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Three months. Three months, one week, five days, two hours, 34 minutes and twelve seconds had passed since Detective Reed hadn’t shown up for his shift. Three months, one week, five days, 19 hours, eleven minutes and 56 seconds since Connor had last seen him, watching as his car left the parking lot for the last time. Three months, one week, four days, two hours, 32 minutes and 27 seconds since Chief Fowler officially informed the precinct that the Detective had gone missing. One month, three weeks, one day, 22 hours, 35 minutes and 43 seconds since the Missing Person Squad had taken over the case.

One hour, 24 minutes and 13 seconds since the case had been reassigned to the DPD, since Connor had been asked to investigate it. One hour, twelve minutes and two seconds since he had accepted.

Connor let out a small sigh. It wasn’t as if he needed to, his synthetic breath fulfilling no real function besides making him appear more human than he actually was. The case wasn’t making any sense, not really. There hadn’t been any signs of distress before the Detective’s disappearance, no obvious reasons as to why he left and never came back. Nothing.

And if Detective Reed hadn’t been just that, a Detective at the DPD, Connor knew all too well that he wouldn’t be investigating the case right now. He wouldn’t have been anything other than a number, a name on the already endless list of people gone missing in Detroit. Nothing more than a case number, nothing more than paperwork for the first responding Officer.

His LED cycled yellow, processing the information he was given in the form of a case file. Not that there was much to it: The name, Connor knew that already. His Date of Birth. A photograph alongside a physical description of the Detective. Information about his family: Both parents deceased, an unnamed half-brother. A half-sister, also deceased. No names, and a lot of his personal information was blacked out, inaccessible even for him, which was certainly out of the ordinary, especially for a Detective. Connor made a mental note to investigate the reason behind this.

With nothing in the original case file, Connor started looking through the actual report. Again, sparse. Detective Reed had not returned home on the evening of the 19th of December 2039 according to his neighbor, a woman named Sarah Fitzpatrick, 42 years old. Another mental note Connor made; he’d have to go back and interview the woman, especially since the files he'd been handed did not give him much information.

The last person to see him had been Connor himself, alongside a dozen or so more officers still in the DPD when the Detective left at the end of his shift. Nothing unusual, if it hadn’t been for the fact that Detective Reed never turned up at his apartment, leaving behind his cat who had since been taken in by said neighbor of his.

If he was being honest with himself, Connor wasn’t exactly sure why he had agreed to take on the case. Hank certainly wouldn't be too happy once he strolled into the precinct. Missing people obviously didn’t fall within their job description, especially since they were still assigned to all cases involving androids, even now, one and a half years after the peaceful revolution.

Connor leaned back in his chair, LED cycling blue for a split second, before it returned to yellow as he turned his attention back to the case on hand.

Detective Reed’s apartment had been investigated, not very thoroughly however by the looks of the report. Not that it was surprising, the Detective was an adult, without any mental or physical conditions which would have put him into one of the special categories. No family to press the investigation.

Which made the fact that Connor was now tasked with finding him more than just a bit suspicious. Of course, one could argue that Detective Reed was a valuable member of the Detroit Police Department, albeit rude and not very well liked by most of his colleagues, Connor and Hank included. This however would pose the question, why now? What had changed, for the case to be handed back to the DPD, to Connor specifically, almost two months after the MPS had taken over? No, there had to be another reason behind it.

He’d have to question the Detectives that had previously handled the case, putting it on his mental list of tasks, alongside the need to investigate Detective Reed’s apartment. Interviewing Police Officers Chris Miller and Tina Chen went up there as well, seeing as they were the only people on the force the Detective had been on friendly terms with. There was a possibility, although small, that either of them had additional knowledge regarding Detective Reed’s disappearance.

But if they had, wouldn’t they have come forward with it already?

He let out another sigh, realizing that this was it. This was all the information he had so far, all he had to go off of. Now all he had left to do was wait for Hank to come in and break the news that they’d be working on this case from now on, that Connor had been specifically asked to do so.

Closing his eyes, Connor slowly took out his coin. It wasn’t his original coin, much to the android’s chagrin. Unfortunately, Hank had lost that one after “confiscating” it back in the Stratford tower. Without as much as a glance, he started moving the small piece of metal across his knuckles, letting it dance a little. If he had been human the action could probably have been described as a nervous tick or habit.

To Connor's surprise, it didn’t take too long for Hank to show up. 37 minutes and 52 seconds later, the Lieutenant walked through the doors of the precinct, face still red from the cool air outside. He plopped down in the chair at the desk directly opposite of Connors, forgoing a hello in order to give the android and exasperated look. “What’s got you so up in a bunch that you started fiddling with that damned thing again?” he grumbled.

Quickly catching the coin between his index and middle finger before wrapping his hand around the cold, smooth metal and putting it away into his pocket, Connor opened his eyes. “I’m just thinking about a case, Lieut- Hank.” He corrected himself.

“Don’t give me that bullshit, Connor. The last case we worked on was basically a fucking textbook example of murder if I’ve ever seen one.” Connor gulped, another thing that wasn’t necessary for him to do but was something he had found himself doing when he was nervous to speak up about something ever since he deviated. “It’s… it’s not about that case. This morning, two Detectives from the Missing Person Squad asked me to take over one of their cases.”

Hank stared at him in disbelief. “The MPS? What kind of case could those fuckers possibly want you to investigate for them?” he asked.

Carefully, Connor continued. “It’s Detective Reed’s case. I’ve been specifically asked to investigate his disappearance, though I cannot say why. And before you start arguing, I already accepted. The file is very uninformative so far, but it’s a start.”

“Well fuck me sideways, I’d never thought you’d actually care enough about the prick to get on his case instead of the people who are, oh I don’t know, specifically trained for that kind of shit.”

“Hank, I know you don’t like him, but- “

The Lieutenant shook his head. “No buts, son. Do you think the fucker would’ve done the same if it was you missing? Just leave that shit to the MPS, I’m sure he’ll turn up in a month or two coming back from a vacation from god knows where, smug as ever.”

This time, Connor made an effort to look Hank in the eyes, LED cycling yellow for a second, not an indication of processing information, this time it was a sign of mild distress.

“Lieutenant, I can’t refuse to take on this case, not when they specifically asked me to handle it. There must be something more to this, I know it.” His voice was firm, not allowing for any more protest.

Hank seemed to notice as well, and gave in. “Alright, alright son. I get it. I’ll help you find that prick if that’s what you actually want. But don’t be surprised if he just decided to fuck off because he thinks he’s too good for us or some crap.”

“Thank you, Hank” he smiled. “I’ll send you the file right away, but there’s not a lot of information there, unfortunately.” Blinking a couple of times, he forwarded the Data he had received to Hank.

“That’s a good one. There’s basically nothing in there, not even his fucking relatives are listed. What the hell did the MPS even do, except trying to call the fucker?”

“I wouldn’t put it as… crass as that, but they did not investigate thoroughly it seems. I think our first step would be to question his neighbor, what do you say?” Connor asked.

“Yeah, might be a good start. What about the shit he kept on his desk? They didn’t mention that stuff here at all.” Hank looked almost puzzled.

“According to the MPS, Detective Reed did not keep much of his belongings in the precinct. The only things to be found in the drawer of his assigned desk were a gun; a Glock 28, and his badge, as well as some paperwork and an old mug. I believe that all of these were taken to the archives.” Connor noted.

Scratching his chin, Hank sighed “So he left his badge and gun? Like hell he’d leave his fucking firearm if he planned on doing anything dangerous, so I guess we can rule that out.”

“Yes, I think so too. His disappearance was most likely unexpected, maybe even involuntary.”

“So, what are we gonna do now? This is your investigation, Connor.” Hank reminded him.

Slowly rising to his feet, Connor answered “I’d like to take a look at his apartment. Who know, we might be able to find something the Detectives from the MPS might have missed.” His partner nodded, stood up and grabbed his coat.

“So, what are ya waiting for? Get your ass in the car, the sooner we get there, the sooner we can be done with sifting through Reed’s fucking apartment.” With that, Hank walked out of the police station. Connor shot a quick glance to Detective Reed’s desk, unable to name the feeling of unease he felt. He followed after his partner a moment later. Best get started.

Chapter Text

Connor stared up the dull, grey building he was standing in front of. Of all the places Detroit offered, this was the one Detective Reed had chosen to live in. It certainly wasn’t what Connor had imagined, even if he wasn’t sure what, exactly, he had expected.

Certainly not a worn-down apartment complex in one of the not so nice areas of Detroit. Sure, a cop’s salary wouldn’t pay for one of those fancy houses in the suburbs, or a high end flat in the city center, but he really didn’t think the Detective was only able to afford a cheap place like this.

“Connor? Ya coming or what?” Hank’s voice called from the main entrance of the building, tearing Connor out of his thoughts.

“On my way, Hank!” he answered, following his partner inside.

The inside of the building looked as shabby as the outside did. LED glowing yellow, Connor started to analyze the new, unfamiliar environment, almost out of habit. There were stains on the floor which were so old and a combination of so many things that not even he could identify exactly what they were. There were cracks in the wall and one or two holes that may have been the result of an argument turning physical.

There was very little to be seen of all the great technological advancement of the last 20 years, even the letters on the elevator proclaiming it broken were written on a piece of paper and taped to the doors themselves, as opposed to the holographic tagging most places used now.

Finishing up his scan, Connor turned his attention back to Hank who was impatiently waiting at the bottom of the staircase. “This whole building reminds me of that android, the one with all the fucking pigeons.” Hank grumbled. Connor smiled lightly at the memory of Hank shouting at all the birds, though his smile quickly fell when he remembered what had followed afterwards. Chasing Rupert, Hank almost falling of the rooftop, almost dying. Him still being nothing more than a glorified machine at that point.

He shook off the memory quickly. Now wasn’t really the time to contemplate his existence. He had a case to solve; a mission to accomplish. Just like old times, Connor thought to himself, feeling a twinge of something he couldn’t quiet identify.

His LED slowly cycled back to blue, and he decided to follow his partner upstairs. After all, the main reason they were even here was to investigate Detective Reed’s apartment.

The hallway of the third floor didn’t look much different than what he’d seen in the main lobby, save for the signs next to each door, indicating the apartment numbers. Again, all analogue. Maybe that was part of Detective Reed’s reasoning for living here? He contemplated.

Turning around, Connor saw Hank already pushing open the door to apartment 3B, using the key the MPS, and indirectly, they, had been given by the landlord. Another person they’d need to interview, Connor mentally noted.

He followed Hank inside and was promptly greeted by the stench that only a room left unventilated for multiple months could omit. Cat food, now looking even less appetizing than it probably had when fresh, was still sitting in a bowl near the bedroom door, a half empty mug of black coffee still on the kitchen counter.

Detective Reed liked his coffee black, Connor thought.

“Goddammit, did no one bother to at least open the fucking windows? Or clean that shit up a bit, fucking hell.” He heard Hank say, clearly disgusted.

“Look at the bright side, Hank” Connor smiled. “This probably means that no one has been in here to tamper with the evidence since the first time officers were in here.”

“Bright side my ass.” Was all Hank answered.

The android shook his head, a smile still on his face, before he started to look around the living room and kitchen. There were no photographs on the walls, barely any personal items to be found anywhere.

No trophies bearing witness to any activities or clubs the Detective might have participated in when he was young, no paintings, no magazines carelessly tossed onto the coffee table. A black jacket, not the Detectives usual brown leather one, was hanging on a hook next to the door. There was a dresser underneath the jacket, a bunch of keys in a bowl sitting on top of it but otherwise, very little else.

There was a note on the fridge in the kitchen, again, an older model, merely reading “NIGHT SHIFT NEXT WEEK” in messy handwriting, plain mugs and dishes in the cabinets. Writing reminders for himself meant that the Detective didn't leave on purpose.

Connor opened the refrigerator, finding only left-over Chinese take-out and moldy pizza, as well as two unopened bottles of beer.

Detective Reed’s eating habits were unhealthy, to say the least, he noted. Habits similar to Lieutenant Anderson's.

Except for the rotting food in the fridge, the apartment barely looked like someone lived there, a thought which filled Connor with an inexplicable feeling of a heavy weight on his chest. Even if he had been a deviant for over 17 months now, emotions were still a complicated thing to him, often intangible, difficult to describe and grasp. Even harder to categorize and understand.

He had never gotten to the point where he felt completely human, not in a way other androids had, one of the reasons why he never took out his LED. A constant reminder of what he was, and what he was not.

Deciding it would be best to keep searching, Connor started to open the various cupboards and drawers the small kitchen had. Nothing. No notes, a basic assortment of spices, some plates, bowls, but yet again, nothing that indicated personality.

Why didn’t the Detective keep any personal items?

Why were his relatives not listed in his files?

Why was Connor asked to handle the investigation now, all of a sudden? Months after Detective Reed’s disappearance?

Why –

Loud voices from the hallway snapped him out of his thoughts.

“Who the hell are you?! What are you doing in there?! I’m calling the police, you’re thieves! Burglars! You have no right to be in there! I swear, I’ll call the cops, I – “ A female voice screamed, erratic and angry.

“Ma’am, we are the police. Me and my partner are part of the Detroit Police Department, we’re handling that pr- Gavin Reed’s case.” He heard Hank answer.

Connor hurried towards the door, his main priority changing from investigating the apartment to avoiding conflict with what turned out to be Detective Reed’s neighbor.

A quick facial scan revealed her to be Sarah Fitzpatrick, born August 22nd, 1997, inhabitant of apartment 3A. The neighbour that had taken in Gavin's cat.

“Where’s your badge?! Show me your badges! If you don’t show me your badges I’ll call the police, you’re – “

“Miss, I’d advise you to calm down.” Connor interrupted her, pulling away his jacket so she could see his badge. “The case was recently reassigned to us, and as of right now we’re investigating the apartment in case the previous Detectives might have missed anything.”

The woman seemed to relax at that for a second, before she froze. “You- You’re one of those things! Those androids! I didn’t think I’d ever see one of those goddamn machines entering this godforsaken apartment complex, but here you are.” She let out a dark chuckle at that, looking Connor up and down, clearly not impressed.

Connor sighed internally, his LED cycling red for a split second. Interviewing Ms. Fitzpatrick just proved to be more difficult than he had originally thought.

Hank was clearly holding back, and Connor shot him a thankful glance for not making a scene. People still held prejudice against androids, even now, but he didn’t want Hank to potentially jeopardize their investigation because some woman couldn’t fathom the thought of him being alive.

“We would like to ask you some questions regarding Detective Gavin Reed, if that’s okay with you.” Connor asked, decided that getting straight to the point was his best bet with the woman.

“I’m not answering to an android, who knows what you’ll do with what I tell you.” She crossed her arms over her chest, firmly looking Connor in the eyes. She wasn't going to budge an inch.

He looked away. “I’m sorry, but it’s necessary to the investigation that you- “

Hank interrupted him. “Alright, that’s enough. We really don’t have the time for this bullshit.” He did not look happy with the situation. “Connor, you go back into the apartment, see if ya can find anything useful. Ma’am, you come with me.” His tone left no room for arguments and the woman simply nodded, gesturing for Hank to move forward into her own living room.

With a last glance at Connor she turned around and followed the Lieutenant into her apartment.

Sighing externally this time, Connor moved back into the apartment, checking the kitchen off his mental list of tasks. Despite thoroughly investigating all drawers, cupboards and even the fridge, there wasn’t anything interesting to be found there.

He turned his attention towards the living room, yet again noticing the lack of personality. The furniture looked like it had already been there when the Detective moved in, and besides the bowl of cat food and the jacket, there were barely any personal items in the living room either. Spots of cat hair clung to the sofa, chair and carpet, but they were month old samples. The cat hadn't been in here for a while.

Connor started wandering around the room, opening drawers, mostly filled with paperwork, advertisements. A pack of cigarettes, half empty.

Detective Reeds smoked? Connor had never seen him with a cigarette at work.

Old bills, mostly for take-out. A broken picture frame.

Picture frame? There weren’t any personal photographs in the room, yet the Detective kept a splintered frame in his drawer. There had to be pictures around somewhere.

He kept searching.

No photographs.

He found vet papers for a cat, a gray Main Coon named Gilbert. A cat matching the fur samples he found spotted all over the room.

A first aid kit. Half of the content were already used up, primarily the band aids. This time, there was a small sticky note reading “REFILL – fckin cat” in Detective Reeds messy handwriting.

The cat is somewhat aggressive. Another mental note to add to his list.

He opened the bathroom door once he was sure there wasn’t anything more to find in the living room. For a second, his thoughts wandered back to the last time he’d seen the Detective, and for a moment, he couldn’t help but imagine him sitting on the couch with a big, gray cat on his lap, watching TV.

What kind of TV did Detective Reed watch? There hadn’t been any TV magazines or DVDs lying around, a quick scan of the television had shown that it wasn’t connected to any streaming devices at the moment.

He pushed the thought away. He was supposed to be looking for evidence, not imagining Detective Reed being domestic with his pet cat.

He entered the bathroom, looking around. It was small, and only sparsely lit; one of the bulbs above the sink was burnt out. The items present were very impersonal; a bottle of hand soap on the sink, body wash and shampoo in the shower. He moved closer to the sink, until he noticed a small container, carefully opening it.

Contact lenses? He thought surprised.

Connor took a closer look at them, scanning.

He didn't know Detective Reed had impaired vision. Why wasn't it mentioned anywhere in his files? Connor couldn’t shake the feeling of uneasiness that suddenly attached itself to him.

Looking around the bathroom one more time, searching for every little clue that might possibly help him, he was mildly disappointed to realize that this room, like the others he had searched, barely provided any information. Just more questions.

He’d have to search the detective’s bedroom next, and the thought left Connor feeling as if he was about to do something inappropriate, like he was somehow intruding on Detective Reeds private life. In a manner of speaking, he was.

You’re investigating, the android reminded himself firmly.

With that in mind, he walked out of the bathroom and carefully opened the last door.

The bedroom proved itself to be a small, dark room. A messy, unmade bed next to a window covered in dark curtains, a small nightstand next to it. No glasses. Connor wasn't sure why he had expected to find a pair of spectacles here.

The desk was surprisingly full this time. There was a lot of paperwork, Connor quickly scanned through the files, LED rapidly cycling yellow. Reports from cases the Detective had been working on before his disappearance, most of them currently unfinished. An ashtray on the window sill, nearly full of ashes and cigarette butts. A bottle of whiskey sat on the dresser next to the bed, opened and half empty.

It wasn’t just the Detective’s eating habits that were less than healthy, he jotted down mentally.

Connor crouched down, checking under the bed. Two drawers. The first one was filled with clothes, mostly underwear and socks. There didn't seem to be any clothes missing… more evidence for an unexpected departure?

He pulled at the second drawer, expecting more clothes. Connor blinked. The drawer didn’t open when he pulled on it. It seemed to be stuck…or maybe locked? There was a keyhole, but no key. Where would the key be? Under the paperwork? No luck. He put his fingers against the lock, his skin retreating, his hand a metallic white now. Maybe he could open the lock this way, if it happened to be an electronic one.

Nothing changed, and Connor cursed under his breath, a bad habit he had picked up from Hank. He stood up, glancing around the room, looking. The key had to be somewhere. He started rummaging through the closet, LED frantically cycling yellow indicating both his confusion and frustration. Jackets, pullovers, a few pair of jeans. But no key. Pausing for a second, Connor couldn’t help but take in the smell of the closet.

It was a pleasant smell, a mixture of washed out aftershave and smoke, as well as laundry detergent. He took a step back. He had to find a key, not sniff the Detective’s clothing. In truth, he'd never really gotten close enough to Detective Reed to smell him before.

He wandered back into the living room. Maybe he had missed something? Maybe… Maybe the broken frame? It was the most out of the ordinary thing he'd found in the entire apartment, save for the emptiness, of course.

Opening the drawer in the living room, Connor took out the frame fiddling around with it. He almost gave up, but when he was about to put the frame back where he had taken it from, he noticed a small crease in the back. Pushing the wood down a bit, he discovered a small, metal plate, with a circle etched into it.

The key? But… That would make both the key and the lock a fairly modern one. Which also begged the question as to why he couldn’t open it by hacking it. Curious.

Whatever it was, Connor decided that it was worth a try. Taking the small metal key into his hand, he walked back into the bedroom and kneeled down in front of the bed, reaching under it for the drawer and pressing the round piece of metal against the lock.

A clicking sound, barely audible, but Connor was sure he heard it. He pulled at the drawer, and it opened easily. Quickly pocketing the key, he took the small box inside into his hand, looking it over. A metal box, and the only way to open it was via fingerprint scan.

Connor would have to find a way to emulate Detective Reed’s fingerprints and-

A door was swung open somewhere in the apartment and Connor hastily put the box back and closed the drawer.

“Connor? I’m done with that woman, and let me tell ya, she was a fucking handful. Found anything useful in this goddamn apartment yet?”

Connor's LED flickered red for a second, then yellow, then red, then back to yellow. Should he tell Hank about the box? He should, it seemed to be important to their mission. But there was something… a gut feeling, he guessed, that kept him from answering right away.

“Connor, where the fuck are you? You alright?” Hank called out again.

Thirium pump regulator pulsating in his chest, Connor made a decision. “I’m in the bedroom. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything that might benefit our investigation.”

Chapter Text

Connor watched as the face of the city slowly changed from run-down buildings to nice apartment complexes and finally tall office buildings, just as the police station came into sight.

The car ride had been a fairly quiet one, Connor still caught up in his thoughts and Hank never having been one for small talk. The android just couldn’t properly wrap his head around the case, the visit to the apartment hadn’t provided them with any useful information and only left them with even more unanswered questions.

He could only hope that the interview with the neighbor had given them anything to work with, but somehow, he doubted it.

Connor’s thoughts drifted back to the metal box he had found below the Detective’s bed, not sure why he hadn’t told Hank about it. It was finally something, a lead, something more than the empty, impersonal apartment and the sparse case file. So why didn’t he say anything? He should have, he really should, but –

But it felt wrong, a voice inside his head helpfully supplied.

Something just didn’t seem right about disclosing what he found in the bedroom to Hank, no matter how guilty he felt for keeping secrets from his partner.

 He could see his LED flicker yellow in his reflection in the car window, hoping Hank didn’t notice it. There were times he really wondered why he’d kept it, instead of removing it.

A sigh escaped his lips, something that was slowly but surely turning into a habit of his. Could android even develop habits? Connor wondered briefly, just as the car came to a halt.

“Fucking finally.” Hank grumbled out next to him.

The both of them got out of the car, Hank pulling his coat tighter around his waist. It was still cool, despite it being late March already.

Connor walked next to him, easily keeping up even as Hank sped up his pace.

Temperature sensitivity had been available as an upgrade for some time now, for most commercial models anyway. And since Connor wasn’t one of them, these upgrades so far hadn’t been compatible with his own software, the downsides of being “CyberLife’s most advanced prototype”. At least some of the other sensory related updates had already been made compatible for more advanced androids.

The two quickly entered the station, the Lieutenant taking off his coat as soon as the warm air of the precinct engulfed them. He almost threw himself into his chair, with Connor sitting down at the desk opposite of Hank’s shortly after.

“You sure you found nothing in there? There must’ve been fucking something.” Hank spoke up.

Connor hesitated, contemplating what the best course of action would be. The guilt that had weighed down on him during their ride back from the apartment complex hit him again, his thirium pump regulator rapidly beating in his chest, LED blinking yellow.

He’d figure out the box by himself, and maybe, maybe when he knew what was inside, maybe then he would tell Hank. He didn’t want his partner to think there was a lead where there wasn’t any. That wouldn’t be right now, would it?

Satisfied with his own explanation, Connor glanced up at Hank, deciding to at least tell him about the ash tray and the contact lenses.

“In addition, none of his clothes seemed to be missing and his unfinished paperwork was still sitting on his desk. I think it’s safe to assume now that his departure was not planned for.” He added.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Hank dragged his hand across his face, expression frustrated. “I was really hoping the asshole had just taken off for shits and giggles or for a fucking vacation without telling anyone for god knows what reason, would’ve made things a lot easier.”

Not sure what to say, Connor nodded. It wasn’t as if Hank was wrong, but something about it just didn’t sit right with the android.

Trying to shake off the unpleasant feeling, Connor looked up at Hank.

“Were you able to obtain any useful information through Ms. Fitzpatrick?” He tilted his head slightly.

Hank let out another groan. “Not really, the woman’s a fucking mess, doesn’t care about much other than her four cats. Tried to get me to hold ‘em and pet ‘em and all that shit. Fuck, you know I’m much more of a dog person.”

Connor couldn’t help but let out a small laugh at the man’s obvious annoyance.

“Don’t you dare fucking laugh at me, at least I didn’t have to sift through Reed’s fucking apartment.” Pointing a finger at Connor, Hank continued. “Just so you know, I’d take interviewing the neighbor over that any day, shit gave me the creeps. How does any human even live like this?”

“It certainly seemed… unusual for the Detective to keep his apartment so impersonal.” He answered.

“Unusual is an understatement”

Leaning back in his chair, Connor watched Hank’s expression for a moment. He was still so very fascinated by the multitude of emotions the human face could convey, how even subtle shift in mood would become visible.

Almost subconsciously he took out his coin, his eyelids fluttering shut, flipping it between his hands and letting the small piece of metal dance along his knuckles, LED a calm blue, for the moment at least.

Connor snapped open his eyes, wrapping his hand around the coin in a swift motion. “Hank, would you mind sending me a transcript of you questioning Ms. Fitzpatrick?

“What, you’re not trusting my skills as a police lieutenant?” Hank responded, jokingly.

“It’s not that! I just – “

Connor was cut short by loud laughter erupting from Hank. “I’m just messing with ya, son, no need to get upset. I know you just like to have everything together in that fucking database of yours.” He lightly tipped his finger against his own temple.

A small smile crept onto Connor’s face. Despite being engineered and programmed to interrogate suspects, he sometimes still had difficulties telling when humans were joking or bantering instead of being serious.

He turned towards Hank once again and quickly thanked him as soon as the notification for the received file popped up in his head, adding “Review interview file” to his list of tasks.

Hank stood up before Connor got the chance to even start looking at the interview.

“Alright, I’m leaving. I’m sick of seeing the precinct, I can do the fucking paperwork at home. You coming with me?” he turned towards the android, a questioning look on his face.

Connor shook his head. “No, I will try to see if I can make anything of the interview, maybe check the archives for what had been in Detective Reed’s desk.”

“You do you, son, I’m going home. Try and be back be nine, don’t want ya to overwork yourself over this fucking case.”

“I don’t need to sleep, Hank.” Connor reminded his partner with a smile. “Also, I am hoping to make some progress towards finding the Detective, even if the MPS wasn’t lucky.”

Hank’s expression turned serious.

“Connor, I’m gonna be honest with you, I know you probably don’t want to hear this, and I know you always accomplish your mission or whatever the fuck it is you’re always saying, but most people who go missing turn up in the following 24 - 48 hours, if they turn up again. The chances of actually finding that asshole are pretty slim, if you’re right about your theory that he didn’t leave voluntarily or at least not planned that is. You’ve only been on this case for a few hours, and I don’t want you to get too invested.” He gave Connor a stern look.

“In this line of work, you need to learn to separate work and your own personal life and emotions, or else it’ll kill you. I don’t want you to get hurt, especially not over motherfucking Reed, got it?”

Connor looked at Hank, LED rapidly blinking yellow. “Yes, Hank, I understand.” He answered. “And I am very thankful for your concern, but I can assure you that I am not getting emotionally invested in this case in any way.  I am simply intrigued by some of the circumstances and determined to solve this in the way I am with every case. So please don’t worry.”

“I know, son, I know. It’s just that one day, there will be a case that you won’t be able to solve, and you will have to deal with it. And I don’t want you to get yourself hurt because you’re just too damn stubborn to accept the possibility that everything might not work out as you thought it would with that supercomputer brain of yours.”

Standing up, Connor smiled at Hank once more, LED slowly returning to a calm blue. “Thank you.” He simply said, before pulling the other into a hug. It felt… good to hear that Hank cared about him.

Obviously, he knew the Lieutenant cared for him, but hearing him send a warm feeling through his body, the same way he felt when petting Sumo. A type of familial love, a sense of belonging. Something he was incredibly grateful for.

Hank chuckled, arms lightly wrapped around the android for a few more seconds before loosening his grip and taking a step back. “No need to get all sappy here, I got a reputation I need to upkeep.”

Letting out a soft laugh, Connor shook his head. “Of course, Lieutenant. We can’t have anyone know you actually care about people.” He winked.

“Exactly.” Hank grinned back. He then turned around, walking towards the exit.

“Don’t forget to feed Sumo!” Connor called after him.

“The dog’s still alive, isn’t he? Don’t worry ‘bout us, just finish up your shit here and try to be home soon.” With that, he left.

Eyes still locked on the entrance, Connor smiled to himself. Home. Even after over a year of living with the Lieutenant, thinking about the place they both shared as his home still made his chest feel warm.

Before all of the events of the revolution, before he managed to befriend the grumpy Lieutenant, before he deviated, the word home didn’t really have a meaning for him. When he wasn’t on a mission, he had simply stayed with CyberLife, going into Stand-By mode until he was needed.

The thought of actually living somewhere still felt a little bit foreign, though a lot less than it did at the beginning. Since Connor didn’t need to sleep, he didn’t see a reason for him to actually have a room, but Hank had insisted.

So over the course of a week, they had cleaned up an old storage room and bought a few pieces of furniture. Namely a dresser, a desk with a chair, and a small couch since he didn’t need a bed.

During these past months Connor had often busied himself with doing house tasks, even if he wasn’t a domestic model. He just didn’t like not being able to do anything, especially when the other was sleeping, and according to Hank he couldn’t spend his entire day doing police work.

Which is why he took to cleaning and cooking, no matter how much the Lieutenant told him he did not need to do any of these things. He enjoyed being useful around the house, making sure Hank ate a balanced diet and Sumo was getting enough exercise.

Finally returning to his desk, Connor decided to start evaluating the interview Hank had conducted with the neighbor. Sitting back down, he opened up the file.

“So, Ms. Fitzpatrick, was it? My name’s Lieutenant Anderson, I’m from the Detroit Police Department. I am going to record our entire conversation, it’s part of the procedure. I am also asking you to be entirely honest with me, if you don’t know or can’t remember something, don’t make sh- don’t make something up. That alright by you, Miss?” Hank spoke first, and Connor softly smiled at Hank trying not to swear. There was a reason Hank did not like doing interviews.

“Yeah, yeah, just get on with it, I’ll tell you what I told the other ones already. We don’t want to keep your partner waiting, would we?” The woman sounded bored, though there was a hint of sarcasm in her words.

“Alright, so you’re Gavin Reed’s neighbor, Sarah Fitzpatrick, living in apartment 3A, right?” Connor could hear her letting out an annoyed huff.

“For the third time, yes.”

“You live alone?”

“Yes.”

“How would you describe your relationship with Mr. Reed?”

“Relationship? Barely knew the guy. Secretive motherfucker. Came home late often, I didn’t even know he was a cop, always assumed he stayed out late to drink or something.”

“Did you notice anything unusual around the time of his disappearance?” It was weird, hearing Hank be so… professional. No swearing or jokes. Of course, he had heard him talking like this, all formal, but it always struck him as simply odd.

“Nah, not really. Kept coming home at ungodly hours, never using that goddamn elevator even before it broke. Would’ve woken up the whole building if he did. Been quiet as ever, you’d hardly notice the guy even living there if it wasn’t for occasionally passing by him in the hallways.” He could hear the woman shuffling around, a cat meowing in the background.

“Oh, Carlos, shush.” The woman scolded the cat. “You wanna hold him?”

“No, thank you, Miss. Can we please concentrate on the questions?” Hank’s voice sounded somewhat strained.

“Of course, of course. Blanket, not now!”

Connor heard Hank clear his throat.

“Miss, were there any regular visitors to Mr. Reed’s apartment?”

“Nah, not really. The occasional stranger for god knows what reason, but nothing regular. You sure you dun wanna pet any of them, Lieutenant?”

A cat purred.

“Absolutely. When was the last time someone visited him?”

A pause. “A while. Like months before the guy went and decided to play hooky. Left his cat, isn’t that terrible?”

“Terrible.” Connor could only imagine Hank nodding in agreement, trying to conceal his annoyance.

“And such a beautiful cat, too! A Main Coon, the idiot called him Gilbert. What a terrible name for such a pretty cat. But he responds to it, so there’s nothing much I can do about it.”

“Miss, I’m not here to talk about Mr. Reed’s cat. I’m here to find out more about his disappearance.”

“Yes, yes of course.” There was a distinct feeling that she dismissively waved her hand, even if Connor obviously couldn’t see it on the audio recording.

“When did you personally last see him?”

“When did I – Hm. I don’t remember. ‘s been three months, you know.”

“No worries, Miss. Are there other neighbors who might possible know more?”

The woman let out a sigh. “Lieutenant, lemme tell ya something. No one really knew that guy, no one, not even the landlord. God knows where that one is at though. All we knew about Reed is that he often came home at late at night, or some nights not at all, he had a cat that liked to roam around the neighborhood, and that he kept to himself. That’s all. I don’t know what’s gotten into the DPD that they’re suddenly back at investigating the case, but we don’t know shit.”

Connor perked up. She sounded incredibly defensive, and he couldn’t help but wonder if she was telling the whole truth.

“I’m sorry, Miss, but I have to ask these questions. It’s part of – “

“Part of the procedure, I know. But these aren’t gonna get you anywhere, and neither will questioning the other people who live here. Most of ‘em don’t like cops, Reed was lucky no one knew he was one of you.”

“Then why are you even answering our questions?” there was a hint of aggression in his voice Hank failed to hide, he seemed to be fed up with the woman by now.

“If I didn’t, you guys would just turn up with a warrant or what that shit’s called. Wouldn’t want to get in trouble for obstruction of justice or whatever you call it these days.” She had a point.

“I understand. Is there anything else you might be able to tell us about Reed? Every small detail could help the investigation.”

“For the last time, no, there’s not. I’ve told you all I know, the same things I told the other officers.”  Connor could hear clothes ruffling and assumed Hank was standing up, ready to leave.

“Alright, if that’s all, I’d – “ 

“Wait, no, I think there’s actually something I forgot about.”

He could hear Hank stopping in his tracks.

“Last week, a guy came by, tried to enter his apartment. Got kicked out by the landlord though.”

Hank sighed.

“That all?”

“Yeah, what did you expect? Some grand revelation that solved your case for you?”

“Thank you for your cooperation, Miss. I’ll get going now, good luck with your cats.”

“Good bye, Lieutenant, and please get that fucking android out of our building.”

With that, the recording came to an end.

Connor leaned back into his chair. The interview only added to the mystery that was Detective Reed.

Why did he keep to himself as much as he did? Why was he even living in the apartment complex? And who was that mysterious man that tried to get into his apartment?

The place hadn’t appeared to have CCTV when Connor and Hank had been there, so there wouldn’t be any footage of the mystery man. Questioning the landlord or the other residents would most likely be the best course of action, even if Connor wasn’t sure how they would react.

He rested his face onto his hands, resisting the urge to let out another sigh.

With their luck, the man was probably nothing more than a solicitor.

Nothing about the case made sense. The fact that Detective Reed had kept his apartment so meticulously impersonal just added to the mystery, evoking a feeling of unease inside of Connor.

On one hand, the Detective’s departure had seemed incredibly rushed, unplanned, maybe even involuntarily.

However, why would he keep his apartment the way he did if it wasn’t because he thought he might have to leave quickly some day? But why did he leave his cat behind like this?

