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Trust and Truthfulness

Chapter Text

"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.

Chapter Text

rA9 rA9 rA9 rA9 rA9 r-

No.

It's useless.

Ralph casts his knife aside in frustration. Normally, this, the act of carving and the sound of his knife against the wall, is enough to calm him and content him. Now, however, he can't get himself to focus, because all he can think of is you.

rA9 can wait for now, Ralph supposes, reluctantly turning and leaning back against the wall as he replays the day's events in his mind. His morning had passed as his mornings normally do, and then you'd come by early in the afternoon.

It had been a lovely day, the sky clear and the temperatures high, and no doubt as a result, you'd been wearing shorts, shorts that had ridden even farther up your thighs as you sat next to Ralph on the floor, the bare skin of one thigh pressed against the coarse material of his pants. As you'd talked with him, Ralph had found himself distracted and clutching tightly at his knife with the hand farthest from you in an attempt keep himself steady. His fingers had twitched around the knife, and even now he's not sure if that was from a desire to return to his carving or to touch you.

The sight of your legs had been bad enough, but then, just before you left, you'd reached out and taken Ralph's hand in yours and squeezed, your grip warm and soft and gentle, smiling all the while. You let go of him with a promise to be back tomorrow and then he was alone, alone with his thoughts and these confusing, unfamiliar feelings.

Ralph knows what sex is, yes, he understands it, having stumbled across more than a few human couples locked in intimate embraces during his time as a gardener in the park and even a few times in this house, but he'd had no need to linger on the sight or to think further about it. What Ralph doesn't understand are the feelings currently overtaking him, or just why a certain part of him is start starting to change, to grow hard, and to form a bulge in his already fairly form-fitting pants.

Ralph can't help the sound that escapes him as he reaches down to grasp at the part of him that had, until now, been simply ornamental, as superfluous as the hair on his head or the navel on his stomach.

Would you want to have sex with Ralph?

No. No, probably not, he decides. You're human and pretty, so pretty, and Ralph is... Ralph.

But in Ralph's fantasies, you smile at him like you did earlier, and step closer to him. You kiss him, on the cheeks and on the forehead, over his scars and across his jaw, until finally your lips meet his. Ralph rubs himself through his pants, moans pushing past his parted lips, mind swirling with thoughts of you. The scene behind his eyes switches, and he's on top of you, inside of you, your legs wrapped tight around his waist as you moan his name.

Suddenly it's not enough for Ralph to just palm at himself, so he quickly undoes his pants and shoves a hand in, his fingers wrapping tight around the length of himself and stroking, and, oh, this feels even better than it had before.

The fantasies keep changing, but one thing always stays the same. You, and him, but mostly you, your smile and the sound of your voice and your thighs and the way you'd felt pressed up against his side. All he can think of is you, you, you and then suddenly he can't think anymore, all of his circuits and his wires and whatever other things he's made of feel as if they've been overtaken by pure light and pure heat, his hips thrusting hard into the circle of his fingers as everything goes momentarily dark.

After he comes back to his senses, Ralph blinks several times in order to help his vision come back into focus, and withdraws his hand from his pants as he looks down at the mess he made. The wetness is not only strangely uncomfortable, but is also starting to show through the fabric of the front.

He needs to get cleaned up, because it won't be long until tomorrow, and he wants to look his best, for you.

Ralph can't wait to see you again.

Chapter Text

When you arrive home from work, the first thing you see is the police officer standing outside of your door. Clutching the shopping bag in your hand even tighter, you cautiously make your way over to him and ask, "Has something happened here, officer?"

Instead of answering you, he asks, "Are you the tenant of this apartment?"

"Yeah," you say, raising your eyebrows as you ask, "Why?"

The officer shows you his badge, tells you his name and what department he's from, and then adds, very matter-of-fairly, "I've been given orders to search all of the apartments in this building to make sure that no one is hiding any androids."

Even though nervousness twists in your stomach and threatens to make you sick, you manage to reply, as wryly as you can, "If I had the money for an android, do you really think I'd still be living in this place?"

The officer chuckles and then says, "I feel you, I really do, but orders are orders."

You nod, fumbling for your keys, and say, "Give me a second to get the door unlocked."

"So, what's in the bag?" the officer asks, as if attempting to seem conversational as you attempt to successfully unlock the door. Without looking back at him, you reply, "Clothes. My boyfriend always complains about me taking his, so I bought him these to compensate."

It's not entirely a lie, at least, because the clothes are for Ralph, after all, and you guess if you had to put a label on what he is to you, your boyfriend wouldn't be too terribly far off, especially considering the events of the previous evening.

"Here we are," you say, faking some modicum of cheerfulness, finally unlocking the door. The officer walks inside and you follow after him, hoping desperately that Ralph had heard your voice and the officer's, and had made subsequently himself scarce. Hopefully he didn't leave completely, you think as the officer looks around, and hopefully he won't attack the officer out of either fear or anger or both, because that wouldn't be good for anyone.

You set the bag of clothes down on your couch and then just stand there, nearly painfully awkwardly, all the while hoping that the officer won't find Ralph anywhere. The officer walks into your kitchen and then back out before asking, with a gesture towards the door of your laundry room, "Mind if I open this?"

"Nope. Go ahead," you reply, shifting from foot to foot as the officer does just that. You'd given Ralph his clothes back this morning, so you don't have to worry about the officer seeing those in your laundry room, at least. The officer looks around in there, at all forty square feet of the tiny room, before shutting the door again. You watch as he makes his way to your bedroom, your heart in your throat as he draws closer to it. The door to your bedroom is open, but the officer does little more than poke his head in and glance briefly around before coming back towards you and saying, "I should be going, then. Your landlady has been refusing to let me into the apartments of anyone who isn't home, so I've still got half the fucking building to check."

Never before have you been so thankful for Mrs. Johnson and her bull-headed ways as you are in that moment. While making a mental note to bake some cookies for her later or something, you reply, "Good luck with that."

The officer makes a noncommittal sound of agreement and then leaves. You lock the door behind him and let out a breath you didn't even know you were holding. Now to find Ralph, you think, nervousness twisting tight knots in your stomach.

"Ralph?" you call out, walking back into your bedroom and trying not to panic. He hadn't been in the kitchen, the living room, or the laundry room, and the officer had only glanced around your bedroom, so you know he has to be either there or the bathroom. Unless he left, you think, but quickly force that troubling thought aside as you call out his name again, continuing towards the bathroom.

"Ralph is here."

You whirl around so quickly at the sound of Ralph's voice that you're almost surprised you don't give yourself whiplash, and see him making his way out from under your bed.

"Oh, thank god," you breathe out before rushing forward and throwing your arms around Ralph, nearly knocking him off balance in your haste to embrace him. His arms come up, circling loosely around your waist, and that alone is enough for you to know that something is wrong.

"Ralph?" you ask, concerned, pulling back just far enough so that you can see his face.

"Ralph should go," he says, LED flickering yellow and his brow twitching. You pull back a little farther but don't let go of him as you stare up at him in shock and ask, "Why?"

"Ralph wants to keep you safe," he states, as if it's the simplest thing in the world, and looks away from you. You gape at him, touched by his attention to your safety but also very incredulous about his lack of attention to his own as you reply, "What if they find you? They'll kill you!"

Ralph simply shrugs, another twitch passing across his face as he says, "Ralph doesn't want to die, but he also doesn't want you to get hurt because of him."

"I won't get hurt! I didn't get hurt today, and I won't get hurt tomorrow, or the day after," you hasten to reassure him before you pause to take a breath and then add, quieter, "Ralph, please."

"Ralph can't take that chance," he replies, breaking free from your hold as he continues, all the while unable to meet your eyes, "Anyway, what does that matter? Ralph will hide, and you can come see him, they way you used to."

No, you think, staring at him in horror, because you know that it's not that simple, and that there's a highly likely chance that you'll never see him again if he walks through your door. You know that he knows this too, because how could he not? Frantic and hardly able to think, you reach out and grab his hands before all but blurting out, "I love you."

The words hang heavy in the air and you don't know if they're true yet, but you can't think of anything to say that would work better, not now and not when you're so desperate just to not lose him. They have to be true, you decide, not only for your sake but for Ralph's as well, no, especially for his. Ralph finally looks at you, surprise clear on his face and in his voice as he asks, "What?"

"I love you," you repeat, softly, calmly, and much more confidently, squeezing his hands in yours. Ralph is looking at you much like he did last night, like he can't believe you're real or that you really said what you did, blinking rapidly as his LED swirls in frantic yellow circles. He opens his mouth as if to say something, but no words come out.

"I should've told you yesterday. I'm sorry I didn't say it then," you say, realizing that perhaps you're not just saying this for his benefit, and that perhaps there is more truth to it than you'd initially thought. All Ralph does is continue to stare at you, eyes wide and mouth agape and LED unable to settle on either yellow or red, and you sincerely hope that you didn't break him somehow. After a moment, you add, "Please don't leave me."

He's silent for a long moment more, but then finally, "No. No, Ralph won't go."

"Thank you," you say, relief flooding through you, and then you pull him closer to you, and kiss him. Slowly, hesitantly, he kisses you back. It's just as clumsy a kiss as the one you'd shared with him in the bathtub, but you don't even care about that, because he's going to stay. When you separate, Ralph asks, a blue blush staining his undamaged cheek and a softness in his hazel eye, "Will you tell Ralph that again?"

You know what he wants without even having to ask, so you say, "I love you, Ralph."

"Ralph is happy that you love him," he says, smiling broadly, intertwining his fingers with yours as he continues, "Because Ralph thinks he loves you too."

