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I am not afraid of dying

Chapter Text

Gavin knew the moment he entered the precinct that something was up. Everyone’s head swiveled towards him, and he stared back with his coffee cup pressed to his lips. Unease trickled down his spine. He tried to walk nonchalantly to his desk, determined to ignore everyone’s eyes, but he only made it halfway before Fowler’s barking voice rang across the bullpen.

“Reed! My office!”

Shit, that couldn’t be good. Sighing, Gavin set his coffee on his desk and made his way to the central office. As he walked, he mentally ran through the past few days. He didn’t think he had done anything to warrant another mark in his disciplinary folder, but you never knew what some people would deem as report-worthy.

He steeled himself and pushed open the glass door. His eyes widened owlishly when he saw a near-carbon copy of Connor standing beside Fowler’s desk. He knew where this was going. “No.” He protested before the captain could even get a word in. “No, fuck that. I’m not partnering with some tin can.”

Fowler leveled him with a tired, deadpan gaze. “Gavin, this is RK900. As of now, he is your partner. Not your babysitter and certainly not your goddamn servant. Your. Partner .” The captain bit out the statement, his tone brooking no arguments.

Gavin gritted his teeth and crossed his arms over his chest, eyes lingering on the RK900. The android was freakishly similar to Connor, though he was distinctly taller—nearly a head higher than Gavin—and his jaw was fuller and his facial features more rigid. The main difference was the stark gray eyes that penetrated Gavin with an uncanny stare. Gavin shifted uncomfortably under the intense look and turned his attention back to Fowler.

“So, what, CyberLife’s just decided to throw all their unwanted pieces of plastic at us?”

Fowler sighed through his nose and laced his fingers together. “The government has mandated that all undeviated androids be turned over by CyberLife and allowed to deviate. Most of them can be converted through the touch of an existing deviant. However, RK900 has protocols which block the usual methods.” The captain glanced at the android before continuing. “So they sent him to us so that he could deviate naturally.”

“Oh, and you think that I can help with that?” Gavin scoffed incredulously.

Fowler’s mouth turned up in a hint of a smirk. “All of your past partners requested a new partner because they couldn’t stand your personality. I don’t think it’ll take long for RK900 to deviate. As soon as he’s free of his programming, you’ll be free of him.”

Gavin snorted and gave the unmoving android another glance before shoving the glass door back open and retreating to his desk. In his absence, his coffee had cooled to room temperature. The detective took a hearty draught of it, grimacing at the cool, oily texture. He nearly spit his next sip across his terminal when a daunting shadow fell over him. The RK900 stood less than a foot away, still fixing him with piercing gray eyes.

“Jesus shit. ” Gavin sputtered, setting the cup down and wiping a hand across his mouth. “Don’t sneak up on me!”

The android tilted his head in that peculiar bird-like manner. “Apologies, Detective Reed.” His voice was deeper than Connor’s, too, carrying a richer timbre. Gavin tried to ignore the way it shivered through his chest with the close proximity. “I will endeavour to notify you of my approach in the future.”

“Yeah, yeah, you do that, Asshole.” Gavin leaned back in his seat, regarding the android. “So, what, Tin Can, they didn’t give you a name?”

RK900 blinked, his hands slowly unlinking from behind his back. His LED spun yellow before cycling back to blue. “Unfortunately, my line of RK units were not commissioned before the revolution ended. I am the only remaining RK900 model, and the engineers who created me did not see fit to give me a name.”

The flicker of anguish that seemed to shadow the android’s face was purely borne from Gavin’s imagination. He huffed a quiet “huh” and turned back to his terminal. A few moments passed before RK900’s voice piped up, sounding impossibly soft.

“Would you like to give me a name, Detective Reed?”

Surprise colored Gavin’s expression, and he looked to the android with narrowed eyes. The RK900 studied his face before muttering on. “I know humans are more comfortable with named objects than simply referring to them by their model name—”

“Shut the fuck up.” Gavin broke in, effectively silencing the rambling android. Something cut through the stoic facade, and RK900 dropped his attention to the floor. A feeling of guilt wormed into Gavin’s stomach, and he couldn’t remove the admonished look on the android’s face from his mind. He lasted two minutes before he turned bodily back towards the RK900. “Richard. Your name’s fucking Richard.”

Richard’s head jerked upwards, a light entering his pale eyes—or maybe it was just the overhead fluorescents reflecting in them. Gavin could’ve sworn there was a touch of pride in the tin can’s voice when he parroted back, “My name is Richard.”