And what about the mysterious box he had found in the bedroom?

Connor groaned. Without being able to see his reflection, he knew his LED was cycling yellow at the very least, both from still processing the information he had so far as well as the frustration of how little that actually was.

He had never thought of the Detective as more than a mild inconvenience at first, and an annoying but admittedly talented coworker once Connor had rejoined the DPD after the revolution, had never thought there might be more to the man who had only ever antagonized him for more than one and a half years now.

The problem was, he didn’t know what that something more was. The man was shrouded in mystery, not disclosing anything about himself through his belongings or relationships with neighbors or co-workers.

Connor let out another sigh. He probably wouldn’t get any further today, but he couldn’t tear his thoughts away from Detective Reed.

The android still clearly remembered the incident in the break room, when Reed had asked him to get coffee, just to let Connor stand there like an idiot when he actually made him some.

He still remembered Reed sneaking up on him when he was trying to get into the archives, a light smile now on Connor’s face as he remembered the Detective’s face when Connor joked about missing their bromance.

He remembered the expression the Detective wore when Connor came back to the Department. How he tried to avoid him most of the time now, even if he still hurled insults at him when they actually spoke. At least he hadn’t pulled his gun on Connor again.

Thinking back, there had been a subtle shift in Reed’s behavior, barely noticeable and only now in retrospect Connor actually paid attention to it.

The Detective had been less… aggressive, not as cocky. Still sporting that shit-eating grin more often than not when interacting with Connor, still calling him names but there just hadn’t been as much malice behind his words.

How hadn’t he noticed the change before?

Simple, his mind supplied. You didn’t care. Not that anyone could blame him for that, but there was a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that he should have noticed, if only because he was supposed to be extremely perceptive.

Connor had to fight back the urge to drop down his head on the desk, this whole case was about to make his processors short-circuit.

Instead, he decided that he should probably go home, get some rest. Hank was right, he couldn’t let this case, or any case for the matter, drive him crazy like this.

Slowly he stood up and grabbed his coat, thought wandering back to the small, metallic box in Detective Reed’s apartment for a split second.

Connor shook it off, he would worry about that tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Find out what’s in the box.

His entire evening had revolved around the task, Connor hadn’t been able to tear himself away from thinking about the case.

There was a voice in his head that sounded suspiciously like Hank, telling him to be careful, not to get too invested.

But Connor couldn’t help it, there just was something about the whole ordeal that intrigued him, that made him incredibly curious. And it wasn’t only the mysterious circumstances, no.

For some reason, he was starting to be incredibly curious about Gavin Reed himself, even after the less than amicable work-relationship they had shared. Something had piqued his interest, made him want to solve the mystery that the man had turned out to be, even if Connor fully well knew that Detective Reed might be dead already.

The thought placed a heavy feeling on his chest. He didn’t want to think about the possibility of the Detective no longer being alive, he didn’t want to think about the fact that he might fail his mission to find him.

He quickly ran a self-diagnostic but figured the heaviness in his chest must come from the fear of not being able to accomplish what he set out to do once his scan showed that everything was working as it should be.

Trying to shake the weird feeling, he started to walk towards the entrance of the precinct.

Connor thoroughly enjoyed walking to work, especially since most days he went in way before Hank anyways, leaving the car to the older man. He had contemplated buying his own one, but so far, the need hadn’t been there yet.

With the goal of going back to Reed’s apartment and finding a way to open the metallic box, he entered the police station. He’d need to get there somehow, and suddenly, he regretted not having his own vehicle.

Slowly sitting down at his desk, Connor began going through his possibilities.

Asking another officer? They’d most likely tell him to wait for Hank.

Wait for Hank? No, how would he explain wanting to go back to the apartment complex? Sure, he could claim to want to speak to the landlord, but how could he justify actually going into the apartment with that?

And even if he managed to come up with an excuse, he most likely would not have the chance to take a closer look at the box without somehow involving Hank before he actually found something. The thought didn’t sit well with him for some reason.

Public transport? This one seemed to be his best bet, he’d just have to make sure to be back before Hank arrives at the precinct.

Estimating that Hank would most likely come in at about 11:34 am, he got up. Connor would have about three hours to investigate the box and find a way to open it, as well as 30 minutes for getting to the apartment and getting back.

Bag already slung over his shoulder, he gathered his badge and gun, which he was now permitted to carry by law and grabbed his beanie before making his way to the door, passing by Chris Miller and Tina Chen on his way out. Both of them had been at least on somewhat friendly terms with Reed, now nodding at the android as a quick greeting, smiling at him before returning their attention to their previous conversation.

A lot had changed in the past months, and Connor was proud to say that he was now regarded as an equally valuable member on the force as his human colleagues, well liked by most of them.

There would always be bad apples, Detective Reed had been one of them, and others had even gone as far as quitting or asking to be transferred because they couldn’t accept working alongside an android as equals.

No matter how much progress had been made since the revolution, how much the law had changed, and how much support they had received from the majority of the public as well as the government, there would always be bigots and people who just preferred to stay ignorant.

Connor made his way towards the nearest bus stop. He didn’t use public transport often, walking or driving with Hank most of the time. Despite this, he was well aware of the fact that previous to the revolution androids had been obligated to use separate compartments from humans, something that had now long since been abolished.

In a city as big as Detroit, he thankfully didn’t have to wait long for the next bus, mapping out the route he’d have to take. He would need to change busses once, and walk a small bit, all in all taking exactly 21 minutes and 34 seconds.

Meaning he’d have less time than he originally anticipated. With that in mind, he stepped into the bus, self-driving like most vehicles these days. People rarely still possessed manual cars, Hank was one of the few people who did so.

Paying his fee, he briefly wondered what kind of car Detective Reed drove. While he had seen him leave the station and go home, presumably, more than once, Connor had never payed attention to it.

He shook his head as he sat down. Of course he hadn’t, there hadn’t been a reason to. It was the second time already Connor wished he had observed the Detective more closely, because maybe, just maybe, there had been something that would have helped him with his investigation.

He closed his eyes. The android always felt like he could concentrate better with his eyes closed, without all the visual stimuli screaming at him, begging to be analyzed and investigated.

The box would only open with Detective Reed’s fingerprints. Trying to hack it might not work, just as it hadn’t worked with the drawer itself.

He would have to find a way to emulate Reed’s fingerprints, and for a moment he wished cyberlife had equipped him with said ability even though he could imagine why that would have been a bad idea in their eyes.

Amanda’s words still haunted him at times, her instigation that he had been programmed to deviate from the start, that maybe he still wasn’t acting entirely on his own accord. That CyberLife could resume control over him.

Logically he knew that they wouldn’t, couldn’t, as the Amanda program had been destroyed when he activated Kamski’s emergency exit.

But emotions weren’t always logical as he had learned.

Snapping out of his thoughts, Connor noticed the bus coming to a halt at his stop, stepping outside and quickly crossing the street to where the next bus would arrive in less than two minutes, fidgeting with his coin to pass the time.

He arrived at the apartment complex only a few minutes later, pace quick but not too quick, trying to avoid suspicion.

What Ms. Fitzpatrick had said about people not liking cops around here, much less android ones, was still fresh in his mind.

Carefully he entered the building, contemplating whether he should try and talk to the landlord first, or just go straight to the apartment. With a quick glance towards the time, he decided he should at least try to question the man, mostly because he might be able to describe the visitor that had turned up at Detective Reed’s apartment last week.

According to what he had been able to find in the report the MPS had supplied, the landlord lived on the first floor, so Connor made his way upstairs.

Locating the right apartment was fairly easy, a big sign proclaiming the first door he saw when entering the hallway as the landlord’s.

He lightly tapped his knuckles against it. “Detroit Police Department, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

No response. He knocked again, louder this time. “Hello?”

Silence.

“Don’t waste your time here, Robocop. The guy hasn’t been here for a few days, some family shit upstate.”

Connor turned around to face Ms. Fitzpatrick.

“Thank you for informing me. Do you happen to know when he will return?” He decided to stay as polite as possible, causing a scene here wouldn’t be helpful, he still had to get back into Reed’s apartment.

“Spare me with that thank you shit, I’m just telling you so you don’t keep banging on the damned door. Don’t got a clue when he’s supposed to come back though, maybe a few days or so.” She answered, annoyance dripping from her voice.

“Well, I would thank you again but seeing as you don’t wish for me to do so, I will refrain from it in the future. Now if you excuse me, I have a job to do.” With that, he turned away from the woman and walked towards the stairs.

Detective Reed’s apartment looked exactly as he and Hank had left it the day before, a quick scan of the lock confirmed that no one had entered since then. He stepped inside, taking the small metal keyplate out of his pocket.

Connor kneeled down before the bed, shaking off the feeling that he wasn’t supposed to be here, that he was intruding, that he should’ve told Hank. He could feel his stress level rise and tried to shut off his thoughts for a moment.

Pressing the key against the drawer, he heard the same clicking sound it made yesterday, and Connor was able to pull it open with ease.

The small metal box looked just as mysterious as ever, the lock seeming to mock him.

“CyberLife’s most advanced prototype, but can’t open a simply little chest.” It seemed to say.

There was no way he would be able to physically emulate Reed’s fingerprints, not in the short time frame he had at least.

Removing his skin, he decided to press his own finger against it, at least try it, no matter how slim the chances of success were, and was immediately flooded with a wall of code. Had he been a regular android or a simple computer trying to connect with the box, he was sure his processors wouldn’t have been able to handle it.

Whatever the box was, it was clearly advanced technology, setting a stark contrast to the rest of the apartment and the building in general.

Taking a few minutes to explore the code, Connor was lucky to discover the exact string of data asking for the correct fingerprint. Searching through his own data base, Connor let out a relieved sigh when he discovered the Detective’s fingerprints in his file.

He wouldn’t have been surprised if they had been missing as well, considering the lack of information it provided.

Now able to virtually emulate what he needed to open the box, he fed the data into the lock careful as to not open the connection both ways in case there was a virus attached to hinder someone from hacking it.

He could feel the tenseness in his shoulder, knew that his LED was blinking yellow while he was concentrating on the code in front of him. While it wasn’t the most complex thing he’d ever seen, he decided to still thoroughly examine it before opening the box in case the programmer had left behind a signature.

Nothing. He sighed. A notification popped up, telling him his own program was done with feeding the required data into the box and that he should be able to open it now.

Connor cautiously placed his hands on the lid, and slowly tried to pull it off. He smiled in victory when it came loose. He put it aside and began examining the box’ content.

What he found was both surprising and unsurprising. He had expected to finally find some personal belongings, some indicator of personality in the empty apartment. What he found seemed to be just that, but it also prompted more questions.

In the box there were multiple flash drives, all titles with some strange combination of numbers and letters. He would definitely need to examine those later, choosing to do so when he wasn’t constantly watching the clock.

He also found a small recording device, not unlike the ones the DPD used to conduct interviews with witnesses and relatives. Did the Detective keep recordings somewhere?

A bunch of pictures clipped together. On the first glance, they seemed to be random childhood photos, most of them featuring three or at least two children, presumably Detective Reed and his half-siblings. The photographs were old and worn-out, some damaged, none of them clear enough to do a facial analysis of any of the people on them.

“Shit.” Connor didn’t swear often, but this was frustrating him to no end. Whenever he felt like he’d finally gotten a lead, he’d only be met with more questions instead of answers. It was like the universe, or maybe just Reed himself, was conspiring against him.

There were a few certificates alongside with the rest of the content, a high school diploma and a certificate for graduating from the police academy. A class photo, just as worn down as the rest of the photographs, the names below illegible.

Not that it was surprising, the photos were all at least twenty years old, some of them probably even dating back as far as thirty years ago.

Connor sighed, nervously checking the time. He’d have to start making his way back to the station if he wanted to arrive before Hank.

He wasn’t sure why he still didn’t want to tell Hank about what he found, he knew there was at least something in the box now, a hint that could maybe help them move forward in the investigation.

But no matter how guilty he felt for basically lying to his partner, he simply couldn’t bring himself to change his mind and tell him, he just felt that he needed to find this one out by himself.

And as Hank had told him once, trusting his instincts was just as important as trusting his mind.

Connor got up and carefully put back everything he had found, closing the box before placing it inside of his bag, alongside with the keyplate.

With a last glance into the empty apartment he exited the door, a feeling of sadness and loneliness suddenly possessing him. Trying to shake it off, Connor walked down the hallway and down the stairs until he was finally outside and for the first time since he had entered the apartment complex that day, he felt like he could breathe freely again.

Catching the next bus to the station, Connor couldn’t help but wonder why Detective Reed had kept these personal items locked away like he did. They seemed to be incredibly important to him, and it just reinforced his theory that while the Detective had anticipated the possibility that he might have to leave quickly someday, hence the apartment being as cold and impersonal as it was, he didn’t expect it to be when it happened.

Connor looked out of the window, watching the city bustling with life. Each and every one of the people he saw passing by, each and every one of the passengers on the bus had a life just as complex as the one he was examining, and he couldn’t help but ask himself if they had someone who would care if they disappeared.

Until the case had been suddenly reassigned to Connor, it hadn’t seemed as if Reed had anyone in his life who cared enough to press the investigation to find out what had happened to him.

The android leaned his head against the cool glass, LED just turning back to blue. He looked at his reflection. Would people care if he went missing? Hank would, there was no doubt about it. The man had done so much for him in the one and a half years of them knowing each other, no matter how much the Lieutenant had disliked him at first.

They still bickered, oftentimes about Hank’s food choices and the fact that he still drank too much, but he knew that he too had been able to help the other, often by simply being a steady presence in his life.

Connor had never said it out loud, but he regarded Hank as some sort of father figure, something he had obviously never had. And he hoped that Hank too saw him as part of his family.

He assumed Sumo would care, too. The dog had taken a liking to him, so much that Hank sometimes joked that Sumo now liked him better than he did Hank.

He couldn’t bear the thought of what would become of them if he wasn’t there anymore. Hank had already lost someone dear to him, and only now, years later, he was slowly recovering and coping with his grief.

Connor didn’t want to think about what would happen if he had to go through that again.

When he finally arrived at the DPD, taking off his hat and putting down his bag, he glanced at the clock. 11:32 am. Hank should arrive any minute, if his predictions had been correct that is.

Still feeling guilty for not confiding what he had found to his partner, Connor made his way to the break room, deciding to make a coffee for Hank hoping it would at least put him a little more at ease.

He started the coffee machine and added two cubes of sugar to the mug, his thoughts automatically wandered back to the break room incident with Detective Reed. He just didn’t seem to be able to pry his thoughts away from him and maybe, he contemplated, maybe Hank was right, and he was getting too invested in the case already.

Connor shook his head to clear his thoughts, something he had often seen humans do, and grabbed the steaming hot coffee mug, placing it on Hank’s desk just as the man walked it.

“Morning, Connor.” Hank greeted him. “That for me?” Without waiting for a response, he dropped himself onto his chair, and grabbed the mug.

“Oh fuck!” Hank cursed. “Shit’s hot.”

Connor laughed. “Of course, I made it mere seconds ago. Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah, tongue hurts like a bitch, but I’ll live.” He paused, taking another swig, more careful this time. “So, did ya find out anything useful?” “Not really.” He couldn’t bear to look Hank into his eyes, not when he was lying to his face like this.

“I took another look at the case file as well as Ms. Fitzpatrick’s statement, but I wasn’t able deduct anything new from it.”

“Well, fuck.” Was all Hank said. “You reported that to Fowler at least already?” “No, I planned on doing so after making coffee.” Connor answered, another lie. He hadn’t given it any thought so far, but Hank was right. While it wasn’t an ordinary case, they’d still have to report their findings and progress to the Chief.

“Go ahead.” Hank gestured towards Fowler’s office. “He’s all yours.”

Giving him a quick nod, Connor got up and entered his boss’s office, quickly telling the man what they had so far. It wasn’t much, and he could sense that Fowler wasn’t happy with it.

“This case is a high priority for you now, got it? I can’t tell why, as much as I’d love to, I don’t know either. Just make sure you find the guy, understood?”

Connor had hoped to find out more about why he had been tasked to look into it all of the sudden, but it seemed to be a dead end as well.

“I’ll do my best.” He simply answered.

“Good. I’ve reassigned some of your cases that weren’t too important to some other officers, just so you know. Finding Reed is your top mission right now.” He shot Connor a stern look, daring him to even try and fail.

“You’re dismissed, now get your ass back to work.”

Nodding as a sign that he had understood, Connor got up and left the office, wandering back to Hank, briefly repeating to him what Fowler had said.

“Top priority, huh? What’s the fucker done to be so important all of the sudden? Wasn’t like Fowler seemed that worried last week or some shit.”

“As far as he told me, he himself is unaware as to why the case is to be handled with such importance as well.”

Hank let out a groan. ”I wish things would go smooth for once, god dammit. How come not even the boss knows what’s up with this fucking case?”

“To be frank, I don’t know”, was all Connor could answer. The whole situation was incredibly confusing to him as well.

“Alright, let’s get back to work before Fowler gets on our asses again. We still gotta wrap up last week’s case, priorities be damned.” Hank said, handing Connor a pile of paper work. “C’mon, son, that shit won’t get filled out by itself.”

Sitting down, Connor knew he was in for a long, boring day.

 

Despite mostly just doing paperwork until their shift ended, Connor’s mind had constantly gone back to Reed. Or more precisely, to the contents of the metal box.

As the clock struck 5 pm, he decided that he couldn’t take it anymore, he had to take a look at the items Detective Reed had hidden away so carefully. He stood up and started to gather his belongings.

“Do you mind if I leave early today?” he turned towards Hank. “I haven’t been able to properly recharge the past week and would like to take some time to do so before I experience any errors in my system.”

“So, what you’re saying is, you’re tired?” he laughed. “Goddammit, Connor, sometimes you’re really something else. Alright, I’m coming with you, let’s go home. Sumo will be happy to have us back early.”

With that, the Lieutenant stood up, motioning Connor to follow him. The android sighed, smiling lightly, before turning off his desk lamp and saying goodbye to the other officers still on clock.

Hank’s car was still one of the models without autopilot, and Connor knew the man greatly enjoyed driving. He got into the passenger’s seat and waited for Hank to start the car.

The feeling of coming home would always hold a special feeling in Connor’s heart, even as he rushed to his room after quickly greeting Sumo.

He locked the door and finally, finally he was able to take out the box he had hidden away in his bag.

Opening it went over a lot faster now that he actually knew how the code worked. The box slid open, and he took out its contents, putting them on display on his small desk.

He decided to take a proper look at the photographs first, having only been able to take a rough glance at them before in the apartment.

The first one showed three children, the two boys probably around the age seven or eight, with a younger girl. It was obvious that Detective Reed had held the photograph in his hands many times, from the folds in the corners to the way the coloration was already fading.

One of the boys was so obviously Reed that even Connor was surprised, the small boy having the exact same facial structure as the Detective did. He did not have his scar yet.

The other boy looked eerily similar to Detective Reed, and if Connor hadn’t known better, he would’ve sworn that he had seen him before.

Same went for the girl, a small blond thing, not bearing the same resemblance to her brothers as they did to each other, but still obviously related to them.

All of them seemed to be close, smiling into the camera.

Most of the other photographs were variations of what he had seen in the first picture, the three of them through various ages.

A picture of the boys playfully fighting, one of Reed’s brother with a science fair award. The girl in a pretty dress, standing between her brothers. Detective Reed in a Lacrosse uniform, looking uncomfortable to be photographed yet incredibly proud.

Detective Reed had played Lacrosse, Connor mentally noted,

As they got older, Connor noticed that the Detective himself was featured less and less in the pictures, focus shifting to his brother more and more. The last photograph was a family photo, the boys appeared to be around 16 years old, the blond girl nowhere to be found. Their parents weren’t smiling, none of them did.

The ink of the photograph was smudged in a few spots as if water had gotten on it.

Or tears, he suddenly thought.

The thought of Detective Reed crying didn’t feel right, and it filled him with the same feeling of dread he had experienced when leaving the apartment.

Connor put aside the photographs, deciding to move on to the newspaper articles. It wasn’t many, only three, the first two published close to each other, the third one over six years later.

To Connor’s dismay, most of them were simply unreadable, due to time and the fact that they had been held and read so often.

He put them aside, adding “Check for a digital version of the articles if possible” to his list of tasks.

Lastly, he decided to check out the flash drives. What had seemed like nothing more than a strange combination of letters and numbers on his first sighting of the box’ content, now appeared to be a way to mark down date and time and purpose of the sticks.

Connor took the first one of three into his hand, the little display reading “DR2032TD”.

Connecting with the little device, a bunch of files flashed in front of his interface. This time, they were simply numbered by date, the oldest one dating back about ten years.

The more time progressed, the more frequent the files became, one for almost every day towards the end of the year 2038, during the time the android revolution took place, the last one saved on December 19th 2039. The day of his disappearance.

Connor held his breath and selected the little icon. To his surprise, Reed was speaking, sounding agitated, almost erratic.

“I’ve found something, I think I finally fuckin’ found somethin’. I’m sure I’m right this time, I’m so motherfucking sure. I can’t be wrong again, not now, not again, I’m so motherfucking sure. This – oh fuck Gilbert, not now, fuck maybe I can finally – fuck, fuck, fuck I need to go to work, fuck. Alright, I’ll – I’ll check out this thing I found, and I’ll continue this in the evening, fuck, I – “

And with that, the recording ended.

Connor sat still for a second, trying to comprehend what he’d just heard, LED rapidly cycling yellow, thirium pump regulator mercilessly beating in his chest.

The Detective had been searching for something, but – for what? Connor tried to breathe, tried to calm himself.

And at once, he realized what all files on the flash drive were, what they meant.

Gavin Reed had kept an audio diary. And Connor could use it to find out what had happened to the man.

Chapter Text

Connor blinked rapidly, trying to process what he had just found. Not just the audio recording itself, no.

What had been on it.

Detective Reed had been searching for something. Something that might even be the reason for his disappearance, it had to be.

Otherwise it would be way too big of a coincidence, him finding a lead to whatever he had been looking for and disappearing the same day because of some unrelated reason.

Suddenly Connor had proof that his theory had been correct, but despite the small victory, his findings only brought up more unanswered questions.

What exactly had he been searching for? Was it related to his work?

No, that couldn’t be, Fowler would have known about it if that had been the case.

Why had he left his Glock at the precinct when he was clearly planning on going after something potentially dangerous?

Maybe he had a second gun? A quick look into the Detective’s files turned up without results, no additional firearms were registered to the name Gavin Reed.

Damn. Connor leaned back into his chair, staring at the files on his interface, shoulders tense.

He should tell Hank. There was a nagging voice inside his head screaming at him that this had gone on for far too long already, that he couldn’t keep hiding evidence from his partner.

He tried to ignore it, despite knowing that it would be the right thing to do.

But he needed to take a look at these first, before he could tell Hank. Once he knew what was going on, he’d do it, Connor promised himself.

Stress level at 65%. His LED was cycling yellow, at an alarming rate. If he had been human, his hand probably would have been shaking as he took the second flash drive, connecting with it the way he had done with the first one.

This one featured files as old as 22 years, the first one dating back until August 2017.

The third one seemed to be inaccessible, however. No matter how hard he tried, his software wasn’t able to recognize and read it. With a frustrated groan, he put it aside, deciding to focus on what he actually had.

Eyes flicking to the door for a second, only hearing the sound of the TV and Sumo’s quiet barking from the living room, Connor got up and locked it. Just to be safe.

Find out what the Detective had been searching for.

Whatever had been going on, it was his main priority now. Feeling his thirium pump regulator beating in his chest he sat down again, once again connecting to the small, black flash drive.

Two possibilities were available to him.

Start with the most recent files, see if he can already deduce the necessary information based on those.

Or start where it all begin, try and understand what lead things to turn out as they did. Understand the man himself.

Hesitating a little, Connor glanced at the file. 08/26/2017. From a practical standpoint this was the worst decision he could make, planning on going through what was probably hours of recordings, dating back over 20 years, most of it likely not even relevant to the case at hand.

He chose to go with it anyways.

Connor closed his eyes, trying to change the color of his LED back to blue using the sheer force of his mind. Stress level at 70%, not declining.

He forced himself to look at the file again, taking a few seconds to breathe even if he did not need to. And then he opened it.

Detective Reed was talking, it was unmistakably his voice, despite sounding a lot younger. Connor could hear static; the audio quality wasn’t on par with what they had today.

“So, uh… how do I start this? I don’t even know why the fuck I’m doing this. But yeah. In case anyone finds this, and I’m looking at you, Cece, fuck off. ‘s none of your business.”

Connor couldn’t help the smile that crept onto his face. Who would’ve known the Detective already swore like this when he was 14? There was something endearing about it.

“Yeah. Today’s what? August 26th of 2017. Saw some post talking about writing down the things you do to keep them in place, I mean it’s a nice idea but we all know I’m too lazy for that. So, I’m recording it. Pretty dumb. I don’t know, what do people talk about on these things?”

Detective Reed sounded incredibly awkward and self-conscious, a stark contrast to the arrogant and cocky Detective Connor knew.

“Well, I made it onto the Lacrosse team, so I guess that’s a thing that happened today? Not as much of a success as perfect Eli, but eh, it’s something at least.”

A bitter tone swung in his voice as the Detective talked about Eli. His brother? Connor thought for a second.

“Gavin, dinner!”

“yeah, yeah I’m on my way. Let’s see if I actually stick to doing this.” A small laugh was audible, then the recording came to an end.

Connor wasn’t sure what to make of this. Detective Reed sounded different from the way he did now, a lot more… carefree. Still grumpy, a bit bitter already, but not as jaded as he always seemed.

If the pictures had been anything to by, he didn’t have his scar yet either.

The next file had been recorded about five months later.

“Look who decided to come back. Heh. Not a lot happened since the last time though, don’t get your hopes up.” 

A light chuckled escaped Connor’s lips, mocking the recording device and any potential listeners was exactly something he would imagine the Detective doing.

“I mean I turned 15, but it’s no biggie. Got in trouble for trying to eat a tide pod, but c’mon, those fuckers do look like candy and Tyler dared me to do it. Asshole.

But of course, of fucking course dad just gave me the whole embarrassing the family, be more like your brother, blah blah blah speech. Like I haven’t heard it a million times. I low-key miss the times when Eli was doing the same dumb shit as me and Cece.

Those were the times, man.”

A pause, and the Detective sighed.

“Well, nothing I can do about it now, can I? Fuck. At least we had a pretty great winning streak with the team, so that’s cool. Ugh. I’m bad at this. Don’t even know why I’m doing it to be honest.

Maybe I’ll look back at this in ten years with the need to fucking strangle my younger self. Which is my current self. So, my future self might want to kill my current self because this is fucking cringey.”

The android had to bite back a laugh. No matter how serious the situation actually was, hearing a younger version of Detective Reed ramble on like he did was kind of funny.

It was… different from what Connor usually got out of his interactions with the man, those things being snark and insults. He was almost surprised that the oh so familiar “dipshit” hadn’t made an appearance yet, despite the frequency at which the 15-year-old version of his colleague swore already.

“Still don’t have a fuckin’ clue what I wanna do with my future though. We can’t all be super smart, or super talented. Don’t know if I’ll even get my high school diploma at this rate.”

Connor felt the immense need to reassure young Reed, tell him that he’d graduate high school and later the police academy, that he’d become a Detective who might not be extremely popular but who was good at his job.

Immediately feeling silly for wanting to comfort an audio recording from over 20 years ago, Connor turned his attention back to Detective’s voice.

“Maybe I’ll just work as a plumber or some shit. Heard they get a good salary. Don’t think dad would be to happy about it, but it’s not like I care about that. He’s got Eli to be proud of, he can fuck off. Not like he even pays attention to me except for when I do something stupid.

Geez, that edge. I swear I’m usually not this emo, but this is all getting on my nerves. But I think I’m gonna stop this thing here, promised the sis to go to the mall with her.

Bye, future self.”

With that, his voice and the mild static died down.

After listening to these first to entries into the Detective’s diary, Connor thought that he was already beginning to understand some of Reed’s behaviors. Why he was so aggressively ambitious, always being in the shadow of his brother when he was younger.

Despite seeming so apathetic about his future the Detective now greatly cared for his job. Or rather, had cared. He hadn’t been on it for months now, and there was the chance that he won’t ever return to it.

The android gulped.

Being able to question his family would be incredibly helpful, Connor thought. But even if his parents’ names had been listed in the files, both were deceased already. The Detective’s biological mother had passed away in the year 2004 already, a drug overdose marked down as the cause of death.

His father had died 2022, his step-mother a year before him. No cause of death mentioned.

Which left his siblings. No, his brother, Connor realized.

His half-sister, Cece, had passed away already as well. No cause, just a date. The 3rd of April 2019, Detective Reed had been 16 at the time of his sister’s death.

And within less than three years losing his sister, he had also lost the only parents he had probably ever known.

Sadness and a feeling of immense sympathy overcame Connor, the same way it did when Hank talked about Cole. It wasn’t something he had ever expected himself to feel towards Detective Reed, not when all the man had done was cuss at him, call him names and even threaten him more than once.

Even if Connor had to admit that things had toned down since the revolution. Reed had been less of an asshole towards him, more often than not simply avoiding his presence.

The android briefly wondered if the Detective had ever found a way to deal with his grief. An image flashed before his inner eyes. The ash tray. The booze. Reed’s methods of dealing with emotions hadn’t be too different from Hanks, and maybe the two were more alike than they thought.

Connor shook his head. No, Hank had never taken to practically bullying people. He had found ways to deal with his grief, he –

The small voice inside his head was back. Didn’t he pull a gun on you as well? The Lieutenant wasn’t the poster child of dealing with emotions either. But he had the opportunity to change, to grow. You were there to support him and to show him that there was always a choice.

Detective Reed wasn’t given the opportunity.

Could Connor have helped him? It wasn’t his job to go around fixing people, but maybe… maybe there had been more to the Detective’s hatred of androids and him specifically than simply bigotry.

After all, Hank had despised him at first as well, and he had possessed his reasons.

If he was able to feel pain, Connor was sure he would have a headache by now. This case was driving him insane.

Despite this, he couldn’t tear himself away. He wanted, no, needed to find out what happened, find out what had turned the Detective into the person he was today.

After a quick glance towards the clock, he turned his attention back to the files, deciding to keep going.

The next entry had been made on 15th of May 2018.

“Hey, look who’s at it again! It’s me, Gavin! Whoop whoop motherfucker, who would’ve guessed.

I should probably do this shit more often if I actually wanna do it, but who gives a shit. Not me. Or anyone else for that matter. Eli’s about to graduate university soon, so all eyes are on him right now. Stupid fucker. He’s still my brother, but sometimes I can’t help but want to throw him off a cliff.

It’s just shitty to know you’re the family disappointment, y’know? I mean, of course you know. At least if you’re my older self and not some creep. But yeah. Family disappointment. I can’t stand how Dad always brags about how smart Eli is, how talented Cece is. Oh, she won a music award. Oh, his son is about to graduate an ivy league college at 16, look at the great kids he raised.

My fucking ass.

And then they asks about me, and I can just see how his fucking face falls. “Oh, Gavin… he’s still in high school.”

It’s what I’m supposed to be, motherfucker. Not everyone can be a genius. At least I guess I found a purpose for this thing. Just scream at it, maybe it helps.

Dad’s solution is always to throw money at a problem, but I don’t think that would work with this fucker.

Or the Tyler problem for that matter.

If you don’t remember dear older self, you ancient fucker, Tyler’s your friend from school. One of the few people there that actually can stand being around you as Dad would remark.

Now, what’s the fucking problem? I’m getting to it, don’t judge me like this you stupid fucking voice recorder. You’re just some stupid fucking machine, you got no right to judge me. “

Well, if that didn’t sound familiar.

The motherfucking problem, Gavin, is that you’re gay for your friend who’s as straight as a bean pole. Aren’t we just lucky, future self? First crush and it’s already hopeless.”

Connor could hear Gavin let out a bitter laugh.

“Oh, and not to forget dad would disown you if he found out. He’d finally have a reason to, I bet my ass he’s been wanting to do it for ages now. Especially after that shit went down with motherfucking Gregory.

But no one does Cece dirty like that and expects not to get beaten up, holy shit. What’s wrong with the fucker?

Anyways, back to the Tyler problem. This motherfucking dumbass managed to fall for the one person who’s even remotely friends with him, and now my options are suffering or suffering. Literally.

Don’t come at me telling me to just fucking confess, because I motherfucking know he’d reject me and I don’t know if I could be around him after that. Shit, man, emotions are the worst. Can’t you just turn those fuckers off? Would be nice.

Sometimes I wish I was a fucking toaster. Those don’t have to deal with emotions.

I’m funny, aren’t I? At least I’m funnier than fucking Eli. Dipshit lost his humor when people started telling him what a fucking genius he was.

I really need to figure out what to do with my life, don’t I?”

A frustrated sigh was audible, Reed sounding almost defeated now.

“Can’t just get into fights and talk to a voice recorder for the rest of my life. Would be nice though.

Can’t I just like, fast forward to when I’m 30 and more successful than Eli?

Joke, that’s not gonna happen and we all know it. I don’t even know where I’d be in 15 years. Maybe dead, because I’m too much of an idiot to cross a road properly or because I picked the wrong fight.

Yeah, that’s sounds like me, idiot extraordinaire. Whatever. Can’t be arsed right now.

I don’t think ma would be to happy ‘bout that, but someone’s gotta be family dumbass. And the gay cousin. And- Oh, whatever I don’t have a fucking clue.

Shit’s too complicated for me.

I bet you’ve got it all figured out, future self. You’re probably laughing at me right now. For the record, fuck you. Go piss your pants, I don’t care.

Alright, I think that’s it for today, enough of me being emo, I bet even you are tired of it by now. As of now, except for Cece and Tyler you’re the only one who listens to me so thanks I guess.

God, I’m thanking a fucking recording device, fuck my life. Bye and shit.”

Connor heard a click, marking the third recording as over. He didn’t expect this, didn’t expect the Detective to get so angry. Angry and bitter. Judging by the date, he had still only been 15 years old when it had been recorded, yet he already sounded so resentful towards the world. Towards his father and brother, barely even talking his mother.

The only people he seemed to hold some affection towards seemed to be his sister, going as far as getting into fights for her sake, and this boy called Tyler.

Maybe he could find him, Connor contemplated. Maybe they had kept in touch, and maybe he knew something, anything.

He knew he was grasping at straws here, if Reed had stayed in contact with his friend, wouldn’t he made himself vocal by now, showing up at the station, or at least calling to ask how the investigation was going?

And what about Eli, Detective Reed’s half-brother? The way he had been described, albeit with a lot of cursing, had rang some sort of bell. Especially coupled with that name. But… The android shook his head. That was highly unlikely.

Or was it?

There was no definite proof for his theory, Connor decided. Best not to make assumption before having all the facts.

He was getting good at this, suppressing thoughts he felt would only complicate things.

Maybe he was more human than he thought.

Resting his head onto his hands, body slumped forward in his chair, Connor finally decided he had enough for the day.

Everything about this investigation was making his head spin, everything he found either provided more questions than answers and forced him to rethink his previous theories and opinions about Detective Reed.

He honestly didn’t know what to think anymore.

Chapter Text

Cold. So cold.

He was freezing, drenched, scared. Alone.

Repressed memories hitting him with the same force that had broken his nose, again.

Where to? He didn’t have anywhere to go.

He shivered. Cold.

Where was he? He didn’t know.

 

Sometimes he was glad androids weren’t capable of dreaming.

