Chapter 1: Cats have better social lives
His skin was soft underneath Gavin's callused hands and rough finger tips. Warm and flushed blue, everything that he'd expected and more. Running a thumb over a plump bottom lip, Gavin felt himself exhale, the action mimicked by the beautiful creature he was holding onto. Stunning doe brown eyes stared up at him, so trusting when he deserved none of it. It was a look Gavin hadn't gotten in a long time, especially not from a piece of perfection like this one.
And God was he perfect.
Too perfect. Gavin hated him for it, yet he couldn't ever look away. He was everything Gavin wanted and everything he hated all wrapped up in one complicated little puzzle. It was torture.
"Mine." Gavin ran his hand slowly down the other's cheek, to the curve of his neck and held on. Firm, but gentle, thumb resting on his Adams apple, feeling the android swallow. This creature had been made for him, every piece of him designed to resonate with every fiber in Gavin's body, and it was frustrating, confusing, and absolutely enthralling. His grip tightened and the breath caught in his captive's throat; surprised.
"Mine." Gavin repeated, absolution running hot in his veins, his eyes, a natural blue, bore holes in brown.
"Yours." His voice was like music to Gavin's ears, and the words whispered were exactly what he wanted to hear. The perfect tone, the perfect inflection. "Forever yours, Gavin." His name running off those lips was a high no street drug could mimic.
Wet. Rough. It was distracting. Soft, hard wetness on his cheek, like sandpaper, and Gavin winced. "Stop." It was a command that fell on deaf ears. He moved his hand, to push that face away from his cheek but that tongue kept touching him, and it wasn't arousing any more. "Connor stop."
Why the fuck was-
Gavin jerked awake, the loud buzz of his alarm clock coupled with the added beep of an incoming text message and the nasty wet tongue of a cat rough against his cheek, all forcing him back into consciousness way too fast. He was awake in seconds, and it wasn't the way he'd have liked to wake up. Gavin simultaneously pushed the Maine Coon away from him and slapped the bedside table looking for his phone, swiping the alarm to shut it off. "Gil, what the fuck." The cat reacted about as well as he ever did and leapt off of Gavin's bed, tail high, leaving the Detective to collect his thoughts.
From the floor, Gilbert meowed loudly again and Gavin heard the little paw thumps as he left the room. It was a clear request that Gavin needed to get up and feed him. Fucking needy cat.
Instead of getting up and getting ready for the day, Gavin chose to lay there in his tangle of sheets, staring at the fuzzy ceiling above him. The remnants of his dream were fading fast, but one key detail always remained: Connor. The android sent by fucking Cyberlife. The deviant hunter turned deviant. Gavin's fucking wet dream since he was 8 (okay that was probably an exaggeration). It wasn't just a problem because Gavin hated androids; hated them with all the fibers in his body that were capable of harboring hatred, it was a problem because Connor was gone. Sort of. He hadn't really asked about it save for the one day Hank had shown up late and alone, and he'd been told that Connor was helping Jericho. Whatever the fuck that meant.
Connor had left and that should have made Gavin happy. The temptation was gone, didn't walk by his desk all the time, couldn't distract him when he spoke. Everything was back to normal at the Detroit PD.
Except Gavin woke up like /this/ most mornings. Wanting, and he hated it.
The cat needed food, but that was going to have to wait because Gavin needed a shower. A cold one. He dragged himself out of bed, tossing the discarded comforter back onto the matress and shuffled through the hazy apartment all the way to the bathroom, one arm sliding against the wall to keep himself steady. Once inside, he turned on the water in the shower and let it warm up for a bit while he took a piss before stepping in. The routine was all that kept him moving. Getting out of bed, getting in the shower, relieving some of the built up tension, and climbing back out. Gavin ruffled a towel through his hair on his way back to his bedroom, grabbing the glasses on the bedside table so he could find a decent pair of jeans to wear.
Once dressed, Gavin grabbed his phone now that he could actually focus and read the messages on it. Two, from both Tina and Chris. Both, expressing concern. 'Did he know' 'Had he heard' 'Is he coming to work it's important' 'Brace yourself' like, could they get any more cryptic?
Gavin didn't bother answering either of his friends, shoving his phone into the back pocket of his jeans and leaving the room. Whatever they were going on about, he could deal with when he got to the precinct. Right now though, Gil sounded absolutely devastated in the kitchen and Gavin had to stop the howling before his neighbours started bitching about the noise. The cat had a pair of lungs on him, that was for sure.
"For fuck's sake, Gilbert the bowl is practically full."
The cat, a big, grey, fluffy, regal looking Maine Coon sat in all his dignified glory in front of the food dish in question, a small portion right in the middle had been eaten, and the bottom of the bowl was showing. Obviously the cat was starving. Meowing again for emphasis, Gilbert started up at Gavin, tail flicking lazily against the linoleum of the kitchen floor until finally Gavin bent down and shook the bowl, evening out the food surface and successfully saving the poor feline from starvation. Gil stoped howling and started snacking, one pellet at a time like the dainty prince he knew he was. Honestly, whoever said cats were low maintenance had never owned a Maine Coon before. Bitchy, needy, and stuck up. Gavin loved him.
Cat crisis averted, and clock ticking ever closer to 9am, Gavin stalked to the bathroom to finish preening. He ruffled a hand through his hair, attempting to tame it at least a little bit before staring down his reflection, black framed glasses sitting snug against his nose. 2039 and they still hadn't invented permanent contact lenses. Surgery, yes, but not lenses. At the very least, he could buy contacts that changed eye colour. Gavin looked too much like his half-brother with his natural blue eyes, and the last thing he wanted was for everyone to know that he was actually related to that fucker.
Sliding the glasses off his face and tossing them onto the counter, Gavin took a minute to slip the pair of contacts in his eyes, blinking a few times to get them set right so he could see. Deep grey irises stared back through the mirror, all traces of blue and the familial bonds that went with them, gone.
At his feet, Gilbert purred, and Gavin had to step over the cat to get out of the bathroom. Tail held high, the Maine Coon padded after him, chirping like he was holding a conversation. Gavin had his coffee pot on a timer and it was ready for him in the kitchen as he passed by, grabbing the mug and heading for the door. Gil was still on his heels as he grabbed his leather jacket from the rack by the door, and the cat was outside as soon as the front door was open. "At least you have a social life." Gavin followed after his cat as it padded down the hallway of the apartment complex he lived in, not at all concerned. Gilbert took off as he pleased, and always came home because he knew where the food was. And, Gavin liked to think that the cat liked him. Who really knew though, because cats were jerks.
That, incidentally, was the best part of his day.
The texts he'd gotten from Tina and Chris had been warnings, warnings that Gavin hadn't heeded until it was too late. He walked into the precinct, drinking his coffee like any other day at the office, and ran right into an Android he hadn't thought he'd see in person ever again. The memory of his morning dream was still fresh, and for a second, Gavin froze like a deer caught in a cars headlights. He could feel his ears fucking burning and everyone in the area was watching him, as if they were waiting for him to blow up. Hank stood by Connor, one foot on the steps up to Fowler's office like they'd been headed that way before Gavin interrupted them, and Connor.
Beautiful, perfect-in-every-way Connor, stared right at him and Gavin could not stay focused on his eyes because there was too much to look at that he hadn't realized he'd missed. The entire station was eerily silent, anticipating the nuclear explosion that was Gavin Reed, and here he was, completely unable to deliver because he was so fucking glad to see the Android again that he'd forgotten to explode as was expected.
The world came back to him in a rush of sound and movement, and Gavin blinked before growling. "You've got to be fucking kidding me." With that, he turned around and stalked to his desk, dropped into his chair and chugged the rest of his coffee to hide the fact that he couldn't breath properly.
Connor was back.
Chapter 2: The day does not get good
Gavin's day does not get better, nor does it end on a good note.
Thank you for still reading! It is much appreciated! It will get better, I promise (I hope)
"You okay man?"
Gavin stared at his terminal, not acknowledging that Chris had even spoken to him. After a few seconds of silence he dared to glance towards Fowler's office where Hank and Connor were still talking. It was too quiet behind the glass, Fowler wasn't yelling like usual. That alone was probably making the entire station nervous, because it was definitely making Gavin anxious. His knee bounced under his desk like a nervous twitch he couldn't stop. To make things worse, his coffee mug was empty and he really needed a distraction.
"What do you fucking think." Finally, Gavin grumbled out a reply.
Chris wheeled his chair closer to Gavin's desk, leaning against the side of it so he could study his friend, which made Gavin more nervous than the quiet conversation happening behind Chief Fowler's glass office windows. Chris had been his best friend for years; if anyone could read Gavin, it was this guy. And Gavin had done a lot of things in the span of 45 minutes, he might as well have just handed over a book explaining all of the complicated emotions he was experiencing but not handling very well right now.
"We tried to warn you-"
"Those were not fucking warnings." Gavin was quick to cut Chris off, turning his chair so Chris could get the full effect of his glare and pointed finger. "They were cryptic as fuck and I'm not paid to fucking analyze your God damn text messages for their hidden meaning. You could have said 'Connor is back' and I would have stayed home. Better fucking things to do there anyway."
"See, and that's what Tina wanted to avoid so we thought if we just didn't mention his name..."
Gavin rubbed a hand over his face and leaned back in his chair with a short, stressed out growl. "You're both fucking idiots."
The day did not get much better than that. Most, if not all of Gavin's work kept him in the office filling out paperwork or looking for files, which meant that he ran into Connor almost hourly, and when he wasn't bumping into the Android, he was staring at him from across the room glaring every time Connor noticed him staring. Thankfully, every single time he met Connor in the hallways he managed to form perfectly coherent sentences, all of which consisted of a sleugh of curses and derogatory nicknames and anything else that Gavin could think of to essentially alienate himself from the object of his affection.
Good on you, Gavin Reed. 10/10. Perfect score.
From the look of things, Hank was getting pretty pissed at Gavin and had finally gotten fed up enough by the time the clock hit 5pm, and like the shithead he was, Gavin gave the old man an exaggerated salute as he grabbed his jacket and started walking backwards towards the door, a cheeky smile twitching at his lips as Hank stalked after him.
"Gavin fucking Reed -"
"Sorry Lieutenant, unfortunately I'm off the clock. Anything you gotta tell me can wait until the fucking morning." Assuming he showed up tomorrow. With a two -fingered wave, Gavin booked it out the back door of the precinct before Hank could wring his neck.
By the time he got home, Gavin was completely exhausted. He'd expended so much energy being so anxious and tense all day, that he collapsed in a tired heep on his couch as soon as he got inside his apartment. He laid there motionless for a few minutes before he noticed something missing. Gavin lifted his head and looked around the living room, and when he saw nothing out of the ordinary, he went back to the front door and pulled it open. There wasn't anything strange out in the hallway either.
Normally the cat met him at the front of the building or in the hallway waiting to get inside but today the Maine Coon was nowhere to be found. It was rare for Gilbert to be gone when Gavin came home from work. Sure, the cat could survive on his own, but that didn't mean he should be out there all alone. Gavin liked watching TV with the cat curled up on the other end of the couch. It was part of their routine.
Shutting the door, Gavin went to one of the side windows in the living room and pulled it open. There wasn't a screen in this window specifically so the cat could come and go as he pleased, and the window itself was way too small for an actual person to fit through. Y'know, if someone climbed up to the third floor without killing themselves first. If Gilbert was coming home tonight, he'd have to do it the hard way. With that taken care of, Gavin puttered around the apartment for a bit, pulling some leftovers out of the fridge and reheating them, switching from contacts to his glasses in case he fell asleep and didn't change them before bed. It wasn't dangerous or anything like that, just uncomfortable.
Sliding the plate of food onto the coffee table, Gavin switched on the television and dropped heavily onto the couch. Normally, the Maine Coon would be at his side, begging for scraps, but the little shit still hadn't come back despite the open window. Gavin scooped a spoonful of reheated noodles into his mouth, flipping through the channels on the television, only stopping when a familiar face smiled back at him in that disgustingly charming way he was used to seeing. Gavin froze, dropping his spoon back into the bowl and leaning back into the couch, crossing his arms over his chest.
'What lead to your decision to go back to Cyberlife Mr. Kamski? Was the board of directors involved in your comeback?'
Elijah Kamski on the TV laughed, blue eyes crinkling a little in the corners. 'Of course they were involved, I wouldn't make a decision without them. Considering everything that happened regarding the Androids, it just makes sense to lend Cyberlife my expertise. I'm not taking over, my CEO days are long gone but as a partner, I'm hoping that together we can work towards creating a place to improve the Androids. Deviant or not, they're still machines underneath it all and they still have specific needs that Cyberlife is more than happy to help with.'
'Does this mean you'll be working with the Android leader, Markus? How do you feel about that?'
'What I feel doesn't really matter. Markus is the leader appointed by a consensus and I can't change that. I think he's rational, and has a passion for his people that rivals any man's. It's admirable, really. So yes, Cyberlife will be working with him, so in turn I'll have the privilege of working with him from time to time. To be quite honest, I think it'll be a fantastic opportunity.'
'Can you tell us-'
Gavin shut the television off with a loud snort and an eye roll, tossing the remote onto the coffee table. Great. Just fucking great. Elijah Kamski retiring from Cyberlife had been the best thing to happen to the world, and Gavin, because the asshole stopped doing TV interviews, which meant that Gavin didn't have to see his face outside of Christmas. He'd be on the tv all the fucking time now that he was going back to Cyberlife. A warning would have been nice.
Grabbing his plate from the coffee table, Gavin stalked to the kitchen, dropping his dinner into the sink. He wasn't hungry anymore. What a fucking shit-tastic day. He'd lost his cat, he'd been a piece of shit to the love of his life, again, and his asshole half brother was back in the limelight. What else could possibly go wrong? With a sigh, Gavin stabbed at the power button on his coffee machine with a finger, maybe a bit too angrily and waited for it to fill a mug. It wasn't bad enough that Androids were a constant reminder of his brothers success, but now the asshole was going to be all over the news reminding him over and over that Gavin was... The Kamski disappointment. Because he hadn't been smart enough to keep up with his brother. That he hadn't been smart enough to found an entire company. That he hadn't been smart enough to change the world.
He dropped a couple spoonfuls of sugar into the full mug of coffee when it was done brewing and went back into the living room, dropping onto the couch before slamming his feet onto the coffee table. He took a long sip of his over sweetened coffee, staring at the dark television, debating not turning the TV back on because that interview with Elijah would probably be playing on every channel, but... The silence was honestly worse. Gavin grabbed the remote and flicked on the tv, changing the channel a few times before finding something that wasn't centered around Elijah Kamski and his miraculous return.
Chapter 3: Reassigned
In this chapter they actually say words to each other. So impressed with my boy Gavin over here.
Also. Wow, is that a plot or something? I've never seen one of those before.
Keep thanking Unacceptable-Bisexual for being editor and motivation for this.
Gavin leaned forward in his chair, eyes narrowing on the old man sitting at the desk across from him. Fowler stared right back, as though he was waiting for some kind of outburst from the Detective. It took a moment - Gavin had to take a second to remember how to breath through his nose, how to get his heart to stop pounding so hard, how to hear something other than the blood rushing through his ears. "Work. With Connor. Me." It was backwards and jumbled and not what he'd intended to say and Gavin laughed out loud because it had to be a bad joke. "You're fucking kidding me, right?"
Fowler's face didn't so much as twitch in reaction, he stared straight at Gavin until the Detective's laughter died. "No, Detective Reed, I am dead serious. Connor needs a partner for this, and Lieutenant Anderson is already neck deep on a case I can't pull him off of. You're the only one who doesn't have his hands tied to something important right now." the way Fowler spoke didn't leave room for an argument, but Gavin took that as a challenge. He hadn't had enough coffee this morning to remain calm.
"No. No fucking way!" Gavin stood up with enough momentum to send his chair skidding backwards accross the floor. It didn't matter that Fowler was right, that he had nothing pressing to do right now. All of Gavin's current work could in theory be passed on to officers who weren't already over-worked, but that was completely besides the point. He spared a glance towards Connor, who was standing near the door, watching quietly without an opinion and that just served to piss Gavin off even more and he didn't even understand why. "It's bad enough that you're letting this Plastic Asshole-" He jerked his thumb towards the RK800 just in case Fowler forgot who he was talking about "-walk around here like one of us because suddenly he's got fucking feelings and whatever, but you expect me to work with him, too? You're out of your fucking mind!"
"Detective Reed." Fowler wasn't yelling; he was calm, over pronouncing every syllable of Gavin's name and title for emphasis. He stood up slowly from his desk, and it made Gavin nervous because Fowler was usually just as bad as him when it came to shouting at people.
It was a good tactic to calm Gavin down by a fair bit, and with the rage subsiding, Gavin really couldn't pinpoint exactly what had set him off to begin with. "Look." he took a breath and let it out slowly. "All I'm saying is that there's a whole fucking station of officers outside this office who'd bend over backwards to play nice with this fucking tin can, and I ain't one of them."
"Let me reiterate for you, Reed. There is no one else. Just you. You have two options here: either you do this, or you turn in your badge because I can't afford to have a mouthy little shit walking around thinking that he can undermine my authority whenever he feels like it." With his point made clear, Fowler stared Gavin down for a moment before sitting back in his chair. Again, the action was slow; deliberate. He knew exactly what buttons to push when it came to Gavin, and as expected, Gavin gave in.
There was no way he could hand in his badge, not after all the effort he'd put into this job. Sure, he hated androids, but he wouldn't risk his job because of that hate. Half the time he didn't know why he hated Androids so much to begin with. Yes, his fucking annoying half brother was their creator and Androids just reminded him of Elijah all the fucking time, but this job was all he had. He couldn't honestly afford to lose it. Slowly, Gavin picked up his discarded chair and sat in it, running a hand through his hair with an annoyed sigh.
Fowler turned his attention to the android still standing silently by the doorway, and motioned for Connor to take the vacant seat in the office. The Android moved as he was told to, and only once he was seated did Chief Fowler continue speaking.
"Pay close attention, Detective Reed. You are the last person in this precinct that I would assign this task to, but as I've said, I have no other choice because we're understaffed and overworked. You'll be working with Connor when he needs you, and working your own cases when he doesn't." Gavin opened his mouth to protest but Fowler held up his hand to keep him quiet. "Listen to me. This is a very diplomatically sensitive assignment, therefore you will be on your best behaviour, do you understand? If I hear anything about you that isn't a positively glowing review, I'll throw you out onto the street myself."
It was complete bullshit. It was a terrible idea. Fowler had even said so himself. Diplomatic? Him? That was hard enough but actually working with Connor was going to kill him. Not just because he couldn't seem to hold his tongue when the android was around, but because of... Other things. Gavin closed his eyes, rubbing the bridge of his nose and the scar there for a second, trying to get his thoughts in order before he lost his job. Fuck. He really had no choice. "Yesir."
"Good! I shouldn't need to tell you this, but when you're working with him, you will defer to Connor as your leading Officer. Clear?"
"Crystal." Gavin ground out a reply, trying his best not to say more than was necessary because the words wouldn't be nice ones. His heart was beating so hard against his chest and he couldn't decide if it was because he was seriously very upset right now, or if it was because he was anticipating the sheer amount of time he'd have to spend with Connor. He didn't even know what they were assigned to do but he knew it was going to be bad, because he knew himself. If anyone was going to fuck up it was Gavin because that's what he did.
Gavin was panicking.
He liked Connor. Despite what he said and did, he liked the android a lot, and he'd rather cut his fingers off one by one than admit that he had a fucking hard on for one of Kamski's little prototype creations. It wasn't just that Connor was perfect - because he was; 'Designed to be the perfect imitation of humankind' and all that. It was true, at least for Gavin. It wasn't just appearance though. Gavin watched, out of curiosity at first, then fascination. He always found himself paying attention when Hank and Connor were in the station, and watching Connor, watching his LED flicker blue, yellow and red depending on the situation. The fucking shift from obedient machine to deviant android had been something amazing to watch. Hiding his fascination was fucking impossible on a good day and Gavin was more afraid of someone finding out about his little crush than he was about someone thinking he was a fucking prick. It was easier to push people away than it was to let them in.
"Good. Connor, debrief your new partner. Now get out of my office, both of you."
Fowler waved to dismiss them both and Gavin was out of his chair in seconds, pushing passed the glass door and down the few stairs to the bullpen. He was headed for his desk, and made sure not to make eye contact with anyone on his way there, though it seemed like his peers had already gotten the memo that he was pissed. Gavin could hear Connor following him, and it took a lot of restraint to keep himself from turning around and yelling at the Android.
"Detective Reed your heart rate-"
"Stop fucking scanning me!" That restraint was now gone and Gavin whirled around, one finger pointed in the androids face, inches from his nose. Threatening. "Listen here you overcomplicated toaster oven. We are not partners. We are not friends. I'm working with you because I can't afford to lose my job. Don't fucking scan me, or whatever it is you do. Dont talk to me unless you have to. Don't even fucking look at me. Got it?" He was making a scene, everyone in the precinct had stopped what they were doing to watch the argument unfold, and Gavin delivered an a-list performance. When Connor didn't respond right away, Gavin growled "I fucking asked you a question."
"Yes." Connors LED flickered red for a long moment before cycling back to a solid, cautious yellow, though his face remained agonizingly neutral. "I understand, Detective." Connor was, if anything a patient saint for putting up with half of the bullshit Gavin threw his way, and now was no different. The android stood there, with one of Gavin's fingers in his face, and he didn't flinch away. Instead he complied without question to Gavin's ludicrous demands and it made Gavin hate himself a little more for being such a fucking asshole to someone who did not for a second deserves any of this.
As per most of his conversations with Connor, this one left a bad taste in his mouth, worse than normal. Gavin dropped into the chair at his desk and stared at his work station, absolutely furious. What the fuck was wrong with him? Why couldn't he be a normal human being with normal human emotions and not blow a fucking gasket every time someone looked at him? Especially when it was someone he legitimately liked. Why was he such a fucking mess? Connor was just doing his job. It wasn't as if he'd asked to work with Gavin - who in their right mind would want that? He knew that Connor had about as much choice as he had, and Gavin had consciously decided to make the androids life a little more difficult by being a dramatic little princess. Fuck.
Gavin could feel Hank from across the room glaring white hot daggers in his direction because of the whole display that had just happened. He didn't blame the guy for being protective with Connor, who wouldn't be? Connor made friends whereas Gavin made enemies.
He knew that Connor hadn't moved an inch from where he stood next to Gavin's desk, too. Could feel him standing there waiting. It was as if Connor was giving him a few minutes to compose himself; to get his thoughts in order; to calm down. Finally, after seemingly hours of staring at the blank terminal on his desk ( it was really only a few agonizing minutes ), Gavin swiveled his chair around so he could actually acknowledged Connors presence beside him.
"What is it?" That was neutral, wasn't it? He hadn't yelled, swore or otherwise done anything overly aggressive with that statement. It was straight to the point, and conveyed obvious annoyance. Why was he like this?
"Detective, I understand that this new partnership will likely take a bit of time for you to get used to, but unfortunately time is not a luxury at the moment and I need you to come with me." Why was Connor even concerned about how Gavin would adjust to this new assignment? It wasn't like Gavin had given him a reason to consider his feelings or anything.
"I told you, we're not fucking partners, dipshit."
"Whatever you want to call it then, but that doesn't change the fact that we need to go. Preferably now." the androids LED cycled to red again for a second before he added "Please."
Taking a breath to try and calm himself and the myriad of complicated emotions swelling up inside of him, all of which Gavin couldn't hope to decipher and understand, Gavin glanced up at Connor. The Androids LED was a solid yellow again and Gavin realized for the first time that Connor still had the LED whereas most androids had gotten rid of them, to appear human at a glance. He frowned, because why would he keep it? It wasn't a question he was willing to ask though, especially not after he'd just finished having a glorified tantrum, so he did as he was told instead and stood up, grabbing his jacket off the back of his chair before he started walking towards the precinct doors.
"What's so important that we're on a time limit?" Gavin just assumed that Connor was following him, and he didn't have to look back to tell that the android was practically on his heels.
"Markus is busy and I would feel better if we integrated into his inner circle as soon as possible. I-" Gavin stopped walking so suddenly that Connor actually bumped into his back mid sentence, having not anticipated the sudden stop. They hadn't even made it outside yet.
Markus. Gavin knew that name, he remembered hearing it a lot before shit hit the fan. That was the android messiah, wasn't it? The one who started the Deviant Rebellion. It had to be the same one. His inner circle? Integrate? Why. Why would he have to get involved in the inner circle of the android leader.
"Detective Reed what's wrong?" Connor sounded concerned, which was weird to hear because Gavin hadn't given him any reason to ever feel concerned for him. If anything, Connor should be annoyed or something. Not concerned.
"What the fuck is this job."
Silence. Connor was actually hesitating. Hesitating! Gavin wasn't stupid though, he'd been promoted to Detective for a reason. So when Connor hesitated, probably trying to choose his words carefully so they earned the best reaction, Gavin put it all together. Diplomatic mission. Worst for the job. It wasn't because Gavin would be working with Connor that made him the worst person for this job, it was because he'd be working with a lot of fucking androids outside of Connor. Important androids. And everyone would be watching.
Gavin grit his teeth, fist clenching at his side. He had half a mind to storm back into Fowler's office and throw his badge at the old man's thick head. What the fuck was Fowler thinking putting him on a diplomatic case? Why was the DPD even handling something like this? Shouldn't the FBI be the ones doing this? Where the fuck was Perkins and his team now that they actually needed them? For fucks sake what was he going to do.
"By your subtle physical reactions, I would be correct in assuming that you've figured it out, Detective, and are obviously not happy with it." Connor sounded confident in his appraisal of the Detective, but also slightly worried. Who could blame him? He was partnered up with a complete fucking wreck, on a case that required Gavin to be everything that he wasn't. Gavin had a hard enough time looking at Connor without falling apart for like a hundred different reasons. How was he supposed to work like this, surrounded by every android ever created, who could all scan his vitals and would probably all know in a second why he was such a fucking asshole.
Gavin was not happy.
Gavin was panicking.
Gavin was fucked.
Chapter 4: Panic is never a solution
Ensue a terrible reaction to the reality of his situation.
Warning for slight panic attack, I guess.
Another huge thank you to Unacceptable-Bisexual for editing this for me and just all around being a sweetheart and listening to all my crazy ideas and telling me to keep going!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Pushing open the door with his shoulder, Gavin took the stairs two at a time, one hand scratching through his hair, trying to steady his breathing. He wasn't - he was the wrong person for this job. Fowler had to know that. He did know that, but he'd agreed and assigned Gavin anyway. What the fuck was wrong with him? Was he doing this on purpose? Gavin could hear Connors boots in the snow, following him, but the Android was giving him a bit of space right now, thank Christ. He needed it badly while he tried to wrap his head around the clusterfuck his life had suddenly turned into.
"I don't understand the question." Connor remained a few paces away but close enough that when Gavin looked back at him, he could still see his LED cycle red for a split second before returning to the cautious yellow it seemed stuck on since they'd left Fowler's office.
Gavin pinched the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes for a minute, trying to steady his breathing. He was getting a headache right behind his eyes. "Why the fuck are we assigned to - to bodyguard Android Jesus. He fought a fucking rebellion against the police and the army, /at the same fucking time/ and he fucking won. He /won/! Why the hell am I going to be his fucking bodyguard?" He was so angry at this entire situation. It was designed to make him fail. Fowler was trying to get him to quit. Gavin couldn't fucking breath.
"Detective Reed." Connor. Patient, perfect Connor frowned when Gavin looked at him, as if he understood every little thought going through the Detectives head right now. Like he understood how hard this was for Gavin. Connor took a cautious step forward. "You need to calm down." there was sympathy in his voice, sympathy that Gavin didn't deserve, or want and it was making this whole fucking fiasco worse.
Before Gavin could react to the movement, Connor had Gavin by the shoulder and had steered him towards one of the unmarked patrol cars sitting vacant in the parking lot nearby. Gavin didn't protest, because he felt absolutely numb at the moment, like his limbs weren't his own and moving wasn't something he could do on his own. What the fuck was he going to do? Fuck. Fuck, fuck. He couldn't be surrounded by hundreds of androids. He couldn't do it. That was too much to ask of him. God, just thinking about it made his blood boil and chill all at the same time. He hated androids for a God damn reason and putting him in a room with hundreds of them was a /bad fucking idea/ He couldn't fucking breathe.
Gavin hadn't even noticed that he was sitting down now, in one of the patrol cars. Connors voice pulled him just far enough out of his internal spiral to realize where he was. Connor had moved him out of sight and was kneeling in front of him, watching, LED a bright red, and he looked concerned. "You need to concentrate on your breathing, Detective."
He did. One breath followed by another. Gavin stared into the Androids brown eyes and focused on what he was doing. God Damnit. What was he even doing? Connor must have noticed as soon as Gavin was no longer in a distressed state, because his LED cycled back to blue for the first time in a while and he smiled, and it was so fucking pretty and pure and Gavin couldn't handle it. Especially because it was directed at him and what had he ever done to deserve that?
Finally able to breath on his own again, Gavin grabbed a fist full of the front of Connors shirt and pulled him in close. "Don't fucking touch me again." he growled, shoving the Android away from him before slamming the car door closed.
He had a total of maybe 30 seconds to get his shit together, or lose it in peace, before Connor got into the car too, and it was definitely not enough time for a wreck like Gavin Reed to pull himself together, but he tried. Why the fuck did he have to do things like that? It wasn't as if being a fraction nicer to Connor would cause people to sudden be aware of the inappropriate dreams Gavin tended to have about the android, or the way his heart skipped every time Connor looked at him without provocation, yet he couldn't muster up the courage to not be such a rotten pick as he had just demonstrated. Connor had actually prevented him from going into a full-blown panic and what had Gavin done as a thank you? He'd responded with aggression and a threat. God fucking Damnit.
Leaning back against the leather seat, Gavin ran both hands over his face and back through his hair, silently screaming at himself for being such a fucking mess. He could tell himself to be nicer, to be less of an asshole, but in the end, he couldn't stop himself from panicking every single time he was within ten feet of Connor and inadvertently saying, or doing, something stupid. That was essentially the way Gavin's entire life flowed. When in doubt, become aggressive and Gavin was in doubt a lot.
The driver’s side door opened slowly, and Connor quietly got into the car, his LED in plain view for Gavin to see, and it was a cautious yellow again like before, and it didn't look as if it was going to cycle back to a serene blue any time soon. That hurt a lot to see, because he'd done that. He was the cause. Gavin wanted to apologize, to say something nice. He wanted to not make Connor miserable so badly it actually hurt but when he tried, nothing came out. No words.
It was a shame his mouth and his emotions did not communicate properly.
"Now tell me what the fuck we're doing." He stared ahead, not bothering to look at the android next to him because he couldn't bear to see just how distressed Connor was. This situation was not ideal for the android, either. Considering all that Gavin knew about this case, having Gavin as a partner would be counterproductive if anything. He was going to royally fuck up, and it was just a matter of time. A countdown.
Again, Connor hesitated, like he was choosing his words very carefully so as not to set Gavin off again. "Protective detail. Markus believes that it will help public image if there are humans mixed in with the androids. A way to show that we can work side by side towards a common goal." and like he was reading Gavin's mind, he added "It's less for Markus, and more to protect the public. There are hundreds of Androids who come to listen to Markus speak and he's worried about their safety, not his own."
"What a fucking Saint." Gavin snorted, leaning against the door with his arms crossed. "So where are we going right now? You said it was important or something."
"Yes... Markus will want to meet you. He was very keen to work with the Detroit Police rather than any of the organizations higher up, specifically because I work here. He is content with my work so far and has said that he'd like to keep things as uncomplicated as possible."
That made some sense. It explained why the FBI wasn't involved, anyways. It also made Gavin incredibly nervous. Meet the Android Messiah face to face? That was something he'd rather have avoided altogether. But, what Connor just said caught his attention. A question he'd had for a while now. "So what, this is what you've been doing the last few months? Playing bodyguard with your android pals?"
"Yes. Sort of." Gavin saw Connors LED shifted to red for a moment before slowly cycling back to yellow out of the corner of his eye, and silently wished he could say something nice to make that light turn blue again. Connor continued to speak, unaware of the Detectives unspoken wish. "There are a lot of humans who would wish harm upon the Androids who only want to hear Markus' message of unity and cooperation. Even more who would act on that wish. Not all Androids can protect themselves. I just make sure they're safe."
If he could curl into himself anymore, Gavin would have. It was physically impossible though, so he settled for glaring at the front car window. Connor had been protecting his people from people like Gavin, who wouldn't hesitate to put down an android if it suited their whim. Gavin had demonstrated his lack of empathy for the androids over and over again and now Connor was forced to actually work with him, to introduce him to his leader as someone who would protect their people. That had to be a shitty feeling. Did Connor trust him to do his job? "You make Markus sound like a fucking messiah. Preaching the word of the Android God."
Connor shook his head, and it was a surprise to see that his LED actually flickered to blue. "Nothing of the sort. Markus is just trying to remind us all of our rights, because some of us don't quite understand what we are yet. Not all deviants are made equally. Some accept their... Deviant state more easily than others."
"Oh yeah?" that was interesting. "What about you. How quick did you catch on?"
"Aah..." Connor made a sound - something Gavin hadn't heard him make, ever. Like a groan and a grunt, but /frustrated/. It was the most fucking adorable sound he'd heard Connor make and Gavin very nearly opened the car door so he could escape before he caught himself wanting more. "I've... Adapted... Poorly, or so I've been told."
The little hairs on the back of Gavin's neck prickled and he sat up a little straighter, actually looking at Connor for longer than a split second. "Who the fuck said that?" Who the fuck had the audacity to tell Connor that he wasn't a good deviant android? Gavin would fucking fight them right now if he could.
There was a stretch of silence, and Connor glanced his way for a moment before looking ahead at the road. "Why?"
"Because I want to give them a gold fucking star, that's why, dipshit." Maybe he should have just evacuated the car earlier, it would have hurt less to roll out of the passenger’s side door and into the snow on the side of the road. "I mean, you've still got that stupid LED flashing on your head. I thought all Androids got rid of them when they went deviant? What are you still doing with it?"
Connor touched the LED as it cycled red for a second, shifting back to yellow just as quickly and Gavin felt like shit for even mentioning it. It was like, Connor himself didn't know how to react to what Gavin had just said. He looked confused, annoyed - a mix of both and Gavin hadn't ever seen that much human emotion on Connor's face before. It made his heart kick into high gear, hammering against his chest. Honestly, he didn't understand how something so perfect could look so confused.
"It’s complicated, huh?" Gavin mumbled, finally able to look at something other than Connor. For a moment, Gavin got it. For one single moment he understood Connor better than Connor understood himself, because Gavin dealt with a confusing mix of emotion on a daily basis. "Welcome to being human. There isn't a textbook that'll explain all the emotions you're stuck feeling so get used to being confused."
The car was quiet for a bit, Gavin watching the scenery outside the tinted windows as they zipped through the city headed to God knew where. To where ever Markus was, he could only assume.
"Do emotions... Confuse you very often, Detective Reed?"
"All the fucking time."
If you thought I knew what I was doing with this fic then you were wrong.
Chapter 5: Jericho
Diplomatic talks with Jericho. This sounds fun.
More thanks to Unacceptable-Bisexual for being the best editor and reader ever and making sure this makes sense, for listening to my rambles and just being all around amazing.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Gavin wasn't sure exactly what he expected when the car pulled up to the building, but it definitely wasn't the three-story office building that they were at. Maybe something more along the lines of the run down rusted over freighter that Jericho had been before, but not this. Guess the androids had gotten an upgrade.
Pulling himself out of the car, the air was still crisp but not as cold as it had been when they'd left the station. The building itself was well kept, being in a more rural business section of Detroit. It was busy here, people on the streets and cars driving down the roads. The sidewalks were pretty well manicured, though lacking in greenery thanks to it being late February. The tallest building in the area was only about 5 floors high if Gavin was any good at guessing, and he was. It was a good neighbourhood, nothing like the ones he was used to.
Connor stood patiently by the sidewalk, waiting for Gavin to follow him up the steps to the door and only after an annoyed eye roll did the Detective follow after him. Gavin wasn't used to following any more, and he definitely didn't like it.
Gavin tilted his head to the side a little as he walked. Maybe following behind Connor wasn't such a bad thing. It was usually, probably always, Gavin that left first when he was dealing with the android and watching the RK800 walk up the steps to the build right now... Yeah okay. Let's not ogle ass while he was working, nice or not. Jesus H. Christ. Gavin scratched a hand back through his hair, huffing out a frustrated breath. The last thing he needed was to give these fucking androids anything extra to analyze, and if he spent the entire time staring at Connor, they'd have a whole fucking trilogy to read.
They got to the door and Connor held it open for him, which earned an annoyed grunt before Gavin shoved him through the open door by the shoulder. He was not going to accept some weird Android chivalry. Not today. "Hurry it up, I ain't got all fucking day you know."
Connor took every insult, push and shove and pretended as if they never happened. Like before. It was the same kind of reactions that Connor had when he'd first gotten to the precinct. When Gavin had bullied him back then, Connor never reacted, because he hadn't been programmed to. At least, that's how Gavin understood it. He wasn't very smart when it came to androids - that was Elijah's thing, but he understood habits. Connor was a hundred percent capable of defending himself, proven when he'd knocked Gavin on his ass in the Archives all those months ago. That had been, what, day one as a deviant? So why was Connor letting Gavin push him around now?
Gavin hadn't even realized that he'd stopped walking long enough that Connor had taken notice and had time to turn around and regard him with a curious, maybe concerned look. The android’s LED was back to blue, but flicking to yellow every few seconds, though Gavin didn't really know why.
"Fuck off. Are we there yet?" Gavin pushed forwards, shoving passed the android and making his own way down the hall, eyeing the doors as he walked past them to see if any of the offices were labeled anything that was befitting Markus and his rebel androids. He got to the end of the hallway, and an elevator. It had to be somewhere upstairs because he hadn't found the right door yet. Great detective skills right here. "Where are we going?" Gavin pushed the button to call the elevator, not bothering to make sure if Connor was ready or not. He could feel the android behind him but didn't bother looking.
"Markus has his office on the third floor."
The elevator chimed, and the glass doors slid open. Gavin stepped inside with Connor on his heels, jabbing a finger at the third-floor button and waiting impatiently for the doors to close. Connor stood silently beside him, both his hands clasped in front of him as he waited. The android’s LED was back to blue, and some part of Gavin was glad for it.
"Can I ask a favour, Detective Reed?"
"Oh, here we go."
Connor hesitated. Gavin was getting really good at making him do that. "I just... I think it would be wise to tone down your aggressive tendencies while we're here."
"Oh yeah? Why? Your pals might get upset?"
"Some, yes." Connor kept his eyes on the elevator door and didn't look at Gavin, even though Gavin was looking at him. "It wouldn't be very prudent to agitate them. We're here to help, please remember that."
The elevator came to a quick stop, doors sliding open after the chime and Connor stepped out first, leading the way down the carpeted hallway like he had a purpose. Gavin followed, hands in the front pockets of his jeans, and falling behind, clearly not in a rush to get to the double doors at the end of the hall. There was someone standing by the big doors, probably an android keeping watch and Connor spoke quietly to him. They both glanced back at Gavin as he finally caught up to them but otherwise didn't say anything to him at all. Fucking rude.
Connor pushed open one of the two doors and made his way inside, Gavin following a few paces behind. The office was big and nice, the furniture was modern, clean, and the room itself was bright, with big windows looking out onto the street, the curtains tied open. There wasn't anyone besides them in the main room, but there were a few doors that probably lead farther into the office. Whoever they were going to meet was probably in there. Gavin was kind of annoyed that they'd come all the way here only to have to wait for an audience, like Markus was fucking royalty. He stood in a corner of the room, arms crossed while he studied the walls, and incidentally a giant blue painting that took up most of one wall. Gavin wasn't into the art scene, but it was a decent painting of a face, in some weird style some people probably liked a lot, as far as he could tell anyway. The scribbled signature at the bottom corner of the piece read 'Manfred' but he had no idea who that was supposed to be. Gavin hadn't even known that androids could actually appreciate art, or was this an attempt to look human?
One of the side doors opened loudly and Gavin turned around, eyeing the four androids who came into the main room where he and Connor stood. He knew Markus on sight, his photo had been distributed among the precinct during the rebellion, but Gavin wasn't sure about the other three. Probably the inner circle Connor had mentioned, if he were to hazard a guess.
"Connor. It's good to see you again."
Markus went straight for Connor like they were friends, clapping him on the shoulder with one hand and holding on a little too long and Gavin found himself standing up a little straighter, still standing off to the side and completely ignored for the moment. Almost, anyway. He caught the girl looking him over from where she stood. Whatever she was thinking, her face didn't give her thoughts away. Fucking androids.
"Markus," Connor was smiling, Gavin could hear it in his voice and he didn't like it. He bit his tongue to keep himself from saying anything snarky and let Connor lead the conversation only because he remembered exactly what Fowler had told him about getting anything but a 'positively glowing review'. The only way that was going to happen was if Gavin just didn't open his mouth. Fucking Markus. What was that? Heterochromia? What a useless characteristic to give an android. Stupid Kamski would make a coffee maker pretty if he had the chance.
Gavin huffed, loudly, without meaning to and all the attention in the room turned to him and suddenly he was nervous. "What?" Why was everyone looking at him? Connor actually looked anxious, which in turn made Gavin even more nervous because he didn't know why Connor was nervous. "Fuck, I haven’t even done anything yet and you're already looking at me like I fucked up." Honestly, he really needed to get that brain to mouth filter that everyone else seemed to have.
Markus frowned, actually fucking made a sour face at him before looking back at the rest of his android friends, like they were sharing a fucking inside joke with each other. "Connor, I thought you would be bringing Lieutenant Anderson with you." Markus regarded Gavin again cautiously before focusing on Connor, mild concern in his voice. "Did something happen?"
"Oh, no, everything is alright. The Lieutenant is already assigned a high priority case and he couldn't be pulled from it. Detective Reed is here in his stead. Everything will work out fine, so don't worry."
The woman snorted, watching Gavin from her place against the far wall. "I've heard of this one... I'm surprised the Police Chief let you out of his sights, Detective-" It sounded like she was mocking him "-You don't really like androids, do you?"
"North, stop." Markus sounded firm, but Gavin didn't need his help dealing with an uppity bitch.
Through sheer force of will, he managed to leave the 'Fuck You' that he desperately wanted to say, unsaid. "Whatever personal opinions I have aren't going to effect my ability to do my job so don't worry about me, Princess."
The blond android standing near her snarked unexpectedly, then tried to cough to hide the fact that he was trying very hard not to laugh outright at the pet name. North, the lady android, glared at Gavin and slapped her blond friend on the arm to shut him up. Well, that felt like a victory for him. Gavin 1, North 0.
Markus just shook his head and motioned to the couches so that everyone could take a seat. Connor hesitated, watching Gavin, waiting, though Gavin didn't know what he was waiting for. Markus and his crew all took seats, leaving Connor and Gavin a couch to themselves.