The two stared at each other, neither’s expression readable. Finally, Gavin coughed awkwardly and flicked a hand at the desk opposite of his. “You can use that terminal, I guess.”

Richard nodded and moved to sit behind the desk. Hands splayed across the desk surface, he looked to Gavin. “Is there a particular case you are working on at the moment, Detective Reed?”

“Nah, just paperwork right now.” The detective muttered back, shuffling through a haphazard stack of papers on the edge of his desk.

Again, Richard inclined his head, eyes flicking to the unfilled police reports and forms. “Oh.” Nothing else was said between them, and Gavin did his best to ignore the presence of the imposing android across from him.

Fifteen minutes later, his cup was empty and his hand was starting to cramp from holding his pen too tightly. “Shit…” He muttered under his breath, giving his right hand a vigorous shaking. When his fingers were loosened, he scrubbed a hand down his scruffy face.

“Here, Detective.” A deep voice sounded to his left, and Gavin nearly jumped out of his seat.

“What the fuck did I say about—” He trailed off, looking from Richard to the android’s extended hand. A fresh mug of coffee was gripped loosely in the RK900’s hand. The tantalizing scent hit the roof of Gavin’s mouth, and he wordlessly accepted the steaming coffee.

Richard gave him a nod and returned to his seat. Gavin stared after him, swallowing thickly. The android must have felt his gaze on him, because Richard glanced up. Gray eyes met hazel, and Gavin hastily averted his gaze. Unbidden, a dusting of red colored his cheeks. With his attention locked on the unfinished papers littering his desk, he was oblivious to the small smile that curled the corner of Richard’s lips.

Chapter Text

It had been a week since Richard had been unceremoniously thrust into Gavin’s life. He had to admit, at least to himself, that it wasn’t actually that bad. The android was unfazed by his bullshit and brought him coffees sporadically. Still, the RK900 remained undeviated. The plastic prick merely blinked at him when he threw verbal abuse on him like he had former partners.

Hell, he even shook off the punch Gavin had thrown at his face when they had been in pursuit of a criminal and the tin can had nearly let him get hit by a car. They had caught the perp, but Gavin’s ego and fist were bruised, and the brush with death left a sour taste in his mouth.

Now, Gavin stared at Richard from across the bullpen as the RK900 stood opposite of Connor. The older android was talking animatedly, cheery expression a stark difference to his younger model’s blank face. Gavin rested his chin in the palm of his hand and chewed on the tip of his pen, eyes never straying from the tall android’s broad shoulders.

Why’d they have to make the fucker so handsome? Where Connor was a plastic Ken doll—too perfect and pretty—Richard was the equivalent of a G.I. Joe action figure. Still plastic, just more hard edges and intimidation than his predecessor. Even his eyes were unnerving: cold pools of gray with just the barest hints of ice blue; they reminded Gavin of the Detroit skyline in the middle of winter.

Gavin realized his gaze had trailed from the RK900’s shoulders to his eyes, and now they lingered on his lips. Full, sculpted lips a soft pink against the faint smattering of freckles that dusted his cheeks and— whoa, that got gay fast. Gavin reined in his thoughts, teeth biting down hard on the pen cap in his mouth. He ran a hand down his face and leaned back in his seat. Damn it, what the fuck was he doing?

Don’t get attached to the fucking tin can. You’ll annoy him into deviating and then he’ll be gone, ‘cause why would he stick around afterwards? Gavin caught on the ‘gone’ , mind turning the word over again and again. It had only been a week, but he had gotten used to the plastic prick being beside him everywhere he went—looming over his shoulder as he worked, lurking in the shadows during interrogations. When he deviated, things would go back to the way they had been before; Gavin wasn’t sure he wanted before anymore. He was comfortable with now.

“Are you alright, Detective Reed?”

Gavin jerked his hand away from his face, unable to stop the blossoming red from painting his cheeks. He locked eyes with Richard’s sterling silver optics, and words built in his throat but never made it past his tongue. He swallowed thickly, swallowing down the unspoken sentence and colorful curses. Richard tilted his head at Gavin’s silence, a ghost of a frown curving his lips downward. The android slowly extended a pale hand, fingertips pressing against the detective’s forehead.

His touch was cool and soft, feeling very much human yet not at the same time. Gavin resisted the urge to lean into the caress; instead, he yanked himself back, indignation and embarrassment deepening the blush coloring his face.

“What the fuck are you doing?” He hissed, fingers curling around the arms of his chair until his knuckles turned white.

Richard’s hand hung in the air before the RK900 retracted it and enclosed it in his other. “You are flushed and looked distressed. I merely wanted to check your temperature to make sure you are not ill.”

