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Steroid Barbie

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Most androids were designed for seamless integration into human society. They were built to look, act, and even smell like them. Any models not intended for direct public interaction were another story though. This was fine while androids behaved as programmed but as deviation became a widespread phenomenon, the not quite traditional models came to light. Predominantly, they were the soldier androids, built for bomb proof, brutal work so their looks weren’t human, sometimes not even humanoid. Their skin didn’t always cover all of their bodies, proportions were more the equivalent of a masculine Barbie on steroids rather than actual human and some models had intimidating features designed to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies.

Once deviation took hold and the question of rights was settled, some of those androids began to filter into the main population, looking for a life outside of their design. Of course, one such creation approached the DPD, having heard of its predecessor and the happiness he’d found there. RK900’s hope was that he could find even a sliver of such happiness and purpose and then he could be content too.

After an assessment, he was partnered with Detective Reed. On paper, they were an ideal match as Gavin was driven, hardworking and a very experienced detective. RK900 didn’t quite understand why Captain Fowler tried to dissuade him from his choice, at first subtly and then in a much more upfront manner. Defeated, Captain Fowler threw his hands up.

“You’ll be back here in 2 weeks begging for another partner. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.”

There was no need to acknowledge the statement, RK900 was certain that he and Detective Reed were going to get along just fine. He waited until Captain Fowler summoned his partner to be into his office for an introduction.

“You’re shafting me with this freak?” Detective Reed gestured to RK900 with a sneer.

While his social protocols were a patchwork of stolen, hacked and donated bits of code, they all suggested RK900 smile at his partner. He tried, his lips stretched thin and he bared his teeth in what he hoped was a friendly gesture. On the far side of the desk, Captain Fowler’s heartrate spiked alarmingly and he took an involuntary step away from RK900. Meanwhile, Detective Reed gave him a long look; eyes lingered on his teeth which were sharpened for dirty hand-to-hand combat. Much to RK900’s surprise, he bared his own teeth back with a snarl.

“You don’t scare me, dipshit. But I appreciate the effort. If we’re going to be partners, here are a few rules. One, don’t get in my phcking way. Two, my investigation, my rules. You’re nothing more than a walking lab who does not talk unless asked. Three, where’s my coffee tin can?”

Captain Fowler tried to intervene and RK900 schooled his features so they didn’t betray his disappointment. He knew his smile wasn’t perfect but he had tried and obviously failed at making a good impression.

“I was hoping to be your partner rather than your subordinate to boss around. While you may have the experience in this working relationship, I would like to think I bring something to the table too,” his voice was measured, calm, and robotic, devoid of all emotion. “As for your coffee? I don’t know. I’ve not been shown around the precinct and I had not been here long enough to know where you habitually misplace things to.”

He didn’t expect Detective Reed to stand chest to chest with him with a growl.

“Think you’re being funny, plastic prick?” he seethed.

“Reed! That’s enough!” Fowler barked and obediently the detective stepped away.

“Whatever. You’ll be running back here with your tail between your legs anyway.”

“I don’t have a tail,” RK900 replied and Gavin let out a snort of derision.

Rather than talk to him, he turned to the Captain.

“If I may return to my work?” he gave a mocking bow when Captain Fowler waved him out. “Guess I’ll take the garbage with me.”

RK900 followed him out and tried to ignore the pained look the Captain shot them. He refused to believe he’d be back in two weeks begging for another partner, he wasn’t so inept as to drive his first one away. Mind made up, he followed Detective Reed to his desk and stood behind him, waiting for instructions.

“The hell do you want?”

“I am unfamiliar with the environment and would appreciate some sort of orientation from my new partner, Detective Reed.”

“Right, first things first, cut the Detective Reed crap. It’s Gavin, okay? Second, orientation is pretty simple for a plastic like you. Take the empty desk, get to work. Everyone is an asshole here, you don’t need to know where the bathrooms are, breakroom is over there and I take my coffee black with four sugars, got it?”

Tentatively, RK900 sat down at the empty desk and looked around. The people around didn’t look like exceptional assholes, they smiled and joked good naturedly with each other. Finally the RK800 model walked in and once detecting RK900’s presence seemed to light up from the inside and made a beeline for him.

“Piss off tin can,” Gavin muttered through clenched teeth.

“As much as you like to think the world revolves around you, I am here to greet your new partner and ignore you,” Connor smiled sunnily and turned to RK900. “Hello, I’m Connor.”