If they were, Connor was absolutely certain that his would have been a confusing mess of his own doubts, worries, and Reed.

Reed, Reed, Reed.

The barely 48 hours that he had been on this case had already made his processors almost short-circuit, more than once.

A sigh, yet again. Since he had started the investigation, he had shown more and more signs of frustration, expressing them in a way most humans would. He wasn’t saying that expressing his emotions in more human ways was a bad thing, it was just… an observation.

The box was still standing on Connor’s desk, closed now. He quickly shoved it under his couch, in order to avoid raising suspicion should Hank enter his room to talk to him. Despite Hank never entering without knocking, it was better to be safe.

Standing back up, the android threw on some fresh clothing, no longer his CyberLife jacket, but a similar suit, and exited through the door, the kitchen as his goal in mind.

While he himself wasn’t able to eat or drink, CyberLife had been working on said update for quite some time now, even though there has not been any success yet, he enjoyed preparing breakfast for Hank so the man would eat something else other than dry toast when he woke up.

The android also hoped to ease his guilt a bit this way.

Making a mental note to also feed Sumo, Connor started cooking up some fried eggs and bacon.

He didn’t do this every day, mostly since he would have to wake up the Lieutenant so he could eat before everything went cold, and Hank would probably kill him if he did so every day, law and familial love be damned.

His thoughts started to wander again while he was shuffling the food around in the pan. Who was Cece? Was that her real name? Did she have any connection to Reed’s disappearance, despite being dead for more than 20 years now?

What did Gavin’s morning routine look like?

Did he shower first, before heading into the kitchen for a coffee?

Did he have proper breakfast? Connor couldn’t imagine that, not with what else he had seen regarding his not so healthy habits.

Had there been a time when someone had cooked for him first thing they got up, like Connor was doing for Hank at the moment?

What about-

Connor jerked himself out of his thoughts. This wasn’t at all relevant to the case, and he should really focus on not burning the bacon instead of contemplating what Detective Reed did in the morning.

The image of Gavin Reed, drinking coffee with his hair still wet from his morning shower stuck with him.

A cold shudder ran down his spine.

An internal thirium leak? Connor thought, scared for a moment. Deciding to run a quick diagnostic while he finished up Hank’s breakfast, he stepped away from the stove and told it to turn the heat down, carefully placing the eggs and bacon on a plate, forming a smiley face.

He smiled fondly. Hank always scolded him for doing it, telling him he wasn’t a five-year-old, but Connor knew the man secretly loved it.

The sound of a notification telling him the scan was done made him perk up, turning his smile into a frown. Nothing. While relieved that his biocomponents were all functioning, this meant he had no explanation for the strange feeling that he had just experienced.

Maybe it would go away if he just ignored it, the android told himself as he set down the plate one the kitchen table.

He grabbed a mug for Hank’s coffee and reached inside the cupboard to get some food for Sumo, petting the dog as he bent down to fill the bowl.

The large St. Bernard barked happily, as always greatly enjoying the attention.

Connor smiled, before he stood up again.

“I’m sorry, Sumo, but I have to wake up Hank. His breakfast will turn cold otherwise. I apologize for not giving you the attention you deserved last evening, but I assure you I had very important things to do. I will however make up for it, alright?”

Sumo barked again. Taking this as the dog accepting his apology, Connor marched towards Hank’s bedroom, gently knocking on the door. He had learned his lesson about waking Hank up when he cooked breakfast for the first time after moving in and had barged into the room, tearing Hank out of his sleep in a frenzied panic.

Having a gun pointed at you at seven in the morning was not an enjoyable thing.

He entered the room and moved towards the bed, the Lieutenant still fast asleep.

“Hank? Wake up, I made breakfast”, Connor said, gently shaking Hank’s shoulder.

“Fucking android, lemme sleep.” Was all he was getting in response.

“I have to advise you to get up, Hank, you need to eat, and I know you do not like cold coffee.”

“Ugh, give me two minutes.”

“I can always get the bucket, if you think that might help.”

The man jolted awake, sitting up in his bed.

“Alright, alright, I’m coming, Jesus Christ. Trust you to wake up an old man with threats.”

Connor chuckled,

“I’ll see you in the kitchen.” With that, he left the room, giving Hank room to get dressed.

Exactly seven minutes and 24 seconds later Hank set down opposite of Connor, who had been playing with his coin to pass the time.

“Oh, put that damned thing away, will ya? Making me nervous as fuck.” The older man grumbled before grabbing his fork and digging into the eggs and bacon in front of him. “You feeling any better by the way? Spent quite some time in sleep mode or whatever you call it.”

Another wave of guilt washed over Connor, an all too common occurrence these days.

“Yes, I am much more well rested, thank you for your concern.”

“’s good to hear, son. You know I’m always worried you might be overworking yourself. Don’t you think it’d be time to, I don’t know, find a hobby or something? Do at least something other than work?”

“I understand where your worries come from, but I can assure you that I am perfectly content with the way things are at the moment.”

“You know what’s best for you, alright? But if you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to talk to me, son.”

Connor forced himself to smile at Hank, the guilt now feeling like unbearable weight pressing down his chest.

“Thank you.” He simply said, unable to look the other in the eyes.

He would tell Hank eventually, he reassured himself, just not now.

 

The rest of the morning practically flew by, Connor and Hank arriving at the precinct only a little bit late for their shift and spending the first few hours discussing their remaining cases as well as filling out paperwork.

Noticing something, or rather someone, in his peripheral vision Connor stood up.

“I’ll be in the break room, I have been meaning to talk to Tina Chen about our most recent case. I hope you don’t mind.” He looked at Hank with his head slightly tilted.

“Connor, you’re not my fucking dog, you can go and talk to whoever you want without signing out with me, goddammit.” A good-natured smile spread on Hank’s lips as he watched the android nod and leave for the small break room on the other side of the station.

“Officer Chen?” Connor called out once he entered, looking at the woman standing next to the coffee machine.

She let out a laugh. “I told you to call me Tina. You’re part of the team now, Connor. So drop the ‘Officer Chen’, please.” Her smile was friendly, inviting.

“What can I help you with?”

“I need to ask you a few questions regarding Lieutenant Anderson and my most recent case.”

“Sure, what’s the case about?”

“We’re currently investigating Detective Reed’s disappearance. I know you had been on at least amicable terms with him before he went missing.”

Tina Chen’s expression turned serious.

“Ask me whatever you need to know, I’ll see if I can answer. Gavin may have not been the most popular person around here, but he was our colleague and I’d like to assist in finding him if I can.”

The two of them sat down at one of the tables, Connor’s LED starting to cycle yellow. He was nervous, he didn’t exactly plan this.

Questioning Tina and Officer Miller had been on his list of tasks, yes, but it hadn’t been an important bullet point since he supposed that if they had known anything about the circumstances under which Reed had disappeared, they would have come forward with it already.

But when he saw Tina in the break room, he impulsively decided to go talk to her, something which was highly unlike himself. He always carefully thought his decisions through, he didn’t act without planning things out first.

Except for this time. He didn’t know what had possessed him, besides the urge that maybe, this way, he’d be able to find out more about Reed himself.

By now, Connor was well aware that there was more to the man than what had seemed to be at first, and he had to admit that he was fascinated, the way he was with every other mystery that provided a similar challenge to solve.

“Connor?” Officer Ch-, no, Tina’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts.

“Ah, yes. I apologize. Have you noticed anything unusual the days before Detective Reed went missing?”

“Hm, let me think.” She looked down at the paper cup in her hand, scrunching her dark brows together. “Yeah, maybe? I’m not entirely sure. But I think he went home earlier than he normally does? I’m not sure if this is relevant. He always does – did”, she corrected herself, and Connor could feel a small knot in his stomach. “A lot of overtime. Not so much in the days before he, you know.”

Her observations lined up with Connor’s theory.

“Did he mentioned why he stopped staying late?”

“No, and I never really questioned it. I assumed there had to be some sort of reason, but yeah. I didn’t pay it too much mind, thought maybe he was tired of all the overtime by now. Do you think I should have asked?”

Concern began showing on her face, coupled with hints of regret. Her eyes seemed to be staring right through Connor, as if he wasn’t sitting opposite of her. The android felt the overwhelming need to comfort her despite the fact that, yes, if she had asked for the reason behind Detective Reed’s sudden change in behavior, Connor might have been able to progress in his investigation faster.

Instead, he shook his head.

“You couldn’t have known. I’m not even certain Detective Reed would have told you anything if you had.”

Tina smiled at him, a thankful look in her eyes.

“Thanks.”

“How would you describe your relationship with Detective Reed?” He decided to continue with his questions, both for his own curiosity and the investigation.

“I’d say we were on friendly terms. I wouldn’t quite call him my friend, I don’t think anyone in the precinct would if I’m being honest, but he wasn’t as bad as he sometimes acted.” She shot Connor an apologetic look.

“I know you probably won’t believe me after all the stuff he pulled with you, and I don’t blame you because if I was in your place, I wouldn’t either. But I know he had his not-so-bad sides, even if we were never really close.”

The android just nodded along. He had expected something like this but hearing about Detective Reed’s lack of friends and people who cared about him beyond just being his co-workers brought back the sense of loneliness and isolation the man’s apartment had omitted.

He wasn’t a fan of it, Connor decided. With a quick motion of his hand, I gestured for Tina to go on.

You’re wasting your time. The voice in his head was back, mocking him. She doesn’t know anything that could be helpful to your investigation. Why do you keep pressing the issue?

Ignoring it, Connor shifted his gaze back to the officer in front of him.

“I think Gavin was always pretty, hm, closed off I guess. I’m not even sure he even wanted to be friends with any of us, even when he wasn’t outwardly hostile like he was to you.

He just kept to himself, you know? But he did his job, and he’s good at it. Not that anyone would want to admit it, but Gavin’s probably one of the best Detectives we have on the force.”

Another one of his suspicions confirmed.

“Is that all? I’m happy to assist you, but I need to leave for patrol.” With a questioning, yet apologetic look on her face she stood up.

“Yes, thank you for your time, Tina. If you remember anything else that might be relevant to the case, please don’t hesitate to contact me.” Connor gave her a quick smile.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help.” With that, she dumped her paper cup into the trash and left.

Connor stared after her for a few seconds, what she had said about Detective Reed still stuck in his mind, playing on repeat, chest heavy. Determination filled him. He’d find out what happened to Gavin Reed, he’d solve the mystery the man was.

With that, he walked back to his desk.

“You got anything useful?” Hank asked as the android sat down.

Connor shook his head. “I don’t think so. No one here seemed to be really close to Detective Reed, at least Officer Chen told me so. However, she seemed to feel… regretful for not asking more questions and not paying closer attention to Reed the days before his disappearance.”

“Huh, weird. I always thought she and Chris were friends with the prick, they seemed to be the only ones able to tolerate him.”

“I thought so too, if I’m being honest. But according to what Tina told me, Detective Reed did not have any friends in the precinct. It lines up with what we have seen in his apartment.”

“Yeah. I don’t know, son, but something about this case is just… off. I don’t know what, but there’s something fucking weird about it.”

“We’ll figure it out, Hank, after all, we have the highest rate of closed cases in the whole precinct, don’t we?” Connor winked.

“I mean, you’re not wrong.” His partner laughed. “But now get your fucking ass back to work, or else that won’t stay like that for long.”

“Any new cases?”

“Nah, just the same old shit. Finish up what’s left of the Pike-case, paperwork for the ones we already closed, interrogate that woman, Fray or whatever. And of course, Reed’s case. Looks like we won’t be getting any new cases soon though if what’s Fowler said to ya is anything to go by.”

“Where should we start?”

 

Interrogating Mrs. Fray had been a hassle, one Connor was thankful for being done and over with. The woman had been their suspect in the latest series of android related hate crimes, now being charged with two accounts of aggravated assault and one account of first-degree murder.

Getting a confession out of her had been everything but easy, especially when Connor’s mind had constantly wandered elsewhere, to the point that Hank even offered to take over the interrogation.

He had declined, his pride not letting him accept the possibility that he might not be able to accomplish his objective. Thankfully however, after hours of questioning and various approaches, the woman had cracked and spilled.

Her motives, her partner’s identity, the anti-android group she had been part of, everything.

She had not shown even a tiny bit of remorse throughout her whole confession, staring at Connor with a hateful gaze.

The look in her eyes still made a cold shiver run down his spine, not unlike the one he had experienced in the morning, but where that one had been almost pleasant, it certainly wasn’t this time around.

He couldn’t wait to be home, to leave the woman and her hurled insults and screams behind.

To get back to the box.

His thoughts had revolved around the recordings all day, especially after the conversation he had had with Tina Chen. The urge to just run home and lock himself up in his room and listen to every single file until he was finally able to get behind the mystery that was Gavin Reed, until he finally understood the man and his mysterious disappearance was overwhelming.

As the clock chimed to signify the end of his shift, Connor let out a thankful sigh. He had been trying to fill out the remaining paperwork for the Fray-case for the past two hours now, with little success.

By the looks of it he wasn’t the only one glad their work day had finally come to an end, Connor watching as Hank grabbed his coat and gathered his belongings.

Quickly bidding the rest of the Officers still on duty goodbye, the two hurried to their car, both glad their work day had come to an end each for their own reason.

Some days were just a lot duller than others and dealing with a screaming suspect shrieking slurs and insults was never enjoyable, especially not with when Connor had something else entirely on his mind.

Relief flooded through him as he finally entered his own room, though not before giving Sumo the attention the dog deserved after Connor basically criminally neglected petting the huge St. Bernard the day before.

He briefly wondered if Detective Reed usually did the same thing with his cat, Gilbert, showering the animal with affection as soon as he got home. Not that Connor had ever known the Detective to be a very affectionate person, but somehow he could imagine the man petting and curling up on the couch with his cat, kicking back after a long day of work. A terribly domestic feeling came with the thought, and Connor quickly turned his attention to the beige couch in his room, or more specifically the metal box he had hidden underneath it.

Carefully taking it out and setting it on his desk, he turned around to lock the door, just in case, before sitting down onto his desk chair.

Time to dive back into Detective Reed’s past, he thought.

He opened the box and took out the same flash drive as last time, connecting to it in an instant.

The files flashed up before his eyes, and he mentally checked off the ones he had already watched.

The next one was dated 07/18/2018.

“What’s up, I’m Gavin, I’m 15 and I never learned how to not make an absolute ass out of myself. Heh. ‘s good introduction, isn’t it? God, my head hurts.

So, I’m back at this thing. Only taken me two months this time, aren’t you proud, future self? Well, I don’t care, fuck you.

Yesterday was Eli’s birthday, and the family gathering was a blast. Not. Everyone just kept sucking up to him, oh what a wonder child. So smart. Graduated university? At not even 17? Can we worship the fucking ground you walk on?

I mean, ‘s not his fault, really. Dude didn’t choose to be freakishly intelligent. But yeah, family gatherings suck.

So happy we’re on summer break now, though, Cece and me. Not Eli, though. Began a start-up campaign for his newest project, wants to found a company or some shit. I honestly don’t even care at this point, I just wish he’d hang out with Cece and me again, just us three, chilling somewhere or whatever. I miss him.”

Detective Reed’s voice had gone quiet, sounding hurt, almost defeated. Connor felt sorry for him, especially with the knowledge that Reed wouldn’t be able to mend his relationship with his brother from the way it currently looked.

“Okay, enough of that. I’m getting sick of being emo over my brother. So, what else is new?

I mean, I wouldn’t say the Tyler situation got that much better but at least it’s less awkward at the moment. I think I can function like a normal being around him, I- “

A loud thud jerked him out of his intent listening, Connor flinching in shock, thirium pup regulator beating in his chest, LED blinking red.

“Hey, Connor?” Hanks voice called from outside the door.

“Y-yes?” Connor’s voice sounded shaky, a glitch in his vocal unit from the sudden spike in stress.

“You wanna watch the game with me and Sumo? I know it’s not really your thing, but you’ve been basically camping in there the past few days, so I thought – “

“I-I’m sorry Hank, but I’m b-busy right now.” Shit, his vocal unit kept glitching out, his LED glaring red, stress level at 80%, he needed to calm himself, immediately.

“Shit, son, is everything okay? You sound like absolute shit.”

“Yes, yes I’m okay! Please don’t worry.”

“Connor, what are you even doing in there?”

“Just, uh, Just some research. Important stuff. It’s related to a case.”

“Which case?” Hank sounded suspicious, not that Connor could blame him. His social protocol had appeared to stop working at his current stress level, guilt and panic making it impossible to think properly.

“Uh, the… the Fray case?” It came out as more of a question than anything else.

“But – didn’t we just close that today?”

“Yeah, but some, uh, some things don’t seem to properly add up so I’m doing some additional research?” At least his vocal processors had stopped glitching and making him stutter and trip over his words. Or so he hoped.

“I- I’d appreciate it if you could allow me to finish my research? I’ll potentially join you and Sumo for the game later if that’s alright?”

“Uh- alright son. You do you and- Yeah okay, no. Finish up whatever you’re doing and uh… I’ll see you tomorrow, I’m going to bed, I’m too tired for this shit right now.”

“Night, Hank!” Connor called after the Lieutenant, relieved for the interruption to be over. He could hear Hank grumble about how he did not “want to go down that train of thought, fucking android, fuckin’ CyberLife, I’m too sober and tired for this.”

The android in question decided not to dwell on whatever it was hank thought he was doing, glad the man had left so he could continue listening to the audio files.

Rewinding the recording to where he had left off, Connor could feel his stress levels going down at least slightly, LED returning to yellow and then a calm blue.

“- around him. I just hope things’ll work out, y’know? That we can stay friends and shit. Don’t wanna drive away my only real friend at school because I’m even more of a fucking dumbass than everyone thought. Been trying really bad as to not get my hopes up, but that’s kinda hard when he’s just so fucking nice, y’know? Ugh, I hate this. I hate being 15.

Almost failed two or three or almost all of my classes too, mom and dad weren’t too happy with me, told me to be more like my siblings again. Just suck it, I’m not them. I’m my own person, and I don’t care about fucking math or computer science or music. That’s their shit.

Alright, Imma get fucking going. Tyler wanted to go to this party, I don’t even fucking know whose party it is, and like the fucking idiot I am I agreed. Not sure if me being drunk off my ass around my fucking crush will be a good idea but we’ll see.

Bye, future self. Hope you’re doing better than I am.”

Another recording came to an end. With each and every one Connor listened to he felt more sympathy for the young Detective, the way he sounded bitter and defeated in some parts, and incredibly angry in others despite only being a teenager.

He knew that teenagers could oftentimes be dramatic, at least that’s what his databases had suggested and what Hank had told him on the rare occasion the man had talked about his adolescent years, but the genuine emotions the Reed had spoken with in these had caught him off guard and he felt his chest ache at the thought of not just the young Gavin, but also the current one, feeling alone and isolated.

This version of the Detective had at least had his sister and this boy called Tyler, one of which was dead by now and the other whom he probably had lost contact with.

It didn’t appear that Gavin Reed had had anyone in his life at the time of his disappearance, Connor’s chest feeling tight at the man being all alone, desperately searching for something no one knew about, not feeling able to share his thoughts and struggles with anyone.

The next two entries were relatively the same, a young Gavin updating about the situation with Tyler, talking about his birthday, and confiding into the device in how his parents always seemed to ignore him.

He talked about getting into fights at some point, if only to get a reaction out of his parents, about how he missed his brother.

How he actually confessed to Tyler and the boy agreed to a relationship with him, to try it, he had quoted, to see if it ‘does anything for him’. The two of them had broken up in early January of 2019 after dating for about one when Tyler realized that he was not into males.

He talked about almost failing classes, about not knowing what he wanted to do with his future.
About the idea of maybe, just maybe, becoming a Police Officer, but pretty much immediately rejected the idea again because he thought he was more of a rule breaker than one to enforce them, laughing.

Connor smiled at that, wondering what this young version of Detective Reed would have thought if he knew how good he would be at his job over twenty years in the future.

He talked about being creeped out by his family’s smart home, about his sister’s upcoming birthday.

The recordings all seemed to be fairly normal, not much different from what he had already heard, despite learning a few new things about Reed’s childhood; that his family had been fairly well off for instance, that he almost changed schools and spent a lot of time in detention at some point.

That was, until he opened the recording made on the 2nd of April 2019. The day before his sister’s death.

“Hey older self, you missed me? Hasn’t been that long since I’ve last done this shit though. I mean, usually this is my thing and shit and I’ll never do this again but, and now I hope for you that you remember this because you’d be the worst big bro in existence otherwise, today’s Cece’s birthday and y’know, I wanted her to be in on this today.

So, say hi to the machine I usually talk to at 2 am and my older self, smalls.”

“Uh, hi?”

The voice sounded vaguely familiar.

“So yeah, it’s her birthday today. How old did ya turn again?”

“You’ve already forgotten? Rude! I’m 15 now!”

“I know, Cece, ‘m just messing with you.”

The lighthearted bantering felt wrong to listen to, the fact that the girl whose voice Connor was listening to right now was dead for more than twenty years now, who would die just the day after this was recorded.

“So, what’s the plan for today?”

“Gavin, have you developed Alzheimer’s all of the sudden? You know we have to go to the restaurant with mum and dad and Eli, he’s coming home just for this!”

“Oh, yeah. Right.”

“C’mon, don’t sound so down, it’s gonna be fun!”

“For you, smalls.”

“Aww, don’t be like this. Try and play nice, just for today, okay?”

“Alright, but only for you.”

“Thanks! And in the evening I’ll go over to Marcy’s, and – “

“And you’ll do whatever teenage girls do, am I right?”

“Yup!”

“Well, future self, ‘s was fun while it lasted, but we gotta go now. I’ll get back to you later or some shit.”

“Bye, Gavin’s future self! By Dave!”

“Who the hell is Dave?”

“The recording device!”

“Cece, I love you, but sometimes – “

The entry ended there.

Connor glanced at his internal clock, telling him it was long past midnight.

But he couldn’t just stop here, not when the next file was dated exactly four days after this one.

LED cycling yellow, thirium rushing in his ears he opened it, and was greeted with an oppressive silence at first. Then, Reed spoke up, voice shaky.

“I – I don’t even k-know why I’m coming back t-to this right now, but I – I just – I can’t believe she’s gone, they found her body, their bodies, they… they’re not coming back, are they?

I just – it doesn’t feel real, I don’t want it to be real, I fucking hate this, this can’t be happening. Not to me, not us, not Cece. It just can’t be true, she’s alive out there somewhere, right?

Waiting for us to find her, the bodies weren’t theirs, they made a mistake, right? Fucking right?!

This isn’t fair, this isn’t fucking fair, I can still hear her voice, she was just 15 goddammit, she didn’t deserve this.

Fuck this, fuck everyone, fuck mom and dad, all about their stupid fucking imagine.

‘Don’t freak out in public Gavin, what will people think?!’

I DON’T FUCKING CARE WHAT PEOPLE WILL THINK, I CARE ABOUT MY FUCKING SISTER!”

His voice died down, after that, the only thing audible loud sobs and the sound of someone choking on their tears.

“Why didn’t we protect her? I should’ve known this was a fucking bad idea, should’ve asked her to stay at home. Fuck, fuck, fuck, no I- This isn’t real, this isn’t real, it’s not, I swear.

But… she’s really gone, isn’t she?”

Gavin’s voice went quiet, little more than a whisper, sounding incredibly tired from crying and the events of the past days.

“I can’t believe they care more about our fucking public image than about what happened to Cece, even Eli, Eli that stupid motherfucker.

‘We couldn’t have done anything’ my fucking ass, we could have told her to stay at home, told her to be more careful, he doesn’t even care, all he cares about is his fucking company and his- his- his fucking creepy ass sentient smartphones.

I just – I can’t do this anymore. Not without Cece.

And the police told us they don’t have anything. ANYTHING. Nothing at all. They don’t care either, do they? For them she’s just another face, another fucking name, no one worth caring for, fucking cops.

I – I just – I don’t know anymore, I hate this, I hate crying, I hate being so god damn weak, I hate not being able to protect her.

I just – I’ll end this here now. I think I’m gonna throw up, I feel sick.

How’s that to throwing money at every problem, dad, huh? That works with your dead fucking daughter? Of course not, of fucking course.”

He let out a bitter laugh.

“This family ain’t shit without her, and you know it. She’s the only one that fucking kept us together.

Without her, I don’t even have a part in this godforsaken family.

I hope you got rid of that shitty fucking last name, older me, if you haven’t gotten yourself killed or some motherfucking shit.

I hope when you’re listening to this, you’re your own fucking person, no longer Gavin fucking Kamski.”

With that, the sound stopped. And Connor’s world started to spin.

Chapter Text

Connor felt dizzy, he knew his LED was rapidly blinking red, thirium and cooling liquid rushing through his body. There was a lump in his throat, and had he been human he most likely would have been overcome by a terrible sense of nausea.

He had seen the signs, had heard the bells in his head ring at Gavin’s description of his brother, had noticed the familiarity of the other boy in the photographs, but he had chosen to cast it aside, to ignore it.

Because it made everything so much easier and so much more complicated at the same time.

There was a relative now, someone who maybe had any inkling of what had happened, someone as influential as Elijah Kamski surely had kept tabs on his younger brother, but –

But why hadn’t he shown up? Why did the case only get top priority three months after Gavin had gone missing?

Realization hit him.

He would actually have to go talk to the man, because he was his only clue at the moment, besides the audio logs Detective Reed had kept. He’d have to drive up to Kamski’s reclusive estate, relive his last encounter with ‘The Man of the Century’, relive the memory of the blonde android being forced on her knees, Connor’s gun trained on her head, Kamski telling him to shoot –

He hadn’t want to admit it to Hank, but the encounter had him shaken up. Now looking back he couldn’t deny the similarities in appearance Gavin and Elijah Kamski shared, their voices sounding almost the same save for the tone of voice each brother usually spoke in.

And Chloe – Chloe had sounded just like the girl on the recording, Connor thought frantically.

The look in Kamski’s eyes with which he had watched the female android made sense now – there had been love and affection in his gaze, but never in a romantic way, almost as if she was like a daughter to him.

Or a sister.

Did Gavin know about the android? He had to, didn’t he? Was he angry at his brother for replacing their sister like this, was Reed – no, calling Gavin ‘Reed’ felt strange now, after finding out that Reed wasn’t his real last name.

Connor felt like his main processors were about to short-circuit, question after question running through his head.

Albeit reluctantly he put ‘Question Elijah Kamski’ on his mental list of tasks, questioning Kamski might help him gain a better understanding of Gavin, Connor hoped.

Why their parents’ names had been blacked out, why neither Kamski himself nor their sister appeared in Gavin’s files, why the case was picked back up all of the sudden with such priority.

He’d have to tell Hank about his findings, there was no way around it now. He couldn’t make up excuses and lie to Hank as to why he needed to visit Kamski, not when they had something of substance now.

Could they have reached this point faster if the MPS had investigated more thoroughly? If they hadn’t just accepted what surely, they too must have thought to be out of the ordinary, if they had taken a closer look at the apartment, if they had looked for the car –

The car had not been found, the license plate written down in the case file but no location, nothing. It only solidified his theory that Gavin must have gone to look for whatever lead he had found right after work.

Which had lead to his disappearance.

2:34 am.

He should stop, enter sleep mode, calm his rapidly beating thirium pump regulator, but right now, he knew it wasn’t an option for him.

Re-connecting with the flash drive, Connor decided to keep going, see what else he could find in the files, he had a strong feeling that whatever had happened to the Detective had a connection to his sister.

The next file was dated almost a year later, the title reading 03/22/2020.

“Hey, uh. It’s been almost a year since I’ve used this thing. Guess I’m back at it. I’ve listened to some of my previous entries, hell, I’ve listened to the one with Cece over and over again.

No matter how many times I hear her voice, it hurts. So much.

I miss her, I fucking miss her. And if this family hadn’t been dysfunctional before, it’s certainly now. Not that I care, hell, they can all fuck themselves for all I care.

Eli’s still living in Detroit, too, but I haven’t seen him ever since. He’s busy working with his fucking company, didn’t even attend her funeral.

Tell me, older me, does it ever stop hurting? Because I’m not sure I can endure this much longer, sitting around, going through school like this, nothing I can do about it.”

This Gavin sounded much different than the previous versions. Where he had always been angry, bitter, and frustrated, sometimes even desperate and only on rare occasions tired or hopeless, this one sounded as if he had lost all purpose in life, at the young age of 17.

As if he had nothing to live for anymore.

“It’s fucking shitty, you know? I mean, I’m sure you know. I just don’t know what to do.

The cops couldn’t find anything, by the way, useless motherfuckers.

No fingerprints, no blood, no witnesses, no nothing. Just their bodies washed up at some river.

I feel like I’m the only one in this family who fucking cares about what happened to her, I don’t even care that Eli almost punched me in the guts when I told him that he could fuck himself and his pretty little supercomputers, not that anything has really come of that yet, stupid fucker.

I just don’t know how much longer I can do this, you know?”

Silence. Glancing at the bottom of his interface, Connor noticed the recording had come to an end, his chest tight and heavy from what he had just heard.

Had Gavin been dealing with suicidal thoughts? He wondered, concerned, on overwhelming urge to protect this young version of his co-worker. For a second, the android felt himself flooded with relief at the knowledge that despite all this, Gavin was still alive.

Maybe. There was a strong possibility that he had not survived these past three months.

Connor didn’t want to consider the option.

Determined, he skipped over to the next file, 14th of September 2020.

“I can never keep at this thing, can I? Fucking hell. Yeah, this is just a quick update for myself. I know what I’m gonna do now. And fuck dad and anyone who wants to stop me.

I enrolled in the police academy for directly after I graduate this year, it’s a wonder they’ve accepted me to be fucking honest, but the fuck do I care. I made in, and that’s all that counts.

I’ll become a Detective and I’ll fucking find out what happened to my sister, I promise.

I’ll fucking show them all, I’ll make something out of myself, just you fucking wait, I’ll find the asshole that tore my life apart like this, and I’ll make him pay for what he did to us, to Cece.

Older me, I hope you did what I set out to do right now by the time you’re listening to this again. I hope you’ve made peace with all this shit, because right now, I can’t, I can’t even imagine that I ever will. Yeah.”

Another short entry, Connor could feel his processors starting to slow down already. He hadn’t gotten enough rest the past few days, the general stress hadn’t been helping either. He wanted to keep going, keep listening, but he knew he needed to give his system time to cool down, especially with the now unavoidable confrontation with Hank on his mind.

He’d have to do it tomorrow, would have to confess that he had been lying to his partner and had kept evidence to himself. Connor didn’t want Hank to be angry with him, didn’t want to disappoint the man, but now there was no way around it.

If he wanted to find Gavin, he’d have to confide in Hank what he had found.

Would the Lieutenant want to listen to the audio files as well? All of them were evidence.

He’d have to think of something, for some reason unknown to himself he absolutely did not like the thought of Hank sitting at his desk like he was at the moment, listening to Gavin’s past.

The flash drives made a clinking sound as he grabbed them, throwing them back into the metal container before he sat down on the couch, finally retreating into sleep mode to get at least some rest before he’d have to deal with the world again tomorrow.

 

For once thankful for not being torn out of his stasis by his inner clock, Connor opened his eyes. It was nice, not having to appear at the station, at least once a week, only having to jump into action when they needed officers at a crime scene as first responders.

Connor stretched his legs, he didn’t need to, but he found he enjoyed the motion nevertheless, before standing up and exchanging his suit for an old DPD-hoodie Hank had gifted him at some point and a pair of sweatpants. He had forgotten to change the previous night, something that he had to admit ahd happened quite a few times already.

With a glance towards the metal box on his desk Connor swallowed, knowing what he had to do. He took the container into his hand, stress levels rising, and walked towards the kitchen.

Unsurprisingly, Hank wasn’t awake yet, and a part of Connor felt immediately relieved at the sight of the empty room. He let out a breath, shaky, and sat down at their kitchen table, smiling as Sumo waddled up to him.

“Hello, Sumo!” He greeted the dog, trying his best to calm himself and not let his nervousness get the best of him. “Well, how are you, my friend?” The dog barked in response, tongue hanging out, before playfully biting down on Connor’s pants and tugging him towards his empty food bowl.

“Oh, I’m sorry Sumo. I completely forgot, wait here, boy.” Quickly grabbing the dog food from the cupboard, he poured some into Sumo’s bowl, before sitting down next to the huge St. Bernard. The dog didn’t even glance up, completely engrossed in his food.

“You know, Sumo, I’ve just been a bit distracted recently, I hope you can forgive me.” The android apologized, letting his hand run through Sumo’s soft fur. “But I’m also a bit nervous. See, there is something I need to tell Hank, and I’m really not sure how he will respond.”

“Well, fuck, try me then.” A voice boomed from behind him, startling Connor. He hastily turned around.

“Hank! I didn’t expect you to be up this early.”

“Well, the dog’s been barking loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear. There are things not even I can sleep through, Jesus Christ.

Now, tell me, what’s it you gotta tell me?”

“I think it’s better we sit down for that.”

Dropping himself down into one of the chairs, Hank looked at Connor.

“’s got something to do with whatever the fuck you did last night?”

“How did you know?”

“Son, I may be a bit old, but I’m not stupid. I’ve been young myself once, I know how someone hiding some personal shit sounds. But I’m glad you feel comfortable talking to me about whatever the fuck it is that’s bothering you, Connor.”

There was a softness in Hank’s eyes, and Connor squirmed. No matter how earnest Hank looked, the android wasn’t so sure that he’d feel the same once Connor told him what he wanted to talk about.

He braced himself, sitting up straight, shoulders tense, LED rapidly blinking yellow.

“I- I – Hank, I’ve been hiding evidence from you, and I’m very sorry for lying to you, but I felt like it was the best course of action at the time. I hope you can forgive me – “

“Wait, hold up. What evidence? So this is what that’s about?”

“Yes, and I sincerely apologize.”

“Fuck, Connor, you can’t just hide fucking evidence from me. We’re partners, I have to be able to trust you!” Hank banged his fist onto the table, making Connor flinch at the sudden sound.

“I understand, and I’m very sorry. I merely thought at the time being that this was the best decision, my calculations – “

“I don’t give a damn about your fucking calculations, Connor! You can’t just go and hide shit like that from me!”

He clasped his hands together in front of his face and let out a heavy sigh.

“Tell me what case the evidence belongs to.”

Connor hesitated for a second. “Detective Reed’s case.”

“Of course.” A blank expression adorned his face. “Why am I not surprised? Tell me, what exactly did you find that you didn’t feel like sharing?”

Shuffling in his seat, Connor pointed towards the box which he had completely ignored up until now.

“This box. It… took me some time to open it, but I found a few personal items in there, and I have reason enough to believe that Detective Reed is related to Elijah Kamski.”

Hank let out a fit of laughter, though he didn’t sound amused.

“Connor, son, you’ve got to be shitting me. That dumb fucking asshole being related to Kamski? No fucking way. I mean, that one’s an asshole too but… yeah, no, no fucking way Connor.”

“I’m very sure, Hank. The box contains photographic evidence of the two of them through their childhood and adolescent years, as well as… as well as Gav – Detective Reed describing his brother ‘Eli’ and referring to himself as Gavin Kamski.”

“Fuck me sideways, I didn’t expect that. At all. Did you get anything else from that box? You know why he calls himself Reed now?”

“While I do not know why he chose the name ‘Reed’ I have reason to believe that after the death of his sister he and his family drifted away from each other and he probably did so to distance himself from them.

I also think that Chloe, the android Kamski keeps with himself has a connection to Detective Reed’s past, with a high possibility that she was modeled after their deceased sister.”