"Good," you say, and kiss him again. You let go of his hands in order to wrap your arms around him, and he does the same with you, his arms tight around your waist. When you pull back from this kiss, Ralph says, opening his eyes, "If anyone else tries to come here, Ralph will kill them."

"Well, hopefully it won't come to that," you reply, chuckling nervously, not doubting that he's saying that completely seriously. Eager to change the subject, you say, "I got you some new clothes like I said I would. Let me go get them and I'll be right back."

Ralph nods, reluctantly loosening his grip. You back out of his hold and walk out of the bedroom, and into your living room to grab the bag of clothes. While you're in your living room, you take the opportunity to look out the window. You can see the officer from earlier arguing with Mrs. Johnson in the parking lot, and quickly pull the curtain back so that it's closed. You grab the bag of clothes and make your way back to the bedroom. When you return to your bedroom, Ralph is standing just as he was before, and his LED has returned to blue from yellow.

"Here," you say, dumping the contents of the bag onto your bed as you explain, "I wasn't sure of the exact sizes to get you, so I got a few different ones. Once we know for sure what your sizes are, I can get more things for you, and in whatever colors you want."

You hold up a medium-sized shirt to compare to his frame, and that's when you notice the way that he's looking at you. There's a look on his face not unlike the one from earlier, an unprompted softness in his gaze and the hint of a smile on his all too kissable lips.

"What is it?" you ask, setting the shirt back down with the other clothes

"Nothing," Ralph says, his smile widening as he says, a dreamy look in his good eye, "Ralph just loves you, yes, he loves you."

"I love you too," you say, returning the smile and soft gaze before continuing, "Now let's get you out of those old clothes and into something new."

Ralph nods, still smiling, and begins undressing. You watch him as he sheds his cloak and shirt and can't help but to admire the view. Ralph is built lithely but strongly, broad in the shoulders and narrower in the hips, but without a too overly defined musculature. You suppose that as an android originally produced for gardening, it makes sense that he'd be built for strength, rather than for show.

"Wait," you tell him just as he's about to pull down his pants, an idea popping into your head that suddenly seems too tempting to pass up, and ask, "Can you come here for me?"

He pauses in his undressing to do so, turning around and coming to stand in front of you without question. You take a step to the side and say, "Go on, have a seat."

Ralph does so, and asks, curiosity clear in his voice, "What happened to Ralph changing his clothes?"

"I want to try something first, if that's all right with you," you say, and drop to your knees. A flicker of realization passes across his face, along with a faint blue flush. You reach up and undo his pants before wrapping your fingers around his cock, freeing him from the confines of his pants.

You barely have to stroke his cock for a minute before he's completely hard.

"Someone's eager," you say, teasingly, lovingly, but a high, shaky moan is the only reply you get. You look up at Ralph at that, at the pure anticipation and desire on his flushed face and the way his LED is yellow but likely not long from flashing red, and lean in so that your mouth is only a hair's breadth away from the head of his cock. When your lips close around him, he practically squeaks, and one of his hands flies down to rest on your head.

He doesn't smell or taste like much of anything, so it's easy for you to take him farther into your mouth. While his cock isn't overly big, he's still big enough that you don't dare take him back too far, for fear of gagging or choking, and instead wrap a hand around what you don't take into your mouth. Ralph doesn't seem to mind this at all, if all the wonderful sounds he makes and the restrained twitching of his hips are any indication.

You can tell that he's trying his best to hold back and to not be rough with you, and for that you're grateful. You bob your head up and down on what you do have in your mouth, sucking and licking at the soft synthetic skin of his cock, and pump what you don't have in your mouth with a tight but not too tight fist, all the while he gasps and moans above you.

Ralph threads his fingers in your hair and heat grows low within you, but you ignore it, because this isn't about you. Maybe later it will be, but for now this is all for him. It's not long before Ralph comes, and when he does, it's with a sound that you can only describe as a high, staticky whine. His cock twitches as a tasteless fluid practically floods your mouth. You pull off of him after his orgasm subsides, swallow the proof of his release, and wipe your mouth on the back of your hand.

You carefully tuck his softening cock back into his pants, and he whimpers at your touch. Smiling fondly at him, you push him down so that he's laying back and then join him on the bed.

Later, when you're waiting in front of your kitchen counter for your leftovers in the microwave to finish heating up, long after Ralph has changed into a simple shirt and pair of pants, he comes to stand behind you. Ralph links his arms around your waist and bends to rest his chin on your shoulder. You reach down and lay your hands over his, noting the contrast between your skin and the off-white plastic and patches of synthetic skin of his hands and forearms, and he tilts his head so that his scarred cheek is pressed against your shoulder.

"I love you," you tell Ralph, and can feel his smile.

Chapter Text

You decide to not go in to work the next day. The amount of police officers and soldiers out on the streets makes you uneasy, and nervous about the possibility of having to leave Ralph alone, especially after yesterday. Of course, Ralph didn't really want you to go to work either, so that was just another reason as to why you should stay home. Your boss had been understanding, thankfully, so that's how you've ended up spending your day pretty much exactly where you are now, and that is on your couch with Ralph, watching old, cheesy movies together.

Ralph is currently stretched out on the couch, with his head on your lap and your hands stroking through the soft strands of his blond hair. Every so often, he makes a small noise of contentment. When the movie currently being broadcast goes to a commercial break, you look down at Ralph and find his eyes closed. You know he's not really sleeping, but even so, there's no denying just how peaceful he looks. A smile spreads across your face at the sight, and then you turn your gaze to the clock on the wall. To your surprise, the time isn't far from being midnight, and the start of a new day.

You change to a local news channel in hopes of catching the weather forecast for the coming days, but instead you find an emergency news broadcast along with an address from the president being given. The android uprising was successful, you find out, and androids are going to not only be released from the camps in which they have been detained but also gradually granted the same rights as humans. You gasp and Ralph's eyes fly open at the sound before he moves off of your lap and into a proper sitting position in order to presumably look at your television better.

Is Ralph really happy here, with you? you can't help but to wonder as you turn your gaze from the television to him. You know that he's probably happier with you than he was in that old house, but how would your company compare to that of other androids, and how would your tiny apartment compare to the freedom of the entire country? You find that you're unable to find a satisfactory answer to either question. With all of this in mind, you swallow and say, "You could probably safely go now, if you still wanted to."

Ralph looks at you in surprise before asking, "Do you want Ralph to leave?"

"No," you say, softly, reaching over and resting your hand against the curve of his scarred cheek.

"Then Ralph won't go," he says, nuzzling gently against your hand as he continues, "Yes, Ralph will stay, of course Ralph will stay. You love him and he loves you, so why would he leave?"

"You did want to leave yesterday," you point out. Ralph makes a vague sound in the back of his throat before replying, "Ralph didn't really want to leave. He just wanted to keep you safe."

He pauses and then adds, with a shrug and a smile, "Anyway, that was before he knew you loved him."

"Ralph," you say, gaze softening. You can see something on his face abruptly change and his LED turn yellow as he asks, accusatorially, "Unless you want Ralph to go?"

"No," you begin, but he cuts you off by pulling away from your hand and saying, "Of course you want Ralph to go. You told Ralph you loved him, but you just wanted to hurt Ralph, didn't you? Didn't you?"

Ralph slams his fist against the arm of your couch once, twice, and then again, his LED flashing to red as he continues, "Ralph thought you were different, but you're just like the rest of the humans, no, you're worse than them. They just hurt Ralph's body, but you wanted to hurt him, yes, you wanted to hurt him in ways he's never been hurt before."

"Ralph," you say again, but he ignores you, a twitch running repeatedly across his face, and instead continues, voice rising in pitch and without much space between his words, "Ralph can't believe he fell in love with you, no, he can't believe it. You're nasty and mean and want Ralph to leave, even though he loves you. Ralph should've never come here. He should've never trusted y-"

"Ralph!" you practically shout, and he finally pauses in his mad and increasingly unintelligible tirade in order to ask, testily, "What?"

You take a deep breath and then, making sure to keep your voice calm and level, you reply, "Let me say this again. I did not and do not want you to leave. I want you to stay with me because I really do love you."

You can see another twitch pass across his face as he glares at you, fire burning just as furiously in his hazel eye as the red of his flashing LED, and then asks, just as testily as before, "Then why did you ask Ralph that?"

"Because I thought you might still want to leave, even though I'd hate if you did," you say before pausing, sighing, and admitting, "Because you could could be with other androids, and it's possible they, along with having the freedom to do whatever you want, anywhere you want, could make you happier than I ever could."

Ralph is silent at that, but his LED slowly returns to yellow and then to blue as he finally says, softly, "You're all Ralph wants or needs."

He unclenches his fists and reaches for you with both hands. You take his hands in yours as best as you can, since his are much bigger than yours, after all, and bring them to your lips. You kiss across the smooth white plastic of the knuckles of one of his hands and then do the same to his other hand as Ralph's expression changes to a contented yet apologetic one as he tells you, all the anger gone from his voice and instead replaced with regret, "Ralph is sorry. He didn't mean to get angry, and he didn't mean to say all those terrible things to you. Ralph knows that you're not like that, no, not really, but sometimes his anger just makes him stupid."

"I know," you tell him, smiling at him, and lower his hands to rest in your lap with your own hands as you add, "And I love you regardless."

"Ralph loves you too, so much," Ralph says, returning your smile as he continues, "And he will try to control his anger better, for you, so that he won't yell at you and so that you won't have to see him like that."

You smile in response and nod before telling him, "Come here, you."