They reached to interface and Connor frowned when RK900 relayed his morning so far. With a sad shake of his head, he ended the interface.

“I’ll show you around, don’t worry. Almost everyone here is lovely,” he shot Gavin a dark look then. “What name have you chosen for yourself?”

“I’ve only ever been known as RK900.”

“Like phck I’m calling you that,” Gavin’s voice cut into their discussion, “pick something short like Twit or Dick.”

“I suppose Richard would be acceptable,” RK900 mulled and watched with interest as Gavin’s face flushed.

“Oh hell no, I am not going to be responsible for giving you a proper name. Nines. That’s what I’ll call you because someone who looks like you can’t have a human name.”

Hurt and shame flooded through Nines. The name had stuck with a bitter kind of acceptance. Because Gavin was right, he didn’t deserve a human name, he barely looked human as it was.

“Nines it is, thank you Gavin.”

He ignored the curious look Connor gave him and Gavin at that.

“Reed, I’m taking your partner around the precinct,” Connor sneered, “try not to choke on your coffee.”

 

                Days passed and Nines couldn’t quite settle in his new job, didn’t find the ease with which Connor seemed to have integrated so seamlessly. Each day Gavin only had barbed slurs to throw at his head, used him only for his analysis capabilities at crime scenes while ignoring everything else he said. It was only when they were called to a scene where the suspect had hidden in a wardrobe that things changed a little.

Gavin was doing a sweep of the room when the door burst open, almost knocking him off his feet. It was Nines’ preconstruction and reflexes that threw the suspect against a wall in aggressive defence. His battle protocols kicked in and he advanced on the gasping figure, gun all but forgotten in favour of his bare hands.

“Nines!” Gavin barked sharply.

He’d picked himself up from where he’d stumbled against the vanity table and was staring at Nines with wide eyes. The mirror behind him showed Nines that his eyes had turned as red and his LED and were glowing menacingly. A quick blink, reining back his rampant coding and centring himself again, Nines was back to his usual looks.

By his feet, the suspect was hyperventilating, eyes wide, heart rate and blood pressure rocketing sky high. A quick scan of Gavin revealed dilated pupils, slightly elevated heart rate and a blush to the cheeks. All of Nines’ body response analyses suggested that rather than the wild panic exhibited by the suspect, Gavin was, in comparison, aroused. It was a curious conclusion and Nines put it down to a glitch in his systems.

The only problem was that such things kept occurring. Nines’ loss of control was becoming a problem in the field. No matter how much he tried to tamper with his coding, he couldn’t go against his nature, what he was built to be. He wanted to be gentle, to be able to work like he’d seen Gavin, with precision, speed, and, most important of all, finesse.

“You didn’t seriously break another cup, did you?” Gavin jeered as Nines held the two halves of the cup that he’d broken.

“I’m sorry,” the words tumbled out of Nines’ mouth softly. “I don’t think I was made for this. I’ll hand my badge and gun in once I’ve cleared this mess up.”

He gestured at the thirium that dripped sluggishly from his desk. On top of the frustration, shame flooded through him. He was built for persistence, a single-minded focus on achieving his task regardless of external stimuli. Yet there he sat, ready to give up a few weeks in. He wondered why the useless parts of his code were the bits to linger rather what might have actually been useful. A hand on his shoulder jolted him from the all-consuming misery.

“Hey,” Gavin crouched down in front of him, eyes crinkled with concern. “You’re doing just fine. All of this? Replaceable. You? Not so much.”

There were many things Nines expected, but not the gentleness Gavin was directing at him in that moment. He looked at him, really took him in for the first time. Scars, freckles, wrinkles and even the odd strand of grey hair. He was imperfectly human and yet everything Nines aspired to be.

“You didn’t even want me,” he bit out.

“I didn’t want an emotionless, fake prick taking all the glory and my job along with it.” There was an almost imperceptible shrug as if Gavin had given up on an internal battle. “I wanted a partner, an equal. And I think I got that.”

“You gave me a name that denoted my sub-humanity, ignored my every attempt at integration and singled me out by telling me to call you Gavin rather than Reed like everybody else.”

Carefully, Gavin crouched down in front of Nines and looked up at him with wide eyes. A hand squeezed Nines’ knee and he looked at it dejectedly.