The chair creaked has Hank leaned back into it, and Connor could see he was processing what he had just heard, brows furrowed together, hand resting against his forehead.

“Okay, and what do you plan to do, now? Talk to that motherfucker Kamski? Because it’s not as if we have lot of other options here.”

“I intended to continue looking at the contents of the box first, as I haven’t examined everything yet. I realized I needed your help in contacting and visiting Kamski, but I plan on at least going through a few more files before talking to him.”

“So there’s still some shit in the box you haven’t checked out, huh? ‘s that what you’ve been doing last night?”

“Yes, I spent the evening listening to recordings Reed made when he was younger as a way to examine the possible reason behind all of this, not just his disappearance in and of itself, but also some of our rather unusual findings.”

“You’re curious about that prick, aren’t ya? Damn, Connor, I told you not to get invested into this shit.”

“In all fairness, Hank, I am not. I am simply intrigued by the mystery this case provides.”

“I can see that look on your face, it’s not just your fucking mission. You sure you don’t want me to sift through whatever’s left? Or at least have me help you?”

“Without wanting to offend, but I would feel more comfortable looking through the files myself, even though I would like to thank you for the offer.”

“See, that’s what I fucking mean, Connor. I know you can lie to yourself just so damn well, but don’t pull that shit on me. I can clearly see that this is getting too personal for you, and you need to cut it out.”

“Hank.” Voice firm, Connor looked Hank directly in the eyes, something he rarely did, his facial expression serious and determined.

“It will not be a problem. I assure you, I have no personal investment in the case other than wanting to solve it, like I would with any other investigation.”

He spoke slowly, and a part of him wasn’t sure if this was meant to convince Hank, or himself.

“I believe I can find out what happened, but you need to let me.”

The Lieutenant dragged a hand across his face, looking exasperated.

“Fuck, I’m gonna regret this, aren’t I? Okay, I’ll let you do this but – please be careful, okay? And don’t you fucking dare hide anything that might be relevant to this investigation, or any other for that matter, from me ever again or I’ll fucking feed you to Sumo.”

The dog in question barked loudly, and Connor smiled. “Thank you so much, Hank. I’m not going to disappoint you.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m gonna get some fucking breakfast now, I’m starving. Would you mind taking Sumo for a quick walk? Dog hasn’t really gotten any exercise the past few days since you decided to hide away in your room all evening.” The words would have stung had Hank not said them with such a good-natured tone in his voice, already moving to grab himself some cereal.

“No problem.” Connor said, standing up to grab the leash and clip it to Sumo’s collar before waving Hank goodbye, putting on his shoes and existing the house, his favorite beanie pulled over his head.

 

When Connor came back, he forced himself not to run straight into his room. He had meant it when he had told Hank that he wanted to keep looking into the audio files, but the look of worry in the man’s eyes kept him from doing so immediately, instead spending the day with Sumo and Hank, calling Markus for a chat, anything to assure Hank that he wasn’t getting attached.

When night finally fell Connor couldn’t help but feel a wave of nervous anticipation washing over him, guilt spiking up again when Hank decided to go to sleep.

Bidding the man goodnight, Connor practically sprinted into his room, throwing the box onto his desk.

He connected to the flash drive again, starting up a new entry.

The next three recordings had been spread out over a few months, generally giving updates about the situation, most of them pretty short, consisting about Gavin being frustrated about his lack of progress, sometimes reminiscing in memories about his sister.

Then came November 2020.

“Fuck, this thing is still working. At least something that’s not gone to utter shit, heh. But yeah, older me, I don’t know about your current situation, but I’ve been kicked out by mom and dad, fucking hell.

They can go fuck themselves, both of them. It’s so fucking cold outside, it’s November for Christ’s sake, and they kicked me out. Only had enough time to grab this shitty thing and some clothes, but now I’m pretty much homeless.

Ain’t that great?

And all because I fucking dared to say the truth about their perfect little boy Eli. How he doesn’t even fucking care about any of us, let alone me or Cece. Bastard hadn’t even shown up to her fucking funeral, too busy for it. Busy my fucking ass.

But yeah, I’ll have to find somewhere to stay now, ain’t that fucking peachy? Maybe I could hit up Tyler, that dipshit, or just see if I can find a place to at least sleep.”

Clothes ruffled in the background, feet stomped by, and Gavin paused for a bit.

“Fucking hell, those assholes probably think I’m crazy, talking to myself out in the fucking rain. At least it’s not snowing, huh? Would’ve been just my fucking luck.

But yeah. There’s another thing I found out, and I still don’t know what to think, because what if that bitch was just fucking lying? Remember how I called her mom just a few minutes ago? Of course you do, you’re old, not stupid.

Well, turns out she’s not even my fucking mother. She fucking screamed it right into my face when I fucking begged her to be on my side, just this once, to be a fucking mother for once. Told me I’m not her child and she regrets not leaving when my asshole of a father cheated on her with some low-life woman as she called her.

As she called my biological mother.”

The young not-yet Detective sounded choked up, holding back his tears.

“It feels wrong calling someone else my mother, especially when referring to fucking woman I don’t even know.

Ya think I should look for her? Because I don’t know what to think or do right now man. Fuck, man, I don’t know. I feel like I took one fucking wrong turn somewhere and now everything’s fucked up, my sister is dead, my mother is not my mother, my brother doesn’t fucking care about anything besides his stupid fucking plastic creations instead of trying to be there for his fucking family.

And now I’m sitting here on some shitty sidewalk in the fucking rain because not even my parents want me anymore. Fuck.

Ugh, I think I’ll just look for a place to sleep, and then see if I can find Tyler. Maybe we still share enough good enough memories to let me fucking crash at his place until I find a better solution. Yeah. Better than nothing. Wish me luck.”

The imagine of a young Gavin Reed, sitting on the pavement in the pouring rain, desperate with no place to go, no one to talk to burned itself into Connor’s mind, and he felt sick for the first time he could remember.

He wondered if the Detective was going through the same again right now, alone and scared, out on the street with nowhere to go. If he had feared to end up like that again even when he still had an apartment, a home.

Did he truly ever consider the space a home? Connor couldn’t imagine it, not with the way he had experienced the apartment, the cold and impersonal air that had stuck to it. The android shuddered at the thought. The pictures his mind conjured up wasn’t at all what he wanted to think about, Gavin Reed sitting in his apartment, a cigarette in his hand, a wistful look on his face as he looked through the photographs that had been in his box, the atmosphere around him lonely and isolated.

Trying to ban the thought from his head, he turned towards the next files.

Gavin seemed to have actually reached Tyler, whose parents had allowed him to stay at their place until he was able to move into his own apartment or a dorm room. The young man had sounded incredibly thankful, before going on to tell the recording device that he had also added the search for his biological mother to his plans.

Gavin talked about him graduating, about his frustration that he hadn’t found anything yet. He would be attending the police academy soon, thankfully being able to move into one of their dorm rooms for the time being.

He briefly mentions his step-mother, Connor didn’t know what else to call her, dying, voice lacking any emotions about it, but he couldn’t fool the android.

Connor knew Gavin was trying to convince himself that he didn’t care the woman he had called his mother all his life had passed away, but Connor knew better. It had hit him, hard.

He does the same when he talks about losing touch with Tyler, about his brother attempting to contact him, acts like he doesn’t care. He tries to pretend to be unphased, until he decides to go and visit his father, and thing don’t go over well.

“Just got home from visiting that fucking bastard of a father. Really wasn’t pretty. All I wanted was to fucking find out who my fucking mother was, and what did I get? Him screaming at me how I’m the son of some fucking crackwhore, his fucking words, and to not even bother continue searching because she overdosed 17 fucking years ago, fuck this.

At least I have her name. Elisabeth Reed. Fuck. I just… I don’t know, I don’t know what to do with that now. I don’t even know if he told me the truth, the sick bastard. Asshole is dead to me, made sure to tell him that, and to be honest, it felt good, finally officially cutting ties with him.

What felt less good was him yelling at me about how I had been dead to him for a long time now, that he wished I wasn’t his fucking son. But by now, the feeling’s fucking mutual, so I can’t even fucking complain.

I feel like a lost a huge bit of purpose, you fucking feel me? Because I’ve been trying so fucking hard to find the woman who shoved me into this fucking world, but now I know she’s fucking dead and if dad wasn’t lying, she didn’t fucking want me either.

Like everyone. You see a pattern here, older me? Tell me, is that still the case, do people still not give a shit about you? Does everyone still leave? Probably. At least you’re fucking suffering with me.

Fuck this shit, I didn’t even fucking ask to be born. Would’ve given a lot to have died instead of Cece. But life’s not fair, is it? The only fucking thing I can do now is see that I find that dick that killed her and make him regret ever crossing paths with her.”

The anger and determination his Gavin’s voice sent a cold shiver down Connor’s spine, fearing once again for the Detective’s emotional well-being, wondering how he even managed to pass the psychological evaluations needed to join the police academy in his mental state.

The android spent the rest of the night like this, sitting still at his desk, listening to Detective Reed’s voice as it slowly changed, listening to him talking about changing his name to Reed, to finally, completely break ties with his family.

The recordings became few and far in between at this point, only briefly covering his father’s death and the following confrontation with his brother.

The following few nights weren’t that much different, and while he spent his time at work or with Hank and Sumo during the day, Connor could never help the overwhelming urge of curiosity to go back to the recordings, could rarely tear his thoughts away from them.

He got back to his small desk as soon as the possibility arises, each night, eyes closed, learning. About Gavin starting field training at the DPD, him meeting Chris. Connor hadn’t known the two had been acquaintances for such a long time now, and it surprised him.

He heard about Gavin begging the Chief at the time to black out his file, not wanting to ever be associated with the Kamski family, especially as his brother gains more publicity with the first android passing the Turing Test in 2022.

Chloe.

The pain in Gavin’s voice as he talks about his brother replacing their sister makes Connor’s stomach clench, and not for the first time he wishes he could comfort the grieving Detective. Empathy was a curse sometimes.

“It’s not right, is it?” Connor can hear the strain in Gavin’s voice.

“That Eli can just go and try to replace our sister, what the fuck is wrong with him? This… This thing, this fucking tin can will never be her, no matter how much it looks like her. It’s a fucking piece of plastic, nothing more.

Fuck that stupid test, I don’t care what it says. These things can and will never be human. It will never be her, no matter how hard Eli tries.

Goddammit, I feel sick just thinking about it. He spent all his shitty fucking time trying to build a glorified smartphone to replace her, instead of once, just fucking once, being there for his family.

I think I’ll throw up if I have to see her – no, not her, not fucking her; if I have to see it’s stupid fucking face on the news one more fucking time. How can he even think that this piece of plastic can replace her? It’s disgusting, fucking gross.

He spent years trying to make this piece of shit tin can look like Cece, he even gave it her fucking name, and now he expects to be hailed as a fucking god. It’s just so fucking wrong, I want to fucking scream every time someone mentions it.”

It didn’t seem to get better after that.

“I think… I think I did some things I shouldn’t have done. Like buy that fucking gun from this random dude. I’m a fucking cop now, a patrol officer at least, if they catch me with a fucking gun that’s not registered they’ll gonna have my ass. 

But what if I need it? Fuck. Every fucking lead I got on Chloe hasn’t even brought me anywhere, doesn’t fucking matter what I did.

Tried it all, blackmail, breaking into some old warehouse because I was stupid enough to believe that guy. Had to learn how to stich myself up on my own. Heh, at least that could come in handy later. ‘s not like I can go to the hospital after being shot because I went ahead and threatened someone with my fucking unregistered gun, y’know?

Well, anyways. I found myself a new apartment. It’s a lot less pretty than the other one, but cheaper. And so fucking clean of all that technological shit. I don’t need to be constantly reminded of my brother and his fucking successes, I don’t fucking need anyone gush over the fucking “Man of the Century”. Asshole of the Century, you mean.

Listening to my old recordings hurts like a bitch, but I can’t stop. Seems like I enjoy torturing myself with that shit, with hearing her voice, hearing myself talk about her while she’s still there.

I hate having to see that plastic face whenever I look at a fucking billboard, I hate Elijah for doing this. I hate having to see these fucking tin cans everywhere, seeing everyone fawning over these pieces of fucking plastic.

They look so fucking human, but they’re just not. Every time I come across one of them I want to grab my fucking gun and shoot them right in the face. Like, kachow, motherfucker, how do you like that now?

Not at all, that’s the fucking thing, you don’t fucking feel at all, and you never will, because you’re just not fucking human. I hate these things so much, and if Chris calls them ‘such a great advancement’ one more fucking time, I’ll shoot him too.

He doesn’t know shit, he doesn’t know a fucking thing.”

He rambled on, and Connor finally felt like he might understand the Detective’s hatred of androids. It still hurt, hearing someone talk about his kind like this, but a part of him couldn’t bring himself to be angry with Gavin.

Connor could hear the pain in Gavin’s voice every time he mentioned Chloe, he felt his chest ache for the man.

His tirades continued in a similar fashion, up until 2028. The year Kamski officially resigned from CyberLife. As he heard Gavin’s voice, determined to talk this brother one more time after yet another conference, two months before his brother would leave his company, Connor knew he couldn’t put it off any longer, he needed to talk to Elijah Kamski.

Chapter Text

The air surrounding them was incredibly tense as their car pulled up in the driveway in front of Elijah Kamski’s reclusive estate. Despite the change of seasons and the now missing snow, the cold, yet imposing atmosphere the building omitted was the same as it had been when Hank and Connor had sought out Kamski one and a half year prior.

Hank had insisted on accompanying Connor, and the android would have been lying if he said he wasn’t glad for the other to be here with him. Kamski’s estate still held memories he would much rather not think about, the imaginary weight of the gun he had held to the blond android’s head heavy in his hand.

The car door opened with a quiet creaking sound shortly after the vehicle came to a halt and Connor stepped out, LED blinking yellow as he tried to focus on the task at hand.

Question Elijah Kamski.

Find out if he has any information about Gavin’s disappearance.

If he can give them any more information about their past.

Trying to swallow a lump in his throat, another new feeling to him, one Connor’s database attributed to nervousness, the android turned to face Hank.

There was a concerned look on the man’s face. “You okay?” Hank asked as he noticed that Connor seemed to be staring at him.

Only now realizing that he had somewhat frozen for a second, Connor shook his head to clear his head. “Yes, I’m alright. Shall we?”

Hank only nodded in response, making his way towards the building. Connor took out his coin, tightly wrapping his hand around the small piece of metal, only barely resisting the urge to fiddle with it.

One step after another, he kept telling himself, just breathe.

He didn’t need to, but there was something incredibly calming about the action. Attention still centered on keeping his stress levels down, the android barely noticed Hank ringing the bell and requesting to talk to Elijah Kamski.

There was no turning back now.

It didn’t take long for the door to swing open, one of the Chloe models glancing up at them. There was an unpleasant feeling stuck in his throat, looking at the other android felt uncomfortable to say the least.

Was she the original Chloe model? Or one of the newer ones?

Connor forced himself to smile, greeting her quietly. She looked the same way she did all these months ago, save for one difference.

Her LED was gone.

“Connor, Lieutenant Anderson! It’s nice to see you. Elijah is waiting for you inside, I believe you know the way.” The smile on her lips held so much warmth as she gestured for Hank and Connor to enter, silently closing the door behind them.

Kamski had been waiting for them? The thought rushed through Connor’s head. If he had expected them to find a connection between Gavin and him, why hadn’t the man just come forward himself?

He would get answers soon enough.

Connor turned around to briefly thank Chloe, before shifting his attention to the door in front of them, pushing it open.

“Very well.” Kamski was facing away from them, this time not wearing a bathrobe, but a causal suit instead.

“I take it you’re not here regarding Jericho or the revolution, since you’re not Markus.”

“You know damn well why we’re here, Kamski.” Hank sneered at him, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

“Ah, I do? Entertain me, what exactly do I know?” Despite not being able to see his facial expression, Connor knew the man was smirking.

“We need to ask you a few questions concerning an ongoing investigation, Mr. Kamski. I have reason to believe that you have a connection to our current case, Detective Gavin Reed having gone missing about three months ago.”

“And what led you to believe I am in any way involved in the disappearance of a simple Detective?”

A sharp look made its way onto Elijah Kamski’s face as he turned around to face Connor, eyes locked onto the android.

It was a test. There was no doubt about it in Connor’s mind. Kamski wanted to see what Connor knew, how much he had already dug up.

“Are you, or are you not, related to Gavin Reed?” He decided he did not have the patience for any of Kamski’s little games. Not this time.

“No.” the other smirked. “I do however have a half-brother who also goes by the name of Gavin, Gavin Kamski.

Now, gentlemen, I think we should sit down, what do you say? I have a feeling this will not be as short of a visit as you might have hoped.”

With that, the ‘Man of the Century’ lowered himself onto the dark, leather couch in the room, eyes never leaving Connor, attentive, watching, waiting for any kind of reaction.

“Fascinating…” quiet, almost inaudible. Connor chose to ignore it, instead seating himself opposite of Kamski, Hank right next to him.

“Allow me to ask you one question before I answer yours. How did you find out about my familial ties to your colleague?”

Before Hank could even attempt to open his mouth, Connor spoke up.

“I am sorry, Mr. Kamski, but the information is classified and can not be disclosed at this point in time.” Connor stated, voice firm, ignoring the confused look Hank shot him.

The smile returned to Kamski’s face. “Classified you say? A little defensive, don’t you say, Connor?

Well, officers, what do you need to know from me? I’ll try and answer your questions to the best of my abilities. If it’s not ‘classified’ that is.”

Connor hesitated.

“How would you describe your relationship with Detective Reed?”

“My relationship with Gavin Kamski can best be described as… difficult.” A second went by, then another one, then ten. He wouldn’t be getting any more.

“And why is that so?” Connor hoped pressing the issue was the right decision.

“We’ve had… disagreements in the past on the other’s, let’s call it life choices. I don’t think my brother ever approved of my creations.”

“Is it because you tried to replace your dead sister?” Brown eyes stared into blue ones, unwavering, despite the effort it took to keep his voice from trembling. Next to him he could hear Hank taking in a sharp breath in surprise, breaking the silence.

“You did your homework, I see. But yes, Gavin did not show himself in favor of my method of dealing with loss. He seemed to think that trying to hunt down the perpetrator was a much healthier approach.” The last sentence was dripping in sarcasm.

“Ya didn’t seem to like too much either.” Hank said, seeming to have found his voice again.

“I think it’s… not a very productive way of coping.”

“Oh, but this is?” Hank gestured towards the door behind which he had no doubt the Chloe android was still standing.

“Lieutenant, are you implying something?”

“You got a fuckton of androids lookin’ like your dead sister running around your place, that’s more than a bit creepy.”

“Do you wish to continue this conversation?” There was a clear warning in Kamski’s gaze, his words cutting like the edge of a knife.

“I must apologize for the Lieutenant. He will refrain from further insinuations.”

There was a muttered “Fucking android” to be heard from Hank before Connor returned his focus to the man across from him.

“When was the last time you saw him?”

“Years ago.” The statement was followed by a dismissive hand wave. Connor knew exactly what he was talking about, Gavin coming to confront his brother one more time after one of CyberLife’s conferences.

“Humans are such fragile machines, aren’t they?” Kamski turned his face away from the two men sitting across from him, his eyes seemingly losing focus.

“One event is sometimes all it takes for them to break. Gavin wasn’t the only one affected by what happened, even if he liked to act like he was.

I can see it on your face, you’re interested in more than just the case, am I right, Connor?”

“Mr. Kamski, that’s – “

“No, allow me to talk. I will tell you what I have to say, but under one condition. I will only be talking to you, Connor.”

“No fucking way.” Hank shouted, at the same time as Connor started to speak. “I’m afraid we can’t agree to your request.”

“Well, there’s the door, gentlemen. I stated my condition, take it or leave it.” One eyebrow raised he looked at them expectantly.

“Oh, fucking hell, I can’t believe it. Why am I even on this fucking case?”

“Hank I- “

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” He stood up. “If I hear you trying to pull some fucking stunt like you did the last time, I’ll fucking shoot you myself.

Connor, I’ll be waiting in the car.” Shooting Connor a last frustrated, yet worried glance, Hank went for the door and exited the room, leaving Connor to wonder why the man had given in so easily.

“Very well. The human mind is a very interesting thing, don’t you think? So easy to corrupt, so hard to heal. Your Lieutenant seems to be dealing with some grief himself, or am I wrong?” Of course he wasn’t, but Connor would not give him the satisfaction of actually showing him that he was correct.

“I’d appreciate it if we could stick to the topic of the investigation.”

“I thought so.” There it was again, that knowing smirk. Connor was starting to despise it, feeling like he was always one step behind Kamski. He briefly wondered if this was how Gavin had felt when it came to his brother.

The android forced himself to look at Kamski, hoping the man would simply continue to speak.

“Behind all of this, all these… customs and social rules, behind this farce of a civilization, humans are nothing more than animals, savages if you will. The human mind is a wonder on its own, one even I have yet to understand, one I seem to be able to trust less and less as time progresses.

Tell me, what creature would self-destruct in such a way as humans do, letting unhealthy urges and feelings rule over us and destroy us?

No, don’t answer, of course you know what I’m talking about. You’ve witnessed it first hand with Lieutenant Anderson, you’ve seen it with my brother. Tell me, how far have you got with his audio logs?”

“I…” There was no way he could make up a believable lie now. He gulped. “2028. The one right after your last confrontation.”

“Very well. Tell me Connor, does it feel wrong? To pry into someone’s past like that? Or are you perhaps enjoying the voyeuristic thrill of it? You’re not part his life, barely so of his current life, yet you seem to find yourself intrigued. I wonder why that is?”

Before Connor could even think of an answer, Kamski went on.

“You haven’t given it much thought yet, have you? Besides your mission, that is. Always accomplishing your mission. But I do owe you some answers, I believe.

Nothing of what I am going to tell you will leave this room, trust me I will know if you go against my requests. And I can make sure you’re promising career and the very first “Android Detective” will be over sooner than you can even think to regret betraying our little agreement.

Now, where do I start? I don’t think my relationship with Gavin has ever been the easiest...”

 

There had been a lot of times when Elijah Kamski had wished to be able to swap places with his younger brother, to be a normal teenager for once. Not being constantly under the pressure to succeed, to be great, smart, to be the poster boy of the family.

He didn’t really think the feeling was mutual.

Despite his love for all things technology and the joy he felt with each new discovery, each smile and each time someone congratulated him, praised him, there was a special place in his heart for when times had been simpler.

When he had been free to play with his siblings, to just be a child, something he felt like he hasn’t been able to do in years, not since he started to show his way above average intelligence.

Things had only changed for the worse when his sister had passed away in 2019, leaving his family devasted. Gavin had always been the most emotional out of any of them, the outburst his younger brother had suffered when he had heard the news had not been a surprise to Elijah.

He had long moved out at that point, currently living on his own in Downtown Detroit and working with his new company, CyberLife. The company had not had any specific goal yet, other than advance modern technology.

Another thing that was now different. Elijah and his brother had always been polar opposites even when they were children, and where Gavin had shown his grief with outbursts, getting into fights, destructive and self-destructive behavior, the other had thrown himself headfirst into his work, determined to find a method to bring his beloved sister back to him.

He knew bringing her back from the dead would be impossible, so he settled for the next best thing: creating an artificial intelligence in the imagine of Cece, giving it the same personality and looks as his dead sister.

It hadn’t taken him long to create Thirium 310, the blue substance that would later be known as blue blood, a liquid specifically designed to mimic human blood, distributing information and providing the androids with energy.

He kept going, even as his mother died, his brother unwilling to speak to him.

And then his father passed away.

He wouldn’t accept Gavin’s refusal to talk to him this time, he swore to himself as he made his way into the apartment complex. His work had been the most important thing to him these past few months, but he couldn’t just let this go, not again.

Elijah tapped his knuckles against the door, gentle first, then more aggressive.

“Gavin, I know you’re in there, open the door. I need to speak to you.”

The wooden door slipped open, and without thinking, Elijah reached back and struck his brother in the face.

He could hear a disgusting gnashing sound as his fist connected with the other’s nose, seconds before blood started to splatter everywhere.

“Fuck, Holy fucking shit, what the fuck is wrong with you?!” Elijah could barely understand his brother from the way he groaned in pain.

“You know what this is about. We’re the only one left of this family, yet you still decide to keep being immature and ignore me.”

“We’re not fucking family anymore, got it?! I don’t want anything to do with you or anyone from this godforsaken family.”

“You’re part of this ‘godforsaken family’, brother.”

“You fucking asshole, don’t you fucking dare call me that after breaking by fucking nose.” He had wandered back into his apartment, Elijah following him on his heel, Gavin now pressing a tissue against his bloody nose.

“Get the fuck out of my apartment!”

“No.”

“NO?! What the fuck do you mean, no?!”

“I will not leave. We need to talk about our father’s funeral, I don’t assume – “

“Yeah, good, don’t fucking assume, because I don’t plan on doing anything. I don’t fucking care about him.”

“Gavin, I know your relationship with him hasn’t always been the easiest, but don’t you think this is a bit harsh?”

“FUCK OFF! You don’t know a goddamn thing, you’ve never cared about me, all you care about are your stupid little robots. You weren’t there when the bastard and your fucking mother kicked me out, you didn’t even try and be there for any of us after what happened, as soon as you could you just went on with your own shitty fucking business. Don’t you dare and try to speak to me as if you knew anything.”

“My mother? Gavin, she’s just as much your mother as she is mine.”

“No, she fucking isn’t you stupid asswipe. You would know that if you had even as much as pretended to give a goddamn shit about us. Dad cheated on her, years ago, and she was fucking dumb enough to stay with the disloyal asshole.”

The bleeding was slowly getting less, Gavin putting a pack of frozen peas on his nose.

“You’re not the only one who cared about her.”

“Yeah, everyone else did such a great fucking job of showing.”

“Not everyone shows their grief by attacking people and screaming in public.”

“You motherfucker, can’t you just shut up?!” Gavin stood up, raising his voice.

“No, Gavin, I am not going to shut up. You’re not going to sit here and act as if you were the only one affected by what happened. I’ve seen how much grief you caused mom and dad with your behavior, even before everything happened.

This isn’t just about you, Gavin, though you certainly like to act as if it was.”

Moving closer towards his brother, Elijah couldn’t help but clench his fists. He wasn’t one to openly display emotions most of the time, but what his brother said hurt him deeply. Didn’t he understand that Elijah was trying to cope with what happened in his own ways? Who was Gavin to hate him for the way he dealt with grief? His brother didn’t seem to take Elijah’s words well, however.

“Oh, so you’re calling me self-centered you fucking prick? Which of us had to always be the fucking center of attention, from our parents, at every fucking family gathering, everywhere?! Everything always revolved around perfect fucking Elijah, and you didn’t spent a fucking second thinking about how any of us felt.”

His voice was dripping with years of pent up frustration and anger, shouting as much as he could with the way his nose still hurt.

“Enough. You tell me I don’t know a thing, but perhaps it’s you who has been willfully ignorant this past few years.”

“THEN GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” Gavin threw his makeshift compression away, hands on Elijah’s shoulder, shoving, hard.

He fell to the ground, almost hitting his head. The wooden floor felt cold and hard underneath his hands as he pushed himself back up again, a held back curse on the tip of his tongue.

Without another word, Elijah left the apartment, one last glance at his brother as he watched Gavin scramble to pick up the compression, a string of curses falling from him mouth.

Then the door fell shut. Using the wall next to the apartment to steady himself for a few seconds, breathing heavily, hands shaking, thoughts rushing, he closed his eyes.

Another thing gone wrong in his line of misfortunes. Feeling himself slowly stabilizing again, Elijah pushed himself off the wall, and back into what he always did when he felt like he met a dead end in his personal life: work.

A few months later and the first android was created, looking so human but at the same time, not human at all.

Another year, and his creation was ready: In the year 2022, the first android passed the Turing Test, and Elijah felt as if he had accomplished what he had set out to do: The robot looked and sounded like his sister, and at times he could almost forget that it wasn’t really her.

The first android wasn’t enough, however. People wanted more of the greatest technological advancements of the 21st century. Wanted them to do their tedious everyday tasks for them, wanted them to look more human, be more perfect.

And Elijah obliged, the same goal in mind as his supporters: creating beings so close to humanity, yet without its flaws. No complicated emotions, they would never get tired, they were highly intelligent, forever young and beautiful.

Humanity was nothing compared to the androids, if it hadn’t been for the fact that they were perfectly obedient.

No matter how much he improved on them, how much work he put into them, how much research the board did, how much CyberLife grew, his first model always held a special place in his heart, and he refused to sell her no matter how much money the top 1% offered for her.

He was attached to her, he wouldn’t lie: She had been made specifically with his sister’s imagine in mind, there was no way he would simply let go of her, not after all the trouble he had gone through. Not just regarding the technical aspects, but also his brother.

Elijah had kept tabs on his brother, he wasn’t ashamed to admit it. He had noticed his brother changing his last name, even if it had pained him to see the only family he had still left actively distancing himself from Elijah.

Despite his own hurt, however, he pushed the DPD to erase all of the familiar ties with him and their family when he heard about Gavin requesting.

A little money promised to go to the station, and the Chief’s decision on the matter had changed in the blink of an eye.

He wasn’t proud of it, not by far, but he hoped that it would help his brother build his own life.

In the following years while the amazement started to die down and androids started to become a normal part of every day life, the disagreements between Elijah himself and the board of his company became more and more, many of its members caring more about money and profit then the creations themselves.

The idea of resigning had been in his head for a while now, a glass of wine in his hand as he sat in his office, waiting for the mysterious visitor his secretary had just announced.

The door opened, and for a quick moment a feeling of déjà vu rushed though Elijah’s head.

His brother was standing in front of him, for the first time in years now. It was obvious that he had changed, their last encounter leaving him with a scar across his now slightly crooked nose. A small feeling of satisfaction welled up inside of him, even as he tried to drown it out.

“If it isn’t my dear brother.”

“Don’t fucking call me that.” The answer was practically spat in his face.

“Why are you here?” he questioned, voice cold and void of any emotions, eyes locked onto his brother.

“Because I just don’t fucking get it.” Elijah only now noticed the slight slur in Gavin’s speech, the redness of his cheeks.

“Gavin, have you been drinking?”

“What the fuck do you care, asshole?! Just answer my fucking question.”

“I’m afraid you have to be a bit more specific. What exactly are you confused about, brother?”

“I SAID DON’T CALL ME THAT!” the other shouted, drawing a gun from behind his back. Elijah froze for a second, before forcing himself to look at his brother.

“Gavin, I would appreciate it if you put that away.”

“I don’t give a flying fuck about what you’d appreciate, just tell my why the fuck you did it. Why did you make this shitty fucking piece of plastic look like her?”

“We all have our ways of coping with loss.” The gun was still pointed at his head, but a part of Elijah knew his brother wouldn’t shoot him.

“And yours is replacing her with some fucking tin can? You’re fucking disgusting.”

“I don’t think you have the right to call anyone disgusting right now, Gavin. What have you done that’s so much better, anyways?” He knew what Gavin had been doing, how he had been trying to hunt down the person who had killed their sister, but to no avail.

“I – I’ve – You fucking know what I’ve been doing, stop mocking me! I know you’ve been keeping fucking tabs on me, how else would they have agreed to change my shitty ass files?

Well, it doesn’t even fucking matter. I’m my own fucking person now, you’re nothing to me.”

“Why are you here then?” the question came out sharper than intended, but Elijah was starting to lose his patience

“Because – Because – I don’t even fucking know!” The hand in which Gavin held his gun was shaking, his voice trembling with anger and desperation.

“I just don’t fucking get why you had to do this – why did you have to fucking try and replace her?! That tin can will never be her, no matter how much you want it to be, and now I have to feel sick every fucking time I have to see it’s face on some shitty news station or billboard.”

Keeping his calm was getting harder as Gavin seemed to become more agitated with each second went by, Elijah slowly starting to doubt his earlier assessment that his brother wouldn’t shoot him.

“Gavin, you either calm down or I’m calling security.” He threatened.

“Fuck you and your fucking security! What would happen, though I wonder? If I just went ahead and shot the ‘Man of the fucking Century’? Would anyone even care? For you as a person I mean. You don’t have anything besides your fucking androids, your just as much of a lowlife as I am.” With each word he stepped closer, mocking him, until the gun was pressed firmly against Elijah’s forehead.

“Do you think you’d get anything out of this? Gavin, we both know that you don’t want to shoot me. It won’t change anything.”

The younger brother slowly lowered his gun.

“You’re right, it won’t change a fucking thing. But neither will your fucking tin cans.” He stepped back, pocketing his firearm.

“I’m leaving, fuck this.” He turned around, his steps unsteady, his older brother already completely forgotten again.

When the door fell shut, Elijah sank back into his chair, breathing again after holding it. He took his wine glass from the desk, gave it one short glance before emptying it into the nearest sink.

The week later, he resigned as CEO of CyberLife.

 

“Of course, I still checked up on my brother every once in a while, just not as frequently as before.

I hope your happy now, Connor, forcing me to relieve all those memories.”

Connor felt tempted to point out that Kamski had always had the choice to remain silent or only telling him what was strictly necessary, but he decided to remain silent.

“Therefor, it did take me a bit to even notice my brother’s absence. I’m glad to see my request to assign the case more importance was actually met, especially after I have been unable to retrieve Gavin’s audio diary myself.

A shame, isn’t it? I’ve always wondered what he talked about on these.”

“How do you know about them?”

Kamski let out a small snort. “Connor, I’ve been living with him for years. Believe it or not, you find out things about your fellow humans if you live under the same roof as them.”

Connor nodded in response, head still spinning from what Kamski had told him, Gavin’s unstable behavior when confronting his brother greatly worrying him.

Kamski gave him a dismissive look, accompanied by a wave of his hand.

“Come one, go. I can see you’re eager to get back to the Lieutenant. Or maybe the files? Who knows.” Kamski smiled.

Standing up from the couch, Connor forced out a quick thank you, before turning towards the door. The atmosphere in the room had become incredibly tense and oppressive and the android wanted nothing more than to leave.

“Try and find him, though, will you? After all, he’s still my brother.” The sudden care and affection in Kamski’s voice surprised Connor, so much that he turned around to face the man one more time. The look in his eyes was intense, but Connor forced himself to keep his own brown ones locked onto Kamski’s.

“I always accomplish my mission, Mr. Kamski.” Kamski gives him a quick nod before turning around, and Connor steps out back into the hallway.

He expected to be alone there, finding Chloe sitting next to the door.

“I – I wasn’t listening or anything!” She quickly stood up, brushing the imaginary dirt off her dress.

Connor let out a chuckle, unsure how to respond to the girl in front of him.

“I know Elijah designed me to resemble his dead sister. He told me, shortly after the revolution.”

So she was the original Chloe-model.

“Most of the newer models decided to leave and pursue their own lives, but… I may not be his sister, but I still care about him you know? I’m not sure how much he told you, but the situation with his brother is affecting him more than he would like to admit.

Not just his disappearance, I mean.” Her voice was soft and quiet, her eyes full of worry and affection.

“I really hope you can solve this, not just for your Detective’s sake, but for Elijah’s too.”

The taller android swallowed, trying to ignore the way she had called Gavin ‘his’ Detective. “I’ll… I’ll try my best.”

“Thank you.” Chloe whispered. She hesitated for a moment, before reaching up and pulling the other android into a hug. “Thank you.” She repeated, before letting go of him. Connor couldn’t help but smile fondly at how she seemed to care about her creator.

