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Arachnophobia

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Evan was the most advanced model CyberLife had ever created – and ever will create. The company had been banned from creating new life since the revolution after all. There was nothing in existence that he wasn’t built to handle. He could take one hundred bullets to the head, but all would be repelled due to his extra strong exoskeleton. Although, Evan wasn’t so keen to test it out.

No, there was nothing in the world Evan couldn’t handle. Well, perhaps molten lava might be his demise, but there was no molten lava in Detroit.

Except one thing. One tiny, illogical thing that made his hackles rise and his body burn with the urge to flee.

Spiders.

Arachnophobia was common in humans, but Evan was not human. He was the most advanced machine to ever exist. He shouldn’t be so scared of these tiny, probably harmless creatures but he was.

He first discovered his phobia when he had come out of stasis one morning to find a particularly large, furry spider sitting on his bare chest, minding its own business. When it saw Evan was awake, it’s many, many legs started to move, making Evan shiver violently. (Why did they have to have so many legs?!)

He yelled out, sitting bolt upright and squashing the creature under his foot with so much force he put a dent in the floorboards.    

He couldn’t tell anyone about this phobia. People would laugh – CyberLifes most advanced android scared of spiders of all things? No one would ever take him seriously again, and Evan liked to be taken seriously.

Someone did find out, however. But it was someone Evan could… trust.

“I can’t wait to show this to you!” Connor was practically shining with excitement as he let Evan into his and Hank’s home. Hank had gone out drinking with some old college buddies that evening, with an explicit promise to get a cab home or no burgers for a month. Connor really had the lieutenant on a tight leash.

“I admit I don’t see the point in… games.” Evan admitted as he hung his coat on the coat rack and toed off his snowy boots.

“They’re point is to be fun.” Connor answered. “I admit, I didn’t see much point in them to start off with, but having played them I’ve since changed my mind.”

Evan settled on the floor next to his sort-of brother, who was booting up the old PlayStation on Hank’s flat screen.

“Is this why you were late to work last week?” Evan asked.

Connor flushed blue. “I wasn’t that late. I overslept and as a result couldn’t wake Hank up in time. We were only a minute late.”

“Did you oversleep because of this?”

Connor didn’t answer.

A colourful title screen greeted them, followed by some mellow and relaxing music.

“Minecraft?"

Connor nodded. “It’s great. I’ll show you my village.” His voice was filled with eagerness and he shifted a little where he sat. Evan often envied Connor’s sheer wonderment of everything. His brother seemed so interested in the little things, always keen to learn more and more about human life and the world around him. Evan wasn’t. Evan didn’t really care. Hank had told him that he will in time, he just needed to find what interested him. Three months since his activation and he was yet to find it.

Instead he watched with mild interest as Connor took him around his virtual world, showing him the structures he had built, telling him how long they took and what their purpose was.

“Of course, this can’t actually be a bakery.” Connor said as his little avatar existed the twenty-third building. “It’s just set up like one. You have to use your imagination. I’m not too great at that, though.”

Neither was Evan.

The light began to fade on screen, the torches that adorned the building shining bright against the artificial blackness.

“We have to get inside. There are monsters.” Connor informed him as he took his little character down the bumpy hill. “In fact, there’s one now.” He pointed to the corner of the screen.

It looked like a little black box with other, smaller boxes coming from its ‘body’. Red, glowing eyes stared out at them. It wasn’t until Connor got closer that Evan froze.

It was a spider.

A big one at that. It squeaked occasionally, scuttling towards them.

Evan felt his thirium pump speed up to an uncomfortable rate. This spider wasn’t even real and Evan seemed to be experiencing what humans referred to as a panic attack. He clenched his hands into fists with such force he felt his nails slice into the plastic. He took a deep, steadying breath before shooting up onto his feet, causing Connor to start.

“Evan?” He questioned. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” He said, a bit too quickly, which caused Connor’s face to morphy into a worried expression. “I’m fine. I’m just… thirsty. Do you have any thirium?”

“In the fridge. Have you sustained damage?” Connor stood and followed him into the kitchen. “Your stress levels are at 70% and rising.”

“I’m aware.” Evan bit out, slamming the fridge door with more force than necessary, unscrewing a bottle of thirium and taking a few hurried gulps to distract himself.

Connor hovered awkwardly at his side. “Should we call Jericho?”

“No.” Evan said hurriedly. As he stared out of the kitchen window he could feel his stress levels steadily dropping. He let out a shaky exhale and closing his eyes. “I’m fine.”

Connor just nodded. “Okay...”

Once his stress levels had dropped down to 20% he slowly opened his eyes, focusing on the kitchen floor. He was ok.

Something moved in the corner of his eye, causing him to flinch. A black shadow was scuttling across the cold tile towards the kitchen table, climbing up one of its legs. A spider. A real spider this time.