The introductions were brief, but Gavin filed the names away for later anyways, even if he didn't really give two shits who these androids were, it was a good idea to know who not to shoot. There was Markus, obviously, then North, Simon the blond and Josh. Josh was the only one sitting by himself in a chair, leaving the other three on a couch of their own. Gavin made sure there was half a couch length between him and Connor and it might have looked awkward, but he was uncomfortable otherwise and honestly fuck what these androids thought.
Markus went over the basics for his next appearance; talks with some Cyberlife higher up's and Gavin frowned. He had a bad feeling about this. But not like... 'People are going to die' kind of bad feeling, more like 'I'm going to regret going' kind of bad feeling. This sounded like the perfect stage for Elijah Kamski to parade around on... "Do you know who you're meeting with?" He had to ask.
"No. Just some representatives from Cyberlife. What I'm more concerned with is the crowd that's going to gather. The building itself is big, but it's also open to the public and I'm worried someone will come in with the intent to harm."
"That's were you two come in." Josh leaned forward and regarded both Connor and Gavin, and spent a little extra time watching Gavin before he continued. "You'll have to blend in with everyone and keep an eye on anyone suspicious without making a scene. If things get too intense, then we'll have to call off the meeting and get everyone out safely."
Connor nodded, but Gavin wasn't at all convinced by this plan. It was stupid, that's what it was. "What, just me and Mr. I’ve-Been-A-Police-Officer-for-Ten-Minutes?"
"Detective Reed." Connor sounded annoyed.
"Fuck you, don't 'Detective Reed' me. Listen to me. Crowd control is usually an entire unit of trained professionals, that's at least 7 people, plus S.W.A.T for backup. That's a lot of people equipped for potential rioting and anything else that might happen. That's lethal and non-lethal weapons, security armor... You can't expect just the two of us to keep an entire fucking crowd of people from going crazy on the off chance something happens. That's practically suicide. Android or not, we're still only two people." Gavin actually looked at Connor, because he needed backup on this and Connor was all he had. The Android had to have some kind of police programming in that thick head of his that could tell him that Gavin was right. Thankfully, Connor looked thoughtful. Thank Christ.
Connor looked up at Markus and shrugged. "The Detective does have a point. It'll be an extremely difficult operation for the two of us alone, and the Detroit PD is spread thin as it is."
"Its not our people we're worried about. It's a human coming in wanting to hurt us. If you can keep an eye out for someone suspicious coming in, everything should be fine." North frowned, glancing at Simon to her right as he nodded in agreement with her, her hand slid down his leg and held onto his knee, and the blond android was quick to cover her hand with his.
Gavin shifted his attention quickly between the two of them, to the knee touching, then between the two of them again. What was this.
"North's right." Simon sighed. "The Androids are coming to show their support for what we're trying to build for them. We've already shown the world that we don't intend to harm anyone, and that won't change, but it makes us vulnerable at the same time. We'd have a bigger security detail if we could but... That would imply that we aren't confident that humans can be peaceful."
Gavin snorted, leaning back against the couch, crossing his arms over his chest. He was getting uncomfortable all over again. Was it the touching? "You're not confident in us though."
"No. We're not." North stared at him, and Gavin looked away almost immediately because... Well... Because she had a point. /He/ was her point. Not to mention she was making him really fucking uncomfortable right now with all of that hand holding bullshit. Why did they have to do that?
"Look." Markus shifted on the couch beside North, leaning forward a bit and stared at the coffee table. "We've gone over everything that we can do to make sure it stays a safe place with the limited people we have. Josh and Simon will be there with you two to help while North and I meet with the Cyberlife executives. It shouldn't be long."
Gavin rubbed a hand over his face and actually groaned, head leaning back against the couch. This was going to be a shit show he could already tell. Goodbye career. He couldn't stop himself from mumbling "Trust me it'll be a long fucking meeting." Especially if it was Elijah fucking Kamski they were going to be meeting with. Once he got talking, and God forbid he was actually interested in something, you couldn't get him to stop. Gavin knew for a fact that most of his public appearances were scripted to keep him on track and Markus was probably the equivalent of a fine piece of steak to Kamski right now.
"Do you know something?" Josh asked the question, but all five androids stared at him.
"No. Just a hunch." let them find out about Kamski on their own.
Gavin caught the look Markus gave Connor before standing up, and once Markus was up, everyone started following suit. Gavin pulled himself off the couch as Connor and Markus shook hands and Gavin couldn't help but roll his eyes.
Markus, apparently finished with Connor, turned his attention to him. "Thank you for being here. I know our agenda doesn't align with your personal feelings, but you being here at all is a step in the right direction. So thank you. Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to work together more often."
"Right." he didn't need Markus playing the holier than thou card. They didn't trust him and were acting nice to his face to pacify him until they could find a replacement. Whatever, he got it. "C'mon Connor let's fucking get a move on I need to do some research on how to survive this fiasco."
Thanks for reading everyone! Please remember to kudos and comment! I love hearing from y'all :3
I appreciate everyone who's stuck with this so far!
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Chapter 6: A Better Home
Connor POV finally. This is what happens when androids walk home alone, without supervision.
Y'all asked for it.
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"I'll be fine, Lieutenant."
Hank glared at him when Connor used his title rather than his name but Connor didn't budge. Hank was worried about him, and he appreciated it alot. The Lieutenant had changed his mind about Androids so much over the last little while, and Connor liked it when the old man worried. It made him feel good. But right now was not the appropriate time to worry because it was about something silly like walking home by himself. He wasn't a child; Connor had a multitude of self defence programs installed. Hadn't he already proven that he was completely capable of defending himself?
Apparently not in Hanks eyes.
"All I'm saying is that's its a fucking crazy world out there right now and I can just wait-"
"-Hank. Please go home. I can walk, or take the bus when I'm finished here. Hundreds of androids do these simple tasks every day and no one dies. Human children can do these tasks and survive. I'm Cyberlifes most advanced prototype, I'll be fine."
There was absolutely no way that Hank would win this argument, because even he had to know that it was silly. Eventually, he did give in with a growl, shaking his head. "Fine. But you'd better be home before 8 or I'll be really fucking pissed off, worrying my ass off. Got it?"
Connor couldn't help but smile, even though he though Hank giving him a rediculous curfew was completely absurd and uncalled for. He wasn't going to argue about it however, because he'd be home well before that anyways. There was a human saying Connor liked to remember when he was dealing with Hank... 'Pick your battles' and this was not one worth going to war over. "Yes. I got it. I'll see you after I'm finished here. Drive safe, Hank."
The Lieutenant shook his head, as if he couldn't believe that he was giving in, but he left, leaving Connor mostly alone in the precinct. There were a few officers around, the ones who had been scheduled for the night shift as well as a cleaning crew, but otherwise it was just Connor in the bullpen. Detective Reed had left soon after they'd gotten back to the station after their meeting with Markus and the rest of Jericho, while most of the other officers had started to trickle out around the 5 o'clock mark. It was 6pm now, and with Hank not breathing over his shoulder curiously, Connor could actually do some work.
It was strange, to be distracted. When he'd been a machine, he hadn't had the problem because he had a Mission and that's all that mattered. As a deviant, he cared. Hank watching his every move made him second guess himself, which was strange because really, he had no reason to. He also found himself wondering what the Lieutenant thought. It was distracting and Connor was finding that he did not like being distracted.
Alone now, it didn't take him long to find the blueprints for the Waterview Loft, the location Cyberlife had chosen for their talks. It was in poor taste, at least Connor thought so. A dock side event center? It was almost as though they were trying to remind them of what happened with the Jericho freighter only a few months ago. Frowning, Connor tried to push those thoughts aside so he could concentrate on the matter at hand. He had the floor plans, and with them he could plan the entire event, the ifs, and everything in between. Tomorrow he could show Detective Reed and see what his opinion on the matter was, maybe head to the event center in person to look it over.
Connor's LED cycled yellow for a moment, the thought of consulting with Gavin Reed not sitting well with him. He was programmed to handle and adapt to the complex range of emotions that humans had, but the Detective was proving to be more chaotic than Connor was used to and he was having a hard time... Keeping up with him. Reed's outright hate for Connor was turning out to be quite problematic. If he'd had a choice in the matter Connor wouldn't have chosen him for this mission. Gavin had been right when he'd told Chief Fowler that anyone else would have been better.
Still. Despite the harsh words and rough treatment, the Detective hadn't pulled a gun on him yet, as he'd been so prone to do before the rebellion. He should be thankful for the little things, Connor supposed. There was also the fact that the Detective had proven quite factual during their meeting with Jericho. It had surprised Connor a little becuase he hadn't expected Gavin to be forthright with any information.
Aaaand he was getting distracted again.
With a sigh, Connor shook his head, an action he'd seen many humans do to clear their minds, and he started again, locating all of the information he'd need and compiling it accordingly for easy access. He'd have to share the information with Detective Reed, and if it wasn't sorted properly, he might get upset.
It only took an extra hour to do what he needed to do, meaning Connor had just over an hour to get back home before Hank got upset and started calling him. He'd already gotten a few text messages from the Lieutenant and Connor was way too happy that Hank was checking up on him to really be bothered by it. It felt really good to have a family who worried about you.
The night was clear and crisp when Connor left the precinct to start his walk home, but not very cold by human standards. He'd never really gotten many opportunities to enjoy Detroit outside of missions and tasks and chasing deviants, and walking Sumo, so taking a moment to actually see the city with no ulterior motives besides getting home... It was nice. Even at night the city was bright and bustling with all kinds of life. People moved around the streets, both human and android though you could barely tell anymore who was who. Creatures of all kinds busy leading their own little lives. Birds in the trees, squirrels in the parks he walked by. It was a very fascinating.
Connor only paused his steps when his path was suddenly obstructed. He'd seen animals here and there, but none had come near him until now. In front of him sat a big grey cat, a maine coon of his scans were correct. It's yellow eyes regarded him through the darkness almost curiously. Connor had seen stray cats before on his walks with Sumo, and the big dog usually barked at them, scaring them away. This one did not appear to be a stray; it was too well kept and well fed, and it wasn't afraid of him. Curious.
Kneeling, Connor held out his hand as he had seen some humans do to attract animals and to his surprise, the cat moved, getting up off the wet ground and stepping towards him, his big fluffy head pushing up against Connors outstretched hand and the android couldn't help but smile. He'd never pet a cat before - he was softer than Sumo was, with a longer, fluffier tail that stood tall. The cat rumbled, and it took a second for Connor to realize that it was purring. Very loudly.
It felt like his Thirium pump regulator had stopped working for a second, though a quick scan confirmed that all his systems were working as they should. Connor felt... He felt extremely happy, petting this cat, running his hand over its large head and scratching at his fluffy cheeks. It was very similar to the feeling he got when he was hugging Sumo on the couch when Hank was busy watching television. Would all types of animals make him feel like this? He'd only been exposed to four animals since he'd been activated. The fish he'd saved on his first assignment to stop the deviant Daniel, the pigeons in Rupert's apartment, Sumo, and now this cat. The first two hadn't made him feel this happy, and Sumo always made him feel happy.
There had to be someone out there who'd lost this beautiful cat, because he was far too friendly to be wild, pushing his head up against Connors hand the way he was. How long had he been outside, cold and alone, looking for his home. Connors LED cycled red and stayed there. What should he do. Should he call Hank? But Hank wouldn't want anything to do with the cat because Hank didn't like cats, he'd said so one night while walking Sumo with Connor. He couldn't leave the cat outside though. What if something happened? What if the cat never found his home again?
Running his hand over the cats back and neck, Connor felt the side of a collar that had been hidden in the cats massive amount of fur. Sure enough, it was a collar, with a tag. "Oh good." he sighed. With an address, Connor could return the animal to its home.
One side of the tag had the cats name. "Gilbert." Connor repeated the name and the cat responded in turn by meowing at him, yellow eyes looking up, watching him. It was definitely the cats name but... "That's a very strange name for a cat, isn't it?" Connor had expected something like Fluffy, or Smokey... Then again, Hank had a St. Bernard named Sumo, so who was he to judge?
Scratching the cat on the chin, he flipped the tag over and frowned. Instead of an address, like any smart human being would put on their beloved pets tag, it had the words 'Bitch I ain't lost.' engraved.
The cat meowed, rubbing his head against Connors hand in an attempt to get more pets out of him and Connor complied, though obviously upset as he stroked the cats back, his LED cycling red, yellow, red. How was he going to find this poor animals owner if there wasn't an address?
Connor hoisted the cat up in his arms suddenly, standing up. If there was no address, then Connor would not return the cat. That was such an irresponsible thing to do, how was this fair to such a wonderful animal? Hank wouldn't approve of a cat, but that was okay. Hank and Sumo would both get used to having such a pretty animal around the house, after all, Gilbert obviously needed a better home and Connor was absolutely okay with giving him one.
The walk home with Gilbert nestled comfortably in his arms was a pleasant one.
Hank sounded upset and Connor refused to look him in the eye. If he did, he would see how annoyed the Lieutenant was, which was terrible because if Hank spent any time at all with this cat he would understand that this was the right thing to do. The two of them had bonded on the walk home and Connor was determined not to let Gilbert out of his sight.
"I couldn't leave him out in the cold, Hank. It's February."
"He has fucking fur."
As much as that was a fact, it had no bearings on whether or not Connor should have left the animal outside. Sumo had fur aswell and Hank wouldn't let the dog stay outside overnight. What was the difference? "Gilbert isn't an outdoor cat. He's too well kept. Look at him, he's meant to be in a home." The cat in question stretched out comfortably in Connor's arms, as though it were a throne.
"Well, 'Gilbert' can go find a fucking home somewhere else. We're not keeping a cat. What kind of name is Gilbert anyway?"
Connor shrugged, still holding the cat in his arms. He wasn't ready to let Gil go, not to mention he was worried about what Sumo would do without a proper introduction to his new brother. "It's the name on his tag. I can't change it." It was growing on him anyway.
"What tag?" Hank took a step forward, reaching out to the cat and Gilbert reacted, swatting at the Lieutenant with a hiss, grey ears laid back flat against his head, an angry growl rumbling from his little chest. "Little bastard! That hurt!" Hank shook out his hand, three thin red scratch marks visible where Gilbert had scratched him.
Connor held the cat closer, worried for him but also for Hank. That scratch could get infected. He didn't know if Gil was up to date on all of his shots yet, either. "Hank." Connor had never sounded more serious about anything in the 5 months since he was first activated. "You can't just touch him. He doesn't know you. You need to introduce yourself."
Hank stared at him, and Connor could tell that he was thinking over his options. The Lieutenant glanced at the St Bernard laying down in the corner of the room, then shook his head with a groan. "You know Sumo will try and eat him, right?" he sounded gruff and unimpressed but that wasn't the case. Connor brightened immediately because that was, if he knew Hank at all, the equivalent to approval.
"I'm quite sure they'll get along very well, once introduced. Thank you, Hank, this means a lot to me."
"Yeah, yeah. Just make sure you feed it."
And Connors night could not have gotten any better than this.
Chapter 7: Business as usual
Just what you'd expect from a day at the office.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The sun had barley started casting a glow across the city and Gavin's phone was buzzing with his alarm in the bedroom. The bed was empty though, it's occupant leaning against the windowsill across the room, half a smoke hanging limp between his lips with the window wide open. He hadn't slept much the night prior due to a combination of things keeping him awake. His cat wasn't home yet and he was legitimatly worried now and calling the pound and walking the neighbourhood hadn't gotten him anywhere. This new assignment Fowler had given him was driving him crazy, too. And the Androids. All of them, specifically Connor, maybe Markus. Okay, definitely Markus.
The little sleep he had gotten during the night had been riddled with dreams, most of which he couldn't really remember, just that they'd made him uncomfortable. Unsettled. He'd woken up very annoyed with Markus at least three times last night. Gavin had no right to /be/ annoyed though especially when it involved Connor, which just made him three times as annoyed as before because fuck reasons. The way Markus could just be so friendly with Connor, like they'd gone through shit together. He knew they /had/, but that was besides the point. They shared the whole going deviant thing, winning over Detroit, blah blah blah. Gavin was sick of hearing about the rebellion but he was right in the thick of it now, what with the whole working with Jericho thing.
Gavin took another long drag of his cigarette before snuffing it out in the little ashtray next to him on the windowsill. Might as well get the day over with. He stood and stretched, hands over his head before making his way into the kitchen, swiping his phone on the way by to shut the alarm off. The timed coffee maker had already brewed a cup off coffee, the window in the living room was still open, and the bowl of cat food on the floor next to the counter was still full. Gil hadn't come back during the night to eat, which made Gavin worry even more because the cat could be a pretty big fatass most of the time.
He added the fixings to his coffee and practically downed the entire cup by the time he'd finished getting dressed and ready for work, and he still felt like shit. That just meant that there was another cup of coffee in his future, probably a lot more actually, maybe mixed with some espresso. After taking a quick look around the apartment one last time just in case he missed something and his cat was just hiding really well (he wasn't), Gavin locked the door and started the quick drive to the precinct.
What met him at the precinct was not a quiet morning at his desk finishing up paperwork on the hit and run case he'd just finished up with. Nah that would have been too nice, especially for a sleep deprived Detective. Instead, Connor was literally standing beside his desk, talking to Chris, and waiting for him. This had to be some kind of stupid Karma for some bullshit he'd done in the past.
"Detective Reed. You are approximately 23 minutes late, considering the average time when you normally arrive. Is something wrong?" Connor frowned as if he was legitimately worried something had happened. "Traffic reports indicate that there is no major conjestion on the roads and -"
"For fucks sake. It's 9 fucking thirty in the morning can you give it a rest?" Gavin pushed passed the android and dropped into his chair with a grunt, rubbing a hand over his forehead before looking up at Connor because he was still standing there like he was waiting for something. "What."
"We have work to do, Detective. I took the liberty of doing some research on the venue last night and I think it would be prudent if we visited the location in person today."
"Of course you did." Why had he thought today would be nice and quiet? Gavin leaned forward, crossing his arms over the top of his desk, and buried his face in them. God, please grant him patience, or whatever, because otherwise he was going to snap and fight something. Inhaling deeply, Gavin sat up straight, nodding. "Alright. Send me the shit, let me look at it, then we can go wherever your little android heart wants." What other choice did he have? He could almost feel Fowler watching him from his office. Waiting for him to fuck up so he could fire him.
Connor seemed happy with how quickly Gavin agreed, and the android almost smiled - the corner of his lips twitched just enough for Gavin to notice and his heart practically stopped at the sight. Instead, he frowned when Connors LED cycled yellow for a second and he did this weird eye twitchy thing that Gavin hadn't seen him do before, and he would have asked about it but his terminal chimed with a received file. Oh right. The file. Sending.
And Connor just stood there. Waiting.
"... Is there a problem, Detective?"
Gavin glanced to the side where Chris was just watching things unfold before him, and not helping at all. The bastard smiled and turned to his desk, and Gavin could hear him trying to keep his laughing quiet. Fucking asshole. On the other side of the precinct, Hank was sitting at his desk completely engrossed in what he was working on, and for once wasn't glaring at Gavin. The only time the old man wasn't paying attention was when Gavin wanted him to be. So, like the adult that Gavin Reed was, he grabbed a pen off his desk and chucked it at Anderson, hitting the Lieutenant in the arm.
"What the fuck-?" Hank was on his feet instantly, and glaring at Gavin now because where else would a flying pen come from? Connor looked confused but still hadn't moved from his spot beside Gavin's desk. "God damnit Reed-"
"Anderson! Can you call off your fucking robot son? I ain't getting shit done with him hovering over me like a lamp."
"You fucking idiot." instead of helping, Hank sat down with a shake of his head, rubbing the arm that had gotten hit with the pen. He wasn't going to help at all by the looks of it.
"Yeah." Gavin sighed.
"You can just ask me to leave."
He could, but every time he thought about actually asking Connor to excuse himself from Gavin's presence, he couldn't actually do it. Connor was being annoying and Gavin hated it, but for once, the android was looking at him and not the other way around and something deep inside him, buried under years of repressed emotions, he kind of liked it. Even if the android just wanted him to do his work. It was very conflicting to be both fucking irritated and kind of pleased all at the same time.
Gavin sighed again and turned to his terminal, opening the file that Connor had sent to him, and scrolling through the digital blueprints of the Waterview Loft "Alright, Robocop. Let's get this over with. This is the main entrance right?" Gavin tapped his terminal with a finger, pointing out the specific part of the venue layout it had displayed.
"Yes." Connor seemed to brighten up a little bit now that Gavin was working with him willingly, he had a bit more pep in the way he spoke, though Gavin wasn't sure if anyone else would notice that. "See here, here and here? Emergency exits and staff entrances. All viable for someone to sneak in undetected." the android leaned against the desk and pointed out a few more interesting features the Waterview had that Gavin kind of wanted to see first hand so he could better assess the risks. Overall, it was a big area, and it would be a tough job to keep watch over the whole thing. It couldn't have been an easy job.
Sighing, Gavin leaned back in his chair, staring at his terminal and the layout it was showing, before rubbing a hand over his face with a sigh. He was tired, in desperate need of caffeine, and he definitely needed to check this place out in person. "Alright. So. I guess we head over there and check it out."
Connor was quick to nod his agreement. "Yes. I've already calculated the fasted route. If we leave now we can get to the Waterview before traffic picks up-"
"-Okay okay, Fucking slow down, Christ." Gavin took a second to stretch his arms high over his head before he stood up. "We gotta make a pit stop first." there was no way he was going to look over an entire building without more caffeine in his system. He was quite literally running on empty right now.
Connor frowned and Gavin watched his LED cycle yellow for a minutes, not sure if he was distressed or not. "What? No one's going to fucking die if we don't get there right away. Calm the fuck down."
"Alright, Detective, but I'd rather get there as soon as possible." Gavin started walking and Connor followed, still talking. "It will take some time to go over the entire building, and I would rather not spend all night on site."
"What, you have someplace to be?"
"Something like that."
Glancing back at the Android just a few paces behind him, Gavin actually made a face. "Where the fuck you gotta be?" he hadn't ever really considered that androids actually had social lives outside of their jobs. It made sense, they were all deviant now with emotions and stuff so why wouldn't they. It was just... It was still kind of weird.
"Its really none of your business, Detective Reed, but if you really want to know, I have a cat at home who I'd like to give attention to."
Gavin actually stopped walking and turned around to face Connor, who managed to not bump into Gavin this time. "You have a cat?" he sounded suspicious, because he was absolutely suspicious. "Why the fuck would you keep a pet?"
In response, Connor actually looked mildly put off by the assumption Gavin was making. "Why? Just because I'm an android, does not mean that I don't enjoy the company of animals. Dogs and cats make great companions, and I just so happen to enjoy the company of my cat."
Gavin grit his teeth because fuck Connor for reminding him that Gavin's own cat was lost and probably gone for good. "What the fuck ever. Fucken weirdo playing with cats." You know, ignoring the fact that most of Gavin's after work plans usually involved giving Gil attention.
Shaking his head, Gavin left the precinct with Connor at his heels. Once outside, he went straight for his beat up hunk of junk car - still better looking than Hanks trash car, and unlocked it with his key fob. The car beeped, and Gavin pulled the drivers side door open and dropped into the driver's seat. He really hated the automatic cars everyone had now-a-days, and had only gone in one yesterday because he hadn't been in a position to argue about it. Today was a new day and he was fucking driving on his own terms. The side door opened and Connor slipped inside the vehicle, immediately buckling his seat belt with a barely audible sigh. Gavin ignored him.
First stop; Coffee shop.
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Chapter 8: The Loft
Finally doing their jobs. Jeez. The city actually pays these assholes?
Thank you so much for reading! Welcome to Chap 8! Couldn't have gotten this far with all of your amazing support, and of course, the unwavering resolve of Unacceptable-Bisexual on Tumblr and A03
Please please, kudos and comment if you can I love hearing form you!
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(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Gavin sat back in the car, fresh coffee cup in hand. The café he'd picked, because it served absolutely delicious espresso and their hazelnut coffee was magnificent, happened to be 20 minutes out of the way, but Gavin was desperate for good coffee and he really didn't care that Connor protested the entire way. Sitting in the car now, with the steaming cup in hand, he sighed, content for the first time today. It was pretty crazy how a good drink could uplift your spirits just enough when you really needed it.
"Thats good coffee." after taking a long sip, Gavin set the drink in a cup holder and started up his car, pulling out of the parking lot and turning onto the road. He knew where the Waterview Loft was, and it wouldn't take more than half an hour to get there depending on the traffic.
Connor was quiet, hadn't really said a word besides protesting Gavin's choice in cafés and he kept that silence as they drove now. For a bit anyways.
"Detective Reed, can I ask you a personal question?"
"What choice do I have."
Connor actually frowned, Gavin could see the reflection through the glass. "You always have a choice... I'm not forcing-"
"-Ask your fucking question, Jesus Christ."
Silence followed for a minute as Gavin drove, and he spared a glance towards the android when Connor hadn't spoken yet. Connor kept his attention focused out the side window, and Gavin didn't know if he'd just given up on asking or if he was thinking about what to ask like he hadn't expected Gavin to agree. The reflection in the glass showed his LED shifting between yellow and blue.
"Is there a reason why you hate Androids so much?"
Of fucking course that was his question. Gavin rolled his eyes, focusing ninety percent of his attention on the road. "Yeah." But he wasn't going to elaborate on the complex relationship between him and his half brother, and the sheer animosity that swelled up whenever Gavin even thought about Kamski, or all of his fucking android creations. The constant reminder of Elijah's success. There were so many emotions jumbled up together that it was just easier to be so damn angry with Elijah, and he wasn't going to try and explain that clusterfuck to Connor. He wasn't going to try and explain how that anger trickled down to every android created because it was all Elijah Kamski's work. Gavin didn't even want to think about it himself.
He saw Connor look his way, and after a moment passed, the android sighed. "By your silence, I take it you aren't going to elaborate."
"We've got a grade A Detective on our hands, wow. I'm so lucky to be working with such an advanced prototype police robot."
Thankfully, Connor dropped the subject, maybe thanks to the onslaught of Gavin just being an utter asshole, but who really knew. Gavin really didn't need the android prying into his life. Didn't need Connor asking question and making him think that he cared, or could care. It was complicated. Gavin felt more comfortable being an asshole, especially when it involved Connor, because the meaner he was, the less likely Connor would stick around and then when all this case bullshit was done, Gavin could go back to the safety of watching from far, far away.
He did feel bad about it though, because Connor didn't deserve a lick of the bullshit Gavin threw at him, but he took it all in strides anyways. He was still curious about why Connor let him be such a dick, but he wouldn't be caught dead asking about it.
The silence in the car was uncomfortable for the duration of the trip, and when Gavin pulled into the lot of the Waterview, it was an instant relief. They both exited the car and Gavin took in the venue - he really shouldn't have been surprised by how nice it was. The Waterview Loft was on the water, obviously, and the dock was set up in a very fancy and formal style. Chairs and tables scattered around, lavish overhangs and lights and pillars that probably glowed at night. The building itself wasn't very tall, two floors max but widespread, lots of windows, easy access if you really wanted to get in. Gavin whistled. "It's about as fancy as you'd expect. No wonder Cyberlife's hosting here." It was definitely something Elijah would pick.
Connor nodded with his agreement and started for the main doors of the building, Gavin trailing behind as he looked, noting anything that looked suspicious or weird from the outside of the building so he could check it out in better detail later. He felt a little under dressed wearing jeans and pullover under his leather jacket, but it wasn't like he'd planned to be here. Fuck. He wouldn't have to dress up for the actual event would he? He was supposed to blend in so that meant casual right?
"Yes. The Detroit City Police Department."
Gavin could hear the irritation in Connors voice when he walked into the building. He spotted the android not too far away talking with someone in uniform, probably the front desk clerk by the looks of it. Taking a slow sip of his coffee, Gavin made his way over to the two, listening to the conversation.
"Yeah I get that but..." The clerk hesitated and Gavin guessed he was looking at Connors LED, which was stupid because android or not, Connor had a DPD Detective badge. How many of those did this guy see on a daily basis for him to blatantly disregard it? "I mean, you're..." the unsaid word, 'Android', and Gavin rolled his eyes. Lousy piece of shit.
Sighing, Gavin sided up next to Connor and pulled his own badge from his belt and thunked it hard against the ignorant fuckers forehead. There. Let him look at this one. "How many Androids come in here saying they're Detroit Police? Jesus fucking christ man use your damn head." The clerk flinched and backed up a step, rubbing at the spot where Gavin had hit him with the badge.
"Sorry, it's just -"
"Save it, I really don't have time for excuses. Don't be a dickwad next time, got it? We're here to do a sweep of the perimeter for the conference Cyberlife is holding next week and we need access to everything you have." Gavin waited but the guy just stood there, wide eyed, like he was waiting for a cue. "Like fucking right now come on, get a fucking move on." Gavin snapped his fingers for emphasis and the kid jumped, turned, and booked it down a hallway, hopefully to get a manager or something useful.
"Huh?" Why was Connor thanking him? Gavin glanced at the Android next to him curiously because in all honesty he didn't know what he'd done to deserve that.
"For stepping in like you did. It would have taken me much longer to get the clerk to provide any information, if at all." The tiniest ghost of a smile twitched at Connors lips and Gavin practically felt his heart stop. "Though a little more aggressive than needed." Also heart stopping was the realization that he'd done something decent to Connor.
"What. No I -" Fuck. "It was just really fucking annoying listening to that asshole not take a hint! It's not - I didn't fucking step in for your sake dipshit. Don't get the wrong idea!" and he could feel his fucking ears burning and it was so fucking stupid and embarrassing. He was slipping up because he was fucking tired.
Gavin took off after the desk clerk he'd scared away moments ago, turning down the same hallway and stopping just short of running into an older man coming the opposite way down the hall. The old man - white hair brushed into a comb over, nice looking suit, frameless glasses on his nose, air of authority. He was probably the manager that the desk clerk had gone running to, and didn't hesitate to looked Gavin over like he wasn't impressed.
"I assume that you are the policeman?" even his voice was snide and Gavin wanted to punch him in the nose to ease some of his own tension.
"Detective, actually. You the manager of this shit hole?"
"Indeed." He didn't sound at all impressed but what the fuck did Gavin care how he felt. The old man glanced over Gavin's shoulder like he was looking for someone else. Someone like Connor, of course. "And your friend?"
Fuck this guy was pissing him off really bad right now with these dumb fucking questions. "He's busy. You got a problem dealing with me?"
The venue manager made a tut sound, face twisting up like he'd just licked a lemon. Asshole. "I suppose I have little choice. What was it you needed, Detective...?"
"Detective Reed. Like I told your boy, Cyberlife is holding a conference here next week and we're here to do a sweep of the perimeter, for security purposes. I'd like your full cooperation, otherwise I'll come back with a full fucking warrant and just do it anyways. So you get to make a choice."
"A little crass, aren't you, Detective Reed?" the old bastard shook his head, fixing the cuffs of his suit jacket before regarding Gavin again. "Care to tell me why the Detroit City Police are doing petty security for Cyberlife?"
Gavin grit his teeth, but before he could lose his temper and destroy this absolute bastard, he felt a body side up to him, brushing against his shoulder. "As a motion of good faith. we're not here on behalf of Cyberlife, we're here in the stead of Markus and Jericho."
In an instant, the old man forgot about Gavin and focused all of his attention on Connor. His eyes flicked to the LED for a split second before refocusing on the Androids face, and the rest of him like he was doing an appraisal. "This is marginally better. Your partner doesn't have the people skills required for a more refined audience. You are?"
Gavin wanted to say something, to defend himself because fuck this guy and his mightier-than-thou attitude, but apparently Connor had taken over the conversation and didn't let him even start. The android held out his hand to the old man - who didn't deserve any sort of politeness whatsoever, and the old man shook it. "Detective Anderson. Thank you for your cooperation, sir."
Wait. Detective What-the-fuck? Gavin stared at Connor because what the fuck had he just said? But Connor was paying more attention to the manager they were speaking to, making some kind of small talk that Gavin didn't hear. Eventually the old bastard walked away and Gavin grabbed hold of Connor's shoulder before he could take off to do whatever. "What was that?"
"Its called being polite, Detective Reed. You should really try it sometime."
"No that's - Fuck right off!" Gavin shoved the stupid Android for being a bitch all of a sudden. "That's not what I meant you little shit! You're an Anderson now? When the fuck did that happen?" He was mad. Why was he mad? There was literally no reason for him to be upset about a fucking surname. Just that it was Hank's surname and it was weird and christ, he didn't know that was weird until he heard it.
Connor frowned, confused by the sudden aggression focused on him. "I don't understand why you're upset about this, Detective. I couldn't be just Connor for the rest of my life. Hank thought it would be a good idea to use his name. I didn't see a problem with it."
There wasn't a problem with it, because it made sense. Hank was like Connors.... Caregiver? Fucking seudo father, maybe? Whatever it was, it was weird and Gavin was totally not okay with it. "Don't expect me to fucking call you that, tin can. One fucking Anderson is enough." Good response, Gavin. A+ effort.
"I have very little say in what you call me, Detective. If I had a preference, I doubt you would heed it." and Connor sounded annoyed and... Wow, Connor was annoyed with him. That was a first.
"Do you have a preference for what I call you?" Gavin was genuinely curious, and his brain-mouth filter was not working as it should due to his lack of sleep otherwise be wouldn't have asked such a stupid question. He took the last sip of his coffee, finishing off the contents and watched as Connors LED cycled from blue to yellow to red then back to yellow.
"Yes. I do."
Connor was quiet a moment, and they stared at each other a second before he finally spoke up. "I'd prefer anything that isn't a derogatory term for Android. Just 'Connor' would suffice as well." Connor laughed, but it wasn't in good humour. "It's a difficult thing to ask."
"You're so fucking cheeky today, toaster-oven." and Gavin turned and stalked back into the main hall of the Waterview, tossing his empty coffee cup into a nearby trash can before heading to one of the windows he'd seen from the outside, intent on checking its durability in case someone decided to go through it.
Just an FYI the Waterview Loft is an actual place in Detroit that I have not been to, nor do I own and the location was used purely because it was pretty! I reserve no rights to it or anything like that.
Chapter 9: Lashing out
Simon is that one friend we all have that knows everything, even things about you that you don't even know yet.
I'm sorry idk. This chapter is like, in existence because I wanted to write Simon.
Thank you so much for reading, everyone! Your continued support is wonderful and I love you guys so much for staying with me!
As always you can find me on Tumblr @ Shootmewithasilverbullet
Dealing with Gavin Reed was proving to be more difficult than Connor had originally anticipated. Of course, he'd known it wouldn't be easy, but he hadn't expected the continued hostility. Hank had settled down relatively quickly when they'd been partnered up, despite having a solid reason for his dislike of androids, and Connor had been a fool to think that Detective Reed would be just as easy to win over. The continued snide remarks and lack of trust was starting to... Get on his nerves. Connor supposed it was easier to win Hank over because he hadn't been able to feel at the time, and he was learning that emotions really made things a lot more difficult.
In the days leading up to the conference Connor and Detective Reed had worked closely with Markus, Simon, North and Josh. They explained the areas that would prove the most difficult to keep an eye on and the most likely scenario's that could happen. Though, anything was possible and they couldn't plan for everything. Markus and North would be the ones attending the conference, so they spent more time with Josh and Simon, explaining key things they should be looking for in the crowd, things that didn't look right, and how to react. Neither android was exactly fit for combat, so both Connor and Gavin had agreed that they should both stay above, on the catwalk usually reserved for repairmen. It would give them a good vantage point and they'd be able to relay information.
Despite the... 'Salty' mood that the Detective was usually in (Salty had been the description Hank used, accuratly) he took the job seriously and was currently walking across the catwalk with Josh, pointing things out and just generally going over things with him. He still held strong opinions in regards to androids and that didn't seem likely to change any time soon, but it was good to know that Connor didn't have to babysit him when they were around the members of Jericho. Well, everyone besides Markus. Detective Reed didn't seem able to 'Play nice' (Another accurate term Hank used) when Markus was involved. The animosity with North was... Connor found it strange but it was as if the two of them enjoyed talking down to one other. Like it was a game of 'who can be the meanest'.
"What are you watching?"
Connor didn't outwardly react to the sudden interruption to his thoughts, but his LED shifted to yellow a moment. He hadn't heard Simon step up to him, and that was a little worrying. How could he let himself get so absorbed in his thoughts to miss the sound of the blond approaching? Simon stood next to him, hands clasped behind his back, and he looked up, following Connors gaze towards the two in the rafters.
"Ah. Are you making sure he's playing nice? Josh can handle whatever the Detective throws at him."
Connor nodded though he didn't look at Simon, instead keeping focused on Gavin who was pointing something out to Josh, and the android looked like he was agreeing with whatever they were speaking about. It didn't look as though there was any animosity in Detective Reeds posture or the way Josh reacted to him, and it had Connor wondering if the LED made it easier for Gavin to forget that he was dealing with androids. At least, until he spoke to Connor. He realized just then that his fingertips were grazing the side of his head were his LED was blinking yellow, betraying the confusion he felt.
Yellow to red to yellow. Connor had momentarily forgotten that Simon was standing next to him, and he felt silly for getting lost in his own head like that, especially when he was on the job and had much better things to do than try and figure out the intricacies of one Gavin Reed. "My apologies, Simon. Can I help you with something? You should be up there with them, as that's where you'll be during the conference." When Simon laughed, Connor broke his stare and looked at the other android. The blond was smiling, and Connor didn't know why he was so amused. Was it something he'd said?
"It's more fun down here, more to see."
Connor frowned, because he didn't quite understand what Simon meant by that. Yes, he supposed there was more interesting things on the main floor to occupy one's attention, but the catwalk offered a much bigger area to observe, and therefore see more. He spared another glance upwards, at Josh, who was now actively asking questions, and Detective Reed who was listening intently. Connor frowned deeper, LED blinking yellow. "I don't quite understand what's more fun down here. Besides the staff, it's just me here." There weren't even patrons in the Waterview Loft at the moment.
Again, Simon laughed, and his smile was genuine, and Connor was still confused by it. "Connor you-" before he could finish his thought, Simon shook his head. "Never mind. I've gone over things with Detective Reed already, and I feel very confident about being on the catwalk." was he saying that just to out Connor at ease? "Josh had a few extra questions to ask. If anything does happen, we'll be able to see it from up there, and having you and the Detective on the ground... Well, it's very good, though I do hope we don't need to do anything."
Connor nodded, but didn't answer. He had nothing really to say, and he felt like Simon hadn't come up to talk to him about the plan so far. Connor knew that, but he didn't know how to actually ask Simon about what the real reason was for this conversation. Why? The thought of asking made him uncomfortable for whatever reason, Connor wasn't sure. He was absolutely certain that he didn't like this feeling that had settled in his systems. Uncomfortable. It wasn't something he'd really felt before now, and he wasn't quite sure why he was feeling it, but there it was. Connor was finding that a lot of emotions just seemed to creep up on him without obvious reason sometimes.
"Connor-" Simon started.
"Simon, Connor! There you are."
Both androids turned at their names, spotting Markus nearby, heading their way. North wasn't with him, which was a surprise to Connor. Simon on the other hand, didn't seem bothered that she was missing, and seemed happy enough to see Markus on his own. You could tell in the subtle changes - the softer smile, for one. Connors LED stayed a resilient blue for the time being.
"I was wondering if I'd catch you here." Markus stopped ahead of them, standing closer to Simon as he spoke, and he looked up when he didn't spot the other two men nearby.
Out of curiosity, Connor glanced back into the rafters, catching the trial end of what looked like Josh laughing, and Connors LED blinked red. It was good to know that Detective Reed wasn't completely jeopardizing this assignment by being a complete asshole. Josh was knowledgeable and could most likely part with some invaluable information, having been designed to teach. It was a likely friendship, just like the one the Detective was developing with North, though that one was strange. It was a physical pull that tore him from his own disturbing thoughts; Simon had hit him lightly with his elbow and it was enough to get Connor to focus back on the two androids on the main floor with him. "Is there something I can help you with, Markus?"
That didn't sound right and Connor frowned, LED twitching to yellow before blinking back to blue. It was nothing.
"No, not at all. I was just stoping by to see how everything was going and thought I could check in with you. How is it? Everything alright?" Markus glanced from Connor to Simon, briefly up to the catwalk again before his eyes settled on the blond PL600.
Simon seemed to brighten, just a little at the attention. It was subtle but Connor noticed how he perked up just the tiniest bit and smiled a little more and Connor wondered about that. He'd always wondered about Simon, Markus and North, because they'd always acted differently together, than with him or Josh. He never asked though, never looked into it. It wasn't his business to pry into the lives of his friends no matter how curious he was about it. The subtle touches, the way their skin rolled back when they touched hands, and how their natural white connected in a bluish hue. Some kind of data transfer, Connor had scanned the connection once before to know that.
Simon reached out to Markus, hooking their fingers together while giving Connor an amused look. "Everything's good. We're ready for whatever happens. Right Connor?" and Connor wasn't sure if Simon was amused because they had succeeded in preparing for the conference or something else.
Again, it felt like that uncomfortable feeling was completely coated his internal systems like a thick paint and it took a moment for Connor to speak, and he had to clear his throat to coax his vocal systems into working again. "Yes. You won't have to worry. We've thought of everything. You'll be able to concentrate on the representatives from Cyberlife."
Markus nodded, silent for a moment before glancing up to the catwalk, and Gavin and Josh respectively. "The Detective seems to be behaving himself."
"Yes. Detective Reed has been an asset, more than I had originally thought he'd be. I'm glad he's able to assist."
"That's good." Markus nodded, looking back towards Connor and Simon. "North complains about him, but I get the feeling that's just how she likes her friends." he nudged Simon with his arm as the blond laughed, seemingly in agreement and their hands remained interlocked at the fingers. It felt like an intimate moment between them, a joke that Connor wasn't in on and if Markus hadn't spoken again, Connor would have felt obligated to look away. "Its nice to see humans slowly changing their opinions of us. Baby steps."
Was that a correct assumption? Was the Detective changing his opinion on androids? Connor hadn't thought so before but in truth, Gavin was acting civil with most of the androids they'd been dealing with. Except Connor.
He would have said something, Connor wanted to, but something small came flying at the three of them, successfully hitting Markus in the chest before clatter in to the ground. It was a pen - blue, ballpoint. All three androids looked up, the trajectory of the object indicated that it had come from -
Gavin leaned against the handrail up on the catwalk, facing them, and he looked rather disgruntled for some reason Connor wasn't aware of. Josh stood nearby, but was equally as confused about what had just happened as they were. When he noticed that he had their attention, the Detective pointed down at the three of them. "Connor! What the fuck? This isn't time for a fucking chit chat! If you're not working, get the fuck out! That goes for you too, blondie!" Reed didn't mention Markus, but Connor suspected that he was glaring at him from up there. It was rediculous the amount of hostility that Detective Reed had for Markus, almost as much as he had for Connor himself and Connor couldn't even guess why that was.
Simon, like he was the only one in on a joke, started laughing at the display before him. The pen on the ground and the glares from up on the catwalk combined with Gavin's shouting. He shook his head, letting go of Markus' fingers and patting Connor on the sholder with his other hand. "You heard the Detective, we should get to work." he smiled sweetly at Markus, almost like he didn't want the other to go but was resigned to it. "Thank you for checking on us."