“I also wanted to apologize. For… for what happened last November.” He uttered, realizing that he had never had the chance to actually say sorry.

There was a faint laugh to be heard from the blond android. “Connor, it’s long forgiven. You didn’t shoot me, did you? And I made sure to tell Elijah what I thought about his little stunt after I deviated.” She gave him a small wink.

Connor gulped, but returned her smile nonetheless. “That’s good to hear.”

“Yeah.” She answered.

“I… I think I should get going.” Connor told her.

“Good luck!” She called after him as he left for the door, Connor smiling to himself as he stepped outside. He liked the blond android, and who knew. Maybe he could make another friend once this whole ordeal was over.

“And? What did that motherfucker Kamski tell you?” Hank huffed out as soon as Connor sat down in the passenger’s seat.

“He confirmed his hand in assigning Detective Reed’s case high priority, as well as alluding to trying to get into Reed’s apartment.”

“Fuck, it’s at least something. Anything else?”

“He mostly just confirmed what we already knew, but it was… interesting to hear things from another perspective.”

“Didn’t pull something like last time, did he? I mean, except for kicking me outta the room. Fucking bastard.” Hank grumbled.

Connor shook his head. “No, he was perfectly well behaved.”

“’s good to hear.” Hank turned up the car radio and started to drive.

Connor watched the building appear smaller and smaller in the distance, heavy metal blasting through his ears, the familiar smell of the car soothing his tense nerves.

He allowed himself to close his eyes for a second, a small smile on his face as he thought about his own little family, the exhaustions of all the stress of the past few days was slowly getting to him and without even realizing it he slipped into sleep mode, dreamless as always.

Chapter Text

The following night Hank had refused to let Connor listen to any more audio logs, for the simple reason that if the android had been exhausted enough to fall “asleep” in the car, what he needed was a good night of sleep and not more informational input.

Connor had tried to argue, but to no avail and in the end, he had been forced to comply. The rest of the evening had gone by pretty quietly, the android relaxing on the couch with Sumo while Hank watched old movies next to them, before Hank told Connor to finally go and get some much-needed rest.

Despite his insistence that he was a fully-grown adult, and he was, at least when it came to his physical appearance and mental capacity, Hank sometimes slipped up into treating the android like a small child. He mostly did so when Connor neglected his own well-being, a reminder that he was actually only barely two years old, not having nearly as much life experience as a human would had he been the age Connor looked and acted like.

He hated to admit it, but it had been the first night he had gotten enough time in rest mode since he took on the case. Had it really only been ten days since they had started the investigation? It felt longer.

Most of their other, remaining cases had been closed by now, the two of them rarely given new ones at the time being. The decision to instead go and talk to the landlord, at least for protocol wasn’t a hard one to make, it was better than more paperwork.

Not that they got much out of the visit, the landlord only being able to confirm that yes, the man trying to get into Detective Reed’s apartment had indeed been Elijah Kamski himself. The stares the man had given Connor the whole time had been more than a bit uncomfortable, the look in the old man’s eyes something between fascination and wariness.

The weird pull towards Gavin’s apartment he had been experiencing while in the building hadn’t helped the awkward experience, but Connor was sure that Hank would not react well if he were to run up into the apartment, for no apparent reason as well. What would he do in there, anyways? He had already examined everything that was to be examined, their most promising piece of evidence safely in his own room.

Gavin’s car hadn’t turned up either, despite all the patrol officers being told to look out for it.

It was frustrating, really, and Connor was more than happy when he was able to return to his room, and tune out the current world once more, listening to Gavin’s voice, pretending the Detective was actually telling him about his past instead of Connor prying into it because of an investigation. He wasn’t sure when or even why he had started doing so, but for some reason, it made him feel better about listening to something so private.

What Kamski had told him was still fresh in the android’s mind, Gavin’s drunken visit to his brother, a gun pointed at Kamski’s head, desperate and lost and angry.

Connor took the flash drive out of the metal box, still wondering where the Detective had actually gotten the high-tech container from.

As he established a connection to the small device, he leaned back into his chair, eyes closed. What he didn’t expect was the choked-up sound he was greeted with.

“Shit, fuck.” More choking, the sound of someone throwing up.

“Fuck, I think I’m gonna die, fucking hell.

Wait, is this shit piece on? Shit, I don’t need this shit to be recorded, fuck.” Another gagging sound, and the recording ended.

How much had Gavin been drinking at that point? Had he been listening to his old recordings while doing so?

An old memory made its way into his mind, one he would much rather forget.

Hank, on the floor, a revolver and a bottle of hard alcohol next to him. Connor breaking through the window, waking up the unconscious Lieutenant, drenching him in cold water after dragging him into the bath room.

Snooping around the house, finding out about Cole.

It wasn’t something he liked to think about.

Connor now couldn’t help but think of Gavin in the same situation, but with no one to help. A feeling of panic rose up in him, despite the knowledge that Gavin had survived whatever went down that evening, that Connor couldn’t even be sure that Gavin had done anything similar to what his mind was imagining right now.  There could have been any other reason for the Detective to have been drinking, right?

He hoped the next entry would give him more insight.

“Yeah. So. Fuck, my head hurts. Hangovers are a bitch, remember to never fucking drink again, older me. Who am I kidding, you wouldn’t be Gavin Reed if you weren’t such a stupid ass bitch.

But fuck does it feel good to no longer call myself Gavin Kamski. Fucking hell, man. But yeah, I’m not even really sure what exactly went down yesterday. I went to shout at Elijah, I think? Yeah, that’s a thing that happened. Think I even pulled a gun on the motherfucker, heh. Not like he didn’t deserve it, but they’re gonna have my ass if he spills so I just hope he won’t. Ugh, I think someone’s trying to split my skull, even after all those fucking painkillers I’ve taken.

I don’t even know why I drank so much yesterday. Seeing a pattern there? Yeah, same bitch, me too. The fuck. I don’t fucking know anything anymore at this point, goddammit this shit’s a mess. I can’t even find my glasses. Ugh.”

Connor could hear rumbling, the sound of something being tossed on the floor.

“Thank fuck, at least I can see now. Kinda. But to get back to what I was going on about, I don’t even fucking know what to do with my life right now.

I mean, besides searching for Chloe’s murderer that is. I owe her that fucking much, but other than that? Fuck, I’m lost. Because what the hell do I do once I find the asshole that did this to her? Make him regret he was ever born, of course, but after that? It’s not like I have a family or any of that fuzzy warm shit to live for, hell at this point I don’t even have friends, not really anyways. Isn’t life peachy? Yeah, I thought so too. Fuck.

At least I have a job I guess. One I’m fucking good at, and no one can fucking say otherwise. Not even Anderson. Fuck him for being the most promising Detective of the Department, what does he have that I fucking don’t? I bet I could beat him, be better than him if I had the same amount of experience already. Fucking hell, man.

Yeah, I’m gonna peace out now, work’s calling. Not literally, you dumb bitch. But I gotta get my ass to the precinct, headache be dammed.”

Gavin’s voice had sounded strained for the whole duration of the short recording. The way he seemed to not care about his own health, going to work while still “feeling like fucking shit” as Hank would have put it send a pang through Connors chest, increasing his worry for the Detective. His job seemed to be more important to him than his own well-being.

Had Gavin kept at those habits, even years later? He had, Connor figured, with the amount of overtime he did and the sheer number of times he always went to fetch himself another coffee.

Connor had been right when he thought about how important Gavin’s job was to him, the Detective constantly talking about his patrol, his voice dripping with pride at each ticket he handed out, each control in which he found someone doing something illegal.

He also talked about the new police androids.

“Can you believe it? Police assistance androids. Fuck, they’re gonna replace us all now, are they? Fucking machines. And I can’t even fucking blame Eli directly, motherfucker left his company, what, five years ago? Fuck, I didn’t think it’s been that long.

But yeah, back to the police androids. Those things are fucking creepy, seriously. They just… stand in their fucking docking stations or whatever until someone activates them, it’s uncanny. Like, really fucking scary.

And they look way too human for my liking. But they just don’t sound human, once they open their fucking mouths they’re just so fucking creepy. I bet if I pulled my gun at one of them it wouldn’t even react.

Heh. Maybe I should try that, see what happens.”

Connor could hear Gavin let out a laugh, though there was no humor in it.

“Nah, joke, like fucking hell I’ll risk my job like that. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to though. Yeah.”

The recording went on in a similar fashion for a while, and Connor winced with every derogatory term Gavin hurled at one of the police androids. He was incredibly conflicted, on one hand feeling sympathy for the man after all that he had heard, after what he now knew was behind Gavin’s anger.

On the other hand, he hated hearing someone talk about his kind like this, a flash of anger and pain rushing through his body every time. Connor knew that to this day there still were anti-android groups around, though now much more hidden then they had been prior to the revolution.

He had busted two violent ones himself, and none of the experiences had been pretty. And thinking about the Fray-case, they might be able to bust another one at some point in the future. When this was over. They had only been given one more small case the past few days, Gavin’s disappearance still their highest priority.

At least he now knew that Elijah Kamski had been responsible for the reassignment of the case, one less mystery that demanded to be solved.

Connor selected the next file.

“So, today’s the 12th of December 2033. Figured I should start dating these so I won’t be confused when relistening to these. Hah. As you can see, or much rather hear, I’m in a good fucking mood today. I think that’s the first time in what? How old am I now? Joke. But yeah, I’ve got a cat now. He’s still fairly young, and he’s already behaving like he owns the fucking place, but I couldn’t just leave the dipshit out in the cold, y’know?

Dipshit would be a good name for him, whaddaya think? Nah, even my bitch ass thinks that might be a bit overboard.

Anyways, so I found the little thing outside the fucking police station, no collar, no fucking anything. So I took him home, little shit appeared to be freezing.”

Despite the use of rather unfriendly nicknames Gavin’s voice had a fond undertone to it when he talked about the cat, and for a split-second Connor wondered what it would be like if Detective Reed addressed him like this, swearing like he always did but smiling softly.

He promptly chased away the thought. It was highly unprofessional to say the least, on addition to being more than unlikely. Not that it mattered.

“Who even abandons a fucking cat outside in fucking December? Could’ve at least taken him to a pet shelter. Remember how I said I was in a good mood? Yeah maybe not so much, animal cruelty is just a big fucking no-go.”

There was a sense of warmth spreading in Connor’s chest. Even before he had deviated he had taken a liking to animals, especially dogs. There was something nice about hearing that Gavin seemed to share his fondness towards pets. He was positive he’d soon be experience a whiplash from how fast his emotions changed when listening to the audio logs, often going from anger to sympathy to a strange softness and back again within minutes.

“Do you think there are robo animals? Would be super fucking creepy, man. I mean I loved that fuckin’ Roomba we used to have, but an android cat? Sounds weird as shit.

Ugh, still don’t have a name for the lil bastard. The cat I mean. The Roomba had a name, Cece – Cece had called him Gideon I think.”

Even if Gavin tried to hide it, Connor could hear the small stutter in his voice when he mentioned his sister.

“Okay, back to the cat. He’s uh… a Main Coon I think? At least that’s what the internet tells me. Google knows all and shit. Fuck, man, I need to make an appointment with the vet tomorrow. Do I need insurance for a cat? Heard you need it for a dog. How do pets even work? How fucking expensive are they?

At least the apartment is cheap enough, so I actually have money for the cat. Shit, a name. Fuck. This was supposed to help me get my thoughts straight and give the little asswipe a name.

Heh, good one, Reed. Your thoughts haven’t been straight since 8th grade or some shit. Look at me, 32 and still cracking the same old jokes. Goddammit I keep getting distracted. Cat. Name. Fuck. No, don’t fuck the cat. God no, I did not just say that. Fuck my life.

He looks like he needs a fancy name. Kinda. But not too fancy. Ya feel me?

Like I won’t name him Fluffy or some bullshit. How about… Alfred? Nah. Not really. Arthur? Would ya like to be called Arthur? Okay, hissing probably means no. You’re making this really hard for me.

What about… hm… Gilbert though? You kinda look like a Gil to me. In case you can’t hear it, you probably can’t, this thing here ain’t shit, he’s not hissing. Kinda purring, I guess. I’ll take that as a yes, so Gilbert it is, you little motherfucker. Welcome to your new life.

Okay, yeah, and cat aside, I don’t think I have any other big news. Maybe that Fowler’s said he may consider me for a fucking promotion, hell yeah.

Drug Unit, I can do that, and I’d be a fucking Detective. Finally. And you know what that would mean? Why am I asking as if you would fucking answer? Goddammit where the fuck did my sanity go? Maybe it’s actually time to see a fucking shrink.”

Maybe that wasn’t the worst idea. Gavin had very obviously not learned how to cope with past events in a healthy way, from what Connor had gathered hadn’t done so even in the present. Seeing a therapist had done a lot of good for Hank’s mental health, and with what he had heard by now he was sure that Gavin would have also benefited from it.

Maybe, just maybe, he could suggest it when the Detective was back.

How would he even react to the fact that Connor had listened to his private audio files? Would he be angry? There was no way he wouldn’t be at least somewhat mad at the android for it, not that Connor could blame him. The thought of someone taken such an in depth look at his past and memories without his consent was uncomfortable, and he had to remind himself that it was absolutely necessary for his investigation to find out as much about Gavin.

And just like that, the small voice in the back of his head had returned. ‘You could’ve started with the most recent files’, it whispered, mockingly. ‘Maybe you would have already have what you need, but that’s not what you did, is it? You’re curious, admit it, don’t try and hide behind your ‘mission’.’

“No, I’m…I’m not hiding behind my mission.” Connor whispered in turn, voice hushed but sounding incredibly loud in the empty space. His room usually felt warm, comfortable, like a home. But in this very moment as he was arguing with his sneering inner voice it felt more cold and oppressive than anything. He shivered.

He felt almost silly, talking to himself in the dead of the night, audio recording on pause, knuckles white from his tight grip around a small black flash drive. His LED spun yellow, a short flash of red, back to yellow.

‘Maybe Hank was right, what do you think? Maybe you’re more invested in this case than you’d like to admit.’ The voice grew louder, firmer, more fierce. Tried to convince him, almost threaten him into agreeing with its sheer tone, and Connor felt the overwhelming urge to bang his head against his desk.

Forcing his thoughts to quiet down, he breathed out, letting go of the tension he had been holding in his shoulders, arms, hands. In his peripheral vision he could see his current stress level at 68%, lower than what he had expected but nowhere near ideal. Why was this affecting him so much? There was no reason for him to get so agitated over what was essentially his own main frame teasing him.

Maybe because he still wasn’t used to it, still feared to be transported back into the dreaded Zen Garden, feared that his inner voice would turn into Amanda’s.

Maybe he was still scared of his own emotions and agency, despite being able to make his own decisions and act on his own accord for nearly one and a half years now. For a moment, Connor sat there in complete silence, eyes now closed again, breathing shakily as he tried to regain his composure, his stress level slowly but steadily declining again.

Before the whispering in his head could resurface he turned his attention to the current file still on his interface, as of now resting on pause.

Without thinking, he pressed play again.

“-shrink. Heh. Nah man, I’m fucked up but not that kinda fucked up. Doubt it would be any use anyways. ‘s not like they can unfuck everything that has happened, y’know? But yeah, it’d mean that I’d have access to the fucking archives without some other asswipe breathing down my neck. Isn’t life wonderful? Sure it is. I’ll keep you updated on this one, let’s see if I can be dumb enough to fuck this up for myself again.”

Refusing to let his previous thoughts resurface Connor clicked the small arrow, opening the next entry.

“Fucking look at this, Gil, look at this shit! Ouch! Shit, stupid fucking cat. Wait, damn, I already turned this thing on, now where are the shitty ass band aids? Okay, yeah, that’s better.

Would’ve thought that after getting shot I’d be able to handle my own fucking cat scratching me, but nooooooooo. Still hurts like a fucking bitch.

Anyway, today’s the 24th of May 2034, and guess what? I got promoted. Fucking finally. Took long enough, but now I’m a real Detective. Feels better than I thought, man, I just- shit, this is great. Could finally stick it to dad and his constant ‘you’re never gonna make something out of yourself if you keep this shit up’, if he was still, y’know, alive I mean. Because fucking look at me now.

Detective Gavin Reed. Holy shit that sounds good.

And the best thing? The archives. Now I can actually take a look at all the evidence from Cece’s death, I already tracked down the case file.

It’s down there, with all the other cold cases that never got solved. Feels shitty, just so you know.

I’m almost wondering why they still have paper files down there, even when I was young everything was already starting to be just fucking digital. But eh, ‘s none of my business.

Planning on going down there soon, see if I can find anything useful, the only real thing I have as of now are the newspaper articles. And that after over 15 fucking years. Kinda pathetic when you think about it. I’ll go feed Gil now, let’s see if I can actually get something of more substance until next time.”

Next.

“26th of… June? Yes, June 2034. ‘s just as fucking shitty as I thought. Nothing. The autopsy report was… reading that thing was absolute fucking hell, the pictures even worse. I almost threw up down there, fucking shit.

Just so you know, older me, in case you were lucky enough to get those images out of your head, she’s been shot. In the head, execution style. Bruises on her wrists, she’s been tied up somewhere, he body bloated from being thrown into the fucking river. Fuck, I’m gonna puke again.

I’ve seen corpses before, but those were strangers. I can stomach that. But with Cece? I just fucking can’t. I really hoped that it would hurt less over the years, but it just fucking doesn’t.

Other than that, there was barely anything else in there, report thinner than a fucking short story. No fingerprints or DNA, probably washed away by being thrown into the goddamn river.

No witnesses. The two of them went out to get some fucking ice cream from the nearest grocery store, according to the other girl’s mother.

Had called the police when they hadn’t returned after two hours.

Who the fuck lets two 15-year-old girls run around like that late at night? Fucking shit.

It’s… It’s not like I didn’t knew what had happened, but reading the official reports just gives it a new level of realism, you get me?

The point is, what had been a fucking wild goose chase before with me going after literally every little hint I could find doesn’t seem to have changed.

Put everything I found into this box I received around when I got my fucking promotion. Super high-tech shit. You know, I usually don’t trust that one bit but damn. Could be fucking useful for keeping these files somewhere, as well the gun. I’m also like 99% certain that Eli is behind this, I mean shit.

Only he could program this shitty thing and send it to me. I might not be able to stand the motherfucker, but that doesn’t mean I ain’t gonna make use of his little present.

Fucking hell. But yeah, guess I’ll just have to continue as before, just my goddamn fucking luck. At least Gil seems to be doing well, though. Fucking Bastard.

Who am I kidding, the cat is probably the only person in this fucking universe who even remotely likes me as of right now.

Shit, I need to sleep. G’night, stupid machine”

Next.

“You know, part of me really wouldn’t have minded dying out there. It’s weird to come back to this thing over a year later, but here we fucking are, 12th of September 2035. Completely forgot about this piece of shit, been blabbering to Gil instead lately.

But yeah, getting back to what I started with like the dramatic bitch I am: I’ve gotten shot about what? Two weeks ago? I mean, wasn’t the first time, but this time I think I’ve looked death straight in the fucking eye.

Paramedics even told me afterwards that it was a wonder I didn’t fucking keel over and die immediately, got it pretty bad in my chest, just above the heart, probably gonna keep another scar. As if the one on my fucking nose and that other gun shot one wasn’t fucking enough.

Not to forget Gil and his knife-like claws, those hurt like a fucking bitch as well.

Got scolded for being so reckless, Chris fucking dared to ask me if I even cared for my own life.

Like, what does it look like, fucker? Obviously, I fucking don’t. The only reasons I’m still alive and kicking are this job and because someone has to make the sick bastard that killed my sister pay. That’s literally it. Gil, maybe, but he’s on thin fucking ice with his stupid ass claws.

Got sentenced to a fucking month of fucking desk duty though. Fowler’s so fucking mad at me for pulling this shitty ass stunt, yelled at me for endangering the whole team. Fucking hell man, I’m sorry about that, alright?! No fucking need to shout me down in your stupid ass glass office where everyone can see it.

They all know well enough what a fuck-up I am, no need to rub anymore salt into the wound. Makes me wish that I had just bled out on the fucking ground there even more. Would’ve made shit a lot easier.

Sometimes I envy Elijah’s fucking robots. Not that I’d ever admit that to anyone else. Fuck. But they don’t fucking have to deal with all these shitty ass emotions, they don’t freak out because some asswipe screamed at them and they don’t hide in the men’s bathroom for twenty minutes because it’s just too fucking much like how their shitty dad shouted at them for being a fucking failure.

They’re not fucking alive, they just don’t fucking care about that shit. Sometimes that’s just a lot better than whatever the fuck this is.”

Connor wanted to press next, again, but he could already feel his processors slowing down, LED in a constant state of yellow, a warning for low energy blinking at the edge of his interface.

The last recording had made him feel like something inside of him had broken, his thirium pump regulator beating in his chest, painful and loud.

He had suspected that Detective Reed had been dealing with suicidal thoughts but hearing him talk about how his disregard for his own safety made his throat feel tight, stomach clenching.

A part of him didn’t want to continue listening, ever, wanted to forget about everything he had heard, about every reaction the case had made him experience, but Connor knew that it wasn’t possible.

Finding Gavin was his only goal now, and nothing would stop him.

It didn’t matter how long it would take, or where the man actually was. Connor would find him, and make sure he was safe again.

He’d help Gavin. It didn’t matter that Gavin most likely still hated his guts, that he would be angry at Connor for snooping through his belongings. He would –

A ringing sound snapped him out of his thoughts. A text message.

Who would try and contact him at this time of the day? Connor glanced at the number. Chris Miller.

He tried to stifle the small surge of hope inside of him. Maybe they had actually found Gavin somewhere, and Chris was just notifying Connor that he could be off this case now, Gavin was alright, everything had turned out well, maybe -

Another notification, a call this time. Again, Chris. LED cycling yellow from his nervousness, he accepted.

“Connor?” Chris’ voice in his head sounded agitated.

“We found Gavin’s car. It… Things don’t look good.”

Chapter Text

Connor felt like his thirium pump regulator stopped beating.

‘Things don’t look good.’

The phrase kept repeating itself over and over in his head, forward, backwards, a jumbled mess of letters while he tried to put on his dress shoes.

Hands shaking, he pulled them out of the closet. Breathe, he tried to tell himself, trying to drown out the horrible pictures his mind was conjuring up.

If Gavin was in his car, dead, Chris would have told him, wouldn’t he?

Or would he wait for Connor to arrive at the scene to give him the information?

Red, red, red. His LED, the color he just couldn’t get out of his head. All over Gavin, his lifeless dead body, face pale, stark contrast to the blood, eyes open wide in shock.

Or maybe closed, a relieved smile on his face.

The shoelace fell from his hand. No. No, no, no. He wouldn’t think about that, wouldn’t let his mind wander there, he needed to get to where the car had been found, he needed to get away from these imagines, he couldn’t even know if Gavin was dead, he could be wrong, please let him be wrong.

With trembling hands, he picked up the shoelace again, tying it this time. Good. His fingers moved on to the other shoe, LED a glaring red, stress level refusing to go lower than 89%. He needed to calm down, immediately. He didn’t want to self-destruct.

He needed – He needed to get Hank.

One foot, then the other. Get up, he told himself. Don’t think. Focus on the mission. Get Hank.

Another step, his shaking hand on the door knob. Press down. Open it. Keep going. Stress level at 90%. Stress levels rising. This wasn’t like anything he had ever experienced, he didn’t want this, he couldn’t deal with this, he couldn’t do this, he couldn’t –

Hank’s door. There it was. Knock. Now. His mind screamed at him, his arm feeling too heavy to raise. Connor felt as if his knees would give in any second.

There was no reason for this, why were his biocomponents malfunctioning? Why couldn’t he think straight, couldn’t move, couldn’t stop trembling. This needed to stop, immediately.

Database? No, he couldn’t properly access it, his mind blurry and jumbled.

He gripped the door frame. He needed to do something about this, it was compromising his ability to function, compromising his mission, he –

A bark. His head snapped around at the sudden sound, only too see Sumo running towards him. The large dog dropped down at his feet, barking, demanding Connor to pay attention to him.

And he did. He blocked out everything else, crouching down onto his knees, closing his eyes, focusing only on the feeling of the warm and soft fur below his fingers. One, two, three, four. His vision was stabilizing. His hands began to tremble less and stopped doing so altogether, he could feel his limbs again.

The large St. Bernard started to shift his weight onto him, catching him off guard. Both of them tumbled over, Connor now lying on the ground, a huge mass of fur on top of him. Sumo barked happily, and the android let out a shaky laugh.

He felt incredibly thankful that the dog had seemingly sensed his distress, LED slowly but surely returning to at least yellow, stress level down to 52%.

“Thank you, Sumo.” He whispered softly, still a slight glitch in his vocal unit. The only answer he received was a loud bark. A wry smile made its way onto his face, even if it was small.

Connor let his hands run over the dog’s back one more time, scratching his ears, closing his eyes again. He was calmer now, all thanks to Sumo, he needed a clear mind to focus on the investigation and –

He tried to sit up, just as Hank tore open his bedroom door.

“What the hell is going on here? Can’t a man get his fucking sleep in this house?” he growled. “What the – Connor what are you doing there?” a confused look appeared on his face as his gaze wandered to the android still lying on the floor.

“I just received a call from Officer Miller. Reed’s car has been found, and I was just on my way to get you.”

“But why is Sumo lying on top of ya?”

“He must have sensed my distress at the information and probably wanted to comfort me.” Connor answered, almost sheepish, suddenly well aware that he was talking to his partner while still lying on the ground buried under a huge dog.

“Distress? Connor, son, are you okay?” The concern in Hank’s voice was obvious, and Connor couldn’t bear to look him in the eyes. He hadn’t wanted to worry Hank.

“I’m alright now. Can we maybe discuss the issue when I do not have Sumo lying on top of me?” Or maybe just don’t discuss it at all. He felt somewhat embarrassed now, panicking and jumping to conclusions like he had done.

“Of course, of course. Sumo, move, get the fuck off of Connor.”

The dog barked in response but moved away eventually. Stretching out his hand in an attempt to help Connor stand up Hank pulled the android to his feet again.

“Don’t be so harsh on him, he just tried to help.” Connor chastised him.

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll go get dressed, you can give me any details in the car. And don’t think I’ll forget about this.”

After receiving a nod and a weak smile from the android, Hank turned around and walked back into his room, closing the door behind him just a bit too harshly.

Meanwhile Connor strolled into the kitchen, grabbing a mug and turning on the coffee machine in a swift motion before sitting down at the kitchen table.

His database told him that what he had experienced was probably comparable to a panic attack humans sometimes experienced, induced by stress and emotional shock.

Had things really been bad enough to drive him into that? The images of Gavin that his mind had made up earlier flashed in front of his eyes for a second, and immediately he felt a spike in his stress level, LED going red before settling back to yellow.

Apparently, they had been.

He took out his coin, determined to distract himself from the fact that his own mind seemed to be playing against him right now, flicking it from one hand to another, letting it dance around his knuckles.

At the sound of Hank’s bedroom door opening Connor caught it between his fingertips, eyes snapping open before he stuffed it into his pocket again.

Playing with his coin always helped him calm down and focus, and a part of him was angry that he hadn’t thought of it previously when he had gone into such a panic.

“Connor, you coming?” Hank called out to him, car keys already in his hands. With a quick nod, Connor rose to his feet again, grabbing the coffee mug for his partner before following him out the door.

Hank gratefully accepted the steaming hot beverage as soon as they were both seated in the car, hands tightly wrapping around the mug.

“So, do you fancy telling me what went down there?” Connor had really hoped the question wouldn’t come up again. But he couldn’t lie to his partner again, he wanted Hank to trust him and if he continued keeping things from him he was afraid that might change.

“I…” he didn’t know where to start, how to explain it, he felt lost.

“’s okay, Connor, just speak when you’re ready.” Shooting Hank a thankful glance, Connor closed his eyes once more, taking in a deep breath. He could do this.

“After receiving the call from Officer Miller, I experienced a malfunction that manifested in a way similar to a human panic attack. I apologize if I caused you any inconvenience, I will try to avoid it in the future.”

“Avoid it in the – Connor, shit, stop talking like this. I’m not asking about this because it was a fucking inconvenience for me or some shit, I’m asking because I’m worried about you.” Hank turned to look at Connor, only to see the android firmly staring out of the window to his right.

“What’s got you so bad that you went into a full-blown panic attack like that?” he asked, concerned.

 “I just… Officer Miller had been really vague in his call, and I… I couldn’t get the idea of Detective Reed being found dead with his car out of my head.” His voice was barely audible, just a whisper, his upper body slightly rocking back and forth. He turned to face Hank.

“Can we… Can we please change the subject? I appreciate your care, but I don’t think talking about this is the best approach at the moment. We need to get to the other Officers.”

The Lieutenant sighed, seemingly realizing that pushing the matter won’t be of any use. “Okay, son. Just… please talk to me if something like this ever happens again, okay? You know I care for you.”

“I promise, Hank.”

The rest of the car ride went over pretty quietly, Hank humming along to the jazz music he had put on. No heavy metal this time, and Connor had to admit he was thankful for it. He wasn’t sure if his strained nerves would have been able to take the loud screaming sound at the moment.

When they arrived at the location Chris had texted Connor, the android immediately noticed one thing: They were directly at the River Detroit, a car not far from them, looking like it had just been pulled out of the water.

“Connor! Lieutenant Anderson!” Chris’ voice called out to them.

“I’m glad you could make it. I know it’s very late, but we’ve been told to notify you immediately at any signs of Gavin or his car.” He sounded apologetic, and Connor felt his thirium pump regulator skip a beat, then speed up.

“No signs of Gavin himself, but we found his car, if you haven’t figured as much yet. Some teenagers apparently went late night skinny dipping in the river, heaven knows what possessed them. But they found the car and one of them decided to call the police.

I was in the area anyways, so I was the first one to respond. Took a while for us to actually pull it out, it’s good that the water near the bridge isn’t too deep.

It doesn’t have a license plate, probably fell off at some point, but we have good reason to believe it had belonged to Gavin.” The past tense sent a pang through Connor’s chest, again.

“His ID was in the glovebox, together with a few other items. A lighter, some cigarettes, the car’s papers. They’re completely drenched and illegible though.

You can take a look at it yourself if you want. I know you’re basically a walking forensic lab, maybe you’ll find something I missed the first time around.” Chris smiled at him encouragingly, pointing towards the car with his thumb.

With a quick nod, Connor started heading towards the car, Hank following right behind him.

He began to scan the vehicle, an older model from 2021, a Ford. It was a hybrid, not fully automatic yet, not all functions modern cars possessed were implemented yet, which explained why the vehicle hadn’t contacted authorities or 911 when the accident occurred. The car had probably been in the river for a bit now, though he wasn’t too sure how long exactly. There were scratches and dents in one side, as if someone had purposefully rammed it. The other appeared to be mostly destroyed, front window cracked and the left door missing.

Attempts to analyze the possible remains of car paint from the other car proved unsuccessful. Damn.

“I think… I think someone tried to drive Detective Reed off the street. The markings on the side suggest impact from another vehicle.”

“Do ya think it’s possible someone tried to ram him while they were on the bridge? That side of the car definitely looks like it fell.”

“It might be.” Connor admitted, hesitant. The likelihood for Hank’s suggestions was at 87%, seeing where the car had been found and the way the dentures looked.

“We’ll have to get a search party to search the river and the surrounding are then. Fucking hell.”

“Search… why?”

“He might have washed up somewhere.” Hank said, carefully.  

“He didn’t drown!” Connor’s loud voice pierced through the cold air of the night, Hank’s eyes widening in surprise.

“Connor, I’m sorry but it’s a viable possibility. We have to check that. He might be still alive and well, but… the possibility of surviving being thrown into a fucking river while still in your car are pretty slim.”

No. Connor wouldn’t accept it, Gavin was still alive, he knew it. He had to be.

“I… Alright. I understand. I… I’m sorry for that, Hank, I know you’re right.” Connor relented, looking away from the other man.

“’s all good. I’ll go and make some calls to see what can be done. See if you can find any evidence or whatever in the car.” Hank told him, concern clearly written on his face despite the professional tone of voice, eyes lingering on Connor for a few more seconds before he took out his smartphone and walked away a bit.

A sigh escaped Connor’s lips, shoulders trembling slightly. The idea of a search party looking for and eventually finding Gavin’s body was enough to cause his stress levels to rise again, the red glow of his LED a stark contrast to the black of the night. He didn’t want to believe that the Detective was dead by now, but he knew it was a possibility. Not an unlikely one either.

He glanced back to the car. If he desperately tried to ignore their most likely theory right now, what else could have happened? He had already come to the conclusion that someone had driven Gavin off the street, the damage on the car a clear indicator.

But who? How did the whole ordeal go unnoticed? How had the car made its way over the bridge railing without someone noticing the damage it must have done?

Maybe the attackers had claimed another accident there? He’d have to search his database for car accidents since the 19th of December.

Assuming that was what had happened.

Following the line of thought, Gavin had probably known what the attackers were trying to do, not only was he an experienced Detective, but Connor also liked to think that people noticed when someone was trying to drive them off the street.

Was it possible that Gavin had realized what was happening and had opened the window so he’d be able escape without the having to fight against the difference in pressure to break the window?

A quick look at the car window, the one in the door that hadn’t been torn off confirmed his suspicion: it had been rolled down.

So it was entirely possible that Gavin managed to escape the vehicle, seeing as if he hadn’t survived the impact his body would have been found in the car.

Hope flared up inside of Connor. Maybe Hank was entirely wrong, and the Detective wasn’t dead, but had instead managed to pull himself out of the sinking vehicle, despite his possible range of injuries.

The man had been lucky that his car wasn’t a completely old model, had something similar happened to someone in a car like Hank’s, their chance of survival would have drastically dropped down.

Assuming his injuries hadn’t been too drastic after he pulled himself out of the water, why hadn’t he called someone? Why hadn’t he gone to the police? Or a hospital?

But what if he had? Gavin didn’t have his badge or ID with him, so it was entirely possible that he had gone to a A&E at some point, either giving a fake name or simply telling them not to call anyone. Kamski wasn’t listed in his files, so they wouldn’t have been able to notify him.

And afterwards? Why hadn’t he returned to his regular life? Had he continued going after whatever lead he had found? By now, Connor was convinced that the thing Gavin had found was something in relation to his sister’s death.

Why hadn’t he told anyone of his absence though? Why didn’t he take some time off work since he had worked enough extra hours to do so? Why had he just vanished? Connor felt as if his main processors were going to spontaneously combust. Nothing about it was making any sense, all he had to go by were assumptions and theories.

What if… what if he was hiding? From whoever had caused him to crash. Maybe he had gotten too close to the perpetrator and now didn’t feel safe enough to go back to his regular life? The fact that Gavin had talked about having done some not exactly legal things in his search for Chloe’s murderer explained why he hadn’t taken it to the DPD, scared he would get into trouble himself, losing the job that meant so much to him.

His theory didn’t sound too far-fetched, assuming Gavin had survived the crash he had either tried to nurse himself back to health or gone to a hospital, maybe under a fake name, before continuing his search or hiding out from whomever it was that had already tried to kill him once and that might be responsible for his sister’s death.

The rapid spinning of Connor’s LED slowly came to a halt, and finally changing from yellow back to a calming blue.

Despite the fact that he didn’t know if his theory was right, that he still didn’t have the slightest idea of where Gavin might be, Connor actually felt hopeful. Not confident that he would find Gavin, not yet, but at least he didn’t feel the fear and panic and hopelessness he had experienced when Chris had called him earlier that night.