While saying that, you tug gently at his hands and start to lean backwards. He gets the hint quickly, releasing your hands, slightly reluctantly, to let you lay back before coming to lay with you, or rather, on you, though he does prop himself up on his elbows so that he's not completely crushing you underneath him. You part your thighs so that he can fit comfortably between them, and after he gets comfortably settled there, you reach up, take his face in your hands, and press your lips to his. He returns the kiss, softly, gently, and you move your hands from his cheeks to loop around his neck, brushing your fingers over the smooth synthetic skin there as you angle your head a different way in order deepen the kiss.

"You're so handsome," you tell him after you pull away for air, deciding that perhaps now it's your turn to stare at him in wonder. You've always thought the WR600 androids were some of the best-looking androids made, and Ralph is no exception, even with his arguably gruesome scars. He smiles at you, practically beaming, happiness shining in his good eye and a light blue flush on his good cheek. You decide then that he actually is an exception, but only because he's more attractive than all of the other androids that share his face, especially when he's smiling like this. You lean up and kiss him again, except on the tip of his nose this time.

From there, you kiss his chin, his cheeks, and whatever other spots of his face that you can reach before finally kissing him on the lips once more. You have to pull away from the kiss after a minute, but don't stay away for long. His lips are soft against yours, for the most part, at least, because the spot where his scars continue down onto his upper lip are slightly rough, but you don't care. All you care about is that he's here and that he's yours and you're his.

The more and more you and Ralph kiss, the less clumsy and the more passionate his lips become against yours, and soon you can feel his cock starting to harden against you. You inhale sharply and pull away from the kiss just far enough to moan his name. Ralph rolls his hips against yours, slowly and tentatively, his LED circling yellow as small gasps slip from his parted lips. You wrap your legs around his waist, pulling him closer to you, reveling in the press of his cock against your clothed sex.

"You're doing so good," you croon as heat grows low within you, moving your hands to tangle your fingers in his hair. You can feel yourself growing wetter and wetter, and hope that you won't soak completely through your underwear and pants. Ralph gasps sharply at your words, his hips bucking more sharply into you as he manages to say, his voice crackling with static, "Again, say that again, oh rA9, please."

So you do.

You tell him how good he's doing, how good he feels against you, how much you love him, how much you want him, all the while pleasure grows within you, muddling your thoughts until you're not even really sure what you're telling Ralph except for the fact that you're praising him. Your orgasm sweeps over you suddenly, not as intense as it could be but enjoyable nonetheless. You moan and pull Ralph even closer to you.

He continues rolling his hips into yours, his clothed cock brushing against you throughout the aftershocks of your peak, but his pace become much less careful and much more frenzied, until finally he too reaches his own orgasm. When he comes, it's with a moan of what you think is supposed to be your name, but instead comes out as a staticky whine, all as he shudders against you before his arms give out and he practically collapses onto you.

"Ralph," you say after a moment. He doesn't say anything, but does make a small sound indicating that he heard you. You chuckle, unlinking your arms from around his waist and your arms from around his neck, and then say, "I love you, but you're kinda heavy and also squashing me a little."

"Sorry! Ralph is sorry!" Ralph exclaims, scrambling to get up off of you. You pull yourself up into a sitting position and say with a smile, "It's fine."

You take a moment to catch your breath before swinging your legs over the edge of the couch, standing up, and telling him, "Let's go get cleaned up."

You offer Ralph your hand and help him up before you both make your way to the bathroom to get cleaned up and then get changed into pajamas. Or, you do, at least. You still need to get Ralph more clothes, including pajamas, so he just changes into a different pair of pants and forgoes a shirt. After you say to him, "You can head on to bed if you want. I just need to brush my teeth and then I'll be right there."

Ralph nods and leaves the bathroom while you admire the view of him before turning to get finished. When you return to your bedroom, you find Ralph already laying in your bed, no doubt waiting for you. You smile at the sight of him and turn off the bedroom light before pulling back the covers from your bed and joining him.

You know that he doesn't need to sleep, not like you do, but you still like having him here with you. He's quick to wrap his arms around you and pull you closer to him. You wrap one arm around him in return and lay with your forehead resting against the synthetic skin of his chest. You can feel the rise and fall of every breath he takes, along with the beat of what could only be from his version of a heart and the vibrations as he says, "Ralph loves you."

"I love you too," you tell him, and close your eyes. You're not sure what tomorrow will bring, but what you do know is that you and Ralph will face it together.

Chapter Text

"I'll see you tomorrow, Ralph," you tell him, smiling before standing up on the very tips of your toes to press a kiss to his cheek. You leave then, but Ralph is too shocked to do anything but stare after you, mouth slightly open and fingertips pressed to the spot where your lips had been.

He feels like he's burning, as hot as the flames those humans pushed his face into, except on the inside now, but it's not a bad sort of burning now, no, not a bad burning at all. Ralph slowly sinks to the floor, fingers still pressed to his cheek, completely unsure of just how to process what exactly it is he's feeling. His knife clatters to the floor beside him, but he doesn't care about that. You kissed him, and now he feels like this.

His systems give no warnings for immediate overheating, so he knows this feeling has to be from something else. He can't help but to wonder if this what love feels like for humans. Ralph doesn't know, but anyway, what even is love?

Roses mean love and aster does too and so does acacia, and daffodils also, and carnations and chrysanthemums and so many more, but those are plants and neither you nor Ralph are plants. You're a human, the one human that's ever been kind to Ralph, and Ralph is Ralph, a damaged and scarred android who was made to be simply a gardener and nothing more, who was only supposed to do what he was programmed to do and to not feel, not like this, and who is only unsure of the fact that he loves you because he's unsure of what love actually is.

Before you, all he had ever felt were bad feelings, yes, fear and hatred and anger, but then you came along and changed everything. You've shown him what it truly means to be something more, to truly feel, to feel happiness and longing and anticipation and maybe even love and, oh rA9, he wants-

He wants-

He wants-

He wants you.

Ralph wants you to love him, to touch him, to kiss him, to smile at him, to want him in the same way he wants you. Ralph is not bad, no, not bad at all, but even so, he's still not good enough for you. He knows this, yes, he knows that logically you wouldn't want him like that because sometimes he's still surprised that you even became his friend in the first place, but still he wants.

Proof of this want is starting to show itself in the front of his pants, and Ralph can't help but to be glad that this hasn't happened around you yet, because if he can barely explain love to himself, then how could he explain this to you?

With a long shuddering sigh, Ralph presses the flat of his palm against where you'd kissed him, and with his other hand, he undoes his pants. He slips his hand inside and closes his fingers around this troublesome part of himself. He pulls himself free of his pants just to find himself a better range of motion, and then tightens his grip around himself, stroking himself hard and fast.

Like all of the other times Ralph has indulged himself in this act, he lets his thoughts drift to you, and what he'd want you to do and what he pretends you'd want to do.

You kiss him, on the lips and down his neck, and then drop to your knees in front of him. You take him in your hand and kiss him there too, before taking him into your mouth in the way he'd seen human couples do a few times when he worked in the park.

Ralph imagines himself moaning and bucking his hips into your mouth in the same way he bucks them into his own hand. He apologizes for doing it, but you don't care, because you want him to do this to you, because you want him like he wants you, and maybe after this he'll get on his knees in front of you to make up for his roughness, but then that would just make him hard again, but you'd just smile and push him back and, and, and then he can't think anymore because this is all becoming so much, too much for him to handle.

Ralph comes then, thrusting hard into his hand. As he comes, his release spilling over onto his hand, it's with the feeling again that he's going to short out but in the best way, and with a sob and a strangled cry of your name.

When Ralph comes down from his orgasm and opens his eyes, he finds himself exactly where he started.

Alone, confused, and yet still oddly warm.

Chapter Text

When you wake up the next morning, you find yourself almost exactly as you were when you fell asleep, and that is in your bed with Ralph beside you and his arms around you. You tilt your head back, blinking slowly, just enough for you to be able to see his face. You find him already looking down at you, his eyes open and gaze soft, a faint smile on his lips, and say, groggily but happily, "Hi."

"Hi," Ralph says in return, and that's when you notice the differences between now and last night, namely the fact that one of Ralph's hands is stroking gently at the skin exposed by your shirt having ridden up in the night, and also the feeling of a certain hardness pressing against you.

So even androids get morning wood, you think to yourself, heat both gathering on your face and rushing downwards as your grogginess immediately begins to dissipate, before wondering if perhaps morning plastic would be more appropriate, and then Ralph is kissing you and you find that all you can think about now is the feeling of his lips against yours. You sigh into the kiss, and press yourself closer to him.

At some point during the kiss, you and he move so that you're on your back and Ralph is on top of you, straddling you.

"What's gotten into you this morning?" you ask, near breathless as you blink up at him. So far, you've been the one to initiate all of the kisses, and to take charge, so to speak. With that being said, you definitely don't mind the change one single bit. Ralph simply smiles at you, his LED swirling a steady blue, happiness and something more, something much more potent, shining in his hazel eye as he says, almost bashful, "Ralph was just thinking about how beautiful you are, and so that made him want to kiss you."

"You're sweet," you say, reaching up to cup his face in your hands, and he kisses you once more. His nose bumps against yours a few times during this kiss, but you don't care. All you do care about is the feeling of his lips against yours and the weight of him above you, which feels better than yesterday now that he's properly supported above you instead of just flopped atop you.

When you separate from this kiss, Ralph's smooth cheek is flushed blue and you have no doubt that your own face is flushed as well, though not in blue. After a moment of just looking at you, Ralph says, a sort of nervous excitement showing clear in his voice, "Ralph was also thinking that he wants to try something, something he's never fine before but wants to do, now. But! You must tell him if he does anything wrong, yes, you absolutely must."

