The next weeks went by almost in a blur, today marking the day of Gavin being released from the hospital.
Connor and Hank had questioned him about the three months he had been absent as soon as the Detective looked well enough.
As it turned out, Connor had been right when he suspected that Gavin had been going after a lead concerning his dead sister. The Detective had spent the entirety of December before he went missing questioning the other victim’s family, witnesses and cops, driving from one end of Detroit to the other and coming home in the dead of the night.
He had eventually found a connection to not just this one case, but at least three others, young girls from well-off families being taken in the middle of the night, some used as blackmail to get money, some killed for the pure amusement of a group of criminals.
The man Connor had fought and shot in the alley way had apparently been pretty high up in the hierarchy, as well as personally responsible for Chloe’s death.
On the evening of 19th of December 2039 Gavin had spoken with someone on the bottom of the food chain of said group, and after a few threats and promises of incarceration the young man had sung like a bird.
Too bad that Gavin hadn’t been the only one hearing it and was promptly driven off the bridge on his way home.
Connor had checked, and indeed: only a few hours later that day someone had called in an accident, claiming to have rammed the railing of the bridge as the reason for why it had been damaged.
After escaping the car, so Gavin had told them, he had realized that these people knew about him and his search and would do anything to keep him from going further.
Due to the illegal nature of some of the things he had done in his investigation he had decided that going to the police wouldn’t be the smartest idea, especially since he suspected that whoever was now after him knew where he lived and worked.
Consequently he had gone into hiding, patching himself up as best as he could, going to the E&A under a fake name for his more severe injuries.
He had spent most nights in shitty motels that didn’t require investigation, cheap enough so the money he had had with him had been enough, or more often than not in abandoned houses or parking lots.
Hank and Connor had tried to find the young man Gavin had been talking to, but his body had been found in a warehouse in a lower-income area in Detroit not too long after they had started looking for him.
Gavin had been hiding out these past few months, continuing his search nevertheless, hoping for a chance at finding the man that had not only almost killed him but whom he was sure was responsible for his sister’s death.
That fateful night in the alley way Gavin had wanted to keep his promise to himself, visiting the place where his sister’s body had been found, and make at least some semblance of peace.
He had been surprised by an attacker when he was on his way there, not pulling his gun fast enough and getting shot, thinking he must have had died when Connor had stepped into his sight.
And the rest was history.
It was still hard to believe for the Detective that the man he had spent years and years hunting down, despite knowing nothing of his identity was now dead, the whole group responsible soon to be busted if what Connor had told him about the matter was anything to go by.
Gavin hadn’t been allowed back to work yet, and Conner was thankfully able to convince Hank to let him keep investigating the case, now that Gavin was with them again.
Connor had visited him in the hospital any chance he got, even when he had been moved from the ICU to the general ward, sometimes having been kicked out by one of the nurses because even an android Detective had to adhere to visiting hours.
As soon as Gavin had been allowed to, Connor had taken him out for walks so the man could get some fresh air, chastising him whenever he complained about needing a smoke.
At first their discussions had been tense and uncomfortable, distant despite Connor’s confession and the knowledge that Gavin shared his feelings. That had never been the issue, but the whole situation felt… foreign, for both of them, and it had taken some time to get used to the other’s direct presence, learning how to act and react to what the other said, slowly warming up to each other more and more with each story they swapped in the hospital garden, some small and some holding much more significance.
Connor had eventually decided that they needed to talk about the elephant in the room and despite the fact that he didn’t want to jeopardize Gavin’s recovery by adding even more stress on top of what the other man was already dealing with, he had confessed to having listened to the Detective’s audio diary.
Despite Gavin’s initial shock and, he wouldn’t lie, embarrassment and anger he had understood that Connor had done it for a good reason, and eventually had forgiven him, especially when the android had brought the box, the photos, the flash drives and everything else back to him.
Gavin had accepted them with a smile, their conversations much more relaxed from that point on. Connor had taken to caring for Gilbert while Gavin was still in the hospital after the man had expressed his distain for his cat staying with Ms. Fitzpatrick.
Getting the woman to let go of the cat had been a hassle, but eventually Connor had managed to convince her that he would take good care of Gilbert and had taken the gray Maine Coon home, much to Hank’s dismay.