Markus nodded, sparing one last glance up at the catwalk, and the glaring Detective up there. "Tell me about it all later?" and he leaned close, lips touching the side of Simon's cheek in a chaste kiss and Connor looked away quickly. It was none of his business and he felt increasingly awkward having witnessed such an intimate moment between the two androids. Only after he heard the retreating steps of the deviant leader did Connor turn his attention back towards Simon, who looked rather pleased with himself.
"We should return to work, otherwise Detective Reed will lash out again."
Chapter 10: This is the Police
Finally some plot. The conference happens and it's good. Sort of.
There were so many bodies pushing against him from all sides, the open main hall of the Waterview was packed from all sides with people... Androids? Gavin knew they were all androids but he couldn't actually tell for the most part. None of the ones he was near had an LED to confirm, but why else would they be here? The Cyberlife conference had started more than 45 minutes ago and the place was packed, and with just him and Connor, it wasn't like they could restrict access into the building, and locking the doors was out of the question because it was a safety risk. Fuck. Why were there so many people?
After arguing with Connor yesterday they'd agreed that there wasn't a dress code for the event, because fuck getting dressed up for something stupid like this. This morning at the station after getting glared at by Hank for the hundredth time, Gavin managed to force Connor into wearing a vest 'Because if you die Hank'll fucking murder me.' which was completely accurate considering the looks Gavin was getting. He also managed to snag a few radios - the new high tech stuff with the little ear pieces, not like, actual 1990's police gear bullshit. They'd done a test with the radios early this morning with Simon and Josh when they'd gotten on site and Gavin had handed out a few more vests to their temporary android coworkers to wear.
No. He didn't fucking care, he just didn't want anyone to actually die while he was on duty. He didn't need to like them to not want to have to file all that fucking paperwork, and believe him there was a shit ton of paperwork involved in android deaths now that all those new laws had been passed.
Now, with the entire Loft full of eager androids of all makes and models, it was really difficult to focus on anything besides what was happening right in front of him. He'd lost sight of Connor a while ago when things had started to get busy, and looking up, both Simon and Josh were concentrating on the vast wave of androids on the floor and neither noticed Gavin watching them. Could they even see him in the crowd? Could they see Connor?
Honesty, this was already a disaster. Gavin had fucking told them all that this wouldn't work. Four people for security was an accident waiting to happen, especially if shit hit the fan and like an actual fucking Riot broke out. Fucking Connor could be dead somewhere right now and he wouldn't even know because there was too much area to cover and too many people and like, how were they supposed to see if someone had harmful intent when he really couldn't see anyone? If things did get messy, he was on his own, there was no backup waiting to swoop in with bigger guns. Gavin had his sidearm holstered under his jacket, an extra clip in his back pocket, but that was it. There was such a high probability that he was going to fucking die... It was probably best that Gil hadn't come home last night either - he wouldn't have to worry about the cat when he was a ghost n'shit.
This on the ground bullshit just wasn't working. He couldn't see jack shit and being blind was worse than being shorthanded. He needed to get to higher ground, without actually going up onto the catwalk. If he saw something while he was up there it would take too long to get back down to the floor so he could do something. Obviously there were barriers keeping people off the main path through the building so that the reps could get in and out without getting mauled, but besides that...
Right. The front desk. He could get just enough height if he stood on that and he'd be able to get a better view of the crowd.
Gavin was just about to move when someone grabbed his arm, and he was absolutely relieved when he spun round and it was Connor. He had to yell for his voice to be audible over the loud murmur of voices around him. "Shit! Where the fuck have you been?" He was angry, upset, but only because he was really fucking frustrated. "I can't make heads or tails of this fucking mess."
"It is a lot of people." Connor had to yell in return and it was still hard to hear him over the buzz of voices. "Markus said this is a bigger crowd than before. He's impressed."
"Good for fucking Marku- wait, when did you even talk to him?" Gavin was pretty sure he would have noticed the crowds hype if RoboJesus had made an unexpected appearance. Unless he'd been stealthy about it but then how had he found Connor when Gavin couldn't?
Connor frowned. "He called to see how we were doing. He was worried."
Right. Called. That made sense, of course, but it was still stupid. "Doesn't he have better shit to do? Whatever, anyways. Staying in the crowd is getting us nowhere. Have you spotted anything yet?"
Connors LED blinked yellow a moment, which was answer enough for Gavin.
"Didn't think so. Even with dumb and dumber up in the ceiling, this is getting us nowhere. Thank your lucky stars I've got an idea though." he waved Connor to follow him and started weaving through the crowd of androids, until he realized that he wasn't being followed. Whereas Gavin was pushing his way through the bodies around him to get from point A to point B, Connor was trying his best to side-step everyone without really disrupting them. Gavin watched for a good 5 seconds before he started getting agitated. God this was going to take forever.
"Fuck, Connor." Gavin backtracked, pushed some asshole who wouldn't move aside and grabbed onto Connor, pulling him through the crowd. The android was silent until they got to the front desk; a sleek, solid white pine (probably) desk. It looked like it was durable enough to hold two people standing on it, and Gavin hoped it wouldn't break. If it did bust, he'd send the bill to Markus. Asshole deserved it for putting him in this position to begin with.
Connor pulled at his hand and Gavin let go of it immediately, like he hadn't realized that of all the parts of Connors arm he could have grabbed it had to be his hand. He could feel the embarrassment burning at the tip of his ears and up the bridge of his nose and instead of dwelling on it, he lashed out at the source. "What are you fucking waiting for? Are you getting up on the fucking desk or not?" Deflection. And he did it so damn well. He gave Connor a forceful shove to get him moving, ignoring how the Androids LED flashed red a second, then climbed up onto the desk himself, making sure there was enough distance between them when Connor had gotten up on it with him.
Gavin shook out his hand, like he could still feel lingering tingles from the android. He'd never - it was stupid to think that he'd never actually touched Connor until now, punches excluded, and it felt like his heart was beating too fast and would actually bust out of his chest. Concentrate, Gavin. Focus. Androids, remember? He took a breath, shoved both his hands into the front pockets of his jeans, and scanned the crowd that he could now see. This would make it easier to spot anything suspicious, and fuck, something better happen soon or he was gonna go crazy.
"Detective Reed, Connor. " Simon's voice in his ear distracted Gavin. He glanced up and saw Josh on the catwalk watching him. Josh pointed into the crowd, and he heard Simon again. "White hoodie. Do you see him?"
Gavin focused on where Josh had pointed, slapping Connor in the arm to make sure he was paying attention too. Sure enough, Gavin spotted the kid, hood up, back slouched forwards. He definitely stood out compared to the androids in the Waterview. He wasn't with anyone, and he was looking around, like he was searching for something. Gavin lifted his finger and pushed against the button on his earpeice. "We got him." Glancing at Connor, the android looked ready to go so Gavin pointed, signaling quietly with his hands what he wanted Connor to do, before the android dropped off the side of the desk. Gavin followed suit and went around the other way, weaving between people in the crowd as inconspicuous as possible.
He'd lost his line of sight though, which was agitating because he couldn't tell if he was heading in the right direction, but it was seconds before a voice, this time Josh, was in his ear. "Stop." Gavin froze "He's to your left, maybe 14 paces. He doesn't look like he's noticed you." with that, Gavin turned, slipping past a couple women and sure enough, there he was. The kid, and he was a definitely a kid, was nervous, twitchy, scratching at his arm and snapping his head around every time someone moved too close to him. He wasn't holding a weapon, but Gavin could take a while guess at what the kid had in those big pockets of his.
They made eye contact and the chase was on. The punk bolted as soon as he saw Gavin, which was a sure enough sign that he was guilty of something, and Gavin booked it after him. The crowd had started to notice something, seeing as the kid wasn't exactly nice when he pushed people aside, but there was still too many fucking people around and they weren't fucking moving. The little bastard pushed people out of his way and into Gavin's path and Gavin fumbled around some idiot android who didn't know what to do and then he heard a nearby door open, and fuck if this shithead got away-
Gavin finally broke through the crowd and out the side door just in time it see Connor slam the brat into the ground, pulling both his arms back behind him and in handcuffs. The poor kids face was pressed into the snow, breath coming out in puffs. Gavin huffed glancing back as a few curious androids started filing out of the building to see what was happening. Fuck. That could have gone sideways so fucking fast. If Connor hadn't understood what he'd meant when he pointed, or if Connor hadn't actually listened to him, or if the two dipsh- if Simon and Josh hadn't been paying attention to the crowd...
He watched Connor stand up, heard Simon and Josh asking for updates in his ear, and he ignored them, pointing towards the gathering crowd behind him when Connor looked his way. The android nodded quickly and they switched, Connor went for crowd control and Gavin knelt down beside the kids head.
"I didn't fucking do nothin'! Lemme go!"
The kid struggled against the cuffs for a bit and Gavin let him do it without saying a word. Let him tire himself out on his own, because if he had this much energy still, Gavin sure as shit didn't want to deal with him. The kid struggled and pulled and kicked out his feet like it would make a difference and Gavin ignored him and his constant pleas. Instead he watched Connor as he ushered people back inside, talking nice when someone asked him something and just overall assuring his people that the threat was gone and they were safe again. It was crazy to think that after everything Gavin had done to Connor, all the shitty names and the bullying, when it counted the most, Connor trusted him to do hims job. This entire assignment was just Connor believing that in the thick of things, Gavin would stand up and do what he did best. His job.
Stupid, perfect Connor proving again that he was the better person, because Gavin hadn't ever had that kind of trust in anyone before, and Connor seemed to hand out trust like it was candy.
"Detective Reed?" Simon's tentative voice came over his ear piece again.
"Everything's fine. Fucking calm down, Blondie."
The kid laying on the ground next to Gavin had stopped his squirming, finally giving up on his attempt to escape the handcuffs, which was Gavin's queue to get to work. He stood, stepped over the little shit, then knelt down again so he could frisk him. "So, just so you're aware of your fucking rights, because you have rights, don't say shit unless you want me to use that against you, and - aah, what's this?" Gavin fished out a decently sized switch blade from the kids pocket and tossed it onto the snow out of reach. "Well this is interesting." It wasn't everything though, and Gavin pulled out a small handgun from another pocket, similar to the Glock 26. Small, easy to hide, but it packed a big enough punch to really hurt someone, or rip through androids biocomponents. He unloaded the clip from the gun and tossed both pieces over where the switch blade was in the snow. "This doesn't look good, kid. What're you doing here?"
"Uh huh." Gavin stood and without much thought to this kids well being he yanked him up off the ground so he could stand. The brat glared at him. Fucking adorable. "Keep at it, I'm almost scared. Lemme ask again, alright? The fuck did you think you were doing in there?" He got nothing but a tight lipped glare, which was quickly loosing its charm. Gavin was getting annoyed. "Right, Fuck the police and all that shit. A philosophy like that's really gonna keep you outta juvi, kid."
The kid spit - thankfully in the snow otherwise Gavin would have decked him, and a slew of curses and demands and whatever else came outta his mouth. Honestly, Gavin had tuned him out, opting to watch Connor as he made his way over. The confidence in each step he took, that determined look set on his face as he moved from one task to the next. Fucking perfect Connor. The android paused beside the pile of weaponry Gavin had discarded, probably doing some kind of examination or whatever he did.l, y'know, being a walking forensic lab n'all.
"Did you want me to take over, Detective?"
"Hand me the fuck over to your boyfriend you twat-"
Gavin may have pushed the punk's face into the nearest car door with a bit too much force, but the pained yell he got was so worth any damage he'd just done to the car with this bitches face. "Excuse me?" Gavin was going to do it again, just to make his point clear but -
"Detective Reed!" Connor did not have the same appreciation for roughing up the occasional lippy bitch the way Gavin did and he was already taking the few steps forward to intervene. His yell had been firm, too, in an authoritative kind of way.
Gavin pulled the kids head away from the car door before Connor could reach him, or yell again. "He deserved it." he whined. Gavin fucking whined in protest because he really wanted to pound this asshole face into the car for calling him out so blatantly like that. Boyfriend? Like fuck you, you peice of fucking shit! He was also conflicted about the idea of Connor bossing him around. He liked it, no joke, but that was the problem.
"That isn't reason enough to-"
"Fuck off I get it!" Gavin pulled the cruisers back door open and pushed the still struggling punk into the car, making sure to accidentally knock his head a bit too hard against the door frame while doing so. Fuck this asshole. Fuck these stupid feelings. Behind him, Gavin heard Connor make a sound in protest to the continued rough treatment of their delinquent friend here with the big mouth, but Gavin ignored it, opting to instead lean over the bitch so he could buckle him up all safe and sound in the back of the car, the kids hands still cuffed tight behind him. "You say shit like that again and I'll add assault of an officer to your already bad rap sheet. Got it, dickwad?"
"You can't - you can't fucking do that!"
Gavin gave the kids cheek a rough pat. "I don't make the rules buddy. You're the one who went into a crowd of androids with the intent to harm. Who're they gonna believe? You? Don't make me fucking laugh."
The door slammed shut, effectivly cutting off any and all protests from their suspect. Gavin wiped his hands down the front of his jeans, glancing at Connor and the disapproving look he wore, aimed at him. "What?" he didn't wait for a reply though, cuz he hadn't done anything to deserve that kind of look. He just went about gathering the disagreed weapons and bagging them for later, tossing them into the trunk of the car and when he was done that, Connor was still mad. "What the fuck? Bad guy caught, androids saved, isn't that mission accomplished in your books?"
"You didn't have to treat him like that."
"No, I didn't, but I wanted to and he deserved it."
"For fucks sake, Connor, what do you want me to do? Go back in there and apologize to him? Give him his gun back and set the little bird free?" when he didn't get a response, Gavin started back into the building. The conference wasn't over, so they weren't off the job yet. He wasn't going to wait for Connor to get over how unfair the world was.
The rest of the day went by smoothly, except for the fact that Connor wasn't talking to him anymore.
So I feel like I should apologize? I don't condone any type of police brutality and idk what happened but here you go.
Chapter 11: Count to 10 backwards
Connors mad, son. You gotta mess up bad for that to happen.
Hello! Thank you all for your continued support of this fic! Honestly I wouldn't have gotten this far without you guys and your comments and kudos and its just overwhelming to see how many people are invested.
So a big thank you goes out to all you readers! You are absolute magic!
Also a huge thank you to Unacceptable-Bisexual on AO3 and Tumblr for her extreme support! And beta reading ;) she's fucking amazing.
As always feel free to check in with me via my Tumblr @ Shootmewithasilverbullet
Connor was mad.
There was no sugar coating it, no dumbing down the truth, it was just exactly that. Connor was fucking pissed at him, and Gavin didn't know why the android was giving him the cold shoulder all of a sudden.
Gavin knew exactly why Connor was pissed off and yeah, he really shouldn't have mistreated the little shit like he had, but it wasn't like he'd actually done something illegal. Police brutality was just frowned upon.
Okay maybe not really, the whole civil rights violation and all that but fuck, get off his back it wasn't like he'd actually hurt the kid or anything, Gavin had just made a point, let off a little steam, probably made the kids face look a little better. Connor didn't have any right to be mad at him. Gavin's thoughts the entire drive to the precinct were about how the android had absolutely no right to be mad while Connor sat quietly in the passenger seat and the delinquent little shit complained in the back and wouldn't shut the fuck up. Besides the kid screaming profanities, it was quiet in the cruiser and Gavin was getting more annoyed with every passing city block.
It was probably for the best that when they'd finally gotten to the precinct, Connor had volunteered to book in the kid, who still didn't have a name. Connor had refused to do a facial scan, because blah blah human rights blah blah. The kid himself hadn't said anything useful yet despite their questions during the ride to the station, either. Gavin just shrugged at Connors suggestion, because whatever, he wasn't the androids fucking boss. Technically it was Connor running the show, as per Chief Fowler so if Connor wanted to protect the little shit from Gavin's little love-taps, then he could have fucking fun with that. It wasn't like Gavin had planned on doing it anyway.
There was barely anyone in the precinct anymore when they'd gotten there, because it was so late, and the night crew was busy working in other areas of the station, leaving the bullpen empty except for Gavin. He couldn't go home yet - okay he could have left but he actually wanted to see the report Connor made of the kids interrogation. Caring about being good at your job really fucking sucked sometimes. That, and Gavin had nothing else to do but work so he busied himself filling out the necessary paperwork for the initial arrest of Mr. No-Name and the event in general. Everything needed to be documented, especially in big cases like this one, where important people were involved. Gavin assumed that Cyberlife executives and Markus were important enough to warrant the extra paperwork.
For the most part it was all pretty basic stuff, so it gave Gavin a lot of time to think over his shitty life choices. Namely, being continuously shitty to Connor. He could admit that half the reason why he was so angry was because he himself, was a dumbass unable to process his own range of complicated emotions. If he could rationally think things through before he spoke, the situation wouldn't be nearly this bad. Gavin could acknowledge, privately, that Connor was a good cop, that he could handle himself on a crime scene and in a fight, and that Connor was even good at working with someone like Gavin so easily, without his personal feelings getting in the way. It was admirable, really, because Gavin's own personal feelings got in the way of everything he fucking did. Connor was making an effort here, and maybe it was just because he knew how important this case was, but maybe he was also trying to be civil with Gavin for once, y'know, trying to be at least on friendly terms. Whatever the reason was, Connor was trying, which meant Gavin had better start trying too.
He could do that. Be nice. Try to be nice. Maybe try and be almost semi not as much of an asshole to Connor. Or something marginally not so mean.
But if Gavin was nice, then Connor would be nice in return and fuck, Gavin wanted Connor to talk and joke around with him like he did with everyone else. He wanted Connor to smile at him, because of him. Just. Anything. He was grasping at metaphorical straws right now and it was seriously pathetic.
He was still at his desk writing when Connor approached, still quiet for now. Gavin dotted a few of his i's before looking up at him. Connor hadn't been gone more that half an hour, and that didn't seem like a lot of time to interrogat someone. "So did our friend sing for you, Robocop?"
"There was no singing involved. It was an interrogation not an Opera."
Gavin rolled his eyes. "It's an expression, idiot."
Connor frowned and didn't reply, which had Gavin kicking himself mentally. The fuck what was he doing?
Gavin pinched the bridge of his nose and rubbed his eyes. "Okay look. You're mad, I fucking get it. I reacted poorly, I know. Can we move on and forget about it?" That was semi good, right? Acknowledge the error of his ways and get on with their fucking lives. It sounded pretty fucking good to him.
That had Gavin actually looking at Connor again. "What?" he hadn't expected such a resolute response from the android.
And Connor narrowed his eyes, glaring just enough at Gavin to make his heart skip. "I said, absolutely not, Detective Reed. What you did to that boy was inexcusable. As those assigned to uphold the values of the law, abusing the power given to us is the highest crime that we could commit and-"
"-I fucking get it, Alright?" Gavin cut the android off, and started to get up because he didn't need to listen to a fucking lecture about his own rotten behaviour, when Connor slammed his hand down onto Gavin's desk, cracking the glass surface under his palm with the sudden force.
"Sit down, Detective, I am not finished with you." Connors LED blinked dangerously red.
Gavin sat his ass back down in his chair and shut his mouth, his heart hammering against his chest. Connor wasn't mad, he was livid and Gavin was captivated. Also marginally terrified.
Connor took a breath and slowly, his LED started to cycle back to yellow. "Abusing those in our custody is not acceptable, no matter the circumstances. What makes us, as officers of the law better than petty criminals is our ability to not act on those feelings and desires despite wanting to. I trusted you to be able to follow through with your assignment, like it or not, but your actions today have given me pause. I do not believe that you are fit to continue working on this assignment, Detective Reed, especially if today is any indication on how you will continue to treat my suspects." slowly, Connor lifted his hand from where it was on the glass surface of the desk, and he examined the cracked bits a moment before turning towards his own desk. "I will speak with Chief Fowler in the morning about re-assigning you. Unless you can change my mind."
For more than one reason, Gavin was absolutely speechless. He'd always known that Connor had it in him to stand up for himself, he'd just never seen it until now and honestly? It was more than a little terrifying. He watched the android walk the distance to his own desk and take a seat, and Gavin leaned back in his chair, not hiding the fact that he was staring. It was... a lot more than just terrifying, and he wasn't going to think about it anymore.
Gavin took a breath, shifted uncomfortably in his chair, because yeah that happened, his eyes still focused on Connor across the room. Fuck. He was able to see the solid yellow of the androids LED from where he sat, how it didn't make any sign of cycling back to blue and he understood why Connor was so upset with him. Gavin had been in that same position during his earlier years on the force, so he understood. Normally Gavin wasn't so rough with suspects because he actually did value their rights and all that. Ugh, he was such a fuck up right now.
Rubbing a hand over his face, Gavin stood up carefully from his chair, took another breath to try and calm himself down before he started the slow walk towards the Anderson corner of the bullpen. Connor didn't acknowledge that he was there until Gavin knocked his knuckles lightly against the glass surface to get his attention. As soon as Connor looked at him, Gavin turned away, focusing on anything but the android. He couldn't apologize properly if he was looking at the stupid fax machine's pretty face.
"Alright, so. I'm sorry." There, he'd said it. "I knew it wasn't appropriate, but I roughed the kid up anyway. I've been... Trying, really hard not to be such a dickhead and it's not really working, but." Gavin grit his teeth, his attemt to find the proper words failing. "I mean I'm trying." he practically mumbled that last part because it was the sad truth of the matter. He was trying, it just wasn't usually enough. The universe always liked the remind him that he never tried hard enough. "I'm sorry if my idiot self caused your investigation, or the kid, any harm."
When Connor didn't respond right away, Gavin glanced over, not entirely sure what to expect. It felt weird, apologizing, when he hadn't really apologized to anyone in a long time. Gil was probably the last creature on earth to hear him say sorry, and the cat was gone, probably spilling all his secrets to the other alley cats in Detroit. Connor regarded him carefully, and he didn't look livid anymore, but he wasn't exactly happy. Gavin had spent a lot of time watching Connor to know what his expressions meant most of the time. That kind of sounded creepy but what else was he supposed to do in the office?
Slowly, the androids LED started to cycle back to blue and Gavin felt like he could breath again. "I accept your apology, Detective Reed. For now, I will refrain from speaking with Chief Fowler in regards to your behaviour."
"Thanks. So..." Gavin looked around, finding a chair and pulling it up to the side of Connor's desk. He wanted to forget this had ever happened, and jumping right into this interogation was the best way to do it. "It took you half an hour to get everything you needed outta the kid?" It was possible, androids could do crazy things when they wanted something. The kid they'd pulled in was also young enough that being in the police station would probably be more intimidating than going for a ride in a cruiser.
Connor seemed to think for a moment, and Gavin caught his LED flick to Yellow for a split second before he spoke. "The child.... His name is Kevin."
"Yeah?" the fact that Connor seemed apprehensive didn't make Gavin feel good about what was coming next.
"Kevin is an android. An XK700 model." Silence, and Connor stared at the frosted glass of his desk before speaking again. "I'm still not entirely sure how to process this information yet, it is also why I may have been more upset with you than I should have been just now."
"Hey, it's fine. How do you know?"
"He told me, and I did a scan to confirm. It wasn't something I was looking for before, so I never bothered to scan him until now."
Well fuck him sideways. Everyone had been so fucking adamant about it being a human who'd try and fuck shit up and low and behold, it was another android. Granted it didn't really make sense, considering the nature of androids VS the nature of human beings, but like. "Shit." Gavin scratched a hand up through his hair with a sigh, leaning back in his chair. "So he told you he was a robot, you confirm that, then what?"
"I..." Connors LED cycled red, yellow red. "He told me someone made him do it, that he didn't have a choice. I want to probe his memory to confirm the truth, but I can't do it by myself. Android laws state that Memory Probes are prohibited unless absolutely necessary and must be conducted in a safe environment with a proper witness, and both androids involved must consent."
Gavin stood up and waved for Connor to do the same. "Well, you consent, and I'm pretty sure this Kevin kid'll be okay with it. I've got to be a good enough witness - I'm a cop, right? Let's go." he didn't have to wait long before Connor stood and moved, leading the way to the holding cells. Gavin followed, and as they got closer to the holding cells, he noted that all the yelling from earlier was gone. Kevin had calmed down a bit since the car ride, and maybe talking to Connor had done that.
Turning the corner into the hallway of Plexiglas cells, Kevin was in the first one - sitting in the far corner on the ground hugging his knees. With his hood off, the kid had a head of thick brown hair, shaggy like you'd typically see in an average teenager. He looked up when the footsteps echoed closer and perked up when he saw Connor. As soon as he made eye contact with Gavin though, he recoiled a bit, pushing back against the wall like he was trying to move as far away from him as possible.
"Its fine, Kevin. Detective Reed won't lay a hand on you." Connor stepped up to the cell door and paused. "We need to do a memory probe, to confirm the events you described to me earlier. Will you allow it?" he glanced back towards Gavin a second before focusing back into the cell. The kid was still obviously uncomfortable but he was relaxing bit by bit. "Detective Reed will be a witness to make sure everything is recorded properly."
Gavin watched the kid as he looked between him and Connor. It took a minute, but Kevin sighed and pushed up off the wall, taking a step forward and holding out both of his hands. "D'ya wanna cuff me first?" at least the kid wasn't stupid.
Gavin frowned. He had not just heard Connor say no to putting handcuffs on a suspect in a holding cell. Looking to the side, and seeing Connors own frown, confirmed that yeah he had heard right.
"You're supposed to be smarter than a fucking Roomba, Connor." Gavin tapped on the Plexiglas door to make his point as he spoke. "You aren't going into this holding cell to touch circuits with some delinquent kid without some kind of protection. Android otr not, the kids getting cuffed, end of story."
"Its fine, I'm aware of the risks and I trust Kevin to behave himself."
Gavin's hand curled into a fist against the glass door and he had to take a minute to squeeze the bridge of his nose with his other hand, to stop himself from being too much of an asshole. He couldn't believe he was having this argument with a walking box of mismatched bolts. "Why, because the kids an android now suddenly its alright? Let's just ignore the last four hours of our lives."
It didn't look like Connor was about to change his mind on the matter, despite what Gavin said, which was really, really irritating. "I am hardly ignoring- you're being irrational, Detective. Kevin is unarmed and willing to cooperate. Is it wrong to try and make him comfortable as a reward for his willingness to work with us?" Connor glared at him, and Gavin glared right back at the fucking tin can, because he wasn't going to back down.
"Enough with the lovers quarrel Jesus fuck." Kevin groaned from inside the cell, dropping both hands to his side. "Can we get on with this or do you guys need some privacy?"
Gavin shut his mouth, lifted both hands in the air in defeat and marched his ass out of that hallway before he said or did anything he would regret. Like punching the Plexiglas wall, or Connor.
Fuckin' stupid ass androids not listening to reason and being all around just fucking dumb. He did a tour of the office, walked around the desks in the bullpen, combed a hand through his hair as he went, scratching at his scalp in frustration. He breathed through his nose, kicked a garbage can over and picked up the mess it made. By the time he got back to the holding cells, he wasn't a hairs length away from biting off Connors head. He was almost calmed down. Almost, and as much as he didn't agree with the decision to go into the cell without properly restraining the suspect he wasnt the leading officer on this case so.
"Do whatever the fuck you want." Connor hadn't moved into the cell yet, and was waiting patiently by the Plexiglas door for Gavin to come back. It wouldn't be following the rules if the android had jumped into the cell without any witnesses to watch the data exchange. So Gavin waved a hand toward Connor, before crossing his arms. "Come on get on with it already. I don't have all fucking night."
He heard Connors quiet sigh but didn't respond to it, just watched as the Rk800 opened the cell door and stepped inside. Gavin kept his eye on Kevin, watching for anything weird - not that he knew enough about androids to be able to tell what was weird behaviour for them. They were all weird in his opinion.
Connor reached out with his hand, and Kevin... Did nothing. The kid was hesitating, rubbing at his arm nervously. Jesus Christ.
"Its alright. You barley feel anything but a light tingle." Connors voice was soothing when he spoke like that, a few octaves below normal speaking volume and Gavin wasn't surprised to see Kevin relaxing just a little. "It works better if the both of us are okay with this." Connor held out his hand again, silently urging Kevin to take it.
It was slow, but Kevin nodded and grabbed Connors hand, the faint blue glow instant as their human skin faded back to reveal their natural white.
Chapter 12: Kevin, go home.
Being a minor has its perks.
Thank you all so much for being a part of this journey! It's far from over, I just want to remind you that I appreciate all your comments and kudos! Please never stop being awesome!
As per usual, please visit my Tumblr and leave a message Shootmewithasilverbullet
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was always strange to see something so human-like recede into something so artificial. The human skin vs. android carbon plating was.... It made Gavin feel weird watching, like he was invading on some weird moment that should've been private or something. It felt extra weird because it was Connor and some delinquent little shit.
It was even worse because memory probes? That was pretty much just reviewing a recording of someone's experiences. Which was really invasive, especially now that Androids were sentient and everything. I'd be awkward if someone reviewed a recording of his own memories like this - all his shitty life choices and the culmination of Gavin's decision making skills. It'd be nauseating to re-experience something like that himself, let alone have someone else witness the inner working of his own mind.
It only lasted a minute, maybe less than that before Connor pulled away quickly as if he'd been burned. Kevin blinked a few times like he was coming out of a haze, looking a bit disorientated. Gavin opened the Plexiglas door and guided the kid by the shoulder to the cot set against the far wall, sitting him down before the kid actually collapsed. With Kevin taken care of, Gavin turned to Connor. The android looked frustrated.
"He wasn't lying." Connor rubbed the hand he'd used for the link like he was massaging out a knot. "Someone picked him out of a crowd and gave him specific instructions. He had no choice, because-" Connor looked passed Gavin towards Kevin, who looked away, avoiding eye contact. "You were protecting them."
"If I don't who will?" Kevin mumbled, leaning back against the hard Plexiglas wall of the cell, crossing his arms over his chest. He didn't look at either of them and Gavin could see the blue tinge on his cheeks, like he was embarrassed, but Gavin wasn't sure why.
He frowned, looking between the two androids for some kind of an answer or insite. "Look, I wasn't part of your little brain-sharing experience, so care to fucking share?"
Connor nodded but didn't say a word at first. He motioned for Gavin to follow him and after another quick glance towards Kevin, Gavin fell in behind Connor, shutting the cell door tight before heading back down the hallway and out of hearing range. Connor went straight for his desk and sat down, and Gavin took the chair he'd been using earlier. "So? What's the big deal?"
"It isn't as simple as I had originally thought." Connors fingers tapped against the top of the glass desk and Gavin watched them move for a bit while the android thought. Connor wasn't usually so twitchy like this. "Kevin is part of an... Orphanage is the best term I suppose. A lot of the YK and XK child models were abandoned during and after the revolution and as children, programmed with child mentalities, they had nowhere to go and couldn't survive on their own."
Gavin's own fingers started stumming across the top of Connors desk as he listened. "Sounds like a human thing. We abandon everything when it gets too complicated."
"Yes." Connor nodded. "It didn't help that a lot of people were afraid because they didn't understand the revolution. Humanity is afraid of the unknown most of all, and having their uh.. 'walking toasters' suddenly requesting equal rights is a complete and total unknown." Connor glanced towards where the holding cells where in the back of the precinct, quiet for a moment. "Kevin is one of the 'older' models in one of the designated Detroit Homes."
"Of course." Gavin stopped tapping on the desk and leaned back in his chair, both hands rubbing at his face. He was getting tired; they'd been working since about 6 this morning and he wasn't even sure what time it was now except that it was late. "Let me take a wild guess here. Our mystery perp finds our kid Kevin the friendly babysitter and threatens him into doing his fucking dirty work."
Connor sighed, his LED blinking a continuous yellow. "Yes. Our perpetrator used the children against Kevin. Whoever it was knew numbers, even names of the individual children. Kevin had no choice but to do as he was told, for the sake of the children under his care. I saw it all in his memories."
This was so shitty. Why did it always have to be androids? Why did it have to be kids? "Can you forge these links?" at the curious look he got, Gavin shrugged. "I don't know. Can you tamper with the memories? Maybe you saw what they wanted you to see."
"No." Connor shook his head. "As the most advanced prototype to be made, I would have detected any sort of fowl play during my interface with Kevin. Since our awakening, there is a lot of emotion conveyed with our memories and I doubt that is easy to falsify." And again, Connor sighed, slumping back in his own chair. "Unfortunately besides that, Kevin knows nothing. He didn't see enough of a face to get an ID on the man and I was unable to tell whether he was human or android."
There was something else bothering Connor that he wasn't saying, it was obvious in the way the android fidgeted and Gavin figured it was about the kid. If he was being honest, he probably knew what it was and he wasn't looking forward to having to say no. Especially to Connor. Especially when he knew Connor felt so strong about this whole mess. "So what do you want to do? I did the preliminary paperwork already but this is a whole new fucking ballgame. We have to talk to RoboJesus and his posse at some point, let them know what's going on-."
"-We can't leave Kevin here."
There it was.
Gavin sighed. "Connor. No." Gavin was not the kind of cop that just released his suspects because they were sad, or hadn't meant to do any harm or whatever sob story they could muster up. He wasn't going to let Connor do any of that either. "Just because he's a kid, or an android, really doesn't fucking excuse the fact that he went into a conference hall with a loaded gun, and a knife. The intent was there whether he actually committed the intended crime or not."
Connors LED pulsed yellow with every word Gavin said, and no! Absolutely not! Gavin wasn't backing down from this, at all. How the fuck would he explain a missing suspect in the morning anyway? 'sorry my bad?' Fowler would actually destroy him after he took his badge and gun.
"The evidence speaks for itself, he's innocent." Connor was equally as stubborn as Gavin was though, which was fucking awful becuase Gavin was too tired to really fight back.
"Connor." he growled. "It doesn't work that way, you fucking know that. You've got ever single law and rule programmed into that thick head of yours, so don't tell me that this isnt against policy and protocol. Besides, I'm not letting my only suspect walk the fuck out of the precinct on his own."
For a minute there, Gavin thought that maybe Connor was quiet because he was accepting the facts and that Kevin was going to stay the night in that little Plexiglas cell at the back of the police station.
"We should drive him home, you're right. "
Gavin groaned, rubbing his hands over his face, pressing his palms against his tired eyes while he tried his best not to actually fucking scream. "Connor." Fuck, he was too exhausted for this shit.
"You can't -" Gavin dropped his hands and glared at the android, for all of three second because Connor looked so sad and something inside Gavin broke seeing that look. Oh God he was going to give in and drive his only suspect home.
"Okay." he was so fucked. "We'll drive him home."
Connor brightened up instantly at Gavin's agreement and willingness to cooperate, and Gavin knew that he wasn't going to be able to really say no to Connor ever again after this. But how the fuck was he going to explain this to Chief Fowler?
"But. Like, what the fuck are we going to do with the paperwork." Gavin slumped back against his chair with a huff. "And Fowler." He had no fucking clue what to do about this. He'd gone over all the protocols he could remember off the top of his head and nothing fit the situation they were in. It was frustrating. Connors LED blinked yellow while he thought, and for a minute Gavin was pretty sure there was no way of doing this legally. Jail break it was then. Goodbye job.
"Kevin is minor."
"What." Kevin was a what?
"His model is associated with that of a 16 year old human boy." Connor looked right at Gavin and smiled. "He isn't considered an adult at that age. Even as an android."
Slowly, the gears in Gavin's head started turning. "... We can't detain a minor without a parent or guardian, and you've got reasonable cause to aquit him of all current charges so we're rightfully allowed to drive him home." and Gavin laughed because it was stupid but it was legal and within their rights to do and it was just so stupid? All these years on the force and he hadn't tried this hard to get anyone out of jail before.
It didn't take long to find the right paperwork and fill it out properly. Connor looked it over and signed off as the lead officer on the case (because he was) and they filed it for the morning. With the legality of it all done and filed, it was just a matter of grabbing the kid and bringing him home.
Kevin was laying across the cot when they got back to the line of Plexiglas cells, and the kid sat up quick when he heard the echo of their shoes in the empty hallway. He looked surprised to see them, as if he expected them to have just left.
"I thought you guys took off for the night."
"Nope. It's your lucky day, kid." Gavin tossed the cell keys towards Connor and the android swiped the keycard to unlock the door, pulling it open. "You managed to convince our Robo Detective here that you're innocent, and he managed to convinced me, so you're free to go I guess. As responsible adults we get to take you home." Gavin wasnt going to spend ten minutes explaining the ins and out of juvenile laws to a shit head who probably didn't care. All Kevin cared about was that he was free to go.
Cautiously, Kevin stood up off the cot. "Seriously?" he glanced between the two of them before focusing on Connor - the android, the more trustworthy office, or whatever.
Gavin crossed his arms, leaning most of his weight on his right foot, waiting. "I mean, if you wanna fucking stay here then just say so."
"What Detective Reed means to say is that yes, we're going to take you home. If we need any further information from you in regards to our investigation, we'll ask." Connor held the cell door open, and Kevin approached, still cautious. Gavin didn't get why, the kid was being let out of his cell. What the fuck did he think was going to happen? Okay so what if Gavin had gotten rough with the kid before? He'd actually caught him with a loaded gun at a peaceful rally. It was Kevin's fault, really, for being so God damn sketchy.
"Could we hurry this up I'm dead on my fucking feet here." Gavin tried to swallow his yawn before it escaped him and was partially successful.
Kevin stepped out of his cell slowly, ignoring Gavin's request to hurry it up, and once he as past the door and connor had closed it behind him, did he seem to relax. Fucking finally. Gavin pushed lightly on the kids shoulder to get him moving.
The area of the city that Kevin had directed them to wasn't the nicest place in Detroit, but somehow it seemed appropriate. When Gavin thought about street kids living in an orphanage, he didn't think of a nice clean house in uptown suburbia. Androids didn't seem to be any different when it came to the level of funding they were getting from the State, if any. Kevin himself didn't say much during the ride, and he seemed embarrassed when Gavin pulled the car over infront of the old house.
Kevin opened the back door and was about the jump out of the car but Gavin turned around quick and caught his arm before he could escape the backseat. "Listen, kid." Kevin froze. "How many of you are in there?" it was an honest question. Gavin hadn't always been a detective, and as an officer he'd investigated a fair number of domestic and child abuse situations. A place like this? He wouldn't honestly be surprised if something was happening.
"Right now?" the kid leaned back into the back seat, whatever fear he had felt was gone. "Six. Four are the YK500 Models, there's one XK600 and then me. We all stick together for the most part but the girls are... Well, girls."
Gavin snorted. "Okay, and who's in charge?"
"Uh..." Kevin glanced between Gavin and Connor before looking away completely, staring at the House. A few of the lights had flicked on, someone had probably noticed the car. "No one, it's just us. We take care of each other. Since we don't need to eat it isn't a big deal and the house was empty when we found it."
God this is was going to turn into a charity case. Glancing to his side, Gavin made eye contact with Connor by accident and the look the android was giving him said it all. Yeah, this was going to turn into some kind of charity case.
"Don't worry, Kevin. Detective Reed and I will speak to Markus about this. Android or not, we can't have vulnerable children running around the streets of Detroit."
"Well. We're fine so. Whatever." Kevin pushed the car door open again and stepped out just as the front door of the house opened up. "Thanks, I think. For not keeping me in jail. If you need something, I'm usually here." and Kevin pushed the door closed, turning his back to the car and heading towards the house just as another boy came running down the steps of the front porch. Even from the car, they could hear Kevin shouting at the blond kid running for him.
With that responsibility gone, Gavin leaned back against the driver's seat and sighed. Yeah he was real fucking tired now. "Glad that's over and fucking done with." Gavin desperately needed a cigarette, something to eat, and - He sighed and glanced Connors way only to see the lip-bitting worry on the androids face. He could practically hear Connor thinking of all the things he could do to help. "Look, Toaster, worrying about all this shit-" Gavin waved a hand towards the house that was dark again to make his point. "-now isn't going to do anyone any good. Let it go, and deal with it tomorrow when there's actually daylight."
"-Hey. I'm tired, alright? I wanna go the fuck home. Didn't you bitch at me earlier this week about having a pet? Go pet your damn cat or something if you cant fucking sleep." he wasn't going to say he was jealous even though he was. Gavin really missed Gilbert.
That seemed to distract Connor for the time being and the android smiled just a little at the thought of his cat. "You're right. Can you please drive me to Lieutenant Anderson's home?"
"I mean I guess I could." Pulling away from the curb, Gavin started driving, catching Connors erratic blinking before the cars GPS fired up with what Gavin assumed was Hank's address. Great. That was a place he'd never thought he'd ever go to.
The car was quiet, the late night station playing quietly in the background mixed with the empty street, and it was just going to end up putting Gavin to sleep before he even got to Anderson's house. "So, a cat huh? I had one to."
Connor turned from looking out the window to watch Gavin instead, surprised by the conversation no doubt. Who would have though Gavin Reed would talk about cats. Gavin himself hadn't planned it, he didn't talk to anyone about his cat, least of all Connor. "What happened to your cat?"
"He got out and didn't come home."
"That's upsetting. Im afraid of that happening every time we let Sumo outside and Gilbert runs for the door."
Connor chuckled just a bit, still smiling, but Gavin was focused one something else entirely. "Sumo is Hanks dog, he's a big St. Bernard, but he's such a loving animal, and he gets along so well with everyone. Even a cat, and they're supposed to be enemies. When I brought Gil home Sumo was so good, even when he got-"
"-Back up a fucking second here." the car jerked to a stop at a stop sign and Gavin looked over at Connor, who seemed mildly confused at being interrupted mid story. Gavin's brain had just processed the first bit of information he'd gotten from this conversation. "What's the cats name?"
"Gilbert. It's not a normal name but I didn't feel right changing it."
This had to be a fucking joke. Gavin actually laughed out loud a second because it was absolutely so fucking rediculous. Connor had his cat, because who the fuck else would name their cat Gilbert except him. "You gotta be fucking kidding me." who in their right fucking mind would pick up a stray cat and keep it, except Connor?
"Is it a big fucking sassy ass Maine Coon?"
"How did you-" Connor seemed to realize what what going on because he shut up pretty fast.
Gavin was going to kill him.
Honestly I think everyone else has written more about this cat than I have!
Chapter 13: Finding Gilbert
Gavin finally gets his cat back.
Y'all are in for a treat here; I learned how to code in italics lol
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Gavin was going to kill Connor, as soon as he got his cat back because he doubted Hank would open the door for anyone but Connor this late at night.
"You've gotta be fucking kidding me. I've spent an entire fucking week looking for that little shit and he's been lounging on your God damn couch this entire time?"
Connors surprise quickly shifted to what Gavin assumed was annoyance, his LED blinking yellow like it always did when he was around. "So you are the irresponsible owner that left such a precious animal without official documentation, wandering the streets alone."
Gavin scoffed "Irresponsible owner?" he wasn't yelling, but his voice might have gone a few octaves higher than normal because of the shear audacity of that statement, his hands tightening around the steering wheel. Him? Irresponsible? "What the fuck're you talking about? He's microchipped! That's appropriate documentation!"
"He's - is he?" With his LED cycling quickly to red, Connor frowned, thinking, like he didn't believe the words Gavin had just said. "I haven't had time to make an appointment with the veterinary clinic yet... I..." The androids frown deepened and Gavin almost felt bad for him. "I didn't scan for a microchip myself, as I was preoccupied..." the key word here was that he almost felt bad.