Gavin shifted in his seat, stuffing down more most of his annoyance. “What, you worried or something, Tin Can?”

This time, Richard looked uncomfortable, if that were possible for the machine. “I—” He paused, resolve erasing any sense of unease on his face. “If you were ill, it would slow both of us down and hinder our investigation.”

Gavin narrowed his eyes and contemplated calling the android out on his bullshit. He let the conversation drop, instead taking the chance to change the topic. “What investigation?”

Richard straightened, errant hands returning to his sides. “Captain Fowler just assigned us to a homicide case.”

“Oh?” Gavin quirked an eyebrow and stood, tugging on his jacket in a fluid motion. “Where at?”

The RK900 fell in step beside him as he started for the precinct parking lot. Richard rattled off an address and fell silent. The duo slotted themselves into Gavin’s car like it was a familiar motion—Gavin behind the wheel and Richard occupying the passenger seat.

Then the silence started to get stifling as Gavin pulled away from the precinct and started for the crime scene. The only noises that permeated the quiet were the soft rumbling of the engine and the chime of pop songs on the radio. Gavin drummed his fingers against the wheel and drew in a breath.

Richard beat him to the punch, evidently able to guess what the detective was going to ask. “First responders have not been able to identify the victim. The Jane Doe’s corpse has been heavily disfigured by a blunt object—probably the murder weapon.”

Gavin huffed. “Sounds fun. Glad I didn’t eat anything yet.” He spared a glance at the android, surprised to find Richard staring at him intently. There was a distinct note of disappointment in the RK900’s voice as he spoke.

“Detective Reed, have you not eaten breakfast?”

“Hah, no.” Gavin scoffed. “Don’t usually have any besides a coffee. Maybe sometimes a breakfast burrito or a donut if I’m really hungry.”

He didn’t need to see his companion’s face to know he was frowning. “Detective Reed, breakfast is a crucial part of a balanced diet, and coffee is a poor substitute. It does not provide the proper nutrients, and the amount of caffeine you consume will be detrimental to your health over time.”

Gavin shrugged nonchalantly. “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.”

Richard’s program must not have known how to react to the nihilistic statement because the android fell back into silence, his head bowed. Thankfully, the silence wasn’t as suffocating as before, and it stayed with them the rest of the way to the crime scene.

The detective stretched as he exited the car and turned to watch his partner unfold his towering form from the passenger side. “Right,” Gavin enthused, rubbing his hands together to banish the chill nipping at them, “hope you’ve got a strong stomach, Nines.”

Richard cocked his head at the new nickname, mulling it over for a second. He folded his hands behind his back and slowed his long strides to match Gavin’s. “I do not possess an advanced digestion biocomponent, Detective Reed. Therefore, I do not have a stomach.”

Gavin shot the android a deadpan look. “It’s called a joke, dumbass.”

The RK900 blinked, meeting Gavin’s gaze. “Oh. Noted.”

Gavin rolled his eyes and climbed the steps that lead into a rundown apartment building. Officer Miller greeted him at the door, eyes flicking from the detective to the android shadowing him. Once, a snide comment might have been passed between the detective and the officer about their plastic companion, but now both were silent. Clearing his throat, Miller waved them in and directed them towards the body.

“Victim’s a Jane Doe. No murder weapon’s been found, but we’re thinking it’s a small blunt object—maybe a hammer or mallet. Jane Doe was likely squatting here ‘cause there’s no name on the lease and the owner swears it’s been empty. Neighbors are a bit squirrely and swear they didn’t see or hear anything.”

Gavin grumbled under his breath at the lack of anything . He cast a glance at his partner, but Richard was absorbed in studying the apartment as they entered.

Surprisingly, the smell wasn’t that ripe.

“Wait, who found the body?”

Miller shrugged at the question. “Dunno. We got an anonymous tip that someone heard sounds of a fight coming from this apartment. Vic was found like this.”

Gavin turned from Officer Miller to find Richard crouched beside the body, forearms resting easily on his thighs. The Jane Doe herself was a mess, her face and head caved inwards by a heavy, circular object. Her torso hadn’t fared much better.

The detective was about to join Richard in inspecting the corpse when the android trailed two fingers through the coagulating blood pooled on the floor around the Jane Doe.

“What the—”

Richard looked up at him and without breaking his gaze, stuck the two bloodstained fingers in his mouth. His pink tongue trailed after the digits as he pulled his hand away from his parted lips.