When the day of Gavin’s release from the hospital approached, Connor was practically bouncing on his heels, Hank barely able to calm the android down. The Lieutenant had been allowed to walk without crutches for only a day at the point and Connor had looked more like on overexcited puppy in that moment, Gilbert in his arm as he stood outside the hospital, waiting for Gavin to leave the main exit.
He had forced Hank to come with him, arguing that Hank too should be there to greet Gavin seeing as the two had worked together for years, as well as pointing out that someone needed to hold Gilbert while the android drove and the other man had agreed, fondly shaking his head.
They were standing in the hospital parking lot just outside the building’s entrance, waiting, Hank leaned against the car and Connor practically bouncing on his heels. Suddenly, Connor’s eyes lit up in a way Hank hadn’t seen since the day the doctor had called to tell him that Gavin was allowed visitors from that point on when said Detective stepped out of the hospital, still bandaged up but looking a lot healthier than he had done when Connor had seen him in the alleyway a few weeks ago.
Resisting the urge to just let Gilbert hop out of his arms into the huge parking lot he handed the gray Maine Coon to Hank before running towards Gavin.
The look of surprise in his eyes made Connor smile as he embraced the Detective, careful not to hug him too tight because of his still healing injuries.
The warmth of the other’s body against his synthetic skin felt like a rush, something Connor never wanted to give up again. Gavin’s soft laugh in his ear sounded like the best sound he had ever heard, the fond way he mumbled his hello making it obvious that he was happy to see Connor as well, just as much as Connor was.
The android knew he could have stayed like this forever, if it hadn’t been a voice calling from where their car stood.
“Are ya done yet? Goddammit, I agreed to drive you home, not see you jump each other in the fucking parking lot.” Hank called out to them.
“Don’t get your panties in a twist, old man, it’s your own fault for succumbing to Connor’s damn puppy eyes.”, Gavin grinned, still not letting go of Connor.
“Hurry the fuck up or I’ll drop your cat.” The threat sounded far from serious, and Connor knew all too well that Hank had actually taken a liking to Gilbert in the past few weeks.
Nevertheless he decided it was time to let go of Gavin, watching in amusement as the other frowned, before the grin returned to his face.
Connor knew how much Gavin had wanted to get out of the hospital and it felt so good to see the other man smile like this.
He looked happier than Connor had ever seen him, even if he knew that the battle wasn’t over.
The hospital had arranged for Gavin to start attending weekly psychological therapy once he would be released and after his initial resistance the Detective had relented and agreed to it.
As they got into the car, both of them sitting down in the back, Gavin’s clothes and belongings which Connor had brought him for the duration of his stay safely in the trunk, Connor couldn’t deny the happiness he felt at that moment. Things could only get better from this point in, with all of his favorite beings, minus Sumo, in the car.
Being back in his apartment after spending more than three months practically on the run felt almost surreal to Gavin, especially because of the fact that when he entered his apartment for the first time since December, he wasn’t alone. Connor was by his side, Gavin’s cat in one arm and the man’s luggage in the other hand.
The living room looked the same as ever as Gavin settled down on the couch, impersonal and cold.
Maybe they could change that. He was hesitant to ask if Connor would stay after dumping the suitcase he had used to transport the clothes into Gavin’s bedroom, but as it turned out, he didn’t have to.
The android marched straight into the kitchen and after exchanging a glance with Gavin, a question clearly written in his eyes, he opened the fridge and dumped out all the moldy and dry leftovers that were still sitting there.
“We’ll have to go grocery shopping soon.” He stated.
“We?” Gavin asked, almost perplexed. There hadn’t been a “we” in his life for almost 20 years now.
“Yes, ‘we’” Connor answered, turning around and smiling at him.
Gavin could live with this.
The following days were spent mostly buying food, and Gavin making the terrible realization that, state of the art prototype my ass, Connor couldn’t cook even if his life depended on it at least not if it was something that required more seasoning than bacon and eggs or simple toast. It wasn’t that he burnt them, no, he was just unable to taste the food and see if the mountain of salt he had deemed “a little” wasn’t actually too much.
Hank had simply laughed when Gavin had told him about the horror that Connor’s pasta had been, feeling almost guilty for not warning the Detective.