"I will," you reassure him, heart beating fast as you wonder just what it is he wants to try. You could probably guess what it is, if you really thought about it, but you find that your brain isn't really up for thinking right at this moment.

"Good," Ralph says, simply, kissing you again. This kiss is a brief one, brief enough that you would sigh in disappointment if not for the fact that he doesn't pull away from you completely, and instead begins to kiss a line from your jaw to down your neck, until he reaches your clavicle. As his lips travel downwards, his hands travel upwards, slipping under the hem of your shirt until his hands reach your breasts.

Suddenly, you're glad that you didn't wear a bra to sleep in for the previous night.

Ralph's touch is gentle and near hesitant, but you find that you don't mind as he runs his fingers over your nipples, again and again until they've become stiff peaks under his touch.

He pulls one of his hands away from you just long enough to yank the hem of your shirt up, so that your breasts are bared to him. You moan as his hand returns to your breast. Ralph presses a kiss to the skin between your breasts, before working downwards from there just as he did your neck, trailing kisses down your stomach until he reaches your waistband. He looks up at you and as you nod, mentally noting that his LED has turned yellow, his hands come down to hook in the aforementioned waistband.

You lift up just enough for him to tug your sleeping shorts and underwear down your legs and off. After tossing those aside, Ralph returns to between your thighs. He presses a kiss to the inside of one of them before looking up at you and asking, "Tell Ralph. How is he doing?"

"Good," you gasp out, clutching at his hair as he presses another kiss to you, except directly on your sex this time, and add, "So good, Ralph."

You can feel him smile against you and then his tongue comes out to taste you. You gasp at the feeling, and as if encouraged by the sound, Ralph licks along your sex before circling your clit with the tip of his tongue. His movements are slow and hesitant as he repeats this motion over and over again, but you do have to admit that he's not doing bad at all, especially considering the fact that this is the first time he's ever done this.

"Ralph," you say, and he pulls away just far enough to look up at you as you continue, "I want you to put your fingers in me."

With a nod, he returns to where he was, and does so. You're wet enough that he's able to slide two of his long fingers into you easily. As he moves them in and out of you, his mouth returns to your clit.

"And don't be afraid to go a little faster," you add, breathlessly, heat pooling low within you. Ralph gives no audible sign that he heard you, but he does follow through, increasing the pace in which he fucks you with his fingers, his fingertips brushing repeatedly against a certain spot inside of you as he alternates between licking and sucking at your clit. He keeps up at this as heat and pleasure continue to grow low within you, until finally, you come, clenching around his fingers and trying your best to not buck your hips up against his face, with a loud moan of his name. You can feel him sigh against you before he pulls out of you and then ever so slightly away from you.

"Come up here," you tell him, breathlessly after the aftershocks of your orgasm have subsided, tugging gently at his hair. He complies, moving so that he's straddling you just as he was before, with his face mere inches above yours as he asks, hazel eye shining with love and his lips shining with something else, "Did Ralph do good?"

"You did better than good," you reply, relaxing your grip on his hair before leaning just slightly up enough to press a line of kisses along his jaw. You trail your hands down to rest on his shoulders as you say, softly, quietly, longingly, "Let me make you feel good too."

Ralph nods, quickly and eagerly. With a smile, you trail your hands down the smooth expanse of his chest and stomach, until you reach the top of his pants. You reach down and tug his pants down just far enough to free his cock. You wrap your fingers tightly but not too tightly around the length of him, watching as a twitch runs across his face and his eyelids flutter shut, and then begin to stroke him in earnest.

All it takes is a few quick strokes and then, with a shuddering moan, he's coming, his LED flashing bright red and his release spilling onto your hand and stomach. Ralph does collapse onto you then, and you make a noise that's caught halfway between a chuckle and a sigh. After a moment, you say, "You're squashing me again, Ralph, and I need to get up and get ready for work."

"You could stay with Ralph again like you did yesterday," Ralph suggests, his voice muffled by your shoulder. You reach up and smooth your hands gently over the yellow strands of his hair as you say with a sigh, "I would if I could, believe me."

With a sigh, Ralph rolls over and off of you, his LED slowly making the return to yellow from red and then to blue from yellow. You reach over and pat him on the cheek before getting out of bed and going to your bathroom to get cleaned up. Before long, Ralph joins you.

You both clean yourselves up and then get dressed, you in your work clothes and him in his old gardening uniform because you still need to wash his other good sets of clothes. You go about your morning routine, all while Ralph stands back, watching you with interest as he fidgets absentmindedly with his hands. Before you even know it, it's time for you to leave for work, and Ralph sees you to the door.

Once there, you stand up on the very tips of your toes and press your lips to his in an all too short kiss before opening the door and saying, "I'll be back soon, Ralph. I promise."

"Don't leave Ralph waiting for too long," Ralph says, and you smile.

"I won't," you say, pressing a kiss to his cheek now before adding, "I love you."

"Ralph loves you too," Ralph says, his fingers coming up to rest on the spot you'd kissed, and then with one more smile, you open the door and step outside. Behind you, Ralph closes it.

With a final glance back at your apartment, you leave for work. As you make your way there, you can't help but to look around, wondering just how much has changed since the announcement last night. The police officers and soldiers are gone from the streets, but you don't see many other differences yet. These things take time, you suppose. Before long, you're at work, and the day passes as your days at work normally do, except for the fact that your boss lets everyone go home early. This is definitely not something you're going to complain about, though, that's for sure.

After you leave work, you make your way to a clothing store near your apartment, figuring that you have time to get Ralph some new clothes. You and Ralph had gone over his sizes the day you first brought clothes home for him, so at least this time you know that, at least. The problem now is the simple matter as to what to actually get for him. He's told you before that he's happy with whatever you get for him, which is good, you suppose, but doesn't help much in regards to specific colors or styles.

His shoes were and still are in relatively good condition, so you don't have to worry about that, and he doesn't seem to mind not wearing underwear, so you don't have to stress over that either, but you do have to wonder if he'll like what you clothes you do get him. You know that he probably will, but at the same you wish you knew particulars. With a sigh, you make your way to the men's clothing.

You go over to the pants first, certain that if you had an LED of your own it'd be red already, or at the very least circling yellow, but figuring nonetheless that this would be a simpler area to browse first than the shirts and jackets and such. You grab a couple pairs of sweatpants, a couple pairs of jeans, and another pair of simple pants to match the pairs you'd already gotten for him. After this, you make your way over to the shirts and simply stand there, looking around at all of the options.

One of the first things to catch your eye is the display of button-up shirts, some with short sleeves and some with long, some in plain colors and others patterned. You make your way over to them to study them more closely, and can't help but to smile as you realize some of the shirts have floral patterns. You take a moment to picture Ralph in one of these shirts, and your heart practically skips a beat at the thought, so you quickly grab a few different patterns of this shirt in his size.

You also decide to get a couple of shirts with short sleeves, because after all, for all of Ralph's scars, you really do like his arms, not only for the shape of them but also for the way they feel wrapped around you and the way his hands feel both against your skin and when his fingers are intertwined with your own.

Before you let yourself get too distracted by thoughts of Ralph's hands, you turn and walk farther into this section of clothes. You stop in front of a display of simple shirts similar to the ones you'd already gotten for Ralph, and grab a couple more of those, except in different colors this time. You make one final pass around this section of clothes, looking around for anything else the might catch your eye or that Ralph might like, before deciding to just go and check out.

Besides, you're not even sure how much more your arms can carry. Someday, maybe, you can come back here with Ralph and he can pick what he wants and the two of you can split the load, but for now you suppose that what you have will have to do. As you leave this section, you grab a simple jacket if for no other reason than to keep up appearances, and make your way over to get checked out.

Next summer, you decide as you wait in line, you'll get lighter clothes for him, shorts and t-shirts, and maybe different shoes too, but for now you think you've gotten enough. Before long you're at the front of the line, then paying for your purchases, and finally leaving to go home. The trip back to your apartment isn't a long one from here, and for that you're glad. In maybe five minutes, you're back at your apartment complex and then, after checking your mailbox and finding it empty, you make your way back to your own apartment.

"Ralph," you call out as you open the door. "I'm back!"

At first, you don't see Ralph but then he stands up from the couch and says, "Ralph is glad that you're back!"

"Me too," you say, making your way towards him. Ralph meets you halfway and bends to kiss you. After the kiss ends, you say, holding up the shopping bag, "My boss let everyone go home early today, so I took the opportunity to buy you some more clothes."

Ralph smiles but says, "You didn't have to do this for Ralph. He would've been happy with what you already gave him, yes, very happy."

"I know, but I wanted to do this," you tell him, and hand him the bag. You kiss him on the cheek before continuing, "I'm going to get started on dinner. Why don't you go see what all I got?"

With a nod, Ralph does so, taking the bag with him as he makes his way into your bedroom. You, on the other hand, make your way to your kitchen, and stand in front of your refrigerator with the intention of opening it and finding something you can make a decent meal from, but instead pause with your hand on the handle of the refrigerator door, lost in your thoughts of Ralph as you wonder what he thinks of these clothes and what he's going to pick to wear first.

You can hear the sound of the door as Ralph comes out of your bedroom, startling you from your reverie, and you turn around and make your way back to the living room to look at him better, and find that he's swapped the gardener's uniform for one of the floral shirts you'd gotten for him and a simple pair of pants. As you look at him, heat rising to your face and your heart beating just a little bit faster at merely the sight of him, Ralph spreads his arms wide as he asks, smiling, "So, how does Ralph look?"

You smile at him in return, and say, "Perfect. You look perfect."