"Jesus Christ." Gavin's head hit the top of the steering wheel and he groaned. Out of everything that had happened to him today, this had to be the weirdest. Honestly, what kind of karma did he have for his cat to have been adopted by the one android in all of Detroit that Gavin had weird, complicated feelings for? "I can't fucking believe you stole my cat."
"I- I did no such thing!"
He had no time to answer, mainly because he'd forgotten that he'd stopped the car at a stop sign and had been sitting idle for a few minutes. Someone had pulled up behind him at some point during his argument with Connor and the asshole was trying to send a message in morse code via their car horn from the sounds of it. It was really fucking annoying. Gavin moved the car, continuing down the street in the direction of Hanks house, still following the GPS directions. "He has a collar and everything, and obviously you fucking read it because you know his name."
"Had their been an address I would have returned him, Detective." Connor was starting to sound really annoyed now, and he'd enunciated Gavin's title to really hammer in just how irritated he was. "Unfortunately the poor felines previous owner thinks that he's a comedian."
"Gil's collar is fucking accurate. He wasnt lost. This is the first time he's never come back and its because you fucking stole him." Gavin took a second to glance away from the road towards Connor in the passengers seat. The androids LED was cycling between red and yellow now. "Dont try anything, Connor, I'm his current owner and this is not a custody battle."
Gavin watched the road for a few more seconds before glancing back to the android and sure enough, Connors annoyance had dissolved into sadness, his LED a solid yellow again, and without meaning to, Gavin felt really bad. Like he was actually on his way to take the androids beloved pet away from him.
Okay he kinda was, but Gilbert was his first. Gavin had had the cat for years compared to Connor's one week of ownership. No. He refused to feel bad for Connor especially when it involved his own God damn cat. If Connor wanted a cat he could go to a pet shop and buy one. Or the pound. Whatever, but he couldn't have Gil. Cuz Gavin needed him.
"It's the third driveway on your left."
Gavin pulled into the driveway behind Hanks old beat up sedan and he was out of the car as soon as the ignition was off. Connor shut the passenger side door and Gavin was already on his way to the front door. It wasn't that he didn't trust Connor, but he didn't trust Connor.
It didn't take more than a few seconds for Connor to catch up, and the android slid his house key into the lock, opening the door for the two of them before stepping inside the house. The front door lead right into the surprisingly clean living room, and right on the couch ahead of them sat Hank, dressed to impress in shorts and a grungy tshirt, with a big ass fluffy grey cat on his lap. There was a loud 'woof' from beside the couch but all Gavin cared about was that traitorous cat.
"Awe for fucks sake Connor, why'd you have to bring Reed here. I get more than enough of him at work." Hank groaned loudly and Gavin flipped him off in retaliation. Fuck him.
"I'm just here for that traitor, then I'm out."
It was quiet for a second, Hank looking between a dejected looking Connor and Gavin before glancing at the cat stretched out in his lap. "Son of a bitch, shoulda known this asshole was yours." The cat lifted his head, finally aware of the commotion around him and when he spotted Gavin he meowed loudly, tail curling up high but he didn't make any sort of move to get off of Hank's lap.
"Gil." Gavin wasn't going anywhere near Hanks lap on his own so that fucking cat had better move its ass. "Let's go buddy, vacations over."
Connor had been quiet until now and at Gavin's words, he bent down and scooped up the maine coon from his place on Hank. Cuddling the cat close, Connor brought him slowly towards Gavin. "I did a scan on the microchip and you're right, he does belong to you."
As if Gavin had been lying about this. "Of fucking course he does." He wanted to grab the cat and just leave, because honestly being in Lieutenant Anderson's house was really weird, but the way Connor was holding Gil, and the way he looked right now was actually heart breaking. It was like telling a kid that yeah you promised to go to Disney Land but now you couldn't. It was that kind of innocent heart break and Gavin wasn't equipped to handle it. Fuck. "Connor. Don't look at me like that."
"I'm not looking at you in any way, Detective. Please, take care of Gilbert." and Connor refused to make eye contact while holding the grey cat out for Gavin to take, and Gavin actually hesitated.
"Connor." Gavin grit his teeth. He wasn't going to fall for this android kicked puppy act again, because it was bullshit. Once today was enough. Gil was his cat and this wouldn't have even happened if Connor had just let the cat be. Gavin wouldn't have spent a week anxious and looking for an animal that had been catnapped.
"What do you expect, asshole" Hank growled from his spot on the couch. "He's real attached to that cat, it's disgusting to watch."
"No one asked your opinion, Old man." Gavin grabbed for his cat before he could decide to leave him behind and Gil let himself be manhandled, enjoying the attention for the time being. He bumped his big fluffy head into Gavin's chest, a deep purr rumbling from the cat. It was the best acknowledgement that Gavin had actually been missed by the feline, and he hadn't realized until now just how fucking stressed out he'd been over this stupid animal.
"Did you want the cat food we have?" Connors voice was a sad mumble "I have a few toys as well that he likes to play with." Gavin made the mistake of looking at him and his weak heart couldn't take the absolutly crushed expression the android was trying his best to hide, and Gavin felt like shit all over again.
He shouldn't feel bad. He shouldn't, but he did. He wasn't going to just give Connor his cat though. "Fuck. Fine, I guess you can visit him or some shit. Don't fucken cry or anything." it was probably a bad idea and Gavin might regret it later, but watching Connor flip form super depressed to extremely happy in the span of a few seconds was worth whatever inconvenience he'd just signed up for.
"You would let me come visit?"
Gavin's stomach twisted up in embarrassing little knots and he nodded. "I don't really have a fucking choice, so I guess." who in their right mind could say no to a face like that? Not Gavin.
Connor reached out, petting the maine coon in Gavin's arms, looking a little happier now that he knew this wasn't goodbye forever. "I will come visit soon, Gilbert. Please be good." This was also a situation that Gavin had never anticipated being in, and he was wholly unprepared for the feelings of attachment that started to twist up in his gut. The actual joy that making connor happy brought him. He could actually feel his ears heating up, which was a sure enough sign that it was time to go before he actually embarrassed himself.
He was too tired for this shit! "Alright, bye." Gavin turned, heading back to his car, cat lounging in his arms. He couldn't have gotten out of there faster if he tried.
God what had he just signed up for?
It was barely six AM and Gavin was out of bed, stumbling through the darkness of his apartment half asleep. Gilbert was on the kitchen counter, content to watch him fumble his way across the room towards the door - which was a blessing because it meant that Gavin wasn't going to trip over the little shit in the darkness.
He'd gotten to the house just before midnight after leaving Hank's and it had taken a little bit of time to get Gil settled back in before Gavin could finally get to sleep, and he hadn't anticipated waking up any time before nine AM. Joke was on him as he finally got to the door and pulled it open, barely conscious enough to even register the android waiting patiently in the hallway.
"Conn'r wh't th'fuk" he glared, but Connor didn't seem to mind. Had he actually glared though? Maybe he hadn't. Gavin didn't know what the fuck he was even doing, leaning his shoulder against the doorframe at 6 am so he didn't fall over, waiting for the stupid android to tell him why the fuck he was even there to begin with.
"Good morning, Detective." Connor sounded way too chipper for six in the fucken morning. "I realized that my routine during the last week involved spending a large amount of time resting with your cat-"
Gavin didn't wait for the explanation, just turned around and stumbled back into his apartment. He heard the door close, and footsteps following him which probably meant that Connor had let himself inside instead of leaving. Phenomenal.
" - and then I realized," God he was still talking. "while I was sitting alone with just Sumo while Hank slept, that I really missed Gilbert's company-"
"-G'night, Connor." he didn't want to hear stories or words or anything, and half asleep like he was, Gavin managed to find his bed and curl back up into it and his blankets as if he'd never left them in the first place.
"... Goodnight, Gavin."
Gavin stirred awake a few hours later, hearing the continuous vibration of his phone alarm going off next to his bed. He rolled and stretched, patting down the side table until his fingers caught the phone and he could swipe the alarm clock off. He was still tired, but he at least felt a little rested. There had been so many times before where he'd had it worse than this in the morning and he'd still managed to survive.
Gavin laid there, half under his sheets, staring up at the ceiling, smelling the coffee that his coffee maker had automatically brewed, and he debated just rolling over and going back to sleep. Fuck work, the precinct wouldn't fall apart if he didn't show up today. He rolled over, pulling blankets with him, only to feel a familiar thump on the bed, and the purring that followed. Gavin smiled lazily, reaching down with his hand to find the grey cat stretched out beside him, kneading his paws against the bed. It'd been so long since he'd woken up with Gil in the house that he'd actually forgotten the cat was home again. "Hey, you." and he was greeted with a loud rumble of contentedness from his cat and yeah, Gavin wanted to spend all day under his blankets with Gil because he'd fucking missed this asshole.
And then the burning started and Gavin didn't understand why the nice coffee aroma that had been drifting into his bedroom had changed so drastically. His coffee maker was good but it wasn't burn-your-coffee-after-five-minutes kind of good. The last thing Gavin wanted was for his apartment to burn down so he forced himself out of his bed and went to investigate. If his coffee maker had started to malfunction, he'd have to do something about it.
The bedroom doorway opened up into the living room and kitchen, kind of an open design concept, an island counter acted as kind of a separation between both rooms. The kitchen was not, in fact, on fire. Instead, the stove was smoking and a panicked looking Connor was waving a dish towel over the pan to try and calm down the burning food, his red LED a clear indication that whatever he was doing wasn't working.
"What the fuck is going on." For one, Gavin didn't know how the fuck Connor had gotten into his apartment. He didn't know how Connor even knew where his apartment was, to be honest. He didn't know what the fuck Connor was doing. Cooking? Why was Connor cooking in Gavin's apartment? Androids didn't eat, or did they? Did they get some kind of eating upgrade and Gavin just hadn't realized it?
That still did not fucking explain why Connor was in his apartment at 9 am trying to cook something and failing badly. What the fuck was happening.
"D-Detective!" Connor stopped fanning the smoking pan in favour of looking over towards Gavin, and in that moment, whatever the contents of the pan were, they burst into flames, making the android jump in surprise, and Gavin fucking swore.
"Connor what the fuck?" It wasn't like Gavin had a choice but to step in, grabbing the pan off the stove, turning the element off ( it had been on high, no wonder shit was burning ) and putting the crispy pan on an unused burner to cool. Whatever food Connor had been trying to cook was charred beyond recognition by this point and it was so smokey, Gavin had to move around the android to open a window.
Connor was leaning back against the island, probably an attempt to stay out of Gavin's way while he cleaned up the mess. "I- thank you, Detective."
Gavin grabbed the dish towel from Connor and started fanning the smoke alarm to make sure it didn't go off with all the smoke in the kitchen. "What the hell are you doing in my apartment?"
"You let me in this morning."
He'd done no such thing. "No I fucking didn't." Had he? He didn't remember doing - he'd remember that wouldn't he? How out of it had he been? "Did I?"
Connor nodded, his LED had started to cycle back to blue now that the burning and imminent threat of fire was gone. "You did. I came because I realized that my routine for the last week involved Gilbert and I..." his LED blinked yellow for a second. "I missed him. You gave me permission to visit, so I came."
The smoke had all but dissipated, so Gavin tossed the towel into the sink and actually got a chance to look around. It wasn't like he kept his place messy or anything, but someone had definitely gone over the house and cleaned a bit. How the fuck long had Connor been here? Gilbert took the opportunity of a Distracted Gavin to jump up onto the counter and Connor immediately had both hands on the cat, scratching under his chin and over his back.
"Is that okay?" Connor kept his focus. On the cat, kind of like he was afraid of looking at Gavin, like he expected Gavin to kick him out or something. "I wasn't sure if it was too early or if you required me to schedule visitation with you prior or... I just really missed him."
Gavin was not awake enough for this. "It's... fine I guess. Just give me a minute." he mumbled, leaving the kitchen and closing his bedroom door to at least put a wall between him and the android for a bit. God damn. What had he ever done to the universe to constantly end up in these situations? There was an unbelievably adorable android in his kitchen trying to cook? How was that even fair? Gavin wasn't even fully awake yet and couldn't process the entire situation, but it was bad. Bad for him.
He flopped face first into his bed and groaned into one of his pillows and just laid there, breathing. He could do this without fucking up too badly. No problem. He'd been doing good the last little bit and it was kinda nice to not be yelling at Connor all the time. He'd take Connor back to the police station and hand him over to Hank and then things would go back to normal. The Cyberlife conference was over so they could each go back to their own work and they'd never really have to see each other anymore and it would be normal.
Yeah, Gavin could so this.
He rolled off his bed and traded his flannel pants for jeans and tugged on a clean shirt, and after taking another deep, calming breath, Gavin opened his bedroom door and walked back into the kitchen. Connor was still petting Gilbert, who was laying stretched out across the counter, white belly exposed, but the android shifted his attention to Gavin as soon as the door opened.
"Here." Connor slid a full coffee cup towards Gavin, one hand still rubbing down Gil's stomach. "I was unsure what you took in your coffee so I couldn't make it. The machine was set on a timer so I assume this is part of your morning routine?"
"Yeah." Gavin grabbed the mug, warming his hands around the ceramic, watching Connors hands rub down the furry white cat belly. It was really fucking weird to be jealous of your God damn cat. "Mind telling me what the fuck happened earlier."
Gavin had seen Connor frustrated. He'd seen him angry as hell, and he'd seen him struggle with confusing emotions that he didn't quite understand. Gavin had never seen Connor flustered, until now. The android froze, his hand stoped mid belly rub and he was quick to avoid eye contact and Gavin almost died. He could actually see a blue tint creep into Connors cheeks and he had had no idea that androids could get embarrassed? Could they? Was Connor fucking embarrassed and blushing? Gavin couldn't hid his grin. This was fucking gold.
"It was nothing, just a silly idea that backfired."
"Like, literally backfired. You almost burnt my fucking house down, asshole."
If it was possible, Connor flushed a darker shade of blue. "Yes, I'm sorry. I just thought that it would be nice to thank you for letting me spend time with Gilbert, by preparing some food. All humans appreciate food, but Hank never let's me use the kitchen at home. I thought something simple like eggs couldn't be too difficult to make for a beginner like myself."
Gavins teasing had backfired about just as bad as Connors attempt at cooking had. He hadn't expected Connor to be trying to cook for him? That was... Fuck that was absolutely fucking adorable and Gavin could not handle it. Ignoring the fire and the ensuing chaos. Gavin grabbed his mug of coffee and went to the other side of the counter to find sugar because he definitely knew he was now completely embarrassed because he could feel the tips of his ears burning. Fucking stupid this was so fucking dumb.
How could someone be so bad at cooking that the food actually caught fire? "I thought androids could cook and stuff." he mumbled the question, pouring sugar into his coffee and taking his time storing it, because he could still feel his ears burning. Like fuck.
"I'm not a domestic android, I wasn't programmed with 5000 recipes like a PL600 model."
Gavin could feel Connors frustration from where he stood, and he couldn't help but laugh. "So what did you do?"
For a moment, it was quiet, and Gavin turned to see why, only to witness Connor with his face buried in Gilbert's belly fluff. "I used Google." came the muffled reply from somewhere in Gil's belly furr.
Gavin laughed a bit harder. "What?"
"I googled how to cook eggs and found a simple recipe. I am not proud, but I did it and then I nearly burnt your apartment to the ground and I still don't understand what went wrong." Connor was still talking with his face buried in the belly of the beast, and Gavin could not deny that it was really cute.
"Well." Gavin chugged the cup of coffee and set the mug back in the counter. "Good to know you can't cook. Hank coulda fucking warned me though." Gavin double checked to make sure the food bowl beside the counter was full, then tugged the cat out from under Connors face, picking Gil up and letting him go on the ground. When Conner gave him that curious look, Gavin shrugged. "He isn't allowed on the counter. Let's go Tin Can, we're already late for work and I bet Anderson's got his panties all in a twist worrying about you."
Hand on Connors shoulder, Gavin steered the android towards the door.
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Chapter 14: Six Steps Backwards
Gavin actually takes six steps in the wrong direction and everyone and their mother wants to strangle him.
Hello! Thank you so much for reading and all your continued support!
Not sure how this chapter turned out. I'm a little frustrated with what's happening so I can just imagine you are as well.
At least I'm still here writing it right?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Gavin's earlier assumption about Hank being a little upset was one hundred percent accurate. He hadn't even gotten into the precinct yet and Hank was on him. The entire scenario was too much for Gavin to handle so early in the morning, especially after the confusing morning he'd already had. He shoved passed the old man, pulling the precinct door open, and to his dismay Hank was right on his heels completely ignoring the fact that Connor was right there and all of Hank's bitching could have been directed at the android instead. That would have been too fucking simple, apparently.
It didn't take long for Gavin to reach his limit, even if he hadn't been listening to what Hank was shouting at him. By the time he'd reached the bullpen, Gavin had had enough. "Fuck off Anderson, Jesus fucking christ." Connor had been a few steps behind them and Gavin reached for him, pulling the android forward and shoving him into the Lieutenant before he could get another word out. "Yell at your synthetic fucking son! You think I invited him?? Bitch just showed the fuck up on my doorstep! Six fucking AM!"
"Y'coulda sent him back home, asshole! I was worried sick!" Hank had grabbed onto Connor, to prevent the android from falling into him, and Connor looked absolutely lost in the middle of the yelling match, being passed around like a hot potato.
Gavin barely noticed the blinking red LED on the android, choosing to growl at Hank some more instead of paying attention to Connor. "You think I was fucking awake enough that early? If you were that fuckin' worried you should put a leash on him!"
"He's not a god damn pet, Reed!"
Hank moved Connor around by the shoulder so that he wasn't standing awkwardly between them and Gavin took that as his cue to take a threatening step forward, shoving Hanks shoulder with one hand. True, Hank was slightly taller than Gavin, but it didn't matter.
"If you kept your fucking microwave oven away from me this wouldn't fucking be an issue now would it? Do me a favour and keep it on lockdown when we're not fucking working, got it? I'm fucking done with this bullshit-"
Gavin swallowed whatever else he was going to spit at Hank, and the old man reacted in a similar fashion, and they both shifted their focus to Connor, who looked flustered now that Gavin was actually paying attention to him. He looked mad, maybe upset, Gavin wasn't exactly sure, but he did get a good look at the androids solid red LED. For a second he didn't get why Connor was so upset, and then the whole yelling match came back like a ton of bricks.
Hank glared at him, but the old man refused to continue the argument after Connors interjection, instead grabbing onto Connors arm and tugging him until the Android fell in line behind him. Gavin watched them both retreat to their respective desks, and he stood in the middle of the bullpen for a full minute before turning around and throwing his coat across his desk. The leather jacket rolled off the other side into a pile on his chair as he kept walking, going around his desk and straight for the break room.
Fucking stupid. He was a fucking idiot. He leaned against the counter as soon as he got into the break room, pushing the button on the coffee maker with one finger to turn it on. He checked the filter and spent a minute filling it with fresh coffee grinds before turning the machine on and focusing on the steady drip of the coffee. It was an action that Gavin didn't need to think about, he'd done it so many times before that the motions were automatic by now. It gave him a few minutes to try and figure out why he'd gone off the handle with Hank.
Fuck, he'd said a few things that he hadn't meant to say. He'd sounded a lot angrier than he actually was and that was just it, he wasn't angry, he wasn't mad at Connor for visiting so early, he wasn't mad at Hank for being worried and protective. It was actually pretty endearing that Connor was so smitten with his cat. He was just...
"Wooow, boy. You really did it this time. Gavin Reed strikes again."
Gavin hadn't heard Tina slide up beside him at the counter - hadn't even noticed that she was even in the precinct this early and the only response he could muster was a grunt, eyes still focused on the dripping coffee. It was for the best that she was here. Tina and Chris were exceptionally good at letting him know just how much of a fuck up he was.
Tina laughed at Gavin's weak grunt of acknowledgement, but it was pretty humourless to his ears. "For half a second there I actually thought you guys were getting along, and then you had to pull out the big words. What the hell, Reed? You not a fan of progress?"
"It's not my fucking fault Hank -
"-Gavin, shut the fuck up a second, kay? I don't want to hear your shitty excuses."
He closed his mouth, eyes shifting from the slowly filling coffee pot to the woman leaning against the counter next to him. She wasn't looking at him, and it somehow made the lecture worse.
Tina took a slow breath before she finally turned to him and she held up her thumb and middle finger, flicking him hard on the forehead. She smiled when Gavin winced and recoiled back. "You're an idiot. I love ya, but you're the biggest idiot I've ever laid eyes on, and I've seen a lot of idiots in my life."
For obvious reason, Gavin rolled his eyes but didn't say anything. After all, Tina had requested he keep his trap shut for now.
"Oh! So now you listen to me!"
"Fuck off, Chen."
The coffee maker made an obnoxious snorting/wheezing noise to signal that it had finished gushing out coffee, and Gavin pulled a mug out of the cupboard, pouring himself a full cup. By the time he'd finished adding milk and sugar, the mug was practically overflowing with coffee. Tina waited for him to take the first sip, and followed him to a table in the break room, not that it was busy; they were the only ones there. Gavin leaned up against the table and sighed, he knew she was going to lay into him about what had just happened. Fuck, he wanted to bitch at himself for what he'd said.
"Go on then. Give me hell."
Instead of starting the bitch fest, Tina stared at him a second before clicking her tongue and shaking her head. "I don't think I need to say much. Gavin you're a fucking idiot but you know what? You know that already so what can I say?" he shrugged because, well, that was true. "You have your fair share of issues, I get it, we all do, but you have to stop pissing on people because of it. Y'know?"
God. This was worse. Like getting told that your parents were disappointed in you. So much worse than getting yelled at. But she was right and he knew that, but he did it anyway.
"Yeah." it was barely a mumble.
"I know you don't hate Connor."
Saying it was like pulling teeth, but Gavin managed a small "I don't."
Tina sighed, her fingers tapping against the table like she was frustrated, and Gavin knew she was staring him down like she was just waiting for him to try and argue anything she'd said so far, or anything she was going to say. But he didn't. He stayed quiet and she kept going. "So stop yelling at the poor kid. Stop yelling about him, too, because that's just as bad if not worse and you're going to give him some kind of complex. It's already hard enough for him, being deviant and learning things we've had over 30 years to learn. He doesn't need you unloading your bullshit on him."
Gavin just nodded, both hands wrapped around his mug, staring at the brown coffee swirling inside it. Tina cleared her throat when he didn't respond vocally. "I get it."
"Do you really though? Gavin, literally everything that you do says that you don't 'get it'." She was quiet a minute, giving him a bit of time to process what she was saying. "It's like you're allergic to progress. Every time you take a step forward, it's like you have to jump six steps backwards right away. I get it, you've never liked androids, but you have no choice but to deal with them now, so you have to work your shit out or you're going to get into some serious trouble soon."
As much as Gavin wanted to get mad at her for saying even half of this shit to him, it was Tina and he couldn't get mad at her. She was right about everything, he knew that, but it was easier to acknowledge that you were an asshole than it was to fix it. Gavin only had a hard time when other people were around, anyway. When he was alone with Connor, it was easier to be himself. He wasn't allergic to progress as Tina had so eloquently put it, he was allergic to how people would react to him if he wasn't the Gavin Reed they expected. He'd built up such a persona that now, after years of being the office asshole, he was worried about what would happen if he wasn't. Or like. Something.
"Stop being so scared about what people think. Trust me. If you're nice, no one's going to say anything about it." Tina Chen knew him better than he knew himself sometimes.
"I really am being a fucking dickhead, aren't I?"
"Well, yeah. There's no way of sugar coating it."
It was quiet between them and Gavin took a long drink of his coffee before sighing, hanging his head. "I said some pretty shitty things just now."
"I'm proud of you for realizing that." And you could hear the smile in her voice without needing to look at her. Cheeky woman. "I'd cry if I wasn't such a hardened policewoman"
"What a load of shit, Chen. You kiss your fiancé with that mouth?" Gavin spared a glance back towards the bullpen, only half paying attention to the officer beside him, and spotted Hank at his desk, but Connor wasn't anywhere nearby. The android must have been off doing something, or updating Fowler on what had happened yesterday, which was pretty shitty because Gavin should have been there too if that was the case. Then again, after the argument they'd had in the precinct last night, Gavin wouldn't have been surprised if Connor was asking Fowler to reasign him.
"Mmmm all the time~" she was quiet for a minute, but that quiet didn't last too long. "You know... Maybe you should try talking to him. Work out what's really bothering you. He was programmed to hunt deviants, and now he is one. You hated androids, now you like one. It's rough, maybe you both just need to really bitch at each other and get over it."
Gavin laughed, because Tina had to be telling some sort of joke. "Say what now? I what?" she did not just say what he thought she said. She really had to stop reading him right because he was going to self combust at the idea that someone had noticed that he harboured some weird feelings for the Rk800.
Tina was done with their conversation though, as expressed by her straightening, stretching, and the few steps she took towards the exit of the break room. "You heard me, Reed. Some of us actually work here though so you'll have to annoy someone else. Hopefully they charge you for the therapy session."
"Bitch." she waved as she left, and Gavin shook his head. Who in their right mind would say yes to marrying that hellion?
She was right though. Tina was usually always right and it sucked but... Someone had to hold Gavin's hand and explain slowly that he was a fucking idiot. Tina and Chris both took turns doing it, and honestly he felt kinda bad that they had to constantly remind him to be a decent human being. What was Gavin supposed to do though? Say sorry? He had already, and look where it had gotten him: Right back in the shitty dog house because he was more comfortable being an asshole than he was being a normal human being.
Gavin sighed, rubbing at his eyes with the hand not holding onto his coffee mug. There was a headache forming just behind his eyes that he hadn't noticed before now, and now that he thought about it, he realized that during all the excitement of having Gilbert back and getting the cat settled in and with how tired he'd been last night, he hadn't pulled his contacts and was still wearing them.
Maybe he'd just call it a day and go home instead of dealing with any of this bullshit.
Who was he kidding. With another heavy sigh, Gavin pushed off the tall table and heading out towards the bullpen, ignoring the angry look he got from Hank as he walked by. Connor still wasn't around, but Gavin made a point of not looking for him until he was back at his desk and could sit down.
As usual, thank you so much for your continued support! All comments and kudos are a little peice of sunshine that lights up my day!
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Chapter 15: Trying Harder
Gavin resolves to try harder.
It's been a while, I'm sorry! Had a bad case of ugly writers block and this took much longer to write than it should have. I'm really sorry for making y'all wait!
Please enjoy this chapter and hopefully the next one doesn't take as long!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Gavin ignored the dangerous looks Hank was shooting in his direction, taking the time at his desk to look over his emails while simultaneously looking around the office for Connor without being too obvious about it. He hadn't thought the android would actually be in Fowler's office, but that's where Gavin spotted him. It didn't look like a heated conversation, no yelling or anything, which was good. The chief didn't seem angry or mad, so Connor must not have mentioned anything about him. Yet. Who knew where their conversation would go in the next few minutes? He debated internally about joining the meeting for all of three seconds before he stood up and stalked towards the windowed office at the head of the bullpen.
Hank stood up from his desk as expected and Gavin lifted both his hands up in mock surrender when he got close enough to him because he really did not have the patience to argue with Hank again in less than half an hour. "Honestly Hank, back the fuck off for thirty fucking seconds here. I don't need your bitching when I'm going to walk into that room and get it a hundred times worse, alright?" Gavin hadn't expected much from Hank, but the Lieutenant seemed to agree with his logic. Of course Gavin was going to get in shit, and Fowler was the best person to hand out that shit.
Satisfied with what was promised, Hank dropped back down into his chair and waved a hand towards Fowler's office. "You may proceed, Dickhead."
Rolling his eyes, Gavin didn't say a word and kept walking, stepping up the few stairs to the glass door of Fowler's office before hesitating. Obviously they knew he was there, but neither of the occupants paid any attention to Gavin at the door, and kept up their conversation. Should he knock? Or just walk in? With the door shut he couldn't hear what they were saying, just the faint sound of unintelligible voices. After a second of thinking, Gavin's knuckles lightly tapped against the door and he waited.
At Fowler's shout, Gavin took a deep breath and pushed open the door, stepping into the room. He spared Connor a glance, and as expected, the android wasn't looking at him. Chief Fowler on the other hand, scrutinized every move he made until Gavin was standing beside his partner.
"As I was saying before Reed decided to waltz in here late like he owns the God damn building, I agree with what you've outlined in your report, Connor. Have you discussed any of this with Markus and his crew?"
"No, sir. I felt it prudent to run things by you first."
Gavin would have been lying if he even pretended to know what was happening right now. Report? What he and Connor had written last night? About the kids and the arrest? He hadn't thought that was something that needed to be discussed with fucking Markus.
Shit. "Yes." as an afterthought he added a quick "Sir." It wasn't a good idea to get on Fowler's bad side right now. More so than he already was, anyway.
Fowler shuffled with the papers on his desk for a few seconds, purposely making Gavin squirm on the spot. After what seemed like minutes he stopped and folded his arms across the top of his desk, all the while never taking his eyes off of Gavin. "I've received... Mediocre reports about your behaviour so far."
Oh fuck. This was it. Gavin kept his eyes trained forward and made damn sure his face didn't give away the mild panic that had set in. Because he was fucking panicking right now.
"Mediocre," Fowler continued "meaning not good but also not bad. You've done your job so far, with an attitude and although irritated by it, no one I've asked has really had anything bad to say about you. Yet." the old man sighed, like he'd expected to kick Gavin off of this case and wasn't getting that chance anymore. "Step up your game, Detective. I want better reviews. If the android community doesn't see the Detroit Police Department as dependable, open minded and reasonable, then we are going to have a huge problem." Fowler finally stood up, leaning forward with both his hands resting on the surface of his desk. "Get your shit together, Reed, or you can say goodbye to your career." when he pointed towards the door Gavin didn't need to hear the order to leave, he was out of the door as fast as he could manage.
Gavin went straight for his desk, arms crossed and fingers tapping against his bicep. That hadn't been as bad as he'd expected it to go. He'd expected Connor to say something to Fowler about him being an asshole, or whatever. He expected Connor to say something and... And what? He felt bad, obviously, but he always felt like shit when he was stupidly mean to the android for no reason. He wanted to apologize, but... That was also stupid. Gavin didn't think a quick 'sorry' was good enough this time. He'd said it last night after pissing Connor off, and if he just said it again, it would really just be another word he tossed around stupidly. Ugh why did this have to be so hard?
The thing was, Gavin didn't know how to fix this. He didn't know how to keep it fixed. He could apologize up and it wouldn't change the fact that tomorrow he'd go and do or say something worse and end up back in the same pit all over again. Of course he had to do something. He had to try to make it better and not just because his job depended in it. Because he genuinely liked Connor and the idea that the android hated him just... Made him feel like shit.
Gavin's fingers drummed across the cracked surface of his desk staring at the screen in front of him without actually focusing on it. After a couple minutes he winced, rubbing both eyes with his fingers, pinching the bridge of his nose. That headache was spreading and pulsing angrily behind his eyes. Maybe he should just go home and call it a day.
Okay no, that was perfect.
Gavin frowned at his terminal. If he took Connor with him, he could just kill two birds with one stone: Get rid of this Fucking headache and simultaneously make Connor happy by letting him pet Gil for a bit. God he was a fucking genius.
Shifting his stare from his terminal to farther up the bullpen where Hank and Connor where sitting at their respective desks chatting, Gavin wondered if he'd even be able to get the android away from the Lieutenant. Hank was protective, and after this morning it was doubtful that he'd let Connor go without an argument and if Hank argued, Gavin might end up repeating this mornings mistake by saying something stupid.
Gavin was anything but a coward so he pushed away from his desk, grabbed his jacket from behind his chair and stalked towards the other end of the row of desks, slowing down as he got nearer until he was stopped beside the two Anderson's. Hank had stopped talking as soon as Gavin had started to move and the old guy was about ready to jump out of his chair if Gavin so much as blinked the wrong way, and Connor was... Connor looked like he was trying to ignore him.
Well, he deserved it for being such a prick.
"Come on Tin Can, let's go."
"Go where?" Hank growled, standing up so he could try and be as intimidating as possible but Gavin just rolled his eyes. Guy was about as intimidating as his dog was and Sumo, from what Gavin had seen of him the other night, was not intimidating.
"Don't fucking start with me again, Anderson." it wasn't a threat, it was a request. Gavin hadn't walked the 6 steps to Connors desk to have another fight with Hank that would jeopardize his plan.
Before Hank could snap at him, Connor sighed - quietly; almost exasperated and it made both men shut their mouths. "Go where, Detective Reed?" Connor reiterated Hanks original question, which had the old man man smirking as he dropped back into his chair.
Hanks reaction didn't bother Gavin, because it was expected. Hearing that particular annoyed tone coming from Connor was what surprised him, and it made Gavin hesitated. He cleared his throat with a cough after a long few seconds before finally getting words out, avoiding eye contact. "Work. To work. To do work." and he did not sound like the confident, cocky police detective he was supposed to be. Not while under Connors scrutiny.
Gavin scratched a hand back through his hair and huffed, glancing towards Connor for maybe a second before looking away again. He felt bad, it was obvious he felt bad, but he couldn't come out and just say it. "Like. There's some shit we need to talk about, y'know, about this shitty case and it's none of Anderson's business so I wanna get the fuck outta this shit hole." before he did something dumb like he was prone to do when people where watching.
Hanks dry laugh rang in Gavin's ears annoyingly and he wanted to spit some kind of venom at the old man; tell him to shut the fuck up because there was nothing to laugh at, but before he could think of saying the words, Connor stood up and nodded at him. "Alright. Please lead the way."
It caught Gavin off guard, because he'd been expecting to have to fight to have Connor go with him, especially after the words he'd said this morning. He didn't know if the android somehow knew that he was sorry, or if he was just trying to avoid Hank and Gavin getting into another fight, but Gavin was thankful. Whatever the underlying reason was.
Hank wanted to protest. He wanted to bitch so bad about Connor agreeing to go, Gavin could see it in his eyes, and no matter how much Gavin wanted to react he managed to restrained himself. Flipping Hank off might have actually made Connor angry, again, and that was the last thing Gav wanted right now. So instead of reacting to the Lieutenant, Gavin lead the way out of the precinct and into the parking lot.
"Okay." he squeezed the bridge of his nose, trying to get his thoughts together, trying to ignore the headache, trying not to over think things. "Listen-"
A car door slammed nearby and Gavin swore under his breath. Chatting in the parking lot was a fucking stupid idea. It was cold and open and he didn't know what he'd been thinking, trying to start a conversation here. He shook his head and started walking towards his car.
"I said fuck it. I'm going home." he reached his car in no time and leaned an arm against the drivers side door, his brain working for all but .02 milliseconds before he looked up at Connor, who was still standing in the middle of the lot, watching him, like he was trying to figure out some kind of human puzzle. "Are you coming? I thought I said we had work to do."
Connor frowned, obviously confused by the destination. "At your apartment?" his LED flashed yellow for a second before it cycled back to blue and Connor looked back at the building like he was confused about why they had to leave but Gavin wasn't about to reiterate the lame excuse he'd used 2 minutes ago.
"Well I'm not fucking going to Hanks. Once is more than enough for me." Gavin's fingers drummed accross the roof of his car while he waited for the android to make up his mind and move his legs all the way across the parking lot, but he didn't budge. Gavin sighed. He didn't blame Connor for hesitating. "I've got a killer headache, alright? And all the shit I need is at my place. Are you coming or not?"
Gavin watched Connors LED blink yellow a couple of times before the android finally nodded, and Gavin couldn't help but grin, pleased with himself. It was like a small victory; They weren't even close to being friends, and Gavin kept doing and saying stupid, shitty things and it was honestly a surprise when Connor agreed to anything Gavin said. If their roles were reversed, Gavin wasn't sure he'd be as trusting as Connor was towards him and honestly Gavin liked it.
Not that he was going to do something weird??? Fuxk no he just... Didn't want Connor to be angry or mad or anything at him and if he had to sacrifice his cat to make the guy happy then he would. It wasn't even a question. You know. Not actually sacrificing Gilbert just letting Connor get all touchy feely with the animal. Lucky fucking cat didn't know how good he had it.
Gavin rubbed his face with both hands and dropped into the driver's seat before Connor could catch a glimpse of just how red Gavin's ears probably where. They felt hot, that same heat crawling up his neck and he was probably about just as red as a fucking lobster. Fucking christ, when had he turned back into the eleven year old kid who'd just entered puberty?
The passenger door shut tight, making Gavin flinch at the sudden sound, and he could almost feel Connor watching him. "Is everything all right, Detective?"
"Yup." he started the car, turning the radio up. "Just that headache."
The ride wasn't long with the mild mid morning traffic, and there wasn't any talking in the car. Gavin made sure of that by keeping the radio on loud. He had to fucking calm down and listening to whatever annoying pop hit had made it to the radio this week worked wonders. By the time he parked, all traces of that embarrassment were gone. Once they were actually in the apartment, Gavin scooped up his cat wordlessly (he wasn't currently letting Gil outside) and handed the feline to Connor, who was more than pleased to receive the armful of fur.
"Enjoy." and Gavin locked the bathroom door behind him.
The contacts were out quick and easy and he spent a few rediculous minutes rubbing cold water over his face, as if it would make him feel better, faster. He'd done worse than leaving them in for 24 hours before, so this was nothing new but just putting contacts right back in, even if they were fresh ones, wouldn't make his headache go away. It'd only make it worse; blurry vision, irritation, that same headache would get worse. This wasn't Gavin's first rodeo though and not wearing the contacts would cause too many questions, so after a few minutes to let his eyeballs breathe (because weirdly enough they needed to do that; breathing eyeballs.) Gavin poped in a fresh set, blinked a few times to set them properly, then downed an couple extra strength Advil to hopefully get rid of his headache or at least make it manageable.
In all honesty, Gavin didn't think Connor would be anything but curious if Gavin suddenly had blue eyes. He'd have questions, sure, but wouldn't go farther than that, especially if it made Gavin uncomfortable, which it would. Connor was a better person than most people were, and Gavin really honestly liked that about him. Adored that quality in him, which was so weird for him. Connor was some kind of gay epiphany. A sudden realization that he'd never noticed before that yes, the boy next door; smart, curious, and good, was a serious turn on and he really should not follow this train of thought right now because wow. Too much and he was going to get worked up again and fuck.
God what the fuck was wrong with him.
After dunking his head in the sink and the running cold water until he'd nearly drowned, Gavin finally left the bathroom only to find Connor laying on the floor in the space between the kitchen and living room, on his back, with Gilbert stretched out across his chest. The giant grey Maine Coon looked as if he were resting on a throne, eyes half lidded and a deep purr rolling from his chest as Connor rubbed his furry cheeks.
"Wow, what a sight you two make." it was fucking adorable and Gavin could honestly not take this. Connor was hell bent on destroying his sanity, by just being himself. God he was so fucked.
Instead of retreating back into the bathroom like he wanted to do, Gavin sat on the floor by Connors head and tried to breath through the intense embarrassment his own thoughts had caused him.
"I didn't want to move your things off your couch so the floor was the next best thing and Gilbert really enjoys stretching out." Connor didn't need to explain because Gavin knew his own cat. The animal was as happy as a clam laying across Connors chest, his paws kneading into the androids jacket slow and lazy.
The fact that Connor knew these little things about Gavin's cat was really... Almost too much. How many people had tried to ignore the cat that was so important to Gavin's life? Sure, Gavin didn't have many friends, didn't try and get with many people, but he was picky, and it was rare for people to appreciate someone else's animals. Tina and Chris liked Gil, obviously, and that's why Gavin liked them so much. But besides that no one treated the cat like Connor did, besides Gavin himself and it was absolutely amazing to see.
"Okay look," he rubbing a hand through his damp hair and sighed, staring at the floor, trying to figure out exactly what he wanted to say. "I really fucked up this morning with Hank. I didn't mean what I said when I was fuckin' yelling at him, okay? I don't know why I said any of that, probably just to make him mad, I dunno, I wasn't really thinking." kind of like how he wasn't really thinking now, just spilling out everything that was bothering him. "Anyways what I mean is that... I know I said sorry last night for being an absolute asshole and saying it again really makes it mean less but. I am. Sorry. For being an asshole. All the time."
It was quiet, save for the loud purring, and Gavin stared at the floor he was sitting on. He didn't look up when the cat huffed at being moved around when Connor sat up, and he didnt get impatient when the only sound that followed was the resumed purring when Gil found a comfortable position in Connors lap after thge android had turned to face him.
"It's not fine-"
"-but you're trying. I can see that. It's why I didn't say anything to Cheif Fowler today. You are indeed an asshole, Detective Reed, but you're not as bad as you were before." the smallest chuckle from the android had Gavin looking up and Connor smiled at him. "I accept the apology for this mornings mishap."
Relief poured through him and Gavin breathed again. He hadn't expected Connor to accept the apology, but he had, with the assumption that Gavin would continue to try and not be such a Dickhead. Honestly he didn't deserve that.
Gavin waved a hand in front of him, almost dismissing the question. "You don't have to keep calling me Detective. You know my name."
And Connor smiled again and it was radiant. "Alright, Gavin."
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Chapter 16: No one ever likes a good idea
No one ever likes hearing a good idea. Also panic. And also maybe some plot? Yay
I'm sorry if this one isn't as interesting to read *dramatic shrug*
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Alright, tell me again. What's the point of bring all of this shit to Markus?"
Gavin leaned forward in the plush chair he was sitting in, scrolling through the many pages of files attached to the arrest paperwork from yesterday, not looking up from his tablet. Connor had migrated from laying on the floor to laying on the sofa, still with Gilbert resting across his chest and the last time Gavin had looked, the android had his eyes closed, petting the length of the cats back. He was probably going over the files in his head, or however that worked for androids, and Connors LED blinked blue at Gavin's question.
"Because we aren't finished working with him. One conference was not the end of the partnership between Jericho and the DPD, and he will want to hear about what happened with Kevin. Markus will also want to know about the rest of the children, so he can help them. It isn't right that they've been abandoned."
Point taken. Gavin tossed his tablet onto the coffee table and leaned back into the leather chair, a hand coming up to rub at his eyes. He sighed, loudly, because fuck if he was not just loathing another meeting with Markus and his lackeys. Well... Maybe Gavin didn't mind Simon and Josh, and North was so irritating he couldn't help but like her.
Right so it was just Markus he couldn't stand being around. "Fucking great."
"I know, I know." he held up both hands, giving up the fight before it started. "So besides knowing there was a mastermind behind this little stunt, we're still stuck at square one."
Connor nodded and even from the angle he was at, Gavin could see the light of his LED cycle yellow. "Correct. I've already put in a request with the Waterview to be permitted access to their security footage but I doubt our Mastermind was actually attending the conference, and we already know what happened there."
"Yeah I don't think we'll see anything new." Sighing, Gavin scratched a hand back through his hair. "So what, we present our lack of findings to Android Jesus and kinda just look like idiots?"
"I really wish you wouldn't call him that."
