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Catalyst

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I had a dream

 

“Oh you idiot, why do you never listen?” Nines’ voice held no heat behind it, voice static laced as he held his predecessor in his arms. He had already called for backup, even before Connor had hit the ground. Nines had dived for him, felt the bullet force its way through his hip, vision short circuiting as he pulled them both to safety.

 

I got everything I wanted

 

“Oh you self sacrificial bastard, who designed you so dumb.” Connor wasn’t answering, blood trickling from his mouth and down his neck as he lay gasping for artificial breath. Nines’ hands moved to the wound, a perfect circular whole through Connor’s thirium pump regulator. He placed as much pressure as he could without breaking him, tears beginning to block his vision. The blood was everywhere, pooling underneath where Connor lay, on Nine’s hands and clothes, it was all he could see. His vision cleared just slightly as it alerted him the threats had retreated, unsurprised as he could hear the sirens in the distance.

 

Not what you’d think

 

Connor’s arm reached for his, skin pulling back from both their arms as he initiated an interface. Nines tried to push reassurance over, anything to help with the overwhelming fear Connor felt. Fear of dying, of leaving everyone behind. Nines could see the timer in the corner, worry lacing around his systems as his preconstruction programs told him Connor wouldn’t make it. 

 

And if I’m being honest

 

“N-Ni-s -st-top-” Connor’s voice modulator sounded mutilated, his body struggling to cope as blood spilled from his mouth at alarming rates. Nines made no move to stop as Connor tried to remove his hands from his chest, continuing to apply steady pressure.

 

It might have been a nightmare

 

Nines saw an option appear before him, the only insight, the word ‘Catalyst’ . He had no idea what it meant, but Connor had mere seconds left and he had felt so overwhelmed with fear that he initiated it.

 

To anyone who might care

 

Activation: Catalyst Protocol  Y/N

 

Y

 

Thought I could fly

 

Nines felt his systems stutter, vision darkening into nothingness as his systems attempted to reserve battery. He was on his knees, hands still on Connor’s chest. The interface had initiated the protocol within Connor as well. Connor’s movement had stilled, body no doubt working to continue running.

 

So I stepped off the Golden

 

He felt a pressure in his chest, a confusing feeling, his diagnostic system offline and providing no information. He heard himself gasp, Connor making a similar sound as they both felt it happen. A connection formed between them, Nines’ heart taking control of Connor’s in an attempt to prolong his death long enough for help to arrive.

 

Nobody cried

 

Nines felt the pull of stasis, body trying with all its might to pull him under to help it function. He couldn’t do that till others arrived, until he could explain what had happened.

 

Nobody even noticed

 

He didn’t hear them arrive, normally inhuman processors non functional as he sat there. He only noticed someone arrive when he felt a hand on his shoulder, turning even though he couldn’t see them.

 

I saw them standing right there

 

“Holy shit Nines-Your eyes are black? What happened to you and Connor?” He felt people begin to move him away from Connor, his entire body erupting into agony as their bodies disconnected. He heard a scream, no doubt from Connor, before their hands connected once more. The pain dulled instantly, simmering just below the surface, allowing him to answer the voice.

 

Kinda thought they might care

 

“He-He was shot,” Nines had a hard time forcing the words out, body feeling sluggish as his power levels dropped, “ We connected, initiated a protocol, my thirium pump is controlling his, keeping both of us alive.” He couldn’t hear if the person responded, audio processors no longer available. He could barely feel anything other than Connor, body focused on the steady beat of their hearts, in perfect synchronicity as he fell into stasis.

 


 

I had a dream

 

When Nines awoke he wasn’t sure where he was, noticing greenery surrounding him. He looked around, noticing a pond, fish swimming underneath. He walked along the stone path, moving to where Connor sat. 

 

I got everything I wanted

 

Connor gave no signal that he noticed his successor's movements, continuing to stare at the gravestones in front of him. Nines noticed 2 gravestones, both with Connor’s name and previous model numbers on them. He laced his hand with Connor’s as he sat next to him, tension leaving his body at the connection.

 

But when I wake up, I see

 

“Are you okay Nines? I know that situation scared you.” He felt the memories appear within his mind, although the emotions felt distant, detached from him. He looked towards his predecessor, eyes meeting for a few moments as he noticed Connor’s LED a calm blue, mirroring his own.

 

You with me

 

“The emotions are separated from the memories, filled with serenity instead. Do you know what protocol Catalyst was?” He turned back to the gravestones as he spoke, noticing the differences between the two. 51’s stone was older, chips appearing around the edges, flowers wilted beneath it. 52’s stone was newer, a slightly lighter shade, flowers weak but still alive. It felt almost symbolic, as he thinks of Connor and himself.