Despite still living with Hank, Connor seemed to spend most of his time at Gavin’s place right now, making sure the man didn’t overexerted himself and ate properly.
They spend a lot of their evenings curled up on the couch together, Connor watching the news while Gavin’s head was resting on his shoulder or chest, eventually muting the Tv or turning it off, softly talking to each other.
It wasn’t as different from what Connor had imagined a few weeks ago when he had sat here, alone, but he had never anticipated the feeling of utter bliss and domesticity that came with it.
The question of how things would change when Gavin got back to work and no longer required his assistance was still there, buried somewhere in his mind, hidden away in the same place he had locked up the question of what exactly they were.
There was enough time for that, and Connor didn’t want to disturb what they had right now by wanting to put a label on it.
No, he enjoyed listening to Gavin’s quiet voice too much for that as the man recounted how he had fallen out of a tree at age 10, laughing at the memory of his brother shouting at him to not climb said tree.
There was a sense of nostalgia and sadness behind his happy tone, but Connor chose not to comment on it, simply nodding along and laughing at the right parts, appreciating the fact that Gavin trusted him enough to share stories from his childhood with him seeing as the Detective had previously done his best to hide everything he could hide about his past.
Gavin seemed to be almost finished with his tale when a knock on the door tore them out of their little bubble of intimacy, Gilbert hissing at their feet.
The pair of them exchanged a confused look, Gavin slowly sitting up to allow Connor to get the door.
Who would visit him, at 10:24 p.m. on a Wednesday evening, much less uninvited? Hank would’ve called if he needed anything, Tina and Chris had visited just a day or two ago and probably wouldn’t have appeared on Gavin’s doorstep unannounced, if Connor’s assistance was needed at work someone would have called him.
Thirium pump regulator thudding in his chest, Connor gripped the door knob and pulled it open.
In the doorway stood none other than Elijah Kamski.
“Connor, nooooooooo.” Gavin whined as his boyfriend attempted to get out of their warm, cozy bed at 9 a.m. in the morning.
The android chuckled, letting himself be pulled back into the other man’s embrace. “You know I immediately wake up once my system has gotten enough rest.”
“I knowwww.” The response was drawn out, and Connor could barely understand him due to the sleepiness in Gavin’s voice. “But that doesn’t mean you have to get up that fucking moment. Let’s just keep staying here for a bit.”
Connor decided to comply, just this once, because none of them had to go to work today. They had taken the day off, having promised to pay Elijah Kamski a visit.
After seven months, he and Gavin had slowly, but surely returned to be on at least somewhat friendly terms again, sometimes even going as far as texting each other jokes that Connor didn’t comprehend, only earning him a snicker from his boyfriend.
It felt good to call Gavin his boyfriend, the talk about their feelings and what it meant for them all those months ago had been awkward but relieving and necessary.
The fact that Connor had moved in with Gavin had been a recent development, after Hank had commented how Connor practically already lived there and if moving in together wouldn’t just be easier.
The android had known that Hank had been joking, but the idea had stuck with him nonetheless and when he brought it up to Gavin, the man had been nothing but delighted.
Moving hadn’t been the most fun experience, but as Connor watched over Gavin’s sleeping figure still curled up at his side, he couldn’t help but think how all of it had been worth it.
Gavin was still attending therapy, and while it wasn’t always easy, while they fought like every couple, while Gavin was still learning how to deal with his past and Connor still learning how to deal with human emotions and handling a romantic relationship, he knew that all the effort had been worth it.
He glanced at the clock, they still had a few hours left before they would have to get ready to leave, and Connor could say that he was almost looking forward to it. He knew seeing Chloe, the android Chloe, was still difficult for Gavin, no matter how hard Connor knew he worked on it. But for Connor himself chatting with the other android whom he had made fast friends with and watching the two brothers interact always made him smile, their conversations having become much more causal and friendly after the first evening on which Elijah had turned up on their doorstep.
Their doorstep. Their home. The once cold apartment had actually transformed into a home for the two of them, bright and happy and full of love, pictures on the wall both of the couple and Gavin’s family as well as Hank and Sumo, clutter and personal items lying around, the meticulously tidy and impersonal atmosphere long gone.
The thought made him smile, and with a last fond glance towards the man in his arms Connor allowed himself to slip back into sleep mode.
Yes, this was absolutely worth it.