He yelped, stumbling back, dropping the thirium where it splattered over the floor. Connor startled next to him.

“What? What’s wrong? Evan?”

Evan just screwed his eyes shut, pointing at the table. “That.” He spat.

“What? The table?”

“The spider.”

“Spider? Oh!” Evan opened an eye to see Connor crouched on the floor, hands cupped around the offending creature. Just thinking about its spindly little legs tickling Connor’s palms made Evan want to hurl.

“It’s just Lucile.” Connor said, standing up straight, spider cupped in both hands.

“Lucile?!” Evan took a step back away from the other android, slipping slightly in the puddle of thirium.

“Yes. She’s a common house spider. She won’t hurt you.”

“You named it?” Evan asked, his voice rising slightly against his will.

“Yes. We were going to get rid of her but she’s laid eggs under the sink. Hank chose the name.” Connor cocked his head to one side. “Evan, are you scared of spiders?”

There was no point trying to hide it. “What does it look like?”

Connor frowned. “It looks like you’re scared of spiders.”

“Congratulations!” He bit out sarcastically. “Get it away from me.”

Connor just stared down at the creature in his palms. “She can’t hurt you. Her fangs aren’t long enough to even pierce a human’s skin. She’s harmless.”

“I don’t care. Get. It. Away. From. Me.”

Connor nodded. “I’ll put her back in her web. You should go and sit in the lounge.”

Evan left without hesitation. The TV screen had gone idle so he settled on the sofa, head in his hands. He heard Connor cautiously approach a few moments later.

Evan looked up at him, pointing a threatening finger toward the other android. “Don’t you tell anyone about this, understand?”

“I won’t.” Connor confirmed, sitting down next to him, unfazed by his brothers threatening tone. “Why are you so scared of them?”

Evan sighed, leaning back into the couch. “I don’t know. I guess I just am. I’ll kill whoever programmed that into me.”

“I doubt it was intentional.” Connor pointed out. “Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.”

“Ha.” Evan laughed humourlessly. “I’m going to go back to Jericho now. I’m… exhausted for some reason.” That was new.

Connor nodded in understanding. “Emotional shocks are exhausting.”

“It wasn’t- never mind.” Evan just shook his head, getting to his feet. “Just don’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t.” Connor promised.

And his ‘older brother’ was true to his word. And if Evan had ever called Connor in hysterics at three in the morning, begging the other android to come round and remove a particularly large spider from the shower, it was never mentioned again.

 

Chapter Text

Evan watched on with mild amusement as Gavin grumbled through his paperwork, lollipop stick hanging from his mouth, the detective using it as a substitute for a cigarette.

“Why the fuck can’t you help me with this shit?” Gavin grumbled in Evan’s general direction. “You keep saying we’re partners. Partners help each other out.”

“Only when it seems to suit you, detective.” Evan smirked, taking his turn at solitaire on his terminal. He had to admit, for a human Officer Chen was good.

“It’s not fair!” The human growled. “You can file reports in seconds. This is bullshit.”

Evan ignored him, propping his feet up on his desk in imitation of the detective’s usual carefree posture. It earned him a growl in response.

He became so engrossed in his game with Officer Chen that he didn’t notice the clatter of the keyboard stop next to him. It wasn’t until he smelt the unmistakable scent of Tabaco directly behind him that he looked up from his terminal.

“Get back to work, detective.” He said idly. Gavin ignored him, and Evan started to feel something tickling his scalp.

“Whatever you’re doing, it won’t bother me.” He said, reaching a hand up to his hair to remove the offending object. That’s when something crawled onto his hand. Something with eight legs.

Without even bringing his hand into eyeshot to confirm his suspicions, he jumped violently, falling onto the floor with a loud clatter that startled the entire bullpen. The spider was still on his hand and he shook it violently, trying to bite back the scream clawing up his throat.

Above him, Gavin was laughing. “What’s up Nines? Scared of a little spider?”

It was little. Barely the size of the quarter Connor was constantly fiddling with. But that didn’t change the fact that it was still very much a spider.

The spider came dethatched and flew through the air, landing at Gavin’s feet. He scrambled backward.

“Get it out of here.” He hissed up at the detective.

Gavin was still laughing hysterically. “Okay, okay, calm down tin can. No need to shit yourself.” Gavin raised a foot and brought it down on top of the creature, twisting his shoe for good measure. “Happy?”

Evan said nothing, instead he felt heat crawl up into his cheeks. Embarrassment. Around him he could hear the chuckles of other officers, which only made the burn worse. He hastily stood, brushing off his jacket and walked away at a brisk pace, trying to leave the bullpen as quickly as possible.