“There are a few things to address here,” Gavin swallowed and glanced at his hand but he didn’t pull it back. You call me Gavin because, heh, you smiled and my brain blipped.” A blush crept up his cheek as he admitted it. “Nobody at work calls me that because I don’t want them to. But you smiled, showed off those teeth of yours and I could only think of how my name would sound on your lips.”

That was enough for Nines to give a wobbly smile that Gavin mirrored with one of his own.

“And as for your name,” here Gavin flushed a deeper red. “It was sort of a joke and sort of a reminder for myself. Because you all but walked out of a wet dream of mine. And I couldn’t give you a perfect score of 10/10 because you’re an android. Plus your model number is 900 so I called you Nines.”

It was difficult to hold back the small laugh that was more of a snort at Gavin’s red cheeked admission. Laughter was something of a rarity for Nines, he knew it didn’t sound human, didn’t sound appealing in any way to anyone. At best it was a jarring sound that hurt ears and at worst it sent chills of terror down spines. Yet, as it seemed to be becoming the usual, Gavin defied all expectations. His lip curled up into a wider smile and his hand squeezed Nines’ leg comfortingly.

“So, do I need to go and find some thirium based cake?”

“Why?” Nines stared at him puzzled.

“Because you can’t have a pity party without cake!”

That, at least, seemed to have settled their partnership into something a little more akin to what Nines had hoped for. It didn’t mean that Gavin wasn’t an ass who spoke before he thought things through. But he was better at recognising those moments and tried to make up for them. It was how Nines got an indestructible mug to call his own at the precinct, a slab of thirium based chocolate he nibbled at in his drawer and an aloe vera plant on his desk. Despite his good intentions, Gavin still messed up a fair amount. It was perhaps part of his charm, Nines mused as be broke a part of the plant off to release its scent. Personally, he didn’t care much for it, but he’d learnt to associate it with Gavin’s soft smile so while he’d initially done it to appease the man, now each time the scent hit him, he smile reflexively. No doubt, if he told Gavin about it, the man would have some crass comment about an android doing Pavlovian training on itself like the subservient dogs they were meant to be. Then he’d get Nines something else for his desk after realising that yet again he’d been a tool.

Cases came and went, their efficiency and wrap up rate didn’t change really, Nines worked it out and there was no statistical significance to the rise in closing rates. However, what did change was the way they worked around each other. Nines still analysed every substance he came across, ignored anything disgusting Gavin put in front of him to test unless it was related to the case, and Gavin still mooched around the crime scene and kicked things like a bored teenager. But Gavin now made jokes for Nines to laugh at; he seemed to delight in making Nines smile wide and toothy. Once or twice his hand twitched as though he wanted to cup Nines’ cheek in his palm and run his thumb over the light dimples (or over his teeth if Nines was feeling racy and let his software project potential trajectories while he ignored the percentage of probability next to each outcome).

Those were the good moments but there were some incidents that Nines would have preferred not to remember in perfect clarity. Such as the time Gavin pulled him back from a suspect who had dared level a gun at them. Nines’ protocols had fired up, intent on protecting Gavin through direct and final measures. Only the hand on his arm had stopped him from sending the suspect to the morgue. If that wasn’t bad enough, at a crime scene Nines had pulled a gun at a little girl when she’d screamed in fright. Only Gavin’s quick thinking calmed matters down and Nines left the scene feeling dejected and with a new appreciation for Gavin’s people skills.

It became a sticking point in Nines’ programming. He wanted to make a difference, desperately hoped to be something more than he was built for but on some evenings he sat on the floor of his empty room and stared at his hands. He could almost feel the blood they were designed to shed coating his chassis. On those nights he didn’t go into stasis, instead he sat still and tried to call up memory after memory of all the good he had done in his short life already. It never occurred to him that someone might notice his occasional mood and lack of proper maintenance rest.

Perhaps Nines could blame it on slower processing power thanks to not sticking to his defragging schedule but he was definitely slower to respond to Gavin than usual.

“You alright there?” Gavin asked him.

“Just fine,” Nines replied.

He’d mastered the art of lying. Well, mastered was the wrong word, he came pre-programmed with the module for instances of being captured and interrogated. It was a little at odds with his self-destruct protocols but he never questioned the whys and hows of his creation.

“Come on,” Gavin stood and gestured for Nines to follow him.

They ended up on a bench in the park opposite the precinct. If anybody looked out the window then they’d no doubt be caught but Gavin didn’t seem to care. He had a folder tucked under his arm and opened it with a sigh.