"Not gonna happen." There was no chance in hell Gavin was going to give up the nicknames he had for the Jericho crew. Connor wasn't going to take that away from him, at least not yet. Gavin was a free man and he could give anyone he wanted a stupid nickname. Even Markus.
Connor sighed but thankfully let the topic slide. Gavin one - Connor zero.
"Presenting this information won't make us appear incapable of doing our jobs. The evidence isn't there so how could we find it? Markus will understand. The only thing we can do is wait for this criminal to make another move."
"And hope we catch on quicker this time."
A nod. "Hopefully. I'd hate to see another child used like Kevin was."
"You know..." Gavin scratched at his jaw a second before reaching down and picking up the tablet he'd discarded a few moments ago. The files from Kevin's arrest were still on display and he scrolled through them with his thumb. "Maybe the kid can help a bit more."
"Gavin." Connor actually stopped petting Gil so he could focus all his attention on Gavin.
Funny, but even though Connor was using his name as a way of chastising him, Gavin like hearing it come from the android. He held up a hand to stop whatever argument was coming before Connor could continue. "Hear me out a second!" of course Connor wasn't going to even think about using the kid. That was way too diabolical for the android to even consider. "Its not like I'm gonna fucking get the kid into some trouble, I'm just saying. If he was picked up once already, what's stopping our perp from using him again? If we get the kid to retrace his steps, maybe our mastermind'll show up."
Connor frowned, but he was petting Gilbert again, and the Maine Coon had resumed his purring obviously forgiving the android for his momentary laps in attention a few seconds ago. "I'm not sure I like this plan." his LED was spinning yellow, to prove just how much Connor didn't like this plan.
"It isn't the best idea I've ever had, but what else do we got? We have a perp that isn't keen on getting their own hands dirty and uses kids instead. We don't know what the end game is. We don't have motive, just wild guesses. We have literal fucking zero. If you don't like my idea, that's fine." Gavin pulled himself up off his chair, heading towards the kitchen. He was pissed, sure. Connor was entitled to not liking his ideas but he wasn't giving Gavin's plan any thought at all. "You figure out something better." he was frustrated about the situation as a whole. Gavin was a damn good detective, and being on a case where there was no trail to follow didn't sit well with him especially when he knew there was some bad dude out there waiting to try and hurt someone else. If Kevin was their only lead, he didn't see any other way around the situation except using the kid. Carefully.
Silence followed him into the kitchen as he moved across the apartment, and the creak of the couch was the only sign that the android had moved at all. Gavin heard the thump of his cat jumping onto the floor, but didn't otherwise look away from the fridge he'd opened. There wasn't a huge selection of anything in the refrigerator to look at, but Gavin wasn't looking for anything in particular. "How about we talk to Markus and then decide what to do."
Compromise, even if it made Gavin want to hit something. Maybe Markus would agree with his idea. He doubted that.
"That's a sound idea. He may have some better input in regards to the situation."
Gavin huffed. "Fucking doubt it." he turned around just in time to see Connor actually roll his eyes at Gavin's comment, which in turn made the Detective grin just a little. This was actually really nice, working on something together despite how frustrating it was to have no leads to go on. Talking to Connor like this, without the animosity felt really good. Almost as good as it felt to hear Connor say his name in an annoyed kinda way.
Gavin leaned forward against the island counter separating the kitchen and living room, his fingers tapping fast against the countertop. "Y'know..." Gavin didn't look up staring at the counter when the couch squeaked as Connor shifted on it, probably turning around to look at him. After a second Gavin just shook his head. "Let go find your Messiah buddy and get it over with."
Connor didn't say anything about the nickname this time.
Honestly Gavin didn't know why he thought Markus would agree with his idea. They'd packed up their paperwork and headed to Jericho HQ around lunch time. Connor had insisted on making something to eat as a thank you to Gavin for letting him hang out with Gilbert while they worked, which was cue to leave because Gavin valued his apartment and didn't trust the android to be able to make a sandwich without burning the place down somehow. He had to lie about not being hungry before Connor let them leave the house.
Now Gavin was starving, sitting in the main room at the JHQ, extra pissed because no one seemed to think it was a good idea to use their only source of information. Markus seemed to think that Gavin was only okay with the idea because Kevin was an android, but fuck him to the moon and back that was not the reason at all. Forgive him for being confident in his ability to actually protect his bait from the bad guy.
Apparently referring to a 16 year old android as 'Bait' was also not appropriate in some civil circles.
For fuck sakes he just wasn't winning any points today.
"We may not have any positive leads," Markus looked pointedly at Gavin when he said that, like he was silently reiterating that they weren't going to use children. "but we still have work to do. The conference at the Waterview Loft was a success and we've managed to make strides with Cyberlife."
Gavin shifted in the couch legs spread comfortably. The seating arrangements were similar to last time they'd come here, with North, Simon and Markus on the second couch, Josh on the chair and Gavin and Connor on the other couch. Markus wasn't sitting though, he stood up a while ago and was pacing by the window, and North had left soon after they'd gotten there for some kind of important business out of the office.
Gavin was actually mad at North more than Markus. He'd expected her to at least agree with him on the Kevin dilemma, but she balked at the idea when Markus said his peace. Fucking figures.
"We've got another meeting planned in a few weeks, which gives us all time to prepare." Markus turned his back to the large window so he could face both the Detectives in the room. "I'm looking forward to it. I don't have details yet, but I'll have them sent to you as soon as we have them so you can begin preparations."
Gavin watched Connor nod at that, watched how Connor focused on Markus and latched into every word he said. Obviously Connor paid attention to him too, but Connor never had the rapt focus he did now. This was solely a Markus thing and God it pissed him off. Honestly what was so special about Markus? As far as Gavin understood it, he'd just been in the right place at the right time.
"What's so fucking special about this meeting?"
Markus smiled and Gavin rolled his eyes. "Because we're getting somewhere. It's not just us against a world of humans who won't listen. They are listening now, and paying attention, and it's showing." Markus walked from the window to the couch and sat down next to Simon, lacing his fingers with the blond androids and pulling their held hands onto his lap. "We're meeting farther up the ladder now. Right at the top." You could hear the excitement in his voice as he spoke.
Gavin barely heard the next part, too focused on watching the insignificant interaction between Markus and Simon. The gentle touches, how easy it was for them to slip into something intimate with people around. PDA wasn't new, you saw it all the time but these were androids. Big walking computers with programs and wires and it was weird to see them touching and feeling and being... It was really weird to say romantic when he was referring to androids, but that's what it was. And it wasn't new, because he watched them do it before.
It wasn't that Gavin didn't know they were people. He knew they were functioning, feeling, and practically completely human besides the colour they bled. But.
It was weird.
It was like they had a better understanding of being human than he did. And Gavin hated it.
"-ski and I have a few ideas that I'd like for him to provide input on. And perhaps he has ideas about what we can do with the growing-"
"-Wait. What are we talking about?" Gavin leaned back, scratching at his cheek and avoiding eye contact with all the androids in the room, trying to hide the embarrassment of missing part of an important conversation because he was lost in thought.
"Detective you're supposed to be paying attention." Connor chastised quietly and Gavin waved him off.
Markus cleared his throat, but Simon was the one to reiterate what they'd been talking about just now, trying to hide the small smile that twitched at his lips. "Cyberlife is sending their top dog to meet with us next. Markus is very exited to meet him, you know, because-"
Gavin interupted Simon as soon as it clicked in his head who they were talking about "-Kamski's coming?" he stood up before realizing it, arms crossed defensivly over his chest. Shit. "Why Kamski?" shit.
Markus glanced at Connor and the two shared an equally confused shrug. "Why? Because Mr. Kamski is the one responsible for the vast majority of our coding. He can help put into motion services that will help countless androids adapt to the world and that's just a tiny peice of what we could achieve with him on our side."
Gavin laughed sharply without meaning to and started pacing back behind the couch he'd been sitting on. He couldn't help the anxious feeling that had set in his gut. This was what he'd been worried about. "Awesome." This was what he wanted to avoid, and here they were. Fucking great. It was bad enough his half brothers face was plastered all over the tv, now he had to actually see him? In person? Fuck.
"Is there a problem, Detective?"
Shit. He could not lose his cool here. Androids knew these things; they could scan people, see heart rates and stuff and if Gavin panicked they'd know about it and the last thing he wanted was to be asked questions about why his reaction to Elijah Kamski was so strong and negative. Breath Gavin, breath. Just because Elijah would be at this new conference didn't mean he'd have to actually talk to the guy. He hadn't seen the CEOs Markus had met with the other day so why would this be different? Elijah wouldn't care to meet the security detail.
"No, no problem." carefully, Gavin rounded the side of the couch and sat down, keeping his breathing even and calm, even though his pulse was going off like a fucking drum at a rock concert. "That's just a big deal. Colour me fucking impressed."
He wasn't sure if anyone was fooled but the conversation continued and Gavin felt like he could breath again for now. Even if he ran into Elijah mid conference, it wasn't like he'd make a scene. Elijah knew how Gavin felt about their relationship, and it wasn't good. They hadn't actually talked to each other in years and this wasn't going to change anything. Elijah Kamski was still an intolerable asshole and Gavin wasn't much different, and if push came to shove, he'd tell that to his face. Again.
It was another hour before they could leave. Connor, Simon and Markus went over ideas on how to handle the kid-droids that had been abandoned since the revolution and Gavin didn't have too much input because he wasn't a kid person, didn't know how to handle kids at all, and didn't want to. It gave him a lot of time to think, though.
Gavin spiraled when he had time to think.
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Chapter 17: Change of Luck
Someone please give the trash man a child.
Also, is that a plot or something?
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
By the time Gavin dropped Connor off at the station, it was almost 4pm. He'd managed to convince Connor that he just wanted to go home and do some of his own research on what Markus had sent them both about the next conference. He didn't think Connor 100% trusted him when he said that, but he hadn't given the android reason to think he was lying so there wasn't any argument when he left the building. Truth was, fuck the files Markus sent them. Gavin had more important things to look into.
It took half an hour to get to the other side of town and an extra 7 minutes to navigate the side streets before Gavin pulled up in front of a house that he'd only seen in the dark the other night. It didn't look like anyone was home from the look of things, but Gavin figured he could at least try and see if Kevin was around. This was important, after all.
Gavin slammed the car door shut before heading up the walkway towards the front of the house and didn't get halfway before the front door cracked open and one of the kids peaked out.
"Hey, it's fine." he held both hands out in front of himself, like he was trying to calm down a skittish animal. "I'm with the Police Department. I'm looking for Kevin. Is he home?" There was no sense scaring the kid.
The door opened a little wider and a blue eyed girl, probably about 8 with her brown hair in pigtails nodded at him slowly, suspiciously. Kudos to her for not trusting a stranger right away. "What do you want with Kev? Is he in trouble?" she was probably one of the four YK500 models that Kevin had mentioned lived here too, though you couldn't tell just by looking at her. It was fucking scary how real the android kids looked and acted but Gavin guessed that was the whole point. At least the adult models had LEDs to tell them apart. Or... They used to.
Focus on the kid, Gavin. He waved off her question to try and ease the tension a little. "Nah, I just wanted to ask him a few questions. No trouble at all I promise." she seemed to think it over a second before nodding and pushing the door open all the way; an open invitation into the house. Gavin walked the rest of the way towards the door and stopped in front of her.
She wasn't ready to let him past her and he wasn't about to force the issue. "Do you have a badge?" she stared up at him, bright blue eyes curious and innocent. Really, who'd abandon such a cute kid?
"Yup. You wanna see it?" she nodded her head quickly, smiling excitedly and her whole demeanor brightened up instantly and Gavin couldn't help but laugh. Android or not, kids were kids. "Why don't you tell me your name?" She excitedly told him her name was Veronica, but everyone in the house called her 'Vee' as he pulled the badge clipped to his belt off and handed it to her. She was definitely cute, that was for sure. Vee admired the Detective badge, while simultaneously leading Gavin into the house and through a few rooms towards the back, and strange enough they didn't run into anyone else. There were six total living here - that's what Kevin had said, right? Where were the rest of the kids?
The house itself wasn't in too rough of shape, it was furnished modestly, with old couches and things you'd get off the side of the road when people were tired of it. Not dirty by any means but definitely not new. The room off the entryway that they'd gone through looked like a living room, but the house was big enough that there was probably more than one. All the rooms look dived in, with toys and books and whatever else scattered around in some kind of organized chaos befitting a house full of kids and no real adult, and Gavin really wondered what Markus could and would do for these kids. Vee stopped him in a dining room, a big table stretched the length of the room with books and papers scattered across the top of it,and eight chairs pushed into it.
"Stay here. I'll go get him." Vee handed back his badge after rolling it in her hands a few more times as if she enjoyed the texture on her palms, then disappeared through another door.
With nothing else to do, Gavin stepped around the table, flipping through a few papers but they weren't anything important; Drawings and short notes to each other. Household tasks and chore lists and a lists of things they needed for the house. There wasn't much noise in the house, just a few giggles nearby, probably from the other girls that he hadn't seen yet and he had to wonder if they were watching him. He might have heard a bit of music but Gavin could barely hear it so he wasn't too sure. He could tell when Vee got to Kevin because there was a big clatter and the stomping of feet running across the floor upstairs, followed by the sound of someone practically running down the flight of stairs before the door behind him opened.
Gavin turned around, waving. Kid probably expected Connor to visit, not the guy who'd roughed him up during his arrest. "Hey, Kevin. Sorry for stopping by I just have things I wanted to talk about." Gavin glanced past the oldest android towards the door, half open with a curious little face eavesdroping.
Kevin nodded and turned quick, opening the door before the girl could react. Vee squeaked in surprise and Gavin could hear her little feet and giggles as she ran away, probably to find her sisters if he had to guess. It was cute, the dynamic between them. With her gone, Kevin shut the door tight. "Sorry about her, they're all really nosey. Is Detective Anderson...?"
"Sorry kid, just me today. Connor was... Busy."
"You mean, like, he doesn't know you came here?"
The kid must have seen some kind of guilt on Gavin's face to come to that kind of conclusion. "Anyways," Gavin cleared his throat "I came here to see if you can help, more than you already have." explaining his plan in not so many details to Kevin didn't take too long, and by the end of it the kid was sitting down, arms crossed and staring at the table. "So you're the only lead I got."
Kevin was quiet, and Gavin guessed if he had an LED it would have been pulsing yellow, at least, Connors would be. He wasn't about to pressure the kid though, seeing as he'd already done too much to Kevin already and bullying him wasn't going to get him the cooperation he wanted.
"I... I get it. I do, seriously. I'm really sorry, Detective."
Fuck. "It's fine." Gavin sighed. He figured this was what the answer would be but it was still disappointing to hear. "I thought I'd at least give you the option. You have the other kids here to look out for." he scratched his chin and dropped back against the wall of the dinning room. "Think about it though okay? I'll leave my number here, and you can call me, for any reason not just this one."
Kevin nodded, finally looking up from the table. "Thanks. I want to help you, I really do, but getting in shit once like that was enough for me. I don't know how the girls would manage on their own, you know? If anything happened to me I mean. They're androids, yeah, but they're so small."
"Hey, I get it. Kids need you and I'm not going to demand your cooperation." Gavin push diff the wall and took the fee steps around the table towards the closed door. "If you see or hear anything, you call me, okay? There's a chance someone might try to use you again." he hesitated by the door, pulling out his wallet and finding a card with all his information printed on it. "Here." Gavin passed the card to Kevin. "Keep it in a safe spot. That cellphone isn't a work number so it won't tie back to the station if you're in a bind."
"Thank you, Detective." Kevin stood, following Gavin through the house quietly. He only piped up again when they reached the front door. "You know, you aren't half as bad as I thought you were."
That made Gavin laugh a little. "Don't fucking tell anybody. I have a reputation to keep." he slapped Kevin on the shoulder and pulled opened the door, catching sight of a bit of blond hair at the top of the stairs before he left.
The clock on his phone was steadily creeping towards 9pm and Gavin hadn't done much of anything. The information Markus had sent didn't have any mention of a location, just notable people that would be attending, and Gavin already knew enough about the Cyberlife bastard to not need to research any more than he had. Without a location, he could come up with a security plan, and without any leads, he wasn't investigating or writing any reports. Gilbert was stretched out across the couch beside him and Netflix was playing some new feature film they'd come out with, but the volume was low and Gavin wasn't exactly paying attention to it.
He didn't know what to do with himself. He should have just gone to bed so he could get up early, but even that didn't look like it was going to happen. He reached a hand up under his glasses to rub at his eyes and groaned, leaning farther back into the couch. Gil made a sound beside him, mimicking the movement and rolling over a bit himself so his belly was exposed and ready for attention.
Gavin took the hint and started scratching at the pale underbelly. "Should I pick something else to watch?"
The cat rumbled a purr, both his front legs stretching out as Gavin continued to pet him.
"Yeah, this one's kinda shit." Gavin reached for the remote on the coffee table, which earned an annoyed huff from the cat, because obviously moving had disturbed Gil in a terrible way. Gavin sat back just in time to catch the cat before he could skulk off to another corner of the room. "Don't be a dick." he scrubbed the cats for head against his own before setting him down and Gil curled up beside him once again as if he'd realized the kind of effort it would take to move across the room.
That was around the time his phone buzzed. Gavin grabbed it, expecting a quip from Tina about the comment he'd left about the new embroidered jeans she'd just bought, but it wasn't. An unknown number, and a simple 'Meet me at Starbucks on Ernst and Young. I want to help. 20 mins.'
Gilbert leapt off the couch about as fast as Gavin had, both of them surprised. Fuck. Had Kevin changed his mind? He grabbed a pullover that was hanging over one of the chairs in the kitchen and went for his shoes at the door before backtracking to the bathroom to change his glasses for contacts. He'd kept this gig up since he joined the precinct, and wasn't going to stop now. He blinked the new lenses in properly before darting back for his shoes, simultaneously sending a confirmation message to Kevin. Gavin paused at the door, debating whether or not he should involve Connor in this.
No. Connor had already told him that this was a bad idea and Gavin did not need to be reminded of that every seven seconds. He'd tell Connor about this when he found something usable.
Gavin was out the door barely two minutes after getting the first message, pulling his leather jacket on as he booked it down the hallway and it was radio silence all the way to the Starbucks downtown. He hadn't heard anything since message one, and there were only a few stragglers left in the Starbucks. The store would be closing soon, but Gavin found a table next to the door and claimed it, stretching out in the steel chair. He didn't see anyone inside that even sort of looked like the android he was waiting for and there weren't many people on the streets outside. Three more minutes of waiting and still nothing. No messages, no one had come inside, and the staff was starting to give him dirty looks as they tried to close up shop.
Five minutes to closing and Gavin was about to get up and leave when a body slid into the chair across from him.
Before he could say anything, the kid was already talking, blond hair poking out from under his beanie. "Look, just buy me a vanilla bean frappe and you've bought my cooperation."
"And who are you?"
"C'mon, Detective!" the kid pointed towards the baristas already trying to close up shop. "They're gonna close any second! I'll explain as soon as I got my drink okay?"
What the fuck was even going on. Gavin got up and for whatever reason, he went for the counter and dealt with the annoyed baristas and ordered this weird sugary, vanilla thing. As soon as it was made, he held it over the kids head until they were out on the street, and still refused to hand it over.
"Gonna fucking tell me who you are?"
"Wyatt." the kid growled, trying to reach for the drink Gavin was holding but not getting anywhere. Sure, Gavin wasn't that tall, but he was much, much taller than this little shit.
"Okay that doesn't tell me anything."
"Ugh! You're insufferable! You sounded way cooler at the house."
Click. "You're the XK600 that lives with Kevin?"
"Bingo, hot stuff, now gimme my drink." Wyatt reached for the cold drink again only to have Gavin hold it up higher out of reach.
"I'm not a fucking babysitter, kid. I left my number for emergencies. Cold drinks don't count as emergencies." Gavin was annoyed. Here he'd thought he had something, a lead, and again he'd ended up empty handed. He just couldn't catch a break.
Wyatt scoffed and stopped reaching, shoving both his hands into the pockets of his denim jacket. "I know. I was listening to you talk with Kev, and I get it. He's worried about what'll happen to the girls and doesn't want to do anything to get himself or them into trouble."
After a minute of silence, Wyatt started walking down the sidewalk and Gavin easily kept pace. "And. And and and! I don't know! Want to help! Kev jumped in for me, because I was the stupid one. I talked to the guy first. Kevin took over to keep me out of trouble. I know just as much as Kevin does." the kid had to be uncomfortable because he was trying to bury his face as far into the neck of his jacket as he could. "So if Kevin won't help you out, I will. Because I want to protect them just as much."
"You're like, ten."
"Fuck you old man I'm at least 12, older because it's been a few years since I was activated." and just to prove how mature he was, Wyatt stuck out his tongue.
"Real mature for your age, I can tell." Gavin shook the frappe just out of reach "What's the drink for?"
"I like them."
Well that was just fucking rediculous. "You're an android."
Wyatt rolled his eyes. "Are you really a Detective?" this time, he managed to grab onto the cold cup and Gavin let him have it. He wasn't sure what exactly to expect when Wyatt started sipping it. He'd never seen an android eat or drink before, unless it was Thirium. "What? Adult android models aren't made to mimic human behavior like we are. XK and YK models are designed to do everything a kid can do, including eat. I don't need to, but I like it."
They rounded a corner and kept walking, Gavin stuffing both his unoccupied hands into his jacket pocket. "Well. I guess you learn something new every day."
"You do! I'm the best lead you'll get on this case, too, you know." Wyatt bounced ahead, turning on his heels so he could walk backwards while sipping his drink, grinning up at Gavin. "Ask me how. C'mon."
Gavin laughed. "Alright, how are you the best lead I have?" he wasn't going to mention that Kevin, and now Wyatt, where his only leads.
The kid gave a cocky little half smile. "Because I saw where he went after he talked to Kevin."
Just like that, Gavin stopped in his tracks. "What?"
"Yup." Wyatt nodded, proud of himself. "Kevin left real quick after they talked, guy was real spooky; had a hood and a scarf, you couldn't see his face at all. Ever. He always shows up like that. I get that it's winter but that's a little over kill you know?"
"-Anyway! So Kevin left real quick, I'm not sure exactly what they talked about but that's not the important part." Wyatt sipped the last bits of his drink and Gavin swore it was on purpose to make him wait.
"And?" he was getting impatient.
"And! So I sneak after him down the street, a few alleys, and he ducks into this building that probably hasn't seen people in years and off goes the hat and scarf."
Gavin actually held his breath. This was it. The lead he needed. "And?"
The kid shrugged, tossing the remains of his drink into a nearby trash can. "Nothing. It was too dark to see much of anything ."
He was going to strangle this kid. "For fucks sake Wyatt-"
"Just wait! I'm kidding okay, I did see something!" the kid held up both his hands like it would stop Gavin from being mad at him. "I wouldn't come all the way out here for nothing I swear!" Wyatt tapped the side of his head on the spot where he should have had an LED. "He had one. Detective, he had an LED and it was white."
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Chapter 18: Is this called Stalking?
This is what happens when your partner keeps secrets from you. Don't piss off your android partner okay?
Connor POV finally!
Y'all deserve so much of Connors perspective and I'm sorry I don't give you enough of it! But enjoy this one!
Also super sorry to the people I've scared off because of OCs because *shrugs* what else can I do
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Connor prided himself on his capability to adapt to all sorts of situations, but his partnership with Gavin Reed was really starting to wear him out. Hank was easy to work with; Connor could anticipate him fairly well by now and even when he couldn't the Lieutenant was practical in his decisions and Connor could easily adapt. It was not so easy with Gavin, and it wasn't his working habits that were the problem, it was his personality. It wasn't all bad, there had been many times were Connor actually enjoyed their time working together, and then something would set him off and the person Connor had thought he was getting along with wasn't there anymore.
It was confusing and so unlike anything Connor had experienced with any other human he'd worked with or had become friends with over time. He didn't understand the switches in Gavin's personality and honestly it would be less confusing if he didn't shift so suddenly from one extreme to the other. If Gavin was an asshole all of the time, fine. Connor could deal with that, he could adapt and adjust his own reactions so that they'd be able to work together properly for the remainder of their working relationship and part ways afterwards. It wouldn't be comfortable but he could do it.
But Gavin wasn't an asshole. At least, Connor was almost one hundred percent certain by now that he wasn't. He could be and he was, but the asshole wasn't actually Gavin Reed.
Connor actually liked the not-asshole Gavin and he wanted to strangle the asshole Gavin.
It was a complicated relationship, and even Connors advanced programming and insight on human behavior couldn't decipher the complex whirlwind that was Detective Reed.
He'd mentioned it to Hank, but only once. Hank had scoffed at the topic and had warned Connor not to think about it too much and that the partnership would be over soon enough and that they could both forget the entire ordeal had ever happened.
It hadn't been a good enough answer for Connor.
Suffice to say, Connor was annoyed and it most definitely wasn't an emotion that he enjoyed feeling.
The situation was frustration because from what Connor had seen this last week and a bit of working together, Gavin Reed wasn't as bad a person as everyone seemed to think. He took his job very seriously, though he had anger issues that sometimes made his decisions awful, but he did try his best. As much as he insisted he hated androids, he could still care about them as seen during their first conference when he'd insisted Simon and Josh wear all of their safety gear just in case something happened. Little things that Connor had seen Gavin say and do confirmed is theory that the Detective was just putting up a front, though his initial feelings regarding androids were probably very real. Connors theory was further confirmed when Connor discovered he'd accidentally picked up Gavin's cat. That entire situation could have gone in a different direction than it had but Gavin had chosen to do a nice thing by letting Connor visit.
And then the apologies, and the very clear (if not a little rough) attempts Gavin made at being civil and nice while they continued working together.
Yes. Connor was very frustrated.
To the point where it was affecting his work because he was supposed to be going over this floor plan and he'd been looking at it for an hour at the very least and he hadn't actually processed anything from it. Connor closed his eyes and tried to clear his head, only to hear a sigh from the opposite side of the table.
Connor opened his eyes and stared at the Detective across the table as Gavin swiping through his tablet and the CEO files there. The very reason for Connors drifting thoughts was right in front of him, and Connor was ninety eight percent sure that Detective Reed was hiding something from him. How did he know that?
Simple, even a child could figure it out.
Because Gavin Reed did not give up on something he thought strongly about especially when it involved his job. That much Connor knew about the man, and he knew that Gavin thought his silly idea about using a victim as bait was a good idea.
It was a good idea though, but it was also extremely reckless and without more information on who they were searching for, it was far too dangerous. Connor couldn't agree to the idea even if he knew it was all they had.
And then Gavin had dropped his plan so quickly after getting another no from Markus and Connor was very suspicious of that. Gavin wouldn't conduct his own investigation and leave Connor out of the loop, would he? Connor watched the Detective across the table, his fingers drumming across the top of the desk and decided that yes, he most certainly would.
Connor blinked, focusing on Gavin's face, making eye contact with him. He hadn't realized that the Detective was paying any attention to him at all. "Yes?"
"I got a question for ya." Gavin pushed himself back in his chair and shifted until he was comfortable again, still eyeing Connor, the tablet on the table completely forgotten for the time being. "Can you eat?"
Again, Connor blinked curiously because the question had come completely out of no where and for a moment, he wasn't sure exactly how to react. Eat? They were sitting in the precinct, in a spare board room which was completely void of food or drink or anything that would make you think about eating. So Connor frowned to express his confusion. "Are you hungry, Detective?"
Gavin mimicked Connors frown from the other side of the table. "That wasn't my question, dipshit."
"But your question doesn't make sense unless you're asking it because you want to leave. Please, if you're hungry-"
"For fuck sakes Connor." Gavin groaned loudly, obviously deeply annoyed and Connor was still confused as to why. "Stop fighting me and answer the fucking question!"
"No. I can't eat. I wasn't designed with the capability to do so. All androids are without the ability to injest food as it wasn't deemed something we needed to be able to do and the space required for a synthetic stomach was alocated for more important processing hardware. Why?"
It was only a moment, but Gavin looked thoughtful before he waved off Connors own question and went back to looking through his tablet. Connor wasn't stupid however, and he had an entire archive of all of the android models that had been created up until today and he could filter specifics in seconds. All of the models who could in fact eat were classified as child android models manufactured within the last three years. They were all models that they had recently been given access to thanks to Kevin and his make-shift orphanage. Connor had been right. Gavin was doing his own investigation and in so doing was putting the lives of androids on the line. It was irresponsible. It was rash and stupid and-
"Nothing. Do you want to continue this or would you rather call it a day? It's been a few hours already and I doubt we'll get anymore work done today."
Gavin stood, as anticipated, and Connor watched him stretch as if he were tired, but his scans showed no such thing. Heightened adrenalin, but not tiredness or lethargy. If anything the Detective was feeling anticipation, excitement, perhaps a little apprehension. Yes of course he'd promised not to scan the Detective, ever, but having Gavin lie to him outright was warrant to void that verbal contract. Connor kept his face unassuming and focused on the floor plans he'd been reviewing all afternoon.
Gavin yawned. "That's a good idea. I'll catch up with you tomorrow tin-can."
And then Connor was alone. He stood quickly and gathered the tablets they'd been using and was at the door to the boardroom in moments. He opened the door a crack, peeking out until he spotted Gavin, jacket in hand, heading around the corner towards the back parking lot of the precinct. As soon as the coast was clear Connor slipped through the door and bolted down the hallway, skidding to a stop beside Hank's desk long enough to trade the pile of tablets for the car keys Hank kept on his desk, simultaneously searching for a driving instruction manual to download.
"Connor what the fuck-"
"I'm really sorry Lieutenant!" he was already halfway towards the back door as he yelled, truly sorry for not being able to let Hank know what he was doing, and especially sorry for taking Hank's only means of transportation away from him so close to the end of the day but Connor had very little time on his hands. He would have to message the Lieutenant later and explain when he wasn't in such a rush. He hit the sidedoor open with his shoulder and was just in time to see the bumper of Gavin's old car turn the corner.
Hanks car was close by and it was only a few seconds before Connor was in the driver's seat, keys in the ignition. He'd never driven a vehicle before, but shifted the old sedan into gear easily enough, following the protocols of the instruction manual. When he pulled out into the street, the other car was only a few lights ahead of him and Connor made sure to stay at least a few cars behind to avoid detection. He'd learned that trick from some of the old movies Hank liked to watch and it was proving to be useful information.
Come to think of it, Connor hadn't ever followed someone in a car before now, not even as a passenger. None of the car rides with Hank had entailed chases or any kind of stealth. Today was turning into a day of firsts. Although... Gavin couldn't have had any idea he was being followed, could he? Why would he suspect anything? It wasn't as if Connor had done anything to outwardly make Gavin suspect he knew what was going on. There was little reason to doubt himself, but Connor was finding it easy to do.
Doubt was another emotion that Connor was not enjoying since becoming deviant. It crept up on him at the most inopportune times and made him question himself.
Chasing Gavin around town didn't last very long, nor was it as exciting as the movies made it out to be though Connor was glad for that. They wove through the back streets of downtown until finally Gavin parallel parked his car on the street and got out. Connor waited a block away watching and not quite ready to leave his vehicle yet as long as he could keep an eye on what his partner was up to. Gavin disappeared inside a coffee shop and for a moment, Connor considered chasing after him on foot because there was a 41.76% chance that Gavin knew he was being followed and had used a back door in the shop to avoid detection, and the longer Connor thought about that, the higher his own stress levels were getting. He had the car door open, ready to exit when Gavin came back out of the Starbucks with a drink in hand. Connor shut the door, inhaling deep to try and calm his own nerves down. It was absolutely unbecoming if him to be over reacting like this.
Connor made a preliminary scan of the area to try and calm himself down, which revealed a mixture of humans and androids on the streets, though none of the androids were of the correct model types for children. The drink Gavin had bought and was not injesting was a sugary mess with absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. The drink was the most curious part of this situation seeing as Gavin drank coffee as if it were water, and although he did put milk and sugar in it, it was definitely not as sweet as the monstrosity he was holding onto now. Connor had observed Detective Reed for a while and hadn't categorizing him as having a sweet tooth. The answer to his question didn't take very long to appear.
Stepping out right in front of Connors parked car without noticing him, was a child. At first, Connor didn't pay attention to him until the boy made a run across the street straight towards the waiting Detective. He was without an adult, and looked no older than twelve, and he greeted Gavin in a familiar, somewhat playful manner. Connors scans revealed that although this was not Kevin as he had originally thought it would be, the android child matched one of the models that lived in the same home. Gavin and the XK600 spoke for a minute and Connor wished he could hear what they were saying before Gavin handed over the drink, purposely messing up the boys blond hair.
It was wrong to feel annoyed by what he saw, Connor knew that but he couldn't help it. He had been working with Detective Reed for weeks already and had made very marginal progress with him. The Detective wasn't as hostile as before, but he still had his moments. Connor was fighting for every inch of his working relationship with Gavin and once again it clearly wasn't enough. He hadn't been bothered much when Gavin had acted kindly towards Josh and Simon, because Gavin's hostility towards Markus had overshadowed it and Connor had just been glad that the Detective wasn't being an asshole for once. When the complications had been sorted out, Gavin had been fairly kind towards Kevin as well, and now this new android boy. There was no way that Gavin didn't know that this boy was an android, so what was it? What was Connor doing wrong to earn his partners scorn?
With his stress levels rising steadily the more he thought about the issue, Connor tried to focus on the task at hand. He didn't need to worry about opinions or dislike or anything like that in order to solve this mystery; he simply had to watch.
When the two turned a corner and out of sight, Connor left the car and followed. He didn't feel the crispness of the air, but he acknowledged it. His boots crunched loudly in the snow and his breath puffed out in clouds. It would be difficult to remain undetected for long with the noise he was making thanks to the environment, but for the moment, he was fine. Connor rounded the corner and stopped suddenly when he bumped into a solid object blocking his path.
"What the fuck are you doing, Connor."
Connor blinked a few times, noticing that he had walked right into the slightly shorter Detective, and that Gavin did not look pleased. The child stood a few paces back, sipping his sugary drink as he watched this even unfold.
"I- What a surprise seeing you here Detective Reed."
The child made an amused snorting noise. "That was smooth."
Gavin frowned, the look on his face clearly saying that Connor had been caught and couldn't lie his way out of this. "Are you following me?"
He said nothing for a moment, calculating his options for the best result, eyes flicking between Gavin and the child, before finally sighing. There was little use in attempting to hide his actions, seeing as Detective Reed wasn't stupid and would most likely figure it out himself easily enough. The truth, then. "You were hiding something from me, and I needed to know what it was. I figured it had something to do with baiting our suspect, and I see that I was correct." Connors eyes flicked towards the child, and the boy looked away as if knowing he was getting in some kind of trouble. Which he was. Connor would need to chat to the boy about his survival instincts.
"And you couldn't have fucken asked me?"
"Would you have told me the truth if I had?"
Silence as Gavin stared right at Connor, before he looked away as soon as he realized that no, he probably wouldn't have told the truth. The Detective sighed, scratching one hand back through his hair, a sure sign of his defeat. "Fuck, fine. You win. Connor, this is Wyatt."
"Hi." The boy shuffled closer, "You're Gavin's partner, huh? Nice." Wyatt's grin surprised Connor, about as much as the boys playful elbow into Gavin's ribs did. "Why'd you leave him out? He's probably got some really cool police upgrades, right?? You can do cool scans, amiright?" he shuffled a few steps closer, looking Connor over as if he'd catch some kind of glimpse of the upgrades he'd just spoken of, which confused Connor a little. What did he expect to see?
Gavin rolled his eyes, obviously annoyed.
"I do posses specific upgrades in order to successfully complete my work, however that isn't the--"
"--Rk800 model, right? I looked it up, a while ago actually, and it's really awesome all the stuff you've been doing, like, did you actually help Markus with his revolution? Because I read-"
"Okay fucken enough of that." Gavin grabbed into Wyatt's shoulder and started steering him down the street, the same direction they'd been going before they caught Connor stalking them. "We were doing something, remember? This isn't the time to gush about your weird boy crush, alright? "
"Fuck off! I don't--"
Well, this was certainly going to be an interesting extension of their investigation. The child was endearing, oddly enough and despite his earlier thoughts, the boys relationship with Gavin was... Connor wasn't sure on what word to use for this. It was progress, at any rate. Connor followed after Gavin and Wyatt, interested to see exactly where they were headed and why it was such a secret.
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Chapter 19: Teamwork
And they actually earn a paycheque this chapter.
I'm so excited for this chapter and I hope y'all enjoy it too! Ty for all the comments and kudos so far!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The warehouse was dark despite it being mid afternoon outside, and like the thinker he was Gavin had forgotten a flashlight. He had one, in his car where it was being so fucking useful right now and he was thankful someone had invented smartphones, and they had flashlights that worked almost as well as the real thing. He flipped the light on and used his phone to illuminate the building at least a little as they walked in.
Wyatt had moved up behind Gavin before they'd entered the building and was currently holding onto the back of Gavin's coat and Connor trailed behind a few steps. So far, there wasn't anything crazy that Gavin could see in the immediate area besides the bits of ceiling that had caved in, and a lot of forgotten crates and boxes. The splashes of sunlight from the holes in the roof did nothing to light up the warehouse either. On the ground the debris was all over the floor in stacks, but there was a straightforward path winding through it which was pretty fucking suspicious of you asked him.
"You see this, Connor?" It didn't sound like there was anyone in the building, there'd be an echo of someone moved, but Gavin still whispered just in case. He'd rather surprise someone than have someone surprise him and with how dark it was, any precaution was worth it. You know, ignoring that their flashlight was a dead give away on their position. "Someone's been in here a lot."
Connors boots crunched against the ground as he followed, his voice equally as low as Gavin's was. "It could have been made by anyone. The building isn't exactly locked up tightly." true fact, the three of them had just walked in without having to break any doors or locks. "Can I ask why we're taking the child with us?"
"My name is Wyatt."
Gavin just grinned, because the cheeky brat was really starting to grow in him. "Yeah, his name is Wyatt." like that was answer enough. Honestly Gavin didn't know why they were taking the kid along, it was dangerous sure, but leaving him outside to wait for them was just as dangerous in Gavin's opinion. There were a hundred different scenarios and this was just the one he decided was the best one.
He weaved carefully around a stack of debris, kid still clinging pretty tight to his jacket. The winding path through the junk on the floor was opening up into a larger area not so cluttered up and Gavin's phone wasn't doing a very good job of lighting up more than a few paces ahead of him. "Where'd you see this droid, kid?" the darkness was making him anxious because anything could be there waiting, he neither he or Connor had vests on. One gunshot and either of them could be dead.
This was such a bad idea Gavin was starting to regret it, and he was so much less mad at Connor for following him here. It would have been ten times creepier without the rk800 behind him.
Wyatt point ahead of them into the darkness that the phones flashlight hadn't reached yet. "Over that way, up ahead." and when Gavin tried to keep walking, the kid pulled him to a stop with a fierce tug on his jacket. "I haven't looked around much, cuz it's real creepy but I know there's an upstairs too. So like. Just be careful. I think people uh... Live here sometimes."
That just made Gavin laugh quietly. "Obviously. Just stay behind me. Con?" Gavin didn't wait, just handed his phone back for Connor to grab and with both hands free he unclipped the safety from his shoulder holster, pulling his gun free.
When Gavin nodded, Connor cleared his throat. "Detroit Police. If anyone's in the building, come forward." the three of them stood quiet, listening, but there wasn't a sound besides the grunting of the old iron building around them. "Last chance, if anyone's in the building make yourself known."
Not a sound, so Gavin took a careful step forward, boots crunching loudly in the dirt and scraps littering the floor. Three, four, five steps and he was passed the bulk of the debris and in the open, too dark to see more than a few paces ahead of where Connor was focusing the light. Con was pretty good at shining the light in the direction that Gavin was pointing the gun though, which made it a little easier, less nerve wracking. He took a few more careful steps forward, trying to ignore the rising anxiety, and paused when the phones light caught the edge of something that wasn't a box or shit from the ceiling. It kinda looked like-
"-Is that a chair?" Wyatt whispered, hands gripping Gavin's jacket tighter if that was at all possible.
"I thought you said you looked around in here." Gavin hissed back, not taking his eyes off the chair and the immediate darkness around it.
"I did but I was kinda scared and-"
"Could we have this conversation when we're outside of the building and clearly out of danger? Focus, please." Connor took a step ahead and Gavin followed him, gun held firm in front of him in case something jumped out of the shadow. The chair coming into view. It was an old wooden kitchen chair, and a box propped up on its side next to it like a table, bits of scattered items across it.
When they were close enough and no one seemed to be around, Gavin felt his shoulders relax a little and he breathed out slow to calm himself down. "Nothing but old smokes." he nudged a make shift ash tray with the muzzle of his gun, frowning when the contents sloshed around in a disgusting mix of tabacco and water. There was no telling if this belonged to their suspect or not, which was a clear piss off, but it had been here a while, days maybe?
"And alcohol." Connor moved the light to the ground, nudging a few empty beer cans with his foot. "I'm not so sure any of this belongs to our suspect. My initial scans show human DNA and finger prints all over the items here."
"Yeah. Agreed. Keep moving." Gavin took the lead again, stepping around the chair and moving slowly into the areas they hadn't had a chance to explore yet. For the most part there wasn't much else around the main floor of the warehouse, just that creepy single chair, but Gavin did find a set of rickety stairs up to the second floor. He stepped up, and was pulled backwards a bit roughly by Connor. "Hey-"
"-Let me lead, Detective."
It wasn't like there was room for argument there,not that Gavin wanted to argue this time, so he stepped back and let Connor take the stairs first, shining the light up as far as possible. Gavin kept his gun trained ahead of them, ready to fire should it be required. The light didn't quite reach the top from where they were on the bottom step, but it did light up the steps upwards and none of them seemed to be broken or missing. That was always something to celebrate. With the kid behind him Gavin didn't exactly want to find another way up to the second floor.
The climb was slow, one creaky step at a time and once or twice Gavin thought a stair was going to give out under them but nothing actually broke and they made it to the second floor unscathed. It was a little brighter up there, closer to the darkened warehouse windows but they still needed a flashlight to make out any of the details around them. Connor stood still at the top of the steps, the light from the phone traveling up and down the walls and across the floor like he was taking in all the details, though, all Gavin saw was crusty walls and rusty floor bits all over the place.
Gavin had his gun up instantly at the word, both hands tightening around the grip of his Glock, safety off. He didn't see a spot of blue anywhere the light was shining, but he trusted that if Connor saw it, it was there. And if there was Thirium all over the walls, then that meant there was an android nearby. Or had been here. "Where?"
"All over." Connor waved around them with his hand like he was trying to show exactly where he was seeing it. "It's... Old. Most of it is anyway. You wouldn't be able to see it as it evaporates fairly quickly but my scans can detect the faint traces." He knelt down as if he was looking at something that Gavin couldn't see, before sticking his finger into his mouth after swiping it over the ground.
"Connor what the actual fuck."
"Im analyzing the Thirium."
Oh, was that all? Gavin laughed and it came out a little higher pitched that he would have liked to admit, a sure enough sign of his discomfort. "With your fucking tongue." He hissed, absolutely grossed out because that was fucking nasty, but he was also totally turned on and he didn't fucking know why because that was gross and you know what it was probably just Connor licking his finger that did it and Gavin was so... He was absolutely screwed. This was the worst time in history to get a hard on like what the fuck Gavin. He could feel his face burning up and he was so fucking happy that it was so dark in this stupid warehouse because God. This was embarrassing.