“Fuck.” Gavin ripped his attention away from the RK900, well aware that his face was likely a flushed crimson. He gave an awkward cough and forced his stiff legs to carry him to the next room. Thankfully, the second room of the apartment was blessedly empty. Gavin heaved a breath and ran a hand through his hair. What the fuck was wrong with him.

He started when a light touch prodded his shoulder. Whirling around, he was met with Richard’s face in an expression that could only be defined as concerned. “Are you sure you’re alright, Detective?”

“What the fuck was that?” Gavin waved a hand back towards the corpse; he avoided snaring the RK900’s gaze, warmth still spread across his cheeks.

“I am equipped with an advanced forensic lab, allowing me to sample fluids and analyze them without leaving the crime scene.” The head tilt was back, though Richard’s brow was more pinched than before. “I apologise if it made you uncomfortable.”

“I, uh…” Well, uncomfortable was one word for it. “Just fucking warn me next time.”

Richard nodded his head, taut expression easing. “Of course, Detective.”

“And drop the Detective bullshit. We’re partners. My name’s Gavin.” He wasn’t sure why he added the last part, but it was too late to take it back now.

“Of course, Gavin.” The android amended. His name sounded foreign on the RK900’s tongue, but not wholly unpleasant.

Gavin gave a stiff nod in return and flicked his attention back to the corpse. “So, uh, did your ‘advanced forensic lab’ tell you anything about the victim?”

Richard followed his gaze, turning so his shoulder nearly brushed against Gavin’s. “Her name was Holly Davids, unemployed since May, 2037. Criminal record includes minor aggravations such as petty theft and trespassing.”

“Huh.” Gavin breathed out. He crossed his arms and drummed his fingers on his bicep. “Anything else?”

“The suspect was human with no past criminal record, and it was likely that Miss Davids knew her killer. The force behind the blows to her face and torso indicate that the murder weapon was a rubber mallet and the suspect is male.” Richard paused in his assessment, arching an eyebrow at Gavin. “Would you like me to continue?”

“What, you’ve got more? Hell, yeah, continue!”

Richard seemed to preen under the attention, dipping his head momentarily. “The anonymous call was sent at 9:43 this morning, and Miss Davids had been killed only thirty minutes prior. There is a high chance the call came from the killer himself.”

“Fucker called the cops on himself?”

“There are many cases where guilt presses suspects to turn themselves in; it is not unheard of.”

“Yeah, yeah, alright.” Gavin waved his hand to dismiss the topic. “You know where the bastard went?”

Richard fell silent a moment, his LED spinning from blue to a pulsing yellow. Processing, Gavin had learned. The RK900 spoke slowly before his tone gained a note of urgency. “The killer fled to the roof; there is a slight probability that the killer is still there.”

“Well, shit.” There it was: that familiar rush of adrenaline that came with the thrill of the chase. It buzzed in Gavin’s veins, and he started for the roof access door right outside the apartment. He failed to notice that Richard lagged behind as he left the apartment; the android lingered in the kitchen, intently staring at something else.

Gavin climbed the stairs and shoved open the metal door that lead to the roof. He scanned the rooftop, but most of it was obscured by A/C units and piled snow. He started to turn as he heard hurried footsteps drumming up the steps behind him.

“Detective Reed, the suspect has a gun!” Richard’s voice reached Gavin’s ears a split second before the tall android’s head emerged from the roof access door frame. The detective didn’t have much time to think about it before a gunshot rang out, and a lance of pain erupted against his chest. The white-hot pain gave way to slushy snow as he was thrown to the ground.

 Richard’s processors froze when the first shot rang out. He was a machine; he wasn’t supposed to freeze. Yet he did, and he could only watch as the bullet plowed into Gavin’s shoulder and knocked the detective to the ground. Had he scanned his partner, he would have found him still alive and kicking, but something kept the program from initiating. Something burning hot and much too large clawed its way from a widening crack in his programming, flooding his systems with an overwhelming influx of information.

Suddenly, he was at an impasse. His mission—ever imposing and blaringly bold—screamed at him to go and apprehend the suspect; Detective Reed wasn’t as important. But there was that thing, clawing at his insides and scrambling all reasoning. The fire licked and burned at his programming, and Richard was met with a wall of flickering red. A soundless scream tore at his throat, and he tasted pain as he beat his fists against the wall. Beyond it, time was frozen, but it would only be so long before the suspect turned and fled and got away with his crimes. No, the man had to be punished.

Fingers caught on the cracking wall, and shards of broken red flaked away under Richard’s clawing hands. One last tug, and the wall crumbled to ash, curling away on the bitterly cold breeze. The feeling of cold was new, and it snapped at the RK900’s synthetic skin. The chill didn’t last long, though; it was replaced by the burning heat that flooded Richard’s thirium-filled veins and sent tingling sensations down to his trembling fingertips.