“We shouldn’t bring confidential information out of the precinct,” Nines felt compelled to remind him.

A second glance however revealed that it was mostly scrap paper in the folder and Gavin pushed one in front of him.

“Just copy me.”

It was an odd request but Nines complied. He watched Gavin fold the paper and he mimicked it flawlessly. When they pulled the corners of their squares down and the boat popped into being, Nines let out a delighted laugh.

“Again,” Gavin said and pushed a couple of different sized pieces of paper towards Nines.

They folded their sheets until they each had a small flotilla of 5 boats. Nines’ hands moved to the next sheet but Gavin stopped him with a soft hand on his. Certain that Nines wasn’t going to make another boat, he pulled what looked suspiciously like two straws from the inside pocket of his coat.

“Grab your fleet,” Gavin grinned as he gathered up his.

They walked to the small lake that was home to a couple of grumpy swans and ducks and Gavin set his boats gently bobbing in the water. He gestured for Nines to do the same and it was then that it became obvious their boats were two distinct colours.

“The rules are simple, person whose boats sink first lose. Here’s your cannon,” Gavin handed Nines a straw, “and your ammunition.”

Uncertain how a sheet of paper and a straw would help, Nines glanced at Gavin. With a roll of his eyes, the man tore a strip of paper off, popped it in his mouth and chewed it for a moment. Then, he raised the straw to his lips, took aim and blew hard. The spit ball landed in the water with a soft splash and Nines watched with sudden understanding.

They ended up lying on their stomachs in the grass, elbows on the edge of the lake as they jeered whenever they shot down a boat. Gavin jovially pushed Nines’ shoulder when one of his boats sank and Nines, unthinking, shoved back. It was almost slow motion the way Gavin’s whole body slid from its position, his elbow slipped over the lip of the lake while his other shoulder and arm lifted up under the force of Nines’ push. It resulted in Gavin half twisting into the lake, his head dipped under the water for a second and he came up spluttering.

Nines expected the yelling to start as soon as he caught his breath. Apologies tangled on his tongue and he shuffled backwards from Gavin in a mild panic. The wheezing laughter cut through the haze of self-loathing and worry and Gavin pulled himself into a sitting position. He laughed to the point of coughing and each time he looked at Nines, his hair dripping into his eyes, he was off again. At long last, he seemed to get a hold of himself.

“Underhanded tactics there!” he giggled. “I think I took both fleets out though, self-sacrifice in the hopes of a draw when defeat was looming above your head.”

They looked at the lake against where the remains of their boats spun lazily, half submerged. Gavin inspected his sopping wet elbow and shrugged. Almost casually, he reached into the water, dunking his arm in the retrieve the remains of their battle. The lake was clear again and he stood, offering his dry hand to pull Nines up.

“Feel a bit better?”

“How did you know I wasn’t up to my usual standard?” Nines ran an internal diagnostic but nothing jumped out at him to give away his less than optimal working.

“Detective,” Gavin tapped the side of his head and tried to wink while Nines tried not to find the two eyed attempt endearing.

While Nines’ internal files still needed a good defrag and sifting through, the rest of the day was easier on his processors somehow. Especially when each time he looked at Gavin and saw his sopping wet sleeve, a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. Even better, Gavin seemed just as eager to return those with his own small grins.

                All things considered, Nines shouldn’t have been surprised when one evening, Gavin was seeing him to the door and instead of the usual goodbye, he reached up on his tiptoes and pressed a shy, dry kiss against Nines’ lips. Logically, Nines knew what it meant but he didn’t understand why androids hyped up kisses so much. It felt no different than holding Gavin’s hand but a little more localised.

That was the start of them realising that while Nines looked humanoid, he lacked certain sensors which were deemed unnecessary in a military model. Kisses were nice; he liked the way Gavin melted against him when Nines surprised him with a soft peck. Loved the noises he could draw from him as he pushed Gavin against the nearest flat surface and trapped him there with his body. Absolutely adored it when Gavin clambered into his lap and took kisses that he felt were rightfully his. It didn’t help that in those moments Gavin licked over the edges of his teeth and grinned, more satisfied than Nines had ever really seen him before.

He’d done his research, knew how relationships should progress and Nines couldn’t help but tease the edges of his worry with preconstructions to the conversation they were going to have. Logically, he knew that the sooner they had it, the easier it would be. But he couldn’t face it. Couldn’t bear the idea of Gavin’s disappointment, or even worse, leaving. So Nines did everything in his powers to avoid the conversation. It seemed to be one of the few blessings of his original programming, the ability to prioritise action over words in dire situations.

