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From Your Wires to Your Core

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It had been three months. Three months since the android uprising, if you could call it that. It had honestly gone way better than Reed had anticipated. He’d expected the plastic menaces to be killing humans left and right. What he hadn’t expected was to watch a group of androids sitting peacefully, almost in acceptance. It got under his skin. They weren’t supposed to be so reasonable. They just sat there, singing about peace and shooting off messages about equality. The only violence had come from the human side. He’d watched the report from the station, seen SWAT mercilessly shooting down unit after unit. Despite his dislike for androids he just couldn’t be on his own side. Shooting unarmed and peaceful beings? That didn’t sit right with him.

He’d had mixed feelings when the president had called a ceasefire, and even more when he’d seen the RK800 leading an army of newly deviated units from Cyberlife for reinforcements. An uneasy peace was declared. Negotiations were going to be made. Androids were going to become recognised as real living beings. Gavin had never wanted them to exist in the first place. He’d known the moment the first ones appeared that it would be bad news for human workers everywhere. He’d been right. Unemployment levels had shot up within the first year. Now they were free, with the ability to take paid positions. It made them less cheap, but he was sure most employers would still see the value in having a faster, stronger and overall better android in the workforce.

Fowler had sent them all back to work as soon as the broadcast ended, knowing there were bound to be a lot of incidents to deal with. By that point the swelling on Reed’s cheek had gone down. The RK800 had a mean punch, he’d give him that. He’d already logged his incident report. Perkins had insisted he get it all down as soon as possible, since the evidence tampering had affected the FBI’s case. Reed had had no problem with that. He’d stated honestly that he’d gone in and found the android tampering with evidence. At the time it had been no big deal. If he’d shot the android it would have been just a machine. A broken pile of plastic and circuits. No big deal. Cyberlife probably had a few dozen RK800s to replace it with anyway.

Time had passed since then anyway. Things around the DPD were busy to say the least. He was surprised, but there had actually been a drop in the amount of androids working at the station. Quite a few had decided to move on to different careers after their deviancy. It was a dangerous job, and androids were still a popular target for violence. There was also the fact that a lot of their human colleagues would use them as bullet shields, sending them into dangerous situations first because they were ‘just machines’ and ‘could be repaired’. With the drop in androids they were having to take on more new officers, but not many people were applying at the moment with things still tense and dangerous. Gavin was pulling fifteen hour shifts almost every day of the week, in fact sometimes it was every day. It was getting to the point he was actually missing Hank.

Hank had been suspended for the past three months after his bust up with Perkins. The FBI agent would have pushed to have him fired, but it was too much paperwork for him to bother with. It would also mean having to return to the DPD offices a few more times, and the FBI was based quite a way off. It was inconvenient for something so trivial. He was content to just leave it at a few months’ suspension. It was that very Monday morning as he sipped his sixth coffee of the night before that Reed saw the old man walking up to Fowler’s office.

“Finished slacking off old man?” Reed called in a gruff, tired tone. He had an up and down relationship with the older detective. He’d always respected the man. He was the youngest lieutenant on record. Up until a few years ago he’d been a dedicated officer and a good mentor. That had all stopped after his son died. Reed almost felt bad that he’d forgotten the kid’s name. He’d only seen him once for a few minutes, and he didn’t often work with Hank directly, but he still felt bad not remembering. Was it…Connor? Cole? Cody? Something with a C…

“You wish! I still have a week left.” Hank called back with the barest hint of smugness. Reed did envy the older man slightly, getting to sit it out for the first few hectic months. He was sure things would settle eventually, but until then the station was always busy. Reed groaned in response, spinning his chair back towards his terminal. He heard Hank’s deep chuckle all the way up to Fowler’s glass door. The captain wasn’t doing so well with all the extra work either. Extra cases meant extra paperwork for him to check and sign off. He had an inbox and outbox piled high on his desk. Reed was curious about what the two men were talking about, shifting uncomfortably as gestures were made towards him and the pair kept giving him looks he couldn’t quite figure out.

Hank seemed to be passionate about something, but not in his usual drunken angry way. This was the old Hank. The Hank that Reed thought died with his son. There was this strange fire in his blue eyes. Fowler seemed receptive to whatever Hank was saying, but his shoulders slumped somewhat as he indicated Gavin. The detective pretended to be looking at a file as he sat back to get a better look at the glass. Hank was upset now, arms waving in that slightly oversized faded leather coat of his. Fowler, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, held his arms up in a calming gesture. The conversation had deescalated somewhat and Hank was looking thoughtful, hands on his hips as he nodded at the faded grey carpet. He touched Fowler’s arm in a friendly manner before returning to the bullpen.

“Reed, you’re in tomorrow, right?” He checked in an almost prying tone, though he seemed to be trying hard not to seem too interested. Reed scoffed as he held up the file he was reading. He’d been in the office since the morning of the day before. He’d worked clean through the night, and unless Fowler noticed his clock in card he had no intention of going anywhere for the rest of today either.

“With all this shit that needs doing? I’ll be here until next week!” He retorted, his answer seeming to appease the older man somewhat as he stopped by his desk. He hovered by his chair for a while, checking over the few things that had been placed on his own desk. He didn’t have any current cases, but with everyone else busy with real-time cases the old cold ones were ending up in Hank’s inbox for when he got back. He fingered one of the files idly before looking across at Reed seriously. The thirty six year old was leaning back with his feet crossed on the table, something he could only get away with right now because they were so overworked and Fowler was letting it slide.

“Around nine?” The old man checked, watching the cogs turning in Gavin’s head as he realised he was actually going to be needed for something. He almost winced as he dropped his feet forward and leaned on his desk. Hank was almost amused at the younger man’s despair as he tried to imagine what he could possibly have done to warrant a meeting.

“Please tell me you’re not dumping even more work on me! I’m snowed under as it is!” The detective complained, feeling somewhat reassured as Hank waved it off. The older man almost looked a little relieved that that’s all it was. Reed couldn’t help but also notice that the older man looked a little different. He was a little neater, a little more clean-cut, and his clothes were actually a little looser on him than before. He was looking good. More in shape than he had been for a while.

“Nothing like that, in fact this may even work towards reducing that workload.” Hank replied, which seemed tempting enough for Gavin to agree. He nodded, both men turning as the glass door across the hall was tossed open and Fowler appeared holding up a slim bit of cardboard that Reed recognised. Ah phck! He cursed inwardly as sharp brown eyes found him while he sank down in his chair to avoid notice.

“Reed! You’ve been here for over twenty-six hours? Go the fuck home! Right now!” The older man ordered in his rough growl of a voice. Reed winced at the almost fatherly edge of it. He knew Fowler wasn’t angry about the extra wage he was snagging with the overtime. He was more worried about having a burned out detective collapsing on the job. He’d known Fowler a long time. “And don’t you dare fucking drive!” The dark skinned man added before heading back into his office. A really long time…

“You heard the man kid. Better rest up for tomorrow.” Hank added before heading out. Reed watched him go, noting his back was straighter and more confident. It was a good look. He’d missed having the reliable Hank Anderson around. It almost annoyed him to think that it was probably that damned android that had brought him back. The plastic puppy had been more or less glued to the older man’s side for weeks. He sighed as he gathered a few files, being sure to hide them in his jacket as he headed out to call a taxi. He probably shouldn’t take files home, but hey, what harm could it do?