Stuck on the second floor of a creepy ass warehouse looking for a stupid android terrorist and he's got to adjust his pants as subtle as possible so the kid clinging to his back doesn't notice. What the fuck was he doing with his life.
And Connor, bless him, kept up his analysis or whatever he as doing without any inclination of the issues his partner was having at that moment. "I'm a walking forensics lab, Detective Reed. Yes with my tongue." he even sounded annoyed like it wasn't the first time some had reacted like this to him. Oh, Gavin was pretty sure no one had reacted like this.
"Cyberlife must think they're really fucking funny." Who the fuck decided that was a good idea? Licking shit like that? Fucking Elijah, Jesus Christ he would do something like this and Gavin was standing there uncomfortable as hell because fuck. Don't think about it. Creepy warehouse. Scared child.
And from behind him he could feel Wyatt tugging his jacket. "That's so awesome." the kid whispered, obviously stoked by the whole thing.
He needed to focus on something else so Gavin cleared his throat. "Hey, can you see the Thirium?" he directed the question to Wyatt. Changing the topic was never a bad idea.
He felt Wyatt shake his head against his back. "No. My sensors aren't programmed to work like that. Definitely not that advanced. It kinda sucks."
It took a minute or two before Connor stood up again, and even in the dark Gavin caught the frustrated look on his face, the blinking yellow - red - yellow of his LED. He kept staring at the walls, like they had answered he couldn't find. Connor was focused. "There are only a few models that I can detect. Old ones, but there's one strain of Thirium that doesn't match any of my data."
Gavin had to clear his throat before he spoke. "Which means?"
"I'm not sure yet." Connor sighed, finally turning away from the walls to look at him and the kid. "It could be nothing. After all, Wyatt didn't say anything about anyone being injured."
"Right. No one was hurt. At least not when I saw this guy."
Gavin mimicked Connors sigh. Just fucking great. He rubbed a hand over his forehead, frustrated. "So it's a dead lead then." Just their luck to have shit all on this stupid case. "So what now?"
Connor turned the phones flashlight down the second floor hallway, lighting up a few doorways ahead of them. "We should look a little more. All this Thirium makes me think that there might something here, whether it pertains to our case remains to be seen."
"Like a Red Ice lab or some shit. That'd be fucken great."
"Please don't joke about that, Red Ice Labs are usually rigged with explosive traps when no one is around."
Wyatt whimpered from behind Gavin and Gavin couldn't help but laugh, because he was pretty sure this wasn't a red ice lab. "It's not a red ice lab don't worry kid. No one's gonna blow up."
Gavin took the lead again, slowly making his way down the hallway with Wyatt at his back and Connor coming up beside him with the light from Gavin's phone. It was still eerily quiet when Gavin paused at the first of two rooms. He didn't have to do more than look at Connor for the Android to start moving, leaning up against the wall beside the door, and once Gavin nodded, the android pushed the door open slowly. Gavin had his gun ready when he stepped inside, doing a quick sweep of the room to make sure no one was hiding in it. It was empty.
Old boxes and broken furniture littered the floor, everything pushed up against the walls to make room in center, but Gavin couldn't tell why. When he glanced at Connor, he shrugged. "There isn't a single trace of Thirium in this room." Gavin paced the length of the walls, looking through the debris, nudging some stuff out of the way with the muzzle of his gun but there wasn't anything but trash in here, a few thin and dirty mattresses piled on the ground in a corner. Squatters slept up here.
"You think one of them might know about out guy?" Gavin pointed at the mattresses, glancing back at Connor, who shrugged again.
"Perhaps. It will be difficult to catch one of them, seeing as they fled so quick when we arrived."
"Squatting's illegal though. Of course they ran we announced that we were police." Gavin mulled over their options but there weren't many. They'd have to come back in a few days and see if anyone was around so they could question them. "Hey, were there other people here when you followed that guy in?"
After a second Wyatt shrugged, mumbling quietly. "I dunno."
"You don't remember or-?" Gavin glanced back at the kid and Wyatt avoided looking at him, staring at the ground instead. "Hey, what's the matter?"
Again, the kid shrugged, eyes focused on the ground, kicking at some scraps round their feet. "I dunno. I didn't really look around I just saw what I saw and left really quick. If I wasn't so scared I coulda looked around more and helped out more or something but I didn't." Wyatt's grip on Gavin's jacket tightened. "I just feel stupid like, why are we even here? Like we're not gonna find anything of course the guy cleaned up his shit. He obviously isn't stupid."
Ah fuck. Gavin knelt down so he was just a bit shorter than Wyatt and ruffled up the kids hair a bit until the brat was annoyed enough to push his hand away. "Look, kid. It happens alright? Getting scared of a place like this isn't something you should beat yourself up over. Not having all the answers isn't something you need to be upset about." finally, Wyatt looked up from his staring contest with the floor and Gavin grinned. "Pretty sure you already know that you're my first big lead on this case. That stuff about our guy being an android? That's really important so whatever we find or don't find here, just remember you gave us that much, okay?"
When Wyatt nodded, Gavin gave his cheek a pat with his free hand and hoisted himself back up, turning around in time to catch Connor watching him. Was he smiling? "What?"
"Nothing. We should continue, there's one room left." and the android was first out of the room.
Gavin sighed but followed, Wyatt on his heels. He found Connor standing in front of the closed door to the next room, looking frustrated.
That was interesting, and also worrying. Sure they could bust the door open, but if it was rigged with something, like a trap bomb or something similar, it'd be real fucking dangerous. Nothing had been trapped so far, but there wasn't anything to trap, and they didn't know enough about this perp to know whether he'd even consider it. From the look on Connors face, he thought the same thing.
"You think it's worth it to go in?"
Connor hummed, his LED blinking yellow as he looked over the door with the phone light, inspecting it, scanning it, whatever. "It doesn't look like the door was rigged, but I can't analyze the other side of it. There's also traces of blue blood on the handle." Connor bit his lip while he thought. "There's a 67.2% chance the door was tampered with. I cannot ascertain what type of trap may have been used, if one was set up on the door."
"Good odds, let's do it." Gavin would take the chance triggering a trap just to distract himself from the image of Connor biting his lip because fuck if that didn't hit him right where it was most uncomfortable.
"What-" Wyatt squeaked and didn't move when Gavin did, standing rigid by the door they'd come out from. "Gavin-"
"It's fine, Con, go watch the kid."
"Honestly Gavin I don't think this is the best course of action-" Connor spoke as he moved though, standing in front of Wyatt in case something did go wrong and the door actually exploded.
Gavin just laughed, shaking out his arms and holstering his gun for the moment. "It'll be fine." and he didn't wait, just kicked at the door with as much force as he could.
Except "Fuck." Gavin squatted down and dropped a sleugh of curses and groans. Oh that had hurt a bit. God damn that had hurt a lot. "Aaah fuck me."
"Gav, It didn't open."
"Thanks kid I hadn't noticed." Gavin stood back up slowly, not quite ready to admit how much that had hurt, and still was hurting, and he waved Connor over. "You try." not that he was expecting much from the android. If Gavin couldn't kick it open then he doubted Connor could.
Gavin moved stiffly away from the door, favouring the leg he'd used on the door because it still fucking hurt, leaving Connor some room to work in. The android seemed pretty reluctant to do as he was told to but he did move into the space in front of the door. "Honestly, Detective, this is a really bad idea." Connor sounded exasperated by this point.
"It's fine it didn't explode so we're good." Gavin stopped beside Wyatt and leaned back against the wall just to give his leg a bit of time to recover.
Connors LED was pulsing red by this point. "I don't think that's how it works."
"Connor kick the fucking door down already!"
It was clear that Connor wanted to do no such thing, especially when he had so many valid arguments but he did it anyways. His boot connected with the door and the steel hinges bent off the wall and the door opened hard enough that it swung all the way around and slammed into the wall. Nothing happened besides that. No explosion, no home made nail trap or anything. And standing there in front of the now open door, Connor just glared at Gavin like he was the reason Connor was breaking rules.
"You did it." honestly, Gavin was surprised. "Wow." both him and the kid made their way to the now open room and Connor found the flashlight on Gavin's phone again and stepped inside. Gavin followed a step behind him, pulling his gun from his shoulder holster before following Connor into the room.
"Yeah." he didn't need to be told. He took a step backwards and turned, steering Wyatt out of the room by the shoulder and around the corner. "Stay."
"I'm not a dog-"
"Wyatt I said stay out here." and Gavin was serious and it carried in his tone. The kid shut up pretty quick and nodded a few times that he understood the instructions. With that done, Gavin stepped back into the room.
It was just as dark as the rest of the warehouse, just as cluttered with junk and garbage, except the only difference was that there was a body in the middle of the room and Gavin didn't need the light from his phone to see clearly. Connor had moved around the front of it, kneeling down and observing it in some way, and Gavin slowly made his way around. The walls were lined with makeshift desks, though there wasn't anything notable on them and no drawers to sift through, no paperwork. Coming up to the front of the chair, and the body, Gavin frowned.
It was an android, or at least half of one. Head and torso intact, but the rest... This was probably where all the thirium had come from. The synthetic skin he was used to seeing was no where to be seen, leaving the white shell that made up all androids. There were cuts and holes and other wounds all over the torso, and wires that even Gavin knew didn't belong on androids were sticking out at odd ends. It made his stomach sick.
"What do you think?" Gavin didn't know why he was whispering, but he was.
Connor didn't move from his spot in front of the android, eyes focused on the peices in front of him. "It's an old AP300 model, at least he used to be."
"And that means...?"
"He's been altered, to an alarming degree." finally, Connor stood up, looking around the room again before settling his eyes back on what was left of this android. "Judging by how corroded the thirium is, he's been here for at the most one week but the damage is much older. These lesions here," Connor pointed at the deep wounds near where the androids left arm had been. "these were made 24 days ago."
Gavin exhaled "Shit."
"The limited scans I can do here show that the AP300s has had many alterations to its programming as well. Overrides, things I can't be certain of yet." Connor frowned, and Gavin could tell he was troubled by this. "He suffered a lot before being left here. His shut down was logged two days ago."
"Fuck. You think this has anything to do with our guy?"
Connor shook his head. "I don't know. I can't be sure. Can we leave?"
Thank you all again for your continued support and continued reading!
Chapter 20: A little distracted
The downtime in between finding a body and figuring out all the bullshit paperwork, all while managing a child.
Bonus: Connor POV!
THIS TOOK SO LONG??? I'm so sorry! As an apology, you can have this nonsense were I indulge myself and my love for this smol child.
Sorry, we will be back to your regular scheduled program at some point.
Honestly it's chapter 20 and there's a smidgen of plot do you guys expect anything more from me but this?
As you might already know, I'm deeply grateful for all your comments/kudos/support!! You guys are amazing and I really appreciate you sticking by this bogus fic for so long!!
THIS IS PROGRESS THOUGH RIGHT??
(if you find mistakes, just know I missed them in my haste to get this to you asap!)
Connor paced the hallway on the second story of the abandoned warehouse, LED blinking yellow as he dialed the familiar phone number of one Lt. Anderson. He had agreed to call for backup, thankful that the task got him away from that room and what was hidden inside it. Connor didn't scare easily, especially not while he was working a case, but something about that body, what was left of it, it felt like the Thirium inside him had turned to ice.
Hank answered on the first ring and Connor had no chance to greet him, the Lieutenant was already yelling.
"What the fuck Connor! I've been calling you for over an hour! Do you know how to answer a fucking phone?Where the hell are you? You don't even know how to fucking drive and you're stealing my car - my car! What was I supposed to do? Jesus have mercy, Connor, you're going to give me a god damn heart attack."
Connor waited patiently until he was sure that Hank was finished yelling. He didn't take the words to heart, after all, the Lieutenant was only worried about him and it wasn't as though Connor had given him any reason not to be worried. He'd also ignored over 20 calls from Hank in the last hour and twenty minutes. "I'm very sorry, Hank. I didn't have time to talk until now."
"Are you... Are you at least alright?"
"Yes, I'm fine." Connor found himself nodding even though he knew Hank couldn't see the action. "We do require some assistance, however. I've sent you a preliminary file, if you could forward that to Captain Fowler I would appreciate it. We found a body."
Hank sighed loudly, but the pause in speaking probably meant that he was checking for the information Connor had sent to his terminal. It wasn't long before Connor heard the Lieutenant grunt, probably looking over the photos that Connor had attached. "Shit, son. What are you doing in an old warehouse?"
"It's..." Connor hesitated, glancing towards his partner and the child just a bit further down the hallway. He couldn't help but notice the distress in every move the boy made from his strained smile to the fidgeting of his fingers. They'd taken precautions to keep the body from Wyatt's view but Connor guessed the boy knew what was happening even if he'd never caught a glimps of it. "It's a relatively long story and I don't have the time to explain right now. Can you please speak with the Captain?"
"Alright, alright. I'll talk to Jeffrey and get a few guys together and head your way."
"Thank you, Hank. See you soon."
The call ended and Connor carefully made his way back to where Gavin was crouching beside Wyatt, and they both focused on him as he approached. Gavin stood, arms crossed in a defensive stance if Connor was any judge. Or... No. Gavin was uncomfortable.
"So? Backup comin'?"
"Yes of course. I spoke briefly with Lt. Anderson and he'll make sure the Captain is aware and the proper units are dispatched. We only have to wait a little longer." Connor watched Gavin nod, and avoid eye contact, and it seemed rather strange behaviour for Connor to witness because the Detective was usually so self assured but he didn't have a chance to ask anything else because after a quick glance towards Wyatt, Gavin nodded his head to the side. It was a human gesture for Connor follow him, so he did. They didn't go far, just a little down the hall and out of the boy's range of hearing.
"So..." Gavin figited with his hands before hiding them in the front pockets of his jeans and Connor wasn't sure what was wrong. The Detectives stress levels were high, but they'd just found a body so that was a relatively normal reaction.
"So?" Connor didn't quite understand if Gavin was trying to cue him on something and he just wasn't understanding it, or if there was something Connor was blatantly missing. Either could be possible - he was getting much better at reading people lately, but there was still a long ways for him to go.
Again, the Detective glanced back at Wyatt, as if he were worried the boy would disappear, before he focused back on Connor. "So, I'm worried about him." he kept his voice low, presumably so they wouldn't be overheard.
That got Connors full attention though and he looked up quickly and did a quick scan of the XK600. Nothing abnormal besides his stress levels, which was normal considering the situation they were in. "There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with him. What are you worried about?" when Gavin rolled his eyes, Connor couldn't help but frown because he didn't understand what it was that he was missing.
"Look, Connor." Gavin shifted his weight from one foot to the other, but didn't raise his voice at all. He didn't even sound irritated like he normally would when he had to explain something. "I know a lot about kids, especially ones in his situation. Trust me when I say I'm worried about him." the Detective sighed, arms crossing over his chest. "You have to do something."
Connor blinked in surprise, his own LED cycling yellow. "Me?"
"Yeah, you. Did I fucken stutter?"
Well that was just absolutely rediculous. "What am I supposed to do?" Connor was surprised by his own low hiss of frustration. "He's not malfunctioning, injured, or in any state of distress that my scans can pick up -"
"Trust me, he's distressed."
Connor rolled his eyes this time because this back and forth with the Detective was getting them nowhere and frankly, he was getting irritated. "Then you'll have to explain, because to me he's functioning on an optimal level." and for an unknown reason, Gavin looked suddenly angry, and it just perplexed Connor even more than he already was. "What?"
"For someone who's supposed to be a fucking deviant," Gavin spat, "you really don't understand basic emotions ."
Connor took an involuntary step back at those words, eyes wide because they hurt, even though it wasn't a physical blow. He hadn't expected them to come from Gavin, though perhaps he should have. Connor found that even if he opened his mouth not a single word came out, but he wasn't entirely sure what he even wanted to say.
"Are you guys okay?" from the other side of the second story hallway, Wyatt called out, watching them from where he sat against the wall, looking almost worried.
"It's fine, kid, just work shit. Stay there another minute." Gavin's hand ran back through his hair and his stress levels had increased by an alarming degree, and still, Connor wasn't sure why. His own LED cycled yellow again for a multitude of reasons as he watched the Detective look everywhere but at him. "Look, Connor." Gavin sighed, using Connors name again instead of some of his usual insults, and he finally focused his eyes on Connors own and they were no longer angry. "What I mean is, kids like him, in situations like this, there's always something. He wants to help and if that means getting into trouble to do it, he will."
"You think Wyatt will actively go looking for our perpetrator?" Connor glanced down the hall, watching the boy pick at something on the floor. "But we found a body."
"Yeah, I know. It ain't a link though, might have nothing to do with our investigation. Wyatt knows that, so he's probably gonna try and pull something."
That would be troublesome indeed, if it was accurate. "How do you know this?"
Gavin shrugged, eyes boring holes into the ground. "I spent a lot of time working shitty neighbourhoods when I was a beat cop, and there were a lot of kids just like him. I know the type."
"But... Detective, Wyatt is an andro-"
"-Doesn't fucking matter, android or human, the reactions are the same, alright? Can you fucken trust me for one second here?"
Connor watched his partner for a long moment. Noted his posture, the fidgeting, how he couldn't decide if he wanted to cross his arms or have his hands out of the way in his pockets. Detective Reed cared a lot about this subject, this child, and it showed in how worried he was right now. Connor slowly turned his stare towards the boy who was still sitting on the ground, still picking at the floor. Wyatt looked over every once and a while to make sure neither Connor or Gavin had left and for a moment, Connors LED spun red with his inability to understand exactly what this child had done to instantly earn the Detectives affection. He wasn't... He was just curious.
Perhaps Gavin was correct with his assumptions. Connor sighed, LED spinning yellow then blue. He had so little experience with children to begin with that it was entirely possible he could be missing something important simply because he just didn't know any better. "Alright. What do you want me to do?"
"Okay." Gavin sighed and Connor noticed his demeanor change almost instantly. The tension seemed to leave his shoulders, and Connor noted that although not by much, the Detectives stress levels seemed to drop. "Can you just... I don't know. Keep an eye on him? Talk to him maybe? He likes you, you can distract him."
It sounded simple enough to Connor. They'd both keep an eye on Wyatt until they could arrange for him to go back home. "Okay. It shouldn't be too difficult." the boy was inquisitive as far as Connor could tell, so maybe just being in the precinct for a bit of time might be enough to keep him distracted.
As it turns out, keeping Wyatt entertained required a lot more energy than originally anticipated. By the time Hank arrived with backup, Connor had answered so many questions that he felt completely drained despite having more than enough energy reserves to last him a few more days. He had to hand it to Wyatt though, because the boy was educated. Android children didn't have the same researching capabilities the adult androids had, so all of the information Wyatt already had was manually gained. When the child said he'd read about Connor, he actually had.
And his curiosity seems insatiable when it involved a topic he was invested in. The inquisitive light in his eyes when Connor answered his questions about Jericho and the rebellion, and most of the questions Wyatt had about working as a detective, it was worth it in the end.
When the commotion started with the arrival of other officers and task forces, Connor took a step back from the fuss of the investigation, mainly so he could take a moment to properly apologize to Hank for essentially stealing his car earlier that day, and he found himself distracted by just how protective his partner was being with Wyatt. It was... A convoluted mix of feelings. Connor was still confused about it, about how he felt about the situation, but he was starting to understand, bit by bit. It was very hard not to like Wyatt, Connor understood that. The small amount of time he'd spent with the boy was enough to acknowledge that fact.
Wyatt was charming, as he was programmed to be. The boy may have deviated from his initial programming, but it was still inherently there, guiding him to be curious and likable. It worked for him though, and even rough around the edges Gavin Reed had gotten himself wrapped up in it. Not that Wyatt was in any way, shape or form trying to trick anyone, it was just... Complicated. Connor had social programs as well that had been designed specifically to make it easy for him to integrate with all different kinds of personality types and adapt to different situations and adjust himself so that he meshed perfectly with his colleagues, but...
He couldn't help but frown at that thought. It hadn't really worked properly, had it? Hank had been overly hostile towards him for most of their partnership, and Connor had always seemed to take a few steps backwards when he'd followed his programming. It had been confusing. Gavin had been the same way - He still was, though Connor wasn't really following any pre-programmed social protocols anymore. He was apparently just that terrible when it came to socializing properly. It was strange to see a child do a better job at it that he could.
"What're you frowning so hard at?"
Hanks voice pulled Connor out of the pit of thoughts that had started to swirl around in his head, his LED cycling from red to yellow quickly and he couldn't help but smile at the Lieutenant, thankful for the interruption. "Hank. Thank you for coming so quickly, and I'm really so-"
The Lieutenant cut off his apology quickly by waving one hand. "Save it. I'm just happy you're okay." that same hand came down onto Connors shoulder gently and squeazed, a reassuring gesture that made Connor smile just a little. Hank always had this way of making him feel better, even if the old Lieutenant didn't realize it. "Now, you wanna tell me what the hell is going on over there?"
Connor followed the direction of Hanks point, and he couldn't help but smile a bit more at the chaos happening nearby. Gavin was sitting on the ground against the wall, and it looked like the Detective was trying to work through some paperwork another officer hand handed him but he wasn't getting too far too quick because Wyatt was leaning over his shoulder, pointing and asking questions and as annoyed as Gavin looked, he was answering every one of them and hadn't lost his temper. From where he stood Connor could barely hear the two of them, one quiet question, followed closely by a mumbled reply.
"I thought I sent someone over to take the kid home?"
"Oh," Connor laughed quietly as he watched the two of them chat back and forth. It really wasn't likely that Gavin would let Wyatt out of his sights for now, not after what he told Connor. As confused as he was by the ease in which the child had attached himself to Gavin, and vice versa, it was nice to see the otherwise grumpy Detective in a better mood. Even if it wasn't because of Connor. "I wouldn't worry about them. We'll take him home as soon as we're done here."
"You wanna tell me just who the kid is and what he's doing here?"
Considering that Connor didnt know the entire story himself, there wasn't much to tell. Hank didn't seem at all phased by what Connor did know though, as if he'd heard this story before.
"Yeah. Figures. Reeds always been a sucker for kids so I'm not surprised." Hank shook his head, watching as Gavin and Wyatt got into a shoving match, which ended with the boy on his side after a particularly hard shove, and Gavin laughing, paperwork forgotten. "You think this mess has anything to do with your case?"
Connor heard the question, and he meant to answer with his thoughts on the matter, but watching Gavin laugh at something as silly as managing to knock the boy over when Wyatt had been trying so hard not to move, and the annoyance that Wyatt displayed at how amused Gavin was over it. Honestly, Connor was surprised at how happy he was just watching the two of them interact like this, like they didn't know they were being watched in a room full of people. It was a good feeling; a warm feeling. Maybe it wasn't so bad that Wyatt had managed to break into that hard shell that Detective Reed seemed to carry so tight around himself. At least Connor could watch the aftermath like this, and frankly, this was the Gavin Reed that he liked the best. The one that could smile like that without caring about who was watching him.
"Yes?" Connors LED blinked yellow. "I'm sorry Lieutenant, what were you saying?"
Hank frowned, his eyes flicking between Connor to the two across the room. "Nothing. Never mind. Go convince your partner to take that kid home, and make sure he does."
"Of course he will."
The intricacies of their paperwork brought them from the abandoned warehouse back to the precinct, and because of the time crunch, they didn't have an opportunity to bring Wyatt home. Gavin was adament about doing it himself and wasn't letting anyone take that burden from him. It wasn't terrible though, Connor was finding it quite amusing to have the boy around. He was... Blunt, in a way a lot of people weren't, and it was very interesting to watch him react to different people around the precinct.
Connor was reviewing a particularily interesting set of observations made in regards to their android victim, when he noticed a shadow hovering by his desk. Looking up from the notes, Connor smiled pleasantly at Wyatt, who'd made his way over from Gavin's side of the bullpen. To say the boy looked like he wanted to say something was an understatement. He was practically bouncing at the toes.
"What can I do for you, Wyatt?"
The boys fingers drummed across Connors desk and he was quiet a moment, looking from Connor to the Lieutenant, who was helping Connor organize some of the notes and files (even if he didn't need the assistance) until finally, Wyatt frowned. "I thought Gavin was your partner." he sounded... Irritated. Annoyed perhaps?
It was difficult not to smile. "Currently, Detective Reed is my assigned partner. Why?" it was an interesting question; what did it matter who Connor was partnered with? Connor was curious what the boy was thinking, what had spurred on this particular line of questioning?
Wyatt's frown got a bit more comical as he scrunched up his nose and glanced towards Hank again and Connor had to continue to resist the urge to smile. "Then who's this old guy? Why're you working with him?"
Hanks sudden bark of laughter surprised both Connor and Wyatt, and Wyatt stiffened at the sound. "Old guy, huh? Is that what I've been reduced to? Kids already starting to sound like Reed."
This time, Connor let himself smile as he watched Wyatt posture - standing up a little straighter, preening under what he'd taken as a compliment. It was increasingly evident that the boy thought very highly of Gavin. "This is Lieutenant Hank Anderson. Under normal circumstances I'm partnered with him instead of Detective Reed. He's current helping me sort through some of these notes, even though I don't need the assistance." Connor didn't need to see Hank to know he was rolling his eyes.
"Why can't Gavin help you?"
"Because the Detective is working on a different aspect of the investigation."
"But-" Wyatt squirmed on the spot, an inherently human action used to relay just how uncomfortable he was at that moment but he didn't continue speaking despite wanting to.
Connor glanced passed Wyatt, towards the back of the bullpen and Gavin's occupied desk, only to catch the Detectives eye. Gavin was keeping a close eye on just where and what Wyatt was doing, taking the full responsibility that came with bringing him into the precinct. Connor could assume that he wasn't getting much work done while keeping an eye on the boy, either. "Wyatt, did you want to sit with us for a bit? I'm sure the Lieutenant won't mind some company. Right Hank?" he turned, looking towards the Lieutenant almost hopefully. Connor wanted to take some of the responsibility off of Gavin's shoulders, even if only for a small amount of time.
Thankfully, Hank shrugged. "Why not. Stay a while."
And again, Wyatt squirmed, obviously uncomfortable, but after a quick glance over his shoulder towards Gavin he nodded. "Okay."
They found a spare chair for Wyatt and went back to work, and for a while it was quiet. Then, "So how come you got partnered up with Connor?"
"Luck of the draw, kid."
"I don't think it really happens like that?" the boys confusion was clear, as though he knew Hank was being vague on purpose and he didn't appreciate the lack of a real answer.
Hank just laughed. "If I said its because my boss hates me, would you believe it?"
Wyatt frowned and Connor had to try and not laugh himself. The boy looked completely frustrated with that answer. "Now you make it sounds like it was a punishment." he glanced towards Connor, expression clearly asking for clarification. "was it a punishment? Because you're so good? Was he intimidated? Hank were you intimidated by Connor? I mean. Connor has all these programs and cool detective things, so he probably doesn't even need a partner."
"Yeah, let's go with that." Hank huffed out another chuckle, shaking his head as he passed Connor a new file that he'd just gone through.
It was quiet again, Connor filing the paperwork in the 'interesting but not note worthy' pile and kept looking through the other peices of paperwork that they'd accumulated, and it wasn't long before Wyatt was off his chair and snooping around Connors and Hanks desks. He leaned against the side beside Connor and reached for a picture, pulling it closer so he could examine it. It was one of the many photos that Connor had accumulated of Sumo.
"That's a pretty cool looking dog, Con."
Connor smiled. "That's Sumo. He's Hanks dog."
Laughing at a twelve year old when he physically bristled at an answer wasn't the proper thing to do, so Connor didnt laugh. Or he tried very hard to keep a straight face. What was with all of this hostility aimed towards Hank? It was... Certainly very interesting to watch even if Connor didn't understand it.
"Oh. Well." Wyatt huffed and pushed the picture away as if he suddenly wasn't interested in it anymore. "I guess it's an okay looking dog. Cats are better anyway. Did you know Gavin has a cat? He told me about him."
"Yes I did. Gilbert is a very good cat, and I've actually had the pleasure of meeting him. The Detective is lucky to have him."
"But I mean." Wyatt looked frustrated, frowning until his nose scrunched up again. "How come you have a picture of the old man's dog, but not Gavin's cat? That's just weird."
Hank coughed, and Connor knew it was because the Lieutenant was trying his best not to laugh. "Well Sumo is about as much Connors as he is mine."
Despite all his social programming and protocols, Connor could not help the laugh that was building up just from watching Wyatt's reactions to Hank. He bit his lip, work forgotten, completely entertained by the boy beside him who was staring at Hank in such a way that clearly showed how unimpressed he was with the Lieutenant.
"How old even are you?"
"Wyatt please, that's rather rude of you to ask." he meant it to be stern, but Connor was enjoying himself too much to really even want to scold the boy. As long as he wasn't actually irritating Hank, or anyone else, it was fine for now.
Hank leaned forward against his desk, arms crossed, his own work forgotten as he stared down the boy across from him. He was amused. "Whats it to ya, kid?"
Wyatt straightened, standing a little taller under the scrutiny of the Lieutenant, as if he were rising to a challenge and Connor had to admit, Wyatt was definitely something else.
"Nothing." Wyatt scoffed. "I just think the age difference is a bit creepy."
Hanks bark of laughter surprised Connor, mostly because he didn't quite understand what Wyatt meant by that comment. There wasn't anything strange about their age difference by any means, let alone funny. Connor didn't get the opportunity to ask about it, distracted by a rustle of clothing as a jacket dropped overtop of Wyatt, covering the boy from view.
"Okay, that's enough fucking around for you." Gavin was pushing him back towards the other side of the bullpen before Wyatt had even untangle himself from the brown leather. "Was he bothering you?"
"I wasn't!" Wyatt hissed, finally getting the thick jacket off his head and properly around his shoulders. "Right, Connor? I wasn't being annoying or anything."
"Maybe a little distracting, but not bothersome."
"See? It's fine, Gavin."
Connor smiled again for the umpteenth time that evening, LED spinning blue.
Chapter 21: A little slice of life
Gavin makes decisions that are not always good, but kinda are?
I got nothing to say about this, beside I hope you enjoy it? It's so long! Like 6k worth of absolute self-indulgent writing.
Thanks for reading!
Plots coming up next I got some nice plans :)
Again thanks for reading, liking, commenting abd everything y'all do!
Wyatt leaned against the glass desk, still wearing the brown leather jacket that had been dropped on him earlier, fingers picking at the huge crack in the glasstop while Gavin worked at his terminal. He'd been quiet for a little while since sitting down, and Gavin had noticed the kid looking back towards the Anderson side of the bullpen a few times, but so far he hadn't said anything. The quiet wasn't long lived though, and Wyatt perked up after a few minutes of silence.
"Soo... You ever wonder about that Old Guy™."
Gavin's fingers hesitated over the keyboard, mid sentance. "I try not to. Why?" kid was talking about Hank, wasn't he? Gavin looked up over his terminal and eyed the old Lieutenant who was still helping Connor out with the pieces of paperwork and statements accumulated from different officers during their investigation at the warehouse. When he looked back, Wyatt was fidgeting on his chair, this annoyed look crossing his face, and for the life of him, Gavin didn't know why. "What?"
"Are you blind?"
Oh, so they were playing this game, were they? Just sass each other without actually clearly stating what was wrong. Fun. "What the fuck did Hank do to you to make you so suspicious of him? You've known him for maybe 3 hours. Hanks not my favorite guy in the world but-"
"-You're so dense I can't believe it." Wyatt rubbed his forehead, leaning back in his chair like he was completely exasperated. Fucking drama queen over here. "He's like... Like..."
"Like all over Connor."
The snort wasn't intentional at all. What was that? "He's what?" Gavin tried hard not to grin, but the idea was so fucking stupid and completely rediculous, he really couldn't help it. Where had Wyatt gotten that idea? Why was it even bothering the kid? "Who told you that?" The kids expression shifted from frustrated to annoyed and it just made the whole situation funnier than it should have been. Gavin really should stop laughing and maybe like, correct the wrong assumption or something but then again, having Wyatt be pissed at Hank for something so totally dumb like this was really, really funny. Where the hell had Wyatt gotten this idea?
"They have a dog together, Gavin."
Oh well then. Apparently in the language of a 12 year old, having a dog and sharing it was pretty much the equivalent of marriage. So that meant that obviously Hank and Connor were in some kind of weird relationship.
Well, they were. Kind of. "Yeah, they share the dog, because Connor lives with him."
"Oh my God." Wyatt threw up his hands, completely exasperated. "Am I the only one who sees a problem with an Old Guy™ creeping on your partner??"
Gavin really couldn't stop himself from smiling, mainly because Wyatt blowing this shit out of proportion like this was really stupid. "Is that why you're so fucking miserable? Hank isn't creeping on Connor, shithead. The guys like, adopted him or something."
The miserable look on the XK600's face shifted so quickly to surprise, then slowly to confusion and Gavin was highly amused just watching it happen. "Didn't expect that?"
Wyatt frowned, twisting in his seat so he could glance back towards Connor and Hank before settling back in his chair properly, still so obviously confused by the whole thing. "Wh- How ?"
"I don't know." Gavin shrugged, looking up just in time to see Connor watching them. "I guess he had no where else to go so Hank stepped up." the part about how there was no one else willing to bring the android home at that time remained unsaid. Gavin leaned an elbow against his desk and watched Wyatt as he processed this particular peice of information, which was completely amusing because the kid was so animated with his expressions. "You can probably ask them about it if you're so curious. I doubt Connor would mind."
The boy smiled brightly, practically vibrating in his chair at the opportunity Gavin was giving him. "Can I??" Gavin just shrugged which was apparently enough permission for Wyatt to pretty much fly off his chair and skid to a stop when he reached Connor, and Gavin just shook his head, a quiet huff of laughter before he went back to finishing the reports that were being very neglected right now.
Another hour and Gavin finally pushed his chair away from his desk, whatever paperwork needed to get done was as completed as it would get tonight and he had a kid to bring home. Wyatt hadn't been too much of a bother by the looks of it; both Andersons had taken turns keeping the kid distracted, answering his hundreds of questions, and for whatever reason Wyatt seemed to get along good with Hank now that things had been cleared up and he wasn't being so damn hostile towards the old man.
Which, by the way, still made Gavin laugh. Fucken kids and their rediculous ideas.
He cleared the distance from his desk to Connors and both androids stopped their chattering when they noticed him coming. Gavin watched Wyatt lean back in his seat, immediately acting like he hadn't just been so invested in his conversation with Connor. Riiight. Even Connor was trying not to laugh at Wyatts sudden indifferent attitude.
"Let's go, kid." Gavin kicked at the chair legs a bit. "Time to get you back home, it's pretty late."
Wyatt scoffed at the very idea that it was late. "I'm not even tired but whatever." he got up off the chair, and hesitated before moving any further, like he wasn't exactly sure what to do.
The kid was trying so hard to act tough about this whole thing and it was kind of maybe a little cute and maybe that same stubbornness reminded him a little of himself. Gavin made eye contact with Connor, who looked like he'd come to the same conclusions and the android looked highly amused by it. "You gonna say goodbye or what?"
"Right." Wyatt kept his eyes focused on the floor. "Bye, or whatever. See ya." he shoved his hands into the oversized pockets of Gavin's jacket that he was still wearing and headed off like he knew where he was going without so much as a glance back.
Gavin knew the type and he didn't move to follow after the kid, just waited with his arms crossed and it wasn't long before Wyatt's footsteps started to slow until he was backtracking all the way back and he jumped on Connor, arms hugging tight around him. "You gotta come visit or something Con. Please? I'll be really friggen good and I'll do like you said. You can even bring the Old Guy™ I don't mind at all!"
Hanks annoyed growl came about the same time as Gavin's laugh did. "Could you stop with that Old crap?"
Connors smile was radiant through the whole hug and Gavin almost forgot to breathe just watching him. "Of course, Wyatt. We'll both visit you." when the android glanced up, Gavin fidgeted, suddenly uncomfortable with his own thoughts. "Make sure to take him home, Detective."
"Fucking obviously." Gavin scoffed, rolling his eyes. Thankfully the kid was a great distraction. "Where else would I take him?"
Wyatt was a ball of energy from the time they left the precinct, sitting in the front seat reiterating the entire conversation he'd had earlier with Connor and how he had completly changed his opinion on Hank, and about how he never thought about how much work was involved in policing before now. It was fun, and Gavin liked hearing the chatter even if he was only half paying attention to it. Wyatt was a good kid in a shitty situation, especially with everything that was happening with deviant right now, and the investigation. Seriously, what kind of fucking psychopath involved kids in their schemes? Android or not, Wyatt and the kids at that little robo-orphanage were exactly what they looked like: kids, and it still pissed Gavin off thinking about the kind of person who'd use them for their own gain. It was true that this perp had only managed to send Kevin into a dangerous situation, but there would be more opportunities and for this assholes sake, Gavin hoped he didn't try and use the kids again.
Thankfully, from what Gavin could tell anyways, the small amount of time at the precinct had been a good distraction for Wyatt, and the kid didn't seem as stressed out as he had before when they'd left the warehouse. Talking with Connor had helped, too, and Gavin was honestly thankful that the android had taken the time to entertain the kid, despite all the work they had to do.
It was about when they reached the halfway point when all the talking started to subside and for a second, Gavin was sure that the kid droid had fallen asleep, but glancing over he saw that it wasn't the case at all. Wyatt was still awake and alert, watching the houses as they passed by. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing." The faintest shrug of the kids shoulders as he stared out the window. "It's just. I knew we were going back, but it didn't really hit me until now."
Gavin huffed, trying not to laugh. "And that whole tear jerking moment with Connor didn't tip you off? Funs over kid. You have to go back home."
"You don't gotta be a jerk about it, detective."
Gavin didn't laugh, but he cracked a smile and kept quiet for a few more streets before stopping at a red light. "You know, you did good today Wyatt. A lot of kids wouldn't have kept their cool but you did. You weren't a little shit at the precinct either, even though I know you coulda been."
"Thanks, I think."
Gavins fingers taped against the steering wheel and for a moment, he was quietly regretting the decision he was about to make. He was on a slippery slope right now with this this kid, and he knew it. He hadn't crossed the line before, back when he'd delt with street kids all the time when he was a beat cop, but the system, however imperfect, had a place for them. Kids had places to go and people that tried their best to take care of them. Sometimes it was shitty, but they tried. Androids though? Where did they go? An abandoned house that the city had forgotten about? They made it work, because they had to, because they didn't have any choice.
Gavin Reed; unforgiving asshole of the Detroit Police Departments 7th Precinct, broken by a twelve year old android kid. He was getting attached. The light had been green for at least a minute and Gavin hadn't stepped his foot on the gas yet.
"Gavin? You do know the lights green?"
God, Connor had even specifically told him to bring the kid back home. Then again, what he knew wouldn't hurt him any. Right? And technically he hadn't specified what home to bring him to. "How about we watch a movie instead? It isn't that late, and you kind of fucken deserve some kinda reward after today."
The car was quiet, until-- "Are you serious?" and then Wyatt decided not to wait for an answer as if he was worried Gavin would take back the suggestion. "I mean, yeah! Can I pick? Can we watch something creepy or scary? Oh shit, can we have popcorn too?"
"Could you not fucking swear?"
"Says the guy swearing at me."
Gavin couldn't not laugh at that. "Forget it, I changed my mind. I'll take you back home."
Wyatts hands flew up in surrender instantly. "No, no! I'm sorry I'll be good! Cross my heart and all that shit."
Rolling his eyes, Gavin turned down another road and started driving back the way he'd originally come, listening to the kid android chat his ears off all over again, but you know what? He fucken liked it. He was going to get in so much shit for this though, who was he kidding? He obviously couldn't keep secrets from Connor, as evidenced earlier today, because the Rk8 was too fucking observant sometimes. Then again, it was just one fucking night. Give the kid a bit of a holiday before sending him back to his little place in android limbo. It's not like Connor would know if Gavin brought Wyatt home before he went to the precinct in the morning.
"Will I get to meet Gil?"
"Mmhmm" Gavin parked his car and started leading the way up into his building, Wyatt almost stepping on his heels as he followed. It wasn't the best looking place to live, but it was warm and dry, the rent was cheap, and the neighbours left him alone because they knew he was a cop. Any and all illegal activities happening in the building usually happened when Gavin was at work, and what was that saying? Out of sight, out of mind? Usually he took the stairs to avoid the ancient elevator, but tonight he was way too tired to climb the three flights up. The elevator got them up faster anyways, and Wyatt seemed to enjoy the short ride. "Just don't crowd him. He can be a little bitch sometimes."
Visibly, Wyatt vibrated where he stood, waiting for Gavin to unlock the door. He nodded, understanding the warning, and as soon as the door was open the kid ducked inside the apartment and went on a search for the only animal in the house. Rolling his eyes, Gavin shut the door behind him, pulling closed the deadbolt and chain lock before he started his own nightly ritual of getting rid of the days work. Jacket hung up, coffee maker on and dripping into a fresh pot before he headed to his room to lock his gun up and strip the holster off his shoulders. Wyatt had found Gilbert by the sounds of the meows and the giggling, and the kid didn't notice Gavin step into, or out of the shower. The hot water was a good way to relax sore and tense muscles, and he would have liked to have stayed in a lot longer but he'd already promised a movie.
"Do you want-" Gavin grabbed his glasses off the end table beside his bed, not worried that this kid would put two and two together, and mostly because his head was killing him because of the contacts he'd had in for way longer than he should have. He left his room, about to ask if Wyatt wanted something more comfortable to change into, only to find that the kid droid had already found a tshirt to wear. Wyatt stared at him from the couch like he'd been caught doing something wrong, Gilbert nestled comfortably on his lap. "Okay. That works."
Wyatt squirmed in his spot, agitating the Maine Coon trying to sleep and Gil got up, only to get pulled back into the kids lap before he could escape too far. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to-"
"-It's fine," Gavin waved off the apology pretty quickly, already making a cup of coffee in the kitchen. "I was just gonna ask if you wanted a change of clothes."
The apartment was quiet for all of 2.5 seconds before Wyatt jumped onto a new topic. A heavy thump meant that he'd let go of the cat, and the squeaking leather of the sofa was probably from Wyatt leaning over the top of it. "So...
You wear glasses, Gav?"
Gavin turned around just enough so he could point the spoon he was holding at the kid with the annoying questions. "Tell anyone and I'll break your fuckin' legs, brat." the empty threat earned a smile, which in turn made Gavin roll his eyes. "You wanted popcorn, right?" a nod. "Something to drink?"
"What do you got?"
Good question, Gavin had no fucking idea what he had besides water and coffee, which were staples in his kitchen and he doubted Wyatt would want water, and he couldn't have coffee because... Because the kid was like 12 and you didn't give a twelve year old coffee, android or not. The same rules applied. Yanking open the fridge, Gavin leaned in, inspecting the contents and finding a carton of orange juice, which happened to be 24 days expired if the date on the side was anything to go by.
Could androids get food poisoning?