Chapter Text

It has been exactly a year to the day that you first brought Ralph to your apartment, and by extension, further into your life. You and he have had little disagreements, here and there that have been mostly born from misunderstandings and slight overreactions on Ralph's part, such as when you'd offered to take him to get his arms repaired and he had misinterpreted your offer as you saying he wasn't good enough the way he was, and you having to reassure him that you were simply offering to help him and that that wasn't true at all.

Despite those moments, you and Ralph have always made your way past those misunderstandings and disagreements, and as time has gone on, they've grown fewer and farther between. Other than those few episodes, everything between you and Ralph has been good, no, fantastic. Coming home to him is something you enjoy immensely, and honestly, you're at the point that having him at home with you feels completely natural, like he's always been there with you, and like you can't imagine not having him here with you now.

While all of this is admittedly very important, it's not what's important right now. What is important is the fact that today is the first day that Ralph has agreed to venture outside of your apartment with you.

"Are you sure about this?" you ask him for what has to be the tenth time now, as you stand with one hand on the doorknob. Ralph smiles, though you do notice a hint of hesitation there, and says, "Ralph is sure, yes, very sure."

He doesn't look sure, you think to yourself, but nod and open the door anyway. You step out first and Ralph follows. After you're both outside, you pause to look at him and say, "Whenever you want to come back here, just let me know, and we'll turn right back around."

"Ralph will," Ralph says, shooting you what you think is supposed to be a reassuring smile but instead looks far more nervous than anything else. You smile at him in return, and then shut and lock the door before extending your hand to Ralph. With a slightly less nervous smile, he takes it in his own, and the two of you begin your walk.

He could almost pass for a human, you note to yourself as you look over at Ralph. Months have passed since he last wore his old gardener's uniform, instead trading the tattered outfit and old cloak out for the clothes you've bought for him. You do still have the uniform and cloak he'd worn then, though, only now they're tucked away in the deep recesses of your bedroom closet.

Well, you amend, almost human except for the scars on his face and hands, the LED blinking yellow on his forehead, and the fact that you've passed at least two other WR600s during this short walk. You don't care about any of that, however, not a single bit. He may not be human like you are, but Ralph is Ralph and that's good enough for you.

"You okay, Ralph?" you ask, noticing that he still looks worried.

"Yes," he replies, looking back towards you and adding, "Yes, of course Ralph is okay."

You nod and glance around at the people and androids alike around you, and note gratefully that nobody is paying either you or Ralph any notice.

Good, you think to yourself, and then notice the house just down the street, not far in front of you and Ralph. It takes a mere second for you to realize that it's not just any house, but rather the house, the one where Ralph had lived, and where you had first met him, and then met him again and again until the night you'd brought him to your apartment. Ralph seems to notice it even quicker than you do, if his brief pause is any indication. He lets go of your hand and walks closer to the fence. For one fleeting moment, you're afraid he's going to try to get back into the house, but all he does is look up at it.

"I'm so glad I accepted that stupid dare," you say, walking to stand closer to him.

"Ralph is glad too," he says, looking back at you with a smile as he continues, his LED finally returning to blue, "Meeting you was the best thing that ever happened to Ralph."

You look at him, and return his smile as you say, "I could say the same about you."

His smile widens at that, and then the two of you turn your gazes back to the house, studying it in silent contemplation. For a few long moments, you and he simply stand there like that, gazing wordlessly up at the building.

"Ralph is ready, yes, completely ready," Ralph says, breaking the silence, reaching out and taking your hand in his as he continues, "Ralph is ready to go home."

You're unable to stop the giddy smile that spreads across your face at his words. Home, he said. The knowledge that your apartment is home to him makes you unbelievably happy, because here you are, standing in front of the place where you and he first met, the place where he'd lived for...you're not even sure how long, to tell the truth, and it's your tiny little apartment that he wants to return to, and not this house.

"Let's go, then," you tell him, and then the two of you begin the walk back. You can remember the first time you and he had walked, or rather, ran, this path, though under vastly different circumstances. If someone had told you then what all would come from this, you would never have dared to believe them, and yet here you and Ralph are, walking hand in hand back home. Before long, you and he are back at the front door of your apartment.

As you unlock the door with one hand, you spot Mrs. Johnson sweeping the leaves from the sidewalk in front of her own apartment, and wave at her. She waves back with a slightly confused expression on her face, and then, still smiling broadly, you walk inside your apartment with Ralph.

"Well, we're home," you tell him as you lock the door behind you. Once inside, you and he both take your shoes off, and you take your jacket off as well. It's not yet quite cold enough outside yet that Ralph had needed to wear one of the jackets you've gotten for him, so you hang your own jacket next to them on the coatrack.

You walk to the kitchen after, thinking about making dinner, and, unsurprisingly, Ralph follows you. One of the things you've learned about Ralph during this year is that when you're home, he never likes to be away from you for long, whether you're cooking or cleaning or simply watching something on the television. You don't mind this at all, because you don't like to be away from him for that long either, but you did have to put your foot down about him following you whenever you go to the bathroom. Him coming in while you bathe is one thing, but it's another when you're just trying to wash your hands or relieve yourself.

With a hum, you survey your kitchen at decide that you'll start on dinner soon, but not right this moment. Instead, you pull yourself up into a sitting position on the counter, and then ask, "So what did you think?"

Ralph comes to stand in front of you, between your swinging legs, and you note that like this, you and he are practically of even height for once.

"Ralph enjoyed being outside more than he thought he would," Ralph admits, a small smile playing at his lips. Maybe in a few days, you'll ask him out on another walk, you decide, now that he's seen that not everything outside is that bad, and that other humans barely spared him a sideways glance. For now, though you simply reach up and trace your fingers over the white splotch on his jaw, feeling the slight dip between where his synthetic skin ends and the white plastic begins. He leans into your touch, eyes closing, and you smile. You trail your fingers from his jaw, down his neck, until your fingers meet the collar of his shirt.

"You did so good today, Ralph," you say, softly, playing with the topmost button as you continue, "I'm very proud of you."

His eyes open again as he asks with a smile, his hazel eye shining, "You are?"

"Of course I am," you reply, and kiss him. He's better at kissing now than he was before, but you suppose that maybe practice really does make perfect, especially considering that by now he's had plenty of practice. You wrap your legs around his waist to pull him closer and unbutton the first button of his shirt at the same time. You unbutton all the rest of the buttons after, and then slip your hands inside of it so that you can feel his skin. You slide your hands up and then down his sides, feeling the slight dips in the scarring on his rib area, and then move your hands inwards at his hips, and then back up, past the dip of his navel and then upwards to his neck.

Ralph sighs into the kiss as you loop you brush the skin of his neck with your fingertips, and then let your hands travel back downwards. You can feel his cock starting to harden against you, and waste no time in undoing the fly of his pants. After lowering your legs from around his waist to give yourself slightly more room, you tug his pants down just far enough to free his cock. You rest one hand on his hip and move the other downwards in order to wrap your fingers around his half-hard cock. You stroke him once, wrapping your fingers firmly around him, and then again and again, encouraged by the small sounds slipping past his lips, until he's fully hard, and then again and again after that, reveling in his sounds and the way he thrusts his hips into the circle of your fingers.

Everything is going fine until Ralph suddenly exclaims, his LED flashing yellow, "Wait! Wait!"

"What's wrong?" you ask, pulling your hand away, wondering if you were perhaps doing something wrong. A staticky noise pulls itself from low in his throat, and after a moment Ralph explains, "Ralph doesn't want to come right now. He wants to be inside of you when he comes, and he wants to feel you come around him."

Seductive talk is also something Ralph has improved at during this year, you note to yourself, but then remember that it really didn't take much for you to decide to hop in the bathtub and ride him to kingdom come. Heat not only rushes to your face, but also pools low within you as you look at him, at the desire and desperation in his hazel eye, the blue flush of his unscarred cheek, and the urgent flash of his LED.

He's so beautiful, you think to yourself, for far from the first time. At your distracted silence, Ralph continues, a note of urgency in his voice, "Can he? Oh, please, can he?"

You don't trust your ability to speak right at the moment, so you nod instead. Luckily for you, that's all the approval he needs to spring into action.

Ralph shrugs his open shirt off and kicks away his falling pants before coming back to you. He undoes your pants, and you lift up just enough to let him tug them and your underwear down your legs and then off. You tug your shirt off, over your head, and toss it elsewhere in your kitchen. Your bra follows it, and then Ralph returns to kissing you. As Ralph's lips move against yours, his hands come up to cup your breasts, with his thumbs brushing back and forth over your nipples until they're standing at stiff peaks. You wrap your legs back around his waist and then reach down to take his cock in one of your hands.

As you align the head of his cock with the slick opening of your sex, you pull away from the kiss of for no reason other than to be able to hear Ralph moan. He pushes into you, and you're far from disappointed at the resulting high, keening moan that escapes from past his lips. While you tangle your fingers in his hair and kiss a line down his neck, Ralph begins to thrust, shallowly but still pleasurably. You kiss a line back up his neck, and then, lingering just a hair's breadth from his lips, you whisper, "More."

You notice that his LED has turned from yellow into flashing red, and as you press your lips firmly to his, he complies. Almost as soon as you get the word out, Ralph's thrusts turn from slow, gentle, and almost hesitant to harden and faster, but yet not rough. You know he still worries about hurting you sometimes, so you can't get mad at him for still being some modicum of cautious even when you wouldn't care if he threw caution to the wind.