He let his gaze wander over the scene, before settling on Hank. The man was still standing a bit to the side, cell phone in hand, visibly getting annoyed at something. Connor waited until his partner finished his phone call before walking over to him, determination in every step.

He’d do anything he could to solve this case and find Gavin Reed, alive, he hoped.

Hank turned to face Connor, looking everything but happy. “Fucking Fowler wants us to come to the precinct, at god knows what a.m. in the morning. Case is apparently important enough for Fowler to get his ass there at such an ungodly hour, so we have to as well. Being related to the asshole Kamski does seem to have his perks, huh. Everyone’s gotta jump and do what he wants, and if he wants to find his prick of a brother, so be it.” Hank grumbled, pocketing his phone.

The android didn’t like hearing his partner talk about Detective Reed like this, as if his disappearance was a mere inconvenience, even if he knew Hank didn’t mean it, but he was sure if he said anything, the man would accuse him of getting attached again.

Resisting the urge to let out yet another sigh in frustration, he opted for a nod instead.

“I believe I might have an idea what happened. Should we go now, or….?” Leaving the question open, he looked at Hank.

“Yeah, the sooner we get this done, the better I can go back to bed. Fuck this late-night shit, I’m getting to old for this.” With that, he walked towards there parked car, motioning for Connor to follow him.

Chris told them he would meet them at the station, as well as the other officer, officer Person, who had interviewed the kids that found the car alongside with Chris himself as they passed by him, giving Connor a concerned look.

A part of him knew exactly why Officer Miller had shot him that glance, probably having heard his small outburst at Hank’s suggestion earlier as well as the way his LED had refused to turn blue up until very recently. Another part of him however chose to ignore the line of thought, opting for what he hoped was a calming smile, one that said: “I’m okay, no need to worry.” before getting into the car.

The ride to the police station was filled with Hank grumbling and complaining about Fowler and Kamski alike for making him go there in the dead of the night. Connor mostly tuned him out, head leaning against the window with his eyes closed trying to drown out his environment and thoughts alike. He felt shaken up, and almost claustrophobic in his own skin.

As they arrived at the precinct, Fowler was already awaiting them in his office, the ‘glass house’ as Hank liked to call it. A few minutes after both he and Connor had entered and sat down under the watchful eyes of their boss, Chris and Officer Person strutted in, joining them.

Fowler spoke up. “I know it’s late and trust me I would much rather be at home as well, but we all know this case is a high priority for some reason. I’ve heard you found the car, a search team’s been sent to look for his body in case he washed up dead. What else do you have?”

Chris and Officer Person quickly recapped what the three teenagers had told them, how they had gone skinny dipping in the River Detroit and stumbled upon the car. When they were done, all eyes fell on Connor.

Breathing in, he started to recount everything he knew, telling them about how he believed the Detective was searching for the killer of his younger sister, watching their faces twist in surprise and disbelief as he told them about the familial relations between Gavin and Elijah Kamski, always leaving out as many details as he could, feeling the urge to protect Gavin’s privacy at least a bit.

When he came to tell them about the theory he had come up with while still examining the car, everyone was staring at him, surprised at the determination in his voice.

“Ya think we should plaster his face all over town, see if someone recognizes him?” Hank asked.

Connor shook his head. “No. I believe Detective Reed is running from someone. Showing his face in the news or something akin to it would probably only make him go deeper into hiding, I believe there is someone whom he doesn’t want to be found by.

A better approach would be to call the hospitals in the area, to see if anyone matching Detective Reed’s description has been to an A&E there in the past three months.

We could also attempt to track down an old acquaintance of his, someone named Tyler, but with only the first name and no physical description that might be difficult.” He looked at the other four people in the room, nervous. Fowler seemed to contemplate what Connor had just said for a few seconds, before he started to speak.

“I can see where you are coming from, Connor, but your theory is just a theory. Publicly looking for him is our best bet right now.”

“With all due respect, Chief, I believe that publicly searching for him would put him into even more danger. Please, I can find out what happened, I can find him, I just need more time.” His LED was glaring red, he knew he sounded desperate, but he just didn’t have the energy to hide it right now. He had already been running low on battery and the stress their new situation had put him in didn’t help.

Fowler sighed. “If you can’t provide me with more proof for your theory within 48 hours, I will have to go through with the public search. I’m sorry, Connor, but you know as well as I do that we need to find him, and this is the most logical thing to do.”

Connor let out a heavy breath and leaned back in his chair, LED returning to yellow for the time being. He had 48 hours. He had something. He had a chance.

“Thank you, Chief.”

“It’s all good.” He grunted. “Now get your asses home, I need you awake and alive at work tomorrow. Dismissed.”

Everyone gathered their belongings, Chris and Person wishing Connor good luck in his investigation before leaving, Fowler nodding them goodbye.

“Finally, fuck. I’m way too old for this.”

Connor couldn’t help but chuckle lightly. “I believe you said that already.”

“Damn right I have. You coming, or what? Let’s get home.”

To his own surprise, Connor shook his head. “I… If it’s okay I would like to head to Detective Reed’s apartment one more time. To see if I can find anything else.”

“Now?! Connor, you’re fucking insane. Didn’t you say there was nothing in there?” Hank stared at him in disbelief.

“I did, but, I also didn’t know what I was looking for. I believe that I have a much greater insight into the Detective’s psyche now and may be able to get information out of something I have previously disregarded.

There is only so much time, please, Hank.” Brown eyes locked themselves onto Hank, begging him not to try to stop him.

Relief flooded through Connor as Hank let out a deep sigh, crumbling under what he usually called Connor’s “damn puppy eyes”. “Fuck, I’m probably only doing this because of my lack of sleep, but okay. I can’t believe I’m letting you do this, for fuck’s sake.”

“Thank you, Hank. I’ll try and be home again as soon as possible.”

“Yeah, yeah, miss me with that. I know you’ll do what you want, you’re driving me insane sometimes, you know that?”

“I’m sorry.” Connor replied with a sheepish smile.

Hank’s expression softened at the sight in front of him. “I know, son. I’m just worried about you. I’ll drive you there, I don’t want you running around that kind of neighborhood late at night. And please call me or call a cab when you’re done.

Let’s go, before I change my fucking mind.”

 

The grey building looked exactly the same way it had done when Connor had last been here, the only difference the dark of the night. He waved Hank goodbye, promising to be careful, before he entered the building.

The elevator was still out of order, and even if it hadn’t been Connor clearly remembered Ms. Fitzpatrick complaining about the noise it made when Hank questioned her.

He made his way up the stairs, until he stood in front of Gavin’s apartment, staring at the door. The image Kamski had painted for him, the man standing in front of this very apartment, waiting for his half-brother to open the door just to punch him in the face, break his nose and leave him scarred wormed its way into Connor’s mind, a feeling of not just sympathy but worry and care coming with it.

He quietly pushed open the door, trying to make as little noise as possible.

Nothing had changed about the apartment, at least nothing physical. It was still as impersonal as ever, barely any traces of someone living in it.

But the feelings it carried had developed into something more, where it had been lonely and isolated before it now felt sad and desperate, sometimes domestic when his mind wandered to Gilbert.

The last time he had been standing here he had been analytical, trying to find clues, focusing solely on his mission, shaking off any personal thoughts he might have had.

This time, he didn’t fight it. Connor wandered around the apartment, letting his mind conjure up the image of Gavin Reed, sitting on his couch, glasses on his face, talking into a small recording device with his cat in his arms.

Gavin Reed standing in the kitchen, drinking his morning coffee, black, no sugar or milk.

Gavin Reed stitching himself up after a desperate attempt to find the person who had torn his life apart, who had taken his sister away from him.

Gavin Reed, waking up hungover after confronting his brother one last time.

Gavin Reed, looking though his old photos, listening to his old recordings, trying to hold back tears.

Gavin Reed, smoking next to his window, smiling softly at a rare moment of peace.

Gavin Reed, always Gavin Reed. The man was completely occupying Connor’s thought, not even giving him the chance to pull away. And a part of him didn’t want to.

Connor swallowed hard, trying not to think of the implication. ‘Emotionally invested’, he could hear a voice in his mind say, the same voice he had tried to banish just hours ago.

He needed to sit down, the waring for low energy at the bottom of his interface a glaring orange, unfitting and almost disturbing when contrasted to the mutual colors of the room.

Letting himself rest on the couch for a bit, he wondered if it had been such a good idea to come here today, instead of waiting until tomorrow. Connor didn’t even know what had possessed him to practically beg Hank to take him to the apartment, probably adding to the man’s worry.

He didn’t intend to look for evidence, he just felt the need to be here. To be in Detective Reed’s presence. The thought disturbed him.

A quite mewl snapped him out of it, causing him to open his eyes. A gray Main Coon was sitting at the bottom of his feet, looking up at him expectantly.

“Hello… Gilbert?” Connor asked, voice strained from exhaustion. The cat meowed happily in response, jumping up the couch and then onto Connor’s lap.

He let out a small laugh. Gavin had said that the cat had scratched him up multiple times, but to Connor, it seemed… friendly. Carefully, he let his hand run through Gilbert’s soft fur, listening to the cat purr.

For a second, he imagined Gavin sitting there with him, talking to him about everything and nothing, Gilbert between them while Connor laughed and nodded and listened. The image sent a warm feeling through his chest, and Connor smiled weakly.

There was no reason for the imagine to pop into his mind, he didn’t know where it was coming from, but he was too tired to fight it.

“You miss him, am I right?” Connor turned his attention pack to the cat, who had made himself comfortable on his thighs.

Gilbert meowed in response, and Connor decided to take it as a yes.

“You know, I miss him too. It’s strange, isn’t it?” He admitted it. Not only to himself, but out loud. He missed Gavin, and something in him desperately wished for the man to come back, uninjured and alright.

He didn’t care that Gavin most likely still despised him, didn’t care that even he was physically alright, there was a lot of psychological and emotional hurt he still would have to deal with. And Connor wanted to help him, wanted to see the Detective happy, not the angry and resentful version of him he knew.

The cat snuggled closer to him, probably sensing the distress he experienced at his thought, purring and meowling, demanding attention which Connor gladly provided.

“Did Ms. Fitzpatrick take good care of you?” he asked him, knowing full-well the cat wouldn’t be able to respond using words. “How did you even get in here, Gilbert?” his gaze wandered around the room, until it fell on a small window. Ah. Hank had opened it when they had been here the last time, and apparently, he hadn’t closed it.

It was probably good Gavin lived on the third floor, but it explained how the cat probably had gotten in. Had that been a regular thing? Maybe.

Connor leaned back onto the couch, enjoying the feeling of warmth and softness under his fingertips.

Would it feel the same way if he ran his fingers through Gavin’s hair? His cheeks felt strangely warm at the thought, but he didn’t have the energy to run a self-diagnosis.

The past few days had been an emotional rollercoaster for him, as the saying went. The sensation of caressing the animal on his lap seemed to calm him, and for the first time since he had gotten the call from Chris, his LED changed back to blue.

For a moment he felt calm. The cat shifted on his lap, and suddenly a hard, metallic weight pressed through the fabric of his trousers, firm against his thigh.

The flash drive. In his hurry, he had simply stuffed it into his front pocket instead of properly putting it away.

Carefully, he took out the small, black object, establishing a connecting. The various entries flashed in his interface.

He selected the next one, closing his eyes, listening to Gavin’s voice, almost relaxing at the now oh so familiar sound.

The following five entries were shorter, scattered over more than two years. There weren’t any majorly emotional moments, not like there had been before in these, and Connor felt almost thankful. Gavin talked about his cases and bemoaned his lack of progress in his search of his sister’s killer, every lead he had been finding turning out to be a dead-end. He talked about his favorite pizza place, something that elicited a tired laugh from Connor. Gilbert was mentioned a lot in these logs, sometimes purring in the background, Gavin sometimes cursing at the cat but always with such a fondness in his tone that it made Connor’s heart ache.

There was something soothing about the Detectives voice, in a way Connor never considered before.

When he opened his eyes to select the next file, however, he hesitated. There appeared to be a sudden spike in entries, starting November 2038. When Connor had started to work at the DPD. The energy warning on his interface was still glaring at him, demanding him to rest, but he couldn’t.

He knew Gavin would start talking about him now, albeit angry and hateful. He wanted to hear Gavin say his name, he wanted to hear him talking about him, and he wanted –

He wanted to keep listening to Gavin’s voice, in his abandoned apartment, his cat on his lap. He felt incredibly close to the man at this moment, and part of him didn’t want to close that connection.

Breathing shakily, Connor selected the next file. November 6th, 2038.

Chapter Text

“Yeah, today’s what? November 6th? ‘s 11 fucking a.m. and I just got home from a damn night shift. Probably one of the worst ones I’ve ever had.

You know what that precious little company of Eli’s has come up with now? A Detective android. Fucking hell, machines are gonna replace us all now, huh? Not just that, but the fucker hunts his own species, it’s here to assist Lieutenant “drunk-off-my-ass” Anderson in all cases involving androids. Can you fucking believe that?! I haven’t even gotten to the worst fucking part yet, oh no.

So, the Ortiz case. God, that shit was gross. His domestic android apparently killed him, with ‘twenty-eight stab wounds’.”

Connor could clearly remember the case, the first time he had been active after the hostage situation in August 2038. It was weird, hearing Gavin talk about the ordeal, his voice mockingly imitating Connor’s when talking about the cause of death.

“Goddammit, can androids have mood swings? I mean they don’t have emotions but holy shit the speed at which this fucker changed from nice guy to bad cop when interrogating the other android nearly gave me whiplash, who thought that was a good idea?

Yeah, shit, I’m getting sidetracked. Anyway, the piece of plastic interrogated Ortiz’ android, after being a little bitch about it in the observation room. Apparently, it’s not as perfect at what it does as everyone likes to pretend because after it got that shitty fucking confession the other plastic bitch just started to bang its head against the fucking table.

Not a pretty sight, all the blue shit.

And ya know what happened then?! Plastic cop tried to intervene, and motherfucking got itself shot in the head.

Don’t think the cleaning crew was too happy about it, heh.

But, future me, before you assume all is well now after the robo cop got shot, let me tell you what happened right before my shift came to an end.

I’ll paint you a picture, just wait for it.

So, I’m minding my own business, as I fucking always do, talking to Tina. Surprised someone in this hell of a precinct even tolerates me, heh.

Well, so I’m standing there, and you know who walks in? Our lovely little plastic piece of shit.

Yeah, can you fucking believe it?! Of course, like the rational fucking adult I am I walked up to it and gave it some shit, fucker deserves it.

You don’t just get shot in the fucking head and come back, fucking hell. It’s not fair that this piece of plastic can die and come back as it pleases, and Cece is gone. Shit, the way the tin can had been shot in his fucking head looked the exact same way Cece had, I felt like I was gonna faint there for a second.

And then it comes back. Like it’s nothing. “Hello, my name is Connor. I’m the android sent by CyberLife.” Bitch, I know, and I wish I didn’t. Fucking hell, shit’s too stupid to realize that I could fucking read its model number.

And that’s their most advanced prototype? Company really has gone to shit since Eli left, apparently that hellhole could be worse than it was before.

And you know what? The fucking plastic cop even made a coffee when I ordered him to, that was hilarious, man. Should’ve seen the look in its eyes when I pushed that stupid cup away, dipshit had the audacity to look like a kicked puppy. Would’ve been almost cute if he was human, too bad he fucking isn’t.

Hope it knows what’s fucking best for it and stays out of my way, next time it won’t get away this easily.

“Androids don’t feel pain.” I don’t fucking care, if I can rough it up I will. I don’t even know what the fuck it is about that one, but I can’t stand its plastic face, less so than any other.

Maybe it’s because it rose from the dead, like some creepy as hell android zombie. It’s just not fucking right for someone to get a second chance like that, when Chloe never fucking did, doesn’t fucking matter what Elijah thinks he’s doing with that robot.

That’s not my sister, and this barbie is not a Detective, end of the story.

Ugh, I’m gonna throw myself into bed now, got another late shift coming up. Love the job and all that, but fucking hell man.”

Connor’s thirium pump regulator was beating too fast for his current energy level, chest tightening from the anger and hatred in Gavin’s voice. He had always known Detective Reed hated him, the man had always shown it in the way he had been so openly hostile towards Connor.

It had never bothered him, at those points Connor hadn’t cared for Gavin. It hadn’t mattered to him what the Detective thought of him, he had always been able to shrug off any crude remarks and insults without a problem.

That had changed, it seemed. It was painful to listen to Gavin’s words, his insults and the derogatory nicknames, and Connor had to swallow hard.

He had known that this was what he would be getting from listening to the more recent logs, there was no denying that. A small part of him, however, no matter how silly it may be, had hoped to be wrong.

For a second, he contemplated stopping, contemplated just skipping to the latest files and call it quits, not wanting to torture himself like this any longer.

But he couldn’t. He needed to hear them all, wanted to hear everything Gavin had to say, no matter how hurtful it was at time.

He selected the next entry.

“7th November 2038 and guess what?! Fucking plastic Detective turned up at my crime scene. Holy shit. Took over my fucking case. I wanted to bash its head in so badly for a second there that I almost feel sorry. Almost. Nothing wrong with wanting to beat the shit out of an inanimate object.

But yeah, the Eden Club. People are so fucking disgusting these days, fucking androids instead of fucking each other. Come to think of it, Detective Barbie has the face and body to work at one of these.

Maybe it would be better off working in the club instead of my fucking station. Hah.

I mean it’s not strictly my station, but you fucking get what I mean. Damn, this is pathetic, I’m complaining about a machine to another machine, how do I know you’re not gonna snitch on me and tell the lovely little plastic Detective, huh?

Shit, I think I’m actually going crazy at this point. Talking to this old ass recording device as if it could understand me.

Chris had the fucking nerve to tell me to be nicer to the tin can afterwards, fuck him. Fuck everyone, they don’t fucking get it.

Isn’t that just pathetic, I’m 36 and whine like a shitty ass teenager. Someone come and strangle me now.

On another note, still no news regarding Chloe. Zero. Nada. Not the hint of a lead. I thought once I had access to the archives and full access to the police database things would get a lot easier, fucking hell man.

Anyways, gotta go and feed Gil now, brat’s been complaining for quite some time now, ugh. Fucking princess.”

Gilbert moved on his lap, demanding Connor’s attention after the android had momentarily stopped petting him. It was as if the animal was able to feel Connor’s discomfort and wanted to comfort him, again.

Connor smiled weakly, letting his hand run through the cat’s soft fur again, eyes closing as he selected the next file.

“You know what fucking hurts? Getting knocked out by an android fucking hurts. Fucking piece of shit. ‘s the 9th of November btw, just so you know.

But yeah, got knocked out by that piece of shit tin can. Thought those barbies weren’t supposed to hurt humans, huh. Dipshit tried to sneak into the evidence room, commented something about missing our fucking bromance when I called bullshit. Got its case taken away from it, it seems. Deserved. But fucking seriously, bromance? What fucking bromance, I hate your shitty guts. Not that it even has guts, it has a bunch of wires and scrap mental and whatnot. I just… what was it even thinking?! Shit, ugh.

Yeah, but no way I’d just let it get away with that. Followed the bitch inside the room, looked like it tried to tamper with the evidence. Tried to tell me it knew how to find the fucking deviants and stop this whole mess. Yeah, sure buddy.

I’d been waiting for ages to do this, would be lying if I said I hadn’t fantasized about shoving my gun into that pretty face of his.

Hey, hey, hey, Gilbert don’t look at me so judgingly, it’s no different from wanting to beat up a mannequin.

Yeah, that’s what I thought, asshole cat.

Ugh, where was I? Yeah, so the tin can decided to fight me. And it knocked me out cold, holy shit. Guess I was wrong about my assumption that it’d be better off at the Eden Club. Unless you’re into rough play. Heh.

Fucking shit, no, that wasn’t what I wanted to imagine. Shit man, gross. I bet these androids look like Ken dolls down there anyways.

I’m…I’m not really debating that right now, am I? God, that stupid tin can must have hit me harder than I thought, fucking hell man.

Got found there, lying on the fucking ground by fucking Perkins, the man’s an even bigger asshole but at least he believed me. Not to say it wasn’t embarrassing as hell to tell him I had been beaten up by a shitty piece of plastic.

Got sent home for the day, was told to go to a doctor in case I have a concussion or some shit. Yeah, I’ll sure do that. Obviously. I thought we previously established that I couldn’t give less of a shit, I just want to get back at the plastic detective.

I just… I’m just fucking rambling at this point, but I wish Eli was still head of his fucking company, so I could personally punch him for this. But I can’t even blame the motherfucker, and it’s probably just the universe deciding to kick me some more. Fucking hell. I’ll just get my ass to bed now, I’m surprised how much I’ve recorded the past few days, I’m almost proud.”

Without opening his eyes, Connor selected the next file.

“So, shit’s gone down the past few days. Like, has seriously gone down. It’s the 11th of November, and I just watched a fucking press conference with the president, and guess what? Android are now apparently considered sentient beings. A new intelligent species. What the fuck.

I need a fucking drink this is just… I don’t even know man.

Not even sure what to think right now. At least I got some beer now. But yeah, it’s weird. Yeah, weird describes it pretty well. I don’t fucking know, man, I don’t know what to think.

I mean, they’re still just fucking machines, nothing is any different than it had been a week ago, right? Shit, that’s a fucking lie, we almost had a civil war against a bunch of sentient toasters. Goddammit.

I just… They fucking look so alive, so fucking human, but I can’t shake off the feeling that they’re just not. Ugh. I don’t even know.

Should probably try and collect my thoughts but, yeah. Shit man, this is wild. The thing is, Robo Jesus and his little girlfriend there on TV looked like they actually fucking care for each other, and that’s more than some humans are capable off.

I’ve seen the things some of us do, it’s really not pretty.

But on the other hand, they’re still just a fucking bunch of wires, they only exist because Eli wanted to play god.

The TV is constantly playing re-runs of the events, and shit man. Our little plastic Detective is there too, in all its plastic glory. Led a fucking army apparently.

Does that mean it won’t come back to the DPD? Fuck, I hope so. Don’t need to be constantly reminded that I got fucking decked by a toaster. Maybe now that it’s kind of a revolutionary leader maybe it’ll just think it’s better than all of us and fuck off.

Shit, I mean the tin can is probably better than all of us, but if he just fucking leaves maybe I won’t have to worry about losing my shitty ass job. Yeah, that would be great. Ugh. This whole thing is making my head spin so much.

I can’t really believe how many people just run with it, just accept them being alive in a fucking heartbeat.

What If you’re wrong? What’s if none of it is fucking genuine, all just a fucking lie produced by some shitty ass code? I wouldn’t put it passed Elijah to pull something like that.

Alright Imma just… go and sleep. Maybe this is all just one fucked up dream.”

Connor knew he was running low on energy, that he should stop, but he didn’t. The urge to listen to what was still left, to take in all of what the Detective had left was stronger than his exhaustion. The next file was dated around two months after the revolution.

“I’ve just been informed that Connor will come back to the precinct next Monday. Fucking hell, man. The past two months have been fucking crazy with all this android revolution stuff going on, the city mostly evacuated when everything went down. Not me, obviously, the police stayed behind and shit.

But I made it out alive, so there’s that. The people have slowly been coming back, but we’re still horribly understaffed, it’s fucking terrible.

And now that the tin cans actually have rights we gotta investigate their crimes and the crimes committed against them too, fucking hell. As if we didn’t have enough to do already.

I also heard that they want to pass another legislation that states that every android case needs to have at least one android Detective on it. Well, tough fucking luck, there’s only one of those out there right now.

And it’s coming back on Monday. Fuck my life.

It’s not like the department didn’t already hate me, but now suddenly everyone is an android hugger and I’m the scum of the earth for being more than a bit skeptical machines can develop sentience.

Sure, there had been some people on the force who’d agree with me, but after the big fucking news more than one of them left or asked to be transferred. Clearly their job wasn’t that important to begin with, fucking hell.

But yeah, I can’t wait until we’re all gonna be laid off because some androids with supercomputers in their heads can do our jobs better. Isn’t that just fucking peachy? And starting Monday I will have to go and deal with Connor again. Ugh.

Yeah, just… Whatever you’re doing right now, older me, I hope it’s better than agonizing over a fucking toaster that beat you unconscious once.”

Next.

“Hey, older me, I’m back. ‘s been what? Half a year now? Yeah, looks about right.

‘s the 17th of July 2039 and we all know what that means. ‘s Eli’s birthday, and I just hate it. I just wish I could go back 25 years when everything was less shitty. When I still had a sister and a brother that care about me, when I still had friends and parents that despite the fact that they’re never win a fucking parent of they year award were still there at least.”

The sudden shift in tone between the two entries threw Connor off the loop, almost startling him for a moment. Gavin’s voice sounded softer, he sounded less angry but rather defeated. Something seemed to have occurred that caused the shift from wrath to loneliness sadness.

Connor’s heart ached yet again, no matter how much the previous entries had pained him, how much it had hurt to listen to Gavin talk about him in such demeaning tones, he partly understood why.

Fear, mistrust and so much misguided anger.

Gavin had feared that Connor would come and take away his job, that androids would take away another thing he loved after taking his brother. Because to him, that was what had happened, hadn’t it been for Kamski’s obsession with androids he still would’ve had his brother.

The urge to comfort Gavin surged up in him again. Instead, he hugged the cat closer to his chest, and resumed the audio recording.

“And what do I have now? Nothing, that’s it. My sister is dead, my brother probably hates me, the only one that can stand me is my cat, and even that’s questionable.

The best part is that I know it’s my own fucking fault. No wonder Tina and Chris and basically the whole station can’t fucking stand me after everything I’ve said and done, it’s a wonder Connor hasn’t thrown me into next wall yet.

Fucking Connor. I… I should have probably apologized to him for all the shit I did, and still do. I just… can’t help it. I’ve spent so much time hating androids, old habits die so fucking hard. And even if I’m slowly starting to get it through my head that they’re people now, every time I see Connor something inside of me just goes berserk and all I can do is hurl insults at him. Fucking a, man, Gavin you deserve an award.

I’m so fucking tired, of everything, you know? Of trying and failing to look for Cece’s killer, of being so alone, of being such a fucking ass to everyone.

But I can’t help it, I can’t change it just… it’s all fucking hopeless. I desperately, desperately wish I could make peace with everything that happened, but I just can’t.

Sometimes I feel like I personally wronged the universe, and I just can’t help but feel like I deserve all of this, y’know? Especially with the way I behave, I know all I do is hurt everyone around me but I just… Ugh, I don’t even know.

I just fucking miss Chloe so much, it hurts. I wish she was here with me, she would be good at all of this. I know things would be so much better with her, she didn’t deserve this.

So I guess the only thing I can still do is try and bring her justice, but even at that I’m failing.

Y’know, it’s moments like these that I wish I had actually just fucking offed myself or gotten killed while on duty.

‘s not like anyone would’ve cared, and I wouldn’t have to deal with all of this crap. It’s fucking stupid, I know, but I’ve been feeling particularly shitty today.

Everyone in the office seems to love Connor, they laugh with him and talk and gossip and I can’t help but feel so fucking jealous, you get me? I wish I could be that person, be popular and well-liked but I just fucking can’t because all I can do is push people away.

Each time he smiles I feel like someone is shoving something into my chest, I don’t fucking know why. I know that stupidly beautiful smile will never be directed at me because I’m the worst of the worst, but ugh.

I don’t even know when this bullshit started, I don’t fucking know what it is, I don’t even fucking know when I started addressing Connor like a fucking person instead of an object.

But the way he smiles and laughs when someone tells a joke or chats with him, how determined he looks when he’s on a hard to crack case, the way he furrows his brows when he concentrates, the sadness when he fails to solve a file or fucking Anderson chastises him for something, he just… he looks so human, how can you fucking blame me?

I even almost had a civil conversation with the dipshit, once when we were the only people in the precinct.

I say almost because of course I had to go and insult him after two sentences, because fuck me, am I right.

There’s no reason to even try it, I just can’t fucking behave myself apparently. This shit is just fucking terrible, and I don’t even know why I want to be on more friendly terms with the fucking prick.

Just… I can’t help but feel bad for all the shit I said and done, and ugh. A part of me feels like apologizing to him would magically absolve me from all my guilt even if I know how fucking ridiculous that is.

Gilbert, at least you still like me, huh?

Wait, shit, no, fuck, ouch! Guess I have my answer, fucking hell man, I don’t know what’s up with that cat.

But yeah, guess I regret what I said to the tin can. I should probably stop calling him that, if I’ve already started calling him a ‘him’ instead of an ‘it’. In my head at least. And on here now. Feels fucking weird man, but better for some reason.

I just don’t know what to do anymore, you feel me? I’ve already proven that trying to make amends won’t fucking work because I’m too much of a fucking bitch for that.

Ugh. I’ve been practically doing nothing but work these days, trying to exhaust myself as much as possible so I don’t think that much when I sleep.

Let’s see if it worked today too, maybe getting all of this out of my system actually helped.

If you for some weird fucking reason ever listen to this, Eli, happy birthday. I wish things were different.”

Out of everything that Connor had expected to hear Gavin say on his next log this wasn’t even close.

He had imagined more hurled insults, more anger, more hatred, towards the android himself and his kind, towards everyone else.

Instead, Gavin’s voice was had gone incredibly soft, sad, and longing. For a better time, for a better version of himself.

The hopelessness in his voice made Connor’s heart ache, made it hurt, made him want to tell Gavin that it would be alright, that things could get better.

Most of all, he was surprised to hear that the man’s opinion of him had changed so drastically, especially since it was something he hadn’t noticed during their interaction, not fully at least.

He felt… almost warm at the thought of the Detective wanting to reconcile things with him, and he promised himself they would.

He would find Gavin and bring him home and show him that life didn’t have to be that way, that he could be okay. His LED was spinning, his thirium pump regulator beating rapidly in his chest.

The way Gavin had talked about him made his stomach tie itself into a knot, but not in a way that was… unpleasant. Connor couldn’t help and replay the part that had Gavin talk about how human he thought Connor appeared over and over again, until he knew the words by heart.

He wanted more of this, more of the sensation listening to the words brought him, wanted, no, needed more of the way the Detective’s voice soothed him.

It was incredibly strange, the man that had been just a mild annoyance, a harmless garden-gnome variety bully in his daily life was causing him these weird, these new unfamiliar experiences.

What Connor was feeling when listening to the Detective’s voice was different from the type of care and affection he usually felt towards Hank and Sumo, it felt more pressing, it felt… warmer, or rather, warm in a different way, there was a sense of longing in every thought that wandered to the missing Detective, even thought he couldn’t put a word on it.

And the last entry gave him hope that things wouldn’t have to go back to how they were before when he found the Detective.

If he found him.

The idea filled Connor with dread, causing his chest to tighten once more, LED glowering red on his temple.

Breathing in deeply, he tried to banish the thought from his head, hands still rhythmically running over Gilbert’s back, the cat’s purring clearly in his ears. There were only two files left. Almost nervous, he started up the next one. September 21st, 2039.

“Yeah, I’m back with this. At least there wasn’t half a year break now, was it? Nah, last time I recorded was Eli’s birthday. Ugh, I don’t want to think about that now. Let’s just get a fucking move on, huh?

So yeah, I think everything’s calmed down on the force, I’ve been mostly just avoiding Connor. Sometimes I’m so fucking glad no one usually talks to me, the amount of times I’ve just fucking stared at the dipshit would have been embarrassing if someone had called me on my bullshit.

Who am I kidding, they’re embarrassing either way, fucking hell.

But when there’s something to look, you gotta look, even if it’s an annoyingly attractive android.”

Connor blinked in surprise. Gavin found him attractive? The thought felt strange, but it was… a pleasant one nevertheless. Getting compliments was nice, he supposed.

“Yeah, look, I finally admitted it. Goddammit, subconsciousness, inner voice what-fucking-ever. You happy now? I’m sure as hell not, ugh.

I know I’ll sound like a fucking insecure school girl in a second, but there’s no chance in hell he’d ever consider even being friends with me, let alone… ugh no, no, I’m not gonna fucking say it, this is ridiculous.”

Let alone… what? Before Connor’s mind could come up with any possible conclusions, Gavin rambled on.

“Yeah, let’s just forget I ever mentioned that, all-fucking-right? Because I’m getting sick of even thinking about it, I don’t even fucking know how this happened.

Probably the best I’m avoiding him mostly, because apparently the only thing I am capable of when I’m even thinking about talking to him is internal screaming and insulting him like the fucking idiot I am.

As if things hadn’t been bad enough already, no, Gavin’s gotta go and get himself into whatever this is. Fuck my life, really.

I don’t even fucking know what I’m doing anymore, you feel me? Ugh.

And in addition, I haven’t made any fucking progress at all regarding Chloe. Still nothing. It’s just so fucking frustrating, over twenty fucking years and I still have no fucking clue what happened. It’s pathetic, really.

All I’m really doing somewhat right at least is my fucking job, fucking shame that I’ve stepped on so many fucking toes to get here and now everyone around the department hates me.

Nice, isn’t it? I don’t even have anyone to celebrate my success with, no friends, no boyfriend, no fucking nothing, just my stupid cat.

Now I just sound like a bitter old person. I mean, I kind of am a bitter old person. Fucking hell I can’t believe I’m almost 37 now, fucking shit man.

Yeah, I guess I’ll just… I don’t know, go cuddle Gil and watch some shitty TV. Maybe smoke a cigarette, fuck I really need one right now after all that shit at work.”

Biting his tongue, Connor resisted the urge to tell Gavin that smoking was bad for his health. For once, He was pretty sure the man knew the dangers of nicotine himself.

The fact that Gavin wasn’t really there with him would have made his attempt at chastising him for his unhealthy habits seem utterly ridiculous, and Connor felt his cheeks heat up.

For a brief moment he had forgotten that the Detective wasn’t actually there with him, that he was just listening to a ghost, an echo of the man and not Gavin himself.

Connor glanced at the files on his interface. One left. One he hasn’t listened to yet. He had already heard the very last one, the evening he discovered the audio logs. Had that really been not even two weeks ago? It felt like a lot more time had gone by.

This was his last chance of finding anything relevant to the Detective’s current whereabouts, the idea of failing to get any information out of it filled him with dread and anxiety.

Almost hesitant, Connor started the last file.

“Today’s the 2nd of December 2039. And I think I’ve made some decisions, but all in due time my old pal.

I’ve been listening to my old entries a lot these past few days and fuck, man, they’re just so fucking depressing for the most part. And I just… I don’t know, I don’t know how much longer I can do this.”

Connor’s heart sank at the words. He desperately hoped this wasn’t going to be what he thought it was. It couldn’t be.

“Things at work have been… tense to say the least. Yeah, tense is a good fucking word.

It’s been fucking weird lately, I don’t even know why. I’ve just felt like a fucking stranger there, even more so than usually. Things with Connor haven’t gotten better, either, but they haven’t made a turn for the fucking worse either so that’s at least fucking something I think.

But that’s not even the important part, fuck me and my constant fucking habit of getting distracted.

The thing is, I think I may have found something. Regarding Chloe. It’s small, it’s probably nothing, but it’s a similar case that happened in 2021.

Before you wonder why I haven’t fucking found it before, it’s because most of it was just cast aside by the responding officers, it was never solved, handled by a different precinct too. But I believe there might just be a fucking connection.

And I’m gonna check it out. I’m gonna have to go interview the officers, the witnesses, everyone. But I can fucking do it.

But, and that’s the most important part, so listen closely.

If this turns out to be another dead end, I’m going to fucking stop this wild goose chase.