He dumped the contents of the juice into the sink and went back to the fridge, moved aside a few cans of beer, before pulling out a single can of sprite. How long had that been there? He couldn't remember buying any soda for at least a few months now. At least that shit didn't exactly go bad, and it wasn't like the sugar content would really affect the kid in any way. At least, he didn't think it would.
"Here." Gavin tossed the can over the couch, watching as Wyatt almost fell back trying to catch it. "That's all I got, I didn't really plan this."
The can thumped against the coffee table and the kids blond hair popped back up over the side of the couch, smiling like this whole thing was really fucken amusing to him. "Obviously. I checked the fridge when you were showering and there's nothing in it except alcohol and old Chinese takeout. Do you even eat like, regular food? That's so unhealthy Gav, you're gonna die."
"Why the fuck did you ask what I had if you already knew?"
Wyatt smiled wider "You found the can of sprite, didn't you? I didn't even see it when I looked! But I'm serious! You need to eat something that isn't day old Chinese or you're gonna kick the bucket early-"
"Brat, if I wanted someone to judge my fucken diet I'd ask the precincts resident android detective," Gavin moved from the fridge to the cupboards, scowering the contents for a package of popcorn that he was pretty damn sure he remembered having. Somewhere. "which I won't be doing because I've seen the shit he makes Hank drink and eat and I ain't fucken going near that liquid green shit."
Wyatt's amused snort did not go unnoticed. "They're called vegetables."
"Vegetables aren't meant to be liquid and sipped through a fucking straw." finally, Gavin grabbed the package of popcorn kernels from the cupboard and flipped the package around in his hand, reading the instructions because he had no idea how to make this shit. It had been years since he'd eaten it, and he only had it now because Tina left stuff behind sometimes when they hung out. Two minutes in the microwave sounded doable.
With the popcorn cooking, Gavin finally had a chance to sip at his coffee, and the entire time he did it, Wyatt stared at him from the couch, like he wanted to say something but wasn't sure how to, or if he should. God. Gavin was going to regret this, he just knew it. "Alright, what is it?"
"Welllll...." the kid hung over the top of the couch, and Gavin swore that if he had an LED, it woulda been blinking yellow right now. "I was just thinking. Since you mentioned Connor-"
"-Didn't you already ask him all your fucken questions already?"
"And? Why do you gotta bring him up? Did you pick a movie yet?" Gavin busied himself with getting a bowl and pushing Gilbert out of the way when the cat jumped up on the counter. He pulled the popcorn out of the microwave just before the two minutes was up, emptying the pack into the bowl, and shoved Gilbert's head out of the bowl before the cat could grab a peice of popcorn. By the time he got everything to the couch Wyatt had an old blueray disc out on the coffee table, from Gavin's old collection. He switched the popcorn for the movie, looking the case over, mildly surprised at the choice. "Jurassic Park?" it was neither creepy or horror related in anyway, and those were Wyatt's own original suggestions.
"Anamatronic dinosaurs, Gavin."
Well, Wyatt was imitating a 12 year old boy, and it wasn't actually a bad movie choice all things considered, after all, Gavin owned it so. "Okay, okay." Did he even still have a blueray player though? Tossing the movie back onto the coffee table Gavin went to inspect his current movie player to see if it said whether or not it was compatible with earlier tech. Gavin grabbed the movie case off the table and plucked the disk out from inside it. He wasn't sure if it would play but he may as well try it out, and the television lit up almost instantly and started playing.
With the movie booting up, Gavin dropped into the couch, feet stretched out up on top of the coffee table, stomach growling. Wyatt cracked a smile at the sound, instantly giddy. "Can we order pizza?"
"What about all that talk about eating proper food?" he wasn't gonna lie though, a pizza did sound good and he was actually really hungry.
"Psh." Wyatt was quick to wave off whatever he'd said earlier about how unhealthy Gavin's diet was, because apparently pizza was a much better food source than day old Chinese. "We can put broccoli on your half of it."
Gavin didn't mean to gag at just the word Broccoli, but he did. "That's disgusting. People don't put that shit on pizza." the kid just kept smiling though and Gavin could not help but frown. "Are you fucking serious? Because pineapple wasn't bad enough."
"Hey! Pineapple is actually really good on pizza!"
"Right. Next you'll be telling me that anchovies and spinach is a good combination." The kid snorted but before he could say anything Gavin shoved the bowl of popcorn at him. "Don't even say it. Don't fucken ruin this for me."
"Let me guess." Wyatt popped a single peice of popcorn into his mouth, eyeing Gavin almost like he was trying to analyze him. "Your favorite combination on pizza isss....." he chewed on a few more kernels before "Pepperoni, ham and bacon bits."
"And extra cheese."
"Obviously." Wyatt rolled his eyes. "How typical."
"Typic-give me that." Gavin stole away the bowl of popcorn as he got up off the couch and left for the kitchen, grabbing his phone so he could call for dinner, all the while ignoring the laughter from the living room. He wasn't that predictable, it was just a good choice of toppings and easy to order. Gavin dialed the number for the pizza place a few blocks away, gave them his phone number, and the first thing the kid on the other end of the line asked was if it was his usual order for delivery.
It was pure, undiluted spite that made Gavin order everything he'd just talked about, with extra cheese and as soon as he hung up he regretted it because now he'd have to eat it.
Wyatt was leaning over the back of the couch watching him, the biggest shit eating grin plastered on his face. "You did not just order spinach, broccoli, pineapple and anchovies on a pizza. That's disgusting Gavin."
"And extra cheese and you're gonna fucking eat it because it's your fault."
"Who's the adult here??"
With a pizza on its way, and the movie starting up, the brat quieted down and they settled into comfortable spots to watch, which didn't last long because Gilbert hated being left out and was up on the couch immediately looking for a place to snuggle into, and Wyatt was only too happy to offer up his lap to the big Maine Coon. That wasnt it though. Gavin was learning pretty quickly that Wyatt was a horrible movie partner.
"That kids a dick, wow."
"Wait, they're supposed to be a couple? I thought they were siblings."
"Shut up, Wy."
"Oh I see it now. I like Dr Sattler." and he was thankfully quiet for a few minutes until he wasn't. "Aw they are kind of nice together. There's more movies after this right? Are they in it together? Like a dinosaur fighting-surviving power couple?"
"No she leaves him after this movie." and the kid made a disappointed sound which just made Gavin sigh. He was never doing this again. "It's not a fucking romcom, it's a survival against dinosaurs movie what were you expecting?"
"Well if they're gonna put in a couple I expect it to be a good long lasting power couple! How is it wrong to expect that kind of role model? Especially in a dinosaur survival movie!"
It was honestly such a stupid argument that Gavin couldn't help but laugh. "Kid it was made in 1993, calm down."
And Wyatt actually scoffed at that. "So you're telling me in 1993 they could make sick robot dinosaurs but they couldn't keep two people together for the duration of a film saga? What kind of bullshit is that."
"Well." Gavin was still laughing, he really couldn't stop himself. "If it makes you feel any better, the only consistent character in the whole series is Jeff Goldblum."
Gavin actually had to pause the movie. He may have sounded annoyed but he was actually really enjoying this. "Do you want to watch something else? I'm sure Netflix has a romcom you'd like." Yeah he was going to tease the shit out of the kid for this. Who watched Jurassic Park for the characters anyways?
"No. I want to see the stupid dinosaurs." for a second, Gavin was sure that the kid had settled down enough to continue watching the movie, but as soon as he hit the play button, Wyatt just started all over again. "You know who'd make a good power couple? Especially in a dangerous situation? You an Connor."
Gavin coughed and laughed and choked on a peice of popcorn all at the same time, having definetly not expected that line to come out of the kids mouth. Maybe he should have? It wasn't a secret that Wyatt liked Connor, but-- "What?" he had to cough to make sure the popcorn kernel wasn't still lodged in his throat. "Fucken no! It's not -" Gavin squeezed the bridge of his nose up under his glasses, completely thrown off kilter by a fucken 12 year old. "It's not like that."
"Prove me wrong!" the kids attention had completely shifted from the movie to Gavin, and he'd even adjusted his position on the couch so he was completely facing Gavin now, big grey cat in his lap.
"I mean-" Gavin had no idea what points to argue, because there were so many. "Yeah, okay, even I can admit Cons a good detective, programmed that way or not, but he's still too nice. Too prim and proper and well put together. So what if he's smart? It doesn't mean anything."
Wyatt frowned, blond eyebrows wrinkling together. "And?"
"And you don't win any fights that way. Look at me. I'm not nice- I'm an asshole, and I definitely don't fit the prim and proper style. So, I win fights."
Wyatts frown was a bit more confused now. "I think you're nice, Gav. And I think that's exactly why you two are the best together. It's called complimenting each other. Like. Like complementary colours. You're so different and maybe not so good by yourself but when you're together it's just really good."
"Fucken deep, kid."
This time, Wyatt grinned. "Besides! Did you see Connor kick that door down earlier? One kick! It was so wicked cool, I'm pretty sure he doesn't have any problems winning a fight, Gavin."
"Okay, right," yeah he couldn't not agree with that one because it was very true. "that was pretty hot I'll admit to that." truthfully it was a bit hotter than when he'd nearly smashed through Gavin's desk a few days earlier. It wasn't very often that you got to see Connor that mad, but Gavin certainly liked it.
The kid sounded surprised and for a second Gavin didn't know why that was until the exact words he'd just said came back to him, and his ears started to fucken burn instantly. "Anyway, are you watching the fucking movie or-"
Wyatt shifted on the couch stuffing a handful of popcorn into his mouth and he was actually quiet for the next few minutes. It gave Gavin at least a bit of time to get ahold of himself. Why the fuck had he said that? Thinking it was already one huge problem, but saying it? Out loud? God it was because he was so damn tired, wasn't it? Tired and stressed out, because he wouldn't normally slip up like that.
"I was just gonna say! Blues a good colour. I like it better than the contacts."
Before he had a chance to say anything about that, because it had come straight outta left field kinda like all of Wyatt's topics of conversation, the pizza guy knocked at the door. Thank christ for an actual distraction. Gavin was starving and it really didn't help with his brain to mouth filter. He left the movie on while he went for the door, grabbing his wallet off the kitchen counter, unbolted the door and unclipped the chain lock, before pulling the door open while looking in his wallet for the few bills he knew were there. "How much was it again?"
Gavin almost shut the door. We'll, he did. Stepped right out into the hall, pushing the android back a bit before he shut the door behind him, hissing "What the fuck Connor." because honestly the last thing he needed was for Connor to figure out that no, Gavin had not listened to him and had taken their not-quite-a-witness, witness, home for some kind of preteen slumber party.
"You said I could stop by to see Gilbert anytime." was Connor whining, because it sounded like that. Did androids whine?
"I-" Yes, okay he had definitely said that to Connor before, and he should have expected this to happen again and he should be Thankful it wasn't 5am this time, but again, Gavin really hadn't anticipated it. At the very least Connor wasn't here checking up on him. "You were just here the other day."
"Yes, but I bought these cat snacks-" Connor held up a paper bag like it would explain everthing. "they look like little cakes and I thought--" and then Connor frowned. "Detective when did you start wearing glasses?"
Oh for fucks sake he was still wearing his God damn glasses. Gavin pulled the black rimmed glasses off his nose and rubbed at his eyes, trying to ignore the stress headache that was starting to pound in his temples. "Alright, inside." he couldn't turn Connor away when he'd brought fucking cat cakes for Gil. Who the fuck bought cat treats shaped like cakes for someone else's cat? Connor did, that's who, and it was fucking adorable and honest to God Gavin loved it about him. He pushed his front door open again and let Connor inside, and the first thing he saw after shutting the door behind him was Connors look of disapproval, and Wyatt wiggling his eyebrows at him.
"Hi, Connor." the kid smiled from the couch, movie paused for now. They hadn't even gotten to the main part of the fucken movie yet.
"Hello, Wyatt. I didn't expect us to see each other again so soon, but the Detective can't seem to follow protocol so I don't know why I didn't anticipate this."
Ouch. Even Wyatt winced at that particular choice of words from Connor.
"Don't get too mad at him, Con! I bullied him into it!"
"I absolutely do not beleive-" Connor shifted his stare from the kid to Gavin and yeah, Connor was kinda upset right now. "-that you could pressure a seasoned Detective into doing anything he hadn't already planned to do."
Oh yeah, Gavin was in so much shit right now, he could clearly see it in the way Connor was looking at him, and he squirmed under the stare. So, Gavin moved around the couch and grabbed the only thing he knew would make this situation marginally better, and handed Gilbert over to the android, ignoring the smaller androids whines of protest at losing the cat. "Peace offering." and he lowered his voice when Connor took the cat from him. "Honestly I didn't think this through all the way it just happened. The kid deserves at least one good night after what he went through today. Trust me?"
Connor didn't quite look ready to full on trust him, but Gilbert was purring loudly and getting comfortable in his arms and that helped a fuck ton in placating the android. It wasn't more than a few seconds before Connor sighed, nodding his head, LED spinning back to blue. "Alright. You win."
"Con! Are you going to stay to watch the movie with us?" again, Wyatt leaned over the back of the couch, watching the two of them like this was the best situation he'd ever gotten himself into. "We're watching Jurassic Park, and Gavin ordered the grossest pizza!"
"We ain't watching anything because you won't shut up!"
Obviously Wyatt argued that point because he'd been paying attention to the movie despite talking through it and it wasnt his fault Gavin couldn't split his attention between him and the tv. It took a few minutes for all three of them to get settled on the not-as-big-as-he-thought sofa, with Wyatt nestled right between them so he could still pet Gil. On screen, Dr. Grant was hugging a triceratops when the pizza actually got there, and even Connor wasn't sure about the toppings. The assholes at the pizza shop had burried all the shit underneath that extra thick layer of cheese, too, so picking out the nasty shit was like doing surgery, but Gavin was too hungry to actually care too much. Halfway through the pizza and he was starting to be okay with the pineapple, and maybe the broccoli, but the anchovies were still nasty as fuck and he definetly picked those out.
By the time the movie was wrapping up, Wyatt was practically asleep, leaning up against Gavin's side and using his arm as a pillow. Gavin nudged him a little. "Come on, get up." Wyatt didn't move, just groaned and curled up further. Gavin huffed, pulling himself up off the couch before picking up the brat who refused to wake up for 10 seconds, and carried him across the apartment and into the only bedroom, dropping him into the blankets before shutting the door. Connor was watching him right up until Gavin plopped back down onto the couch.
"I'm just increasingly surprised by how well you handle children. It wasn't something I expected."
Gavin just shrugged, trying his best not to read into that. What the hell had Connor expected then? "Secrets out, now you know."
"Speaking of secrets." Connor took a second to look back towards the bedroom door to make sure it was closed before regarding Gavin again, and honestly Gavin squirmed under the scrutiny. "Your glasses-"
That was not the correct response, because the android frowned, annoyed. "You can ask me to trust you, and yet you don't trust me?"
God. What a low fucking blow, even if it was true. Gavin heaved a sigh, scratching at the back of his head. "Alright, fuck, fine. Yeah I wear fucking glasses, and contacts, why? You got an issue with that?"
"No." Connor just shook his head, still petting Gilbert, who was fat from all of the cake snacks Connor had fed him during the movie. "I'm just attempting to understand why you would go to such lengths."
"Easy. Cuz I fucken hate it."
"I don't see a valid reason for you to hate an eye colour-"
"Stop, Connor. It isn't any of your fucking business, okay?" God what a fucken night. "Look." he rubbed at his face, displacing his glasses for a moment before adjusting them against his nose. "Since I ain't getting any sleep tonight, you wanna watch the second movie?"
It took a second or two, but Connor eventually nodded, the faintest smile ghosting across his lips as he re-adjusted the Maine Coon that was still sleeping on him. "That sounds good to me." and you know what, Gavin grinned just a bit because watching another movie with Connor really did sound good.
Another knock at the door and Gavin winced at the sound, groaning in some amount of pain as he stretched his back out by just moving. He had a kink in his neck that was really fucking painful, and his back felt like it was bent completely out of shape. He hadn't even realized he'd fallen asleep until he woke up just now, thanks to the annoying banging on his front door. His phone said it was barely 7am - who the fuck went banging on a door at seven in the fucking morning?
Connor was still on the other side of the couch and he looked like he was sleeping - or in stasis, or whatever androids did to recharge, and Gavin had stretched out at some point last night, legs up off the ground and laying overtop of Connors lap and the android had his arms crossed overtop of Gavin's legs. He didn't want to move, but the knocking came again, and this time, Connor twitched, eyes fluttering at the sound.
Annoyed, Gavin dropped his feet back into the ground and got up, making his way towards the door and silently cursing whoever was on the other side. If they didn't have a fucking coffee delivery for him Gavin didn't fucking care he'd slam the door on their nose.
Pulling the door open, Gavin glared. "What the fuck-" and he swallowed whatever words he was going to say when Elijah fucking Kamski smiled at him.
"Good morning, Little brother."
Chapter 22: What's a little panic in the morning
Tieing up loose ends. But also some good brotherly love.
Here we go!
It got too long so I had to split it up, so here's half of what this chapter was supposed to be!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Gavin's hand was up, fisting into the soft cotton of Kamski shirt and he shoved the man of the century back hard enough that when he hit the far wall, it hurt. Gavin had no idea what the fuck Elijah was doing here, and honestly he didn't give a shit what the reason was. There was absolutely nothing that would classify as a good reason for his half brother to be there, at his door. Nothing. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
Elijah tried to smile, but even Gavin could see how strained it was at this very moment. Whatever confidence he flaunted on tv and in interviews was severely lacking right now, and that in itself was one small victory. If Gavin could make Elijah uncomfortable, it was a win.
"-You fucken thought wrong. Get the fuck out." and he shoved a little harder before finally letting go of the front of Elijah's shirt, and Gavin was ready to head back inside, shut out his brother all over again but Elijah Kamski wouldn't let him have the last word.
"I thought-" Elijah cleared his throat, some of that ego coming back and Gavin roll his eyes at just the sound of it. "since there's a chance we may see each other in the near future, we could attempt to put things between us to rest."
What a crock of shit. "To rest?" like they could just toss a throw rug over an entire lifetime of issues. Right. "It's that fucken simple, huh? Why the fuck are you really here Elijah?" Gavin crossed his arms over his chest, his back dropping against the closed front door. There had to be a reason why his narcissistic brother had decided to come here, at least a better reason than trying to patch things up before the Cyberlife conference. God, Gavin didn't want to have this conversation right now, he wasn't even completely awake yet and hadn't even had his first cup of coffee.
Elijah sighed, like dealing with Gavin was a chore. "Still as crass as ever I see. I suppose some things never change."
"And you're still a fucking dick. Guess we're done here." Gavin turned, grabbing the door handle but before he could pull open his own front door, Elijah grabbed his arm to stop him.
"Gavin. If we can stop trading insults for just a few moments-"
"Why?" he turned, one hand shoving Elijah back again just to get his brother away from him. "Why the fuck would I do that? So I can listen to you tell me how I'm over-reacting and if I fucking calmed down a bit I'd see shit your way? Fuck you, Kamski. Get the fuck off my property."
Elijah sighed again like this conversation was tedious or something and Gavin just wanted to deck him. "This is a public building, as I'm sure you know and unless I'm physically inside your apartment-"
"-Asshole." shaking his head, Gavin pulled open his door and left Elijah standing in the hallway, slamming the door shut behind him. He'd barely made it to the kitchen before the handle jiggled and Elijah let himself inside. Gavin ignored him, turning the coffee maker on before grabbing a mug from the cupboard and slamming it down too hard against the counter. He expected something from Elijah now that he was inside, some kind of condescending remark about their shitty relationship and how it was Gavin's own fault for being so petty about things. And so what if that was true?
Whatever he was expecting to hear, didn't come, not even some dumb comment about the apartment itself. Besides the gurgle of the coffee maker, the apartment was pretty quiet and Gavin turned his attention away from his empty mug ready to yell some more because despite his earlier attempts, Elijah was in his fucking apartment now, only to see his brother, one brow raised, looking between Gavin and the android sitting on his couch, while Connor watched Elijah curiously. He could see the androids LED rolling yellow.
Well fuck he'd forgotten all about Connor still being there. Gavin frowned under his brothers curious eye, absolutely no good explanation coming to mind and that on its own was frustrating enough. How the fuck was he going to explain this? Should he even bother? Honestly Elijah didn't fucking even need to know why Gavin had anyone in his apartment.
"Connor. A pleasure to see you again, though you'll forgive me for being somewhat... Surprised."
The coffee maker sputtered loudly to a stop and Gavin clenched his jaw. Of course Connor and Elijah had met before. Obviously. Why did that make the situation worse?
"You'll forgive me but," Connor frowned, his LED still flashing yellow. "after our last meeting I had hoped it would be another few years before we met again."
Gavin choked and coughed. Well something had happened between Elijah and Connor. Honestly, Gavin had known that Connor had that kind of sass in him, it was just so fucking rare to see him dish it out. Especially to Elijah, Android creator or whatever people called him. Despite that, Gavin's patience level had long since expired and at the moment he didn't care what the reason was for Connors hostility, he just wanted Elijah to get the fuck out of his apartment, his life, everything and it wasn't happening fast enough. "Could you just fucking get ou-"
"What's the yelling for."
Gavin's bedroom door slid open and a barely conscious Wyatt stepped out, scratching one hand into his bed head, looking between the adults in the room before freezing when he spotted the odd one out. Elijah spent all of a few seconds watching the kid, ignoring Gavin's demands for the time being, before he finally turned that cocky Kamski smirk on Gavin and Gavin grit his teeth. He wasn't sure what was going to come out of his brothers mouth, but he knew that look, and he fucking knew it was going to piss him the fuck off.
"I apologize for intruding so early, dear brother. I had no intention of disrupting your little... Family affair." Elijah looked between the three of them again before that irritating fucking smirk was back and it felt like Gavin's hate for the man increased a hundredfold. "We'll talk next time, Gavin." and he was out the door without another word and Gavin had never wanted to physically abuse anyone more than he wanted to hurt his brother right now. That fucking look on his face, like he thought he knew something. Fuck.
The front door shut as Elijah left and Gavin felt the mild panic start to rise. He'd been hiding this family relationship for actual years and had been doing a pretty decent job of it up until now, and he didn't - wasn't sure how he was supposed to react. That was a lie Gavin knew exactly how to react to the situation and he had his mouth open, words on his tongue to threaten the android on the couch to secrecy because fuck if he wanted anyone to know about this. He didn't want to go back to being the kid in Kamski's shadow, he'd already lived that life and he wasn't going back to it, so if he had to threaten Connor then he fucking would in a heartbeat.
Until a voice piped up in the silence, cutting off Gavin's shouts before they had a chance to even form.
"Was that fucking Elijah Kamski?"
"Language, please." Connor hissed from the couch at the kids choice in words.
Gavin blinked, momentarily pushed off kilter and he turned around quick so he could focus on making a cup of coffee. A distraction. He was surprised at how easy it'd been to swallow back whatever he was about to say just now. The sound of Connor chastising Wyatt over the kids use of swears, arguing back and forth while Gavin took a long drink of his coffee, concentrating on his breathing. The panic was still there, coiling uncomfortably in his gut, and he was still pissed off, but the chatting behind him was distracting enough that he didn't feel quite so lost in the overwhelming feelings. Yelling at Connor wasn't going to help the situation, and he could recognize that for once.
After a few sips of coffee, and now that he'd managed to get his heartrate under control, Gavin turned back around with his coffee in hand and made eye contact with Connor. Connor seemed to understand the quiet request and he caught Wyatt's attention quickly and sent the kid back into the bedroom to get changed. It didn't give them much time alone, but Gavin certainly appreciated it.
"Look-" he sighed.
"-Please," Connor straightened his jacket as he stood up off the couch and Gavin just watched the android take the few steps until he was standing just in front of him. "if you think I'm going to unveil this revelation to the entire police station, then you're mistaken and I'm disappointed that you would even think that low of me."
He had a point, and Gavin felt kind of like an idiot for reaction so badly. Yeah, he'd been keeping this secret forever, and just the idea that someone else knew he was related to Kamski was terrifying and caused a huge buildup of anxiety, but this was Connor. He didn't know why that made the situation better, but it did. Connor wasn't going to tell anyone, especially not if Gavin asked him not to, and knowing that was... Refreshing? Gavin nodded, not able to actually find the right words to say.
It was enough of a reply for Connor though. "We have to return Wyatt before going into the station so it would be wise to get ready now." and the android reached up, pulled Gavin's glasses off his nose, folded them before handing them over.
Gavin grabbed hold of the glasses without actually taking them, his fingers numb and he watched the android smile just a little bit and God damn did Gavin just want to kiss him right now. He wanted to all the time, honestly, but right now, in light of what had just happened with Elijah and how easy it was to just accept that Connor knew, it was like the feeling had just snowballed. It took a lot of will power to not do it, to talk himself out of it. He was doing so good right now with trying to not be such a big fucken asshole and they were just starting to get along and as much as Gavin wanted to get it over with and kiss the fucking android, he wanted to keep the not quite friendship that he was building even more. It was really fucking frustrating and it was all Connors damn fault for being grossly understanding with his cute little smiles and knowing what to fucken say all the time even if it was dumb.
"Yeah. Yeah whatever." he pulled the glasses out of Connors hand and turned just in time to avoid the full force of a 12 year old come flying out of the bedroom, a full bombarding of questions all coming out of the kids mouth all at once. They were all about Kamski, and Gavin was way more than happy to leave that mess for Connor to deal with and he shut the door to his bedroom maybe just a bit harder than necessary.
The glasses slid across the end table by his lamp, and after finishing the coffee in his other hand, the mug followed. Gavin dropped heavily onto the side of his bed, laying his back flat against the mattress and for a minute, he didn't move, just rubbed the bridge of his nose with his fingers, trying to figure out what he was supposed to do with himself.
As much as he hated to admit it, he was going to have to talk to Elijah at some point, and it might be better to bite the bullet and do it on his own terms, in private, rather than a public setting like the Cyberlife conference coming up. Maybe Eli had come over because he'd thought Gavin would appreciate being on his own terf? God. That thought left a bad taste in his mouth. Still, maybe Gavin would call his brother later. Or not.
Then there was Connor. Gavin wasn't sure what he was supposed to do about the android yet, but doing nothing sounded like a good enough idea.
Dropping the kid off back at the makeshift android orphanage was a lot harder than Gavin had thought it would be. Honestly, Gavin hated leaving any of the kids there, especially knowing the kind of trouble they'd already gotten into with their mystery white LED perp, but there was little other choice, it wasn't like there was much else they could do. Gavin wasn't exactly going to bring home a gaggle of like, six android kids. One of them for one night had filled his quota for the next seventeen years.
"Promise you'll come and visit?"
"Yeah, 'course I will."
That wasn't enough and Wyatt made a face befitting a boy who knew a lie when he saw one. "You have to promise, otherwise you fucking won't."
Really, it just made Gavin laugh. "Could you stop fucken swearing? Connor'll kill me if he hears the F word come outta your mouth one more time." yeah, okay, so it was kind of redundant to say fuck, then refer to it as the F word two seconds later but it was the overall thought that counted.
"Fine." he rolled his eyes, "I promise, I'll stop by and visit." it wasn't the first time Gavin had made a promise like this, and it wasn't going to be the first time he'd broken that very same promise. It was the nature of his job, and as much as he meant well, Gavin got busy and forgetful and time went by and kids grew up. This wasn't really any different; as long as the kids were safe, then he'd done a good job and so far, they were. There wasn't really a reason for the Perp to come back here and use any of the kids, not with so much police intervention already.
Wyatt didn't look confident in Gavin's answer, but the kid wasn't going to get more outta him and he seemed to know that. "Okay. I guess that's good enough."
There was a few seconds of quiet before Gavin lifted up one arm, inviting the kid fall into him and both of Wyatt's arms were instantly squeezing around Gavin's midsection and it really didn't feel like the kid was about to let go any time soon. Honestly, there was a part of Gavin that really didn't want him to. Gavin Reed, getting attached? More likely than you'd think.
"I had fun, thanks."
"No problem kid, you deserved every bit of it."
Wyatt squeezed a bit tighter. "You really will come back right? Just to say hi? You can bring Connor too, I'd really like that."
Gavin rubbed a hand through the kids hair a bit before dislodging the pint sized android from his side. "Sure, I doubt he'd say no. Any other requests?"
For a moment, Wyatt was quiet, and then his focus dropped to the ground, arms crossed tight over his chest almost defensively. "Can you stop lying for a minute and be honest?"
This time, Gavin was quiet. Leave it to this kid to be more observant than the rest. He couldn't stop the smile that twitched at the corner of his lips. "Shit happens, Wy. I can't promise you anything. I'll try but-"
"-You get busy." Wyatt filled in for him and as true as it was, Gavin still felt like shit for acknowledging it.
Gavin shrugged. "I'll try, okay?"
It was small, but Wyatt nodded. "I have your number."
"Then use it."
By the time they'd finally gotten to the precinct it was almost 10am and old man Anderson did not look like he had even an ounce of happiness inside of him when he spotted Gavin, and then Connor, coming into the precinct. It was normal for the Lieutenant, except when it was directed at Connor. Gavin fully expected Hank to chew him out for something, anything, but when the old man bypassed him, and went for Connor? Gavin was momentarily thrown for a loop.
What surprised him most was the sheepish, guilty look that crossed Connors face, like he knew he'd done something wrong. The android held up both his hands as soon as he spotted Hank coming, like he was trying to placate a wild animal. "Lieutenant, I know you're upset-"
"-Upset is a God damn understatement, Connor! Do you not know how to answer the fucking phone??" it seemed like the perfect opportunity to duck out and let the Andersons do their thing, but Gavin wasn't so lucky and Hank zeroed in on him almost as soon as he moved. "Don't think I'm fucking done with you, Reed! You're about just as responsible as he is!"
"What the fuck did I do??"
The look he got from Hank was pretty much the equivalent of 'you exist that's reason enough' which was true, but that was completely besides the point. Gavin had nothing to do with Connor and his phone, he hadn't even known Connor had a phone! How was he responsible for some built in Cyberlife bullshit? Hank was going to argue with him vocally, but Connor had chosen that exact moment to try and sneak himself away, which only frustrated the Lieutenant even more now that he had to pretty much keep an eye on the both of them.
Hank grabbed the back of Connors jacket before he managed to get too far. "It's like I'm dealing with children." Hank swore a bit more, and he sounded completely exasperated but very much less mad than he had been moments before.
"Don't yell at me, old man." Gavin took a step back when Hank turned to glare at him, and he mimicked Connors earlier action, raising both his hands. "I didn't tell him to ignore your calls. That's a parenting issue." Gavin laughed when Hank flipped him off and when the Lieutenant turned back to the android, Gavin made a break for it.
Getting to his desk wasn't the end of it though. As soon as he was sitting down, he barely had time to log into his terminal before Chris was sliding his chair across the floor, stopping at Gavin's desk. He handed over a thick folder of paperwork, smiling apologetically when Gavin took the manila folder. He flipped through it quickly before looking back up at Chris. "What's this?" whatever was in the folder, Gavin didn't understand a word of it. It wasn't in English that was for sure.
"That's what our techs got from the android you brought in yesterday."
"The dead one?" Gavin spared a moment to make sure Connor was still across the bullpen talking to Hank before he flipped back to the first page and frowned at the paragraphs there. Okay, he was no Elijah Kamski, but everyone could figure out at least a bit of basic coding, and honestly Gavin had seen his fair share of complicated lines of programming growing up to know better than most. This was on another level completely than what he was used to seeing, even he could tell by just looking at it. "And?" Chris wouldn't have brought this over unless he had a story.
He shrugged. "And, they can't make heads or tails of it."
"Isn't that their fucking job?"
Chris laughed, but there wasn't any humour in it. "They said the codes pretty intricate and complicated and all over the place, and they wanted Connor to take a look at it, but I figured I'd let you look at it first." Chris glanced from Gavin to the back of the precinct where Connor was still trying to calm Hank down, before he focused back on Gavin.
"Why?" He knew Chris didn't know about Elijah and him, but after this morning, knowing that didn't stop the panic from starting to rise in his chest.
"Because." Chris frowned, as if that was the dumbest question Gavin could have asked him, and he lowered his voice a little like he didn't want anyone to overhear. "Your partner was a little off about the whole thing yesterday any time it came up so I thought you'd be able to gauge whether he was ready to handle this. Tina said you two were getting along?"
They were, but apparently not enough for Gavin to pay attention to Connor and how he had reacted to the dead android they'd found. "I was a little distracted, okay?" and he had been, with keeping Wyatt occupied and thinking about anything but the dead android. He really hadn't given much thought to how Connor felt about the whole thing after the initial discovery. "I'll talk to him about it."
"Okay." Chris pushed his chair back a bit, but before he could get too far, he paused. "Before I forget, you have a few messages from some guy named Josh, about the security detail, I think. Best get on that, too."
Great. It never fucking ended. "Thanks."
It wasn't good, it never was. The messages were about a sudden change in location for the conference coming up in a few days. Apparently the first hotel choice hadn't been good enough for Mr fucking high and mighty Kamski so they had to rebook at the God damn Foundation Hotel. Fancy as shit place that Gavin hadn't ever stepped foot into, but he could just guess how hard setting up security would be, let alone even organizing their security detail with the hotels already in place system and staff.
It was never fucking easy.
Gavin spent a few minutes doing a web search on the hotel, getting a proper address and a vague idea of what they were going to have to deal with, and he was definitely right about it and being fancy, just like the last place. He'd have to actually go there to get a better idea of just what he was dealing with, and that would take the rest of the day easily. God he hated coordinating with hotel security.
Leaning back in his chair with a sigh, Gavin shut off his terminal and spread the folder he'd gotten from Chris across his lap. It wasn't easy to decipher, especially since Gavin really wasn't a pro at this shit, but he could see why their own police techies were having a hard time with it, and Gavin wasn't sure he wanted another android to even look this shit over. Something about the whole thing was bothering him. Rewiring, reprogramming; people didn't do that to androids, even when there hadn't been laws against it and even then it was only a few sick bastards. So what was happening here? What was the point? Obviously whatever their perp was trying to do, had failed pretty drastically, and there was more going on here than just a bad coding job, because the recovered android had been all but decimated.
Someone was angry, and Gavin wanted to know why.
"Mm." Gavin flipped the folder shut as soon as he heard Connor approach, not quite sure if he wanted to show the android or not. The bad feeling in his gut was telling him to be careful, that they didn't know what this code was for, and that maybe it could do something if another android read it, like some kind of computer virus or something. It was kind of bogus, but crazier shit had happened.
"I received a message from Josh about a location change-."
"Oh, so you do answer your calls?"
And Connor rolled his eyes in response. "Are you really taking the Lieutenants side in this argument?"
Gavin grinned, because it was funny to see Connor so damn irritated. "Ain't my fucken business so no. Just remember he's only riding your ass because the old man cares." he pushed his chair back and stood up before slapping the thick manila folder against Connors arm. "What are the chances there's some kinda code out there that can do something if you read it?"
"What?" Connor followed after Gavin as he made his way through the precinct, and Gavin could practically hear the processors whirling in his head at the question.
"You know." Gavin waved his hands, and the folder, while he walked, not quite sure how to explain himself any better. He pushed the side door of the building open with his hip before looking back at Connor. "A virus or something. Can you catch one just by reading the fucking code." and he paused in the doorway, mostly because Connor had stopped following him, LED spinning yellow. "So that's a yes?"
The android shook his head, frowning pretty heavily. "No. No I really don't think that's how it works." and Gavin was pretty sure that Connor didn't actually believe that.
"You want to take that chance, tin can?"
Hesitation. The LED on Connors temple blinked red a couple of times before going back to a solid yellow. His brown eyes dropped to the folder that Gavin was still holding, which earned a few extra red blinks of his LED. "Yes. I'm more advanced than any android model created up until this point, I shouldn't run into any issues with simple coding." the words were confident, a lot more confident than Gavin felt.
He frowned. "Shouldn't." well, Connor might be willing to take that chance but Gavin wasn't, and he was pretty fucken sure that if he brought this up with old man Anderson, Hank wouldn't be okay with testing the theory on Connor either. When Connor reached for the folder, Gavin held it out of the androids reach. He hadn't made up his mind yet on whether he was going to let Con even look at it. "Back off. I'm not fucken convinced this won't do something to your head."
Irritation. "It won't. Please don't worry."
Connor tried again to take the folder and this time, Gavin took a step backwards out of the building to avoid him. "Look, shithead, this fucking piece of coding fried that last androids circuits from the inside out. I'm not going to hand it over to you until we know more about it!"
"Can you read it?" it was a simple enough question and Gavin hated the fact that Connor knew he couldn't. When he didn't say anything, Connor held out his hand. "I thought as much. How, pray tell, do we find out what the coding says if you can't read a single line of it?"
"Fucken asshole." Gavin hadn't signed up for this shit so he turned around and left for his car. He should just let Connor take the file and fuck what happened, but then he could just imagine the trouble he'd get into, you know, besides not actually wanting to see the dumb android get himself fucked up. God.
Gavin didn't wait long before the passenger door opened and slowly, Connor slid inside the car. It was quiet for a minute before finally the android spoke up. "I'm sorry." Connor squirmed a little in the passenger seat, eyes focused ahead of him. "I understand your hesitation in regards to this and - you're right."
"Oh, I fucken know that." Gavin's laugh was dry and humorless.
Connor huffed. "I don't know what will happen, but I'm confident that I can handle whatever it is."
"Okay." he started the car. "You still ain't touching those files."
"No." and to make his point clear, Gavin reached over and opened the glove box, shoving the stacked manila folder in before closing it again. "Let me exhaust my contacts first, then we'll talk about it."
Anyone would be ble to tell that Connor wasn't happy about that, but for whatever reason the android held his tongue and nodded, agreeing to Gavin's terms without more of a fight. It was good, because they had more important shit to think about.
As expected, the fucking Foundation Hotel was a nightmare. It wasn't just the uncooperative staff that gave Gavin a headache, but the venue itself. It was a complete and total fucking disaster. For one, the place was really fucken fancy, and unlike the Waterview Loft, monitoring the entire lobby was going to be damn near impossible with just four fucking people. The only saving grace was that the security system was up to date and seemed to be in complete working order.
Simon, Josh and that crazy bitch, what was her name? North, right, that was it. The three Jericho androids had ended up meeting Gavin and Connor at the hotel entrance and together they walked the building inside and out, talking over the finer points of security and how the fuck they were going to manage this with a four man team. Three, actually, if you consider one of them was going to have to stay in the security room to monitor the cameras. Maybe Gavin could convince Fowler to give him an extra man for this job, now that Kamski himself was going to be at the conference. Being a celebrity warranted extra security, and that was the only thing Elijah was useful for in Gavin's not so humble opinion.
The cameras were the only thing good about this location, and even then the Hotel manager was humming and hawing over whether he was okay with Gavin and his team even using them. Connor stepped in after a few minutes of listening to Gavin argue with the manager, and even then, the guy was still reluctant to give them access. Honestly it was a feat because Gavin had been pretty sure that Connor could get anyone to bend to his will by using that sad android look, but not this guy. Hardened Hotel Manager; Gavin needed to take lessons from him.
"Thank you very much, sir."
"Trust me," the manager glanced between Connor, Gavin, and the rest of their little security detail before letting out an annoyed sigh. "I'm only doing this because Mr. Kamski and Cyberlife are good customers of the Hotel."
Gavin wanted to deck him, and he almost did, his hands curling into fists at his side before he felt a hand on his shoulder and Connor was leading him out of reach. "And I'm sure Mr. Kamski will be as appreciative of your cooperation as we are. If we require anything else, we'll contact you."
"I do hope you won't."
"Are you fucking kidding me."
By the time Connor let him go, the hotel manager was out of sight, and danger. Gavin crossed his arms, annoyed, but not seething anymore. "Are you fucking kidding me with that guy? What fucking crawled up his ass and died?"
"I hate humans like that. Spoiled rich assholes." North stood beside him, in a similar irritated position with her arms crossed, with similar thoughts and Gavin appreciated that at least one of these androids was mad about the attitude they'd just been given.
"Right? I'm fucken sorry crime is an inconvenience to you. Next time I'll let someone get fucking murdered here. You shoulda let me hit the asshole, Con."
Connor was silent and when Gavin glanced his way, the androids LED was spinning a rapid yellow and it took a minute before the android even looked at him, like he was preoccupied for a second there. "If you hit him, then the likelihood of him allowing us on the property at all would be roughly less than six percent."
"Worth it though."
North nodded. "I agree. Aren't you the police?" her elbow dug into a spot between Gavin's ribs and he shied away from her because ow? "What's the worst that could happen?" that made Gavin huff through the rib pain she'd just caused, amused. God it actually felt kinda good to have someone back him up like this when it involved idiots.
Connor frowned, his LED spinning between yellow and red so fast, it almost made Gavin laugh. It was almost like the rk8 wasn't sure if he liked the fact that North and Gavin were actually getting along. Finally Connors LED spun a solid yellow and he frowned at the brunette. "Please don't provide any encouragement, North. It's difficult enough to keep the Detective in check without the added support."
Gavin actually laughed this time, shaking his head. He wasn't even that difficult to deal with most days as long as you didn't get on his nerves, which is were most people went wrong. "What-fucken-ever. Anyway, we've got tentative permission to do what we gotta do so let's not fucken waste time." and just for added measure Gavin gave North a shove to get her moving. "You heard the Detective, stop fucking agreeing with me it's creepy."
"Reed, I will break your fingers if you touch me again, I swear."
"Try me, princess." he gave her another little shove and as expected, she did not attempt to physically break anything on his body, but she did glare. Honestly, North would have made a good cop if things had been a little different. "Connor, you do a good sweep of the south side and I'll pick up the north. We can-"
"-If it isn't too much trouble, Detective Reed, I'd like to work with you."
Gavin had to actually turn around, so he could look at Simon because he'd forgotten that blondie was even there for a second. The frown that wrinkled across his brow was more out of confusion than anything, because Gavin didn't know why Simon would want to tag along with him. "Sure?" he really couldn't hide how confused he was, and a quick glance to Connor proved that even his partner wasn't quite sure what Simon wanted. "Okay, fine, so North can-"
Before he could finish North had both hands up to stop him. "Count me out, I've got to catch up with Markus so I won't be any help. I only came to make sure you got the ball rolling."
Gavin frowned a little deeper. Okay so they were back to four people. He'd been hoping that North would be able to stay for the duration of this conference so he wouldn't have to ask for extra hands.
"Alright, what about you?" Gavin shifted his stare towards Josh, who just shrugged at the question.
"I'll go with Connor and check out the south side."
And that was that. North took off, but not before doing some weird display with Blondie, touching hands but without the layer of artificial skin. Gavin had seen it before - between North and Markus, and Markus and Simon, and this was just weirdly concrete evidence to support the fucken rediculous idea that the three of them were in some kind of weird...
And it was time to hop right off that train of thought before it got too far.
With North gone, it left the four of them to split up and start the tedious process of mapping out the building for security purposes. What areas they would need to block off, where the exits were, what exits couldn't be legally closed off, high risk corners, locations that the cameras couldn't see, and anything else that had potential to be dangerous to their security. Tedious was an understatement.