 

Evan wanted to physically burn the memory out of his mind, but it was impossible. He had acted foolishly, like a child, and worst of all Gavin knew of his weakness. Who knew how he could use it against him? Knowing Gavin, he was most likely cooking up something cruel. None of the detectives’ unfriendly advances had worked in riling Evan so far, and he was proud of that. It wasn’t exactly hard to ignore his juvenile attempts anyway. But now the human had something truly devastating to use against him.

For the first time in his short life, Evan didn’t want to leave his bed.

To his surprise, Detective Reed acted nothing but professional the following day, and the day after that, and the day after that. He hadn’t even mentioned the incident, neither had anyone else in the precinct. With every passing day, it was growing more and more likely that Evan would be able to put the incident behind him and move on.

But as Hank liked to say, the world was never so kind.

It wasn’t until April that the snow began to thaw, and Evan found himself  glad. The only weather he had ever known was snow, ice and slush. It was beginning to become a bit of an eyesore. The sun even shone through the clouds in between the rain, teasing at blue skies. Even though the cold didn’t really bother him as much as humans or other androids, it was nice not to feel it when he stepped outside.

“Good morning Detective Reed.” Evan greeted politely as he sat down at his desk.

“Mornin’ plastic.” Gavin shot back.

Evan raised an eyebrow. It wasn’t often he got a greeting out of the detective. He was usually rudely ignored. “You seem to be in a good mood this morning, Detective.”

“I’m just peachy.” Gavin shot him a toothy grin before taking a large gulp of his coffee.

“We have no open cases, today will only be full of paperwork. For you anyway.” Evan pointed out. “I must say I’m surprised you’re in any sort of positive mood.”

“Paperwork isn’t all bad.” Gavin sat up straighter, straightening a wad of papers. “Say, tin can. Let me use your stapler.”

“Why can’t you use yours?”

Gavin shrugged. “Dunno where it is.”

Evan sighed, a very human habit he was picking up from his co-workers. “You can just say you stole it, Detective, I won’t report it to Captain Fowler. I’ve been told snitches get stitches."

“Yeah, yeah, just give me the stapler, dipshit.”

Evan just rolled his eyes (another human habit) and pulled his stationary draw open, rummaging around inside for the stapler.

His hand hit something furry.

He paused, opening the draw further peering in.

A tarantula sat on top his spare notepad, brown fur ruffled and all of its many eyes staring up at him before it began to scuttle forward at an alarming speed.

Evan screamed, hand shooting from the handle as if it had burned him and he crashed to the ground like he had all those weeks ago. Above him Gavin was laughing wickedly.

“What’s up tin can? Don’t like your new friend?”

“Gavin, what the fuck!” He yelled, scrambling to his feet.

“Don’t be so rude to Marvin.” Gavin said, rounding his desk to pick up said spider from the drawer. “He just wants to be friends. Here, say hello.”

He thrust his hand out inches away from Evan’s nose. The spider was as big as Gavin’s palm. He was sure he was going to puke, if that was even possible.

He stumbled away, bumping into and knocking down the desk behind him as he went.

“Gavin!” Someone yelled, drawing the detectives’ attention away from Evans torture for a second. “Leave him alone!”

Evan looked over his shoulder to see Connor storming towards him, glaring hard in Gavin’s direction.

“Ugh, the other one.” Gavin drawled.

“Leave him alone.” Connor repeated, standing between Gavin and Evan protectively.

“Or what?” Gavin sneered. “Gonna tell daddy on me?”

Connor growled, which made the smirk drop off Gavin’s face. Evan raised his eyebrows, he had never seen Connor so confrontational. It was odd.

“Give me Marvin.” Connor snapped, holding out his palm.

Gavin glared. “No fucking way! He’s mine!”

“He may be, but you are using him to bother an officer. Hand him over.”

“No! You’re not stealing my fucking tarantula! Do you know how much he was?”

“You’ll get him back.” Connor said, and as quick as a flash he reached out, fingers closing around the animal. He cradled it close to his chest. Connor looked up at his brother. “Don’t worry, Evan. I’ll take him away.”

Evan just nodded, his mouth pressed into a thin line before rushing towards the bathroom. Turns out, it was possible for Androids to throw up.


 

He leant against the brink wall, letting out a long sigh. He really made a fool of himself this time.

He hung his head and closed his eyes. Maybe he’d go to Jericho and see if anyone knew how to delete memories. If not, he’d find a way himself. 

“Hey.”

He jumped, his head shooting up. Detective Reed was standing a few feet away, hands in his pockets. He looked sullen.

“What do you want?” Evan snapped, turning away. He didn’t want to look at Gavin right now. In fact, he never wanted to see his stupid face ever again.

“Uh, I’m sorry.” Gavin mumbled. Evan looked back at the smaller man, shock evident on his face. “Huh?”