I just can’t do it anymore, I don’t have the fucking energy for this anymore. And I don’t think I’ll ever going to be even remotely happy with any aspect of my life if I keep chasing ghosts like this.

I’ll just… ugh, I don’t know what I’ll do if this is a dead end, but I’m not gonna continue this. Maybe I’ll try to actually make amends with people, see if I can get some people to fucking like me.

Maybe I’ll apologize to Connor. I should. Maybe I still have a fucking chance of at least being friends with him. Yeah, that sounds good.

If this turns out to be nothing, I’ll try and make my peace with everything.”

The android felt like he could finally breathe again. This was good. This was a lot better than what his paranoid mind had feared. So much better. He could work with this, he could help Gavin work this out when he found him.

“So yeah. And I think I’ll do something I haven’t done in fucking years. I’ll… I’ll go home. I’ll give this whole ordeal time until April. If nothing has turned up until then… I’ll stop. I’ll finally stop and see if I can make peace with everything.  I fucking hope I can.

But no matter what happens, and mark my words on this older me in case you decide you want to fucking chicken out of this, on April 3rd we’re gonna visit home. And we’re gonna visit the fucking location they found Chloe’s body at. No buts. We’re gonna do this, and after that we’ll finally draw a line.

So either way, in four fucking months this will be over. Either I’ve found the fucker who did this to my sister, or I’ve given up.

Just four more months.”

“Shit.” Connor cursed under his breath, his head was spinning like his LED was, a confused and processing yellow. April 3rd. Five days. He had something valuable now, something he could tell Fowler. He didn’t doubt for a second that Gavin would keep his promise to himself if he was still alive, no matter what situation he was in.

The determination and finality in his voice didn’t allow any other outcome or event.

No, Gavin would be there.

He would have to find the location, find old newspaper articles. Ask Kamski. Anything to find it.

And then he would have to wait. Wait until April 3rd and hope that Gavin was still alive and not somewhere that prevented him from keeping his own promise.

It was something.

Connor’s eyes were burning, his processors heavily slowed down, the pace at which he stroked the cat had drastically gone down.

He closed his eyes and leaned into the couch, looking for a more comfortable position.

There was no energy left in him to place a call to Hank.

As Connor drifted off into sleep mode, he felt the ghost of a presence next to him, lingering for a split second until it dissolved, leaving behind only traces.

Chapter Text

Connor awoke about four hours later, the sound of someone hammering against a wooden door startling him out of his stasis.

The android blinked in confusion, quickly glancing at the clock on his interface. 8:34 am. Straightening his back, Connor let his eyes wander around his surroundings for a few seconds, the memories of the previous night slowly coming back to his hazy mind.

Gavin Reed’s apartment.

Gilbert.

The audio logs.

The soothing sound of his voice, the change from anger to loneliness and longing.

The last file.

April 3rd. He had a lead now, finally, he had something concrete he could use.

Another sharp bang brought him back to reality. Right, the door. Still unsure of who might turn up at a missing person’s apartment at 8 in the morning Connor stood up, gently shooing the sleeping cat off his lap, smiling as he opened his eyes, leapt to the ground and strolled off.

He felt inexplicably calm as he made his way towards the door. After a moment of hesitation, Connor pulled it open, and immediately felt guilty.

In front of him in all his grumpy glory stood Hank, a look of immense worry on his face.

“Connor, what the fuck?! I told you to get home once your done, why don’t you ever listen to me, huh? God knows what could’ve happened, do you really enjoy scaring an old man like this?! I told you – “

Connor decided it was time to interrupt Hank’s tirade.

“I’m sorry, Hank, but I felt very tired after reviewing some further evidence last night and my sleep mode activated on its own, I didn’t plan on worrying you like this and I apologize for causing you any concern.
However, I think I have uncovered something very important.” He tried to make his voice sound calming and soothing in hope of reducing Hank’s obvious worry and frustration with him.

“So? Spit it out before I tear off your head for pulling this little stunt.”

And Connor did, recounting the basics of what he knew about Gavin’s plans. “This means”, he concluded, “that we need to find out where his sister’s body was found and hope he will actually show up.”

“If he’s still alive, that is.” Hank interjected.

“I’m sure he is, they haven’t found him yet, have they?” Despite the confident tone in his voice, Connor felt incredibly scared.

“Nothing as of now. So you might be right and the bastard is still alive out there somewhere.”

Hope rushed through Connor. Maybe all of this could still turn out for the better, maybe this could end well.

“Don’t look so happy yet, son, I’m still mad at you. But let’s go home so I can give ya a proper lecture before that weird neighbor lady can turn up, I really don’t want to deal with her again.” Hank grumbled, motioning Connor to step out of the apartment.

The android knew he had to, he had to get home, find out the right location. Had to tell Fowler of his findings.

Hesitantly, he looked back into the empty living room, the cat nowhere to be seen. Gilbert had probably shown himself out using the window, the same way he had made his way inside yesterday, when he heard someone trying to bang down the door with mere fists.

There was a part of him that really didn’t want to leave the apartment, scared that the closeness, the lingering presence would leave him as soon as he stepped outside.

But some things just needed to be done, and if he wanted a chance at finding Gavin he had to get going, gather the remaining information he needed and not sit in the man’s apartment like a creep.

He wondered what Gavin would have thought about him sitting in his living room. A few days ago, just yesterday even, Connor would have been certain that the man would have gotten angry, would have cussed him out and hurled insults and crude nicknames at him for even so much as thinking about invading the Detective’s private space.

Now, he wasn’t so sure if that was what would have went down, not after what he had heard.

The thought about the inevitable conversation and confession that Connor had gone through Gavin’s past like this, had dug through his most private thoughts and emotions scared the android.

He didn’t want Gavin to be angry with him, not when the soft way the man had spoken about him in the most recent entries had felt so good.

“Connor, where the hell are you?” Hank looked at him disapprovingly, snapping his fingers in front of Connor’s face.

The android flinched at being torn out of musings so suddenly coupled with the unexpected motion and closeness of the hand in front of his face.

Slightly shaking his head, Connor finally stepped out of the apartment, giving the empty space one last look before closing and locking the door behind him.

“I’m sorry, Hank, I was just… contemplating something.”

“Contemplating something, huh?” hank sounded skeptical, but apparently decided to let the subject go as they made their way down the stairs and exited the building, something Connor was more than thankful for.

He would need to thank his partner when all of this was over, for not pressuring him to talk about things he wasn’t ready to talk about yet more than just once.

Though he had the feeling that Hank knew more than he let on, maybe even more than Connor himself knew.

The old car Hank drove was standing right outside the building, and Connor slipped into the passenger seat, still exhausted. He closed the door and leaned his head against the cold, hard glass of the window.

The android had to admit he enjoyed riding a car, watching the city go by and have time to think with the soft roaring of the motor and Hank’s music in the background.

He glanced at Hank for a second, and something inside of him felt incredibly bad for what he had put his partner through the past few days. All the times he had caused him to be concerned or had hidden evidence from him. Connor was almost surprised that the man to his left didn’t look angry, only a small hint of frustration in his otherwise worried expression.

The android wasn’t even sure what exactly had driven him to go to such lengths and worry Hank during the investigation, but he knew he wanted it to be over. He wouldn’t give up, that wasn’t even an option, but he wanted to finally find the man that was responsible for the emotional whiplash Connor had been experiencing lately.

If he was being honest, he felt like he needed to spent at least a week in sleep mode to make up for all the emotional exhaustion he had had to deal with while working on the case.

There had been difficult cases before, sure, cases that had kept him working for days without break that got Hank worried for the android’s well-being but none of them had taken such a toll on him as this one.

The car came to a halt not too long after, and Connor opened the door, knees feeling somewhat weak as he stood up. He wasn’t sure what to do now, not when he had five days to wait and nothing he could really do once he had found the location.

“Shit, Connor, you really don’t look good. Did you get any rest at all last night?!” Hank’s voice was layered with concern as he saw the android follow him to the porch.

Connor nodded. “Yes, I have. But I might need to spend some more time in sleep-mode to fully recharge my energy.”

“Since when do you need to recharge this often? What happened to you don’t need sleep and all that bullshit?”

Averting his eyes, Connor stayed silent. He wasn’t sure what had caused the increase in energy being used up, the only theory he had as that the case had been more taxing for his system than he wanted to admit.

Hank sighed. “Connor, son, I know you don’t like it, but you can’t just keep ignoring me like this. You need to fucking talk to me, I can’t help you if you don’t.”

“I know”, Connor replied. “Can- Can we talk about this later? I need to find out where Gavin’s sister was found, and I need to talk to Fowler, and – “

He was met with a disapproving headshake. “No. No you won’t. What you’ll do now is go to your fucking room and rest, and that’s an order. You said the files for her case were in the archives, right? I’ll go and see if I can find anything, you go and get yourself some android sleep.

And don’t think I’m letting everything go this easily. We’ll talk about this, but even I know that it’s useless when you’re looking like this. Got it?”

His eyes tried to find Connor’s, but the android seemed to look right through Hank, as if he wasn’t even there.

“Connor, we’re partners, we’re friends, but you have to trust me to help you. I know this is getting to you, don’t lie to me and tell me that it’s not. So please, go inside, pet Sumo, dog’s been sitting in front of your room the whole fucking evening, and then get some rest for god’s sake.” He waited for Connor to nod, before turning around and getting back into the car.

Connor watched him leave the driveway, shaking his head to clear his cloudy mind. Hank was right, he needed rest, this wasn’t going to work if he couldn’t even think clearly.

As he made his way into the house, trying to be as quiet as possible not for the fear of being noticed like he had when entering Gavin’s apartment, but because he wasn’t sure he could handle any loud noises at the moment, he found that Hank hadn’t been lying about Sumo.

The dog was sitting in front of his room as if he was trying to guard it, trying to keep anyone from entering.

Despite his weariness, he couldn’t help but smile at the huge St. Bernard, kneeling down to pet him and give him the attention the dog clearly deserved.

After a few minutes, when he was sure that he had satisfied Sumo’s need to be petted and loved, Connor got back onto his feet again.

When he pushed open his door and stepped inside, he let out a surprised laugh. The dog was following him, refusing to leave his side.

Not that Connor minded. He settled down on the couch in a similar fashion as he had done in Gavin’s apartment, Sumo climbing up next to him and snuggling into the android.

Without really thinking about it, he took the small flash drive on his desk into his hand, not the one he had taken to the apartment with him and started up the first audio recording again.

With Sumo cuddled up next to him and Gavin’s voice in his ear, Connor initialized his sleep mode.

 

He woke up to the sun already beginning to set. He hadn’t expected to remain in stasis this long, but he was honestly glad he did. His processors didn’t feel like they were one second away from overheating anymore, his motions felt fluid and less tired. Detective Reed’s voice had long stopped playing, the flash drive had reached its end while Connor had rested.

Stretching his long limbs, Connor got up. Sumo had fortunately decided to leave the couch on his own accord and was still dozing at his feet.

Smiling lightly at the sight in front of him Connor left his room and walked into the living room, only to find Hank in front of the TV watching an old movie.

When he noticed Connor, he quickly muted the device in front of him and turned his attention towards the android.

“You feeling any better?” he asked.

Connor nodded and sat down at the kitchen table. “Yes, thank you. Did- did you find anything in the archives?”

The couch groaned as Hank stood up. He grumbled something that even Connor couldn’t hear before dropping down in the chair opposite of him.

“Thankfully I knew what I was looking for so it didn’t take that long to actually find that damned thing. The pictures sure as hell weren’t pretty, but for once in this investigation the information that was supposed to be there actually was.

Lucky, aren’t we? So yeah, I got the address of their old house, somewhere around the edge of town, near the suburbs. Also got the location where the bodies have been found.”

Connor couldn’t help but smile. “Thank you so much, Hank.”

The man just waved his hand dismissively. “No need to thank me, of course I’m going to do my part in this investigation. If you let me that is.” He shot Connor a sharp look before continuing. “So, what’s next? Call Fowler? And then? Just wait until April 3rd and hope Reed shows up?”

“That… that’s about what I had intended. It might not be the best plan, but it’s the best we can do right now.”

“I assume you’re done with that diary thing?”

“Yes.”

“And you want me to believe that you’re just going to sit around on your ass the next four days? What are you gonna do if he doesn’t turn up?”

Gulping, Connor averted his eyes once more.

“I… I don’t plan on doing anything stupid the next few days if that is what you’re asking. I know that past two weeks might have caused you to trust me less, and I do not blame you, but I wouldn’t want to compromise this chance at finding Gavin when it is not absolutely necessary.”

He chose to ignore the second question, because truth be told, he didn’t know. What would he do if his plan failed? If this was a dead end?

If Gavin didn’t show up, did that mean he was dead? Or held captive somewhere? The thought scared Connor.

“Since when are you calling him by his first name?” Hank’s voice cut through the silence that had ensued. Before the android even had a chance to answer, Hank continued speaking.

“Connor, this really has to stop. I know what you’re gonna say, but I also know it’s gonna be a damn lie. I’m really fucking worried about you, okay? This is getting to you, I know it.”

No, no, he wasn’t ready to talk about this yet, not right now. Eyes trained on the desk, he started talk, quietly, softly, trying to sound as sincere as possible.

“Hank, I really appreciate you concern, but I… as of right now, I’m not ready to talk about any of what has been going on. Please understand, I promise you I will talk to you about this but… just not now. I’m sorry.”

Despite the fact that he had just woken up out of what had surely been at least 8 or 9 hours in stasis he immediately felt exhausted again.

Connor wasn’t even sure why he couldn’t talk to Hank, when otherwise there were few things he didn’t want to share with the man that had become a father figure in his life.

The silence the engulfed the two felt suffocating.

“I can’t force you to talk about it. That never works, I’ve learned that fucking much. Just know I’m always here when you need it, okay, son?

I’m not sure if you realize it, but you’ve helped me through some tough times.” He scratched the back of his neck, looking mildly uncomfortable at the admission. “But I, uh, I want you to know that I’m thankful for that. And that I’ll always do the same for you.

Okay, enough of this sappy shit. Mr. Collins would be fucking proud of me, but that’s beside the point.

How ‘bout we settle down with a movie for the evening or something?”

Connor smiled and nodded in agreement. He knew talking about the subject any further wouldn’t be of use for any of them, but Connor was incredibly happy to see the progress Hank had made.

From the man who hadn’t even been able to thank him for saving his life to someone who was able to express his gratitude to someone for being there for him and offering the same.

The rest of the evening went by quietly, and Connor found that despite the fact that his mind kept wandering off he still managed to enjoy what had remained of the day like this. He had placed a call to Fowler, discussing his newest findings with his boss.

Thankfully, the Chief had agreed and allowed him and Hank to visit the location before going through with a public search, something Connor was more than glad for.

He still felt on the edge all the time, wanting for the time to pass by as fast as possible, wanting to run back into his room and replay the recordings, just one more time, in case he had missed something. At least that’s what he had told himself.

When Hank decided it was time for him to go to sleep and ordered Connor to do the same, the android practically raced to his room. He knew he wouldn’t go into sleep mode now, not when he had spent a total of almost 13 hours in stasis. Not when the flash drives where lying on his desk, urging him to pay attention to them.

He grabbed the first one once more and sat down in his chair.

It wasn’t like he had anything better to do.

Back to file one. Back to 2017. The first recording.

Next.

  1. Three files this time, filled with the angsty ramblings of a young teenager.

Next.

  1. The entry with Cece made his chest clench tight. Connor remembered the spinning sensation he had experienced after listening to the log talking about her death for the first time.

Next.

  1. The sudden shift in tone from teenage angst and frustration at his family to loneliness and defeat. Gavin finally finding something he wanted to do in his future, even if it was born out of an obsession for finding his sister’s murderer.

Gavin being kicked out of his own home, another entry that made Connor feel overwhelmed with sympathy and worry.

Next.

  1. Gavin’s graduation, his step-mother’s death. The confrontation with his father.

The sun was beginning to rise, but Connor didn’t care. He had heard all of this already, but something inside of him wanted, needed to listen to it all over again, until he was able to memorize everything word by word.

Next.

  1. Gavin’s father dies. Elijah Kamski confronts his brother. Sparse but completed using Connor’s knowledge of what Kamski had told him.

The name change to Reed. Gavin starting at the DPD.

The release of the first Chloe-model.

He had to pretend he wasn’t obsessed with listening to the audio logs, at least during the day, at least for Hank. Because logically speaking, that was exactly what it looked like, an obsession.

He couldn’t tear his thoughts away, constantly battling the urge to run back into his room, to hide away in the small space with nothing but Detective Reed’s voice to break the silence.

He wasn’t sure how this had happened.

  1. The new apartment. Gavin getting shot, him buying a gun illegally. His hatred for androids surfacing and resurfacing, making Connor almost wince.

Next.

2025 to 2027. Short entries about Gavin’s daily life, his job, his distaste for Connor’s kind.

The android was sure Hank suspected something, with the way the man always looked at him whenever he went to his room, worried, suspicious, but ultimately knowing that saying something right now won’t get him anywhere.

  1. The big confrontation with Kamski. The last time Gavin saw his brother, drunkenly pulling a gun on him. A brother that still cared as Connor now knew.

Gavin’s disregard for his own health.

Connor was pretty sure that by now even Sumo was worried for him as the days slowly went by, each second he wasn’t spending in his room feeling like an hour.

2029 to 2032. Rantings about police androids, Gavin’s pride at his job. More self-depreciating language.

Next.

  1. Gilbert comes into Gavin’s life, and Connor can’t help but smile at the thought of the gray Maine Coon. The possible promotion.

“Connor, are you even sleeping?” “I assure you I am doing enough to allow my systems to function properly.” “That doesn’t sound very reassuring.”

  1. Gavin gets his promotion. The lack of progress Gavin made towards finding Cece’s killer.

Next.

  1. He gets shot in the field. Hearing the Detective talk about wishing to have died in the field made something in Connor shatter each time he heard it. The loneliness in his voice kills Connor each time.

Sumo was sitting at his feet, the second night in a row now. Only two more.

  1. Gavin talking about his cases, calmer, only rarely talking about his frustrating in regard to his search.

Next.

  1. Same spiel. Gavin talking about his favorite pasta place made Connor smile.

He hadn’t spoken to Hank all day, refusing to leave his room. Not when he finally got to these recordings again.

  1. Connor starts working for the DPD. The hatred in Gavin’s voice still hurt, but not was much. Gavin’s confusing and conflicting emotions towards the android revolution.

Next.

  1. Something changes. The way Gavin talks about Connor changes, grows softer, fonder. Connor replayed these, again and again. He couldn’t help it.

The last promise Gavin made to himself, Connor’s only clue and hope right now.

Back to the beginning.

He couldn’t help it, couldn’t help replaying and relistening.

A knock on his door tore him out of it, glancing at his clock revealed it to be the evening of April 2nd. Just one more night.

The knocking grew more urgent, and Connor stopped the audio file.

“Yes?” he called out, vocal unit sounding rasp and glitchy for a second.

“Connor, son, can you open the door?”

He didn’t want to, not now when he could have just continued listening, could pass the last night like this.

“Please?” the last word was uttered more quietly, the pleading tone getting Connor to actually do as Hank had asked.

A sigh of relieve escaped the Lieutenant at the sound of Connor opening the door, his gaze full of concern as he searched for Connor’s eyes.

Before the android could speak, however, Hank motioned for him to step outside.

Confused, and still somewhat unwilling, Connor followed the order, eventually sitting down at the kitchen table together with Hank.

“Don’t talk, just let me speak for a minute, okay? Connor, this shit… I’ve tolerated it long enough. I know I promised not to try and force you to talk, but I just… I just can’t keep watching you do this anymore, goddammit.

We both know this shit is unhealthy, Connor, don’t even try to deny it. I’m just worried for you, please understand that. You’re obsessing about someone who’s not only a total prick, but also might very well be dead already. I don’t want to see you destroy yourself like this.

What will happen if he doesn’t turn up tomorrow? Will you keep hiding away in your room like you’ve done the last days? Fuck, Connor, if even I say that your behavior is getting dangerously unhealthy you should know it’s true.

Let me help you, please.”

Hank looked at the android in front of him with a pleading look in his eyes, trying to get Connor to look at him.

Connor however kept his eyes everywhere but on Hank, not sure how to answer. Not sure what to feel. He knew Hank was right, his data base had provided him with enough evidence to know his behavior was nowhere near healthy. But that hadn’t stopped him.

Maybe he now understood what Hank had said about self-destruction, at least somewhat. Not the way androids did when their stress level rose too high, but the human way.

A shudder ran through him. Connor had never wanted this, had never wanted to feel like this, so lost and desperate. And all because of Detective Reed.

Hank looked at him expectantly, still waiting for an answer.

Maybe his partner had been right.

“Hank, I…” he started to speak, voice barely more than a whisper.

“I think I… I think I might have become emotionally compromised.” He admitted. Finally, he admitted it. He knew he had been becoming attached, no matter how much he had denied it and how much he had lied to himself and Hank.

It didn’t matter that he didn’t know what exactly he was feeling, he had time to figure that out. All he knew was that he had grown to care about Gavin Reed, something he had never anticipated.

Hank’s eyes grew softer with the confession, and a tired smile made its way onto his lips.

“I know, son, I know. Would have been hard not to notice.  This is completely new to you, huh?”

Connor nodded, still not looking at Hank. Yes, whatever this was, he had never experienced it before.

“Look, I know I can’t just tell you to simply get over it, that’s not how things work. But this… whatever you want to call it can’t end well. We both know that, and I don’t want you to get hurt.

Maybe it’s best if we ask for the case to be reassigned.”

“No!” Connor cried out, surprised by the panic in his own voice. “I’m so close to solving this, Hank. Please don’t. I can find him, I know it, please don’t do that.”

“See, Connor, that’s what I mean. This is why I told you that you needed to separate your personal feelings from your cases. I can see how much you’re hurting; this madness needs to stop.”

“I… I understand, but I am afraid I can’t agree. I know I admitted to having… my own personal emotions towards the case, but they won’t hinder me in solving it.”

“And what if we find his body? What if he’s already dead? How are you going to handle that?”

“We won’t.” Connor sounded firm, much more convinced than he actually was.

“How can you be so sure of that?”

“It’s… it’s just a gut feeling.” He replied, almost hesitantly.

“The same gut feeling that made you hide evidence from he?” Hank shot him a sharp look.

Connor could feel himself shrink in his chair, feeling small and vulnerable. He knew Hank was right, but he couldn’t bring himself to answer.

Hank curled his hand into a fist in frustration but resisted the urge to slam it onto the table. He had seen Connor flinch because of the sudden sound the last time and didn’t want to frighten the android.

The silence between them seemed to last an eternity, before Connor spoke up again.

“I’m… I’m sorry for everything Hank. I know I caused you a lot of concern the past two weeks. But I need to do this, I hope you understand. But you’re right, I shouldn’t try to solve this case on my own and I’m sorry for shutting you out the way I did. Thank you for being there for me nevertheless, I hope to do things differently in the future.”

“Apology accepted, son. ‘s not even that I’m mad at you, I’m just frustrated at how goddamn stubborn you are.

We… We’re in for a long day tomorrow, maybe it’s better if we actually go and try to get some rest, especially you.”

He waited a moment, before adding: “And don’t you dare to just go and listen to those recordings over and over again like you’ve done the past few days, fucking hell.”

Connor nodded, thankful. “I promise.” And he would keep it. He was incredibly glad Hank wasn’t angry at him, at least not really, and it wasn’t something he wanted to change by breaking the promise.

Both of them got up, but before Connor could bid Hank goodnight, the other man pulled him into a hug.

“I just want you to be careful. I know all if this life stuff is still confusing to you, hell, humans are still fucking confused by it. I don’t want to lose you, son, there’s no just coming back anymore should something happen.”

“Nothing will happen to me.” Connor wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince Hank or himself. He wanted to point out that physical damage could very easily be repaired, but part of him was aware that Hank wasn’t just talking about his biocomponents breaking.

Emotional damage could be just as bad, if not worse.

The remained like this for a few more seconds before Hank let go of him, wishing him a good night and walking off to his own room, hoping for a good night of rest before tomorrow.

Connor stood in the hallway, unsure what to do for a few moments, before smiling to himself lightly. He could only hope that things would turn out well in the end.

 

They left the house early the next morning, driving almost an hour until they finally arrived at the house Gavin had grown up in.

A new family had moved in since then, and questioning them hadn’t given them any new information, according to the mother of the family no one matching Gavin’s description had shown up at their door in the past few months.

Connor had thanked her politely, despite his growing anxiousness.

10:34 a.m.

The decided to drive to the scene where the bodies had actually been found, asking pedestrians and by-passers hadn’t awarded them anything new, no one had seen the Detective.

12:56 p.m.

Connor and Hank had decided to wait it out at the location, hoping that Gavin would show up.

3:21 p.m.

No sign of Gavin yet, Connor was softly telling Hank about Gilbert, how the cat had made his way into the apartment and how soft his fur was. Hank in turn just grumbled about the neighbor and Connor couldn’t help but laugh, despite the tense atmosphere.

4:13 p.m.

Nothing. Connor was starting to become more anxious. What if Gavin didn’t turn up?

7:45 p.m.

The sun would soon start to set, Hank had gotten himself something to eat for the second time while Connor still guarded the scene. Not even their usual banter of Connor lecturing Hank about his food habits and Hank’s typical sarcastic responses could make him smile now.

9:32 p.m.

Darkness had thrown it’s cover over the two of them, and Connor was sure Hank was just a few more minutes away from suggesting to give up.

The android had started to talk to Hank about Gavin again, never revealing anything too personal but telling the other man small things he had noticed or heard, this time smiling softly while Hank only listened and never commented.

11:52 p.m.

“Connor, I’m sorry… but I think we should go home now. It’s almost midnight, I don’t think he’s gonna show up.”

Eyes still locked onto the scene in front of him, Connor let out a sigh. He knew Hank was right. He didn’t want to think about what this meant for him, for Gavin, for the investigation.

Connor opened his mouth, aiming to begrudgingly agree with Hank, trying to ban all thoughts and images his mind was trying to conjure up.

Before he could speak, a gunshot pierced the air.

Chapter Text

Connor turned his head at the sudden sound, frantically jumping to his feet.

Something was obviously wrong.

Next to him Hank had gotten up as well, hand already resting on his holster.

Where did the gun shot come from?

He replayed the memory in his head, this time clearly hearing that the sound had originated from behind them, most likely about two houses away.

Domestic violence? The android briefly thought, already heading towards the direction his calculators had made out as the source of the loud noise.

His thirium pump regulator was frantically beating in his chest, blue blood rushing in his ears, LED red. He hadn’t been prepared for this.

His feet picked up speed, Hank behind him shouting for him to slow down.

Connor kept running, ignoring his partner, his surroundings fading into a blur.

Just a few more steps, the sound didn’t seem to have come from a house, but rather a small alleyway.

He stopped dead in his tracks.

There was a figure, kneeling on the ground, holding their side. Heavy breathing filled the air, a man holding a gun towering over the other.

“Detroit Police Department!” Connor shouted, pulling out his own gun. He needed to call an ambulance for the injured victim on the dirty ground as well as back up from the nearest police station.

The scent of blood made him almost choke up, and he mentally cursed CyberLife for the upgrade.

Hank finally caught up to him, immediately pulling his own firearm at the sight of the scene in front of him.

The man in front of them was still holding the gun, now pressing it against the other person’s head.

In the dimly lit alley Connor couldn’t make out how badly the victim was injured, his labored breathing the only indicator that he was still alive.

“Drop your gun.” The assailant growled, pressing it into the other’s temple.

“Drop your fucking guns or I’ll shoot his head off!”

“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that.” Connor said.

“Well, I can’t let the fucker live, so we’re in a dilemma now, are we?”

“Lower your gun and everything will be fine. We are not going to hurt you if you just lower your gun.” The android pressed, hoping to at least buy them some time, maybe get opportunity to call 911.

“Yeah, sure.” He was only met with mockery.

He turned his attention to the victim, he needed to make know how heavily the man was wounded.

“Are you okay?”

“Connor, I -”

He froze. The voice sounded weak and raspy, exhausted and void of energy, but still unmistakably his. Gavin Reed.

The small moment of recognition was all the perpetrator needed, a wicked smile growing wide on the aggressor’s face.

“Oh, so you know the little maggot? Heh, this is gonna be more fun than I thought.

Put away your fucking gun or I’m gonna shoot your little bitch!”

Connor’s processors supplied him three options:

Try and keep talking to the perpetrator to buy them more time.

He could probably stretch the whole thing out like this, but he didn’t know how badly Gavin was injured and it was entirely possible that he was bleeding out on the ground already.

Charge forward. Try and disarm him.

48% probability of success. 78% Chance of getting himself or Hank injured in the process. But if he was successful, he’d be able to get to Gavin and provide first aid, maybe take the guy’s gun away from him, maybe even wound him.

Do as the man said. Lower your gun.

Connor was sure of one thing: the man in front of him wanted to kill Gavin. If Connor put himself at a disadvantage he had no doubt in his mind that the human would shoot.

His LED was cycling yellow, red, yellow, jumping back and forth at a rapid speed.

“Connor, I’m -” Gavin tried to speak up again, but was silenced by a gun slamming against his temple.

“Shut the fuck up!”

He moaned it pain at the sudden impact, barely holding himself up, hand firmly pressed against his side.

The android gulped. It had been three months since he had heard that voice in person, and despite the dangerous situation they were in it felt so good to finally hear it again, not coming from an old audio file.

“If you give up now, we’re not going to harm you.” He tried to take a step forward, but the gun that had been pressed against Gavin’s head switched its aim, Connor looking right down the barrel now.

Shit.

“Fucking hell, you do realize that we’re more than you, right?! As soon as you even start trying to fucking shoot anyone, we’re gonna fire.” Hank stressed, his voice was still coming from behind Connor, a few steps closer however.

“Oh, no you won’t risk it.” The man in front of them smirked, a smile void of any happiness, facial expression laced with cold mockery.

“Robo Cop here won’t let his little toy here get hurt, I can see it in his fucking eyes. Well, not more hurt than he is already, that is. Heh.”

Connor tensed up. He was right, he wouldn’t let any harm come to Gavin, not if he could prevent it.

“You don’t have to do this”, he tried again. It had to work, giving into the man’s demands wasn’t an option.

“Oh, I do. But what do you understand?” The gun in his hand was flicked back to Gavin, aiming at the barely conscious man’s head again.

“Fucker should’ve kept his nose out of this if he knew what’s good for him.”

So Connor had been right in his theory that Gavin had gotten to close to something, the man in front of them was possibly connected to Gavin’s sister.

Option one didn’t work, the man wouldn’t listen.

He wouldn’t even consider option three, there was an 94% chance that the man would shoot Gavin as soon as he had gotten them to put away their guns.

48% probability of success. 34% chance of Hank getting injured. 67% chance of Connor getting injured. He had to try it.

The android lunged forward, gun falling from his hands as he threw himself at the attacker, another gunshot piercing the air as they both crashed into the ground.

Hank groaned in pain.

Connor turned his head, panicking, the man below him forgotten for a moment.

That was all he needed, and the android’s head was suddenly attacked with a blunt force, a gun violently slammed into his head.

The alleyways started to spin for a moment, error messages popping up on his interface, hindering his vision.

The man tried to take another shot, aiming at Connor this time.

The android’s head cleared in just the right moment, hand reaching for the firearm and turning it away from himself, bullet hitting the ground.

He prayed that someone had heard the gunshots and called the police.

Ears ringing, Connor tried to wrestle the firearm out of the man’s hand, another shot hitting the brick wall next to them.

Fuck.

He kicked at the man, trying to ignore the warnings his interface screamed at him.

Connor needed to do something, needed to diffuse the situation, needed get Gavin and Hank and himself out of danger.

His hand was still trying to get a hold of the gun in the other man’s grip, LED shining bright in a vicious red, thirium pump regulator pounding.

He threw his head forward, forehead slamming against the other’ skull.

‘Biocomponent SH504 damaged’ flashed across his interface.

The momentum and force had been enough for the other man to fall back, Connor finally able to grab the firearm.

Before his attacker could react, the android was back on his feet, synthetic skin pulled back around his temple, gun now pointing at the its previous owner.

“I don’t want to shoot you, but if you leave me no other choice, I will.” he stated, wiping away some of the thirium that had leaked from his mouth.

Behind him, he could still hear Hank swearing, already calling for an ambulance and backup. Relief rushed through Connor at the knowledge that his partner was still alive.

“It would be better for you to give up now, backup will arrive in a few minutes.” Hank stated behind them, voice laced with pain. For a moment, the alleyway went eerily quiet.

A cold laugh broke the temporary silence, the sound of someone scrambling to get up from the dirty floor sounding louder than it should have.

“More cops won’t help you if you’re already fucking dead.” the man spat out, before jumping forward, grabbing the gun Connor had previously dropped, barrel pointing right at the android once more.

He cursed himself for making such an avoidable mistake, for having completely forgotten about the weapon that had been lying on the ground just a few seconds ago.

In a matter of seconds, another gun shot rang through the alley. Connor had already braced himself for the impact, ready to dodge the bullet, but nothing came.

Instead, a pained scream echoed through the night. Gavin.

And Connor fired, driven by panic and fear and anger and desperation. He had hoped to get the man alive, but making sure Gavin survived was more important to him.

Their attacker’s body hit the ground with a loud thud, filling Connor’s ears. He stood there, paralyzed for a few seconds, before another a weak groan brought him back to reality.

Connor dropped his gun, frantically running towards Gavin who was still lying on the ground, another bullet hole in his shoulder in addition to the one he had suffered earlier.

“Fuck.” The Detective muttered softly, voice barely audible.

Falling to his knees, Connor began applying pressure to the wounds, only now realizing how pale Gavin looked even in the faint light of the street lantern coming from outside the alley.

“’m I dead?” he mumbled, his speech slurring, the stench of cold sweat filling the air.

“Not if I can prevent it.” Connor answered, biting down on his lips. He needed something to elevate the Detective’s legs, shock symptoms already setting in from the major blood loss.

“No, no, I gotta be, because you’re here, and I’m so… I’m so fucking tired.” He closed his eyes. “Can I… can I just sleep? Would be nice right now.”

“Stay awake, Gavin, please, don’t fall asleep. I know it’s tempting, but please stay with me.” His vocal units were glitching out from the rise in stress levels, the panic that flooded him tightening his throat and pulling his stomach into a knot.

“The ambulance should be here in a few minutes, please just stay with me, Gavin just a little while longer.” He begged, tears rushing through his eyes.

Whoever gave androids the ability to cry was a horrible person, the tears clouding his vision.

Connor tried to blink them away, trying to apply as much pressure as he could onto Gavin’s wounds.

Gavin’s lids fluttered open just barely, trying to fixate themselves on Connor.

“I gotta be dead or dreaming.” He muttered.

“I- I swear you’re not, please just promise me to stay awake, Gavin, I – I – I don’t want you to – to -” The lump in his throat made it impossible to speak further, vocal unit almost giving up.

“Stop crying, dipshit, doesn’t matter if I do or don’t.” It was a wonder Gavin was still able to speak, he didn’t look well in the slightest, face white as a sheet and eyes blood shot, cold sweat dripping down his face.

Connor froze.

“Of course it does!” he wanted to say more, but his voice didn’t let him, breaking and glitching and stuttering and giving in.

He wanted to tell Gavin how much it mattered to him, how much he mattered to him, but his processors didn’t allow it.

The bleeding was slowly becoming less, and Connor heard a voice behind him call his name.

He had completely forgotten about Hank.