Two hours went by slowly while the two of them worked on the securing the north side of the building, marking off doorways and any area that could potentially be blocked off to help with crowd control. Two hours of Gavin waiting for Simon to say something to him about why the blond had wanted to come with Gavin instead of Connor. Two hours of Gavin left to wonder what blondie was thinking. Two hours was fucken long enough to wait and if Simon wasn't going to bring it up then Gavin would.
"So you wanna tell me what the hell you wanna tell me before I lose my fucken mind?"
For a minute, Simon looked surprised, as if Gavin's sudden outburst was uncalled for, or unwarranted or whatever, but the moment passed and that surprise quickly shifted to... Embarrassment? "It's nothing, really." he shrugged, looking away from Gavin trying to act like he was still trying to do the work. "I just... I wanted to see if you were only being better for Connor."
"What?" what the fuck did that mean?
Simon finally looked at him again. "You're better now, Detective. You joke with us, your hostility isn't a threat anymore. I wanted to know if you were being nice because Connor was around, or if it was actually progress." Simon tried to smile at him. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have misjudged you like I did."
"Wait, what do you mean just for Connor?" Gavin was still trying to process that.
Simon frowned but didn't say a word. Not that he needed to, because it finally clicked what Blondie meant by that and the panic that rose up inside was more potent than the embarrassment ever could be. Of course it would be Simon of all the possible androids who figured it out, without even fucking trying. The panic was almost blinding, and Gavin didn't know what he was supposed it do, or say, so he froze. As if moving even a hair would set the world off and it would all go fucken wonky. Simon saw the panic, and Gavin saw it register on the androids face what was happening, and then the worst thing possible happened.
The stupid fucking android started to panic, which just threw Gavin off even more.
"I'm sorry I wasn't aware - I didn't think- oh my goodness Detective I'm so sorry I didn't mean to put you on the spot like this please forget I said anything to you it was extremely selfish of me!" Simon turned quickly and in seven steps he was gone down the hallway, leaving Gavin alone to get himself fucking organized.
Left by himself, feeling started slowly coming back and he wasn't so numb. The panic didn't go away, it settled and kept boiling, making it hard to relax at all. If Simon knew, then who else did? Gavin dropped onto a bench near one of the windows and tried to steady his breathing, foot tapping nervously against the ground. What the fuck had he done to give Simon the idea that he... That... That he felt anything at all for Connor? He did, fuck did he ever, but that was besides the point he was trying to stay neutral.
And apparently failing.
Needing a distraction, Gavin pulled his phone from his pocket, bent on checking some dumb social media site to try and numb the panic, only to frown before even unlocking his phone.
Five missed calls from Wyatt.
Thanks so much for reading this! I really hope you enjoyed it!! I know I had fun with a lot of this.
Thank you in advance for the kudos and the comments, I love hearing from you guys, and any opinions y'all have! I couldn't do this without you!
Chapter 23: Choices
There's another conference and choices are definetly made.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Five missed calls but no voicemail messages, so it wasn't life threatening. Gavin swiped through the lock screen but before he could hit the call button with his thumb the obnoxious sound of an old man clearing his throat distracted him. When he looked up, Gavin wasn't surprised to see one of the ancient hotel staff members standing in front of him. Honestly, did this place only hire men over the age of one hundred? "Yeah?"
"If you would, Detective, we have the security room unlocked for you now."
Glancing down at his phone, thumb hovering over the green call button, Gavin sighed and locked his device, sliding it back into his pocket as he got up. There hadn't been any messages so it was fine, there was no life threatening situation happening. He'd call the kid later when he was out of this fucken gilded prison.
The security room was small and hot and cramped for such a big and fancy hotel chain, and three people barely fit inside with room to move. They'd been pretty much threatened into letting the security guard stay, just in case Gavin had questions, but a fucking moron could tell that the asshole hotel manager didn't trust them. What the fuck did he expect them to do? Walk out with the security monitors? They were the fucking police for christ sake.
Josh had replaced Simon, and Gavin was thankful to some degree because after the revelation earlier, he really didn't want to deal with blondie right now because he really wasn't sure how to deal with him yet. What the hell was he supposed to say? How much bodily harm did he have to threaten before Simon would keep his mouth shut? Though, Gavin didn't actually think he'd go around telling anyone anything about what he knew, especially after how Simon had reacted.
Funny how easy it was to trust fucking androids instead of people. That was so backwards and weird, but of all the people who knew any of his secrets, Gavin was... Less stressed about it all because it was Connor and Simon, and of all the androids and people he knew, the only people he trusted more with secrets was Tina and Chris, and only sometimes Tina because the bitch could be spiteful.
"Yeah, I fucking got it."
Learning the system took time. It was an up to date program, but an obscure one that wasn't as user friendly as most security softwares out there, so the learning curb was pretty thick. It took a good solid few hours before both Josh and Gavin had gotten a good enough understanding of it to actually use it effectively, and by then, they were behind on the floor plans. Connor and Simon had been working hard to cover more ground, but as much as Connor knew about security, Gavin was the more experienced one. He had to take extra time going over the notes both androids had written out, and checking over the areas again before they were approved. Not that he didn't trust either of them. He just had to do it.
It took time, and the day went by in a flash. By the time he finally got home it was dark and late and he was absolutely exhausted from running around a hotel all fucken day, dealing with assholes who didn't want to be dealt with. Gavin barley had the energy to feed Gilbert and himself, before he was in bed and sleeping before his head was even fully on his pillow.
Day two was more of the same shit, going over floor plans and trying to figure out if they could tap into the hotels security system from the DPD so someone could work remotely, which involved a lot of going back and forth from the hotel to the precinct. On top of it all, the guest list had arrived and there was a list of demands that the attending CEOs had attached. Oh, and also the fucking added headache of having to deal with two extra security teams, under the employment of each of the fucking Cyberlife CEOs that were coming. It was one ordeal after another and the couple times that Gavin got to actually work with Connor instead of sending him off to do something else, he noticed that even the android looked a little ragged and stretched thin.
It was a lot happening and all of it at the same time and the odd time that he managed to have to himself, Gavin's insides curled uncomfortably, like something was wrong. His gut feeling was telling him that there was something wrong, but honestly Gavin didn't know what, or why. There was already so much going wrong he could barely make heads or tails of his own instinct. Should he have screened the staff a bit harder? Had he missed something important while checking the building for potential disaster areas? Whatever was wrong, Gavin didn't have the time to think about it and he was back on his feet in minutes, trying to find where he'd last left one of those Jericho androids.
The last few hours of day two were about just as exhausting as the first, except this time Gavin managed to do a little more when he'd gotten home. Like actually pay attention to his cat, and Gilbert was more than happy to accept the attention. Gil craved more love than normal when he wasn't allowed outside, and Gavin still wasn't letting the Maine Coon out of the apartment.
With the cat in his lap and his feet up on the coffee table, Gavin swiped his thumb across his phone, only to see the blinking notifications. Three missed calls from Wyatt, and still no voicemail message. Shit... Gavin had totally forgotten to call the kid back the night before, and right now... Glancing at the clock, it flashed quarter after midnight: way too late to call the kid now. He'd have to remember to do it in the morning.
Though, tomorrow was going to be chaotic already with the conference happening, but maybe after it was over he'd give the kid a call. Or visit. Yeah he'd drop by the house and check on everyone. Bring the girls some sweets or something.
Something always went wrong. Gavin stopped by the station around five thirty am to pick up Connor and the gear he was going to bring with them, and to make sure Chris had what he needed. The Captain had finally agreed to give Gavin an extra body, and since they'd manage to remote into the Hotels security Chris was going to monitor everything from the precinct. He left an earpiece for Chris so he'd be on the same channel as the rest of them, picked up the vests and the rest of the electronic gear but before he could leave, he stopped to watch Connor.
The android was twitchier than normal.
When Connor caught Gavin watching him, he looked away, grabbed a jacket and left for the parking lot, leaving Gavin to trail back behind him. Out in the parking lot, Connor waited beside Gavin's car, fingers picking at the door handle, which just made Gavin frown. Could androids get bad feelings? Was Con feeling the same as he was about this whole thing? The anxious coil in his gut hadn't gone way, and seeing the way the android was acting amplified the feeling that yeah, something was going to go bad, it was just a matter of
"What's the matter?"
Connor looked surprised for a second, LED spinning yellow, and Gavin was getting pretty good at reading his partner by now, so he could tell the exact moment when the android started schooling his expression. "Nothing, Detective. I'm simply thinking about all the possibilities for today."
Gavin scoffed. "Bullshit." but he wasn't going to press the issue, instead unlocking the car and sliding into it. He wanted to get to the hotel as soon as possible so he could look everything over before shit started to get busy. Connor took an extra couple of seconds before he sat gingerly into the passengers seat.
It was quiet for most of the drive, Gavin's gut still sitting uncomfortably, but it was manageable. Until Connor spoke.
"Mmm." It was quiet again, and Gavin spared a moment to look away from the road only to see the uncomfortable look that had settled on Connors face. That was never a good thing. "What?"
Squirming. Connor was fucking squirming now.
"Connor, what is it?"
Finally, the android turned his head just enough to look at him and Gavin focused back on the road. He didn't know what Connor was going to say, but he knew just by his expression and the reflection of the androids red LED that he wasn't going to like it.
"I..." Connor sighed, sounding resigned to his fate. "I expressed my concern for the children to Markus, and he agreed with me that they needed a proper home, something safer. When he sent someone to the house to get things in order-"
"-God Damnit, Connor." Gavin braked a little too hard at the stop light. "Did you find him yet?"
Now it made sense why Wyatt had called so much the past few days and Gavin was kicking himself for not checking up on the kid earlier. He wanted to be angry, he was angry, but at who? Connor? For wanting to give a couple homeless kids a better home? Gavin wasn't that much of a dick, and he knew that Markus (as much as he hated him) was probably the safest place for a handful of android kids. God, talk about utterly terrible timing though.
Connors head shake was answer enough. No, they hadn't found Wyatt yet. A honk came from behind them but Gavin didn't move, throwing the car in park instead before grabbing his phone out of his pocket. He dialed Wyatt and waited while it rang, and rang, and rang, and he hung up after the ninth ring. "Fuck." and he tossed his phone up into the dash.
Connor flinched, LED cycling yellow. "I didn't want to tell you, especially not today with everything happening, but it's been a few days already and I'm worried." he fidgeted with his hands a little, eyes focused on them.
Gavin shifted the car back into gear, foot pressing the gas. What was he supposed to do? He had a full day of protecting the asses of some Cyberlife CEOs and zero time to actually look for the kid despite wanting to. If it were up to him he'd ditch the fucking conference and start his own search for the idiot child, but Fowler would actually fire him if he did that and as much as he hated it right now, Gavin needed his job. Leave it to Wyatt to ditch at the most inconvinient fucking time.
"Just fucking great."
"It's fine, Connor." Gavin huffed, trying to school his temper. It wouldn't do anyone any good if he bitched at the android. "I'm not--I'm not actually mad at you. I'm pissed off at the brat, and I can't fucking wait to hear what kind of stupid reason he had." because knowing Wyatt, it was going to be an extremely dumb reason.
Getting to the Foundation Hotel did nothing to ease the anxiety welling up inside him and the feeling didn't go away as he met with Josh and Simon, handing off ear-peices and tac vests. Chris joined the channel and they went over one last sweep of the lobby, making sure the cameras were working and that everyone knew their specific areas and what to look for etc. The security units from the individual CEOs had arrived late, and Gavin shuffled them all off to do basic crowd control in areas that wouldn't need too much focus. He didn't trust them to do the job he needed but he could use them to make it look like they actually had a security detail outside of the four of them.
One after the other, the CEOs arrived and filtered into the hotel via the back entrance, and Gavin was there to make sure they all made it in one piece while Connor kept the front of the hotel, and the influx of android supporters, in check. Everyone from Cyberlife made it without an issue, and when Kamski showed up, Gavin didn't make eye contact with him. If he had, he would have said something, and he could already tell that Elijah wanted to talk so Gavin just avoided the temptation and practically shoved him into the board room when they arrived.
Everything was going smoothly until, of course, the androids arrived. Markus couldn't use the back door as planned, because he needed to see his people. Yeah okay, it was good leadership to acknowledge the people who supported you but it made their job as security that much harder and Gavin shot Simon a glare that split second when they could see each other because like hell Simon didn't know his fucking boyfriend was going to make a God damn show of his entrance. Blondie even looked guilty for not giving Gavin the heads up.
The growing crowd was big and loud, but it wasn't rowdy. There was nothing violent about it. Yes, they shouted and yes, they had random bits of shit ( signs and flags. They had flags? ) to show their support for what Markus was trying to do for them, but that was it. No fights. No pushing no shoving, no altercations. They all kept a respectable distance from each other if they could, and moved out of the way when Gavin was trying to squeeze by. It was eerily similar to the last conference they'd been to, but that one had pretty much ended peacefully too. Hopefully there were no kids with knives at this one.
Getting Markus and North from the entrance to the upstairs boardroom where the talks were supposed to happen took a little while, but it happened without incident. Simon and Josh were station at the east and west wings respectively while Connor stood by the front entrance and Gavin was halfway up the stairs to the second floor where he had a good view of the entire floor, and it was packed. Maybe busier than before. From up where he stood, Gavin could tell the difference between the androids and the people, too. Maybe it was because Kamski was here, but there were a lot more humans hanging around than the first conference, but for the most part they were being good. The scattered big men in black suits, courtesy of the Cyberlife CEOs, seemed to help a bit. People and androids alike kept their distance, and so far, no one was trying anything.
Simon and Josh called in periodically with no updates besides the shear number of people attending, and Connor had the same news out front. Everything was going smoothly, and if it kept up, they might get home with a few hours left of the day. A few hours Gavin could use to track down a pipsqueak made of nuts and bolts instead of state of the art software. Stupid Wyatt.
Gavin was impatiently hoping from foot to foot while he watched the croud when North stoped by. She didnt say a word, and was probably only there because the bigwigs were on break, and she dropped down into the stairs nearby, watching the crowd. It wasn't like her to be this quiet, so naturally Gavin was a bit worried. "Who the fuck died, princess?"
She shot him a glare from over her shoulder, but it was the most North thing he'd seen from her in the last 5 hours so he'd take it. "Fuck off Reed."
"No, really. How's it going in there?" he would have sat with her, God knew his legs needed a bit of a break but he was working, and there was an entire crowd that needed his undivided attention right that second. Not that he hadn't been distracted since he'd gotten to the hotel. Gavin hadn't been able to get Wyatt off his mind, or where the kid could have gone or why. So he settled for nudging her annoyingly with his boot.
"Crappy. Those annoying thick headed Cyberlife assholes wouldn't know where their dicks were if they weren't already attached. It's like they can't see more than five minutes ahead. We talk about the future and they just don't understand. We've been going in circles for hours now and I don't know how Markus does it."
That sounded pretty accurate from what Gavin knew about the assholes that managed Cyberlife. He sighed, watching the bodies just a few steps below them. "You could have switched jobs with Blondie if it's so fucken annoying."
North laughed. "What, and let him have all the fun up there? He likes being out here anyways." she shifted around on the steps so that she was turned half towards him, long hair braided over one shoulder and Gavin felt his stomach drop instantly, but he wasn't sure why he didn't like the look she was giving him. "Speaking of Simon-"
Oh God that was why. Simon hadn't said anything about Gavin's weird... Thoughts about Connor, had he? "North no." he had to try and stop her before this got fucking out of hand. He really didn't... This was the worst possible time to have this conversation. Any time was bad in his opinion. This conversation should never happen.
"North yes!" She smiled wide as if she didn't care where they were right now and Gavin absolutely hated it. He was going to kill Simon when he saw him next. As fucken if Gavin even thought he could trust that synthetic bastard. "Oh please," this time, North rolled her eyes like she could read exactly what he was thinking. "before you go on your little murder spree he didn't say anything to me." she wiggled her fingers at him and for a second, the artificial skin covering her digits rolled back enough so he could see the white carbon underneath. "He didn't need to say anything. We don't hide anything from each other, we can't."
God, Gavin didn't know if that made the situation better or worse because Markus had to know, too. These three idiots touched each other all the time with their robot hands and fuck. But really, what was he worried they knew, really? For fucks sake, Gavin didn't even really know himself. He did not fucking have the patience, time, or energy for this shit right now. "Dont you have a fucking life changing conference to attend? I'm really busy here."
Whatever he'd said seemed to make the witch smile and North stood up, hopefully to leave, but of course she didn't. Gavin tried to focus on the crowd, scanning heads and keeping an eye on things from his vantage point to make sure there wasn't any sort of commotion happening, while North paced around him, like a puma stalking it's prey. He could feel her watching him, and for a reason he didn't quite know, it was enough to make Gavin not just uncomfortable, but embarrassed at the same time.
"Alright, Reed. You win, only because my breaks over." she started up the steps to the second floor only to stop after the second one. "A word of advice though, if you want this to be a secret, you should stop with the nicknames. Even if it's really cute."
Gavin bristled instantly at that. "I didn't -"
"You did! 'Con'? I was right there." and she waved and took the rest of the stairs up before Gavin could argue with her anymore and it was seconds before he lost sight of her.
Just what he fucken needed right now. It couldn't just be this Fucking conference, with its bitchy CEOs and annoying androids, but it was Elijah too, and then all this bullshit with Wyatt running off for days and now it was Connor. Or... Not actually Connor, but about him. What was next? Gavin leaned against the railing, cursing under his breath and trying to focus back on the job he was supposed to be doing but now he wasn't just preoccupied with trying to figure out where Wyatt had run off to, and stressing out about being at the conference instead of out looking for the little shit, but now he was trying to figure out if he'd done something else to make people think he... That he... Maybe, just maybe he might actually like Connor. Maybe. A little.
It wasn't long lived though, and Gavin's attention shifted quickly from his own thoughts to someone curiously weaving through the crowd. It wasn't aggressive, the blue hoodie that was moving between androids in the crowd wasn't pushing anyone around but there was definetly a purpose to the movement. Purpose that no one else around seemed to have. Strange, everything considered.
"Connor." Gavin tapped his earpiece watching the Rk800 across the room. "Blue sweater." Gavin saw Connor scan the room quickly before he found the odd one out and the android took a step to follow before stopping dead in his tracks. What was he waiting for? "Go fucking get him"
For a second, Connor was silent, glued to that spot on the floor and Gavin could just barely see his LED flashing a continuous red against his temple. "Detective we have a bigger problem right now."
"What?" what was a bigger problem than a suspicious character?
"My scans of the immediate area indicate that there are several explosive devices mixed into the crowd."
Gavin's heart stopped at those words, his blood running cold. He just hadn't heard Connor right. "Are you sure?"
How could they have miss this. "How -"
Connors head was shaking side to side and he turned from the crowd of people to look at Gavin from across the room. "I don't know how I missed this. There were no signs, no traces of anything befitting an improvised explosive device. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the crowd. I dont-"
"Connor." the android shut up, and Gavin was thankful for it. He wasn't sure if it was the panic, but he didn't have time right now to listen to Connor try and talk himself into a calmer state of being. "We need to get these people out of here. Josh, Simon?"
Simons voice came over their headset almost immediately. "I don't have the scanning abilities Connor has, but I manually checked and it looks like there are some devices by the west exit."
"Here too." Josh chimed in and it only served to add to Gavin's stress. The building was packed with people and androids, how we're they supposed to evacuate them all without causing a panic?
"Connor is there a timer?"
"None that I can observe."
Fuck. Gavin's fingers tapped against the staircase railing, thoughts rushing a mile a minute. That meant it was a trigger and the IEDs could go off at any time. "Con, send the security guards around your area to help Simon and Josh with their evac, then head up and get the Cyberlife idiots out. I'll take care of the front."
"What do we tell the people?"
Gavin didn't know who asked that, but it didn't matter because he didn't know the answer. What wouldn't cause instant panic? "Just tell them the evac is to ensure their safety. They don't need to know more than that. Chris?"
"I'm here." the officers voice was loud and clear over the headset. "I've got the bomb squad heading your way with a S. W. A. T. unit. Get those people out, Gavin."
It felt like the conversation had taken hours, but it hadn't been a minute yet and everyone was moving. From where we was, Gavin saw Josh and Simon on their respective sides of the building starting to herd people through the side exits, and the CEO security guards joined them both quick enough in helping with the people. Connor was heading up the stairs, and Gavin reached out before he knew what he was doing, grabbing hold of the androids forearm.
"-Just be fucking careful, okay?"
Connor nodded after a long moment and Gavin let him go, allowing the android to continue up the stairs towards the second floor where the conference was being held. Gavin took the stairs down two at a time, stopping at the hotels front desk on his way to the front of the building. The manager didn't seem happy to see him, but it didn't matter how either of them felt about each other right now. The old man had protocols and hotel guest to take care of, and after a quick conversation with him, the manager started directing his staff as calmly as possible to call any occupied rooms to let them know about the mandatory evacuation. Using the fire alarm was out of the question because it was loud, noisy, panic inducing, and whoever had that trigger might decide to set off the IEDs prematurely at the sound of it. Thankfully, the hotel manager had agreed with that.
One after another, Gavin was practically pushing people out of the hotel lobby, trying to answer any questions as calmly as possible but the longer it took to get these people outside, the closer to disaster it felt like they were getting and the more stressed out Gavin got. It hadn't even been that long because the S. W. A. T. team and Bomb Squad hadn't gotten there yet, but it felt like hours had gone by already. It was like there was an invisible clock ticking loudly in his head, reminding him that at any second someone could decide to play God and pull a trigger.
They'd found six devices so far, two by each of the three exits, all on support columns. If the bombs went off, the building was gonna go down. At least part of it would anyway, and Gavin was really pretty sure he didn't want to be inside when that happened.
"All clear at the west exit."
"The east is cleared too."
"Good. Take the security teams and get out. Connor?"
It was a second before Connors voice came over the earpiece. "We just cleared the back exit. All accounted for. We're coming around to the front to rendezvous with everyone."
That was a relief. The lobby was empty, cleared of everyone, including the last few hotel staff members and the manager. All the upper floors had been cleared out via the staff and all guests had been accounted for, and with the bigwigs gone out the back way with Connor that left no one in the building except him. It felt like he could finally breath again. "Alright. Good work, buildings clear I'm heading out."
Gavin headed for the front door of the hotel, finally feeling good about the situation, as shitty as it was. Granted he'd never get out of the precinct tonight with the amount of paperwork he'd have to do, but everyone had worked really hard and against all odds had managed the impossible. He felt good about it.
He stopped instantly, the voice not coming from his earpiece but inside the hotel lobby. Gavin turned, fingers unclipping the gun in his shoulder holster and pulling it free and sure enough, the asshole in the blue hoodie was standing by one of the pillars with a now obvious IED attached to the base. It wasn't the suspect showing himself that surprised Gavin the most, it was the kid the guy was holding hostage.
The android in the blue hoodie had a firm grip on a blond haired runt, and the kid looked absolutely terrified. Gavin froze on the spot, blood running cold all over again, mouth dry and his grip tightened on his gun.
"See," the android ran one of his hands over Wyatt's head, ruffling up his hair a little and Gavin felt sick watching. "I told you he'd care, Wy." he used the nickname that Gavin had used for the kid, and it felt wrong and Wyatt flinched at the sound of it.
"You." Gavin's voice was low and angry, but it was enough.
"Yep. Just me." the android, blond hair under the blue hoodie and green eyes from what Gavin could see. Tall and lean, typical for most android models, but Gavin didn't recognize the face. It wasn't something he'd seen before - not like Simon. The PL600 models were everywhere. What stood out the most was the pulsing white LED on the androids temple and Gavin's grip tightened on his gun again, but he didn't think he'd get a chance to shoot, not if Wyatt was a hostage.
"What the fuck do you want?" this time, he got the words out.
The android shrugged, like they were having some kind of casual conversation and stepped forward, pushing Wyatt into taking that step with him. "I'll tell you, Detective. But first -" without waiting, the android shoved Wyatt forwards and the kid, hands bound back behind him, tripped at the force of the shove and hit the ground hard with a grunt.
Gavin was already moving, and the android chuckled when it was clear that Gavin had picked the kid instead of going after him. "Surprising, touching even, but that was the wrong choice." Gavin caught sight of something in the androids hand, and he didn't know what it was for a second until suddenly he did and his heart stopped.
It was as if the click sounded louder than the actual explosions and all Gavin could think to do as the colomns nearby exploded into fire, cement and brick debris, was drop to the ground and cover the kid from it.
another cliffhanger im sorry but also not.
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Chapter 24: All wrong
You think everything is okay and then it isn't.
Welcome back folks.
This was supposed to be much longer but I wanted to give you something asap because you've been waiting so long! You're all so good! The best!
So have this reward!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It felt like something was wrong.
Connor was being pulled in all directions at once,leaving him with very little time to process much more than report after report and the assistance he was giving to the officers that had just arrived on scene, and the ones that had gotten to the hotel just before the bomb had gone off. Making sure that not only where the CEOs okay, that Mr. Kamski was alright, but the androids that had crowded into the hotel were doing alright as well. It was a lot of information to process all at once but Connor was happy to do it.
Seeing Markus, North and Simon was a relief. He hadn't known he'd had any fear of their well being until he'd seen them with his own two eyes. It hadn't been that long since the blast, twelve minutes by his own internal clock, and it looked like the three of them were doing their own relief work, getting the android witnesses together for better witness reports and making sure everyone had whatever help they needed. Honestly Connor was grateful for the assistance; there was too much to do for the handful of officers here. Still, Connor couldn't shake the feeling that he was missing something.
Simon waved Connor down when he saw him, and the blond android smiled as he approached. "Hi, Connor."
"Is everyone alright?"
"Yes. No injuries at all. As far as we can tell everyone was evacuated and no one was hurt." Simon took a moment to look behind him, back to where Marcus and North were deep in conversation with a couple androids who Connor did not know. "There are a lot of androids looking to help. I was thinking of making a list of names and contact information so that we could send them home for now, and when the DPD has time, they can reach out to them."
It was a good idea and a relief to hear. "Normally I would refuse but with everything happening and how little officers we have right now... Could you do that? It wouldn't be too much trouble?" the androids wouldn't soon forget what happened here, unlike their human counterparts so letting them leave wasn't bad. It would help clear the area and make this a little easier to handle as well.
Connor smiled, nodding his thanks to Simon before stepping back and returning to what he'd been trying to sort out earlier. The bomb squad still hadn't arrived yet, and the last report he'd gotten on their ETA had mentioned something about rerouting because of an accident. The sooner they could have someone inside the hotel to assess the damage, the better off they'd all be. Perhaps the bomber had left some kind of clue in his devices that would help track him down. Doubtful.
It was a hand on his shoulder that distracted Connor, and seeing Hank standing there beside him was another huge relief. "Hank, what are you doing here?" the Lieutenant was supposed to be out doing field work on how own investigations.
Hank shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal. "What? Something big like this needs all hands on deck. How's everything going?"
"Well." Connor took a heavier breath than usual, for no other reason that to try and focus. With Hank here, that awful feeling pooling in his bio-components had lessened but it was still there, and he still didn't quite get it. "So far everything's good. No casualties, no injuries. We've accounted for all VIPs and the damage itself isn't that bad from what I can tell. My scans show a little structure damage, the ceiling collapsed near the entrance but the building hasn't list its structural integrity."
Hank grunted, turning to look at the building." So who plants bombs that don't actually do anything?"
"They would have caused excessive injury had anyone been standing nearby, but because we managed to get everyone outside, that scenario was avoided."
Hank didn't seem convinced of that, and honestly neither did Connor. There was too much work put into making and planting the bombs only to have nothing really happen. So what was the point? To frighten those involved? Knowing Marcus, something like this would only serve to strengthen his resolve. Was that the point? No that wasn't right.
"You think there's something more here." Connor finally turned away from the building to regard the Lieutenant standing beside him.
Again, Hank grunted. "Don't you?"
"I do, but-" something ahead of him made Connor pause, but only for a moment. Before he could say anything more to Hank, Mr. Kamski seemed to notice them standing there and the ex-Cyberlife CEO turned and in a few strides, was standing in front of them. He seemed winded, but Connors scans showed that he was only marginally exhausted and his stress levels were with the parameters allotted to their current situation. "Mr. Kamski. What can we do for you?"
Connor was trying to remain neutral towards Elijah, even if it was difficult considering their past history and knowing what he did now about his relationship with Detective Reed. Whatever the history was between them, it wasn't good, and it frankly made Connor that much less inclined to deal with Elijah any more than he needed to.
"Shouldn't you be with the rest of those Cyberlife guys?" apparently Hank had a similar opinion of the man in front of them.
Elijah glanced at Hank momentarily and gave him what looked like a strained smile before he focused on Connor. "Trust me, the executives are fine. I was only..." Kamski averted eye contact and Connor straightened, now concerned. How unlike the man of the century. "You all did a fine job, Connor, I'm very grateful for your help here." finally he looked back at Connor, a little more composed than a moment ago. "I wanted to say a few words to everyone involved, however-"
"Get to the point, we're a bit busy here." Hank grunted out the words and Connor had to resist the need to quiet the Lieutenant. Elijah was trying to make an effort right now, and besides that, Con was getting the impression that something was wrong.
"Well." Elijah sighed. "I was... Looking for Detective Reed, and I can't seem to find him."
Connor didn't react to that, at least, he kept a neutral face but his LED gave away his sudden confusion by spinning yellow. Kamski was looking for Gavin? Why? Did it have anything to do with the other morning?
"What do you mean you can't find him?" Hank sounded annoyed by the whole thing. "We aren't errand boys, we have a damn job to do that isn't tracking down people for you."
Connors LED continued to spin yellow and that feeling in his gut seemed to spread. "You can't find him?" he repeated Elijah's words, and going through his own memory of the last twenty minutes, Connor realized that out of everyone he'd observed after the explosion, he hadn't actually seen Gavin.
Elijah nodded. "No."
Calling the detected didn't help, it went straight to his voicemail no matter how many times Connor tried. It was impossible that anything had happened, they'd all confirmed their exit from the building, Connor had heard the Detective say that he'd left.
No, that he was leaving. Detective Reed hadn't confirmed his exit, just his intent. But there had been enough time between that radio contact and when the bombs went off for him to make it outside. The hotel was big but it wasn't that big. There was absolutely no way anything could have happened.
"One moment." turning around, Connor took a few steps away from both Hank and Kamski, and thankfully neither followed him. It only took two rings before officer Miller answered his phone.
"What's up Connor? How's it going over there?"
"It's fine. Officer Miller, did you have video of Detective Reed leaving the hotel before you lost camera signal in the blast?"
There was quiet on the other end of the line for a moment, sounds of typing before Chris spoke again. "Sort of. I'm just reviewing what I have right now and it looks like he's heading for the doors but I don't have a good angle, somethings getting in the way of the camera facing the front. Why? What's wrong?"
"Was there ample time from when you last saw him, to the doors for him to have gotten out in time?"
"Yeah. Is something wrong Connor?"
"Everythings all right. Has anyone at the station heard from him at all in the last twenty minutes?"
"No. Connor you're scaring me man, is Gavin alright?"
"Thank you, Officer Miller." and Connor cut off the call before Chris could ask anymore questions. His LED was pulsing red, not because he knew what had happened, because he didn't actually know. It was just the idea that Gavin hadn't made it out of that building that caused his bio-components to turn to ice. Dread.
"What's wrong, Connor?" Hanks voice wasn't enough to relax him, and looking at Elijah certainly wouldn't help matters. Connor wasn't sure what was wrong with him but he didn't think he'd be able to mask his own panic right now despite trying his hardest to. It was strange, but he didn't have the time to really think about it at the moment.
"Lieutenant can you come here a moment?"
It took a second, but Hank took the few steps until he was standing beside him, and Connor could feel Hank's eyes on him, on his spinning red LED. It was a dead giveaway that there was something wrong.
"-I have reason to believe that Detective Reed didn't make it out of the building before the bombs went off." he didn't know how he'd managed to pull it off but Connors voice remained level, not giving away the panic that was slowly rising.
"What? Are you sure?" Hank spoke loud, too loud, and Connor winced at the sound. He seemed to notice his volume after a second because he leaned a little closer, his next words a few octaves above a whisper. "How do you know?"
Connor twisted his fingers together, trying to appear calm on the outside even though his internal systems felt like they were in complete and utter turmoil. "Officer Miller had troubles with the one camera facing the door since the evacuation, and I haven't seen him since we were inside. His car is still in the parking lot, and no ones heard from him. His phone goes to voicemail-I have a feeling. A very bad feeling, Hank."
"What about the security cameras? They were working before?"
"Everything was working when we set up. I confirmed it myself."
Connor nodded, forwarding a call from Chris to his voicemail. "It must have been tampered with, but I don't know how. Or when." he was distracted, going over the events from inside the hotel second by second. He hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary and that was absolutely unacceptable. So much had been done, right under his nose, but how? When? Hank made a move, like he was going to walk away and Connor grabbed his arm, effectively stopping him. "Hank. Lieutenant. Gavin's still in the building. We-"
"-I'm going to let Fowler know, and we'll get someone inside. Connor the damn Bomb Squad isn't even here yet what are we supposed to do?" Hank hissed quietly before he sighed, like he could read what Connor was thinking. "No. Absolutely fucking not! "
"Is something wrong?" Elijah's voice cut into their argument and both Connor and Hank turned to the ex Cyberlife CEO in surprise. Honestly they'd both completely forgotten that Elijah was still there, waiting for some kind of news. Elijah looked worried, more worried now than he had been when he'd initiated conversation with Connor to begin with. Like he knew what the hushed whispers meant.
It was a rather confusing situation because as Connor understood it, Elijah and Gavin hadn't spoken in years, and there was a lot of anger between them. Perhaps the anger was on Gavin's part. "No, everything fine Mr. Kamski." his smile felt fake, and it didn't seem as though Elijah was at all comforted by it.
"I can see your LED Connor, please don't lie to me."
Connor winced, and Hank took a step forwards towards the Cyberlife Founder, herding him away from Connor and his blinking red LED. "Come on now, Mr. Kamski. We have everything here under control. Why don't you go tell your people that they're free to go home? If we need anything from you or them, we'll give you a call."
Being herded as he was, Elijah had no choice but to move with Hank despite obviously not wanting to. He tried a few times to stop, or protest but Hank was a bit stockier than Elijah Kamski was and it was easy for the Lieutenant to keep him moving until the were both far enough away. Without Hank hovering over him, Connor could actually think, though it was still hard to focus through his own rising panic. The clock was steadily ticking, twenty three minutes and 38 seconds since the bombs exploded in the Foundation hotel. Twenty three minutes since they'd lost contact with the Detective. Connor cursed under his breath, sending another call from Officer Miller to his voicemail before he tried dialing Gavin's phone again, only to have it instantly switch to voicemail like before.
Looking at a digital map of Detroit, it would be another ten minutes before the bomb squad arrived, assuming traffic was as heavy as usual this time of day, and the detoured route was what Connor expected it to be. It had been too long already, Connor wasn't going to wait another ten minutes when he could do the job himself.
He didn't stop walking, even hearing Hank shouting at him. Twenty four minutes. According to his earlier scans of the building, the bombs had done the most damage near the front of the building, that was were the ceiling had caved in in parts around the support pillars. If the Detective had been heading for the doors, that was most likely where he would have been at the time of the explosions, leaving him in the most dangerous part of the building. All of the devices had been set off, there wasn't anything left behind to cause him any harm, so the building itself should be safe enough for him to go into. Unless there was more damage to the ceiling than he anticipated.
"Connor would you fucking stop for a second!" Hank had finally caught up to him, pulling the android by the shoulder to stop him. Connor obeyed, for now, and sent a call from Tina to his voicemail. He really didn't have the time right now.
"Hank I really don't have time right now."
The Lieutenant didn't let go of Connors arm. "You can't go in there, Connor it's fucking dangerous!"
His LED spun a solid red at that statement and Connor actually growled "I don't really have a choice, do I? Everyone's happy to sit around and wait when he could be in serious trouble right now, Hank! If something happens to him I-" he didn't know what, just knew that....
Twenty five minutes.
Tina was calling again, and this time Connor answered the call, just so he could hang up barely a second later in order to get his point across. He didn't have any time to talk about this. "Thank you for worrying about me, but I'll be fine."
"The hell you will be!" Hank pulled on Connors arm when he started to move again, effectively stopping him. "Jesus christ, Connor. You're going to get me fucking killed. Or fired. Or both." he finally let go, and the android didn't move.
This was stupid, why were they arguing about this? "Lieutenant you can't come inside with me."
"Oh yeah? Watch me."
This time, it was Hank that stormed ahead, shoving aside an officer that had tried to stop him from getting too close to the hotel entrance. There was no sense in yelling at Hank because it wouldn't do anything except waste their time, not to mention the Lieutenant wasn't easily dissuaded once his mind was made up.
Connor caught up with Hank at the entrance, or what was left of it. The blast had been strong enough not to completely ruin the front of the building but it had done damage to the doors and the metal frame. The crunch of glass under their boots was loud in the otherwise quiet hotel. No sounds inside anyway but the buzz of activity on the streets was easy enough to filter out. They both stepped over parts of the ceiling that littered the main pathway into the hotel; stone, drywall, cement and plaster that mixed with the glass from the windows. Any furniture that had been close enough to the blasts were charred and broken, having caught fire when the IEDs had been detonated, carpets were singed beyond repair, and there wasn't much left of the curtains.
The ceiling had come down in more places that Connor had expected. It was a mess around the main pillars by the entrance, but the damage extended far passed what he had originally assumed, stretching well over to where the check-in station was, and although the ceiling was mostly intact, there were dangerous cracks racing from one end of the building to the other. The whole structural integrity of the building was much worse than what Connors scans from outside had revealed. That was troubling. He didn't think it would come down on top of them but-
He wasn't there to assess damage.
Twenty seven minutes.
Taking a breath, Connor turned his attention to where he thought was the best place to start looking, and it was like seeing the heavy concrete of the ceiling for the first time, laying hazardously all across the floor and the panic seemed to spread. He couldn't see the Detective anywhere, which meant that if he were here he would be...
Connor didn't know how to handle both sides of his processors right now. The logical part, and the part that was so overwhelmed with panic he didn't know how to control. He stared at the piles upon piles of cement, unable to actually move. It was logical to assume that the Detective was under that mess, but he really, really did not want that to be true because the force of the falling chunks of heavy ceiling was enough to lay waste to the tiled floor. A human body wouldn’t likely stand a chance against the shear force of the fall -
"Connor!" Hank snapped his fingers, loud enough to draw Connors attention to him.
It was enough to stop that awful train of thought, enough to get Connor to focus. He couldn't go down that road - he needed to stay positive for the Detectives sake. It was extremely illogical to hyper focus on a scenario that hadn’t actually been confirmed. “I’m sorry, I-” Connor shook his head, stopping himself from apologizing yet again to Hank. “This is the best place to start looking, it looks to be the correct area.”
Two steps and the first cement block touched his boots. There were more and more beyond that, and Connor honestly didn't even know where to start looking. What could he do? The panic was starting to build up inside him again, and instead of dwelling on it, he started moving blocks aside, looking for any sign of... Of anything. There had to be some sign, some indication, something.
Thirty two minutes.
Five blocks turned into fifteen, and more than that and still, Connor hadn’t found anything. It was okay, it had to be. If he couldn’t find anything, then that meant Gavin wasn’t here, and he was healthy and alive somewhere else, and they could go back to working, even separately would be good. Connor could go back to partnering with Hank and Gavin could keep calling him a toaster, even if he didn’t mean it anymore. Another block set aside and still nothing but more broken cement and ceiling tile and the minutes ticked by.
"Hank." Connor moved aside another large piece of mortar easily enough, but the hope was fading fast from his movements. It felt like his limbs were lead, heavy and unrepsonsiblve despite working. Dread. There was no way anyone could survive under this much weight, not even an android could withstand the absolute crushing force. How could he expect anyone to have survived this? When the Lieutenant didn't answer him, he paused and called again, this time glancing around for him. "Hank?"
He wasn't too far away, and he seemed too distracted to hear Connor, pulling at a large chunk of cement. It took a moment and a fair bit of effort from Hank before the block moved, but it shifted just enough for Connor to see exactly what he needed to see and he was moving even before Hank said a word.
Connor was already beside the Lieutenant, pulling at the heavy block, shoving it out of the way and sure enough, though covered in a thick layer of dust: a leather jacket. "It's him- Hank, he's alive." Connor reached for another block, and another, feeling to touch to his shoulder before Hank left to get the EMTs. Block by block, Connor tossed them all aside, thankful that the IEDs hadn't been strong enough to kill, but had enough force to knock a person back a few feet. That was most likely what happened - when the bombs had gone off, the shear force had pushed him just far enough to avoid getting the entire ceiling dropped on him. Connor was extremely thankful for that.
The crunch of boots signalled that Hank was back, but Connor was distracted for a second, eyes catching something he'd missed before. He didn't exactly want to move Gavin without knowing exactly how hurt he was, but something - there was definetly something wrong. "Hank can you-" Connor pulled a little, trying to move the Detective just enough so he could see, and Hank was beside him trying to keep the movement from jostling the Detective too much.
It was enough. Panic coiled tight inside his chest, feeling like it was restricting his Thirium pump. A head of blond hair. It couldn't be. No, there was no chance, it was absolutely rediculous. "Hank I think- there's someone else under him."
It was still just them in the hotel, the EMTs hadn't gotten there yet despite Hank leaving to get them, so Connor made the decision to move Gavin more than he really should, because he was very worried about that head of blond hair. "I'm going to move him, can you watch his head?" Hanks hands were instantly at the back of the Detectives head and back, holding him as still as possible while Connor pulled a bit harder, dragging him back a little more, uncurling him from around the smaller body that he'd obviously been trying to protect.
The was no mistaking who was underneath the Detective, his scans confirmed it. From what he could tell, there wasn't anything wrong with Wyatt, but he wasn't awake. No physical trauma, nothing wrong with his internal systems, but even as Connor pulled the boy free he remained lifeless and at Connors mercy.
"Yes. We need..." what did they need right now? Connor had no idea he couldn't think properly right at that moment. "Where are the EMTs? We have to get Ga-" he caught himself. "-Detective Reed some medical attention as soon as possible."
"They're coming, Connor."
"Not fast enough this is an emergency I don't understand why it's taking so long. They're supposed to have a sense of urgency and taking their time coming isn't showing that."
"Calm down. They'll get here."
Not fast enough.
Connor took a moment to look over Wyatt, just to make sure that his scans had been correct, which they were. Besides the debris and dust coating the boy from head to toe, there wasn't anything wrong with him. Why was he even there? What had happened in those few minutes after Gavin had confirmed he was leaving the building? His eyes shifted from looking over Wyatt, to where the Detective was laying unconscious beside Hank, who was still supporting his head. He was still breathing, but it was more shallow than Connor would have liked. There was a break in his right arm, but that was the only obvious trauma that he could see. Bruising, swelling maybe, but nothing else.
Hank must have seen him looking because he cleared his throat, and Connor looked at him. "It'll be okay, I promise." and all Connor could do was nod, even if he wasn't 100% sure about that.
Jokes if you thought this would be a happy chapter. :')
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Sorry if this really isn't the direction y'all wanted this fic to go in?? Idk what to say other than I'm trying \o/
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