As nice as his hands on your breasts and his cock inside of you feel, you need just a little more help to bring yourself to completion, so you move one of your hands out of his hair and trail it downwards between your body and his, only stopping when you find your clit. You rub small, quick circles around it, and surely enough, it's not long at all before you're moaning against Ralph's lips as you reach your peak. A few more thrusts is all it takes for Ralph to do the same. He shudders as he comes, his mouth twitching against yours, and makes no move to pull away from you even after his orgasm subsides.

"I love you," you tell him as you break away from the kiss, and don't even have to think if you truly mean it or not now.

"Ralph loves you too," he says in reply, his LED returning to blue, and rests his forehead against yours. You smile and reach up to run your fingers through the soft strands of his golden hair.

Trust me, you'd told him that first fateful night, and you're so glad that he did.

Chapter Text

Ralph is lonely.

It's not that he minds being alone, no, he doesn't mind, because Ralph knows that being all by himself is safer for him, but he can't help but to long for something more. Yes, sometimes humans come to stay in this house every now and then, but they scare him because what if they find him and want to hurt him and rA9 please don't let Ralph be hurt again-

So Ralph just hides until they leave.

This is how Ralph grows to get used to living and spending time, just him and his knife and rA9 rA9 rA9, and he supposes that he reaches some form of contentment here, even if he does sometimes get lonely. Anyway, no one has hurt him because no one knows he's here, so everything is good, yes, good, or at the very least good enough.

And then Ralph meets you.

When Ralph first hears the voices outside, he hides. He can hear someone enter the house, and as they walk around, the voices outside fade away. Eventually the sound of footsteps inside the house fades too, and only after that does Ralph dare to come out from the spot where he hides. Ralph looks around, making sure to stay completely alert as he walks into the living room, and that's when he sees you for the first time, laying stretched out and asleep in the middle of the room.

It's not often that humans that aren't men come here, much less often that they're alone when they do, and even less often that all they do is sleep when they're here. Against all his better instincts, Ralph finds himself walking towards you, as if guided by a command from his system, except for the fact that no commands appear to him.

As Ralph bends down to look at you more closely, your eyes open and a frightened shriek tears its way past your lips. He jumps back in return, and hastily apologizes. Normally he would've run away and hidden again, or used his knife if he had to, but none of the humans here have ever been afraid of Ralph before. Usually, things are the other way around.

You calm down from your fright relatively quickly, and introduce yourself to him. Ralph is still a little afraid, because you're human, and humans have hurt Ralph, so there's still the chance that you might hurt him. That chance grows smaller and smaller as you and he talk, especially when you trail off mid-sentence and then fall asleep not long after. Ralph stays there, watching you for some time, until the urge to carve rA9 becomes too strong for him to ignore, no matter how much he just wants to stay here and look at you. Reluctantly, he makes his way back to the kitchen, and is undisturbed until the voices come from outside again and he hides again.

When he finally comes out of hiding and then walks back into the living room, you're gone and Ralph finds himself oddly sad.

You come back to the house and to Ralph again two days later, and then two days after that, and then more and more often. All the while, things change between you and Ralph, things between and he you change from strangers to friends to something more, at least on his part. Over time, fear turns to curiosity to surprise to friendly affection to more than friendly affection to longing and to want and to something that Ralph thinks is love, that has to be love if for no other reason than that he doesn't have another word for the way you make him feel.

Sometimes Ralph does still feel fear, not of you, but rather because of you. He's scared that you'll stop coming to see him, that you'll realize that your time would be better spent elsewhere, that you'll find out how he feels about you, about the things he does to thoughts of you, and that you'll mock him for them.

Ralph is scared that he'll hurt you, too, without even meaning to, scared that his anger will come and he'll turn stupid. You're smaller than he is, and even if it may not always seem as such, humans really are so very fragile. It's so easy to make them bleed, Ralph knows, especially when he has his knife, but he's only ever hurt people that wanted to hurt him. You won't hurt Ralph, made clear that you don't want to hurt Ralph, so he's not as worried about this as he is of you abandoning him. But you always come back, back to this house and back to him, until the night that everything changes.

You show up at the house again a few hours after you leave, frantically calling Ralph's name. He stops in his carving, sets his knife aside, and goes to you.

The look of relief on your face when you see him makes his thirium pump beat faster, faster, faster, and then you're grabbing his hand and telling him to trust you as you pull him with you out of the house and down the street. Ralph is too shocked to think much of anything, but he does trust you, he trusts you more than he trusts anyone else, so he follows you nonetheless. You and he dash through the streets until you reach one of the doors of an apartment complex, and only when you hurriedly unlock the door does Ralph realize exactly where you've brought him. Your home. But why?

Ralph sees the news broadcast, and then he understands why he's here, while also not understanding why he's here. He could've just hidden in the house, after all, because you're the only person that even knew he was there. So he asks you, and you...answer him, yes, you do answer him, but not to the extent that he wants to hear, not even close. Ralph is glad that you care about him, very glad, but he also wants to know to what extent. Do you care for Ralph in the same way he cares for you?

He wants to think that you do, but he doesn't dare believe so, because why would you? Why would you want Ralph when you're the way you are and Ralph is the way he is? There's no reason why you should think of him as anything more than a friend and a thousand reasons why he cares about, wants, loves you.

Despite this, Ralph can't deny that something has changed between you and he. There's a sort of tension where there never was one before, and there's a certain look in your eyes when you're cleaning his face that only intensifies when you bring your thumb across his bottom lip. You move away from him too soon, far too soon, and Ralph follows you.

When you suggest that Ralph take a bath, it takes all the courage he has to ask you to help him. You agree, and for the briefest of moments Ralph is certain that he's going to shut down from excitement, from nervousness, from anticipation, from so many things. You run the water while he undresses, and then as you take his clothes to be washed he carefully gets inside the bathtub.

He's still nervous, but Ralph wants you to see him, he thinks to himself as you come to kneel beside the bathtub, yes, he wants you to see him like he sees you and think of him like he thinks of you. When your gaze drops downwards, even briefly, an excited thrill passes through him. You help him wash, and as the minutes pass, it becomes harder and harder for Ralph to keep his composure, and then before long that's not the only thing that becomes harder and harder for him, especially when your hand slips lower on accident. You apologize, but Ralph doesn't mind, no, Ralph doesn't mind at all.

After this, Ralph sees his opportunity and he takes it, despite his former hesitation, and luckily, so luckily, you don't reject him. You're hesitant at first, but then he tells you everything you make him feel and even what he does, sometimes, to thoughts of you. And then you're in the bathtub with him, and everything is better than anything he'd ever imagined. You kiss him and touch him and want him and it's all so much, almost too much, to the point that he's surprised he's even able to last as long as he does. After you and he both finish, Ralph doesn't think he could move even if he wanted to. You and he stay like that for some time, pressed together so closely, and Ralph almost can't believe that this is real, and not another one of his fantasies, even though he knows that it is real, as real as you are and as real as he is.

Later, you and he are laying in bed together, pressed skin to skin, with your head resting against his chest as you sleep, and with Ralph's arms around you and his fingers tracing rA9 onto the skin of your back. Somewhere between the thirtieth and thirty-first rA9, Ralph can feel something wet trailing down his face, and that's when he realizes that he's crying.

Ralph has never cried from anything but overwhelming feelings like fear and sadness and anger before, and he's none of those now. He supposes that this is a different form of overwhelming, but he doesn't mind this, no, he doesn't mind this at all. With a smile, he wraps his arms around you a little tighter and pulls you even closer to him.

The next morning, Ralph reluctantly lets you go, content with the knowledge that you'll be back, and with the kiss you give him before you head out. Not long after you leave for work, Ralph can hear voices outside of the door, loud voices, unfamiliar voices. So he hides, in the bedroom, under the bed, and doesn't dare leave. When you get home, then he'll come out, but for now, Ralph stays hidden.

Eventually, you come home, but there's someone with you. Ralph can hear the entire conversation between you, and the police officer, that's who the someone is, Ralph learns through his listening, and that's when he wonders if maybe he should leave, and go back to the house. The officer leaves and then you're calling out for Ralph, and you sound so frantic that he hates that he's thinking about leaving, but all Ralph wants is for you to be safe. So he brings up the topic of him leaving. You tell him you don't want him to leave, he insists even though he doesn't really want to go, and then you-

You-

You tell Ralph that you love him.

In that moment, he knows he'll never leave you, never even think of leaving you again, even when you ask him if he does. Ralph loves you and you love him, and this is more than he ever thought would be possible, and so much better than he ever thought would be possible.

As if you loving him isn't enough, you get clothes for him, and later, after the revolution, packets of thirium and several small potted plants. Day after day passes, and eventually Ralph realizes that a sense of normalcy has developed, a sense of normalcy that he's never had before. You and he bicker sometimes, but he makes sure after the first few arguments to not let himself get stupid with anger. Sometimes his fingers still itch with the urge to carve rA9 rA9 rA9, but he's usually able to satiate the urge with pen and paper. If that's not enough, and you happen to be home, well, then he just puts his fingers to better use. If you're not home, then he just presses harder into the paper, and if he occasionally accidentally breaks a few pens, then so be it.

But, even with that in consideration, Ralph is-

Ralph is-

Ralph is happy.

Chapter Text

There's a pink bunny hopping through your living room, so of course you follow it. It hops all around your living room and towards the doorway of your bedroom before abruptly veering around and heading towards your dining room. It hops into your kitchen and just as you move to follow it there, you wake up. For several long moments you just lay there, caught between still being asleep and being awake.

Until, that is, you hear the hushed voice and hurried footsteps coming from somewhere in your bedroom. You quickly sit up and look blearily around. Your heavy curtains block most of the light from the streetlamps outside, but enough remains to illuminate the muttering figure currently frantically pacing back and forth in front of the window, the yellow of his LED glowing even brighter than the light from outside.

