained and gone. Ralph is safe, at least for now, and that's all that matters. He's also waiting for you in your bathroom, you remember, your heart skipping a beat at the thought, and push yourself up. You turn the washing machine on and then turn and make your way back to your bathroom.

After taking a deep breath to steady yourself, you walk into the bathroom. Ralph looks up at you from his seat in the tub as you enter, a smile appearing on his face at the sight of you. You return the smile, and walk closer to the tub, closer to him. As you come to stand beside the tub, your gaze flicks downwards from his face to elsewhere, briefly, for little more than a second, but it's long enough for you to see that, along with having scarring similar to that on his arms on his knees and thighs, oh, Ralph actually is anatomically correct.

Not that you've ever wondered about what parts he may or may not be equipped with, of course. Okay, so maybe you have wondered before, but definitely only in passing and out of scientific curiosity. Besides, there's a difference between wondering and knowing. You know that it shouldn't matter what he has or doesn't have, but at the same time you can't deny the rush that the knowledge brings you.

You force yourself to push all thoughts of this subject aside to the best of your ability, and then you kneel beside the tub, grabbing another washcloth and a bar of soap, first wetting the cloth before soaping it up. You know that Ralph is watching you, and can practically feel the weight of his gaze on you, but you don't trust yourself to look directly at him yet.

"Let me see your arm," you say, setting the bar of soap down on the ledge of the bathtub. He complies, lifting the arm closest to you. You lean in a little closer, finally looking up at his face in order to smile reassuringly at him. Your eyes meet his, and when they do, you can't help but notice that his LED has turned yellow again.

"Everything okay, Ralph?" you ask, bringing the washcloth up to his neck and gently beginning to wipe downwards from there.

"Yes," he replies, looking away from you, voice oddly clipped as he adds, "Ralph is fine."

"Good," you reply, softly, even if the tone of his voice does disconcert you some. In the months since you first met him, you've learned that when in doubt about his mood, always take the gentlest approach possible. After a moment, you return to your washing. The lower you get on his arm, the more carefully you wash, especially around the spot on his wrist that still occasionally leaks blue blood, and on the areas on his forearm and hand where the white plastic that his skin can't cover is revealed.

Finally, you finish and with one last gentle squeeze of his hand, release him.

"There," you say, still maintaining a soft tone of voice as you ask, "Will you let me see your other arm now, Ralph?"

Ralph nods, resting the hand of the arm you'd just finished cleaning on his thigh and holding the other one up for you. You wash this arm much the same as you did the other, even if you do have to lean farther into the tub to do so.

Don't look down, you tell yourself sternly, and manage to only slip up once, when you're running the washcloth over the underside of his forearm. Not long after that, Ralph reaches up with his other hand, the very tips of the fingers brushing hesitantly against your cheek. Quickly, you look back up at his face, wondering if he'd noticed the straying of your gaze, but find only softness in his good eye and a faint blue flush to the unmarred side of his face.

The look on his face makes your heart beat a little faster, especially when he begins to smile, because the way he's looking at you is almost like he can't believe you're real. You simply smile at him, not trusting yourself to be able to speak coherently. After a moment, you turn your attention back to his hand and before long, you've finished washing this arm as well.

There are a few spots around where his ribs would be if he were human that his skin doesn't cover and white shows through, but the damage there isn't nearly as bad as it is on his face and arms. You start at the base of his neck and then work your way downwards, washing thoroughly but also gently, especially when you reach those spots. Out the blue, he suddenly says, "Ralph would like to know something."

"What is it?" you ask, without looking up, still continuing to wash down his chest as he begins, "You know that Ralph has been hurt by humans before. They scare him, and he hates them!"

He slams his fist against the edge of the bathtub, startling you. You look up just in time to see his LED bypass yellow to go straight to red before just as abruptly returning to blue as he continues, more calmly now, "All of them but you. You, yes, you're different. You treat Ralph differently, and he's never really understood why."

"It's like I told you before. I care about you," you reply, returning to your prior task, albeit distractedly now. Apparently not satisfied with your answer, Ralph continues, "But why do you care so much about Ralph?"

"I," you begin before trailing off. Why indeed. You know that logically, you probably should've never returned to the old house after that first night, but you did, and now here you and he are. With a shrug, you continue, "I don't know. Do I need a reason? I just know that I do, and that's good enough for me."

His only response is the sound of his hitched breath, and you realize in that moment that your idle washing while you and he were speaking had led your hand to drift a little too far downwards, so that your hand is a mere hair's breadth away from touching him there.