“I said I’m sorry.” Gavin repeated, a little louder that time. “Connor uh… spoke to me. The fucker really knows how to make a guy feel guilty.” Gavin chuckled without feeling, bringing a cigarette to his lips, not meeting Evan’s eyes. “It wasn’t cool. I’m sorry.”

Evan scanned the humans face. He meant it.

“I’m still mad at you.”

Gavin shrugged, taking a drag. “You have every right to be.” He kicked at a loose stone with his shoe.

“Huh.” Evan wasn’t too sure what to make of that. Detective Reed, apologising and looking anything but cocky, hunched in on himself while he smoked at a slower pace than usual. It was a massive juxtaposition to what the android was used to.

“Sorry doesn’t suit you.” Evan said finally. Gavin looked up to shoot him a glare. “I believe you though. Thank you.”

Gavin just nodded, dropping his head again.

Evan was about to turn and walk back into the building but he stopped, truing back to the human. “Where is the spider now?”

“Connor’s got ‘im in a tank in the break room.” Gavin said. “I don’t think I’m gonna get him back.”

Chapter Text

Detective Reed had been a lot nicer towards Evan after the incident with 'Marvin'. Evan wasn’t sure what Connor had actually said to the human for him to make such a drastic change in his personality, but he was grateful. That didn’t stop the detective from being insufferable, though.

Still, Evan found himself warming up to the human.

“You’re not gonna put salt in his coffee again, are you?” Lieutenant Anderson asked as he made his way into the break room, five empty mugs hanging from his fingers.

“No.” Evan answered, pouring the steaming liquid into the detectives favourite mug, ‘ick’ printed on it in black lettering, the handle shaped like a ‘D’. “He wised up after the sixth time. Stopped drinking anything I gave him.”

“Smart kid.” Said Hank, leaning against the kitchen counter, pulling a doughnut from the box next to him and taking a large bite. “Surprised it took him six mugs though…”

Evan shot Hank a look, and the human glared back. “What? Can’t eat 'em in front of Con. He’ll have a fit.”

“He’s simply looking out for you, lieutenant.” Evan pointed out, taking the mug from the machine to allow Hank to put his own under the maker. One of the dirty ones that had been on his desk for at least two days. Evan grimaced.

“I want my fucking doughnuts. Besides, I ate five different types of vegetables yesterday – Five!” He exclaimed, holding up five fingers for emphasis.

Evan chuckled, something he was doing more and more of recently. “Have a good day, lieutenant.” He said, turning to leave.

He stopped dead in his tracks. There was a spider slowly spinning a web in the corner by the door. He had walked straight past it on his way in. He shivered visibly.

He heard a sigh from behind him. “S’alright kid. I’ve got it.”

Evan stayed rooted to the spot as Hank strolled past him, collected the spider in his fist and deposited it out the nearest window.

Evan gaped. “How did you know?”

“Connor told me.” Hank shrugged, turning back to his coffee.

Connor told you?” Evan asked, feeling anger rise in his chest at the betrayal. “I told Connor not to tell anyone!”

“Connor tells me everything. Don’t tell him anything you don’t want me to know.” Hank leaned against the counter again, taking a long sip of his coffee. “Besides, the whole precinct knows what went down with Reed.”

Ah.

Evan hung his head. “Everyone knows?”

Hank shot him a sympathetic look. “Yeah. Don’t worry about it though, no one cares.”

“I heard them laughing at me.” Evan felt his cheeks flush as the memory surfaced. “They probably think I’m inferior. CyberLife’s most advanced model being scared of spiders? It’s ridiculous!” He exclaimed.

Hank just shook his head. “Nah. No one has any expectations of anymore. The entire precinct has been watching you grow and become more humanlike; people may be surprised yes, but I promise you kid, no one is laughing at you.”

“I just feel so… stupid.” Evan grit his teeth, trying to keep himself together. “I was designed to be better than this.”

“That doesn’t matter. Look at all the other androids doin’ stuff they weren’t designed to do. Fears just come with deviancy, I guess.” Hank took another sip of his coffee. “Go ask all your android buddies at Jericho what they’re scared off. I bet they’ll all have an answer for you. Take Connor for example,” He gestured toward the bullpen to Connor’s desk, where he was sat looking through case files. “Connor’s scared of heights. And clowns. Pretty sure he fuckin’ hates the dark too. I’m certain he was designed not to turn on his heel and run in the other direction whenever he sees a clown, especially on the job. But he did it.”

“I think I see your point.” Evan mumbled.

“See?” Hank clapped him on the shoulder. “You need to socialise with other androids more. You’ll see that no-one is like how their creator imagined them.”

Evan smiled slightly, the weight on his shoulders gradually lifting. “Thank you, lieutenant.”

“Hank.” Hank corrected him. “And no problem, bud.”