"Ralph?" you ask, looking at him through squinted eyes. The unintelligible muttering stops as he almost seems to jump at the sound of your voice before turning to face you. You rub your eyes as you ask, "What are you doing up right now?"

"Ralph didn't mean to wake you," he says, sounding apologetic. You lean over and switch the lamp on so that you can see him better before asking, "Is something wrong, Ralph?"

He blinks against the sudden light but makes no move to do or say anything else, so you add, tired gaze softening as you add, "You know you can tell me if there is, Ralph."

Ralph looks at you and then away from you as he admits, sounding almost embarrassed, "Ralph's body won't always let him go into standby mode. When that happens, Ralph just lays there next to you and tries to not think."

He pauses then, and the way his face twitches almost looks like a wince as he continues, "But sometimes Ralph can't not think, and his thoughts and his memories just overwhelm him, yes, they just take over Ralph's mind until he has to just get up and do something!"

"Oh, Ralph," you say, softly, and reach out towards him with open hands. You don't have to say anything else to him before he's making his way back over to the bed and then getting in beside you. Gently and slowly, so as to not risk any chance of startling him and to give him a chance to move away if he wants to, because even though he's been living with you for months now and you've known him for even longer, there are still times where you're still not always sure as to which direction his mood might swing and when it may happen, you wrap your arms around Ralph. You can hear his shuddering sigh and then he pulls you closer to him and hides his face in your shoulder.

"Ralph is sorry," he says, voice slightly muffled. "Ralph is sorry for waking you up and sorry for being the way he is."

As you slowly rub one hand up and down his back, you say, "Ralph, it's okay. You don't need to apologize for waking me up, and you definitely don't need to apologize for being you because I love you the way you are."

"Ralph knows this, and he wants to believe this, but sometimes things are just hard for Ralph," he explains, lifting his head to look at you as he continues, "And Ralph is glad, very glad, that you love him, because he loves you too."

You and he both lapse into silence then, the only sounds in the room that of your breathing and a slight sniffling sound coming from Ralph, until you break the silence by asking, "Is it ever like that for you when I'm awake?"

Ralph glances up at the ceiling and then back at you before answering, "Sometimes, when you're at work, but Ralph does other things then, and keeps himself busy. When you're asleep, Ralph just wants to be with you, so he doesn't leave the bedroom."

"Ralph," you say, softly, and raise one of your hands from his back to rest on his cheek. You can still see tears threatening to fall from his hazel eye, but a weak smile plays at his lips and his LED is finally returning to blinking a steady blue.

"Try to go to sleep," you urge him, moving your hand away from his face but only so that you can have both arms wrapped around him again. "If you can't, then just let me know, okay?"

"Okay," Ralph says, and closes his eyes. You lean in just enough to press a quick kiss to his lips before laying back like you were before. When you wake up, the light peeking through your curtains is from the sun, and Ralph, still held tight in your arms, is finally sleeping peacefully.

Chapter Text

Spending your evening sitting on the floor of your living room and getting drunk off of cheap wine while playing truth or dare with three of your friends isn't something you'd ever imagined would be part of your adult life, but yet you find yourself doing it anyway.

"Truth or dare," Maria says, nudging Alex, who thinks for a moment and then replies, "Truth."

"Have you ever gone to the Eden Club?" Maria ask, leaning forward just slightly and fixing him with a sharp stare.

"That's between me and my bank account," Alex replies, leaning back against your couch with a wide grin. Maria groans at his answer, and rolls her eyes. Julie laughs, loudly, nearly sloshing wine onto your cheap carpet, and you can't help but to laugh as well, if for no other reason than the look currently on Maria's face.

With a small shake of his head, Alex leans forward again and turns to look at you as he says, "Your turn. Truth or dare?"

"Dare," you say, without even thinking. Alex grins at you, more mischievously than you'd like, and asks, "You know that old house catty-corner to Organic Coffee?"

"Yeah?" you reply, taking another drink of wine, and trying not to appear too worried. Alex's grin widens as he continues, "I dare you to spend the rest of the night there."

"It's almost like you guys want to get rid of me or something," you say, trying to mask the twinge of hurt you feel by using a half-teasing, half-exasperated tone.

"It's just payback for last time," Alex says, and proceeds to chug the remaining wine in his glass.

"Fine," you say, rolling your eyes. You suppose he does have a point, because the last time you and your friends had gotten together like this, you'd dared him to sleep in his car for a night. As you stand, you say, "But you guys aren't going to stay here, in my own apartment, while I'm stuck in some creepy old house."

"We can rent a couple of rooms at the Eastern Motel, so that we can be right there to come get you in the morning," Maria says, and you look at her gratefully before nodding, finishing your wine, and setting it aside. She stands then, and so do Alex and Julie. You wait for them to walk outside so you can shut and lock the door behind you before pocketing your keys and following them to the sidewalk.

"I've heard it's haunted," Julie says, as the four of you are walking the few blocks to the house. You chuckle nervously and say, "Be serious, Julie."

"I am!" Julie exclaims, before continuing, "Robert, you know Robert, the cute guy at work that sits across from me, said he was walking by the house one night and heard screams coming from inside of it."

"Probably just someone having a bad trip," Maria offers up, and Alex makes a noncommittal sound of agreement.

"I hope for my sake the house doesn't have any ghosts or people having bad trips," you grumble, kicking at a small stone on the sidewalk in front of you but somehow managing to miss it.

"Or any combination of the two," Alex adds, jokingly, and you all laugh, the three of them presumably in amusement and you in nervousness. You know you could back out of the dare, but then you'd never hear the end of it from Alex, so you keep quiet and continue walking until you all reach the fence surrounding the house. You might not be flat-out drunk, but you're still tipsy enough that you don't want to risk climbing the fence, which is a concern you raise.

Luckily, Alex, Maria, and Julie agree with you, so instead you all feel along the fence for a weak spot. Maria ends up being the one to find a weak spot in the fence, and lifts it up while you, Alex, and Julie slip inside, before joining you. The four of you walk around the house until you come across a door, which, predictably enough, is locked. You sigh, half in relief and half in disappointment, but then Alex shoos you, Maria, and Julie aside so that he can pick the lock.

"You've got your phone, right?" Julie asks, as you wait for Alex to get the door unlocked.

"Yeah," you reply, looking at her. She smiles reassuringly at you as she says, "Then if anything happens, call me and we'll come get you."

"I will," you reply, returning the smile.

"If nothing happens, then we'll just see you in the morning," Alex says, opening the door.

"Good luck," Maria tells you, and you smile weakly back at her. You step inside the house and the door closes behind you. You wait until you can't hear anyone's voices anymore, and then look around the room you're in. It's dark in here, but after your eyes adjust, you're able to see that it seems as if you're in what used to be a living room. You can't hear anything except for the sound of a few crickets, so hesitantly, you walk farther into the house.

There's what seems to be a dining table near an empty fireplace, along with a door to another room towards one side of the room, and then a staircase on the other. You walk towards that door and open it, but find only a run-down kitchen inside. Should you go upstairs and look around?

Yes, the wine in your system tells you, so you do so. You walk back into the living room and then carefully make your way up the stairs, stopping at the landing and then continuing upwards. The second floor seems to be just as empty as the first floor, with both bedrooms nothing but containing broken furniture. There is a strange smell coming from the bathroom, though, so you quickly make your way back down to the living room.

You stop halfway into the living room, and after briefly considering grabbing one of the chairs by the dining table to sit at, decide instead to simply sit down on the floor. You sit with your legs pulled tight to your chest and wrap your arms around them as you look around the house as best as you can in the dimness. Before long, your eyes begin to grow heavy. With a sigh, you lay down and close them, and quickly fall asleep.

When you wake up, the first thing you notice is how dark it still is. The second thing you notice is the figure standing over you. You shriek, scrambling backwards, away from whoever this is, as best as you can until the figure says, sounding just as startled as you feel, "Ralph is sorry! He didn't mean to scare you. He was just curious, yes, that's all, just curious!"

You stop trying to get away, and instead simply stare up at the figure, no, apparently Ralph, with wide eyes as he continues, sounding curious now, "Ralph lives here, but why are you here? Humans don't usually come here just to sleep. Ralph hides so that they won't find him and hurt him, but he still sees what they do, still knows what they do."

He takes a step back from you, and it's then that you finally notice the LED circling yellow on his forehead. He's an android, you realize, not some crazed drug addict, and sigh in relief before replying, "My friends dared me to spend the night here."

"Why would they do that?" Ralph asks. You think for a moment, trying to decide what to tell him before deciding on, "We were playing a game."

"That's an odd game," Ralph states, and pauses before continuing, "Ralph doesn't usually like visitors, but you seem different. What's your name?"

You tell him your name, and he smiles.

Slowly, Ralph walks back closer to you, and crouches down next to you. His LED has returned to blue, but that's not what catches your eye. It's too dark in this house for you to see much detail, but even so you can see a faint glint from one of his eyes and an even fainter blue glow from the other, and the odd way in which the darkness plays at the side of his face with the blue eye.

You feel sorry for him, you realize, sorry for what happened to him, and sorry that he's alone here.

You really need to stop drinking that cheap wine, you think to yourself, and shake your head as if to clear it. You can't even be sure that you're not dreaming right now, you tell yourself, only to have that proven false when you try to push yourself up into a better sitting position and end up pressing your hand down hard against what feels to be a rock.

You do eventually manage to sit up, ignoring the pain in your hand. When you do so, Ralph moves from crouching next to you to sitting next to you as he looks at you and asks, "Will you tell Ralph more about this game you were playing?"