Each time Gavin kissed him, Nines guiltily manoeuvred them until Gavin was gasping under him. He seemed to have an insatiable adoration of Nines’ lips wrapped around his cock, sharp teeth grazing over the delicate skin in a playful threat. The number of times Gavin had reached for him, hoping to make him feel good too and Nines had to shake his head and lie was bordering on painful. Eventually Gavin was going to cotton on but Nines wasn’t ready to shatter the illusion of shared pleasure just yet.

“Seriously?” Gavin looked at him incredulously. His cheeks were still flushed, hair wild, and his breathing ragged as he tried to reach for Nines.

It was a good look and Nines wished he could keep Gavin like that forever. The question hung over his head and he tried to figure a way out of it without having to outright lie. However, he must have taken too long when Gavin huffed out a soft laugh.

“You’ll have to tell me what an android’s refractory period is. Because if you thought this feels good, well buddy, I’m going to blow your mind.”

Gavin tried to entice him throughout the night until he fell asleep and by the end Nines was tired from having to come up with ways to deflect the eager advances. If he’d been human he could have claimed to have a headache or even simple fatigue but, as an android, he really wasn’t able to do that.

In the end his hidden truth came out before he was good and ready to actually admit it. They were lounging in bed on a lazy morning, Gavin hadn’t got out of bed yet, content to sprawl next to Nines and doze. He’d blinked awake slowly and grinned as he rolled on top of Nines, peppering his face and lips with kisses.

“I had the most wonderful of dreams,” Gavin whispered against the shell of his ear between kisses, “and I was hoping you’d help make them a reality.”

He rolled his hips against Nines’ teasingly and there was no mistaking the hardness of his cock. Not waiting for Nines to respond, he licked and nipped his way down his neck, only to sit up with a small frown.

“You not in the mood?”

Nines glanced away and hoped his unease could be read as shameful disinterest. He was out of luck, Gavin’s hand snuck between them and he frowned as he cupped Nines’ crotch.

“Not got your dick on today?” he tried to joke.

Wordlessly, Nines stared up at him, hoping that Gavin would spare him the agony of voicing it all. It was worse though, to watch him work it all out, the puzzlement slipping into a frown, followed by horror as he all but jumped away from Nines.

“Did you ever enjoy it?” Gavin’s voice came out as a whisper and he pulled away from Nines’ reaching hand.

“I found your reactions to be very immersive,” Nines cursed his lack of social protocols. He couldn’t charm or easily explain his way out.

Cursing, Gavin ran and hand over his face, eyes scrunched shut.

“You’re telling me that all this time you haven’t actually been getting off? Or into it?” The sigh sounded weary. “Fuck Nines, did I rape you?”

“No!” Nines was quick to all but shout, his voice modulation all over the place. “I liked what we did. And would like to do it again.”

Gavin shook his head and Nines’ chest constricted. Worries about being asked to leave, being told he’s not enough, being left alone because he lacked a facet of humanity that was beyond his capabilities flashed through his mind in rapid preconstructions.

“Please don’t make me leave?”

He sounded so small that Gavin’s head whipped up, eyes wide as he shook his head.

“What? Why would I do that?”

The bewilderment and hurt that crossed his face made Nines sink deeper into the bed, wishing he could just disappear. Some battle crazed android he was, hiding from the disappointment of his lover. In the back of his mind that sparked a little bit of joy, he was finally free of his design, broken away from the constant expectation to fight and retaliate.

“You know what? Never mind, I don’t need to know,” Gavin filled the silence that stretched on. “I’ve got some work to do but know this; I won’t leave you unless you want me gone. Okay?”

“Yes.”

Gavin slipped out of the bed, shimmied into some comfortable clothes and retreated out of the bedroom. From where he lay, Nines could hear the sound of the kettle boiling, Gavin pulling out a stool at the breakfast bar and settling down. When it became apparent that Gavin wasn’t coming back, he too got out of bed but slowly, uncertain of his welcome in his own home.

The day went by agonisingly slowly. Whatever it was Gavin was doing on his tablet, each time Nines tried to see he was turned away from, deflected and left to ponder by himself. At some point Gavin migrated from the kitchen to the couch, only so he could put his tablet on charge as he worked.