 

And you say, "As long as I'm here

 

“Kamski mentioned it just once, something RK models have to prevent permanent erasure. It allowed us to connect, bodies relying on each other to function. It’s how we can now interface without physical contact.” Nines hadn’t even known that was a thing, but sure enough Connor stood, arms disentangling. He could still feel Connor within himself, an ever present comfort.

 

No one can hurt you

 

Nines slowly stood as well, still grasping for Connor’s arm, skin receding and arms glowing blue as they connected.

 

Don't wanna lie here

 

“This still feels better, Eights.” He felt Connor sigh, moving to wrap his arms around him. They stood like that for an untold amount of time, Connor peppering Nines with light kisses along his neck and jaw as they stood basking in the warm sunlight. Eventually they felt a pull within their systems, an interruption to their time in stasis. Connor must have seen the worry on his face, LED yellow as he spoke.

 

But you can learn to

 

“I’m still with you Nines, I’ll always be with you.” His vision faded once more.

 

If I could change

 

Nines felt lost, body disconnected from his thoughts as he regained consciousness. His eyes opened, body slowly spurring to life, vision focusing on his surroundings. He saw the Lieutenant, Detective Reed, as well as Elijah and Chloe Kamski. They all sat near him, watching him.

 

The way that you see yourself

 

Before they could say anything he felt a searing pain in his arm, looking down he had what looked like the after affects of electrocution. A rippled wound, lines weaving all along his arm, skin gone on the arm. The pain caused errors to appear in his eyes, all thoughts within his body screaming for Connor.

 

You wouldn't wonder why you hear

 

“Co-Connor? Whe-is he?” He barely got the words out, feeling Hank’s hands under him as he was carried over to another bench. He was placed down carefully, arms automatically feeling for his predecessor. He latched onto him, arms connecting and interface opening. 

 

They don't deserve you"

 

Nines felt no connection open, body going numb as he registers Connor’s inactive LED. Tears fall freely as he takes in Connor’s content expression, eyes closed. The shock hits him like a tidal wave, knocking the breath out of him as he falls to his knees. He doesn’t feel the cold, barely feels anything. He feels numb, voices around him quiet and muffled.

 

I tried to scream

 

For hours he just lays there, crying in both pain and grief, clawing at his own chest as if to remove the feeling of loss that has settled over him. When Hank realises he sits next to him, holding his hand, he doesn’t move to speak, tears falling down his face too.

 

But my head was underwater

 

Eventually Nines falls asleep, tear tracks still marked down his face. When he wakes he is in the zen garden, though he realises that one more this is Connor’s not his. Just like last time Connor is sitting by the gravestones, although three are now present. The third one, 53’s one, is in perfect condition, flowers arranged neatly underneath it.

 

They called me weak

 

Connor looks peaceful, smiling softly as he notices Nines presence.

 

“You didn’t think you’d be able to get rid of me that easy did you?” Nines gasped, already noting how much he already missed that voice. He lifted Connor to his feet, arms wrapping securely around his predecessor.

 

Like I'm not just somebody's daughter

 

“What-What is this Connor? You are dead aren’t you?” He felt the confusion in his voice, although Connor still looked calm. Nines felt Connor’s hand entwine with his own, skin receding as Connor lifted their hands. He laid swift kisses along Nines knuckles, allowing the memories and thoughts to filter over.

 

Coulda been a nightmare

 

“So you are dead, but you are like..My AI now?” Connor didn’t stop the kisses, flipping over their hands to kiss his wrist. He hummed in agreement, waiting a few moments before speaking again.

 

But it felt like they were right there

 

“I could never leave you, the Catalyst protocol allows me to exist within your system.” They began to walk, circling the pond slowly. They walked hand in hand, the skin on Connor’s arm scarred much like Nines’.

 

And it feels like yesterday was a year ago

 

“I love you Nines, even death can’t change that. I will be here when you need me, but not always when you want me.” His voice sharpened as he spoke, emotion lessening as if to warn Nines. He squeezed Connor’s hand, remembering the warmth before he turned to look at him. Nines lifted his hands, placing them delicately to his predecessor’s cheeks. He chuckled as Connor leaned into the embrace, moving closer for their lips to touch ever so slightly.

 

"I love you Eights." He saved the moment to his memories, before Connor smiled sadly, disappearing from his view.

 

And you say, "As long as I'm here

No one can hurt you”