"It's called truth or dare," you begin, but at some point between explaining the basics to Ralph and telling him about how Maria had once dared Alex to eat the burnt roast someone had brought to a potluck at their office, you fall asleep.

When you wake up, there's light coming in through the slots between the baseboards on the window, and Ralph is nowhere to be seen. From outside, Alex calls out, "Are you alive in there?"

"I'm coming," you call out in return as you stand up, and then make your way over to the door. You pause with your hand on the doorknob, and turn to look around the house one more time. You're alone, you realize, and feel strangely sad as you open the door.

"How was it?" Alex asks at the same time Julie questions, "Is it haunted?"

"Are you okay?" Maria inquires. You sigh as you step outside, wondering just how much you should tell them, and say, "It was fine, I'm fine, and no, it's not haunted."

"There was no one else there, was there?" Julie asks, looking at you with wide eyes.

"No," you reply, because you don't want them to know about Ralph, because you're not sure what they'd do if they knew, if they'd want to see him or if they'd tell someone about him, or any number of other things. Instead, you shrug, and with a glance back at the house, you say, "I was completely alone."

After several more questions from them that you do your best to either redirect or give half-answers to, you finally arrive back at your apartment. With a final wave and a promise to meet up soon, you fish out your keys from your pocket and unlock the door before walking inside. You close the door and lean back against it with a sigh, thoughts about Ralph swirling wildly within your head. You'll think more later, you decide, because right now you could really go for a shower.

Two days pass, and you find yourself unable to stop thinking about that night, and about Ralph. Even when you stop at Organic Coffee to get a pick-me-up coffee after an exhausting day of work, you find your gaze straying back to the house the entire time you're in line, and even when you sit down to drink your coffee your gaze keeps landing on the house, or what little of it you can see between window decals and fencing.

With a sigh, you down the rest of your coffee and toss it into a nearby trash can before making your way out of the store, across the street, to the house and to Ralph.

Chapter Text

Ralph had never thought that he would come back to this house, no, not after coming to live with you. Until today, when you and he had been out for a walk and had passed by it and he found himself struck by the urge just to go inside and see if it's still the way it was before.

You don't want to go in, Ralph can tell, because he knows you still worry about him wanting to leave you sometimes, and you think that if he goes inside, he won't want to leave with you again. Ralph assures you that that won't happen, and grudgingly you agree to come inside with him.

"It's been a long time since we were last here," you remark as you walk inside the house ahead of him, and look around. Ralph nods, following you and looking around as well before saying, "Ralph is going to go into the kitchen now, but he'll be back. He promises."

"Hurry back to me," you say, smiling at him. Ralph returns the smile, and makes his way into the kitchen. This had been the last place he'd been, before you came to him that night, and the room he'd spent much of his time in before, and even after, he'd met you. His knife is nowhere to be found, but Ralph finds that that doesn't really bother him, because against all odds, the little plant Ralph had been taking care of before is still alive, and the sight is enough to make Ralph want to dance.

He manages to resist the urge, or at least he manages to resist for the most part, and walks closer to the plant to examine it. The soil is dry, but not as dry as he imagined it would be. Ralph's scanning capabilities don't work the way they used to, no, this part of him hasn't worked right since what those human did to him, not since they damaged his eye, so he can't examine the plant as thoroughly as he would like to, which is a pity, yes, a great pity. Ralph knows he needs to get back to you, but at the same time he can't pull himself away from his current spot.

The plant is like him, Ralph realizes as he looks at it. It's seen some hard times, just like Ralph has, but it's still here, still alive, just like Ralph. And it's going to go to a better home now, just like Ralph has, he decides as he picks it up. With the plant tucked under his arm, he makes his way over to the table where he had kept the few things important to him.

The watch is still where it had been before, but the money and the bird are gone. Ralph picks up the watch and glances over it before slipping it into his pocket. He carries the plant with him into the living room, and sets it down on the table, but only so that he can reach for you with both hands.

"I can't believe we're back where it all first began," you say, taking his hands in yours.

"Ralph can't either," he says, and bends to press his lips to yours. You grasp his hands tighter in your own and press yourself even closer to him as you tilt your head to deepen the kiss.

Eventually, and to Ralph's great disappointment, you pull back from the kiss. After you do so, you ask, "Do you remember what you told me? About what you used to do here, after I left?"

"Ralph does," he replies, slowly, feeling himself start to heat up inside at both the memories of telling you and doing so, and at the way you're looking at him. You're looking at him in a way he's become very familiar with, but that also manages to get to him every time, to make him hot and weak every time.

"Well, how about you show me how you would do it," you suggest, smiling. Ralph nods, letting go of your hands Anna hurrying to the door. He makes sure it's locked, because it would be unfortunate, yes, very unfortunate if someone were to come in for whatever reason, before returning to you. Ralph looks at you for reassurance, and when you nod, he leans back against the wall, in the spot where he would often do this, and undoes his pants. You walk closer to him but then take a half a step back to give him room and simply study him.

He's not hard when he pulls himself out, but between his tentative strokes, so much more tentative than when he did this on his own, and your gaze on him, not much time is needed to get him to that point. You watch him, eyes dark and following every movement of his hand.

Without even meaning to, Ralph whimpers at the sight, and closes his eyes, because as much as he wants to see you, he knows that if he doesn't, then this is going to be over too soon, much too soon, and Ralph doesn't want that, no, not this time.

Suddenly, without any warning, your lips meet his and Ralph gasps, eyes flying open. He can feel you smile against his lips and then your tongue is slipping in between his parted lips to tangle with his own. Ralph moans, low in his throat, at the feeling, but moans even louder when your hand comes to circle around his. He lets his eyes fall shut once more, hips moving in time with the movements of your hand and his.

You guide his hand, squeezing tight, but not too tight, just like you know that Ralph likes, and it's not long before Ralph finds himself starting to fall apart. Moans and gasps slip from him only to be muffled by your mouth against his as your hand works in time with his own.

This is so much better than before, yes, so much better, now that Ralph is pinned between you and the wall with your lips against his and your hand wrapped around the part of him that he'd only ever dreamed that you'd be touching, so long ago, before he knew you loved him. This is so much better than all the times that it had just been Ralph, alone with his thoughts of you, his longing for you and his want for you and all his fantasies of you.

When his orgasm finally comes, Ralph nearly falls at the intensity of it, and it's only your body against his that keeps him upright as his vision blurs and his knees grow weak. You pull back from the kiss and smile at him. Your hand moves away from him, and his own falls limply to his side. Ralph leans even more heavily back against the wall as you tuck him back into his pants, and redo his pants as well. He blinks, waiting for his vision to refocus, and then looks at you.

Some of his release had gotten on your shirt, Ralph notices, torn between the heat of embarrassment and the heat of something else. He reaches out his clean hand to try to swipe it away while saying, "Ralph is sorry. He didn't mean to be messy, but he just couldn't help himself."

"It's fine, Ralph," you say, smiling at him as you reach down to take his hand in yours. Ralph smiles at you in return, and keeps smiling despite of the twitching of his face, because how can he not when you tell him, "You did so good for me, Ralph."

Chapter Text

Ralph had never actually taken a bath before the night that he had come with you to your apartment. Before Ralph ran away, when he still worked in the park, he and all the other gardening androids would be rounded up at the end of the month and taken to some sort of complex so that they could shower, because maintaining the parks could be a dirty job sometimes, even for androids, and afterwards they all would be given fresh uniforms and be sent back to their original stations. Ralph still isn't really sure why the humans cared about how he and the other androids looked, but this particular subject isn't one he tends to dwell on all that often.

At the time, he hadn't particularly felt any sort of way about the showers, but bathing, now that he has gotten the chance to bathe, is something Ralph finds that he enjoys immensely, yes, he really enjoys bathing. Even now, after having the chance to take a proper shower in a proper bathroom, Ralph still finds that he prefers bathing. He's not entirely sure why, to tell the truth, whether it's because of the good memories attached to bathing, and especially attached to the first bath he ever took, or if it's something else entirely. All he knows is that he does. However, while bathing in and if itself is something that Ralph finds enjoyable, yes, very enjoyable, Ralph also knows that he prefers times like now, with you in the tub with him, to times where he bathes alone.

Right now, he's sitting with his back against the far side of the bathtub while you kneel between his spread legs and shampoo his hair. Gently, you work the shampoo in his hair and wipe away any suds that drip down towards the scarred side of his face. Ralph simply sits there and watches you, because when he'd attempted to raise his hands to help, you'd swatted them away.

Ralph doesn't mind though, no, not at all, because you're just as careful with him now as you were the first time, and even if this level of carefulness is mostly unnecessary, in Ralph's own opinion, the fact that you care about him this much only makes Ralph love you more.

"You're going to give me a complex if you keep looking at me like that," you say, teasingly. Ralph looks at you, brows furrowing as he asks, "And exactly how is it that Ralph is looking at you?"

"I don't know," you say, pausing for a second, hands stilling in his hair before you continue, "Sort of like I'm the best thing you've ever seen?"

"Ralph only looks at you like that because you are the best thing he's ever seen," he explains, moving his hands up from their former spot on his thighs to instead rest on your waist.

"I love you," you say, smiling, and lean down to press your lips to his. It's not a particularly deep kiss, but Ralph doesn't mind. He tightens his grip on your hips and tries to pull you even closer, but all too soon, you pull away. Ralph sighs in disappointment, but still says, in reply to what you'd told him before you kissed him, "Ralph loves you too."

"Come on," you say, your smile returning as you continue, "It's time to rinse out your shampoo."