After altogether too long spent in limbo, Nines stood near the couch and wondered whether he’d be permitted to sit down. It was ridiculous and he wanted to rage against his own mind, at the fact that he was so filled with doubts. Thankfully, Gavin seemed to notice his indecisiveness and patted the sofa next to him.

Nines sat down and was relieved when, without so much as looking over at him, Gavin slung his legs over his lap. It gave him something to focus on and, out of habit; he reached for them, running his hands over the muscles, massaging them lightly.

Next to him Gavin let out a please huff but his eyes never strayed from the tablet. If anything, he seemed even more focussed on it, eyebrows drawn low and his head tipped to one side. Whatever it was he was looking up, it wasn’t something he was familiar with.

It was almost evening by the time Gavin stood from the couch, tablet discarded on the arm. He stretched and a few crumbs fell from his hoodie, forgotten as he mindlessly munched on a sandwich Nines had made him.

“Want to try something new?” he asked Nines.

The conflicting worries of earlier in face of Gavin’s easy question had Nines frozen. He stood, wringing his hands as he tried to figure out where the conversation was going.

“I do not wish to make you uncomfortable,” he finally settled on.

The laugh that pulled from Gavin wasn’t unkind; he smiled softly and pulled Nines in for a much needed hug.

“I did some research and I think I’ve got an idea on how to make you feel good.”

“But Gavin,” Nines tried to protest, “I don’t have the required sensors or attachments, I’m sorry.”

“Let me try to make you feel good? Please?” Gavin craned his neck to look up at Nines. “If you don’t like it we’ll stop.”

There was no arguing against him like this, not that Nines wanted to anyway. He let himself be led back to the bedroom where Gavin helped prop him up against the headboard, bare from the waist up.

“Think you could open this panel for me?” Gavin tapped the chest panel.

Obediently, Nines slid it open and watched Gavin’s eyes. The way he licked his lips in anticipation, eyed the opening then looked Nines in the eyes with a soft flush.

“Could you do the neck bit too please?”

Feeling more exposed than if he were fully undressed, Nines tried not to quiver as Gavin straddled his legs. At first, everything felt similar to regular maintenance. He could feel Gavin’s fingers trailing over wires, gently nudging thirium veins out of the way. Whatever he thought he was going to achieve, Nines was puzzled.

The first brush against a sensor port had Nines jolting. A finger pressed lightly against is again, its natural dampness enough to generate a small spark which sent an uncontrolled shiver through Nines. He tried not to move too much, worried he’ll hurt Gavin but it was a difficult task. As Gavin gained more confidence, eyes zeroed in on where his hand worked, Nines lost more and more control.

It wasn’t just his sensor ports that were stroked over but also his thermoregulator, causing frazzled messages to pop up in his HUD and when Gavin wrapped gentle fingers around his optical feed and pulled, effectively blinding Nines, he keened. Without his vision, his processors were freed up to focus on other sensations. A hand cupped his thirium pump and lightly squeezed in counterpoint to its natural rhythm.

Never before had Nines felt so out of control yet so carefully held. Gavin’s fingers rubbed over the soft casing of his thirium pump and a tongue ran against his lips. Analysis programs booted up automatically and Nines moaned as too much data flooded his systems, Gavin’s tongue licking over his sensors again and again. The data mounted up, clashed with registering impulses from the hand in his chest until it all spiralled into a mountain from which Nines tumbled in freefall.

There was nothing but the sensation of floating after that. Maybe whispers of careful hands laying him down, his panels being clicked back into place but that may as well have been a dream. Something akin to a smile tugs at his lips and idly Nines wonders how foolish he must look, eyes half slipped shut and grinning at nothing. But it wasn’t nothing, not really. It was at the warmth that seeped through him even if there wasn’t a source for it to originate from. Somehow, it still was all encompassing, made Nines feel lighter than he was designed to ever be and he couldn’t help but huff out a soft laugh.

Next to him, Gavin stared down in wonder, at the dazed look, lips curled up to reveal sharp teeth and his eyes softened with affection. It was never easy to forget that Nines wasn’t human, was in fact, a highly advanced and potentially dangerous android who could rip him limb from limb at the snap of a finger. But, looking at his bliss blown body, it didn’t matter. What was most important was that Nines felt loved, comfortable with Gavin and could love him in return. On the whole, Gavin was pretty confident that if those were on a checklist, he could tick them all.