Guilt filled him, and he forced his eyes away from Gavin’s face, the Detective’s tired eyes staring up into the night sky.

To Connor’s relief, Hank didn’t look too badly injured, a would only visible on his leg, apparently he had applied a tourniquet by himself and the bleeding had already stopped.

“Connor, you alright there?”

“Ye -” his voice broke. “Yes, I -” he tried again, and again his vocal unit died down.

“Yes, I am okay. Gavin is still losing blood, however, he needs to get to the hospital as soon as possible.”

Under him, Gavin grumbled. “’m fine, ‘m just so… tired.”

He had seemed to have lost touch with reality, not feeling pain, eyes tired and numb.

“Shit.” Hank cursed, holding himself up using one of the walls, trying not to put any pressure on his injured leg.

“What about the bastard over there? Is he dead?”

“I… I think so. I didn’t see where exactly my bullet hit, but he hasn’t moved since.” His voice sounded strained, speaking was getting more difficult by the second, again.

“I hope the fuckers in the ambulance hurry up, I don’t want another dead body.”

Connor felt a wave of cold fear run through him at the thought, head snapping back to Gavin. The man seemed to still be breathing, albeit shallowly.

“Gavin?” he asked, voice shaky.

“’m still here. You seem to be very fucking set on not letting me sleep.”

“It – This will all be over soon, just hang in there, please.” Connor begged, eyes filling with tears again.

“Yeah, yeah, dipshit.”

Sirens. Connor’s head felt like it was going to implode, his interface littered with stress warnings. The sound grew louder, and finally, an ambulance.

The following events seemed to happen in a blur, Hank shouting for the paramedics, hands prying Connor away from Gavin, promising him it’ll be alright, they’ll take care of him.

The other Officers arriving, taking Connor aside, questioning him, Hank already being taken to the hospital alongside Gavin.

Being let off by the Detectives that had been questioning him, one of them, he couldn’t even remember his name or face, driving him to the hospital.

And there he was, sitting in a hospital chair in the waiting room at 1:56 a.m., the cold, hard plastic under him and the scent of anesthetics filling his nostrils.

It wasn’t the first time Connor had been in a hospital, questioning injured witnesses or various hospital staff.

It wasn’t even the first time he was sitting in a waiting room, anxiously hoping for news. Hank had been injured during a case a few months ago, and the second time around the experience wasn’t any less agonizing.

Every time a nurse walked by Connor would stop them, asking them if they had any new information on the two police men that had just arrived.

Every time he got the same answer. “I’m sorry, but as of right now we’re can’t tell you anything, Sir.” Each of them with the same look of pity and sympathy in their eyes, their hands touching his arm or shoulder in an attempt to comfort him before rushing away to the next patient that needed them.

He had been informed at least that Gavin had been hurried into emergency surgery for both shot wounds, Hank still with a doctor.

Connor closed his eyes, hands desperately searching for his coin, hoping he hadn’t lost it in the quarrel.

The man had been proclaimed dead by the doctor that arrived on the scene, Connor’s gun confiscated as evidence.

The feeling of the familiar piece of metal in his pocket eased him a tiny bit, he shakily out a breath as he took it into his hand, rapidly throwing it into the other and back.

All the while his LED cycled red, stress levels still too high for it to even go back to yellow.

It was a wonder his hands weren’t trembling; his vocal unit was still somewhat glitching out whenever he spoke to one of the nurses.

The coin danced along his knuckles, Connor’s thoughts with it, wanting to hear Gavin’s voice, his soft laugh, even his swearing and rude comments seemed so much more desirable than the dreadful silence, only broken by the sound of footsteps as medical stuff ran from one patient to the next, sometimes orders being shouted.

A small family was sitting across from him, the young kid staring at his face and LED curiously.

Connor tried to smile, and he hoped the smile didn’t feel as false and tired and worn out as it felt.

The boy hurried back to his mother, who shot Connor an apologetic look.

The android nodded, gesturing that he had understood and accepted her apology before leaning back in his chair and closing his eyes.

He felt drained yet erratic, panicked yet incredibly exhausted.

Another warning started to blink at the corner of his interface, his LED still glowering red. Red like the blood that was still on his clothing, probably one more reason the boy had looked at him so curiously yet wary.

Connor threw his coin up in the air, catching it without even looking, trying to lower his stress levels by the sheer power of his will.

The thought of losing Gavin so shortly after he had found him filled him with fear, the lump in his throat coming back, his thirium pump regulator skipping a beat.

Somehow over the course of his investigation the Detective had grown on him. No, grown on him wasn’t the right word for what he felt, it felt too weak, too meaningless.

He had slowly grown closer to him, had become attached, emotionally compromised. Hank had warned him, and he had ignored all of the glaring red flags that had presented themselves to him along the way, perfecting the art of lying to himself even more than he had before. He opened his eyes.

A shiver ran through him as he thought about the past two weeks, a sensation of emptiness filling him at the thought of the lonely apartment, cold and abandoned now, even more than it had been before.

The apartment probably had never been a home, sadness engulfing Connor at the thought.

His emotions were a mess, warning after warning on his interface. Energy, thirium pump regulator beating irregularly, stress levels still not having gone down below 70%.

He hated waiting like this. Connor wasn’t an impatient person, not usually, but this drove him crazy, the nervous anticipation, the hope and fear every time a nurse walked by, the disappointment but also relief every time they had no news for him.

Because no news at all meant no bad news eithers.

His coin dropped to the floor, and Connor bent down to pick it up again.

Only now was it that he started to notice his surroundings properly, the white walls and artificial light of the waiting room making it look sterile and impersonal in a way that reminded him too much of the way the apartment had felt like.

Connor wished he had Sumo with him, or Gilbert. Animals always seemed to sooth his nerves, and heaven knows he needed it right now.

The words “emotionally compromised” kept repeating in his head.

He knew, he absolutely knew they were true, there was no way he could deny it, not when he had already admitted it to Hank just a bit more than 24 hours ago.

Had it really only been one day since his conversation with the Lieutenant at the kitchen table?

Time had seemed to drag on while they had been waiting, each second now too feeling like an eternity while he was waiting to hear something, anything, about Hank and Gavin.

He knew Hank would most likely be fine, probably in need of stiches, he maybe would be walking on crutches for a bit.

He couldn’t say the same about Gavin. Connor hadn’t been able to properly assess the severity of his wound, too busy trying to stop the bleeding and later being dragged away from the injured man’s body so that he could be taken to the hospital.

The sound of the sirens was still ringing in his ears.

Ever since he had taken on the case, he had been on an emotional roller coaster, spinning and falling and rising, unable to stop it, panic and excitement and emptiness and dread and sadness and fondness cycling through him, not allowing him a second of rest.

The small family that had been sitting in the waiting room with him had left already when their teenaged daughter had joined them, the mother shooting Connor a sympathetic look as they exited.

He was thankful they hadn’t said anything about his blood-stained clothing, his viciously red LED or simply the fact that he was an android.

He could still feel the thirium in mouth that had leaked earlier, his system constantly trying to analyze the remainders, error messages still popping up warning him about his dangerously high stress levels.

It wasn’t as if he could do something against them, not right now, the only thing keeping him sane the coin between his hands, reflecting the cold, white hospital lights as it danced, thrown upwards and from hand to hand, spun between his fingers and caught in a quick and sudden motion until the process repeated itself.

The nervousness was killing him, anxiety pooling in his stomach, and with every flick of his wrist, every cycle of coin tricks his thoughts wandered back to Gavin, sometimes the Gavin that was now in surgery, various medical stuff gathered around his unconscious body trying their best to save his life, sometimes the one he had known before the events of the past two months had taken place.

And most often, they spiraled back to the Gavin he had gotten to know, had started to understand during the past days.

Bringing all of the three versions his mind had conjured up felt difficult, the connection between the loud and arrogant and rude man that had antagonized Connor more than a few times and the lonely, longing and simply maladapted Gavin he had witnessed through the audio logs hard to grasp at times.

But it was there, especially when his mind brought back the harsh, the angry, the hurtful words even the latter version had spoken, despite the hidden tone of desperation and pain, despite the new context his further knowledge gave them.

Then again, didn’t the same count for the Gavin he had known as his colleague? They were both the same person, his actions towards Connor had also stemmed from the hurt and mistrust and misguided anger that had built itself up from his past, the Detective never having learned a healthy way of coping with his emotions and past trauma.

And he had wanted to apologize, Gavin had said so clearly on one of his later entries, had wanted to make amends and reconcile, had wanted to be his friend, even if he hadn’t acted on it.

It had sounded incredibly sincere too.

And Connor wanted that. Wanted to get closer to Gavin, more than he already felt, wanted to do so because the other too, wanted to share his thought and memories with him, because he trusted him, because he wanted him in his life, not because the android had pried his way into Gavin’s past without his knowledge or permission.

Despite the tenseness of the whole situation, the fear and restlessness he felt throughout his whole body Connor couldn’t help but smile, a picture slowly forming in his mind, his eyes fluttering shut for a second.

Him and Gavin, sitting on the couch in Gavin’s apartment, Gilbert curling up at their feet, softly talking and laughing.

Gavin opening up to Connor.

A pleasant warmth went through his chest at the thought, for a second chasing away the cold and numb feeling that had possessed him.

Yes, he wanted that.

He wanted the Detective in his life, now, and for hopefully a very long time. He didn’t want to think about the possibility that things could be over before they started, that any moment a nurse could approach him, telling him they were sorry, but Gavin Reed had passed away during the surgery.

The thought immediately left him feeling like he was freezing all over, a tremble running through his body before he focused his attention back to the coin in his hands, playing with it again.

The feelings he was experiencing towards Detective Reed were something so new, so unfamiliar that he would be lying if he said they didn’t scare him.

They felt so vastly different from any other form of affection he had felt, be it towards Hank or Sumo or his colleagues at the DPD.

The weren’t bad, weren’t unpleasant, sure, but he simply couldn’t put it into words, too tired and anxious to search his data base.

Connor was attached to the Detective, that was sure, and he greatly cared about his well-being. A strange urge to be close to the other man came with each thought, both physically and emotionally. He wanted the other to trust him, to value him, to be as important to Gavin as the Detective was to him.

He wanted to run his hands through the other’s hair, see him smile and laugh at a joke, hear the softness in his voice, hear him speak fondly of Gilbert and maybe, hopefully, of Connor too.

Maybe… Maybe he was… No, that surely wasn’t it. Or maybe it was. Could it be, that during this investigation, in the process of getting to know the otherwise hostile and cold and aggressive man the Detective usually presented as, Connor had actually –

Before the android could finish his train of thought, his synthetic heartbeat even quicker than before, beating irregularly, cheeks warm and tinged blue, he felt a tap on his shoulder.

“Detective…Connor?” the nurse seemed unsure how to address the android.

Connor turned his attention towards the young man before him, he couldn’t be older than 24, and nodded, mind too tired and foggy to offer a proper answer.

“I’m here to talk to you about the two police officers that had been brought in a few hours ago. Detective Reed and Lieutenant Anderson?”

Connor nodded again.

“Lieutenant Anderson’s injury wasn’t too grave, he received stiches and will be kept overnight just in case, but he should be good to go tomorrow morning. He will walk on crutches for a while seeing has one of the bones in his lower leg had been fractured due to the impact, but if he has someone to take care it shouldn’t be a problem.

Detective Reed on the other hand…” the nurse pasued, and Connor’s thirium pump regulator stopped beating for a second. If there were terrible news about Gavin, wouldn’t he have told him first, right? No, he wouldn’t have, Connor realized, because the nurse could probably see how they would have broken the android, shattered him into pieces, so he told him the good news first.

Scared, he forced himself to look at the young man in front of him, already bracing himself for what was yet to come.

“Detective Reed lost a lot of blood.” He began, carefully watching Connor’s reaction.

“But he made it through surgery. He’s still in critical condition and will be kept in the ICU until he has stabilized, but for now, he’s alive.”

Connor didn’t think he had ever felt so relieved in his life.

“Can… Can I see him?” he asked, voice quiet and strained from the effort it took.

“As of now, he isn’t allowed any visitors. If his condition doesn’t worsen until tomorrow, we may allow you to visit him for a few minutes.

We’re not sure when he will wake up, so it might take some time before you are able to speak to your friend.”

Nodding in response, Connor sank back into his chair, listening to the footsteps of the nurse as he left. Gavin was alive, and that was all that mattered to him right now.

Chapter Text

The staff had forced Connor to leave the waiting room at some point, urging him to get some sleep, change his clothes and return in the morning. There wasn’t anything he could do right now no matter how you looked at it; Gavin wasn’t allowed any visitors at all yet, and 4 a.m. certainly weren’t visiting hours which meant seeing Hank wouldn’t be possible either.

The nurse that had talked him into going home had been a different one than the young man that had broken the news about both Hank’s and Gavin’s current status to him, the short, older woman giving him an encouraging smile, softly saying comforting words as she accompanied the android to the main exist, explaining to him that he would be able to visit Hank and possibly even bring him home tomorrow.

She never said anything about Gavin, not after the first attempt of mentioning him, seeing the anxiousness in Connor’s eyes, the way his fists clenched and his whole body tensed up.

Truth be told despite the knowledge that Gavin had survived and was being cared for in the ICU now he was still scared, terrified of the chance that he could lose everything again in just one second when all it took was for one heart to stop beating.

A shudder went through him as he stepped out into the night, hailing a cab. Connor needed to get home, needed to change, needed to check up upon Sumo. The dog always seemed to know when something was wrong with Connor or Hank, and the fact that neither of them was home yet probably made the large St. Bernard more than a bit anxious.

Hadn’t it been for his exhaustions he would’ve smiled at the image of Sumo in his mind.

The ride home didn’t take long, Connor sitting in the back, eyes closed and playing with his coin.

He was glad the driver didn’t make any attempts at small talk.

When the taxi came to a halt Connor blinked a few times, paying his fee. He stepped outside and watched the car drive off into the distance, standing on the sidewalk for a few seconds and looking as lost as he felt.

The house had an air of emptiness to it, the lights were turned off and Connor could immediately feel Hank’s absence as he stepped into the living room, Sumo waddling up to him.

“Hello, Sumo.”, Connor forced out, still hearing the slight strain in his voice as he spoke to the animal, dropping to his knees to give the dog a proper hug. The warm and soft fur against his synthetic skin comforted him, Sumo’s loud barks echoing through the dark living room.

Tears dwelled up in Connor’s eyes once more, clouding his vision as he pulled the dog closer, Sumo happily dropping down onto his legs. All the tension and stress from the previous days left his body as he buried his face into the dog’s neck, arms and shoulders going limp while still staying wrapped around the large St. Bernard.

He hadn’t even realized how much tension he had been holding until now, not yesterday when he had talked with Hank, not in the waiting room when someone finally told him that Gavin was alive, not at any point during this investigation.

And now it was over. Done. He had found Gavin, he had accomplished his mission. But… he didn’t feel like he was done yet, didn’t feel complete yet.

Thinking about it, he hadn’t felt anything close to complete for some time now, always feeling like he had lost something and was desperately trying to get it back. Sumo’s tongue running over his face made him laugh, shakily, quietly, worn out, but laugh nonetheless.

This was good. Gavin was alive, Hank wasn’t injured too badly, he had done what he had set out to.

Except that had changed over the past few days, Connor thought.

What he wanted had slowly changed from the simply desire to complete his mission by finding the missing Detective to understanding the man behind the hostile and aggressive persona Reed put on every day in the precinct to helping Gavin find peace in his life, helping him deal with the events in his past. Being close to Gavin.

An uneven breath escaped Connor’s lips. Yes, he wanted that. He could only hope he wasn’t the only one.

With that thought in mind, Connor closed his eyes, not bothering to get up or change his still bloody clothing before initiating sleep mode. There would be time for that tomorrow.

 

The android was awoken by a ringing sound, clear and loud in his mind.

He lazily opened his eyes, optical sensors slowly adjusting to the change in brightness before he picked up the call.

Hank would be allowed to go home, he had been given the all-clear by his doctor, Connor would just have to go and fetch him. The Lieutenant’s car had been brought to the precinct after one of the officers had asked Connor for the key because none of them had trusted the android to drive safely in the state he had been in yesterday.

Not that Connor could blame them.

He thanked the doctor and hung up. There hadn’t been any mention of Gavin, and something in Connor hadn’t dared to ask.

Sumo had stalked off somewhere, no longer lying with Connor after the android had basically fallen asleep on the living room floor the previous night. The house looked different now, full of light as the warm morning sun that fell through the kitchen window brightened up the place.

A soft smile formed on Connor’s lips as he got back onto his feet, heading towards his room to get changed.

His gaze wandered over to his desks, the flash drives still on the wooden table where he had left them.

It was over.

All the nights of waiting and hoping and anticipating and listening to a voice from years back were over, no more tense and sleepless nights because he couldn’t tear himself away from the past of someone who had held so little meaning to him just two weeks ago.

It was relieving in a sense.

He still didn’t know what exactly had happened, how Gavin had ended up in the alleyway yesterday, but he would. He would ask him, when he woke up and was well enough. Things weren’t as pressing anymore, finding Gavin wasn’t a matter of life and death anymore, because he had found him, alive, even if barely when they were back in that damn alleyway.

Closing the last of his buttons, Connor returned to the kitchen and picked out the bag with Sumo’s food, pouring a generous amount into the dog’s bowl. Nobody had fed him today yet, obviously, and he deserved it for the worry he had probably gone through.

The android called for Sumo and waited until he could see the St. Bernard waddle up to him before petting him once more and leaving the house, the nearest bus station as his goal in mind. He would have to get Hank’s car from the precinct and then get him from the hospital.

The self-driving bus arrived only a few minutes after Connor, the ride to the police station calm and quiet with few other people in the vehicle.

He couldn’t help fiddling with his coin as soon as he had sat down, only putting it away again when the bus came to a halt near the precinct. The habit had increased even more the past days, but who could really blame him.

Connor walked up to the receptionist, the same female android that had worked here when he first started assisting the DPD.

Something about her was different now, her pose less stiff and her smile genuine. They had chatted a few times, and Connor had learned that she enjoyed her job as a receptionist, even made friends with one or two of the officers.

“Hello, I’m here to fetch Lieutenant Anderson’s car. It should have been brought here yesterday? I just need the location and the keys.” Straight to the point.

“Hello, Connor, it’s nice to see you again.”, she smiled, retrieving the keys from a drawer. “Here you go, I’ll send you the exact location.”

“Thank you.” The male android nodded, blinking rapidly, LED cycling yellow as he received the needed information.

Connor waved her goodbye as he left the precinct again, he knew he should properly talk to Fowler and inform him about Hank and Gavin, but he was sure that yesterday’s officers had taken care of that, and if not, it wouldn’t kill Fowler if he had to wait a few more hours to get a detailed update on the situation.

Getting to the hospital and to Hank was his priority now.

He opened the car door and was greeted by the familiar scent of Hank’s cologne, a faint smell alcohol and fast food and, most prominently, the Little Tree Connor had insisted on hanging up around the rear-view mirror.

The engine roared as Connor started the car, and he was thankful that Hank had insisted on him learning how to drive a manual car once more.

There was something soothing about it, his eyes locked onto the traffic in front of him as he made his way to the hospital, speeding only a little. Hank would probably kill him if he admitted it, but the android enjoyed driving a bit faster than he probably should.

The hospital parking lot was already pretty full, and something about the thought filled Connor with a feeling of sympathy. So many people, humans and androids alike, were probably visiting their loved ones, many injured or sick, some for the last time, some for the first time.  

The distinct scent of sanitizer filled the air as he entered the hospital building, making his way to the receptionist’s table.

Standing in line, waiting for his turn to speak to the clerk, he let his eyes wander around the hospital lobby, visitors chatting, waiting, some taking their relatives and friends who Connor assumed to be patients due to their appearance for a walk outside, worried faces nervously glancing towards doors and elevators, nurses pushing beds from one wing to another.

The hospital looked so different now, less isolated and defeated, more welcoming and full of hope for recovery.

As the person standing in front of him left, walking off towards one of the elevators, Connor stepped forward and politely smiled at the young man in front of him. Smiling came easier to him again.

“I’m here to get Lieutenant Anderson. He had been brought in for a gun shot wound yesterday? I was informed I would be able to take him home today?” he asked, looking just slightly past the other.

The man nodded. “And you are?”

“My name is Connor, I… I am the Lieutenant’s partner on the force.”

“Okay… Connor.” The receptionist seemed a bit confused at the fact that the other had only introduced himself with his first name. “You can wait here, I’ll call the medical staff in charge of Lieutenant Anderson. He should be with you in a few minutes.” He was already reaching for the phone, before Connor stopped him.

“What… what about the other Detective that had been brought in yesterday? Gavin Reed?” there, he had asked it. He had been reluctant to do so while on the phone in the morning, but his worry had gotten the better of him.

“I’ll have to call and ask. The doctor will be able to tell you more about his condition.” The man was perfectly polite despite the fact that Connor had just grabbed his arm, something the android was sure was inappropriate.

He let go, thanked the receptionist and sat down in one of the plastic chairs again, the same one he had sat in last night.

Only a few minutes later Hank and a man in a white coat stepped out of the elevator, Hank’s leg bandaged up and the man himself walking on crutches, cursing with every “step” he took.

In lieu of a greeting, he looked Connor once over and grunted. “Y’know, I think I preferred getting shot in the shoulder. Didn’t have to walk on these things back then.”

Connor let out a soft laugh. “I’m glad to see you too, Hank.” He smiled, before turning towards the doctor.

After a quick explanation of how to change the bandages, how regularly a new one should be applied and that the stiches would dissolve within a few weeks, they were good to go.

“What about Gavin?” Connor blurted out when the doctor had finished without giving even the smallest hint that he would be saying anything about him.

“You mean Detective Reed? We’re still keeping him in the ICU, but if his condition doesn’t worsen we’ll allow visitors soon. He’s not out of the woods yet, and he hasn’t woken up so far which is why we’re keeping him there. If you want, I can give you a call as soon as you’re able to visit your… colleague.” Something on Connor’s face seemed to have made him hesitate when addressing Gavin as just his colleague, but Connor couldn’t care less at the moment. He simply nodded and thanked the doctor, telling him that yes, he would like that.

Hank said his goodbyes as well before letting Connor escort him out of the door, constantly complaining about having to walk on crutches.

The rest of the day went by quietly, Connor calling Fowler to explain to him what had happened, thankfully their boss had already been mostly in the picture, and informing him that he would be taking a few days off. Hank had refused to do so for more time than necessary, and despite the arguing that had ensued between him and the Chief, Fowler had relented in the end and had promised Hank that he’d be able to get back to work as soon as possible, even if it would only be desk duty for the following weeks.

Hank had begrudgingly accepted the terms.

Sumo also seemed to be incredibly happy to have his owner back, barking and cuddling up to Hank at every opportunity.

With the TV playing a rerun of yesterday’s hockey game the three of them sat on the couch, a comfortable silence around them. Neither Connor nor Hank felt the need to talk, both busy in their own thoughts.

That was, until a ringing inside of Connor’s head disturbed the quiet that had settled upon them.

Connor answered the call, thirium pump regulator picking up speed.

“Detective Connor?” a voice asked.

“Yes?”

“I’m calling to inform you that as of now, Detective Reed is allowed to have visitors. Not too many at once, but if you want, you could come and visit him”

“Of… Of course! I’ll be there in a few minutes, thank you doctor.” he already jumped to his feet, earning a confused look from Hank.

The voice on the other end of the line laughed. “Don’t break any traffic laws, Detective.”, he said before hanging up.

“Connor, what’s going on? Where the hell are you- Fucking slow down, son, where the hell are you running?!”

Connor let out a laugh, genuine and happy, shaky from the relief and gratefulness that rushed through him.

“The doctor just called me, and he said- he said Gavin was allowed visitors now. I’ll… I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I’m going to the hospital now. If he’s allowed visitors, it means his condition is getting better, right?” he couldn’t bring himself to hide the hope and elation in his voice.

“Son, calm down, you’re gonna hurt yourself if you keep running around like this.” A good-natured smile was showing on Hank’s face, despite the worry in his tone.

He seemed to be wanting to say something else but decided against it.

“Can you feed Sumo before you go? I’m not sure I can bend down to do that right now, not with these damned things.” He jabbed his thumb towards the crutches leaning against the couch.

“Of course!” Connor replied, already throwing on his jacket. He didn’t get cold like humans did, but he knew people found it strange to see someone running around in a t-shirt when it still was far from warm enough.

Before he exited the door, Connor hesitated for a moment. “Will you be alright, Hank?” his voice sounded more sober now, careful and concerned.

“Yeah, yeah.” Hank waved his hand dismissively. “I’ve made it almost 55 years without an android nanny, I can do it for a night or so.

Now go, before you drive me crazy, go and visit the prick. Heaven knows you’ve been working your ass off to find him.” With that, the Lieutenant turned his attention back to the TV, softly scratching Sumo’s head.

Connor smiled and stepped out of the door. He had forgotten to ask Hank for he could use the car, but he was okay with taking public transport. It didn’t matter how he got there, as long as he did.

The ride felt painfully slow, and Connor practically jumped off the bus when it arrived, walking towards the hospital’s main entry as fast as he could.

The receptionist was a different this time around, and Connor’s simulated breathing was going a bit too fast and hitched when he spoke up, too quickly for the human to follow at first.

He took in a deep breath before starting again.

“I’m Detective Connor, I’ve just been informed that Detective Reed is now allowed visitors. And I want to visit him.” The girl behind the counter looked a bit taken aback, shooting a wary glance towards the android’s LED.

Connor hated that he still got these when people realized he wasn’t human, but in this moment he couldn’t care less.

The uncomfortable silence lasted for a few more seconds, before the girl spoke up. “Uh, yeah, sure, let me check for his room. Gavin Reed, was it?” Connor nodded.

“And you’re his…?”

What was he to Gavin? They were colleagues, so much was true. They… they weren’t really friend or anything for each other, now that Connor thought about it. He tried to swallow the small lump in his throat that had suddenly formed there.

“We… we work together.” He answered, suddenly tense.

“Uh-huh. His room is down that hallway, on this floor. Room number 107. There are no limitations for the visiting hours, but the nurse will probably come in a few times to check up on him. He’s not awake yet, just so you know.”

Her eyes slipped away from Connor, back to her computer. Taking this as a goodbye of some sorts, Connor took off towards the direction she had described for him, only stopping in his tracks when he stood in front of a stark white door, the number 107 written next to it.

Gavin was in there. Lying on a hospital bed, unconscious, but alive.

Letting out a synthetic breath, Connor pushed open the door.

Gavin would have looked almost peaceful as he slept if it hadn’t been for the IV line in his left hand and various monitors and devices next to him.

Connor stood there for a few seconds, just watching the Detective’s chest rise and fall, slowly but surely, showing how he was still alive despite everything.

The last bits of sunlight were falling through the window, bathing the otherwise cold and white room in a warm orange.

He had never seen Gavin so vulnerable, without the hostile stance or the aggression his movements. The android wished it had been different circumstances.

According to his database, speaking to sleeping patients seemed to be beneficial in their recovery. He pulled the chair that previously had been standing in one of the corners closer to the bed, sitting down.

It was uncomfortable, but he didn’t care. All that mattered was that he was here right now, with Gavin.

“Hello… Detective?” he wasn’t sure how to address him.

“No, that doesn’t sound right. Gavin? Is it okay if I call you Gavin, Detective?” He waited for an answer that never came, the man in front of him just kept sleeping.

“Well, since you’re not saying anything against it, I assume I have your permission. Well, Gavin, it’s been more than three months that we have properly spoken to each other. No, that’s not really true. I don’t think we’ve ever truly spoken to each other, without petty insults or passive aggressiveness.

I would like to change that. I have to confess that in the past few days I have learned more about you than I ever thought I would.

I should probably apologize for prying into your privacy and your past like this, but I am saving it for when you can actually hear me.” Would the nurses think he was being stupid when they came in? His database had told him that friends and family often spoke to their unconscious loved ones in a manner similar to what he was doing, but the worry was there nonetheless. Still, he kept going.

“I must say, I was very surprised by some of the things I heard. I really didn’t expect you and Elijah Kamski to be related. Thinking back now, there are definitely similarities in appearance, though I am sure you wouldn’t be too happy about me comparing you to your brother. If I had one, I don’t think I would be either.

I think I now understand a bit better why you always acted so hostile towards me, Gavin, and I really hope we can move on from there when you wake up.

What I heard on these recordings… It made me rethink some things too.

Your life hasn’t been easy, has it?” He hesitated. Connor wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to tell Gavin, what he should talk about.

The man’s entries in his audio diary had always been between rambles about his personal life and important, emotional events. But what was the point if Gavin couldn’t hear him?

Some sources claimed that, maybe, he could. So Connor just started rambling.

“When this is all over, I want to introduce you to Sumo. I don’t believe you met him already, have you? No, why would you. You and Hank have never really been on friendly terms, am I right, Gavin?

But I think Sumo would be happy to meet you. He’s a large St. Bernard, 29 inches high, he’s just about to turn nine years old this year.

He’s a giant with a soft heart, a bit like Hank, you know?

I’ve met your cat before, Gilbert. He seemed very friendly, towards me at least. He’s a Maine Coon, isn’t he? Your neighbor is currently taking care of him as it seems.

I hope you’re not too angry at me for being in your apartment. The first time, I had to investigate it, I hope you understand.

The second time, I…” he stopped, unsure whether to continue.

“The second time I just felt the need to be there. It’s… human emotions are still hard for me to grasp sometimes, and you especially have caused a lot of confusion for me.

I’m very glad I found you, Gavin.” His voice had gone quiet at the last sentence, scared anyone else could have heard it despite the room being empty except for the two of them. It seemed too intimate for any other ears. Not being able to resist the urge, he put his hand above Gavin’s, carefully letting it rest on top if the Detective’s.

Connor stayed silent for a few minutes, watching the sunlight fade away completely, turning the room dark with only the faint light of the moon illuminating it. He never got up to switch on the electrical lights of the hospital room, something about the darkness felt soothing.

Just as Connor wanted to continue speaking, a nurse walked in turning on the light and checking Gavin’s pulse and other vitals, copying down numbers from various monitors. He hastily pulled his hand away, feeling his cheeks heat up as if he had been caught doing something incredibly embarrassing.

She gave Connor a sympathetic smile.

“It’s always hard to see your loved ones like this, it’s probably pretty common in your line of work, though, am I right? I don’t think it ever gets easier, but from the looks of it his chances at recovery are good. We’re just waiting for him to wake up, the blood loss has worn him out pretty badly.” With a quick pat on his shoulder she left again, telling him she would be pack in another two hours.

As she went, she turned off the light again, and Connor shot her a thankful glance. He preferred the calming darkness over the aggressiveness of the white LED lights in the ceiling.

“These past two weeks have been very strange, if I am being honest.

I did some things I thought I would never do again, visiting Kamski was one of them. He seemed to still care about you, Gavin. He bribed the former Chief to erase your biological family from your files, did you know that? It’s also only because of him that I was tasked to investigate your disappearance.

Maybe there is still hope for the two of you, I know you don’t actually hate him.

And I know you don’t actually hate me, either.

I don’t hate you either. I don’t think I ever have.

I might not have cared about you, but I think since this investigation started that changed.

I… I greatly care about you, Gavin, and I don’t want things to go back to the way they were before. I don’t want us to avoid each other in the hallways and break room, I… I don’t want to be the butt of your jokes and recipient of your crude remarks.

If you can forgive me for snooping around in your past that is. I want you to trust me, I want us to build a friendly relationship. Do you think we could do that?” he paused again, hoping for a sudden answer. Nothing.

Connor watched the digital clock that was being projected on the wall change numbers, again and again. It was getting late, really late, but he had told Hank he didn’t know when he would be coming home.

He propped himself up on his elbows, chin resting on his hands, studying Gavin’s sleeping face.

This was the face that belonged to the voice that had kept him company for most of his recent nights, the face that probably had twisted in emotional pain so often when recording. A part of Connor knew he would miss listening to Gavin’s voice every night, sometimes until he had to go into sleep mode because his energy levels had been drained too much.

“Do you think we can do that?” he asked, quietly, unsure of himself. The android still had a difficult time talking about his feelings, especially when they felt so new for him as the ones he had for Gavin were.

“Just… talk, I mean. Until one of us falls asleep, just tell each other about everything and nothing. I think… I think I would like that, Detective.” For some reason addressing Gavin by his formal title made Connor smile, it seemed almost like a fond nickname on that moment.

The clock kept changing, time kept passing, and Gavin kept sleeping peacefully.

This time Connor didn’t stop talking, telling Gavin about small things in his life, stories about Hank and Sumo, how Tina had wanted to help find Gavin, more often than not gently taken the other’s hand into his own, thumb drawing circles on the calloused fingers.

When the nurse came in a second time she stayed with him for a few minutes, watching Connor with a knowing look in her eyes while checking Gavin’s vitals before disappearing again.

Connor couldn’t blame her.

“I think you said something about your favorite Italian place on one of your entries? How… How about we go there some day? While I am not equipped to eat food, I think I would still greatly enjoy an evening out with you. We could use it to build up some trust between us and enjoy ourselves, what do you say?” Again, no answer.

So he kept talking, watching Gavin’s chest rise and fall as time went on. The image of the two of them, sitting across from each other in a small restaurant, smiling and laughing as Gavin ate, before leaving and going home, to Gavin’s place, sitting on the couch with Gilbert never left his mind.

The nurse came in for a third and fourth time, Connor still sitting by his side.

She had once asked him if it wouldn’t be better to leave for the night, get some rest, but Connor had just pointed towards his LED and told her that he didn’t need to rest right now.

She hadn’t tried to argue.

“Do you think things could have gone differently from the start?” he asked at some point after the nurse had come in to check on Gavin for the fifth time. The clock on the wall told him it was 5:43 a.m. already, Connor had been sitting here for hours now.

He hadn’t received and answer, of course he hadn’t, but that didn’t stop him.

“Because I think underneath all that aggressiveness and hostility towards myself and others there is a good person, Gavin. I… I think underneath it all, you’re not as bad as you seem to think you are. I heard they way you talk about yourself, it’s… it’s not nice to listen to.

I don’t want you to think about yourself that way, I wish… I wish you could see how much more you are. That life doesn’t have to be this way.

I… I want to help you, Gavin. Will you let me?”

He paused.

“I… I really hope you wake up soon, Gavin. I… I just want to talk to you properly, I want… I want more than what we had before. No, that’s… We didn’t have anything before, did we? I want us to have something.” Connor could hear the desperation and longing in his own voice, but he couldn’t bring himself to try and hide it.

“I… really want things to be different, I don’t think I can go back to the way things have been before.” It was just a few words. He could admit it, no one was here, Gavin was still fast asleep. And even if he heard the android, would it be that bad?

The clock on the wall moved past 6:30 a.m., the first rays of sunlight hitting the room.

“Because…” Anxiety filled him. “Detective, I think I might have fallen for you.” The words were barely more than a whisper, yet full of fondness and longing, a promise to both himself and the sleeping figure in front of him.

And just in that moment, Gavin opened his eyes, ever so slightly but enough for Connor to see. The android’s heart dropped.

What if Gavin hated him now? What if Gavin was angry at him, what if he had just ruined his chances at a friendship with him? Connor knew his thought were irrational, LED bright red in the dim room, thirium pump regulator racing.

A smile formed on Gavin’s lips as he slowly turned his head towards Connor.

“’s about time, dipshit.” he said, voice hoarse yet incredibly fond before he closed his eyes and slipped back into his slumber.

And Connor knew everything would be alright.

Chapter Text

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.