"Sorry," you all but squeak out, and begin to move your hand away, only for one of his one hands to come down instead. His long fingers wrap around your wrist, holding you in place as he looks at you curiously. He's starting to get hard, you realize, even more heat rushing to your face as a heady feeling grows low within you. You try and fail to pull yourself free from him as you say, flustered beyond belief, "Oh, god, I'm so sorry. I mean, I find you attractive, but this was never my intention. I just wanted to be nice and now look at me, I'm practically molesting you. God, I'm a terrible friend-"

Ralph cuts you off before you can ramble any further by asking, excitedly, "You really find Ralph attractive?"

"Yes," you admit, glancing away from him briefly before adding, "I think you're very handsome."

"Then come in with Ralph," he says, practically beaming as he tugs at your wrist. "Come in, come in!"

"Do you know what you're asking?" you ask, trying and failing to pull your hand away again. You know about the Eden Club, and what goes on there. It's never really sat well with you, and you don't want this to be like that, because even if are attracted to Ralph and even if he is a deviant, you don't want him to feel like he has to do this just because you want him to.

"Yes," he says, as confidently as you've ever heard him. You simply look at him, brows furrowed, unsure of what exactly to think, torn between having a moral dilemma and just throwing all caution to the wind. While you're trying to get your thoughts in order, Ralph continues, "Ralph is alive, but he doesn't really think he felt like it until he met you. Just the sight of you is enough to make Ralph happy, but seeing you leave makes him sad, and he's scared, no, terrified that you'll be taken away from him someday."

He pauses for a breath that you know he doesn't really need, his LED swirling a steady yellow, and then continues, his words fast and rushed, "And, sometimes after you left Ralph, he would think about you. About the way you smile at him, and more. Thinking about you, about all these things about you, made him feel good in ways that he had never felt before."

Ralph pauses again, the corner of his mouth twitching minutely, along with his brow, and then says, voice quieter as if he's telling you a secret, "Those times, Ralph couldn't help but to touch himself."

Oh. Well, that changes things, you think to yourself, blinking rapidly in surprise.

"Please don't be mad at Ralph for that," he hurriedly says, releasing his grasp on your wrist and looking at you in worry, likely due to your lack of immediate response.

"I could never be mad at you," you reply, smiling at him as you set the washcloth side and stand up. You then pull your shirt off, over your head, before tossing it elsewhere behind you. He stares at you, LED still flashing yellow, desire and surprise showing in equal parts in his gaze.

"Especially not for that," you add, with a quick wink.

After you've managed to get completely undressed, to get yourself in the tub, to get the plug of the tub pulled out and then to finally get yourself comfortably settled on his lap with one thigh on either side of his own, you notice that Ralph's LED has started to flicker red and his cock has become fully hard. His gaze darts from your face, to your breasts, to lower, and back up, all in quick succession, as if he's not quite sure where he wants to look the most. You smile at him, as reassuringly as you possibly can, and then reach down.

CyberLife really knows how to put the service in public service android, you think as you wrap your fingers around his cock, stroking him from the flushed blue head all the way to the base and then back up. His hips twitch upwards as he gasps. You continue stroking him, reveling in the gasps and moans falling from his lips, heat growing within you and a certain wetness growing between your thighs.

"Please," Ralph manages to say through all of his little noises, but you cut him off with a kiss. It's far from a gentle one, but he doesn't seem to mind, if the way he clumsily kisses you back is any indication. You kiss him, hard and deep, until you physically can't anymore, and have to pull away to inhale air into your screaming lungs. When you do, Ralph opens his eyes as he practically groans in disappointment before saying, "Ralph needs you. Oh, rA9, he needs you."

"I've got you, Ralph," you tell him, still breathing hard, as you align the head of his cock with the opening of your sex and then sink downwards onto him. He gasps again, his LED blinking a furious red, and you know you'll have to make this as quick as you can, for fear of him overheating, but you don't think Ralph will even manage to last that long anyway. Luckily for you, he's big enough to fill you in all the right ways without being too big. That, along with the fact that you're already decently wet makes it easy for you to start moving on him, and move on him you do.

You find yourself practically chanting his name as you fuck yourself down onto him, one of your hands gripping tight at the golden strands of hair that you can barely tell is of synthetic make as your other hand trails downwards to find and rub at your clit. Ralph is even worse off than you are, barely able to do more than moan, high, keening, staticky gasps of what you think is supposed to be your own name spilling from his lips, and grip your hips tightly in his hands as he does his best to sloppily thrust upwards into you. Your orgasm comes suddenly and strongly, heat rushing through you as you clench around his cock. Underneath you, Ralph is thrusting up even more frantically, and it's not long before he too is reaching his peak. You can feel him twitch inside of you as he comes with a loud moan that's almost completely static.

After he stills underneath you, you loosen your grip on his hair, breathing heavily as your hand comes down to rest on his back instead. He's breathing just as heavily as you are, nearly trembling underneath you, and still gripping you tightly enough that you couldn't lift off of him even if you wanted to do so yet.

Trust, you think as he rests his head on your shoulder, is a wonderful thing.