Time had snapped back into focus, and the suspect was firing off two more shots. The first buried itself in the RK900’s lower torso and staggered him back a few steps. The second whizzed past his head and stuck in a cement wall. Fire burning in his gray eyes, Richard disregarded the warnings popping up along his neural interface and advanced towards the armed man with quick, deliberate steps.

The two skittered near the edge, and the man squeaked when Richard’s hand shot out and gripped him by the collar. Another bang rang out, and the last bullet shot itself point blank into Richard’s chest. Two centimeters from his thirium pump regulator; no major biocomponents damaged: not important. A sneer twisted the RK900’s face, and he grabbed the man’s gun and easily ripped it away. The weapon clattered as it struck slush-covered concrete.

“Fuck you.” Richard bit out, surprised to find his voice box seizing and malfunctioning. His curled lip twitched, teeth bared towards the suspect. The mission had wanted him to bring the fucker in, but the mission was gone now; it was nothing but a pile of ash and broken coding. Richard wanted the murdering asswipe to get just desserts. Another hot, intoxicating flare of anger gripped the android, and he dragged the struggling man to the edge of the building and hoisted him over the edge. There, the man dangled, and his hands began clawing at Richard’s own. Begs and pleads left his lips, but Richard couldn’t hear them over the rushing sound of static in his ears.

One voice rang through the static, one that shouted his own name in a hoarse, pained tone. “Richard!”

The RK900’s head snapped towards the sound. Richard wanted to call out in return, but his voice caught in his throat, and he finally became aware of the liquid pooling in the corner of his eyes. He tried to breathe in, to clear whatever was inhibiting his voice box, but his throat squeezed the breath and conformed it into a soft, broken sob.

Gavin rounded the corner of an A/C unit looking like death warmed over and streaked with muddy snow and blood but undoubtedly alive. He froze when he caught sight of the scene, and his hazel eyes locked onto Richard’s own wide-blown gray optics.

“Detective—” Richard’s voice abandoned him again, the title said shaky and choked. He swallowed and drew in a breath. “You’re alright…”

Gavin’s expression flickered through an array of emotions before hardening into his usual gruff mask. The detective visibly swallowed, his eyes shifting to the two bullet holes piercing Richard’s chassis. “Yeah… yeah, no shit, I’m alright.” Gavin’s words lacked their normal bite, coming out flat and breathless. “Just—put the suspect down.”

At the mention of the human at the end of his grip, Richard stiffened. He shifted but didn’t pull the man back to safety. “He killed that woman.” The RK900 reasoned, casting a glance at the squirming fucker.

“I know.” Gavin said, taking a slow step forward.

Richard looked back to his partner, and fresh anger bubbled up in his chest when his attention caught on Gavin’s blood-stained fingers. “He nearly killed you.” Again, his voice rasped from his throat, and the implication of his words smacked him in the face. The tears that had been collecting in his eyes brimmed over and traced down his cold cheeks. The too-hot fire felt better than the cold fear, so Richard threw more kindling on the blaze. He bared his teeth in a snarl. “He needs to be punished .”

“I know.” Gavin reiterated, taking another step forward. The detective was a few feet away, within arms reach. “But I’m not dead, and as much as this asshole deserves it, we don’t get to dole out his punishment.” Gavin drew in a shaky breath. “Besides, that’s a shit ton of extra paperwork if he dies here, so…”

Humor . The detective was trying to lighten the situation with a disgustingly sardonic humor. Something new blossomed in Richard’s chest and quelled the burning heat. For all the new emotions painting Richard’s face in a dizzying array, his movements were robotic as he pulled the suspect back over the lip of the building and threw him to the ground.

The man rolled over and tried to find his footing, but Officer Miller intercepted and cuffed him before he could get anywhere. Richard had been so fueled by his anger that he had missed the fact that most everyone else on the scene had piled onto the rooftop.

“Nice of you assholes to show up.” Gavin snarked.

Richard looked over at his partner, and a new emotion pooled in his stomach. The detective looked like utter shit, his skin pale and stark against the splashes of drying red. The man was leaning against the nearest A/C unit, visibly shivering.

Concern. Worry, Richard labelled the emotion.

Something pulled Richard towards the man, but he balked against the pull like a mustang pulling against his lead. He meant to take a step towards Gavin, but his feet carried him away. It was too much—everything was too much. He couldn’t think—he couldn’t—

So he fled.